Nassau Guardian Stories

PM 'disappointed' in Rollins

September 16, 2014

Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday he is disappointed in Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins, who has criticized the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) over the last few weeks.
Christie said whenever a member of his party disagrees with any government decision, that member has a choice.
"I have been in public life for a very long time," he said in the House of Assembly during the wrap up of the Gaming Bill debate.
"During the process, I have been instrumental in facilitating many persons coming into public life for the first time. I've done so on the basis of my judgment and what I think would be right for the Progressive Liberal Party and right for the country.
"Sometimes we make mistakes, Mr. Speaker. But in our democracy I may have been subjected in my past to the exercise of power that resulted in my not getting a nomination.
"By the grace of God, I had the political base to be able to run as an independent, supported by the FNM that did not run a candidate, and was able to win.
"When people on my side, in the process of governance, disagree fundamentally with me, they have a choice. Firstly, to recognize that the Progressive Liberal Party operates on a revolving door, the door swings in and it swings out. So you are free at all times to stay or to leave. There is no problem with my leadership in that regard.
"Secondly, I do not propose, Mr. Speaker, ever, ever, ever to engage as leader of the Progressive Liberal Party in a debate in Parliament with anyone who could have discussions with me prior to me coming here and settle the matter one way or the other, and come in here and disagree.
"I do not propose to engage any such person forever and forever and forever, if it is left to me."
While contributing to debate on the Gaming Bill, Rollins highlighted the government's "hypocrisy" and said the gaming issue will be "enough to cause it to be fired at the next general election".
He also said the government's explanation on why it chose to ignore the results of the 2013 gambling referendum lacks merit.
Rollins said he cannot support the bill as it will continue to discriminate against Bahamians, banning them from gambling in casinos.
He told an NB12 reporter last Friday that he is not concerned about being re-elected either.
"You deny me a nomination all you want, but at the end of the day, I don't get my power or my motivation from those individuals who have the power to offer a nomination, because ultimately, if the people want you, they're going to accept you no matter what label you fall under, whether it's independent, whether it's PLP, whether it's FNM or any other party."
Rollins was fired as Gaming Board chairman after he criticized Christie during the recent value-added tax (VAT) debate.
Christie said he is not concerned about critics who question whether he will run again for office in 2017.
He said he is simply happy to be alive.
"That is why I am personally disappointed in the member for Fort Charlotte," he said.
"He knows the confidence I have in him. He knows the confidence I have in his ability. His mother knows the confidence I have in his ability. He knows the extent to which I personally am responsible for his nomination.
"I don't take away from him his right to speak. I don't want to. It's not my style. But allow me to be who I am."
The Gaming Bill was passed in the House yesterday with 25 yes votes and seven no votes.
Three PLP MPs were absent when the vote was taken: Central and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes, North Abaco MP Renardo Curry and Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells.
Two Free National Movement (FNM) MPs were also absent: Central and South Abaco MP Edison Key and North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly.
Rollins was the only PLP MP who voted against the bill.
The FNM MPs who were present also voted against it.

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Nottage apologizes for ignoring referendum results

September 16, 2014

National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage yesterday apologized to the Bahamian people for going against the results of the January 28, 2013 gambling referendum.
But he also took issue with pastors who charged that the government is "killing democracy" and should be voted out of office if members of Parliament vote for the Gaming Bill.
"I join in with the member of Parliament for West End and Bimini (Obie Wilchcombe) who indicated an apology to the people of The Bahamas for the fact we did not act consistent with their voting on the referendum," said Nottage during his contribution to the Gaming Bill.
"I join the member in doing that. In my opinion that does no harm to the Bahamian people.
"Thousands of people work in the web shop gaming industry, just as thousands or probably less in the casino industry. It provides an income for many Bahamian families.
"We are the government and governments have to govern. Governments have to look at the situation in the country and make decisions which are in the best interest of the country.
"Sometimes those decisions do not meet favor with some people in the country, but we have to make choices."
Several religious leaders have condemned the government's decision to regulate the web shop industry.
The pastors have pointed out that the majority of Bahamians who voted in a gambling referendum voted no on the issue.
Pastor Alfred Stewart said the government is "killing democracy" in The Bahamas by moving ahead to regulate the industry.
He added that MPs who vote in favor of the bill should be fired and replaced by men who fear God.
Addressing the issue yesterday, Nottage asked, "Can you imagine clergyman telling people don't vote for anybody who votes for the Gaming Bill?
"Firstly, Mr. Speaker, they have erroneously accused us of killing democracy in The Bahamas and then expressed the unchristian desire that every person who votes in favor of the Gaming Bill should lose their seats and be replaced by men and women who first and foremost fear God.
"...Now they are telling us that we don't fear God."
Nottage pointed out that his constituents, who elected him in the last two elections, voted in favor of the referendum.
He said dealing with the web shop industry was a "necessity".
The Gaming Bill was passed in the House yesterday with 25 yes votes and seven no votes.
Three PLP MPs were absent when the vote was taken: Central and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes, North Abaco MP Renardo Curry and Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells.
Two Free National Movement (FNM) MPs were also absent: Central and South Abaco MP Edison Key and North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly.
Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins was the only PLP MP who voted against the bill.
The FNM MPs who were present also voted against it.

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Rollins and Fitzgerald spar in House debate

September 16, 2014

During a back-and-forth with Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald in the House of Assembly yesterday, Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins said that the Gaming Bill will return the country back to the days of the United Bahamian Party (UBP).
Rollins was responding to Fitzgerald, who criticized Rollins' contribution on the bill.
Rollins had charged that the government's "hypocrisy" on the gaming issue will be "enough to cause it to be fired at the next general election".
"I'm not sure if the member may be sensing that his own political life is in jeopardy, I don't know, Mr. Speaker," Fitzgerald said in his contribution yesterday.
"Some of us may well lose in the upcoming election and I'm sure some of us will, Mr. Speaker. But it won't be because of this bill.
"If we lose the next election, it won't be because of this bill.
"It'll be because members of Parliament, who are in here, many of us who are on probation - what I mean is this is our first time in here, will not return because the electorate has rejected us.
"If any member in here, including Fort Charlotte, is concerned about the PLP losing, my advice would be to go in their constituency and start working. And if you are working, work harder. So at the end of the day, you can do everything you can to make sure the PLP is successful."
Fitzgerald also gave an analogy that opposing the bill is like opposing a bill that sought to allow Bahamians to drive cars and regulate the speed limit.
After Fitzgerald wrapped up, Rollins rose on a point of order and said the education minister was "misleading the position that I articulated when I gave my own contribution".
Rollins, who was recently fired as chairman of the Gaming Board after he criticized Prime Minister Perry Christie, said he never definitively stated that the PLP would lose the next election over the gaming issue. He opined that he is a member of the PLP, a party that has fought against discrimination.
"But this legislation says that rather than be the progressive party that changed the laws, that allowed Bahamians to be able to access those places that those who didn't look like them could only access, this legislation says that we are going to go back to the days of the UBP," Rollins said.
He charged that his position was editorialized by The Tribune.
"I never said or predicted or declared that the Progressive Liberal Party would lose the next election," he said.
Rollins has said he cannot support the bill as it will continue to discriminate against Bahamians, banning them from gambling in casinos.
But Fitzgerald said he may have misunderstood Rollins when he spoke in the House, "but he predicted during this debate that we would lose the next election".
Fitzgerald went on to say that he has no problem with Bahamians being successful in the country, but as he was, Rollins was heckling him from his seat.
"I heard the member say that I live over Paradise Island," Fitzgerald said. "I work hard for everything I have, Mr. Speaker. And I encourage and I entice and I want every other person in this country to...be successful at everything they do."
Fitzgerald continued that some people just don't want to see black Bahamians succeed.
Rollins attempted to respond to Fitzgerald, but House Speaker Dr. Kendal Major did not allow it.
The Gaming Bill 2014, and accompanying legislation, was passed in the House yesterday with 25 yays, seven nays and five absentees.

