N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER Volume: 107 No.160TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER SUNNY AND BREEZY HIGH 88F LOW 78F F E A T U R E S SEEWOMANSECTION S P O R T S Minka on the runway SEESECTIONE Top athletes get set for NCAA Outdoors By NATARIO McKENZIET ribune Staff Reporter nmckenzie@ t ribunemedia.net THE wife of Baptist Bishop Earl R andy Fraser testi fied yesterday that it was not unusual fors he and her husband to have sex while in the same room ast heir children. When asked by her husbands attorney Jiaram Mangra whether she and herh usband during their 22 years of marriage had ever had sex while their two children were in the same room Mrs Fraser replied, Yes, sir. Prosecutor Franklyn Williams questioned whetherher testimony about having sex with her husband in his church office while in close proximity to their two chil dren was a concoction. Mrs Fraser claimed it was not. In her previous testimony, Mrs Fraser corroborated her husband's evidence that during power outages at their Eastwood Estates home she, her husband, and their two daughters went to the bish-op's church office. She said on some occasions, while their children were asleep in an inner room in the office, she and her husband were intimate. Prosecutors have accused Fraser, 53, ofa busing his position of trust by having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-oldg irl he had agreed to counsel. It is alleged that F raser, pastor of Pil grim Baptist Temple on St James Road,h ad a sexual relat ionship with the girl between July 2005 and February 2006.F raser denies the allegations and remains on $10,000 bail. M rs Fraser claimed yesterday she did not see anything wrong with her husband counselling the complainant a s he often counselled boys and girls and who were her age at the time of the allegedi ncidents. Mrs Fraser told the court she never told anyone she and her husband had sex in his church office. Mrs Fraser also said that during a confrontation with the complainants family on Palm Sunday, 2006, she never confirmed that the voice on a recording played in her presence was that of her hus band. The trial was adjourned to June 20 when attorneys in the case are expected to present their closing statements before Deputy Chief Magis trate Carolita Bethel. TRY OUR McFLURRY SNICKERS The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM www.fidelitygroup.comCall 356.7764today! Get out of Debt Fast with a Fidelity Fast Track Debt Consolidation loan. Decisions Fast Money Fast Plus Visa Credit Card FastGetoutofdebt Fast! e had sex in same r oom as our children BISHOPSWIFETELLSCOURT . BAHAMASBIGGEST CARSFORSALE, HELPWANTED ANDREALESTATE I N S I D E ACCUSED: Bishop R andy Fraser B y CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter c firstname.lastname@example.org F ORMER deputy prime minister Cynthia Pratt defended her reputation against insinuations regarding the discovery of an illegal firearm on her property. D uring what was her final budget contribution in Parliament, Mrs Pratt passionately defended her record, reputation and character yest erday, denying she was conn ected to any criminal activit y during her term as DPM and Minister of National Security. M rs Pratt, who is affectionately referred to by many Bahamians as Mother, is CYNTHIA MOTHER PRATT DEFENDS REPUTATION AGAINST ILLEGAL FIREARM INSINUATIONS B y PAUL G TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com A T THEpresent rate of murders being committed in the Bahamas, PLP DeputyL eader Philip Davis said he expects the death toll to reach 125 by the end of they ear. He claims the recordbreaking figure will be r eached so long as the government fails to make fight ing crime a national priority. During his contribution to the 2011/2012 national bud get, Mr Davis, described the recent surge in violent crime as the most serious problem facing the country today. The most fundamental right any government owes its citizens is personal safety. The citizens of the Bahamas deserve the right to live, work and move about peace PLPDEPUTY EXPECTS MURDER TOLL TO REA CH 1 25 THIS YEAR THE Sandilands Village fire claimed the life of another victim yesterday. One of the surviving children who was fighting for life at Princess Margaret Hospital died yes terday. Funeral services were held last week for three other children killed in the tragic blaze. The children remain venti lated and managed by a team of specialists in the Intensive Care Unit, including paedia tricians, anesthesiologist, neurosurgeons, and critical care paediatric nurses. CHILD INJURED IN S ANDIL ANDS VILLAGE FIRE DIES IN HOSPIT AL SEE page 10 SEE page 10 SOLAR-POWEREDBINSTO HELP CLEAN UP BAY STREET IN THE BIN: Trash is placed in a new BigBelly Solar Compactor a compacting trash receptacle completely powered by solar energy on Bay Street yesterday. The device can hold five to six times as much garbage as the regular bins now lining Bay Street. SEEPAGEFIVE T i m C l a r k e / T r i b u n e s t a f f POLICE estimate millions of dollars have passed through the hands of employees at the Road Traffic Department involved in a vehicle licensing scam. Ten employees were arrested by police in the fraud investigation that started six months ago. Superintendent Paul Rolle, head of the Central Detective Unit (CDU took four employees into custody this week, with the others having been arrested last week. The scam has been in operation for about two years, according to police estimates. Supt Rolle appealed to drivers who licensed vehicles through this unauthorised scheme to bring their vehicles into CDU. He said the police have a list of well over 100 registrations. Either you come or we come and get you, said Supt Rolle. The vehicles licensed under this scheme could be stolen, said Supt Rolle. More arrests are expected in the investiga tion. One of the employees arrested was a 52year-old woman, who had been 18 years on the job. One of the male employees arrested was MILLIONS P ASSED THROUGH STAFF IN VEHICLE LICENSING SCAM SEE page 10
By NOELLE NICOLLS Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org THE transition from typewriter to keyboard has been a success at L.W. Young Junior High School, which is leading the pack in computer education in the public school system. While some students are still required to use typewriters to sit the annual keyboarding exam for the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE L.W. Young have access to some of the most modern technology in the public school sys tem. Principal Janet Nixon said the school has some way to go before donning the title of cutting edge, but it is well on its way. Thanks to a major donation by Scotia Bank, the school is currently configuring a new modern languages lab that will have 30 networked computers by the start of the new school year. Inside the lab, students will participate in inter-classroom exchanges with classrooms all over in the world. Language students will have access to online resources like vocabulary and word builders with audio and visual tools to assist in learning the correct pronunciation of words. Becauseof the contained lab environment, other classes will not be disturbed by class activities, according to modern languages coordinator Lynn Gibson. Once our Internet is up and once we set the monitors to it,t he students in this room will get to see students from other classes in Latin America or wherever they are learning Spanish. They will see how they learn it and be able to join in with them, said Ms Gibson, who is also teacher of the year a t the school. Not only will the new lab help to strengthen the language based skills of the students, it will allow teachers to take the classroom beyond the schools gates. Internet We have had many kids this year who illness took the better part of them. So they were out of class for a very long time. Imagine this child having access to a computer at home with the Internet. All I have to do is email the activity to them and they can do the activity and email it back to me. Life is sweet. I can evaluate them and send their marks back to them. It gives us the opportunity to help the students beyond the classroom, said Ms Gibson. Let us get them seeing this language in action. Once they s ee it, I think their appreciation for a second language will be deepened and strengthened, she said. Even teachers at L.W. Young have dedicated com puters. The Teachers Resource Lab is equipped with about 12 computers, where teachers can e nter grades into the student information management software. Ms Nixon said the Software Technology Inc (STI used in about 18 public schools with varying degrees of success, works to satisfaction at L.W. Young. T he system is online at the school and enables teachers to enter grades at home. Parents have user accounts and can view student grades online. The three computer teachers at the school are trained to use the software and provide technical support to teachers. The primary lab at the school is administered by Linda Rahming, a computer teacher at the school. This lab was also pri vately funded. The 24 student computers are used in computer classes and during break times for student projects. The school does not have an indep endent lab administrator, so the labs availability is based on the computer teacher. Ms Rahming said she tries to have the lab open at least three to four times per week outside of class hours. Most times the lab is filled to capacity. There are no time limits on student u se, and Internet usage is restricted by a software appli cation. The computers at the school are not networked. Ms Nixon said the school is working with Scotia Bank, which volunteered its manpower and expertise to assist with the process. N etworking all of the com puters at the school will allow administrators to centralise an industrial printer on the net work to save money on printing. Every student and teacher will receive a user account so they can save documents under a private account. School administrators also will be able to control user access and establish levels of privilege. L.W. Young is one of the few schools in the public system that has a computer lab. A handful of schools have privately funded labs, and a handful have government funded labs. However, Director of Education (DOE said well below 50 per cent of the 160 schools have computer labs in any form. The department is currently negotiating a deal with a pri vate company that could see 20 schools get computer labs this year for about $300,000. If negotiations are successful, the combination of private sponsorship and department resources over the next few years could result in every school having a computer lab within the next five years. Working hand in hand with the computerisation is a process of school renovations that the department is intending to have partially funded by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB Mr Sands said many schools are in need of major electrical rewiring in order to handle the electrical load of computer labs. We are having refurbishment of our physical plants every single year. H.O. Nash isa good example of where we have challenges. The school is about 41 or 42 years old; The mechanical and electrical had to be redone completely. L.W. Young, C.H. Reeves are similar. Government High, which is some 30 years old, is simil ar, said Mr Sands. If these are similar can you imagine a school in Majors Cay that was probably built in 190whatever. Can you imagine a school in some parts of Eleuthera or Abaco. The government does in my estimation, and I am talking about governm ents throughout, a wonderful job trying to upgrade. Last year the DOE budget for computers was $600,000. Mr Sands said the department did not even spend half of the money. He said this line item in the departments budget is stringently administered by the Min i stry of Finance, which limits the departments ability to engage vendors directly. F inance The added bureaucracy was b rought into effect prior to 2007, when Mr Sands was brought into the directors chair. The department formerly had greater financial power during early 2000. Today, finance determines the type, make and model of computers bought by education. You have to rationalise why you want these things. If you are unable to, it is difficult to receive. Now here is the challenge I believe the Ministry of Finance has. In the past years, we have gotten all of these things and not much seemed to have been done with all of these things. So (they ask is it now that you are asking for all of these things. Can you show me where it will make a difference much more than it did in the past, said Mr Sands. So that is the challenge we have. Trying to justify why we need all of these things when in the past we so-called had all of these things and it did not work. So it is stringent and it should be that way. We ought to be able to justify it, and when we get something we should show how it benefited the sys tem itself, he said. As the Ministry of Education tries to keep pace with the demands of the time, L.W. Young is racing ahead with the help of private sponsorship. Computer teachers at the school have a vision for the school and the ministry on the whole. Ms Rahming said she hopes to see the programme expand beyond keyboard, and even Pitman, the computer certification system used in some schools to teach word process and data processing skills. S he said her utopian view is to see computer science as a department with multiple streams, like software, networking, hardware, animation. Students would be able to enrol in the various programmes within the department rather than just having one computer o ption. Practically speaking, she said she would like to see the BGCSE expanded beyond key boarding, and the computer programme focus on more than just Microsoft applications. Ginger Pickstock, another computer science teacher, said h er vision is to see students acquire a broader understand ing of computer science and the power of the computer. When we teach them about Microsoft applications they think about that as the only other option other than social networking. Students need to realise the computer can spark their creativity. There is computer anima tion, computer programming, computer design and all of these things. They do not see the alternatives in using computers. They just think I can only write a letter, produce a card or listen to music, said Ms Pickstock. That is our hope that we will not only teach them the basics that they will be able to be employable but also to realise you can be the employer by creating these things that you go and buy from the game store. You can be the creator, she said. For the many computer savvy students, she said it is her wish for them to realise, the 20 hours they may spend sitting at the computer playing games could be 20 hours spent design ing a computer game and marketing it for sale. That is what we hope that one day we will actually have bred maybe 100 or more stu dents that say those teachers actually sparked the idea that we can produce these things and market it not just in the Bahamas but abroad, said Ms Pickstock. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 THE TRIBUNE L W Young Junior High School makes technological leap E DUCATIONSPECIALREPORT THE new technology at L WYoung Junior High School. Tim Clarke /Tribune staff
By TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com MEN and women age 50 and over are a growing group of new HIV/AIDS victims, Health Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said. As he gave his contribution to the 2011/2012 budget debate,Dr Minnis said new cases in this previously "immune" group grew out of relationships between older men and younger women, and vice versa. "A new threat has emerged for persons over 50 years of age. Before we were seeing most, if not all, of our AIDS cases in the younger population. But we're now seeing AIDS casesin the 50-year-olds and older. This occurs both in male and female as a result of the oldermale going out with the younger female and (vice versa "So that group that was essentially immune yesterday isnow being infected, so we're seeing a trend now in the older population." This demographic has been left out of the Ministry of Health's targeted prevention strategies, said Dr Minnis, as adolescents have long been the targeted focus of the ministry's prevention strategies with lectures and initiatives throughout the nation's schools. As of December 31, 2010, there were 12,095 HIV infections: 6,335 cases of AIDS and 5 ,760 persons who are nonAIDS but HIV positive. Of the total infections, 4,333 occurred in young adults between the ages of 15 and 44 years old. Dr Minnis said while just 10 years ago, a positive diagnosis was considered a painful death sentence, today's treatment means those with the illness can live a long life. At the end of December 2009 some 2,152 people were receiv ing antiretroviral therapy at no cost a seven fold increase over the 300 people receiving the same treatment in 2002. The now prevalent treatment has led to a reduction in new HIV infections, a decrease in the number of new AIDS cases year-on-year, and a dramatic fall in reported AIDS-related deaths, said Dr Minnis. Dr Minnis said only 59 per sons died from the disease or AIDS related complications last year. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS therapy in the coun try has increased the life expectancy for victims of the disease, which adds to the total number of persons living with the disease. Other countries with less sophisticated health care systems have higher HIV/AIDS death rates and sub sequently lower numbers of persons living with AIDS, which could lead to confusing statistics, Dr Minnis said. "As a result of their life expectancy we have a pseudo increase and individuals from countries that does not have a great health care system as we do. They would have a higher death rate and as a result less individuals with AIDS". The country is also making great strides in preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child with no reported cases last year. Antenatal care and atiretrovirals are available at no cost to HIV-positive pregnant women. This has played a pivotal role in the decline in HIV transmission from mother to child, from 30 per cent in 1995 to less than 2 per cent in 2006, said the MP for Killarney. The antiretroviral pharmacy at the HIV/AIDS centre supplies medication to 2,146 per sons 35 prescriptions are filled per day in the centre and 65 to 70 are filled once a week at the Infectious Diseases Clinic. He added that more than 500 persons in Grand Bahama and Abaco who would not ordinarily have access to HIV testing were screened recently under new health care initiatives. LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011, PAGE 3 STAFF at the Gaming Board have expressed concern that a senior officer at that department is treating t he place as if its his own company. One example of this attit ude, the staff claim, was seen on May 31 when a fire alarm was raised at the Gaming Board headquart ers. T he staff were reportedly a sked to leave the building while firefighters worked i nside. However, they told The T ribune y esterday that the s enior officer in question demanded that they return t o work even though the firefighters had not yet completed their checks. This officer came outside a nd got mad at the union shop steward, telling him that he runs the board andn ot the union and then stormed off before the fire trucks reached the office to give the OK for us to come b ack inside, one employee s aid. T he building, according to the staff, is very old, and in p oor and dilapidated condition. Disrespectful N evertheless, they claim that they always come to w ork, do not complain, and therefore feel the senior offi-c ers behaviour was disrespectful and uncalled for. Another example of his unprofessional ways is that h e is using three vehicles by himself. The first is the Honda Accord. The second is the little Suzuki that no one knows where to find it and it pops up when he drives it. Andt he staff in Freeport claim that he has the office jeep f or the Freeport office parked at the airport at all t imes for when he is town a nd nobody else is allowed to use it, one of thee mployees claimed. R epeated attempts to r each the chairman of the Gaming Board Kenyatta Gibson before press time last night were unsuccessful. M essages were also left for the senior officer in question, however these were not returned before p ress time either. Gaming Board staff complain about senior officers behaviour A JUDGE yesterday discharged the murder charge against a former prison guard accused of killing his ex-girlfriends boyfriend. Jerome Bethel, 38, had been on trial for the murder of Gary Gardiner, who was stabbed in a fight on February 1 1, 2009. Bethels daughter had testified that her father and Gardiner had become involved inan argument at her mothers Cowpen Road residence that night. Bethel was a prison officer from 1995 to 2001. T he prosecution entered a nolle prosequi in the case last Wednesday after Justice Vera Watkins delivered two rulings on the admissibility of evidence. Justice Watkins yesterday discharged the jury and notified Bethel that the prosecution had decided to discontinue his case. B ethel was represented by attorney Murrio Ducille. Jilian Williams prosecuted the case. Prosecution discontinues murder case New HIV/AIDS threat for people aged 50 and over court NEWS Critical of unprofessional and disrespectful conduct D R. HUBERT MINNIS
E DITOR, The Tribune. Today is a sad day in the l ife of its PLP history when the grandson of Sir Milo But ler made such a courageous move when some people in the party believe he is unfit to run in the upcoming elec-t ion on the PLP ticket, the p arty his grandfather and a ncestors fought for. I come from a PLP family and am stronger than most of those who call themselves PLP today. My cousin was denied a nomination, he is very popular, is able to talk to every one no matter what religion, colour or creed and he is so honest he could almost be nominated for sainthood. I know about two years ago when the PLP name was a shame if you associated your selves with the party, a group called the Caucus built up of y oung professionals, grass roots, Rastas and other Caribbean countries came together and met Tuesday nights at the Sir Lynden Cent re in Farrington Road. It was like a big festival every Tuesday. That Group went from town to town and island to island campaigning for Perry Christie as Leader and Brave D avis for Deputy Leader l eading up to the 2009 Con vention. Early February 2010, Sundays, cold and raining would find the Caucus Group out putting up PLP posters. This group of brothers and sisters took a lot of abuse, including some from the pre sent Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and his followers, but it was no surprise when our leader of the Caucus arrived the confrontation ceased and they backed off and left, including the PM because he knew the leader well and knew he could not be intimidated by anyone on the planet. At that point our PLP leader as usual was at home. The only ones came to the Caucus defence was the Deputy Leader Brave Davis, Frank Smith, Fred Mitchell, Fish McKenzie and Jerome Fritzgerald and at that moment I saw people passing by on that cold morning boo ing the FNM and giving the Caucus support and saying that is what they call courage. After the Elizabeth bye election members on the Candidate Committee and Leadership of the PLP for what ever reason started rumours about my cousin and did not give him the nomination for South Beach so his older brother, Adrian, decided to go Green. Had the party checked they would have found amongst many other relatives in the south our uncle and his wife lives in South Beach and even though their daughter is married to an FNM Minister, nev er left the PLP and cannot support the candidate Hamilton the LaRodas have family from Inagua, Acklins chain including the Hanna, Heastie, Tynes, Moss, McKinneys, A ndros Coakley Town, Johnson, Darling and the list goes on. We can understand how y ou, Craig Butler, feel because we were betrayed by the party. I am family, a Caucus member and the Caucus is big and strong. Over the next weekst here would be many more families hurt by action of an uncaring leader. The night when my cousin won the elec-t ion run off I stepped outside and heard the Chairman of the PLP telling someone thatt he leadership did not want M yles and that my cousin would not get the nomination, but would not give the reason for this. I felt like going inside and get my boys and give him a good you know what. This is why Adrian and Craig Butler with other long time PLPs are leaving the PLP for the DNA and they say its all because of Christie the young people dont want to waste their time working and wondering when their time comes if they would be treated like they see others are treated. Remember when you touch one you touch all. CHRISTOPHER McKINNEY Caucus Member Nassau, June 1, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune. R ecently, the Parliament ary Commissioner, Earl Bethel disclosed that of the 6 5,000-plus Bahamians a dded to the new registry about 14 per cent fell in the 1 8-35 demographic. While political analysts m ay be encouraged, 9,100 young people is less than impressive when thousands more Bahamian youth are still refusing to participate i n a free electoral process. S adly, I can relate. I once was an apathetic, d isinterested Bahamian. Tired of the political see-saw b etween the major parties and stagnant national growth, I stood up the polls on two election dates since becoming the legal age. Even worse, while study ing in the US and asked what it was like politically i n my homeland, I comp ared it to Cuba, referencing that nations political medd ling in most sectors. While that assessment may be exaggerated or, to some, unjustified, I still feel the ongoing political climate mirrors such corrupted and n on-progressive nations unless the youth take the reins and redirect it. Unlike my date in 2002 a nd 2007, you and I have a rare opportunityone I never thought Id get in my y oung ageof more options a nd thus, less excuses for not s howing up at the polls. Like you, my resum b oasts of degrees and exper ience that elsewhere would rev up a lucrative and successful career, but instead has gone unrewarded by employers and the government of my own country. We ask: How can the n ation that drapes my heart, t he same that produced Dr Keva Bethel, Dr Myles M unroe and Jackson Burns ide dismissively ignore my b ursting passion to follow their lead in advancing these islands through my talents? W e can no longer sit and watch our futures fade, but rather take control of our d ivine destiny. I f we are truly tired of the p olitical dinosaurs and have shaken the mentality of unworthiness then we s hould proactively research or, if you so wish, interrog ate these political newcomers. R ather than huddle amongst naysayers who poke holes at the problems, we must now become the solution and secure our dest iny while the fruit for c hange is so ripe. I challenge all young B ahamians to keep their dates at the polls and e xpress their frustrations and hope before July 14. Call (242 registration spots, time slots and required documentation for registering. Conduct in-depth research on those vying to push your i deas and desires forward a nd, most importantly, lift up your head, young B ahamaland. K K POITIER Kennedy Constituency, May 28, 2011. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR PAGE 4, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 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 INSTEAD OF assisting the police in crime solving, many Bahamians like to sit back and fingerpoint, blaming one or other political party for its cause. While crime and its root causes are complex, Prime Minister Ingraham told House members last week that society cannot expect change if it continues to accept thep ractice of politicians receiving gifts from criminals to support an election. During the last two general elections, he said, there were claims that some politicians took mon-e y and gifts from drug dealers and other disreputable characters. We can add that no matter how hard these politicians might deny these claims, these disreputable characters, proud of their new found importance, dont mind chatting with reporters about their generosity to their friends in high places. Its fairly easy to chart the source and escalation of crime through the columns of The Tribune. Serious crime started in the sixties with politics. Suddenly Bahamians denied each other the democratic right of free speech, association and security. The advent of the PLPs goon squads at political rallies, escalating into burning of property, injury of citizens and general mayhem, started the ball rolling, followed in the seventies and eighties by the advent of the drug traffickers, fast boats, retaliatory killings, and a general breakdown of all the rules that held a Chris tian society together. Fast money was a badge of success and in schools some children expressed their dreams in schoolroom essays of one day following a family member into the drug trade. The 1984 Commission of Inquiry summ arised the corruption that had society in its grip a corruption that had infiltrated even to the ministerial level of government and a drug trade that caused persons to wink their eyes or look the other way. It also left us with a Prime Minister who according to the Minority Report of the inquiry into drug transshipment did not exercise sufficient care to preclude the possibility of drug-related funds reaching his bank account or being applied for his benefit. We recall the lone voice of then Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Thompson who predicted the very murder that we see on our streets today if society did not come to grips with the reality of those times. In 1981 30 years ago then Attorney General Paul Adderley complained of the leniency with which drug offenders were being dealt with by the courts. His was the same complaint that we have today. He felt that the courts were contributing to societys breakdown. Taking as his theme Crime and its dirty companion corruption, Mr Adderley, in addressing the House on the appointment of a select committee to investigate criminal activities, took a dim view of the decision of some Supreme Court judges to allow probation for persons who had been convicted of armed robbery and other serious offences. As for the magistrates he wanted to know what they were thinking in their light sentencing of drug dealers. Mr Adderley reminded the courts that a s hort time before the legislature had signif icantly increased the penalty for drug offenders. The prison term, he said, was increased five-fold and the maximum fine wasi ncreased twenty-fold. So there was no question as to how Parliament wished the court to view the seri ousness of the drug offence, said Mr Adderley. Notwithstanding that fact, that has been persistently ignored by the sentencing practice by the Magistrates Court. The bench in the Magistrates court, he said, appears not to be aware of the fact of what the law was amended to. It is not for the bench to ignore the wishes of Parliament. He recalled a particular case when a man pleaded guilty to more than six offences of armed robbery and was released on probation. That is wrong, he thundered. It is right that it be said in this place (House of Assembly) that that kind of sentencing is bad, is destructive of public confidence in the system, is frustrating to police and totally incon sistent with what ought to be the morality of the community. Today the situation is even worse many rogues are roaming our streets with one or more murder charges pending. Mr Adderley knew of no way to protect s ociety against that small minority of persons who are terrorising the Bahamian com munity, except by long terms of imprisonment. Mr Adderley was also harsh on Bahamian lawyers, who, he said, had neither a good nor high reputation. His views are interest ing. We shall let Mr Adderley vent fully on them in this column tomorrow. Our readers know that nothing has improved with time, although we are confident that we have an Attorney Generals office manned by lawyers fully aware of the problem who are trying to do something about it and a gov ernment that has vowed to amend the Bail Act. We can only agree with the Commission of Inquirys report of 27 years ago that apathy and a weak public opinion have led to the present unhappy and undesirable state of affairs in the nation. So dont send to inquire as to who is to blame for the countrys crime. It is you, Mr Joe Q. Public. And no one can improve societys lot until Mr and Mrs Joe Q. Public bestir themselves and assist the police force with information to help fight the crime. I challenge young Bahamians to keep their dates at the polls LETTERS l firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Adderleys view of court sentences 6$,17-8/,67$1,6RI-$0(6 &,67(51(/(87+(5$%$+$0$6 A sad day in the history of the PLP Share your news The T ribune wants to hear fr om people who are making news in their neighbourhoods. Perhaps you are raising funds for a good cause, campaigning for improvements in the ar ea or have won an award. If so, call us on 322-1986 and share your story.
