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Comment of the week

WHATEVER WILL THE PLP DO?

06/28/15 1:58 PM

One day I’ll duck too slow,

and at Westminster,

they’ll sing out “long live

the king” for someone else.

–Henry of Anjou
In the film the Lion In Winter (1968)

image001In addressing the Fox Hill Branch of the PLP once, Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill explained the reason that he wanted to invite his colleagues to address the branch at its monthly meetings. Melanie Griffin, Glenys Hanna Martin, Jerome Fitzgerald, Obie Wilchcombe, Ken Dorsett, Michael Halkitis, Keith Bell and Dr. Perry Gomez are all amongst those who have been invited to speak and who have spoken.

Mr. Mitchell told the branch that whether we (the PLP) have a succession plan for leadership or not, there is going to be a change of leaders one day.  Whether it is being done formally or not, the people of the party are always looking around to see who will be the next leaders of the party and who will be fit and proper persons.  Mr. Mitchell said that his effort to assist in the process was to invite the PLP Parliamentarians to the branch so that they could get to meet the people they will one day have to lead and for the people who will be led to get to know them. 

On Monday 22nd June The Nassau Guardian led with a story and a picture over the fold with Obie Wilchombe, the Minister of Tourism declaring they said that he was ready to lead. Some days later the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis said he too was ready to lead.  The story on Mr. Wilchcombe seems in retrospect part of the narrative of the Nassau Guardian to push an agenda which is designed to suggest the following: the PLP is in disarray, its leadership is weak, someone must challenge Mr. Christie, and there is a need for a change of leadership.  A similar story is being pushed by The Tribune (see story on Tameka Timage002hompson below).

On one level, you might accept what the Nassau Guardian has to say on the subject because much of it in the absence of context is fair comment.  The problem is they are not honest brokers. They would be honest brokers if they were really interested in good governance. They are not.  They are simply interested in getting the PLP out of power and they set up situations every week to pretend they are honest brokers but at every turn they seek to damage and embarrass the PLP. There is no evidence to suggest that the narrative they push about the PLP or Mr. Christie is correct and true.

The next day after the story about Mr. Wilchcombe, they went to the most Senior PLP backbencher Leslie Miller who said that the Mr. Wilchcombe had no chance of becoming Prime Minister.  Mr. Miller openly supports Mr. Davis to succeed Mr. Christie and later told the press that Mr. Christie needs to make up his mind what he is going to do.

With regard to who will or will not be Prime Minister, no one can say never to anyone.  But it made a good headline.  Mr. Miller was quoted as saying: “I want to live forever too but that won’t happen”. The setup of the stories was designed to embarrass and divide. That has been the overall strategy of the Nassau Guardian.

When the Anglican Bishop Michal Eldon sought to get Archdeacon William Thompson elected to the office of Bishop, everyone thought it was shoo-in but the priests would have none of it and voted against him.  When it came time to choose a Bishop after Drexel Gomez, no one could have seen Laish Boyd as his successor but it happened.  Higher up who could have predicted Barak Obama as President of the United States. Point is.  You never know.  You never say never.

Over on its op ed page in the Nassau Guardian, the Hubert Ingraham agent that writes under the name Front Porch was pouring scorn on Perry Christie, the Prime Minister, saying that his “Bridge To The Future” on which he campaigned in the last leadership race had collapsed.  That is a shocking prevarication.  In a compelling argument put last week by Elcott Coleby, 93 per cent of those recruited in the last election by Mr. Christie are still his allies.  Seven percent, Andre Rollins and Greg Moss have left.  Front Porch claims that this represents a collapse. You go figure. Never let the truth interfere with a good story.

No doubt tomorrow when Candia Dames gets to have her say she will weigh-in on the leadership of the PLP and tell the country how the PLP is in trouble.

Life being what it is, is not neat.  This is not some Hollywood movie.  People would ideally want a situation like that of Nelson Mandela who said that he came for one term then left as he promised.  Or the model of Julius Nyerere, the former President of Tanzania, who demitted office after 25 years, went to his farm and become the elder statesman.  Or Lee Kwan Yu, the late former Prime Minister of Singapore, who stayed on as senior minister in the Cabinet and then left office and sat in the background as an elder statesman.  Or closer to home P J Patterson of Jamaica who announced in his third year in office  in his fourth term that he was leaving and superintended the process of the election of his successor, then left Parliament.  In Britain, Tony Blair left office and allowed Gordon Brown to have a chance as PM then to fight the general election. Further back, there is Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, who provided a different example.  When faced with a revolt, she called an internal election; she won but won with such a slim majority, she knew the game was up and decided to leave.  

