FREE INSIDETODAY: KELLYS ROYAL WEDDING COLLECTORS EDITION N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER BTC severance deals r evealed Volume: 107 No.153FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER MOSTLY SUNNY HIGH 87F LOW 77F Ca b le & W ireless set to announce start ofv oluntary packages TRY OUR CHICKEN MAC The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM FREE INSIDETODAY: GOGREEN SUPPLEMENT By PAUL G TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org CABLE and Wireless is r eportedly set to announce shortly the beginning of its voluntary severance employ e e packages (VSEP T he Tri bune can confirm. According to confidential d ocuments received by this newspaper, the final version of these VSEPs were pres ented to the union on May 20 for ratification with today being the last day for them to finalise any staff communi c ations that would be issued. According to the final offer that reportedly has been agreed to by the union, all TOUGH TIMES: In these difficult economic times, more and more residents of the traditional communi ty Gambier Village are turning to the sea to make a living. A GOOD D AYS CATCH Felip Major /T ribune staff POLICE have started investigations into the countrys 49th murder for the year. A man, believed to be in his late twenties, was gunned down early yesterday morning, according to reports, as he was walking to his car at Peardale and Balfour Avenue. The victim was approached POLICE PROBE 49TH MURDER SEE page ten By NATARIO McKENZIE Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com A FAMILY was distraught yesterday when the case against a man charged in the deaths of four people in a house fire was dismissed in the Supreme Court yesterday. The outcome, which brought an abrupt end to the two-week long trial, did not sit well with family members of the victims who appeared visibly distraught, some sobbing inside the courtroom. Daron Brown, brother of 51-year-old ThereJUDGE DISMISSES FIRE DEATHS CASE SEE page ten By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org WHILE private schools are responding positively to recent increases in government aids, education boards say the money will not decrease tuition but will go towards schools maintenance, educational pro grammes and staff salaries that suffered as a Government subsidies increase for private schools will have little impact on tuition SEE page ten SEE page ten By MEGAN REYNOLDS Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com A SENIOR police officer accused of raping a mentallychallenged woman and fathering her child has not been pos itively identified in DNA tests. The family of the claimant, now 26, who has Downs Syn drome, said they do not have any faith in the tests and now want police to conduct an independent test with fresh blood samples from all three parties. N O POSITIVE DNA IDENTIFICATION IN ALLEGED RAPE By TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org DEMOCRATIC National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney has defended his party's choice of candidates in the next election telling The Tribune they have the "charisma" and heart to connect with voters. Since rolling out its ten can didates, including Mr McCartSEE page ten BRAN DEFENDS CHOICE OFDNA CANDIDATES SEE page ten HUBERT INGRAHAM
LOCAL NEWS P AGE 2, FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 THE TRIBUNE FUNERAL services for the three children killed in a tragic blaze at their Sandil ands Village Road home will be held on Saturday. Meanwhile the victims four remaining s iblings aged one, four, five and 10 who also faced the fatal fire on May 11, r emain in varying stages of recovery at Princess Margaret Hospital. In a recent press statement, PMH administration advised that the surviving children will need prolonged intensivecare treatment for injuries to the airway, lungs and brain. Two of the children remain critical w ith one being gravely ill, while two have shown some signs of recovery, said Thelma Rolle, public relations manag-e r. They all remain ventilated and expertly managed by a team of specialists in the Intensive Care Unit, including paed iatricians, anesthesiologist, neurosurgeons, and critical care paediatric nurses. A ccording to police, the children's father, an electronics repairman who o perated his business out of the family's home, left the children alone in the house the day fire started. Investigators suspect the fire was caused by a malfunctioning computer but family members say someone has threatened to set fire to the house before. As the blaze started to consume the s tructure, neighbours banded together and tried to save the children, who could be heard screaming from the lower levelo f the two-story apartment complex where they lived. However, hot flames and smoke blocked the rescue efforts. Firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze and found the seven children in an "unresponsive state", huddled together in an eastern bedroom of the apartment on Sandilands Village Road. T he seven children were born to two d ifferent mothers, one of whom was deported to Haiti a few years ago and another who left the Bahamas for the United States in January. Police are expected to wrap up investigations into the fire deaths this weeka nd will then turn the matter over to the O ffice of the Attorney General. The Attorney General will determine what, if any, charges should be filed in connection with the tragic incident. Funerals for children killed in blaze to be held on Saturday By NOELLE NICOLLS Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com LOCAL farmers are asking the government to use existing legislation to implement seasonal tariff structures for local produce instead of eliminating tariffs across the board. During his budget presentation, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced plans to eliminate all tariffs on fresh fruits. A few years ago, the government reduced the import tariff on imported vegetables from 35 to 10 per cent. This is typical of all governments who have been in power. They are not serious about agriculture. They only pay lip service to the idea because they want to get elected but their actions show otherwise. The proof is in the pudding, said a local farmer. I just dont get it. We are going in the fruit season now, so you have a lot of stuff like mangoes, pineapples, guineps on the market. Maybe I could understand if they said for a time period in the winter when our fruits are not bearing. They are not serious. I understand what they are trying to say (reducing the cost to consumers b ut I dont think they are going about it the right way, he said. One Abaco farmer said it was hard enough to sell local avocados earlier this year, and it will only be more difficult with the tariff removed. Earlier this year, in February, we had tens of thousands of avocados for sale. We notified the government in August 2010, six months in advance, that we were going to have a large crop this year and in November we gave them the estimates on how many we would have. They refused to help us to sell them and in fact the Department of Agriculture claimed they never heard a nything about it. Many of them rotted on the ground. Now this year with the reduction on fresh fruit we will have a tougher time selling our limes, 30 acres, and avocados, 35 acres, said Lance Pinder, Big Bird Avocado Farm. Increase Janice Pickstock, an Andros farmer, who produces cucumbers, watermelon, sweet potato, onions, and other produce, said the g overnment should increase the tariff on fruits and vegetables and restrict their import when the local supply is abundant. We have onion in a glut right now and the government is still importing onions from Holland. There are so many onions we have to take turns bringing them to the exchange. Sometimes you have to wait one month to bring your onions in. And then they spend more than two to three weeks before they get to the grading process, because they do not have the manpower. We have onions rotting and we are losing a lot. I think they should put a ban on o nions, especially when farmers have onion in such a vast majority, said Ms Pickstock. In a couple months or so you won't be able to find an onion. They need to take that into consideration, because so much is going to waste right now, she said. The government already has the power to seasonally modify import duties based on local availability, according to Tim Hauber, general manager at Lucaya Tropical. He said local farmers are not asking for something unheard of. I am not a big believer in protective industries. I am okay with a level playing field. But we are running at a disadvantage right now. Eventually the industry is just going to shrivel up and disappear and that goes for other local processing industries as well, said Mr Hauber. While Lucaya Tropical only produces vegetables, Mr Hauber said it understands the plight of the fruit farmers, because the vegetable industry felt the pinch about two years ago. The government has several anti-industry regulations in place that make local produce uncompetitive. Mr Huber said the government charges local farmers 45 per cent to import cardboard box-e s, needed to package local produce. That is a cost importers of fruits do not have to account for. I think this is going to be difficult for farmers. It has been a dif ficult adjustment for us and we are one of the largest farms. When all is said and done, your business plan takes a huge hit when you start out planning based on a 35 per cent duty then it drops to 15 and then to 10 per cent. That is a big, big adjustment to your busi ness plan, while at the same time they are starting to charge more duties for the articles I need to run my farm. That is slowly shoot-i ng the industry in the foot, he said. If the local industry were supplying enough produce to fulfil the country's needs, there would be no need for imports, said Larry Cartwright, Minister of Agriculture. He said consumers have been shouting at the Ministry of Finance. I think it will probably affect those persons who may not be able to produce fruits for competitive prices, but it will certainly cut down on the amount of illegal activity with regards to these things being smuggled in the country, he said, declining to elaborate. E rin Greene, owner of a local agribusiness, said the local industry is confronted with the fact that Bahamians are still reluctant to patronise local farmers. She said Bahamians are not ready for that cultural shift. Although there is a desire to eventually see a tax structure that puts an emphasis on buying local, she said there are problems on the consumer end that are not just cost related. Understanding those dynamics, and being interested in promoting healthy lifestyles, Ms Greene said she understands the step taken by the government. What the minister said today, is pretty much correct. We had to make the decreases where they would make the greatest impact. Maintaining a healthy agroindustry in the country requires more than just creating tax structures that benefit local farmers, said Ms Greene. Local farmers vent Budget frustration THE Ministry of Social Development yesterday held a special luncheon to show appreciation to the mothers and fathers of the com m unity. The lunch was held at the New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road. APPRECIATING MOTHERS AND FATHERS PHOTOS: Felip Major /Tribune staff
ACCORDING to reports issued late last night, police on a Family Island have cap-t ured Alexander Carey, who had been sought in connection with a murder investigation. Carey, 26, also known as 'Cohey', was wanted for ques t ioning in connection with the M ay 23 murder of Ahmaad Babbs. Babbs, a 22-year-old resi d ent of Cox Way off East S treet, was shot multiple times that evening while in the park ing lot of Da Porch liquor store on Montrose Avenue and Hampton Street. He was pronounced dead b y paramedics at the scene. The Tribune understands that Babbs was well known to police and was out on baila t the time of the shooting. Police have also taken into custody Mario Rolle, 28, of Teak, Lane. On Wednesday Central Detective Unit officers issued a Wanted Bulletin for the suspect for questioning in connection with the mur der of Cyril Strachan Jr, who was killed around 5.45pm on Monday in the Sunset Park area. Strachan, 26, was shot in the head while standing with a group of men in his neighbourhood. The Alexander Road resident was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Rolle was taken into cus tody on West Avenue off Carmichael Road by officers of the Carmichael Road Police Station sometime around 10.50am yesterday. Meanwhile, police are still requesting the publics assistance in locating Deslin Nichols, 27, of Reeves Street in Fox Hill. Nichols is of dark brown complexion, slim build and is 5 7 tall. He is wanted for questioning in connection with a shooting in the Fox Hill area. A nyone with information c oncerning his whereabouts should call police on 911 919 502-9991 502-9910 or Crime S toppers at 3 28-TIPS By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org MORE THAN $200,000 w orth of Rolex watches stolen from the downtown John Bull store have been recovered, it was announced yesterday. Police expect to bring charges in the near future, and Assistant Commissioner of Police Marvin Dames explained that the pace and success of the investigation resulted from the polices strategy and public support. We cannot discount or underestimate the response of the police, Mr Dames said. Investigators,i ntelligence officers, every area of the force has played a role in the investigation of this matter.T hey did what they had to do to get to this point. Nor can we discount the role of the public. Two masked men, brandishing what witnesses described as high-powered weapons, burst into the downtown John Bull store at around 10am on Sunday. Using a hammer to smash o pen two Rolex showcases, the robbers fled the store with an undetermined number of the high end timepieces and escaped in a silver coloured Honda driven by an unmasked man. Police remain tightlipped over the total number or value of the luxury timepieces. These were very expensive watches, Mr Dames said, to date, in value more than $200,000 worth of watches would have been recovered. That is close to what may have been taken so the investigation is proceeding extremely well. Mr Dames added: Were continuing to investigate this matter, and it is still very much active. We have a number of persons in custody assisting us with investigations. Police resources were mobilised immediately following the incident, according to Mr Dames, who advised that the case has been given top priority. Im not talking about getting into cars and going into areas. When youre dealing with matters like this, there must come planning, strategy meetings which we put in effect right a way, he said. We held a number of strategy meetings to ensure that we were on the right track and doing what we needed to do so as not to get derailed, and to ensure that we preserve evidence as we move forward. Rolex watches are serialised b y the manufacturer, and each timepiece is engraved with two sets of identification numbers, a serial number and a case reference number. The incident, which took only a few seconds, traumatised both visitors and locals who fled the store in a mass panic. This thing was appalling to everyone, Mr Dames said. When a robbery takes place, when individuals decide that theyre gonna go and use high powered weapons anywhere thats serious business. Were obligated to do whatever is necessary within the law to apprehend those who are responsible. We understood that that was a priority. Leon Bethel, former head of CDU and veteran criminal i nvestigator, told T he Tribune yesterday that eliminating opportunistic crime like the John Bull heist is at the top of his agenda as the new chief of the Central Division. Mr Bethel will formally assume the post, which oversees the downtown area, on Monday. A fter 31 years at CDU, Mr Bethel explained, he plans to use his experience to effect crime prevention initiatives and assist with the training if young officers. The first thing I want to do is meet with all the officers, Mr Bethel said, and try to see if I can provide some motivation so we can get some things done. I want to increase the number of activities by police to protect the city and rid it of wouldbe criminals. That robbery to John Bull, Mr Bethel added, I want