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VOLUME:114 No.59, FEBRUARY, 15th, 2017

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Govt takes up $10m bond issue for BOB - see Business

Legal challenge on boundaries Opposition files bid for judicial review on report

By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter

ANDRE Rollins and Richard Lightbourn outside Ansbacher House yesterday.  Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff Mr Lightbourn and Dr plicable to the 2017 general despite a nationwide pace However, their request of voter registration that is Rollins hope their legal seeking that parliamentarelection. action will prompt House ians be legally restrained The men seek a favour- well below that of 2012. This is the first time the Speaker Dr Kendal Major from debating the recomable ruling based on three grounds: that the draft or- Supreme Court has been to postpone parliamentary mendations of the Constituder has been tabled too late asked to consider the con- debate on the boundaries encies Commission was not to be legal, that it represents stitutionality of a draft or- report, which is scheduled granted by the Supreme egregious gerrymander- der that is based upon a for today, until the judicial Court yesterday. ing and that it seeks to add report from the Constituen- review application can be SEE PAGE SIX considered. an additional constituency cies Commission.


FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette said yesterday that the government’s public pronouncements on the con-

By SANCHESKA DORSETT Tribune Staff Reporter THE three-year-old boy who died on Monday was “mistakenly left in a car” for nearly six hours before he was found unresponsive and rushed to hospital, according to Officer-inCharge of the Central Detective Unit, Chief Superintendent Clayton Fernander. He added that police believe the child “suffocated” after being in the vehicle for the extended period. The toddler was discovered shortly after 2pm by a daycare worker at the child’s preschool off Coleman Lane. SEE PAGE SIX


By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter OFFICIAL Opposition members of Parliament have taken legal action against the government over the recently tabled draft boundaries report, filing an application in the Supreme Court yesterday that seeks leave to begin judicial review proceedings of the draft order. The plaintiffs, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn and Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins, are represented by attorney Michael Scott. They argue in documents filed yesterday that the draft order tabled in the House of Assembly by Prime Minister Perry Christie last week should be declared void and that the 2012 order on constituency boundaries should be made extant, meaning ap-


troversial Interception of Communications Bill, 2017, “doesn’t hold water” when put up against arguments that the law, if enacted, would impede upon the civil liberties of citizens. The former attorney general, during an inter-

view with The Tribune on Tuesday, said it was “virtually impossible” for any right thinking citizen to perceive the bill as an impediment to crime, saying instead that the bill’s timing lends more to political expediency.

Mr Symonette, who was made attorney general after a mid-term Cabinet shuffle by the Ingraham administration in 1995, said the timing of the legislation’s introduction in the House of Assembly should be viewed as “suspicious” because it

coincides with the passage of a “watered-down” Freedom of Information Act and the start of one of the country’s most intriguing political seasons in recent history. SEE PAGE FIVE

TURNQUEST: WILD WEST COMMENT SHOWS PM IS WITHOUT HOPE By KHRISNA VIRGIL Deputy Chief Reporter A DAY after Prime Minister Perry Christie compared the country’s crime situation to the “Wild West”, former National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest blasted the nation’s leader saying he appeared to be “desperate” and “without hope”.

The former Cabinet minister under the previous Ingraham administration said the prime minister’s pronouncement on the murderous spree in the capital “did nothing” to restore hope to Bahamians who are under siege because of crime. On Monday, as Mr Christie likened the country to the “Wild West” he told reporters that the situation

must solicit a “major” and “continuous” effort by his administration to “flood the streets” with officers in an effort to do “all that is necessary to bring this madness to a halt”. However, with several months until the next general election, Mr Turnquest suggested that it is too late for Mr Christie’s position. SEE PAGE THREE

Nassau & Bahama Islands’ Leading Newspaper

CONFUSION led to anger for some National Insurance Board pensioners who went to banks across the country yesterday expecting their pension money, only to be told it was not available. There were reports of widespread frustration and hostile behaviour directed towards bank tellers over the confusion, as many pensioners who were expecting their money are living “hand to mouth” and were counting on receiving their funds yesterday. When contacted, Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson told The Tribune that NIB SEE PAGE SIX


A MAN appeared in court yesterday accused of attempting to kill two police officers. David Cornish, 30, stood before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt facing two counts of attempted murder concerning an incident that occurred on Sunday, February 12. It is alleged that he attempted to cause the deaths of Sgt 933 Kyle Capron and Cpl 2722 Demetria Capron. SEE PAGE SEVEN

PAGE 2, Wednesday, February, 15, 2017

THE ISLAND Luck Cares Foundation hosts its sixth annual Valentines lucheon at Unity House, with a $2,500 donation of food goods. Photos: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

GIFT FOR THE ELDERLY - WITH LOVE FROM ISLAND LUCK ELDERLY residents at Unity House enjoyed Valentine’s Day as the Island Luck Cares Foundation hosted its sixth annual Valentine’s luncheon for the residents yesterday. Unity House, on East Street South, is a shelter for the elderly and disabled where those that do not

have family come to live. The home is run by Rev Janet Smith-Butler and currently has around 40 residents. The Foundation has supported Unity House for several years with pallets of supplies and food items throughout the year and celebrates Valentine’s Day

by serving lunch, spending time with the residents and giving chocolates. The oldest female resident 98-year-old Laura Cartwright - and oldest male 92-year-old Cecil Strachan - received a basket. The Foundation made a $2,500 donation of food goods to the home.

LAURA CARTWRIGHT, 98, the oldest woman living at Unity House, gives The Tribune a smile.



Wednesday, February, 15, 2017, PAGE 3

Minnis calls on PM to adopt FNM proposals over crime By SANCHESKA DORSETT Tribune Staff Reporter FREE National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday urged Prime Minister Perry Christie to adopt the FNM’s crime plan or at least “initiate other serious ideas” to address the horrific murder and crime spree gripping New Providence. In a press release, Dr Minnis accused Mr Christie of being “dismissive” and ignoring the crime epidemic. On Monday, after the country recorded 13 homicide in 13 days, Mr Christie likened The Bahamas’ crime situation to the “Wild West,” as he said the recent wave of murders in the capital must solicit a “major” and “continuous” effort by his administration to “flood the streets” with officers in a bid to do “all that is necessary to bring this madness to a halt”. He said the past bloody weekend was a “shocking development” that will require the government to do much more to “fully understand this senseless set of killings,” and have law enforcement respond “as quickly as possible” and in a “very meaningful way” in their crime-fighting efforts. Mr Christie also said he would be speaking with National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage and Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade about implementing a “random exercise” where police stop and search vehicles that are carrying more than two persons. Dr Minnis said on Tuesday that Mr Christie’s response “was just not good enough”. “The tragic, brazen crime outbreak must spark a sense of urgency from this government,” he said. “They must take immediate action to bring order and safety to our communities. For

ONE of the weapons put on show by police that has been confiscated by officers recently.  the prime minister to be at its roots. Our plan is mul- dressing this horrific murdismissive, referring to our ti-tiered and benefits from der and crime spree gripcountry as ‘the Wild, Wild the experience of our candi- ping our neighbourhoods. “Bahamians deserve West,’ shows an appalling dates with law enforcement lack of leadership, all but backgrounds,” Dr Minnis nothing less from their government.” ignoring the growing crime said. “It puts a priority on makAs part of its crime plan, epidemic. “A basic function of gov- ing our communities and the FNM has pledged to ernment is to protect the neighbourhoods safe and adopt a “zero-tolerance” Bahamian people from secure by taking a holistic policy on crime; work with the criminal elements that approach to reducing crime community-based partners would wreak havoc in our by involving the entire com- to change the culture of communities. This cannot munity in our efforts to rid violence in communities neighbourhood stand, the FNM will not al- our country of this menace through and by strengthening our safety programmes; elimilow it.” Dr Minnis called for the police force with proper nate crime habitats; enact legislation to establish the government to “put politics training and equipment. “These steps can be tak- National Intelligence Agenaside” and take immediate action, using the FNM’s en today and we implore cy (NIA); use state-of-thethe prime minister and his art technology including strategies. “We have developed a government to implement gunshot detection devices, comprehensive action plan our plan or at least initiate social media exploitation that seeks to rip crime out other serious ideas to ad- technologies, drones, etc,

Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff and establish a National would establish a forensic Neighbourhood Watch crime lab with an independConsultative Council. ent director; increase efThe party has also forts on financial and cyber pledged to establish a pub- investigations; and place lic sector anti-corruption metal detectors at school agency; conduct a com- entrances and use CCTV prehensive review of po- and professionally trained lice officers’ compensa- security officers for reintion; strengthen the RBDF forcement. satellite base presence/ Homicides have inoperations in the north- creased by 69 per cent comern, central, southern and pared to this period last southeastern Bahamas; en- year, according to The Tribforce Marco’s Law inclusive une’s records. of a sexual offenders regisBy February 13 last year, ter and implement aggres- police had recorded 16 mursive measures to address ders, according to The Tribthe trafficking of narcotics, une’s records. Up to press firearms, human traffick- time, 27 people had been ing, illegal immigration and killed so far this year, with poaching. 13 murdered in the 14 days The FNM has also said it of this month.


FORMER Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Thompson yesterday dismissed Prime Minister Perry Christie’s recent assertion that the capital’s crime situation has become like the “Wild West,” insisting that innocent people are “not the targets” in what he said is a “war” between various gang factions throughout New Providence. Mr Thompson, in an interview with The Tribune, said New Providence is facing “a problem with gangs shooting up each other.” He acknowledged that while innocent bystanders “might get in the way” of the crossfire, and that the occasional person “might be killed” if resisting an armed robber, the current situation “is not like open season where people just driving around shooting.” Mr Thompson, though, agreed with Mr Christie’s suggestions that the Royal Bahamas Police Force

(RBPF) could be “more aggressive” in tackling crime. Nonetheless, he called for “corporate Bahamas,” specifically the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employer’s Confederation (BCCEC) to lend its hand in establishing a cash reward system for gun smuggling tips, charging that “we need money to fight crime, not talk.” Mr Thompson was responding to statements made by both Mr Christie and Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade on Monday following the country recording 13 homicides in 13 days. Up to press time, seven people had been killed since Friday, with the country’s homicide count standing at 27 for the year, according to The Tribune’s records. While Commissioner Greenslade maintained that the Bahamas is not in a state of crisis and that the average Bahamian can continue to “go about their day as normal” without the fear of being attacked, Mr Christie likened the Bahamas’ crime situation to

the “Wild West” and said it was a “madness” that must solicit a “major” and “continuous” effort from his administration in a bid to end “this senseless set of killings.” “I identify with the commissioner of police,” Mr Thompson said when contacted. “We have a problem with gangs shooting up each other. I don’t consider that a crisis. I feel that the police are gradually getting on top of it. I think they could be more aggressive. That’s one thing I agree with Mr Christie, they could be more aggressive. “And they’ve got to realise that this isn’t ordinary policing; they’re now in a war with these gang members, and they’ve got to be more aggressive with them. By that I mean stopping on the streets searching, searching houses, holding for the 48 hours questioning and so on. “But I am happy with the work they’re doing. And I think people should give them more support instead of criticising them.”

