Tweet PLPs are holding steady on Grand Bahama as Christie is also set to land in FNM country next week! Scores of FNMs outside a DNA meeting on Grand Bahama last night. Freeport GB – While the unfortunate turmoil deep inside the Free National Movement – WITH CANNIBALISM EATING AT THE HEART OF THE ORGANIZATION – the fight gets nastier by the minute,; DNA supporters are in FNM territory gathering the bones and are raking up huge FNM supporters at a rally on Grand Bahama last night. Only Bahamas Press was live in the second city where we can tell you large numbers of FNM supporters have GONE GREEN! One supporter at the rally was a former FNM council member as indeed some like BP still are in shock how the FNM country appears to be going GREEN! Even former FNM MPs Kenneth ‘Ingraham is a monster’ Russell and Vernea ‘Da Village Idiot’ Grant appears to all now be supporting Branville’s Party! With this momentum keeping up, it looks as if the DNA will become the official opposition after all. Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie will land on Grand Bahama come next week just after his budget communication to Parliament. Christie, we are told, will be coming to unleash the final blow to the FNM and perhaps will encourage those who were FNMs for many years to come home to the PLP; the Party with a big tent now housing may former supporters of Sir Cecil! PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts have begin making the way for Christie’s homecoming to Grand Bahama and landed on the island Friday evening. As some say following the nasty, dutty fight in the FNM, “It all goes downhill from here for the FNM as Ingraham plans to challenge Minnis citing poor weak leadership inside the party! We report yinner decide!  Read More →
Tweet Ingraham calls for a political Civil War to erupt in the FNM against democratically elected Dr. Minnis. Ingraham – This move alone proves once again he is a dangerous dictator and is no good for the country!  By Jerry Roker for Bahamas Press The proverbial ‘mess’ has hit the fan. The Old Guard FNMs have once again stepped forward to express their total dissatisfaction with their Leader, Dr. Hubert Minnis. But this time, party Chairman Michael Pintard is hitting back. Mr. Pintard has bemoaned the fact that former Cabinet Ministers in previous FNM governments and senior party officials are running to the press with criticisms of Dr. Minnis, by-passing party forums for such undertakings. While I fully understand and agree with the Chairman’s thinking on this matter, it was his parliamentary members who poked fun and otherwise applauded those renegade PLP MPs who derided their own government almost on every major issue, in Parliament, when they had opportunities to put their respective positions directly to the party internally. Mr. Pintard is right. The Old Guard does have an agenda and they will avail themselves of any method that they believe will assist them in carrying it out. The political cannibalism in both parties must stop. It does not serve any useful purpose other than the narrow and selfish political interest of those perpetuating it. You have to be some kind of ‘special’ ‘special’ character to choose to vent publicly about your party and/or its leader, when you can do so at the internal party level. If one were denied the opportunity to put one’s position internally, then, there can be a case for one venting elsewhere. Who does the Old Guard think they are? Owners of the FNM with powers to discipline and reprimand any officer who has a style or approach not to their liking? My God, FNMs have spoken decisively twice in three years in favor of Dr. Minnis. What else you guys want? Ingraham perhaps. If I may, what goes around comes around. When the renegade PLP MPs took the PLP government and PM Christie to task, the FNMs were in their glory. Their MPs spoke all sorts of stuff about PM Christie and his government and generally sought to gain whatever political mileage these happenings could accrue. Now that their Old Guard has once again turned on their leader in a public, but clandestine manner, my guess is that they are now feeling some kind a way.  Read More →
Tweet Another man ganged in the Hearne Lane area file picture Freeport, The Bahamas – Police on Grand Bahama island are investigating two stabbing incidents that has left a 23-year-old male and a 33-year-old male in hospital. The first incident occurred shortly before 12:00pm on Friday 22nd May 2015, two brothers while in the area of Frobisher Circle were involved in an altercation when one was stabbed to the face. He was transported to the Rand Memorial Hospital and was seen by doctor and later released. His 32-year-old brother was arrested and taken into police custody. The second incident occurred shortly before 10:00pm on Friday 22nd May 2015, a 33-year-old male was brought into the Rand Memorial Hospital suffering from stab wounds to the stomach area. Reports are that while in the Hearne Lane area he was involved in an altercation with a group of males when he was reportedly stabbed. His injuries are listed as serious. Police are actively investigating. We report yinner decide!  Read More →
Tweet Police now on the ground looking for suspects…. Photo used is a file photo from out of the Kemp Road area by J. Campbell…. Nassau, Bahamas – Police are searching for several suspects responsible for four of armed that occurred during the past 24-hours and are asking members of the public to come forth with any information they may have to help solve these incidents. In the first incident, shortly after 12:00noon on Friday 22nd May 2015, a man armed with a handgun robbed a convenience store located on East Street and Victoria Boulevard of a small quantity of clothing before fleeing on foot. In the second incident, shortly after 3:00pm on Friday 22nd May 2015, a woman was walking on Rosetta Street, when a man armed with a handgun robbed her of her handbag containing cash and personal effects before fleeing on foot. In the third incident, shortly before 11:00pm on Friday 22nd May 2015, man was sitting in his green 1996 Honda CRV vehicle in front of his home located at Highbury Park, when three men armed with a handgun robbed him of his vehicle and sped off.In the fourth incident, shortly after 2:00am on Saturday 23rd May 2015, man was sitting in his grey Ford Mustang vehicle in front of his home located at Highbury Park, when two men armed with a handgun robbed him of cash, a cell phone and sped off in his vehicle.  Read More →
