Christie: PLP not distracted by letter leak N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER Govt worker shot dead in robbery V olume: 107 No.144TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 W EATHER PARTLY SUNNY HIGH 89F LOW 75F Lets all MINKA! AVANT coming back from injury Two gunmen kill secur ity guard at public landfill C OOKIES & C REAM McFLURRY The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST L ATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM www.fidelitygroup.comCall 356.7764today! Fall in love again with a Fidelity Fast Track car loan. FidelityBank FastTrack Loan CARSFORSALE, HELPWANTEDAND REALESTATE BAHAMASBIGGEST SEEWOMANSECTION SEESECTIONE I N S I D E S P O R T S F E A T U R E S INTHELINEOFFIRE: A firefighter battles a blaze yesterday morning which destroyed the homes of two families and reduced an upholstery store to rubble on East Street and Windsor Lane. SEEFULLSTORYANDMORE PHOTOS ONPAGE 2 F F I I R R E E D D E E S S T T R R O O Y Y S S B B U U S S I I N N E E S S S S A A N N D D H H O O M M E E S S Felip Major /Tribune staff By TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com TWO gunmen shot and killed a Department of Environmental Health security guard during an armed robbery at the public landfill off Tonique Williams Darling Highway. The men made off with an unspecified amount of cash meant for a bank deposit before fleeing the scene. A source told The Tribune that the security guard, 44-year-old Dwayne Cartwright, would nor mally have a police officer with him when he and another employee picked up the bank deposit. Police did not confirm SEE page nine B y NOELLE NICOLLS T ribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org T HE firing of seven FirstCaribbean employees last week was malicious and m ean, union leaders, who c laim the bank has violated labour laws and the industrial agreement, have alleged. T heresa Mortimer, presi dent of the Bahamas Financial Services Union (BFSU which represents more than FIRING OF SEVEN BANK EMPLOYEES LABELLED MEAN ANDMALICIOUS SEE page nine EXPRESSING his disappointment that an internal letter criticising would-be candidates for the PLP was leaked to the media, PLP leader Perry Christie said that his party will not be distracted by this latest debacle and that he remains focused on supporting the excellent candidates and hardworking activists that comprise his party. This year, the PLP is putting forth an extraordinary group of candidates, Mr Christie said, an exciting new generation of candidates with new ideas along with some seasoned political veterans SEE page nine PERRY CHRISTIE THE Progressive Liberal Party has questioned Branville McCartney's term as a member of the Free National Movement, calling on him to answer why he voted in favour of FNM policies that the PLP said "hurt" Bahamians. The comments came days after Mr McCartney launched his third party, the Democratic National Alliance, before a packed audience of nearly 1,000 By PAUL G TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com AS the 2012 general election draws closer, the battle for nominations in key constituen cies is beginning to mount. In certain areas, political parties have at least three possible candidates vying for the same seat which in some instances has caused great confusion and even embarrassment for the sitting Member of Parliament. Such an example, said BATTLE FOR NOMINATIONS STARTS TO MOUNT OPPOSITION TURNS UP HEA T ON BRAN SEE page nine SEE page nine F e l i p M a j o r / T r i b u n e s t a f f SHOOTINGAFTERMATH: Grief as the tragedy sinks in.
L OCAL NEWS PAGE 2, TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 THE TRIBUNE By LAMECH JOHNSON A N EARLY morning fire destroyed three buildings on East Street and Windsor Lane yesterday, leaving two families home-l ess and reducing a business to rubble. R esidents of the area awoke just a few hours after going to b ed to find their homes on fire. Supt Jeffrey Deleveaux, director of the Fire Services at the Royal Bahamas Police Force, said the fire started shortly after1 am at an upholstery store. Fire services came as soon as they were called, but the fire still took several hours to put out. We were out there for a while but we were able to completely extinguish the blaze around 4am, he said. Supt Deleveaux said the fire spread quickly from the upholstery shop to nearby homes. By the time the fire was extinguished, two family homes had burnt out completely, leaving only the outside walls of t he buildings standing. The upholstery shop was reduced to rubb le and a nearby abandoned building was also completely destroyed. Charred When The Tribune arrived at the scene later in the day all that was left of the store was the buildings foundation which was covered by charred lumber and hot ash. J an Joseph of Windsor Lane, one of the persons who lost her home in the fire, spoke to The Tribune about the ordeal. (Sunday g o to church. I knew I was supposed to get up early (at 5am get prepared for the next day, and I always go to bed around nine, ten oclock. Something kept me up. M rs Joseph said she and her husband watched some televi sion after he came from church on Sunday night but she was unable to sleep even up until midnight. dont know when I dozed off, but when I woke up, somet hing didnt feel right. I heard sounds coming from outside. She said she woke her husband and asked him what the noise was. Mrs Joseph said it was at this time she saw something o range by the window. Thats when I heard my neighbour calling to us to get out and that our house was on fire, she said. M rs Joseph said she received cuts to her forearm as she e scaped over the back fence because her homes front door was already on fire by the time she and her husband were able to get out. Meanwhile, Ynnaiel Oscar, who lives next to the upholstery s hop on East Street, said she awoke to a loud crashing sound and her son screaming for her. I heard my son screaming, mommy, mommy!B oth Mrs Joseph and Mrs Oscar said they have no knowledge of exactly when or how the fire started, but said they are thank ful to God that even though they have lost everything, they have their lives and their families are safe. T hey are now appealing to the public for any possible assistance. Mrs Joseph said it is especially difficult because she has to t ake care of her disabled sister. Supt Deleveaux said his department has not yet determined the cause of the fire, but that investigators are looking into it. The owner of the destroyed upholstery store could not be contacted up to press time. Fire destroys business and two homes Two families left homeless by early morning blaze F e l i p M a j o r / T r i b u n e s t a f f FEELINGTHEHEAT: A fireman battles the blaze, which started shorly after 1 a.m. at an upholstery store. PHOTOSABOVE by Felip Major /Tribune staff BILLOWING: Clouds of smoke pours from the buildings destroyed by the early morning fire. FIRE AFTERMA TH PHOTOS: Lamech Johnson
LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011, PAGE 3 By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour said Government is looking at amending existing legislation to allow persons to use solar energy in their homes. Mr Neymour, who was in Grand Bahama for the launch of the national energy efficiency programme, said Government is encouraging Bahamians throughout the country to conserve energy in their homes. On Saturday, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs here on Grand Bahama. CFLs are energy-efficient and use 75 per cent less energy compared to the incandescent light bulbs. CFL bulbs last for three to five years and result in a savings of $20 per bulb annually. According to Mr Neymour, approximately 50,000 CFLs have been distributed throughout New Providence and 100,000 in the Family Islands. Additionally, he noted it is Governments objective to address the current legislation which hinders individuals using solar energy in their homes and interconnecting with the power grid. The state minister said Government is expected to begin a pilot project using solar power systems next month in an effort to address any potential challenges in interconnecting between the power company and the customer. We have 33 solar (power will offer to Bahamians; we will raffle it and once individuals are able to pay for installation then we will monitor their system and interconnection with a view of looking at all problems they have with the power company because the design of the system is important for safety reasons, he said. We want to ensure it is done safely with a view that later on we can open our current legislation to allow individuals to produce their own energy from solar power and at the same time use energy that is generated from the power company. State Minister Neymour said there is already a provision in the Electricity Act that allows individuals in the Family Islands to produce up to 25 kilowatts in their own home without requiring provision from a power company. In New Providence, he noted that individuals can produce up to 250 kilowatts in their home. Mr Neymour said the solar power systems they are proposing are ones where individuals can get feedback from the power company. The sun does not shine 24 hours and so it is cheaper to have a solar (energy you do not have a battery to store that energy during the day to be used at night, he said. Mr Neymour said the battery is very expensive and lasts for only seven years, and would be more expensive in the long run. So it is significantly cheaper if we can elimi nate the battery aspect of it where they can pro duce their own energy in the day and then receive energy from the power company at nights, that makes the use of solar more practical and cheap er. And so that is the direction we are headed. Mr Neymour said the government is also encouraging Bahamians to look at constructing their homes to be more energy efficient. He said they will soon be launching solar water heaters which the Government has also pur chased under the national energy efficiency pro gramme. We have a select number of them and we will be offering them to Bahamians in the near future, he said. Mr Neymour said government continues to conduct research and studies regarding the potential for renewable energy in the Family Islands. He noted that the island of Andros has the greatest potential for renewable energy. We recognised that Andros has a potential bio mass using pine to generate energy and the potential for using algae to produce bio-diesel. We went to Abaco which also has great potential for bio mass, he said. Government looking to amend legislation for use of solar energy A MAJOR initiative to overhaul its New Providence generators by July should result in a decrease of power out-a ges this summer, according to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC Addressing the recent power outages which have been plaguing residents in various areas of New Providence, BEC said equipment failure is to blame. In a statement yesterday, BEC said: In the past week, some residents and b usiness owners in New Providence may have experienced outages. These outa ges, for the most part, are directly related to challenges we have experienced w ith our generation network in New Providence. The release further stated that on Wednesday, May 11; Friday, May 13, and Sunday, May 15, there were unforeseen equipment failures resulting in gen-e rators tripping off line. This was coincident with one of our largest units being out of service as am ajor overhaul is underway. The genera tor trips resulted in our inability to m aintain a consistent supply of electricity to meet demand at the time. As ar esult, some customers would have expe r ienced periods of electricity supply disruption. BEC officials also noted that one of t he generators that malfunctioned on Sunday has already returned to service, bringing relief to customers who may have experienced brief periods of service interruption on Monday. Additionally, the generator that faulted last Wednesday was returned to service on Monday. Provided there are no other chall enges, we will be able to meet New Provi dences demand at this time. We understand the concern our customers have w ith regard to our ability to maintain a consistent supply of electricity, especially in the fast approaching summer months. Advise We therefore wish to advise the public of the measures that BEC has put in p lace to help maintain our supply, officials of the corporation said. BEC said an extensive overhaul to seve ral generators at the corporations Clifton Pier Power Station has begun. These overhauls are expected to be completed in July, in time for the tradi tional peak summer demand. Additionally, the overhauls will help to increase t he existing capacity of these generators, thus improving their output. Due to thef inancial state of the corporation and the l ong lead time for procurement of parts, the overhauls could not be carried out earlier as is normally done. In the case of the overhauls of the gas turbines, the sit-u ation was further complicated by the (Japan ery of some part, BEC said. In addition to the overhauls, we will be renting self-contained portable generators with a total 20 mega watts in capacity. These rental units are being brought in as contingency in the event t hat we need additional generation capacity during the summer. The p ortable generators are expected to be installed within the next three to four w eeks and will be ready for use should a need arise. Further, pending receipt of parts, repairs will be carried out on a few other generators. The BEC release went on to state: We would like our customers to under-s tand that we work hard to ensure that they have a reliable and uninterrupted electricity supply and we continue to taket he necessary steps to make this happen. H owever, as with any entity, we are s ometimes faced with challenges. We do our best to counteract these challengesa nd, for the most part, they are handled w ith little or no impact to our customers. In the instances where our customers are impacted, we work continuously to takec orrective action and restore supply. BEC announces major overhaul of generators BAHAMAS Against Crime in conjunction w ith the Hay Street Community Association held a presentation of certificates ceremony for participants in the Anger Management andC onflict Resolution Seminar, which was a part of Bahamas Against Crime Hay/East Street Initiative. The course was conducted by the Depart m ent of Social Services and approximately 60 persons participated. Also attending the ceremony were reli g ious, business and community leaders. The principal address was given National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest. By MEGAN REYNOLDS Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com DISSATISFIED social workers have been asked to exhibit patience and restraint in the weeks leading up to the annual budget communication in Parliament following