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VOLUME:115 No.78, MARCH 14TH, 2018



Don’t panic - EU’s ban won’t last long By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor

THE Government was last night “optimistic” The Bahamas’ blacklisting will be “quickly reversed”, suggesting the European Union (EU) had ignored top-level pledges to meet its demands. KP Turnquest, the Deputy Prime Minister, urged Bahamians - and especially the financial services industry - not to panic as removing this nation from Europe’s listing was “number one priority for me right now”. Mr Turnquest, who is heading a Government delegation that will meet EU officials today, told Tribune Business that letters he had personally signed committing The Bahamas to compliance with its anti-tax

avoidance drive were “obviously not taken into account” in the “blacklisting” decision. The 28-nation EU, unveiling its rationale for “blacklisting” The Bahamas and two other Caribbean nations as “noncooperative jurisdictions”, said this action was taken “because they have failed to make commitments at a high political level in response to all of the EU’s concerns”. Mr Turnquest last night revealed that this statement likely stemmed from the fact that The Bahamas’ initial compliance commitment was signed by Marlon Johnson, the Ministry of Finance’s acting financial secretary, rather than himself or a Cabinet-level minister.

GOLDEN Isles MP Vaughn Miller said yesterday the Minnis administration is faced with an “angry” and impatient electorate who feel disconnected from the government. Bahamians, he said, are not “feeling” those in power and do not understand the language the government is speaking. Noting the Minnis administration’s Speech from The

AS pushback mounts over the proposed $5.5bn Oban Energies oil refinery and storage facility in Grand Bahama, the Minnis administration remained tightlipped over the deal yesterday. The Tribune understands Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has been gathering all relevant information on the project in an effort to present a full response during his presentation to the mid-year budget debate, and to prevent being “blindsided again”. However, up to press time, it could not be confirmed when Dr Minnis was expected to deliver his contribution to the House of Assembly. SEE PAGE FIVE

By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter


Throne and its promise to ensure there are adequate provisions to protect homeowners facing hardship, the backbench MP said the Free National Movement was elected on this promise among others. He questioned how much longer were the people most affected expected to suffer. The FNM MP also very briefly commented on the controversial Oban Energies issue, saying fossil fuels is a dying energy form. SEE PAGE FIVE

By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter


FORMER Assistant Commissioner Paul Thompson yesterday called on the Royal Bahamas Police Force to give an account of why two of its officers did not show for court proceedings on Monday related to the Cabbage Beach access case. Mr Thompson told The Tribune he was “shocked” to read that officers tasked with providing critical intel for the execution of justice would negate their responsibilities, “whether by accident or deliberate effort”. SEE PAGE SIX





By NATARIO MCKENZIE Tribune Business Reporter

THE BAHAMAS Masqueraders officially launched their 2018 Carnival costumes under the theme “Jewels of Desire”. The collection was designed and created by veterans from the Junkanoo and entertainment industries. See Friday’s Weekend for more of what the group has in store for revellers this festival season.


A RELATIVE of one of two men still missing at sea after a boating accident early Sunday morning said family members are holding on to hope the “good swimmer” is found.

BASRA teams have been taking part in the search.

Six men were on board a vessel carrying construction materials from Grand Bahama to Little Stirrup Cay, also known as Coco Cay, in the Berry Islands when the boat capsized. Four of the men were found adrift.

Nassau & Bahama Islands’ Leading Newspaper


BAHAMAS Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) chairman Michael Foulkes yesterday lamented the “dire financial straits” of the corporation, noting that its bills currently amount to more than $3m. Michael Foulkes, the Golden Gates MP, said: “During most of the last five years the former government did not pay BAIC’s portion of its National Insurance Board (NIB) payments. This resulted in BAIC owing in excess of $1m to NIB.” FULL STORY - SEE BUSINESS

PAGE 2, Wednesday, March 14, 2018


SCENES from Grand Bahama in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, above and below. $2m has been allocated for home repairs in Grand Bahama. 

$2m to repair homes in GB By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter  SOME $2m has been allocated for home repairs in Grand Bahama where some 6,000 homeowners have reported roof damage as a result of the two most recent hurricanes to hit the island. Iram Lewis, the parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works, announced officials have already started distributing cheques for roof repairs. During a press conference on Monday, the MP for Central Grand Bahama

reported that some 125 people have already received a payout. Homeowners awaiting assistance from the National Emergency Management Agency for home repairs are being asked to comply with requirements so that they are processed quickly. In the House of Assembly last week during his contribution to the midyear budget debate, Mr Lewis reported that 550 people have complied with requirements. The parliamentary secretary said his staff is working diligently to

process applications but said the process cannot be completed until necessary documents are submitted. With the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season approaching, Mr Lewis is appealing to cheque recipients to use the funds to repair their homes. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew brought severe damage to homes, businesses, and hotels on several islands. In September 2017, as Hurricane Irma passed near The Bahamas, it produced tornadoes that damaged homes and businesses in Grand Bahama.

Photos: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff


Wednesday, March 14, 2018, PAGE 3

Family prays for missing sailor from page one The two missing men are reported to be Keno Smith, 33, and Godfrey Wilson. Mr Smith’s sister, Venieshan Mortimer, 30, described her brother as “a lover of boats, lover of life, always the life of the party.” “He’s very family oriented,” she told The Tribune, adding Mr Smith had recently been promoted to captain and was set to move abroad to take a job as a captain on a private boat in the near future. The last time her family heard from her brother was Saturday night, before he left Freeport, she said.

When asked how she is coping with the incident, she told The Tribune: “I’m just keeping the faith. I know that he’s a good swimmer, he lives around water so he knows exactly what to do. “We’re just holding on to faith. It’s just hard to hold on. It’s hard. We don’t know what to do,” she added. Assistant Commissioner of Police Samuel Butler, officer-in-charge of Grand Bahama, said the four survivors told police they were transporting building materials when they realised their boat was taking on water. “A large quantity of building materials — 20,000 eight inch blocks, several

pallets of cement, and other building supplies,” he said. “They got caught up in somewhat rough weather some 25 miles away from Grand Bahama. At that point, they recognised the boat was taking on water, because the material might have shifted (due to) the bad weather.” ACP Butler continued: “At that point, they made a call for everyone to abandon ship. One was able to take off a life raft. The boat almost immediately submerged and once the boat was submerged the lights from that vessel went out. “And in the midst of the darkness, four of them were able to get the raft and the

other two were not able to make it.” The men then contacted the capital for help, ACP Butler said. “They were able to get use of a satellite phone to get a call out to Nassau and tell them they were in trouble. Eight hours later they were able to get assistance. Other local and police vessels went out and were able to locate them. “(Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association) BASRA and the police came right out in terms of diving the area, diving the boat. “Based on (Tuesday) morning, the boat was still drifting in a capsized

manner. But we were able to do preliminary diving around it to see if anyone got trapped under it.” The search teams confirmed that no one was underneath the vessel. “But the weather is still rough,” ACP Butler added. “We intended to bring the vessel to shore once the weather calmed but the weather is too rough to bring it in.” When contacted, North Andros and the Berry Islands MP Carlton Bowleg said bad weather and the movement of cargo more than likely contributed to the accident. He added that the matter falls under the jurisdiction

of the authorities in Grand Bahama, based on the location of the accident. Meanwhile, Mr Smith’s sister said she had few details regarding what took place during the incident, however, she said one of the rescued men told her that all the men jumped into the sea. “But nobody saw my brother after the jump. When they jumped, they said they only heard splatters in the water, like other persons jumping,” Ms Mortimer said. “But when they jumped they didn’t have any recollection as to where my brother and the other guy was.”

