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VOLUME:114 No.60, FEBRUARY, 16th, 2017

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Chipman sparks boundaries row MP claims draft was changed after he signed report By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter MEMBERS of Parliament clashed in the House of Assembly yesterday over allegations St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman made in a letter to House Speaker Dr Kendal Major in which he claimed that the draft order for constituency boundaries that was tabled last week differed significantly from the report he signed as the Official Opposition’s representative on the Constituencies Commission. Dr Major read the letter into the record, then called it “extraordinary,” “unprecedented,” and said it possibly impugns his character.

During another rambunctious session, he threatened to name Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins when the MP frequently attempted to rise on a point of order only to be rebuffed by the speaker as governing party members shouted and scolded him from their seats. Mr Chipman was not present in the House yesterday because he is out of the country. For his absence, he was criticised by governing party members even though he was with a government delegation in Trinidad for a CARICOM meeting at the invitation of Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell. SEE PAGE FIVE

EFFORTS by Official Opposition members yesterday to have debate on the draft order for constituency boundaries postponed while their application for a judicial review of the order is before the court were rebuffed by House Speaker Dr Kendal Major, who allowed the debate to begin as scheduled. The House of Assembly passed the order last

night; however six members - Richard Lightbourn, Dr Andre Rollins, Neko Grant, Theo Neilly, Peter Turnquest and Dr Hubert Minnis - opposed this. Represented by attorney Michael Scott, Mr Lightbourn, the Montagu MP, and Dr Andre Rollins, MP for Fort Charlotte, filed an application in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking leave to begin judicial review proceedings into the draft order. SEE PAGE FIVE



By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter AN Eight Mile Rock woman was fatally stabbed on Valentine’s Day, police in Grand Bahama reported yesterday. According to police reports, the 49-year-old victim, of Seagrape, Eight Mile Rock, was taken to the Rand Memorial Hospital shortly after 5pm on Tuesday with stab wounds to the body and later died of her injuries. Police have not released the victim’s name, but The Tribune understands that the deceased woman is believed to be Margaret Smith. SEE PAGE 12

By SANCHESKA DORSETT Tribune Staff Reporter FORT Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins said yesterday he is prepared to swim in his “own vomit” to order “to get back with” the Free National Movement (FNM) to ensure that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) does not win the upcoming general election. While making his contribution in the House of Assembly last night, Dr Rollins said despite all that has happened, he is an FNM and his main objective is to make sure the party, led by Dr Hubert Minnis, becomes the next government of The Bahamas. Dr Rollins’ statements contradicted comments he SEE PAGE 12

BERNARD NOTTAGE, Minister of National Security, speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

LOCKDOWNS AND RBDF ORDERED ON THE STREETS IN CRIME FIGHT By KHRISNA VIRGIL Deputy Chief Reporter WHILE murders in the country continue to escalate at an alarming pace, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage announced several anti-crime strategies including “lockdowns”, mobile police vans and an armed forces partnership as he admitted the killings are affiliated with people connected to

“gangs, drugs and guns”. Dr Nottage also said intelligence has suggested that there are connections between many violent incidents on the streets of New Providence and inmates at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services and recently released prisoners. This comes as eight people have been killed since Friday, taking the country’s murder count to 28 for the year. The latest victim, a woman, died in hospital in

Grand Bahama on Tuesday. The rise in murders also led Prime Minister Perry Christie to liken the situation to the “Wild West” earlier this week 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”. SEE PAGE SIX











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By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter BAHA Mar has received more than 11,000 applications for employment as progress is being made with the hiring process, with the company’s new Vice President of Human Resources Kristy Cowper yesterday expressing “excitement” with applicant turnout in the weeks since the once stalled hotel property resumed activities last month. SEE PAGE SEVEN

PAGE 2, Thursday, February 16, 2017


Grammy winner and music legend Mike Oldfield in tomorrow’s Weekend section ARTWORK created by Mt Carmel students in response to violence in the country.

Students meet violence with

HOPE IN response to the recent flurry of violence in the country, the art students at Mt Carmel Preparatory Academy felt compelled to paint a piece entitled “Hope”. Principal Lorraine Curry said: “In just six weeks in the new year, there have been countless acts of violence, many resulting in death. We believe that this expression of peace is fittingly appropriate. Our students are constantly challenged to be respectful, tolerant and to show love toward each other.” Students from grades 10 and 11 at Mt Carmel also visited the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas for the first time. While there students

STUDENTS at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. The students are instructviewed two exhibitions “NE8: Atilla Feszt: Fake ed by noted Bahamian artPlastic Trees” and “From ist and ceramicist, Imogene Columbus to Junkanoo”. Walkine. Students have Both exhibitions featured also produced artwork for a variety of Bahamian Thanksgiving and have themes including the evolu- started a campus beautification initiative. tion of art.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017, PAGE 3

FNM ‘will not join legal action’ By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter FREE National Movement (FNM) Deputy Leader K Peter Turnquest yesterday branded the legal action filed by two Official Opposition members over the recently tabled draft boundaries report as a “pointless exercise” that will not be supported by the FNM, insisting that the party was focused on fighting the government on the campaign trail. Mr Turnquest said reductions to the size of Centreville and Bain and Grants Town created an unfair advantage to incumbents, and, coupled with the late tabling of the bill, put all Opposition candidates at a disadvantage. He noted that the voter registration numbers did not justify the changes and that the government has failed in its constitutional duty to ensure fairness and equity in the process. But, ultimately, he surmised that seeking legal recourse was a “pointless exercise”. “Obviously there are some strategic advantages for the government to move the boundaries to include polling divisions that they

think are stronger,” he said, “or move those that they think are weaker, for them to try to create an advantage for themselves and we see that clearly in this report. There is no doubt about it. “But, at the end of the day, it is our job to go out and canvass the Bahamian people as a whole, so that no matter where the lines are, we secure the support of the Bahamian people. “We will certainly take a stand that we believe it is unfair the way the boundaries have been cut. There was no need for the way it was cut, the numbers don’t justify there being a cut. When you look at Centreville and Bain and Grants Town, they were each reduced by 1,000 voters. They are the lowest voter count in all the constituencies in the country, why? “It does create a bit of an unfair advantage for those two members in terms of the number of people they represent as opposed to others, and the power of one vote in those constituencies as compared to others. “It’s incumbent upon us to go and win the election,” Mr Turnquest said. “We’re not going to shirk away and

EAST Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest in the House of Assembly previously. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff whine and complain, we’re going to go fight because we believe we have a plan that is worth fighting for and a country that is worth fighting for. “We’re a minority and at this point we’re a three-person minority, irrespective of what the (Official) Opposition may be. So we will certainly voice our concern but in terms of opposing it, there’s no point, it’s a pointless exercise. We will fight on the ground.” Marco City MP Greg Moss, leader of the United Democratic Party, also weighed in on the issue yesterday. During debate on the draft order, Mr Moss told the House of Assembly that elections are won on the ground, not based on constituency lines. He also disagreed with the merit of the legal action, suggesting that gerrymandering of constituencies often did not help governing administrations to win a general election. On Tuesday, the plaintiffs, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn and Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins, filed an applica-

tion in the Supreme Court to have the draft order declared void and that the 2012 order on constituency boundaries should be made extant, meaning applicable to the 2017 general election. The men seek a favourable ruling based on three grounds: that the draft order has been tabled too late to be legal, that it represents egregious gerrymandering and that it seeks to add an additional constituency despite a nationwide pace of voter registration that is well below that of 2012. Mr Lightbourn and Dr Rollins are part of the “rebel seven” that ousted FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis as leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Assembly, and appointed Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner in December last year. The FNM has appointed a three-person tribunal to decide the fate of Mrs Butler-Turner and the six other members of Parliament, and that process is ongoing. The two MPs are represented by attorney Michael Scott.