meetings between department heads and union leaders. Chairwoman of the Bahamas Public Services Unions (BPSU rina Marche is hopeful there will be a joint resolution between staff and Government following a meeting with Minister of State for Social Services L oretta Butler-Turner on Friday. Ms Marche maintains that staff hardships including parity pay, excessive case loads, the level of compensation and reg ularisation of status, require an increase in the departments annual budget allocation. She said in the meeting facilitated by the womens branch of the BPSU a comprehensive discussion was held about the issues and she is hopeful staff issues will be addressed when the budget communication is given in June. As a result of open and frank review of the matters, there was a commitment by the minister to proceed with an action plan to bring resolution and relief to as many of the workers as pos sible, Ms Marche said. It is not correct to say that nothing is being done by the minister, and we continue to explore avenues for joint reso lution. We are all aware that there is a budget communication to be presented imminent ly, and we ask the employees involved to exhibit some restraint and a little more patience as acceptable solutionsare being sought. Her statement follows weeks of unrest by Social Services employees in New Providence and Grand Bahama. Freeport workers staged a sick-out on May 4, with 15 of the Departments 35 social workers reporting sick to man agement as a way of voicing their dissatisfaction with their working conditions. The following day, Mrs Butler-Turner and Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes met with the Freeport staff and informed them of plans to relocate their offices to the National Insur ance Board (NIB Union members in Nassau then staged industrial action, protesting with support from BPSU president John Pinder on May 10. Their complaints about insufficient contributions to the Unemployment Assis tance Work Programme led to a meeting with the department heads on May 12, when Mrs Butler-Turner told staff and union members the department does not intend to expand the work programme any further, and assured them the department is seeking more qualified social workers and also to address all of their concerns. Ms Marche encouraged Social Services staff to be patient as many problems have developed because of a lack of funding. She said: The concerns expressed by workers at the Department of Social Ser vices have not developed overnight and as a consequence cannot be solved so easily. POLICE are investigating a shooting which has left a young man nursing gunshot wounds to his leg and arm. According to police, the incident occurred around 4.30pm on Sunday at Dorsett Street, Fox Hill. Reports state that two men were riding a motorbike through Dorsett Street when two men armed with handguns fired at them. As a result, the 17-yearold male passenger on the motorbike received gunshot injuries to his arm and thigh. The victim was taken to hospital by a private vehicle where he is detained in stable condition. Police are appealing to members of the public who may have any information regarding this incident to call 911,919, 322-3333. POLICE are requesting the publics assistance in locating the culprits responsible for a shooting in Nassau Village which left two men in hospital. The incident reportedly occurred shortly before 9pm on Sunday at Matthew Street, Nassau Village. Two men were at a residence when they were approached by two masked men armed with handguns. It is reported that the culprits shot at the men which resulted in the men, aged 48 and 22, sustaining gunshot injuries. The victims were taken to hospital by private vehicle where they are being detained in stable condition. Police appealing to members of the public who may have any information regarding this matter or any other incident, to contact police at 911,919, 322-3333, East Street South Police Station at 392-4333/4 or Crime Stoppers at 328-TIPS. THE Criminal Records Office on Thompson Boulevard is currently closed for renovations. Persons seeking police records should visit the following police stations for their doc uments: Elizabeth Estates,Southern, Carmichael and the Cable Beach Station. The Royal Bahamas Police Force said it apologises for any inconvenience caused, but said the renovations will upgrade the facility for better service in future. APPEALFOR DISGRUNTLED SOCIAL WORKERS TOBE PATIENT CRIMINAL RECORDS OFFICE ISCLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS PHENTON NEYMOUR Shooting probe crime BRIEFS LORETTA BUTLER-TURNER ANGER MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATES PRESENTED E NTERTAINMENT: Minister of National Security TommyT urnquest and oth ers being entertained by the "Fruits of the Spirit" danceg roup. Initiative should result in decrease of power outages
EDITOR, The Tribune. J ackson Burnside was a Renaissance Man. His intellectual curiosity, commitm ent to and love of country, view of his place in the universe and his courage came from his parents, the late Dr. Jackson Burnside (the first black Bahamian dentist) and Mrs. Gertrude Burnside (the first black Bahamian and the first Bahamian female pharma cist). Although an architect b y profession, Jackson was, among other things, an artist, musician, businessman a nd talk show host. Indubitably, history will herald him as one of The Bahamas' leading architects. His contributions to the development of the Bahamas Architects Board and his work on the preservation and development of Bahamian archi tecture were guided by his love of country and his deep s eated belief in community development. He also brought his commitment to c ommunity development to t he One Family Junkanoo Group (of which he was a co-founder). Doongalik Studios stands as a testament to his belief in art as an economically viable profession. Doongalik was used to morally, ethically, socially, culturally and economically encourage and support Bahamian (and Caribbean) artists. Others have extensively rehearsed his contributions to cultural and community develop ment, including through Junkanoo. Jackson was also a warm, loving and enthusiastic husband, father, son, brother, family man and friend. In all of these capacities, he gave One Hundred Percent. There are many untold stories of people whom he quietly helped. I am sure that scores of husbands will never forget Jackson. He travelled with them as they supported their wives on their journey with cancer. As an experienced soldier, he walked bravely with them, encouraging them to face varying outcomes in their own families. Jackson lived fully, engagingly and generously. My family joins the cho rus of others in extending sympathy to his wife and soulmate, Pam, his daughters Ebony and Orchid, his mother, Mrs. Gertrude Burnside, his siblings Stan (and Dennie Wayman and all of his family. May he rest in peace. Sincerely, ALLYSON MAYNARD GIBSON Nassau, May 14, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune. The Bahamas is often d escribed as a paradise on earth. Due to our good marketing techniques, tourists f rom around the world come to the Bahamas to experience the sun, sand and sea. They boast of our friendliness, captivating smile and polite count enance. However, over the l ast ten years, the peace and s ecurity this country was once known for have been replaced w ith violence and a higher crime rate. In fact, this year, crime seems to be spiraling out of control with a record n umber of over forty murders within the first half of the year. Yet, we continue to toot, Its better in the Bahamas. B ut for whom? Perhaps it is better for our politicians, judges and lawyers. Daily, we hear and read of l ives destroyed by the hands of callous individuals. Many of these criminals have been granted bail, but continue to c ause havoc in our communities. With the increased availa bility of guns on our streets, y oung men somehow feel powerful, robbing and shooting whom they may, without punishment from the state. At n ight they plan their next tar get and execute their evil plans by daybreak. Thus, fear has gripped the hearts of B ahamians and there is a gen eral feeling of being an open target to criminals. It seems i mpossible to enjoy a day of a ctivity on the outside without attracting a devious individ ual whose aim is to harm ork ill. When police officers, who s eem to be alone in the fight against crime, arrest these devoted criminals and place t hem before the courts to face j ustice, judges, who are the p illars of our justice system, g rant them bail repeatedly. Are not judges supposed to b e fair and discreet with the ability to exercise good judgment? But time and timea gain, this seems not to be the case. Furthermore, some lawyers k nowingly represent harde ned criminals who have been convicted repeatedly only for moneys sake. Many lawyersh ave allowed greed to replace morality and ethics. Moreover, our politicians, w ho have the authority to a mend laws and the ability to influence the public policy and decision making, do litt le to nothing to assist in decreasing the crime rate in our society. Crime, which isa pressing issue in our country, is not even addressed by either political groups. Instead, many politicians argue the frivolous matters with much vigour and tenacity. If only this same attitudec ould be demonstrated in our fight against crime. In addition, during campaigning sea-s on, they diligently go from c ommunity to community to gather votes. Why cannot this same effort be portrayed inf inding solutions to crime in their perspective constituen cies? Additionally, they rant a nd rave on why their political group is better than the other, but none has placed crime highest on its agenda. No ones eems to care, while criminals endeavour to control our society. Politicians remain mum o n this issue. Another man dead seems not to be worth a d ebate. Perhaps, our judges, l awyers and politicians careless attitude toward crime stems from the fact that they a nd their loved ones live in high class, gated and secured communities with twenty-four hour surveillance and are chauffeured by national secur ity officials, while the d emons of crime roam the s treets of Nassau preying on and molesting the average h ardworking Bahamian without penalty. The laws must be amended so that when criminals are c onvicted they receive the full brunt of the law. Many of these criminals have vowed t o live a life a crime and they m ercilessly harm and kill their victims. But, the state sees it fit to grant them mercy, time and time again. Their rights o f freedom must be taken away because when they committed crimes, they have forfeited their rights and the s tate has the authority to do what it wishes to effectively p unish these criminals and do w hat is necessary and good for our society. To conclude, until judges, lawyers and politicians opera te as they should, crime will increase. The longer we take to get a grip on this vexing issue in o ur society, the worse it is going to become. When justice is not swiftly executed, it i s set in the criminals mind a nd heart to continue doing evil and wreaking chaos in our society. I am trying to r emain hopeful in a better B ahamas. CHERIKA JOHNSON N assau, M ay 12, 2011. E DITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, TUESDAY, MAY 17, 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 Insurance Management Building., P.O. F-485, Freeport, Grand Bahama T ELEPHONES Switchboard (News, Circulation and Advertising) 322-1986 WEBSITE w ww.tribune242.com updated daily at 2pm Vaclav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, wrote that vision is not enough it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs. This symbolises the difference between Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Opposition leader Perry Christie. One dares to move up, the other sits in contemplation of what might be at the top if only he could find t he courage to venture that first step. In a letter leaked to the press over the weekend, three senior PLP members, one a former parliamentarian, urged Mr Christie t o take that first daring step to prove to his followers, and indeed the public, that in fact he is a decisive leader. The five-year Christie administration can be praised or criticised from many points of view. However, regardless of the view taken, all eventually point to a central figure Mr Christie. He has been defined as a indecisive leader who, once in government, had no con t rol over his team. Someone once described his cabinet as so many loose cannon, each going his own way each a state unto him self. W hen Prime Minister Ingraham was first elected prime minister in 1992, his administration faced devastation from a violent hurricane. In 2002, on the other hand, Mr Christie faced scandals scandals, which he never got under control despite his socalled strict code of ethics because he was loath to discipline the offenders. A former cabinet minister Loftus Roker the man who, during the Pindling adminis tration, said on the floor of the House that scandal was rocking the PLP to its very foun dations commented on the reasons for the PLPs defeat in the 2007 election. Mr Christie believed, said Mr Roker, that once he appointed a fella to do a job, he just left itHe wasnt sufficiently vigilant to ensure that the person was doing what they w ere supposed to do. He might have added that when the fella messed up, instead of dealing decisively with the situation, he cast his eyes heaven ward and seemed to wait for time to take care of the situation. George Smith, a PLP cabinet minister from the Pindling era, former PLP chairman Raynard Rigby, and Philip Galanis, coordi nator of the PLPs 2007 campaign, wrote Mr Christie a private letter on May 5 urging him to cut this albatross from around his neck. They urged him to prove that he is not the indecisive figure that is claimed, but a decisive, no-nonsense leader. According to them the only way to do that would be to refuse nominations for four sitting parliamentarians, whose actions were called into question during his administration, and two others, one of whom is still in parliament, while the other was defeated in the 2007 election. The letter writers claim that the PLP can not win the 2012 election if it runs Shane Gibson (Golden Gates), Vincent Peet (North Andros), Obie Wilchcombe (West End and Bimini) and Alfred Gray (MICAL). T hey reminded him of the Quinlan Rosner reported, commissioned by the PLP after the 2007 election to analyse the reasons for a defeat that they did not expect. Two points highlighted by the report were the need to clear the partys name of scandal, and to improve Mr Christies leadership skills again the conclusion was that he was too indecisive. Mr Smith, former PLP MP for Exuma, and a Pindling cabinet minister, himself no stranger to scandal, has set himself up in ther ole of a self-appointed PLP elder statesman. H e was one of the authors of the May 5 letter giving Mr Christie sound advice. It will be remembered that the 1984 Commission of Inquiry into the transshipment of drugs to the US was less than kind to Mr Smith. However, after it was all over and the dust had settled, Sir Lynden in a gesture of rehabilitation of a fallen cabinet minister, decreed that forever more Mr Smith should be made an Honourable for life. Our reac tion was that that gesture, considering all that had gone before, had so debased the honorific that The Tribune would thereafter drop all honorifics before the names of all persons, regardless of their rank in societys pecking order. We were not prepared to judge who deserved the title honourable,a nd so when the Ministry of Information sends in a release that says the Hon. Soand-So said so-and-so, the delete button removes Hon. Mr Christies reply to the leaked-infor mation was typical. Taking the high road, he says he is backing an exciting new generation of candidates with new ideas along with some seasoned political veterans with expertise and governing experience, and looking forward to a vigorous debate a debate about which party and policies will best support Bahamians and put their interests first. T his is fine, but, we suggest that he read the May 5 letter again and screw up enough courage to remove all reminders of scandal from his party. He must remember, despite his high flown language, the electorate doh ave memories, and they are now sitting in judgment on his leadership skills. Its better in the Bahamas ... but for whom? LETTERS l firstname.lastname@example.org Perry Christies letter leaked to the Press Jackson Burnside a Renaissance Man
LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011, PAGE 5 THE Bahamas Red Cross recently purchased five new handh eld radios thanks to a $10,000 grant from the United States Government. The new digital radios will replace the outdated analog ones that had previously been used and allow the Red C ross to communicate with the Royal Bahamas Police Force in the event of a disaster. This new equipment ensures that lines of communication will remain open despite telephone and internet outages. GOINGDIGITAL: Pictured are Shawn Kobb, economic officer from the US Embassy, and Caroline T urnquest, director general of the Bahamas Red Cross. BAHAMAS RED CROSS BUYS FIVE NEW DIGITAL RADIOS THANKS TO A $10,000 GRANT FROM US GOVERNMENT By MEGAN REYNOLDS Tribune Staff Reporter m email@example.com AS POLICE vow to conc lude investigations into the alleged rape of a mentallyhandicapped woman, sheh as in the meantime raised t he child conceived in the r eported attack as part of h er family. A lthough the 26-year-old m other, who has Downs Syndrome, was unable to c are for the child alone w hen he was a newborn, her mother, 48, has helped her develop essential parenting skills so she can now be left alone with the 17-month oldt oddler. She loves the baby and the baby loves her, her mother said. He's a sweet baby. He's t alking now. When I go in t he garden he goes in the g arden with me, he picks up t he shovel and gets into everything. Hes so sweet. The boys grandmother whose identity has been w ithheld to protect the iden t ity of her daughter who has made the rape claim hasb een building a porch outside for her daughter to sit with her grandson when they are at home during theday. want her to have the best because shes been t hrough too much and its not fair, she said. I want her to be real n ice and comfortable and be happy so I can put some joy in the matter. She cant really express her unhappiness, but when she talks about it, she starts t o cry. Shes still hurting, but she just cant express it like another person could, so Ik now its going to take a little while before she is healed." The family have been fighting for justice for nearly two years since they dis covered her daughter was four-and-a-half months pregnant. The daughter claims she was raped while visiting someone she knew from church who was regarded as a trusted friend in February 2009. But she did not know she was pregnant until after she was reportedly assaulted again, less than five months after the alleged rape. Three men bundled her into a car after a funeral at church, and attacked her in the Carmichael Road area where she was found wandering the next day. When treated in hospital doctors prescribed anti-viral medication, to which she h ad a severe reaction, However, when she returned for a second examination they discovered that she was pregnant. The rape claim w as then made. Police opened investigat ions into the matter nearly t wo years ago, and the fami ly have waited over 17 months for the results of the c hilds DNA test to prove the babys paternity. When The Tribune raised the matter, Deputy Commissioner of Police MarvinD ames said he would obtain D NA test results within two w eeks and bring investigations to a close. The victims mother said her daughter has never had relationships with men and is not capable of consentingt o sex. H owever, she has fallen p rey to sexual abuse three times in her life, as she was molested by a man the family trusted when she was 16, kidnapped and attacked by three men in June 2009, and allegedly raped in February2 009. Adv antage She has been taken advantage of because of herc ondition, her mother said. At first I blamed myself b ecause I didnt know she was pregnant. But I cant keep her shut up all the time, she has to learn how to be independent and go places. Raising her daughter with Downs Syndrome required special attention as the girl wore diapers until she wass even, and did not speak her f irst full sentence until age ten. But her mother taught h er to be as independent as possible and was supportive of her interest in the church and friends she had made there. She was graduated from the Stapledon School for the Mentally Challenged Gar dens at age 16, however, she still lacks basic numeracy and literacy skills, and is unable to work. The 26-year-old receives a small government pension, as well as $100 per month in food stamps from Social Ser vices to provide for the baby, while her mother is the only breadwinner. The 48-year-old mother had raised 13 children on her own before her grandson was born, including seven of her own children, two of her sisters children who she took in when she died, and her estranged husbands children. As well as her mentally challenged daughter, she n ow has two boys at home, and the baby for whom she had to stay at home and care f or in the first year of his l ife. I couldnt go out to work because I had to be there to h elp her baby, she said. I had to wait for the baby to get stronger and bigger so I could go out andw ork again. I had to do what I had to do first. When he was first born he could not swallow milk or formula, until he had an operation at eight weeks old. S he lost the job she had h eld for three years when she had to leave work to see her daughter in hospital inJ une 2009, and she has only just returned to work ands tarted a new job. At first it was like me h aving another baby again at that age, she said. It took a lot of patience, a nd love. But I dont believe in abortion, so the Lord helpedm e to bring up all those kids b y myself, and why not help m e with one more? Im a survivor, I tell you t hat. The family survived on the basic income providedb y the small pension, food s tamps, and occasional rental payments of $50 a week from an apartment ont heir over the hill proper ty. B ut the single mother and grandmother said she knows all too well how to feed hun g ry children on a budget, by buying rice, cereal and oat meal in bulk to fill her chil d rens hungry stomachs. T he cost of feeding her children means losing electricity, as she cannot afford to pay the food bill and the light bill on such a limited i ncome. And she said its hard for her teenage son, who may want a game, or something nice to wear and the family simply cannot afford it. They always want food so thats what Im working on now, his mother said. Once they have some thing to eat you can breathea little bit. Its a difficult time, and these children, they understand, but I want them to be happy, too. I want my grandson to have the best. And my special daughter, she deserves the best. She reminds me of myself going through so much at a young age, and she doesnt deserve it. When they are at home they could be happy, so I am trying to give her some joy. Alleged rape victim with Downs Syndrome raises child conceived in attack She loves the baby and the baby loves her Mother of reported rape victim KINGSTON, Jamaica A moderate earthquake has rattled Jamaica, causing some panic but no reported damage, according to Associated Press The U.S. Geological Service says the magnitude-4.7 quake on Monday morning was centred about 38 miles south of the north coast city of Montego Bay. It had a depth of about 19 miles. Panicked shoppers ran into the streets and some people lingered outdoors, fear ing aftershocks. Several office buildings were evacuated in the southern capital of Kingston and in Montego Bay. Office worker Dorothy Hill describes the shaking as "a little frightening." Raymond Stewart of Jamaica's Universi ty of West Indies' earthquake unit says the local agency measured the quake at magni tude-5.0. This is the third tremor to be felt in Jamaica in the past month one was in April, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale. It was reported in the parish of Portland and felt in Buff Bay, Irish Town/Maryland, Hope Pas ture and New Kingston. The second was more than a week ago, measuring 4.4 and located north east of Cheetervale, St Andrew in the Blue Moun tains. Moderate earthquake shakes Jamaica; no damage, injuries n INTERN ATIONALNEWS
CELEBRATING the dance of life was the theme of Kingdor National Parkinson Foundations 11th annual gala ball to educate people on Parkinsons disease and other debilitating conditions. The Kingdor Foundation a lso used the occasion to raise funds for research towards finding a cure fort he disease. The organisation said it is extremely concerned with improving the quality of life o f those suffering with P arkinsons in the Bahamas. Held on Saturday, May 7, a t the Sheraton Nassau B each Resort, the ball a ttracted more than 400 guests, including ActingG overnor-General Janet B ostwick, Minister of Health Hubert Minnis, Minister of State for Labour and Social Development Loretta Butler-Turner and Fort C harlotte MP Alfred Sears. Memor y Established in the year 2000 in memory of Rev DrK S Darling, a sufferer of P arkinsons disease, and his w ife and primary caregiver Dorothy Darling, the Found ations name is a portmant eau of Dr Darlings first n ame, King, and Mrs Darlings nickname, Dor. During this years ball, the o rganisation recognised two medical specialists. The Prestigious Award w ent to Dr Edwin Demeritte, the only paediatric neurologist in the Bahamas. The Foundation said this award is presented to inspiring, outstandingi ndividuals who have played a significant role in the development of the Foun dation and given excellent s ervice to the Bahamian people. Receiving the K S Darling L ifetime Achievement A ward was Dr Magnus Ekedede, a consultant neu rosurgeon. According to the Founda t ion, this humanitarian award is presented to a physician or healthcarep rovider who manages his or her field of interest, yet gives back to the communit y in a meaningful way. T he Foundation said it was inspired to give this award to Dr Ekedede after he helped save T A Thomp son Junior High School grade eight student Rashad Rolle who was shot in theh ead last year. Surgery Many persons thought this student would have died from his injuries, but with Gods guidance, this young doctor successfully intervened through surgery, theF oundation said. Entertainment for the ball was provided by the Royal Bahamas Police Pop Banda s well as Grammy award winning R&B singer Peabo Bryson, who among other songs performed his famous A Whole New World from Disneys Aladdin. The Foundation said Mr Bryson was chosen as a performer because of his pro found knowledge of Parkinsons disease. The musician said he became passionate about t he disorder and finding a cure after a close friend of his was diagnosed with the c ondition. R emembering Muham m ad Ali, Mr Bryson said he was moved knowing thatt his legendary boxing cham p ion represented those suf fering with Parkinsons all over the world. T he Kingdor Foundation said it would like to salute all inviduals, organisations and institutions for theirc ontinuing support and subs equent committment to research, making it possiblet o improve the lives of those l iving with Parkinsons dis ease, their relatives and caregivers. Parkinson's disease is a d egenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The disease is named after the English doctor James Parkinson, who published the first detailed description in An Essay on the ShakingP alsy in 1817. P arkinson's disease affects m ovement, producing motor symptoms. Non-motor symptoms, which include autonomic dysfunction, neu ropsychiatric problems and sensory and sleep difficulties, are also common. L OCAL NEWS PAGE 6, TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 THE TRIBUNE Gala ball to raise awareness, funds for Parkinsons disease sufferers H ONOURED: D r Edward Demeritte (centre A ward at the Kingdor National Parkinson Foundations 11th annual gala ball as Mavis Darling-Hill (left (far right HAVINGABALL: Pictured (l-r D arling-Hill, R A Bevans, and Joyce Oberdorf at the Kingdor National Parkinson Foundations 11th annua l gala ball. Many persons thought this student would have died from his injuries, but with Gods guidance, this young doctor successfully intervened through surgery. The Kingdor Foundation
