Bamboo Town MP Branville McCartney in The House

4
1199

mccatrney1.jpg

Hon. Branville  McCartney, MP for Bamboo Town.

Branville McCartney M.P.,
Minister of State Tourism & Aviation
Budget Debate 2008/09 To Parliament
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 @ 10:00 a.m.

MR. SPEAKER:

IT IS WITH GREAT HUMILITY THAT I RISE TODAY IN SUPPORT OF THE 2008/2009 BUDGET WHICH SETS OUT A PRUDENT FISCAL PLAN FOR THE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF THE BAHAMAS THAT IS CAREFULLY CRAFTED TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CURRENT GLOBAL ECONOMIC CLIMATE OF UNCERTAINTY.

IT PRESENTS A CLEAR ROAD MAP AS TO HOW YOUR CARING FREE NATIONAL MOVEMENT GOVERNMENT WILL PROPERLY MANAGE THE FISCAL AFFAIRS OF THIS COUNTRY.

I AM PLEASED TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THIS BUDGET WITHOUT RESERVATION.

WHY YOU MAY WELL ASK?

BECAUSE IT PROTECTS BAHAMIANS, INCLUDING:

THE POOR

UNDERPRIVILEGED,

THE DOWN TRODDEN,

THE NEEDY,

THE DISADVANTAGED
IT ALSO PROVIDES FOR:

THE MIDDLE CLASS,

LAWYERS,

DOCTORS,

ARCHITECTS,

MERCHANTS,

BUSINES PROFESSIONALS.

IN SHORT MR. SPEAKER, EVERYONE WILL HAVE A MEASURE OF PROTECTION FROM THE ESCALATING  COST OF LIVING.

MR. SPEAKER,

DURING THE COURSE OF MY CONTRIBUTION I SHALL ADDRESS THE SEVERAL PORTFOLIOS, THAT I HAVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR, WHICH COME UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM AND AVIATION.

BEFORE I DO SO MR. SPEAKER, PERMIT ME TO ONCE AGAIN EXPRESS BY SINCERE APPRECIATION TO THE GREAT PEOPLE OF BAMBOO TOWN WITHOUT WHOM I WOULD NOT BE HERE TODAY.

MR. SPEAKER,

BAMBOO TOWN IS VERY MUCH ON COURSE TO BECOMING THE BEST TOWN IN THE BAHAMAS. I AM PLEASED TO REPORT THAT, OVER THE COURSE OF THE PAST YEAR, SEVERAL OF OUR COMMUNITY INITIATIVES HAVE BORNE FRUIT.

WE HAVE BEEN ABLE MR. SPEAKER, TO RESTORE AND DEVELOP RECREATIONAL AREAS AND IMPROVE ROADS.

SPEED BUMPS WERE ERECTED IN NEW HOPE DRIVE, JOANS DRIVE, SILVER GATES, VICTORIA BLVD AND SURROUNDING STREETS.

WE PAVED ROADS IN FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS AND SOUTHERN HEIGHTS AND PUT MADE ROAD IMPROVEMENTS IN EMMANUEL WAY (VINSPEN ROAD), THE GAMBLE HEIGHTS SUBDIVISION AND ON COX WAY WHICH FINALLY RESOLVED THE FLOODING PROBLEM IN THAT AREA.

A NEW PARK WAS DEVELOPED IN AIRDALE SUBDIVISION AND IN SEVEN HILLS, MARY INGRAHAM, ZION BLVD AND SOUTHERN HEIGHTS PARKS WERE RESTORED.
I AM PARTICULARLY DELIGHTED THAT THE BAMBOO TOWN AFTER SCHOOL HOMEWORK CENTRE, WHICH WE HAVE INSTITUTED AS A COMMUNITY PROJECT, IS DOING AN EXCELLENT JOB OF ASSISTING YOUNGSTERS, WITHOUT COST, IN THE PREPARATION OF THEIR SCHOOL HOMEWORK AND WITH TUTORING ASSISTANCE IN SPANISH FROM MONDAY TO THURSDAY AT THE CONSTITUENCY OFFICE ON EAST STREET SOUTH.

THIS PROGRAM IS FREE TO CHILDREN IN THE BAMBOO TOWN CONSTITUENCY. AND IT IS MADE POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF THE VOLUNTEER EFFORTS OF SOME VERY SPECIAL PERSONS WHO I WISH TO PUBLICLY THANK FOR THE WORK THEY HAVE GENEROUSLY PUT INTO THE PROGRAM – SENOR ALEX, SPANISH TEACHER; MR. PATRICK GIBSON, MRS. JOCELYN KNOWLES, MS. SIREE FRASER AND MRS. VIVIA FERGUSON, CONSTITUENCY OFFICE MANAGER.

