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N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER Volume: 108 No.33THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER SUNAND CLOUDS HIGH 79F LOW 70F TRY OUR DOVE RASPBERRY McFLURRY The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM im lovin it By LAMECH JOHNSON email@example.com THE atmosphere at the mortuary at Princess Margaret Hospital yesterday morning matched the weather cold, grey and overcast. Less than 24 hours after their loved one was riddled with bullets in Chippingham Tuesday evening, family and friends of the countrys 125th homicide victim faced their worst fear. More than two dozen relatives and friends went to the morgue yesterday to identify 37-year-old Veron Palmer as B y SANCHESKA BROWN and STEPHENHUNT Tribune Staff Reporters firstname.lastname@example.org POLICE responded in f orce when they received an alert suggesting a lone gunman had held five people hostage at a teen pregnancy centre yesterday morning. Officers said they received a call around 11am alerting them to an armed robbery and possible kidnapping att he PACE school on Dowdeswell Street. When they arrived, howev er, they were told that both the suspect and the victims, four women and one child, had already fled the scene. As the day developed, police were able to dispell suggestions of both a hostage incident or an armed robbery with the incident that sparked the swift police action turning out to be a simple theft of a cellphone from the centre. Speaking at the scene yesterday morning as officers were assessing the situation,A ssistant Superintendent Ken Strachan said police searched premises but found nothing. When we got the call, p olice responded immediately. Acting on information, officers conducted a thorough search of the establishment in an attempt to locate the individual. However, we foundt hat the individual or individ uals who were connected had already left the scene, hes aid. We are advised that all of the persons who were here at the time of the incident are safe and they left fleeing from the building as the incident was taking place. They are accounted for and no one has been injured. We in the Royal Bahamas Police Force remain committed and we will bring to bear all of the resources necessary, not only to deal with this partic ular matter but also to deal By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com FREEPORT With only days before the New Year, Hutchison Bahamas has laid off almost 70 employees throughout its group of operations here on Grand Bahama. Terminations have taken place at the harbour, airport, and the container port, which have been experiencing a decline in business. Labour Minister Dion B y LAMECH JOHNSON l firstname.lastname@example.org F AMILY members of the countrys 125th homicide claim that police did not allow paramedics to attend to him shortly before his death. However, police Supt S tephen Dean denied the c laims yesterday. The assertion that treatment to 37-year-old VeronP almer was delayed for 10 m inutes, came after relatives identified his body at the Princess Margaret HospitalR and laboratory. Palmer was gunned down Tuesday evening in front of a business establishment at Infant View Road and Dunmore Avenue. He was standing with a group of men when a dark-coloured vehicle pulled up. One of the two men in the c ar got out of the vehicle and fired gunshots into the group OFFICERS surrounded a church on Dowdeswell Street. Photo: Tim Clarke /Tribune Staff Police respond to hostage alert INSIDETODAY Y Y O O U U R R S S O O U U R R C C E E F F O O R R O O B B I I T T U U A A R R I I E E S S NOBODYBEATSTHETRIBUNE NEWS SPORT FASHION MOVIES TV MUSIC ONSALEEVERYSATURDAY C C O O U U P P O O N N S S I I N N S S I I D D E E T T O O S S A A V V E E S S A A V V E E S S A A V V E E FAMILY SAY PARAMEDICS STOPPED BY POLICE MOURNERS SEEK ANS WERS 70 JOBS CUT A T HUTCHISON S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 2 2 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 6 6 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 6 6 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 2 2 By SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com ADESPERATEsearch for a missing 12-year-old boy had a happy ending last night. Earlier, the father of Brandon Neymour Jr, missing since Tuesday, made an emotional plea for his safe return home. Brandon Neymour Sr said: I just want him home. I love him very much and I cannot survive without him. Last night, police confirmed to The Tribune that the miss ing 12-year-old had been found safely. A police spokeswoman told The Tribune that he was safe, in good health and had returned to his family. Brandon Neymour Jr had gone missing when he asked for permission to play basketball with the neighbourhood youngsters at the court near Churchill Street, off Sol dier Road. As darkness fell, and the boy had not returned home, family members went looking for him. But Brandon Jr was not at the basketball court, and he JOY AS MISSING BOYFOUND SAFE S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 6 6 Officers out in full f or ce amid r ob ber y f ears
with any matter or matters that may come to our attention. When The Tribune arrived on the scene at 11:30am, p olice had already blocked o ff Dowdeswell Street and the SWAT team was attempting to gain access to the build ing. A man who was on the scene said he saw a trucks peeding down the street before stopping in front of the PACE school. He said: The truck came speeding down the road like t he driver was running from someone. Then someone got up and went upstairs. A few minutes later, some people came running out and t hats when we knew some thing was going on. Police were here in a matter of min u tes, but they had already left. It looked like something you only see on TV. Last night, police issued a statement, saying:Initial p olice reports indicate that around 10:20am, a male entered PACE school r equesting an application to enroll a student. It is reported that after the male left the school, a female employee discovered that her c ell phone was missing. Police wish to inform the public that the informationr eported earlier regarding this incident, where persons were reported as being held hostage, never occurred. At no time were employ ees of the school held hostage, or their lives threatened in any manner. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011 THE TRIBUNE the countrys latest homicide victim, just days after Christmas and a few before a new year begins. I nitial reports indicated that shortly before 7pm, Palmer was among a group of men at Dunmore Avenue and Infant View Road when a black vehicle approached. Two persons were said to h ave been in the vehicle, one of whom opened fire on the group. Palmer was struck and died of his injuries at the scene. By 10.30am yesterday, family of the deceased were lined u p outside the lab entrance w aiting to be called in to see whether in fact it was their loved one who had been killed. The wait for the inevitable identification only heightened the sadness and despair amongt he family. The victims mothe r, already in tears before the v iewing, had to be carried in b y the men while the third eldest of his four sons was also f inding it difficult to hold up. H e was being embraced and consoled by his great grandf ather, Fernly Palmer, and his a unt, Carla Palmer. T he aunt, who as a well k nown media broadcaster has covered several human intere st stories relating to crime and violence, was at a loss for w ords. I dont know what to s ay, she commented. I reall y dont know that to say. Ive covered these stories before and everytime I did, I always felt what the families