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 Govts $8.5m to fight crime C M Y K C M Y K V olume: 107 No.39MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER SUN, CLOUDS, BREEZY, HUMID HIGH 82F LOW 71F I N S I G H T S EEINSIGHTONPAGE16B S P O R T S A political SEESECTIONE circus Tuning up for todays journey By MEGAN REYNOLDS Tribune Staff Reporter m email@example.com POLICE launched investig ations into the first three murders of the year this weekend as Deputy PrimeM inister Brent Symonette u nveiled government plans to invest $8.5 million in the fight against crime over the nexts ix months. Mr Symonette told hun dreds of officers gathered for t he annual police church service at Christ Church Cathedral in George Street yesterday that crime had reached unacceptable levels in 2010, with the record murder count of 96 and an increase in gun and violent crime being the worst. The $8.5 million will fund three new police squads, of around 30 officers each, to be established by February, as well as an increase in the enrolment capacity of the police cadet programme in New Providence to 72 and establishment of a new police cadet programme in Grand Bahama. More resources also will be purchased for the RBPF as well as improved Crime Scene Investigation technology for the Force. We as a force remain com mitted and determined to ensure that the Bahamas is a place where we can all live in Deputy PM makes announcement after first three murders of 2011 McCOMBO OF THE DAY N E W The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST L ATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM BAHAMASBIGGEST CARSFORSALE, HELPWANTED ANDREALESTATE I N S I D E COMMISSIONER OF POLICE Ellison Greenslade greets families of officers fallen from the ranks in a ceremony held at Police Head quarters. The Royal Bahamas Police Force held its Annual Church Service and Parade yesterday. SEEPAGETWO C OMMISSIONER MEET S FAMILIES OF FALLEN OFFICERS Tim Clarke /Tribune staff SEE page 13 CRIME FIGHT: Brent Symonette G OVERNMENT officials denied r eports yesterday that it has already signed 51 per cent of Bahamas Telecommunications Company over t o Cable and Wireless (LIME However, according to a source within the government, it is under-s tood that the $210 million sale was f inalised on Friday, January 7. However, Zhivargo Laing, State Minister for Finance, denied the r umour. I cannot confirm that, there has been no such thing. When the time comes the government willk eep the public informed of any development in that matter, he said. By NOELLE NICOLLS Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org A MASS rally of union ists, opposed to the govern ments planned sale of BTC, is set to mark the anniversary of Majority Rule day, today. In its Bahamas for Bahamians campaign, the National Congress of Trade Unions is continuing to spread the word about the meaning behind the 1958 General strike led by Sir Clifford Darling and its con nection to Majority Rule Day. Today we talk about the fight for majority rule. It seems now we are going to back to colonialism; having to fight for what the forefathers fought for. If we UNIONISTS TO HOLD MASS RALLY A GAINST PLANNED BTC SALE TODAY SEE page 12 MINISTER DENIES BTC DEAL HAS BEEN FINALISED THE Progressive Liberal Party plans to support the demonstration organised by union members to protest the sale of BTC and commemorate Majority Rule Day, according to Ryan Pinder, Elizabeth Member of Parliament. Mr Pinder said an invitation was sent to the party and some MPs were advised to invite their constituents. Bradley Roberts, PLP chairman, said the invitation from one of the BTC unions was oral. It was not an invi tation to participate in the programme, but to simply attend the event, and invite PLP supporters. I am just going to be one of the many who will be there, said Mr Roberts. William Carroll, president of the Bahamas Communications Public Managers Union (BCPMU were sent out to the general public, and the unions did not target the PLP or FNM. Perry Christie, PLP leader, said he was informed by Mr Pinder that a communication PLP TO SUPPORT DEMONSTRATION SEE page 12 SEE page 12
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM POLICEFORCEANNUALCHURCHSERVICEANDPARADE T i m C l a r k e / T r i b u n e s t a f f ONTHEMARCH: Scenes f rom yesterdays Royal B ahamas Police Force Annual Church Service and Parade. Officers marched on Bay Street before the service at Christ Church Cathedral which was attended by m embers of the force, offic ials and Parliamentarians.
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 3 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM REPORTS that a bomb scare at Miami International Airport wass parked by a suspicious bag unloaded from a Bahamasair plane have been denied by officials at the Bahamian Consulate in Miami. US network NBC r eported on Wednesday the suspicious bag from a Bahamasair aircraft was investigated in Miami after bomb-sniffing dogss ounded the alarm. T he bomb squad was a lerted and the concourse at Miami International Airport was evacuated until the carry-on bag hadb een investigated by the T SA and cleared of containing explosives by 11am, the networks local newswebsite n bcmiami.com reported. I nspector Wayne W oodside, who is a ttached to the Bahamas Consulate Office in Miami, investigated the matter on behalf of the B ahamas, said spokeswoman for the consulate P hyllis Johnson. A nd he confirmed the matter was in no way r elated to a Bahamasair p assenger, she said. For security reasons w e cannot reveal the name of the passenger but t he name was not mani fested to Bahamasair, Ms Johnson said. REPORTS THAT BAHAMASAIR BAG BEHIND MIAMI BOMB SCARE A RE DENIED By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com FIRE TRAIL residents criticised several government agencies yesterday, blaming them for the proliferation of shanty towns in the area. I n a statement released by t he Fire Trail Community Association, the Ministry of Works, and the departmentsof Immigration and Environmental Health were blamed for compromising residentss tandard of living by their failure to ensure that the standards set by law are met. T he statement read: We are simply asking that o ur government agencies w ork for us, the taxpayers. As home owners, we were required to get permits and p ass inspections to build our h ouses to code. This was necessary to obtain occupancy c ertificates which were needed t o get utilities. Lets hold all persons living in the Bahamas to these standards. The outcry by residents comes three weeks after thed evastating fire at Mackey Y ard an area on Alan Drive off Carmichael Road which was thought to be one of the oldest shanty towns in New Providence. The fire destroyedm ore than 100 homes and displaced more than 300 people. While the group expressed its s ympathy to the hundreds of p ersons displaced in the Boxi ng Day fire, it called on the government to crack down on the remaining three villages in the area. T he statement read: Inspectors have turned a blind eye towards these villages. By allowing more than one hundred homes to exist without being up to code, theyh ave failed their jobs. The M inistry of Works has also allowed the Bahamas Electricity Corporation to provide electricity to these houses without being built accordingt o the provided codes, being structurally sound, and without the possession of electrical p ermits. T he group said that due to i mproper bathroom facilities, the shanty towns pose a great health risk to the entire community. The statement continued: This is a concern since some of us must pump well water to our homes. I may add that these are not homes that were given tou s, but these are new homes that we are paying mortgages on. We are concerned about the number of old cars, large piles of bottles and the piles of garbage which attract rodents a nd pose health problems for t his entire community. The association charged that the Department of Immigration also ignored the move m ents of illegal persons in s hanty towns, which they feel h as allowed them to establish themselves in the country. It added: This is perhaps the only country in the world where an illegal immigrant canc ome and without any status, build on government land; get electricity, cable and internet; run web shops; sell food, drinks and clothes without business licenses and work without work permits. Can you blame them for taking advantage of the slackness andl awlessness that exists in our country? The residents also called on the Office of the Attorney General to address the public on their rights as homeowners and how they can prot ect themselves against tresp assing. The statement continued: A great number of us are new homeowners who are noty et financially able to fence in o ur yards or to afford the a mount of fencing that is required to keep the residents of these villages from walking through our yards as they move from village to village.T his is a major problem for us and we need to know how we as law-abiding citizens can protect ourselves in this situation. The association is urging persons who share similarv iews to attend a march on Fire Trail Road tomorrow at 6pm. T he statement read: This is not about party politics, this is about enforcing the laws of t he Bahamas and making it b etter in the Bahamas for Bahamians again. MEASURINGunemployment claims is not an accurate method to assess the state of the economy, said Shane Gibson Golden Gates Member of Parliament. Responding to the claims by government officials that the 70 per cent drop in unemployment claims is evidence of a rebounding economy with fewer job loses, Mr Gibson said, this is an outrageous falsehood and gross misleading of the Bahamian people. The current policy of the National Insurance Board is to pay only 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to any eligi ble person, according to Mr Gibson. Since many lay offs occurred early last year, most unemployed people have exhausted their 13 weeks and are no longer eligible for unem ployment benefits, he claimed. The absolute truth, based on this 70 per cent drop is that 70 per cent of the unemployed are now destitute, frustrated and desperate. While these per sons cry out because they have lost their dignity, the FNM gov ernment remains unapologetic and continue to feed them false hope with bogus and erroneous statistics which further insult their intelligence, said Mr Gibson. He called on the government to discontinue its inaccurate portrayal of the situation, based on the fact that the drop in claims is a result of the NIB policy and its impact. No one can argue the unemployment rate is in direct corre lation with the break down of the social fiber of this country and has resulted in a nation of frustrated and desperate people, said Mr Gibson. Fire Trail residents blame govt over shanty towns By DENISE MAYCOCK T ribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT Investigations are continuing into the cause of a house fire that claimed the life of a one-year-old RajishCox on Friday morning. A s police officially released the identity of the toddler on Saturday, police press liaison officer assistant superinten-d ent Loretta Mackey said the child lived a t two homes, one in Sunset Subdivision, Freeport, and another in Sweetings Cay, East Grand Bahama. He was staying in Freeport with his mother at the time of the fire. Velma Clarke, the paternal grandm other who lives in Eight Mile Rock, spoke with The Tribune on Sunday. She said that her son, Rajish, is very distraught over the loss of his son. He is taking it very hard, she said. Right now, he is resting. And the doctor told us to keep a close eye on him and n ot to bother him while he is sleeping. She said her family is trying to cope with the loss. We still dont have a full understanding of what happened, she said. Ms Clarke said little Rajish lived with h is mother, who would bring him on o ccasions to visit with his father in Eight Mile Rock. He was a very happy baby. If you s ee him you will fall in love with him right way because he just lay right on y our chest; he was a very loving baby, his grandmother said. Police received a report of a fire at 100 Pioneers Way West in Sunset Subdivis ion just after 8am on Friday. Firefighters responding to the alarm found flames confined to a washroom int he east front section of a grey and white single story house. After the fire was extinguished, they d iscovered the toddler inside the washroom, near the door. The house had severe smoke damage throughout and is no longer habitable. N o one was at the residence on Sunday. Anyone who may be able to assist investigations into the fire should callp olice at 9 11 9 19 o r call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 328-TIPS (8477 ). Investigations into cause of fatal house fire continue POLICE at the scene of Fridays fire in Grand Bahama. UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS OT ACCURATE METHOD TO ASSESS ECONOMY Outcry comes weeks after Mackey Yard fire
E DITOR, The Tribune. T HEBahamas Fast Ferries company has been in operation for a number of years and I am of the opinion that it has been reasonably successful financially.I t has been of great assistance for passengers travelling to the Family Islands which it services and the communities of Eleuthera, Andros and Abaco in par ticular are very grateful fori ts existence. H owever, it is widely believed that more can be d one to accommodate pass engers awaiting boarding a t the various ports. For instance, at Spanish Wells, Current and Harbour Islandt here is no terminal where passengers can sit in comfort and wait for the arrival of the vessel. There are no toilet facilities, and, should there be rain or diverse weather, the passengers h ave nowhere to shelter. T his was especially evid ent on January 3 at Current for the hapless passen-g ers on the Fast ferry Sea W ind. Departure time was given for 7pm and passengers began arriving at 6pm. In many instances passengers were dropped off and their rides were not in a p osition to wait with them f or the arrival of the vessel. Also, persons with cars for t ransport to Nassau were not prepared to leave and travel to settlements as far a way as Savannah Sound, a nd then returning. Fortun ately, this being one of the w inter months there was not the invasion of sandflies and m osquitoes which regularly plague persons at the dock i n the summer months. However, heavy draft was falling and some moles were exposed. After no boat had arrived b y 7pm questions were a sked and information was received that the boat would n ot arrive until about 8 .30pm. This time was c hanged on at least one occasion and the vessel did not eventually arrive in theC urrent until about 9.15pm and the passengers eventually arrived at their destination at 12.45am on January 4. The explanation given was that the vessel had lost an engine. I n the meantime passeng ers consisting of babies and t oddlers, teenagers, pets, s enior citizens and other adults were left to wait at the terminal where the only shelter was a rustic building with uncomfortable wooden benches, (which inciden-t ally were not provided by the company), and absolutely no toilet facilities besides the nearby brush. Also, in keeping with its excellent record in North Eleuthera, BEC contributed to the disc omfort with at least three p ower cuts which also affect ed the oncoming vessel. S urely it is time that the c ompany provide some serv ices for its passengers, at least comfortable seating and toilet facilities. Theyc ould also provide a concession area where refreshments can be sold. This is also a way to provide some employment in the form of persons to clean and sell and also to oversee the facility. I a m looking forward to s omething being done by t he company in 2011. Should I also dare hope for i mprovement to the road a pproaching the dock site? JEANNIE THOMPSON Nassau, January 6, 2011. C M Y K C M Y K EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PAGE 4, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE The Tribune Limited NULLIUS ADDICTUS JURARE IN VERBA MAGISTRI Being Bound to Swear to The Dogmas of No Master LEON E. H. DUPUCH, Publisher/Editor 1903-1914 SIR ETIENNE DUPUCH, Kt., O.B.E., K.M., K.C.S.G., ( Hon.) LL.D., D.Litt P ublisher/Editor 1919-1972 Contributing Editor 1972-1991 EILEEN DUPUCH CARRON, C.M.G., M.S., B.A., LL.B. Publisher/Editor 1972Published Daily Monday to Saturday Shirley Street, P.O. Box N-3207, Nassau, Bahamas Insurance Management Building., P.O. F-485, Freeport, Grand Bahama TELEPHONES Switchboard (News, Circulation and Advertising A dvertising Manager (242 WE ARE told that last week a talk show host was complaining that The Tribunes editorials were not supportive of the people. The reference, of course, was to the current B TC unions fight against the sale of 51 per cent of BTC to Cable & Wireless (LIME Our position is that this sale, and all that Cable & Wireless offers, will be the best transaction for the country, and, therefore, for all of the Bahamian people, including BTC employees especially those who have a good work ethic. The 40 per cent being retained by gove rnment will eventually be offered to the public, so that Bahamians can truly become shareholders in their company. Dr Donaldson