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VOLUME:116 No.158, AUGUST, 13th, 2019



Haiti diplomats ordered home BATTLING THE ODDS

Three recalled after visa scam corruption probe By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter THE Haitian government has recalled three diplomats from its Nassau embassy, including Chargé d’Affaires François Michel. The recall follows a commission of inquiry into concerns of corruption earlier this month. The Tribune can confirm Mr Michel, Consul Herns Mesamours and First Secretary Blaise Claudy received their letters to return to Haiti last week.

The Haitian commission’s investigation centred on claims the embassy was involved in getting visas for Haitians and finding fake partners for them to marry to gain status in The Bahamas. In a statement announcing the commission, Haitian officials referenced media coverage of an arraignment of three Bahamians and two Haitians accused of a fraudulent marriage scheme on July 24. The commission conducted its investigations from July 29 to August 3.

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands yesterday bemoaned the recording of a video that captured the distress of a bloodied woman who later died. The woman, identified as Zephenia Dean, died on Saturday. Dean is said to have punched through a glass

MORE than a year since a landmark Supreme Court ruling brought him back to the country, Bahamas-born deportee Jean Rony JeanCharles has not yet applied for citizenship. And while his case has had far-reaching implications for the country’s immigration and citizenship laws, Mr Jean-Charles told The Tribune yesterday he just wants to find work. “I haven’t been able to hold onto steady job. It’s like a hustle but I’m still happy to be here. Anything they give me to do I can do,” Mr Jean-Charles said. “Once I can do something to manage myself. I’m struggling, doing odd jobs, but mostly it’s no job,” he continued. SEE PAGE THREE

By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter


window at a home, lacerating her right arm. In the one-minute video shared across social media, the woman is in a daze and is seen lying on the ground outside the home, screaming in pain as blood spews from a deep wound on her arm; a man tries to comfort her by telling her to stay still. As the woman bleeds out, no one in the video renders much assistance.  SEE PAGE SIX

By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter




A BPL engineer battles to get 60-year-old equipment working last night, highlighting the daily struggles the company has working with old stock.

A REVELATION that Bahamas Power and Light is effectively sworn to secrecy over certain portions of agreements it has entered into with Shell North America and Wärtsilä is “concerning”, according to Official Opposition leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday. The Progressive Liberal Party leader said as this directly involves a government entity, all documents should be made public as “tax payers deserve to know how their money is being spent”. He said had the PLP been the government, there would have been outrage about such a revelation. SEE PAGE FIVE


A POLICE officer was justified in shooting and killing a 22-year-old man who charged at him with a knife almost ten years ago, a jury found yesterday. The five-member jury found that Lanes Sylvius’ death at the hands of Constable Jovan Jervis in August 2010 was a lawful killing. One juror dissented. During the inquest into

LANES SYLVIUS the matter before Her Majesty’s Coroner Jeanine Weech-Gomez, Corporal

Angela Johnson testified that on August 23, 2010, she and P/C Jervis were on duty when two bus drivers complained of being victims of an armed robbery on Bay Geranium Avenue. Cpl Johnson said she and P/C Jervis consequently went to the scene of the alleged crime, where they encountered Sylvius donned in black shorts and a white shirt. Cpl Johnson said upon their arrival, P/C

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PAGE 2, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

DJ Big O dies at 35 By RIEL MAJOR Tribune Staff Reporter POPULAR radio personality Santonio “Big O” Smith, 35, was remembered yesterday by his mother Carolyn Gray as a humble man who will be dearly missed. Smith, a disc jockey at 100 JAMZ, died last Thursday after having a heart attack. His sudden death has shocked friends and family. “Omar was a very, very humble person,” his mother said. “He was very family oriented. His personality was beyond reproach. His smile, I mean anyone that would have come in contact with him, he had that personality where he would draw you to him. “Music was something he loved. He ate, sleep and lived music. He just was a (good) person; he wasn’t loud, but you would know he’s there. He was always cheerful. He always had an encouraging word for people. He stayed quoting the Bible; I grew him up in church.” She added: “He did the secular music, but his heart was still in church. He just had a heart for people and (was) trustworthy. Talking as a mother with all honestly, I have never had an issue with him where he was (disobedient) or no manners. He never ever as I can remember as my child raised his voice at me at any time. If he had anything to say to me that he didn’t like or if he felt like he would hurt my feelings he would write it.” Ms Gray said her family

is still grappling with the “shock” of Smith’s death. She said he had a health scare earlier this year, but relatives thought his health was improving. She said: “We are a closeknit family, very close-knit family. We aren’t dealing with it so good, but everyone is trying to stay together. Although he had some issues earlier in the year, all of his prognosis was improving so he was doing pretty good. “Speaking to him early that day was amazing, (with him) calling me and telling me he had good news for me, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. He passed away August 8 by a heart attack. The family are all in shock and still in disbelief.” Ollie Ferguson, Tribune Media Group chief operating officer, said everyone knew “Big O” was a pleasant man who greeted people with a big smile, a kind word and a strong handshake. Mr Ferguson said: “He was one of the most pleasant, upbeat people you will ever meet. I never heard him speak harshly or negatively about anyone or anything. Big O was a positive example and mentor for the younger generation who looked up to him with great respect.  “He had a large following both on-air and off and is another good human being who has left us too soon. He will be missed.” The father-of-four joined 100 JAMZ about two years ago as “DJ Blue Print”. 



Tuesday, August 13, 2019, PAGE 3

Jean Rony fights to put his life back on track from page one

“I had something steady, but ain’t nothing happening right now. I feel bad. If I don’t have nothing to do I just chill, but I have to look for something.” It is unclear whether his unsuccessful job search is due to the notoriety of his case or if other factors, like job scarcity for unskilled labourers are to blame. Department of Statistics officials on Friday revealed the nation’s unemployment rate has improved - with a decrease to 9.5 percent. However officials said vulnerable employment remained basically unchanged since May 2018. Workers in this category are defined as less likely to have formal work arrangements and more likely to lack decent working conditions, and are often categorised by inadequate earnings and benefits. Men still dominate this category. The 36-year-old has been unable to find steady work since he was uprooted during a routine immigration patrol in the Fire Trail Road area on September 18, 2017. At the time, he was working on a construction site. Mr Jean-Charles was deported to Haiti some two months later on November 24, 2017, and returned on a now-void Supreme Court order that mandated he be considered for legal status. The Court of Appeal set aside the Supreme Court ruling, and in their written ruling, Sir Michael Barnett, with fellow Court of Appeal justices Jon Isaacs, and

Hartman Longley, stated there could be no finding of a constitutional breach as it related to Mr Jean-Charles’ detention and deportation, due to lack of certainty over his identity. Advertisements notifying the public of his intention to apply for citizenship were published in local newspapers in late October 2018. But the application was never filed, according to his attorney Fred Smith, who told The Tribune he expects it to be filed this week. His legal team is also working to file its notice of appeal in the Privy Council by August 24. “(Mr Jean-Charles) feels very awkward going out, he is criticised and people try to shame him,” Mr Smith said.  “He didn’t ask for this notoriety, he was an ordinary person like many thousands of others born in the Bahamas who have committed no crime except the original sin of being born to foreign parents.” Mr Smith maintained his call for the government to amend the law to grant citizenship at birth to people born in The Bahamas.  “I urge the government in this new (draft) immigration bill, which has a nationality section, to bestow automatically the right to citizenship to every person born in The Bahamas.”  Mr Smith continued: “One piece of legislation in Parliament can stop all of the hassle, indignity, suffering and dysfunctionality which thousands of our brothers and sisters born in The Bahamas like Jean Rony are subjected to.”


According to an embassy statement, the group met with the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the two Haitians in prison awaiting trial; the superintendent in charge of the investigation and other government officials.  The commission’s report has not been made public, and according to sources close to the matter, the letters received by the three diplomats do not give an explanation for their immediate recall. Over the weekend, Haitian media reports suggested the Bahamian government had advised it no longer wished to work with diplomatic staff. Yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield rejected the assertion. “The Bahamas government has no knowledge of this,” Mr Henfield said.  “I refute any assertion that we intimated in any way to the Haitian

DARREN HENFIELD government any issues concerning personnel at the embassy in that regard.” The recall comes as Haiti continues to shoulder a political crisis. Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has named a new prime minister but the country’s Parliament has yet to ratify Fritz William Michel and an 18-member cabinet. According to the Miami Herald, the  country does not have a functional government that can propose a budget to Parliament, ratify accords or approve other measures.