MR. SPEAKER,
IN BAMBOO TOWN WE ALSO SEEK TO BE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER BY ASSISTING THOSE WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN NEED. OUR PROGRAMS TO PROVIDE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR OUR YOUTH, OUR SENIOR CITIZENS AND OUR LITERACY INITIATIVES ARE CONTRIBUTING MUCH TO THE ALLEVIATION OF UNNECESSARY SUFFERING AND ARE PROVIDING A NECESSARY HELPING HAND.

EACH MONTH, MR. SPEAKER, CHILDREN OF BAMBOO TOWN PARTICIPATE IN AN ASSEMBLY CALLED ‘THE ZONE’ WHICH FOCUSES ON INTEGRITY, KINDNESS, RESPECT AND LOVE FOR EACH OTHER, AND ONCE THE WORK IS DONE, IT IS TIME FOR FUN.

OUR SENIOR CITIZENS ARE OUR PRECIOUS JEWELS AND WE TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY.  AS YOU MAY BE AWARE, WE HAVE PROVIDED A SPECIAL VEHICLE TO ACCOMMODATE THOSE WITH DISABILITIES IN GETTING AROUND THE CONSTITUENCY AND OF COURSE THEY ARE ALSO TREATED THEM TO FUN SOCIAL OUTINGS, THE MOST RECENT ONE BEING A RELAXING DAY AT GOODMAN’S BAY BEACH.

WE ALSO INSTITUTED FREE QUARTERLY LEGAL CLINIC SPONSORED BY HALSBURY CHAMBERS WHERE RESIDENTS CAN COME TO DISCUSS LEGAL ISSUES WITH LAWYERS AND RECEIVE FREE LEGAL ADVICE.

MR. SPEAKER,

WE ARE CURRENTLY IN THE HURRICANE SEASON AND ARE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN HELPING TO PREPARE FAMILIES IN OUR COMMUNITY WITH RESPECT TO HURRICANE PREPARATIONS BY PROVIDING AND DISSEMINATING SAFETY TIPS. THE BAMBOO TOWN HURRICANE INFORMATION AND SAFETY TIPS BROCHURE CALLED “REPRESENT’ CONTAINS RELEVANT INFORMATION ON SHELTERS LOCATION IN THE CONSTITUENCY AS WELL AS INFORMATION ON DISASTER KITS, EVACUATION PLANS, AND OTHER HURRICANE PREPARATION FACTS.

IT IS INDEED A GREAT PRIVILEGE FOR ME TO REPRESENT THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE OF THE GREAT CONSTITUENCY OF BAMBOO TOWN AND I THANK THEM FOR THEIR CONTINUING AND UNSTINTING SUPPORT.  WITH GOD’S HELP WE WILL CONTINUE TO TRY AND MAKE BAMBOO TOWN THE BEST TOWN IN THE BAHAMAS.

CIVIL AVIATON

MR. SPEAKER,

THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, HAVE FOREVER ALTERED THE WORLD OF AVIATION, PARTICULARLY IN THE SECURITY AREA.  FOR THOSE OF US ENGAGED IN THE BUSINESS OF  TOURISM AND AVIATION, IT IS OFTEN A DIFFICULT BALANCING ACT TO ENSURE THAT SECURITY MANDATES ARE ENFORCED, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME SEEKING TO AFFORD OUR GUESTS THE RELAXED, TRANQUIL ESCAPE THAT WE HAVE PROMISED THEM.

STILL, NO MATTER HOW WONDERFUL THE VACATION EXPERIENCE, OR HOW MUCH IT MAY BE ANTICIPATED, WE KNOW THAT THE TRAVELLING PUBLIC MUST BE SAFE.  FOR THIS REASON, WE CANNOT FOR ONE MOMENT LET DOWN OUR GUARD.  ALL OF US, BAHAMIANS AND TOURISTS ALIKE, MUST BE AFFORDED EVERY PROTECTION FROM THOSE WHO WOULD SEEK TO DAMAGE OUR ECONOMIC MAINSTAY, AND WHO  THREATEN OUR VERY EXISTENCE.

