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N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER Five years and still no answers Volume: 108 No.51WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER BRIGHT SUNSHINE HIGH 81F LOW 69F TRY OUR CRANBERRY & RAISIN O ATMEAL The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com DISTRESSED parents are demanding answers after their young son slipped into a coma during treatment at the Princess Margaret Hospital. Convinced that his condi tion worsened as a result of negligence, family members expressed their torment as Dsoragi Pitter-Hanna spent his fifth birthday unconscious. The ordeal is especially harrowing for parents Nathaniel and Sheryone Hanna, who have suffered the loss of two children at the Princess Margaret Hospital. Mrs Hanna, 39, said: The only thing they said is we have to keep talking to him so he can hear us, keep praying. To me, I feel like he can hear me. Sometimes I feel like hes coming back, other times its like hes gone. My husband cant take it. He cant work properly. Suffering from an asthma attack, which doctors called viral croup, Dsoragi was admitted to PMH on Decem ber 26. Mrs Hanna said her son was kept for observation until January 2 when doctors performed an endoscopy, a procedure in which a camera is inserted into a cavity of the body. During that procedure, (doctors anything, so they took him to the recovery room, Mrs Hanna said. That same day, he had another asthma attack and they had to take him back into theatre and put in a tra cheotomy to keep the airways open. Only moments after Dsoragi had been transferred back to the Childrens Ward, Mrs Hanna said nurses sounded the alarm that air was seeping out around the tube. When that happened, it caused his lungs to collapse, Mrs Hanna said. So they inserted two tubes into his lungs, meanwhile his heart rate was dropping and I think this is where negligence comes in because enough oxy gen wasnt getting to his brain. She added: As a result, he suffered brain damage and this will be three weeks that hes been in a coma with no improvement. CHARGES have yet to be brought against at least sixp eople suspected of corrup tion as part of the now fiveyear-long housing investigation because the case has been tied up in the Attorney Generals office. Despite numerous inquiries i nto the matter, no answers h ave been forthcoming from the officials as to the status of the case. According to a source close to the matter, the AGs office has had possession of the file for more than a year but prosecutors have yet to act on police recommendations. Police inquiries began into the Ministry of Housing which was then under PLP Minister of Housing Neville Wisdom after The Tribune published allegations by contractors that some government employees were engaged in corrupt practices at the expense of poor home buyers. Shoddy workmanship, illic it pay-offs, and rampant favouritism were among accu sations lodged against certain c ontractors and officials. By mid-2007, the investiga tion had stalled for the lack of evidence. In 2008, police said the case was still active and that more charges were to be expected. S ince T he Tribune r esumed i ts probe into the matter last year, several calls have been made for full disclosure concerning the investigation. During an interview with The Tribune before he was fired from Cabinet, former Housing Minister Kenneth Russell confirmed the longawaited probe had been com pleted, but never made public and at least six more people were expected to face charges as a result of the police investigation into allegations of corruption. Former lead investigator Keith Bell claimed that the investigation was subject to political interference. His B y KHRISNA VIRGIL firstname.lastname@example.org BAHAMAS Hotel, Catering and Allied WorkersU nion president Nicole Mart in warned that Kentucky Fried Chicken employees will not be bullied by their employer. Referring to the labour unrest of the 1950s, Ms Mar t in said the union is prepared to take action if necessary. She said: Back in 1958, s ome things had to happen. It appears as if we're back there today. If we from the hotel union have to step it up, we will step it up, because workers will not be taken for granted in thisc ountry again. Ms Martin was responding to a statement released on T uesday by KFCs parent company Restaurants Bahamas outlining the statuso f contract negotiations with t he union. The statement said: KFCs current wage benefits pack-a ge is more than two times higher than all of the other fast food brands. As a result,K FC has proposed to the union that wages be rolled back to a level that is more in line with its competitors,a s well as a reduction in specific benefits. By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com BAHAMIAN teachers dont want to work in the Family Islands because there is no incentive to do so, a union boss has claimed. Responding to Education Minister Desmond Bannis ters comments in the House of Assembly on Monday about the shortage of teachers in many islands, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT president Belinda Wilson said government policies, poor pay and a lack of employment opportunities for spouses deter teachers from volunteering to serve outside New Providence. She said: It is not attractive for teachers to volunteer to go to the Family Islands as the incentives are little and sometimes nonexistent. There is a difficulty with finances some teachers may No c har g es y et in housing in vestigation ENTERTAINMENT T T H H E E S S T T A A R R S S V V Y Y I I N N G G F F O O R R T T H H E E O O S S C C A A R R S S SEEPAGE11 ANDARTS CYCLING R R A A C C E E R R S S R R E E A A D D Y Y F F O O R R B B A A H H A A M M A A S S T T O O U U R R SEESPORTSSECTIONE B O Y 5, SLIPS INT O COMA DURING TREATMENT FAMILYMEMBERS show a picture of Dsoragi Pitter-Hanna, who is in a coma. Dsoragis family claim that his condition grew worse due to negligence at Princess Margaret Hospital. KFC STAFF WILL NOT BE BULLIED 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 UNION SAYS NO INCENTIVE FOR TEACHERS i m lovin it
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012 THE TRIBUNE A NEW website seeking to p rovide timely election results has been launched. Alexander Hanna, owner o f BahamasElections.com, said his website also aims to provide the public with infor m ation on all candidates and constituencies in the lead-up to the vote. We have so many people who do not know who is run ning in their constituency, let alone which constituency they belong to, he said. This is w hy it is our plan to publish maps of each constituency on to the site. T he website also features polls and a comments section for the public. F ollowers can participate in the Make a Prediction section, the results of which willb e published after the election. According to Mr Hanna, the site will be live during the election, and people can w atch its progress in real time. Thirty-three per cent of traffic to the site is from pers ons who search Bahamas elections and these people are not only from the Bahamas,w e've seen IP addresses from around the world, he said. Mr Hanna believes the site w ill be lively even after the elections, as the public will be able to continue participating in the polls and commentary. By LAMECH JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org THE girlfriend of a man accused of his brothers stab bing death last Valentines Day testified in a Supreme Court murder trial that she was not happy about the vic tim having to live with the accused prior to the incident. Janice Marc told a 12-member jury yesterday that the early morning of February 14, 2011 was the last time she had seen deceased Luigi Lockhart alive, as he had been staying at his brothers residence for nearly a month. Luigi Lockhart, the 15th homicide victim of 2011, was reportedly stabbed in the chest during an argument over a dog at his home. The accused, 25-year-old Cyril Lockhart is accused of the killing. In yesterday's trial, Ms Marc told the court that Luigi had come to live in their one bed-room apartment on Blenheim Road near the ending part of January 2011. I was not happy with that because of the background of Luigi and his aggressive behaviour. The mother of the 5-yearold daughter of the accused further explained that her dis comfort of the living situation stemmed from Luigis overreaction to simple things and a smoking habit that I was not comfortable with around my five-year-old daughter. She told the court that she had made her discomfort known to Cyril the day she found out that he was coming to stay. However, Cyril, according to the witness, rea soned that he could not turn away his own brother who had no place to go, having been kicked out of the Colony Club. Ms Marc said that her boyfriend had allowed Luigi to use his phonecard business to raise funds to find a place to live, though he did not move, despite numerous inquiries by Cyril as to whether or not he had found an apartment as yet. She said at one point in time, I thought hed moved because some of his belongings were gone. Though this was not so, she added, as hed slept there the same night that she did before she left for work shortly before 7am last Valentines Day. Regarding the pitbull, Ms Marc said that Cougar, whom they had from when he was a puppy had been a family gift from Cyril to him self, her and her daughter, purchased long before the morning of the stabbing incident. In cross-examination by prosecutor Terry Archer, the witness admitted to overhearing the brothers speak ing about why Luigi had been kicked out of his previous residence. Mr Archer had suggested to her that it was because of Cougar, the black pitbull dog that had been staying with Luigi for a short period of time at the Colony Club, that his previous landlord had kicked him out. After reviewing her statement to the police and her own recollection, she agreed. Mr Archer suggested to the witness that she was lying about the habits of the deceased which were not in the statements bearing her signature that she gave to the police. Ms Marc denied the sug gestions put forward by the prosecution. She was asked if any altercation took place between the two brothers before her departure for work at 7am. She answered: Not when I was there. The trial resumes today at 10am before presid ing judge Senior Justice Jon Isaacs. RIDE FOR Hope is gearing up for this years bike-a-thon with a free bike skills and handling course this Saturday, January 28. T he class, to be held at 4pm at St Pauls field, West Bay S treet will be conducted by Hot Tubes Cycling, the most successful junior road racing team in American history and one of the top cycling teamsi n the world. Instructions will include equipment checks, position-ing on the bike, safe shifting, riding in groups, riding single file, cornering, and downhilling. Thanks to the generosity of Hot Tubes, said Susan Larson, RFH co-chair, were able to offer to the generalp ublic the same bike skills t aught at a professional level t o international competitors. I ts a wonderful opportunity for us all, even for the young o r casual rider. Diane Holowesko Dunkley f rom RFH said: The safety o f our riders is of paramount i mportance to Ride For H ope, and the painstaking detail that goes into planning the event is to ensure their safety as much as possible. In addition to this, bike h andling skills are vital for everyone, as well all be safer riders if we know the proper techniques involved in everything from gear shifting, going downhill, rounding corners, a nd passing other riders. But safety starts first with having the correct gear and being properly fitted on yourb ike, which is why it's important for people who wish to attend this course to bring t heir bikes with them. One Ride For Hope participant who rode 100 miles in last years event was quite e xcited and relieved to hear about the course. I dont even know how to c hange a bike tire, he said, so Ill definitely be there. And I need all the advice I can get for those hills. According to Stephen Holowesko, RFH co-chair, Hot Tubes team directorT oby Stanton will conduct the course along with