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SEE YOU IN COURT

Defiant Bethel vows to fight legal moves on shanty towns By LEANDRA ROLLE lrolle@tribunemedia.net ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel yesterday said that the government “will prevail” in the courts against injunctions filed to stop the demolition of shanty towns in the country. “Iron will meet iron… the struggle to eradicate these unacceptable, unsafe and very dangerous conditions will continue in the courts and we expect that we will prevail because all we are asking is for every single resident in The Bahamas to live their life in healthy and safe and sanitary way,” he told reporters at Government House yesterday. “No amount of glossy affidavits and words can justify or hide the fact that it is well documented that these shanty towns are unsafe conditions, particularly for the young girls as well and not to mention surrounding communities and not to

LEADING CHARGE TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

SEE PAGE EIGHT

mention the adults who live in these areas.” Mr Bethel was responding reports that Rights Bahamas had filed an affidavit to further prevent the evictions and demolitions of shanty towns in Abaco and the wider Bahamian community.  Rights Bahamas has previously said the organisation would not relent in taking legal action over the demolition of shanty towns, branding the move as “xenophobic and petty”. “The applicants seek judicial review of the respondents’ proposed plan to demolish homes and other buildings in several specific organic Haitian ethnic communities in New Providence, Abaco and elsewhere in The Bahamas,” Rights Bahamas president Stephanie St Fleur said in an affidavit obtained by the local

DAVIS WAS THE BRAINS - GIBSON By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

SHANE Gibson said Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis was the “mastermind” behind the defence strategy that helped him get acquitted last week of bribery charges. “A lot of people don’t know this,” Mr Gibson said last night. “We had a wonderful team of lawyers who represented me. But the catalyst, the mastermind behind the entire defence, was our leader.” SEE PAGE SIX

WARRANT ISSUED FOR ARCHER

SEE PAGE FIVE

VAT EXEMPTION LEVEL MAY RISE TO OFFSET BPL LEVY By NEIL HARTNELL Tribune Business Editor nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

THE government is “likely” to raise the $300 VAT-free threshold on electricity bills to minimise the impact from Bahamas Power & Light’s (BPL) $650m refinancing, a Cabinet minister revealed yesterday. Desmond Bannister, minister of works, told Tribune Business that Dr Hubert Minnis will make a public announcement on the issue amid fears the additional charge added

to BPL bills for servicing this mammoth borrowing could push many Bahamian households above this mark and expose them to the extra burden of monthly VAT payments. “That’s one thing the government is considering; raising the VAT threshold on electricity bills,” Mr Bannister confirmed. “I gave an indication that the prime minister will make an announcement, but it’s likely that what he’s going to do is increase the threshold for VAT.”

FULL STORY - SEE BUSINESS

FACE-TO-FACE

By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

TIGER ON TARGET TIGER Woods put down a marker for the Hero World Challenge which starts in Albany tomorrow when he won the inaugural Hero Shot at Baha Mar yesterday, defeating Jordan Spieth in the final round. Full report - see Sport Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

A BENCH warrant was issued yesterday for Omar Archer, the Minnis administration-appointed registrar of contractors, after he failed to attend a hearing in a new court action against him. Kyle Dean, a young Progressive Liberal Party supporter, is seeking a restraining order against Mr Archer, accusing him of stalking and defaming him. SEE PAGE SIX

GUNMAN ON RUN AFTER FATAL SHOOTING A MAN was fatally shot yesterday after an argument with another man at a home off Carmichael Road turned deadly, police said. At the scene, Supt Shanta Knowles said the incident happened shortly after 6pm, when two men were at a residence on Dominica Way and got into an argument. One of the men left, then returned with a gun and shot the other man before escaping, she said. “We are speaking to

THE SCENE LAST NIGHT people in the community and witnesses who are giving us information as

to his correct identity, and, of course, we have a team of officers in search for him (the shooter),” Supt Knowles said. Grieving relatives screamed in anguish at the scene, suggesting the killing was a result of a domestic dispute connected to a woman the victim knew. “Y’all just don’t know who y’all mess with, y’all just don’t know the

Nassau & Bahama Islands’ Leading Newspaper

SEE PAGE TWO

PETER YOUNG

WHEN POLITICAL RIVALS SHOWED SOME RESPECT

SEE PAGE NINE


PAGE 2, Tuesday, December 3, 2019

THE TRIBUNE

GUNMAN ON THE RUN AFTER FATAL SHOOTING

THE SCENE last night: Supt Shanta Knowles, above, said the incident happened shortly after 6pm. Photos: Terrel W Carey Sr/ Tribune Staff from page one anointed y’all mess with,” the victim’s sister screamed at the scene. “Y’all gone pay, from generation to generation, y’all gone pay. “The blood that was spilt, I promise you, that in the name of Jesus from your bloodline go up, under the sound of my voice, who

spill my brother’s blood will pay from now on ‘til every generation ‘til you are wiped out of this earth completely.” Another relative said a “wicked” girl had called her brother to the house where the shooting occurred. A neighbour told reporters at the scene that she had previously warned the victim about dating a

certain “young lady”, but he didn’t listen to her. A relative identified the victim as Brian Evans, Jr, 29. The killing pushed the murder count to 92 for the year, according to The Tribune’s records. Anyone with information on this killing is asked to call police at 502-9991 or Crime Stoppers at 328TIPS (8477).


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, PAGE 3

HOTEL UNION AND ATLANTIS HEADING TO COURT By SYANN THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter sthompson@tribunemedia.net

THE BAHAMAS Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union and Atlantis are set to go to court this Friday, after last week’s protest by workers was called “unlawful” by the Paradise Island resort. Union president Darren Woods told The Tribune the matter of whether his union’s strike action last Thursday was lawful is expected to be determined in

court this Friday. “We filed a dispute, we didn’t get it resolved, we applied for a strike vote, the strike vote was taken, we got it and we picketed based on that and those are the steps I know. But that’s what the rules say. So far as I am concerned, we followed the rules,” said Mr Woods. Mr Woods was responding to a statement by Atlantis president and managing director, Audrey Oswell, who said that industrial action by hotel workers last week was “unlawful”.

Ms Oswell said the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association is engaged in “positive negotiations” for a new labour contract. She confirmed that hotel executives want to work swiftly to address workers’ dire issues, chief among them she said is wages. “We have been moving toward our shared goal with every intention of completing negotiations by late December,” she said. The hotel workers walked off the job on the US Thanksgiving

Day holiday, after their frustration erupted over unresolved issues with their industrial agreement. Protestors included workers from the maintenance and housekeeping departments. A housekeeping staff member told a local media outlet that they are finding it hard to live because the cost of living continues to increase but their salaries have not increased. “Everybody can come say how the hotel is booming and everyone making money, but we have yet to make

anything, you cannot go to the bank to get a loan for a house because of your set salary and for us that is only $196 dollars per week,” she said. After the protest, stakeholders were determined to do damage control and address grievances facing Atlantis workers as the acting Minister of Labour Marvin Dames reportedly met with executives of the union to work out their industrial issues and plans to continue discussions until there is a resolution.

Protests continue as NIB blames pressure on fund

GHION ROACH, Union of Public Officers president, speaking to the media yesterday as NIB workers continue their protest. Photos: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff By RIEL MAJOR Tribune Staff Reporter rmajor@tribunemedia.net THE National Insurance Board cited mounting pressure on its fund due to job losses and business closures brought on by Hurricane Dorian, as the agency said it is trying to work with its staff union to conclude a new labour contract. The statement came as angry NIB employees protested for the fourth time yesterday and pledged to continue until they have a new agreement signed. NIB said in a statement that in the current negotiations, the board has agreed to monetary increases in almost every category of staff benefit, including monthly mileage allowances, acting and responsibility allowances and the introduction of new financial benefits. According to NIB, an outstanding issue is “automatic promotions” for some employees. The statement said: “There have also been increases to the performance-based Christmas bonus which is paid irrespective of the financial performance of the board. NIB offers an attractive salary and benefits package to its staff, inclusive of health insurance and a staff pension plan. “The outstanding issues remain around automatic promotions of certain groups of employees and the compensation schedule (ie lump sums and salary add-ons). The UPO has been asked to present a clear, written counterproposal which reflects the views of their members. The board will also be seeking a clear commitment to productivity and service level improvements.” NIB said for the 2020 period, management is projecting a sizeable deficit between contributions income and benefit payments, consistent with actuarial projections for the

