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VOLUME:115 No.178, AUGUST 9TH, 2018

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Taranique - now there’s some hope Govt making move to help ‘stateless’ teenager fly to US By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net THE government is working assiduously to ensure stateless teen Taranique Thurston is able to access life-saving medical treatment in the United States, The Tribune has been told. A senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained Taranique’s status presented a challenge as there was no formal position on how the government will deal with the potential hundreds of people in

similar circumstances. The official noted her case will likely be closely watched, as it could set a legal precedent. Due to her mother’s naturalisation process, Taranique is currently registered in The Bahamas as a non-Bahamian born to a foreign mother and Bahamian father, who are unmarried. Taranique was issued a certificate of identity on Friday; however, it was explained this document is only accepted by the US government under most extreme circumstances. SEE PAGE TWO

BAIN and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson has said the government should reverse its budget cut for school uniform assistance, the first Free National Movement parliamentarian to criticise the move. “I’m concerned with the Ministry of Social Services’ position to cut the budget for uniform assistance,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“This action directly affects the most vulnerable in our society particularly those living in our inner-city areas. The government has a strong focus in empowering the poor as seen in the Over-the-Hill initiatives and the Economic Empowerment Bill. While I am mindful of the government’s financial constraints the Ministry of Social Services’ uniform assistance programme should not be affected particularly at a SEE PAGE NINE

L SOUR CE

‘PROTOCOL FLAWED FOR FATAL FIRE OFFICERS’ By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net THE Royal Bahamas Police Force’s protocol for officers involved in police-involved killings demonstrates a stunning lapse of judgement, lawyer Christina Galanos said yesterday. She spoke after Corporal Adrian Miller faced his second unlawful killing ruling in two weeks at the Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, having killed 31-year-old Girred Clarke at a party on August 17, 2013 and Terrique Fowler, 22, on June 7, 2013. “It shouldn’t be that you kill Johnny on Monday and you back to work on Tuesday,” Ms Galanos said. “I don’t think any developed country operates like that.” SEE PAGE THREE

TOUGHER PENALTIES PLAN FOR POACHERS By MORGAN ADDERLEY Tribune Staff Reporter madderley@tribunemedia.net

UNIFORMS ASSISTANCE - ‘PUT THE CASH BACK’ By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

$1

TARANIQUE Thurston speaking to The Tribune. The teenager has been issued a certificate of identity to help her access treatment in the US - but the US government will only accept that document under extreme circumstances.  Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

THE Fisheries Act is currently being reviewed by an advisory committee which will present recommendations to the government in October over possible stiffer penalties for poachers, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said yesterday. “This government is absolutely committed to significant penalties for captains of these vessels as well as their crew,” Mr Pintard said. “And that entails not just increasing the fines, but also prison time.”  SEE PAGE 13

NATIONALISE GB PORT? NOT FOR NOW By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday said the nationalisation of assets was not currently on the agenda as he responded to a recommendation by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham for the government to purchase the Grand Bahama Port Authority instead of the

THE GRAND Bahama Port Authority offices. Grand Lucayan hotel. Mr Turnquest, Minister of Finance and East Grand

Bahama MP, said while the option was not new and had been long considered, any shift on nationalisation would require full agreement by all stakeholders. “One of the things we share with the former prime minister is that we do need to focus on the economy of Grand Bahama and cause economic activity to happen,” said Mr Turnquest. SEE PAGE FIVE

Nassau & Bahama Islands’ Leading Newspaper

PRAY IT’S NOT ALREADY TOO LATE TO SAVE US

SEE PAGE EIGHT


PAGE 2, Thursday, August 9, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

TARANIQUE - NOW THERE’S SOME HOPE from page one

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In response to questions placed by The Tribune, Lisa Moxey, US Embassy media specialist, said the embassy required a valid passport. Ms Moxey spoke generally, as the agency did not comment on specific visa cases for privacy reasons. “We are very optimistic by tomorrow there will be some resolution,” the Bahamas government official said. “She has a meeting with director of immigration in the morning which should bear some fruit. We are very concerned that she is able to get the necessary treatment. Her situation was her mother was not a citizen when she had her, which put her in a special category.” The official continued: “The public should know that we’re working to fulfil those obligations very hard to ensure she gets the medical treatment that she can’t get in The Bahamas. Now we’re making it a priority and we’re also working with foreign American officials to make her case a special one.” Article 7 of the Bahamas Constitution provides for persons born in the country to non-Bahamians to make an application at the age of 18; however, the Nationality Act allows the minister of immigration to use his discretion to consider applications.

TARANIQUE THURSTON, aged 15, with her mother, Ginette Caty. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff According to the Haitian constitution (Article 11), “any person born of a Haitian father or Haitian mother who are themselves native-born Haitians and have never renounced their nationality possesses Haitian nationality at the time of birth”. However, this entitlement is not extended to second or third generation descendants whose parents were not themselves nativeborn Haitians. Bahamian-born children of Haitian migrants are only Haitian citizens by law if their parents were born in Haiti, and have not renounced their citizenship, and can prove they hold citizenship, according to a 2010 academic paper by Kristy Belton, recipient of UNHCR’s 2015 Award for Best Doctoral Research on Statelessness. Dr Belton posits that children become de-facto stateless, “when the parent is of Haitian descent, but is not a “native-born” Haitian, or is undocumented or cannot prove possession of Haitian citizenship. She further outlined in the paper that the official narrative espoused by government officials that the phenomenon was not due to Bahamian law, and that children born in The Bahamas of Haitian parentage had the right to a Haitian passport - was an “unfounded assumption”. It continued: “One cannot simply go into the Haitian Embassy in The Bahamas and acquire identifying documents because one “sounds” or “looks” Haitian. One must be able to prove that he or she is a native-born Haitian and this is often very difficult to do when a person does not possess the relevant

identifying documents. The paper stated: “Moreover, Bahamian citizenship and naturalisation law, and The Bahamas’ lack of accession to the 1961 statelessness convention, exacerbates the vulnerable position of these children.” As reported previously, 15-year-old Taranique needs treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida for the fluid collecting in her brain. The ordeal has taken a significant toll on Taranique and her mother, who described the past two weeks as an emotional rollercoaster. Referring to Taranique’s certificate of identity, Taranique’s mother Ginette Caty said: “They still put the same thing on it. If the document say Commonwealth of The Bahamas for nationality, Bahamian got to be there, how could you put something else there? How can you put Haitian? They still ain’t gonna recognise this, only thing is this a grey one and look more like a new model, but what’s the difference? “I ask my girl how she feel and she put her head down and said I just want to live, that’s all right now. And tears come out of my eyes, I said you’re going to live you know, you gonna be a testimony.” For herself, Taranique said she has reduced her use of social media due to negative comments. She said she felt like a “dog”, but was resolute in her determination to remain positive about finally getting treatment. “I just want to get my surgery, so I can stop having headaches,” she said. “…I want to be an accountant.”


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, August 9, 2018, PAGE 3

‘Protocol flawed for fatal fire officers’ from page one

Cpl Miller’s matters are not finished. His lawyers have described the rulings against him as “perverse”. He will appeal both matters to the Supreme Court. But Ms Galanos said it should concern Bahamians that officers involved in such events are not immediately placed on modified duty until the completion of a coroner’s investigation into the first incident. “There is a duty on the government to remove that person from the frontline until the inquest is determined in their favour,” she said.