felt and thats why I always lovedd oing human interest stories. The veteran broadcaster did not place blame on the a uthorities for this crime that had hit her family. Instead, she said, in times like these I think people just need to be more humane to each other and be more rational in their decisions. People just really need to find a way to resolve their problems witho ut resorting to violence. While she said it was not impossible for an event toh appen to her family, she never thought it would happen i n the manner in which it did, even though she acknowledges the countrys serious crime problem. People are just killing each o ther over petty foolishness, she said. I know that they say Veron is dead, I just need to see his body first. I just need to see. And she did. At 11.07, the f amily was called into the m orgue to identify the victim. Ten minutes later, sharp screams of agony escaped thed oors to the morgue, draw ing startled looks from persons nearby. T he veteran broadcaster, barely standing, wailed as she was escorted outside the Rand lab. The girlfriend of the deceased was carried out of the lab, her piercing cries and repetitive pleas to bring him back filled the air. This only intensified the cries from his mother w ho had to be given a seat. Before this family, 124 others had to experience the verys ame pain of confirming that the body in the morgue was t hat of their loved one, lying there because of a shooting, stabbing or other fatal attack. For Randolph Dean, an uncle of Veron, this killingw as not only a sad moment for the country, but a reality check as well. People have no fear for God these days and it will cause them to perish. I think t his is a wake up call. A reali ty check for all of us to make sure our soul is well so that when we meet our maker,e verything will be right. Dean described his nephew as a kind and helping person and a father who always took care of all his boys.H e said the father of four o wned an eatery called Daddy Boys Takeaway, which he operated with two of his eldest sons. Police are actively investigating this incident as well as the two earlier homicides inw hich a 26 and 23 year old were gunned down, one on Christmas Day, the other on Christmas Eve. Bruce Sands Jr, a technician at BEC, was gunned down early Christmas morn-i ng just after leaving an event at a nightclub with three women friends. As they drove up East Bay Street in Mr Sands' burgundy-c oloured 1997 Ford Ranger, a B lack Honda Accord pulled a longside them and opened fire. Mr Sands was shot in his n eck and lost control of his vehicle, crashing into a wall a t Scotia Trust before the t ruck overturned. The three passengers in his c ar were injured as a result of the incident and hospitalised. I n the Christmas eve shooti ng, La Sean Bain, of Major R oad in Yellow Elder Gard ens, was found on Melvern Road, in the same area, with g unshot wounds. Mr Bain was taken to hospital where he later died as a result of hisi njuries. Police are investigating all three homicides and are appealing to members of the public who might have inform ation regarding the incidents to contact them. f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e POLICE RESPOND TO HOSTAGE ALERT Mourners seek answers POLICE OFFICERS search a building on Dowdeswell Street where a suspected robber entered. Photo: Tim Clarke /Tribune Staff THE FAMILY of the countrys 125th murder victim is overwhelmed with emotion yesterday after viewing the body of their loved one. P hotos: T im Clarke / Tribune Staff THE MOTHER of 37-year-old Veron Palmer is given some water after veiwing his body.
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011, PAGE 3 Students wishing to take the BGCSE Examinations in June, 2012 are advised to register immediately or before the year end at Institute of Business and Commerce. Courses are registered and approved by Ministry of Education and Dept. of Public Service.Tel: 324-4625 INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS AND COMMERCEANNOUNCESBGCSE B Y DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT Armed robb ers are stealing cars and u sing them to commit armed robberies on Grand Bahama. Police are searching for two stolen vehicles, both of which were used in armed robberiesin the Freeport area in November and December. A sst Supt Loretta Mackey said police are asking for the publics assistance in locatinga 1995 purple Nissan Skyline used as the getaway vehicle i n an armed robbery on December 24 at the Burger K ing on Yellow Pine Street. The vehicle was stolen on December 19. According to police reports, two masked gunmen approached the owner just as h e arrived at his home on D ominica Avenue around 9 .30am and robbed him of the c ar, licence plate number 52058. T he culprits were armed w ith handguns. Both were described as being about 6ft tall. On Christmas Eve, two masked men held up the Burger King on Yellow Streeta round 9.30am. After robbing employees of an undetermined amount of c ash, the suspects were seen f leeing the area in the stolen p urple Skyline vehicle. A SP Mackey said police are also searching for a s tolen 2006 blue Ford Explorer, license plate number 40400. Ms Mackey said police received a report of an armed robbery on November 26 att he International Bazaar. The culprits held up and robbed a man of cash and his F ord Explorer while he was a ttempting to park the vehicle n ear Princess Lane. M s Mackey said there was an attempted armed robbery t he following day. She said police received a report around noon on November 27 that two masked men, one armed witha handgun, had attempted to r ob the Burger King Restaurant on East Mall and Poinciana Drive. M s Mackey is appealing to a nyone who may have inform ation concerning these s tolen vehicles to contact police by calling 350-3107/8, 3 52-9774/5 or 911. POLICE are asking for the publics h elp in locating several suspects connected to two shootings and a stabbing after an night of violence left two people in critical condition. According to police, the incidents all took place between 8 and 11pm on Tuesday. I n the first incident, shortly after 8pm, a 54-year-old man was shot in the arm while trying to flee from gunmen. Police reports indicate the man and a w oman were leaving a business on Coconut Grove Avenue in a white 2000 Honda Saber vehicle. They were approached by three men, o ne of them armed with a handgun. It is reported that the driver attempted to flee the area, but was shot in the arm. The culprits reportedly fled on foot heading in an unknown direction. The victim is in hospital and is listed in c ritical condition. An hour later, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the foot in the Fowler Street area. He had been walking when he was r eportedly approached by two gunmen who fired at him. He was taken to the hospital, treated and discharged. T hen, at around 11pm, a 29-year-old was stabbed in a Haitian Village off Carmichael Road. The stabbing reportedly came as result of an altercation between two men. The victim was taken to hospital in a private vehicle. His condition is listed asc ritical. Police are actively investigating these matters and are appealing to members of the public who may have any information r egarding these incidents to contact them on 911, 919, 502-9991, 502-9910 or Crime Stoppers on 328-TIPS. Stolen cars used in raids TWO SHOT, ONE STABBED IN NIGHT OF VIOLENCE T HE BLUE 2 006 Ford Explorer, license 40400, and the purple Nissan Skyline, license 52058, that were taken by thieves and used to commit armed robberies on Grand Bahama. Police are asking anyone with information about the stolen vehicles to come forward and help the investigation into the robberies.
