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 Probe into oil on beach demanded C M Y K C M Y K V olume: 107 No.11FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25) WEATHER BREEZY WITHSUN HIGH 78F LOW 65F B U S I N E S S SEESECTIONB S P O R T S BTC buyer targets 10 to 15 per cent pt margin rise SEESECTIONE Knights shining B y AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org D EMANDS for an inves tigation into an oil-like substance that has been foundw ashed up on a shoreline are falling on deaf ears, it was claimed last night. C oncerned by the unexplained black substance covering parts of the Cat Island shore, residents want answers from the government. More than a month ago, a s econd-home owner from Pennsylvania was alerted to a substance described as oil along the shoreline of hisp roperty by a photographer he had hired. The homeowner said: We r eported it to the government about a month ago. A lady came over from Nassau and Residents claim their pleas ar e being ignored McCOMBO OF THE DAY N E W The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST L ATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM B AHAMASBIGGEST CARSFORSALE, HELPWANTED ANDREALESTATE SEE page eight By TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com THE rate of unemploy ment appears to be levelling off, lay-offs have slowed and some private sector companies have started hiring again, said Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday. The nation's chief also outlined other signs of an economic turnaround while speaking to the Rotary Club of West Nassau at the British Colonial Hilton yes terday, such as a boost in tourism performance and an increase in foreign direct investment. It appears that unem ployment has levelled off, NIB statistics suggests that the rate of lay-offs has slowed; in fact, some companies have begun hiring again," said Mr Ingraham. The latest numbers from the Department of Statistics put unemployment lev els in New Providence at 14 per cent, in Grand Bahama 17.4 per cent as of May 2009. Mr Ingraham said: "Nothing is more critical to PM:UNEMPLOYMENT RATE LEVELLING OFF SEE page nine By PAUL G TURNQUEST T ribune Staff Reporter p firstname.lastname@example.org FORMER Prime Minister Perry Christie attacked the government for what he termed was a bad deal in the sale of 51 per cent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC Cable and Wireless yesterday. A ddressing listeners during a radio interview, Mr Christie said his party had left in place a sale of 49 per cent of BTC for $260 million before they were unceremoniously booted out of office in 2007. Therefore, with the gov ernment on Wednesday evening announcing it had signed a memorandum of understanding for $210 mil lion for the controlling shares of the telecommunications company with Cable and Wireless, the leader of the A POLICEMAN is in critical condition after he was shot in the chest by another officer. According to reports, the officer was shot by accident during a covert operation yesterday morning. However, police were last night tightlipped over the details which, they claim, could compromise further police actvity. Hulan Hanna, assistant commissioner of police, said: Officers were participating in an operation in southwest New Providence, when an officer was accidentally shot to the upper body by one of his colleagues. Up to press time, the officer was said to be in critical condi tion at hospital. Mr Hanna added: This was a police operation, we cannot say anything else about it. A lot of the work officers do are by nature covert, and if we comment on some of the things we have to engage in, it would compromise future operations. CHRIS TIE HITS OUT AT BAD DEAL IN S ALE OF BTC SEE page eight POLICEMAN SHOT IN THE CHEST BY ANOTHER OFFICER THE Ingraham administra tion is "committed" to con structing a new public hospital for New Providence, but is compelled by the weak global economy to use the money from the sale of BTC to go towards paying off the national debt. During the 2008/2009 bud get debate, Prime Minister Ingraham had pledged that with the proceeds of BTCs privatisation, the government would build a new hospital. But the $210 million Cable and Wireless is giving the gov ernment for its 51 per cent stake in BTC will now go toward paying down the rapidly escalating national debt. However, Mr Ingraham said the government is committed to a new hospital in the Bahamas, and as soon as they are able to see our way clear to do so we shall pro ceed in that direction." "As soon as I get the monMone y fr om BTC sale will go towards national debt SEE page eight SIGNSOFECONOMICTURNAROUND: Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham speaksto the Rotary Club of West Nassau at the British Colonial Hilton yesterday. T i m C l a r k e / T r i b u n e s t a f f CONCERNS: The black substance can be seen on shoreline east of Hawks Nest Resort, Cat Island. The compact disc in the photo gives a sense of scale. I N S I D E
P O L I C E h a v e i d e n t i f i e d t h e 4 2 y e a r o l d m a n w h o w a s killed in a fatal shooting on Wednesday. D e xt er Bro wn, t he co untr y s 9 0 th v ic t im w a s g u nn e d d o w n b y u n k n o w n c u l p r i t s j u s t a s h e w a s l e a v i n g h i s house Wednesday evening. S u f f e r i n g f r o m m u l t i p l e gunshot injuries, Mr Brown w a s t a k e n t o h o s p i t a l b y a m b u l a n c e h o w e v e r h e d i e d o f h i s i n j u r i e s a s h o r t t i m e later. I n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n t o t h e shooting are continuing. M e a n w h i le p o li c e a r e a ls o investigating the shooting of a 1 7ye ar ol d yo u t h ye st e rday afternoon. The victim wa s in the ar ea of the Haitian Village at Joe F a r r i n g t o n R o a d w h e n h e heard gunshots around mid day. It was reported he did n o t i n i t i a l l y r e a l i z e h e h a d been shot in the right leg. P o l i c e a r e a l s o p u r s u i n g significant leads into a stab bing on Fire Trail Road on W e d n e s d a y A 3 8 y e a r o l d ma n wa s sta b be d in hi s che s t w it h a kn if e b y a m a n wh o demanded cash. The pedes tri an wh o to ld th e culp ri t he had no money, was held up shortly after 5pm. B o t h v i c t i m s w e r e t a k e n to hospital by emergency med ic a l se r v i ce s a n d we r e s a id to be in stable condition. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS P AGE 2, FRIDA Y DECEMBER 3, 2010 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS P A GE LOG ON T O WWW .TRIBUNE242.COM INDEX MAIN SECTION L oc al New s. .. .. .. ... .. .. .. P1 ,2 3, 5, 6 ,7 ,8 ,9 ,1 0 ,1 1 E d i t o r i a l / L e t t e r s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P 4 A d v t . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P 1 2 BUSINESS SECTION B u s i n e s s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 SPOR TS SECTION S p o r t s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 C o m i c s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . P 6 By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com S E V E R A L a n g r y B T C c u s t o m e r s c o n t a c t e d T h e T r i b u n e t h i s w e e k t o c o m p l a i n t h a t t h e t e l e p h o n e c o m p a n y h a d o v e r b i l l e d t h e m b y a s u b s t a n t i a l a m o u n t O n e o f t h e m p r o d u c e d a st atem ent which claim ed she o w e d m o r e t h a n $ 4 0 0 B u t t h e c u s t o m e r s a i d s h e h a d ju st paid h er b ill in fu ll a f ew d a y s b e f o r e T h e s o u r c e s a i d w h e n s h e q u e s t i o n e d a B T C c a s h i e r s h e w a s r e f e r r e d t o a c u s tomer serv ice re pre sen tat i ve w h o t o l d h e r s h e m u s t p a y $ 1 0 i n o r d e r t o s e e a p r i n to u t o f h e r a c c o u n t T h e cu st o me r s e r vi c e re p r e s e n t a t i v e t h e n a d m i t t e d s h e h a d b e e n t h e v i c t i m o f a g l i t c h t h a t h a d b e e n a ff ec ti n g t h e c o mp an y s s y st e m f o r s o m e t i m e a n d s a i d a $ 4 2 6 a d j u s t m e n t w o u l d b e m a d e t o h e r a c c o u n t. The c u st ome r said s h e w as h i g h l y i r r i t a t e d b y t h e e n t i r e e p i s o d e p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e $ 1 0 c h a r g e s h e h a d t o p a y d e s p i t e t h e e r r o r b e i n g BT C' s an d th e fact th a t h a d s h e n o t b e e n v i g i l a n t t h e m i s t a k e w o u l d n o t h a v e b e e n ca u g h t W h e n q u e s t i o n e d a b o u t th e g l i tc h y e s t e r d a y Ma r l o n Jo h n s o n v i c e p r e s i d e n t o f m a r k e t i n g a t B T C t o l d T h e T r i b u n e t h e r e w a s a pr oble m w it h t he da t a bi lli ng s y s t e m s o m e t i m e l a s t m o n t h b u t h e a s s u r e d t h e p u b l i c th a t i t h a s s i n c e b e e n cor re cted an d th at a ll effe c te d a c c o u n ts w e r e cr e d i t e d Customers angry over BTC over -billing G O V E R N M E N T i s i n t h e f i n a l s t a g e s o f g r a n t i n g f i n a l approvals to Baha Mar which could come any day now, said Pr i me M in is te r H u be r t In g r a h a m w ho r e v e a l e d tha t th e d e v e lopers are "not the easiest group to do business with from the government's point of view." W hi le s peak i ng t o m emb er s of t he Ro t ary C lu b o f W es t N as sa u, M r I ngr aha m wa s ask ed abou t t h e a ppr ova l de tail s of the $2.6 billion project. "We are still dotting i's and crossing t's about this arrange ment and we expect to finish it pretty soon, if not today," said Mr Ingraham. "Th e ap pro vals t hat are essent i al fo r t hem t o co mm ence h ave b een agr eed (t o ) a nd t he y ha ve gi ven i nd i c at i on t ha t t h e y w o u l d w i s h t o i s s u e t h e f i r s t s e t o f c o n t r a c t s f o r t h e r e p l a c e ment of banks, their (commercial) village, etc, before the end of this year. "But we don't expect for major construction other than the replacement of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Fidelity and Com mo nw ealt h et c, t o t ake pl ace bef or e t h e en d of th e s eco nd qu a rte r of n ex t y e a r. Bu t oth er wo rk s ar e g oin g to s ta rt b e for e then." Government in final stages of Baha Mar approvals By NOELLE NICOLLS Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org S A N D A LS E m er al d B ay i s h e re t o s t ay s o "we h av e to ma ke it wo rk" le ad er of the op posi tion Perry Christie said yesterday. H e s ai d "s p ec u l at io n an d c o n je c t u r e" a b ou t whether or not Sandals is "the right fit" for Exu ma is pointless. Th e re i s a r e a li ty S a nd a ls i s the o wn er Bu tch Stewart is the owner. They are in Exuma. They ha v e the pr ope r ty. T he y a re no t g oin g an y whe re It is one of their most upscale properties in the wor ld, so tha t is the r e al ity an y go ve r nme nt mus t deal with," said Mr Christie in a radio interview. As for t he a l l-i nc lu si v e m od el M r Chr i st ie s a id there is a history of challenges with this type of d e v e l o p m e n t i n t h e F a m i l y I s l a n d s H e r e f e r e n c e d t h e f o r m e r a l l i n c l u s i v e C l u b M e d i n Eleuthera, which "closed and never reopened" and the Club Med in San Salvador, which closed and reopened with the assistance of the govern ment. "What are the challenges relating to these allinclusive s in t he isla nd and t he ir im pact and h ow w e s h o u l d m a k e i t w o r k m o r e e f f i c i e n t l y a n d effectively for the people working there. This is what is missing," said Mr Christie. "The government, instead of just saying this is a r e al i t y w e c a n t d o n o t h i n g a b o u t i t s h o u l d c o m e i n w i t h a v i e w t o u s i n g i t s r e s o u r c e s to m a k e a determination as to whether or not there are s o m e k i n d s o f d e v e l o p m e n t s t h e y c a n p u t ( i n pl a ce t o a dd re s s ) th os e i s s ue s c om in g o ut of Ex u ma to ma ke it be t ter for the pe ople who work there," he said. Floyd Armbrister, Exuma Chamber of Com merce president, said the all-inclusive nature of S a n d a l s l i m i t s t h e t r i c k l e d o w n e f f e c t o n Bahamian-owned businesses. He said Exumians were "shocked into reality" since Sandals' open i n g r e a l i s i n g t h e g r o w t h y e a r s e n j o y e d w h e n E m e r a l d B a y w a s o p e r a t e d b y F o u r S e a s o n s "were gone, and probably gone for good." M r Ch r i s ti e s a i d th e g o v e r n me nt ha s a n ob l i g ation to determine the truth of the criticism"; to e x a m i n e t h e l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s o f E x u m a r e s i d e n t s wh o b y a n d l a r g e li v e on m in im u m w a g e he s a i d. I n l i g h t o f t h e c h a l l e n g e s f a c e d b y F a m i l y I s l a n d ma rke ts d omina ted by a ll-inclu siv e s, Mr Chri stie s ai d t h e re ma y n ee d t o b e "s p ec i a l c o n s i d er ations", or changes to the "minimum wage." T h e P L P w i l l m a k e a c o m m i t m e n t t o r e v i e w a l l of those things so that by the time we come into g o v e r n m e n t we wi l l h a v e a p ol i c y t ha t i s d e s i g n e d specially for this area," said Mr Christie. "We will see how we can improve the condi t i ons without ca usin g a ny disr upt i on to the oper ation of Sandals. We will see how we can get the ow ne r s hi p o f S a nd a ls to co op e r at e wi th el e m en ts i n t h e c o m m u n i t y w h o w o u l d w a n t t o b e n e f i t mor e m ea nin gful ly from San da ls' pre se nce T ha t is what we are going to do," he said. W e i g h i n g i n o n c o m m e n t s m a d e b y Pr i m e M i n i s t e r H u b e r t I n g r a h a m a b o u t t h e r e s o r t M r C hri st ie said t h e go vernmen t sh ou ld no t al low the island to be divided on the issue. M r I n g r a h a m c a l l e d S a n d a l s a w o n d e r f u l resort, and told Exumians they "should not look a gift-horse in the mouth." Mr C hr is ti e sa i d: T he P M o ug h t to kn ow pe o ple don't do favours for countries when it comes t o s pe n d in g m o n ey T h ey c o m e i nt o c o u n t r ie s w h er e t he y c a n m ak e m o ne y. T he y wo u ld n ot have come unless they thought Exuma could do them the favour of enabling them to make mon ey. "Expressing gratitude and appreciation is one thing but don't make me subservient by saying t hey are d oin g me som e gr eat f avou r. I wo ul d not have used those words." Christie: W e have to make Emerald Bay work T HE l e v e l of d e ba te in t he H o u s e o f A s s e m b l y h a s de cl i ned a nd t h e s t and ard of m e m b e r s o f p a r l ia m e n t i s n o t w hat i t u sed t o b e, l am ent ed P r im e M i n i s te r H ub e r t I ng r a h a m y e s t e r d a y D e s p i t e t h i s M r I n g r a h a m i mp li e d th a t th e b e h av i o ur o f m e m b e r s i n t h e L o w e r C h a m b e r i s n o t l i k e s o m e p a r l i a m e n t a r i a n s a r o u n d t h e w o r l d I d l i k e t o e n c o u r a g e y o u t o w a t c h s o m e o t h e r p a r l i a m e n t s i n t h e w o r l d S o m e t i m e s w e a r e v e r y h a r d o n o u r s e l v e s b u t a s a g e n e r a l s t a t e m e n t t h e m e m b e r s h i p o f t h e H o u s e t o d a y i s n o t o f t h e s t a n d a r d o f t h e m e m b e r s h i p I m e t w h e n I w e n t t o t h e H o u s e s a i d M r I n g r a h a m r e s p o n d i n g t o c o m m e n t s m a d e b y a m e m b e r o f t h e R o t a r y C l u b o f W e s t N a s s a u y e s t e r d a y o v e r t h e p r i v a t e s e c t o r s d i s p l e a s u r e a t m e m b e r s d e c o r u m i n t h e H o u s e D e b a t e l e v e l s h a v e d e te r i o r a t e d t h e y r e n o t w h a t t h e y u s e d t o b e n o w t h e r e a r e m a n y r e a s o n s f o r t h a t I d o n t w a n t t o g e t i n t o i t a t t h i s p l a c e b u t w h e n y o u v o t e n e x t t i m e t a k e i t i n t o a c c o u n t h e q u i p p e d PM: Standard of debate in the House has deteriorated P o l i c e i d e n t i f y c o u n t r y s 9 0 t h m u r d e r v i c t i m Hubert Ingraham MAKE IT WORK: Opposition leader Perry Christie says that the government should use its resources to address the issues facing Sandals Emerald Bay.