“There ought to be an onus on the government. Do they even receive counselling? Even if you lawfully kill somebody, you ought to receive that because your propensity could be higher now that someone used a weapon on you.” Ms Galanos criticised the entire investigative process for police-involved killings. “Three of the officers were in the bush when Terrique Fowler got shot,” she said, referring to the victim whose family she represented. “One of them discharged their firearm and shot Terrique. All of them said they had 9mm guns and guess what kind of firearm they said they

recovered from Terrique? A 9mm gun. “...If an independent person was involved in the investigation, they could come on the scene, shut it down and ask who were the three officers involved. They would tell the officers turn in their police issued firearms so we could collect the three guns then check the database to see if those were the same guns they were issued. After that, you ask: where is this gun y’all say y’all found on Terrique? “There ought to be four firearms removed from the scene but because no-one is thinking objectively when investigating the police, something as simple as that

was not done so, when I questioned the officers, two of them never turned their firearm in. Two of them said they (are) allowed to have their firearm on them 24 hours a day. “In essence, nobody ever did any investigative work to ensure four firearms were recovered from the scene.” Asked about the rulings yesterday, National Security Minister Marvin Dames spoke generally about the need to professionalise law enforcement agencies. “Every serious incident within the police force is reviewed; it has to be. This is how agencies get better. We certainly have

been looking at working with law enforcement across the country and modernising a lot of the things that we do. If you were to take a trip down to the college you would’ve seen the transformation. We have manuals that set out that specialise what officers should be doing, we have manuals which set out what recruits should be doing; we have manuals that talk about any number of functions

dealing with police. “Our number one objective is to professionalise our agencies. That’s not going to happen overnight. We recognise those areas where we need do better, where we need to improve and those areas we’re working on, not only in the police force but also in the Royal Bahamas Defence force and I would’ve mentioned the work we’re doing to the Bahamas Correctional Services.”

OFFICIALS canvass residents in a shanty town.

GOVT RECRUITS LAWYERS TO FIGHT SHANTY TOWN ACTION THE government has hired a team of high-powered lawyers to fight the legal action meant to stop the Minnis administration’s eradication of shanty towns, Attorney General Carl Bethel said. The legal team is led by Harvey Tynes, QC, to assume carriage of the judicial review action against the government. Robert Adams, from Graham Thompson in Grand Bahama, is also on the team. “The government views this challenge with the utmost seriousness and I want to assure the Bahamian people that the government intends to meet this challenge in a vigorous, timely and appropriate manner, towards which end we have appointed and retained a team of expert attorneys who are particularly experienced in the judicial review matters and constitutional matters before our courts,” Mr

Bethel told the Senate. The Supreme Court previously ordered the government and utility providers to halt any planned service disconnections or evictions in shanty towns pending a judicial review of the Minnis administration’s policy to eradicate those communities. Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson granted the interlocutory injunction blocking evictions and service disconnections just days ahead of the government’s August 10 deadline during a telephone conference with human rights attorney Fred Smith, QC, and Mr Bethel on Saturday. Leave for judicial review - filed on behalf of 177 shanty town residents from both New Providence and Abaco, and non-profit group Respect Our Homes Ltd (ROHL) - was granted on Friday. A date for trial has not

HAITIANS ARRESTED FOR IMMIGRATION BREACH By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net  FOUR Haitians were recently arrested in Grand Cay for breach of the immigration laws, according to Bahamian authorities. The men were allegedly discovered diving for crawfish in Bahamian waters.

Three of the men possessed work permits to be employed as handymen, but were reportedly diving for crawfish, The Tribune was told. The other Haitian man did not possess any documents and is alleged to be in the Bahamas illegally. Bahamian authorities are continuing to investigate.

yet been determined. Despite the injunction, the government is pushing ahead with surveys of shanty towns in the Family Islands. Labour Minister Dion Foulkes told reporters on Tuesday the injunction only applies to the shanty towns in New Providence, adding task forces on Family Islands are either being established or already underway. The Shanty Town Action Task Force yesterday conducted a survey of the Farm Road shanty town in Treasure Cay, Abaco. Mr Foulkes told The Tribune the task force’s

survey of the island was 90 percent complete, and identified Eleuthera as its next stop. Mr Foulkes said yesterday: “Eleuthera has 11 shanty towns, most of them are very small but there is one big one on Russell Island, next to Spanish Wells. And then, there is a medium-sized one in Andros at the San Andros airport. “So those are the remaining ones, we are in the process of establishing subcommittees of the task force in Eleuthera and Andros. We should have those completed by the first week in September.”

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THE TRIBUNE

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Republicans promote fear, not tax cuts, in key elections WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s a border crisis in Pennsylvania. The radical left is surging in New Jersey. And Nancy Pelosi is a threat to New York. Republican candidates in the nation’s premiere midterm battlegrounds have embraced a central message in their fight to maintain the House majority this fall — and it has little to do with the surging economy or the sweeping tax cuts that the GOP celebrated as a oncein-a-generation achievement just eight months ago. Instead, as Republicans enter the final month of the primary season, they’re looking ahead to a general-election strategy of embracing anxiety as a tool to motivate voters. That was clear this week as the GOP’s closing message in an Ohio special election questioned Democrat Danny O’Connor’s connection to Pelosi, the House Democratic leader and preferred super villain for Republicans. “We wish it got the pitch forks out and it doesn’t,” GOP ad maker Will Ritter said of the Republican tax cuts. Some Republican strategists are frustrated the party isn’t focused on the tax law or the broader health of the economy in the run-up to Election Day. Others concede that in the Trump era, there’s no better motivator than fear of the other side, particularly the prospect of Pelosi returning to the speaker’s chair. The plan had some success in Ohio: The race was too close to call Wednesday as Republican Troy Balderson maintained a razor-thin advantage over O’Connor, staving off an embarrassing GOP debate for now. Going forward, the debate over highlighting the tax law will help determine whether Republicans will maintain control of Capitol Hill after November. While Republicans are reluctant to engage on tax cuts, it’s a fight Democrats — and their voters — want. “The tax cuts were for the top ... income earners,” said George Stringer, a 58-year-old Democrat who lives in Detroit. “The rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer.” In Ohio, which hosted the season’s final special election, O’Connor railed against the tax cuts as a giveaway to the rich that threatened Medicare and Social Security. While his Republican opponent may prevail, the 31-year-old Democrat trailed by less than 1 percentage point in a district that’s been in Republican hands since before he was born. On the defensive, Balderson appeared in a late ad sitting next to his ailing mother and promising that he wouldn’t dismantle the social safety net. It’s somewhat similar to the problems Democrats faced in 2010, when they controlled the White House and Congress and managed to pass the most significant health care legislation since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. They celebrated with President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden, only to run from it in the midterm elections that became a disaster for the party. President Donald Trump, plagued by scandal and wed to his Twitter account, sits atop the struggle. Republican pollster Frank Luntz said Trump energises the Republican base, but that his broadsides and distractions

will also alienate the swing voters who tip battleground House districts. “This is political malpractice,” he said. “You can’t find me a time in modern times when the economy was this strong and the governing party was headed toward a potential political disaster like this.” Republicans are also reluctant to embrace their tax cuts because the benefits don’t change the household budget for many Americans. The party predicts that will change next year when families file their first tax returns under the new law. But as electoral strategy, that’s akin to Democrats in 2010 insisting voters would like the health care law once they understood it. The tax debate comes amid new evidence of a Democratic surge in early elections across America. Michigan Democrats will feature the state’s first all-female statewide ticket this November following Tuesday’s primary elections. Democrat Rashida Tlaib also won a race to run unopposed for the Detroit-area House seat vacated by John Conyers, making her poised to become the first Muslim woman in Congress. In Kansas, 38-year-old attorney Sharice Davids won her congressional primary and became the state’s first Native American and gay nominee for Congress. Both Davids and Tlaib campaigned aggressively against the Republican tax cuts. Beyond avoiding the tax law, there has been a consistent theme for Republicans across House battlegrounds: casting the Democrat as too liberal. Anthony Brindisi, Democratic nominee in an upstate New York district, is the target of an ad from Rep Claudia Tenney claiming that Pelosi is “bankrolling” Brindisi “because he’ll support their radical immigration agenda”. He’s running his own tax ad, localising the law by highlighting Tenney’s campaign support from the cable giant Charter, whose New York subsidiary, Spectrum, has raised rates and spent hundreds of millions on stock buybacks after getting a tax windfall. “I want to point out to the voters that when we talk about the swamp, this is the worst kind of example,” Brindisi told The Associated Press. Republicans aren’t apologising for their tax votes, even if it’s not at the forefront of their campaigns. Rep Mimi Walters, a vulnerable Republican in southern California, said in a recent interview that she plans to use it in her paid advertising this fall. But her ads so far this year have focused on other topics. “In the beginning ... there was a lot of pushback. That’s just natural. You’re making a big change, and people weren’t sure,” said Walters, who represents one of 25 districts nationally that sent a Republican to the House in 2016 but opted for Hillary Clinton over Trump in the presidential race. “Now that people have started to see the benefits ... people come up and thank me,” Walters said, adding that she’s “results oriented” and pointing to economic growth figures that she says prove “we made the right decision”. By Steve Peoples and Bill Barrow, Associated Press