By LAMECH JOHNSON CO-FOUNDERS of an environmentally sensitive business have joined forces with the Downtown Nassau Partnership to introduce an eco-friendly device for the upkeep of Bay Street. Torry Ferguson, 26, and Dewit Duncanson, 24, of the two-year-old company CleanGreen Bahamas, yesterday unveiled the BigBelly Solar Compactor a compacting trash receptacle completely powered by solar energy. Mr Ferguson said the receptacles can hold "five to six times" as much garbage as the regular bins now lining Bay S treet. "Regular garbage bins holds about 20-25 gallons of garbage. The solar compactor can hold up to 120 gallons. Thats five to six times as much garbage, so it eliminates the number of times trucks have tocome to Bay Street and most importantly it saves energy and is environment friendly." The increased capacity cuts operating costs, fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. As trash collects inside a BigBelly solar compactor, an internal eye senses when the bin is filling and automatically triggers a compaction cycle. As the compacted trash reaches the level where pick-up is necessary, a message is sent through the CLEAN notification system, which essentially calls home to indicate that it needs to be emptied. "We discovered it two years ago and we contacted Mr Gevon Moss to work out a pro posal to use them. We're targeting the corporate businesses for now but if persons want them for their homes, we can work something out, Mr Fer-guson said. Externally visible LED indi cator lights also communicate information about a bins remaining capacity to sanita tion crews. A green light indicates empty, yellow means almost full and red means full. Mr Ferguson said the compactors are low maintenance and inexpensive to maintain. Charles Klonaris, co-chair man of the Downtown Nassau Partnership DNP, said the initiative is good for downtown. "We think it is very econom ical and environment friendly. It reduces the number of trucks that have to come in and they are run by solar energy. The garbage and smells are contained better and the sight of the garbage is dealt with." DNP project manager Gevon Moss said the idea is "fresh and innovative" and addresses one of the many issues that have plagued the area. "A lot of people have complained about the garbage and rodent problem in downtown and this helps to deal with that, he said. Two of the solar-powered receptacles have already been placed outside the John Bull store on Bay Street. Mr Moss explained the rea son for this: "Ferguson and Duncanson came to us and presented a proposal on the solar compactors and we asked John Bull because they have had problems with garbage in that area of the store. John Bull agreed, we ran it by them (CGB compactors to John Bull for 90 days free of charge. They con-t acted us back and they love it." M r Moss said he hopes a contract can be negotiated after the free trial, because "it's something that is going to help solve the issues the area has." Tourists and residents in the area took in the new recepta cles as they walked passed the store. William Connely of Columbus, Ohio, who has been visiting the Bahamas for 11 years, said it would be a "good contract" for the company. Give it to me so I can put the garbage on my truck", he j oked. Some persons were less enthusiastic about the new compactors, claiming they will take jobs from garbage collectors. However, Mr Duncanson does not feel this is the case. He said: "We feel that if our company can take care of the garbage here, then government workers can focus their manpower on other areas where they need to better improve their services." Mr Ferguson said the aim is not to take jobs, but rather to create opportunities for young people to have a stake in the future of the Bahamas. "We're trying to implement renewable energy and recycling initiatives and once we get bigger we're going to need persons Bahamians to work. We're trying to encourage especially more young men to get in on this positive investment, he said. LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011, PAGE 5 A MAN CONVICTED of murdering his former girlfriendis expected to be sentenced today. Angelo Poitier, 24, was convicted last October of the murder of Shanice Adderley, 19. The young woman's body was discovered inside a grave at the Bahamas Veteran's Ceme tery on Infant View Road on May 27. According to an autopsy report, Ms Adderley died as a result of blunt force trauma to the body. Poitier was expected to be sentenced yesterday, however, his psychiatric report was not available. His sentencing hearing has now been adjourned to June 7. Poitier, in an unsworn state ment from the prisoner's dock, denied killing his former girlfriend. He claimed that he had unwillingly signed a confession because he feared police would brutalise him. Poitier is expected to appear before Justice Vera Watkins this morning. By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com FREEPORT The body discovered floating near Williams Town Beach on Saturday has been identi fied as that of 17-year-old Keith Wallace Jr, who dis appeared while riding a jet ski over the Labour Day holiday. The teenager, who is a resident of Coral Reef Estate, left the Lucaya area on the jet ski around 6pm on his way to Williams Town. A search was conducted by BASRA, Police, and concerned citizens, who discovered the jet ski near Silver Point, but there was no trace of the teen. The body was discovered floating in shallow waters near Williams Town shortly after 7am on Saturday. Police are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death. By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org GRAND BAHAMA POLICE arrested a 37-year-old Freeport man after discovering a firearm and ammunition in the Garden Villas area on Sunday. According to reports, DEU offices were on patrol in the Weddell Avenue area around midnight when they saw a man acting in a suspicious manner. Officers conducted a search and discovered a black 9mm pistol with a magazine clip and six rounds of ammunition. Solar-powered bins to keep Bay Street shining ABOVE: Co-CEO's of Clean Green Bahamas Torry Ferguson Dewit Duncanson show how the Solar Compactor operates. F ARLEFT ANDLEFT: T he new B igBelly Solar Compactor can hold five to six times as much garbage as the regular binsn ow lining Bay Street. Tim Clarke /Tribune staff MAN C ONVICTED OF FORMER GIRLFRIENDS MURDER SET TO BE SENTENCED B ODY FOUND IN WATER IS IDENTIFIED ARRES T AFTER FIREARM AND AMMUNITION FOUND WINNERS: Saxons chairman Toby Austin, member Javon Clarke and director of operations Anton Dean brought back the winning cheque yesterday from the Grand Bahama Port Authority Rush For Peace Junkanoo parade held in Freeport over the Labour Day holiday. Felip Major /Tribune staff WINNINGSAXONSRUSHBACKFROMFREEPORT
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 THE TRIBUNE www.rbcroyalbank.com/caribbean Trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. NOTICERBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Ltd. INVITES TENDERSRBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Ltd. invites tenders for the purchase of the following: AllTHAT piece parcel or lot of land being Lot No. 112 situate in Westridge Estates Subdivision situate in the Western district of the Island of New Providence one of the islands of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. PropertySize: 22,000 sq. ft. Building Size: N/A This property is being sold under Power ofSale contained in a Mortgage to RBC Royal Bank (Bahamas) Ltd. All offers should be forwarded in writing in sealed envelope, addressed to the Manager, Royal Bank Commercial FinancialServices, P.O. Box N-7549, Nassau, Bahamas and markedTender 7939. All offers must be received by the close of business 4:00 p.m., 17th June, 2011. T HE Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation came to the rescue of the Bahamas Childrens Emergency Hostelw ith the gift of a brand new e ight-seater passenger van. We could not, as a com pany committed to serving our community, stand by and allow this very important institution not to be able to carry out its daily responsi-b ilities because of a lack of b asic transportation, said Anthony Butler, president and CEO. The 26 children currently resident in the hos tel have an almost daily need for transportation and Cable Bahamas was happy to ful-f ill that need. P artnering with the Cable B ahamas Cares Foundation (CBCF Insurance Management. We wish particularly to t hank Neil Cadman and I nsurance Management once again for working with the Foundation through the provision of insurance for the vehicle we are donating today. They have offered us assistance previously andc ontinue to share our interest i n serving our community philanthropically, said San dra Knowles, newly elected Chairman of CBCF. The Childrens Emergency Hostel, founded in 1962 by the Bahamas ChristianC ouncil, was set up as a tem p orary shelter for Family I sland mothers who were coming to New Providence to give birth. However, in 1970 the K iwanis Club of Nassau e stablished it as a home specifically for children tem porally or permanently displaced due to a family crisis. The safeguarding of chil dren is what current manager of hostel Nakita Smithd escribes as the main miss ion of the institution. We have some 26 chil dren currently in the home so whatever you have in your home we can use, times 26. Its hard but we are here fora purpose so we are asking t he public to do just a little b it more, she said. SEATTLE Associated Press THE MAN accused of being the Barefoot Bandit injured an ankle while playing volleyball at the Federal Detention Centre in SeaTac. Attorney Emma Scanlan told The Seattle Times Thursday that Colton Harris-Moore is on crutches. The 20-year-old from Camano Island is accused of a crime spree that stretched from Puget Sound to the Caribbean, including burglaries, and boat and airplane thefts. He earned the nickname because he allegedly committed some of the crimes while barefoot. Harris-Moore was arrested on July 11 in the Bahamas and is awaiting trial on six federal charges and more than 30 state felonies. Attorney John Henry Browne says a plea deal is in the works. Bar efoot Bandit suspect injur es ankle at Federal Detention Centre By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com THE Commissioner of Police s aluted primary school graduates, e ncouraging them to follow their d reams into the future. Addressing the 2011 graduating class of Sandilands Primary Schoola t the Church of God Auditorium, Commissioner Ellison Greenslades aid: I want you to know that you a re the future of the Bahamas and t hat we are depending on you our hopes and dreams are tied up in you. H ighlighting the ceremonys theme, Born to win, Mr Greenslade said that each student i s born with special gifts and talents a nd can achieve anything they put their mind to. He told the students that as they p repare for high school, they should remember their early lessons in manners, respectfulnessa nd obedience to God, parents, t eachers and authority figures. He said: Obedience will cause you to listen before you speak andt hink before you act these are very important life skills that you must understand if you are to have a ny chance of a meaningful f uture. Mr Greenslade said that these important life skills can often takea person further than they think adding that when looking to hire a young person, companies will ofteng o for someone with manners and r espect rather than a very educated person who is rude and disrespect ful. I believe that a caring, kind, loving, and respectful young person will not use drugs, alcohol, smoke c igarettes, curse and engage in prem arital sex, Mr Greenslade said. He noted that in todays Bahamas, the minimum require-m ent for many jobs is a bachelors degree, and for some even a masters degree neither of which canb e achieved through mediocrity. T he commissioner added that it is up to all Bahamians to do their part and join together to maket he Bahamas a safer place to live, visit, work, and play. Mr Greenslade also thanked the p arents and teachers, saying he a ppreciates the sacrifices they make in the pursuit of education and a better life for the students. H e said that they must continue to be guideposts for the children, so they can develop and grow intoh ealthy and productive adults. Police commissioner encourages students to follow their dreams Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation donates van to Childrens Emergency Hostel Colton Harris-Moore PICTURED FROM LEFT: Anthony Butler, president and CEO of Cable Bahamas; Ronald Thompson, board member at the hostel; Sandra Knowles, CBCF chairman; Nikita Smith-Adderley, asst administrator o f the hostel; Marita Ferguson, administrator of the hostel; and Stephen Rose, hostel driver. WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Commissioner Ellison Greenslade speaks to the 2011 graduating class of Sandilands Primary School at the Church of God Auditorium.