By NOELLE NICOLLS T ribune Staff Reporter n email@example.com T HE Bell Island deal w ould not have been a pproved under a Progressive Liberal Party govern-m ent, said Perry Christie, l eader of the opposition. The imagery conjured upby the recently approved project raises too many ugly questions, he said. If the PLP was in power today that development w ould not have been a pproved. Permission w ould not have been given f or dredging. This is a comp lex issue when you are l ooking at a country like the Bahamas and you are trying to strike the right balance in decision making on who gets permission to do what with respect to the environment in the B ahamas, and it is a learning experience, said Mr Christie, while speaking onT he Breeze FM, an Exuma r adio station. The Department of Physical Planning approved plans to dredge and exca v ate more than 12 acres of land and sea at the 349-acre privately owned island int he Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Plans to dredge the seabed, excavate a marinaa nd redevelop a barge l anding were submitted by Islands of Discovery Ltd after Prince Karim AgaK han bought the island last year. To what extent should a central government allow private ownership to reach a point where the owner says I want to facilitate my ownership by bringing in my assets, like a yacht, said Mr Christie. First, we would not have made that decision and we would be the first to admit we are being constantly educated in this regard. Second, we would take pains to be sitting with the people of the country with a view to feeling their pas sion on this and to allow all of us to understand why we have to do more to protect the beauty of our country, even recognising there has to be some development in some places in the country moving forward, he said. Certain types of develop ment should be prohibitedon islands like Bell Island, said Mr Christie. He said it was a matter of balancing the governments responsi bility to promote develop ment and obligation to pro tect the natural resources of the country. We have an obligation to understand how our peo ple are thinking. We can not in the name of decisive governance impose upon people against their will, decision making of the cen tral government without first taking the time to explain properly to these people what you are doing and why you are doing it, said Mr Christie. I said for example that I am not going to get too involved in this issue of whether Hubert Ingraham should have taken his chil dren to see the Aga Khan. That is a judgment the Prime Minister makes on the degree of importance he attaches to some major investment or investor who can come in and impact the country. Similarly to the minister, I can see the difficulty of the imagery and all of that, because in our g overnance, politicians and those in government must b e seen to be doing the right thing, he said. The mix of incredibly w ealthy foreigners and government approvals m akes for bad politics, said Mr Christie. When you have an i nvestor come in and he gives the Bahamas Nationa l Trust a $1 million donation and then you get a pproval on something like that, the imagery is bad. It just does bad politics andi t raises too many ugly questions, said Mr C hristie. That is not good for the governance of the country, h e said. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010, PAGE 3 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM tn b nt rttt t nnbrnf b#fn A PLP govt would not have approved BellIsland deal Opposition leader Perry Christie speaks out on project BELLISLAND CONCERNS: PLP leader Perry Christie appears on the Exuma Breeze radio station. Exumas MP Anthony Moss (right
E D ITOR, The Tribune. I am in total amazement as to how serious Bahamians have b ecome as it relates to being less than honest and unpatriot ic. We think nothing about get ting something without payingf or it and are shameless in tak ing from the state. W e would easily substitute things Bahamian for any other culture. We, unfortunately, are ashamed of the Bahamas. It would seem that many s traw vendors could care less about preserving a Bahamian art form only what they could put in their pockets. The Minister of Works told the people gathered at the roof wetting of the brand new straw market that they cannot sell any more knock off items or anything else that is not indigenous to the Bahami an.Now who could disagree with that?Who has the guts to honestly say that Minister Grant or the government is unreasonable?If anyone does, then their greed will only destroy them. Money drives them and principles dont put money on their table either. B ut, low and behold, a lady who must have been just wak ened from a deep sleep responded that she would sell whatever she could bring t hrough customs and that they werent prepared to pay for the s pace in the market. These statements are a clear i ndication to me that Bahamians must have lost their soul. S ome straw-vendors, not all, must be the most presumptu o us people in the whole world. First they want to dictate to the g overnment what should happen. Then they want to prosti tute our culture on the altar of greed. These unusual people now expect the government to spend almost $20 million of all of our money and dont charge them a cent. Only parasites behave like that. If the government suc cumbs to that asininity, then everyone who is in business should not pay any rent to their landlords either. These same ungrateful people conduct hundreds of dol lars asue every day. Honest strawvendors brag about how much money they make, what fancy homes they have and the expensive education they give t heir children.Why would they now claim that they cannot afford to pay the rent? I trust the government is serious and will not allow a few u nprincipled people to distract them from being accountable f or how they spend the peoples money.I hope and pray thatt he children, especially girls of the vendors do not expect to g o through life expecting to get something for nothing. This w ould be a most unfortunate way to train innocent children. F inally, any strawvendor who will intentionally destroy the idea of keeping our Bahamian culture alive and will also deprive the treasury for collecting the much needed revenue, must be classified as unpatriotic. Bahamians who care about the Bahamas should do what is necessary to make sure that this straw market is not disgraced like the present one has been. I hope the government will enforce very serious disciplinary action to anyone who vio lates the agreement that they are given.We have been slack enough for long enough. The nasty atmosphere that exists now must not be allowed to happen, ever again. The government must move decisively as to who is allowed to be a vendor. They must be aware of the Bahamian vendors who apply, only to rent it to foreigners. Some vendor will apply for more than one booth.These kinds of practices must stop so more Bahamians can participate in this lucrative business. We must not allow this hoggish practice to persist anymore. I expect for the PLP to pig gyback on this, because like vul tures they would try to benefit from anything they can to gain political mileage. I would not be surprised if the PLP spokesperson does not issue a statement agreeing with the vendors to not pay for the space and also to discourage them from selling things other than straw works of Bahamian souvenirs and carvings. The real joke is plenty of them always have their Bibles open when you visit their booths. If they want a flea market, let them go somewhere else, but not in our straw-market. IVOINE W. INGRAHAM Nassau, November 28, 2010. E DITOR, The Tribune. Mr Pierre Dupuch seems most upset that the government has allowed a foreigner owni ng Bahamian property permission to dredge a channel for his yacht in the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. I think The Bahamas N ational Trust dealt with the matter very adequately and politely in their recent release (http://bit.ly/apjP5b < http://bit.ly/apjP5b+> ). Mr. Dupuch uses an analogy made by a caller to a radio s how he was guest on recently that goes something like this: If a Bahamian were to want to put a resort where one of the Pyramids are, they would bea sked to leave Egypt. To convey that dredging less than .0035 per cent" of the Exuma Park to knocking a n entire pyramid down is well... shall we say, over stat ing the case. Not only that, I'm sure if the owner of Bell Island wanted tod redge the equivalent of the Great Pyramid of Khufu, in rel-a tive terms, he would have been denied permission to d redge. That aside, it appears the anti-foreign sentiment includes the assumption that Egypt is unfriendly to foreign investors. W ell a quick Internet search suggests that Egypt is more fore ign investor friendly than The Bahamas is. S omeone has also men tioned that they know of two Bahamians denied similar dredging permits. If so it would be improper discrimination. H owever, unless the individuals are prepared to air their case p ublicly we cannot judge gov ernment's decision in the Bell Island case. One very important point that those opposed to the dredging seem to be ignoring i s Bell Island is private property, and was apparently so before the Exuma Land and Sea Park was established. I have no problem if people want to protect the Exuma L and and Sea Park. That is admirable. But attempting to c reate mistrust and acrimony for foreign investors is not the r oad we should go down unless we have evidence of fraud, etc.A nd in that case, let's go to the P olice. There might very well be a c ase for better protection of the Exuma Land and Sea Park g oing forward, but politicians of all stripes float theories, as in t his case, and the people get angry with each other so ther eal problems affecting us have not been resolved for decades now. RICK LOWE N assau, December 2, 2010. ( As for Egypt and its pyra mids, it too had to compromise i n the name of progress with its historical sites some of which are now at the bottom of Lake Nasser as a result of the con struction of the Aswan HighD am (1960-1976 (As a child we vividly recall n ews reports from Cairo about the high death toll and loss of f armland caused by the annual flooding of the Nile flood ing that can be traced back to B iblical times. To control this f looding and the irrigation of this valley in high water years whole crops would be wiped out, low-water years b rought drought, famine and death a dam was desperately needed to provide a large reservoir for water storage. ( In the fifties archaeologists r aised the red flag protesting the loss construction of the dam would cause to so many important historical sites. Weighed in t he balance was the welfare of the people as opposed to history, culture and tourism. S hould Egyptians bow to their annual fate of death and destruction by flooding, drought and famine, or should they sacrifice some of their his-t orical sites so important to their tourist industry? Thereh ad to be a compromise. (UNESCO started a rescue o peration in 1960 that saved the Great Temple of Abu Sim bel and 22 other monuments, which were relocated to other sites, some as near as Madrida nd others as far away as New York. Those that could not bes aved such as Buhen fort are now at the bottom of Lake N asser. (Of course, there can be no comparison between Egypt and Bell Island, except that the same principle applies there h as to be a bit of give and take provided no damage is done to E xumas precious marine park. If the scientists confirm that E xuma Land and Sea Park will not be damaged by the Aga Khans activities at Bell Island, then it is only reasonable that the prince should have access to h is private property and this can only be done by boat, and, as night follows day, a boat needs a channel. Ed). C M Y K C M Y K EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PAGE 4, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 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 W EBSITE www.tribune242.com updated daily at 2pm SPEAKING at a ceremony to celebrate universal childrens day held at the Church of God of Prophecy, East Street E ducation Minister Desmond Bannister r eminded Bahamian students of their good fortune. He also reminded them of how much in that forward motion called progress had b een left behind, especially that gentle, courteous nature that marked Bahamians as ap eople apart. When I was growing up good manners w as not something you chose to have, but something that you were compelled to learn and were happy to actively practice, Mr Bannister said. In those days and even before Mr Ban n isters time a curse word was not some thing that was tolerated from the lips of a y oung person. Even men were careful about using foul language in the presence of a woman. Front page news in those days was made by persons, usually inebriated, who were a rrested and fined for the use of profane and indecent language to the annoyance o f a police officer. And possibly the harshest profanity that irritated the sensitive ear of t he officer was the word damn. Today in their everyday conversation people, both young and old, male and female, seem to try to outdo one another in crude profanity. The f word has become their favourite it is uttered in almost every sentence. It is heard on television, it is heard i n boisterous conversation, it is even heard in circles that cause eyebrows to raise. You h ear it in the home, and out of the home. This society has indeed become a coarse society particularly among the younger generation, who seem to think profanity smart. Every time we hear it, we recall a day in the Supreme Court about 50 years ago w hen the late Sir Gerald Cash, former governor-general, then a young barrister, was a ppearing before the late Sir Oswald Ban croft. At that time we were the only woman reporting the courts. We were busy taking notes about the jooking and yucking up when all of a sudden Sir Gerald stopped and seemed to stammer. We looked up from our notes won-d ering what had caused the pause. There was Sir Gerald, the most courteous, well mannered gentleman that one could find anywhere, in a proper stew. He was gesticulating to old Bannie as we used toc all him. But, mlud, must I say it? plead ed Sir Gerald as he nodded his head towards the lone soul at the press table a woman. Say it, Sir Oswald instructed, shes in the court, shes got to learn. With beads of perspiration forming on his brow, the f word came from Sir Geralds mouth. Wek ept scribbling to ease his agony, pretending t hat we had heard nothing. At the end of the day he apologised. Even today when we hear the word we cringe and long for a Bahamas that has grad u ally slipped away into the shadows of the past. I n his day, said Mr Bannister, children were also taught to exercise a more heighte ned level of sensitivity towards animals, senior citizens, other children, the sick and to those less fortunate. As a society many of us are found wanting in many ways. There is terrible crueltyt owards animals and disrespect for our fel lowmen. O n November 24th, The Tribune published an article under the heading: The Bahamas backs removing protection for gay people in UN resolution. We expected an outcry from an offended public that any prot ection would be removed from any group of persons in society. But not a squeak, exceptt he sarcastic barb that we can always expect from the pen of Dr Ken Knowles, expressing h is disapproval. Either no one cared, or they were so distracted by the killings, robbings and general mayhem in the community that they did not notice. However, the newspapers had misinterpreted the vote. We understand that the res olution as presented will be released to thep ress today with the suggested amendment, for which the Bahamas voted. A pparently, the resolution condemned all forms of killings even those for sexual orientation It was suggested that rather than singling out any one group, the words should be that all forms of killing should be condemned for any reason whatsoever The Bahamas voted for the latter believi ng it was more inclusive and took in all persons, including those of different sexual prefe rences. And so, in fact, the Bahamas excluded no one, voted instead for the protection of all persons whether they were isolated by their politics, religion, sexual orientation, or belonged to a different ethnic background. In other words, the Bahamas believed it wase mbracing all mankind to the exclusion of none. Today as we look around and see the suffering, the deprivation, the poverty and all the ills of the peoples of many nations,B ahamians have much to be thankful for. However, there is also much need for self examination and improvement, because too many are letting our country down. We must avoid trying to create acrimony for foreign investors LETTERS firstname.lastname@example.org Bahamians have much to be thankful for Straw vendors are ungrateful