Mr Thompson also suggested that despite the recent wave of murders and the past bloody weekend, New Providence is still a safe place to traverse, as he echoed Commissioner Greenslade’s assertions that “the country is not at a stage where the average citizen has to be concerned about being attacked.” “I for one, I feel safe,” Mr Thompson said. “And I know a lot of people like me feel safe, because we realise what is happening. We are not the targets. We may get in the way, plus if there is a robbery and you resist, you might be killed, but my feeling is the police are aware of the people. We know it’s a gang war (going) on. It is not like open season where people just driving around shooting. “They shooting at people that are victims, proposed victims. And some of these victims know why they are victims. They steal the man drugs, or they take the drug man woman, or they’re involved in gangs. If you’re involved in a gang

now you’re automatically a victim. Once your gang is at war with another gang, you automatically become a possible victim. “So this thing with the Wild West I don’t agree with that. We have a nice country, we’ve got to do something, and I believe that rewards will help to get guns off the streets. “...So what we have to do is to work on the guns, getting the guns. And to do that, I think we need more than the police. We need the Chamber of Commerce and corporate Bahamas to put money in a pool where you can pay rewards for information, and not only here, but in the United States, the Florida area, in Haiti, in Jamaica.” The former ACP also echoed the commissioner’s admonitions on Monday for Bahamians not to “point the finger at the police in times of crisis” while refusing to “manage their homes” or assist the police in nabbing wanted persons. “You can’t blame the police for murders,” Mr

Thompson added. “I went to a number of police schools. FBI, DEA, Secret Service, I went to England for Detective Training School, Scottish Police College, Interpol, and they all tell you murder is not a preventable crime. “The man who wants to kill someone, he knows who he’s going to kill, he’s picking his spot, he’s picking the time, he’s picking the location and he’s picking the weapon he’s going to use. Now, you can saturate, but the fellow when he goes out to a nightclub out west where you ain’t saturated, that man that’s targeting him is going to get him out there. “…But I think the commissioner is on track. They’re doing what they have to do and they’re working hard. We’re not discouraging them by the criticisms. The politicians criticise them, talk shows criticise them, but one of the things I love to see is that under all the criticisms, they’re doing a magnificent job,” Mr Thompson said.

TURNQUEST: WILD WEST COMMENT SHOWS PM IS WITHOUT HOPE from page one “I think it’s time for him to go,” Mr Turnquest said when he was contacted by The Tribune. “Well there is no question that people feel what they feel. It makes no sense telling people something different, but you can’t throw your hands up in the air. I think it’s time to get rid of them.” He added: “Mr Christie appeared to be very desperate and without hope. He didn’t give the public much hope from what I saw.” Regarding the wave of criminal activity, Mr Christie also said the “madness” occurring is due to gang activity and retaliation. He said the past bloody

weekend was a “shocking development” that will require the government to do much more to “fully understand this senseless set of killings,” and have law enforcement respond “as quickly as possible” and in a “very meaningful way” in their crime fighting efforts. These efforts, Mr Christie suggested, would likely include dedicating a “substantial” number of officers to patrol the streets of New Providence and simultaneously giving them “the capacity to interdict the movements of people on the streets,” incorporating more reserve police officers, and “if necessary” incorporating Royal Bahamas Defence Force marines

in policing efforts. Mr Christie also said he would be speaking with National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage and Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade about implementing a “random exercise” where police stop and search vehicles that are carrying more than two persons. However, his comments appeared to contradict that of Commissioner Greenslade who also said on Monday that The Bahamas is not in a crisis. Commissioner Greenslade said the average Bahamian can continue to “go about their day as normal” without the fear of being attacked. At a press conference at

police headquarters after a weekend of “carnage”, Commissioner Greenslade said the only solution to the country’s crime problem is to “keep prolific offenders behind bars”. He said the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) is not considering implementing a curfew or “locking down certain neighbourhoods” and the suggestion to do so is “emotional and makes no sense”. His comments came hours after the country recorded its 27th homicide for the year. Seven people have been killed since Friday. On Monday afternoon, police also reported that a man was stabbed outside an establishment on Nassau Street while two men were

shot while in the area of police had recorded 16 murRoss Corner. These victims ders, according to The Tribwere said to be in stable une’s records. Up to press condition in hospital. time, 27 people had been Homicides have in- killed so far this year, with creased by 69 per cent com- 13 murdered this month. pared to this period last Violence in January year, according to The Trib- claimed the lives of 14 peo2017 to The Tribune’s records. Wednesday, 15th February ple, according By February 13 last year, une’s records.

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Boundaries debate now sub judice - no debate IN DISCUSSING the government’s controversial Interception of Communications Bill, 2017, which has attracted much opposition because it is seen as an unbridled invasion of privacy, Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson pointed out that “the Supreme Court is charged with protecting our Constitution, our rights under the Constitution. Nobody in their right mind who would suggest… especially those who are supposed to be protecting the judiciary” that the Bill violated citizens’ privacy. To do so, she said, would be wrong because it would be criticising the independence of the judiciary. The Attorney General pointed out that “this is not the time for political games nor for political expediency in an attempt to win a seat”. She was criticising those who were urging protests and public resistance to the Communications Bill, which many have condemned as “dangerous” spying legislation. She felt that the public should be assured that their privacy would be protected because this Communications Bill would be under the supervision of the courts. In other words one must respect the independence of Her Majesty’s courts. When parliamentarians meet in the House this morning we hope that government members will heed her words and not attempt to ram through the draft report of the Constituencies Commission —now before it – in an “attempt to win a seat” in an election to be called in the next few months. It is claimed that government, in political desperation, has recommended, for example, that the Montagu constituency be divided and renamed “Freetown”. Two FNM MPs – Andre Rollins and Richard Lightbourn – yesterday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court against the government for a review of the draft boundaries report. They pointed out that the Draft Order is being tabled out of time under Article 70 of the Act. They see the proposals in the report as an attempt to manipulate various constituencies to government’s advantage in advance of the general election. The report proposes that a large segment, a PLP stronghold, be taken out of the Montagu constituency, and renamed Freetown — a name that echoes slavery. According to the affidavit this adjustment will “materially promote the prospects of the government’s candidate in the general election”. Quite apart from the breach of Ar-

ticle 70, the applicants say that “this is clearly an attempt, at this late stage before an election, to manipulate the timing of this proposed change and the consequences it may have for the Opposition parties, this, in itself, is a decision capable of being Judicially Reviewed and there are good grounds that it should be so.” The applicants claim that “no rational explanation, or indeed no explanation at all, has in their view been given to why this report has been delivered in breach of Article 70 and why the proposed changes (which clearly favour the current government) have been recommended a mere three months before the election. “The Draft Order also proposes an increase in the number of seats up for election by one at the election. This is further evidence of an attempt by the government to manipulate the electoral roll in order to increase the possibility of a favourable result at the election for the current government. This cannot be correct procedure only three months before the election, when barely 50 per cent of Bahamians entitled to vote have registered.” When the House meets this morning it is understood that Mr Lightbourn and Mr Rollins will ask House Speaker Dr Kendal Major to postpone the debate on the Boundaries and Re-Distribution of Seats Order 2017 until the judicial review application can be considered. It is also understood that this report from the Constituencies Commission – now up for debate – may not have had the complete concurrence of the Commission. Although the applicants were too late yesterday to get a hearing before a judge, their lawyer, Michael Scott, served their ex parte application on the Attorney General, and a date has been fixed for 9:30am Thursday to be heard before Justice Raymond Winder. The matter is now in the hands of the courts, and, therefore, sub judice, which means that it is not subject for debate by anyone - not even parliament. We hope that Bahamians will not be subjected to a repeat of the Fitzgerald case, which is still under appeal, and, therefore still in judicial hands. We suggest that parliamentarians heed the words of the Attorney General and not fly in the face of an independent judiciary. As she so rightly said, “this is not the time for political games or for political expediency in an attempt to win a seat”.

New Providence was never safer? EDITOR, The Tribune.

THE police have stepped up saturation patrols in crime hot spot areas. Additionally the government has initiated Swift Justice, they have increased the surveillance of persons who are outfitted with ankle bracelets and they have put police in the schools. They have also reintroduced witness protection

and have been directly involved in the reduction of revenge killings . Furthermore, the government has introduced Operation Ceasefire. Hearing gunshots on a nightly basis is a thing of the past. rust the government them when they tell you that they know what they are doing. Can you feel the difference Bahamians? We have only had about

25 murders so far for the year. And this past weekend wasn’t so bloody. Two police officers were shot and we had several homicides and multiple other shootings. New Providence has never been safer. Right? DEHAVILLAND MOSS Nassau, February 12, 2017.

We must reject govt snooping EDITOR, The Tribune. THE government’s proposal to make it easier to intercept private correspondence should send chills running down everyone’s spine, especially given the leaking of private emails. This type of power is open to abuse. It could be

used as a political tool to suppress free thought and dissension. It will create an environment of intimidation and fear and undermine our democratic freedoms. We must resist any desire by the government to play Big Brother and slam the door on the idea of a gov-

ernment being able to intercept private mail, emails and telephone calls without the supervision and scrutiny currently imposed by law. ATHENA DAMIANOS Nassau, February 12, 2017.

A civics lesson is needed EDITOR, The Tribune.