36-YEAR-OLD Jean Rony has struggled to find steady work Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

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Have we lost our way just to get shares and likes? THERE are times when you wonder about the humanity of some people. All manner of videos circulate on social media, some grotesque, some helpful as evidence in a crime, but one that has been shared around after an incident last week is particularly disturbing. A woman put her hand through a glass window, and the shattered glass cut her right arm. She died from her injuries – but rather than rush to her assistance, what happened? Someone took out a phone and recorded her dying moments. The woman, Zephenia Dean, is seen lying on the ground, screaming in pain as blood pours from her arm. As far as we can see, other than one man telling her to lie still, no one rushes to help her. Is this what we have come to? When someone is in need, we do not reach out to help them – but whip out a phone and record their distress? For what? For social media likes and shares? Is this our Bahamas? There is often talk of The Bahamas being a Christian nation, but where is the Christianity in leaving a woman to die on the ground while we become nothing more than Whatsapp voyeurs? Are we leaving it to someone else to be the Good Samaritan who will come to someone’s aid? And who do we expect

to come to our aid if no one is ready to help? We agree wholeheartedly with Health Minister Dr Duane Sands when he says: “There is no prettying this up. We have collectively lost our way.” A cousin of Ms Dean’s also berated the person who made the video, saying on Facebook that “The same one y’all pulled out to record my cousin taking her last breath y’all could have used that same phone to find out how to stop the bleeding!” Our staff at The Tribune often have to cover scenes of horrific incidents such as murders – but there comes a time to look away, and in the heat of the moment, to help rather than to record. The person who recorded the video should feel ashamed. Those who shared the video should feel ashamed. This was not recording a crime. This wasn’t a video that could help police catch a culprit. At its best, this was thoughtless. At its worst, it was evil. We have indeed lost our way if this is acceptable. In our thoughts, and in our actions, we need to do better. So don’t share videos such as this. Don’t like them. Don’t encourage people to stand by and exploit a horrible situation for their own ends. Let us show we can be better than that.

Two sides of police behaviour WE have talked in this column before about police brutality – and two sides of that story were on show yesterday. First, the good side – the proper conclusion of an investigation into a fatal shooting by a police officer. An inquest into an incident almost ten years ago saw the police officer who shot and killed Lanes Sylvius, who was charging at him with a knife, found that it was a lawful killing. The officer was indeed justified in defending himself. This is how the process is supposed to work – although we would note that ten years is far too long for such an outcome. Both the family of the dead man and the officer involved deserved a resolution to that question long, long ago rather than waiting nearly a decade. That said, this is how it is supposed to work. Investigations are made, evidence presented and a verdict reached. We hope then that the second instance, showing off the bad side, is just as thoroughly investigated.

A man accused in Freeport of electricity theft and causing damage to Grand Bahama Power Company property was rushed to hospital with a high blood sugar reading and put on an IV. His lawyer says that at the time, “the police say let him die”. We want to say such callousness has no place in our police force, that it is a made-up allegation, but too many incidents have taken place for us to be able to brush it off so easily. This should not be the face of our policing, and the lead has to come from the top. The police force leaders need to make clear there is no room for such behaviour. Officers are there to provide justice, not exact revenge. And it should always be remembered that these are suspects, innocent until proven guilty. The work of a police officer is not easy, but we hope the force’s leaders can ensure it is carried out in a fair way, and not a cruel one.

IT toys not the solution EDITOR, The Tribune THE Marco Alert programme will cost $3 million plus.Yes, we were all shocked at the circumstances surrounding that Marco Archer incident but are we over-reacting at enormous cost? Drones - we have no idea as for their costs and who the supplier is of the 55 drones the Police want. AFTER Bahamas Power and Light CEO Whitney Heastie said the company sits “on the edge every day”, readers gave their responses on tribune242. com. Watcher asked: “Anyone else now playing BPL Bingo? Guessing when you dare to cook a meal, or do laundry, or cool down after a hard day’s work . . . wondering if this is the hour of day or night when your unlucky number comes up and you are pitched into darkness and 100+ degree temperature. To say nothing of wondering when your fridge, tv, computer or light fixtures will be fried, causing yet more financial hardship.”

The shooting alert system - wasn’t that a further $1m? Fancy IT toys are not the solution - you have to deal with society which neither this nor any past government has been willing to do as that comes too close to home. ABRAHAM MOSS Nassau August 11, 2019

That prompted this comment from Newcitizen: “Current here has been frying appliances for years. This is nothing new. Why wouldn’t you spend the extra $20 and get a good surge protector for your stuff instead of waiting for it to fry just so you can complain?” Which led to this one from Bcitizen: “The other day every surge protector in my house burnt up one time. 6 x 20 is 120 bucks. Still not cheap!”

John had this to say: “The major objective of any business (after making a profit) is to meet the needs of its customers and at the levels they demand. But with BEC/BPL it appears that for some time their capacity to produce power was going in the opposite way of customer demands and the cost of producing power was increasing, despite new fuels, innovations and technology that can make electricity in the Bahamas dirt cheap.” Yeahyasee said: “Our monthly expenditures exceed $40m every month. Thirty million dollars on average is fuel.”

A LIFE-size replica of a Diplodocus dinosaur watches people coming out of the subway in the city centre of Bochum, Germany. The exhibition, featuring models of 33 dinosaurs all around the city, is in Bochum due to the discovery of an 316 million years old dinosaur track found in a stone pit in the city six years ago.

Men who did make their mark EDITOR, The Tribune

RECENTLY, hundreds of men and boys were privileged to witness Apostle Raymond Wells, the under shepherd of Living Waters Cathedral, embarked on an annual mission to recognise men who are making an invaluable impact in the country. Men who have made a choice to leave the world a better place than they met it. According to the Apostle this vision was birthed while having a conversation with a friend. It was noted that a lot was being done for women and mothers, but not so much for men and fathers. Apostle Wells was right on with his assumption. While we must all agree that women carry a weighty burden, especially the single mother. They are the backbone of the family. That’s why Mother’s Day is one of the most celebrated days of the calendar. On Mother’s Day their praises are touted throughout the entire world. Every pew in every church is filled to capacity. Gifts and flowers are bestowed on every mother in the congregation. Culminating with one special lady being crowned mother of the year. Restaurants are overcrowded with families as they celebrate their mothers, the lady of praise. Not so with Father’s

LETTERS Day. While Father’s Day is recognised and dads are shown appreciation there is not the same fanfare as Mother’s Day celebration. In the Bahamas there is a saying that you know Father’s Day is near when you see the crab vendors and fathers can be assured if nothing else “of a good crab and rice dinner” on that day. Apostle Wells saw the need to bridge this gap. Hence men of impact became a reality. On June 14 to a standing room only filled with men and boys an award banquet was held to honour seven men of diverse backgrounds who have and are making a great impact in our communities. They are Dr Kevin Brown– Health. For the impact he is having on health in the country. Bishop Neil Ellis Religion. He has impacted the lives of thousands of men and women throughout the Bahamas and the world. Mr E J Bowe – Education. In his quest to control bread basket items he was a familiar face in food stores. Mr Leslie ‘pot cake’ Miller – Politics. Say what you want about the “pot cake” his contribution to politics has

had a positive impact on the lives of many. Mr Adrian Fox for Philanthropy. Mr Fox is known for his love for people, not only in his community, but throughout the country and the impact he is having on the lives of young people. Mr Chester Cooper – Business. He has a solid grasp on business and a special love for the people of Exuma. Mr Anthony Ferguson, who has answered the tremendous call with all of its adversity to bring law and order to the country. Apostle Wells must be congratulated on his bold steps for heeding the call to elevate the MAN. There are an enormous number of men who can be added to this list, but as Apostle Wells pointed out this is just the beginning. Men, we are being challenged to step up to the plate and take a stand. There are too many single mothers and widows. While the vast majority of us do not have the means and ways to make the contribution that the aforementioned men have. There are many ways in which we can contribute, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Remember many small efforts make one big contribution. ANTHONY PRATT Nassau July 8, 2019

