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 Rapid Strike nets fourteen suspects V olume: 107 No.49FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 W EATHER SHOWERSIN AFTERNOON HIGH 83F LOW 68F B y CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter cnixon@ tribunemedia.net O PERATION Rapid Strike has been hailed a first night success with p olice making 14 arrests. According to Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade the operation went extremely well. Rapid Strike was launched on Wednesday evening in a continued effort by the police to reduce the escalating number of serious crimes occur ring throughout the Bahamas. Heavily-armed units were deployed to patrol hot spot areas throughout New Provi dence resulting in the arrests of 14 suspects. Commissioner Greenslade said people have been calling theo peration a breath o f fresh air, saying they are happy the police are taking back the streets. Of the 14 arrests, one person wasa rrested for illegal g un possession and a large quantity of dangerous drugs; four were in possession of dangerous drugs, two of which with the intent to supply; eight outstanding warrants for arrests were executed and one person suspected of stealing a vehicle was detained. The Commissioner said 114 names were checked for persons suspected of being involved in criminal activity. The Half Bar, on Blue Hill Road South, was also closed Pr aise as police oper ation g oes xtremely well M cCOMBO O F THE DAY N E W The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST L ATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM INTODAYTRIBUNE: YOURFREE SPORTSWEEKLYSUPPLEMENT SEE page eight By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com ATTORNEY General John Delaney said he is not at all satisfied about the extent to which preliminary inquiries are used today in criminal matters. Unless there is a real need to test the evidence, Mr Delaney said preliminary investigations can prolong the legal process, adding years to criminal cases in the court system. While speaking to the media in Grand Bahama, he noted that the Office of the Attorney General conducted an analysis of the criminal justice system over the past 12 months. SEE page eight AG SAYS THERE IS ROOM F OR IMPROVEMENT IN C RIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org MAJOR projects at the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC agency works to regularise its manage ment. Applications for the position of director at the corporation were said to be near completion following the resigna tion of Dr Keith Tinker mid-last year. Orry J Sands, chairman of the AMMC, explained that work on restoraTHE parent company of Cable and Wireless hit back at Neville Wisdom yes terday, rejecting the former PLP MPs suggestion that it will cease to support the CARIFTA Games if its proposed acquisition of BTC does not go ahead. LIME said it was surprised by reports in the local press yesterday concerning the continuing negotiations for the staging of CARIFTA 2011. As the presenting sponsor of CARIFTA 2010 in Grand Cayman, LIME said it has already publicly committed to continue supporting the games in this capacity through to 2012. The company noted that it expressed CORONER Linda Virgill is being accused of unprofessional conduct over claims that she borrowed money from a local attorney. Bar Association President Ruth BoweDarville made the allegation yesterday after reports surfaced in a local daily that the newly appointed Coroner was being sued for $2,000 by attorney Cecil Hilton. Reports state that the sum constituted an unpaid loan. Mrs Bowe-Darville said that she was not personally made aware of the matter and noted that it would not be an issue that would come before the Bar Association unless Mrs Virgill was being sued in her capacity as an attorney. The lending is inappropriate, someone from the bench borrowing money from SEE page eight ANTIQUITIES MONUMENT S AND MUSEUMS CORPORATION PUTS MAJOR PROJECTS ON HOLD CABLE AND WIRELESS PARENT C OMPANY HITS BACK OVER CARIFTA ALLEGATIONS SEE page eight SEE page eight C ORONER ACCUSED OF UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT RAPID S TRIKE: Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade MARKETSTREETROADWORKS INTHETRENCHES: Work takes place on a drainage system on Market Street yesterday. Secondary drains called gully ports are under construction to ensure drainage problems in flood prone areas are alleviated. TIMCLARKE/TRIBUNESTAFF
L OCAL NEWS P AGE 2, FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM E MPOWERMENTprogrammes run by the Kemp Road Urban Renewal Livable Neighbourhood Centre will translate intoi ncreased employment o pportunities for area residents, officials say. These programmes were the topic of discussion this week when Urban Renewal stakeholders and charity groups met to iron outf uture plans for the centre. While specific details were not released, stakeholders are confident they will find gainful employm ent for a number of idle persons in the inner city area this year. The Urban Renewal p rogramme is a very important programme. Its a catalyst. We actually mean nothing withouty ou, Ella Lewis, Urban R enewal co-ordinator in t he Ministry of Labour and S ocial Development, told the representatives of vari ous charities in atten d ance. We can only find out w hat the needs are in the society and bring them to y our attention so those needs can be addressed. W e facilitate and go into t he community and see w ho is falling through the c racks. It is an excellent programme but we really have no budget to say John Browns house on EastS treet needs to be repaired. Heres $5,000 to go and repair John B rowns house. We do not have that. But, we do know wheret he $5,000 can be found to d o the repairs, said Ms Lewis. We have a responsibilit y to go to the homes of these people and show compassion, love and con c ern. We are the humanity in the society. In addition to that, we have a responsibility to the elderly and t o the youth. We have a responsibility to the children, who come afters chool and we try to assist them as best as we can in giving them a safe envi r onment between the hours of 3.30 and 5 in the afternoon. They can do their homework, their pro j ects and interact with other children and be safe until their parents come home. We cant do it alone. We need your help. In addition to employ m ent opportunities, par ticipants discussed strate gies for teaching the areas y outh about entrepreneur ship, particularly with regard to many in-demand technical skills such as masonry, landscaping, and home maintenance. They also discussed cre a ting new classes for young women to learn cottage industry skills such as hair braiding and craft-making. T here are a total of nine Urban Renewal Centres in New Providence, located in: Englerston, Fox Hill, Pinewood, Nassau Village, Bain and Grants Town,F arm Road, Fort Char lotte, St Cecilia, and Kemp Road. Each centre offers assis tance to those in need,w orks to strengthen and support the family unit, and provides constructivep rogrammes for young people. Urban Renewal Programme to create jobs in Kemp Road A MEETING was held to discuss plans for empowering the Kemp Road community.Represented were government departments, non-governmental organisations and local churches. LAURA TAYLOR JOHNSON is the lead pastor and organiser of Eljhays Hilltop Cottage Ministries and has been a member of the Kemp Road Urban Renewal Community partners group for the past two years.She has been trying to raise money and volunteer support to sustain a breakfast programme to feed those who cannot afford to feed them selves in the Kemp Road area. A SHLEY LEPINE executive director of Hands for Hunger, spoke about building supportf or community and charitable p rogrammes that combat poverty. U RBAN RENEWAL COORDINATOR Ella Lewis reminded partners of the important task they h ave in bringing the humanity, compassion, love, and concern to the community. T HE Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BECb ack at PLP chairman Bradley Roberts, insisting that recent power cuts were t he result of equipment c hallenges and not preplanned load shedding e xercises. Earlier this week, Mr Roberts criticised BEC for conducting planned power cuts without notifying the p ublic in advance. However, a statement r eleased by BEC yesterday said that the outages experienced by some customers during the last few weeks were the result of system i nstabilities during offpeak hours. These issues are being addressed ands hould be rectified by the weekend, the corporation said. The outage experienced ( on Wednesday) was assoc iated with generation at the Baillou Hills Power Stat ion which began around 12 noon, however, power was restored to the majority of c ustomers by 2.30pm, the statement read. Earlier in the day, a gen e rator was taken off-line to facilitate planned maintenance. In this instance, there was enough capacityt o sustain operations until the generator was returned to service. Unfortunately, there was a challenge bringing the generator back on-line. Thisr esulted in temporary serv ice disruptions. As is cus tomary, during the winter months when there is lowd emand, generators at both stations are taken off-line to facilitate necessary main t enance. But at all times, we ensure that there is sufficient generating capacity t o accommodate the entire island, BEC said. M r Roberts also claimed that the cost of running the gas turbines at the Baillou H ill Power Plant (which u ses Diesel verses Bunker C gas) is contributing sign ificantly to the escalating fuel costs experienced by BEC. "The Progressive Liberal Party demands that the g overnment come clean on the current status of BEC. The PLP also demands that the government, without delay, lay on the table the report prepared by (the energy company) Emera on t he current status of BEC," he said. He added that only two g enerators numbers 12 and 13 are operational at the Clifton Power Station which was designed to carry t he base load for New Provi dence. BEC acknowledged that t here are a number of gen erators out of service at the Clifton Pier Power Station. S everal of these units are out for planned mainte nance activities while others a re experiencing unplanned outages, the corporation said. Maintenance on one of t he generators is expected to be completed (today n ance on another is expected to be completed and returned to service byt he weekend. Steps are being taken to repair the remaining gener ators. BEC apologises for a ny inconvenience caused by the disruption and is committed to providing ac onsistent supply of elec tricity to its customers, the corporation said. BEC hits back at PLP load shedding claims UNIONS representing BTC workers are expected back in court for a hearing in their bid to block the sale of 51 per cento f the telecommunications company to Cable and Wireless ( CWC) at the end of this month. The unions the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU agers Union (BCPMU Court earlier this month. T he date for a hearing before Justice Neville Adderley has now been set for January 31. T he Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation, BTC executive chairman Julian Francis and Attorney General John Delaney are named as defendants in the writ. The unions contend that the government does not have a right to sell BTC. Hearing for BTC unions sale block bid set for end of month
EDITOR, The Tribune. S ome were shocked at the off the script comment of t he Rt Hon Prime Minister when he went off script and commented on the ownerso f Colina/Nassau Guardian. No one seems to have been listening to the com ments from Cable & Wire less CEO, Mr Shaw twice, o nce to NB12 News and then to ZNS News he con firmed that Cable & Wire less got through the back door. T he issue is purely this Did Cable & Wireless qual ify by responding to the original RFP? Isnt it a fact they did not r espond? Seemingly when they thought the negotiations between Government and Bluewater were head ing on the rocks either they, Cable & Wireless, were approached by someone on behalf of the Privatisation Committee or they person ally made the approach, an a pproach which was favourably received a lthough possibly Govern ment had as yet not disen gaged from Bluewater? T he public wants these questions answered Mr Prime Minister we were told in 2007 election cam paign that we could trust you and your party well prove it, please. Y es Cable & Wireless probably will operate BTC w ell and we will have TV on our cells, for what that is worth, but this is a deeperi ssue, sir. W THOMPSON Nassau, January 16, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune. I F THE January 2010 earthquake in Haiti reminded us of our vulnerability, then perhaps the current situation in our sister country, one year later, reminds us of how even the best intentions can go wrong. Despite all the international attention, thousands of vol unteers, hundreds of millions in aid and plans to rebuild, the situation in Haiti remains dire with no appreciable improvements. Perhaps a different approach is necessary. Of course immediately after a disaster of the scale that we witnessed last year, it is necessary to respond with basic aid like food, medical supplies and water to minimize the loss of life and to ensure an appreciable level of human comfort obtains. However, there has to come a point where the goal of local Haitian and especially international support turn from mere aid to self sustenance. The current lack of such focus appears to be among the fundamental problems with the approach in Haiti thus far. The effort has been to provide charity when a hand up is what is really needed. For instance, today I think it is a mistake to airlift food into Haiti and distribute it to men and women who are healthy enough to work, but simply do not because opportunities for work do not exist. The focus of international organisations should be to create micro businesses in communities that are supported by bartering in the short term. For instance, in a single community, one person might be provided with the resources to grow vegetables, anoth er person might rear chickens and perhaps another might start a security services company, while still another might start a yard clearing company and so on. After awhile persons are working, trading amongst themselves and even looking for opportunities to trade outside their small communities. It hardly makes sense to provide aid to millions of persons that will be consumed today and must be pro vided again the next day. Aid that is not targeted in a manner to promote work and sustainable results soon create a growing level of dependence and creates an even worse situation. Furthermore, as community level aid is provided in a deliberate manner to encourage entrepreneurship and create work, aid to rebuild Haitis national and commu nity level institutions should be provided. As little aid should be funneled directly through the central government as possible. For instance, construction contracts should be awarded to private businesses. The bottom line is that the aid to Haiti should be giv en in a manner that encourages work and creativity that leads to sustainable development. LYNDEN NAIRN Nassau, January 14, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune T he last time I wrote you was about our Prime Minister taking over National S ecurity. I still believe he should assume full responsibility. But if not him maybe the Deputy Prime Minister, M r. Brent Symonette. We were very pleased about the manner in which Mr. Symonette handled this Ministry when the current Minister was away. But that is not why I am w riting you now. I agree with our Prime Minister when he said that t he owners of The Nassau G uardian were unreason able in their position on thep rivatization of BTC. By way of their coverage and editorial content they h ave encouraged the two BTC unions to oppose the Government plans to privatize. What I did not know is that Mr. Anthony Ferguson and Mr. Emanuel Alexiou had a personal interest in the sale of BTC. I did not know that they w ere one of the initial bidd ers and more surprisingly t hat they recently submitted a bid to the Prime Minister. I f The Nassau Guardian is to have any credibility it must declare its conflict of i nterests in matters upon w hich they are expressing their editorial opinions. I am disappointed in the publisher of The Nassau Guardian, Mr. Anthony Ferg uson, a person who I held i n high regard. For me and my family we will not be buying The Nass au Guardian until it clears this matter up and is more transparent. FLOYD HANNA Fox Hill, N assau, J anuary, 2011. 