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VOLUME:116 No.98, MAY 15TH, 2019



Smith trial magistrate’s remarks on ministers

OUT OF ORDER By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter

IT WAS “wholly inappropriate” for Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt to have not only criticised two Cabinet ministers for their involvement in former PLP Senator Frank Smith’s nowdisposed of criminal matter, but also connect it to her decision to acquit him of all charges, the country’s lead prosecutor asserted yesterday. Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin asserted that the chief magistrate, pictured, was out of line for scolding both Health Minister Dr Duane Sands and National Security Minister Marvin Dames, and asserted that saying it after she delivered her ruling did not “cure” the fact that it ought not to have happened. Though he did not say outright that the chief magistrate demonstrated bias by making those remarks,

in response to a question by appellate Justice Roy Jones, Mr Gaskin said the average observer could very well draw those types of inferences from her statements in the circumstances. “Some things are better left unsaid,” the DPP stated. Mr Gaskin further charged that the chief magistrate made numerous errors in arriving at her conclusion that a case had not been sufficiently made out against Smith to compel him to answer to the allegations. He asserted that the chief magistrate conducted the no-case submission stage of the proceedings as if it were the end of the trial. Mr Gaskin said she did this by making numerous “findings” about the evidence or the witnesses that proffered it, which he claimed were the result of her analysing the evidence to determine


ACTIVISTS and health workers have condemned the viral spread of three separate videos depicting minors in exploitative situations. Social Services assistant director Cherely Kelly confirmed yesterday the ministry is investigating all three videos and have forwarded clips to the police. Yesterday, Mrs Kelly called the matter a “sad



‘ECONOMY IN NEED OF SURGERY’ THE Bahamas “must perform critical surgery on our economy” to return to the 3 percent-plus average GDP growth enjoyed prerecession, the Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive said yesterday. Jeffrey Beckles told Tribune Business that 2018’s 1.6 percent real GDP expansion, unveiled by the Department of Statistics on Monday, was “not sustainable” and inadequate to solve The Bahamas’ pressing economic and social needs.




situation”, but noted it was not new for the country. She urged anyone with information or concerns related to the safety and well-being of a child to report the matter anonymously. “It has always been happening,” Mrs Kelly said, “since I’ve been in social work. Maybe not at this level or magnitude, it may be heightened as a result of social media. People are using social media as a way to get information out.


By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor



By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter

TWO men were arraigned yesterday for the shooting deaths of two men at Potter’s Cay Dock last week. Ramon Young aka “Monee” of Coral Harbour Road, top, and Deshawn Brooks, of Pineville, North Andros, below, were charged with murdering Lathario Lockhart and Meric Anton Russell. Full story - Page 3 Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff


POLICE are investigating a drive-by shooting that left one man dead and four others injured in hospital on Monday night. According to police, the incident took place shortly after 11pm. A group of people were standing on Plantol Street when two vehicles pulled up, the occupants opened fired and

VICTIM: Kyle Rolle injured five people before fleeing the scene. Paramedics were called to scene and

transported four victims to hospital. The fifth victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.  The Tribune understands the victim is 26-year-old, father-of-one, Kyle Rolle aka “Zombie” however, his identity was not released by police.  This incident pushed the country’s murder rate to 29, according to The Tribune’s records. SEE PAGE THREE

Nassau & Bahama Islands’ Leading Newspaper

THE suggestion that this country should “fling” open its doors to undocumented migrants is dangerous and reckless, Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said yesterday, insisting limited resources among other things would not allow it. The finance minister was responding to attorney and human rights advocate Fred Smith’s recent controversial SEE PAGE SIX



PAGE 2, Wednesday, May 15, 2019 By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter AMID concerns from watercraft operators about Baha Mar’s alleged renting of motorised watercraft to its guests, Transport Minister Renward Wells yesterday confirmed the resort is not licenced or authorised to do so directly. Mr Wells, in an interview with reporters outside of Cabinet, said he understands the resort has contracted a “100 percent Bahamian [owned] company” to provide its guests with a variety of waterbased activities. According to the Bamboo Town MP, the company is operated by two young Bahamians. He said the matter, which was first highlighted by industry operators during a protest last week at Goodman’s Bay, does not involve the resort veering into an industry historically reserved for Bahamians, as has been claimed. Mr Wells said the government is not “duty bound” to grant such licences to any resort or foreign direct investor associated with a resort, unless it is specified in that property’s Heads of Agreement (HOA). He suggested there were no such allowances in Baha Mar’s HOA. Mr Wells said: “…We have not given any Jet Ski licences, any water sports licences to Baha Mar. We have not. Every licence that has been granted by the Port Authority has been granted to Bahamian businesses and Bahamian operators, period.”


Baha Mar employs two Bahamians to provide water sports - Wells Last week, Pedro Sinclair Bannister, vice president of the Cable Beach Water Sports Association, said watercraft operators from Paradise Island and the Sandals resort came together in solidarity at Goodman’s Bay to address the Baha Mar ordeal. “It’s not fair… if one hotel opens up the door for the hotels to use Jet Skis and rent any motor watercraft that will hurt the small business man who [work] out here. We want them to know this is an industry for the Bahamian people. Water sports is not for foreign investors to be investing their money and trying to get involved in our business.” “When you have a new activity and you want it to be in the hotel, you’re supposed to put it in the newspaper for at least two to three weeks in case someone wants to object; they have the right to object to that. I don’t think they were vetted, they were not put in

the newspaper for people to see. They did this in a slick way.” He also alleged the chairman of the Port Authority also serves as security chief at Baha Mar and the association views this as a conflict of interest. At the time, Mr Bannister also implored the Port Authority to keep its word on renewing the licence of watercraft operators from a hotel on the Cable Beach strip, explaining that operators

who serviced the former Nassau Beach Hotel have had a hard time returning to that property since its demolition. Responding to these concerns yesterday, Mr Wells said his office was progressing on an audit of previously issued licences as a means to ensure that stated claims are in line with the Port Department’s records. He said once completed, the department would be in a position to

accurately reissue licences. “If they had the five before, it is only fair that you would have given them back the requisite number that they would have had. So we are doing our audit and making sure that the requests that are being made by these Jet Ski operators,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, Renward Wells may come and say that I had 10 plates, that may have not necessarily been the case. So where Renward Wells comes as say. ‘I had 10 plates,’ the Port is looking through that and seeing whether or not Renward Wells had 10 plates.” He continued: “If Renward Wells was issued 10 Jet Ski licence plates, then this current minister is going to see to it that Renward Wells is not disenfranchised, that we do not keep you in that state, that we give back to you the requisite number of plates that you had in the past.”


“I would advise the public to contact us through our hotline at 422-2763 or 322-2763. You need to protect the persons involved, the child lives in this community, she goes to school, church, she has friends. Call the hotline.” In the first video, a woman records an explosive exchange with a young

girl called “Muffin”, who is crying and visibly agitated. The clip starts during a scuffle between the pair, and the girl can be heard saying the woman had choked her. In the clip, which runs for just over a minute, the woman repeatedly asks the girl to clean a bedroom and the girl refuses. The girl appears to be trying to leave the room, but is pushed back by the woman, whose face is never

shown. The exchange continues until the girl screams and curses at the woman in frustration, to which the woman replied: “That’s what I want.” In the visibly messy room, two other young children can also be seen. At the end of the clip, in what appears to be separate footage, the girl is seen hopping a fence and walking off into bushes as children call after her to return. The woman tells

them to let her go. The chaotic clip was hotly disputed on Facebook and has reignited debate over the use of corporal punishment with users coming to defence of both the caretaker and the child. One Facebook user, who identified herself as a social worker, wrote: “I see quite a number of things that concern me as a social worker. This is a highly charged situation, in which

it appears as if the person who is recording the situation is also provoking the situation. “. . .There is no doubt that the girl should not be back talking in that manner, but it is obvious that she is extremely frustrated, that she feels treated unfairly, that she is being mistreated, and that this situation is not being handled effectively.” In the second short video, a high school student clad in uniform is shown pulling up her underwear behind an unfinished building as a man - who appears to be in his late 20s - stands next to her fully clothed. Another man’s voice can be heard from off camera stating the girl has been caught having sex. The girl continues to fix her clothes and attempts to shield her face, then walks away with the man while still being filmed. The man recording the scene begins to blackmail the girl to have sex with him, and threatens to post the video to social media if she does not comply.  In the final video, a junior high schoolgirl is shown performing a sex act on a male student in what appears to be a busy classroom. Only the girl’s face and the sex act are shown in the frame as she hunches down at her desk. Denise Major, of the Empowerment Group and RISE Bahamas, yesterday suggested the virulent spread of the videos on social media inflicted far greater damage on the girls, and society than the incidents depicted therein.

She noted the treatment of “Muffin”, and resulting social ridicule, often led girls into dangerous and harmful situations like the ones depicted in the other two videos. “We further the abuse of these girls in sharing these videos and that’s what kills me. It’s clearly visible who they are. We are comfortable in sharing these images, sharing videos of children, minors, to further continue the abuse. “We look at it see something is wrong and make a big joke of it. I saw so many memes after the Muffin video, she has already been publicly humiliated on Facebook, now this is on the Internet forever.  “Then a couple years from now, we’ll wonder why people commit suicide,” Ms Major said. She insisted she was not defending the child’s behaviour, but stressed beating did not amount to discipline. “The Bible says do not provoke your children to wrath,” she said, “we always pick and choose which scripture to quote to suit our spiel. “The adult is more at fault. We know better, these things have to be taught to children.  “The child needs an intervention, she’s rude and disrespectful but how did she get there? The child needs balance, yes, she needs discipline, but she also needs to be loved. “Where is Muffin in the next five years after you done call her a demon?”


Wednesday, May 15, 2019, PAGE 3


Distraught relatives and members of the community flooded the home of the deceased yesterday.  The victim’s mother, who preferred to be unnamed, said her youngest son was a “pleasant person who never troubled people”. She said: “I’m hurt right now, and I don’t know why they did it. Because it just hit my door step and

I know how other parents feel now. This is a day I will never forget. “ The aunt of the deceased, who also preferred to remain unnamed, said this situation is the first for their family and it is “a blow”. She said: “It’s very emotional, very distraught give and take that Mother’s Day just passed. He wasn’t only my nephew, but he was just like my very own child. Right now, this is a

shock to us because nothing like this ever come knocking on our doors. “We are not the gang banging type, we are not the rough type, and it’s really sad. It’s really hard extremely hard and I know it’s going to be a while before we get over this. It’s going to be awhile.” She added: “He was a quite loving person. Like I said he is no angel, you know everyone has their faults in them, but he has

never been arrested, never been to prison so we are lost and still trying to figure out what was the motive for this. Why? Why did it happen? Questions that needs to be answered.” When asked how she felt about the violence in country, she said: “[Violence] within itself I don’t know… the government really needs to try do something about it. They really need to crack down on crime. “It’s unexplainable

because here it is, we’re saying the [government] needs to do something about it but first and foremost it stems from the home so if these parents would try and put these children on the right path then we wouldn’t have so much of this violence.” She also said: “It’s [also] the company they keep as well so here it is while they’re in the home, we can say ‘okay this is our good son [or] daughter’ but when

they’re on the streets we don’t know exactly what they’re doing. “As long as they’re in your eyesight you could vouch for them but when they go out on the streets who am I to say what they’re out there doing and what type company they are keeping or involved with?” Anyone with information is asked to call police at 919, 502-9991 or Crime Stoppers at 328-TIPS.