TWO academics and an activist want to use disaffected Bahamian voters as guinea pigs. In what can only be described as some kind of weird social experiment these highly educated people want to run a ridiculous test that has as its goal the achievement of absolutely, positively nothing. Dr Ian Smith and Dr Nicolette Bethel of the now University of The Bahamas have joined with women’s rights activist Alicia Wallace to see just how many Bahamians will drink their Kool-Aid and purposely spoil their ballots in the upcoming general election. Remember now, the professors are responsible for shaping the minds and honing the citizenship of the next generation of Bahamians. The activist wants to be taken seriously as a voice for women. But how can we take them seriously when what they propose is a slap in the face to all those who fought in the trenches to give women and all adult males the very right to vote. We can look straight past Minister Hope Strachan and see her grandmother Mary Ingraham, a champion of the suffragette movement. Or gaze through Attorney General Allison Maynard Gibson to see her grandmother, rights hero Georgiana Symonette. We need to remind Ms Wallace of this when she starts talking fool. The preamble to the Constitution speaks of the Bahamian people as a collective “we” -- the inheritors and successors of this Family of Islands who commit ourselves to a free and democratic sovereign nation. Whether we like it or not, this social contract makes us all responsible for the good governance of this country. The most forceful act we all have in determining what happens here is to vote for the leaders who will make the best decisions in

LETTERS our name. I know that there are some among us who for religious reasons do not participate in the electoral process. They abstain from voting on grounds that I do not agree with but which I have to accept. I also appreciate that some people do unwittingly spoil their ballot paper and in so doing self-neuter, silencing their own voice at a time when all voices need to heard loud and clear. But now, we have these obstinate professors giving intellectual cover to the false narrative that intentionally spoiling the ballot is an acceptable form of participation in our electoral process. If the Constitution mandated election officials to award spoiled ballots in any of their tallying, then these conscientious objectors might have a point. But it doesn’t; so they don’t. They promote the debunked theory that if spoiled ballots were counted and if tabulated in high enough numbers it will send a message to politicians that people are fed up. But isn’t that precisely the reason we are supposed to vote in the first place? Voting brings about change, or it approves the status quo. Spoiling the ballot brings about not only a waste of paper but of the time of poll workers doing a civic duty. Do you really think a new Prime Minister Hubert Minnis or emboldened Prime Minister Perry Christie would lose sleep over the fact that thousands of apathetic voters voted for “none of the above”? What the professors and the activist are promoting is very dangerous and they need to put this half-baked idea back in the oven. They posit, without evidence, that slow voter registration will equal low voter

turnout. Where were they when Sherlyn Hall subverted the registration process with his morality fashion litmus test? People do care about who governs them. We do believe that our vote counts. We stand just a little bit taller, brandishing our ink stained finger as evidence of the fact that we landed our blow for democracy. The legacy political parties have formidable “getout-the-vote” machinery and this has led to exceptionally high voter turnout. This tells me that bellyaching about a candidate or party is just old talk. We may not like Perry Christie because he talks too much or Hubert Minnis because he talks too little, and although we don’t live in Centreville or Killarney, we carry that animus with us into our voting booth even if in so doing we act against our own self interest. We should give thanks to those PLPs whose struggle over 50 years ago helped to give everyone the vote. And in the same breath we should applaud the FNM for deepening our democracy by helping to make us more informed and freer to express our opinions and to vote. Voting is a civic duty. The professors know this. The activist knows this too. They ought to know that being socially irresponsible is not the same as social disobedience. The descendants of slaves must not tarnish that legacy by being frivolous with their franchise. The grandchildren of Europeans and others must affirm their equal rights by voting. Vote for a candidate because you like her and her party’s position on an issue, or because you can’t stomach what the other party stands for. If you have problems with both, then vote for the least objectionable. But vote. THE GRADUATE Nassau, February 8, 2017.


Wednesday, February, 15, 2017, PAGE 5

Smith wants govt to take time to consult on Bill By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter THE government must hold off on its attempt to pass the recently tabled Interception of Communications Bill, 2017, and offer the public a chance to “look at its pros and cons,” Grand Bahama Human Rights Association President Fred Smith, QC, said yesterday. Mr Smith, who condemned the bill last week, said while he agrees with the government and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson’s position that the Listening Devices Act needs to be improved to reflect modern technology, the provisions in the new legislation would “turn privacy inside out”. He said a bill such as this requires “deliberate consultation” by all sectors of society, and not forced down the throats of the citizenry. According to the bill, interception would be done in the “interest of national security,” which is defined as protecting the country from “threats of sabotage, espionage, terrorist acts, terrorism or subversion”. Mr Smith, who has had his past troubles with the Christie administration over the right to privacy, expressed concern over what the term subversion could entail over time. He said subversion could be perceived as any simple form of “political dissent,” adding that this can be construed to mean anyone openly disagreeing with the government. He added: “So they will accuse anybody who doesn’t tow the line, who doesn’t agree with every-

thing every politician is going to say or do, whatever the government proposes, as being a subversive, as being a destabiliser as the person trying to bring the government down. “That is the job of the Opposition, that is what every Opposition does in any democratic society. They try to change the government. And that can be defined as subversion.” Last August, Justice Indra Charles ruled that Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald infringed on constitutional rights when he tabled the private emails of Save The Bays in Parliament, and therefore could not be protected by parliamentary privilege. Mr Smith is legal director of Save The Bays. Mr Fitzgerald has appealed that ruling, and the case is ongoing. He and other members of the government have repeatedly accused STB of attempting to destabilise the Christie administration. “…There should be proper time for people to consider it, to look at what legislation has been proposed in other jurisdictions, how it is working in other countries, to what extent it has or hasn’t been abused and civil society, the bench, the bar, members of Parliament, everybody needs to have an opportunity to be engaged in this process of considering this piece of legislation because it is going to change The Bahamas forever,” Mr Smith said in an audio recording sent to the media yesterday. The noted attorney added: “It is not an FNM issue, it is not a PLP issue, it is not a DNA issue; this Interception of Communication Bill

FRED SMITH QC that is being proposed is just like the 2002 referendum to bring equality to the Bahamas. It was rushed back in 2002 and this (bill) is being rushed in 2017. “You can’t propose a bill like this overnight and push it down the throats of the

Bahamian citizenry and expect that everyone is just going to lay back and accept it.” Mr Smith further urged primarily Mrs MaynardGibson to withdraw the bill from Parliament, stating: “…. Take it off the table,

put it out for consultation with the public so that everyone can digest it, we can consider it, we can look at its pros and cons, we can make suggestions for its changes or not and we can come back, and together as a nation we can address the

crime challenges we are facing.” He continued: “Of course we have crime. Of course we need modern provisions for surveillance, but this bill is extreme, it draconian, it is going to change everybody’s life forever.” “It is even more important on the two referendums on equality that have been proposed. This is going to take away everybody’s right to privacy and it is going to, if used in the wrong hands or if abused, it is going to destroy democracy in The Bahamas. “So I urge the government to withdraw this bill and to put it out for consultation; just like how it took the government two, three, four, five years for the government to have consultation with the Freedom of Information Act, we also need to have proper consolation in an act that is going to take away, potentially, everybody’s privacy.” The legislation as proposed, will provide for the “interception of all communications networks regardless of whether they are licensed as public or not” for a period of three months, unless renewed. The bill says this will include public telecommunications operators, internet providers and postal services. The legislation would allow the commissioner of police, or someone acting on his behalf, to ask the attorney general to petition a Supreme Court judge for an interception warrant. Mr Smith implored the government to “do right by the Bahamian people” by allowing them a say on a piece of legislation he claimed, could change the country forever.


The former St Anne’s MP also said the kinds of crimes that are considered “prevalent” throughout the country can be addressed through means already employed by the state and enhancements to laws already enacted. Mr Symonette also accused Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson of relying on “smoke and mirror” tactics to mislead the public over something that was “too clear to see,” insisting that the Christie administration was rushing the legislation to give the perception that it has done something during its term to resolve crime. “No drug dealer or murderer is going to lay out their crimes via an email or letter, not in this day and time,” Mr Symonette told The Tribune. “This situation stinks of something bad. There is no way a drug dealer is going to say they’re making a drop at block three, lot three in Englerston via an email or letter. “Now money laundering and blue-collar crimes, maybe; but not the style of crime prevalent in our country now. If they wanted to get information on persons, whether adversaries or not, this would be the way to go about it. “Criminals use cell phones and we have long had a law to guard against that,” he said, referring to the Listening Devices Act, which the new bill seeks to repeal. “This does not add up. When I was attorney general, I signed countless applications submitted by the commissioner of police to have phone lines tapped. That law was in place since 1972; now all of a sudden you want to come to me and sell me on the idea we need to get into emails and letters too. Not buying it. Not at this time, the explanations being provided are not good enough,” stated Mr Symonette. “The way it looks, it

seems as if the government wants to get into Brent Symonette’s, Joe Public’s, anyone they can build a reasonable case against, their emails and letters. It comes across as the government wanting to get into the inner workings of those that can go against them.” The bill, which was tabled in the House on the night of February 8, will provide for the “interception of all communications networks regardless of whether they are licensed as public or not.” The bill says this will include telecommunications operators, internet providers and postal services. Intercepting, among other provisions, includes the use of a “monitoring device,” physically viewing/ inspecting the contents of any communication and diverting any communication from its intended destination, the bill notes. The bill also states that in order to obtain an interception warrant, the commissioner of police, or someone acting on his behalf, would have to petition the attorney general to make an “ex parte” application to a judge in chambers. This will be done in the interest of “national security,” the bill notes. Defence In an effort to further clarify the government’s efforts, Mrs Maynard-Gibson yesterday told reporters that the government’s only interest in the legislation continues to be placing law enforcement in the best position to combat crime. Mrs Maynard-Gibson said the government remains determined to use every tool at its disposal in the fight against crime. She added that the nature of crime, gang related crime and transnational crime, if not addressed could place the Bahamas in a predicament similar to that of Jamaica, whose criminal problems, she said, had placed the country’s economic survival in jeopardy for sometime.

“The Bahamas does not want to be like that and the government will not sit back and let that happen and the people of the Bahamas don’t expect that to happen,” Mrs Maynard Gibson said. “This bill is a legitimate, lawful crime fighting tool. The Privy Council, which is the highest court in our land, said that our Listening Devices Act, which was passed in 1972 needed to be amended so that the concept of communication is modernised. “(Additionally, the Privy Council) has said that we need to provide for the destruction of records that are gathered using this tool, and (that court) has said that we need to bring it into accordance with the highest international standards like the US, like the UK, and in our region, Trinidad (and Tobago) and St Kitts; which means that it is the independent Supreme Court that decides whether or not a communication may or may not be intercepted.” She added: “The Supreme Court is charged with protecting our Constitution, our rights under the Constitution. Nobody in their right mind who would suggest, or ought to be suggesting, and people like Elsworth Johnson who was the president of the Bar (Association), supposed to be protecting the judiciary, to suggest that this bill violates privacy is criticising our independent judiciary and that is wrong. “And this is not the time for political games for political expediency in an attempt to win a seat. This is crime and crime fighting and the safety of our people and of our economy is a very serious matter.” Mr Johnson, who was ratified last week as the Free National Movement’s candidate for Yamacraw, on Monday called for Bahamians to organise protests and public resistance to the bill which he called “dangerous” spying legislation. It is unclear when debate on the legislation will begin.




