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 V olume: 107 No.55FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 W EATHER PARTLY SUNNY HIGH 75F LOW 62F Seasoned politician has alr eady made his contribution M cCOMBO O F THE DAY N E W The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST L ATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Veteran FNM to step down B y TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com A LONG-SERVING Free National Movement Member of Parliament has told party insiders he will not offer himself for re-election next year, The Tribune has learned. W hile tight-lipped on the identity of the person, they say the seasoned politician feels it is time to step aside. Frank Watson, former deputy Prime Minister in the previous Ingraham adminis tration, told The Tribune that one veteran politician had revealed his intent not to pursue re-election, noting the person feels he has already "made their contribution" to frontline politics. Yesterday, FNM Chairman Carl Bethel said it is inevitable some long-serving p arty members will make way for new blood in 2012. "Not everybody who ran t he last time will want to run this time, and not necessarily everybody who is in Parliament will want to contesta gain," said Mr Bethel. It has been rumoured that North Eluethera MP Alvin Smith was set to retire, however yesterday he refuted this suggestion saying he "expects" to contest his seat in 2012. Although the FNM has not officially selected candidates for the next general election, Mr Bethel said the absence of early contenders does not mean the party is not strategising for the return to the polls. INSIDETODAY: YOURFREE SPORTSWEEKLY SUPPLEMENT ANNANICOLE: THEMUSICAL FULLAMAZINGDETAILS ONPAGETHREE SEE page nine NEWLY-appointed Coron er Linda Virgill avoided a court appearance yesterday by settling a lawsuit out of court, her attorney said. Mrs Virgill was reportedly being sued by local attorney Cecil Hilton for a $2,000 l oan she received from him t wo years ago. She was e xpected to appear in a Magistrates Court yester-d ay. H owever, she did not appear in court. Her attor ney, Davard Francis, who appeared on her behalf, told NEW CORONER SETTLES LAWSUIT OUT OF COURT By PAUL G TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org THE Director of Public Prosecutions Vinette Graham-Allen was called to the Bahamas Bar late last night, drawing to an end a protracted process that has taken nearly five months to complete. On the steps of the Chief Justices office last night, Attorney General Senator John Delaney said he was very pleased to inform the public that Mrs GrahamAllens application had final ly been approved by the DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS IS CALLED TO THE B AHAMAS BAR SEE page nine SEE page nine ATTORNEY General Senator John Delaney yesterday supported the appoint ment of Jamaican judge Roy Jones to serve on the Bahamas Supreme Court Bench. Although Mr Jones a ppointment was already confirmed by Chief Justice Sir M ichael Barnett earlier this year, some concern over his appointment has been expressed in a section of the press. Answering this criticism, A G SUPPORTS APPOINTMENT OF JAMAICAN JUDGE TO THE BAHAMAS SUPREME C OURT SEE page nine SHORE LITTEREDWITHITEMSFROMMAROONEDSHIP WASHED ASHORE: A ship marooned off Blackbeards Cay has strewn the coast of the island with clothes, shoes and supplies. Port officials are baffled over the ships origins. SEEPAGETWO F e l i p M a j o r / T r i b u n e s t a f f
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011 THE TRIBUNE By CELESTE NIXON T ribune Staff Reporter email@example.com PORT officials are baffled over the origins of a shipm arooned just off Blackbeards Cay which has left the islands coast strewn with clothes, shoes and other supp lies. As environmental concerns mount amid claims the vessel is leaking oil, Port Controller Commander Patrick McNeil, who was on leave when the boat ran aground, said an investigation is underway to find the ships owners and form a plan t o dislodge it from the reef. Meanwhile, when questioned about the large vessel stranded just off their workplace, Blackbeards Cay employees claim they are unaware it even exists despite the shore being littered with goods from the ship. W itnesses say the Capt Victor has been stranded for more than a month, crashing just before to Christmas. It has been rumored that the b oat may have been on route to Haiti carrying relief supplies when it was marooned, and angry callers claimed to have witnessed small Bahamian boats looting the goods. However, Commander McNeil emphasised that it is too early to say anything for c ertain. The boat will not be there any longer than it needs to be; we do not want it destroying the reef, he added. Environmental concerns over marooned ship STRANDED: Witnesses say the Capt Victor crashed just before Christmas. The shore has become littered with items from the ship. Felip Major /Tribune staff
THE escapades of American model and reality TV s tar Anna Nicole Smith are t he subject of a new opera s et to open next month at the Royal Opera House in London. The opera will focus on Anna Nicoles "flamboyant a nd fatally flawed life," a ccording to the producers. They are keeping tightlipped about the details oft he production refusing to be drawn on how prominently the Bahamas will feature and whether locals who w ere close to her, such as former Immigration Minister Shane Gibson, will a ppear as characters. Outrageous I n a press release announcing the opera, the producers said: Its colourf ul and dark. Its nefarious and hilarious. Its outrageous and courageous. Its also a bit blue. But its true. Its the opera Anna Nicole and its one of the hottest tickets on the 2011 arts calendar. T hey said the opera was c reated by two of the brightest talents in modern o pera, acclaimed compose r Mark-Anthony Turnage and controversial librettist R ichard Thomas, the cowriter of Jerry Springer: The Opera. A nna Nicole Smith died aged 39 from a drugs overd ose in 2007. She gained notoriety when she married an 89-year-old Texan oil bill ionaire she met while lapdancing, taking her fight to secure his fortune all the way t o the US Supreme following his death. T he producers said: Smiths notorious rise and undignified descent was d evoured by the global m edia and serves as an u ncomfortable morality tale for the modern day obsession with fame and all its t rappings. Audiences at the Royal Opera House will be taken o n a rambunctious romp through Smiths ultimately t ragic tale in one of the most s tartling new operas ever to grace the main stage at C ovent Garden. D utch soprano Eva-Maria W estbroek plays Anna Nicole and leading director Richard Jones stages thep roduction with music director of the Royal Opera, Antonio Pappano conducting. Elaine Padmore, director of opera, said: When MarkAnthony and Richard pre sented the idea of an opera a bout Anna Nicole Smith t he sparks started to fly because we could all see thath er life was not only a sen s ational story, it also reads like a modern day parable about the culture of celebrity. There have been many such tragic heroines in classical opera, so why shouldnt t here be one that is a cont emporary real person like A nna Nicole? Richard Thomas is no stranger to theatrical controversy and is certain that Anna Nicole will cause a stir. H e said: I wont be surprised if Anna Nicole divides people, but that is part of the excite-m ent of creating something new. Certainly, I dont think the main stage of the Opera H ouse has seen something quite like this before. Anna Nicoles life was a bout her raping the Americ an dream. She wanted more o f everything more success, more money, more expo-s ure. She did everything r ight to make the dream come true, but look at the consequences. Nightmare It became a nightmare and, in a wider context, her story reflects so much about t he values people hold in A merica today. Some critics might be a bit sniffy and say, Why one arth does a tabloid creation l ike Anna Nicole Smith deserve an opera? If we called it Countess de AnnaN icole and set it in the 19th c entury, then it wouldnt even be questioned, but it is clear that Anna Nicoles lifei s incredibly operatic. She was a woman trapped in cir cumstances of her own making and it has all the ele m ents of a great story: mon ey, sex, legal feuds, fame, tragedy. By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter c firstname.lastname@example.org THE WORKERS Party hopes to persuade Bahamas Democratic Movementl eader Cassius Stuart to join in a third way coalition that aims to challenge thel eading political parties in the next general election. Rodney Moncur, leader of the Workers Party, told T he Tribune y esterday that h is organisation and the National Development Party (NDPa series of talks with Mr Stu art in hopes of bringing the BDM into their national alliance. Cassius Stuart is an outs tanding person and has a true love of the Bahamas I believe that Cassius and Renward Wells would make excellent prime ministers, said Mr Moncur. The Workers Party and t he NDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding in early November of last year, forming a national alliance between the two parties. According to Mr Moncur, f ollowing the Elizabeth bye lection last year, there was a call by the Bahamian peo ple for the smaller parties to join together to form a real challenge to the two domi nant parties. I am convinced that t housands of Bahamians w ant to get rid of the FNM government but are waiting for the smaller parties to come together, said Mr Moncur. The national alliance has already been deployed in ane ffort to tackle the important issue of crime, but also needs to prepare for the fast-approaching general elections, said Mr Moncur. The Workers Party is pushing the NDP to consol-i date and execute the M OU, he said. Mr Moncur added that he has been in discussions with Ali McIntosh from the Bahamas Constitution Party with a view to bringing that party into the coalition asw ell. H e said: Each political party would be a part of the umbrella group that will take us into the next elections. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011, PAGE 3 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By TANEKA THOMPSON T ribune Staff Reporter t thompson@ tribunemedia.net THE government is laying the foundation for concrete improvements in the justice system that will be s een by the next general election, said Free National Movement Chairman Carl Bethel. He noted the ongoing repairs and restoration to t he Hansard and Ansbache r buildings, the procurem ent of an additional S upreme Court judge and t he near completion of the M agistrates Court complex on South Street as evidence the government is serious about addressing the breakdown of justice that allows those accused of serious offenses not to undergo tria l within a reasonable time frame. "All of these things are b eing put in place and will b e visibly there by the time o f the election and we hope will give a level of comfortt o the Bahamian people t hat the structural causes of the apparent breakdown in the system of justice have been addressed and we are now back on the right track and the wheels of justice will be turning smoothly," h e said during an interview w ith T he Tribune. When asked if worries over rising crime would h urt the FNM in the next election, Mr Bethel said: "Crime is always a very important social and eco n omic issue and will factor i n the elections. Most Bahamians are entirely frustrated with the situations o far as it relates to violent crime. The government is able to point to the advancements being madet o improve the administration of justice, the completion of the Magistrate's Court complex on Nassau Street that we started in 2001 and the PLP couldn't complete in five years. It'sn ow moving towards its fini sh under the FNM. We think that will assist in the administration of justice". A s for the backlog of criminal cases before the courts, the former attorney general surmised that it could take as little as two years to bring them to a close, once the court repairs are finished. "We think it will be a question of years, not decades, perhaps as short as a year, a year and a half, two years. I doubt, having regard of the pace of repairs, that's going to be something that we can saywe made measurable progress on by the election, but the point is we are laying the foundation for it," said Mr Bethel. The Ansbacher building in Bank Lane was pur chased for $8.5 million in July 2010 and renovations are estimated to cost $2.5 million. The building will be refitted to include two criminal trial rooms on the ground floor and four civil trial rooms on the higher floors. The building will continue to house many of the registries of the Supreme Court and include robing rooms for attorneys, judges chambers and selfsufficient jury rooms. The Magistrates Court complex on South Street is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2011 with esti mated renovations costing upwards of $6 million. The building will be a state-of-art facility housing all 12 magistrates courts for the island of New Provi dence. The complex will include holding cells, an internal police station, a treasury and registry, and CCTV monitoring. Workers Party seeks coalition with the Bahamas Democratic Movement Anna Nicoles flamboyant life to feature in new opera GOVT LAYING FOUNDATION FOR JUSTICE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS S h a n e a n d A n n a N i c o d r a m a t i c n e w p h o t o s T I O N E V E N T C O U L D B E M O S TP r eI N A T A I W A N A N D T H E C A R I B B E A N U N E W R I T E R R A T I O N m i n i s t e r o n a l w a y s s a i d h e h a d n d s h i p w i t h c o v e r g i r l S m i t h w h o d r o p p e d o t e l r o o m l a s t w e e k n e w p h o t o g r a p h s e T r i b u n e l a s t n i g h t w c l o s e t h e i r r e l a e r a n d t h e r e a l i t y s e e n h e r e i n c l o s e n n a N i c o l e s h o m e o n E a s t e r n R o a d N a s s a u T h e p i c t u r e s w e r e t a k e n i n h e r b e d r o o m w h i c h w a s d e c k e d i n f l o w e r s a n d r i b b o n s f o r a b i g e v e n t T h e o c c a s i o n w a s h e r 3 9 t h b i r t h d a y l a s t N o v e m b e r 2 8 j u s t o v e r t w o m o n t h s a f t e r t h e t r a g i c d e a t h o f h e r 2 0 y e a r o l d s o n D a n i e l M r G i b s o n d r e s s e d i n b a s e b a l l c a p j e a n s a n d s n e a k e r s i s s h o w n g i v i n g a h u g t o t h e w o m a n w h o w o u l d e v e n t u a l l y p u t h i s p o l i t i c a l i s t e r p i c t u r e d i n c l o s e b r a c e w i t h t h e l a t e s t a r S E E p a g e s t w o a n d t h r e e N L O W E a f f R e p o r t e r y o u n g m e n s o f g u n v i o w e e k e n g f m a n d i e s h o o t i n g n B y A L I S O N L O W E T r i b u n e S t a f f R e p o r t e r O P P O S I T I O N l e a d e r M H u b e r t I n g r a h a m s h o u l n t h A t t o r n e y s h i t o u t a t I n g r a h a m p e n s i o n p a y m e n t s n B y K A R I N T r i b u n e S t D E S P I T E E d u c a t i o n M S e a r s f o r G r t e a c h e r s t o r e t u r r o o m s t o d a y T e a c h e r s U n i o t e r d a y c o u l d n o t t h e r e w o u l d b e f w i t h t h a t p l e a P r e s i d e n t o f P o i t i e r T u r n q u e s b u n e y e s t e r d a y t n o t s a y h o w m a n G r a n d B a h a m a w m i n i s t e r s r e q u e i s s u e s s t i l l h a d t o b L a s t T h u r s d a y N o g u f r o m a l l t e a c r e t u r n t T E R o f I m m i g r a t i o n S h a n e G i b s o n i s p i c t u r e d w i t h N i c o l e S m i t h a t h e r h o m e o n E a s t e r n R o a d N a s s a u E p a g e MODELANDREALITYTVSTAR: Anna Nicole Smith made the news during her stay in the Bahamas.