Tweet Mizpah Tertullien Freedom of Information Bill, 2015 released After more than one hundred amendments to the initial 2012 Act that never came into force, followed by its replacement with a new draft bill, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 2015 was released on Monday of this week for public consultation. Foreshadowing the release and outlining the objectives of the new bill was Education Minister Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald who spoke from the floor of the House on Wednesday, 13 th May 2015. Some of the objectives and parameters of the new bill are as follow: * Expanding the right of access to information by bodies with Bahamian interests; * Expanding the class of accessible documents to include certain policy documents; * Narrowing the class of documents that were previously exempt from disclosure; * Recommendations for a stand-alone whistle blowing legislation; * A review of the official Secrecy Act. * The Minister (meaning the cabinet) no longer has veto power over the disclosure of information. * The bill sets the frame work for the establishment of an independent Information Commissioner The “Whistleblower” section of the bill protects a person from illegal administrative sanctions or employment related punitive acts of reprisals (broadly called victimization in The Bahamas) if he or she releases information in breach of that person’s employment obligation or in violation of company policy (or general orders) so long as the person was acting in good faith in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the general public – or more broadly, acting in the public interest. Also worthy of note is the Act does not apply to the judicial functions of a court, the Customs Department, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Immigration Department in relation to their strategic and operational intelligence gathering activities. This structure is ostensibly in the interest of country’s national security. Overall, the objectives of the FIOA are to give further effect to certain fundamental principles underlying the system of constitutional democracy – mainly government accountability, transparency and public participation in national decision making by granting the public greater freedom and rights to access public records. The Office of the Attorney General plans to host a series of town hall meetings to educate and actively engage the public on this important piece of legislation. PM Christie on the passing on Mizpah Tertullien She enjoyed a long and fruitful life well into her eighties and touching many lives along the way, but nothing can fully prepare us for the inevitability of death. The nation was saddened this week to learn of the passing of former Senator, popular psychologist, commentator and columnist of the famed “Psychologically Speaking,” Mrs. Mizpah Tertullien. Expressing condolences on behalf of the government and people of The Bahamas was Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie who recognized her national service and remembered the former Senator’s engaging personality, erudition, eloquence and patriotism and one who embraced the finality of death the way she embraced life – with grace and dignity. “Mrs. Tertullien endured a lengthy illness with grace and dignity” said the Prime Minister. “Although she had not been a part of public life for many years, Mrs. Tertullien will be remembered for her engaging personality, erudition, eloquence, and patriotism. She was a respected commentator on a wide range of matters affecting the social and mental health of our nation. She was well positioned to do so based on her training and practice as a psychologist and family counselor.” May her soul rest in peace. This week in Parliament Debate in the House began on Wednesday of this week on the Petroleum Act and the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act and attendant regulations. The mover and lead speaker was the Minister for the Environment and Housing, the Hon. Kenred Dorsett who told House members that while these pieces of legislation seek to modernize and reform the country’s upstream petroleum sector, the regulations apply only to off shore oil drilling. During his communication, Minister Dorsett advised the House of a number of amendments to the bill he wishes to include during the committal stage. The Opposition wished to have sight of the amendments prior to their debate so the leader of government’s business in the House so moved for a suspension of the House until Tuesday, 26 th May 2015 at 10am. The Speaker took the opportunity to lobby for increases in the constituency allowances and allocations for constituency projects. Members of Parliament have had to routinely foot constituency bills from their own pockets to “subsidize representation.” Both allowances stand at $18,000 and $50,000 per annum respectively. The Prime Minister responded that the Speaker’s request was duly noted and will be taken into active consideration during the upcoming budget preparation. He agreed that the costs to hire staff and keep the utilities on at constituency offices are “inordinate.” Road Traffic Department to be fully automated The contracts to modernize the vehicular registration, inspection and drivers licenses systems were signed on Wednesday of this week. The price tag is $8.3 million and the project’s duration is eighteen months. Specifically, the Road Traffic Department entered into agreements with the New Zealand based Information Technology and revenue management group Datatorque and the group local Network Security Consultancy Group. The contractual agreements cover a master service agreement, a project management consultancy and a project initiation contract. Touting this upgrade as the most significant developmental initiative undertaken by the Road Traffic Department since its establishment was Minister of Transport and Aviation, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin. “Over the years has been a great deal of tinkering with the operation with various products, but this the first time an absolutely radical intervention in terms of overhauling the operational procedures of the Road Traffic Department.” Explaining how this new system of automation will improve operational efficiency, accountability, reduce operating costs, and strengthen the management and internal controls regime was State Minister for Finance, Hon. Michael Halkitis. “The Road Traffic modernization project will streamline road traffic department operations, realize significant cost savings; strengthen management controls and reports, generate increased revenue and facilitate integration, particularly in the area of information sharing between the Road Traffic Department and its internal and external stake holders.” These stakeholders include the police, banks, the office of the Attorney General, the courts, insurance companies and the Customs Department. PM: Eleuthera “poised” for greater economic opportunities. With some 28 operating hotels in Eleuthera and a robust second home market outpaced only by Abaco, Eleuthera has as many second home rooms in its rental inventory as hotel rooms. Further, there are great entrepreneurial opportunities in