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 Cyclist mowed down and killed V olume: 107 No.57MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 W EATHER SUNNY AND NICE HIGH 80F LOW 69F I N S I G H T S EEPAGE12B S P O R T S Forty years of missed opportunities SEESECTIONE our de Bahamas A CYCLIST was mowed down and killed after beingc hased by the driver of a sil ver coloured Pontiac on East Street. Witnesses saw the victim, a 5 1-year-old male resident of Sunlight Village, being pursued by the driver moments b efore he was hit and left lying on the side of the road. The driver allegedly tried t o leave the scene of the crime b ut crashed into another car, a 2001 Ford Taurus, which was travelling south on East Street. Police have classified the death as a murder. A 44-yearold male of Lucky Hart Cor ner is assisting police with their investigation. The victims body is to be identified this morning, police said, declining to release fur ther details until this process has been complete. Press Liaison Officer Sergeant Chrislyn Skippings said the incident occurred around 10.35pm on Friday when police received infor mation that a man was struck off his bicycle while riding at the juncture of East Street and Sunlight Village. R esponding officers found the man, clad in khaki pants and a khaki shirt, lying on the side of the street. W itnesses told police the victim was riding his bicycle north on East Street when the d river of a silver coloured Pontiac vehicle struck him from his bicycle. It is further reported that t he driver of the Pontiac was observed chasing the male on the bicycle prior to him being struck," said Sgt Skippings. Police are also investigating two shootings that occurred over the weekend. Around 4am yesterday, police received information of a shooting in Lower Bogue, Eleuthera. Officers were told that a man was at home when he was wakened by another male inside his home armed with a handgun. "It is reported that the cul prit fired gunshots at the male which resulted in him receiving gunshot injuries to the Car c hased do wn 51-y ear-old victim M cCOMBO O F THE DAY N E W The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST L ATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM BAHAMASBIGGEST CARSFORSALE, HELPWANTED ANDREALESTATE I N S I D E SEE page 10 F e l i p M a j o r / T r i b u n e s t a f f 1 4TH ANNU AL C ACIQUEAWARDS WHAT A SHOW: Pictured above is some spectacular entertainment from Friday nights 14th Annual Cacique Awards. Among the win ners on the night was Ali Bain (inset with Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace SEE PAGETWO I F the PLP should win the next general election, it will aggressively renegotiate the terms of the sale of BTC which it deems repugnant to the national interest, opposition leader Perry C hristie said at the partys G rand Bahama conclave o ver the weekend. If the FNM administrat ion proceeds against the SEE page 10 PLP WILL A GGRESSIVELY RENEGOTIATE BTCSALE IF ELECTED By TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org LEGAL experts are disappointed in the small number of accused criminals who have used the plea bargaining system since its legislation was passed in 2008. Government hoped the availability of plea bargaining would have prompted defendants to plead guilty to their charge and receive a recommendation to serve less than the maximum sentence. However Attorney General John Delaney told The TriOPPOSITION leader Perry Christie said while he feels the revenue that would come from the expi ration of tax exemptions under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement would be a great benefit to the public treasury and to the Bahamian people, a government must be careful about changing the economic structure of Grand Bahama so it does not kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Mr Christie made the statement during a PLP conclave in Grand Bahama over the weekend where he SEE page 12 SEE page 10 DISAPPOINTMENT OVER SMALL NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS USING PLEA B AR GAINING SYSTEM CHRIS TIE: GOVERNMENT MUS T BE CAREFUL ABOUT CHANGING GRAND B AHAMA ECONOMIC STRUCTURE
HOTELIERS, chefs, musicians, writers and airlines were among those recognised at the 14th Cacique Awards, where the countrys youth received words of encouragement from Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Majestic Tours proprietor, William Bill Saunders. Addressing young Bahamians, Mr Saunders told them they can do anything they can dream of if they have a vision. The awards, which recognise individuals who have made a contribution to tourism in The Bahamas, were held at the Rainforest Theatre at the Wyndham Nassau Resort on Friday. Ahead of the awards it was announced that Mr Saunders was to be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, while George Markantonis, President and Managing Director of Kerzner International (Bahamas operates the Atlantis resort, was recognised as Hotelier of the Year. In addition to these two top awards, awards were announced in categories including Sustainable Tourism, Handicrafts, Man ager of the Year and Cruise Line of the Year. Accepting his award, Mr Saunders told young people: You can be whatever you aspire to be, providing you have the dedication and the vision to make it happen. You dont have to be born into a family of wealth. I came from a poor family but I knew what I wanted to do at a point and time in my life. I aspired to do it. I had a vision for it, and I had the dedication. Tonight I am happy to be here at 81, a Cacique. My blessings are from my heavenly father above. They are not only pertaining to my health, but they pertain to my success. And my message to the young people tonight is you can do it. Have the vision and the dedica tion, and you move forward with your life. Mr Markantonis said everybody in the tourism sector, especially over the last two years, deserves an award for their hard work. He said whatever he and his team at Kerzner International Bahamas have done so far, will be done even better in the coming years. There is one way we are going to win, he said. If we really believe in this country, we will succeed from tourism across the board, and thats because we are always going to be more aggressive and more creativet han anybody else, and on top of that, we are going to do every thing in a much more energetic fashion. Others recognised during the evening were recently-departed tourism contributors, among them Sir Clement T Maynard, the former Minister of Tourism for whom the Ministers Award for Hospitality is now named. Tribute also went out to former Cacique sound engineers Lavard Curtis and Clarence Nat Williams, who died in a plane crash in October, 2010. Winners in all categories were: Sustainable Tourism Stuart Cove, Nassau Handicraft Dorothy Miller, Long Island Transportation SkyBahamas Sports, Leisure & Events Justin Sands, Abaco Human Resources Development Marilyn Brennen, Lyford Cay Club Creative Arts Bahamas National Youth Choir, Nassau Ministers Award for Hospitality Ali Bain, Nassau Lifetime Achievement William Bill Saunders Peoples Choice Award, Gospel Shaback, Nassau Peoples Choice Award, Sec ular KB and The Sting, Nassau S upervisor of the Year Vivienne Haynes, Kerzner Interna tional Bahamas Sales Executive of the Year Molly McIntosh, Green Turtle Cay Club and Marina Employee of the Year Micklyn Lightbourne, Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa and Resort Chef of the Year Michael Adderley, Kerzner International Bahamas Manager of the Year Kressville P. Ritchie, Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa and Resort Hotelier of the Year George Markantonis, Kerzner International Bahamas Tour Operator of the Year CheapCaribbean.com Cruise Line of the Year Royal Caribbean International Travel Writer of the Year Thomas Haines, AOPA Maga zine Airline of the Year JetBlue Airways L OCAL NEWS P AGE 2, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE 14TH ANNUAL CACIQUE AWARDS G EORGE MARKANTONIS President and Managing Director of K erzner International (Bahamas Atlantis resort, was recognised as Hotelier of the Year. F elip Major / Tribune staff W ILLIAM BILL SAUNDERS r eceives the Lifetime Achievement Award from Tourism Director G eneral David Johnson. Derek Smith /BIS SHABACK won the Peoples Choice Award, Gospel. THE Bahamas National Youth Choir won the Creative Arts award
T HE FNM must tell the people of Grand Bahama how much of the $63 mil l ion in tax revenue it received from the sale of BORCO to Buckeye Part ners will be invested in the e conomically-strapped i sland, PLP deputy leader Philip Brave Davis said at a PLP conclave on thei sland over the weekend. Mr Davis said considering the poor financial future facing the island, all of the money should go to the people of Grand Bahama. The sale of BORCO was the biggest sale of any company in the history of the Bahamas. The deal, which was for the sale of a portion of BORCO to Buckeye Partners, amounted $1.36 billion. This sale, my fellow PLPs, will give the govern ment around $63 million in tax revenue. The question you should ask the government is how much of this $63 million will go to the people of Grand Bahama? What happened to the tens of millions in stamp tax that was collected from the sale of Vopak? Why arent all those millions of dollars being spent right here where it is most needed? It is needed here in Grand Bahama. It is needed now, Mr Davis said. H e said if he should become the next deputy Prime Minister the PLPw ill move Grand Bahama forward and make Grand Bahama grand again. Programmes We will reinstitute and create powerful and farreaching educational, civic and community programmes to address grow ing social concerns.We commit tonight to help those that are destitute find employment and restore hope. We will empower our young men and women, the deputy leader said. The PLP, Mr Davis said, will aggressively promote Grand Bahama as a place for commercial and tourist development. We will place a major focus on attracting offshore financial services companies and e-business to these shores. We will make Grand Bahama grand again, he said. T HE bickering and disu nity within the ranks of PLPs in Grand Bahama should stop immediately so the party can concentrate o n winning the next genera l election, opposition leader Perry Christie said a t a PLP conclave in Grand B ahama over the weekend. H e said this was no time for there to be divisivenesso r disunity within the ranks o f PLP, and instead they must be cohesive and united. The PLP of Grand Bahama has to get out of the disunity business, he said. The bickering and inf ighting has got to stop. T here is just too much of i t, especially here in Grand B ahama. We need to work t ogether. After all, we are joined together in a common cause and we all know who our common political enemy is. So why cant we keep those things that unite us at the forefront of our m inds and lay aside the t hings that divide us? We have to unite to f ight. Believe me, my b rothers and sisters, there i s no other way to succeed, there is no other way to win. T he opposition leader said party members need to put the party machinery in Grand Bahama, in the whole northern Bahamas, in a state of readiness. We need now to put it in a state of high alert. We are entering now the final p hase of preparation for t he next general election. A s the party in opposition, w e start off with a strateg ic disadvantage: we do not k now when the next general election will be held. Since we dont know that, and wont know that, it behooves us all to get ready from now. We need t o ensure that when the bell i s sounded, we will find o urselves in full readiness f or battle. We need to proceed on the premise that the next general election will be called sooner rather than later. If time proves us wrong and the election is actually c alled later rather than s ooner we will have lost nothing by having prepared f or an early contest, Mr C hristie said. L OCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011, PAGE 3 T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Christie:Stop PLP bickering in Grand Bahama Davis: FNM must say how much of $63m will be invested in Grand Bahama T T h h e e b b i i c c k k e e r r i i n n g g a a n n d d i i n n f f i i g g h h t t i i n n g g h h a a s s g g o o t t t t o o s s t t o o p p . T T h h e e r r e e i i s s j j u u s s t t t t o o o o m m u u c c h h o o f f i i t t , e e s s p p e e c c i i a a l l l l y y h h e e r r e e i i n n G G r r a a n n d d B B a a h h a a m m a a . Perry Christie P LPS a t Saturday nights party conclave in Grand Bahama. PLP Deputy demands ans w er s over tax revenue fr om sale of BORCO PLP DEPUTY LEADER Philip Brave Davis speaks at Saturdays conclave on Grand Bahama.