National Insurance Fund. “Further pressure has been placed on the fund in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which has left many Bahamians unemployed, and contributing businesses closed on the second and third largest economies of the Bahamas. Management has sought to prudently manage NIB’s resources by slowing the growth of administrative expenses while preserving the staff complement,” the statement said. “Management accepts that the path to improved sustainability is difficult and unpopular but is necessary for the overall benefit of the thousands of Bahamians who depend on the fund. Notwithstanding the protests by the union, management will continue to focus on its core mission of providing benefit payments to its beneficiaries, and to improving its service delivery.” Ghion Roach, Union of Public Officers (UPO) president, said workers walked off the job again yesterday because of a breakdown in talks over one or two clauses in the new industrial agreement. He said: “The progression clause was already agreed on. We already signed it and we are not prepared to change and that’s I understand one of the things that we’ve been haggling over, but, like I said, we had an agreement we negotiated that at the table and that was signed. We have moved on from that. “Friday we would have had to leave after some of my members weren’t feeling well so we came back to work this morning only to find out that we still don’t have a resolution and so we decided we are going to walk off again. We want our contract to be completed. We have about one to two clauses that we need to be signed off on.”  Mr Roach continued: “We have a bone of contention over one or two of them, but we are not

prepared to stand down on them. Those articles were previously agreed on and we are not going to go back and change them.” The union leader said the deadline for the contract to be complete has passed and the workers will continue to protest until the matter is resolved. “We are holding a strike certificate when it’s time to exercise that we will. I’ve not heard (from anyone), the minister, Brensil Rolle, would have given me a deadline of the 30th of November and the 30th of November passed on Saturday. Again, it brought us back here to where we are. The deadline was for the contract to be completed,” he said. “We went back to negotiations on the 5th, we stalled, and we have not been in negotiations since the 8th and so the 30th has passed. The deadline is over and so we will continue to do what we have to do. I

can’t speak to the finances of the board, but I know the talk at least that was stated in their press release is that we are seeking to raise administrative by some exorbitant amount.” He added: “The fact of the matter is that we just want to keep some of the pay increases that we have always enjoyed. We are not asking for any additional raises or any extra percentages we just want to keep what we already have.” Public Service Minister Brensil Rolle told reporters yesterday the deal was that both parties would have come to an agreement no later than November 30. He suggested the latest protests were politically motivated. Mr Rolle noted: “NIB broke the deal – they started demonstrations before the 30th so the ball is in their court now. I spoke to (Ghion Roach) last Tuesday — I called him, he didn’t call me. We spoke

and I didn’t get any impression that he was trying to reach me. I called him to have him speak with our negotiator, so I don’t know what that means. I called him to ensure that meetings were going on. I don’t use politics and engage in political theatre to cause things to happen. “Protest would not ensure an agreement, that’s not the way we negotiate in the Bahamas. We negotiate in good faith, gave them a commitment, they did (not live up) to their part of the deal now it’s back to me. I don’t know how that’s possible in the Bahamian context. They protested three days before so if we had a deal for a certain date and a certain time and you go out and protest then that means you have another motive and I can’t measure your motives and I suspect those motives can’t be professional must be something other than professional.”

The minister said he does not support automatic promotions, saying they are based on performance. Mr Rolle said: “I can’t support any skill where if you are in a position for a year or two and your performance is average you should be promoted automatically that is not Bahamian, that is not acceptable. It’s not like that in any other job that I know. If there is one that you can let me know about that’s fine. I suspect that promotion comes with performance, it’s driven by performance. “If you are saying to me that your average performance is the basis for which you should be promoted then I say that your average performance is a base for you to have a job, not to do anything else. If you want to be promoted, then you have to perform. You have to do better than the average.”


PAGE 4, Tuesday, December 3, 2019

THE TRIBUNE

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Strong words - but the court will have final say THERE were strong words yesterday from Attorney General Carl Bethel about the latest affadavit from Rights Bahamas seeking to prevent evictions and demolitions of shanty towns in Abaco. “Iron will meet iron,” he said, insisting “we expect that we will prevail because all we are asking is for every single resident in The Bahamas to live their life in a healthy and safe and sanitary way.” Strong words, of course, don’t win court cases on their own - as evidenced by the injunction that remains standing prohibiting the government from demolishing shanty towns. In October, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis instructed Mr Bethel to petition the court to lift that injunction - which remains in place. At the time, Mr Bethel said matters were “sort of in abeyance” because of the condition of Fred Smith QC after a near-fatal paragliding accident. Rights Bahamas took issue with the six-month prohibition ban issued by the government for all Abaco shanty towns saying it should only have been directed at those areas destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. Mr Bethel gave the new affadavit short shrift, saying of Rights Bahamas president Stephanie St Fleur: “I’m sorry, she can conjure up and pretty up a shanty town all she wants, but most persons have left the poverty and degradation of shanty towns in Haiti. So why would we want them to create it here?” We would remind Mr Bethel that his own government’s survey showed

that the majority of residents in shanty towns have had legal status to reside in the country - around 20 percent of those surveyed being undocumented according to a survey reporting in December last year. That’s not just work permits or spousal permits, but also Bahamians living there, so it’s not all about Haitians and suggesting so plays into the arguments by Rights Bahamas of a policy swayed by xenophobia. Mr Smith has also previously warned that there are many people who have property rights in the areas concerned. A popular refrain from the government since Hurricane Dorian with regard to immigration matters has been that “the law is the law” - well, that holds true for property rights too. There is a question of precedent, too, for if property rights can be overriden for a poor community, why not for a rich one? The goal of safe housing, a healthy environment and appropriate development is one we all share. As much as anything, we have feared for the safety of emergency services faced with the prospect of dealing with fires in locations where houses are right up against one another. But we should work with people to ensure safe development, not ride roughshod over homeowners’ rights. So we shall see how far Mr Bethel’s stern words go with the court, for it is there rather than in media soundbites that the matter will be decided, and we shall see if he has more luck with the next injunction challenge than the last one.

Innovation meets tradition IT IS always encouraging to see people thinking outside the box - and the creation of an “indigenous health desk” by the government to look at bush remedies is exactly that. Many would dismiss the traditional use of cerasee or fever grass and so on in favour of more modern medicine, but generations of Bahamians have sworn by some of these remedies for a reason. First and foremost, of course, the health desk will be able to provide a more expert opinion on what these remedies can do - and what they should not be used in conjunction with. But if it proves more than that, might AFTER frustrated brokers blasted Customs’ new Click2Clear system as “a dinosaur that has set us back 20 years”, readers posted their reactions on tribune242.com. Proudloudandfnm posted this: “Peter and Marlon strike again, every time those two jokers say they’ve done something to increase ease of doing business it gets harder to do business. Time for the two of them to go back to private life, they obviously don’t get it . . .” There was this from Sickened: “Sounds like yet another system ‘improvement’ that wasn’t thought through or tested before being implemented. Dog eat all our lunch.” ThisIsOurs had this to say: “Hmmm I wonder if this system could have been done in phases. Not sure, some systems don’t lend to a phased approach, but it’s easier to manage. What happened to the Delivery Unit? What’s more troubling than the system glitches is it seems the flow doesn’t match what users need to do. Indicates they didn’t involve stakeholders in the design or the testing,

it just be the beginning of a different branch of medical tourism, with remedies available to visitors to The Bahamas and perhaps beyond these shores too? For the money being invested in the project - $75,000 over six months - it’s a worthwhile gamble on something that could help turn next-door remedies into a fledgeling industry with room to grow. Also, we note that it will come into being around the same time as the marijuana commission is due to finally report - and will also study cannabis for medicinal purposes. Might we read a little into the expected outcome of the report from that?

they didn’t pick the right/ complete set of stakeholders or they didn’t take their suggestions seriously. Also going to bet that someone pushed the delivery for a specific date to get political points – that’s okay to do if key/critical deliverables are in place.” Dawes said: “Sounds like Customs is not living up to their part. If they are meant to be releasing it straight away and they are not then it is them that are the hold up. Too often Government works out these new plans but their officers do not do what they are meant to do. Of course by holding up the shipments it probably increases the amounts the brokers are willing to pay.” John posted this comment: “It seems that the person who wrote the programme did another snow job on The Bahamas Government vis a vis The Customs Department. They changed up the entry presentation and

added some fancy terms to make the programming appear new but it is less efficient and hence less effective. For example, when an accountant is filing a VAT return under the old system they can just pull the total VAT off a completed entry. Now under the new system the accountant must get the VAT on the goods, the VAT on the processing fee, the VAT on storage, etc. So there may be five or six different VAT charges but no total. And they require you to pay for your entry before it is checked by Customs. If there is an error you have to pay $25 to make the amendment (remember you already paid a processing fee). And if you overpaid on your entry, you will have to pay $75 to get a refund otherwise leave your money with Customs until you have another shipment, then use it as a credit.” And there was this from The_Oracle: “Click2Clear (or wait) cannot be implemented in GB for very good reason. Never.” Don’t miss your chance to join the debate on tribune242.com.