PAIR ACCUSED OF POTTER’S CAY MURDERS By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter TWO men, ages 25 and 30, were arraigned yesterday for the shooting deaths of two men at Potter’s Cay Dock last week. Deshawn Brooks, of Pineville, North Andros, and Ramon Young aka “Monee” of Coral Harbour Road, were charged yesterday with murdering Lathario “Tario” Lockhart and Meric Anton Russell on May 8. A third man, 28-yearold Dominic Michael Johnson of Kent Drive off Coral Harbour Road, is charged with abetment to murder concerning Lockhart’s and Russell’s deaths. According to initial reports, shortly after 8pm on the date in question, police responded to an eatery at Potter’s Cay Dock after hearing

sounds of gunshots. Officers discovered that two men had been shot to the upper body by unknown assailants who fled in a southern direction of the dock and disappeared into the crowd that had assembled after the shooting. Paramedics visited the scene and attended to the victims, however, they were pronounced dead at the scene. None of the men were required to enter a plea to the charges when arraigned before Magistrate Samuel McKinney yesterday. Bail was denied and they were remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS) until June 20, at which time they will be served with a voluntary bill of indictment (VBI). They have a right to apply to the Supreme Court for bail.

DESHAWN BROOKS, far left, and Ramon Young, above, were charged with murdering Lathario Lockhart and Meric Anton Russell. A third man, Dominic Michael Johnson, near left, was charged with abetment to murder.. Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

WAC VISITS GRIEVING MOTHER THE Bain Grants Town Branch of Women Against Crime (WAC), an auxiliary of Bahamas Against Crime, recently visited Rosalie Bain, the mother of Barron Roberts, the young man shot dead on May 4. Rosalie Bain was overwhelmed with grief as this was her second son murdered in less than six months. Her younger son, Terrence Rolle Jr, was gunned down on January 1, becoming the first homicide victim of the year. Mrs Bain said: “I would ove to do something where I can help to get them

FROM left: Jackie Dorsette, Larrie Ferguson, Rosalie Bain and Deborah Gibson.


THE transportation of Wartsila tri-fuel generators and engines from the Arawak Cay Port to Bahamas Power & Light’s Clifton Pier site has been stalled because of weather issues, according to BPL board chairman Donovan Moxey. BPL had released its “dynamic traffic management plan” on Monday indicating the times when the massive equipment will be transported, a process that was supposed to begin that night.  The technology will be used to install a new 132-megawatt engine power at the Clifton Pier site for $95 million. BPL officials say the installation will lead to more reliable electricity supply and lower fuel charges. So far, according to Mr Moxey, three of the

generators have already been offloaded. But heavy wind and rough sea movement prevented workers from offloading the remaining engines. “Safety is always paramount,” Dr Moxey said. “Obviously in certain weather the generator can start to swing. I was out there on Saturday and they were offloading the fourth generator which came off the boat. They will only do so when conditions allow them to do it safely.” Dr Moxey said a special ship was built to carry the equipment, with each generator weighing about 400 tons. The ship has its own crane to offload the equipment. He said a temporary bridge also accompanied the ship to reinforce Arawak Cay’s bridge. “All of these are safety measures and safety precautions undertaken by engineers,” he said.

In newspaper advertisements this week, BPL has said a small, multi-agency convoy of Wartsila trifuel engines moving at a controlled speed of 2mph will be transported, causing road closures and traffic diversions in stages. “The first transport phase will be the movement of seven generators,” BPL said. “Generator transport will begin on Monday, May 13 at 9pm. Two generators will be transported each night (May 13 - May 16).

We would like the public to avoid the West Bay Street, Baha Mar Blvd, JFK and Western Road where possible on those evenings. The second phase will be the seven engines. Phase two is scheduled to begin May 23, 2019, and is expected to take two weeks to complete. BPL will update on phase two in the coming days.” In view of the weather delay, it is not clear when the convoy will begin transporting the equipment.

(young men) off the streets so they would not have to go through what my sons did. I don’t want to see no other young man go down that road.” Speaking to the distraught mother, her family and friends, WAC president Larrie Ferguson said their main aim is to help as many women and the community as they can. “We are here to lift you and encourage you,” she said. “And in lifting you we want to lift up all other young men in the area by showing them how to do something meaningful with their lives.”

PAGE 4, Wednesday, May 15, 2019


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Is there not a better way than detention? DISADVANTAGEOUS, dangerous and reckless. That was Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest’s verdict on the suggestion that we should “fling open the doors” to migrants. The rhetoric sounds good, and we’re sure it sounds tough to voters but that wasn’t quite what was being suggested. Fred Smith, QC, called on the government to stop detaining undocumented people. What was his suggestion instead? Let them work. Of course, the natural reaction of many is to shout such suggestions down, and say that if people want to come to The Bahamas, they ought to do it the right way, but let’s take a closer look at the idea. Firstly, undocumented people are not necessarily new arrivals who have just found a way past RBDF patrols to reach our shores. We often hear of patrols holding spot checks or staging raids on areas to pick up undocumented individuals, so many of these are people already living and working – yes, working! – in our communities. We emphasise the working element there because one of Mr Turnquest’s first responses was to declare that the nation has around 10 percent unemployment, and asked “How do we absorb illegals into the work force?” Let’s not pretend that undocumented people are not already in the workforce. The Bahamas has a largely unacknowledged raft of workers tending gardens, cleaning houses, doing the work that many need done but not always with the right paperwork. Allowing undocumented individuals to work would in many cases simply be an acknowledgement of what is already happening.

It is often being done with people being paid in cash or off the books – but bringing people properly into the workforce might help us record such activity correctly, and tax accordingly. It could actually bring income to the government to take up Mr Smith’s suggestion. On the other side of the equation are the costs it takes to detain people – the running of Carmichael Road Detention Centre, the money it takes to feed, clothe, shelter undocumented individuals, the medical costs associated and more. Sometimes – as court cases have shown – people are held for years in detention. Years. Is there really no better way? If, rather than spending so much money on detention, we could pay for express court hearings to assess whether individuals have a right to stay in the country, would that not be a better way? We would hope modern technology might offer a monitoring solution – if used wisely. And if undocumented people work, they also become consumers, and there is opportunity for Bahamians to grow their businesses from the money being spent. Protesting over finding room for new workers when there is a 10 percent unemployment rate presumes those workers taking a bigger share of the pie – rather than understanding they can help make a bigger pie. Immigration is of course a problem to be dealt with – people languishing in detention for years is no solution. We do not pretend that Fred Smith’s suggestion will solve the problem – but might it not be worth considering innovative answers when traditional methods are getting us nowhere?

Time to stop bickering and deal with each other EDITOR, The Tribune

our youth from different communities and socio-economic backgrounds, which would improve understanding and empathy for one another. • Exposure to positive role models in the police and defence forces. • The learning of one or more trades/skills for post service employment. • Teaching our youth to make eye contact, communicate clearly and respectfully thereby increasing their opportunities for employment. • Classes in reading, writing and arithmetic. • In times of a national emergency we would have a ready and able group of people to deploy to communities in

CRIME continues to mar our lives in The Bahamas. It seems that some of the commendable community programmes meant to right the many social and economic wrongs pervasive in our society in earlier times also served to weaken the spirit of self-reliance among some in our community. Too many came to believe that it was not only “life supporting needs” that are to be provided by the government, churches and civic organization but also “wants”. And, when wants are not met many resort to crime to fulfil them. Most of us accept that the need leaving the police drug trafficking through our and defence force avail- country during the 1980s is able to ensure public partly responsible for the breakdown of social norms safety. As for funding, perhaps in our country. Three decthe United States or China ades later the menace has would assist in the estab- not stopped. Young men lishment or support of a continue to kill each other. national service programme The police report that much through monetary backing of the violence is gang or specialised instructors or based and the business of the gangs is overwhelming educators. There will of course be drugs. When the drug traffickthose with a host of reasons why this couldn’t ers overran our country possibly work but we some in our community need to do something now saw participating in that before the next child that illegal trade as an easy path is shot or stabbed is yours to prosperity. Social mores and conventions that traor mine. ditionally shaped our civil behaviours were dropped – A BAHAMIAN as easily as snake shed skin. PARENT  Nassau May 14, 2019

being one of the most law unabiding nations in the western hemisphere. Our brain-dead parliamentarians will pass any bill foreigners put before them to serve their own interests as opposed to the interests of the Bahamian people.” Gowon Bowe, the

Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants president, warned the government that short-term work permit exemptions may conflict with “professional standards and regulations” for certain job categories. Tell_it_like_it_is posted this response: “As usual, qualified Bahamians will suffer in the process. Only in The Bahamas . . . foreign is always better it seems!” Don’t miss your chance to join the debate on

Some national service could be the answer EDITOR, The Tribune GIVEN the level of crime in our country I believe it’s time we reconsider compulsory national service for our youth (young men and women). Perhaps we could split the participants evenly across the defence and police forces and rotate them at the halfway mark of a two-year programme. I think the potential benefits to our youth and country would be tremendous and include: • Teaching conflict resolutions skills, health and wellness and CPR. • Fostering a sense of responsibility, belonging and pride in oneself and our country. • Bringing together THE news that Parliament has passed 58 bills since the Free National Movement won the general election two years ago prompted these reactions on John asked: “So who’s running the country? Less than 1/4 of those bills benefit Bahamians!” Well_mudda_take_sic was also unimpressed: “Yet more bills passed, only to be unenforced like so many others. This should help cement our reputation of

LETTERS Respect for elders, civil and religious leaders eroded and in their place a “survival of the fittest” mentality took hold. Increases in incidents of crime resulted in demands for more police and more courts, but not for a change in behaviours. Children are growing up with little home supervision and personal attention. Teachers and the school system are faulted for poor grades. Fewer and fewer young people find their way to church where pews are filled with mothers and children signalling to young boys that men need not attend. Traffic infractions – dangerous driving, illegal parking - are tolerated without regard for motorists or pedestrians. Roadsides and beach and community parks are littered with the expectation that others will clean it up. Public decorum has been abandoned. Tourists are permitted to flaunt laws prohibiting beachwear on Bay Street and Bahamians mimic the behaviour, all without consequences.