to make sure things like that dont happen again. Anyone with information that might assist investigations are asked to contact police on 919, 911 or the anonymous Crime Stoppers line, 328-TIPS. LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011, PAGE 3 John Bull robbery: Watches worth more than $200,000 recovered GOVERNMENT will waive the surcharge on commercial property taxes for six months to encourage the payment of overdue taxes. During Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's Budget communication on Wednesday, it was also announced that the current $7 air ticket tax placed on tickets sold in the Bahamas for travel outside the country will be eliminated and merged into the existing $20 air departure tax. Effective October 1, the combined air departure tax will be $25 per ticket. Additionally, the Stamp Act is being amended to clarify that the exemption for the transfer of mortgages between lending institutions applies to all transfers,not only those held by first-time homeowners. The Fourth Schedule of the Tariff Act will be amended to provide an exemption for the purchase of classroom supplies by teachers once they supply a confirmation letter from their school. Finally, the Tariff Act is being amended to provide for the introduction of the specific tariff rates agreed under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA the European Union. Govt to waive surcharge Fresh fruits tariffs have been adjusted from various rates to free Turkey, ham and beef sandwich meat from 40 and 45 per cent to free Chicken from 40 per cent to 30 per cent Yogurt from 35 per cent to 10 per cent Detergent from 40 per cent to free Electric cars from 85 per cent to 25 per cent Biodegradable styrofoam boxes, plates, cups and cutlery from between 30 and 50 per to 10 per cent Insulated concrete forms and insulated steel wall pan els from 45 per cent to 25 per cent Spray-on thermal foam insulation from 45 per cent to 10 per cent Solar air conditioners from 45 per cent to 10 per cent Kidney machines and parts from 10 per cent to free. Adjusted Customs tarif fs By CELESTE NIXON T ribune Staff Reporter email@example.com THE 10 per cent increase in government subsidies will assist mailboat operators but will not eliminate the losses they continue to experience, an industry representative said. The new budget, presented by Prime Minister Ingraham in Parliament earlier this week, included a provi sion to end last years subsidy cuts for mail boat operators, which will result in a 10 per cent increase in funding. Meanwhile, the rising cost of fuel continues to be a major source of frustration for the operators, who suspended interi sland transport for three days last month demanding immedi ate government intervention. The strike ended when 22 operators signing a new agreement with the government, under which their schedule would be changed from one trip a week to one trip every 10 days. M ailboat Association president Raphael Moxey said while reversing last years subsidy cuts for mail boats will help, it is not a solution to the problem. It helps marginally but it is nowhere near it ought to be, he said. The reinstated subsidies do not reflect current fuel p rices which are over $5.50 a gal lon compared to $3.50 or less a gallon in 2008 when the contract was first signed by operators. Mr Moxey said the temporary agreement has only reduced loss es, not eliminated them, as operators still have to pay dockage, salaries, insurance and maintenance whether they make trips or not. While the temporary schedule is still in effect, Mr Moxey said the Mailboat Association is aiming to meet with government officials at the end of June to discuss yet another contract change. Subsidies rise will not eliminate losses for mailboat operators budget BRIEFS Reports: Family Island Police detain wanted man By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT Four Amer icans were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of poaching in waters off Grand Bahama. According to reports reach ing The Tribune the group was detained at White Sand Shoal in the Little Bahama Bank. They are said to have been taken to Bradford Marine around 2pm. Four arrested on suspicion of poaching ALEXANDER CAREY D ESLINNICHOLLS BRAZEN: The scene after the robbery.
EDITOR, The Tribune. The Nassau Guardian recently started publishingo nce confidential cables cont aining interviews between Bahamian political figures and US officials in its daily. This is only day three ands o far we have seen many i nsights into the minds of h ow our politicians and would be politicians think about themselves and each other. What is amazing to me though is the fact that all of these individuals are actual l y sitting down and willingly a nswering questions about the affairs of our country in private and to non Bahamians. Is this a criterion for the right of passage to lead in the Bahamas? Steve McKinney, Ortland Bodie and Theresa MoxeyIngraham are all prominent talk show hosts in the B ahamas. Shouldnt our p olitical officials be talking to the Bahamian people through these talk show hosts? Why is it that we feel the need to be interviewed b y US officials and give them intimate details about how we feel about each oth e r? I wonder if Wikileaks has cables where Bahamian officials are asking for intimate details about Barack Oba m a and Hilary Clinton. Is it just protocol for Bahamians in politics to be regularly interviewed by US offi cials? I say that these actions by B ahamians who are involved are suspect and I cant find any benefit of this type of behaviour for the Bahamas. In a time where there are unprecedented numbers of radio stations and talk shows where you cant even get our elected officials to consistently speak candidly to the Bahamian people, I cry shame that they can sit down with US officials and literally spill their guts about our political climate. I hear that there are even more intimate details to come. Does this bode well for our sovereignty? Dr Myles Munroe said on a radio talk show recently and I quote, We dont need politicians in leadership, but rather we need leadership i n politicians. Who are these men who are running our country? Where does t heir interest lie? What else h ave they told them? D EHAVILLAND M OSS Nassau, May 26, 2011. (So far they have told them nohing that has not already been in the daily press and discussed on the highways and byways of this town for years. So far there are no startling revelations and nothing that most Bahamians do not already know has been revealed. Ed). EDITOR, The Tribune. On the front page of the T hursday, May 5, 2011 edit ion of The Bahama Journ al, under the heading Father Gives Son Tough Love For Misbehaving In S chool), it is alleged that t he father is a police officer. 1 ) The father is exactly r ight by having the child parade up and down Bay Street with the placard stating that the reason was for h is misbehaviour in school. The child was not being abused and the father should be congratulated. 2) The father failed by not having the person who s natched the placard off the c hild arrested and charged. A s a Police Officer, he should have radioed in for help. The culprit should h ave then been caught and p unished, which the Commissioner of Police should have requested. Why does anyone wonder why we have a lawless society? 3) If that were my son, when that culprit observed m e running in full speed to the nearest shoe store (can you imagine onlookers calli ng me a scarecrow?) not knowing that I was runningt o buy a pair of steel toe s hoes. I will tell anybody w hen I arrived back at the scene, and that culprit was still there, he would have gotten a right and left kickw ith my steel toe shoes (you know where). Anybody who r esponds to me in the negative, I have a place on me,w homever it is can kiss (and you know where). CRIME WATCHER N assau, May 18, 2011. P S: O n two other matters, i f you put $20 worth of gas in your vehicle at $5.70 perg allon, and it takes you forty miles, how come all of a sud den the same $20 can only take you 20 miles? What does this tell me? No octane, less mileage, more money. Officials need to get of their rump and investigate p romptly. T his is the first time so many gas stations seem to be running out of gas. The dealers were allegedl y pressing the government t o allow them to increase the price of gas from about $5.23 per gallon to $5.70 per gallon. W hat a life! More money, less gas, and less mileage! Come on Bahamians, stand up and fight for what is righta nd Im out of gas! A ll persons picked up by police for drugs, it should be mandatory that they undergo a drug test, and anybody found in possession of an unlicensed gun, it should also be mandatory that theyp rovide the police with the n ame of their suppliers for b oth the drugs and guns, and i f they fail to cooperate with the police, they shouldr emain in jail until they are prepared to divulge such i nformation. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PAGE 4, FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 THE TRIBUNE The Tribune Limited NULLIUS ADDICTUS JURARE IN VERBA MAGISTRI Being Bound to Swear to The Dogmas of No Master LEON E. H. DUPUCH, Publisher/Editor 1903-1914 SIR ETIENNE DUPUCH, Kt., O.B.E., K.M., K.C.S.G., (Hon. Publisher/Editor 1919-1972 Contributing Editor 1972-1991 EILEEN DUPUCH CARRON, C.M.G., M.S., B.A., LL.B. Publisher/Editor 1972Published Daily Monday to Saturday Shirley Street, P.O. Box N-3207, Nassau, Bahamas I nsurance Management Building., P.O. F-485, Freeport, Grand Bahama WEBSITE w ww.tribune242.com updated daily at 2pm DEAUVILLE, France It is no simple thing to push the "reset" button on U.S.-Russian relations. Trying to move beyond years of inherited mistrust, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed progress Thursday but achieved no breakthrough on a U.S. missile defence plan that Moscow is concerned could threaten its security. T he two leaders went out of their way to stress four times over that their relationship was good But Medvedev also acknowledged: "It does not mean that we'll have common views and coinciding views on all the issues. It's impossible." And a White House aide acknowledged that on the missile defence question, for years the single most confrontational issue in the U.S.-Russi an relationship, both sides still were trying to overcome "old thinking," and the Russians, in short, "don't believe us." The two sides have long been in negotiations over U.S. intentions to station missile interceptors in Central and Eastern Europe. Russia believes the plan could threaten its own missile arsenal despite U.S. assurances to the contrary. Medvedev expressed confidence the matt er would be resolved, though not anytime soon perhaps in the year 2020, he suggested. Obama, for his part, said the two sides would keep working to find "an approach and config uration that is consistent with the security needs of both countries, that maintains the strategic balance and deals with potential threats that we both share." Obama and Medvedev met for 90 minutes on t he sidelines of a two-day summit of the Group of Eight industrial nations, the two leaders touching on a range of issues including the unrest sweeping the Mideast and North Africa, and Russia's efforts to gain entrance to the World Trade Organization. The G-8 nations, in their sessions, are devoting considerable attention to how best to support the democratic stirrings ofthe Arab Spring. I n his meeting with Medvedev, Obama pointed to U.S.-Russian cooperation on a range of issues and said the two countries had successfully "reset" relations during his administration. But the missile dispute offered fresh evidence that the reshaping requires overcoming long tradi tions of mistrust. "This is a very hard issue," said Michael McFaul, Obama's top adviser on Russia." There's a lot of old thinking in both of our governments, frankly. This is a new challenge to think about how to do this cooperatively." McFaul said that although U.S. officials have gone out of their way to demonstrate that the missiles will not be a threat to Russia, "they don't believe us." While the two leaders appeared stern when they spoke with reporters at the end of their m eeting, White House aides insisted they had a warm, free-flowing exchange and even joked together. Because of that rapport, "they can push, frankly, their own governments who have habits, I think, of mistrust," said Ben Rhodes, the president's deputy national security adviser. The president also met on the sidelines of the G-8 summit with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, their first meeting since the devastating earthquake and tsunami last March that triggered a nuclear crisis. The two leaders discussed Japan's efforts to recover, and Obama expressed c onfidence that Japan "will emerge from these difficult times stronger than ever." Medvedev's pessimistic near-term read on the possibility of cooperation on missile defence is a disappointment for the Obama administration, which has been pushing for a breakthrough that could remove a major hurdle for new arms control talks. The administration had hoped that its move i n 2009 to replace a Bush administration plan to install long-range missile interceptors in Eastern Europe had removed a major irritant in U.S.Russian relations and that the issue could be effectively neutralized by limited cooperation on the issue. Andrew Kuchins, a Russia expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said that while the Russian "reset" effort was showi ng great momentum last year, "now it's kind of in a bit of lull." One reason, he said, may be political uncertainty within Russia, which will hold presidential elections next year. It is not clear whether Medvedev will run or cede the stage to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has been more sceptical on U.S. missile defence cooperation. "There is no domestic political payoff for a R ussian politician in what could be seen as compromising or making concessions to the West, particularly the United States," Kuchins said. Obama, too, faces some domestic opposition. Republicans have raised concerns that Rus sia sees cooperation as a way to limit or even compromise U.S. missile defences. A pending bill in the House would even restrict somed ata exchange on missile defence with Russia. The Obama plan, aimed at countering threats from Iran and North Korea, appeared to be less threatening to Russia than the Bush administration plan. But in a sign that missile defence may continue to dog U.S.-Russian ties, U.S. officials say that Medvedev raised objections to the final phase of that plan, argu ing that the U.S. system could be used toi ntercept Russian intercontinental missiles. The Obama administration argues that the interceptors would be incapable of catching Russian missiles and insufficient against Russia's vast arsenal. It is the same argument the Bush administration used to answer Russian objections to its plans. Obama began his six-day tour of Europe with stops in Ireland and England. He travels F riday to Poland, then returns home on Satur day. (This article was written by Nancy Benac of the Associated Press). Father should be praised for treatment of his misbehaving son LETTERS l email@example.com Missile issue a sticking point for US, Russia EDITOR, The Tribune As our country nears election, I think of how far we have come with our "Right to vote". Maybe not in my time but many others can still remember not having this honour. Now that we have it, I pray that we cherish and respect it. The idea that because we do not "see" our represen tatives walking through our streetsorvisiting our houses,which thenbringsone to say"weain't voting" for he/she,isa disgrace. Members of Parliament are electedto represent us in the House ofAssembly, theywork forourcountry not our constituency. There are ministriesset upto help us with communicative needs that may arise. Tocall upon yourMember of Parliament with concerns about garbage pick up, pot holes, problem neigh bours, etc, is juvenile.Howcan we expect ourMPsto have the time to do their job of governing if we are con tinually calling on them to do things that as a community, we CAN manage ourselves? "Upward, Onward, Forward Together." Our vote is not aweaponto be used against a candidate. Nor should it be for sale; it iswith pride thatwe must vote, not spite. Vote with honour GREGORIA Nassau, May 23, 2011 WE SHOULD CHERISH THE RIGHT TO VOTE WHAT ELSE HAVE WE TOLD THEM?
LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011, PAGE 5 THE United States Coast Guard has expressed concern over unscrupulous migrant smugglers taking advantage of the recently announced 18month extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS US President Barack Obamas administration gave TPS to thousands of Haitians living in the US without proper immigration documents following the devastating earthquake in Janu ary 2010. This programme has now been extended. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said on Tuesday that immigrants who were in the US illegally before the earthquake struck, and up to one year after the quake, will also be able to obtain TPS. This means that an immigrant who is given TPS can stay legally in the country through January 22, 2013. This extension is effective from July 23. The same day the TPS extension was announced, the crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk repatriated 50 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti. An HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew from the US Coast Guard Air Station in Miami located a 40-foot sail freighter riding low in the water north of Cap Haitien. The Mohawk was diverted to render assistance. After arriving on scene, the crew of the Mohawk discovered 50 Haitian migrants aboard the grossly overloaded vessel. Mohawk's crew distributed personal floata tion devices to each person and safely transferred them to the cutter. "US Coast Guard cutters, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft continually patrol the Caribbean to respond to life-threatening migrant smuggling attempts like this," said Captain Peter Brown, Seventh Coast Guard District chief of response. "Migrant vessels are typically overloaded and ill-equipped for dangerous ocean voyages, risking the lives of everyone aboard. We are especially concerned that unscrupulous migrant smugglers and organisers may try to take advantage of recently announced changes to TPS programme for Haitians in the US. This programme is not available to migrants who arrive in the US now or in the future. Migrants rescued at sea will be repatriated to their country of origin, he said. Once aboard a US Coast Guard cutter, all m igrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Since October 1, 2010, US Coast Guard crews have interdicted 752 Haitian migrants. The Mohawk is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Florida. Concern over unscrupulous migrant smugglers WITH over $200 million i nvested in the Ministry of Education annually, Education Minister Desmond Bannister said that the nation has great expectations from its educational leaders and the time has come for them to demand value for this money. Speaking at the pinning cerem ony for the Institute of Educational Leaders at Government House on Wednesday night, Mr Bannister pointed out that historically the Ministry of Education advanced persons to the post of principal based on seniority, competency as an educator, leadership abilities and profess ional upgrading. Where they have fallen short, however, he said, is in not standardising the training for leadership in the nations schools, hence the quality of leadership has varied from school to school, and not always produced the right results. The training in this Institute has provided you and the previous graduates with a harmonised set of skills to efficiently lead and operate schools. You cannow discuss and compare best practices with each other. Additionally, you can adopt successful programmes from each other. It is imperative that you begin to develop a greater sense of connectedness to each other so that we can all rise together. There are some schools that have earned a stellar reputation as a place where learning, discipline and socialisation of our children take place. There are some, however, that are dismissed as baby-sitting camps and where little learning takes place, he said. The minister stressed to those educational leaders in attendance that the public is asking what is wrong, and why is it that some schools continue to produce better results than others year after year. They are not willing to entertain the litany of excuses such asa lack of resources, lack of technology, lack of support of parents and the Ministry, he said. They know what education has done for them at a time when some of these items did not exist. Many of these people who question and criticise us learned in one-room schoolhouses that accommodated grades one to six. Some of them even learned under trees with one textbook that was solely in the possession of the teacher. They also question how is it that we can have more but achieve less and when years ago there was less and we achieved much more. What many of them can remember is the calibre of lead ership in our school. They recall headmasters/headmistresses who were in charge of every facet of their schools and were collectively concerned with underachieving students, non-performing students, academic results, discipline, and socialisation of students, as well as the home life their students and relationships with parents, he said. Therefore, Minister Bannister stressed to those persons who participated in the 12-month, $1 million educational programme that the public is demanding and expecting a change from them. These include: transformation of self you should return to your schools armed with new knowledge to change the things that are not functioning. You should be able to determine the personal strengths and weaknesses of leadership styles and adjust where necessary. You might decide that this requires further professional development and exploring new strategies for leading a better school. Transformation in manage ment and leadership style this means that your presence alone must convey to your teachers and students that you are leaders. This does not come about by announcement, but by actions. You must act and not dictate. You will earn their respect by showing concern, finding solutions for problems and employing innovative strategies and programmes for the purpose of learning and working on a school campus. Transformation of teacher performance We do not expect you to be miracle workers in this instance, but we do expect you to set higher standards to reap higher rewards. Be honest and frank with your teachers in establishing the performance bar expectations at your schools. Monitor their performance and if they are not measuring up then you must make some tough decisions. Performance appraisal forms must accurately reflect teacher performance. Transformation in student performance you have an obligation to each student in your school to ensure that they d epart with some knowledge and skills to cope in this increasingly complex world. It is your duty to provide learning opportunities for both high achievers and the slow learners, he said. Noting that all these tasks carry with them an awesome responsibility, Minister Bann ister said that each of these educators must take them very seriously. Yes, we must take some responsibility for this crisis that has gripped our nation, just as we do when praises and glory are being expressed for the students who have succeeded. G raduates, I want you to think carefully of what your legacy will be in the annals of education in the Bahamas. We know that educators of the 50s and 60s were revered for their contributions to nation building. While they did not seek fame, they earned it, and an eternal debt of gratitude is owed for what they did to transform the Bahamas through education. Even today when we speak their names, we do so with respect and reverence. Their legacies are tangible and unquestionable. EDUCATION ime to demand value for money Minister says nation has great expectations from leaders RESCUE: The crew of the US Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk rescues and repatriates 50 Haitian migrants to Cap Haitien, Haiti, on May 24, 2011. (Photos courtesy US Coast Guard D ESMOND BANNISTER INSIGHT F or the stories behind the news, read Insight on Mondays
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 THE TRIBUNE The Governments of the Bahamas and Georgia havee stablished diplomatic rela tions, focusing on education, culture and financial invest ment. A joint communiqu was s igned by Paulette Bethel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of theB ahamas to the United Nations, and Alexander L omaia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the UnitedN ations, on May 13 at the Bahamas Permanent Mis sion in New York. Oppor tunities Ambassador Lomaia expressed a desire to explore opportunities with the Bahamas in the areas of education, culture and financial investment. He noted the possibility of a student exchange programme with tertiary institutions in both countries and the willingness of his government to enter into a visa waiver exchange agreement with the Bahamas to foster business and investment opportunities. Both parties have agreed that the establishment of diplomatic relations between them will be guided by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, signed on April 18, 1961, and on the principles and objectives enshrined on the Charter of the UN and other fundamental norms and principles of international law, particularly sovereign quality among the states, territorial integrity, inviola bility of states frontiers and non-interference in internal affairs of another state. Georgia is a country located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia with a population of about 4.6 million. Bahamas, Georgia to explore opportunities in education, culture and financial services A S THE annual Pineapple Festival celebrates its 24th anniversary next month, organisers are promising the popular event will be better than ever. They said that as the Gregory Town, Eleuthera community prepares for the festival, changes to the format are being planned in an effort to reflect the events maturity. Jacqueline Gibson, acting general manager of the Eleuthera Tourist Office, said: When you have an event that has been around for more than two decades, constant evaluation and improvement is being done. This is a mature event now. We have gotten this down to a science. So the public can expect a welloiled festival machine that delivers fun, excitement, and the best Bahamian experience anywhere. The event will assemble the best Bahamian entertainers to ensure a top-notch experience for those who take part. Performers will include KB, winner of the Peoples Choice Award at the 14th Cacique Awards; and TRez Hep burn, another finalist for the award. They will be joined by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Dance Band, the Brilanders and the Extremers. Cooking Other festival activities will include pineapple eating and cooking contests, a triathlon and bicycle race, plaiting of the pineapple pole, and the Little Miss Pineapple Pageant. The high school Battle of the Bands showdown is also a much-anticipated event, Ms Gibson said. The Pineapple Festival was started on Eleuthera by The Ministry of Tourism in 1988. The aims are to honour local farmers for their contributions to the community and to bring Bahamians and visitors together to participate in cultural activities. Before hurricane Andrew in 1992, the pineapple industry was the main focus of the 40 farmers in Gregory Town. An estimated 50,000 pineapples were exported each year. PINEAPPLE FESTIVAL: Still Sweet DIPLOMATICRELATIONS: TheBahamas and Georgia established diplomatic relations on May 13 during a ceremony in New York. Pictured are Paulette Bethel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the United Nations, right, and Alexander Lomaia, Ambassador and Permanent Representa tive of Georgia to the United Nations. SIGNINGCEREMONY: A joint communiqu was signed by Paulette Bethel, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the United Nations, right, and Alexander Lomaia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations, left, establishing diplomatic relations between both countries on May 13 at the Bahamas Permanent Mission in New York. PINEAPPLE FEST BUNCH: Pineapples from Gregory Town, Eleuthera. PINEAPPLE FEST DISH: Pineapple specialty dishes are a big attraction at Pineapple Fest.