Check your facts EDITOR, The Tribune POLITICIANS – especially the Prime Minister – had better do their due diligence before they speak… the advent of the service property, commonly known as Airbnb or Home Away from home, is a thriving sector impacting visitor arrivals considerably but sorry PM your quote of $400 per night is not the average price, far from it. Try between $120-180 and at the high end you are looking at the luxury property

on the beach with all the mod cons. Although this is an excellent revenue creator, I suggest that there should be at the least some regulations – inspection of the property other than the property owner describing it to Airbnb or another service agency. We are seeing now offers for properties way over the hill (no problem with the location) but does the renter know? Safety has to be paramount. The property must be licenced to have no more than one

person per single bed or two persons per double bed. A one-bedroom property should not be renting to four, five, six persons. Insurance? Does your home insurance cover renting – you better check. Do you have some form of fire protection, the least an extinguisher? Is your property hurricane safe? Yes, service property is an excellent mode but please check facts first. W THOMPSON Nassau August 11, 2019


Tuesday, August 13, 2019, PAGE 5


FREQUENT power cuts in New Providence have not sparked an uptick in generator sales, according to one supplier of generators. Nor have the power cuts led to an increase in requests to the government to import solar panel systems. While solar systems need the approval of the government to be

imported duty-free, the panels are automatically duty-free. Inverters for solar panels are also dutyfree and generators can be imported at a duty rate of five percent. However, despite these concessions, there hasn’t been a spike in requests to bring in solar systems, according to Finance Minister K Peter Turnquest. “No noticeable uptick has been brought to my attention,” the minister

said yesterday. “There has been an increase in offers to provide solar installation services to the government but nothing of note in regards to private sector request.” He also said the government has not given consideration at this stage to removing the duty rate from generators, noting that five percent is “extremely” low. Yesterday a representative from a well known

generator supplier told The Tribune sales have been steady and “nothing out of the ordinary”. “Sales have been steady,” a Marlin Marine manager said yesterday. “I mean everyone is making a huge big deal out of this (load shedding) but I’m 40 years old and there ain’t been no change in the 40 years.” He said while people do come in frequently to inquire about generators,

the only uptick the store has “definitely” seen is people servicing previously owned units. He said generator maintenance can be compared to that of a car - “it’s an investment”. Bahamas Power and Light has been unable to give any indication as to when load shedding is expected to cease. This is because BPL is experiencing a 40 megawatt generation shortfall as its

peak demand is 250mw, but only 2010mw are available. Consumers have called for clear answers as to when the load shedding situation will improve and have questioned what the company will do to soften the blow of lives often disrupted by electricity cuts. However, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said BPL cannot afford any form of compensation, while apologising for the utility provider’s failure to give uninterrupted service.

BAHAMAS Power and Light, Clifton Pier. Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Why the secrecy on BPL deals, asks Davis from page one On Sunday, BPL chairman Donovan Moxey admitted that the power provider had signed nondisclosure agreements with both companies, but seemed to downplay the issue noting that the Utilities Regulation & Competition Authority was well aware of what was contained in both deals. The revelation came as Mr Moxey insisted that it was Shell who executed its own procurement process and selected Wärtsilä to construct BPL’s new $95m Station A plant at Clifton Pier.

Edmund Phillips, Wärtsilä business development manager, on Sunday further insisted he had records to support Shell’s decision to choose the company after it was noted that at no time has the oil company publicly stated its support for the Finnish corporation, which manufactures and services power sources and other equipment. However Mr Davis claimed he had received information that suggested otherwise. “I challenge them on that and I say to them I am advised that they wrote to Shell,” Mr Davis claimed during an interview

yesterday. “They wrote to Shell directing Shell to engage Wärtsilä because Wärtsilä is not Shell’s preferred procurement agent.” Regarding the NDAs, the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP said: “It’s unacceptable and concerning that they allowed a nondisclosure agreement to be signed. “What would they say if it were the PLP saying they signed a nondisclosure agreement? So they need to come clean. Tell the public what’s going on. Let us know.” The situation at hand, Mr Davis said following Sunday’s BPL press conference

is a “construct” of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. “The broader issues of political cronyism, ineptitude, mismanagement, corruption and the lack of transparency and accountability in the general stewardship of public assets in the public’s interest strike at the core, the root and source of this current national energy crisis,” Mr Davis said on Sunday. “Further, the prime minister and his minister for BPL must not and will not be allowed to conveniently sweep all of these breaches of public trust under the proverbial carpet. “Make no mistake about

it, this current BPL crisis is unwittingly a Hubert Minnis construct an orchestrated crisis simply because he failed to place the interests of the Bahamian people above his narrow, hidden, personal and political interests and agendas.” As a result Mr Davis said the misery index among Bahamians has increased. Mr Davis said: “After all of the touring and explanations by BPL this afternoon (Sunday), the power is still off and there is no end in sight to the power cuts. “This afternoon throughout the island of new Providence, the power is off in large swaths of

neighbourhoods. As a result, people cannot manage their business affairs because there is no predictability or certainty about the power supply. This is harmful to the economy. “Further, there is darkness at night, heat during the day and night, the misery index has risen exponentially and in the face of all this, all the minister can do is blame the PLP while the prime minister is busy shaking cowbells. It is clear that they don’t care about us,” he said. Mr Davis said the Minnis administration now faces a trust deficit.

PAGE 6, Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Why film a dying girl and not help her, asks Sands from page one

Dr Sands posted this on Facebook: “EMTs make sure that the airway is safe and the breathing okay. Then they apply direct pressure to the bleeding point. Sometimes a compression dressing is enough. Other times, a tourniquet may be needed.” He told The Tribune: “Social media has brought advances but it has also brought out some very negative traits of humanity. We now videotape and WhatsApp instead of administering first aid or comfort. The dignity of a human victim is less important than the number of likes gained from their misfortune. There is no prettying this up. We have collectively lost our way.” The woman, he said, may have survived if bystanders offered assistance. “It is possible but indeed they

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands

ZEPHENIA Dean died on Saturday. may not have known,” he said. “The issue is that the device used to videotape also has a browser that can be used to Google or browse explicit directions with pictures or videos.” That view was echoed by a Facebook user who

described himself as Dean’s cousin. “The same phone y’all pulled out to record my cousin taking her last breath y’all could have used that same phone to find out how to stop the bleeding!” he wrote. Editorial View - Page 4

BCAA tells Sky Bahamas it is not being singled out By MORGAN ADDERLEY Tribune Staff Reporter ADMIST the ongoing standoff between the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority and Sky Bahamas, BCAA Director General Charles Beneby yesterday insisted the airline is not being “singled out” — as he underscored the Authority had nothing to do Sky Bahamas being “ordered out” of Lynden Pindling International Airport. During a BCAA press conference held yesterday, Mr Beneby was adamant the issues regarding Sky Bahamas not receiving its air operator certificate (AOC) are “not an act of sabotage” and said there is “no political consideration” at hand. Instead, he noted the carrier has several outstanding requirements which need to be met. Admitting communication between the regulatory body and Sky Bahamas

CEO Captain Randy Butler has been “strained”, Mr Beneby nonetheless said he would be willing to work with the carrier. Sky Bahamas has been grounded since July 8 over issues regarding its AOC. Captain Butler has been vocal regarding the airline’s challenges, which include financial losses “already in the millions” due to Sky Bahamas’ inability to carry fare-paying passengers and his concerns for the airline’s employees. Noting the press conference was not a “mudslinging exercise”, Mr Beneby provided further context for the saga. “We have an operator that made an application for a renewal of an (AOC),” he said. An (AOC) is the approval granted by the Authority to an aircraft operator to allow the use of an aircraft for commercial purposes. This requires the operator to have personnel, assets, and systems in place to ensure the safety