MINISTRY of Works officials informed business owners and residents of the Eastern District that Fox Hill Road tot he Pine Barren junction is presently closed for phase one of the installation of a 24-inch water main. A two-week full road closure is anticipated for this junc tion as the work heads west. T o date, the ministry has completed the installation of service ducts, laterals, and drainage systems from Fox Hill Road to Pine Barren. R oad reconstruction will begin once the 24-inch water main is installed. The ministry hosted an information meeting at New Life C hristian Centre on Prince Charles Drive on June 1. Charl ene Collie, public relations representative for the New Providence Road Improvement and Infrastructure Project, and Francis Clarke, project engineer for the Ministry, facil-i tated the meeting. We need you to appreciate the challenges including the heavy volume of traffic, underground utilities and that thisi s an important road and a major east/west link, said Ms Collie. B usiness owners called for work to be carried out during evening hours, additional signage indicating access to businesses, flashing beacons around open trenches and a w ater truck available on a consistent basis to keep dust at a minimum. During the closure, access will be granted only to businesses and persons residing in the area. Full road closure will be enforced from Pine Barren Road to Beatrice Avenue in the second phase of the water main installation. LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011, PAGE 7 By LAMECH JOHNSON T WELFTH grade Tourism Study students at the Anatol Rogers High school participated in the eighth annual International Lodging Management competition in Orlando,F lorida in which the Bahamas placed s eventh out of 12. The three-day event, held at the R osen Shingle Creek hotel, hosted students from around the world and challenged them to solve problemsb ased on real life job scenarios. J anelle Cambridge, lecturer for the h ospitality department, noted that no school from the Bahamas has ever before participated in the competition, now in its eighth year. "We were a bit skeptical because w e didn't know what to expect as it was the first time for us and the country, but during the competition I t hought the students performed well. They did their best, she said. Delnika Stuart, one of the schools three participants, said: "My experi e nce was overwhelming considering at first I didn't know what to expect because it was our first time. Noto nly our first time but the country's first time as well. I feel very honored to have been o ne of the first persons to represent my country at this competition. It was a lot of pressure but we did well." A nother participant, Lakeyia Adderley, said the group put considerable effort into preparing for the c ompetition. She said: "It was rough throughout the days because it was a lot ofh ard work but we pushed and put a l ot of effort in it even though we did n't get much sleep." Christoff Hall, the only male stu d ent representing the Bahamas in the competition, agreed with his classmates. H e said: Although we placed seve nth in the competition, I think we did exceptionally well representing the Bahamas. We received many posi tive comments and we met a lot of people, so there was a lot of networking. D elnika is hoping to become a cruiseship captain while Lakeyia and Christoff want to become head andp astry chefs respectively. The International Lodging Management competition saw students t ake part in three contests. T he hotel operations portion involved: room inspections (students had 1 0 minutes to find 10 housekeeping errors in a typical guest room) a night audit (teams undertook f ront desk accounting responsibilit ies) case studies in food and beverage and sales and marketing (students h ad 15 minutes to find solutions to various scenarios) The hospitality portion allowed t eams to demonstrate their knowle dge, skills and abilities in event plan ning. They were given various tasks to complete, within budget parame-t ers, including invitation design, ban quet organisation, menu development and floor plan design. T he Knowledge Bowl, which all three Bahamian students agreed was their favourite, had teams demonstrate their knowledge through a mul t i-round Jeopardy-style quiz. Armed with this experience, Ms Cambridge said she and the departm ent can now begin planning for future events. Moving forward, I know what to d o with the present students that I have so we know what to prepare for with next year's competition," s he said. By LAMECH JOHNSON H OSPITALITY is the order of the day at one high school in New Providence, where students are excelling in a number of innovative hotelier programmes. Janelle Cambridge, lecture r of the hospitality department at the Anatol Rodgers High School, the school hasbeen working hard to make sure its students are prepared f or the future. She said: "The aim of t ourism hospitality programme is to develop future leaders in the industry. As such, we have embarked on a number initiatives to expose our students to the myriad of opportunities that await them." One of those initiatives is the Junior Hotelier Pro-g ramme, open to ninth grades students. "It is a 10-week programme that seeks to explore careers in hospitality, meet with industry professionals to learn about the industry and link class-r oom learning and experiences to the workplace, Ms Cambridge said. Another of the programmes offered by the school is known as CaribCert. Ms Cambridge explained that this is a regional certification programme designed by the Caribbean Hotel Association and offered by the Bahamas Hotel Association. I t aims to train students in core tourism industry, including professionalism, health and safety, customer service and sustainable tourism. Anatol Rodgers, Aquinas, and St Annes School weres elected to pilot the programme. Ms Cambridge added: "We are also a part of the BahamasHost programme. It promotes tourism awareness, offering courses in customer service skills, shaping attitudes, understanding the visitor voice, problem-solving, communications and tourism sustainability." T he Skills, Tasks, and Results Training programme (START American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AH&LA Anatol Rodgers. I t is a one-year curriculum that aims to give students the real-world knowledge and skills needed for a long-term career in the industry. The Lodging Management Programme (LMP tinuation of the START programme in grade 10. "It provides 11th and 12th grade students with the classroom learning and real-lifew ork experiences needed to take advantage of the boundless opportunities in lodging, Ms Cambridge said. "After the three year programme, students are able to qualify as Certified Room Division Spe-c ialists. As a requirement, students must complete over 320 hours for their designation." The programmes are already bearing fruit, she added, explaining that 28 students have already completed the Junior Hotelier Programme and 24 students have passed CaribCert. "Two students received dist inction. Sasha Greene received 100 per cent and Shekinah Ferguson received 92 per cent. All others passed with a B average. They did well." "Our tourism industry is in g ood hands. And the hospitality department at Anatol Rogers is setting the pace in tourism education in the public schools, Ms Cambridge added. Students excelling in hospitality programmes Anatol Rogers High school places seventh at annual International Lodging Management competition MINISTRY OF WORKS MOVES TO INSTALL 24-INCH WATER MAIN BUSINESS OWNERS: Pictured are those in atten dance at the Ministry of Public Works and Transp orts information meeting. ADDRESSING CONCERNS: Charlene Collie, public relations official and engineer at the Ministry of Pub l ic Works and Transport, talks about roadworks on Prince Charles Drive. Letisha Henderson /BIS Photos
E VEN outside of Coastal A wareness Month, the Coastal Awareness Committee said it is continuingt o stress the need for bonefish protection in the Bahamas, pointing out thatb onefishing contributes approximately $140 million to the economy a year. Earlston McPhee, chairm an of the National Coastal A wareness Committee, said law enforcement and edu cation are important factors i n the protection of the industry. Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallacea nd Minister of Agriculture Larry Cartwright were recently presented with the committees new bonefish-i ng protection poster. Minister Vanderpool-Wal lace said that bonefishing is an important factor in Fam i ly Island tourism and it is a growing and lucrative industry that needs protection. J ared Dillet, the sub-chair m an of the National Coastal Awareness Committee, said that bonefish are given somep rotection in the Bahamas, and just like grouper and conch, they benefit the econ o my. Mr Dillet said Bahamians need to be educated on the issue. He said that it is illegal to c atch Bonefish by net. I f caught breaking these protection laws, one can be fined $3,000 or one year inp rison. He added that some people ignore the catch-andrelease rule by selling bonefish at $10 per pound. I f catch-and-release is obeyed, one bonefish could be worth thousands of dol lars since sports fishermen t ravel to the Bahamas and spend thousands of dollars to fish for them. Minister Cartwright said t hat with the new protection laws, room must be left for Bahamians who may catch a f ew bonefish for consump t ion. He said just like grouper season, Bahamians need tob e made aware of new size limitations. April was observed as Coastal AwarenessM onth. LOCAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011, PAGE 9 THE Organisation of American States (OAS spent close to a million dollars on scholarships for B ahamian students in the p ast four years, for which Education Minister Desmond Bannister thanked OAS Secretary General Jose Insulza during a courtesy call last T uesday. Director of the OAS D epartment of Human Development, Education and Culture Marie Levens wasalso at the meetings in the US c apital, and discussed with Minister Bannister the possi-b ility of the College of the Bahamas becoming a part of t he OAS consortium of colleges and universities. Mr Bannister noted that a n atural area of collaboration for the Bahamas and theO AS would be in the area of t ourism studies. Mr Insulza w elcomed the idea, saying that tourism studies is among the most popular areas in which requests are made for development assistance. That would be very important, Mr Insulza added. That would satisfya n area that some countries have been asking for. Technologies A nother area in which Minister Bannister expressed an interest was that of spe-c ial education, which he called a critical area for the B ahamas. He discussed the i mportance of teacher traini ng, particularly to take a dvantage of the new technologies that can be used as tools in education. Minister Bannister also had a meeting with DCs Deputy Mayor for Education, DeShawn Wright, where the area of special needs education was a main focus of thed iscussion. Mr Bannister again stressed the importance of teacher training and notedt hat the Bahamas was open t o the idea of exchange prog rammes or other partnerships with the District of C olumbia. D eputy Mayor Wright welcomed the overture, and i n the area of special education explained that there is a fairly high degree of integration of students with special needs in the DC public school s ystem. H e also took note of the m inisters interest in technolo gy. He questioned the minister about the difficulty inherent in the fact that the Bahamas is an archipelago. Minister Bannister talked a bout the need to duplicate efforts so many times to e nsure that each child in the B ahamas has access to a top q uality education, including t hose children with special needs. There are great disparities (in the populations of school districts around theB ahamas), but there are wonderful opportunities for innov ation in education, he said. W hile in town, Minister B annister will visit Neval T homas Elementary School, which the Embassy of the Bahamas has adopted for the academic year. He will also seek opportun ities to examine best practices in specific areas of the D C public school system. Minister thanks OAS for students scholarships MINISTER OF EDUCATION Desmond Bannister (at right I nsulza (at left s cholarships during a courtesy call on Tuesday in Washington, DC. BONEFISHING CONTRIBUTING $140M TO ECONOMY A YEAR MINISTER OF TOURISM Vin cent Vanderpool-Wallace and M inister of Agriculture Larry Cartwright are presented with the committees bonefishing protection poster. Close to a million dollars spent in past four years OSLO, Norway Associated Press ABOUT 42 million people were forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters around the world in 2010, more than double the number during the previous year, experts said Monday. One reason for the increase in the figure could be climate change, and the international community should be doing more to containit, the experts said. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said the increase from 17 million displaced people in 2009 was mainly due to the impact of "mega-disasters" such as the massive floods in China and Pakistan and the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti. It said more than 90 percent of the disaster displacements were caused by weather-related hazards such as floods and storms that were probably impacted by global warming, but it couldn't say to what extent. "The intensity and frequency of extreme weather events is increasing, and this trend is only set to continue. With all probability, the number of those affected and displaced will rise as human-induced climate change comes into full force," said Elisabeth Rasmusson, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council. The monitoring centre and refugee council presented the report at an international con ference about climate change and displacement in Oslo. The number of people displaced last year about 42 million is roughly the size of Argentina's entire population, and the onslaught of natural disasters so far this year also has been grim. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan left more than 10,000 people dead, some 17,500 missing and about a half-million homeless. In the United States, tornadoes have wreaked havoc from Alabama to Massachu setts, while floods have inundated states from Montana to Louisiana. In the southwest Mis souri city of Joplin, the U.S.'s deadliest tornado in six decades killed at least 141 people and destroyed more than 8,000 homes in acity of about 50,000 people. Speaking at the Oslo conference, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres called the issue of climate-related displacement "the defining challenge of our times" and criticised the international community for lacking the political will to reduce to pace of climate change. "There is increasing evidence to suggest that natural disasters are growing in frequency and intensity and that this is linked to the longerterm process of climate change," Guterres said. Asia was the hardest hit region last year, with the largest number of displaced people seen in countries such as India, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, China and Pakistan. In China alone, more than 15 million people were forced to leave their homes following floods, while 11 million people were displaced in Pakistan, the report said. The large floods in India in 2009 also continued to force people to leave their homes in 2010. "This report provides us with evidence of the extent and urgency of the problem that we cannot ignore. We must increase collaborative efforts to prevent displacement by natural disasters, and do a better job of protecting those displaced," Rasmusson said. MILLIONS DISPLACED BY NATURAL DISASTERS LAST YEAR INTERNATIONAL NEWS U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER for Refugees Antonio Guterres speaks during the opening of the Nansen Conference on Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century in Oslo Monday. (AP
