The Tribune.

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The Tribune.
Uniform Title:
Tribune. (Nassau, Bahamas).
Alternate Title:
Nassau tribune
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Nassau, Bahamas
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v. : ill. ; 58 cm.


newspaper ( sobekcm )
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Description based on: Vol. 79, no. 210 (Aug. 3, 1983); title from caption.

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
09994850 ( OCLC )
9994850 ( OCLC )


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OFFICIAL Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said he sees nothing wrong with awarding contracts to party supporters or the jus tied circumvention of the tender process a day after it was revealed companies owned by Progressive Liberal Party support ers received lucrative Bahamas Power and Light contracts under the Christie administration. In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, the PLP leader further attempted to remove the spotlight from the dealings of his party while By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter Nassau & Bahama Islands Leading Newspaper Volume:114 No.210, SEPTEMBER 22ND 2017 THE PEOPLES PAPER: $1 WEEKEND: TRAVEL THE WORLD WITH WEEKENDS NEW COLUMNIST, IANTHIA SMITH Weekend FRIDAY HIGH 92F LOW 80F it! The Tribune Established 1903 Whats all the fuss about? Davis defends BPL gifting contracts to PLP faithful BAHAMAS Power and Lights former board of directors determined the remuneration packages of PowerSecures senior BPL executives, Ofcial Opposi tion Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday. He said the Christie administration didnt adjust the salaries of the execu tives because doing so would have been seen as political interference. His statement came after Works Minister Desmond Bannister revealed in Par liament Wednesday that some senior executives of BPL made more in a month than parliamentarians make in a year. Former CEO Pamela Hill, red by BPL in August, was paid $25,000 a month, received $6,000 a month in housing benets and had monthly benets of $3,833.33. Asked about the pay ments which some Bahamians have found inordinate, Mr Davis said: Money paid to executives was a matter for the board. His administration accepted the boards remu neration decisions, he said, because the admin istration didnt interfere with that because If you do, they say its political interference. At the same time, Mr Davis said the former administration directed BPLs board to seek ways to cut costs that didnt include going through with PowerSecures plan to re employees. PowerSecures desire to reduce BPLs staff by more FORMER Education Minister Jerome Fitzger ald yesterday accused Works Minister Des mond Bannister of making defamatory statements, while insisting he did not benet from a Bahamas Power and Light Company Ltd brokerage contract awarded to Bahamas Cou rier & Logistics (BCL), a company owned by his father. He said the ministers ref erence to him in Parliament on Wednesday was gratui tous and not protected by the privileges of the House of Assembly. He also threatened to bring legal action for defamation in reference to newspaper headlines and skillfully mislead ing information in the publications regarding the matter. Rejecting the assertion contracts were given to BCL because of familial ties, the former Marathon MP pointed to a long standing commercial relationship with his fathers company and the government owned electric ity provider dating back to the 1980s. This comes the day after Mr Bannister revealed to parliamentarians a foren sic audit by Ernst & Young into BPL that unearthed glaring infractions of the tender process, showing BCL was awarded a con tract for brokerage work in the absence of participating in the tender process. The electricity provider spent $2,626,001 with BCL since 2012. NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday denied asser tions that Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade is being forced into early retirement, saying no gun is being held to anyones head pushing them to leave the police force. In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Dames denied reports that he or the Free National Movement admin istration has a political agenda against the police chief. He said Commissioner Greenslade is still the head of the Royal Baha mas Police Force (RBPF) and despite the malicious rumours, there is no ten sion between the two men. Mr Dames said Com missioner Greenslade has been absent from RBPF events because he chose to use vacation days that were By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter SEE PAGE THREE By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter By SANCHESKA DORSETT Tribune Staff Reporter SEE PAGE FIVE SEE PAGE THREE SEE PAGE SIX COMMISSIONER Ellison Greenslade. A1MAIN


PAGE 2, Friday, September 22, 2017 THE TRIBUNE AN Eastern Road resident said he and his neighbours are fed up with holes which have been left open on the busy road for more than week. We are all hollering about the two perfectly cut Water & Sewerage boxes that have been left for over a week now and already a major trafc hazard as well as a costly vehicle hazard if you cant go around them, the resident, who did not want to be named, said. I have also seen others on less travelled roads so there is a serious problem island wide. The resident said the sharp edges of the holes can blow out a tyre and is calling for the rel evant ofcials to x the issue. Although the resident said the holes were dug by Water and Sewerage, it is unclear which utility com pany is responsible. Fix the streets A PHOTO sent to The Tribune showing one of the vexing holes on Eastern Road. A2MAIN r rfntb rfrfntb bbbbnt tbbbt bt bbt tntb btb b bt nb tbn r bt bbt | Leader in Personal Banking Services f rb 8 PIECES OF CHICKEN $20 (INCL. VAT) D EA L D E A L Fresh Prepared, In-store, Daily. #WICKEDGENIUS


THE TRIBUNE Friday, September 22, 2017, PAGE 3 it governed, questioning whether the contractor for work at the Stephen Dillet School went through the proper tender process. Extensive repairs to the school on Wulff Road are still not complete and its opening was delayed, lead ing ofcials to this week assign students of the school to other campuses in New Providence. Mr Davis was responding in the aftermath of several shocking assertions from Works Minister Desmond Bannister on Wednesday in Parliament. There is nothing wrong with not going through the tender process, Mr Davis told this newspaper yester day. I would be surprised if the board has no justica tion for it. He continued: Are you saying that because you are a PLP, that you are disqualied from engag ing in works with the government because its a PLP government? I dont think that a PLP is disqualied from doing business with the govern ment because the PLP is in government or any FNM, just as the Free National Movement is now doing business with FNM con tractors. They are not disqualied. As I indicated there must be some justication and again I would be sur prised if there is none, he added. During Wednesdays House meeting, Mr Bannis ter shed light on instances where the tender process was not followed under the former PLP administration. Ernst & Young highlighted this in a forensic audit into Bahamas Power and Light. Among the troubling instances was a contract to Bahamas Courier & Logistics (BCL), a com pany owned by former Education Minister Jerome Fitzgeralds father. BCL was handed the contract over Pinders Customs Broker age despite this company having the best bid. The audit further found in two separate instances, J S Johnson was the winning contractor in the bidding process for insurance cov erage, but both contracts totaling $14,183,159 were ultimately issued to Sun shine Insurance, the company of Sir Franklyn Wilson, a Progressive Lib eral Party supporter and nancier. In a statement yester day, Sunshine Insurance refuted assertions political inuence was used in the awarding of its contracts with BPL. At no stage has Sun shine Insurance ever used any political effort to seek to inuence the outcome of a tender process, the insur ance broker said yesterday. Sunshine Insurance prides itself on operating to the highest international standards and does not participate in any unlawful or unethical practice. Any statement to the contrary is simply false. Our sense of cor porate citizenship and contributions to our com munity are extensive and well-documented. Earlier in its statement the company said: Sun shine Insurance (Agents & Brokers) Ltd takes very seriously its role as a responsible corporate citizen. As a result, it is necessary to address the remarks made by the min ister of works in the House of Assembly and the conse quential comments in the press. At the outset, it is important to note that Sunshine Insurance is an insurance broker. As is the industry norm, in this role as a broker, Sunshine Insurance does not retain clients premium. The cli ents premium is passed on to insurers, less the com mission earned. Therefore, Sunshine Insurance earns commission on business it places with insurers. In the context of a broker, in 2013, Sunshine Insurance participated in the BEC/BPL sealed tender process for the provision of their insurance coverage and was awarded the bid. In 2017 four years later Sunshine Insurance again participated in the sealed tender process. The insur ance contract was renewed in June 2017 to the period June 2018. The current min ister of works was in ofce at that time. BPL also spent $4,592,041 with Penta Industrial Services, the company of PLP Chair man Emeritus Errington Minky Isaacs. There was no indication a competitive process of obtaining alter native quotes or competing bids took place, Mr Bannis ter said. Mr Isaacs was contacted yesterday but declined comment. Whats all the fuss about? than 200 workers, a rev elation Mr Bannister made Wednesday, was highlighted in the companys business plan. (PowerSecure) looked at the corporation, iden tied what they saw as challenges that the cor poration had to deal with in order to be successful at meeting its objectives of introducing reliable, affordable prices to the consumer, Mr Davis said. One thing identied was the corporation could have done better if you were to separate a number of employees. That was not a policy of the government and so, in fact, the board of directors was directed to nd a path to avoid lay offs or redundancies or separation. Mr Davis claimed the board achieved this by taking into account savings as a result of the cost drop of prices of oil. Mr Davis denied Pow erSecure failed because his administration inter fered with its work. In addition to planned cost-cutting measures like ring employees, PowerSecure believed a $600 million rate reduc tion bond (RRB) to address BPLs legacy debt issues was central to reforming the company, warning that a delay in going forward with the RRB would prevent oper ational improvements at BPL. PowerSecure also wanted to hike rates. Despite this, the Christie administration never pro ceeded with the RRB and said no to the companys rate plan. Mr Davis said these plans were not rejected by the former administration but were just postponed. He defended their Pow erSecure arrangement, calling it considered. The company, he said, was chosen to manage BPL after a process that involved recommendations from a task force of both private and public ofcials as well as the advisory rm KPMG. That RFP attracted a number of energy and power companiesand the companies shortlisted were China State Construction Engineering in partner ship with SouthPort energy and Ozado Partners, Inter Energy Holdings, and PowerSecure ING, he said. The task force nego tiated with each of the bidders and found that the best competing RFP was offered by PowerSecure. The $900,000 mentioned by Desmond Bannister (as payment for the busi ness plan PowerSecure) was a transition fee which was far less than what was proposed by the other bid ders, including $1.6m in one instance and $5.8m in the other. In respect to the management fees, an analysis by the task force showed that PowerSe cures fees over the period of the ve years under the management services agreement (MSA) was $16m less in expenses than one of the bidders and $26m less than the other bidders. Right now, the hunter is telling the story, Mr Davis said. He called on the Minnis administration to disclose the list of PowerSecures alleged MSA breaches and to inform Bahamians of the consequences of the busi ness separation between PowerSecure and the government. The ouster of PowerSe cure is the latest blow to the legacy of the Christie administration. Reforming the Bahamas Electricity Corporation by hiring the American com pany was often touted by that administration as an example of the heavy lift ing being done. This, however, is not the rst time the adminis trations attempts to x a long-standing national issue has borne no long-lasting fruit. Although in 2014 it con tracted Renew Bahamas to remediate the New Providence Landll, that company pulled out of the contract two years after it was signed, leaving the country with a landll that remains a cause for concern. from page one from page one LEADER of the Opposition Philip Brave Davis in the House of Assembly. Photo: Terrel W. Carey /Tribune Staff A3MAIN QUOTE OF THE DAYDistributed ByBAY STREET GARAGEDowdeswell Street"Buy 1 gallon of 'Castrol' CRB PLUS 15W40 Multigrade motor oil and get a FREE 'GUNK DIESEL FUEL CONDITIONER"!Available at Bay Street Garage and selected auto parts outlets.505Friday, 22nd September 2017 Pursuant to the Resolution passed at the Annual General Meeting of Ordinary Shareholders held on May 31, 2017, the Board of Directors of Commonwealth Bank Limited (the Company) wishes to advise the public that the voting members have approved the subdivision of the Companys shares such that the Two Hundred and Twenty Five Million (225,000,000) Common Shares of par value two cents ($0.02) each in the capital of the Company be subdivided into three (3) Common Shares for each Common Share presently authorized so as to create a total of Six Hundred and Seventy Five Million (675,000,000) Common Shares having a par value twothirds cents ($0.00667) each and that the Company do issue to all holders of Common Shares Two (2) additional Common Shares for each Common Share held, which two Common Shares when added to each Common Share held at as at the date of record for such subdivision shall create a total of Three (3) Common Shares. And advise further, the following dates relating to the share split: i. The Announcement Date: September 22, 2017. The date the Company disclosed the intention to perform a share-split to the public. ii. The Record Date: September 29, 2017. The date determined by the Company when shareholders become entitled to receive shares pursuant to the Shareholder split. Shareholders do not receive shares on this date. iii. The Trading Date (Ex-Split Date): October 6, 2017. The date when trading will begin using the split-adjusted basis for the new Share on BISX. iv. The Eective Split Date: October 12, 2017. The date the shareholder register is updated with the split-adjusted shareholdings by shareholders and, thereafter, notices are mailed to shareholders advising them of their holdings. rf PUBLIC NOTICE STOCK SPLIT |


