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By DANA SMITH email@example.com UNION officials claim Sandals Royal Bahamian Resorts forced its employees to sign a petition stating they do not want union representation and threatened them with termination if they refused to sign. Lynden Taylor, Bahamas Hotel, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (BHMAWU the resort violated their employees rights. He further alleged Labour Minister, Senator Dion Foulkes, is in league with Sandals, claiming he knew about the alleged forced petition and did nothing. Sandals has vehemently denied the claims, calling them untrue and duplicitous. At a protest outside the West Bay Street resort, yesterday, Mr Taylor said: On Friday, Sandals management called a general meeting, a mandatory meeting that all workers show up to this meeting, but this meeting was designed to have the workers sign a petition that they dont wish to have a union to represent them. That they would like the general manager to handle all their questions and concerns. Now over half of the staff, almost all, walked out of the meeting. But theyre walking around to different departments, and they are actually forcing you, impressing upon you to sign these documents. Now, they have actually threatened a few persons by telling them that N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER 600 child abuse cases in a year Volume: 108 No.60TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER CLOUDS & SHOWERS HIGH 83F LOW 69F By DANA SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org MORE than 600 cases of child abuse were reported to the department of Social Ser vices last year, according to Social Development Minister Loretta Butler-Turner. The Long Island FNM can d idate was speaking in the House yesterday, responding to questions from PLP Yamacraw incumbent, Melanie Griffin. Mrs Butler-Turner was asked by Mrs Griffin about regulations concerning the Child Protection Act. The Act, among other things, increased penalties for child abuse, made it manda tory to report all forms of abuse, and raised the age limit for the juvenile detention centres to 18 years from 16. The regulations for the Child Protection Act 2007 have been drafted and are being vetted, Mrs ButlerTurner said. While the framework has b een established, the Chil drens Register nor the Child Abuse Registry are operating in the format identified by the Act. The Department of Social Services does howev er maintain a record of all reported cases of abuse. She said there has been 482 c ases of abuse reported to the department between January and September 2011, with the total number for last year being 636, a 24 per cent increase from 2010s reported number of 483. Action continues to be taken on educating the public on the provisions of the Child Protection Act, particularly during Child Protection Month and through regular speaking engagements to churches and civic organisations, Mrs Butler-Turner said. When asked about escapees from the Simpson Number of incidents r ise b y a quar ter CHICKEN McBITES N E W The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM By SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune News Reporter s email@example.com BECAUSE of the high level of unemployment, the D epartment of Immigration d ecreased the number of work permits issued in 2011 by 24 per cent, Deputy Prime M inister and Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette said yesterday. F rom January 1 to Decemb er 31, 2011, the Department of Immigration issued 7,091 work permits, 2,299 less thant he 9,390 issued in 2010 and 1,025 less than 2009. Mr Symonette revealed t hese statistics while answering questions posed to him by Opposition members in the House of Assembly. We are putting Bahami ans first, Mr Symonette said. By CHESTER ROBARDS T ribune Senior Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org R ESPONDING to violence-related emergency calls was the major cause ofe xtreme wear and tear on the countrys ambulances last year, a Public Hospitals Authority statement claimed yesterday. Herbert Brown, the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA managing director, said Emergency Medical Services (EMS 18,000 emergency calls last year, and as of last month had already logged 1,400 emergency calls. This in any country would place incredible strain on these vehicles, he said. THE Democratic National Alliance is considering increasing security to campaign offices after its Bain and Grants Town headquarters was hit by theft yesterday. The break-in was discovered around 6.30am by DNA candidate for the area Rodney Moncur, who said the incident was petty criminality. Mr Moncur said: An examination of the (back door revealed that someone UNION IN R OW WITH S AND ALS RESORT im lovin it S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 9 9 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 2 2 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 9 9 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 9 9 S S E E E E p p a a g g e e 9 9 ADEMONSTRATION is staged outside Sandals as union members accused the resort of forcing employees to sign a petition stating they did not want union representation. Photo: Felip Major /Tribune Staff CUTINWORK PERMITS TO HELP B AHAMIANS WEAR AND TEAR OF RESPONDING T O 911 CALLS BREAK -IN A T DNA OFFICE H H A A P P P P Y Y F F E E E E T T EXCHANGEHOPEFORSOCCERCLINICSEE SPORTS SECTIONE WOMENSHINEINAMANSWORLDSEEWOMAN11B
LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012 THE TRIBUNE if you dont sign, we will fire you. He claimed Mr Foulkes knew of the forced petition since the day it started, as did the Director of Labour, Har-c ourt Brown. I guess the minister of labour is a part of this exercise thats how it looks to me because Im sure hes awareo f it, Mr Taylor said. Nothi ng was said in regards to this, h e got a call from (a on Friday, so he knows whats taking place. The director hada call as well, so they know whats taking place. He continued: Now the m inister knows about this... a nd the director knows about this. Yet, it still continued Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night, Sunday morning, Sunday night. Now you tell me, the ministry knowsa bout this and doesnt take a ction to stop this? This is r idiculous. Theyre in on it. Y esterday afternoon, Sand als general manager, Patrick D rake, released a statement i n response to the unions claims. The management of Sand als Royal Bahamian unres ervedly rejects any claims t hat the hotel is engaged in union busting or any acts of intimidation against our employees, he said. The charges made by the B HMAWU are completely false but are consistent with t he duplicity that the union h as displayed in its tactics aimed at riding rough-shod over the management and employees of the hotel. M r Drake said Sandals full y respects and upholds all the l aws of the Bahamas, including the right for workers tob e represented by a body of t heir choice. T he resort also recognises the right of workers to sign a petition to the Minister of L abour requesting revocation of union representation. Accordingly, a significant p ortion of our employees h ave exercised their lawful right and have signed a petition to the Minister. This is t heir right, although the B HMAWU has failed to acknowledge this, Mr Drakes aid. H e noted 70 per cent of c urrent employees were not employed when the vote for unionisation involvingB HMAWU was taken in 2009, and any attempt to set-t le the question of union repr esentation must allow the p resent workers an opportunity to indicate whether they desire to be part of this u nion. Discussions that have taken place between the man-a gement and team members h ave merely sought to ensure t hat employees get the opportunity to express their will. Mr Drake continued: In i ts quest to bulldoze its way over the management ands taff of the hotel, the B HMAWU has sought to m align the management and paint an untrue picture of disgruntlement and unrest at the r esort. Nothing could be furt her from the truth, as morale, unity and teamwork at ther esort has never been better. We are not surprised at t hese developments, however, because they follow the pattern of careless and false utterances and blatant subterfuge which has characterized the modus operandi of t he union. Both BHMAWU and Sandals have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow with Mr Foulkes. Mr Taylor believes S andals will use this meeting t o present the petition. W hen reached for comm ent, Mr Foulkes confirmed the meeting and stated the alleged forced petition is under investigation, but w ould not offer anything more. Im having a meeting with b oth Management and Union o n Wednesday, he said. We are conducting an investiga tion with respect to the new a llegations of union busting. f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e B y SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com THERE are reports of a head-on collision late Saturday night on the airport road. H owever, police seemed to k now nothing about it. The Tribune understands the drivers of the vehicles sustained serious injuries and had to be rushed to the hospital. H owever, when contacted, traffic police seemed to have no knowledge of the crash. An eyewitness at the scene, who wished to remaina nonymous, said the driver of a small vehicle was travell ing on the wrong side of the r oad and collided with a t ruck. The vehicle was being driven by a Chinese male and t here was a passenger in front and a woman in the back, they were driving on thew rong side of the road and the truck didn't see them and t hey crashed. The car was pinned between a tree and a truck. The driver of the truck got o ut, he was hurt but seemed t o be okay, the witness said. However, the Chinese w oman in the back of the car was pinned, blood was everywhere. She couldn't get o ut. There was another car that was following them and those people pulled the twom en, the driver and the passenger, out of the car and put them on the side of the r oad. They looked unconscious. But they did notm ove the woman because s