Our Third World status on display EDITOR, The Tribune THE Free National Movement (FNM) government’s recently tabled Electricity Rate Reduction Bond Bill appears to be an all-or-nothing effort by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to salvage Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), even if it means alienating thousands of frustrated Bahamian consumers, who have had to put up with chronic power blackouts for decades. The aggressive attempt to service BPL’s $321 million legacy debt in addition to raising $350 million for upgrading the generation plant must be lauded. However, the method in achieving both lofty goals could prove politically disastrous to the FNM administration, as consumers are not willing to cough up more money for grossly unreliable service, especially when considering the fact that power bills are already exorbitant. Due to gross mismanagement and incompetence, BPL (formerly BEC) has

LETTERS letters@tribunemedia.net been both an albatross around the necks of both major political parties and an embarrassment to the Bahamian people. This embarrassment was accentuated on Friday night during an island wide blackout, which unfortunately, coincided with the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament, while Seton Hall and Iowa State were playing. The game was on ESPN. ESPN is owned by Disney, and has an estimated 86 million regular viewers – many of whom were probably watching the basketball game as the BPL debacle unfolded before their eyes, which in all likelihood gave them a bad impression on The Bahamas.  Our Third World status was fully on display before a massive international audience. The following is cold comfort, but what

transpired at Atlantis has historical precedent to ESPN viewers. During the Super Bowl XLVII game in February 2013 between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz in New Orleans, there was a partial power outage that lasted for over 30 minutes, disrupting the contest. Subsequent to this embarrassing episode, that game has been derisively dubbed the Blackout Bowl. Over 108 million Americans watched the game, which was broadcasted by CBS. It was one of the most watched games of all time.  The blackout could not have happened at a more inopportune time for the NFL, which prides itself in professionalism. In any case, the Super Bowl XLVII debacle is little comfort to the beleaguered BPL board of directors. KEVIN EVANS Freeport Grand Bahama December 1, 2019

Wait for safer return EDITOR, The Tribune I HAVE always been an enthusiast about Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC),  the Isle of Man firm that  started  its exploration for oil in Bahamian  waters over a  dozen years ago.  Having carefully read all its  disclosures and relevant literature, I have never been concerned that its drilling on licensed off-shore sites 100 mile southwest of Andros would lead to pollution of our pristine beaches or wetlands or endanger our tourist-based economy.  Recent information about careful reviews by our Government, supported by BEST and international consultants Black & Veatch, satisfies me that  this project is not environmentally  threatening. But that does not satisfy me  that the venture is, yet, financially secure.  While risk-oriented  institutions  in the UK have sunk roughly $100 million into development and exploration costs with zero return to date, accepting a very low share price on London’s  Alternative Investment Market,

ordinary retail investors have Viewing  these unrenot been attracted based solved risk factors,  I was on extensive seismic testing  thus surprised to read that and other modern analyses  BPC, in cooperation with indicating  major hydro-car- securities dealers  Leno bon  reserves available in Corporate  Services,  will under-sea  pockets, BPC has “certainly be ready in  the commitments for sufficient New Year”  to launch a debt and equity capital to Bahamian mutual fund drill its first exploratory  holding  exclusively  BPC well  early in 2000. But CEO shares. This announcement Simon Potter has always strikes me  as premature. I emphasised that nothing is do not want to discourage certain until a well is spudded  Bahamians  from making and crude is a actually seen innovative investments, but  rising from the pipe. Even in the present  uncertainties Texas  and Oklahoma, plenty to  do not justify plungof promising “dry holes” ing  into BPC equity in the have disappointed investors. near future. Doing it via a The contracted drillship is so-called mutual  fund does not  scheduled to arrive on not  mitigate the risks. Six the site until sometime in months or a year hence, the next-year’s  first quarter,  and picture may be clearer, with reliable results may not be the entry price higher but known until mid-year.  the return safer. Furthermore,  a major oil  I will be interested to see company will  need  to be the reaction of our Securifound by BPC as a farm- ties Commission, which will  in  partner to fund the certainly have jurisdiction substantial cost of develop- over the proposed mutual ment wells for producing fund offering, unless it  is petroleum in commercially limited to a  private placeviable  quantities. Despite ment  targeted  at proven on-going negotiations, and sophisticated investors. a potential partner investiRICHARD COULSON  gating  for four months in 2018, no major company Nassau has yet been identified. December 1, 2019


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, PAGE 5

BETHEL VOWS TO FIGHT LEGAL MOVES ON SHANTY TOWNS from page one

daily. “The applicants are also seeking and injunction to prevent any further evictions and or demolitions in these communities or indeed anywhere else in the Bahamas.  “This affidavit does not speak to events which have been occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas and in particular the Abacos

and Grand Bahama on September 1, 2019.” But, to this, the attorney responded: “I read portions of the affidavit just a few moments ago and um, I’m sorry she can conjure up and pretty up a shanty town all she wants, but most persons have left the poverty and degradation of shanty towns in Haiti. “So, why would we want them to create it here? We want people to live in a style

of living that all Bahamians live in. We want to glorify the ethnicity and diversity of our country, but in ways that dignify the residents of this country.” He continued: “It is documented that these shanty towns are unhealthy, unsafe and perilous particularly for children and young girls. This is well documented… and it subjects people to inordinate peril, should a natural disaster occur as

occurred in Abaco and Grand Bahama. So, we will fight the good fight with all our might and God willing, we will prevail.” Shanty towns across Abaco were decimated as a result of Hurricane Dorian, the powerful Category Five storm which pummeled that island and Grand Bahama in early September. And, following the monster storm’s passage, the Minnis administration

issued a six-month prohibition ban for all Abaco shanty towns. In August 2018, the Supreme Court allowed an injunction barring the Minnis administration from moving ahead with its August 10, 2018 eviction deadline for unregulated New Providence communities. The court also ordered 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. However, in October, Dr Minnis instructed Mr Bethel to compulsorily acquire land where shanty towns in Abaco once stood before Dorian decimated them. Editorial View - Page 4

Bostwick-Dean looking to support youth and women By LEANDRA ROLLE lrolle@tribunemedia.net AS the country’s newest senator, attorney Lisa Bostwick-Dean is vowing to fight for the rights of youth and women in the country. “(As senator), my particular interest would be about youth justice and youth matters and I believe quite frankly that it is essential that the government addresses the youth in a comprehensive manner that is not being done to date by any administration,” she told reporters yesterday, shortly after being sworn in at Government House. “And that requires us to look at social services and education and, of course, how we deal with them when they come into contact with the law so that is where I would make my greatest difference going forward...and, of course, to continue the legacy of my mother with women’s rights and affairs.” Her comments to the

press came after receiving her letter of appointment to the Senate yesterday, replacing former Senate President Katherine Forbes-Smith. During a press conference on Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the resignation of Mrs Forbes-Smith as Senate president, who he announced will become the managing director of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority. Of late, Mrs ForbesSmith has received much criticism from the opposition party because of her dual roles as Senate president and Hurricane Dorian recovery coordinator for Grand Bahama. But, as the managing director of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority, Mrs Forbes-Smith will focus solely on the relief efforts in Grand Bahama in the aftermath of Dorian. Speaking at yesterday’s ceremony, Dr Minnis congratulated both Mrs

Forbes-Smith and Mrs Bostwick-Dean on their new roles, wishing them the best in their endeavours. He also noted Mrs Bostwick-Dean, who is the daughter of Dame Janet Bostwick and former Senate President Henry Bostwick, will work tirelessly in her role as senator to serve her country. He continued: “Lisa is not new or naive to the pressures of public life and service. Her willingness to serve is no doubt, in part, a result of the influence of her parents… she’s a passionate advocate for youth justice for which she would no doubt advocate for in her new role. “As a mother and citizen, I know that she will work tirelessly to ensure that we continue to provide greater economic and social opportunities for our people, to strengthen our democracy and to make our country more resilient in the face of the multiple threats of the global climate emergency.”

LISA Bostwick-Dean and Governor General CA Smith at the swearing in ceremony at Government House yesterday Photo: Letisha Henderson/BIS While expressing gratitude on her newly appointed role, Mrs Bostwick-Dean also suggested to reporters that she is prepared for the criticisms and responsibilities that come along with it. “I was asked to serve in public life, but I have resisted until now. It’s not an easy road.. public life, it’s a life that opens you to a lot of criticism and quite frankly attacks by members of the public.” On Sunday, Progressive Liberal Party chairman Fred Mitchell criticised Mrs

Bostwick-Dean’s appointment.   He said: “On the appointment of Lisa Bostwick-Dean, the FNM has taken their inspired axiom of ‘friends, family and lovers’ to new heights. Her father, Henry, was president of the Senate; her mother, Janet, was recently made a dame and given the Order of the Bahamas this year; her brother, John, also served in the Senate and now the daughter, Lisa, is appointed to the Senate. “How much more does this Bostwick family need and want from their party

and the state? Very aspiring young FNM’s should justifiably ask their party leader, ‘how much for the Bostwicks – smt, smh (sic),” he continued in a statement. To this, Mrs BostwickDean said: “I am not going to respond to Mr Mitchell. I don’t think that it is quite frankly deserving of a response other than to say that in as much as he suggested that the Bostwicks have been given something and he lists my mother being awarded the dame (honour), I would say the public knows better than that.”

MAYNARD: BPL CUSTOMERS WILL PAY MORE THAN $30 By SYANN THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter sthompson@tribunemedia.net BAHAMAS Electrical Workers Union president Paul Maynard believes Bahamas Power and Light customers will pay more than the predicted increase of $20 to $30 per month on their bills next year. Mr Maynard said that

the government is in a difficult position and while officials are forecasting electricity bills to increase between $20 and $30 – he does not see this happening. “I think it is more difficult than it seems. People will be paying more than that $30. BEC has $120 million of collectibles owed to them. They are trying

to finance $650 million through the rate reduction bonds and the customers paying the fee for the bond. There are some people not paying their (electricity) bill now, that means me and you as customers who pay our bill end up paying for those who are not paying,” said Mr Maynard. He added: “There are some 120,000 customers,

so these customers have their $30 plus interest that have to go to the bank each month. And if there are some 50,000 people who are not paying their bills, the rest of the consumers have to pay for that, so the fees will be spread among those paying.” Last week, the House of Assembly passed the Electricity Rate Reduction

Bond Bill to allow for the government to issue a rate reduction bond fee to be paid by Bahamas Power and Light customers – increasing monthly bills by about $30. This legislation comes as a bail-out to “cash strapped” BPL for the refinancing of some $650 million necessary to repay debt owed to local banks amounting to $320 million

and for desperate upgrades. On December 15, the new $90 million-dollar Wartsila power plant engines, which is being tested now, are expected to be in operation. The new Electricity Rate Reduction Bond Bill 2019, similar to the Rate Reduction Act 2015 requires every BPL customer by law to pay the rate reduction bond fee.


