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The Tribune.
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084249/03195
 Material Information
Title: The Tribune.
Uniform Title: Tribune. (Nassau, Bahamas).
Alternate Title: Nassau tribune
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 58 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Tribune
Publication Date: 01-18-2012
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Genre: newspaper   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage: Bahamas
 Notes
General Note: Description based on: Vol. 79, no. 210 (Aug. 3, 1983); title from caption.
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Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 09994850
oclc - 9994850
System ID: UF00084249:03195

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N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER ATLANTISDEALSUNK Volume: 108 No.46WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER CLOUD ANDSUN HIGH 80F LOW 65F By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter c nixon@tribunemedia.net IT is unclear what the future holds for the Atlantisr esort and One&Only Ocean Club after the ownership transfer agreement with Brookfield Asset Management was cancelled yesterday. The shock announcement, which leaves the megaresorts fate in limbo, according to the Wall Street Journal, came after a Delaware court granted a restraining order delaying the deal. The Tribune understands that the agreement was of the utmost importance, as credi tors were reluctant to refinance the companys $2.3 bil lion loan because of fears that Atlantis and Baha Mar could n ot co-exist. However, the argument appears to be among the creditors notA tlantis with creditors jockeying for position, having accused Brookfield of jump ing the queue by converting its debt into equity. Brookfields loan was at the end of the line for repayment. By entering into a deal with Atlantis, it pushed the other creditors behind it, leaving some of them in fear of not being compensated. Atlantis workers were told their jobs would not be affected by the ownership transfer, but as word of the deals collapse spread yesterday, the opposition PLP sought to raise the spectre of lay-offs and put the blame on the government. Even after yesterdays shock announcement George Markantonis, president and marketing director of Kerzn er International, reiterated an earlier statement that no one is going to lose their jobs because of this transaction. Forty-eight days after the Progressive Liberal Party expressed serious concerns about the FNM governments approval of the Atlantis deal, that deal has fallen apart, leaving more than 7,000 Bahamians even more anxi ous about the security of their jobs, said party leader Perry Christie in a statement. The Prime Minister and the FNM government have shown extraordinary incom petence when it comes to dealing with our nations largest private employer. Working in secret behind closed doors, they approved a takeover by a junior creditor without first securing support from more senior creditors, who went on to pull the deal under, leaving the future of Atlantis uncertain. Despite repeated calls from the PLP, the FNM has never shared the details of that agreement with the Bahamian public, Br ookf ield agreement cancelled after court issues r estraining order TRY OUR DOVE RASPBERRY McFLURRY The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By LAMECH JOHNSON ljohnson@tribunemedia.net THE $26,000 that was confiscated from three Americans yesterday in Magistrates Court was revealed to be a percentage of the more than $1 million overall winnings of a recent poker tournament at the Atlantis Resort. This disclosure was made PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham and PLP leader Perry Christie were branded as guilty partners in the ongoing Atlantis saga that possibly threatens to leave almost 8,000 jobs hanging in the balance, DNA leader Branville McCartney said yesterday. Speaking to The Tribune yesterday from Cat Island where his team was campaigning with their candidate Shawn Francis, Mr McCartney said that based on the information his party had obtained some time ago, they were the first to warn the Bahamian people that jobs at Atlantis were in jeopardy. At the time, Mr McCartney said, all of their allegations were refuted by the govern ment, particularly by the Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing, who he said was being very evasive when Mr Laing said he was not aware of the deal. In brokering this deal for Baha Mar and Atlantis, neither Christie nor Ingraham considered what was best for the Bahamian people in their negotiations. Now they have put the lives of more than 8,000 people in jeopardy, and this is a good reason for the Bahamian people to ensure that they both of them are not returned to office. This is the continuation of a series of bad decision-making by two men who have no business acumen or experi ence in business; two men whose only claim to fame is that they have been politiSEIZED C ASH W AS POKER WINNINGS 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 2 2 S S e e e e p p a a g g e e 2 2 BRAN FIRES BROADSIDE AT RIVALS PLP leader Christie b lames e xtraordinary incompetence by FNM Atlantis r eassur es workers, no effect on emplo yment numbers GEORGEMARKANTONIS has reiterated there is no threat to jobs. BRANVILLEMcCARTNEY said neither party considered what was best for the Bahamian people. PERRY CHRISTIE: Deal has fallen apart, leaving more than 7,000 Bahamians anxious about their jobs. im lovin it

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M r Christie said. However, Atlantis executives said the cancellation of the deal will in no way affect local employment numbers,and that local political issues had no bearing on events int he Delaware court or among the creditors. (See Tribune Business for full story). The debt for equity deal was halted by a Delaware court to allow for an injunction hearing prior to the closing of the deal. A ccording to international reports, following the a nnouncement of Brookfields deal with Kerzner to take over ownership of the resort, creditors, including Trilogy Portfolio Company,C anyon Value Realization F und, the Canyon Value Realization Master Fund and Canyon Balanced Master Fund sued that the terms of their loan agreement withK erzner was being violated by Brookfield. D elaware Judge Donald Parsons issued the temporary restraining order on Friday, to hear arguments for a preliminary injunction scheduledf or January 27. B rookfield, however, chose to cancel the deal rather than proceed with the preliminary injunction hearing. The PLP said: This is not a g ame. Bahamians must have an effective representative at t he bargaining table. The PLP is willing to assist the FNM going forward. The Bahamas must now reach out to all creditors, assist in new negotiations,a nd work with all stakeholde rs to preserve the operations of the resort, protect Bahamian employment, and avoid foreclosure or insolvency. Prime Minister Hubert I ngraham announced the $175 million debt-for-equity s wap, which announced that Brookfield would take over ownership of Atlantis and the One&Only Ocean Club from Kerzner International in lateN ovember. D uring his announcement Mr Ingraham insisted the new owners had no plans to make staff cuts and would continue to invest in the resort, the second largest employer in the country, at the same rate as before the sale. As the employer of nearly 8,000 Bahamians, Kerzner International is the singlel argest private sector employer in the Bahamas, the deal a nd its possible impact on workers has recently come under fire by both the Progressive Liberal Party and the Democratic National Alliancew ho called for the terms of t he agreement to be made public by government. Atlantis vice president of public affairs Ed Fields and Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing both declined to comment on the matter. NASSAU INSURANCE BROKERS AND AGENTS LIMITED Atlantic House,2nd Terrace & Collins Avenue P.O.Box N-7764 Nassau Tel.677-6422 www.nibaquote.comPleasant surprises are always welcome.So are surprisingly low insurance premiums.Everyone welcomes a pleasant surprise.If you would like to surprise yourself with insurance cover offering big savings and value from low premiums,low deductibles,generous extra benefits and a claims service where people come first,just ask NIBA for a quote.Tel.677-6422 or visit www.nibaquote.com LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012 THE TRIBUNE Atlantis deal sunk cians all their lives. The Bahamas needs no morec areer politicians, Mr McCartney said. The DNAs leader also noted that when this action to t ransfer the ownership of Atlantis to Brookfield Asset Management was first raised i n the House of Assembly by the Prime Minister, Mr Ingraham assured workers at ther esort that their jobs were s ecure knowing full well that the deal was not even completed at that time. M r McCartney said: This is a man, who has built his whole political career on the n otion that he is trustworthy, accountable, and open. And yet he deceived the Bahamian people. We hope and pray that in t his circumstance, this matter will be worked out to the best interest of the Bahamian workers and that their jobs and livelihood will be secure. It is also very important t o note that Kerzner Interna tional has made a significant contribution to the develop-m ent of the Bahamas. We are grateful to him in this regard. It is however unfortunate that he has been put in this posi-t ion by the self-seeking interest of both Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham. M r McCartney reiterated his partys position that it is time for the Bahamas to make a real change in this c ountry, starting first with a change in its political leadership. 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 BRAN FIRES BR OADSIDE AT ELECTION RIVALS

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By DANA SMITH dsmith@tribunemedia.net MEMBERS of the Bahamas Vets Association met last night to discuss a mass spay and neuter project that could affect upwards to 2,000 stray animals in the Bahamas. Project Potcake would be organised in conjunction with A nimal Balance, an American non-profit group that would send its own vets to perform the operations, free of charge. According to animal rights activists, the project can only start pending confirmation from the Ministry of Agriculture which will probably rely heavily on consultation from the Vets Association. Members of the association acknowledged a stray problem to The Tribune but revealed that they still have some have reservations about Project Potcake. Association president, Peter Bizzell, spoke prior to last nights meeting and said association members will make a fresh assessment of the stray problem, how Project Potcake could possibly help, and how the project would fit in with current spay and neuter programmes. The idea is to address it col lectively and thats what we are going to do, Dr Bizzell said. All our members who are practising are doing (spays and neuters) on an ongoing basis, (Project Potcake its great, but it has to be done in a way that doesnt interfere with whats going on, already. What were trying to do is develop a consensus and a winwin situation for everybody. Basil Sands, an association member, had sentiments similar to Dr Bizzells. Im for a mass spay neu tering but I have some reservations, he said. On the islands, we have some unemployed or underemployed vets and to bring in foreign vets, I dont think its politically expedient. We have Bahamian vetst hat are unemployed who could do the same thing. Speaking with The Tribune last week, Lissa McCombe, Bahamas Humane Society board member, said she is very excited about the possibility that Project Potcake could start in the Bahamas. Its going to be 20 vets coming in for four days and they are paying their own way here. The only thing we need to do is raise money for supplies, she said. Its going to make an immediate and significant difference in the amount of unwanted animals, therefore making the burden on the Humane Society and other animal groups a lot lighter. Theres only two groups that have to sign off on it, the Minister of Agriculture who has been very positive and the Vets Association. The project really hangs in the balance of whether the Vets Association votes for or against it. Laura Kimble, chairman of the Bahamas Alliance for Ani mal Rights and Kindness (Baark! of Project Potcake. We go around and well spend a Saturday picking up dogs in the community, but theres only so much we can do as volunteers, she said. Maybe 500 to 1,000 animals over the course of a year, at best. With this project, we cando 2,000 strays in one week. The project will get Baark over that little hump so we can really start decreasing the number, Ms Kimble said. Its an incredible amount of time and work that Baark has to do, and were so excited that this project could knock out a big part of that, she said. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012, PAGE 3 By KHRISNA VIRGIL kvirgil@tribunemedia.net THE Bahamas crawfish industry is illegally fished 365 days a year by Dominicans claiming to be engineers carrying millions of dollars in seafood outside of the country,a Potter's Cay Dock fisherman claimed yesterday. The fisherman who wished to remain anonymous said: Right now, we not only have Bahamians fishing in our waters, we have year-round poachers and mini-ships. Bigger boats are out there who have 10-15 Dominicans who say they are engineers but are taking all the crawfish. According to the fisherman, when the so-called engineers use industrial compressors while fishing, they dont care what they get, big or small. The crawfish is theirs to keep. He said a lot of the confiscated seafood is seen on dinner tables, instead of being donated to charitable organisations. The fisherman was responding to Agriculture Minister Larry Cartwrights warning to persons breaking fisheries laws. Mr Cartwright said all persons who do so will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, the fisherman said Mr Cartwright needs to look at the bigger picture, of an industry that is also biased. He said: If I get catch out there with undersized crawfish, they will throw the book at me, but if you is Mr John Doe, it will be a slap on the wrist or you might not even be charged. If you charge me and you fine me $10,000, make sure I pay that money. If it goes for me, it should go for someone else too. Another fisherman, Rasta Willie, said Mr Cartwrights remarks couldnt have come ata better time. He said the government needs to work on a screening process while crawfish are harvested. Such a delicacy in our country, he said, we have to safeguard it by protecting the species when they are young. If the species were to ever be deceased at a young age, youll never have no more. On Monday, Mr Cartwright added that efforts will be continued to monitor such illegal activity. I wish to remind the public that the Fisheries Regulations state that no person shall take, have in his possession or sell any crawfish which measures less that three and a quarter inches from the base of the horn to the end of the jacket or which, if he tail is severed, has a tail measurement of less that five and one half inches, not including any protruding muscle, he said. Mr Cartwright explained that in order to protect and sustain crawfish populations, laws have been enacted to place a minimum size limit on their harvesting, to ensure at least spawning or reproductive season before crawfish can be legally caught. He said all food stores, restaurants and other buyers of undersized crawfish should be reminded it is an offence to possess crawfish under the minimum limit. All fishers are advised to cease and desist from the practice of taking, buying and processing undersized crawfish forthwith or face prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. Mr Cartwright assured the public that the Department of Marine Resources and its enforcement partners, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force are continually monitoring activities in Bahamian waters and will take all necessary measures to ensure fisheries regulations are enforced. DOMINICANS ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY FISHING CRAWFISH ON DAILY BASIS Project could see 2,000 stray animals neutered A M AN has been killed in a blaze in the Black Village area of Nassau. F irefighters arrived at the scene and discovered the body of the unknown person underneath the smouldering remains of a mattress. The house suffered extensive dam-a ge in the fire. The blaze took place off Ponciana Drive. Investiga-t ions are continuing. MANKILLEDIN HOUSEBLAZE A BODY i s removed from the scene of a house fire off Ponciana Drive, Nassau. Photo: F elip Major / Tribune Staff