he was severely hurt. Police came a short time later and I left. U p to last night, police had not released a report on the accident. MYSTERY OVER CAR COLLISION REPORTS Union in row with Sandals resort UNIONMEMBERS staged a protest outside Sandals amid claims of union busting by the management. Photos: Felip Major /Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA VIRGIL firstname.lastname@example.org POLICE say they were forced to shut down a private school after information was received that the owner didnot have the required docu ments to operate the institution. Yesterday, Leadership Academy, at Dicks Point, on Eastern Road, was forced to close its doors after officers of the Licensing division-Roy al Bahamas Police Force and Business License Authority officials found the school operating without a business license. As a result, a 60-year-old woman, whom police believe owns the school, was taken into custody. Police are encouraging persons operating businesses to ensure their licenses are cur rent and fees are paid. They say failing to obey the law, will result in being charged before the courts. Meanwhile, police say they shot a 20-year-old Jamaican man after he was seen attempting to steal a car from the Palmdale area. According to police around 11.38 am yesterday, they received information that the man was tampering with the vehicle. Upon police arrival to the scene, the suspect was then shot in the leg and taken to the hospital where he is listed as stable in police custody. In other news, road traffic officials say they are continuing their clamp down on motorists who do not obey road rules. During the past week, police in Nassau cited 435 drivers for various traffic infractions and placed 146 matters before the traffic courts. Some of the offences include failing to move when requested by a police officer, failing to keep left, driving in the wrong direction on a oneway street, driving with an unsecured load, unlicensed and uninspected vehicles, failing to change ownership, and failing to signal. Police would like to encourage members of the public to ensure their vehicles remain in good condition. Their efforts agree with the Commissioners Policing Plan to enforce road rules. They will continue to issue traffic tickets for failing to adhere obey the law. ACCUSED arsonist Colin Bastian was remanded to HerM ajesty's Prison after appearing in court yesterday. Bastian, 51, of Camilla W ay, West Bay Street, is a ccused of intentionally and unlawfully setting fire to the 16-room Orange Hill home of Nicolette Cox on Tuesday of last week. Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethela llowed the prosecution until February 20 to consider a Voluntary Bill of Indictmentt hat will fast-track the case to the Supreme Court for trial. T he prosecution said it will p robably take this avenue. Mr B astian was further charged with two counts of threatening to kill Ms Cox and Betty F rasier two days before the home was set on fire. Pleading guilty to the death t hreats, Mr Bastian will be t ried in the Magistrate's Court on both charges. He was also charged with two counts of damaging the windshield, left driver's door, left rear light and left panel glass of Ms Cox's white 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe. The dam-a ges total $3,024.06. He pled guilty to the charges. Mr Bastian will bec harged with one more count o f damage when he returns to court on Friday. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012, PAGE 3 DOCTORS Hospital has hit back at an article printed i n T he Tribune o n Monday, J anuary 23, claiming the Bahamas lacks state-of-theart breast cancer diagnostic tools. The Doctors Hospital imaging department, which cond ucts close to 4,000 mammog rams a year, says it has on site all of the latest diagnostic equipment. The Hologic Selenia fullfield digital mammographys ystem was installed at Doctors Hospital two years agoa nd is the very latest technology on the market. This is the current state-ofthe-art digital mammography m achine and Hologic is the i ndustry leader, explained Doctors Hospital Chief Radiologist Dr Larry Carroll. Doctors Hospital digital imaging department also has the ability to offer patients a b reast MRI, something many f acilities in the United States are not yet offering. The MRI is not generally used for screening purposes because of the costs involvedi n having the procedure done, but Dr Carroll says itb ecomes an extremely useful option and is the current standard of care in cases where there is either a high risk b ecause of a womans family h istory or initial screening shows a questionable lesion which requires additional scrutiny. In addition to the Hologic Selenia Digital Mammograp hy system and the MRI, D octors Hospital has the only 3-D automated breast ultrasound machine in the country. This diagnostic tool enables radiologists andp hysicians to take a CT-scan like ultrasound image of theb reast, peeling away half a millimeter of breast tissue at a time, picking up abnormalities the size of a match head. What we have is the 26th u nit of its kind installed in this hemisphere. This machine is only now being rolled out as the new standard of care worldwide, explained Dr Carroll. I n addition to having the l atest technology, Doctors Hospital has a highly trained team of radiologists and technologists and adheres to the highest international stan-d ards and US Mammography Quality Standards Act as wella s the American College of Radiology guidelines. In 2010, Doctors Hospital became and remains the only a cute care hospital in the r egion to gain Joint Commission International accreditation, and Dr Carroll explained that in order to maintain this accreditation, his team must follow a set quality control p rotocol that includes calib rating and checking every machine including computer monitors to ensure they get the most accurate reading on every mammogram that isc onducted. There is nothing within t he local law that requires any facility here to conduct the level of testing that we at Doctors Hospital are required t o do, he explained, having t he machine is not enough to guarantee the best quality mammograms. One of the areas of weakness in mammography in The Bahamas is the lack of quality standard r egulations and enforcement, b ut Doctors Hospital sets the pace in terms of following global best practices. Doctors Hospital remains committed to investing in theb est equipment and staff in order to provide the Bahami-a n community with the very best in healthcare. By KHRISNA VIRGIL email@example.com POLICE are asking members of the public with information on the East Bay Street hit and run which killed a man in his late 40s to come for ward. The man, identified as Valance Brown of Fowler Street, off East Bay Street was hit around 1am, on Sunday, west of the Harbour Bay Shopping Plaza. Police said Mr Brown was walking on the northern side of East Bay Streetwhen he was struck by a passing vehicle which left scene. Police spokesperson Chrislyn Skippings said police are looking for a dark green Hon da. She said: It could be an Accord or a Civic. We are asking members of the public who may have seen a family member or a neighbour with damage to their Honda, that were not there previously, to give us a call. Treat this case as if it were your family member or your friend. You would want someone to help you. So please help this family. Also, this person may not even know they hit someone. If you see damage on your car and are not sure where they came from or if you feel you may have hit something, please come for ward. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact police at 919 or the Traffic Police Station at 393-7204. REPORTS reached The Tribune last night of a stabbing incident that left a twelfth grade male student of the Government High School with serious injuries. It is believed that the victim was approached by a gang of male students, when one of them produced an unknown weapon, striking the victim multiple times about his body. Eye witness accounts say the victim was bleeding heavily and had to be rushed to the hospital. Police could not be reached up to press time. S TUDENT STABBED APPEAL OVER HIT AND RUN KILLING Doctors Hospital rejects criticism MAN ADMITS GUILT OVER DEATH THREATS POLICECLOSE DOWN PRIVATE SCHOOL C OLINBASTIAN o utside court. Bastian, who is accused of setting fire to a home in Orange Hill l ast week, pleaded guilty to two further charges of threatening to kill, as well as charges of dam aging a car. Photo: Felip Major / T ribune Staff
E DITOR, The Tribune. I WAS taken by a recent letter to The Tribune indicati ng that Mr Gilbert Pinder of the PLP had resigned after being voted to serve as Chief Councillor back in June 2011, particularly after a website that supports the PLP made such a fuss about his winning the post. It is heartening news that M r Abner Pinder of the FNM has been asked to resume the post of Chief Councillor for Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, o nce again after Mr Gilbert Pinder resigned. Mr Abner Pinder served ALL the people of Spanish Wells for 15 years in an exemplary manner and is deserving of the honour. As an aside, I visited Span ish Wells in late December and went into Mr Gilbert Pinder's store to buy some fish and the three or four employees were dressed in PLP paraphernalia. This was in contrast to visiting Mr Abner Pinder's business where there were no political colours of any kind being displayed. The company I work for does not allow associates to w ear political garb as our clientele and associates are from all walks of life and political persuasions. Back to the chief councillor of Spanish Wells. It seems hype is more important to some in politics than service. And Mr Abner Pinder gives all of the people of Spanish Wells (PLP or FNM) the service they deserve. Yours in Liberty RICK LOWE www.weblogbahamas.com EDITOR, The Tribune. IN A LETTER published in todays paper, a writer opines that sooner or later the Bahamas will be caught up in something, because the interests of China and theU nited States will eventually clash, and at that time we will