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PAGE 6, Wednesday, February, 15, 2017


SMITH DISAPPOINTED IN BOUNDARY CHANGES By KHRISNA VIRGIL Deputy Chief Reporter FORMER Cabinet minister George Smith has expressed disappointment in the new proposed boundary changes ahead of this year’s general election, saying the Constituencies Commission was “not faithful” to the principles of its responsibility as outlined in the Constitution. Speaking to The Tribune, Mr Smith said the commission should look into sparsely populated areas and factor in the convenience of members of Parliament to travel and stay in touch with constituents among other things before making boundary changes. He told The Tribune that while he commends

the commission for renaming the Montagu seat to Freetown and introducing the new constituency of St Barnabas, it has not done what the Constitution mandates. Mr Smith insisted that rather than the government only add one seat, there ought to have been up to five additional seats. “I think that the commission was not very faithful to the charge given to it by Article 70 (2) (of the Constitution), which the prime minister referred to in his communication that gives the guidelines that prescribes the responsibility of the commission to look into sparsely populated areas, people with natural interest, the convenience of a member of Parliament to travel and to stay in touch with people,”

Mr Smith said in an interview on Sunday. “I firmly believe that in the Family Islands, I think the commission was not very faithful to that convention of the Constitution because if they had they would have appreciated that since you’re going to look at increasing the number of seats from 38 to 39, why don’t look at increasing the numbers to be faithful to the Constitution? “You should have looked at the Family Islands and if they did that very closely they ought to have reconstituted a seat called Bimini and the Berry Islands. They certainly ought to look at a second seat for North Exuma. They certainly ought to have given serious consideration into splitting MICAL into two.” He said although the

numbers would be small in these constituencies, this, along with the geography of the islands and the level of difficulty for some members of Parliament to maintain contact with some Family Islands should have been factored into the commission’s conclusion. “I also believe that the requirements of voters in the areas over the hill are far more demanding on an MP than the requirements of a person who represents Killarney or St Anne’s so the numbers in the over the hill constituencies should be less because the demands on the MP are greatest.” He also said: “When you look at the number of constituencies you have to balance that with the number of ministries and Cabinet ministers. You should have

at least whatever your Cabinet is multiplied by three and that should reasonably be the members of the House so that the Cabinet is answerable to the House of Assembly.” Prime Minister Perry Christie last Wednesday tabled the House of Assembly Revision of Boundaries and Re-distribution of Seats Order 2017 during the evening session. It revealed a new constituency named St Barnabas and the renaming of the Montagu seat to Freetown. The order, once made by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, will give effect to the recommendations outlined by the Constituencies Commission in its boundary report. The new seat, St Barnabas, consists of two polling stations from Centre-

ville, two from Bain and Grants Town, three from Englerston, one from Fort Charlotte, and three from Mt Moriah. It is bordered by Farrington Road, inclusive of Lightbourne Ave, Maxwell Ave, and Haven Ave, Wulff Road, East Street and Thompson Blvd. Mr Christie explained that the Montagu seat name was changed to reflect the ancestral history of a major part of the constituency, pointing out that the Freetown seat was included in the 1968 and 1972 elections. The number of seats in the House of Assembly, as previously reported, has increased from 38 to 39, and are divided as such: 24 constituencies in New Providence; five constituencies in Grand Bahama and Bimini; and ten constituencies in the Family Islands.

Legal challenge on boundaries from page one Mr Scott said Chief Justice Hartman Longley declined to hear arguments for the injunction because the plaintiffs’ application was filed too late on Tuesday. The case will be heard before Justice Raymond Winder. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning with the Office of the Attorney General expected to be served today. There are fears that the application could be rendered redundant if Parliament debates the draft order and moves to pass it for gazetting today. The Tribune understands the two Free National Movement MPs will petition the Speaker when the House opens for business not to start any debate as they wish to raise a matter of national importance first to prevent the legislation being “railroaded” through. The application for leave for judicial review filed by the plaintiffs argues: “The last draft order to be tabled in Parliament was on the 16th November 2011. Pursuant to Article 70, the commission shall in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, at intervals of

not more than five years, review the number and boundaries of the constituencies into which The Bahamas is divided and shall submit to the governor general a single report either stating that in the opinion of the commission, no change is required, or recommending certain changes, and the Governor General shall cause such report to be laid before the House of Assembly forthwith. “It, therefore, follows as a matter of constitutional principle that any report (and subsequent draft orders) must have been placed before the House of Assembly on or before November 16, 2016. The draft order is therefore out of time and is null and void. Any attempt by the government to rely on the report and subsequent draft order, in breach of the Constitution, is a decision taken by the government and as such is capable of being judicially reviewed. “It further follows that given that there is no ambiguity under the Constitution as to the time limits to be observed, any attempt to pass the draft order and change the relevant boundaries should be judicially reviewed.” Regarding gerrymandering, the plaintiffs argue that the pro-

posed changes recommended by the Constituencies Commission is an attempt by the government to manipulate constituencies to its advantage ahead of the general election. The application says: “The report recommends a change, for example, to the Montagu constituency, to be named Freetown which has been redrawn to take in an area which is stronghold for the Opposition party and which will materially promote the electoral prospects of the government’s candidate at the election. Quite apart from the breach of Article 70 stated above, this is clearly an attempt, at this late stage before an election, to manipulate the boundaries to suit the government’s purposes in advance of the election.” With respect to the number of seats, the plaintiffs argue that a proposed additional seat is an attempt by the government to manipulate the electoral boundaries for its benefit. “This cannot be correct procedure only three months before the election when barely 50 per cent of Bahamians entitled to vote have registered,” the appli- MICHAEL Scott at Ansbacher House last night. cation says. Photos: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff


erred and “sent out the wrong date in December” and claimed that a correction was issued on January 3. He also said that pensioners who receive direct deposits from NIB get their payments on the third Tuesday of every month and those who receive cheques from NIB get their cheques on the following Thursday. However, several pensioners who spoke to The Tribune said they did not hear of any correction to the earlier pension payout schedule issued by NIB. One pensioner who spoke to The Tribune on

the condition of anonymity claimed he receives his pension on the 14th of every month, but “this time nothing was there.” “I called (NIB) and they told me I have to wait for the 21st with an attitude and no explanation,” he added. “I assumed the government borrowed all the money from NIB and they broke, but that isn’t my fault. I need my money; this is ridiculous.” Another pensioner, a resident of Long Island, took to Facebook to complain about the situation. He said a pamphlet was disseminated by NIB officials that indicated they were supposed to receive their pension payments on February 14.

“National Insurance must have known in advance that pensions were not going to be paid today,” he said. “That being the case an announcement to that effect ought to have been made. Pensioners from north and south Long Island, where there are no banking facilities, were seriously inconvenienced and suffered much distress having made the very long journey to the Royal Bank in Gray’s or Scotia Bank in Buckley’s only to find the money they were depending on, albeit a paltry sum, was not there. “I asked the clerk whether the other dates given by National Insurance for when pension would be paid are reliable,” the pen-



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sioner added. “She could not say. I am seriously concerned, folks, when our National Insurance benefits, for no apparent reason and without any explanation, are being with held from us. “Where has our National Insurance money gone?” Another man, who called The Tribune to complain and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of victimisation, said NIB gave pensioners a yearly calendar featuring dates for when pension payments would be available, and the calendar indicated that the payment would be available on February 14. “I think it’s ridiculous,” he said. “We would like to find out exactly why our

monies were not there. If they give it the third Tuesday of every month like they told you (The Tribune), they should’ve put that on the calendar. I budgeted to get the money on the 14th. It’s Valentine’s Day. You have a wife and there are things you want to do. And there was no explanation and when you go to the bank they say nothing.” Another pensioner, an Exuma resident who did not want to be named, said she was told by NIB employees in Exuma that the pension payments would be issued yesterday. “They don’t know what they are doing out there,” the frustrated pensioner said. “They put a lot of

people at a disadvantage, I know a lot of people who would catch a ferry to the mainland (Exuma) to go to the bank. “It makes no sense. It’s just carelessness and a lack of concern for people. “My brother, he had like $25 left and he spent $15 for gas and gave his grandson $10 for (his school’s) fun day knowing he would have money today. He went to the bank three times (on Tuesday) looking for the money. He said he has to stay home for a week because he doesn’t have money to buy gas. “This is just another reason why I will be writing a paragraph when I go to vote,” the pensioner said.

BOY WHO DIED IN CAR HAD BEEN LEFT ‘BY MISTAKE’ from page one Chief Supt Fernander said the toddler was left in the car “by mistake” after he was picked up by one of the teachers, who took him to school. He said the family and the teacher are both “distraught”. “It appears as though one of the teachers who usually picks up the kids from home accidentally left one of the toddlers in the car,” he said. “When they missed the child, while doing a head

count, they noticed he was not there and when they discovered him he was in the car unresponsive,” Chief Supt Fernander added. “The child was not strapped in the car, she (the daycare worker) picked him up along with some other students and from what we gather she forgot him. We are trying to put the pieces together. “It is sad and unfortunate. It appears as though the child just suffocated. The woman is distraught, she is a mother and, of course, you can understand

the family is distraught as well.” Chief Supt Fernander said the investigation is still in the early stages and police are still trying to put together all the pieces. He said police will determine, after consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, if charges will be pressed. Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact police at 911 or 919, the Central Detective Unit at 502-9991 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 328TIPS.


THE United Democratic Party has ratified former University of the Bahamas President Dr Leon Higgs as its candidate for the Central, South Andros and Mangrove Cay constituency, the party announced yesterday. In a statement, the UDP said Dr Higgs, who has also served as director of high-

er education and lifelong learning at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, is focused on contributing to the Central, South Andros and Mangrove Cay constituency “at a higher level.” “I will help to formulate policies, inspired by Androsians, which will allow Androsians to contribute collectively to the planning, coordination and implementation of our island development,” he reportedly

said while at a recent town meeting in Yamacraw. In being ratified as the UDP’s standard bearer for that constituency, Dr Higgs will face incumbent MP for the area, the PLP’s Picewell Forbes, FNM candidate Zendal Forbes, and DNA candidate Cyril Miller. Mr Forbes, born in South Andros, has been the area’s member of Parliament since 2007. The UDP is led by Marco City MP Greg Moss.


