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OUT OF ORDER DAVIS: YOU’RE A BULLYING BUFFOON, MR SPEAKER

MP ATTACKED FOR CONDONING ABUSE OF WOMEN

By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net

IN a surprising and unusual speech from the chair yesterday, House Speaker Halson Moultrie, pictured right, launched personal attacks against members of the Progressive Liberal Party while defending his decision to suspend Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin last week. Among other things, Mr Moultrie took a swipe at the foreign-born status of the wife of PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis. And in an apparent dig at PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell, he accused Mr Davis of taking advice from “reprobates” and “perverts”. Mr Moultrie also lashed out at retired parliamentary clerk Maurice Tynes. At a press conference called not long after the House of Assembly adjourned, PLP officials described the Speaker’s conduct as bizarre and shocking. Mr Davis called him a “bullying buffoon” and referred to him as a “dergin”.  “He is unprincipled and disgraceful,” Mr Davis said. Mr Mitchell said he was not troubled by Mr Moultrie’s references to him, but is “happy” to meet him “in the street” if the latter desired. Among the criticisms that appeared to irritate Mr Moultrie the most was Mr Davis’ allegation on Sunday that misogyny influenced his treatment of Mrs Hanna Martin. Responding, Mr Moultrie said yesterday: “While I can give you more than 90 reasons why the member for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador’s allegation is absolutely absurd, I shall confine my response to the fact that I am married to a beautiful and wonderfully made Bain and Grants Town woman for the past 38 years. And I want to emphasise to the member for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, that my wife is an indigenous Bahamian woman and that I have had in over those 38 years no reason for a divorce,” he said. “Our marriage has been touted by the church, marriage groups and by the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas as a model love affair and as a husband I have been deemed a role model of how husbands should love and treat his wife,” Mr Moultrie said. “Member for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, he is fully aware of past encounters SEE PAGE THREE

A WOMEN’S rights activist yesterday called for the resignation of MICAL MP Miriam Emmanuel, pictured left, after she insinuated there is nothing wrong if a woman is “manhandled” by her husband who might also decide to “slap,” “shake,” or “punch” her in the mouth as punishment for challenging him. Donna Nicolls, deputy director of the Bahamas Crisis Centre called the situation “crazy”, PHOTOS: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff adding the comments Mrs Emmanuel made in Parliament yesterday reverted this country to the “Dark Ages”. However, as the comments drew fierce condemnation in many circles and on social media, Mrs Emmanuel issued a statement saying she regretted making the “unfortunate analogy”, claiming the comments were taken out of context and misunderstood. Hours before she realised the comments were unfortunate, Mrs Emmanuel suggested in the House of Assembly she had no issues with physical abuse, if it was justified by the actions of a woman who wants to “come up” in her husband’s face and behave like she is a man. The comments seemed not to trouble seated MPs – some could be heard snickering as she made her remarks. “I am the seventh of ten daughters and I recall as we began to mature and take on marriage and family, one of the things that my father often say to us as his daughters, if you want to remain a lady, if you want to remain treated as a lady, then you must behave like a lady,” the first time MP said yesterday. “And he said if there ever comes a time when you have to come back to this house and say to me as your father that your husband shook you, or give you a slap or punch They join Englerston you in your mouth, I will analyse while I listen MP Glenys Hanna to you. I will analyse the consequences that Martin who was initially would have caused your husband to probsuspended from the ably shake you, slap you or punch you in your House last week. mouth.” The incident involving Mrs Emmanuel continued: “And I said Mrs Hanna Martin drew simply what my father was saying that we are criticism from many to respect each other, have respect for your GLENYS HANNA-MARTIN MP members of Parliament priest, your provider and your protector. So in Chester Cooper and among them Prime Minthis honourable House it’s no exception from South Andros and Man- ister Dr Hubert Minnis. a marriage relationship if you as a woman grove Cay MP Picewell SEE PAGE TWO SEE PAGE THREE Forbes.

‘DIDN’T WE DO THIS LAST WEEK?‘ By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net THE Official Opposition has been suspended from Parliament for two House sessions. This includes Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP Philip “Brave” Davis, Exuma and Ragged Island MP

VAT-FREE FOODSTUFFS HIGHER TOLLS COULD TARGET HEALTHY DIET FUND BRIDGE DEFICIT By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

A CABINET minister yesterday pledged to “stop poisoning our people” by totally changing the Government’s “breadbasket” food line-up in time for the 2018-2019 Budget year. Dr Duane Sands, Minister of Health, said the

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Minnis administration planned to align tax and economic policies with the Bahamas’ dietary health needs for the first time since the 1970s. He revealed that the Government plans to switch-out many existing foods in favour of products that will encourage healthy eating. FULL STORY - SEE BUSINESS

By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

The Bridge Authority’s $9.4m “deficiency” will “not be put on the taxpayer”, a Cabinet Minister pledged yesterday, saying any financing needs would have to be met by increased toll fees. Desmond Bannister, the minister of works,

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told Tribune Business the Government is awaiting recommendations from the Authority’s Board to determine whether the Paradise Island bridge overseer needs extra funding. “I could tell you that nothing is going to be put back on the taxpayer,” Mr Bannister said. FULL STORY - SEE BUSINESS


PAGE 2, Thursday, February 8, 2018

MP attacked for condoning abuse of women

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want to come up in your husband’s face and behave like you are a man, my father said then you will get manhandled.” Her comments came during a moment in the House of Assembly where Speaker Halson Moultrie welcomed remarks from parliamentarians in response to disciplinary actions he took against Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin, who he named and suspended last week. Yesterday, Mrs HannaMartin, as well as the remaining three opposition members in the House, were suspended for two sittings. Asked whether Mrs Emmanuel’s comments were obvious grounds for a resignation, Mrs Nicolls told this newspaper: “Yes, because you see the thing about it, I think that what they don’t understand is that when they are sitting in Parliament they represent everybody. “Our Constitution talks about everybody in The Bahamas not only the people who look like you, talk like you, believe that you believe. You (are) representing everyone in The Bahamas. This is just crazy.” Mrs Emmanuel’s statement read: “I made certain statements in the House of Assembly in support of