THE National Congress of Trade Unions have chosen a new president, it was announced Wednesday night. J ennifer Isaacs-Dotson was elected by some 54 delag ates at the bodys triennial general meeting. A ccording to Mrs Isaacs-Dotson, formerly the assistant secretary general of the NCTUB, the first order of businessw ill be addressing the needs and concerns of the affiliate m embers, in addition to improving unity within the trade union movement. Mrs Isaacs-Dotson said: The affiliates pay to be a part of the congress and they need representation, and that really is going to be the focus to truly represent the views and issues that the affiliates are experiencing. Mrs Isaacs-Dotson is the president of the Union of Ter t iary Educators of the Bahamas (UTEB In October, Mrs Isaacs-Dotson was elected and sworn in as the second vice-president of the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCLh eld in Grenada. T he CCL is a regional body that promotes the welfare and interests of affiliated labour organisations and has as its aim to fight for the economic, social, educational, and cultural rights of workers in Caribbean trade union move ments, among other things. Mrs Isaacs-Dotson is the first Bahamian woman to assume a leadership role in the Caribbean-wide organisation. O n her election to the helm of the NCTU, Mrs IsaacsDotson said: Its overwhelming, its humbling, its quite an honour that your peers would select you to such an office. Its quite a humbling experience and one that I accept withg reat humility. VETERAN prosecutor C heryl Grant-Bethell and her legal team were back in court yesterday, where they indicated more time was needed for the filing of additional applications. Mrs Grant-Bethel is expected back in court again next Friday. She has filed an appli cation for a judicial review after being passed over forthe post of director of public prosecutions (DPP The job was given to Jamaican attorney, Vinette Graham-Allen. The main hearing in the matter will begin on January 17, 2011. The law firm Graham Thompson and Co will be r epresenting Attorney Gen eral John Delaney and the Office of the Attorney General. Evans and Company will represent the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JSLC Munroe will represent Mrs Grant-Bethel. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010, PAGE 5 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By NATARIO McKENZIE Tribune Staff Reporter n email@example.com BISHOP Earl Randy Fraser was expected to testify yesterday in his sex trial, however the case stalled again as his attorney Wayne Munroe was said to be ill. B ishop Frasers retrial, which began last May, was s cheduled to continue yest erday with testimony from Bishop Fraser. Bishop Frasers attorneys had indicated previously that 25 witnesses would be called to testify on his behalf. Attorney Jiram Mangra, w ho appeared on behalf of Mr Munroe, informed Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethel that Mr M unroe was ghastly ill, a nd was seeking an adjournment in the case. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Franklyn Williams suggested that Mr Mangra could proceed with other witnesses in Mr M unroes absence as there was no imperative that Bishop Fraser testify first. However, there were no other w itnesses present. O utside court, Mr Mangra said that 22 persons had been confirmed to appear as defence witnesses. Bishop Fraser is expected back in Court today. He has pleaded not guilty to having u nlawful sex with a 16-yearold girl between July 2005 and February 2006. He was acquitted of the charge in 2007, but theC ourt of Appeal ordered a retrial. T he alleged victim in the case, who is now 20, testif ied that she and Fraser had s ex around 12 times a month at his home and office at Pilgrim Baptist Temple in St James Road. Attorney Wayne Munroe made a "no case submission" on August 16, arguing t he charge was duplicitous as each alleged sexual encounter should be treated as a separate count. However, Magistrate B ethel ruled the charge was not duplicitous on Septem-b er 2. Fraser remains on $10,000 bail. I NSTALLATION and upgrade work of W ater and Sewerage laterals begins today on M arket Street between Wulff Road and A ndros Avenue. The work will continue until Monday, December 6 and will result in the full c losure of Market Streetbetween the hours of 10pm-5am. Motorists are asked to observe traffic man a gement signs in place and travel with caution w hile the work is being carried out. Detours will b e clearly marked to allow for the safety of p edestrians and motorists, the Ministry of P ublic Works and Transport said in a statem ent. T he ministry said it would like to thank the public for its continued support and patience d uring the construction period. We apologise for any inconvenience that m ay be caused by this closure and request that t he public use the alternate routes provided, u sing East Street onto Andros Avenue to Mark et Street. t ftf ttff ttf Bishop Randy Fraser sex trial stalls again Cheryl Grant-Bethel and legal team back in court New president chosen for the NCTU WORK ON WATER AND SEWERAGE LATERALS BEGINS TODAY N EWPRESIDENT: J ennifer Isaacs-Dotson TRIAL: Bishop Earl Randy Fraser
By DENISE MAYCOCK T ribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT HIV/AIDS infections have declined as ar esult of the anti-retroviral drugs that are available to pregnant mothers and persons with HIV, it was reported on Wednesday during a ceremony marking World AIDS Day. Mavis Ward, chairperson of the Grand Bahama AIDSA wareness Committee, said the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases have been decreasing since last year. The group that was normally affected is the child b earing age from 16-44 years, a nd we have seen a decrease in this age group because of the anti-retroviral drugs that the Ministry of Health has made available for pregnantm others and persons infected with HIV, she said. Ms Ward stressed that AIDS awareness is the key to preventing the spread of the disease on Grand Bahama. W orld AIDS Day is recogn ised every year on December 1. The theme for this year was Universal Access and Human Rights. I n Grand Bahama, stud ents, teachers, and health c are professionals attended this years World AIDS Day c eremony at the Foster B Pestaina Centre. K yle Maycock, youth direct or at the Freeport Bible Church, was the guest speake r. Dr Kelafo Collie, a general p ractitioner, also spoke about sexually transmitted diseases a nd HIV. M r Maycock noted that the United Nations estimates that more than two per cent of the adult population in the B ahamas is living with HIV. H e also stated that it was reported that higher preval ence rates are found in SubSaharan Africa, with the C aribbean being the second m ost affected region in the w orld. Today we join millions around the world, some of whom gather in auditoriums, schools, churches, many in their homes, people frome very race, religion and socioeconomic class, people every a ge and stage in life to recogn ise World AIDS Day 2010, he said. World AIDS Day, he said, i s a sober reminder that the f ight against HIV/AIDS con tinues. Mr Maycock said the world h as made tremendous progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which has decreased worldwide. H e said UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) reports for last year show that the number of annual AIDSrelated deaths worldwide is s teadily decreasing from the p eak of 2.1 million in 2004, to an estimated 1.8 million in 2009. The youth director further said the report indicated thatt he decline reflects the i ncreased availability of antir etroviral therapy, as well as care and support to people l iving with HIV, particularly in middle and low income c ountries. A new UNAIDS report claims that the world has f inally turned the corner on the AIDS epidemic, citing ad ownward trend in new HIV infections and AIDS related d eaths over the past decade a nd stabilisation of the number of people living with HIV, he said. Mr Maycock noted that a lthough these advancements a nd victories are to be celebrated, there are still millions g lobally with no access to essential prevention, treatm ent and care due to fear of discrimination, financial limitations and lack of awareness. M s Ward said the Grand B ahama AIDS Awareness Committee continues to sensitise the public about H IV/AIDS by taking the mes sage of prevention to the schools, by distributing pre-v ention flyers to the public, and hanging posters at public places, such as at gas stations, barber shops and beauty salons. According to statistics dating from 1985 to 2009, the total number of AIDS infecte d persons stands at 435 in G rand Bahama. Of that number, 125 persons are alive and 310 have died. A ccording to overall statis tics, the number of persons testing positive for HIV in theB ahamas from 1985 2009 was 5,562. Of that, 5,545 are alive. The number of cumulative cases of AIDS reported in the Bahamas stands at 2,085. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM EVERY effort will be made in the Bahamas to maintain a safe and supportive environ ment that will facilitate voluntary disclosure of a persons HIV status, said Education Minister Desmond Bannister. The Ministry of Health is committed to e nsuring that the most vulnerable to HIV can access testing, treatment and care, and we must continue to promote not only a medical, but also a social and legal environment that is supportive of safe and voluntary disclosure of HIV status, he told students on the occasion of World AIDS Day. Under the theme, Universal Access and Human Rights, the Ministry of Health in col laboration with the Ministry of Education held the annual World AIDS Day School Assem bly. The event was held at the S C McPherson Junior High School on Tuesday, one day before World AIDS Day on December 1. Delivering the World AIDS Day message, Minister Bannister told students that World AIDS Day provides an important opportunityf or government, national AIDS programmes, communities and the business community to assist with curbing the spread of the disease. It is a reminder to all of us that HIV has not gone away and there is still much work to be done, said Mr Bannister. Recent reports suggest that the incidence is on the rise for some countries where we were seeing a decline. He said that experts believe that this is due to the effectiveness of treatment that may have resulted in a lack of fear of death. Another belief, said the minister, is that there is still a stigma attached to the disease. Another myth often cited is that only certain kinds of people who engage in certain types of behaviour can get HIV/AIDS, he added. Drugs help to decrease HIV/AIDS infections MAVIS WARD, chairperson of the Grand Bahama AIDS Awareness Committee, speaks at the World AIDS Day ceremony held at theF oster B Pestaina Centre. Dr Kelafo Collie (in pink shirt s tudents about sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Kyle Mayc ock, youth director of Freeport Bible Church, was the guest speake r at this years World AIDS Day ceremony. BAHAMAS SEEKS TO BE SAFE AND SUPPORTIVE OVER HIV/AIDS O N-SONG: S TUDENTS of the Anatol Rodgers Senior High School choir perform during the annual World AIDS Day School Assembly held at the S C McPherson Junior High School on Tuesday, November 30. Universal Access and Human Rights was the theme, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Health in col-l aboration with the Ministry of Education.
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010, PAGE 7 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By MEGAN REYNOLDS T ribune Staff Reporter email@example.com F ILM lovers can indulge in a celebration of cinema from around the world this weekend as the BahamasI nternational Film Festival (BIFFup of movies at the JFK G alleria Cinemas. The screening of 66 documentaries, features and short films about everythingf rom environmental dangers t o the complexities of love began yesterday with 18 movies played at the Galle-r ia Cinema and an exclusive screening of the British comedy Tamara Drewe shown as the opening nightf ilm at the Atlantis Theatre o n Paradise Island last night. Filmmakers have come to N assau from as far away as Ethiopia to share their films at the festival and will be present at the screenings to talk about the making of the movies and take questions from the audience. There will be a total of 32 movies played at the Galle ria Cinema today, another 25 will be shown tomorrow and 19 will be played at the cinema on Sunday, the final day of the festival. The British independent film and rumoured Oscar contender The Kings Speech, starring Colin Firth, Geoffery Rush and Helena Bonham-Carter, will be the closing night film played at the Atlantis the atre on Sunday night. Todays line-up includes some of the 14 films made in the Bahamas or by Bahamian filmmakers, such as The Kindly Ones written and directed by Tribune chief reporter Rupert Mis sick Jr, and Contact Zone by Bahamian filmmaker Gustavious Smith. Although the opening and closing night films are somewhat exclusive events with tickets priced at $40 each, admission to all other movies is just $8 per person to ensure the films are more widely accessible. BIFF founder and execu tive director Leslie Vander p ool said: Hollywood has come to the Bahamas and thats very rare. We have made it accessible for everyone to not only see the films, but also meet the directors, the film m akers, the producers and t he actors. We are a young festival that is getting a lot of traction around the world and the local community needs to really embrace this opportunity. Director Jonathan Segal will discuss his film Norman, which tells the story about a troubled high school boy who pretends to be dying of cancer, follow ing its first festival showing at Galleria Cinemas tonight. The film featuring Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins and Adam Goldberg also introduces fresh young talent to the screen. Other highly anticipated films to be shown tonight include Budrus, an actionfilled documentary made by J ulia Bacha, which chronicles the formation of an inspiring, yet little-known movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today. The movement started w hen a man who seeks to u nite Palestinians from all political factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel's Sep aration Barrier. Victory seemed improbable until his 15-year-old daughter launches a women's contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Also playing tonight will be horror film Chain Let ter, the story about how a high school girl and her friends receive a series of foreboding e-mail chain letters with no idea of the terror that awaits them, and Hollow, a sensitive obser vation about the nature of addiction. For full details of films and show times log on to www.bintlfilmfest.com. BACK by popular demand, the Michael Pintard-penned drama Not My GoodC hild will return for a three-show encore run this weekend. Featuring both veterans and newcomers to the stage, the play addresses the anger and violence that exists in the Bahamas today. I t tells the story of seven persons accused o r convicted of murder, giving a glimpse i nside their minds, hearts and histories. Among the characters are a drug dealer; a woman tired of abuse; an angry Bahamian youth born to Haitian parents; the trader who beats homosexuals by day, but deals with them by night for money and things; thes mart youth who lusts for street credibility, and the vigilante fed up with the failure of the system. Alongside these Bahamians accused of m urder you will get to see a government minister, a lawyer, accountant and maid argue about the root of the violence and the possible solutions. The encore shows will be shown tomorrow a t 8pm at the National Centre for the Perf orming Arts on Shirley Street and on Sund ay at 3pm and again at 6pm at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts on Mackey Street. The cast includes Philcher Grant, Judith Dawkins, Mark Gardiner, Remardo Russell, Luckner Timothee, Kirk Smith, AndreC artwright, Brian Roxbury, Tameka Forbes and Olivia Dorsett. C LOSINGNIGHTFILM: C olin Firth portrays King George VI in The King's Speech. (AP A film lovers paradise at BIFF GEMMA ANDERTON stars in Tamara Drewe. Stage play Not My Good Child is back by popular demand SINGAPORE A ssociated Press SINGAPOREcharged a former U.S. college football player with 21 counts of money l aundering on Wednesday, adding to accus ations he overstayed his visa that could end i n caning and a long prison term. P rosecutors said that over the past two y ears Kamari Charlton a former reserve tight end for Florida State University r eceived $243,000 that was the proceeds of i llegal activity. I n one instance, he was allegedly involved i n duping an Australian into wiring him $16,850. The 37-year-old Charlton, who was born in the Bahamas, faces a fine of up to 500,000 Singapore dollars ($379,000t o seven years, or both, for each charge. Charlton also faces a possible caning for overstaying his 90-day tourist visa by sixw eeks. If found guilty of the visa charge, Charlton would be the first American citizen c aned in Singapore since 1994, when thent eenager Michael Fay was punished for vandalism. Charlton has been in jail since his arrest S ept. 1 on the visa violation and has not yet entered a plea, said Hamidul Haq, Charlton's lawyer. H aq said he had not yet spoken to his c lient about the charges filed Wednesday. The Southeast Asian country boasts one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world, but human rights groups often criticize the government for severe punishments, such as a mandatory death penalty for drug traf f ickers. Singapore charges Bahamian-American with 21 counts of money laundering 66 documentaries, features and short films on the big screen Share your news The Tribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the area or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and share your story.