1 5 January 2011 EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PAGE 4, FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THE TRIBUNE The Tribune Limited N ULLIUS ADDICTUS JURARE IN VERBA MAGISTRI B eing 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. P ublisher/Editor 1919-1972 Contributing Editor 1972-1991 E ILEEN DUPUCH CARRON, C.M.G., M.S., B.A., LL.B. Publisher/Editor 1972P ublished Daily Monday to Saturday S hirley Street, P.O. Box N-3207, Nassau, Bahamas Insurance Management Building., P.O. F-485, Freeport, Grand Bahama W EBSITE www.tribune242.com updated daily at 2pm WASHINGTON Despite the pomp, p ageantry and vows of cooperation, tensions between the United States and China are like-l y to grow, not shrink, after President Barack Obama's summit meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. W hile the United States struggles with nearc hronic unemployment and a continuing hous i ng crisis, China was the first major economy to power out of the global downturn and recently passed Japan as the world's second-largest e conomy. As China gets closer to overtaking the United States economically in a decade or two, trade and currency disputes seem likely to intensify. A joint news conference Wednesday by Obama and Hu produced a rare con-c ession for a Chinese leader. Hu openly acknowledged "a lot still needs to be done in China on human rights," although he said progress had been made. B oth leaders called for a renewed effort of c ooperation on a flock of other big issues besides human rights, including trade and cur rency irritants, fighting global terrorism and tackling the international financial crisis. W hile it was in the interest of both countries for Hu and Obama to project a confidencebuilding image of mended ties after a trou-b led year for U.S.-Chinese relations, the thaw m ay be short lived. W ith neither side giving much ground, "There were some singles and doubles, but no home runs," said Michael Green, a White House adviser during the Bush administrationa nd now an analyst at the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, using a baseball analogy to indicate the news conference produced no sensational results. G reen said the two leaders may have helped take the heat off some economic disputes, including some involving trade and investment. "But the currency issue is going to continue to flare up. On the military side, on North K orea and on human rights this summit maybe put a floor under what has been a very rough year. But it didn't solve the structural problems that are going to continue to complicate the r elationship for the next few years at least," he said. Polls show most Americans still view China's economy as more of a threat to U.S. jobs than an opening for new investments, a conception Obama sought to alter on Tuesday as he trumpeted a series of new business deals. He said the agreements would increase U.S. exports to China by more than $45 billion and support some 235,000 American jobs. N ot all were as enthusiastic as the president about the developments. While U.S. military superiority seems likely to last far longer than its economic leadership, wariness continues tog row in the United States over handling tensions on the Korean peninsula, confronting Iran over its nuclear programme, Beijing's increasingly aggressive stance in the western Pacific and accountability questions of the Peop le's Liberation Army. Sometimes there appears to be a disconnect b etween the military and civilian leaders in the one-party government. During U.S. Defense Secretary Robert G ates' visit to China this month, China's milit ary conducted a test fight of its first aircraft d esigned to evade radar, the J-20 stealth fighter, apparently catching Hu and other Chinese civilian leaders off guard. A lso of worry to the Pentagon: China's development of anti-ship missiles that could make it harder for American aircraft carriers to operate in the western Pacific. And in another area, the world's two largest e nergy users and polluters remain at odds on how best to deal with reducing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Obama again pressed China to e ase the government's grip on the economy, l ower barriers to imports from the U.S., crack down on the theft of U.S. technology and to stop holding down the value of its currency, the yuan, also known as the renminbi. S ince last June, when China said it was end ing what amounted to a two-year peg of its currency to the dollar, the yuan has appreciat-e d just 3 per cent against the greenback. And w hile the dollar has fallen to its weakest point a gainst the Chinese currency since 1994, the yuan "remains undervalued" and "there needs to be further adjustment in the exchange rate," Obama said. When Obama took office, hev oiced an upbeat view of US-Chinese cooperation in tackling many of the world's troubles, but his administration more recently has taken a harder-edged position, confronting China d irectly on currency manipulation, on trade and on human rights. Even Hu's attentiongrabbing concession that China still has much to do on human rights was accompanied by a caveat. "China is a developing country with a h uge population and also a developing country in a crucial stage of reform," he said. And he said China was willing to talk with the United States about the issue, but on a "basis of mutua l respect and the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs." And Hu is not the only one who has to play to a difficult home audience. Shortly after Obama formally welcomed Hu at the White House, several members of the new Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee blasted Beijing's record on human rights, military expansionism and weapons s ales at a hearing. The panel's top Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman, offered a different view. "China is neither an ally nor an enemy. It is both a com-p etitor and a partner, in foreign affairs, security and economics," he said. (This article was written by Tom Raum of the Associated Press). The Nassau Guardian and conflicts of interest LETTERS email@example.com US-China tensions may grow again ?D? $OOODQWVbRI :LQFKHVWHUWUHHWDOPGDOHEHWZHHQHDUVGDQG+DZNLQV+LOOf *,29$11,=$1(77$RI3257 1(:3529,'(1&(3%2;1$66$8 %$+$0$6 The public wants these questions answered, Mr Prime Minister Aid to Haiti should be given in a manner that encourages work and creativity
P AGE 6, FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By ADRIAN GIBSON firstname.lastname@example.org IN NEARLY 38 years, Bahamasair has been grossly mismanaged and has astoundingly had 20 general managers in that time. These days, due to the proliferation of private aircraft servicing the islands, the argument that Bahamasair provides essential services to the islands is no longer germane and shows that the further usage of taxpayers monies to underwrite a failed enterprise is no longer warranted. Undoubtedly, along with BTC, Bahamasair must also be privatized. Bahamasair is not a self-sustaining entity. Over the last 37plus years, Bahamasair has proven to be a financial albatross around the necks of Bahamian taxpayers and nothing more than a failed govern ment experiment. Without question, the privatisation of Bahamasair will lead to more unnecessary union d rama! According to Minister of Public Works and Transport Neko Grant, in his contributionto the 2010/2011 Budget Debate: In the 2009/2010 budget, Bahamasair requested and received $17 million. However, a request was made this year for additional funding as a result of a reforecast of the airlines subvention requirements. In response, the Government provided additional funding in the amount of $3.5 million. This years subvention will be $16 million. I n the past, the national airline has been embroiled in scandal about the discrepancies with, and/or the unavailability of financial reports that suggests the carrier has been pillaged by some thieving some unscrupulous employees pocketing airfares and freight fees and arranging free trips for friends and family members. The national flag carrier has become synonymous with tardiness, delays, lost luggage, persons being bumped off flights to accommodate the relatives and associates of aircraft employees and horrendous customer service. Visitors and locals alike, who have experienced and complained about the crummy service provided, have modified the airlines logo to reflect its reputation of belatedness to stateif you have time to spare, fly Bahamasair. However, to be quite honest, today one must note that there has been some improvement relative to the airlines on-time performance in recent years. Because of the oil crisis in the 1970s, when British Airways and other major airlines discontinued flights, the then government decided to establish Bahamasair on June 18, 1973, following its acquisition of Out Island Airways and Flamingo Airlines. From the onset, the airline was faced by financial woes, second-rate maintenance services and a feebly configured setup that continues to plague it to this day. During the 1980s, Bahamasair unsuccessfully attempted to expand its routes to include Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Newark. By 1989, their experiment with flights to these north-eastern US routes were unprofitable and futile, even though they have developed a niche market at several Florida-based routes and have incorporated regional routes (eg, Havana According to audited financial statements of Bahamasair Holdings Limitedyear ending June 30, 2006the company incurred a net loss of $19,919,242 and has had significant recurring losses that, up to the aforementioned date, had left the airline with a mounting deficit of $397,989,377. Furthermore, as of June 30, 2006, the airlines liabilities were in excess of its total assets by $70,006,867. In the 2007/2008 Budget, Bahamasair was once more subsidised by taxpayers and in 2008 the government allocated $11.3 million in supplementary funds to the carrier during its mid-year budgetary exercise. Bahamasair has always been an over dependent burden that relies on its government subsidy to cover expensesranging from hanger repairs, ground handling charges, engine maintenance, landing gear repairs and medical insuranceand looks to continue being that way. In his contribution to the 2010/2011 Budget, Mr Grant said that relative to Bahamasair: All industrial contracts have expired and negotiations for new contracts have commenced. Under the current circumstances, we are compelled to persuade the union leader ship that the time is here to live frugally until we turn the air line around. It is past due that Bahamasair entirely outsource less profitable routes to smaller, local carriers and instead refocus its attention on more profitable domestic and international routes. How is it profitable to continue sending DASH 8 aircraft from Nassau to CrookedI sland or Freeport to Fort Lauderdale with 15 people? What happened to the proposed purchase of smaller aircraft? Wouldnt smaller airplanes say 19 seatersbetter suit certain routes? And, why not combine some of the less profitable routes? D uring a few of my travels by Bahamasair, Ive encountered scowling, discourteous ticket agents who seem too comfortable in their government jobs to care for customers. I have rarely encountered such behaviour at the private airlines. I n a supposedly service-oriented company, why should it t ake certain bungling employees nearly an hour to sell tickets or check-in a handful of passengers? Why are certain employees always on the phone or chattering away without any recognition of waiting cust omers? What's more, when flights are delayed, I have found t hat a number of Bahamasair employees would rather con gregate and gossip at ticket counters instead of catering to the concerns of frustrated travellers. Currently, the national airl ine is over-saturated with employees and is probably used a s a cesspool for political cronies. In order to reduce Bahamasairs operating costs and prepare the airline for pri vatization, a serious downsizing exercise must be undertaken. As of April 30, 2010 the airline had 610 employees, which is unconscionable and inexplica ble considering that the fleet is so small. Whats more, this number is even harder to imagine considering the skeletal front desk staff that is usually seen at the airports poorly manned, check-in counter. In his communication, Mr Grant further noted that: As Bahamasairs operating e xpenses (particularly labour/personal emoluments followed by fuel maintenance) are