Death penalty EDITOR, The Tribune. WE understand the position of the highest Civil Court - the Privy Council…the death penalty can only be considered in the worst of the worst scenarios. The death penalty remains an active item of law. The Prime Minister says in his curriculum vitae published on my fnm.org that he is a Catholic – the Catholic position is death penalty. So is PM Minnis going against his Faith? Should his politics come before his religious beliefs? Shouldn’t he simply abstain from discussion? By the way there is little proof that the practice of the death penalty is a means to

reduce the occurrences of murder as in The Bahamas there are very few cases of premediated murder. Yet again an inconsistency of the FNM Leader. Surely his Faith should be his guidance? F CURRY Nassau, July 22, 2018. (The Pope recently changed the Catholic Church’s position on the death penalty from permitting it in very rare circumstances to  now deeming it completely “inadmissible” and a violation of the “dignity of the person.” Today, more than two-thirds of the world’s roughly 200 countries have abolished the death penality in law or practice. - Ed). 

What tests on water pollution? EDITOR, The Tribune. SINCE the recent resurgence of conch poisoning I have been observing the government’s response, or lack thereof, to the possibility of sewerage pollution in the harbour. Aside from the Minister of Health’s assertion that washing conchs in fresh water will wash away the virus, the silence has been deafening. The Chairman of the Water & Sewerage Corporation was quick to distance the Corporation from any wrongdoing and denied that any contamination of the harbour could have been caused by them.

LETTERS letters@tribunemedia.net For some time, however, East Bay Street from Betty Cole (Malcolm) Park to the entrance of Potters Cay dock has been inundated daily with sewerage tainted water and mud coming from the excavations, drilling and bulk heading now being carried out at the old sewerage disposal plant. This stinking mess in the street is deposited daily into the harbour through the storm drains. If this work is being carried out by the

corporation, the Chairman’s claim there is no harbour pollution resulting from their activities is disingenuous to say the least, if not them who then is responsible? If any water testing has been done, why have no results been released as it seems rather coincidental that the conch poisoning should have started around the same time as this construction. Shades of the Rubis oil spill cover up all over again only this time someone needs to be held accountable. IAN MABON Nassau, August 8, 2018

The BEC shackles EDITOR, The Tribune. THERE is no doubt if there is a single economic shackle around all of our necks it has been BECBP&L high electricity bills. We suffered through the past 20 years when global oil prices were sky high and a period where Government talked and basically did nothing except a lot of promises. Hundreds of millions paid for high cost Bunker C. Under the Ingraham FNM, then BEC literally stopped maintaining the raging equipment at Clifton and resulting after the non-consecutive terms the consumers started to suffer and it got worse to where

now after one lightening strike you expect BP&L to go into darkness! September 2017 or thereabout there was a tender to replace the Aggreko diesel standbys - a simple deal to which many small local bidders took part but was this all a charade that the real intent of BP&L was to find a long term generation solution. A reference to the Electricity Act of 2015 establishes that pre-this process BP&L are required under law to obtain approval of URCA as the body that regulates BP&L - did they? Did they even apply? Did Shell Americas bid for the stand-by generator replacement? Now we have out of

the blue General Electric being talked about - did they participate in the September, 2017 Tender? How are they now being interjected and why and who represents GE? This is very Obanish! Why would a Government consider a long term generation plan which could see us suffering again from high excessive fuel surcharges? The Electricity Act requires proposals have to consider alternative power sources. Did URCA comply with the law? The People want to know. PATRICIA SAWYER Nassau, July 28, 2018. 


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, August 9, 2018, PAGE 5

Nationalise GB port? Not for now from page one “With respect to the Port Authority itself, obviously that is a complex issue as it involves a number of entities. But we recognise status quo is unacceptable so we continue to focus on Grand Bahama and the revitalisation of the economy. It’s why we continue to solicit investment in both tourism and industrial sectors.” Mr Ingraham - in an interview with The Nassau Guardian - suggested the government should purchase the GBPA instead of the shuttered Grand Lucayan hotel in a bid to “reset” the island. He wrote: “I am of the view that the government should not purchase the Grand Lucayan hotel; instead it should purchase the port from the Hayward and St George families and also acquire their families’ 50 percent ownership interest in the DevCo, the Harbour Company, the Airport Company and other related entities. “Grand Bahama needs a reset, and the ownership of the port by the government with some other financially capable strategic partner(s), including Bahamian investors, could be that reset.” It continued: “The ownership of the port and 50 percent of the Port Group of Companies by the government (and its private sector partners) should establish a new entity heavily managed and directed by private experts. “I suggest that the international airport and port in Freeport and the DevCo

FORMER Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.  must be components of the new entity so that sensible costs can be structured to improve the attractiveness of travel to Grand Bahama given its proximity to the USA. “The licensing and regulatory responsibilities of the port might then be transferred to local government authorities in Grand Bahama. The new entity, with government and private ownership,

would focus on the business of developing the whole Grand Bahama district. “Such a permanent solution to the vagaries of the Freeport economy will obviate the ‘boom’ and ‘bust’ experiences associated with this area of The Bahamas for years that I choose not to recall.” In response, Mr Turnquest said: “It is not a current issue for us however we continue to look

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

WORK PROGRAMME TO HELP BUILD SKILLS OF YOUTH ADDRESSING the issue of unemployment among the nation’s youth, Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle announced that the government introduced a restructured employment programme this week in which participants will receive soft skills training at the National Training Agency and additional training on the job in the public and private sectors. Mr Rolle made the announcement at the launch of a re-structured National Job Creation and Skills Enhancement Programme yesterday at the National Training Agency that will engage 1,036 trainees in New Providence, Grand Bahama, and the Family Islands.  Partners in skills training from the private sector providing job placement for skills training include: SMG Construction and Millwork; Craftsman Plumbing; DLH Electric; Culmer’s Mechanical Plumbing; ILF Bahamas; and Forbes Air-Condition and Refrigeration. Over the next few days, trainees will learn soft skills facilitated by the Ministry of the Public Service & National Insurance, and the

BRENSIL ROLLE, Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance. National Training Agency, with priority to those wishing to become teacher’s aides, patient care monitors and care of the elderly assistants. Providing assistance in training and placement will be the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Services and Urban Development, and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI).

Some of the trainees will be given the opportunity to attend BTVI and receive a weekly stipend. Mr Rolle explained: “Some of you will be given the opportunity to attend BTVI and receive a weekly stipend. The government will invest $2,000 per student for 50 persons for a total investment of $100,000. “Development courses are designed with 20 weeks of classroom training followed by 30 weeks of paid internship in the fields of construction, plumbing, electrical installation, welding, cosmetology and fashion design, in addition to the business and IT components all offered by BTVI. Indeed some of you may eventually establish your own businesses. Successful students will receive BTVI non-credit/ non-transferable course certificates. “...Additionally, those of you who do not attend BTVI may also wish to consider the hospitality component offered here at the National Training Agency,” said Mr Rolle, as he challenged the participants to “dream big” and offered them congratulations.

Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff at innovative ways to reimagine what Grand Bahama can be, and to look for partners who can help us to realise the full potential of Grand Bahama, and Freeport in particular. “It is possible,” he said to The Tribune when asked about the viability of Mr Ingraham’s proposition. “However, we don’t have to acquire it and we will continue to evaluate all options in the public interest. These are thoughts that have been considered for many years, and as we evaluate all options to spur development, it’s on the table. “But we are not in the business of nationalising assets and any adjustments going forward would have to be agreed by all parties.” There has been a national discussion on the government’s possible move to purchase the Grand Lucayan properties after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis recently told Free National Movement supporters on Grand Bahama his administration will not allow the resort to permanently close its doors and

would buy the resort if necessary. The Grand Lucayan closed in 2016 for repairs following Hurricane Matthew; only one of its three properties has opened its doors since then – the 196-room

Lighthouse Pointe. Last week, Canadian developer Paul Wynn confirmed he had pulled out of talks to buy the hotel, saying the potential purchase lacked “economic feasibility”.


PAGE 6, Thursday, August 9, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

Public takes advantage of ‘Meet Minnis’ open sessions By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net SCORES of Bahamians have taken advantage of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ summer break offer to open his doors to questions direct from the public. But the schedule is already “pretty tight” for the next several weeks, said Press Secretary Anthony Newbold. Yesterday was the first day members of the public could request to sit and talk with the nation’s leader. Ten people were scheduled to meet him for ten minutes each between 9am and noon. Dr Minnis will continue these meetings each Wednesday with the same schedule until September 12.  According to Mr Newbold, the idea is to meet with people who want to talk while the House of Assembly is on its summer recess. However, there were some who complained to The Tribune yesterday they were not successful in making appointments.

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis In one case, a woman claimed no-one answered the line where appointments can be made. Another caller said she was put on hold and was never able to actually make the appointment. “People want an opportunity to speak with the prime minister and feel comfortable that he’s aware of their concerns and is prepared to do something about it,” Mr Newbold said yesterday. “The prime minister is asking people to be mindful that a lot of people want to see the prime minister and ordinarily you wouldn’t get a chance to do that only because of the nature of his schedule there isn’t time for him to see individuals like that, which is why he

thought this is a wonderful idea while the House is on break, we’ll take a couple hours every Wednesday, which is when he would normally be in the House of Assembly. “He’s not there now and so let’s take this time and see some of the ordinary people.” Mr Newbold also addressed concerns that Family Islanders were not given the same opportunity as those in New Providence to meet the prime minister. “I know that some people have asked about the Family Islands. Prime Minister is in the Family Islands every other week and so it’s not as if they are left out or they weren’t thought of. “He’s in Eleuthera, he’s in Exuma. A couple weeks ago he was in Acklins and Crooked Island so he takes those opportunities to engage people when he’s out there, but as many people as possible have an opportunity to say something to the prime minister,” Mr Newbold said. Anyone interested in an appointment should call 702-5500. 

NATION TO HOST TWO MARIJUANA CONFERENCES By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

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THE Ministry of Health has given formal approval for two medical marijuana conferences to be hosted in the country, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands confirmed yesterday. The medical marijuana conferences are being organised separately by Dr Lynwood Brown and Dr Marcus Cooper. It was also disclosed yesterday an advocacy

group has submitted an application to the ministry under the Dangerous Drugs Act for a licence for medical research. The Bahamas Cannabis Research Institute (BaCaRI) has requested a three to five-year research and development licence to allow for marijuana production and testing, according to its chairman, Terry Miller. Dr Sands told The Tribune he had not yet seen the application, but stressed there should be no expectation for a “proliferation of licences in the immediate or short-term”. “I have not received any such application, and quite frankly the method of application is through the Pharmacy Council. Ultimately the way it’s processed, the minister doesn’t have the technical heart of the administration of these things, it would include chief medical officer and Pharmacy Council.” He continued: “Each application will be assessed on its own merit and we have no reason to approve or deny anything arbitrarily.” Last month, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a governmentappointed committee will be given three to four months to conduct widespread town hall meetings on the possible legalisation of medical marijuana in the country. However, legal pathways already exist for medicinal and scientific use of cannabis - legislatively defined as Indian hemp. If approved, BaCaRI’s application would represent the first license granted under the Dangerous Drugs Act for the plant, which is classified in part II of the act along with coca leaves, crude cocaine, and raw opium. In an accompanying letter to Dr Sands, Mr Miller stated his group’s intent to become an industry leader in scientific research for not only cannabis but wider field of plant medicine. Mr Miller stated: “Along with our consultants and partners, our goal is to become a leader in scientific research of not only cannabis, but an array of Bahamian cultural ‘bush

medicines,’ and other natural plant remedies, by establishing one of the best research facilities in the Western Hemisphere. “Our farm, nursery, and lab will train and employ scores of young farmers, technicians, and scientists within the next three years, and we expect dozens of patents coming out of our research,” the letter continued. Mr Miller further underscored commitment to build on documented scientific research to develop standardised dosing regiments, and new products. “We will follow best industry standards on the farm, in the greenhouses, in the research facility, and in the way we operate,” Mr Miller stated. “We assure you that our farm, research facility, and testing, will be done in secure and clinically efficient environments, ensuring the security and quality of the product, and the safety and health of our patients, and our team of specialists and collaborators are ready to begin the necessary steps to bring it all into reality.” The Tribune reported last month a marijuana conference was tentatively set for this autumn with an endorsement from the Ministry of Health. At the time, Dr Brown, lead organiser, said plans to bring experts and industry stakeholders to the Bahamas to educate on medical cannabis products, treatments and modes of delivery had been underway for several months and are now just waiting for a green light to proceed. Yesterday, Dr Brown said organisers had now turned their focus to obtaining approvals from the Ministry of National Security and the Pharmacy Council to enable the import of products for exhibits and demonstrations. The Tribune was unable to contact Dr Cooper up to press time. Yesterday, Dr Sands added: “The sensitivity of this matter right now is appreciated. While we understand that there is a tremendous enthusiasm, don’t expect a proliferation of licenses in the immediate or short term.”


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, August 9, 2018, PAGE 7

Search to begin for prison chief By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net THE Ministry of National Security is preparing to advertise internationally and locally to fill the post of commissioner at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services, National Security Minister Marvin Dames told reporters yesterday. Although he insisted it is hoped there is a Bahamian capable of the job, Mr Dames said the government wants to retain the best person possible, suggesting it was not opposed to appointing a non-Bahamian. Patrick Wright, the most recent commissioner at BDCS, is on pre-retirement leave. Mr Dames said: “Very shortly we will be going out and advertising for a new commissioner of the Bahamas Department of Corrections and that advertisement will go abroad as well as we will send it out locally. “Our hope is at the end of the day we will have a Bahamian leading that institution but we’re now looking for someone capable of transforming it into a modern facility hence the reason why we’re looking across the globe right now for a new commissioner. “We are trying our utmost not to get caught up in the practises of the past. We are seeking to modernise this institution. We are seeking to define persons who will fit (and) who can help us in that modernisation process. Hence this is why we are taking this particular direction,” he also said. “We hope at the end of the day we have a Bahamian leading the institution but at the end of the day we’re going to look at what is best for the institution and by extension what is best for The Bahamas.” He could not give a

definite timeline for the publication of the ads. However he said it is hoped it would be complete within a month’s time. Mr Dames also said the BDCS will soon undergo structural upgrades. He said it was important officials ensured this kind of work was done to deter prisoners attempting to escape as was the case last week when guards discovered a hole in the ceiling of a maximum security cell shared by two inmates. “Since that you know that we are dealing with a very, very aging structure and from time to time we will have certainly instances where persons would attempt, given the age of the structure, so what we have been doing since the incident is doing an assessment of the

entire maximum security structure at the Bahamas Department of Corrections to ensure that there are no other breaches and that has been going extremely well.” The ministry has also completed two requests for proposals for new CCTV and drone systems - in an effort to beef up crime fighting measures. Both now need review before going before Cabinet. Mr Dames said he was unsure of the status of a third request for proposals for police body cams, but they are in the fiscal budget for this year. “It’s just a matter of having the RFP prepared and sent out so that’s very much on our agenda as well as CCTV and the drones programme to which we would have spoken about,” Mr Dames said.

MARVIN DAMES, Minister of National Security. 

Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff

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PAGE 8, Thursday, August 9, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

We’d better hope it’s not already too late By Diane Phillips

O

N the front page of this past Sunday’s New York Times was a photo of a large green area that at first glance could be a grassy knoll. It is not a knoll, but a lake, Lake Tai in China, all 869 miles of it, shimmering green as an obese and elongated emerald, thanks to an algae bloom that is devastating everything within its grasp. Eight hundred and sixtynine square miles is more than ten times the size of the whole island of New Providence just for reference purposes and while that lake and its algae bloom problem seem distant, far removed from anything that would trouble us, we need to worry. In fact, we need to be so worried that our concern causes us to spring into action because the very inaction that caused that algae bloom in faraway China is the same inaction that caused an algae bloom off Florida’s west coast that has left more than 400 sea turtles dead, killed manatees and driven tourists, holding their noses and breath, the other way. The toxic algae bloom, also known as red tide, is sweeping the Gulf Coast, transforming once clear

waters into reddish-brownish sloshes and once pristine beaches into sandy graveyards for fish and dead marine life swept ashore by the tide that killed them. Fishermen stay home, vacationers stay away. Residents cover their noses when they step outside. They complain of irritated throats and eyes as they cough their way through a conversation trying to understand what went wrong. Some will point out that in places like Sanibel on the Gulf Coast there have been red tides before. It is a cyclical event, they say, that occurs every so many years depending on weather. The difference is this time it is different. It has never been this bad nor has the recovery period ever been predicted to last so long, possibly until late fall or the end of the year. And while it persists, business bombs and life outside sucks. If you think that is an exaggeration - and you still think it is about what is happening somewhere else, not to us here where we are blessed by ocean breezes and swift-running tides you may want to reconsider. There is no such thing as an isolated environment. Climate change affects all of us. The warming of the waters that created an algae bloom in China

DEAD fish line the mangroves on Anna Maria Island in Bradenton Beach, Florida, near the Cortez Road bridge on the inter coastal waterway. A bloom of red tide algae has swept in from Naples to Tampa, killing marine life. Photo: Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay Times via AP is the same condition that should be taught to swim – and as complex – as that. requested or iced tea or So long as we continue coffee came with a straw. caused an algae bloom in and boat building should be West Florida. The rising sea revived. One day, he said, to use coal, gas and natural When I asked about it, a that already took 20 feet of long after he is gone, his gas and as more countries server looked at me as if I beach in Grand Bahama descendants will survive by demand more of the good came from Mars instead of adapting to life at sea and life including electricity The Bahamas. Styrofoam threatens all. Former Prime Minister islands will be sought after that relies on fossil fuels, was everywhere. The Bahathe more we will warm mas was ahead in the small Perry Christie recognised refuges. The reason the image of the planet. And the hotter stuff of environmental the danger and seemed to take it seriously. Scientists the lake in China was on the planet becomes, the sensitivity. Florida, though, was have warned that as much the front page of the New more likely it is we will as 80 percent of The Baha- York Times is because the face greater weather con- way ahead in solar. Entire mas could be underwater same issue of that news- sequences, more powerful schools and shopping cenone day. Save The Bays paper contains an historic storms, severe flooding, tres are powered by the Chairman Joe Darville 70-page document on cli- extended drought or rainy sun. So if we can achieve has said every school child mate change. The editor’s seasons. Each of those progress with the small note calls it “a masterpiece scenarios carries its own stuff, why are we not applyof narrative journalism”. consequences – the decline ing ourselves with equal It is the kind of work that of populations of marine lust to renewable energy? explains why we still need species, greater reliance on That is the real quesprint media and no elec- artificial growth hormones tion and the dilemma that tronic version will ever fully to produce sufficient stock divides where we are from substitute for the dedication for our endless appetite where we need to go. and quality There are of a seminal reasons why piece like we ignored the this. reality of cliWritten mate change by Nathanfor so long. iel Rich, it Our cumulais based on tive experience leads us to more than believe we can 100 intercure anything views over so long as an eightwe try hard month enough. We period plus always have. digging We experithrough enced polio thousands of pages of AN ALGAE bloom covers the surface of the Caloosahatchee River and we found a cure. Our documents. at the WP Franklin Lock and Dam in Alva, Florida. PhotograPhoto: Lynne Sladky/AP ancestors died of pneumonia pher George or tuberculosis Steinmetz spent a year shooting for meat and poultry with but we found a cure. Our the startling images, like declining areas of natu- palm trees died of lethal yelDeception Island, Antarc- ral grazing in temperate lowing but we found a cure. Planes would not fly fast tica, where ice is melting weather. Unbeknown to most of enough but we fixed it. We at an alarming rate, the average temperature has us, in the decade between broke the speed of sound. For every problem, we increased five degrees and 1979 and 1989, the world’s the penguin population has major powers came this believe there is a cure. declined by 40 percent in close to signing binding Someone just needs to find agreements that might it, hiding in a closet someless than a decade. An aerial of Bangladesh héave allowed the world where. But there is no cure shows a displaced, wander- to avoid a climate change lolling about in a closet for ing population after the crisis. According to Mr climate change We have worst monsoons in 40 years Rich’s piece, we have never come too far and to add to submerged about a third of been as close to reaching an the tragedy or reality, we the country, demolished or international alliance since have become numb to it. destroyed 700,000 homes and our habits that produce Climate change was never and forced 375,000 people what we first called the sexy and the more we heard greenhouse effect have only about it, the more we figinto emergency shelters. ured scientists must be What the author uncov- become more entrenched. But there is some reason working on it. They would ered was that scientists knew all there was to know for encouragement and never let it get out of hand. Or do they have a choice?  about climate change as that reason is right here in The cover of the New far back as 1979 and we The Bahamas. It comes in had one decade in which to small packages and gentle York Times magazine is all change our behaviour. And waves. Most restaurants in black. Across the middle in Nassau only provide straws white font is the lettering: we blew it. Thirty years ago, we We continued to burn upon request. More dining fossil fuels. It was as simple establishments and feeding could have saved the planet. Maybe we cannot save programmes have switched from Styrofoam take-out the whole planet but each boxes to vegetable-based, of us can help do our part paper-like products. That at home. If a single straw may not sound like much does not make a difference, but considering  the feed- what broke the camel’s ing programmes alone dish back? And if you do not out more than 25,000 meals think we can do this with a week, ridding the dump one solar panel at a time, of that amount of Styro- consider the alternative. At foam - which emits toxic the rate the planet is going, fumes when burned - is according to the same hismore than a statement. It is toric work, between 2030 a substantive quality of life and 2050, 250,000 people a year will die as a result of improvement. By contrast, I was just in climate change and by 2050 Florida for a few days and a million species will face noticed every glass of water extinction.


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, August 9, 2018, PAGE 9

Uniforms assistance - ‘put the cash back’ from page one time when the cost of living has increased.” The Department of Social Services’ uniform budget has been decreased from $360,000 last year to $270,000 this year. Last week, acting Director of Social Services Lillian Quant-Forbes said the department will only help a maximum of two children in a family that qualifies. She also told explained that for those applicants who received uniform assistance last year, their applications will be reviewed on a case-bycase basis. On Tuesday, Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said there was no “hard and fast rule” in the department regarding assistance, reiterating that people will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Last evening, Mr Robinson said he had a “frank conversation” with Mr Campbell after his initial statement and is assured no one who is needy and meets the stipulation will be turned away.  “The minister has assured me that no individual who applies for uniform assistance and meets the criteria will be disenfranchised,” he said. “The people of Bain and Grants Town thank the minister and his team for showing their continued compassion and understanding for the most

vulnerable in society. “As the member of Parliament for Bains and Grants Town, I will continue to advocate for access, encouragement and opportunity for my people. “No matter the sacrifice, I remain willing, ready and able to fight for the great people of Bain and Grants Town.” Yesterday, the ministry released a statement responding to controversy on the matter. “We have become aware that there are reports in social media which provide a false position relative to the uniform assistance programme of the Department of Social Services,” the statement noted. “Please note that in an effort to ensure that assistance is rendered to the most needy of our country, all applications are accepted for consideration on a case-by-case basis. “We wish to assure all concerned that persons who qualify will be assisted.” Mr Robinson’s criticism comes weeks after he broke with his party to vote against value added tax’s increase to 12 percent, citing the burden the tax would inflict on residents of his poor constituency. He was one of four FNM MPs to vote against the move.  His decision cost him his job as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

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PAGE 10, Thursday, August 9, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

Funeral Service

AN abandoned building at the eastern end of Bay Street. 

