By DANA SMITH email@example.com TWO men led police on a high speed chase before crashing and engaging offi cers in a gunfight that left one suspect injured before they both fled on foot. The crash and shooting happened on the corner of the Eastern Road and San Souci, around noon yesterday. Neighbours, nearby, described how the sound of gun shots could be heard resonating through the usually peaceful area. According to a source who lives on Eastern Road, close to the crash site, the men allegedly followed a woman home from a bank and robbed her at gunpoint outside her residence near Twynam Road. The men then fled in a beige coloured Nissan Sentra. Once they got away she must of called the police, the source said. The police soon saw the car and fol N ASSA U AND BAHAMA ISLANDS LEADING NEWSPAPER Six more in homes probe Volume: 108 No.19TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011 PRICE 75 (Abaco and Grand Bahama $1.25 WEATHER SUNNY AND WARM HIGH 84F LOW 70F B y AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org AT LEAST six more people were expected to face c harges as a result of the police investigation into alle gations of corruption at the Ministry of Housing, The Tribune has learned. Former Housing Minister Kenneth Russell confirmedt hat the long-awaited probe had been completed, but never made public. The investigation was launched in November 2006 as a result of claims made by contractors and inconsistencies in housing documents uncovered by The Tribune B y mid-2007, the investigation had stalled for the lack of evidence. In 2008, police said the case was still active a nd that more charges were to be expected. Mr Russell said: At one stage the police told me they were finished with their investigation, and they were in the position to arrest six morep ersons for inappropriate actions in the Department of Housing and a couple of con tractors who were a part of the ring. Ex-minister says inquiry is complete TRY OUR DOVE RASPBERRY McFLURRY The Tribune THEPEOPLESPAPER BIGGESTANDBEST LATESTNEWSONWWW.TRIBUNE242.COM FEATURES T T H H E E W W O O M M A A N N B B E E S S I I D D E E D D N N A A L L E E A A D D E E R R SEEWOMANONPAGE12B CATHOLICPRIMARYSCHOOLSBASKETBALL S S H H O O C C K K E E R R S S A A R R E E C C H H A A M M P P I I O O N N S S SEESPORTSSECTIONE NUMBER HOUSES COULDBE T AXED By KHRISNA VIRGIL email@example.com FREE National M ovement Chairman Carl Bethel said num ber houses could be r egulated and taxed in o rder to increase the revenue base of the financial sector. Y esterday, during House debates on the 15 bills that seek to revamp the financial services sec tor, Mr Bethel said that number houses would be a fitting start as they t ake on a heavy move ment of cash. Its a lot of money made, he said. Every where I drove East Street South, I looked left, I looked right, everywhere I could see, this number house, thatn umber house, every number house. Its a possibility. When asked by an Opposition member if he was in support of the By KHRISNA VIRGIL firstname.lastname@example.org A WAR of words erupted between FNM chairman Carl Bethel and opposition MP for the Elizabeth constituency Ryan Pinder yesterday that called into question his Bahamian citizenship. Amid discussions in the House of Assembly on 15 bills that seek to overhaul the financial services sector, the two clashed following Mr Pinders comments on the sectors saturation by foreign workers. We have witnessed in the last four years less and less Bahamians and more and more expatriates, said Mr Pinder. Standing to refute Mr Pinder's claims, Mr Bethel said the Elizabeth MP "spoke like truly what he was before he became a Bahamian, like a registered Republican." Mr Pinder, who shouted for a point of order, intervened and said: I was born BahamiBy DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com FREEPORT A fire broke out onboard the Bahamas Celebration when the cruise ship was about one mile off Grand Bahama early yesterday morning. Fire officials were alerted to the blaze at around 7am as the vessel was arriving at Lucayan Harbour with some 700 passengers from West Palm Beach. Chief Fire officer Doyle Burrows reported that the cruise ship was approximate ly one mile out to sea when they received word of a fire in the generator room. Mr Burrows and his team ON THE RUN AFTER POLICE GUNFIGHT FIREABOARD CRUISESHIP THE HON Ryan Pinder speaking in the House of Assembly yes terday. Photo: Tim Clarke /Tribune Staff PINDER CITIZENSHIP CHALLENGED 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 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 i m lovin it THECRASHEDCAR abandoned by suspects after a gunfight with police. FOUR men out to sea on a fishing trip from Mangrove Cay are reportedly missing. According to family members, Prince Jolly, Allan Wright, Roger Miller, and another man known as KK, were last seen on Saturday. The men were aboard the Tropic Explorer when they left the fishing vessel in two dinghies. Mrs Rejane Jolly, Princes mother, said she was doing all MEN MISSING A T SEA S S e e e e p p a a g g e e 2 2
By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter c firstname.lastname@example.org MARCO City MP Zhivargo Laing opened the debate in the House of Assembly on 15 financial industry related B ills that seek to make the B ahamas a more competitive j urisdiction. T he global economic environment remains highly chall enged, and the evolution of f inancial legislation must continue if the Bahamas is to stay a breast of shifting international standards, address industry challenges and increase the sectors competi tiveness, Mr Laing said. T he amendments are necessary for the protection p reservation, growth and development of this industry and to its regulation to universally applied global regulatory standards, he said. W ith the countrys financ ial services industry repres enting 15 per cent of the G ross Domestic Product (GDP s ands of Bahamians, Mr L aing said the sector is a major player in the econom y. Mr Laing said that $182 million was expended on salaries in the financial sect or in 2000. So far this year, t hat number stands at $298 million almost $100 mill ion more than 10 years ago. In 2000, Mr Laing said, amendments were made to t he financial services regulat ions in order to ensure that the Bahamas was regarded by the worlds top economies as c o-operative in the fight a gainst money laundering and terrorist financing. In response to an international blacklisting, the B ahamas passed new and i nventive legislation and signed a fast informatione xchange agreement with the U nited States that allowed the c ountry to weather international economic crisis, he said. The financial services sector of the Bahamas is resilient and has fared well in the faceo f global economic chall enges, and fared well in the f ace of changes in the global standards regulating this sec tor. He added that all Bahamians should be proud of this a ccomplishment. Further, Mr Laing said, there are opportunities to further grow the industry in areas such as internationali nsurance, fund management, aircraft and yacht registry, and corporate head quartering. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 2, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011 THE TRIBUNE B y DENISE MAYCOCK T ribune Freeport Reporter email@example.com F REEPORT Drug Enforcement Unit officers discovered and seized nearly $600,000 in cash at an apartment complex in Lucaya which has resulted in the a rrest of a Bahamian man and a Jamaican national. Asst Supt Loretta Mackey, press liaison officer, reported that a team of officers from the DEU were executing a search warrant around 10pm on Saturday at an apartment complex in the Midshipman Road area. During a search, officers d iscovered about $593,521 in US currency. They also discovered seven pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $7,000. A .44 Desert Eagle Pistol with a magazine clip, containing six live rounds of .44 ammunition, was also discovered. ASP Mackey said that a 53year-old man who is the owner of the apartment complex and h older of the key to the apartment was taken into custody. She also reported that a 49year-old Jamaican man, who occupied another apartment in the complex, was seen in the courtyard by the officers acting suspiciously. Upon examination of his passport, she said the officers discovered that the man had overstayed his time in the Bahamas. S he said the cash, drugs, firearm and ammunition were into taken police custody. Investigations are continuing. Z HIVARGO LAING s peaks in the House of Assembly on Monday. Photo: Tim Clarke /Tribune Staff $600,000 cash seized in raid LAING OPENS FINANCIAL DEBATE she could to stay positive as it was the first time her eldest son had gone missing while o ut on a trip. We hope they are together, they left the big boat ont wo dinghies with two to a boat, she said. They usually stay out for two to three weeks. This is ( Princes) third or fourth time out to sea, but (Wright and Miller) are more experienced. My husband is out there on the big boat looking for them. Im just trying to stay positive. Mrs Jollys husband, Jeffery a fisherman and business owner also serves as one of the district councillors in Mangrove Cay. Last night, a friend said the pair represented an integral part of the Mangrove Cay community through their leadership. The men were said to have headed in a west southwest direction when they left the big boat near the Fish Cays. Both the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Bahamas Air Sea Rescue have been alerted to the mens disap pearance. However, RBDF officials said yesterday that a vessel had not yet been dispatched as the organisation had no available boats in the area. f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e FOURMEN MISSING A T SEA