five of hisr iders. Not only is Hot Tubes one of the top cycling teams in the world, said Mr Holowesko, but they have a wonderfulp hilosophy in developing all aspects of the cyclist. According to Mr Stanton, Being a great teammate, being a great leader in the world on and off the bike, these are the hallmarks of H ot Tubes riders. Although no registration is need for the bike skills course, RFH administrator AliciaW allace said registration is a lready open for the annual b ike-athon. R egistration sessions will be held at: the Royal Bank of Canada on Carmichael Road on J anuary 27, 11am 4.30pm Lowes Pharmacy on Sold ier Road on January 30, n oon 4pm Logos Bookstore, Harbour Bay on February 8, 2pm6pm. Registration can also be c ompleted online at: http://www.rideforhopebahamas.com/ride_register.php. Ms Wallace she encouraged participants to sign up early, as the registration structure h as changed. The early registration fee of $50 is valid until February 14; the regular registration feeo f $75 is from February 15 to March 14, and a late registration fee of $100 begins March 1 5 to close, she said. Ride For Hopes annual bike-athon, which raises money for cancer care, r esearch and education in the Bahamas, will be held on Saturday, April 14 inG overnors Harbour, Eleuthera. RIDEFORHOPE GETSINTOGEAR CANDIDATE ISSURPRISED BY LEVELS OF SUPPORT By DENISE MAYCOCK T ribune Freeport Reporter d email@example.com FREEPORT The DNA announced its last three candidates yesterday at a pressc onference in Grand Bahama. T olonus Sands will run in Marco City. Fairlene Bridgewater-Thomas, the sister of former PLP MP and Senator Pleasant Bridgewater and the sister-in-law of former FNMc abinet Minister, High Rock M P Kenneth Russell, is running in East Grand Bahama. Speculation has since insisted that Mr Russell will be key in helping Ms Thomas gain public support. However, last night, Mr R ussell dismissed the claims saying he is not campaigning for anyone at this time. Howard Grant Jr, the son of FNM Eight Mile Rorck M P Vernae Grant, is also running in Central Grand B ahama. They join Osman J ohnson, the candidate for P ineridge, and Roger Rolle, the candidate for West Grand B ahama. With a full slate of candidates n ow named to contest all 38 c onstituency seats, the leader o f the DNA said the party has a chieved an historic milestone in Bahamian politics. Never before in a modern B ahamas has a so-called third party presented Bahamian v oters with a full slate of viable and highly qualified candidates to contest a general election, McCartney said. Today I can say that this is m omentous. This introduction of the three candidates I present today, the DNA would have defied another set of odds, and in doing so this one time called splinter group i s now the alternative gove rnment; we have rewritten Bahamian history, McCartney said. Grand Bahama, I know you have been waiting a long time for the DNA; yourw ait is over. Today with the addition of the three candidates the D NA will present the B ahamian people with 38 able-bodied and impassioned men and women who are pre-p ared to contest the full 38 named constituencies up for grabs in the upcoming genera l election and we are prep ared to win the government o f the Bahamas. Mr McCartney said that b oth the FNM and PLP have failed Grand Bahama. He said the DNAs strategy is to create jobs and rebuild people. H e noted that there have been layoffs on Grand Bahama at Hutchisons container port, Grand Lucaya Resort, and BORCO, as well as reduced work weeks at City Market. M r McCartney indicated that i n the short term the DNAs strategy is to create a new government ministry for Grand Bahama with a cabinet minister at the helm to deal specificallyw ith matters pertaining to Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Port Authority. H e also stated that they w ant to amend the Port Authority Act to make it current, and work with theG BPA to ensure that living and working in Grand Bahama would be significantl y improved for Bahamians. I see where the PM is now s aying that he is now talking to the GBPA. It is a little too late I think, Mr McCartney said. He warned that Bahamians should not be fooled by that. Because there is an elect ion dont be fooled by that. The PM, now realising that the FNM is in deep problems, would say anything. We have less than 20 weeks before the next elect ion; what happened to the l ast four and a half years? Mr McCartney asked. People have lost their homes, people are living in cars, people dont have elec-t ricity, no food; they cant send their children to school and young adults cannot go b ack to college this is no w ay to be living. Mr McCartney also questioned why the governmentw aited until near elections to promote 250 people this week within the Defence Force. I am not saying they dont d eserve promotions, and m aking it retroactive. Why didnt you do that when the t ime was right as opposed to doing it now 20 weeks before an election date? he asked. DNAunveils final three candidates ELECTION WEBSITELAUNCHED THELAST three candidates of the DNA are, from left, Howard Grant Jr (Central Grand Bahama S ands (Marco CityEast Grand Bahama R EGISTERED v oters flock to Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium to collect their voters cards. Photos: Tim Clarke/Tribune Staff
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012, PAGE 3 BGCSEREVISION SESSIONSI NSTITUTE OF BUSINESS a nd COMMERCETEL: 324-4625 B Y DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT Two preschoolers were injured one seriously when they fell from a school bus on Tuesday morning. According to police, the b us was at the junction of Wentworth Avenue and John Tinker Street at around 8.30am when the incident o ccurred. The ages of the two victims have not been released. They were taken to Rand M emorial Hospital, where one child is in serious condition and the other is stable. T he police investigation into the causes of the incident is ongoing. B Y DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com FREEPORT The Democratic National Alliance has sufficient funding to run aw inning campaign, but will n ot use a single dollar of it to buy votes, party leader Branville McCartney said. According to Mr McCartney, from the beginning, raising money was never a problem for the party. The pockets of the DNA are sufficient to win the election but we are not going about trying to buy the election, he said during a visit to Grand Bahama. We have sufficient funds to carry out the election, but we a re not going to do it the way others will. We are not going to ask Bahamians to prostitutet hemselves by selling their vote. We respect the Bahamian people more than that. Mr McCartney said over the last eight months, the D NA has been doing more in terms of community work and e vents than the other parties c ombined. He said: When w e launched the party on M ay 12, we launched in grand style and had close to 4,000 persons that has never been done before in the history of the Bahamas. We get our funding from p ersons on the street, we get funding from persons who believe in real change for one Bahamas; and we initially sold our paraphernalia, which has never been done in the history of the Bahamas. When we first started, we wanted to determine whether interest in the party was genuine or just curiosity, so we decided to sell our shirts, hats and paraphernalia, and we w ere unable to keep stock. Mr McCartney said his part y has held town meetings on several serious issues, including crime, immigration, jobs,t he economy and education. He said that if time permits as he is not sure when the election will be called they also want to hold a town m eeting on the subject of good governance. I n it, the party will discuss a n umber of concepts, includi ng limiting the power of the p rime minister and restricting an individual to two terms in the post. That has been said before by our Prime Minister, andw e want to make that law, M r McCartney said. If elected, he said, the DNA would fix the size of constituencies, discontinuing the practice of cutting of boundaries. He said the party would a lso look into establishing a government ombudsman a watchdog for the people to ensure accountability on the part of public officers. Mr McCartney also wants t o amend the Public Disclosure Act. We want to give more teeth to that Act. As you know, the Act asks for publico fficers to disclose their income and we would want to extend that up to five years after you leave public service, because we want to determine a fter you leave public service, what foolishness you have b een doing, he said. B y LAMECH JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org THE appeal hearing of drug convict Melvin Maycock Sr could be heard onV alentines Day the same day as his bail application goes before the Courtof Appeal. H owever, whether the appeal is heard on that day by appellate court president Justice Anita Allen and Justices StanleyJ ohn and Christopher Blackman will d epend on how soon the transcripts from his trial in Magistrates Court and submissions by attorneys are ready. M aycock Sr is applying for bail pending the outcome of his appeal on a conv iction of drug possession with intent to s upply and seven other offences. In May 2008, police seized more than 1,000 lbs of marijuana from a home May-c ock rented on West Bay Street, along with three guns and assorted ammunition. The drugs had an estimated street valu e of more than $1 million. Maycock faced a maximum of five years in prison. H is trial came to an end on November 1 when he was found guilty of drug and firearm possession. He was sentenced to three years in p rison after consideration was given to the two years he had already been in c ustody. D uring Mondays proceedings, defence attorney Wayne Munroe explained that it was possible to conduct both the bailh earing and the appeal on the same day, as his submissions on bail would take no more than 15 minutes. H owever, he added that the court, prosecution and defence would all need to be in possession of the full transcriptsf rom the trial. J ustice Allen agreed, saying that if the records are made available in a timely fashion, both matters could be heard onF ebruary 14 at 10am. CHILDREN INJURED IN FALL FROM SCHOOL BUS DNAleader:e will not buy votes in campaign VALENTINES DAY DOUBLE DATE FOR MAYCOCK OVER CONVICTION FOR POSSESSION OF DRUGS WORTH $1M DNALEADER Branville McCartney