Wednesday, February, 15, 2017, PAGE 7

PM: We can’t turn back the clock WHILE making the case for the Progressive Liberal Party to be elected for another term, Prime Minister Perry Christie said his administration has cleaned “up the mess” left by the Ingraham administration, telling supporters “we cannot afford to turn back the clock.” “Back in 2012, we took office and – well, you know,” Mr Christie said on Monday night to supporters at a branch meeting for the Yamacraw and Elizabeth constituencies. “Things were a mess and not just our finances, our infrastructure, or our torn up roads. I’m talking about people – it’s always about people – and too many children were left out, forgotten, falling behind. From 2007 to 2012, decisions were being made on behalf of the powerful, the already-comfortable, not the people, not the peo-

ple who needed opportunities. “We took office ready to turn that around. We knew it was not going to be easy. Now, you can’t build great change on a shaky foundation. So we rolled up our sleeves. And we got to work. And I want you to know about it, because that work – and believe me, it took awhile, to clean up the mess we found -- is one of the reasons we are finally facing forward. “And it’s one of the reasons we just cannot afford to turn back the clock,” he said to those gathered at the grounds of the Thelma Gibson Primary School. He said the country is starting to see the results of the government’s work, adding that more changes will be evident as more reforms are put in place. “Did you know that we have doubled the na-

tion’s investment in scholarships? We started a Public School Scholars Programme to reach children who had been overlooked,” he said. “We made the largest investment in technology in our nation’s schools ever. We created a new school for children with special disabilities. We expanded the National Training Agency to reach thousands. We refurbished health clinics across the Bahamas to get ready for National Health Insurance. We worked to create an apprenticeship programme at the Grand Bahama Shipyard that recruits and trains Bahamians to replace foreign workers. We pioneered the transition to the University of The Bahamas. “And, of course, we created the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute, which is

transforming Andros and will have satellite projects across Grand Bahama and the Family Islands. This innovative programme is so far-reaching – and yes, it is about agriculture and reducing our food bills – but it is also about entrepreneurship, and opportunity, and food security, and pride. “We have made extraordinary new investments to secure our borders, because our islands are vulnerable to forces of terrorism, drugs, crime and poaching, and national security can never be an afterthought. We are modernising our immigration system and establishing new Royal Bahamas Defence Force bases, acquiring new patrol vessels, and accelerating the recruitment of officers,” he said. He also contrasted the PLP’s team to the Free


TWO men and a woman appeared in Magistrate’s Court yesterday accused of being a part of an arms trafficking ring. Jawaddi Woodside, 24, of Miami, Florida stood before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt alongside Kendrick Woodside, 29, and Shequella Williams, 22, to answer to four firearm related offences: two counts of possession of ammunition with intent to supply and a count each of conspiracy to import ammunition with intent to supply and importation of ammunition. It is alleged that the trio, being concerned together between January and February 10, 2017, agreed with a common purpose to import ammunition into the country. It is alleged that they conspired to import, and were allegedly found with, 50 rounds of .45 ammunition and 596 rounds of 9mm during the period in question.

National Movement, which has been plagued with infighting for most of this term. “So when you see the Opposition, who can barely go a day without insulting each other, pulling each other down, calling each other liars, stabbing each other in the back – you have to ask yourselves, how on earth do they think they could govern? “You think they gonna be looking out for you, when they have to spend all their time watching their backs? “You think somehow if they get in, they are magically going to transform from back-stabbing in-fighters into dignified, cooperating statesmen? I don’t see it, and neither can a lot of Bahamians,” Mr Christie said. While touching on the problem of crime, Mr Christie said overall crime

“is down” but is still “far too high.” He added: “Too often, we don’t feel safe on our own streets, even in our own homes. The tragedies keep coming – and our hearts are broken again and again and again. Many of the changes and investments we’ve made will just take time to work – violence is deeply intertwined with drugs and gangs, and these are not simple problems. “Fighting crime and violence demands more from all of us – more resources and more innovations from government, and more commitment from each one of us.” His comments came on the heels of a bloody weekend, capped off by another murder on Monday. Seven people were killed between Friday and Monday, bringing the total for the year to 27.


JAWADDI WOODSIDE, 24, and Kendrick Woodside, 29, who are accused of arms trafficking.  Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff Only the American pleaded guilty to the four charges while his co-accused denied any involvement. The American and Williams were further charged with conspiracy to import ammunition, possession of ammunition, two counts of possession of ammunition with intent to supply and three counts of ammunition concerning two rounds of live 9mm ammunition, 50 rounds of .40 ammunition

and 25 rounds of .380 ammunition during the same period. The 24-year-old accused pleaded guilty to all of the charges in this arraignment as well while Williams denied any involvement in the crimes. Police prosecutor Sgt Timothy Saunders said it is the intent of the prosecution to proceed with trial against the 22-year-old and 29-year-old accused. However, due to the lateness of yesterday’s arraign-

SHEQUELLA WILLIAMS, 22, who is accused of arms trafficking. ment, the chief magistrate said she would defer the reading of the summary of the facts of the Crown’s case against the American until 10am on Wednesday, February 15. All three were remanded to the Department of Correctional Services until then. Attorney Ian Cargill appeared for the Florida resident while Jiaram Mangra and Bernard Ferguson appeared for the other accused.

The officers, who are married, were shot while responding to a domestic incident at a home in Valentine Subdivision off Johnson Terrance, according to initial police reports. The officers were taken to hospital for treatment. Police also reported that shortly after 4am Sunday, officers arrested a suspect, who was also suffering from gunshot wounds and also recovered a shotgun allegedly used by the suspect. He, too, was taken to hospital and placed under heavy police guard. In yesterday afternoon’s arraignment, Cornish was not allowed to enter a plea to the charges against him and was told that his case will be fast-tracked to the Supreme Court for trial through the presentation of a voluntary bill of indictment scheduled for April 20. He was denied bail and remanded to the Department of Correctional Services in the interim. However, he has the right

DAVID CORNISH, 30, charged with the attempted murders of two police officers. to apply for bail in the Supreme Court. He has retained attorney Ian Cargill to defend him against the allegations. Mr Cargill, prior to his client being taken away, asked that his client receive his medication for his injuries. The chief magistrate made a note of the request on Cornish’s remand warrant.


A MAN was jailed for 54 months after pleading guilty to firearm and ammunition trafficking charges. Eric Delancy, 31, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann FergusonPratt facing eight firearm related offences concerning a seizure that occurred on Friday, February 10. He pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of ammunition with intent to supply, two counts of possession of ammunition and four counts of possession of an unlicensed firearm concerning 46 live rounds of .45 ammunition, 26 rounds of .40 ammunition, 24 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a black 7.62 magazine

clip, a black .45 magazine clip and two brown .223 magazine clips that were found in his back yard on Avocado Street. His lawyer Ian Cargill asked the court for a noncustodial sentencing having regard to his client admitting responsibility from the moment of his arrest and at court. Mr Cargill also stressed that his client had supported eight children through his employment as a supervisor at Leisure Tours and as a mechanic. The lawyer also said that Delancy had no prior runins with the law and no pending matters before the courts. Police Prosecutor Sgt Timothy Saunders argued that a prison sentence was warranted in this case as the calibre of the ammuni-

tion found, namely the 7.62, had bullet proof piercing capacity. He also said that deterrence should be the focus. Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt on Monday afternoon said she was “incensed” by the 7.62 ammunition and that there are “too much murders in this country.” “The velocity of a 7.62 can go through a brick wall. This is bad for our country,” the chief magistrate stressed. “I take your mitigating circumstances in your favour and those aggravating against you and I must try to find a right fit. The charge reflects 46 live rounds, 26 point 40, 24 7.62. This is a trafficker. This is a poor example for your children. An aggravating fact is that for nine years you been

keeping these things - if you want me to believe that and this is something you found.” The chief magistrate expressed surprise that the hiding place of the ammunition survived the winds of Hurricane Matthew, which hit the Bahamas last October. “The court must speak loud and clear for the Bahamas and a sentence must be seen as a deterrent. Persons like you we need to be put away. I am incensed by this, your actions, and you drag your mother into this,” the chief magistrate said. “There is only one reasonable inference that can be drawn from the facts read by the prosecutor which you accepted. I am satisfied you had an arsenal in your backyard. Anything less than a custodial

POLICE RELEASE IDENTITIES OF VICTIMS OF RECENT MURDERS POLICE have released identities for several of the country’s latest homicide victims. Police have identified Wensky Joseph, 15, as the teenager who was fatally shot on the night of Friday, February 10, while walking in the Peardale area. Kenneth Hepburn, 23, has been identified as one

of two men who was shot while at a party on Dean’s Street on Saturday, February 11. Police said occupants of a blue self-drive vehicle fired shots at partygoers. Hepburn and another victim were taken to hospital, however Hepburn died. Meanwhile Ken Stubbs, 41, and Alvan Burrell, 26,

have been identified as the double murder victims who were injured on Lewis Street. According to police, a group of persons were at a club off Lewis Street when an argument broke out, leading to a man firing shots. One man died at the scene, while another man, who was also shot, died in hospital.

Leslie Green, 21, was the victim who was killed at Derby Road in Yellow Elder Gardens on Sunday, February 12. Police said Green was held up by two gunmen who fatally shot him. Anyone with any information on these crimes is asked to contact police at 911, 919 or the Central Detective Unit at 502-9991.

SEARCH FOR MISSING CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER NEAR ABACO A SEARCH is under way in the northern Bahamas for a 24-year-old man who went overboard from a cruise ship. The US Coast Guard said yesterday morning that it sent aircraft out to look for the missing passenger about 15 miles southwest of Abaco. The man’s wife reported him missing when the Carnival Elation reached Nassau. The Coast Guard and Carnival Cruise Lines said

that a check of closed circuit TV showed the man had gone overboard about six hours earlier. The ship was on a five-day cruise of The Bahamas after departing its home port in Jacksonville, Florida. Meanwhile, passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship who were expecting to be on their way to The Bahamas instead spent Monday night stuck at a port in central Florida after Coast Guard inspec-

tors found safety issues on board the ship. Passengers had already boarded the Majesty of the Seas when it was announced that their departure from Port Canaveral would be delayed. US Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Dickinson said the delay had to do with the life-saving equipment on board, not the ship’s engine. Company spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said yesterday in a statement

that some of the outdoor lifejackets on the Majesty of the Seas were showing their age. She says that during a routine inspection the US Coast Guard found some other technical issues that are being addressed. Royal Caribbean officials said replacement life jackets have arrived at the cruise ship. The 880-foot-long vessel can typically carry more than 2,700 guests and a crew of about 900.

sentence makes a mockery of the court. A custodial sentence is warranted,” the magistrate added. Delancy was sentenced to three years at the Department of Correctional Services on the ammunition charges and four and a half years - 54 months - on the firearm charges. She ordered the sentences to run concurrently, meaning that he will serve 54 months for all eight offences.