EDITOR, The Tribune. I COMMEND the pope for his new translation of the Mass which went into effect Sunday. The new translation was necessary to correct the ological mistakes that were inherent in the original trans lation. When the Mass was first converted from Latin to the vernacular, modernist theologians and bishops used the translation as an oppor tunity to change the Mass from a Sacrifice into a Protestant Meal and to honour the cult of man over the cult of God. Vatican II, however, did not mandate that the Mass be entirely converted from Latin to the vernacular. Nor did it in any way suggest that the altar rail be removed or that the laity should infiltrate the sanc tuary. It never stipulated that the laity should regularly hand out Holy Communion or that the priest should turn his back on God and face the people. These were all Protestant innovations by modernist Catholic bishops acting apart from the true Spirit of the Council of Vatican II. In effect, the hierarchy managed to throw a cloud of disbelief over the faithful. Few Catholics today believe, for example, in the dogma of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Modernists might not like the new translation to the Mass but they will have to get used to it for more changes are coming. Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI plans to reform the Mass until it is becomes once more the authentic source and summit of Catholic life. PAUL KOKOSKI Canada November 28, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune. ON Sunday, my wife and I w ent for a walk along the path on the Cable Beach road that has just opened. It is a lovely walk with the B oardwalk going down to the lake in two places, birds to look at and turtles, some beautiful landscaping, trees and flowers on the road itself. There are places to park at b oth ends of the new road, shelters and seats where you can rest if you wish along the way. T he road has been open for maybe two weeks or less. Already there is a bad Bahamian habit creeping in r ubbish which eventually if no one takes responsibility for keeping the area clean will ruin the walk. O bviously, at the moment, the construction site on the North side is contributing to this because of the strong winds. But among the flower bord ers there were plastic bags and, worse, on the edge of the lake, there was other rubbish which will start to mix witht he mangroves and other greenery and be difficult to remove. Some entity needs to look a t this and decide how best to contain the rubbish before it starts to reach into and pol lute the lake, and of courset o dispose of it. There are plenty of rubbish bins in the area although I did notice one was overflowing. It would be a pity to spoil a lovely walk and there are fewo f them on New Providence. PATRICK H THOMSON Nassau D ecember 5, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune I WOULD like to publicly say a sincere and heartfelt thank you to the One Fami ly Community and Junkanoo Organisation for their amazing Boxing Day parade which today honoured the memory of one of their Founders and Chairman Emeritus, JacksonL ogan Burnside III. It was a novel and amazingly touchi ng tribute which demonstrated the level of respect and affection Jackson had garnered in the community which he loved. We, his wife, daughters and son-in-law are most appreciative and joyfulk nowing that Jacksons values and principles for caring and sharing were so proudlyd isplayed. It is therefore with disappointment that I feel comp elled to write this letter to r eport that this joyous event was marred for my family by the actions of selfish andu ncaring persons who refused to move from the seats I hadp urchased in Rawson Square s o that the four members of t he family and one of our guests could sit together to enjoy the parade. D ue to recent knee surgery, I planned to arrive in time to watch the One Family paradeo nly to find that the three s eats which my daughter was saving for us were occupied by a couple who refused tom ove despite continuous polite requests, even though I pointed out that they were sit ting in my purchased designated seats. Their rationale was that the persons behind them had taken their seat so they were taking mine! I then appealed to the coup le behind them, asking them out of decency and courtesy t o please move.....they also flatly refused! Appeals to the b leacher officers were ineffective. The protocol officer stated he had no authority to ask persons to move. May I a sk who does have authority i n these situations? Once a ticket is purchased w ith the imprinted seat row a nd number, that seat should be available for the purchaser n o matter what time they appear. I would like to appeal to t he JCNP to deal more effectively with such issues. I stopped coming to Junkanoo many years ago for this very s ame reason and it seems that t he problem still exists! Although I pointed out to t he couples that their behaviour showed that one persons inconsiderate actions can multiply to produce more negative actions, they couldn't c are less. They had their seats and too bad for me! T his incident clearly d emonstrates the unfortunate blatant disregard for disci pline, manners, and common c ourtesy that pervades all sectors of our society today. This selfish attitude is an example of the disregard for common courtesy and lack of commu-n ity spirit. T hese necessary attributes existed in the days of my youth and those of my parents and grandparents. Had my husband still been alive, h e would have been most disa ppointed as well and would have reiterated that in our q uest for so called progress we have thrown out the baby with the bath water.....therec an be no progress if we do not first treat each other with respect and civility. A lthough this incident was u psetting, I was soon inspired by the couple who were standing directly in the fronto f me the male was a Bahamian with an American partner who very kindlyt urned around to ask whether I could see the parade properly through the standing crowd. Without hesitation, he moved to the side to accommodate my view. I wish tot hank him for his courtesy and for renewing my sense of hope! As a nation, we all need to correct rude behaviour by encouraging and modelling d ecency and civility, and stop a nd seriously think about where we are heading. Our future depends on it. PAM BURNSIDE Boxing Day, 2011, Nassau. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 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 TELEPHONES S witchboard (News, Circulation and Advertising) 322-1986 MOSCOW A Russian court has d ecided not to ban a religious text central t o the global Hare Krishna movement, rejecting claims that the text is extremist and ending a case that has angered Hindusa round the world. The Indian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it appreciated this sensibler esolution of a sensitive issue. P rosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk had argued that the Russian translation of Bhagavad Gita As It Is promotes social discord and hatred toward nonbelievers, causing an outcry in India, where many considered the proposed ban a vio l ation of the rights of Hindus in Russia. The text is a combination of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduisms holiest scriptures, and commentary by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Cons ciousness, which is often called the Hare K rishna movement. The prosecutors had asked the court to include the book on the Federal List ofE xtremist Materials, which bans more than 1,000 texts, including Adolf Hitlers Mein Kampf and books distributed by t he Jehovahs Witness and Scientology m ovements. Alexander Shakhov, a lawyer for Hare Krishna devotees in Tomsk, said the group i s satisfied with the court's decision. This judges decision shows that Russia is becoming a truly democratic society, Shakhov was quoted as saying by the I nterfax news agency. We are very excit ed about this victory. Yury Pleshakov, a spokesman for the g roup in Moscow, said the book in ques tion has existed in Russia for 25 years and has never inspired violence or extremista ctivity. On the contrary, this book teaches humane attitude towards all living beings, Pleshakov said. T he trial, which began in June, followed this year's ban on the construction of a Hare Krishna village in Tomsk and was based on a n assessment by professors at Tomsk Uni versity, who concluded that Bhagavad Gita As It Is includes strong language againstn on-believers and promotes religious hatred a nd discrimination on the basis of gender, race, nationality and language. The ruling came a day after Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna met with Alexander Kadakin, Russia's ambassador to India, and urged the Russian gov-e rnment to resolve the issue. Indian officials had last week appealed to high-level Russian authorities to intervene. The Tomsk court had postponed the decision from Dec 19, when protesters gathered outside the Russian consulate i n Kolkata, and the speaker