By DENISE MAYCOCK T ribune Freeport Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org FREEPORT Former Cabinet Minister Kenneth Russell says that he has exceeded the prime ministers target of 600 homes during his tenure as the Minister of Housing in the FNM government. M r Russell, MP for High Rock, felt he was wronged by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who dismissed him from Cabinet last week. In the Speech From Throne it was said we will build 600 homes. I have done 709 so far, and still have 100 or so under construction now. So I have exceeded what I was asked to do, he said. Mr Russell also said he felt that the proposed $1.5 billion project for East Grand Bahama was a viable project and had request ed the PM to look at it again. He stated that an application was made for a project that included hotels, a cruise port, and an airport at the Missile Base, among other things. We requested the PM to look at it over and over. I asked him to please have a word with these people...and not just dismiss the project, to let us talk to the people. They went to Neko Grant and were talking to him and he didnt consider that a breach of cabinet protocol. They went to Zhivargo Laing, and they came to me. thought the project was a viable project for the employment of many persons in Grand Bahama. And I thought I would ask the PM to look at it again. My main thing was, and I told him this, if he talk to the people and say no, then fine. I believe anyone who has a project should have an opportunity to present a project to some government authority. The people in Grand Bahama are having serious problems, anything that would cause us to be able to employ our people is worth taking a close look at, he said. On Sunday, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, the leader of the FNM, told supporters why he fired MP Russell and said he did what any Prime Minister would do to a minister who acted inconsistently with the Cabinet of the Bahamas. Mr Ingraham explained the matter was considered by the Government of the Bahamas on four separate occasions, and on each occasion they could not and would not support the project. Mr Russell believes that his speaking out on the name change of the High Rock seat is what led to his firing. I spoke about the seats. I think most of this started because I was talking about the seats, he told reporters on Sun day at the Foster Pestaina Hall. I told them at the (High Rock Branch) if they see High Rocks name change this was going to happen because once the name changes, you have no incumbents. But now you have two seats w here the name was changed but we still got incumbents, and those seats are South Abaco which is now Central South Abaco with the same MP, and Long Island which used to be Long Island and Ragged Island. It is obvious the ones who had the name changed but was not plugged in as being the MP with the new names that those would be going into the sunset. No one said anything to me, no one came to me in an official discussion of what we will be doing in terms of the High Rock seat, said Mr Russell. Mr Ingraham told supporters he sent Brent Symonette to speak with Mr Russell about not running in the next general election. Mr Russell, he said, sent a profane message back with Mr Symonette. Mr Russell denies this. While in Grand Bahama, Mr Ingraham met with the FNM High Rock Association and invited members to put forward at least two candidates the part y could consider for the next general election. W hen asked whether he would consider running as an independent candidate, Mr Russell said he does not know yet. Mr Russell thinks the party would benefit more if there were more independent thinkersa nd speakers. We should be free to speak our minds and talk to each other, he said. The PM feels as though I should not say what has happened to me. I think I have a right to say what has happened to me regardless of what he wants to say. But I have a right to speak, and that right is given to me by God, not by him or a nybody else. Mr Russell said his family is fine, but feeling a bit betrayed by the Prime Minister. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011, PAGE 3 By CELESTE NIXON Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com FORMER Cabinet Minister K enneth Russells political future i s uncertain as matters remain unresolved. Speaking with the media yesterday, Mr Russell said High Rock constituents were informed on Sunday by FNM party members, that he would not receive the F NM nomination for the 2012 elections. They were told in no uncertain terms that the party would not nominate me to run in then ext election, Mr Russell said. T he prime minister met with the F NMs High Rock Council in Grand Bahama over the weekend to explain in detail why he recently fired Housing Minister Mr Rus-s ell from his cabinet. Mr Ingraham also invited members to put forward names of can-d idates which the FNM party could consider for the new East Grand Bahama seat in the next g eneral election. D uring the meeting, Mr Ingraham stated that the party is always in search of new and additional talent and that was the purpose of asking Mr Russell to step aside. T he Prime Minister said he s poke with Mr Russell himself and i nformed him that after the next election, if the FNM was successful, he did not intend to put him back in Cabinet, and suggested that he step aside so the party could nominate someone else. I made him an offer of what w ill happen for him if he did that. He told me he would get back to me next week, Mr Ingraham said. Following talks with his constituency members, Mr Russell said his main goal was to see that their right to review persons and p resent at least two names to the party, for the party to make a final decision on the ratification of a candidate, was secured. He said: What I requested was a fair and democratic selection p rocess for the constituencies in G rand Bahama and I believe that we have gotten that based on the prime ministers statement. When asked if he would run as a n independent for the new East Grand Bahama seat if not given the FNM nomination, he said ifm atters are not resolved he would have to look at his options, however, as of right now he has not m ade any decisions on the matt er. When I reach that crossroad then I will make a decision, he said. I do not know what I am going to do yet as far as I am c oncerned I am still an FNM and I w ill remain one until something h appens. T HE HON K enneth Russell speaks to members of the media yesterday outside the House of Assembly. Photo: T im Clarke / Tribune Staff What now for Russell? EX-MINISTER: IBEATHOUSINGTARGET
EDITOR, The Tribune. THERE is no doubt that the old hymn of the faith, In Times Like These We Need a Saviour, may seem so applicable to all Bahamians who feel like we are in some very serious times, and that there is no hope. This present climate seems to be draining our vitality and pushing us to a breaking point of despair. In the midst of what we are experiencing in every corner of our beautiful country of the Bahamas, we must not be dis couraged for wanting what is best for all Bahamians. This Saviour of whom I speak, is not a man or an idea, but He is El Shaddai, The Almighty God, who is more than able to sustain us, and give us a peace that passeth all understanding. Our country is facing, I believe, one of the worst times, yet not without a way of escape, to circumvent elements in our society which seek to wreak havoc, traumatise families, disregard the people of the Bahamas, and tarnish our foundation of Christian values and godly heritage. Where could we go but to the Lord to find solace and to renew our faith, that all is well, despite what we see in the physical. Our forefathers, parents, grandparents, would say to us, there is a God who sits high and looks low, His ear is bent low and He hears our cries. We are not a people who give up. Nor are we a people who will be oppressed or enslaved against our will. Our will is strong, powerful, endowed