An undercurrent of anger and unresolved conflict colours relations between individuals and segments of our community. The anger is expressed in the stubbornly high crime numbers that blight the country. It is urgent that we begin to address our inability to date to recover from the tragedies of the 1980s and to attain and sustain a peaceful society. Looking for excuses and blaming someone else are untenable at this juncture. We must reclaim personal responsibility as a national goal. The oft repeated refrain “what is needful is lawful” is a lie. We must acknowledge that; and we must preach that. There is no value in encouraging young people to “put it to the man” by a swindle. Deception is wrong; there is no justification for a scam. There is merit in making money the honest way – working for it. We cannot expect to get something for nothing. As a people we have to stop the political bickering and begin to deal with one another. KEEPER OF RECORD Nassau May 14, 2019


Are these cones legal? EDITOR, The Tribune I AM fully aware there are strict rules as to blocking a road a such and alike the landscape people/workers do daily infant of Bah Mar. The positioning of red plastic cones blocking one full lane - question is this sanctioned approved by the Commissioner of Police and if these cones caused an accident who is liable if they are there illegally? 

I appreciate the workers do need a safe environment to work, but a full lane of traffic blocked and not just one stretch more than one many times on the same side and during high traffic periods. If illegal then the landscape company needs to adjust and stop placing these cones. This is a public road - not a private road. Once on this there are numerous buggies riding

up and down that same road unlicensed - can someone possibly Cable Beach Police do something? Are these vehicles permitted to drive on these sidewalk? Presume yet again as usual the Police looking the other way or worst of all knowing these issues are breaking the law and doing nothing. CYNTHIA SEYMOUR Nassau, May 14, 2019. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019, PAGE 5

Smith trial magistrate’s remarks on ministers out of order, says DPP from page one whether the Crown’s case had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, instead of correctly analysing the evidence with a view to determining whether a sufficient enough case had been made out. And in doing so, Mr Gaskin said she essentially “short-circuited” the required approach to a no-case submission, as there is no such test in law that would require the chief magistrate, during the no-case submission stage, or “half-time”, to accept or reject in full, or accept and reject in part, the evidence led by the Crown. In response, however, Mr Smith’s lead defence attorney Keith Knight, QC, asserted that the chief magistrate not only had a duty to assess the evidence, but was well within her rights to assess the credibility of the Crown’s witness in accordance with the “fused jurisdiction” afforded to her by way of her role as magistrate. Mr Knight explained that a magistrate is both judge of the facts and the judge of the law, giving him or her “supremacy” on both issues, as opposed to a judge adjudicating an indictable offence, who would only be judge of the law while the jury would act as the judges of the facts. Thus, the senior Jamaican attorney asserted that when a no-case submission is made to a magistrate, and that magistrate makes a determination on those submissions, he or she is expected to set out, in a reasonably comprehensive way, the basis on which his or her conclusion was arrived at. By contrast, he said, a judge hearing an indictable matter need only say: “Case to answer” to the accused because of the supremacy of the jury as triers of the facts. Thus, he said, the chief magistrate had a duty to assess the evidence and was well within her rights to assess the credibility of the various witnesses, especially that of the Crown’s main witness, Barbara Hanna. He further asserted that all the chief magistrate did was end what would otherwise be a “farce”,

MAIN picture: Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin ; insets, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands and National Security Minister Marvin Dames; above, former PLP Senator Frank Smith.

Hanna was a contributor to his most recent campaign. And, she said she could not “overlook” the fact that Dr Sands admitted that Mrs Hanna told him about Mr Smith’s alleged acts of extortion sometime in November 2016, which he never reported to the police. Instead, Dr Sands referred the matter to Mr Dames, who ultimately met with the woman at his Mt Moriah constituency office between late May/early June of 2017. However, the chief magistrate noted that even the Crown’s lead attorney said Mr Dames could have found a more discreet venue to meet Mrs Hanna over her concerns other than his constituency office. She thus said the events that took place prior to the investigative phase of the matter involving both Cabinet ministers

Ferguson-Pratt also criticised both Dr Sands and Mr Dames for the “egregious” way in which they interacted with Mrs Hanna prior to a police investigation into her claims, charging that their conduct gave the appearance of a “political flavour to a curious bystander.” The chief magistrate especially criticised how a “serving member of Parliament” and Cabinet minister, Dr Sands, “entertained” Mrs Hanna in the circumstances despite her contributing some $300 towards his political campaign in the lead up to the 2017 general election. She further commented on how Dr Sands approved a $1.9m contract for Mrs Hanna’s business without the approval of the Public Hospitals Authority’s (PHA) board of directors, at a time he said he was fully aware that Mrs

adding that continuing with the trial would have been an exercise in futility if the chief magistrate had, on assessing the evidence at the no-case submission stage, knew she was bound to acquit Smith at the end of the trial. In February, Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt acquitted and discharged Mr Smith of all 15 criminal charges after finding fault with numerous “inconsistencies” and “discrepancies” in the Crown’s case, which she further said was “undermined” by its own witnesses. In particular, the chief magistrate said there were “inherent inconsistencies” throughout the evidence of the virtual complainant in the matter, Mrs Hanna, and that her claims were “manifestly unreliable” and ran contrary to “reason and all common sense”. Chief Magistrate

was “wholly inappropriate to state it mildly”. “The conduct of the minister responsible for the police agreeing to meet the complainant instead of directing his colleague to refer the complaint to the commissioner of police is unorthodox to say the least,” Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt said at the time. “I sit as a judicial officer. I call it as I see it. I have no interest one way or the other. I remind myself of an ancient legal maxim. ‘Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done’.” And in any event, Chief Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt said both Dr Sands’ and Mr Dames’ evidence, much like those given by the other key Crown witnesses in the matter, did not advance the prosecution’s case, as they all gave evidence of what Mrs Hanna said to them that she either never said in evidence, nor gave to the police during her initial interview. Al-Leecia Delancy and Kendra Kelly also appear for the Crown. Damian Gomez, QC, and Philip McKenzie are the other two attorneys on record for Mr Smith. The matter continues today.


ADMITTING officials don’t know why the country’s GDP performance fell below the International Monetary Fund’s forecast, Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said critics have no legs to stand on as consistent economic growth is apparent. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Turnquest pushed back at Progressive Liberal Party deputy leader Chester Cooper, who criticised the Minnis administration on Monday saying it boasted its projection of over two percent GDP growth for 2018 as a sign of its supposed ecoTHURSDAY nomic stewardship, only Best! Biggest And brought to have been OBITback S down to earth by theINSID facts. E H TEC & S S, CAR real gross The country’s DER: CARS, CAR CLASSIFIED TRA domestic product grew by 1.6 percent last year compared to 2017, new data from the Department of Statistics revealed on Monday. The increase contrasts dslide win M roars to lan yearly ed as FNaverage withPLP firthe real GDP growth of just 0.4 percent from 2015 to 2017.

The Tribune

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not officials could to press time. EST reached up By AVA TURNQU to sources Reporter of According Tribune Chief matter, as close to the Wells has since aturnquest@tribune Mr Progres- Monday his accounts FOUR former Cabinet paid $9,000 on ng balParty an outstandi ARNOLD sive Liberal more than with $8,600. FORBES ministers owedat Bahamas ance of some also said as $62,023 The source Forbes was one $20,000 each Mr Light, with Power and in arrears of Monday the company former minister as of July, in talks with balance over the settle Mr to for some $60,000 a list obtained nth period. a three-mo according to PLP Mount d by The Tribune.and Collec- Forbes, former was appointe The Credit ent listing of Moriah MP, January 2015, in tions Departm and board to Cabinet y served as the MPs, senators the period and previousl the Bahamas of for l chairman members 31, revealed and Industria ending July State Minister Agricultural ion. that former of Works Corporat on the “do not Others in the Ministry owed BPL list are: former Dr disconnect” Arnold Forbes of Health Tall $62,023.14. by The Minister former The list obtained delin- Perry Gomez, Leslie Miller, Tribune contains of six Pines MP Youth Minister of former quent accounts Cabinet minis- former Johnson, Dion former PLP PLP MPs, Dr Danny Village MP ters, two former Tourism DR DANIEL entities, and Nassau be, two private Cabinet min- Smith, former JOHNSON Obie WilchcomMP MP Minister one sitting $24,413 Town Beach and former South ister: Bamboo Hamilton State Renward Wells. who owed Cleola of Mr Wells, $3,703.96 at former Minister Damian Affairs $9,277.07 and locations - for Legal two separatetotal – did not Gomez. SEE PAGE EIGHT $12,981.03 in yesterwant to comment other former day, and the







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une Staff

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ing By NEIL HARTNEs Editor $25m, five-year maximum Tribune Busines ent contract BPL managem and Minnis nhartnell@ tribuneme if the board wish it to go. Power & ation BAHAMAS board will administr which will The meeting,PowerSecure Light’s (BPL) by meeting” be attended their attorneys hold a “crunch s and cure today, key with PowerSe likely crit- executive is viewed as the from the US, with the outcome whether the to determining whethermake and ical in decidingas manager. sides will “kiss latter remainsTribune Busi- two separate. S up” or Multiple - SEE BUSINES yesterday US FULL STORY ness sources that the confirmed

EST By AVA TURNQU Reporter Tribune Chief aturnquest@tribunem Sewerage WATER and Chairman Corporation yesterday Adrian Gibson existence the confirmed disconnect” of a “do not d by scores populate list the governof elites at utility owned to ment he pledged as provider n on initiate a crackdow accounts. delinquent told The Mr Gibson “confidential Tribune the 221accounts, list” held total of with a combined the period $175,000 for2017. ending June he plans He said that corporathe to direct all persons tion to notify arrears owing excessive or face debts to resolve disconnection.a list confi“There is the Long dential list,” Island MP said. would think “In fact, I corporations that all the year or two, over the last rly in and more particula year, there May of thisclose attenhas been that list by tion paid to ent with the managem changing the a view to lists usually way those operate. this con“As it stands, a number has fidential list on it, and of persons it’s being really and trulypersons by used to notify or letters. courtesy call that as the I can say toothe corporachairman of to direct tion I am going owing that all personswho are excessive arrears EIGHT SEE PAGE at the end of

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DAMIAN GOMEZ OBIE $3,413 WILCHCOMBE CLEOLA $4,911 HAMILTON they owed $6,118 list and the amount since that date. disconnect” BPL “do not made or further debt incurred named on the NINE individualsdo not include any payments July. The sums


d? Are you Covere

Covering The Bahamas for 40 years.