MEMEBER of Parliament for MICAL Miram Emmanuel. Photos: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff “Violence against women respect for authority, which were taken totally out of is never justifiable. Every context and misunderstood. attempt to normalise it will While I will not repeat this be actively and publicly unfortunate analogy, I want rebuked. “Emmanuel’s apology, the record to reflect that I, Miriam Reckley-Emma- while deserved in better nuel MP MICAL, do not form by the Bahamian condone domestic violence people, is not enough. It or any type of violence in is the first in a series of any way shape or form. I steps to ensure there is no deeply regret those words repeat. In 2014, the Coaliand I want all women in this tion to End Gender-based country to know and under- Violence & Discrimination stand that I am an advocate - now Equality Bahamas for and stand firm in sup- - called for sensitivity training for all Members port of women’s rights. “I was person- of Parliament, a robust ally appalled by and educational campaign on condemned the comments domestic violence, and made some time back in direct rebuke from leaderthe House of Assembly by ship among other items. former Member of Parlia- We demand the same today. ment for Tall Pines Leslie Apologies do not repair Miller, about hitting his damage. Misogyny must be female companion while rooted out, and the governfemale members of the PLP ment must commit itself to laughed. My comments in the work that must be done the (House) should in no to unlearn it and actively way convey that I believe it work to end it to the benefit of this nation.” is ok to hit a woman.” It was just in DecemThe director of Equality Bahamas, Alicia Wallace, ber when the backbench also criticised the comments MP told The Tribune she supported criminalising from Mrs Emmanuel. She said: “Intimate part- spousal sexual abuse adding ner violence is a pervasive that it was absolutely wrong issue that people in leader- for any man to “dominate” ship positions continue to or “harass” his significant normalise. Perpetrators are other to satisfy his flesh. Yesterday, Seabreeze MP encouraged and protected by patriarchal systems, Lanisha Rolle also weighed misogynistic institutions, in on the matter involving and irresponsible state- Mrs Hanna Martin, with an ments like that of Miriam undertone that men are to Emmanuel in Parliament. dominate women. “Mr Speaker, my husAt the same time, victims are blamed and shamed, band always told me what told they have done some- a man say from the beginthing to warrant physical ning, he say what he say and violence which, we must not he mean what he say. If you want to turn it another way, forget, is against the law. “In 2014, Leslie Miller that’s your business.” Mrs Rolle, minister of - then MP for Tall Pines - made a non-joke about social services and urban intimate partner violence development, added that and members of civil society she was the lead voice lambasted him as well as all on women’s affairs in those present who behaved Parliament. The irony in this aspect of no better than him, either laughing or remaining her comments is that at the silent. It was reprehensi- height of the marital rape ble then, and it is now. The debate in December, it was display in Parliament today Mrs Rolle who categorised is evidence of the deeply the issue as a private matter rooted hatred of women between husband and wife. and deliberate acts meant This remark drew criticism to restrict our participation from women’s rights activin family life, work, politics, ists, who questioned her fitness for the role. and society at-large.

SEABREEZE MP Lanisha Rolle speaking in the House yesterday.


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, February 8, 2018, PAGE 3

Davis: You’re a bullying buffoon, Mr Speaker from page one

with myself, that I do not have a track record of hating women. You know, the member and I have a mutual best friend and if the member had consulted our best friend on this matter I’m sure he would’ve been advised to leave that path and to leave this matter alone. “Notwithstanding, the member has allowed in my estimation reprobates and perverts with track records of denying and hating women to insert such a ludicrous assertion into his press release. My name might begin with ‘M’ but the first three letters are Mou and not Mit. Don’t mix me up. I am not a soft powder puff man. I am a real man,” he said, in an apparent reference to Mr Mitchell. “While I may not be able to engage in the debate, I am certainly permitted to defend my integrity. I love

PHILIP ‘Brave’ Davis MP, leading the group of PLPs out of the House of Assembly. my wife, an indigenous references to wives as an Bain and Grants Town attack on his own wife, who woman and highly cherish was born in Trinidad and and respect all women but Tobago. I happen to also agree with “I don’t think much of a King Solomon in Proverbs man who attacks another’s 21:19. What it says to the wife,” he said. “That man effect is it is better to live is a snivelling coward. From in a desert than to live in the chair, he shows his lack the home of a quarrelsome of intelligence; he shows woman.” he’s not fit for office that he Mr Davis, at the press occupies… Talking about conference, said he inter- one’s wife is highly provocapreted the Speaker’s tive which very often leads

to a breach of the peace. I don’t understand why the Speaker would be so provocative when we in this society are trying to teach young men and women to pursue the things that make for peace.” For his part, Mr Mitchell said he wouldn’t address the Speaker’s references to him head on. “I told people as it relates to myself, in a sense you don’t want to dignify the stupidity of those comments this morning by responding to it. I could tell him all about his ma, about his wife, his children and all the rest of them… but I won’t go there, at least not now. But you see what it opens up, because what it does is it unleashes every follower in the country to go in that direction and I want to caution people about not going in that direction because that’s not governance we support. “Have no fear about me and whether what was said means anything to me. It

be acknowledged by the Speaker, but he was not. Speaker Moultrie said: “It is the view of the chair that the member for Englerston acted in a grossly disorderly and disrespectful manner and was in breach of all five subsections of rule 88(4) which states if a member has persistently and wilfully obstructed the business of the House, misconducted herself in a grossly disorderly manner, used objectionable words, which she has refused to withdraw, persistently and wilfully refused to conform with the rules or persistently and wilfully disregarded the authority of the chair, she may be named and suspended by the Speaker if any of the above offences have been committed.” He continued: “If the offence has been committed by a member in the House the Speaker should forthwith put the question on a motion being made no amendment adjournment or debate being allowed that the member be suspended from the service of the House. “The chair recommends that the member for Englerston be suspended for two consecutive sittings of the House in accordance

the member for Rum Cay, Cat Island and San Salvador, the member for South and Central Andros, the member for Exuma and Ragged Island have your seat,” he said as the three began to leave the chamber. “Pursuant to rule 88 (3), the Speaker now orders that the three members withdraw from this Parliament and are not eligible to enter this parliament again for the next two sittings,” Mr Moultrie said. Ahead of this contentious scene, Mrs Hanna Martin attempted to enter the House, but was barred from doing so. In greeting scores of supporters who gathered in Rawson Square, Mrs Hanna Martin maintained the Speaker’s initial decision to suspend and name her was not in accordance with the House rules. The MP suggested she should not have been treated in this manner having been in the House for 16 years when compared to the Speaker’s tenure of eight months. She said she has no regrets about walking out of the House, adding that authority is not absolute, but is circumscribed by rules and the law.

‘DIDN’T WE DO THIS LAST WEEK?‘ from page one

He said a degree of respect for the House and the Speaker should always be maintained. Dr Minnis said as the proceedings are aired on radio and broadcast to thousands everyday on television, the actions could send the wrong message and set a bad example for young impressionable minds. Speaking specifically about Mrs Hanna Martin, Dr Minnis said her behaviour would not have been allowed in court, where she spends most of her time as an attorney. The three male MPs were suspended after leaving the lower chamber as the Speaker was making a presentation explaining the disciplinary action he took against Mrs Hanna Martin last week. At the time, the Speaker said a motion would be moved on the next sitting on the duration of her suspension. When the House began yesterday, Speaker Moultrie explained that Mrs Hanna Martin had breached rules which outlines possible conduct breaches by members. Simultaneously, Mr Davis stood waiting to

with the provision of rule 88. The question is now put to this Honourable House to determine the duration of that period,” he also said. Mr Davis stood twice more waiting to be recognised. Instead Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells, who is also leader of government business in the House, was acknowledged. It was Mr Wells who moved the motion for her suspension and it was seconded by Southern Shores MP Frankie Campbell. The Speaker then asked the question, saying those who were opposed to the move should stand. All opposition MPs stood. Speaker Moultrie continued with his intervention and went on to refer to scriptures also hitting out at retired former chief clerk in Parliament Maurice Tynes who this week criticised the Speaker in a letter to the editor. However, before he could finish, Mr Davis, Mr Cooper and Mr Forbes gathered their belongings. “We are withdrawing, sir,” Mr Davis replied as seated MPs heckled them; some could be heard saying “bye, bye”. “Honourable members, the leader of the opposition

DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF HOUSE RULES EXIST By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

HOUSE Speaker Halson Moultrie has ordered an enquiry into why multiple, divergent versions of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament are in circulation. His revelation came as he defended his decision to suspend Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin from Parliament. As he announced the enquiry, he frequently referenced Maurice Tynes, the former House clerk who has criticised his handling of the matter involving Mrs Hanna Martin. “Interestingly,” he said, “when questioned by media personnel on which rule was relied on for the suspension of the member for Englerston and I indicated that the Speaker was authorised by Rules 88 (3) to order the withdrawal of a member and by Rule 88 (4) for naming and suspending a member, upon review, it was pointed out to me that the rule book in my possession appeared to be different from the rule book in possession of the media. That discovery aroused my curiosity and refreshed my memory that very early in my tenure as Speaker I was quoting from the rule of procedure

in Parliament handed to me by the retired clerk and the member for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador made inquiries of the chair because the numbering of the rules quoted did not seem to match his rule book. “Yesterday, I discovered three versions of the 2005 Rules of Procedure of the honourable House of Assembly. The books have different numbering for the rules and some books have more numbered rules than others. Time did not permit discovery of whether there are substantial material changes and whether the rules committee had met since 2005 and authorised the apparent changes. “I just need to know how in the retired clerk’s perfect world of flawless administration and offering accurate, correct and apolitical advice to my predecessors did the Parliament end up with multiple distinctly different printed and published versions of the rules of procedures.” He added: “So as not to be accused again of ambushing anyone with the truth, these suspicious circumstances resulting from simple observational analysis, has prompted the Speaker to order an

enquiry into the meetings of the rules committee, the instructions given for reprinting of the rules, and the source of the authority for the apparent and actual manifested differences in the published versions of the rules. This enquiry

will cover the period 2003 through 2017. Perhaps the retired clerk of Parliament should be more concerned with bringing clarity to this matter as opposed to being seemingly absorbed with the hope that the institution fail in his absence.”

means nothing to me. I’ve grown up in this society. I’m 64 and at this point it doesn’t matter to me. I will say whatever comes to my mouth if it is necessary for me to defend myself. So, Mr Speaker, if you want to meet me in the street, I am happy to do so,” Mr Mitchell said. As for former clerk Mr Tynes, Mr Moultrie called him “troubled”, and insisted partisanship is the reason for his recent criticism of the Speaker’s decisions. “I thought that the retired clerk was my friend,” he said. “I remember when I was in third party politics as leader of the Bahamian Freedom Alliance (BFA), the retired clerk would call me all the time and provide me with material to attack the Ingraham administration. His advice almost caused the former

prime minister to sue me. I thought he was championing the cause for good governance and democracy, but alas he was only trying to help the PLP as he seems to be doing today while also attacking the acting and hopefully soon to be confirmed clerk of Parliament, David Forbes. “I had the opportunity of working with the apparently troubled retired clerk from May 24, 2017, through August 31, 2017, and all I can say at this time is thank God for attrition. Imagine trusting, working with and relying on the advice of someone who has now publicly expressed his inner most feelings and the kind of political venom directed at the Speaker in the letter to the editor. Thank you very much, Mr Retired Clerk, may your soul rest in peace.”


PAGE 4, Thursday, February 8, 2018

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Man tries to crack marijuana’s secret LAST year Jamaican scientist Dr Henry Lowe made history when his drug, developed from cannabis, to treat acute myeloid leukemia was granted “orphandrug” designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration. “Orphan-drug designation” means that special status has been given to a drug to treat a rare disease at the request of a sponsor. Dr Lowe’s drug was described as a non-cannabinoid developed from the cannabis plant — marijuana. He now has permission to continue his research. “As far as I am aware, this is the first time that anyone from a developing country like Jamaica has been able to achieve this feat of starting from the isolation of a bioactive molecule and working it up to provide a new drug from scratch, which is recognised by the FDA – the world’s leading food and drug regulator and approval agency,” Dr Lowe said in making the announcement. It was said that the development holds the potential to earn Jamaica more than US$250m within three years in the US market alone. Although these earnings are mindboggling, the hope of a possible cure that its development could bring to certain — at present— fatal strains of leukemia is inestimable. Many doctors realise today that they now have to direct their investigations away from chemotherapy in cancer patients. For most cases, chemotherapy at present is the only known cure, but it is also known that in some patients it can trigger other diseases — far more serious than the one it was intended to cure. However, much investigation has to be done before scientists can reach their goal as there are so many properties in the marijuana plant  that it is difficult to know what part, and in what proportions it is best applied for a particular medical problem. Apparently, marijuana is a breed of the cannabis plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol concentrated in the buds, which is the chemical that produces the psychotropic effects that gets people high. This is the marijuana that introduced Bahamians to drug peddling, permeated every level of our society and launched The Bahamas on the international stage as a “nation for sale”.  This degradation is still at the root of today’s social problems. And this is the reason that marijuana has such a bad name and is banned in many parts of the world. The other component of the marijuana plant is hemp. This side of the plant apparently does not contain the destructive properties that form the weed that is peddled on the streets today. The cannabis oil extracted from the hemp is what one hears a great deal about with stories of miracle cures for some, but nothing more than a comfortable antidote for pain for others. It is heard in almost awe-like whispers among the medical fraternity in the US as scientists are on a frantic search for something that will lead them away from the  eventual disasters of too much chemotherapy. There are doctors who will assure you that the worst that cannabis oil can do is make the patient more comfortable, it is not addictive, nor does it interfere with any other medicines that might be prescribed. Some patients are cured, leaving the medical fraternity mystified because others with the same treatment do not survive. However, many doctors see some light at