While there are examples from history and around the world, each case is different and this is The Bahamas with a Bahamian Prime Minister who is the unchallenged leader of the party and who has not indicated that he is leaving.  His own party members, and particularly those who are his ministers who have said they want his job, have indicated that he can stay as long as he wants to stay.  In fact, both Mr. Wilchombe and Mr. Davis pointedly told the press the next day after the headlines that they would not challenge the incumbent for the leadership.

Fast mouth Frank Watson, the former Deputy Prime Minister under the FNM, got into the PLP’s business by talking to The Tribune on Friday 26th June.  He thinks that Philip Davis is the man to beat for the race to succeed Mr. Christie. The article was superfluous and irrelevant save for one thing.

That one thing is for the critics of the PLP and those who want it to lose, to continue the narrative of dissolution, diffusion and confusion in the PLP.

One day whether any of us likes it or not, the bells will toll for the incumbent, and the bells will toll to ring in a new successor.  No one knows the day or the hour.  Politics is a fortuitous business. So the best that can be said at this time is that preparation and review will go on whether we like it or not. That is the point that Mr. Mitchell made to his branch members.  When the opportunity comes that will be the time to say: “I am ready”.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 27th June 2015 up to midnight: 529,906;
Number of hits for the month of June ending Saturday 27th June 2015 up to midnight: 1,778,176;
Number of hits for the month of June ending Saturday 27th June up to midnight: 12,130,300.
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Editorial

FELIX STUBBS ELECTED DISTRICT GOVERNOR

06/28/15 2:11 PM

Prime Minister Perry Christie was the guest speaker at the formal installation of the new leader for Rotary International District 7020, a service club for the Rotary year  1July  2015 – 30 June, 2016.  The district is  made up of 10 countries (16 islands).  According to an announcement his election as District Governor means that a Bahamian will be at the helm of District 7020 and this is something that The Bahamas can be proud of.  The installation as District Governor was a black-tie event at Bahmar on  27June, 2015.   The appointment  will engage him across the Caribbean in the projects of Rotary.  Congratulations to him and to Rotary in The Bahamas.  The photos are by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

 

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JEROME STAURT’S FUNERAL

06/28/15 2:02 PM

Stalwart Councilor Jerome Stuart was buried in the Catholic Cemetery at North Bimini on Saturday 27th June following a service at the Holy Name Church.  Monsignor Simeon Roberts presided.  The service was attended by Obie Wilchcombe MP for Bimini and Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill.  The photos are by Vandyke Hepburn of the Bahamas Information Services.

image003

Fred Mitchell MP views the remains

image004

 

Fred Mitchell MP, George Weech former Bimini MP, Jack Thompson, Special Government Representative in Bimini and Administrator Oscar  Munroe from Local Government, Senior Tourism Office Prescott Young.

image005

Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe viewing the remains

image006

 

Fred Mitchell MP delivers a tribute to Jerome Stuart as his wife and family look on.  MP Obie Wilchombe is in the front row.

image007

 

The Stuart family delivers a tribute in song.

TOP

BRADLEY ROBERTS CALLS GUARDIAN CLUELESS

06/28/15 1:59 PM

 

The following statement was read to PLP Councilors on Thursday 25th June:

 

image003Councilors since we last met two of our MP’s have resigned from the Party, MP for Marco City Greg Moss and MP for Fort Charlotte Dr. Andre Rollins. I issued statements on behalf of the Party and so did the Chairs of the respective Branches. We wish them well and shall move on.

 

I am obliged to strongly encourage a stronger review on the back ground of all future prospective candidates. Some PLP came desponded and the opposition and our detractors tried to make a field day of their departure. It is worthy of note that both former PLP MP brought little or no support and took no evident support with them.

 

I remind all tonight that we do not live in a perfect world. I remind persons that Jesus Christ selected 12 disciples and one turned out to be a Judas and then there was Thomas the doubter.

 

Read letter from Fort Charlotte PLP Branch.

 

I must remind all of the following:   

 

Bran McCartney was a former Cabinet Minister left the FNM

So did former Cabinet Minister Kenneth Russell

Both were Cabinet Minister not backbenches.

Were there action considered an implosion? Hell No!!

Worthy of note:  both Greg Moss and Andre Rollins agreed that the FNM is not the answer.

 

The Guardian Editor is clueless and living in a fantasy FNM world. 

 

Proliferation of guns in our Bahama land

I have a very serious intervention to night on the subject of CRIME.