MR. SPEAKER,

AS A SIGNATORY TO THE CHICAGO CONVENTION, THE BAHAMAS  HAS BEEN REQUIRED, AS HAS EVERY OTHER MEMBER, TO CONFORM WITH THE ENHANCED SECURITY PROCEDURES INTRODUCED BY THE INTERNATIONAL
CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION, AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THE 9/11 INCIDENT.

ADDITIONALLY, THE BAHAMAS IS ALSO OBLIGED TO COMPLY WITH PROCEDURES REQUIRED BY THE TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA) OF THE U.S. DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY, DUE TO THE GREAT NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT WHICH FLY INTO THE UNITED STATES FROM THIS COUNTRY.

ACCORDINGLY MR. SPEAKER, I SOUGHT IMMEDIATELY UPON TAKING OFFICE AS THE MINISTER OF STATE RESPONSIBLE FOR AVIATION, TO PUT IN PLACE THOSE FOUNDATIONAL ENTITIES WHICH ARE REQUIRED IN LAW TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE, AND WITHOUT WHICH OUR GOALS COULD NOT BE MET.

I AM SPEAKING IN THE FIRST INSTANCE MR. SPEAKER, ABOUT THE RECENTLY APPOINTED AVIATION SECURITY COUNCIL.  OUR AVIATION LEGISLATION REQUIRES THAT THIS COUNCIL, WHICH IS ANSWERABLE TO THE MINISTER, HAVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE OVERSIGHT OF SECURITY AT ALL AIRPORTS IN THE BAHAMAS, AND THAT IT APPROVES ALL SECURITY MEASURES WHICH ARE DEEMED NECESSARY AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL.

IT WAS FOR THIS REASON MR. SPEAKER,
THAT THIS GOVERNMENT SOUGHT UPON TAKING OFFICE TO IMMEDIATELY APPOINT THIS COUNCIL, A REQUIREMENT WHICH HAD LONG BEFORE BEEN CODIFIED IN BAHAMIAN LAW.  THE COUNCIL IS COMPRISED OF THOSE PERSONS WHO SERVE AT THE VERY TOP TIER OF OUR COUNTRY’S SECURITY FORCES, I.E. THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, THE CONTROLLER OF CUSTOMS, AND THE DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION.  THERE ARE ALSO REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE MINISTRIES OF TOURISM, AND NATIONAL SECURITY AMONG THIS AUGUST GROUP.

I AM ALSO PLEASED TO SAY MR SPEAKER, THAT THE CHAIRMAN OF THIS COUNCIL IS THE HIGHLY RESPECTED, INTERNATIONALLY LAUDED CAPTAIN PATRICK ROLLE, WHO NOW ALSO SERVES AS DIRECTOR OF CIVIL AVIATION,  AND HEADS AN INVIGORATED MANAGEMENT TEAM AT THE DEPARTMENT. WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT THIS TEAM POSESSESS THE SKILLS NECESSARY FOR ASSISTING THE GOVERNMENT TO MODERNIZE OUR AVIATION SECTOR, AND TO ACHIEVE THE MANY GOALS WHICH MUST BE ATTAINED IN A POST 9/11 WORLD.

IN ADDITION TO THE APPOINTMENT OF THE AVIATION COUNCIL, WE ALSO SOUGHT TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW BY APPOINTING AN AVIATION SECURITY MANAGER. THIS INDIVIDUAL, WHO IS REQUIRED BY LAW TO REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE MINISTER, IS MANDATED TO ENSURE THAT ALL REQUIREMENTS ENSHRINED IN OUR LAWS AND REGULATIONS  ARE IMPLEMENTED, AND I AM PLEASED TO SAY THAT WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY IN THIS REGARD.

MR. SPEAKER,

WHILE THE APPOINTMENTS OF THE AVIATION SECURITY COUNCIL AND AVIATION SECURITY MANAGER HAVE BEEN CRITICAL TO OUR EFFORTS IN THE SECURITY AREA, AN EQUALLY BASIC TENENT OF OUR WORK IS THE AMENDMENT OF THE RELEVANT AVIATION LEGISLATION, TO REFLECT POST 9/11 MANDATES INSTITUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANIZATION (ICAO).

ACCORDINGLY, WE WILL SEEK TO CONTINUE THE BAHAMAS’ ASSOCIATION WITH THE INTERNATIONALLY RESPECTED AVIATION GROUP TO ASSIST US, IN
CONJUNCTION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE, TO FACILITATE THE NECESSARY UPDATES.