COMMONWEALTH DAY CELEBRATED AT CR WALKER SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL By KATHRYN CAMPBELL STUDENTS at C R Walker Senior High School braved the inclement weather on Monday and joined the 53 Commonwealth countries around the world as it observed Commonwealth Day with a special assembly. Students, teachers, administrators and special guests gathered in “Ju Ju Square,” the school’s courtyard, to recognise and celebrate the day set aside for Commonwealth nations to observe and strengthen the bond that ties the Commonwealth together. Commonwealth Day was formerly known as Empire Day. The theme for 2018 is “Towards a Common Future.” It explores how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in keeping with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth

Heads of Government Meeting. Special guest speaker R Aruba Ferguson, foreign service officer, reflected on Claudius Roland Walker, the individual for whom the school is named after, and described him as the “embodiment of the Commonwealth’s theme ‘Towards a Common Future’.” Ms Ferguson said Mr Walker came from humble beginnings in Bain Town and emerged as a medical doctor, linguist, musician, politician and educator who established the Bahamas Technical Institute, an evening institute for adults and the Southern Library. “Claudius Walker looked ‘Towards a Common Future’ for his fellow Bahamians and people of the Commonwealth. He sought to ensure that children in The Bahamas had access to a better life through education and cultural and social enhancement. He worked and fought for a nation in which people could live free from violence, crime and fear,” said Ms Ferguson.

YOUNGSTERS taking part in the Commonwealth Day event at CR Walker.  She told those gathered that they are capable of going against the status quo and accepting the norm similar to freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Sir Lynden Pindling and Claudius Roland Walker. “They all used their obstacles as springboards. The power they summoned

to meet and beat those challenges became their greatest advantage and propelled them towards a future of political, social and economic equality for all. “We, too, can use their example in working towards a common future despite the obstacles, to inspire us to improve education and health services for all, to support women

and young people to start and run their own business and seek solutions to economic and environmental problems.” Ms Ferguson urged her audience to be concerned about the rights of others, stand against intolerance, prejudice and racism and to do their part to eradicate crime. Highlights of the

Photo: BIS assembly included a parade of flags by students who are Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers, musical selection by C R Walker’s School Band, a poem entitled “Hey Black Child” by Ricardo Adderley, a student of 11A, and a message from Queen Elizabeth II, head of the Commonwealth, read by Nicola McKay, school principal.


ANIMAL rights activists are expressing strong disappointment over the “lenient” sentence handed down to three individuals in Grand Bahama this week for the illegal capture and brutal slaughter of an endangered sea turtle.  Tip Burrows, executive director of the Humane Society of Grand Bahama, and Sam Duncombe of reEarth say that it sends “a bad message” to persons who violate the fisheries laws regarding the protection of endangered marine animals in The Bahamas. They think the maximum penalty of a $3,000 fine or one-year imprisonment for the offence should have been imposed. Ms Burrows believes that the charge of animal cruelty also should have been brought by the authorities. Three people were charged Monday with possession of a marine turtle under Section 29A of the Fisheries Resources Regulations and Section 24 Subsection (1) of the Fisheries Resources Act Chapter 244. They were given a conditional discharge, ordered to perform 500 hours of community service, and attend a voluntary intervention programme at Magistrate’s Court. They were arrested after a video was circulated on social media, showing a man killing a loggerhead turtle by repeatedly bashing its head with a hammer. Ms Burrows said the video was “horrific”. “I actually could not finish watching it. I saw the first ten seconds of it and I

was so horrified, I had to turn it off. I cannot understand that level of violence towards a living creature. And I am extremely disappointed in the sentence handed down, and extremely disappointed that the authorities did not bring animal cruelty charges on top of the fisheries law violation,” she said.   “The penalty for the offence is supposed to be a $3,000 fine or one year in prison, and they were ordered to perform community service. I just don’t understand it; I am very disappointed, and I just think that it sends a bad message in general, and how such a crime is not taken seriously. “I don’t think it would deter anyone from doing the same thing,” added Ms Burrows, who thinks many people are still catching turtles and eating the meat secretly.   Ms Duncombe, of New Providence, agreed with Ms Burrows and said that the individuals were given a slap on the wrist. “We need to send a strong message to other people who think it is okay (to catch and kill sea turtles) – it’s not okay. “I am disappointed with the sentence because it does not go far enough to the penalty for killing

endangered species. Turtles are endangered all over the world, and the Bahamas made a great step for turtle protection in 2009. “The sentence does not deter persons who feel they do the same thing because they are going to get 500 hours of community service. I think the full penalty should have been imposed.” Mrs Duncombe said the video was brutal and traumatising to watch.  “Watching it takes my breath away, and it was traumatising to others who saw it,” she said.  She commended Fisheries Department, the police and other authorities for acting so quickly in the matter following a release of the video on social media.  “Years ago, Bahamians ate turtle, but the government took a significant step to support the protection of endangered turtles, and the penalty should have been (in proportion) to all that went into making that law.  “I am disappointed that more was not done for that turtle. The beating it endured when there were less traumatic ways that it could have been done. I think that there is something wrong in bludgeoning

a live creature that is not doing you any harm, it is very disturbing,” Ms Duncombe said. A law passed in 2009 prohibits people from taking, possessing, buying or selling endangered sea turtles.

The three individuals were ordered to perform community service by repairing the roof of the Eight Mile Rock Magistrate’s Court and administration building. They were also ordered

to attend a voluntary intervention programme on Saturdays at 6am at the EMR Magistrate’s Court.   The magistrate in the matter set it down for review on August 13.

PAGE 4, Wednesday, March 14, 2018


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Tillerson firing the latest messy break-up for Trump WASHINGTON (AP) — The man who famously coined the reality TV mantra “You’re fired!” has notched quite a record of awkward and messy breakups in his 14 months as president. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter. It was hours later before the president picked up the phone to talk directly to his latest casualty. Despite his signature catchphrase, Trump often lets others in the White House do his dirty work or pushes out subordinates by tweet or through public shaming. Onetime chief of staff Reince Priebus learned he was being replaced by John Kelly last summer from Twitter. The president tweeted the news from Air Force One following a trip to New York — prompting the outgoing chief of staff to drive off in a black SUV, leaving the rest of the presidential motorcade behind in a driving rainstorm. Perhaps Trump’s most consequential firing came last May, when he dismissed FBI Director James Comey. Rather than informing Comey in person or by phone, Trump sent his longtime bodyguard-turned-director of Oval Office operations Keith Schiller to the Justice Department to deliver a letter notifying the FBI head he was done. But Comey was in a Los Angeles meeting with FBI agents at the time and only learned of his dismissal from TV. Comey said last year in testimony before Congress that his ouster caught him by surprise and criticized Trump for saying the bureau was in disarray. Onetime communications director Anthony Scaramucci, hired over Priebus’ objections, only lasted ten days in the White House last summer before being pushed out after giving an expletive-laced interview to The New Yorker in which he called Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic.” Scaramucci’s hiring prompted press secretary Sean Spicer to quit after a six-month run that included a string of public slights by Trump, including the president excluding the devout Roman Catholic from a meeting with the pope during a trip to the Vatican. More recently, Trump left it to Kelly to force staff secretary Rob Porter to resign after he was accused of emotional and physical abuse by his two ex-wives. Porter has denied harming his former spouses. Kelly helped push out a number of other top aides, including top strategist Steve Bannon, national security aide Sebastian Gorka and public liaison communications director Omarosa