Opposition said his party feels t he country has been short changed. The control of BTC would b e in the hands of the people of the Bahamas. We did not t hink that we would go and sell BTCs controlling inter e st to a foreign group that is w hy we purposefully kept it below 50 per cent, Mr Christie said. Why would a government of the Bahamas want to sell 51 per cent and get $50 mil l ion less and not understand t hat a special value should go for that additional two per cent. These people now have total charge for the decision making once it is executed, he added. I n a press announcement released late Wednesday night, it was announced that t he government will receive any excess net cash in BTC over and above $15 million the sum will be calculated at completion and subject to a normal level of working capi t al being maintained in the company. In addition, contractual terms, consents ando ther regulatory clearances t hat will complete the acqui sition of 51 per cent interest and privatisation of the countrys only telecommunications provider are expect ed to be finalized in the first q uarter of 2011. When asked about the crit icism that has been raised a lready about the sale of the corporation, Prime Minister H ubert Ingraham told a R otary group yesterday that the government is absolutely satisfied with the price they g ot for BTC. We went to competitive bidding and nobody matchedt he price that Cable and W ireless offered. We are very, very pleased with the price we got, the terms we got, and we believe it is in the best interest of the Bahamas notwithstanding what any b ody else says, Mr Ingraham answered. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM took the sample and basically disappeared. We called several other departments, i ncluding Earl Deveauxs office, but no one wants to even look at it. They tried to say it wasnt BP oil, then they tried to say its beent here a while it just washed up. I dont know. A lot of people are interested in off-shore drilling, maybe they dont want it to get out, but something has to be done. I have three houses on Cat Island, if this gets out it could definitely hurt our business, but its not right. Weve sent it to at least three or four different government agencies but its like no-one is talking about it, like theyre keeping every-t hing hush-hush. That isnt right. The oil was said to be widespread and visible in several locations along the shorelineo f the island. Although it was said to not stick to the sand, the crude-looking material could be seen clinging to rocks. Messages left for Environment Minister Earl Deveaux seeking comment on the matter were not returned before press time last night. ey," the Prime Minister told The Tribune when asked about his government's plan for a new hospital. With proceeds from the sale of the state-owned telecommunications compa ny, BTC, earmarked for debt servicing, PMH may have to wait for a while before it sees the improvement it so des perately needs. Mr Ingraham added: "There is no other way than to borrow. It will not be in this term, it's not possible. We hope the economy turns around in a way that will cause us to be able to build a new hospital for the Bahamas. We badly need a new public hospital, badly. P LP LEADER P erry Christie and Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell accompanied by Exumas MP Anthony Moss Christie hits out at bad deal in the sale of BTC FROM page one Pr obe into oil on beach demanded BTC sale money will go to national debt FROM page one FROM page one Share your news The Tribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the area or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986a nd share your story.
WASHINGTON THEdiscovery of a strange bacteria that can use arsenic as one of itsn utrients widens the scope f or finding new forms of life on Earth and possibly beyond, according to Assoc iated Press. While researchers discovered the unusual bact eria here on Earth, they s ay it shows that life has p ossibilities beyond the major elements that havebeen considered essential. "This organism has dual capability. It can grow with either phosphorous or arsenic. That makes it very peculiar, though it falls short of being some form of truly 'alien' life," com mented Paul C. W. Davies of Arizona State University, a co-author of the report appearing in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science. Six major elements have long been considered essential for life carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. But the researchers found that the bacteria, discovered in Mono Lake, Calif., is able to continueto grow after substituting arsenic for phosphorous. "It makes you wonder what else is possible," said Ariel D. Anbar of Arizona State University, a coauthor of the report. The find is important in the search for life beyond Earth because researchers need to be able to recog nize life, to know what life looks like, Anbar said. The study focuses on a microbe found on Earth. However, the announce ment of a news conferenceto discuss it, which did not disclose details of the find, generated widespread speculation on the Internet that the report would disclose the discovery of extraterrestrial life. It didn't. The discovery "does show that in other planetary environments organisms might be able to use other elements to drive biochemistry and that the 'standard' set of elements we think are absolutely necessary for life might not be so fixed," commentedC harles Cockell, professor a t the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, Open University, in M ilton Keynes, United Kingdom. Cockell was not part of the research team. This work is novel b ecause it shows the subs titution of one element for another in fundamental biochemistry and bio chemical structure," added Cockell. It wasn't a chance discovery. Felisa Wolfe-Simon of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, who led the study, targeted Mono Lake because it has high arsenic levels. Arsenic and phosphorous are chemically similar, so she speculated that a microbe exposed to both might be able to substitute one for the other. "Arsenic is toxic mainly because its chemical behavior is so similar to that of phosphorus. As a result, organisms have a hard time telling these ele ments apart. But arsenic is different enough that it doesn't work as well as phosphorus, so it gets in there and sort of gums up the works of our biochem ical machinery," explained Anbar. The researchers collected the bacteria known as GFAJ-1 and exposed it to increasing concentrations of arsenic, which it was able to adapt to and grow. The microbe does grow better on phosphorous, but showing that it can live with arsenic instead raises the possibility that a life form using arsenic could occur naturally, either else where on Earth or on another planet or moon where arsenic is more com mon. Jamie S. Foster, an assis tant professor of microbi ology at the University of Florida, said the idea that arsenic could be substitut ed for phosphorous isn't new, but there has never been example where it was shown to work. Arsenic was more com mon in the early times on E arth, she said, so r esearchers have speculat ed that early life forms might have used it. It does suggest that that there could be other ways to form life, not just how l ife formed on early E arth," said Foster, who w as not part of WolfeSimon's research team. The research was sup ported by NASA, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. a revival of the Bahamian economy than a revival int ourism, and year-on-year p erformance shows significant i ncreases in 2010 over 2009 in six of the nine months through September. Each of the last five months represented significant improve-m ents over the correspondi ng period in the previous y ear, in what appears to be a clear trend of tourism revival. An additional sign of an economic rebound is that for-e ign direct investment, the "critical barometer of economic well being", saw an i ncrease of 3.5 per cent during t he first six months of 2010 compared to the same period last year. The rate of increase of nonperforming loans has also slowed, said Mr Ingraham,w hich is "another signal of changing fortunes." He said when added to a modest rate of increase in the US economy, these developments can be seen as early signs of an economic recov-e ry. "Most important for projections of employment stability and growth are a number of ongoing infrastructure and construction projects, b oth private and public, which a re continuing and in some c ases nearing completion o pening opportunities for permanent employment in new premises coming on stream. "We are able now to identify a number of proposed foreign direct investment spend-i ng over the next four years and domestic investment spending within the next three years. Together, these projects have the potential of unleashing the kind of dynamismw ithin our economy that can bring unemployment to a low level and create the economic platform which will enable us to pursue the advances in education, health and social a nd business development a nd systemic efficiencies that w ould substantially progress o ur broad national development," Mr Ingraham said. On the sidelines of the Rotary meeting, Mr Ingraham said sales in the retail sector have seen an upswing, anoth-e r indication of positive economic performance. "Indications from the government's point of view is a lways revenue, because i mport produces revenue. Merchants are never willing to say precisely what their intakes are if only because of the fear of criminal activity. But sales have been goingf airly well in the retail sector and we expect it to be a reasonably good Christmas," said Mr Ingraham. T he sale of BTC, its priv atisation and the eventual liberalisation of the cellular market all bode well for the economy, Mr Ingraham added, while consumers are expected to gain access toh igher quality and more affordable telecommunications services all across The Bahamas. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010, PAGE 9 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM PM:unemployment rate levelling off F ROM page one Microbe discovered that can use ar senic as a nutrient M ONO LAKE TUFA TOWERS a re seen in this Monday, Nov. 15, 2004, file photo near Lee Vining, Calif. The discovery of a strange bacteria that can use arsenic as one of its nutrients widens the scope for finding new forms of life on Earth and possibly beyond. But the researchers found that the bacteria, discovered i n Mono Lake, California, is able to continue to grow after substituting arsenic for phosphorous. (AP
By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Having agreed to grant Cable and Wireless (CWC an amended three-year, rather than two-year monop oly on cellular telephone services, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham confirmed yesterday that bidding on a rival cellular licence will not begin until the monopoly period has expired. This essentially means that it could be quite some time after 2014 and the formal end of BTCs monopoly on cellular service some have suggested at least two years, considering the length of time the bidding and negotiation process will take, and any infrastructure build out thatwill be required before com petition is introduced into this key communications sector. In a statement released yesterday morning, confirming the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU with Cable and Wireless for the sale of the 51 per cent majority equity stake in BTC, it was revealed that the Government has agreed to grant the company a three year monopoly on cellular service. The Government plans to amend the timeline for liber alisation of the mobile sector, so that the liberalisation will commence no sooner than three years after privatisation, said the statement. Revenues from cellular telephone service make up two-thirds of BTCs revenues, and it has been suggested that the extension of the monopoly on this service for Cable & Wireless may have been offered as a compromise in return for the company agreeing not to fire 30 per cent of BTCs employees ,as Mr Ingraham had said they initially wanted to do upon completion of the transaction. Asked yesterday during a question and answer period, following a speech on the economy at a Rotary Club of West Nassau luncheon at the Hilton yesterday, when the Government intends to open the bidding for the second celC M Y K C M Y K SECTIONB email@example.com FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 THETRIBUNE $4. 68 $4. 51 $4. 69The information contained is from a third party and The Tribune can not be held responsible for errors and/or omission from the daily report.$ $4.30 $4.45 $4.34 By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor a nd DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter The Bahamian and Caribbean energy markets generate higher rates of return than Grand Bahama Power Companys new 80.4 per cent majority shareholder can earn back in the US a nd Canada, Tribune Business was told yesterday, after Emera confirmed it was investing $82 million to acquire the 55.4 per cent stake held by Japanese conglomerate, Marubeni. T he Canadian power giant, which yesterday pledged to improve the reliability and consistency of Grand Bahama Pow e r Companys electricity supply through investing $35 million in constructing a new power plant for the island, a 10-12 month p roject that would create 80-100 jobs, acknowledged that Freeport needed more dependable and efficient generation. Admitting that the current situation on Grand Bahama has $35m plant set to create 80-100 jobs Emera confirms Tribune Business revelations of $ 82m purchase of Marubenis 55.4% controlling i nterest in Grand Bahama Power Company Moves takes Canadian power giants equity stake to 80.4%,n and total Grand Bahama investment to $ 123m, valuing power firm at $148m Bahamian investors holdings valued at $19.6m Japanese exit likely to be welcomed, as Emera also unveils wind turbine plans for Grand Bahama SEE page 5B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor A leading Bahamian airline executive yesterday slammed as fundamentally flawed Customs investigation of operators who had allegedly not paid the 10 per cent duty on imported aircraft, alleging that the demands would scuttle any plans for a Bahamian aircraft registry and drive people out of the sector. Captain Randy Butler, president of Sky Bahamas, in a November 30, 2010, letter replying to Customs Comp troller Glenn Gomezs demand that he contact the department within 14 days to prevent his planes being Aircraft 10% duty demand is fundamentally flawed RANDYBUTLER Operator says move will scuttle plans for Bahamas aircraft registry SEE page 4B B y NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor The Bahamas Telecommunications C ompanys (BTC targeting a 10-15 percentage point increase in its operating (EBITDA i nitial statement of ambition, it was r evealed yesterday, its management team disclosing that the Government had moved to slash the number of new cellular market entrants to one from two in the first f ive years of liberalisation. Cable & Wireless Communications BTC buyer targets 10 to 15% pt margin rise n Cable & Wireless management team reveal just one cellular rival to BTC will enter market in first five years, and that government will take care of any existing pension fund deficit n BTC may not make traditional $90-$100m operating income in 2010, buyer says, due to billing and AT&T rate issues n BTC has just 35% broadband share, but no capex deficit issues due to $50m annual spend over five years n Bahamas attraction clear from Jamaica and Barbados incomes being 40% and 75% below nation respectively SEE page 2B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor The trade unions representing Bahamas Telecom munications Company (BTC middle management and line staff yesterday estimated that Cable & Wireless Communi cations (CWC more than $22 million per year if it reduced the compa nys workforce by 30 per cent, as the potential buyer pledged BTC UNIONS ES TIMA TE $22M RESTRUCTURE COST Cable & Wireless pledges to engage as quickly as possible with unions, and chief says: Im sure we can reach a mutually agreeable point Says buyer keen to promote and progress Bahamian management of BTC SEE page 4B By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org A critical barometer of the countrys economic health, the level of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI coming into the Bahamas, reversed its downslide this year registering a 3.5 per cent increase over 2009. Charging that the Bahamas is on the precipice of experiencing the growth it needs to relieve many of its social ills, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham added that there are a number of proposed Foreign Direct Investment projects in New Providence and Grand Bahama and else where which could cause a significant turnaround in Bahamian economic fortunes. Together, these projects have the potential of unleashFOREIGN INVESTMENT UP 3.5% YEAR-ON-YEAR Tim Clarke/Tribune staff PRIME MINISTER Hubert Ingraham was a guest speaker yesterday for the Rotary Club which there meeting at the British Colonail Hilton. Concerns on cell monopoly SEE page 3B SEE page 4B