E DITOR, The Tribune. Downtown Art as a part of the so-called Love My Bahamas Downtown Art Experience clearly indicates certain people in-charge have zero appreciation of the beauty of Downtown Olde Nassau. The photographs published today by Tim Clarke on the back page, Saturday, January 21, showing the mural on the f acia of the old Methodist church next to Number One, Bay Street and actually the murals on the Ministry of Tourism Building, Church Street in the immediate precincts of the historic Christ C hurch Anglican Cathedral makes me again wonder do those in charge have a true appreciation of the natural beauty and respect for the natural beauty of Bay Street? There is absolutely no possible way, I hope, that this e xhibition of these murals were approved by the Special Architectural Committee for The City of Nassau, Town Panning if they were, Prime Minister, please ask for their immediate resignations and appoint some people with architectural sense of what is appropriate. If this scale of ugliness is approved and would seem to be the accepted theme then lets stop now even thinking about refurbishing, renovating Bay Street because we cannot afford this waste of scarce funds. The once enforced strict R egulations seem to have been thrown down the drain or no one caring any more. Look at all the advertisements billboards, shop shingles all down Bay and on the Streets within the City? Surely it is time that the Ministry of Tourism would remove the sheets of plywood which hide the ground floor of their building on Church Street I believe it was under Minister Wilchcombe the b uilding was acquired and it has been in that state for over four years right next to one of our true treasures, Christ Church Cathedral, but it seems we dont care. Surely the Ministry should be giving t he example not the opposite shame on you, Mr Minister. W THOMPSON Nassau, January 21, 2011. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PAGE 4, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 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 T ELEPHONES Switchboard (News, Circulation and Advertising A dvertising Manager (242 C irculation Department (242 Nassau Fax: (242 F reeport, Grand Bahama: 1-(242 F reeport fax: (242 W EBSITE www.tribune242.com updated daily at 2pm WASHINGTON Modern humans may have left Africa thousands of years earlier than previously thought, turning right and heading across the Red Sea into Arabia rather than following the Nile to a northern exit, an international team of researchers says. S tone tools discovered in the United Arab Emirates indicate the presence of modern humans between 100,000 and 125,000 years ago, the researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science. While science has generally accepted an African origin for humans, anthropolo gists have long sought to understand the route taken as these populations spread into Asia, the Far East and Europe. Previously, most evidence has suggest ed humans spread along the Nile River valley and into the Middle East about 60,000 years ago. There are not many exits from Africa. You can either exit" through Sinai north of the Red Sea or across the straits at the south end of the Red Sea, explained HansPeter Uerpmann of the Centre for Scien tific Archaeology of Eberhard-Karls Uni versity in Tuebingen, Germany. "Our findings open a second way which, in my opinion, is more plausible for a massive movement than the northern route," he said in a telephone briefing. Because of the different climate at the time, Arabia was moister and would have been a grassland with plenty of animals for prey, he added. A nd the lower sea levels at that time meant that the narrow point at the southern end of the Red Sea would have separated Africa and Arabia by between onehalf and 2 1/2 miles, said Adrian G. Park er of Oxford Brookes University in England. That should not have been a difficult crossing for people used to dealing with east African lakes and rivers where they used rafts or boats, Uerpmann said. The techniques used to make the hand axes, scrapers and other tools found at Jebel Faya in Sharjah Emirate suggest they were produced by people coming from somewhere else, said Anthony E. Marks of Southern Methodist University, adding that there are similar tools made about that time in East Africa. "If these tools were not made by modern man, who might have made them?" Marks asked. "Could Neanderthals have made them?" Neanderthals were mainly in Europe a nd migrated into Russia but "there is no evidence for any Neanderthals south of that" zone at that time, he said. To suggest one group of Neanderthals took a turn south and went several thousand kilometers ... seems to me a very dif ficult explanation and one that doesn't follow any reasonable logic." The tools were dated using optically s timulated luminescence, which is able to date the sand grains on top of the tools and determine when they were last exposed to light, explained Simon J. Armitage of the University of London. The discovery "points convincingly to an early dispersal of (anatomically modern humans) along a southern route, from eastern Africa into South Arabia," said G. Philip Rightmire of Harvard University, who was not part of the research team. Rightmire said "it is reasonable to hypothesize that Arabia represents a separate centre for population expansion, in addition to the northern Levantine corridor. This hypothesis remains to be tested, as new evidence is compiled." The research was supported by the gov ernment of Sharjah, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Humboldt Foundation, Oxford Brookes University and the German Science Foundation. (This article was written by Randolph E. Schmid, AP Science Writer). A failure to appreciate natural beauty of Bay Street LETTERS email@example.com New findings on the origin of humans EDITOR, The Tribune. Did Minister of State, MP for Pinewood really mean what he said in his contribution on the Amendments to the Business License Act? Minister: When are we trying to restrict a constitutional right for anyone to enter business? Minister: It is not having a chance as if government has some divine right to stop anyone entering any legitimate legal business although right now around The Bahamas it would seem there are more non-legitimate businesses who are the only ones doing business! Minister: Who gave any government the right to refuse a citizen of The Bahamas a Business Licence? Minister: I only wish many years ago some attorney would have challenged the PLP business policy which is continued til today where one you impose the ridiculous 60-40 ownership and illegally exclude foreign parties to a long list of exclusive business areas reserved for Bahamians surely that breaches the Constitution? I laugh at the Real Estate people they insisted on restricting only Bahamians and then every single Real Estate outfit is associated with a foreign entity! They got to be stupid. Some with four-five International Real Estate Agencies. I am sure the constituents of Pinewood if they heard the MPs comment had to be shocked. No Minister, it is not by a chance I can get a Business Licence it is surely guaranteed if I complete the requirements the licence is mine. J A KNOWLES Nassau, January 21, 2011. Constituents of Pinewood had to be shocked by comments EDITOR, The Tribune. On the last weekend of February, a large group of visitors will gather in Nassau for a Damianos family reunion. They will visit the Western Cemetery graves of the Damianos brothers, who settled here around 1897. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a large section of the historic cemetery was recently tidied. However, the area sur rounding my grandfather, Aristides grave, is in a terri ble condition. There is a large pile of rubble next to the main dri veway and walkway leading to the southern boundary. Debris and rubbish are scattered throughout the southern section, where Aristides grave is located, and there are open graves. In light of the meticulous condition in which cemeter ies in the United States and other developed countries are kept, I wonder what the visitors travelling here from the U.S. will think. Each one is a potential repeat visitor who will return home and tell family and friends about their experience in Nassau. While writing, Id like to publicly thank Ms. Pamela Mullings and Mr. Larry Thompson at the Ministry of Works for helping me locate a number of old graves. Both were very kind and helpful, and are a credit to the Ministry. ATHENA DAMIANOS Nassau, January 26, 2011. Area surrounding grave is in a terrible condition Share your news The T ribune wants to hear fr om people who are making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for impr ovements in the ar ea or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and shar e your stor y
THE Bahamas yesterday signed an agreement with Japan for the exchange of information for the purpose of the prevention of tax evasion. The signing was described as epoch-making by Japanese diplomats. The agreement marks the 23rd Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA the Bahamas and the second with a major Asian economy. (The to both our governments resolve to engage our international partners in the fight against fiscal irresponsibility and illicit tax flows which still undermine the integrity of the global financial system, said non-resident Ambassador of Japan to the Bahamas Hiroshi Yamaguchi at the signing yesterday. With this latest agreement, the Bahamas now has TIEAs with 17 Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD nine members of the G-20 the group of 20 international f inance ministers and central bank governors. The Bahamas now far exceeds the internationally agreed requirement of 12TIEAs a condition for any country to be removed from the OECD grey list of countriesnot yet compliant with the o rganisations tax cooperation rules. The agreement also provides for the allocation of rights of taxation with respect to incomeof individuals. Speaking at the signing at the Goodmans Bay Corporate Centre, Deputy Prime Minister a nd Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette said the TIEA with Japan not only provides for cooperation in tax matters to the internationally accepted standards, but also for the allocation to each party certain exclusive taxing rights in respect of income from sources in the other contracting party which is received by designated groupso f students, pensioners and government employees. Ambassador Yamaguchi said the signing represented the culmination of years of ongoing negotiations and preparations based on an initiative proposed by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. A mbassador Yamaguchi said the agreement was indeed epoch-making, because this is the first agreement which requires ratification procedures at Japans national diet. For my country, it has taken the efforts of 11 past non-resident ambassadors to reach this stage and I am therefore so very honoured and privileged to sign this historic agreement on behalf of my country, he said. Ambassador Yamaguchi said Japan remains deeply committed to the various initiativesb eing carried out by the G8, G20 and the OECD in a series of efforts to democratically promote the exchange of information on economic matters including financial and tax mat ters. I am extremely pleased that the Bahamas has made signifi-c ant strides in becoming fully compliant with international tax standards, he said. Ambassador Yamaguchi added that this signing also marks almost 36 years of Japans diplomatic relations with the Bahamas. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011, PAGE 5 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM A CONCERNED citizen handed a bullet proof vest and a hand gun containing ammunition over to police on Wednesday. It is reported that the items were found in bushes on Wellington Street off Baillou Hill Road. P olice said they are grateful for the assistance and encourage all Bahamians to play their part in making the Bahamas a safer place to live, work, visit and play. A 22-YEAR-OLDman was attacked by two armed men and stabbed in his arm and thigh during the assault. The victim was walking to his car on Miami Streeta nd Balfour Avenue when he was approached by two men one armed with a knife, the other with a gun. The two culprits demanded cash. T he victim told the a rmed men that he had no m oney and was subsequently stabbed twice. He was taken to hospital via private vehicle. Police are investigating. MAN STABBED IN ARMED ROBBERY BULLET PROOF VEST AND HANDGUN FOUND Bahamas signs prevention of tax evasion agreement with Japan SIGNING: Japans Ambassador to the Bahamas Hiroshi Yamaguchi speaks to the press yesterday at the signing of the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, looks on. Felip Major /Tribune staff JAPANS AMBASSADOR to the Bahamas Hiroshi Yamaguchi holds the signed agreement with Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette.
A Bahamian delegation of four students from the DeepC reek Middle School in Eleuthera (DCMSe l to California to attend the Plastics Are Forever International Youth Summit in March. The four students selected a re Jovanna Sands of Rock Sound, Moesha Leary ofW aterford, Treshae Clarke of Tarpum Bay and Anna McCartney of Tarpum Bay. The conference will be held in Los Angeles with representatives from 14 countries. A total of 74 teams from 18 countries vied for spots att he summit by submitting action-oriented solutions tor educe plastic waste in their home communities. The DCMS team was one of 24 schools selected to attend and will work withf ilmmakers and television stars to learn how to createf ilms on environmental issues in their community. It will be great to learn more about how plastics affect our environment andto see what we can do to make it better when we come back, said Treshae Clarke, a grade eight student. U pon their return from the conference, the DCMS stu-d ents said they will seek to reduce plastic waste by focusing on eliminating plastic Gatorade bottles from their school. T hey are planning to ask for reusable water bottles asp art of their school supplies for next year; fine students and teachers for bringing disposable plastic bottles to school, and offer Gatorade made from powdered mixes for sale in reusable glasses at l unch. T he awareness and educat ion component of their plan entails visiting other area schools to discuss with other students the impact of plasticw aste and the results of their c ampaign to reduce it. I am very excited about t heir efforts. Plastics waste has a huge impact on our local environment and our islands appear-a nce to tourists. We use too m uch plastic without thinki ng and it ends up polluting o ur roadsides and beaches, releasing toxic chemicals in dumps when burned, and destroying our marine eco-s ystem, said Joanna Paul, principal at DCMS. Im proud of the students f or taking steps to change purchasing and consumptionh abits that contribute to plastics waste here in Eleuthera. T he DCMS is an independent school for Bahamian students in grades sevent hrough nine. It is the only private midd le school in the Bahamas. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011, PAGE 7 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM THE Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI cal/mechanical apprenticeship programme. Recently a class of 13 all-male apprentices from BEC participated inan orientation session at BTVI where they learned safety comes first. The apprenticeship programme, a City and Guilds-approved programme, recruits and inducts young adults (ages 18-25) into the Corporation. The programme makes full use of the City and Guilds curriculum comprising both academic and practical components, BEC said. The theoretical part of the course is taught at BEC and apprentices go to BTVI for the practical. F or the next ten weeks every Friday Alexander Darville, BTVIs Dean of Construction and his team will teach the young men various aspects of electricity such as principles, applications and safety. The apprentices will also sit an assess ment exam at BTVI. We are very happy with our partnership with BEC, said Mr Darville. I must commend our managing consultant, Dr Iva Dahl, for this partnership. We will explore electrical engineering principles and, once successful, the apprentices will receive certification with the stamp of approval from City and Guilds, BEC and BTVI. During the orientation, Mr Darville showed videos on safety, helping the apprentices to understand the serious nature of electricity and how to avoid accidents. They were also told what BTVI expects from them in terms of appearance and attitude while on campus and informed of the institutes mission statement, To provide learning opportunities that enable individuals to be globally c ompetitive and economically indepen dent. BECs electrical trainer, Colin McFarlane, was on hand at the orientation and said he was very happy with the level of participation from the apprentices. I am very pleased with our appren tices and happy to see that they have arrived at the practical level, said Mr McFarlane. We teach the academic portion at BEC and then turn them over to BTVI for the practical. Its a great partnership. The apprentices are at BTVI every Friday for the next ten weeks and Monday to Thursday they will be at our Clifton Pier and Big Pond Plants where they will receive mechan ical training. In about a year, after completing this course, the apprentices will be eligible to sit a trades test and, if successful, they will be promoted to the rank of crafts man. CONFERENCEBOUND: Jovanna Sands and Moesha Leary show off their reusable water bottles Bahamian students to discuss plastic waste at California conference BEC partners with BTVI in Technical/ Mechanical Apprentice Programme ORIENTATION Thirteen apprentices from BECs apprenticeship programme at orientation f or classes at BTVI. At far left is Dean of Construction Alexander Darville. At far right is electrical trainer Colin McFarlane. Second from last at far right is Colin Johnson, lecturer at BTVI; to Mr. Johnsons right is Lester Thurston, also lecturer at BTVI.