was the guest of the show and his contribution to the discussion was that if anyone knew the history of The Tribune, they would know that The Tribune has never been supportive of the black peoples movement. Dr Donaldson should have known that this was not true. So should his host. But the host laughed it off in agreement, and the show went on with the falsehoods. Todays Bahamians do not know their his tory, which the PLP tried to rewrite after they won the government in 1965. The PLP story is the only so-called history that many of this generation have heard. And they have not bothered to dig further to discover the truth. The Tribune will be 108 years old in November. It was founded by Leon Dupuch, grandfather of the present publisher, at a time, according to his son, the late Sir Etienne Dupuch, when there was no racial consciousness in Nassau. Wrote Sir Eti enne: The coloured people were too far behind to be conscious of a destiny. There was not even conflict between the haves and have nots. The island was poor during this period. It was described as a glorified fishing village; no one had a great deal; many working people walked the streets barefooted, but everyone was contented and it was a happy community. At the time there was only one division in the community the Ins and the Outs. The Ins were the families most of whom lived on East Hill Street that were invited to Government House, and The Nassau Guardian, a social newspaper, wrote only for this set. The Outs, both white and black, had no newspaper, therefore, no voice. At the turn of the century the Outs felt the need of a second newspaper. A company was formed to which Bay Street merchants subscribed. Leon Dupuch, who was on the staff of The Guardian, joined the group, and was invited to edit the Watchman. However, Leon soon discovered that this was not the type of newspaper he had envisioned it was just a newspaper for another social class. He believed in a newspaper for all Bahamians white and black of every social strata. And so he quit and, at great sacrifice, started The Tribune. Shortly afterwards The W atchman folded. Sir Etienne, only four when The Tribune was started, was too small to make any contribution, but at the age of five he pinched an armful of papers The Tribune was then located on Market Street walked across East Street, then known as New Road, and eventually established a delivery route as far as Farm Road. This was the first time t hat black Bahamians had a newspaper. Although the newspaper was for all Bahamians, it espoused the black Bahamians cause because this was the group that was the most downtrodden, and certainly had no voice. The Tribune, either spearheaded or was a part of every social reform in this country. Sir Etienne, as a member of the House of Assembly and the editor of this newspaper, was, for example, very active as a member of Dr C C Sweetings House committee, which brought in the Bill that established Government High School for black students. Dr Sweeting was a white Bahamian. Again Sir Etienne was among those who supported Mrs Mary Ingraham in her fight for the vote for women. And then, of course, there was the night on the floor of the House in 1956 when Sir Etienne was almost arrested in his fight to break down racial discrimination in the Bahamas. He won that fight, but the PLP in their new version of history has dishonestly tried to claim the victory, and even today they pretend that it never took place. It is one date in their litany of dates that they con stantly ignore. It is as though that dangerous and tension-filled night never took place. However, as someone commented years later, if it were not for that night in 1956, the men and women who are now free to walk through those once closed doors, wouldnt be ruling in parliament today. There certainly would have been no majority rule without bloodshed. It was Sir Etiennes Resolution in 1956 that prevented it. Sir Etienne assisted the PLP when it was founded. He felt that here at last was a political party that could be an answer to the peoples needs. He even assisted them when they decided to send a small delegation to the Colonial Office in London to complain over the way that the UBP had decided to appoint public boards a battle that they won. However, they lost the support of The Tribune on their return from England. We shall reserve that story for tomorrow. Improve services for ferry passengers waiting to board LETTERS l email@example.com A false claim made against The Tribune ShareBuy Programannounces that, s u bject to a directors resolution ofJanuary 6th,2011,itwillbeginasharebuy programofitsissued ordinary shares on January 10th, 2011. Theresolutionauthorizes the purchase ofup to 10% of theCompanys current issued ordinary shares or 1,540,417 shares over a36 month period to January 31, 2014. EDITOR, The Tribune. W ALLETS are a little bit lighter this week as a result of increases in the NIB payroll tax of up to 25 peer cent. T here is no doubt many people receive f inancial help from the National Insurance Board that might otherwise be forced to do w ithout, and that's fair enough if that's why the NIB was created. But according to the NIB's web site: "Its primary mission was and is to provide i ncome-replacement in respect of sickness, invalidity, maternity, retirement, death, industrial injury/disease, and involuntary loss of income." Obviously this is paid from the money tak en from workers themselves in the first place. As the political class began to see the votes they might get if they appear to be concerneda bout the less fortunate, the mission changed as theNIB confirms. They tells us that: NIBs a dded mission i n the administration of the countrys social security programme, is to provide assistance for needy citizens and toa ssist with the social and infrastructural develo pment of the country." (emphasis added And so as the potential political payoff c louds the original intent of NIB even more, Bahamians will have to be taxed more and more if they are to ever receive the retirement benefits they were forced to "con tribute." What is just as distasteful is the law forces employers to deduct the NIB tax from the pay packet of employees before they receive it, a nd then the government spends the funds on b uildings or new programmes and bureaucra cies that will inevitably deplete the fund as their own actuarial studies report. T here is a better way. T he NIB should be converted from a pay as you go system and the funds contributed (in t his case it would be a contribution and not a tax) are kept in an account earmarked for each individual that pays NIB, and if a con tributor does not want to utilise the govern m ent programme, they should have every right to join the private pension plan of their choice. With regard to help for the poor, find ways to encourage people to donate to private charities. One possibility is to allow property owners t o pay reduced property taxes if they con tribute the funds to charitable causes. For example; if the annual property tax rate is$ 1,000 the property owner might be allowed to donate $600 to a private charity in lieu of paying any property tax. T hese are not the only potential solutions to h elping the poor and protecting individuals retirement funds, but there must be a better w ay than following the failed "government social safety nets" around the world. The Nassau Institute www.nassauinstitute.org Nassau, December 9, 2011. Bahamas National Insurance Board raises taxes again
REPATRIATION exercise s returned 91 citizens of Haiti t o the countrys capital Portau-Prince and 46 Dominicans to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic this week. Director of Immigration J ack Thompson said the 72 Haitian men and 19 Haitian women repatriated this week-e nd included the 57 migrants apprehended in Exuma last Sunday, as well as 34 Haitians found to be living in New Prov-i dence without legal status. Those apprehended in Exu ma were found onboard a sloop near Sandy Cay on the s outhern side of Great Exuma a t around 2am on Sunday, Jan uary 4. They were apprehended by a team of immigration officers and Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDFf lew in from Nassau to board the vessel at sunrise. A total of 44 undocumented men and1 3 women were apprehended in the exercise and taken to Nassau for processing. Among the 46 Dominicans r epatriated were five men arrested for illegal landing in Abaco, as well as 41 arrested by the RBDF for poaching in B ahamian waters. The Immigration Depart ment along with its other law enforcement agencies remains vigilant regarding the Immigration law, Mr Thompson said. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 5 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By MEGAN REYNOLDS Tribune Staff Reporter m firstname.lastname@example.org A TEAM of experts will test the water supply at the Water and Sewerage Corporations reverse osmosis plant in Grand Cay, Abaco, following accusations that the water is undrinka ble. P LP chairman Bradley R oberts hit out at the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC which he once headed as Minister for Works in the former gove rnment, for failing to remedy t he high levels of Hydrogen Sulf ide (H2S t he Grand Cay Reverse Osmosis ( RO) plant before December 31 a s promised. But Minister of Works Phenton Neym our accused Mr Roberts of whipping up u ndue alarm as the WSC reported on December 28 that the quality of the water h ad improved significantly. When Mr Roberts issued a public statem ent yesterday insisting the water was still foul smelling and not drinkable, Mr Neymour contacted customers in GrandC ay who assured him the water was better than it had been before Christmas, he s aid. The minister also assured customers the WSC was sending an RO supplier and h ydrologist to investigate the cause of complaints as those customers who informed M r Roberts their water supply is still undrinkable may have had a cross-connection in their water supply. T he WSCs assistant general manager for the Family Islands and area manager for A baco are also flying into Abaco this morning to investigate the cause of complaints and test for H2S levels at the Grand Cayp lant. Mr Neymour said he believes the WSC is l iving up to its mandate to provide cus tomers with clean water that is safe to drink, as the corporation hired a new cont ractor to install a new system when H2S problems arose late last year. Hydrogen Sulfide is a common problem at water plants t hroughout the Bahamas as o rganic matter in the soil gives o ff the H2S gas, which can build u p and make the water undrinkable, as it did at WSC RO plants in Exuma and Acklins under Mr Roberts watch as Minister of Works, Mr Neymour said. The colourless, flammable g as, characterised by its rotten e gg odour, is considered an e xtremely hazardous toxic comp ound and in high concentrations attacks the human body as a chemical asphyxiant, similar t o carbon monoxide and cyanide, inhibiting cellular respiration and uptake of oxygen and causi ng biochemical suffocation; according to website safetydirectory.com. Because of this, the WSC regularly aera tes water at their plants to rid it of H2S, the minister said. Hydrogen Sulfide challenges are not uncommon in the Bahamas, he asserted. The WSC has indicated that in the B ahamas anywhere between 25 and 30 per cent of the time they experience Hydrog en Sulfide at various levels, so with all of that information, I am indeed shocked by M r Roberts, because he is a former Minister of Works with responsibility for the Water and Sewerage Corporation, and dur-i ng his tenure experienced the same challenges throughout the Bahamas. So I think its wrong of him to raise, or attempt to raise, some major alarm. I feel Mr Roberts should demonstrate s ome maturity and not try to raise undue alarm where its not necessary. I consider his actions to be political, but not only are they political, but also hypo-c ritical. The WSC, in my view, are taking their standard procedures and adhering tot hem. Accusations prompt test of water supply 91 Haitians, 46 Dominicans repatriated ASSURANCE: P henton Neymour
By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com FREEPORT The Progres sive Liberal Party on Grand Bahama recognized 27 residents here on Sunday while commemorating the 44th anniversary of Majority Rule in the Bahamas. A prayer breakfast was held at the Our Lucaya Resort on Sun day under the patronage of for mer Governor General Arthur Hanna. Those honoured were Patronella Bowen-Simms, Peatrel Russell, Dora Bartlett, Rejoina Martin, Felix Seymour, Violet Pintard-Johnson, Naomi Sim mons, Asa Jones, Stanley Simmons, George Curtis, Antoinette Seymour, Lorenzo Bullard, Maurice Moore, Earnest Armbrister, Addison Culmer, Arlington Spike Mackey, Dennis Preach er Hall, Andrew Munnings, Mable Colton, Edgar Outten, Hilton Bowleg, Lenny Butler, Earl Walkin, Rejoina Curtis, Clarence Bartlett, Granville Garvey, and Mary Wilchcombe. Philip Brave Davis, Deputy Leader of the PLP, and Member of Parliament for West End and Bimini Obie Wilchcombe were also present and addressed those honoured. Rev. Dr. Keith Russell prayed for the nation, and the Rt. Rev. Cornell J. Moss, VII Diocesan Bishop of Guyana, including the Ceyanne and Surinam, prayed for the Leader of the PLP. Majority Rule is celebrated on January 10. Carolyn Kinglocke, chairman of GB PLP Convention Organizing Committee, said all Bahamians benefited, in one way or another, from the historic event that took place on January 10, 1967. Majority Rule presented the opportunity for real democracy to come to the Bahamas, under pinned by equality, tolerance, economic justice, social justice, all important elements in the cre ation of a free, modern, democ ratic state, she said. We pay homage to the per sonalities and players in this epic struggle. In a hard fought and competitive election in 1967, the PLP delivered the following 18 members to a 38-member House of Assembly. They were: Lynden Pindling, Preston Albury, Clarence Bain, Milo Butler, Clif ford Darling, Elwood Donaldson, Arthur Foulkes, Carlton Francis, Arthur Hanna, Warren Levarity, Curtis MacMillan, Uriah McPhee, Maurice Moore, Edmund Moxey, Jimmy Shepherd, George Thompson, Jeffrey Thompson and Cecil Wallace Whitfield. Randol Fawkes, who successfully ran as Labour in 1962 and 1967 with the support of the PLP, threw his support behind the PLP and became a member of the f irst Majority Rule cabinet. He figured prominently in the movement toward Majority Rule, she recalled. Ms Kinglocke revealed that the upcoming PLP mini-convention is slated for Grand Bahama at the end of January. She noted that Majority Rule is the singular event in Bahamian history that played a significant role in shaping the modern Bahamas of today. The significant events leading up and emanating from Majority Rule must become per manently etched in the Bahamian historical landscape as these events define us as a people, reveals what we believe in as Bahamians, and serves as a constant reminder to us of our vision and values, she said. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Woe to Evildoers Scripture ThoughtMicah Chapter 2 verse 1-5Woe to thosewho devise iniquity,and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. Therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks; nor shall you walk haughtily, forthis is an evil time. In that day one shall take up a proverb against you, and lament with a bitter lamentation, saying: We are utterly destroyed! He has changed the heritage of my people; how He has removed it from me! To a you will have no one to determine boundaries by lot In the assembly of the LORD. PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party supporters were called on to recapture the spirit of politic al idealism culminated in the Majority Rule Day of 1967 yesterday. Party members charged that after 44 years, the dream and promise of economic justice through equitable wealth distribution remains unfulfilled. Commemorating the a nniversary of the historic event, the party hosted a prayer breakfast in the ballroom of the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Cable Beach. During his keynote address, leader of the party Perry Christie told supporters that the anniversary memorialized an e ra of the Golden Age of idealism in Bahamian politics. It was an era marked by an extraordinary spirit of selfless struggle and sacrifice, said Mr Christie. An age that was marked by a collective desire to be a part of what was clearly understood to be. Those were the good old days of Bahamian politics because it was all about uplifting our people and uplifting our country rather than seeing what one could get for oneself, he said. Majority Rule day recognized on January 10 each year signifies the end of the governance of the majority of Bahamians by a minority. Following a general election, the then governing United Bahamian Party was replaced by the PLP, with the support of recently elected Sir Randol Fawkes, a Labour member, and Sir Alvin Braynen, an Independent member. At yesterdays event, the party leader advised supporters to be inspired by the progress made by past generations and to use its momentum to meet the current societal challenges. Mr Christie said: We cannot allow this to be an occasion for simple minded remembrance and instead we have to seize this moment. This 44th anniversary is a reminder of the urgent need to embrace afresh the ideals that guided our party in an earlier time. Just as the front line warriors of the PLP took on the great challenges of their time and overcame them, we too are now summoned by history to meet the major challenges that confront our society today, he said. The brunch preceded a mass demonstration organized by labour unions for this evening the latest demonstration in their continuing argument with the government o ver the sale of BTC. Actions taken by the unions seek to commemorate the general strike of 1958, in which thousands of workers took part. The strike, which resulted in the Trade Union and Industrial Conciliation Act and the creation of the Labour Departm ent, is also credited with influencing Sir Allan Lennox Boyd, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, to order the first constitutional steps toward Majority Rule for the Bahamas. Additional speakers included party chairman Bradley Roberts and Fox Hill MP Fred M itchell. The Fox Hill MP spoke in the absence of Lady Marguerite Pindling, wife of former Prime Minister, the late Sir Lynden Pindling. M r Mitchell chronicled the events that led up to the political and national achievement, highlighting its significance to the PLP and the Bahamian people. Acknowledging that for many Bahamians in some respects there has been r egression in the years following Majority Rule, Mr Roberts urged those present to remember the promise of the historic milestone. Wherever there is injustice, said Mr Roberts, be it social, political or economic, we have a responsibility to speak o ut and to correct it. Wherever freedom is being stifled and replaced with dictatorship and oppression, we have a responsibility to fearlessly stand against it this generation has the responsibility of continuing the struggle and fulfilling the promises of Majority Rule which are deeply rooted in the principles of democracy, justice, freedom and fair play which collectively embody the Bahamian dream. Your country demands no less of you. PLP supporters urged to recapture the spirit of political idealism ARTHUR HANNA and Mrs. Anne Marie Davis, wife of Philip Brave Davis, were guests at a prayer breakfast held in Freeport to commemorate Majority Rule Day. West End and Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe is seen making a presentation to Mrs Davis and Mr Hanna. PLP COMMEMORATES MAJORITY RULE ON GRAND BAHAMA V a n d y k e H e p b u r n MAJORITYRULEDAY: Perry Christie Majority Rule anniversary
By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent LOS ANGELES (AP After losing Anna Nicole Smith and then a court battle over her estate, Howard K. Stern says a judge's dismissal of convictions in a prescription drug case vindicates both him and the late Playboy model. "I loved Anna and I cared for her so much. I have no regrets," Stern told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday, hours after the court reversed his two conspiracy convictions for using his name on prescriptions for Smith. "The regrets I have are for what people caused afterward," he said, referring to multiple legal complications that arose after Smith died of a drug overdose in Florida in February, 2007. The most agonizing postscript, he said, was the prescription drug abuse charges filed in Los Angeles against Stern, Smith's psychiatrist Dr. Khristine Eroshevich and Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Smith's general physician. He called the months of trial a nightmare. Prosecutors had argued that Smith was an addict, and the defendants were feeding her addiction rather than providing prescription drugs for any legitimate medical purpose. But after a long and costly prosecution, Superior Court Judge Robert Perry threw out conspiracy convictions against Stern and Eroshevich on Thursday, allowing one charge against her to remain but reducing it to a misdemeanour. The jury had already acquitted Kapoor of all charges against him. The judge concluded that Smith was not an addict by legal definition but was rather a woman seeking relief from chronic pain. He said the jury verdicts suggested they agreed. Perry said Stern clearly did not intend to violate the law when he used his name on drug prescriptions for Smith. The judge said the defendants who used false names for Smith were trying to protect her privacy in a manner used by many celebrities. Stern praised the ruling as "a huge victory and vindication for Anna and the person she really was, not the person the prosecution tried to portray her as." He called the case "a dis honest prosecution with no pur pose but to ruin our lives and for their publicity and political gain." Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley criti cized the judge's decision, say ing it "denigrates the substantial investigative efforts con ducted by the state Departmentof Justice and the medical board." He said he would appeal. Stern attorney Steve Sadow said his strongest and most unusual defense theme was love. He told jurors that Smith was the love of Stern's life and he would never have done anything to hurt her. H e said prosecutors at times portrayed Stern as a Svengali trying to control Smith for money, a claim he said was false. "The love was a fact," Sadow said. "It was the truth and all I had to do was sell the true facts to the jury. They had to u nderstand the relationship between Howard and Anna rather than the false and ficti tious relationship the prosecution tried to sell. And of course we had the pictures." Sadow said the turning point i n the trial came when the prosecution imported two nannies f rom the Bahamas who testified that Smith was in a drugged, semi-comatose state for weeks after the birth of her child and accused Stern of keeping her drugged. The defense then produced dozens of dazzling photographs of the blonde beauty from thes ame time period, showing her vibrant and smiling, cuddling her baby, posing with Stern, celebrating her birthday and participating in their commitment ceremony on a yacht. Stern said he sometimes marvels at the turn of fate that l ed him to Smith and the love story that consumed his life. He was her lawyer first and then her lover. "Back then could I ever have anticipated where I am now? Not in a million years," he said. A t 41, he said he has not had time to evaluate his future or t o mourn for his lost love. He said a bright light in his life is Smith's daughter, Dannielynn, who he once thought was his. She is being raised by her father, photographer Larry Birkhead. He said he and Birkhead, who once fought in court, are now working together on Smith's estate and Birkhead will probably become its sole administrator. He said he will have visits with Dannielynn and hopes to tell her about her mother. "She just reminds me of her mom," he said of the 4-yearold child. "She's a junior version of Anna. Larry is doing a great job with her. She's the happiest little girl you'll ever see." C M Y K C M Y K INTERNATIONAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 7 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM The Mercedes-Benz C-ClassYour most enjoyable drive ever.T he Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a pleasure t obehold offering a new interpretation of d riving pleasure. Its taut lines lend it an air of effortless superiority while the wide radiator grille and distinctive rear section a nnounce a vehicle with a real presence and dynamic personality. F ew cars can compete with its ability to a djust so many facets of its character from the interior to the drive technology s o quickly and precisely in response t oexternal conditions and your own particular needs. The key to this flexible r esponse is the standard-fit Agility C ontrol Package which includes s elective damping. T he interior offers noticeably more space and a more distinctive atmosphere t osuit your taste. As you will see, the C -Class is the perfect embodiment o f the Mercedes-Benz philosophy.Tyreflex Star MotorsW ulff Road, P. O. Box N 9123, Nassau, The Bahamas, Tel 242.325.4961 Fax 242.323.4667OUR PARTS DEPARTMENT IS FULLY STOCKED WITH EVERY COMPONENT NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT YOUR MERCEDES RUNS TROUBLE FREE. TRAINED TECHNICIANS ON DUTY. 'RQWZDVWHWLPH LQ OLIHEHFDXVH\RX FDQQRWGRDQ\WKLQJ LQ GHDWKa 4WffkFSk^ad a XRWH RIWKH ZHHN Stern finds vindication in Anna Nicole Smith case HOWARDKSTERNand the late ANNANICOLESMITH
C M Y K C M Y K PAGE 8, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE B y SIR RONALD SANDERS (The writer is a Consultant and former Caribbean Diplomat) THE New Year started with a great deal of frustrationb eing publicly expressed over the Caribbean regional integration project which, this year, will have been in construction for forty-three years. Other integration efforts, such as the European Union (EU began after the Caribbean Community and Common market (CARICOM moved ahead much faster andm uch more effectively for the benefit of the people of their member countries. It is understandable, theref ore, that, in an editorial, one o f the Caribbeans oldest newspaper observed that a majority o f people believe that any official attempt to unite the region as envisaged in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME i ng but reverie and doomed to failure. To be fair the editor i al did not trumpet this observation with glee or satisfaction. It said that as we enter thes econd decade of this century, we hold fast, nevertheless, tot he idea of one region. S o, on the one hand, this editorial, reflecting the views o f many, still believes in the notion of a deeply integrated C aribbean one region, but it expresses no faith that, after forty-three years, we will see a CSME anytime soon. The e ditorial identified four con temporary reasons for its lack of faith in any official attempt to unite the region. These reasons were: an unfortunate statement last yearb y the Trinidad and Tobago P rime Minister that her gov ernment would no longer be an ATM machine for otherc ountries of CARICOM; an injudicious remark by the same Prime Minister that, in the provision by her government of assistance to the islands of St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines she would expect some benefit for the construct ion industry of Trinidad and Tobago; the more recent sug gestion by Prime Minister B ruce Golding of Jamaica that his government favoured set ting up its own national final Court of Appeal rather than acceding to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ that CARICOM heads of gov ernment are yet to establish any executive machinery to enforce their own policy decisions. All of these points are valid. There are many more besides. Among them are that instead of getting on with fashioning CARICOM into an effective vehicle to help with the improvement of their peoples lives and progressing development in their countries, some governments are busily trying to cultivate relations with oth er larger countries far beyond the region to try to get what they can while they can. The latter strategy is, of course, unsustainable. And, as has happened in the past, the governments now flirting, on their own, with big ger countries not on their doorstep will return to the regional fold which is not only their natural home, but also their best hope. Fortunately, the statements by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, while indicative of an attitude to CARICOM held by many in that country, were made in the early flush of government. In the past, other heads of government have made equally hurtful (and not fully informed) comments in other contexts. The truth is that Trinidad and Tobago is the principal beneficiary of trade in goods and services to CARICOM benefits are not a one-way street. This is the message that the government in Port-of-Spain should be delivering to its peo ple. Also, to those who say that Trinidad and Tobago does not need the CARICOM market, they should be challenged to identify the alternative mar kets, how quickly could they be developed if they could be developed at all, and at what cost. With regard to the state m ent that Mr Golding has made about establishing Jamaicas own national, final court of appeal instead of joining the CCJ for this purpose, it really is time that someone b ells the cat on this as well. As I pointed out in my last commentary (Time to make up your mind), by April this yearJ amaicans will head five extremely important CARICOM-wide institutions. These a re positions for which the J amaica government fought and other CARICOM coun tries agreed. What is the mess age that is being sent to the people of CARICOM by Jamaica? Is it that all is well when Jamaica holds the reins, b ut it isnt well when other CARICOM nationals are i nvolved? This cannot be so, a nd Mr Golding is far too intel ligent a man and too well informed to hold such a posi-t ion. The time has come for Jamaicas leadership to cease pandering to the false notion of some special Jamaican capaci t y, and, instead, spread the true message that this region is one and one to which Jamaicas c ontribution has been highly regarded by its Caribbean brothers and sisters. T he quicker that the CARI COM Secretariat, as part of an overall reform of all its activities, is given the resources and e mpowered to mount a sustained, multi-media campaign throughout the region on howm embership of the Caribbean Community has benefitted, and can continue to benefit,t he people of each CARICOM country the better. And, every government should regard it as its responsibility and obligation to carry out its own domestic programme of education and information. Of the four points made in the Editorial to which this com mentary refers, the most crucial is its observation that the decade closed without the establishment of any executive machinery to enforce the implementation of policy decisions by heads of government. This is and has been for decades the fundamental problem with the lack of progress of CARICOM in establishing the CSME and even in carrying out a range of activities that are routine in organisations similar to CARICOM. In his New Years address as Chairman of CARICOM until July 2011, the Prime Minister of Grenada, Tillman Thomas, said that the cry for the quickening of the pace was heard and active consideration of new governance structures was given by CARICOM leaders. He offered that one of the main ideas in taking the necessary steps will be tested in this com ing year with the establishment of the Permanent Committee of CARICOM Ambassadors which, he said, heralds a new dawn for our Community. Mr Thomas is right to hold out hope, but it is difficult to see how another layer of national representatives will implement policy decisions of Heads, when ministers and the Secretariat were not able to do so. The CARICOM vehicle needs an urgent overhaul, or it really will be a case of CARICOM and gone. Responses and previous commentaries at: www.sirronaldsanders.com CARICOM or CARI-GONE? WORLDVIEW S IRRONALDSANDERS
C M Y K C M Y K T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 9 By MIKE LIGHTBOURN Y OU MIGHT think t hat the living room or family room is the heart of your home, but in the e yes of potential purchasers, there are at least t hree other rooms that will demand your attention as you prepare to selly our home for top dollar. Avoiding improvements i n the following areas may cost you a lot more t han the small investment i t takes to impress buyers. F or purchasers, the kitchen is often the most important area, and while you may not need to replace your cabinets,r esurfacing or just sanding and painting will go a l ong way towards improv ing their appearance. Dont overlook the coun t ertops this is an immediate eye catcher. If the floor is in poor condition, consider replacing it. I n the bathrooms, fresh p aint and new flooring are also fine improvements, but your greatestp ayoff might come from simply investing a couple hundred dollars in a new mirror and vanity. Makes ure the toilets are secure and are in good condi tion. The laundry room is o ften overlooked when it comes to improvements, but purchasers will respond positively if you install built-in shelving and storage. If your laun-dry area isnt flooded w ith light, consider upgrading the light fixtures. While youre at it, that fresh paint and new flooring wouldnt hurt here, either. Trust me that if these three rooms are bright, neat and clean, it conveys the message that you area responsible seller with pride of ownership, and hopefully worthy of a full price offer. Tip of the week: Even if your home is in good condition as outlined above, if it is not PRICED PROPERLY it will languish on the mar ket. Remember PRICE, PRICE, PRICE is what it takes if you are serious about selling. (Mike Lightbourn is president of Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty) MIKELIGHTBOURN REALESTATE:A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY THE INTERIOR OF YOUR HOME Shar e your news The T ribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps you ar e raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the area or have won an awar d. If so, call us on 322-1986 and share your story.