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EDITOR, The Tribune. THERE have been several high profile reports as it relates to all the major political parties. And let me add that there are now three major parties in the Bahamas, despite the denial by some die hards out there. There was the debacle with George Smith and Raynard Rigby speaking publicly about their belief that Perry Christie and the PLP should not allow c ertain incumbent Members of Parliament to receive the partys nomination. At least one of these incumbents, Vincent Peet will not be running because of a matter with respect to client funds. The FNM has had disparaging remarks from Verna Grant and Kendal Wright about their displeasure with the elimination of their seats after the boundaries commis sion report was tabled in the House of Assembly. The Prime Minister recently relieved Kenneth Russell, then Minister of Housing of his ministerial duties and essentially retired him from frontline politics. The Prime Minister also said that there will be more casualties of war from incumbents as the FNM is looking for fresh faces to run in the next general election. Can someone tell me where the Honourable Kenyatta Gibson is? His seat was eliminated also. The DNA revoked the can didacy of Sammy Star Poitier and Philip Russell for non performance. There have also been rumours of Roscoe Thompson leaving the DNA for the FNM. Just recently, there has been a scandal brewing with Steve McKin ney, a former unannounced DNA candidate for the Fort Charlotte constituency. Mr. McKinney is advising that the D NA has been unreasonable in its commitment to finan cially support his candidacy and as such this is why he is no longer a candidate for the DNA. You see my friends, this is the silly season and as all sides jockey for power, there will be controversy after controversy. My best guess is that there is more controversy to come. All three major parties are currently having their share of issues. I implore the Bahamian voter to read between the lines and make the best choice for him or her. Be careful of those candidates who want to get you drunk and dont want to discuss the issues. Remember that a good time only lasts for a short while. When the party is over, reality will set back in. The time for blind allegiances has long passed. We need to elect a government that will be committed to change our current course, who will empow er Bahamians and who will prosecute all and sundry for criminal activity once the facts exist. Remember Bahamians that the silly season is upon us. DEHAVILLAND MOSS Nassau, January 3, 2012. EDITOR, The Tribune. How much longer in this country are we going to sitb ack and watch the cat and m ouse show? To sit back and watch Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham because of his place of leadership, position of influence and dominating c ontrol to continue to seize t he opportunities of young inspiring leaders, political and b usiness to say publicly and boldly statements that tears them, their organisations andt heir businesses to pieces? Have you even sat back and watched how arrogantly f or years now Mr Ingraham, s eated or standing, in the public House of Assembly scorn fully, distastefully, laughs at, a nd ridicules his fellow comrades and opposition? Have you ever seen such a l eader who often publicly stands up and verbally trashes his opponents like a gazelle walking on an ant? Mr Ingraham, many of your accusers, critics, opposers are simply giving you a word of wisdom but you are not even man enough to say thank you or use their wisdom to better this country. Instead you continue to see them asy our opponent whom you m ust defeat. Well, sir, in your p osition of delegated authority and influence you can cont inue to allow your pride and arrogance to get the best of you, but one day unless you change your ways you will h ave to give account for your a ctions and reactions. Take a word from a small a nt today: 1 ) Allow others to lead in their domain without your i nterference. 2) Allow others to lead w ithout the fear of you jumpi ng down their throats. 3) Allow others to lead in their God-given destiny and purpose. 4) Allow others to lead, make decisions, make choices, make mistakes and to learn from their mistakes. 5 ) Allow others to lead this c ountry using their God-given skills and abilities to make it a better and safer place to live and to work. 6) Allow others to lead b earing grace in mind for y ou to need grace to do your work. 7 ) Allow others to lead others to make more leaders to help this country get back oni ts feet because we in this country need leaders, not few but many and you are only o ne. M r Ingraham, if you continue to swallow up all those who confront, challenge, con-t est, criticise and oppose your leadership, one day you will find there is no one else left tos wallow up but yourself. This my five cents. RODNEY ADDERLEY Nassau, January 16, 2012. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012 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 WE KNOW times are tough and that t oday managers have to think outside the box to raise revenue, but no one can match the genius of a bishop who Monday night filled his church and collection plate by promising to reveal the antics of threed emons who threatened our country with d estruction. Of course, it had to be so, didnt God j oin Bishop Neil Ellis on a lonely walk and whisper the horror in his ear, instruct-i ng him to take the news back to save his p eople from the fires of hell? Like Moses c oming down from the mountain with his tablet of ten commandments, Bishop Ellis couldnt wait to get back to the Bahamas t o share with Bahamians Gods warning. However, unlike Moses, The Tribune r eporter could not find a glow of holy l ight around the bishops head. Of course, The Tribune ,always wanting t o be first with the news, pestered the bish op to reveal the demons names the t ime he planned to do so in his church was r ather late for our deadline. He refused. Bishop Ellis maintained it would be d angerous to do so. God had told him it had to be done in church will all the congregation present. This would be their only opportunity to hear Gods words from the mouth of his messenger. Thew ords were to be spoken only once in other words no repeat performance, no r adio, no TV, no web, and, possibly if he c ould help it, no Tribune. But T he Tri bune was so curious and so anxious to let our readers know what demons had beena ssigned to wreak havoc in their lives, that we extended our deadlines and waited. Mission accomplished: By 7:30pm, the church was not only full; it was overflowing.A nd as the bishop had anticipated, his demons had brought in enough of the gullible to justify the setting up of special m onitors in the parking lot so that those who could not find a seat could still watch the circus. The Bishop certainly got thec rowds for the once-in-a