N N A A S S S S A A U U A A N N D D B B A A H H A A M M A A I I S S L L A A N N D D S S L L E E A A D D I I N N G G N N E E W W S S P P A A P P E E R R BTCredundancies will be voluntary C M Y K C M Y K V olume: 107 No.17FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25) WEATHER CLOUDY, SHOWERS HIGH 77F LOW 70F B y TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com ANY staff reductions at BTC will be voluntary, a top Cable and Wireless executive c onfirmed last night. Although exact figures have not yet been finalised,C EO David Shaw said the company will be looking for voluntary redundancies. A s BTC which has a monopoly on cellular services and 90 per cent of the industry's fixed-line market pre-p ares for eventual competition, it has to reduce its operational costs, and subse quently, staff levels, Mr Shaw t old T he Tribune He said: "One of the rea sons for privatising the busi n ess is to also then prepare it f or competition. For BTC to be able compete effectively it needs to do many things: (have a pricing, great service but it also needs to have a cost base that will enable it to compete with the new entrants. "On the people side of the e quation, given its a big part of the cost base of the business, we need to find a way of reducing it. This is the conversation that in the first instance we need to have with Cable and Wireless CEO says operational costs have to be reduced McCOMBO OF THE DAY N E W The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST L ATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM YOUR ESSENTIAL FOOTBALL GUIDE FREE IN TOMORROWS TRIBUNE CHRISTMASSHOPPING SPECIALSUPPLEMENTINSIDETODAY SEE page 12 A SECURITY guard appeared in court yesterday c harged with indecently assaulting two girls at a primary school. Andrew Farrington, 36, of G olden Gates, was a rraigned before Magistrate Ancella Williams in Court 6, Parliament Street, yesterdayo n two counts of indecent assault. According to court docke ts, Farrington indecently a ssaulted a young girl b etween Tuesday, June 1, and Thursday, June 30. He p leaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail in the sum of $5,000 witho ne surety. It is also alleged he inde cently assaulted another y oung girl between Friday, October 1, and Sunday, October 31. Farrington also pleaded not guilty to thes econd charge and was granted $5,000 bail with one surety. A preliminary inquiry date was set for July 13, 2011. SECURITY GUARD CHARGED WITH INDECENT ASSAULT OF SCHOOLGIRLS By NOELLE NICOLLS Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org CUSTOMS seized a massive haul of undeclared goods in an early morning raid on a freight vessel at Potters Cay dock. Officers found 700 cases of beer, 30 cases of backwoods cigars, 44 pallets of cement and two pallets of gallon-sized ice cream buckets while on patrol at about 3.30am yes terday. The goods were packed into a truck and also put on the deck nearby. Inspector Elvis Ramsey said police and defence force officers observed suspicious activity on board the mv Legend, a freight boat operated by Deans Shipping Company. Mr Ramsey said: They observed people off-loading the boat about 3.30-4am. That is MASSIVE HAUL OF UNDECL ARED GOODS SEIZED B ODY OF MAN FOUND FLOATING IN C ANAL AT HOTEL By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com FREEPORT: The body of a man was found floating in a canal at the Bell Channel Hotel in the Lucaya area yesterday morning. The victim, believed to be his in 50s, was discovered around 9.12am, police reported. Asst Supt Loretta Mackey, press liaison officer, said the body of a black man was floating at the rear of the Bell Channel Hotel in the marina area of Port Lucaya Marketplace. The body was removed from the water and taken to the Rand Memorial Hospital. Ms Mackey reported that the victim was fully clothed and there was no sign of trauma to the body. Reports are that the male, who appeared to be in his 50s, frequented the area, she said. There are also reports that the man suffered with a disability. His identity was not released up to press time. Ms Mackey said that no missing person report has been filed and police have not yet classified the incident. She said Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy report to determine the cause of death. Officers of the Central Detective Unit are investigating the matter. SEE page 11 THE government yesterday hit back at crit icism of its decision to sell 51 per cent of BTC to a foreign company, with Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing saying that when the bidding process was opened, no Bahamian group or person came forward with any offers. At a price of $210 million, Cable and Wire less have become the majority shareholders in BTC, with the government retaining 49 per GOV T DEFENDS S ALE OF BTC T O F OREIGN FIRM SEE page 11 BTCSALE: Zhivargo Laing INARUSH: A student from Centreville Primary School keeps the beat during last nights Junior Junkanoo Parade on Bay Street which took place despite heavy rain earlier in the evening. JUNIOR JUNKAN OO HIT S BAY STREET F e l i p M a j o r / T r i b u n e s t a f f
By TANEKA THOMPSON T ribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org CABLE and Wireless CEO David Shaw yesterday shot down claims that government is selling BTC in a "fire sale", telling The Tribune the $210 million price tag is just. "I think it's a fair price," said M r Shaw, when asked to respond to cries from the opposition that the cash cow is being undersold. He explained that once BTC loses its monopoly on cellular phone services and its control of other areas, the company's long-term value will decrease. Said Mr Shaw: "The business today is trading at a lower level than it was trading at last year from what I understand. With the advent of competition, you know that future value is going to erode and so the balance that any government tries to strike in selling an asset that's going to have competition introduced to it, is the long-term fair value of that asset. I think what we're trying to do is get to a place where it factors in the value today but also takes into account what will happen to the business in the future. "The number of $210 (million) we felt was kind of fair reflection of its value but also of some of the risks that the busi ness is facing." The company head also said he believes C&W can work with BTC's unions to clear up the discord over the impend ing sale of the company even though unionists spurned Mr Shaw's invitation for a meeting this week. "We were hoping to (meet with the unions Wednesday) but obviously with the rally last night they had a lot of other stuff on. We sit ready, willing and waiting to engage when it's right for them and hopefully that's sooner rather than later," Mr Shaw told The Tribune during a round of media interviews at the Hilton yesterday. On Tuesday and Wednesday, hundreds of BTC employees did not work, staging marches in protest of the sale conditions of the telecommunications company. Union leaders have voiced strong objections against the selection of Cable & Wireless as BTC's buyer saying it is t he "wrong fit" for the B ahamas objections which heightened after government announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understand ing with the company last week. The unions' furor is understandable based on Cable & W ireless' track record of labour relations, said Mr Shaw. However since he took over as CEO i n July, 2009 the company has made strides in improving its dialogue with unions, he said. Yesterday Mr Shaw also tried to repaint Cable and Wireless' public image, claiming that executives have retooled its "western" business approach to better fit in with the Caribbean's mode of operations and foster better relationships with unions in the region. "I think we can sit down and be respectful to each other and have that dialogue. We've done it in other parts of the Caribbean, it's probably fair to say that 17 months ago our union relationships weren't in a brilliant place but we worked with them to improve them and we've resolved a lot of issues that were outstanding in some of the businesses where we hada lot of noise. "We've got a new philoso phy for running the business. We take the unions very seriously, they're a key voice and a key body to work alongside and partner with, and in the long run we want the same thing which is a successful business," said Mr Shaw. As for the disgruntled employees who took part in both protests, Mr Shaw feels they are discontented because of the current "uncertainty" over the future. Once a contract is signed with government, employees will be better able to plan for the future, he said. Earlier this week, BTC stores were closed for two days due to work stoppage "organised by the company's management and non-management unions," said acting president and CEO Kirk Griffin, despite a Supreme Court injunction ordering the unions not to prevent employees from working. The unions want BTC to be sold to a Bahamian company and have argued that Cable and Wireless has a tarnished repu tation throughout the region. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Shaw says BTC price tag is fair By NATARIO McKENZIE T ribune Staff Reporter email@example.com FINES were levied against a group of Dominican poachers charged with fisheries violations in Bahamian waters. The poachers were arraigned yesterday afternoon before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethel in Court 8, Bank Lane. The 43 Dominican fisher men were charged with engaging in foreign fishing and possession of prohibited apparatus namely: 14 air compressors and eight spear guns. According to court dockets, the men were apprehended on December 4 while in the Great Bahama Bank onboard a vessel named Captain Alfredo. The men all pleaded guilty to the charges. The captain, Victor Vasquez, 44, was sentenced to pay a fine of $25,000 or serve one year in prison. His crew members were each sentenced to pay $250 or spend three months in prison. Their boat and equipment was ordered to be seized. A second group of 20 Dominican fisherman were also arraigned on similar charges. The men, who according to court dockets were found onboard the vessel Myra Dawn, were arraigned on four separate charges: engaging in foreign fishing, possession of prohibited apparatus (18 air compressors and eight spear-guns), possession of a quantity of undersized crawfish, and possession of a quantity of undersized grouper. They all pleaded guilty to the charges. The captain of the vessel, I saia Diaz, 27, was sentenced t o pay $50,000 or spend one year in prison. His crew mem bers were each sentenced to pay $5,000 or spend three months in prison. Their vessel, equipment and catch were ordered to bes eized. 43 Dominican poachers fined SOMBRE RIDE: Pictured is one of the Dominican poachers sitting on a transport bus. The men were fined up to $25,000 and their boat and equipment seized. Felip Major /Tribune staff
By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org U NION leaders are calling for national involvement in the argument over the pending sale of BTC to Cable and Wirel ess. T hey believe if enough public support is galvanised, the government might reconsider selling the majority equity stake t o a foreign company. John Pinder, president of the Bahamas Public Service Union, said: We dont want to make this look like this is a union issue. The trade union movement is leading in the educa-t ion to the general public on t his company its ownership and performance throughout the region we think that the rest of the Bahamian populat ion should be involved and do their own research and find out so that we can all come together to determine whether or notw e think this is the best way to g o and if its not, we ought to sign a petition against it and try to get the government to change their mind on it while i ts still at the stage of MOU. The protest initiated by the t wo BTC unions the Bahamas Communications and Public O fficers Union (BCPOU the Bahamas Communications and Public Managerial Union (BCPMU support most, if not all, unions i n the country. They charge that not only s hould the 51 per cent stake remain Bahamian owned, but t hat C&WC is not an adequate partner. It was also claimed that the sale of BTC to C&WC circumvented the established process, as the company never f ormally entered a bid during the initial tender period. O n Wednesday night, numerous union leaders p ledged their full support of any action taken by the two unions to protest the sale. Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson, president of the National Congress o f Trade Unions in the Bahamas, said: The unions d idnt know what was going on because they were not a part o f the actual committee that was responsible for privatisation. Evans and Carroll (BTC union leaders) were a part of t he advisory committee, but the decision to sign the MOU did not even come to that committee. Despite a Supreme Court o rder restricting union officials from encouraging industrial a ction, angry BTC workers protested this week, closing B TC customer service centres and Cyberworld stores for two days throughout New Providence. Although the disgruntled employees returned to work yesterday, union leaders said they are prepared to protest the sale by any means necessary. H owever, officials at the Department of Labour con firmed that there are no existing or unresolved trade disputes concerning the two unions or the sale of BTC, a move which would have to preempt any legal strike action. Dion Foulkes, labour minister said: I wish to encourage labour leaders throughout the country to approach this issue from a very mature point of view and not to take any actions that would damage the B ahamas, generally, and that would damage industrial rela tions between unions and their employers. I would also encourage all union leaders in the c ountry to follow the legal process, and the legal process is t hat before any strike can take place there must be a strike v ote that is certified by the Department of Labour and that is monitored by the department. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 3 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM MINISTER of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing said yesterday that notwithstandi ng the genuine concerns raised by the sale of 51 per cent of the Bahamas TelecommunicationsC ompany, there is no doubt in his mind that poli tics is playing a factor in the opposition to the deal. As a call-in g uest on the radio programmeReal Talk with host Ortl and Bodie Jr, Mr Laing said that opposition to privatisation is nothing new. am sure that politics may factor into it, but I am not dis-m issing the genuine concerns which some may have with this sale. Opposition to privatisation is not new. It is part a nd parcel of the privatisation p rocesses from it took root in t he 1980s. So that is not new. W hen we tried this before in t he late 1990s we had opposition at the time and it was l argely one of the things that contributed to the thing not h appening at that time. But I have no doubt that othersw ould love to hitch their politi cal fortunes to this train. I h ave no doubt about that, he s aid. Mr Laings remarks have c ome in response to calls from the PLP for the release of the d etails of the governments memorandum of understand-i ng with Cable and Wireless. PLP Deputy Leader Philip D avis issued a statement yes terday stating that he found it incredible that members of the FNM government were seeking to engage in the political masquerading over the issue. Plans by the FNM govern ment to sell 51 per cent m ajority control of BTC is a bad deal, and to sell the public asset far below its market value is indeed reckless to say the least and cannot be justi f ied as being in the public interest. The Ingraham government should know that as the gove rnment of the Bahamas that they have a sacred duty to look after the well-being of Bahamians the protection of jobs should be priority one. Unlike the PLP, the FNM government continues to be l ed down a blind path by abdi cating this responsibility and a ppears hell-bent on signing a deal with Cable and Wireless knowing that much-needed jobs will be lost, Mr Davis said. P OLITICS PLAYING A ROLE IN OPPOSITION TO THE BTC DEAL Call for national involvement in BTC sale controversy ZHIVARGO LAING PROTEST: The BTC workers motorcade makes its way along Bay Street on Wednesday. T he trade union movement is l eading in the education t o the general public on this company itso wnership and p erformance throughout the region we thinkt hat the rest of the B ahamian population s hould be involved ... John Pinder U NIONLEADERSSEEKINGPUBLICINPUT