I can and do remember when it was rare to see a Policeman carry a gun but today virtually every Police Offer carry a weapon. This past Sunday I drove to Yellow Elder and pick up some baked Crab Backs that were sent from South Andros and got caught up in a Police dragnet of the eastern section of Yellow Elder Gardens and was stuck in traffic for almost 45 minutes. I saw many Police Officers with machine guns and this concerned me greatly. I refused to accept that this is the kind of Bahamas that was left to out care by our forefathers.  So I decided to look up an e-mail I sent in 2013 on the vexing problem of the proliferation of guns.

 Dear Colleagues; I asked then are we swinging against the tide on the very vexing and disturbing problem of the Proliferation of Guns in the Bahamas when one considers the disclosure below. I personally was not aware of the magnitude and would venture a guess that neither does the general public. Clearly there is a compelling need to educate the public. A bold and demonstrable message must be sent to those who trade and use illegal guns. I again wish to propose and seek this Council endorsement:

  A minimum of 10-15 years in jail, with the loss of 50 to 75% of all personal assets on conviction of the possession of an illegal firearm.

  25 years to life in jail for conviction of high powered machine weapons and the loss of 90% of all personal assets. 
More than 500 million military style hand-held weapons exist now- enough to arm every 12th human on earth - and millions more are produced each year, reports a new World watch study released recently. Violence fed by the uncontrolled spread of these weapons is further destabilizing societies already ravaged by war, poverty, and environmental degradation.

 I was shocked to learn that persons with government jobs are involved in the smuggling of guns into our country. So it’s not just the unemployed but the employed as well. 
I visited Potters Cay dock this morning to collect some seafood send from Acklins. An elderly Mail Boat attendant approached me an expressed serious concern how guns are been smuggled into the Bahamas. In confidence he told me that a major source could be the Boats transporting freight between Florida and the Bahamas. He shared with me an experienced he personally witnessed. He is deeply concerned over the murders in our land. 
I would recommend that undercover police officers be placed on all of the major cargo vessels for a three month period. Reward monies should be employed to garner intelligence on gun importers.  The   Proliferation of Guns in the Bahamas should be the No1 National Security issue. It is my view that if we fail to stem the proliferation of guns we can kiss our important Tourist industry goodbye.

We must with the support of all Bahamians of goodwill revisit crime fighting strategies and implement needed changes including serious consideration to a three strike policy. All Bahamians must join in the fight; we can’t sit on our laurels and expect the government alone to solve this vexing problem. I am bold to ask how many of us know of the existence of illegal guns but turn a blind eye??   We must not allow the criminals to further destroy our Country. 

 PS God forbid we should experience an incident similar to the Church killings of nine in North Carolina, clearly strong medicine is required to rid our land of the proliferation of illegal guns. I repeat a very strong message must be sent and repeated over and over that it can be seen and understood by all. 

 

TOP

THE WORK OF THE MISSIONS ABROAD

06/28/15 1:59 PM

NEW YORK – A delegation from the Grand Bahama Port Authority, in conjunction with the Ministry for Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, along with private sector partners, paid a courtesy call to the H.E. Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Hon. Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York, on Friday, June 19, 2015, at Bahama House, 231 East 46th Street New York, during which they had the opportunity to meet with the consulate staff, conduct a site visit of the facility and discuss matters relative to promotional and business opportunities for the island of Grand Bahama.The delegation traveled to New York to attend the International Franchise Expo (IFE), with the focus of exploring franchise opportunities and promoting Grand Bahama’s Free Trade Zone. The Ministry for Grand Bahama is mandated to work closely with the Grand Bahama Port Authority to promote the island of Grand Bahama and this Expo was one of many initiatives that both entities have jointly attended to achieve this mutual objective.

The IFE, which took place at the Javits Center in New York City over a three-day period, was the perfect forum to expose Freeport’s Free Trade Zone and tax-free incentives to the franchise business industry.

image004

Pictured standing from left to right: Mr. Brian and Rhonda Smith, Albuild Hardware; Mr. Derek Newbold, Senior Business Development Manager GBPA; the Hon. Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York; H.E. Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations and Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS); Mrs. Melissa Forbes, Project Officer, Ministry for Grand Bahama; and Mr. Edney Anderson, Proprietor, Pineyard Steel. Sitting from left to right: Ms. Eloise Stephen, Freeport Decorators; Ms. Ginger Moxey, President & CEO, Immerse Bahamas; Ms. Mercnth Ferguson, Executive Director, Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce; and Ms. Carolyn Young-Miller, Administrative Assistant, Consulate of The Bahamas.