EDITOR, The Tribune. THERE has been a lot of fanfare and enthusiasm inG rand Bahama over the nomi nation of noted journalist Pakeisha Parker-Edgecombe for the Free National Movement (FNM Edgecombe will contest the W est Grand Bahama and B imini constituency, a Progressive Liberal Party (PLP s tronghold. The fact that the West End and Bimini constituency hast raditionally been a PLP bastion could pose a difficult challenge for any candidate w ho is not a member of the O fficial Opposition, let alone a political novice, with all due respect to Mrs Edgecombe. M oreover, Edgecombe will be going against Obediah Wilchcombe, a veteran politi-c ian. Wilchcombe has been in front-line politics since the early 1990s, I think. I understand that he was a protg of the legendary Sir Lynden Pindling, the firstP rime Minister of an independent Bahamas. That should go a long way in helping Wilchcombe in a constituency that has stuck with the PLP through thick a nd thin. I t has often been said by political observers that ever since the formation of theF NM in the early 1970s, most Grand Bahamians have been loyal supporters of the FNM. That is why keen observerso f Bahamian politics have dubbed Grand Bahama FNM Country. I n fact, that term has even been used derisively by oppo nents of the FNM. Some have e ven gone as far as alleging t hat former PLP administra tions had intentionally neglected Grand Bahama fori ts unwavering support for the FNM. However, the one con s tituency on Grand Bahama that has perennially rejected the governing party is West End and Bimini. Of course, t he FNM won that constituency in the 1997 general election. But that election was n ot a typical one by any stretch of the imagination. The PLP was clobbered at t he polls. I dont think any one was surprised to learn that the FNM had captured West End and Bimini. The FNM has now given the nod to the inexperienced Edgecombe to run against a s easoned, indomitable candidate. To say that this will be a daunting task for the young FNM candidate would be putting it mildly. P ut bluntly, this would be considered a mismatch by most political observers. Thep eople in West End love their M ember of Parliament. In fact, I understand that they h ad even paid his election deposit for either the 2002g eneral election or for the e lection in 2007. F urther, Wilchcombe is the P LPs shadow Minister of Tourism. He had served as t he Minister of Tourism in the Christie administration. It is very likely that he will ber eappointed to that position if the PLP wins the general election. In addition to serving in the House of Assembly for nearl y ten years, Wilchcombe has a lso served as a senator and c hairman of the opposition. Clearly he has a wealth of experience. I think that it is safe to say that Wilchcombe is one of them ore prominent MPs of the P LP. In fact, a number of y ears ago, there were rumours circulating through the press that the West End and Bimi n i MP was aspiring to become the leader of the opposition. I believe the PLP will use every legal means necessary t o keep him in the House. The question, of course, that everyone might be asking is this: Is the FNM party willing to do the same thing for Edgecombe? I am not tooc ertain that the answer would be yes. Having said that, Edge combe has at least one signifi cant advantage to Wilch combe. A few months ago the Boundaries Commission had proposed that the constituency of Eight Mile Rock be eliminated. The communityo f Eight Mile Rock has been j oined to the West End and Bimini constituency. Historically, Eight Mile Rock has been an FNM stronghold. This large community could very well pose a problem for Wilchcombe and the PLP. In fact, if I were Wilchcombe, I would have been rigorously canvassing thatc ommunity from the day it was a nnounced that Eight Mile Rock would be amalgamated to West End and Bimini. In this day and age, you really cannot take anything f or granted. In the past, PLP r epresentatives for West End and Bimini could have gotten a way with neglecting that constituency. But now that Eight Mile Rock has been added tot hat constituency, there isnt much room for error. I hope Wilchcombe understands this. I n any event, a lot of pressure w ill be on Wilchcombe to pull this thing off. Everyone expects him to win. On theo ther hand, Edgecombe has virtually nothing to lose. Few expects her to win. I alsot hink that there is also going to be a curiosity factor in this electoral contest. Grand Bahamians, especially those who watch ZNS TV news, are going to be closely monitoring Edgecombes campaign. P erhaps, another thing that could work in Edgecombes favour is her celebrity. Everybody whos anybody knows Pakeisha Parker-Edgecombe. She used to read the news for t he Northern Service ZNS T V-13 weekday evening newscasts. Also, Edgecombe is young, good-looking andm ore importantly, she is a woman. One only has to look at the amount of enthusiasm that the former governor ofA laska Sarah Palin had gen erated after being selected to run with former Republican p residential candidate Senator John McCain in the 2008 US presidential election.S arah Palin was treated like a r ock star. I think Edgecombe will do well among female voters. N evertheless, the race for West Grand Bahama will be like a David and Goliath mis m atch. It will be very interesting to see how the popular journalist does at the polls. I think the eyes of the nation a re all on the contest for that constituency. K EVIN EVANS Freeport, Grand Bahama,J anuary 16, 2012. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 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 THE US and Europe are trying to stop Iran, the world's third-biggest oil exporter, from selling crude. Irans response is tot hreaten to disrupt shipments from the e ntire Middle East. Yet oil prices have hardly budged. Theyre at $98.95, up just 12 cents since the start of year. J ust a year ago, uprisings in far less i mportant oil-producing countries such as E gypt and Libya sent oil and gasoline prices to their highest levels in three years a nd prompted Western nations to release millions of barrels of oil from emergency supplies. The reason for such calm thisy ear: No oil has been blocked, and theres a good chance none will be. The US and Europe want to deprive Iran of the oil income it needs to run its government and, most importantly, fund w hat the West believes is an effort to build a nuclear weapon. Last year, Iran genera ted $100 billion in revenue from oil, up from $20 billion a decade ago, according to IHS CERA. T he European Union announced Monday it would ban the import of Iranianc rude starting in July. The US already b ans Iranian oil, but it has placed sanct ions on Irans banks to make it harder for that nation to sell crude. Iran, in retaliation, has threatened to b lock the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow Per sian Gulf waterway between Iran and Oman through which one-fifth of thew orlds oil passes. If that were to happen, e xperts say oil prices could soar toward $200 per barrel and deliver a blow to already wobbly Western economies. Dri-v ers would pay more for gasoline, airlines would spend more on fuel and shippers would pay more for diesel. That wouldl eave people and companies with less money to spend and invest. Using oil as a political weapon is an old tactic, but it may not be effective this time. I f either side blocks the sale of oil in a meaningful way, it hurts itself. Irans econ omy depends on the sale of oil. The e conomies of Western nations depend on reasonably priced oil. Here are key questions and answers a bout what the ban could mean. Q: What is Iran's role in the world oil market? A: Iran exports 2.5 million barrels of oil p er day, about 3 per cent of world sup plies. About 500,000 barrels go to Europe and most of the rest goes to China, India, Japan and South Korea. Iranian fields produce a type of oil known as heavy, sour crude. While common, these crudes ares ulfurous and require more refining and expense to turn into valuable fuels such as gasoline. As a result, they generally cost refiners less than so-called lighter, sweeter crudes. Q: Will Iran try to block the Strait of Hormuz? A: Its unlikely. The international naval response would be overwhelming because the strait is the worlds most importante nergy choke point. Each day, 14 tankers o n average squeeze through a shipping channel that, at its narrowest, is just 2 miles wide. If Iran could block it, it woulds end oil prices spiking to $150 to $200, a nalysts say, and badly damage Western e conomies. If that happened, Iran would hurt itself and its best customers, not just W estern nations and producers like Saudi Arabia that also use the strait. Eighty-five per cent of the oil that travels through thes trait goes to Asian nations, which are not p articipating in the embargo. Also, it would be all but impossible for Iran to keep its oil flowing through the strait while it tries to block oil from other countries. Q With all this saber rattling, why arent o il prices soaring? A : Because the strait is likely to remain open, keeping supplies flowing. And because Asian countries, already Iransb iggest customers, arent joining the Europeans in banning Iranian oil. Also, theE uropean embargo doesn't start until July, s o oil markets will likely have time to adjust. A s Europe turns away from Iran to other markets, though, it could push up prices for certain types of global crudes. And the b rinkmanship between Iran and the West may already be having some effect on prices, analysts say. Q : Will the embargo hurt or help Iran? A : If Iran can no longer sell to Europe, it will have to find other buyers. That wont likely be difficult, especially given Asiasr ising demand for oil. But Asian nations may be able to negotiate a discount for Iranian oil. O n the other hand, if global oil prices rise and Iran can sell its oil for somewhat higher prices, Iran's oil revenue will grow. Q: If supplies of Iranian crude are dis r upted, will other nations be able to make up the difference? A: Eventually, yes. The US is pressuring o ther Middle East and African nations to increase production to help keep Europe and the world well-supplied as the embar-g o slowly takes effect. Saudi Arabia says it could increase its supplies to make up for any lost Iranian crude. Irans relatively heavy crude is easier to replace than theL ibyan light, sweet crude that was cut off during last year's uprising. Still, an increase in production from oth er nations would leave little wiggle room for those countries to increase supplies further if needed. The oil market gets ner-v ous, and sends prices higher, if it thinks producing nations dont have capacity to pump more oil to make up for a supply interruption somewhere in the world. This article is by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer Contest of David and Goliath LETTERS l email@example.com How an oil embargo could hit markets
B y DANA SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org P LP candidate for Long I sland Alex Storr is surprised by the amount of sup port he has received in the c onstituency and believes he will do better than most people are expecting. A ccording to Mr Storr, the f irst PLP nominee Long Island has seen for years, constituents have been very r eceptive to his campaign. He said: The people are excited that they will have aP LP candidate. M r Storr said he is also excited about the prospect of running against the otherL ong Island nominees Loretta Butler-Turner for the FNM and Mario Cartwright f or the DNA. Theyve called Long I sland an FNM stronghold b ut Im sure Im going to do better than most people are expecting, he said. Nothingi s sure until the last ballot is c ounted. Long Islanders have been upset and neglected by pastg overnments, Mr Storr said, and he feels confident of a win. He said he will keep the campaign about the issues, s uch as the economy and i nfrastructure. When asked what he thinks the people of Long Islandw ant in a representative, Mr Storr said: Just that they are looking for a representa-t ive. They feel for the last seve ral times they elected an MP who really didnt represent them. They want someone w ho will fight for Long Island. Following his ratification in 2 011, Mr Storr told cons tituents that change is on the way. I have a vision for Long I sland, he said. Not over crowded like Nassau, but a place where you have the a ccess to all the amenities, utilities and standards of living of Nassau. Mr Storr told Long I slanders: I have also heard y our disappointment with the current level of representa tion and the feeling that Long I sland has been neglected. The FNM government has turned a deaf ear and a blinde ye to Long Island. I know y our relationship with the PLP for some of you has been a bitter-sweet one, but I am h ere to make amends for any perceived wrongs, to set Long Island on the right track and to help make Long Island all that it can be. Although Mr Storr is not o riginally from Long Island, h is family descended from the constituency. My mother was born t here, shes from there, and I would spend summers and holidays there, he said. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012, PAGE 5 THE Bahamas and Nigeria are seeking to forge ties in tourism and other economic areas. T his and other matters were discussed when Sir A rthur Foulkes, Governor-General accepted Letters of Commission presented by Her Excellency Laraba Elsie-Bhutto, accrediting her as non-resident High Commissioner from the Federal Republic of Nigeria to The Bahamas during a ceremony at Government House on Thursday, January 19. Today begins another chapter in the continued d evelopment of strong, mutually-beneficial bilateral relations and cooperation between our two countries. Our two countries share historical commonalities that cannot be denied, and which will continue to be promoted, he said. Regarding Nigeria as one of Africa's leading countries, Sir Arthur also described it as a leader in the e stablishment of the New Partnership for African Development, the creation of the Economic Community of West African States, and significant contributions to the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo,G hana and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. H e also congratulated Nigeria for its recent cont ributions to the international community as a NonPermanent Member of the United Nations Security Council. Notwithstanding the difference in size, The B ahamas and Nigeria have partnered politically in several major international fora such as the UN, the African Caribbean Pacific Group and, the Com-m onwealth, Sir Arthur said. Also, both countries are committed to the ideals of democracy, human rights a nd sustainable development. Our two countries share historical commonalities that cannot be denied, and which will continue to be p romoted. We too are aware and share with your country many concerns as they relate to the environment, security and energy, he said. N igeria was also acknowledged for making sign ificant strides in confronting environmental challenges on an international, federal and local level and is actively exploring methods of producing renewable and sustainable energy. In this regard, I commend the efforts of your government in your country and, in particular, for p rogrammes aimed at mitigating the adverse effects o f climate change, Sir Arthur said. And, he also applauded the Government of Nigeria for its efforts to be among the 20 most developed countries in 2020, despite formidable obstacles. As The Bahamas is known for its robust tourism industry the mainstay of its economy, he said the country would welcome opportunities to strengthen i ts relations with Nigeria in this sector. It is our hope that, moving forward with these proposals, we can see the fruit of our labour manifest in meaningful progress for both Nigeria and The Bahamas, Sir Arthur said. H igh Commissioner Bhutto thanked Sir Arthur f or receiving her Letters of Commission, and accepti ng the Letters of recall of her predecessor, Senator Segun Bamigbetan Baju. She also offered condolences from Nigeria's President Dr. Goodluck Ebeke Jonathan and the people of Nigeria, on the death ofS ir Clifford Darling, former Governor-General of The Bahamas. The High Commissioner also paid courtesy calls on Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham;a nd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette. By SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com FOX HILL MP Fred M itchell yesterday called on Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham to stop ducking and dodging a national debate with leaders of the PLP andt he DNA. M r Mitchell said Mr Ingrah am must agree forthwith and without conditions to a debate on the major issues facing the Bahamas. He said: The Prime Minister must account for hisd ecisions. Ducking and dodgi ng will not do. The PLP's leader has already said he will agree to a debate. The leader of the DNA has agreed. Now, all that is required is for the man who claims he means what he says and says w hat he means to agree. M r Mitchells comments c ame two days after DNA l eader Branville McCartney i ssued a formal request for a d ebate. He said the forum would signal a commitment t o accountable governance a nd be a critical step in s trengthening democracy. Too many of the troubles we now face stem from decisions made behind closed doors, regulations removed when no one was looking, or r eckless actions taken while authorities turned a blind e ye, the letter stated. Our country is strongest when our elected leaders are accessible and accountable to its citizens, explaining their d ecisions and answering t ough questions. Mr Ingraham neither r ejected nor accepted the challenge to a debate when a sked by T he Tribune e arlier this month. Mr Ingraham said: I don't talk foolishness. I debate every day. A ccording to DNA chair man Mark Humes, there has been no response from Mr Ingraham, or the Free Nation a l Movement, to the official request. CANDIDATE ISSURPRISED BY LEVELS OF SUPPORT PLPCANDIDATE Alex Storr. Forging links with Nigeria HER EXCELLENCY Laraba Elsie-Bhutto is accepted as Non-Resident High Commissioner from the FederalR epublic of Nigeria to The Bahamas by Prime Minister H ubert Ingraham during a ceremony at Government H ouse on Thursday, January 19. Photo: Peter Ramsay /BIS M ITCHELL CALLS ON PM TO JOIN DEBATE
By SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org POLICE say they have few l eads in their investigation i nto the murder of 45-yearold Wing Hong Chan. A ssistant Superintendent Stephen Dean yesterday conf irmed that no one has been taken into custody in connection with the fatal shooting on Sunday morning. We are looking at some areas and checking some things. We have a composite sketch and have been getting some leads because of it. Wea re doing a number of things and the investigation is very active, he said. Right now, we have little to go on so we are depending heavily on the public. Wek now people have information that can assist us in our investigations. Someone out there knows something and we need them to come forward. We need justice for the family and for the victim. We are confident we will bring this case to ac lose soon, he said. M r Chan was shot and killed during an armed rob b ery at his Village Road home early Sunday morning. He had just returned home after celebrating the Chinese New Year with family and f riends when he was approached by a gunman around 3.30am. The man robbed Mr Chan of his cell phone before shooting him and fleeing the area. The victim was rushed to the hospital but died a short time later. The suspect is believed to be in his mid 20s and is described as having medium brown complexion, slim build and standing six feet tall. On Monday, a statement i ssued by the Chinese Embassy advised its citizens to pay due care and attention to their personal safety a nd security while engaged in their daily activities. Consul Zhai Xingfu and the c onsular officers of the Chi nese Embassy, on behalf of Chinese Ambassador H E HuS han, urged the police to make every effort to break the case and bring the mur-d erer to justice as soon as poss ible. Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact police by calling 919, the Central Detective Unit on 502-9991 or Crime Stop pers anonymously on 328TIPS. Mr Chan was the country's seventh murder victim for the year. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012 THE TRIBUNE B y DANA SMITH email@example.com NEWLY re-elected Police Staff Association chairman Dwight Smith confirmed that some members were disgruntled in the aftermath of lastw eeks elections, but said most were not complaining about the process or the results. Speaking yesterday morning at the associations headq uarters during the announcem ent of the new executive board, Mr Smith said the complaints mainly concerned the associations by-laws and constitution. However, hinting at possible internal conflicts stemming from the election, he said: Its just sad to know t hat those persons who have complaints about the by-laws a ctually sat around this table l ast year and said nothing to it. Im only hearing them say it now, since they were not r e-elected. If it was not a p roblem then, why is it a p roblem now? He also disclosed the contents of a letter in which one member complained about the election process and internal rules, but according to Mr Smith, the letter was datedt he day of the election. He said: Why wait until the day of the election to havea complaint? You should have channeled that long before, so that we can look at i t and address it. And, its only signed by one person; that does not give us the authority to stop a whole election process. Royal Bahamas Police Force officers are peacemakers, Mr Smith said, so anything we do is peaceful and certainly there was no i ssue (with the elections There are one or two persons w ho might have little issues b ut nothing that we can not deal with. He added that the few disgruntled members are still a ssets to the association. These persons that Im h earing all through the media and sending out letters, they have a good skill. I wish they were on this team, they could have helped in public relations, because obviously they know how to get the messagea cross. Persons who are complaining about the by-laws, the constitution, obviously theyve got some legal minds so we can sit them down with o ur legal officer. They can sit d own and work it out. Nearly 2,000 of the approximately 2,200 members voted in the election, and Mr Smith believes the they could have not chosen a better team of minds for this term. Four new positions were established, including execut ive director, chief welfare officer, legal aid and right offic er, and information and e vents officer. With these positions, it is our intention to advance the association further to provide p rofessional assistance to our m embership and the general p ublic at large, Mr Smith said. The executive director will control the resources and expenditures of the association, including the day-to-day management. T he chief welfare officer will provide aid for the medical, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of police officers and their families who have suffered hardship. T he legal aid and right offic er will educate and advise officers in the art of not falling or yielding to temptation or corruption and will protect officers legal and constitutional rights. The information and events officer will update the associations website daily. The p osition was created due to members complaints of the l ack of information being diss eminated throughout its membership, Mr Smith said. Already on the table for this year is a proposal to c hange the chairmans term f rom one to two years. M r Smith said: We already have consensus of the whole membership at large. The majority of membership wish for us to establish the two year basis. That is something we are just waiting on Parlia-m ent to deal with. He said the association is also in the process of becoming a member to the National Association of Police Officers (NAPO Its the first time in history t hat a Bahamian or a person outside the United States sits on the executive board, he said. The arrangement will allow Bahamian police officers to look at our counterparts to see how they do policing, he said. Mr Smith also hopes it w ill make more international training programmes availa ble to officers. T he other executive members chosen in the election were: deputy chairman, Warren J ohnson executive secretary, Lisa S aunders Armbrister deputy chairman for Grand Bahama, Darrell Weir chief welfare officer for Grand Bahama, Chris Barr private engagement chairman, Leonard Barr private engagement deputy chairman, Claudius Collie executive member, Ricardo Walkes assistant secretary, Nicola M ackey executive member, Kevin Farrington executive treasurer, Kirk Bastian public relations, Jacqueline Jones assistant treasurer, Latroy Bodie chief welfare officer, S hanique Ford private engagement chairm an of Grand Bahama, Ernie B arr assistant welfare of the Family Islands, Darius Sealey sergeant of arms, Gerard M iller Police staff association admits some complaints after vote By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT Grand Bahama Police are following significant leads into several armed robberies here since making an arrest this weekend which has resulted in the recovery of two stolen vehi cles. Asst Supt Loretta Mackey, press liaison officer, said a jeep that was stolen during an armed robbery on November 26, 2011, at the Interna tional Bazaar has been recov ered. She said police have also been able to recover a black Nissan 300ZX car that was stolen during an armed rob bery in Arden Forest on Jan uary 20, 12. Ms Mackey said police are thankful to the community and the media for their continued support. STOLEN VEHICLES FOUND NO ARRESTS YET AS POLICE CONTINUE SEARCH FOR KILLER OF CHINESE WORKER A S KETCH DRAWING r eleased by police of the man sought in connection with the murder ofW ing Hong Chan.