JUMP HEADLINE: Rollins said position was editorialized

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A tremendous disappointment

September 16, 2014

Dear Editor,
"In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes."
(Judges 17:6)
"A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God's law!"
(Proverbs 29:18)
I was totally disturbed, distressed, saddened and embarrassed as I listened to the comments of the prime minister and his deputy in "the honorable House" concerning their response to several of our pastors' comments about the failure of government to do what they were elected to do: serve the people of The Bahamas by heeding their known wishes via an established legal instrument - a general referendum.
As I listened, I was praying that no one else but a few people in The Bahamas would hear such unfortunate personal diatribes against citizens taking advantage of their God and state-given right to voice their opinions without fear of personal attack from a properly elected government.
The prime minister has been a tremendous disappointment to me. I have some personal attachments to his family, one being that his beloved mother cared for my twins when they were born. She took them home from the hospital and cared for them and for my wife during the first few days of this wonderful time in our lives.
Our first children - and Nurse Christie was there for us! We had a special love for her ever since. Her loving, Christlike demeanor was a tremendous blessing to my wife and I. So naturally, our bias and our favor were automatically extended to her son when he became prime minister of The Bahamas. I believed he was a man of integrity and grounded in Christian principles, as was his mother.
Regretfully, that dream of mine was shattered when I heard and saw his persistent commitment to reject the will of the people and replace it with his own and that of his party. His remarks concerning his faith not being able to be taken away by any pastor were especially hurtful, knowing that he had a strong Christian upbringing by folk who knew and sought to obey the word of God.
However, the remarks of his deputy were even more disturbing. Casting aspersions on ALL pastors by using the lawyer's strategy of suggesting things when he has no proof as to their veracity or truthfulness, smearing and defaming as a result.
How does he know if ANY pastor has an account with any of these web shops? And if he knows one or two who did, why make it appear as though all have? His reference to 'the offering plate' was even more distasteful. Those are disrespectful and vicious attacks that are unworthy of a man who was elected by the good citizens of The Bahamas - including pastors - to represent them in the honorable House. I feel his actions are most DIS-honorable and a shame to the Bahamian people. I was, and am, totally ashamed and embarrassed by these actions.
Both Prime Minister Christie and his deputy, Brave Davis, had a wonderful opportunity to act righteously in their response to the pastors - and in fact, to the issues of the Gaming Bill and the referendum as a whole - but sadly, regretfully and unfortunately, they both choose to display unrighteous reactions, thus bringing both spiritual and moral shame to our people. Would to God they would have been willing to "bend to righteousness" rather than the pressure of peers or other men.
"Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye dismayed at their revilings" (Proverbs 14:34; Isaiah 51:7 ASV).
- Pastor Allan R. Lee

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Adelaide oil spill - bound to happen sooner or later

September 16, 2014

Dear Editor,
When I saw the photos of the thick oil slick that washed up on Adelaide beach last week, I was not surprised in the slightest. The fact of the matter is that one or more of the industrial facilities at Clifton Pier have been leaking oil and other forms of pollution into the land and sea for years.
These spills and leaks have continued unimpeded and have not been properly investigated by the authorities. In my humble opinion, this failure on the part of our officials is not neglect or laziness, but rather the result of a fear that they will trace some or all of these leaks back to their own Bahamas Electricity Corporation plant.
While it is never good to see one of our beautiful Bahamian beaches saturated with toxic black sludge, I am almost happy this happened, as it will hopefully bring focused attention to this decades-old scandal that has been effectively shielded from the public view.
Many Bahamians still fish in Clifton Bay and feed their catch to their families or sell it to local restaurants. Oil pollution is highly toxic and can cause a host of very serious health problems. But as long as the slick continued to drift out to sea, though, there was no smoking gun and no reason to face up to facts.
Now, with the evidence literally washed up on our doorstep, we have a reason to force our government to finally investigate this travesty properly, identify the culprit or culprits and force them to clean up their act.
- A.M. Johnson

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Deadlines, excuses and real life consequences

September 16, 2014

It came to light this week that the presence of mold had forced the closure of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) maternity ward. In response, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis expressed concern for the health of staff and patients. He also lamented that the former government's plan to move several high-priority treatment areas into a new, state-of-the-art facility has yet to be fulfilled.
"The nursing and medical personnel as well as the babies are exposed to mold infestation and the solution sits next door, the Critical Care Block," Minnis pointed out.
Yet after more than a year of delays, there is still no opening date for this facility, and the road to this juncture has been littered with contradictory excuses and unexplained delays.
Weeks after the May 2012 election, new Minister of Health Dr. Perry Gomez said the project was on schedule for a July 2013 opening.
A year later, Gomez said everything was still in order, with construction 80 percent complete.
When the private contractors asked for a delay until October 2013 due to complications caused by underground utilities, the government was essentially handed a three-month extension to get the administrative details in order.
The official line remained that the facility would be ready to open "shortly" after being handed over.
But then in December of last year, Gomez suddenly announced the opening would be delayed by an additional four months.
"It still needs a lot of time to get the place fully equipped and furnished. And then we'll be staffed. But there is staff in the pipelines," he said.
However, a few months later, Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Chairman Frank Smith said the holdup was not so much about equipment and furniture, as it was about "staffing challenges".
Two months later, Smith seems to have decided the problem is not low staff numbers at all, nor is it equipment, but rather the readiness of "systems".
He said: "We have to test systems...everything is being tested and retested. We want to make sure it's done right."
Later, Smith said they still lacked funding for essential technology. However, the People's Republic of China stepped in to donate more than half a million dollars worth of new, state-of-the-art medical equipment and supplies.
Then, last week, it was reported that a $35 million loan had been obtained from CIBC First Caribbean to cover the outstanding equipment and furniture.
Still, no opening date. One has been chosen, we are told, but is being kept quiet pending Cabinet approval.
Meanwhile, other areas of the outdated and overburdened PMH must struggle to cope with the added responsibility of delivering and caring for newborns.
Sometimes it seems as if our politicians treat governance like a game, or a theatrical performance in which promises, duties and deadlines are not to be taken too seriously.
But it is not a game, and we sincerely hope no real life consequences for medical staff or patients result from the woeful mismanagement of the opening of this vital project by the current administration.