SKY Bahamas CEO Captain Randy Butler of public and the operator’s employees. “The operator in question had a number of concerns that (were) discovered during our routine inspections and we embarked on an exercise which would have facilitated or given them an opportunity to have those

matters addressed in a timely manner. “As was suggested in the press, Sky Bahamas is not being singled out. This is not an act of sabotage. There is no political consideration, certainly on the part of the Authority. The issuance and renewal of an (AOC) involves a process. “We had reason to pause in the application of Sky Bahamas. We believe that our posture was sound, given the mandate that I outlined previously. “The Authority will not be coerced, bullied or strong armed into granting an air operator’s certificate unless and until it is satisfied that the applicant possesses the necessary capabilities, operational, technical and financial, to perform the functions granted by the certificate in a safe manner, which protects the wellbeing of the flying public.” Mr Beneby also noted Sky Bahamas is also the recipient of an injunction which caused it to have to stop operating and vacate the premises attached to a lease the carrier had with the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD). “There has been a lot of chatter publicly on matters related to Sky Bahamas. Most particularly, a court order, an injunction that was granted. And that injunction caused Sky Bahamas to have to cease its operation and vacate premises attached to a lease that they had with the

(NAD). The court system will deal with that matter. I will not speak to Sky’s financial position. “The claim that the Authority somehow shut Sky Bahamas down and prevented Sky Bahamas from continuing its operation is unfounded. The regulations require an applicant to submit a request for renewal at least 30 days prior to the expiration of that certificate. That application was received in the office of the Safety Oversight Department on the 21st of June - just nine days prior to the expiration of that certificate. “Notwithstanding the lateness of the application, and being desirous of facilitating activities associated with air commerce, we commenced work on the renewal for Sky Bahamas. Amongst other things….there were a number of issues that were discovered. “We worked with Sky’s management team with a view towards resolving those issues. We have made some progress however our activities were stymied by Sky’s refusal to allow inspectors access to the premises as is required under the regulations. “Again, nonetheless, my inspectors conducted a site visit. After finally being granted permission to access, and of the six findings that were still outstanding, we were able to resolve about half of them. The authority is still mindful and still willing to work

with Sky Bahamas, notwithstanding all of the things that has gone on.” Mr Beneby said one of the most serious outstanding issues resolves some of the carrier’s documentation. While answering reporters’ questions, Mr Beneby again referenced the airline’s standing at LPIA. “Sky Bahamas is not operating currently,” he noted. “They have been ordered out of the (LPIA). The BCAA had nothing to do with that. That is a separate matter altogether.” When asked how no longer having a space in the airport affects the airline’s ability to operate, Mr Beneby said: “I’m sure it’s a challenge. Because one of the requirements is that you have to have an official place of business. And I’m not sure where they wold conduct their activities from if that matter is not addressed.” Last week, Captain Butler told Tribune Business he would step aside if he was the sole obstacle to the airline restarting operations. When asked about this promise, Mr Beneby said: “The Authority is required and authorised to assess the competency and capabilities of all of the management personnel within an entity. There is a particular person in an airline that is the accountable manager. And that is the person who has the financial, organisational, operational authority to ensure full compliance with the regulations. If the Authority is no longer satisfied or not satisfied that the person holding that position meets the requirements then the Authority will not approve that person for that position.” Mr Beneby said the last time there was communication with Captain Butler was two weeks ago, noting most discussions have been between attorneys. When asked if communication has broken down, he replied: “I think it has been strained, to be quite frank. But notwithstanding that, we remain willing to engage Sky Bahamas Limited with a view towards having this matter resolved as it relates to the Authority.“


Tuesday, August 13, 2019, PAGE 7


Jervis got out of the police vehicle and shouted warnings to the young man. However, she said Sylvius ran off, prompting P/C Jervis to give chase. Cpl Johnson said she subsequently turned the squad car around and went after Sylvius and her partner. Sylvius, she said, had since By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter THE Court of Appeal has overturned a man’s armed robbery conviction, though reluctantly did not order a retrial because it would not be in the “interests of justice” to keep him in custody just to be retried and quite possibly acquitted. Appellate Justices Stella Crane-Scott, Sir Michael Barnett and Milton Evans unanimously agreed that Leonard Wright “should not be required to undergo the ordeal” of a new trial and be “exposed to the risk” of an even longer sentence, or an outright acquittal. This, they said, was because if a retrial is ordered, it would likely come off the ground in 2021 due to the Supreme Court’s calendar, meaning Wright would have to be in custody for some six years. Whereas, his former sentence had him pegged to be released in 2022. In any event, the appellate judges suggested that an acquittal is very much a possibility if a retrial was ordered, because the Crown was unable to satisfy three of the nine jurors of Wright’s guilt, and that its case was “not as strong” as the Crown felt it was. According to the ruling, on May 23, 2015, Iris Davis was at Superwash’s Minnie Street and Robinson Road location working the 7am3pm shift as a cashier. At around 3pm, while sitting in the cashier’s cage, someone swung her around in her chair and said, “Don’t watch nothing”. Ms Davis initially thought it was a co-worker pranking her. However, when she faced the person she saw a t-shirt on their head.

run on the side of an abandoned house. She said P/C Jervis was hot on his heels. Cpl Johnson said she brought the vehicle to a stop and parked it. While doing so, she said she heard P/C Jervis instruct Sylvius to stop. Cpl Johnson said she saw a “silver object” in the young man’s hand which she later identified as a knife. Instead of complying

with P/C Jervis’ orders, Cpl Johnson said Sylvius turned around in a bid to attack her partner. She said being in fear for his life, P/C Jervis pulled out his revolver and fired several shots. Sylvius ultimately died as a result of gunshot wounds to his torso. A woman who identified herself as Sylvius’ sister declined to comment on yesterday’s verdict. In

2013 however, the Guardian reported how Sylvius’ family wanted closure over the shooting. At the time, Sylvius’ sister Kettley Knowles said she was puzzled over her brother’s death, because he was “not the type to attack a police.” “If anything, he would run,” she added. Ms Knowles said her brother

lived with friends in Bain Town and was supposed to visit another sister, who lived in Pinewood with their father to collect something. Sylvius, who Ms Knowles said had served time in prison for drug possession prior to his death, never arrived, as he was shot dead three corners away from his relatives’ home. At the time, Ms Knowles said

then-Superintendent Leon Bethel promised to provide the answers her family do desperately desired once he received the autopsy results. However, Ms Knowles said those answers never came. Lennox Coleby represented P/C Jervis. Wendawn Miller represented the family of the deceased. Editorial View - Page 4

No retrial is ordered after armed robbery conviction overturned At that point, Ms Davis realised that the situation was not a game as she saw a gun in the person’s hand. The gunman looked at her before grabbing the t-shirt and placing it back over his head. He subsequently leaned over, grabbed Ms Davis’ cellphone and walked away slowly. Ms Davis said she had the gunman in her sights for about two to three minutes. She said he was about one to two feet away from her when he was standing over her. She also said she was able to get a good look at the gunman’s face and said she had seen him in Superwash a few times prior to the day in question. Sometime around 6:45pm on June 4 of that year, Ms Davis identified Wright on an identification parade. He was interviewed that same day, and said he did not rob anyone. He did not give an alibi at that time. Wright testified that at around 3pm on the date in question, he was at a birthday party with his daughter for his baby mother’s son at the woman’s house on Johnson Alley. Wright

also said he was not at Superwash on the date in question and said he had never been in that particular wash house. Wright also told the court that while he was in custody at the Central Detective Unit (CDU) on June 4, Officer Rolle took him out of the cell and asked him if he wanted to go on an ID parade. Wright said he expressed indifference to going on the ID parade because he didn’t do anything. However, he said an inspector shoved him, causing him to hit his hand on the side of a desk that was in the room. He consequently sustained an abrasion to his left arm. Wright contended that although the inspector was trying to force him, he decided to participate in the ID parade because he knew he didn’t commit the crime. He further acknowledged that he signed the ID parade form. However, Wright said the other persons who were placed on the ID parade did not look like him. Wright said he didn’t remember how all of the participants looked, but knew they did