EDITOR, The Tribune I WORKfor a private c ompany. One that has been in operation since the 1920s. It is a family run companyw ith no public shareholders. As is the case for a lot companies, our business has dropped off considerably o ver the past couple of years and we employees are in constant fear of losing are j obs and health insurance. A s anyone alive today k nows, these are hard times we are living in. The cost of everything has skyrocketed o ver the past couple of years. Everything goes up e xcept our income! Unlike government workers who have the luxury of receiving i ncreases every couple of years, we in the private sect or are not all so lucky. Im sure there are some companies that give regular raises,b ut the one I work for is not one of them. W e have people here who have not had an i ncrease in take home pay for decades. One gentleman hired in 1987 is today still carrying home the amount he was hired at. I myselfh ave not had an increase s ince 1997. I have been giv en more things to do, more responsibility, but no raise. We have received increaseso n paper, when Insurance goes up, but nothing extra in take home pay. Our boss-e s tell us we can consider it a raise when our health insurance goes up but they dont deduct any more from ourw ages. O ne of our bosses actual ly made the following statements when we ask aboutw age increases. Theres no point in companies giving raises because it makes the cost of everything go up.O r, when being told of how hard his employees have it trying to save money, one said: Its just as easy for a man making $100 a week to save $10 as it is for a man making $1000 to save $100! One day a meeting was called, nobody knew what it was about, so when the boss came into the office one of the young men asked: Are we getting raises? Our boss said: Yeah, turn around and bend over! while he made a kicking motion with h is foot. W hy continue working for such a company? Because m any of us will surely lose o ur health insurance if we l eave. We have medical conditions that will not be covered if we have to joina nother group. Some of us have illnesses that will prevent us from getting insurance at all if we leave. We dont stay because of our pension plans either, we dont have one! I say all that to say this. T he Government has b ecome very proficient at squeezing Joe Public fore very dime they can get. Its n ow time for the Government to ensure that Joe Public is not financially obliterated by doing so. Some employees in the private sector are not treated fairly by their employers.G overnment, in my opinion, must make it law that a company not giving its employees raises must give ac ost of living increase at l east biannually. Perhaps government could give some incentive to companies to d o so, ie, a reduction in b usiness license tax for any company having given raises that year. T he increase should be tied to inflation. If inflation is 2 per cent the raise should be 2 per cent. This is not a r aise really. All the employee would be doing is keeping pace with the ever i ncreasing cost of living. It s hould not be possible for a p erson to work for years and years and become poorer and poorer every year. A p erson working for decades at a company should be able t o progress in life, not regress. The last time I received an increase it was 1 997. If you figure inflation averaged 2 per cent per y ear, times 14 years, that amounts to 28 per cent. In real terms I have received a2 8 per cent pay cut since 1997. W e are diligently working ourselves into poverty! Our b osses dont care. Our Government must show that it cares. I call on the powers that be to address this wrong that is being done toB ahamians. Nassau, January, 2011. E DITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE The Tribune Limited NULLIUS ADDICTUS JURARE IN VERBA MAGISTRI Being Bound to Swear to The Dogmas of No Master LEON E. H. DUPUCH, Publisher/Editor 1903-1914 SIR ETIENNE DUPUCH, Kt., O.B.E., K.M., K.C.S.G., (Hon. Publisher/Editor 1919-1972 Contributing Editor 1972-1991 EILEEN DUPUCH CARRON, C.M.G., M.S., B.A., LL.B. Publisher/Editor 1972Published Daily Monday to Saturday Shirley Street, P.O. Box N-3207, Nassau, Bahamas I nsurance Management Building., P.O. F-485, Freeport, Grand Bahama TELEPHONE Switchboard (News, Circulation and Advertising Call for cost of living wage increases LETTERS l email@example.com Courts cooperating with the police EDITOR, The Tribune. I commend the three Anglican bishops who converted to Catholicism on Saturday. Their act marks the historical beginning of what promises to be a mass exodus of Anglicans over to the Catholic church. The movement is being spurred on by the growing acceptance within the Anglican communion of female bishops, practising homosexual clergy, and disagreements over the pri m acy of Sacred Scripture within the Church. Sadly, some people want to measure the truth of the faith by modern societys standards. They mistakenly believe that divine Revelation must adapt itself to the current mentality in order to be credible, instead of the current mentality converting in the light that comes to us from on high. The result is a stripping of the Redeemer of man of his rad ical uniqueness, and classifying him as someone who can be managed and domesticated. Anglican traditionalist should take heart. They are always welcome back to the fullness of truth that resides, with all its pristine beauty and splendour, inside the Catholic Church. I encourage everyone including agnostics, atheists and dissenting Catholics who are tossed about by the waves of false doctrines, to climb aboard the barque of Peter for it will be their only safe haven in these troubling times. PAUL KOKOSKI Canada, January 16, 2011. Pr aise for Anglican bishops con v er ting to Catholicism OPERATION Rapid Strike, launched on the night of January 20 by Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade, is starting to pay dividends as police target prolific offenders. As crime continues to escalate, police are confident that with the cooperation of the c ourts they can make a tremendous difference by taking repeat offenders out of circulation. An investigation of most crimes committed today reveals that they involve persons with long rap sheets accused of murder, attempted murder, break-ins and numerous other skirmishes with the law all out on bail awaiting their day in court. The police are starting to round them up, and with the coop e ration of the courts, will get them before Justice as quickly as possible. Mr Greenslade has said that the police are very pleased with the assistance being provided by the Office of the Attorney General and for its new policy of bringing those accused of gun crimes before the courts in a matter of weeks. It is not unusual to hear a discouraged police officer, shrugging his shoulders in defeat, complain that as soon as the police take an offender off the streets, some lawyer gets the courts to grant him bail, and the police chase starts all over again. The police are getting tired of chasing the same old law breakers. It is hoped that the courts will get the message and, instead of being a part of the problem, will now make every effort to work with the police for the safety of the community. Magistrates can now stop their ears to the bail pleas of the lawyers. It is only commonsense that it serves no purpose to return prolific offenders to the community. In fact it is forcing them back into crime. They can only survive if they can find employment. But who is going to employ anyone who is out on bail for murder, attempted murder, gun possession or stealing? Not being able to earn an honest living, they cannot supply food for their table, nor find the down payment for their lawyer. Crime is their only profession. It is the only profession that they know of that brings returns, if they can escape the bullet of a r ival. How many of those persons, now deceased, would still be alive today if they were behind bars awaiting trial, instead of on the streets preying on the public? Among the homicides that we report are men on bail, gunned down by another, also on bail. While awaiting trial they are busy settling old scores. A mother said to us recently after one s uch killing, that if it were her son, she would insist that he be kept behind bars until his case was called at least in jail she would know that he was safe. Many offenders laugh and brag about how quickly certain lawyers can spring them from jail. It is no wonder that they are not attracted to the new plea bargaining system, which became law in 2008. As long as they can get long stretches of freedom, hoping that the court system will get so bogged down that their case eventually will be forgotten, they wont be overly anxious to confess their sins and negotiate their prison time. However, with speedier trials, there is no longer an excuse for bail, but more incentive for them to sing and avoid court. Last year there were only two criminal courts. By next week there should be four. "With the immediacy of a trial, that tends to concentrate the mind and people will take opportunities to plead guilty or come to an arrangement by which they can pay for their crime," said Attorney General John Delaney. Meanwhile, the police are back on the streets working hard to make them safe for law-abiding citizens. These non-functioning traffic lights throughout the island are a serious traffic hazard. Despite the complaints of the public, there seems to be no solution. When some of t he lights are repaired, the repair lasts two weeks at the most. There are lights that can be seen by motorists travelling in one direction, but not by motorists travelling in the other. In other words when a car arrives at a working traffic light, directing it from the south to the north, the driver travelling in an east west direction arriving at the same intersection cannot see the light that should b e directing him across the path of the southnorth driver. Therefore, the driver going from the south to the north gets the green light, while the driver moving east-west can see no red light, because it in not directed in such a way that he can see it. A nd then there is the intersection Montagu, Village Road, for example where nothing works, and the courtesy of drivers stopped in three lanes of traffic has to be relied on to prevent a collision. Really this is not good enough. It would be appreciated if someone would at least give an explanation of what has gone wrong with our traffic lights. But even more important, some o ne should get to work and repair them urgently. Non-functioning traffic lights
POLICE seized $21,000 w orth of cocaine and marijuana and an illegal firearm during a search of a home onS hady Lane. Officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit, acting on information, conducted thes earch around 9pm on Satur day. When they arrived at the home, located off Burial G round Corner, the officers heard people inside the resi dence talking. T he officers reported they identified themselves as police and attempted to gain entry. When the officers heard movements inside the home they entered and discovered that the occupants had fledthe scene. The DEU searched the home and found a hand gun with an assortment of ammunition. Officers also discovered 18 pounds of suspected marijua-na and half a pound of suspected cocaine with a street value of $18,000 and $3,000 respectively. Up to press time no arrests were made but police say they a re following significant leads into this matter. F IREARM ARREST Meantime police arrested a 21-year-old male resident of Lobster Avenue around1 1.15pm Saturday for alleged ly possessing a handgun. Officers of the mobile divi s ion were on routine patrol on Hay Street when they saw the suspect "acting suspi-c iously." A subsequent search of the man allegedly uncov ered a handgun with ammunition. Police also report they recovered a shotgun hidden in bushes in Morrisville, Long Island. The find was made around 7am on Saturday after police, acting on information, searched the bushy area. Three people were taken into custody. Police investigations continue. STOLEN VEHICLES RECOVERED Police also recovered six stolen vehicles that were f ound as officers patrolled the area of Sir Milo Butler High way off Carmichael Road. I t was 10 am Saturday when officers of the Traffic Division found four Honda model cars and two Nissan Sentras alls tripped. No suspects were taken into custody. STOLEN VEHICLES Police yesterday appealed f or the public's help in locating the following stolen vehi cles: a 2001 silver coloured right-hand drive Honda Accord licence plate number 236192 and a 1999 grey coloured right-hand drive Honda Accord. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011, PAGE 5 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org RAPID Strike netted seven suspects, five illegal firearms and more than 100 rounds of ammunition withon 48 hours, said Commis-s ioner of Police Ellison Greenslade. Law enforcement officials praised the Royal Bahamas Police Force's new crimefighting operation as successful in getting illegal firearms and potential offenders off the streets. "We had a very productive 48 hours. We r ecovered five illegal weapons and over 100 r ounds of ammunition. We have seven persons in custody as a result and we are very o ptimistic that on Monday we will get some t raction. We are very encouraged by what h as happened thus far," said Mr Greenslade. Mr Greenslade added that on Thursday night the operation was able to diffuse ap otentially dangerous situation in the Carmichael Road area. "Our officers drove right into an armed robbery in progress. The assailant had a pistol cocked with live rounds in the chamber and that could have turned out really bad. "Fortunately no shots were fired, the man w as arrested, the gun was recovered. We b elieve that our response is measured, it w as professional, it is what is required and as commissioner I am satisfied that everythingi s being done properly." F our persons caught under Rapid Strike are expected to be arraigned in Magistrate's Court today on gun crimes. "We're very pleased with this collaborative effort and the assistance being provided by the Office of the Attorney General," added Mr Greenslade, applauding officials in the A ttorney General's Office for their new policy which aims to bring those accused of g un crimes to trial in a matter of weeks and c o-operation. R apid Strike was launched nearly two w eeks ago in a continued effort by the police t o reduce the escalating number of serious c rimes occurring throughout the Bahamas. Heavily-armed units were deployed to patrol "hot spot" areas throughout New Provi dence and caused 14 arrests in its first 24 hours of operation. The unit will be concentrating on trou blespots and targeted profiles, which includep eople suspected of engaging in unlawful activity such as murder, armed robbery, ille gal firearm possession, house break-ins, stealing and stabbing. $21,000 w or th of cocaine and illegal f ir earm found ery productive 48 hours for Rapid Strike operation P RODUCTIVE: P olice Commissioner Ellison Greenslade