PAGE 6, Tuesday, December 3, 2019

THE TRIBUNE

COURT ISSUES WARRANT FOR ARCHER from page one

THE PLP held a special meeting last night to discuss Shane Gibson’s acquittal. Far left and above: Shane Gibson celebrates; left: Philip Davis addresses the meeting. Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Gibson: Davis was the brains behind defence from page one He made the statement during a PLP event at the party’s headquarters celebrating his acquittal. He did not address the affair in depth, saying that though he prepared a lengthy speech, he will speak to it all at a later date. During the nearly two-hour event, nearly ten speakers attacked the Free National Movement government, labelling Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis “Slick Minnis” as they discussed a litany of the administration’s supposed failures. Mr Davis recounted some of the facts related to Mr Gibson’s case and that of former PLP Senator Frank Smith who was also acquitted of bribery charges earlier this year. “Throughout the two cases that have been completed, we have witnessed with great

horror and disbelief, incontrovertible evidence of grave and rank prosecutorial misconduct and corruption,” he said. In the case, the lead police investigator admitted it was wrong to meet key witnesses to synchronise their statements, something Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel also said was “very wrong.” Assistant Superintendent of Police Debra Thompson testified that this is a common practice and that Commissioner Anthony Ferguson and Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin was aware that it happened in the case. “In the face of all this, the attorney general who is the head of the bar, an officer of the court and the chief legal guardian of the integrity of the judiciary, did absolutely nothing save for a wink here and a nod there, bringing the

administration of the criminal justice systems into ill repute and the laughing stock of the region,” Mr Davis said. Mr Davis said Attorney General Carl Bethel “has a lot to answer for as he has consistently breached the public trust and has defended the indefensible.” “In fact, he should be fired or made to resign,” he said. “Carl Bethel must explain to the Bahamian people how we got to where we are - placing the government in a position to be sued in a court of law for malicious prosecution. And while he is at it, he has to explain to the Bahamian pole how much these persecutions have cost the taxpayers with nothing to show.” Mr Bethel has so far refused to reveal the legal fees associated with the cases. “We are hearing all kinds of numbers from $20,000 per

day to $1.4 million in total,” Mr Davis said. “This government could find huge sums of money to pay lawyers for these politically driven cases with trumped up charges but refuses to pay the workers monies duly owed to them.” For his part, PLP deputy leader Chester Cooper gloated about Mr Gibson’s victory. “I hear people talk about the AG and the DPP and the ASP and the CM,” he said. “But they seem to forget about the PM. Remember all dem rallies Minnis had talking about people ‘gern to jail?’” Glenys Hanna Martin likened the prosecutions of prominent PLPs to what people “might see in a fascist society.” “This is not simply about Shane Gibson but the protection and freedom of any person living in this country,” she said.

The case, which has not started in a substantive way, was expected to start in earnest at the Magistrate’s Court yesterday, but was adjourned because Mr Archer did not attend when a police prosecutor called for him. Mr Dean said the case follows voice notes in which Mr Archer, pictured below, allegedly attacked him. Once issued by judges, bench warrants are entered into a system by prosecutors and police are expected to arrest people and bring them to the court that issued the warrant at the earliest time possible. Typically, it is not hard to get such warrants discharged.  Last week, The Tribune reported on a viral video in which Mr Archer accused a close relative of Mr Dean of committing indecent and illegal acts involving a minor. While PLP leader Philip Davis said Mr Archer’s conduct contravened general orders, the Minnis administration has stayed quiet. Mr Dean said of the video: “The comments he made are distressing, they are untrue, they are unwarranted and as a professional I should not be subjected to the attacks of a political appointee, especially when I have a career that is sensitive.” He also said: “My family is very much offended and stunned by it because they did nothing to warrant these attacks and upon the video circulating they have sought legal advice. That nothing has been done to censor him by his bosses is even much more stunning to my family. The family is very much hurt. The comments were also very careless because sexual molestation or unlawful sexual intercourse with minors is a serious issue. It’s not something that should be used to exact revenge on your opponents.” Mr Dean said his family has been bombarded by calls since the video went viral. “We’ve had so many people reach out to us who are concerned about the emotional and psychological impact they think his comments may have had on my family,” he said. “We’ve received calls from people calling on my family to rise above the fray during this time of unwarranted attacks by a high-ranking official. “When the government appoints people to the public service to high-ranking positions, they should be held responsible for their actions and what they do. Regardless of how much a person is politically connected, they should never get away with making such libelous statements against people without repercussions.”


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, PAGE 7

MINISTRY OF HEALTH TO EXAMINE ‘BUSH MEDICINES’

By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Ministry of Health is creating an “indigenous health desk” to examine Bahamian ‘bush medicine’ therapies involving cerasee, neem, fever grass and other substances in a wider effort to boost the country’s fight against chronic non-communicable diseases. The indigenous health desk will also study the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter nscavella@tribunemedia.net

A BARTENDER has been given six months to repay the $5,000 he defrauded a local lending institution out of two years ago by using a fake Department of Education employment letter. Magistrate Ambrose Armbrister ordered yesterday that Frederick Rolle, 25, should repay Easy Terms Limited the $5,000 he swindled it out of by June 4 of next year. If he doesn’t, Magistrate Armbrister said he would convict Rolle of fraud, fine him $2,500 and send him to prison for one year. If Rolle doesn’t pay the fine, he will serve an additional six months. Rolle is also ordered to serve 80 hours of community service by June 2020. Failure to do so would result in a $500 fine or six months in prison in default. Rolle was also put on six months’ probation for uttering the fake employment letter. If he fails to keep the peace and be of good behaviour during that time, he will be fined $500 and sentenced to eight months in prison. Failure to pay that fine would result in an additional four months in prison, Magistrate Armbrister said. Magistrate Armbrister’s orders came after Rolle, represented by attorney Bjorn Ferguson, admitted to obtaining $5,000 cash from Easy Terms financing by using a Department of Education employment letter he uttered on June 14, 2017. It also came seven months after he ordered five women and a man to pay back the $30,000 they collectively defrauded Easy

CNCDs are on the rise and are the leading cause of death in the country. According to the 2019 STEPS survey, 13.7 percent of Bahamians with hypertension reported seeking advice from a herbal/naturopathic healer while 23.1 percent of Bahamians reported taking herbal medicines to deal with the condition. Among people with diabetes, 12.8 percent reported taking advice from naturopathic helpers and 17.7 percent said they took herbal medicines. For those with cholesterol

problems, seven percent reported seeking advice from naturopathic healer and 8.7 percent took herbal medicines. Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said the indigenous desk will seek to harness therapies and educate the public about what they can and can’t do. The objective of the unit will be “to facilitate the improvement of health outcomes of individuals with chronic non-communicable diseases through early detection, scientifically-proven, effective

natural treatments, and high-quality medical research,” according to slide presentation on the unit.  Through the unit, officials hope to have a FAQs page on the Ministry of Health’s website and to have questions submitted for answering via email or other web portals. Officials hope to “correlate high quality data and research with potential areas to begin introducing supported non-conventional treatment options.” They also want to establish a registry and regulatory process for providers

of the treatments. The Ministry of Health has already identified a person to man the health desk and they hope to establish the division in conjunction with the release of the marijuana commission report or before the year end. The unit may cost about $75,000 for the first six and a half months, taking into account travel, humans resources including clerical support, technology, meetings and access to scientific journals, according to the ministry. Editorial View - Page 4

Bartender ordered to repay $5,000 Terms Limited out of that same month. According to the facts, on June 23, 2017, Ruthy Knowles of Easy Terms financing, situated on Davis Street, reported to police that sometime between May and June 2017, Rolle submitted an employment letter from the Department of Education that contained official stamps. Rolle also brought various documents in support of their application, and consequently received a CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank cheque in his name. However, it was later discovered that the letter he produced was fraudulent. Fast-forward to Sunday, a day after he was arrested, Rolle told police during his interview that a man named Billy had asked him if he wanted to make some money. Rolle replied in the affirmative, and Billy then instructed him to give him his National Insurance Board card and his passport. After providing Billy with the documents, Rolle was told he would get a loan he “did not have to pay back”. On June 14, 2017, Rolle met with Billy at Easy Terms on Davis Street, where he gave Rolle a brown envelope. Rolle then gave that envelope to a female employee, who then gave him a $5,000 cheque. Rolle and Billy