S EVEN Bahamian researchers with a team of Living Oceans Foundations scientists were recently given the opportunity to study a unique marine environment at Cay Sal Bank which was submerged about 14,000 years ago. They spent 20 days at sea with 18 people in their research team and discovered evidence of the island being submerged, possibly by conditions of climate change, and studied behaviour in virgin coral reef communities which taught them how natural law operates in a isolated marine environment. Research We chose the Bahamas to be the first research site of the Global Reef Expedition and the particular area we have chosen to study on this first project is called Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas. Its veryc lose to Cuba and its about 130 miles due south of Miami on its own bank. For the last three weeks, we found this is really an amazing ecosystem, quite unique in a lot of respects, said PhillipR enaud, executive director of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. Weve discovered this is quite a shallow, submerged platform and nearly 99 per cent of the bank is submerged. According to the Foundations director, about 15,000 years ago geologically, Cay Sal Bank was a large island, at least three times the size of New Providence. It covered 6,000 square kilometres or 70 miles on each side of a large triangular patch of calcium carbonate land mass. Ive seen other articles that describe this as ad rowned carbonate platform, and so its ancient coral reefs that have created the base of this bank. As sea level has risen over the last 14,000 years, and it came up to its present level, it basically sub-m erged the whole thing, said C aptain Renaud. You can imagine there were trees, and birds, and bats, and animals, and proba bly humans that existed on this island for a long period of time. Then sea levels rose and it basically drowned the whole bank. Its a fascinating place to study. The research group used a new satellite system called World View II and the com p any that launched the satel lite is called Digital Globe out of Colorado in the United States. The Living Oceans Foundation is the first to use its technology of multi-spectral satellite imagery to dom arine research. The famili ar theory of relativity unfold ed into reality for the scientific team, as ocean energy showed them how it governed its submerged systems of bod ies to multiply its sustainability beyond what was visible to both their naked and mechanical eyes. Its mostly used for the military and government agencies and terrestrial based activities. But we are applying t his imagery to the marine environment, and Cay Sal Bank will be the first area ever mapped by this high-resolution imagery, said Captain Renaud. As scientists, looking at this imagery, were opening up almost a lost world. And its absolutely astounding to look at this imagery. There are literally hundreds of sinkholes, all across t he Cay Sal Bank, and every one of those is a marvellous environment all in itself. We went diving on a couple of these and the whim of these sinkholes is full of fish activity, beautiful corals and then you drop down into these holes and theres a whole oth er world. The Foundation was founded in the US by a Saudi royal benefactor, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, who is also the chairman. His Global Reef Expedition began in the Bahamas on April 27 and ended on the May 17 in Cay Sal Bank. They will now explore other Caribbean islands before returning to the Bahamas lat er this summer. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011, PAGE 7 SCIENTISTS open up lost world at CAY SAL BANK TAVARES THOMPSON INDIRA BROWN LINDYKNOWLES LENO DAVIS ALEX HENDERSON ALEXIOBROWN ALANNAH VELLACOTT HIDING: A lobster hides from a researcher. (BIS photo: Gena Gibbs CHIEF SCIENTIST: DR Andy Bruckner, Living Oceans Chief Scientist, discovers a whole new world under the ocean surface as he examines a coral reef in the Cay Sal Bank.
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 THE TRIBUNE SEVERAL marines of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force returned home after successfully completing courses in various fields at United States military establishments as part of the International Military Education Training (IMET Leading Mechanic Ian Stubbs, able Mechanic Narada Fernander and Marine Mechanics Alonzo Russell and Renaud Bain completeda 19-week Electricians Mate A course at the United Stated Coast Guard (USCG Base in Yorktown, Virginia. Electricians The course, which was conducted at the US Coast Guards Engineering and Weapons Tracen Training Centre Schools, was designed to produce the best electricians by exposing them to the usage, production and control of electricity within a closed environment. Some of the topics covered included basic electronics, lighting systems, interior communication sys tems, electrical damage control systems, small boat electrical system and galley and laundry equipment. Participants were required to assemble and disassemble alternators, starters and batteries, as well as troubleshoot and repair alternating current (ACDC circuits. Most of the practical phase of the course was car ried out on a 41-ft training craft. These mechanics are now equipped with the necessary skills taught from the course, and are all positioned in strategic areas of the Defence Force. Leading Mechanic Ian Stubbs, Marine Mechanic Alonzo Russell and Marine Mechanic Renaud Bain are assigned to the Electrical Workshop, and Able Mechanic Narada Fernander is attached to the Harbour Patrol Unit. Able Seaman Akeem Saunders returned home after completing the JourneymanNetworking Core course at the Centre for Information Dominance Learning Site, San Diego, California. Conducted at the US Naval Base, the syllabus was combined into a seven-week course, which ran from March 1 to April 30. Its main focus included administrating a Windows 2003 server network. This was further divided into five subject areas: Cisco Networks, Active Directory, Network Infrastructure, Microsoft Server 2003 and Microsoft Exchange Server. His successful completion of this course further prepares the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to meet the technical demands of the future. Able Seaman Saunders is currently serving as a computer technician in the Computer and Information Systems Department. W HEN the international travel, community service and performing arts organisation Up with People performed in Grand Bahama in February of this year, they ended their six-day stay by putting on a two-hour concert. Some 100 cast members from 21 countries displayed cultural and modern songs and dance under the theme A Song for the World to a large audience at Jack Hayward Gymnasium. Many of those in attendance were host families, and by providing meals and housing to the visitors during their stay o btained free tickets to the show. Proceeds T he proceeds of this performance were recently d onated to the Grand B ahama Childrens Choir who worked closely with Up with People while in Freeport. Magnus Alnebeck, general manager of Pelican Bay Hotel, title sponsors for the visit, presented a cheque to Kevin Tomlinson, director and founder of the Grand Bahama Childrens Choir on May 17. The funds are already earmarked to assist in the choirs upcoming travel to Washington, DC, from July 6-12 where they will be guest artists at the official Bahamian Independence celebra tions held there. The Up with People group were truly an inspiration to our girls and boys. We appreciate this support to further our choirs reach and development. The Up with People concert also provided the premiere of the newly formed Grand Bahama Childrens Choir, and we are excited to be expanding, said Mr Tomlinson. For more than 45 years, Up with People, a non-profit organisation, has been providing young peo-p le between the ages of 1829 with an international andi nter-cultural experience that teaches service leadership and uses the performing a rts to deliver messages of hope and goodwill through out the world. During Up with Peoples visit in Grand Bahama they provided over 2,000 hours of community service work at multiple community sites and also put on an international festival at the International Bazaar. (Photo: Patra Albury PRESENTATION: A cheque presentation by general manager of Pelican Bay Hotel Magnus Alnebeck to Kevin Tomlinson, founder and direc tor of the Grand Bahama Youth Choir, took place on May 17 with four of the choir members who were leaving to travel to Nassau as guests of US Ambassador Nicole Avant to participate in the One Voice music gala, a collaboration between US Historically Black Colleges and Uni-v ersities (HBCU UP WITH PEOPLE DONATES CONCERT PROCEEDS TO GB YOUTH CHOIR (Photo: The Bahamas Weekly PERFORMING: Up With People perform at the Jack Hayward Gymnasium, Freeport on February 24. All funds raised from the concert were donated to the Grand Bahama Childrens Choir on May 17. RBDF MARINES B A CK HOME AFTER C OMPLETING INTERN A TION AL MILITARY EDUCATION TRAINING MARINE MECHANIC Alonzo Russell MARINE MECHANIC Renaud Bain ABLE SEAMAN Akeen Saunders LEADING MECHANIC Ian Stubbs ABLE MECHANIC Narada Fernander (RBDF file photos courtesy of Public Relations Department
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011, PAGE 9 Love your car? Pay less for great cover with NIBA!You will pay much less if you insure your car with NIBA. You can enjoy extra benefits too! SAVE $$$! Low premiums 100% NCD protection Low deductibles,fast claims service Generous liability coverPay less for insuring your car! Tel.Nassau 677-6422 Freeport 352-6422 or visit www.nibaquote.com NASSAU INSURANCE BROKERS AND AGENTS LIMITED Atlantic House,2nd Terrace & Collins Avenue P.O.Box N-7764 Nassau Suite 6,Jasmine Corporate Center,East Sunrise Highway P.O.Box F-42655,Freeport Tel.Nassau 677-6422 Freeport 352-6422 www.nibaquote.com Open Saturdays10.00am-2.00pm UNDER normal circumstances, award-winning real estate bro ker Peter Dupuch would have walked away from the ERA International Business Conference in Las Vegas grinning, congratulating the five team members who travelled with him. But this year was different. Despite speakers like Peter Sheahan, author of the new best-seller "Flip", and presentations by leading figures, there was a solemnity to the proceedings. "I couldn't even talk about it before now," said Mr Dupuch. "This was the year that we were due to celebrate Japan's 30th anniversary. Japan was the first international franchisee of ERA, a milestone that really started the movement toward global branding of real estate companies." Instead of celebration, there was silence and heartbreak. On March 11, a massive earthquake shook the country, triggering a devastating tsunami. The conference was held two weeks later. Two months and hundreds of tremors later, Japan is still shaken to its core. It's estimated that more than 25,000 people died," said Mr Dupuch. "Damage, including the impact of leaking nuclear reac tors, are incalculable. We all feel like family so it was like it hit everyone." Mr Dupuch's Nassau-based company, ERA Dupuch Real Estate, once again took top honours, outperforming all other ERA franchises in the region. Real estate broker Ken Chaplin also took home the title of top agent for ERA Dupuch. However, to Mr Dupuch, the Japan incident pointed out the deeper connections between people. "So often, we think in terms of numbers, of performance, of trends and technology. And yes, we were extremely proud that we took home so many awards and were congratulated by thousands. In a vast conference centre, our little firm from The Bahamas was like the little train that could. But the feeling of pride was mixed with the feeling of overpowering sadness for the people of Japan. At the end of the day, the tragedy united all of us in a more meaningful way and that is the message we all brought home. It's not just the accolades or the sales or the number of clients. It's really about being part of a larger world. Real estate, by definition, is property. In the end, it's about people." It was the fifth consecutive year that ERA Dupuch, based on East Bay Street with representatives or offices throughout The Bahamas, was the top-performing ERA franchise in the region. ERA Dupuch's bittersweet victory at the International Conference SHOW GIRL: Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne performs during her Black Star Tour in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, May 13, 2011. The Black Star Tour is to support her fourth album Goodbye Lullaby. This tour began at the end of April 2011 in Chi na. AVRIL LAVIGNE AMONG STARS TO PERFORM THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AT ATLANTIS ATLANTIS kicks off the summer at its resort with concert performances over Memorial Day weekend featuring top musical artists. E ight-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne will perform at Atlantis tonight, singing several of her hit songs includ-i ng What The Hell from her new album Goodbye Lullaby. T hen, tomorrow night, Atlantis LIVE will host singer/rapper artist Travie McCoy equally famed for the multi-platinum hit "Billion-a ire" off his debut solo album Lazarus and fronting alternative/hip hop band Gym Class Heroes, alongside up-and-coming British per f ormer/songwriter Jessie Jwith her popular singlePrice Tag. Jessie Js accolades include the 2011 BRITS Critics Choice Award and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers( ASCAP) Most Performed Pop Song for the number one hit single "Party in the USA" 2010 (Writers Award in Aura, the 9,000-square-foot nightclub at Atlantis. T he Atlantis LIVE concert series is known for hosting some of the most popular names in music, with previous artists including the JustinB ieber, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. Canadian singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne performs during her Black Star Tour in Taipei, Taiwan, Friday, May 13, 2011. The Black Star Tour is to support her fourth album Goodbye Lullaby. This tour began at the end of April 2011 in China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana W a l l y S a n t a n a / A P P h o t o TOP HONOURS: Peter Dupuchs Nassau-based company, ERA Dupuch Real Estate, once again took top honours, outperforming all other ERA franchises in the region. Pictured left to right: Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Franchise Systems LLC. Peter Dupuch, broker at ERA Dupuch and Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group which owns ERA, Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and Sothebys. (Photo courtesy of ERA