Nobody Does it

safes as well as T homicide the residents of SKA DORSET guarding By SANCHE Reporter in Fox Hill. Tribune Staff walkabout During a Acting prepared. live national sdorsett@ on Tuesday, ROLLE During a Ferguson Commissioner Fox Hill ioner his office By RASHAD Reporter ACTING Fergu- Commiss and address from Dr Minnis Tribune Staff Anti-Gang Police Anthony yesterday said the Inveslast night, ne Maria is of rrolle@tribunemedi Tracing and announced dev- son establishment of two Firearms Unit will operate fore- said: “Hurrica the potentially the Bahamas tigation WITH Detece Maria another hurricane that we separate Royal anti-crime out of the Central pass astating cast for Hurrican while the to Force storm monitor.” (CDU) ng tive Unit projecting the t Baha- must carefully Though most Police aimed at eliminati SEE PAGE 11 units counHe added: near the Southeas was spared gang activity in the morning, Prime of mas Friday Hubert Minnis of the Bahamas the number reducing try, Minister Dr of those SEE PAGE TWO and is urging residents be vigilant islands to









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for this . Yes I feel ility our countries than I can say.” has a responsib one mother more said he will ensure Each citizen to information Dr Minnis is provided . and whateverbring that forward. re. medical attention he felt the famthe composu us.” we must e, who is pregnant after live among Dr Minnis said makes me feel has Mrs Woodsid the grieving and days Three These criminals who emphasised country’s he “You can see of those pushed the ily’s pain. “What through,” Mrs Minnis, that her appearis that most during murder that violent crime into ROLLE she’s going someI, even worse By RASHAD Reporter not a pain “I assured her that the family the yard, struggle with spotlight yet again, them was doctor, to will have we see in Tribune Staff ance before called on women said. today (Friday) we to look the national as a medical time move, rrolle@tribunemedi remained acute. come l my my years week pain g this life, political her a live pregone day medical personne and comfortin “He ain’t even to wear blackfor murder victims. Dr e cried. because she’s that THE hugs sure after her Prime Minister wife God,” Mrs Woodsid give my in mourning calling upon nant. I have to make words of and his infant are baby. I could for my a mother, I’m a really “As Minnis I unborn “He’s just Hubert because her and her we will also make couldn’t answer right now take all mothers can stop this,” the Patricia Minnis that consumed breath be right here. They well and to make sure believe mothers who was tearful both as baby to the questions e yesterday arrangements Minnis, personnel out my body. who Mrs They heart Woodsid sons said medical my eightKendera have our on a only son. for her son, killed times. “We birth and as they necessary her and see her “This my my daughter too after she grieved of them at from the safety who was still with look almost shoot (the house) with would’ve delivered most knowing we cradle basis to ensure infant.” year-old Eugene, men we are to me with regular they inside four days ago. people ain’t tell- and What they do to my family? so they are closer patients,” Dr becomeWe have to speakshould of her and her unborn PAGE TWO SEE are my former ogist by pro- them. I think all women “Why these bringing my son me. they do to us? me? I they them. this week ain’ carry ing me they she cried between What Minnis, a gynaecol message we wear black one day in “Why they said. “The happening a baby.” tried to right now?” entire Bahamas and mourn what’s 29 years, He’s e, Eugene’s fession, Dr Minnis send to the alone. Rose- live screams as Tonio Woodsidhis wife even must can’t fight this family at theirEugene is the police console the consoled where maintain father, home to on bud Road a stray bullet as he struggled was shot by did his homework. he Monday as


EXUMA ELEUTHERA 242.336.2304 ABACO 242.332.3211 GRAND BAHAMA NEW PROVIDENCE 242.350.3500 242.367.4204 242.394.5555


Dr Hubert Min-, PRIME Minister Kendera Woodside nis meeting murdered Eugene the mother of

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in value-added tax “and the subsequent starving of capital expenditure to meet a rigid deficit target.” “He’s right if it wasn’t for the upturn in tourism our GDP growth would not have advanced as well as it has, but that is the structure and the makeup of our economy that we are predominantly driven by tourism, 80 percent of our economy. So it’s a kind of strange statement to make,” Mr Turnquest said. “We would expect that any gains in GDP would be led by tourism. That’s just natural and until we have some structural change in the economy that’s the way it’s going to be, always led by tourism. “Secondly with respect to the value added tax, the facts do not bear that. The facts are that since January when we had the full implementation of the 12 percent that our value added tax actions have trended towards the projections. “So it does not follow and again he is grasping for straws here. The fact of the matter is that we have had positive growth over the last two years, consistent

e n u b i r T e Th HURRICANE










seats: Encaptured four Island and Cat were spent under to ers’ dollars administration. glerston; ; South Anand with 1,900 votes San Salvador Christie T the win is evidence dros as well as Exuma 2017 the 1,875. SKA DORSET new Mr Christie’s to the unofHe said if there ELECTION A VIRGIL By SANCHE Reporter lity”, the Ragged Islands. By KHRISN Reporter According l seat, Fox of “crimina will allow the the Tribune Staff from the ParSPEAK An additiona being reDeputy Chief ficial results Registration government course. THE PEOPLE sdorsett@ tribuneme PAGE 4 was still its ry kvirgil@tribunemed his Hill, law to take to press time. after g and liamenta ent, Mr Chipman ON’ decounted up his parMoments DNA ‘TO GO PAGE 5 IN a surprisin at the Departm out of 12 pollas the na- This marked the worst in AFTER leadinglandslide speech defeat g party won seven maiden MinLOSE humbling leader, Dr Prime Min- ing divisions in the former ty to a stunning feat for a governin Mr tion’s next PLP BIG NAMESPAGE 7 dealing a parapolls, outgoing that under recent history. victory and to the ProgresChristie lost PLP stronghold, while nis promised victory came ns will MPS lle ister Perry ED FNM’s five. Bahamia The Centrevi won lysing blow Party last night, years the his watch, YOUR PROJECT PAGE 9 his seat in last night by Christie a rocky five to fear from Mr Christie sive Liberal challengIn 2012, have nothingent, pointing to despite Prime Minister lle conconstituency representing FAR included two incoming the Centrevi eighth the governm which he said that Dr Minnis’ leadership, RESULTS SO PAGE 14 Minnis declared 25 votes aftermore than 40 won the Dr Hubert of a fracstituency for have abused “im- es to victimisation, with the area for GE itutional” g to unof- consecutive time that those who trust “have continued reports ultimately is “unconst MORE COVERA of years, accordin party and the post He defeated “wrong”. PAGES 2-18 positions 2,950 votes. moral” and to unofficial tured to fear”. ficial results. candidate Ella removal from has held something to thousands of According able his Official Opat the Mr Christie 1977 and the FNM’s FNM was leader of the House of Speaking by 1,349 votes rs at the Q House today. results, the defeat of won all the Lewis the seat since pledged that to pull off a stunning mas- position in the jubilant supporte last night, ment Mr Christie leader of a Dr Minnis has been Liberal Party time. polling division in y. will give securing E Sports Centre ration Assembl PLP, Movefought but one of the administ ncies. a long National Progressive “This was victory is not the Free also announced his General Terranceit sive 34 of 39 constitue Regsince 1997. released a ntary but the Prime 2012. ment leader be sworn in as Auditor the resources former Although he the loss, The Parliame ent did battle, the victory is yours,” The t about his seat to that he will ’ fourth prime Bastianto probe how taxpay- istration Departm thousands re- mine Minister lost Movement statemen not speak full election last Dr Minnis told on the carThe Bahamas at Govern- needs Christie did not release 5pm Free National packed with the and po- Mr minister at SEE PAGE SIX sults last night, in from the of FNMs (FNM) candidater Reece grounds. coming time nival numbers people’s litical newcome agency around “This is the servant and I who secured government from the Chipman, I am your 11pm. However , it ap- and SEE PAGE THREE unofficial numbers the PLP only of the conpeared that “The outcome trust according to vention did not inspireBahalast Mark Humes ce in the coming afl results, said or confiden that’s “obvious” mian electorate but think sweeping defeat residents unofficia that it is I ROLLE have stood behind us now and they night ter Fort Charlotte l By RASHAD Reporter told him party would winning the the party has a wonderfu repeatedly lead- the Tribune Staff stand the any a better chance rebuild and could not he been victori-p opportunity to rrolle@tribunemedi election had of the country itself,” he said. for- ership despite their per- ous in the PLP’s leadershi reengineer for adding that longer, him. AS HE called SEE PAGE SIX RASPBERRY Minister Perry sonal affection for was pro- race in January, a mistake” mer Prime who party made ICED TEA resign as leader Mr Sears, Na- “the Christie. Mr Free the Christie to to Liberal ve in choosing to lose Al- jected Movement’s (FNM) of the Progressi last night, the tional Party (PLP) said he saw fred Sears

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However, the growth is is a positive development. below the IMF’s projected It means that we are head2.3 percent growth for 2018. ing in the right direction “Well no,” Mr Turnquest and the growth again given said when he was asked by that it’s more private sectorThe Tribune if it was clear led leads us to believe that why the GDP was lower it is sustainable growth and than expected. so we’re pleased with where “First off when we talk we are and the trajectory about GDP growth, these we’re on. are projections based upon “I note the critics and the known factors. Sometimes fact of the matter is they things happen in the econ- have no basis for criticism. omy, things happen globally In this regard given their that may affect that projec- track record and so it is tion. Even a delay in the somewhat amusing to hear start of a project can have the opposition - Mr Cooper an effect. make the statements that “So we have to do some he makes because he has analysis ourselves to see no legs to stand on in this what, if anything we can do argument. to help push it along. But at “Again the fact of the this point we are not aware matter is that we have posiof anyBigspecific drags that tive growth (and) strong gest And Best! would have caused us not to economic performance. All meet the projections other indicators indicate a point than just normal delays.” towards the strengthening He continued: “But I of the economy and that is think the point toFRIDAY the positive that needs to be es again Revealed: Nam list and on the eliteowed emphasise is that we have taken nd statistic.” what they eekethis Wfrom had positive growth over Mr Turnquest said he two years and if you con- agreed with Mr Coopsider the fact that we’ve er’s position that increased ch the numbers had much had negative or very, very Wat tourism y er ev with the GDP growth. marginal growth for the last film to-do ising, Cooper also quesfive years, we are now at agonMr renching, whether wtioned 3.4 percent of accumulated the POLICE LAUNCH IVE PUT NDS ful second. missed its proOFFENS SOUTH ISLA2012. growth since That is aw government FOX HILL ON MARIA ALERT en give upbecause of the rise nothing to sneeze at. That Th jections


he told Parto In June, cost the ROLLE such liament r of By RASHAD Bahamians $10,149,738. by the Carib- Tribune Staff Reporte so alarmed Action Task increases was comes after LL bean Financial draft The revision more than By NEIL HARTNEs Editor Rolle, minForce’s (CFATF) BRENSIL Tribune Busines services he included that were not The Bahamas report on , 1,700 workers his staff ister of public nhartnell@ tribuneme Gen- that he instructedaddressing and National Insurancer in his original count. Decembe Progressive THE Attorneyslammed to begin work on June. the Amid the said between flaws from early the 2016 and May 2017, by Liberal Party’s criticism eral yesterday blasted in the nation’sg the ies administraballooned Mr Bethel deficienc adminis- public purse launderin of the of the Minnis firings anti-money former Christie to tackle $16,532,738 because ation’s tion because of its “entirely unacfailing administr regime as SEE PAGE SIX they had tration for es with the Christie public service ceptable”, warning “in great known weakness hiring of new that period. during put The Bahamas necessary urgency. BUSINESS workers danger”. told Trib- FULL STORY - SEE Carl Bethelhe had been une Business

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growth and that is a positive thing. “And so trying to pick any one piece of this thing apart will fail because the

fact of the matter is the overall economic indicators point to continued sustainable growth,” Mr Turnquest said.