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012, PAGE 7 rb DJanuaryIsCervicalCancer AwarenessMonth TheCancerCentreBahamasAreInvitingTheGeneralPublicToAFREELectureOnCancerOfTheCervixMonday,January30th,2012 6:30-8:00p.m. SpaceIsLimited/MustRSVPTel:242-502-9610 Speakers:TheCancerCentre,BahamasWillBeHostingACancer ClinicWithProfessorDr.KarolSikora ProvidingConsultationsAndTreatments ToPersonsWithCancerMonday,January30th,20129:00am-5:00pm ForAnAppointment Telephone:242-502-9610 ProfessorDr.KarolSikora MA,PhD.FRCR,FRCP,FFPM DirectorofMedicalOncology& Director,CancerPartnersUK,London Hon.Prof.Dr.ArthurPorterPC,MD,MBA,FACR,FACRO,FAAMA DirectorofRadiationOncology& CEOofMcGillUniversityHealthCentre statements were denied by the police force and dismissed by National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest as political opportunism. According to the police, an i nvestigation into allegations of corruption at the Ministry of Housing is still active. However, in a statement released in December, policei ndicated that the long-standi ng probe stemmed from a c omplaint received from the Ministry of Housing, which requested an investigation into alleged unethical practices by persons from the Ministry of Housing in thea ftermath of Hurricanes Frances and Jean. Mr Bell said he was only d irected to investigate serious a llegations of corruption and breaches of trust within the ministry concerning contractors and housing inspectors. Allegations of unofficial payoffs was one of two separ ate issues uncovered during T he Tribune s series on the Ministry of Housing. The second pointed to the discrepancies in the cost of houses between the recordsp roduced by the ministry and d ocuments obtained indep endently by T he Tribune Both investigations, and the claims raised, have yet to be resolved. Mr Bells performance during the housing investigation was also criticized by formerc olleagues. F ormer assistant commissioner Paul Thompson noted that proper inspection of the homes in question, detailed examination of the relevant records and skilful interrogat ion techniques would have b een sufficient to determine whether or not there was collusion between contractors and building inspectors in the alleged corruption, or justn egligence on behalf of the l atter. A ccording to Mr Russell, these investigations led to the Value for Money (VFM audit of the former Ministry of Housing and National Insurance, contracted by the Auditor-General, and con-d ucted by Crown Agents over t he period May 12 to June 6, 2008. The independent report concluded that the political imperative to build homes resulted in major remedial w ork to government-built h ouses and an overburdening of both financial and technical resources. While contracting arrangements were intended to be them ain focus of the audit, it was s tated that there was a comp lete absence of information on how contracts were awarded. In an interview with The Tribune late last year, Ministry of Housing technical director Godfrey Major saidh e was stripped of his respons ibility to contract infrastructure work and house building in 2002 without explanation. Contracts to build government homes were directly awarded by a consultant, thus r educing the housing director's r ole to that of an adviser within the former Ministry of Housing and National Insurance. According to Mr Major, the consultants name was Antho-n y Farrington. When asked f or contact information on Mr F arrington, Mr Major said he did not have any. Former minister Shane Gibson said that he did not want to get involved. According to the statement, as a result of the unions u nresponsiveness, KFC i ntends to unilaterally implement the changes by February 20, 2012. Restaurants Bahamas proposed an almost 15 per cent decrease in wages for all KFC employees six years ago. Ms Martin said Tuesdays statement was just a ploy to force t he union to comply. S he said: In contract negot iations, I thought it to be the c ase that you negotiate until you come to an agreement. But clearly the operators and owners of Restaurants Bahamas are of the view that propose to you something, you give me what I want. If I dont get it, I will wage a publ ic warfare. In the meeting last week T hursday, we left with the understanding that the union would quantify the areas of concession for management. In that quantification, we would also say how long the concessions would be for. Those were supposed to be submitted to the company this w eek Friday, she said. We actually thought that n egotiations were going pretty good. Weve only gone through o ne round of negotiations. M s Martin criticised L abour Minister Dion F oulkes for his back-seat a pproach to labour issues. It is so discouraging that we do not have a Minister of L abour that would come and talk, but offers no real intervention. There is only sitting down, let me hear you and you and l et me hear them. We need a minister that will stand up for labour in this country. When are we going to get that person? When? have a home in New Provid ence and while they would l ike to experience the Family Islands, they cannot afford a mortgage and rent. A ddressing allegations that Family Island schools are understaffed, Mr Bannisters aid he is shocked by the low n umber of graduates who choose to seek employment outside of the capital. He said: I could not believe how many Bahamian teachers, and I have said itp ublicly so many times, come out of the College of the Bahamas and do not want to go to the Family Islands. Then I go and see foreign teachers serving so valiantly i n our Family Islands, giving s ervice. Encouraging Bahamian teachers to consider other posts, Mr Bannister said it is important that Family Island residents have access to thes ame level of education. We have made outstanding progress in having Bahamians posted in the F amily Islands and we are going to continue to do that we continue to seek to dot hat, said Mr Bannister. But, Mrs Wilson said, it is not enough for the minister to just generally say there is a difficulty getting teachers to go to the Family Islands He should have also haves aid what our Family Island teachers face on a daily basis. She said while teachers that are posted in the Family Islands receive government salaries, those that wish to volunteer are not providedh ousing or any form of assistance with accommodation. If they would change that policy, which the union has been agitating for a while, she said, then the unionw ould be willing to use whatever influence we have to go to encourage them go to the Family Islands. A dditionally, Ms Wilson said the lack of employment opportunities for the spousesa nd other family members and limited access to tertiary educational institutions for their children present further obstacles. A lot of our teachers are already family oriented andt hey are unable to move their spouses and children because there are very few opportunities in the Family Islands for employment, she said. Mrs Wilson also noted that some Family Islands are seena s hardship islands, that suffer from a lack of amenities and conveniences for examD soargis unresponsive state has taken a great toll on the entire family, as the couplesf irst two children did not survive more than a few months. Mrs Hanna gave birth to a p remature baby girl in 1997, and a full-term baby boy in 1998. The girl survived nearlyt hree months, while the boy only lived for one week. Dsoragi celebrated his fifth birthday last Friday. G loria Pitter, Dsoragis 62year-old grandmother, said: We want justice, we want a second opinion. We want to know what went wrong witht he baby. T hree weeks hes been just lying there. We want justice. M rs Hanna lodged a formal complaint with the hospital a dministration yesterday. FIVEYEARSANDSTILLNOANSWERS 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 UNION SAYS NO INCENTIVE FOR TEACHERS BOY, 5, SLIPS INTO COMA DURING TREATMENT KFC STAFF WILL NOT BE BULLIED
IN a recent Tribune article, heart specialist Dr Conville Brown complained about Bahamians spending millions of dollars in the US for medical care that could easily beo btained at home. He was arguing in favour of local healthcare providers building a large-scale medical tourism industry. The same things that all t ourists do, he said, the m edical tourist has to do. (And if the ownership is Bahamian, then the economy really wins because those funds will stay here. But at the same time, he f elt constrained to point out t hat Bahamians were offsetting the income from foreigners by flying off to get treatment in the US. We boost their economy big time. We are reverse med-i cal tourists. Several hospitals i n South Florida say their b iggest international clientele i s from the Bahamas. M edical tourism is a multib illion-dollar growth industry t hat hospitals, doctors and tourism marketers around the w orld are eager to tap into. B y some accounts, more than h alf a million Americans trave l to other countries for medical treatment partly for cost reasons and partly to take advantage of procedures not yet approved in the US. There can be no disagreement with Dr Browns posi-t ion in terms of the Bahamian economy. And for patients, the benefits are equally obvious and compelling. If Bahamians obtained their medical treatment at home, they would significantlyr educe the logistics, expense and stress of being treated abroad. Why then, do so many of us spend so much money overseas for treatments that are available right here ath ome? We can answer that q uestion fairly confidently g iven a choice, patients will seek medical care from the d octors, hospitals and clinics they trust the most. This is a personal decision, and it is usually an informed decision. Patients must feela ssured that the doctors and facilities they choose are both a ccountable and able to provide the best quality care they can afford. S o what processes do we h ave in place to convey such assurances to Bahamians? Well, there are three statutory bodies that are capable ofp roviding quality assurance and oversight to the Bahamian healthcare sector. The Public Health Authority has managed government hospitals and clinics since 1999, under the direction oft he Minister of Health. As an independent public body, the Authority is responsible for planning, policy, monitoring, evaluation, and management, as well as programme development and oversight. H owever, the PHAs legisl ation has no provision for the i nvestigation of complaints about the healthcare facilities m anaged by the Authority. Instead, PHA patients are advised to contact the patient representative to discuss any concerns they mayh ave. The Hospital and Health C are Facilities Board was created by Parliament in 1998 to license private hospitals and c linics. This legislation does i nclude a specific mandate to i nvestigate complaints into t he diagnosis, management and treatment of any patient. P hysicians are the primary