 

WASHINGTON– H.E. Dr. Elliston Rahming, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of The Bahamas to the United Nations and the Organisation of American States (OAS), participated in the high-level launch of the World Drug Report 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, June 26, 2015.

image005The event, which coincided with the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, was organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN entity mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.

Published by the UNODC, the World Drug Report provides an annual global overview of the latest developments with respect to illicit drugs.  Included in the 2015 Report is a comprehensive picture of the world’s illicit drug markets, with a focus on the impact of illicit drugs on health and a review of the scientific evidence on approaches to drug use prevention while also addressing general principles for effective responses to treatment for drug use.  The thematic chapter of the report highlights how alternative development aims to break the vicious cycle of illicit crop cultivation by providing farmers with alternative livelihoods.

In his remarks at the event, Ambassador Rahming commended the UNODC for its presentation of the report and asserted that “the scourge of illicit drugs has had a deleterious impact on our Small Island States for decades.  It has sapped much of our human capital, created an illusionary economy, exacerbated the challenges of crime and violence and bloated our mental health budgets..”.

The Ambassador further cautioned that “If there is one observation that is worthy of note…it has to do with the tendency of reports such as this to lean most heavily towards matters of production and distribution and not consumption.”  He further added that “…we know that countries that make up 20 per cent of the world’s population consume 80 per cent of its narcotics.”

Turning to the matter of alternative development, Ambassador Rahming agreed that “alternative economic development holds promise because it is unreasonable to remove a viable source of income, though illicit, and replace it with nothing,” adding that “…whenever there is a vacuum, something or someone will fill it.”

Ambassador Rahming therefore recommended that alternative development be devised for producing, transit and consumption nations.   In conclusion, Ambassador Rahming challenged the meeting to “seize the moment” and assured that, in the fight against illicit drug trafficking, The Bahamas stood firmly with the UNODC.

A number of Member States represented at the meeting also expressed support for the report and the work of the UNODC.  It is expected that the report will serve as a useful tool and key information source in Member States’ preparations for the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) to be convened from 19-21 April 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

 

 

 

TOP

THE FOLLY AND FALSE LOGIC OF TAMEKA THOMPSON

06/28/15 1:59 PM
image007

Greg Moss MP

On Monday 22nd June, this is how Tameka Thompson, an Editor at The Tribune described the week before in the Progressive Liberal Party writing under the headline: Chaos In The PLP:

“For the past two weeks the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has been mired in internal chaos, with two of its Members of Parliament abandoning ship in near succession, citing the party’s poor leadership as a main catalyst.

“The PLP’s love affair with the old guard – those senior members who put party protocol and bureaucracy over fresh ideas and freedom of speech – is another point of contention that has frustrated newcomers to the organisation.”

First of all the only chaos in the PLP is in the vivid imagination of Tameka Thompson.  She must be dreaming.  There is no chaos in the PLP and there is no objective evidence that there is chaos in the PLP.  This is yet another dressed up attempt in honest broker clothes which is simply designed to sully the PLP because these folk oppose the PLP politically.  They don’t have an objective bone in their body.  This one has now joined the anti PLP brigade of Candia Dames and is off to the races with horse feces.

Secondly, on what basis is the argument put  that the senior members of the PLP  “put protocol and bureaucracy over fresh ideas and freedom of speech”.  Where is the objective evidence of that?  She is talking about the fact that Greg Moss MP and Andre Rollins MP both resigned from the PLP.  Let’s examine the facts.

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Andre Rollins MP

The writer Tameka Thompson is female yet she is defending as the authors of fresh ideas, two young men whose only fresh idea that we can think of was to  say they are opposing  equal rights for women and that they will vote against  the bills in the House, doing so under the spurious and false claim that it gives cover to same sex marriage.  They are not purveyors of fresh ideas at all but the same male chauvinist nonsense that came before now.  The reality is that it is the senior PLPs who have the fresh ideas.  How a female writer can write such utter bull is beyond us?

As for freedom of speech. Who was taking away the freedom of speech of these two men?  The Prime Minister Perry Christie who they despise and criticise, would not allow PLP partisans to throw Mr. Rollins out of the party or Mr. Moss.  Mr. Rollins was busy cussing the Prime Minister every week.  Nothing done to him.  He upped and resigned himself by his own hand claiming that something was done to him when the reality was he simply did not want to speak when it was his turn. Mr. Moss’ ego was not big enough to be in the PLP and he left.

