ALLEGED FRAUD IN GRAND BAHAMA COMMITTED BY FNM GENERAL TURNED OVER TO POLICE! Grand Bahama Regatta and Heritage Festival Committee chairman, Chervita Campbell. by: Mia Whylly, News Reporter Freeport, GB — The Freeport City Council’s meeting on Tuesday night proved to be one where allegations of fraudulent bidding were directed at the Chief Councillor, Chervita Campbell. Councillor Kevin Ferguson for Marco City and a former Chief Councillor, brought to the table his concerns regarding the bidding on the Taino Beach area in preparation for Junkanoo Carnival. He questioned the spreadsheet and the absorbent cost, and then the manner in which the deal was signed off on. Ferguson was adamant. ” I opposed all of these and when I asked the chair to check because we are being diligent, I got nowhere. My questioning did not get a clear answer. There were certain things that just weren’t proper practice,” he claimed. Addressing Campbell, Ferguson said: ” All (bids) were signed by yourself, or the consultant for works.” Ferguson accused Campbell of asking an employee to lie about a scope of work. ” We need explanations and clarifications. Send this to the police,” Ferguson insisted. It was eventually decided that the allegations would indeed be passed on to the Royal Bahamas Police Force in order for an investigation to be conducted into the bidding controversy. During an interview, Campbell denied any knowledge of alleged fraudulent bidding and stated that as a result of the concerns raised at the council meeting it was decided to void the previously approved bids, and in the interest of transparency and accountability attain new bids for the works to be done at Taino Beach. ” The council will ensure a proper and fair process is carried out and again bring all bids to council for approval for the awarding of contracts,”  she said. Campbell said in order for the matter to be resolved she felt the voiding of the approved bids was the best step.  Read More →
Dear Editor, I think you graciously for your space in this most read page and for allowing me time and space in your decent page, which seems to tell the whole truth about many things in this country. I, too, have a view of these developments emanating out of Mayaguana, which seem to have caused the Minister of Local Government to seek the Prime Minister for his removal from that post pending an investigation. What I find most disturbing is the fact that nowhere in modern jurisdictions is such poor jurisprudence exercised as shown recently in Mayaguana. A young man is arrested and charged with a gang of offenses and then, in a speedy trial, the arresting officer, who is also the complainant, is also the prosecutor seeking to jail a 19 year old for the alleged crimes. This sickens me and words cannot express how uncomfortable I feel for this kind of situation to evolve. This cannot be justice! What is this? This reminds me of the young man who was found walking in a community and was accused of all sort of crimes and then found hanging, burnt and lynched following a “FAIR TRIAL”! We must do better in this country! And where is the voice of the Bar Council, who supposes to be the APEX of the “learned” in our society, speaking to these kinds of injustices! Where is the head of the BAR COUNCIL on this matter?! And do they also agree that what transpired in the court OK? Signed, Sophia Bannister  Read More →
19-year-old Mayaguana resident was arrested, allegedly beaten, arraigned, tried, convicted and then sentenced to three months in jail without council – all within two hours! Mayaguana has A Superior Kangaroo Court – Unmatched Anywhere in the World! On the Island an UNQUALIFIED Administrator discusses his ruling with the WUTLESS MEDIA and the Leader of the FNM! This is a serious breach of duty, but the Media nor the FNM see anything wrong with this, or perhaps in their own ignorance and political bias they chose to ignore. Same officer in Mayaguana was placed of leave following the death of this man Jamie Smith in CDU back on February 8th, 2013. Abraham’s Bay, Mayaguana - Bahamas Press is the only Media House today on the ground deep down in Mayaguana; gathering the facts into this conundrum unfolding down in southern Bahamas. The revelations have one Minister in the Christie Cabinet on the ropes; relieved of his post as Minister of Local Government. WE anchored our investigative tent in the beautiful community of Abraham’s Bay, where we are now set to reveal some things NO MEMBER OF THE WUTLESS MEDIA is prepared to report! Everybody has speculated what Minister V. Alfred Gray may have done to rescue 19-year-old, Jacquan Charlton, from imprisonment. These revelations are now an active police investigation and BP ain’t getting in dat! Administrator Zephaniah Newbold is also at the centre of this investigation, and we at BP are gathering some data on him. Those details will soon be place in the hands of you Joe Public – keep reading. Today, we want to bring the nation closer to the crime where an unnamed police officer is also at the centre of this incident. BP has identified, Sterling Knowles, as arresting officer, complainant and prosecutor in this incident. Who is he? Knowles, many should remember, was that same officer assigned to the DEU back in 2013, and was one of four officers questioned in the death of JAMIE SMITH, also known as Matthew Pratt. Smith, 35, died at the Central Detective Unit within two hours of his arrest on suspicion of armed robbery on February 8, 2013. During that Coroner’s Court sitting two years ago the public learned how Smith was put in a “choke hold” during a “violent” altercation with police minutes before he died. One of the four officers placed on administrative leave following that incident was