ably, secure in ones person a nd property. Without personal security, we cannot have economic security. Without personal security, we cannot build successful communities. Without pers onal security, we cannot a ccomplish great things as a nation. And so this governments failures on crime are serious and fundamental. Crime has dissolved the social fabric that bindsB ahamians together. It has t urned strangers into enem ies, unfamiliar grounds into d angerous turf and random social contact into risky business. When crime afflicts a neighbourhood those who can avoid it, stay away; those who cannot suffer terribly.T his is a new fact of life, and i t is a national tragedy, he s aid. M r Davis said that in the Bahamas today, the increase in violent crime over the past four years under the Hubert Ingraham administration is shocking and unaccept-a ble. I n fact, he said, in every major category of crime, there has been an increase between the years 2007 to 2010. Murders increased from 7 8 to 94. Attempted murder almost doubled from seven to 13. Robbery increased from 194 to 334. Armed robbery increased from 817 to 919. Housebreaking i ncreased from 2510 to 3120. And unfortunately, the i ncreasing trend continues f or the first half of 2011. There have been over 377 m urders since May 2nd, 2007. Fifty-seven murders have been recorded so far for 2011. This does not include the numbers ofd eaths over the past few months that remain unclas s ified or termed suspicious. At this present rate we are on track for over 125 m urders this year. One hund red and twenty-five lives l ost. No one would have ever i magined such a day in the Bahamas 20 years ago, he said. Turning to the Prime Minister, Mr Davis said theM ember of Parliament for North Abaco (Hubert Ingrah am) has provided the House of Assembly with a list of measures to address crime over the last four y ears. This list, however, he s aid, does little to help those who have already lost their loved ones to crime. His lists are a flimsy defence, and they do not obscure the truth: this gov-e rnment has failed to make fighting crime a priority. If the Member for North Aba co were the type to consult c itizens, to care about what Bahamians really want, he would have thrown his spec ial interests out the door and made this crisis his first concern. Instead, we have a party i n power which has different priorities. When they get behind closed doors, theya sk: How can we benefit the special and foreign interests who will support our contin u ation in power? But when it c omes to this top priority, fighting crime, they have offered only band-aids for our gushing wounds. The result is a nation in crisis. No clever political marketing, noa ttacks on the PLP, no politi cal propaganda or fanfare can mask the fact that this government has failed on crime. The facts are the facts! When confronted with its f ailures on any issue, this government has a standard response ready: blame the PLP. If water leaks in a government bathroom, even a government bathroom built a t great taxpayer cost by companies connected to F NM interests, the FNM will b lame the PLP. It is not a creative response, it is not a t ruthful response, but it is a consistent response on their part blame the PLP, he said. Turning to the PLPs U rban Renewal Programme which was shelved by the c urrent government, Mr D avis said it was unfortunate that such a successful prog ramme became a political f ootball. T he results of this fact, he s aid, speak for themselves. After the next election, the PLP will reintroduce an urban renewal programme with full resources, with mul-t iple community partners, with the capital and personn el needed to make both a short-term and a long-term impact. In fact, we have plenty of advice for this governm ent. Under the Christie a dministration, school polic ing was introduced, because if our children are afraid,t hey cannot learn. Under the FNM, school policing was ended. The Member from North Abaco likes to brag about his ability to make decisions. Well this decision, and som any others, were the wrong ones, wrong for our children, and wrong for the Bahamas. R everse your bad decision, reintroduce the Christie plan for school policing, make ours chools safe for learning. And some more advice take a national youth service programme seriously. Thisg overnment has invested in the success of its special friends, but it has not invest ed in the success of an entire g eneration of Bahamians. Mr S peaker, fighting crime deserves more than the shall ow or cosmetic or too-littlet oo-late measures offered by t his government. We need to b e serious about prevention, serious about prosecution, a nd serious about rehabilitation, Mr Davis said. With more than 250 pers ons on bail for murder, and s ome of them on bail for m ore than one murder, Mr Davis highlighted that under t he best scenarios, a murder case could last for as long as one month. With this inm ind, he said that it would t ake approximately six years to hear all of these cases under our current judicial system which doesnt take into account that there is on average 100 murders beingc ommitted annually in the Bahamas to be added to the numbers. Nor does it make allowance for the increasing number of retrials in recenty ears. This calculation also d oes not take into account all the other serious and vio lent criminal offences to be t ried by the same judges before the same courts. Do the math! You will r ealise that we have a very, very, serious problem. A drastic shock is needed to the system. It cannot be busin ess as usual. It cannot be politics as usual. We cannot ask the families of murder victims to wait years for justice, he said. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 10, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 THE TRIBUNE PLPDeputy expects murder toll to reach 125 this year PLPDEPUTY LEADER: P hilip Davis planning to step away from frontline politics after 14 years repre senting the people of St Cecilia. She told the House she has always served the Bahamian people, and will not be painted as a criminal. She said: One thing a man has is their name my name will live on and I do not want it to be said thatI am a crook or a criminal. I am woman who gave my best to the Bahamian people. Regarding the discovery of a stolen firearm in her yard, Mrs Pratt explained that a young man was working in her garden when he came across shotgun casings anda gun in a dog cage. Mrs Pratt said after she was notified by her husband, she immediately called the police, who discovered the gun belonged to a man who had brought it onto her property. The matter has been raised several times in the House by High Rock MP Ken neth Russell, and the former DPM said his comments amount to an insinuation that she is either involved in the gun trade or allows people to hide guns at her home. This matter has been raised on several occasions like I have done something wrong when I was sit ting in the chair as Minister of National Security, said Mrs Pratt. She said if she had anything to hide, she would not have called the police which was the right thing to do. I might be poor but I am not a criminal, there are still some fair people in this party, not all are crooks like people try to make it out to be, said Mrs Pratt. She added that during her time as a Member of Parliament, while she did not always agree with what members opposite said, she has always been respectful, never referring to anyone is a disparaging man ner. FROM page one Cynthia Pratt defends reputation against illegal firearm insinuations FROM page one CYNTHIAPRATT found in possession of licensing parapherna lia and an assortment of inspection stickers and decals. When police searched the employees home they found a pack of registration disks, several telephones and license plates that were all property of the Road Traffic Department. Police say a 42-year-old resident of the Grove was the primary person in the ring. He operated a one stop shop from the back of his car. FROM page one MILLIONS PASSED THROUGH STAFF IN VEHICLE LICENSING SCAM By TANEKA THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org GOVERNMENT'S crime fighting policies have had little to no affect on violence and illegal activity throughout the country, former education and health minister Dr Bernard Nottage said. The Bain and Grants Town MP noted some of the initiatives put in place by the Ingraham administration since 2007 such as introducing a nine person jury to bring about speedier trials, electronic monitoring of persons on bail, deploying more police cars and personnel but said they have not been as successful as hoped. "All of these things the government talks about they have done, but the bottom line is what impact does that have on crime? We're not blaming the government for crime (but to deal with crime, to reduce crime, to find solutions to crime. That's their job. "All of that I outlined has made no difference in incidents on crime or fear of crime. All the new police vehicles, the new police officers, the new laws, the nine man jury, the ankle bracelets in spite of all the government's initiatives crime and the fear of crime have never been greater," said Dr Nottage, as he gave his contribution to the 2011/2012 budget debate. "The Bahamas has never felt as unsafe as it feels today. Criminals have never been bolder, there have never been so many guns on the street in spite of all of the initiatives. I'm not saying they are not investing in crime reduction strategies because they appear to be, all I'm saying is the (things have had little or no effect." The country's murder count reached 57 after four men were killed during the Labour Day weekend. Mr Nottage said with more than 50 murders in just over five months the country needs a different approach in order to stem violent crime. Mr Nottage also criticised job creation and employment training programmes introduced in the upcoming budget as general election ploys. "In is election year, I would have been surprised if government had not used whatever strategies it could to create some jobs for the thousands of unemployed. And so the targeting of the 1,000 youth who will be employed for up to a year to prepare them for work by which time the general election will be over is not unexpected." H e said instead of training graduates with basic skills government's money would be better spent fixing the country's ailing public educational system an area which routinely produces school leavers who lack basic reading and arithmetic capabilities. "What we need to do is fix the education system so that they can acquire these skills while they are in highschool." Evidence of the broken educational system is s een in his constituency, an area where only 55.6 per cent of residents studied beyond the ninth grade, according to the most recent statistics Dr Nottage said. Bain and Grants Town has a population of just over 9,000 people, about 3 per cent of the country's population, he added. "The last survey that was done showed that educational attainment among our residents was not i mpressive. Only 0.8 per cent of residents of that constituency had three or more years of college. Five per cent at least had an Associate's Degree but 11 per cent had only a kindergarten or elementary education and 23.5 per cent attended school up to the 9th grade. Only 55.6 per cent went beyond the 9th grade which means that 44 per cent or so of the total did not complete their secondary educa tion. This explains many of the difficulties we face attempting to ensure that residents have a fair shot at securing employment in times such as these." "We can brag about building schools, we can brag about how much money we spend on educa tion but if in a country where free education was introduced long ago where in a constituency where we have almost four or five primary schools where we have access to senior secondary schools if wec annot (do residents beyond 9th grade, something is wrong with this." DR NOTTAGE: GOVT CRIME FIGHTING POLICIES HAVE LITTLE EFFECT
INTERNATIONAL NEWS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011, PAGE 11 BEIRUT Associated Press ARMEDmen attacked S yrian security forces in a t ense northern city on M onday, Syrian officials said, and 120 policemen and security forces were killed in a region where the a rmy has carried out days o f deadly assaults on prot esters calling for the end o f President Bashar A ssad's rule. The governm ent vowed to respond "decisively," setting the stage for a new crackdown. C ommunications were cut to the area around Jisr al-Shughour on Monday and the details of the a ttack were impossible to verify, but there have been unconfirmed reports in the p ast by residents and a ctivists of Syrians fighting b ack against security forces and even mutinous troops. Security Adnan Mahmoud, the chiefgovernment spokesman, acknowledged that Syrian forces had lost c ontrol of some areas for "intermittent periods of time" and promised that t he army would restore s ecurity in the area. We will deal strongly and decisively, and accord-i ng to the law, and we will n ot be silent about any armed attack that targets the security of the state and its citizens," said InteriorM inister Ibrahim Shaar. The government's response set the stage for an even stronger crack d own against a popular uprising that began in midMarch and poses a potentt hreat to the 40-year r egime of the Assad family. The possibility of a mutiny would show new cracks ina rule that has held out t hrough weekly protests of thousands of people. S tate television added the armed groups carried out a "real massacre," mutilating some bodies and throwing others in the Orontes River. Jisr al-Shughour, about 1 2 miles (20 kilometers f rom the Turkish border, h as been the latest focus of S yria's military, whose n ationwide crackdown on t he revolt has left more than 1,200 Syrians dead, activists say. The town wasa stronghold of the country's banned Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s. Human rights groups said a t least 42 civilians have been killed there since Saturday. S yria's government has a h istory of violent retaliat ion against dissent, including a three-week bombingc ampaign against the city o f Hama that crushed an uprising there in 1982. J isr al-Shughour itself came under government shelling in 1980, when it w as a stronghold of the banned Muslim Brother hood, with a reported 70 p eople killed. Assad's decision to allow pro-Palestinian protesters to storm the Israeli bordert wice in recent weeks indi cates he may be trying to deflect focus from a seri ous crisis at home, and pos s ibly divert international attention from a new crackdown. S tate television broadly c arried Sunday's protest at the Golan Heights to the south frontier, which left as many as 23 people dead in fighting with Israeli f orces, but it has not carr ied any footage of the p rotest, crackdown or a mbush at the northern e dge of Syria. M onday's state television report said the officers were ambushed as they responded to calls fromr esidents for protection from the armed groups. It said 20 policemen were ini t ially killed, and then the groups blew up a post office and attacked a secu rity post, killing other f orces. Hiding The report said the armed groups were hidingi n homes and firing at secur ity forces and civilians alike, using residents as human shields. T he TV reports could n ot be independently conf irmed. The Syrian governm ent has severely restricte d the media and expelled f oreign reporters, making it nearly impossible to independently verify events. D etails of the operations in Jisr al-Shughour and nearby Khan Sheikhounh ave been sketchy and attempts to reach residents of the town were unsuc cessful. H uman rights activist M ustafa Osso cast doubt on the government accounts. The protesters have so far been peaceful and unarmed," he said. Osso said there were uncon f irmed reports of a few army deserters who switched sides and were f ighting security forces. A head of Monday's r eport, another activist said g unmen had successfully k ept security forces out of t he area, but he had no details. Fearing retaliation, the activist requested anonymity. A mnesty International criticized Syria's "brutal treatment of protesters"a nd called on the UN Security Council to condemn the killings and refer Syria to the International Crimi-n al Court. Those responsible for the brutal crackdown of pro-reform protesters mustn o longer be allowed to get away with murder," Philip Luther, Amnesty's deputy director for the MiddleE ast and North Africa, said in a statement Monday. SYRIA SAYS POLICE, SECURITY FORCES KILLED IN PROTESTS SPRINGERVILLE, Arizona Associated Press AN ENORMOUS w ildfire that forced the e vacuation of several m ountain communities in eastern Arizona grew Monday to more than 300 square miles (780 square kilometers), sending smoke and haze across five states, authorities said. Crews were expected t o encounter tough cond itions, with strong winds, low humidity and lightning storms expected. Officials said the blaze has burned thousands of acres (hectares s tarted more than a w eek ago near the White Mountain town of Alpine. Authorities b elieve an abandoned c ampfire may have s parked the blaze. So far, the flames have destroyed five buildings. N o serious injuries have been reported. R oughly 2,500 firefighters, including many from several westerns tates and as far away as New York, are working t o contain the wildfires, fire information officer