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N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER Airport unions threaten action Volume: 108 No.34FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER SUNNY, SHOWER HIGH 82F LOW 70F B y CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org U NIONS representing key employees of the countrys main gateway issued a warning that imminent action will be taken if outstanding issues are not resolved. S peaking at a joint press conference held by unions representing customs, immi-g ration and air traffic control employees, Trade Union Congress (TUC Obie Ferguson stressed the urgency of the situation. Comparing the feeling in the air to the pre-strike climate of 1958, Mr Ferguson said the last several months have been the worst period for workers ever. He said that while a num ber of labour issues continue to fester without resolution, attempts to contact the gov ernment have been futile. According to Mr Ferguson, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes scheduled a meeting t o discuss customs and immigration contract negotiations for January 10, but the unionsb elieve Mr Foulkes is acting arbitrarily, as the 16-day statutory period to resolve a dis pute has already passed. The minister is acting outside of his statutory function, said Mr Ferguson. As theirl awyer, I cannot advise (the unions) to do anything outside of the law or that will put them at a disadvantage. We have reached the end of the road and trade unions will do what trade unions do best, he said. Maintaining that the TUC does not want to take any action that will damage the country, Mr Ferguson said the trade union movement has to protect the interests of workers. Today something will hap pen, said Mr Ferguson, we cant say what will happen but Warning over imminent mo v e by workers TRY OUR DOVE RASPBERRY McFLURRY The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM C ENTRAL Detective Unit boss Superintendent Paul Rolle yesterday refuted a n ewspapers claim that firearms confiscated by Bahamian police have beenf ound in other jurisdictions. Supt Rolle insisted not a single gun taken by Bahamian police has ended up in anoth e r jurisdiction. We have never had any guns confiscated by the police i n the Bahamas end up else where, he said. All of the guns we confisc ate are safe in the armoury o r the exhibit room at the courts. None of them are missing and all of them area ccounted for. TWO TEENAGE girls who had been missing, including one who hadnt been seen since Christmas Day, have been found safe. Tatiana Cesaire, 15, of Augusta Street, off West Bay Street, had last been seen at home on Tuesday around 6pm, while Keva Pierre, 14, of Seton Street, in ChippingBy KHRISNA VIRGIL email@example.com AN INFLUENTIAL church leader claims the eco nomic downturn has driven struggling Bahamians to witchcraft and devil worship. Bishop Simeon Hall, of New Covenant Baptist Church, has warned all those involved in obeah, witchcraft or sorcery, that such practices give the practitioner little but take much more in return. He said: I believe the Satanic occult is increasing as people, wanting material REPAIRS to the fire-dam aged Carlton E Francis primary school have yet to begin as police continue their inves tigations. Education Minister Desmond Bannister yesterday said once the police have completed their work, the first steps in readying the school for the new term will start. At the time of the blaze, Mr Bannister called it an attack on education. 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 7 7 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 7 7 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 7 7 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 7 7 S AX ONS AIMING FOR THE DOUBLE A MEMBER of the Shell Oil-sponsored Saxons team puts some finishing touches to a lead costume in the teams Junkanoo shack at the Masons Addition, Saxon Way, as the team, who triumphed on Boxing Day, get ready for the New Year parade. Photo: Felip Major /Tribune Staff CHURCH LEADER WARNS OVER WITCHCRAFT GIRL SFOUND POLICE REJECT FIREARMS CLAIM SCHOOL REPAIRS YET T O BEGIN DONTMISSTHISSATURDAYEDITIONOFTHETRIBUNESBIGT FOR . FOOD COUPONS AND SPECIALS SEE YOUAGAINTHISWEEKEND! I I N N S S I I D D E E T T O O D D A A Y Y : : Y Y O O U U N N G G T T E E N N N N I I S S S S T T A A R R S S O O N N T T H H E E R R I I S S E E A A N N D D F F I I N N A A L L D D A A Y Y O O F F P P R R O O V V I I D D E E N N C C E E B B A A S S K K E E T T B B A A L L L L C C L L A A S S S S I I C C S S E E E E S S P P O O R R T T S S S S E E C C T T I I O O N N E E im lovin it POLICEare investigating a fter the body of a man was f ound in Exuma. A p olice spokeswoman said last night that the body of ab lack male was found at the rear of a property at Bahama Sound, Exuma. Initial reports s uggest the body was found a t about 12.13pm yesterday. T he man was wearing a white T-shirt and short white p ants. Police are uncertain of the circumstances surroundingt he incident and have launched an investigation. Anyone with information i s asked to contact police. B ODY FOUND IN EXUMA
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011 THE TRIBUNE T HE quaint Bilney Lane H ome, tucked away on a little street just off busy Shirley Street and Mackey Street, is easy to miss. Established almost 30 years a go and operated in partnership with the Conference of t he Methodist Church and the D epartment of Social Ser vices, this small three-bed, three-bath governmentowned home helps boys and g irls who are placed there f rom as young as 10 months old up to 18 years of age. T he home can take up to 10 children. Currently, seven l ive there. The home is run by Janet B rown, who lives in one of the bedrooms and is the House Mother and Adminis-t rator. B ilney Lane has sheltered 16 children so far this year. Bahamas Realty first became involved with Bilney L ane Childrens home some 11 years ago. Each year the partners and staff provide aC hristmas tree and gather a round to light and decorate it. Refreshments are served and carols are sung. Bringing home Christmas these matters need to be resolved. Yesterday, an accord was s igned with the Bahamas Customs, Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU the Bahamas Air Traffic Con trollers Union (BATCU the Bahamas Hotel, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BHMAWU It stipulates that future negotiations on all industrial agreements with the government and Sandals Royal Bahamian (employer of BHMAWU members) will be pursued collaboratively. Sloane Smith, vice-president of the BCIAWU, said the problems facing his members predate the establishment of the union, and while it is not their intention to disrupt travel or tourism, the government has to be reasonable. When asked if joint industrial action was a possibility, Mr Smith said: We are taking nothing off the table but we are sensitive to the cur rent climate. Customs and Immigration officers at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA earlier this month, after raw sewerage made the workplace unbearable, according to union officials. The walkout occurred around 8:30am and caused operations in the Customs and Immigration offices to halt fora little more than an hour. Among the employees concerns are: that staff mem bers are not getting hazard pay; that staff are not being confirmed after years of probation without any credible reason; and that employees are repeatedly being disciplined for lateness although contracts state this should not occur more than four times per month. f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e AIRPORT UNIONS THREATEN ACTION