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.) LL.D., D.Litt 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 Friday Shirley & Deveaux Streets, Nassau, Bahamas N3207 TELEPHONES News & General Information (242) 322-1986 Advertising Manager (242) 502-2394 Circulation Department (242) 502-2386 Nassau fax (242) 328-2398 Freeport, Grand Bahama (242)-352-6608 Freeport fax (242) 352-9348 WEBSITE, TWITTER & FACEBOOK @tribune242 tribune news network PAGE 4, Friday, September 22, 2017 THE TRIBUNE EDITOR, The Tribune. IN most countries which espouse capitalism there are anti-trust laws and unfair competition laws in place. I am a trained economist with a Bachelors in Finance from Walbrooke College in London, England. I do believe, therefore, that I am qualied to speak to these issues. Under capitalism, market forces prevail and the extent of supply depends on the demand of consum ers as they should be. In most industries there are clear economic demar cations. One may chose to be a manufacturer; a dis tributor or a retailer. Here, there are three economic units where everyone is able to chose which one to enter and, hopefully, earn good revenues. A manufacturer, especially a large or medium one, is often prohibited by legislation from entering distribution or retail units. This applies in the USA; the European Union; Canada and most Central and South American nations, includ ing Mexico. There are no known anti trust laws in our wonderful nation. Anyone, seemingly, like Commonwealth Brew ery, partially owned by the government of The Baha mas, is able to manufacturer its assorted products; inclu sive of Kalik and Heiniken; sell it to distributors and wholesalers, who in turn, logically, would sell them to retailers who, ultimately sell to the individual consumer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this case. Where the problems come in is where the manu facturer (Commonwealth Brewery) has now opened scores of retail liquor stores, (wholly owned by Common wealth Brewery) all over New Providence (save an except for the so-called white enclaves) and in most of the populated Family Islands. This means that the manu facturer, who would have received massive governmen tal subsidies and concessions, and is partially owned by the government of the day, this Minnis administration included, is now competing, directly, with those retailers who are obliged to buy from it! This is astounding and pos sibly could only happen in The Bahamas. The retail liquor merchants pay utilities; taxes; NIB; insurance for their businesses and them selves, et al, and employ hundreds of individuals in their stores and busi nesses. The pushing out of the retail trade by the big boys in the liquor industry is a clear case of anti-trust protocols. We need urgent legislation on these two issues if this sector is to survive. The other day 700 Wines & Spirits, God bless them too, had a great wine sale.....Bare Foot or some thing like that. A selected package was being offered, after huge discounts, for about B$80.00 The retailer, with his/her discount, would have to purchase that same package, wholesale, from Commonwealth Brewery for about B$100.00 So, common and eco nomic sense would dictate that a retail consumer pat ronise one of the 700 Liquor Store outlet. Simple as that. As a rm believer in and practitioner of capitalism, I assure you, my fellow Baha mians and friends, that I endorse manufacturing in The Bahamas and applaud those individuals and corpo rate entities which are able to fund such enterprises. Yes, they too, pay all of the above mentioned bills etc and provide jobs for hun dreds of Bahamians who otherwise may not have had a secure job in a highly rewarding and technical eld. Having said this, how ever, they should stick to simple manufacturing and wholesale distribution and leave the retail sector alone. It is alleged that a 700 Liquor Store branded loca tion is/was planned for The Oakes Field Shopping Center, just across the street to The University of The Bahamas. A huge sign is/ was prominently displayed announcing the location. It is also alleged that previously the Licensing & Inspection Unit of The Royal Bahamas Police Force had denied its approval for that site to be licensed some months ago. It is now alleged that approval has now been given and the original decision reversed. The University of The Bahamas is just across the street. Do we need a retail liquor store directly in its front door? On the Poin ciana Drive side, there is a building which used to house a Spotless Cleaners, directly opposite the Southern entrance to UB. Allegedly there is a pending application to open a Chinese restaurant selling the usual menu along with wine and beer. Under capitalism there is nothing inherently wrong with any of this but, consider the following. Our students at UB may or not be alco holics across the board but we Bahamians all know that teen age drinking and public drunkenness exists, big time due to any number of societal and genetic circumstances. Grant the applicants, if it has not already been done so, a license to sell all the Chi nese food possible, especially conch fried rice, to all and sundry. No liquor license, however, in that immediate area, for reasons of public policy. Competition is good. Monopolies are bad. If Com monwealth is able to secure a larger percentage of the manufacturing inventory from other manufacturers like Sands Brewery or large wholesalers like Bristol Cel lars more power to it. It cannot and must not, how ever, be allowed to expand any further into the retail liquor business. To add insult to injury, it is alleged that yet another 700 Liquor loca tion is being proposed on the Charles Saunders Highway, just across the way from Sadie Curtis Primary School! It is the people them time, Prime Minister Minnis. I, as Executive Director of Common Cause, request that you direct your legislative team to draft appropriate anti trust and unfair com petition bills at the earliest opportunity. If you fail or refuse to do so, ertswhile leader, History will be most unkind to you and you would never be absolved. To God then, despite Himself being A Monopoly, in all thing, be the glory. Would we want half drunken students at UB getting into altercations and possible serious inic tion of bodily harm to the point of death? ORTLAND H BODIE, Jr Nassau, September 16, 2017. UNITED NATIONS (AP) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is appealing to the international commu nity, especially Russia and China, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, calling North Korea a case study of the failure to prevent rogue states from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. Tillerson said Thursday that North Korea never came into compliance with and cheated on the Nuclear Nonprolif eration Treaty it joined in the mid-1980s but was never held accountable. He said there were also lessons for Iran which was on its own path to develop nuclear weapons and seems keen to preserve for itself the option to resume such work in the future, an allegation strongly denied by Irans President Hassan Rouhani. Tillerson spoke at a ministerial meet ing of the UN Security Council called by the United States on the acute threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. He said that as we look to the future, the international communitys record of enforcing compliance with nonprolifera tion obligations and commitments is not what we need it to be. Tillerson said all nations must work together bilaterally, region ally and globally to stem the tide of proliferation. G ermany condemns egoism Germanys top diplomat is defend ing international institutions and agreements, condemning egoism on the world stage. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the UN General Assembly that the existing nuclear accord with Iran should be honoured in order to encourage other countries, especially North Korea, to adopt limits on nuclear programmes. Appearing to indirectly take on US President Donald Trumps philoso phy of America rst, Gabriel gave a full-throated defense of multilateral agreements as the best path to ensure global security. He said: We need more international cooperation and less national egoism, not the other way around. C hina wants negotiations China says negotiations offer the only way out of the standoff over North Koreas nuclear programme. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there should be no new nuclear state on either side of the divided Korean Peninsula. He urged North Korea not to go further on a dangerous direction. Wang also called for the US to honour its commitments and for all parties to ease tensions and meet each other halfway. He said: Theres still hope for peace. Wang was speaking Thursday at the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN, where North Koreas recent rapid pace of nuclear and missile tests has drawn international condemnation. Aid-for-disarmament talks have been in limbo for years. President Donald Trump warned Tuesday that North Korea would be destroyed if it attacked the US or its allies, and on Thursday, he announced new sanctions against Pyongyang. R ussia wants nuclear deal. Russias top diplomat is calling the Iran nuclear deal one of the more important factors of regional and inter national security today. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tack led a variety of international crises, including the tensions in North and South Korea in his address Thursday to the UN General Assembly. Condemning North Koreas recent rocket launches and nuclear tests, Lavrov says theres no alternative to diplomacy in resolving the tension. He said military hysteria isnt an impasse. Its a disaster. Lavrov is blaming what he calls the hideous expansion of NATO to the east for the conict between Russia and Ukraine. Addressing the civil war in Syria, Lavrov says all instances of the use of chemical weapons in that conict must be investigated. Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad. T rudeau on injustice Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has used his speech at the UN General Assembly to talk about the injustices that indigenous people face in his country. Trudeau said Thursday their expe rience has been one of humiliation, neglect, and abuse. It is rare for a Canadian leader to talk about the plight of the countrys indigenous people in a global forum. Trudeau says Canada is not a won derland, but a work in progress. He says there are indigenous people who dont have safe drinking water or who say goodnight to their children and then hope that the youths dont run away or take their own lives in the night. He spoke of Canadas former residen tial schools government-sponsored religious institutions established to strip aboriginals of their native language and culture. He says his government is taking steps to improve the plight of indigenous people and noted that more than two dozen long-term drinking water advisories in indigenous commu nities have been eliminated. S candals in Haiti Haitian President Jovenel Moise has rebuked the UN over two scandals that will leave a dark cloud over the peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country when it leaves next month. Moise thanked the UN mission for helping to stabilise Haiti but said Thurs day he lamented the odious acts of sexual violence and exploitation com mitted by some peacekeepers against Haitian children. He also told the General Assembly that the UN should follow through on its promise to help victims of a cholera out break that UN troops from Nepal are widely blamed for introducing. The cholera outbreak has aficted over 800,000 people and killed more than 9,000 since 2010. An AP investigation detailed how at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers sexu ally abused and exploited nine Haitian children between 2004 and 2007. Sri Lanka never jailed any soldiers impli cated in the abuse. This week, Sri Lanka joined a new UN circle of leadership aimed at preventing more abuses. P ressure, not dialogue needed Adopting a less confrontational stance than key allies, South Koreas president has urged North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and seek dialogue to prevent conict breaking out on the divided peninsula. President Moon Jae-in voiced sup port Thursday for stronger sanctions in response to the Norths recent weapons tests, but his tone was in stark contrast to President Donald Trumps dark warn ing at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that North Korea would be totally destroyed if it attacked. Another U.S. ally, Japan, said Wednesday that pressure, not dialogue, was needed. Moon cautioned that North Korean nuclear issues need to be managed stably to prevent a spike in tensions and military clashes a prospect that has overshadowed this years gathering of world leaders. Anti-trust laws and competition LETTERS Global attention on UN meeting EDITOR, The Tribune. WOW, amazing, Minnis and Co suddenly discov ered that BP&L is owed millions! Christie & Co spent mil lions on Consultants for BP&L for what? Dr Minnis take some full page advertisements in The Tribune Guard ian and shame and collect....It worked pre viously almost instantly $300,000.00 was paid for Real Property arrears or do you forget? Utility bills Real Prop erty taxes same medicine no concessions .... no pay ment plans. The people have been paying in full if they got in arrears. Publish and shame, Mr Prime Minister even your MPs. Conrm you mean business. J SAWYER Nassau, September 18, 2017. Outstanding utility bills A4MAIN