Knowles. A pathologist report later concluded that Smith died of asphyxia, an excess of carbon dioxide caused by abnormal breathing. Acting Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez presided over that Court when the two-men-three-women jury were unanimous in their agreement that four police officers, on the day Smith died, used “justifiable force” in restraining deceased. We understand Knowles was sent to the island following his return to the active duty. Sources now on the island tell us, the altercation with Jacquan Charlton and Sterling Knowles did not have to go where it did but from our account everything appears to be repeating itself. Some tell us, the officer allegedly went around the island bragging about how he killed lawfully before. One resident who wish to be nameless told BP, “He [ Knowles ] was down here roughing up several young men and one of those men happened to be Jacquan’s brother. And so Jacquan asked him, ‘…Why are you roughing up my ‘lil’ brother?’. That was when Officer Knowles took Jacquan into custody, allegedly breaking his hand, choking him and beating him severely.” But get this: Within minutes following that arrest, BP investigative teams learnt how officer Knowles then allegedly spoke to his “lodge brother” Zephaniah Newbold forcing the Administrator to immediately convene a hearing; and charging Jacquan with disorderly behaviour, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and obscene language. “He [Newbold] arraigned him, tried him, convicted him and then sentenced him to three months in jail all within two hours of the incident,” a resident told BP. We understand the accused was never given an opportunity to say one word during the Swift Justice exercise, and the sole witness was officer Knowles, the same person filing the complaint. This cannot be happening in the Bahamas and cannot be what the Honorable Attorney General envisioned for the country! Another observer on the island added, “After all of the crap he did in Nassau, they had to ship him here. He is a real terror! What kind of Kangaroo Court is this in Mayaguana? No where in the world Justice operates like this!” We understand is was following these developments the island’s MP was called upon to do something in seeking an appeal in the courts here in New Providence. And there the controversy started in a world wind whipped up by the Opposition and the Media; both ignoring what had transpired with respects to the Human Rights of a Bahamian being sodomized by the system! We detest this vehemently and we question why members of the press have yet to tell the whole story! Bahamas Press’ investigative arm is also shocked by the silenced of Rodney Moncur, who has not taken the side of Minister Gray following these developments; especially now seeing that one of the officers in this incident was also involved in the Jamie Smith incident. Readers would remember photographs of the body of Jamie Smith – a man whom Moncur claims to be a relative of – was in his possession following his death. Moncur went through an earth shattering trial where he was vindicated! We wonder if Moncur has any sympathy for Jacquan Charlton as he did for Jamie Smith?! Perhaps now that Mr. Moncur has dumped the DNA and has returned real home in the FNM he has selective discretion! Not one word about Human Rights is being galvanized in this matter in Mayaguana! NOT ONE! None from Moncur nor Fred Smith and we know why! What a country! We report yinner decide!  Read More →
Victim was enjoying an evening with her son’s father when a jealous lover showed up unannounced and all hell break loose!!! Chrissy Mesidor and young son in happier times... Nassau, Bahamas — Breaking News coming into Bahamas Press now report that a woman has been fatally shot and stabbed in the eastern section of New Providence in some area west of the Bahamas Correctional Facility. Sources already on the ground tell us the woman was fatally shot and stabbed to the head and goes by the name Chrissy Mesidor. She we now understand was enjoying an evening with her child’s father when another man – said to be known to the woman – approached the couple and began a violent attack on the woman. Eyewitnesses confirm the incident occurred all in the view of the child who witnessed the crime. Detectives have arrived already on the ground. The incident happened just before 10pm tonight. Bahamas Press is live!  Read More →
Wayne Munroe QC By KHRISNA VIRGIL Tribune Staff Reporter kvirgil@tribunemedia.net ATTORNEY Wayne Munroe yesterday called for the removal of Mayaguana administrator Zephania Newbold because he publicly revealed what allegedly took place regarding the release of a man he had earlier convicted. The matter has placed MICAL MP V Alfred Gray in the hot seat over his alleged involvement in the man’s release. This came after the Free National Movement raised concerns last week that Mr Gray had allegedly interfered in the judicial process when Mr Gray contacted the administrator to offer “legal advice” about the case. The administrator reportedly released the man, who he had earlier convicted to a three-month prison term, shortly after that phone call. Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday that Mr Gray had urged him to transfer the local government portfolio to another minister pending the outcome of a police probe into the matter. However, Mr Munroe told The Tribune that he was unsure why much of the backlash was being directed toward Mr Gray. Instead, he said, Bahamians should question why an island administrator was allowed to try a case that would warrant bail or imprisonment. Mr Munroe said: “The most striking position here is he should be removed for the simple fact of speaking publicly about his judicial function. If a judge or a magistrate did such a thing he or she would be promptly removed. “How is it in 2015 that an island administrator is trying these kinds of cases? “My question is why in this modern day and time wasn’t a trained judicial officer sent to the island? “I see this as a grave failure of the system that more Bahamians need to question and demand answers on.” Mr Munroe raised concerns over other judicial decisions that Mr Newbold might have made during his time as Mayaguana’s administrator. “Again I ask, why is he trying cases?” The FNM has accused Mr Gray of an abuse of power after he contacted Mr Newbold last week to offer what he has called “legal advice” regarding a young man convicted in his constituency. Although Mr Gray has confirmed that he did contact the island administrator, he has strongly denied that he in any way attempted to sway the course of justice. Mr Newbold, a local magistrate, reportedly told The Nassau Guardian on Tuesday that he released the convict “after an order came forth”, but he was not released on bail. Mr Gray had previously said he understood that the convict was released on bail because he had lodged an appeal against his conviction.  Read More →
A letter to the BP Editor Speaker of the House Dr. Kendal Major Dear Mr. Editor, The results of the 2012 elections left the PLP leader with much soul searching as he had to form a government. The selection of ministers after a landslide victory was the easy part, but i am sure much thought had to be given to the selection of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The members of Garden Hill and Nassau Village were selected with all and sundry keeping their fingers and toes crossed.Neither Speaker or Deputy had any parliamentary experience : The making for real disaster! Very little respect was shown for either person over the last two and a half years. That brings us to the point that, to keep order, an adjournment has to be called. Sir, I am of the view that a vote of confidence should be taken for both the Speaker and Deputy at this midway point. I am sure it must have crossed both their minds whether parliament is the place for them. It seems to me that a safe, comfortable dental office or a cozy law office would be a better place. Being a servant of the people is not a easy task. The heart may be willing but the spirit is not concurring. Parliamentarians: call for a vote of confidence in both Speaker and Deputy Speaker for the good of the nation. Yours Truely, Tony Ferguson  Read More →
That company is just not honest with the Bahamian people! Cable Bahamas head offices. Dear Editor, I want to thank you for discussing this matter of a second mobile license and for presenting your bold and candid thoughts on this point in our development. I want to join your commentary on two of the applicants in the RFP [Cable Bahamas and Digicel]. In my view, both do not fit the dynamics we need in a second provider. (1) We need a provider that will bring expanded services, new technology, new employment and investment in this expanding industry. One cannot assume that Cable Bahamas would deliver much of that as they already are in the land line business and admitted recently, following your report, that 150 of the staff needed for mobile services are already working for the company, far from their initial 300 more jobs promise only days before your article. (2) The second licensee must provide a Bahamian ownership dynamic and we know Digicel’s business model provides no such room for ownership. That company is clearly owned by one shareholder. It is good to see that, in this stage of our democracy, we can demand real, tangible players in the market that will mature to the benefit of the country and expand opportunity for our people. Long live the Commonwealth of the Bahamas! Sign, E. David Taylor  Read More →
Statement on BEC by Deputy Prime Minister Davis Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Philip Brave Davis STATEMENT: Mr. Speaker Ahead of the Progressive Liberal Party’s election to Government, by our Charter for Governance, we clearly stated that one of our critical initiatives to change the economic course of the country would be to find ways to reduce the cost of electricity.  We stated that the cost of electricity throughout The Bahamas is simply too high, causing untold hardship to families, making the country uncompetitive in many business areas, and stunting economic development. In August of 2013, Prime Minister Christie released a statement announcing the Government’s intentions to reform the energy sector with the following objectives: · To provide energy supplies to consumers that will meet long term growth demands for energy · To increase international competitiveness in production in order to promote economic development and job creation · To utilise economically viable renewable energy sources to promote environmental sustainability · To provide long-term energy security to producers and consumers · To increase Bahamians’ awareness of energy, its use, and conservation methods in their daily lives · To increase energy efficiency · To provide modern and expanded energy infrastructure · To create a regulatory framework that promotes transparency, investment, competition, efficiency, and public-private partnerships · To foster sufficient flexibility that adopts and adapts to new energy technologies · To establish an institutional framework with high levels of technical capacity to support and facilitate the implementation of policy by all stakeholders; and · To provide investment and business opportunities with spin off benefits to other sectors. Mr. Speaker With the establishment of the National Energy Task Force, that body set the path to ensuring that 40% of the Bahamas’ energy needs come from renewables by 2033.  