Are they ready to Govern?
Nassau, Bahamas — Yesterday was Parliament and look what we caught on the BP camera – MP for Long Island Loretta Butler-Turner and FNM Deputy Leader and MP for East End Grand Bahama , Peter Turnquest, falling fast asleep on the job. While Parliament debated serious anti-terrorism legislation and were updated on Baha Mar – this was the response from the other side. JOKERS 2.0!!!!!
This week in Parliament
Below is a summary of the House proceedings on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 during the segment “Statement by Ministers” during the House agenda. This commentary is distributed for public information and edification.
In the wake of the Delaware bankruptcy court ruling by Judge Kevin Carey, dismissing the bankruptcy petition by fourteen Bahamian incorporated companies that make up Baha Mar, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie responded a second time in as many days, this time updating House members on the government’s policy position regarding the way forward for the stalled $3.5 billion resort on Cable Beach.
He welcomed the news on behalf of the government and in referencing his July 16 National Address on Baha Mar, the Prime Minister pointed out his government’s intent to bring resolution to Baha Mar within the legal framework of an independent Provisional Liquidator under the supervision and direction of the Bahamas Supreme Court. This was necessary, argued the Prime Minister, to facilitate the completion and opening of the resort and to protect the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“The government is pleased that the bankruptcy court in Delaware shares the government’s view that the future of the Baha Mar resort should be determined not in or by a court in Delaware, but rather here in The Bahamas by our own Supreme Court, especially now that the court here has appointed a Provisional Liquidator” said Mr. Christie.
The Prime Minister again stated the “principal objective” and “highest national priority” of his government which is the early completion and opening of the resort, an objective the Delaware court ruling advances “considerably.”
“The Government’s principal objective throughout this process has been, and continues to be, the completion of the Baha Mar Resort such that it can open for business with a full complement of Bahamian workers as soon as humanly possible. This is of vital importance to the continued growth of our national economy. My government therefore continues to regard the early completion and opening of the Baha Mar resort as a matter of the highest national priority.”
The Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez communicated to the House on the combined Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) and Caribbean Wellness Week (CWW) and delivered an update on the government’s current preparatory work for the introduction of National Health Insurance (NHI) in January 2016.
Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) is a product of CARICOM’s Port of Spain Declaration in 2007 and has been observed regionally on the second Saturday of September since 2008. It is designed to encourage persons to make healthy lifestyle choices. The US/PAHO influenced Caribbean Wellness Week (CWW) immediately follows CWD and was first observed in 2011. With a combined theme of LOVE THAT BODY/ CREATE A LEGACY OF HEALTH, a number of activities have been planned to promote and celebrate good health as follows, with specific focus on the health of the aged:
Health message to be shared with churches to be put in church bulletins
Health symposium for older persons
Interaction between the old and young persons in a day entertainment.
A grand health and wellness explosion with a health-themed exposition at Arawak Cay
A male health expo is planned to commemorate prostate month (September)
Extension of hours at poly clinics in preparation for NHI is as follows:
Agape Health Clinic – hours extended to 8pm
Elizabeth Estates Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight as at the 5th October
Fleming Street Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight at the 28th September
South Beach Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight as at the 28th September
Flamingo Gardens Health Clinic – open from 8am to midnight at the 28th September
Eight Mile Rock Clinic – hours extended to 9PM
Rand Memorial General Hospital Practice Clinic – hours allocated from 4pm to 11pm
This change in operating hours is designed to reduce the number non emergency visits to the Accident and Emergency Rooms at both the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and the Rand Memorial Hospital (RMH) in Grand Bahama.
Minister Gomez also advised the House of his ministry’s intent to officially open two new health clinics in September – one in Adelaide and the other in Fox Hill.
State Minister for Legal Affairs the Hon. Damian Gomez led the second reading and committal of the Antiterrorism Amendment Bill 2015 pursuant to chapter 107 of the Statute Laws of The Bahamas. This bill is intended to further aid in the combating, prevention and suppression of the financing of terrorism. Its passage into law effectively completes the fulfillment of the Bahamas’ international obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 and 1373 on terrorism and the anti money laundering and anti-terrorism initiatives of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
As the Act is currently drafted, for an entity to be designated as a listed entity under the act, some key conditions under section four of the act must be satisfied as follow:
Firstly, the suspected entity must be included on a list of entities designated as a terrorist entity by the United Nations Security Council. Secondly, the Attorney General must have reasonable grounds to believe that the entity in question has knowingly committed or participated in the commission of a nefarious offence.
Clause ‘C’ of the bill involves the deletion of the word ‘and’ and substituted with the word ‘or.’ With this significant amendment, an entity can be designated a terrorist entity by virtue of it being name by the United Nations list of terrorism entities or on the sole grounds of a “reasonable assessment” by the Attorney General of a UN member state.
If either condition is met, a member state is legally empowered under its local and international laws to take actions against the named entity such as the freezing of all bank accounts of the said entity.
The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda and the Cayman Islands have all implemented this act in similar fashion said the State Minister.
The Bill was unanimously passed in Parliament on Wednesday, 16th September 2015.