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VOLUME:115 No.120, MAY 15TH, 2018

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WOMAN: ROYAL WEDDING DRESS SPECULATION HITS FEVER PITCH

IMF’s bitter pill find extra $240m ‘Cut spending or raise funds to hit targets’ By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor nhartnell@tribunemedia.net The Bahamas needs a further $240m “adjustment” to hit its Fiscal Responsibility targets, the IMF warned yesterday, as it called for more “trimming” of the civil service wage bill. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its newly-released Article IV report, suggested that further sacrifice was required for the Government to hit

its fiscal consolidation goals even though its 2017-2018 targets were “within reach”. The Fund “urged” the Minnis administration to further cut recurrent spending, which goes on fixed costs such as civil service salaries and rents, and avoid “an undue squeeze” on capital spending on essential infrastructure - the very method by which it has narrowed the 2017-2018 deficit. FULL STORY - SEE BUSINESS

THE Government’s unfunded multi-billion dollar pension liabilities, projected to hit $3.7bn by 2030, were yesterday branded “a big time bomb waiting to go off”. Robert Myers, of the Organisation for Responsible Governance, told Tribune Business that unfunded civil service pensions were threatening to send The Bahamas “bankrupt” unless swift corrective

action was taken. He spoke out after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on The Bahamas again warned that the current system - where civil servants contribute nothing to funding their retirement - is “unsustainable”. The fund listed civil service pensions, the public sector’s wage bill and loss-making state-owned enterprises, as three key reforms the Government must target to reverse The Bahamas’ fiscal decline.

FULL STORY - SEE BUSINESS

By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net A 20-YEAR-OLD man was arraigned in a Magistrate’s Court yesterday, charged with the stabbing death of a teen last Friday. Charlton Pierre, of Farrington Road, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt charged with one count of murder stemming from the May 11 incident. It is alleged that on that day, Pierre intentionally caused the death of 16-yearold Steffan Bowleg during an argument at Nassau Village. SEE PAGE THREE

LATE NEWS: MAN KILLED Police were on the scene of a murder last night as The Tribune went to press. A man was killed in an incident at Fourth St Grove, between Palm Tree Avenue and Robinson Road. See www.tribune242.com for details.

SHANTY TOWN EVICTIONS ‘ETHNIC CLEANSING’

TICKING TIMEBOMB OF $3.7bn PENSIONS By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

STABBED TEENAGER: TEARS OF ACCUSED

By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE 10 beauties vying for the title of 2018 Miss World Bahamas showed national pride on Saturday as they competed in the costume segment of the pageant on the Rooftop of The Pointe. This season’s theme is “Bejewelled”, celebrating the jewels of the Bahama Islands. The winner will represent her country at the finale in China later this year. See Friday’s Weekend for more.

RIGHTS Bahamas said it now has evidence to take “constitutional action” against the government over its July 31, 2018, deadline mandating the eviction of all shanty town residents, arguing the decision was discriminatory. Stephanie St Fleur, president of the activist group, branded the move “ethnic cleansing” saying SEE PAGE FIVE

‘WE MUST DO BETTER FOR YOUNG DOCTORS’ By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

AS some junior doctors express concern for their future, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands admitted yesterday officials must do a better job at developing young doctors. His statement followed a Tribune article that highlighted the experience of a doctor who said he dropped out of the University of the West Indies’ (UWI)

DR DUANE SANDS post-graduate programme only to succeed as a doctor in the United Kingdom.

Dr Young Sing blamed poor feedback from lecturers and alleged bias for the low matriculation rates of UWI’s Doctor of Medicine programmes. Dr Sing’s views reflect those of many junior doctors in the public healthcare system. “For whatever reason young physicians are not able to progress through the institutions as well as we would like and certainly SEE PAGE NINE

Nassau & Bahama Islands’ Leading Newspaper

JUMPING OFF THE CORPORATE LADDER

SEE PAGE EIGHT


PAGE 2, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

THE TRIBUNE THE TWO new tug boats in Nassau harbour.

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New tug boats ready to keep harbour safe By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis christened two tug boats yesterday that cost $15m and are intended to ensure the safety of the Nassau Harbour and Clifton Pier. The vessels, named Tug Samson and Tug Rose, “will be operated by Tug Services Limited, a 100 percent Bahamian owned and operated company,” Dr Minnis said. “The Government of The Bahamas entered into a 15-year contractual lease arrangement with Tug Services Limited, beginning April 1, 2018,” he added. “These are the kinds of public/private partnerships which help to provide certain necessary services. The agreement calls for Tug Services Ltd. to provide two 50-ton bollard pull, Azimuth Stern Drive, tug boats, on a daily time charter. This includes: management services, crew, firefighting, oil spill recovery, salvage capabilities and vessel maintenance for tug services at Nassau Harbour and Clifton Pier. With its world class

equipment and experienced Bahamian staff, Tug Services Limited has the task of providing tug boat services 24 hours per day, 365 days per year for the next 15 years to ensure the safety and enhance the competitiveness of Nassau Harbour and Clifton Pier. This includes reliable service during poor weather and in emergencies.” Transport and Local Government Minister Frankie Campbell said though the 15-year contract will cost Bahamians $4m per year, the country will make an annual return on that investment, although it is not clear how that will happen. “The government of the Bahamas has permitted to pay Tug Services LTD in the area of $4m per year,” he said, “however we will raise almost twice that much so at the end of the day the Bahamas government will recoup the necessary funds to pay that $4m and probably get a profit of nearly $3m. When you consider that without the headache of crew, ship maintenance, etc, its a win-win situation for us.” Mr Campbell said the government presently

THE CEREMONY to mark the launch of the new tug boat Rose.

owns two tug boats that it plans to sell. “It wouldn’t make sense for us to be maintaining two ships while we try leasing two ships,” he said. Dr Minnis said the tug vessels are “customised pull tugboats”. “Both contain lifejackets, immersion suits, Search and Rescue Transponder (SART), Emergency position-indicating radiobeacon station (EPIRB), life rafts, pyrotechnics, portable fire extinguishers and lifebuoys,” he said. Nonetheless, the government’s plan to introduce a “mandatory tug boat fee” has been met with opposition from commercial shippers and cruise lines.  Michelle Paige, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) president, said the industry was “fundamentally opposed” to paying for the service in Nassau Harbour.  “The industry supports paying for services that it needs,” she said. “However, in this case, our member lines tell me that tug service requests are not needed in the Port of Nassau, and that the existing fleet of tugs was adequate for the exceptional use by the industry.” 