B y LLONELLA GILBERT Bahamas Information Services CUSTOMS department staff celebrated International Customs Day by serving lunch to senior citizens at various homes. The Assistant Comptrol ler of Customs, Gary Smith, who was helping out at the Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged, said serving the senior citizens lunch has been a tradition for 22 years. The staff in the various sections of Customs donates the food, and we go to some 12 senior citizens homes throughout the island of New Providence where we honour those on whose shoul ders we stand by providing them with lunch, Mr Smith said. Over the years, some of them have developed particular friendships with certain homes, so some staff members choose particular homes because the people know them; but we also have some new people onboard and they are following in the tradition. The celebrations started with a church service at St Matthews Anglican Church Sunday. On Saturday there was a fun day at Customs head quarters for children from various homes. The World Customs Organisation was formed in 1947 with 13 European gov ernments agreeing to set up a study group to examine the possibility of establishing one or more Inter-European customs unions based on the principles of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT Out of this body the Customs Co-operation Council (CCC mally established in 1952. After many years of membership growth, the CCC adopted the working name of World Customs Organisation. It was at a meeting in 1963 that the date of January 26 was formalised as a day set aside to honour and recognise the achievements of Customs Officers in their various administrations. It was called Internation al Customs Day and observed to honour longserving officers, participation in community activities, town meetings, seminars and workshops to interact with and inform stakeholders about relevant Customs matters including changes in pro cedures and generally form mutual partnerships affect ing Global Trade. L OCAL NEWS P AGE 8, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By KATHRYN CAMPBELL Bahamas Information Services THE Government has activated the second phase of its street naming and house numbering exercise. The project is designed to make it easier to locate businesses and houses throughout New Providence and is a part of the six-month national jobs programme. Delmar Bowe, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport supervisor, said he pleased with the progress of the project which began on January 10. He said to date, 1,500 houses and businesses have been numbered in the exercise which runs from the East West Highway to Coral Harbour. Twenty-four persons are employed on the house numbering and street naming projects. Mr Bowe credits the success of the project to emphasis placed on the importance of clarity, accuracy and consistency of their job. We must be accurate and consistent and take each day at a time to get things done, he said. He explained that once new numbers have been erected, the old numbers would remain for an indefinite period of time. Our employees compile the data on sight including the existing number and the new number that is assigned. All of the utility companies have to be informed of the changes and until such time the old numbers will stay on the buildings. We distribute flyers to the owners advising them to make their properties accessible so that Ministry of Works employees can install the numbers. If a resident is not at home and we cannot access their property we would place the number on an outdoor wall. Otherwise we would leave the number and ask the residents to install the number themselves. Mr Bowe said field surveys conducted during phase one reveal there were deficiencies to buildings that have not yet been numbered and buildings that were wrongly numbered in the past. Employees assigned to this task will be properly identified and due care will be taken not to damage the owners property. Employees will have an identification card to indicate they are a part of the Ministry of Public Works and Transports house numbering team. The official numbering system is north to south or east to west with even numbers on the right side o f the street and odd numbers on the left side. Phase two of the house numbering exercise begins PROJECT SUPERVISOR Delmar Bowe (far right and Antoine Minnis who install numbers on a home in Bougainvillea Boulevard, South Beach. D ELMAR BOWE, ( far right) project supervisor for the Ministry of Public Works and Transports house numbering exercise talks about the project as Valdeshia Bethel (centre Patrick Hanna /BIS CUSTOMS DEPT STAFF TREAT SENIOR CITIZENS TO LUNCH ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER of Customs, Gary Smith (standing centre members from the Customs Department, the Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged staff including F rances Ledee, administrator, (standing far right Thursday, January 26. Staff from the Bahamas Customs Department visited 12 senior citizens homes serving the residents lunch. Derek Smith /BIS S AN JOSE, Costa Rica COSTA RICAN a uthorities say they have dismantleda cocaine smuggling network that used fishing vessels to ship drugs from Ecuador and C olombia through Central America and into Mexico, according to Associated Press. T he Security Ministry says i n a Sunday statement that the Colombian-run network paid fishermen to haulc ocaine to Guatemala and Mexico. The ministry says raids in t he Costa Rican capital of San Jose and in the Pacific coast city of Puntarenas were carr ied out Saturday. Five C olombians and a Costa Rican national were arrested. Costa Rican officials say p owerful drug cartels are increasingly using the country as a transshipment point f or cocaine much of it ultimately bound for the United States. COSTA RICA: NETWORK USED FISHERMEN TO SHIP COCAINE
INTERNATIONAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011, PAGE 9 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM The Mercedes-Benz C-ClassYour most enjoyable drive ever.The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a pleasure tobehold offering a new interpretation of driving pleasure. Its taut lines lend it an a ir of effortless superiority while the wide radiator grille and distinctive rear section announce a vehicle with a real presence and dynamic personality. Few cars can compete with its ability to adjust so many facets of its character from the interior to the drive technology so quickly and precisely in response toexternal conditions and your own particular needs. The key to this flexible response is the standard-fit Agility Control Package which includes selective damping. The interior offers noticeably more space and a more distinctive atmosphere tosuit your taste. As you will see, the C-Class is the perfect embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz philosophy.Tyreflex Star MotorsWulff Road, P. O. Box N 9123, Nassau, The Bahamas, Tel 242.325.4961 Fax 242.323.4667OUR PARTS DEPARTMENT IS FULLY STOCKED WITH EVERY COMPONENT NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT YOUR MERCEDES RUNS TROUBLE FREE. TRAINED TECHNICIANS ON DUTY. B y JARI TANNER Associated Press TALLINN, Estonia (AP He's been honoured with an Oscar and British knighthood.A s of Thursday, Sean Connery can count a bronze sculpture in the Estonian capital among his tributes. The bust of Scotland's most famous actor was unveiled byB ritish Ambassador Peter Carter outside Tallinn's Scottish Club, whose members include Estonians enamored with Scotland and a handful of expatriate Scots. "Sir Sean Connery is, without a doubt, an icon," Carter told d ozens of invited guests. "He is v ariously known as James Bond o r the sexiest man of the century. He's a great British actor, a greatS cot actor and a great symbol for S cotland." The Scottish Club, which starte d as a whiskey sampling society in the early 1990s, got the idea of honouring "Scots who have m ade a difference" a few years back, said president Mart H aamer. It already has a bust of 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns. H aamer read a brief statement from the 80-year-old actor, who w on an Academy Award for a supporting role in "The Untoucha bles." "One cannot help but be flattered by the Scottish Club's gest ure. My best wishes to the members of the club and to all the people who made this possible," t he statement said. A vocal supporter of the proindependence Scottish National Party, Connery lives in theB ahamas and has said he will not live in Scotland again until it gains independence from the U nited Kingdom. H owever, Carter noted that "the fact that he has acceptedk nighthood, suggests that he is a lso a great supporter of the queen." Connery was knighted in 2000. The 10,000 ($14,000 E stonian sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu was financed through private donations and depicts a beardedC onnery at a mature age. "I think the older he gets, the more charming he becomes," Kirsipuu said. By MIKE LIGHTBOURNE N O MATTER h ow much you p repare, real estate closings almost always take longer than they should. Sometimes unbearably longer. Delays could fall into three majorc ategories: financing, legal delays (sometimes just getting a simple sales contract agreed to) and possibly inspect ions. G etting estimates and negotiating repairs can really hold up a transaction, b ut there are ways to speed up the p rocess. O ne option is for vendors to procure a pre-listing inspection and make repairs before the first potential pur-c haser sets foot in the home. However, this can be a costly expense for vendors, especially when purchasers may arrange for their own inspection after making an offer, and there can often be great differences in estimated costs. A better alternative is for the BREA l isting agent to walk through the home w ith the vendors, noting the age and the condition of major components oft he home and securing estimates for p otential repairs. Vendors may not have to fix the problems, but having an idea of the cost of repairs will help them price the home fairly, as well as reduce the time necessary for purchasers to negotiate the costs. T his is an excellent preventative and proactive step towards a successful and, hopefully, speedy closing. ( Mike Lightbourn is president of C oldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty). REALESTATE: Preventing inspection delays Sean Connery immortalised with sculpture in Estonia BRITISH AMBASSADOR Peter Cater looks at a bronze bust of Oscar-winning actor Sean Connery, a prominent Scottish nationalist, after unveiling it at the Scottish Club in Tallin, Estonia. The bust was created by Estonia's most famous sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu, and is intended to mark the year Sir Sean turned 80. The club itself was first founded in 1993 as a whisky society, but became associated with prominent politicians and top business figures. Based in the heart of Tallinn's Unesco heritage site, its staff serve guests dressed in kilts, while the carpet is tartan. (AP Share your news The Tribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps y ou are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning f or improvements in the ar ea or have won an awar d. If so, call us on 322-1986 and shar e your story.