have an epiphany. H e also states that we will have a choice to make at that t ime; I beg to differ. We have a lready made a choice, we have chosen to play the two Super Powers against each o ther in the name of progress and jobs. I agree that we will have an e piphany but it will be about how to survive in this drama that we are creating for ourselves. The politicians who are m aking the choices seem to b e clueless about our situation; and this cluelessness is inclusive of those in the FNM, PLP, and the DNA. The only persons who are going to survive this event are those who own something tangible and have not allowed themselves to be sold the lie t hat all we have to do as B ahamians is believe in ourselves, vote for the change you want to see, etc; etc; etc. R ealistically, there is nothing wrong in belief or change, but we have made the awful mistake of having persons with very questionable agendas, redefining what belief or change means every five years; and the tools of fear a nd distrust are used to sell t hese subjective definitions. W e have to blame our selves, we have not held our selves or the persons who leadu s as accountable as we should; and what is strange to me, is that in spite of all that is going on, this nation is on a precarious even keel because the present Prime M inister has chosen to hold himself accountable. E ven this reality seems to be problematic as we look at w hat those who would like to replace him and his party are saying. I s it enough to want to change a government, because your pay increase didn ot come on time? Is it enough to believe that p ersons who have no track record of getting things done can be elected, and when they are able to get things done because you have given them another chance? Forty years into it, it is going to take more than w ords or subjectively entitled utterances of what it means to be Bahamian, to guide usi nto this promised land, because the ground we are now treading bears no resemblance to the one that wew ere promised. Even the group that b rought us into this land more than forty years ago, n ow find themselves in a political wilderness, looking to Madison Avenue and international public relations firmsf or a definition of who they a re or how they should present themselves. I will not be able to close this letter, without comment o n the Atlantis issue. Should we entertain comments from agenda driven persons, who though qualified choose top aint a picture that brings attention to their personal political biases? Atlantis is having internal problems but should those problems be expressed in sucha way that makes a person p lanning to visit this nation, t hink twice about their decis ion? We must concede that the Dubai foray was ill-advised. Two billion is a lot of money, but it is not enough in that m arket and the head Arawak could have used his time in t he spotlight to give the B ahamian public an objective view, but he chose to let his politics frame his presentation. P oliticians and myself do not get along, but whosoever is going to speak for me is g oing to be held to a standard that has nothing with subjectivity, and even though we are going to have somep ain when hard decisions are made, it is only the objective exercises and views that get us through, regardless of theo nslaught of perceptions we a re being bombarded with, by all and sundry. Right now, especially for t he under-sixty crowd, it is w hat it is and there is no time to be playing games or going down a road that refuses to put things in perspective. It is 2012 and the world is c oming to our door to see w hat it is we are doing on the 2 1x7 plus. Let us fight in such a way that makes us stronger and better, cause after the smoke clears in May 2012, there will still be a lot of work to be done. We may get dis couraged even when we do g ood, but this is how we are going to get through. E DWARD HUTCHE SON Nassau, February 2, 2012. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 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 GREECES coalition government caved in to demands to cut civil service jobs, announcing 15,000 positions would go this year, amid mounting international pressure to agree on austerity measures needed to secure major new debt agreements. T he announcement Monday signals a s hift in Greeces policy, as state jobs have s o far been protected during the countrys acute financial crisis, which started about t wo years ago. Public Sector Reform Minister Dimitris Reppas said the job cuts would be carried out under a new law thata llows such firings. Unions have called a 24-hour general strike for Tuesday, in response to the new austerity measures, while about 4,000 protesters braved torrential rain late Monday to join protest rallies organized in central Athens by left-wing opposition parties. G reece is racing to push through the painful reforms which have yet to be agreed to by Greeces coalition partners t o clinch a $170 billion bailout deal from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund and avoid a March default o n its bond repayments. Debt-ridden Greece h as been kept solvent since May 2010 by payments from a $145 billion international rescue loan package. When it became cleart he money would not be enough, a second bailout was decided last October. As well as the austerity measures, the b ailout also depends on separate talks with b anks and other private bondholders to forgive $131.6 billion in Greek debt. The p rivate investors have been locked in negot iations over swapping their current debt for a cash payment and new bonds worth 50 per cent less than the original face value,l onger repayment terms and a cut in the i nterest rate to be paid on the bonds. Greek government officials say they expect pri vate investors to take an overall cut of up to 70 per cent on the value of their bonds. However, the EU-IMF bailout has to be secured for the deal with private i nvestors to go ahead as about euro30 bil lion from the bailout will be used as the cash payment in the bond swap deal. Greeces coalition party leaders pushed b ack a key meeting on the austerity measures by a day until Tuesday, due to the ongoing negotiations with EU-IMF debt i nspectors who were locked in talks with the government Monday. The leaders have already agreed to cut 2 012 spending by 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product about $4.3 billion improve competitiveness by slashing wagesa nd non-wage costs, and re-capitalise b anks without nationalising them. Creditors are also demanding spending cuts in defence, health and social security,a cut in the minimum wage, as well as the civil service layoffs, as European pressure increased on Greece to make more concessions. The government has promised to reduce the 750,000-strong broader public sector by 150,000 by the end of 2015, but has so far insisted it could reach that target through staff attrition. We are opposed to indiscriminate firings, Reppas said. The workf orce reduction is strictly connected with t he restructuring of services and organis ations at each ministry. Officials at the Public Sector Reform M inistry gave no details of the new plan, nor would they say how many of the job cuts would be compulsory. EuropeanC ommission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj Tardio said Greece is already beyond the deadline to end the talks. After talks in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there can be no bailout deal unless Athens implementsc reditors proposals. (The proposals said. And time is pressing. Therefore,s omething has to happen quickly. Time is pressing and for the entire eurozone much is at stake, Merkel added. I n Athens, talks between the government a nd debt inspectors from the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank known as the troika dragged into early Tuesday. The negotiations with the troika are ongoing for the new loan programme. It is clear that there is a lot of pressure being p ut on the country. A lot of pressure is b eing placed on the Greek people, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said d uring a break in the talks. H e called on coalition parties to end the bickering and work more closely together. No one is as strong as Hercules on hiso wn to face the Lernaean Hydra, a swamp m onster in Greek mythology, he said. We must all, together, fight this battle, without petty party motives and slick moves. Greece is in its fifth year of recession, while unemployment has hit record highs of about 19 per cent following a spate of a usterity measures in return for the rescue loans, that included significant cuts in pensions and salaries coupled with repeated tax hikes and an increase in retirement ages. The current policy of austerity ... is turning workers into pariahs, jobless peo ple and pensioners into paupers and d eprives our youth of any hope, a state ment from the main civil servants union ADEDY said. This policy has alreadyp ushed Greeks beyond their limits and must be stopped at any cost. Yiannis Panagopoulos, leader of G reeces largest union, the GSEE, said t he creditors demands were certain to lead to more hardship. What is going on is not a negotiation, h e said. Its blunt, cynical blackmail targeting an entire people. By Derek Gatopoulos and Nicholas Paphitis of the Associated Press LETTERS l firstname.lastname@example.org Greece caves in on civil service firings EDITOR, The Tribune. IT DOES not take a genius to understand that a decrease in travel world wide would affect tourism in our part of the world. Lower tourism dollars means less money in the Trea sury. Why then do unions choose this time to agitate for more money for their mem bers when there are fewer dollars and overstaffing in government agencies? Instead of gloating over the continuing recession, mem bers and leaders in opposition should co-operate with the government if we love our country. It would not surprise me to learn who the people are behind the union activities. A BAHAMIAN VOTER Nassau, January 31, 2012. Unions not helping Caught in a USv China drama Hear tening return of Abner Pinder EDITOR, The Tribune. THE movie Forest Gump starring Tom Hanks is one of my best movies. I never tire watching this movie. One of Tom Hanks lines in the movie reads, Stupid is as stupid does. Students on the Carmichael Road strip are riding on a large yellow school bus daily. They get dropped off after school to certain points. What is horrifying is that the exit is on the right-hand side of the bus. Yes, the exit is on the right hand-side. This means that students exit the bus onto the main road. Are we serious? This is a disaster waiting to happen. I am beseeching the powers that be to please desist with this dangerous and irre sponsible practice forthwith before we have another tragedy on our hands. Surely there must be an emergency fund somewhere that can be used to replace this bus or construct the exit on the left side. And how can the Road Traffic Department sanction such a vehicle to be used for this purpose? The end certainly cant justify the means. We need to protect our youth, not expose them to obvious risk. DEHAVILLAND MOSS Nassau, February 3, 2012. S S c c h h o o o o l l b b u u s s d d a a n n g g e e r r