GUN SMUGGLING CASE WILL GO ON DESPITE TWO-YEAR DELAY IN TRIAL By LAMECH JOHNSON Tribune Staff Reporter A MAGISTRATE refused a lawyer’s request yesterday for his client to be discharged of gun and ammunition smuggling charges after a near two-year delay in the start of trial. Kenton Roberts, 39, and attorney Murrio Ducille appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt for the expected start of Roberts’ trial concerning charges of possession of ammunition with intent to supply and importation of firearms and ammunition. Prosecutors allege that Roberts imported a Sig Sauer P250 .40 pistol, a Glock 27 pistol and an Intratec luger 9mm pistol on June 8, 2015. On that same date, Roberts allegedly imported 60 rounds of 7.62 ammunition; 50 rounds of .45 ammunition; 50 rounds of .44 ammunition; 157 rounds of 9mm ammunition; 100 rounds of .223 ammunition; and 100 rounds of .38 ammunition. Roberts, however, denied the allegations against him when arraigned before Magistrate Andrew Forbes on June 18, 2015. The matter was transferred in September 2016 to Magistrate Constance Delancy, who presided in court nine for a time before Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt returned in November from serving as an acting justice in the Supreme Court. However, no evidence had been taken in the case since his arraignment due to the absence of prosecution witnesses. When the matter was called yesterday, police prosecutor Sgt Timothy Saunders asked for an adjournment, indicating that he was instructed that the

Office of The Attorney General will now being prosecuting matters where an importation allegation arises. Mr Ducille expressed his displeasure at the request for another delay as his client, who travels from Exuma to the capital, had attended every court date given. He further asked the court to discharge his client for want of prosecution. The chief magistrate agreed with Mr Ducille that it was unacceptable that the matter had not yet been heard in almost two years.

However, she did not grant the defence attorney’s request and adjourned the matter to April 20.

She urged the police prosecutor to ensure that there is no further delay with the matter.

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Now is the time to put aside egos and unite TODAY we make no apology for returning once again to the burning political issue facing our country - the alarming prospect that, in the face of a warring and fractured Opposition, a Progressive Liberal Party government may be returned for another five years at the general election which has to be held no later than May. Publication at last of the delayed Boundaries Commission report and of the Free National Movement’s manifesto has finally concentrated minds in the realisation that the election is barely three months away. We believe that the prevailing public mood is one of despair, not just that the nation is at such a low ebb in so many ways because of the PLP’s calamitous and discredited performance since coming to power in 2012, but also in the knowledge that another term with the same people at the helm, including Prime Minister Perry Christie himself, will be disastrous for the Bahamas. The examples under this government of alleged corruption, greed, dishonesty, scandal, victimisation, flawed decisionmaking and sheer mismanagement on a grand scale are too well known at this late stage of its period of governance to bear reiteration. But, sadly, Mr Christie and his ministerial colleagues seem to be in denial about what is happening as the country continues on a downward path and they do not even listen to people like the ‘We March’ protestors. He and they appear to be unable or unwilling to face up to major problems like unemployment, the nation’s investment junk status and deteriorating GDP to debt ratio, to name just a few, while Mr Christie’s ‘Wild West’ comparison this week in reaction to the worsening crime situation was politically inept since it showed a government which has lost control. His much criticised mishandling of the Baha Mar debacle will also resonate in voters’ minds as evidence of incompetence while being bamboozled by the Chinese or, at worst, of collusion with them together with the disgraceful treatment of the original developer amidst continuing rumours of money changing hands. Although he is an experienced politician with solid achievements to his name during the course of a long career and by reputation a decent and caring man, the Prime Minister is surrounded by flawed ministerial colleagues, including one whose self-important attempts at posturing on the international stage do little to enhance the fortunes or reputation of our nation and another who brings into disrepute his position as a member of the Cabinet by refusing to accept a court ruling against him. While the largely unsighted

observations of his party chairman, who seems increasingly to be out of touch with reality, may influence him, we also fear that Mr Christie suffers from political hubris and, most recently, could have been lured into complacency by the numerous sycophants and grassroots supporters at the recent PLP convention where, shamefully, the one contender for his job was not even allowed to speak. To make matters worse for him, not only was the report of the Boundaries Commission delayed and therefore tabled late but it is now being challenged in the courts because of blatant gerrymandering in the PLP’s favour. At the same time, the Interception of Communications Bill which has just been tabled has already been heavily and widely criticised as an assault on the citizenry’s right to privacy and for being rushed through at the last minute without adequate consultation. Then there is the Freedom of Information Bill currently being considered by the Senate which contains so many exemptions as to be largely toothless and not fit for its original purpose. Despite all this, the PLP can always rely on the votes of its diehard supporters at a general election because their traditional loyalty remains unaffected by the government’s performance in office. So there is a danger that, if the Opposition remains divided between the FNM and the Democratic National Alliance, there could be a repeat of the 2012 election result when the DNA won no seats but did well enough to split the FNM vote which enabled the PLP to secure victory. The low numbers registering to vote in this general election is surely one measure of the people’s dissatisfaction with the political class. We use this opportunity to appeal yet again to the FNM to put its house in order and re-establish internal party unity. We urge its leaders to seek an accommodation with their DNA counterparts in order to produce a united Opposition with a genuine chance of winning in May. They should all put aside their respective egos and understand that a failure to establish some sort of functioning unity will go down badly with an electorate which is desperate for change and for a new political leadership which can fix the many problems besetting this small nation. We believe that it is not being unduly alarmist to say that another five years of a failed PLP government could even result in civil unrest - and clearly this is something which above all our traditionally tolerant and peaceful community must seek to avoid. It is not too late for those politicians concerned to take responsibility as patriotic Bahamians and do the right thing for their country.

Well-deserved extension EDITOR, The Tribune. I AM pleased to see that the Hon Chief Justice of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Sir Hartman Longley, has been granted an extension of his stellar career in this invaluable judicial office. This man is a man of the law, so to speak, but, as an Androsian, he has long displayed a degree of legal acumen that would

appear to have been lacking for eons, with all due respect. Sir Hartman, God bless his soul, attended the ‘old’ Government High School (GHS) on Poincianna Boulevard. Individuals like him, the Hon Algernon SPB Allen; Dr Timothy Barrett; Maurice Glinton, QC, and me, along with many others were privileged to be members of the student body.

Congratulations, Sir Hartman, you have done our wonderful nation and her people well. You will long be remembered as a legal scholar; an outstanding family man but, more importantly as one who loves The Lord. To God then, in all things, be the glory! ORTLAND H. BODIE JR. Nassau, February 10, 2017.

Protecting our privacy? EDITOR, The Tribune ALLYSON Maynard Gibson’s defence of the controversial Interception of Communications Bill lacks credibility as she states that the authority for it would be placed “solely in the hands of the Independent Judiciary”. This is laughable as the government has openly shown their disdain, disrespect and disregard for the Judiciary by their recent attacks on sitting Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles

for her rulings on Jerome Fitzgerald’s controversial tabling of private and personal emails in the House of Assembly under the guise of Parliamentary Privilege. She opined that the Bill would be an important anti-crime tool, perhaps, if it were directed against the right group of criminals. The government’s mishandling of the Freedom of Information Act and their continued meddling in the administration of the Royal Bahamas Police Force does not instil confidence and, in my opin-

ion, the bill if passed into law, would be subject to abuse by politicians using it as a tool for the victimisation of political opponents, private businesses and citizenry alike. She also claimed that the Bill would enhance the privacy of citizens rather than encroach upon it. The question begs, considering the above, whose privacy would really be enhanced - the government’s or ours? IAN MABON Nassau, February 14, 2017.