By POLICE CONSTABLE MAKILLE PINDER MOTORISTS BEWARE SCHOOL HAS STARTED UNFORTUNATELY, the beginning of school is also a time when children are at increased risk of transportationrelated injuries from pedestrian, school bus, and motor vehicle crashes. The reason is fairly obvious; t here are many more children on the road each morning and afternoon, as well as an overall change in motorists' patterns. As schools open their doors, it's time for motorists to improve their traffic safety practices. The following tips can help make this a safe and happys chool year for the whole community: Slow down. Obey all traffic laws and speed limits. Be extra cautious around school crossing areas, slow down and watch for children on the way to school. When driving in neighborhoods or school zones, watch for children who may be in a hurry to get to school and may not be thinking about getting there safely. The posted speed limit in s chool zones is 15 MPH from 7:30am 9:00am and 2:30pm 4pm. Allow children waiting at a pedestrian crossing to cross. Be alert and ready to stop. Watch for children walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks. When using an intersection where children are trying to cross, slow down; make eye contact with the children to determine what they are going to do next. Always stop for a jitney or school bus that has stopped to load and unload passengers Before entering a pedestrian crossing area, be sure there are no children in the lane or a djacent lanes. When passing a parked vehicle, check for children who may run out into the street. When approaching a school bus that has stopped to drop off or pick up students, motorists must stop a safe distance behind. When approaching a school speed zone reduce speed below the required speed limit and maintain it until the end of the school zone. During school hours Motor Vehicle Laws will be strictly enforced. Please share this information with every driver in your family. Lets all work together to have a safe school year. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 10, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM ([FHOOHQWRSSRUWXQLW\LVDYDLODEOHIRUSURIHVVLRQDOLQGLYLGXDO WRPRYHDKHDGLQJUHDWFDUHHU/HDGLQJODZLVVHHNLQJ WRHPSOR\KLJKO\TXDOLHG/HJDO6HFUHWDU\7KHVXFFHVVIXO FDQGLGDWHVKRXOGSRVVHVVWKHIROORZLQJVNLOOVDQGH[SHULHQFH $ELOLW\WR \ 8QGHUVWDQGDQGIROORZRUDODQGZULWWHQGLUHFWLRQV 7\SHDQGDVVHPEOHLQIRUPDWLRQLQWRSURSHUOHJDOIRUPIURP RXWOLQHGLQVWUXFWLRQVRUHVWDEOLVKHGSURFHGXUHV 3URGXFHOHJDODQGRWKHUGRFXPHQWVXVLQJZRUGSURFHVVLQJ VRIWZDUH 0DLQWDLQZLGHYDULHW\RIOHJDOUHFRUGVDQGUHSRUWVZRUNLQJ LQGHSHQGHQWO\LQWKHDEVHQFHRIVSHFLFLQVWUXFWLRQV (VWDEOLVKDQGPDLQWDLQHIIHFWLYHZRUNLQJUHODWLRQVKLSVZLWKFOLHQWV OHJDODQGFRXUWUHODWHGSHUVRQQHODWWRUQH\VDQGVWDI 3ULRULWL]HDVVLJQHGGXWLHV -RE 5HTXLUHPHQWV T ([WHQVLYHH[SHULHQFHDQGVRXQGNQRZOHGJHRISURSHUOHJDOIRUPDW DQGSURFHVVHV \HDUVOHJDOVHFUHWDULDOH[SHULHQFH .QRZOHGJHRI0LFURVRIW2IFHDQGVKRUWKDQGVSHHGZULWLQJVNLOOV DUHHVVHQWLDO 7$SSO\ SSO\ $OODSSOLFDQWVPXVWVXEPLWDUHVXPHE\ WK -DQXDU\ /HJDOHFUHWDU\ 7KH7ULEXQH 1DVVDX%DKDPDV &$5((5781,7< /(*$/(&5(7$5< Royal Bahamas Police Force National Crime Prevention Office Safety Tips for Drivers POLICE CONSTABLE Makille Pinder J ACKSON, Miss. A BLASTof winter weather pushed a cross the South on Sunday, coating b ridges and roads with snow, sleet and freezing rain and causing hundreds of flight cancelations, according to Associated Press. The governors of Louisiana, Alabama a nd Georgia issued emergency declara t ions. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said work ers had readied snow and salt trucks to help clear icy roads, and he asked all resi d ents to stay home Sunday night and Mon day unless necessary. M ississippi officials warned motorists early Sunday that ice was already accumulating on roads and bridges in many counties, creating hazardous driving conditions. The National Weather Service posted winter storm warnings from east Texas to the Carolinas. D aniel Lamb, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, Miss., said heavy snow had fallen Sundaya fternoon from Arkansas to north Missis sippi. Other areas of the South saw freezing rain and sleet. US flights canceled, states declare emergencies as blast of icy weather hits parts of the South
s tart selling everything back t o the former colonisers, E ngland, then we are turning b ack around to do what our forefathers (decried William Carroll, president oft he Bahamas Communications Public Managers Union (BCPMU The demonstration is p lanned for RM Bailey Park at 7pm today. Union leaders promise to reveal the f acts, as they escalate the o pposition of the governm ents planned sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless Comm unications. W hile some say it is a false c omparison to tie the genera l strike to the current l abour movement, there are many historians and political commentators that agreet hat labour was an important part of Majority Rule. Historians say Majority Rule was achieved out of the J anuary 10, 1967 general election, when the govern ing United Bahamian Partya ndthe Progressive Liberal Party won 18 seats each in t he House of Assembly. Sir Lynden was able to form the first black governm ent in Bahamian history, explained Fred Mitchell, Fox H ill Member of Parliament, when Sir Randol Fawkes, the lone Labour MP, vote d to stand with the PLP, and Sir Alvin Braynen, an i ndependent MP, assumed the Speakers chair. The difficulty we have t oday is a Free National Movement political admini stration that is set on deconstructing and destabilizing e verything that majority rule sought to build which is ac ountry of equality, social mobility and justice for all Bahamians, said MrM itchell. N ext to emancipation and independence, Majority Rule is probably the most significant day that constitu t ional freedoms were ushered in, according to Perry Christie, leader of the oppo s ition. In the unions effort to save the Bahamas against a bad decision I think theym ust think the significance o f (Majority Rule Day would stir people; pump the heart, beat the soul and get everyone out. It is not a bad decision to have the event on this day, said Mr C hristie. S everal major events pred ating Majority Rule are believed to have influenced it centrally. The general strike is one of them, and it ultimately gave birth to the Trade Union and Industrial Conciliation Act and the creation of the Labour Department, note some. January 13, 1958 was the day hundreds of taxi drivers, hotel workers, garbage collectors, tourism industry employees, construction workers, and others, walked off their jobs in a move that brought the economic engine of the country to a virtual standstill. While political heavy weights Sir Lynden and Sir Randol Fawkes were major leaders in this culminating effort, it was Sir Clifford, who in November of 1957, a s leader of the taxi union, l ed about 200 outraged taxi m en to blockade the new i nternational airport at W indsor Field forcing flight cancellations, stated political scientist Larry Smith. T he industrial action protested an exclusive agreement planned between major hotel operat ors and a taxi company set up by the Symonette fami ly. A ccording to the governor at the time, the deal would h ave established a monopoly excluding the taxi cab union entirely. T wo months later, with the labour movement still disaff ected, and opposition political forces in full support, workers united for the Gene ral strike, which shut down New Providence for almost t hree weeks. Describing the significance of the labour unrest, Sir Clif-f ord said: Little did I know on that Sunday morning in J anuary 1958 that the stunning and unexpected afterm ath of the general strike would pave the way for thet urbulent decade of the sixties, ultimately leading to the freedom of majority rule fora ll Bahamians. T he new decade of poli tics would see womens suffrage and other constitutional reforms. T he aftermath included: International pressure on the Bay Street regime tod emocratise the country. Within three months a senior British cabinet minister was in Nassau pushingf or constitutional reforms, a nd that October, legislation was passed to set up a labour department and a process for industrial conciliation. The following year saw abo lition of the company vote,e xtension of the franchise to a ll men over 21, and the crea tion of four new parlia mentary seats (all of which were won by the PLP), states Mr Smith. On the timeline of progress, Mr Mitchell includes: 1 June 1942, Burma Road; the 1950 founding of the Citizens Committee and the fight to show No Way Out, Sidney Poitier's first film; the 1953 founding of the PLP; the election of Sammy Isaacs, Cyril Steven son, Randal Fawkes, Lyn den Pindling, Clarence Bain and Milo Butler to the House of Assembly in 1956; the General Strike of 1958; the bye elections of 1960; the 1962 election defeat; the con stitutional changes of 1964; Black Tuesday on April 27, 1965 and the general elec tion of January 10, 1967. C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS PAGE 12, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Government signed a Memorandum of Unders tanding with C&W on D ecember 2, 2010. It is expected to debate the docu ment when Parliament reconv enes on January 19 after the Christmas recess. The House has to approve the sale b efore it can be finalised. G overnment officials, who w ished to remain anonymous, were sceptical that an agreement was finalised last week as the business plan for BTC had not yet been presented. It was said that only a fter a business model had been finalised would negotia tions with C&W on the contract start. Meanwhile, a mass demonstration has been organized for this evening as labour u nions continue their efforts to prevent the utility compa ny from being privatised. As the unions are opposed to the sale of 51 per cent of BTC to C&W, they are urging government to find a B ahamian consortium to purchase the majority stake in t he company. Last week, it was confirmed that the unions representing BTC employees were in talks with their legal t eam to file suit against the government to block the sale. came out, but he did not speak to any members of parliament about the event. I have not invited a single soul out. There is no MP w ho could say they have even spoke to me about a meeting, he said. At a prayer breakfast Sunday, Fred Mitchell, Fox Hill member of parliament, encouraged party supporters to support the labour movement, as they did in 1958 during the general strike. We have our work to do 44 years after the fact. It is e conomic empowerment which must now be the clarion call. It is a call to serve all Bahamians to make them the full masters of the commanding heights of our economy. That is why we must resolutely and firmly oppose the FNM governments plans to sell BTC in the way in which they are doing it and to support the trade unionsi n their fight to stop the Leviathan, said Mr Mitchell. FROM page one MINISTER DENIES BTC DEAL HAS BEEN FINALISED PLP TO SUPPORT DEMONSTRATION F ROM page one SUPPORT: RYANPINDER Unionists to hold mass rally against planned BTC sale today F ROM page one
C M Y K C M Y K LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 13 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM peace, Mr Symonette said. The criminals this year will be defeated. His announcement before an audience of officers from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Customs and Immigration, Road Traffic D epartment, the Airport A uthority, and high-ranking g overnment officials, was followed with remarks by Bahamas Christian Council leader Reverend Patrick P aul. H e said: There are too m any guns in our streets; gun l aws must be enforced and a mended where necessary. We must ensure persons charged with serious crimes such as armed robberies and murders cannot walk free in our communities until they have been completely exon erated. M eanwhile police are i nvestigating the deadly shooting of a man gunned d own on the porch of a h ome in Bishop Way, Wind s or Place, off Soldier Road at around 6.40pm on Saturday. P olice press liaison officer Sgt Chrislyn Skippings said police were called when gunfire rang out in the area and officers found the man with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead a t the scene by Emergency M edical Services (EMS A 21-year-old man is being questioned in connec-t ion with the homicide. T he second murder inquiry of 2011 was launched just a day after police foundt he body of a man, unoffic ially identified by local media as Samuel Allad, 47, lying on a makeshift bedb ehind the Burger Barn in Carmichael Road at 10.20amon Friday. He had visible i njuries on his back and police classified the death as the first murder of the year later that night. And late last night, news reached The Tribune of another homicide, when a f emale was shot dead on W ulff Road near the Texaco Service Station. In addition to the latest murder probes, police are investigating the stabbing of a 19-year-old Nassau Village m an attacked by three robb ers just an hour after the f atal shooting on Saturday n ight. S gt Skippings said the man w as in an area of Soldier R oad east of East Street w hen three men attempted to rob him, and a struggle followed. The teenager was stabbed several times and taken to hospital by EMS where he has been detained in stable c ondition. P olice are also looking for the two men who robbed C razy Ink Studio in the K ennedy Subdivision at a round 2pm on Friday. They reportedly stormed the shop armed with a handgun ands tole an undetermined amount of cash before driving off towards Pinewood Gardens in the white Nissan Maxima they had parked outside. Intensive investigations h ave been launched into all m atters and police are a ppealing for information from the public. A nyone with any infor m ation that may relate to the murders, stabbing, or armed robbery, should report it as am atter of urgency by calling t he Central Detective Unit (CDU the police emergency line on9 11 or 919, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 328-TIPS (8477 Govts $8.5m to fight crime F ROM page one
C M Y K C M Y K INTERNATIONAL NEWS PAGE 14, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM TUCSON, Ariz. Associated Press F EDERALprosecutors b rought charges Sunday against the gunman accused of attempting to assasinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six p eople at a political event i n Arizona. I nvestigators said they c arried out a search warr ant at Jared Loughner's home and seized an envelope from a safe with messages such as "I planned ahead," ''My assassination" and the name "Giffords" next to what a ppears to be the man's signature. He allegedly purchased the Glock pist ol used in the attack in November at Sportsman's W arehouse in Tucson. Court documents also show that Loughner had c ontact with Giffords in the past. Other evidence i ncluded a letter addressed to him from Giffords' congressional stationery in w hich she thanked him for attending a "Congress on y our Corner" event at a mall in Tucson in 2007. Heather Williams, the f irst assistant federal public defender in Arizona, s ays the 22-year-old suspect doesn't yet have a l awyer, but that her office is working to get a lawyer a ppointed. Meanwhile, authorities released 911 calls in whicha person witnessing the m ass shooting outside a grocery store in Tucson describes a frantic scene and says, "I do believeG abby Giffords was hit." Loughner fired at Giffords' district director ands hooting indiscriminately at staffers and others standing in line to talk to the congresswoman, saidM ark Kimble, a communic ations staffer for Giffords. "He was not more than three or four feet from thec ongresswoman and the district director," Kimble s aid, describing the scene as "just complete chaos, people screaming, crying." L oughner is accused of killing six people, including a federal judge, an aide to Giffords and a 9-year-o ld girl who was born on S ept. 11, 2001. Fourteen others were wounded, including thet hree-term Democrat lawmaker. Authorities don't know his motive, but said he targeted Giffords at ap ublic gathering around 10 a .m. Saturday. Doctors treating the law maker provided an optimistic update about her chances for survival, say ing they are "very, very encouraged" by her ability to respond to simple commands along with theirs uccess in controlling her bleeding. M ourners crammed into the tiny sanctuary of Giffords' synagogue in Tucs on to pray that she quickly recovered. Outside the hospital, candles flickered at a makeshift memorial.S igns read "Peace + love a re stronger," ''God bless America and "We love you, Gabrielle." P eople also laid down bouquets of flowers, American flags and pic tures of Giffords. O ne of the victims was C hristina Taylor Green, who was a member of the student council at her local school and went to the event because of her inter est in government. She is the granddaughter of for mer Philadelphia Phillies manager Dallas Green. S he was born on 9/11 and featured in a book called "Faces of Hope" that chronicled one baby f rom each state born on the day terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people. T he fact that Christina's l ife ended in tragedy was e specially tragic to those who knew her. Tragedy seems to have h appened again," said the author of the book, Christine Naman. "In the form of this awful event." Authorities said the dead included U.S. District Judge John M. Roll; Green; Giffords aide GabeZ immerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Sch n eck, 79. Judge Roll had just stopped by to see his friend Giffords after attending Mass. A n unidentified man w ho authorities earlier said might have acted as ana ccomplice was cleared S unday of any involvement. Pima County sheriff's deputy Jason Ogan told The Associated Press onS unday that the man was a cab driver who drove the gunman to the grocery store outside of which thes hooting occurred. In one of several YouTube videos, which featured text against a d ark background, Loughner described inventing a new U.S. currency and c omplained about the illite racy rate among people l iving in Giffords' congressional district in Ari-z ona. I know who's listening: Government Officials, and the People," Loughner wrote. "Nearly all the people, who don't know this accu rate information of a new currency, aren't aware ofm ind control and brain wash methods. If I have my civil rights, then thism essage wouldn't have happen (sic In Loughner's middleclass neighborhood a bout a five-minute drive f rom the scene sheriff's deputies had much of thes treet blocked off. The n eighborhood sits just off a bustling Tucson street and is lined with desert land scaping and palm trees. N eighbors said Loughn er lived with his parents and kept to himself. He was often seen walking hisd og, almost always wearing a hooded sweat shirt and listening to his iPod. The assassination a ttempt left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushed t he suspect over the edge. G iffords faced frequent b acklash from the right over her support of theh ealth care reform last y ear, and had her office vandalized the day the House approved the land mark measure. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik lashed out at what he called an excessively "vitriolic"a tmosphere in the months leading up to the rampage as he described the chaoso f the day. The sheriff said the rampage ended only after two people tackled the gun-m an. A third person inter vened and tried to pull a c lip away from Loughner a s he attempted to reload, the sheriff said. "He was definitely on a mission," according toe vent volunteer Alex Vil lec, former Giffords intern. Suspect in attack on congresswoman faces five charges WELL WISHERS gather outside University Medical center at a make-shift memorial in Tucson, Ariz., Sunday. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head Saturday during a speech at a local supermarket. (AP REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS D-Ariz Susan Walsh/AP C APE CANAVERAL, Fla. THE SHOCKING gundown of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has left NASA reeling: Her astronaut husband was due to rocket away in just three months as perhaps the last space shuttle commander, and her brother-in-law is currently on the International Space Station, according to Associated Press. Shuttle commander Mark Kelly rushed to his wife's hospital bedside Saturday as his identical twin brother, Scott, did his best to keep updated on the Arizona shooting through Mission Control, the Internet and the lone phone aboard the space station. "I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers, wordsof condolences and encourage ment for the victims and their families of this horrific event," Scott Kelly tweeted from space. "My sister-in-law, Gabrielle Giffords is a kind, compassionate, brilliant woman, loved by friends and political adversaries alike a true patriot. What is going on in our country that such a good person can be the subject of such senseless violence?" It was the worst news to befall an astronaut in orbit since Christ mas 2007, when a space station res ident learned of his mother's death in a car-train collision. That astronaut, Daniel Tani, was working in Mission Control in Houston last week, in touch with Scott Kelly and the five other members of the space station crew. The chief of the astronaut office broke the news to Scott Kelly that a gunman had shot his sister-inlaw at a political gathering in Tuc son soon after it happened. NASA officials said Sunday it was premature to speculate on whether Mark Kelly would step down as commander of the April flight of the shuttle Endeavour. But it was hard to imagine how he could keep up with the grueling training in the next three months, primarily in Houston, and still spend time with his wife of three years, hospitalized in critical condition in Arizona. Kelly's mission is higher profile than most. Endeavour's final flight will deliver an elaborate physics experiment by a Nobel Prize win ner. For now anyway, it's slated to be the last voyage of the 30-year s huttle program. That fact alone propelled 46-year-old Mark Kelly onto the cover of this month's Air& Space magazine of the Smith sonian Institution; he shares the cover with the first shuttle commander, moonwalker John Young. In an interview with The Associated Press last fall, Kelly, a Navy officer and three-time shuttle flier, said it was "timing and luck" that snared him one last coveted commander's seat, not his influential wife. She loved sharing his adventure. "She's excited about going to Florida for the launch," he said then. Until last month, NASA hoped the Kelly brothers would meet in orbit, a PR dream for a space agency often confronted with bad news. But after fuel tank cracks grounded another shuttle mission, Mark Kelly's flight was bumped to April. His brother is to return home in March on a Russian spacecraft, so the reunion in space is off. As for the rippling effects of Sat urday's shooting, there is no prece dent for anything like this at NASA. Astronauts have had to bow out of space missions over the decades, but never a commander so close to flight and never for something so brutal. Mark Kelly's co-pilot, retired Air Force Col. Gregory Johnson, could take over. Or NASA could free up another astronaut with flying-to-the-space-station experi ence. "It is premature to speculate on any of this," NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said in an e-mail Sunday. "For now, the focus is on sup porting Mark and Scott, and things need to be taken day by day, and all thoughts are with the victims." NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called Giffords a "a longterm supporter of NASA... who not only has made lasting contri butions to our country, but is a s trong advocate for the nation's space program and a member of the NASA family." Mark Kelly's two teenage daughters from a previous marriage were reportedly with him in Tucson. The couple met in China in 2003 during a young leaders' forum and married in November 2007 at an organic farm south of Tucson. Giffords, 40, a Democrat, served on the House Science and Technology Committee, and took on NASA affairs while heading the space sub committee. She admitted to being nervous at her husband's shuttle launch in 2008. "It's a risky job," she told The Associated Press. "You don't really relax" until touchdown. Mark Kelly readily accepted his wife's fame. He considered her the bigger star in the family. Scott Kelly, who like his brother has two daughters, will end his 5?month mission in March, flying in a Russian Soyuz capsule to Kazakhstan. On Sunday, Scott Kelly and his crewmates another American, one Italian and three Russians kept busy with maintenance work. A busy few weeks are ahead with a spacewalk by two of the Russians and the late January arrival of the first-of-its-kind Japanese cargo ship. The brothers describe themselves as best friends. Both are Navy captains and former test pilots, and both became astronauts in 1996. They grew up in West Orange, N.J., the sons of police officers. Neither ever missed the other brother's space launches. Mark was there in October, right at the launch pad, when Scott boarded a Russian Soyuz rocket for the space station. Both were disappointed when, just weeks later, shuttle fuel tank cracks conspired to keep them apart in space. NASA won't speculate on flight by Giffords husband THIS UNDATED PHOTO provided by NASA shows Capt. Mark E. Kelly. The astronauts wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 when an assailant opened fire in an area where the lawmaker was meeting with constituents in Tucson, congressional officials said. (AP
LONDON T HEAmerican ambass ador to Reykjavik has b een summoned to explain why U.S. investigators are trying to access the privated etails of an Icelandic lawmaker's online activity as they try to build a criminal case against WikiLeaks, a ccording to Associated Press. Revelations that the U.S. Justice Department obtained a court order to examine data held by Twitter Inc. on Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic parliam entarian who sits on the c ountry's Foreign Affairs Committee, immediately c aused consternation in the t iny North Atlantic nation. (It is foreign state, the United States, demands such per s onal information of an Icelandic person, an elected official," Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson told Icelandic broadcaster RUV. "This is even more serio us when put (in t ive and concerns freedom o f speech and people's freedom in general," he added. Jonsdottir is a one-time WikiLeaks collaborator also known for her work on Iceland's media initiative, which aims to turn the i sland nation into a free s peech haven. Jonsdottir told The Assoc iated Press she was too o verwhelmed to comment S unday, but in a recent post to Twitter, she said she was talking with Americanl awyers about how to beat the order and was drumming up support in Iceland as well. U.S. Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga has been summoned for a meeting at Icel and's Foreign Ministry to d iscuss the issue, Foreign M inistry spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir saidS unday. It was not clear w hen the meeting was taking place. U.S. Embassy in Reyk javik said no one there would be available for comment until Monday. The evolving diplomatic s pat illustrates the challenge American prosecu tors face as they weighw hether to bring charges a gainst WikiLeaks, an international, tech-savvy operation that has angered and embarrassed Washing t on with a series of huge leaks of classified information. T he most recent disclo sure of thousands of secret State Department cables saw U.S. diplomats being ordered to gather the DNA and fingerprints of their international counterparts, captured backroom dealing o ver issues such as Guant anamo and rendition, and publicized unflattering a ssessments of friends and f oes alike. T he U.S. says the disclosures have damaged international diplomacy and putt he safety of informants and foreign human rights activists at risk. WikiLeaks has dismissed the claims, but Washington has been trying to find a way to prosecute the group a nd its leader, 39-year-old J ulian Assange, who is cur r ently in England. A court order unsealed e arlier this week revealed t hat American authorities had gone to court to seek data from Twitter about Assange, Jonsdottir, and others either known or suspected to have interacted with WikiLeaks. S ome of those named in the court order have said they suspect other compan ies such as Facebook I nc., Google Inc., and the eBay Inc.-owned Internet communications company Skype have also beens ecretly asked to hand over their personal data. Assange and Jonsdottir h ave vowed to fight the court order. C M Y K C M Y K INTERNATIONAL NEWS PAGE 16, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Iceland summons US envoy over WikiLeaks probe ICELANDIC LAWMAKER Birgitta Jonsdottir poses for this photo Feb. 24, 2010 at an unknown location. In a statement, Saturday Jan. 8, 2011, WikiLeaks said U.S. investigators had gone to the San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. to demand the private messages, contact information and other personal details of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other supporters Assange has promised to fight the order, as has Jonsdottir, who said in a Twitter message that she had "no intention to hand my information over willingly." (AP ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates U.S. SECRETARYof State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday that the world must keep pressure on Iran over its suspect nuclear program despite recent estimates that the country may be further behind in efforts to develop atomic weapons than previously thought, according to Associated Press. Clinton told reporters accompanying her on a three-nation tour of the Persian Gulf that Iran "remains a serious concern" no mat ter when it might be able to produce a nuclear weapon. And she urged countries in the region that do business with Iran "to do everything within reason" to help ensure the sanctions are enforced. "We have had a consistent message to our friends in the Gulf that there is no part of the world that has more at stake in trying to deter Iran from becoming the creator and possessor of nuclear weapons than you," she said. "I don't know that it gives much comfort to someone who is in the Gulf or in a country that Iran has vowed to destroy that it's a one-year or three-year timeframe. So, I think we should keep the focus where it belongs," she said, referring to the sanctions and efforts by world powers to persuade Iran to halt uranium enrich ment. Her comments were the first from a senior U.S. official in response to reports in Israel on Friday that Israel's newly retired spy chief thinks Iran won't be able to build a nuclear bomb before 2015, further pushing back Israeli intelligence estimates of when Tehran might become a nuclear power. "We don't want anyone to be misled by anyone's intelligence analysis," Clinton said. "This remains a serious concern. We expect all our partners ... to stay as focused as they can and do everything within reason that will help to implement these sanctions." As recently as 2009, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb by 2011. But since then the projected deadline has been extended. The Israeli Cabinet minister in charge of strategic affairs, Moshe Yaalon, said last week it would take the Iranians at least three years to develop a nuclear weapon. Many Arab nations share U.S. fears that Iran is using a civilian atomic energy program to hide weapons development. Those concerns were amplified in leaked diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks website late last year that revealed deep mistrust of Iran by Sunni Arab leaders who must deal with an increasing emboldened Shiite neighbor. Clinton acknowledged that one reason for her trip to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar was to try to contain damage done by the release of the classified cables, which have exposed embarrassing secrets and tensions in the region. Her visit comes ahead of a new round of international talks with Iran, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 21-22 in Turkey. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France along with Germany will again try to compel Iran to come clean about its nuclear intentions, in return for incentives. Iran is under four sets of U.N. sanctions because of its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which can be used to produce nuclear fuel or materials for bombs. U.S. officials believe the penalties are hitting Iran's economy, but want them to be more strictly enforced and would like individual countries to take separate punitive measures on their own. Tehran insists its uranium enrichment and other programs are meant only for peaceful purposes to generate fuel for a future network of nuclear reactors. Clinton's trip to the Gulf is her second in as many months. She also attended an international security conference in Bahrain in December. While Iran is always high on the agenda during such vis its to the region, her focus this time will be broader. Clinton presses P er sian Gulf countries on Iran
By NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business Editor A LEADING F reeport businessman has accusedB ahamas Customs of breaching an undertaking given by the Attorney Gen erals Office on its behalf byp ersisting with demands for bonded goods sales reports, telling Tribune B usiness that the situation w as imposing a further depression on post-Christmas trade in the city. C hristopher Lowe, operat ions manager at Kellys (Freeport paper that Customs was informing all 3,500 Grand Bahama Port Authority ( GBPA) licencees that with effect from this month, they are required to submit to ito n a monthly basis reports on all goods they have sold bonded, or duty-free, to other licencees for use in thel atters business. T his, he argued, meant that Customs was breaching the undertaking the Attor-n ey Generals Office had g iven on its behalf to the Supreme Court that it wouldnot demand bonded good sales reports, or impose sanctions for its non-submission, until the substanC M Y K C M Y K SECTIONB firstname.lastname@example.org MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THETRIBUNE $4. 68 $4. 51 $4. 69The information contained is from a third party and The Tribune can not be held responsible for errors and/or omission from the daily report.$ $4.60 $4.64 $4.61 By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business E ditor DESPITEChristmas sales dropping 38 per cent year-over-year due to the loss of two stores, City M arkets executives told T ribune Business that its top line has averaged a 22 per cent week-over-weeki ncrease in the past fortnight, giving them encouragement that a $100 mill ion target for their first 1 2 months is not an unreasonable expectation. D isclosing that the ninestore supermarket chains sales had more than dou-b led, increasing by 135 per c ent since the Mark Fin layson-led Trans Island T raders acquired 78 per c ent majority ownership in Bahamas Supermarkets on November 10 last year,P hilip Kemp, the companys chief financial officer, told this newspaper it was looking to boost customerc ounts even further through offering an enhanced product mix. W hile a more-than-dou bling of City Markets sales since the takeover isn ot surprising, given how b are the supermarket chains shelves were due to lack of inventory, MrK emp told Tribune Busi ness the company was pretty much on sched-u le in terms of managements expectations. Over the last two w eeks, we averaged a 22 per cent sales increase week-over-week, Mr Kemp told Tribune Busi n ess. In terms of the Christmas period, we were only down about 38 per cent, which is not bad considering we lost two stores. Those are the Oakes Field and Village Road outlets, lost after landlord Neil MacTaggart and the company decided to part ways, but Mr Kemp added: If you look at it from the first week wetook over to now, weve seen about a 135 per cent increase in sales. We see our traffic in the stores picking up quire signifi cantly also. He told this newspaper that City Markets was now focusing on its product mix, ensuring consumers met the majority of their grocery needs with it and were not temptedto look elsewhere. If we can close that gap, get to 80-90 per cent of their product mix for the week, we will start to By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor DOCTORSHospital is aiming to g row and diversify its business mix i nto an ultimate 50/50 split between its current core and medical tourism, its p resident telling Tribune Business that moving into the latter area would enable it to not worry about prof-i tability following a year when local patient activity dropped off by 25 perc ent. W ith the BISX-listed healthcare p roviders prostate cancer treatment program already in place as its first medical tourism initiative, Barry R assin told this newspaper that Doctors Hospital hoped to establish a spinal surgery centre in Nassau within t he next five to six months, followed b y a centre for hips, knee and joint replacement possibly as early as next year. Describing medical tourism as a strong part of our future, Mr Rassin s aid Doctors Hospital would likely B y NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor AML Foods has become t he latest BISX-listed compa ny to unveil a share buy back program, its chairman telling Tribune Business the move to acquire up to 10 per cent of the stock over a 36-monthp eriod was sparked by an illiquid market that failed to reflect the groups return toc onsistent profitability in a severely undervalued share price. By NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business E ditor SUPERVALUE is d usting off plans to bulk purchase in advance in a bid to head off escalating f ood prices expected to hit later this year, its president and owner also expressingf ears that energy prices might double during 2011. With commodity price i ncreases an emerging threat that might knock By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor CITY MARKETSmeltdown under the disastrous former BSL Holdings ownership cost its main Trinidadian shareholder a $0.142 per share loss for its 2010 financial year, with structural disad vantages and increasing competitive intensity in Bahamian food retailing blamed for the failure to turn the supermarket chain around. Gervase Warner, chief executive of Trinidadian con glomerate Neal & Massy, which previously owned 31 per cent of Bahamas Super markets shares via its 40 per cent stake in majority share holder, BSL Holdings, admitted the company failed to anticipate the depth of the problems faced by the then-11 store chain operating as City AMLs 10% buy back to combat severely undervalued stock BISX-listed food group unveils 36-month share repurchase to fight illiquid market Chairman says stock damn good buy, amid frustrat ion that market does not reflect fundamentals and consistent profits % of the population don t understand shares, he says, with price dictated by cash-seeking small sellers AML Foods prepared to borrow to finance deals, and expects other listed Bahamian firms to follow suit SEE page 4B DIONISIO DAGUILAR NEAL & MASSY HIT BY CITY MARKETS HORROR SHOWING Bahamian supermarket c hain pr oduced $0.142 per shar e loss f or Trinidad conglomerate, some 75% of all discontinued operations losses Blames important structural disadvantages and increasing competitiv e intensity f or tur nar ound f ailur e Wrote-off $8.156m investment to turn firm ar ound, whic h inc luded guar antee f or Ro yal Bank loan SEE page 5B 22% WEEK ON WEEK SALES RISE AT CITY MARKETS Despite 38% drop in Xmast op line due to l oss of two stores, company says sales have risen 135% since tak eover SEE page 4B SUPERVALUE HEDGES BET ON ENERGY, FOOD RISES Super market chain activ ating adv ance b ulk buying plans, as o w ner e xpects ener gy c osts to double Beats Chr istmas projections by some 2% SEE page 7B SEE page 7B Customs accused of breaching AG court undertaking F reeport businessman says latest moves over bonded goods sales an attempt to f or ce F reeport into duty-paid w orld and increase g o v er nment revenues Doctors targets 50/50 medical tourism split Mo v e targeting increased revenue streams that will ensure B ISX-listed firm does not have to worry about profitability President says recession caused % drop in patient activity across the board, with tourist percentage of mix down from 1 8% to 11% Med tourism could help boost staff levels -20%, with spinal centre and knee/hip facility possibly both arriving w ithin year Targeting 1,000 medical tourism patients in two-three years S EE page 6B D OCTORS HOSPITALPRESIDENT: Barry Rassin
C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 2B, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM ROYALFIDELITY MARKET WRAP B ISX SYMBOLCLOSING PRICEWKLY PRICE CHANGEVOLUMEYTD PRICE CHANGE AML...........................$ 0.97...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% BBL............................$ 0.18...............................................$-..............................30,500...........................0.00% BOB............................$ 4.90...............................................$-..............................200................................0.00% B PF.............................$ 10.63...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% B SL.............................$ 5.01...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% BWL...........................$ 2.70...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% CAB............................$ 10.46................................................$...............................-0..................................0.00% CBL............................$ 7.00...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% CHL............................$ 2.40...............................................$-..............................4,000.............................0.00% CIB..............................$ 9.39...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% CWCB........................$ 2.02..............................................$0.19...........................0....................................10.38% D HS............................$ 1.60...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% FAM...........................$ 6.07...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% F BB.............................$ 2.17...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% F CL.............................$ 5.46...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% F CLB..........................$ 1.00...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% FIN..............................$ 7.23...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% I CD.............................$ 7.40...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% J SJ...............................$ 9.82...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% P RE............................$ 10.00...............................................$-..............................0....................................0.00% By ROYALFIDELITY CAPITAL MARKETS I t was a slow week of trading in the Bahamian s tock market. Investors traded in three out of the 24 listed securities, with no advancers nor decliners. E QUITY MARKET A total of 34,700 shares changed hands, representi ng a significant decrease of 36,221 shares compared to the previous week's trading volume of 70,921 shares. Benchmark Bahamas (BBL leader, trading a volume of 30,500 shares to close unchanged at $0.18. B OND MARKET N o notes traded during last week. COMPANY NEWS Earnings Releases: There were no earnings reports released last week. I NTERNATIONAL MARKETS FOREX Rates CurrencyWeekly% Change C AD1.00861.47 G BP1.55570.72 E UR1.2915-1.55 COMMODITIES CommodityWeekly% Change C rude Oil93.58-0.20 G old1,367.00-0.47 INTERNATIONAL STOCK MARKET INDEXES IndexWeeklyy% Change DJIA 11,674.76 0 .84 S&P 500 1 ,271.50 1.10 NASDAQ 2,703.171.90 N ikkei 10,541.04 3.05 B OND MARKET TRADING STATISTICS B ISX SYMBOLDESCRIPTIONVOLUMEPAR VALUE FBB13FBB Series C Notes Due 20130$1,000 F BB15FBB Series D Notes Due 20150$1,000 FBB17FBB Series A Notes Due 20170$1,000F BB22FBB Series B Notes Due 20220$1,000 Share your news The Tribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbourhoods. Per haps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for impr ovements in the ar ea or have won an awar d. If so, call us on 322-1986 and share your story.
C OLINAInsurance h opes customers will notice something different when t hey phone or walk into a b ranch of the life and health i nsurer, as it has taken a new customer service pledge. The five-point pledge s erves as the guideline for Colinas standard of client interaction and service qual ity, dealing with everything from telephone etiquette and client waiting time limitsto ways of addressing cow orkers on company p remises. Colina has mounted the pledge on the walls of all itsb ranches to remind staff of the new service motto, Ser vice Excellence: Our Policy; Our Promise, since it wasl aunched with a week of cus t omer appreciation activities a nd giveaways at all branch es in Nassau and the FamilyI slands. V ice-president of life o perations, Wendy Butler, said: Our customers deserve our best effort asw ell as our respect and courtesy. By placing the customer as the central element of all of our work, we will enhance our culture of customer awareness and sustain the highest quality of cust omer satisfaction, personal a ccountability and profes sional commitment. Ms Butler said the new s ervice pledge focuses on the needs of clients as human beings as well as patrons of an establishment. Weve recognized that c ustomer service must be m ore proactive and go beyond satisfying the cust omers basic need, Ms B utler said. This means exceeding a customers expectation by delivering a service prior tot he turnaround time wherever possible, or facilitating c ustomers who make special r equests that are qualified exceptions to our standard p rocedures. C olina expects new tech n ology will boost the programme this year, and give clients easier and more con v enient ways to interact with the insurer. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 3B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM &RPIRUWDEOHRRPVDW&RPIRUWDEOHDWHV5RRPVIURPMXVWHULJKWSOXVJUDWXLW\5HVWDXUDXQWDQG%DURROHFUHDWLRQRRPHHWLQJRRP$OEDQV'ULYH Colinas pledge on customer service COLINA REPRESENTATIVES and clients stand in front of a poster declaring the first principle of the companys new Customer Service Pledge. L-R: executive vice-chairman Emanuel Alexiou; customer services manager Julie D ean; clients Margaret Pratt, Monica P orter and Latoya Cooper; vice-president, life operations, Wendy Butler; and customer services manager, Lavaughn Fernander. BELOW: At the launch of Colinas new Customer Service Pledge at the companys Rosetta Branch, client Raquel Pyfrom (second from left greeted by Wendy Butler, vice-president, life operations; Emanuel Alexiou, executive vice-chairman; and Alice Woodside, branch administrator.
Hinting at the food retail groups frustration that its positive fundamentals,n amely two years of consist ent profitability amid the worst recession in living memory, were not being reflected by the Bahamian stock market, Dionisio DAguilar said AML Foodsc urrent $0.97 per share s tock price was a damn good buy. The BISX-listed food retail group this follows the lead established by Cable Bahamas and Common-w ealth Bank in establishing a share buy back program, announcing on Friday that it would repurchase up to 10 per cent of its outstanding 1,540,417 shares (just over 154,000) over a 36-month or three-year period to January 31, 2014. T he move is designed to support AML Foods share price for the benefit of longterm investors, such as pension funds and insurancec ompanies; stimulate interest and market demand for the stock, indicate to the market where the company fees the true value should be; and provide more liquidity to existing investors t hat enables them to sell m ore easily. Tribune Business understands that AML Foods Board and senior management had been discussing initiating a share buy back program for some 18 m onths, and Mr DAguilar said the company might even be prepared to temporarily borrow to finance purchases of its own stocki f the terms were right. Pointing to the lack of o verall liquidity in the Bahamian stock market, which was making it difficult for buyers and sellers of many stocks to conductt rade, Mr DAguilar also lamented the lack of sophistication among investors, telling Tribune Business: Ninety-five per cent of the population dont understand shares. A ML Foods payment of a dividend last year the first such payment for seven to eight years sparked upward movement in the stock price despite the improved fundamentals, and Mr DAguilar said the comp anys market price was too often being dictated by small retail investors needing to sell several hundred or a thousand shares to raisec ash at values that did not r eflect the groups worth, He added: The main reason were doing it is that the shares are trading at $0.97, and we feel the stockss everely undervalued. We feel its worth a lot more than that, and given the illiquid market, the lack of liquidity in the market, and the lack of interest in t he shares, we felt wed crea te a little bit of interest and a bit of activity at $1 a share. I f no one is prepared to but it at $1 a share, which is a damn good buy, the company will buy it. The AML Foods chairm an said the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX the company it must notify the market of a specific amount of shares it would attempt to repurchase, and o ver what period of time, h ence the 10 per cent at three-year period to January 2014. Telling Tribune Business that AML Foods would see how it goes, Mr DAguilar said: Given cash flow cons iderations, we gave ourselves three years to accomplish this goal, and after three years well see. I expect almost immedia tely that there will be some b ump up in the shares, and if the company is prepared to buy back its shares at $1, the current market price, it must be sending the marketa message. We paid a dividend last year, and that did not cause a bump up in the share price. Thats the way a sophisticated market works, but it d oes not seem to work that w ay here. At Christmas time, people want money. T he price is dictated, not by the fundamentals, but the desire of the small shareholder to sell 1,000 shares to get money for Christmas.T hat tends to drive the price down, but not for the right reasons. Ninety-five per cent of the population dont understand shares, dont maintain an interest in shares, and that creates illiqu idity. People are not prep ared to play the market. Explaining that AML Foods was effectively creating a market for ourselves through its share buy back program, Mr DAguilar said he expected m ore publicly-listed Bahamian companies to follow suit to put the price where it should be. I think thats probably t he way until people become a little more sophisticated, Mr DAguilar told Tribune Business. I think its almost necessary, as there are so few trades apart from Com-m onwealth Bank. I think more companies, who look at their fundamentals, look at what the share price reflects, will go out and announce it. W hile AML Foods had n ot allocated a specific sum to finance its share repurc hase program, Mr DAguilar said: If the opportunity arises, and we think the shares are undervalued, we will go into them arket. Noting that the company was conscious of cash flows and capital expenditures it needed to finance, namely its $4.5 million Solomons Fresh Market store in weste rn New Providence, the c hairman added: If the cash is available and the price is right, we will buy it. If we think its a damn good deal, we will temporarily borrow to take advantage of it. We have no debt, so if a g ood situation arises and we want to take advantage of the opportunity, were going to do what we need to do in that regard, and if we havet o borrow to take advantage o f this, thats what well do. Mr DAguilar said the buy back program would ensure AML Foods share price doesnt go any lower, ands trengthens and trends up to where it should be. We feel that we can provide increased shareholder value by buying back some of our outstanding ordinary shares, a nd improving earnings and d ividends per share. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 4B, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM hit these kinds of numbers, Mr Kemp s aid. What weve seen so far is quite e ncouraging. Were not out of the woods yet, but weve kind of got to grips with t his model, so we feel more comfortable. Going forward, Christmas was quite encouraging, and weve identified thosea reas we need to focus on. Theres still a l ot of people out there that want City Markets to succeed, and traffic has been quite encouraging. Weve been on target with expectations. We knew coming in that there would be a lot of challenges. But theresn o surprise in terms of where we are at this time; were pretty much on schedule. Noting that sorting out lingering refrig e ration issues was a high priority, Mr Kemp said City Markets was still on targ et to reach $100 million in sales during the first year of Trans Island Traders majority ownership. Wed like to, he added of the $100 million sales objective. If the growth continues as we are doing now, thatsn ot an unreasonable expectation, but its very difficult to predict at this point. Its an extremely competitive envi ronment, and Im sure the competitors a re not going to lie down and let us recapture the market share we lost. AMLs 10% buy back to combat severely undervalued stock FROM page one 22 per cent week on week sales rise at City Markets FROM page one