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Agents of change in The Bahamas

September 16, 2014

The use of the phrase "change agent" has become common in The Bahamas today as individuals emerge from all walks of life claiming this title. The adoption of this self-description by many persons in our country today has become convenient because it suggests that they represent a new breed that is uncomfortable with the status quo.
Questions arise, however: Do we actually have in our midst genuine agents of change? Are these change agents are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to bring about the changes they desire? Do we have enough of them to not only challenge the status quo but achieve the necessary results for the betterment of our country?
A critical component of this discussion is the magnitude of the changes being pursued and the timing of efforts to change that which in some cases has become a part of our culture.
The convenience of activism
The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he stated that "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and adversity". In the same vein, it is quite easy and common to take positions that are consistent with the views of the majority; after all this does not ruffle the proverbial feathers of anyone or any establishment. This explains why individuals that are regarded as "yes men or women" are hardly catalysts for change and talk less of a revolution.
It is intriguing to see how many of our political leaders take stances when there are hardly consequences for their positions. Going further, it is not surprising but disappointing to witness how the views of politicians change when they are no longer in power or cannot influence policy in a significant way.
In light of the normal practice described in the preceding sentences, one can understand why, in spite of their shortcomings as human beings, the three prime ministers of The Bahamas since independence would have had to deal with consequences of confronting the status quo. However, one thing they all had in common was the ability to skillfully navigate our parliamentary system of government to arrive at a place where they can bring about the changes they sought.
Conviction, loyalty and politics
While it is often easy for human beings to act and fake for prolonged periods, it is difficult to manufacture conviction. This is why true political leadership is reserved not only for individuals of courage but more importantly persons with deep convictions which govern their service to their people. It is therefore important that we ascertain the philosophies of our current and aspiring political leaders; we ought to ask them what they believe in and obtain their views on a range of issues of national importance.
As a nation we must not equate conviction with betrayal, and an individual's beliefs should not necessarily bring their loyalty to our commonwealth into question. That being said, we all have differing views which make us a stronger country; our diversity should strengthen and unite us in building a better nation, rather than divide us to the detriment of our Bahamaland. Politicians on all sides of the political divide ought to work together for the good of the nation. They must evolve into statesmen and stateswomen looking at the next generation instead of the next election. This writer submits that we are where we are in our country today because we do not have enough statesmen and stateswomen.
Seasonal champions of change
It is often said that our true self is manifested in solitude away from the prying eyes of the public and, in the case of politicians, when the cameras are not rolling or the microphone is not in front of them. Who are our leaders when no one is watching? The Bible states that 'by their fruits you shall know them'; the question is what (if any) seeds have our leaders planted? Are they planting seeds which will produce trees and by extension provide shade for the next generation of Bahamians or are they eating both the fruits and seeds today to the detriment of our future?
Another common occurrence which has become prevalent in recent times is the newfound voices of many on a myriad issues that have plagued our nation for years and, in some cases, decades. Just to be clear, it is good that we finally have people rising up to the plate and seeking changes. This is important for the maturity and deepening of our democracy. The only concern here is that we seem to have settled for years until we found ourselves between the proverbial rock and hard place. It is hoped that the new and emerging champions of change are not only genuine and not driven by selfish ambitions, but also will not quit on the Bahamian people in years to come. We need reliable and consistent change agents, not seasonal champions of change in our nation.
The changes that we seek
We continue to have discussions on a number of issues ranging from gender equality, fiscal reform, gambling, the proposed Junkanoo Carnival, crime and immigration, just to mention a few. It is obvious that different stakeholders and individuals have emerged in support and opposition to the positions taken by the government on these matters. This again bodes well for the development of our country.
The only question here is, if the ultimate objective of these initiatives is to ensure national development, upholding the fundamental human rights of all Bahamians, growth of our economy and enhancing the lives of all Bahamians, why are the true change agents among us only interested in the issues that impact them or their pockets? The Bahamas does not require selective confronters of the status quo.
Liberty and prosperity for all Bahamians should be supported by all of us. While we may disagree on the method being adopted in changing the status quo, we should not take our eyes off the prize in the interest of our people. Real change agents should not limit their pursuit of a better day to the private sector or the confines of their homes but must infiltrate the public sector and their communities if our country is to thrive rather than just survive. That being said, the popular saying that charity begins at home is ever so true. Strong families will always produce a strong and better community and, by extension, a better country.
The change process
"Glass ceiling" is the term often used metaphorically to describe the limitations placed on individuals by a system, ideology, policies, other people or a culture. The objective of our change agents to remove barriers that stand between the Bahamian people and the "Bahamian dream" is generally defined by the shattering of the glass ceiling paving the way for no limits to that which we can achieve.
In confronting the limitations under the status quo, we tend to have the expectation that the change should be instantaneous, effected in full and implemented in the manner that we want. Hence, it is not surprising that change agents are not easily satisfied and will sometimes fail to celebrate the cracks in the glass ceiling.
It is important however, to appreciate the little successes and progress in the quest to eliminate the status quo. The wisdom of going through the right process and the virtue of patience must be combined with perseverance until the desired change is fully actualized. Rome was not built in a day and there is always a process for progress.
Conclusion
It is often said that change is the one constant in life and The Bahamas cannot avoid the winds of change as we journey as a nation. While change is a constant, not all changes are positive and/or in the interest of our commonwealth. It is therefore incumbent upon our leaders and persons in authority to ensure that in seeking to bring about change, they ensure that the changes they propose and support are for the ultimate good of the citizenry.
The judges of the changes that we promote individually and within our stakeholder groups today will not only be the present generation but also generations yet unborn.
Posturing and political expediency grounded in self-preservation or the desire to remain relevant is not only unpatriotic, it is an injustice to the people of this great country. In the final analysis, the Bahamian people will be watching the persons that claim to be agents of change in our country to see whether they will continue to seek positive changes in our country but more importantly whether they will become the change that they seek.
We will also seek to determine whether they are merely old wine in new wineskins or vice versa; do they have the same mentality of the status quo in a rebranded vessel?
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments on this article can be directed to a.s.komolafe510@gmail.com.

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PM: God expects him to act on gaming regulation

September 16, 2014

Prime Minister Perry Christie said his critics can "talk until thy kingdom come" about the government's decision to go against the results of the gambling referendum, adding that "God expects him to act".
"We could talk until thy kingdom come about Christie and the referendum. The fact is, Mr. Speaker, when someone has given their word in the aftermath of a referendum...and I am confronted with the reality that my country will suffer dramatically and drastically, I've said in this Parliament before when there is such a conflict, I don't have the luxury to pray my way out of it, even though prayers help. God expects me to act," he said.
Christie said he consulted with the church prior to the government moving forward with the regularization process. Christie said the government is not asking the religious leaders to change their position. He said the government is merely attempting to explain the circumstances that the country finds itself in.
"I knew that whatever level of morality that was involved in this, at least they would have the understanding of why I would've been doing what I am doing," he said.
"Do you think I like people calling me no good, worthless, incompetent, traitor, corrupt? Do I like that? Do I walk into things willingly?"
In the past week, several religious leaders have condemned the government's decision to regulate the web shop industry.
The pastors have pointed out that the majority of Bahamians who voted in a gambling referendum last January voted no on the issue. The Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) has specifically criticized Christie who said web shops would shut down if the people voted against the taxation and regulation of the industry.
But Christie said yesterday, "Whenever there is a conflict between the word and the national interest, you have no choice.
"You can argue that you could have closed them down and wait for the courts to finish the process," he said.
However, Christie said that option would have likely elicited criticism from international monitoring agencies for the government's inaction.
"There is no way under God's heaven that you would be able to rationalize that," he said. "You can't pretend your way out of this. The government has to act."
Pastor Andrew Stewart has said the government is "killing democracy" in The Bahamas by moving ahead to regulate the industry.
Stewart, along with several other pastors, were in the House of Assembly earlier this month when the bill was tabled. They were dressed in black. The men said they were in mourning over the "death of democracy".
In response, Christie said "there are times in the country's history where the government has to act in the best interest of the country. We can't duck those decisions."