By SANCHESKA BROWN T ribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org CELL phone users can continue to expect interruptions in service and dropped calls well into the new year, B TC spokesman Marlon Johnson said y esterday. M r Johnson said BTC is going through optimisation exercises and as a result, service interruptions are to be expected. Installing a network is based on theory. You estimate the amount of trafficf low, so nothing is concrete. Once it is installed and you face reali ty, it requires you to have to tweak frequencies, install antennae and add more capacity. Over the next few weeks wehope to have all of this done. By January we should have resolved the issues, hes aid. The network is settling down and as it d oes this customers will see less interr uptions and drop calls. We apologise for the inconvenience but I promise you once everything isr esolved their will be a vast improvement in service. Customers who are experiencing fre q uent interruptions or customers with p hones with 4G capability who still is not receiving the service, should turn off their phone, take the battery out, put it back in and then turn the phone on, he said. F or those BTC customers who are not on the 4G network, Mr Johnson said, t here are some text messaging issues the company is trying to iron out. He said: We know there have been some problems with text. We are havi ng some capacity issues during certain t imes of the day and certain days of the week. We also have some *44 problems. These are also having some challenges in this area. These, however, should also go away b y next year as we plan on upgrading S MSC which is the text messaging platf orm. Customers will have intermittent issues from time to time but overall we are pretty satisfied. Meanwhile, BTC customers continue to vent their frustration over the bads ervice on the companys Facebook p age. O ne customer said: Please tell me whats the deal with this new network? I am tired of not being able to place calls they are continuously hanging up. What do I need to do? A nother said: Is there a problem with BlackBerry services? Is the system not w orking? I recharged my account last n ight, the money was extracted from my phone but the data service never reactivated. I got a message saying I already have the 4G service but I still cant get Internet service, what is up with that? M r Johnson said the 4G network will b e introduced in the Family Islands the first quarter of 2012. B y LAMECH JOHNSON l email@example.com A TEENAGE boy spent last night behind bars at HerM ajestys Prison after pleading guilty to the charge of vagrancy. P rince Pierre, 18, of East Street, was sentenced byC hief Magistrate Roger Gomez after the prosecution m ade its case and the defence offered an explanation. It was claimed that on W ednesday, December 28, at around 3am, Pierre was in Jubliee Gardens, intending to commit an offence. H e pleaded guilty and Chief Magistrate Gomez asked the accused to explain h imself. Pierre said that he had been in the area to visit a friend, w hen a man the virtual com p lainant in the case accused him of having bad intentions concerning a car. He told the court the man attacked him and stomped on him, then proceeded to callt he police. A prosecutor spoke up and asked the chief magistrate ifh e wished to hear the facts surrounding the incident. H e said the virtual complainant told police that a m an was seen riding a bicy cle in the area around 3am on the day in question. A car alarm went off and the police were contacted, which resulted in officersr esponding and finding the accused in the area. The prosecution said the p olice were not satisfied with Pierres explanation for whyh e was there, so they arrested him on suspicion of vagrancy. C hief Magistrate Gomez asked the defendant why he would be going to a friends house at that hour of the morning. She asked me to come, h e replied. The chief magistrate told the accused to have a seata s he was being remanded overnight. He will return toc ourt at 10am. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 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 Cell phone service may be interrupted BOY BEHIND BARS FOR VAGRANCY BTCSPOKESMAN Marlon Johnson has w arned users there may be interruptions of s ervice into the new year due to optimisation exercises.
EDITOR, The Tribune. ON SATURDAY morning driving along Bay Street from Cable Beach to Village Road, when we got to Junkanoo Beach there was a stream of tourists, the cruise ships were in, walking idly along on the pavement. The crocodile stretched all the way to East Street. A lot of tourists all wandering along the street looking for something to do. Although some shops were open, in todays economic conditions, tourists are not rushing into shops to buy things. Any way they can probably buy most things on the cruise ship at a lower price. So what does the Bahamas provide as entertainment? Not much I think. Is it not possible to organise some fun things to do, perhaps through the Ministry of Tourism, in Rawson Square or on the beach. Tourists might even be happy to contribute a few dollars towards the events. A band playing here, a short film there, a dance troupe somewhere, and who knows some of the tourists might actu ally return to the Bahamas for another visit. Just a thought. Maybe we could make the Experience that much more fun. I suppose there is the possibility of taking a scooter and risking a drive around the island or in one of the new jeep crocodiles which do a good job in holding up the traffic. Anything to keep the youth happy and off the streets with some dollars in their pockets. PATRICK H THOMSON Nassau, November 21, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune. ON HIS POPULAR Love 97.5 FM radio talk show Hard Copy on December 6, Steve McKinneyheld amock election with his listening audience. The majority of his callers wereevidently from New Providence. About two or three persons called in from Grand Bahama in order to vote. According to the final election results, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP next general election with ease. Interestingly, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA very well in the mock election exercise. Whereas the PLP polled 102 votes, the DNA came in second with 90 votes. What alarmed me, however, was thepathetic performance of the Free National Movement (FNM came in third place with just three measly votes. Judging f rom the election results, it would appear as if the people of Nassau cant wait to run the FNM government out ofDodge. If this mock election tells us anything, it tells us that we will have a new government and a new opposition in 2012. At least this is what Mr McKinney postulated during the broadcast. There are those, however, who would take issue with any mock election that Steve McKinney holds on his radio talk show. McKinney appears to be a sup porter of the PLP and a fierce opponent of the FNM. Furthermore, it sounds as if over 95 per cent of those who call in to his radio talk show on a regular basis are either rabid supporters of the Official Opposition PLP or supporters of the DNA par ty. It doesnt appear as if many FNM supporters listen to Steve McKinneys Hard Copy. That is why it would bevery difficultto get an accurate picture of the political atmosphere in the entire country by just following up on McKinneys mock elections. All that Hard Copys election results tell me is that a lot of PLP and DNA supporters are fed up with the Ingra ham administration. This does nt surprise me at all. After all, the persons who called in to McKinneys radio talk show to participate in the mock elec tion didnt support the FNM in 2007 anyway. Therefore, I am not surprised at all that the FNM was pummeled in McKinneys mock election. We must bear in mind that the Ingraham administration has been rou tinely scrutinized on Hard Copy. While some of McKin neys criticisms have been fair, some FNM supporters, however, might argue that some of his assessments of the Ingraham administration have been unfair. Yet with that being said, FNM supporters must admit that the governing party is in deep trouble in Nassau, notwithstanding their distrust of the host of Hard Copy. What has hurt the governing party is the gross mismanagement of the New Providence Road Improvement Project, the high crime rate that is gripping New Providence, the rising national debt and the lingering recession. Further, many persons in Nassau appear to be holding a deep grudge against the Ingraham administrationo ver the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless and the granting o f Bahamian citizenship to hundreds of Haitians in recent times. I have heard several political analystsfrom Nassau say that the governing party will only hold ontofour of its 14 seats in New Providence in the 2012 general elections. Political clairv oyants are predicting that Brensil Rolle (Garden Hills Charles Major (Golden Isles Carl Bethel (Sea Breeze ton Neymour (South Beach Dr Earl Deveaux (Marathon Tommy Turnquest (Mount Moriah) and Byron Woodside (Pinewood e d at the polls. These political analysts believe that only Brent Symonette (St Annes Hubert Minnis (Killarney Desmond Bannister (Carmichael ler-Turner (Montagu governing party will be able to stave off their PLP and DNAo pponents at the polls. The Boundaries Commission has proposed the elimination of three constituencies in New Providence for the upcoming general elections. There are currently 25 seats in New Provi dence. After May 2, 2012, however, there will only be 23 seats.A s it stands right now, the FNM currently holds 14 of the 25 seats in the capital; five in Grand Bahama, two in Abaco, one in Long Island and Ragged Island and one in North Eleuthera. The constituencies of Clifton, Kennedy, St Thomas More, Blue Hillsand Englers ton will all becut. The constituencies of South Shores, Tall Pines and Nassau Village will be created. I have heard reports that Mr Leslie Miller will run in Tall Pines. I dont know if Sidney Collie, the incumbent Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Blue Hills, will run in 2012. I also dont know who the FNM government plans to run in South Shores and in Nassau Village. I believe, though, that the PLP will win the three new constituencies. If the aforementioned FNM incumbents lose their seats in 2012, then the PLP will form the next government of The Bahamas. It doesnt matter what happens in Grand Bahama, Abaco or in North Eleuthera. The PLP presently represents 10 constituencies in the capital: Bain and Grants Town, Elizabeth, Englerston, Farm Road and Centreville, Fort Charlotte, Fox Hill, Golden Gates, St Cecelia, St Thomas More and Yamacraw. As was mentioned earlier, the PLP Constituencies of Englerston and St Thomas More will be eliminated. If the PLP is able to retain its holdoneight ofthe seats that wont be eliminated by Parliam ent; and if the Opposition wins the three newly created constituencies and is successful in winning the seven FNM constituencies that were mentioned above; then the PLP will have captured 19 seats in New Providence. Further, there is a strong possibility that the PLP could win Bamboo Town, too. This means that the PLP could very well end up winning either 19 or 20 seats in New Providence. With respect to the Family Island constituencies, there are presently 16 constituencies. Seven of these seats are held by PLP members of Parliament: North Andros and Berry Islands, Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, Exuma, MICAL, South Andros, South Eleuthera and West End and Bimini. The number of Family Island seats will be reduced by one to 15. The Constituency of Eight Mile Rock will be dropped. Ragged Island has been amalgamated to Exuma and the Cays. If the PLPis able to hold onto seven of its Family Island seats; and if the Oppo sition wins 19 seats in the capi tal, then the PLP will win at least 26 of the 38 seats in the House of Assembly. If Steve McKinneys mock election results are an accurate gauge of where the nations capitalis at politically, then the FNM will be in for the fight of its political life in Nassau come election day. Whilehis mock election results were far from scientific, they might have given us an idea as to what the mood of the electorate is in New Providence. KEVIN EVANS Freeport, Grand Bahama. December 8, 2011. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 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 A dvertising Manager (242 C irculation Department (242 N assau Fax: (242 AS the year 2011 nears its final hours, w e at T he Tribune c annot let it slip into history without giving high praise to the Royal Bahamas Police Force who aref ighting a daily battle with a growing criminal element to keep our communitiess afe. T heir battle is one that every citizen m ust join if this country is to be freed from the spectre of the armed stalker out to snatch, rob, destroy and kill whenever an opportunity presents itself. The police have met the challenge with r enewed determination, and a great deal o f success. For example, many Bahamia ns expressed appreciation this year for the police presence in all the business areas to ensure that Christmas shoppersc an make their selections without being harassed and threatened by societys unde-s irables. T he Boxing Day junkanoo parade also w on high praise from participants for ensuring the safety of spectators by allowing only persons with tickets for the fest ivities into the parade area. For the first time in memory, the parade started on time, said a spectator. Also for the firstt ime in many years, I felt safe it was a w onderful experience for families, no jostling between the aisles, you really felt safe while you were in the area, and pro-t ected by the police. Outside that area, however, he said, was a completely dif ferent scene, there was jostling, fighting a nd hooliganism. It certainly was a chal lenge. It was also a challenge for the police. Supt Stephen Dean, who heads the N ational Crime Prevention Office, which, under his firm leadership, has sent a message to criminals that his men will ferret them out wherever they are. During the hours of the parade he held two press conferences at Central Police station tou pdate the press on the progress the police w ere making in holding crime to a mini mum. During the dawn hours he reported at l east five minor stabbing incidents in the vicinity of the Junkanoo area. He appealed to young men to leave their knives at home. Dont bring them out here, because the police will arrest you, he warned. We have numerous examples of persons this morning, he said. The next day, after spending the d awn hours in the cells, these examples were in court for the magistrates to let them experience the law in action. Knife carrying youth werent the only ones targeted. Supt Deans men brought in 1 0 to 15 persons possibly even more before the day was out for various offences drugs, disorderly behaviour, outstandi ng warrants, causing harm, and carrying arms. He said that carrying arms, was oneo f the significant offences that day. S gt Chrislyn Skippings, BA, press liaison o fficer, is another efficient, no nonsense officer, who if her round-the-clock press releases and availability to the press at all times are any indication, is an officer like Supt Dean always on the job, 24/7. S he will be the officer on duty for the pred awn press conferences at Mondays New Y ears parade. Already on behalf of the Force, she has sent out a zero tolerance warning fort hat parade. She reminded the public that it is a criminal offence to carry knives,u nless required by their trade. However, s he said, no weapons, knives included, will b e tolerated in the Bay Street area on Monday. As for the carrying of knives being a llowed if used in a persons trade, we remember even that being limited to cer tain hours. As a young court reporter m any moons ago, we recall that for a pers on to be allowed to carry a knife used in his trade was only sanctioned when that person was on the job, or travelling to orf rom the job. In off hours, even those knives were not allowed. Sgt Skipping said that the same mea s ures that the police had in place for the Boxing Day parade, will be repeated for the New Years parade. If you feel like youre not going to b ehave yourself at the Junkanoo parade, stay home. There will be no room for you. We will seek you out and we will put you before the courts, she promised. So be warned if you are in a troublesome mood and cant be parted from yourk nives, then stay at home and watch the s how on television. However, if you go and break the law, then bid farewell to your loved ones, and make plans to cooly our heels behind bars. As for Commissioner Ellison Greenslade and his men and women of the force, we at The Tribune appreciate your service to this community. We know the difficulties with which you are burdened, and pledge you our full support. We hope the community will do the same. W e also hope that 2012 will be an even more successful year for the Force as we wish them, our readers and advertisers a very happy and peaceful 2012. Will real election follow suit? LETTERS l firstname.lastname@example.org A thank you to the Royal Bahamas Police What to do in Nassau?