lifetime show, but t he only secret that he kept to himself was how much was left behind in the collec tion plates. After all, men even a bishop must find ways to outwit hard time. We soon learned that the three demons were well known to all of us sexuali mmorality, financial instability and witch craft. So whats new? Surely, the bishop knew that these demons entered the human race the day Adam and Eve gott he heave-ho from the Garden of Eden. Ever since then, mankind has struggled and often lost the battle in the garden of Good and Evil. Would you believe that this is the same bishop who during the May, 2002 election told his congregation from the pulpit that anyone among them who did not support the PLP at the polls should haul hip. Get lost, he shouted from the pulpit, I dont want to see you any more. According to him, then Opposition leader P erry Christie was the anointed one who he was holding close to his breast. This man of God, anointed to tend the flock regardless of political affiliation, boasted that he received nothing from the PLP,b ut it was no secret he gave much to them. I n other words, they were very much indebted to him. He boasted that they t ravelled on his plane, he paid all their bills, covered their hotel costs, fed them,b ut never took a dime from them no w onder his poor congregation have to k eep his coffers filled. Declaring that he was a humble little bishop who wanted nothing in return, he j ust could not contain another boast: Do you know what could happen in t his country if the Bishop who has the l argest congregation has the prime minister of the country hooked up to him? I magine what could happen if the church had a say in the prime ministers office. N o wonder he ordered his congregation w ho would not vote for Mr Christie to haul hip. The humble little bishop, a lthough unelected, had visions of presiding over all of us from the centre of power. And then there was the Singing Bishop with his miracle water who created quite a stir didnt we just hear Bishop Ellisw arn about witchcraft? Well, on a hot day in August 2005, B ishop Lawrence Rolle known as the Singing Bishop packed thousands in to attend his miracle water service. He had hoodwinked another Baptist Bishopi nto believing in his new beverage. It was this bishop who announced that through the water the singing bishop had raised a man from the dead. At the service, sever a l woman testified to miracle healings of their aches and pains. Of course, The Tribune always the mis e rable sceptic, wanted to know more about this modern Lazarus. We pestered the Singing Bishop so much that even-t ually he admitted that the dead man n ever died, nor did his body ever go to the mortuary. It appears that the sight of the hearse shivered him into life. T he hoax seemed to lose its savour when The Tribune published a little experiment we had in our newsroom. Gathered aroundt he TV set to watch our Golden Girls run the 4x100 relay race, the news editor decid ed to test the miracle water. He sprinkled some of it on top of the TV set just asT amika Clarke, the starter, approached Chandra Sturrup to pass the baton. Sud denly, Chandra collapsed in a heap and Tamika had to jump over her. The reporters blamed their editor for jinxing the race with the prophets cursed water. We just hope God has a sense of humour as He looks down on his foolish creatures. If He does, He must be havinga good belly laugh at some of these false prophets and their gullible followers. Big king swallows up little king LETTERS l etters@tribunemedia.net The Bishop and his message from God To advertise in The Tribune, contact 322-1986 EDITOR, The Tribune. R eligious Liberty 9, President Obama 0. I commend the US S upreme Court in the Hosanna Tabor US Supreme Court ruling, January 11 foru nanimously ruling that reli g ious bodies can and should set their own standards for hiring ministers, free from government interference. The decision effectively shoots down President Obamas lat e st attempt to control and suppress religious freedom in America. The separation of church a nd state prevents government bureaucrats from deciding who will preach and t each any religious faith. Had the government won the case not even the Pope would have been safe from Big Brother! T he strength of a nation is not found in the Democratic v iew which is to increase d ependence on government but in the view which champions limited government,r eligious freedom and per s onal responsibility. The task of the state is not to consolidate and exercise power but merely to regulate human life in society, creat ing a balance of freedom and g ood things that allows each individual to lead a life worthy of man. Its role is to safeguard the rights of each indi v idual and the welfare of all. Failing to limit itself thusly, it posits itself as something a bsolute. James Madison recognised religious freedom as a funda mental right that precedes the state and which cannot bes everely curtailed or denied by it. Put more broadly, and a s Pope John Paul II put it, r eligious freedom is the first freedom. It is the premise and guarantee of all freedomst hat ensure the common g ood. President Obama built his election campaign around The Audacity of hope. Hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a politicals logan. Real hope is not found in the kind of optimism that demands blind servility to the government but rather in the c ompassion of hearts and enterprising spirit of citizens. P AUL KOKOSKI Canada, January 12, 2012. Victory for religious liber ty over Obama T T h h e e s s i i l l l l y y s s e e a a s s o o n n i i s s u u p p o o n n u u s s

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B y KHRISNA VIRGIL k virgil@tribunemedia.net AMID the ongoing blame game concerning Grand B ahama's faltering economy, t he FNM accused the Christie administration of a callous disregard coupled with noc ompassion and sheer incompetence for that islands well being. Their words came after the PLP's claim that the govern ment will only continue to wreck, ignore and neglect t he nation's second city. In a press statement yester day, the FNM said the oppos ition is running from its record of massive incompetence led by the weakestPrime Minister ever in Bahamian history. Following the blow of three hurricanes, Jeanne, Frances and Wilma to Grand Bahama, the ever indecisiveand ineffective Perry Christie made this solemn vow to Grand Bahamians: The macroeconomics strategy, which will be formulated in close consultation with the Port Authority, will form the basis for a form of Marshall Plan for Grand Bahama to restore the economy and soci ety of the island to the prehurricane position, the release said. The FNM said Mr Christie only failed in his efforts to help stabilise the islands economy. Like most of Mr Christies phantom plans, the release said, his Marshall Plan for Grand Bahama never happened. His failure to deliver on his promise is partially responsible for the state of the island. The leader of the opposi tion abandoned Grand Bahama in its hour of need. The FNM also slammed the PLP for its abandonment of hundreds of people who went unemployed after the close of the Royal Oasis Hotel. According to the release, when the Royal Oasis closed during the aftermath of a 2005 hurricane, the PLP waffled, wavered and wondered while more than 1500 employees lost their jobs and never got them back. Indeed, it would take the FNM to come to office to finish paying those Royal Oasis workers. A property management, development and investment company, Harcourt Developments, acquired the Royal Oasis in 2007. Its sale came three years after the resort was closed, having been damaged by hur r icanes Jeanne and Frances. The company announced a $400 million redevelopment plan to turn the defunct hotel, l ocated on 425 acres of prop erty, into a high quality tourism destination. H owever, at the end of 2008, as the global financial crisis bore down, tighteningf