Manigault Newman. She had earlier appeared on Trump’s reality TV show, “The Apprentice.” Back on TV after her White House gig, Manigault Newman recently warned on “Celebrity Big Brother” that the US would “not be OK” under Trump, prompting White House spokesman Raj Shah to respond: “Omarosa was fired three times on ‘The Apprentice.’ And this was the fourth time we let her go.” • President Donald Trump said Tuesday he’s strongly considering selecting CNBC senior contributor Larry Kudlow to succeed Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser, praising the veteran financial commentator and campaign supporter. Trump told reporters he was “looking at Larry Kudlow very strongly” and noted that while he and Kudlow didn’t agree on the president’s recent decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Kudlow’s views would be helpful to him. “I think Larry has a very good chance,” Trump said. He noted that Kudlow, an advocate of free trade, is a longtime friend who had been an early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Kudlow is CNBC’s senior contributor and was previously the host of CNBC’s prime-time “The Kudlow Report”. He served in the Office of Management and Budget during President Ronald Reagan’s administration. Trump has been considering a potential replacement for Cohn as director of the National Economic Council. In addition to Kudlow, the potential successors include Chris Liddell, who serves as the White House’s director of strategic initiatives, and Shahira Knight, Cohn’s deputy at the National Economic Council and a key architect of the president’s tax overhaul law. The president said last week that Cohn, the former top Goldman Sachs executive, was likely to return to his administration in the future. Cohn strongly opposed the president’s plan to slap tariffs on the steel and aluminum imports and worked to provide exemptions to US allies such as Canada and Mexico. Cohn played a central role in helping Trump enact a sweeping tax overhaul law, coordinating with members of Congress. His departure has been worrisome for Capitol Hill Republicans and business groups who have been concerned that Trump may install more protectionist economic policies amid a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

JUST a few sentences so as to share my opinion and feelings on this marital rape issue. I think that the government should never have

Turtle killer

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Re: Hunt for turtle’s hammer killer. The Tribune, March 7, 2018. All cruelty springs from weakness. Seneca, 4 BC -- 65 AD Wow, this disgusting, turtle-killing imbecile is a real man’s man! KEN W KNOWLES, MD Nassau, March 7, 2018.

EDITOR, The Tribune.

FISCAL Budgeting - there is always a problem when criticising as the incumbent Government is as guilty as the previous one - we certainly see that in our past 26 years’ experience. Commentators and politicians suffer from serious amnesia on the truth. The Bahamas has been running Deficit Budgets for 30 plus years what is different in the  past five-years and believe me  what will be the difference after this term of the FNM? The second term of the Ingraham FNM Government in early debate the then Leader of the House - Marathon MP Algernon Allen stood up and said the following - thank God for deficit budgeting! He was referring to the run up to the election and the $165m deficit! Do we conveniently started a debate on such counselling of both para holy  and consecrated ties  together, and including  forget the $120m over-run matter. the  matter of when sex  and for the New Providence Neither should have such related matters are Road programme? This was under the latter part sugar coated or ‘water done. down’ this  marital  Bill  to  Both sides  should not of the Ingraham FNM make  it seem  all right to be forced by the law of  the Government. Do we forget the Ingrabecome a law that is accept- State to  control  their  priable in The Bahamas. vate and  personal lives ham FNM Government Either it is rape or it is not in such a most Godly and introduction of the free rape between a man and his holy union, and where  all Pharmaceutical Drug prowife when  the sexual act is parties are also matured gramme which as today’s carried out  by either of  the  and responsible adults; for Minister described is runpartners  without  the so- otherwise this Bill can deal ning up millions way over called consent of the other. a death blow, disharmony estimates. The PLP under Christie I see this marital law as and confusion to all marno different - deficits on an attack on the well func- riages and  the family.   tioning of any union, and Many may  also  become deficits. may cause real  trouble in more reluctant in getting  The current Minister of Bahamian marriages even- married as  well. tually, and can pave the way I hope this marital  bill  to much unhappiness to all can in some way be disconcouples concerned.    tinued  permanently, but It   seems  that  such  a  not  merely sugar coated  by  law  mainly serves in crimi- the  government and few EDITOR, The Tribune. nalising all marriages, religious leaders so as to go which is a serious  thing, for into effect. WELL Mr Aranha, marriage is of God. your sigh of relief was What should be given EZRA RAHMING  short lived. Once again in the number one priority, is Nassau, today’s paper under the a mandatory pre-marriage March 11, 2018. heading, “Seven people

Marital rape law attack on union EDITOR, The Tribune.

The perils of fiscal budgeting LETTERS Finance criticised the fiscal-financial management of the PLP in the past five years but then promoted thee persons whose responsibility in the Civil Service in that time was to keep everything inline! No criticism on the individual but that person now is Deputy Financial Secretary. Ministry of National Security on the condition of police vehicles - yesterday I passed through Crawford Street to the back of the Police Garage - yes I agree there is an inexcusable number of police vehicles damaged, but, Editor, don’t blame the Command of the RBPF they were not driving the patrol vehicles and the majority of the vehicles are as a result of collisions - go see? $5m for a computer programme to manage the servicing of the patrol vehicles? When was that tender published? Sandy Bottom…the Minister forgets the acquisition of the new patrol craft was a long way along by the time the PLP were in office - discussions with Damen were  advanced the link to van Word had been created, but Tommy “T” then Minister had that way in hand. The question arises was what was purchased the best approach bearing in mind what subsequently

we have experienced with wind powered sailing sloops being able to out smart the most modern 60 meter patrol craft and sail into Nassau right to the front door of RBDF Coral Harbour and not a soul see the migrant ship or migrants! Minister a fun police funeral how much does that cost? An official or recognised police funeral how much does that cost? Government runs on a cash basis - it is scary that the policy of the Minnis Government is to go an accrual format - so if the accrual does not have the funds and a hurricane hits we wait til there are funds available? Am very interested in this office space that the Minister talks about - we recommitted, no out clause, but no civil servant has crossed the threshold? Can the Minister name these buildings and from whom Government is renting and the rent? I would be surprised if at the end of this term of the FNM Minnis Government there is anything different from the past three-four Governments - Deficits will still be there government will have to divest 100% all State Corporations to get to a Non-deficit position and that would be starters. They won’t, so live with them! W THOMPSON Nassau, March 9, 2018.

Also proud of Penny rescued as they are swept off Glass Window Bridge”, our waters are once again referred to as the Caribbean. When it is going to be understand that NONE of

our Bahamian Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea! FRANCESCA TAYLOR Nassau, March 8, 2018.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018, PAGE 5

from page one

Minnis aims to avoid ‘blindsiding’ on Oban deal Dr Minnis has previously said he plans to “enumerate a lot of things” regarding Oban Energies at that time, and government sources yesterday told The Tribune that the prime minister was fully aware of the public backlash in response to the deal. It has been nearly two weeks since it was revealed that Peter Krieger, the nonexecutive chairman of the $5.5bn project, did not sign his own name on the heads of agreement for the deal, but signed the name of Satpal Dhunna, the company’s president. Since controversy surrounding the project reared its head last month, Mr Dhunna has responded to critics twice - first via a paid advertisement, and second via the release of his letter to the Office of the Prime Minister explaining his absence at the ceremonial signing. On Monday, the Bahamas National Trust said it was “greatly concerned” about the location of the proposed facility in Grand

Bahama, saying it cannot “envisage any scenario” where it could support the controversial project. The organisation also suggested it has been kept in the dark about the deal, despite the high risk oil refineries pose of air, aquatic and soil pollution. In a release, the organisation - which manages the

national park systems - said it has formally requested an opportunity to review the full Heads of Agreement signed by Oban Energies last month and also asked the government to make public the proposed site of Oban’s facility and all the information it now has on the company. Environmental advocacy

group Save the Bays and environmentalist Sam Duncombe of reEarth have also spoken out against the proposal. Yesterday, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold repeatedly declined to comment on the matter, and could not confirm when Dr Minnis will address Parliament.

Mr Newbold has held a dozen Tuesday briefings since he was appointed to the post in May last year, an average of 25 per cent or one briefing per month. He has not held a press briefing for several weeks, leaving some observers to question if the government wanted to avoid pointed questions about the Oban backlash.