the areas of dining, retail shopping and sporting activities for young Bahamian investors to take advantage of. This was the message of Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie as he addressed delegates at the 3 rd annual Eleuthera Business Outlook (EBO) at the French Leave Resort in Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera on Thursday of the week. “Eleuthera is ideally suited to this new niche product type, many of which, throughout The Bahamas, are Bahamian-owned” said Mr. Christie. “In fact, with 28 operating hotels, Eleuthera currently has as much second home room rental inventory as hotel rooms. “When these home rentals are combined with newer resort developments such as the Cove and the Four Seasons, the Shaner Group here in Governor’s Harbour and other locally owned establishments, it will undoubtedly accelerate consumer demand for a plethora of commercial and retail enterprises to service this sector. “There is, even now, a need for more cafes and dining and entertainment venues, sporting facilities, retail shops, food stores, etcetera; all of which deliver the kind of critical mass needed to generate economic activity and satisfy pent-up demand for more vacation experiences from consumers and Eleuthera is, now, certainly poised to provide these kinds of economic opportunities for its young entrepreneurs” said the Prime Minister. The theme of the EBO was “Securing Eleuthera through Planning, Partnership and Productivity”. PM Christie discusses BEC During his trip to Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera on Thursday of this week to deliver the keynote address the Economic Outlook, Prime Minister Christie took the opportunity to discuss the way forward for BEC, especially the strategy for tackling and retiring the corporation’s $470 million debt going forward. “It might be four hundred now and seventy and money counting and that we have been negotiating with about five different banks the basis of a rate reduction on that will in fact absorb that money and have it amortized over many years and people will pay for it by adding a cent of two to each of their bills” said the Prime Minister. Concerning the management agreement itself and the government’s expectations, Mr. Christie confirmed that his government is engaged in “very advanced discussions” in settling the management agreement with PowerSecure and only added that PowerSecure “knows the importance for us moving (forward) because – I don’t want to talk out of hand – we have a particular principle in identifying someone to manage BEC as to how we want them to go about dealing with what people pay and that’s a matter for final negations” said the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also expressed confidence in PowerSecure’s ability to generate alternative and cheaper forms of energy, especially in the family islands. He also referenced the Carbon War Room with whom his government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the production of 20MW alternative power generation plants in eleven family islands to assist with the reduction in the cost of electricity and in the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels. Government presents single largest regatta subvention It was all smiles today at the Island Traders Building on Bay Street when the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government the Hon. V. Alfred Gray announced that the government will assist the All Eleuthera Regatta Committee this year to the tune of $45,000, the single largest public subvention to date for family island regattas. This year’s regatta will be held at Governor’s Harbour during the week leading up to the annual Independence Day celebrations. “Let me say that regattas are very important to the economic landscape of these family islands” said Minister Gray, highlighting the government’s deepening commitment to this important cultural, economic and historic event. Minister Gray promised that as the Minister with responsibility for regattas, he will be “ensuring that this regatta be the biggest regatta in the history of Eleuthera.” Minister Gray also took the opportunity to appeal to food vendors and restaurant operators to be especially sensitive to the financial circumstances of the participants in these regattas, pointing out that the allotted per diem for the boaters is around twenty-five dollars per day and the pricing schedule of some of the restaurants and vendors is prohibitive which creates challenges for the boaters. Overall, few will argue that family island regattas have become the dominant domestic tourism product, stimulating the economies of virtually every major family island. On hand for the presentation was Central and South Eleuthera Member of Parliament the Hon. Damian Gomez who went further, stating that the all Eleuthera regatta is part of an overall strategic plan to market Eleuthera as a family oriented water sports tourism destination. “It’s intended that we will be promoting Eleuthera as a family water sports destination and regattas help to pass that message along and that’s what we hope to promote from a water sports tourism point of view” said Mr. Gomez. He also envisions a cultural component to this marketing strategy with junkanoo and marching band competitions all as a prelude and build up to the country’s 42 nd independence celebrations on July 10 th of this year. The committee for the Mangrove Cay regatta was also on hand to receive their government sponsorship of $5,500; their regatta begins this Friday, 22 nd May. BAMSI inks SUPER marketing deal The commercial component of the Bahamas Agriculture Marine and Science Institute (BAMSI) just got a huge shot in the arm when BAMSI recently inked a marketing and distribution deal with the nation’s largest supermarket chain, Super Value. Under the agreement, Super Value would sell large quantities of BAMSI’s produce. Structurally, BAMSI’s associated farmers grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits to BAMSI’s specifications. BAMSI collects, quantifies, sorts, grades, packages, distributes and markets the produce in addition to the ones grown on its commercial farm. Additionally, BAMSI offers technical assistance to its associated farmers. Explaining the inherent “encumbrances” of reliability, uncertainty and quality that exist in the local agricultural industry and how BAMSI is determined to overcome these challenges was President of BAMSI, Godfrey Eneas. “One of the encumbrances Bahamian producers have experienced is that even though you have producers like (Roberts) and George Meyers – and other local buyers – they had real issues with reliability, quality, dependability and sustainability” said Mr. Eneas who believes that with BAMSI’s structure and processes in place, the institute will eliminate uncertainties from the value chain. Touting BAMSI’s