lows of credit, Harcourt Developments told the Government it would not be able to proceed with its plans tob ring the hotel back on stream for the time being. Drawing from their record of accomplishments in Grand Bahama, the release recalled the FNMs efforts help its residents. When some workers at Our Lucaya lost their jobs during the current economic downturn the FNM acted i mmediately. The Ingraham administration mobilized government benefits, job coun s elling, personal and spiritual counselling and other assis tance. The Government acted s wiftly with job referrals and placements in Grand Bahama. Today, Mr Ingraham will a lso commission the upgraded Accident and Emergency Urgent Centre and the Oper a ting Theatre and Day Surgi cal Unit at the Rand Memorial Hospital. THREE major police operations launched by the Central Division are being hailed a s a success following a number of arrests and citations. N ewly appointed commander of the division, Supt Stephen Dean, said his officers have vowed to keep up the pressure on criminals and their supporters, and will notr est until the area has become s afe for citizens, businesses and visitors. The initiatives, launched on J anuary 11 and inspired by Commissioner Ellison Greenslades 2012 policingp lan, are: Operation Thunder Ball targets traffic violations and criminals using vehicles. Operation Take Back targets drug houses and prolific criminals. Operation New Dawn targets drug peddlers in the downtown area. T he division reported that on the very first day these init iatives were launched, 86 drivers were cited for various traffic violations and two men were arrested in connection with outstanding criminal warrants. T hose detained on Janua ry 13 included: a 21-yearold Sands Lane woman, who was questioned after police f ound more than six ounces of marijuana in a home; a 54year-old man, in connectionw ith a breach of the Liquor License Act; and a 20-yearold Ross Corner man, in connection with an outstanding warrant. On Saturday, January 14, 49 drivers were given citations and six men were arrested in connection with outstanding criminal warrants. O n Sunday, a 24-year-old Rosedale Street Man was take n in for questioning in connection with the discovery of four pounds of marijuana in a car. Supt Dean said his team is upbeat and all the officersr emain committed to fighting c rime head-on. He said: Generally, the police operations are going o n quite well. I definitely want to thank the many residents for the tremendous supportt hey have given to the police I think they obviously have to be concerned with what is going on in their country; we need their continued support in order to make this country a better place. Previously, people had the mindset that police operations are only for a short period of t ime and then we retreat after we have dealt with a particul ar problem, but we propose to sustain what we are doing presently. I know it's a challenge and hard work for our very committed police officers, but web elieve that it is important for u s to sustain these operations which we have embarked upon. A ccording Supt Dean, police will maintain constant patrols in areas they considerc rime hot spots. He said his officers will not retreat or surrender until all illegal operations are dismantled and criminals made to comply with the law. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012, PAGE 5 GRAND B AHAMAS WELL BEING W AS IGN ORED Police operations hailed a success P OLICEstage Operation Thundeball, stopping vehicles to check for traffic violations.Photos: T im Clarke / Tribune Staff

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LAST Friday marked the 54th anniversary of the 1958 general strike, one of the seminal events of the modern Bahamas. On January 13 of that year, hundreds of public and private sector workers walked off their jobs, shutting down New Providence for almost three weeks and forcing some much-needed social and political change. The key labour leaders of the time are no longer with us, but both have left behind a rich legacy in the form of their personal memoirs. Those leaders were Sir Clifford Darling, who died last month at the age of89, and Sir Randol Fawkes, who died in 2000 at the age of 7 6. Sir Randol's 1977 book, The Faith that Moved the Mountain gives his personal (and what historian Michael Craton described as "somewhat selfserving") perspective as a leader of the Bahamas Federation of Labour, the umbrellau nion which called the strike. A memorial edition is available online at http://sirrandolfawkes.com. Sir Clifford's 2002 book, A Bahamian Life Story provides much of the background necessary to form an appreciation of this unique event. In addi tion to his personal perspective a s leader of the Taxi Cab Union, which instigated the s trike, his account includes secret communiques written by the colonial authorities, as well as contemporary newspaper reports. The story begins in 1955 when Sir Randol, a young l awyer, returned from a brief self-imposed exile in New York t o become a union organizer, eventually establishing the Bahamas Federation of Labour. He was elected to the House of Assembly the following year along with another young lawyer named Lynden P indling as one of the first six PLP parliamentarians. The PLP had been formed only three years earlier and it was the first party to win par liamentary seats, which led to large demonstrations of support when the legislature opened following the election.A ccording to a contemporary article in the London Daily Mail the 1956 election marked "the first time the coloured people (of the Bahamas ever started putting up a fight for their rights." In an interview shortly before his death, Sir Randol said the Bahamian progressive movement was fully united in the mid-50s. "(Pindling of the political arm and I took care of the labour arm bread and butter economics. So LO became leader of the PLP and I became leader of the labour movement." By 1958, the classic battle lines were drawn between an unyielding authoritarian regime controlled by a monopolistic business elite (who happened to be white), and a majority of deprived citizens who yearned for democracy and social change (who happened to be black). Fifty years ago, the Bahamas had just begun its development as a tourist playground and offshore financial centre. In fact, only a few years before, the colony had been on the verge of bankruptcy with little prospect of economic advancement. But air travel was making a big difference, and the government began spending heavily on tourist promotion. In 1957, a new international airport opened at the wartime Windsor Field air base, and about 194,000 tourists arrived, many staying at the dozen or so hotels that had sprung up in lil' ole Nassau. Airlift was pretty good back then. BOAC flew in from Jamaica, Bermuda, New York, Miami and Havana. Pan Am linked Nassau with New York and Miami, while Mackey Airlines serviced other Florida cities and Air Canada's prede c essor ran flights from Montre al, Toronto, Tampa and Jamaica. A bevy of tour companies had set up shop to service the visitors these airlines brought in. They included Philip Brown Tours, Howard Johnson Tours, Playtours, Nassau Tours, Bahama Holidays and Dan Knowles Tours. And the country's proto Ministry of Tourism known as the Development Board realised it was sitting on a gold mine. But things were not as calm as they seemed on the surface. The British governor at the time described the ruling elite (which later constituted itself as the United Bahamian Party) as "recalcitrant, stubborn and politically obtuse...not very numerous, but extremely powerful in the material sense and pretty unscrupulous." They maintained their control over the electorate by bribery, intimidation and restriction of the franchise. Women could not vote, but property owners many of whom were white certainly could. As another London newspaper account quoted in Sir Cliffords