providers of healthcare, whether in the public or pri-v ate sector, and since 1974 t hey have been licensed and r egulated by the Medical Council. According to its website, the council was established to regulate the medical profession, tou pgrade doctors through continuing education requirements, and to safeguard the p ublic through receiving and disposing of complaints. However, despite the fact t hat it represents one of the richest professions, the council is made up of a handful of volunteers with virtually no a dministrative staff. Their website, for example, includes d ead and departed physicians on its registry. So do the records of these three bodies help to inspire confidence and trust in thed elivery of healthcare services i n the Bahamas? Well, it would be useful to know how many complaints have been processed by the PHAs patient representative and how they werer esolved, but unfortunately that information is not publicly available. As for the Hospital Board and the Medical Council, a summary of the case history of one complaint to these bodies over the pastd ecade is instructive. In 2004, a complaint was made to the Hospital Boardc oncerning the treatment of a 42-year-old man who unex pectedly died in 2002 in a l icensed Bahamian healthcare facility. The board initially refused to deal with the complaint.B ut after several board members were replaced in 2005 by then Health Minister Dr Mar cus Bethel, he ordered that the complaint be investigat ed. This order by Dr Bethel m ore than six years ago is the h igh-point of the case. The 2005 board met with the complainants legal andm edical representatives in 2006. Afterwards, the Board chairman advised that since the patient was dead, the file should be closed. The board did, however, reconsider, and an investigat ory panel was to be formed. However, the government changed before this hap-p ened. The new government rein stated the 2004 board chairman, and other members. This chairman reported to a R otary Club meeting in 2008 that the board didn't want to investigate any complaints, or be involved in that detailed level of work. The board said it would s eek to have its enabling legi slation amended, to remove the investigative require ments, and also to remove the r equirement for licensed facilities to report deaths occur ring on their premises a l egal mandate never complied with, and never enforced, over the board's entire lifetime. ( It should also be noted that over the past 14 years the board has issued only two annual reports to Parlia ment, something which it is required to do by law everyy ear. And even obtaining c opies of those two reports presents enormous challenges). A t a public meeting in 2008, Health Minister Dr Hubert Minnis also promised toi nvestigate the 2004 complaint. But it is now 2012 and the board has taken no action whatsoever. Neither has it ever responded to the complainant. As for the Medical Council, it received a complaint about the same patients treatmenta nd care in 2008. The disciplinary committee of the Medical Council met twice on the matter, and three years ago, then council chairmanD r Duane Sands assured T ough Call that: There is no s tonewalling. We take this very, very seriously because we want to ensure that the public will be well-served at the end of the day by this groundbreaking precedent. H e also told me that the m edical act (which has been stalled for almost a decade now) was being strengthened to deal with a finite group of people who are discrediting the profession without anyr eal repercussions from c harging extortionary fees to p roviding less than appropria te care. H owever, in December of l ast year, the Medical Counc ils disciplinary committee suspended the 2004 complaint i nvestigation indefinitely. T he council decided it c ould not proceed because of a n ex-parte injunction granted by a Supreme Court judge against the disciplinary committee in 2009, on the application of a doctor concerned i n the matter. Since then, the Medical Council has taken no s teps either to have the i njunction removed or to pro ceed with the investigation. The injunction itself is a curious feature in this story. It i s perhaps the one and only i njunction to be granted by one Supreme Court judge a gainst another Supreme Court judge (who sits in his j udicial capacity as a member of the statutory disciplinary committee). Kerzners branding of the O cean Club as the One and Only has given a high profile to the Bahamas as an attractive destination, but the one a nd only injunction against a Supreme Court judge could have a converse affect on the B ahamas as a destination for medical tourism quite apart from the collateral damagei nflicted on the public oversight function of the Medical Council. If doctors and politicians w ant to attract medical tourism to the Bahamas, they need first to inspire confid ence in Bahamian medical services among Bahamians themselves. Putting the legislation that already exists to w ork on behalf of the public interest by providing quality assurance and oversight of healthcare delivery is the obvious place to start. What do you think? Send c omments to email@example.com or visit www. bahamapundit.com. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012 THE TRIBUNE A question of medical trust There is no stonewalling. We take this very, very seriousl y because we want to e nsure that the public will be well-served at the end of the day by this groundbreak-i ng precedent. D D r r D D u u a a n n e e S S a a n n d d s s
By KHALILA NICOLLS firstname.lastname@example.org EVERY year when January 10 rolls around, I often feel as though the ProgressiveL iberal Partys glorification of Majority Rule Day is a political strategy to guilt me into pledging my allegiance to the PLP as a show of respect fora ll they did to bring about the l iberation of the black masses i n the Bahamas. As an African woman who should surely see the importance of Majority Rule, the feelings are troubling. Not because the political strategy,i f it were one, is tasteless, but b ecause I believe contrarily that the PLP has failed to bring about true advance for black Bahamians as a collective body. That is not to say I deny the c ontributions of our nationb uilders and the significance o f their accomplishments. But t hat is to say I do not think t he PLP is exempt from the s crutiny of black Bahamians. T he political organisation has a 59-year-old history, and it s eems to me, all of their black c red(ibility 1 980s glory. F urthermore, I believe a true test of national progress is not to be found by assessing the best of us, speaking here in terms of economics and a ccess, but the least of us. And one only needs eyes t o see that the underdevelopm ent of black Bahamians over the past 30 years has been and continues to be a national disgrace. S urely there has been p rogress, but many examples are anomalous: black Bahamia ns who received handouts under Sir Lynden Pindlings a rm of influence; who profited from illicit activity, whether drugs or gambling; who bene fited from political connec t ions or exceptional educa tional opportunities; and black Bahamians with destiny working in their favour. O utside of those examples, the PLP would have to admit that economic progress for black Bahamians predated the PLP. By the time Majority Rule slipped through, there was already a thriving blackm iddle class, for which the PLP cannot lay claim. This progress was achieved under the United Bahamian Party (UBP spite of the UBPs efforts. W ithin the black middle c lass. there was the Adderley family of Wilford Parliament Adderley, which was comprised of lawyers, politiciansa nd doctors; the Bethel family o f Marcus Bethel consisting of undertakers and politicians; Sir Milo Butler, patron of Milo B Butler and Sons, who produced a line of grocery merchants; Jackson Burnside, a dentist, w ho paved the way for his f uture lineage of professionals; noted patron of the Eneas clan, B ishop Wilmore Eneas, who w as a religious leader. O thers in the black middle class included Dr CR Walker, restaurateur James Russel,b anker A Leon McKinney, candy maker Ulrick Mort imer, and clothing retailer E rdley Moss. Irwin McCartn ey and Dwit Thompson o wned a custom brokerage business; Audley C Kemp was i n the liquor business, as were Charles and George McKinney; Hugh Campbell Cleareo wned an East Bay Street b icycle shop; and Harcourt Carter sold Japanese electric al appliances. The PLP did not make these men. On the contrary. Many of these men made the P LP. And since then, what? What progress has there been for black Bahamians who are n ot counted amongst the established lot. On balance, as a collective community, black Bahamians are still in an economic and social quandary despite the hope-filled promises of bet-t er for blacks and the idealism of the Majority Rule era. Although the PLP is still the most vocal champion of Majority Rule, whatever momentum it had as a gal-v anising force for the black c ommunity back then, today it has no credible basis to portray itself as the peoples party. For all of its former glory, t he PLP has turned into just a nother political party, arguably no better or worse than any of the others, white, black, red or green. Far from b eing revolutionary, the PLP has been a mere tweaker of t he status quo. So what then i s the meaning of Majority Rule, the PLPs symbol of b lack liberation? M any of the people who t ake exception to the concept of majority rule at the same time promote the concept ofO ne Bahamas. But both constructs are based on race. Prop onents of One Bahamas try t o express a raceless reality, b ut there is no such thing. O ne Bahamas simply expresses an identity based o n the negation of race. Majority Rule on the other hand does so based on thea ffirmation of race. In either c ase, without a racial consciousness One Bahamas and M ajority Rule would be meaningless, redundant phrases. For One Bahamas to have r elevance and validity, it needs to express a vision of racial cohesion in the B ahamas, not based on the denial of race but on the acceptance of race. Racial difference is not something to shun. It is part of our cultural diversity, and it is an important to under-s tanding our cultural heritage. We should not seek to deny or inflate race, which exposes us to insult and political manipulation. We should accept it. I n one sense, Majority Rule i s an inherently paradoxical concept, because in a system of political representation, presumed to be democratic,a ny elected government is a m ajority government. Therefore, even under the UPBs tenure there was majority rule. O ne could argue that based on the UBPs racially disc riminating laws that privil eged white people, men and land owners, the body of elig ible voters represented a n ational minority. If this were s tatistically true, then any claim to majority rule prior to the 1962 election could standt o