Peter Frenzen said. I n Arizona, the fire a nd heavy smoke created p ea-soup visibility, forcing the closure of several roads, including about a stretch near the New Mexico line. Apache-Sitgreaves N ational Forest Supervi sor Chris Knopp speculated at a community meeting on Friday thata n abandoned campfire w as responsible for the fire. Fire officials expect the fire will grow given a windy forecast and expected dry lightning Monday. T he state also has another major wildfire, in southeastern Arizona that threatened two com-m unities. A RIZONA FOREST FIRE EXPANDS WITH STRONG WINDS BAGHDAD Associated Press FIVEAmerican troops serving as advisers to Iraqi security police in eastern Baghdad were killed Mon day when rockets slammed into the compound where they lived. The deaths were the largest single-day loss of life for American forces in two years. The U.S. military announced the deaths in a brief statement, exclud ing details. Two Iraqi security offi cials later said the troops died when three rockets hit near the U.S. forces' living quarters at a joint U.S.Iraqi base in the Baladiyat neighborhood where American troops were partnering with Ministry of Interior police. The Iraqi officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to reporters. American forces said the incident is under investigation. Names of the dead were withheld pending notification of family. The deaths raised to 4,459 the number of American service members who have died in Iraq, according to an Associated Press count. With the 46,000 U.S. forces still in Iraq scheduled to depart by year's end, American troops and their bases in Baghdad and southern Iraq have increasingly come under attack and threats from Shiite Muslim militias, hoping to construct a narrative that they were responsible for dri ving out the Americans. At the height of the surge of U.S. forces four years ago to combat sec tarian violence that nearly tore Iraq apart, there were about 170,000 American troops in the country. The number then was gradually drawn down to below 50,000 when Wash ington announced it had ended its combat operations ten months ago. U.S. troops still in the country focus on training and assisting Iraqi security personnel, but are to shun combat. Nevertheless, the American forces still come under almost daily attack by rockets and mortars in their bases and gunfire and roadside bombs when moving around the country. The Baladiyat neighborhood where the five Americans were killed is a predominantly Shiite dis trict near Sadr City, a Shiite slum that was the heart of Muslim sect's opposition to U.S. forces in Iraq. Less than two weeks ago, tens of thousands of supporters of antiAmerican cleric Muqtada al-Sadr marched through the streets of Sadr City, demanding an end to the American military presence in Iraq. The show of force was accompa nied by a threat from al-Sadr himself. During an interview with the BBC he said he would unleash his militia, called the Mahdi Army, on American forces if they do not with draw. He said his supporters were already targeting U.S. bases and vehicles in Iraq. U.S. officials have been pushing Iraq to decide whether it wants some American forces to remain beyond December 31, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said he'll discuss it with the country's main political blocs. But so far there has been no request from the Iraqi side on the extremely sensitive top ic. The five fatalities Monday were the largest on a single day since May 11, 2009, when five forces died in a noncombat incident. On April 10, 2009, six U.S. troops died five in combat in the northern city of Mosul and one north of Baghdad in a noncombat related incident. Elsewhere, a total of 11 people were killed in the northern city of Tikrit, the capital and near the western city of Ramadi Monday. F our of them died when a bomb exploded at a checkpoint outside a government compound in Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein. It was the second attack in four days against the compound and the gov ernment employees who live and work there. The deaths were announced by a media adviser to the provincial governor, Mohammed al-Asi. A military official in the Salahuddin Operations Command, which oversees security operations in the province, said a suicide car bomber blew himself up near the entrance to the com pound. It had been a palace and support buildings constructed by Saddam, but now serves as a hub for government offices in the city. Monday morning's attack is the second in Tikrit in recent days. On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque inside the gov ernment compound, killing 16 people. Hours later, another suicide bomber walked into the Tikrit hospital and blew himself up near the emergency room, where family members had gathered. Five peo ple were killed and 16 were injured in that incident. Four others died in Baghdad, where officials said gunmen in speeding cars opened fire on two security checkpoints. The early morning attack took place in the Azamiyah district, a Sunni Muslim enclave, according to military and medical officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Attackers bombed the house of a police colonel near Ramadi, the capital of the mostly Sunni Anbar province. The colonel survived the attack and was taken to the hospital. His wife, mother and son were all killed, Iraqi police said on condi tion of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media. FIVE US SOLDIERS KILLED IN BAGHDAD ROCKET ATTACK P ALESTINIAN MOURNERS c arry the coffin of Palestinian protester Enas Shreiteh who was killed when Israeli soldiers opened fire on Sunday at protesters who tried to burst across Syria's frontier with the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights during a funeral procession at Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp,i n Damascus, Syria, on Monday. Syrian police blocked dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters from approaching the Israeli frontier on Monday, a day after 20 demonstrators were reported killed trying to break through into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. (AP FUNERAL PROCESSIONFORPALESTINIAN PROTESTER SECURITY CONTRACTORS inspect their armored vehicles after a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday. A suicide bomber in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit and gunmen in the country's capital killed a total of eight people on Monday morning, demonstrating the simmering violence that threatens Iraq's stability. (AP
INTERNATIONAL NEWS PAGE 12, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 THE TRIBUNE WASHINGTON Associated Press T HE WHITE HOUSE b rushed off congressional d emands for a detailed report o utlining U.S. objectives in Libya, a move likely to stoke further anger among lawmakersover President Barack Obama's decision not to seek their consent for the military operation. White House spokesman Jay C arney said Monday that administration officials were a lready answering questions about Libya in briefings with lawmakers. A House resolution calling on Obama to provide more detailed answers was "unhelpful," Carney added, suggesting that the administration h as no plans to formally respond w ithin the 14-day window outl ined in the measure. H owever, the spokesman said t he White House could continue t o hold regular consultations with Congress on Libya. "To the extent that within those consultations there are questions asked that we can answer, we will answer," Car n ey said. S everal House members have e xpressed their dissatisfaction with those briefings, saying more of them won't suffice. On Friday, the House passed a non-binding resolution chastising Obama for failing to providea "compelling rationale" for the L ibyan mission and demanding a report "describing in detail" the operation's objective, its costs and its impact on the nation's two other wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Forty-five Democrats joined the Republican majority in passing the resolution. O bama ordered air strikes in M arch after a U.N. resolution, a nd consultation with Congress has been limited. The Constitu-t ion says Congress has the powe r to declare war, and the 1973 War Powers Resolution requires the president to obtain congressional authorisation within 60 days of the start of military operations, a deadline that passed last month. T he White House says it b elieves the Libya campaign is still in compliance with the War P owers Resolution. The House resolution is u nlikely to be taken up by the S enate. White House officials are pushing for passage of a Senate resolution introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, a Democrat, and Republican Sen. John McCain that would express s upport for the Libya campaign. H owever, the ranking Republican senator on Foreign Relations is urging the administration not to take that approach and instead address the concerns raised by the House resolution. "Because the president has not made his case to Congress, t he American people have no c lear understanding of the U.S. i nterests at stake in Libya, how much this will cost and whato ther priorities will have to be s acrificed," Sen. Richard Lugar wrote in a column for Monday's edition of The Washington Post. IN THIS PHOTO taken on a government o rganised tour, Libyan soldiers walk past Moammar Gadhafi's portrait seen next to a damaged building in Tripoli, Libya, on Mond ay. (AP WHITE HOUSE BRUSHES OFF HOUSE LIBYA RESOLUTION SANTIAGO, Chile Associated Press A N ERUPTING Chilean volcano sent a tow ering plume of ash across South America on Mon day, forcing thousands from their homes, grounding airline flights in southern Argentina and coat ing ski resorts with a gritty layer of dust instead of snow. Booming explosions echoed across the Andes as toxic gases belched up from a three-mile-long (fivekilometer long) fissure in the Puyehue-Cordon C aulle volcanic complex a ridge between two craters just west of the Chilean-Argentine border that began erupting Saturday. Winds blew a six-mile-high (10-kilometer-high cloud of ash all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and even into southern Buenos Aires province, hundreds of miles to the northeast. Authorities in Chile went house to house, trying to persuade stragglers near the volcano to leave b ecause of an increasing danger of toxic gas and flash floods. By Monday, about 4,000 people had been evacuated from more than 22 communities. They began fleeing as swarms of earthquakes Sat urday heralded the eruption and hundreds more fled Monday to shelters farther away. Some refused to leave, wanting to protect their homes and livestock. Chile's verdant lakes region is a centre for dairy farming, with more than 9,000 cows and sheep. Deputy Interior Minister Rodrigo Ubilla said about 50 families in the Rininahue area refused to abandon their homes. "Everything is prepared with shelter and trans portation for them to immediately leave the danger zone," added Vicente Nunez, director of Chile's emergency preparedness office, urging them to leave. Just north of the complex of volcanoes, the city of Futrono and the communities of Lago Ranco and Entre Rios were particularly vulnerable to flash floods. Some people also refused to leave Mantilhue, along the Rio Bueno, or "Good River," just six miles (10 kilometers And while the evacuation order wasn't yet mandatory, a group of Mapuche Indians said they would seek the regional governor's authorization to enter the area to pray for the volcano to stop erupting. Enrique Valdivieso, the director of Chile's National Geology and Mines Service, said the fissure was belching toxic gases and material that could clog rivers and force them to overflow. Spectacular displays of lightning flashed in the volcanic clouds during the weekend, and while the amount of ash falling east of the volcano subsided significantly by Monday, experts said it was too early to predict how long it will take before the vol cano falls silent. Volcanic dust coated ski slopes above San Carlos de Bariloche and Villa la Angostura two weeks before the official start of the winter skiing season. The resorts' trade group said it was too early to say how it would affect the local economy, but for now, residents were told to stay indoors and tourists were asked not to come. The Cordon Caulle is nearly 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Santiago, in Chile's lakes r egion, just west of Bariloche. Authorities went on alert before the eruption Saturday when as many as 240 tremors an hour struck the region. The volcano's last major eruption was in 1960, shortly after a 9.5 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful in recorded history, struck Chile. Some scientists have said that last year's 8.8 quake in Chile increased the likelihood of vol canic activity due to shifts in pressure along the Earth's tectonic plates. The ash cloud first blew over Argentina and then circled back over Chile on Sunday. By Monday, however, prevailing winds had spread the ash eastward as far as Bahia Blanca, in southern Buenos Aires province on the Argentine coast. During the weekend, the volcano spat out pumice rocks nearly eight inches (20 centimeters in diameter. Because airborne ash can severely damage jet engines, all flights between Buenos Aires and the Andean resorts of Bariloche, Esquel and Chapel co were canceled until June 12. Seven other airports in Argentina were closed through Thursday, effectively isolating the southern Patagonia region from the rest of the country. Aerolineas Argentinas also cancelled nighttime flights well to the north of the volcanos, from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile, and Mendoza, Argentina, as a precaution. LAN airlines suspended more than 35 flights from Chile to southern Argentina, and some highways in Argentina also were closed. CHILEAN VOLCANO GROUNDS FLIGHTS, COATS SKI SLOPES A BOY RIDING HIS BIKE l ooks at a plume of smoke and ash merging from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle vol cano in Rininahue near Lago Ranco, over 500 miles south of Santiago, Chile, Monday. (AP
By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter email@example.com The Central Bank of the Bahamas governor yesterday dismissed speculation that the timing of yesterdays 75 basisp oint Discount Rate reduction was linked in any way to the upcoming general election, adding that the move would make it easier for more Bahamians to access credit and support the economic recovery. Wendy Craigg said she fores ees the lowering of the Discount Rate by the Central Bank the interest rate applied to money lent by the Central Bank to domestic banks it licenses will create a lending environment providing more opportunities for Bahamianowned businesses to be a part of the spin-off effect from major foreign direct investment (FDI Baha Mar. The Discount Rate reduction, which should lower the Bahamian Prime Rate the benchmark used by all commercial banks to price loans from 5.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent, effectively reduces the cost of money, the cost of capi tal and credit, in Bahamian society. It will also lower the cost of borrowing for those already holding debt, likely sav ing businesses and individual borrowers millions of dollars in interest payments. The direction of the economy is positive, and you will have businesses linking into the developments that are current ly surfacing in terms of FDI activities. You will see the benefits. There will be some trick le-down effects from (FDI pro jects), and businesses will have an opportunity to be a part of that, said Mrs Craigg in a $4. 68 $4. 51 $4. 69The information contained is from a third party and The Tribune can not be held responsible for errors and/or omission f rom the daily report.$ $5.59 $5.54 $5.67 T HETRIBUNE SECTIONB firstname.lastname@example.orgTUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 [Learn more at royaldelity.com] BAHAMASNassau:242.356.9801 Freeport:242.351.3010BARBADOSSt.Michael:246.435.1955 f$" )$ #%)(%#() &$($$ # $ #( !! #% #') ) # "b!"