MARKING what both Sandals and BTC called a new day, the resort and the telecom company joined forces this week, replacing a nd upgrading the resort's m obile phone, reservations system and guest billing services in Nassau and Exuma. It was the first clear demonstration of BTC's n ew LIME-supplied capabilities following the privatisation of the company o n April 6 when Cable & W ireless Communications c ompleted the purchase of 5 1 per cent of BTC after an e xercise that lasted the bett er part of two decades. Cable & Wireless operates in 13 countries in the region under its LIME branding. LIME has a strong relationship with Sandals in other parts of the C aribbean. We met with Sandals almost immediately following the sale. They presented several issues related to t elecommunications, said G eoff Houston, BTC CEO. O n May 12, LIME and BTC c onverted the Sandals s witchboard and billing sys t ems to the Avaya platform, bringing Sandals' Bahamas resorts in line with 17 Sandals properties throughout the region. Support I n addition to switching equipment in what is described as a "rip and replace" exercise, BTC wasr etained for ongoing support. According to the agreement entered into this week,B TC will assume support and management services designed to ensure smooth, uninterrupted operation oft elecommunications and seamless handling of reser vations for the resort's prope rties. B TC's Marlon Johnson, vice-president of sales and marketing, said BTC is committed to providing "theh ighest level of support with immediate response and a c lient relationship manager a vailable 24-7." Replacing one system with another involved intricate details, said Mr Hous-t on. The Bahamas project was a bit more complicated than a simple 'rip andr eplace' because we had to interface with a different guest billing system untile verything could be conv erted," said Mr Houston. "In preparation, LIME worked with BTC engineers to provide on the job train i ng. From this point forward, that training will continue in an online format. This is thet ype of partnership that ben efits everyone. BTC engineers receive training in a new platform so they areb etter equipped. LIME and B TC together satisfy a cus t omer. Most importantly, we h ave been able to satisfy a customer's needs and leave them feeling good about the service they deserve andr eceive." During the lead-up to the privatisation of BTC, San dals CEO Adam Stewart h ad given LIME top marks, calling the Caribbean's lead ing telecom provider a valu a ble partner. The hospitality industry expects and deserves the best in communication ser vices our guests look for w ard to communicating back home to share their experiences and demands peed, reliability and stabil ity," said Mr Stewart. "Its an important part of the guest experience. LIME hasb een a valuable partner to S andals across the C aribbean we have been a ble to improve the efficiencies of the Sandals group and provide greater service to our guests becauseo f LIME. Now, we look for ward to more of the same in the Bahamas." LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011, PAGE 7 )25 6$/( DURING the past week, police booked 416 motorists in New Providence for various traffic offences and put 336 matters before the traffic court. Some of the offences included unlicenced and uninspected vehicles; driving on a closed street; failing to keep left; transporting an insecure load; failing to notify change of ownership; failure to have windows of transparent view, and failure to have rear plate on vehicle well illuminated. Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade thanked the officers of the various policing divisions throughout New Providence for their hard work and encouraged motorists to adhere to traffic rules and regulations. AFRICAN Liberation Day will be celebrated in the area of the basketball court on the Southern Recreational Grounds from 11am until 7pm on May 21. It will be hosted by a newly formedc oalition called Africans U nited. T he aim of African Libera tion Day (ALD encourage Africans all over the world to acknowledge their common struggle to liberate and unite Africa and African people worldw ide. A LD was founded in 1 958 and was intended to m ark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolizethe determination of the p eople of Africa to free themselves from foreign d omination and exploitation. Today, ALD is a permanent mass institution in the world-wide African Liberation Movement. It is a day of work in the area of political education and organization and reflects the fact that we have n ot obtained our freedom, a nd thus it is a day to reaffirm our commitment to African liberation and the u nification of Africa, said a s pokesman for the group. The ALD celebrations here in Nassau will feature presentations about ourA frican ancestors and about African liberation movements past and present from organizations and individuals like the African Peoples Socialist Party-Bahamas, SEEDlings Place, Alis Glass & Mirror, Organiza t ion of African UnityBahamas, Qubtic Church of the Black Messiah, Gathering Hands Calligraphy, E .G.Y.PT., Ethiopia Africa B lack International Congress, Danyiel Cinque, Dec cico Hall, Cecil Hall, TheI ndaba Project, Ronnie Butl er, M. Deez, etc. There will also be music, political edu cation, a bouncing castle, face painting, and food & b everage and arts & crafts vending, and entertainment from artists like Mystro, Bottom J, I Bun Fyah, Gene Cage, Jah Doctrine, said a press statement. The event is open to the public. Additional sponsors of the event include Asue Draw, Joeys Import/Export and Island Games. Africans United is a newly formed coalition estab lished April 10, 2011 comprised of more than 15 organizations and individuals from various political and ideological persuasions. It is guided by nine resolutions and its overall goal isto improve the living conditions of African people in the Bahamas and around the world. It is also committed to the total liberation of Africa and African people everywhere. Sandals, BTC join forces ( Photo by Derek Smith, Jr.) JOINING F ORCES: Pictured (left to right and Sandals manager Kressville Ritchie. Replacement and upgrade for resorts mobile phone, reservations system and guest billing services AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY TO BE CELEBRATED ONMAY 21 MO T ORISTS KEEP POLICE BUS Y IN THE PASTWEEK (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson COURTESY CALL: Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes receives students from Genesis Academy in a courtesy call at Government House on May 13. Pictured sitting from left: Khari Vanderpool, Alex Saunders, Jonathan Richardson, Cymphony Wallace-Fergu son, Sir Arthur, Mateo Smith, Nadja Simon, Avard Hart and Sanchez Johnson, Standing: Sherry Simon, Philip Simon (parents and Lyric Treco-Hanna (social studies and science teacher GENESIS ACADEMY STUDENTS CALL ON GOVERNOR-GENERAL Share your news The Tribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbour hoods. Perhaps you ar e raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the area or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and share your story.
By KEITH B CAMPBELL B SC, DVM T HE middle class in The Bahamas t oday has g rown mainl y out of the hospitality, financial, retail and construction sectors of our economy. Small farm size, the absence of clusters, land t enure constraints, marketi ng difficulties, infrastruct ural deficits and the lack of a strategic short, medium and long term policy and plan, et al, have prevailed a gainst the agricultural sect or making its contribution to the growth of our middle c lass, notwithstanding its a bility to do so. H aving regard to the WTO and the EPA, it is incumbent upon us that wei dentify competitive products and advance strategic policies and plans in order that we might beneficially p articipate in them. This blueprint calls for the phased establishment of a t least 100 Bahamian fami ly farms, each on 40 acres of l and on our pine islands, producing, among other things, West Indies Sea I sland Cotton (WISIC t he development of a verti c ally integrated textile light manufacturing industry. In complement to this, smallf armers on the coppice islands could also be involved in WISIC production. The Cooperative Society Movement (CSM mended as the modus o perandi f or the successful a nd sustainable achieve ment of this goal due to its i nternationally proven abili ty,via cooperatives and credit unions, to provide the organizational framework as well as access to inputs,e quipment, technical assist ance and micro-financing, in addition to marketing, that would be needed by farmers in this private/public sector initiative. Having regard to the fact that the majority of Bahamian farmers are small farmersw ho do not own the land on which they farm, land reform and farmer trainingw ould be important components. Creative concessionary financing, sound man agement and access to a ppropriate, affordable technology would also be equally important. An effective and efficient marketing organization and network would be the linchpin of this project which would be demand drivena nd geared towards sustainable niche markets in which we could be competitive andh ave an advantage as well. West Indian Sea Island Cotton (WISIC the most valuable and pricey c otton varieties on the planet, as well as the most rare. Its fibers are 50 per cent longer than the regular cotton strains and it is as strong as silk and soft like cashmere. Additionally, it is very easy to care for, quite versa t ile and the fabric keeps one's body cool in hot weather. A n article in the Barbados Nation News in 2006 reported that Sea Island Cotton was being sold at US$ 10 a pound and that North A merican manufacturers were making huge profits from manufactured prod-u cts: one pound of cotton can make one polo shirt which wholesales starting at US $125 and a retail startingp rice of US $250 on the high street markets of the world. The article further reports that Exclusive CaribbeanC otton Inc, (ECCI cally integrated company in Barbados, has no plans to sell cotton grown in Barba dos to manufacturers in any part of the world. This variety of cotton was first cultivated in The Caribbean by the Caribs and Arawaks. In 1791, 5,163 bales weighing 492 tons were exported from The Bahamas. The reintroduction of the commercial production of WISIC by Bahamians would provide income for our farmers and cotton cloth for the produc tion of high quality, high end products for the local, tourist and export markets by our garment manufacturers, fashion designers and other artisans, in addition to cot ton seeds that could be used in animal feeds and/or the production of edible oil. According to this blueprint, each 40 acre farm would allocate two acres for a house, residential space and the erection of sheds/barns and the storage of farm equipment and machinery. Up to five acres would be allocated for veg etable production, 10 acres for permanent fruit tree production and the remainder for agroindustrial crop production. With the proper selection of crops, along with the proper crop rotation schedule, each of these farms would have the poten tial for a net annual income in excess of $150,000. This blueprint is centred around the establishment of a strong family farm system in which each farmer is the master of his own farm and capable of assuming full responsibility for solving on farm management prob lems. Its successful and sus tainable implementation would require close cooperation between the government and the farmer, strong intersectoral linkages and t he judicious application of capital, technology and organization. It would also require the resolution of a mixture of political, economic, cultural and social problems. The principal matters that h ave to be effectively addressed in order to successfully implement thisb lueprint are: a. Farmer selection and training for the 40 acre farms. b Land reform. c Organizational structure and management. d. Funding.e Marketing. f. Farm labour. g. Government support. h. Technology.i Seed Bank develop ment. a.Farmer Selection and T raining Having regard to the fact that we would be seeking to train agribusiness persons to manage and operate a medium sized production enterprise of 40 acres, great care should be exercised in their selection. There are many international agencies, NGO's and other entities that offer technical assistance and grants which would be able to assist us with training. b Land Reform In order for this pro gramme to be attractive to serious business-minded persons, they must have the option to either liquidate the equity that they have accrued in the land at some point, or else to pass it on to their heirs. This blueprint calls for participants to be granted title outright to their plot provided that they bring all of it into production with in a prescribed period of time, e.g., 10 years. Thereafter, they should be allowed to purchase it at a conces sionary rate that increases incrementally with each additional year in excess of 10 that it takes. The land should be zoned for strictly agricultural pur poses in perpetuity and the only dwelling structures allowed on it would be resi dences for the farm families and dormitories for the farm labourers. c.Organizational Structure and Management. All farmers should be encouraged to participate in the cooperative society movement as a means to further empower themselves. Each of them should be a member of a cooperative society and a credit union. Not only will this result in their greater empowerment, it will improve and make more effective their interaction with the Government and the purchasers of their products, in addition to better p ositioning them to be the r ecipients of technical assist ances and grants. The Department of Cooperative Development would have a major role to play in this regard. d. Funding. Concessionary funding a nd creative financing must b e necessary components of a ny plans for the development of a Bahamian agricultural middle class. e. Marketing. A demand driven approach would be taken in determining the crops to be p roduced. Essentially, we w ould be looking for niche crops, such as sea island cotton and Bahamian goat pepper, et al, for the farmers to produce. We would also be focusing on adding value by processing. F armers would market t heir products through their cooperative. T he Bahamas Agricult ural and Industrial Corpor ation would have a major role to play in shepherding this component. f Farm Labour. Having regard to the fact t hat expatriate labour is an indispensable component of our agricultural sector, ac lear, effective and sectorstimulating policy should be promulgated. g. Government Support. W hile the implementation of this blueprint should be driven by the private sect or, it is a private/public sect or initiative and would need s trong government support. One of the many ways thatt he Government can pro v ide support is to prepare the land for all participants. h. Technology. T he use of modern pro d uction technology to increase competitiveness and profit margins is anoth er important component oft his blueprint. In order to do this the appropriate tech nology must be accessiblea nd affordable. The development of a competent, efficient and effective extension servicew ithin the Department of A griculture is an important component in the imple-m entation of this blueprint. i Seed Bank Development. West indian sea island cotton is unique in its sensi t ivity to the micro-climate. While the plant may be grown in other parts of the world, the cotton producedi s of an inferior quality. The Israelis discovered this, much to their chagrin, when they sought to usurp our regional heritage by smug gling seeds from The Caribbean in order to build an industry in their territo ries. The West Indian Sea Island Cotton Association has propriety rights over most of the seed and derived cotton presently in commercial use. There are other reputable sources as well. Cotton plants can be observed in the wild throughout our archipelago. These plants are the descen dants of the plants that were cultivated by the loyalist set tlers and over the past two centuries have adapted to the micro-climatic conditions on each of our islands on which they are found. Due to this, these plants may have evolved unique qualities of commercial interest. Having regard to this, an evaluation of these plants should be undertaken in order to determine their commercial value and to register propriety rights. The modus operandi for the successful and sustainable implementation of this blueprint should be similar to that deployed by a man who would eat an elephant by himself: divide it into meal sized portions, take one mouthful at a time, chew thoroughly before swallowing and allow time for digestion and evacuation before proceeding to the next portion. YES WE CAN! (Dr Keith B Campbell is president of the Bahamas Agricultural and Producers Association). L OCAL NEWS PAGE 8, TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 THE TRIBUNE YESWECAN This is a blueprint for the development of a Bahamian agricultural middle class and a vertically integrated textile light manufacturing industry. DR. KEITHCAMPBELL WEST INDIES SEA ISLAND COTTON
LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011, PAGE 9 450 line workers, said the claimed redundancy was nothing but an exercise in firing hand-picked employees for person-a l reasons. When it comes to trust, honesty and integrity, FirstCaribbean is far from it, she claimed. Management has broken every rule when it comes to trust and integrity. Bank representatives were not available for comment up to press time. Last Friday, the bank issued a statement, saying it w as undergoing restructuring and assessments of our manp ower needs. The process was not expected to exceed 20 persons. Ms Mortimer said: All of these employees had issues with management; issues with speaking out and being taken forg ranted. The young lady that just came off of maternity leave, n o more than three months ago, apparently she had time off from the doctor for the term of her pregnancy, and management felt she should have been to work; that she took time off unnecessarily, so they did what they felt they needed to do. A kina Donawa, an employee of five years, is the worker in question. Last year, Ms Donawa said her work assessment w as rated as reached expectation, but two years prior to t hat it had exceeded expectation. She returned from maternity leave three months ago and was s hocked to learn of her termination last week, it was claimed. Two weeks prior to the layoff, Ms Donawa had filed a com-p laint against her supervisor. M s Donawa said one day after operating hours, she brought her 2-year old son into the bank bathroom to change him. Her s upervisor saw her and said she had no etiquette and that she was uncouth for her actions, suggesting that she should have d ealt with her son in the outside parking lot. M s Mortimer said the supervisor organised a meeting to discuss the issue, where she proceeded to bash Ms Donawa f or having no class in front of other employees. The supervisor was reported for this matter, according to Ms Mortimer. Ms Donawa and the union representatives were still waiting for a response from the human resources department about the complaint when notice came about the layoffs. They are stillw aiting for a response, she said. The other laid off employees have stories to tell about complaints against management. B ased on the industrial agreement, the dismissal of an e mployee by reason of a redundancy, is to be wholly or main ly attributable to the fact the requirements of that business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind have ceased ord iminished or are expected to cease or diminish, according to the BFSU. The bank is also required to give the union 90 days notice of the job that is to be discontinued and 35 days notice of thee mployee to be disengaged. The bank is also required to allow the employees reasonable time off with pay to seek other employment. S enior employees are to be given first opportunity for reclas sification, and part-time or contractual workers are to take a back seat where possible, to the full-time long service employ-e es, said union leaders, explaining the terms of the industrial a greement. The bank has 16 contractual employees. The years of service for the seven employees range from five to 26 years. Asked what the work climate would be like if the employees w ere reinstated, Ms Mortimer said: The climate is bad on the whole. That is why we feel it was so personal. The climate at FirstCaribbean is nothing to brag about. I said in the state m ent early that FirstCaribbean from this recession came on has been letting people go. This is the worst yet and the largest yet, but from as far back as 2000, the bank has continuously, every year, had redundancies, said Ms Mortimer. In previous occasions, at least the staff was allowed to stay on the job for the 90-day period, they were allowed to look for jobs, and those who wanted to go, went, she said. The union said FirstCaribbean is acting as though there is no union, and it plans to give the company a taste of their own medicine. Ms Mortimer would not go into further details. She said the incident threatens to cause irreparable harm tou nion relations with the bank. The bank has crossed the line, she claimed. FIRING OF SEVEN BANK EMPLOYEES LABELLED MEANANDMALICIOUS F ROM page one Govt worker shot dead in robbery whether the guard would normally have an escort with him, but did confirm that Mr Cartwright did not have an officer with him yesterday. Around 11.40 am yesterday, Mr Cartwright and a Depart-ment of Environmental Health accountant left the city dump for a bank to deposit money collected at the landfill over the weekend. As they left the property's main gate two masked men dressed in black and wearing fluorescent vests emerged from the south of the dump and approached the white truck that Mr Cartwright drove, cornering them, police said. One of the two masked bandits pulled out a handgun prompting Mr Cartwright, 44, to speed off in an attempt to escape the holdup, police reported. As he sped away, the thugs fired shots at the truck striking Mr Cartwright multipletimes in his upper body. Despite being shot, the married father-of-three drove on until he crashed into a guardrailo n Tonique Williams Darling Highway. Mr Cartwright, a 10year DEH employee stationed at the Farrington Road office, died at the scene. Environment Minister Earl Deveaux said a grief counsellor has been contacted to talk to employees at the departmentw ho have been traumatised by t heir colleague's violent and unexpected death. He and an assistant accountant were on their way to the bank and they were held up at the gate and he was shot. Theyw ould have been going to the bank to deposit the money collected at the weigh bridge. Every truck going into the landfill leaves a deposit and commercial waste (units ping fee, the money would have been collected between late Friday and early Monday," MrD eveaux told The Tribune after t he attack. "The ministry has arranged f or counselling for all of its employees, the incident was very traumatic." What changes, if any will be made to the cash pick ups will be determined by the Public Treasury, the minister added. "It's the Treasury's money and they put in the protocol for how money is handled, whatever appropriate action for what is needed will be taken," said the MP for Marathon. Acting Assistant Commissioner Emerick Seymour said police are investigating all avenues, including whether the robbery was an inside job. "We cannot speak to the specifics of the investigation but we are following all and any leads and we wouldn't rule anything out at this stage," said Mr Seymour, who encouraged persons travelling with cash to contact the force for assistance to avoid being targeted. Police are appealing for anyone with information on this incident to contact them at 919,3 22-3333, the Central Detective Unit 502-9991, 502-9910 or Crime Stoppers at 328-TIPS. FROM page one with expertise and governing experience. Each and every candidate is required to undergo a vigorous vetting process a process that is open, fair and transparent.All voices are welcome, and the process is both balanced and inclusive, he said. While noting that not everyone in the party will of course be happy with all of the results of this vetting process, Mr Christie admitted his disappointment that the personal correspondence of some dissenting voices was leaked to the press. Leaked letters and political games come with the territory, unfortunately, but the longer Im in politics, the more confident I am about what really matters putting forward the ideas and policies that can help the Bahamas in this new century. Im looking forward to a vigorous debate this campaign a debate about which party and policies will best support Bahamians and put their interests first, he said. Mr Christie was responding to a news report highlighting a letter sent to him by former Parliamentarian George Smith, former PLP chairman Raynard Rigby, and former campaign coordinator Philip Gala nis. In the letter the three men urged Mr Christie to block the nominations of Shane Gibson, Vincent Peet, Obie Wilchcombe, V Alfred Gray, Leslie Miller, Anthony Moss and Picewell Forbes for fear that their nominations could hurt the party on a national scale if their varied pasts were once again highlighted during a general election campaign. n SEEEDITORIAL, PAGE 4 Christie: PLP not distracted by letter leak FROM page one Democratic National Alliance (DNA can be found in South Andros. There, Mr Bastian said the PLP has a sitting MP, Picewell Forbes, who is being undermined by former PLP MP for Mount Moriah Keod Smith and political newcomer Charmine Austin. Political differences aside, Mr Bastian said that he actually feels sorry for Mr Forbes. The PLP has been very disrespectful to Picewell. Keod Smith has no ties to South Andros whatsoever. Keod Smith heard there was an election happening in the south, but it was south of the Bahamas, not South Andros. He dont have a chic or child, or any connection to South Andros. Does he think the people of South Andros will send someone to the House of Assembly who they dont know? We would rather put an old drunken fella off the side of the road rather than putting Keod in there. Hes a reject from Mount Moriah, he said. Having dismissed Mr Smith, Mr Bastian said that he will not be running a campaign about personalities with Mr Forbes, but rather he would stack up Forbes record in office versus his own and let the people of South Andros be the judge as to who performed better. Mr Bastian, refused the PLPs nomination in the 2002 election for South Andros, ran as an Independent and won. However, he lost his parliamentary seat to Picewell Forbes, running on the PLP ticket, in the 2007 election. Picewell was a cheerleader for the PLP. That is it. He is supposed to push for things to be done for his people and he failed mis erably in that regard, he said. Mr Bastian is expected to be named as the DNAs candidate for South Andros when the party rolls out their next slate of candidates later next month. The DNA was officially launched on May 12th with former FNM MP, now Independent MP Branville McCartney at its helm. Mr McCartney also revealed nine of his partys candidates for the upcoming general election during the official launch. They were : Chelphene Cunningham, Garden Hills; Floyd Armbrister Exuma; Sammy PoitierSouth Beach; Farrel Goff Clifton; Ben Albury Montagu; Adrian Laroda MICAL; Roscoe Thompson South Abaco; Charlene Paul Elizabeth and Alfred Poitier Kennedy. Attempts to reach Mr Forbes and Mr Smith for comment were unsuccessful up to press time last night. B A TTLE F OR NOMINATIONS IS S T AR TING TO MOUNT FROM page one people last week. "Branville McCartney has a lot of explaining to do to the Bahamian people. For example, why did he support the FNMs heavy tax increases that have hurt Bahamians and slowed the economic recovery? "How does he explain the failed work permit policy of the Department of Immi gration under his leadership?" asked the PLP in a statement yesterday. The party also labelled the Bamboo Town MP as a "contradiction" who should be viewed with "suspicion" and questioned the democratic integrity and policies of his new party. "On the face of it, the structure and function of the DNA is rank with the stench of dictatorship. There is no published constitution that governs the structure, function, policies and processes of the DNA. There is no executive committee or council to provide the executing mechanisms that form the basis of the DNAs policies and processes. "It appears that Mr McCartney is a selfappointed leader who in turn appointed a chairman. He apparently unilaterally appointed his candidates. To the casual polit ical observer, this is not democracy, but dictatorship in its rankest form. This practice has no place ina free, modern democratic Bahamas and Mr McCartney must clarify this apparent deba cle to the Bahamian people. "This makes him a figure of contradic tion and an enigma which raises more questions than answers about the honour of his initial political intent and his appreciation, respect and regard for the fundamental democratic principles that form the foundation of this commonwealth. He is setting a dangerous precedent for the Bahamas and must be viewed with extreme caution and suspicion." The PLP added that it does not see the new party as a threat and said the next election will be a race between the two main parties. There have been no fewer than nine attempts in the past to form this so-called third party or this alternative to the two major political parties. If history is an accurate or reliable pre dictor of the future, we know what will happen to the DNA, but the DNA is not the business of the PLP. Our business is winning the next general election and if they can help the PLP win the next general election, so be it," said the party's statement. Last Thursday, Mr McCartney unveiled the DNA's first 10 candidates, including himself, who will run on the party's ticket in the next election. Mr McCartney said that the DNA believes in delivering a simple, clear, and concise action plan for the nation, with the one simple truth that they firmly believe that if you put people first, "everything else will take care of itself." Attempts to reach Mr McCartney and t he DNA's chairman for comment were unsuccessful yesterday. THEOPPOSITION TURNS UPHEAT ON BRAN FROM page one GRIMTASK: The body is taken away. BRANVILLE MCCARTNEY F e l i p M a j o r / T r i b u n e s t a f f