THE TRIBUNE Friday, September 22, 2017, PAGE 5 A STRUGGLING and nancially burden some Bahamas Power & Light has been a nui sance for Bahamians for many years, and PowerSe cures business plan, nally released Wednesday, details in depth the extent of the challenges that plague the company. Electricity is a critical problem in The Bahamas, the company, whose busi ness relationship with the government ended this week. Reliability is low, not measured well, and has been characterised as a crisis in newspaper reports. Some areas of The Baha mas have suffered outages as frequently as once a week. Most of the issues of power reliability are a result of poorly maintained and operated generation, transmission and distribu tion assets and resources. In addition to system issues, customers do not experi ence consistent, accurate, reliable interactions with the utility, which has led to a customer delinquency rate of 85 per cent. A chief problem with BPL, a subsidiary of the Bahamas Electricity Corpo ration, is that the two major plants at Clifton Pier and Blue Hills dont function the way they were intended. Clifton Pier plant was intended to cover base load generation but the condition of its assets pre vents it from meeting base load demand. As a con sequence, the Blue Hills plant, designed to provide secondary power and peak demand, has been used to supplement generation instead of just providing for peak demand. This is costly, PowerSe cure noted, because the assets at the Blue Hills plant run on an expensive fuel source: automotive diesel oil. The Bahamas is lagging in almost every major indi cator of utility performance relative to other countries of similar size and matu rity in the region and is far behind leading practice in the power sector globally, PowerSecure noted. These indicators include average cost in cents per kilowatt hour, fuel costs in dollars per megawatt hour, system losses, gen eration availability, system load factor, system reli ability, labour productivity, incident rate, customer complaints and bad debt. Fuel costs are the main reason for BPLs high expenses. Fuel charge, in the utility providers 2015 budget, comprised 62 per cent of the cost customers paid. PowerSecure also said the excess costs were the consequence of oil leaks at Clifton Pier, the limited operations reliability of dirty fuel, the fact that tank cleaning is not performed on regular schedule and engine cooling water from boreholes has been con taminated with oil resulting in full load limitations, among other reasons. Operating units at the Clifton Pier Power Station are aging. The four Sulzer units at Clifton Piers Build ing A, identied as DA5, DA6, DA7 and DA, were installed in 1981 with an original rated capacity of 10mw each, PowerSecure noted. Due diligence indi cates these units and their auxiliary equipment are in relatively poor condi tion due to their age and maintenance practices. Spare parts, especially for controls, are obsolete and extremely difcult to nd. BEC staff commented that on a good day the Sulzers might produce a total of 10mw collectively. According to BEC staff, these units have been des ignated in the past for retirement but continue to operate to meet demand due to the condition of the rest of the generation eet. PowerSecure revealed an intention to retire the Sulzer units. Clifton Piers non-Sulzer units controls are also starting to become obso lete and more difcult to procure. Indeed, for the various listed units at the Clifton Pier plant, Pow erSecure listed a litany of problems impacting them. The DA9 for instance is one of three MAN B&W units held in Building B at the plant that were installed in 1992 and needed numer ous repairs, including an auto lubrication system, an exhaust valve, a cooling water piping replacement, a PLC upgrade, overhauled turbochargers, boiler repairs, fuel separators replacement, lube oil fuel separators replacement, viscosity system upgrade, lube oil coolers replace ment, crankshaft damper replacement and generator inspection and cleaning, all of which was slated to have been ordered and/or taken place between late 2015 and this year. The poor current status of the assets, PowerSecure said, causes line losses as high as 15 per cent, a gure well above compara ble industry levels of four per cent to seven per cent. This is a costly performance shortfall at current rates, burdening customers with as much as $14 million annually for energy they do not consume. Its business plan shows PowerSecure hoped to reduce the cost of electric ity rate from about $0.41/ kWh in 2012 to $0.236kWh by 2020. On Wednesday, Minister of Works Desmond Ban nister announced that the governments management services agreement with PowerSecure had been terminated due to alleged breaches of the deal. PowerSecure has agreed to leave their personnel in place until as late as December 31, 2017, to facil itate an orderly transition, he said. PowerSecure business plan shows depth of BPL struggles By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter It was done against a recommendation that Pin ders Customs Brokerage, a company with the best bid, should be awarded the contract. Mr Fitzgerald was minis ter of education in the last Christie administration. I understand that the minister of works, the Honourable Desmond Bannister, made certain comments about one of my fathers companies and its relationship with BPL in the House of Assembly, gratuitously interposing my name in his statement, Mr Fitzgerald said yesterday in a press statement. I have made it une quivocally clear both inside and outside the House of Assembly on numerous occasions, that I do not own any shares in any of my fathers compa nies and this most recent assertion, in light of all that has been previously communicated, is defama tory and is not protected by the privileges of the House of Assembly. I am not a beneciary of any of the proceeds of any such contract, if indeed there was one. I am advised that Baha mas Cargo and Logistics, formerly Global Custom Brokers of which my father is the benecial owner, has maintained a long-standing commercial relationship with BEC/BPL which dates as far back as the late 1980s. The inference that the familial connection with me was the reason for the contract or that I inuenced or benetted from the con tract are both false and defamatory. Earlier in his statement he said: I wish to advise the public that upon review of the headlines of the local dailies, September 21, 2017, and the egregious and skillfully mislead ing information contained therein, I have consulted my attorneys, with the clear objective of bringing a legal action for defamation. The audit, Mr Bannister said Wednesday, identied numerous irregularities in the manner in which the contracts were awarded since 2012, when the PLP took ofce. The document is dated August 15, 2017 but has not been tabled in Parliament as a police investigation into its nd ings are ongoing. First the report identi ed numerous instances where the tender pro cess was not followed, the Carmichael MP told parliamentarians. Many contracts were awarded in excess of $100,000 for which no formal tender had been performed. In other instances, there was no evi dence of any procurement analysis or of other quota tions being obtained. There were also instances where contracts were awarded to vendors who had not been selected in the tendering process, thereby rejecting the com panies that had actually submitted better bids and in one egregious case, a company that did not even bid was awarded a contract over the company that had followed the process and to whom the tenders com mittee had approved the award of a contract, he said. It is ironic the former MP has argued he was defamed and the comments read into the record of the House of Assembly by Mr Bannister were not protected by Par liamentary privilege. In a landmark ruling last August, Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles declared that Mr Fitzger ald was not legally justied when he tabled the private emails of environmental action group Save The Bays (STB) in Parliament, and therefore could not be pro tected by parliamentary privilege. Justice Charles, who presided over an historic constitutional motion, ruled that the former MPs actions were an infringe ment of the constitutional rights of the applicants and ordered Mr Fitzgerald to pay $150,000 in damages for the breach. Mr Fitzgerald was per manently banned from disclosure and publication of any further material belonging to Save The Bays and was ordered to delete all electronic and hard copy material within 14 days. The Ofce of the Attor ney General, under the former Christie administra tion, said it would appeal the ruling and was granted a stay pending the appeal. It stemmed from Mr Fitzgeralds accusa tion that STB was a political organisation seek ing to overthrow the Progressive Liberal Party government under the guise of an environmental group. In the House of Assembly in March 2016, Mr Fitzger ald read private emails from STB members and others, which he said bolstered his claims. However, in July of this year the parliamentary priv ilege appeal lodged by the Crown under the former government was formally withdrawn and dismissed in the Court of Appeal. FITZGERALD INSISTS HIS HANDS ARE CLEAN from page one THE UNVEILING of the BPL sign at the company headquarters but problems from before the transition have bedeviled the electricity provider. A5MAIN