Ms. Thompson used in aid and comfort of her arguments about Mr. Christie the words of two has been politicians.  One is Malcolm Adderley who scorched the earth and burnt his bridges as he was going out of the PLP’s door when he left.  Mr. Christie survived that and won the general election after that, so  what is her point exactly.  Obviously the Bahamian people did not accept what Mr. Adderley said.  Similarly, she used Kenyatta Gibson who lashed out in a personal way at Mr. Christie as well. That too failed and Mr. Gibson lost his seat.  Mr. Christie became Prime Minister again despite it.

No one has said the election was crooked or rigged.  It was a fair and free election with a transparent process which resulted in his being Prime Minister.

The article was simply embarrassing nonsense, filled with non-sequiturs, prejudice and ad hominem foolishness which cannot be sustained by objective evidence.   But then she writes as the successor to the  asshole ideas man, John Marquis so no one is surprised.

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GLOBAL UNITED FELLOWSHIP’S NEIL ELLIS AT WORK

06/28/15 1:59 PM

Bishop Neil Ellis is shown at a regional meeting in Jacksonville, Florida of his Global United Fellowship which was formed after he left the Full Gospel Fellowship.  The Second Annual gathering of the Fellowship is to be held on 5th July also in Jacksonville. Already  the level of persons registered to attend exceeds the thousands  who attended the first event which was held last year in Carolina. The Bishop was welcomed by the Mayor of Jacksonville.

 

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MITCHELL UPDATES ON IMMIGRATION MATTERS

06/28/15 1:59 PM

image011I am responding this morning to a number of events in connection with immigration in The Bahamas.

This is prompted by a report in this morning’s press quoting statements on immigration by the former Minister of State Zhivargo Laing. There was also a report on an immigration check at the Straw Market which took place yesterday.

I want to say that the statement by Mr. Laing is the second such statement by him within a week on the subject of immigration. This morning’s statement was a more general philosophical statement about the nature of migration and the value to the economy than the earlier statement. Both however require some response.

Mr. Laing was reported to have said the following in The Tribune two days ago 22nd June: “Unless there is a liberalization of the immigration policy… we can expect, without some significant foreign investment taking place, this stagnation in the Grand Bahama economy for a very long time.”

I am appending to this statement and an earlier statement that I made in response to comments made by the former head of the Chamber of Commerce Dionisio D’Aguilar who made similar comments with regard to The Bahamas generally.

I am quick to respond to these because I do not want the impression to be given here or overseas that The Bahamas has an immigration policy which is a retardant to foreign investment
It is not. There is no policy by the Department of Immigration or the government which retards economic growth or development. Indeed, I say again that no business can legitimately complain that they cannot get the workers they need to run their businesses if it requires the permission of the Department Of Immigration.

Some people complain legitimately about matters taking too long. The real issue there has to be identified. The reason for delays has to do with resources and capacity – not the policy. This country is an easy country to migrate to lawfully. We admit there are issues in capacity to respond as timely as we would like but there is no policy which stops a legitimate migrant from coming to The Bahamas.

This brings me to the second part of the statement of Mr. Laing in today’s paper

He is quoted as saying that whenever governments become unpopular they start to be reactionary and panic and say whatever it takes to make the people happy again.

I wish to assure the public that the immigration policy of The Bahamas is not a panicked reaction, nor is it reactionary.

We came to office by our Charter or Governance promising to fix the immigration problem.

We could not for reasons of national security have our borders constantly breached by thousands of people who simply jumped on a boat and came into The Bahamas without permission. We have taken measures in the national security interest of our country to put a stop to it.

If we followed the advice of Mr. D’Aguilar and Mr. Laing, it appears that we should do nothing and allow people to breach our border without let or hindrance.

That cannot stand. Not on my watch. I am pledged to defend the sovereign integrity of The Bahamas and to the best of my ability and with the help of God I will.

Now an update on the immigration checks and repatriations:

IMMIGRATION OPERATIONS

The Department of Immigration is continuing operations throughout New Providence and The Family islands, the goal of which is to ensure that every immigrant have a legal right to live and work in The Commonwealth of the Bahamas. As a result of intensive efforts an operation was conducted on Bay Street and the Straw market for Status check. This resulted in the arrest of 21 persons of various nationalities. Nine (9) persons were committed to The Detention Centre. The other twelve persons were released after paying delinquent work permit fees.

We sincerely thank the Bahamian Citizens in providing us with very good intelligence of persons working in a number of key business establishments and various areas. The information given has led to a number of arrests of persons who were subsequently repatriated.