competitive advantages was CEO of Super Value Rupert Roberts who believes that the freshness of the produce, the fact that the food is locally grown and the foreign exchange retention potential all add up to a win-win situation. “They are going to be big growers and of course are going to have plentiful fresh – and fresh is the key word here – product that is picked today and on the boat to us tomorrow.” He went on to say that his team is “really looking forward to not only encouraging our customers to buy Bahamian, we’re buying Bahamian and we’re selling Bahamian, and instead of California being the breadbasket of The Bahamas, Andros is. “And that money stays home to circulate and re-circulate among ourselves. It’s a win-win situation” said Roberts. AEG to manage Bahamas’ national stadium Building on the success of its public private sector partnership (PPP) policy that worked well at the Lynden Pindling International Airport and is being applied to reform BEC, the Bahamas government entered into an agreement with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to manage and market the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium as an entertainment and sports brand. AEG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company that owns the Staples Center, Sprint Center, Citizen’s Bank Arena and Oracle Arena as part of a collection of companies. The agreement was two years in the making. The agreement calls for AEG to promote and brand The Bahamas as a global sports and entertainment destination, effectively diversifying the country’s tourism product offerings. Having attracted major events to The Bahamas such as the Bahamas IAAF World Relays and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Popeye Bowl football game, the government is looking to build on this success. Explaining his government’s vision to diversify the country’s tourism product, driven by culture and sports was Prime Minister Christie. “In The Bahamas we began our journey by expanding junkanoo into junkanoo carnival, and we found it was received in an extraordinary way by the Bahamian people and others who came in for it. The Ministry of Tourism articulated a vision for sports tourism, and so AEG tells me it is important for the sports authority, musicians’ union, aspiring musicians and sporting personalities to know we are establishing a platform on which they can build.” On hand to sign the agreement was AEG representative Charles Steadman. Signing for The Bahamas was National Sports Authority Chairman Leroy Archer. Also on hand were Youth and Sports Minister, Hon. Daniel Johnson; National Sports Authority Board Member, Eldece Clarke; Financial Secretary, John Rolle; and Musicians and Entertainers Union President Percival Sweeting. Services to the poor just got simpler With the approval of an additional 1,501 clients from the Horseshoe Drive office of Social Services, life just got easier for the more than 4,000 persons on the government’s food assistance program. Specifically, there are 780 clients registered at the Wulff Road office; 874 at the Fox Hill office; and 1,660 at the Robinson Road office, bringing the total to 4,365 persons in possession of the pre-paid debit card for food assistance. According to Social Services Minister Hon. Melanie Griffin, the debit card affords the needy “the ability to shop for needed food items with ease and comfort.” “It was a long, hard road getting to this point, but with the addition of each center, we gained more experience and improved the process involved,” said Minister Griffin. In addressing the Horseshoe Drive clients the Minister reiterated that the debit cards are not to be used in the numbers shops, the beauty shops, and hair and nail salons, but are intended to purchase healthy nutritious foods. The implementation process is already underway in Grand Bahama as the focus of her ministry now shifts its attention to the needs in Grand Bahama and the family islands. In Passing… The Department of Immigration was busy this week in Grand Bahama conducting inspection exercises. Twenty-eight illegal immigrants were interdicted and transferred to the Carmichael Road Detention Center for further processing. Thirteen Brazilian nationals were interdicted in three separate hotel rooms. They claimed that they were awaiting transfer to the United States. The Cyber Tech training institute is currently offering certificate courses in the allied health field in the run up to the implementation of NHI scheduled for January 2016. Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell joined other CARICOM foreign ministers in St. Lucia this week to attend the 18 th meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) at Runaway Bay. COFCOR is the Foreign Affairs organ of CARICOM. Accompany Mitchell was CARICOM High Commissioner HE Picewell Forbes. Freedom of Information Bill, 2015 released After more than one hundred amendments to the initial 2012 Act that never came into force, followed by its replacement with a new draft bill, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 2015 was released on Monday of this week for public consultation. Foreshadowing the release and outlining the objectives of the new bill was Education Minister Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald who spoke from the floor of the House on Wednesday, 13 th May 2015. Some of the objectives and parameters of the new bill are as follow: * Expanding the right of access to information by bodies with Bahamian interests; * Expanding the class of accessible documents to include certain policy documents; * Narrowing the class of documents that were previously exempt from disclosure; * Recommendations for a stand-alone whistle blowing legislation; * A review of the official Secrecy Act. * The Minister (meaning the cabinet) no longer has veto power over the disclosure of information. * The bill sets the frame work for the establishment of an independent Information Commissioner The “Whistleblower” section of the bill protects a person from illegal administrative sanctions or employment related punitive acts of reprisals (broadly called victimization in The Bahamas) if he or she releases information in breach of that person’s employment obligation or in violation of company policy (or general orders) so long as the person was acting in good faith in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the general public – or more broadly, acting in the public interest. Also worthy of note is the Act does not apply to the judicial functions of a court, the Customs Department, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Immigration Department in relation to their strategic and operational intelligence gathering activities. This structure is ostensibly in the interest of country’s national security. Overall, the objectives of the FIOA are to give further effect to certain