of Indias lowe r house of parliament adjourned the body for several hours after members began shouting in anger over the proposed ban. A fter hearing further testimony from academic experts on Wednesday, the judge ruled that the prosecutors claimsw ere unfounded. T he Bhagavad Gita is not merely a religious text, but one of the defining treatises of Indian thought, said Indian Ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra in a statement. The Bhagavad Gita has circulated freely across the world for cen t uries and there is not a single instance of it having encouraged extremism. The Indian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday sought to soothe over any tensions. We appreciate this sensible resolution o f a sensitive issue and are glad to put t his episode behind us, ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said in a state ment. This demonstrates yet again that t he people of India and Russia have a deep understanding of each others cultures and will always reject any attempt to b elittle our common civilizational values. T he Russian Foreign Ministry had insisted the Tomsk court was not taking issue with core Hindu scripture itself, but rather w ith the authors commentary and poor translation in Bhagavad Gita As It Is. I would like to emphasize that this is not about Bhagavad Gita, a religious philo s ophical poem, which forms part of the great Indian epic Mahabharata and is one of the most famous pieces of the ancient H indu literature, ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said at a briefing in Moscow last week, adding that the bookw as first published in Russian in 1788. Still, followers of the Hare Krishna movement in Russia saw the proposed ban as a result of continued intolerance ofm inority religions by the Russian Ortho dox Church. Pleshakov estimates there are at least 150,000 Hare Krishna devotees i n Russia. The current problem is, above all, the misuse of the law on combating extrem-i sm, Pleshakov said. It is used to search f or enemies where they cannot even be defined. In 2005, a Russian Orthodox archbish op asked the mayor of Moscow to ban the construction of a proposed Hare Krishna temple, calling the Hindu deityK rishna an evil demon, the personified power of hell opposing God, according to Interfax. The temple was later allowed ina Moscow suburb. By Sofia Javed, Associated Press Manners lacking at Junkanoo LETTERS l email@example.com Russian court rejects Hindu text ban Spoiling a lo v el y walk P P r r a a i i s s e e f f o o r r n n e e w w M M a a s s s s
By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org F NM supporters in Long Island remain in suspense over who will carry the partys banner in the next general election. With incumbent Larry Cartwright rumoured to be o ut of the running, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is expected on the island today to discuss the candidacy withl ocal FNM branch. S ources suggested earlier t hat Brad McPhee had been selected as the partys candid ate, however there has been n o official confirmation by Mr Ingraham. S peaking with the T ribune y esterday, Mr McPhee conf irmed that the prime minister i s expected to meet with members in Long Island this week, but said he does not know if he will receive the nomination. H e said: I honestly cant say what will come out of the m eeting, there are pockets of people that support different candidates. Party sources now claim Montagu MP Loretta ButlerT urner is considered to be the front-runner for the seat, and will vacate her current Mon-t agu seat to run on the Long Island ticket. Insisting he will support w homever the party selects, Mr McPhee said he is confident that no matter who receives the nomination, Long I sland will remain FNM. There is a lot work that needs to be done in Long I sland whoever gets the nom ination, Mr McPhee said. Due to his strong ties to L ong Island, Mr McPhee said he has not considered running in another constituency, but will consider it if asked by thep arty. Mrs Butler Turner could not be reached for comment l ast night. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011, PAGE 5 Butler-Turner in running for Long Island? LORETTA BUTLER TURNER, who is rumoured to be considering vacating her Montagu seat to run at Long Island.
hadnt been seen at a local candy store either. The youngster who norm ally lives in Andros with his g randmother but was spending Christmas in Nassau with his mother, Caroline Baptiste,a nd father, Brandon had simply vanished. B randon Jr is an 8th grade student at Central Andros high. He was visiting Nassau on his Christmas vacation. He has two younger sisters. Bran-d on Jr is described as a happy child who loves the outdoors a nd any kind of sporting activity, his favourite being basketball. w hich resulted in the 37 year old receiving multiple gunshot wounds in his body. Y esterday, after viewing t he body at the morgue, some family members claimed that after the shooting, police did not allow ambulance personnel to attend to Palmer. One said: When the ambulance arrived at the s cene, the police that were already there, they didnt allow them to go to him. For ten minutes, he was there, alive and we was talking to him trying to keep him alert but officers said to leave h im, the distressed family member said. Maybe if they did see to him then he would have still b een alive, another com mented. They also claimed that they d id not know what police took from Palmers body when they did a search as theyc laimed officers did not allow them to be present when they were doing a check. The Tribune spoke with S upt Dean of the National Crime Prevention Office con cerning the allegations. T he senior officer said he understood that the family was going through a tough experience, however, he denied the assertions about the officers and said the police performed in their usual professional manner as always. The paramedics do their job and we do ours. We dont get in that. Were professionals of a professional organi sation and weve been doing this job for a very long time. In direct response to the c laim of EMS delaying treatment to the victim because of police, he said they pronounced the fellow dead w hen they arrived on the scene. I dont know where that i s coming from he added. In regard to not allowing the family near the body, ast hats what family wanted, Supt Dean explained that because it area was a crime scene, they could not riskf amily or persons interfering with the area at the cost of causing evidence to be cont-a minated. Its a crime scene and if we had allowed them to come on the scene and if the evi dence had been contaminated then what will they say next? He further said that the family were given items belonging to victim and there were witnesses to agree. We know what to do. Were a professional organi sation and our work throughout the years can attest to that. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011 THE TRIBUNE Foulkes and local labour offi cials could not be reached up to press time to confirm the reports, however reliable sources say that persons were indeed let go at the three operations on Wednesday. There are reports that some 30 to 40 persons were dismissed at the container port. Hutchison Bahamas has been experiencing substantial decline in business through out its group, especially at the Freeport Container Port. The container port, which is one of the largest employers on island, has lost of a significant amount of container business from its major client, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC There are reports that MSC has moved a majority of its container business to Panama. Business at the harbour and airport has also been in a state of decline for some time. Reports are that some nine and eight persons were ter minated from those operations, respectively. Hutchison Group, also owns the Grand Lucaya Beach Resort in Lucaya, which is also struggling with its occupancy levels. Famils joy as missing boy found f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e POLICE launched an investigation into the death of a 52-year-old man in Eleuthera yesterday. Last night, close friends remained tightlipped over the identity of the Winde mere Island resident as fam ily members mourned his death. According to police, the man was pronounced dead by a local doctor after his body was found by a relative outside his residence. The victim was said to be a former resident of Vero Beach, Florida. A WANTED man turned himself into Abac o police yesterday. A ccording to police, 26-year-old Christopher Thompson, pictured of Treasure Cay, North Abaco, turned himself in to police at the Marsh Harbour Police Station sometime around 2pm. Thompson, who was accompanied by his lawyer, was wanted for questioning in matters relating to a stolen vessel and human smug-g ling. PROBE LAUNCHED INTO DEATH WANTED MAN HANDS HIMSELF IN 70 JOBS CUT A T HUTCHISON F AMIL Y S A Y PARAMEDICS S T OPPED B Y POLICE THE MOTHER of 37-year-old Veron Palmer at the morgue yesterday.