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, PAGE 3

Stabbed teenager: tears of accused from page one

According to reports, shortly after 8pm there was an argument on Butler Street between a group of men, resulting in one being stabbed about the body. Paramedics were called and attempted to revive the victim, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. The accused, who

cried throughout yesterday’s arraignment, was not required to enter a plea to the charge and the matter was adjourned to July 26 for service of a voluntary bill of indictment.  He was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services in the interim.  The 20-year-old told the magistrate that he feared for his life because he had been advised there was a

plot to harm him while on remand. Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt said she would advise authorities at the prison of his concern. Pierre, who was without legal representation yesterday, had to be cautioned by Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt at several points during the arraignment. She informed the accused that she could not consider

his utterances, nor did she hold the authority necessary to grant him bail in the matter. During one exchange, the accused could be heard expressing a level of regret for his involvement in the matter. Pierre also requested an opportunity to speak with his mother, who was later ushered into the courtroom, also in tears. The two shared an

embrace and Pierre could be heard consoling his grieving mother. In addition to Pierre, 23-year-old Angelica Roop, of Nassau Village, was charged with one count of accessory in the matter. It is alleged that she aided the accused in his avoidance of due process. Roop, like Pierre, stood in tears. She also was without representation.

When asked by Chief Magistrate FergusonPratt if she was alright, she said she was sorry for her involvement. She said she had no clue what her involvement in the matter had led to. Roop was not required to enter a plea to the charge and the matter was also adjourned to July 26. She was also remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.

VEHICLE PLUNGES INTO WINDOW

A CAR plunged into a glass window at the Platinum Sporting Lounge on Dowdswell Street yesterday evening. No one was seriously injured in the crash, but a 77-year-old woman complained of headaches even after paramedics departed the scene. She said she was the victim, having had her car knocked when her much younger counterpart ran a stop sign. “I never been in accident in my life,” she said. “I was driving from I was 18. I now 77. I went to Road Traffic to get my driver’s license, when the officer told me reverse, he said ‘oh my God this woman could reverse so good’.” “I was coming straight up (Dowdswell Street) and they were coming across (Christie Street) and they ain’ stop and they ran me over here. Never in my life has this happened to me.”

THE SCENE of the crash on Dowdswell Street last night.

WEEK OF EVENTS PUTS FOCUS ON TECHNICAL TRAINING BY DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

TECHNICAL training continues to be in demand, and Total Education Centre (TEC) in Grand Bahama “remains committed to creating a knowledgeable and better skilled and productive society”. Fred Delancey, the operator of TEC, announced the institution has planned a number of events this week in observance of Technical Education Awareness Week at the campus at the old Hawksbill Senior High School. Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest, Minister of Finance, will attend an appreciation ceremony on Thursday at 10am when he will deliver the keynote address on the topic, “The Role of Industry, Government, and the Community, in Adequately Preparing Our Young People for the Future”. Other events planned leading up to Thursday, including a special assembly held on Monday at the institution and a technical careers workshop and exhibition that will take place on Wednesday, and a round table discussion. Mr Delancey said the objective is to create a greater awareness of the numerous jobs and careers

which are available through technical education. “At today’s assembly… a new student government was installed,” he said. And young people throughout Grand Bahama are invited to participate in a technical careers workshop and exhibition (in the week),” he said. At the workshop, participants will be introduced to the products, services, jobs/careers at the local industrial companies on the island. To inform the youth of the career opportunities available in the technical field, industry representatives will participate in a rtound table discussion with young people. Mr Delancey noted that the TEC had received support over the past 13 years from parents, industry, churches and the community. He said that TEC is grateful and will extend its appreciation during an appreciation ceremony to those who have all contributed to the helping the institution continue “to provide the best quality technical and general educational experiences”. Mr Delancey said: “In spite of the devastation from two hurricanes, TEC remains committed to creating knowledgeable, better

skilled, responsible, and productive society.” In an effort to provide quality programs, he said that TEC had improved its technical training programs. “This week marks the beginning of what we call a Technical Education

Revolution, through which all efforts will be made to make good quality technical training easily available and affordable for all young Bahamians,” he said. “To this end, TEC has restructured the old and

introduced new technical training programs to facilitate industry needs better,” said Mr Delancey. The programs are: Pre-Technology Training Programme for High School Seniors; Technical Certificate/Industry

Training Program for residents; Free Tech-Prep Saturday Programme for Juniors and Senior High School students. Mr Delancey said TEC would also be making a significant announcement about its future.