t ive issues between it and K ellys (Freeport mined by the court. Kellys (Freeport filed a Judicial Review action of Customs demand for such a report, and the terms of the undertaking, as r ead out by the companys a ttorney, Fred Smith of Callenders & Co, state: Until judgment in this matter or further Order, neither the Respondent, nor any Cust oms officer or employee or a gent of H.M. Customs, may detain goods, or refuse to p rocess imported goods for e ntry in the usual way, or r efuse to accept returns for Duty Paid Sales, or otherwise take enforcementa ction against the applicant or other GBPA Licensees, on the basis of non-receipt of duty exempt bonded sales r eports or on any other basis not sanctioned by law." Glenn Gomez, Customs C omptroller, could not be r eached by Tribune Busin ess for comment on late Friday afternoon. H owever, Mr Lowe told T ribune Business: "In the face of the undertaking by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, that Bahamas C ustoms will not pursue Bonded Sales reports until t he substantive issue of bonded goods reporting is heard before a judge of the Supreme Court, Bahamas Customs is notifyingl icensees of the Grand Bahama Port Authority that they are now, effective Jan uary 2011, required to report o n a monthly basis all of their bonded purchases and, in addition, requiring all sell-e rs of bonded goods to r eport on all sales to licensees. Also, a new declaration form called a C14A must bes igned by the licensee for each and every monthly invoice submission (pur c hase), and a C14B declara tion by the seller on licensee purchases report. The C14A, Mr Lowe explained, was effectively for buyers, who Customs is requiring to sign off that they bought all these goods for use in their own busin ess. T he C14B, he added, requires licencees to confirm t hat they sold bonded goods t o legitimate licencees. A ll this, Mr Lowe said, had added to the confusion and consternation caused byC ustoms move to require all GBPA licencees to produce a National Insurance Board (NIB Good Standing, showing they were up to date on employee contributions, b efore they would be issued w ith a bonded letter e nabling them to purchase goods duty-free in 2011. Already in effect Janua ry 1 is the de-facto denial of the right to purchase bonded goods via a new requirement to furnish to BahamasC ustoms a letter of good standing from the National Insurance Board in order to obtain an Over the Counter Bonded Purchase Letter, which according to Bahamas Customs enables the forgo-i ng of their requirement for e ach and every purchase order to be approved, Mr Lowe said. Apparently this letter is being issued from NIB in Nassau, and there is some question as to what other Government departments are in collusion with respect to overdue fees or amounts owing by Freeport businesse s. Also, these letters are slow in coming and are t hereby denying a right by way of Government lethargy or explicit intent. This is, of course, a questionable practice which has never been required or enforced, as the right to purchase Conditionally Duty Free is granted to licensees by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, not the NIB. Asked by Tribune Business about the impact all this was having on Freeports economy, Mr Lowe replied: I think a further depression of the post-Christmas trade, because I have a feeling that a number of licencee comp anies are putting off any w ork they have that uses duty-free materials until they get approval to purc hase for the ensuing year. So, practically, its going t o have the effect of delaying construction after Christmas, especially on jobsr equiring duty-free materials. Licensees are being forced by Bahamas Customs into purchasing materials required by their businesses in a duty paid state, thereby i ncreasing costs but also crea ting potential legal issues w here contracts have been signed for duty free con-s truction or service contracts n eeding bonded materials. And Mr Lowe added: If Customs continues to act unlawfully and arbitrarily, its going to get pretty rough in Freeport, and ultimately it strikes me as a deliberatea ttempt by the Government to force Freeport into the duty-paid world and increase their revenues. B onded goods sales is a practice whereby Freeportbased wholesalers, such as Dolly Madison, Kelly's( Freeport) and Bellevue Business Depot, are able to sell products to other GBPAl icencees for use in their r espective businesses only, without any duty being paid to Customs/Government on their sale. I t is a report on this activity that Customs is seeking, but Kelly's (Freeporti ts attorneys are arguing that t his has never been requested before, and is not included in any statute law, policy or agreement concerning their relationship. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 5B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM ATLANTIC MEDICAL INSURANCE CO.LTD. Atlantic House,2nd Terrace & Collins Avenue,P.O.Box SS-5915,Nassau Tel.326-8191 Suite 5,Jasmine Corporate Center,East Sunrise Highway,P.O.Box F-42655,Freeport Tel.351-3960A member of Colonial Group International:Insurance,Health,Pensions,LifeHealth insurance premiums have continued to rise,so we are all more sensitive to the levels of cover and service a health plan provides. Feeling good about choosing Premier Health for your business,is knowing your employees receive more service and cover for your premium dollar.Premier Health delivers state-of-the-art administration and claims support to work for your business too.Less hassle on service,care and price issues means more focus on doing what you and your team do best.Call 326-8191 or visit www.cgigroup.bm Colonial Group International is rated A-(Excellentby AM Best. Premier HealthIt feels good to choose a health plan that takes care of my business,my team and me. Premiums have not been controlled by cutting benefits and coverage for catastrophic illnesses Premium increases have on average been lower than the market rate Customs accused of breaching AG court undertaking FROM page one KELLYS (FREEPORT A TTORNEY F red Smith of C allenders & Co
have to add another 10-20 per cent to its staffing levelspossibly as much as 50-100 j obs once medical tourism t ook off and the hospitals business from r esidents/tourists returned to pre-recession levels. Explaining that Doctors H ospital was looking to a ttract 250 patients per year to the Bahamas through the spinal treatment and surgery centre, Mr Rassin said of the rationale behind the medical tourism move: Increased rev e nue streams, pure and simple. The Bahamas is a very small population, and to prov ide service to a small popu l ation we can see it [the effects] now, especially with t he recession. The Doctors Hospital president said the recessions impact had been especiallyh eavy on the business it gen e rated from providing treatments to visiting stopover and cruise ship tourists. W hile tourists normally accounted for 18 per cent of the hospitals patient activity, M r Rassin said this percenta ge had dropped to 11 per c ent due to the recession and reduction in travel demand. Half of our tourists were not getting, and thats the biggest blow to the top and bottoml ine, said Mr Rassin. N oting that Doctors Hosp ital had seen an almost 25 per cent drop in activity a cross the board, he explained that the company was looking to build on itse xisting core business to diversify into medical tourism, reducing its reliance on resi d ents and transient visitors for 100 per cent of its rev enues. We dont want to rely on f oreign visitors and, where business activity drops 25 per c ent as it did last year, not worry about profitability. We want another revenues tream, Mr Rassin said, adding that Doctors Hospital wanted something that jumps us into profits in both g ood and bad times. For the Bahamas, the spin-off is fantastic, he a dded. Two hundred and fifty cases bringing with them family members, each oft hose staying in the hotels. Its b ig for the hospital and big f or tourism. Id like to see us get to a 50/50 ratio, 50 per c ent local, 50 per cent med ical tourism. With the High Intensity F ocused Ultrasound (HIFU prostate cancer treatment centre, headed by Dr Robin R oberts, attracting 15-20 patients per month, Mr Rassin said Doctors Hospital was hoping to attract 250 p atients annually to each of the spinal and knee/joint r eplacement centres during their formative years. Youre talking 1,000 p atients a year, which I think we can get to over two-three years, he told Tribune Busin ess. Thats gigantic business f or us. It makes us internat ional. It should take our bottom and top line to a place w here we have all the cash we need to make sure we stay up to date with technology. D octors Hospital had w orked painstakingly over m any years to put in place the foundations to break into m edical tourism, Mr Rassin said, describing as a gigantic step the attaining of JointC ommission International accreditation last June a standard that signals to Amer i cans that the BISX-listed healthcare provider is the equal of any US hospital in terms of quality care and out c omes. Building on the HIFU pro grammes initial success, Mr R assin said Doctors Hospital was working with Bahamian specialist, Dr Val Grimes, tos et-up the spinal surgery and care centre as part of a consortium, together with spe cialists from Florida and W ashington, plus a spinal parts manufacturer. The consortiums plan was to give overseas patients options as to whether they had their treatment at home or in Nassau. If the latter wasc hosen, Mr Rassin said a unique feature was that the programme brought bothp atient and surgeon to the Bahamas, an element designed to give Doctors Hos-p ital a market niche and stand o ut from the competition. Explaining that it was critical to get it done right, ensuring that accreditations and quality care were all in place, Mr Rassin said Doctors Hospital was hoping to get the spinal surgery centre operational within the next five-six months. And, with the same partners involved in the knee/hip/joint replacement programme, he added that this might be established by the end of this year or Janu ary next year. Its a very competitive business, so we want to focus on niche markets, and no one else is looking to bring the surgeons over, Mr Rassin said. While the likes of Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia had stolen an early march on the competition, primarily through a cost structure that paid 10 per cent of US salary costs, Mr Rassin said medical costs in the Bahamas were about 20 per cent less than in or northern neighbour. The Bahamas and Doctors Hospitals competitive advan tage, Mr Rassin said, lay in its ability to offer a combina tion of 20-25 per cent cost savings; quality assurance through the JCI accreditation; and bringing the surgeons to Nassau. The insurance com panies like that combination, he explained. And, with patients from overseas also set to be attracted through Doctors Hospitals Internet marketing, Mr Rassin said this was where the spin-offs will be created for Bahamian doctors and surgeons as the reputation for quality care spread. Bahamian doctors would be the ones doing the operations here, and thats when the benefits to surgeons will jump. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 6B, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM F ROM page one Doctors targets 50/50 medical tourism split
Markets. H e also, in his year-end report to Neal & Massys hareholders, revealed that the company invested some $52.2 million Trinidadian dol-lars ($8.156 million in Bahamian/US dollars) in try-i ng to turn Bahamas Supermarkets around during thec onglomerates 2010 financial year. We did not anticipate the depth of the economic recession and increasing competi-t ive intensity in food retailing in the Bahamas, which overcame the groups efforts to turn around Bahamas Supermarkets, Mr Warner c onfessed to Neal & Massy shareholders. While it was no secret that Bahamas Supermarkets had incurred continued losses over the last several financial years, Mr Warner confirmedt hat Neal & Massys Board decided to sell the company during the July-September quarter, the last one in its financial year. That coincided with when Neal & Massy stopped investing in CityM arkets. Referring to both Bahamas Supermarkets and another loss-making business that Neal & Massy has disposed of, Mr Warner added: Attempts to turn around these companies proved u nsuccessful as important structural disadvantages were too significant to overcome. The Trinidadian conglomerates report noted that Bahamas Supermarkets accounted for 75 per cent ort hree-quarters of the losses it suffered from discontinued operations in 2010. The Bahamian supermarket chain produced a TT$0.91 or US$0.1428 loss per share, with pre-tax losses generat-e d by City Markets standing at TT$87.818 million or US$13.54 million. The latter figure compared to a loss of TT$19.515 million or US$3.049 million in 2009. N eal & Massy noted that it inherited Bahamas Superm arkets as an underperforming company when it acquired Barbados Shipping & Trading, the original 40 per cent equity investor in BSL Holdings, which was also City Markets operating partner. I ts financial statements added: The net asset value for Bahamas Supermarkets at the end of the last financial year was $27 million (US$4.22 million quarter of the financial year,t he group invested a further $52.2 million (US$8.156 million) by way of a cash injection of $35 million (US$5.47 million) and a guarantee given to Royal Bank of Canada f or $17.2 million (US$2.69 million) for a Bahamas S upermarket loan. On November 10, 2010, the holding company in which the group had invested sold its investment in Bahamas Supermarkets for $1 and Neal& Massy wrote-off the value of its investment at the financ ial year ended 2010. Also impacted was Barbados Shipping & Trading, Neal & Massys subsidiary, which suffered a $16.587 million loss on Bahamas Supermarkets in Barbadian dollars. any Bahamian economic r ecovery off course, Rupert R oberts told Tribune Business that the grocery chain would employ the methods itu sed in 2008 to try and protect the Bahamian consumer from impending food price increase s. N oting that staples such as cooking oil and tuna appeared to be rising once again, MrR oberts told Tribune Business he had informed his buying team on Friday afternoon t o obtain the latest consumer r eports and buy everything they can up front before the expected price increases took h old. He explained that Supervalue rode it out two yearsa go and was able to hold the p rices by employing a strategy of buying core products, in bulk, in advance. Through hedging our bets in such fashion, said Mr Roberts, the chain obtained better pricest han if they had left the purchases later, and were able to pass the savings on to consumers. S upervalues 105,000 square foot warehouse was more t han adequate to cope with b ulk inventory purchases, Mr Roberts said, while the grocery chains suppliers and wholesalers were well-positioned to inform it in advance o f any price hikes. We were able to protect the country from price increases that way, Mr R oberts told Tribune Busi ness. Our people notify us, and we know what to do. Thew ay we do it costs money, and we tie up resources, we tie up space, but if we can hold our prices and competitors cant, we increase volumes and pay for it that way. We have the variety and w e have the price. Were still on a roll. We were able to protect the country from price increases that way in 2008. Were just planning this now. Some stuff weve bought, w ere going to buy more, and s ee what else is going to take an increase. I would think that for the n ext six months, because of energy costs, Im guesstimating that prices are going to go up. W hile the cold weather in Florida and the Bahamas had resulted in price increases for s ome produce as a result of supply disruption, Mr Roberts said the six month contracts and other actions by his buying team had protected Superv alue from the effects. W hile perishable goods prices still seemed to be stable, Mr Roberts also e xpressed fears about increas ing energy costs in 2011, after oil prices again broke throught he $91 per gallon barrier towards the end of last week. Noting that this could impact both Supervalues electricity and transportation costs, Mr Roberts told Tribune Business: If energyg oes up, freight goes up. One of the bid problems is going to be if energy goes up, and I expect energy costs to double by the end of the year. Thats going to be a big p roblem. On the first of every month I have to write BEC a cheque for $250,000, and it might increase to $500,000. I cant ask the consumer to payf or that, you have to cut back. You cannot increase the cost of living, especially in a reces-s ion. While some analysts sugg ested the recession was over, M r Roberts told Tribune B usiness that he estimated it would take three years for the jobs to come back, unlesst he $2.6 billion Baha Mar project and other developmentsl ike it were able to bridge t he gap. T he Supervalue owner told Tribune Business that the chain exceeded his Christmas p rojections by 2 per cent, which in our business is almost $1 million. He addedt hat by doing a months busin ess in a week or two, the supermarket chains costs were spread out over a g reater volume of sales units. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 7B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 127,&( ,QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV$FW 3$,'+2/',1*6,1& 1RWLFHLVKHUHE\JLYHQWKDWLQDFFRUGDQFHZLWK6HFWLRQ RIWKH,QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV RI 3$,'+2/',1*6 KDVEHHQ GLVVROYHGDQGVWUXFNRIWKH5HJLVWHUDFFRUGLQJWR WKH&HUWLFDWHRI'LVVROXWLRQLVVXHGWKH5HJLVWUDU *HQHUDORQWKHWKGD\RI'HFHPEHU +DPLOWRQDQDJHPHQWHUYLFHV/LPLWHG )LPDQ+RXVHW*HRUJHVODFH 6WHWHURUW*XHUQVH\ /LTXLGDWRU (;;2102%,/(;3/25$7,21 $1''8&7,21<$0$/*<'$1f/,0,7(' 127,&( 3XUVXDQWWRWKHSURYLVLRQVRI6HFWLRQRIWKH ,QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV$FWQRWLFH LVKHUHE\JLYHQWKDWWKHDERYHQDPHG&RPSDQ\KDV EHHQGLVVROYHGDQGVWUXFNRIWKH5HJLVWHUSXUVXDQW WR&HUWLFDWHRI'LVVROXWLRQLVVXHG7KH5HJLVWUDU *HQHUDORQWKHVWGD\RI'HFHPEHU 'DWHGWKHWKGD\RI-DQXDU\ &DURO**UD\ /LTXLGDWRURI (;;2102%,/(;3/25$7,21$1''8&7,21 $0$/*<'$1f/,0,7(' (;;2102%,/(;3/25$7,21 $ 1''8&7,21.+276.f/,0,7(' 127,&( 3XUVXDQWWRWKHSURYLVLRQVRIHFWLRQfRIWKH QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV LVKHUHE\JLYHQWKDWWKHDERYHQDPHG&RPSDQ\KDV EHHQGLVVROYHGDQGVWUXFNRIIWKHHJLVWHUSXUVXDQW WRD&HUWLFDWHRI'LVVROXWLRQLVVXHGE\7KHHJLVWUDU *HQHUDORQWKHV WGD\RI'HFHPEHU 'DWHGWKHWKGD\RI-DQXDU\ &DURO**UD\ /LTXLGDWRURI (;;2102%,/(;3/25$7,21$1''8&7,21 .+276.f/,0,7(' (662(;3/25$7,21$1''8&7,21$1*2/$ ,11(5(1'f/,0,7(' 127,&( 3XUVXDQWWRWKHSURYLVLRQVRI6HFWLRQRIWKH ,QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV$FWQRWLFH LVKHUHE\JLYHQWKDWWKHDERYHQDPHG&RPSDQ\KDV EHHQGLVVROYHGDQGVWUXFNRIWKH5HJLVWHUSXUVXDQW WR&HUWLFDWHRI'LVVROXWLRQLVVXHG7KH5HJLVWUDU *HQHUDORQWKHV WGD\RI'HFHPEHU 'DWHGWKHWKGD\RI-DQXDU\ &DURO**UD\ /LTXLGDWRURI (662(;3/25$7,21$1''8&7,21 $1*2/$,11(5(1'f/,0,7(' FROM page one Supervalue hedges bets on energy, food rises Neal & Massy hit by City Markets horror showing F ROM page one