very high in comparison to other carriers of similar size, I am pleased to note that reductions in terms of head count have been realized through attrition. This number has d eclined from 709 in January, 2009 to 667 as of 30 April, 2010. The industrial agreements must be negotiated to reflect significant reductions in labour costs which will be the only controllable. Fuel and maintenance on the other hand, will continue to b e determined by the equipment in operation. A dmittedly, although Bahamasair is plagued by several setbacks, it has a near perfect safety record, highly-trained pilots and a first-class website. Honestly, due to its nearly impeccable safety record, I am o ne of those Bahamians who are most comfortable when flyi ng on-board Bahamasair. That said, its time we cash in on whatever little capital the airline has left and follow Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidads lead and sell our governments failed aviation experiment to local or i nternational investors, whilst also considering becoming a p art of a regional airline service. Privatisation of Bahamasair will undoubtedly reduce the public service and our national debt, free up monies for government services, improve the airlines efficiency, foster fair competition (without Public Treasury bailouts) and lead to a general sense of dependability and satisfaction among travellers. BRING THE UNION FAT CATS TO HEEL! It is apparent that more mechanisms must be introduced to govern industrial action by unions, especially for compa-n ies and government departments that are essential services and/or are essential to the economic sustainability of the Bahamas. While unions have their value, they must not be permitted to unduly highjack any course of action. These days, it appears that u nion leadership has become seen as a means for fast-tracking a political career, using a union and its members to fulfil ones political ambitions and propel them onto the political stage. The days of Sir Randol Fawkes, a true national hero and man o f the people, when union leaders strived for better pay and w orking conditions for their memberswithout that penchant for political gamesmanshipseem to be long gone. Today, a handful of unions have merely degenerated into greedy, cash hunters seemingly i ntent on fattening the coffers of executives of the leadership w hile creating a public platform for executives to lobby them selves into the political sphere. Frankly, Ive long held the view that it shouldnt be mandatory for persons to join unions, as several are simply known for d educting monies, while offering no true representation a nd/or mediocre, dismal service. It is always perplexing how the leaders and top executives of unions are earning far moreat least one union leader purportedly makes a salary of $150,000 per annum than some placard-carrying, exploitable members who, in many instances, earn relatively modest salaries! Now is the time to privatise Bahamasair Y OUNG M AN S V IEW ADRIANGIBSON
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011, PAGE 7 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM DUBAI, United Arab Emirates Associated Press THE STATE-BACKED Abu Dhabi National Energy Company says it has sold its stake in a Caribbean power venture for $320 million. The company, which goes by the name Taqa, said in a regulatory filing Wednesday the sale to its business partner Marubeni of Japan resulted in no gain or loss. Taqa bought a 50 per cent stake in Marubeni's existing Caribbean operations just under two years ago. The portfolio included majority stakes in power companies in the Bahamas and Jamaica and smaller interests on other islands. Taqa is majority owned by the oil-rich government of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, though more than a quarter of its shares are available to the public. COMMONWEALTH Bank is lending a helpingh and to those in need by making a donation to theB ahamas Red Cross t owards its Fire Relief Fund. The Bahamas Red Cross recently provided aid to the victims of the Boxing Day fire at Alan Drive commonly known as the M ackey Yard Haitian comm unity. Commonwealth Bank is p rivileged to assist organis ations like the Bahamas R ed Cross in their mission to help people and communities impacted by nat-ural disasters and other social crises, said Ian Jennings, the newly appointed bank president. During these hard econ omic times we believe that more than ever it iso ur duty as a good corpor ate citizen to help them in their respective mission to bring relief and provide a helping hand to the increased number of individuals seeking assistance. We encourage all Bahamia ns to join together in 2011 a nd make a tangible cont ribution to a charitable o rganisation. A ccepting the cheque on b ehalf of the Bahamas Red Cross was Caroline Turnquest, director general. The organisation said its officials continue to make plans and coordinate with other stakeholders to determine the best courseo f action to provide temporary and long-term assis-t ance to residents of Macke y Yard where 120 structures went up in flames leaving hundreds homeless. The Bahamas Red Cross has already distributed food, clothing, shoes, blankets, pots, plates and h ygiene kits to the resid ents who have suffered m uch loss as a result of the f ire. T he banks community b uilding programme has also pledged Gold Sponsorship to the 39th Annual Red Cross Ball, scheduled to be held on Saturday, January 29. GOVERNOR-GENERAL Sir Arthur Foulkes is pictured (third from right Women International during a courtesy call at Government House on Wednesday, January 19, 2011. From left to right: Melvin Seymour, secretary to the Governor General; Marissa Smith, president FWI; Cyprianna Bethel; Sir Arthur; Cassandra Nottage and Rosella Armbrister. Raymond A. Bethel /BIS Commonwealth Bank gives support to the Bahamas Red Cross Fire Relief Fund Abu Dhabi's Taqa sells stake in Caribbean business COURTESYCALLSONGOVERNORGENERAL T HE ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION WORLD WAR LL ( RCL) executive committee representatives paid a cour tesy call on Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes at Government House on Wednesday, January 19. Pic tured from left: Melvin Seymour, secretary to the Governor-General; Lorne Varga, Dominion president RCL; P atricia Varga; Sir Arthur; Rev Matthias Munroe; Therese Canuel and Brad White, Dominion secretary RCL. ( L-R) PATRICK MCFALL Commonwealth Bank vice-president and chief financial officer, and Caroline Turnquest, Bahamas Red Cross director general. S ENATOR Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour and Social Development, and his son Malcolm hosted a New Years party for the children of Mathew Town, Inagua on Friday, January 14. MINISTERHOSTSCHILDRENSPARTY
tion projects such as the transformation of Centreville House also known asC ollins House has slowed down significantly since then. Mrs Sands said: Were still doing little things but its not the big jobs, the major projects. We cant really concent rate on that at the moment b ut we do have a contractor and he is doing things slowly as funds allow. Once restructuring efforts at the corporation have been completed, the next challenge will be to secure funding for t he transformation of Cent reville House into a museum. The mansion, which was b uilt by Ralph C Collins, was destroyed during the hurricane in 1929. T ransformation of the historic estate, which sprawled from Shirley Street to Wulff Road, began in 2008. At that time, the government, through the Antiquities, Monuments and Muse-u ms Corporation (AMMC partnered with consultants from the Newport Collaborative Architects (NCA to assess the viability of its adaptive reuse. T otal restoration was e xpected to take about two years. Mrs Sands said: Were moving very slowly some of the supporting structures haveb een completed, but we still need plenty money to finish it. Landscaping at the site was c ompleted by Bahamian environmental artist Antonius R oberts with consultation f rom Tanya Ferguson of the Bahamas National Trust. Native flower and fruit t rees such as madeira, horsef lesh, coco plum, joujou, sea g rape, coconut, and sour sop w ere utilized to create what was described as "an oasis within a mad setting" by the f ormer director. A replica of a Lucayan c hief's hut was also cons tructed on the grounds, along with a pond, and playground facilities. M rs Sands added: The g oal is to make it into a museu m, so we could have a prope r museum with exhibits of our history. That is the plan but that is going to take a w hile because we have to c omplete the restructuring e xercise for the management o f the corporation and then well move forward. L OCAL NEWS P AGE 8, FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM on suspicion of failing to be properly licensed. Commissioner Greenslade said: The operation is currently ongoing anda ctive, we have divided New Provi d ence. One Superintendent with a large t eam has been dispatched to the eastern part of the island, while a second Super intendent with a large team of officers w ill patrol the western part, all areas will be covered. The unit will be concentrating on t rouble spots and targeted profiles, w hich include people suspected of e ngaging in unlawful activity such as murder, armed robbery, illegal firearm possession, house break-ins, stealinga nd stabbings. The Commissioner said he has been pleased with the publics positive r esponse to the operation. this commitment to the North American and Central American Confederation (NACAC Games, and emphasised that its position has not changed. This comes after Mr Wisdom, the minister of youth, sports and culture in the former PLP government, was quoted in the press on Thursday as saying while the local sports association, the BAAA, is capable of hosting the Games in the Bahamas after the first two host countries dropped out, he wonders whether LIMEs contin ued sponsorship of CARIFTA depends upon whether the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless goes forward. Despite being told by his interviewer that a BAAA executive had already said there is no truth to this rumour, Mr Wisdom repeat ed his question. He asked: The fundamental question would be: Is the hold-up of a major sponsor for the CARIFTA games contingent on the sale of BTC to C&W? Is that whats preventing the sponsorship by LIME? And that is what needs to be answered by C&W. Mr Wisdom called on the government to allow BTC to sponsor CARIFTA in the Bahamas if LIME will not do so with no strings attached. But in its response, LIME noted that the protocol involved with the sponsorship of the Games is that the sponsor (in this case LIME as presenting sponsor) negotiates terms with the rights owners (NACAC rights holders. All other agreements for support to the host country are then a matter for discussion and agreement between NACAC and the host country. While LIME would be extremely pleased if the games were held in the Bahamas that decision rests solely with NACAC and the bidding host countries. Our commitment to sponsor these games remains in effect regardless of where the games are staged. LIME said it would also like to place on record its continued desire to do all possible to work with NACAC, the Bahamas, or any other selected host country to ensure a successful execution of the games. LIME continues to support Caribbean athletics at all levels and sees the CARIFTA games as an excellent vehicle to showcase and develop the next generation of athletes, it said. someone from the Bar who could have to appear before her, that is not professional conduct at all. She compromised the relationship between the bench and the Bar. I dont see why she would compromise that relationship between bench and Bar, Mrs BoweDarville stated. She noted that to further exacerbate the situation it is alleged that she failed to repay Mr Hilton. That is also unprofessional, she said. This is something that the Chief Justice should be concerned about. I dont know if the Chief Justice is aware of this matter. I was not made aware of it personally as it is not something that would come before the Bar Association. I have seen no complaint against her as a lawyer, it seems to be a personal thing. Attorney General John Delaney when contacted by The Tribune stated that he was not personally aware of the matter, and declined to comment on the issue. At the opening of the legal year Chief Justice Sir Michael Bar nett announced that Magistrate Linda Virgill will be assigned to the Coroner's Court to replace Magistrate William Campbell. We feel there is room for improvement. We wish to review our processes and see things that plainly are not work ing, he said. He noted that preliminary inquiries, for example, should only be conducted if there isn eed to test the evidence before the person is indicted for trial in the Supreme Court. When you use preliminary inquiries, unless you really need to test the evidence and make sure it is there before the per son is indicted for trial in the Supreme Court, then you are adding what could be years to the process. And so if that is not necessary, unless there is clearly a case for the preliminary investigation, then the matter should be moved by a Voluntary Bill of Indictment. If a true case can clearly be made up on the evidencethen we should seek to move it expe ditiously to the Supreme Court for trial. Those are some of the things we are trying to do, Mr Delaney said. I can tell you there is a Supreme Court trial going on right now which concern events that transpired in your community (on Grand Bahama That matter was brought to trial quickly. We are not going out and blowing our horn about this, but I was very pleased in October last year when a mem ber of the public noticed. We are determined to take every opportunity to get bet ter. We are exploiting every opportunity to do things differently. We are liaising with the judiciary and magistracy to see how they might do things dif ferently, and we wish to exploit the advantages of technology to become more efficient, Mr Delaney said. CENTREVILLE HOUSE also known as Collins HousePhoto/ Lamech Johnson Antiquities Monuments and Museums corporation puts major projects on hold FROM page one FROM page one FROM page one CABLE AND WIRELESS PARENT COMPANY AG SAYS THERE IS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN THE CRIMIN AL JUSTICE SYSTEM CORONER ACCUSED OF UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT F ROM page one FROM page one RAPID STRIKE NETS FOURTEEN SUSPECTS POLICEofficers prepare for Operation Rapid Strike on Wednesday.