the end of the tunnel and are desperate to answer the question: Why some and not others? There are remarkable survival stories of parents, who defy the law to save the life of their child. They do not even confide in their doctors. They find outlets that are producing the oil, and secretly administer it. However, one only hears the success stories. In Baltimore recently, we had the privilege of meeting a little girl who is referred to as the “miracle” child. She was eight years old when she was taken to the hospital for a checkup. It was discovered that she had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball with fingers stretching out from it carrying leukemia to the rest of her body. There was leukemia in her bone marrow. After much treatment, all medical options had been exhausted. She was sent home to die under hospice care. Desperate, the parents were told by a nurse about a doctor friend “who thought outside of the box”. At that  stage said the distraught father, “I would have got a witch doctor for my daughter.” The person came down from Philadelphia. She talked with the parents, told them about the experiments with cannabis oil. She told them about the endless possibilities, telling them that nothing could be guaranteed, except that if it did not save her life, at least until the end it would give her a better quality of life. “The possibilities are endless,” the desperate parents were told, “but I can guarantee nothing.” Four days later, a small box arrived, and under the guidance of a doctor over a ten-week period there was a marked difference. She was taken to the hospital where X-rays showed a change that her specialist who had been treating her could neither understand, nor explain. The parents were called the next day to take her to the hospital. It was discovered that the tumour with its tentacles had disappeared. The following day, the specialist got in his car and drove to the family home. The little girl, now the picture of health, cycled down the garden path on her four-wheeler to meet him. Afraid of the legal consequences, the father was reluctant to talk. Eventually, the doctor was told that all the medications that had been prescribed by her specialists had been stopped, and the little girl was only being given the cannabis oil. The doctor could not believe it. Last month the little girl celebrated her 11th birthday. She is still in remission, and all the mystified specialist can say: “I have seen a miracle, which I cannot explain.” Just before Christmas, accompanied by Santa Claus, this little girl visited another little boy. In the end, she survived, he didn’t.  The doctors want to know why — and so the search is on to crack open a new kernel of knowledge that might lead to a cure of a branch of leukemia for which today there is no cure. And so Rev Dr Ranford Patterson, president of the Bahamas Christian Council, we agree that the marijuana that abounds on our streets today must be eliminated, but no doors should be shut to science. God created the marijuana plant in which many mysteries are still locked. As someone quipped: “Only God has the answer, and he ain’t talking!” We suggest that Dr Patterson should get on his knees and have a little conversation with the Almighty.

Get to The Pointe EDITOR, The Tribune. I WRITE in total agreement with, and in full support of, the recent letters appearing in your paper, notably from Abraham Moss and  Pamela Burnside, regarding that hideous, crass, architectural insult known as “The Pointe”. This absolutely ghastly erection under construction is an insult to the Bahamian populace, and particularly to the original architects of downtown Nassau. I have spoken to many people, curious of their opinion on the subject, and the unanimous consensus, without exception, has been that it is completely, totally and utterly tasteless, out of place and does absolutely nothing to enhance our “Island” image. We are a tiny Tropical Island! We are not Beijing or Hong Kong. Chrome and glass are not a part of

THIS morning’s Tribune and Fridays, which arrived late, both have unbelievable headlines. 1) A uninsured unlicensed driver is fined $12000 for a hit and run death - that puts a value on lives in The Bahamas.

Is that what the politicians and legal fraternity think they are worth? That may be right but the “ordinary” man is worth a lot more. 2) Jean Rony is “thrown back into the detention centre” yet suspected murderers are out on bail. Obviously Jean Rony has nowhere to go outside The

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Bahamas and he did not like Haiti it appears. So why not $1 bail until Immigration and the courts can sort themselves out. What is The Bahamas coming to? PATRICK THOMSON Nassau, February 5, 2018.

letters@tribunemedia.net our traditional, beautiful Bahamian architecture. How on earth did this abomination ever get past Town Planning?   I am the first to admit that the area just west of the British Colonial Hotel was an eyesore, and was crying out for some kind of ATTRACTIVE development. However, we are selling our souls to the devil if we think “The Pointe” is the answer. We have already lost historical sites that could have been attractively utilised for the pleasure and enjoyment of Bahamians and visitors alike – notably the Royal Victoria Hotel Gardens which, with a little bit of foresight, could have been the “Central Park” or “Kew Gardens” of our lovely

JOANNA ROBERTSON Nassau, February 2, 2018.

Church on Sunday

Are we worth $12,000? EDITOR, The Tribune.

LETTERS

city. Alas it became an ugly car park opposite an ugly Post Office which is now crumbling due to the original shoddy construction. I had reason to go “downtown” last week. In spite of the fact that I have a slight disability, I parked a long way from my destination as I, on principle, refuse to patronise “The Pointe” car park. Come on people! Our political representatives are our employees, we pay their wages! I know they all have a huge job in front of them trying to extricate us from the disastrous quagmire they have inherited, and I have every sympathy with them all, but please do something before we go past the “Pointe” of no return.

H

IF I might use your columns to ask whomever the cap fits to wear it. Minister of Heath, the Hon Dr Duane Sands or Dr Charles Diggiss, President of Doctors Hospital. Starting at East Street and Shirley Street and going west, we have Zion Baptist Church, a little further on at Frederick Street, we have Trinity Methodist Church, and further up Princes Street, my Church, St Andrews Presbyterian Kirk. A bit further on at George Street, The Anglican Cathedral, and just a bit further along on West Street, we have the Greek Orthodox Church and St Francis Xavier Cathedral. Six churches perhaps within a mile of each other. 

All of these churches have Sunday services and the morning services tend to start around 11:00am. The Kirk starts a half hour before this at 10:30am. The Kirk is typically starting to “Hear the word of God Preached” at 11:00am and no doubt the other 11:00am services are in prayer, or singing praises to God, as they begin their services. It is now a ritual at the Kirk, that the Minister commences the Sermon a moment or two before 11:00, and then as if on queue, the Siren Starts and as it gets closer and closer to Frederick and Princes Street the Minister yields, and declares to the Congregation “It must be 11:00 o’clock”. A minute or so later, the Ambulance has passed and he can

refocus and continue with the message. As the congregations are inside all of these Churches by 11:00am, it is unlikely that anyone can see which Ambulance it is, that is in such a hurry every Sunday morning exactly at 11:00. Is it PHA, or is it Doctors Hospital. I have my suspicions but perhaps one of the two gentlemen addressed above will make enquiries of their ambulance dispatch and at least tell them that even though there may be genuine emergencies each and every Sunday morning at 11:00 o’clock, there is scarcely any traffic on the roads at that time, and certainly no need to run the siren.    BRUCE G RAINE Nassau, February 6, 2018.


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, February 8, 2018, PAGE 5

US WARNING AFTER WOMAN ATTACKED AT GOODMAN’S BAY By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE US Embassy in Nassau issued a security alert yesterday after an American woman was attacked during an evening jog on West Bay Street.

The incident took place near Goodman’s Bay Park shortly after 8pm, according to the embassy, and a later crime report by the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Police have taken a Bahamian man into custody in connection with the matter.

The US alert read: “The US Embassy in Nassau advises that a US citizen was assaulted during the early evening hours of February 6, 2018 while jogging on West Bay Street just west of Goodman’s Bay Park. Motorists and passersby stopped to help. The

local police are now investigating and looking for the suspect. While this event happened near the Goodman’s Bay Park, caution should be used in all areas of New Providence while travelling by foot after dark. “Be aware of your

surroundings. Review your personal security plans,” it added. The alert follows an updated travel advisory for the country last month, with the US telling its citizens to stay clear of popular cultural restaurant hub the Fish Fry at Arawak

Cay at night. The earlier advisory ranked The Bahamas at ‘Level 2: Exercise increase caution,’ stating that violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault are common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas.