EDITOR, The Tribune. The Tribune failed miserably to live up to its motto when it refused to publish any information from my address at the PLPs Town Meeting o n BTC. The Tribune also failed to carry an advertisement on the meeting which was paid in advance but instead decided to publish w eeks later an Opinion on my address which I read with much interest. This is clear discrimination by a media outlet thats licensed to serve the public news. I ask the following questions in regards to Hartnells opinion: IsMr. Hartnell of The Tribune suggesting that the $212 million profit that BTC m ade while at the time myself and the Hon. Marcus Bethel wereMinisters during 2002 to 2007, compared to $112 million BTC earned while the FNM was in charge (1994 2002). Was this a fable? Is Mr. Hartnell suggesting that when the FNM left office in 2002 that the $4.7 million in BTCs bank account was a fable? When the FNM returned to office in 2007 the $130 million they found in the BTC bank account was that also a fable? I am aware Mr. Hartnell that the rule of thumb in theTelecomsindustry is that when liberalization is introduced the incumbent loses 30 per cent of market share. This rule applies to privately owned Telcos or Government owned Telcos. Except in the case ofLIME (C&W Jamaica where a company with little or no experience in Telecoms (Digiceltook 60 per cent plus ofmarket share from C&W a privately owned Telco who had been in the business for 140 years. Mr. HartnellI amaware that: I n 2000 BTC's revenues for International Long Distance calls were $103 million while the revenues for the same stream in 2007 were just $27 million. In 2000 BTC had 32,000 cellular customers and 114,000 landlines. BTC now has 330,000 plus cellular customers and 134,000 landlines. 65 per cent + ofBTC's revenues come from wireless. There are no long distance companies existing in the world today. Did you read the Profile of C&W?Theprofile indicates that C&W have 600,000 Broadband customers, 1.8 million land lines and 8.1 millioncellular customers. Does this suggest that C&W is a wireless company? C&W'sFinancial Interim Report for the first half 2011 published November 4, 2010 indicates that all major key financial indicators for the Caribbeanhave gone south. And, this follows a similar report of decreases for 2010. C&W Jamaica has experienced losses of J$3 billion plus in the last three consecutive years. Does this mean that C &W is approaching "junk s tatus?" Two months ago it was rumoured that AT&T was about to purchase C&W anda week after the AT&T rumour a new rumour emerged that SingTel (Singapore Telecommunications) was going to purchase C&W. Does this suggest that C&W has a problem? Up to eight years ago C&W: Was a monopoly incumbent in the English speaking Caribbean. They were also the regulators. They influenced the Telecoms Acts and Regulations in these countries just like BaTelCo did in The Bahamas. They wrote policies that protected the monopolies of their companies well into 2020 until there was a revolt by Caribbean Governments. Mr. Hartnell did you know that: AT&Tlast year petitioned the US Government to make the Land Line Networks in the United States obsolete? Are you aware that the US Government allocated more than $8 billion tocontinue the deployment of Broadband which the FCC estimates could cost up to $350 billion? Is this in a pri vatized, liberalized market, Mr. Hartnell? Australias Government has budgeted US$33 billion to construct its NationalBroadband Network? Space would not allow here me to tell what other Governments are doing. Mr. Hartnell you failed to state in your Opinion that: The gold that BTC mined from its customers all stayed in The Bahamas. You failed to state that that "mined gold" paid more than $95 million in 2009 and $30 million in 2008 to the Government of The Bahamas in dividends, not including BTC's franchise fee of $1 mil lion per quarter, license fees, fees to URCA and Govern ment telephone bill write off of more than $15 million. No Mr. Hartnell I am not playing a political game nor am I pandering to the two unions. The sale of a state o wned enterprise is of national importance. It is beyond politics and unions. For the record: I dont believe I am King Canute. I dont believe I canhold b ackthe tide. But I believe that I, with the help of others can build seawalls to stop the tide from overflowing the land. For the record: I believe in privatization. I have confidenceBahamians can lead BTCsuccessfully in a liberalized market. I am not taking credit for everything that happened at BTC. As a former employee of BaTelCo I have seen BaTelCo/BTC led by Bahamians keeping BTC on par and sometimes leading t he Caribbean in Telecoms which was once led by a privately owned C&W. As a Bahamian, Mr. Hartnell, I believe that selling 51 per cent of BTC to Cable & Wireless for $210 million is a sweetheart deal for C&W and a bad deal for Bahamians for the following reasons: The sweetheart deal leaves $15 million in cash in the bank for a company that you toot is one of the best of the best. Why? This cash discounts the $210 million to $195 million. The Government guarantees the employees pension which has a deficit of $60 million. This discounts the $210 million further. C&W will up the EBITDA 15 to 20 points is this not on the backs of the Bahamian people, Mr. Hartnell? Does this mean that BTC owned by C&W a foreign strategic partner can mine the gold in the pocket of more than 300,000 Bahamian consumers, who have no choice and are forced to put up with whatever prices and service quality the monopoly (C&W c harges for the next three years? Mr. Hartnell I am using your quote. Do you not consider selling BTC for net $143 million is not a fire sale? The Government has cre ated a private monopoly from a public monopoly for the next three years. I thought you decried monopolies. Even for the next five years there will only exist a duopoly. What technology does C&W have that BTC does not have, sir, or that BTC does not have in the works? What makes it so sinful for Bahamians to want to own their own Telecommunications in their own country, Mr. Hartnell? Bradley B Roberts National Chairman Progressive Liberal Party, December 7, 2010. C M Y K C M Y K EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PAGE 4, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE The Tribune Limited NULLIUS ADDICTUS JURARE IN VERBA MAGISTRI Being Bound to Swear to The Dogmas of No Master L EON E. H. DUPUCH, Publisher/Editor 1903-1914 S IR ETIENNE DUPUCH, Kt., O.B.E., K.M., K.C.S.G., (Hon. P ublisher/Editor 1919-1972 Contributing Editor 1972-1991 EILEEN DUPUCH CARRON, C.M.G., M.S., B.A., LL.B. P ublisher/Editor 1972Published Daily Monday to Saturday S hirley Street, P.O. Box N-3207, Nassau, Bahamas Insurance Management Building., P.O. F-485, Freeport, Grand Bahama T ELEPHONES Switchboard (News, Circulation and Advertising Advertising Manager (242 C irculation Department (242 N assau Fax: (242 Freeport, Grand Bahama: 1-(242 F reeport fax: (242 W EBSITE www.tribune242.com updated daily at 2pm THE PLP seems to be a party always anxious to distance itself from its own unimpressive past unless, of course, it hasd eliberately cultivated a memory that takes a convenient leave of absence when a situation gets too hot to handle. Whichever way one looks at it, PLP leaders are being disingenuous to suggest that g overnment is failing to disclose information on its negotiations with Cable & Wireless for the 51 per cent purchase of BTC for $210 million. They have forgotten their own secrecy in t heir attempt to sell BTC to Blue Water Ventures before the 2007 election when they w ere defeated at the polls. At the time -2007 much was w ritten and speculated about this secrecy. It was only after the FNM came to power that the public eventually knew what had gone on behind those closed doors. Today Bahamians know more at this ear l y stage in the negotiations about what is proposed with Cable & Wireless than any o ne ever knew from the PLP about their negotiations with Blue Water. T he Tribune reported in January, 2007, after all other bidders were locked out so that the PLP government could continue to woo Blue Water, that the secrecy and lack of transparency has caused some frustra tions, not only among other potential leaders such as C&W, but members of the Bahami an financial community and some BTC staff. I t was suggested that the Christie government was unlikely to conclude BTCs privatisation before the 2007 election, which was closing in on it. The reason given was concern for the considerable number of votes tied up in BTCs estimated 1,200 workers and their relatives. A privatisation, espe cially one that resulted in redundancies, could be unpopular at election time, The T ribune was told. And so today, although the party probably wont admit it, even they r ecognised that to succeed, redundancies were necessary. It was probably another reason for the secrecy. And, as we said, in this column yesterday, no matter who takes over BTC even ana stute Bahamian business group staff has to be trimmed for the sake of good business. BTC has been on the auction block for the past 11 years. In 2007 The Tribune reported that the best offer that was received in 2003 was when BahamasTel consortium,b acked by Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, b id $130 million for a 49 per cent stake. At the time it valued the company at just over $260 million. However, by 2007, it was clear that BTC h ad dropped even further in value, faced with competition from IndiGo Networks fixed line, Voice over IP and Cable Bahamas on Internet. Once it loses its cellular monopoly, it will be difficult to even give it away. B TC has stood like a colossus astride this country, stifling its economic growth. J ames Smith, in those years minister of state for finance, could only tell us week a fter week that the government-appointed committee had completed its work for privatisation and had submitted its recommendations to Cabinet. This was the highest that the veil, which concealed their secret, was e ver lifted. From then on there was silence. Mr Smith said that a world class, efficient t elecommunications sector was required for both the tourism and the financial serv ices industry. And in a tone of resigned desperation, he admitted that all the time spent looking at other (privatisation allowed this existing dinosaur to entrench itself. And it is into this entrenched dinosaur that the government is trying to breath new life to give it a chance to be of benefit to the c ountry. So much time and energy is being taken up with the wishes of the unions and the politicians that little thought is being given to the Bahamian people, who for years have had to pay high prices for inferior service. The dinosaur has suffocated this country for much too long, Bahamians now need some breathing space to grow and prosper. T hey deserve better service, lower prices and more choices and a telecommunications c ompany that will not only do them proud but will be a profitable investment. A unionist has suggested that Bahamian consumers should be included in the debate as to whether Cable and Wireless should bet he lead partner in a new BTC that will give them better service, and lower prices. It is a good idea. The unionists might not like what they hear. Bradley Roberts responds to Neil Hartnells opinion column LETTERS email@example.com The PLP and their Blue Water secrets EDITOR, The Tribune. It is so disappointing that we all want better roads and driving conditions, but do not want to make the sacrifice that it takes to obtain them. We compare our roadworks with that of Florida, but anyone who travels to Miami regularly will testify that road projects over there take years to complete. Yet here at home we expect things to happen over night. We complain that the government borrowed money for the road works but we do not want to pay taxes so we would not have to borrow. We are a country of limited resources, but maintains a very lucrative life style. Without borrowing or paying taxes where is the money supposed to come from? We complain about slack and incompetent staff with poor attitude in most government departments and when the government steps in we say the Prime Minister is uncaring. We want the investors but only on our con ditions, no compromise. Our way or no high way. It is good to have a Prime Minister that will not be side-tracked by the detractors, and will continue to work in the best interest of the country. Crime is the highest it has ever been and the police are doing their best, but some of us continue to lambaste them. Unfortunately this happens more in the inner city where young brothers are killing each other regularly. There are harden criminals out there who have no respect for God or man and will shoot you down in the streets without batting an eye. Let me tell you of a scene I witnessed sev eral weeks ago. It was about 1am on a Sunday morning at the junction of Shirley Street and Village Road. A police car was pulled in the front of a Sunny Nissan. On the ground there were three young men lying face down. Several passersby were shouting at the police to leave those boys alone and to look for real criminals. Had they stopped and looked in the car they would have seen several high powered weapons and ski masks. Do you believe those weapons were for shooting ducks in the moon light or the ski mask were for some late night scuba diving? Yet we continue to give the police a hard time. Yes crime is on the rise, but this has nothing to do with the police or the government, but a society that has placed things and power above everything else. Ask the mother who has just received a Rolex watch and a wad of cash from a child who has no job, or ask the pastor who got that big donation from the Don of Bain Town or the politician whose campaign was funded by the drug lord. How do we expect to have all of the nice things without paying for them, how do we expect service to get better if we leave the slack and uncaring in place, and how do we expect crime to decrease by turning a blind eye and not supporting the police? TONY Nassau, December 1, 2010. How can we expect nice things without paying for them?