FREDERICK ROLLE, right, and Sidney Similiean, left. Photo: Terrel W Carey Sr/Tribune Staff subsequently rode together The six were also ordered in a blue, rental vehicle en to perform a collective 480 route to CIBC FirstCaribbe- hours of community seran’s Marathon branch, and vice—80 hours each—at a once there, Rolle cashed the place to be named by the cheque. Rolle kept $2,000 Department of Rehabilifor himself, while Billy kept tative Services. Failure to the remaining $3,000. comply with that order In May, Carl Fisher III; would result in a $500 fine, Vandissa Rolle; Ericka and failure to pay the fine Gibson; Trene Leadon; would result in a six month Reniqua Bowe; and Melissa prison sentence. Evans were each ordered They were also put on six to pay back the $5,000 they months’ probation, during defrauded Easy Terms Lim- which time they must keep ited out of in June 2017. the peace and be of good Failure to do so by today behaviour. A $500 fine would result in a $2,500 fine along with an eight month along with a one year prison custodial sentence is the sentence, Magistrate Arm- alternative. If the fine is not brister ordered at the time. paid, four months will be Failure to pay would result in tacked onto that sentence. an extra six months in prison. At the time, all six

had admitted to uttering and consequently being in possession of forged Department of Education employee letters, which they each then used to defraud Easy Terms of $5,000. Two other women, Shanti Moxey and Shakera Youte, were also charged with the same offences, but the prosecutor, Sergeant Kendrick Bauld, withdrew the charges after receiving letters indicating that their respective debts had been settled. The two were consequently discharged by the magistrate. According to the facts of the case read by Sgt Bauld, Easy Payday, a subsidiary of Easy Terms, is a business engaged in providing loans to government employees that are serviced through salary deductions. He said that sometime between May and June 2017, all eight persons presented employment letters from the Department of Education (DOE), attached with an official stamp, as well as other relevant documents, to Easy Payday for a loan application. As a result, they each ended up receiving First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB) cheques in their respective names in the amount of $5,000. At some point,

Dellareece Symonette, a senior assistant secretary at the DOE, got a call from Ms Knowles over her suspicions that fraudulent activities were taking place at their Thompson Boulevard branch. Ms Knowles subsequently faxed Ms Symonette the names of the eight persons to determine if they were in fact employed with the Ministry and/or Department of Education. Ms Symonette subsequently made a check and confirmed that Fisher, Rolle, Gibson, Bowe, Evans, Moxey and Youte were not MOE or DOE employees. Leadon was found to have been a newly applied contract worker, but would not have been eligible for a loan. Meanwhile, a Haitian man, Sidney Similiean, denied allegations that he uttered a fake NIB card bearing his name and tried to obtain two birth certificates from the Registrar General’s Department bearing the names Theria Similean and Similean Similean on November 29. Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes consequently adjourned the matter to January 27 for trial. Bail was denied and he was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services in the interim.

EX-OFFICER’S ABSOLUTE DISCHARGE OVER CHILD PORN

By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter nscavella@tribunemedia.net

FORMER police officer Edmund “EJ” Lewis Jr has been granted an absolute discharge for his conviction relating to producing child pornography videos between 2014 and 2015. According to a certificate of discharge signed by Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes, the former constable was granted an absolute discharge as of November 13. The 33-year-old had fully complied with the terms of the conditional discharge that magistrate imposed after finding him guilty on one count of child pornography two years ago. That fact necessitated yesterday’s dismissal of the Crown’s appeal against his “unduly lenient” sentence, as an absolute discharge effectively means there is no sentence to challenge. Lewis Jr previously stood trial before Deputy Chief Magistrate Forbes concerning allegations he produced child pornography videos between July 2014 and January 21, 2015. He was first arraigned on January 23, 2015 and denied bail. He was dismissed from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) shortly after the charges were filed against him. Lewis Jr elected to be tried in the Magistrate’s Court and was granted $5,000 bail days after being re-arraigned due to an “inadvertent error” at his first court appearance, when he should have been given the option to be tried in either the Magistrate’s Court or Supreme Court and enter a plea to the charges. In February of 2016, the

court heard how Lewis Jr admitted, in his record of interview with police, to filming his sexual encounters with a teenage girl he met in September 2014. However, Lewis Jr said he thought the girl was older than 17 and she consented to being filmed. According to the record of interview, taken in January 2015, Lewis Jr was asked by a senior officer about allegations that he secretly filmed his sexual interaction with the complainant in the matter. Lewis Jr said the sexual interactions between the two began in September of 2014. In response to questions by the interviewing officer, Lewis Jr said he recorded the interactions on his Samsung Galaxy S2 cellphone in his room on two occasions, and that the complainant was aware. He further denied soliciting anyone or secretly filming sex, adding that “everything was consensual”. When asked by the interviewing officer why he filmed their encounters, Lewis Jr allegedly said: “We both agreed to it and it was fun,” adding that it was for sexual gratification. And when asked if anyone else was involved, Lewis Jr said there was a 19-year-old whom he met sometime in October 2014 and had sex with both females. However, he denied filming the acts without their permission. When asked by the interviewing officer what he subsequently did with the contents, Lewis Jr said he “took the chip out of the phone and secured it.” In a ruling on November 13, 2017, Deputy Chief Magistrate Forbes granted Lewis Jr a conditional

discharge of two years after he was found guilty on the one count of child pornography. Deputy Chief Magistrate Forbes said during those two years, Lewis Jr would be required to attend the Department of Social Services, specifically the Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) and perform 50 hours of community service. And upon full compliance and completion of the order, he would be given an absolute discharge. The Office of the Attorney General subsequently filed an appeal against the ruling on the grounds that the sentence was “unduly lenient”. However, the issue that arose was whether the crown could appeal a conditional discharge. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Magistrate Forbes left the Magistrate’s Court and served as an acting justice of the Supreme Court for a stint. Fast-forward to November 13 of this year, Deputy Chief Magistrate Forbes, who had since returned to the Magistrate’s Court, issued a certificate of (absolute) discharge to Lewis Jr due to the former officer complying with all of the conditions. However, the decision was read by another magistrate.  Yesterday, during what was supposed to be the substantive hearing of the crown’s appeal against Lewis Jr’s sentence, the appellate tribunal of Justices Jon Isaacs, Sir Michael Barnett, and Milton Evans, told the prosecution that given Lewis Jr’s absolute discharge, it could not appeal a sentence that effectively does not exist. The prosecution

indicated that it still intended to proceed with the matter, and was prepared to “start all over again” if need be. However, as noted by the appellate judges, that meant the crown would end up filing its appeal out of time and apply for an extension of time within which to appeal; it had until November 20 of

this year to appeal the absolute discharge. And according to Sir Michael, the crown would thus be hard pressed to justify the delay, given that it should have anticipated the possibility that Lewis Jr would comply with his conditions and be given an absolute discharge, and thus be prepared for such

an eventuality on or around November 13 and appeal in a timely fashion. Thus, Justice Isaacs said as there was “no real appeal” before him and his fellow Justices, the “purported appeal” was dismissed. Lewis Jr was represented by attorney Ryszard Humes.


PAGE 8, Tuesday, December 3, 2019

THE TRIBUNE

Kayla and her Zontians leading the charge to end violence against women

KAYLA DARVILLE, president of Zonta Club of New Providence, below, presents a bouquet to the Prime Minister’s wife, Patricia Minnis, along with National Advocacy Campaign Coordinator, Marisa Mason Smith. Photo: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

W

HY is there violence against women? They are our mothers, sisters… our nurturers and care givers. Why is there violence against girls? They are the future ones who will rock the cradle. Yet, violence against women and girls persists. Violence on the whole should be condemned – values for the respect of human life need to return to our societies. But today, we focus on violence against women and girls, as we are currently on Day 9 of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls”. For the past seven years, Zonta Bahamas has been at the forefront of this activism. Zontians have been out there in the community, on public and corporate platforms, bringing awareness and encouraging Bahamians to change the face of violence in this country. This year, they were at it again, launching the 16 days with a big event in Rawson Square held in conjunction with the Department of

Gender and Family Affairs, the Ministry of Health and NGOs. The launch was held on November 25, the International Day to End Violence Against Women and Girls. The 16 days officially ends on December 10, which is the United Nations’ appointed International Human Rights Day. I took the time to speak with a Zontian about why club members put so much energy and effort into this activism. I found out that each of them, being women, know how pervasive violence is in our community, in our homes and schools, and intend to continue to fight against it. They are elated that, at this year’s launch, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development Frankie Campbell announced the government recently

made a commitment to work towards ending gender-based violence in the country. Minister Campbell said the commitment was made by himself on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas while attending the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) 25th Anniversary Meeting. For Kayla Darville, president of the Zonta Club of New Providence, this was welcome news. Especially because the club’s theme for this year is “From Activism to Advocacy”. One of Zonta’s partners for the 16 days this year, the National Congress of Trade Unions’ Women’s Association, is pushing for the Bahamas government to ratify C-190 – the International Labour Organisation’s Convention to end violence

and harassment in the workplace. It takes a lot of work to pull off the many events Zonta holds - and it’s all volunteer work. Kayla calls it a passion of hers and despite her busy professional life, she will continue to work hard for causes for the betterment of women and girls. “Zonta dedicates so much time to the 16 Days of Activism because we are passionate about advancing the status of women and girls by ending genderbased violence,” Kayla explained. “Thirty-five percent of women suffer from some form of violence, and approximately 70 percent suffer at the hands of a partner. The effects of gender-based violence (GBV) are far reaching and because so many of the households in the Bahamas are single female homes, we need to protect the women.” Her life is an example of what a determined woman can accomplish for herself – setting goals and conquering them one by one. Kayla was born in New Providence and is the second daughter of Ingrid Bennons. She has an older sister, Ernestine Seymour and younger brother, Brehon Bennons. She is a graduate of St Augustine’s College, Class of 1986. Today, she is married to Richard Darville and they are parents to twins Richard Adam and Ryan Ashleigh. When she graduated high school, Kayla got a job as a receptionist at First Caribbean Bank. But she knew all along that she wanted to do more and be more, and she made a decision to apply herself in her position and create opportunities to move up the ranks in the bank. She did online courses, she travelled to attend courses when necessary, and she did indeed climb the corporate ladder. She received an Institute of Canadian Bankers certification, as well as an American Bankers Institute certification. She attended the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business Leadership Programme, and she also attended Nova Southeastern University for a time. She also furthered her education in banking through the Caribbean Information & Credit Rating Services Ltd’s Credit Risk Analysis for Corporate