WASHINGTON Associated Press A STEADYdecline in l ayoffs is giving the vast majority of adults whohave jobs the confidence to spend more freely and h elp energize the econom y. They no longer worry so much about losing their j obs. T heir renewed confid ence has boosted retail sales just what's neededt o spark what economists c all a "virtuous cycle": Higher consumer spending raises company prof its, which spurs hiring, which fuels more spend-i ng and growth. Consumer spending is c ritical because it powers about 70 percent of the economy. It rose for five straight months through November, kicking off the strongest holiday shopping season since 2006. Many shoppers are showing enough confidence to splurge on new cars: Autos ales rebounded 11 percent in 2010, the first increase since 2005. The strongest showing for consumers since the peak years of the last expansion signals that the b roader economy is near a threshold of self-sustain ing growth," analysts atC iti Investment Research & Analysis wrote last w eek. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke e choed that point Friday. He told a Senate panel he sees evidence that a "selfsustaining" recovery is taking hold because consumers and businesses are spending more. Morgan Stanley economists say 4 percent growth is "likely, perhaps evenc onservative" in 2011, up from an estimated 3.1 percent last year. Late thism onth, the government will estimate economic growth for the final quarter of 2010. C onsumer spending is rising because the vast majority of working-age A mericans are now b reathing easier, despite 9 .4 percent unemployment. People who had jobs feared being laid off d uring the recession, which ended in June 2009, and for months after. Few e r worry now, because most companies have stopped cutting staff. Workers who survived t he job cuts of the past three years have begun to conclude: "If they haven't fired me by now, they're not going to," says Michael Koskuba, portfolio manager with Victory C apital Management. B y October 2010, layoffs a nd other dismissals had sunk to their lowest points ince August 2006. In D ecember, employers added just 103,000 jobs too few even to keep up with population growth. But that was mainly because they're still reluc tant to hire, not becauset hey're still cutting jobs. The number of people applying for unemploy-m ent benefits a proxy f or the pace of layoffs has dropped in the past four months. And economists think employers willf inally ramp up hiring this year. "You've got 10 percent u nemployment, and you add another 5 or 10 percent" for discouraged workers or those stuck inp art-time positions, b ecause they can't find full-time work, says Doug Hart, a retail specialist att he consulting firm BDO U SA. But the remaining 80 percent, having survived the worst of the layoffs, "are feeling more secure about their jobs." In 2009, consumers across all income groups froze up. The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded the first annual drop in consumer spending in records dating to 1984. Now, BDO's Hart says, "The fear factor has subsided." That's evident among consumers like Monique Aguilar, 27, of Saugus, Mass. Aguilar put off a car purchase last year after the restaurant chain where she's a manager announced layoffs. But there she was Friday at a Chevrolet dealership in neighboring Lynn, Mass., shopping for a new Malibu. What's changed? She doesn't worry so much about being let go. Her employer's sales have improved, and she's encouraged by reports of slowing layoffs and of companies starting to hire. "In general, I feel like we're going in the right direction," Aguilar says. "That makes me comfortable in my purchase." Many households also feel better able to spend because they've sharply reduced credit card and other debt they ran up during the mid-2000s. Economists say consumers seem increasingly divided into "haves" and "have-nots." The haves are more secure in their jobs. Their finances are solid. So is their credit. They dominate the high est-earning 20 percent of Americans, who con tribute nearly 40 percent of consumer spending. Among managers and professionals, for instance, unemployment in Decem b er was just 4.6 percent less than half the overall unemployment rate. The have-nots are struggling with shaky finances and job security. Unemployment is running at 12 p ercent for transportation w orkers, for example. It e xceeds 20 percent for construction workers. A 20 percent run-up in t he Dow Jones industrial average since July has also skewed the consumer rebound in favor of upperincome shoppers and the luxury stores that serve them. It's a two-tier market," says Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist forC hannel Capital R esearch. The affluent "are beginning to feel more confident because their (stocku p." During the holidays, high-end retailers likeN ordstrom Inc. and Saks Inc. reported the strongest sales. Michael Niemira, chief economist at theI nternational Council of S hopping Centers, says luxury sales rise and fall almost in lockstep witht he stock market. A fter hunkering down during the recession, for example, Jerrie McKennon of Burleson, Texas, last year splurged on a Lexus and two expensive vacations. The main reason was that most of her investment portfolio had recovered from its losses during the financial crisis. "I loosened up in 2010," she says. "The money we lost came back." Few expect a return to the carefree spending of the mid-2000s. Falling home prices are weighing on consumers' confidence and their ability to bor row. Nearly one in four homeowners owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth. Rising gasoline prices and the prospect of higher food prices are also likely to limit spending in 2011. But analysts at Barclays Capital say a cut in Social Security taxes for workers this year will help them absorb higher gasoline prices. That tax break will put more money in people's pockets $1,000 more for an individual earning $50,000 a year. Higher spending and growth don't mean the unemployment rate will fall significantly this year. Most economists think it will remain around 9 per cent at year's end. Bernanke said Friday it could take up to five years for unemployment to drop to a historically normal rate of around 6 percent. Still, economists say, more consumers are confident the worst of the job cuts are over. And that points to a stronger economy ahead. "If you think back to a year ago, we were still questioning whether we'd seen the end of the recession," Niemira says. "So we've come a long way." C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS PAGE 12B, MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecurit y Previous CloseToday's CloseChangeDaily Vol.EPS $Div $P/EYield 1.401.00AML Foods Limited1.041.040.000.2500.0404.23.85% 10.759.67Bahamas Property Fund10.6310.630.000.0500.200212.61.88% 6.945.23Bank of Bahamas5.245.240.000.5980.2608.84.96%0 .580.40Benchmark0.400.400.00-0.8770.000N/M0.00% 3.493.15Bahamas Waste3.153.150.000.1680.09018.82.86% 2.152.14Fidelity Bank2.172.170.000.0550.04039.51.84% 12.559.62Cable Bahamas12.0712.070.001.4060.2908.62.40% 2.842.69Colina Holdings2.842.840.000.2490.04011.41.41% 7.005.00Commonwealth Bank (S1 6.636.660.0312,0000.4600.23014.53.45% 3.652.21Consolidated Water BDRs2.822.76-0.060.1110.05224.91.88% 2.551.32Doctor's Hospital2.542.540.000.6270.1104.14.33% 6.995.94Famguard6.076.070.00-0.0030.240N/M3.95% 10.998.75Finco9.089.00-0.085,0000.1680.52053.65.78% 10.609.50FirstCaribbean Bank10.6010.600.000.6780.35015.63.30% 5.533.75Focol (S 5.085.080.001,0000.3660.17013.93.35% 1.001.00Focol Class B Preference1.001.000.000.0000.000N/M0.00% 0.300.27Freeport Concrete0.270.270.000.0350.0007.70.00% 5.595.00ICD Utilities5.595.590.008500.4070.24013.74.29% 10.509.95J. S. Johnson9.959.950.000.9520.64010.56.43% 10.0010.00Premier Real Estate10.0010.000.000.1560.00064.10.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecuritySymbolLast SaleChangeDaily Vol. 1000.001000.00Fidelity Bank Note 17 (Series A) +FBB17100.000.00 1000.001000.00Fidelity Bank Note 22 (Series B) +FBB22100.000.00 1000.001000.00Fidelity Bank Note 13 (Series C) +FBB13100.000.001 000.001000.00Fidelity Bank Note 15 (Series D) +FBB15100.000.00 52wk Hi 52wk Low Symbol Bid$ Ask$ LastPrice DailyVol. EPS$ Div$ P/E Yield 30 May 2013T HURSDAY, 13 MAY 2010B ISX ALL SHARE INDEX: CLOSE 1,598.67 | CHG 0.35 | %CHG 0.02 | YTD 33.29 | YTD % 2.13BISX LISTED DEBT SECURITIES (Bonds trade on a Percentage Pricing bases)Maturity 19 October 2017FINDEX: CLOSE 000.00 | YTD 00.00% | 2009 -12.31%29 May 2015 W WW.BISXBAHAMAS.COM | TELEPHONE:242-323-2330 | FACSIMILE: 242-323-232019 October 2022 Prime + 1.75% Prime + 1.75%BISX LISTED & TRADED SECURITIES AS OF:7% Interest 7%RoyalFidelity Merchant Bank & Trust Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities) 52wk-Hi 52wk-Low Symbol Bid $ Ask $ Last Price Daily Vol EPS $ Div $ P/E Yield 14.607.92Bahamas Supermarkets10.0611.0614.00-2.9450.000N/M0.00% 8.006.00Caribbean Crossings (Pref2.006.254.000.0000.480N/M7.80% 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 1.46741.3758CFAL Bond Fund1.46741.996.661.446000 2.91162.8266CFAL MSI Preferred Fund2.90200.52-0.112.886947 1.53021.4590CFAL Money Market Fund1.53021.534.881.514105 3.20252.9343Royal Fidelity Bahamas G & I Fund3.03682.57-4.99 13.565412.6816Royal Fidelity Prime Income Fund13.56541.485.47 107.5706100.5448CFAL Global Bond Fund107.57063.456.99103.987340 105.776593.1998CFAL Global Equity Fund105.77063.9913.50101.725415 1.10341.0000FG Financial Preferred Income Fund1.10341.255.25 1.08011.0000FG Financial Growth Fund1.07640.794.37 1.10411.0000FG Financial Diversified Fund1.10411.235.34 9.57959.1005Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 19.48391.527.41 11.236110.0000R oyal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 210.6709-0.9312.33 7.96644.8105Royal Fidelity Int'l Fund Equities Sub Fund7.96643.2358.37 BISX ALL SHARE INDEX 19 Dec 02 = 1,000.00 YIELD last 12 month dividends divided by closing price 52wk-Hi Highest closing price in last 52 weeks Bid $ Buying price of Colina and Fidelity 52wk-Low Lowest closing price in last 52 weeks Ask $ Selling price of Colina and fidelity Previous Close Previous day's weighted price for daily volume Last Price Last traded over-the-counter price Today's Close Current day's weighted price for daily volume Weekly Vol. Trading volume of the prior week Change Change in closing price from day to day EPS $ A company's reported earnings per share for the last 12 mths Daily Vol. Number of total shares traded today NAV Net Asset Value DIV $ Dividends per share paid in the last 12 months N/M Not Meaningful P/E Closing price divided by the last 12 month earnings FINDEX 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-Mar-10 31-Mar-10 31-Mar-10 31-Mar-10 103.095570 99.417680 7-May-10 31-Mar-10MARKET TERMS31-Mar-10 NAV 6MTH 1.419947 2.830013 1.498375TO TRADE CALL: CFAL 242-502-7010 | ROYALFIDELITY 242-356-7764 | FG CAPITAL MARKETS 242-396-4000 | COLONIAL 242-502-752530-Apr-10 31-Mar-10 30-Apr-10CFAL Securities Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities) B ISX Listed Mutual FundsNAV Date 31-Mar-10 31-Mar-10 31-Mar-10 Less worried about layoffs, jobholders are spending more S HOPPERS ARE p hotographed on 34th Street, in New York in December. Consumer spending rose for five straight months through November, kicking off the strongest holiday shopping season since 2006. (AP
N EW YORK A ssociated Press CANCorporate America continue to cut its way to profits? If you're betting that s tocks will rise in 2011, the a nswer is critical. Profits j umped last year largely because companies ran smarter and squeezed more from workers. Sales are picking up, but probably not enough to keep profits from rising fast in the new year unless companies can get e ven more out of their w orkers. "How can they squeeze costs more than they are now?" asks Howard Silverblatt, a senior analyst at Standard & Poor's. "Are they going to fire more peop le? We're down to the s keleton." P rofessional stock pickers aren't worried. They expect m argins, or the profit made o n each sale, will near a r ecord this year. By the end of 2011, U.S. companies willb e pocketing $9.50 in profit f or every $100 in sales, or 9.5 percent, exceeding a boom-time record that is considered a bit of an aberration, according to Standard & Poor's. The average over nearly three decades is $7.10. A clue as to whether the experts are right comes next week as companies b egin reporting their fourthq uarter results. If investors b egin to doubt those lofty margins are within reach, stocks could tumble. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15 percent last year. Experts predict the index will rise another 11 percent in 2011. The problem with margins is that they have already risen seven quarters in a row. The average margin is now 8.95 percent, nearly two percentage points higher than average. Margins tend to stay a round the historical avera ge for two reasons. When the economy is weak, comp anies cut workers and e xploit technology to boost m argins. But there's a limit to the number of people you can lay off and the softwarey ou can buy. When the economy strengthens and people start buying what you're selling, you have to hire more people to meet the demand and pay more to keep them. Margins drop f ast, often back to the avera ge. I n a report Friday, Lond on analyst Andrew S mithers wrote investors are fooling themselves that stocks are a bargain with margins so high. He says m argins are certain to suff er a large fall. It's a lonely v iew but it's shared by distinguished company. Jeremy Grantham, the legendary Boston money manager who predicted the housing crash, says margins are abnormal and set to drop. These two have been saying this for most of the past year and could be proven wrong again. UBS economist Larry Hatheway says companies have learned to operate much more efficiently than in past decades. T hey use more workers in I ndia and China to drive labor costs down and shop a round more for cheaper r aw materials and parts. T hen there is the elixir of a recovering economy. People are buying more cars,a nd they went on the biggest holiday shopping spree since 2006. What's more, the gov ernment reported Friday that the jobless rate fell to 9.4 percent from 9.8 percent, though the rate fell mostly b ecause many people gave u p looking for jobs. A s companies begin to r eport earnings this week, w atch closely those that could find it difficult to pass higher costs to consumers. Morgan Stanley strategist A dam Parker, who has writt en extensively about marg ins, lists more than a dozen in a report last week, among them Arm & Hammer banking soda maker Church & Dwight Co. and steel maker Nucor Corp. Tally Leger, a strategist at Barclays Capital, predicts s tocks will climb 14 percent t his year on rising margins, b ut even he is worried. He notes that if the optimists are wrong even a little, the impact on corporate fortunes could be great. Wall Street analysts see earnings for the S&P 500 hitting a record $95 a share. B ut if the margins they a ssume are off by a dollar, e arnings will come in 10 percent lower. That would bea big blow to a stock market that already reflects high expectations. C M Y K C M Y K BUSINESS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011, PAGE 13B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM .LQJVZD\$FDGHP\ J \ \ $Q(YDQJHOLFDORQGHQRPLQDWLRQDO&KULVWLDQFKRROf J f (QWUDQFH([DPLQDWLRQVIRU