Two teens accused of murder attempt By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter nscavella@tribunemedia.net AN 18-year-old man and a juvenile were arraigned in a Magistrate’s Court yesterday charged with attempting to murder a pump attendant during the course of an armed robbery at a service station in Central Eleuthera last month. Lamar Wilchcombe and a 17-year-old stood before Magistrate Kara TurnquestDeveaux faced with two counts each of armed robbery and one count each of attempted murder stemming from the January 18 incident. A third individual, Sirnario Miller of Green Castle, was accused of assisting Wilchcombe and the minor in escaping the law while knowing they committed an armed robbery of the C and AA Service Station in Palmetto Point. Miller was also accused of conspiring to commit the armed robbery. It is alleged that on January 18 at Palmetto Point, Wilchcombe and the minor attempted to cause the death of Joel Stubbs. It is further alleged that on the same date, the two robbed C and AA Service Station of $1,800 and four cartons of Backwoods cigars valued at $40. It is also alleged that the two robbed Mr Stubbs at gunpoint of his charcoal grey iPhone 8 worth $954. Wilchcombe, of Pinewood Gardens, was further charged with dishonestly receiving the items sometime between January 18 and February 1. According to initial reports, shortly before 10pm, three armed men entered a service station located in Palmetto Point, robbed the establishment of cash and shot one of the employees before fleeing in a silver coloured car. The victim was airlifted to

FOUR adult male suspects and one juvenile male suspect were charged yesterday with a combination of offences. Some of the suspects are pictured outside court yesterday accompanied by police. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff the shotgun, hospital in New Providence, Castle native Ezra Petty, and a safe together valued receiving He pleaded not guilty to where he was initially listed were also charged with at $1,600. valued at $1,200, sometime the charges and his matters in serious condition. A cus- breaking into and subWilchcombe was further between August 28, 2017 were adjourned to April for tomer was also treated at sequently stealing over charged with dishonestly and February 2, 2018. trial. the local clinic for minor $14,000 worth of assorted jewellery, computers and an injuries. Wilchcombe, Miller and Apple tablet from the home the minor were not required of two individuals between to enter a plea to the four days last month in charges, and their charges Rock Sound, Eleuthera. They all pleaded not were adjourned to April for service of a voluntary bill of guilty to the charges. Those matters were indictment. Miller and Wilchcombe adjourned to April for trial. Wilchcombe was further were also charged with breaking into and entering charged with being in posthe premises of the Teen session of an unlicensed Scenes camp site at Deep Sarsilmaz 12-gauge shotgun Creek, Eleuthera between and three live 12 gauge bulJuly 2017 and January 13, lets while at Green Castle, and subsequently stealing Eleuthera, on February 2. He was further charged over $7,000 in various merchandise, including ductless with breaking and enterair conditioning units, water ing the home of Lorenza Woodside at Jacaranda coolers and softball gloves. They pleaded not guilty Street and Thatch Palm Avenue in New Providence to the charges. The three males, along on August 28, 2017 and with 21-year-old Green stealing a 12-gauge shot gun


PAGE 6, Thursday, February 8, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

$90m in loans to improve coast and airport By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net THE government yesterday presented a resolution to Parliament to facilitate loans from the Inter-American Development Bank to finance some $90m in projects in support of coastal

management, airport infrastructure and various skill development initiatives. The government has stressed that the resolution is not new borrowing and will not add to the government’s debt levels because the facility was approved by Parliament during the 2017 budget debate.

In the House of Assembly yesterday, Finance and Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest tabled the resolution for the government to borrow $35m for climate-resilient coastal management and infrastructure projects; $35m for an airport infrastructure programme and

an additional $25m for a jobs skills initiative. While Mr Turnquest didn’t give clear specifics for the loan and its repayment parameters, he did indicate the loan would allow for the creation of natural barriers to address coastal erosion and the construction of seawalls on Grand Bahama and New Providence. Additionally, the East Grand Bahama MP said the loan would allow for the construction of and/ or improvement to the existing terminals and runways at airports in North Eleuthera, Treasure Cay, Abaco; Marsh Harbour, Abaco and Exuma. Mr Turnquest also said the $90m would make provisions for the enhancement of the country’s labour process to ensure that job seekers are qualified and prepared for the labour markets. Provisions are also being made for the construction of new facilities at the Ministry of Labour.

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff Yesterday, the gov- into the government’s existernment stressed it is ing borrowing plan,” a committed to fiscal pru- statement from the Minnis dence and the facility did administration noted. not represent new loans. “The government’s com“Any loan drawdowns, mitment to fiscal discipline interest payments or prin- remains unshaken and is cipal repayments due to the readily apparent in the IDB during this fiscal year improving budgetary numfor ongoing projects would bers reported recently by have already been factored the Central Bank.”

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THE TRIBUNE

ATLANTIS GOES LIVE WITH KELLY AND RYAN US TV show Live With Kelly and Ryan has come to The Bahamas this week - with crowds turning out to watch recordings and live broadcasts of the popular show at Atlantis. Hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, pictured above, have been taking part in a host of activities around The Bahamas too - from yoga with dolphins to an Exumas adventure and more. See tomorrow’s Weekend section for more on the show’s visit.

Thursday, February 8, 2018, PAGE 7


PAGE 8, Thursday, February 8, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

JEAN Rony Jean-Charles outside court after his victory.

Haiti agents sent to centre but no record of Jean Rony By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net DESPITE having no record of Bahamas-born Jean Rony Jean-Charles being deported, the Haitian Embassy in Nassau yesterday confirmed it delegates two consular agents to notify individuals at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre of their impending deportation. The embassy furthered, in accordance with a signed agreement with the Bahamas government on repatriation, officials must be informed 72 hours before all repatriations. The agents are sent to inform detainees as a

precautionary measure for potential reports of abuse, the embassy wrote in an email response to questions placed by The Tribune. Mr Jean-Charles was flown to Port au Prince, Haiti on November 24, 2017 after not being able to prove he was in the country legally, according to former Immigration Director William Pratt. However last year, representatives from the Haitian embassy told The Tribune they had no record of Mr Jean-Charles being repatriated. The email response read: “According to the signed agreement between both government on repatriation, the embassy must

be informed by the Bahamian authorities 72 hours before all repatriation. This period of time is to allow the embassy to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to ask civil aviation the landing permit number. “No official from the embassy is on the plane. When the immigration Department sends the list to the embassy of the illegal immigrants to be repatriated, the embassy delegates two consular agents to notify of the individuals involved at the detention centre before the repatriation. Just in case any abuse is reported.” The Tribune sought clarification from the Haitian embassy in Nassau over the repatriation process after