NATIONAL Insurance B oard director Algernon C argill said he has no knowledge of any dispute between NIB and the Public Managers Union or the Union of Public Officers that could have ledto yesterdays apparent indust rial action. I n fact, he said, the board successfully completed negotiations for a contract with the UPO earlier this year, has just received PMUs proposal for a new contract for managers, and anticipates thatn egotiations will be cordial and conducted in the spirit of co-operation and partnership that has always existedb etween NIB and PMU. NIB management is, therefore, somewhat taken aback at the idea that there may be some industrial action underway, as no grievance p rocess has been initiated w ith us, Mr Cargill said. The directors comments came as he confirmed that o nly NIB managers turned up to work yesterday, followi ng claims that they intended t o walk off the job the previo us afternoon. There have been no public announcements from NIB s taff or union representatives concerning the nature of their grievances, but Mr Cargills aid that as for suggestions t hat staff are aggrieved by the boards hiring of contract workers, this too is a surprise. He said: Historically, unions exist to advance the cause of workers in the work p lace, therefore, one would think that the hiring of Bahamians in a Bahamian institution should be e mbraced and applauded rather than vilified. At any rate, while NIB h as hired a number of con tract workers this year, weve done so to advance the l aunch of two major national initiatives undertaken in 2010. The first of these, he said, was the introduction of the p ermanent phase of Unemployment Benefit, and the s econd was the launch of the N ational Prescription Drug Plan. We were able to successfully launch both prog rammes without interrupt ion or disruption of NIBs normal processes, primarily b ecause we hired additional workers. Had we not done so, w e would not have been able t o launch those initiatives w ith the success that we have h ad, Mr Cargill said. He said all contract workers were hired to meet specific business needs, and that their temporary employment at no time compromised or jeopardised the jobs of full time employees, or impeded o pportunities for upward mobility. In fact, we have specific e xamples to the contrary w here permanent staff bene fitted from those short-term hirings. Specifically, when thec ontracts end, we have to evaluate the vacancies left to d etermine if there is a need to fill the positions permanently; where we find that there is, we advertise the positions internally first. There are several instances already for this year w here members of our perm anent staff complement were able to advance through such vacancies in the Drug Plan Unit, the director said. H e added: The National I nsurance Board, as administrator of the countrys social s ecurity programme, is answerable to all of its cust omers both internal and e xternal and takes very serio usly its commitment to e nsuring that the affairs of the programme and the organisation are conducted in such a way as to ensure its success for both the short andl ong term. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 5 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM National Insurance chief has no knowledge of dispute with unions A MAN appeared in court yesterday accused of attempting to have sex with a 14-yearold boy. Stanford Taylor, 49, of Brown Road, was arraigned on the charge in Court 6, Parliament Street. He was not required to enter a plea to the charge. Taylor is accused of attempting to have unnatural intercourse with a minor on Sunday, December 5. He is also charged with threatening to kill the victim. Taylor pleaded not guilty to the death threat charge. He was remanded to Her Majestys Prison and is expected back in court on December 17. M AN ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTING SEX WITH BOY, 14 N N I I B B m m a a n n a a g g e e m m e e n n t t i i s s , t t h h e e r r e e f f o o r r e e , s s o o m m e e w w h h a a t t t t a a k k e e n n a a b b a a c c k k a a t t t t h h e e i i d d e e a a t t h h a a t t t t h h e e r r e e m m a a y y b b e e s s o o m m e e i i n n d d u u s s t t r r i i a a l l a a c c t t i i o o n n u u n n d d e e r r w w a a y y , a a s s n n o o g g r r i i e e v v a a n n c c e e p p r r o o c c e e s s s s h h a a s s b b e e e e n n i i n n i i t t i i a a t t e e d d w w i i t t h h u u s s . N ational Insurance Board director Algernon Cargill
A MAGISTRATE yesterday ruled that the College of theB ahamas should not have deducted three days pay from the salary of four faculty members who participated in a gove rnment sanctioned strike in April. Magistrate Derrence RolleD avis said COB could only deduct money for classes the faculty members did not cover during exams at the college. O scar Johnson Jr, who represented the college, said he intends to appeal the decisions. S ix more cases related to pay cuts are still pending and are expected to be heard on March 3. J ennifer Isaacs-Dotson, president of the Union of Tertiary Educators of the Bahamas (UTEB come as a bitter sweet victory. M rs Dotson said that the matter should have been resolved before it came to court. We were just hoping that the college would decide to set-t le this out of court. This is something that we should have b een able to settle in-house r ather than going to court. It doesnt bode well for industrial r elations at the college. Milton Evans and Alivia F orbes represented the four applicants namely; LindellD eveaux, Arturo Hutchinson, Janet Donnelly and Racquel B arr-Edgecombe. UTEB contended that the pay cuts conflicted with pay slips received by those persons indicating that their accounts hadb een credited with their normal salaries. U TEBs lawyers had argued that the college had acted unlawfully and without authorisation in making salary deductions following the strike. C OB's attorneys countered by arguing that the college hadd ischarged its obligation in providing faculty members with n otice of the consequences of strike action and relied on the principle of "No work, no pay." C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM THEBAHAMAS VERYOWNSTREETPHILOSOPHER Court rules in favour of four COB employees A MAGISTRATE yesterday ruled t hat the College of the Bahamas should not have deducted three d ays pay from t he salary of four faculty members who participated in a g overnment sanctioned strike in April. F i l e P h o t o
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 7 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By CELESTE NIXON T ribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org ALTHOUGH very little attention has been given to the disorder, autism may be the single most prevalent disease effecting Bahamian children today. W hile no official statistics where available yesterday, it is estimated by special needs teachers, parents, care givers and autistic advocacy groups that there may be between 7,500 and 10,000 affected children about 10 per cent of the population. If this number is correct there is no other condition in this country that affects as many children, said Resources and Education for Autism and related Challenges (REACH president Mario Carey. Every child with autism r equires special understanding and special needs education in order to grow up to lead rich, productive lives, reaching their best individual potential," he said. According to some parents of autistic children, health insurance is a major cause for concern as none of the various available treatments from the wide range of therapies to special needs programmes are covered locally. This issue is also high on REACH's agenda, as treatments are often extremely expensive and in limited supply in the Bahamas. I n a 2009 report issued by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, it was estimated that one in 110 persons in the United States are autistic. According to the American National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD neurodevelopment disorders, characterised by social impair ments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior". There is no known cause for autism, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Signs of the disorder are usua lly seen within the first two years of life. Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior. The neurological disorder typically lasts throughout a person's life but early diagnosis a nd intervention can improve the outcome. There are no known cures for autism however with the "appropriate specialised education, behavioral and biomedical interventions, coupled with an understanding community and adequate support services, most persons with autism can b ecome productive, happy citizens", said a member of REACH. REACH is a locally registered charity, volunteer support and advocacy group. Regular activities of the group include support and information meetings for pare nts, teachers and other interested persons, training sessions for professionals and parents, fund-raising to support projects, and liaising with international autism groups and local agencies. Its members believe educating the public about this g reatly misunderstood disease is essential to the progress and development of autistic programmes and treatments in the Bahamas. "It is important that we raise sensitivity and support for the cause," said Mr Carey. He said anyone interested in learning more can c all REACH on 328-4123; fax 326-2975 or email email@example.com Around 10 per cent of Bahamian children may be affected by autism E E v v e e r r y y c c h h i i l l d d w w i i t t h h a a u u t t i i s s m m r r e e q q u u i i r r e e s s s s p p e e c c i i a a l l u u n n d d e e r r s s t t a a n n d d i i n n g g a a n n d d s s p p e e c c i i a a l l n n e e e e d d s s e e d d u u c c a a t t i i o o n n i i n n o o r r d d e e r r t t o o g g r r o o w w u u p p t t o o l l e e a a d d r r i i c c h h , p p r r o o d d u u c c t t i i v v e e l l i i v v e e s s , r r e e a a c c h h i i n n g g t t h h e e i i r r b b e e s s t t i i n n d d i i v v i i d d u u a a l l p p o o t t e e n n t t i i a a l l . SUNLAND BAPTIST ACADEMY SUPPORTS LESS FORTUNATE CHILDREN THE students of Sunland Baptist Academy wore their favourite clothes to school to help a worthy cause. Casual day last week collected almost $700 to help the Grand Bahama Children's Home with preparations for the holidays. We want our children to understand the importance of giving back," said Renee Sloane of Sunlands parent teacher association. This is the sec ond donation we have made in recent weeks and we hope it will inspire others to help their com munity. It takes a village, they say. Pictured at the presentation are some of the senior students; Carol Bennett, vice-principal; Myrton King, principal; Renee Sloane and Mrs Goodridge, GBCH acting administrator. Mrs Goodridge thanked the students for their donation and invited them to the home to meet and maybe even help the children with their studies. Photo courtesy/Barefoot Marketing R esources and Education for Autism and related C hallenges (REACH) president Mario Carey
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 127,&( 7RXUDOXHG&OLHQWV 2XU$66$8IFHV :,//%(&/26('$ )5,'$ 7+ :HDSRORJL]HIRUDQ\LQFRQYHQLHQFHFDXVHG T HE Rhode Island National Guard concluded a military exchange this week under i ts state partnership programme with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force the 12th such event this year. Six military police officers of the 43rd Military Police Brigade flew from Rhode Island to Nassau to conduct the five day event at HMBS Coral Harbour. T he exchange covered a myriad of military policing techniques including the use of f orce, civil disturbance, defensive tactics, search procedures, and crime scene investigations. This exchange in tactics and techniques comes as the RBDF is working to expand the capabilities of its military police force. December marks the five-year annivers ary of the Rhode Island National Guard (RING B ahamas, which has generated a series of co-operative initiatives to ensure security, support co-operation and foster future economic opportunities. The partnership directly supports the broad national interests and security cooperation goals of the United States and the Bahamas through a series of technical exchanges throughout the Commonwealth and in the state of Rhode Island, said the US Embassy in a statement. The Bahamas and Rhode Island (the Ocean State) share many similarities including a common ancestral heritage, coastal setting, and a tourism-based economy. The cityscape in Newport, RI bares an uncanny resemblance to locations in Nas sau, Spanish Wells, and Harbour Island. The layout of Nassau and Newport are similar as both cities were planned by British colonists who settled in Newport in 1639 and the Bahamas in 1647, it said. National Guard, Defence Force conclude exchange MILITARYEXCHANGE: CPT John Saporita, MAJ Charles Mulcahy, US Charg d'Affaires, T imothy Ziga-Brown, LTC Javier Reina, MAJ Jeffrey Lessard By NOELLE NICOLLS Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FORMER Free National Movement stalwart Roscoe Thompson III announced his intention to run as an independent for the South Andros constituency in the 2012 general election. After spending three years in local government I have seen it doesnt matter what party is in power, it is about who you know and what you know, said Mr Thompson, who sits as chairman of the Marsh Harbour and Spring City Township. We are quick to appease the public and start things rather than having a game plan to make sure things are tested and running smoothly, said Mr Thompson. He said he has a lot of popular support in South Abaco, and feels his chances are good against incumbent member of parliament Edison Key, or any other candidate. Accountability and transparency are my biggest things. I dont want to be looked at as a politician. I want to be looked at as a public servant. My goal would be bi-partisanship; looking at what is best for the Bahamian people and not looking out for what is best for individuals that sit in different positions. I have a voice and I am not going to let anyone walk over me, said Mr Thompson. He was recently critical of the sitting MP for his comments about the brewing dispute over the Haitian settlement known as Pigeon Pea. Mr Key told residents, many of whom are thought to be illegal, that they were not at risk of eviction, even though a title claim was made to the land. Mr Thompson said the comments were not helpful and resulted in some residents resuming construction on homes that were halted by the local authorities. While acknowledging Mr Keys role as chairman of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC MP spends more time in Andros than in South Abaco, and was not vocal enough on local issues. Mr Key could not be reached for comment. Asked for his response to the announcement, Carl Bethel, FNM chairman, said: I have no indications from Mr Key that he does not intend to run again. The intention would be that having served well, if it is his desire he would be acceptable to the party in continuing as a candidate for South Abaco. In the absence of any indication from Mr Key he will continue to enjoy the support of the FNM. Last month, Mr Thompson resigned as the FNM Council representative for South Abaco. He has since informed the party of his decision to run as an independent. Mr Thompson had expressed some dissatisfaction some months ago. When I visited Abaco for other purposes, I made an attempt to speak with him. He comes from an illustrious FNM family, and I though it would be a good thing to hear what he had to say and give him an ear. He indicated his dissatisfaction with some things and his intention to run as an independent, said Mr Bethel. Mr Thompson is related to prominent members of the FNM, such as Sir Durward Knowles, his grandfather; the late Captain Leonard Thompson, his grand-uncle; and land developer Chester Thompson, also a grand-uncle. All I can say is we regret Mr Thompson has reached this path in his life. Of course he is a citizen that has a right to do whatever he feels is in his best interest. Naturally the FNM is a well established party and we are not going to be intimidated by the actions of one person, but we certainly respect his right to chart his own political course. We regret that for reasons of his own he could not be with the FNM at this particular time, but life is long, so if he sees the error of his ways, he will no doubt be welcomed back as has been the case with others, who have sequentially, one after the other, been welcomed back. We are a party that does not hold grudges, Mr Bethel said. Former FNM stalwart to run as independent candidate