MR. SPEAKER,

YOU WILL BE AWARE THAT MY MINISTRY’S ROLE AS IT RELATES TO THE LYNDEN PINDLING INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IS STRICTLY REGULATORY, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE PROVISION OF AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES.  THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN THE FAMILY ISLANDS, WHERE THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION (CAD) SERVES AS OPERATOR OF GOVERNMENT AIRPORTS, IN ADDITION TO BEING THE REGULATOR OF 65 AERODROMES AND OPERATOR OF 28.
.
THIS IS AN AWESOME AND DAUNTING TASK, WHICH CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT THE INPUT OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITIES.  ACCORDINGLY, EXISTING LEGISLATION PROVIDES FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT IN OUR FAMILY ISLAND OF AVIATION SECURITY COMMITTEES.  LIKE THE AVIATION SECURITY COUNCIL AND SECURITY MANAGER, THESE
APPOINTMENTS WERE NOT MADE BY THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION.

HOWEVER, I CAN HAPPILY REPORT THAT I HAVE JUST RETURNED, ALONG WITH A TEAM FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION AND THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM, FROM AN EXTENSIVE TOUR OF A NUMBER OF FAMILY ISLAND PORTS OF ENTRY, OUR MAJOR PURPOSE BEING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AVIATION SECURITY COMMITTEES AT AIRPORTS IN NEW BIGHT, CAT ISLAND; MOSS TOWN, EXUMA; MARSH HARBOUR AND TREASURE CAY ABACO; AS WELL AS IN NORTH ELEUTHERA, SAN SALVADOR, BIMINI, FRESH CREEK ANDROS; AND IN FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA.

OUR MISSION IS NOT YET COMPLETED MR. SPEAKER, AS VERY SOON WE WILL APPOINT COMMITTEES IN ROCK SOUND, GOVERNOR’S HARBOUR, ELEUTHERA; AND SOUTH ANDROS.  INDEED, SIR, WE WILL TRAVEL TO ALL OF THE ISLANDS THAT FACILITATE INTERNATIONAL DIRECT TRAFFIC WITH RESPECT TO THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE.

THESE ENTITIES ARE ESSENTIAL MR. SPEAKER.  THEY ARE BY NO MEANS ARMCHAIR COMMITTEES, AS THEY WILL CONSTITUTE THE EYES AND EARS OF THE AVIATION SECURITY COUNCIL.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY MIRROR THE SECURITY COUNCIL, IN THAT THE  MEMBERS ALSO COMPRISE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES, I.E.
THE POLICE, CUSTOMS AND IMMIGRATION, AS WELL AS CIVIL AVIATION AND THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM.

THESE COMMITTEES WILL BE FUNDAMENTALLY LOCAL, AS THE ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE RELEVANT DISTRICT WILL SERVE AS THE CHAIRPERSON, AND THE CHIEF COUNSELLOR WILL ALSO BE A MEMBER. THE COMMITTEES HAVE ALSO BEEN ENCOURAGED TO CO-OPT, ON AN AS NEEDED BASIS, ALL OF THE INDIVIDUALS AND EXPERTISE NEEDED FROM THE COMMUNITIES THEY SERVE, TO PERMIT THEM TO FUNCTION EFFECTIVELY.
IN ADDITION TO ESTABLISHING THE COMMITTEES, WE ALSO PRESENTED THEM WITH FIRST EVER AIRPORT SECURITY PLANS, AND EMERGENCY CONTINGENCY PLANS, DOCUMENTS WHICH ARE LIKEWISE REQUIRED BY OUR AVIATION LAWS, AND ARE ESSENTIAL FOR ADDRESSING THE PARTICULAR, SINGULAR NEEDS OF THE RESPECTIVE AIRPORTS.

MR. SPEAKER,

IT IS OFTEN SAID THAT THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS.  THIS IS CERTAINLY THE CASE AS IT RELATES TO STAFFING WITHIN THE
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION.  SIMPLY PUT, THE DEPARTMENT CANNOT BE EFFECTIVE IN REALIZING ITS GOALS, UNLESS STAFF FEEL THAT THEIR BASIC NEEDS ARE TAKEN CARE OF, AND THAT THEY HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN SHAPING THOSE GOALS.  WE REALIZE THAT THE STAFF IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION ARE CRITICAL TO THAT ORGANIZATION’S SUCCESS.

MR. SPEAKER,

IT PAINS ME TO ADVISE YOU THAT THIS GOVERNMENT FOUND UPON TAKING OFFICE THAT MANY OF THE BASIC NEEDS OF THE FINE STAFF IN THE DEPARTMENT HAD SIMPLY NOT BEEN MET.