PAGE 4, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

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Out of control jitneys bring wild, wild west to Nassau TODAY marks the end of United Nations Road Safety Week and while Bahamians proved once again to be among the world’s most eager population to sign an online safe driving pledge, one segment of the motoring population apparently did not get the message – jitney drivers. The change in jitney driver behaviour in recent months has been startling. It is as though all the pentup frustration of being on the road all day, everyday, exploded and those who once were required to at least feign courtesy escaped from the shackles of decorum. Jitneys, carrying up to 32 passengers whose lives are in their hands, are zigzagging through the streets, stopping where they want, in the middle of the road, going from 30 mph to screech to stop for a single passenger, turning right from a left lane, leaving the fellow in the car next to the swerving bus unsure whether to thank God for life or ask the devil to carry off the jitney and its driver. Is there a political transport storm brewing that we are unaware of or are public transportation drivers taking out their frustration on an unsuspecting public? We have never seen, nor have we ever experienced, the kind of out of control driving we have encountered recently. Example from reports coming to this paper in a single day: a jitney loaded nearly to capacity, is in the right lane on East Bay Street heading east on a Friday afternoon in the highly congested area between Scotiabank, Luciano’s and Baha Retreat. It stops suddenly, causing a chain reaction among cars behind and to the side, every one slamming on brakes as a man - who is on the left side of the road - ambles across the carriageway  talking into his cell, to board the bus illegally awaiting his arrival on the right. Jitneys in The Bahamas are equipped with doors to open on the left side to allow passengers to enter and exit from a curb or bus stop. The bus stopped in the middle of a crowded, busy street on the wrong side of the road. The same individual who described that thoughtless act witnessed another incident at the top of the Shirley Street hill next to Government House. Two jitney buses were side by side on the opposite side of the western end of Shirley Street, separated by the newsstand on the jib planted with flowers by the pleasant man on crutches wearing black who has created one of Nassau’s unplanned sweet street scenes. As the light turned green, the jitney on the right that should have been headed north on Cumberland Street toward Bay Street spun around, turned left, headed south, cutting off the jitney in the left lane and drove against the traffic to the corner and cut over to West Hill Street. Drivers were too stunned and shaken to move. It is little wonder the average driver who spends any time on the road comes

home at the end of a day with a pain in the arm. Specialists call it a death grip from hanging on so tightly to the steering wheel. There is no reason for this road rudeness to exist in Nassau. We understand the harsh reality in other places. According to the United Nations and the FIA - the governing body of motor sports which is also the leader in road safety - a child is killed every 10 seconds somewhere in the world on his or her way to school. We have seen the official video and it is a frightening picture, children darting across major highways, or long stretches of land with no road markings unsuspecting trucks barreling without regard to speed. But we have rules in The Bahamas and we have police officers, even those assigned specifically to traffic. We have a Minister of Transport, Frankie Campbell, who spent 29 years on the police force and has said road safety is his priority because he has pulled more mangled bodies out of crashed cars than he ever wants to recall. He has formed at least two road safety committees and pulled in talent, including the FIA Director of Development for the Caribbean and Bahamas, David McLaughlin. The problem is not merely the drivers who are out of control. It is a system out of whack. Because the jitney business is competitive, drivers stop wherever, whenever they can to make the $1.75 fare. There has been talk over the years of a unified system with an 80 percent ownership through an IPO allowing the public to hold shares and 20 percent ownership by government. Various forms of legislation and policy have been introduced but the only thing everyone seems to agree on is that something needs to be done. The last figures we have seen are 13 years old when there were a reported 790 franchises valued at that time at $12.3m. When hundreds compete for a single route, we are creating a dog eat dog world and we are equipping those dogs with machinery that can maim or kill. What do we expect from what we created and have allowed to exist all these years? Compare our unruly system with the role of London’s double decker red buses and then consider the mess we face in New Providence where public transportation is often the only means of transport, including for children getting to and from school. Not all jitney drivers are rude and many go out of their way to be polite. But all jitney drivers in New Providence operate under a system that does not work, saddled with legacy favouritism issues and complicated by modern congestion and competition. This is a problem with a fix. Let us mark the 2018 UN Road Safety Week by pledging to put the brakes on a situation that is turning the streets of New Providence into the wild, wild west and roll out a plan that all of us can live and drive with safely and with pride.

Unhappy McAlpine EDITOR, The Tribune. IN my view, I feel that the Good Reverend needs to come clean and say what is his real problem, with his consistent whingeing? Is it because he as being an elected member is being outshone by the Senator as  the point man in Grand Bahama? A role he feels he has an inherent right to? Or is it

he’s just not a team player? Being the chairman of the Hotel Corporation is not a high enough profile position for the good Reverend? My understanding is, he was offered the Deputy Speaker for the House of Assembly that he turned down, was looking to be appointed a Minister, but was sorely disappointed when he was overlooked.

Rev, maybe you should put your criticisms to rest, and put that energy into saving souls. Leave politics to the politicians, remember some were called, some were chosen, some just went, what category do you fit in? KELLY D BURROWS Freeport, Grand Bahama, May 13, 2018.

Carnival: Let people decide EDITOR, The Tribune. THE so-called privatised carnival has come and gone. Like the overwhelming majority of Bahamians, I did not attend. However, I’ve viewed many videos and pictures over social media and on the internet. Once again, I’m appalled and heartbroken to see what was allowed to take place in our streets and public spaces with government permits and government support. I saw videos of people literally (yes, literally) engaging in sexual intercourse in the street. Bare-bottomed women were wining, twerking, and jerking on the genitals of men wearing more clothes than them (for obvious reasons). Women in g-strings and thongs stood in the streets and on the hoods of trucks, wining, jiggling, and twerking their naked bottoms for all to see. A scantily clad female lay drunk on the sidewalk, as the camera panned her half naked body and zoomed in on her barely covered bottom — a prime candidate for sexual assault. I saw a visibly drunk man being taken off a parade vehicle draped with the colours and logo flags of one of the economic bloodsucking gambling houses and literally thrown on the sidewalk and left there, face down and gyrating his body to blaring sound of the vulgar music being played. And I even saw videos and pictures of carnival participants with young children in tow, watching it all and taking it in. And all of this took place in broad daylight, on public streets and in public spaces. And yet, when asked by a news reporter whether he was surprised by the conduct in carnival, the Minister of Youth Sports, and Culture, Michael Pintard, said he was not. And he further added that the conduct in carnival takes