not fit his general description. He also claimed that the officers got the other participants from the cell block. Wright also called five witnesses to testify on his behalf, one of whom was Shantell Gibson. Ms Gibson told the court that at around 3pm on the date in question, she was at home with her children preparing for her grandson’s party that was held at her house. She said Wright arrived at her house at about 2.30pm. At around 2.45pm she asked him to build a small bar in the yard for them, which he did along with her son Justin. Ms Gibson also said Wright did not leave her yard. On June 9, 2017 however, the jury found Wright guilty 6-3 of armed robbery. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on October 18, 2017. Wright appealed his conviction, firstly on the grounds that Justice Hilton erred when he allowed the Crown to question Ms Gibson on her previous convictions that did not involve dishonesty, and subsequently failed to direct

the jury on how to treat evidence of her previous convictions. According to the ruling, the Crown established that Ms Gibson was before the courts in relation to stealing and receiving, as well as obstruction, assault, resisting arrest, threats of death and disorderly behaviour. The Crown used those to establish that she was of bad character and thus not a credible witness. However, the appellate judges said the evidence of her convictions for obstruction, assault, resisting arrest, threats of death and disorderly behaviour were of no probative value and not necessary to “impeach” her credibility. Rather, they said that evidence “was simply prejudicial in nature”. As a result, the appellate judges said there was a “real danger” that the jury could have concluded that Ms Gibson was being untruthful simply because of the evidence of her bad character. And as Wright’s defence to the charge was an alibi, the judges noted that though other “flaws”

existed in the trial, the trial judge’s failure to prevent the “prejudicial evidence” from being admitted and subsequently failing to warn the jury was all the more “grievous”. Concerning Wright’s acquittal, the appellate judges said: “In this case (Wright) has been in custody since 2015 and is scheduled to be released in 2022. The reality is that with the present calendar of the Supreme Court he is unlikely to be retried until 2021 and he will have been in custody six years. In our view, albeit with some reluctance, it is not in the interests of justice that (Wright) be required to remain in custody on this charge until he is retried. “He should not be required to undergo the ordeal of a new trial and be exposed to the risk that on a retrial he may receive an even longer sentence or, as may well be the case having regard to the weakness of the identification evidence, be acquitted by a jury after a proper direction.” Christina Galanos represented Wright on appeal.

Talks are moving along speedily, says union chief

PRESIDENT of The Bahamas Unified Bus Drivers Unions, Frederick Farrington speaking to media earlier this year. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff By RIEL MAJOR Tribune Staff Reporter THE president of the Bahamas Unified Bus Drivers Union yesterday said his group is satisfied with the government’s progress on issues of concern for the sector.  Frederick Farrington, BUBDU president, told The Tribune  the government is “actually moving quite speedily”. Mr Farrington said: “I met with the minister on Friday in reference to the withdrawal of service that we had July 3. The minister was quite angry that was the first time we met from then and he was

more or less furious that we withdrew our services while he was out on vacation. “Nevertheless, our message was clear and the outstanding concerns they now started to address them. If you look at Market Street, Market Street is completed with the bus stop signs. They actually have them painted in the road now we are just waiting on the pole and signage.” He added: “In the Bay Street area on the eastern side they are starting to put bus stops down also on Mackey Street putting the bus stops down. It is a sub-contractor that are doing the signs, so the Ministry of Works now have to come behind them for the signs and pole.”

Mr Ferguson said Minister of Transport Renward Wells was open-minded about their concerns relating to a proposed bus fare increase and the fact there is no bathroom facility for bus drivers. “The minister willing to work along with us in terms of our concerns. It’s now up to the union now to put pen to paper,” he explained.  “. . .(The minister) haven’t give us a deadline. It’s up to us now to (get) back to him and we’ll get back to him within the next two weeks. Then most definitely he will give us a deadline to deal with those issues.” He added: “But he did mention

that the budget for this year has already passed so (we’re) looking at for these things to actually be in place for the next July budget. That’s for the shelters and anything concerning money, those things for sure has to do with the next budget. For sure the increase and all those other concerns will be addressed shortly.” In May, the union threatened to take legal and industrial action against the government if bus drivers’ concerns aren’t dealt with. Speaking at Long Wharf Beach at the time, Mr Farrington called for the moratorium to be lifted on bus plates.  “We also have an issue that

was going on for decades with the plates for the buses with the franchise. We have a lot of jitney drivers are now becoming bus owners, we have a lot of franchise holders do not have buses. This is fundamentally wrong how the system is set up with the leasing of these plates. We need this to be addressed,” he said.   In July, jitney drivers withdrew their services after government officials failed to meet with the BUBDU before their July 1 deadline. The BUBDU president said the action was just “the tip of the iceberg and a full-fledged strike” may occur in the near future if their concerns aren’t heard.

PAGE 8, Tuesday, August 13, 2019


ABOVE: “V for Peace” with 27,000 Rotarians and Rotaractors led by Julian Believe with Barry and Esther Rassin; right: Rassin takes a selfie and uses social media to attract a record-breaking number of younger members, who join Rotaract.


HE cover of the international magazine the Rotarian features Barry Rassin and his wife Esther with a group of flamingoes gathered in front. They are at the Ardastra Gardens and these pink beauties are doing their dance together. All the birds are going the same way, except for one. One flamingo is standing still on one leg, like only a flamingo can. He’s facing the opposite direction. When that bird decided to get going, Rassin learned an important lesson that he shared with me as he handed me a copy of the magazine. “I call him… the flamingo of change,” he said. “When he started going off in the other direction, all the other birds turn around and they go with him.” Rassin believes that even if you are going in a totally different direction, once you are going the right way, people will support you; and you can bring about change in your world. As we sat in his house and talked for this week’s Face to Face, Rassin reflected on a whirlwind year which included spending a few days each month at Rotary’s headquarters in Chicago managing a team of 500, spending a few days in Nassau at home just to unpack and repack, and the rest of the time, visiting Rotary clubs around the world. “Change” was one of his personal mandates while he led Rotary International as its president from July 1, 2018 to June 30 this year. “We really sensitised a lot of people,” Rassin said of his presidential year. “Rotary is 114-years-old and we need to do some things differently… not just for the sake of change, but to make things better. “We also wanted to work on our image. People still think of us as a bunch of old white men having lunch together. They see us as a group that meets for lunch and makes donations when in reality, we have to work hard and raise money. We end up doing more together and forming great relationships. It’s a formula that works around the world.” That tactic worked well. Rassin wanted to see the amount of young professionals involved in Rotary’s service projects grow. Rotaract, the youth arm of Rotary with members ranging from age 18 to 30, grew significantly under Rassin’s watch. He increased the organisation’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and he tried to make a social media post almost daily to document the work being done

Rotary needs to change, not just for the sake of it but to make things better around the world. Rotaract grew by 1,223 clubs around the globe – an unprecedented number in the history of Rotary. But Rassin isn’t new to making history in Rotary. He is the first Bahamian and the first ever in the Caribbean region of having the honour of leading hundreds of thousands of Rotarians around the world. Prior to his year as president, he served as president-elect, and has been making the kind of impact that won’t soon be forgotten. “You only have that one year as president, and you know you can’t change the world in one year… but you can begin,” he said. “The change you make can take on its own life and continue into the future. We have to think longer term. Don’t just think of your year, but think of how the organisation can continue to improve over time.” Rotary has definitely changed under Rassin’s watch, because Rotaract members become Rotary members, offering a lifetime commitment of service to others. I learned from him that Rotary is so much more than cutting cheques for donations or photo opportunities. The men and women of Rotary actually work hard, putting in sweat equity in every venture they embark upon. He found that out when businessman John Robertson invited him to join the club back in 1980. Back then, he had just returned to The Bahamas with his Masters in Health and Hospital Administration and

RASSIN, back left centre, poses with Rotary International’s membership committee at headquarters in front of the flags of countries where Rotary is represented around the world.