By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor T he Bahamas must strategically target countries representing the fastest-growing economies and income/wealth l evels, Scotiabanks chief global economist said yester day, noting that the US dol l ars future weakness could cut into this nations living standards. Dr Warren Jestin, speaking t o the media after an event sponsored by the bank and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, said the structure of the world economy was changing, with the fastestgrowing economies over the next few years set to be the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, India) countries and regions such as Asia and Latin America. With the Bahamas tradi tional markets such as the US likely to be growing at a much slower rate, Dr Jestin suggested that this nation figu re out which countries its tourism and financial services industry wanted to target. Noting that the Bahamas, w hich sourced between 80-85 per cent of its visitors from the US, was not getting a big s hare of the new tourists coming out, its getting a small share, Dr Jestin said this nation needed to build on the $4. 68 $4. 51 $4. 69The information contained is from a third party and The Tribune can not be held r esponsible for errors and/or omission from the daily report.$ $5.69 $5.62 $5.65 THETRIBUNE SECTIONB firstname.lastname@example.orgTUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 [Learn more at royaldelity.com] BAHAMASNassau:242.356.9801 Freeport:242.351.3010BARBADOSSt.Michael:246.435.1955 rfnfnnnn(# %!" f"%!%' bf" n By NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business Editor T he Bahamas must become more than an incorporator jurisdiction to grow its financial services industry, a leading accountant yesterday suggesting OECD demands for greaterr ecordkeeping may actually help push the sector towards its future attracting institutions and high net-worth clients t o establish physical businesses here. Raymond Winder, managing partner at Deloitte & T ouche (Bahamas the real growth for the Bahamas in financial services will come from, urging that it break with past practices and m ove towards a model he said was essential to deriving the necessary employment and income benefits. A rguing that meeting the Organisation for Economic C o-Operation and Developments (OECD all Bahamas-incorporated entities maintain accounting records for a minimum of five years would not be cost prohibitive, Mr Winder also said this nations Tax Informa t ion Exchange Agreement (TIEA maintaining its brand reputation and banish the notion it accepted non-compliant business. D escribing the Bahamas as one of the grandfathers of the international financial services industry, Mr Winder said rivals that subsequently entered the sector had been able to derive more dollars on a per client basis than we do. H e hinted that the Bahamas should take a page from the p laybook of rivals such as Bermuda, which had not only attracted offshore companies but enticed them into setting up physical offices and operations there. We as a country for a long time have shied away from driving this issue of accounting and administration, Mr Winder said. When we think about this industry going forward, we dont want to be doing the same thing we have been doing Move beyond incorporator jurisdiction Real growth to come from enticing high net-worths, firms to establish physical o perations in Bahamas TIEA network will ensure brand nott arnished and sends compliance message R AYMOND WINDER B y NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business Editor The Government was yesterday urged to create the appropriate incentives and e nabling environment that would encourage private investors to expand this nations hospital and medical capacity, a leading accountant arguing that it should not taket his on itself. R aymond Winder, Deloitte & Touche ( Bahamas) managing partner, said the Gove rnment was in a difficult position, with the existing capacity to meet the medical/hospital needs of the country reaching a c ritical point, given the need to replace the Princess Margaret Hospital. Yet the Governments strained fiscal posi Govt urged to let private sector build new hospital SEE page 5B SEE page 5B Bahamas urged: Strategically tar get fastest growing markets US dollars weakness could lead to equivalent of national wage cut for the Bahamas SEE page 5B B y NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor Regulators have intervened in the fraught interconnection talks between the Bahamas Telecommun ications Company (BTC a nd Cable Bahamas and its affiliates, issuing an Interi m Order setting out the t imetable for talks and c onditions that both sides must meet. The Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority (URCA issued on Friday, established the framework for negotiations between BTC and Cable Bahamas newly-acquired subsidiary, Syst ems Resource G roup/Indigo Networks, o ver a new Interconnection Agreement. T he new agreement is to c omply with BTCs Reference Access and Interconnection Offer (RAIOs tatement from the Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC owned carrier said yester d ay. Tribune Business, though, understands that the interconnection situa-t ion between BTC and C able Bahamas/SRG is much more complex than the public statements from the two sides have let on thus far. This newspaper understands that URCA was SEE page 4B REGULATOR INTERVENES IN BTC/SRG DISPUTE B y NEIL HARTNELL T ribune Business Editor City Markets principal, Mark Finlayson, has signed a deal in principle to acquire rival retailer Robin Hoods f ood business, Tribune Busin ess can reveal. The agreem ent, which was signed on F riday, is targeting a closing this week, multiple sources close to the situation conCity Markets signs Robin Hood deal Chain owned by Finlayson family to acquire rivals food business, sub-leasing its existing stores* Schaefer to retain appliance business and real estate, with he and partner supplying City Markets via US M ARK FINLAYSON SEE page 4B
B USINESS PAGE 2B, TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 THE TRIBUNE ATLANTIC MEDICAL INSURANCE CO.LTD. Atlantic House,2nd Terrace & Collins Avenue,P.O.Box SS-5915,Nassau Tel.326-8191 Suite 5,Jasmine Corporate Center,East Sunrise Highway,P.O.Box F-42655,Freeport Tel.351-3960A member of Colonial Group International:Insurance,Health,Pensions,LifeA health plan with Atlantic Medical protects you from large out-of-pocket bills.Atlantic Medical offers the richest benefits package for your money and a fast claims service.It is appreciated by members and providers.So why choose a health plan where benefits and choice have been reduced to maintain the price? After all, isnt health care all about choice,value and service? With Atlantic Medical,you receive protection from potentially huge bills: Stop loss protection (including out of network charges) Low deductibles and no hidden deductibles Direct billing,dedicated in-house claims department Widespread I.D.card acceptanceCall 326-8191(Nassau) or 351-3960 (Freeport) or visit www.cgigroup.bm Colonial Group International is rated A-(Excellentby AM Best. Premier HealthWhy pay your health premium and risk large bills too? Your wealth is protected with Atlantic Medical. BY RICHARD COULSON Commonwealth Brewery Offering I t missed its $62.5 million target by $10-$12 million, which the Governm ent must now buy. Ordinarily, this w ould indicate a failure, as a shortfall is usually blamed on misjudgment of the probable demand or an acceptable offering p rice. W e realize that Royal Fidelity, the manager o f the offering, had no discretion as to the size o f the deal. It was a political arrangement, driven by reasons of public policy. Back in 2 010, the Government only permitted H einekens 100 per cent acquisition of the B rewery (enriching the Finlayson family later offered 25 per cent of its holding to the public. Thats fine spreading the wealth more widely among its own citizens as a condition of allowing a foreign takeover is a perfectly l egitimate requirement for any Government to impose. With some $50 million raised, it was the largest ever issue in our still immature capital market. But surely Royal Fidelity was responsible for recommending the share price of $8.33, which p roved too high to get the deal fully placed. Who took the risk of this wrong estimate? N ot Royal Fidelity, who got a fixed fee of $ 1.25 million regardless of success. Not H eineken any shortfall was guaranteed to be t aken up by the Government. Thus the only p arty at risk was the Public Treasury, or more likely the National Insurance Board (NIB I n a free market economy, the Government should not be in the business of underwriting share offerings. If occasionally it does so, it should be compensated for taking the risk. The Ministry of Finance proved them s elves financial amateurs by not demanding a n underwriting fee of, say, 2-3 per cent on any amount taken up. RoyalFidelity should have been required to divide the bill for its services: a fixed fee component for acting as financial advisor (structuring the deal, writing the prospectus, etc.), and a percentage placement fee earned only on the shares actu ally sold. With the Government now buying $ 10-$12 million in shares, it should earn $ 200,000-$400,000, which would be charged a gainst Royal Fidelitys compensation. G overnment underwriting of a mis-priced deal does no favour to the Bahamians who participated. Just the opposite: It leaves a big bloc of shares overhanging the market in case NIB may decide to liquidate their holding. We certainly hope they are bound by a long lock-up period, and that the Brewery, a prof itable, well-run company, achieves good earn ings growth in the interim. In future share offerings, the pricing risk can be reduced by syndicating the placement among the three or four local brokerd ealers active in the securities business, instead o f relying solely on the judgment and placing power of a single firm. By paying these syndi cate members a placing commission, they will b e motivated to use best efforts to sell shares to their clients. To date, syndication has never been used in Bahamian share offerings, but w ith the growing number of investors and their wealth, it is the logical step forward. Also, instead of fixing the price on the l aunch date, the manager could announce a r ange of prices with a variation of about 25 per cent between high and low, and then proceed to build a book of investors, setting the finalp rice based on the level of investor interest. Finally, several major institutional investors could be organised to formally underwrite parto f an offering, for both a commitment fee and a take-up fee. The Brewery experience can provide a use ful lesson to apply to the next two public i ssues on the horizon, when part of the Gov ernment stakes in BTC and Arawak Cay will be offered to the public. Budget and Taxation L a ter this month we will hear the Prime M inister deliver his annual Budget message for the fiscal year 2011-2012. Facing continuing deficits and ballooning debt, hew ill surely announce well-intended allocations and tight restrictions of public expenditure, c ombined with many tweaks to our unwieldy basket of import duties, excise taxes, Stamp taxes, license fees that we use to raise the necessary revenue. Possibly a sales tax or VAT( Value Added Tax) will be mentioned. One thing that we will not hear is that outlawed phrase income tax, whose very whisperr ings alarm bells. The conventional wisdom tells us that any hint of income taxation would drive business from our shores and collapse o ur financial services industry. As is often the c ase, conventional wisdom needs to be reexamined. The best start for re-examination is a look at o ur southern neighbour, Panama. Dictators Once suspected of corruption, drug-dealing a nd money-laundering under unsavoury dictators such as General Manuel Noriega, in recent years the country has evolved into oneo f Latin Americas most dynamic economies, with a stable political regime led by Presid ent Martinelli, a business mogul elected in 2 009. His administration brought a GDP growth rate of 7.5 per cent last year, with much the same forecast for 2011, substantially bettert han the Bahamas. O f course, Panama has advantages that we do not enjoy. The Canal tolls are a solid source of income, and the shipping traffic supports theh uge Colon Free Trade Zone. The current Canal expansion project provides a massive boost for the construction industry, and mosto f the countrys electricity is generated by hydro power. Nevertheless, just like the Bahamas, offshore financial services are a significant con t ributor. Innumerable foreign individuals and businesses flock to accountants and lawyers to set up companies and bank accounts. This h appens in the face of the fact that the Panama Fiscal Code clearly establishes income tax both on individuals (graduated up to 27 per centa nd companies (a flat 25 per cent point is the territorial feature: Income tax is only charged on domestic earnings, not on foreign-source income. It provides about 35p er cent of total tax revenue, alongside a sales t ax (23 per cent) and import duties (only 12 per cent). If a similar system were used here, none of the foreign clients of our financial industryw ould suffer any change. Domestically, of course, there might be outrage from wealthy citizens forced for the first time to file a returnr evealing their income. However, for the economy as a whole there could be valuable trade-offs. We now pay nearly $700 million annually in import-relatedd uties and excise taxes (about 54 per cent of t otal tax revenue). If this amount were reduced b y, say, 80 per cent, we would immediately see a sharp drop in the cost of imported items and in the overall cost of living. The revenue shortfall would be made up by income taxation, a fairer way to allocate costs to ability to pay. Such a change would reduce the most glar i ng inequities in our present system, where a ny business importing physical goods gets h eavily taxed, while service providers such as lawyers, accountants, real-estate brokers and travel agencies enjoy close to a free ride. As one prominent example, the accounts of Commonwealth Brewery show that while its operating earnings in 2010 were about $20m illion, it paid about $22.6 million in duties and excise, equivalent to an unreasonable tax of more than 50 per cent on income. This is compounded by reduced cash flow, since these taxes are imposed at the begin n ing rather than the end of the sales cycle. The effect on available dividends is obvious. E xactly to what level mport duties should be reduced, and what rates of income tax should be charged to compensate, are questions with no immediate answer, but can be resolved if our Ministry of Finance soon starts ther equired number-crunching. We do not minimise the challenges of creating and enforcing a new tax collection sys tem. B ut, like Panama, which relies on withhold i ng for the typical wage-earner, other nations h ave faced and overcome similar challenges, and so can the Bahamas. The effort would be well worth the result of a fairer tax system. IPO offer and Budget needed correct Brew In a free market economy, the Government should not be in the business of underwriting share offerings. If occasionally it does so, it should be compensated for taking the risk.