We do not have a crime problem EDITOR, The Tribune I WOULD like to go on record and disagree with all of the talk show hosts and media personalities who think that we have a crime problem; to listen to them pontificate you get the impression that this situation is something new. It is not new and we have brought it upon ourselves. What we are seeing is the manifestation of a deeper social problem linked to a particular demographic inhabited by the Bahamian male; his true ethnicity may be in question, but he is Bahamian. He is a member of the “majority” but he is treated as an ethnic minority; almost like the men of African descent living in America. Ours is a “social problem”, punctuated by the fact that those who should be speaking for the communities where most of our prolific offenders come out of, are silent on the matter. Their only concern is the gerrymandering of constituency boundaries and the decimation of the “historical districts” in this nation. It is heartless that they dig

LETTERS deeper into the areas most affected by crime to secure their political futures. It is safe for them, but not safe for the persons who have to live in these areas. The data before us reveals that “murder” in this country is a localised event, in the sense that 90 per cent of the perpetrators and the victims are known to each other. Therefore what we call a crime problem is just a social problem in its manifestation stage. The police can often predict with accuracy where the trouble will be with every person released from prison. The Commissioner could have chosen a more tactful way of telling us what we already know, but the fact that we as a society are disregarding what is in our faces may have lead him to adopt a different strategy. Murder in this nation is adversely affecting a particular demographic and perhaps our history of slavery has supplied us with the tools we need to keep each

other down; there is a penchant or norm for us in that we can only be up when another person is down and the three cardinal traits of our culture lend themselves to that dynamic; this culture is personality driven, event focused and crisis orientated. It is evident that these three aspects can be found in every thing that happens especially in politics and religion. Do not think it strange that you only hear from some politicians or pastors when there is a crisis; that is the only way that they know how to operate, but you, like me are surprised that they are not out in front on this issue.   We will attempt to get our problem fixed when what is happening in a particular demographic spills over into the lives of those who think that what is going on really does not affect them. Until that time, the Commissioner of Police and his staff have their hands full. EDWARD HUTCHESON Nassau, February 14, 2017.

Listen to Bishop Boyd EDITOR, The Tribune. WHEN a head of a denomination speaks and speaks loudly on live television the content of his address has to be taken seriously. We should listen carefully to what Bishop Laish Boyd of the Anglican Church had to say as he said a lot. Why do people offer themselves as candidates in elections? Perceived corruption in government. The setting of the election boundaries, controlled by party-in-power. Migration - are we treating them fairly and humanely? Crime Biased employing of civil servants based on

party loyalty. Transparency in our national financial affairs. Political promises never to be created. I agree totally with the first item - the constant from these people is the word “power” - sorry if you are not interested in serving get out. Corruption - unless proven there is no case, if you know, then report it. Boundaries - everyone knows each other - Independent Commission. How? Migration - the constant repeated allegations have to be worrisome - what is the truth? Government would do well to clear these allegations. Crime - our services are

doing a commendable job - as the Bishop said you hardly invite the Police for coffee or a beer it is always after a crime. Employment - we know Party supporters push this to the limit it is wrong, employment should be on merit and only when a job is vacant. Financial transparency I would certainly commend Hubert Minnis to refer to the VAT Law - the FNM voted for the legislationyes, waste is wrong. Campaign promises ..... Lord forgive them as they aIl want ‘almighty power! W THOMPSON Nassau, February 8, 2017.


Thursday, February 16, 2017, PAGE 5

Chipman sparks boundaries row from page one Mr Chipman’s letter, dated February 13, said: “I write to formally record my extreme displeasure at the complete and utter variance between the contents of the document shown to me and the document actually tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. In particular, as mentioned during our telephone conversation of Friday, February 10, 2017, I had no prior knowledge of the changes relating to Montagu, as announced by the right honourable prime minister, when the draft report was tabled in the House of Assembly on February 8, 2017.”

The letter added: “Therefore, I am bound to express my profound disappointment that the document produced to me withheld material contained in the actual draft report laid in the House. Moreover, a number of my Opposition colleagues have forcefully expressed the view to me that the report fails the test of fundamental fairness in these specific ways.” Mr Chipman also argued that the decision to recalibrate some boundaries in some constituencies was flawed, and he accused the government members on the commission of gerrymandering. “The Montagu (which has been renamed Freetown) and St Anne’s constituen-

cies are the most blatant cases (where gerrymandering took place),” he said. Mr Chipman also argued that there was no justification for increasing the number of seats in the country given the slow pace of voter registration. In his letter, Mr Chipman did not explain the difference between the report he signed and the draft order tabled in the House. In response yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie stressed that he made one change to the boundaries report, which was in respect to the name change of the Montagu constituency. He added that this fell within the parametres of his powers as outlined in the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald, one of the members of the commission, responded by expressing serious concerns about his allegations, which he said were blatantly false. When Dr Rollins said it was inappropriate for Mr Fitzgerald to criticise an absent member, Dr Major said his comment was the one that was out of order. “The chair takes grave issue with your comments,” Dr Major said. “This letter in the member’s absence was read from the chair, the same person whose character itself was impugned in this letter, or could be impugned in this letter. So the chair is showing absolute fairness in allowing

this to be aired and so for the member of Marathon to defend as a member of the commission, you not having been a member at all, is (appropriate). You are out of order. Take your seat.” During debate on the draft order, Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said Mr Chipman was “under duress” when he signed the letter he sent to Dr Major. “I don’t know that (Mr Chipman) could look me in the eye and speak to me about this,” Mr Davis said. “I don’t think he could look you in the eye and speak to you about this. “I would wish to note my extreme displeasure in the allegation he made about the commission. The fact

that he speaks to the complete and utter variance between the contents of the documents shown him and actually tabled, let me say that there has been no variance from what was handed to him compared to what was laid on the table of the House. “What was laid on the table of the House was the draft order sent to the governor general by the prime minister. Mr Chipman allowed the crew to bamboozle him into signing this. They forced him to sign this document. He needs to look me in the eye and tell me he believes this what he put his name to,” Mr Davis, a member of the Constituencies Commission, said.

SPEAKER ALLOWS DEBATE DESPITE JUDICIAL REVIEW APPLICATION from page one The men hoped their application, which will be heard before the Supreme Court Justice Raymond Winder this morning, would prompt Dr Major to postpone the debate. When he attempted to argue his position, Dr Rollins was met with fierce opposition from Dr Major and members of the governing party. He tried numerous times to rise on a point of order, but Dr Major denied him his requests. “Take your seat,” Dr Major often shouted. “You are not recognised.” At one point, after Dr Rollins stood on a point of order for well over a minute even as Dr Major told him to sit, the Speaker threatened to name him. “There’s a ruling on the floor by the chair,” Dr Major said. “You’re going to find yourself named from this House.” Before he finally yielded and encouraged Mr Lightbourn to make the case in his stead, Dr Rollins shouted emphatically at Dr Major. For his part, Dr Minnis, leader of the Free National Movement (FNM), said during the session that allegations St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman made about the alleged variance between the draft order tabled by Prime Minister Perry Christie last week and the Constituencies Commission report he signed were so serious that the debate of the should be postponed until a resolution is made with respect to his claims. Dr Major, however, rejected all rationales for postponing the debate.