B y LAMECH JOHNSON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com A MAN with cancer, who i s challenging the minimum four-year prison sentence he received after being convicted o f drug possession last November, has been given a date to have his appeal heard in the appellate court. H owever, the Court of Appeal, while setting aside March 5 for the hearing,d ismissed 43-year-old Anthony Armbristers bail application due to the defence being unable to convince the court there were exceptional circum stances to allow the accused t o be free until his sentenc ing appeal is heard. Armbrister, on November 1 1, pleaded guilty before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell to possessing 51 grams of cocaine. He had told the magistrate he planned to sell the drugs to pay his med i cal bills. H owever, Deputy Chief Magistrate Bethell told the defendant her hands weret ied, and regardless of his medical condition, what he had done was wrong. A t yesterdays bail hearing before appellate court presi dent Justice Anita Allen, along with Justices Christo p her Blackman and Abdulai Conteh, defence attorney Jomo Campbell raised con-c erned of the extension of the treatment his client was receiving at the Princess Margaret Hospital. He feared his clients penile cancer may have worsened. In fact, my instructions from my client is that it has spread, said Mr Campbell. W hen asked about the medical reports, Mr Campbell told the justices they had not received medical reports from the hospital concerning his client despite making r equests. J ustice Allen asked the attorney for other grounds to be considered and he rea s oned that his client did not receive any credit or discount for pleading guilty w hen being charged in spite of his condition. That is the nature of the appeal. He pleaded guilty at t his earliest opportunity. Mr Campbell added that the sentencing handed down to hisc lient was unduly harsh and severe. Justice Blackman retorted that the severity of the sentencing would be determined in the appeal hearing. The bail application was dismisseda nd they then proceeding to the second application for a time extension. J ustice Allen granted Mr Campbell a time extension to file his written submissions to the court and prosecutor Anthony Delaney. Mr Campbells filing of sub m issions had been out of time b y only three weeks. The attorney had asked that the matter be stood down, how ever the justices, prepared to e xpedite the case as quickly a s possible, offered to hear Armbristers substantive appeal on March 5. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012, PAGE 5 100A woman who is admired for her unwaivering devotion to her Saviour Jesus Christ our Lord and loved for her generosity and kindness. Family and close friends are invited to honour her very long and rich life with a birthday celebration to be held at: Montagu Gardens Restaurant Sunday, February 12th, 2012 2:00 to 6:00 pm Written or oral memories of time shared with Sybil/ Granny are welcome.Dress: smart casual Celebrating a Century of Life Sybil Carey TrecoHappy 100th Birthday! By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org RESPONDING to concerns about safety issues with-in the aviation industry, Prime M inister Hubert Ingraham yesterday assured Parliament that the Bahamas record demonstrates that a satisfactory level of safety is being m et. Mr Ingraham was addressi ng concerns put forth by Fox H ill MP Fred Mitchell regardi ng the safety of non-Bahamasair services and whether the p roper measures were being taken and regulationsa dhered to. W hile confirming that alleg ations were reported by p ilots of non-Bahamasair airline companies last April a bout working conditions and s afety issues, Mr Ingraham s aid: The Government is sati sfied that the safety system checks and balances are adeq uately maintained by the Civil Aviation Department. The safety record of the B ahamas aviation sector is a t estament to this, but this r ecord requires the continued support and cooperation of the flying public, pilots, mechanics, airline operators and regulators to ensure itsc ontinuing and continuos integrity. In response to questions r aised by pilots regarding certain airlines maintenance capabilities, Mr Ingraham saids everal maintenance inspections have been carried out b y the Principal Maintenance I nspectors (PMI F light Standards Inspectorate ( FSI) over the past few months and all deficiencies found were corrected. In order to modernise and strengthen the sector, MrI ngraham said the Government has obtained a $50 million-loan from the InterAmerican Development Bank to overhaul the Bahamian civil aviation indust ry. U nder the IDB loan, he said the government is set to undertake one of the morec omprehensive and ambitious initiatives in our history to enhance aviation. T his will improve air transportation systems, increase flights and airlift across the Bahamas, while modernising airports, the Prime Minister said. Further, he said an indep endent body will be established to investigate aviation incidents and accidents. Although labour-related issues between the operator a nd pilots do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Departm ent of Civil Aviation, Mr I ngraham also responded to i nquires and allegations that pilots were fatigued as a result o f being forced to work beyond their 14 hours of man-d ated duty. H e said that during a meeti ng with the Minister of T ourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, pilots indicate d they were fatigued because t hey were sometimes required t o work beyond their duty t imes. However, Mr Ingraham s aid this is not normal practice as he was advised that most a irline operators currently h ave operation specifications p roviding 10 flights in a 14 c onsecutive hour period. Mr Ingraham advised that pilots and other employees who feel that their working conditions are in violation oft he Employment Act should file an official complaint with the Department of Labour. CANCER VICTIM GETS APPEAL DATE OVER DRUG CONVICTION By LAMECH JOHNSON Tribune Staff Reporter l email@example.com THE Court of Appeal hearing of convicted p aedophile Andre Birbal was delayed yesterday because defence counsel had not filed the written arguments concerning the appeal with the court. In yesterdays proceedings before appellate c ourt Justices Anita Allen, Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh, the lawyer appointed to d efend Birbal, Craig Butler, explained that the delay was a result of his chamber receiving the matter late last year. Mr Butler told the court that an employee who had met with Birbal on a few occasionsd uring his incarceration no longer worked with his firm. H e also admitted he had not had a chance to m eet with his client until yesterday mornings hearing. Appellate court president Justice Allen did not accept the reason and said: Mr Butler, t his matter has been placed on the cause list since the 15th of January. How are you not ready. J ustice Conteh then asked the attorney if he had received the trial transcripts? Thats all you need to file grounds of a ppeal or to amend, he said. After Mr Butler apologised to the court for n ot having the necessary documents in place. Justice Allen said the matter needed to be dealt with as soon as possible, as Birbals appeal had been filed since last February. They asked the attorney if he was prepared t o proceed on March 12. Yes, my lord, he replied. B irbal was accused of having sexual intercourse with two former students. The incidents were alleged to have occurred between January 2002 to June 2007 with one boy, and from September 2002 to June 2005 with thes econd boy. On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, a jury of s even men and two women delivered guilty v erdicts in six of the eight charges against the former art teacher. His sentencing was handed down six days later. Justice Allen yesterday told the attorney t he court was not going to accept any further excuses in the future and informed Birbal his substantive appeal would be on March 12. PMreassures public over air safety record P RIMEMINISTER H ubert Ingrah ama said the Government is satisfied with the safety system. ANDREBIRBAL is escorted by a police officer. The former teacher is appealing his conviction for having sex with two former students. CONVICTED PAEDOPHILES APPEAL DELAYED