He explained yesterday the weekly briefing is dependent upon Cabinet approval, or a specific directive by the prime minister. “My briefings are based on Cabinet conclusions,” Mr Newbold said, “that’s primarily what those meetings are about. Once the Cabinet has arrived at a conclusion, they would say this is something we’re confirmable with and you need to tell the Bahamian public, other than that if I’m directed by the prime minister to make a comment on something or if there is something happening within a specific ministry. “Other than that, I won’t have a briefing. We’re not at the American model where the press secretary comes every day and the press asks questions. I’m a creature of Cabinet, my post was created by the Cabinet and that is the general parametre. You have briefings based on conclusions that come from Cabinet and under direction of prime minister, other than that you have no right to go out there and say anything,” he added, “that’s pretty much where it is.”

the mental (and) emotional (stress). . . sometimes they cry and my brothers, I cry with them. What else can I do? Imagine working most of your adult life, acquired your dream home and now you are about to lose everything? “Mr Speaker, we promised to bring them solutions and relief. They need it now. Too many people, hard-working Bahamians are losing their greatest lifetime investments. How much longer do we intend to watch them suffer and lose it all? “I understand the challenges, but we are dealing with an angry and impatient electorate. There seems to be a disconnect and they are not feeling us. The language we are speaking they are not understanding. There is a disconnect. “We are in the Easter season and as a pastor, as a church leader and going through personal conflicts we always talk about those on the way to Jerusalem who said ‘hosanna, hosanna.’ Three days later as they exit, they hear ‘crucify him, crucify him.’ We have had our hosanna and

now are beginning to hear the cry of crucify. Why? Because there’s an impatient, there’s an unforgiving, there is an electorate who wants it now and that is the reality of the situation that we are facing.” Regarding the proposed Oban oil refinery and storage facility, he said: “I know of the talk of Oban and we can’t get into it for obvious reasons, but Mr Speaker fossil fuel is a dying energy form. We have the ability (and) the capability. Under the last administration I heard a part of a presentation referring to a marvelous most wonderful form of technology available to us. We have an opportunity. We have been elected to lead this country in a different direction, a different path and to empower a generation of Bahamians.” Ahead of his 2017 general election loss, former Prime Minister Perry Christie said his administration’s revamped mortgage relief programme had assisted 350 Bahamian homeowners since it was reintroduced. At the time, he called it a “significant” turnaround

from the failings of his government’s first attempt at the initiative. Assisting struggling homeowners was one of the Christie administration’s campaign promises ahead of the 2012 general election. It was implemented early in its term, but the programme under performed, leading Mr Christie to admit in 2013 that only four or five homeowners were expected

to receive assistance. The programme has been abandoned by the Minnis administration, who criticised it while in opposition. Mr Miller also said despite the country’s independence, its most precious natural resources remain in the hands of the elite while the disenfranchised and poor continue to be ignored. “The disenfranchised,

the poor, the rejected, the despised of the country most of whom made it possible for us to get here, they are the ones we forget and we only remember when it’s time to go back to them to re-elect us to give us an opportunity to serve. “Successive administrations have done it and now we have a wonderful opportunity to change the course of history,” Mr Miller said.

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, left, with Peter Krieger, of Oban Energies.

Photo: Yontalay Bowe/OPM Media Services


from page one

“There is a mortgage crisis going on,” Mr Miller said yesterday as he contributed to the mid-year budget debate. “You’d be surprised to know who cannot meet their mortgage demands. I’ve met many persons, Mr Speaker, who the banks have foreclosed on, but are allowing them to remain in the home. “I met a family, the wife with a terminal illness and the husband unemployed. Their home is up for foreclosure. They are allowed to remain in the home. Every time a police car drives through the corner they are wondering if it’s coming to supervise their eviction.” He continued: “Mr Speaker I remind you that we’ve made a commitment. The Speech from The Throne, I repeat it: ‘my government will review legislation to ensure that adequate provisions exist for the protection of homeowners with respect to foreclosure, mortgage protection.’ “The pain, the anguish,

Funeral Service

Angela Jeanette Ward, 61 of Nassau, The Bahamas, who died peacefully at Doctors Hospital, Collins Avenue, Nassau, on Friday, 9th March, 2018, will be held at the Chapel of Love, Kemp’s Funeral Home Limited, Palmdale Avenue and Bradley Street, Nassau, on Thursday, 15th March, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Pastor Derek Benjamin will officiate. Cremation will follow. She is survived by her husband, Gilbert A. Ward; sons, H. Glenn Minnis and Graham Ward; daughter, Shelley Ward; grandsons, Asher, Reuven, Gabriel and Shiloh Minnis and Sebastian Ward; granddaughters, Eden Minnis and Sofia Ward; brother, Mischa Gringras; nephews, Daniel Bayssassew, Justin and Tobin Gringras, Corey Erskine and Jesse Simms; nieces, Courteney Gringras, Hannah Bayssassew, Jessica Erskine and Lauren Stevenson; aunt, Elizabeth van Veen; daughters-in-law, Alexis Minnis and Monica Ward; grand nephews, Benjamin and Kaeleb; grand nieces, Madison, Abigail, Anna and Alice; brother-in-law, Gerald Cash; sister-in-law, Sharon Erskine and many other relatives and close friends including “Her Girls” Elizabeth Evans, Linda Ionson, Vicki Allen, Christa Palmer, Santina Brothers, Suzanne Black, Paulette Davis, Shirley Cartwright and Faye Sands, Cornel and Myrna Collins, Mesfin Bayssassew, Dr. David Allen, Sharon Deveaux and Annabelle Hammond. Our deepest gratitude to Doctor Downes and the Nurses and Staff at Doctors Hospital along with her Private Nursing Staff. She will be especially missed by “Benji” In lieu of flowers the family request that donations be sent to the Cancer Society of The Bahamas, P.O. Box S.S. 6539, Nassau in memory of Angela Jeanette Ward. Relatives and friends may pay their respects at Kemp’s Funeral Home Limited, Palmdale Avenue, Palmdale, on Wednesday, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Arrangements Kemp’s Funeral Home Limited.

Why did trial officers fail to appear? PAGE 6, Wednesday, March 14, 2018


from page one On Monday, two officers expected to testify were no-shows during a hearing before Magistrate Ambrose Armbrister. One of the officers had previously testified in the matter. The police prosecutor in the case subsequently made an application to withdraw the charges against the ten persons who faced charges in connection with the destruction of a fence blocking access to Cabbage Beach during a protest in 2016. Magistrate Armbrister ultimately opted to not acquit the group for legal reasons, but discharged them instead. He said while only two indictable charges against one or more in the group can be brought back against them, it is unlikely that will happen based on the fact the virtual complainant in the matter never showed up to court. Referencing the ruling yesterday, Mr Thompson said it was a tragedy that such an important case met its conclusion the way it did. He urged the senior command of the RBPF to make clear the reasons given by the two officers involved, adding that if the reasons are not clear, the officers should be made to face an internal tribunal like they did in the past. “Hear me carefully, the system is in place to ensure that these officers are aware of any case that they are involved in. That was the case when I was a part of the force, and I am sure that it is still the case,” he told The Tribune. “When you have a case,

THE “Cabbage Beach Ten” outside court yesterday with their attorneys, Branville McCartney and Don Saunders, Tall Pines MP, after their case was discharged by a magistrate.  Photo: Nico Scavella prosecutors notify your station officer, who then tells you about the case. Additionally, there is a board in all stations and departments where that senior officer would write it out. You, whatever the name of the officer is, has been called to court, whatever it is, for case, whatever it is. “The officers in this case

had to know the date and the location. That is why we need an explanation for these absences.” He added: “It looks bad. We cannot undermine the court like this. This was a waste of time and resources for this case to come this far and end the way it did.” When asked by The Tribune how matters like this

were handled when he was a member of the RBPF, Mr Thompson said: “These men would be made answer and made to do so very quickly.” He continued: “A tribunal would be called by the commissioner of police. . . It was that simple. You would face a disciplinary board to explain why you didn’t attend.” Mr Thompson said

there were cases in which officers have been punished with fines and even the loss of days off. Mr Thompson also recalled a case in which an officer was punished by a judge for not showing up to court. He said in that case, the officer was made to sit in on court proceedings for an entire day.