#bnrn% By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor The Central Banks move to slash the Discount Rate byt hree-quarters of a percentage point should have taken place two years earlier and is unlikely to be a silver bullet for private sector recove ry, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers C onfederations (BCCEC chairman said yesterday. Describing the announce ment as a modest bit of good n ews, Khaalis Rolle added, though, that he was not com plaining since the reduction in the cost of capital/money would aid the cause of reducing the cost of doing businessi n the Bahamas. Every little bit helps, Mr Rolle told Tribune Business. This is a move that shouldh ave taken place a while back. I think this is two years after it really should have taken place. Im not complaining, but we need to be a bit more reactive. Its never too late. But RATE CUT NO SILVER BULLET Chamber chief says should have happened two years ago While grateful, b elieves unlikely have dramatic impact on private sector recovery* Ex-banker adds that record $1.134bn r eserves and $918m system liquidity forced Central Bank to act K HAALIS ROLLE SEE page 3B By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor T he Central Bank of the Bahamas move to slash the Discount Rate by 75 basis points just pumped$ 45-$50 million back into the hands of Bahamian businesses and consumers, a former Chamber of Commerce president told Tribune Business yesterday, with the Governments debt servicing burden also likely to be slashed by $15-$20 million. With between $60-$70 million set be released back into the Bahamian economy and public sector via this interest rate cut, Dionisio DAguilar also called for more trans-p arency when it came to the monetary policymakers deci sion-making, saying it was unclear why the Central Bank had chosen this moment to act. Still, adding that there was nothing negative in the move, Mr DAguilar said that based on the $6.077 billion outstanding in local currency loans at end-April 2011, the 0.75 percentage point rate cut just pumped $45 million into the economy, assuming the banks reduce every variable rate loanb y 0.75 per cent. The critical issue is whether the banks follow through and $45-$50m pumped into private sector Rate cut likely to have $60-$70m impact, as govt debt servicing costs also to drop $15-$20m But former Chamber chief calls for more rhyme and reason in Central Bank decision-making* Hopes funds released back into economy used for productive purposes DIONISIO DAGUILAR SEE page 4B By ALISON LOWE Business Reporter email@example.com R obin Hood president Sandy S chaefer yesterday met with staff to announce further lay-offs as he confirmed the closure of the companys $7 million Prince Charles Drive location, a day after City Markets chief Mark Finlayson announced he had pulled out of a deal to buy the companys food retail business. Mr Schaefer, however, blamed the c losure of the store on ongoing roadw orks on Prince Charles, rather than the termination of the deal with Mr Robin Hood closing Prince Charles store Further lay-offs imminent, as retailers boss pledges: Were off the market* Quiet on reasons for Finlayson deal e nd, only saying there were issues outside both parties control Promises to rebuild and win back customers S EE page 4B WENDY CRAIGG GOVERNOR: RATE CUT TO SUPPORT RECOVERY Denies timing influenced by politics SEE page 4B B y ALISON LOWE Business Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org More than 32,000 people w ere employed in the tourism industry in 2010, w hile 91,000 people, or 56 p er cent of all Bahamians, were employed in jobs indirectly related to the sector,a ccording to a report by a UK-based economic consul-t ancy firm. A ccording to Oxford Econ omics, growth is projected o n an annual basis in the GDP produced by the B ahamian tourism industry directly and in the economyo verall as a result of spin-off a ctivity between 2010 and 2 020, as well as in employm ent both directly and indirectly stimulated by tourism. H owever, the contribution of tourism as a proportion of o verall GDP and employm ent is to decline from 2008 levels. Oxford Economics projection that the contribution o f tourism to Bahamian G DP, and as an engine of employment in this nation, w ill be lower in 2020 than it was in 2008, would seem to indicate that the economy will be creating more non-t ourism related jobs and G DP, suggesting greater economic diversification. The findings of the Oxford Economics report, Travel and Tourisms Economic Impact Across the C aribbean prepared for the World Travel and Tourism Council and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Associa t ion (CHTA ed at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Conference in B arbados last week. While the reports findings BAHAMAS TOPS REGIONS PER HEAD TOURISM FDI IN 2020 SEE page 5B
BUSINESS PAGE 2B, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 THE TRIBUNE By JACK GROBOWSKY President, Freeport Resort & Club I t is disheartening to reminisce on what could have been over the Labour Day weekend of 2011. My first observance of Bahamian Labour Day was in 1978, spent in Nassau finalising the purchase of what was about to become the Freeport Resort & Club, Grand Bahamas pioneer timeshare r esort. Those were the glory days, when success bred and spread more success by adhering to the time treasured, universally accepted Golden Rule. When the Grand Bahama business model no longer followed the prerequisite fundamentals, first cracks started to appear, then serious deterioration crept in and overtook the culture and f abric of the business society. Time has proven that history repeats itself when lessons learned are not heeded. The results of a bad habit are predictable. Grand Bahama relied on Wallace Groves development vision, and the proven track record of such sub-developers as Princess, the creators of Bahamia, El Casino, Princess Tower and Bahamas Princess, the Bahamia Beach Club and the two 18-hole golf courses, Emerald and Ruby. Thereafter, memory lane began to turn into a series of nightmares. Fast forward a bit more than two decades to the year 2000, when Driftwood became Princesss successor. Its myriad mistakes, under the wanti-ng scrutiny of both the Government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA the most rapid decline and sustained neglect of any city in modern time. The ill-advised divers ion of Sunrise Highway, violations of the Bahamia Land Prospectus, greed and callous disregard for the rightsof others, and other bad decisions were just some of the ills. Sports coaches are terminated for a single non-performance mistake, but hardly anyone takes t ime to analyse the repeated, prolonged abuse of power and, perhaps worst of all, ignoring the most elementary fundamentals of business. Grand Bahama residents have painful memories of the failures of the top economic watchdogs. Why are they still feel ing the pains of neglect and apathy, and not awakening those who have fallen asleep at the switch? They remember Labour Day 2005 all to well they were forced to forego celebrations due to a double whammy Driftwoods indiscretions and the aftermath of the hurricanes, both devas tating to the well-being of Grand Bahama residents. Is it a coincidence that when any good news of progress is announced, it is most often timed to coincide with an impending election campaign? When was the last election oh yes, it was around Labour Day 2007. Now that is when Harcourt was approved to buy the abandoned shipwreck known as Driftwoods Royal Oasis. Instead of holding Driftwoods feet to the fire, the citizens, directly or indirectly, are paying for their power bill arrears, the casino tax delinquency, the salaries, National Insurance and pension abuses. Why did it come from Government coffers and not from Driftwood/Lehman Brothers? Why was the debtor not held accountable or controlled due to its obvious state of bankruptcy. Despite a solid Timeshare Law, why was it not enforced, leaving thousands of PVCI timeshare owners in peril? But, truth be told, it was the Grand Bahama economy that was the catastrophic loser. Why was Driftwood/Lehman Brothers allowed to keep the insurance proceeds, as opposed to honouring a mandatory non-disturbance clause to renovate and re-open at least the PVCI Timeshare operation and some of the amenities, as the timeshare law required? Instead, everything closed down and remained so for four years while Driftwood was fleeing the scene. Both the Government and the Port engaged themselves and approved both successor transactions. Fundamentals were ignored, and when the going got tough, they simply dropped the ball. This should have been a real wake-up call. As it turned out, it was no wake-up call at all, and everyone must have thought it cannot and will not happen again. Well, it not only did, but the damage was even greater the second time under the Harcourt label. The enormous expectations brought about by the Harcourt purchase, touted during the 2007 election campaign, almost seemed to trigger a replay of Murphys Law. How could that be? The Royal Oasis portfolio was reportedly sold for some $33 million, and it was admitted by government that Harcourt was given some $80 million in concessions. You do the math and ask yourself what terms must be required of Harcourt for the deal to make sense and work. Dont you think someone in Government or the Port would have insisted, for all of this, that Harcourt agree to immediately renovate and re-open? Ask PVCI timeshare owners, the shop owners in the Bazaar and the 1300 abandoned employees (and other victims) what they expected and relied on the authorities to do on their behalf. It was mandatory and prudent for Government to ensure this was done, but Harcourt built their Suffolk Court instead. Everything remained closed for another four long, agonising years, and no one wants to relive those Labour Day Celebrations. But there is hope and promise coming at least that is what the papers report. Yes, there is another election coming, around Labour Day 2012. For Grand Bahama, it has been eight years of scorched earth economic damage, including the loss of the 1,300 jobs How does that failure add to the 2011 Labour Day celebration? There are so many unanswered questions, so many strange decisions, that it is mandatory that the Government come clean and disclose to the public not only the terms of the agreements between the successor developers of Bahamia/Royal Oasis, but also the Heads of Agreement (HOAs istrations of both parties have been involved, with the complicity of the GBPA. Harcourt seems to have abandoned Grand Bahama, and if so has squandered its opportunity and forfeited the right to try to revive the islands economy. A Harcourt buyer must be told the facts, and told to truly fulfill the expec tations that both Driftwood and Harcourt failed to meet. Do you know how many times a study has been launched to fix the Grand Bahama economy? To put things into perspective, a 10year loss of 1,300 jobs amounts to several years of staffing levels for Baha Mar, the largest single project in all of the Caribbean. New Providence, you had something to celebrate on this Labour Day. This letter doesnt just criticise it specifically identifies many obvious problems, errors and mistakes of the past, and offers a suggestion that might provide tremendous relief to so many victims and Grand Bahama residents who need help now. A legitimate Harcourt successor was needed long ago as early as 2008, so this is where the e mphasis should be. If you agree, write to or call your MP of either party to express your view. As recent international events have shown, peaceful democratic action by individuals gets attention, especially if the case made is com p elling. If Grand Bahama residents do so, along with some help from New Providence residents, there will be happier Labour Days to come for them. A cry from the heart on Freepors travails A Grand Bahama-based timeshare executive tells Tribune Business how the island lost its lustre when the regulators failed to find a royal partner for the Princess The front of the GBPA. Yes, there is another election coming, around Labour Day 2012.F or Grand Bahama, it has been eight years of scorched earth economic damage, including the loss of the 1,300 jobs.
reduce the rates by three-quarters of one per cent on all credit theyve extended. Im s ure theyll come up with a number of reasons why they will delay that change. With almost $3 billion in outstanding mortgage debt at end-April 2011, if all these home loans are linked to Bahamian Prime and the rate cut passed along by the commercial banks, total repayments will reduce by around $22.5 million annually. For consumer loans and commercial l oans, respectively, if the same happens collective debt servicing payments will drop by $16.12 million and $6.99 million per annum. That, to me, is at least a significant help to businesses that are struggling with debt payments, and people with mortgages tied to variable rate loans, Mr DAguilar told Tribune Business. It should pump another $40-$50 million into the economy, giving consumers a little more to spend without taking on more debt. It will take a few businesses on the edge away from the edge, and give them room to be eligible for loans they may not have been eligible for, in addition to allowing consumers based on their income to qualify for loans. T he former Chamber president expressed hope, though, that if $45-$50 million was returned into the hands of Bahamian consumers, it would be channelled into the productive sectors of the national economy, such as the housing market. If that money is deployed into the productive sectors of the economy, I think it could be very useful, Mr DAguilar said. But there is nothing more profitable for the bank other than to lend it out in consumer loans. There needs to be a shift to put it into the productive sectors of the economy, business and housing, but after this recession the banks will be even less willing to put money into business loans, given they hell theyve caught this time around. The housing sector is a productive sector of the economy. It employs a lot of people, and has a lot of flow through in building materials and supplies. While mortgages and commercial loans were generally tied to the Bahamian Prime rate, consumers loans were sometimes not, and Mr DAguilar urged the commercial banks to extend rate cut benefits to personal borrowers. Its not only the businesses, but also the consumers, because their employees are leveraged up to the hilt, he explained. The impact from the 0.75 percentage point drop, which takes the Discount Rate to 4.5 per cent, and should push the Bahamian Prime Rate down to 4.75 per cent from 5.5 per cent, will also take some three-six months to filter down into all levels of the economy. Questioning why the Central Banks monetary policy committee would pick now to reduce the Discount Rate, and whether there were concerns over the US economys health, Mr DAguilar was quick to add: I dont think anyone can find any negative in this one. Its long overdue. Still, calling for more transparency in the policymaking and decision-making process, the former Chamber president said: The thing I find odd is theres no rhyme or reason. There should be method to the madness. Has something drastically changed to make them think they now have to do it? Im glad they did it. I think its good for the economy. Theres nothing anyone can say negative about it. phone interview yesterday. The adjustment sees the Central Bank of the Bahamasr educe the Discount Rate, effective immediately, by 75 b asis points, to 4.50 per cent. The Bank said it anticipates financial institutions will follow suit with a corresponding reduction in the Prime Rate from 5.