By GLADSTONE THURSTON Bahamas Information Services NEW Providences Urban Renewal Centres, primary schools and youth clubs have joined in the Ministry of Agri culture and Marine Resources community gardening initiative. They will identify and provide growing spaces and staff for the supervision of projects where necessary. The Ministry will provide technical assistance, tools, soils, seeds and fertilisers. St Georges Anglican Church on Montrose Avenue and Claridge Farms on Cowpen Road will provide land space. The community gardening initiative complements the backyard garden and schools gardens programmes. Since their beginning they have been most successful in promoting well being, generat ing an interest in food produc tion, and developing skills and knowledge in growing food, said Minister Larry Cartwright. As the Bahamas imports an average of $500 million worth of food annually, said Mr Cartwright It is anticipated that these combined initiatives will also serve to reduce the level of imports. The community gardening initiative seeks to: empower persons to supplement their food supplies; encourage self reliance; stimulate social cohesion; pro mote and develop gardening skills; beautify and enhance the natural environment of neigh borhoods; reduce importation of certain foods and provide physical activities for persons. Realising that the success of community gardening require the involvement of the volunteer sector, Mr Cartwright said representatives of schools and civic organisations have been invited to formulate a pro gramme toward that end. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012 THE TRIBUNE T HE Heart Ball committee recently met to make final preparations for the 2012 Heart Ball, the major annual fundraising event for the SirV ictor Sassoon Heart Foundation Described as an evening f illed with love, laughter, excitement, dancing and a soulful good time, the Heart Ball committee said the ball w ill allow those in attendance to help raise money to repair the hearts of children. The Heart Ball committee is working arduously to ensure that this ball is bettert han any before. Last year, The Heart Foundation celebrated its 50th anniversary. At the start of the year 2012,w e move forward with g reater financial need and thus greater challenges, as we seek to help the Heart Foundation repair hearts, said the committees publicr elations officer, Ingrid Sears. The Heart Ball committee i s working with a renewed determination to ensure that we maintain the legacy of the founder and also the founda t ion. Additionally, we wish to ensure that patrons are encouraged to attend futureH eart Balls and continue to help to repair broken hearts. Last year, the foundation r aised over $250,000. Howev er, all of this money has already been spent helping to repair childrens hearts. Heart surgeries are not c heap and many parents simply cannot afford the cost of heart surgeries for their children. One childs heart surgery can cost over $50,000,d espite negotiated terms. As such, a group of committed individuals are seeking to help r educe this financial burden, to parents who cannot afford it, as they try to care for their love ones, the Heart Foun d ation said. At present, there are 11 patients in need of heart surg-e ries. It is anticipated that more children will need heart care during the year, andm any of their parents will not be able to afford it. The funds raised from this event, will help the Heart Foundation tor epair the hearts of children. U nder the theme, Repairing a broken HeartWhat a Gift, the 48th Annual Heart Ball will be held on Saturday, February 18, at the SheratonN assau Beach Resort. The event will be held under the patronage of Gov e rnor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Joan Lady Foulkes. There will be live performances by The Ed B rice Orchestra, The S-G Band (Soulful Groovers The Royal Bahamas DefenceF orce Dance Band. Highlights of the ball are expected to include the nam i ng of The Lady Sassoon Golden Heart Award winner, who would have been select ed from of pool of worthy p ersons nominated for their h umanitarian acts to improve the lives of others. Additionally, the Heart Ball committee said, guests can win table prizes, rafflep rizes or auction items. Some of the prizes up for grabs include a round-trip t icket for two on British Airways to London; round-trip tickets for two on Air Canada and hotel accommodations in C anada; an emerald and diamond ring, spa treatments and dinners. T here will also be paintings and prints from the likes of the late Chan Pratt, CliffordF ernander, Nettica Symon ette, and many more artists. Corporate sponsors can look forward to dance floora ccommodations, champagne a nd special treats provided by John Bull, the committee said. The Heart Ball committee is the fundraising arm of TheS ir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas Heart Foundation. The foundations main goal is to assist p ersons, primarily children, with heart care. Additional ly, the foundation, in conjunction with the Bahamas H eart Association, aims to pro-actively educate and inform persons residing inT he Bahamas about heart care and how to lead heart healthy lifestyles. T he Heart Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in 1961 by Lady Evelyn Sassoon to assist persons inn eed, with heart care. Countdo wn to the Heart Ball begins GROUPS JOIN COMMUNITY GARDENING SCHEME H EART BALL c ommittee meets for final preparations (seated, l-rstanding, l-r Ingrid Sears, Michelangiolo Baccelli, Portia Nottage, Zelia Bethel, Sue Riding, and Valerie Clarke. Photo: J & J Photo Imaging, Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino
T WO Bahamian students c an apply for the once-in-alifetime opportunity to spend a summer at NASA this year. E ight-week summer internships are being offered for two qualifying students to work at the Kennedy SpaceC enter in Florida. This programme is presented through t he Alf Thompson Memorial S cholarship (ATMS Successful applicants will work with research scientistsa nd engineers from academia, N ASA and corporations in the fields of aeronautical stud ies, biological sciences and/or space-related technology. The internships are being offered to motivated students in good standing, between the ages of 18 and 23. Scholarship recipients must be enrolled in a recognised c ollege or high school; exceptions may be granted for those within one year of such e nrolment. Special consideration will be given to students of limitedf inancial means and to those schooled within the Bahamian education system. F unds will be awarded to c over housing, food and trans portation (including roundtrip air fare) during the eightweek stay in Florida. The Alf Thompson Memorial Scholarship was initiated in 2011 to honour the passing of Alf Thompson on November 16, 2010, a Bahamian trained in engineering and the sciences. Its aim is to provide Bahamian students the opportunity to experience hands-on research at the Kennedy Space Center in the fields of aeronautical engineering, space-related technology, biological sciences or other similar disciplines The first ATMS award enabled a student from Barretarre, Exuma, Vardo McKenzie, to intern at NASA. Initial funding for the scholarship came from donations to the Bahamas Marine Eco Centre (BME, formerly the Danguillecourt Project) in memory of Alf Thompson. Vardo said for him the internship was life-changing. When I got accepted as an intern for NASA, I knew I had been given a great oppor tunity, but the actual internship experience was so much more rewarding than I could possibly have expected, he said. The hands-on training with researchers, scientists and engineers encouraged Vardo to attend college and pursue studies in engineering. Not only have I had the opportunity to participate as an intern, but I have been able to build relationships with top-level scientists and researchers in the field of space sciences and engineering, he said. I would highly recommend this programme to oth er Bahamian students look ing to expand their experiences in scientific research. A BME spokesperson said that the success of the first years ATMS internship with Vardo prompted them to continue, making it an annual opportunity for Bahamian students. As a result, BME, a nonprofit organisation promoting awareness and respect for the Bahamian environment, is now offering not one, but two scholarships for this summer. Anyone interested in the ATMS programme, wishing to donate towards it or get a copy of the scholarship application and accompanying information should contact the BME office at telephone number 324-7060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applica tion submissions is February 28. Announcement of awards will be made on April 15. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012, PAGE 7 BY DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com FREEPORT A highpowered automatic weapon with ammunition was discov ered in the Freeport area over the weekend, police reported. Officers of the Drug Enforcement Unit made the discovery shortly before 5pm on Saturday in the vicinity of Adventurers Way. No arrests were made and investigations are continuing into the matter. Traffic violators More than 20 persons were cited for traffic violations during a road check exercise in West Grand Bahama over the weekend. Eight Mile Rock Police conducted checks around 6am on Friday at Queens High way, near the Holmes Rock Primary School. About 24 persons were ticketed for various traffic offences. The road check exercise was the second conducted in the West Grand Bahama area. M ORE than 500 new books were recently donated to Sandilands Primary School through the Royal Society of St George. Judy Ansell-Grindrod, president of the Society, saidi t was her mothers wish that after her death, in lieu of flowers, she would like a book fund to be set up for her daughters adopted school, Sandilands Primary in Fox Hill. T he books were received b y Donna Brown, the schools principal and Ms Forbes, coordinator of the Sandilands literacy programme. Mrs Ansell-Grindrod said t he Royal Society of St George is committed to helping students in The Bahamas. We like to demonstrate how we can make a difference in supporting the educationo f our children. Reading opens the door to all knowledge and everyone of us can participate in making quality education the top priority in our community. Handing over the books to M rs Brown (left a nd the students were Colin Jones, vice-president of the Society (centre committee member, and Mrs Ansell-Grindrod (far right SCHOOL GIVEN MORE THAN 500 NEW BOOKS NASAgives chance to Bahamians HIGH-POWERED WEAPON FOUND LAST years ATMS scholarship winner Vardo McKenzie pictured at the Kennedy Space Centre and, right, making a leak detector during his internship with NASA.