LETTERS letters@tribunemedia.net place all across The Bahamas every day. In my view, Minister Pintard has once again added to his growing list of duplicitous and disingenuous carnivalrelated comments. If the public indecency, drunken debauchery, and lewd conduct in carnival takes place every day all across The Bahamas, why is there any need for the government to consider a ‘carnival code of conduct’, as indicated by Mr Pintard? Why try to make carnival participants exhibit conduct that is better than the conduct that Mr. Pintard says takes place every day all across The Bahamas? Once again, I say Mr Pintard’s comment is duplicitous and disingenuous, and glaringly so. After the first carnival event, in the May 19, 2015 issue of The Guardian, Mr Pintard admitted that in carnival “we are promoting sexuality even more so than we are promoting culture”. But today, Mr Pintard is singing a different song and comes across as one of the biggest cheerleaders of carnival, as evidenced by his enthusiastic praise for and public advice to the so-called private owners of carnival. And the entire fiasco is sad because, as minister with responsibility for youth, Mr. Pintard seems to have overlooked or is indifferent to a greater priority: the large number of children on the carnival parade and on the sides of the road watching acts of live pornography, sexual indecency, drunken debauchery, and lawlessness. Although I know that the blight of carnival on the moral fabric of this nation is part of the infamous legacy of the Christie-led PLP government, I still find myself asking: How did we get here? And why has the

Minnis-led FNM government decided to receive the baton from the Christie-led PLP and continue to run this carnival race of national disgrace? Why did they not drop the carnival baton like they dropped many bad contracts and reversed many questionable decisions of the Christie-led PLP government? Minister Pintard said he believes that carnival conduct is a debate that we must have as a community. But, with due respect, Mr Pintard is proposing the wrong debate. The right debate that we must have as a community is whether we want carnival at all. The Christie-led PLP government imposed the public version of carnival on the Bahamian people, without consultation. I urge the Minnis-led FNM government not to impose the private version of carnival on the Bahamian people without consultation. If this is truly the people’s time, please consult us, and let the people decide. Organise town hall meetings and listen to views from both sides. And let the people decide. The Bahamian people have now had four years of experience with carnival, so they can make an informed decision. And if an obvious majority of people want to have carnival, then continue to permit it to take place. But if an obvious majority do not want carnival, it should not be permitted on our streets and in public spaces. That’s the democratic way. And it’s the best way to determine what is allowed or not allowed in publicly shared space. May the Lord give us and our leaders wisdom as we make decisions that will have lasting consequences, not just for ourselves, but generations to come.  PASTOR MOSS Nassau, May 14, 2018

CEDRIC


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, PAGE 5

Shanty town evictions ‘ethnic cleansing’ from page one it contravened certain articles of the Bahamas Constitution. On Sunday, Ms St Fleur said she was surprised by the news of a deadline; however, Haitian Pastors League President Dr Paul Charles told The Tribune yesterday he had no issues with the deadline because in his view it gives sufficient time for shanty town dwellers to find alternative housing. He said he had known of the government’s date to vacate since February. The deadline was first made public in the Tribune’s report of an interview with Labour Minister Dion Foulkes, chairman of the government-appointed shanty town committee, yesterday. Dr Charles said the only challenge was some families may find it difficult to financially afford what is required to rent accommodations. This, he said, was raised with government officials. But the Minnis administration has said they are not willing to assist in this regard, Dr Charles said. Activist Louby Georges took exception to this, saying he doubted the league asked the right questions of the government or

effectively communicated the content of meetings with the government to the wider Haitian community, especially those living in the shanty towns. He said the pastors seem to be more “yes men” than a body looking after the well being of the minority group. Mr Georges told The Tribune he doubted the wider Haitian community knew of the deadline, which is a little more than two months away. In a statement, Ms St Fleur said: “This government seems more concerned about its legacy than actually making it ‘the poor people’s time’. “‘Bulldoze the shanty towns’ may make a good headline, but the actual affect is leaving many already living below poverty, including hundreds of children, homeless. “Rights Bahamas now has an evidential basis upon which to bring a constitutional action against the government for discrimination against the Haitian minority generally, it is apparent that they are simply obsessed with “eradicating” persons of Haitian descent in their “shantytown” communities. “This is ethnic cleansing and is prohibited by articles 15 and 26 of the constitution.”

She was referring to the portion of the Constitution that speaks to protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual specifically the protection of the privacy of the home and property. Article 26 directly prohibits discrimination. “Many Over-the-Hill areas could qualify as shanty towns, in terms of construction, facilities and relevant permissions. Thus, there should be no distinction between the two human habitats,” she also said. “Equal and just treatment should be afforded to all in accordance with basic human dignity. Instead of tearing down, bulldozing, eradicating, why not build up develop? Why not give hope and create opportunity? “Shanty towns have Haitian, Haitian-Bahamian and Bahamian residents, all of whom are ethnically challenged, living and trying to survive the high cost of living of our country. They are victims, not offenders and deserve the support of the community. Nor is there any legal basis for taking this action. All residents of shanty towns have a right to challenge any decisions of the government in court and no action can be taken until their legal options are exhausted.” For his part, Mr Georges

DEMOLITION under way at the Hamster Road shanty town in New Providence. posed several questions of the timeline. He said: “I want to know if that applies to all shantytowns or just particular ones? Which ones will be first and how do you pick which ones have to be vacated by this July?” Labour Minister Dion Foulkes announced the

government’s planned timeline and further revealed two shanty towns - one in New Providence off Hamster Road, Faith Avenue and another just outside of George Town Exuma – were recently torn down. He also said formal notice will be given to those

living in structures not up to building code this week. Those demolitions were done in tandem with a census conducted in 11 shanty towns across the capital. The survey began April 15, and a complete report on the census is expected today, Mr Foulkes said.


PAGE 6, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis with Peter Krieger, then of Oban Energies, at a ceremony to mark the deal.