PAGE 6, Friday, September 22, 2017 THE TRIBUNE A SUPREME Court jury yesterday acquitted one of two men accused of the October 2014 shoot ing death of Blair Estates resident Andre Cartwright after nding insufcient evidence to convict him for the role prosecutors alleged he played in the crime. Kevin Andrews, of Montell Heights, was acquitted after the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict on the three charges with which he was faced murder, attempted armed robbery and burglary. Andrews acquittal came during the trial before Jus tice Renae McKay. He was represented by attorney Murrio Ducille during the four weeks he stood trial. Meanwhile, Tiano DHaiti, Andrews coaccused, was called upon to make a defence to the Crowns case against him concerning his alleged involvement in the inci dent in question. However DHaiti, faced with charges of murder and attempted armed robbery, elected to exercise his right to remain silent. The matter was ulti mately adjourned to today at 11am, at which time both the Crown, led by Kendra Kelly and Destiny McKin ney, and DHaitis attorney Jairam Mangra will make their nal submissions to the jury. Andrews was initially arraigned with DHaiti on November 11, 2014 in con nection with the 2014 home invasion and murder. According to initial reports from police, Andre Cartwright, 44, was at his Blair Estates home around 1.40am with his mother and father on the morn ing in question, when men kicked in the door of the house. When he heard the noise, the deceased got his licensed shotgun and went to investigate, police reported. He encountered the suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun, police said. There was a brief exchange of gunre, which resulted in the victim being shot multiple times. He died at the scene. One of the suspects was also shot, however, initial reports from police said he and the other men escaped in a silver-coloured Honda Accord. Man cleared in Blair raid case By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter A HURRICANE warn ing remains in effect for the southeast Bahamas, including the islands of Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Acklins, Inagua, Long Cay and Samana Cay, according to the Depart ment of Meteorology in an advisory yesterday. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the central Bahamas, including Cat Island, Exuma, Rum Cay and San Salvador. A tropi cal storm watch means tropical storm conditions can affect these areas within 48 hours. A hurricane warning means that hurricane con ditions are affecting or can affect these areas within 36 hours. Weather ofcials said Hurricane Maria strength ened on Thursday, with winds of 120mph as it headed towards the Turks and Caicos. The storm dumped 30 inches of rain on parts of Puerto Rico, where millions of residents wont have power for months, accord ing to How severe impacts are in the Turks and Caicos and the southeastern Bahamas from Maria will depend on how much (strengthening) occurs and how close the hurricane tracks, reported yesterday. Maria, a category three storm up to press time, is expected to bring lots of rain and wind as it churns past the southern Bahamas this weekend. SOUTH ISLANDS BRACE FOR HURRICANE MARIA By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter owed to him and no one put a gun to his head, forc ing him to do that. However, Mr Dames refused to comment on speculation that Commis sioner Greenslade has been offered the post of high commissioner to London and will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ferguson, who is currently acting com missioner of police. He said when the time is right, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis will make an announcement on the future of the police force. At the appropriate time, the prime minister will make his comment, but no gun is being held to any ones head to say they must leave. Mr Greenslade is still the commissioner, Mr Greenslade said. The commissioner is still the commissioner. He is currently on leave, he has a large amount of leave. Listen, the force func tions this way and has been functioning this way for a very long time. The com missioner takes leave and there are provisions for an acting commissioner so that the force doesnt miss a beat. The force is bigger than any one individual. He is not being forced out, the commissioner cannot be forced out. He is enti tled to his leave, he took his leave and so an acting commissioner assumes that position because the force is not built on one person. It is built on thousands of individuals at various ranks and so if one takes leave there are provisions for someone else to assume that position. Mr Dames said he is not in the business of making the RBPF political and said his only job is to ensure that he does what was promised prior to the election. The RBPF continues to operate and continues to remain focused. We con tinue to build and have not missed a beat because the commissioner is on leave. He did not have to go, that was the choice he made, Mr Dames said on the sidelines of an event at the prison. He is still the substan tive commissioner of police and we have to be care ful not to make it about an individual. The organi sation is bigger than any one individual. There is no tension between us to my knowledge. Why would there be? I am the minis ter of national security and I know my role. I am very cognisant of my role and I will not play politics with the RBPF. I am the servant of the people and right now the people are concerned about the high levels of crime in the country and I have a mandate to ensure that the governments policy is carried out. That is my responsibility, to ensure that the people of the Baha mas are satised that we are doing what we promised prior to the election that is my only responsibility. Earlier this week, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, also former leader of the FNM, said it is well known the government would like the commis sioner to step aside. It is well known that the government will like the commissioner of police to discontinue being commis sioner, and it is well known that the commissioner of police has agreed to step down as commissioner, Mr Ingraham told The Nassau Guardians National Review. According to the newspa per, Mr Ingraham also said uncertainty over Commis sioner Greenslades future is affecting police morale. Commissioner Greenslade was appointed the sixth commissioner of police on January 4, 2010 after serving as the acting deputy commissioner of police from January 1, 2009 upon completion of a one year secondment with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada. Mr Dames also took part in this training in Canada when he was a member of the RBPF. In January 2009, Mr Dames, then senior assis tant commissioner of police, was appointed commander for Grand Bahama. Mr Dames was later promoted to deputy commissioner while Commissioner Greenslade ascended to the RBPFs top post. Mr Dames quit the RBPF in May 2011 to take up a post at the Baha Mar resort. He won the Mount Moriah seat in the House of Assembly in the May 10 general election. from page one MARIA MARIA 8 AM FRI 8 AM SAT 8 AM SUN 8 AM MON 8 AM TUE 8 AM WED Nassau Miami Miami Nassau Port-au-Prince Port-au-Prince Havana Havana ST ORM DET AILS Day:Thursday Date: 9/21/16 Time: 8 PM EDT Storm Name: MARIA Storm Discussion: Damaging wind gusts and flooding rainfall will affect the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas tonight and Friday. Dangerous surf will also impact the east-facing areas of the central Bahamas through at least Friday. Lat: 20.80 North, Lon: 69.80 West Movement: NW at 7 mph Central Pressure: 962 mb Sustained Wind: (mph): 120 mph Peak Gust: (mph): 150 mph THE CAPTAIN Cook restaurant lies damaged on Cofrecito Beach after the crossing of Hurricane Maria over Bavaro, Dominican Republic, yesterday. A hurricane warning is in effect for the south-east Bahamas as the storm moves closer. Photo: Tatiana Fernandez /AP A6MAIN