book put it: The American-tourist dominated Bahamian islands represent the most Gilbertian picture in the empire...The trouble is the absence of any genuine democracy...As a consequence, the majority of members are elected by the business community, which uses its political power for its own commercial ends. The PLP often presented the view that the Development Board was little more than a slush fund set up for the personal advantage of those big businessmen who were its members under the able lead ership of a white lawyer/politico named Stafford Sands. And it was this view that coloured the events which led to the general strike. Black Bahamians had been operating taxis since the 1930s, p icking up cruise passengers from Prince George Wharf and air passengers from Oakes Field. As tourism began to grow in the 1950s and new hotels came on stream, a conflict developed over how this business would be shared between the white-owned tour companies and the independent taxi drivers who had their own union. The opening of Nassaus international airport in November 1957 was a significant event but it was accompanied by an even more significant display of greed and political stupidity. A group of major hotels proposed to sign an exclusive agreement with a new taxi company set up by Bobby Symonette, the son of government leader Roland Symonette. It is a fact, wrote the acting governor at the time, that the Meter Taxi-Cab firm is owned and directed by a family withc onsiderable Bay Street interests and prominent in politics...This would have almost certainly ended in a monopoly excluding the taxi cab union entirely. The 200 taxi drivers were understandably outraged. So on November 2 and 3 theyb locked the airport with their cars, forcing airlines to cancel flights. The blockade was supported by airport workers who were part of the Bahamas Federation of Labour. But according to Sir Clifford, who directed the action as leader of the taxi union, the blockade had noth ing to do with politics or race. It w as a share business deal. And, he added, All of us were r eady to go to jail if that's what it took. After police failed to break the blockade, the authorities gave way and a two-month truce was declared to hammer out a long-term settlement. O ver 30 drivers were prosecuted for assault and obstruction a nd given minor sentences by Magistrate Edward St George an expatriate lawyer who later became the kingpin of Freeport. Although agreement was eventually reached to share the a irport business, the talks deadlocked over a single crucial point. The tour companies rejected a call-up system to transport surplus visitors, pre ferring to use taxis of their own choice. And then they tried to reopen points that had already been agreed. This set the stagef or a new confrontation, and the taxi union called on other workers for support. At an overflow meeting on Wulff Road on the evening of Sunday, January 12, 1958, Fawkes wrote that a motion was unanimously carried that the BFL should call a generals trike to aid the taxi union and to dramatize the fight of all Bahamians for greater dignity and self-respect on the jobsite through decent wages and better working conditions. This time the politicians did get involved. Sir Randol records the dramatic start of the strike in his book: At about 7am January 13, 1958, Brother Pindling and I entered the Emerald Beach Hotel; rested our hands on the right shoulder of Saul Campbell, chief shop steward of the Hotel Workers Union and whispered, NOW! This password reechoed throughout the length and breadth of New Providence as our comrades performed similar ceremonies in other hotels. Hundreds of hotel and electricity workers, garbage collec-t ors, construction workers, longshoremen, civil servants, airline and restaurant staff walked off their jobs to the slogan not a sweat. Bay Street shops were boycotted, and within days the hotels closed and the city came to a standstill. The governor called for aw arship and British troops arrived from Jamaica to reinforce the 300 policemen, whose loyalty could not be guaranteed. The power structure just did not see that the strike was something the people were ready for and did not have to be forced into, Sir Clifford w rote. I believe that everyone, in every sector, had finally had e nough and wanted things to change. In Sir Randol's words, We knew that we were witnessing the birth of a new Bahamian working together with other Bahamians for a new B ahamas. And although Tribune publ isher Sir Etienne Dupuch took a characteristically middle of the road approach, he was clear about the real cause: The tragedy of it is that all this unnatural hatred has been produced by the greed and avarice o f a few men in the community. The strikers received moral support from the British Trades Union Congress, the American AFL-CIO and from Jamaican Chief Minister Norman Manley. Demands for a commission of inquiry werer ejected by the authorities, but the strike was finally called off on January 30, following the governor's promise to set up a transport authority to resolve the dispute. Despite the lack of an immediate clear-cut victory, the strikers had set the stage for a majors hake-up of the colonys social, economic and political rela tions. According to Fawkes, their action marked the begin ning of the end of British colonialismwhite supremacy and racial discrimination. In Sir Clifford's words: Little did I know on that Sunday morning in January 1958 that the stunning and unexpected aftermath of the general strike would pave the way for the turbulent decade of the sixties, ultimately leading to the freedom of majority rule for all Bahamians. The aftermath he referred to included international pressure on the Bay Street regime to democratise the country. Within three months a senior British cabinet minister was in Nassau pushing for constitutional reforms, and that October, leg-i slation was passed to set up a labour department and a process for industrial conciliation. The following year saw abolition of the company vote, extension of the franchise to all men over 21, and the creation of four new parliamentary seats (all of which were won by theP LP). According to the governments annual report for 195859: The transition from threatened violence and unrest to tranquility and prosperity marks a period which must be regarded as one of the most momentous in the colony's recent history. The effects of t he general strike were farreaching. The tourist industry r eceived a severe set-back and financial loss was heavy. But these two years are outstanding not so much for the high level of prosperity as for the far-reaching constitutional and legislative changes which w ere brought about...which the general strike had shown to be v ital to the progressive development of the colony. By all accounts, public support for the strike was overwhelming. It is likely that in 1958 a great number of Bahamians would have been p repared to see the challenge through if tempers had flared. In fact, there were several arson attacks and bombings after the strike ended (including the Nas sau Guardian plant and areas where British troops were housed), but no violence occurred during the strike itself,a nd no-one was hurt. The aftermath also featured a split in the ranks of the pro gressive movement that fore shadowed things to come. As Fawkes put it: Lurking in the wings were two strangely sinister and divisive forces: the UBP and the top brass of theP LP; the one, terribly afraid of the power I wielded as presi dent of the Bahamas Federation of Labour; the other, envi ous of the free trade unions national and international acclaim as the spark-plug of the quiet revolution. The more radical and eccent ric Fawkes left the PLP to form the Labour Party, while PLP-inclined unions broke away from Fawkes BFL to form the Bahamas Trades Union Congress, which still exists today. But the Labour Party had little impact until the historic gene ral