By KHRISNA VIRGIL email@example.com NASSAU Airport Develo pment Company officials h ave refuted claims that operations at the Lynden Pindling International Airport were severely disrupted by a work to rule action by air traffic c ontrollers. This comes after a number o f passengers complained of take-off delays at the $409.5m facility on Monday. One passenger, who wished t o remain anonymous, claimed her plane sat on ther unway for almost two h ours. A nother passenger said two major flights were delayed for around three hours. R oscoe Perpall, president of the Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union, agreed that some delays did occur. H e said: We received a complaint that one airline in particular was delayed on ther unway for almost three hours. We know that the reported delay was a combination of systematic problems for this time of year, coupled with the work to rule that wee nacted. Last week, Mr Perpall said union members expected tog ain great results from the action, even though they did not aim to cause any delays. On Tuesday, he reported t hat the union was happy with Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallacesr esponse. Responding to the delay claims in a press statement on T uesday, NADs spokespers on Vernice Walkine said: Passengers moved through the airport at a normal rate a nd flights are arriving and departing on schedule. This post-Christmas perio d is typically a busy time for t he airport and we expect to process more than 4,000 passengers today in our three terminals. So far, there have been eight departures this morningw ith only one reported delay due to an internal airline matter. There is also a full com p lement of officers working in US Customs and Bahamas C ustoms and Immigration to e nsure timely passenger flow through our facilities. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011, PAGE 7 Passengers complain of disruption LYNDENPINDLING International Airport
By DANA SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org SEVERAL devastating f ires struck this year, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, leaving many homeless, and resulting in nearly 20 deaths. T he Tribune c overed more than two dozen fires over thec ourse of the year, some of which led to the destruction of historic buildings, entire city blocks, homes, schools, and businesses. O ne of the most devastating fires of the year was an afternoon blaze that ravaged Wulff Roads Automotive I ndustrial Distributors (AID b uilding and burned well into the night. The fire started around 3 pm on June 9, and quickly spread, forcing more than 60 employees to evacuate. T he fire eventually reached c hemicals housed at the back of the building. Flammable paints, chemicals, and a erosols were set alight and loud explosions were heard as flames shot up 50 feet in t he air. Thick smoke filled the surrounding area and could be seen as far as the other side of the island. Toxic smoke from the burning building spread through neighbourhoods,f orcing those in nearby homes and businesses to evacuate, including prisoners from the Wulff Road Police Station. Six fire engines were called to fight the blaze and when w ater sources on the engines ran dry, firefighters stretched hoses along Wulff Road to draw water from under g round. Fire Services was forced to request reinforcements from the Airport Authority wheni t became clear the fire was being kept alive by chemicals. G erard Mortimore, vice p resident of accounting for AID, said the fire started behind the bathrooms in theu pstairs warehouse. A fire a larm alerted AID staff. Mr Mortimore and a small group of employees attempt ed to extinguish the flames but they were soon overcome by the huge clouds of smoke. Everyone was screaming, Mr Mortimore said. You never guess this was going to happen. Jason Watson, AID operations manager, was the one who called Fire Services andc leared the shop floor of customers. When he checked the offices and warehouseu pstairs, he said it was black with smoke. By the time the fire burned out, the AID building was destroyed with an estimated $10 million in losses. This is what we were hop ing to avoid, Mr Watson said. The fire spreading to the whole building. Now its completely damaged. Theres n o hope for anything now. Since the fire, AID has b een selling its wares from its o ther locations. Plans to r ebuild the store are still in the works. One of the most tragic b lazes of the year was a fire on Sandilands Village Road, w hich took the lives of four children and left three other children fighting for their lives in the hospital. Shortly after 3pm on May 1 1, a fire took hold in the a partment complex where the c hildren, ages one through 10, lived with their father. The father had left the seven chil-d ren there alone. The blaze quickly engulfed the lower level of the apartment and neighbours spokeo f how the screams of the children, four girls and three boys, could be heard as the f ire consumed the building. Kendall Wildgoose Sr and Jr, father and son, bandedt ogether with other neighb ours to try and rescue the children. Mr Wildgoose Jr, 21, said h e had just gotten off the bus t o walk home when he heard a woman screaming and ran towards the fire. His father, Mr Wildgoose Sr, 60, saw him racing to the burning building from theo ther end of the street and rushed to join him. First, they tried to open the front door but it was already expanded because of the heat. They opened the back door but the air was thick was smoke. They could not see or breathe. The children were screaming inside, Mr Wildgoose Jr said. He said he threw his body against the front door, kicked it and banged on it, before finally throwing a cement block at it which forced it open. However, the fire was so intense that flames immediately rushed at the father and s on, and they realised they w ould not be able to reach the children inside. We thought we could go i n and run out, but it was just impossible, Mr Wildgoose Sr said. By the time we got the door open the flames were t oo great. Fire services were called around 3.40pm and arrived w ithin minutes to extinguish the fire. All seven children were f ound by the firemen, huddled together and unresponsive in a bedroom on the east ern side of the house. T hey were carried out on stretchers, their motionless bodies covered with soot. O ne child was pronounced dead at the scene, while two others died shortly after. T he other children were t aken to the Intensive Care Unit of the Princess Margaret Hospital, where they were ventilated and managed by a team of specialists; including, pediatricians, anesthesiolo-g ists, neurosurgeons and crit ical care pediatric nurses. A week after funeral serv ices were held for the three children on May 28, the fire claimed the life of another. The father is an electronics repairman who operated out of his home. Investigators stated the fire was electrical and resulted from a malfunc tioning computer. But a relative of the children spoke to The Tribune a nd claimed an individual had t hreatened to put fire to the house. However, that individual w as never identified or charged. Another notorious fire was a Valentines Day blaze which consumed the historic Betty K Building as well as an entire b lock of Bay Street, causing more than $100 million in damage. O fficials believe the massive fire started in an office on the second floor of the building around 7.45am andc ontinued to burn throughout the day, aided by the com bustible material inside and ah eavy wind. An employee said he noticed smoke coming fromt he back of the building a round 8am. Staff in the front office and warehouses were evacuated immediately and Fire Services was called. The fire destroyed an entire city block, from the Bacardib uilding on the corner of East Street and Bay Street to the Kellys Dock Yard. T he fire also damaged the Adderley Building, the condemned complex adjoining the Churchill Building, which houses the Cabinet Office. The intense blaze was fought by at least 35 fire offi cers and 15 Airport Authori ty fire service officers, who were then assisted by 100 officers from the Royal Bahamas D efence Force and 100 officers from the Royal BahamasP olice Force. S even fire trucks fought the f ire, drawing water from the nearby harbour. Environment Minister Earl Deveaux praised the effort, s aying: The water that was going into Betty K helping to s uppress the fire is coming from the ocean. The adequacy of the response is far superior than we have ever had before. D espite the efforts of firef ighters, the Betty K building w as left unsalvageable. All that was left behind was a charred shell. T he building, erected in the 1920s, was a part