By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor Grand Bahama business leaders yesterday described as fantastic news the move by Emera to take complete control at the islands electricity supplier via its $82 million buyout of Marubeni, expressing h opes that its willingness to invest $35 million in a new generation plant will stabilise and possibly lower energyr ates, unleashing increased foreign direct investment. F red Smith QC, the Callend ers & Co attorney and partn er, who has been a strident critic of Grand Bahama Power Companys inconsistent power supply at relatively high rates,said he hoped the Canadian energy giants commitment to a n ew plant would reverse the h istoric cash drain at the utili ty, with funds being taken out a s dividends as opposed to being reinvested. Historically, there has been a cash drain from reinvestment in the facilities of Grand Bahama Power Company, Mr S mith told Tribune Business, adding that he hoped the his-t orical direction of taking m oney out as opposed to investing it inwards was over. I hope it will have the ben efit to the community of providing lower power costs and, hopefully, that ties into their [the Power Companys] ability to act as an incubator for foreign direct investment, Mr Smith said. One of the greatest criticisms of the Power Company has been that power appears to cost an awful lot in Freeport for a very second rate service. T he plant is ancient and being fixed all the time. Its been a band-aid plant for many years. Numerous Freeport busi n esses, especially those in the industrial sector, such as Poly-m ers International, Vopak ( Bahamas), the Freeport Cont ainer Port, Freeport Harbour Company and Pharmachem, have bitterly complained about the relatively high electricity costs in Grand Bahama when compared to other jurisdictions. I n some cases, Grand B ahama Power Companys r ates were alleged to be six t imes higher, and these firms have been quietly lobbying and meeting behind the scenes to see how these can be reduced. Otherwise, with their competitiveness and cost base impaired, s ome might be forced to leave the Bahamas. M r Smith said Emeras move t o buy out Marubenis 55.4 per cent Grand Bahama Power C ompany stake, thus taking its now-controlling equity interest to 80.4 per cent, would allow it to bring a very deliberate and focused strategy for the future. This was especially since Emera now has complete Board and m anagement control, enabling it to have sole influence overi ts investments future direction. It is obviously a very strateg ic investment in a pretty much unregulated environment, and I would hope they [Emera]w ould bring to the table their e xpertise and their resources, not only in properly managing the Grand Bahama PowerC ompany, but using the opport unity to promote investment and development from Canada and elsewhere, Mr Smith told Tribune Business. Poised Freeport remains poised, as i t always has been, to succeed b eyond anyones wildest dreams, and there are legions of opportunities for businesses to d evelop in Freeport. T he noted attorney also encouraged Emera to again revisit the prospects for lique fied natural gas (LNG F reeport, especially in supply i ng Florida and the southeast ern US via a pipeline and ter minal from Freeport. It is a crying shame that L NG opportunities were stopped, particularly Tractebel, which was prepared to invest $700 million, nearly $1 billion over a five-year period, in this, Mr Smith said. M eanwhile, K P Turnquest, t he Grand Bahama Chamber o f Commerces president, d escribed Emeras acquisition of Marubenis stake as fantastic news, fantastic news. Were very happy to have Emera, in the first instance, take over as the majority shareh older, because they can have a c lear vision and singular vision a s to where they are going with i t. Rather than having to debate away with their partners, they can set a course and achieve it, Mr Turnquest said. They have the resources and expertise to do that. Praising Emera for announcing the creation of 80 construction jobs in the building of G rand Bahamas new $35 mill ion power plant, Mr Turnquest a lso backed the Canadian powe r giants plans to erect two one MegaWatt (MW on the island next year as part of is renewable energy testing. It shows theyre aggressively tackling the issue of sustaina bility and dependence on foss il fuels, which is volatile, Mr T urnquest said. They are showing they have vision, and will attempt to address volatility in rates. On the issue of electricity rates and power costs on Grand B ahama, the Chamber president added: They [Emera] indicated that they hope with this new plant theyre bringing on, it will both increase efficiency of power generation and consistency, and it should stabilise power rates once constructed. M r Turnquest said Emera had indicated that fuel savingsf rom the new plant would offset c apital costs associated with the n ew construction and global oil p rice fluctuations, with the hope being that electricity rates on Grand Bahama, if not reduced, would at least stabilise. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 2B, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Emera takeover at GB Power is fantastic news Business leaders hail $82m purchase of Marubenis 55.4% stake, taking interest to 8 0%, expressing hope deal and $35m power plant will lead to lower electricity rates Attorney hopes cash drain reversed with more funds a vailable for reinvestment, adding energy in Freeport costs an awful lot for very second-rate service Adds that band-aid plant days should be over, and encourages renewed focus on LNG FRED SMITH K P TURNQUEST (CWC details, not disclosed by the Government, regarding their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU a nd management control for $210 million during a conference call with London-based ana l ysts, adding that they expected the deal to be cash flow and earnings accretive immediatel y. Tim Pennington, chief financial officer of CWC, which operates in the Caribbean as LIME, in confirming that BTC would enjoy a three-year exclusivity period on its cellular m onopoly post-privatisation, stunned the Bahamian telecommunications market by r evealing that just one mobile competitor will enter the market in the next five years. T hat marks a change from the Governments initial stated position which, apart from setting out a two-year cellular exclusivity post-privatisation, envisaged the awarding of at least two competitor licences. M r Penningtons statement yesterday indi cated that only one competitor may be allowed i nto the Bahamian cellular market before 2019, or at the earliest 2017 assuming liberalisation starts in the 2014 first quarter, as the CWC deal is expected to be consummated in the 2011 first quarter. That is a big change. God knows it is surprising, one rival Bahamian telecoms player said yesterday. Theres a huge difference between a duopoly and a liberalised market.T he cellular market, in which BTC has a monopoly, is seen as the most lucrative and important in the Bahamian market, the sector accounting for two-thirds of the companys revenues and most of its profits. Other revelations by Mr Pennington and CWC chief executive, Tony Rice, included the fact that the Government will take care of any deficit faced by the BTC employee pension fund, implying that the net purchase price may end up being less than $210 million. BTCs year-end accounts for 2009 showed that the pension plan had a $66.833 million deficit as at December 31, with plan assets of $197.034 million dwarfed by $263.868 million in liabilities. The pension liability was posted at $27.653 million, funds that would be required to make the plan whole if it was wound-up today, although one source suggested any liability for the Government, if it existed at all, was minimal based on current actuarial values. Mr Pennington described the BTC pension plan as a non-issue for CWC in terms of risk, but indicated that if the privatisation deal was concluded, it would convert it from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan, where the company made contributions based as a percentage of employee salaries. Pointing out that BTCs operating income (EBITDA $100 million per annum, hitting $101 million in 2009, Mr Pennington and Mr Rice said the company would be there or thereabouts in 2 010, so we do not see that changing in the business as is. H owever, they acknowledged that BTCs operating income might fall below $90-$100 m illion this year as the company has got one or two issues to deal with, namely problems with its billing system and a downward adjustment to termination rates in its contract with AT&T, the operator generating the largest volume of i ncoming calls to the Bahamas. Mr Pennington said BTC, apart from its 100 p er cent cellular monopoly, also enjoyed a dom inant 90 per cent share of the Bahamian fixedl ine market, although it appears that estimate does not include illegal VoIP and callback ser vices, just the competition by SRG. BTC, which generated $361 million in total revenues in 2009, and operating cash flow and n et income that both totalled $48 million, was also said by Mr Pennington to have a 35 per c ent share of the Internet broadband market with 19,000 customers. There were also 123,000 f ixed-line customers and 392,000 cellular customers. Acknowledging that BTC had no significant capital expenditure deficit that needs to be made up, the company having spent on average $50 million per annum over the last four years, Mr Rice said the companys networkw ould merely have to be integrated with LIMEs systems and Caribbean network. O utlining the attractions of BTC for CWC and LIME, Mr Rice said the Bahamas prox imity to the US and reliance on that market for 80 per cent of its tourists, in comparison to other Caribbean markets more reliant on Europe, together with low inflation, strong foreign direct investment interest and stable gov ernment, made the company a perfect fit with its existing regional interests. And with per capita incomes in Jamaica and Barbados some 40 per cent and 75 per cent lower, respectively, than the Bahamas, Mr Rice said CWC saw BTC and this nation oper ating in a slightly faster and stronger cycle. Adding that CWC saw a good and regular flow of dividends coming from BTC, as it was a mature company, Mr Rice said: We see good opportunities to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, and in so doing improve margins 10, 12, 15 points. When asked by analysts later on whether this meant CWC was targeting moving BTCs operating margins from their current 28 per cent to around 38-40 per cent, Mr Rice replied: I would never constrain EBITDA margins to that...... This is a good company, but subscale with a number of inefficiencies we can improve, and definitely lower operational expenditure across the customer base and enhance efficiency. If we can get to 40 per cent that will be good, but no doubt we will be looking to get beyond 40 per cent. Thats a statement of ambition, rather than a forecast. BTC buyer targets 10 to 15% pt margin rise FROM page 1B
By ALISON LOWE B usiness Reporter a email@example.com An Oxford University study that found one-third or 77B ahamian tourist resorts would be inundated by 2050, were a one-metre sea level rise to occur as a result of climate c hange, produced mixed react ions yesterday, with some suggesting there is no reason to panic. while others forecast this nation will be up the creekw ithout a paddle. And while former Bahamas Chamber of Commerce president, Dionisio DAguilar, said h e believes it is unlikely the G overnment will begin to address the impacts of sea level rise until the water is lapping at their doors, partly due to the lack of a tax base to fund any such efforts, Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA ident, Robert Sands, said he w as confident the Government a nd private sector has taken a proactive approach to the i ssue of climate change. C urrent Chamber of Commerce president, Khaalis Rolle, meanwhile, warned against immediate alarm in reactiont o the studys findings, suggesting that even though there is some empirical evidence to support that it (sea level rise from c limate change) is a huge t hreat, its still a very remote threat. Other environmental eventualities may be more pressing dangers. T heir responses came after Caribsave and Oxford University released a major study to coincide with the United N ations Climate Change conf erence in Cancun this week. It underlined the dire economic and social consequences for the Bahamas from climate change. T he comprehensive M odelling the Transformational Impacts and Costs of Sea Level Rise in the Caribbean study, h ighlighted in Tribune Business y esterday, suggested the Bahamas is among the most v ulnerable in the Caribbean to s ea level rise that is projected to result from climate change. It suggested the Bahamas is facing infrastructure andt ourism plant rebuilding costs of between $5.6 billion and $11 billion in 2050 if the phenomenon goes unchecked, and forec ast the tourism sector will i ncur annual losses of between $869 million and $946 million in 2050, and between $2.2 billion and $2.6 billion in 2080, as ar esult of the impact of sea level rise. The study forecast that almost $2 billion worth of sea wall works may be needed to p rotect Nassau and Freeport, a nd made special mention of Paradise Islands major resort properties, such as Atlantis, as being at signifcant risks hould a one metre sea level rise be incurred. Such impacts would tranform coastal tourism in the r egion, with implications for p roperty values, insurance costs, destination competitiven ess, marketing and wider i ssues of local employment and economic well-being for thousands of employees, said the study. R esponding to its findings, Mr Sands said it is no secret that the Bahamas, with its large amount of low-lying coastal l and, would be vulnerable to c limate change and rising sea levels should they occur He believes Government and private sector interests haveb egun to consider this in their planning and development, but will need to take such considerations even more seriousl y going forward. These matters will need to be considered with any policy and regulatory changes regarding potential zoning, buildingc odes and set-backs, Mr Sands said.Some developments in recent years have been designed to intentionally cons ider the possibility of higher s ea levels in the coming decades.To a certain extent, m itigation strategies addressi ng beach erosion, dune restoration and build up have been practiced and should be further considered where necessary. While this type of information bears consideration, it should not be cause for panic. Rather, it should serve as a r eminder of the need for pers onal, corporate and government diligence in how we preserve, protect and enhance our environment, and efforts to do s uch should be accelerated r egardless of any threat of dramatically rising sea levels forty years from now, the BHA President told Tribune Busi-n ess. He added that the BHA was satisfied and encouraged by the Governments proactive approach to this issue (climate c hange and its effects) by their r egular attendance at regional conferences that have raised these issues. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010, PAGE 3B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM lular licence, Mr Ingraham said: It will happen after that, referring to the end of the monopoly period which is expectedto come in the 2014 first quarter. Yesterday, business and telecommunications sector stakeholders expressed satisfaction at the announcement of the signing of the MOU with Cable & Wireless, but reservations and concern over the length of the monopoly on cellular telephone service and how this will mitigate against a significant reduction in costs remain. Speaking with Tribune Business about the MoU signing prior to Mr Ingrahams revelation that bidding for the other cellular licence will not begin until 2014 at the earliest, Paul Hutton-Ashkenny, president of Systems Resource Group (SRG IndiGo Networks, BTC's only legal rivalin the fixed-line telecoms market, said: I think in common with most people we are pleased there seems to be progress on privatisation. Its something the sector and the country has been crying out for a long time, but we are somewhat frustrated that the monopoly of BTC on mobile speech services seems to continue on now well into 2014. The extension of the mobile monopoly into 2014 is a price that the Bahami a n consumer and Bahamian economy will have to pay for the long-term, and we would take the view that the price that will be paid in the long-term far outweighs any perceived short-term advantage, said Mr Hutton-Ashkenny. Other private sector sources who approached Tribune Business on the issue yesterday suggested that while a number of non-productive jobs at BTC could have been lost through terminations had the Government not extended the monopoly, these could have been replaced or even eclipsed in number by the creation of more productive jobs in the telecommunications sector and the economy overall as a result of the increased competitiveness of the Bahamas as a business jurisdiction. The experience in other jurisdictions is that telecommunications is a signifi cant economic driver, and as markets have been liberalised all over the world, the additional investment in the market and jobs created benefits to the consumer and economy which are very significant. Unfortunately, we will not see the advan tage of that until sometime 2014, said Mr Hutton Ashkenny. Khaalis Rolle, president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and chief marketing officer at Bahamas Ferries, said he feels it would be difficult to arrive at a position on the privatisation at this time, having not yet seen what the plans are to improve the delivery services for the business community in terms of cost and reliability. Until I see what the plans are I am the least bit concerned about the actual pri vatisation, said Mr Rolle. In its statement on the MOU signing with C&W, the Government said the company will work with it and BTC management to finalise a business plan for BTC, addressing its plans for the modernisation of telecommunications throughout the Bahamas, for the development of BTC following privatisation, and how service rates charged to Bahamian consumers could be reduced in the period leading up to the liberali sation of cellular services. As a result of the privatisation of BTC and liberalisation of the cellular market, it is expected that consumers will benefit from more affordable access to higher quality services across all regions of the Bahamas. As a result of improved communications services, the Bahamas is also likely to become more competitive as a business and tourism destination, it added. FROM page 1B Concerns on cell monopoly Mixed reaction over climate change threat
ing the kind of dynamism in our economy that could bring unemployment to a low level. Indeed, I might say the lowest level ever, and create the economic platform that will e nable us to pursue the advances in education, health, social and business develop ment and systemic efficiencies that would substantially progress our broad national development, said Mr Ingraham. He was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of West Nassaus luncheon at the British Colonial Hilton. Mr Ingraham added that there are already public and private sector projects ongoing and nearing completion which will provide employment opportunities when finished, improving prospects for employment stability. However, he also warned of downsides and risks to our prospects, including the threat potentially posed by the continued economic sluggishness in the Eurozone economies. National debt issues continue to threaten several European countries with the potential of destabilising the eurozone and derailing theU S recovery, said Mr Ingraham. But he emphasised that overall he feels indicators sug gest a major opportunity for growth is now emerging for the Bahamas. A fter a bruising two years in which it suffered as a consequence of the global downturn, there are distinct signs that the worst is over and that the tide is beginning to turn, said the Prime Minister. For example, the critical barometer of economic well being, FDI, appears to have reversed its downward slide, as in the first six months of 2010 FDI has posted an increase of 3.5 per cent over the corresponding period of last year (during which it fell 22 per cent from 2008 figures). Another signal of change in fortunes is the significant slowdown in the rate of increase in non-performing loans. To this we add the improvement in tourism output, now also in evidence: Nothing is more critical to a revival of the Bahamian econ omy than a revival in tourism, and year-on-year performance shows significant increases in 2010 over 2009. In the last five months there were significant improvements over the correspond ing period last year, which appears to us to be a clear trend of tourism revival. Mr Ingraham also said that statistics from the National Insurance Board suggest that unemployment may have levelled off, with NIB statistics implying the rate of layoffs has slowed and some companies have begun hiring. Moderate improvements in the US economy also factor into positive forecasts for the Bahamas, he suggested. to engage as quickly as possible with them on the staff restructuring. CWC executives, addressing a London analysts conference on their $210 million non-binding agreement to purchase a 51 per cent stake in BTC, said the proposed downsizing likely to involve more than 400 staff would not require a massive sum to facilitate, although they declined to provide figures. The two unions, though, said that in addition to the $22 million per annum salary saving from any downsizing, the business process reengineering associated with this could save another $5 million, creating a $27 million saving that could go directly to the bottom line. Serving notice of their intent to negotiate new industrial agreements to replace the ones that expired at endSeptember 2010, the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union and Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union said they would only accept CWC as the majority owner if it provided a 5 per cent employee stock option plan (ESOP It also demanded no outsourcing of functions and jobs such as engineering and call centres to other Caribbean jurisdictions, and urged 100 per cent Bahamian leadership. Reiterating their opposition, the unions said that over the past three years the Government had received $200 million in income from BTC, including $100 million in dividends, $17 million in franchise fees, $30 million in business licence and other fees, and more than $30 million in Customs duties, plus $8 million in National Insurance Board contributions. With the 9 per cent stake the Government could sell to the Bahamian public immediately worth around $37 million, based on the CWC sale price, the unions said BTCs 2009 annual revenues were equivalent to 41 per cent of the revenue CWC derived from the region. They added that the 2 per cent management fee that CWC proposed to take from BTC in the first two years, and 3 per cent thereafter, amounted to $8-$12 million per annum, and called for the company to be sold to and managed by Bahamians first. Tony Rice, CWCs chief executive, said yesterday that the company would engage as quickly as possible with the unions over the planned restructuring, adding: Im sure we can reach a mutually agreeable point. One of the reasons why the Government chose us is that weve got local managers operating in local markets around the world, and its something were keen to promote and progress in the Bahamas. seized, said the planes in his fleet were not owned, but leased. Your letter indicated that your Department had no record of duty having been paid on aircraft, which we h ave purportedly imported a nd are using in the country, C aptain Butler wrote. You are using this revelation as the foundation for launching your request for unpaid duties. While we cannot presume as to what your investigations uncovered, we wish to emphatically state that the planes in our existing fleet are leased. The owners of these crafts will have to indicate whether or not taxes have been paid to Bahamas Customs. It is our view therefore that the investigation and consequent request is fundamentally flawed. It is our hope that clarity and a quick resolution would be brought to this outstanding matter. Captain Butler said too much uncertainty surround ed what Customs was attempting to do, questioning how far back it would go in attempting to extract retroac tive 10 per cent duty on imported planes. He pointed out that while the Tariff Act 2003 stipulated that all aircraft imported into the Bahamas were allowed entry duty-free, this was changed in the Tariff Act 2008, which imposed the 10 per cent rate. Querying whether Customs would only go back as far as 2008, Mr Butler also raised questions as to which aircraft duty would be applied to leased or owned planes, or both; Bahamian-registered aircraft only, or planes owned by Bahamian-registered companies only; and whether private aircraft owned by the likes of wealthy residents, second homeowners and investors would also be caught in the net. There is an increasing suspicion, Tribune Business understands, among Bahamian airline and charter operators that Customs initiative has come in response to pressure from the Ministry of Finance to collect every cent possible, and shows the dire straits in which the public finances now find themselves. Reiterating his belief that Customs has historically never charged anyone this duty, and had never investigated any airline operator or assessed it against them, Captain Butler said: Right now, a lot of folks are nervous, because everyone feels they are getting double taxed. Shared They do not know what else they can do. Some folks are looking at Plan B. One guy shared with me that December 31 might be his last day in the industry. Customs demands would also scuttle plans for a Bahamian aircraft registry, Captain Butler said, due to the uncertainty created.B ahamian airlines and operators had already been hit by increased Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD Department (CAD added. M r Butler said that if each o f his aircraft, costing between $1.4-$1.9 million, was subject to the 10 per cent duty rate, at a minimum he would have to pay $700,000. Western Air, he said, which had nine to 10 aircraft, double his number, could be exposed to $1.5$2 million if all their craft were caught. The other question everyone is asking is, if you have to pay this, can you pass it on to the consumer? The answer is no, because Bahamasair is reducing their rates while everything is going up, so that puts you at a further disadvantage, Mr Butler explained. The larger guys like us can withstand some of this, because were creative, but its affecting us. Its an indirect tax on consumers that we have to pass on to the Bahamian people. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 4B, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 38%/,&+263,7$/6$87+25,7< $'9(57,6(0(17 $&$1&,(6 (0(5*(1&<(',&$/(&+1,&,$1(07f%$6,& 7KH3XEOLF+RVSLWDOV$XWKRULW\LQYLWHVVXLWDEO\TXDOLHGLQGLYLGXDOV IRUWKHSRVW(PHUJHQF\0HGLFDO7HFKQLFLDQ%DVLF1DWLRQDO (PHUJHQF\HGLFDOHUYLFHVXEOLF+RVSLWDOV$XWKRULW\ $SSOLFDQWVPXVWSRVVHVVWKHIROORZLQJTXDOLFDWLRQV $ PLQLPXPRIWZRfVXEMHFWVDWWKH%*&(OHYHODW JUDGH&RUDERYH &HUWLFDWLRQDVDQ(PHUJHQF\HGLFDO7HFKQLFLDQ%DVLF ZLWKWKUHHf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t :HVW7HUUDFHV &HQWUHYLOOH 'U/LX=HOLQ/HRf+DV 029('IURPLOODJHRDGWR :LQFKHVWHUWUHHWDOPGDOH0LUDFXORXV&KLQHVHHGLFDO'RFWRU KHDOVSDWLHQWVDLOPHQWVPDQVXIIHUHGIURPVHYHUHSDLQLQKLVULJKWNQHHIRUORQJ WLPH+HIRXQGLWGLIFXOWWRPRYDURXQG+LVNQHHZDV VZROOHQDQGYHU\VWLII+HKDGWKLVSUREOHPIRUHDUV $IWHUWKUHHWUHDWPHQWYLVLWVWKHVZHOOLQJZHQWGRZQDQGKH ZDVDEOHWRPRYDURXQGZLWKQRSUREOHPUHFRPPHQGWKLV WUHDWPHQWIRUSHUVRQVZKRZDQWUHVXOWVDQGGRQRWZDQWWR KDYHVXUJHU\ $QHOGHUO\PDQ\HDUVROGVXIIHUHGIURPKLJKEORRGSUHVVXUH DQGGLDEHWHV$IWHUYLVLWVKLVEORRGSUHVVXUHZHQWWRQRUPDO DQGKLVGLDEHWHVLVQRZXQGHUFRQWURO Aircraft 10% duty demand is fundamentally flawed FROM page 1B BTC UNIONS ESTIMATE $22M RESTRUCTURE COST F ROM page 1B F ROM page 1B FOREIGN INVESTMENT UP 3.5% YEAR-ON-YEAR
to change, Chris Huskilson, Emeras chief executive, yesterday told a press conference to announce the deal that construction on the new plant would begin in early 2011, at a s ite adjacent to the existing 137 Megawatt (MW serves some 19,000 customers. Tribune Business revealed the Emera deal and $35 million power plant plans yesterday, and Mr Huskilson pledged to keep the existing temporary generation units on Grand B ahama, with more to be added as required. This would give Emera the breathing space needed to carry out an assessment intended to determine the right longterm generation solution for the island. Mr Huskilson added that G rand Bahama Power Company was set to kick-start renewable energy on the island in the New Year through the con struction of two, 1 MW wind turbines that were designed for s mall island electricity grids and were hurricane-resistant. A study last year had concluded that wind technology w as possible on Grand Bahama. At Emera, we understand that a strong, financially healthy e lectric utility is fundamental to a strong, healthy economy, Mr Huskilson said. One key to a more stable, healthy utility is fuel diversifi-c ation. We want to make the i slands electrical system less reliant on fossil fuels and less s usceptible to variable fossil fuel prices. An Emera spokesperson said the deal, which increased the companys Grand Bahama P ower Company stake from the previous 25 per cent (throughi ts 50 per cent equity stake in BISX-listed ICD Utilities), was very much in keeping with the energy companys strategic decision to focus on the Caribbean and build scale in the region. Its a growth market, she said of the Caribbean. It has higher rates of return than in our north-eastern markets, and our operational skills a re well aligned with that area and produce value. She added that Emeras s kills, especially in areas such as customer service and reliable power generation, tend t o be skills required in the region. The Canadian power giant c an provide expertise and add value, and the spokesperson said: We absolutely acknowl-e dge that Grand Bahama Power Company is in need of more dependable, efficient generation. I nvestment Emeras $82 million purchase of Marubenis stake values 100 per cent of Grand BahamaP ower Company at just over $148 million, and takes its total investment in the monopoly power provider to $123 million, having spent $41 million on acquiring the 50 per cent ICD Utilities interest previously held by Lady Henrietta St George. Some 5.4 per cent of that 55.4 per cent Marubeni stake is held via ICD Utilities, meaning that BISX will see a boost in trading v olumes and values, with that first percentage worth roughly around $8 million. T hat trade will likely be executed once all government approvals for the purchase are r eceived. T he remaining 19.6 per cent stake in Grand Bahama Power Company will be held by theB ahamian institutional and retail investors in ICD Utilities, yesterdays deal valuing their c ollective stake at $29 million. For Emera, the purchase serves several purposes. With the removal of M arubeni and its former joint venture partner, the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA trol and the Boardroom, it will now have relatively free rein to c hart Grand Bahama Power C ompanys future direction, leaving it in control of the returns it gains on its invest m ent. Emeras move is likely to be rapidly approved by the Ingrah am administration, the Prime M inister himself having publicly criticised Marubenis performance as majority shareholder in the past, particularlyi n regard to the blackouts and poor reliability of supply. This was also alluded to yesterday by K P Turnquest, president of the Grand Bahama C hamber of Commerce, who told Tribune Business of Emera: Those guys, having operations in the Caribbean, h ave a better appreciation for a n island state, and the complexities and issues that go with that, so they will be able to manage their investment and operations a little better. I ndeed, Emera to date has indicated that it views its involvement in Grand Bahama Power Company as an investment for the long-term, and wast he only one of the three previous power company shareholders to indicate it was taking an active interest in events on the ground in Freeport and day-today operations. T he move ties in with Emeras wider strategic drive to become the major energy supplier/player in the Caribbean, which has also seen it recently i ssue a tender offer to acquire all