By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter A email@example.com Atlantis is expecting double digit growth this year, one of its top sales execu t ives has revealed, adding that the company was very happy with the higher level of interest the resort and others saw from tour oper-a tors at this years Caribbean Marketplace trade show. Another Paradise Island hotel property, Comfort Suites, also reported a solid ly booked appointment diary for the two-day event. Jamal Glover, of Comfort Suites, said that despite a trend towards all-inclusives having hit their business somewhat, the hotel was happy with its 2010 arrivals and revenue figures. Karen Cruitt, executive director of leisure sales for Kerzner International, based at the companys Plantation, Florida, office, said: In 2010 we were up double digits over 2009, and we are anticipating growth over 2010 this year. Were trending that way now, and we expect that growth trend to continue barring any unforeseen circumstances, said Ms Cruitt, noting that double digit growth has been forecast. Asked whether any new promotional strategies will be pursued this year to push Atlantis in the tourism market, Ms Cruitt said that cus tomers are demanding value from their vacations, and the company will seek to ensure it can deliver this. We will evaluate our promotions to try to ensure they get as much value as possible to remain competitive and get our share of the business, she said. Ms Cruitt said the Caribbean Marketplace and Atlantis were definitely busier at this years event than last, which was a good sign for what the year may hold for tourism. Weve been very happy with it, she said. Mr Glover said Comfort Suites was similarly busy. We were totally booked up as far as appointments go. Weve had almost 50 appointments over two days,a nd I think thats the general consensus for everyone in the Bahamian lane. Last year it wasnt as booked out, but were feeling a resur g ence this year, he said. He added that the event and other indicators give cause for optimism to Comfort Suites that 2011 will seei mproved arrivals over 2010, SECTIONB firstname.lastname@example.org FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THETRIBUNE $4. 68 $4. 51 $4. 69The information contained is from a third party and The Tribune can not be held responsible for errors and/or omission from the daily report.$ $4.70 $4.72 $4.61 By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor The Nassau Airport Devel opment Company (NAD talking to potential investors still exploring the feasibility of constructing a hotel at the Lynden Pindling Internation al Airport (LPIA Business can reveal. In an exclusive interview this week, Stewart Steeves, NADs president and chief executive, confirmed that while there was nothing concrete yet, the LPIA operator was having conversa tions with potential investors interested in constructing and operating a hotel at the air port. Theres nothing formal at this point, Mr Steeves said, when asked by Tribune Business whether the hotel idea previously floated by NAD was still on the table. We are in discussions with AIRPORT HOTEL TALKS ONGOING NAD chief says nothing concrete, but talking to interested parties of investors conducting due diligence on proposal SEE page 5B By NEIL HARTN ELL Tribune Business Editor The Nassau Airport D evelopment Company (NAD million with Bahamian service providers, inclusive of $46.5 million inc onstruction contracts for the first phase of the L ynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA NADs $53m spend with Bahamian companies $46.5m of that construction contracts, with LPIA expansion to grow terminal space 21% Passenger capacity to almost double to 5.2m annually Airport to become strategic asset encouraging Bahamian economic growth S EE page 5B A MEDIA TOUR of the Airport late last year. By NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business Editor Middle Eastern investors, b elieved to be from Dubai or Abu Dhabi, were yesterd ay said to have made a multi-million dollar offer to acquire the Grand BahamaP ort Authority (GBPA their effort being spearheaded by the FreeportC ontainer Ports chief executive. H ighly-placed sources familiar with developments confirmed to Tribune Busi-n ess that an investor group, which has as its point man C hris Gray, the former Hutchison Whampoa executive who previously headed its Grand Bahama-based Freeport Container Port and Freeport Harbour Compa-n y, had submitted a bid to the St George and Hayward families earlier this month. The negotiations are being handled in the United Kingdom, m aking it difficult to obtain lat-e st details on the t alks, especially sincen one of their advisors ist alking, but Trib une Business was i nformed that the offer had to be in by January 10, 2011, a deadline that was met. One contact suggested that the potential buyer was Dubai Ports World, the enti ty seeking to construct a $300 million deepwater porta t Mariel, Cuba, which would rival Freeport. It was also the company whose bid to acquire several key US ports, including the Port of Miami, was squashed severa l years ago by US regulators on national security grounds. An offers in. Its been confirmed to me that its in a nd theyre looking at it, one source told Tribune Business. Apparently, theH aywards and St Georges consider the offer low, but thats normal. I ndeed. In acquisitions of this nature, bidders normall y start with a relatively low offer in a bid to set the bar, before creeping higher ast alks between the two sides progress, until a price is a greed. Sir Jack Hayward said in a recent interview with the Londons Daily Mail that he valued his GBPA stake at $80 million, meaning that the entire con-c ern according to his esti mate is worth $160 million. Middle East investors in Port purchase talks Former Freeport Container Port chief said to be spearheading buyers efforts, with offer made to Hayward and St George families SEE page 5B HUBERT INGRAHAM ATLANTIS SEES DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH IN 1 SEE page 3B By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter email@example.com The bankruptcy of Gulfstream International Airlines, which took with it $500,000 of the Out Island Promotion Boards money, resulted in a positive, said the latters president, in the form of continued and easier service to the Out Islands from more major US hubs. Stephen Kappeler, president of the Out Islands Promotions Board (OIPB said that in this sense a very bad thing has turned into a very good thing for the Out Islands. Mr Kappeler spoke with Tribune Business from the floor of the Caribbean Marketplace, the regions biggest tourism trade show, which took place in Montego Bay, Jamaica. He was there representing the OIPB. Tribune Business had previously reported how the OIPB and the Bahamas Department of Immigration were revealed as two of the largest unse cured creditors in a bank ruptcy filing by Gulfstream International Airlines, a subsidiary of Continental Airlines, which provides service into the Bahamas under the name "Conti nental Connection." In an interview with this newspaper, Mr Kappeler noted that the ability to come back healthy through a re-ordering of its finances has allowed Gulf $500k Gulfstr eam loss tur ns into plus for Boar d SEE page 2B By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter a firstname.lastname@example.org T ourism officials and a major tour operator are looking forward to thea rrival of more airlift to Nassau and Grand B ahama this year from Canada and Europe, Tribune Business has learned. E llison Tommy Thompson, deputy direct or-general and head of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourisms UK office,r evealed that new airlift will begin flying to the Bahamas direct from Milan this year, while enhanced prospects for vis-i tors from France will exist with the start of a new direct service provided byC orsair from Paris to Miami. The Milan service can fly 2 35 passengers on board a 767 jet weekly to Grand B ahama, and is being coor dinated by major Italian tour operator, Alpi Tours,f ollowing lobbying from the Ministry of Tourisms UK office. The Paris service will begin in mid-February ands ee a 747 jet fly twice weekly into Miami during the summer months, and three times weekly during winter. T he Ministry of Tourism is working with Sabre, the global distribution systemt hat feeds into travel book Tourism awaits Europe, Canada airlift increases SEE page 3B
The adage there is a big difference between a business idea and a business o pportunity is the basis for the Business Insights session at the Bahamas Financial Services Boards (BFSB 2011 International Business& Finance Summit (IBFS The session will allow par ticipants to discuss ideas for business segments that the industry could pursue overt he next 10 years. At the same time, it will provide the forum for a panel to highlight specific cross-sectoral business o pportunities BFSB chief executive Wendy Warren said the case studies to be profiled show that successful business ven-t ures are possible by adding value to existing products and services, and by identifying linkages with other sectors. P anellists will include Tim Treharne of KPMG Global Infrastructure; Eleanor Phillips of the Nature Conservancy; Werner Gruner of J ulius Baer Bank & Trust (Bahamas er, of Winterbotham Trust Services. They will present on o pportunities in infrastruc ture investment, environ mental initiatives, South Africa and aircraft leasing. IBFS will be held at R adisson At Our Lucaya, Freeport, on January 21-23. It has attracted participation from a wide cross-section of BFSB member firms, the Government and regulators, and international experts as presenters and guests. Advantages Ms Warren said the BFSB believes advantages are on tap for early movers, including brand recognition that can be converted to significant and sustained market share. Tim Treharne is managing director, Latin America and the Caribbean, and vicechairman, KPMG Global Infrastructure. He advises on project finance, private finance initiatives, private-public partnerships and privatisations. He has spent over 25 years in banking and finance, joining KPMG seven years ago from Bank of America, where he was head of global infrastructure with responsibility for the banks infrastructure project business around the world. Eleanor Phillips is the northern Caribbean program director for the Nature Conservancy Caribbean Program. She has lead a multi-disciplinary team since 2003, working in partnership with government and non-governmental organisations in the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos to achieve effective conservation of natural resources for those countries. Werner Gruner is a pri vate banker with 10 years of experience in the sector. He joined Julius Baer Bank & Trust (Bahamas t or in 2010, after nine years at Credit Suisse. During his career at Cred it Suisse, Mr Gruner assumed functions in Zuricha nd Nassau for the private banking division, where he was a relationship manager providing comprehensive financial advice to high netw orth individuals. Ivan Hooper is deputy chief executive and senior vice-president head of business development for the Winterbotham Trust Company. He acted as an independent consultant for the Winterbotham Trust Company (Uruguay business in Peru, before joining the group full time in July 2001 as head of business development for the west coast of South Ameri ca. From August 2004, he heads up business develop ment for Winterbotham, and from January 2006 also the foreign exchange and securities division, Winterbotham International Securities. BUSINESS PAGE 2B, FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 3/$17(&+1,&,$1 7KH7ULEXQH 3 1DVVDX%DKDPDV ('1(<'(/9$RI6RXWK 3DOPHWWR3RLQW(OHXWKHUD%DKDPDV .(/9,12.$)250&'2:(//6 RI+,*+9(673%2;1$66$8%$+$0$6 Summit targets new business segments As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, the CFA Society of the Bahamas (CFASB Governors of the CFA Institute (CFAI accompanied by Ralph Lehman, council representative for the SouthEast and Caribbean region. While in Nassau, Ms Franklin updated Bahamian CFASB members on CFAIs goals and strategy for the year. She is a past president of the Toronto CFA Society, and was recently named as one of Canadas Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Ms Franklin is a regular speaker to the media, and at conferences in the areas of investing, behavioural finance and private wealth. Mr Lehman is also a past president of the Tennessee society. The CFASB also honoured past presidents, who shared their experiences of serving on the societys board. The photo shows (from L to R) past presidents Kristina Fox, David Slatter, and James Nottage; Board of Governors chair Margaret Franklin; past presidents Dorian Foyiil and Christopher Dorsett; president council representative Ralph Lehman; current president, Sonia Beneby; and past president David Ramirez. Board chair visits Bahamas analysts TIM TREHARNE ELEANOR PHILLIPS WERNER GRUNER IVAN HOOPER stream to continue to provide much-needed airlift into t he Out Islands. Add to this a recent merger between United Airlines and Continental, and this now means that there will bem ore extensive, seamless airlift into the Out Islands from an expanded list of US travel hubs throughout the country. That very bad thing, in which we lost the money, has turned into a very good thing for the Out Islands, Mr Kappeler said. We used to have service with very few legsf rom Continental into the Out Islands. Now the distribution to get to us is crazy. Were getting all these other markets. W hile passengers still have to change planes in Florida to board the Gulfstream aircraft, the merger of United and Continental means that their air service will now be provided by the same company. So imagine," said Mr Kappeler. "Before what you needed to do was book, maybe US Airways from Chicago, andt hat might get you to Fort Lauderdale, but I then had to board another plane to get on Continental Gulfstream, a little subsidiary of Continental. So if I had a problem with myt icket, or I get there late, those people arent helping me because its a different airline. If I miss my flight here, well, t hats tough Charlie Now its one carrier it will be perceived by the travelling public that one carrier is going to get you all the way to theO ut Islands. It will increase peoples ability to find their way to our location, affordably, easily, efficiently, said the OIPB president, also general manager of the Cape Eleuthera resort and newly-elected vice-president of the Bahamas Hotel Asso-c iation. Continental Gulfstream currently provides service from Florida into Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera and Exuma. $500k Gulfstream loss turns into plus for Board FROM page 1B Share your news The T ribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbour hoods. Per haps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the area or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and share your story.