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 9 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com C HILD safety seats are selling f ast at department stores across N ew Providence as Bahamians prepare for the Monday's enforcement of the seat belt law. Staff at Multi Discount Furniture Store said sales of child seats h ave tripled over the last two d ays, and child booster seats are c ompletely out. R etailers said they were pleasa ntly surprised by the developm ent and hope to see the trend continue. Kelly's Home Centre staff reported that child car seats have been selling extremely well, and they expect even greater demand over the weekend as parents telep honing to inquire about availability. A rush order of seats has been placed and will be arriving shortly, they said. Universal safety belts can be p urchased for vehicles missing or n o longer equipped with seat belts a t Automotive and Industrial Distributors Ltd (AID has also reported an increase in belt sales, and have placed an additional order to deal with the expected demand. The seat belt legislation, which w ill be enforced on Monday, provides that any person driving in a motor vehicle must be secured by a seat belt and ensure that any passengers in their vehicles are similarly secured. C hildren under the age of five m ust also be secured in child safet y seats in the car's back passenger seats. Persons committing the offence will be found liable on conviction to fines ranging from $100 to $500. Motorcycles, tractors, trucks a nd buses (except for the drivers seat and front passengers seat) are exempt from the provision. Bahamians are warned to take the seat belt law seriously as police intend to enforce it to its f ullest extent. OPPOSITION MP Glenys Hanna Martin has hit out at the government for the severity of the seat belt law fines that come into effect next week M onday. M rs Hanna-Martin, the PLPs Shadow Minister of T ransport, said the gove rnment seems to be pret ending that legislation passed during her partys last term in office does note xist. The government must explain to the people of the Bahamas why it has chosen to ignore legislation which amended theseat belt laws in 2007 and which imposed lower finesa nd alternative sentencing such as community service, but has choseni nstead to impose heftier fines on the Bahamian public, fines which are disproportionately highert han other jurisdictions, s he said in a statement issued yesterday. The MP pointed out that the amendment reducing the fines was passed unanimously by both houses of parliamenta nd gazetted in April, 2 007 shortly before the last general election, which ousted the PLP. Mrs Hanna-Martin said the only step left to take was for the new minister of transport to appoint by notice in the gazette a date for the amendment to come into force. She said: The government in very tricky fashion seems to be pretend i ng this legislation does not exist and is seeking tob lindfold the public as to a l aw that was passed by parliament in order to extract a higher price from the Bahamian public. I t was announced this week that any driver who drives without a seat belt or allows a passenger to do so is liable to a fine of $300. A passenger who rides i n a vehicle without a seat b elt is liable to a fine of $ 100. Any driver who permits a child to ride without a seat belt or secured in a child seat will be liable to a fine of $500. MP HITS OUT AT SEVERITY OF SEAT BELT LAW FINES FINES CONCERN: G lenys Hanna-Martin New law sparks sales of child safety seats
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 10, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM -RE9DFDQF\$Q HVWDEOLVKHG1DVVDXEDVHG FRPSDQ\VHHNVWRWKHSRVLWLRQRI $VVLVWDQW)LQDQFLDO&RQWUROOHU $OO DSSOLFDQWV0867SRVVHVVWKHIROORZLQJ 3DVVLQJJUDGHVRQDOOSDUWVRIWKH&3$ H[DPLQDWLRQ \HDUVH[SHULHQFHZRUNLQJZLWKDQ DFFRXQWLQJUP 6WURQJDQDO\WLFDOVNLOOV 6WURQJRUJDQL]DWLRQDOVNLOOVZLWKWKH DELOLW\WRZRUNLQGHSHQGHQWO\ $ WKRURXJKZRUNLQJNQRZOHGJHRI 0LFURVRIW([FHO 7KHDELOLW\WROHDUQTXLFNO\ ([FHOOHQWFRPPXQLFDWLRQDQGWHDP ZRUNVNLOOV 7KHDELOLW\WRPDQDJHPXOWLSOHWDVNV DQGUHVSRQVLELOLWLHVVLPXOWDQHRXVO\ ,QWHUHVWHGSHUVRQVVKRXOGVXEPLWWKHLU UHVXPHVYLDHPDLOWRDVVWQDQFLDOFRQWUROOHU#KRWPDLOFRP$OOUHVXPHVPXVWEHUHFHLYHGE\ WK 'HFHPEHU 2QO\SHUVRQVPHHWLQJ$// RI WKH UHTXLUHPHQWVDERYHQHHGDSSO\ THEEbenezer M ethodist Church Music D epartment and Sanctua ry Choir, under the direction of Barry Newbold, presents theira nnual Christmas concert on Sunday, December 12 at 7 pm at the sanctuary on Shirley Street. E ntitled The Spirit of Christmas the concert combines the voices of the choir with an orches t ra comprised primarily of members and friends of the Bahamas NationalS ymphony Orchestra u nder the direction of conductor Douglas Turnquest. The choir will also be accompanied byH ubert Albury (organ and Clint Higgs (piano This years special guest artist is virtuoso Sharmand Smith. Mr Smith will be featured in b oth parts of the concert o n flute and alto saxop hone. Mr Newbold explains that the concert is com prised of both traditional music and some new works such as a reggae piece and a piece presented in the Celtic style. Also included is a Mor mon Tabernacle Choir arrangement of Angels from the Realms of Glo ry. Those who have attended these concerts in the past know that this is a treat not to be missed as we kick off the holiday season in grand style. The concert is free to the public and an offering for benefit of the music ministry will be received. EBENEZER METHODIST PRESENTS SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS Shar e your news The Tribune wants to hear fr om people who ar e making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps you ar e raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the area or have won an awar d. If so, call us on 322-1986 and shar e your stor y. Concert to take place this Sunday
cent of the shares. Over time, the government said it intends to sell its remaining interest in the telecommunications company to the public. On Wednesday night, union executives threatened to disrupt work at all government corporations and companies across the country next week if control over BTC does not remain in the hands of Bahamians. However, while calling in to the radio programme Real Talk yesterday, Minister Laing said he can fully appreciate this nat ural instinct that Bahamians have for things they feel are their own. I am a Bahamian. I understand that, I dont dismiss that. But what I do say is this has been a long process and the govern ment has been on this road for a long while,and both sets of administrations have pur sued this policy, and yes Bahamians who had the wherewithal or interest or desire had the opportunity on several occasions to put themselves forward to do so. Even the union, which has resident interest and expertise that we say is required for this telecommunications services; they had the means to organise themselves to put such a consortium together. They could even have done so with an international party. However, such a proposition, Minister Laing said, has never crossed his desk. But they have never even put the proposition of saying why dont we organise ourselves in this way. It has never happened, he said. If I am serious about life, let me organ ise myself to make a legitimate pitch at that thing which I say ought to be pursued. And let them deny it, let them reject it. Then I can make the square case to the Bahamian public, listen man, I put a solid proposal together to purchase this company so that at the very least it is the hands of Bahamians and they rejected it. However, Mr Laing said that nothing of this kind was put forward. With Bluewater Ventures Limited having reached an agreement with the PLP government prior to the 2007 general election for 49 per cent of BTC, the deal was later scrapped by the Ingraham administration and received $1.9 million in arbitration claims. Yesterday Minister Laing said that this company as far as he is aware is an unknown entity. It is unknown as an entity, and unknown as to who the beneficial owners are. They are not known in the telecommunications business at all. So if you are going to sell to someone who is not known in the telecommunications business and you are selling to a group of people who no one can go and find out who they are owned by in any transparent way, you might as well go and sell it directly to the Bahamian public because it is not a strategic sale, he said. SEEPAGETHREE C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 11 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM abnormal. The dock is closed from midnight to 8am when the Port Authority office opens. A search of the vessel revealed items that were not declared on the Customs mani-f est. Mario Saunders, assistant general manager of Deans Shipping, said the company is conducting its own investigation to determine the facts of the situation. Customs has made their decis ion to seize the vessel and goods until the investigation is complete. It will impact us very little, because we have another vessel, mv Legacy, said Mr Saunders. He denied that goods were offl oading, claiming the truck was on the boat. He could not verify t he origin of the goods or the owne rs, because the company was in the middle of its own investigation. However, Mr Saunders claimed the vessel cleared Customs atA rawak Cay on Wednesday night. Inspector Ramsey said that is highly unlikely given the number of items on the boat which were not on the ships manifest. If this vessel was cleared at Customs yesterday, then the whole of Arawak Cay would have to be arrested, said Mr Ramsey. Pedro Demeritte, a grade two Customs officer, said some items were declared, but not all. Thed eclared goods, which were the minority on the vessel, were not confiscated. They included pallets of cement and buckets of ice cream. It is unclear whether any customs officials are being investigated. They had no evidence of pay m ent or a C19 release on the uncustomed goods. No cost has been a ttached to the goods as yet, but g iven the type beer, backwoods they fetch a high rate of duty, said Mr Demeritte. T he seven men found on board the boat were said to be cooperative when confronted by law enforcement. The mv Legend plies between W est Palm Beach, Marsh Harbour, Green Turtle Cay, Spanish Wells and Nassau. Mr Saunders said he is confident the vessel will be released, once Customs realises the owners have nothing to do with it. I t looks suspicious that the g oods were being off-loaded at a time the police called abnormal, conceded Mr Saunders. However, he said it was understandable considering the current crime situation. No arrests were made. Mr D emeritte said criminal charges are not likely, but hefty fines are, as w ell as payment on the dutiable i tems. Govt defends sale of BTC to foreign firm FROM page one Customs seize massive haul of undeclared goods FROM page one SEIZED: The goods were packed into a truck and also put on the deck nearby.
BTC colleagues and the representatives which are theu nions on the exact number. How we're going to do it in terms of the voluntary scheme the way in which we are going to go about it are still very much work in progress." Company officials hoped to m eet with BTC's union this week but the labour unionists did not accept an offer to sit down with Mr Shaw on Wednesday. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham last month said C&W wanted to let go 30 per cent of staff under privatisat ion of BTC, a condition the nation's chief said he would n ot accept. The two parties later signed a Memorandum of Understanding however details of a new layoff strategy have not been revealed. C able & Wireless, which has re-branded its operations a s LIME, will also focus on m anagement training to compete in a liberalised market. From what we understand, BTC has got good people. Itss trength is probably in its engin eering and its technical operations. Of course managing in a competitive market is differ ent than managing as a stateo wned monopoly and so maki ng sure that the management skills are appropriate for that and the training enhancement of the management so that it can cope with that commercial environment is probablym ore where we're going to need to invest, not so much in the engineering and technical skills," Mr Shaw told The Tribune during an interview at the Hilton yesterday. Telecommunications cust omers can also expect lower p rices, features such as digital television which can be accessed on mobile phones providing family island customers without cable television new forms of entertainment, and an upgraded broadband network. T he on-the-go digital television feature, called Mobile TV, was set for a launch inJ amaica last night and is a prime model to provide expanded services to the fam-i ly islands areas with less i nfrastructure in place for telep hone and cable services through wireless signals, said M r Shaw. "What excites us about Mobile TV is we have thep otential to improve the entert ainment proposition for the family islands beyond the TV they get today into a world of digital content that they can't get access to for understand-a ble reasons. You know, cable in small islands is expensive a nd sometimes uneconomic. "Within the license that B TC would operate under, the regulations of URCA (the U tilities Regulation and Competition Authority), we've gott hat service obligation in which w e'll step up to. In addition to t hat we feel that there are technologies available now that weren't available in the past that make delivering new things to family islands a more feasible option," said MrS haw. Company officials are still working out the final details of its agreement with government. The final sale is expecte d to take place by the end of t he second week in January, 2 011. SEEPAGETHREE C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 12, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM BTCredundancies will be voluntary F ROM page one CABLE AND WIRELESS CEO David Shaw JUNIORJUNKANOO PARADEONBAYSTREET YOUNGSTERS take part in last nights Junior Junkanoo parade on Bay Street. F e l i p M a j o r / T r i b u n e s t a f f
LONDON FURIOUSstudent protesters attacked a car carryi ng Prince Charles and his w ife, Camilla, vandalized b uildings and battled riot police as a controversial hikei n university fees triggered B ritain's worst political vio lence in years, according to Associated Press. In a major security breach, d emonstrators Thursday set upon the heir to the throne's Rolls Royce as it drovet hrough London's busy West End on its way to a theater. A group of up to 20 struck it with fists, sticks andb ottles, breaking a window a nd splattering the gleam ing black vehicle with paint. In the frenzy, some chanted "off with their heads!" A dnan Nazir, a 23-yearold podiatrist who was fol lowing the protesters, said Charles, 62, kept his calm, gently pushing his 63-yearold wife toward the floor to get her out of the line of fire. "Charles got her on the floor and put his hands on her," Nazir said. "Charles was still waving and giving the thumb's up. "It was just a surreal thing," he said. "It was completely manic." Charles' office, Clarence House, said the royal couple was unharmed. But the attack took police completely by surprise and raises serious security questions. The chief of the Metro politan Police, Paul Stephenson, said the force would launch an investigation into Thursday's violence. Prime Minister David Cameron said the violence against the royal couple was "shocking and regrettable." "It is clear that a minority of protesters came determined to provoke violence, attack the police and cause as much damage to property as possible," Cameron said. "They must face the full force of the law." Police said it was unclear whether the royals had been deliberately targeted, or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The couple arrived looking somber but composed at the London Palladium theater, where they were attending a Royal Variety Performance. Camilla later managed to shrug off the ordeal, saying there was "a first time for everything," the Press Association news agency report ed. Protesters erupted in anger after legislators in the House of Commons approved a plan to triple university fees to 9,000 pounds ($14,000 As thousands of students were corralled by police near Parliament, some strummed guitars and sang B eatles songs but others h urled chunks of paving s tones at police and smashed windows in a governmentb uilding. A nother group ran riot through the busy shopping streets of London's West End, smashing store win d ows and setting fire to a giant Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. P olice condemned the "wanton vandalism." They said 43 protesters and 12 officers had been injured,a nd 22 people were arrested. P olice said the number of arrests would likely rise. Home Secretary Theresa May said that "what we ares eeing in London tonight, the wanton vandalism, smashing of windows, has nothing to do with peaceful protest." Violence The violence overshadowed the tuition vote, a crucial test for governing Con servative-Liberal Democrat coalition, and for the government's austerity plans to reduce Britain's budget deficit. It was approved 323-302 in the House of Commons, a close vote given the government's 84-seat majority. Many in the thousandsstrong crowd outside booed and chanted "shame" when they heard the result of the vote, and pressed against metal barriers and lines of riot police penning them in. Earlier small groups of protesters threw flares, bil liard balls and paint bombs, and officers, some on horses, rushed to reinforce the security cordon. The scuffles broke out after students marched through central London and converged on Parliament Square, waving placards and chanting "education is not for sale" to cap weeks of nationwide protests aimed at pressuring lawmakers to reverse course. The vote put Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrat party in an awkward spot. Liberal Democrats signed a pre-election pledge to oppose any such tuition hike, and reserved the right to abstain in the vote even though they are part of the governing coalition proposing the change. Those protesting were particularly incensed by the broken pledge from Clegg's party. "I'm here because the Liberal Democrats broke their promise," said 19-yearold Kings College student Shivan David. "I don't think e ducation should be free but I do think that tripling fees d oesn't make any sense. We are paying more for less." C legg defended the prop osals, saying the plans rep resent the "best possible choice" at a time of economic uncertainty. B ut under intense political pressure, 21 Liberal Democrat lawmakers moret han a third of the total voted against the fee hike. Another eight, including at least one government min-i ster, abstained. E xperts warned that fall out from the policy could pose a greater risk after the vote. The real danger for the government is not that they won't pass it through, but that it will be a policy fiasco," said Patrick Dunleavy, a political science professor at the London School of Economics. "By picking this fight with the student body ... the government seems to have gotten itself into choppy water." Cameron's government describes the move as a painful necessity to deal witha record budget deficit and a sputtering economy. To balance its books, the U.K. passed a four-year package of spending cuts worth 81 billion pounds, which will eliminate hundreds of thou sands of public sector jobs and cut or curtail hundreds of government programs. C M Y K C M Y K INTERNATIONAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 13 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM B RITAIN'S PRINCE CHARLES AND CAMILLA Duchess of Cornwall, react as their car is attacked by angry protesters in London, yesterday. An Associated Press photographer saw demonstrators kick the car in R egent Street, in the heart of London's shopping district. The car then sped off. Charles' office, Clarence H ouse, confirmed that their royal highnesses car was attacked by protesters on the way to their engagement at the London Palladium this evening, but their royal highnesses are unharmed. (AP Student protesters attack car carrying Prince Charles