election of 1967, when Fawkes as the partys only parliamentarian joined with the white representative of Eleuthera, Alvin Braynen, to break a deadlock between the PLP and the UBP, which had each won 18 seats. Braynen became speaker of the House while Fawkes was named minister of labour in a new PLP government. His taste of power was brief, however. After the 1968 elec tion, which produced a land slide win for the PLP, Fawkes was dumped as a minister, but managed to retain his seat in parliament as a labour representative until the 1972 election. And ironically, it was Fawkes who moved the 1970 motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Pindling that precipitated a major split in the PLP and led to the formation of the Free National Movement. Darling was elected on the PLP ticket in 1967 and joined the cabinet two years later, becoming labour minister in 1971. He remained a loyal PLP soldier until his retirement from politics in early 1992, when he was appointed governor-general. He retired from public life altogether three years later. The events of the general strike unfolded before my time, but as a child in the 60s I can recall family members grum bling about the destruction of the country just as it began a climb towards prosperity. What stands out to me most from reading these accounts today is just how innocuous, conserva tive and legitimate the demands of the strikers were. What do you think? Send comments to larry@tribuneme dia.net or visit www.bahamapundit.com. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012 THE TRIBUNE For more informationvisit www.nassaucontainerport.com or call 242.323.7066 or 242.323.7064The APD offering closes on January 31, 2012. DONT MISS THESE IMPORTANT MEETINGS! ABACOTuesday, January 17th at 9 a.m. Open Line Radio on Radio AbacoROTARY CLUB OFABACOTuesday, January 17th at 12:30 p.m. Anglers Restaurant,EXUMAWednesday January, 18th at 1 p.m. Community Centre,George TownLONG ISLANDWednesday, January 18th at 6 p.m. Long Island Community Centre, Clarence TownELEUTHERAThursday, January 19th, at 9 am Sunset Inn,Governors HarbourSPANISH WELLSThursday, January 19th at 1 p.m. Spanish Wells Methodist ChurchHARBOUR ISLANDThursday, January 19th at 7 p.m. Blessed Sacrament Catholic ChurchCome and learn more about the historic initial public share offering of APD LIMITED, operator of NASSAU CONTAINER PORT & GLADSTONE FREIGHT TERMINAL.APD INITIAL PUBLICOFFERINGfamily islandinvestor meetings Strike that stirred the nation

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by 18-year-old Sean Ruane of Maywood, New Jersey, who with his elder brother Michael Ruane, 23, pleaded guilty to falsely declaring the amount of money in their possessionw hile going through the US pre-clearance at Lynden Pindling International Airport. The brothers were arraigned before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell in Court8 Nassau Street, on a charge o f making a false declaration t o an officer of the US and f ailing to declare the accurate amount of money $26,158 i n their possession. T he New Jersey natives told a US officer they were not in possession of funds exceeding $ 10,000, while they were actua lly carrying $26,158 in US b ills and British pounds. Their 18-year-old cousin T homas Freeman Jr, pleaded guilty to abetting them in their actions. I t was revealed by prosecut ion that a secondary search of the defendants brought on by the nervousness of thes weating younger brother, showed that the brothers were each in possession of $9,400. S ean had admitted to offic ers that the money had come f rom a poker tournament in Nassau. Officers later discove red that Freeman Jr was travelling with the pair and it was discovered that ther emainder of the $26,000 was on his person. He initially told officers that the money wash is but confessed that it came from Sean. They had done this to get through the preclearence section easily as t hey were late for their flight. Freeman had acknowledged his relation to his co-defend ants and confirmed that the Ruanes were brothers. Police were contacted and the three were cautioned and arrested in connection with the incident. After the three men accepte d the facts stated by the prose cution, Deputy Chief Magistrate accepted their unequivocal plea of guilt and conv icted them of the offences. At this point, Keith Seym our, their defence attorney, pleaded with the magistrate not to give the young men a custo-d ial sentence, as the incident was an innocent mistake. These are two brothers and a cousin. Their trip to Bahamian paradise has t urned into a nightmare. He said that the trio have always t ravelled together and were accustomed to pooling their resources together. He reasoned that it was their first time travelling as a group to t he Bahamas and that they thought they could do the s ame here, assuming that the declaration law related to an individual. The deputy chief magistrate informed the defence attorney t hat the law pertaining to the $ 10,000 declaration refers to a family and not individually. S eymour, after the correction, continued on to say that t he three college/university s tudents, who had no previ ous convictions in the Bahamas or back home, didn ot waste the courts time and p leaded guilty right away. He said that they are aware that the funds will be confiscated and they are s orry and would like to plead for a non-custodial sentence to return home to their families. Before handing down her decision, the deputy chief magistrate asked the accusedh ow they got the amount of m oney that would be confiscated. Sean Ruane said that we i nvested money in some of our friends. One of them won, h e added, and we got a percentage. The overall winner of the recent poker tournament at the Atlantis Resort walked away with $1.2 million. She acknowledged the submissions made by Mr Sey-m our, but said that the defend ants had sought to deceive the system. All you had to do was fill o ut a form, instead you i ntended to deceive the officers at the pre-clearance. And now youve lost all this sum of money, she added. Deputy Chief Magistrate Bethell ordered that the$ 26,158 be confiscated but did not fine or sentence them because you have no convictions in this jurisdiction and because you did not waste the courts time and pleaded guilty. The confiscation of funds is punishment enough. The c onviction remains. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012, PAGE 7 LCIS seeks talented,highly qualiedteachers whoarecommittedto theintellectual,socialandethicaldevelopmentofstudents,andwho areeager tocontributetoschoollifebeyondtheclassroom. Successfulcandidates willmeetthefollowingessentialcriteria: ABachelor's Degree(Master s preferred) andrelevantteaching credential Aminimum ofthreeyears full-timeteachingexperience,preferably inadiversesettingandinternationalschool Signicantrecentprofessionaldevelopment Excellentcomputer skills andintegrationoftechnology intothe curriculum Strongoralandwrittencommunicationskills Interestinandability tocoachand/or participateinco-curricular activities or committee(pleasenotethis requires asignicant amountofafter-schooltime) J O B F A I Rwww.lcis.bs When:Saturday,January21,2012Time:1:00pm-3:00pmWhere:LyfordCayInternationalSchool Vacancies2012-2013ElementarySchool 2Elementary teachers Grades 1-6 PE /ArtTeacher SecondarySchool DiplomaGeography /MYPHumanities DiplomaBiology /MYPScience DiplomaChemistry /MYPMathematics or Science Diploma/MYPFrench MYPFrench/Spanish MYPSpanish Specialist LeaningEnhancementTeacher SchoolNurse Benets includecompetitivesalary,pensionfund,medicalinsurance andprofessionaldevelopment. Wewillbeinterviewingfortheabovepositionsonly.All applicantsarerequiredtobringaresumeandthreelettersof recommendation PleaseRSVPtowpugh@lcis.bs ifyouareinterestedinattendingthe jobfair andvisitour websiteatwww.lcis.bstolearnmoreaboutour schoolandthepositions above. BTC OFFICIALS have indicated their satisfaction with the progress of