“You have chosen to use the courts to challenge these proceedings today and you must be advised that any matter cannot be injuncted by the court,” he said. “This body will carry on its work and you are within your rights to use the courts as you so well desire. However, at this time, to have two bites at the same issue is improper and violates the precedent. The fact that you have gone to court and now expect to come in this place and speak to this issue with the intent to prevent debate will not succeed. “However, all members will be given an opportunity to express themselves on what will be done. Despite the circumstances, each member (of the Constituencies Commission signed the draft order). “There were no objections. The draft order was forwarded to the Governor General. The Prime Minister in his capacity made modifications with explanations. The notice of the debate was given a week ago to this House. No court can injunct Parliament. Should we hold off the general election because of what a member perceives to be an action of the court?” Later, during his contribution to the debate, Dr Rollins tabled a communication in which he asked Dr Major to be consistent in his views about the relationship between Parliament and the judiciary. “Fundamentally, we argue (in court) that the report made in this House last week by the Right Honourable Prime Minister should be made void,” he said. “We have been granted a hearing date. It is our contention that the report is in vio-

ANDRE ROLLINS, Fort Charlotte MP, speaking in The House of Assembly yesterday.  lation of Article 70 of the Constitution. Mr Speaker, you have reiterated repeatedly your position that matters which are sub judice are not to be the subject of debate in this House. With this matter now before the court, we respectfully ask you to be consistent in your position that such matters are not to be the subject of debate in this House,” Dr Rollins said.

Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

PAGE 6, Thursday, February 16, 2017


Lockdowns and RBDF ordered on the streets in crime fight from page one Speaking of the gang problem Dr Nottage said: “We have the One Order gang, we have the Mad Ass gang (and) some of these gangs have sub-groups in them. I am a little reluctant because some of these people may get high or I may be considered to be promoting their existence but the truth is you cannot deny that they exist because they do exist and it is affecting our people and we must do something about it.” He also named the Monster Nation Section of the Dirty South gang, the Kemp Road Order and the Tiger Nations as he referred to leaders of these groups who are behind prison bars, saying a small group of thugs would not be allowed to ruin the country’s future. In response to this scourge of deadly violence brought on by these criminal organisations, Dr Nottage said nearly a dozen crime-fighting strategies will be implemented with immediate effect. “I want to put it in clear context so that members of the public will have a

BERNARD NOTTAGE, Minister of National Security, speaking yesterday.  Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff better understanding of feuds between persons affil- ing crime situation, the govexactly what has been tak- iated with gangs, guns and ernment had to take urgent ing place,” Dr Nottage told drugs. In fact some of these steps to prevent these acts. parliamentarians yesterday. persons may be wanted per- He said this must involve “Police officials are fully petrators today and become a greater police presence aware that these incidents a murder victim tomorrow. through targeted and fo“As we all are aware, a cused police actions. mostly involve a small group of prolific violent offenders, number of the suspects have He said the strategies insome of whom were on bail been charged in some of clude: these incidents and others for serious violent crimes. • increased foot patrols in “Most of these incidents are being sought and can be inner cities and crime hot have their nexus in ongoing expected to be taken into spots; custody and charged short• the activation and ly. You should also know placement of specially dethat due to intelligence and signed mobile police vans Are you tired of losing your proactive police operations, to serve as manned police several would-be murderers stations in communities shingle ROOF in Hurricanes? have been prevented. where crime is a challenge “Not surprisingly, these for police; incidents have raised the • aggressive stop and Get a FREE quote for a hurricane fear of crime in members of search of suspicious perthe public, who use homi- sons and suspicious vehicles resistant METAL STANDING cides as the barometer by throughout all policing diwhich the level of crime is visions; SEAM ROOF by a PROVEN measured. Each murder is • periodic road checks at one too many and we must various intersections; contractor with 20 years experience do everything in our power • purposeful lock downs of metal roofing. to ensure that crime in gen- of communities and crime eral and homicides in par- hot spots where large teams ticular continue to be ad- of law enforcement officers dressed comprehensively.” execute search warrants, arCall: 376-2876/377-0030 rest warrants and search for Crime fight illegal drugs, firearms and He said given the ongo- stolen vehicles;




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• implementing larger Urban Renewal teams for the improved surveillance of crime hot spots; • Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force joint operations; • a closer working relationship between the police and the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services; • dedicated teams of police officers to ensure all persons being electronically monitored comply with bail conditions; • the expansion of the CCTV system by increasing the number of cameras throughout New Providence to be manned on a 24-hour basis. Several other mediumterm strategies are also being implemented, Dr Nottage said. “The establishment of a violent prolific offenders initiative in which the most violent offenders will be targeted, swiftly prosecuted and severely punished if they are found guilty,” he said, “We are making full use of all of our law enforcement agencies to address this crime issue as each of them bring skills, expertise and resources that can be tapped into to assist with crime prevention and detection (with) the establishment of a gun interdiction task force. “The task force will be made up of members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Department of Corrections, the Bahamas Customs Department and the Immigration Department to protect our country and its borders. They will be mandated to effectively reduce the influx of illegal weapons including firearms and ammunition in the country.

“I wish to send a strong warnings that in all cases in which persons have been charged with possession of an illegal firearm and/ or ammunition, the prosecution will be objecting to bail. “The establishment of violence breakers throughout high-risk communities who will serve as positive mentors for at-risk youth. Violence breakers are reformed offenders who have completed specialised training to assist their communities by steering selected youths away from becoming involved in crime.” Dr Nottage said the proliferation of gangs in New Providence is “real”. He told the House of Assembly that these criminal enterprises are impacting communities, the prison and some schools. He said the government would not allow a small group of thugs - who have demonstrated that they are not interested in changing their ways - to ruin the country’s future. “We will enforce the new anti-gang law that we passed in 2014. Persons convicted of an offence under this act are liable to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for 20 years. “Very often we have situations where people receive fines and or periods of incarceration less than the law permits, but it is our hope that those who have that responsibility will take into consideration the havoc that gang members in carrying guns, in protecting drugs and turf that are influencing our young men and our young women and school children. They have to be stopped. “One thing we know is when we have them in prison the incidents of shootings and the violent crime does go down.”


Thursday, February 16, 2017, PAGE 7

Home Owners Protection Bill tabled By KHRISNA VIRGIL Deputy Chief Reporter WITH the current legislative agenda set to end soon, the Christie administration introduced the Home Owners Protection Bill, touting its commitment to deliver relief to those affected by the Bahamian mortgage crisis. State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis, who moved the bill in Parliament yesterday, said, when enacted, the legislation would be a major step forward in the rights of mortgagors in The Bahamas bringing them in line with rights that mortgagors receive in countries in this hemisphere.