Bethel insists govt broke no laws in Oban deal By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Minnis administration has broken no laws with the Oban Energies project, Attorney General Carl Bethel stressed yesterday after another cabinet minister suggested otherwise. During a recent appearance on Our TV’s “On the Record” programme, Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd said the Minnis administration “certainly did not follow the law” in how it processed Oban Energies’ application to build a $5.5bn oil refinery and storage centre in East Grand Bahama.

He was responding to the programme’s host Jerome Sawyer. “The Planning and Subdivision Act…it’s very clear,” Mr Lloyd said, The Nassau Guardian reported. “We didn’t follow the law, and obviously we had to retreat.” Countering this, Mr Bethel said yesterday the provisions of the Planning and Subdivision Act are not yet applicable because Oban Energies has not submitted an application to the Department of Physical Planning. “The Heads of Agreement is a framework, not a blueprint which is unchangeable,” Mr Bethel said. “The fact is that

environmental and planning laws must be complied with as set forth in the law. No application for land use has been submitted by the developer and no land use approval has been given. Before any application can be made for land use an EIA must first be completed and submitted to the Town Planning Committee for public consultation and consideration by the Town Planning Committee. None of this has happened so no law has been broken. Mr Bethel continued: “To the extent that the procedural steps might not be fully spelled out point by point in the Heads of Agreement, that does not derogate from the

developer its agreement under that HOA to make all required applications to responsible governmental agencies.” The Planning and Subdivision Act mandates that an environmental impact statement be submitted to the Department of Physical Planning for developments expected to have a significant impact on the environment.  The Act says the Town Planning Committee must consider the findings of an environmental impact statement when deliberating on an application “for preliminary support of application or approval”. Environmentalists have criticised a clause in the Oban Energies Heads of

Agreement that says the deal cannot be terminated no matter the conclusions of an environmental impact assessment (EIA).  Mr Lloyd is a part of the cabinet subcommittee reviewing the deal. His recent comments thrust the matter back into headlines, rankling members of the Minnis administration who, The Tribune understands, felt he was not authorised to speak on the deal. Labour Minister Dion Foulkes heads the cabinet subcommittee examining the matter. Mr Lloyd’s surprise admission renewed speculation that the government wants out of the deal.

“It all points to them trying to back out of it,” Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said yesterday. “Having pointed out all the challenges they have had on this, it seems to me they want to pull out and are just trying to find a way out of it. The question is whether or not the developer would have a right of action against them going forward because they can’t just pull out of an agreement they signed. Mr Davis said: “On the face of it it appears to be an enforceable arrangement. I think they had an opportunity very early on to pull out but having dug themselves in, I don’t know if they can anymore.”


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, PAGE 7

Delay over documents in Frank Smith trial By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net THE trial of former Public Hospitals Authority Chairman Frank Smith was adjourned yesterday due to a delay in the submission of court-ordered documents from unnamed government agencies. The decision was made by Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt following declarations by both the defence and The Crown, who up until 2pm yesterday, were still awaiting the arrival of various documents - deemed essential to the case - from several undisclosed government agencies. The Chief Magistrate had initially stood the matter down from noon to 2pm to allow for the delivery of documents from the Public Hospitals Authority to the defence. When the matter resumed shortly after 2pm, both sides indicated that in addition to bank documents and Public Hospitals Authority documents handed over yesterday, they were still awaiting the delivery of other vital documents. Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt asked the side to clarify the source of the documents, seek them out and have them delivered. Responding to the instructions, English attorney Edward Jenkins, QC, who is leading the Crown’s case against Smith, insisted he has made the documents’ importance known to all involved and has implored them to have the documents delivered forthwith.  Case proceedings will start at 10am today. Smith is facing 15 criminal charges concerning his alleged solicitation of $65,000 in bribes from a woman he is said to have assisted in getting a contract. He is currently out on $50,000 bail. He was initially arraigned before the Chief Magistrate in July charged with 13 counts of extortion and one count of attempted extortion and bribery. The extortion and attempted extortion charges were brought under section 452(1) of the Penal Code while the bribery charge was brought under Sections 4(2)(a) and 10(b) of the Prevention of Bribery Act. It is alleged that Smith, between April 2016 and April 2017, in respect of his duties as a public officer, demanded and obtained $5,000 per month from Barbara Hanna, knowing he was not lawfully authorised to do so. He is also alleged to have attempted to extort another $5,000 from Ms Hanna in May. Concerning the bribery charge, it is alleged that he solicited $5,000 a month from Ms Hanna for aiding her in getting a contract with the Public Hospitals Authority. Smith pleaded not guilty to all the allegations during his arraignment.

FRANK Smith at a previous court appearance. 

MAN ACCUSED OF 2016 MURDER By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net

A 34-YEAR-OLD man, wanted by police on drug charges under one name, was arraigned on the charge of murder in Magistrate’s Court under another name yesterday. Patrick Goffe, of Washington Street, was yesterday charged with the December 12, 2016, murder of Daniel Belzaile. According to reports, Mr Belzaile was standing on the corner of Washington Street off Cordeaux Avenue

shortly after 7pm when he was approached by a man armed with a handgun. He was shot and pronounced dead on the scene. Meanwhile, prosecutors in the case also indicated that a finger print analysis carried out by police identified Goffe as Gino Sands Albury, of Yellow Elder; a man currently evading authorities on a 2017 drug charge in Exuma. Goffe admitted to operating under both names and said he was aware of the charge in Exuma. However, he said he was unaware of the amount

of drugs he was prosecuted for at the time. While Goffe was not required to enter a plea to the charge of murder in the 2016 matter, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt did offer him the opportunity to be arraigned a second time on the drug charge, in an attempt consolidate his arrangements to one court. He was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services in the interim.  He was not represented by an attorney. Goffe is due back in court July 26.