a wealth of knowledge, having served at Mt Sinai Medical Centre in Miami Beach as well as American Medicorp. He was very much an introvert back then, but he knew he needed to meet key businessmen in the country, so he agreed. What he wasn’t prepared for was that he would be flung immediately out of his comfort zone and into the spotlight. He was called on to give a 20-minute presentation on his life, family, and his plans for the Rassin Hospital (now Doctors Hospital) at his very first Rotary weekly meeting. He met prominent businessmen such as Sir Durwood Knowles, Terry Hilts, Terry Mosco and McGregor Robertson. Over the years, Rassin realised that hard work was a part of the Rotary deal. Rotarians have helped most of the NGOs in Nassau and the Family Islands. During the annual Rotary fair, members would take two days and erect the booths themselves. When they used to bring in the flying circus, it was such a massive undertaking that Rotarians would take a week off from work to make it happen. Currently, they would also rally big companies for assistance and over time, the introvert had learned to be an extrovert, realising that Rotary “helps to develop your personal leadership skills”. “I learned more about leadership from Rotary than I learned in my professional life,” Rassin shared. “I always say that Rotary should give out a master’s degree in real life leadership. If you can lead a group of volunteers, all going in the same direction, that’s amazing. I brought the skills I learned from Rotary back to the job and that makes better leadership for people.” The group of volunteers Rassin led are from every part of the world. He was chairman of the Board, and that involved policy making. In addition, he and Esther had the privilege of seeing Rotary clubs and

BARRY Rassin with his wife Esther at Ardastra Gardens districts around the world to get first-hand knowledge of what they were doing. What’s so good about it, is that they represented The Bahamas. Everywhere they went, the Bahamas’ national anthem was played. They heard awesome variations of the anthem sung by natives, including a touching rendition by school children in El Paso, Texas and sung Opera style in Italy. In Kenya, Rotarians took the Rassins out of the conference and two miles deep into the Karura Forest. In other parts of Africa, in India and in Taiwan, locals got them to wear traditional clothing. In San Diego, Ira Storr and the Spank Band raised the roof, at the Rassin’s invitation. During Rotary’s convention in Hamburg, Germany, 17,000 Rotarians were expected, but 27,000 showed up. There, Julien Believe sang the national anthem in what Rassin called the best rendition he ever heard.

Grammy award-winning Bahamen brought their magic, and Jamaal Rolle the celebrity artist painted a portrait of a mother holding a baby and receiving polio vaccine drops. He painted upside down and ended up painting twice because the room was not big enough, so they had two opening ceremonies. The auction of those two paintings brought in $25,000 for The Rotary Foundation. In typical Bahamian woman style, Esther stole the show. Each year, Rotary’s first lady designs a scarf that is sold only by the organisation. The ocean blues, corals and sunshine yellows of the scarf made it a much sought-after accessory and Esther set a record of her own. The scarf and the tie made $1.4 million dollars for The Rotary Foundation within the first three days of their release. By the end of the year, they reached $2 million in sales. There were many highlights during the two years

the Rassins gave seven days a week, 365 days a year to Rotary. One of them included organising a vocational training team which travelled from India to Madagascar this year, including 19 surgeons and 12 volunteers. In eight days, the team performed 3,500 procedures, and 80 percent of the patients were children. Rotary’s greater mission since its inception, to rid the world of polio is almost realised. All except three endemic countries in the world are now polio free. Nigeria is about to be certified after three years without a case. But Pakistan and Afghanistan still have some cases due mainly to Taliban interference. With two fantastic leadership years in pocket, Rassin looks forward to spending time with his three children and five grandchildren. He has an even greater appreciation for this country, after seeing the world, and being so much to so many people.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019, PAGE 9

Police threatened and beat us, claim suspects

ISAIAH WALKINE, left, and Jamal Laroda outside court yesterday. Photos: Vandyke Hepburn By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter TWO men charged with armed robbery yesterday in the Freeport Magistrates Court claim they were beaten and threatened by police officers while in custody at a police station in Grand Bahama. Jamal Laroda, 24, and Isaiah Walkine, 25, appeared before Magistrate Charlton Smith. Laroda accused police officers of threatening him and beating him while in custody, resulting in him sustaining bruising and swelling to his hand and chest. Walkine claimed that officers threatened he would never see the light of day if he did not say what they told him to say.

Laroda told the judge that he feared for his life and begged not to be sent back to Central Police Station. He was represented by lawyer Simone Brown. Walkine was not represented by counsel. It is alleged that on August 3, at Freeport, the accused men, while armed with a handgun, robbed Marion Bethel of $2,050 cash. They pleaded not guilty to the armed robbery charge. They were not required to enter a plea. In light of the brutality allegations, Ms Brown requested that her client to be seen by a physician and also said he wanted an opportunity to detail the claims of police abuse.  Laroda alleged that while in an interview room at the Central Detective Unit, he was forced and coached by officers about what

to say. He claimed that officers threatened that he would be given life imprisonment if he did not comply. He claimed officers wearing masks dragged him out of his cell in the middle of the night. “I saw a woman with a condom and a stick. After they get information they needed, I did not want my behind (bottom) assaulted,” he told the judge. The magistrate asked: “The woman had a condom on the stick?” Laroda said the woman had a Magnum condom in one hand, and the stick in her other hand. “I scared to go back to Central Police Station because I might get beating if I go back there and I have a heart condition,” he told the judge.

When asked what sort of heart condition he has, Laroda said MVP (mitral valve prolapse) is a condition in which the two valve flaps of the mitral valve do not close smoothly or evenly, but instead bulge upward into the left atrium. Mitral value prolapse is also known as click-murmur syndrome, Barlow’s syndrome or floppy valve syndrome. Laroda said that he was diagnosed with MVP during his childhood and has been prescribed medication from doctors at the Rand Memorial Hospital. When asked by the judge if he takes his medication, he said that he does not take it often. Ms Brown asked that her client be seen by doctors at either Hawksbill clinic or Rand

Memorial Hospital before he is sent to prison on remand. Walkine claimed that he too was threatened by officers who coerced him into giving false information. “I feared for my life so I did what they say. They told said if I didn’t I will never the light of day and I never see my children,” he said. Both men were denied bail and the matter was adjourned to September 30 for a voluntary bill of indictment. They were remanded in custody to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services. Magistrate Charlton made a note of the police brutality accusations, and ordered that Laroda be seen by a physician yesterday before he was transferred to prison.

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PAGE 10, Tuesday, August 13, 2019



CEO Whitney Heastie on a tour around BPL on Sunday.


N LAST week’s column, I surmised that Britain was in for an autumn of political disruption over Brexit. The nation has been overwhelmed by this thorniest of issues that has provoked deep divisions and the resulting uncertainty and instability could become even worse. The chaos in the Westminster Parliament during recent months threatens to develop into even greater political upheaval as the deadline of October 31 - by which date the UK is due to leave the European Union - fast approaches. According to the doom-mongers, whose predictions seem to be becoming more and more hysterical, there is even a danger of the country plunging into the deadliest crisis of its modern history. Perhaps they are right, since the likelihood of Britain’s EU departure without a deal is increasing by the day. The new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has made it clear he is prepared to do this despite the almost inevitable widespread economic disruption and related consequences including higher inflation, a damaging recession and a weakened currency. He would also be overriding a Parliament that for three years has refused to allow Brexit - for which a majority of the British people voted in the 2016 referendum to happen - and will clearly do all it can to prevent a no-deal exit. A former Tory deputy prime minister has described such an exit as a ‘grotesque act of national self-harm’. The possibility of a nodeal Brexit was recognised, of course, from the beginning of this whole saga when Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, famously said after the referendum that no deal was better than a bad deal. However, she failed to keep to that commitment by ignoring the original deadline of March 29 that had been set when Britain invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Her Withdrawal Agreement with the EU was rejected by the House of Commons on three separate occasions because it was judged to be a bad deal and she was eventually forced out of office. With the benefit of hindsight, her admirable qualities of doggedness and perseverance became a hindrance when perhaps more effective political and diplomatic skills were needed to

Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

SO MUCH has been said and written about the recent electricity failures that I hesitate to add to the debate. Suffice it to say outsiders like me, who know The Bahamas well, live here and have grown to love the country, do not understand how the problem of an unreliable power supply has bedevilled it for so long. Load shedding has always caused maximum inconvenience - after returning to Nassau recently, we have experienced outages lasting up to four hours every day or night. In a relatively wealthy and sophisticated country

like The Bahamas, dependent on its first class tourism industry that itself produces huge tax revenue, surely it should be an absolute priority to guarantee a regular power supply. It is essential in a modern and successful economy. Even though the hotels and more wealthy residents will have their own generators, businesses and individuals alike are affected in one way or another and the poor, in particular, are left to suffer. At the risk of oversimplifying the issue, if the existing central power supply is insufficient or the infrastructure is too old to

function properly, why was new generating capacity not installed when it became necessary? I hate to hear criticism of this great country and I am sure many would join me in saying we are genuinely mystified that this situation, which we are told could last for months, has not been addressed adequately in the past. The latest information about a new power plant coming in to service by December is welcome. But could not this crisis have been averted by careful forward planning and regular investment in such an important industrial sector?