& Commercial loans certification. It was worth it. When Kayla finally parted company with CIBC she left with the title of Personal Banking Manager. Today, she serves as the Mortgage Centre Manager at Commonwealth Bank Ltd, where she has moored for more than 18 years. Altogether, she has spent 31 years building her career, proving that stick-ability and determination can result in the realisation of your goals. Being a part of Zonta gives Kayla an opportunity to give back, especially to young women who may be in the position she once was when she started out in her profession. For this reason, she is just as passionate about the 16 days of activism as she is for the Workforce Readiness Programme Zonta also hosts each year. “It’s a passion because I have an opportunity to assist and change the lives of disadvantaged unemployed women by giving them the skills they need in order to turn their lives around,” she shared. “All they need is a hand to guide them and a willing soul to impart knowledge, and concern.” An important ingredient in young women’s success is their ability to live a life free from violence; so their advocacy work is all tied together. During the 16 days’ launch, as well as a special “Sip n’ Speak’ event Zonta held at the weekend, Kayla heard testimonials that moved her and gives her the impetus to continue to advocate against violence. “These victims suffered rape and physical and verbal abuse from partners and even family members,” she said. “These women were able to get help and that is why they were able to give their testimony. One of the testimonials came from a woman who is married with children and who has written two books. Another was able to continue her education (after getting out of a violent situation) and had completed her CPA. The message here, is reach out to someone (a trusted friend or partner or the Crisis Centre) before it’s too late. Some are not alive today because they didn’t speak out.” Kayla also warned that all Bahamians need to take the matter seriously,

and avoid all forms of violence, including emotional and verbal violence, in the homes. She said that “once children live in violence, they continue to believe violence is acceptable” and social ills will persist. By creating the right environment for women and girls, they will be given the space to flourish. Kayla enjoys living her life as an example of starting from the bottom and making it to the top. Even in Zonta Club of New Providence, she has proven this. She started out as an invited member, making a commitment to service and advancing the status of women and girls. Over time, she served as Director, Recording Secretary, Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Vice President and now as President of the very active NGO. Zonta international is currently celebrating 100 years of existence. It’s mission and vision is “a world in which women’s rights are recognised as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential”. Visit zonta.org and zontanewprovidencebahamas.org. It’s not too late to participate in the 16 days of activism. Today, the Trafficking in Persons forum (TIPS) will be held at the Ministry of Social Services Hearing Room from noon to 2pm, hosted by Zonta, the Ministry of National Security and the Embassy of the United States of America in The Bahamas. On Friday the National Women’s Luncheon will be held at the Melia Resort, by invitation. However, free to the public, is a “Fight for Your Life” self-defence training session held by Jachin the Network at Empire Gym, Seagrapes Shopping Plaza. On Saturday, December 14, the public is invited to bring new or gently-used shoes for Zonta’s “Walk in My Shoes” event. This year’s community outreach will take place at the Fox Hill Park from 2 to 6pm. There will be lots of information and activities geared toward enlightening the community on what GBV is and how to end it. Next week, Zonta will be reaching out to women incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Prisons, as Well as the Willamae Pratt Centre for Girls and young teenagers at the Simpson Penn Centre for boys.


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, PAGE 9

WHY BOOKS ARE LIKE OLD FRIENDS TO ME AND MEAN SO MUCH VISITORS who examine the bookshelves in someone else’s house and ask whether the owner has read all of them do not appreciate the true meaning and value of books to the bibliophile. The answer will normally be “no”, though it is likely that one will have delved into all of them without reading every page. But what is important is to know one’s books are there, having been acquired over the years either through one’s own purchase or as a Christmas or birthday gift or perhaps - shame on you - borrowed from someone and not yet returned. Book lovers never feel alone in the company of what are their prized possessions, whether they are neatly stored in special shelves installed from ceiling to

floor - which I personally prefer or in free standing book cases. Some are old friends and some are newcomers and, even if you have not read all of them from cover to cover, you will go on buying new ones because you cannot help doing so. Surrounded by your collection each one of which you are familiar with even if you have not picked it up recently - is a comforting feeling of contentment and it induces a sense of well-being because all of them are probably linked to something in your life, not to mention the ones you never liked and therefore dumped. Some say that personal book collections represent or resemble the values, tastes and interests of the individual concerned. But sometimes

books are acquired over time in a haphazard manner and some unread books serve to remind you of your own lack of knowledge and impel you to learn something new. The primary purpose of reading is, of course, to increase one’s learning and gain a broader understanding of issues and other places. But there is also pleasure and entertainment in having one’s imagination stimulated as one enters different worlds and becomes drawn into the lives of others through fiction or biography – all brought into a form of reality by the written word. It is also nice to look at hardback books with their varying sizes, colours and designs for they contribute to the decoration of a room and give it warmth and

atmosphere. They may not be indexed properly, but any serious book owner knows exactly where to find what he or she is looking for because they know their books in the same way a farmer knows each of his milking cows. The joy is in being able to read a particular book when you feel like doing so or when it happens at any particular moment to resonate with something significant and can provide specific information. Some of them you want to read again and again when the mood takes you because they can influence your mood and your attitude. From schooldays, it was drummed into us that if you start a book you must finish it. Nowadays, there is so much reading to be done on the internet, but nothing compares with

holding a book in both hands – it beats a Kindle any day. My own bookshelves contain a somewhat heterogeneous collection. Does that indicate a catholic taste? Perhaps. But I have found that my books have somehow built up over the years with limited planning on my part. It remains a mystery how they have stayed intact, having been packed and repacked so many times moving from one country to another during the course of a diplomatic career. If needs must, you can take certain things away from me in extremis, but please do not mess with my books - they are, indeed, like old friends and mean so much, both as a learning tool and as memories of happy past events as well as a valuable guide for the future.

ANOTHER FLIGHT CAN ONLY HELP BUILD BUSINESS

HISTORIANS call Churchill the giant of war and Attlee, far right, the hero of peace. In war and peace, both had the capacity to look at what they perceived as the national interest.

When politics wasn’t a dirty word and rivals showed respect WITH election fever in Britain building up towards polling day on December 12, this is perhaps a good moment to reflect on parliamentary relationships of the past compared with the deteriorating quality of modern-day political discourse, group values and affinities. The House of Commons in the Westminster Parliament boasts a rich history of eloquent speakers and fine oratory. In a country known for the combative nature of its politics, the most effective parliamentarians have not only shown a mastery of the English language in proposing or defending policies but are remembered for their employment of irony and sarcasm as well as humour. One of the most famous, of course, was Winston Churchill whose eloquence and genius in the use of English roused a nation at the time of its greatest peril in the Second World War. He was also adept at humiliating his political opponents with cutting phraseology, and some of his most famous barbs have entered the informal public lexicon. Nonetheless, even allowing for the distortion of the rosy lens through which history is sometimes viewed, those are now seen as gentler times. Despite their fiery exchanges, previous generations of parliamentarians practised restraint and courtesy – though one notable exception was the volatile Labour MP and government minister, Aneurin Bevan, who infamously labelled Tories as “vermin” - and there seemed to have been greater mutual respect in their dealings with one another. But these days such attitudes seem to have been replaced by animosity and distrust to such an extent that the House of Commons chamber has become a bear pit of hostility bordering on hatred. This has developed into an unedifying spectacle while political debate up and down the country has also become increasingly personalised and polarised, with Brexit probably being the worst example. All this has led me to think about the peculiarly

The

Peter Young column close and cordial relationship between Churchill as the Conservative leader of Britain’s wartime national coalition government and Clement Attlee, the Labour Party leader who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945. Thrown together in 1940, the two men forged a cross-party coalition to deal with Hitler and then contested each other at the ballot box in 1945 for mastery of post-war Britain, with Attlee winning the election by a landslide and Churchill later returning to power again in the 1951 poll. Despite their political differences - with Churchill favouring free enterprise and capitalism and Attlee seeking to develop the fundamental role of the state in order to transform the lives of the poor - they continued their relationship, which transcended party lines, for the rest of their lives. Attlee acted as a pall bearer at Churchill’s state funeral in 1965 even though he himself was deathly frail by then, and this was seen as a mark of their deep mutual esteem. A new book on this subject by celebrated Irish-born author, Leo McKinstry, has been described as a masterpiece full of illuminating insights and a deft account of what has been called a relationship “unprecedented in the annals of British politics” and, in modern parlance, a terrific double act - a five-year wartime partnership followed by a decade of peacetime cooperation unlikely ever to be repeated. During the war, both placed the national interest above party politics and Attlee, despite many challenges, was loyal to Churchill throughout. Based on mutual respect, they had in common a deep love of country and were proud to show their patriotism. That said, however, on

personal grounds they were surely unlikely bedfellows, even as temporary allies. Consider the basic differences between the two that could not have been greater. Churchill was charismatic, buccaneering, impulsive, full of humour and a larger-than-life figure who thought he was destined to play a role in saving the free world. By contrast, Attlee was shy, self-effacing and undemonstrative. He was cautious and orderly, adopted a sparse conversational style and, by all accounts, was an uninspiring orator. Then, Churchill, known to imbibe prodigious amounts of alcohol, was said to go to bed on cognac while Attlee settled for an early night and a cup of hot cocoa - and, to top it all,