HALF-DAY OPENING FOR POST OFFICE By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE East Hill Street General Post Office will be operating on half-days until further notice. A government release yesterday advised of reduced operating hours from 8.30am to noon due to power supply challenges. The power supply issues are expected to affect office hours over the next few days. The release read: “The public is advised that the General Post Office Bldg. on E Hill St is currently experiencing some challenges to its power supply that will further impact

office hours, over the next few days.” “As a result, operating hours at the GPO, will be conducted from 8:30am to 12noon, until further notice.” It added: “The department apologises for the inconvenience caused, and extends sincerest thanks for the public’s continued patience during this period.” The government plans to demolish the aged East Hill Street complex as part of efforts to modernise the downtown area. The Minnis administration halted plans left by the previous administration to convert the Independence Drive Shopping Centre off

Tonique Williams Darling Highway as a temporary location while the East Hill location was restored, last year. Mr Bannister said the project received the green light without approved plans or a building permit for construction, adding environmental and social assessments like traffic impact were also not conducted. The government has been in the process of acquiring the Phil’s building on Gladstone Road; however, it is not clear how much it will cost to renovate the new post office location on Gladstone Road or how long the work would take to finish.

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THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, PAGE 9

‘We must do better for young doctors’ from page one what it means is we ought to make whatever adjustments are necessary to assist and to mentor and to develop these young physicians,” Dr Sands said. “Relying on historical anecdotes might make people warm and fuzzy but it does’t change the current reality. As we start to look at what types of things that ought to happen I think we need to revise our programmes, make a decision on how many people we will be taking going forward, make sure we are providing proper feedback,

coaching and evaluations and where people are not performing they need to be alerted to that fact early. We have to design a system where we hold not only students accountable but ourselves, the teachers. Like everything in this country there is a need for radical reform.” Dr Sands was speaking about doctors operating under the guidance of consultants in the public healthcare system. As for UWI specifically, he said: “While the majority of Bahamian medical students train through the UWI programme and a majority of residents train

SILVER SANDS TORN DOWN By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net 


IN keeping with its vision to clean-up the City of Freeport, the Grand Bahama Port Authority Ltd has embarked on demolition projects to tear down derelict and dilapidated buildings throughout the Port Area.   One of the buildings under demolition is the old iconic Silver Sands Hotel off Royal Palm Way. The hotel closed many years ago and had fallen in a worsened state following the hurricanes of 2004.     Following a lengthy legal process, the Port Authority was finally able to execute demolition of the building which was an eyesore to residents in the area. Grand Bahama Port Authority officials and several residents of the area were on hand to witness the start of the demolition carried out by A&C Heavy Equipment.    Chuck Frederic, a longtime resident of the area since 1970, and Lana Bodie were pleased to see the day finally come when the hotel is torn down.    “It has been a long time coming and now, finally…” said Frederic. “I live a block from this horrible thing that is coming down, and to so many of us in this area it is a delighted sight.”  Joe Kohlar, chairman of the Coalition of Concerned Citizen Limited of Royal Palm Way, believes it is a demonstration of the Port Authority’s commitment to honouring the terms of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement of 1955. “It is about tourism, real estate, and quality of life, and I think that the late Sir Jack Hayward, Sir Albert Miller, Mr Edward St George and Wallace Grooves (the founders and pioneers of Freeport) are more than smiling (today),” he said.  Renardo Karageorgiou, assistant maintenance manager at GBPA, said the cost to demolish the structure is about $350,000, excluding administrative and legal expenses.  “One thing that must be pointed out is that we did not just get to this point of

demolition; this has been a longstanding issue for the past 10 years. The Building Department and Environment Units (of the GBPA) have worked diligently with the residents of Lucayan Beach and Bahamas Reef to ensure this unsafe building is demolished,” he explained. According to Karageorgiou, the demolition is expected to be fully completed in two months. Taking down structure will take two weeks, and afterward the site will undergo cleanup and removal of debris to the Pineridge Landfill. Other buildings identified for demolition are the old North Star Building in the upscale Discovery Bay Subdivision, the former Hawksbill Primary School, and two fire-damaged buildings - one in the downtown and another in the International Bazaar.  The Pioneer’s Professional Plaza was also recently demolished.    Mr Karageorgiou stated in addition to ridding the city of dilapidated buildings, they are also committed to ensuring the safety of residents in the area.   “Silver Sands is an area that highly-populated; it is a tourist commercial and residential area, and for the safety of the residents we felt it necessary to demolish the building,” he said. He also noted checks are conducted inside the structure by the Royal Bahamas Police Force before the demolition to ensure no one is inside.  Following two checks, Mr Karagregioiu said that a homeless person was discovered in the building and was removed from the site.  Rupert Hayward, executive director of the GBPA, noted while they are pleased to get to this point in the process where they can actually take some action, it has taken very long.   They are now looking at changing their bylaws to give it more teeth to expedite such matters more expeditiously, he said.   “We would like to expedite them as quickly as possible. We take our

through a programme at UWI, we do not dictate to UWI what they should do. We need to make our facilities responsive to the needs of our students even as we advocate for changes at the university level. What that also means is that the University of The Bahamas will now need to look at its own medical school. Dr Sands continued: “Just as we’ve moved away from a reliance on Scottish, British and Canadian medical schools, it is probably time to wean ourselves and cut the umbilical cord from UWI, not saying that it should happen this year or next year but in our

national development the idea that we should accomplish self sufficiency and can accomplish self sufficiency makes a lot of sense. We may choose to partner with another institution and there are some proposals on the table to do that. UWI, it must be said, has singlehandedly produced the vast majority of practitioners in this country but it is not the only institution. There has been an historic tension, a UWI non-UWI rivalry if you would. The easiest narrative is to suggest that because I am not a UWI graduate I don’t understand it. I don’t know that argument holds a

whole lot of water. What is most important is that we acknowledge the need to develop our human resources to its maximum potential.” UWI is considered the traditional route through which regional doctors have obtained expertise leading to their independent practice certifications; however, criticisms come against the backdrop of impending changes within the public healthcare system. Some junior doctors will be chosen for a residency programme within a medical department this month. Those who do not make the cut will be mandated