announced the opposition will be organising a group at Parliamentary level tob egin informal discussions with interested parties in Grand Bahama about the tax exemptions that wille xpire under the provisions of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement. The agreement was s igned in 1955 between the government and Freeport developer, the late WallaceG roves, to establish a city a nd free trade zone on Grand Bahama Island. Some of the provisions of the agreement, most notablyt he real property tax exemption, expire in 2015. Our committee ought to s peak with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and also the Grand Bahama C hamber of Commerce and other groups, including church leaders and civic organisations. We need to hear your views. When we come to government, I intend to hit the ground running, Mr Christie said. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was in Grand Bahama on December 18 when he spoke about the fact that certain tax exempt ions will expire under the provisions of the agreement. He said the Grand B ahama Port Authority has a sked his government to begin discussions on the question of what the position of the government willb e on those exemptions and whether they should be renewed. M r Ingraham said he did not want to speak to the organisation about the mat ter until the authority got its house in order. H owever, Mr Christie said the PLP holds a differ ent view and a different a pproach in this matter. The thing is, it is simply bad manners not to talk to someone who is a majori nvestor in your country. But I am sure that you are not surprised at that. That is the FNMs way, talk to people any kind of way and any kind of how. The PLP would, if it were the government, at the very least begin discussions with the Grand Bahama Port Authority at least at the technical level so that we can understand the issues, the revenue implications and the implications to the future for investment in Grand Bahama, the oppos ition leader said. Mr Christie said his initial thought is that the potentialr eal property tax revenue t hat would come from the expiry of the exemptions would be a great benefit to the treasury and to the peo p le. These therefore have to be studied carefully. But thee conomic structure and sys tem in Freeport have benefitted our country greatly and we must be careful nott o kill the goose that laid the g olden egg, he said. L OCAL NEWS P AGE 10, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM arm. The victim was taken to the local clinic for treatment," said Sgt Skippings. The other shooting happened around 2.30am yesterday in Nassau in the area of East and Lewis Streets. Police were told that a man, wearing a yellow shirt and blue jeans, had fired the shots and was seen run ning from the area with a handgun. Officers of the Tourism Police Unit responded and saw a man fitting the description running through McCullough Cor ner. The officers gave chase, but the culprit escaped them. While at McCullough Corner, police spoke with a 27-year-old man of Fourth Terrace, in Centreville, who said that while walking on McCullough Corner he heard gunshots and realised that he had been shot in one of his wrists and shoulder. The victim was taken to hospital by EMS where he was last reported to be in stable condition. A short while later police received information that the culprit was seen leaving the area in a Honda car. Officers of Rapid Strike, patrolling Taylor Street, spotted the vehicle and stopped the car. A 33-yearold man of Foxdale was taken into custody. Police investigations continue. advice of the PLP and sells to Cable and Wireless, we put Cable and Wireless on noticeof our central position that the sale to Cable and Wireless is not in the national interest, and when we return to Government we will re-examine all of the provisions of the deal and we will aggressively reneg otiate the terms of the agreement that we deem repugnant to the national i nterest, Mr Christie said. T he opposition leader s aid his party believes this c ourse of action is in accord ance with the wishes of the c ountry and is consistent w ith the PLP's core values and constitution. He said the party will a ggressively explore lawful ways and means by which Bahamian ownership of BTC can be enhanced, through the offering of shares to the Bahamian p ublic, with appropriate c ontrols to prevent the concentration of shares into theh ands of one group or fami ly, whether Bahamian or f oreign. We believe that BTC s hould then be opened to competition and the telecommunications market liberalised as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter. A BTC, owned by a wide cross-section of the B ahamian community, c ould purchase the best management expertise and t echnology to provide the B ahamian and foreign busi n ess community a competitive world class and affordable service like the Bank of The Bahamas, Mr Christie said. If Mr Christie wins the e lection and proceeds with t his course of action, it would not be the first timet he PLP renegotiated a cont ract between the Governm ent of the Bahamas and a private investor. T he PLP found the terms of the Hawksbill Creek agreement, which delegated the powers of immigration control to a private company, to be repugnant to the national interest and negot iated that change which c ame into effect in 1969. The result was that the G rand Bahama Port A uthority returned immi g ration control to the Bahamian people. We made the same principled point to the developers of the then proposed Clifton Cay, and when we c ame to office we changed t he deal in the national interest. We are doing thes ame now with Cable and W ireless, Mr Christie said. H e said the PLP does not a gree with, and will not supp ort in the House of Assembly and the Senate, t he sale of any of the shares in BTC to Cable and Wireless. We do not believe that it (Cable and Wireless trustworthy, reliable and c apable strategic partner for t he Bahamas and BTC. We call on the government toc ease and desist in pursui ng the sale as they have a nnounced it, Mr Christie s aid. A mong the items that the party now finds repugnant i s the notion that the FNM administration has agreed that the Government of The Bahamas is to becomea minority shareholder in BTC but will still have to f und part of the pension liab ilities of the company in the first instance by advanc-i ng $39 million from the t reasury, with a continuing o bligation to fund future l osses. SEEPAGETWO The PLP would agressively renegotiate the BTCsale F ROM page one Christie:government must be careful about changing GB economic structure FROM page one CYCLIST MOWED DOWN AND KILLED FROM page one
By SIR RONALD S ANDERS (The writer is a Consultant and former Caribbean diplomat) I am writing this comm entary in the airport in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. To describe Malaysia as a vibrant, energetic country would be an understatement. It is fast becoming yet a nother Asian Tiger joini ng the economies of Sing apore, South Korea and T hailand. Y et, it wasnt so long a go that Malaysia was regarded as a poor second cousin to other Asian states behind which it lagged economically. The country has oil. But that natural resource i mportant though it is is not the main reason for this countrys transformat ion in the last 40 years into a middle-income country w ith a multi-sector economy. Prime Minister Najib T un Razak credits the countrys transformation to the investment of its revenues from oil and gas int wo areas education and infrastructural development Malaysia now has a h ighly competent, skilled work force and significant physical infrastructurei ncluding highways along which its production is moved to its port and air port, and its people easily t ransported for work and l eisure. Apart from oil and gas, electronics is its biggeste xport and employer of both its skilled and semiskilled population. The Prime Minister is a iming to make Malaysia a high-income country by 2020, and it looks set to achieve it. The government and the private sector have joined in an investment pro gramme designed to produce millions of new jobs and to upgrade the skillsof the existing work force. While the government is the facilitator of the pro gramme, the bulk of the investment is coming from the private sector, mostly local businessmen. They have set themselves on a course to establish high technology industries, medical technology and pharmaceuticals. Malaysia has recovered well from the global financial crisis which started in late 2008. While in 2009 decreasing demand for consumer goods slowed economic growth, the economy has bounced back in 2010 and the foreign reserves of the Central Bank are healthy. Kuala Lumpur is a hive of economic activity. Its roads are clogged with traffic, mostly one person to a car an indication of years of state-subsidised gasoline, investment in roads and good salary levels. The skyline is dominated by structures immediately reminiscent of New York and Toronto twin towers, not unlike the tar gets of 9/11 and a tower that resembles the CN Tower in Toronto almost exactly. The shops range from up market designer names almost all of them, Gucci, Louis Vitton, name it and it is there to market malls which also have designer name brands for items from handbags to clothing, except these are fakes made mostly in Korea, but enjoying a brisk trade among Malaysian locals and foreigners alike. English is the common language of the ethnic M alays and the Chinese c ommunity that have lived in Malaysia for decades. I t helps greatly in doing business. And, while it might have b een expected that China w ould be the dominant i nvestor country, it is still the United States that ist he source of the largest c umulative investment, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister sports a large emblem of t he number 1 on his lapel. So do most of the minist ers and government employees. One signifies OneM alaysia, an attempt by t he present government to m ake long-term residents of Malaysia, particularly the Chinese, feel that whilet hey may not be Malay, they are Malaysian in a country whose society is one. There is good reason for this. The Chinese are industrious in addition to b eing well educated and w ell trained. They have made a significant contribution toM alaysias development and the present government is trying to stem a tide of Chinese emigrationw hich deprives the country o f business talent and cap ital. Years of preferences to the Malay population dis advantaged the Chinese who had to perform better to maintain their place int he society. N ow the effort is build a One-Malaysia society that is inclusive, keeps talent at home, and is focused on a strong economy. Malaysias population is also over 60 per cent Mus l im, but that does not stop it from being open to busi ness from Europe and North America. As the Chairman of a large cong lomerate put it, Muslims y es, Money makers too. The countrys members hip of the Commonwealth i s part of a valuable heri tage. English Common law and a parliamentary systems imilar to the countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean and Britain make it easy for investors from the US and the UK to do business in the country. A nd, if the high occup ancy levels in the many t op class hotels in the centre of City are anything toj udge by, both investors a nd foreign contractors are taking a keen interest in Malaysia. Sixty per cent of Malaysi a s 27 million people are connected to the Internet, and Google Inc, the ownero f the worlds most popular search engine on the Internet, has just announced an investment of millions ofd ollars as part of its focus o n south-east Asia. While foreign investment is welcome, and several foreign companies are being awarded large infrastructural projects, the government is keen to pro m ote local direct investment. It has announced plans to boost local direct investment through busi ness linkages and domes tic outsourcing. There is little doubt that Malaysia will achieve its a mbition of making its people high-income earners. Even if there is slippage from the projected date of 2020, it will be pretty close to it. The secret of its success h as been the effort by successive governments to use revenues for huge investm ents in education and the u pgrading of skills so as to t ake advantage of internet broadband technology for the services sector andm anufacturing industries. Malaysia and its neigh bour Singapore are Commonwealth countries thata re doing very well in glob al economic terms which shows that developing Commonwealth countriesc an learn from each others experiences in the d evelopment models they adopt. C aribbean and Pacific Commonwealth countries should invite a combina tion of government and b usiness people from Malaysia and Singapore to share the lessons theyve learned and the skills t heyve developed. Commonwealth countries of the S outh have shown they can be as successful as the rich countries of the North. R esponses and previous commentaries at: www.sirronaldsanders.com T HE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011, PAGE 11 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM Lessons from Malaysia WORLDVIEW SIRRONALDSANDERS M ALAYSIA: K uala Lumpur is a hive of economic activity. R R a a z z a a k k c c r r e e d d i i t t s s t t h h e e c c o o u u n n t t r r y y s s t t r r a a n n s s f f o o r r m m a a t t i i o o n n t t o o t t h h e e i i n n v v e e s s t t m m e e n n t t o o f f i i t t s s r r e e v v e e n n u u e e s s f f r r o o m m o o i i l l a a n n d d g g a a s s i i n n t t w w o o a a r r e e a a s s e e d d u u c c a a t t i i o o n n a a n n d d i i n n f f r r a a s s t t r r u u c c t t u u r r a a l l d d e e v v e e l l o o p p m m e e n n t t .