fundamental principles underlying the system of constitutional democracy – mainly government accountability, transparency and public participation in national decision making by granting the public greater freedom and rights to access public records. The Office of the Attorney General plans to host a series of town hall meetings to educate and actively engage the public on this important piece of legislation. PM Christie on the passing on Mizpah Tertullien She enjoyed a long and fruitful life well into her eighties and touching many lives along the way, but nothing can fully prepare us for the inevitability of death. The nation was saddened this week to learn of the passing of former Senator, popular psychologist, commentator and columnist of the famed “Psychologically Speaking,” Mrs. Mizpah Tertullien. Expressing condolences on behalf of the government and people of The Bahamas was Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie who recognized her national service and remembered the former Senator’s engaging personality, erudition, eloquence and patriotism and one who embraced the finality of death the way she embraced life – with grace and dignity. “Mrs. Tertullien endured a lengthy illness with grace and dignity” said the Prime Minister. “Although she had not been a part of public life for many years, Mrs. Tertullien will be remembered for her engaging personality, erudition, eloquence, and patriotism. She was a respected commentator on a wide range of matters affecting the social and mental health of our nation. She was well positioned to do so based on her training and practice as a psychologist and family counselor.” May her soul rest in peace. This week in Parliament Debate in the House began on Wednesday of this week on the Petroleum Act and the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act and attendant regulations. The mover and lead speaker was the Minister for the Environment and Housing, the Hon. Kenred Dorsett who told House members that while these pieces of legislation seek to modernize and reform the country’s upstream petroleum sector, the regulations apply only to off shore oil drilling. During his communication, Minister Dorsett advised the House of a number of amendments to the bill he wishes to include during the committal stage. The Opposition wished to have sight of the amendments prior to their debate so the leader of government’s business in the House so moved for a suspension of the House until Tuesday, 26 th May 2015 at 10am. The Speaker took the opportunity to lobby for increases in the constituency allowances and allocations for constituency projects. Members of Parliament have had to routinely foot constituency bills from their own pockets to “subsidize representation.” Both allowances stand at $18,000 and $50,000 per annum respectively. The Prime Minister responded that the Speaker’s request was duly noted and will be taken into active consideration during the upcoming budget preparation. He agreed that the costs to hire staff and keep the utilities on at constituency offices are “inordinate.” Road Traffic Department to be fully automated The contracts to modernize the vehicular registration, inspection and drivers licenses systems were signed on Wednesday of this week. The price tag is $8.3 million and the project’s duration is eighteen months. Specifically, the Road Traffic Department entered into agreements with the New Zealand based Information Technology and revenue management group Datatorque and the group local Network Security Consultancy Group. The contractual agreements cover a master service agreement, a project management consultancy and a project initiation contract. Touting this upgrade as the most significant developmental initiative undertaken by the Road Traffic Department since its establishment was Minister of Transport and Aviation, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin. “Over the years has been a great deal of tinkering with the operation with various products, but this the first time an absolutely radical intervention in terms of overhauling the operational procedures of the Road Traffic Department.” Explaining how this new system of automation will improve operational efficiency, accountability, reduce operating costs, and strengthen the management and internal controls regime was State Minister for Finance, Hon. Michael Halkitis. “The Road Traffic modernization project will streamline road traffic department operations, realize significant cost savings; strengthen management controls and reports, generate increased revenue and facilitate integration, particularly in the area of information sharing between the Road Traffic Department and its internal and external stake holders.” These stakeholders include the police, banks, the office of the Attorney General, the courts, insurance companies and the Customs Department. PM: Eleuthera “poised” for greater economic opportunities. With some 28 operating hotels in Eleuthera and a robust second home market outpaced only by Abaco, Eleuthera has as many second home rooms in its rental inventory as hotel rooms. Further, there are great entrepreneurial opportunities in the areas of dining, retail shopping and sporting activities for young Bahamian investors to take advantage of. This was the message of Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie as he addressed delegates at the 3 rd annual Eleuthera Business Outlook (EBO) at the French Leave Resort in Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera on Thursday of the week. “Eleuthera is ideally suited to this new niche product type, many of which, throughout The Bahamas, are Bahamian-owned” said Mr. Christie. “In fact, with 28 operating hotels, Eleuthera currently has as much second home room rental inventory as hotel rooms. “When these home rentals are combined with newer resort developments such as the Cove and the Four Seasons, the Shaner Group here in Governor’s Harbour and other locally owned establishments, it will undoubtedly accelerate consumer demand for a plethora of commercial and retail enterprises to service this sector. “There is, even now, a need for more cafes and dining and entertainment venues, sporting facilities, retail shops, food stores, etcetera; all of which deliver the kind of critical mass needed to generate economic activity and satisfy pent-up demand for more vacation experiences from consumers and Eleuthera is, now, certainly poised to provide these kinds of economic opportunities for its young entrepreneurs” said the Prime Minister. The theme of the EBO was “Securing Eleuthera through Planning, Partnership and Productivity”. PM Christie discusses BEC During his trip to Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera on Thursday of this week to deliver the keynote address the Economic Outlook, Prime Minister Christie took the opportunity to