By DANA SMITH d email@example.com T HE president of the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association said there are positive indicators for the performance of the economy in the coming year. D elivering his new years m essage to members, Robert Sands also called for the Bahamas to improve its appeal to Latin consumers. He said: came with s erious challenges, not the l east of which was a global recession of grave severity. While the worlds econom y remains in the grips of a serious recession, we in the Bahamas can be thankful to h ave maintained stability and t hat there are positive indicators for the performance of our sector of the economy in 2 012. According to Mr Sands, the Bahamas has demonstrated its resilience with a quick r ecovery from the recession, as well as from Hurricane Irene. H e also commented on the improving infrastructure of the country, citing the D owntown Nassau Improvem ent Project, the progressi ng Baha Mar development, the stability of the Atlantis Resort, and the completiono f the first phase of the Lynden Pindling International Airport renovation whichM r Sands called a real a sset. The introduction of Panama-based airline, Copa, allowed the Bahamas to gain inroads into the Latin Ameri can market, he said. While this brings opportunities it also poses challenges. We need to improve the product offering to appeal to Latin consumers and, most i mportantly, we need to i mprove our communication skills in Spanish. By DANA SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org THE Volunteer Bahamas i nitiative is progressing steadil y and those who have joined so far are now being matched to various organisations in need of volunteers, organisers say. Y outh director Darron T urnquest said the governm ent-launched programme aimed at uniting those eager to be involved in social work with the charities that need them already has 500 volunteers onboard and 23 organisations have sent in requestsf or their services. Today, weve been so excited to be matching persons already, he said. Organisations such as the Bahamas Red Cross, the N ational Art Gallery of the B ahamas, and Great Comm ission Ministries have supplied job descriptions so volunteers can be matched based on their experience and interests. The initiative was announced by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, whot old a meeting of social w orkers earlier this month: By expanding the numbers in your individual programmes and networking with others, we are hoping t o produce a ripple effect w hich, when it reaches critic al mass, will truly promote the types of change that will reduce criminality and renew individual lives and urban communities. Since the official launch in November, Volunteer Bahamas has been keepingi n contact with persons who h ave signed on for the programme and Mr Turnquest said he hopes even more will sign up. We hope persons will be m aking it their new years reso lution to give back to the c ommunity, he said. We want to bring to the consciousness of the Bahamian people how important volunteerism is. Its not just simply saying Im going to go out and volunteer, its really having ana ttitude of volunteerism. Givi ng and not looking to have something given back; its not always expecting something in return its giving with a good heart and knowing y oure making a difference in t he country, one person at a t ime. Mr Turnquest said the next step is to extend the initiative to the Family Islands in the new year. Other organisations that have signed on for Volunteer Bahamas include:D reamcatchers Bahamas, a n organisation which develops skills in the visual and performing arts; the Nature Conservancy, an environmental protection a gency; Hands for Hunger, a food rescue programme; a nd the Boys Club of the Bahamas, a programme designed to keep young men in school. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011, PAGE 5 Volunteers matched to organisations as initiative grows ever stronger HOPES RISE FOR ECONOMY R OBERT S ANDS s aid there are positive indicators for the economy in the year ahead.
Y OUR SAY By JOEY GASKINS EXPLICITLY, my intention is to present an argument for why I believe this election season requires a debateb etween the leaders of the t hree most visible political parties. There are, I would argue, questions that remain concerning the lack of any pronounced or marked ideological difference between theset hree parties, and in these difficult times the Bahamas needs thoughtful and critical leadership. Public debate should enrich the political process and supply Bahamians with varyinga nd alternative imaginings of our possibilities as nation. It seems clear to me that the lev-el of public debate in the Bahamas cannot adequately answer this challenge. As a bonus, I hope this piece will also serve as an i ndictment of politics as usual i n the Bahamas and an appeal directed especially at young v oters. Those with influence often accuse us of apathy while simultaneously shirking responsibility for our current condition. I fear that we will follow in t heir footsteps deifying p olitical leaders and being b aptised in red, yellow or green (or whatever the c olours of the day are) on the altar of our own politicali mmaturity. This is not the t ime to reify that tradition; we k now now where that path leads. Look around you. Bahamians have unfortun ately been let down by a great deal of our erstwhile political pundit class, many ofw hom seem, quite frankly, bitter. A number of these political commentators betray what can only be described as h urt feelings and personal v endettas in their writing and on the radio. I n turn, theyve become the spin doctors of choice fortheir patron political parties, making house calls even. Imc ertainly skeptical that they can be relied on to provide non-partisan opinions and Ive long since rid myself of the expectation that this par ticular sphere of influence will e ver mount a meaningful c hallenge to the status quo. Colin A Hughes reminds us in his book, Race and Politics i n the Bahamas during the run-up to the 1967 election, the two most read papers in the Bahamas, The Tribune and The Nassau Guardian, both seemed to support the ruling United Bahamian Par t y (UBP T hese days, there is no white supremacist regime that must be challenged. Instead,t he status quo is represented by the uncritical and empty party politics that characterises our electoral contests. As the revolutionary theorist, Antonio Gramsci, makes clear, there are two types of intellectuals: those who align with emergent, new intellec-tual and social forces, and those who work to maintain the old. The Bahamas has more than its fair share of the latter. Facebook has seemingly provided an opportunity for more democratic political debate. However, upon closer inspection, you realise thatonly a few people are actually speaking. The walls for Bahamian political Facebook groups are dominated by a small fractionof the members, most of whom are vehemently partisan mouth pieces for their team of choice. I use the word team care fully, because many Bahami ans treat political parties like they would a sport team counting who had the most people at the home game, idolising the star quarterback, comparing the roster and trash talking. Most sports teams are devoid of ideology and I would argue our political par ties are as well. For the major ity of Bahamians, I would imagine that this doesnt mat ter; what counts is which team scores the winning touchdown. Weve yet to learn that in this kind of a game every one loses. Sadly, referencing Hughes book, you will quickly learn that in the early years of the20th century the Bahamian electorate viewed the election season as a chance to get something for nothing then it was rum and rice. What is n ow, a free T-shirt and a C hristmas ham? When, as made clear by the Bahamian Wikileaks, our politicians are comfortable