THE TRIBUNE Friday, September 22, 2017, PAGE 7 THE Archdiocesan Catholic Church Mens Association in collabora tion with the Bahamas Department of Correc tional Services yesterday launched the HOPE programme aimed at rehabilitating inmates by providing them with men torship, legal aid and jobs during and after their release from prison. At a ceremony at the BDCS on Thursday, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said the Helping Our People Excel programme is aimed at reducing the high rate of recidivism as well as combat crime. The programme will target persons on remand or rst-time offenders with non-violent crimes. There are nearly 300 persons on remand, some inmates are as young 14. These programmes would reduce the degree of recidivism and would coun teract the revolving door syndrome. The Department of Correctional Services has to play a critical role in our overall efforts in crime reduction, Mr Dames said. We seek to improve the effectiveness of correc tional services and improve our capacity for rehabilita tion and reintegration for offenders. We understand the need to unify the crimi nal justice system in order to improve its efciency as well as the prison service. The objective is to pro tect the innocent, to deter criminals and to rehabili tate offenders. We have to redirect the minds of the inmates in preparation for their release and re-entry. The government supports this bold initiative which is geared to assist young men by developing counselling and religious programmes that provide mentorship among other things. Commissioner of Correc tions Patrick Wright said a change in the prison means a change in the country. We will continue to part ner with the church for the rehabilitation of all inmates for a safer Bahamas. We will also ensure the living conditions for the inmates are improved as well as pro grammes for the inmates to assist with rehabilitation of all inmates in our care. We recognise that change in the correction facility means a change in the country and if the Bahamas is going to see a reduced recidivism rate each of us has to play important roles, he said. ACCMA President Edwin Thompson said he hopes the programme can grow through the years and assist as many persons at nding a new and better life. We have developed an application form for the inmates to ll out and the correctional ofcers will give it to those they feel are ready for the programme, he said. We will review it and those who qualify will come into the programme. We will have mentors and also, we will have an ofcer who will guide them and keep them away from crime. We will help rst with legal aid and then once they get their free dom then we will assist them while they are searching for a job. We will be calling upon corporate Bahamas to assist these young men with nding a job. In the mean time, we want them to get reunited with their church, and reconnect with their family. We will offer them a stipend until they nd this job as well. Church and prison service join forces to offer Hope By SANCHESKA DORSETT Tribune Staff Reporter A 50-YEAR-OLD woman of South Bahamia, Freeport, was charged in the Freeport Magistrates Court this week with sev eral counts of stealing. Donnalee Musgrove, of Blue Marina, appeared before Magis trate Rengin Johnson in court three on ten counts of stealing by reason of service. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and the case was adjourned to November 29 for trial. She was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services in New Providence. WOMAN ACCUSED OF THEFT DONNALEE Musgrove appeared in a Freeport court earlier this week to face charges. Photo: Vandyke Hepburn FIVE men accused of the double murder of a Holmes Rock couple were in the Supreme Court for what was supposed to be the start of their trial, however it was postponed to October 3. Paul Belizaire, Devaughn Hall, Allan Alcime, Virgil Hall, and Kevin Dames appeared in the court on Thursday, with their attorneys. The courtroom and upstairs lobby were lled with persons reporting for jury duty, however the selection of a jury panel did not proceed as planned. The men are accused of killing Barry and Sheena Johnson, who were found murdered at their residence on September 12, 2015. DOUBLE MURDER TRIAL DELAYED By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter THE Bahamas formally established diplomatic rela tions with the Republic of Armenia on Thursday, through the signing of a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations. The joint communique was signed on behalf of the government by Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Heneld and Edward Nal bandian, minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Armenia. The signing cer emony took place at the United Nations headquar ters in New York. BAHAMAS LINKS WITH ARMENIA To advertise in The Tribune, contact 502-2394 IN an effort to con tinue expanding its corporate responsibilities, new mobile network ALIV has made a signicant donation and is a present ing sponsor for Paradise Plates 2017. Paradise Plates is in its eighth year and is hosted by the Hands for Hunger organisation, a non-prot humanitarian group focused on eliminating unnecessary hunger and signicantly reducing food waste. ALIV will continue to fasten its increasing com mitment to the people of the Bahamas. A key part of the ALIV brand encompasses creating meaningful experiences not only for custom ers but also for those in our communities. This marks a shared effort to grant every man, woman and child three nutri tious meals a day through Hands for Hunger, ALIV Events & Spon sorship Manager Bianca Bethel-Sawyer said. Hands for Hunger Exec utive Director Zeleka Knowles said she is grate ful for the donation from ALIV and hopes for con tinued support from the company in the future. The most fullling part about planning Paradise Plates is the amount of support Hands for Hunger receives, she said. Our partnership with ALIV is exemplary. ALIV has proven to be depend able, they care about our mission and they invest in our programmes even beyond this one event. Partnerships like the one we have with ALIV will leave a lasting impact in the community and will inch is closer to a hunger-free Bahamas. Paradise Plates is the largest fundraiser for Hands for Hunger and is a unique evening of gourmet food, wine, beer and cock tail tastings, complemented by an assortment of live entertainment, a thrilling live and silent auction and a rafe. Paradise Plates is sched uled for September 30 at Atlantis Grand Ballroom, Paradise Island beginning at 7pm. For more information, please visit http://www. MOBILE NETWORK CONNECTS WITH PARADISE PLATES EVENT MINISTER of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson believes the island should be the centre for arbitration in the Baha mas and commended ADR Bahamas for holding a training seminar for Baha mians in Freeport. He encouraged the business community and residents to view arbitra tion as an alternative to the courts in resolving disputes. I also encourage legal practitioners to utilise this process, Mr Thompson said. If we want to sell our selves as an international destination for arbitration, we must rst expand the local practice. Second, we must be prepared to adjust our investment and immi gration policy. ADR Bahamas is com mitted to the resolution of disputes and issues by means other than litigation. The organisation is conducting a training seminar for persons in Grand Bahama. It is my hope that ADR Bahamas will grow in popu larity, and eventually lead to an international arbitration centre that we seek to have operating here in Grand Bahama. This will bring opportunities for Bahami ans as well as travelers, the senator said. He said there are always persons looking for a condential, quick and convenient settlement, and waiting for a court appoint ment or going through the process can be tedious at times. Arbitration seeks to resolve disputes fairly and quickly. The resolution is recognised as equivalent to a court decision, and both parties can move on having dealt with the dispute. As we continue to work toward making Grand Bahama the centre for industry and innovation the entrepreneurial hub it is destined to be, it is important to embrace new, ways to resolve matters and maintain respect and peace among community mem bers. And as with all new initiatives, local support is needed, he said. Senator Thompson indi cated that the Ofce of the Prime Minister would also support the growth of this new industry by assisting with training of Bahamians to take advantage of these opportunities. He commended the Grand Bahama Port Authority for its commit ment to provide a facility for the centre. Mr Thompson also said the government is commit ted to the revitalisation of Grand Bahama. Todays training is the nuts and bolts of the revi talisation process. It starts with local initiatives and changes within our own communities that will make us more modern and productive. We need new industry and a radical change. How ever, preparation is rst required before opportu nity will come, he said. The Bahamas passed the Arbitration Act in 2009. GRAND BAHAMA By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter A7MAIN