THE SILVER Sands Hotel, off Royal Palm Way, is being demolished after falling into disrepair. responsibility seriously with regards to making sure the city is presentable not only for residents but for tourists and those who come here to invest,” he said.   “We recognise that even knocking down this significant building isn’t going to cure the ills of the city-scape in Freeport. We have some buildings we are working on. We are frustrated by the time the legal process takes… to realise our vision of cleaning up our city.”  Nakera Wilchcombe, director of Building and Development Services Department, said for the past three years they have been looking at buildings throughout the city.  “We have about 18 more buildings that are identified for demolition throughout the city. It is a long process because legal, structural assessments have to be done.   She said the first step is to encourage owners to fix up and repair their buildings. “We never want to move to the process of demolition because we realise it is an investment, and so that is the first thing we do. We want them to take pride in their buildings and ensure they maintain it, and once that I not done we move to demo,” she said.  Mr Hayward said to realise their vision they are also seeking the assistance of stakeholders and residents to refrain from indiscriminate dumping, which is an issue as well. He encouraged persons to download their Freeport Report App so they can report problems and send photos so they can address the issues promptly.  

to participate in a “foundation programme” gearing them toward private practice. Those who fail the programme or its final exam could be pushed out of the profession. Junior doctors fear the worst characteristics of UWI’s programmes will define the foundation programme as well. The planned changes are a response to provisions of the Medical Council Act 2014, which mandate that doctors receive specialized training or participate in supervised rotational programmes to qualify for independent practice licenses.


PAGE 10, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

SCHOOLS ‘TURNING AWAY PUPILS’ AMID CITIZENSHIP CHECKS By FARRAH JOHNSON

MARCELLUS TAYLOR, director of education. 

Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

LOCAL high schools are still turning away students who cannot prove legal residency or citizenship, according to human rights group Rights Bahamas. The group claims both CV Bethel Senior High School, and DW Davis Junior High School, recently notified parents that student applications must be accompanied with proof of residency or citizenship – a violation of local and international laws. When contacted by The Tribune for a response to the allegations, Princess Fox, principal of CV Bethel Senior High School declined to comment, while Nicolette Brown, principal of DW Davis Junior High School, could not be reached up to press time for confirmation. Marcellus Taylor, director of education, told The Tribune: “This is the first time I’m hearing of it now, but if any school is violating what our rules are, then we will work with the schools (to ensure that no laws are being broken).”  For his part, Darwin Thompson, education committee chairman of Rights Bahamas (RB), called for schools attempting “to impede a student’s access to the classroom” to cease and desist immediately. The RB statement pointed to Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd’s

comments at a recent conclave, where he told educators: “You have no right, you have no authority to deny anyone access to our education system. This is crucial. You cannot ask them whether they are here legally or illegally, what their status is or not. That is not your right. In fact, it is against the law.” Mr Thompson said: “Every child that is presently living in The Bahamas, regardless of their status, their parent’s status, or their nationality, has the right to an education. There are no exceptions to this. Education is a fundamental human right and we intend to hold those that breach this right responsible.” The group added that denying stateless students access to education breaches both the Bahamas Education Act and the Constitution, and insisted that if the issue is not remediated, they “will not hesitate to take further action”. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26 states: “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. “Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”

READERS GIVE THEIR GRADE FOR GOVT IN The Tribune’s online poll we asked readers what grade they would give the FNM government after one year in power. In the final results, 27 percent of those voting gave the government a pass with a ‘B’ grade; 21 percent voted for ‘C’ and 17 percent voted ‘D’. The other results were ‘A’ 10 percent; ‘E’ five percent; ‘F’ 12 percent and ‘U’ nine percent. Readers have also been giving their opinions on the stories making the news this week on tribune242.com. After Tribune Business reported that the Government’s Fiscal Responsibility Bill will create a non-political “council” to oversee its financial stewardship, Realitycheck242 said: “Enough talk . . . put the darn thing in place before the PLP get back in power. And let’s see it working for the next four years.” ThisIsOurs was sceptical: “Oh please, transparency, cransparency. This will all hinge on who they select, whether those persons have strong voices, are not looking to enrich themselves, are independent and refuse to bow to political pressure. We had an entire financial secretary and 11 Cabinet members, 12 whole men and not one said ‘boo’ about the Oban deal until the public kicked up.” Well_mudda_take_sic was critical of the Prime Minister: “Here goes Minnis once again growing government by establishing

yet another national body/ council. Within his first year as PM he has sanctioned the establishment of more than three dozen new commissions, councils and bodies. This is sheer lunacy and seems to be all that he is capable of doing!” But Emac welcomed the move: “My goodness, you people are a pessimistic bunch! My God! At least this government is trying to implement procedures to put some safeguards in place in regards to fiscal responsibility. Assembling an independent body is the way to go. Sure we can say people who are elected are those who are pro government. But what could you do when you live in a small country??? Bring in foreigners to oversee this committee? Then you would say that the government does not think that Bahamians are qualified. No matter how you put it, our country is just too small for its citizens to be totally unbiased in their public duties. If ya ask me, countries like the Bahamas should never have become independent in the first place. It has gotten us nowhere!” • Don’t miss your chance to join the debate on tribune242.com.


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018, PAGE 11

SMILES in Jerusalem for US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump at the opening ceremony of the new US Embassy as, right, there was carnage along the Israeli-Palestinian border, with 55 Palestinians killed and more than 1,200 injured. Inset, below, President Trump’s tweet yesterday.