BUSINESS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011, PAGE 3B The International Bar Association (IBA strong legal organisation, held its Management Board meeti ngs at the Higgs & Johnson Ocean Centre office in the Bahamas. The IBA is an organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. It influences international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profes-sion worldwide. The Management Board represents the leading partners of major firms in countries around the globe, such as the UK, the US, Japan, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Australia and the Bahamas. IBA president Akira Kawamura, of Japan, said in a letter:It was a delight to be in the Bahamas for the Management Board meetings, and to have the opportunity to meet with the Governor General. I would very much like to thank Higgs & Johnson and Peter Maynard for the help and assistance in o rganising the meetings and dinners. Dr Peter Maynard, an IBA director and chairman of theI BAs Public and Professional Interest Division, spearheaded the meeting and added: It is important to welcome influential organisations to hold their meetings in the Bahamas. As a result, there is a positive impact on our economy, society and the legal profession. The Management Board of the International Bar Association were quite comfortable at their recent meeting held at the offices of Higgs & Johnson, Ocean Centre, East Bay Street. I thank the partners, associates and staff of Higgs & Johnson for their helpful contribution of the use of their boardroom. Oscar N. Johnson, partner at Higgs & Johnson, said: We w ere delighted to provide meeting spaces for the IBA at our Ocean Centre facility. This is the first time the IBA has held their meetings here, and we cer tainly anticipate that it wont be the last. We would gladly welcome the IBA again as well as other leading international organisations. LAW FIRM HOSTS TOP GLOBAL ASSOCIATION A LLSMILES: T he IBA Board of Directors and staff, Higgs & Johnson attorneys and Peter Maynard pose in the lobby of the Ocean Centre office. B y NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor T he Bahamas Interna tional Securities Exchanges (BISX by 1.74 per cent for the first three months of 2011, a decrease standing in stark contrast to the positive movement in major global indices, as both trading volumes and valuations fell compared to 2010. Data released by BISX showed the All-Share Index dropped from 1,499.51 at year-end 2010 to 1,473.41 at M arch 31, 2011, a fall of 26.10 points. Less This, though, was less than the 2 per cent fall experi enced in the 2010 first quar ter, but the Bahamian mar k et was still moving in a dif ferent direction to the likes of the FTSE 100 Index, S&P 500 and MSCI Emerging Market Index. Trading volume for the t hree months t0 end-March was 642,314 shares, worth a c ollective $3.259 million. Even stripping out the $80 million Cable Bahamas share trade in the 2010 firstq uarter, connected to the Columbus Communications buyout, this was down, as7 19,318 shares, worth $5.422 m illion, traded in the three months to end-March 2010. Average daily volume traded was 9,945, with an a verage value of $50,577. The average daily trading v olume and average in the 2010 first quarter was 10.924a nd $84,460. BISX moving in opposite direction to global markets The latest rankings on the consumer website, TripAdvisor, show five Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA the number one position in overall guest satisfaction on their islands. Those BHA member hotels which have recently received top ratings by guests for hotels on their island are: Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros; Cape Eleuthera Resort and Yacht Club; Sunrise Resort and Marina; Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort in Nas sau; Sunrise Beach Club and Villas on Par adise Island; and Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort on Long Island. "Many of our members continue to show high levels of guest satisfaction according to reviews posted on TripAdvisor, said BHA president Stuart Bowe. Ultimately, it is the voice of the visitor which determines how well we are doing. Today, through consumer forums like TripAdvisor, our performance is transparent and open to all to see the good and the not so good. We commend these hotels for their achievements, and all of our member hotels and their team members who strive to ensure that it is 'Better in The Bahamas'. TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel site that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting reviews and opinions of travel related content and engaging in interactive travel forums. Bahamian resorts gain high rankings NEW YORK Technology company troubles and renewed concerns about Europe's debt dragged stocks lower for a second day. European finance ministers approved $110 bil lion in rescue loans to Portugal on Monday, but have yet to decide on a second rescue package for Greece. The arrest of the head of the International Monetary Fund is expected to make solving Greece's problems more difficult. The official, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, had been heavily involved in trying to fix the debt crises in Portugal and Greece. He is being held without bail on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel employee in New York City. Technology companies sustained the largest losses in Monday trading. Yahoo! Inc. and Ama zon.com Inc. fell by more than 4 percent. Yahoo is in a dispute with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. over its online payment business. Yahoo owns a 40 percent stake in the company, which transferred its online payment business to another company without consulting Yahoo. Investors are growing increasingly concerned over the prospect of an unprecedented U.S. default on its debt. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congressional lawmakers in a letter Monday that the agency is taking steps to postpone a default. "The main thing hanging over most financial markets right now is what's going to happen with the debt ceiling and government borrowing and spending," said Tim Courtney, the chief invest ment officer at Burns Advisory Group in Oklahoma City. Debt concerns weigh on stocks WALLSTREET
firmed to this newspaper last n ight, a development that would allow Mr Finlayson to achieve his long-cherished dream of food retail consol i dation in the Bahamas. The purchase price is unknown, but Tribune Busi ness can reveal that the t erms involve City Markets and Mr Finlayson acquiring and taking over RobinH oods food business. The l atters principal, Sandy Schaefer, will retain ownership of its high-margin, heavy duty appliance busi n ess, sub-leasing space in Robin Hoods two stores to Mr Finlayson from where hew ill run the grocery business. Retail sources also told t his newspaper that Mr S chaefer and his partner, M iami-based Suresh Khilnani, will provide supply chains to Mr Finlayson and City Markets from the US, helping them to source p roduct and providing logist ics support. Mr Finlayson could not be reached for comment last n ight, while Mr Schaefer r emained tight-lipped. When contacted by Tribune Business and asked about the deal with Mr Finlayson, h e replied: I cant comment o n that. Signed Still, one source close to developments told Tribune Business: The deals done. I understand the deal in principle has been signed. Another added: Everything were hearing is that if its not done, its close to being done. And yet another source informed Tribune Business: Sandy was going to run the a ppliance side, and they [Mr Finlayson and City Markets] will have the food side. Talks between Mr Finlayson and the Trans-Island Traders vehicle owned by his family, and Mr Schaefer and Mr Khilnani on the other, have progressed rapidly in the past two weeks, having seemingly stalled in April as the former decided whether he wanted to proceed. Tribune Business, though, in March 2011 reported how Mr Schaefer dismissed claims that Robin Hood had run into financial difficul ties, possibly having expande d too far, too fast, with the o pening of its Prince Charles Drive store. He also refuted allegations that the compa nys 200-plus staff were b eing downsized. The late opening of the Prince Charles Drive store, w hich has since been further impacted by the closure of a portion of the road in front of it due to roadworks, wass aid to have cost the company millions of dollars in revenues over the Christmas 2010 period. This newspaper has sub sequently been told by numerous sources that MrK hilnani has been seeking an exit route from Robin Hood, being unwilling to i nvest more funds as either equity or loans. T he retailer, through Mr S chaefer, had also been seeking fresh investment from Bahamian sources as a result. It is understood that Rupert Roberts and Supervalue, and other food retail ers, were also approached to see if they were keen on purchasing Robin Hood. Tribune Business understands that sales at Prince Charles Drive have dropped by around 80 per cent since the roadworks started, and Mr Schaefer had considered closing the store and releasing all staff. It is unclear, though, whether Mr Finlayson will do this, or if the two Robin Hood stores, at Prince C harles Drive and Tonique Williams-Darling, will be rebranded as City Markets outlets. In a previous interview with Tribune Business, after he abandoned his $12 mil lion hostile takeover attempt f or AML Foods, Mr Fin layson confirmed his interest in acquiring Robin Hood. "We are talking to them, a nd they've made it no secret that they're talking to other people," Mr Finlayson said then. "We're at the state where w e're talking. It's one of those things where we're examining and are going to do a due diligence on them. They've made it clear they're interested in divest ing the food part of their business. They're not inter ested in selling off the whole thing. They're just weighing up their options. I can't say that we've got a lock on them, or that we will have, although we might like to. They're being very open and honest with us, and are talking to a few people. I like what I see." And Mr Schaefer previ ously confirmed to this newspaper he would be open to such discussions provided they made "finan cial sense". B USINESS PAGE 4B, TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 THE TRIBUNE 6(&21'&$//,&()+( $118$/*(1(5$/((7,1*72 $OOHPEHUVRI7HDFKHUVDQGDODULHG:RUNHUV &RRSHUDWLYH&UHGLWQLRQ/LPLWHG (DVWWUHHWRXWKDQG,QGHSHQGHQFH'ULYH 1RWLFHLVKHUHE\JLYHQWKDWWKH7KLUW\)RXUWKWKf $QQXDO0HHWLQJ RI7HDFKHUV6DODULHG:RUNHUV&RRSHUDWLYH&UHGLW8QLRQ/LPLWHG ZLOOEHKHOGDWWKH%ULWLVK&RORQLDO+LOWRQ+RWHOORFDWHGRQ%D\ 6WUHHWRQ6DWXUGD\0D\FRPPHQFLQJDWIRU WKHIROORZLQJSXUSRVHV 7RUHFHLYHWKHHSRUWRIWKH%RDUGRI'LUHFWRUVIRU 7RUHFHLYHWKH$XGLWHG 7RHOHFWPHPEHUVRIWKH%RDUGRI'LUHFWRUV 7RHOHFWPHPEHUVRIWKHXSHUYLVRU\&RPPLWWHH 7RGLVFXVVDQGDSSURYHWKH%XGJHWIRU 7RWDNHDFWLRQRQVXFKPDWWHUVDVPD\FRPHEHIRUHWKHPHHWLQJ/HQQ.LQJ 6HFUHWDU\ 1%9,6,7256$1'&+,/'5(1$5(:(/&20(+2:(9(5 7+(<:,//5(63216,%/()257+(,5/81&+$$ forced to intervene after BTC, which has been pursuing SRG for months to sign a new Interconnection Agreem ent compliant with its RAIO, threatened to terminate i nterconnection by tonight in the absence of a deal. Such a move would have effectively eliminated all existing c ompetition in the fixed-line voice market, with SRG c laiming that BTC was abusing its Significant Market P ower (SMP The background to this, Tribune Business understands, is that the previous Interconnection Agreement between BTCa nd SRG, a five-year deal signed in 2004, expired in 2009. SRGs position is that this agreement was extended, under URCAs supervision, until the new regulations were formalised, and BTCs RAIO approved. A s a result, the companys position as agreed by the regulator was that the existing Interconnection Agreement continue in force until such time as the RAIO came i nto force. H owever, BTCs position is that a new Interconnection A greement has to be negotiated that is compliant with the RAIO something it is still finalising with URCA. G eoff Houston, BTCs chief executive, said in a statem ent: We welcome the Interim Order issued by URCA, notwithstanding concerns we have with some of the provisions, as this will provide the framework to move expedi tiously toward the finalisation of an [Interconnection Agreement] between BTC and SRG. The present IA expired in 2009, and to keep it in place means discriminatory treatment in SRGs favour compared to the treatment of other newly licensed operators. But, more importantly, BTC is eager to see and support a robust and competitive telecoms industry in the Bahamas characterised by fair rules and a level playingf ield. This benefits the consumers as it forces all operators t o be efficient and nimble, and deliver the products that cus tomers want and at the best possible prices. BTC anticipates a very expeditious negotiation period with SRG. Tribune Business, meanwhile, understands that inter c onnection dispute has two strands. The second strand is between BTC and Cable Bahamas itself, with both sides accusing the other of delaying tactics, failing to turn up fors cheduled meetings and respond to information requests since talks started last July. Regulator intervenes in BTC/SRG dispute FROM page 1B City Markets signs Robin Hood deal FROM page 1B FOODFORTHOUGHT: The Robin Hood store in Prince Charles Drive. Share your news The T ribune wants to hear from people who are making news in their neighbour hoods. Per haps y ou ar e raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for impr ovements in the area or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and shar e your story.