claiming that free paraphernalia is one of the mosti mportant factors in winning a n election, this particular piece of history becomes significant. Hughes also remarks that for politicians, elections amounted to nothing more than sporting events, a gameb etween peers carried out over generations. Ninety plus years later and things seems remarkably the same. Maybe its an age thing but when politicians shout, Come on down, at each other across the parlia-m entary aisle I cant help but think of The Price is Right. The lack of universal participation on Facebook may be because of apathy, but Ive observed another possible explanation: outsiders and disagreeable opinions are not w elcome. I n preparation for this article I decided to engage in s ome informal ethnographic research. I even participated in the discussion on few posts as an independent voter. Inoneparticularinstance, m yinterventionwasnotapprec iated.Accordingtooneofthe r egulars,mypointofview a pparentlyviolatedthewisdomofGod.AndwhenI p ointed outthewisdomofGod, asespousedbyman,hasbeen u sedbymantoinflictpainand s uffering,nolessonourown a ncestors,thingsgotugly. The good Christian who originally countered my argum ent Biblically, called me everything but a child of God, blocked me and apparentlyc ontinued insulting me so that I could not respond. Meanwhile, others rushed to the post, and with a click of the Like button and lol in r epetition, they patted each other on their virtual backs f or maintaining a comfortable level of ignorance and aggressively defending business as usual. T his perhaps providessome insight:evenonFacebook, wheretheaccesstopolitical debate hasbeendemocratised, only c ertain people getto speak aboutcertainthings,and o nlyincertainways.Thereis n o spaceontheBahamian political l andscape for alter native politicaldiscoursesand f ewhavebeenbraveenough totryandmakespace. Go off the reservation, show the ruptures of illogi cality in age-old political wisdom, the senselessness in socalled political common sense, a nd face a collective wrath. Y oucandaretoquestionthe status-quo b ut knowthatatthe veryleastyouandpossibly y ourfamilywillbeblocked, insultedandlaughedat.Thisis somethingmadeintelligible after mylastarticleforthis paper.Myuntraditional(dare Isayun-Bahamian)position onhomosexualitycostafamilymemberajobopportunity. Noneofthismakesformeaningful,respectfulorproductivedebate,doesit? How then can a national political debate transform the grim picture Ive just paint ed? Honestly, it cant. But, it is a step in the right direction. Against my better judgment, I want to suggest that if anyone should be responsible for showing the Bahamian peo ple how to conduct the kind of political debates necessary for us arrive at the best political conclusion for our coun try, it is our political leaders. A nationally televised, internet streamed, radio broadcast of our two seasoned political leaders and the fire brand new contender debating policy, defining differ ences in ideology and com paring visions of the Bahamian future is beneficial for all, especially the Bahamian people. I know Im not alone when I say that Im interested in hearing what our hopeful leaders have to offer, outside of the theatrics of adversarial parliamentary posturing and away from the throngs of adoring fans. Despite the fact that some political leaders believe they must no longer compete for their inevitable ascendancy, that they are tried and tested, these are new and unusual times. The politicians and the politics of the 1990s even of 2007 are obsolete. And as far as the politics of the Bahamas is concerned, both o f our long-standing parties h ave seemed comfortable with the formula bequeathed to us by our colonial forefathers, a pepper-pot of traditionalism in some areas anda discourse of modernisation i n others a dish which has r esulted in the gradual disintegration of the Bahamian middle class over the last decade in the face of a global economy in transition, concentrating wealth more and more in fewer peoples hands. T his is also not the most opportune time for a greenhorn politician to stake a leadership claim with a less than impressive political resume. The simple answer would be to say the Bahamas needs an ew politician or a new political party, when in actuality what I think we need is a new politics. I am left unconvinced that, in what has become a politics plagued by ego, we should suffer yet another political contender asserting h is dominion over our gove rnment with an air of entitlement. P rime Minister Ingraham could once and for all show the truth of the Free National Movements record, and himself as a man of action. Mr C hristie could mount a clear o pposition to the FNM, and s et out a bold vision for the B ahamas as imagined by the Progressive Liberal Party. It w ould also benefit Mr McCartney, who could finallys how all of those who doubt h im that he can contend on t he national level and that Democratic National Alliances promises of hope f or the Bahamian people are not empty. Not only is it time for Prime M inister Ingraham, Mr Christie and Mr McCartney to explain why any of them should be allowed to stand at o ur countrys helm in these r ough waters, but it is time for the people of this country t o require it of them. In the past, weve failed to hold our leaders truly accountable. When the Prime Minister f eels it is within his right to say that the new contender wont be carrying his tings anywhere, the Bahamian peo ple must necessarily retort, Tell us why you think youllb e carrying our tings anyw here? When the leader of the opposition places the blamef or our countrys current economic condition squarely on the shoulders of the sitting government, the Bahamian people must necessarily inquire, How does your partisan rhetoric square with the r eality of a global economic d ownturn, and what exactly would you do differently? When the dewy political n ewcomer promises change and hope, the Bahamian people must necessarily interrogate How do you intend to deliver given the greenness of you and your party a hastily stitched together team of entrants and what can you offer that will change the game? And, when the only difference between the various par ties seem to be colour scheme and personality, arent we really choosing between parties intent on steering us basically down the same path, perhaps some more vigorously than others? To echo a ghost from the Bahamian political past, and referencing Hughes book yet again, in 1971 the youthful Vanguard Nationalist and Socialist Party (VNSP of the PLP, The lack of a basic and coherent political philosophy has been a major factor in its failure to correct the abuses of Bahami an society by the wealthy few, to create genuine political and economic opportunity. When it comes to politics, in the same way the media and the electorate have remained seemingly unchanged decades later, I would argue that the charge levied against the PLP in 1971 is true of all our political par ties today. You may not like the source but they had a point then and they have point now. What we have here is not a failure to communicate but a history of neglect concerning the Bahamian political con sciousness by the Bahamian political elite neglect that, in the end, benefits them. Its time we do something differently. They say a people deserves its leaders. If that is true, it b egs the question, what kind of a people are we? Post-1973 Bahamians have o ften shown themselves to be a people divided by frivolous considerations like loyalty to political parties with no clear ideological direction and politicians that are scandal ridden, self-indulgent ande ntitled. Because of our inability to unite around holding our p olitical leaders accountable, those whose interests are con trary to the welfare of the B ahamian working and midd le classes often succeed in having those interests met. I hate to use