HAPPILY, I AM HERE TO SAY THAT  THESE MATTERS WILL BE ADDRESSED IN THE NEW BUDGETARY PERIOD BY THIS CARING FNM GOVERNMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, THIS GOVERNMERNT  COMMITTS MR. SPEAKER, TO REGULARIZING  THE SALARIES OF THOSE LONG SUFFERING AIRWAYS FACILITY OFFICERS, FAMILY ISLAND SECURITY OFFICERS, AND SENIOR MANAGERS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT.

IT IS INDEED UNFORTUNATE THAT PERSONS HAVE NOT YET BEEN REGULARIZED SINCE THEY WERE HIRED BY THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION SEVERAL YEARS AGO, BUT WE ARE ASSURED THAT THE MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SERVICE IS ACCORDING THIS MATTER THE VERY HIGHEST PRIORITY.

ADDITONALLY, WE ALSO PLEDGE TO SHORTLY ENTER INTO NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS UNION, WITH A VIEW TO ALSO CONCLUDING A NEW INDUSTRIAL AGREEMENT WITH THIS VITAL GROUP OF PERSONS.   I AM HAPPY TO REPORT MR. SPEAKER, THAT THIS GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZES THE IMPORTANT ROLES ALL OF THESE PERSONS PERFORM, AND WE VALUE THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS.

MR. SPEAKER,

SOME $9,155,494 HAS BEEN ALLOCATED FOR PERSONAL EMULOMENTS, AN INCREASE OF $624,493 COMPARED TO LAST YEAR’S BUDGET.
MR. SPEAKER,

MY GOVERNMENT HAS EARMARKED $4 MILLION THIS PERIOD FOR CONTINUING WORKS AT MARSH HARBOUR INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.  A NEW TERMINAL, CONTROL TOWER AND AIRSIDE IMPROVEMENTS WILL BE CARRIED OUT DURING THIS FISCAL PERIOD.

WITH RESPECT TO AIRSIDE IMPROVEMENTS, THESE INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO SURVEYS, LAYOUT, SITE CLEARING, EXCAVATION AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW RUNWAY THAT WILL BE 6100 FEET BY 150 FEET.  ALSO NEW TAXIWAYS WHICH WILL TIE INTO THE EXISTING RUNWAY WILL BE REHABILITIATED AND BECOME THE NEW PARALLEL TAXIWAY.

MR. SPEAKER,

THE AIRCRAFT PARKING APRON WILL ALSO BE REHABILITATED AND THERE WILL BE ASSOCIATED WATER DRAINING FOR THE ENTIRE FACILITY.

I AM HAPPY TO REPORT THAT THE AIRSIDE IMPROVEMENTS ARE APPROXIMATELY 50 PER CENT COMPLETED. THE BASE AND FINAL GRADING OF THE NEW RUNWAY IS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF THIS MONTH AND THEN THE ASPHALT PAVING WILL COMMENCE. APPROXIMATELY $3.8 MILLION HAS BEEN SPENT ON THIS PROJECT TODATE.

MR. SPEAKER,

SINCE MY VIST TO THE ICAO, MEXICO CITY, MEXICO, THE BAHAMAS HAS BEEN APPOINTED TO SIT ON (CAR/SAM) THE CARIBBEAN SOUTH AMERICAN REGIONAL PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION GROUP (GREECAS).  THIS GROUP DEALS WITH ASSESSMENT OF DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL AIR NAVIGATION AND SECURITY INFRASTRUCTURE; STUDYING METHODOLOGIES FOR SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS IMPLEMENTATION FOR AIRPORT OPERATORS AND AVIATION STAKEHOLDERS, SAFETY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (SMS) ARE DESIGNED TO RECOGNIZE AND MITIGATE RISK.

MR. SPEAKER,

IT IS ALSO IMPORTANT THAT I BRING TO THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE’S ATTENTION THAT TWO OF OUR FLIGHT STANDARDS INSPECTORS HAVE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED THE ICAO EXAMS TO QUALIFY THEM AS INTERNATIONAL AUDIT INSPECTORS.  IT IS SIGNIFICANT THAT THEY ARE THE FIRST BAHAMIANS TO QUALIFY FOR THAT HONOR.

MET DEPARTMENT

MR. SPEAKER,

I NOW WISH TO COMMENT ON THE DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY’S ALLOCATION OF $3,475,893 IN THE CURRENT BUDGET.