by the Almighty God; our sense of purpose to all that is good and right and just is unwavering. We are creative, intelligent, and full of ability, comparable anywhere in the world. Do not lose hope; do not falter in your pursuit. Know that God who is our help in ages past, and our hope for years to come has some very big arms; outstretched so that you can gently fall into His loving embrace. There is no time or season where our voice cannot be heard, but we must stand together for underneath are the everlasting arms. Be encouraged today and everyday moving forward. JANET J HUTCHESON Nassau, November 18, 2011. EDITOR, The Tribune. THAT our constitution is in urgent need of reforms is ag iven and commonly accepte d. Unfortunately, our erstwhile politicians lack the fortitude to cause them to come about via public referendums. S ome years ago, an incarn ation of the Rt Hon Hubert Alexander Ingraham, MP, P C and the Free National Movement launched a series of badly thought out refer-e ndums seeking to amend constitutional provisions relating to citizenship and the regularisation of children b orn outside of a marriage. Needless to say, they all went down in flames and the FNMl ost the 2002 general elections. In an infantile reaction, my g ood friend and sometimes patron, Mr Ingraham, stepped back from the leadership of the defeated and splintered FNM. It is believed by some that he set up the Hon TommyT urnquest to become leader of that party while he mulled his eventual return to high office. While the Rt Hon Perry Gladstone Christie MP, PC, s erved as Prime Minister ( 2002-2007) he and his administration did appoint a socalled Constitutional Com m ission, led by the Hon Paul Lawrence Adderley and Harvey Tynes, QC. That commission met seve ral times and held a number of public forums but nothing of substance came out of its e ventual report. The PLP was subsequent ly returned to the political b oneyard and the FNM and M r Ingraham bounced back. Upon his return to high office, one of the first state m ents made by Mr Ingraham was that he and his adminis tration were not minded to h ost another referendum anytime soon. So said, so done. None was held and none will be able to b e advanced at this stage of the electoral game. Under the current Inde p endence Order-1973, our constitution, the Prime Minister is able to serve for life or as long as he commands the support of the majority of members of the House of A ssembly. T his cannot be allowed to continue as we have seen, clearly, that after two termsi n office, the holder seems to either get tired and devoid of s ensible ideas or he comes to believe that no one else is capable of governing the nation. So it was with the late great a nd irreplaceable Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling and so it is now turning out with MrI ngraham, with all due respect. T here was a time in the dist ant past when the latter s eemed capable and able to c ome up with brilliant ideas. This term in office has demonstrated that he is now in a tax, borrow and spend mode. T his has resulted in the accumulation of a massive public debt, monumental disruption to business thanks to the badly managed road works and high unemploym ent. T erm limits are essential for the office of Prime Minister as well as for regular memb ers of the House of Assembly and even for the Senate. Persons who hold any partic u lar office for too long come to believe that that office belongs to them. An Independent Bound a ries Commission must also be legislated but the difficulty is who will select or appoint m embers to the same? Currently, the Governor General does so after con-s ultation with the Prime Min i ster of the day who himself would have consulted with the Leader of the Opposi-t ion. This, of course, is a farce of the highest order in that the P M of the day is a literal constitutional dictator. We would also do well to have a Parliamentary Ombudsman appointed under the authority of the constitution. S uch an individual would b e the bulwark between the legislature and the average citizen. This office has been established in most Commonwealth countries and has c ome to be of great signific ance. Here in the Bahamas, there i s no constitutional appeal available to the ordinary citizen where legislation may beo verly burdensome and/or patently unconstitutional. I would also wish to see the e stablishment of an independ ent Judicial Appointments Commission which would be totally devoid of the appear-a nces of political manipulation, as currently obtains. The current committee is h eaded by the Chief Justice of the day who is appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the PM of the day after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. S ir Michael Barnett, the current CJ, is a former failed candidate for the governing Free National Movement. He also served that party as a high ranking executive and a l ong time crony of the PM. W hile I do not suggest any form of potential bias, you be the judge. L astly, the date for general elections must be fixed by the constitution to avoid capri ciousness on the part of the P rime Minister of the day. As it stands right now, the current PM is able to wake u p any morning, on the wrong side of his bed and decide to advise the Gover n or General to dissolve parl iament and to issue Writs of Election. Hopefully the incoming g overnment, after the general elections, which I predict will be held in February of 2012, w ill move to reform the constitution. Until then, however, to God be the glory in all things. ORTLAND H BODIE JR Nassau, D ecember 10, 2011. EDITORIAL/LETTERS TO THE EDITOR P AGE 4, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011 THE TRIBUNE The Tribune Limited NULLIUS ADDICTUS JURARE IN VERBA MAGISTRI Being Bound to Swear to The Dogmas of No Master LEON E. H. DUPUCH, Publisher/Editor 1903-1914 SIR ETIENNE DUPUCH, Kt., O.B.E., K.M., K.C.S.G., (Hon. Publisher/Editor 1919-1972 Contributing Editor 1972-1991 EILEEN DUPUCH CARRON, C.M.G., M.S., B.A., LL.B. Publisher/Editor 1972Published Daily Monday to Saturday Shirley Street, P.O. Box N-3207, Nassau, Bahamas I nsurance Management Building., P.O. F-485, Freeport, Grand Bahama TELEPHONES S witchboard (News, Circulation and Advertising) 322-1986 A dvertising Manager (242 C irculation Department (242 EARLIER THIS year, there was much s peculation that the numbers racket was going to be legalised and regulated. From comments made by Prime Minist er Ingraham in the House of Assembly yesterday, it is now clear that in deference to the Christian Council he plans to w ait until after the election, and if r eturned to government, leave it to the Bahamian people to decide through referendum on a question that has troubled this community for many years. Mr Ingraham told the House that after consultation with some key figures in T he Bahamas Christian Council, he would n ot move to legalise the numbers business. Indeed, this unregulated gambling is so entrenched that it is in fact a business and a lucrative one at that. It is so much a part of Bahamian life t hat despite sporadic raids by the p olice, which are becoming fewer it is n othing to be asked by ones maid for a birth or anniversary date, so that she can go and play the numbers. There is no a ttempt to hide what has become a poor mans flutter. The Christian Council a Baptist stronghold are against gambling as a t enet of their religion, but instead of insist ing on the law being enforced and the little gaming houses shut down, they sits ilently by only making their opinions known when anyone talks of regulation and legalisation. Behind their curtain ofs ilence, the numbers man has worked hard to entrench his business in this society. It is true what FNM chairman Carl Bethel says that when he drives on EastS treet south, wherever he looks to left or right there is a numbers house. This is not just confined to East Street south, these outlets are located near The Tri bune, near the bridge, over in Palmdale and wherever one looks the signs adver-t ising the gaming business are getting large r, bolder, and very much in the citizens face as though defying them to do some thing about it. E arlier this year, the police raided one of Craig Flowers establishments, confis cating certain gaming equipment and para phernalia, claiming they were illegal under the Gaming Act. Mr Flowers denied thathe was doing anything wrong. Almost the n ext day he was back in business, and, it would seem that his businesses are stillf lourishing. In the PLP days, although they doffed their hats respectfully to the Christian Council, they gave the wink to the late Percy Munnings, openly referred to in those days as the numbers guy. He was also known as Mr Money bags, the P LPs treasurer, who was a generous financial supporter of his party. No one could touch Mr Munnings. I f Percy Munnings could get away with it, reasoned the