C M Y K C M Y K SECTIONB firstname.lastname@example.org FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THETRIBUNE $4. 68 $4. 51 $4. 69The information contained is from a third p arty and The Tribune can not be held responsible for errors and/or omission from the daily report.$ $4.30 $4.45 $4.34 By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor The Bahamian agriculture sector could easily double its output within five years if the right support infrastructure was in place, a leading agricultural expert said yesterday, adding that healthy, nutrition-related foods could be the Bahamas export market niche. Dr Keith Campbell, president of the Bahamas Agricul tural Producers Association (BAPA ness that the development of health-related foods, something that capitalised on this nations agricultural history, linked in to marketing featuring this nations athletic and sporting prowess, represented a viable way forward for us. Having regard to the World Trade Organisation and having to compete, I think our niche from an export of view should be to develop healthy, recreational, relaxing and nutritional foods, Dr Campbell said yes terday. Im talking agritourism as opposed to agrotourism. Thats our line, and we should capitalise on our athletic prowess, for such a small nation what they eat, what they drink, makes them what they are. In the same way that we market our tourism, we need to market and brand our productive sectors. In an earlier address to the Rotary Club of West Nassau, Dr Campbell had expanded on this theme, saying: The natural export niche for all of our Bahamian products, especially and particularly for food and AGRICULTURE CAN EASIL Y DOUBLE OUTPUT WITHIN FIVE YEARS BAP A president says health foods could be Bahamian food export niche, with marketing linked to sporting success* Says: In the same way that we market our tourism, we need to market and brand our productive sectors Out of 239,000 acres of agricultural land identified, just 10,000 acres or less currently being farmed SEE page 5B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor A leading attorney yesterday advocated the creation of an E conomic and Social Develop ment Council (ESDCa unified forum that would oversee Freeports development, telling Tribune Business that the citys progress had been stifled since the mid-1970s b y the total chaos that had resulted from overlapping reg u latory jurisdictions. Presenting to this newspaper a paper he had circulated to the current and previous Prime Minister, Messrs Ingraham and Christie, Grand Bahama-based and MPs and the Grand Bahama Port Authority UNIFIED FORUM URGED TO HALT FREEPORT CHAOS Freeport limping along and drifting in an economic and social sea due to overlapping regulatory functions between central and local government and Port Authority, with each frustrating the other SEE page 5B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor B ahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC customers who use their devices for just local calls are paying tariffs -30 per cent more expensive than they should be compared to Caribbean benchmarks, Cable & Wirelesssr egional chief executive told Tribune Business yesterday, ash e pledged that Bahamian con sumers would see a material d ifference in the company during the first year post-privati sation. David Shaw, head of Cable & Wireless (LIME t old this newspaper that if the regional telecoms operator suc-c essfully concluded its $210 mil lion acquisition of a 51 per cent m ajority stake in BTC by midFebruary, it would focus heav ily on mobile data products and technology, pointing out that the company was set to launch i ts mobile TV product in Jamaica tonight. E xplaining that LIME would seek to lower BTCs prices to m ore competitive levels, but in BTC local cell clients overpaying 20-30% n Prospective BTC majority owner pledges that Bahamas will be one of its three regional hubs or centres of gravity n LIME CEO promises mobile data and broadband focus to help rebalance BTC revenue reliance on cellular voice n LIME regional operating income four times BTCs in 2009, and company says there will be material difference in first year after privatisation QUESTION TIME: Tribune Business Editor Neil Hartnell (right SEE page 3B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor Cable & Wireless (LIME will share the results of its proposed business plan for the Bahamas Telecommuni cations Company (BTC the Governments privatisa tion committee in the next week or two, its chief executive pledging to maintain the operators regional average of 12-14 per cent of revenues for capital expenditure per annum in this nation. LIME pledges 12-14% of BTC revenues for capital expenditure Business plan to privatise committee in next week or two, says LIMEs regional CEO Confirms MoU also includes annual management fee for LIME, but declines to provide details Eyeing BTC infrastructure tie-up with existing fibre optic network, strengthening position for Latin America content delivery and diversifying Bahamian revenue streams SEE page 3B By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter email@example.com A CARICOM trade specialist warned yesterday that the r evenue losses the Bahamas will suffer from signing on to the E conomic Partnership Agreement (EPA be little compared to the much more significant impact that will be felt from new free trade deals with the US and Canada. Sacha Silva also suggested that the most significant revenue loss to the Government under the EPA will not come from dropping tariffs on imports coming into the Bahamas from Europe, but on those imports from the Caribbean and Dominican Republic. The economist, a consultant with Caricoms Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN lion and $3.8 million each year in tax revenues from trade with the Caribbean could be lost by this nation on the 5,000 tariff lines that will become duty free not only for Europe but for the Caribbean community, too, under the EPA. The Bahamas is for the first time liberalising trade with CARICOM and the Dominican Republic under the EPA the same 5,000 lines to be liberalised with the Europeans, said Mr Silva. WTO to force 50% Bahamas tariff reduction EPA to cause $2m-$3.8m revenue loss from C aribbean trade Canada and US to take tougher trade deal line, with late comers to WTO facing tough time SEE page 6B By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Stakeholders from the financial services, legal and accountancy professions yesterday expressed concern about a lack of access to information on how the Bahamian private sector can take advantage of opportunities arising from the Eco nomic Partnership Agreement (EPA This includes information on funds and technical assistance being made available via the European Union (EU organisations in the region to upgrade Caribbean firms com petitiveness when it comes to trading in a global trading envi ronment, and any steps necessary to enter into European markets to begin selling ser vices there. At a technical workshop on the EPA organised jointly by Bahamian firms decry absence of EP A information SEE page 6B
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a sustainable way for both the company and Bahamian consumer, Mr Shaw said m obile data -coupled with investments in n ew technology and an expansion of broadband infrastructure was the way the privatised operator would seek to go. He added that diversified revenue s treams would also better prepare BTC to compete against rival operators, such as the likes of Cable Bahamas and Digicel, when the Bahamian communications mark et was fully liberalised, reducing its r eliance on cellular voice revenues that currently account for two-thirds of the 100per cent state-owned companys revenues. Mr Shaw also pledged that BTC would be one of LIMEs three main regional hubs o r centres of gravity, along with Barbados and Jamaica, running several functions in o ther Caribbean jurisdictions along with its Bahamas business. Indicating BTCs importance to LIME moving forward, Mr Shaw said the companys total regional operating income (EBITDAf our times BTCs. Acknowledging the need to rebalance B TCs tariff structure, Mr Shaw said the privatised company could not hold on to its e xisting prices and then suddenly change them before competition entered the market, as the consumers will never forgive us for that. So over time we have to make sure the pricing is competitive with anyb enchmarks we use. Asked by Tribune Business as to how B TCs current tariff structure matched up against such benchmarks, Mr Shaw replied t hat cellular customers who roamed and used data services extensively were paying much more than they should, while for local consumers who did not roam andnever called overseas, the tariffs they were p aying were -30 per cent more expensive than they should be. We have a lot of work to do in understanding the tariff structure, what the regu lator wants, and how to reduce pricing over time in a way that does not damage the business and stops us investing in it, and how to grow the business over time, Mr Shaw told Tribune Business. Weve got a rebalancing of the business to take place, both in pricing and ther evenue mix, and if we can do that well we will position the business for a very healthy long-term future. Mr Shaw emphasised that no decisions o n BTCs pricing structure post-privatisation had yet been made, with questions about charging for local, intra-island calls and protecting the most vulnerable in society that cant afford that, all issues that hadt o be considered. Were on a voyage of discovery, and an important part of being a successful ina ny market is listening to what the customers have to say, and weve not beena ble to do that yet, the LIME Caribbean chief executive said. H e added that the company was now s tarting to interact with BTCs senior management on preparing a business plan for p ost-privatisation, and was awaiting the start of interaction with the companys two u nions to discuss the way forward, including details of the staff restructuring/down-s izing. Although declining to give specific numbers because the business plan was still b eing prepared, Mr Shaw nevertheless pledged to Bahamian consumers: If, at the end of the first year, consumers and businesses do see a material difference we will have missed a very significant oppor t unity. Expect us to be doing things in the first y ear to demonstrate that were serious about making changes, improving service, delivering new technology to the market and improving the value-added proposition. Weve just started the journey. P romising that LIME would be a longterm investor in the Bahamian economyt hrough is likely majority BTC interest, the deal being expected to close in the 2011 f irst quarter, Mr Shaw said that mobile data was a hugely important part of what consumers and businesses are looking for. Thats where the business needs to go, M r Shaw said of BTC and its ability to shift volumes of data around. He added that he would be in Jamaica tonight for the launch of LIMEs mobile TV product, which allow consumers to watch and access 2 0 channels of digital TV content while on the move, the company having covered that nation with a relatively small number of masts. Mr Shaw said an even smaller n umber of masts would be needed to cove r the Bahamian Family Islands, and he said: We will almost certainly be looking at rolling out an entertainment proposition. There are technologies available now that w ere not available in the past, and which make delivery to the Family Islands more of a feasible option. LIMEs mobile TV product, he added, w ould bring digital quality programming to the Family Islands via a wireless network, and the companys aim through BTC would be to take technology off the table,s o Bahamian consumers only had to worry about the services they chose to access. P ledging that LIME would ensure that the Bahamas remained at the cutting edge o f technology, whether it was 3G, 4G or Long-Term Evolution (LTE for cellular service, Mr Shaw said the company would also seek to build on BTCs existing infrastructure by expanding thec ompanys broadband coverage and penetration, reaching as many Bahamians asp ossible particularly in the Family Islands. LIME is also involved in IP TV and the p rovision of remote diagnosis, Mr Shaw explaining that in Panama the companys technology allowed for remote breast cancer screening, enabling women in distant rural areas to access the service without h aving to travel to the capital. This, he added, could prove useful in the F amily Islands, with LIME taking its community services as seriously as the provision o f data. Our plan would be to prove to the con sumer in the Bahamas that were here for good, that we did good things, and the delivery of new content will be seen as a g ood thing by many people, Mr Shaw said. Expanding BTCs store and retail foot p rint, so consumers can access its services more readily, is also on the agenda. F ROM page 1B BTC local cell clients overpaying 20-30% We feel this side of Christmas that we will have a plan we can talk about with the privatisation committee and the management, a nd we will look to engage actively with the u nions either side of the festive period, David S haw, LIMEs Caribbean chief executive, told Tribune Business yesterday. When it came to LIMEs proposed capital investment in BTC, Mr Shaw said: The rule of thumb is 12-14 per cent of revenues in capital expenditure. Across the region, thats the benchmark we use. It may increase in some territories in certain years. We would like to continue to do that in the Bahamas business. That percentage, based on BTCs $361 million revenues in 2009, implies that LIME would invest between $43.42 million and $50.54 million in capital expenditure on an annual basis, in line with the companys $50 million average over the last four years. Meanwhile, Mr Shaw confirmed to Tribune Business that as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU ernment, LIME would be entitled to an annual management fee. This has been criticised by the unions representing BTCs staff, but Mr Shaw said their claims that this fee amounted to 2 per cent of gross revenues in the first two years post-privatisation, rising to 3 per cent thereafter, amounting to $8-$12 million, was incorrect. He declined, though, to give Tribune Business the correct figure, stating that this was for the Government to reveal. Mr Shaw said that with the completion of its fibre optic cable link between Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands, LIME would rival Columbus Communications for having the largest such ring in the Caribbean. Combining this with BTCs existing fibre optic infrastructure, particularly its links to Miami and Florida, making it the first connectivity point in the region would, Mr Shaw said, give LIME a very strong position to push for content delivery business, delivering Spanish data, content and programming to the Latin American market. In so doing, BTCs revenue streams would be further diversified. FROM page 1B LIME pledges 12-14% of BTC revenues for capital expenditure