of the Antiquities, Monuments, and Museum Corporations (AMMCl ist of historical sites. Orry Sands, AAMC chairman, said of the fire: It is a m ajor loss because its the his tory of the Kelly people that goes along with it. O fficials had hoped the b uilding would be converted into a national museum once the shipping operationsm oved out. T he building was named Betty K in honour of the daughter of late founder C Trevor Kelly. It housed a company which originally transported lumber but hads ince grown to become one of the largest freight carriers in the Bahamas. The most recent devastating fire reduced a part of the temporary Bay Street straw market to ashes and destroyed two historic buildings. On December 2 at around 2am, part of the straw market caught fire. The blaze soon consumed the dry mate rials inside and eventually spread and destroyed neigh bouring structures, including SunTime Ltd, Da Balcony Night Club and the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation, the latter two o f which were housed in historic buildings. M any speculated the fire w as arson, an allegation e ncouraged by reports that a person was seen at the scene during the early morning hours prior to the blaze. D alton Mitchell, owner of Da Balcony club, told The T ribune : I think it was arson due to the fact there was no particular reason the market could have caught on fire. Mr Mitchells club, housed i n a historic 19th century form er chapel, was nothing more t han a charred skeleton in the aftermath of the fire. Dr Gail Saunders, who s erves as deputy chairman on the Antiquities, Monuments, and Museums Corporation Board, was particularly dev a stated by the loss. When the sponge fishermen came into Nassau, they w ent out on voyages that were about six weeks long. They came and they worshipedt here, Dr Saunders said. P ompey Museum was housed in Vendue House, the oldest building in Nassau, dat-i ng back to 1769, according t o Dr Saunders. Its where slave sales occurred and also sales of all sorts of goods, she said. People gathered there not only to sell things, but also tos ocialise, talk, and gossip. So that building in itself is valu able; its a heritage house. Although the building was left burned and several valuable artifacts were destroyed, museum officials said most of the artifacts were salvaged from the remains of the building, including the original metal shackles used on slaves and a library of rare books on slavery I think these fires bring it home that we have to realise these buildings are very, very important, Dr Saunders said. The people of the Bahamas have to know their history and appreciate it. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011 THE TRIBUNE fires As the year draws to a close, The Tribune c ontinues its series of articles spotlighting the major developm ents across a range o f areas. Here, we f ocus on the fires t hat struck The B ahamas this year. T HEremains in the aftermath of the V alentines Day blaze that consumed the Betty K building. P hoto: F elip Major / Tribune Staff T HE w reckage following the AIDfire at Wulff Road in June. fires L L o o o o k k i i n n g g b b a a c c k k o o n n a a y y e e a a r r o o f f
By KHRISNA VIRGIL email@example.com M ORE THAN 100 Bills were debated, passed and enacted by Parliament during 2011. Speaker of the House Alvin Smith told The Tribune he is quite pleased" with the legi slative progress made this year. Many of the Bills passed sparked heated debate, among them the regulationsf or the new Bay Street straw m arket. Straw vendors responded t o the new stipulations with outrage when the Straw Mark et Authority Act was first r ead on the floor of the House of Assembly. M any felt insulted by the rules, which sought to governv endors hygiene and behavi our, and mandated a $35 a w eek rental fee for booths. P rime Minister Hubert Ingraham told Parliament t hat without the weekly paym ents, the market would not b e able to operate. H e said: We have set the fee at $5 a day. That rate has been set for a two year period. After two years, we will d etermine whether an increase is called for. Rents w ill constitute the working budget of the Authority. The Act also created a board to oversee the day-today operations at the market. T he board will be responsible for collecting rent and fees from all tenants. The governments package of 11 anti-crime Bills won thes upport of most parliamentarians, who agreed it was comprehensive and would succeed in overhauling the o utdated crime legislation. After police reported that 19 witnesses in serious crime c ases had suffered intimida tion or harm, it was not a sur prise when Prime Minister I ngraham announced a new law to protect the identity of witnesses in criminal trials specifically murder,m anslaughter, rape, armed robbery, drugs, terrorism or human trafficking cases. T he new law stipulates that before special protection is extended, the judge must bes atisfied that the case falls into o ne of these categories, that there are reasonable grounds for fearing intimidation orh arm, and that the witness is able and willing to assist the investigation. The amendments to the Bail Act were equally notable,as they came amidst controversy over the granting of bail to repeat offenders or those on trial for multiple serious offences. The Bill stipulated that judges must be satisfied that persons accused of armed robbery, murder, or rape have been charged for at least three years without standing trial, or are not likely to be tried within a three-year period, before they can grant bail. In either case, the judge must be satisfied that the accused is not a flight risk. B efore granting bail, judges w ill now have to consider questions of public safety and p ublic order, the need to protect the victim in a given case, and the nature and serious-n ess of the offence. The Pawnbrokers and Secondhand Dealers Bill and Customs Management Bill were two other timely items in the anti-crime package. S ince the rise of cash for gold businesses following the economic downturn of 2008, the police attributed a large portion of the spike in armed robberies to the temptation c reated by these enterprises. T he new laws seek to address the abuse of cash for gold businesses and the thefto f scrap metal for resale by c reating a strengthened reg ulatory regime based on accountability on the part of those buying such items from individuals. Business owners or dealers m ust now verify the identity of customers, maintain accu rate records, and to keep certain items in an unaltered s tate for specified periods. Also passed this year was the Antiquities, Monuments, and Museums Act, which aimed to regulate, among oth e r things, the excavation of treasure from Bahamian waters. The Act established a 75 to 25 per cent profit split, the majority share going to the excavator and smaller share t o the government. The sharing agreement is conditional according toY outh, Sports and Culture Minister Charles Maynard. He said: "The government will get more depending on the cultural value of the artifact. Up front the government gets to decide which pieces are more valuable to us." This year was a stormy year in Parliament, a number of heated rows erupting between MPs. During the anti-crime Bill debates, FNM South Abaco MP Edison Key claimed DNA leader and Bamboo Town MP Branville McCart ney accepted a $5,000 retain er in 2008 to help BAIC collect millions in unpaid debt, but did nothing to fulfill his end of the deal. M r Keys accusations foll owed a heated exchange between Mr McCartney, P rime Minister Hubert Ingraham and several government MPs, after the DNA leaderc riticised Mr Ingraham over s ome MPs failure to disclose their assets to the public in the past. Mr Key said Mr McCartney should be the last person to suggest any other politiciani s dishonest. He said: We made an agreement and we gave him a retainer of $5,000 almost three years ago and I havent heard from him from then til n ow. So he is the last person t hat should get up in this place and say whether the member of the opposition isd ishonest or whether the p rime minister of this coun try is dishonest. Mr McCartney later denied he had anything to do with the BAIC matter, showing papers to the media to supp ort his point, and said the matter was being dealt with by another attorney at his law firm. Another verbal battle erupted after Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinders Bahamian citizenship was questioned. Amid discussions on 15 B ills aimed at overhauling the financial services sector, the government and opposition clashed following Mr Pinders comment that the sector is saturated by foreign workers. We have witnessed in the l ast four years less and less Bahamians and more and more expatriates, said MrP inder. In respond to Mr Pinder's claims, FNM chairman Carl Bethel said the Elizabeth MP spoke like truly what he was before he became a Bahamian like a registered Republican. Mr Pinder, who shouted for a point of order, intervened and said: I was born Bahamian and my family was here before yours! So lets get that straight. The FNM chairman claimed Mr Pinders Bahamian citizenship was a matter of convenience, undertaken to allow him to occupy his spot on the PLP ticket. The Elizabeth MP responded: I was born Bahamian. I will always be Bahamian. My f ather is Bahamian, my grand father is Bahamian. I am straight-through Bahamian. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011, PAGE 9 The Mercedes-Benz C-ClassYour most enjoyable drive ever.The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a pleasure tobehold offering a new interpretation of driving pleasure. Its taut lines lend it an air of effortless superiority while the wide radiator grille and distinctive rear section announce a vehicle with a real presence and dynamic personality. Few cars can compete with its ability to adjust so many facets of its character from the interior to the drive technology so quickly and precisely in response t oexternal conditions and your own p articular needs. The key to this flexible response is the standard-fit Agility C ontrol Package which includes selective damping. The interior offers noticeably more space and a more distinctive atmosphere tosuit your taste. As you will see, the C-Class is the perfect embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz philosophy.Tyreflex Star MotorsWulff Road, P. O. Box N 9123, Nassau, The Bahamas, Tel 242.325.4961 Fax 242.323.4667OUR PARTS DEPARTMENT IS FULLY STOCKED WITH EVERY COMPONENT NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT YOUR MERCEDES RUNS TROUBLE FREE. TRAINED TECHNICIANS ON DUTY. A s the year draws to a close, The Tribune continues its series of a rticles spotlighting the major developm ents across a range o f areas. Here, we f ocus on a year in P arliament. Parliament L L o o o o k k i i n n g g b b a a c c k k o o n n a a y y e e a a r r o o f f THE NEW Straw Market prior to its opening. THE HOUSE supported anticrime measures proposed byP rime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
HAVANA Associated Press AN AMERICAN government contractor jailed in C uba is in good spirits and fine health, but anxious to get home to his family and disappointed he was not included i n a massive prisoner amnesty announced by President Raul Castro last week, a Jewishl eader who saw him said Wednesday. Adela Dworin said that she a nd another Jewish leader spent nearly two hours Monday with Alan Gross at the mil itary hospital where he is being h eld. They celebrated the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah by lighting candles, eating potato pancakes and passing around chocolate coins. His health is very good, D worin told The Associated P ress. He has gained some weight. Hes not fat, but hes not so thin anymore. G ross reportedly had lost 100 pounds (45 kilos arrested in December 2009. Photographs taken by Dworin show a thin Gross wearing a light-blue guayabera shirt standingb etween the Jewish leaders with his arms over their shoulders. Gross has a gray beard a nd is wearing glasses. They are believed to be the first photos released of Grossi nside the military hospital. G ross was working on a USAID-funded democracybuilding program when hew as arrested. His supporters say he was only trying to help the island's small Jewish com m unity improve its Internet connection. Cuba says the USAID programs are aimed at bringing about regime c hange on the island. Gross was sentenced to 15 years in jail earlier this year. H is family and other promi nent Americans have pleaded with Castro to release the 62-y ear-old Maryland native on h umanitarian grounds, noting that both his mother and daughter have been diagnosedw ith cancer since his incarceration, and that Gross himself has diabetes and other ailments. Castro has voiced concern about Gross condition, butt he American was not includ ed on a list of 2,900 prisoners the Cuban leader pardoned l ast week, most of them in jail for common crimes. Gross wife, Judy, said Satu rday that her family was d eeply distressed to hear that Gross was not included in the pardon, and that her husbandw as increasingly mentally weak and depressed by his continued incarceration. To receive news in the middle of Hanukkah that the Cuban authorities have once again overlooked an opport unity to release Alan on humanitarian grounds is dev astating. Our family is simply h eartbroken, she said in a statement, adding that Gross is losing all hope that he wille ver see his mother again. D worin said Gross expressed his continued love for the Cuban people, sayingt hat he hoped once he is free to be allowed to come back to Cuba to visit. She said he was extremely anxious to get back home to his wife andf amily, but said he put on a brave face during the visit. She said they did not disc uss Castros prisoner amnesty at length during the Hanukkah celebration, butt hat Gross knew about it and w as clearly disappointed not to be part of it. He wants to have hope, D worin said. We Jews always live with hope, or we would have disappeared fromt he earth long ago. A miracle could occur. After all it is Hanukkah, which is all about a miracle. H anukkah, which conclud ed Tuesday, is the Festival of Lights for Jews. The holiday c ommemorates the rededica tion of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C.A ccording to tradition, a cand elabra was lit with only enough oil for one day, but it miraculously burned for eightd ays. INTERNATIONAL NEWS PAGE 10, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011 THE TRIBUNE I N THIS p hoto taken on Monday, American government contractor Alan Gross, centre, poses for a photo with Cuban Jewish leaders Adela Dworin, right, and David Prinstein at the Finlay military hospital in Havana, Cuba, during a visit with Gross to celebrate the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. Gross, sentenced to 15 years in jail earlier this year, was accused of working for an USAID program aimed at bringing about regime change on the island. He was not included in a massive prisoner amnesty announced by President Raul Castro last week. MEXICAN federal police said Wednesday they detained one of the United States most-wanted drug traffickers, Luis Rodriguez Olivera, at Mexico City's interna tional airport. US authorities had offered a reward of up to $5 million for Rodriguez Olivera, who is known by the nickname Blondie, according to Mexico's Public Safety Department. Olivera and his brother Esteban are accused of smug gling tons of cocaine and methamphetamine into Europe and the US, mainly through Texas. Esteban was extradited to the United States in March. Luis Rodriguez Olivera, 39, was indicted in US federal court in 2009 on cocainesmuggling conspiracy and related charges. The redhaired suspect was arrested Tuesday, officials said. His gang, known as The Blondies formed temporary allegiances with bigger Mexi can cartels, including the Sinaloa cartel, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, officials say. He is being held until a hearing on a US extradition request. Also Wednesday, Mexican authorities seized 120 metric tons of a precursor chemical used to make methampheta mines at the Pacific coast port of Lazaro Cardenas, the fifth such large shipment seized so far in December. The Attorney Generals Office said the shipment, like the previous four, came from China and was destined for Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala. The chemical, which filled eight shipping containers, was identified as methylamine. The latest bust brings to almost 675 metric tons the amount of meth precursors seized in Mexico in December, more than half of the entire amount 1,200 tons seized in Mexico in all of 2011. Experts familiar with meth production call it a huge amount of raw material, noting that under some production methods, precursor chemicals can yield about half their weight in uncut meth. Authorities said they seized 205 tons of the chemical at Lazaro Cardenas over several days in early December, and on Dec. 19 they announced the discovery of almost 100 metric tons. On Dec. 23, authorities announced the seizure of 229 metric tons of precursor chemicals at the port, and on Dec. 26 another 21 tons were found at another port. Experts familiar with meth production call it a huge amount of raw material, noting that under some produc tion methods, precursor chemicals can yield about half their weight in uncut meth. PUERTO RICOS governor approved a two-part refe rendum on Wednesday to help decide the islands political status, but supporters of remaining a US commonwealth criticised the decision to hold both votes on the same day as unfair. The first part of the referendum will ask voters if they want a change in status or prefer to remain a US commonwealth. The second part will ask that voters choose from three options: statehood, independence or sovereign free association. The original proposal was to hold the first part of the referendum in August 2012a nd then, only if the majority s ought a change in status, h old the second part during the November 2012 general e lections. B ut under the new proposal, the both parts will be held on Nov. 6, said Gov. Luis Fortuno, who leads the pro-state-h ood New Progressive Party. R egardless of what voters decide, any change requires a pproval by the US Congress a nd president. Sen Eduardo Bhatia said h olding both parts of the referendum on the same day makes no sense because it assumes that the pro-status q uo option doesnt win and the second round will be nece ssary. PUERTO RICO REFERENDUM CRITICISED FOR BEING UNFAIR American prisoner anxious to return home from Cuba MOS T W ANTED DR UG TRAFFICKER HELD