MICHAEL HALKITIS, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff He also revealed that 1,744 homeowners were deemed eligible for the government’s revamped mortgage relief programme, with 1,400 of these borrow-

ers already contacted and 408 borrowers completing all of the requirements for enrollment in the initiative. Mortgage relief and protection for homeowners were key planks of the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) campaign before the 2012 general election. Mortgage relief was implemented early in this term; however the programme underperformed, leading Prime Minister Perry Christie to admit in 2013 that only four or five homeowners were expected to receive assistance. Mr Halkitis said: “The affordability programme benefits those individuals who have an income and whose arrears situation can be

cured through restructuring of the loan, through loan extension, principal or interest forbearance or interest rate reduction. Unfortunately for some individuals this would not be sufficient. “The government is cognisant of this and the Home Owners Protection Bill is designed to address this deficiency. The bill also gives the borrower for the first time some inherent rights to select professionals to be used in the mortgage origination process.” Some key aspects of the bill include: providing for the mortgagee to grant the mortgagor 30 days’ notice of his default in payment prior to starting legal proceedings; enables the mortgagee

or a contributing member of his immediate family the right to apply to the court for relief where he is unable to satisfy his obligations; enables the court to allow time to the mortgagor of a dwelling house to remedy his breach of the mortgage covenant where an order of possession is being sought; it seeks to restrict the mortgage’s power of sale by requiring the mortgagee to give the mortgagor 30 days written notice of its intent to exercise its power of sale. The bill also prohibits the sale of a mortgaged property to a party related to a financial institution, including employees and immediate family members of employees; provides ex-

emption in stamp duty on the sale of property where the mortgagee sells the property under a power of sale if that sale takes place within five years of the last advance made by the mortgagee under the mortgage. It further limits the mortgagor from charging the mortgagee for any amount of stamp duty beyond the amount of the duty payable after exemption; enables those purchasing a home to retain lawyers, appraisers and insurance brokers of their choice subject to certain conditions; allows for the transfer of mortgages between financial institutions at no cost to the mortgagor; seeks to prohibit excessive salary deductions.

11,000 HAVE APPLIED FOR JOBS AT BAHA MAR from page one

IMs Cowper, who was promoted from the position of director of recruitment and human resources administration, told The Tribune that roughly 600 interested in hotel positions and 200 vying for casino vacancies have progressed to the final stages of the resort’s interview process. She detailed her office’s relentless pursuit of the “best and most necessary talent” to service the resort, which is projected for an April 21 soft opening. Ms Cowper said the resort has received 11,500 applications and a “promising” response from hundreds of former employees. She also acknowledged the positive aspects provided by the resort’s association with governmental and independent agencies such as the National Training Agency (NTA), which provided the resort with a direct link to about 270 applicants, of which 100 have progressed to the second and third levels of the interview process. “We are progressing in

spots that we need to and are making strides in areas that have treated us well in the past,” said Ms Cowper. “Every single day we are working our channels to ensure that the persons we are bring onboard are persons capable and able. “We had a large percentage of former employees that were well-versed in what we intended to do here, and while we are, for lack of a better phrase, a new company, the goals still remain the same about how we look at future employees.” She added: “We reached out to those former employees; it was done so with the view that they were not only aware of efforts, but more so, that they were already trained to some level and excited to be a part of what we are building here. “In many instances, these persons had completed three to five levels of interviews, signed contracts and were ready to go - it was necessary to reach out to those persons because of affiliation. “But that was only the first step in one half of our efforts. We gave the same

attention to going out there and finding new applicants.” Ms Cowper, referring to the resort’s past hardship, said she firmly understands that there continues to be a public battle that has to be fought to change the perception that potential employees have of the resort. Despite this however, she said the resort has made it a point to not only continue their pursuit of new applicants, but go beyond the norm to convince these potential applicants that a future at Baha Mar would be a viable one. “We continue to reach out. It is a bit tricky with new applicants, but we are sure that our strategy is working. We started our Blue Mixer event last week, which places potential employees in a social setting with department and resort heads, allowing us to quickly find those that are truly interested in the Baha Mar brand. “It’s initiatives like this, we feel are making the difference as we progress toward our opening date,” she added. Last year, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced

that the resort was sold to Hong Kong conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE). However it has since been revealed that the sale of the resort has not been completed. In December, Mr Christie said CTFE “is arrang-

ing for operation by the Grand Hyatt of the casino and convention hotels and of other properties by SLS and Rosewood, all internationally renowned brands, beginning with a phased opening in the second quarter of 2017.

CTFE is projected to invest $200m in “pre-opening festivities, development of family amenities, entertainment and offshore island facilities and demolition and redevelopment of the former Crystal Palace Hotel,” Mr Christie said.

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PAGE 8, Thursday, February 16, 2017


Albury, Gibson call for gun changes By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporte A MEMBER of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) yesterday called on the Christie administration to “fast-track” the issuance of gun licences to “upstanding citizens who have no criminal records” so that they will not be “left defenceless and at the mercy of violent criminals”. DNA Business Alliance President Ben Albury, in a statement, lamented the recent wave of murders in the capital, charging that while “armed criminals roam the streets”, gun licence applicants who have met all the requirements and have “clean background checks” cannot have their licences approved in a timely fashion. This, Mr Albury said, suggests that “innocent Bahamians” are being “punished because of the actions of criminals,” as he charged that “properly licenced firearms have not been in any way responsible for the gum crime that has destroyed so many lives and families”. Under current law, persons may apply to the commissioner of police for shotgun and rifle licences for hunting. In some cases, handgun licences may be granted but are more difficult to obtain. Meanwhile, Free National Movement (FNM) candidate for Long Island Adrian Gibson called for the country to consider a Right-ToCarry law, charging in a Facebook post this week that life in The Bahamas “should not amount to an existence of fear or constant, tedious vigilance of one’s surroundings at all times”. Mr Gibson also said that as an owner of a licenced firearm, it “sends shivers down my spine” to know that a shotgun has become “almost obsolete as a protective measure for businessmen and homeowners”

when compared to AK-47s and “other powerful weapons that have no limitations” that are carried by the “criminal element”. The statements came after a bloody weekend of killing, which continued into this week. There have been 14 murders this month and 28 so far this year, according to The Tribune’s records. Yesterday, Mr Albury referred to an alleged “severe backlog” of new gun licence approvals, which has resulted in “literally hundreds of upstanding citizens” having to wait “up to three years with no word from the Commissioner of Police”. He said: “Responsible citizens have every right to defend themselves and should be allowed to apply for a firearm on the basis of home protection and receive a prompt response from the authorities. It is not right that innocent Bahamians are punished because of the actions of criminals. We must do away with this myth that guns are only for hunting. Responsible citizens have every right to defend themselves and should be allowed to apply for a firearm on the basis of home protection and receive a prompt response from the authorities. “Where gun safety education is needed, it should be provided, but free and upstanding members of this society cannot continue to have their rights trampled and be left defenceless and at the mercy of violent criminals.” He added: “We rightthinking Bahamians applaud and appreciate the courageous work of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), but they cannot be everywhere at once. The country’s record of murders, armed robberies and home invasions are testament to this fact. “The time has come for the Bahamas to respect the rights of citizens to defend

themselves and their families.” Mr Albury also lamented the annual licence fees for legal firearms, which he claimed has “skyrocketed” by “200 per cent without any warning or explanation”. He said this increase has made the cost for gun licences “prohibitive” for “regular citizens who want the peace of mind of knowing that they will be able to protect their home and family if the worst ever happens.” He added: “Upstanding citizens are, quite understandably, living in extreme fear for their safety and many feel helpless and at risk of a possible invasion of their home or business at any time. While armed criminals roam the streets, responsible citizens who happen to be firearm owners, continue to be discriminated against in the Bahamas.” Meanwhile, Mr Gibson said the country should consider adopting a RightTo-Carry law, where applicants who meet “prescribed criteria”, including psychological examinations, are issued permits to carry concealed handguns. “The (Inter-American Development Bank) has patently told us that the Bahamas is now classified as one of the most violent countries in the world. We no longer need to pretend our police officers shouldn’t be adequately armed or that responsible citizens shouldn’t have the option of protecting themselves. “Accountable, law abiding community leaders, businessmen and persons of that ilk should, if they apply for them, be allowed to carry a handgun. Heck, if they could have a shotgun or rifle, why not a handgun? The criminals have armed themselves to the teeth and rather than using BB guns and slingshots, they are using military grade, highpowered weapons.”