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent, coupled witj similara djustments in their lending rate schedules and therefore the cost of credit to borrowers, whether they be a business, households or individuals. Mrs Craigg acknowledged that adjusting the Discount Rate to impact interest rates is not a typical policy instru m ent of the Central Bank. The last time the Discount Rate was adjusted in a downwards direction was in six years ago. Explaining the move, the Central Bank said in its state ment that a number of factors were carefully considered in its decision to adjust monetary policy, including the signs of a more positive outlook for glob al growth and the implications for domestic economic activi ty. Based on an improving performance of tourism and for eign direct investment activity, the Bahamian economy is poised to grow by nearly 1.5 per cent in 2011, and in excess of 2 per cent in 2012 with broadening medium-term ben efits for employment and opportunities for the productive sector, the Central Bank said. Interestingly, the 1.5 per cent real GDP growth estimate for 2011 is some 0.5 percentage points lower than the 2 per cent projection given by the Gov ernment in its recent 2011-2012 Budget, although there was no explanation for that yesterday. The Central Banks estimate is more in line with the Interna tional Monetyary Funds (IMF From a monetary perspective, the Central Bank said it took into consideration the improvement in the external reserves position over the past two years, to historic levels, and the opportunities for this posi tion to be sustained in the short to medium term by net inflows from the foreign exchange earning sectors. Elaborating on this statement, Mrs Craigg told Tribune Business the Central Bank perceives that the outlook from tourism and the foreign direct investment (FDI the Bahamas earns the bulk of our [foreign reserves], is improving and will continue to add to our external reserve position. This was partly in response to suggestions from Tribune Busi ness sources, who questioned the Central Banks decision to lower the discount rate now, given that the high levels of external reserves cited by the Central Bank have been the case for some time and are not primarily available as a conse quence of activity in the real economy, but due to higher levels of foreign currency borrowing and the provision of addition special drawing rights (SDRs reserve asset created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF bers reserves to this nation. They have also been boosted to record highs by the proceeds of the Bahamas Telecommuni cations Companys (BTC Maintaining a certain level of foreign currency reserves is critical to providing the support necessary for the Bahamian dollars parity with the US dollar, so it is key that the Central Bank deems levels to be high enough and the demand for credit to be such that it would not threaten this situation. In this regard, the Bank said the existence of significant slack in the economy removes the near-term threat to the external position (foreign currency reserves) from an expansion in credit growth (loans and mortgages offered by domestic banks). Credit growth has been muted at some 0.7 per cent for the six-month period to endApril 2011, it noted. And the Central Bank added in its explanatory press release that the financial sectors perfor mance remains stable, sup ported by a strong capital ratio of nearly 26 per cent. Even so, the Bank main tains a close watch on the per sistence of credit risk, as evidence in the high loan arrears rate, although conditions have stabilised over the past two years, it said. Effectively, what the Central Bank is saying is that with for eign reserves at $1.134 billion and excess commercial bank liquidity at more than $900 million, these funds especially the latter have to be released somehow, and are at high enough levels to prevent any dramatic shock or drawdown. And the high unemployment levels and reduced incomes, with borrowers focusig on meeting existing obligations, means demand for new credit will remain muted. Essentially, existing borrowers will benefit, not new ones. Mrs Craigg said the decision came about following the most recent monthly meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank, given a determination by that committee that conditions did not exist previously (which would have allowed for a rate reduction), but that in the present context we are seeing more p ositive growth momentum in the economy. She explained that the outcome of the adjustment in the Discount Rate is that the public will benefit from a more favourable lending environment in which they can acquire credit much more easi ly. In terms of growth itself the economy is starting to grow, so this is certainly an opportune time to support the recovery by having a change in the monetary policy, she added. The Governor said the Central Bank expects that credit in t he domestic economy will expand at a moderate rate over time as a result. Its not going to happen tomorrow or next week, she said. The top banker denied some suggestions put to Tribune Business yesterday that the policy adjustments timing is ina ny way political given the potential benefit to economic conditions from cheaper access to credit, which could spur consumer spending and business investment prior to next years general election. The Central Bank strictly looks at the facts. This is a mat-t er that the Monetary Policy Committee (of the Bank at on a monthly basis. We had a monetary policy meeting for the month of May just last week, and so this is in line with that, she said. As for the Central Banks stance on the Discount Rateg oing forward, Mrs Craigg said it is a matter that the Monetary Policy Committee of the insti tution will continue to review. The Bank remains committed to responding appropriately to ongoing economic and monetary developments, in its g oals to achieve monetary stability and contribute to sustainable economic growth, she added. BUSINESS PAGE 4B, TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011 THE TRIBUNE $45-$50m pumped into private sector FROM page 1B Finlayson. Robin Hoods second outlet is thus closing within four-five months of opening, a sharp contrast to expansion plans announced close to 2010s year-end. Mr Schaefer, meanwhile, asserted his renewed commitment to turning around the retail company and win back cus-t omers, telling Tribune Business: Were off the market for the f oreseeable future. He would not go into details on the reason for the collapse of the deal in principle that he signed in mid-May with Mr Finlayson and his family investment vehicle, Trans-Island Traders. Mr Finlayson cited irreconcilable differences in a brief s tatement released over the w eekend as the cause of the termination of his bid to acquire t he food retailer. Tribune Business, though, understands that Trans-Island decided not to pro-c eed after its due diligence exercise did not confirm the initial beliefs it held regarding the bene fits Robin Hoods business c ould bring to it and its City Markets chain. However, this newspaper also u nderstands that Mr Schaefer and Robin Hood became unhappy with some of the termsM r Finlayson was offering. Under the terms of the nowdefunct deal, Mr Finlayson was to take over the foot retail business at Robin Hood's two stores, sub-leasing the food selling space from Mr Schaefer. Mr Schaefer, as well as becoming a landlord, was to have retained ownership of Robin Hood's high-margin, heavy dutya ppliance business, effectively going back to the company's roots when it first started in the Bahamas in 1999 and 2000. And Mr Schaefer and his partner, Miami-based Suresh Khilnani, would have provided supply chains to Mr Finlayson and his City Markets business from the US, helping them to source product and providing logistics support. I n an interview with Tribune Business yesterday, Mr Schaef er said the decision to abandon the acquisition came about as a result of issues that were beyond (Finlaysons beyond ours. The deal was no longer financially viable for ourselves or them, as some of the conditions changed, he added. Respect Mr Schaefer spoke amicably of Mr Finlayson yesterday, t elling this newspaper: I would say that I certainly still main tain utmost regard and respect for Mark and his family, and we certainly stand ready to help them in any way we can. I n the meantime, he confirmed that inventory from Robin Hoods Prince Charles Drive location, which opened in January, has now been moved to the companys flagship Tonique Williams-Darling Highway store, paving the way for the formers ite to be closed for the foreseeable future. Linking the closure to the roadworks on Prince Charles Dri ve, he said that when and whether the location is re-opened is completely contingent on the completion of works which he has blamed for an 80 per cent reduction in business at that location. Our business was spectacularly successful there, and I dont h ave to tell you about the impact of the roadwork, said Mr Schaefer. The businessman said some staff from the Prince Charles Drive location will be relocated to Tonique WilliamsDarling Highway, while others will be laid off. Clearly there will be redundancies, he said, declining to provide any figures. H e also added that the closure of the store presents an opportunity in this regard, as he will take the best from both places to man that store. Hardship presents opportunity. We can look at our staff and who are A players and who are B players. The opportunity we have now is to recommit ourselves with the loyal and hon est staff that want to give service we are known for, said Mr Schaefer. He said he has received indications that the roadworks may be completed within three to four months, and as such anticipates the possibility of a grand re-opening of the Prince Charles Drive Robin Hood location at that time. Mr Schaefer said the company is now revamping itself, as he now feels remotivated to get us back to where we were before. He added: I think I am human like everyone else, and the pounding we were taking over the last six or seven months saps your interest and desire. We had lost our taste for the battle. He suggested the company suffered over the last six months as he had been in a selling mode, seeking a buyer for it. You take your eye off the ball and the quality suffers and the variety suffers. Mr Schaefer claimed he was reinspired to make the business successful by his daughter, Kyra. He suggested that the extent to which the company will be successful in this endeavour depends on whether the Bahamian public can forgive us for messing up as we have over last year (and Robin Hood closing Prince Charles store FROM page 1B MARK FINLAYSON F ROM page 1B G overnor: Rate cut to support recovery
MOLLY DAVIS, Associated Press JACKSON, Miss. Mississippi's top casino regulator said on Monday that his replacement will face major challenges in keeping gambling revenue up across the state. The Mississippi Gaming Commission is looking for a new executive director to replace Larry Gregory, who said whoever succeeds him willbe responsible for overseeing a time of increased competition from online gambling and new markets that attract out-of-state tourists. "Every state has gaming now," he said at a John C. Stennis Institute of Government luncheon in downtown Jackson. Pennsylvania began to allow gambling a few years ago and has now surpassed Mississippi in market share. Ohio will begin to allow gambling this year, and Florida is considering the move, he said. Also, Internet gambling could become a major market force in the future, even though it is currently illegal under state and federal law. Gregory said that Mississippi's "conservative approach" to gambling a voiding racier-themed slot machines and restricting locations to within 800 feet of waterfronts, for example means the state is unlikely to sanction online gambling within its borders. A 2006 federal law effectively banned Internet gambling. It p rohibited banks and credit card companies from process ing payments from gambling companies to individuals. But gambling experts say it creat ed enough gray areas to open the door for a deeper expan-sion into the multibillion dollar industry, and the District ofC olumbia in April became the first U.S. jurisdiction to allow Internet gambling. D.C. lawmakers plan to use revenue estimated at between $13 million and $14 million through fiscal year 2014 to offset budget cuts and fund social services. D espite missing out on a piece of what could be a bil lion-dollar market, Gregory endorses a continued ban in Mississippi. He said that inter net gambling carries a risk of online security breaches and would make wagering too accessible, fostering addiction problems. He said that online casinos could also open up gambling to minors. "That is a scary, scary thing," said Gregory. "And how are you going to stop it? To me, I don't think you can." Construction Mississippi uses tax revenue from gambling to support high way construction and improvements. The state has the fourth largest gambling industry in the nation, with over a $2.5 billion market employing roughly 20,000 people. Hurricane Katrina, the massive BP oil spill and the recent flooding have all taken their toll on the industry. Mississippi casinos closed for three weeks, which Gregory said cost some $10 million in tax revenue. No casinos were damaged, and associated hotels had little damage. "It was just major devasta tion having 15,000 people out of work," he said. "Thankfully most of the casinos paid for the workers." Once considered a "recession-proof" industry, gambling has also been hit hard by the economic downturn, Gregory said. In April 2011, casinos across the state earned $189 million in revenue, according to state records. That compares to $195 million in April 2006 before the Great Recession is consid ered to have started and $222 million in April 2005. Gregory said lawmakers must find other ways to help the industry compete, especially since Mississippi is unlikely to sanction online gambling within its own borders or promoteb rick-and-mortar casinos to its own citizens. "We cannot exist on bringing people to play blackjack anymore," he said, adding that at least one casino in Las Vegas now generates more revenue from non-gambling activities than casinos. He said that Mississippi will n eed to invest heavily in other tourism attractions such as convention centers, water parks and racing tracks near its waterfront casinos. "There's been talk on the coast, but also Tunica, of bringing some mega race track into the facilities," he said. D espite economic and other challenges, gambling continues to grow. "We are still doing well in development," said Gregory. "We've got 10 approved sites down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In addition, we just a pproved the Margaritaville with Jimmy Buffett. That was very, very exciting." The commission hopes to replace Gregory by August. He said he has not yet made plans, but doesn't intend to retire. He has worked as the execu tive director since 2001, starting a s the chief of staff of the agency in 1995. Gregory has also worked for the state's transportation commission and personnel board. BUSINESS T HE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 2011, PAGE 5B ( AP Photo/Mel Evans, File) AGEOFTHEMACHINE: In this Sept. 13, 2007 file photo, a woman smokes while playing slot machines at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. Outgoing gaming chief warns of challenges ahead INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS suggest that The Bahamas will become less dependent on tourism by 2020, it is also evident that only the British Virgin Islands, Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla are to be more dependent on tourism in terms of its contribution to the overall economy and employment than the Bahamas. This nation is projected to have tourism-related activity account for 49.9 per cent of total GDP in 2020, and 60.3 per centof all jobs, up from 46.5 and 56 per cent at present. The report also shows that Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico are projected to be getting more tourism-related investment in dollar value in 2020 than the Bahamas. However, since each of these countries have significantly larger populations than the Bahamas, this nation with a projected $1.703 billion annual FDI inflow in 2020 will be getting the highest investment in tourism per capita at that time in the Caribbean, according to the report. The figure is down as a pro portion of total investment in the Bahamian economy from the 45.1 per cent recorded in 2008, to 41 per cent, however. Oxford Economics predicts that after accounting for an estimated $1.1 billion or 14.4 per cent of this nations GDP in 2010, the GDP contribution from the direct tourism industry in the Bahamas will grow by an annual rate of 3.4 per cent between 2010 and 2020. Negativ e This follows negative growth of 4.2 per cent in 2008, 10 per cent in 2009 and 0.6 per cent in 2010. The proportional contribution to GDP from the tourism industry directly in 2020 will then be 15.3 per cent still down from 2008s 15.4 per cent. The firms analysis indicates that tourisms contribution to the broader economy in terms of GDP will grow by an average annual rate of 3.5 per cent over the next 10 years. This measure takes into account both direct and indirect effects, along with the impact of investment, government collective consumption and merchandise exports related to travel and tourism. Again, the proportional contribution of tourism in this broader sense will be 49.9 per cent, down from 2008s 51.6 per cent. In terms of employment in the industry directly, Oxford Economics projects this will grow by an annual rate of 2.8 per cent between 2010 and 2020, to ultimately amount to 21.2 per cent of all employment by 2020. This is down slightly from 21.6 per cent in 2008. In 2010, employment in the tourism industry directly accounted for 32,200 jobs or 19.8 per cent of all employment, suggests the report. Employment in the broader economy, which is related to tourism activity, will grow by 2.8 per cent annually, the report projects, but at 60.3 per cent will remain two percentage points lower than the proportionate contribution of travel and tourismrelated employment to total employment levels in 2008. In 2010, this type of employment was said to account for 91,000 jobs in the overall economy, or 56 per cent of all employ ment. B AHAMAS TOPS REGIONS PER HEAD TOURISM FDI IN 2020 FROM page 1B