TWO months after B ahamas Speed Week Revival brought more than 40 classic and modern racing cars t o Nassau from around the world, the organisation is presenting four local charities with a donation raised at the gala banquet and auction of p romises sponsored by Pictet Bank & Trust. We are delighted to have c ontributed to such a success ful event, stated Yves Lourdin, managing director of Pictet Bank & Trust. We hope that the auction o f promises will serve as a catalyst for similar events in the future that encourage persons t o contribute significantly to various local charities. News of the donation was unveiled at a press conference and cheque presentation at G overnment House in the presence of Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor General w ho served as patron of the gala ball and auction of promises. Also present were representatives from Speed W eek and the benefitting charities. We gratefully thank Bahamas Speed Week R evival for its generous support in assisting Teen Challenge Bahamas to continue e mpowering the youth of The Bahamas to reach their full God-given potential, said Andre Chappelle, ofTeen C hallenge Bahamas. The Cancer Society, Ranfurly Homes for Children, Teen Challenge and the B ahamas AIDS Foundation are each receiving $10,500 from the funds raised at the a uction. We are most grateful for the thoughtfulness of the Bahamas Speed Week R evival team, stated Wen dell Barry, of the Cancer Society of The Bahamas. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012 THE TRIBUNE LLEWELLYN BoyerCartwright, a 29-year veter an of the aviation industry w ho specialises in aviation law, this month became the first Bahamian to be admitted to the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association, an international organisation dedicated to air line and aircraft safety and legal issues surrounding the aviation industry. This is not only a personal honour for me, but an oppor tunity for The Bahamas to par ticipate in a meaningful way to the growing body of aviation law governing an indus try critical to our economy, said Mr Boyer-Cartwright, a senior associate with the Callenders & Co law firm. Most of us think of avia tion only when we are making travel plans. We voice our frustration about paying for extras or delayed departures, or our pleasure at on-time arrivals. We do not stop to think about everything that went into making that flight among thousands a day even possible, not the engineering of the aircraft but the engi neering, so to speak, of the rules governing the sky and operations on the ground even before an aircraft leaves the gate. In conjunction with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation), there is an increasing body of law that strives to ensure safety in the skies and on the ground, regulates airports, sets parameters for flight and pilot stan dards, air worthiness of aircraft, manages the framework for currency exchanges between airlines criss-cross ing continents, looks at every aspect of insurability, responsibility and liability in addition to matters like aircraft registries. It's the law that, figuratively speaking, keeps the airline industry commercial, corporate and private grounded in the finest sense of the word, he said. Mr Boyer-Cartwright, a pilot who flew for Bahamasair among other carriers for some 15 years, went to law school before going back to flying, and then returning to graduate school to be formal ly trained in the discipline that had been his passion. These days, Mr Boyer-Cartwright strives to land more airline business for The Bahamas, including a major carrier whose name he said he cannot disclose that this time. It is good business for this country in more ways than one, he said. And while this particular airline does not serve The Bahamas at this time, we hope that will change. It is important for us to create the best possible environment to attract more airlift and to satisfy the evolv ing requirements of high net worth individuals who wish to register their private air craft offshore. In the past, The Bahamas has focused on resorts, attractions, excursions, the tourism offerings or product once visitors arrive. We have started to take seri ously the steps of what we can do to show friendly skies long before the routes are finalised and I am proud that Callenders & Co is contributing to that effort. Mr Boyer-Cartwright was admitted to the Bars of Eng land and Wales and The Bahamas in 1994 and holds a Master's Degree in Aviation Science, having studied Air port Planning and Design and Aviation Safety. He also holds an Airline Transports Pilots Licence and Flight Engineers Licence and has flown the Boeing 727, Boeing 737 and is type-rated on the Boeing 747. MEMBERS of Speed Week Revival 2011 present Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes with a $42,000 cheque which will benefit several charities including Teen Challenge, Ranfurly Homes for Children and the Cancer Society. Pictured from left: Tim Munnings, Director of Sports, Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture; Tyrone Sawyer, Sports Tourism, Ministry of Tourism; David McLaughlin, Bahamas Speed Week Revival; Alexand er Roberts, Director, Ranfurly Homes for Children; Andre Chappell, Teen Challenge; Wendell Barry, Cancer Society of The Bahamas; Camille Lady Barnett, AIDS Foundation; Diane Phillips, DP&A; Brendan Foulkes, B ahamas Speed Week. Back row, Craig Eldon, DP&A, Rosamund Roberts, Bahamas Speed Week Revival. Front row: Jimmie Lowe, President, Bahamas Speed Week Revival; Sir Arthur, Patron of the Gala Ball and Auction; Eric Fox, Teen Challenge; and Jeremy Stuby, Vice President, Pictet Bank & Trust, which sponsored the Gala Ball. Photo: Derek Smith/BIS Speed Week helps charities FIRS T BAHAMIAN TO JOIN L AWYER PILOTS GROUP LLEWELLYN Boyer-Cartwright. Photo: Roland Rose
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012, PAGE 9 THE reason that the Opposition was rejected att he polls after a single term c annot be clearer. There was no leadership. The Christie administration was the weakest, most incompetent and most unproductive government in an independentB ahamas. T he scandals that rocked the Christie government, its late-again work ethic, its lack of significant accomplishments, and its endless list of b roken promises all boiled d own to a lack of vision, d irection and strong leadership by Perry Christie. In 2009, a senior PLP who sat in Mr Christies cabinet said of that government: Many PLPs were dissatisfied with our work ethic: our inability to get things done on time, answer phone calls and get to work on time and to deal with requests to theg overnment in a timely fashion. Nothing has changed. Mr C hristie is incapable of being a strong and decisive leader. Again, the words of that same senior PLP: The public expects to see a full-timeL eader of the Opposition with regular and known office hours... Whether in government or in opposition, Mr Christie is incapable of being a wellorganised leader who cand eal with matters in a timely fashion. Cassius Stuart, the FNMs standard bearer for Bamboo Town recently noted that when he was considering w hether to join the FNM or PLP that it took eight months f or Mr Christie to get back t o him. Prime Minister Ingraham returned his call in an hour. Mr Christie is a talker, not a doer; a promise-maker, not a deliverer; a vacillator, not a leader. W eeks before the 2002 general election, Mr Christie proclaimed: I see thousands of school children in overcrowded classrooms being taught by frustrated underpaid teachers. Yet in fivey ears, he could not and did not build a single school. Mr Christie also proclaimed: I see too many families who still have to fry fish and conch-fritters out on M ontagu Bay to raise money for major surgery because t here is no National Health I nsurance System to help them out. Yet he did not deliver on what he boasted was his mostu rgent priority. I t is a re-elected FNM Government that will deliver catastrophic health insurance, expand the prescription drug benefit to all workers and their families, and continuet o transform health care facili ties and technology. Mr Christie further proclaimed: We must conduct ourselves in Government according to an uncomprom ising code of complete i ntegrity and transparency. If w e set the right example at the top, it will filter all the way down to the bottom, both in the public sector and in the wider society. D espite this pledge, he tolerated scandalous and unseemly behaviour in his cabinet and government. He also kept secret, agreements on Baha Mar; Park RidgeS ecurities Corp (Albany Bluewater, the phantom company that sought to take con-t rol of BTC; and a number of others. Given another chance. Mr C hristie will again prove to b e a laid-back, indecisive, weak and disorganised figure head of the PLP, while his associates do whatever they want. Tough issues, like battling crime and boosting job-c reation do not solve thems elves. They require tough, focused, organized and strong leadership. A Christie administration that was drenched in scandal b y many of the same people w ho are running again will n ot have the credibility or authority to deal with crime. It would be like hiring a known safe-breaker to guard your safe, and also giving himt he combination for the safe. The Great Recession that struck the world and The Bahamas beginning in 2008 required quick, decisive and bold action. Such action, ledb y Prime Minister Ingraham prevented the collapse of the economy, saved the jobs ofc ivil servants, advanced measures to assist those in need of emergency and public assis-t ance, and helped to prepare T he Bahamas for a recovery. Times of crisis demand leadership. The Christie administration, a failure in better global economic times, would have been a disasterd uring the Great Recession. L ike scores of countries throughout the world, the acceleration of infrastructural projects at home prevented economic collapse by stimul ating the economy and prov iding jobs and pay cheques. T he Opposition has criticized these projects, the very things that employed Bahamian workers and has improved the lives of everys ingle Bahamian. Clearly, they would have failed to do the many things that are now benefiting the Bahamian people because from 2002 to 2007 the Christie administrationp roved to be incapable and indifferent when it came to delivering for the Bahamianp eople. P enn Centre for boys, Mrs Butler-Turner said that 14 boys managed to escape between June 1 and October 26, 2011. She said that trying to stop escapees is difficult. The Simpson Penn Cen tre is not a facility where persons are physically confined on an almost 24-hour basis, h ence the prevention of abscondments is literally impossible, she said. In addition to the engagement of additional persons, the staff have beeni nstructed to be more vigilant in the supervision of res idents. The population increase at S impson Penn, as a result of the Act, has called for two security officers to be hired last November, and the centre is currently in the process of identifying additional personsf or engagement. M rs Butler-Turner said: While there has been an increase in the number ofr esidents since the coming into force of the Child Protection Act, there is a fluctu ation in the number of residents on an almost weekly basis due to the