I WISH TO REPORT MR. SPEAKER, THAT AUTOMATIC WEATHER STATIONS COSTING MORE THAN $100,000 HAVE NOW BEEN INSTALLED IN EACH OF THE MAJOR FAMILY ISLANDS – TO MEET THE JUNE FIRST 2008 HURRICANE SEASON DEADLINE.

THESE WEATHER STATIONS WILL ALSO ASSIST THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND MARINE RESOURCES COUPON INSURANCE SCHEME. THIS IS A SCHEME IN WHICH AGRICULTURAL AND MARINE INTERESTS ARE COMPENSATED FOR WEATHER-RELATED LOSSES.

ADDITIONALLY MR. SPEAKER, THE DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY WILL PURCHASE FIVE AVIATION-TYPE AUTOMATIC WEATHER OBSERVING STATIONS, AT A COST OF $40,000.00 EACH. THESE STATIONS WILL BE INSTALLED AT SELECTED AIRPORTS IN OUR FAMILY OF ISLANDS. THESE AUTOMATIC WEATHER OBSERVING STATIONS WILL BE EQUIPPED TO GIVE VOICE BROADCASTS OF TAKEOFF CONDITIONS, LANDING CONDITIONS, AND IN-FLIGHT CONDITIONS DIRECTLY TO AIRCRAFT.

MR. SPEAKER,

IN OUR EFFORTS TO ENSURE THAT ALL OF THE MAJOR ISLANDS OF THE BAHAMAS ARE ADEQUATELY WARNED OF THREATENING HURRICANES, TROPICAL STORMS AND OTHER SEVERE WEATHER EVENTS, THE DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY WILL COMPLETE ITS INSTALLATION OF EMERGENCY MANAGERS WEATHER INFORMATION NETWORK STATIONS – CALLED EMWIN STATIONS. (PRONOUNCED ‘M-WIN’ STATIONS)

EMWIN STATIONS HAVE ALREADY BEEN INSTALLED IN: NEW PROVIDENCE AT THE FORECAST OFFICE, LYNDEN PINDLING INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AND AT NATIONAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (NEMA) OFFICES IN THE CHURCH HILL BUILDING; ALSO IN NICHOLS TOWN, ANDROS; THE BIGHT, CAT ISLAND; CLARENCE TOWN, LONG ISLAND; ABRAHAM’S BAY, MAYAGUANA.
MR. SPEAKER,

WHILE MUCH HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE, PARTICULARLY ON LOW LYING SMALL DEVELOPING STATES, WE ARE IN FACT DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

BEGINNING JULY OF THIS YEAR MR. SPEAKER, THE STAFF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY, UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF EXPERTS FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF METEOROLOGY, CUBA, WILL APPLY THE PROVIDING CLIMATES FOR IMPACT STUDIED MODEL (CALLED THE PRECIS MODEL), TO THE ENTIRE BAHAMAS. OUTPUTS FROM THE MODEL RUNS WILL BE USED TO PRODUCE IMPACT, VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION STUDIES; TO ASSIST IN THE PREPARATION OF FURTHER NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE BAHAMAS. THIS AND OTHER TRAINING HAS BEEN BUDGETED AT $83,000.00.

BY THE END OF JULY 2008, INSTALLATIONS SHOULD BE COMPLETED IN GRAND BAHAMA, EXUMA (TO ALSO SERVE RAGGED ISLAND); NORTH AND SOUTH ELEUTHERA, ACKLINS AND CROOKED ISLANDS, BIMINI AND SAN SALVADOR. THE PROJECTED COST TO COMPLETE THESE INSTALLATIONS IS $42,000.00.

MR. SPEAKER,

THE DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY WILL SEEK TO HOST THE 31ST HURRICANE COMMITTEE MEETING AND THE 15TH QUADRENNIAL MEETING OF REGIONAL ASSOCIATION IV OF THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION IN MARCH/APRIL OF 2009.

THESE TWO HIGH POWERED MEETINGS WILL BRING THE TOP METEOROLOGISTS, WEATHER FORECASTERS, TROPICAL CYCLONE EXPERTS AND DIRECTORS OF METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES FROM NORTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN TO THE BAHAMAS; TO DISCUSS THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN METEOROLOGY AND HURRICANE PREDICTIONS.