CHARLES T. FERNIE

25th October, 1930 - 7th August, 2018 It is with great sorrow that the family of Charles T. Fernie announce his passing, which happened peacefully, at home and in the company of loved ones, after a courageous battle against the ailments of age. He positively touched the lives of so many people through his professionalism, his kindness, his generosity and his wonderful sense of humour. He was loved dearly by so many, and will be missed by all who knew him. He will be laid to rest at a private family ceremony in Eleuthera on Tuesday 14th August, 2018. Mourners may pay their respects at Kemp’s Funeral Home Limited, Palmdale, on Sunday 12th August between the hours of 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. He is survived by his loving wife, Dorothea; son, Bruce Fernie; daughters, Arlene Baker, Diane Fernie, Catherine Cameron and Linda Roney; grandsons, Daniel Haddow, Bryan Haddow, Douglas Cameron, Craig Roney and Alexander Fernie; granddaughters, Tanya Imrie, Lauren Baker, Alice Baker, Fiona Cameron, Charlotte Fernie, Amelia Fernie and Isabelle Fernie; son-in-law, Graham Baker; daughter-in-law, Rebecca Fernie and numerous relatives and friends. The family greatly appreciates the many heartfelt condolences and messages of support which have been received. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Salvation Army, P. O. Box N. 205, Nassau or the Bahamas Humane Society, P.O.Box N.242, Nassau in memory of Mr. Charles T. Fernie.

To advertise in The Tribune, contact 502-2394

Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Talk but no action on downtown YOUR SAY By Richard Coulson JOHN Issa, the astute Jamaican hotelier of the Breezes chain, has written his umpteenth column of acute criticism about down town’s dilapidation. While fully accepting the Chinese renovation of the western segment with the completed parking structure and the Pointe in progress, he will not let us forget the much larger area from the British Colonial to the Paradise Island Bridge remains the “decaying” centre, with eastern Bay Street a painful “eyesore”. Naturally he lays this at Government’s failure to create a unified “master plan” for downtown, after innumerable false starts. He may not be aware that last February, six months ago, Prime Minister Minnis announced any new improvements were now the responsibility of the Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP), that well-meaning but shadowy private-sector entity that has been long on ideas but short on results. Yes, it can take credit for Pompey Square and a few pedestrian-only streets, but any tangible restorations in the “zombie zone”

RICHARD COULSON east of East Street remain invisible. I had hoped that under the leadership of vigorous hotel executive and talk-show host Ed Fields, the DNP would become a well-spring of hard news, but seems still locked in its own, or Government- imposed, inertia. Mr Fields often speaks about the new harbourfront boardwalk, planned and financially backed by  the private property owners, that will become the “catalyst” for Bay Street renaissance. But of this large and complex project, not a single sign of construction nor even preparation can yet be spotted anywhere along the waterfront. Another chimera? When I asked Mr Fields about smaller initiatives that the DNP could undertake, I get nothing but vague generalities. For years, the so-called cotton-gin building, a gem of colonial architecture, has stood as an abandoned sore

thumb looming among parking lots just east of Prince George Dock. The owners have said they are willing to undertake restoration, but Mr Fields only mentioned to me “government complications”.  I thought his job was to solve them, rather than be paralysed by the Antiquities & Monuments Corporation. The gloomy cockroach haven the long-shut Corona Hotel blights a full Bay Street block and is an obvious candidate for demolition or government seizure for re-sale, But it sits there dark and unchanged, earning zero  and probably not paying one penny of property tax. Mr Fields could give me no firm answer as to its fate, not even a suggestion. These two buildings are small examples of how Bay Street redevelopment could begin. Why does not DNP undertake its task by leading their restoration rather the waiting for a grand “master plan” that may be years down the road, if ever? An effective broad-scope scheme for all down town will never be realised unless the cruise-line companies or other foreign development experts join with both their ideas and their capital. For the immediate present, having assigned the down town responsibility to DNP, Government should demand it publish a report of its results to date and its specific plans for the future.


THE TRIBUNE

Thursday, August 9, 2018, PAGE 11

Attorney seeks to leave drug suspect’s case By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net THE attorney for Dwight Major yesterday submitted a recusal application in his ongoing $280,000 drug case, seeking to have Magistrate Samuel McKinney recuse himself and transfer the matter to another judge. Ian Cargill, Major’s attorney, in his application yesterday indicated to the court that Major’s son, Ravon Major, is currently engaged to a relative of an official in the court. Furthering his submission, Mr Cargill told the court he was made aware of the relationship earlier in the day and, following consultation with his client, determined it would be best to have the case

transferred away from Magistrate McKinney’s court to another magistrate. Major’s son sat next to his wife, Keva Major, throughout proceedings yesterday. The case is adjourned to Monday, August 13, for consideration of the recusal application. This comes after the matter was adjourned from Tuesday to yesterday following an apparent mix-up in the appearance date for Major and his coaccused, Romell Virgil Rolle. Major, 50, who is on trial for one count each of conspiracy to possess dangerous drugs with intent to supply and possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply stemming from the April 4 incident, stood before Magistrate Samuel

McKinney as Mr Cargill argued the matter was initially adjourned from July 12 to August 8. According to both the records of the court and the prosecution, Major was due back in court on August 7, as testimony in the case was expected to get underway. According to initial reports from police, shortly before 4am on Wednesday, April 4, Drug Enforcement Unit officers assisted by Mobile Division officers, while at Tonique WilliamsDarling Highway and Baillou Hill Road, stopped and searched a Nissan March with two male occupants and discovered 283 pounds of marijuana. The two men were taken into custody. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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OMBUDSMAN Suitably qualified candidates are invited to apply for the position of University Ombudsman, a designated impartial, neutral, and confidential third party, who assists students, faculty, staff, and administrators in dispute resolution through informal means, which includes consulting, negotiation, and mediation. Primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to: • Acting as liaison between individuals or groups and the campus administration by serving as a consultant, facilitator, and informal mediator and recommending steps toward problem resolution and appropriate action; • Consulting with campus departments and academic units to understand and resolve complex problems through informal discussion and developing cooperative strategies to prevent future problems; • Advising senior administrators responsible for policies and procedures that affect the welfare of the campus community; making appropriate recommendations to modify practices in order to reduce or eliminate recurring problems; working collaboratively with other offices and personnel whose responsibilities include policy analysis; • Developing and maintaining ongoing relationships with all campus constituencies to promote the value and process of conflict resolution; • Developing and conducting training and information sessions for the campus community about the Ombudsman’s role in university conflict resolution; • Working collaboratively with other campus personnel with conflict resolution interests and responsibilities; • Encouraging ethical behavior and practical solutions in resolving disputes and formulating recommendations; • Developing and maintaining an appropriate professional leadership role, consistent with the University of The Bahamas’ position in higher education and academe. Applicants should submit a letter of application highlighting work experience and accomplishments relevant to the position; resume; and the names and contact information of three professional references by Friday, 17th August 2018 to: Chairman, Board of Trustees C/O Board of Trustee Secretary via email: michael.stevenson@ub.edu.bs Office of University Secretary University of The Bahamas Poinciana Drive & University Drive P. O. Box N-4912 Nassau, The Bahamas Electronic applications preferred. The detailed position announcement is available online at http://www.ub.edu.bs/about-us/career-opportunities/administration/ .


PAGE 12, Thursday, August 9, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

Contracts awaited for repairs on GB justice centre By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net 

DESMOND BANNISTER, Minister of Public Works.

THE Ministry of Works is awaiting tender documents from local contractors on Grand Bahama for roof repair at the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre which has a severe mould problem. While in Freeport recently, Works Minister Desmond Bannister had

indicated some $2m had been spent already on mould remediation over the years at the courthouse building. Two weeks ago, workers staged a sit out at the Justice Centre to protest the unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. Mr Bannister said the money already spent on remediation, the root problem was never resolved.