polemical and l oaded phrases like ruling class and foreign interests, b ut as Bahamians battle each other over an ever-widening terrain, even on virtuals ocialscapes like Facebook, it i s the Bahamian bourgeoisie, the ruling class, and foreign interests that benefit from this distraction. Our leaders should be the ones fighting warring foro ur trust and confidence, crusading for our well-being. Until we demand that our g overnment and the opposi tion speak to their value out side of the comfortable, s taged events of political rall ies and the Real Politicians of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas docudrama that iso ur parliament proceedings (divas, cat fights and all t hose of us who the govern ment should serve the people will find ourselves leftf ighting over whatever gets t ossed our way. And sadly, at this moment, theres not much to go around. Joey Gaskins is a graduate of Ithaca College, Ithaca, NYw ith a BA in Politics. He was born in Grand Bahama and is currently studying at the Lond on School of Economics and Political Science (LSE he has attained his MSc inR ace, Ethnicity and PostC olonial Studies and has begun a Doctoral Degree in Sociology. Joey also writes fort he Bahamas Weekly and the Nassau Liberal. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011 THE TRIBUNE Leaders should debate the issues
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011, PAGE 7 It happens in the reverse. Guns found in some other j urisdictions end up here. These guns come in illegallya nd may have been used in crimes elsewhere. What happens is we trace every firearm we confiscate to find out who the owners are and if the gun was used i n another crime. We also try to figure out how the guns end up here. That, however, is difficult b ecause pawn shops and back alley places in other jurisdic-t ions do not follow protocol so it is easy for anyone to get their hands on a gun, said Supt Rolle. When asked about a Nassau Guardian article that quoted him as saying t he opposite, Supt Rolle said: The reporter must have misunderstood what I was saying. Supt Rolle said the gun t rade, like the drug trade, is a big problem because the Bahamas borders are so open. However, he said, the police are doing all they can to ensure guns, that may s neak through, do not end up on the streets of the Bahamas. So far for the year police h ave confiscated 538 firearms and 11,880 rounds of ammu-n ition. Supt Rolle said as 2011 comes to a close he is satis fied with the efforts of all of the officers in the Royal Bahamas Police Force. I am happy with initiat ives police made this year. Is there room for improvement? Yes. But all the various polic ing divisions and sections have done their part, he said. We are going to continue t o take similar initiatives in 2012 in terms of tackling c rime. Its working so there i s no need to reinvent the wheel. Despite the 125 murders that have taken place, there are still a lot of positive things police have done this year. Supt Rolle said nearly 50 per cent of the murders committed so far for the year have been solved. things, lose faith in traditional religious institutions and t urn to the dark world of the occult. According to Bishop Hall, i n the past three months, he and his associates in the clergy have witnessed peoplee mbracing witchcraft. He said: I remember one case where the family called me to pray for a person who was having some major issues. When I got to the house I realised that something seri-o us was happening. This was not an ill person they were showing signs of being mentally disturbed, you could sense a presence. Bishop Hall said that on a nother occasion I went somewhere and a person was using not only curse words, but words that were cursinga ll that was righteous and Godly. He added that the practice of devil worship has been occurring in the Bahamas for many years. There is no doubt that d esperation has forced the practice to increase over the years, but for a long time we have known that people have been attached to these types of things. Things that outr ightly worship the devil. Three years ago, in a watchnight service we had a questionnaire. We had peo-p le say on them that they needed freedom and delivera nce from the occult. Desperate people do desperate things, he said. Mr Hall encouraged B ahamians to trust God and stay away from the darkness of Satan in these desperate times. By LAMECH JOHNSON email@example.com A TEENAGER who pleaded guilty to a drug pos-s ession charge in Magistrates Court on Thursday morning was given four months to get clean. Alvon Emmanuel,18, of Sunset Park was the fifth y oung man within seven days to be given leniency on the charge by Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez. Emmanuel pleaded guilty t o being in possession of three g rams of marijuana that police had found on him on Tuesday, December 27. He was ordered to four months of community couns elling and weekly urine testing to ensure that he was staying clean. The teen had also been charged with escaping policec ustody but prosecution withd rew the charge after he pleaded guilty to the former offence. The accused, employed at a development company hopi ng to become a licensed contractor, had no previous convictions or pending matters before the courts. He acknowledged his w rongdoing, regretted comi ng before the courts and pleaded for a second chance. Chief Magistrate Gomez told the teen that he would be attending community c ounselling and undergoing weekly drug tests. He then told him that concerning his actions, he has to bear in mind that you aren ot only affecting your life, b ut others as well. Im giving you a chance, please dont blow it, he added. The accuse was granted a bond of $1,000 with a surety. B efore the accused was escorted out of court, he said he would have to donate funds to the centre after he completed his sessions for thec osts incurred to host him. Good luck with your career and make sure you work hard at it so that youll be successful, said the chief magistrate. TEENAGERSPAREDJAIL OVER DRUGS, GIVENFOURMONTHSTOGETCLEAN h am, went missing on Christmas Day. Police said last night that officers of the Southern Division had arrested the two teenagers at about 8.30pm last night at Ponciana Drive, westo f Hospital Lane. Aspokeswoman said that both of the girls were in good health. H e said: All of us abhor any attempts to interfere with the education of children.T his is a primary school and it i s despicable to see what has happened. On Monday, fire chief Walter Evans said two fires had been discovered at the school, along with break-ins to sev-e ral classrooms. It was later revealed the schools daytime security guard had taken sick leave on that day. SCHOOL REPAIRS YET TO BEGIN 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 f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e TEENAGE GIRLS FOUND Church leader warns over witchcraft B ISHOP SIMEON HALL, w ho has urged Bahamians to trust God during these desperate times. POLICE REJECT FIREARMS CLAIM TOADVERTISEIN THE TRIBUNE, CONTACT502-2352. TWO drivers, a man and a woman, who were involved in a three-car collision in Freeport Wednesday evening were listed in stable condition a t Rand Memorial Hospital yesterday. The third driver and passenger were both treated andd ischarged. The accident took place a bout 7:30 pm Wednesday at the junction of East Sunrise Highway and Britannia Boulevard. Police are investigating. T he police took the opportunity as we approach anoth er holiday weekend to encourage the motoring public to drive with due care and attention. Drivers, said a police s pokesman, should adhere to the speed limit, road signs, signal, buckle up and be considerate to other road users. TWO HURT IN CRASH