“Like I said, this was considered a serious matter. It should still be,” he told The Tribune. The ten discharged Monday are expected to seek “substantial damages” from the government for being “maliciously prosecuted” in the case, according one of their lawyers, Branville McCartney.


PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell has defended hiring practices

by the former Christie administration related to immigration officers, saying every officer hired in the last recruitment exercise came in under specific conditions approved by Cabinet.

His comments came in response to criticism from Minister for the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle in the House of Assembly on Monday. Mr Rolle said under the

previous PLP government, 9,000 people were added to the public payroll. Direct hiring to the Departments of Customs and Immigration, Mr Rolle said, was done without consultation of the Ministry of

GN 2019

Public Service. In 2016, 114 customs officers were hired along with 217 immigration officers between March and April of 2017 and were told to report for duty without letters of engagement, the MP said. The majority of them were just vetted when the Minnis administration took office, he said. However, according to Mr Rolle, around 50 of these persons have not been able to pass the vetting process. The government, he said, has been advised by police to not even consider them for engagement. In response, Mr Mitchell, former minister of foreign affairs and immigration, released a statement saying “there was nothing improper” about the hiring process of the last recruitment exercise. Mr Mitchell said the public service minister should do his job, adding Mr Rolle’s comments have affected the morale of many immigration officers, leaving them “depressed and dispirited.” “It is sad that ten months after the general election the public service minister cannot simply do his job and have the letters of appointment issued to the immigration trainees who are working every day to defend this country,” Mr Mitchell said. “Yesterday his statement to the House complaining about how they were hired left many of them depressed and dispirited. “Even those who have letters of appointment were denied a passing out parade to show their friends and family they are a part of the Immigration Department.” Mr Mitchell suggested that the purpose of Mr Rolle’s remarks was simply to denigrate the PLP. Instead, Mr Mitchell said, Mr Rolle ended up demeaning himself and his

own party. “The minister may think that he is attacking the PLP by his old story telling time in the House but the reality is he is simply embarrassing himself and portraying the ineptness of the FNM administration to get the appointment letters out to these trainees. “The minister has the files and access to the Cabinet conclusions. “He can find out that every individual hired in the Immigration Department in the last recruitment exercise came in under specific conditions mandated and approved by the Cabinet. “There was nothing improper about it. He should be ashamed to give the impression that these trainees are unqualified.” In response to the vetting issue, Mr Mitchell referenced the extreme length of time the Royal Bahamas Police Force often takes to complete the vetting process. “(The minister) should know for example that out of the doctrine of necessity where the police force was responsible for security vetting, the police were taking up to one year to vet applicants and so it was necessary to hire people subject to vetting. “That is but one example of the myriad and Byzantine issues facing regular appointments to the public service in a timely fashion.” Mr Mitchell ended his statement with words of advice for Mr Rolle and words of encouragement for immigration officers. “I cry shame on him. Get to work minister and get these letters of appointment issued and stop belly aching and crying over old stories. “I salute all the Immigration officers for their dedication to the cause and encourage them to continue to work and do their best.”


Wednesday, March 14, 2018, PAGE 7

Minister seeks ‘sober’ debate about marital rape laws By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter STATE Legal Affairs Minister Elsworth Johnson wants deliberations in the public domain about marital rape to be “sober” amid continued consultation of the drafted amendment to the Sexual Offences Act intended to criminalise non-consensual sexual intercourse between spouses. Speaking in Parliament yesterday, the minister said women, men nor children are “property”, adding some day the country must come to a conclusion as to what it will do with women. He also said it was his hope the Freedom of Information Act would be fully brought into force by the end of this year. “I want to commend (persons in society) for identifying the fact that woman or man or children are not property. So as we go through these deliberations I want it to be sober. “I want to us understand what the Constitution is all about, but the discussions are ongoing and some day we have to come to the conclusion as to what we will do with our women. “So we have had those public consultations. Nothing is written in stone. The (Bahamas) Christian Council has sent their recommendation and a

number of other civil society grouping are sending their consultations.” He continued: “Towards this end and in accordance with our international commitment with the United Nations to eliminate all forms of discrimination of violence against women we have drafted an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act, which is intended to criminalise non-consensual sexual intercourse with spouses in a subsistent marriage, which is evident by acts of violence, economic extortion or threat of removal of financial support of the family or any forms of mental, emotional or psychological coercion or false consent to sexual intercourse. “We are pleased to report that a purposed suggestive variation of the draft bill, which criminalises the actions of threat referred to in the above was done to the act by the Christian Council.” The Yamacraw MP further updated the House on the Freedom of Information Act. Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis last week tabled the appointed day notice for the enactment of the whistleblower protection provisions of the FOIA. He said the Office of the Attorney General is seeking technical expertise and advice from Jamaica’s information commissioner

to supplement the work on this legislation. “It is accepted international standard that information maintained by the government is vital to civil society. That information when properly dispensed to members of civil society undergirds a democracy to give life to it and it allows people to properly involve themselves in the governance of the country. “At this point the Office of the Attorney General is seeking some technical expertise and advice from the Jamaica information commissioner, which we hope to receive in short order and even now we are seeking to identify suitable candidates for appointment of the information commissioner as well as information officers in every ministry or department so that at the very latest we might bring the Freedom of Information Act fully into force by the end of the year 2018. “Mr Speaker, we are not afraid to be accountable and transparent in our governance and the governance of this country. The Office of the Attorney General collaborates with members of civil society and the wider general public in addressing the concept or legislation that concerns the growth of this country,” Mr Johnson said.

RENTAL CAR FRAUD DUO TO PAY $4,000 BACK TO FIRM By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter TWO of three men who fraudulently obtained a number of Hyundai vehicles from a local car rental company last month have been ordered to collectively pay the firm over $4,000 in restitution. Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt ordered Sean Roberts and Sean Bain to pay $2,700 and $1,950 respectively to Avis Rent-A-Car as compensation for their actions late last month. The two were ordered to pay their respective amounts by April 4. Chief

Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt previously said neither of them, including their coaccused Akeem Storr will be released until Avis RentA-Car is fully reimbursed. Storr, meanwhile, had his sentencing adjourned to today. Last week, Roberts and Storr admitted they fraudulently obtained a Hyundai Accent worth $400 from Avis Rent-A-Car near the British Colonial Hilton on February 15, and again fraudulently obtained another Hyundai Accent worth $900 from the same agency on February 27. Roberts also pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining a Hyundai Accent

worth $850 from Avis RentA-Car on February 17, and another Hyundai Accent worth $1,200 on February 25. Bain and Storr also pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining both a Hyundai Accent worth $500 and a Hyundai Tucson worth $600 from Avis Rent-A-Car on February 17, and also admitted to fraudulently obtaining both a Hyundai Accent worth $900 and a Hyundai Tucson worth the same amount on the 20th of that month. Bain and Storr also admitted to fraudulently obtaining a Hyundai Elantra worth $1,000 from Avis Rent-A-Car.


THE Crown is seeking to contest the two-year sentences of two convicts who robbed an off-duty police officer at gunpoint five years ago as he sat in his car. Bianco Smith and Kedero Key were due to appear before the appellate court on Monday in connection with the Crown’s appeal of their sentences for the armed robbery of Perez Butler on June 25, 2013. However, according to a written ruling handed down by Justice Roy Jones, there was no appearance by or on behalf of either respondent. The matter was consequently adjourned to April 9. In 2015, a Supreme Court jury convicted the pair of armed robbery at trial. According to the Crown’s case, Butler was sitting in his car on the day in question when Smith and Key

approached him with a handgun and robbed him of a cell phone and wallet containing $150 cash. Smith was said to be in possession of the gun. Both men were consequently sentenced to what a Crown prosecutor contended at the time were lenient sentences for such an offence. Smith, who spent two years in custody awaiting trial, was sentenced by Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel to two years in prison from the date of conviction. He was also placed on probation for two years on a bond of good behaviour to take effect from the time of his release from prison. Upon his release, Smith is to be assigned a counsellor and a supervisor. Should he commit any offence during that time, he will serve an additional two years imprisonment. Key, who spent less time on remand, was sentenced to two years and nine months at the Bahamas Department of

Correctional Services from the date of the conviction. He is also to receive the same probationary period and attached conditions upon release from custody. Armed robbery normally carries at least a ten-year sentence. Crown prosecutor Cordell Frazier indicated at the time that the sentences will likely be contested in the Court of Appeal.