Strategic innovations therein provide for fuel diversification, infrastructure modernisation, renewable energy source development, conservation and efficiency.  It also includes a table for target evaluation and monitoring.  In keeping with the policy, Government, in consultation with the private sector and civil society, will develop three (3) year action plans to enable the development of key actions to support the strategies articulated in the policy document.  The conclusions of the National Energy Policy supported the amendment of the Electricity Act, key to our “heavy lifting” legislative agenda. Mr. Speaker I am pleased, now, to advise this honourable House that the Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2014 came into effect on Friday past, that is, 20th March 2015.  The Act enables persons to install and operate renewable energy generating stations, which can be connected to the electrical grid.  The Act further provides for the registration and regulation of such stations. Passage of time and focused determination have given witness to revolutionary legislation that advances us into a renewable energy age for The Bahamas.  We fully expect the reawakening of our entrepreneurial spirit as regular citizens become empowered to produce energy for themselves and others through the grid tie connections. This entrepreneurism is facilitated by the provision for the Residential Energy Self Generation Programme (RESG), which gives diverse benefit to consumers.  This deliverable of the National Energy Policy was animated by the Electricity (Amendment) Act.  Though The Bahamas’ dawn for the Renewable Age lags behind global trends, we have been judicious in our approach to catch up by empowering our citizens to become independent power producers.  With the RESG Programme, the opportunity exists to generate energy through alternative energy sources, tie into the current electrical grid, and to receive a credit for excess electricity fed into the grid. Mr. Speaker This is a great time in our history because, for renewable technologies, we have created new opportunities for jobs including manufacturing, project development, construction and wind turbine installation, operations and maintenance, transportation and logistics, and financial, legal, and consulting services.  We look forward to entrepreneurs seizing opportunities to take on workers for solar installation, manufacturing, and sales. Everything comes in its due season.  Renewable technologies are not beyond the reach of average citizens.  Government has eliminated tariffs on inverters for solar panels and LED appliances to ensure that more of our citizens would be able to afford these energy saving devices.  We are also witness to a time when the costs of renewable energy technologies around the world are declining steadily, and are projected to drop even more.  For example, in the United States, the average price of a solar panel has dropped almost 60 percent since 2011, and the cost of generating electricity from wind dropped more than 20 percent between 2010 and 2012 and more than 80 percent since 1980.  Globally, field experts are unified in the expectation that the cost of renewable energy will decline even further as markets mature and companies increasingly take advantage of the modalities. Mr. Speaker Having documented our Energy Policy, having passed the Electricity (Amendment) Act to effectuate that policy, I now present a summary of provisions of the Electricity (Renewable Energy) Regulations, which I will lay on the table at the conclusion of this Communication.  Subject to the Act, these Regulations provide the prescription for approving the generation of energy from solar and wind renewable sources by facilities, as well as the prescription for permitting renewable technologies – namely solar water heaters and electricity generation units.  In respect of facilities, they further provide for their registration, certification and de-certification of facilities, connection and disconnection from electrical grid, and enumerates substantial penalties for offences.  These penalties range from · Fines up to $25,000 for contravening Section 15A of the Act in respect of facilities; with further fines up to $1,000 per day for continuing offences; and · Fines up to $5,000 for contravening the Regulations; with further fines up to $750 per day for continuing offences. We believe that the prescribed penalties will sufficiently encourage conformity with the legislation.  The Regulations will come into effect on publication in the Government’s Gazette. Mr. Speaker With the basic legislative agenda just about in hand, we have but one Executive detail to conclude.  When we came to office, this Government foreshadowed the realignment of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), which generates and distributes in most parts of The Bahamas and is an imperative to real electricity sector reform for our nation.  The cost of power generated by the Bahamas Electricity Corporation was pegged at 40 to 44 cents per kilowatt hour (KwH).  This compared to production rates in the USA at 12 cents, China at 11 cents, Canada at 8 cents, and Trinidad at 7 cents.  Simply put, we are taking aggressive steps to lower the cost of electricity as the cost of importing fuels remains a massive drain on our country’s resources.  This is the evidence upon which we resolve a long term redress to the cost of power issue. Since coming to office, on our own, Government has sought to reduce operational costs at BEC by improving on operational efficiencies and reducing waste, wherever possible.  