L OCAL NEWS P AGE 8, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011 THE TRIBUNE Trio con Brio performs for a sold-out audience T HE special Trio con Brio concert pres ented by the Grand Bahama Performing Arts S ociety (GBPAS last weekend was deemed a success by organ-i sers. According to the organisers, over 180 peop le, including 45 students, enjoyed the conc ert with the sounds of Christy Lee (piano Christine Gangelhoff (flute sau, and Ken Law (cello Trio con Brio performed piano and cello duets, as well as trios with flute and violin featuring local musician to Afrika Karamo-Miller. Concert Dalia Feldman, president of the GBPAS s aid this about the concert: We were so thrilled with the audience turn-out on Saturd ay, and equally thrilled to see how much the audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves, young and old alike. Every piece was wonderful, one after the other. My personal favourite was the piano, flute and cello trio, and I'm sure it was an audience favourite too because I heard some bravos among the crowd after that particular number. The musi cians received a house-wide standing ovation in the end. B arbara Chester, a GBPAS member, shared t his about the event: Christy Lee is of course an exceptional pianist and Saturday night's playing was beautiful. And Kenneth Law, this charming, sensit ive gentleman caressed his cello with an e xquisite tenderness producing the most perfectly loving musical vibrations; his playing is truly 'an affair of the heart'. The entire concert was magical. So very special that I was not s urprised that on my way out the Church of the A scension to hear the remark, we could have been at Carnegie Hall. The next day (Sunday musicians gave a triple master class at the C hurch of the Ascension. Over 20 violin, cello, woodwind and piano students had the opportunity to perform and work with the three musical experts. Our master class gave students the opportunity to work with Drs Lee, Law and Gangelhoff, and fine tune their musical skills and performance. It's events like this that validate w hat we do and drive us to want to continue to bring these wonderful programs to our local a udiences and help local performing arts stu dents in any way that we can, said Ms Feld man. N ext on the GBPAS calendar is the third a nnual Comedy Club Show scheduled for March 12. THE TRIO CON BRIO concert at the Church of Ascension on January 22 presented by the Grand Bahama P erforming Arts Society. The GBPAS will next present.Photo courtesy of the G BPAS
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011, PAGE 9 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Magistrate Derrence Rolle-Davis she had agreed to settle the mat-t er out of court and asked the Magistrate not to allow the affidavit of service be served. Outside of court, Mr Francis said a settlement of $3,000 was r eached and paid yest erday in pennies. A t the opening of the l egal year, Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett announced that Magist rate Linda Virgill will b e assigned to the C oroner's Court to r eplace Magistrate W illiam Campbell. B ar Association President Ruth BoweDarville had accused Coroner Virgill of "unprofessional conduct", stating it is inappropriate for someone o n the bench to borrow m oney from a member of the Bar who may h ave to appear before them. Senator Delaney said that he had every confidence that the J udicial and Legal Services Commission of the Bahamas would have pursued all relevant lines of inquiry before making their decision. I can also say to you that I am aware that he has an impecc able reputation as a judge of the high court of Jamaica and as a Justice of Appeal acting, which he presently is in Jamaica, he said. Bahamas Bar Council. The significance of having Mrs Graham-Allen called to the Bar is that now there isn o impediment to her exercising the full range of her responsibilities as Director of Public Prosecutions. Senator Delaney further explained that Mrs Graham-A llen now has a right of a udience before the courts o f the Bahamas, which will allow her to personally handle some of the more complex cases that will comeb efore her office. So while she was Direct or of Public Prosecutions a nd executing her administ rative functions within the officer of the Attorney General, the one element thatw as not there was her appearing in court in the more complex cases thats omeone of her seniority or e xpertise might choose to a ppear in court to conduct directly. So one will expect for example that the more complicated cases, or maybe the appellate cases that would go to the Court of Appeal or the Privy Council that she may elect to be the leadc ouncil herself, he said. E arlier this week, the office of the Attorney General had threatened to have a court compel the Bar Council to make a decision one way or the other on MrsG raham-Allens application. T he Director of Legal Affairs, Deborah Fraser, it is reported, said the officeof the Attorney General intended to commence legal action by the close of business on Wednesday 26, 2011. Addressing this controv ersy yesterday, Senator Delaney said it appears the long delay in Mrs GrahamAllen approval was just a part of the Bar Council g oing through its own processes. From the prospective of the office of the Attorney G eneral, it is very important that we make a full frontal thrust on the prosecution of cases, and we were limited in our ability to do that if our chief prosecutor was unable to go into court her-s elf, he said. T his time last year, there were only two criminal trial courts functioning in New Providence. However, the Chief Justice, Sir Michael Barnett wasa ble to add another trial c ourt in February of last year. With a fourth slated to be opened sometime next month, Senator Delaney said now is the time for all hands to be on deck. And so, it became very urgent for the office of theA ttorney General to ensure that our lead prosecutor, our most senior prosecutor, our Director of Public Prosecut ion had the ability to appear for the more complex matters, and particularly for the appellate matters, he said. Last night Fred Mitchell, the Oppositions spokesman on the Public Service, saidi t was sad and disgracef ul that one day after a threat by the Office of the Attorney General Mrs Graham-Allen was called to the Bar. This decision saddens me b ecause Bahamians are l ooking all around for one situation somewhere in their country someone will stand up for them. They look around and they cannot find one public institution that will stand up for them. That is the larger import of thed ecision by the Bar Council, he said. I compared our countrys situation yesterday to a s cene fit for a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera. I am now more convinced than ever. Not one month has gone by since the lawyers all bewigged and enrobed stood up to laud the rule of law,t he independence of the J udiciary. It shows that talk in this country is cheap because when it came time to demonstrate that independence, the Bar Council failed the test. Institutions operate withi n a wider framework. The Council is not a mere cipher which pushes paper. It is a deliberative body and should act in the wider public interest. It is my view that the wider public interest is not served by this decision. I ami n discussions about the possibility of judicial review of this decision by the Council. NEW CORONER SETTLES LAWSUIT OUT OF COURT FROM page one Director of Public Prosecutions is called to the Bahamas Bar AG SUPPORTS APPOINTMENT OF JAMAICAN JUDGE TO THE BAHAMAS SUPREME COURT FROM page one He added that the party machinery is b eing careful not to whip the country into a premature election frenzy while the FNM is still focusing on national issues. The government is not yet at the point w here it would be judicious or prudent to signal to the population that we are about to go into an election mode. There is still so much to do," said Mr Bethel. "We are on the verge now of the realisation of so much that was promised in theS peech from the Throne, that was promised in successive budgets after the 2007 election people are now beginning to see and feel (what the FNM is doing A government has to be prudent as to when it signals that it is going back to the people because once you signal that, it b ecomes very difficult to govern. With that i n mind, the government has to be judi cious in how it goes about its business in terms of candidates but I don't want any-b ody to feel that the government isn't, and t he party at its highest level, isn't looking at these issues. "Of course we are, we are looking at our slate of candidates and we are making some judgments. The higher levels of the leadership are in c onstant discussions, informally, looking at where we are. We would be a foolish political organisation if we were to take what happened i n 2007 as a guarantee going forward so the process of self-criticism, reflection, and thought is ongoing. It's been going on from d ay one of course it now is more for malised and a little more intense at those levels but certainly the party is criticallyl ooking at its line-up and there's a natural o rder in the universe. Veteran FNM to step down FROM page one F ROM page one SUPPORT: Attorney General John Delaney
B y DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT The Grand Bahama Shipyard earns between $9-$100 million per year, a senior exec-u tive revealed yesterday, as it completes repairs to one of the largest cruise ships in the world Royal Caribbeans Liberty of the Sea which docked on Jan uary 23. Rueben Byrd, senior vicepresident of operations, said the mega vessel was the largest cruise ship up until 2010, when it became second to Oasis of the Sea. It is important because it is the first docking of it, Mr Byrd said. It is the largest cruise ship ever docked in the Bahamas, and it has been here for six days undergoing routine mainte nance and a few upgrades. The vessel is scheduled to depart the Shipyard on Sat urday, January 29. There are currently four vessels docked at the Shipyard, while last week seven were docked for repairs. Business is doing great. We are experiencing something that no other Shipyard is experiencing at this time; we got work scheduled into June, said Mr Byrd. No other ship repair facility has that at this time on the repair side, and we are very fortunate to have that. The Shipyard opened in 1999. It has three docks and employs close to 600 persons, including nearly 250 Bahamians. Mr Byrd said the repair facility continues to perform well, satisfying its customers. He revealed that the company earns anywhere from $9 to 100 million a year. He noted that a large portion of the revenue goes into the economy as a result of hotel stays for sub-contractors and rentals for permanent expa triates. Mr4 Byrd said there are 246 full-time Bahamians, 160 permanent expatriates, and 176 casual workers 71 P eruvians, 88 Romanians, and 15-17 Indians, currently. He added that the com p any has started training some 65 Bahamians over the past five months as riggers and scaffolders, and it is currently training blasters andp ainters through their subcontractors. SECTIONB email@example.com FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 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 With major Freeport businesses and wholesalers having suffered year-over-year top-line sales reductions of between 30-60 per cent for January, a leading attorney told Tribune Business that central government pressure meant that the rule of law and governance under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement has nearly complete collapsed. Fred Smith QC, the Callenders & Co attorney and partner, warned that various government initiatives, such as Customs demand for a National Insurance Board (NIB Letter of Good Standing before bonded letters were renewed, were in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water and could easily kill commerce in Freeport. Reiterating that he understood the need for the Government to max imise legitimate tax revenues from Freeport, especially given the heavy strain its fiscal position was under, Mr Smith said the Ingraham administration appeared to be denying the existence of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement and the regulatory power of the Port Authority. Agreeing with K. P. Turnquest, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerces president, that he and other Grand Bahama Port AuthoriFreeport firms suffer 30-60% sales declines Top attorney warns that central government p ressure has resulted in rule of law and g overnance under Hawksbill Creek Agreement collapsing Says Ingraham administration denying e xistence of Port Authority regulatory p ower Adds that situation could easily kill Freeport FRED SMITH SEE page 4B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor The Government is targeting March 1 as the official date whenC able & Wireless Communications (CWC control at the Bahamas Telecom munications Company (BTC bune Business can reveal, as officials from both sides work fever ishly to complete the $210 million deal within the next few days. Multiple sources close to the process confirmed that the Government and its privatisation committee on one side, and CWC executives on the other, were working hours a day to meet this timescale, something that would not be easy given the numerous procedures and processes that March 1 target for CWC s BTC takeover Both sides working hours a day to complete deal Rigid procedures of Cabinet, Parliament and URCA make t arget date ambitious, but all working for it Negotiations pretty much behind parties, indicating sale terms largely finalised SEE page 4B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor T he Bahamas Telecom munications Company (BTC sector regulator for resolv ing its international call ter m ination dispute with Sys tems Resource Group (SRGg ave it a reasonable rate of return, suggesting it pro vided a fair and equitable BTC BACKS REASONABLE RA TE OF RETURN SOLUTION Says Order in SRG dispute over cost-based charges provides fair and equitable precedent for entire market BTC alleged no charges provided for in interconnect agreement, while SRG claimed incumbent tore up deal in bid to impose higher rates SEE page 5B By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter a firstname.lastname@example.org M arios Bowling and Entertainment Palace is set to launch a $250,000 expansion to its recreation offerings for core customers in March, with the opening of a 3,500 square foot teen club. Leslie Miller, proprietor of the bowli ng and entertainment centre off Tonique Williams-Darling Highway, yest erday said he expects the new club $250,000 Teen Centre expansion at Marios n M arch opening planned for facility targeted at Bahamians n Bowling centre on the right path now, with business pick-up at Christmas n Hosted 500 parties during first year in existence S EE page 4B SHIPY ARD EARNINGS $9-$100M PER YEAR Beating rivals with work scheduled to June SEE page 5B LESLIE MILLER By ALISON LOWE B usiness Reporter email@example.com Questions were yesterday raised about theB ahamas Electricity Corporations (BEC to stay away from fuelh edging fixing oil costs in advance to avoid future rises or volatility as a strategy to protect its bottom line going into 2011. Khaalis Rolle, president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC Business he was concerned that BEC was managing politics rather than managing economics, in light of chairman Michael Mosss comments to this newspaper that the Corporation would avoid fuel hedging because of the potential for a public backlash if it got it wrong. Mr Rolle, also chief mar keting officer for Bahamas Ferries, said fuel hedging was not a strategy which is overly risky if it involved buying volumes of oil as large as that which BEC would require. At the volumes they are using, they should be looking at it, said the BCCEC president. In an interview on Mon day, Mr Moss said he believes hedging the practice of contracting with a fuel provider to fix the cost of oil purchased for a set period, with a view to securing a cheaper price than that which it may ultimately pay on the international marketis not the way for BEC to go for the time being. "It's good to hedge if you are in a regulated environment, where you can go to the regulator and defend your position. I would say in the largely unregulated environment in which we exist it is best you charge actual prices than to hedge," he explained. "The problem is when BEC MANAGING POLITICS OVER FUEL HEDGING SEE page 5B