it reported on the experience of Mr Jean-Charles - whose case is now before the Court of Appeal. “And then, the embassy (will notify) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Haiti of the said repatriation. In addition, the embassy still asks the Haitian authorities to verify the identity of repatriates from the said list when the plane landed at Port-au-Prince,” the embassy’s email read. It added: “There is a commission formed by three institutions ( Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Immigration and ONM). When they arrive in Haiti there is an organisation called ONM (National Organisation of Migration)

which ensure their transportation in provincial cities.” Mr Jean-Charles did not apply for citizenship when he was between the age of 18 and 19, and was deported at age 34 after being held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre for some three months. His attorney filed a habeas corpus application questioning the lawfulness of his detention, but it was later revealed that he had been deported. In response to a subsequent constitutional motion, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hilton determined ordered the government to “immediately” issue a travel

document for Mr JeanCharles to allow him to return from Haiti to the Bahamas at the government’s expense and to grant him legal status no later than 60 days after his return, and upon him making an application. The government has appealed the Supreme Court ruling, and a stay application will be heard today at 10am. Attorney General Carl Bethel has said the case of Mr Jean-Charles placed the government in a position uncovered by law or the Constitution, and also exposes a significant and far-reaching legal challenge over the verification of birth certificates.


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, February 8, 2018, PAGE 9

Taxi drivers demand meeting amid fair treatment concerns By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net TAXI drivers who service Prince George Wharf have demanded a meeting with tourism officials following a small demonstration in the downtown area yesterday. Shortly after 10am, several drivers banded together and demanded to meet with officials at the Ministry of Tourism to raise concerns over how they are treated by security, law enforcement and government personnel at the site. Following the brief demonstration, Prince George Dock Taxi Drivers Committee Chairman Fredrick Wallace, in an interview with The Tribune, denied the action taken by his organisation was done to “slow productivity” at the major cruise port. Mr Wallace said drivers simply acted in a manner necessary to “get their concerns heard”. “We weren’t attempting to make a scene or cause a

problem, all we want to do is take our concerns to the powers that be,” he told The Tribune. He added: “We didn’t take to the streets with crowds or loud actions, we simply walked up the wharf and asked to meet with the officials to communicate some concerns we have.” When asked to elaborate on what those concerns are, Mr Wallace refused, insisting he didn’t want to “play” his committee’s concerns in the press. “It is our intent to take it to the authorities and work it out there. They now know we want to meet with them, let’s see what their next move is. If they brush us off, you can feel free to call what we do after that a protest.” While it was unclear whether the committee was able to communicate cab drivers’ issues to the relevant authorities, Mr Wallace maintained that his organisation was now in a position to advance the discussion. A local tabloid earlier

this week reported that taxi drivers park at Prince George Wharf at night and sleep in their vehicles in an attempt to be first in line at 5.30am, when the docks open to tourists. That report also alleged that because there are no available restrooms, the drivers instead relieve themselves in their vehicles and throw the waste in the nearby sea. The allegations were subsequently dismissed by Bahamas Taxicab Union President Philip Watkins as “old news” and “irrelevant”. Mr Watkins in his dismissal did, however, confirm drivers were still positioning themselves in queues as early as possible to ensure business. When contacted, Road Traffic Controller Ross Smith declined to comment on calls for taxi drivers to be banned from parking on the wharf overnight, but did suggest that the time for drivers to begin their days could be postponed from 5.30am to a later time.

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HUNT FOR ARMED ROBBER POLICE are looking for a suspect who robbed a man at gunpoint outside his home Tuesday night. Shortly before 8pm, a man had just pulled up to his residence off Lamumba Lane, when he

was approached by a man armed with a firearm who robbed him of cash and other items before running from the area, police said. Investigations are ongoing.

SEARCH FOR MISSING WOMAN POLICE are seeking the public’s help in locating 53-year-old Patricia Cluzeau of West Bay Street, who was reported missing on Monday.

Ms Cluzeau is Caucasian. She is about 5’4” and has a medium build. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the police immediately.

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PAGE 10, Thursday, February 8, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

The least among us can inspire so long as we have a dream L

OCAL drama aside for a moment, this was a very good week to watch history unfold and think about why some events move us, others shake us to our core and still others make us so proud we have to contain ourselves or we might just burst. On the event calendar, it was Super Bowl Sunday. The underdog Philadelphia Eagles pulled off a stunning upset beating five-time champs the New England Patriots 41-33. Nearly 200 million people around the world watched while some in the packed Minneapolis stadium paid thousands of dollars for last minute tickets to experience the action live. One man spent everything he’d put aside for his wedding and honeymoon, leaving those who heard his story wondering if there was still going to be a wedding and need for a honeymoon.

By Diane Phillips

Random thoughts about the Super Bowl later, but happy to report that I won $50. Of course I was rooting for the underdog not because I know a lot about football but because I could see the hunger in Philly’s eyes and Nick Foles’ arm and well, because, truthfully, when a reporter asked New England quarterback Tom Brady when was the last time he was unsure of himself or lacking in confidence, he tried to come up with something but couldn’t. Who isn’t unsure of himself before a big game, at least a little bit? And in the full disclosure of truth category, Philadelphia

is the city of my birth. Before I ask you to explain much of what I don’t get about football, there is another remarkable piece of history that took place this week. Less than 48 hours after Philly kicked New England’s buttocks, on Tuesday afternoon the most advanced, most powerful rocket ever launched blasted off at Cape Canaveral Space Center in Florida headed toward Mars. Everything about the SpaceX launch, the journey and the mission was the stuff of science fiction and comic book fantasy, except it was happening in