discuss the way forward for BEC, especially the strategy for tackling and retiring the corporation’s $470 million debt going forward. “It might be four hundred now and seventy and money counting and that we have been negotiating with about five different banks the basis of a rate reduction on that will in fact absorb that money and have it amortized over many years and people will pay for it by adding a cent of two to each of their bills” said the Prime Minister. Concerning the management agreement itself and the government’s expectations, Mr. Christie confirmed that his government is engaged in “very advanced discussions” in settling the management agreement with PowerSecure and only added that PowerSecure “knows the importance for us moving (forward) because – I don’t want to talk out of hand – we have a particular principle in identifying someone to manage BEC as to how we want them to go about dealing with what people pay and that’s a matter for final negations” said the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also expressed confidence in PowerSecure’s ability to generate alternative and cheaper forms of energy, especially in the family islands. He also referenced the Carbon War Room with whom his government has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the production of 20MW alternative power generation plants in eleven family islands to assist with the reduction in the cost of electricity and in the emission of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels. Government presents single largest regatta subvention It was all smiles today at the Island Traders Building on Bay Street when the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government the Hon. V. Alfred Gray announced that the government will assist the All Eleuthera Regatta Committee this year to the tune of $45,000, the single largest public subvention to date for family island regattas. This year’s regatta will be held at Governor’s Harbour during the week leading up to the annual Independence Day celebrations. “Let me say that regattas are very important to the economic landscape of these family islands” said Minister Gray, highlighting the government’s deepening commitment to this important cultural, economic and historic event. Minister Gray promised that as the Minister with responsibility for regattas, he will be “ensuring that this regatta be the biggest regatta in the history of Eleuthera.” Minister Gray also took the opportunity to appeal to food vendors and restaurant operators to be especially sensitive to the financial circumstances of the participants in these regattas, pointing out that the allotted per diem for the boaters is around twenty-five dollars per day and the pricing schedule of some of the restaurants and vendors is prohibitive which creates challenges for the boaters. Overall, few will argue that family island regattas have become the dominant domestic tourism product, stimulating the economies of virtually every major family island. On hand for the presentation was Central and South Eleuthera Member of Parliament the Hon. Damian Gomez who went further, stating that the all Eleuthera regatta is part of an overall strategic plan to market Eleuthera as a family oriented water sports tourism destination. “It’s intended that we will be promoting Eleuthera as a family water sports destination and regattas help to pass that message along and that’s what we hope to promote from a water sports tourism point of view” said Mr. Gomez. He also envisions a cultural component to this marketing strategy with junkanoo and marching band competitions all as a prelude and build up to the country’s 42 nd independence celebrations on July 10 th of this year. The committee for the Mangrove Cay regatta was also on hand to receive their government sponsorship of $5,500; their regatta begins this Friday, 22 nd May. BAMSI inks SUPER marketing deal The commercial component of the Bahamas Agriculture Marine and Science Institute (BAMSI) just got a huge shot in the arm when BAMSI recently inked a marketing and distribution deal with the nation’s largest supermarket chain, Super Value. Under the agreement, Super Value would sell large quantities of BAMSI’s produce. Structurally, BAMSI’s associated farmers grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits to BAMSI’s specifications. BAMSI collects, quantifies, sorts, grades, packages, distributes and markets the produce in addition to the ones grown on its commercial farm. Additionally, BAMSI offers technical assistance to its associated farmers. Explaining the inherent “encumbrances” of reliability, uncertainty and quality that exist in the local agricultural industry and how BAMSI is determined to overcome these challenges was President of BAMSI, Godfrey Eneas. “One of the encumbrances Bahamian producers have experienced is that even though you have producers like (Roberts) and George Meyers – and other local buyers – they had real issues with reliability, quality, dependability and sustainability” said Mr. Eneas who believes that with BAMSI’s structure and processes in place, the institute will eliminate uncertainties from the value chain. Touting BAMSI’s competitive advantages was CEO of Super Value Rupert Roberts who believes that the freshness of the produce, the fact that the food is locally grown and the foreign exchange retention potential all add up to a win-win situation. “They are going to be big growers and of course are going to have plentiful fresh – and fresh is the key word here – product that is picked today and on the boat to us tomorrow.” He went on to say that his team is “really looking forward to not only encouraging our customers to buy Bahamian, we’re buying Bahamian and we’re selling Bahamian, and instead of California being the breadbasket of The Bahamas, Andros is. “And that money stays home to circulate and re-circulate among ourselves. It’s a win-win situation” said Roberts. AEG to manage Bahamas’ national stadium Building on the success of its public private sector partnership (PPP) policy that worked well at the Lynden Pindling International Airport and is being applied to reform BEC, the Bahamas government entered into an agreement with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to manage and market the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium as an entertainment and sports brand. AEG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company that owns the Staples Center, Sprint Center, Citizen’s Bank Arena and Oracle Arena as part of a collection of companies. The agreement was two years in the making. The agreement calls for AEG to promote and brand The Bahamas as a global sports and entertainment destination, effectively diversifying the country’s tourism product offerings. Having attracted major events to The Bahamas such as the Bahamas IAAF World Relays