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 10, FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 THE TRIBUNE BTC severance deals revealed employees at BTC under the age of 45 years will be offered a minimum of five weeks pay for every year on the job up to 104 weeks in total. Persons between the ages of 45 and under 50 will be offered the same five weeks per year up to a cap of 110 weeks, and persons ranging from 50 but under 55 will be offered 5 weeks salary for every year of employment up to a cap of 75 weeks. Persons in the range from 55 years to 58.5 will receive the same offer up to a cap of 68 weeks, with persons ranging from 58.5 and under 60 will be pro-rated from 68 weeks based on the number of months remaining to the age of 60. These packages, it was said by sources close to the matter are expected to be offered to all employees with the expectation that BTCs current staff levels could be reduced by at least 400 persons. According to a powerpoint presentation prepared for the companys executives, the report suggests that no person in the age group 45 to 50 will receive less than six months incentive payment. In addition the company appears to be willing to continue the cost of Medical coverage payment for all age groups for one year, with outplacement/training services to be provided. However, when asked about this information yesterday, BTC union executives Bernard Evans and William Carroll were shocked to find out that such positions had been presented by Cable and Wireless. According to both union leaders, they are still in negotiations with the telecommunications company with reportedly nothing having been agreed as yet. In C&Ws presentation on the VSEPs, the company said that although the numbers were well outside remit, they had conveyed their understanding to the union that this offer, although not meeting all requirements is one that we believe the unions could ratify and would be able to sell to staff. The next steps, according to the document, is for the formal BTC B oard approval of the VSEPs, with finalization of preparations for the announcement to staff and the actual processing of the applications. A VSEP helpdesk is also reportedly envisioned to be set up, with an expo with talks, advisers, and financial information. The issuance of these packages, according to the current timeline, is set for June 6th, with their closure on July 1st of this year. F ROM page one result of last years budget cuts. During Prime Minister Hubert Ingrahams unveiling of the new budget in the House of Assembly yesterday he announced that last years subsidy cuts for private and church affiliated schools will be reversed, increasing them by 20 per cent. Director of Catholic Education Claudette Rolle said the increase in government subsidies for private schools will have little impact on tuition levels, but will assist in overall management of educational institutions. She said the budget increases do not satisfy components completely but will assist teachers salaries. According to Mrs Rolle employees have not received a salary increase since 2007. While they have been able to give annual increments, an increase across the board had not been possible. Following last years budget cuts Mrs Rolle said the Catholic Education board had to noti fy staff that they would again not be able to provide salary increases but would also be unable to provide employees with their annual increments. Also as a result tuition for this academic year had to be increased to supplement overall costs, said Mrs Rolle. She said the increase in grants and aids from the government for this fiscal year will not affect tuition, but will allow the board to reintroduce suspended programmes such as corrective reading and mathematic initiatives into schools, allow for professional development programmes for teachers and deal with maintenance issues that they were unable to tackle last year. We are very grateful that the government decided to make these increases, it will be beneficial for everyone in education, said Mrs Rolle. W hile pleased with Tuesdays announcement, Mrs Rolle also noted that one of their goals over the next few years will be to get the Catholic school systems to a self sufficient position so that if government grants or aids are reduced again, for whatever reason, teachers and students will not be negatively affected. Jacqueline Ledgister-Bethell Director of Campus Development at Kingsway Academy said as education is so critical to national development they were very happy with the news that last years budget cuts were reversed. She said: While we would have liked a larger amount, any increase to our subsidy is always good news. As with other academic institutions across the country Kingsway did not escape the effects of last years recession, said Mrs Ledgister-Bethell. She said many parents have been challenged with school fees and, of course, the schools finances have been impacted. We are certainly appreciative of any increase in funding that will go towards supporting Kingsway, as we continue to fulfil our mission for another school year, said Mrs Ledgister-Bethell. FROM page one Government subsidies increase for private schools will have little impact on tuition by two men, dressed all in b lack, shortly after 1am. One of them was armed with a handgun. It is reported that the culprits fired gunshots at them ale, said Chrislyn Skippings, police press liaison officer, which resulted in that male receiving gunshot injuries to the chest. The victim was taken to hospital in a private vehicle; how ever, he died of his injuries shortly afterwards. Armed thugs tied up resid ents of an Apple Street home after they forced their way into the residence early yesterday morning. Two men, clothed in b lack, broke into the residence off Wulff Road at around 3 .30am. The culprits, one of whom was armed with a handgun, made off with cellphone cards, a television, and an undisclosed amount of cash. T he robbers escaped the home and fled in an unknown direction. Police are appealing to the public for assistance in locating the two men. A nyone with information regarding this incident should contact police at 911 919 5029991,502-9910 or 328-TIPS During an armed robbery, stay calm and dont resist, said S gt Skippings. Get a good look at the robber and if possible a description of the vehicle, used to escape. Your safety comes first, money and merchandisec an be replaced, your life cannot. FROM page one POLICE PROBE 49TH MURDER s a Brown said he felt that there was no recourse for the victims. E ltorio Ferguson, 29, had been accused of abetment to arson and abetment to manslaughteri n the deaths of Kayshala Bodie, 18, who was reportedly Ferguson's girlfriend at the time; her m other Theresa Brown, 51; her one-year-old daughter, Telair Johnson and their neighbour, Savanna Stuart, 18. They all died in a suspected arson attack on September 17, 2009 in the fami ly's home on Wilson Tract. S enior Justice Jon Isaacs ruled yesterday that the prosecution had failed to make out a suffi cient case against Ferguson and that Ferguson had been relieved of the burden of answering to the charges against him. The case, which openedt wo weeks ago, was then withdrawn from the jury and the jurors were discharged. Ferguson r emained calm during the proceedings while family members of the deceased sobbed in court. Ferguson had been previously charged with John Tellus, 30. However, Tellus was discharged before the start of the case after prosecutors chose not to c ontinue with his case, presenting a n olle prose qui (no prosecution P rosecutors offered no comment following yesterdays proceedings. Fergusons attorney G eoffrey Farquharson said he felt that the judges decision to dismiss the case was just. JUDGE DISMISSES FIRE DEATHS CASE FROM page one However, they were told they have to pay for the tests t hemselves and the high-rank ing police officer accused of r ape could not be forced to provide another blood sample. B lood was taken from the child for testing days after he was born in December 2009, and the family were told they had been sent to an indepen d ent laboratory in the United States along with samples from h is mother and the accused. Deputy Commissioner of P olice Marvin Dames told T he Tribune two weeks ago it was not unusual that the family had waited 17 months for the results and he would obtain them within two weeks. Yesterday the family was t old the blood samples were only sent for analysis on May 10. They met with officers from the Central Detective Unit and forensics laboratory who explained the DNA did not show a positive match, but indicated there was a possibility the accused could be the father. The claimants mother, who is fighting for justice on her daughters behalf, said she told police she would like another independent DNA test to be done with fresh samples, and was told it would cost $300$400. They also said he wouldh ave to agree to give another sample, she said. But the police should demand another DNA sample because they held the sample at the police lab for so long. And if after more than a year they could come up with the results of the DNA tests in two weeks, why couldnt they do it earlier, when the matter o ccurred? Rape claims were filed in June 2009 when doctors dis covered her daughter was fourand-a-half months pregnant. She then told her mother she had been raped when visiting a church friend at her mothers house on the south side of New P rovidence in February 2009. Her friend had gone out with her mother and left her in the home with her brother, a highranking police officer, when he raped her, she claims. When they returned to the house after the attack and she told them what happened, her rapist and his family warned her not to talk about it, she claims. Her mother said: Even if the results are truly negative, I still need to know who the father is, because she was raped and told not to say anything, so they know who it was, and theya re covering up. The claimants mother, who r aised 13 children on her own and is now helping her daugh ter raise the child, said: I need to know who the father is and I need justice because its not fair. I need that person to be caught and be sent to jail, and those persons who know of it n eed to be sent to jail as well for keeping it under cover for so many years. A senior police officer, who spoke off the record as he said the official results had not yet been received, said: We have t o always be mindful of families on both sides. Certainly we w ould want to find out what happened to her because we have a young lady who has mothered a child and really she has to depend on her mother to take care of it, so who would have done such an act? We are committed to working with the family to try to bring resolve to this. Deputy Commissioner Marvin Dames did not return calls to The Tribune yesterday. N O POSITIVE DN A IDENTIFICATION IN ALLEGED RAPE FROM page one ney, during an official launch earlier this month the DNA has been criticised for selecting a crop of relative unknowns. The Independent Bamboo Town MP noted that before being elected in 2007 he was a newcomer to the political scene. He quickly gained popularity as a junior immigration minister, a post he assumed after a brief stint as state tourism minister. "I think the criticisms are very unfounded," the lawyer said, when asked to respond to detractors. "I was a political newcomer as well, four and half years ago, I was a political underdog and in the next election it will be me, Hubert Ingraham or Perry Christie who will be the next prime minister. When they say they don't know the per sons, how can they turn around and say they're not good for the party or for the area? We picked people who will win their constituencies, one constituency at a time." The new party leader said that it is hard to attract successful businessmen and community leaders to offer themselves for public office and that sometimes that success does not transfer into the political arena. "Persons have said 'Well why don't you get people who are known in the community? "Well let's look at it, persons who are known in the community do not necessarily make good representatives. We've had that before, in the last election, persons who were known to the community and failed miserably they did not win their seat. "We are about to win this election and we are going to do the right thing. You don't have per sons as well who are willing to put themselves in the forefront of politics. They don't want it, they may complain, they may go on television and radio and they may speak out but they are not willing to be the change they want to see. "The persons we have, that we've selected, these persons have made their way already in their private life they are not politicians but they are fed up with the situation and they are saying, 'Look, enough is enough. We are not going to just complain but we are going to be the change we want to see.' "In addition to these concerns about people being unknown, you must have personality and charisma, persons who (may out, can they go into the relevant constituencies and connect with voters? We have people who can connect." Mr McCartney also responded to a scathing attack from the official opposition, telling The Tribune he has only aroused the ire of the party because he decided not to join forces with them after resigning from the Free National Move ment earlier this year. "I really won't give the time of day to some of the criticism that's levied. The PLP on many occasions publicly indicated that they wanted me to be part of the PLP and a few weeks later they are saying something different. "The PLP ought to do their job and be the watchdog of the people. They are the official opposition, they ought to hold the government's feet to the fire stop wasting time on Bran McCartney and the DNA. "That just tells me that they are very concerned, they're very concerned that we comin'. We're coming to be the next government," Mr McCartney said. FROM page one BRANDEFENDSCANDIDATES Branville McCartney
B y ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org The Government is hop ing it can rake in millions of extra dollars in unpaid real property tax on commercial properties through dropping the surcharge penalty on outstanding bills for six months. Minister of State for Finance, Zhivargo Laing, said that in the past such waivers have been helpful to government revenue collections, and the Ingraham administration hopes the new waiver will have the same effect. With the one (waiver that ended last year, we had scores and scores of people who came in on the last day with cheques and cash in hand. We collected millions of dollars, said Mr Laing. You are saying to people: Okay, you have the burden of paying back what you owe and in addition to that, the surcharge is there, so let me give you a windowof opportunity to come in and pay what you owe and then the surcharge will kick in after that. Typically, if outstanding tax is not paid on or before the day it becomes due, a 10 per cent surcharge is added. Asked yesterday if he could provide an indication of how many people the Government believes may be in arrears with real prop erty tax payments on com mercial property, Mr Laing said he did not have such figures available and could not offer one off the top of his head. Christopher Ansell, an attorney with law firm Lennox Patons real estate division, said he believes the surcharge waiver will have a positive impact on real property tax payments by commercial property owners. I think initially its cer tainly a huge incentive for people who are behind on their commercial property taxes, he said, noting that commercial property taxes are significantly higher than those on owner-occupied residential properties. However, he suggested that once the waiver period expires on December 31, 2011, it is likely people may go back to not paying taxes in a regular way, with the n et result being that the Government gets a large injection of cash every year or two and then it all dries up. Another Bahamian attorney with experience in the real estate sector said he believes the Government may need to take more con crete legal steps to ensure it maximises revenue collections in going forward. The only way collection rates will be improved is by the introduction of more rigorous enforcement powers to ensure payment. Only a small section of property o wners have ever routinely paid their taxes, with the rest bringing them up to date only when forced to by the sale of their property, said the attorney. Real property tax applied to commercial property is 1 per cent of the property value for properties, valued up to $500,000, and 2 per cent of the value of properties over $500,000. By ALISON LOWE B usiness Reporter email@example.com Loans of up to $7,500 to start micro-businesses will b e a great help and spur the creation of scores of businesses, the Minister of State for Finance suggested yesterday, as he also touted a multiplier effect of up to $75 million in economic stimulation from the $25 million jobs and trainingp rogram announced by the G overnment. Z hivargo Laing was reacting to suggestions from the c hairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, Khaalis Rolle, and business consultant, Mark Turnquest, that the Jump Start initiat ive announced by the Prime Minister during the 20112012 Budget Communicat ion on Wednesday would n ot provide the means for i ndividuals to start sustainable businesses, and that the $25 million jobs programw as the right idea but would not be enough to h ave a significant impact on productivity and employment. Mr Rolle said he felt the initiative is a band aid approach that does not address the root causes of lack of productivity among the population, and youngp eople in particular, and the initiatives would make only a modest bit of difference t o the private sector and job creation going forward. M r Turnquest went so far as to say the $7,500 would o nly be enough to get people into trouble and may it may be better to get nonet han such a small amount. Mr Laing said: First of a ll, it went from zero dollars to $7,500, which is now a vailable for those people. S