By ALISON LOWE B usiness Reporter email@example.com Caribbean companies will h ave access to European programs designed to supp ort innovation among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEsE conomic Partnership Agreement (EPA ing to a CARICOM trades pecialist, who yesterday urged that Bahamian busin esses should look to offer products or services with a unique advantage that peo-p le are willing to pay a premium price for. Matthew Spence, an intell ectual property specialist, said reform of the Bahamas legal framework relating to protection of intellectualp roperty rights will not be very useful to Bahamian f irms unless they, too, have something to protect, and given that smallere conomies will find it harder to compete in a global environment using economies of scale they should look towards these unique a reas. Strengthening your intellectual property rights wheny oure not actually being very innovative is not very useful. If we cant lower the f loor on the requirements (relating to intellectual property under the EPA), then we need to raise the ceilingo n our levels of innovation, said Mr Spence, of Caric oms Office of Trade Negotiations. Caribbean EPA negotiat ors were able to ensure that under the provisions of the EPA, Cariforum states ande nterprises within them are able to access EU programs t hat support innovation for SMEs. Most may have been d esigned with European SMEs in mind. Most are c ompetitive tenders for access to those resources. Caribbean entities are nowc aught within the framework of eligibility for access t o that program, said Mr Spence. Presently, the European U nion is making available 3.6 billion euros for a Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme,t argeting SMEs. The funding cycle comes to a close in 2 013. Cycle The discussion of the next cycle of European budget funding is taking placen ow, so if we want to influ ence that process and how y ou become eligible to access that we should really be using diplomatic relationsw ith Europe to influence those discussions, said Mr S pence. Mr Spence said the Caribbean has traditionallys uffered from low growth and low levels of innovation. There is low expenditure on research and developm ent, and a strong correlation has been found between expenditure on research and developmenta nd economic growth. Thats well established in a l ot of work that has been done on innovation, and we are almost off the bottom oft he radar when it comes to research and development, said the trade specialist. H owever, some firms may already have unidentified i ntellectual property which they have yet to take advantage of, suggested MrS pence. Intellectual property includes intangible assets o ver which owners can be granted exclusive rights such as musical, literary, anda rtistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, p hrases, symbols and designs. Many firms dont realise w hat they have as having the capacity to generate more revenue from them if t hey are considered to be intellectual assets. Its an important aspect of businessm anagement that we need to understand a lot more e ffectively, said Mr Spence. Under the EPA, the Bahamas will have to beefu p its protection of intellectual property rights, with i nvestors needing to know that their creativity, innovation and 'fruits of their minds' are protected in the B ahamas. An Intellectual Property Office should be created, said Mr Spence, which willa dminister/enforce intellectual property rights, and u ndertake examinations of claims by individuals that they have the best things ince sliced bread that is, should they be afforded protection of their intellec-t ual property rights with respect to a particular innov ation. Going forward, areas in which the Caribbean mayh ave a competitive advantage as it relates to intellect ual property include bioceuticals natural medical remedies green technol-o gy and renewable energy, suggested the trade speciali st. Its all about capturing the knowledge componento f those technologies, not the technology itself because its contribution to o ur economy may not be large but if you capture the knowledge, those returnsc ould make much more important contributions to o ur economies, said Mr Spence. I would not be surprised i f in the marine environment in the Bahamas there is the k ind of algae which could contribute to the future renewable technology. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 4B, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 127,&( Intellectual Property Rights Office urged Share your news The Tribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbour hoods. Per h aps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for impr ovements in the ar ea or have won an awar d If so, call us on 322-1986 and shar e your stor y
C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 5B 'U/LX=HOLQ/HRf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health reconstitution, maintenance and promotion products, is that they do no harm. This should be our mission s tatement, our logo and our c orporate brand. Not only do t hey not do harm, but they produce world champions such as Tonique and The Golden Girls, an dey will cause ya ta be vibrant jes like da Bahamen dem whut been all ova da world askin da people dem bout who let da dog dem out. Such a targeted export strat egy, Dr Campbell told TribuneB usiness, would also capitalise o n the Bahamas history and l ongstanding reputation as a p roducer of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, limes, papayas and asparagus. Seeking to move the debate beyond just the economic aspects of food security for the Bahamas, and tying this into healthy foods, linking this nations resources to the right technology and product development techniques, Dr Campb ell said that targeting such a niche could help Bahamian farmers profitably compete with the big fish in that vast expanse of ocean that is the WTO. He added that Bahamian agriculture should focus upon genetic selection and organic production to the greatest feasible extent, rearing livestock under humane conditions, as a means to back up the health food focus. Turning to the unfulfilled potential of Bahami an agriculture, Dr Campbell told Tribune Business: If you consider that in the land resources survey done on agri cultural land in the late 1960s/early 1970s, it identified 239,000 acres of arable land suitable for agricultural development, presently, empirically, we have about 10,000 or less under development. The remainder is fallow or in its original state. And he added: We could easily double our output...... Theres a whole lot of untapped potential in terms of the way ahead for our productive sec tors that we need to aggres s ively attack in a planned and orderly fashion. Im a big one for planning. I say: Come up with a plan in terms of what we want to do, and set the goals. In terms of goals, if we want to set a goal, we can increase our productive output, doubling it. Thats ane asily attainable goal. It depends on the will. Dr Campbell told Tribune Business that if the funding, and relevant infrastructure and sup port services, were in place, the Bahamian agricultural industryc ould double its output in five years, and definitely within 1 0. In my judgment, I would not doubt myself if someone empowered me and challenged me to double agricultural output in five years. Id take them on, and if they gave me 10 years, I would say: Shoot, when do you want me to start?, he added. Were so low in terms of GDP, agriculturals contribution is less than 1 per cent. It could be done, it needs to be done. Where theres a will, theres a way. Acknowledging that there would be questions as to why Bahamian agriculture had not achieved such output increases already, Dr Campbell point ed out that one factor was the lack of co-operative societies in the productive sectors, placing their number at only four. He said this had resulted from such organisations being not properly shepherded, noting the success financial coo peratives, otherwise known as c redit unions, had enjoyed with s ome $240 million in assets coll ectively at present. All over the world co-opera tives are the most effective m eans of empowering some o ne, and Im concerned that B AIC is forming a lot of Farmers Associations as opposed to co-operatives, Dr Campbell said. He added that there were more benefits to being a cooperative, such as being part of a formalised organisation and potential access to government investment incentives. A big problem for farmers is marketing their product, due to problems in the government marketing system, Dr Camp bell said, adding that Bahamian farmers should take over the existing marketing and supply systems themselves. Asked about the likely impact that accession to full WTO membership would have, Dr Campbell said it would be mixed. H e added: It would depend on how we negotiate our way into the WTO in terms of what concessions we have. Calling for a Marshall Plan to act as a blueprint for develo ping the Bahamian agricult ural sector, Dr Campbell said: This plan must contain appropriate policy initiatives that are conducive to our intention, and it must also identify appropriate funding as well as innovative financing regimens. The challenge that we face in our Bahamas is not whether our agricultural, fisheries and salt production sectors have the capacity and the growth potential to competitively produce for our local, tourist and export markets, but whether the poli cies, support mechanisms, insti tutions and infrastructure are in place to effectively and effi ciently facilitate our producers and processors in the formation of clusters, and in developing, fine tuning and using appropriate production systems and value chains in order that they may successfully compete in the global marketplace. FROM page 1B AGRICULTURE CAN EASIL Y DOUBLE OUTPUT WITHIN FIVE YEARS (GBPA Freeport had limped along and was currently drifting in a n economic and social sea due to the fact that different regulatory bodies had conspired to directly and indirectly frustrate each others plans. He was thus recommending the creation of the ESDC, which would feature GBPA, government, local government a nd GBPA licencee representatives, to act as a body that would co-ordinate all of Freeports social and economic development, eliminating the regulatory overlaps. Because there are multiple layers of regulatory jurisdiction being exercised, it is difficult, i f not impossible, for anyones agenda to be executed to a successful conclusion, Mr Smith told Tribune Business, because they can be either indirectly or directly frustrated by other regulatory bodies that do not have appreciation for what is going on. T he Callenders & Co attorney and partner said that prior to the creation of local government and creeping government regulatory oversight, the GBPA had been a one-stop shop for all economic and social regulation in Freeport. T hat all changed, though, he suggested, with the late Sir Lynd en Pindlings bend or break speech, which effectively stripped the GBPA of its ability to execute economic d evelopment plans without interference from Nassau. Immigration and the need for all business licences issued by the GBPA to also be approvedb y central government became the order of the day. Freeport was successful when the Port Authority not only had the responsibility but t he ability to execute its plans, Mr Smith said. Right now, each of the players are able to frustrate one another, so my s uggestion for co-operation is b ased on creating a unified forum to progress Freeport. Among the regularly occurring development snafus, MrS mith said, were for the GBPA to give a company a business licence, only for Immigration to turn down work permit a pplications, exchange control approval to be refused or International Persons Landholding Act permission to be denied. Arguing that Freeports curr ent condition was in no small part due to these overlapping regulatory jurisdictions, the attorney added: No one is in c harge and no one can be in charge. Unless we have a forum for co-operation and co-ordination, and a unified strategy, we will continue to drift in thise conomic and social sea. I have been here 33 years, and I have experienced first hand the frustration of the Port A uthority whenever they wish to achieve any goals or execute a ny plans. Since the mid-1970s, weve been unable to do so,b ecause of central governments indirect or direct flexing of i ts powers to frustrate, through Immigration, exchange control a nd other regulatory bodies. Mr Smith questioned who was responsible for environ m ental health and management issues in Freeport theB ahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission ( BEST), the Department of Environmental Health Services o r the GBPA. It was the same with permission for developers to build a marina, he added, questioning whether the prime r egulator was the GBPA or the P ort Authority in Nassau. Its total chaos. It really is, Mr Smith told Tribune Business. That is one of the majorr easons why Freeport has limped along since the mid1970s, as a result of the bend or break speech. S uggesting that the ESDC meet monthly, Mr Smith said it would share, discuss, plan and execute short, medium and long-term goals for the sociala nd economic development of Freeport. Arguing that the forum would create an opportunity to co-operate and pool r esources and visions, Mr Smith said the agendas, functions and objectives of central and local government, the GBPA and licencees often overlapped andr an parallel to one another. With each having their own budget, Mr Smith said relations between all four had been ad h oc, unplanned and sporadic, and he added: Regrettably, t here has been no focused, planned, managed or organisede xpenditure of energy, time, money or vision in formulating a nd executing short-term, intermediate or long-term plans for t he social and economic development of Freeport. Where any body acts with o ut reference to the other, there may, and has been, chaos, mis-t rust, piecemeal and unsatisfactory results, resistance and, a t times, conflict and hostility. FROM page 1B UNIFIED FORUM URGED TO HALT FREEPORT CHAOS
t he Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA and the Caricom EPA Implem entation Unit, the message from CEDA and Caricom representatives was that there are many opportunities for B ahamian firms and institutions u nder the EPA such as direct access for Bahamian national institutions to EU development funds, and European-funded t echnical assistance and grants to help boost an individual firms competitiveness in various areas. They were told to move a s soon as possible to benefit f rom them. Under the Development Cooperation provisions of the EPA, member states can draw o n EU funds for a number of n ational and regional initiatives. Each member state has its own f unding envelope, said Sacha Silva, an economist with Cari coms Office of Trade Negotiations. I encourage people to get o n that train as soon as possible because the Europeans want tos tart disbursing that money as soon as possible, and theres a f inite timeframe for it. Carlos Wharton, senior trade policy advisor for the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA a ttendees how the organisation has accessed tens of millions ofd ollars through the ninth Euro pean Development Fund, which it has been using to fund the Caribbean Trade and Private Sector Development Program. One Bahamian firm participated in the most recent program, said Mr Wharton, whose major objective was to help Caribbean firms increase their competitiveness and likelihoodo f success in the global trading environment. The 10th EDF is set to be d isbursed in early 2011, and Mr Wharton said CEDA was hoping that more Bahamian firms will be able to benefit from this facility. Allyson Francis, a services a nd investment specialist from the Caricom EPA Implementation Unit, charged that theE PA agreement is not just for governments, but for you as the private sector, and you have tot ake the initiative and be proactive to adapt to and benefit from its provisions. The EPA will define the n ew trade and investment relations for the long-term on a permanent basis, she added. Mrs Francis said organisations such as CEDA and the Caricom EPA ImplementationU nit need more feedback from the Bahamas private sector about the kind of assistance t hey would find helpful from these organisations. I n this regard, private sector s takeholders were admonished to educate themselves on the E PAs provisions. Without this, f irms would be unable to identify what areas they may need a ssistance in. We need to get a lot of information from you, but we cant get that information if you dont understand where were coming from, said Ms Francis. What we need to get from you and the Government is s ome specifics. We need to know what you need to meet the regulations and standards to comply with the EPA. However, private sector stakeholders such as Wendy Warren, chief executive of the B ahamas Financial Services Board; law firm Graham, T hompson and Cos managing partner, Judy Whitehead; and B ahamas Institute of Architects executive officer, Tanya Rahming, were unanimous in their plea for more communication and resources. This, they said, would allow them to educate themselves and those they repr esent on the opportunities and c hallenges the EPA offers before this can happen. Ms Warren and Mrs Rahming both suggested that the B ahamas may need special attention from CEDA and the EPA Implementation Unit in C ARICOM if it is to begin to move ahead with adaptation. M s Warren said CEDA n eeds to think about (the B ahamas) as a separate part of the Caribbean thats not engaged with this sufficiently. Its not that we arent interested, but you have people here who are not familiar with the w hole scheme of thing,s so