K ARL RITTER, Associated Press M ATT MOORE, Associated Press DAVOS, Switzerland Businesses, especially U.S. o nes, must get more involved in the global effort to slow clim ate change and help pressure politicians to enact policies that p romote green growth, international leaders said Thursday. "They are part of the problem and they must be part of the solution," South African P resident Jacob Zuma said at the World Economic Forum. I n a panel discussion at Davos, where some 2,500 busi n ess leaders and politicians are gathered, he vowed to press for a greater corporate role in the U.N. climate talks that his country will host in the coastal city of Durban later this year. "I think that's one of the a reas we are going to work very hard leading to Durban to con v ince business to be party so that it's not just governments a lone," Zuma said, sharing the stage with Mexico President Felipe Calderon, European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and U.N. c limate chief Christiana Figueres. T here is serious concern about how to keep the global e conomy moving forward while, at the same time, ensuring that people in the develop-i ng world are not denied a chance to better their lives with out contributing to factors that have caused global warming. Hedegaard said that governments can provide the right conditions for green growth, but "the solutions have to come from business." "That is why setting the political targets are so crucial because then we can set a price on carbon," she said. "If it costs a lot to pollute a lot, then business has an incentive to pollute less." She noted that President Barack Obama didn't mention climate change or global warming in his State of the Union address "because of the political situation." But she implored U.S. businesses to be bolder in embracing more energy-effi cient economies. "It's bad business to not be among the front-runners," she said. "I hope that even more American business people would understand that they need to put the pressure on their politicians." Calderon said very little can be achieved without U.S. involvement, and he called for a change in American public opinion on global warming. "My perception is most of the people in the United States are afraid about the economic situation," he said. "They perceive this issue of climate change like an obstacle for their own progress. And we need to change that perception." China, which has overtaken the U.S. as the biggest green house gas emitter, has now realized it makes economic sense for it to become more energy efficient, Figueres said. "China is committed to winning the green race," she said. "And honestly they are not d oing it just because they want to save the planet. They are doing it because it's good for the economy." The discussion comes after g lobal talks on a new climate pact escaped failure last monthi n the Mexican resort town of Cancun, where nations agreed o n a modest set of decisions that put climate change negotiations back on track after the bitterly divisive summit in 2009 i n Copenhagen. The Copenhagen talks exposed the rift between rich and poor nations on the fundamental question of how to s hare the responsibility of tackling climate change chieflyc urbing the emissions of heattrapping gases from the burning o f fossil fuels. Copenhagen produced only a nonbinding accord with voluntary climate targets to cut g reenhouse gas emissions that wasn't even formally adopted by the conference. At Cancun, nations brought those voluntary pledges into the U .N. negotiating process and established a green fund tom anage the $100 billion a year by 2020 that developed coun t ries have pledged to help poor nations cope with global warming. But the ultimate goal of crafting a new global climate p act was put off till the next climate conference in Durban orb eyond. BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011, PAGE 3B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business Editor A key organiser of the meeting between the Deputy Prime Minister and major Freeport-basedi ndustrial companies over Immigration issues said he was confident the Government would tack-le the problems outlined, and told Tribune Business a potential legalc hallenge was likely to have been staved off. Jeff Butler, owner of Butlers Food World and the Butler Groupo f Companies, described the meeting between Brent Symonette and F reeports large industrial entities as very productive, adding that litigation over Immigrations prac-t ice of tying work permit approvals for temporary specialist expatria tes, such as engineers, to them o btaining licences from the relevant professional organisations, h ad previously been mulled. It was a very productive meeting between government andi ndustry, and we look forward to starting from here, Mr Butler told Tribune Business. We have no issue with Immigration policy; we take issue with Immigration pro-c edures. Immigration has been linking work permit approvals for temporary specialists, such as engineers and architects, to them obtainingt he relevant licences from the likes o f the Professional Engineers Board. Without these, permits were not being issued. M r Butler said the whole issue of linking work permit approvals to p ossession of the relevant profess ional licences was about to be challenged in the courts, but weve s taved that off. He added: I think we just need to communicate and to start under-s tanding the procedures and how it w orks, and were doing that as we speak. Its all very positive. Now the Government is aware of it, theyw ill deal with it. Im confident theyll deal with it. We need more industry coming here. Grand Bahama has to be thei ndustrial capital of the Bahamas. Mr Symonette held a meeting last Friday with executives from 13 of Grand Bahamas major, primarily industrial, companies. G rand Bahama Power Compan y, the Grand Bahama Shipyard, Pharmachem, Our Lucaya Resort, Polymers International, theF reeport Container Port, BORCO and South Riding Point were all s aid to have had representatives a t the meeting with the Minister. Among the issues which Tribune B usiness was told executives at some of the major companies are deeply concerned about is thep rocess involved in obtaining perm ission for specialist engineers to enter the Bahamas temporarily to w ork. Since the implementation of the Professional Engineers Act lasty ear, an additional layer of bureaucracy has been introduced which requires the incoming engineer to obtain a licence from the Profes-s ional Engineers Board. The Board says a foreign engineer can be authorised to practice professional engineering within the Bahamas if approved for registra-t ion upon application to it as a temporary engineer. They must be associated with and work through a Bahamas-reg-i stered Professional Engineer, and their application for tempor ary registration must be associa ted with a specific project, and may be approved for a maximum t erm of six months, according to the Boards website. Such new stipulations, in conj unction with the need to gain a pproval from the Department of Immigration for the engineer to e nter, have contributed to delays which have troubled some compa-n ies, Tribune Business understands. Meanwhile, international comp anies with operations in Freeport have also been frustrated by demands that foreign executives flying in to attend same-day meetings or participate in other short-t erm temporary work in the Bahamas obtain permits from the Department of Immigration to do so. Mr Symonette confirmed that b oth of these points were raised as matters of concern at the meeting, and noted that it has been a long-standing issue with compa-n ies both in Freeport and Nassau, and throughout the Caribbean. M r Symonette said: We talked mainly about doing business in Grand Bahama and immigrationi ssues. We are going to be discussing it further as to the way forw ard. I think weve come to an u nderstanding as to the way forward. The whole idea is that we w ant at Immigration to make sure its as easy as possible for businesses in Grand Bahama to bringi n the people they need on a regular basis, bearing in mind type of work they are doing. Work permit litigation challenge staved off Key organiser of meeting between DPM and Freeport industry says occasion productive, and confident government will tackle issues Commonwealth Banks 6,500 shareholders are set to benefit from an extraordinary dividend that the BISXlisted institution yesterday called the largest in its history. The dividend of $0.06 per share comes after the bank saw record earnings in 2010, according to a release issued yesterday. The Board of Directors attributed the banks extremely strong balance sheet to a focus on the effective man agement of its credit risk portfolio. While asset growth was contained, the Bank was able to report a further expansion of its total assets to a record of $1.4 billion, Commonwealth Bank said. Comprehensive income for 2010 increased 27 per cent from $42.2 million to $53.8 million. The level of loan impairment expense was able to be reduced significantly in 2010. Executive chairman William Sands Jr said the dividend fits with the banks desire to share its success with its shareholders, while sustaining the safety and soundness of the bank. The extraordinary dividend is payable on February 28, 2011, to shareholders of record on February 15, 2011. Mr Sands said: The bank finished 2010 with an extremely strong balance sheet. The Bank also has sturdy capital and liquidity positions, both greatly exceeding statutory reserve requirements. I am very pleased with Commonwealth Banks perfor mance in 2010. The bank is well positioned as we move forward into 2011, which we anticipate will bring new challenges and beneficial opportunities as the economy begins to recover. With our dedicated staff, we will successfully face these challenges and grow with the expected opportunities. Commonwealth Bank operates 11 full service branches in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco, and employs more than 560 persons. Bank unveils its largest dividend William B. Sands Jr 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 ar ea or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and share your story. UN climate talks in focus at Davos forum OVERSEASNEWS MOREONFORUM, PAGESIX
remain to be completed. These processes, Tribune Business understands, include in the first instance the presentation of the final sale terms and details to Cabinet. Once Cabinet approves, it will be taken to Parliament, where all relevant documents relating to the sale of the 51 per cent BTC stake will be tabled. Some two weeks will be allowed for the documents to be analysed, then Parliament will debate and likely approve, given the Government majority the sale. Apart from the Parliamentary/political process, Tribune Business also confirmed that the sale to CWC has to be approved by the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority (URCA communications sectors independent regulator. T his process will involve a public consultation, with the views of Bahamian compa nies, consumers and the wider public being solicited. Such procedures are mandated by the Communications Act andc ould take time, thus making M arch 1 somewhat ambitious. Given this target, Tribune Business was told that the aim is for the Government and CWC to conclude the deal within the next few days, certainly by months end next week. Cabinet approval will be rapidly sought, with all sale documents tabled in Parliament thereafter, so that debate and approval of the deal can take place in midFebruary. Turnover The target is March 1 to start the turnover, one source told Tribune Business of the day when CWC was likely to take management control at BTC. CWC should get the keys to the car by the end of February, if all goes according to script, and that will be the end of that. Those are the timelines for what happens. Another source familiar with the status of BTC privatisation negotiations said of the March 1 deadline: Thats the objective, and everyone is working 24 hours a day to get there, but its not going to be easy because they have a number of rigid procedures that have to be completed. They are being careful not to tie everything to that date, but thats the objective. The rigid procedures referred to are the Cabinet, Parliamentary and URCA processes, with one source suggesting that even if it wanted to, the Government had gone too far to row back on the privatisation now. It shows no sign of doing so, though, and appears willing to see the deal through to the bitter end. Tribune Business was also told that negotiations between government officials and CWC were now largely complete, with the proverbial is and ts dotted and crossed, one contact adding: Weve now gotten them [the negotiations] pretty much behind us. None of Tribune Businesss contacts referred to the writ filed by BTCs two unions in a bid to block the sale. That matter is set to be heard by the Supreme Court next week, and the silence on this indicates that the Government side does not see it as a major obstacle to the privati sations conclusion. Were so lucky we have a government willing to make certain reforms, one source said. They are willing to seea little bit ahead, and make some efforts to prepare some areas of the economy. Thatsa very important thing. BUSINESS PAGE 4B, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Freeport firms suffer 30-60% sales declines t y (GBPA told Tribune Business: Wherever the opportunity arises, there seems to be a tendency by the central government to try and take over regulatory control, especially where the purpose of raising revenue is concerned. I quite understand the Governments need for revenue in this day and age, at this time, given the state of the economy, but the Government should be careful that in their quest for revenue in Freeport, they dont throw the baby out with the bath water, because they could easily kill what could be the golden goose in the Bahamas. In all respects, the Government almost seems to be denying the existence of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement and the regulatory power of the Port Authority. The latter is a direct reference to the latest developments in Cable Bahamas Judicial Review application to the Supreme Court regarding demands by the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority (URCA Internet licence fees to the Nassau-based regulator. Cable Bahamas is objecting to this on the grounds that the Port Authority has regulatory responsibility for communications in Freeport, and that if it paid licence fees to URCA as well it would be subject to double taxation. T he case goes to the heart of the Governments more than decade-long attempts to get the Port Authority to relinquish responsibility for telecommunications regulation and, by extension, all utilities in Freeport, but it and URCAs case pleadings are said to have gone far beyond this. Rulings In essence, URCA and the Government, through their pleadings in the Cable Bahamas case, are attacking all the rulings won against Customs via the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, seeking to overturn them and relegate the Agreement to second class status behind statute law, such as the Customs Management Act, and policy, Tribune Business has been told. This newspaper understands that the case has been adjourned until April 4, 2011, thus providing a breathing space for Cable Bahamas and other interested parties to respond. Tribune Business understands that discussions are being held on whether a group of GBPA licencees should join togeth er and intervene in proceedings. Meanwhile, Mr Smith told this newspaper yesterday: The URCA demand of Cable Bahamas for the payment of licence fees by Cable Freeport is a direct challenge to the Hawksbill Creek Agreement. So are the various disputes that have arisen with Customs, particularly with the over-the-counter bond letters and the National Insurance Board. In addition, its difficult to get work permits without com plying with the Architects Act, the Professional Engineers Act or the Real Estate Brokers and Salesmans Act. Immigration has taken the position that these various Acts, which are out side of Freeport, need to apply, and persons must obtain a licence before they will approve a work permit. He added: There is complete disruption in the orderly dayto-day operation of business in Freeport. Not only has Freeport been buffeted by the prevailing winds of that shareholder dis pute within the Port Authority, but the confusion about whether the Port Authority and the Hawksbill Creek Agreement is in charge, as opposed to all these government agencies, makes it almost impossible to do business in Freeport. An example of the perversity of the Customs and NIB position, where there is an insistence that a licencee produce a letter from NIB, saying they are up to date with NIB taxes before they can purchase bonded goods in Freeport from other licencees, is that the same licencee can go to Florida and spend the money that would otherwise be spent locally in Freeport. This thereby deprives businesses in Freeport of income and makes the purchase of goods even more expensive, there by affecting local employment and the local economy. While no one wanted to comment on the record, Tribune Business understands that major Freeport retailers/whole salers, such as Kellys (Freeport Dolly Madison and others have seen year-over-year sales declines for January ranging from anywhere between 30-60 per cent. This is largely being attributed to the bonded letter situation, with licencees not possessing one holding off on purchasing any goods, not wanting to be forced into the duty-paid category. And, if the situation does not improve come February, Tribune Business understands that some Freeport companies may be looking at serious staff lay-offs. One