THE HOSTING OF THESE MEETINGS WILL MOST DEFINITELY BRING WORLD-WIDE ATTENTION TO THE BAHAMAS AND THE OPPORTUNITY FOR THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY TO FURTHER DEVELOP THROUGH THE EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCE, SCHOLARSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY WITH THESE EXPERTS AND DECISION MAKERS. THE WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION WILL PARTNER WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS TO HOST THESE MEETINGS. BUDGETARY PROVISION OF $120,000.00 HAS BEEN ALLOCATED.

GAMING BOARD

MR. SPEAKER,

I NOW MOVE TO THE GAMING BOARD.

GAMING AS AN INDUSTRY IS A SIGNIFICANT COMPONENT OF THE ECONOMY.  THIS IS EVIDENT NOT ONLY BY THE NUMBER OF BAHAMIANS EMPLOYED IN GAMING, BUT ALSO IN THE ANNUAL TAX REVENUE GENERATED.  THE LATEST AVAILABLE FIGURES REVEAL THAT GAMING HAS CONTRIBUTED $15,647,127.11 IN BASIC GAMING TAXES BETWEEN MARCH 2007 AND FEBRUARY 2008 AND EMPLOYS OVER 2,300 BAHAMIANS.

A BREAKDOWN OF THE CASINO GROSS REVENUE AND GOVERNMENT TAX REVENUE FIGURES SHOW THAT OVER THE TIME PERIOD INDICATED GAMING TAXES COLLECTED FOR EACH CASINO ARE AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATLANTIS PARADISE CASINO – $12,519,380.77

THE CRYSTAL PALACE CASINO HAD $2,150,000.00 IN PAYMENTS DEFERRED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PREVIOUS AGREEMENT WITH THE GOVERNMENT.

THE ISLE OF CAPRI PAID $845,696.18

THE CASINO AT EMERALD BAY PAID $132,050.16

MR. SPEAKER,

I ALSO WISH TO ADVISE THAT DRAFT LEGISLATION TO AMEND THE LOTTERIES AND GAMING ACT CHAPTER 387 ARE UNDER CONSIDERATION BY MY MINISTRY TO IMPLEMENT AN INCREASE IN FINES AS RECOMMENDED BY THE CARIBBEAN FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE (CFATF) REPORT ON GAMING IN THE BAHAMAS.
THE FATF MANDATE IS WITH RESPECT TO ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING INITIATIVES AND COMBATING THE FINANCING OF TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN THE REGION.

VISITOR SAFETY

MR. SPEAKER,

UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF VISITOR SAFETY AND SECURITY AND BEING ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY CONTROL THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT IS CRITICAL TO THE BAHAMAS’ CONTINUED SUCCESS AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S PREMIER TOURISM DESTINATIONS.
THE RECENT SHOOTING OF A JOHN CASPER, A NEW JERSEY POLICE OFFICER OF BERGENFIELD, NEW JERSEY WHO WAS WOUNDED BY GUNSHOT WHILE ON VACATION IN NASSAU AT APPROXIMATELY 9:55 P.M. WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008 GIVES US PAUSE TO CONSIDER BOTH THE POTENTIAL HARMFUL IMPACT OF VIOLENT CRIME ON TOURISM AND THE IMPORTANCE OF EVERYONE TAKING THE RIGHTS STEPS, ONCE AN INCIDENT HAS OCCURRED, TO PREVENT FURTHER LOSS AND MITIGATE THE POTENTIAL IMPACT.

I WISH TO PUBLICLY APPLAUD THE SWIFT ACTION OF THE BAHAMIAN POLICE OFFICER WHO CAME TO HIS AID AND OTHERS WHO, I UNDERSTAND, HELPED WITHOUT HESITATION, A FALLEN VISITOR AND PERHAPS SAVE HIS LIFE. I ALSO WISH TO COMMEND THE ROYAL BAHAMA POLICE FORCE FOR THEIR PROFESSIONAL HANDLING OF THE CASE WHICH RESULTED IN THE EARLY APPREHENSION OF SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS ALLEGEDLY RESPONSIBLE.

IT WOULD BE REMISS OF ME MR. SPEAKER, IF I WERE TO OMIT THE EFFORTS OF THE VISITOR AND SAFETY UNIT WITHIN MY MINISTRY FOR THE ROLE THEY PLAYED ENSURING PROPER COMMUNICATION AND THE COMFORT OF THE VISITOR, DURING HIS HOSPITALIZATION PERIOD THAT FOLLOWED.

MR. SPEAKER,

AT THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM & AVIATION WE ARE WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS TO PUT IN PLACE PREVENTATIVE SYSTEMS PARTICULARLY IN HIGH VISITOR TRAFFIC AREAS.