Classic + COOL

THE CROWD cheers at Playalinda Beach in the Canaveral National Seashore, just north of the Kennedy Space Center, during the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday. real time with real people boosters and would advance makers when they are workwatching, a half million efforts to get man to Mars. ing with shifting goals. The spectators, according to Musk has said that he won’t thing about dreams is that to make them come true news reports. The curi- rest until Mars is colonised. As unlikely as it seems, you have to manoeuver ous who wanted to see the launch live paid $195 for the Super Bowl and Elon with constant change for tickets (How much did Musk’s SpaceX launch there are no constants in that man pay for the Super have a lot in common. Both human behaviour. A boat Bowl, the one who may depend on goals and strat- making its way to a nearby have traded love for a game egy, both require incredible destination, one the captain based on 11 supersized, vision, leadership, team- may see on the horizon, still intelligence, must navigate waves, winds, incredibly fit men per side work, chasing a small spherical stewardship and dedica- tide, other craft. Nothing is tion. Both are expensive fixed. leather ball?) In football, making the Those who watched games, driven by desire and the lift-off said it was the a spirit of competition and right call quickly is a conexperience of a lifetime. rivalry. Both have immense stant challenge, first in impact, one third, second in fourth, the They were still stunned economic and in awe hours later. I’ve measurable, the other incal- need to listen to coaches, make the unexpected play, watched it over and over culable now. Yes, one takes place on lead a team, inspire greatand my goosebumps still get goosebumps. Three a field and the other a field ness and please a crowd has boosters equipped with so distant most of us will to take place in an instant 27 Merlin engines firing never live to explore it. But and the next instant all over in unison produced five the thread that ties them again. In space exploration, million lbs of thrust at lift- together and causes us to be the goal can shift with the off. With rocket launched, fascinated spectators is that advent of a storm, a screw two of the three boosters both are built on dreams. that comes loose, a fitting returned to earth, sliding We may not understand that is not what it was supback down as if guided by perfect thruster re-entries posed to be. The history makers that a higher authority, land- or why the linebacker goes ing on a small circular pad left when everyone in the we refer to so casually probwith incredible exactness. room is yelling, scream- ably deserve more of our Most of us who struggle to ing, ‘Right, dummy, right’s respect. There are no real parallel park and achieve open.’ It is not as though winners and losers in their less precision than pow- if they scream louder, the very public arenas. The erful boosters taking off guy on the field is going to Delta company that wanted and returning to an exact hear them. But we keep to explore space but had intended spot, parking watching just in case. We not yet proved its thrustperfectly, cannot begin remain transfixed because ers could be recycled and to relate to what it would even if we don’t understand the New England Patriots take in design, planning, every move, we understand who made it all the way to the Super Bowl are all wincomputer model testing dreams. Philadelphia quarterback ners. Look at their dreams and execution to pull off such accuracy in high speed Nick Foles was so discour- and how far they got. We aged in the game that he are only being cruel by callmotion. Meantime, the rocket, nearly gave up the sport ing one party a winner and now free of its thrusters, at the close of last season, another a loser. Yes, they soared into space where but the dream kept him lost a game or appear to while you are reading this going. When Philly quar- have lost a race to space. and for the next six months terback Carson Wentz Maybe those second place it will travel 400 million suffered a torn ACL and finishers and all of us who kilometers until it reaches LCL in December and finish somewhere outside of solar orbit where it will Foles was called in as a sub, first are dreamers-in-waitcontinue for more than a he seized the opportunity ing. Even the least among billion years. The rocket’s and he brought everything us can inspire so long as we payload, a cherry red Tesla he had to the game, saving have a dream. When the crowd cheers with a dummy driver and  a the win against the Rams sticker on the dashboard that day and going on to for a national anthem, that says Don’t Panic in greater victory. On Sunday, when that anthem stirs the case a Martian finds it and the 29-year-old with almost heart and fills the people can read English, was a trib- no experience as a starting in a stadium with pride ute to billionaire engineer, quarterback walked away at a massive gathering or businessman, inventor, with the Most Valuable a local school courtyard, film producer Elon Musk, Player trophy after leading when it moves grown men product architect of Tesla, his team to one of the most to wipe tears from their maker of the sleek electric exciting, nail-biting Super eyes, then we are all caught sports car and founder of Bowl games in NFL history. up in the world of dreams Elon Musk has grand and we thank everyone SpaceX, the company that wants to make space travel dreams – to make space who brought those dreams travel and exploration part to us. a reality. There could be one loser While a third booster of our travel reality and failed to land on the desig- our scientific world. Maybe though. Would the man nated pad offshore, the rest there are cures for cancer or who used his wedding and of the launch was so suc- germ-free utopias, maybe honeymoon money for a cessful that Musk, who had there is an Avatar and a Super Bowl ticket please contact us and let us know predicted a 50-50 chance, Pandora world.  We applaud all who try what he would do if had to said the outcome proved you could create re-usable like this week’s history make the same call again.

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THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, February 8, 2018, PAGE 11

FISHING HOLE ROAD PROJECT MOVING ‘AT A SNAIL’S PACE’ By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

EVEN though government officials have said the Fishing Hole Road project could be completed by early January, the road bridge is nowhere close to being finished. Work appears to be moving at a snail’s pace at the causeway that has been under construction since early 2016, and poses unsafe conditions for motorists. The project started under the former Christie government, which signed a $6.5 million contract in December 2015, and was to be completed in 61 weeks. However, the project did not meet the completion deadline before the May 2017 general election. After taking office, Kwasi Thompson, minister of state for Grand Bahama in the newly elected Minnis administration, led a team to the site in August 2017 to get an update from the contractor, All Bahamas Construction Company. Project Manager Wolfgang Geiger had revealed that the company had not received any money from the government in the past 12 months for the work it had done. The Tribune visited the area around 1pm on Wednesday. Several sections of the bridge have been installed, but most of the heavy equipment tractors were parked in a holding area and there were not many workers on the site. The area is heavily travelled and conditions are unsafe. Large trucks and private vehicles are travelling on the west bound lane, while the east bound lane remains under construction. Cars continue to travel at a high rate of speed in the area. In August, Mr Thompson said the government was satisfied with the progress made. He said government was working with the contractor to ensure that the project was completed in the “shortest period of time”.     

Flooding has been a constant issue at Fishing Hole Road for many years. The road floods during hurricanes, and two persons have lost their lives over the years attempting to cross it.   In addition to building a bridge, a boat ramp and a new cultural village with booths have been constructed to accommodate fishermen and other vendors.    Mr Thompson has expressed concerns about vehicles travelling at high speeds in the area and previously urged motorists to

drive with caution. Iram Lewis, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works, who also accompanied Mr Thompson to the site in August said that they are satisfied that all the technical requirements were met and were being carried out effectively. The project cost has increased to $7m. The Tribune attempted to contact Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works, but was told that he was in the House of Assembly in Nassau.

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PAGE 12, Thursday, February 8, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

Into the deep blue with new sub site for Bahamas By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net THE Bahamas could become the future home of one of the world’s leading manned submersible operations, with the country’s education and tourism sectors acting as a launching point for several key initiatives. Stockton Rush, chief executive officer and co-founder of OceanGate Incorporation, who spoke with The Tribune moments after his company tested its newest submersible off Andros, said a long-term facility in The Bahamas “makes sense”. In June 2013, the OceanGate team committed its flagship submersible Antipodes to a series of dives to showcase the company’s ability to work quickly and efficiently through successive cycles of mobilisation and deployment. According to the company, in less than 30 days, OceanGate completed expeditions in

three separate bodies of water facing the United States.  The series of dives were performed by a single team with one submersible vehicle diving first in the Pacific, then the Gulf of Mexico and finishing in the Atlantic.  OceanGate said each site had very specific dive goals that included: equipment testing, oil platform surveys and invasive species and habit monitoring. As a result, the company said successes experienced prepared it for the next step in its operation. OceanGate, which is based in Washington, over the course of the last eight years has reformatted its operation from pod development strictly for research purposes, to pods designed to operate on all platforms from recreational to educational dives. Mr Rush, who has made it his life goal to find and recover the Titanic, said the pristine waters of The Bahamas and its intense focus on offering the best tourism product possible

AN ARTIST’s impression of one of the Oceangate submersibles, above, and the company’s chief executive, Stockton Rush right. has placed the country and his company on an “unavoidable collision course”. He said: “Much of what we do was always in line of discovery, deep water discovery. When one thinks water, deep pristine and beautiful waters, you think the islands of The Bahamas. “The way we are designing our vessels now, is to push the limits on what is possible, and considering our successes here in The Bahamas, it hard not to consider The Bahamas as a place to do just that. “We see the world of opportunities before us,” Mr Rush continued. “That’s why we made a point to

speak with the prime minister when we came down. “We’ve seen opportunity in The Bahamas before but we had to make sure our operations were in order. That, and we had some concerns with the way foreign direct investments would be perceived. So we took our time, we did our research and now, we are ready to push forward.” OceanGate has not finalised any plans for The Bahamas and continues to further its discussion with the government. The Office of the Prime Minister on Monday confirmed last week’s meeting, but stopped short of identifying what was discussed. OceanGate is expected back in the country in the coming months to test several more of its pods in waters off Abaco.