we n eed a bit more of a lead in, s he said. Ms Warren added that w hile the BFSB can see that t he EPA with Europe allows access to that market, the question is: How do you penetrate that market?. Mrs Rahming added of the development programmes that C EDA administers to the priv ate sector: If we knew more a bout what was out there we w ould be able to utilise the resources more. We want to get involved. I think with the Bahamas you need to take b aby steps... Meanwhile, Mrs Whitehead suggested that her firm has tremendous interest in the EPAs implications for the B ahamas and she would like to see more resources made available for Bahamian companies to update themselves on what it i nvolves, and what programs m ay be accessible in the region for Bahamian companies to benefit from as it relates to taking advantage of the EPAs p rovisions. The presentations are very interesting, but I feel that unless I have you on speed dial at all t imes I wont know whats g oing on. Can you give us resources? she said. Ms Warren proposed that the BFSB or Bahamas Cham-b er of Commerce should crea te a new webpage specifically geared towards highlightingo pportunities that may be availa ble in the region, in order to get financial or technical assis-t ance relating to the EPA and the key provisions of the agreement itself. M r Wharton said CEDAs entire staff is at (The Bahamas) service, and added that CEDA will be making a greater effort to reach out to the Bahamas and step up ourp ublic relations as it moves ahead with administering the n ext phase of the European Development Fund, which is set to come on stream in spring2 011. He suggested Bahamian enti t ies interested in getting more involved with projects run by C EDA should contact the Bahamas representative on CEDAs Board of Directors, Donna Lee Bowe of the Bahamas Agricultural and I ndustrial Corporation (BAIC C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 6B, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Legal NoticeINTERNATIONAL BUSINESS COMPANIES ACT(No.45 of 2000)LARNEL S.A.In Voluntary Liquidation Notice is hereby given that in accordance with Section 137 (4the International Business Companies Act (No. 45 of 2000 LARNELS.A. has been dissolved Dissolution issued by the Registrar General on the 19th day of November, 2010. Epsilon Management Ltd. Suite 13, First Floor, Oliaji Trade Centre Francis Rachel Street, Victoria, Mahe Republic of Seychelles Liquidator NOTICE NOTICEWEST WINDS PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION LIMITEDNotice is hereby given that the annual general meeting for the West Winds Property Owners Association Limited will be held Thursday the 16th day of December, A.D., 2010 at 6:30 p.m. At the Pavilion, West Winds Subdivision, New Providence. BOARD OF DIRECTORS WEST WINDS PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION LIMITED ,VODQG:HVW 5HDO(VWDWH&RPSDQ\/LPLWHGROXQWDU\/LTXLGDWLRQf$OOSHUVRQVKDYLQJFODLPVDJDLQVWWKHDERYH QDPHG&RPSDQ\DUHUHTXLUHGRQRUEHIRUHGDWHG RI'HFHPEHUVHQGWKHLU QDPHVDGGUHVVHVDQGSDUWLFXODUVRIWKHLUGHEWV DQGFODLPVWR0U7KRPDV7UHYRU'HDQ3 )UHHSRUW*UDQG%DKDPD,VODQG7KH %DKDPDVWKH/LTXLGDWRURIWKH&RPSDQ\RULQ GHIDXOWWKHUHRIWKH\PD\EHH[FOXGHGIURPWKH EHQHRUDQ\GLVWULEXWLRQPDGHEHIRUHGHEWVDUH SURYHG'DWHGWKHWKGD\RI'HFHPEHU 7KRPDVUHYRU'HDQ /LTXLGDWRU N EW YORK O il prices rose slightly Thursday on encouraging economic news as U.S. jobless claims dropped and Japan said its economy grew m ore than expected in the third quarter, a c cording to Associated Press Benchmark oil for January delivery added 9 cents to settle at $88.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has hovered in the upper-$80s this week touching a twoyear high of $90.76 on Tuesday as traders mull how much globa l crude demand may grow in 2011. In the absence of any strong catalyst from oil market or economic data, crude prices often fol l ow currency and stock markets. Some analysts expect surging crude consumption in Asia and other emerging economies to cont inue to boost global demand next year. Global oil consumption rose to a record 86.7 million barrels a day in the third quarter and will likely jump to 88.1 million in 2011, according to energy cons ultant Wood Mackenzie. DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP Auto Writer Ford is the latest U.S. automaker to hire hundreds of workers as the economy picks up and auto sales improve. At an announcement in front of workers in its Louisville Assembly Plant, Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co.'s president of the Amer icas, said the factory plans to hire 1,800 more employees or nearly 5 percent of Ford's current U.S. work force to build a new version of the Ford Escape small SUV. The Escape is the second best-selling small SUV in the U.S. behind the Honda CR-V. Ford will invest $600 million in a year-long renovation of the plant and Fields said the upgrades will help Ford shift to smaller cars and boost its competitiveness. The new Escape will be built on the Ford Focus car platform instead of a truck one to boost fuel economy. When the Louisville plant reopens in late 2011, it will be one of the most advanced in the company, able to switch quickly between car models in response to consumer demand. Fields said such flexibility is necessary as the market grows more competitive. Other car makers such as Toyota Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. have newer, more nimble U.S. plants. P hoto by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co. L OUISVILLE, KY., DECEMBER 09,2010 Mark Fields, President of t he Americas, announces the details of the upcoming transformation o f the Louisville Assembly Plant to produce the next generation Ford Escape. The event, at the plant in Louisville, KY, was attended by government and UAW officials, and hundreds of plant employees. FORD JOINS GM, CHRYSLER IN HIRING MORE WORKERS Oil rises on demand growth The fiscal implications here are a little more significant (than with respect to losses stemming from droppin tariffs on trade with Europe). There is relatively speaking quite a bit of trade (between the Caribbean and the Bahamas Meanwhile, Mr Silva warned that while the loss of revenue from tariff reductions on imports from Europe is highly unlikely to have a significant impact, given the Bahamas small trading relationship with Europe, another development which will have a much more significant impact on development will be the Bahamas accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO da and the US on trade between our nations. He was addressing a technical workshop on the EPA organised jointly by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA Implementation Unit yesterday. Speaking of the WTO accession and the Canada/US trade deals, Mr Silva said: These are things that the Chamber and the Government need to keep a very close eye on because there isl ikely to be a much more significant impact. Those coming in (to the WTO) at this late stage pay a very high price. Tariffs will have to come down in the Bahamas by about 50 per cent. And the people on the other side, particularly in the US, negotiate very, very hard. While Europe, which held Caribbean states as former colonies, has a special understanding of the region, which may make it more prone to offer concessions in trade negotiations, this does not exist anywhere else the Canadians and the Americans do not have this understanding, contended Mr Silva. Challenged on the premise that Canada would take a hard er stance with the Caribbean in its ongoing negotiations over an ew trade deal with the region, Mr Silva said his position is b ased on analysis of previous trade deals Canada has struck. When I look at what they have granted and what Europe has granted, the difference is enormously large. If you look at the negotiating stances Canada has taken in free trade agreements its not appreciably different from the US. Traditionally, they ask for liberalisation of agricultural items and a lot of non-agricultural items. The EPA did not go this far, said thee conomist. Mr Silva added that while the EPA will be a spur to the process of internal tax reform in the Bahamas, the WTO will be a more serious kick to that, as the Bahamas seeks to finds means to replace the revenue sources that will be phased out with the tariff reductions the two trade-related processes demand. WTO to force 50% Bahamas tariff reduction FROM page 1B Bahamian firms decry absence of EPA information F ROM page 1B
C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010, PAGE 7B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, A ssociated Press W ASHINGTON House Democrats voted Thursday to reject President Barack Obama's tax dealw ith Republicans in its current form, but it was unclear how significantly the package might need to be changed. By voice vote in a closed caucus meeting, D emocrats passed a resolution saying the t ax package should not come to the House floor for consideration as written, even though no formal House bill has been drafted. T he vote will at least temporarily stall what had seemed to be a grudging Democratic movement toward the tax package. Before the caucus vote took place, House M ajority Leader Steny Hoyer said Obam a's tax compromise embodies "the objective we need to reach" even though Democrats dislike several components. The deal provided the first big test of h ow Obama will work out compromises w ith empowered Republicans as they take control of the House and shrink their minority status in the Senate when the new Congress is seated in January. Obama struggled to prevent wholesale d efections by fellow Democrats that could sink the tax deal if it comes to a vote int he closing weeks of the current Congress. Democrats still have sizable majorities a lthough the party is dispirited and divided after last month's Republican election landslide. Passage of Obama's plan seems more assured in the Senate, where numerousD emocrats have agreed that the president had little choice in making the comprom ises with Republicans. Still, Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said hea nd colleagues are considering possible changes, and action could come within days. T he 54 Democrats in the House caucus, by themselves, would not be enough to block the package, depending on how much support it gets from Republicans. Speaking Thursday at a White House e vent promoting American exports, Obama said the vote will determine whether the economy "moves forward or backward." The president again pressed Congress t o pass the agreement, saying it has the potential to create millions of jobs. He said if it fails, Americans would see smaller paychecks and fewer jobs. B ut Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, said "the jury is still out" on the measure's enactment because many Democrats are furious over an estate tax provision. Obama agreed to exempt the first $5 million of a deceased person's estate, and to tax the rest at 35 percent. Congressional Democrats had expected a 45 percent tax rate on anything above $3.5 million. Witho ut congressional action, the estate tax will revert to an even higher rate: 55 percent on estates valued above $1 million. That should have strengthened Obama's hand when negotiating with Republicans, Van Hollen said. After Obama publicly defended the plan for a third day Wednesday, and Vice President Joe Biden met with Democratic lawm akers in the Capitol for a second day, several Democrats predicted the measure will pass, mainly because of extensive R epublican support. Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat, pred icted the tax cut compromise "will be passed by virtually all the Republicans and a minority of Democrats." He said he would vote against it. Obama said more congressional Democ r ats would climb aboard as they studied details of the $900 billion year-end mea-s ure. Raising the direst alarm yet, his admini stration warned fellow Democrats on Wednesday that if they defeat the plan, they could jolt the U.S. back into recession. JANNA HERRON, AP Real Estate Writer N EW YORK Rates on fixed mortgages rose for the fourth straight week this week. The surgec ould slow refinancings and fur ther hamper the housing mar ket. F reddie Mac said Thursday that the average rates on 15and 30-year fixed loansi ncreased sharply from last week. Mortgage rates tend to track the yields on 10-year T reasury bonds. Those yields have been rising as investors anticipate Congress will extendt he Bush-era tax cuts for two y ears and long-term unemployment benefits for 13 months. T he 30-year rate rose to 4.61 percent from 4.46 percent last week. That is well above the4 .17 percent rate hit a month ago the lowest level on records dating back to 1971. T he average rate on a 15y ear fixed loan, a popular refinance option, rose to 3.96 percent. Rates hit 3.57 percent lastm onth the lowest level since 1991. Rates are rising after plum m eting for seven months. Investors are selling Treasury bonds in anticipation of the tax deal President Barack Obama and Republicans forged that could boost the economy next year if passed. A stronger economy would make the stock market a more attractive place to invest mon ey. That's a big reason why many investors are selling their s afer Treasurys bonds. The selloff is adding more Treasury bonds to market, whichd epresses prices and raises yields. Prices and yields move in opposite directions. Rising mortgage rates are chilling the market for refinancing, especially among those who were seeing rates fall a few w eeks ago and thought they m ight get a better deal. Refinance activity fell for the fourths traight week last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Our business has been cut b y 30 percent in four weeks," said Michael Moskowitz, president of Equity Now, a direct m ortgage lender in New York. L ow mortgage rates did little to boost the struggling housing market. Con vinced However, the increase in rates may have convinced some h omebuyers who were waffling to go ahead and make a move. Applications for home pur chases rose for the third consecutive week and are at their highest point since the begin ning of May. Mortgage brokers and real estate agents agree that a sustained rise in mortgage rates eventually will sideline potential buyers who started to think of historically low rates as a given. "It's all about negative psychology," said Julie Longtin, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Cityside in Providence, R.I. "Already my buyers are thinki ng about withdrawing until rates dip again." That would weigh on home prices, which have started tof all again. The ranks of homeowners who owe more thant heir homes are worth would grow and more won't be able to refinance to shore up their finances. Americans, feelingl ess wealthy, could hunker down again and curb their spending. That would slow eco nomic growth. If rates stay south of 5 percent, I don't think we go backi nto a tailspin," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "Above 5 percent, it gets dicey for housing and thee conomy." To calculate average mort gage rates, Freddie Mac collects rates from lenders across t he country on Monday through Wednesday of eachw eek. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day. Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages aver a ged 3.60 percent, up from 3.49 percent. The five-year hit 3.25 percent last month, the lowest rate on records dating back to January 2005. Rates on one-year adjustable-rate home loans slipped to 3.27 percent from 3.25 percent. The rates do not include addon fees, known as points. One point is equal to 1 percent of the total loan amount. The average fee for 30-year and 15-year mortgages in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.7 point. It was 0.6 point for five-year and one-year mortgages. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File MAKINGHISCASE: In this Nov. 4, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters after meeting with staff in the White House Cabinet Room in Washington. At right, new chief of staff Pete Rouse. House Democrats reject tax plan unless changed MATTHEW CRAFT, A P Business Writer N EW YORK Stocks were trading mixed Thursday afternoon after enthu-s iasm over better news on the labor market faded. Stocks had edged higher in the morning after a report from t he Labor Department showed that first time claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the second-lowest level this year. Claims fell to 421,000,b elow the 428,000 figure that Wall Street expected. The four-week average of claims also slid for the fifth s traight week, reaching the lowest level since August 2008, before the darkest days of the financial crisis. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is inching up, a day after setting a closing high for 2010. The index rose 1.02, or 0.08 percent, to1 ,229.29. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 34.70, or 0.3 percent, to 11,338.5. The Nasdaq composite index rose 3.2, or 0.1 percent, to 2,612.25. Of the 30 stocks in the Dow, 19 fell. The index's laggard is D uPont. The chemical maker fell 2 percent after forecasting earnings and sales for next year at the low end of analysts' expectations. B ank of America Corp. was the strongest performer in the Dow, up 3.7 percent. Seven of the 10 company groups in the S&P 500i ndex rose. Financial companies led the way with a 0.7 percent gain. Energy companies were the weakest with a drop of 0.2 percent. A merican International Group Inc. rose 9.5 percent to $46.14. Trading in the insurance conglomerate's shares was interrupted W ednesday as the company announced it would repay a loan from the New York Federal Reserve, clearing the way for the government to shed its 80 percent stake. The government's bailouto f AIG was at one point worth $182 billion. Treasurys prices are slightly higher, causing their yields to drop, a fter getting crushed for two days straight. The yield on the 10-year note slipped to 3.20 percent. The yield, which help set rates for a v ariety of loans, reached as high as 3.33 percent Wednesday, the highest level in nearly six months. STOCKS TRADE FLAT AFTER JOBLESS CLAIMS DROP INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS Mor tgage rates hit 4.61 pct.; r efi's could slow