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Thursday, February 16, 2017, PAGE 9

Six years in jail for man found with 700 rounds of ammunition By LAMECH JOHNSON Tribune Staff Reporter

A MAN was handed a six-year sentence yesterday for trafficking more than 700 rounds of assorted ammunition into the country. Jawaddi Woodside, 24 of Miami, Florida returned before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt less than 24 hours after he was arraigned on 11 ammunition related offences concerning a seizure by police on February 10. It was alleged that, alongside Kendrick Woodside, 29, and Shequella Williams, 22, he conspired to import, and were allegedly found with, 50 rounds of .45 ammunition and 596 rounds of 9mm ammunition. The American and Williams were furthered accused of conspiring to import 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 on Tuesday afternoon pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him while Williams and the elder Woodside denied any involvement in the alleged crimes. Police prosecutor Sgt Timothy Saunders had said it was the intention of the prosecution to proceed with trial against the 22 and 29-year-old accused. When the matter was called yesterday, the chief magistrate was given a summary of the facts from the

JAWADDI WOODSIDE, 24 and Kendrick Woodside, 29, outside court on Tuesday.  Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff After being cautioned “Yes ma’am,” he said. police prosecutor. The chief magistrate His lawyer, Ian Cargill, commended him for being Around 5.55pm on the and arrested, he was taken day in question, a team of to a home in Nassau Vil- made a plea in mitigation forthright in his guilt but police officers went to the lage, where a search of a on his behalf, stressing that noted: “I see no other alGolden Gates Shopping bedroom uncovered two his client “took responsibil- ternative than to give you a Centre having received a bags in a pink backpack ity for his actions”. sentence that will serve as a “He’s prepared to do his deterrent.” tip from the Department containing 77 rounds of astime because he said the of Homeland Security in sorted ammunition. The chief magistrate notThe other 646 rounds of ammunition are his and ed that he could face up to Florida on a shipment of ammunition that was being assorted ammunition had he’s very remorseful,” the seven years imprisonment lawyer added. transported to The Baha- been in the speaker-box. but due his early plea of At the home, Jawaddi “Young man, the cli- guilt, he received six years mas. The officers observed Woodside told police that mate in the Bahamas is an at the Department of CorJawaddi Woodside exit the the ammunition was his, unhappy one and the im- rectional Services. Xpress-It shipping com- which he had brought from plications are far reaching, When the police prosecupany with a speaker box, Florida. He confirmed the nationally and internation- tor was asked for a trial date which he had placed into a same when interviewed in ally,” the chief magistrate concerning the remaining Nissan Marche vehicle oc- police custody at the Cen- told the 24-year-old. defendants, Sgt Saunders’ She added that the initial position changed and cupied by a female and an- tral Detective Unit and said that the crimes were amount of ammunition said the prosecution offered other male. When the 24-year-old motivated by the reward of seized, if released onto the no further evidence against streets of the capital, would them, resulting in them begot into the vehicle, offic- quick money. “Do you agree with the cost lives. ers immediately swarmed it ing discharged. “Young Bahamians are and informed the occupants summary of the prosecuJiaram Mangra and Berbeing nard Ferguson appeared that they were suspected tion’s case?” the chief mag- indiscriminatingly of being in possession of a istrate asked the 24-year- murdered and this must for Kendrick Woodside and old. stop,” the magistrate said. quantity of ammunition. Williams.


POLICE in New Providence have issued wanted posters for two men they want to question for murder. Julio Edwin Deveaux, 18, of 20, Morley Street is described as 5ft 9in, slim build and a dark brown complexion. Ronel Augustine, 31, of Ida Street, is described as 5ft 8in to 5ft 10in, medium build and a dark brown complexion. People with information on their whereabouts should contact the Central Detective Unit at 5029991/9992 or the National Crime Prevention Office 302-8430/8431 or the emergency line 911 or Crime Stoppers 328-TIPS (8477) and Family Islands 3008476.




A VETERAN Bahamian educator believes the country should begin to look at the establishment of a National Task Force on the State of Black Men and Boys in The Bahamas as a national intervention to change the lives of troubled males. Dr Donald McCartney, a Bahamian professor at Barry University and long-time educator in The Bahamas, said that the country’s black men and boys are “feared, demonised and vilified”. In a 3,000-word essay entitled, ‘Repairing The Breach In The Bahamas’, Dr McCartney indicated that a “national response” to issues confronting black men must be taken now, given the state of crime perpetrated by male members of the Bahamian

society. He pointed out that black men and boys are not a part of the economic structure or the body politic; many are not in community with their ethnic group. “The spiralling murder rate and other acts of violence - particularly against young men and the elderly - makes it clear that many black men and boys in the Bahamas, pose a serious and critical problem of interpersonal violence in every corridor and thoroughfare that Bahamians and residents must cross. Consequently, black men and boys in The Bahamas are feared, demonised and vilified,” he wrote. “There must be a national response on the issues confronting black men and boys in The Bahamas. This is no time for throwing up our hands as a gesture of capitulation, posing the useless question: ‘What

is wrong with these young men?’ and rolling our eyes. It is time for action … serious, sustained, positive action.” He recommends that such a task force would involve individuals who are prepared to make a difference in the issues of black men and boys in their communities. Dr McCartney believes that the work of a proposed National Task Force on the State of Black Men and Boys in The Bahamas should and must be a joint venture between the government and corporate Bahamas. In the piece, he wrote that the national task force must be appointed post

haste and without reference to political affiliation, and must come from a broad spectrum of concerned citizens and residents from the public and private sectors. “While these persons should be qualified for the task at hand, the National Task Force on the State of Black Men and Boys in The Bahamas must be comprised of men, women and young persons who are committed to the task repairing the breach and restoring the streets. “The purpose of the National Task Force … will be to provide ideas that government, organisations and individuals in The Bahamas can use to change the

lives of black men and boys, change communities, and by extension change the nation,” he wrote. He indicates that the primary aim will be to create a long-term structure of sustained intervention for black men and boys who find themselves in trouble. “The emphasis of the National Task Force on the State of Black Men and Boys in The Bahamas will be on systemic change that will bring together a multiplicity of ideas to reduce violence and crime, thus making The Bahamas’ social life whole again,” he said. “The National Task Force … must not shape itself around the issue of

violence. Violence, in The Bahamas, has been painted with a broad brush because black men and boys are looked upon as the face of the violence. This violence appears to have immobilised law abiding citizens into a state of panic and fear.” Dr McCartney added that the proposed task force ought to frame its recommendations and responses. He believes that the recommendations of such a task force could form the core of a 10- to 20-year plan, which will enable the government and corporate Bahamas to begin to assess and ameliorate the problems faced by black males in The Bahamas.