I NTERNATIONAL NEWS P AGE 14, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM M ARACAY, Venezuela A FIRE and a series of explosions tore through a military arms depot Sunday, killing one person andl eading authorities to evacu ate thousands of people, a ccording to Associated P ress. About 10,000 residents fled their homes in areas up to several miles (kilometers) from the site as the burning ammunition produced powerful blasts, offic ials said. T he cause of the predawn fire was unclear. H ours after the initial e xplosions, faint booms c ould still be heard in the distance as clouds of whites moke rose from the area a longside hills in Maracay, 60 miles (100 kilometers w est of Caracas. "It's under control but there is still risk," Presid ent Hugo Chavez said as he visited firefighters and o ther officials in Maracay. He noted that the blasts h urled some explosives s uch as grenades long distances into surrounding c ommunities, and urged caution. O fficials were searching nearby neighborhoods fora ny stray explosives, Aragua state Gov. Rafael Isea told the state-runV enezuelan News Agency. C havez praised officials for a swift response. "An event like this could have produced ... a much biggert ragedy," he said. Chavez wondered aloud what might have caused it, saying: "A fire there is odd, and at that hour." Vice President Elias Jaua s aid earlier on state televis ion that authorities were i nvestigating and suggested they weren't ruling o ut sabotage. "We can't rule out any h ypothesis since Venezuela is a country threatened bys trong international powe rs," Jaua said. "We know of groups that act in a crazy manner within our territory, but it can't be determined yet if it was provoked or if it was an accident." He did not elabor ate. O ne woman in a house was killed by a piece of s hrapnel that wounded her i n the abdomen, the Attor ney General's Office said in a statement. Three people were i njured in traffic accidents a mid the chaos as people fled, Isea said. "It seemed like they w ere bombing us," said Yandry Rey, 30, who lives with her husband, a military officer, and two chil dren in housing adjacent to the munitions storage area. She said the explosions shook her house and woke h er up, and that they fled w ith their children. Rey s aid she saw a "ball of fire" when she opened the door. H ours later, she and several other people who fled t he military housing complex were resting on thee dge of a ditch in the s hade. Rey's daughter still wore her nightshirt. Another woman, 27year-old Genesis Baricot, said her husband returned to their house and saw that the blasts had blown off t heir front door and caused p art of the roof in the kitchen to collapse. S he said she didn't yet k now where the family would go. "What are they going to do with us?" she asked. S oldiers and police b locked exits on a major highway that runs nearby. Thousands of evacuees w ere taken to a sports sta dium, a military barracks and a park, emergency management director Luis Diaz told state television. Chavez said the evacuees included Chinese and Russians who were working on p rojects in the area. H e said the Russians w ere building a rifle factory. H e did not elaborate on what the Chinese were i nvolved in. National Guard Maj. G en. Luis Motta D ominguez said in remarks broadcast by Union Radio that authorities were waiting for the smaller blasts to die down and that what was left was "a lot of smoke." S tate TV showed firef ighters working to extinguish what remained of the f ire. C avim, Venezuela's mil itary arms manufacturer, said in a statement that the explosions began at 4:45a .m. local time (4:15 a.m. E ST; 0915 GMT). The fire burned four artillery-munitions storages ites out of 20 that Cavim maintains in Maracay, Gen. Cliver Alcala Cordones told the state news agency. Fire, explosions at Venezuela arms depot; one killed SMOKE BILLOWS from a military arms depot after a fire in Maracay, V enezuela, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011. A fire s et off a series of explosions at a military arms depot, killing at least one person and leading authorities to evacuate about 10,000 people from the area. (AP A SOLDIER stands guard outside a military arms depot after a fire in M aracay, Venezuela, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011. A fire set off a series of explosions at a military arms depot, killing at least one person and lead ing authorities to evacuate about 10,000 people from the area. (AP JUBA, Sudan SOUTHERNSudan's referendum commission said Sunday that more than 99 percent of voters in the south opted to secede from the country's north in a vote held ear lier this month, according to Associated Press. The announcement drew cheers from a crowd of thousands that gathered in Juba, the dusty capital of what may become the world's newest country. The weeklong vote, held in early January and widely praised for being peaceful and for meeting international standards, was a con dition of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a north-south civil war that lasted two decades and killed2 million people. The head of the commission's southern bureau, Justice Chan Reec Madut, said Sunday that vot er turnout in the 10 states in the south was also 99 percent. He said only some 16,000 voters in the south chose to remain united with northern Sudan, while 3.7 million chose to separate. In northern Sudan, 58 percent of voters chose secession, said Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil, chair man of the referendum commission. He said some 60 percent of eligible voters participated. Southern Sudanese voters in eight foreign countries over whelmingly supported secession,he said, with 99 percent support for secession among the 97 percent of voters who participated. In the United States, he said, more than 99 percent of the 8,500 southerners who cast votes chose secession. "These results lead to a change of situation," said Khalil after he read the results. "That change relates only to the constitutional form of relationship between north and south. North and south are drawn together in indissoluble geographic and historic bonds." Referendum commission offi cials did not announce an overall percentage total for all votes cast. The commission's website said Sunday that 98.8 percent of voters chose secession, but noted that the figure may change. If the process stays on track, Southern Sudan will become the world's newest country in July. Border demarcation, oil rights and the status of the contested region of Abyei still have to be negotiat ed. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon praised the conduct of the election, but said much still needed to be done. "We are still very much con cerned about post-referendum issues border security, citizen ship, wealth sharing, demarcation, popular consultations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, and most importantly the status of Abyei," he said while addressing African leaders at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. "Consolidating the peace in North and South Sudan will require statesmanship, wisdom, patience and the consistent engagement and support of the international community." Southern Sudanese president Salva Kiir also gave remarks at the results ceremony, speaking mostly in Arabic. "We are still moving forward," Kiir said in English. "The struggle continues." Kiir thanked Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his leadership and for "making peace possible." Kiir said the south will declare independence on July 9, but not before. "We are not going to put down the flag of Sudan until July 9," he said. The event marked the release of the first official primary results from the self-determination vote. The results will not be finalized until February. But Sunday's announcement did not stop people from celebrating. "I'm very happy because today we have determined our destiny," said Anna Kaku, 42, who dressed up for the ceremony and joined the spontaneous dancing that followed Kiir's address. "We fought for so many years, and now we have done this peacefully." Over 99 per cent in Southern Sudan vote for secession A SOUTHERN SUDANESE woman stands in a crowd during the announcement of preliminary referendum results in Juba, southern Sudan on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011. Referendum officials indicated that nearly 99 per cent of all voters cast ballots in favor of southern independence. Southern Sudan will remained united with the north until the expiration of Comprehensive Peace Agreement in July 2011. (AP SOUTHERN SUDANESE men line up to casts their votes at a polling center in Juba, Southern Sudan, in this Jan. 10, 2011 file photo. The Southern Sudan Referendum Commission said Sunday over 99 percent of the people in the south voted for secession in its first official primary results since the vote was held earlier this month. (AP Share your news The Tribune wants to hear fr om people who ar e making news in their neighbour hoods. Perhaps you ar e raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for impr ovements in the area or have won an awar d. If so, call us on 322-1986 and shar e your story.
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011, PAGE 15 TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM MEMBERS of the Royal Bahamas Defence Forcese xecutive, management and leadership team kicked o ff the year with a threeday planning seminar at t he Coral Harbour Base. On the heels of Commodore Roderick Bowes first year anniversary at the helm, the team converged t o execute the first phase o f planning aimed at mov ing the 30-year-old force into a modern era. The Seminar took a look a t the RBDFs overall missions, vision and objectives, which have been in exis t ence since its inception, determining their relevanceto todays tasking and chal lenges. S pecific departments also p resented their individual plans for the future based on their leaders overalls trategic intent and also were empowered to field additional recommenda tions from the participants. L ast year, the administration of the force concentrated on the morale and welfare of its men and women. The focus for 2011 will now shift to encompass training and re-education. With 32 persons presently on study leave, training in arenas as piloting, culinary arts, construction, plumping and electrical engi-n eering technology to psychology and computer scie nce, the force says it is well on the way to realising a more skilled organisation. There are also six officers away at the United States Coast Guard officerc andidate school and the B ritannia Royal Naval Col lege for training, and a number of others benefitting from a range of IMET( International Military Education and Training) and other overseas Coursesa round the world. Representatives from partner agencies like the Police, Immigration, Cus-t oms, Fisheries, BASRA, a nd the United States Coast Guard were also invited to discuss theirr oles and methods of improved connectivity for 2011. Media training, divi sional system review, inspi r ational speakers and spiritual charges were also incorporated. The planning concluded with a breakfast with Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, Minister of National Security Tommy O A Turn quest and the Secretary to the Cabinet Anita Bernard. THETEAM: The Executive, Management and Leadership Team of t he Force pose for a photo at the end of their Annual Planning Ceremony. Defence Force gets planning for modern era PRIME MINISTER Hubert Ingraham, Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest and Secretary to the Cabinet Anita Bernard on a short tour of the RBDF base. SENIOR OFFICERS listen to presentations during the seminar. Three-day seminar at Coral Harbour Base
By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor THE Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC aiming to kick back into gear on its workforce initiatives through the imminent hiring of an education and training manager, a senior official describing the shortage of trained Bahami an workers as the single biggest limiting factor in our growth across the board. Robert Myers, chair of the BCCECs training and educa tion division, said that while the restructuring caused by the Chamber/Employers Confed eration merger had set us back five to six months, the prospective education and training manager had been identified, and talks over terms and salary were now being finalised. With that, we should see the initiative kick back into gear, Mr Myers told Tribune Busi ness. Weve done well, but did have some delay because of the shift to the BCCEC. That took a bit of time in that we had some changes with regard to the structure. Theres a lot happening, and it will pick up momentum towards the end of the first and quarter and the second quarter. Praising the ongoing Chamber Institute seminar series as one of the most powerful ini tiatives undertaken by the BCCEC, providing for career, business and vocational development, Mr Myers said a survey would soon be launched to assess where companies saw labour force deficiencies, and where they needed help in edu cating and training workers. He added that April 6 had been tentatively pencilled in as the date when the Chamber would stage a Business Educa tion Seminar in conjunction with the US Embassy, while further initiatives in alliance with the Association of Char tered Certified Accountants (ACCA Describing workforce education and training, and result ing labour productivity, as hugely important, Mr Myers told Tribune Business: Its the single largest limiting factor in our growth. We just have huge problems trying to get trained, efficient, consistent employees. Its a big, big problem. Its limiting growth all over the SECTIONB email@example.com MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 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 CITY MARKETS will need to invest between $10$12 million to get two new stores, on JFK Drive in Nas sau and the Queens Highway in Freeport, opera tional, Tribune Business was B y NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor A ML Foods chairman last n ight branded the $12 million offer by City Markets principal, Mark Finlayson, to a cquire 51 per cent majority control of the BISX-listed food retail group as not int he best interests of all shareh olders, telling Tribune Business it would leave them at the mercy of an untried and unproven management team. D escribing the announce ment by Mr Finlayson and his Trans-Island Tradersv ehicle, which last November acquired the 78 per cent majority stake in City Markets Bahamas Supermarkets parent for just $1, as effect ively the first hostile t akeover bid seen in the B ahamian capital markets, Dionisio DAguilar said he was amazed that no formala pproach had been made to AML Foods Board. T rans-Island Traders is offering what it describes as a 50 per cent premium to AML F oods existing share price, a lthough the $1.02 close on By NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business Editor A COMBINED City Markets-AML Foods would have just a 25 per cent market s hare of the Bahamian food retail market, Mark Finlayson t old Tribune Business last n ight, adding that together the t wo companies would generate an annual $150 million in food sales alone. Speaking to Tribune BusiBy ALISON LOWE Business Reporter a firstname.lastname@example.org ROBIN HOODSnew Prince Charles Drive store iso n target to attract 30,000 cus tomers this month, and is set to top out somewhere in the5 0,000 to 60,000 range, with the groundbreaking for an a ssociated 44,000 square foot retail plaza on the same site set for March. S andy Schaefer, Robin Hoods president and co-own er, and developer of the plaza, s aid it was scheduled to be constructed before year-end. It is expected to contain a By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter email@example.com CONCERNS are grow ing in the Bahamian auto motive industry about some car dealers who are allegedly offering imported vehi cles at what are considered by many to be impossibly reduced prices. Ben Albury of Bahamas Bus and Truck, and Fred Albury of Executive Motors, both told Tribune Business they believe some car dealers may be submit ting false invoices to the Customs Department and clearing their vehicles witho ut paying the proper duty. This then enables the salesmen to attract cus tomers by offering substanWORKER TRAINING: CHAMBER KICKS BACK INTO GEAR SEE page 3B $12m hostile offer not in AMLs interest BISX-listed food retail groups chair says largest shareh olders definitively rejected Finlayson offer, as would leave minority at mercy of unproven management Proposed $1.50 a share tender a 47%, or $4m, premium to Friday close Potential purchaser believes prospects are pretty high AML FOODS CHAIRMAN D ionisio DAguilar SEE page 4B Merged City MeatAML to have just 25% market share Finlayson says combined entity to gross $150m in f ood sales per annum alone Says definitely not hostile Hoping for Commission approval in seven-10 days But analyst sceptical, saying at least $4 per share n eeded MARKFINLAYSON Robin Hood tar gets 30k vistors for Jan SEE page 6B Set to top out in 50,000-60,000 range on monthl y customer count A SHOPPER l ooks at whats on offer inside Robin Hood on Prince Charles drive. Felip Major /Tribune staff AUTO SECTOR FEARS RISE OVER FALSE INVOICING SEE page 5B SEE page 5B CITY MARKETS TARGETS $1 0-$1 2M FOR STORES $6m already raised for JFK Drive location Freeport key to return to profit, with firm still on track for $120m sales SEE page 3B
B USINESS P AGE 2B, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE ROYALFIDELITY MARKET WRAP By ROYALFIDELITY CAPITAL MARKETS EQUITY MARKET TRADING STATISTICS Week ending 28.01.11 BISX SYMBOLCLOSING PRICEWKLY PRICE CHANGEVOLUMEYTD PRICE CHANGE AML$1.04$-07.22% BBL$0.18$-00.00% BOB$4.90$-00.00%B PF$10.63$-00.00% B SL $5.01$-00.00% BWL$2.70$-00.00% CAB$10.21$-0-2.39% CBL$6.81$-0.042,223-2.71% C HL$2.40$-00.00% C IB$9.39$-00.00% CWCB$2.18$0.11019.13% D HS$1.60$-00.00% FAM$5.47$-0.601,000-9.88% FBB $ 2.17$-00.00% FCL$5.48$-8000.37% FCLB$1.00$-00.00%F IN$6.51$-6,000-9.96% I CD$7.40$-00.00% JSJ$9.82$-00.00% PRE$10.00$-00.00% INTERNA TIONAL MARKETS FOREX Rates CurrencyWeekly %Change C AD 0 .9998 -0.73 G BP1.5781-1.42 E UR 1.3617 -0.05 COMMODITIES Commodity W eekly % Change C rude Oil 9 9.31 1.79 G old 1,319.00-1.82 IT WASanother slow week of trading in the Bahamian stock market. Investors traded in three out of the 24 listed securities, with no advancers and two decliners. EQUITY MARKET A total of 10,023 shares changed hands, representing a slight increase of 3,745 shares compared to the previous week's trading volume of 6,278 shares. Finance Corporation of the Bahamas (FIN was the volume leader, trading a volume of 6,000 shares to close unchanged at $6.51. FamGuard Corporation (FAM decliner in the week, trading a volume of 1,000 shares and falling $0.60 to see its stock close at $5.47, a new 5-week low. Commonwealth Bank (CBL of 2,223 shares to see its stock price decrease by $0.04, closing at $6.81. BOND MARKET No notes traded during the week. COMPANY NEWS Earnings Releases: Focol Holdings (FCL financial results for the quarter ended October 31, 2010. FCL reported net income of $4.8 million, an increase of $261,000 or 5.7 per cent compared to $4.6 million in the same period the previous year. Revenues of $68.5 million were up by $8.9 million or 15 per cent in comparison to the prior period. The cost of sales also increased by $8.6 million or 18 per cent to $56.3 million, resulting in gross profits of $12.2 million that increased by $320,000 quarter-over-quarter. Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.13, compared to $0.12 in the comparative period. Total assets and liabilities at October 31, 2010, stood at $140.5 million and $25.4 million respectively, compared to $136.8 million and $23.7 million at July 31, 2010.