a good year but one in which the hotel had to work hard for every dollar it pulled in. Projections The projections seem to be good for 2011 for us. Weve seen some shift towards the all-inclusives,but the numbers are still looking good, said Mr Glover, suggesting that offering an all-inclusive package at the hotel may be something we will have to consider given the increased demand for this type of vacation. Andrew Neubauer, director of sales and marketing at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, told Tribune Business on Monday that Starwood Hotels, the management company which operates the resort, was also looking at implementing an all-inclusive vacation option, having seen a similar package work well at its Canadian properties. He forecast "marginal growth" in business at the Cable Beach property this year. BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011, PAGE 3B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM ATLANTIS SEES DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH IN 1 FROM page 1B i ng websites such as Expedia and Travelocity, to ensure Bahamasair appears as a feed through air service for those wishing to fly on to the Bahamas from Miami, in the hope of boosting bookings to this nation from the Frenchm arket. Then we will have that product we can sell in the French market, said Mr Thompson. M r Thompson said French tour operators have shown great interest in selling the Corsair service, and the Ministry o f Tourism is planning a workshop in Paris in March for Bahamian hotels, attractions and other tourism service providers to meet French tour operators. Satisfaction M ajestic Tours chief executive, William Saunders, expressed his satisfaction with news from Canadian tour operator, Sunquest, that the tour operator is increasing airlift into Nassau from Toronto, starting February 3. C urrently, the tour operators charter flights in to Nassau from Toronto on Thursday and Sundays, most of which arrive into the Bahamas full, said Mr Saunders, whose com-p any is contracted to provide transportation services for the passengers. In February, the flights per week will be doubled, taking the total passenger capacity per week to 700. Mr Saunders said he expects this to give a big boost to not o nly the transportation side of his business, but attraction/tour sales, which he is able to offer to passengers on behalf of his company and others such as Stuart Coves dive e xcursions and Island World Adventures, which offers a powerboat ride to Exuma for visitors. Tourism awaits Europe, Canada airlift increases F ROM page 1B TOURISMLANDMARK: Atlantis in Paradise Island. By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor The Bahamian Contractors Associations (BCA dent has praised the Governments decision to hold the line on Business Licence taxes for the industry as sending positive signs for growth and reinvestment, while also preventing an increase in building prices that would have to be passed on to business and residential clients. Stephen Wrinkle, head of Wrinkle Development Company, said that maintaining the existing 0.5 per cent Business Licence tax rate for the construction sector was especially important for larger Bahamian companies bidding on major projects, and could also help to stimulate the sector and housing market something every bit as important as government revenue. Praising the Government for responding to the industrys concerns over the proposed 50 per cent increase in Business Licence tax rates to 0.75 per cent, Mr Wrinkle told Tribune Business: I think thats a very positive sign, and it will allow those contractors bidding on larger projects to work with current numbers. It would have put a cloud over those projects for the next year, because the construction sector, and the housing sector in particular, is flat. The larger companies bidding those larger projects would have had to make provisions for increases in that price and, by extension, that would have been passed on to the consumer. By holding the tax line at 0.5 per cent, it enables us to hold the line on price increases in construction, which at this time should be considered a saving. Mr Wrinkle said the Governments move could also p rovide contractors with f unds to reinvest in new e quipment and machinery. It sends a positive sign for growth and reinvestment, and at this time thats every bit as important as revenue to the Government, the BCA president added, saying contractors were still attempting to jump start the sector. Cavalier Construction had previously told Tribune Business that the 0.25 per cent rate increased it faced was equivalent to 25 per cent of its profit. Steven DAlewyn, Cavaliers chief financial officer, said the Business Licence Bill changes failed to accurately reflect the Bahamian construction industrys realities, which were that it was a high turnover, low volume and low margin industry. Under the previous Business Licence system, Cavalier paid a rate equivalent to 0.5 per cent of turnover, because its gross profit margin was less than 25 per cent. I dont know of any contractor making 25 per cent, Mr DAlewyn added. We dont get anywhere close to it. Pointing out that under the previous structure Cavalier paid a Business Licence fee of $229,000 in 2009, a sum equivalent to over 25 per cent of the bottom line, Mr DAlewyn said the reforms would see Cavalier pay $114,500 more for a total of $343,500. Margins of 7-10 per cent were more reflective of the construction industrys realities, he explained, telling Tribune Business that the construction industry had several objections to how the new Business Licence was being calculated the definition of turnover as applied to the construction industry, as well as the rate. Mr DAlewyn pointed out that while major Bahamian contractors might receive $50 million from a client to complete a major construction project, the firm in this instance was effectively acting as project manager. As a result, this sum was being held in escrow, with the majority paid out to sub-contractors, tradesmen and suppliers, with very little possibly 6-7 per cent being retained as the major contractors fee. Gross profits on such a contract were often at $2-$3 million. Some people need to be reminded of the proverb of the goose with the golden egg, because the goose is getting laid and is not enjoying it, Mr DAlewyn said. We cant pass the costs on to consumers, because they will go and build somewhere else. The attached risks are very high, and the margins are very low. There needs to be a proper reflection of where we stand in terms of profits, turnover and margin. I think were getting a major shaft, only because were perceived as big money makers. Licence tax move positive for growth and reinvesting STEPHEN W RINKLE INSIGHT For the stories behind the news, read Insight on Mondays
ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer SHANGHAI China's economy accelerated in the last quarter of 2010 to expand a blockbuster 10.3 percent for the year as its communist leaders struggle to keep growth on an even keel while cooling surging prices. Figures released Thursday showed growth picking up in t he fourth quarter, to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent in JulySeptember, as the world's second-largest economy gained momentum despite moves to curb a torrent of investment that is fanning politically risky inflation. The inflation rate was 4.6 percent in December compared with a 28-month high of 5.1 percent the monthb efore. That put inflation for the full year at 3.3 percent. The news rattled investors who fear further moves to dampen credit. Markets across Asia fell, with Shanghai's benchmark Composite Index sliding 2.9 percent to 2,677.65. "The only slight decline in inflation in December shows just how grim the situation is for cooling inflation," said Peng Yunliang, an analyst at Shanghai Securities. "In my view, inflation will remain a headache for the government in 2011." Those pressures may force Beijing to slow the economy more aggressively, potentially crimping growth in a world increasingly dependent on Chinese demand. The news, coming as Chinese President Hu Jintao celebrated what was viewed back home as a triumphant state visit to the United States, accentuated the wide divide between China, which has vigorously rebounded from the global crisis, and the still fragile U.S. and European economies. Echoing earlier complaints by Beijing, the National Statistics Bureau commissioner, Ma Jiantang, blamed rising prices on lax monetary policies among "developed economies," which have fanned specula tive demand and driven commodity prices higher. But he acknowledged that increased costs for wages, land and other factors in Chi na were also pushing prices higher. Ma said the government had achieved "remarkable results" in its effort to cool inflation, adding: "But the price trends in 2011 cannot be taken lightly." Many economists believe China's economy remains dangerously dependent on investment in real estate and construction. Such spending shot up 23.8 percent over a year earlier in 2010. Stim ulus That was a big drop from the 30.1 percent increase fueled by stimulus spending to counter the global crisis in 2009. But renewed lavish lending by state-run banks may be inflating a potentially dangerous financial bubble and hindering moves to bring price increases under control, said IHS analyst Alistair Thornton. "Should rampant liquidity drive inflationary pressure still higher, the policy dilemma facing the government will merely intensify," he said, characterizing moves to rein in credit so far as "timid." China's leaders, mindful of the political turmoil brought on by previous bouts of inflation, have declared curbing price increases a top priority. They have hiked interest rates twice in the past four months and repeatedly tightened investment curbs to keep inflation from spreading throughout the economy. So far, the price hikes appear not to have hit overall demand for consumer goods too hard: retail sales rose 18.4 percent in 2010 over a year earlier, jumping 14.8 percent when adjusted for inflation, Ma said. Averages incomes for citydwellers rose 11.5 percent in 2010 to 21,033 yuan (about $3,200). Rural per capita income surged nearly 15 percent, but at 5,919 yuan ($900i t lags far behind. Recent surges in costs for food and other basic necessities are hitting many families, especially those living on lower incomes. "My pension is just 1,700 y uan ($260 even if it has been raised a bit, it cannot catch up with rising prices," said Ji Minlin, a 62-year-old retired bicycle factory worker who said she and her friends were combings upermarket for bargains. "I do hope prices, especially food prices, won't rise anymore," she said. Many analysts say authori ties need to act more deci sively to cool surging prices, especially as such pressures rise around the globe. Following news earlier this week that the country's biggest state-run commercial banks splashed out nearly 240 billion yuan ($36.4 billionn ew loans in the first 10 days of the new year, the banking regulator again ordered banks to tighten risk controls and reportedly is considering ways to penalize banks for flouting orders to cut back lending. With so much money sloshing around the economy, authorities have been hard put to get banks to rein in. Borrowing for real estate development and other pro jects is the lifeblood for the sales by local governments of land use rights that provide a huge share of their revenues. Such sales rose 70 percent in 2010, helping push property prices 6.4 percent higher compared with a year earlier. A huge pool of nonbank financing nearly doubled the amount of money available for investment last year, much of it "off balance sheet" lending whose exact scale is unknown. "Because of the property bubble, risk exists almost everywhere in China's fragile financial system," said Yi Xianrong, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Finance Research Center. BUSINESS PAGE 4B, FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 127,&( ,QWHUQDWLRQDO%XVLQHVV&RPSDQLHV$FW 3DYLOOLRQ)XQG/LPLWHG WKH &RPSDQ\f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hina's hot economy surges 10.3% in 2010 (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: In this April 24, 2010 photo, the electric car EK-2 from Chinese automaker Geely is displayed at the Beijing Auto China 2010 show held in Beijing. Geely unveiled six alternative energy vehicles, some of which it said it plans to release by next year. Geely shot to prominence abroad in March when it agreed to buy Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co. for $1.8 billion. The first Chinese-made car to hit the U.S. market might be an all-electric minivan that skips over gasoline technology and gets a head start on the auto industrys next era. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan SCOURINGTHEGARBAGE: A handicapped man scavange for resellable materials amongst garbage accumulated along a road in Beijing, China, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. Chinas economy accelerated in the last quarter of 2010 to expand a blockbuster 10.3 percent for the year as its communist leaders strugglet o keep growth on an even keel while cooling surging prices. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan TAKINGAREST : Shoppers rest after shopping at a supermarket in Beijing, China, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. "Should rampant liquidity drive inflationary pressure still higher, the policy dilemma facing the gov ernment will merely intensify."
BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011, PAGE 5B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM some interested parties that might be interested to do that, and they are doing some due diligence at this point to see if its an idea theyd like to pursue, the NAD chief executive added. There is a conversation happening, but nothings concluded at this point. Emphasising that the talks were exploratory in nature, with no financial or operational plans for such a hotel yet produced, Mr Steeves indicated that NAD was still open to the idea if an investor group wanted to pursue it. Tribune Business had been informed by contacts familiar with d evelopments that a group featuring world-renowned hotel brand, Marriott, had expressed an interest in the project and talked to NAD, but Mr Steeves said he was unable to recall who the potential investors were. In any case, he said the discussions were at a stage far removed from when any major hotel brand would likelyb ecome involved, since they would likely enter the picture later when operating partners were discussed. Were well short of the brand involvement; were just talking to potential investors at this point, Mr Steeves told Tribune Business. O perating The idea of constructing and operating a hotel at LPIA was first floated by NAD several years ago, when plans for the airports $409.5 million transformation were first presented to the Bahamian public. Most airport-based hotels throughout the world are typical lay over properties, where passengers rest before catching connecting flights the following day. However, this model would be unlikely to work at LPIA, given that there is no substantial lay over market. Most passengers in transit to the Family Islands are able to catch their connecting flights on the same day they arrive in Nassau, while departing New Providence hotel guests can stay at their prop-e rties prior to departure, being only a relatively short taxi ride away. Tribune Business understands any LPIA hotel proposal will likely focus on targeting the meetings business generated by the private aviation market, who may fly into Odyssey Aviation on short-stay trips to Nassau, plus seek to include a substantial retail and restaurant component. Meanwhile, Mr Steeves said the Shell gas station being built by BISX-listed FOCOL Holdings on the airports perimeter was due to open in early summer. Its well under construction, and I believe the planned opening for that is late Spring/early summer, the May June timeframe. It will be quite a gas station as well, judging by the level of construction, he told Tribune Business. Mr Steeves said that when the $409.5 million redevelop ment project was completed, LPIA would be positioned to act as a hub for travellers heading to both the US and other international destinations, plus the remainder of the Caribbean. He added that, when all three redevelopment stages were completed in late 2013, LPIA would be on par with the first class resort product in the Bahamas, providing arriving and departing travellers with a complementary first and last impression of this nation. AIRPORT HOTEL TALKS ONGOING F ROM page 1B NADs $53m spend with Bahamian companies redevelopment, the Airport Authoritys chairman saying yesterday that thef acility would become a strategic asset for generating economic growth. Frank Watson, the former deputy prime minister, told the Rotary Club of West Nassau that when the three-phaseL PIA redevelopment was completed b y end-2013, the airport would be able to accommodate 5.2 million passengers, almost double the current pas-s enger capacity on an annual basis. Adding that the redevelopment would increase total terminal space atL PIA by just over 21 per cent, from the current 482,000 square feet to 5 85,000 square feet, Mr Watson said phase one construction of the new US departures terminal woulda ccount for 246,500 square feet or 42 per cent of the total footprint. The r etail and restaurant concessions, he added, would cover 15,000 square feet in the new terminal. Weve kept the design to the most stringent standards, Mr Watson said, to make sure the airport runs efficiently. The airport will have the most advanced baggage system of any USp re-clearance facility in the world. The system, Mr Watson added, cost $10 million and will be able to process some 2,000 passenger bags per hour, including screening them for securityp urposes. Some three conveyor belts would serve incoming flights, he said. The Airport Authority chairman said L PIA would possess 10 aircraft loading bridges and four swing gates once the e xpansion project was concluded, with the international terminal seeing a 200 per cent increase in aircraft entryp oints, and loading positions for domestic flights almost doubling to 2 3. We will be among the most customer friendly facilities in the hemi-s phere. It will be one of the most a dvanced facilities in the region, Mr Watson pledged. We are expanding p arking facilities to accommodate the e xpected increase in traffic at the air port to 3,000 parking spaces, inclusive o f overflow. The Airport Authority chairman added that LPIA would be fully ener-g y efficient and friendly from an envi ronmental standpoint, employing sun screening and roof overhangs. The external walls will be a 50/50 mixture of glass and solid, he said, in a bid tor educe heat, while internal cooling would not go above passenger height to conserve energy. A nd, given the Bahamas position in the hurricane belt, the buildings at L PIA had all been designed and test ed to withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour. The redevelopment project pro vides us with an opportunity to create a local sense of place, Mr Watson said. We want visitors to feel they are in the Bahamas from the moment they disembark. This meant ensuring an authentic Bahamian design, with every-t hing to the tiles, carpets and ceiling i nlays incorporated into this vision, while NAD had commissioned some $2.2 million worth of Bahamian art. Free wi-fi Internet access will also be provided at LPIA, Mr Watson said,a dding that an average of 400 Bahamian construction workers had been on site at any time during the phase onee xpansion, this figure rising to 550 at the peak. The new LPIA is not just an airp ort, Mr Watson said. It is a strategic asset for the country, enabling economic growth through tourism, finan-c ial services and other forms of trade. We are in a period of unprecedente d capital development for our country. The airport, together with the fourlane highway, road improvement pro-j ect, redevelopment of the city of Nassau and relocation of the cargo port t o Arawak Cay, is repositioning New Providence for success and it will be able to sustain economic growth. M r Watson added that the $409.5 million airport redevelopment project w as the first link in the chain of this infrastructure improvement. Confirming that Odyssey Aviation w as in the process of developing its plans for management of LPIAs charter section, Mr Watson said NAD was likely to be interested in taking over management of other Bahamian air-p orts should the Government choose to outsource this function, with Marsh Harbour likely to be the first. A cknowledging that developing LPIA was a work in progress, Mr W atson hinted that Copa Airlines was likely to begin flying to the Bahamas shortly, opening up Latin America tot his nation. He added that the Government was a lso in talks with the US over estab lishing a Flight Information Region (FIRa irspace. FROM page 1B FRANK WATSON Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is understood to h ave been kept fully i nformed of developments, and one source suggested he had been planning to speak on events at the GBPA as early as this week. However, nothing has been heard from him as yet. Mr Grays involvement is likely to be key, since he is highly respected by all sides and has intimate knowledge of Grand Bahama, Hutchison Whampoa, the GBPA and its relationship with the Government. He is on good terms with the Haywards and St Georges, and also with the Prime Minister. The latter connection is especially important, given the tense relationship between the Government and GBPA on a whole host of issues Hannes Babaks work permit; telecoms regu lation in Freeport; bonded letters; and the renewal of the business licence and real property tax exemptions expiring in 2015. Neither Sir Jack, nor his son Rick, could be contacted for comment yesterday despite messages being left for the former, while Fred Smith QC, the Callenders & Co QC and partner, who acts as the Bahamian attor ney for the St George estate, refused to comment when contacted by Tribune Business. Meanwhile, another wellplaced Freeport contact told Tribune Business he understood a Letter of Intent had been signed between the Haywards/St Georges and a Dubai-based investor group, although this newspaper has been informed that matters have yet to reach this stage. I heard a couple of nights ago that it was a group out of Dubai that had signed an agreement with the St Georges and Haywards to buy them out, and the Prime Minister and Hutchison had smiled on the deal, the source said. I heard Chris Gray was spearheading it. The source, though, was uncertain about the prospec tive purchasers identity, and whether it was Dubai Ports World or another Middle Eastern group backed by financing from one of the many royal families, princes and sheikhs in the region. Stakes Tribune Business reported last year that the Haywards and St Georges had appointed JP Morgan to search for a buyer for their respective 50 per cent stakes, although Sir Jack at the same said that efforts to sell the GBPA would be akin to flogging a dead horse. "It's not going to be an easy sell," Sir Jack said then, of his and the St George's search for a buyer for their respective 50 per cent stakes in the GBPA and Port Group Ltd. Asked whether both shareholders had appointed an investment bank to seek out the right purchaser and filter out all the unsuitable prospects, he added: "We haven't at the moment. We're considering it, but I think they're flogging a dead horse." Pressed about J P Morgan, Sir Jack then conceded: "They're the front runners. You're quite right. They've already helped the St Georges sell their power company shares for $41 mil lion. In the brief they had, they visited Freeport, did a lot of work and got a head start by visiting here and looking at the place. They're an excellent firm with a good reputation." Pointing out that J P Morgan would want a finder's fee and retainer to kickstart any buyer search, Sir Jack again reiterated his belief they would have "a very difficult time" to find the right purchaser. When asked whether he felt this way because of the global reces sion, he added that it was because of "everything that is not going on". The GBPA is something of an unusual asset to acquire, because apart from its equity stakes in numerous infrastructure-related assets such as the Grand Bahama Development Company and Freeport Harbour Company (and a host of other entities, such as Bourbon Street Ltd, owner of Lucaya Marketplace), it also retains quasi-governmental powers as Freeport's regulatory and governmental authority. Any buyer will thus have to be of the highest repute and integrity, especially giv en that they will have to meet with the Bahamian government's approval Middle East investors in Port purchase talks FROM page 1B I heard a couple of nights ago that it was a group out of Dubai that had signed an agreement with the St Georges and Haywards to buy them out, and the Prime Minister and Hutchison had smiled on the deal. I heard Chris Gray was spear heading it.