B y CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org THE major health scare of 2011 was the unprecedented outbreak of dengue feverw hich spread throughout New P rovidence, affecting thousands. With 205 laboratory confirmed cases and the number of suspected cases standing at 7,200 for the year, Dr Delon B rennan, deputy chief medi cal officer at the Ministry of Health, said a report now being complied is likely to reveal even higher numbers. Speaking with The Tribune, Dr Brennan said while there m ust be a three to six month period free of dengue infect ions before the outbreak can be officially labelled as over, the numbers have significant-l y decreased. He said: The dengue outbreak itself is relatively over; there are only sporadic reports of people presenting with symptoms. C onfirmed cases were first reported in July, peaking in August when health officials reported an average of 100 new cases of suspectedd engue fever a day, with p atients predominately from the eastern and southeastern communities of New Providence, according to health statistics. While Dr Brennan confirmed there were denguef ever related deaths, he could not release official numbers as the ministry is still waiting for autopsy reports. The World Health Organisation (WHO fever as a mosquito-bornei nfection that in recent years has become a major international health concern. Dengue fever is caused by four distinct, but closely related viruses. The disease causes s evere flu-like illness and sometimes a potentially-lethal c omplication called dengue h aemorrhagic fever. Other symptoms include h eadache, muscle and joint pains and rash. B ahamian health officials m aintain that while there h ave been cases of bleeding symptoms among dengue fever patients, there have been no cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever. D engue fever is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, in urban as well as rural areas. According to the World H ealth Organisation, there is no specific treatment for dengue, "but appropriate medical care frequently saves the lives of patients with the m ore serious dengue haem orrhagic fever. "The only way to prevent d engue virus transmission is to combat the disease-carrying mosquitoes." N ational campaigns were l aunched by the Ministry of Health appealing to the publ ic to eliminate pools of standing water, which are mosquito breeding grounds, on their property. Seasonal insecticide fogging e xercises were also stepped up in an effort to decrease m osquito populations. However, the government was criticised for not doinge nough and in particular for f ailing to explore alternative methods of mosquito control used to great effect in otherc ountries. W hile health officials main tained for a while that the out break had not spread to the Family Islands, Dr Brennan said the ministry did confirm dengue fever cases outside thec apital, though only a few. There was minimal location transmission, he said. The overwhelming majority of Family Island residents who presented with dengue symptoms had documented t ravel to New Providence. Along with health concerns, f ear began to grow in early Sep tember about the possible fallout for the tourism industry. The first international travel advisory and outbreak notice was issued by the US Centres for Disease control in mid-September, to US citi zens travelling to the Bahamas. The advisory, posted on the organisations website, warned Americans of the increase in dengue fever cases and listed measures persons should take to prevent mosquitos bites. On September 19, the US media reported claims thatt wo American children cont racted dengue while on summer vacation in New Providence. Learning from the outbreak, Dr Brennan said, the government will begin fog-g ing exercises ahead of the rainy season in 2012. He said there will also be an educational campaign called Fight the Bite which is expected to be launched in late February or early March. M oving forward, the government will also be looking into possible alternative methods of prevention, he said. The findings of the Ministry o f Health, the Ministry of the Environment, the Pan Ameri can Health Organisation and W orld Health Organisation (WHO r eview of the dengue prevention and control programme,i mproved surveillance and d ata analysis, and the use of t he data to improve the vector control response. Other suggestions included a ssessments of the effectiveness of insecticides currently in use and efforts to strength-e n the monitoring of fogging impact by tracking mosquito populations. In an interview with The T ribune l ast month, Minister o f Environment Earl Deveaux said the ministry will b e closely monitoring an experiment in Grand Cayman in which lab-engineered mosquitos of the kind that carry d engue are being used to stop the spread of the disease. Mr Deveaux said that while the government had beena pproached by the company conducting the trial, at the t ime there were far too many u nknown variables to conduct the experiment in the Bahamas. H owever, if found to be s uccessful with minimal con sequences to humans and the environment, Mr Deveaux said the anti-dengue mosquitos could be introduced. According to an article p ublished in the Wall Street Journal, in 2010 researchers released 3.3 million mosquitos in Grand Cayman. These m ale mosquitos were genetically altered to be unable to produce offspring. T he altered mosquitos mat ed with females in a small test area and it was reported that they passed on the defect,w hich killed future genera tions at the larval stage. This, it is hoped, will trigger a pop ulation collapse. Dr Brennan confirmed the government will be looking into whether this experiment is economically and envi ronmentally feasible for the Bahamas and will be effective in decreasing mosquito popu lations. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011 THE TRIBUNE As the year draws to a close, The Tribune continues its series of articles spotlighting a range of areas. Here, we look at the outbreak of dengue fever that struck New P rovidence. Dengue fever 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
EARLIER this month, the B ahamas Telecommunications Company unleashed its 4G high-speed network, making good on a promise in parliament that the sale of the majority equity stake to Cable and Wireless Communica-t ions would advance industry capabilities and surpass regional standards. While the company has rolled out a series of improvements in service and rate r eductions since the fiercely c ontested sale of 51 per cent to the London-based conglomerate, union executives consider the long-awaited $43 million network to be a culmination of their watch dog efforts. On the sidelines of the 4G l aunch, BTC union leaders r epresenting managers and line staff William Carroll and Bernard Evans respec-t ively said they will continue to hold both the gove rnment and the telecomm unications company a ccountable to its members, a nd ultimately the Bahamian people. Despite previous attempts by both the Free NationalM ovement and the Progressive Liberal Party to privatise the company, the $210 million sale was termed as the loss of a national treasure by its opponents including the PLP. T he Bahamas Communications and Public Managers Union (BCPMU Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU a ggressive campaign against the sale that increased in fervour through public demon strations and rallies as the n egotiations drew to a close in March. The resistance drew wide s pread support from public service unions and the various entities of the NationalC ongress of Trade Unions, w hich fuelled fears of indus trial action along the lines of the 1958 General Strike. U nion leaders denied col lusion between the labour movement and political par t ies opposed to the governments sale. However, the governing FNM party main tained that much of the oppo s ition was politically motivated and financed. Leading up to the sales finalisation, PLP leader Per ry Christie maintained that his