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BEC looking to purchase six new generators

September 16, 2014

Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller said the corporation is preparing to purchase six new generators.
He said a team from BEC will travel to Florida today to begin the process.
Miller did not say how much the generators will cost the corporation.
"We are going to send our team to take a look at [them] to see if they can fit into our arsenal that we have," Miller told reporters.
"Apparently those engines are some of the engines we use in Abaco, Eleuthera [and] Long Island. And it's a good deal I understand.
"We are looking at it, the viability of having those engines in The Bahamas very shortly."
Earlier this month, three generators at the Clifton Pier Power Station failed, leading to rolling blackouts -- the latest in a series of countless power shortages this summer.
It took several days before BEC restored those generators, much to the frustration of many residents who were without power for hours.
As a result of the downed generators, the corporation was forced to rely on its Blue Hills plant, which Miller said would result in an increase in the fuel surcharge on customers' bills.
The corporation's public relations officer, Arnette Ingraham, has said the price increase is not expected to be prolonged.
However, she said prices are also dependent on the global price of fuel and whether the corporation can maintain its generators at Clifton Pier.
According to Miller, the Clifton Pier and Blue Hills Powers Stations were operating at their optimum as of yesterday .
"We are in good shape right now as far as generating [at] Blue Hills and Clifton," he said.
"...Right now, we are in excellent shape. Let us pray to God that we stay that way."
Asked whether there has been a decrease in power demand, Miller said as of last Thursday the temperature dropped leading to a decrease in demand.
However, over the weekend, residents in western New Providence reported outages for up to eight hours.
And yesterday morning and last night, several residents, particularly in eastern New Providence, reported outages.

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Miller denies BEC played role in oil spill

September 16, 2014

Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller yesterday denied the corporation is responsible for the recent oil spill on Adelaide beach.
A significant amount of oil washed ashore on that beach last week.
"It is suspected that one of those ships that pass through our waters on an hourly basis may have made a discharge," said Miller outside the House of Assembly.
"But, from what I understand, it has nothing to do with BEC, and I will give you all an analysis.
"...When you hear people casting aspersions on BEC...you need to analyze and see the types of different fuels that are mixed in those spills.
"Most of it is not fuel BEC [uses]. I dare say, in many instances, even jet fuel is in the mix."
In a statement, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said officials were alerted on Saturday about the spill and acted immediately to establish a plan of action.
It said the Ministry of Environment and Housing dispatched technical officers from the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) and the BEST Commission visited the area and is preparing reports for review and action.
The statement noted that most of the oily debris had been washed away by the tide after an apparent clean-up effort by concerned citizens.
Save the Bays CEO Lindsey McCoy yesterday applauded the government's effort to investigate and find the source of the spill.
However, she said oil spills have persisted for more than 20 years and must be brought to an end.
"People from New Providence, especially those who live in the community of Adelaide, still fish in these bays. And we have concerns about the impact of continual oil pollution on the health of the fish populations and the consequent possible health effects on those who consume seafood extracted from this area," McCoy said.
In its statement, the ministry said due to the ongoing and "very longstanding environmental concerns at Clifton Pier (well in excess of a decade) and reports from the National Oil Spill Advisory Committee of the same, a Cabinet committee was appointed to review the Clifton Pier area and the associated reports".
It said the committee has made recommendations which include "the development and implementation of an environment management Plan and an independent environmental review of the entire Clifton Pier area".

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Teen pleads guilty to manslaughter

September 16, 2014

An 18-year-old man yesterday pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter before he went to trial for murder.
Donavan Burrell shot Gregory Rolle Jr. in the stomach outside a bar in March 2012.
Rolle died two weeks after the shooting. But before his death, he identified Burrell as his attacker.
Burrell also gave a videotaped confession. Rolle had reportedly beaten up Burrell on a previous occasion.
Justice Indra Charles sentenced Burrell to 15 years' imprisonment after taking into account the two years he had spent on remand.
Terrel Butler represented Burrell.

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Man admits to killing Enrico Major

September 16, 2014

The man accused of the murder of Enrico Major, the teenage son of jailed drug trafficker Dwight Major, claims he is guilty of the crime.
However, Justice Bernard Turner did not accept the guilty plea of Dwayne Peter Lockhart because it was equivocal.
Major, 17, was stabbed to death on June 1 on Baillou Hill Road South weeks before his high school graduation.
In his explanation of the crime, Lockhart claimed that he was defending himself against an attack from Major and Ken Johnson, whom he claimed were armed with knives.
Lockhart said, "They came to kill me. I really didn't want to take matters into my own hands. I would like to apologize to Mrs. [Keva] Major. I really didn't want to deal with it, but justice must be served."
After hearing Lockhart's explanation, Turner said he could not accept the plea because it was not an unequivocal plea of murder, an unlawful and intentional killing.
Turner said the matter would have to go to trial.
Lockhart, who was unrepresented at yesterday's proceedings, asked for a court-appointed lawyer.
He next returns to court on October 23 for a status hearing. Another man, Kervin Neely, is accused of abetment to Major's murder.
Dwight and Keva Major were both extradited to Florida on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana into the United States. Keva Major was released in 2008 as part of a plea deal. Her husband is scheduled to be released in 2016.

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Expecting mother lands grand prize in 'I Love KFC' promotion

September 16, 2014

Brittany Porter drove away in a shiny 2014 Kia Sportage after opening the winning box at KFC's grand prize event that wrapped up its red hot "I Love KFC" summer promotion on Saturday.
The expecting mother was speechless when she realized she had opened the winning box that held the grand prize envelope. Porter, 22, was one of 10 Red Ticket holders randomly chosen by the KFC Prize Patrol during the popular promotion and invited to the grand prize event to open one of 10 boxes, each containing an exciting prize.
"I feel so excited. It feels like a dream," said a tearful Porter, surrounded by overjoyed family members and friends at the grand prize event held at KFC's Marathon Road location.
Porter, who is due to have her baby in November, said she received her winning sticker from KFC's Prince Charles Drive location.
The grand prize event, which featured fun for the whole family, culminated with the grand prize drawing, which drew a crowd of supporters and curious onlookers. The excitement was palpable as the 10 ticket holders selected their keys, placed them in front of their chosen boxes and waited for the instructions to open the lock. Only one of the boxes held the grand prize, but the remaining ticket holders did not leave empty handed.
Michelle Bowleg won an Apple iPod Nano; Levette Burrows won a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; Angelique Roker won a 42" flat screen TV; Erica Humes won a Fitbit Flex; Quincy Lockhart won a 32" flat screen TV; Margo Mackey won a Samsung Galaxy S4; Judith McPhee won an iPad Mini; Orlando Rolle won a Toshiba laptop and Kissie Swaby won an HP All-in-One Desktop PC.
The grand prize, the 2014 Kia Sportage, was purchased by KFC from Sanpin Motors for the promotion.
The KFC Prize Patrol team had been cruising the streets of Nassau since July, rewarding hundreds of customers who showed their love for KFC by displaying "I Love KFC" stickers on their vehicles. Customers received the tickets after purchasing any Classic Combo, Mega Deal or Sandwich Combo at any of KFC Nassau's eight convenient locations. Customers spotted by the Prize Patrol were given the chance to randomly select an envelope that revealed either an instant-win prize or one of the 10 lucky Red Tickets.
"The promotion was extremely successful and it was such an amazing way to cap it all off," said Ash Henderson, director of marketing, Restaurants Bahamas. "We love showing our customers how much we appreciate them, and obviously the feeling is mutual."
For more information on KFC Nassau please visit www.kfcnassau.com, or like KFC Nassau on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kfcnassau.