C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 8B, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecurit y Previous CloseToday's CloseChangeDaily Vol.EPS $Div $P/EYield 1.261.00AML Foods Limited1.011.010.000.1500.0406.73.96% 10.759.67Bahamas Property Fund10.6310.630.000.0130.200817.71.88% 6.184.50Bank of Bahamas4.904.900.000.5980.2608.25.31% 0.580.18Benchmark0.180.180.00-0.8770.000N/M0.00% 3.492.70Bahamas Waste2.702.700.000.1680.09016.13.33% 2.152.14Fidelity Bank2.172.170.000.0160.040135.61.84% 12.509.62Cable Bahamas10.4610.460.002001.0500.31010.02.96% 2.842.36Colina Holdings2.402.400.000.7810.0403.11.67% 7.005.40Commonwealth Bank (S1)6.856.850.0020,7000.4220.26016.23.80% 3.651.63Consolidated Water BDRs1.801.79-0.010.1110.04516.12.51% 2.551.60Doctor's Hospital1.601.600.000.1990.1108.06.88% 6.995.94Famguard6.076.070.00-0.0030.240N/M3.95% 10.207.23Finco7.237.230.000.2870.52025.27.19% 11.408.77FirstCaribbean Bank9.399.390.000.6450.35014.63.73% 5.513.75Focol (S)5.465.460.000.3660.21014.93.85% 1.001.00Focol Class B Preference1.001.000.000.0000.000N/M0.00% 5.595.00ICD Utilities5.595.590.000.0120.240465.84.29% 10.509.82J. S. Johnson9.829.820.000.9710.64010.16.52% 10.0010.00Premier Real Estate10.0010.000.000.9910.80010.18.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecuritySymbolLast SaleChangeDaily Vol. 99.4699.46Bahamas Note 6.95 (2029BAH2999.460.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 17 (Series A) +FBB17100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 22 (Series B) +FBB22100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 13 (Series C) +FBB13100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 15 (Series D) +FBB15100.000.00 52wk Hi 52wk Low Symbol Bid$ Ask$ LastPrice DailyVol EPS$ Div$ P/E Yield FINDEX: CLOSE 000.00 | YTD 00.00% | 2009 -12.31%30 May 2013 2 0 November 2029T HURSDAY, 9 DECEMBER 2010B ISX ALL SHARE INDEX: CLOSE 1,482.72 | CHG -0.01 | %CHG 0.00 | YTD -82.66 | YTD % -5.28BISX LISTED DEBT SECURITIES (Bonds trade on a Percentage Pricing basis)Maturity 19 October 2017 7%RoyalFidelity Merchant Bank & Trust Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)29 May 2015 W W W.BISXBAHAMAS.COM | TELEPHONE:242-323-2330 | FACSIMILE: 242-323-232019 October 2022 Prime + 1.75% Prime + 1.75% 6 .95%BISX LISTED & TRADED SECURITIES AS OF:7% Interest 52wk Hi 52wk Low Symbol Bid $ Ask $ Last Price Daily Vol EPS $ Div $ P/E Yield 10.065.01Bahamas Supermarkets5.016.0114.00-2.9450.000N/M0.00% 0.550.40RND Holdings0.350.400.550.0010.000256.60.00% 41.0029.00ABDAB30.1331.5929.004.5400.0009.030.00% 0.550.40RND Holdings0.450.550.550.0020.000261.900.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowFund NameNAVYTD%Last 12 Months %NAV 3MTH 1.51221.4076CFAL Bond Fund1.51795.51%6.90%1.498004 2.92652.8300CFAL MSI Preferred Fund2.91871.10%3.13%2.919946 1.56681.4954CFAL Money Market Fund1.56974.15%4.18%1.551550 3.20252.8522Royal Fidelity Bahamas G & I Fund2.7108-13.03%-4.96% 13.638813.0484Royal Fidelity Prime Income Fund13.2825-0.63%-0.14% 114.3684101.6693CFAL Global Bond Fund114.36849.98%12.49%109.392860 106.552899.4177CFAL Global Equity Fund106.55284.75%7.18%100.779540 1.13671.0000FG Financial Preferred Income Fund1.13674.30%5.21% 1.09741.0000FG Financial Growth Fund1.09742.75%6.87% 1.13631.0000FG Financial Diversified Fund1.13634.18%5.78% 9.74859.1005Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 19.79504.85%5.45% 11.236110.0000Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 210.6417-1.20%0.50% 10.00009.1708Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 39.6635-3.37%-3.37% 8.16434.8105Royal Fidelity Int'l Fund Equities Sub Fund7.94422.94%6.47% BISX ALL SHARE INDEX 19 Dec 02 = 1,000.00YIELD last 12 month dividends divided by closing price 52wk-Hi Highest closing price in last 52 weeksBid $ Buying price of Colina and Fidelity 52wk-Low Lowest closing price in last 52 weeksAsk $ Selling price of Colina and fidelity Previous Close Previous day's weighted price for daily volumeLast Price Last traded over-the-counter price Today's Close Current day's weighted price for daily volumeWeekly Vol. Trading volume of the prior week Change Change in closing price from day to dayEPS $ A company's reported earnings per share for the last 12 mths Daily Vol. Number of total shares traded todayNAV Net Asset Value DIV $ Dividends per share paid in the last 12 monthsN/MNot Meaningful P/E Closing price divided by the last 12 month earningsFINDEX The Fidelity Bahamas Stock Index. January 1, 1994 = 100 (S) 4-for-1 Stock Split Effective Date 8/8/2007 (S1) 3-for-1 Stock Split Effective Date 7/11/200730-Nov-10 30-Nov-10 107.570619 105.776543 30-Jun-10 31-Oct-10 NAV 6MTH 1.475244 2.911577 1.532712TO TRADE CALL: CFAL 242-502-7010 | ROYALFIDELITY 242-356-7764 | FG CAPITAL MARKETS 242-396-4000 | COLONIAL 242-502-752530-Nov-10 30-Sep-10 30-Sep-10 3-Dec-10 30-Nov-10MARKET TERMS31-Oct-10 30-Nov-10CFAL Securities Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)30-Nov-10BISX Listed Mutual FundsNAV Date 30-Nov-10 31-Oct-10 :,1<7+(5*(/86 RI7KH*URYH1DVVDX%DKDPDV (':,13,1(5$'(/$ 3529,'(1&,$RI:HVWHUQ9LHZ6SDQLVK:HOOV %DKDPDV 127,&( 2UDQMHDVVDX*U\SKRQ/WG 3XUVXDQWWRWKH3URYLVLRQVRI6HFWLRQRIWKH ,QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV$FWQRWLFH LVKHUHE\JLYHQWKDWWKHDERYHQDPHG&RPSDQ\KDV EHHQGLVVROYHGDQGVWUXFNRIWKH5HJLVWHUSXUVXDQW WR&HUWLILFDWHRI'LVVROXWLRQLVVXHGWKH5HJLVWUDU *HQHUDORQWKH QG GD\RI'HFHPEHU '(/$12$5$1+$ /LTXLGDWRU RI 2UDQMHDVVDX*U\SKRQ/WG MOSCOW Russia has agreed to scrap duties on oil it supplies to Belarus starting next year, and Minsk will pass on export duties on products made from the Russian oil to Moscow. Talks broke down on Wednesday, fueling fears of a dispute that might hit energy supplies to Europe. Europe is thought to get around 20 million tons of crude oil through Belarus annually, and has lost out on energy supplies in the past due to Russia's spats with its neighbors. Russian officials are playing the deal as a $4 billion gift to the Belarusian economy, agreed upon a week before presidential elections in Belarus. The oil deal was inked as Russian, Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed to create a fully fledged common economic space by 2012 after the three nations set up a customs union this year. The agreement will do away with all trade barriers between the countries. ___ D UBLIN Prime Minister Brian Cowen says Ireland's parliament will be asked next week to approve terms of the euro67.5 billion ($90 billion his debt-crippled country. The prime minister retains a two-vote majority in parliament. He has won several parliamentary votes this week on tax hikes and welfare cuts contained in Ireland's 2011 budget. Most opposition parties say they will vote to reject the deal with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Separately, ratings agency Fitch dropped Ireland's credit rating three notches, citing the country's massive bailout as an admission that its debt crisis was worse than advertised. Fitch low ered the creditworthiness rating to 'BBB+' from 'A+' with a stable outlook. This means no further downgrades are expected. S&P last month became the first ratings agency to cut Ireland's grade over the bailout talks. ___ LONDON British defense and aerospace contractor BAE Systems is planning to shed almost 1,300 jobs due to sharp government spending cuts. BAE said most of the losses are related to the axing of contracts to supply Nim rod spy planes and Harrier fighter jets. Nearly half of the threatened jobs are at BAE's testing and assembly facility at Warton in northwest England. Both moves are part of the government's drive to cut defense spending by8 percent. BAE has about 40,000 employees in the United Kingdom. ___ LONDON The Bank of England holds interest rates steady at a record low of 0.5 percent, ending the year as it began, amid concerns about Britain's economic recovery despite recent stronger than expected data. The British central bank also kept its 200 billion pound ($315 billion purchase program on hold. E conomists say the nine-strong monetary policy committee is likely waiting to see how the economy progresses in the New Year when government spending cuts and a rise in sales tax are expected to take a tighter grip. ___ LISBON, Portugal Portugal's gov ernment is in talks with trade unions about introducing labor reforms it regards as vital to ease the country's financial crisis. The prime minister and economy minister met late Wednesday with the leaders of the two trade union confederations, which represent more than 1 million workers. Economy Minister Jose Vieira da Silva said the government wants to reduce the financial and bureaucratic burden on companies reducing their workforce. That may include paying less compensation to fired workers. The proposals, which have not been publicly detailed, are part of Portugal's effort to generate fresh economic growth that will help pay off its potentially crippling debts. Last year's state budget deficit of 9.6 percent was below Greece's 15.4 percent but was still the fourth-highest int he bloc. ___ SHANGHAI China's auto sales powered ahead in November, jumping 27 percent to 1.7 million vehicles as car buyers rushed to beat expected increas e s in license plate fees in some cities. The rebound after a slowdown during the summer pushed sales for the year to 16.4 million vehicles, up 34 percent from the year before, the government-affiliated China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. C hina's strong growth suggests it will r etain its status, acquired last year, as the world's biggest market by sales of new vehicles. Analysts say the expected expiration of subsidies for purchases of small, ener gy efficient cars next year, and rumors that some cities plan to counter growing traffic problems by raising license plate fees, prompted buyers to head for the showrooms. Output of 1.75 million new vehicles exceeded sales, however, pushing inven tories higher. Demand may slump in coming months since many buyers simply decid ed to move up purchases that otherwise would have been made next year. ___ S EOUL, South Korea South Korea's central bank kept its key interest rate on hold after inflation eased sharply in November, but cautioned that the country's strong economy and rising global costs for raw materials would push consumer prices higher again. The Bank of Korea has decided to leave the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate at 2.5 percent during a monthly monetary policy meeting. The bank last month raised the rate from 2.25 percent, which was the second hike in four months. South Korea's inflation rate hit 4.1 percent in October. The year-on-year increase in consumer prices was slightly outside the central bank's comfort zone. The bank's inflation target is 3 percent. Inflation dropped to 3.3 percent in November. The bank's monetary policy committee welcomed the slowdown, but warned the trend is for rising prices to continue. South Korea, Asia's fourthlargest economy, has recovered strongly from the global financial crisis that began in 2008. The International Monetary Fund expects South Korea to grow 6.1 percent this year after l ast year's meager 0.2 percent expansion. ___ ATHENS, Greece Debt-strapped Greece will likely get more time to repay the bailout loans that saved it from defaulting, a top EU official indicated Thursday as the union seeks to keep its government debt crisis from mushrooming. There are fears Greece will be unable to cope with a spike in debt repayments in 2014 and 2015 as it pays back loans from the three-year EU and International Monetary Fund program that ends in 2013. The European Commission is following EU governments in considering extending the amount of time Greece has to repay its debts to match the roughly 7 1/2 years that Ireland has for its bailout. In Greece's case, the extension addresses fears that its economy will not be growing sufficiently by 2013 to generate enough revenue to pay back its debts if it had to pay back the full IMF/eurozone loan in 2014 and 2015. Greece must lower its budget deficit from the 15.4 percent of gross domestic product it stood at in 2009, to below the eurozone limit of 3 percent of GDP by 2014. Its finances are under strict supervision by the IMF and EU, and the quar terly disbursement of bailout loans depends on Athens meeting financial targets. ___ PARIS President Nicolas Sarkozy's office says France believes the eurozone's euro750 billion ($1 trillion) bailout fund doesn't need to be increased for now. A top Sarkozy adviser, speaking on condition that he not be named because of office policy, also said that France doesn't favor the creation of pan-Euro pean bonds to support governments with shaky finances. T hat puts Paris in line with Germany in opposing the proposal made Mon day by Italy and euro bloc president Jean-Claude Juncker. Eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund in May set up the bailout fund as a financial backstop, though high public debt and weak growth prospects have continued to fuel debt market jitters. G LOBAL E CONOMICNEWS A SSOCIATED P RESS A look at economic developments and activity in m ajor stock markets around the world Thursday: ( AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) UKRECOVERYCONCERNS: People walk in central Londons City financial district, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. The Bank of England holds i nterest rates steady at a record low of 0.5 percent, ending the year as it began, amid concerns about Britain's economic recovery despite recent s tronger than expected data. DEREK GATOPOULOS, Associated Press ELENA BECATOROS, A ssociated Press ATHENS, Greece D ebt-strapped Greece will likely get more time to repay the bailout loans that saved it from defaulting, a top EU official indic ated Thursday as the union seeks to keep its government debt crisis from mushrooming. There are fears Greece will be unable to cope with a spike in debt repayments in 2014 and 2015 as it pays back loans from the three-year EU and International Monetary Fund program that endsi n 2013. The European Commission is following EU governments in considering extending the amount of time Greece has to repayi ts debts to match the roughly 7 1/2 years that Ireland has for its bailout. "We stand ready to make the concrete proposal early n ext year, and I'm certain that it will receive the support of EU finance ministers," EU monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters after meeting with Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou. T he move comes as EU officials make efforts to ease the press ure in debt markets that forced Ireland's rescue last week and threatened to engulf Portugal as well as larger economies like S pain and Italy. While the EU has resisted further big moves, such as boosting its bailout fund or creating European bonds to s hare the debt burden, it has focused on austerity plans and making bailout repayment terms more flexible. Fears of default pushed bond yields for troubled countries so high they face being unable to borrow at affordable rates and roll over expiring debt. The details of how Greece's repayment exten sion would work have not been decided. On Tuesday, IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he supported the extension without imposing additional demands for economic austerity. T he government's austerity measures to qualify for the bailout loans have led to a backlash from labor unions, who say they are causing ever increasing hardship. Unions have staged a series of strikes and demonstrations, with thousands of Communist-backed protesters marching through central Athens Thursday night to protest plans to loosen collective wage agreements part of the government's efforts to make the economy more competitive. Greece's seventh nationwide general strike this year has been called for Dec. 15. T he country's statistics agency said Thursday that unemployment in September rose to 12.6 percent from 12.2 percent the previous month. The figure in Sept. 2009 stood at 9.1 percent. Rehn said he didn't believe Greece would need to ask for a new bailout loan from the EU after the current one runs out. Instead, the Commission was "in favor of a prolongation of the repayment period of the loans ... in order to avoid the big hump of refinancing" in 2014 and 2015, Rehn said. Rehn said that turbulence in financial markets continued even t hough economic recovery had begun in the eurozone. EU reassures Greece on its loan extension (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris MONEYMATTERS: EU Monetary affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, left, speaks during a news conference next to Greek Minister of Finance George Papakonstantinou in Athens Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010.