He also received two years imprisonment for 8.5 ounces of marijuana that was found in his possession, which will run concurrent to the other sentences. Sgt Saunders withdrew the charges against Delancy’s 61-year-old mother and 20-year-old Walter Kelly who denied any involvement or knowledge of the illegal items. They were represented by attorney Jomo Campbell.

PAGE 8, Wednesday, February, 15, 2017


Trust and bias in a changing media landscape I

N THE wake of Donald Trump’s rise to the American presidency, fake news has become a trending topic and media bias is the hot issue of the day. As Trump himself declared recently, “A lot of the media is actually the opposition party - they’re so biased.” He could easily have added his favourite word: “Sad.” The range of alternative Richard Nixon’s crimes news sites on the internet against the US constituhas complicated matters tion, which led to his 1974 for most. Russian dissident resignation in disgrace. Garry Kasparov pointed In America, this began to out that, “it can take a high change with the deregulalevel of education to sepa- tion of broadcasting in the rate fact from fiction in the 1980s. Cable television, and dense information jungle then the internet, spawned we face online.” And con- multiple new information servative American talk outlets, and the resulting show host Charlie Sykes competitive pressures led to acknowledged that fake a decline in traditional, obnews during the US election jective reporting and more had “polluted political dis- focus on “soft” news and course and clogged social entertainment. Radio talk shows promedia timelines … helping spread conspiracy theories liferated, with hosts often and indulging the paranoia expressing strong partisan views to draw polarised of the fever swamps”. Sykes’ unfortunate con- audiences. And alternative clusion is that any news internet news sites often deemed to be biased, em- rejected the conventions of barrassing, annoying or professional journalism in negative can now simply be favour of a mix of highly charged opinion and news. dismissed as fake. These changes were not As a journalist who trained in the early 1970s all bad. Before 1993, for at the height of the profes- example, most Bahamians sion’s prestige and influ- had to rely on two daily ence, this is all deeply trou- newspapers (The Guardbling. Widespread distrust ian, founded in 1844, and of the professional media The Tribune, founded in 1903) along with has serious cona rigorously sequences for ‘ZNS lumbers state-controlled democracy and and censored public account- along as broadcasting ability. We a massive service. The know all too taxpayerPunch (from well here, that 1990) and the when our politi- subsidised cal leaders feel propaganda and Bahama Journal (from 1985) threatened by perks machine, were outliers. mass communiWhen the cation they do no matter who first Ingraham not control, the is in power.’ administration first thing they deregulated do is attack the broadcasting in the early messenger. But if citizens are ever 1990s, there was a similar to hold those in power ac- explosion of radio stations countable, we have to rely and talk shows here. And on the press for information the introduction of cable tv that we can use to judge added more to the mix. Intheir policies and behav- ternet news sites came later, but today there are several iours. When I was a university online sources of Bahamian student in America, the political propaganda and push for civil rights, the spin doctoring. The most significant inanti-Vietnam war movement and the Watergate formation development in probes produced shining recent years has been the examples of journalism as- rise of social media. Just serting itself against gov- about every Bahamian now ernment power. The media has internet access and were no longer conformist there are at least 210,000 supporters of the establish- Facebook subscribers ment, as they had been in about 65 per cent of the earlier times. By the 1970s population (according to professional journalists Internet World Stats). With more than 1.8 bilwere questioning cultural values and exposing abuses lion active users, Facebook of power. They played a big is now the single most powrole in forcing the US to erful player on the global media landscape. Again, end the Vietnam conflict. Arguably, Western jour- this is not altogether a bad nalism notched its great- thing, but it does pose risks est achievement with the for democracy and public investigation of President accountability that should

be taken into account. For example, I use my public Facebook page as a sort of newsletter to responsibly air issues and developTUESDAY ments. But many - either Established 1903 knowingly or unknowingly - push fake news and con24/7 BREAKI HIGH 90ºF spiracy theories, or engage NG NEWS ON TRIBUNE242 .COM LOW 82ºF in deliberate spin doctoring Bi gg es t An d Best! and personal attacks. Paul Horner, an acknowledged author of online fake news articles in the US, deFIG HTI NG DEP RES SIO scribed this trend in a reN: AUT HO R UN VEI LS SEL F-H ELP BO OK - SEE WO MA N cent interview: “Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody factchecks anything anymore - I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Lest you assume this is a biased comment, Horner is no leftist. One of his biggest fake stories was about Barack Obama invalidating the election results - a post that got over 250,000 Facebook shares. Meanwhile, Trump asserts that the ‘real’ fake news emanates from major media outlets that are trying to hold his administration ONE DEAD, THRFRONT EE HURT INpages THE ofACK yesterday’s Nassau GuardLATEST ATT to account. And there are S EX-BOXER ON RAPE, TRA FFICKING CHARGES ian and The Tribune. An analysis of stories during many who agree with him the 2012 election has found no evidence of bias in as a matter of course. the news stories of either newspaper. Facebook has conceded that its hands-off approach ATTORNEY GENERAL: INT ERCEPTof to setting news standards both undesirable,” ION seeking wrote Media to NDbring BILL BOY, 3, FOU WILLhe NCE NOT HA D IN CAR was “wrong”. It will now in his recent book,ENHA RMNixon IT DEApresidency ‘WhyPRIVACY, down the place warning labels on Americans Hate the Media as part of a political plot. fake stories, prevent adver- and How It Matters’. And it is a common theme tising on deceptive sites and To achieve this bal- of Bahamian office holdwork with third-party fact ance, Ladd suggests more ers that journalists conspire checkers to try and address reliance on public media SOagainst GOOD FOR YOUboth them and the ... the problem. outlets that are insulated state. According to George- from market pressures, One could go back and town University professor like PBS in the US or the forth cherrypicking exJoanathan Ladd, “Media BBC in Britain. This is not amples from the left and au & Bahama Islan Newspaper distrust is consequential. the same as whatNasswe haveds’ Leadingright - or almost any other It changes the way people here in the form of ZNS, viewpoint you wish to start acquire information and which is tightly controlled from - to support a charge form political preferences, and therefore useless as a of media bias. But content and leads to substantial in- source of real information. analyses looking for sysformation loss among the In the last Ingraham ad- tematic patterns are unable mass public. They increas- ministration there was talk to find definitive evidence. ingly seek out partisan about converting ZNS into “Perhaps the most crucial news sources that confirm a truly autonomous public determinant of perceptheir pre-existing views.” broadcaster - I was on the tions of bias in the news,” He argues that a more board that tried to get this according to researchers fragmented, less profes- done. But the politicians Matthew Nisbet, of Northsionalised media land- would not relinquish con- eastern University, and scape has some value. But trol; it seems they had no Lauren Feldman, of Rutthere should be a balance, intention of doing so from gers, “is the extent to which so that the public retains the break. So ZNS lumbers news coverage is seen as enough confidence in the along as a massive taxpay- disagreeing with one’s own institutional press to use er-subsidised propaganda views. In a range of studies, information to hold gov- and perks machine, no mat- when news audiences who ernment accountable. “Ex- ter who is in power. hew to opposing sides on treme versions of either a The bottom line is: there an issue are given the same centralised, homogenous, can be incompetence, er- news coverage of the topic unchallenged, and trusted rors and misreporting; to evaluate, both view this news media establishment there can be conformist identical coverage as biased or a fragmented, partisan, views and even outright in favour of the other side sensationalist media are fabrication, but such defi- … and thus potentially reciencies do not amount to ject useful information.” a giant media conspiracy. The conventional wisAnd simply embracing fake dom (often spurred by news or extreme partisan those in power) is that Barhetoric is not the right re- hamian media are politisponse. cally biased and therefore Let’s remember that a “unpatriotic”. While no large segment of opinion in-depth studies have been in the 1970s accused Big done on this, basic research

The Tribune A1MAIN

i’m lovin’ it!