retailer, who requested anonymity, said the bonded let ter move had not gone according to the Governments plan, which was to force numerous GBPA licencees into duty-paid sales and purchases, thereby increasing Customs revenue. The actual effect, they said, had been to slow all commerce in Freeport to a grinding halt. The impact has obviously been quite drastic, the source said, and has had more the effect of halting commerce than shoving commerce into duty-paid sales. What it has succeeded in doing is undermining revenue streams for the Government itself, and the companies that provide it. Its a very hard January compared to the prior year. Although the month is traditionally slow, it is not fatal. That has not proven to be the case this time around. The source said many major businesses were waiting to see who would be the first to shed employees, as they were all looking to follow suit. If February is looking anything like January, there will be substantial lay-offs, and everyone is waiting for the first shoe to drop, the source said. Meanwhile, Mr Smith told Tribune Business yesterday: This is badly affecting construction businesses that may have bid on a duty-free basis, and whose business has been brought to a grinding halt because they cannot purchase duty-free goods locally. The attorney added that it was abusive of the Government to use collateral taxes and pressure on the taxpayer, as opposed to using the remedies under the NIB Act to deal with its revenue needs and non-compliance issues. Pointing out that Customs had available remedies under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement and Customs Management Act to deal with abuses of the bond by GBPA licencees, Mr Smith added: Right now, the rule of law and governance under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement has nearly completely collapsed, as unprecedented savagery is being visited on Freeport by this central government and, frankly, many businesses may not survive for very much longer. F ROM page 1B March 1 target for CWCs BTC takeover F ROM page 1B aimed at teenagers aged between 13 to 18 to be a major draw this year, and locallyaccessible, unlike the much-h yped Teens club at the Atlantis resort. The $11 million Atlantis club, called Crush, is only available t o hotel guests at present. Mr Miller said: I give full credit to my team, who did a survey of hundreds of the young people who patroniseM arios. The survey indicates clearly they want their own Teen Club, so we are constructing the club for young B ahamians with a view to providing them with a new venue to enable them to have good time in a place that they know is in line with what their par-e nts would wish, a place heavily protected with non-alcoholic drinks, good surveillance and no fights or disruptions. T he businessman said the club will be as elegant as the one we have upstairs (for adults) and, like Crush, which is set to serve Mocktailsi nstead of cocktails, it will have a bar serving specialty non-alcoholic drinks. The club will also be staffed by young people, with six new e mployees expected to be hired for this purpose. To be open on Fridays and Saturdays, Mr Miller said that 250 to 400 teens c an party in the venue at any one time. Construction began last week on the new addition, which will be an extension to MariosB owling and Entertainment Palace. Odette Carey, marketing manager for Marios, said: Over the past year we realised our key customers are the tweens and teens, and so we want to invest more of our time and energy in that area. Thatsw hat brought about this new concept. She said the club will include the latest games, such as the X box 360 and Playstation 3 gaming consoles, a large area where up to 400 teens at a time can dance, as well as the bar area, with kiddie cocktails a nd a large movie theatre screen. We want to make sure this one is definitely for the locals a nd that everyone can take part in it, she said. In October 2010, Mr Miller reported a steep decline in business volumes of around 30t o 40 per cent, compared to interest earlier in 2010. However, he said he felt Marios had not even scratched the surface o f its potential market and added that he looked forward to a super December filled with Christmas party bookings, and wider and more consistenti nterest from bowlers in 2011. The centre celebrated its one-year anniversary this month, and yesterday Mr Miller s aid the business is making a good comeback. I think we are on the right path now, he said. Christmas panned out as well a s expected, said Mr Miller, with over 20 major Christmas parties. We had a very good Christm as at Marios, we were really satisfied. Many of the major business establishments patronised us and we were very proud and grateful for ther esponse we received. All the staff did a wonderful job, said the businessman. Ms Carey said 2010 saw a t otal of around 500 party bookings at the entertainment centre for childrens parties and adult group events. Looking ahead, Marios is n ow preparing to host a major event for the Super Bowl, which it expects to draw thousands of patrons. We will h ave the biggest screen in Nassau, said Ms Carey, adding that other features will be a tailgate cook-off. $250,000 Teen Centre expansion at Marios F ROM page 1B
BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011, PAGE 5B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer NEW YORK The CEO of AT&T Inc. on Thursday said the company will start "very aggressively" mark eting smart phones based on Google Inc.'s Android software now that it will no longer be the exclusive carrier for Apple Inc.'s iPhone in the U.S. So far, Verizon Wireless, AT&T's chief competitor, has been the biggest supporter of Android. But it will start selling t he iPhone on Feb. 10, and is likely to shift resources away from Android. Motorola on Wednesday said it's already seeing a drop-off in sales of its Android phones in Verizon stores, as customers are holding off, waiting for the iPhone. I n effect, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are set to swap strategies in the high-stakes smart phone market, with AT&T turning to Android and Verizon to the iPhone. "We're going to be a heavy participant in the Android market this year, so you're going to see a significant shift in mix" of the phones sold by AT&T, CEO Randall Stephenson told a nalysts on a conference call. Apart from Motorola Mobilit y Holdings Inc., major makers of Android phones are Samsung Electronics Corp. and HTC Corp. AT&T, the nation's largest telecommunications company, also provided an earnings forecast for the year that disappointed analysts, and said it signed up a net of just 400,000 new customers on contractbased wireless plans in the last t hree months of last year. It was the lowest quarterly number in a t least five years. Shares of AT&T, which are part of the Dow Jones industrial average, fell 77 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $27.96 in after noon trading. The low number of new contracts demonstrated that even though AT&T activated a lot of iPhones 4.1 million the iconic phone has lost much of its power to attract customers from other carriers. Since it launched in 2007, the iPhone has been driving mil lions of high-paying subscribers to AT&T, and it now earns m ore per subscriber than any other carrier. If its per-subscriber revenue was in line with Verizon's, AT&T would pull in $7.7 billion less every year. Subscribers who sign twoyear contracts are the most lucrative for wireless carriers and are an important measure o f their performance. Verizon Wireless, AT&T's chief competitor, on Tuesday reported adding more than twice as many subscribers under con tract. However, the difference is exaggerated by the fact that Verizon sells tablets with con tracts, while AT&T doesn't. S tephenson said the company expects to continue to add contract-based subscribers this year, partly thanks to significant network upgrades last year. Complaints about dropped calls and other net w ork problems have haunted the company for years. s olution for all current and future market participants. T he Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority ( URCA) yesterday published a January 20, 2011, order requiring both BTC and SRG to agree cost-based rates for compensating each other for terminating incoming intern ational calls, destined for the others system, on their r espective networks. URCA said it had been forced to act to protect consumers and competition in the electronics communications market after BTC, via letters to SRG on June 18 and June 23, 2010, threatened to discontinue the termination ofS RGs inbound international calls to BTCs network unless S RG paid a charge for such traffic. It issued an interim order on June 23, 2010, to prevent BTC from taking its t hreatened action until it had investigated the matter. Calls B TC had alleged that its existing Interconnection Agreement with SRG did not include a rate or charge for terminating inbound international calls originating on the latt ers network. Because of the omission to include....... in the Interconn ection Agreement a rate or charge for SRG-originated inbound international traffic, BTC was not contractually obligated to terminate such traffic, but did so in light of itsl egal and licence obligations, including but not limited to its Significant Market Power designation regarding fixed voice and mobile voice and date services, URCA said. SRG, though, countered that the two parties had agreed a charge for such services through their Interconnection Agreement, and alleged that BTC had effectively torn this u p after the new Communications Act took effect, attempting to impose higher rates it refused to accept. The parties had agreed charges to be paid to BTC for S RG-originated inbound international traffic destined for BTCs customers, under the previous legal regime for t elecommunications in the Bahamas through the Interconnection Agreement they now have, URCA said. However, in the light of the new legal and regulatory regime, BTC, through its letters to SRG dated June 18 and 23, 2010, attempted to amend the agreement so as to proposeo r impose rates which SRG refused to accept. Commenting on URCAs final decision, Marlon Johnson, BTCs vice-president of sales and marketing, told Tri bune Business yesterday: Certainly we support the ruling, and think it reflects the current thinking. Our contention is that persons utilising our network compensate BTC at reasonable costs, and provide a rea sonable rate of return. That was our contention all along, and we did not want any carrier to circumvent the process of pro viding a reasonable rate of compensation to BTC. We are pleased URCA agreed with us on this matter, and that ruling is set to guide termination as we move for ward. M r Johnson said URCAs final decision was consistent with international best practices and precedents set in the t elecommunications market, both regionally and interna tionally. Fair Describing the URCA ruling and its ramifications as absolutely fair and equitable, having established something that can work for all carriers entering the Bahamian mar ket, Mr Johnson said: The important point is that we have a principle we have agreed on that can work for all carriers, whatever the quantum is. It will be equitable across theb oard. Paul Hutton-Ashkenny, SRGs president, declined to comment when contacted by Tribune Business. URCAs ruling requires the rate agreed by BTC and SRG to be incorporated into the existing Interconnection Agreement. However, if they cannot agree the cost-based rate for international call termination, the regulator said it would ultimately be the one approved by itself in BTCs Reference Access and Interconnection Offer (RAIO URCA also made the cost-based charges retroactive to June 18, 2010, the date the dispute first arose. Within 28 days of the Order, the two sides have to exchange and agree all billing records and/or call details of all inbound international calls originating on each partys network and terminating on the other partys network. Each party shall, from June 18, 2010, ensure that all international traffic delivered to the other party for termination to the other partys customers contains the appropriate Calling Line Identification information, and that each party shall terminate such traffic to its customers subject to the payment by the other party of the appropriate interconnection charge, URCA said. Until the issues between them are resolved, both BTC and SRG have to provide written updates to URCA at 28-day intervals. BTC backs reasonable rate of return solution F ROM page 1B SHIPYARD EARNINGS $9-$1 00M PER YEAR The whole idea behind this is to not bring in as many Romanians and Peruvians; to teach local Bahamians more about what we do here and how to do it, and give them train ing so we can start filtering them in when we need people, Mr Byrd said. It has good effects, but at the same time it has certain drawbacks because although it increases the economy here for persons making money, it brings down the revenue for people who rent apartments. A lot of people dont realise the entire island benefits from it when we bring expats in. They are temporary skilled labour who buy gas, food at the grocery stores, occupy apartments, and spend money at local bars and restaurants. Mr Byrd said the Shipyard wants to train more Bahami ans so they can replace the permanent expatriates on island. The company official said there are no plans for expansion at the moment, but more business is expected to come to the island with the opening up of the Panama Canal. FROM page 1B you hedge you sometimes lose; you d on't always win. If we say we hedge at $80 and the real price ends up at $60 a barrel, then customers will be saying: 'Oil prices went down, why are youc harging me more?', and we will say: 'We thought it would go to $100 a barrel so we hedged at $80'. Sometimes the public is not familiar and they expect that every time you w ill win...that doesn't happen. Mr Rolle, who earlier this month expressed his concerns about the abil-i ty for rising oil prices to threaten economic growth, said it was important t hat BEC look at some instrument that will keep energy prices as low as possible this year. If you look at all the projections, by late summer oil is going to be up to $ 110 dollars per barrel and it possibly could get higher depending on everything thats taking place, he added. A nother business source, who contacted this newspaper to express his disagreement with Mr Mosss position on hedging, told Tribune Business that he feels failing to hedge would be irre-s ponsible. The source said that BEC has a fiduciary responsibility to the public t o hedge against that risk. As a consumer, you and I are at the mercies of persons who don't understand risk. The only risk is that me and you will be screaming about how high our light bill gets later thisy ear because in January the chairman d idn't understand the risk. He proposed that given the trends in o il prices throughout 2010, and which h ave been projected for this year, theres no way (BEC f ixing the price it buys its oil for power generation. Theres no way you could lose. The l ast time I checked the price of oil has not gone down for months. The s ource referred to the case of South West Airlines, which has tended to hedge greater proportions of its fuelp urchases than any other airline in the US, and is reported to have saved $3.5 b illion as a result in the decade leading up to 2008. Thats how they have been profi table as an airline, noted the source. Mr Moss, however, said yesterday t hat there are many cases in which entities have suffered incredible losses through failed hedging. H e said sees price hedging as a "strategy for the future" for BEC, once it comes under the regulatory control o f the Utilities Regulation and Comp etition Authority (URCA Government intends it to. "I believe it's best implemented when you have someone like URCA taking responsibility. You can go tot hem and say: 'This is our strategy, this i s what we believe it will yield', and you get a 'yay' or 'nay' beforehand," he e xplained. T he Chairman said that with regulatory oversight, there would be less r oom for questions to arise as to whether customers may be getting taken advantage of in a hedging envi-r onment. Mr Moss has been seeking to bring t he Corporation back into a position of financial health following more than five years of losses, including a $32 mil-l ion loss in 2009. On Monday he said there is the p otential for BEC to have made a small profit in 2010 of up to $5 million, once audited accounts are in, ando f $8 million to $10 million this year. Mr Moss expressed confidence in t he ability of the Corporation to shield customers from paying more this year for their power through enhancing thee fficiency of electricity generation. BEC MANAGING POLITICS OVER FUEL HEDGING FROM page 1B AT&T CEO: We'll push Android phones OVERSEASNEWS NEW VERSION: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011. Verizon Wireless made the long-awaited announcement Tuesday that it will start selling a ver sion of the iPhone 4 on Feb. 10, giving U.S. iPhone buyers a choice of carriers for the first time. Since its 2007 debut, Apple Inc.s phone has been sold exclusively for AT&Ts network in the U.S.