MEMBER of Parliament for Yamacraw Elsworth Johnson. 

Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

VACANCY NOTICE NEWS EDITOR Cable Bahamas Limited is seeking to employ an experienced News Editor. The successful candidate must have experience in Media and Editing and the ability to collaborate effectively with the Media team. JOB SUMMARY The News Editor will be responsible for providing technical assistance with all aspects of the internal and external operations of OurTV -The Community Channel and all OurTV in-house productions with specific responsibility as a News Editor. JOB DESCRIPTION • • • • • • • • •

Responsible for the day to day editing requirements relative to OurTV news process; Providing technical support to OurTV news process; Assisting with the production and editing of materials needed for the community channel as deemed by supervisor; Assisting with camera operations where required; Providing production assistance on in-studio and field productions; Providing assistance with the general operation and maintenance of OurTV’ s production studios, edit suites and field equipment; Providing technical support for OurTV personnel including assisting with the Cable Cares Foundation and Corporate Media; Assisting with any and all aspects of the production process as related to the production original OurTV programming; Performing all other related tasks of OurTV operations (including directing, producing, editing, shooting, writing, lighting and audio) as assigned by Management.


Post-secondary degree or certification in video production or related field; Computer literacy, with a good working knowledge of MAC Environments, Final Cut Pro 7 and 10, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Word, Excel and PowerPoint essential; Experience in ENG and or an EFP Production Environment; Strong Interpersonal skills to effectively work with team members within the departments and throughout the company; Reliability, punctuality and good interpersonal skills are essential; Ability to work independently with limited supervision; Ability to manage deadlines and high stress situations; Accuracy, neatness and efficiency; Effective communication skills, both oral and written; Excellent leadership skills; Physical dexterity required; Must be flexible to work in a dynamic environment to meet the needs of the organization; Demonstrate a high level of integrity and commitment to service.

Qualified applicants should submit Resumes on or before Wednesday, March 28, 2018, to the Director of Human Resources, PO BOX CB-13050, Nassau, Bahamas or send electronically with Ref: News Editor to

PAGE 8, Wednesday, March 14, 2018


In The Bahamas, marriage does not seem to be a good idea for women IT is rare for a news item to bring concerned pause. Our positions are usually clear; we care or we don’t care, and then we choose a side. On issues of social or political concern, we generally have an opinion on what is and is not right. Something was different about the way we saw and responded to last week’s news story on The Bahamas Christian Council’s proposed Sanctity of Marriage bill. I saw scores of people share the article, but none of them added a caption. Some of them used emoticons, but no one made a clear statement about the council’s drafting and submission of a Sanctity of Marriage bill. The draft is meant to serve three purposes. It is to provide for the reinforcement of the sanctity of marriage, a marital duty of care and strengthen the

institution of marriage by ensuring “informed participation”. It also focuses on tax reduction for married people to enhance the value and serve as incentive for the maintenance of marriage. It seems The Bahamas Christian Council and the loud voices we have come to know as “the church” are obsessed with marriage. They simultaneously promote it as a necessity for everyone and an exclusive good reserved for its community. We are clear on the church’s position on who

should and should not have access to marriage. It was amplified by the 2016 referendum and its statements on the fourth proposed constitutional amendment bill which sought to add “sex” to the prohibited grounds of discrimination. Its opposition was rooted in homophobia which was framed as a “protection” of marriage, as though the legalisation of samesex marriage would be the destruction of marriage. For the sake of brevity and simplicity, I will say only that the fourth bill was

VACANCY NOTICE PRODUCTION ASSOCIATE Cable Bahamas Limited is seeking to employ an experienced Production Associate. The successful candidate must have experience in Media and Camera work and the ability to collaborate effectively with the Media team. JOB SUMMARY The Production Associate will be responsible for assisting with all aspects of work related to the internal and external technical operations of OurTV. JOB DESCRIPTION • • • • • • • •

• •

Responsible for the electronic news gathering function as it relates to OurTV, inclusive of but not limited to Primary Camerawork, ENG Field producing and Editing; Liaising with our strategic news partner for the purposes of gathering news and the technical production of the same; Studio and field camera operation; General IT Support for the OurTV Department. This includes troubleshooting and software support where necessary; Maintenance of the quality standards for broadcast on internal and external productions; Liaising with the Technical Manager on all technical aspects as related to the operation of the Community Channel; Liaising with the Administrative Producer and Executive Producer as related to the production needs of the Community Channel; Operation of OurTV programming which includes directing, producing, editing, shooting, writing, lighting and audio as deemed by your immediate supervisor; Submission of daily production reports to your supervisor; Perform allother media related task as assigned by management.


• • • • • • • • • • •

Post-secondary degree or certification in video production or related field; Computer literacy, with a good working knowledge of MAC Environments, Final Cut Pro 7 and 10, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and Word, Excel and PowerPoint essential; Experience in ENG and or an EFP Production Environment; Strong Interpersonal skills to effectively work with team members within the departments and throughout the company; Reliability, punctuality and good interpersonal skills are essential; Ability to work independently with limited supervision; Ability to manage deadlines and high stress situations; Accuracy, neatness and efficiency; Effective communication skills, both oral and written; Excellent leadership skills; Physical dexterity required; Must be flexible to work in a dynamic environment to meet the needs of the organization; Demonstrate a high level of integrity and commitment to service.

Qualified applicants should submit Resumes on or before Wednesday, March 28, 2018, to the Director of Human Resources, P.O. BOX CB-13050, Nassau, Bahamas or send electronically with Ref: Production Associate to

not about same-sex marriage, its passage would not have automatically led to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and this issue is far from the top of the list of concerns of the LGBT+ community. It was made clear the church believes — or wishes to make the public believe — it has a monopoly on marriage, and it is only a religious institution. This is not the case. It falls to citizens to remind the state of this fact, and respond strongly to the church’s attempts to control public goods and services and the private lives of citizens on the basis of its doctrine which we are free, constitutionally, to recognise or not. The Sanctity of Marriage Bill as drafted by The Bahamas Christian Council raises many questions. There is very little we can point to and identify as right or wrong, but none of it is necessary, and most of it seems to be linked to a larger plan we cannot see. This group of religious leaders has submitted its own recommendations for amendments to the Sexual Offences Act. Has the admission that rape is rape, regardless of the relationship between people, led The Bahamas Christian Council to worry about the state of marriage? Is the Sanctity of Marriage draft bill a strategy to influence engaged and married couples on issues including sexual assault? How does it intend to lead the proposed Marriage and Family Advisory Council in educating the public on marriage, and what do they know that we have yet to learn? If this is another strategy to control the legal contract of marriage, it is beyond time for us to pay attention. The marital rape conversation has not been much different than the one about the referendum. Religious leaders came forward to quickly and loudly to express their displeasure at the very existence of the conversation. Victim-blaming has been normalised in many ways and, sadly, it is what we have come to expect from many men of the cloth. Why would a woman choose not to have sex with her husband? What’s a man to do? These religious leaders reframe the conversation, taking our attention away from abuse and power. They distract us with the concept of submission as the primary duty and characteristic of a good, christian wife. They erase married women who do not identify as christian, some of whom did not even

marry in the church. A broad brush is used, and the attitude seems to be if we choose to marry, we commit ourselves to the standards and obligations meted out by the church. Is this what the Sanctity of Marriage draft bill would enforce? Marriage, in The Bahamas, does not seem to be a good idea for women. Sure, it can bring financial security, confidence in commitments made, and a reduction in judgment, especially for couples choosing to live together and have children. Unfortunately, it can result in a loss of physical security and legal protection. It is