The man to deliver Brexit or is Boris just full of flashy hogwash? The Peter Young column secure a deal from an uncooperative EU that would be acceptable to a majority of MPs. Despite the end of Mrs May’s premiership and the emergence of Mr Johnson as the Tory leader, the Conservative Party remains in disarray over Europe and, reportedly, internal discipline has broken down. The question now is whether these divisions are so deeply entrenched that they cannot be healed by a new leader famous for his supposed ability to bring people together. Can he also reunite a divided nation portrayed as being in decline, let alone his own Party? There is little doubt Mr Johnson has hit the ground running after barely three weeks in office. He is seen as being on the rampage with enthusiasm, energy and optimism and wants the UK to free itself from the shackles of the EU and bring on a new so-called golden age while taking control again of its laws, its borders and its money. Some regard this as refreshing and intoxicating after the dullness and predictability of the May years, but sceptics consider it to be hogwash and wishful thinking as well as naïve showboating for political gain. They also think Mr Johnson is flashy, unreliable and lacking in judgement.

MR Johnson has hit the ground running after barely three weeks in office. Certainly, even his supporters admit he has a less than stellar record for reliability in both his personal and public life. He was judged to have been a successful two-term Mayor of London but not a good Foreign Secretary because of a lack of attention to detail and a tendency to speak carelessly. After returning from his audience with The Queen on becoming Prime Minister he delivered an optimistic and bullish speech in the House of Commons, designed apparently to overcome despondency and pessimism and, in his own words, a ‘diet of miserablism’ and a ‘computer says no’ approach in government. He was chosen as leader by his own party as an instinctive social liberal and the person with the best

chance of delivering Brexit and of defeating the hardleft leader of the Labour Party in a General Election. But to win an election he also needs to develop new domestic policies based on Conservative values and maintain the Tories as a broadly based party of government. My own view is he may be a flawed figure like most politicians but he is the most likely among existing senior Tories to push through Brexit and lead Britain to that promised period of prosperity. But, if he fails in that and also proves incapable of governing on a wider front, he could be the shortest serving prime minister in British history. Mr Johnson has made it clear a no-deal Brexit should be avoided if at all possible. But, in the face of a refusal so far by the EU

to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, he is gambling Brussels will eventually meet at least some of his demands to reform it, including dropping the Irish backstop altogether, so that an orderly exit and implementation period can be agreed. Meanwhile, in facing the reality of continuing intransigence by Brussels, his government is preparing for a no-deal by introducing measures, including appropriate financial support, to mitigate disruption and help businesses adjust to more restricted access to European markets. So, what will happen next? There remains the possibility the EU will compromise, since its member states will surely wish to keep the disruption of trade with Britain to a minimum post-Brexit.

Mr Johnson and his ministerial colleagues have not rushed off to Brussels as supplicants but presumably discussions are going on at official level. There appears to be a slight lull while MPs are away on their summer holidays. But by early September there will be a fresh locking of horns with MPs looking for ways to block a no-deal withdrawal. There is also speculation in the UK press about an early no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister since Remainers fear a General Election may well not be called until after Britain has left the EU on October 31. Britain remains dangerously split and on a cliff edge of uncertainty. The coming weeks and months will be crucial as the nation’s political leaders will be under the most intense scrutiny.

So did Mr Putin have a point? ANOTHER topic of general interest being debated in England when my wife and I were there was the issue of liberalism that is at the heart of Western democracies. This arose from a recent interview in the Financial Times with Russian leader Vladimir Putin who spoke at length about what he termed the “liberal idea”. He is quoted as saying the reason Mr Trump won the US presidency was that he realised the distribution of resources and the benefits of globalisation were seen by the middle class as unfair, and that because of liberal ideas about multiculturalism and open immigration the elite was neglecting the interests of the “core population”. Mr Putin considered the same was happening in Europe where the so-called liberal idea had come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of people.

Predictably, he has been castigated for these views because his own vision of society is coercive and seen as unjust. As an authoritarian leader and statist applying socialist concepts of control, he is in no position to pass judgement on Western ideals of liberty. Much depends on the definition of liberal. The central theme of classical liberalism was the freedom of the individual from control by any central authority. But in America the term “liberal” has apparently become practically a synonym for “left wing” and people who believe the state is the answer to every private and public problem. Even in Britain, liberalism has somehow moved towards a position of intolerance compared with the liberal idea that is supposed to be about freedom, order, impartiality and privacy and a self-righteous doctrine that

demands obedience and conformity of attitude. So perhaps Mr Putin has a point. But everyone ought to benefit in a liberal society as it is traditionally understood, with the rule of law and due process, representative democracy, free markets and a free press. History has shown that such liberal values play a part in delivering successful wealth creation and - with limited regulation and government interference - lead to development of productive businesses and prosperity. It is such liberal values, with essential social and political freedom, that remain the cornerstone of Western democracies.

VLADIMIR Putin spoke at length about what he termed the “liberal idea”.

• Peter Young is a retired career diplomat and former British High Commissioner to The Bahamas where he is now a permanent resident


Tuesday, August 13, 2019, PAGE 11


A 42-YEAR OLD man was charged yesterday in Freeport Magistrates Court in connection with electricity theft and causing damage to Grand Bahama Power Company property in March of this year. Michael Neymour Jr is the third person to be arraigned in the matter involving the alleged installation of fake energy saving devices at several businesses in Freeport. He appeared before Magistrate Rengin Johnson in Court Three. He was charged with three counts of abstracting electricity and three counts of causing damage. Neymour Jr is the son of businessman Michael Neymour, 63, who was charged along with Bernard Clarke, 43, on March 28 with several counts of abstracting electricity and

causing damage to GBPC property to the tune of over $650,000. It is alleged that the men allegedly abstracted electricity between January 2018 through March of this year, and fraudulently used electricity and caused damage to the power company’s property at several major businesses, including Pollo Tropical, four Burger King restaurants, Sav More Drugs, Island Seas Resort, and a KFC restaurant. Both men at the time pleaded not guilty to the charge. Wendell Smith represented Clarke, and Brian Hanna represented Neymour Sr. During yesterday’s arraignment, Carlson Shurland represented Neymour Jr. Before the charges were read, Mr Shurland told the magistrate that he was concerned about the treatment of his client during his arrest. He said that on Sunday, August 11, he went to the police station to visit his client only to find out that

MICHAEL Neymour Jr outside court yesterday. Neymour had been transported from Nassau. He was sent to Freeport and arrested and taken to the police station. While in