little numbers man, then why couldnt he? It was a reasonable p roposition. Despite the police raids, the b ack room numbers trade became bolder and more entrenched. But today, with Craig Flowers setting the pace, there are no holds barred. Signs are mushrooming on almost every street c orner in certain areas of this island, busin ess is flourishing and through sheer bravad o the numbers game is here to stay. The Christian Council, through its silence, has almost given its blessing to the backroomd ens. The Council does not push for their closure, but every time government movest owards regulation, the Council extends a r estraining hand, and the drawing of numb ers continues, while customers including police officers pocket their winnings. This gambling is like a cancer in this s ociety, a senior police officer comment ed earlier this year shortly after the Flowers raid. It is because there has been a lack of law enforcement over the years, w hich has not helped the situation. It is now so entrenched they dont see anything wrong with it thats the problem. I t is now time for this practice to be regulated, and taxed like all businesses in this country, because in fact it has nowb ecome a business. There was a time when we were against a national lottery mainly because we believed it was opening up another avenuef or graft by those delegated to operate it. However, we agree with the Prime Min ister that the time has come to make a decision. This country has to face the ques tion of a lottery. Rather than taxing Bahamians to provide for much neededf unds to expand health care, build schools a nd sporting facilities, it is time to tap this untaxed source of income. The only question now is whether there s hould be one national lottery with all these little businesses being closed, or whether they should be allowed to coexist with the national lottery as long as they too pay a business licence tax. As the Christian Council has not been a ble over all these years to exert enough pressure to have them closed, it will now bel eft to Bahamians to make the final decision. Number houses are now so much a part of this society that depending upon the results of the referendum regulation and taxation should be quickly imple mented after the election. Constitution is in need of reform LETTERS l firstname.lastname@example.org A national lottery to be decided by referendum T T h h e e B B a a h h a a m m a a s s a a r r e e i i n n n n e e e e d d o o f f a a S S a a v v i i o o u u r r
By LAMECH JOHNSON l email@example.com A TEENAGE boy will spend his Christmas and birthday behind bars after hew as arraigned on a charge of murder in Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon. S tephen Russell, 18, of Garden Hills was remanded to Her Majestys Prison until the c ompletion of his trial in the S upreme Court. The teen, who turns 19 on Christmas Day, appeared b efore Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez of Court One, Bank Lane, to face a charge of mur-d er and multiple charges of a rmed robbery and receiving. With regard to murder, prosecution alleges that the accused is responsible for the death of Tamal Kelson Stubbs nearly a month ago. O n the evening of Saturday, November 19, Stubbss body was found lying in the street with multiple gun shotw ounds. Prosecution believes that t he accused, also known as Beans is responsible for that shooting death of the Foxdale Subdivision resident. C hief Magistrate Gomez informed the defendant that he was not required to enter a plea to the charge due to then ature of the offence. Prosecution will present a Voluntary Bill of Indictment to the accuse on February 16, 2012, f ast tracking the case to the next highest court. He was remanded to prison u ntil completion of the trial. Before being escorted out of court, he was also arraignedo n five charges of armed robbery and four charges of receiving stolen items, alleged to have been committed onT uesday, October 11. Prosecution alleges that the accused, while armed with a knife, robbed four womena nd a man of goods and cash totalling $920. It is further alleged that he r eceived all items, excluding the Android smart phone property of Rashad Gardiner. H e pleaded not guilty to r eceiving the items but was not required to enter pleas to the armed robbery charges. T he Voluntary Bill of Indictment in this matter will be served against the accusedo n the same day as the murder c ase, February 16, 2012. The accused was not represented during his arraignments. Eleven witnesses are listed on court dockets for the murder case compared to the ninew itnesses for the armed robbery matters. By LAMECH JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org T HE Supreme Court murd er trial of an Abaco resident will end today when the case is summed up and sent to the jury. After Justice Vera Watkins reviews the evidence givend uring the trial, Raheem McBride will learn whether a 12-member jury will convict him of murder, manslaughter by provocation or acquit him. Prosecution alleges that the accused is responsible for the September 13, 2010 stabbing death of Arah Brown. Initial r eports indicated that the s tabbing occurred after a fight broke out between the two at a house on Curry Lane, Murphy Town, shortly before 5pm. The deceased was taken to a local clinic where he was pronounced dead. During yesterdays proceedings, defence attorney V Alfred Gray and prosecutor Linda Evans gave closing statements to the jury in a final attempt to convince them to either acquit or conv ict the 19-year-old accused. M r Gray told the jurors that his client had acted in self-defence where his life had been threatened. He asked them to consider the deceased attacking the accused firstw ith a piece of wood, aiming for the skull based on his clients evidence and another key witness. To further argue his point, the defence attorney asserted that his client had picked up the knife dropped by the deceased, swiped him and r an. There was no jooking g oing on, he told the court. However, in her closing statements to the court, prosecutor Evans asked the jury to think about the evidence given by Princess MargaretH ospital pathologist Dr Caryn Sands regarding the wound that killed the deceased. She recalled Dr Sands testimony of the stab wound from a knife going four inches to the abdomen of the defendant going across and causing the bowels and intestines of t he deceased to be visible. T he wound, from Dr Sands testimony, was not caused by a slash or swipe but by a stabbing and according to her experience, significant force is required to pierce thea bdominal area because of the elastic skin tissue. As for being attacked and held down by the deceased, prosecutor Evans questioned how it was possible for the accused to be able to duck and bend down while being restrained by Brown as he h ad testified. C oncluding, Ms Evans told the jury that excessive force was used in the accused defending himself, enough to warrant the charge of murder for which he was currentlyb efore the courts. Justice Watkins adjourned the matter to today, and will review the evidence before excusing the 12-member jury to return a verdict. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011, PAGE 5 A Major Hotel has a vacancy for aHousekeeping ManagerResponsibilities includes: of up to 600 guest accommodations, p ublic and employee areas housekeeping and laundry staff plaints concerning laundry and house k eeping services The ideal candidate must possess the managerial level in an established hotel equivalent chemicals Interested candidates should send resumes to: email@example.com No later than Friday, 16th December, 2011 A MAN is in critical condition in hospital after beings hot early on Monday morning. The 25-year-old victim was in the area of Nassau and Meadows Streets at about 2am when he was approachedb y a person he recognised. This person shot him in the chest and leg. T he victim was rushed to hospital in a private vehicle. Police say their investigation into the incident is continuing. TICKETFOR ATOOT T HE unnecessary use of t he car horn can cause a driver to be slapped with a ticket, police are warning the public. In a statement yesterday, police revealed that last week,m ore than 90 persons were cited for various traffic infractions, among them excessive use of the horn. The other offences include d: failing to give proper signal, turning improperly at ani ntersection, lack of proper identification plates, failure to have transparent windows,d riving in the wrong direction o n a one-way street, failing to replace identification plates, parking in a no parking areaa nd parking on a bus stop. STABBING ACCUSED SAYS HE ACTED IN SELF-DEFENCE Teenager behind bars as he awaits murder trial MAN CRITICAL AFTER SHOOTING S TEPHEN RUSSELL, 1 8, is escorted out of court and remanded to prison after being arraigned on murder and multiple armed robbery charges.