tion prevented it from investing the hundreds of millions needed to accomplish this, Mr Winder explaining: When you look at the Governments financial position its obvious thatt o meet these needs it will incur increasing costs. The question is: Is it right to increase the overall debto f the country, and what is important with that is to look at the level of revenue c oming in. The correct solution, Mr Winder said, would be to create an incentive/enablingf ramework, through legislation and policy, for privatec apital to invest in the expansion of the Bahamian m edical and hospital sector, a lleviating the potential burden on the Government and the taxpayer. Expansion should be an u rgent priority, the leading accountant said, not onlyb ecause of Bahamian and resident medical require-m ents, but because of this nations reliance on tourism. Having adequate medical capacity was also essential to attracting second home owners and other investors, Mr Winder said, and would serve as a foundation for the Bahamas efforts to break into medical tourism. Residency The Bahamas not only needs adequate hospital capacity for Bahamian resid ents, but it needs to demonstrate to secondh ome owners and people wanting to take up residency t hat it has that capacity to accommodate them, Mr Winder told Tribune Busi n ess. When you look at the size of the tourism market, were not in a position where we can wait for a cat astrophe to happen that shows up these needs and demonstrates the critical point at where we are. In these circumstances, the Government is in a far better position to provide incentives for the private sector individuals, hospitals and clinics to invest that capital. Such incentives, Mr Winder said, could involve the duty-free importation of building materials for a new hospital or clinic, adding that t he benefits/value from e xpanding this nations medical capacity would far out-w eigh the revenue lost. The more you increase capacity, the cheaper the cost should be, and the Government begins to save on foreign exchange, he told Tribune Business. The greater the capacity here in the Bahamas, the l esser the need Bahamians h ave to go to Cuba and the U S to get these operations. Medical tourism, in particular, not only drives revenue to the country but increases domestic capacity. The Government doesnt h ave to make the investm ent. The Government merely has to create thesei ncentives and environment f or the private sector. With a little incentive, the private sector can make this investment. Calling on the Government to also drop importd uties on medical equipment, Mr Winder urged it t o also review the work perm it fees levied on foreign n urses. A rguing that this was restricting the industrys human capital through pro-h ibitive costs, and was failing to attract more Bahamians t o the profession, Mr Winder added: The additional dollars derived fromc harging for a nurse is not encouraging or expanding the number of Bahamians going into nursing. These fees are merely ending up being income for the Government. The real question is: Is it b etter for the Bahamas to have that increased capacity, or for the Government toc ollect revenue from that category of individual. Itsc ritical for the needs of the c ountry to reduce fees for nurses to increase that capacity. W hile medical costs in the Bahamas were high, Mr Winder said this did not end u p back in the pockets of private investors. Taking Doctors Hospital a s an example, he said its d ividend payments over the last five years were well below the average for BISX-l isted companies, showing it was investing heavily back in its business. BUSINESS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011, PAGE 5B 2)),&($&()25(17'RZQWRZQRIFHVSDFHV ,GHDOIRUSURIHVVLRQDOV i n the past, which is to serve as an incorporator jurisdiction. We have to be more creative and innovative to attract t hese individuals and institutions that see the Bahamas as m ore than an incorporator. Thats the only way to develop m ore people and employment for this industry. To continue as an incorporator jurisdiction will not suffice, not help in meeting these long and short-term goals. Prior to 2000, the Bahamas did a roaring business in incorporations, with attorneys, accountants and others establishing International Business Companies (IBCse ntities as largely fronting vehicles that did no real business. These Bahamas-based professionals served merely as r egistration agents, but Mr Winder and others believe the w ay to expand the financial services industry is for these entities to do real business. And, with its real estate resources, b usiness friendly environment and other natural attributes, this nation should be a natural base for highnet-worth i nvestors to reside on a permanent basis. Going forward, the thrust for us is to grow the sector and attract individuals and institutions to set up a real physical p resence in the Bahamas, Mr Winder told Tribune Business. T hese people and companies, seeking to escape high taxation rates in their home countries, would set up family offices, employing two-four persons, in the case of the for-m er, and business operations in the latters case. Thats where the real growth will come from for the B ahamas, Mr Winder added. The spin-offs from these businesses will far outweigh the benefits from the day-to-day attraction of tourists. These operations will help to expande mployment going forward for the future of the financial services industry, increasing employment at a reasonable rate. We have most of the attributes over other international financial centres. When you look at the quality of real estatea vailable the Bahamas, is in a better position than most. M eanwhile, the Deloitte & Touche (Bahamas partner praised the Governments decision to expand its TIEA network, currently 24-strong, for safeguarding this nations financial services brand and reputation. While one must appreciate there may have been initial concerns that signing the TIEAs may have caused significant problems for the book of business in the Bahamas, thath as not happened, Mr Winder told Tribune Business. Talk to the institutions, and they are happy the Bahamas is doing all it can to demonstrate to the world we are not taking non-compliant business, no matter where it is from. By signing TIEAs with a major country, we are telling the world we are a jurisdiction only prepared to do business with those individuals who are compliant. To leave no stone unturned, that is the general thrust of the TIEAs. And the leading accountant added: The Bahamas can illafford to have its brand tarnished by individuals using IBCs that no one in the Bahamas knows anything about. Our brand is so important that we cannot afford to have companies incorporated in the Bahamas and potentially participating in illegal activities. The benefits derived from that are little to none. Mr Winder said large Bahamas-based bank and trust companies would have little problem complying with the OECDs accounting records requirements, while there were enough accountants to help bring smaller firms into compliance. Move beyond incorporator jurisdiction FROM page 1B Govt urged: Let private sector build new hospital F ROM page 1B Medical tourism, in particular, not only drives revenue to the country but increases domestic capacity. The Governmentd oesnt have to make the investment. The Government merely has to create thesei ncentives and environment for the private sector. With a little incentive, the private sector can make this investment. strength of its existing brand and ensure it got shelf space. Noting that China had now surpassed the UK as the nation whose citizens spent the third highest level of tourist dollars per annum, placing it behind just the US and Germany, Dr Jestin said: If you stay focused on tourism, it is getting the shelf space globally. Competition for tourism is going to be tougher, and having first class facilities makes a big differ ence. Price does not necessarily become a defining factor. If you try and compete on price, you drive the industry into the ground, you will not have good plant, and not have the infrastructure. However, if the Bahamas was able to market its brand to countries whose citizens were travelling long distances in search of unique, life changing experiences, and get shelf space, thats most of the battle. The trick is: How do you get to the persons with the income going up, and with the means to invest? Dr Jestin said. Noting the Chinese involvement with the $2.6 billion Baha Mar project and the $30 million National Stadium, he said the key issue for the Bahamas going forward was: How do you turn that into more of a business-type part nership? Dr Jestin said the Bahamas should strategically reach out to the markets it wanted to target, whether it was Latin America or China and Asia, given that in 10 years from now millions more people will be travelling especially the Chinese. And, given that tourists visiting from these markets would be travelling long distances, they will be more interested in the experiences available here. This is in stark contrast to the impulse visi tors from the US coast. Dr Jestin also suggested that with a wave of Baby Boomers set to retire between 2015-2017, countries tailor their tourism products away from an active adven ture element and more towards activities suited to retirees and an older client base. With the US dollar expect ed to depreciate against a whole basket of currencies over the next three-five years, Dr Jestin said that while Bahamian services industries, such as tourism, might benefit from a cost perspective, living standards here might be impacted through increased prices of imported goods. Its the ying-yang of exchange rate movements, he explained. US dollarbased countries picked up a big competitive advantage vis a vis the Euro and Canadian dollar, he added, noting that the Brazilian real and other Latin American and Asian countries were also likely to appreciate against the US dollar. But while the cost of a Bahamian vacation might be reduced, the impact on tourism will not be that pronounced because price is not the determining factor for many. It becomes more impor tant in terms of cost of liv ing, Dr Jestin said, noting that many goods were made in countries whose currencies were likely to appreciate against the US dollar. Wage settlements in countries such as China were also set to push up prices. Affordability will thus become a bit more of a challenge for the average con sumer, and Dr Jestin said: If you live in a US dollar world, it means you have a national wage cut against these countries, because that is what a US dollar deprecia tion is. Bahamas ur ged: Strategically tar get fastest gr owing markets FROM page 1B