status of the court cases. I n response to a question concerning a girl who twice went missing from a facility in Grand Bahama in 2009, shes tated there are established p rocedures for the search and recovery of children who go missing in the care of them inister. T hese procedures include immediately notifying police, forwarding reports to the permanent secretary of thed epartment to alert the min ister, contacting the relatives of the child, and the departm ents own investigations to l ocate and recovery of the missing child. Mrs Butler-Turner pointed out the girl, in question, is of l egal age since 2010 and contact was made with the girls father. She also noted, yesterday, that provisions have been made in the 2011-2012 bud get to increase additional staff and the Department of Public Service is currently processing 10 applications for social workers. Social workers deal with anywhere between 30 to 600 c ases, though it depends on location, area and type of r equested service, Mrs Butler-Turner said. We are not issuing permits to foreigners for jobs Bahami ans can do. The department has tightened its level of scrutiny on work permit appli cations and as a consequence 2,299 fewer permits were issued in 2011 than in 2010. Another reason for the decrease is a lot of the com panies that were in the Bahamas are no longer hereso their employees went with them. To say the economic downturn is the only reason is not entirely correct but it is one of the main reasons. Of the 7,091 work permits issued last year 53 per cent or 3,793 were given to housekeepers and handymen 1,671 and 2,122 respectively. Mr Symonette said the reason for the high numbers is because Bahamians simply dont want the jobs. More than half of the work permits went to nonskilled labour. Bahamians complain about the number of work permits we issue and the unemployment rate how ever they refuse to do the jobs. They think its menial and beneath them and they just wont do it. Well, you cant have your cake and eat it too, he said. A lot of Bahamian households have Jamaican maids and because Bahamian women rather apply to work in the hotel as housekeepers than in a home. Then you have a large category of Peruvian and Filipino live ins. These people require work permits. You have a large number of Haitian gardeners. I know one man who has had his work permit renewed 20 times because Bahamians just wont do the work. Work permits for construction workers decreased by 53 per cent, from 565 in 2010 to 291 in 2011. Farm labourers also decreased significantly from 549 to 441. In fact, of the 24 categories of jobs that foreigners were granted work permits in 2011 all but eight saw decreases compared to the same period in 2010. The categories where increases were seen are list ed as follows: Cooks: 141 145 Consultants: 51 89 Guest Organisers: 49 64 Maintenance Men: 49 59 Presidents: 0 3 Projects Mangers: 43 57 Surveyors: 25-31 Attorneys: 0 4 Mr Symonette said the gov ernment expects more declines in the issuance of vot ers cards with the introduction of the new training programme, which is designed to provide more Bahamians with skills for jobs now being done by non Bahamians. Of the 7,091 work permits issued last year. 5,958 were issued on new tamper proof, electronic cards. Mr Brown said in the state ment that the PHAs ambul ances, which began to break d own one after the other last week, had not been able to get the scheduled maintenance they needed because o f the increased emergency calls related mostly to crime. Emergency vehicles at Public Hospitals Authority h ave been under considerable strain as a result of a signifi cant increase in trauma most of which are related to crime, the PHAs statements aid. A ccording to the statement, increased emergency calls have also affected the PHAsR outine Repair and Maintenance Programme. Our goal was to have each vehicle brought in for a routine maintenance check every 300 400 hours/or every two w eeks. We have not been able to do that at this time because o f the high demand in emer gency cases. Last Thursday, it took two ambulances to get a man to t he emergency room after the first responding ambulance broke down on the way to hospital. Mr Brown said funding has b een approved for five new ambulances at a cost of $72,000 per vehicle. He said when the vehicles arrive theyw ill have cost the PHA $124,000. E MS workers who are dissatisfied with how the EMS d epartment is being run complained to The Tribune that the ambulances bought for the public EMS services werec heap and not fit for the pitt ed Nassau roads. H owever, Mr Brown said in the PHAs statement that ambulances are purchased f rom one of the most rep utable companies in the hemis phere and that each one is custom made and outfitted specifically for conditions here in The Bahamas. T he money for the five new ambulances will be contained within the governments2 012/2013 budget, according to Mr Brown. E MS workers also alleged that the companies hired toc arry out maintenance on the PHAs ambulances do noth ave the knowledge to properly overhaul the vehicles. Mr Brown said in the P HAs statement that he and E MS manager Alvery Hanna are satisfied that the three companies hired to maintaint he ambulances will be able to address the maintenancep roblems that befall the vehi cles. He added that Emergency V ehicle Operations Training will continue for EMS pers onnel in order to improve response times in emergency cases. We want to make it clear that service is our first priority, and in the coming months the public will see us deliver on that, Mr Brown said. t ook a screwdriver and u nscrewed the door. They entered and took a brand new Dell computer that was r ecently purchased. He said this incident means that his party will have to i ncrease security measures. It is extremely annoying that security was compro m ised in such a manner. We will definitely have to beef up security, he said. Police are investigating. 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 Without leadership, nothing gets done Commentary by the Free National Movement DNA CANDIDATE Rodney Moncur and a supporter repair the back entrance of his office in Bain and Grants Town after it was taken off its hinges by thieves. Photo: Felip Major /Tribune Staff WEAR AND TEAR OF RESPONDING TO 911 CALLS BREAK-IN AT DNA OFFICE 600 child abuse cases in a year CUTINWORKPERMITS TO HELP BAHAMIANS
R ECENTLY, I caught the t ail-end of a polite rant on JCN-TV by College of the Bahamas professor Nicollette Bethel. She was lamenting the fact that the Colleges move towards university status has stalled, threatening dire consequences for the future of the country. My first reaction was: Well, arent we already part of the University of the West I ndies? W e are indeed have been since 1964, in fact. And wec ontribute about $3 million a y ear to this prestigious regional institution, which operates a School of Clinical Medicine a nd Research, a Hotel Management Programme and an Open University campus in Nassau. My second reaction was: W hy does the College need to become a university anyway? The concept of a universi ty is a place where ideas are encouraged, where economiesa re expanded, where industries are created, where jobs are multiplied, Bethel e xplained to me. If the country does not s how confidence in itself, in i ts young, in its own ability to i nnovate, the moment will p ass. Our lack of understanding of this is a recipe for f uture disaster. A nd apparently its all part of the plan the 2009-2019 strategic plan, which says the C ollege expects to become a university to develop new undergraduate and graduatep rogrammes, increase research and innovation activities and focus its work in a reas crucial to national d evelopment. In his introduction to that plan, Council Chairman T Baswell Donaldson says a university will support and drive national development (and the College is ready to take that step. He told me the same thing over the phone recently: We are ready at any time to become a university, but I have no idea what t he governments timetable i s. A rather startling admiss ion. But before we get into a d iscussion of that, a little background is in order. Prior to 1974, higher educ ation in the Bahamas was limited to basic training for teachers and tradesmen, plus the link to UWI. In that year, the government combined itst eacher training facilities with a technical school and the Government High sixth form to create the College of the Bahamas. The amalgamation was reco mmended by UWI professor Dr C T Leys, and was based on the need for greatere fficiencies in building a better educated work force. For t he first time, ordinary B ahamians could receive a t ertiary education without l eaving the country and UWI had a local base for its e xtra-mural programmes. T he College was estab lished to be a multi-purpose institution serving, as far as p ossible, every important need of The Bahamas. Initially, it offered techni c al and professional courses, as well as pre-university academic programmes on an open entry basis (although that policy was abandoned in 1978 for cost reasons). B ack then, the College was little more than a division oft he Ministry of Education, with tightly controlled gove rnance reflecting the context of the period. Financial matters were u nder the full control of the minister, who could direct theg overning council as he saw f it. It was not until the early 1 990s that the concept of an autonomous Bahamian university began to form. A 1993 study laid the groundwork for the launch of four-year degree pro-g rammes. Overall, a bachelor degree-awarding institution can expect to associate directly with universities... on a m ore equable basis, and to b enefit accordingly, the s tudy committee reported. It should be a matter of pride to recognise the College as ani nstitution of university status. The following year, the National Task Force on Edu c ation (headed by the late Dr Keva Bethel) called explicitly for the COB's conversion into a university college that would focus on granting degrees and conducting research. This led to a new COB act in 1995, which gave the College significant control over p lanning, budgeting, hiring and firing. Since then the College has been funded by a b lock grant from the governm ent (plus tuition fees and d onations), and the only position requiring ministerial approval is that of the president. The next step was to gain i nternational recognition and a ccreditation. This required upgrading faculty credentials and reforming policies and procedures so that, today, the Colleges credits are accepte d by more than 200 institu t ions around the world, and about a third of the facultyh ave doctoral degrees. I n 2002, the incoming PLP a dministration declared that the College would become a university by 2007, and a range of planning initiatives was launched. In 2005, a new inter n al review set the stage for a massive private sector fundraisi ng campaign to support infra structural development. Former Education Minister Alfred Sears told me hisa dministration had set a roadmap for the move to university status: It was our view that the College should becomea centre of teaching excellence a ttracting foreign students, that it should be able to conductr esearch into all aspects of Bahamian life, and that it should be in a position to provide advisory