A 23-YEAR-OLD Freeport man was charged yesterday with negligently causing grievous harm in connection with a shooting incident on Grand Bahama. Deshawn Anthony Rolle, 23, appeared before Magistrate Charlton Smith. It is alleged that on August 8, at Freeport, the accused shot a woman. According to reports, shortly after midnight on August 8, police received reports that a woman was taken to Rand Memorial Hospital by private vehicle with a gunshot wound to the chest. The female was detained and listed in serious, but stable condition. Rolle, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, was denied bail and remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services until December 11. In a separate matter, Jerome Fernander was charged with causing damage to a police vehicle, removing a vehicle without the owner’s consent,

and failing to stop when requested by police. It is alleged that on August 8, the accused caused damage to the front crash bar of a 2016 Ford Taurus, the property of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, in the amount of $650. It is also alleged that he removed a taxi, the property Betty Cambridge, from the Grand Bahama International Airport. Fernander initially pleaded not guilty to the charges of causing damage and failing to stop when requested by police, and pleaded guilty to removing the vehicle without the owner’s consent. The prosecutor read the particulars of the guilty plea. On August 8, sometime around 2.50pm Jermone Smith reported that someone stole his taxi while it was parked with the keys in the ignition and left unattended at the airport’s domestic terminal. Sometime later officers spotted the vehicle on Polaris Drive and requested for the driver to stop. The driver refused and continued at a high rate of speed. The vehicle eventually came to a stop at a cul-de-sac on Man-O-War

Circle. The prosecutor said the driver put the vehicle in reverse and rammed the police vehicle causing damage to the front crash bar. When the magistrate was about to address the guilty plea, Fernander claimed that he had pleaded not guilty to removing the vehicle without the owner’s consent. He appeared to be confused about his initial pleas. The judge put all the charges to him again and he pleaded not guilty to all three charges. Magistrate Smith asked the accused if he been a patient at the Diah Ward, a psychiatric ward in Grand Bahama. Fernander said that he was a patient of the Diah Ward six months ago. The prosecutor then informed the judge that it appears that Smith may have some mental challenges. As a result, the judge remanded Fernander to Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre for evaluation and treatment. He informed Fernander that the matters were adjourned to September 30, when he would return to court to enter pleas to the charges.

custody, he claimed that his client was not well as a result of having a high blood sugar reading of 400 and was rushed to hospital

Photo: Vandyke Hepburn and put on an IV. “In process of surviving a blood comatose condition, the police say let him die,” Mr Shurland said. “He was put

on a plane and then officers had taken him to the Rand (Memorial Hospital).” Magistrate Johnson then had everyone leave the courtroom, including the press. Neymour Jr pleaded not guilty to all counts. Bail was denied and he was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services until November 11 for trial. GBPC filed a complaint of electricity theft with police after conducting a metre audit which uncovered a series of electrical diversion instances in the Freeport area. Power supply was disconnected at several businesses, including fast food restaurants, a timeshare resort, and a drugstore/pharmacy, which had allegedly purchased what they believed was an energy saving device, which was later discovered to be a fake device and a smokescreen for electricity diversions. Editorial View - Page 4

PAGE 12, Tuesday, August 13, 2019



IN THE wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, federal prosecutors in New York have shifted their focus to possible charges against anyone who assisted or enabled him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of underage girls. Two days after the wealthy financier’s death in the New York jail where he was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, Attorney General William Barr warned on Monday that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy.”

“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit,” Barr said at a law enforcement conference in New Orleans. “The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.” Authorities are most likely turning their attention to the team of recruiters and employees who, according to police reports, knew about Epstein’s penchant for underage girls and lined up victims for him. The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of pages of police reports, FBI records and court documents that show Epstein relied on an entire staff

of associates to arrange massages that led to sex acts. If any Epstein assistants hoped to avoid charges by testifying against him, that expectation has been upended by his suicide. “Those who had leverage as potential cooperators in the case now find themselves as the primary targets,” said Jacob S. Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor. “They no longer have anyone against whom to cooperate.” One possible roadblock to further charges is the controversial plea agreement Epstein struck more than a decade ago in Florida. The non-prosecution


agreement not only allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to lesser state charges and serve just 13 months behind bars, it also shielded from prosecution several Epstein associates who allegedly were paid to recruit girls for him. Federal prosecutors in New York, in charging Epstein last month, argued that the non-prosecution agreement is binding only on their counterparts in Florida. But Gerald Lefcourt, a lawyer who negotiated the agreement, said the deal should still protect any alleged co-conspirators for what happened between 2001 and 2007.



TORONTO Associated Press

SAN JOSE Associated Press

The youngest victim of a mass shooting at a California food festival who loved comic books and listening to romantic ballads by his favorite artist was laid to rest yesterday. About 300 friends and family of 6-yearold Stephen Romero remembered the boy as a happy and outgoing kid who loved to dress up as Batman and listen to The Weeknd. A small, open white casket was placed at the front of a San Jose auditorium and flanked by enlarged photos of the boy with a quick smile and wreaths of flowers, including one with a Batman logo.

THE FUNERAL of six-year-old Stephen Romero in San Jose.

Warren wows in Iowa as contenders gather DES MOINES, Iowa Associated Press THE chant — “2 cents, 2 cents, 2 cents” — started in the back of a crowd that packed sidewalks at the Iowa State Fair. Elizabeth Warren, basking in the spontaneous adulation of her proposed wealth tax, prompted roars with her call for the ultra-wealthy to “pitch in 2 cents so everybody gets a chance to make it.” For someone whose White House ambitions were dismissed by some Democrats earlier this year, Warren’s reception in Iowa this weekend was a clear warning sign to other 2020 candidates that hers is a campaign to be reckoned with in the state that kicks off the race for the party’s nomination. Warren was one of nearly two dozen candidates who paraded through Iowa, speaking at the state fair, the annual Wing Ding dinner and a forum on gun control. The sheer volume of visiting contenders signaled a new phase

ELIZABETH WARREN of the campaign, ending the getto-know-you period and beginning a six-month sprint to the Iowa caucuses. In that time, the historically large field will winnow, front-runner Joe Biden will be tested more forcefully and a fierce competition will unfold for candidates to be seen as the more viable alternative. They’ll

be competing for the support of Democratic voters who say their top priority is to land on a nominee who can defeat President Donald Trump. As the caucuses near, strategists say Warren’s ground-level organization — demonstrated by her large staff and a proven ability to get her supporters to appear at large events like the fair — is fueling her momentum. “Elizabeth has a super organization and her campaign is hot,” said David Axelrod, who helped run former President Barack Obama’s winning Iowa campaign. “But we’ve seen hot candidates before. August is no guarantee of what happens in February.” As Biden maintains a tenuous lead in polls and Warren gains ground, there’s time for ascendant candidates Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris to get hot. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, is still in the top-tier with a devoted following. Biden and Harris have both

boosted their investments in Iowa recently. The former vice president now has 75 full-time staffers on the ground and 12 offices throughout the state, a number they’re planning to more than double by the caucuses. Harris’ team touts 65 staffers and seven offices, and the California senator recently went on the airwaves with an ad focused on her mother and her economic policy. But Biden’s Iowa swing showcased the challenges that lie ahead for him. The visit was marred by a series of gaffes in which he stumbled over his words or seemed to get the dates wrong on major events. Some longtime Biden supporters worried he’s lost some of his spark. Greene County Democratic Party Chair Chris Henning said that, in the past, “I was crazy about him.” “Energy-wise, he looked people in the eye, remembered your name, called your name — and he’s not that Joe Biden anymore,” she said.

CANADIAN police said yesterday they believe two fugitives suspected of killing a North Carolina woman and her Australian boyfriend as well as another man died in what appears to be suicides by gunfire. The Manitoba Medical Examiner completed the autopsies and confirmed that the bodies found last week were 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-yearold Bryer Schmegelsky. Both were found in dense bush in northern Manitoba. McLeod and Schmegelsky were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck and were suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles from where Dyck was killed. A manhunt had spread across three provinces and included the Canadian military. The suspects had not been seen since the burned-out car was found on July 22. The bodies were found near Gillam, Manitoba. A police helicopter initially spotted a damaged boat along the Nelson River and a follow-up search in the area uncovered the items directly linked to the two in what was described as tough terrain. Schmegelsky’s father, Alan Schmegelsky, said earlier that he expected the nationwide manhunt to end in the death of his son, who he said was on “a suicide mission.” McLeod and Schmegelsky grew up together on Vancouver Island and worked together at a local Walmart before they set off together on what their parents thought was a trip to Yukon for work. McLeod and Schmegelsky themselves were originally considered missing persons and only became suspects later.

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