PAGE 6, Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Dangerous and reckless Any suggestion we ought to fling open the doors and everybody can come is inherently disadvantageous to the Bahamian people, says Turnquest

ABOVE: Peter Turnquest; left, Fred Smith, QC. from page one comments calling on the government to turn from detaining undocumented people and instead allowing them to work. The QC made this appeal during the 172nd session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Kingston, Jamaica on Friday. The hearing focused on the treatment of migrants in The Bahamas. “I saw a statement this morning by a constituent that said we have

somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10 percent unemployment,” Mr Turnquest told reporters outside Cabinet. “How do we absorb illegals into the work force? And if we pay them low wages there is another implication and consequence of that. “The fact of the matter is that we cannot absorb any and everybody into this economy. We are a small nation. Our resources are limited. Any suggestion that we ought to just fling open the doors and any

and everybody can come is inherently disadvantageous, dangerous and reckless to the Bahamian people. “It amazes me quite frankly that somebody would make such a suggestion. It just isn’t reasonable.” When he made the remarks on Friday, Mr Smith said detention should not apply to immigrants. He said: “So the reality is, just as the government for hundreds of Cubans years ago bailed them out and allowed them to

go into the community on condition that other members of the community would return them, many Haitian migrants or those waiting for documentation can live and be constructive and productive members of the society instead of it costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars, as you say, to keep them in an illegal detention centre. Let them out and let them work in the community.” He told those gathered that despite The Bahamas being a

small country, it needed hundreds of thousands of more people to make it grow and produce. However, he said geographically, the country was huge and there should not be a focus on the fact that the population here is small, adding that immigrants were not criminals. Mr Smith said the mentality, visceral hatred and xenophobia that exists in The Bahamas had to be done away with. Editorial View - Page 4


By MORGAN ADDERLEY Tribune Staff Reporter

“IMMATURE” and “petty” is how activist group Rights Bahamas is describing recent comments made by Attorney

General Carl Bethel and Immigration Minister Brent Symonette in the wake of an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) hearing held in Jamaica last week. However, the group celebrated the hearing itself,

calling it a “huge victory” for human rights in The Bahamas. In a statement released yesterday, Rights Bahamas added it is looking forward to a visit from IACHR commissioners, calling this proposed trip “the most

significant development” to come out of the hearing. The Bahamas was called before the IACHR in Jamaica last week in response to a petition on the treatment of migrants and their descendants from Rights Bahamas and the Washington-based group, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights. During debate in the Senate on Monday, Mr Bethel denounced the idea that the country’s laws are under threat, in response to a claim that the IACHR can order the country to change its citizenship laws. “There is not a country on earth that will mortgage off its right to control its own borders,” he said. “We will in due course put out a properly diplomatically worded statement to send to (the IACHR) to indicate that we feel that they may have gone a little too far in some of the rhetoric exchanged across the table.” Meanwhile, on Monday Mr Symonette said he has “difficulty” with international bodies that attempt to force sovereign states to act outside “the best interest of that country.” During the hearing, Margarette Macaulay, rapporteur on the Rights of Women and Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination, said the body could rule that The Bahamas must amend its laws. She invited civil society to pursue legal action that could produce such an outcome. In its statement, Rights Bahamas expressed hope the IACHR commissioners’

“pointed comments” in the hearings would help “create a roadmap for progress” and a “platform for more meaningful cooperation between the government and civil society going forward”. “Unfortunately, the rather immature and confrontational comments by (Mr Bethel) and (Mr Symonette) in the wake of the hearing are extremely unhelpful in this regard,” the statement continues. “We urge them to remember that the protection of the fundamental human rights of each and every individual is serious business, not a petty game or puerile ego contest. We urge these ministers to focus on the substance of the issues raised at the hearings and treat the rights of women, the rights of children, the rights of migrants, and the protections enshrined in the Bahamas constitution with more respect. “Rights Bahamas remains hopeful that despite the confrontational stance that these ministers insist on maintaining, the executive as a collective and especially Prime Minister (Dr Hubert) Minnis, will see the light and take this opportunity to work with civil society to correct the longstanding institutional injustices which continue to plague our otherwise wonderful country.” Despite its criticisms of government officials, the organisation said it is “overjoyed” with the outcome of the hearing. “We understand that IACHR does not act as

AG CARL BETHEL judge or issue verdicts in such hearings, but rather adopts the role of a mediator between governments and human rights defenders, while also providing a forum to air domestic human rights issues to the world. “Specifically, Rights Bahamas applauds the commissioners’ decision to highlight: the persistence of gender inequality under the law; the unacceptability of detention as a first resort in irregular migration cases; and the difficulties in obtaining citizenship faced by the children of foreigners born in the Bahamas. But by far, the most significant development to come out of the hearings was the announcement that the IACHR commissioners will visit the Bahamas and observe firsthand the situation is on the ground. “Rights Bahamas looks forward drawing their attention, in person, to a host of ongoing abuses, in particular the inhumane and degrading treatment of migrants at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre and the so-called ‘safe house’; the violent and illegal enforcement tactics used by the Department of Immigration on a daily basis; and the persistence of an entrenched system of extortion within that department which targets the most vulnerable members of society.”  

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THE government is moving forward with plans to facilitate the colour change of taxi plates, Transport Minister Renward Wells revealed yesterday. The change, according to the Bamboo Town MP, will cause for a distinct difference between taxi plates and the plates used on selfdrive (SD) vehicles. Mr Wells said the decision was

made following an observation by officials at the Ministry of Transport, which determined it would be more cost effective to change the colour of taxi plates, rather than those of self-drive plates. “We have not gone back on that. We have made a commitment that that is something that needs to happen because there really needs to be differentiation between those two services,” he told reporters, responding to concerns raised by the Bahamas

Taxicab Union (BTU) earlier this month. “…The government has committed to it, I have spoken to it, the prime minister has spoken to it, and so they ought not believe that we have gone back on our word,” Mr Wells said. “We will be changing the plates, the colour of the plates.” He said the issue should be addressed some time after the 2019-2020 budget communication in the House of Assembly later this month.

“So immediately after that we will be dealing with the other issues as well, though this government walks and chews gum at the same time, we want to make sure we do all things well,” Mr Wells added. The colour issue has been a major talking point for the BTU this year. In January, taxi drivers protested at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), where they allege that limousine drivers and tour operators have

been taking their business for years. At the time, BTU president Wesley Ferguson said taxi drivers also had issues at Atlantis, Baha Mar and Prince George Wharf that need to be resolved. Last year, drivers urged the government to end a two-decade old moratorium on new plates during a town hall meeting with Mr Wells, citing the end of the moratorium as a key issue, with numerous complaints being raised over the leasing of taxi plates.

By RIEL MAJOR Tribune Staff Reporter

MICHAEL CARTWRIGHT, left, chairman and co-founder of American Addiction Centers, pictured with Whitney Curtis, Emily Mckenzie and MTSU President Sidney McPhee.


WHITNEY Curtis and Erin McKenzie received a life-altering education from Middle Tennessee State University, thanks to the Cartwright-Coakley Scholarship. The students are the first two MTSU graduates of the scholarship, which Michael and Tina Cartwright of Franklin, Tennessee, established in 2015. Their aim was to help students from LN Coakley High School in Great Exuma receive an education at MTSU and return to work to be leaders in their hometown, George Town, which has a population of about 7,000. A behavioural health business owner and former MTSU student,

Mr Cartwright is chairman and co-founder of the Brentwood, Tennesseebased American Addiction Centres. The Cartwrights established a $600,000 scholarship fund, which he said has grown to nearly $1m, to fully cover six scholarships for tuition, housing and other expenses. “Our goal is to have all of them graduate from MTSU and come back to Great Exuma and help with the schools or in social work and help the local population,” he added. Mrs Cartwright earned a master’s degree in education from MTSU, specialising in guidance and counseling. Led by university President Sidney A McPhee,

MTSU hosted a luncheon for Ms McKenzie and Ms Curtis during the commencement on May 4. Alexander Cartwright, a University of Washington computer engineering student and the Cartwrights’ son, joined his father and an uncle, Wallace Cartwright, at the event and at university commencement. A second luncheon celebration for the two and their families was held on Saturday in Great Exuma. Mr McPhee, a native of The Bahamas, applauded the Cartwrights for their ongoing commitment to the island nation through the special scholarship.  Ms McKenzie, 20, graduated with a bachelor’s

degree in accounting. She earned dual minors in business administration and environmental science and technology. “Graduating from Middle Tennessee State University has been the proudest moment of my life thus far,” Ms McKenzie said. “Being a recipient of the Cartwright Scholarship has changed my life, not just academically but also culturally. “Moving from an island of 7,000 people to a school of 23,000 people … my eyes were opened to a totally new culture, which at first was overwhelming, but I eventually grasped the opportunities and used it to my advantage.”