services on key national development issues. Major investments in new facilities took place during this period, including a library andi nformation centre, a per forming arts centre, administrative offices and a modern b ookstore. And Dr Keva Bethel was able to report that by the middle of 2006, the process had reached a point where serious considerationc ould be given to the drafting of the new legislation necessary to establish formally the University of The Bahamas. But that was still the case in 2010. Shortly before her death (in February 2011 said the College was well on the way in terms of administration and infrastructure to establish a university; however, there is a need for the development of a new act in order to transition to full university status. Under the 1995 legislation, the governing council's 11 members are appointed by the governor-general, and include the president, a student, a professor, an alumnus, and five others representing various sectors of the community. Council members and the chairman are all appointed by the governor-general. The current state of play was outlined by Education Minister Desmond Bannister in his last budget address. About half of the Colleges 5,000 students are full-time, taught by 219 faculty members. And more students are now working towards fouryear bachelor degrees, he said, than two-year associate degrees. The first graduate programme a master of business was launched in 2010, fol lowed by a master of science and a master of education. The College also administers the UWI law programme. A new campus was opened recently on Grand Bahama and a $10 million science complex is planned for New Providence, along with a $4 million graduate business centre. So what's the bottom line here? Four-year degrees, relative autonomy, graduate programmes, international accreditation, research facilities, highly qualified professors it seems clear that theC ollege is already a university in all but name. B ut Nicolette Bethel wonders why we still have leade rs who quibble about, who even actively oppose, the creation of a university out oft he College of The Bahamas. We are still using the phrase transition to university stat us almost 20 years after we b egan the process. For how many more generations will this transition extend? Good question, I thought. So I asked Education Minister Desmond Bannister for ane xplanation. He told me the government remains fully committed to the transition to university status. Graduate programmes w ere the last major criteria. T he next step is for legislat ion to be drafted and stakeholder consultation to take place. We seek to be bothm ethodical and inclusive in this process, but there is no timetable. The government sees no m agic in rushing the process and coming up with flawed legislation just to say that we d id it. However, in 2007, Dr Keva B ethel, the Colleges president emerita, had produced a 45page report on governance that covered all the bases. She led a committee of 25 experts from both the public and private sectors who reviewed international practices, conducted a score of interviews, and held three major stakeholder consultations over a period of many months. That committee issued comprehensive recommenda t ions for new legislation to t ransform the College into a university, including a new governing council that would have final authority over all affairs of the university. In her report, Dr Bethel said a university would stimulate greater critical, creative and innovative thinking that could be of significant national value... provide a space for divergent views, demonstrate tolerance for diversity, and be free of political bias. According to outspoken COB professor Ian Strachan,a university is a no-brainer: We need a university that can serve as an engine for development; that can fill the gaps in so many areas of our national life; a university that improves the methods by which we educate and govern ourselves, do business, protect and conserve our environment and our resources, and address social and cultur al problems. It has the poten tial to almost single-handedly improve the Bahamian way of life. This sounds very much like what other leading edge commentators are saying around the world. Author Thomas Friedman, for example, has written that cities combining a university, an educated popu lace, a dynamic business com munity and the fastest broadband connections available will be the success stories and job factories of the 21st century intellectual ecosystems, they are called. Currently, the government finances COB to the tune of almost $25 million a year (compared to less than $20 million under the last PLP administration). Added to this is revenue from tuition fees and private donors like the Lyford Cay Foundation and major commercial banks. The Colleges strategic plan calls for some $55 million in new public and private fund ing to build a training hotel, a student centre, athletic facilities, a research centre in Andros, and a science and technology complex, among other projects. S o, like ZNS, the lion's share of COBs budget is a government subvention allo-c ated yearly, and the president and council chairman are essentially political appointm ents (as is the governor-general himself). And although the 1995 legislation makes the College responsible for itso wn finances, its a safe bet t hat most decisions are made in a political context, even if there is no overt interference. As Professor Strachan put it: The Ministry of Finance( which means the PM) decides w hat we get and dont get. Tuition increases, for example, have political impact. Thei nstinct of those who would decide this at COB is to ask for permission, not forgiven ess. There would be no for giveness. They know this instinctively. Such a raise, were it advanced by the president w ould not be approved by the c hairman unless he first got the OK of his boss (the PM B ut according to one form er faculty member, the Coll ege is its own worst enemy i n this regard. Theres no need for an act to change the name. Why are they so afraid of what the government will say or do? Why dont they j ust go ahead? All govern ments have delayed, so just go ahead. They are a university in everything but name anyway. If we had done what gove rnment told us to do in the early days, there wouldn't even be a College today. We w ere supposed to be an Al evel institution originally, and when we started offering asso c iate degrees we were instructed by the Cabinet sec-r etary to cease and desist immediately. But we went a head and did what we thought we should do andt hat was under the original act. Former Education Minist er Alfred Sears (who will not b e running in the next election) also acknowledged that t he political process is too par tisan. We need a stronger civil society voice so that the politi c ians cant dominate the conversation, he told me. There must be more structural collaboration so that the views of civil society are taken fully into account. An autonomous university would be a big step to achieving such a counterweight to political inertia (and I suspect thats the real issue here). It is certainly worth noting that I was unable to obtain a copy of the Colleges statutory annual report to help me research this article, and the new pres ident Dr Betsy Vogel Boze declined to respond to, or even acknowledge, my inquiries, although she would obviously be a key player in any transformation process. One has to ask why? In a recent Tribune article, financial advisor Richard Coulson argued that the Col lege should become the hub of our development efforts: With proper stimulus, it can act as the intellectual driver of the country. Its magnificent new Harry Moore Library now provides a phys ical nexus around which satel lite centres of learning can be added, in many disciplines from sciences to the humani ties. This can lead to new manufacturing and service industries. Or, as Nicolette Bethel put it: We invest in all sorts of nonsense that fades away in short order after, indeed, the next election. In my per fect Bahamas, we would invest in our brains. We have a real shortage of bright ideas. And universities generate ideas. It seems clear from this review that all the necessary preparatory work to turn the College into a university has been completed, and all parties concerned appreciate the benefits. So whats the holdup? This is hardly a tough call. What do you think? Send comments to larry@tribune media.net or visit www.bahamapundit.com. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 10, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012 THE TRIBUNE Why the hold-up in turning college into a university?
By BETTY VEDRINE B ahamas Information S ervices HUNDREDS of students were given insights into the t echnical and vocational opportunities available to them. S tudents from several schools across New Providence participated in thea nnual Exhibition and Career Symposium held by theD epartment of Education at t he Kendal Isaacs Gymnasiu m on Wednesday, February 1. Minister of Education D esmond Bannister officially opened the event. Applaud-i ng the efforts of the staff in t he Career and Technical E ducation Section of the Ministry of Education and the Association for Career and T echnical Education for stag ing the event, Mr Bannister said that partnerships liket hese are needed to ensure s tudents are exposed to a cross-section of careers. Technological changes o ccur rapidly, therefore it is imperative for our students to be highly trained and r emain on the cutting edge, he said. For this to happen, our educational system must provide programmes that pre p are students to readily embrace potential opportuni ties in industry and tertiary e ducation. Initially, the fair provided e xposure to the technical fields and was previously held at the Town Centre orM arathon Malls. As support grew over the years, the exhi bition was transferred to the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasiumw here it has been held since. Among the exhibitors and partners for this years eventsw ere: the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVIT echnology; New England Institute of Technology; National Aviation Academy; Coral Ridge Training School; Ministry of Public Works and Utilities; the Water and Sewerage Corporation; the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas; the Royal Bahamas Defence Force; Lowes Wholesale Drug Agency Ltd; Bahamas Hot Rod Association; Synergy Bahamas; the College of The Bahamas; the Bahamas Hotel Association; the Bahamas Baptist Community College; Lignum Technologies, and the Department and Ministry of Education. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 12, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012 THE TRIBUNE Opportunity knocks for students STUDENTS listen as Minister of Education Desmond Bannister gives a speech during the official opening of the annual Exhibition and Career Symposium held at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium on Wednesday, February 1. Photos: Raymond Bethel /BIS MINISTER of Education Desmond Bannister speaks to students dur i ng the annual Exhibition and Career Symposium. VARIOUS exhibitors participated in the annual Exhibition and Career Symposium held at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium on Wednesday, February 1.