and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Popeye Bowl football game, the government is looking to build on this success. Explaining his government’s vision to diversify the country’s tourism product, driven by culture and sports was Prime Minister Christie. “In The Bahamas we began our journey by expanding junkanoo into junkanoo carnival, and we found it was received in an extraordinary way by the Bahamian people and others who came in for it. The Ministry of Tourism articulated a vision for sports tourism, and so AEG tells me it is important for the sports authority, musicians’ union, aspiring musicians and sporting personalities to know we are establishing a platform on which they can build.” On hand to sign the agreement was AEG representative Charles Steadman. Signing for The Bahamas was National Sports Authority Chairman Leroy Archer. Also on hand were Youth and Sports Minister, Hon. Daniel Johnson; National Sports Authority Board Member, Eldece Clarke; Financial Secretary, John Rolle; and Musicians and Entertainers Union President Percival Sweeting. Services to the poor just got simpler With the approval of an additional 1,501 clients from the Horseshoe Drive office of Social Services, life just got easier for the more than 4,000 persons on the government’s food assistance program. Specifically, there are 780 clients registered at the Wulff Road office; 874 at the Fox Hill office; and 1,660 at the Robinson Road office, bringing the total to 4,365 persons in possession of the pre-paid debit card for food assistance. According to Social Services Minister Hon. Melanie Griffin, the debit card affords the needy “the ability to shop for needed food items with ease and comfort.” “It was a long, hard road getting to this point, but with the addition of each center, we gained more experience and improved the process involved,” said Minister Griffin. In addressing the Horseshoe Drive clients the Minister reiterated that the debit cards are not to be used in the numbers shops, the beauty shops, and hair and nail salons, but are intended to purchase healthy nutritious foods. The implementation process is already underway in Grand Bahama as the focus of her ministry now shifts its attention to the needs in Grand Bahama and the family islands. In Passing… The Department of Immigration was busy this week in Grand Bahama conducting inspection exercises. Twenty-eight illegal immigrants were interdicted and transferred to the Carmichael Road Detention Center for further processing. Thirteen Brazilian nationals were interdicted in three separate hotel rooms. They claimed that they were awaiting transfer to the United States. The Cyber Tech training institute is currently offering certificate courses in the allied health field in the run up to the implementation of NHI scheduled for January 2016. Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell joined other CARICOM foreign ministers in St. Lucia this week to attend the 18 th meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) at Runaway Bay. COFCOR is the Foreign Affairs organ of CARICOM. Accompany Mitchell was CARICOM High Commissioner HE Picewell Forbes. About the author: Elcott Coleby is a Deputy Director at the Bahamas Information Services. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry (B.Sc) and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). He provides frequent commentary on public policy and communicates the works of the government. Address all comments to the following email: egcoleby44@gmail.com  Read More →
Tweet By Oswald Brown WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mrs. Idena Burrows, President of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Retirees Association (BCPORA), presents a gift to Mrs. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C., during a visit by 47 members of the BCPORA to the Bahamas Embassy Consular Annex, 1025 Vermont Avenue, N.W., on Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The group is on their annual retreat trip, which also includes visits to Baltimore, Maryland, and New York City. Looking on at left is His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, who was also presented with a gift, and in the background are Deputy Chief of Mission Chet Neymour and Ms. Faith Maycock, Third Secretary, Embassy of The Bahamas Consular Annex.  Read More →
Tweet Victim is Marco “Mo” Newbold age 21 – some on the ground believes MO was gunned down by a man known to police and after his gal! Marco ‘NO’ Newbold Nassau, Bahamas – Police are now live right now opening a homicide investigation in the Baillou Hill Road and Bias Street section of New Providence where we can confirm a male has been fatally shot in the area. BP has already identified the victim as 21-year-old Marco ‘Mo’ Newbold. He was gunned down in the street like an animal by some animal on two legs. Right now his warn body is motionless in the street – right in front of the St. Paul’s Church on Bias Street! A good distance away is a large crowd of onlookers trying to get a peek. Family members are hollering in the street; some uncontrollably as their screams pierce the night’s silence. Police have closed off the road and is now combing through the finer details on the crime scene. The incident unfolded sometime shortly after 11pm tonight. GET THIS: Newbold just about two weeks ago was shot through Fowler Street but escaped death after spending four days in hospital. He was released from Fox Hill just one month ago on some petty crime charge. He had spent months [some saying almost two years] in Fox Hill awaiting trial. The accuser never appeared. BP team have arrived on the scene, however, little information is being gathered as we speak. We report yinner decide!  Read More →
Tweet The macro-economic impact analysis will determine Carnival success Carnival 2015 - LOOK AT THE PEOPLE!!!!! Watch the FNM break up right over this Carnival Event! Dear Editor I note with some interest your headline story entitled “WAS CARNIVAL REALLY A SUCCESS?” of 21st May 2015 Firstly, the vast majority of experts in the arts, culture and entertainment community have characterized the inaugural 2015 Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival a critical and artistic success and a step in the right direction in the growth and development of culture in The Bahamas, its inter-industrial linkage to our number one industry, tourism and in the integration of culture into the country’s national economy. There were over five hundred participants from the cultural community and they were generally satisfied with the outcome. The Bahamian people who were the customers of this product endorsed this celebratory event overwhelmingly with some 90,000 spectators and participants according to police estimates. Many Bahamians expressed regret that they failed to “jump in line” during the Road Fever Parade and