55 dead in Gaza as US celebrates Embassy GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip Associated Press

IN a jarring contrast, Israeli forces shot and killed at least 55 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,200 during mass protests yesterday along the Gaza border, while just a few miles away Israel and the US held a festive inauguration ceremony for the new American Embassy in contested Jerusalem. It was by far the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a devastating 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, and further dimmed the already bleak prospects for President Donald Trump’s hoped-for peace plan. Throughout the day, Gaza protesters set tires ablaze, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air, and hurled firebombs and

stones toward Israeli troops across the border. The Israeli military said Hamas tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the protests and released video of protesters ripping away parts of the barbed-wire border fence. There was barely any mention of the Gaza violence at Monday’s lavish inauguration ceremony for the new embassy, an upgraded consular building located just 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials joined an American delegation of Trump administration officials and Republican and evangelical Christian supporters. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and chief Mideast adviser, headlined the US delegation with his wife and fellow White

House adviser, Ivanka Trump, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and four Republican senators. Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson was also present, and evangelical pastors Robert Jeffress and John Hagee delivered blessings. “A great day for Israel!” Trump tweeted. In a videotaped address, Trump said the embassy move, a key campaign promise, recognises the “plain reality” that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Yet he added the United States “remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement”. But the steadily

climbing death toll and wall-to-wall condemnation of the embassy move in the Arab world raised new doubts about Trump’s ambitions to broker what he called the “deal of the century”. More than a year after taking office, Trump’s Mideast team has yet to produce a long-promised peace plan. Trump says recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital acknowledges the reality that Israel’s government is located there as well as the ancient Jewish connection

to the city. He insists the decision has no impact on future negotiations on the city’s final borders. But to both Israel and the Palestinians, the American gesture is widely seen as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in their longstanding conflict. “What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history,” Netanyahu told the ceremony. “You can only build peace on truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be

the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state,” he added. The Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as their capital, have cut off ties with the Trump administration and say the US is unfit to serve as a mediator. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, furious over the embassy ceremony, said he “will not accept” any peace deal proposed by the Trump administration. By nightfall, at least 55 Palestinians, including a young girl and four other minors, were killed, the Gaza Health Ministry said. It said 1,204 Palestinians were wounded by gunfire, including 116 who were in serious or critical condition.


PAGE 12, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

Margot Kidder Superman’s Lois Lane - dies, aged 69 LOS ANGELES Associated Press

ACTRESS Margot Kidder, left, and actor Christopher Reeve pictured in 1979 at the 51st Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Kidder, who starred as Lois Lane in the “Superman” films of the late 1970s and early 1980s, has died.

MARGOT Kidder, the Canadian actress who starred as a salty and cynical Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve in the Superman film franchise of the 1970s and 1980s, has died. Kidder died on Sunday at her home in Livingston, Montana, according to a notice on the website of Franzen-Davis Funeral Home. She was 69. Kidder’s manager Camilla Fluxman Pines said she died peacefully in her sleep. No cause or other details were given. Superman, directed by Richard Donner and released in 1978, was a superhero blockbuster two decades before comic book movies became the norm at the top of the box office. It’s cited as an essential inspiration by makers of today’s Marvel and DC films. Kidder, as ace reporter Lane, was a salty, sexually

savvy adult who played off of the boyish, farmraised charm of Reeve’s Clark Kent and Superman, though her dogged journalism constantly got her into dangerous scrapes that required old-fashioned rescues. Kidder had many of the movies’ most memorable lines, including “You’ve got me?! Who’s got you?!” when she first encountered the costumed hero as she and a helicopter plunged from the top of a Metropolis building. Kidder said she and Reeve, who died in 2004, were like brother and sister, both in their affection and animosity for each other. “We quarreled all the time,” Kidder said on May 9 in an interview on radio station WWJ in Detroit, where she had been scheduled to appear at Motor City Comic Con later this month. “The crew would be embarrassed. They would look away. Then we’d play chess or something because we were also really good friends.”

Kidder had a debilitating car accident in 1990 that left her badly in debt, confined her to a wheelchair for most of two years and worsened the mental illness she had struggled with for much of her life. That struggle became public in 1996 when she was found dazed and filthy in a yard not far from the studio where she once filmed parts of Superman. She fought through her illness and continued working, including in RL Stine’s the Haunting Hour, which earned her a Daytime Emmy Award in 2015. She lived in Montana and engaged in political activism, including protest of the US military action in Iraq. She dated then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the 1980s, calling him the “love of my life, my true love” in her radio interview last week. Kidder was married and divorced three times, including a brief marriage to actor John Heard, and is survived by a daughter, Maggie McGuane.

MELANIA TRUMP HAS KIDNEY SURGERY WASHINGTON Associated Press

FIRST lady Melania Trump underwent a “successful” procedure yesterday to treat a benign kidney condition and was expected to remain hospitalised for the rest of the week, her staff said. President Donald Trump took a helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to visit her and tweeted that his wife was in “good spirits”. Mrs Trump, 48, had the embolisation procedure

Monday morning. The president spoke with Mrs Trump before the procedure and with her doctor afterward, the first lady’s office said. The president tweeted shortly before arriving at Walter Reed outside Washington, saying it was a “successful procedure,” describing his wife as being “in good spirits” and offering his thanks “to all of the well-wishers!” The White House did not offer any additional details on Mrs Trump’s condition. In opening remarks in the

Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, sent well wishes for “a speedy recovery to the first lady”. She was last seen in public on Wednesday at a White House event where she joined the president to honor military mothers and spouses for Mother’s Day. The president had no public appearances scheduled yesterday and declined to answer shouted questions from reporters about how his wife was feeling as he departed the White House for Walter Reed.

• Former Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev, was recovering after undergoing surgery yesterday at Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas. The former Senate Democratic leader, 78, will undergo chemotherapy, according to a statement released by his family. “His doctors caught the problem early during a routine screening and his surgeons are confident that the surgery was a success and that the prognosis for his recovery is good,” the statement said.

FIRST lady Melania Trump pictured last Wednesday.

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