GEIR MOULSON, A ssociated Press BERLIN E urope's bailout fund has enough money to cover p otential rescues of both Portugal and much larger Spain, while Greece doesn'tn eed a debt restructuring as some investors fear, the h ead of the fund insisted Thursday. European officials are c ontemplating whether and how to overhaul the euro750 b illion ($1 trillion w hich currently is able to lend out less than the full headline amount because of the need to secure a top credit rating. T alk of an overhaul has been prompted by fears that possible rescues for Portu-g al and, particularly, Spain might overstretch the fund. I don't want to predict now whether these countries will need money; that is nott he case at the moment, they are in a position to refinance themselves on the market at the moment," Regling told Germany's Deutschland f unk radio. "But if they were to come, then there is enough mon ey. So there is no acute need to increase the EFSF," orE uropean Financial Stabili ty Facility, he added. Bailout Eurozone governments m ake their euro440 billion contribution to the bailout fund by guaranteeing bonds issued by Regling's EFSF. The remaining euro310 billion come from the Euro pean Commission and the International Monetary Fund. However, to get a triple-A credit rating for EFSF bonds and make them attractive to investors governments had to guarantee 120 per c ent of their value, while rescued countries have to deposit a certain portion oft he loans they receive "as a cash buffer." T hat takes the EFSF's lending capacity down to only about euro250 billion,w hich many analysts say is insufficient to deal with a bailout of Spain. "There may be possibilities to close this gap ...t hrough other new mechanisms, and it certainly makes sense to consider that," Regling said. Greece received a separ ate rescue loan package worth a total euro110 billion ($148 billion EFSF was established last year. Regling rejected suggestions that Greece is headed for a debt restructuring despite the bailout. "The markets do indeed assume in their evaluation that Greece needs a restruct uring, but that is not backed by developments because the program in Greece isg oing well, the economic policy conditions connected w ith this credit," he said. R eforms being pushed through to heal Greece's f inances in the longer term will make the economy more dynamic, so the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank believe "that Greece doesn't need a restructuring, that markets are overestimating this risk," Regling said. Debt Amid the simmering debt crisis, the European Systemic Risk Board a body created by European Union governments last year to look out for threats to financial stability on the conti nent held its inaugural meeting Thursday in Frankf urt. The body will be able t o issue recommendations or warnings when it sees threats, but its chairman, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, faced questions as to whether they will lack teeth. Trichet said institutions deemed to pose a risk will be expected to "comply or explain." We are absolutely determined to make our warnings and recommendations with the maximum level of moral a uthority," he told reporters. "But we cannot go over and above what the legislator has asked us to do." The board brings together central bankers from the EU's 27 member nations with market and industry regulators. It plans at least four meetings per year, with the next due in mid-March. BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011, PAGE 7B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecurit y Previous CloseToday's CloseChangeDaily Vol.EPS $Div $P/EYield 1.260.97AML Foods Limited1.011.010.000.1500.0406.73.96% 10.759.67Bahamas Property Fund10.6310.630.000.0130.200817.71.88% 6 .184.50Bank of Bahamas4.904.900.000.1530.10032.02.04% 0.580.18Benchmark0.180.180.00-0.8770.000N/M0.00% 3.492.70Bahamas Waste2.702.700.000.1680.09016.13.33% 2.152.14Fidelity Bank2.172.170.000.0160.040135.61.84% 1 2.509.62Cable Bahamas10.2110.210.001.0500.3109.73.04% 2.842.36Colina Holdings2.402.400.000.7810.0403.11.67% 7.005.40Commonwealth Bank (S1)6.856.850.000.4220.26016.23.80% 3.651.63Consolidated Water BDRs1.971.94-0.030.1110.04517.52.32% 2 .551.60Doctor's Hospital1.601.600.000.1070.11015.06.88% 6.995.94Famguard6.076.070.000.3570.24017.03.95% 1 0.207.23Finco6.516.510.008000.2870.52022.77.99% 11.408.77FirstCaribbean Bank9.399.390.000.4940.35019.03.73%5 .513.75Focol (S)5.475.480.011,0000.3660.21015.03.83% 1.001.00Focol Class B Preference1.001.000.000.0000.000N/M0.00% 7 .405.00ICD Utilities7.407.400.000.0120.240616.73.24% 10.509.82J. S. Johnson9.829.820.000.8590.64011.46.52% 10.0010.00Premier Real Estate10.0010.000.000.9910.80010.18.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecuritySymbolLast SaleChangeDaily Vol. 9 9.4699.46Bahamas Note 6.95 (2029BAH2999.460.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 17 (Series A) +FBB17100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 22 (Series B) +FBB22100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 13 (Series C) +FBB13100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 15 (Series D) +FBB15100.000.00 52wk-Hi 52wk-Low Symbol Bid$ Ask$ LastPrice DailyVol EPS$ Div$ P/E Yield F INDEX: CLOSE 000.00 | YTD 00.00% | 2009 -12.31%3 0 May 2013 20 November 2029THURSDAY, 20 JANUARY 2011BISX ALL SHARE INDEX: CLOSE 1,480.08 | CHG 0.15 | %CHG 0.01 | YTD -19.43 | YTD % -1.30B ISX LISTED DEBT SECURITIES (Bonds trade on a Percentage Pricing basis)Maturity 19 October 2017 7 %RoyalFidelity Merchant Bank & Trust Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)2 9 May 2015 W WW.BISXBAHAMAS.COM | TELEPHONE:242-323-2330 | FACSIMILE: 242-323-23201 9 October 2022 P rime + 1.75% P rime + 1.75% 6.95%BISX LISTED & TRADED SECURITIES AS OF:7% Interest 52wk Hi 52wk Low Symbol Bid $ Ask $ Last Price Daily Vol EPS $ Div $ P/E Yield 10.065.01Bahamas Supermarkets5.016.0114.00-2.9450.000N/M0.00% 0 .550.40RND Holdings0.350.400.550.0010.000256.60.00% 41.0029.00ABDAB30.1331.5929.004.5400.0009.030.00% 0.550.40RND Holdings0.450.550.550.0020.000261.900.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowFund NameNAVYTD%Last 12 Months %NAV 3MTH 1.51221.4076CFAL Bond Fund1.51795.51%6.90%1.498004 2.94742.8300CFAL MSI Preferred Fund2.94742.10%2.09%2.918697 1.57431.4954CFAL Money Market Fund1.57404.44%4.44%1.555464 3.20252.8522Royal Fidelity Bahamas G & I Fund2.720212.72%4.63% 13.638813.0484Royal Fidelity Prime Income Fund13.2825-0.63%-0.14% 114.3684101.6693CFAL Global Bond Fund114.36849.98%12.49%109.392860 106.552899.4177CFAL Global Equity Fund106.55284.75%7.18%100.779540 1.14151.0000FG Financial Preferred Income Fund1.14154.74%5.21% 1.11011.0000FG Financial Growth Fund1.11013.94%7.60% 1.14281.0000FG Financial Diversified Fund1.14284.78%5.90% 9.74859.1005Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 19.79504.85%5.45% 11.236110.0000Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 210.6417-1.20%0.50% 10.00009.1708Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 39.6635-3.37%-3.37% 8.16434.8105Royal Fidelity Int'l Fund Equities Sub Fund8.39798.82%8.82% BISX ALL SHARE INDEX 19 Dec 02 = 1,000.00YIELD last 12 month dividends divided by closing price 52wk-Hi Highest closing price in last 52 weeksBid $ Buying price of Colina and Fidelity 52wk-Low Lowest closing price in last 52 weeksAsk $ Selling price of Colina and fidelity Previous Close Previous day's weighted price for daily volumeLast Price Last traded over-the-counter price Today's Close Current day's weighted price for daily volumeWeekly Vol. Trading volume of the prior week Change Change in closing price from day to dayEPS $ A company's reported earnings per share for the last 12 mths Daily Vol. Number of total shares traded todayNAV Net Asset Value DIV $ Dividends per share paid in the last 12 monthsN/MNot Meaningful P/E Closing price divided by the last 12 month earningsFINDEX The Fidelity Bahamas Stock Index. January 1, 1994 = 100 (S) 4-for-1 Stock Split Effective Date 8/8/2007 (S1) 3-for-1 Stock Split Effective Date 7/11/200730-Nov-10 31-Dec-10 107.570619 105.776543 30-Jun-10 30-Nov-10 NAV 6MTH 1.475244 2.919946 1.538692TO TRADE CALL: CFAL 242-502-7010 | ROYALFIDELITY 242-356-7764 | FG CAPITAL MARKETS 242-396-4000 | COLONIAL 242-502-752530-Nov-10 30-Sep-10 31-Dec-10 31-Dec-10 31-Dec-10MARKET TERMS30-Nov-10 30-Nov-10CFAL Securities Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)30-Nov-10BISX Listed Mutual FundsNAV Date 30-Nov-10 30-Nov-10 0,&+$(/3,(55(RI 675((71257+0,$0,)/ MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer WASHINGTON The number of Americans who bought previously owned homes last year fell to the lowest level in 13 years. But home sales in December jumped to fastest pace in seven months. The National Association of Realtors says sales dropped 4.8 percent to 4.91 million units in 2010. That was slightly lower than 2008, which had been the weakest level since 1997. Home prices have been depressed by a record number of foreclosures and high unemployment. Many potential buyers held off on purchases last year, fearful that prices hadn't bottomed out yet. The poor year for sales ended strong in December. Buyers snapped up homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million units, an increase of 12.8 percent from November and the strongest sales pace since last May. Still, many economists believe it will take years for sales to rise to a normal level of around 6 million units a year. And some say 2011 will be even weaker than last year because more foreclosures are expected and home prices are likely to keep falling through the first six months of the year. F or ec losur e The foreclosure crisis has left a glut of unsold houses on the market. That has played a major role in lowering home prices. For December, the inventory of unsold homes stood at an 8.1 months supply, down from 9.5 months supply in November. That represents the amount of time it would take to sell the remaining supply of homes on the market at the December sales pace. A normal inventory supply is six months. Even historically low mortgage rates have done little to boost the sales. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.74 percent this week from 4.71 percent the previous week, Freddie Mac said Thursday. The average rate on the 15-year loan, a popular refinance option, slipped to 4.05 percent from 4.08 percent. The 30-year loan rate reached a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November, and the 15-year mortgage rate fell to 3.57 percent, the lowest level on records dating back to 1991. F or December, sales were up in all parts of the U.S. with the strongest gain a 16.7 percent increase in the West. Sales rose 13 percent in the Northeast, 10.1 percent in the South and 11 percent in the Midwest. The median price for a home sold in December was $168,800, down 1 percent from a year ago. ATHENS, Greece G reek doctors and dentists are holding a 24-hour walkout against proposed health sector reforms, as pharmacists, lawyers a nd state rail workers remain on strike for a second day. The protests are against planned changes b y the government that will end decades of strict regulation of certain professions. Scores of professions, including civil e ngineers, architects and notaries, will be a ffected by the draft law which the government says will lower fees and help y oung professionals. The pharmacists and lawyers are striking for a total of three days. Meanwhile, some 2,000 people are demonstrating outside the Supreme Court in Athens to back a suit by state contract workers seeking full civil servant status. T he hearing started Thursday and a decis ion is expected in several months. Debt-ridden Greece depends on foreign l oans to avoid bankruptcy. MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Technology Writer SAN FRANCISCO Google Inc. co-founder Larry Page is taking over as CEO in an unexpected shake-up that upstaged the Internet search leader's fourth-quarter earnings. Page, 37, is reclaiming the top job from Eric Schmidt, who had been brought in as CEO a decade ago because Google's investors believed the company needed a more mature leader. Schmidt, 55, will remain an adviser to Page and Google's other cofounder, Sergey Brin, as Google's executive chairman. The changes will be effective April 4. "In my clear opinion, Larry is ready to lead and I'm excited about working with both him and Sergey for a long time to come," Schmidt said. Page praised Schmidt, too. "There is no other CEO in the world that could have kept such headstrong founders so deeply involvedand still run the business so brilliantly," Page said. "Eric is a tremendous leader and I have learned innumerable lessons from him." The change in command overshadowed Google's fourth-quarter earnings, which soared past analysts' estimates as the compa ny cranked up its Internet marketing machine during the holiday shopping season. Google earned $2.5 billion, or $7.81 per share, during the final three months of 2010. That's a 29 percent increase from net incomeof $2 billion, or $6.13 per share, in the prior year. Excluding stock-compensation expenses, Google says it earned $8.75 per share. That figure topped the average analyst estimate of $8.06 per share, according to FactSet. US AND EUROPE NEWS (AP Photo/Armando Franca EUROPEINCRISIS: A woman walks past a sign on a supermarket window, Monday, Jan. 17 2011 in Lisbon. Rescue fund head: enough money for Portugal, Spain (AP Photo/Steven Senne ONTHEMARKET: A for sale sign in Millis, Mass., Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. NEW STRIKES IN GREECE OVER LABOR REFORMS Google co-founder Page will be CEO in shake-up INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS NEWCEO: Gooles Larry Page arrives to a morning session at the annual Allen & Co. Media summit in Sun Valley, Idaho, Thursday, July 8, 2010. Fewer Americans buy previously owned homes