By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org THEMinister of the Environment does not have an answer as to why initial steps on installing a transmission line capable of carrying the required amount of energy from Abacos new power plant to residents and businesses are being taken now, with the plant itself is in the final testing phase. Earl Deveaux confirmed in a meeting with the Abaco business community and residents in Marsh Harbour on Friday that BECs Board has authorised a tender for the completion of an upgraded 60 MW transmission line from Wilson City to Marsh Harbour, with expectations that the power line could be completed by May 15 this year. This comes over six months after the Wilson City power plant had initially been scheduled for completion, as it now enters a final reliability testing phase before it comes on stream to provide the envisaged enhanced power supply. The plants four 12 megawattgenerating units will ultimately be capable of producing 48 megawatts of power. Current transmission lines are capable of carrying 14 to 16 megawatts of power, and Abacos present power demands are around 11 megawatts at daily peak, said Mr Deveaux. In the summer, peak demand can reach closer to 25 mega watts. Abaco residents yesterday questioned why BEC is only moving ahead with the tendering process for the transmission line at this late stage, and expressed fear that the tourism-dependent island will again suffer from the disastrous load shedding and power blackouts that saw residents and visitors faced with having to go without power on a daily basis for several days over summer 2010. One resident, who declined to be named, said: BEC is completely and utterly incompetent. Before they even broke ground in Wilson City they had the facts. They knew the new plant would generate up to 48MW. They knew the old power lines would not be able to handle much more than 12MW. Also, they said when they began the power plant it would be ready before summer last year. Here we are now looking at it maybe nearing completion when this summer starts. And that is just maybe! Initial pronouncements by BEC were that the Wilson City plant would be fully operational by summer 2010. The Government has pointed to the Judicial Review of the decision to go ahead with the plant as a significant cause of delay in the project. In his statement in Marsh Harbour, Mr Deveaux said he had travelled to Abaco to provide an update to residents on the status of generation at the Wilson City plant, and the plans going forward to address the peak demand period for the summer. He apologised to residents for the nightmarish experiences suffered in the past, including the recent nuisances over the past few weeks as it relates to power supply. Like you, we are disappointed in the performance of BEC and its reliability, he said. According to Mr Deveaux, recent power outages in Abaco were attributable to attempts to service Marsh Harbour from Wilson City and the old power plant interchangeably, and when switching between generators at Wilson City. told last night, with the company poised to return to profitability once it fixes its three Freeport stores. Mark Finlayson, City Markets principal, told this newspa per that $6 million had already been raised to convert the former Burns House property on the corner of JFK Drive and Bethel Avenue, next to Royal Bank of Canada, into a replace ment store for the former Oakes Field location. Right now, we have two of them finalised, Mr Finlayson said of new City Markets locations. That was the difficult part of it. We did not want to do it all out of our own pocket, and Col ina put a group together to get this financed. We already have $6 million on the JFK property. Part of thats our money and part of that Colina raised for us. With a g roup like Colina, its not difficult. Mr Finlayson said Supervalue from the US would be assisting with the layout and designof the JFK Drive store, adding that a concrete shell needed to be put in, along with the correct fixtures and outfitting. He added that the supermar ket chain had been planning to construct two City Market Super Centres, one on the East-West Highway in Nassau, the other on the Queens Highway in Freeport, but if his plans to acquire a 51 per cent majoritys take in AML Foods came to fruition, the former would not be needed due to its proximity to the latters Solomons Super Centre format in the Town Cen tre Mall. Acknowledging that the EastWest Highway plan had been put on the shelf for the timeb eing, Mr Finlayson said City Markets was still pursuing plans to turn the old Butler & Sands building on Freeports Queens Highway into a Super Centre. Analysing the investment required for that and the JFK Drive location, Mr Finlayson told Tribune Business: I think if youre talking about the one in Nassau and the one in Freeport, youre talking in the range of $10-$12 million, minimum. Were trying to raise $6 million for both locations. Mr Finlayson said the super market chain was still on track to do $120 million in sales during its first year under new ownership, with its three Freeport stores the key to profitability. Weve got to get Freeport fixed. As soon as we get Freeport back, well be back in the black. Freeport is key, he said. Weve done a pretty good job so far, and are ahead of where we thought we were going to be. Just based on City Markets, I think were going to hit around $120 million in sales for the first 12 months. BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011, PAGE 3B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM &RPIRUWDEOHRRPVDW&RPIRUWDEOHDWHV5RRPVIURPMXVWSHUQLJKW SOXVJUDWXLW\5HVWDXUDXQWDQG%DU 5HFUHDWLRQRRPHHWLQJRRP$OEDQV'ULYH place. Weve got Baha Mar coming on line; God knows where theyre going to get the people. Kerzner is challenged by the same problem. Worker productivity, and the Bahamas inabil i ty to produce a labour force where all participants are attuned to the demands of the modern workplace, have been highlighted repeatedly in the studies conducted by Bahamian-based economist Ralph Massey. The issue becomes more urgent every year when 5,000 Bahamian students leave high school, some 3,000-4,000 of them going directly into the workforce. Analysing the 2006 BGCSE maths and English grades among New Providence public school students, Mr Massey found that In English, 44 per cent of New Providence public high school students passed, with 56 per cent failing. A total of 17 per cent "both failed and were functionally illiterate", meaning they could not read or hear, then communicate thoughts coherently. And it was worse for maths, where some 46 per cent almost half of all New Providence public high school students who sat the 2006 BGCSE exam were found to be "functionally illiterate", meaning they did not know the difference between addition and multiplication. Mr Myers, who is president of Caribbean Land scape and also co-chair of the Bahamas Landscape Association (BLA the certification programmes the latter had established, where Bahamians in the sector were encouraged to obtain certification in posts such as horticultural and landscape maintenance technicians, were acting as a testing ground for wider initiatives. Its not such a problem in industries like banking, where you have got college graduates and people with degrees, Mr Myers said of the need for a trained workforce. What were finding in the service sector is, because there are very few if any programmes, nothing is coming out. In the horticultural sector, before we started the BLA, where were people going to get the training to be horticulturists? You couldnt. Mr Myers said both the BLA and BCCEC focus was to empower the people to empower the companies. Thats the key; to let them earn certification, become knowledgeable employees, and let them empower business. The absence of available, trained Bahamian workers linked directly to Immigration and the level of demand by companies for work permits. If Bahamian workers were not trained and unavailable, Mr Myers said, the likely consequence was an increase in the unemployment rate, which in turn was tied to the crime rate. No answer for BECs woe over transmission CITY MARKETS FROM page one FROM page one WORKER TRAINING
F riday means that, in effect, t he $1.50 being offered by Mr Finlayson to the latters investors is now a 47 per cent premium. Collectively, hewould be paying about $4 million more than the shares are currently worth. M r Finlayson and TransIsland Traders are now awaiting Securities Commission approval for their public tender offer, which they aim to launch in February to acquire 51 per cent of AML Foods outstanding 11,540,417 ordinary shares, a deal which if successfully consummated would create an enlargedp layer on the Bahamian food retail/supermarket scene. Mr Finlayson yesterday told Tribune Business he thought his prospects are pretty high in terms of the offer succeeding, adding that RoyalFidelity principals, Anwer Sunderji and Michael Anderson, had played a key role in setting the deal up byf acilitating meetings between himself and three of AML Foods largest shareholders. It is understood that two of those Mr Finlayson met withw ere Craig Symonette, brothe r of deputy prime minister B rent Symonette, and businessman Frank Crothers. The other individual Mr Finlayson met with was likely to have been either Majestic Tours boss William Saunders orF ranklyn Butler Jnr. Their position was very similar, Mr Finlayson said of the meetings. They were not averse to it, but indicated their concern was: What about the smaller sharehold-e rs? We have spent the last two w eeks figuring out what was b est for the small shareholder i nterests, and believe this tend er offer, if approved by the S ecurities Commission, would be the fairest way to go about i t. A cknowledging that nothi ng formal had been submitt ed to the AML Foods Board, Mr Finlayson said that of his discussions with the companys larger shareholders, there were those in favour o f it, but Im sure management will not be very much i n favour of it. Q uestioning how AML Foods management could justify the current trading price of the companys stock, M r Finlayson suggested that t he BISX-listed food retail groups recently-announced s hare buy back program was an attempt to boost the stock a nd ward off the advances of an unwelcome predator, namely himself. However, Mr DAguilar p oured cold water on Mr Fin layson and Trans-Island Traders prospects, telling Tribune Business: The three m ain shareholders most defi nitely rejected the offer because they did not feel it was in the best interests of all AML Foods shareholders. If they were to sell out, they would leave the minorityi nvestors of AML at the mercy of an unproven management team, and did not think that was the ethical, justifiable and right thing to do.T his is not in the best interests o f all shareholders of AML, a nd the Board would not accept an offer like this. Given that position, it is possible that Mr Finlayson and his team have gone public with their tender in a bid to god irectly to AML Foods m inority investors, especially the smaller retail ones, thus circumventing the Board. The key is whether AML Foods shareholders believe they will do better by cashingo ut now, and that Mr Finl ayson and his team will do a b etter job, or do they have m ore confident that their f uture lies in better hands w ith the existing Board and m anagement team, the latter headed by chief executive and p resident, Gavin Watchorn. T his is the persuasion battle b oth sides will have to fight. W hile AML Foods investors had suffered heavily as a result of the companys sustained heavy losses between 2003-2008, the comp any has now returned to sustainable, consistent prof i tability, and is focusing on o pening its $4.5 million Solomons Fresh Market store later this year. Contrasting this with the a pproach of Mr Finlayson and h is management team, Mr DAguilar said: Were f ocused on the core business, theyre focused on mergers a nd acquisitions that do not yield to the bottom line and dividends. Stick to the tried and proven team, not theu ntried and