econdly, there are many micro businesses that peo-p le can start that $7,500 could be a great help with. If you are a 30 year-old e lectrician, plumber, landscaper etc, I think you can d o a whole lot with $7,500 in getting tools and equipment to get that contracting busin esses going. There are any number of cottage industriest hat women tend to establ ish in their homes that can wonderfully enjoy $7,500 hair salons, crafts and so on. There are scores and scores of businesses you can startw ith $5,000 or less. Its a m atter of creativity on the p art of persons, and microlending is a significant element of it. So I am quite surprised to hear the representatives of the entrepreneurial class saying that its not enough. The Minister, meanwhile, s aid he anticipates the N ational Job Readiness and T raining Program announced by the Govern m ent, which will involve a thrust aimed at improving the job readiness and prod uctivity levels of around 1,000 young people, a thrusta imed at providing skills training for 1,000 more mature individuals, and an apprenticeship component which will take onboard a nother 1,000 people, should c reate major spin-off activity in the economy. The president of the Bahamas Chamber of Com-m erce has complained about s luggishness and lack of opportunities in this envir onment, and now he is complaining that a $25 million programme that will be a ble to provide opportunities for over 3,000 people isn ot enough, Mr Laing said. Weve gone from zero to $25 million. Thats 3,000 Bahamians who will be able to take that $25 million and spend it in grocery stores,c lothing stores, barber s hops, pay their rent and so f orth. It will circulate in the economy, and the multiplier effect is of the order of three times that size, $75 million worth. He added that the program is what we can afford. The Minister said he w ould love to hear a wowi ng presentation from the B CCEC as to how they are helping their business peo p le, their members, grow their businesses and employ the Bahamian public b ecause the Government is doing its part. We are coming to the private sector and saying we are prepared to subsidise you, so it would be wonderful if the Chamber was able t o show how they can augment the program with their own BCCEC-led job creation exercise. I would wel-c ome any opportunity to sit with the BCCEC chairman t o see how we might stimulate jobs, said Mr Laing. If the program is not enough, then perhaps he cant ell us how to make it more. BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011, PAGE 3B ,QWKH(VWDWHRIWKH/DWH <'((&2 1RWLFHLVKHUHE\JLYHQWKDW DOOSHUVRQVKDYLQJDQ\FODLPVRU GHPDQGVDJDLQVWWKHDERYHQDPHG (VWDWHDUHUHTXHVWHGWRVHQGWKHVDPH GXO\FHUWLILHGWRWKHXQGHUVLJQHGRQ RUEHIRUHWKHWKGD\RIXQH$' 1RWLFHLVKHUHE\DOVRJLYHQWKDW DWWKHH[SLUDWLRQRIWKHWLPHDERY PHQWLRQHGWKHDVVHWVRIWKHGHFHDVHG ZLOOEHGLVWULEXWHGDPRQJWKHSHUVRQV HQWLWOHGWKHUHWRKDYLQJUHJDUGRQO WRWKHFODLPVRIZKLFKWKH([HFXWRUV VKDOOWKHQKDYHKDGQRWLFH +RORZHVNR\IURP)OHWFKHU $WWRUQH\VIRUWKH([HFXWRUV &KDPEHUV 7HPSOHWRQ%XLOGLQJ/\IRUG&D\ 1DVVDX%DKDPDV Jobs initiative to have $75m effect KHAALIS ROLLE Government targets millions via waiver Zhivargo Laing Share your news The T ribune wants to hear fr om people who ar e making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the area or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and shar e your stor y
BUSINESS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011, PAGE 5B Dealer in electric car franchise talks Explaining that the duty reduction could reduce the price of an electric car by $10,000 or more, Mr Lowe said: Its thousands cheaper from 85 per cent to 25 per cent. Its good that theyve reduced the duty on electric cars, because it provides opportunities for us and other people. Were looking at an all-electric vehicle franchise, not a hybrid. I think its confirmed, but I dont have it in writing. Were in negotiations. He added of the duty reductions impact: It certainly changes those discussions. Where we have said forget it, it sure has made it viable. Taking on the electric vehicle franchise would mot involve a huge investment by NMC, although it may create additional jobs d epending on whether the Bahamian auto dealer was able to service the vehicles itself. Mr Lowe said the vehicles would be powered by 10 12-volt batteries, which were recharged just by plugging them in at home. They had a 52-mile range, and NMC was very familiar with the technology, so there were no issues relating to servicing and repairs. Asked about the level of demand in the Bahamas for electric cars, Mr Lowe said: I t hink its limited, but [is there in] places like gated communities, small islands and remote islands, where you do not have access to franchise repair shops with all the equipment. Mr Lowe said the vehicles could be repaired by regular technicians and mechanics. He told Tribune Business that hybrid and all-electric vehicles were sort of stepping stones to the future, which lay with fuel cell vehicles. Fuel cell is ultimately where the industry is g oing, Mr Lowe said. F ROM page 1B WASHINGTON Top House Republicans called for tax reform, an easi ng of government regulations and increased domestic energy production on Thursday in what officials said was an attempt to show that spending cuts are not their sole emphasis for creating jobs. The plan also backs a tax holiday for multinational companies that hold profits overseas, designed as an incentive for them to return the money to the United States rather than invest it abroad. "Our concern is America's economy. And getting our economy going again is going to require us to reduce the spending, reduce the debt, tog et the regulations out of the way, to let American job creators create jobs," Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference. Boehner conceded there were few if any new initiatives in the package, which officials said had been assembled by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R -Va. The Republicans' deci sion to make the announcement came after weeks of controversy over their proposal to remake Medicare. Beginning in a decade, they envision replacing the current program, in which the government pays the bills for a specific set of benefits, with a system under which private insurance companies sell coverage. Democrats attacked the plan heavily in a special House election they unexpectedly won Tuesday in New York, and Boehner conced ed at the news conference that Medicare was a factor in the outcome. "I could be somewhat critical of how the campaign was run, but the fact is we didn't win. And part of a small part of the reason we didn't win clearly had to do with Medicare," he said. At their news conference, Republicans volunteered no mention of Medicare. "Now more than ever, our nation needs small businessesa nd entrepreneurs to get people back to work," said Cantor. "We are focusing on jobs." In addition to reform of the tax code, Republicans called for reducing the corpo rate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and enacting the Obama administration's trade agreements with Colombia, P anama and South Korea. Other elements include legislation to streamline the patent-granting and drugapproval bureaucracies and overhaul the visa system to favor highly skilled workers. Republicans also said they want to maximize domestic energy production to reduce dependence on foreign oil. The 10-page plan said that since President Barack Obama took office, "American energy production has been halted...." Asked for specifics, Cantor's spokesman, Brad Dayspring, declined to repeat the allegation. Instead, he saidt he administration had "actively blocked, hindered and delayed" production by delaying leases for offshore drilling and other steps. Republicans also want to give Congress veto authority over any new government regulation that has a "signifi cant impact on the economy." T he GOP plan included no specific recommendation on profits held overseas by large corporations. The money is subject to foreign taxes and would be taxed by the IRS as well if it were brought to the United States. Dayspring said Republicans were reviewing a 2004 law that briefly cut the rate in this country to 5.25 percent. "We are open to discussing rate, duration, and conditions all of those will play all be d etermined in the legislative process," he said in an email. Republicans have already begun advancing some elements of their economic plan, and their most obvious priority since they took office in January has been to cut spending as a way of reducing deficits. After winning legislation to cut $38 billion earlier this spring, GOP negotiators are in talks with the White House and Democrats for far larger reductions as part of a bill to increase the government's borrowing authority. Vice President Joe Biden, leading the discussions, said earlier in the week het hought the group could agree on about $1 trillion in cuts over a decade. He said higher revenues would have to be part of any deal. Negotiators met briefly in the Capitol during the day, and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., hinted broadly that theirs would not be the final word. You'll notice President Obama is not in this room. He's got to be a player in the end, isn't he?" he said. He also noted that Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky were not in the room, either, "but they're certainly going to be players at the some point." GOP repackages agenda INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MARK JEWELL AP Personal Finance Writer BOSTON It wasn't long ago that municipal bond funds pro v ided a reliable refuge from stock market volatility. I nvestors could expect steady returns of 4 to 5 per c ent a year. T he appeal of muni bonds is that their interest payments are exempt from federal taxes, and most state and local taxes. Although this safe-haven approach won't make anyone rich, it can provide a decent return. That's especially true for investors in high tax brackets who take a bigger hit on their investment income from Uncle Sam. Another selling point for investors is that munici pal bonds are used to help communities grow. Munis are essentially IOUs issued by state and local g overnments to fund projects such as schools, hos p itals, roads and bridges. Y et investors seem to have forgotten munis' best features lately. They've stampeded out of muni bond funds, withdrawing a net $45 billion in the past six months, according to Morningstar. That's about 9 percent of the assets these mutual funds held last fall. Investment returns have also been uncharacteristically volatile. Bond yields rose in the fourth quarter of last year to pay investors for the higher risks they perceived in the marketplace. That increase depressed the prices of previously issued bonds paying lower yields, leaving bond fund investors with losses. In the end, muni bonds fund fell an average 4.6 percent, their worst quarter since 1994. There's been a rebound this year, with muni bond funds up an average 3.4 percent. Even so, it's clear the muni market is no longer a quiet place. Investors are worried about the precarious health of state and local government finances following the recession. But the turmoil is also the result of more fundamental changes in the muni market since the 2008 financial crisis. Trying to make sense of it all is Natalie Cohen, whose muni market resume includes high-level posi tions at a bond insurer, a credit ratings agency, and New York City's budget office. She now directs municipal research at Wells Fargo Securities, advis ing institutional investors, including mutual funds. In a recent interview, Cohen discussed the changes, and how muni investors can navigate them. Here are excerpts, edited for clarity: Q: Besides the fears about the financial troubles of their local governments, what factors have been driving investors away from munis? A: First, it's important to remember that the recent withdrawals followed a period when money flowed in during the financial crisis, during a flight to safety. Munis' tax protection looked attractive when the government was busy with stimulus programs and bailouts. The fear was government was going to keep getting bigger, and it would lead to a tax-andspend environment where you'd want to shield your money from higher taxes. Then, in December we saw the end of Build America Bonds (a stimulus program that provided federal subsidies to encourage construction of new roads and other local projects). That program brought new buyers into the muni market who traditionally weren't drawn to it, because they're already tax-exempt and didn't benefit from munis' tax benefits. Pension funds are an example. That program kept muni yields artificially low, and prices high. Now that the program has expired, it's pressured the muni market, and bonds dropped in value late last year. Muni fund investors looked at quarterly statements, and said, 'My God, I've lost so much valu e on my investment. Why bother with this? I can go i nto the stock market and do a lot better. Q: Investors began pulling out of munis just after the November mid-term election. Was there a connection? A: Republicans made gains in Congress and in governors' offices, and vowed to reduce spending. That put more attention on the health of state and m unicipal finances. Then, Congress agreed in December to extend the Bush tax cuts (the agreement kept historically low rates in place on dividend income and capital gains). That made munis' tax protection less appeali ng, and investors went elsewhere. Then, there was the "60 Minutes" episode, which many individual investors heard about. The story w ent viral across the press. (The episode featured an i nfluential analyst, Meredith Whitney, who forecast the possibility of 50 to 100 sizable defaults in 2011 worth hundreds of billions of dollars. The default rate on municipal bonds is now at 0.53 percent, which is slightly lower than the rate at the end of last year, according to Standard & Poor's.) Q: Do you agree with Whitney's warning about a spike in defaults? A: She overstated the risks. But I think she was correct that there has been complacency. We've had almost an entire generation of muni investors who were used to operating in a market where bond insurance provided a backstop against credit risk. There was this overriding view that munis don't default, and you're safe if they have the cover of a Triple-A rating. But insurance coverage of newly issued munis peaked in 2005, and has fallen sharply since then. So the complacency has gone, and munis have become a credit investment, instead of a generic, homogenized investment. Q: What's going on now? A: We're starting to see small amounts of money moving back into muni bond funds. There was a ral ly that started in mid-April. People looked at reports showing state revenues were improving, and said, "No, we're not going to see a spike in defaults." Hopefully, price volatility will ease in the second half of the year. But expect to hear lots of noise for a while about state and local government finances. This is still a tough economy, and most states are fin ishing up work on their budgets for the fiscal year that begins in July. Q: Any advice for investors who want to research muni risks? A: There's a lot more information than there used to be. There's a free system for researching muni financial disclosures, run by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, and called Emma Electronic Municipal Market Access. It's available at www.msrb.org It's important to remember that muni risks are modest. Most of these bonds are for basic, essential services water and sewer systems, electricity, public transit, and so on not to finance government operating budgets. You have to be a little more careful with projects in states that have been hit especially hard in the recession, like Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona. These days, muni investors just have to dig a lit tle more, and know what they're investing in. B OND EXPER T : IT'S N O T YOUR FATHER'S MUNI MARKET (AP Photo/Steven Senne F ILLING UP: I n this March 31, 2011 photo, Jessica Valadares, of Marl borough, Mass., gases up her car on her way to school at a Gulf station, in Newton, Mass. Surging gasoline prices and sharp cutbacks in government spending caused the economy to grow only weakly in the first three months of the year. Consumer spending slowed even more than previously estimated.
THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011, PAGE 9B Property Funds One Marina Drive property; the fines now being imposed on boaters for failing to clear outbound. Yes, folks, the Bahamas is in a revenue crisis, the Government combing the books in a desperate bid to get every cent it can. Of course, the positive side is that the Government is finally doing what it should have been doing, in enforcing and collecting due taxes, decades ago. It is only when the proverbial gun is put to its head that the administration kicks into high gear, the flip side being that it has taken many businesses now used to operating in an environment where next to nothing is enforced by surprise. It sounds like Groundhog Day, but the biggest disappointment with the 2011-2012 Budget was that no mention was made about reducing recurrent expenditure, and t he size of the public sector, in a surgical, sustained fashion. N ot a whisper about tackling waste and inefficiency in government. Instead, the Gov ernments projections show recurrent spending steadily marching northwards, reaching $1.786 billion in 20132014, almost $1.8 billion and a rise of some $100 million, over the $1.68 billion in spending estimates for 20112012. Indeed, the only spending initiative announced by the Prime Minister was the lifting of the freeze on public sector increments and promotions, arguably the only naked political gesture of the day. Those in the private sector can justifiably question why they should be the only ones to suf fer pain in the recession. Then, of course, there is the revision to the Bahamas gross domestic product (GDP the Department of Statistics. Quite rightly, questions are likely to be asked about the timing and reasons for this, since the upward revisions provide the perfect platform for the Government to keep kicking the debt burden down the road, much like the Oba-ma administration appears to be doing. Reasonable The next administration can use the lower debt-toGDP ratios this will produceto convince the Bahamian people everything is OK, the debt and deficit ratios are in a reasonable range, and we dont have to worry.The really hard choices on fiscal reform, reducing spending and the size of the public sector, can be put off for another day hopefully, left to the other political party. The 2011-2012 Budget produced no commitment to such reform, no commitment to a balanced Budget (at least on the recurrent side), no commitment to reducing the size of the national debt. There were no targets set for how this would be achieved, a sure sign that the Government meant what it should have said. At least the Government resisted the temptation to impose new or increased taxes. It was probably con strained in this area by the upcoming election. Still, the devil is always in the details with Mr Ingrahams Budgets (remember the 2008-2009 version, when Stamp and Customs duties were amalgamated and 42 per cent was rounded up to 45 per cent? You get the picture....) and more nuggets may become apparent over the next few days as Budget documents are studied in detail. No surprises. That was the Budgets theme, and at least there was some continuity and predictability, all good for business. But when it came to the nations fiscal health, it offered next to nothing in the way of solutions or a road map to them, despite outlining many of the challenges. Once again, it appears an opportunity has been missed. Next government, whatever your DNA might be, PLP, FNM or DNA, its over to you! No thrills, but no solutions either BUSINESS REVIEW F ROM page one By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org C ABLE B AHAMAS REV S UP Internet and television service provider, Cable Bahamas, put in place what its chief executive, Anthony Butler, termed the last piece of the puzzle on May 4 when it concluded the acquisition of Systems Resource Group (SRG ness. The move will add a minimum of $9 million in revenue to the companys revenue base, along with ,000 plus residential customers and 150 commercial customers. More importantly, it allows for the landmark introduction of fixed-line phone services as part of Cable Bahamas suite of product offerings. Upgrades to its television and Internet product offerings, along with the introduction of the brand new fixedline telephone service, were described by a re-branded Cable Bahamas as representing a "revolution in communications". At the same time as it announced the acquisition and transition to a Triple Play Internet/TV/phone service provider, Cable Bahamas launched its "rebranded" image and products which it hopes will see the company expand its customer and revenue base and steal market share from BTC. URCA CHIEF BOWS OUT Citing attacks in the media, the chief executive of the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA announced he would be resigning from his position at the regulator, raising some concern within the communica tions sector that his decision to leave could undermine continuity and leadership during a critical period. On May 8, URCA announced that Usman Saadat will leave on August 31, 2011. Wayne Aranha, URCA chairman, said the board had reluc tantly accepted Mr Saadats resignation, noting that he "has contributed significantly to the development of URCA and the advancement of the regulation of the communications sec tor in the Bahamas (and ing URCA at a critical juncture as it seeks to ensure that the full benefits to be derived from the newly liberalised sector accrue to all Bahamians. Anthony Butler, president and chief executive of BISX-listed Cable Bahamas, expressed concern the resignation might "derail or hinder" URCA's current work, which includes several consultations vital to creating the framework for sustainable compe tition in the Bahamian communications industry. MAILBOAT ACTION Mailboats, a critical element of the Bahamian economy, which is dependent on inter-island transportation, was thrown into disarray when they determined on May 10 that they were going on strike in favour of enhanced government subsidies to cover their growing fuel costs. The Government said it could not increase the $8 million subsidy it already provides to the 22 boats at this time, but they came to an agree ment that the mailboats could make one less trip per month three, not four for the same subsidy. Stephen Kappeler, president of the Out Island Promotions Board and general manager at Cape Eleuthera, said that reduced sailing by the mail boats simply cant work as islanders and resorts would be left without crit ical supplies. Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Neko Grant, said the Government would step in and make provisions if it appeared that any of the far flung islands were set to suffer from supply shortages as a result of the mailboats actions. S YNTHETIC MILLWORKS A Bahamian company, which has previously specialised in the importa tion of synthetic building trim products, revealed on May 11 that it is setting up a manufacturing facility to make the products in the Bahamas. The synthetic millworks operation should create between 75 to 100 Bahamian jobs by the end of the year, suggested Cariluxes chief executive, Fred Ewald. Meanwhile, the company also has its eye on creating what it terms a sustainable, high grade lumber industry in Andros. Planning to train Androsians in the use of equipment that will enable them to harvest and process Androsian pine, the company says it will then turn over this equipment free of charge to the islanders for them to then have independent oper ations from which Cariluxe will purchase the wood. The company also has its sights set on powering the Androsian wood operation using renewable energy in the form of biomass generation. CITY MARKETS Continuing to expand his foothold in the food retail business in the Bahamas following the acquisition of City Markets last year, the companys principal, Mark Finlayson, inked a deal to acquire rival retailer Robin Hoods food business in mid-May. The agreement will create the opportunity for Mr Finlayson to con solidate food retailing in the Bahamas. Mr Schaefer will sub-lease space in Robin Hood's two stores to Mr Finlayson, from where he will run the grocery business. The former Robin Hood principal will retain ownership of its high-margin, heavy duty appli ance business, and along with his partner Suresh Khilnani, will provide supply chains for Mr Finlayson at Robin Hood and City Markets. BUDGET The Government unveiled what it termed a jobs budget on May 25, allocating $25 million for a National Job Readiness and Training Programme, part of which will see private companies provided subsidies to employ new people, and $1.5 million towards grants for micro-business entrepreneurs. The Government promised a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME Development Agency would accompany an SME Development Act to encourage business development and growth. Private investment in the medical sector is intended to be spurred by a Medical Care Improvement Act also revealed in the Prime Ministers budget communication. Hubert Ingraham acknowledged that both actual recurrent revenue performance and attempts to increase its ratio relative to gross domestic product (GDP pointing". He said the Government will have to redouble its efforts in this regard if the Government is to have access to the level of fiscal resources needed for the administra tion of a modern and progressive government that can meet the economic and social needs of its citizens. A $130 million GFS fiscal deficit, equivalent to 1.7 per cent of GDP and down $97 million from the previous year's $227 million, is projected for the current 2010-2011 fiscal year. A GFS deficit of 3 per cent had origi nally been projected. The recurrent deficit for the current fiscal year is projected to come in at $184 million, up $122 million from the $62 million projected in the 2010-2011 Budget, but down $75 million from 2009-2010. Mr Ingraham projected the GFS fis cal deficit for 2011-2012 to be some $248 million or 3 per cent of GDP. The Government expects to earn $1.514 billion in revenues a sum equivalent to 18.5 per cent of GDP in 2011/2012. The sum represents a $54 million, or 3.7 per cent, increase over the $1.46 billion the Government anticipates it will earn in recurrent revenues for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. Mr Ingraham said the Government was holding recurrent spending, which accounts for 80 per cent of the Budget and goes on fixed costs, such as wages and rents, as flat as possible in 2011/2012. The forecast for 2011-2012 is $1.68 billion, an increase of $36 million over the $1.644 billion incurred in 20102011. MONTH IN REVIEW Usman Saadat THE MAILBOAT industry was thrown into disarray when they determined on May 10 that they were going on strike in favour of enhanced government subsidies to cover their growing fuel costs.