PAGE 12, Thursday, February 16, 2017



made in December, when he said Dr Minnis “would be an absolute failure as Prime Minister”. The Fort Charlotte MP was among seven FNM members of Parliament who submitted a letter of no confidence in Dr Minnis last year, forcing the Killarney MP to be removed as Official Opposition Leader in the House of Assembly. The “rebel” MPs voted to have Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner replace Dr Minnis. Since that move, Dr Rollins has said repeatedly criticised Dr Minnis and his leadership abilities. He has also said he would “not seek re-election” under a Dr Minnis-led FNM. However, while debat-

ing the draft order of the Constituencies Commission’s boundaries report in Parliament yesterday, Dr Rollins said he is willing to do what it takes to return to the FNM. A disciplinary tribunal has been convened to look into the MPs’ actions and Dr Minnis asked the members to resign from the party after their coup. “The member for Killarney may not be the leader of the Opposition but he is still the leader of the FNM and I would say this: it is said in the past that Mr Perry Christie, the right honourable member for Centreville, was prepared to swim in his vomit to return to the PLP,” Dr Rollins said. “Well, I will tell you this for the record right now: I would never swim in any vomit but if I have to

get back in the FNM and run in the next election to make sure that the PLP has no chance, no chance whatsoever of regaining power, let me tell you something, that is something I would be prepared to do,” Dr Rollins said. “I am FNM. Having said that, if I go anywhere I want the member for Montagu to go with me. I want the member of Central Grand Bahama to go with me. I want the member for North Eleuthera to go with me. I want the member of St Anne’s to go with me and I want the member for South Abaco to go with me.” Rising on a point of order, Edison Key, member of Parliament for South Abaco, said he “appreciated” Dr Rollins’ comments but said he “would not be going back to the FNM with the

ANDRE ROLLINS, Fort Charlotte MP, speaking yesterday. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff present leader”. and to set this country on Meanwhile, Dr Rollins the right path. Because at said he believes if all the op- this moment, for the past position members put their five years we have been goegos aside, the “FNM will ing down the wrong path have the ability to put this under this PLP administracountry on the right path.” tion ... We will have to do “My objective is to make what we have to do even if it sure in this next election means that persons who are the FNM becomes the next not necessarily in love with government of the Com- each other. We will set aside monwealth of the Baha- these differences because mas,” Dr Rollins said. we love this country more “I believe with the right than we love each other. team in place we can in fact “The Bahamian people have the ability to live up to are demanding that we fothe potential that we have cus on what is right and

what is in their interest and they want us not to focus on our own personal ego and that is why, if I have to, I will do all that I can to be an effective part of this next electoral campaign.” Speaking as a guest on 103.5 FM’s Freedom March hosted by Rodney Moncur in December, Dr Rollins said while Dr Minnis may seem like a “nice guy,” his one-time political ally is deceptive and a danger to an already struggling country. “Dr Minnis may be a nice guy, somebody who people might think is (upstanding),” Dr Rollins said last year. “I believe that the danger is that Dr Minnis doesn’t have what it takes to lead this country by evidence of what we have seen thus far with the Free National Movement. Dr Minnis doesn’t give me any confidence that he has what it takes. “I believe Dr Minnis would be an absolute failure as Prime Minister. He would be an utter failure if put in position to be Prime Minister, as he has been an utter failure as leader of Opposition.”


The police investigation is continuing in this matter, the island’s third homicide for 2017, according to The Tribune’s records. It is the 28th in the country for 2017. Up to press time, there have been 14 murders in February. Earlier this week, shortly after 2am on Monday, a man in New Providence was shot during an argument outside a West Bay Street night club, police said. The victim died in hospital shortly afterwards. Then, shortly after 1pm

on Monday, a man was stabbed during an argument on a track road off Nassau Street. According to police, he is in hospital in serious condition. In reference to a double shooting, Chief Supt Fernander said sometime around 4.20pm on Monday, two men, while at a club on Ross Corner, were approached by two armed gunmen, resulting in an exchange of gunfire between the four men. The two men inside that establishment were both wounded and taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital, where they were listed

in serious condition. The recent spate of murders prompted Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr Hubert Minnis this week to call on the government to adopt the Opposition party’s crime plan. While speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage rebuffed this, suggesting that many of the FNM’s crime strategies are already being used by police. He also outlined several measures the Royal Bahamas Police Force will be taking immediately in the wake of the homicide spree.


Thursday, February 16, 2017, PAGE 13

Unions hit back over labour reform call By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter

CALLS to have labour laws in The Bahamas reformed to limit and repeal the powers of local trade unions by Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation’s (BCCEC) Chief Executive Edison Sumner earlier this month were yesterday branded as “disturbing” by the National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas (NCTUB). The NCTUB argued that such claims directly violate standards upheld by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In a statement by NCTUB General Secretary Zane Lightbourn released yesterday, the union stressed that claims like those of Mr Sumner can often inspire employers to work out of accordance with both local and international labour laws, if allowed to go unchecked. Mr Lightbourn, a member of the Bahamas Union of Teachers, said the Industrial Relations Act already addresses clearly how official unions should be dissolved if the need presents itself, asserting that it alone is “sufficient” in its content to address the matter. In a Tribune Business article published on February 10, Mr Sumner was reported to have demanded that labour laws be reformed so that Bahamian trade unions “cease to exist” if they fail to file annual returns, with their registration also cancelled if they become insolvent. The article further reported that Mr Sumner’s demands were crafted with the intent of countering the labour-friendly reforms proposed to the Employment Act and Industrial Relations Act. In response yesterday, Mr Lightbourn insisted that Section 19 of the Industrial Relations Act virtually renders these demands mute, adding that in addition to the legislation, most if not all unions operate with con-

ZANE LIGHTBOURNE, NCTUB general secretary. stitutions that already have obligations enshrined in their framework to register yearly audits with the Department of Labour. “Section 19 states, ‘The constitution of every trade union which is registered under this act shall provide for the manner of its dissolution, and notice of every dissolution, signed by every person who was an officer or a member of the executive committee or other governing body of the union at the time of its dissolution, shall be sent within 14 days of the date of such dissolution to the registrar, and shall be registered by him’,” Mr Lightbourn’s statement said. “Additionally, Section 30(3) of the Industrial Relations Act states, ‘The accounts of every union shall be audited annually by auditors to be appointed annually by the union with the approval of the registrar, and every general statement shall be certified by such auditors, and they shall make a report on much accounts and general statement to the registrar.’ “The section goes further to indicate the penalties for failure to follow the law,” he said. Mr Lightbourn said if the BCCEC had objections to the proposed amendments to the Industrial Relations Act and Employment Act, they should have been discussed at the National Tripartite Council level before this point. He added that further proposals only seek to hinder the progress of those amendments already put forward by labour leaders, where workers are exposed to unfair terminations because of loopholes in Baha-

mian laws. “Labour’s proposal is to close these loopholes to protect workers,” he said. “The suggestion of getting rid of unions is a suggestion of leaving certain groups even more exposed to layoffs, ill treatment and stifled compensation. “What is very disturbing about Mr Sumner’s suggestions is the fact that the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC), and has agreed to the ILO’s principle of tripartism and a bipartite working relationship with labour in order to enhance business sustainability, investment and job creation. “Additionally, the goal of the ILO’s principle of tripartism is based on dialogue and co-operation between governments, employers, and workers in the formulation of standards and policies dealing with labour matters.” “Lest we forget, the primary goal for labour unions is the protection of workers’ rights and collective bargaining to increase benefits and wages, and to outline the terms and conditions of employment. “Unions survive from dues contributions, which become the duty of elected officers to manage properly. In recognition of this, it has become a legal requirement to account for the effective management of all collected funds. Besides, Mr Sumner and the Chamber of Commerce have no business dabbling into the internal affairs of the Unions. “It is expected that as an economist, with a mandate to enhance sustainability and job creation, the Chamber should seek to offer financial advice to assist struggling unions to recover from insolvency instead of finding ways to get rid of them.” Trade unions have previously demanded that employers create a redundancy fund for their staff, or pay contributions into a national redundancy fund, but never suggested that they them-

selves - or their members - pay anything towards this. Mr Sumner and the Chamber, meanwhile, reiterated their opposition to many of the proposed Industrial Relations Act amendments. It disagreed, in particular, with reforms that would make it an automatic legal obligation for Bahamian employers to deduct union dues for all staff and send the money to “the union of their choice”. Mr Sumner’s demands from earlier this month include raising the redundan-

cy pay cap under the Employment Act by two-thirds for both line and managerial staff. Additional amendments to the Employment Act require companies to give 30 days’ notice to the Minister of Labour and trade union if they plan on making an employee redundant. Mr Sumner said the current legal requirement, which is that trade unions negotiate with employers over the payment of union dues, “will act as an incentive for trade unions to early negotiate replacement

industrial agreement for the continuity of the collection of dues”. The Chamber is also against proposals to reform Section 51 of the Industrial Relations Act such that the terms and conditions of industrial agreements are automatically deemed to be incorporated into individual workers’ contracts. The Chamber also voiced its opposition to employers being forced to start collective bargaining within 45 days of receiving a trade union’s industrial agreement proposal.