unproven team. This is not the time, in my opinion, for them to be wanting to take on another com p any. Acknowledging that yesterdays announcement had blindsided him and taken him by storm, first hearing of it when Tribune Business contacted him, Mr DAguilarlike many other business observers questioned whether Mr Finlayson was trying to bite off too much, given that his plate wasa lready full in trying to turn a round the loss-making City M arkets. Acknowledging that Mr Finlayson was cash-rich following Heinekens $120 million buyout of the Associated Bahamian Distillers andB rewers (ABDAB B urns House/Commonwealth Brewery, Mr DAguilar said: This is about more than money. What is missing from the equation is who will manage this? This is a very detailed, v ery precise, very difficult b usiness to execute. You have t o have a great deal of expert ise to execute in this market. T he Trinidadian investors at C ity Markets may have a lot of experience in the food busin ess, but did not have the e xpertise in the food business, w hich you need to execute f lawlessly. The only reason this is not in the best interests of the company is because no one knows whos going to run it. Y ou have to make sure you have a management team on t he ground to run this comp any. And the AML Foods chairman asked of Mr Finlayson and his team: Do they have t he experience in the food b usiness? Do they understand the complexities of this busin ess? Its very easy to pay money for a business, but its v ery difficult to manage this business. Adding that the proof was in the pudding, MrD Aguilar pointed to the fate of Solomons Mines under the Finlaysons management, and added: Their management e xpertise is not proven. He did concede, though, that AML Foods share buyback, where the company will repurchase up to 10 per cent of its outstanding stock over a three-year period, was ar esponse to rumours about an impending unwelcome takeover offer from a predator. Maybe we heard the rumb lings, and it was brought to o ur attention that the shares w ere undervalued, Mr DAguilar said. We looked at other companies, Cable Bahamas and Commonwealth Bank, and the way they used share buy backs to bring thev alue back. T he AML Foods chairman also took a pop at RoyalFidelitys involvement, pointing out that the investment bank had been talking about synergies between City Marketsa nd AML for the past nine y ears, even trying to get his c ompany on board as investor i n the BSL Holdings vehicle t hey put together for the disa strous $54 million purchase o f City Markets prior to sell ing to Mr Finlayson. We couldnt see the syne rgies, Mr DAguilar added, p ointing out that the deal put t ogether by RoyalFidelity cost investors $75 million in equity and left a company in tatters. The untold millions lost by investors and pension f unds in that deal is not something that is talked about. R oyalFidelity is the financ ial advisor to Mr Finlaysons tender offer, while CFAL is placement agent. Adding that Mr Finlayson a nd his team had not mast ered the business they acquired three-four months a go, Mr DAguilar said AML Foods and City Mark ets had different structures, cultures and management philosophies. His company, with its S olomons SuperCentre and Cost Right formats, was in the mega store and club business while City Markets was a neighbourhood food store. B USINESS P AGE 4B, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM FROM page one $12m hostile offer not in AMLs interest
ness after unveiling his plans to launch a tender offer to acquire 51 per cent majority stake in rival BISX-listed food group, AML Foods, offering a 47 per cent premium of $1.50p er share to last Fridays close, the City Markets principal said he hoped to obtain Securities Commission approval within the next weekt o 10 days. A cknowledging that a publ ic company takeover of this nature was new territory for the Bahamian capital mark ets, given that no single m ajority controlling shareholder was involved, Mr Finlayson said the offer and potential merger was driven by the need to achieve greatere conomies of scale in food r etailing, which was essential to cutting costs and reducing consumer prices. Questioned as to why he was looking at expansion and another acquisition just three-f our months after taking 78 p er cent control at City Mark ets, a company with myriad p roblems as evidenced by a collective $27 million loss over the previous four years under previous ownership, Mr Finlayson said he was in an envi-a ble financial position, given t hat no debt financing had been involved to date in turning that firm around. Flush with cash from the $120 million sale of Associated Bahamian Distillers andB rewers (ABDABs B urns House/Commonwealth Brewery, his family holding more than 60 per cent of the former, Mr Finlayson said that while focused on returning City Markets to prof-i tability something, he a dded, that would be achieved when its three existing Freeport stores were fixedhe was also assessing expansion prospects. Were fixing City Markets, but were also very involved with the expansion, becausew e see economies of scale as really necessary, Mr Finlayson told Tribune Business. Along comes Anwer Sunderji and Michael Anderson of Fidelity, and they say: Maybe you can achieve this f aster than you have. Rather than grow organically, grow by acquisition. I f he was successful in obtaining 51 per cent majority control at AML Foods, andm erging it with City Markets, Mr Finlayson said the combined entity would return the latter to its 2007 sales levels, generating around $150 million in per annum food sales alone. When you look at the economies of scale, what it does for the overall compa-n y, it goes back to a very profitable organisation, and both sets of shareholders will do well from it, Mr Finlaysons aid. If his tender proved suc cessful, he said the first thing h e would do was an examina tion of AML Foods prices in its Solomons SuperCentre and Cost Right formats. Is ee where we can do some improvements in that regard, Mr Finlayson added. The second thing were g oing to do is take the focus off big ticket, larger items. In this business its all about how many turns you can get in a year, and right now those big ticket items are not doingw hat they need to, and even a t the peak, they stored cash rather than turned cash, he added, hinting that space may be sub-let to other retailers to supply items such as electronic appliances. W hile unable to provide d etails on how a merger would be executed, Mr Finlayson said his tender offer was definitely not hostile, and added: I really dont t hink it will be difficult to get up to 51 per cent. There are a n umber of people involved there that I think would part with their shares, and in terms of the actual public out there,I think a number of them will cash out at a premium. M r Finlayson, and his T rans-Island Traders vehicle, a ppear to be banking on the f act that a large number of minority AML Foods i nvestors, especially the retail ones, will be looking to casho ut given the companys s truggles in the 2003-2008 p eriod, and the fact it has only recently resumed dividend payments. However, one analyst, who requested anonymity, last night told Tribune Businessb luntly on the Finlayson offer: That aint going to work, because no one will sell at$ 1.50 a share. Hes going to need $4 a share to get con-t rol. The larger shareholders a re not pleased with it at all. T heyre not willing to sell to the Finlayson team. Its a futile exercise. B y going public with the tender offer, it is possible thatM r Finlayson is looking to exert some pressure on AML F oods management and Board. It is possible that, while not gaining majority c ontrol, Mr Finlayson could still acquire a large position in AML Foods stock,e nabling it to press for Board s eats and a say in manage ment. Mr Finlayson is due to meet the Securities Commissiont oday, and while acknowle dging that this is a whole new territory, is hoping to get regulatory approval to launch the tender within the next week to 10 days. The tender is likely to last f or a minimum of two weeks, a nd a maximum of one month, depending on the pace and level of investor response. It remains to be seen whether the Securities Commission will force him to make ano ffer for AML Foods shares, s omething that would be tough to accomplish, given the diverse shareholder base. Seeking to allay any competition and antitrust fears, Mr Finlayson said a merged AML Foods-City Marketsw ould only have a 25 per cent s take of the $600 million-plus Bahamian food retail business. Its one that makes sense for both companies, but if you talk about affecting the overall food business, its only2 5 per cent of the market, h e added. You cant underestimate the independents, because theyve stolen a big part of the market share since 2007, no doubt about it. C ity Markets has nine s tores, six in Nassau and three in Freeport, while there is a Solomons SuperCentre and Cost Right in both Nassau and Freeport. BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011, PAGE 5B TO DISCUSS STORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM 5 2wk-Hi52wk-LowSecurit y P revious CloseToday's CloseChangeDaily Vol.EPS $Div $P/EYield 1 .260.97AML Foods Limited1.021.020.000.1500.0406.83.92% 1 0.759.67Bahamas Property Fund10.6310.630.000.0130.200817.71.88% 6 .184.50Bank of Bahamas4.904.900.000.1530.10032.02.04% 0.580.18Benchmark0.180.180.00-0.8770.000N/M0.00% 3.492.70Bahamas Waste2.702.700.000.1680.09016.13.33% 2.152.14Fidelity Bank2.172.170.000.0160.040135.61.84% 1 2.509.62Cable Bahamas10.2110.210.001.0500.3109.73.04% 2.842.36Colina Holdings2.402.400.000.7810.0403.11.67% 7.005.40Commonwealth Bank (S1 6.856.81-0.042,0730.4220.26016.13.82% 3.651.63Consolidated Water BDRs2.052.230.180.1110.04520.12.02% 2.551.60Doctor's Hospital1.601.600.000.1070.11015.06.88% 6 .995.47Famguard5.475.470.000.3570.24015.34.39% 1 0.207.23Finco6.516.510.006,0000.2870.52022.77.99% 1 1.408.77FirstCaribbean Bank9.399.390.000.4940.35019.03.73% 5.513.75Focol (S 5.485.480.000.3660.16015.02.92% 1 .001.00Focol Class B Preference1.001.000.000.0000.000N/M0.00% 7.405.00ICD Utilities7.407.400.000.0120.240616.73.24% 1 0.509.82J. S. Johnson9.829.820.000.8590.64011.46.52% 10.0010.00Premier Real Estate10.0010.000.000.9910.80010.18.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowSecuritySymbolLast SaleChangeDaily Vol. 99.4699.46Bahamas Note 6.95 (2029BAH2999.460.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 17 (Series A) +FBB17100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 22 (Series B) +FBB22100.000.00 1 00.