PAGE 10B, FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 THE TRIBUNE IF AT first you dont succeed, try and try again. Such a motto has been taken to heart by businessman Mark Finlayson who, having been rebuffed in somewhat brutal public fashion by BISX-listed AML Foods, appears to h ave achieved his long-cherished dream of food retail consolidation through the acquisition of Robin Hoods foods business. Credit must go where credit is due, so kudos to Mr Finlayson for succeeding following the failure of his attempt-ed hostile takeover at AML Foods. Yet with himself and Robin Hood president, Sandy Schaefer, revealing few details about the deal, apart from the predictable, mutual back slapping platitudes, uncertainty lingers and questions remain. Doubts Few can doubt that consolidation in the food retail business in the Bahamas was bad-ly needed. The entrance of new players over the past five years, including the likes of Robin Hood and Phils Food Services, together with the proliferation of neighbourhood and Mom and Pop s tores, meant there were too m any retailers with too much p roduct chasing too few cus tomers, especially in a recession where incomes have shrunk. Yet doubts linger about whether Mr Finlayson and his family-owned investment vehicle, Trans-Island Traders, are the right ones to be leading the food retail consolida-tion project. While still flush with millions of dollars in cash, due to the $125 million purchase of Associated Bahamian Distillers and Brewers (ABDAB Commonwealth Brewery and Burns House, when it comes to food retailing, money is not everything. And Mr Finlayson and his team are still bedding down their initial purchase, that of the troubled nine-store City Markets chain, which had racked up close to $30 million in losses under the previous ownership before he and his family acquired it for $1. Now, in its first full quarter under Trans-Islands ownership, City Markets has gracefully lost another $5 million, ignoring the $15 million extraordinary gain on accounting treatments. F or this reason, minority shareholders, analysts and others are likely to be baffled as to why Mr Finlayson is embarking on new acquisition adventures at a time when all the evidence suggests he should be focusing on the City Markets turnaround, and getting that entity back into the black. A long-promised report on the health of the Bahamas Supermarkets employee pension fund, plus an Annual General Meeting (AGM have also missed several deadlines previously set by the new majority owner. It was even acknowledged to Tribune Business just last month that the supermarket chain was missing out on 2530 per cent of potential sales by failing to carry all the products consumers wanted. New Ventures All this suggests Mr Finl ayson must examine his own b ackyard a little more closely, a nd eschew ventures into pas tures new. Furthermore, the Robin Hood acquisition also appears not to fit in with and, in many respects, runs counter to previously stated plans for ABDAB to acquire Trans-Islands 78 per cent majority stake in City Markets. For ABDAB, the attraction apart from gaining majority control of an albeit troubled company was the ability to monetise some of its real estate portfolio and generatea new earnings stream. The idea being that City Markets would develop new superstores at property it owned at the corner of Bethel Avenue and JFK Drive, on the EastWest Highway, and in Freeport. However, that strategy appears to have been some what undermined by the Robin Hood deal, particularly given the proximity of that companys Tonique WilliamsDarling Highway outlet to the Bethel Avenue/JFK Drive site. Mr Finlayson is not going to want to cannibalise sales at the former property by building another store so close to the latter. Indeed, the Robin Hood deal may have given him two so-called destination store sites that make ABDABs real estate holdings expend able for his food retail strate gy. And there is nothing for ABDAB when it comes to the Robin Hood sites, as Prince Charles will remain under Mr Schaefers owner ship, while Tonique WilliamsDarling Highway is leased from former PLP Cabinet minister Leslie Miller. Unless there is some sort of deal being crafted on ABDABs behalf that we do not know about. The proposal for ABDAB to acquire the City Markets stake appears to have stalled for some weeks, likely because everyone want ed to see how the Robin Hood deal played out. Dif ference It also remains to be seen how Mr Finlayson integrates the two Robin Hood food selling spaces with the City Markets operation, and whether he will attempt to differentiate between the two. Robin Hood is more of a big box destination-type store, rather than the neighbourhood supermarket chain that City Markets is. Will the product ranges and price points be different? What will attract consumers? Will, for instance, the Robin Hood Prince Charles store end up cannibalising sales at City Markets nearby Seagrapes outlet? And perhaps a more fun damental question is: Should Mr Finlayson have sought to buy Robin Hoods food business in the first place? Mr Schaefer told Tribune Busi ness that financial difficulties had not motivated his decision to sell, and this newspaper is happy to take him at his word, even though all the noise in the marketplace was suggesting otherwise. But if the latter was correct, surely it would have made more sense for Mr Finlayson to let a competitor die a natural death and go out of business, rather than spend several million dollars to take them out? Having covered the major food retailers in the Bahamas for a decade now, Tribune Business knows one thing for certain: It is a fiendishly complex business to run. Maybe the most difficult type of busi ness, along with hotels, to operate in this nation, given that there are so many mov ing parts. Inventories, supply chain management, logistics, marketing, PoS, buying, margins, security, staff, products, the list goes on. Lose sight of just one area for a moment, and regaining a grip on the entire business becomes difficult. Food retail consolidation was needed. Whether Mr Finlayson, as a relative newcomer with much to assess, was the right person to lead the charge, and whether Robin Hood was the right target, remains to be seen. The jury is still out. Will Robin Hood make buyer rich? FURTHER evidence, if any more were needed, to support the need for the Bahamas Telecommunications Companys (BTC vatisation came during the annual results conference given by its new 51 per cent majority owner, Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC results presentation on Wednesday. While defenders of BTCs status quo frequently pointed out the companys ability to obtain the latest cuttingedge technology, thereby Keeping up with the Joness, they failed to address the question of what the company was doing to maximise its use of these gizmos. One look inside BTCs warehouses, for instance, might have told them a very different story and shed fur ther light on why privatisa tion was a must. As CWC chief financial officer Tim Pennington pointed out on Wednesday, these are chock full with out-dated equipment and technologies never prop erly exploited, and for which the new owners have no use. We looked in their ware houses, and just on handsets for instance, theyve got stuff in there that, frankly, you would not be able to sell normally, Mr Pennington said of BTC. Describing the com pany as not match fit yet, he added: Theyve got a halfbuilt Next Generation Net work, theyve got every technology under the sun, stuff that we wont be using going forward..... Tony Rice, CWCs global chief executive, was just as forthright. He said BTCs over investment in tech nology was a key factor behind its low service standards. One well-known Tribune Business contact, a business man versed in many areas, pointed out that this was a common problem for a variety of technology-dependent Bahamian businesses, not just BTC. Simply put, sheer scale puts Bahamian companies at a competitive disadvantage against their global counter parts, as they lack the same financial muscle to pay for the latest technology on a timely basis. Challenges Given the dynamic nature of technology-based busi nesses, no sooner have Bahamian companies paid-off and begun to use the latest devices, the updates, new versions and even better products come out. They are then forced to load themselves up to the gills with leverage to buy the best once again, repeating this cycle. Tribune Businesss contact describes this as limping from technology to technology, and barely keeping heads above water. He adds: Bahamian companies dont have the economies of scale to pay for them (new tech nology) in the timeframe required. Theyve never been able to leverage and benefit from it because they cant cost it out properly, due to its dynamic nature. Such appears to have been the case with BTC. It is one thing to have the latest technology, another thing to use it properly and have the economies to maximise the investment return. The com ments from CWCs two leading executives, while merely confirming what many informed observers already knew, put another dent in the arguments of those who favoured maintenance of the status quo. They would have done well to heed the comments of Kirk Griffin, last acting president and chief executive of a government-owned BTC who, as Tribune Business previously reported, eloquently laid out the rationale for the privati sation, explaining that the company had gone as far as it could under 100 per cent state ownership and needed a strong partner to continue moving forward. Acknowledging that BTC "has done well" and had been consistently profitable, Mr Griffin said in early April: By virtue of its small size, BTC has often been disadvantaged because it cannot reach the economies of scale and command best prices from suppliers and vendors. At times, BTC even has diffi culty attracting the attention of potential roaming partners as we seek to expand the connectivity of our very own customers across the globe." The fact CWC had to write down the value of BTCs fixed assets, namely its property, plant and equipment, to the tune of $125 million, reducing their collective worth from a $384 million book value to $259 million, is a good indication of just how obsolete some of BTCs practices were. It also exposes the lie in the claim that BTC is a crown jewel and national treasure. Crown Jewel True, it may have been the so-called crown jewel of government corporations, but then again, everything is relative. It was up against some pretty poor competition, given that it was the only one that was profitable. And that was only due to two things: The absence of competition, and its cellular monopoly. Just how reliant BTC is on the latter for its profits was exposed again in its 2010 performance, as cellular accounted for 67 per cent more than two-thirds of its $343 million revenues. With out that monopoly protection, which is due to expire in 2014, BTC would be eaten for lunch by the likes of Digicel maybe even a Cable Bahamas. Yes, it would have been preferable if BTC had been acquired by a consortium involving some form of joint venture with a Bahamian group (whose efforts merited their involvement). Yes, it remains to be seen if CWC is the right strategic partner. But any rational-thinking person, stripping away politics and nationalism, would see that the privatisation was inevitable. It is to be hoped that the next government, whoever it is, continues with the privatisation theme post-haste. While those taxpayer bleed ers, Bahamasair and Water & Sewerage, should be next on the block, their parlous financial states make them unattractive to private investors and capital. BEC is the next logical step, possibly with the splitting of its power produc tion and distribution interests. Nor should the Govern ment look just to privatise the corporations. It ought to consider outsourcing various functions, such as vehicle inspections and licensing, the Registrar Generals Department and others, to the private sec tor, possibly through management-led buyouts. The status quo can no longer be main tained. The world has changed, and the Bahamas must change with it, managing these processes far better than it has ever done. To do otherwise is not an option; only an option for failure. Why privatising obsolete BTC was simply essential BUSINESS REVIEW Unresolved questions l inger over latest Finlayson f ood retail deal New owners comments expose the crown jewel lie PICTURED are customers in a Robin Hood store. It still remains to be seen of Robin Hood can differeniate itself from City Markets. Mark Finlayson NEW BTC CEO Geoff Houston and outoing Acting Pres Kirk Griffin.
I n the words of Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation chairman Khaalis Rolle, it was not a home run. And there was little chance the 2011-2012 Budget ever would be. Solid, rather than spectacular. Steady as she goes. Largely maintain the fiscal status quo. These were the prescriptions. And that was what the Ingraham administration gave the Bahamas. A no thrills Budget that, by and large, navigated a middle course between the various pressures facing the Government. Besieged on one side by the expectations of the IMF and credit rating agencies, surrounded by the domestic and global economic conditions on the other, and chased from the rear by the fast-coming general election, the FNM administration largely resisted giving into pressure from these forces, instead throwing each a bone to keep the barbarians from the gate. First, to the positive. The 2011-2012 Budget made many correct noises. While its billing as a Jobs Budget by the Government is rather overblown, the setting aside of $25 million for a National Jobs Training and Readiness Programme was commend able, especially given the fiscal constraints the Governmentis under. Job Cr eation The Ingraham administrat ion was also correct to conn ect with the private sector as much as possible on its job creation and entrepreneurial encouragement thrust, signalling that it recognises finally that only private, commercial enterprise can drive the Bahamian economy out of its prolonged recessioninduced slump. The Jump Start initiative, providing grants of up to $7,500 to mature entrepre n eurs to start their own businesses, and pledges of progress on the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Development Act, again sent the promising message that the Government recognises that Bahamian-owned businesses and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of any economy. All well and good. While Tribune Business agrees with Mr Rolle and small business consultant, Mark A. Turn quest, that the maximum $7,500 Jump Start grant sum is probably too small, and thatt he National Jobs Training and Readiness programme is not large enough to make the impact business requires (1,000 recent high school graduates versus 5,000 annual school leavers, you do the math), it is at least something given the fiscal straitjacket the Government is labouring under. What this newspaper will now be watching is the execution of these projects by the Government, and whether they deliver the promised benefits. It is also to be hopedt hat the Small Business Development Agency will not become just another layer of bureaucracy impeding small business and entrepreneurial access to credit and the range of support services that they need to succeed. Questions also must be asked as to why the Government is spending $25 million at the back end on improving the job prospects for many high school graduates, when clearly the public education system and its output remains an issue crying out to be reformed and fixed. As Mr Rolle said yesterday, it smacks of another band aid solution. There comes a time when continually throwing money at a problem that never goes away has to stop; and cold, hard reflection and analysis must be undertaken. Especially since The Ministry and Department of Education are collectively receiving $241 million in taxpayer monies in the 2011-2012 Budget, with the College of the Bahamas getting a further $24 million. Money is not the solution to our education crisis. Reform is, and there was precious little sign of it in the Budget. As for the other non-fiscal initiatives, the Medical Care Improvement Act again sent the signal that the Government intends to incentivise, and remove the shackles, on private investors and capital. The promise of an e-government roll-out, and enhanced efficiencies and effectiveness in the delivery of public services, is also commendable, although competent execution in a timely manner is again likely to be an issue. Now for the Governments finances. Here again, some of the right noises were made. Enhanced revenue administration has long been essential, hence the Tax Administration Departments creation, although some were yesterday suggesting this had more to do with the Bahamas meeting its Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA and possible World Trade Organisation (WTO tions. Revenue The Prime Minister was also correct in noting the dis mal recurrent revenue performance, its 2010-2011 Budget being bailed out by the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC vatisation, plus the $120 million-plus revenues from the BORCO deal and Baha Mar. He probably should have gone further, and confirmed to the Bahamian people that the Government is in a rev enue crisis, for that is what it is. Just look at the $700,000 demand for retroactive real property tax on the Bahamas No thrills, but no solutions either Budget steers deft course between competing pressures, but offers no solutions to fiscal woes, even kicking problems further down the road B B U U D D G G E E T T A A N N A A L L Y Y S S I I S S Tim Clarke /Tribune staff BUDGETSPEECH: Prime MInister Hubert Ingraham speaks in the House of Assembly yesterday. SEE page 9B BUSINESS REVIEW PAGE 12B FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 WHY PRIVATISING OBSOLETE B TC WAS SIMPLY ESSENTIAL SEE PAGE 10B W ILL ROBIN HOOD MAKE NEW OWNER RICHER? SEE PAGE 10B