I sometimes think about the churches full of women who practically empty their purses into collection plates, but led by men who do not regard women — especially married women — as human beings. a challenge to get police to respond to domestic disturbances. I know because I have made the calls and driven to police stations to make reports. I’ve heard, “Them two again?” I’ve been told, “Miss, we don’t have time for that.” It is, as we have seen in recent weeks, difficult to convince people that married women are still human beings and have human rights. Why should women get married? Perhaps the Sanctity of Marriage draft is The Bahamas Christian Council’s way of preempting the inevitable — the refusal of Bahamian women to get married, giving in to the the societal and religious norms that continue to be reinforced by the law of the land. Maybe it sees the need to incentivise marriage while locking us in additional obligations through its guide. I had the unfortunate experience of listening to men talk about marital rape in a barber shop a few days ago. I chose not to argue, but to listen to everything they said and observe the responses of other people in the room. Someone in the room, well aware of my

work, expressed surprise at my silence. I continued to hold it. They talked about how ridiculous it would be to make marital rape illegal. They shared strategies for “taking it” from their wives. These ranged from waiting for her to sleep to slipping something into her favourite drink. They argued about whether or not it would be fun without her participation. They laughed about how confused she would be when she woke up aching, or realized he hadn’t “asked for some” in a while. These men commented on the views of the religious leaders who have been outspoken about the issue, and talked openly about raping their wives, completely without fear or the slightest reservation. It didn’t matter that there were people in the room whose positions they could not know. It didn’t matter that there was a woman in the room. It wasn’t until a religious leader entered that they ceased to share their marital rape strategies. Before, all that mattered was their hyper-masculinity and the need to express it and assure one another they would get what they wanted, whatever the cost. After all, raping their wives is not illegal, and some of the most revered and respected men in the country are fighting to keep it that way. Just not the one who last entered, and his position was respected. This is the danger of the reckless influencer. They have the power and the platform to present, repeat and sometimes enforce their points of view, frequently without challenge. I sometimes think about the churches full of women who practically empty their purses into collection plates, but led by men who do not regard women — especially married women — as human beings. How do women sit in those churches, listen to those sermons, fund those activities, and not think about the ways they and so many others are affected by the dangerous rhetoric spewed week after week in what they perceive to be a holy place? I have to remind myself they have been conditioned for years to believe they are less than men and that religious leaders are a trustworthy authority. I saw for myself that religious power silences, scares, and controls people of all genders. It’s up to us to prevent it from disempowering us — not as citizens, nor as a nation.

BISHOP DELTON FERNANDER, president of the Christian Council. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff


Wednesday, March 14, 2018, PAGE 9

Star Wars? President Trump proposes military space force WASHINGTON, DC Associated Press AMERICA should create its own separate military space force, President Donald Trump mentioned in an offhand remark Tuesday that would change the course of US space policy. But don’t expect Captain Kirk ordering phasers set on stun, Battlestar Galactica or ray guns blazing in orbit in the near future, space experts said. And some said a military space force may make it harder to keep Earth’s orbit a place of peace. Saying his national security strategy “recognises that space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said at a San Diego Marine Corps base that he’s considering “a space force” that would be the equivalent of the Air Force, Army and Navy. Trump said at first he wasn’t serious when he floated the concept, but “then I said what a great idea, maybe we’ll have to do that”. This is more about boosting reconnaissance and cyber security than fighting in orbit, said Sean O’Keefe, who was both NASA administrator and navy secretary under President George W Bush. Trump’s own defence secretary and air force secretary argued vociferously against it when members of Congress pushed it last year, O’Keefe said. You can emphasise more help for

NASA’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. the military in space without going to the massive organisational change and expense, he said. It could be a bureaucratic nightmare, said O’Keefe, a professor at Syracuse University. He said some people may argue that a space force would “compromise the sanctity of considering space to be off limits from warfare”. Ever since the Space Age started with the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, there has been a military and national security aspect

to space, even though there are treaties and a United Nations committee that explicitly talk about keeping space a place of peace. In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower established two separate space programs — a civilian one that became NASA, and a military one. NASA is much more public, but the military program is just as big. The military space program has mostly been led by the Air Force. For the past several years, the military has been flying an unmanned space plane, a

Some driverless car damage appears to be from angry people

lot like the retired civilian space shuttle but smaller, experts said. “It’s really what we’re already doing but giving elevated status to the mission,” American University space expert Howard McCurdy said of Trump’s proposal. The military toyed with the idea of an Air Force space station in orbit in the 1960s, but President Richard Nixon’s administration killed the idea, mostly because it found that robotic space efforts were more effective and efficient, McCurdy said.


A SELF-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV. SAN FRANCISCO Associated Press ONE problem with selfdriving cars is people. The Los Angeles Times reports that of six crash reports filed in California so far this year, two involved a person attacking a robot car. Both incidents happened

in San Francisco, according to Department of Motor Vehicles records. On Jan 2, a vehicle operated by General Motors’ Cruise driverless car division was waiting at a green light for pedestrians to cross when a shouting man ran across the street against the do-notwalk signal and struck its

bumper and hatch, damaging a taillight. The car was in autonomous mode but a driver was behind the wheel. On Jan 28, another GM autonomous vehicle with a human driving had stopped behind a taxi when the taxi driver got out and slapped the front passenger-side window.

McCurdy, O’Keefe and others said any space force would probably consist of cadets on the ground operating robotic systems in space. Massachusetts Institute of Technology astronautics professor and former NASA deputy administrator Dava Newman said she prefers space to be as peaceful as possible. “Space is for exploration and lifting up humanity,” Newman said. “We should learn from our mistakes on Earth and keep space peaceful.”

US officials are considering extending the use of an eastern Idaho nuclear waste treatment facility beyond its scheduled closure this year so it can repackage radioactive waste brought in from other states before it’s sent to a permanent disposal site in New Mexico. The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant at a site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory was originally set to stop operating after it finished treating waste from Idaho this year. But the Energy Department is considering keeping the $500m plant that employs about 600 workers running. “The department has been looking at where to take waste from other DOE sites and treat it,” Energy Department spokesman Brad Bugger said last week.

Hanford, a sprawling Energy Department site in eastern Washington state that contains more than 50 million gallons of radioactive and toxic wastes in underground storage tanks, is a former nuclear weapons production area. The Idaho treatment plant handles transuranic waste that includes items like work clothing, rags, machine parts and tools that have been contaminated with plutonium, americium or other radioactive elements. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says transuranic wastes take much longer to decay and are the most radioactive hazard in high-level waste after 1,000 years. The Idaho treatment plant compacts the transuranic waste, making it easier to ship and put into long-term storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

• A GROUP of University of Tokyo and Japan Tobacco Inc. researchers has revealed that the protective layer of cells, known as epithelial cells, lining the inner surface of the intestines, and fat cells, otherwise called adipocytes, trigger reciprocal inflammatory responses when these cells were cultured in the same medium. The current results suggest that adipocytes found in the intestinal membrane called the mesentery are directly involved in initiating and advancing intestinal inflammation, indicating that improvement of adipocyte characteristics could lead to new treatment strategies for Crohn’s disease, a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease. The research group found that intestinal epithelial cells, prepared from intestinal tissue-like structures cultured outside the body, called organoids, and adipocytes, differentiated from mouse embryonic fibroblasts, induced a vicious inflammatory cycle when grown in the same medium — secretions from mature adipocytes trigger inflammation of the intestinal epithelial cells, and subsequently, secretions from inflamed epithelial cells induce inflammation of adipocytes. • GO hands-free in the laboratory or makerspace with Mauro Pichiliani’s voice-controlled magnification glasses. It’s a kind of magnification. We’ve all been there – that moment when you need another pair of hands to complete a task. And while these glasses may not hold all the answers, they’re a perfect addition to any hobbyist’s arsenal. A pair of frames with magnification lenses that can flip up and down in response to a voice command, depending on the task at hand. No more needing to put down your tools in order to put magnifying glasses on or trying to re-position a magnifying glass with the back of your left wrist. • IMAGINE if carbon dioxide (CO2) could easily be converted into usable energy. Every time you breathe or drive a motor vehicle, you would produce a key ingredient for generating fuels. Like photosynthesis in plants, we could turn CO2 into molecules that are essential for day-to-day life. Now, scientists are one step closer. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory are part of a scientific collaboration that has identified a new electrocatalyst that efficiently converts CO2 to carbon monoxide (CO), a highly energetic molecule. “There are many ways to use CO,” said Eli Stavitski, a scientist at Brookhaven and an author on the paper. “If there were a sustainable, cost-efficient route to transform CO2 to CO, it would benefit society greatly.”