BUSINESS PAGE 6B, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 38%/,&,&('HIHQFH)RUFHHFUXLWPHQW([HUFLVH&RUDO+DUERXU%DVH%')f 7KH 5R\DO %DKDPDV'HIHQFH)RUFHLVSUHVHQWO\FRQGXFWLQJ 5HFUXLWPHQW([HUFLVHIRULQWHUHVWHGSHUVRQVDWWKH 5R\DO%DKDPDV'HIHQFH)RUFH%DVH&RUDO+DUERXU ,QWHUHVWHGFDQGLGDWHVPXVWEH%DKDPLDQ&LWL]HQ EHWZHHQWKHDJHVRIWRDQGPXVWKDYH PLQLPXPRILQFOXGLQJ0DWKVDQG (QJOLVKDOODWJUDGHRUDERYH&DQGLGDWHVDUHDVNHG WREULQJWKHLURULJLQDOGRFXPHQWVIRUYHULFDWLRQWRWKH 5HFUXLWPHQW6HFWLRQRI7KH5R\DO%DKDPDV'H IHQFH)RUFH$SSOLFDQWVVKRXOGSURGXFHWKHIROORZLQJGRFX PHQWV 7ZRfDSSOLFDWLRQIRUPV %LUWK&HUWLFDWH 3DVVSRUW 7KUHHfSDVVSRUWSKRWRV 1DWLRQDO,QVXUDQFH&DUG $Q\RWKHUFHUWLFDWHVLQDUHRIH[SHUWLVHRU WUDLQLQJ (PSKDVLVIRUUHFUXLWPHQWZLOOEHSODFHGRQ FDQGLGDWHVZLWKZLOOLQJQHVVWRVSHQGWLPHDWVHDDQG ZLOOLQJQHVVWRFRQGXFWWRXURIGXW\DWVDWHOOLWHEDVHRQ )DPLO\,VODQG $SSOLFDWLRQVFDQEHREWDLQHGIURP'HIHQFH)RUFH %DVH&RUDO+DUERXURUDWWKH+DUERXUDWUROQLW(DVW %D\WUHHW )RUIXUWKHULQIRUPDWLRQLQWHUHVWHGSHUVRQVFDQ FRQWDFWWKH 5R\DO%DKDPDV'HIHQFH)RUFHHFUXLWPHQW&HQWHU ANGELA CHARLTON, A ssociated Press FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press DAVOS, Switzerland France's president tried Thursday to save the reputa-t ion of Europe and its currency, b attered by debt crises and worries about whether the continent is being steamrolled bys peedier eastern economies. The presidents of South Africa and Mexico, meanwhile, w orked to save the planet, sharing notes on hosting climate talks and how to get the U.S. a nd China and the business c ommunity to invest in c leaner energy. T he overall mood at the World Economic Forum this y ear is more upbeat than the past two, but by no means celebratory. Thursday was no e xception, as leaders, bankers and investors struggled for i deas to get Europe growing again. As they spoke, a small explosion in a Davos hotel briefly disrupted the Alpine winter calm, unusual for this S wiss resort, blanketed in secu rity during the annual forum. W indows were broken but there were no injuries, Swiss police said. F rench President Nicolas Sarkozy sought to shake the e uro worriers awake, vowing that he and European partners will "never turn our backs on the euro" and calling it a linch pin of peace and prosperity. That gave an extra boost to the rebounding currency on world markets. "The disappearance of the euro would be so cataclysmic t hat we can't even possibly e ntertain the idea," Sarkozy said. D espite fears about the 17nation currency's survival since t he European Union and International Monetary Fund had to b ail out debt-laden Greece and then Ireland last year, "the euro is still there," he said. Europe has had 60 years of peace and therefore we willn ever let the euro go or be destroyed. ... I speak as much f or my German friends as I do for the French," he said. E uropean Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet, apparently trying to smooth concerns about above-target inflation, praised the euro's long-term p rospects at another Davos session. "The euro delivered what h ad been asked from it, name ly price stability," he said. I ncreasingly, the talk among European leaders is of closer economic union instead of just monetary union. Trichet said he is pushing for bolder moves from EU leaders. "There is no time for complac ency," he said. The 2,500 participants at Davos can see the currency shock in their pockets, as hotels, restaurants and bars in the Swiss ski resort of Davos do business in francs, whose value has surged against the euro in recent months. Swedish investor Jacob Wall enberg warned that Europe needs to act faster to stay competitive. "We all see countries such as China, India, rapidly becoming much more competitive," he said. "It's not a matter of they're going to bypass us. They're going to run us over." E nvironmental issues also came to the fore, with talk of electric cars and solar energya nd China again "winning the green race." In a panel discussion hosted by The Associated Press, U.N. c limate chief Christiana Figueres said China "is going t o leave us all in the dust" in the transition toward a more e nergy-efficient global econom y. T he Chinese, she said, "are not doing it just because they want to save the planet. They are doing it because it's goodf or the economy." Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who hosted the last U.N. climate talks in Cancun, said, "I want to see the action" f rom the U.S. on reducing emiss ions. South African President Jacob Zuma, who hosts the next climate talks in Durban, said Washington cannot be lefto ut of the clean energy game. E rnest Moniz, director of the MIT Energy Initiative and a member of President Barack Obama's Council of Advisorso n Science and Technology, s aid Thursday that solar power i s, ultimately, the real game changer. Eventually, he said, the sun should be used to make not just electricity but also fuels. Shai Agassi says one answer is electric cars. Agassi predicted to The Associated Press that before 2020, more people everywhere will be buying electric cars than those powered by gasoline. "It doesn't mean that oil is not necessary, but we're starting the way out," said Agassi, a former top executive for information giant SAP AG who launched his Better Place venture several years ago. O il isn't going away yet, howe ver. Exxon Mobil Corp. signed a deal at Davos with Russia's b iggest oil company, Rosneft, to develop oil and gas resources in the Black Sea, a new boost for Russia's lucrative energy sector despite concerns about the challenges of investing there. Elsewhere at Davos on Thursday: Africa emerged as the hot n ew continent for trade and i nvestment. U.N. SecretaryG eneral Ban Ki-moon was o ptimistic. So were Ethiopia's president, Zimbabwe's primem inister, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and busi ness executives from South Africa, Egypt, India and many other countries. The head of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, said he hopes key com merce ministers meeting in Switzerland this week will com mit to accelerating talks on a n ew global trade deal. (KEYSTONE/Laurent Gillieron EURO VOW: Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, speaks during a ple nary session at the 41st Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, January 27, 2011. The overarching theme of the World Economic Forum, WEF, annual meet ing is Shared Norms for the New Reality. It takes place from January 26 to 30. Davos leaders: Save the euro, and the planet WORLDECONOMICFORUM INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS D AN PERRY, Associated Press DAVOS, Switzerland Electric car pioneer Shai Agassi is a man with a startling prediction: Before 2020, he says, more people everywhere will be buying electric cars t han those powered by gasoline. "It doesn't mean that oil is not necessary, but w e're starting the way out," said Agassi, a former top executive for information giant SAP AG who launched his Better Place venture several years ago. Existing electric cars have a limited range, after which owners have to stop and wait for hours while their car's battery recharges. Ownerso f Agassi's cars would be able to remove the used battery and replace it with a fully charged one, allowing them to get back on the road almost immediately. The first country slated to go live with a network of "battery-switching" stations run by Better Place is his native Israel, where he plans a launch with 56 stations and an expected 5,000 cars before the end of 2011. In 2012, Denmark and Australia are expected to join, along with trials in Hawaii and in the San Francisco Bay area. Brimming with infectious optimism, Agassi has been a regular at the World Economic Forum, where he was interviewed by The Associated Press. Agassi said he has raised about $700 billion and spent about a third of it, mostly on setting up the stations. That leaves enough cash to absorb losses while he builds up to break-even, which Agassi asserts will not take long. "In Israel, in 2016, plus or minus a year, more electric cars will be sold than gasoline cars. When that happens in Country One, within two years you will see it in every country," he said. That claim may seem preposterous for the carcrazy United States but not for Israel. The country's electric company also expects electric cars to achieve a significant market share in the near future and is preparing its grid to meet the demand, according to the Haaretz newspaper. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has emerged a believer as well. "Israel will become the first country in the world to put 100,000 all-electric cars on the road," he said Thursday. "Not the US. Not China. Not countries much bigger Israel!" Agassi has found a niche created by a widespread sense that the world is not doing half enough to deal with the eventual end of oil a prospect hastened by the explosive recent growth in the developing world. "From 2000 to 2010, China added 120 million cars on the road (and lion," Agassi said. "It's no longer the U.S. that sets the price (of oil many cars were added in China, how many were added in Brazil, how many were added in India." He admits that the market for gas is somewhat inelastic, meaning that despite rising costs at the pump, people grumble and drive on. But they save elsewhere, he says, harming the economy in cascading ways. Agassi plans to sell cars being developed by Renault SA and equipped with removable batteries which are currently quite heavy and have a range of 100 miles (160 kilometers vers would be promised four battery swapping stations along any route the length of the range. Although prices have not yet been set, Agassi said the idea would be that the consumer would not pay more to drive a given distance than its current cost using oil. Like any venture that could threaten a mammoth industry, Better Place has generated its share of critics. Some charge the company is try ing to establish a new type of monopoly, while environmental groups objected to the laying of new power cables. It is also not clear that Israel's electricity grid can sustain the heightened demand posed by the electric cars. Some say battery-swapping is impractical and customers will prefer a fixed-battery car. In Davos, Nissan Motor Co. was demonstrating its new Leaf, a fixed-battery electric car that you can charge at home. Agassi is not worried. He says over time, batteries will grow smaller and their ranges will grow longer, making the swap less odious. He is most animated as he refutes criticism that the electricity needed to charge the battery has its own carbon footprint and the net result might be worse for the environment than the internal combustion engine. The electricity could come from coal but also from natural gas or wind or other sources, he said, adding that the Israeli government has approved a 600-megawatt solar project in the country's southern desert that can power a halfmillion cars a year. Is the main thing idealism or profit? Agassi's message combines the two. "The end of the oil era will not come because we ran out of oil it will come become we don't want to use oil any more to drive," he said. "I can guarantee you that we will finish the need for oil as an energy source for cars before we run out of oil in the ground." AP Interview: Electric car boss sees global change (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi PIONEER : California-based electric-vehicle services provider Better Place Chief Executive Shai Agassi gets off an electric vehicle taxi during the opening ceremony of a battery switch station in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, April 26, 2010.
BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011, PAGE 7B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM TOKYO Standard & P oor's cut Japan's credit rating for the first time in almost nine years, issuing ah arsh critique of the government's ability to control i ts massive debt. The downgrade weighed on the yen but had no i mpact on Asian stocks as it was released after mark ets closed. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed 0.7 percenth igher. Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea's K ospi added 0.2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.3 percent and the Shanghai Composite Indexc limbed 1.5 percent. LONDON Later in Europe, shares had a fairly lackluster session. Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent, theC AC-40 in France added 0.3 percent and the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended 0.1 percent lower. ___ DAVOS, Switzerland French P resident Nicolas Sarkozy says he and European partners will "never turn our backs on the euro" despite thec risis over too much government debt. ___ BEIJING China will impose property taxes in some cities to help curb surging prices, the finance mini stry said, part of a broader effort to control high inflation. __ TOKYO Japan's export growth a ccelerated for the second straight month in December, indicating a r evival of overseas demand critical to t he country's recovery. ___ LONDON Business and consumer sentiment in the 17 countries that use the euro dipped slightly dur i ng January but remained high despite tensions over Europe's debt crisis. __ CANBERRA, Australia Aus t ralia wants to tax those not affected by massive flooding and cut spending t o pay the more than $5 billion bill it is anticipating after weeks of rain swamped the country's third-largest c ity and forced thousands from their homes. __ DAVOS, Switzerland E xxon Mobil Corp. signed a deal with Russia's Rosneft t o develop oil and gas resources in the Black Sea, a new boost for the count ry's lucrative energy sector despite concerns about the c hallenges of investing there. ___ BEIJING China plans to step u p efforts to develop clean energy and other technology industries this year, government officials said, a strat-e gy that has strained trade ties with Washington and other governments. ___ MADRID The Spanish governm ent said it is on the point of reaching a deal with unions on pension reforms including raising the retirement age, a deal that could avert a general strike that threatens to hamper efforts toe ase the debt crisis. ___ DUBAI, United Arab Emirates The builder of the world's tallest sky-s craper said it has raised $500 million through an international bond, offeri ng hope that debt-crippled Dubai companies also can raise fresh capital on world markets. RATINGSCUT : In this Jan. 16, 2009, file photo Mount Fuji, Japan's highest peak at 3,776 meters (12,388 ft. looms over high-rise buildings of Tokyo's Shinjuku district. Standard & Poor's cut Japan's credit rating for the first time in almost nine years Thursday Jan. 27, 2010 issuing a harsh critique of the government's ability to control its ballooning debt. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File) CIARAN GILES, Associated Press MADRID T he Spanish government said Thursday it is on the point of reaching a deal with unions on pension reforms including raising ther etirement age, a deal that could avert a general strike that threat ens to hamper efforts to ease the debt crisis. A spokesman for Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's office told The Associated Press negotiators were very close to sealing the agreement. He described it as solid and balanced. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with government policy. E arlier the Labor Ministry said a preliminary agreement had been reached overnight but declined to give details. L eading daily El Pais and other media outlets said the agreement included the government's highly contested plan to raise the retirem ent age gradually from 65 to 67 under certain conditions. The government has pledged to approve a pension reform bill Friday. The bill is seen as crucial to its attempts to shore up public finances and make structural reforms as it struggles to emerge from recession. Unions have long opposed any changes in the retirement age and had threatened a general strike. S pain is battling to reduce a euro-zone high near 20 percent unemployment and a swollen deficit. The country has also comeu nder fierce pressure from bond investors in recent months over fears it may be unable to handle its debt and will need a bailout like I reland and Greece. El Pais said the two main unions have agreed to accept the age change but demand that people who have worked for 38.5 years can retire at 65 with full benefits. The government had insisted on people working 41 years if they wanted to receive full pension at 6 5. Under current law, you have to pay into the system for 35 years to get retire at 65 with a full pension. G LOBAL E CONOMIC N EWS A SSOCIATED P RESS A look at economic developments and activity in major stock markets around the world Thursday: Spanish government, unions approach an accord on pensions STRIKECALL: A demonstrator holds up a banner reading: Enough Reasons for General Strike during a general strike c alled by the Basque Nationalist trade union in Bilbao, northern S pain Thursday Jan. 27, 2011 against the Spanish Government approving a new Pensions Law. A P P h o t o / A l v a r o B a r r i e n t o s
STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press WASHINGTON Social Security will post nearly $600 billion in deficits over the next decade as the economy struggles to recover and millions of baby boomers stand at the brink of retirement, according to new congressional projections. This year alone, Social Security is projected to collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in retirement, disability and survivor benefits, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. That figure swells to $130 billion when a n ew one-year cut in payroll taxes is included, though Congress has promised to repay any lost revenue from the tax cut. Last year, Social Security p osted its first deficit since the program was last overhauled in the 1980s. The CBO said at the time that Social Security would post surpluses for a few more years before per manently slipping into deficits in 2016. But the new projections show nothing but red ink until the Social Security trust funds are exhausted in 2037. The outlook has grown b leaker as the nation strug gles to recover from its worst economic crisis since Social Security was enacted during the Great Depression. In the short term, Social Security is suffering from a weak economy that has payroll taxes lag ging and applications for benefits rising. In the long term, Social Security will be strained by the growing num ber of baby boomers retiring and applying for benefits. More than 54 million peo ple receive retirement, disability or survivor benefitsf rom Social Security. Monthly payments average $1,076. The deficits add a sense of urgency to efforts to improve Social Security's finances. For much of the past 30 years, Social Security has run big surpluses, which the government has borrowed to spendon other programs. Now that the program is running deficits, the federal government will have to find money elsewhere to pay back Social Security, so it continue to issue benefits. "I've received the lash from those who say, 'Well, you shouldn't have to cut Social Security because there are trillions of dollars of assets,'" said Sen. Kent Conrad, DN.D., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. "It is true there are trillions of dollars of assets. It is true that they're backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. It is also true that the only way those bonds get redeemed is out of the current income of the United States." Other lawmakers said Social Security's financial problems are not that urgent. "In the last 75 years, in good times and in bad times, Social Security has paid out every nickel owed to every eligible beneficiary at a relatively modest administrativec ost," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, who organized the first meeting of the Senate Social Security caucus Thursday. Tired "We are getting very tired a bout hearing our Republic an and right wing friends telling us about how Social Security is collapsing when the reality is, Social Security today has a surplus of $2.6 trillion," Sanders said. "Social Security can pay out everyb enefit owed to every eligible American, for the next 27 years." Social Security has built up a $2.5 trillion surplus since the retirement program was last overhauled in the 1980s. Benefits will be safe until that money runs out. That is projected to happen in 2037 unless Congress acts in the meantime. At that point, Social Security would collect enough in payroll taxes to pay out about 78 percent of benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. The $2.5 trillion surplus, however, has been borrowed over the years by the federal government and spent on oth er programs. In return, the Treasury Department has issued bonds to Social Security, guaranteeing repayment with interest. It's a bad time for the nation to be hit with more financial obligations. The federal budget deficit will surge to a record $1.5 trillion flood of red ink this year, congressional budget experts estimated Wednesday, blaming the slow economic recovery and a tax cut law enacted in December. Lawmakers from both parties have vowed to address the nation's financial problems, including such con tentious issues as Social Security and Medicare. The political climate, however, has made it difficult. Some Democrats have criticized plans to cut Social Security benefits as secret plots to destroy the program. Many Republicans have refused to consider tax increases. "We need to get past the politics of the past and deal with this issue, making the hard decisions that have to be made," Sen. Mike Crapo, RIdaho, said Thursday at a Senate hearing on the budget deficit. "As we move forward in that context, I personally believe strongly that all aspects of the spending and revenue side of the equation must be on the table." Sen. Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., accused congressional Republicans of wanting to end Social Security by privatizing it. "Privatize means end," Schumer said Thursday after the meeting of the Senate Social Security Caucus. Schumer was referring to a widely distributed plan by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Bud get Committee. Ryan's plan would offer workers under 55 the option of investing over a third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts. Social Security has been supported by a 6.2 percent payroll tax paid by both workers and employers. In December, Congress passed a oneyear tax cut for workers, to 4.2 percent. The lost revenue is to be repaid to Social Secu rity from general revenue funds, meaning it will add to the growing national debt. BUSINESS PAGE 8B, FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011 THE TRIBUNE TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM NEW YORK Oil prices fell Thursday on a batch of disappointing economic n ews. B enchmark oil for March delivery lost $1.69 to settle at $85.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders, excluding transportation, rose just 0.5 percent last month following a m uch stronger 4.5 percent November increase. Yet overall demand for durables fell for a second straight month. Durable goods are factory products expected to be used for at least three years, like appliances. I n addition, the Labor Department said the number of Americ ans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week. The possibility China may raise interest rates or take other tightening measures before Lunar New Year holidays begin nextw eek also kept a lid on oil prices. "There is still a strong probability that China's central bank w ill raise interest rates or increase reserve requirements again to cool economic growth there," energy consultants Cameron H anover said in a report. Adding to the caution, the Energy Department said U.S. stockpiles of oil and gasoline rose more than expected last week. Crude supplies expanded by 4.8 million barrels to 340.6 million barrels. Gasoline supplies rose by 2.4 million barrels to 230.1 mil-l ion barrels, while demand in the past four weeks increased 1.1 percent. Supplies of distillate fuel, which includes diesel and heatingo il, declined by 100,000 barrels to 165.7 million barrels. "Prices will likely remain within a $80-$95 trading range ... with t he downside bias becoming more noticeable during the beginning of the second quarter when crude enters it seasonally weaker period," said senior commodity analyst Edward Meir at MF Global in New York. In other Nymex contracts for February contracts, heating oil lost 1.62 cents to settle at $2.6551 a gallon and gasoline gave up 4.34 cents to settle at $2.4132 a gallon. N atural gas futures for March gave up 18.2 cents, or 4 percent, to settle at $4.319 per 1,000 cubic feet. Natural gas prices fell as wint er headed into its final months with plenty of gas still on hand across the country. The winter has been colder than normal in many p arts of the U.S., but some forecasts see temperatures moderating around mid-February. That has created some uncertainty about how much more natural gas will be used before spring and warmer weather arrive. In London, Brent crude lost 52 cents to settle at $97.39 a barrel o n the ICE Futures exchange. JOSH FUNK, AP Business Writer Caterpillar more than quadrupled its fourth-quarter profit over the previous year's weak results as stronger demand, especially in developing nations, helped increase global sales of mining and c onstruction equipment. T he Peoria, Ill., based comp any said Thursday that it generated $968 million net income, or $1.47 per share. That's much higher than the previous year's $232 million net income, or 36 cents per share, but 2009's fourth quarter was also hurt by layoff costs that consumed 5 cents per share of profit. Caterpillar said its revenue jumped 62 percent to $12.8 billion in the quarter over last year's $7.9 billion. The company said machinery sales improved both because customer demand strengthened and Caterpillar dealers replenished their inventories. R EDMOND, Washington M icrosoft Corp. on Thursday said its net income for the latest q uarter edged down from a year ago, beating Wall Street's e xpectations despite the weak personal computer market. Microsoft's net income for the quarter that ended in December was $6.63 billion, c ompared with $6.66 billion in the same period last year.T hanks to stock buybacks, net income rose to 77 cents per s hare from 74 cents. That's better than Wall Street expected. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast net income of 69 cents per share f or the fiscal second quarter. CLEVELAND Eaton Corp.'s net income surged 33 percent on higher sales, and the diversified industrial manufacturer claimed strong momentum as it boosted its dividend and announced a 2-for-1 stock split Thursday. Sales rose 17 percent over the fourth quarter of 2009 amid a rebounding global economy. The company earned $280 million, or $1.63 per share, for the quarter ending Dec. 31 on sales of $3.7 billion, up 17 percent. OIL FALLS BELOW $86 (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer PRICESFALL: A gas pump nozzle is shown in Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010, in Portland, Ore. Oil prices slipped toward $82 a barrel Thursday, pausing from a rally that lifted the commodity to a three-month high this week amid a weakening dollar and positive corporate earnings. Social Security to post $600 billion deficit over 10 years earnings REPORTS (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak MEDIAMEETING: Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, second right, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, after a closed meeting of the Social Security caucus. From left are, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Brown, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. SOARINGSALES: The Caterpillar logo is seen on heavy earth moving equipment in Springfield, Ill., Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010. Caterpillar's 4Q profit quadruples as sales soar Microsoft 2Q profit edges down on slow PC sales Eaton profit jumps 33 per cent in fourth quarter NEW YORK A surprise jump in applications for unemployment benefits and mixed earnings from large U.S. companies kept stocks on a short leash Thursday. Indexes ended slightly higher, with the Standard & Poor's 500 closing a half point below 1,300. The Dow Jones industrial average traded above 12,000 for most of the day but failed to close above that level for the second day in a row. The Dow hasn't closed above 12,000 since June 19, 2008, just as the financial crisis was worsening. Procter & Gamble Co., the maker of consumer products like Tide detergent, fell 2.9 percent, the largest drop among the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones average. P&G said rising commodity prices are pinching its profits. AT&T Inc. fell 2 percent after saying that new wireless con tracts fell to the lowest level in more than five years. Caterpillar Inc. rose 0.9 percent after its fourth-quarter profit quadrupled on strong global demand for mining and construction equipment. The S&P 500 rose 2.91 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,299.54. The last time the index closed above 1,300 was Aug. 28, 2008. The Dow inched up 4.39 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 11,989.83. The index broke through 12,000 Wednesday for the first time since June 2008 but slipped in the late afternoon. STOCKS EDGE HIGHER AFTER MIXED EARNINGS REPOR T S
A n y c o o l h a r d h e a d e d a n a l y s i s w o u l d h a v e t o c o n c e d e t h a t t h e B a h a m a s i s s t i l l a t t h a t c r os sro a d s, b ot h e c on o mi c a l l y a nd soc ia l ly ha v in g do ne li tt le to i m pl e me n t ke y st ru c tu ra l refor ms whic h a l l in the know rega r dless of po litic al a f f i l i a t i o n w o u l d a g re e ( p r o b a b ly p ri v a te ly ) a re e sse n ti al t o em p o w er i n g it s p e o p l e an d p r e p a r i n g t h e m f o r t h e d e m a n d s t h a t g l o b a l i s a t i o n t h e m a g ic bu z z w ord w i ll ma k e o f th e m Th e B a ha m as Te l ec o m mu n i c a t i o n s C o m p a n y (B T C ) a n d i ts l o ng to rtu ou s p ri va t isa t io n a re a p erfe ct e xa mpl e of th e B a h a m a s e c o n o m i c st a g n a t i o n a n d it s un w il l in g ne ss to ma k e t h e n e c e s s a r y r e f o r m s a n d m a na g e c ha n ge Th e G o ve rn m e nt h as n ow be en at te mp ti n g to s e l l B T C f o r b e t w e e n 1 2 t o 1 3 ( u n l u c k y f o r s o m e ) y e a r s a n d w h i l e t h a n k f u l l y t h e p roc e ss ma y c om e t o an en d v i a C a b l e & W i r e l e ss C o m m u n ic a ti ons (C W C ) in a ma tte r o f w e e k s, t h e f a c t o f t h e m a t t e r is i t s h oul d have bee n co mp l et e d y ea rs a g o At the latest, BTC should ha ve b e en i n p r iv a te s e ct o r h a nd s f iv e -si x y e ar s a go Th e f ir st FN M a d mi n ist ra ti on w a s abso lutely c or r ec t in g et ting t he G o v er n m e nt o ut of t he ho t e l bus i ness but the dil lyd a l ly i n g th a t bo t h it se l f a n d i ts P L P s u c c e s s o r e n g a g e d i n w h e n it c a me to B TC ha s, i n t h e s ho r t t er m i m p o s e d an i n c al c u la b le e c on o mi c b urd e n o n B a ha mi an c o mm erc e an d s o c i e t y Had BTC been pr ivati sed b y 2 0 0 4 2 0 0 5 t h e G o v e r n m e n t m i gh t b y no w ha v e b e en ab l e t o c l o se th e B a h a m a s E le c tr i c i ty C orp ora tio n's (B E C) p riv a t i s a t i o n a n d a t t h e v e r y l e a s t b e c o n si d e ri n g w h a t t o d o w i t h the l os s-maki ng tur k eys that bl ee d t he t ax p ay er o f s o me $ 5 0 $ 6 0 m i l l i o n a n n u a l l y na mely the W ater & Se wera g e C o rp or at io n B a ha m a sa ir a n d th e B ro a dc a st in g C o rpo r at io n o f th e B a h a ma s. S pe ed ie r p r og r es s o n pr i v ati sati on c ould h av e he lpe d t he B a ha m as t o m ai nt a in th e e c on o m ic m om e n tu m b u il t u p du r in g t he 19 90s s p r ea di ng w e a lt h a nd e c on om ic o w ne rs h i p e s p e c i a l l y a m o n g t h e B a ha m i a n m i d dl e c la s s, r a th e r t ha n t he s am e c a st o f c h a ra c t e rs w h o a p pe a r t o d o a l l th e d ea ls a nd a c qu isit ion s in th is n a t i o n A bri e f l o ok a t ot he r ar ea s o f t h e e c o n o m y a l s o s h o w s w h e re th e B ah a ma s i s fa l li n g s h o r t p a r t i c u l a r l y w h e n i t c o m es to pu tt in g in pl a c e th e buildin g blocks, the f oundat ion for its pe op le a nd bu siness es to grow an d pr os per. T hi s i s b y n o me a n s c o mp re h e n s i v e GOVERNMENT'S FISCAL POSITION De spite w a r n ing s re ac hin g a s fa r b ac k as T rib une B usin e s s c a n r e m e m b e r t h e r e a p pe a rs t o h av e be e n n o se ri o us a ttemp t b y gov ernm ents o f e i th e r h ue P LP or F N M t o b al a nc e th e r ec u rre n t B ud g e t, el i mi na t e th e fi sc a l d ef ic i t an d r e d u c e t h e b u r ge o n i n g n a t io n a l de b t. Th os e w a rn i ng s s t a rt e d w h e n t h e n a t i o n a l d e b t w a s a r o u n d $ 3 b i l l i o n ; i t i s n o w $ 4 1 b il l io n a nd sti l l g row i n g. G ra n te d th e G o v er n me n t' s f i s c a l s t i m u l u s m a y h a v e h e l p e d t o c re at e so me jo bs a nd pre v ent a furt h er de clin e in t h e e c o no m y po st -2 0 08 a m id o n e o f t h e w o r s t r e c e ss i o n s i n l i v i n g m e m o r y Y e t t h e t r u e i m p a c t i s n o t c le a r. A nd th e e n d re su lt a s t he IMF poin ted o ut, w as t ha t c en tr al g ov e rn me n t d eb t a s a t e n dJ un e 2 01 0 hi t 4 7 pe r c ent of G DP, 10 per c ent ag e point s h igher than prec r is is r a t i o s The Gov ern me nt ne e ds to r u n fi s c a l su rp l u se s a m o un t i n g t o a c ol le c t iv e 1 3 .5 p e r c e n t o f g r o ss d o m e s t i c p r o d u c t ( G D P ) o v e r t h e n e x t s i x y e a r s i f i t i s t o sl ash th e Bahama s' debt -t oG D P ra ti o t o th e t a rg e t 4 0 pe r cen t b y 201 52016 t h e I M F p o in te d o u t. An d, to dri v e th e po i n t h o me f u r t h e r i t s a i d: "T he m is s ion di scu s se d s cen a r i os t h a t sh o w e d t h a t l o w e ri n g t he d eb tto -G D P ra ti o t o 4 0 p e r