“The challenge is that that money was spent without making proper repairs and you can never do that. You have to get to the basic cause of the mould. “Mould is caused by moisture, and if you have a leaking roof and you don’t fix it, it does not matter what remediation you do, it is only temporary; you have to be able to fix the problem.” Mr Bannister said that contracts have been put out for tender for the courthouse and post office buildings in Freeport. “We expect contractors to come with tender documents so that proper repairs can be properly done, and so we can control the cause of the mould, and then we can deal with remediation,” he said. “I will be coming back and forth very quietly to look at what they are doing because I want to make the centre live up to the name, Garnet Levarity.” Mr Bannister also said that measures are being taken with respect to health testing to ensure the health of workers has not been impacted by the mould in the building. Activist Rev Glenroy Bethel, the founder of

Families for Justice, said the situation at the courthouse poses a danger to both workers and the public and called for the immediate relocation of workers. He also called on Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine to ensure working conditions are addressed since the building is in the Pineridge constituency. Rev McAlpine says he expects that government will move expeditiously to rectify working conditions at building.  “I think the government is aware of the situation and is committed to trying to rectify the matter in short order,” Rev McAlpine told The Tribune.  “It is sad that it has come to this that we have these conditions in the government workplace or any public workplace. It is my hope and prayer that the powers that be and the Ministry of Works, and the government of The Bahamas would do what is right to ensure that our people are in a better working condition,” he said. In the meantime, the courthouse remains open and workers are currently undergoing a medical assessment.

$1.4M GIFT FROM UNITED STATES TO FIGHT CORRUPTION By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net THE Bahamas is set to receive $1.4m from the United States to support law enforcement professionalisation and anti-corruption reform. The aid was finalised with the signing of the eighth amendment to the Letter of Agreement on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement by Bahamian and US officials yesterday. Addressing those gathered at a signing ceremony, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said his administration remains resolute in its commitment to address corruption. US Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers stressed the signing was an indication of the United States’ seriousness regarding the issue. She also highlighted various forms of corruption that could be present in a society, adding everyone feels the effects of a lack of transparency and accountability. “This most recent amendment will result in the United States providing over $1.4m for law enforcement professionalisation support and the rule of law, transparency and anti-corruption reform in the Bahamas,” Dr Minnis said ahead of signing ceremony at his West Bay Street office. The document was signed by Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield on behalf of The Bahamas. “Additional activity will include assistance with legislative reform, the creation of anti-corruption bodies and the provision of training, technical assistance and equipment to law enforcement and the financial, judicial and civil society sectors. “Numerous reports and studies have been published by many international organisations on the effects of corruption on the political, social and economic development of the developed and developing countries.” He continued: “As such, the additional support from our neighbour will help to facilitate the

advancement of three of the government’s key priorities namely to advance our national security strategies to reduce crime, strengthen our borders and reduce the recidivism rate for a safer Bahamas.” Speaking earlier during the event, Ms Bowers said eliminating forms of corruption is not easy and neither is it quick. “In fact, corruption takes on many different forms which negatively impact society. When corruption leads to a failure to enforce the regulations or laws on the books, it is often the people who suffer. Whether it is a firearm that makes it onto the streets because someone looked the other way; or a government contract that cost twice the amount it should; or even a good business idea squelched to protect an individual from competition, everyone feels the effects of a lack of transparency and accountability,” she said. “A lack of transparency also discourages foreign investment in a country. If companies feel they will need to pay additional hidden fees for a permit or a plan, they will invest elsewhere. If they feel they will not have a fair day in court when things go wrong, they will invest elsewhere. Put simply, corruption costs a country jobs and economic growth – and it forces a government to compensate for lost revenue by raising that revenue through other means. “These issues also directly affect the United States and the security of our people. As the United States increases border security, we must also have trust in the systems of our partners. Liberal travel procedures are predicated on the integrity of our partners’ systems - whether travel documents, police records, or the justice sector,” she also said. Other government officials in attendance included Attorney General Carl Bethel, Royal Bahamas Police Force Commissioner Anthony Ferguson and Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel.


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Thursday, August 9, 2018, PAGE 13

Tougher penalties plan for poachers from page one Mr Pintard said the government wants to send a “strong message” to everyone engaged in poaching, ranging from American sports fishermen to trade fishermen from the Dominican Republic.  “We should also say though that Bahamian fishermen have also been guilty of unsafe practices,” Mr Pintard added. “The season has just opened and a number of arrests have in fact been made. While we want all of these businesses to succeed, we don’t want them to succeed at all costs.”  Mr Pintard declined to say how much the penalties will increase by, simply stating they will be “substantial”. His comments came at a press conference at the Ministry of Agriculture to announce the Bahamas spiny lobster became the first Caribbean fishery in the world to receive the Marine Stewardship Council’s certification of sustainability. Mr Pintard described this honour as “one of the world’s most recognised and reputable seafood certifications.”  The $90m Bahamian lobster industry employs approximately 9,000 people. This MSC certification verifies to the world that the Bahamian lobster is sustainable. According to a press release, this “increases demand” and “secures international markets” for the sale of the product.  “The lobster tails are now eligible to carry the internationally recognised MSC blue fish label, which makes it easy for consumers to know that they’re choosing seafood that is as good for them as it is for the ocean,” the press release continued. 

This project was nine years in the making and a multi-agency effort. MSC certification was granted after a detailed 19-month assessment was completed. Edison Deleveaux, acting director of fisheries, noted the “bulk” of the financing for the endeavour came from the Bahamas Marine Exporters Association, a voluntary association which was formed in 2010.  When asked by reporters if there are plans to have other fisheries become MSC certified, Mr Deleveaux said not currently.  “This is a nine-year project. And it encompasses not only expertise but also financing,” Mr Deleveaux said.  “We have begun with lobster, there are other fisheries that may come on stream later on, but now… the primary concern has been the lobster fishery.”  According to Mr Pintard, another benefit of the MSC certification is “enhanced access” to foreign markets, which is expected to translate into long-term benefits for “all involved in the fishery”.  However, Mr Pintard admitted the certification does not mean “our fishery management system is perfect”. Other issues persist in the industry, including illegal, underreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, by both local and foreign fishermen. Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Commodore Tellis Bethel was also present at yesterday’s press conference.  He reiterated that RBDF patrols have increased, and said the organisation is “taking some long-term measures” to help sustain the fisheries industry. This includes the decentralisation of its operations, inclusive of the establishment of bases in Inagua and Ragged Island. 

“Additionally, we are seeking to improve our technological capabilities,” Mr Bethel said. “Within a few weeks we would have installed our first coastal radar on the island of Inagua. And that’s a longterm plan for the installation of a series of radars at strategic locations throughout our chain of islands.” He noted the minister of national security, with government support, has recently approved “the

establishment of a multiagency drone programme to also assist various agencies, including agriculture and fisheries as well as the local police.” “That programme initially is expected to be launched by the end of this year,” the commodore said. “There is a collaborative effort and certainly it’s not one agency that can solve this problem, dealing with over 100,000 square miles of water.”  

MINISTER of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard.

READERS HAVE THEIR SAY ON TAX U-TURN AMID the row over increased property taxes, Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said this week that the government intends to revert to the previous definition of owner-occupied properties. Readers gave their reaction on tribune242.com. DDK said: “We have lost untold revenue from the removal of the hotel tax on second home owners renting their properties to tourists. Trust Mr Turnquest and the PM will right this wrong just as quickly as they shoved VAT Round Two down our collective Bahamian throats. While the House takes a holiday, so do many thousands of vacationers in second home owners’ abodes. Meanwhile the average Bahamian continues to struggle because the government cannot pay its huge borrowing and spending spree debts.“ There was this from John: “And just a few weeks after D’Aguilar said the government wouldn’t even consider a reversal on the web shop tax increases. What political punks!” BahamasForBahamians posted this: “Lol,

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Bahamians complained and even protested . . . no results! Non-Bahamians send one letter - automatic public response and reaction! When they said it’s the people’s time ... we now know who people.” Proudloudandfnm asked: “Will these dudes ever not be on a damned learning curve? When will they hit their stride? 2022? WTH???? Amateurs . . .” And in The Tribune’s latest online poll, we asked readers if they thought the government should step in to enable 15-year-old Taranique Thurston to travel to the US for medical treatment. At the time of going to press, the majority of those voting – 76 percent – believed the government should step in. 24 percent were against such a move. • Don’t miss your chance to join the debate on tribune242.com.