Wednesday, March 14, 2018, PAGE 11

Thirty Gaming Board staff in court challenge By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter THIRTY former Gaming Board employees are due to appear before a Supreme Court judge on Friday in a bid to legally compel their former employer to reinstate them to their previous positions at the government agency, which they allegedly lost on the grounds of redundancy. The former employees, represented by Wayne Munroe, QC, will appear before Justice Indra Charles concerning their application to be granted a court order to have their

former employer reinstate them to the various “managerial, supervisory and line staff positions” they previously held. The former employees, the plaintiffs in the action, are also seeking costs associated with Friday’s hearing. The matter stems from the 30 employees suing the Gaming Board for their wrongful dismissal from the government agency late last year. According to a writ filed by Mr Munroe’s chambers on December 22, 2017, the Gaming Board, its “servants and/or agents” dismissed the 30 plaintiffs from the

agency, via termination letters dated November 1, 2017 to December 13, 2017, purportedly on the grounds of redundancy. However, the plaintiffs contend that in doing so, the Gaming Board “failed and/or refused” to comply with the procedures required by Section 26A of the Employment Act, 2001, as well as Articles 25, 36 and 40 of the collective bargaining agreement between the Gaming Board and the Bahamas Public Services Union, dated January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015. As a result, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for

wrongful dismissal, exemplary damages, interest, costs and other relief the court deems just. The plaintiffs in the action are Kayla Ward, Jean Minus, Marva Heastie, Hope Miller, Dwaynel Archer, Barbara Adderley, Antonique Brown, Donald Nouguez, Jennifer Russell, Genese Musgrove, Meresha Walkes, Patricia Johnson, Lakera Cash, Jacqueline Duncombe, Lataj Henfield, Nickia McPhee, Warren Neymour, Teneille Mackey, Carolee Munnings, Inga Brown, Chantique Brown, Tanzinia Carey, Lisa Pratt, Kirmica Stuart, Sherry

Roberts, Julia Thompson, John McDonald, Doddridge Missick, Mitchell Ferguson and Herbert Duncombe. Last year, Gaming Board Chairman Kenyatta Gibson said the terminations, which followed the earlier release of 17 persons whose temporary contracts had expired, came following completion of a manpower assessment of the overstaffed agency. At the time, Mr Gibson said over the past four years, staffing levels at the Gaming Board had increased by 40 per cent. He also said the regulator was focused on hiring persons with the skill sets

to properly supervise the sector. Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, who has responsibility for gaming, backed the rationale given for the layoffs by Mr Gibson, stating at the time: “While it’s extremely painful to downsize, I don’t think 92,000 people voted for us to keep the status quo.” Mr D’Aguilar added that the Gaming Board needs to rapidly adjust and transform to the new technology-based era, which would require inspectors and analysts outfitted with a much different skill set than in the past.


THIS is a scene from the story selected by Carlton E. Francis Specialists team for the literacy week area competition, “Why the serpent has a cleft tongue and crawls on his belly” by Patricia Glinton. Three main characters from the short story are seen in this picture the serpent, his cousin lizard and God the creator’s hands creating the waterfall.



PAGE 12, Wednesday, March 14, 2018


PROFESSOR Stephen Hawking with former US President Barack Obama, above, and, left, at NASA in the 1980s.

PIONEER SCIENTIST STEPHEN HAWKING DIES, AGED 76 LONDON Associated Press STEPHEN Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralyzed by disease, has died, aged 76, a family spokesman said. “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man

whose work and legacy will live on for many years,” his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement. The best-known theoretical physicist of his time, Hawking wrote so lucidly of the mysteries of space, time and black holes that his book, “A Brief History of Time,” became an

international bestseller, making him one of science’s biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein. Even though his body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, when Hawking was 21, he stunned doctors by living with the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years.


PRESIDENT Donald Trump unceremoniously dumped Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday — via Twitter — and picked CIA Director Mike Pompeo to shift from America’s spy chief to its top diplomat. The abrupt announcement ended the turbulent tenure of the man who reportedly called the president a “moron” but wanted to stay, and deepened the disarray in the Trump administration. In a whirlwind day, the aide who released a statement on behalf of Tillerson was also removed, Trump’s personal assistant John McEntee was also revealed to have been removed on Monday, and there was speculation about the future of the Veterans Affairs secretary. The plans to oust Tillerson had been drawn up months ago, but the timing caught even senior White House officials unawares. The firing was just the latest in an exodus of administration officials, including those in Trump’s inner circle, with the president already setting records for staff turnover and several other Cabinet secretaries facing ethics investigations. However, Trump emphatically rejected talk of chaos in his year-old administration as he nears a pivotal moment on the international stage with his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He declared Tuesday, “I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.” He said he was nominating the CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, to take over for Pompeo at the intelligence agency. If confirmed, Haspel would be the CIA’s first female director As for Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO whom Trump picked as his administration’s top Cabinet official, the president said simply, “we disagreed on things”. No doubt that was true, one prime example being the agreement to restrict Iran’s nuclear efforts. Trump’s change puts Pompeo, an ardent foe of the Iran nuclear deal, in charge of US diplomacy

as the president decides whether to withdraw the US from the agreement. Tillerson has pushed Trump to remain and had been pursuing a delicate strategy with European allies and others to try to improve or augment the Obama-era deal to Trump’s liking. “We were not really thinking the same,” said Trump. Public policy aside, in the view of current and former White House officials, Tillerson’s “moron” comment to senior administration

officials last summer — and the subsequent revelation in the press — permanently eroded trust between the two men and it was only a matter of time before Tillerson would be pushed out. Tillerson himself, his voice occasionally quavering, gave brief farewell remarks at the State Department, thanking department staff and diplomats around the world — but not mentioning Trump except to say that he’d spoken by phone to the president Tuesday

while Trump was on Air Force One, hours after the tweeted firing. Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein and other State Department officials said that Tillerson hadn’t learned he was being dismissed until he saw Trump’s early-Tuesday tweet, and hadn’t discussed it directly with the president. Goldstein said Tillerson was “unaware of the reason” he was fired and “had had every intention of staying”, feeling he was making progress on national security.

That was the end for Goldstein. Hours later, he was fired, too. John McEntee, who served as the president’s personal assistant, was escorted out on Monday. One of a shrinking group of former campaign aides still working in the West Wing, McEntee quickly rejoined the president’s campaign. Trump’s 2020 Republican campaign announced Tuesday that he will serve as a senior adviser for campaign operations. President Trump is also

considering ousting embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Trump has floated the notion of moving Energy Secretary Rick Perry to the VA to right the ship, believing Shulkin has become a distraction, according to two sources familiar with White House discussions. Shulkin has faced several investigations over his travel and leadership of the department, but until now has received praise from the president for his work to turn it around.

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