be challenged. But even still, within the legal framew ork of governance, the UBP w as without question a legitim ate majority government. S o what then do we make of the 1962 election, which repr esented the first vote in which there was universal suffrage, and the 1967 election, whichr epresented first time in B ahamian representational politics that the racial compos ition of the House of Assem bly reflected the racial composition of the Bahamas society? In order to give majority rule s ignificance beyond its racial character, some point to the fact that in 1967 for the first t ime, the will of the majority was finally expressed and converted into political power. A fter all, in 1962, the PLP won 32,399 votes. But because of seat distribution, with only 26,826 votes, the UBP retainedi ts power and went on to lead the next government. However, the argument d oes not stand scrutiny. First, the 1962 conundrum was a flaw of the political system, not the racial dynamics or a k ind of social imbalance peculiar to the age. Although the gerrymander i ng related to seat distribution was a major obstacle, the fundamental flaw in the system was inherent. It still exists t oday, and it is globally felt. In the modern democratic system, a government canf orm a majority even without the popular vote. Arguably it happened in 1967 which questions the very basis of the PLPs claim to majority rule. In 1967, the PLP won only 18,452 votes. Collectively, the PLP opposition secured 24,633 seats. That hardly represents a popular majority. And in terms of seat distribution, the PLP came out even with the UBP: 18 seats each. It was only after forming an alliance with Randol Fawkes of the Labour Party and independent candidate Alvin Braynen that the PLP was able to secure a majority. So what does that really say about Majority Rule? From the standpoint of a popular uprising or black advancement then, 1962 was a much more impressive showing, because at least then the PLP won the popular vote hands down. Given all that has been said, clearly Majority Rule requires further examination to separate fact from fantasy, and to arrive at true meaning over myth. Another element that flies in the face of Majority Rules traditional narrative is the PLPs struggle with an ideolo gy of black empowerment. Compared to the likes of black nationalists in the Unit ed States like Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael cus Garvey, the PLPs concept of race was very tame. And the accomplishment of Majority Rule was no sign of black power. It represented change, yes, even political progress, but a revolutionary concept of black empowerment, no. So what I find interesting and often overlooked is that, f or all of its rhetoric, the politi cal leadership who led blacks into an era of majority rule did so while at the same time running away from its black identity. Although it used race as a political tool to galvanisei ts constituents, the PLP did not use an affirmative ideology of blackness. I spoke to one of the few living black parliamentarians of the 1967 election, and he a dmitted that black Bahamia ns were not joined in their common struggle for equal rights and justice, by an affir-m ative black power struggle. T here was no such concept within the PLPs public platf orm. I found further proof of this in an account of Sir Arthur Foulkes, who documented in s hort what he called the PLPs long lie about race. Miriam Makeba, the celebrated black South African singer, was among a number of prominent blacks in Amer i ca who wanted to do busin ess in the new Bahamas. But Sir Lynden stopped her when he heard she wasr omantically linked with black power firebrand Stokely Carmichael. She left Sir Lyndens office in tears and never came back. The new Bahamas was having nothing to do with that, stated Sir Arthur. H e also recounted the story of Lady Marguerite Pindling, African American songstressN ina Simone and Bahamian journalist, Oswald Brown. Nina Simone, a known activist who used her music to share t he struggles of black people and spread black protest songs, performed a concert in Nassau with Lady Marguerite and Mr Brown in attendance. Mr Brown was so moved by the performance that he ran on stage and kissed Ms Simones feet. By his own account, it was a sign of sup port, because there were some in the audience who started to boo her. Lady Marguerite was reportedly unimpressed with Mr Brown and Ms Simone. According to Sir Arthur, Mr Brown was rebuked and chas tised by the party. Some would argue that the PLP supported black power, just a moderate version of it, but I wonder if the documented contradictions call this into question. The PLP was not alone in this contradiction. The black dilemma was most notably played out in the United States between the differing ideological stances of Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X. However, what is often overlooked is that even Mar tin Luther King became more radical in his latter years. His famous lament was, I fear I have integrated my people into a burning house. In the white community, Sir Lynden is vilified as a being a black radical who racialised the country. In the black com munity he is heralded as a pragmatic moderate who knew how to balance delicate dynamics. To me, there are any number of anecdotes that speak to a black government that was simply conscious of its inherent lack of power. Nothing can invalidate the f act that Majority Rule repr esented the shattering of a glass ceiling for black Bahamians seeking political office. But there is much to question about some of the traditional narratives ofM ajority Rule: that it represented the expressed will of the majority; that it represented a form of black liberation; and that it established some incontrovertible black c red for the PLP. I t is not that I have a problem accepting Majority Rule as a mammoth accomplishmentf or black Bahamians. I believe M ajority Rule marks an impor tant political milestone; it r ecognises the political progress of black Bahamians in breaking a new barrier. I do not, however, believe it is a sign of black l iberation or progress. History has shown that black representation failed to bring about progress for black Bahamians as a collective body. The Bahamas still hasa n economic structure that f avours the merchant class. Now, instead of profiting fam ilies like the Moskos and Pin d ers, the policies profit the likes of Franklyn Wilson and Tennyson Wells. Although there was growth in the black middle class in the 70s and 80s, it has remained virtually stagnant s ince then. In the industries of merit, finance and tourism, Bahamians still have littleo wnership, and struggle to assume some of the top posts. For Majority Rule to have had meaning beyond a recog n ition of progress for blacks in political representation, the PLP would have needed a true black mandate rooted in the affirmation of blackness. In its 1968 constitution, the PLP stated as one of its objectives to strive for and maintain the political emancipa tion of all the people of the Bahamas. For a political organisation, this would seem appropriate. After all, black people were under-represented in the House of Assembly. Looking skin deep, that was obvious. What would have been more visionary and appropriate as an objective for a black majority government rooted in a shared ideology of blackness was the emancipation of every black person from the shackles of mental slavery. It is a task no white individual or white government can achieve for black people, and to this day, few if any black governments have undertaken the task with institutional purpose or strength. A black government undertaking a black mandate would have examined all of the insti tutions of black oppression and represented the self-inter ests of black people. To me, the promise of Majority Rule suggested that now we are going to make black people better off. Not just those at the top, but as a nation of black people we are going to grow. And no matter how much the PLP boasts, I just cannot see how it has lived up to that promise. Pan-African writer and cultural critic Noelle Khalila Nicolls is a practising journalist in the Bahamas. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012, PAGE 9 Majority Rule and the PLP NINASIMONE, musician and activist, whose feet were kissed by Bahamian journalist Oswald Brown as a show of support during a concert in Nassau.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS PAGE 10, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2012 THE TRIBUNE SEATTLE Associated Press B AREFOOT BANDIT Colton Harris-Moore ridiculed police and prosecutors in emails and phone calls from prison recently, undercutting his claims that hess orry for his two-year crime spree, the US attorneys office said in court documents filed T uesday. The 20-year-old, who awaits federal sentencing,r eferred to Island County S heriff Mark Brown as the king swine, called prosecu tors who handled his case fools, and referred to news reporters as vermin. The self-taught pilot b ragged about his two-year crime spree, during which he hopscotched the US in stolen cars, boats and small planes b efore being captured in the Bahamas in July 2010 a hail of bullets. The things I have done as far as flying and airplanes goes, is amazing, he wrotei n one email last August. Nobody on this planet have done what I have, except for the Wright brothers. F ederal prosecutors included excerpts from the emails and phone transcripts in as entencing memorandum filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Harris-Moore was sentenced last month to more than seven years in prison for a long string of state crimes, mostly on his hometown of Camano Island and in the San Juan Islands, but he is still s cheduled to be sentenced on Friday for federal crimes, including stealing planes. P rosecutors are seeking a s ix-and-a-half year sentence, the most they can ask for under the terms of HarrisM oores federal plea deal. His lawyers asked for a sentence of just under six years in theiro wn memorandum filed Tuesd ay. The plea deal calls for proceeds from a movie deal t o be used to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to his victims, and the judge can issue a sentence outside thep lea deals suggested range. Emma Scanlan, one of Harris-Moores lawyers, said the excerpts were cherry-picked from more than 700 pages of emails and phone transcripts.N one of the excerpts suggests t hat Harris-Moore doesnt feel sorry for the people he victimised, she noted. Maybe he doesn't the like the sheriffs office, maybe he doesn't like the prosecutors, Scanlan said. But hes recognising the most important group of people. Prosecutors said the e xcerpts offered a striking difference in tone to the apology letter Harris-Moore wrote tot he state and federal judges handling his case. In the letter, he said he did not want to glamorise any t hing he had done, and