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PRESIDENT Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday.

Venezuela leader accuses opponent of drone attack link CARACAS, Venezuela Associated Press PRESIDENT Nicolas Maduro went on television on Tuesday night to accuse one of Venezuela’s most prominent opposition leaders of being linked to a weekend attack with drones that the government called an attempt to assassinate Maduro. Maduro said statements from some of the six suspects already arrested pointed to involvement by Julio Borges, an opposition leader living in exile in Colombia. “Several of the declarations indicated Julio Borges. The investigations point to him,” Maduro said, though he provided no details on Borges’ alleged role. Borges did not immediately comment on Maduro’s accusation. Critics of Maduro’s socialist government had said immediately following Saturday evening’s attack that they feared the unpopular leader would use the incident as an excuse to round up opposition politicians as he seeks to dampen spreading discontent over Venezuela’s devastating economic collapse. In the attack, two drones armed with explosives

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detonated near Maduro as he spoke outdoors during a military celebration. Images on live television showed Maduro and his wife looking up at the sky at one blast and then hundreds of soldiers scrambling. Prosecutors have arrested six people who face charges of treason, attempted murder and terrorism. The president also named opposition lawmaker Juan Requesens, seen in a video widely circulating on social media being arrested by Venezuela’s political police force. As elected lawmakers, Borges and Requesens enjoy immunity from prosecution under Venezuelan law. But Diosdado Cabello, the powerful socialist party leader and president of the National Constitutional Assembly, said in a tweet Tuesday that he plans to introduce legislation stripping lawmakers of this protection. Maduro spoke for two hours from the Miraflores Presidential Palace in a presentation using videos showing suspects and images of the drones exploding. One video included a purported confession by one handcuffed suspect, whose face was blurred out as explained the plot.

MURDER CONVICT ‘CRUCIFIED’ IN MECCA DUBAI, United Arab Emirates Associated Press

SAUDI Arabia says it has executed and “crucified” a Myanmar man convicted of killing a woman and carrying out other crimes. The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Wednesday the execution was carried out in the Muslim holy city of Mecca. It said Elias Abulkalaam Jamaleddeen entered a Myanmar woman’s home firing a gun, then stabbed her to death. He

was convicted of robbing her home and another home, attempted rape, and stealing firearms and ammunition. The report said his conviction was upheld by the courts and his execution was endorsed by King Salman. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s top executioners, though what it calls “crucifixions” — in which the condemned is usually beheaded and then the body put on display, arms outstretched as if crucified — are rare.

LOURDES de Leon hugs her six-year-old son Leo Jeancarlo de Leon as they are reunited at the shelter “Nuestras Raíces” in Guatemala City, on Tuesday.  Photo: Oliver de Ros/AP

TEARFUL REUNIONS FOR NINE CHILDREN IN GUATEMALA GUATEMALA CITY Associated Press NINE Guatemalan child migrants who were taken from their parents at the US border arrived home for tearful reunions on Tuesday as the Trump administration tries to comply with a court order to return hundreds of separated minors to their families. “I want to see my mama,” Leo Jeancarlo de Leon, six, said after he got off a plane from New York at Guatemala City’s international airport wearing a SpiderMan T-shirt and a blue cap. Four children arrived on a first flight and five on a second, each one escorted by an adult. Ranging in age from four to 14, they wore jeans, T-shirts and new-looking sneakers. Some of the girls were in

pigtails. One was a pregnant 14-year-old for whom a Guatemalan missing child alert had been issued. The children were taken to a state-run shelter where Leo’s mother, Lourdes de Leon, had been waiting since 8am. She wept as she knelt to embrace him nearly three months after the last time she saw the boy in person. “I promise I will never again leave you,” de Leon said, surrounded by a gaggle of journalists. “I missed you so much, my God!” Manuel Estuardo Roldan, Guatemala’s vice minister of foreign affairs, said Monday that 53 Guatemalan children separated at the US border had been reunited with relatives so far. “I missed my mama a lot,” Leo said. “When they separated me, I felt said.”


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Thursday, August 9, 2018, PAGE 15

14,000 firefighters battle blaze UKIAH, California Associated Press FIREFIGHTERS said for the first time yesterday that they have made good progress battling the state’s largest-ever wildfire but didn’t expect to have it fully under control until September. The blaze north of San Francisco has grown to the size of Los Angeles since it started two weeks ago, fueled by dry vegetation, high winds and rugged terrain that made it too dangerous for firefighters to directly attack the flames now spanning 470 square miles (1,217 square kilometers). A total of 14,000 firefighters, including 1,916 inmates and firefighters from overseas, have managed to cut lines around half the fire to contain the flames, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The blaze about 100 miles north of San Francisco around the resort region of Clear Lake has destroyed 116 homes and injured two firefighters. Those lines have kept the southern edge of the fire from spreading into residential areas on the east side of the lake. But

FIRST MUSLIM WOMAN SET FOR CONGRESS DETROIT Associated Press

FIREFIGHTERS monitor a backfire while battling the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, on Tuesday, near Ladoga, Cal Fire said the flames earlier, longer and more has few natural barriers to Complex, which will take are out of control to the destructive wildfire sea- slow flames and terrain that months to put out, is one north, roaring into remote sons because of drought, firefighters can’t get to. So of 18 burning throughout and unpopulated areas warmer weather attributed firefighters fall back to the the state. Because of such of thick forests and deep to climate change and home nearest road, ridge or river, extreme conditions early ravines as firefighters con- construction deeper into where they bulldoze a wide on, officials and experts tend with record-setting the forests. line and wait for the flames warn that California could temperatures. Cal Fire Battalion Chief to come to them. be facing its toughest wildCalifornia is seeing Jonathan Cox said the area The Mendocino fire season yet.

RASHIDA Tlaib’s opposition to President Donald Trump began while he was still candidate Trump and before she decided to run for Congress. The 42-year-old attorney, who is set to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, was booted from a 2016 Trump campaign speech in Detroit for heckling the polarising Republican. After winning Tuesday’s Democratic primary to run unopposed for the House seat that Rep John Conyers held for more than five decades before retiring amid sexual harassment allegations, Tlaib, the eldest of 14 children born to Palestinian immigrants , vowed to take the fight to Trump once she’s in Washington. “I will uplift you in so many ways,” told her cheering supporters. “Not only through service, but fighting back against every single oppressive, racist structure that needs to be dismantled, because you deserve better than what we have today in our country.”

131 DEAD IN INDONESIA QUAKE BANGSAL, Indonesia Associated Press

AID began reaching isolated areas of the Indonesian island struggling after a powerful earthquake that killed more than 130 people as rescuers intensified efforts yesterday to find those buried in the rubble. The national disaster agency stood by its latest death toll of 131 from Sunday’s quake despite other government agencies including the military reporting much higher figures. The governor of the

province that includes Lombok where the quake was centered, the military, the national search and rescue agency and regent of North Lombok issued different death tolls that ranged from 226 to 381. But disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said in a statement the information from those sources was incomplete and hadn’t been crosschecked for duplication. He has said several times that the number of deaths will increase. As the aid effort stepped up, volunteers and rescue

personnel erected more temporary shelters for the tens of thousands left homeless on Lombok by the magnitude 7.0 quake. Water, which has been in short supply due to a prolonged dry spell, as well as food and medical supplies were being distributed from trucks. The military said it sent five planes carrying food, medicine, blankets, field tents and water tankers. Nearly 1,500 people have been hospitalised with serious injuries and more than 156,000 have been displaced due to damage.

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