would be left behind in 2016. Secondly, the Tribune’s editorial position appears to be to interview vendors who did not fare well financially and to use that singular issue to question the success of Carnival. That is bias, unfair and does not tell the entire story. Further, if the Tribune’s criterion is used, then everything becomes a failure because of the statistical principle of the “Bell Distribution Curve.” Thirdly, in the interest of fairness and balance – is the Tribune prepared to interview the vendors who fared well financially during Carnival? Interview the hotels that were sold out; the food and drinks vendors that sold out; the car rental companies that sold out. That would be a good exercise as readers would have the benefit of both sides of the story and could draw a more informed conclusion as to the success of carnival. My personal favourites are the taxi driver who turned down jobs so he could take in some of the festivities. Another favourite is the food vendor who because of her financial success at carnival was able to pay her child’s upcoming school fees in full. The List of success stories goes on and on. There is an economics rule of thumb in calculating the macroeconomic impact of an investment. If the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) impact is 3.5 to 4 times the investment, then statistically, the investment was a macroeconomic success. The Commission invested some $9 million and a GDP impact of $31.5 million to $36 million nationally would spell success for the 2015 Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. The Commission investment $1 million in the Grand Bahama leg of the festival and according to the Carnival Commission, the GDP impact on the economy of Grand Bahama was around $17 million to $18 million or 17 to 18 times the investment. Statistically, the Grand Bahama leg of Carnival was an unqualified macroeconomic success. As for New Providence, let us wait on the economic impact analysis from the Festival Commission shall we? With the Grand Bahama results in, we are more than half way there. YOURS ETC. ELCOTT COLEBY  Read More →
Tweet Richard Lightbourn to resign from Parliament and force a By-Election – WILL INGRAHAM WIN? Richard Lightbourn MP for Montaqu Possible by-election for Montaqu Hubert Minnis - Opposition Leader could possibly lock up the leadership from Ingraham and resoundingly defeat PAPA at the next Convention. Nassau, Bahamas – It was just one week ago since Bahamas Press revealed how Hubert Ingraham was speaking through Candia Dames in the column ‘The National Review’. Since that breaking ‘bussup’ report by BP, the Ingraham campaign has taken a new twist and team Minnis is now in a free fall. Bahamas Press can now report Minnis will be challenged in an upcoming convention by former leader and defeated former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. BP has learnt Ingraham will take seat Montaqu in a by-election, which will witness the resignation from Parliament current MP Richard Lightbourn. Ingraham has been beaten successfully by Prime Minister Christie four times straight [once when Musgrove lost in the Senate Court Case, in the 2010 by election in Lizzy, in the 2012 General Elections and finally in the North Abaco by-election]. This proves that Ingraham will not deliver the FNM into a successful election in 2017! The former FNM leader had promised to give up the ghost in 2012 after a resounding rejection by the electorate who had seen – under Ingraham’s watch – unemployment in double digits, a long and deep recession that almost crippled the Bahamas and a spiraling crime problem that produced record-breaking murder incidents. Minnis, who has been in problems over the leadership since being elected in 2012, has changed the hierarchy of the party structure and ousted key ‘Ingrahamites’ while promoting ‘Cecilites’ within the Party’s core. One observer in that Council of the FNM said, “Ingraham era in the FNM has ended. If he returns we will have a 5th defeat by Christie just as Pindling delivered his party’s defeat following the 1997 general elections. Leaders must know when to go. They must know when they have become yesterday’s news. They must be charitable and pass on the baton to a new and more vibrant generation and Ingraham appears to have not learned this.” Meanwhile the Christie Administration is indeed celebrating at the turbulence now facing the Leadership of the FNM. A source deep in the PLP told BP, “We expected these developments and we welcome the fight! We are confident that while they burn to ashes, the Progressive Liberal Party – the Party of Ideas and reform – shall be successful in 2017. And while we plan to move the country forward, creating employment, expanding the economy, managing the fiscal debt and modernizing systems, we will be ready for whomever takes charge of the FNM!” And while Mr. Ingraham heads for his traditional vacation deep in the hills of Haiti this summer, Bahamas Press understands sources deep in the PLP are moving to have a Commission of Inquiry to be immediately convened if Ingraham is indeed returned to the FNM leadership. We report yinner decide!  Read More →
Tweet Philippine National is dead following accident at Abaco Container Port…. Mr. Glen Woodside Abaco – Police in Abaco are investigating the death of a 49-year-old male Philippine National, who died while working on a vessel that was docked in Marsh Harbour. Reports are that on Wednesday 20th May, 2015 shortly before 2:00 pm, the deceased was a male crew worker on the vessel and was reportedly on top of a container when he accidentally slipped and fell off the container, landing on top of a stack of lumber before hitting the steel surface of the vessel. He was taken to the Marsh Harbour Clinic where he was pronounced dead by doctor. Meanwhile yesterday police in Grand Bahama were investigating a traffic accident that has left 51-year-old Glen Woodside of South Mall Drive dead. The incident reportedly occurred shortly after 12:00 am on Wednesday and involved a 2000 Hyundai Accent and a black 1997 Nissan Maxima. The 2000 Hyundai Accent that was driven by Mr. Woodside was travelling west on East Sunrise Highway and the 1997 Nissan Maxima vehicle, driven by a 22-year-old female of Freeport Gardens with three passengers, was travelling south on East Atlantic Drive onto East Sunrise Highway when the collision occurred. Police and EMS personnel were called to the scene and all passengers were transported to the Rand Memorial Hospital. The driver of the Hyundai Accent was later pronounced dead by a doctor at the Rand Memorial Hospital and the other driver and passengers of the Nissan Maxima were seen by doctor. One passenger is said to be listed in stable condition while the others were later discharged. We report yinner decide!  Read More →
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