Churchill took his holidays in Monte Carlo and Attlee went to Frinton (British readers will appreciate the difference). The fact that this relationship continued after Attlee prevailed in the 1945 election and embarked on an ambitious programme of radical change, including the creation of the National Health Service and expansion of the welfare state, may seem extraordinary to the present-day observer. Inevitably, Churchill was shocked by defeat but formally he behaved impeccably and accepted the result as an exercise of democracy. It was significant that after the Tories returned to power in 1951 he did not attempt to scuttle what Attlee had done in the intervening period. Son of a successful solicitor, Attlee was always involved in his family’s social work activities with the poor. But it was not until his eyes were opened to reality by visiting the Limehouse Boys’ Club in London’s East End opened by his school, Haileybury (as it happens, my own alma mater), that

he understood what poverty really meant. This changed his views on life in a fundamental way and he became a socialist but one who believed in duty, loyalty and responsibility with a strong ethical code based on his Christian beliefs. The nature of political discourse has changed to such an extent that mutual respect by adversaries on the floor of the House of Commons, backed up by cooperation, concession and compromise, has been replaced by animosity, distrust and personal antipathy. Few now understand the need in a civilised society to try to reconcile conflicting views and agree to disagree amicably without long-term ill-feeling and personal vilification. Historians call Churchill the giant of war and Attlee the hero of peace. In war and peace, both had the capacity to raise their eyes above petty party squabbles and poisonous partisanship and look at what they perceived as the national interest. How rare have such attitudes become in today’s fractious politics.

ONE of the best pieces of news recently was the announcement by BA that they are increasing the frequency of their direct flights to London from four to five times a week with effect from April next year. Reportedly, this service to and from Grand Cayman via Nassau is one of BA’s most profitable routes. Those who use it often will not find that hard to believe since the flights are invariably full. The airline is quoted as saying this extra flight should benefit the business sector. That is fine, but I wonder whether the potential boost to tourism by increasing the airlift from Europe might not be more important. Apart from visitors wanting to enjoy what The Bahamas offers tourists as a sought-after destination, travelling here from Europe on a ninehour flight will encourage them to stay longer and spend more than visitors on short-haul flights from most places in the US. In light of this, it has always seemed to me that more emphasis should be placed on promotion of The Bahamas in European countries especially in the UK where the market for potential tourists is enormous. Traditionally, Britons have been attracted to Barbados which is seen as a more welcoming and less expensive place for a holiday than The Bahamas, and for some reason it seems they tend to feel more comfortable there. But, for visitors put off by higher prices, one way of keeping accommodation costs down would be greater use of Airbnb. In my view, this country has so much more to offer the visitor than Barbados. So perhaps more needs to be done to explain to travel companies in the UK why it is a significantly more desirable tourism destination. Meanwhile, that extra weekly BA flight is a helpful and welcome development.


PAGE 10, Tuesday, December 3, 2019

THE TRIBUNE

NEW MEMORIAL FOR PIONEER ROSA PARKS UNVEILED ALABAMA Associated Press

A NEW statue of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has been dedicated in Alabama’s capital city of Montgomery on the 64th anniversary of her historic refusal to give up her seat on a public bus to a white man. City Mayor Steven Reed and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey pulled back a cloth to unveil the statue before a crowd of about 400 spectators. “This depiction will inspire future generations to make the pilgrimage to our city, to push toward the path of righteousness, strength, courage and equality,” Reed, who recently became the first African American mayor of Montgomery, said at the ceremony. Fred Gray, the attorney who defended Parks and many other civil rights activists, sat in the second row at the unveiling. He said: “For the city officials to honour Mrs Parks and the 40,000 African American men and women who stayed off of the buses for 382 days, is indeed a step in the right direction.”

THE UNVEILING of the Rosa Parks statue

Impeachment shadows Trump on NATO trip LONDON Associated Press CRYING foul over timing, President Donald Trump yesterday accused Democrats of scheduling this week’s impeachment hearing to undercut him during his trip abroad for a NATO leaders’ meeting playing out at a crucial moment for the 70-year-old military alliance. Trump, who arrived in London late yesterday for two days of meetings, called the trip “one of the most important journeys that we make as president” before

departing Washington and noted Democrats had long known about the meeting. The president lashed out at Democrats again soon after arriving in the UK. He said on Twitter that he had read the Republican report designed to counter Democrats’ impeachment case on his flight. The report called Trump’s hesitation to provide military aid to Ukraine “entirely prudent”. “Prior to landing I read the Republicans Report on the Impeachment Hoax. Great job! Radical Left has NO CASE. Read the Transcripts,” Trump wrote

on Twitter. “Shouldn’t even be allowed. Can we go to Supreme Court to stop?” It was not immediately clear under what legal grounds Trump was calling for the high court’s involvement. Trump’s trip comes amid ongoing quarrels over defence spending by NATO allies and widespread anxiety over the president’s commitment to the alliance. The president said his trip would be focused on “fighting for the American people.” But in the more than two months that the impeachment inquiry has

Funeral Service for

ERNEST “Duke” BASDEN, 81 of Shirley Street East, who died on Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 will be held on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 at 10 a.m. at St. Matthews Anglican Church, Shirley Street. Officiating will be Canon Crosley Walkine. Cremation will follow. He is survived by his CHILDREN: Michelle (Ronald) McPhee, Lory Greenslade, Kristy (Wingsworth) Roberts, Marsha (Dr. Tyrone) Bartlett, Dessy, Ernest (Lisa) Knowles, Colyn, Brandon, Eric, Jason (Lovette) Basden, Marleen, Joshua Basden; GRAND CHILDREN: Shavon (Theo) Williams, Shakira Rigby (Deangelo) Smith Sr., Patrick Jr. (Dominique) Rigby, Shanell and Sharell Rigby; Shalisa and Ernest Jr. Knowles; Travis, Tanner, Tempestt Bartlett; Tamu (Robert Sr.) Albury; Keva Greenslade; Keith Bryan, Wingsworth Jr., Chrisworth and Latavia Roberts; PC 3731 Kevin Greenslade Jr., Kevaughn Greenslade, Herbalese Brown, Deanza Nicolas; Jason Jr., Cora-Ann, Kerveio, Jayden, Gabriel, Ashantique, Aliyah, Josiah, Jasia; GREAT GRAND CHILDREN: Tylah Sweeting, Robert Albury Jr., Ravon Sargent, Treasure Frazier, Deangelo Smith Jr., Sekera Rigby, Patrick Rigby III, Brandon Basden Jr., Kiara Greenslade, Kevin Greenslade III, Ta’Nayah Marshall, Senario Youte; SIBLINGS: Sally Grist, Natalie Tuddles; BROTHERS-IN-LAW: Samuel Brennen Sr., Roland Tuddles, Bruno Cunningham; Barry McIntosh Sr.; SISTERS IN-LAW: Gloria Basden, Majorie Basden, Janice Butler, Laniece Moncur, Selma McIntosh; NEPHEWS: Kenneth (Maryann) Hart Sr., Earl Jr. “Chucky” (Mary) Basden and Troy (Florine) Basden; Terrance Dames, Peter Grist Jr., Paul Evans Sr., Ricardo (Vanessa) McQueen, Reginald (Jannell) Campbell, Capt. Samuel Brennen, Jr, Father Scott (Deon) Brennen, Sean Brennen, Kim Basden, Donavan, Eddison, Kano (Tamika) Basden, and David Basden, Winston Basden, Sean (Carla) Nixon; Sherwin and Donald Braynen; Sebastian and Jeremiah Butler; Tristian and Brucelee Beneby; Evandor and Everette Stubbs; Barry McIntosh Jr.; NIECES: Dr. Shane Brennen, Honnie Paulette Hepburn, Dr. Mary (Dr. Samuel) Agubosim, Gigi Basden, Maria Basden, Pastor Claudette Basden of Turks and Caicos Island, Opal Basden, Tangia Turnquest, Charlotte King; Shantel Braynen; Megan and Angel Butler; Nechelle Woods, Lethera Sands, Lekeisha Brown, Shakara Pitt; GRAND NEPHEWS: Patrico and Patrick Basden; Henrico and Henriceo Burnside; Paul Evans Jr.; GRAND NIECES: Kendra Hart-Brown; Henrinique Burnside, Kayannah Basden; Reign and Rhyan Royes; NUMEROUS COUSINS INCLUDING: Enola Burke, Trevor (Brenda) Basden, Gerty (Howard) Mills, Lou Adams Jr., Roy Adams, Ruth and Ceron Adams, Jan Ward, Veronica Johnson of West Palm Beach, Bianca (Billy) Allen, Adrian D’Aguliar, Canon Norman Lightbourne and family, Timmy Johnson, Vonnie Basden Donna Toby, The Basden Family, The Adams Family Jean (Stanley) Williams of Turks and Caicos Island; HOST OF OTHER RELATIVES AND FRIENDS INCLUDING: Graig Gomez and Family, Jerome Gomez and Family, Fredricka and Family, Eleanor. Roberts and Family, Paulamae Miller and Family; Dr. Ricardo Davis and the staff of the Male Medical Ward I; Emmanuel Nicolas; the Shirley Street Community Family. We apologize for names that we may have overlooked as this was not intentional. Please bear with us and keep the family in your prayers. Friends may pay their last respects at East Sunrise Mortuary, #183 Baillou Hill Road & Cordeaux Avenue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and again at the Church from 9 a.m. on Wednesday until service time.