W ITH an active new cruise y ear on the horizon, officials at the Grand Bahama Port Authority are a hosting a Tourism Opportunity, Awareness and Training Seminar in an effort to better Grand Bahamas tourism product ranking. The seminar is being held in collaboration with Florida C aribbean Cruise Association (FCCA bour Company (FHC the Ministry of Tourism (MOT According to GBPA president Ian Rolle, with an e xpected increase in cruise ship calls in 2012, Grand Bahama has some work to. Earlier this year, Grand Bahama received very low ratings as a cruise port by passengers; we hope to change that, he said. By bringing industry stakeholders and partners together, we can collectively address the specific requests and/or complaints of passen gers visiting the island, then determine what measures c ould be put in place quickly t o raise Grand Bahamas rankings as a tourism desti nation. Tourism plays a vital role in Grand Bahamas economy and most of our tourists arrive via cruise ships. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that passengers enjoy a pleasant experience, for r epeat and new business. This seminar will allow stakehold ers to engage cruise industry officials to not only hear com plaints, but also solutions to improving Grand Bahamas cruise tourism product. D erek Newbold, business development manager at the GBPA, said: The 2012outlook for Freeport's cruise sector is extremely positive. With that being the case, we want to ensure that our licensees are aware of the weaknesses as documented by previous passengers and by product development leaders within the cruise industry so that we correct and strength en our position as a tourism destination. D uring the seminar, those a ttending will receive infor mation regarding the 2012 Cruise Forecast for Freeport;a reas of opportunity for existing and new businesses; and training on how to help improve Freeports tourism product. At the end of the day, its about creating opportunities n ot only for our visitors, but residents as well, s aid Mr Rolle. This seminar will help us to not only create new vacation experiences for our visitors, but may also result in i ncreased job opportunities for Bahamians, so, its a winwin situation all around. The seminar is scheduled for early next year and will feature sessions hosted by officials of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Associa tion. It will also provide business start-up information for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as capital procurement tips for existing businesses that want to expand. THE Bank of the Bahamas a nd the Kiwanis Club of Nassau AM launched the Toys f or Tots Drive yesterday. Members of the public may drop off new, unwrapped toys suitable for children up to 12 years old, to any BOB location in New Providence untilW ednesday, December 21. Children in the Bain and G rants Town area will be presented with the donated toys on Christmas morning. We very much appreciate BOB's participation in ourT oys for Tots Drive. This gives us invaluable exposure at BOB's many branches to allow BOB customers and the general public to donate toys t o less fortunate children of the Bain and Grants Town c ommunities, said Natila Saunders, director and Young Children Priority One chairperson for the Kiwanis Club of Nassau AM. Gifts may be donated at all b ranches on weekdays and on Saturdays at the HarroldR oad and Village Road branches, which are open from 9.30am to 1pm. "It gives us all a great sense of satisfaction to know thatw e at BOB are helping to make a child's Christmas a bit brighter," said marketing manager Michael Basden. "We appreciate the Kiwan is Club of Nassau AM inviting the bank to partner with t hem and we applaud Kiwanians for caring enough to personally deliver the presents to the children of Bain and Grants Town on Christmas morning." T he Toys for Tots Drive is one of many outreach pro-g rammes in which BOB has participated, partnering in the past with civic organisations, agencies, companies and individuals to increase literacy,c ontribute to youth development, support law enforcement or boost health and well-being initiatives. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 6, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011 THE TRIBUNE PLANS for a boat service from the Bahamas to Florida have been put on hold due to issues with the Department of Homeland Security, it was announced yesterday. Balaria Bahamas Express, the company that had been set to run a service from Grand Bahama to Fort Laud erdale, issued a statement apologising to customers inconvenienced by the delay but insisted the route will be launched soon. We are working to resolve the unforeseen administrative matters with the US Depart ment of Homeland Security and wish to advise the public that service will commence immi nently, said the statement. It offered no details on the nature of the administrative matters in question, and calls to the companys headquarters in Florida were not answered. Balaria Bahamas Express is majority owned by Balaria, a leading Spanish shipping company which specialises in the transportation of people and roll on/roll off cargo in the Spanish Mediterranean. The statement said: The Balaria Group has more than 13 years of experience operating regular ferry services in Europe. This is the first time that the company will be operating in the United States. We are excited to be offering this service between Port Ever glades and the Bahamas. We look forward to welcoming passengers aboard the Pinar del Rio very soon. The ferry had been scheduled to leave Grand Bahama at 7.30am every Wednesday and arrive in Fort Lauderdale at 10am. It was to have departed immediately for the return leg, arriving in Grand Bahama at 12.30pm. According to the companys website, the service aimed to fill the void of the recently discontinued Discovery Cruise Line, but with the added benefit that cruising times will be less than half the 5-7 hours of the previous service. This high-speed catama ran styled ferry sails at a speed of 32 knots, and has the capacity to hold 463 passengers, 80 vehicles, cargo in the hold and will add approximately 135,000 available seats annually from Fort Laud erdale which is equivalent to a jumbo jet arriving six days per week, the website says. ABANK OF THE BAHAMAS cust omer makes a d rop in the Toys f or Tots Box. BANK SEEKING TOYS FOR TOTS GETTING READY FOR THE NEXT YEAR OF CRUISES FLORIDA BOAT SERVICE PUT ON HOLD THE PLP has yet to decide w hether current MP for N orth Andros and the Berry I slands, Vincent Peet, will be nominated for the 2012 gene ral elections, however party insiders say he will not be give n the nod. I n fact, a source close to t he party said the PLP is in talks with FNM Clifton MP K endall Wright to replace Mr Peet as their candidate in A ndros and the Berry Islands. M r Wright, who has publicly expressed is disappointm ent in having his Clifton seat c ut, is rumoured to be quitt ing the FNM. Responding to media r eports suggesting Mr Peet may not be called on to run b ecause of issues involving alleged misappropriation of client funds, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts said the party has yet to make a decis ion. As soon as we know we w ill let the media know. We have not made a decision e ither way regarding that matter, he said. M r Roberts refused to comm ent on whether the party is c ourting Mr Wright to join the PLP. H owever, sources say the PLP is in fact leaning t oward not nominating Mr Peet regardless of whether o r not he settles his clients debt. At this point, its not about w hether or not he pays what h e owes. Its looking like hes proba bly not going to get any nod. I dont think its something t hey want to take a chance on. This is going to be a close election and the PLP isnt tak ing any chances. The PLP is in talks with Mr Wright and the i dea that he will take over for V incent Peet has been thrown a round. Whether or not that will happen we will all just h ave to wait and see for now, the source said. M r Peet is being accused of m ismanaging $180,000 worth o f client funds. He has allegedly repaid $50,000 and e ntered into an agreement to repay the remaining $130,000. I n a statement to the press, Mr Peet, an attorney by prof