PAGE 8, Friday, September 22, 2017 THE TRIBUNE THE temporary sus pension of the Grand Celebration cruise ship to Grand Bahama for the next three months was yesterday described as another big blow for the beleaguered second city. The ship is headed for the US Virgin Islands to assist with recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and will not resume its twonight excursion from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama until December 23. Yesterday, Grand Bahama tour operators and vendors lamented the likely negative impact to the islands already depressed economy, and limping tour ism market due to shuttered hotels and stalled projects. Its a big blow to Grand Bahama, according to a veteran tour operator who requested anonymity, not only for us as tour opera tors, but also for us as hotels because the Celebration has been the main vehicle for getting tourists to the island. As a tour operator, its a big deal for all of us, for some of the hotels that are still open, its a big deal. The tour operator con tinued: Once we heard about this being cancelled we all panicked here. What started off with minimal business, has really grown to where we really have become dependent on the business. Their numbers are often much better than the major cruise lines. In a statement to cus tomers yesterday, cruise operator Bahamas Para dise Cruise Line (BPCL) announced that the ship has been contracted by Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide housing for the US National Guard and rst responders work ing to rebuild devastated communities on St Thomas. According to the Sun Sentinel, the company is being compensated to cover its loss of business and rev enue over the period. The BPCL statement read: We hope that you will understand and agree that this disruption to our business is overshadowed by the magnitude of need and humanitarian support required to help the people of St Thomas rebuild their devastated communities. It continued: We apologise for any disappoint ment around your cruise vacation plans this change may have caused. We thank you in advance for your sup port and exibility during this time. This was not an easy decision for us to make and we sincerely appreciate your understanding. BPCL offered to fully refund customers that have made direct book ings within that period, or a $100 on board credit if they reschedule their trip. Concern over temporary pull-out by Celebration By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest @ Rotary Club of New Providence. On Saturday, September 16, the Change Makers of the Rotary Club of New Providence (RCNP) came out in full force to once again bring positive intervention to the lives of more than 20 young boys between the ages of 13 and 17 boarded at the Simpson Penn School. In fullling their underlying charge to aid in youth reha bilitation and to ensure that no juvenile is left behind, the Change Makers have expanded the Penn project to also provide mentor ship and assistance to the Willie Mae Pratt Centre for girls. The girls school is cur rently home to more than 14 young women between the ages of 13 and 17. The Change Makers are com mitted to continuing their efforts to ensure that these young people are given a second chance to smoothly assimilate on their return to open society by equip ping them with the tools needed to become assets and future leaders of this great Bahamaland. The Change Makers of RCNP strongly believe that mentorship is the key to providing the rehabilita tive tools needed for these young people who have found themselves at risk in a system of juvenile punish ment which does not often look promising for their future aspirations. It is this very need which gave rise to the rst stage mentor ing program offered by Rotarians to the Simpson Penn School a few months ago and which in turn has refueled their motivation to also include the young women housed at the Willie Mae Pratt Girls School. Giving back is embedded in the DNA of all Rotar ians worldwide and they are called to Service above Self. RCNP members along with the boys of the Penn/ Pratt School dedicated a full day to arresting disre pair on the grounds and to prepping, priming and painting several benches which will be installed as interior perimeter seat ing in the Schools Peace Pavilion which is another ongoing initiative under taken by the Rotary Club of New Providence to beautify the grounds at the school and to provide an environ ment of Peace and serenity for the enjoyment of the young residence. Through out the day, the Change Makers of RCNP were dispatched in teams to sep arate locations as the boys were housed in one location while the girls were kept at another. Each RCNP team engaged and inspired the young men and women of the Penn/Pratt Schools by offering them practical career guidance, life lessons and words of wisdom and encouragement. The day culminated with Rotarians catering to the Co-ed group by entertain ing them with recreational discussion, Rotarian styled fellowship and of course providing tasty grilled food, snacks and drinks Notwithstanding the obstacles that these juve niles might face in a broken system it is clear that they all have the hope of a bright future ahead of them and appear to be eagerly awaiting their opportunity to show soci ety that everyone deserves a second chance! In the past, RCNP has forged an ongoing and life time partnership with the stakeholders and staff at the Simpson Penn School and will continue to do so by integrating their efforts with the Willie Mae Pratt Girls School. On Tuesday, 19th September, 2017 the Change Makers proudly revealed the fruits of their ongoing labour through the unveiling of the Penn/ Pratt Co-educational Unit signage, donation of drums and restored benches at a special assembly held at the Penn/Pratt school which was attended by RCNPs dedicated President and Service Project Chair along with a team of Rotarians. To say the least it was a moment of crowing glory to an initiative which has spiraled into a great RCNP service project effort! Rotary brings together a global network of volun teers dedicated to tackling the worlds most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 mil lion members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and regions. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world among other world wide initiatives. The Rotary Club of New Providence meets every Tuesday at 7:00 at Poop Deck, West Bay Street. Rotary Club of New Providence OUR Clubs and Socie ties page is a chance for you to share your groups activities with our readers. To feature on our Clubs and Societies page, submit your report to clubs@trib, with Clubs Page written in the sub ject line. For more information about the page, contact Stephen Hunt on 502-2373 or 447-3565. JOIN THE CLUB ABOVE and below, members of the Rotary Club of New Providence during their work helping youngsters at the Simpson Penn School and Willie Mae Pratt Centre for Girls. A8MAIN


THE TRIBUNE Friday, September 22, 2017, PAGE 9 W HAT a week of rev elations this has been. According to reports, cer tain parliamentarians go for what must be years without paying their electricity bills. Other reports suggest some go for what must be years without paying their water bills. And (if that werent enough) other privileged individuals are lucky enough to have big-time government contracts land in their laps even when it is claimed they should be given to other legitimate bidders. Shall we begin? Abuse of Privileges Yes, the headlines in the dailies were quite shocking this week. Not shocking in the sense of unexpected, but shocking in the sense of the absolute brazen ness it takes to sit up in the honourable House of Assembly and pretend to be an upstanding represent ative of the people knowing full well you are ducking your bills and relying on your position as a Member of a Parliament to ensure your lights dont get discon nected for non payment. Over the years, there has been robust public debate about the cost of utilities in this little country. Thou sands upon thousands of Bahamians have been cut off from the electricity grid because they cannot make payments so large they might as well be mort gage payments. Others have been cut off because they cannot make payments as little as $200, because they simply didnt have it. When the list of present and former MPs who owe tens of thousands of dol lars to Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) was made public, it was conrma tion on what many had suspected for years; many politicians abuse their power and use their posi tions to enrich themselves on the backs of hardwork ing Bahamians. What else would you call running up an electricity bill of 30 or 40 or 50 thou sand dollars? I mean, how much AC are you suck ing up to run up a bill like that? How much of a lavish lifestyle are you living to even have a bill like that in the rst place? And then to sit there, in parliament, and watch as Value Added Tax is put on erryting and not say a word? Not object to any of the backbreaking taxes we have been saddled with? Not object to the dirty, polluted air we suck up in order to go about our business of absorb ing costs for your free AC? Not object to the incompe tence, and wastefulness, and fraudulent transactions at government corporations that further robbed Bahami ans of our treasure? I understand there is a similar list of privileged politicians who are on a do not disconnect list at the Water and Sewerage Corporation. Does Baha masair have a similar list of freeloaders who have been allowed to travel (along with their family, friends and lovers) on the public dime? What about BTC? Was there political pressure to maintain a do not dis connect list there? And since we have a stake in the company, what about NewCo? Where else have these greedy politicians been abusing their privilege to shirk their responsibili ties? Banks? Real Property Taxes? Business Licenses? I suspect I know the answer to these questions. I also suspect the list we saw this week is nowhere near complete. Take note of them, though. Take note of all the names associated with this practice of living above the struggles and consequences everyday Bahamians have to go to bed fretting over. Take note of all the people defending this contemptible practice because they probably ben eted too. And when these same people come knock ing on your door, begging for votes again (as many will have the gumption to do), remember that these self-serving, honourable individuals are the reason why the country is in the mess we are in today. Who made the list? A myriad of the usual suspects made the list, one would expect veteran, sea soned politicians to be on the list, but Arnold Forbes, political one-hit wonder, a veritable Johnny come lately. How did he make it? But he did, The Credit and Collections Depart ment listing of MPs, senators and board mem bers for the period ending July 31, revealed that former State Minister in the Ministry of Works owed BPL $62,023.14. $62,023.14????? What was Forbes run ning, a motel? The list obtained by The Tribune contains delinquent accounts of six former PLP Cabinet ministers, two former PLP MPs, two pri vate entities, and one sitting Cabinet minister: Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells. Wells has since settled his balance, allegedly. While Forbes, meanwhile, was reportedly in talks with BPL to settle the balance over a three-month period. But they will still discon nect us for $200.00. Go gure. Bannister pulls the plug on BPL Well I cant say Im not glad that the contract between BPL and the Gov ernment of The Bahamas, has been terminated. However, shock waves can still be felt in the after math of this monumental decision. Minister of Works Des mond Bannister revealed this week, in the HOA, that foreign BPL executives had been paid more than any Bahamian parliamentarian or executive at the electric ity provider. Former BPL CEO Pamela Hill, (a favourite of this column, for all the material she provided) was paid a monthly salary of $25,000 and received $6,000 monthly in housing benets. This part is laughable, thats actually less than the $8,719 she initially used to receive monthly. Hill also received monthly benets of $3,833.33. With all that bub ow ing in monthly, no wonder Ms Hill could stay at the Atlantis during Hurricane Joaquin, and she never experienced blackouts, its obvious she could afford about six generators! If paying Hill $34,833.33 monthly hasnt got your goat, Im sure this will. In addition to the monthly amount, Bahamian taxpayer dollars also paid $27,322.46 in travel costs and $23,637.55 in relocation costs. Minister Bannister also said in parliament, that sadly, Bahamians paid travel costs for a CEO who only lived in the Bahamas for ve days each week from Monday to Friday, but spent weekends elsewhere. Hill travelled more than, Fred Mitchell when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. But wait theres more, according to an article in Thursdays Tribune by Krishna Virgill. The exec utive vice president of generation and operation at BPL received a $33,583.33, with a salary of $23,750, hous ing benets of $6,000 and other benets of $3,833.33. The executive vice-pres ident of transmission and distribution operations at BPL received, $26,083.33. This included a salary of $18,750, housing benets of $6,000 and other benets of $1,333.33. All of that, has got my goat curried now! Minister Bannister must be commended on a job well done. Saving Bahamian tax payers money, exercising transparency by revealing all the particulars. Taking nothing from Minister Bannisters efforts, the joke is still on us Baha mians, because we had to foot the bill from here to North Carolina and back, with nothing to show for it but the same piss poor, power provision and dis gruntled consumers. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Bahamian Spicer At this stage we know BPL made the hit list, none theless Bahamians at large want to know who all in the PLP and FNM was on the list, and receiving free electricity for years. Skirting around the fact that the Minnis administra tion failed to deliver on yet another campaign promise, of holding the elected of cials accountable who didnt comply with the Public Dis closure Act, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold stated Tuesday, Bahamians can be assured that the Minnis administra tion will get rid of BPLs do not disconnect list for elites who owe substantial arrears. Seems like the strategy for this administration, when failing to deliver on a campaign promise, is either to send some politico from the previous administration to court, or derail a certain political gravy train? Newbold also said: This special list came to the pub lics attention not just when this administration took over, this list came to the publics attention before that. It is being dealt with now... the same way that list came to the publics atten tion, if it is not dealt with, if it remains in place, the public will be aware of that as well. I dont know that this prime minister and his government intends to be beaten with that stick and so you can have all con dence that those people (will be dealt with like eve ryone else). Seriously Mr New bold, how will they be dealt with? The same way theyve been dealt with and disciplined by previous administrations? I think this was another political, smoke and mir rors manoeuvre at play here. Lets keep it real here, Mr Newbold was trying to deect, in order to explain why there has been no movement on punishing ofcials who missed the dis closure deadline. The public disclosure, one challenge was with the make-up of the (Public Disclosure) committee, Mr Newbold said yester day. I know that has been handled. If you call the chairman I know he would be happy to talk about that. In June, Mr Newbold announced that June 30 was the deadline for former and sitting MPs to le their disclosures or face prosecution. Newbolds announcement affected more than twenty MPs. Penalties for non disclo sure include being ned $10,000.00, face two years in prison or both. Or possibly have their land conscated. The deadline has come and gone, with no mention of compliance, one way or another, by any of the par ties involved. Anyway, Im off to restock my snacks and Jack Daniels, Ive got that list for Water and Sewerage to track down. Unpaid bills and political scandals whats new? BAHAMAS Power and Light continues to make the headlines this week with new revelations of glaring infractions in the tender process. Readers had their say on Watcher said: The time for revelations is drawing to a close. I think I speak for the vast majority of people when I say that NOW is the time for the law to decide that the punishments t the crimes. We struggle every day to pay our bills (on time) whilst the privileged elite treated our national coffers as if they were their personal piggy bank. Enough talk action now !!! TheQuant_In_Hiding had this to say: Good. This is the discovery phase. Now, lets transition into the phase where we draft legislation and policies that would prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again. There was this from Happyy: The Ameri can forefathers assumed that mere mortals would be running the country so they included many checks and balances within the constitution that they drew up. Unfortunately in The Bahamas, the mere mortals got to make their own rules up and turn them in to the constitution. Former BPL CEO Pamela Hills salary pack age of $34,000 a month also raised eyebrows among those commenting on The Tribune s website. Screwedbahamian joked: If you cannot win the lottery in the USA, no problem, man, just come to The Bahamas. Jackbnimble said: Come on people. Why are we shocked? We all know in The Bahamas FOREIGN is always better. Its promoted through our culture from Government down. Why do you think they get all the best jobs and benets? Nothing new. And there was this from DEDDIE: Her compensa tion is according to industry guidelines. You dont attract persons with her expertise and pay them peanuts. The analogy with politicians was unfortunate due to the fact that most politicians are woefully unqualied to ran a petty shop. Dont miss your chance to join the debate on trib READERS REACT TO BPL REVELATIONS PAMELA HILL, the former CEO of BPL. Photo: Shawn Hanna /Tribune Staff A9MAIN