A BAHAMIAN boarding school senior has broken the institution’s 29-year sports record in discus. Kacey Kemp, of Darlington School, told The Tribune yesterday she felt amazing winning the discus category last Friday in the Georgia High School Association’s track and field meet. She also wished her deceased father was present to celebrate her win.  “I remember last year I competed and ended up in third and I know (my dad) was really proud of me for that and pushing me to keep continuing what I was doing with sport. I wish he could have been here to see me get first and break the school record, but I know he would have been proud of me if he could have been here to see it.” Kacey, pictured right, said breaking the record has been her goal since she started the sport three years ago.  She explained: “It was what I set out to do. It’s one thing I wanted to do before my senior year ended and I started to get worried about it being the second half of the season that I hadn’t done it yet. “I mean I got up there and just threw one just right and it made me so incredibly excited and


happy. I now have that record and I now have a place here at Darlington, hopefully for a long time.” She added: “I also got to meet the (previous) record holder (Janet HighnoteElberhart). She was wonderful and so genuinely excited that I had broken her record and it was a really nice experience to meet her.” The 18-year-old said she received a scholarship and will be attending the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill after graduation.  Athletic Director Eddie Guth said: “Kacey started throwing shot put as a freshman and I knew that she wanted to throw shot put and not discus. I also knew she had the potential to be the new record holder because of the natural talent I saw in her. “This year Kacey was throwing 116 and 117 feet consistently but had a hard time getting over that hump. She had a monster throw during our area track meet that soared to 125 feet, beating Janet’s record by four feet. ”

PAGE 8, Wednesday, May 15, 2019



By MORGAN ADDERLEY Tribune Staff Reporter WHILE Education Minister Jeff Lloyd could not confirm yesterday whether the government intends to buy the property for the proposed STAR Academy, he noted talks are underway with church leaders, stating that all parties are “committed” to resolving this issue. His comments came after Works Minister Desmond Bannister told The Nassau Guardian the government would sink another $10 million into the project to bring it to completion.  The Students Transitioning Achieving and Refocusing Enrichment (STAR) Academy is a brainchild of the former Christie administration to develop a centre for atrisk youth. The facility is currently under construction at the former site of the Bahamas Academy of Seventh-Day Adventists school, located on Wulff Road. In 2017, Mr Lloyd told the House of Assembly that the Christie administration invested $25.7m into the premises. In June of that year — a few weeks after the general election — a Ministry of Education press release noted that despite a lease agreement being drawn up and two years of work being done, church officials had not been paid any rent or received any money. When asked if the government is planning to buy the property for STAR Academy, Mr Lloyd told The Tribune: “I can’t say we’re planning to buy. I can say that we have considered several options that

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd we have presented to the Seventh-Day Adventists’ new leadership team, very important for us to emphasise new leadership team. “And they are considering, obviously, those options. And they want to have, when they have considered them, they want to have talks to as to how we can best address a resolution of this matter, because now it’s longstanding. “It’s already cost us about $20m plus dollars and probably another $10m will have to be spent to complete the project.” Mr Lloyd added talks have already begun. “I only had one meeting so far with the new leadership team; I met with the secretary general… last week Wednesday. So I expect to meet with the full team, meaning their full team, shortly. And then we can see where we go from there. But this will be exploratory, because they are brand new. “I don’t anticipate them being uncooperative. They have expressed to me, very sincerely and very firmly, and I believe them, that they are committed, not just intend to be cooperative, but are committed to

having this matter resolved. They have expressed that, the previous administration, this administration, even more enthusiastically, even in my estimation more sincerely…They are committed. So let me take them at their word, they are committed to resolving it, we are obviously committed. As a matter of fact, we are mandated to resolve it.” When asked if more funds could be pumped into the project, Mr Lloyd said “yes”, in order for the facility to be complete. This would bring the total cost to $30m, according to Mr Lloyd. “I am guided by the Ministry of Works, whose minister estimates that possibly another $10m,” he said. Last year, Bahamas Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson criticised the government for the stall on the project in an interview with The Tribune. “We’re still waiting to find out what is the status of that institution, when is that going to be prepared and ready, because that is supposed to be an institution for our at-risk students,” she said.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019, PAGE 9

75 years later, French ‘HistoPad’ offers new view of D-Day DAYTON Associated Press


HE French and the Americans are working together again on a D-Day project — this time to give museum visitors the opportunity to travel back in time and experience the milestone World War II invasion 75 years later. From the viewpoints of a paratrooper snagged on a church steeple or a soldier firing a bazooka at a German tank, visitors at Ohio’s National Museum of the US Air Force can soon be transported to Normandy, where the June 6, 1944, attack happened. Using tablets called HistoPads, museumgoers will be able to move a slider to contrast current views of historic sites with re-creations of them in the past. They can tap on icons to see animation, as well as video footage, photos and maps from 1944. The new way of learning about D-Day was set to launch this week as part of the museum’s D-Day commemorations, which will also include paratroopers dropping from a vintage C-53D dubbed “D-Day Doll”, exhibits and movies. Codenamed Operation Overlord, D-Day saw some 156,000 US, British and Canadian forces landing on five beaches along a 50 mile stretch of France’s coast, supported by thousands

DEANE SAGER, of Louisville, right, and his wife Cathy use a Histopad tablet to view scenes from operations on the western front of World War II at the The National Museum of the US Air Force, in Dayton, Ohio. French-developed technology making its US debut this month will allow new views of the D-Day invasion 75 years ago that began the liberation of France and helped end World War II. Photo: John Minchillo/AP of ships, landing vessels, the “Heroes and Legends” five years ago at a mediplanes and gliders, and with exhibit at the Kennedy eval castle, are used in 15 monuments and museums inland help from French Space Center in Florida. The D-Day exhibit was in France by more than one resistance fighters. The Ohio museum, near a natural place to start the million visitors per year. Dayton, will be the first in US rollout, also the first site Among the historic sites the US to use the HistoPad, outside of France, said com- where they are available although there are talks of pany spokesman Bruno de are the Popes’ Palace in Avignon and the Royal Forexpanding around the coun- Sa Moreira. “It’s a very exciting tress of Chinon. try, according to Histovery, The Air Force museum the French company that adventure,” he said by telephone from Normandy. “We has extensive collections of developed it. The tablets are among are basically telling our joint the troop carriers, fighter new technology increas- history, when the American planes, gliders, and even ingly in use at museums soldiers fought for the lib- German planes and weapand historic sites that offer erty of France. We have a ons of the time. A US paratrooper disvirtual and augmented real- common past and a common play shows him loaded ity to help learning and duty to remember.” HistoPads, introduced for combat with a understanding, such as in

ready-to-assemble rifle, field radio, gas mask, grenades, anti-tank mine and backup parachute, all weighing some 150 pounds for the perilous drop behind German lines in the darkness hours before the invasion. The HistoPad will provide a paratrooper’s-eye view of the drop. “It makes it very real,” Duford said. “It’s a device that allows us to connect our visitors with that moment in time and in doing so, it makes the artifacts from that time and that place even more powerful.” Chuck Edmonson, the museum’s marketing director, gave a couple visitors a demonstration of the HistoPad on a recent morning. “Oh, my, that’s what you’d see,” said Deane Sager, 67, of Louisville, Kentucky, who was a Navy reservist during the Vietnam era. The Air Force museum is also planning more D-Day events June 6, complementing several days of commemorations in France. Cathy Sager, who recounted having her “breath just taken away” by a visit to Normandy years ago, was also impressed by the HistoPad. They plan to return to Dayton, about 150 miles from their home, after the full exhibit is open. “The technology we have today is being used to take us back to that time,” said Deane Sager.

SPACE-TOURISM ENTERS ‘HOME STRETCH’ TOWARD COMMERCIAL FLIGHT NEW MEXICO Associated Press BILLIONAIRE Richard Branson is moving Virgin Galactic’s winged passenger rocket and more than 100 employees from California to a remote commercial launch and landing facility in southern New Mexico, bringing his space-tourism dream a step closer to reality. Branson said on Friday at a news conference that Virgin Galactic’s development and testing programme has advanced enough to make the move to the customtailored hangar and runway at the taxpayer-financed Spaceport America facility near the town of Truth or Consequences. Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said a small number of flight tests are pending. He declined to set a specific deadline for the first commercial flight. An interior cabin for the company’s space rocket is being tested, and pilots and engineers are among the employees relocating from California to New Mexico. The move to New Mexico puts the company in the “home stretch”, Whitesides said. The manufacturing of the space vehicles by a sister

THE TAXIWAY leading to the hangar at Spaceport America in Upham, NM. enterprise, The Spaceship Company, will remain based in the community of Mojave, California. Taxpayers invested over $200m in Spaceport America after Branson and then-Gov Bill Richardson, a Democrat, pitched the plan for the facility, with Virgin Galactic as the anchor tenant. Virgin Galactic’s spaceship development has taken far longer than expected and had a major setback when the company’s first experimental craft broke apart during a 2014 test flight, killing the co-pilot. Branson thanked New Mexico politicians and residents for their patience over the past decade. He said he believes space tourism — once aloft — is likely to bring about profound change. “Our future success as a species rests on the planetary

perspective,” Branson said. “The perspective that we know comes sharply into focus when that planet is viewed from the black sky of space.” Branson described a vision of hotels in space and a network of spaceports allowing supersonic, transcontinental travel anywhere on earth within a few hours. He indicated, however, that building financial viability comes first. “We need the financial impetus to be able to do all that,” he said. “If the space programme is successful as I think ... then the sky is the limit.” In February, a new version of Virgin Galactic’s winged craft SpaceShipTwo soared at three times the speed of sound to an altitude of nearly 56 miles in a test flight over Southern California, as a crew member soaked in

the experience. On Friday, that crew member, Beth Moses, recounted her voyage into weightlessness and the visual spectacle of pitch-black space and the earth below. “Everything is silent and still and you can unstrap and float about the cabin,” she said. “Pictures do not do the view from space justice. ... I will be able to see it forever.” The company’s current spaceship doesn’t launch from the ground. It is carried under a special plane to an altitude of about 50,000 feet before detaching and igniting its rocket engine. “Release is like freefall at an amusement park, except it keeps going,” Moses said. “And then the rocket motor lights. Before you know it, you’re supersonic.” The craft coasts to the top of its climb before gradually descending to earth, stabilised by “feathering” technology in which twin tails rotate upward to increase drag on the way to a runway landing. Branson previously has said he would like to make his first suborbital flight this year as one of the venture’s first passengers on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20. But he made no mention of

timelines on Friday. Pressed on the timeframe, Whitesides said he anticipates the first commercial flight within a year. Three people with future space-flight reservations were in the audience. “They’ve been patient too,” Branson said. “Space is hard.” Hundreds of potential customers have committed as much as $250,000 up front for rides in Virgin’s six-passenger rocket, which is about the size of an executive jet. Space tourism has not been a complete novelty since millionaire US engineer Dennis Tito in 2001 paid $20m to join a Russian space mission to the International Space Station. Branson’s goal has been to “democratise” space by opening travel up to more and more people. The endeavour began in 2004 when Branson announced the founding of Virgin Galactic in the heady days after the flights of SpaceShipOne, the first privately financed manned spacecraft that made three flights into space.