ession, confirmed the existence of a matter regarding c lient funds, but stated no l egal action is pending b etween himself and the client. While the nomination is important to me, its not the m ost important thing to me. The most important thing to me is to get this matter resolved, which is being done, Mr Peet said. M r Peet also admitted that s enior PLP members are conc erned about the issue, but said he is more concerned w ith how the funds were leaked. This whole thing is one t hat has been leaked to d estroy my career, he said. He refused to reveal any m ore details because he did not want to violate attorney c lient privilege. This is not the first time Mr P eet found himself in the middle of controversy. In 2006, h e was the centre of media c overage when it was revealed t hat his chauffeur stole $10,000 in US $100 dollar bills f rom his bedroom closet in 2003. At that time Mr Peet m aintained the money, which was all in US currency, was to pay his daughters college tuition. By LAMECH JOHNSON firstname.lastname@example.org THE bail hearing of conv icted drug dealer Melvin Maycock Sr in the Court of A ppeal has been delayed to Friday morning due to the a bsence of a judge. T he 47-year-old appeared in appellate court yesterday m orning before Justices Christopher Blackman, Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh expecting his application to be heard. H owever, the justices explained to Maycocks attorneys Wayne Munroe, JomoC ampbell and Tonique Lewis, t hat the full panel hearing the matter was not present. Appellate court president Justice Anita Allen is on that p anel. The convict is applying for bail pending the outcome of h is appeal on a conviction of d rug possession with intent to s upply and seven other offences in Magistrates Court. H is million-dollar drug seizure trial before Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita B ethell came to an end on November 1 after he was found guilty of drug possession and firearm possession charges and subsequently sen-t enced to three years in prison. I n May 2008, police seized more than 1,000 lbs of marij uana from Maycocks rented h ome on West Bay Street, along with three guns and a ssorted ammunition. The drugs had an estimated street value of more than $1 million. Maycock faced a maximum o f five years at Her Majesty's Fox Hill prison. The three-year sentence w as handed down after cons ideration was given to the two years he had already been in custody. After the ruling, Roger G omez II, one of Maycocks attorneys, spoke to the press about their intention to a ppeal the conviction. H e noted that the ruling w ould have a bearing on Maycocks extradition case. His client is wanted by USf ederal officers in connection with an investigation into a multi-national drug smuggling o rganisation. BAIL HEARING DELAYED Wright could be in line for PLPseat THE BAHAMAS EXPRESS boat service.
A S THE huge tents and mile-long security fencing erected for Bahamas SpeedW eek Revival were being dism antled yesterday, the Arawak Cay Vendors Association thanked organisers and the government for elevating the area known as the Fish Fry to a whole new level. Arawak Cay looks amazing, said Bruno Minnis, president of the Arawak Cay Vendors Association. We want to officially thank the organisers of Bahamas Speed Week f or bringing such a prestigious e vent as Bahamas Speed Week to Arawak Cay and for all the support they have givenv endors over the four-month period leading up to the main events, involving vendors at every step of the way. T he comments came in part in response to a vendor who complained that the staging o f Speed Week on the cay hurt his business and came as a surprise to him. We could not believe what w e were reading when we saw that in the paper, said Bruno Minnis. Every vendor was i nvited to every meeting and I believe, if Im not mistaken, there were more than 15 oft hem. Even the meetings b rought business to the vendors because they were all held on Arawak Cay. But more importantly, the association chief said, the infrastructural and healthi mprovements to the cay as a result of the event, which drew some of the worlds wealthiest people men like Rob Walton, CEO of Walmart to Arawak Cay were a d irect result of Speed Week a nd will last long after the last tent is down and the last piece of security fencing andb leachers stored. Its like night and day, before talk of Speed Week and what the cay looks like now,s aid Wellington Burrows, association vice president. The Ministry of Works did a t remendous job, removing all the speed bumps and re-paving the roads that were a messf rom all the heavy trucking. T he entire northern strip is now fully re-paved so patrons of restaurants have a good road to drive on and park on now and sand has stopped blowing u p onto their porches. The stora ge building has been re-shingled; the story-telling cottage was fixed up and painted. The Ministry of Health came in with a clean sweep to take care of and insist the v endors take care of any rodent-infested areas. There was paving on the western area of Arawak Cay that l eads down from Chippingham Road where it was just white quarry before. There was a massive clean-up and landscaping with new palm t rees. New lights were i nstalled in parking areas. The association thanked the Ministry of Tourism, Min-i stry of Works, Ministry of the Environment, BEC and BTC. This massive effort was t he result of Bahamas Speed Week and we cannot thank the organizers enough. It breathed new life into A rawak Cay and made it better for local residents, visitors and businesses. There is a r enewed sense of pride about being a vendor on the cay. We hope Speed Week r eturns to Arawak Cay. We k now they are considering two sites, one of which is located further north on the cay and the other inland. We hope they choose the cay, said the association in a statement. B ahamas Speed Week Revival, which ran from November 30 to December 4, brought more than 40 classic racing cars to Nassau from the UK, the US, Switzerland and e lsewhere. Several local entries c ompeted with top international drivers in the Fort Char lotte Hill Climb on December 3 a nd time trials on the final day. Sir Stirling Moss served as honorary patron and his return to the island 50 yearsa fter he won the Nassau Race Week Cup in 1961 drew massive media attention with m edia passes issued to nearly 100 photographers and journalists from several countries. LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011, PAGE 7 DOLPHIN Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island has launched its first ever app for both iPad and iPhone users. The app, called Dolphin Fun Facts!, is available for free from iTunes. The apps available about dolphins were mainly games or entertainment and we wanted to provide a free educational app that would give the user an excellent general background about dolphins as well as ways to preserve and protect them and their environment, said Robert Meister, managing director of Dolphin Encounters. We are always looking for engaging ways for people to connect and learn about marine mammals. We felt there was a real need for an educational marine mammal app and we are happy to have created one, which we believe is the first of its kind available. Appropriate for all ages, Dolphin Fun Facts! was developed by the Educational Department of Dolphin Encounters and its not-for-profit Dolphin Encounters-Project BEACH which provides educational programmes to local and visiting students. The application contains photos, videos, sound and infor mation about the natural history of dolphins, research, behaviours and husbandry. iPads in particular have become an important teaching tool at home and in classrooms and we felt an educational app was a prefect way to extend what we teach thousands of stu dents every year through our educational programmes at Dolphin Encounters, said Annette Dempsey, education director and assistant marine mammal director. It is as close as you can get to dolphins without getting wet. CANADA DROPS KYOTO DEAL Fish Frs thank you to Speed Week B RUNOMINNIS, president of the Arawak Cay Vendors Association, has applauded theo rganisers of the Bahamas Speed Week event, which saw classic cars racing at the Fish Fry, pictured below.