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A deficit of trust

September 15, 2014

When it comes to the gambling issue, both the governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the opposition Free National Movement (FNM) have proven to be disingenuous.
Oftentimes, it appears their statements on the subject are motivated more by what is politically expedient than what is in the country's best interest.
During debate on the Gaming Bill in the House of Assembly last Wednesday, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who has responsibility for gaming, branded Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis the "undisputed flip-flop" champion based on his changing views on gambling.
True, Minnis has earned a reputation as a flip-flopper, as we have pointed to many times.
Back in 2012, he told us he supported the regulation and taxation of numbers houses.
"You cannot have an illegal event continue within a country," Minnis said.
"What message are you sending out to the public? What message are you sending out when you cannot control systems or institutions within your country? But we will watch and monitor to ensure that we have proper regulations, and to ensure that the people benefit."
Later, he took a position against regulating web shops.
While Minnis has wavered on this issue and others -- most recently the gender equality bills -- the ultimate flip-flopping champion in the gambling scenario has to be the Christie administration.
After an ill-advised referendum in January 2013, which wasted well over $1 million of precious taxpayer dollars, the government went back on its word to abide by the results of that poll.
Wilchcombe nor any other member of the Christie administration can speak with moral authority in criticizing Minnis for his changing positions on the gambling issue.
We have long known that Minnis struggles to take a position and stick to it. That is one of the more obvious traits of his leadership style.
While Wilchcombe was busy throwing punches at Minnis over his flip-flopping, he should have been reminded that the excuse the government repeatedly gave for ignoring the referendum results is an unreasonable one.
Wilchcombe recently acknowledged that the government owes the Bahamian people an apology for its decision to go against the referendum results, but he insisted that money laundering concerns overrode the original commitment to honor the outcome of the vote.
"...When the Central Bank raises a red flag and says a problem is developing, we have to, because of our financial services sector being in jeopardy [and] facing difficulties, then we had to make a decision and the best decision was to regulate [the sector]," he said.
Similarly, Prime Minister Perry Christie said during the budget debate in June that his views on this issue "evolved in light of a new appreciation of the dangers we face from continuing to have an unregulated web shop industry that is not susceptible to sustained law enforcement under the law as it stands today and which, moreover still, is not paying its fair share of taxes".
But in this space on June 30, we reminded that the Christie administration was always aware and seemingly concerned about the money laundering issue.
In Parliament in November 2012, ahead of the gambling referendum, Christie said in a communication, "The web shop operators are unable to secure bank accounts for their businesses as they do not satisfy the relevant anti-money laundering rules.
"There are concerns regarding the way in which the cash generated from the business is legitimized. The web shops are used to facilitate the transmission of funds between individuals resident on different islands in direct contravention of the relevant banking and anti-money laundering rules."
Christie also noted in 2012: "Continued operation of the web shops in the manner outlined leaves The Bahamas exposed to international scrutiny and sanctions for failure to implement anti-money laundering rules. This position is not acceptable and needs to be addressed without further delay. It has been ignored for too long."
Continuing the Central Bank narrative, Minister for the Environment Kenred Dorsett also hit out at the opposition for its decision to vote against the Gaming Bill.
"While the opposition decides what side of history they will like to be on, this PLP government is moving this country forward," Dorsett declared during debate on the Gaming Bill last week.
The money laundering explanation is a convenient excuse, but it is clear that the government knew long before the referendum that this was a serious matter that could threaten the integrity of our financial system and our country's reputation.
Speaking of the government's explanation and arguments on this issue, prominent pastor Lyall Bethel noted on the Guardian Radio show "Morning Blend" on Friday, "It is disingenuous and insincere".
"If you are smart enough, you can see through them," Bethel said of the government's arguments. "They're like gossamer paper that you can see through and tear easily."
In his contribution to debate on the Gaming Bill last Thursday night, the controversial Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins said the government's explanation on why it changed its mind "has no merit".
On the gambling issue, he said the government is suffering from a deficit of trust.
Rollins pointed out that in 2006, the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, released by the U.S. Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, said there were more than 10 Internet gaming sites based in The Bahamas, although none were licensed by Bahamian authorities.
At the time, Wilchcombe said the government "was acutely aware" of the risks associated with these operations and was trying to find ways to deal with the situation.
Rollins told the House, "We didn't need the Central Bank governor to tell us we had a problem. We knew it. We knew all along.
"The fact remains, we took so long, both FNM governments and PLP governments, to do anything about it."
While the government is busy criticizing the opposition on this issue, it has also been found wanting in its handling of the matter.
Though failing to declare a "horse in the race", its desire for a "yes" vote in the 2013 referendum was clear to many.
When it did not get that "yes" vote, it needed an excuse to explain away why it could not accept the results of the referendum.
The government is now doing what it clearly wanted to do all along: regulate and tax the web shops.
The government of Prime Minister Christie is now left to pay the political price of bad decision making.
It is best that it focuses now on effecting the smooth transition to a regulated industry, rather than pointing fingers at the opposition.
Its shameless use of the name of the Central Bank governor in this matter is something many observers can see through.
What the gambling debate exposed more than anything else is that both sides of the political divide are content with feeding the electorate foolish, bombastic rhetoric that does nothing to build trust.
On this issue, it is evident that credibility has long been lost.
Opposition
While some in the opposition would wish us to forget the moves the Ingraham administration made toward regulating web shops, this is difficult to do.
We previously reported that, in April 2010, police warned of the dangers of an unregulated sector.
That report to then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said intelligence received showed "the number racketeering business is lucrative business".
"It is growing by leaps and bounds and at an alarming rate," the report said. "The Central Intelligence Bureau strongly recommends that a full investigation be conducted to ascertain how it is possible for the Business Licence Department to issue legitimate business licenses for vendors to operate these illegal businesses without hindrance or intervention from the ministry/department."
It is unclear whether such an investigation ever took place.
In one of the more laughable statements of the Gaming Bill debate in the House last week, former Works Minister Neko Grant claimed that under the FNM administration, the intent of web shops was to "provide computers and access to the Internet for persons who for one reason or the other, did not have computers in their homes".
Grant said, "This was a legal business that received business licenses under the FNM administration. They were subsequently turned into full-fledged illegal gambling houses, as well as unauthorized banking entities.
"The fact that one has filed a false declaration for years as it relates to a business license should disqualify them from obtaining a gaming house license."
Does Neko Grant really expect intelligent Bahamians to believe the Ingraham administration did not know that the operations it was granting business licenses to were, in fact, conducting illegal numbers operations?
Does he not know that the Ingraham administration, of which he was a part, had in fact initiated a two-way dialogue with the numbers operators with a view to developing a mutually-agreed model for the numbers business?
Or does he really expect sensible people to buy that the government's aim in issuing business licenses to web shops was simply to encourage computer literacy?
We previously documented the efforts the former administration made toward regulating these web shops, before pulling back under pressure from the church.
We also wonder whether Grant would have made his personal views against gambling known had the then government continued efforts to regulate web shops, or had it been re-elected and pursued the issue as it committed to doing.
Grant, who was a minister in the Ingraham government, now tells us, "The social cost in terms of dysfunctional families, addiction, increased crime and poor working habits is greater than the benefits to the Bahamian people."
It is sometimes hard for us to take our political leaders seriously.
On the matter of gaming, there are several examples that remind us that political expediency too often trumps the national good.