M EXICO CITY A ssociated Press MEXICOS political season opened last month in the western state of Michoacan, where the countrys formerr uling party scored a string of victories seen as a sign of its rising strength nationwide. The Institutional Revolutionary Partys candidate defeated the sister of Mexicos president in the Michoa-c an governors race. It also won a series of local contests, bolstering widespread predictions that this summer the PRI will retake the presidency itself, Mexicos highest office, after 12 years out ofp ower. But the highly touted victories in Michoacan were in potential jeopardy Wednes-day after Mexicos highest electoral court overturned one of them partly because of a strange new form of political advertising a party logoe mblazoned on a boxers trunks. M exican welterweight Juan M anuel Marquez wore the PRIs green-white-and-red emblem on the left leg of his s horts in his match last month a gainst Filipino Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, Nevada. Marquez lost the Nov 12 b out, watched live by millions in Mexico. But after the PRIs victories in the next days e lections, the ruling National A ction Party complained that t he logo had violated a temporary ban on campaigning a head of the vote, as well as a prohibition on campaigning abroad. It asked for local ands tatewide races to be overt urned. The federal electoral tribunal ruled in the PANs favor on Wednesday in the case of the race for mayor of Morelia, the capital ofM ichoacan. The court did not immediately release an explanation o f the reasoning behind its decision, which requires the Morelia race to be run againo n an as-yet-undetermined d ate over the next five m onths. But PAN officials said that they were hopeful that the same logic woulda pply to a pending decision on the governor's race. The PAN and the leftist Democratic Revolution Party had also complained that M ichoacans powerful drug cartels had intimidated vot e rs on behalf of the PRI. On the eve of the elections, one local cartel placed an advertisement in a newspaper in t he town of La Piedad threat ening citizens who voted for the PAN. President Felipe Calderon h as said in several public addresses that organised c rime helped defeat his sister, L uisa Maria Calderon, and h as described drug cartel meddling in elections as a potential national menace. I n addition, the PAN said in its complaint about the Morelia race that winning gubernatorial candidate Fausto Vallejo and Morelia mayo ral candidate Wilfrido Lazaro had made unautho r ized appearances on television to announce the end of their campaigns. A high-ranking PAN offic ial, Juan Molinar Horcasitas, said the party had made the same arguments in its appeal of the governor's race, and e xpected another victory in court. According to the law, in t he same circumstances the s ame decision should be taken, he said. It seems to me that, as a result, the electoralt ribunal should annul the governor's race. A new vote would be highly competitive and almost certain to draw in the national r esources of the governing party, the PRI and the PRD i n what could become a proxy presidential race. The Institutional Revolutionary Party reiterates its c onviction that its candidate, Wilfrido Lazaro Medina, obtained a clear, resounding and legitimate victory, thep arty said in a statement. The PRI feels that there w erent sufficient grounds to s upport the court's decision. INTERNATIONAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011, PAGE 11 VENEZUELA is offering free surgeries for women to remove faulty French-madeb reast implants, the countrys top health official said. H ealth Minister Eugenia Sader said women with implants made by the nowdefunct French company Poly Implant Prothese may go toh ospitals that carry out plastic surgery to have the implants r emoved, the Venezuelan News Agency reported. Sader said Tuesday that the free procedure will simply be to remove the implants and will not include replacing them. Those patients are running a risk, Sader said. However, she said, women need not seek emergency care and instead may visit hospitals at their convenience. Frances health system has recommended that womenw ith the PIP implants get them replaced, and has agreed to pay for surgeries. In Brazil and Argentina, howe ver, health officials just reco mmend checkups. The president of Brazils P lastic Surgeons Association, J ose Horacio Aboudib, said Id remove them from any patient that wants to, but I don't see the need for everyo ne to go into surgery. FREE REMOVAL OF BREAST IMPLANTS Pulling no punches in elections T he PRI l ogo on the s horts of Juan Manuel Marquez during his fight with M anny Pacquiao.
T HE children of Great Commission Ministries once a gain enjoyed a happy and spirited Christmas season with gifts under the tree for every u nderprivileged child, thanks to the management and staff of Wendys Cable Beach. For three consecutive years, the employees of the restaurant chains Cable Beach and Mackey Street branches haveb een providing gifts for the children, who flock to Great Commission Ministries in anticipation of their annual party organised by co-founder of the organisation, Minalee Hanchell. Even in the midst of feeling the economic pinch, the big hearted crew from Wendys wouldnt dream of disappointing the children,s aid Stacey Ferguson, the store manager responsible for k eeping this holiday tradition going strong. I t was Stacey who came up with the gift-giving idea as a g reat way to do something meaningful for the community during the holidays. O ver the years, the practice has become a celebrated custom among Staceys staff. We all get so excited about being secret Santas and putting smiles on the faces of the children, that it doesntm atter what we sacrifice to make this event happen, she said. Mrs Hanchell said: Thank God for the staff of Wendys. The state of the economy has caused many sponsors to pull back on their donations, and this in turn has affected our ability to reach out. The childrens ministry is one that is really close to myh eart, and I am grateful that I can always depend on Stacey a nd the Wendys crew to pull through with a minimum of 5 0 gifts. I cant thank them enough. Y olanda Pawar-Bain, Wendys marketing manager, said giving something b ack is one of the five core values of the Wendys philosophy. Its heart-warming to see members of our team taking the initiative to actively demonstrate this concept, andb righten the holidays for the children in our community. Were very proud of our Cable Beach team, she said. To some it may seem a small contribution, but for dozens of expectant children at Great Commission Ministries whos parents are unemployed, the heap of mul ti-coloured parcels and packaged adorned with brightC hristmas bows is nothing short of a Christmas miracle a nd an exciting start to the new year. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 14, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2011 THE TRIBUNE Wends gifts bring spirit of Christmas F ROMLEFT, Q uincy Nicholls, Wendys Cable Beach co-manger; Lavette Smith, Miss Gospel Bahamas; Y olanda Pawar-Bain, Wendys marketing manager; Stacey Ferguson, general manager of Wendys Cable Beach; Minalee Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries; Ashleigh Thompson, Miss Wendys Cable Beach; W inston Hart, Wendys district manager, Randy Sands, Wendys operations manager.