party intended to renegotiate the sale if elected ast he next government. The threat intensified in the days before the deal was closed,w ith Mr Christie saying he would dismantle it if elected. The 14-year privatisation process was brought to an end in with a 22 to 18 vote in the House of Assembly on March 24. Voluntary severance packages were offered shortly after the company assumed control, and received an overwhelming number of applications. Some 602 workers applied for severance packages, nearly 200 more than BTCs target number. In a bid to drive consumers t owards its new technologyb ased EZTop-Up system, the company then cut wholesale m argins on its pre-paid cellular cards. The move was said to disadvantage local streetv endors, who argued a stark drop in profits. I n August, BTC eliminated all connection charges for cell phone calls made within the Bahamas, doing away w ith long distance connection c harges between islands and creating a single domestic rate structure. In November, the company committed to become the largest official sponsor of bothj unior and senior Junkanoo parades with a $206,000 contribution. For the first time ever, one sponsor provided support to all choreographed dancers in the A and B class g roups. The 4G network, a $43m investment phased over twoy ears, is expected to cover the entire Bahamas by mid-2012. The company has ear m arked up to $10 million for new stores, BTC CEO Geoff Houston said, and plans too pen up to three stores per m onth over an 18-month time-line. The network was launched in Grand Bahama,a nd will be expanded to cov er Abaco, E leuthera and Exuma early next year. At the 4G launch, Prime M inister Hubert Ingraham s aid BTCs continued progress was a vindication of the bold decision of his gov e rnment. My government is motivated by one t hing, to bring to consumers o f the Bahamas the best of what is available in telecommunications globally, to e nsure those services are reli a ble and accessible at affordable prices throughout the Bahamas, he said. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011, PAGE 9 rff tbf bnt A s the year draws to a close, The Tribune c ontinues its series of a rticles spotlighting a range of areas. Here, w e look at the major d evelopments in telecommunications i ncluding the sale of B TC and the arrival of the 4Gnetwork. the big BTCsale 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 PRIMEMINISTER Hubert Ingraham performs the official ceremony to mark the switch ing-on of the 4GNetwork in The Bahamas. A PROTESTOR t akes part in the demonstrations that marked the build-up to the sell-off of the B ahamas Telecommuni cations Comp any to Cable and Wireless Communicat ions.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2011, PAGE 11 ISGAMEUPFORTHE YOUNGEST LEADER OF JAMAICA? PRIMEMINISTER Andrew Holness, left, of Jamaicas Labour Party casting his vote in the election that could see him lose his position to former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, right, of the Peoples National Party. The election was forecast to be a tight race but early indications as The Tribune went to press were that the Labour Party may have suffered a drubbing from their rivals. Reports to The Tribune sug-g ested that the Peoples National Party may have won as many as 40 seats, a landslide leaving Labour with just 23. KINGSTON, Jamaica A ssociated Press PRELIMINARY results show that opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller has r eclaimed leadership of J amaica in a dramatic political c omeback. E lection Director Orrette Fisher tells The Associated P ress that based on prelimin ary results it appears safe t o say that the 66-year-old S impson Millers party will return to power. Fisher says he is waiting for all electoral officers to report to his office before he releas e s a final breakdown of parliamentary seat tallies. He e xpected his office to release the official count on Saturday. Simpson Miller was tossed o ut of office four years ago in a narrow election defeat. Her victory Thursday marks a major political come-b ack. As the day begin, from beach resort towns to moun t ain villages, Jamaicans braved bottlenecks for as long as four hours to cast ballots in fiercely contested national e lections. Previous votes have been marred by bloodshed, but t here were few reports of trouble at polling centers for the 63 parliamentary racesc ontested by the center-right Jamaica Labour Party and the slightly left-leaning opposi tion Peoples National Party. T he vote hit some snags as fingerprint scanners meant to stop people from voting more t han once worked intermittently, leading to lengthy lines at some of the roughly 6,600 polling centers in the islandc ountry. The breakdown spurred confusion and frustrationa mong voters and election workers. At one polling cen ter in the volatile Tower Hill area of Kingston, exasperated people who had waited in line for hours chanted: The machines dont work! The Peoples National Party had tried tapping into vot er disillusionment, especially among Jamaicas many poor inhabitants, and complained of the slow voting process. The party also alleged that some ruling party candidates violated rules by campaigning on election day. Lisa Shoman, the Belizean chief of the observer missionfor the Organization of Amer ican States, said her 25-member team has not observed any disturbances or any issues that would cause us any serious concern. Military helicopters flew over the capital of Kingston as part of a nationwide security operation involving thousandsof soldiers, police and nation al reserve forces. Soldiers with automatic weapons kept watch over the two pollings tations where Prime Minister Andrew Holness and opposition leader Portia Simpson Miller cast their ballots. The two top candidates different styles were clear whilet hey cast their votes. Holness, the countrys youngest ever leader at age 39, is largely seen as unexciting, but bright and pragmatic. He whisked into the voting c enter in the middle class area o f Mona, barely interacting with voters. After being heck led by an opposition partisan, h e said he was very confident of a Labour victory and departed after quickly taking t hree questions from r eporters. By contrast, the 66-year-old Simpson Miller, who had b een the countrys first female prime minister, hugged and chatted with supporters at a school in Whitfield Town, m ost of them clad in the par tys orange. Holness party is considered m ore conservative and business friendly than the Peo ples National Party, which e xperimented with democratic socialism in the 1970s and is still perceived as more focused on social programsf or the poor. There are no longer stark ideological dif ferences between the twoc lan-like factions that have dominated Jamaican politics since independence fromB ritain in 1962. D uring the month-long campaign in the thick of the crucial winter tourist season,b oth parties pledged to lift debt-wracked Jamaica out of poverty, secure foreign invest-m ent, work with internation al lenders and create jobs. Most opinion polls put the t wo parties in a virtual dead heat, and candidates have scrambled for traction with undecided voters across the Caribbean island known as the birthplace of reggae and a hothouse for big-time sprinters. Holness was chosen as prime minister by his party just two months ago when predecessor Bruce Golding resigned amid anemic public backing. Holness said his party has started to reverse economic stagnation and has effectively battled criminal gangs that have long been a scourge. He has also pledged to modernise the bloated public sector without massive layoffs. Simpson Miller, a People's National Party stalwart since its days as a democratic social ist faction, dismissed Holness as indecisive and painted his party as hopelessly corrupt and unsympathetic to the plight of Jamaicas many poor inhabitants.