PAGE 14, Thursday, February 16, 2017 NURSE Specialist Practitioner Anita Cates, of Family Medicine Centre, (bottom left) presents the Hanchell family with a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring System and donated by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank and a two month supply of sensors donated by Atlantis Paradise Resort. Top, from left, are Marketing Manager for CIBC FirstCaribbean, Maya Nottage; Dr Graham Cates, of Family Medicine Center; and Associate Director of Special Events at Atlantis Paradise Resort, Anitha Bulter.


A gift for Kaylee to help treat diabetes at home SIX-year-old diabetic Kaylee Hanchell will be able to have her blood sugar levels diagnosed at home after the donation of a life saving device by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank. CIBC donated a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring System to ACE Diabetes, a local diabetes association, through the The Family Medicine Centre, who selected Kaylee and her parents, Kareem and Shelisha Hanchell, to receive the system. The advanced glucose monitoring system is a lifesaving diabetic device that will help Kaylee, who was diagnosed with diabetes at three, as it more accurately monitors and predicts blood sugar levels. “It was a sad day when my wife and I learned that Kaylee was diabetic; we

knew we had to do whatever was necessary to ensure that Kaylee remains happy and healthy, which was now dependent on her blood sugar levels,” said Kareem Hanchell. “Our cost of living went up due to bills for medication, hospital visits and healthy food. CIBC FirstCaribbean and all parties involved have definitely been a blessing to us because we would not be able to afford this advanced blood sugar testing system on our own, and we feel so happy that we are now able to monitor Kaylee’s glucose levels right at home.” Dr Graham Cates, president of ACE Diabetes, said “When we look at the world overall, the Bahamas is leading in the prevalence of diabetes in the entire world.” ACE Diabetes was established to address

the overwhelming need in the Bahamas for diabetes awareness and daily selfmanagement education of the illness. Dr Cates and Nurse Specialist Practitioner Anita Cates, of the Family Medicine Centre, have been guiding Kaylee and her parents through the process of managing her diabetes since she was diagnosed. Atlantis Paradise Resort also joined CIBC in this initiative by donating a twomonth supply of sensors to be used with the Dexcom machine with proceeds donated by ACE Diabetes. “Our community assistance programmes meet many different needs. It is always a little more heartwarming when we can help the younger ones,” said Maya Nottage, marketing manager for CIBC FirstCaribbean.

PAGE 16, Thursday, February 16, 2017


BA DIRECTOR RICHARD PEYTON WOODSON DIES, AGED 93 RICHARD Peyton Woodson III, a director of British American Insurance Company (BA) for three decades and its Chairman for 12 years until 1986, has died aged 93. Mr Woodson - known as Peyton - passed away in Raleigh, North Carolina, after a fall in his home. He was born and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Barely 20, he served his country in World War II, flying 24 missions as a B-17 pilot in the Eighth Air Force over Europe. His most memorable mission was Operation Chowhound, a week before Victory in Europe Day, when he flew over The Netherlands to drop crates of food for the starving Dutch masses who were still suffering German occupation. In 2016, the French Government “with endless respect and affection, in recognition of his noble contribution during World War II” - honoured him with the Legion of Honour medal. Only a quarter of the pilots returned home, such was the attrition rate. After the war, Mr Woodson returned to Princeton University, followed by Stanford Business School. He ran the family grocery business in Albuquerque, where he married Martha Avison. They moved to Raleigh, where he took a role in the family insurance business of Occidental Life Insurance and BA. His greatest honour was being Chairman of LOMA, the US life insurance industry’s largest professional association. Mr Woodson served on many boards in Raleigh, such as Shaw University. For three decades, he was a board member of FHI360, a company that tackles family planning and AIDS in 70 countries. His wife predeceased him in 2011 after 58 years of marriage. He is survived by his daughters, Sheila and Martha, and son

RICHARD Peyton Woodson III, former chairman of British American Insurance Company Richard P Woodson IV. He 33 countries, as far away never retired and drove to as Fiji and Malaysia. They his office every day to run included First Home SavWoodson Associates, his ings and Loan (now Royal management consultancy Fidelity) and BA Bahamas firm that has existed for (now BAF). Other operaover 40 years. tions were captive insurIn three years, BA cel- ance management, propebrates its centenary. It was erty casualty reinsurance, founded by five Bahamians Bramco housing, Britam - J S Walter, Mark Johnson, Insurance Brokers and a R J A Farrington, Cyril F host of trading operations, Solomon and William Sand such as The Pilot House - who were an insurance Hotel. agent, a tobacconist and In the developing counthree merchants respec- tries, Mr Woodson believed tively. It sold debit insur- in a corporate-government ance where premiums were equation or partnership: collected on the doorstep. BA had to adapt to their From 1935 to 1988, BA was social and economic needs controlled by the McMillen and go beyond its core busiTrust, which also controlled ness to find ways to be helptwo US life insurance com- ful to BA’s hosts. Being a panies, Occidental and good corporate citizen is Peninsular. Larry Lee sen- old hat now but it was not ior and junior were Chair- in those days and shows his men from 1935 to 1974, enlightened thinking. In when Mr Woodson took 2014, he hosted a reunion in over until 1986. Under their Raleigh that was attended leadership, but particularly by various BA executives under Mr Woodson’s, this that helped build the com‘six pence a week company’ pany. grew explosively and its He will be remembered Head Office was always in for the graciousness and Frederick Street, Nassau. Southern charm that he By the 1980s, it consisted of brought to any occasion, six divisions and 44 profit whether it was a business or centres doing business in social gathering.


Thursday, February 16, 2017, PAGE 19

Urban Renewal aims to life people up URBAN Renewal Commission co-chairs Cynthia Pratt and Algernon Allen presented food packages to seniors and other members of the community during the Urban Renewal Community Uplifting Service at CI Gibson Park, Fort Charlotte, yesterday. Over the past weeks, Urban Renewal Community Uplifting Services have provided spiritual inspiration and encouragement, as well as food packages, to communities in major population centres of New Providence that are still in recovery from recent hurricane devastation. Photos: Patrick Hanna/BIS

JOE found these Valentine’s Day Queen Snappers near Cat Cay. KEEP checking the Bahamas Sport Fishing Network (BSFN) expert page for fishing reports throughout the Bahamas: this will be helpful in tracking the “hot spots” and providing advice on gear and fishing methods being used. For a sample of the spectacular fishing to be had in The Bahamas, expert advice, tournament dates and results, informative features and photo galleries visit the BSFN page at tribune242. com or BSFN slideshows can be found on USA Today’s website in the Travel section at

@COASTALKRISTEN on the Bonefish.

LUKE Maillis is on fire in Long Island when it comes to Wahoo.

A 105LB Wahoo landed in Long Island by local boy Luke Maillis and some happy Reel Addictive Charters clients.

CAPTAIN Ryan Neilly had some delighted guests in Harbour Island this week.

02162017 news