By GLADSTONE T HURSTON NICHOLLS Town Farmers in North Andros have w on the support of whole salers, hoteliers, restaurateurs, chefs and the Ministry of Tourism following a weekend c onvention on the island. Hosted by Bahamas Agri cultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC the second time buyers, main l y from New Providence, and farmers met to discuss the way forward in food product ion. We are serious about food production, as all Bahamians ought to be, said BAIC exec u tive chairman Edison Key. It is the countrys first line of defence. He welcomed the participation of the Ministry ofT ourism, the Bahamas Culinary Association, and the Bahamas Hotel Association. Once that link between agriculture and tourism has been secured, it will provide even more incentives to make a griculture even more attrac tive to more Bahamians, he said. DeAnne Gibson, manager of culinary tourism at theM inistry of Tourism; Michael Adderley of the Bahamas Culinary Association; Patrick T reco of Continental Food; Don Carnine, of Bahamas Food Services; Don Smith of Super Value Food Stores; H enny Tynes of Da Market Place; Philip Beneby of Cour tesy Supermarket; Rosemary S inclair, chef at Atlantis; Leona Johnson, purchasing manager at Atlantis; StevenQ uigg of the Wyndham Nassau Resort; and Edwin Johnson of the Bamboo Shack Group were among those par t icipating in this years event. Farms, many of which utilise drip fertigation, dis p layed early tomatoes, egg plants, zucchinis, cabbages, sweet peppers, sweet pota-t oes, yams and peas. D elegates toured the North Andros Agri-industrial Park where greenhouse technologyi s being taught; the govern ments packing house; docks; and the BAIC livestock operation. I t is estimated that $500 million worth of food products are imported into the country each year. It was a great experience, said Ms Gibson. We join forces with BAIC and all associated entities to increase the demand for Bahamian produce and fuel the econo my with local funds rather than importing so many items. The presence of chefs among the delegates was important, she said. Chefs create menus and therefore dictate as to what is purchased and served in our restaurants. The Ministry of Tourism looks forward to seeing more indigenous menus at your restaurants as you lead the way for others to follow, Ms Gibson told the meeting. Very impressive, said Chef Michael Adderley, pres ident of the Bahamas Culi nary Association. The egg plants, zucchinis, tomatoes, naval oranges all the fruits and vegetables I have seen were excellent. This is the way we need to go. Grading and quality are the biggest issues. Once farmers can keep them in place, there should be no problem at all with us using their products. Don Carnine, of Bahamas Food Services, has been pur chasing Andros produce for 19 years. The quality this year so far has been very good, he said. There have not been any negative comments or rejection throughout the market. With culinary being on board it is going to force farmers to diversify their crops, plant different items, which will help their livelihood and their return on their investments, and help penetrate the culinary field within the hotels and restaurants. For Patrick Treco, of Continental Food, the farmers are doing a real good job. We have a good season ahead of us and definitely we will be supporting Androsians and all farmers in the Bahamas. The government system has to change to protect Bahamian farmers so that they can get their products to the buyers to sell without sending them to the dump. The permit system needs to be tightened so that a lot of Bahamian products can reach the consumer in the Bahamas and a lot of money will end up staying in the Bahamas instead of going to Florida. Philip Beneby of Courtesy Supermarkets noted that farmers are now paying more attention to the quality of their produce. That is a positive turn of events, he said. The wheel is in motion. LOCAL NEWS PAGE 8, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011 THE TRIBUNE Farmers impress tourism sector GREENHOUSE TECHNOLOGY offered at BAICs North Andros Agri-industrial Park catches the interest of delegates. Pictured, from left, are: EdwinJ ohnson (Bamboo Shack Group Michael Adderley (president, Bahamas Culinary Association), Leona Johnson (purchasing manger, Atlantis), Rosemary Sinclair (chef, Atlantis), Deanne Gibson (manager, Culinary Tourism, Ministry ofT ourism). NORTH ANDROS High Schools agriculture teacher Rai Budhu (left delegates. Photos: Gladstone Thurston/BIS B AHAMAS CULINARY ASSOCIATION p resident Michael Adderley admires spinach.
LOCAL NEWS THE TRIBUNE TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2011, PAGE 9 B y AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter email@example.com THE PROGRESSIVE Liberal party will create sev-e ral tax holidays to increase t he economic security of Bahamians if elected as the next government, PLP candidate Dr Daniel Johnson said yesterday. Among the slate of planned i ncentives, Dr Johnson said, is the implementation of a homestead policy, which will encourage the construction of second homes in the Family Islands. In addition to a three-year r eal property tax holiday, the policy will allow for the issuance of Crown grants toa pplicants that can complete c onstruction within 18 months, he said. There also will be a web s ite dedicated to rental listings of the units, facilitated by the Ministry of Tourism, s aid the PLP candidate for the Carmichael constituency. This will stimulate the construction of the economy of those islands and provide the a bility for the homes to be rented as vacation units. For businesses that have b een negatively impacted by t he ill-planned road works, the PLP will provide a tax holiday and incentives to help the affected business owners rebuild their businesses and reclaim their homes, hea dded. Dr Johnson said his party is committed to rebuilding the country through modern job creation strategies, and restoring homes and businesses. During a press conference y esterday, he was joined by branch secretary Makayla Gibson, who underscored theh arsh economic realities faced b y struggling families. The mother-of-seven explained that she lost herh ome, had been evicted twice, and was buckling under mounting debt. W ith the downturn in the economy, Ms Gibson was f orced to quit her second job and take reduced hours at the first. A s a single parent, the father of her last child having been murdered, she explainedt hat she had to sacrifice quali ty time with her family to search for work. I pleaded with the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation, there was nothing that could have been done. Aftert hree months of just surviving, it had gotten so severe that I couldnt even pay a dollar. Its terrible, after working so hard, for so long, to just lose the home, said Ms Gibson, whose children are between t he ages of two and 15. Ms Gibson, a 32-year-old Carmichael resident, said shes peaks with families suffering f rom similar hardship every day at the partys constituen cy office. I deal with it every day. People are crying, soaking. There is so much, we need to s top fighting each other. The country needs to wake up, we n eed unity. She added: Thanks to the PLP, my family is settled now, w e have shelter, and we are happy. Dr Johnson said putting B ahamians in affordable h omes is a trademark of his party, and such policies have led to the growth of the Bahamian middle class. These policies created hundreds of entrepreneursa nd thousands of jobs, the PLP candidate said. As well as building more than 1,300 affordable homes, over 500 serviced lots and repairing and building thousands of homes after hurric anes Jeanne, Frances, and Wilma, the Christie adminis tration incentivised first-time h ome ownership by eliminati ng stamp tax for first-time homeowners of properties up to $250,000. T housands of Bahamians were prevented from owning homes after the FNM discon t inued the tax holiday, Dr Johnson said. number houses, Mr Bethel said a way needs to be found to tax economic activity in the B ahamas. His comments came amid his view that in the future the Bahamas might have to strongl y consider implementing a tax ation system like the US. We know looking forward t hat we may well have to move toward a system of either a sales tax, or a valuea dded tax. According to Mr Bethel it w as with that view that the government implemented the excise tax, which has broughto n a duty paid system on good brought into the coun try by travelling Bahamians. In the enforcement of the e xcise tax we can achieve two broad goals: One is to expand the tax base and the second ist o recondition our customs officers. The later, he said, aims to r econdition customs officers so that they can move from being the guardians of the bor-d er in terms of government revenue, to becoming proper inland revenue inspectors. Last year, Prime Minister H ubert Ingraham scrapped plans to legalise the number houses. F or months, there was widespread speculation that the number