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, February 8, 2018, PAGE 13

Cacique nominated for international award CACIQUE International Limited has been nominated for an award in the “Best Innovative Events -$500,001 and up” category in the 12th Annual ADMEI Achievement Awards. Recognised as the highest honor in the destination management industry, the awards, presented by the Association of Destination Management Executives International, honours

outstanding achievement and excellence in destination management services. President and creative director of Cacique International Shawn M Sawyer, said, “It’s phenomenal for a Bahamian destination management company to be nominated for the Best Innovative Event award. “We’re using fresh, avant-garde ideas to push our industry in a new direction that’s really putting a spotlight on The Bahamas

and driving the evolution of our tourism product. We’re honoured and very excited about the future of our business and the industry, especially in light of this incredible recognition of our efforts.” The 2018 ADMEI Achievement Award winners will be announced on Saturday, at a gala awards ceremony held at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

CACIQUE International Limited has been nominated for a top award.


PAGE 14, Thursday, February 8, 2018

PELOSI STAGES EIGHT-HOUR FILIBUSTER

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi staged a record-breaking, eight-hour speech Wednesday in hopes of pressuring Republicans to allow a vote on protecting “Dreamer” immigrants — and to demonstrate to increasingly angry progressives and Democratic activists that she has done all she could. Wearing four-inch heels and forgoing any breaks, Pelosi, 77, spent much of the rare talkathon reading personal letters from the young immigrants whose temporary protection from deportation is set to expire next month. The California Democrat quoted from the Bible and Pope Francis, as Democrats took turns sitting behind her in support. The Office of the House Historian said it was the longest continuous speech in the chamber on record.

WHITE HOUSE AID QUITS IN ABUSE CLAIM WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President Donald Trump’s top White House aides resigned Wednesday following allegations of domestic abuse leveled against him by his two ex-wives. Staff secretary Rob Porter said in a written statement that allegations that became public this week are “outrageous” and “simply false”. Porter said photos published of his former spouses — in which one appears to have a black eye — were “given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described.” Porter’s former wives recounted physical, verbal and emotional abuse they say he subjected them to during their marriages.

THE TRIBUNE

Hunger used as a weapon against Rohingya Muslims NAYAPARA REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh Associated Press ABDUL Goni says the Myanmar government was starving his family one stage at a time. First, soldiers stopped the Rohingya Muslim from walking three hours to the forest for the firewood he sold to feed his family. Then Buddhist neighbors and seven soldiers took his only cow, which he rented out to fertilise rice fields. Next, he says, they killed his uncle and strung him up on a wire for trying to stop the theft of his buffalos. By the time Goni saw bodies floating down the local river, of fellow Rohingya killed for illegal fishing, he knew his family would die if they didn’t leave. On bad days, they carved the flesh out of banana plant stalks for food. On the worst days, his children ate nothing. “I felt so sorry that I couldn’t give them enough food,” the 25-year-old says, tears running down his face, in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, just across the border from Myanmar. “Everything just got worse and worse. ... Day by day, the pressure was increasing all around us. They used to tell us, ‘This isn’t your land. ... We’ll starve you out.’” First, massacres, rapes and the wholesale destruction of villages by the Myanmar military in western Rakhine state forced nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh, in reprisal for Rohingya militant attacks on Aug. 25. Now, the food supply appears to be another weapon that’s being used against the dwindling numbers of Rohingya in Myanmar. The accounts of hunger

ROHINGYA MUSLIMS, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, reach out for food distributed by aid agencies near the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.  Photo: Dar Yasin/AP could not be independently confirmed, as Myanmar’s government does not allow reporters into the northern part of Rakhine state, where most of the Rohingya lived. However, more than a dozen interviews by The Associated Press with the most recent refugees show growing desperation, as the noose tightens around their communities in what UN officials have said may be a genocide. The UN and human rights groups such as Amnesty International have also warned of increasing hunger among the Rohingya in areas where conflict and displacement have been most rampant. Repeated calls to Myanmar’s military weren’t answered, but the Myanmar government denies ethnic cleansing and says it is battling terrorists. Social Welfare Minister Win Myat Aye says the government has been distributing food aid to as many people as

possible. “There are many ways that we have been reaching out to villagers frequently,” he says. “And that’s why it’s not possible that there are people who are completely cut off from food or facing hunger.” The Rohingya Muslims, who have been loathed by Myanmar’s Buddhist majority for decades, are locked down in their villages — sometimes even in their homes — and prevented from farming, fishing, foraging, trade and work, the refugees and aid groups say. In other words, they can no longer do what they need to do to eat. While restrictions on freedom of movement and access to food have long been in place, they have tightened dramatically in recent weeks, the AP interviews show. “It was worse than a jail,” says Goni, who finally left Hpa Yon Chaung village in Buthidaung township on Jan 5. “People at least

get food twice a day in jail. ...We were always surrounded, always under stress, always watched.” The hunger the Rohingya faced at home is evident when they come to the Bangladesh camps, where new refugees, especially children and women, suffer from “unbelievable” levels of malnutrition, according to Dr Ismail Mehr. “They are definitely coming in starving,” says Mehr, who recently returned to the United States from treating refugees in the camps. “We saw the vitamin deficiencies in the children and the adults; we saw ... severely malnourished people who are basically skin and bones. It looked like the pictures from the Nazi camps.” The government’s restrictions on access to northern Rakhine make it almost impossible to tell how many people are without food, how widespread the problem is or whether

people are dying. The International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Yangon, says that since the end of August it has distributed food to more than 180,000 people in northern Rakhine state. The World Food Program said it was granted access in December and January to field locations including Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Mrauk U townships for the first time since August. Mohammad Ilyas, 55, fled to Bangladesh with only a shirt and a lungi sarong, along with dozens of others from Rathedaung township. He says the military and his neighbors took Rohingya rice paddies and rice stockpiles. “Sometimes we stayed hungry for a day, two days, even five days,” Ilyas, who is from Ah Nauk Pyin village, says. “The Myanmar government doesn’t want a single Muslim to remain there. They want to erase us completely.”

02082018 news  
02082018 news  
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