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 13 (Series C) +FBB13100.000.00 100.00100.00Fidelity Bank Note 15 (Series D) +FBB15100.000.00 5 2wk-Hi 5 2wk-Low S ymbol B id$ A sk$ L astPrice D ailyVol E PS$ D iv$ P /E Y ield FINDEX: CLOSE 000.00 | YTD 00.00% | 2009 -12.31%3 0 May 2013 20 November 2029FRIDAY, 28 JANUARY 2011BISX ALL SHARE INDEX: CLOSE 1,475.31 | CHG -1.83 | %CHG -0.12 | YTD -24.20 | YTD % -1.61BISX LISTED DEBT SECURITIES (Bonds trade on a Percentage Pricing basis)Maturity 1 9 October 2017 7 %RoyalFidelity Merchant Bank & Trust Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)29 May 2015 W WW.BISXBAHAMAS.COM | TELEPHONE:242-323-2330 | FACSIMILE: 242-323-232019 October 2022 Prime + 1.75% Prime + 1.75% 6.95%BISX LISTED & TRADED SECURITIES AS OF:7 % Interest 52wk Hi 52wk Low Symbol Bid $ Ask $ Last Price Daily Vol EPS $ Div $ P/E Yield 10.065.01Bahamas Supermarkets5.016.0114.00-2.9450.000N/M0.00% 0 .550.40RND Holdings0.350.400.550.0010.000256.60.00% 41.0029.00ABDAB30.1331.5929.004.5400.0009.030.00% 0.550.40RND Holdings0.450.550.550.0020.000261.900.00% 52wk-Hi52wk-LowFund NameNAVYTD%Last 12 Months %NAV 3MTH 1.51221.4076CFAL Bond Fund1.51795.51%6.90%1.498004 2.94742.8300CFAL MSI Preferred Fund2.94742.10%2.09%2.918697 1.57901.5087CFAL Money Market Fund1.57900.32%4.57%1.561030 3.20252.8522Royal Fidelity Bahamas G & I Fund2.720212.72%4.63% 13.638813.0484Royal Fidelity Prime Income Fund13.2825-0.63%-0.14% 114.3684101.6693CFAL Global Bond Fund114.36849.98%12.49%109.392860 106.552899.4177CFAL Global Equity Fund106.55284.75%7.18%100.779540 1.14651.0000FG Financial Preferred Income Fund1.14655.20%5.20% 1.11851.0000FG Financial Growth Fund1.11854.73%4.73% 1.14911.0000FG Financial Diversified Fund1.14915.35%5.35% 9.74859.1005Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 19.79504.85%5.45% 11.236110.0000Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 210.6417-1.20%0.50% 10.00009.1708Royal Fidelity Bah Int'l Investment Fund Principal Protected TIGRS, Series 39.6635-3.37%-3.37% 8.16434.8105Royal Fidelity Int'l Fund Equities Sub Fund8.39798.82%8.82% BISX ALL SHARE INDEX 19 Dec 02 = 1,000.00 YIELD last 12 month dividends divided by closing price 52wk-Hi Highest closing price in last 52 weeks Bid $ Buying price of Colina and Fidelity 52wk-Low Lowest closing price in last 52 weeks Ask $ Selling price of Colina and fidelity Previous Close Previous day's weighted price for daily volume Last Price Last traded over-the-counter price Today's Close Current day's weighted price for daily volume Weekly Vol. Trading volume of the prior week Change Change in closing price from day to day EPS $ A company's reported earnings per share for the last 12 mths Daily Vol. Number of total shares traded today NAV Net Asset Value DIV $ Dividends per share paid in the last 12 months N/M Not Meaningful P/E Closing price divided by the last 12 month earnings FINDEX The Fidelity Bahamas Stock Index. January 1, 1994 = 100 (S) 4-for-1 Stock Split Effective Date 8/8/2007 (S1) 3-for-1 Stock Split Effective Date 7/11/200730-Nov-10 31-Dec-10 107.570619 105.776543 30-Jun-10 31-Dec-10 NAV 6MTH 1.475244 2.919946 1.543785TO TRADE CALL: CFAL 242-502-7010 | ROYALFIDELITY 242-356-7764 | FG CAPITAL MARKETS 242-396-4000 | COLONIAL 242-502-752530-Nov-10 30-Sep-10 31-Dec-10 21-Jan-11 31-Dec-10MARKET TERMS31-Dec-10 30-Nov-10CFAL Securities Ltd. (Over-The-Counter Securities)30-Nov-10BISX Listed Mutual FundsNAV Date 30-Nov-10 31-Dec-10 6W$OEDQV'ULYH %HDXWLIXOVSDFLRXVVWXGLRDSDUWPHQW )XOO\IXUQLVKHG SOXVHOHFWULFLW\ PRQWKVPLQLPXPVWD\ 7 tial reductions on the price of the cars they sell in the process denying "legitimate" companies business, and the Government, revenue. Fred Albury said the situation is creating tremendous havoc in the industry, where established dealers are finding it hard to compete with these firms. To ship an average Honda Civic from the US to the Bahamas would cost $1,200 to $1,500. If it is seven to eight years old, it should have value in Japan of at least $2,000, so the actual value would be $3,500 including freight to the dock in Nassau, but their invoice would show $1,800. I dont mind competition but its not a fair playing field for everyone in the industry, said Fred Albury. The effect is particularly significant given the effect the depressed economy has had on demand for cars in the Bahamas. The Exec utive Motors dealer said that used car sales have gone from making up 15 to 20 per cent of his business to around 50 per cent in the last two years. Ben and Fred Albury say the Customs Department is aware of their concerns, and has even made inquiries on a number of occasions to people such as Fred Albury, as the authorised Toyota dealer for the Bahamas, to ask about the value of a car of a particular year and model, apparently as a result of suspicions about false invoicing being done by other dealers. Tribune Business understands that dealers have submitted to Customs what they believe is information relating to the price of used cars bought in Japan, which should provide the black and white evidence necessary for the Department to determine that cars are being undervalued on invoices. Both men claim their suspicions were raised when certain suppliers offered to "do for us what they are doing for them" that is, create false invoices that do not show the true value of the vehicle and what was paid, therefore paving the way for someone import ing the vehicle not to pay the full tax on the car. An offer both say they refused. To date, many dealers feel not enough has been done to stamp out illegality that may be taking place. "The perspective we're getting from the Bahamas Motor Dealers Association members is: 'What more can you do' We have offered to provide Customs with black and white information thats factual. Its not our information, its information that's accessible publicly and proves that something fishy is going on, but they just don't seem to be willing to dig that deep," said Ben Albury. Tribune Business attempted to reach the Customs Department for comment on Friday. However, all available phone numbers rang unanswered on the numerous occasions they were dialed. The businessmen say it is not only they but the Government and the public who lose out. With false invoices, the Customs Depart ment receives less than the proper amount of revenue. In addition, not only are the cars below market price, they say, but some models being brought into the country also "cannot be supported" here from a mechanical point of view, with customers sometimes finding they are unable to get them fixed when some thing goes wrong, said Ben Albury. "They are bringing in vehicles that cant be serviced or supported here, and I have a lot of their customers coming in at end of the day wanting us to support the vehicle or trade it in. They had looked at the price and think theyre getting a great deal. These guys say theyll support them (if any problems should arise with the car), until they go back with an issue and then theyre left out in the cold," said Ben Albury. If nothing is done, it will have an even bigger effect. We are providing jobs and paying taxes. These guys are not really putting anything back into the economy. FROM page one AUTO SECTOR FEARS RISE OVER FALSE INVOICING F ROM page one Merged City Meat-AML to have just 25% market share
Scotiabank, Sbarros Italian eatery, the only fine dining restaurant in eastern New Providence, a medical centre and a 22,000 square foot gym and spa, which will f eature squash and racketball courts and more. Its going to have the works. Were moving aggressively on it, he told Tribune Business. While no contracts have yet been signed, the gym may be opened under the Magic Johnson brand, in conjunction with the former basket-b all star. The shopping plaza is the next stage of the Prince Charles development project being undertaken by Mr Schaefer and his business partner, Suresh Khilnani, who officially opened the new 45,000 square foot Robin Hood store in the former Pepsi plant offP rince Charles Drive on Friday. Mr Schaefer said that so far the Robin Hood store, which quietly opened its doors on January 8, is on pace to attract 30,000 customers this month, and set to top out somewhere in the 50,000 to 60,000 range. Seventy people are nowe mployed there. After a humbling experience, which saw issues with the required installation of a fire sprinkler sys-t em cause Robin Hood to m iss the lucrative Christmas s hopping season, and millions of dollars in potential revenue lost, Mr Schaefer said traffic at the store since January 8 has exceeded our expectations. Its been good and sales h ave been good, said the businessman in an interview with Tribune Business during the grand opening. One of the stores strengths is its locationi mmediately in the vicinity o f Prince Charles Drive, a h eavily-populated area, and t he fact that he was able to o btain the property for a steal. S ome $3.5 million was then invested in the buildi ng, which has now been a ppraised at around $8 mill ion, said Mr Schaefer. We bought it for probably one-third of its actual value. Thats part of the trick in being able to retail at lower costs. If you are p aying higher rents the consumer pays for that, he not e d, adding that the compan ys sourcing of per cent of its inventory directly from sources overseas, cutting out middle man w holesalers, also plays a h uge part in lower prices offered. W ithin the colourful and airy store, a range of groc eries, electronic appliances, as well as hardware and kitchen, bedroom and bath room products and furnish i ngs, are offered, as well as a full service butchers and bakery. Within four weeks a Scotiabank outlet, Cash 4 Gold,m usic store and restaurant w ill be up and running within the store. Asked to explain how the store can be differentiated by customers from the City Market or Super Values hopping experience, Mr S chaefer said: The store is at least twice the size of any City Market or Super Value. In some cases its three times the size. So, as a result o f the increase in size, the variety of products we can c arry in terms of selection is vastly different. For instance, you will see with us we have hundreds of teas, hundreds of different spices,a variety of cheeses and that will be increased, 75 different types of bread, coffees and hard goods as well eletronics, appliances, hardware. We aspire to be the Walmart of the Bahamas. Meanwhile, Mr Schaefer s tressed his companys comm itment to offer products at l ower prices than some of his competitors. S peaking to the impact of t he entry of Robin Hood into the food retail market a s a whole, Mr Schaefer contended that no one can deny the introduction of Robin Hood has changed t he face of retail, having i ntroduced greater competition into the environment. It forced everybody to lower their prices and improve their game, and the beneficiary is the Bahamian consumer. Thats why we a re constantly looking at ways to reinvent ourselves, o therwise you get stale. N ow you see the foodstores doing a better job and the prices have gone down, Mr S chaefer said. The reality is that retail i s a battle, and in battle you are going to have some winners and losers, and you are going to have some casualties, but thats the way it is.T he second you think retail i s easy, non-confrontational or competitive, well thats only when theres a monopoly or an oligopoly, which essentially there was. The reality is now its a compet-i tive environment, and the d irect result of that is prices drop and prices improve. Yesterday, most customers approached by Tribune Business said they w ere generally pleased with what they found at the store, a nd its location. Edward Virgil, a retiree, said: Anywhere where you can get stuff a little bit cheaper is always of inter-e st to me. I used to go down the road to the one in Harrold Road, but I live in this area so now that this is here I really appreciate it and I believe in the future. Ib elieve it will be well organised and stocked like the one down on Harrold Road. I look for cheaper prices a nd quality stuf,f and anyo ne who is doing that is right up my alley. I cant say I am dedicated to any store, b ut if you are selling things cheaper I will come. If its d earer, I will go elsewhere. Meanwhile, Michelle Grey, 41, of Johnson Road, said: Its different. Theres a lot of variety in the meats a nd the bakery stuff. Desmond Mason said he n ow expects to do nine out of ten of his grocery shopping trips at the store. Its spacious, the price is right and its nice, he said. A 48 year-old Prince Charles Drive woman said s he appreciated the specials o n offer and the proximity. Its not as bountiful as the one out on Harrold R oad, but were happy to have it in the east. It will save us the gas that it would take to get out to the other s hop, she said. Mr Schaefer said he is continuing to survey New P rovidence for potential locations for more new Robin Hood stores. We arel ooking everywhere, he s aid. However, any further expansion will not take place until the PrinceC harles location is firmly established. Were looking to expand, b ut we want to get this one well situated first before we do that. Growing for the sake of g rowing doesnt make sense. Growing with your eye on the profit line does. So wew ill only expand if and when the situation is right, he said. Franchising of Robin H ood into the Family Islands is set to get underway in the next two to three months. B USINESS P AGE 6B, MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T O DISCUSS ST ORIES ON THIS PAGE LOG ON TO WWW.TRIBUNE242.COM GN 1164 GN-1170 F ROM page one Robin Hood targets 30k vistors for Jan