shares it does not own in B arbados electricity supplier. Majority control at Grand Bahama Power Company could a lso give Emera further lever age with the Government over the real energy prize in the Bahamas, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC which the Canadian power giant has been locked in nego tiations over an operational/management cont ract for the company. Emeras spokesperson would not be drawn on the status of t hose talks yesterday, telling Tribune Business: We were asked to provide the Govern m ent of the Bahamas with our views on BEC. We have done that, and its up to the Government to decide what the next stepsm ight be. Emera will finance the deal t hrough its existing credit facilities, and will appoint several new Bahamian members to the Grand Bahama Power Company Board of Directors. N eko Grant, minister of works and transport, said Emeras increased ownershipo f the power company gives it a strategic foothold in Grand Bahamas economy. H e said the announcement of a new generating plant on Grand Bahama to address the c urrent unreliable electrical supply is welcomed news for 19,000 customers. I thank them for this demonstration of confidence in the Bahamas and the economy of Grand Bahama. We look forward to the start of construction and employment opportunities for 80-100 persons, he said. E mera, which is headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is well established in the C aribbean, owning 19 per cent of St Lucia Electricity Services, which serves more than 50,000 c ustomers there; and 38 per cent of Light & Power Holdings, which services 120,000 cust omers on Barbados. Pleased Ian Rolle, president of the G rand Bahama Port Authority, said: We are pleased that the majority shareholder going forw ard is an integrated utility that understands the entire range of what an electric utility does. I believe that has been missi ng for sometime now from a controlling ownership perspective. Todays announcement isr eflective of Emeras confidence in Grand Bahama island, despite the economically chall enged times we are now facing locally, nationally, and glob ally. Mr Rolle believes Emeras v ision for Grand Bahama will significantly improve the Ports ability to attract new businesses to the island. I look forward to them bringing this vision to reality o ver the next few years. With this vision, I believe that the purchase will significantly improve our chances of b ringing new business to our island, he added. Indeed, generation and efficient distribution of reliable power will enhance Grand Bahamas comp etitive advantage to attract f oreign direct investment, and inevitably create an environment conducive to greater investment and expansion of t he industrial sector. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010, PAGE 5B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 38%/,&+263,7$/6$87+25,7< $'9(57,6(0(17 $&$1&<)25 $0%8/$1&('5,9(5(:,'(1&(f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m plant set to create 80-100 jobs F ROM page 1B
C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 6B, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 38%/,&+263,7$/6$87+25,7< $'9(57,6(0(17 $&$1&<)25 $0%8/$1&('5,9(5$%$&2f 7KH3XEOLF+RVSLWDOV$XWKRULW\LQYLWHVVXLWDEO\TXDOLHGLQGLYLGXDOV IRUWKHSRVW$PEXODQFH'ULYHU$EDFR6WDWLRQ3XEOLF+RVSLWDOV $XWKRULW\ $SSOLFDQWVPXVWSRVVHVVWKHIROORZLQJTXDOLFDWLRQV &OHDQROLFHHFRUG $ YDOLG'ULYHUV/LFHQVHDQGDPLQLPXPRI GULYLQJH[SHULHQFH 0XVWKDYHH[FHOOHQWLQWHUSHUVRQDOFRPPXQLFDWLRQVNLOOV -2%$5< 5HVSRQVLEOHIRUWUDQVSRUWLQJSDWLHQWVDQGVWDIZKRUHTXLUH HPHUJHQF\PHGLFDODVVLVWDQFH6HFXUHVVFHQHDQGPDLQWDLQV VDIHW\$ELOLW\WRRSHUDWH7HPHUJHQF\YHKLFOHV '87,(6,1&/8'('%87/,0,7(' HVSRQGVLPPHGLDWHO\WRHPHUJHQF\FDOOV HFXUHVWKHVFHQHRIDQHPHUJHQF\VLWXDWLRQDQGPDLQWDLQV VDIHW\ $VVLVWVLQWKHDGPLQLVWUDWLRQRI)LUVW$LGDVGLUHFWHGWKHWHDP OHDGHU $VVLVWV7HDP/HDGHULQWUDQVSRUWLQJSDWLHQW SHUDWHVWKHYHKLFOHVDIHO\DQGHIFLHQWO\ DLQWDLQFRPPXQLFDWLRQEHWZHHQWKHVFHQH'LVSDWFKHUDQG $FFLGHQWDQG(PHUJHQF\'HSDUWPHQWLQFRPSOLDQFHZLWK(PHUJHQF\ HGLFDOHUYLFHV'ULYLQJURWRFROV /HWWHURIDSSOLFDWLRQDQGFXUULFXODYLWDHVKRXOGEHVXEPLWWHGWKURXJK \RXU +HDGRIGHSDUWPHQWWRWKH'LUHFWRURI+XPDQ5HVRXUFHV &RUSRUDWH3XEOLF+RVSLWDOV$XWKRULW\UG7HUUDFH: &HQWUHYLOOHRU3%R[1DVVDX%DKDPDVQRODWHUWKDQ WK 1RYHPEHU 127,&(,QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV$FW 3$/0$&253 ROXQWDU\/LTXLGDWLRQf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f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he European Central Bank steps up efforts to contain t he continent's government debt crisis, a s bank president Jean-Claude Trichet announces it will prolong measures to provide ready cash to banks ands teady the financial system. A dditionally, the ten-year bonds of both Ireland and Portugal suddenly rose. For the Portuguese government, that's a big relief as it struggles to k eep borrowing costs from climbing out of reach and having to follow Greece and Ireland in seeking a bailout. T he ECB, the European Union and the 16 governments that share the euro are struggling to contain a crisis caused by too much state debt in some c ountries. Trichet has clearly changed c ourse from last month's meeting, when he indicated Europe was doing well enough for the bank to gradually phase out its emergency liquidity meas ures. Last weekend's crisis bailout of Ireland changed all that however. Unlike the Federal Reserve, the ECB's bond purchases are not cons idered to expand the supply of mone y in the economy because the central bank "sterilizes" its bond purchases. As well as putting money back into the financial system through its bond buys, the ECB takes money out elsewhere. ___ B ERLIN The European Central Bank keeps its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the record low of 1 p ercent for the 19th straight month. The decision was widely anticipated as E uropean economies are still emerging from the global financial crisis. ___ L ONDON World stocks and the euro climbed as the European Central Bank decided to keep special l iquidity measures it had previously indicated would soon be withdrawn and amid speculation that it had entered the market to buy up Portuguese bonds. I n Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 125.06 points, or 2.2 percent, at 5,767.56 while Germany's DAX rose 90.98 points, o r 1.3 percent, to 6,957.61. The CAC40 in France ended 77.75 points, or 2.1 percent, higher at 3,747.04. By late-afternoon London time, the euro was trading 0.8 percent highero n the day at $1.3236. Sentiment has been buoyed by confirmation from the European Central Bank that it will continue to offer w hatever banks need at a super-low rate through the first half of next year. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average surged 1.8 percent to close at 10,168.52, at one point hitting its high-e st intraday level in more than five months. The dollar's climb over the 84-yen line bolstered Japanese exporters like automakers and elect ronics companies. Camera giant Canon Inc. rose 2.5 percent, and Sony C orp. rose 0.8 percent. H ong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 0.9 percent to 23,448.78 and the Shanghai Composite indexa dvanced 0.7 percent to 2,843.61. S outh Korea's Kospi rose 1.1 percent t o 1,950.26. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 2 percent to 4,676.20 as investors snapped up mining shares. ___ LISBON, Portugal Portugal's f inance ministry has agreed with Port ugal Telecom to transfer the company's ?2.8 billion ($3.7 billion fund to the state treasury a key step towards lowering the national budget deficit as the country tries to overcome a financial crisis. T he pension fund is equivalent to a round 1.6 percent of Portugal's gross d omestic product, and officials say the transfer will allow the government to meets its target of reducing the deficit to 7.3 percent of GDP. Last year's deficit of 9.6 percent was the fourth-highest among the 16 c ountries using the euro currency, deepening market concerns that lowgrowth Portugal was racking up bigger debts t han it could pay off. Even though it has had no difficulty raising money on financial markets Portugal is viewed as al ikely candidate for a bailout like those provided for Ireland and Greece. __ ANTWERP, Belgium It was an unlikely accolade: the first ever mention for a pita-and-falafel joint in oneo f Europe's leading culinary guides. The GaultMillau, whose influence is on par with Michelin or Zagat, only granted Finjan restaurant 13 out of 2 0 points. But the fact it was tapped at all drives home a new phenomenon on the culinary scene: frugal is fashionable in Europe's bleak economic times. T he continent's recession has been cutting into pocketbooks and expense accounts, hitting exorbitant Michelinstarred restaurants hard. Europeans a re turning to humbler fare to tickle their finicky palates: call it gourmet grunge. The growing attraction of homely brasseries and gastropubs is another a sign of how lean wallets aref eeding a back-to-basics approach to food. ___ M ADRID Spain's sale of ?2.5 billion ($3.28 billion b onds attracted strong investor d emand but resulted in a sharply higher coupon, reflecting worries about its debt load. T he Central Bank said the treasury had to pay an average interest rate of 3.7 percent, up from 2.5 percent in the l ast such sale on Oct. 7. Demand was double the amount on offer, however. The treasury was aiming to sell between ?1.75 billion and ?2.75 billion. Spain has been forced to pay increasingly high interest rates at r ecent bond sales due to market speculation that it and neighboring Portugal might eventually need financial help from the European Union, like Ireland and Greece. The latest sale, however, seemed to bolster markets entiment. Spain, like Portugal, insists it can manage alone and has implemented reform packages in a bid to a ssuage investor fears. ___ A MSTERDAM Aegon NV, the Dutch insurer, says it will cut 400-500 jobs in the U.S. over the coming two years, or around 5 percent of its U.S. work force, to wind down businesses it no longer considers part of its core operations. The heaviest cuts will come at a branch in Dallas. The businesses affected are executive benefit plans and bank or company-owned l ife insurance. Last month Aegon, which survived the 2008 financial crisis with support f rom the Dutch state, reported thirdquarter net profit of ?657 million ($907 million). Around two-thirds of its operations are in the U.S., where it o wns Transamerica. G LOBALECONOMICNEWS A SSOCIATED P RESS A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world on Thursday DANIEL WAGNER, AP Business Writer WASHINGTON R ates on fixed mortgages edged up again this week after h itting their lowest level in decades last month. Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for 30year fixed loans rose to 4.46 percent from 4.40 percent last week. Three weeks ago, the rate hit 4.17 percent, the lowest level on records dating back to 1 971. The 15-year loan also rose, to 3.81 percent from 3.77 percent. It hit its lowest point since the survey began in 1991 a month ago, when rates fell to 3.57 percent. The brightening economic picture has reversed the direction of mortgage rates, which had been falling since April. Investors seeking higher returns are shifting money from bonds into riskier investments such as stocks. As demand for Treasurys decreases, investors demand higher yields from the government. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields. Those yields have risen from yearly lows as the economic picture brightened over the past month. They climbed again Wednesday after reports showed factories boosting pro duction, auto sales rising and many regions of the country seeing stronger economic growth. The low rates have hada limited impact on the struggling housing market. The number of people signing contracts to buy homes increased for the third straight month in Octo ber, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. But contract signings remained low after hitting a decade low in June. To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac col lects rates from lenders across the country on Monday through Wednesday of each week. Rates often fluctuate significantly, even within a single day. Rates on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.49 percent, up from 3.45 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year adjustable-rate home loans edged up to 3.25 percent from 3.23 percent last week. 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 a 30-year mortgage in Freddie Mac's survey was 0.8 point. It was 0.7 point for 15-year fixed loans and 0.6 point for five-year and one-year mortgages. The fees were unchanged from last week. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes HOUSE SALE: In this photo Nov. 20, 2010, photo a sign announces a home sale in Marborough, Mass. Mortgage rates increase to 4.46% as economy lifts INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010, PAGE 7B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecurit y Previous CloseToday's CloseChangeDaily Vol.EPS $Div $P/EYield 1.261.00AML Foods Limited1.011.010.000.1500.0406.73.96% 1 0.759.67Bahamas Property Fund10.6310.630.000.0130.200817.71.88% 6.184.50Bank of Bahamas4.904.900.000.5980.2608.25.31% 0.580.18Benchmark0.180.180.00-0.8770.000N/M0.00% 3.492.70Bahamas Waste2.702.700.000.1680.09016.13.33% 2.152.14Fidelity Bank2.172.170.000.0160.040135.61.84% 12.509.62Cable Bahamas10.4610.460.001.0500.31010.02.96% 2.842.36Colina Holdings2.402.400.000.7810.0403.11.67% 7.005.40Commonwealth Bank (S1)6.856.850.000.4220.26016.23.80% 3.651.63Consolidated Water BDRs1.741.72-0.020.1110.04515.52.62% 2.551.60Doctor's Hospital1.601.600.000.1990.1108.06.88% 6.995.94Famguard6.076.070.00-0.0030.240N/M3.95% 10.207.23Finco7.237.230.000.2870.52025.27.19% 11.408.77FirstCaribbean Bank9.399.390.000.6450.35014.63.73% 5.513.75Focol (S)5.465.460.000.3660.21014.93.85% 1.001.00Focol Class B Preference1.001.000.000.0000.000N/M0.00% 5.595.00ICD Utilities5.595.590.000.0120.240465.84.29% 10.509.82J. S. Johnson9.829.820.000.9710.64010.16.52% 10.0010.00Premier Real Estate10.0010.000.000.9910.80010.18.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecuritySymbolLast SaleChangeDaily Vol. 99.4699.46Bahamas Note 6.95 (2029BAH2999.460.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 17 (Series A) +FBB17100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 22 (Series B) +FBB22100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 13 (Series C) +FBB13100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 15 (Series D) +FBB15100.000.00 52wk Hi 52wk Low Symbol Bid$ Ask$ LastPrice DailyVol EPS$ Div$ P/E Yield BISX LISTED & TRADED SECURITIES AS OF:7% Interest 7%RoyalFidelity Merchant Bank & Trust Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)29 May 2015 W WW.BISXBAHAMAS.COM | TELEPHONE:242-323-2330 | FACSIMILE: 242-323-232019 October 2022 Prime + 1.75% Prime + 1.75% 6.95%20 November 2029THURSDAY, 2 DECEMBER 2010B ISX ALL SHARE INDEX: CLOSE 1,482.65 | CHG -0.02 | %CHG 0.00 | YTD -82.73 | YTD % -5.28BISX LISTED DEBT SECURITIES (Bonds trade on a Percentage Pricing basis)Maturity 19 October 2017FINDEX: CLOSE 000.00 | YTD 00.00% | 2009 -12.31%30 May 2013 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 Fund1.51225.11%6.79%1.490421 2.92652.8300CFAL MSI Preferred Fund2.91871.10%3.13%2.919946 1.56681.4954CFAL Money Market Fund1.56834.06%4.67%1.548897 3.20252.8522Royal Fidelity Bahamas G & I Fund2.8624-8.16%-7.49% 13.638813.0484Royal Fidelity Prime Income Fund13.56421.47%2.95% 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 19.74584.35%5.22% 11.236110.0000Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 210.6000-1.59%4.26% 10.00009.1708Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 39.5037-4.96%-4.96% 8.16434.8105Royal Fidelity Int'l Fund Equities Sub Fund8.16435.79%9.42% 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 7/11/200731-Oct-10BISX Listed Mutual FundsNAV Date 31-Oct-10 31-Oct-10 30-Sep-10CFAL Securities Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)TO TRADE CALL: CFAL 242-502-7010 | ROYALFIDELITY 242-356-7764 | FG CAPITAL MARKETS 242-396-4000 | COLONIAL 242-502-752531-Oct-10 30-Sep-10 30-Sep-10 26-Nov-10 31-Aug-10MARKET TERMS31-Oct-10 NAV 6MTH 1.467397 2.911577 1.532712 107.570619 105.776543 30-Jun-10 31-Oct-10 31-Oct-10 31-Oct-10 67(5/,1(6(5$3+,1 RI%$&$5',52$' 0,&+'5,$1$ '$0(6 :,1<7+(5*(/86 RI7KH*URYH1DVVDX%DKDPDV 3$75,&,$$1'(5621 ByRUSSELL GRANTHAM, ATLANTA, STORYFILEDBYCOXNEWSPAPERS A t 61, Mohammed Ramsey is quasiretired, but that's not because he planned it that way. Ramsey and his wife shut down their d ay care business in Gainesville, Ga., a year ago because of dwindling revenues. Unable to sell their five-bedroom house without taking an $80,000 loss, they leased it out and moved into a smaller rental prope rty they own. Now the couple lives on income earned off the house and other rentals, but Mohammed Ramsey is still hoping to find a new venture. ''I don't want to be completely retired," he said. "If I had enough money I would go into real estate right now," buying more homes and fixing them up. But he thinks it's too difficult now to borrow money. T he triple-punch of a severe recession and bear markets on Wall Street and in real estate has continued to rewrite the retirement plans of folks like the Ramseys. Though two of those obstacles have eased lately -with the recession generally considered to have ended in mid-2009 and the stock market rising roughly 60 percent since its early 2009 trough -their effects linger.M any people have been forced into early retirement because of staff downsizing, while others, nervous after the recent economic events, have put their plans for leaving the work force on hold. I n a newly published book, "Reconsidering Retirement, How Losses and Lay-o ffs Affect Older Workers," economists Courtney Coile and Phillip Levine noted t hat the number of retirees claiming Social Security benefits surged 23 percent between 2008-09, far above normal trends. C oile and Levine, professors at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, estimated that 378,000 people across the country have been forced to retire early due to job cutt ing, while 258,000 have delayed retirement d ue to the decline in stock prices. That combined number is equal to roughly a fourth of the number who typically file for Social Security retirement benefits. 