The public and the vendors are reminded that the straw market vendor’s license is for Bahamians only and you must have a valid Bahamian passport to be a stall owner in the Straw Market. You can be an employee of a stall owner but to do so you must have a valid work permit to work for the stall owner or have permanent residence with the right to work or a spousal permit or a belonger’s permit. You can only be an employee.

We will continue to check the market from time to time.

COURTS

The Immigration Act has recently been amended enabling charges to be brought against persons for the Harboring of illegal Immigrants. An illegal Haitian boat landing occurred in Bannerman Tow Eleuthera on 3rd June 2015

As a result of this, Three Haitians namely Sinfilien Remy, Estilus Tide and Robenson Guerrier who held valid work permits were charged in the magistrate court on the 8th June 2015 for Harboring illegal persons as they were found with 10 persons who had illegally landed. They pled not guilty and they were remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections to reappear in court on 13th July 2015. In addition, A Bahamian citizen Frankie Smith was charged on 8th June 2015 also with Harboring illegal persons as he was found with 14 persons who landed illegally of that Haitian vessel. He also pled not guilty and was granted $1500 bail to reappear in court on 16th September 2015.

On the 9th June 2015 Antoine Armad the boat captain was charged with Knowingly Assisting in illegal landing. He pleaded guilty and was subsequently convicted to two years imprisonment or two thousand fines. Deportation was recommended upon payment of fine or served time. His fine was not paid and he is serving sentence at The Department of Corrections.

Additionally, Frankie Pierre another boat captain was charged in Magistrate’s court number 8 for Assisting in illegal landing. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded to Department of Corrections to reappear in court on 13th July 2015.  

During the Immigration and Police search operations based on intelligence where illegal migrants were hiding out, a Haitian male Jean-Mary Justilien was apprehended and tried to escape lawful custody which resulted in him obtaining some injury. After checking our records, he is an illegal immigrant. As a result, he was charged in the magistrate’s court on for illegal entry. He pled not guilty and was remanded to Department of Corrections to reappear in court on  
 

REPATRIATION   

The Department is continuing its repatriation exercises on a weekly basis.  Presently there are a total of 180 persons   detained at Detention Centre 139 of which are Haitians. Additionally six (6) persons are detained at the Safe House Three (3) adults and (3) children.

Repatriation of persons from June 1st to 23rd totaled 420

Haitians     369

Jamaican     13

Brazilian     08

Cuban         14

Georgian    08

Venezuelan 02

Ecuadorian 02

There is one (01) each of the following nationals: Indian, Peruvian, Mongolian and Bangladeshi

 

 

 

 

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THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (21 – 26 JUNE 2015) BY ELCOTT COLEBY

06/28/15 1:59 PM

elcott

Bahamas Prime Minister: “Education transforms lives”

Telling Commonwealth education stakeholders and delegates that their gathering at the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers was the most important meeting in the world, Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie underscored the import of the conference by his assertion that literally “education transforms lives.”

 

The Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address on Tuesday night at the opening ceremony of this conference under the theme “Quality Education for Equitable Development: Performance, Paths and Productivity” where representatives from more than fifty countries converged on Nassau to develop a fifteen year education plan for the Commonwealth.

 

Pointing to a 2010 United States Census showing that an African–American male with a high school diploma is 70% less likely to be imprisoned than one with no diploma, Mr. Christie said that “throughout the world, the rate of crime falls when the rate of education rises.”

 

In making the case that education improves ones earning power, the nation’s chief referred to a 2014 OECD education report indicating that high school, vocational school and university graduates earn between 10% and 70% more than the OECD income average.

 

In making the connection between health and education, the Prime Minister referred to the 2013 OECD health report that revealed that women and men who are university graduates have an average life expectancy of 4 and 8 years respectively more than those who are not university graduates.

 

“Your work make all the difference” said the Prime Minister, “between freedom and incarceration; employment and unemployment; indeed life and death.”

 

Mr. Christie said that in a year when the international community will decide its global education goals, he can think of no better motivation to “identify realistic and practical measures to ensure that every Commonwealth country is able to provide a world class education.”

 

 

Minister Fitzgerald: “…we must be progressive in our thinking…”

Sending a clear message of innovation, progressiveness and planning to commonwealth education ministers and delegates, Bahamas Education Minister Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald told the Stakeholder Forum that the conference was just a reminder for education stakeholders to be “progressive” in their thinking and approach.