houses would be giv en a license to legally operate a nd by taxing this lucrative busi n ess, the government would earn some much needed funds. However, Prime Minister Ingraham said that after con sultation with some key fig ures in The Bahamas Christi an Council, he would not move to legalise the num bers business. Instead, he said, if the FNM i s re-elected he will put the issue to the people in the form of a referendum. an and my family was here b efore yours! So lets get that s traight. The FNM chairman pointe d out that Mr Pinder's B ahamian citizenship was a matter of convenience, taken on to occupy his spot on the PLP ticket. T he Elizabeth MP repeat ed his Bahamian ties. "I was born Bahamian, he said. I w ill always be Bahamian, my father is Bahamian, my grand father is Bahamian. I am straight through Bahamian." "Mr Pinder was a regis t ered Republican who has an American passport," Mr Bethel shot back. Opposition members also chimed in on the row and called for the remarks to be stricken from the books. Fort Charlotte MP Alfred S ears said rather than contributing to the debate on the financial s ervices, Mr Bethel only "made negative imputations o n a member of parliament." Yamacraw MP Melanie Griffin pinpointed the irrelevance of the argument. "We need to take the high road and stop trying to assassinate each others characterand insulting each other, she said. The member (Carl Bethel) would also recall that there was another time in this place and there were some words said about him. He was very angry." Mr Bethel pressed further. He said his words were not irrelevant, but rather timely. "The member for Elizab eth spent his entire speech praising the negative criticisms of the Bahamas by international rating agencies. The point is that he gave in his speech what any good republican w ould give." "Lower taxes, no spending, let everybody fend fort hemselves, let the rich do what they have to do and let the poor suffer. That's a R epublican point of view." Leading up to the verbal exchange, Mr Pinder gave an F" grade to the governmen t's performance in the regula tion of the financial services sector. "During the last four plus years of this FNM administration, he said, Bahamians and the international community have witnessed negligent management of the finances of this country." "Uncontrollable borrowi ng, the lack of fiscal respon sibility and discipline on spending has resulted in neg a tive outlooks and commentary about the financial and economic state of the Bahamas." Such performance, said Mr Pinder, has resulted in the downgrading of the Bahamas by Standard and Poors (S&P a credit rating agency, "more than once." The Bahamas, according to Mr Pinder, has also fallen in a number of rankings. "In the ease of doing business, we have fallen from being ranked 59th in the 2009 report to 71st in the 2010 report, to 77th in the recently released in the 2011 report." lowed them. Once they realised the police were chas ing them, they took off. Attempting to lose the police on their tail, the men sped past homes on the East ern Road before attempting a sharp turn into San Souci, crashing into a walled residence. Police followed them all the way down Eastern Road and they made that bank onto San Souci, the source con tinued. When both guys got out of the car, they both had guns drawn. There was a bit of a gun fight. According to another Eastern Road resident who lives nearby and wishes to remain anonymous, he heard the crash and a lot of gun shots. I heard four shots, he said. Four rapid shots. Another neighbour corrob orated his account. was in my house and I heard probably about four shots it was like: pow pow pow pow, a woman said. I didnt know what it was at first but then I recognized that it was gun shots, for sure. My dogs started barking and, of course, I was scared. I stayed in my house, she said. The men managed to flee from police on foot, but the source claims one of the sus pects might have been shot during the exchange of gunfire. Police know they shot one of the guys, the source said. I dont blame them, the guys drew guns on them. The source continued: Now, he got back up but its only a matter of time before they either find him or he definitely needs medical attention. Thats why you see all the police around. They have dogs out there looking for them and they had this whole area surrounded, cop cars were all around. This islands gone crazy. The neighbour said he had seen police dogs in the area, as well: They had dogs out here. Six or eight dogs out there looking for them. I do not know the details of their findings and I dont k now why they have not moved forward with their a rrest and prosecutions of persons they intended to arrest and prosecute, Mr Russell said. He said he received updates on the investigation up until then-policec ommissioner Paul Farquharson was changed. P olice inquiries began into the Ministry of Housing, which was then under PLP Minister of Housing Neville Wisdom after The Tribunep ublished allegations by contractors that government employees were engaged in corrupt practices at the expense of poor home buyers. Shoddy workmanship, illici t pay-offs, and rampant favouritism were among accusations lodged against certain contractors and officials. I n 2006, housing inspectors w ere said to be under investig ation. The investigation was led by then Police Superintendent K eith Bell. Mr Bell has since resigned from the Police F orce. He is an attorney and s erves as vice-chairman of the P LP. T he stalled pace of investigations came under heavy criticism in 2007 as speculation grew that the report was delayed for political reasons.T hese claims were denied by Mr Bell. A t the nine month mark retired assistant commissioner Paul Thompson rejected police claims that they w ere unable to carry on i nquiries because no one had come forward with information. In 2008, the officer in c harge of the inquiry was Assistant Superintendent Stephen Hinsey, who confirmed that the investigation was still very active. S hortly after being sworn in as the new Minister of Housing and National Insurance, Mr Russell said that Cabinet would make a determination on how to proceed once the report was submitted to the government. At that t ime, he said that the police should take action if corruption was found. The allegations of unofficial payoffs was one of twos eparate issues uncovered during The Tribune s series o n the Ministry of Housing. The second pointed to discrepancies in the cost of houses between the records produced by the ministry andd ocuments obtained indep endently by The Tribune. B oth investigations, and the claims raised, have yet to be resolved. In an interview with The T ribune b efore he was terminated from his post last week, Mr Russell said he regrettedn ot going public with the information when he had the chance. If I had thought it would e nd up like this, I would have exposed the stuff myself rather than go through the police thing. M r Russell said: I would h ave just said here is the situa tion because it was a situation where people were paid double and triple for the same work, all kinds of things. 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 ON THE R UN AFTER POLICE GUNFIGHT NUMBER HOUSES COULD BE TAXED o f officers were assisted by S miths Tug to get out to sea, where they boarded the vessel and conducted an assessment. When we got onboard the fire was extinguished and we did an initial assessment, he said. Mr Burrows said fire was c ontained to Generator Three a nd not the ships engine. He also noted that there was severe smoke and heat damage in the generator room. No passenger or crew was injured during the ordeal, Mr Burrows reported. The chief fire officer said t he cause of the fire has not b een determined and investigations are still continuing. Eddie Whan, CEO of DEL Shipping, the shipping agent for the cruise ship, said insurance personnel are still conducting an assessment of thed amage. He said they do not know at this time the estimated cost of the damage caused by the fire. Mr Whan stated that about 7 07 passengers were on the ship, 136 of whom were Bahamians. No one was injured and f ire was under control in 30 m inutes, he said. When asked whether the vessel would be able to sailf rom Grand Bahama today, Mr Whan said: We may, or may not sail; it all depends on the damage we find. Can it sail? Yes; we have six generators and only one was affected, but we have to look at what damage wasd one by the fire to wiring or c able. We wont know the answer to that for awhile, he said. T he Bahamas Celebration two-night cruise departs every other day of the week from the Port of Palm Beach at 5:30pm, arriving in Grand Bahama at 8am. B ahamas Celebration was a ssisted into Lucaya Harbour by a number of tugboats on Monday morning following a fire in the generator room oft he ship about one mile off G rand Bahama. Photo: Vandyke Hepburn SIXMOREINHOMESPROBE PINDERCITIZENSHIPCHALLENGED FIREABOARD CRUISESHIP f f r r o o m m p p a a g g e e o o n n e e PLPtax holiday plan