THE SECURITY AND SAFETY DEPARTMENT AT THE MINISTRY IS CURRENTLY PARTNERING WITH THE AMOURY COMPANY ON A CLOSED CIRCUIT TELEVISION (CCTV) PILOT PROJECT ON WOODES ROGERS WHARF IN WHICH THE TOURISM POLICE UNIT ALSO PLAYS A PIVOTAL ROLE.  THE PROJECT IS ABOUT 95 PER CENT COMPLETED AND WILL BE HANDED OVER TO THE TOURISM POLICE UNIT TO BE MANNED 24 HOURS UPON COMPLETION.

THIS IS IN ADDITION TO THE TWO POLICE SATELLITE BOOTHS ERECTED AT EACH END OF THE WHARF IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MINISTRY, THE NASSAU TOURISM DEVELOPMENT BOARD (NTDB), THE HILTON HOTEL AND MR. EDWARD CHEMALY, WHICH ARE CURRENTLY BEING MANNED BY THE TOURISM POLICE UNIT.

MR. SPEAKER,

JUST AS OUR GREAT NEIGHBOUR TO THE NORTH IS POISED ON THE CUSP OF AN HISTORIC PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, THE BAHAMAS TODAY IS ALSO AT THE BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA WHICH COULD WELL BE MOMENTOUS.

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN RECENT HISTORY WE IN THIS PLACE, UNDER A FREE NATIONAL MOVEMENT ADMINISTRATION, ARE SIGNALING CHANGES THAT HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO TRANSFORM OUR PEOPLE, OUR ECONOMY AND OUR LAND.

I BELIEVE WE ARE WITNESSING A NEW DAY WHERE THE ECONOMIC PLAYING FIELD IS BEGINNING TO BE LEVELED SO THAT ORDINARY BAHAMIANS IN ANDROS, CAT ISLAND, LONG ISLAND, ACKLINS, MAYAGUANA, INAGUA, SAN SALVADOR, GRAND BAHAMA, NEW PROVIDENCE, AND ABACO WILL HAVE AN EQUAL CHANCE TO ACCESS NEEDED SOCIAL PROGRAMS, OBTAIN LIBERATING TAX CONCESSIONS, FIGHT RISING COSTS AND SUCCEED.
WE HAVE BEGUN A PROCESS OF ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT THAT CAN LEAD TO SIGNIFICANT SOCIAL CHANGE BY ENABLING OUR PEOPLE AND GIVING THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASSUME THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE IN OUR SOCIETY.

IN SHORT MR. SPEAKER, THIS BUDGET REPRESENTS A NEW SENSE OF HOPE AND A SENSE OF “TRUST” RESTORED.

I THANK YOU.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Gamble Heights is still wating for Branville McCartnety to  do some good there.  It was his forgotten community.

  2. Mr. Branville McCartney is right about one thing.  He was ‘show-boating”.  Someone needs to take a close look at those progams and who really supports them.   If thirty people attend one of these events you are lucky, but he make sure to publish every thing and take a pictures of everything  and broadcast to the entire Bahamas that he is such a good MP so everyone can fall for his ‘hype’.  Was he doing some good?   The answer is yes, but it was extremely exaggaerated.   He professed to more than a few persons that his ambition was to become Prime Minister and his ego has brought him to the point where he thought he was ready to challenge the Honourable Minister.   In his last press release he talked kindly of the PLP, which in it self is not a bad idea, but for those who know him, we  know that he really doesnt want to be challenged in Bamboo Town or there is some other plans to which I have no doubt we will hear about.   I am just waiting!!!

  3. Mr. Branville McCartney is right about one thing.  He was ‘show-boating”.  Someone needs to take a close look at those progams and who really supports them.   If thirty people attend one of these events you are lucky, but he make sure to publish every thing and take a pictures of everything  broadcast to the entire Bahamas that he is such a good MP so everyone can fall for his ‘hype’.  Was he doing some good?  but it was extremely exaggaerated.   He professed to more than a few persons that his ambition was to become Prime Minister and his ego has brought him to the point where he thought he was ready to challenge the Honourable Minister.   In his last press release he talked kindly of the PLP, which in it self is not a bad idea, but for those who know him, we  know that he really doesnt want to be challenged in Bamboo Town or there is some other plans to which I have no doubt we will hear about.   I am just waiting!!!

  4. I’m a PLP but i think your doing a great job. Unfortunately i can not say the same for your other mate.

    Have a bless day.

Comments are closed.