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On the attack

September 15, 2014

Pastor calls PM's actions immoral, unprincipled
Prime Minister Perry Christie finds himself in a contradiction of sorts.
He has decided to place on hold the constitutional referendum bills while he consults with the church.
At the same time, he has gotten into a public spat with several pastors who have delivered a scorching rebuke of his decision to ignore the results of the 2013 gambling referendum.
A majority of the Bahamians who voted, voted against the regularization and taxation of web shops.
It is not clear whether Christie's response to the pastors and the response of Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, which were made on the same day, were contrived to discredit the pastors in their very vocal stance against regulating and taxing web shops.
While on the one hand the prime minister has spoken of the need to respect the church and take its views into consideration on matters of national import, on the other hand he has chastised some church leaders for criticizing his decision to go against the wishes of voters.
In a series of statements that confounded some, Christie said last week there is no religious leader who can give him a passport to heaven.
He said his decision to regulate web shops is not a sinful act.
The following day, Pastor Lyall Bethel, of Grace Community Church, said Christie had taken an "unprincipled and immoral" position on the matter.
"You said to the people 'I will abide, my government will abide by the wishes of the people'. You said that," said Bethel, while on the Guardian Radio show "Morning Blend" on Friday.
"No puppeteer made you say that. You said that. And so we say that it is unprincipled, and because you have said it publicly, not in a dark corner, it is immoral for you to go forward."
Bethel added, "If he wants to maintain that he is a Christian, then he should not take this as someone questioning his Christianity, but questioning the outworking of his faith.
"And so, my thing to him is, as I have said to him in many a meeting, Mr. Prime Minister, do not let it be your legacy that you were the one who brought in the ruinous spirit of gambling. Yes, it might have been there, but you are the guy who made it legal.
"You are the guy who threw it out to the public. You are the guy who turned a vice into a virtue and built an economy on it."
Christie insisted on Thursday that he is governed by his faith.
He said, "Whether I am seen to be doing the right thing or not, so long as I am [of] the belief that what I am doing is honestly intended to benefit the Bahamian people [and] is not harmful to them, it is not a sinful action that I am taking."
During debate on the Gambling Bill in the House of Assembly last Thursday, Davis also turned his guns on the religious leaders.
"I got word while I was in Samoa that members of the Bahamas Christian Council sat in the gallery Wednesday past to highlight the death of democracy in The Bahamas.
"Having heard this, I wondered whether these same pastors that preach about the wrongs of gambling themselves have accounts or accept benefits from these gentlemen? And I ask myself, why should I be asking myself that of our religious leaders? Why would they want to put me or anyone else in a position to be asking these questions?"
As Davis asks these questions of pastors, there are still lingering questions about the "benefits" political parties have gotten from these same gentlemen the government is working with to legalize and regularize their establishments.
Davis said as long as there was no attempt to bring order to the present web shop situation, everyone seemed happy to turn a blind eye.
It seems lost on Davis that it was the government that vowed to shut down web shops in the event of a no vote.
That is a commitment the government abandoned once the referendum -- which it clearly expected to pass -- failed.
The government now says it will take action against web shops that operate illegally once the industry is regulated.
We suppose that the resources it could not find to shut down web shops will suddenly be available to police the system.
In justifying the move to regulate web jobs, the deputy prime minister said the fact is that the government would be hard-pressed to close down web shops.
This whole episode has been a most unfortunate one.
Christie has long courted the church and even used it to justify certain political moves.
For instance, he still points to concerns raised by the church back in 2002 as the reason why the Progressive Liberal Party campaigned against the constitutional referendum, even after supporting the bills in the House of Assembly.
Instead of admitting that the decision to backtrack was done so for political reasons, Christie and the PLP continue to use the church in this regard.
The voice of the church, however, was of little consequence in 2013 when the Christie administration brought the gambling referendum.
Likewise, it is of no consequence now that it has decided to push ahead with the undemocratic decision to regulate the web shops.
On edge
With a weak official opposition voice on this and some other issues, Christie is on edge as Bethel and other pastors who were vociferous in their opposition to the gambling referendum continue their fight against legalizing web shops.
"I believe that our pointing out that the actions of the government are certainly contrary to democratic principles, I believe that has received resounding agreement with the [majority] of the Bahamian people, and I think they are feeling that, and so I believe they are using diversionary tactics," Pastor Alfred Stewart of New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church told National Review.
The pastors are spot on in their conclusions that the actions of the government on this issue are contrary to democratic principles.
Christie had vowed to abide by the results of the gambling referendum.
He did not.
He later recognized that he made a mistake in taking the matter to referendum and that he should have legalized web shops upon coming to office.
The failed vote landed him in a conundrum, one that he cannot wiggle himself out of by getting into a public fight with the church.
The prime minister's faith is not in question.
As Christie rightly recognized in Parliament last Thursday, his faith is something personal to him and his god.
He also said, "Do not for one moment believe that any of you can arrogate unto yourselves a special right to see yourselves as more Christian, even if you wear a black shirt."
It was a direct swipe at the pastors who were in the House of Assembly nearly two weeks ago when the Gaming Bill was tabled.
They were dressed in black. The men said they were in mourning over the "death of democracy".
While the pastors' use of the term is clearly exaggerated, they made a strong point.
Their presence in all black and their objection to the Gaming Bill got under Christie's skin.
But the prime minister should know that it is nonsensical to get into a public argument with pastors over faith. It is distasteful, unbecoming and does nothing to help advance the cause for good governance.
It has only added confusion to the debate and has led to a situation that is hugely embarrassing for Christie and his government.
Christie has long lost credibility on the gambling issue.
He should not blame bad-decision making and poor judgment calls on being "governed" by his faith.
He should not confuse his actions as the leader of the nation with any discussions about "sin" or redemption.
Likewise, the deputy prime minister's attack on the church was regrettable and unhelpful in the debate.
It has taken the discourse into an arena that has confounded many observers.
At this stage, there is little Christie or Davis can do to adequately defend their undemocratic decision to trash the referendum results.
It is not likely that bickering with the church about morality and faith would assuage the anger felt by many whose votes at the polls on January 28 are now being disregarded.