VOLUME:114 No.58

, FEBRUARY 14th,



Top cop and PM divided on crime

Greenslade: Bahamas is not in crisis

Christie: It’s like the Wild West

By SANCHESKA DORS Tribune Staff Repo ETT certain neighbourh and the suggestion oods” sdorsett@tribuneme rter is “emotional and to do so makes no By NICO SCAVELLA sense”. DESPITE the do much more to Tribune Staff Repo “fully unHis recording 13 homiccountry derstand this sensel nscavella@tribunem rter ides in hours comments came ess set 13 days, Comm after the count of killings,” and ission have law Police Ellison Greener of corded its 27th homic ry reenforcement respo PRIM E Minister ide for slade the year. nd “as said the Bahamas Perry quickly Seven people have Chris is as tie not possib yester in le” day likened a been killed since a state of “crisis “very meaningful and in Friday the Bahamas’ crime ” way” On Monday aftern . average Bahamian and the in situtheir crime fightin ation to the “Wild g efforts. tinue to “go about can con- police also reported oon, These as he said the recen West,” that their day man as normal day” witho t wave tie sugge efforts, Mr Chriswas stabbed outsid a of murders in sted, would likely e the fear of being attack ut the an establishment on must solicit a “majo capital include dedicating Nassau ed. Street a At a press confe while “continuous” effort r” and stantial” number of “subrence shot while two men were officat police headq by his ers to in the area of administration uarter to “flood New patrol the streets of Monday after a weeke s on Ross Corner. These the streets” with victims officers in multa Providence and si“carnage”, Comm nd of were said to be in a bid to do “all that neously giving them Greenslade said the issioner condition in hospital. stable sary to bring this is neces- “the capacity to interd only soComm madness the lution to the count issioner to a halt”. movements of peoplict ry’s problem is to “keep crime Greenslade said it e on the streets,” incorp is simMr Christie, prolific ply not offenders behind with reporters speaking ing more reserve policeoratbars”. He to “poinenough for people yesterday, ficers, said the Royal oft the finger said the “madness” and “if neces Police Force (RBPBahamas police in times of at the ring is due to gang occur- incorporating Royal sary” crisis” Bahaconsidering impleF) is not yet refuse to “manage activit y mas Defence and retaliation. their Force a curfew or “locki menting in policing effort marines He said the past ng down SEE PAGE THREE COMM s. bloody ISSIONER of Mr weekend is a conference yesterd Police Ellison Greenslade speaking at “shocking would Christie also said he ay. a press developmen be speaking with Photo: Terrel W. Carey/ Tribune Staff quire the t” that will regovernment to SEE PAGE THREE By RICARDO WELL the three most recen Tribune Staff Repo S dents, which have t inci- a double shooting on rwells @tribunemed rter Ross By LAMECH man dead and threeleft one Corner yesterday, lamen JOHNSON of human trafficking. in hospital in seriou others the “too bold” nature ted Tribune Staff Reporter AS the country Suppression Act, s condi- crime James Coakley, Chapter s occurring in the of lice continue to and po- tion. 53, of 106. capCargill Creek, ital recently, as Officer-in-charge with the latest spategrapple he insisted The forme was brought beforeAndros of the of A vioMAN that Central Detective a “handful of prolifi appeared in lent crimes, law Chief also charg r boxer was Magistrate Joyan ed with ment officials are enforce- Chief Superintendent Unit, offenders” remain hell-b c Magistrate’s Court yesterson-Pratt to answen Fergu- counts of rape filed three ent day accused of under the public’s assistaseeking ton Fernander, speak Clay- on terrorising the public r sexua to two lly asSection counts of trafficking . ing to saulting a woma nce in the media in per- Offences6(a) of the Sexual on the scene of SEE PAGE THREE the Christmas n during sons contrary Act, Chapter 99. to Section is allege She is alleged to holidays. 3(1)(a) of the Traffi d that he engaged It be a victim in in Persons Preventioncking and SEE PAGE SIX

By AVA TURNQUES Tribune Chief Repo T rter aturnquest@ tribun ATTORNEY General Allyson Maynard-G yesterday defended ibson terception of Commthe Inunications Bill as an important anti-crime tool that enhance the privac would y of lawabiding citizens rather than encroach upon it, as detractors claim.

The bill will allow the commissioner of police, or a person acting on his to obtain a warra behalf, nt Supreme Court judgefrom a to intercept and exami son’s communica ne a pertions from telecommunicatio ns tors, internet provid operaers and postal services. In a statement yester day, Mrs Maynard-G ibson explained that this move was unprecedented in Baham i-

an law as it placed ity solely in the authorthe independent hands of adding that the judiciary, ICB met internationa l stand and also addressed ards recent criticisms of the Devices Act by Listen ing the Privy Council. She said any sugge that the legislation stion was a “spying bill” was false. SEE PAGE FIVE


By SANCHESKA DORS Tribune Staff Repo ETT sdorsett@tribuneme rter POLICE are invest ing the circumstance igatrounding the death s surof a three-year-old boy found unresponsiv who was e in a car in front of his dayca re yesterday afternoon. The body of the toddler was discovered shortl ter 2pm on Mond y afay by a SEE PAGE SIX



at the College of the Bahamas has turned up some preliminary insights. Students analysed key words in front-page Guardian and Tribune stories published around the 2012 general election and the subsequent North Abaco by-election. “No evidence of bias was found in the bodies of the stories,” sociology professor Nicolette Bethel told me. These studies looked only at the use of certain words, and Bethel says further research is needed using different criteria - such as story placement, headlines, selective coverage, photography or editorials. Nevertheless, comparisons with American texts show that far more quotes are used in Bahamian newspaper reporting. And frequent use of the adjective “said” indicates that local journalists generally repeat what others have to say. Naturally, this differs from a newspaper’s editorial stance, or the views of its publisher, or the contributions of columnists. But it is a clear fact that professional journalism has a structured process that works in favour of neutrality and accuracy. Just as in any other field, the media can make mistakes and lean one way or another editorially. But few would disagree that there is a huge difference in the quality and reliability of the information presented by institutional media compared to alternative news sources. To take an obvious example, simply compare the information on a site like Bahamas Press or Bahamas News Ma Bey with that presented by The Guardian and Tribune. Any reasonable observer would concede that the online stories are distorted and sensationalised at the expense of accuracy. It is not all fake, but if you are familiar with Bahamian politics you should be able to discern the key messages that these propaganda sites seek to convey. Screaming that The Tribune or The Guardian (or their leading journalists) are biased against the party in power does not make it so. In fact, the endless vilification of the news media by politicians and others serves to diminish the power of an independent press. And this in turn damages our democracy by poisoning the debate to the point where nobody knows what to believe. This is not to say that efforts to improve political reporting and editorial oversight should not be made. Bias exists in every decision we make. So perhaps the best advice is to read critically, seek out a range of views, consider the source, discount obvious propaganda, and fact-check wherever possible. What do you think? Send comments to or visit www.

READERS RESPOND TO COMMISSIONER COMMENTS AFTER Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said The Bahamas is not in a state of “crisis” despite 13 homicides in 13 days, readers reacted on John said: “This is so very sad. It was so painful to listen to the commissioner that many wished he had remained silent. How can the commissioner say after 13 murders in 13 days that the country is not in crisis and persons can go about their normal life? How can he insult Bahamians and tell them that some of them can’t take care of their own homes but they trying to tell him how to do his job? Does not Greenslade realise that the 13 persons killed this month are Bahamian children as are many of the over 1,000 victims that were killed under his watch as commissioner? Twenty-seven for the year.

More murders under his watch than any other commissioner in The Bahamas. More murders than what happened under all the other police commissioners in the past 100 years in The Bahamas. We can no longer buy the case of ‘a few prolific offenders killing up each other’. No not after 10 or more years.” Viewersmatters was also disappointed: “Total disgrace and shame, this is just a poor excuse of indirectly saying they don’t have a solution to crime and cannot maintain the crime or protect the lives of the people of The Bahamas.” TigerB had this to say:

“The COP is already used to those numbers, 119, 146, 111, 123 . . . from when he took over it was those kinds of numbers so he will never see it as a crisis. It is unfortunate, seems they have no plan to take care of this. I’ll bet he would approve the private citizens to carry arms! I saw on TV last night 100 police officers walking about AFTER the man done get shot. Why can’t they find police officers to be about the community before the people get shot?” And there was this comment from Justthefactsplease: “30 murders per 100,000 residents gets you classified as a war zone . . . we have been at or around that ratio for many years yet he does not see this as a crisis. Is he for real?” • Don’t miss your chance to join the debate on


Wednesday, February, 15,2017, 2017,PAGE PAGEA9 9 Wednesday, February 15th,


MICROSOFT President Brad Smith (above) has called on the world’s governments to form an international body to protect civilians from state-sponsored hacking, saying recent high-profile attacks showed a need for global norms to police government activity in cyberspace. Countries need to develop and abide by global rules for cyber attacks similar to those established for armed conflict at the 1949 Geneva Convention that followed World War Two, Mr Smith said yesterday. Technology companies, he added, need to preserve trust and stability online by pledging neutrality in cyber conflict. “We need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to implement the norms needed to protect civilians on the internet in times of peace,” Mr Smith said in a policy speech at the RSA computer security conference in San Francisco. Echoing an earlier blog post Mr Smith put Microsoft - the world’s largest software maker - squarely in the shifting ground of both politics and nationalism, saying tech companies must declare themselves neutral

BODY TO FIGHT CYBER ATTACKS when nations go up against nations in cyberspace. The world’s governments need to pledge that “they will not engage in cyber attacks that target civilian infrastructure, whether it’s the electric grid or the political system,” he said. This digital Geneva Convention would establish protocols, norms and international processes for how tech companies would deal with cyber aggression and attacks of nations aimed at civilian targets, which appears to effectively mean anything but military servers. “Let’s face it, cyberspace is the new battlefield. Tech must be committed to ‘100 per cent defence and zero per cent offence’, Mr Smith said. Even in an age of rising nationalism he said the tech industry needs to provide a “trusted and neutral ‘digital’ Switzerland”. Mr Smith’s proposal fol-

“We need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to implement the norms needed to protect civilians on the internet in times of peace.” Microsoft President Brad Smith lows a 2016 US presidential election marred by the hacking and disclosure of Democratic Party emails that US intelligence agencies concluded were carried out by Russia in order to help Republican Donald Trump win. Cyber attacks have increasingly been used in re-

cent years by governments to achieve foreign policy or national security objectives, sometimes in direct support of traditional battlefield operations. Despite a rise in attacks on governments, infrastructure and political institutions, few international agreements currently exist governing acceptable use of nation-state cyber attacks. The United States and China signed a bilateral pledge in 2015 to refrain from hacking companies in order to steal intellectual property. A similar deal was forged months later among the Group of 20 nations. Mr Smith said President Donald Trump has an opportunity to build on those agreements by sitting down with Russian President Vladimir Putin to “hammer out a future agreement to ban the nation-state hacking of all the civilian aspects of our economic and political

A MODEL of the EHang 184 and the next generation of Dubai Drone Taxi on display during the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, this week. (AP)

PASSENGER-CARRYING DRONE TO FLY IN DUBAI UP, UP AN D AWAY: Dubai hopes to have a passenger-carrying drone regularly buzzing through the skyline of this futuristic city-state in July. The arrival of the Chinese-made EHang 184 — which already has had its flying debut over Dubai’s iconic, sail-shaped Burj al-Arab skyscraper hotel — comes as the Emirati city also has partnered with other cutting-edge technology companies, including Hyperloop One. The question is whether the egg-shaped, fourlegged craft will really take off as a transportation alternative in this car-clogged city already home to the world’s longest driverless metro line. Mattar al-Tayer, the head of Dubai’s Roads & Transportation Agency, announced plans to have the craft regularly flying at the World Government Summit. Before his remarks on Monday, most treated the four-legged, eight-propeller craft as just another curiosity at an event that views itself as a desert Davos. “This is not only a model,” al-Tayer said. “We

have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai’s skies.” The craft can carry a passenger weighing up to 100 kilogrammes (220 pounds) and a small suitcase. After buckling into its race-car-style seat, the craft’s sole passenger selects a destination on a touch-screen pad in front of the seat and the drone flies there automatically. The drone, which has a battery allowing for a half-hour flight time and a range of up to 50 kilometres (31 miles), will be monitored remotely by a control room on the ground. It has a top speed of 160 kph (100 mph), but authorities say it will be operated typically at 100 kph (62 mph). Al-Tayer said the drone would begin regular operations in July. He did not elaborate. The Road and Transportation Agency later issued a statement saying the drone had been examined by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and was controlled through 4G mobile internet. Associated Press

infrastructures.” A Digital Geneva Convention would benefit from the creation of an independent organisation to investigate and publicly disclose evidence that attributes nation-state attacks to specific countries, Mr Smith said. Mr Smith likened such an organisation, which would include technical experts from governments and the private sector, to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a watchdog based at the United Nations that works to deter the use of nuclear weapons. He also said the technology sector needed to work collectively and neutrally to protect internet users around the world from cyber attacks, including a pledge not to aid governments in offensive activity and the adoption of a co-ordinated disclosure process for software and hardware vulnerabilities.