• SAN Francisco supervisors voted yesterday to ban the use of facial recognition software by police and other city departments, becoming the first US city to outlaw a rapidly developing technology that has alarmed privacy and civil liberties advocates. The ban is part of broader legislation that requires city departments to establish use policies and obtain board approval for surveillance technology they want to purchase or are using at present. Several other local governments require departments to disclose and seek approval for surveillance technology. “This is really about saying: ‘We can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state.’ And part of that is building trust with the community based on good community information, not on Big Brother technology,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who championed the legislation. The ban applies to San Francisco police and other municipal departments. It does not affect use of the technology by the federal government at airports and ports, nor does it limit personal or business use. The San Francisco board did not spend time yesterday debating the outright ban on facial recognition technology, focusing instead on the possible burdens placed on police, the transit system and other city agencies that need to maintain public safety. “I worry about politicising these decisions,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani, a former prosecutor who was the sole no vote. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, DC, issued a statement chiding San Francisco for considering the facial recognition ban. It said advanced technology makes it cheaper and faster for police to find suspects and identify missing people. • INTEL has revealed another hardware security flaw that could affects millions of machines around the world. The bug is embedded in the architecture of computer hardware, and it can’t be fully fixed. “With a large enough data sample, time or control of the target system’s behaviour,” the flaw could enable attackers to see data thought to be off-limits, Bryan Jorgensen, Intel’s senior director of product assurance and security, said in a video statement. But Intel said yesterday there’s no evidence of anyone exploiting it outside of a research laboratory. “Doing so successfully in the real world is a complex undertaking,” Jorgensen said. It’s the latest revelation of a hard-to-fix vulnerability affecting processors that undergird smartphones and personal computers. Two bugs nicknamed Spectre and Meltdown set a panic in the tech industry last year.

PAGE 10, Wednesday, May 15, 2019


T They’re only children - look after them well

HERE is reluctance to recognise children as whole people with a range of emotions they have to learn to recognise and handle and their own likes and dislikes in addition to the need for guidance, education and discipline. Children, like adults, sometimes disagree with what they are asked to do. It will not always be expressed in the most acceptable way, and the reasoning may not always be strong, but they will disagree. This may mean they refuse to do as they are told. Some parents are more open to conversation and negotiation than others. A disobedient child can be frustrating to anyone, but some take the time to find out why they disobey. While children do not get to make many decisions on their own, they should be encouraged to express themselves in appropriate ways. If they are not comfortable doing this and advocating for themselves, room is left for them to be violated in many ways without it being reported. They need to know they can speak up, and how. On a daily basis, we encounter or see reports of


Alicia Wallace


adults who do not communicate well. There is likely a connection between their home life and their current practices. I remember the recording of a little girl reciting the poem Children Learn What They Live that played on ZNS at least once every evening. The poem explained that children’s lived experiences contribute to who they become as adults. Experiences of hostility lead to fighting, experiences of tolerance lead to patience, experiences of honestly lead to

truthfulness, and so on. People over the age of 25 can probably picture the little girl and hear her elocution. How many people actually learned from that poem or, at the very least, understood that children are constantly becoming adults with every experience they have? I was disappointed to hear about a video of a girl being circulated along with commentary that condemned her for being “forward” and “rude”. She is being told to clean a room, and she can be

heard saying the adult — the person recording the video — choked her. In a second video, she is seen jumping a fence to leave the property. Without seeing or hearing what happened before the recording started, most comments on the video are from people who saw violence as the answer. From “I was ga be brought up on charges” to “She wouldn’t have legs to jump no fence,” the comments are not surprising given our proclivity to violence, but disturbing. Numerous people commented about knocking the teeth out of her mouth, and quite a few asked for a few hours with the girl. They expressed excitement and delight at the thought of physically abusing the child in the name of discipline and correction. Could it be that they have their own issues to work through, but choose to take out on others? We do not know the

relationship between the child and the adult. We do not know what the child endured, for how long, or what circumstances brought her to be in the care of this adult. We do not know why she refused to the clean the room, what led her to leave, or where she ended up. For some, adults are always right and children are always wrong. They think children are supposed to do as they are told without thought or question, or accept whatever treatment they are given. Fortunately, we are not all the same. Some will not accept abuse masquerading as discipline. It is obvious that people have issues they need to work on, and professional help is needed. To watch a video of strangers and be thrilled at the idea of beating someone’s child — and for the extended period of time some suggested — is certainly a sign of at

least one problem. Maybe those people, as children, lived with hostility and learned to fight, and that is the only way they know. That, however, is not an excuse. They need to seek help. We cannot afford to see another generation of trauma-filled people come of age in this country with no path to healing and no alternatives to the dangerous, recycled ways of thinking about communication, child-rearing, and conflict resolution. This is an issue that needs everyone’s attention — Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Education, religious leaders, psychologists and psychiatrists, youth advocates, and families need to speak up for the children who cannot or will not, and for the future of this nation.

Enthralled - but it’s not what you think

WHILE I have never watched Game of Thrones and I’m quite certain I never will, I am fascinated by its cult following and all that comes with it. There is significant anticipation before the season premiere of several popular shows and Game of Thrones is among them, but it is maintained throughout the season. The buy-in to the programme unites people, except for when they are bickering with one another about spoilers. Some people watch it alone because they do not want to be distracted by other people’s reactions or the talk-back-to-the-television types while others thrive on the community surrounding it and go to ‘watch’ parties. Some make post after post throughout the show, much to the chagrin of people who are not able to watch it live. It is interesting to observe, even as a nonwatcher, although it can be annoying for

the social media timelines to be flooded with Arya this and Cersei that. Few televisions shows have brought people together like Game of Thrones. I’m sure there are a number of issues for psychologists to explore given its violent, graphic nature. It has been suggested viewers enjoy the power struggle, unending frustration, sex and violence among other themes and factors. I can’t say that the widespread enjoyment of the show and the active community of fans is necessarily positive, but it is certainly interesting to observe. As Game of Thrones comes to end, we will probably see fans and researchers dissect the show, its following, and the components that have made watching it into an almost-religious activity. While I have no interest in watching the show, I may pick up one of the books and see how it goes.

Nothing means yes except an enthusiastic yes without pressure A DAY does not go by without Bahamian social media drama and, every now and then, we get an extra dose of everything a few of us talk about all the time while many others pretend they do not notice. Earlier this week, a young Bahamian woman shared a story of sexual assault. In short, she was living abroad, exchanged messages with a Bahamian man, and went out with him when he was in the same city. They both got too drunk to drive and ended up at the place where he was staying. She refused his sexual advances several times, he forced himself on her, and she eventually escaped and drove herself home under the influence (which she had been trying to avoid). The responses to this story were telling. They reeked of misogyny, full of victim-blaming and accusations. People said she made

it up in order to boost her profile. Some said, predictably, that she caused her own sexual assault by being in the wrong place. It was a relief to see some people show empathy, letting her know they were sorry this happened to her, encouraging her to report it to police, and refuting what misogynists and rape apologists said. Some young men expressed their disappointment in men and their desire to be better. The questions and accusations that came in response to this story of sexual abuse point to a lack of understanding — or a refusal to understand and acknowledge — consent and what constitutes consensual activity. Consent has been explained in many ways. One of the most popular is the “Consent is Like Tea” video. In it, tea is analogous to sex. When you

offer someone tea, they can say yes or no. If they say yes and you have prepared to serve the tea, they may change their mind. While you have already made it, they do not have to drink it. You do not force them to drink the tea. Similarly, people can refuse sex, change their minds about having sex at any point, and must be considered unable to make a decision about sex given factors such as age, inebriation, or unconsciousness. This is not difficult to understand. Do not force people to drink tea. Even if they brought a tea set, if they say they do not want tea, do not go any further. Do not rape people. It does not matter if they are in your house, in a state of undress, or flirted with you before. Nothing means yes except an enthusiastic yes without pressure.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019, PAGE 11


THE MINNIS administration signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with the United States Embassy in Nassau to re-establish the Fulbright scholarship programme for Bahamian students. The prestigious programme provides grants to study, teach and research abroad. The last time a Bahamian was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship was 1996, and previous awardees include former Governor General By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter NEARLY one week after Acting Post Master General Jennifer Johnson suggested the General Post Office would open in its new Town Centre Mall location this week, Transport Minister Renward Wells has now pointed to “next week” for the much-anticipated opening. Addressing the delayed transition of postal operations from the former East Hill Street location to the new Town Centre Mall site outside of Cabinet yesterday, Mr Wells said the government was still on track for a “major opening” next week, but needed to determine an official day. He told reporters officials were presently going through operations at the new facility to ensure everything is in order. He said his team was also working to test general operations at the new facility to ensure all services and procedures could be effectively carried out in the space allocated. Mr Wells said once these things were done, officials will move on to the official opening of the new facility. “The Post Office is on track for next week. We are looking to have a major opening of the [General] Post Office, we are going to be getting back to you with

Dame Ivy Dumont and cultural icon E Clement Bethel. “We look forward to a new generation of Bahamian scholars and artists becoming Fulbright scholars,” Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said during the signing, which took place at his office. “Our vision as a country is to help foster the development of 21st century global citizens who are creative, open to growth, analytical and committed to the promotion of justice for all peoples. “I am thrilled that we are rejoining the prestigious Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programme, which provides grants to

approximately 800 foreign scholars from over 95 countries to lecture and/or conduct postdoctoral research at US institutions,” Dr Minnis continued. “Additionally, the Fulbright Foreign Student Programme enables graduate students, young professionals and artists to research and study in the United States for one year or longer.” Caroline Casagrande, deputy assistant secretary of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, also spoke at the event, describing the Fulbright Programme as the “flagship” international programme of the US.

“Last year 2,100 Bahamian students [studied] in the United States - making it the secondlargest centre of international students from the Caribbean to our country. I am here to say we would like that number to increase even more,” she said, adding the signing of the MoU will encourage more students to study between the two countries. Education Minister Jeff Lloyd also delivered remarks yesterday, noting the signing culminates a two-year effort between the Ministry of Education and US Embassy. “This Fulbright is also a manifestation of our own commitment

in this government, some $20m this year for scholarship opportunities. Both here in the Bahamas as well as in the United States,” Mr Lloyd said. “This Fulbright is the most prestigious scholarship opportunity for our young people. And it has the great benefit of taking our students beyond the initial tertiary educational level, that is the Bachelors, all the way into their research fields – master’s as well as PhDs.” Mr Lloyd noted this “historic revival” comes after a “23-year hiatus”, as it has been over 23 years since the Bahamas has had a Fulbright scholar.