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Critical role

September 15, 2014

Dr. Andre Rollins' relationship with his party is becoming more chilled and strained with each contribution he makes in the House of Assembly.
Anytime the Fort Charlotte MP gets up to speak, there is now an expectation that he will lash out at the Progressive Liberal Party and dig his claws deeper into the back of the leadership.
Last week was no exception.
While contributing to debate on the Gaming Bill, Rollins highlighted the government's "hypocrisy" and said the gaming issue will be "enough to cause it to be fired at the next general election".
He also said the government's explanation on why it chose to ignore the results of the 2013 gambling referendum lacks merit.
No one should be shocked any more by Rollins' harsh criticisms of the PLP and the Christie administration.
He has accepted, it seems, that he will not get another PLP nomination.
Rollins told us he is not concerned about getting re-elected.
"You deny me a nomination all you want, but at the end of the day, I don't get my power or my motivation from those individuals who have the power to offer a nomination because, ultimately, if the people want you, they're going to accept you no matter what label you fall under, whether it's independent, whether it's PLP, whether it's FNM or any other party."
Despite the fallout he is facing within his party, Rollins appears to be taking seriously his role as a backbencher.
The backbench's responsibility is to help keep the government focused on what is deemed to be the party's sacred philosophies and policies in government.
It is obvious he recognizes that the backbench is intended to be that opposition in a party to get the government to focus on doing things differently, if it is making decisions that would negatively reflect on the government or the party and damage the party's popularity in the country.
Indeed, it is not abnormal in the parliamentary system for there to be members on the backbench who may hold views that differ from the views expressed by the cabinet.
A strong backbench ought to be the staple of a democracy, the party's voice of conscience in Parliament.
One political observer opined that if Rollins' outspokenness is going to foster a culture within the Parliament, particularly on the government side, of having a strong, vocal backbench, that could only add to the further evolution and strengthening of our democracy.
The test will likely come at the time of his re-nomination.
The party would have to recognize and accept that what Rollins is doing is not necessarily destroying the party, but impacting how the electors see the PLP as a brand.
The PLP should not condemn Rollins, particularly since what he is saying is receiving popular support.
For that reason alone, the leadership of the party should stop and listen to what the MP has to say.
It is clear to us that Rollins understands the temperature of the country. He is man enough to articulate it.
The PLP may get an opportunity to save itself from an electoral defeat if it listens to members like Rollins, as opposed to being dismissive.
Faith
For now, Rollins is adamant he will not leave the PLP, despite strong internal calls for the party to take action against him.
When he joined the PLP in 2011, Rollins, former chairman of the National Development Party, said, "Just as I believe in our nation's potential for greatness, despite our present shortcomings, I am also confident that, notwithstanding the PLP's imperfections, this groundbreaking party still possesses the capacity for change."
On Friday, he told The Nassau Guardian he still has faith in the PLP.
"The PLP is where I am," he said.
"I believe the PLP has the capacity to effect change. If I see things happening that I don't agree [with] and I don't support, I make it known to the public.
"It may be that I have no future in the PLP. If the PLP decides that they don't want me, I cannot force myself on the PLP.
"But I'm not about looking for political cover or trying to do what is politically expedient in the hope that I would be re-elected as some would suggest.
"But I don't have time to suffer fools. If you are doing nonsense, I will say so, and if you have a problem with me speaking my mind because I am echoing what the Bahamian people are saying and feeling, tough.
"And if that means you have no place for me, so be it, but I hope you understand that just because you have some in the party who want nothing to do with me, that should not mean that I should be out there finding out who does in fact want me.
"I can't do that, and I haven't met with any other political party or parties. I can assure you of that."
In some respects, Rollins is echoing what many people are thinking.
There are tremendous frustrations and uncertainties faced by the electorate, the prime minister's repeated expression of optimism notwithstanding.
There are widespread concerns about the impact value-added tax will have after it is introduced in January.
As it approaches the midpoint of its term, much of what the Christie administration led voters to believe would happen in the near term has not yet materialized.
While there will always be those who remain faithful to the PLP and its message, many have lost faith in this administration.
Rollins' critical view of the government is in some respects a reflection of what these people are thinking and feeling.
Within the PLP, Rollins is no doubt experiencing great tension.
After he recently lashed out at Prime Minister Perry Christie and declared the country needs new leadership, there were suggestions made by many PLPs that the MP should address his concerns within the internal structure of the party.
Asked to respond to this, Rollins said, "I've done so, you know, and I'm very vocal internally, as vocal, if not more vocal internally than I am in the House of Assembly."
He explained, "The frustrations that I have experienced have been due to the fact that it's evident that my views and recommendations are falling on deaf ears.
"The fact of the matter is...I can only recall one meeting of the parliamentary caucus attended by the prime minister, so when the prime minister wants to hear me it's in the House of Assembly.
"I don't know why he chooses not to participate in the parliamentary caucus meetings, but if I feel as though my voice isn't being heard by my colleagues. I have a responsibility to have my voice heard in the Parliament by those who put me there, by the Bahamian people."

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One simple act of kindness

September 15, 2014

Now let me commence here today by asking you a simple question, which I'm sure I know the answer to; however, here goes with the question. Do you really appreciate it when someone is kind to you and thus does something for you which really brings great joy to your heart? Now I presume that the answer to that simple question is indeed in the affirmative for all of my most valued readers. Well then, as it is written 'As you SOW--So shall you REAP'. So it therefore logically follows, that as you treat others, particularly in their hour of need, when they're perhaps down and depressed, is exactly how you'll be treated by others during your 'Hour Of Need'.
So, as the title of today's article simply states, I'm asking you to do 'One Simple Act Of Kindness' for someone who is in need of attention today. Now of course, you do not have to limit yourself to just 'One simple Act Of Kindness'; you can indeed shine by going out of your way to be literally kind to everybody who crosses your path throughout each and every day, after all, it's The Spiritual Thing to do.....yes it is!
I am aware of the fact, that we do live today in a rather fast paced, quite materialistic and somewhat selfish world where it's all about me and mind, what I can get, how can I benefit today. Now of course, there's absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with very aggressively pursuing our goals and objectives, and thus looking out for ourselves. However, at times we need to stop, look around and thus seek out those who are perhaps not quite as fortunate as we are blessed to be, and then go out of our way to be very kind to these Hurting Souls.
Yes indeed, 'One Simple Act Of Kindness' can turn someone's life completely around and thus assist them in having a most pleasant day, which perhaps otherwise would have been most painful for them. My Friend, never, ever lose sight of The Universal Law of Cause & Effect which the wise Emerson simply referred to as 'THE Law of Laws', that's how very important Emerson thought this law was.
So in conclusion, always keep uppermost in your mind The FACT, that what you put out each and every day in the form of thoughts and deeds will indeed return to you greatly multiplied at some time in the future. So do go out of your way today to be kind to one and all who you meet along the way, and you'll be building a great future for yourself.....yes you will!!
o Think about it!
Visit my Website at: www.dpaulreilly.com.
Listen to "Time to Think" the
radio program on STAR 106.5 FM at 8:55 a.m. & 6:20 p.m.