c e n t b y 2 0 1 5 2 0 1 6 w o u l d require a primary sur plus of 1 4 p e r c en t o f GD P, on a v e rage, and a cu mul ati ve f is cal e ff o rt o f a b o u t 1 3 5 p e r c e n t o f G D P ( 2 3 p e r c e n t o f G D P p e r y e a r) o ve r th e ne x t si x y e a rs. T h e G o v e rn m e n t s r e sp o n s e ap pe ar s t o b e t o s ee k ev er i n c r e a s i n g t a x r e v e n u e s n o tw i th sta n di ng th a t re v en u e e st im at e s i n t he an nu a l B ud g e t a re c o ns ist en tl y t oo h ig h T h e r e a p p e a r s a c o m p l e t e u n w il li n gn e ss t o a c k no w le d g e t h a t t h e r e a l p r o b l e m i s a s pe n di ng on e TOURISM I t i s n o t ju s t t h e G o ver n m en t tha t is fo und w a nti ng It was a f or m er Ce nt r a l Ba nk re searc he r G abrie lle Fra s e r, w h o i n a p a p e r w r i t te n si x s e v en year s ag o su gges t ed th at th e tourism produc t ha d not m o ve d m u ch b ey o n d b ei n g p ure ly a re sort i ndu stry Tha t is no t to su gg est t he re i s a n y t h i n g w r o n g w i t h t h e p rod uc ts offe re d by At la nti s, S a n d a l s, B r e e z e s a n d t h e s o o n to-b e Baha M ar and other s, w ho have c o ntr ibut e d much t o t h e B a h a m i a n e c o n o m y a n d e m p lo y m e nt Y e t a s ha s b e e n w i de ly ac kn ow le dg e d by suc c ess ive minister s of tour ism, th ere is a hug e gap be twee n on an d o ff pr o pe rt y ex pe ri e nc e an d l itt le se em s to ha v e b ee n do ne to b rid ge th is. T h e r e is a l s o no t e n o ug h i nte ra c tio n be tw e en o rdi na ry B ahamians and their g ues ts, a n d t h e s o c a l l e d a n c h o r p r o p e r t y s t r a t e g y o f p l a c i n g a ma jo r r esor t on eac h island, wh i l e w e l lm ea n i n g w as i l l thoug htout and poor ly e xec u t e d E m e ra l d B a y a n d B i m i n i B ay are prim e e xa mp le s of de ve l op m en t s t h a t ch an g ed the entir e char acter of th eir h ost i sla nds, al teri ng t he v e ry a ttribute s tha t at tr a cte d v isit ors i n the f irst pla c e. H ope f ull y, th e stra teg y ou tli ne d b y M ic ha el Sc ot t, t he Ho tel C orp o ra tio n c ha ir ma n o f se e ki n g n ic he b ou tiq ue re sort d ev e lo p m e n t s f o r t h e F a m i l y I s l a n d s w i ll be a r fru it. And the Ba hamas has yet to get t o gr ip s wit h th e f act t h a t th e v a s t m a j o r i t y o f i t s v i s i t o r s a r e cr u i s e p a s s e n g er s r a t h e r t h a n h i g h e r yi e l d i n g st opo ve r vi sito rs. K P. Tu rnq u e s t t h e G r a n d B a h a m a C h a mb e r o f C o mm e rc e pre si d e n t o u t l i n e d t h e c o n s e q ue nc e s i n his B usin ess Ou tl o o k a dd r e s s, w h e n h e s a i d t h e m a in b e n e fi c i a ri e s o f t h i s w e r e t h e c ru is e li n e s, w ho e ss e nt ia l l y g ot a pro du ct f or fre e, an d t h e G o v e r n m e n t i n t h e f o r m o f depar tu re taxe s. I t cer ta inly d id no t be ne fi t th e h ote ls, th e m a j o r s o u r c e o f B a h a m i a n emplo yment an d h e ad ded: O u r to u ri s m m o d e l i s o l d a n d i n s e ri o u s n e e d o f a d j u s t m e n t G a m i n g r e f o r m t o o i s a n o t h e r a r e a w h e r e t h e B a ha ma s n ee ds t o g et a m ov e o n FINANCIAL SERVICES Buffeted by the blacklist i n g f a l l o u t a n d v a r i o u s Financial Action Task Force (FA TF) and OEC Dled initi at iv es n o t t o m en t io n t he slew of tax loophole-tighten I t was Ian Fair, then-chairman of the Bahamas Financial Ser vices Board (BFSB), who digressed during an interview on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange's (BISX) growing pains to tell Tribune Business of his opinion that the Bahamas was a "nation at a crossroads". That was 2001-2002. Trouble is, nothing much has changed in the intervening decade. T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS P A GE LOG ON T O WWW .TRIBUNE242.COM B U S I N E S S R E V I E W P AGE 9B FRIDA Y JANUAR Y 28, 2011 UK BANKS RAIL A T CAPIT AL PROPOSALS SEE P AGE 13B US DEFICIT SPENDING TO STRIKE $1.5 TRILLION SEE P AGE 14B i n g m e a s u r e s t h a t s e e m t o c o m e o u t o f W a s h i n g t o n a nn u a l l y th e B a h a m i a n fi n a n c i a l s e r v i c e s s e c t o r w h i l e h o l di n g i t s o wn s in ce 20 01 2002 has not been growing. It has been at a seemingly p e r p e t u a l c r o s s r o a d s s i n c e 2 0 0 0 a s i t st r ug g l e s to d e v e l o p a niche amid the new global r e g u l a t o r y p l a y i n g f i e l d R esil ience is admir able, b ut growth is necessary if it is to c o n t i n u e p r o v i d i n g p r o f e s s i on al ly s a ti s f yin g, l uc ra t ive jobs for the best Bahamians. Y e t p r o d u c t d e v e l o p m e n t r e m a i n s w e l l b e h i n d m a n y rivals, both onshore and off shore. W h i l e b o t h t h e G o v e r n me nt a n d pri v a te se c t or kn ow what needs to be done, talks on strategy and implementa tion ap pea r to ha ve no e nd in s i g h t T h e B a h a m a s m u s t w al k t he wa lk no t t al k t he t a l k t o s e c u r e i t s r i g h t f u l p l a c e i n f i n a n c i a l s e r v i c e s going forward. EDUCATION T h i s i s a r g u a b l y t h e Ba ha ma s' m ost se rio us sho rtco mi ng Wh il e the re a re hu nd r e d s i f n o t t h o u s a n d s o f Baha mians, who co uld c omp e t e f o r t o p j o b s i n N e w Y o r k L o nd on an d Ho ng Ko ng an d wi n, a s a se rvi c es-b ase d ec o nom y e v er y B a h am ia n mu st b e able to s tep up to the plate. T h e brut al truth o f c ou rse, is t h a t m a n y h a v e n o t b e e n equ ip pe d to do so. R a l p h M a s s e y s b r i l l i a n t w o rk s s t a r t e d u n d e r t h e C o a l i t i o n f o r E d u ca t i o n R e f o r m a n d c a r r i e d o n b y h i m s e l f h i g hl i g ht s t h e ex t en t o f t he p r o bl em us i ng t he BG CS E ma ths an d E ng li sh gra de s for N e w Pr o v i de n c e p u b l i c sc h o o l stud en ts i n 20 06 I n Engl ish 44 per cent of New Providenc e pub lic high s c hoo l st ude nt s pas sed, with 56 pe r c e nt f ai lin g. A tota l of 17 pe r c ent both fai led a nd wer e fun c t ionally illit erate", me an ing the y c ou ld no t rea d o r h e a r t h e n co m m u n i ca t e tho ug hts co he ren tly A nd i t w a s w or se f o r m a t hs w h e r e s o m e 4 6 p e r c e n t al most ha lf of a ll N ew P rov ide nc e pu bli c h ig h sch oo l st ud e n t s w h o s a t t h e 2 0 0 6 B G C S E e x a m w e r e fo u n d t o b e "f u n ct i o n a l l y i l l i t e r at e" m ean in g t he y d id n ot k now the d iff ere nc e b etw e en a dd itio n a nd m ul tip lic a tio n. Mr Ma ssey sai d the c onse q u e n c e s f o r B a h a m i a n e m p l o y e rs a n d t h e w i d e r e c o n omy w e re sum me d up in th e E u ro p e a n U n i o n s ( E U ) s t ra t e g y pa p er f o r t h e Ba h am a s b e t w e e n 2 0 0 8 2 0 1 3 w h i c h ob se rv e d t h at hi g h un e mp l oy m e n t levels had pers ist e d in this n ation de spite inc rea sed fore ig n di rec t in ve stm en t l ev e l s W hi le the re wa s a ne ed for sk i l l e d l a b o u r t h e s e p o s t s w e r e no t b e i n g f i l l e d b y B a h a m i a n s cre at ing a skil ls ga p' w he reby B a ha m asba se d em p lo ye rs we re fo rc ed to i mpo rt wo rke r s t o m e e t a s h o r t a g e o f q u a l i f i e d B a h a m i a n s a t a l l s k i l l l e v e l s "Th e uncomfor table tr uth is tha t the c oun try 's ac a de mic f a i l u r e p r e v e n t e d i t f r o m a c h i e v i n g f u l l y i t s w e l f a r e o b j e c t i v e s f o r i t s o w n c i t i z e n s, Mr Ma ssey w ro te. The B GC SE re po rts h av e ne v er d is cu sse d t he l on gte rm imp ac t o f suc h ac a de mi c f ai lure The y ne ve r disc u ssed th e imp ac t o n the sup ply of ba sic s k i l l s a s s e e n i n B a h a m i a n lab our. ... .. The p roble m w ith a c a d e m i c f a i l u r e i s t h a t i t a d v e r s e l y a f f e c t s e c o n o m i c gro w th b y l im it in g th e gro w th i n t h e n a t i o n s s u p p l y o f h u m a n c a p i t a l i t s h u m a n s k i l l s A dvo cat in g fo r an u r gen t natio nal respo nse to a ddre s s the s ki lls and le arning crisis, Mr Ma ssey sa id : In a hig hl y compet itive wor ld, and with r a pi dly c ha ngi ng te ch nol ogy the h ig h fa il ure a nd il li tera c y ra te s i n B ah a m ia n pu b li c e d ucat ion ar e a s ever e na tio nal handi c ap a nd an embar rass m e n t T h e s e r e a l i t i e s g l o b a l c o m p e t i t i o n a n d c h a n g i n g tech nology are particul arly d a u n t i n g i n t h e c a s e o f t h e B ah a ma s, b e c au se i t i s a sm al l countr y w it h a limit e d array of phy sic a l reso urc e s." Tr ibun e B us i nes s lays this out onc e a ga in be ca u se, w hil e ev ery on e kn ow s of thi s situ at io n a nd th e d anger s i t pr es e nts, the resp onse has be en abysmal. W hile the Governm en t s p o l i c y r es p o n s e h a s be en la c kin g, im pro vi ng ed uca ti on is no t j ust i ts re spon sibility. Teac hers, parents and the w ho le soc i et y h av e a rol e to p l a y U n ti l th e i n t e l l e c t u a l i s g i v e n p r o m i n e n c e o v e r t h e m a t e r i a l o n e f e e l s t h e B a h a m a s w i l l c o n t i n u e t o strug gl e on e du ca ti on. Iner tia, s tandst ill, s tuc k in the sta tus qu o. The se a re j ust some o f the v erb s an d a dj ec t i v e s t h a t c a n b e u s e d t o de scri be the B a ha ma s an d its e c o n o m y o v e r t h e p a s t d e c a d e This c ou ntry ca nn ot a ffo rd to s t a y i n t h e s a m e p l a c e f o r e v e n t u a l l y i t w i l l f i n d i t s e l f r u n n i n g b a c k w a r d s a s o t h e rs o v e r tak e it It w il l ta ke bo ld l ea de rs h ip and cr eat ive id eas t o un l o c k t h e fu l l p o te n t i a l o f t h e Ba ha ma s a nd B a ha mia ns, for the g ap be tw e en w ha t i s a nd w h a t c o u l d a n d sh o u ld b e is gro wi ng b y the da y. The Government and private sector must work together to fight off stagnation and set the Bahamas on a path to renewed prosperity
P AGE 12B, FRIDA Y JANUAR Y 28, 201 1 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS P A GE LOG ON T O WWW .TRIBUNE242.COM By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org JANUAR Y REVIEW OIL PRICE CLOUD O il pri c e s, w h ic h tre n de d u pw a rd s for much of 2 010 w ere r e cogn is e d by ke y b us i ne s s go ve r n men t an d e con omic fig ures in e arly J anua ry as rep res entin g a cons ider able th reat t o a B a h a m i a n e c o n o m i c r e c o v e r y t h i s y ea r F u r t h e r p r e d i ct e d p r i c e r i s e s could offset gains in growth through impacting the price of goods, power and transport. P r ime M i nis t er Hu ber t I n gr aha m call ed o il pr ice incr e as es a po s si bl e c l o u d o n t h e h o r i z o n f o r t h e Baha mi an e con om y on J anu ar y 14 w h i l e f o r m e r m i n i s t e r o f s t a t e f o r fi nan ce J ame s S mith desc ribe d them a s t h e 8 0 0 p o u n d g o r i l l a i n t h e r o o m" On Ja n u ar y 5 C h am b er of Commerce president, Khaalis Rolle, w a rne d bu sin ess es to pre pa re fo r the inevitable." TOUTING TOURISM The Prime Minister and the Min i s t e r o f T o u r i s m d e f e n d e d t h e Ba h a m as ec o n o m i c m o d e l ag a i n s t ca l l s f r o m s o m e q u a r t e r s f o r m o r e di ve rsifi ca tio n" to w ards le ss re li anc e o n t o u r i s m a s t h e ec o n o m y s m a i n engine. Speaking at the Bahamas Business Outlook 2011 on January 13, Hubert Ingraham said the "resilient" industry has served the country well and, r at h er t ha n t ry i ng to di m in is h o ur e c o no mic relia nce upon it, efforts should b e m a d e t o d i v e rs i f y th e s e c t o r i t se l f. Mr Ingraham said opportunities to g r o w r e t u r n s t o B a h a m i a n s f r o m to ur i s m ar e s ta ri ng us r ig ht in th e fa ce", men t io ni ng f i ne d in in g, cr a ft wor k and en ter t ainm ent s er vices as a r e a s w h i c h f e e d i n t o t h e t o u r i s m i ndustry and i n w hi ch B ah ami an pa rticipation could be expanded. FREEPORT FLAP F r e e p o r t b u s i n e s s i n t e r e s t s b e c am e i nc re a sin gl y i ra te o ve r a n um b e r o f g o v e r n m e n t i m p o s i t i o n s o n comm er cial op er ati on s, which wer e va r i o u s ly l a b el l e d "i l l e g al "u n a cc eptable" and "unfair", and blamed for a further depression of the postCh r is t m as b u s in e s s en vi r o nm en t i n the economically challenged s ec on d city. T he two ma i n iss ues invol v ed t he demand from Customs that the 3,500 licen s ees su bmi t t o it on a m ont hl y basis reports on all goods they have s ol d b on de d, or d ut yf r ee, to ot h er licensees for use in the latter's busi ness, and the requirement that busi n e s se s p ro v i d e l e t te r s o f g o o d st a n d in g fr om t he Nat io nal I ns ur an c e Bo ar d b ef ore h av in g th ei r ov e r-th e-c o un ter' bond letters renewed. "A bsol ute ly not a cc e pta bl e a nd no t f a i r w e r e t h e wo r d s u s e d b y K. P Turnquest, Grand Bahama Chamber of C omm e r c e pr esident, to des c r ibe the tyi ng -in of th e NIB goo d stan din g letter with the bonded letter. "Regu l a to ry st ra n g u la t i on a t th e w o rst ti m e possi ble fo r Fre epo r t w as C all end er's and Co att or ney, Fr ed Smith Q C s, assessment of the situation, which he said had no basis in law. Without bonded letters businesses are unable to p urchase goods dutyfree from other GBPA licensees for use in th ei r o w n bu sine sse s, th us forc in g the m to p ay d uty so me thin g th at inc r e ases the ir co s ts a nd erodes profitability. G B P A p r e s i d e n t I a n R o l l e i m p l o r e d t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r t o r eview the s it uati on, s ugges tin g the C u s t o m s c h i e f m a y h a v e o v e r r e a c h e d h i s a u t h o r i t y C u s t o m s C om p tro ll e r, G le nn Go me z de fe n de d the requests, saying the Department wa s m er el y t r yi ng t o k ee p t r ack o f w h a t t ra n sa c t i o ns w e re ta k i ng p l a c e t o ens ur e le giti mat e r even ue do es n ot slip through the cracks. BAHAMASAIR IN CARIBBEAN CONGLOMERATE? A C a r i b b e a n a i r l i n e c o m p a n y ann ounced i ts i nter es t in f or ming a p ot en t ia l c o ng l o me ra t e w i th B a h a ma sair and Antigua-based Liat airlines, i n a m o v e w h i c h A i r J a m a i c a s c h i e f o f sale s, W ill R oge r s, said w ould le ad to mo re "e c o nom ical" r egio nal t r avel. His J anuary 18 comme nt s came after all b ut 16 per c e nt of t he Jamaican go ve r nm en t' s s ta ke i n A ir Ja ma ica wa s s ol d t o T r in id a di an Car i b be an Airlines. The chief of sales for Air Jamaica, whi ch wi ll co nt inu e to be o per at ed by Caribbean Airlines as a separate brand sai d h e expe cte d ta lks to c omm e n c e i n t h e n e x t t h r e e t o f o u r mont hs" betwee n t he company and B a h a m a s a i r N o w o r d y e t f r o m Ba ham as a ir ex ecu ti ve s o n t h e pr o posal. HIGH STAKES FOR CASINO INDUSTRY Atlantis president and managing d ir ec to r, G e o rg e M ar ka n t on i s, so u nd ed a warning for Bahamian tourism when he called plans announced by t h e J a m ai c a n g o v e r n m e n t t o i s s u e t hr ee cas in o l icen s es t hi s y ear a nd consider others, a "big problem" for the Bahamas. H e w a r n e d t h a t t h e B a h a m a s i s c o ns ta n tl y "l o si n g g ro u nd i n t h e c a si no industry, and urged the Govern ment to hurry ahead with its deliber ations over proposals to reform this n a t i o n s g a m i n g r e g u l a t i o n s a n d increase competitiveness. PORT PROPOSAL A multi-million dollar offer was reportedly made to the Haywards/St Ge orge s by Mid dle E astern in vesto r s k e e n o n p u r c h a s i n g t h e G r a n d Ba hama Port Authority, reliab le T rib u n e B u si n e s s s o u rc e s sa i d o n J a n u a r y 21 Sou rce s sug ge sted th e bid der ma y b e D ub a i Po rts W o rl d, a n e n ti ty se e kin g to co nstruc t a riv al po r t in Ma rie l, C u b a a n d w h o s e e a r l i e r b i d s t o a c q u i r e a n u m b e r o f U S p o r t s i n c l u d ing th e Port o f Mia mi we re quash ed on US national security grounds. T h e H a y w a rd s a nd S t G e o rg e s w e r e sa i d to be c on si de ri n g t he of fe r, w hi c h was thought to be somewhat low. TAX HAPPY On January 25, the Government confirmed it would receive a muchneeded $63 million tax windfall from t h e D e c e m b e r p u r c h a s e o f F i r s t Res er ve Co rp or at ion 's s tak e in t he G r a nd Ba h am a b as e d BO RC O o i l st orage and tr a ns shipment f a cility by N e w Y o r k S t o c k Ex c h a n g e l i s t e d Buckeye Partners. T h e f u n d s d e s c r i b e d a s g o o d ne w s" by mi ni ste r o f sta te fo r f in a nc e Zhivargo Laing, are a much needed b oo s t t o i ts t r ou bl es o me 2 011 /2 012 revenue and debt position. PM HUBERT INGRAHAM JAMES SMTIH GEORGE MARKANTONIS ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLAND ZHIVARGO LAING B U S I N E S S R E V I E W K P TURNQUEST