Post Office opening likely for next week the date so that the media and all persons concerned can be there. But we are on track for the post office to open next week,” he said. Mr Wells continued: “Right now, we are going through the operations of the post office; the phones are installed, the furniture is in, the building is completed, the Ministry of Works is going through its punch list, looking at tiles, looking at defects in the infrastructure itself and asking the landlord to make good these defects. “We are also looking at the operations of the post office in the space with folks sorting mail and how it all is going to work out. “So we are trying to work out all of the kinks in the operation of the post office before we officially go down there and cut the ribbon,” he stated. Mrs Johnson last week confirmed postal services were being moved to the new location as early as

THE TOWN Centre Mall location May 2, referring to various machinery and a large percentage of employees. At the time, she said the move could have been completed by end of last week. However, she did note the move of some systems still needed to be facilitated. Mrs Johnson said: “We haven’t shut down our systems here [at East Hill Street] as yet as there are some things that we do internationally, and we still need some folks here. We

still have to maintain some things behind the scenes. “We have persons here still, but as soon as all of our IT systems, our internet and other connections are up and running at our new location then we can completely shut down. We have a total of 90 persons stationed at the General Post Office. We may now have about 20 here currently just to maintain the flow of operations on this end while the majority of our staff are

trying to get moved in or set up their stations.” Mrs Johnson said postal services could still be accessed at the various sub-offices. “The savings bank services are still being offered at the Shirley Street Post Office,” she added. “Persons can still clear their boxes until they are in receipt of new keys. They can send out mail through the sub-stations. By next week we expect to be operational at the Town Centre Mall. The move is absolutely welcome. It’s an understatement to say that we are happy to move.” Although the Post Office Bank and the cafeteria were finished before Christmas, earlier this year Mr Wells said he did not want a piecemeal move, adding several factors contributed to the general delay of the relocation. In an interview in April, he told reporters that it all came down to

different aspects of the facility’s drawings needing to be redone, issues with mailboxes and problems with some parts of the building’s power supply for equipment like CCTV. Last October, an initial deadline of December 15, 2018 was set for the move. However, by November the government said the relocation was set for between Christmas and the end of 2018. But when December came, that deadline was extended to January 1 and when that date had passed, Mr Wells said the new relocation date would be moved to the middle of February. Overall, issues at the run down East Hill Street location have impacted the revenue generation capability of the General Post Office, now reducing its contribution to the consolidated fund to around $2m from about $6m in 2012, Mr Wells has said.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019, PAGE 11

BORDER WALL TO GO UP IN NATIONAL MONUMENT, WILDLIFE REFUGE PHOENIX Associated Press THE US government plans on replacing barriers through 100 miles of the southern border in California and Arizona, including through a national monument and a wildlife refuge, according to documents and environmental advocates. The Department of Homeland Security yesterday again waived environmental and dozens of other laws to build more barriers along the US-Mexico border. Funding will come from the Defense Department following

the emergency declaration that President Donald Trump signed this year after Congress refused to approve the amount of border wall funding he requested. Barriers will go up at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a vast park named after the unique cactus breed that decorates it, and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which is largely a designed wilderness home to 275 wildlife species. The government will also build new roads and lighting in those areas in Arizona. Environmental advocates who have sued to stop the construction

of the wall say this latest plan will be detrimental to the wildlife and habitat in those areas. “The Trump administration just ignored bedrock environmental and public health laws to plow a disastrous border wall through protected, spectacular wildlands,” said Laiken Jordahl, who works on border issues at the Center for Biological Diversity. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has typically not said much about construction plans. At Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, row after row of

cactuses decorate 516 square miles of land that once saw so much drug smuggling that over half the park was closed to the public. But illegal crossings in that area dropped off significantly in the past several years, and the government in 2015 reopened the entire monument for the first time in 12 years. While Arizona has seen an increase in border crossers over the last year, most are families who turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents. The number of drugs that agents seize in the state has also dropped significantly. But the government is moving

forward with more border infrastructure. The waivers the department issued are vague in their description of where and how many miles of fencing will be installed. The Center for Biological Diversity says the plans total about 100 miles of southern border in both Arizona and California, near Calexico and Tecate. In Arizona, construction will focus on four areas of the border and will include the replacement of waist-high fencing meant to stop cars with 18- to 30-foot barriers that will be more efficient at stopping illegal crossings.

DRC HIT BY EBOLA EPIDEMIC AN EBOLA epidemic in a conflict-riven region of Democratic Republic of Congo is out of control and could become as serious as the outbreak that devastated three countries in west Africa between 2013 and 2016, experts have warned. New cases have increased at the fastest rate since the outbreak began last year, as aid agencies struggle to enact a public health response in areas that have suffered decades of neglect and conflict. “I’m very concerned – as concerned as one can be,” said Jeremy Farrar, the head of the Wellcome Trust, who called for a ceasefire to allow health teams to reach the sick and protect others in the community.


HEALTH workers attend the funeral of a woman infected with Ebola in North Kivu province, DRC.

Alabama passes bill banning abortions ALABAMA Associated Press ALABAMA’S Senate passed a near-total ban on abortion yesterday, sending what would be the nation’s most stringent abortion law to the state’s Republican governor. The GOP-dominated Senate voted 25-6 to make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk. Senators rejected an attempt to add an exception for rape and incest. The amendment was voted down 21-11, with four Republicans joining Democrats. “You don’t care anything about babies having babies in this state, being raped and incest,” Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton said on the Senate floor after the

amendment’s defeat. “You just aborted the state of Alabama with your rhetoric with this bill.” Bill sponsor Rep. Terri Collins said she expects Gov. Kay Ivey to sign the ban into law. Ivey has not publicly commented on what she’ll do. The lopsided vote suggests a veto could be easily overcome. Ivey spokeswoman Lori Jhons said in a statement before the vote that “the governor intends to withhold comment until she has had a chance to thoroughly review the final version of the bill that passed.” Supporters said the bill is designed to conflict with the US Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalising abortion nationally, because they hope to spark a court case that might prompt the justices to revisit abortion rights. “It’s to address the issue that Roe. v. Wade was decided on. Is

that baby in the womb a person?” Collins said. Supporters had argued that exceptions would weaken their hope of creating a vehicle to challenge Roe. Collins said that the law isn’t meant to be a long-term measure and that lawmakers could add a rape exception if states regain control of abortion access. “Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children,” Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss said in a statement after the bill’s passage. “While we cannot undo the damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused, this bill has the opportunity to save the lives of millions of unborn children.” Emboldened by conservative justices who have joined the Supreme Court, abortion opponents in several states are seeking to challenge abortion access. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a

fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. The Alabama bill goes further by seeking to outlaw abortion outright. Unlike measures in other states, Alabama would punish only the abortion provider, not the woman receiving the abortion. Democrats, who hold eight seats in Alabama’s 35-member Senate, criticized the ban as a mixture of political grandstanding, an attempt to control women and a waste of taxpayer dollars. During debate, Singleton pointed out and named rape victims watching from the Senate viewing gallery. He said that under the ban, doctors who perform abortions could serve more prison time than the women’s rapists. In a statement, Staci Fox of Planned Parenthood Southeast said, “Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country.”

‘THOR’ and ‘Terminator: Salvation’ actor Isaac Kappy has been confirmed as the man who jumped to his death from a bridge in Arizona on Monday, according to TMZ. Officials said yesterday that Kappy, 42, was struck by a Ford pickup truck after hurling himself from the Transwestern Road bridge onto Interstate 40, where he died, according a statement from Bart Graves, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. In the 24 hours leading up to his death, Kappy posted a long statement on Instagram where he wrote: “I have not been a good guy,” and “I have been abusive to people who loved me.” The self-admitted drug user made headlines in 2018 for allegedly assaulting Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, by choking her “during a game night party”. Arizona state troopers were called to the scene at 7.26am Mountain on Monday, and Kappy, pictured, was found deceased upon their arrival, Graves’ statement said. Before the Beerfest actor died, ‘several bystanders tried physically restraining Kappy from jumping but failed to hold him,’ TMZ reported. No one else was reported injured in the incident, and the investigation has officially been closed. Kappy’s Instagram post on Sunday was captioned, ‘Beware the man has nothing to lose, for he has nothing to protect.’ In the message posted as a screenshot of text he wrote, ‘Over the course of the last week, through introspection that should have happened MANY years ago, I have come to some stark revelations about my character. It is a testament to my utter ignorance that these revelations had not come sooner.”


CÚCUTA, Colombia Associated Press

DIVE teams plunged into the icy cold waters of a southeast Alaska inlet yesterday, searching an area the size of 24 football fields for two cruise ship passengers missing after two sightseeing planes collided. The Coast Guard has confirmed four fatalities in the collision on Monday afternoon near Ketchikan, a popular destination for cruise ships in Alaska. Ten people, all Americans, were injured. The missing passengers were from Canada and Australia, Princess Cruises said. The Royal Princess, which can carry up to 3,600 people, was among four city-sized cruise ships in the tiny coastal community on Monday. During port stops, visitors can shop in tourist stores or take part in several excursions, such as visiting an Alaska Native village, tour the backcountry, or visit a raptor center.

EARLIER this year, Zuleidys Antonella Primera was born, a lively girl with dark hair and eyes bearing no hint of the odyssey her mother Arekys Pulido went through so she could deliver her in a hospital across the border in the city of Cúcuta. Yet little Zuleidys so far has neither the citizenship of the country her parents fled nor that of the nation where she was born. She is one of a growing number of children who have been left essentially stateless. “It’s one more thing to worry about,” said José Antonio Primera, the baby’s father, a former military officer who now paints motorcycles for a living. While the children born to migrants qualify for Venezuelan citizenship, they would need to formally register at a consulate or travel to Venezuela to obtain it. Both options are out of the

EMERGENCY response crews transport an injured passenger to an ambulance yesterday. Another popular trip is flightseeing in Misty Fjords National Monument. Visitors marvel at the lakes, snowcapped peaks and glacier valleys in the wilderness area. Trips cost about $260 each. The larger plane, a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 with 10 passengers and the pilot, was returning from Misty Fjord when it collided with another sightseeing plane, carrying four passengers from the same cruise ship and a pilot.

The cause of the crash in relatively good weather, high overcast skies with light southeast winds was not known. The smaller plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, was partially submerged in the shore of George Inlet after the singleengine plane overturned and hit some trees before crashing, according to Coast Guard Lt. Brian Dykens. The larger Otter landed in water and sank, he said.

ARELYS Pulido holds her daughter after she had her feet prints taken for her birth certificate. question for many families. They do not want to return until conditions improve and consulates are closed after President Nicolás Maduro severed diplomatic relations with Colombia in February. Colombia’s government grants the newborns full health care during the first year of life and allows them to enroll in school, but experts on statelessness fear that if Venezuela’s

crisis drags on for years, they could approach adulthood without key rights such as the ability to travel legally, buy property or get married. Colombia’s National Civil Registry counts at least 3,290 children born since December 2017 who have been unable to obtain citizenship. Rights groups contend the numbers could be as high as 25,000. Even by the lowest count, advocates say, the number of children at risk of statelessness now living in Colombia is worrisome. “It is a significant number when you think of it being created out of one crisis,” said Amal de Chickera, co-director of the Netherlands-based Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. “And if it is prolonged and if it’s not nipped in the bud it can become much bigger.” Nearly 1.3 million Venezuelans now reside in Colombia, about 40% of whom are in the country without any legal status.

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05152019 NEWS  

05152019 NEWS