'If workers retire earlier or later than expected in response to the economic crisis, this may have important implications for their well-being far beyond the initial retirem ent decision," they wrote. In particular, people who have to retire earlier than anticipated may have to make do with permanently smaller retirement incomes than they expected. Retirement savings for many affluent households, on the other hand, have almost recovered from losses during the past three years' financial turmoil, according to investment managers. M itch Reiner, chief investment officer at Capital Investment Advisors in Sandy Springs, Ga., said he's noticed a definite improvement in the prospects for his clients, who are typically small business owners, executives and retirees in their 60s who have $500,000 to $5 million in investments. The stock market's up and "things are beginning to pick back up" at clients' b usinesses, he said. Still, the crash "is very fresh in peoples' minds," he said. ''I've got people that I can tell over and over again that you've gote nough money to retire," he said. "They're just not ready to pull the plug yet." I nstead, most affluent folks near retirement age are focused on day-to-day matters such as keeping their jobs, building cash reserves, paying down debt and enjoying f amily life rather than dreaming about retirement baubles like resort homes and exotic trips. At RTD Financial Advisors' Dunwoody, Ga., office, Michael Smith said m ost of his clients' portfolios have nearly r ecovered to their pre-crash levels. But, of seven clients who were considering retiring in 2007 before the crash, none has yet. ''It really did have an effect on people a nd their plans," said Smith, a partner at the Philadelphia-based firm. The crash also caused many people to rethink their priorities, he said. M ost are continuing to work at least parttime, and few now balk at the firm's advice to build up reserves of cash and short-term investments equal to three years of living expenses, he said. In the past, they wanted more of their money invested in stocks and other assets that promised higher returns but higher risk. ''People clearly understand what risk is n ow," he said. "They've lived through it." These days clients, who are typically business owners or executives with $2 million in investments, never talk about buying vacation homes, he said. They're more likely to ask how long they should keep their old car before buying a new one. Helga Cuthbert, a financial planner in Decatur, Ga., said about the only clients of hers who are g oing ahead and retiring are those with traditional pensions that promise a monthly income. Those who have only 401(k style retirement plans have typically decid-e d to work an extra a year or two to add to their retirement savings, she said. (Employ-e rs make contributions to such plans but shift the investment risk to employees.) D AVID K. RANDALL, AP Business Writer NEW YORK Signs that the retail and housing markets are improving encoura ged traders to extend a stock rally into a second day Thursday. Major retailers reported sales in November that were stronger t han analysts expected. Increased spending during the holiday season would be a strong signal that consumers are feeling more c onfident. "Any sign that the consumer is doing better means that the economy will be doing better," said Drew Matus, a senior economist at UBS. Costco Wholesale Corp., Target Corp. and Limited Brands Inc. all beat Wall Street sales forecasts. Teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. jumped 10.5 percent after reporting that its sales soared 32 percent. "The consumer is strong and month after month retaili ng has been very strong," said Ryan Detrick, the chief technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "If you take a step b ack it's clear that the U.S. economy continues to slowly expand." The National Association of Realtors said the number of people w ho signed contracts to buy homes jumped 10.4 percent in October. Economists expected a slight decline. Home builders KB H ome and Toll Brothers Inc. each rose by more than 3 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 102.96, or 0.9 percent, to 11,358.74. The Dow jumped 2.3 percent Wednesday, its biggest gain since Sept. 1, after a report showed that private employers were adding jobs. The Standard and Poor's 500 index rose 14.47, or 1 .2 percent, to 1,220.54. The Nasdaq composite index rose 26.70, or 1 percent, to 2,576.13. T he rise in both retail sales and existing home sales overshadowed an unexpected rise in new claims for unemployment benefits. T he Labor Department said first-time unemployment claims rose to 436,000 last week. Traders found a silver lining in the report, however: the average number of new unemployment claims over the past month fell to a two-year low, signaling that the job market may be improving. S hares rose overseas after the European Central Bank said it will keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low 1 percent. Investorsh ad hoped that bank would announce more purchases of bonds issued by struggling European countries including Ireland, Italy and S pain. The Euro Stoxx 50 index, which tracks blue chip companies in countries that use the euro, rose 1.5 percent. The dollar fell 0.5 percent against an index of six currencies. Jump in holiday retail sales pushes stocks higher GROCER KROGER RINGS UP 3Q PROFIT Recession rewrites retirement for many INCREASEDSALES: Kroger Co., the nations largest traditional-format grocer, doesn't yet see the end of rough economic times for American consumers, even after ringing up increased sales and a solid profit for its third quarter. Kroger reported net income of $202.2 million, or 32 cents a share. That compares with a loss of $875 million, or $1.35 a share, a year earlier, whent he company took a charge of $1.05 billion reflecting the declining value of its R alphs division in recession-pounded California. Without that charge, Kroger would have earned $176.7 million, or 27 cents a share. This year's quarterly net income was 14 percent higher than that adjusted figure.
C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 8B, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON November marked a two-year low for the number of people applying for initial unemployment benefits, suggesting that the tight job market m ay be easing at last. T he slowing of layoffs and a solid month for retailers are the latest evidence of a strengthening economy in the final months of the year.Even the struggling housing market showed signs o f improvement: On Thursday, it posted a third straight monthly increase in signed contracts for home purchases. Some economists are now sketching a more o ptimistic forecast for Friday's report on November employment, though few expect a change in the 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Still, the encouraging news helped extend a rally on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial a verage surged 106 points to close at 11,362. That's after it jumped 249 points Wednesday, its biggest gain since Sept. 1. "We are starting to get some self-sustaining m omentum in the economy," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. Gault predicts that private companies added a net total of 180,000 jobs last month a bump-up from his earlier forecast of 160,000 new jobs. In October, private companies added a net 159,000 jobs. That marked a spurt of job creation after hiring had all but stalled pretty much all summer. "As jobs pick up, that is making consumers a bit more confident and willing to spend," Gault said. The number for job growth is likely to be a little lower after subtracting declines in govern m ent payrolls. Gault and other economists on the optimistic end expect the overall economya dded 170,000 net jobs last month. Still, the consensus forecast is for an overall gain of 145,000. L ast month, the economy added a total of 151,000 jobs. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits actually rose last week, by 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 436,000, the LaborD epartment said Thursday. Still, the figures are often volatile during the weeks around the Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving holidays. A more telling figure was a decline in the fourw eek moving average of claims, which smooths volatility. That fell to 431,000 last week a twoy ear low. "After being little changed for most of the y ear, new jobless claims have broken to the downside in the last several weeks, suggesting t hat labor markets may actually be improving," said Steven Wood, chief economist for Insight Economics. A pplications for unemployment benefits have fallen below 450,000 in each of the past four weeks, after hovering above 450,000 for most of the year. That's a big improvement from March 2009, when applications peaked at 651,000. S till, even if the optimistic job projections for November prove accurate, they won't be strong enough to drive down the unemployment rate. Most economists think the jobless rate will be u nchanged in November. That would mark the 19th straight month that the unemployment rate t opped 9 percent, the longest stretch on records going back to 1948. The previous record stretchw as set in the early 1980s. The economy would need to consistently add 2 00,000 to 300,000 a month to make a noticeable dent in the unemployment rate, analysts say. It could take until near the end of this decade to drop the unemployment rate to a more normal 6 percent, they say. "As the economy continues to gain strength and optimism continues to grow among businesses, hiring will strengthen," Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of P hiladelphia, said in a speech Thursday. "As it does, the unemployment rate will decline, but it will be a gradual decline. The shocks we experienced were huge, and it will take some time for the imbalances in labor markets to be resolved," h e said. U nder his own forecast, Plosser says the unemployment rate will drop only to around 8 to 8.5 p ercent by the end of next year. Still, analysts said they are encouraged that t he economy is showing more signs of improvement. HIRING PICKUP? November marked a two-year low for the number of people applying for initial unemployment benefits, suggesting that the tightj ob market may be easing at last. BRIGHTER SIGNS FOR THE ECONOMY: Retailers logged a solid month. Even the struggling housing market showed signs of improvement: it poste d a third straight monthly increase in signed contracts for home purchases. HOPES RAISED: Some economists are now s ketching a more optimistic forecast for Friday's report on November employment, though few expect a change in the 9.6 percent unemployment rate. Two-year low for layoffs hints at hiring pickup JOB SEEKER: Talib Hasan checks online for openings while attending a job fair in Livonia, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010. AP Photo/Paul Sancya S UMMARY BOX: E CONOMY S HOWS MORE SIGNS OF STRENGTH S TEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press W ASHINGTON The House passed a bill Thursday to extend middle class tax cuts while letting those for t he wealthy expire, even as talks continued on extending them a ll. The House bill was a political maneuver to satisfy Democratic lawmakers' supporters whoo ppose extending tax cuts for the wealthy. It has no chance in the Senate, where Democrats need Republican support to pass tax legislation. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio used barnyard language to describe the House vote to reporters during a news conference. "I'm trying to catch my breath so I don't refer to this maneuver going on today as chicken crap, all right? said Boehner, who is in line to become House speaker in January. "But this is nonsense, all right? The election was one month ago. We are 23 months from the next election, and the political games have already started trying to set up the next election." Sweeping income tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush are to expire at the end of the year. If Congress does not act, taxpayers at every income level would be hit with a significant tax increase. President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress want to extend the tax cuts only for individuals making less than $200,000 and married couples making less than $250,000. The bill passed by the House would do that. The vote was 234 to 188. All but 20 Democrats voted in favor of the bill; all but three Republicans opposed it. Republicans and some rank-and-file Democrats want to extend the tax cuts for everyone, and the White House has left open the door for a compromise to do that for up to three years. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has indicated he is open to a temporary extension of all the tax cuts. Obama said Thursday he's optimistic Democrats and Republi cans can reach agreement on critical issues in the coming weeks, including the tax controversy. Speaking to more than 20 newly elected governors, Obama said making sure tax cuts don't increase for the middle class is his priority. "I believe it will get resolved," Obama said. "That doesn't mean there might not be some posturing over the next several days. But I'm confident in the end people are going to recognize that it's important for families who are still struggling to have some relief and it's important for our economy to make sure that money is still out there circulating." The White House is pressing Congress to extend jobless benefits and other tax credits enacted as part of Obama's massive economic recovery package last year. Those proposals could form the basis of a compromise on the Bush tax cuts. Beyond unemployment insurance, the White House made the case Thursday for extending Obama's Making Work Pay tax credit for individuals, a tuition tax credit and a tax break that rewards employers who hire unemployed workers. All are to expire at the end of the year. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers estimated that if Con gress does not extend the jobless benefits, 2 million unemployed workers will lose coverage this month and 7 million will by Novem ber 2011. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House Budget Director Jacob Lew began holding closed-door meetings Wednesday with a small group of lawmakers from both parties to negotiate a deal on the Bush tax cuts. Those talks continued Thursday, even as the House voted on the Democratic plan. Negotiators work on tax deal as House passes bill (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File TAXINGTIME: In this Nov. 3, 2010 file photo, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, right, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., left, swap positions at the microphones during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Fresh off big election day victories, Republicans in Congress are feeling empowered in their fight to extend tax cuts that expire in January, including those for the wealthy. INTERN ATIONAL BUSINESS