he apologized profusely to his victims, saying he learned only too late of the fear he was instilling in them. He said his childhood with an abusive, alcoholic mother and a series of her excon boyfriends was one he would not wish on his darkest enemies. H e also wrote in the letter that he wanted to apologise to the Island County and San Juan County sheriffs offices, who I know were only doing their jobs. In a monitored telephone call Dec 9, a week before his sentencing, he said he wanted his supporters in the courtroom because the more people I have from my camp the better, because thats just one less seat that will be filled by the media vermin or the swine, the king swine himself, Mark Brown. T he judge who sentenced Harris-Moore in state court emphasised his difficult childhood, called his case a tri umph of the human spirit and suggested its remarkable that he didn't commit worse crimes, given his background. In an email a few days after the sentence, Harris-Moore recounted the sentencing. When all the acting and spreading of high propaganda on the part of the state was over and my lawyers argued the true facts, the judge gave me a much-appreciated recog-n ition and validation, calling my story a triumph of the human spirit, he wrote. She wasnt having none of the weak argument the prosecution tried to peddle, and ended up handing downa sentence that was the low est possible within the range. ... Once again, I made it through a situation I shouldnt have. Barefaced cheek of the Barefoot Bandit COLTON H ARRIS-MOORE, better known as the Barefoot Bandit, whose emails and phone calls from prison have mocked police and prosecutors. U S REGULATORS are seeking $176 million in damages from officials at what used to be Puerto Ricos second-largest bank. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp accused six formerW esternbank officials and directors of gross negligence, violating loan policy and ignoring auditor warnings in a suit filed last week. Regulators shut down the bank and its 45 branches inA pril 2010, citing a $4.25 bill ion loss. The FDIC, which took over the bank, said the damages it seeks represent the total loss of 10 construction loans, seven asset-based loans and four commercial real estate loans that the bank approved fromJ anuary 2004 to July 2009. The FDIC accused Westernbank officials of approv-i ng loans to make a quick profit through an aggressive and reckless growth strategy. T he agency also accused f ormer director Cornelius Tamboer of not disclosing a personal financial interest in a$ 12 million loan before it was approved. It said his daughter was a principal of the bor-r ower. W esternbank opened in March 1958 in the western coastal city of Mayaguez. In 1 994, it became a full-service commercial bank, and its assets grew from $3.4 billiont o $17.9 billion from 1999 to 2009, according to the lawsuit. The FDIC has filed dozens of similar lawsuits in the past two years to recoup losses from bank failures that regulators blame on negligencea nd misconduct. FDIC attorneys have been in settlement talks with many of the executives. L ast week, the FDIC filed a suit against another Puerto R ican bank, R-G Premier, which collapsed in April 2010 with a nearly $1.5 bil lion loss. USSEEKS DAMAGES OVER BANK CLOSURE TWO men pleaded guilty to buying guns that were des t ined to be smuggled into M exico, the first convictions in the federal governments botched Operation Fast and Furious. The men were so-called straw buyers who acknowledged purchasing guns that t hey knew were headed to Mexican drug gangs. The goal of the federal g overnments investigation was to catch weapons-trafficking kingpins, but firearms agents lost track of many weapons they were trying to trace to smuggling ringlead ers, and some guns ended up at crime scenes in Mexico and the US. Jacob Wayne Chambers and Jacob Anthony Montelongo each pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to a conspiracy charge. Montelongo also pleaded guilty to dealing guns without a license. The pair admitted being part of a 20-person smuggling ring that is accused of running guns into Mexico for use by the Sinaloa drug cartel. GUN DEALERS ADMIT GUIL T MITT ROMNEYS newly r eleased tax returns represent an extraordinary accounting of the household finances and far-reaching corporate investments of one of the richest US presidential candidates in generations, with an annuali ncome that tops $20 million. How the details of Romn eys extensive wealth will play among Republican taxpayers, rival campaigns, the media and the American public only started to emergeT uesday, as more than 500 pages from a 2010 tax return and a 2011 estimate spilled out both significant and minor revelations about Romneys scattered holdings, tax strategies and charitabled onations. The returns outline both the dimensions of Romneys finances and the complexity of the tactics used to reduce h is effective tax rate close to the low 15 percent paid by many middle-class Americans. Among the details contained in the documents are Romneys continuing profits from the private equity firmh e founded but no longer runs, a Swiss bank accountc losed just as Romney launched his White House run and new listings of investment funds that were set up in offshore locations from theC aribbean to Luxembourg. Romneys advisers stressed that he met all his federal tax obligations, provided maximum transparency and did not take advantage of aggressive strategies oftenu sed by the ultra-rich. Tax law experts familiar with the formidable financial portfolios of investment fund managers said Romneys r eturns would at the very least reinforce the rising public issue of income inequity. The average American has a hard time understanding their own two-page tax return let alone Gov. Rom-n ey's 200-page return, said Joseph Bankman, a StanfordU niversity professor of business and law who has testified to Congress on tax issues. What would jump out at anyone is the sheer amounto f money and low tax rate he pays, as well as the enormous complexity of his financial transactions. Romney paid about $3 million in federal income taxes in 2010, having earned more thans even times that from his investments. That income, $21.7 million, put him among the wealthiest of American taxpayers. REPUBLICAN presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a Republican presidential debate on Monday. ROMNEYS TAX RETURNS MAY LAND HIM IN ELECTION TROUBLE A TAM Airlines jet was forced to return to Paris about 90 minutes after taking off Tuesday because of an unknown technical problem, the company said. The A330 Airbus jet was en route from Charles de Gaulle airport to Rio de Janeiro when the problem occurred. It safely landed and nobody was injured in the incident, said TAM spokeswoman Antoniela Silva. It was a technical problem, and as a safety measure TAM turned the flight around to Paris, she said. The problem is being investigated. Silva gave no more details about the nature of the tech nical problem. She said the plane is undergoing maintenance. BRAZIL JET FORCED DOWN TEXAS financier R Allen Stanford lied to investors and stole their hard-earned savings so he could live the lavish lifestyle of a billionaire, a prosecutor said Tuesday at his fraud trial. Prosecutor Gregg Costa told jurors in Houston feder al court that Stanford used investors money to buy homes and yachts and fund cricket matches. He treated depositors savings like it was his own per sonal piggy bank, Costa said. The prosecution says Stan fords business empire was built on smoke and mirrors and he bilked investors out of more than $7 billion over 20 years as part of a massive Ponzi scheme centered on sales of certificates of deposit from an Antiguan bank he owned. Stanford, who denies the claims and says his businesses were legitimate, is charged with 14 counts, including wire and mail fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Robert Scardino, one of Stanfords attorneys, told jurors the financier was a clever and resourceful busi nessman who for 22 years paid investors every penny that he promised them. Were going to prove to you that (his business empire was real and it existed, Scardino said. Scardino told jurors that Stanford didnt need to steal depositors money and use it as personal loans. If he needed money, could go to a bank and borrow up to $1 billion, he said. Stanford, 61, is expected to testify during the trial, which will likely last at least six weeks. Once considered one of the USs wealthiest people, with an estimated net worth of more than $2 billion, Stanford snatched up luxury homes and cars, private jets and yachts, and became so prominent in his adopted country of Antigua, where he took on dual citizenship, that he was knighted by the Caribbean islands government and became known as Sir Allen. FINANCIER ACCUSED OF L YING TO INVESTORS R ALLEN STANFORD arrives in custody at the federal courthouse for a hearing in Houston in August 2010. OFFICIALS say five police officers were fatally shot after they stopped a vehicle in a town outside Mexico City. Mexico State prosecutor Alfredo Castillo Cervantes says the municipal officers from the town of Ixtapaluca had stopped the vehicle when a taxi and a van pulled up and a group of attackers opened fire with high-powered weapons. Castillo said Tuesday investigators suspected the Mon day attack was an attempt to free people who had been stopped by the police. Two civilians were found at the scene, one dead and one wounded and unconscious. Police assume they were among the attackers or the suspects originally stopped by the officers two patrol cars. FIVE POLICE SHOT DEAD IN MEXICO WITH Arab pressure mounting to end 10 months of bloodshed, the Syrian regime vowed Tuesday to solve its own problems even if half the universe is conspiring against it. The remarks signaled that Arab League efforts to stem the violence are collapsing something that could pave the way for the UN Security Council to step in, even though Russia is firmly opposed to punitive measures against its longtime ally. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem brushed off the threat of referring the issue to the Security Council a move that could lead to tougher sanctions rather than trying to resolve it regionally. The prospect of UN involvement has raised fears in Syria that an interna tional intervention could be next. If they go to (U.N. headquarters in) New York or the moon, as long as we dont pay their tickets, this is their busi ness, al-Moallem said at a news conference in Damas cus. He was reacting to an appeal by the Gulf Coopera tion Council for the UN Security Council to take all necessary measures to force Syria to implement an Arab Leagues ambitious peace plan announced Sunday to create a national unity government in two months. Dam ascus has rejected the plan as a violation of national sovereignty. SYRIA VOWS TO SOLVE OWN PROBLEMS DESPITE PRESSURE