#183 Baillou Hill Road & Cordeaux Avenue, P.O. Box CB-12248, Nassau, Bahamas Telephone: (242) 323-EAST (3278), 326-4209 Email: eastsunrise@batelnet.bs

DONALD and Melania Trump arriving in England yesterday been underway, he has constantly drifted back to what he frames as the Democrats’ unfair effort to overturn the results of his 2016 election. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the constitutional grounds for impeachment before Trump wraps up at the NATO meeting. Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, White House counsel Pat

Cipollone and presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway all complained about the timing, with Pompeo saying the hearings would “distract America’s president from his important mission overseas.” Trump insists he’s focused on scoring domestic and foreign policy wins, including revamping NATO so that allies spend more on defence. But he’s often appeared consumed by the day-to-day battle against impeachment.

SCHOOLS IN HAITI REOPEN AFTER UNREST PORT-AU-PRINCE Associated Press PROTECTED by police patrols, thousands of Haitian children began to return to school yesterday after months of violent unrest forced schools to shut around the country. Some schools were about a quarter full in response to the Education Ministry’s call last week to reopen public and private schools. Others had a handful of students or didn’t open at all. High school senior Yollande Chery arrived at her school to find only four other students and one teacher. “It hurts knowing that in other countries schools are in session,” she said. “Staying home is not what I want to do. I want to be at school with my friends.” At the public Lycee de Petionville, in a relatively prosperous section of the capital, about 400 children showed up for class. The school holds about 2,000 students when at full enrollment. In Port-au-Prince, police cars patrolled outside many reopening schools.

PRINCE ANDREW’S ACCUSER DESCRIBES ‘HORRIBLE’ ABUSE LONDON Associated Press

PRINCE Andrew suffered fresh scrutiny last night when the woman who says she was a trafficking victim made to have sex with him when she was 17 asked the British public to support her quest for justice. Virginia Roberts Giuffre told BBC Panorama that people “should not accept this as being OK.” Giuffre’s first UK television interview on the topic describes how she says she was trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein beginning in 2001 and ordered to have sex with Andrew three times, including once in London. “This is not some sordid sex story. This is a story of being trafficked, this is a story of abuse and this is a story of your guys’ royalty,” Giuffre tells the program. Andrew, 59, has categorically denied having sex with Giuffre and apologised for his association with Epstein, who died in prison in what New York City officials said was a suicide. US law enforcement agencies have not commented publicly on whether his actions are being investigated. British police looked into Giuffre’s claim, made in 2015, that she was trafficked into England to have sex with Andrew but did not launch a full-scale investigation. The televised documentary broadcast last night painted a detailed portrait of how Epstein abused dozens of young women at his luxury properties in

VIRGINIA Roberts Giuffre on the BBC’s Panorama programme the Caribbean and New York and quoted Giuffre’s account of being ordered to have sex with Andrew on three occasions. Giuffre, now 35, described how she says she was recruited by Ghislaine Maxwell to give Epstein massages when she was working as a locker room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, FL. and later taken to London to meet Andrew. Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing. Breaking down in tears, Giuffre described the humiliating aftermath of being made to have sex with Andrew at a townhouse in London after a night out at the exclusive Tramp nightclub. She said she was told to dance with him by Maxwell, Epstein’s girlfriend at the time. “It was horrible and this guy was sweating all over me,” she said. “His sweat was like it was raining basically everywhere, I was just like grossed out from it, but I knew I had to keep him

happy because that’s what Jeffrey and Ghislaine (Maxwell) would have expected from me.” She said that Maxwell told her she would have to do for Andrew what she had done for Epstein, meaning she would have to have sex with the prince. “That just made me sick,” Giuffre said. “There was a bath,” she said. “It started there, then went into the bedroom. It didn’t last very long, the whole procedure. It was disgusting.” She said: “He got up and he said ‘Thanks’. I sat there in bed, just horrified and ashamed and felt dirty.” Giuffre said she felt trapped: “It was a wicked time in my life. It was a really scary time in my life. I had just been abused by a member of the royal family ... Yeah, I didn’t have chains, but these powerful people were my chains.” She admitted her memory was foggy at times and she might have some dates and place wrong but insisted she was certain of the key facts.


THE TRIBUNE

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, PAGE 11

UN CHIEF WARNING ON CLIMATE CHANGE By SYANN THOMPSON Tribune Staff Reporter sthompson@tribunemedia.net UNITED Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres told world leaders that the consequences of not lowering greenhouse gas emissions is causing extreme weather like hurricanes, droughts, flood and wildfires. Secretary General Guterres was addressing the 25th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Convention when he said that the last five years have been the hottest on record – causing extreme weather patterns all over the world. “The consequences are already making themselves felt in the form of more extreme weather events and associated disasters, from hurricanes to drought to floods to wildfires. Ice caps are melting. In Greenland alone, 179 billion tonnes of ice melted in July. Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing 70 years ahead of projections. Antarctica is melting three times as fast as a decade ago. Ocean levels are rising quicker than expected, putting some of our biggest and most economically important cities at risk,” he said. More than 50 world leaders gathered in Madrid, Spain for the 2019 United Nations Climate Change (COP25) conference at the IFEMA convention centre. The Climate Summit is outlining the framework for a new phase of climate action ahead of 2020, when nations would be expected to submit new climate action plans. As part of the UN’s plans to combat climate change, The Bahamas ratified the Paris Agreement on August 22, 2016 and became a signatory joining 180 countries to lower greenhouse gas

emissions. Just this September, The Bahamas faced Hurricane Dorian - what climate experts call one of the most catastrophic backlashes of nature, that emerged due to the issues of climate change. The secretary general stated that if nations do not aggressively address climate change, they will jeopardise having a world to live in. He said that around the world, nations are at the height of emergency in their combined effort to limit global heating. The next decade, he said is critical and will decide which path, countries will be heading as it relates to climate change. “Such solidarity and flexibility are what we need in the race to beat the climate emergency. We stand at a critical juncture in our collective efforts to limit dangerous global heating. By the end of the coming decade we will be on one of two paths. One is the path of surrender, where we have sleepwalked past the point of no return, jeopardising the health and safety of everyone on this planet. The other option is the path of hope. A path of resolve, of sustainable solutions. A path where more fossil fuels remain where they should be – in the ground – and where we are on the way to carbon neutrality by 2050,” said the UN secretary general. The main causes of carbon emissions are from fossil fuels and electricity generation. The UN Climate Change Convention is urging signatories to the Paris Agreement to deal with these areas including providing cleaner sources of energy. Environmentalists recommend households to participate by recycling, replacing light bulbs, using less air conditioning and hot water and using energy efficient products.


PAGE 12, Tuesday, December 3, 2019

THE TRIBUNE

MOVE TO AID SMES AFTER DORIAN

By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

AS small businesses struggle to recover from Hurricane Dorian, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson yesterday opened the Small Business Development Centre Technology workshop at the Grand Lucayan resort to get businesses on the path to recovery. The seminar is designed to assist businesses that were damaged during the storm gain access to grants and funding to rebuild with the aid of technology. Davina Blair, executive director of the Small Business Development Centre Access Accelerator, and Scott McKenzie, of Cloud Carib, an expert in cloud computing, were also present and told participants the importance of rebuilding their businesses using data technology. During his opening remarks, Mr Thompson indicated that there are ongoing efforts to rebuild Grand Bahama’s economy and to assist local existing small businesses which were damaged by the storm. He said the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama, in conjunction with the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), has launched the Small Business Technology Innovation Initiative, which is designed specifically to create opportunities for small businesses to access grant funding (up to $2,500) ear-marked for the introduction and/or upgrade of technology based infrastructure with a concentration on innovation.   “This provides…another opportunity to use more digital tools for data storage which assists businesses in becoming more resilient and provides opportunities to build the technology industry in Grand Bahama and the Bahamas,” he said.   According to Mr Thompson, the hurricane exposed people’s great reliance on cash and the old banking system. “This provides us to tap into and develop a new industry and a new opportunity for a faster, more convenient way of doing business,” said Mr Thompson, whose portfolio also includes electronic communication and e-commerce. “We are encouraging businesses to make use of the latest digital tools in their businesses. Technology saves time and money, technology increases efficiency, and technology improves communication,” he added.

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