the 4Gcell site optimisation exercise underway in New Providence and Grand Bahama followingt he December launch of the new network. We appreciate that some of our customers have been frustrated with the droppedc alls and call failures on parts o f the new network as we h ave been going through the optimisation, said BTC spokesman Marlon Johnson.But we are pleased to say that we are ahead of schedule on this phase of theo ptimization exercise which w as scheduled to be completed at the end of the month. We have already addressed some of the cell sites which were experiencingthe most call issues and have s een significant improvem ents. By early next week, w e expect to be substantially d one with this phase of the o ptimisation exercise and t hose initial issues in New P rovidence should largely go away. M r Johnson noted that the o ptimisation will continue t hroughout the Family Islands t his year.As the network is deployed, optimisation exercises will continue after installation is complete. He indicated that it will sometimes m ean minor disruption to service within the first few w eeks. We ask the public to con tinue to be patient and to inform us wherever they continue to face chronic chall enges.We expect though, t hat by the middle of next week, most of those issues w ould have dissipated as the 4G network in New Provid ence and Grand Bahama would have completed their initial optimization process. Our key objective remains t o get our key performance indicators in respect to our mobile network performance in line with best in class per f ormance in terms of call completion and call quality. B y LAMECH JOHNSON ljohnson@tribunemedia.net THREE persons who stood surety for a man who failedt o appear at his drug trial m ore than two years ago are faced with having to pay his $50,000 bail bond if he is convicted in a pending drug case. The disclosure was made by Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell as 34-year-old O mar Chisholm was arraigned i n Magistrates Court on a warrant of arrest for not returning to court for trial. The magistrate told the suretors she would not ask them to pay the $50,000 bond today( yesterday afternoon) as she w ould wait for the outcome of the trial on February 1. Chisholm, who had been charged with possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supp ly, was supposed to appear in c ourt on November 4, 2009 with co-defendant Valentino Johnson, but failed to do so. In yesterdays proceedings at the new Nassau Street court complex, Deputy Chief Mag-i strate Bethell asked the Y amacraw Hill Road resident his reason for being absent for trial. I was scared, he replied. Asked about his whereabouts, he said, I been right h ere in Nassau. H e said that with the recent accusations against him concerning two shootings last year, he reasoned it was in his best interest to face the charges. Chisholm was also charged in c onnection with two attempted k illings last October. It is alleged that he tried to kill two men, Kevin Johnson and Frankie Pierre, on October 26, 2011. On the night in question, both v ictims were injured in a doub le shooting on Fowler Street off East Bay Street. He was not required to plead to the attempted murder charges. Instead he will be served with a Voluntary Billo f Indictment on March 27. O n the issue of bail, the magistrate said: Even if I had the right to grant you bail, I will not. Youve been at large for some time. BTCHAPPY WITH 4G $50,000 bail bond at risk if man convicted SEIZED CASH WAS POKER WINNINGS f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e

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LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2012 THE TRIBUNE B y DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net FREEPORT National S ecurity Minister Tommy T urnquest commended police on Grand Bahama for seizing millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs and firearms in 2011. Speaking at the annual p olice thanksgiving service held at Central Zion Baptist Church in Eight Mile Rock,M r Turnquest reported that DEU officers on the island confiscated 341.24 pounds ofc ocaine, valued at $12.8 million, last year. He said 1,322 pounds of marijuana valued at $1.3 million and 20,775 marijuanap lants, in addition to $805,491.10 in cash, was also seized. Sixty firearms and 761 rounds of ammunition werer emoved from the streets in Grand Bahama in 2011, Mr Turnquest added. I commend Assistant C ommissioner Emrick Seym our and his team here in G rand Bahama for the innovative crime fighting initiatives that they continue tot ake, and especially for their success rate in the apprehen-s ion of criminals, particularly as it relates to the illicit drug trade, he said. M r Turnquest said many c riminal enterprises that use t he island as their base have b een disrupted thanks to the e fforts of the police. The presence of officers in areas where drugs and crime are responsible for the breakdown of law and ordera nd social cohesion in our c ommunities and neighbourhoods is of critical importance. The key to addressing crime and the fear of crime in our country continues tob e the increased presence and visibility of police officers to expose and bring toj ustice those drug dealers and drug pushers who use their ill-gotten wealth andi ntimidation or fear tactics, to exercise influence and control in their neighbourhoods and communities in order to frustrate lawe nforcement efforts. I am assured by the commissioner and his senior officers that the proactive strategies put in place will achievet he desired results. Mr Turnquest said the government has spared no effort in providing the police witht he tools needed to fight c rime effectively. I n 2011, he said, $14 million was spent on new patrol cars, two high-tech vans ande quipment. The money was also used to implement ane lectronic monitoring system for suspects on bail and upgrade the communication c ontrol rooms in Nassau and F reeport. M r Turnquest also noted t hat 435 new officers have enlisted since 2007, including two entire squads exclusively for Grand Bahama. The minister urged the public to continue providing the police with information that could help them prevent or solve crimes. He also commended ACP Seymour and his officers for reaching out to young people through their Summer Youth Camp, the West End Fishing C amp and a music pro g ramme. Mr Turnquest said a gene ral promotion exercise for the force will soon be held, and those most deserving will be promoted. I assure you of fairness in the exercise; however, there may be some police officers who are deserving of promotion that may not be able to be accommodated at this time, due to positions not being available within their next rank. I have advised the com missioner that those officers w ho are deserving of promo t ions that cannot be accommodated at this time will be r ewarded in some way, he said. By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net FREEPORT Grand Bahama Police are investi-g ating an armed robbery and shooting that left a 45-yearold man in hospital in serious condition. According to reports, the victim, the manager Coopers Service Station, was shota round 10pm on Monday. Asst Supt Loretta Mackey said the victim was shot in the torso and was rushed by ambulance to the Rand Memorial Hospital. A ccording to police, two masked men, one armed with a shotgun, held up the employees of the station and robbed them of cash. While fleeing the establishment, they fired a shott hrough the glass door, hitting the manager. The suspects were both described as about six feet tall and of slim build. They were wearing hooded jackets with masks ande scaped in a silver coloured Honda car. Police are asking anyone with information that might assist them with their investigation to call 350-3107/8, 3 52-9774/5 or 911 urgently. MAN IN HOSPITAL AFTER ARMED ROBBERY The Bahamas own street philosopher Police praised for drug seizures