PAGE 10, Friday, September 22, 2017 THE TRIBUNE UNITED NATIONS Associated Press TOP diplomats from Ger many, Russia, China and Italy insisted Thursday there can be no turning back on the Iran nuclear deal after President Donald Trump suggested that he may seek a renegotiation or simply walk away from the pact. How are we going to convince countries like North Korea that interna tional agreements provide them with security and in so doing make them commit to future disarmament efforts if the only inter national example for such an endeavor being success ful, the agreement with Iran, no longer has effect? asked Germanys Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. Italys UN Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi said the escalating situation with North Korea should serve as a cautionary tale for not abandoning the Iran deal. NO TURNING BACK ON IRAN DEAL UN ONCE and possi bly future presidential candidate Sen Bernie Sand ers said Thursday that President Donald Trump accentuates the worst aspects of generations of US foreign policy, arguing that diplomacy and human rights must drive the US approach to the world. The Vermont inde pendent chided Trump on everything from his rheto ric and proposed foreign aid cuts to his handling of North Korea, Iran and terrorism. Speaking at Missouris Westminster College, he said: The goal is not for the United States to dominate the world. Nor on the other hand is our goal to withdraw from the international community and shirk our responsibili ties under the banner of America First. SANDERS WARY ON FOREIGN POLICY SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO Associated Press THE sky was darken ing Thursday afternoon as ten-year-old Sarah Jimenez laid out three plastic buck ets on her grandmothers patio in hopes of capturing rainwater. We can use it to at least ush the toilets, she told her grandmother. A day after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, ooding towns, crush ing homes and killing at least two people, millions of people on the island faced the dispiriting pros pect of weeks and perhaps months without electric ity. The storm knocked out the entire grid across the US territory of 3.4 mil lion, leaving many without power to light their homes, cook, pump water or run fans, air conditioners or refrigerators. As a result, Jimenez and others hunted for gas canisters for cooking, col lected rainwater or steeled themselves mentally for the hardships to come in the tropical heat. Some contemplated leaving the island. You cannot live here without power, said Hector Llanos, a 78-yearold retired New York police ofcer who planned to leave Saturday for the US mainland to live there temporarily. Like many Puerto Ricans, Llanos does not have a gen erator or gas stove. The only thing I have is a ash light, he said, shaking his head. This is never going to return to normal. Marias death toll across the Caribbean, meanwhile, climbed to at least 19, nearly all of them on the hard-hit island of Dominica. In Puerto Rico, the govern ment said at least two were killed but media on the island were reporting addi tional deaths and the actual toll appeared unlikely to be known for days. As of Thursday night, Maria was moving off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic with winds of 125mph (205kph). The storm was expected to approach the Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas early today. From there, it is expected to veer into the open Atlan tic, no threat to the US mainland. In Puerto Rico, the grid was in sorry shape long before Maria and Hur ricane Irma two weeks ago struck. The territorys $73 billion debt crisis has left agencies like the state power com pany broke. It abandoned most basic maintenance in recent years, leaving the island subject to regular blackouts. We knew this was going to happen given the vulner able infrastructure, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would open an air bridge from the mainland on Friday, with three to four military planes ying to the island every day carrying water, food, generators and temporary shelters. Theres a humanitarian emergency here in Puerto Rico, Rossello said. This is an event without precedent. He said his administra tion was trying to open ports soon to receive ship ments of food, water, generators, cots and other supplies. The government has hired 56 small contractors to clear trees and put up new power lines and poles and will be sending tanker trucks to supply neighbor hoods as they run out of water. The entire island has been declared a federal dis aster zone. Mike Hyland, senior vice president of engineering services for the American Public Power Association, a utility industry group that is sending repair crews into the Caribbean, refused to speculate on how long it would take to restore power in Puerto Rico. Lets see what the facts tell us by the end of the weekend, he said. But he acknowledged: This is going to be a tall lift. Sarahs grandmother, Maribel Montilla, already had two large barrels lled with water but worried about how long it would last for her, her daugh ter, her son-in-law and six grandchildren. You know what I think? Were going to be without power for six months now, she said. Cellphone and internet service collapsed in much of Puerto Rico. The only radio station that remained on the air during the hur ricane WAPA 680 AM was relaying messages to help connect friends and families. Other concerns were more prosaic. Across the street, someone yelled at a neighbor, Listen, do you have Netix?! Jaime Rullan, a sports commentator, has a gas stove at home but tried not to think about the lack of air conditioning on an island where the heat index has surpassed 100 degrees (37 Celsius) in recent days. Were used to the lights going out because of storms here in Puerto Rico, but this time, were worried, he said. We should prepare our selves mentally to be at least a month without power. Deysi Rodriguez, a 46-year-old caretaker for elderly people, does not have a gas stove. And unlike others who have been lining up at the few fast-food restaurants that have reopened, Rodriguez is a diabetic and has to be more careful about what she eats. Rodriguez said she might temporarily move to New Jersey if the situation gets worse. Pedro Cartagena, a 57-year-old dock super visor, said he planned to shower, eat and sleep at his companys ofce. He plans to buy food at the few res taurants that are open and operating on generators. Thats going to drain my bank account, he said, but if I want to eat, thats my only option. In an upscale neigh borhood in San Juan, 69-year-old retiree Annie Matteis condominium has a generator. But she said maintenance will shut it off between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to save fuel. This has been devastat ing, she said as her eyes welled with tears. In the Dominican Repub lican, Maria knocked down trees and power lines. But Joel Santos, president of the countrys hotel associa tion, said the hurricane did not damage the tourism infrastructure, even though it passed close to Punta Cana, the major resort area on the eastern tip of the island. In Dominica, where Maria laid waste to hun dreds of homes and was blamed for at least 15 deaths, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wept as he spoke to a reporter on the nearby island of Antigua. It is a miracle there were not hundreds of deaths, he said. He added: Dominica is going to need all the help the world has to offer. Powerless: Puerto Rico faces weeks without electricity MEXICO CITY Associated Press AS painstaking attempts to reach survivors in quakeravaged buildings across Mexico City stretched into a third day Thursday, des peration mounted among loved ones who earlier had high hopes for quick res cues and some complained they were being kept in the dark about search efforts. And what many had clung to as the unlikely triumph of life over death was revealed to be a case of some very high-prole misinforma tion: A top navy ofcial announced there were no missing children at a col lapsed Mexico City school where the purported plight of a girl trapped alive in the rubble had captivated people across the nation and abroad. President Enrique Pena Nietos ofce raised the death toll from Tuesdays magnitude 7.1 earthquake to 273, including 137 in the capital. In a statement, it said there were also 73 deaths in Morelos state, 43 in Puebla, 13 in the State of Mexico, six in Guerrero and one in Oaxaca. More than 2,000 were injured and more than 50 people rescued in Mexico City alone, including two women and a man pulled alive from the wreckage of a building in the citys center Wednesday night. Still, frustration was growing as the rescue effort stretched into day three. Outside a collapsed ofce building in the trendy Roma Norte district, a list of those rescued was strung between two trees. Relatives of the missing compared it against their own list of those who were in the building when the quake struck more than two dozen names kept in a spiral notebook. Maria del Carmen Fer nandezs 27-year-old nephew, Ivan Colin Fer nandez, worked as an accountant in the sevenstory building, which pancaked to the ground taking part of the building next door with it. She said the last time the family got an update was late yesterday, when of cials said about 14 people were believed to be alive inside. Three people have been rescued from the building since the quake. They should keep us informed, Fernandez said as her sister, the mans mother, wept into her black eece sweater. Because I think what kills us most is the desperation of not knowing anything. Referring to rumors that authorities intend to bring in heavy machinery that could risk bringing buildings down on anyone still alive inside, Fernandez said: That seems unjust to us because there are still people alive inside and thats not OK. I think they should wait until they take the last one out, she said. Seeking to dispel the rumors, National Civil Protec tion chief Luis Felipe Puente tweeted that heavy machin ery is NOT being used in search-and-rescue efforts. The (hashtag)Search and Rescue is not being suspended anywhere it is believed that trapped people exist, Puente said in a separate tweet. Since early Wednes day, the eyes of the nation had been focused on the Enrique Rebsamen school in southern Mexico City, where rescuers told report ers a girl, identied only as Frida Soa, had signaled she was alive deep in the rubble by wiggling her n gers in response to rescuers shouts. Numerous rescuers at the school site spoke of the girl, with some saying she had reported several other children alive in the same space, and the child became a symbol of hope amid a disaster that has shocked the country. But with TV cameras and journalists kept a block away from the pre carious site, the only images broadcast live aroundthe-clock of the purported rescue showed long-distance shots of rescuers digging and no images of a child. As the rescue effort con tinued into Thursday, no family members came for ward to identify the girl, and some ofcials had begun to say the identity of the person trapped in the rubble was not clear. Then on Thursday after noon, Navy Assistant Secretary Enrique Sarm iento announced that while there were blood traces and other signs sug gesting someone could be alive beneath the school, all its children had been accounted for. We have done an accounting with school ofcials and we are certain that all the children either died, unfortunately, are in hospitals or are safe at their homes, Sarmiento said. HUNT FOR SURVIVORS IN MEXICO A COMPLETELY ruined house is seen in the El Negro community a day after the impact of Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico. RESCUE workers search for survivors at an apartment building in Mexico City yesterday after Tuesdays magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko /AP A10MAIN