We eliminated the excise tax on fuel used by BEC in the 2013-2014 budget; and, a loan was approved by both Houses of Parliament in the amount of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars (B$250M) to rehabilitate and improve the Corporation’s financial position. Mr. Speaker At the moment, we all welcome some relief in the form of lowered costs for electricity purchased from BEC.  This is directly attributed to the cost of fossil fuels falling, but we do not know how long this will last.  BEC generates by gas turbines, which are costly to acquire and maintain.  Retention of these turbines has also contributed to the environmental degradation of our beautiful islands because of the fossil fuel used to operate the equipment.  Notwithstanding the diligence of duty at the Corporation, the fact is that the energy provided by BEC can be unreliable at times.  As recently as Friday, 13th March, we experienced the second protracted island-wide blackout in the course of one year. It is well-known that Government has also engaged the process toward identifying a strong, technically capable and experienced company to manage a new BEC.  This management company will have significant autonomy and operate subject to a business plan which addresses the specific objectives of Government within the frame of the new Electricity Act and the National Energy Policy.  I have previously communicated to this House that we will seek to cause the business model to basically mirror that which the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) has for the management of the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).  Corresponding to the airport arrangement, Government commits to 100% ownership of BEC. BEC will remain fully owned by the people, though fully managed by a company that can guarantee the reduction of the cost billed to the customer by up to 30% immediately following the commencement of the contract, given the all-in-cost base of average 40 cents per KwH.  When these reflect onto The Bahamas at large, this reduction will save business and residential consumers close to B$200 million. Mr. Speaker This administration has set out on the journey to totally reform the energy sector of The Bahamas.  This journey is not short and must be continued across administrations until we arrive at a desired destination.  As a Government, we are doing our part.  Change will come to positively impact cost, reliability, efficiency and environmental sensitivity. But this change, which will secure our energy future, can only be achieved with a concerted effort from the public and private sectors along with every single resident of this nation.  This change will provide the opportunity for gainful employment and entrepreneurship for Bahamians.  More and more energy service companies are being launched to participate in the energy conservation and renewable energy industries. Mr. Speaker Energy sufficiency is essential to our way of life.  It provides us with comfort, transportation, and the ability to produce food and material goods.  As a Government, we are satisfied that we are on the right track to the sustainable development of our Bahamas.  It is on that premise that it has been my pleasure to table the Electricity (Renewable Energy) Regulations, 2015 and Electricity (Amendment) Act, 2014 Appointed Day Notice. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  Read More →
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie Communication by The Rt. Hon Prime Minister and Member for Centreville Wednesday, 25th March 2015 Mr Speaker: In reference to the allegations recently made against Minister Alfred Gray, the Member for MICAL, I am advised that the Hon. Attorney General has referred the matter to the Royal Bahamas Police Force for a thorough investigation. As a result of this development, Minister Gray has invited me to relieve him of his ministerial responsibility for Local Government pending the outcome of the Police investigation. In all the circumstances, I consider that this is the correct thing to do. Accordingly, I have advised Her Excellency the Governor General, pursuant to Article 77 of the Constitution, to transfer ministerial responsibility for Local Government from Minister Gray to Minister Hope Strachan, the Member for Sea Breeze, by way of addition to her current portfolio responsibility as Minister of Financial Services. This change will take place with immediate effect. V. Alfred Gray The Member for MICAL is to be commended for his responsible approach to this matter.  This is to be favorably contrasted with cases under the former administration involving allegations of serious and major impropriety on the part of various Ministers in separate and unconnected matters. In none of these cases did any of these FNM Ministers stand down from all or any part of their ministerial positions pending the outcome of any investigations that may have taken place.  Read More →
The Speaker Must Relinquish His Post! Speaker of the House Dr. Kendal Moss cannot get House meeting ontime. Why?! Nassau, Bahamas — Breaking News coming live from the House of Assembly this afternoon as the speaker allowed Hubert Minnis to make a communication against the rules. After clarifications from the Leader of Government Business in the Parliament, the MP for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador and the MP for South and Central Eleuthera, the Speaker overruled objections and asked for the communication to be tabled and that the Killarney MP speak. That didn’t go well with the Government side and a loud thunder of protests erupted making it impossible for the Minnis to speak. The Parliament is now suspended! We report yinner decide!  Read More →
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