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Gridiron battle here in The Bahamas

September 15, 2014

The Texas Southern University (TSU) Tigers are now 3-0 this season after coming to The Bahamas and taking care of business with a 30-16 win over the Central State University (CSU) Marauders in the inaugural Bahamas HBCUX Classic. The game was played Saturday evening in front of a sparse crowd at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
The Tigers managed to power their way into the end zone twice with a strong running attack; they also scored two touchdowns off passes from second-string quarterback Jamal Small. Small threw for 186 yards in his second start in place of Homer Causey, and ran for 108 yards on 13 carries.
The Marauders' only points of the first half came on a 32-yard field goal by John Adams. Texas Southern carried a 13-3 lead into half-time and appeared to be in complete control of the game.
At the start of the third quarter, Tigers' running back Daveonn Porter scored one of his two touchdowns to give them a 20-3 lead. The Marauders got back into the game with back-to-back touchdowns to cut it to 20-16, one on a 25-yard interception return by Christian Wilson.
In the latter part of the third, Tigers' Eric Medina kicked a 24-yard field goal, which was followed by Porter's fourth quarter four-yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach.
Almost 3,000 fans came out to see the teams battle in the historic game that was broadcasted by the HBCUX (Historically Black Colleges and Universities Experience) Network. This is the first year of a three-year contract between the HBCUs and The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Each year of the contract, two historically black colleges or universities will square off against each other in the collegiate football game right here in The Bahamas.
"I think we're onto something really big. I just needed a shot to get out of the door and I preached time and time again, let me crawl first. We might make some mistakes, but we have the opportunity to learn from them. We had a good crowd out here and I think it was a good game, and that's what it's all about," said HBCUX Network President Curtis Symonds.
"The idea of my network is to show this kind of experience. People of all cultures need to see what we can do out here, as far as what we are all about. We get underestimated all the time about that, and what's sad to me is that people think you have to go to these major schools to get things done, but that's not the case. It's what you put into it that matters. When I look back at it, it's been hard and I took a lot of bumps and bruises over the last few weeks trying to get here, but what I told everyone is judge me on September 13, and if I didn't deliver something good, you can boot me out. I think I brought something here that's going to open doors."
The game this past Saturday was the first of two American college football games at the national stadium this year. The second is set for Christmas Eve, December 24, and will feature teams from Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in the American collegiate system. Both of the games are part of the Ministry of Tourism's "Sports in Paradise" campaign.
"It has been an incredible experience. I saw the stadium go wild when one of the teams scored a touchdown, so this has generated those that knew nothing about football. Hopefully, they will have developed a new interest in football. We have developed a good relationship with the HBCUs and out of this relationship we have already received six full scholarships which is a substantial investment, and they have expressed interest in working with us moving forward," said Director General in the Ministry of Tourism Joy Jibruli.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson said: "There are a couple historic things here. This is a fall classic which is basically a homecoming game. There is a younger market that I'm going after which is college sports. We know it's a huge market, and we're testing all of the systems here, getting ready for December."
The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl is set to be the biggest American collegiate football game ever hosted here in The Bahamas.

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World Chess Federation names three local players as candidate masters

September 15, 2014

After a strong performance at the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) has named three local players as candidate masters.
Kendrick Knowles, Elton Joseph and Cecil Moncur had to score at least 50 percent in a minimum of seven games at the event to secure the prestigious title. They did just that, and The Bahamas managed to move up to an overall rank of 118 out of 174 countries, after coming into the Chess Olympiad ranked at number 158. The team moved ahead of perennial Caribbean chess powerhouses Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname. In the region, only Jamaica scored more match points by the end of the 11-round competition.
"This tournament was an important benchmark for us to set for ourselves, and what we were able to accomplish. This has really given us a lot of confidence. We see the potential of our players and now we just have to apply ourselves and get the proper training and coaching to do well in the sport," said Bahamas Chess Federation (BCF) President Andre White.
"We played against proven chess masters and were able to hold our own. The guys are incredibly motivated now to continue their training and to represent the country at upcoming international tournaments. They saw the results of preparation, and the efforts that we put into participating in this Olympiad were well worth it."
The trio being awarded the title have now increased the number of candidate masters in The Bahamas to four. Nathan Smith received the honor last year after his performance at the 2013 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Youth Festival. The young chess phenom won the gold medal in the under-8 division of the youth festival, which was held in Costa Rica. The tournament played host to more than 230 players from 16 Central American and Caribbean countries.
In Norway, the three chess veterans led The Bahamas to its best finish ever at the Olympiad, which the country had not competed in, in over 20 years.
A major player in the BCF's recent success is Serbian grandmaster Predrag Trajkovic who worked with the team for two months prior to the tournament and served as team captain during the Chess Olympiad. As captain he developed strategies and provided analysis of the opponents games.
The 42nd Chess Olympiad is scheduled to be held in 2016 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the BCF is already making preparation for a team to attend.
More playing opportunities are expected to be offered to local chess players in the near future, and there has been some discussion of The Bahamas hosting an international tournament in 2015.

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D'Aguilar: BAMSI not a 'prudent' use of funds

September 15, 2014

A leading Bahamian businessman has questioned the government's decision to heavily invest in the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), arguing that it is not a "prudent" use of funds, given the country's "horrible fiscal situation".
In an interview with Guardian Business, Superwash President and former Director of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Dionisio D'Aguilar stated that the North Andros agricultural facility should be a low priority for the government, given the country's constant power concerns.
"We're in a horrible fiscal situation right now, so is [BAMSI] really a prudent use of government money? The timing is wrong," stated D'Aguilar. "We've got so many other pressing concerns. Our electricity infrastructure is a disaster. Why aren't we putting resources into ensuring that we have power 24 hours a day, seven days a week?"
D'Aguilar, a vocal critic of BEC due to its continued inability to provide reliable power, slammed BEC's proposed reform approach last week, which would create a new company wholly owned by BEC with two divisions: one for transmission and distribution and another for generation.
Although D'Aguilar supports agricultural development in the country, he questioned whether The Bahamas has the capacity or resources to compete with regional agriculture competition, noting that similar initiatives to boost local produce in the past have largely failed.
"Why are we building something in Andros that is going to affect so few, whereas the fact that we don't have power every day affects everyone? Something needs to be drastically done.
"To go and take $50 to100 million to pump into Andros right now, with the power going off every day in New Providence, I think there's a better use for those funds," said D'Aguilar.
While the government initially issued $20 million in contracts to begin the construction of BAMSI's first phase in February, Prime Minister Perry Christie has suggested that the government would eventually invest approximately $100 million in the project.
The facility, which was originally slated to open at the beginning of September, has been impacted by delays over construction concerns.
Livingston Forbes, chief architect in the Ministry of Works, confirmed last week that BAMSI's major facilities are nearly 70 percent complete. However, Forbes did not expect the institute's lecture halls to be completed until early 2015.
However, Minister of Agriculture V. Alfred Gray dismissed doubts over the project's future, claiming that the government had invested nearly $50 million into the project to date.
"We have spent almost $50 million already and we have just begun...and so those who would like to see it fail, tell them keeping looking," stated Gray.
Both Gray and Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) Executive Chairman Arnold Forbes have stressed that the project remains within its budget, despite the construction delays.

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