THE TRIBUNE Friday, September 22, 2017, PAGE 11 PETER and Joan Davis have been visiting The Bahamas for the past 32 years, and on their recent trip to Nassau the British couple promised Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dion isio DAguilar they will return for years to come. Their love affair with Nassau began in 1985 when they rst visited on a week end cruise from Miami. It was the same time that Queen Elizabeth II vis ited on board the Royal Yacht docked just nearby, a memory that is forever etched in their hearts. Mr and Mrs Davis visit each year and typically stay for two weeks at a time. Mr Davis even attends weekly meetings at the Rotary Club of West Nassau when he is in town. We love it here, Baha mian people are very friendly and they make us feel wel comed every time we come here, and this year is no exception, Mrs Davis said. This year, their visit was perfectly timed around Mr Davis birthday. He cel ebrated in grand style at Government House with a delicious lunch at the People to People Tea Party and saw an exciting chang ing of the guard experience. Topping it all off, the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band played a lively rendi tion of the Happy Birthday Song in his honour. The police band played Happy Birthday and I couldnt ask for anything more. It was absolutely fan tastic and a weekend, Ill never forget, he said. It was also a lovely ladys 90th birthday and they made them dance, Mrs Davis said with a chuckle. She said that the couple constantly recommends The Bahamas as a vacation destination, telling every one they interact with that it is an unforgettable place. The hospitality in The Bahamas has been truly amazing, Ill recommend Nassau to anyone as you will never regret it. The couple was presented with a gift basket courtesy of the Ministry of Tourisms Visitor Relations Unit. The Visitor Relations Unit was established in 1972. One of its missions is to acknowledge frequent visitors to the Bahamas. Gift baskets with Bahamian made products and certi cates of appreciation signed by the minister of tourism are presented to tourists who have visited The Baha mas 25 times or more. 32 years of visiting The Bahamas and loving it PETER Davis dancing with Beverley Wallace Whiteld. MINISTER of Tourism Dionisio DAguilar presenting a thank you gift to Peter and Joan Davis. A11MAIN For Reservations Call: 323.7770 Join Us for Brunch EVERY SUNDAY 11:00am 3:30pmrfrnntnb Join Us for Brunch rfrnntnb Join Us for Brunch Ham Steak with Country Gravy


PAGE 12, Friday, September 22, 2017 THE TRIBUNE THE military police sec tion of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), in a joint effort with the US Embassy Marine Corps, Bahamas Branch, spent this past Saturday sprucing up the countrys World War Two Cemetery, which they recently adopted. This joint effort was the direct result of a conversa tion between Chief Petty Ofcer Lincoln Rolle and Gunnery Sargent Walter Merrith, head of the United States Embassy Marine Corps, Bahamas Branch who both agreed that clean ing and maintaining the cemetery on a more con sistent basis felt like their honourable duty. They removed weeds, mowed grass and painted the entrance to the ceme tery, located on Infant View Road. However, this initial effort is only the beginning of what is expected to be a larger project to overhaul the space. There are plans for reviving the landscape and repairing broken grave stones. Commanding ofcer of the military police sec tion Commander Fredrick Brown said the project comes with no difculty and that it was an honour to be a part of the effort. Chairman of the British Legion, Bahamas Branch, Comrade Cephas Fergu son was also there and in an interview expressed his appreciation and thanked RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel and all parties involved who made the effort a success. Commander Brown extended heartfelt thanks to members of his unit and the United States Embassy Marine Corps Unit. We are grateful for your kind gesture in adopting our small military ceme tery, he said. Also in attendance were Comrade George Colly more, Comrade Leonard Knowles, both World War II veterans, Father Andrew Topin, executive commit tee member, and Adina Munroe, executive Secre tary at the British Legion Bahamas Branch and RBDF representative. Todays soldiers clean up World War Two cemetery FROM left, Reserve Woman Marine Adina Munroe, executive secretary at the British Legion Baha mas Branch and RBDF representative, Comrade George Collymore, World War Two veteran, Father Andrew Topin, executive committee member, Comrade Leonard Knowles, World War Two veteran and Commander Fredrick Brown, commanding ofcer of the RBDFs Military Police and Force Pro tection Unit. Photos: Marine Seaman Michael E. Turner II MEMBERS of the RBDF clearning the World War Two cemetery. RBDF ofcers taking part in sprucing up the countrys World War Two Cemetery on Infant View A12MAIN rfntb LRG. 1-TOPPING PIZZA 8 WINGS 2L PEPSI (INCL. VAT) (INCL. VAT) $25 rfntb