BUSINESS PAGE 8B, FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM A NDROS CAT ISLAND ELEUTHERA MAYAGUANA S AN SALVADOR GREAT INAGUA G REAT EXUMA CROOKED ISLAND / ACKLINS LONG ISLAND ABACO Shown is today's weather. Temperatures are today's h ighs and tonights's lows. KEY WEST WEST PALM BEACH F T. LAUDERDALE TAMPA ORLANDOLow: 48F/9C Low: 49F/9C L ow: 59F/15C Low: 61F/16C Low: 63F/17C Low: 65F/18C Low: 68F/20C Low: 63F/17C High: 70F/21C High: 68F/20C High: 80F/27C High: 81F/27C High: 82F/28C High: 78F/26C High: 83F/28C Low: 66F/19C High: 77F/25C Low: 72F/22C High: 82F/28CRAGGED ISLANDLow: 68F/20C High: 84F/29C L ow: 70F/21C High: 84F/29C L ow: 69F/21C High: 81F/27C Low: 71F/22C H igh: 83F/28C Low: 72F/22C High: 87F/31C Low: 70F/21C High: 83F/28C Low: 69F/21C High: 84F/29C Low: 71F/22C H igh: 87F/31C Low: 71F/22C High: 83F/28C H igh: 77F/25CFREEPORT NASSAU MIAMI THE WEATHER REPORT 5-DA YFO RECASTSpotty showers in the afternoon Partly cloudy with a shower Partly sunny, a shower; breezy Mostly sunny, breezy and pleasant P artly sunny, breezy a nd pleasant High:8 Low:6 High:78High:77High:81 A ccuWeather RealFeel AccuWeather RealFeel AccuWeather RealFeel AccuWeather RealFeel AccuWeather RealFeelP artly sunny H igh:82L ow:63L ow:67L ow:71 A ccuWeather RealFeel 83F T he exclusive AccuWeather RealFeel Temperaturei s an index that combines the effects of temperature, wind, humidity, sunshine intensity, cloudiness, precipitation, pressure, a nd elevation on the human bodyeverything that effects how warm or cold a person feels. Temperatures reflect the high and the low for the day. 67F 80-61F 77-65F 79-70F 89-75F L ow:71TODAYTONIGHTSATURDAYSUNDAYMONDAYTUESDAY ALMANACHigh ..................................................84F/29C L ow ....................................................68F/20C Normal high ......................................77F/25C Normal low ........................................65F/18C Last year's high ..................................82F/28CL ast year's low ..................................70F/21C As of 1 p.m. yesterday ..................................0.00" Year to date ..................................................0.46"N ormal year to date ......................................1.14" Statistics are for Nassau through 1 p.m. yesterday Temperature Precipitation SU NANDMO ON TI DESFORNA SSAU Last NewFirst F ull J an. 26Feb. 2Feb. 11Feb. 18S unrise . . . 6:56 a.m. Sunset . . . 5:46 p.m. M oonrise . . 8:00 p.m. Moonset . . 8:05 a.m. Today Saturday Sunday Monday HighHt.(ft.LowHt.(ft. 8:34 a.m.3.22:18 a.m.-0.9 8:59 p.m.2.82:59 p.m.-0.9 9:21 a.m.3.23:09 a.m.-0.9 9:50 p.m.2.93:45 p.m.-0.9 10:10 a.m.3.04:03 a.m.-0.7 10:44 p.m.2.94:33 p.m.-0.9 11:01 a.m.2.84:59 a.m.-0.6 11:40 p.m.2.85:23 p.m.-0.9 Tuesday W ednesday T hursday 11:55 a.m.2.55:58 a.m.-0.3 -----6:16 p.m.-0.7 12:40 a.m.2.87:02 a.m.0.0 12:54 p.m.2.47:14 p.m.-0.6 1 :44 a.m.2.78:11 a.m.0.1 1:59 p.m.2.28:16 p.m.-0.4 MARINEFORECAST WINDSWAVESVISIBILITYWATER TEMPS. ABACO ANDROS CAT ISLAND CROOKED ISLAND ELEUTHERA FREEPORT GREAT EXUMA GREAT INAGUA LONG ISLAND MAYAGUANA NASSAU SAN SALVADOR RAGGED ISLAND Today:SW at 10-20 Knots3-6 Feet6 Miles73F Saturday:W at 12-25 Knots4-7 Feet10 Miles73F Today:SW at 8-16 Knots1-3 Feet10 Miles75F Saturday:W at 8-16 Knots1-3 Feet10 Miles75F Today:S at 7-14 Knots2-4 Feet10 Miles75F Saturday:SW at 8-16 Knots2-4 Feet7 Miles76F Today:SSE at 6-12 Knots2-4 Feet10 Miles78F Saturday:WSW at 4-8 Knots1-3 Feet7 Miles78F Today:SSW at 8-16 Knots3-5 Feet10 Miles74F Saturday:WSW at 10-20 Knots2-4 Feet10 Miles74F Today:WSW at 8-16 Knots2-4 Feet7 Miles75F Saturday:WNW at 10-20 Knots2-4 Feet7 Miles75F Today:SW at 8-16 Knots1-2 Feet10 Miles74F Saturday:SW at 8-16 Knots1-2 Feet7 Miles74F Today:SSE at 6-12 Knots1-3 Feet10 Miles78F Saturday:SW at 3-6 Knots1-2 Feet10 Miles78F Today:S at 6-12 Knots1-2 Feet10 Miles76F Saturday:SW at 6-12 Knots1-2 Feet6 Miles76F Today:SSE at 8-16 Knots4-7 Feet10 Miles77F Saturday:SW at 6-12 Knots3-6 Feet10 Miles77F Today:SSW at 8-16 Knots1-3 Feet10 Miles74F Saturday:WSW at 10-20 Knots1-3 Feet10 Miles74F Today:SE at 4-8 Knots1-3 Feet10 Miles77F Saturday:WSW at 4-8 Knots1-2 Feet10 Miles77F Today:SW at 8-16 Knots1-3 Feet10 Miles75F Saturday:WSW at 8-16 Knots1-3 Feet7 Miles75F UV INDEXTODAYThe higher the AccuWeather UV IndexTMnumber, the greater the need for eye and skin protection.Forecasts and graphics provided by A ccuWeather, Inc. AccuWeather.com H A tlanta A t l a n t a Highs: 46F/8C H i g h s : 4 6 F / 8 C Kingston K i n g s t o n Highs: 85F/29C H i g h s : 8 5 F / 2 9 C Caracas C a r a c a s Highs: 89F/32C H i g h s : 8 9 F / 3 2 C Panama City P a n a m a C i t y Highs: 91F/33C H i g h s : 9 1 F / 3 3 C Limon L i m o n Highs: 83F/28C H i g h s : 8 3 F / 2 8 C Managua Ma n a g u a Highs: 92F/33C H i g h s : 9 2 F / 3 3 C Cozumel C o z u m e l Highs: 85F/29C H i g h s : 8 5 F / 2 9 C Belize B e l i z e Highs: 86F/30C H i g h s : 8 6 F / 3 0 C C harlotte C h a r l o t t e H ighs: 44F/7C H i g h s : 4 4 F / 7 C Charleston C h a r l e s t o n Highs: 54F/12C H i g h s : 5 4 F / 1 2 C Savannah S a v a n n a h Highs: 57F/14C H i g h s : 5 7 F / 1 4 C Pensacola P e n s a c o l a Highs: 54F/12C H i g h s : 5 4 F / 1 2 C Daytona Beach D a y t o n a B e a c h Highs: 64F/18C H i g h s : 6 4 F / 1 8 C Tampa T a m p a Highs: 68F/20C H i g h s : 6 8 F / 2 0 C Freeport F r e e p o r t Highs: 77F/25C H i g h s : 7 7 F / 2 5 C Miami M i a m i Highs: 82F/28C H i g h s : 8 2 F / 2 8 C Nassau N a s s a u Highs: 83F/28C H i g h s : 8 3 F / 2 8 C Havana H a v a n a Highs: 80F/27C H i g h s : 8 0 F / 2 7 C Santiago de Cuba S a n t i a g o d e C u b a Highs: 82F/28C H i g h s : 8 2 F / 2 8 C San Juan S a n J u a n Highs: 83F/28C H i g h s : 8 3 F / 2 8 C Santa S a n t a Domingo D o m i n g o Highs: 87F/31C H i g h s : 8 7 F / 3 1 C Trinidad T r i n i d a d Tobago T o b a g o Highs: 89F/32C H i g h s : 8 9 F / 3 2 C Port-au-Prince P o r t a u P r i n c e Highs: 90F/32C H i g h s : 9 0 F / 3 2 C C ape Hatteras C a p e H a t t e r a s Highs: 48F/9C H i g h s : 4 8 F / 9 C Aruba Curacao A r u b a C u r a c a o Highs: 86F/30C H i g h s : 8 6 F / 3 0 C Antigua A n t i g u a Highs: 84F/29C H i g h s : 8 4 F / 2 9 C Barbados B a r b a d o s Highs: 85F/29C H i g h s : 8 5 F / 2 9 C B ermuda B e r m u d a Highs: 70F/21C H i g h s : 7 0 F / 2 1 C A tlanta Highs: 46F/8C Kingston Highs: 85F/29C Caracas Highs: 89F/32C Panama City Highs: 91F/33C Limon Highs: 83F/28C Managua Highs: 92F/33C Cozumel Highs: 85F/29C Belize Highs: 86F/30C C harlotte Highs: 44F/7C C harleston Highs: 54F/12C Savannah Highs: 57F/14C Pensacola Highs: 54F/12C Daytona Beach Highs: 64F/18C Tampa Highs: 68F/20C Freeport Highs: 77F/25C Miami Highs: 82F/28C Nassau Highs: 83F/28C Havana Highs: 80F/27C Santiago de Cuba Highs: 82F/28C San Juan Highs: 83F/28C Santa Domingo Highs: 87F/31C Trinidad Tobago Highs: 89F/32C Port-au-Prince Highs: 90F/32C Cape Hatteras Highs: 48F/9C Aruba Curacao Highs: 86F/30C Antigua Highs: 84F/29C Barbados Highs: 85F/29C B ermuda Highs: 70F/21C INSURANCEMANAGEMENTTRACKINGMAP Showers Warm Cold Stationary Rain T-storms Flurries Snow IceShown is today's weather. Temperatures are today's highs and t onight's lows. N S EW S E 8-16 knots N S EW S E 10-20 knots N S EW S E 8-16 knots N S EW S E 8-16 knots N S EW S E 8-16 knots N S EW S E 6-12 knots N S EW S E 4-8 knots N S EW S E 8-16 knots WASHINGTON China's explosive growth has strengthened President Hu Jintao's bargaining hand since he last visited Washington five years ago. China's economy has become the world's secondlargest, its auto market is now the biggest and its ranks of Internet users exceed the entire U.S. population. Over the same time, the U.S. has shed 5 million jobs, suffered a grave financial crisis and seen its unemployment rate double. No wonder an emboldened Hu shows little inclination to bow to the U.S. on issues from China's currency to its support of North Korea. ___ SHANGHAI China's economy accelerated in the last quarter of 2010 to expand a blockbuster 10.3 percent for the year. But its leaders are struggling to keep growth on an even keel while cooling surging prices. The inflation rate was 4.6 percent in December compared with a 28-month high of 5.1 percent the month before. The news rattled investors who fear further moves to dampen credit. Markets across Asia fell, with Shanghai's benchmark Composite Index sliding 2.9 percent. J apan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed down 1.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 1.7 percent. S outh Korea's Kospi lost 0.4 percent a day after finishing at a new record high. ___ LONDON Fears that China will tighten its mone tary policy also hit stocks hard. The FTSE 100 index of leading British share closed down 1.8 percent, Germany's DAX fell 0.8 percent and the CAC-40 in France ended down 0.3 percent. ___ BERLIN Europe's bailout fund has enough money to cover potential rescues of both Portugal and much larger Spain, while Greece doesn't need a debt restructuring as some investors fear, the head of the fund insisted. European officials are contemplating whether and how to overhaul the 750 billion euro ($1 trillion currently is able to lend out less than the full headline amount because of the need to secure a top credit rating. ___ LONDON Consumer confidence in the 17 countries that use the euro fell for the second month running in January. Households remain reluctant to spend amid price increases, high unemployment and austerity measures. ___ MADRID Spanish authorities will examine theh ealth of the troubled saving banks in a report due by the end of the month before deciding how much capital to inject in the banks, the finance ministry said. ___ ATHENS, Greece Greek doctors and dentists are holding a 24-hour walkout against proposed health sector reforms. Pharmacists, lawyers and state rail workers remain on strike for a second day. ___ NEW DELHI They're wealthy, well-traveled, cosmopolitan and thirsty. India's growing upper class wants high-end liquors and fine wines that define "the good life" they've seen on European vacations and in Hollywood films. ___ BANGKOK The value of proposed foreign investment in Thailand dropped by almost one-third last year because of concerns about political instability. N EW YORK Oil prices sank Thursday on fresh concerns that demand c ould weaken if China takes more steps to control its economic growth. Benchmark oil for March delivery lost $2.22 to settle at$ 89.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. New data showed China's economy grew 9.8 percent in t he fourth quarter despite several steps that the government has taken to try to slow growth and curb surging prices. The news sent most commodities lower as traders speculated that China's government may try further measures to control inflation. Chin a has had a robust appetite for commodities such as oil, copper and soybeans as its economy has boomed this year while the U.S. and Europe have seen slower growth. "The market realizes that they're at kind of a crossroads here and that they bett er take steps to slow inflation.because if they don't, they're going to have real p roblems," PFGBest analyst P hil Flynn said of China. The extent of any new m oves by the government will be a "critical factor" for the o il market this year, Cameron Hanover said in a report. An i nterest rate hike or increase in reserve requirements is thet ype of move that has been the overarching fear holding a number of asset pricesb ack," the energy consultants said. Oil prices were also p ushed down by the Energy Department's weekly report t hat showed growing U.S. stockpiles of oil, gasoline andd istillates, which include heating oil and diesel fuel. G LOBAL E CONOMIC N EWS A SSOCIATED P RESS A look at economic developments and activity in major stock m arkets around the world Thursday: (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster TOP TALKS: Chinas President Hu Jintao shakes hands with the Senate Foreign Relations committee ranking Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., as committee chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., center, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. look on, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Oil falls on supplies and concerns about China