 

He was addressing the 19th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) under the theme “Quality Education for Equitable Development: Performance, Paths and Productivity” at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island on Monday 22nd June. Delegates were in Nassau to craft an education development plan for the next fifteen years.

 

“We must possess foresight and plan with purpose knowing that the needs of the global education community, especially with the Commonwealth, will have changed tremendously” said the Minister.

 READ MORE.

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Letters to the editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR ON FRED SMITH Q C

06/28/15 1:59 PM

Dear Editor:

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Fred Smith has a way of practicing law where he does a lot of posturing in the media; pretty bombastic style where he paints himself as THE authority on pretty much every Legal matter

More members of the business community are beginning to raise a question — is this really about what some professionals call ” practice development” — essentially a strategy to secure clients? 

This is true because greater scrutiny is being given to just how often positions taken by Mr. Smith are in fact upheld by the Courts

BELOW is a case in point 

On Thursday past Mr. Smith argued a case before the  Privy Council in London 

His opponent was Attorney Gail Lockhart Charles

the Judges accepted all of the  arguments of Mrs Charles  and completely rejected the arguments of   (Fred Smith QC).  You can watch the hearing on the following link:

 

https://www.jcpc.uk/cases/jcpc-2013-0073.html

 

Sign me: Not fooled by Fred Smith Q C

 

 

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In passing

Mitchell Meets OAS Human Rights Commission Chair

06/28/15 1:59 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Hon. Frederick Mitchell, met with the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Ms. Rose-Marie Antoine, during his recent visit to Washington, D.C., to address the 45th regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Monday, June 15, 2015, in the Hall of the Americas of the OAS Main Building.4

 

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Fred Mitchell On Leadership According To The Tribune

06/28/15 1:59 PM

image017In the face of the reports from two senior PLP Ministers that they intend to run for leader of the PLP and against the background of statements made before about his aspirations for the job, Fred Mitchell MP made these comments on Wednesday 24th June at a press conference:

“I don’t comment on those issues. I work for the prime minister, he’s the leader of the party. I speak to him every morning. I’m the minister of foreign affairs, I’m his agent, so why would I, before a TV camera, say, ‘Look this is what I’m going to do, this is what I’m not going to do…

It’s not anything I’m going to say anything more on. I can tell you plenty stories, there’s a man called Karl Hudson-Phillips and every Caribbean politician remembers him.

  “Dr. Eric Williams, as the prime minister of Trinidad, he got up and said ‘I’m gone, I’m not running anymore.’ So he (Hudson-Phillips) says ‘Good, I’m going to run.’

 

 “Next thing you know, they hold the convention and the PM (Williams) says ‘Whoops I changed my mind,’ and that was the end of Hudson-Philips’ career.”

 

: “So I’m not getting in that, I don’t have anything to say on it, the prime minister and I speak every day and I know what to say if the subject comes up and that is the end of that for me.”

 

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Foreign Affairs Responds To US Human Rights Report

06/28/15 1:59 PM

 via the Bahamas Information Services

 

The Bahamas is an open and transparent country and any entity including foreign governments are free to make whatever observations they wish about our systems and practices. We have nothing to hide. The fact is there is no policy by the government which sanctions abuse against any individual whether the person is a Bahamian or a foreigner. There is no official policy of discrimination against anyone whether they are Bahamian or foreign. We do not agree with some of its observations but every entity is entitled to its opinion. We make similar reports and observations on human rights practices in other countries including concerns for our citizens in the United States. Given the relationship between the countries most issues are resolved.

 

More should not be made of the report than what it is.

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The Results Of A Straw Poll On Leadership Of The PLP

06/28/15 1:58 PM

On Wednesday 24th June a straw poll was taken on Jones Communications Love 97 Radio Talk Show Issues of the day on who if anyone should succeed Perry Christie as Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party. The poll was precipitated by a set of stories in the press beginning on Monday 22nd June where PLP Minister Obie Wilchombe indicated that he was ready to lead the PLP and the next day by Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis saying that he was ready to lead as well. There was an e blast circulated on Thursday 25th June as shown below:

 

Today’s Poll For The Next Leader of The PLP – Via Love 97FM
The Hon. Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration came out on top in the results of a poll conducted by Jones Communication’s Love 97FM radio. This Poll was created to determine the person most likely to become the next Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, succeeding the current leader and Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie. Below are the results:


Min. Fred Mitchell
58 votesimage024

Min. Philip Brave Davis – 25 votes

Min. Shane Gibson – 6 votes

Min. Michael Halkitis – 6 votes

Min. Obie Wilchombe – 4 votes

Min. Glenys Hanna – 2 votes

Min. Hope Strachan – 1 vote

Min. Michael Darville -1 vote

Alfred Sears – 1 vote

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Fred Mitchell In Talks With Panama’s Vice President

06/28/15 1:58 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — During his recent visit to Washington, D.C., to address the 45th regular session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Monday, June 15, 2015, in the Hall of the Americas of the OAS Main Building, Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Hon. Frederick Mitchell, met with the Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, H.E. Isabel Saint Malo, where they discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation and engaged on reform and reorganization of the OAS.