NBA AND VIDEO GAME COMPANY TO LAUNCH NEW GAMING LEAGUE IN 2018 VIDEO gamers now have a chance to compete for an NBA title, in an actual NBA arena and get paid by the some of the same people who pay LeBron James and Steph Curry. That’s right, the “NBA 2K eLeague” is coming — the first eSports league operated by one of the four major pro sports leagues in the United States. The NBA and Take-Two Interactive Software has announced that they are bringing some of the world’s best gamers together to compete while representing actual NBA teams, a competition Commissioner Adam Silver hopes will continue to expand his league’s global brand. “The large part of my mission is to grow the game of basketball,” Silver told The Associated Press. “There’s going to be an opportunity for this first of a kind league to attract a group of gamers who might be playing some other game. Now, they can say ‘Maybe I couldn’t play for the Knicks, because I didn’t have the physical prowess to compete at that level. But I do have the mental and physical prowess to compete as an egamer for the eKnicks.’” “NBA 2K eLeague” is scheduled to debut in 2018. The league will start with nearly half of the NBA teams — Silver did not say which teams, but noted that eventually all 30 NBA teams will be represented. Each N BA owner is being given the opportunity to build teams at their own pace. Associated Press

TECHTALK • BRITAIN’S treasury chief has warned that cyberattacks are increasing in severity and sophistication as authorities open a new centre devoted to thwarting such threats. Philip Hammond has urged businesses to “sharpen” their approach as the attacks intensify. Hammond says 65 per cent of large businesses have reported a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months — but that many businesses don’t have plans in the event of a breach. The new centre’s technical director, Ian Levy, says the government will act as “a guinea pig for all the measures we want to see done by industry at national scale.” The government underpinned the new facility with a 1.9 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) cash injection. • COMPUTER chips that store personal information and could be used to pinpoint someone’s location could not be implanted in humans without consent under a bill Nevada state lawmakers weighed on Monday. Lawmakers on a judicial panel considered whether Nevada should join at least four other states in banning mandatory identification markers in people as a precaution to keep the emerging technology from creeping into workplaces, prisons or hospitals. Republican Sen. Becky Harris of Las Vegas, sponsor of the legislation, said she’s worried computer chips could pose serious risks to human rights and public health. “This is a completely new issue,” Harris said. “I just want a safety measure in place until we better understand the technology and the reasoning behind people’s desire to require implanting chips.” ACLU of Nevada Policy Director Holly Welborn said there’s no impending need to protect people against mandatory microchipping, but there’s no question the technology would violate rights to personal autonomy and privacy. • A NEW mobile app is putting New Mexico’s cultural and historical sites at the fingertips of smartphone users. The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs recently released the Cultural Atlas of New Mexico app that allows users to explore landmarks, parks and public art around the state. It was developed with the help of Highlands University media arts graduate student Matthew Gallegos. The Cultural Atlas of New Mexico app has more than 800 photos, a New Mexico map integrated with the user’s phone-mapping software, and written highlights of the sites. The app is available as a free download on Google Play and the Apple App Store.


Wednesday, February, 15, 2017, PAGE 11

WINNERS of the first Economics Essay Competition pictured with Peter Young, director of the Nassau Institute and former British High Commissioner. Students pictured from left are third place wubber Sherica Rose, 16-year-old 11th grader of Doris Johnson Senior High School, second place winner Ayesha Kemp, 17-year-old 12th grader of Anatol Rodgers High School and first place winner Caltranique Gardiner, 18-year-old 12th grader of Westminister College.  Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Winners scoop prizes in new essay contest CALTRANIQUE Gardiner, of Westminster College, is the winner of a new essay-writing competition which organisers hope will become an annual event. The competition was a joint venture between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and The Nassau Institute and was sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. It was open to pupils in both private and public high schools who were en-

rolled in Business Studies programmes. They were required to write an essay in their own words based on a designated subject in the book “Economics in One Lesson� by renowned American economist Henry Hazlitt. The competition was held at the Anatol Rodgers High School on February 1. The overall winner was Caltranique Gardiner, the runner-up was Ayesha Kemp, of Anatol Rodg-

ers, while Sherica Rose, of Doris Johnson Senior High School, took third place. Their respective prizes - awarded at a ceremony yesterday at the Ministry of Education - were a laptop, an iPad and a Kindle Fire as well as an inscribed trophy. The winners in each school which participated also received an inscribed trophy. Their teachers also attended the prizegiv-

ing and the students who produced the best work received prizes and trophies while all participants earned certificates of attendance. Serethea Clark, Deputy Director of Education, welcomed this example of involvement by the private sector and praised the efforts of Gwendolyn Johnson, Education Officer for Business Studies at the Ministry of Education, who had overall responsi-

bility for the competition. She also commended the work of Samantha Keziah Knowles and Lakell Johnson, of Anatol Rodgers High School, in handling the detailed arrangements. Peter Young, a director of The Nassau Institute and the former British High Commissioner, thanked all concerned involved in organising the competition and congratulated the students on their successful

participation. He expressed the hope that such an essay contest could be become an annual event and that the Ministry of Education and The Nassau Institute would be able to work together on other related projects in the future. He also thanked the sponsors for their generous support. Rick Lowe, President of The Nassau Institute, took part in the presentation of prizes, trophies and certificates.

PAGE 12, Wednesday, February, 15, 2017


CHILDREN from Gambier Primary School who have been provided with new backpacks by the Sandals Foundation.

SANDALS PACKS CHILDREN OFF TO SCHOOL WITH A TREAT THE children at Gambier Primary School are in for a treat during the course of the school year. Team members of Sandals Royal Bahamian and the Sandals Foundation, the charitable arm of

Sandals Resorts International, brought 50 brand new backpacks filled with school supplies to the school for the inception of the Birthday Bag programme. If a child has his or her

birthday during the school year, they would receive one of the bags as a birthday gift. Sheniqua Curry, principal of the school, said: “We love how Sandals always keeps the children

of this school in their thoughts. It’s such a nice thought to know that most of these kids will be receiving something on their birthday. Almost every single bag is different and they all have a mixture of

useful items so no one will feel left out.” The donation of the backpacks was made possible by the Sandals Foundation’s Pack for a Purpose programme where all guests, inclu-

sive of the general public, are encouraged to donate a backpack filled with school supplies to be gifted to schools and other youth institutions in New Providence and around The Bahamas.

Fresh protest by residents over industrial plant pollution By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter THE Pinder’s Point/ Lewis Yard Environmental Committee staged a protest on Tuesday in front of the Harold DeGregory Government Complex in Grand Bahama, where they continued calls for the relocation of residents from the five settlements near the industrial plants. Bertram Pinder, chairman of the Pinder’s Point/

Lewis Yard Environmental Committee (PPLYEC), and Shuffel Hepburn, committee member, led a small group of protestors who demonstrated and sang “We Shall Overcome” in the rain around noon along the Mall Drive. Motorists honked their horns in support of the group, which plans to carry out a series of protests over the next three weeks in Grand Bahama to highlight the plight of alleged ongoing chemical emissions.

The committee does not accept the findings of an environmental and health assessment study conducted in 2015 by the World Health Organisation/Pan American Health Organisation that the industrial plants pose no health risks to the residents of Seaco Town, Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, Hunters, and the Mack Town settlements, as well as the Hawksbill Subdivision. “This is our second round of demonstrations against the government of

the Bahamas, particularly the Office of the Minister for Grand Bahama because we have sent them notices about our non-acceptance of the report and the need for relocating the residents,” Mr Pinder said. He said the group also plans to hold a demonstration next week in front of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Building on the Mall Drive. And on the third week, they will demonstrate at the Freeport Industrial Park on

February 28. “We are just going to continue our fight, and even though we have few in numbers today we will continue every week for the next three weeks with our protests against the industrial plants, the government, and the Grand Bahama Port Authority concerning the relocation of residents,” Mr Pinder said. Protestor Jackie Russell, a resident of Hunters, said she has lived in the settlement for the past 52 years.

“I can remember far back as the early ’80s attending Catholic High School and sometimes the stench was so noxious from one of those plants, either BORCO or Syntex. Sometimes school would be dismissed and we would have to go home.” Ms Russell said that the chemical odours are still in the area. “We are going to hold the government accountable for this; they need to do something for the residents,” she said.

BREEF ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SCHOLAR PROGRAMME THE Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation is accepting applications for The Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars programme. BESS is a unique yearlong study and work experience programme for motivated graduating high school students between the ages of 15-18, interested in learning more about the environment, conservation and sustainable development. During the BESS academic year, students attend the Cape Eleuthera Island School and engage

ANDRIEKA Burrows gets a head start into her Island School semester by taking a leap of faith during school orientation.

in experiential learning and research. Additionally, students gain work experience through a paid internship with a local conservation organisation. Since the programme’s inception, 38 BESS scholars from schools throughout the country have participated. The BESS experience is life changing, according to a press release. Through this mentorship programme, BESS alumni have travelled the country, worked with scientists and participated in groundbreaking projects before going off to pursue further studies.

For more information about the programme, contact BREEF at 3279000, email breef@breef. org or visit: youth-education/bess-programme/ to download the application. The application deadline is February 28. Full and partial scholarships are available. BREEF is a non-government, non-profit, Bahamian marine conservation organisation whose mission is to promote the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment that sustains our way of life.

JESSE Sweeting participates in a shark tagging expedition during his semester at the Cape Eleuthera Island School.

ALEXANDER Henderson (BNT intern) and Tevin Williams (BREEF intern) assist with sea turtle tagging research.

ALANNAH Vellacott participates in shark research during her internship with the Cape Eleuthera Institute.

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