 

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Happy Birthday Dame Marguerite

06/28/15 1:58 PM

Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling celebrated her birthday on Friday 26th June with family and friends at Government House. High Commissioner Ed Bethel and his wife Dawn were among the guests.  She was born in 1932 and that made her on Friday last 83 years old. The photo courtesy of Jerome Miller shows the President of the Senate Sharon Wilson ( right) with Dame Marguerite at the party.

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Opening Of Museum Of Grand Bahama Junkanoo

06/28/15 1:58 PM

The Junkanoo Museum in Freeport was officially opened by the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister Ann Davis on Saturday 20th June in Freeport.  Fred Mitchell MP joined her, Senator Tanisha Tynes and Dr. Michael Darville MP for the occasion. The owners Mr. and Mrs. Fred    Black are seen second and third from left. The photo is by Vandyke Hepburn of the Bahamas Information Services.

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Dotson Says To Close The Country Down… Irresponsible

06/28/15 1:58 PM

Jennifer Dotson is usually a reasoned and rational person so the country was surprised to hear her say in the face of a dispute between BTC workers and their employer over the pay packet and the fact that there are likely to be 140 layoffs come Monday 29th June from the phone company that it was time to close the country down.  That is an irresponsible statement and she should withdraw it.

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Immigration Responds To Grand Bahama Human Rights Association

06/28/15 1:58 PM

The following statement was issued by the Department of Immigration in response to a press statement issued by the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association on Thursday 25th June:

The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) has again made allegations of an inflammatory nature with regard to the detention and treatment of a detainee now charged for an alleged offence and now on remand. The detainee, his counsel and the GBHRA are free to take such remedies as the law allows but it should be careful not to assert information which is  inflammatory, untrue or prejudicial.

 In the case of the detainee named by them as with all detainees, the department follows the law and the orders of the court. The information we have does not comport with the allegations made by the GBHRA. The matter continues under active review. 

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Progress On Bahamar Says Trib

06/28/15 1:58 PM

The word is that there may be a break through on Bahamar, but again the people are waiting for His Majesty Sarkis Izmirlian to say whether he agrees or doesn’t.  The Tribune in an analysis last week claimed that this column blamed Mr. Izmirlian for the failures of the project.  Well we don’t blame anyone.  The point is it is his project and he needs to finish it.  One good thing, he wasn’t in the paper this week running his mouth.

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Kevin Bowe speaks at Fox Hill

06/28/15 1:58 PM

Dr. Kevin Bowe, Consultant Physician to the National Health Insurance Implementing Group, was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Fox Hill Branch of the PLP on Wednesday 24th June.  Fred Mitchell MP attended the meeting.  The photo shows Dr. Bowe who spoke on men’s health issues receiving a fruit basket as a token of appreciation from the branch.  The photo shows from left Fred Mitchell MP, Charlene Marshall, Branch chairman, Dr. Bowe and Dorothy Miller, Chaplain of the Branch.

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Alfred Sears Q C Wins The Case

06/28/15 1:58 PM

File photo of the Nassau Guardian of Lawyers Alfred Sears and Terrell Butler. Craig Flowers far right was convicted of gaming offences  28th September 2011

 

It was good news all around last week for former Education Minister Alfred Sears.  He is being asked by the people of Ft. Charlotte to come back and be their representative in the face of the debacle with Andre Rollins, their MP, who left the PLP on the last day of the Budget Debate on 18th June. First the people of Ft. Charlotte said they want him back and then the announcement by the Court of Appeal of The Bahamas that the submissions he made in the case of Craig Flowers against the Commissioner of Police were accepted. Mr. Flowers is free.  The Magistrates Court case against him for violating the games law was dismissed and the verdict in the court below overturned.  The court ordered the return of the 800,000 dollars and change that the government took from him when they arrested him on the offence.  The announcement came on Thursday 25thJune. 

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Ruling of Justice Isaacs 24-06-15 (Craig Flowers)

 

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