Nassau Guardian Stories

Fast Forward produced strong results at Flying Angels Invitational

August 03, 2016

In July, Team Fast Forward headed to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to compete in the 6th Annual Flying Angels Invitational Track and Field Meet.

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Run for Pompey set for October

August 03, 2016

The event that transformed distance running in the out islands last year, adding popularity and prestige, is back, and once again, set for the National Heroes Day holiday weekend in Exuma.

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Runners trade their shoes for Sands Light

August 03, 2016

Instead of hitting various pavements and bush trails on the island of New Providence, the Nassau Hash House Harriers forwent tennis shoes for bare feet, and switched into Team "Sip a Sands" mode for the annual Sandy Toe'lympics at Sandy Toes Resort on Rose Island last Sunday.

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AID Clay Court Championships set to begin on August 13

August 03, 2016

The Gym Tennis Club has announced that the 24th edition of its annual AID Clay Court Tennis Championships will be held again at the club in Winton Meadows, this time from August 13-27.

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Chris 'The Fireman' Brown ready for fifth Olympics

August 03, 2016

Former Norfolk State University track star Chris "The Fireman" Brown will look to win another medal to cap his storied international career when he competes in his fifth Summer Olympic Games this month in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Grant resigns as leader of opposition business in House

August 03, 2016

Central Grand Bahama M.P. Neko Grant today resigned as leader of opposition business in the House of Assembly.
Just before the lunch break, Grant told Parliament "Given the events of the past few weeks and my leader's disappointment in my service in this capacity, I am resigning as leader of opposition business in the House of Assembly."
Long Island M.P. Loretta Butler-Turner was offered the position. She said yesterday she's not for sale.

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'I am not for sale'

August 03, 2016

Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner declared yesterday that she is not for sale and confirmed that she has made no decision on whether she will run again in her constituency.
"There were a lot of offers on the table and I want to state emphatically for you and for the Bahamian people that Loretta Butler stands on principle and on conviction," said Butler-Turner when asked yesterday about an offer that was made in an attempt to keep her in the Free National Movement (FNM).
"I am not a pawn that can be bought, sold or used."
Butler-Turner pulled out of the FNM leadership race early Friday, hours before voting was set to begin. It was a dramatic turn of events that followed a contentious night at the FNM's convention on Thursday.
Butler-Turner said yesterday, "I went into this race, and I have not changed my narrative, because of the state of our country and the leadership which I believe is lacking the strength and the focus to win a general election.
"I am not for sale and if in fact the leadership of this party feels that they are so secure in their win, then why is it so important to offer me gifts?"
After she pulled out of the race alleging the process had been corrupted, fears heightened that the party would fracture.
In an effort to prevent this from happening, the hierarchy of the party and senior advisors to FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis, offered Butler-Turner a renomination, the post of leader of opposition business in the House of Assembly, a prominent role in the FNM's general election campaign and a senior position in a Minnis Cabinet, should the FNM win the election.
She confirmed that all of these things were indeed offered.
"I was offered many things and I did not accept any," Butler-Turner confirmed yesterday.
"You see, my fight is not for Loretta Butler-Turner. My fight is for the Bahamian people that are looking for that voice, that defender, that courageous warrior. I cannot be bought with gifts. I stand on principle and on conviction and so, I did not accept any gifts that were offered to me."
She said she intimated to the people in the meeting on Friday during which time the offer was made that "it's not about me".
"I was fighting against the process from day one and I still stand by those principles for which I fought. If I were to give up those principles, and to be bought with the gifts that have been offered, I don't know if I could live with myself," Butler-Turner said.
She added, "Neither can I be incentivized."
Asked whether she intends to run in the next election as an FNM, Butler-Turner said yesterday, "I do not know what I intend to do because as far as I know, negotiations are still open."
At a press conference on Friday, Butler-Turner said she does not intend to leave the FNM and indicated that she expects to run again in Long Island.
Butler-Turner confirmed yesterday that offers were also made to Dr. Duane Sands, who had planned to run for deputy leader, but also withdrew from the race, as he and Butler-Turner had planned to run as a team.
The Nassau Guardian confirmed Sands has been assured that he would remain the candidate for Elizabeth. He has also been offered a prominent role in the national campaign, the post of leader of opposition business in the Senate and a senior position
in a Minnis Cabinet.
Butler-Turner could not confirm whether Sands accepted any offers.
He is on vacation.
"We were both in that meeting and like I said, we took a very long time," Butler-Turner said.
"We prayed about it. We were very concerned about the process. We withdrew from the process because of the inconsistencies and the lack of democracy in the process, and I am not about to adhere or follow the gifts that are being offered to overlook my principled position."

Hitting Back

Butler-Turner also responded to Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins, who said on Monday would be "illogical and unacceptable" for those who sought to undermine Minnis to seek re-nominations.
She also responded to former Cabinet Minister Tennyson Wells, who said on Friday that no one in their right would believe Butler-Turner should represent the Bahamian people based on what unfolded at the convention.
"Clearly, Dr. Andre Rollins is out of touch if he doesn't even know that I did not accept the offer of the ratification," she said. "That's the first thing.
"The second thing, I don't think that I need to match wits with Dr. Andre Rollins or Tennyson Wells because in the public's opinion, they will determine who is the more credible of all of us. And so I would just leave that right there."
Pressed on the point about whether she intends to accept a nomination, Butler-Turner said, "The bottom line is this, Andre Rollins is obviously trying to make a case for himself, and I'm not about to get mixed up in that and quite frankly in terms of credibility, I really think he is shot in the feet, and I told you essentially, the Bahamian people will make the decision as to which one of us is more credible."
Butler-Turner and Rollins were among six FNM MPs who forced an early convention.
They had threatened to write to the governor general to have Minnis removed as leader of the Official Opposition.
That plan was set aside after the Central Council of the FNM agreed to move the convention date from November to July.

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Fitzgerald ordered to pay 150K in privacy case

August 03, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles ruled yesterday that Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald breached the constitutional right to privacy of members of the environmental group Save The Bays (STB) when he disclosed their private emails and financial details in Parliament, and ordered him to pay $150,000 in damages.
The ruling was handed down yesterday morning.
Charles said Fitzgerald's disclosure of STB's private information in Parliament, which he claimed he got
from his "political garbage can", was a "deliberate act made to avoid scrutiny by purporting to hide behind the cloak of parliamentary privilege".
"It is axiomatic that a man's private and confidential correspondence, precious to his heart, should not be the subject of public discussion and scrutiny," Charles said in her ruling.
"The second respondent (Fitzgerald) made unsubstantiated allegations about the first applicant (STB), which he portrayed as a money laundering organization.
"These statements are regrettable since it had nothing to do with the mid-term budget debate, which was ongoing at the time."
Charles granted a permanent injunction prohibiting Fitzgerald from disclosing or publishing any private information belonging to STB and ordered that Fitzgerald destroy and delete all material within 14 days.
She also ordered that the MP provide an affidavit of compliance within the same time period.
Attorney Loren Klein, who represents the respondents, including Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell and the Office of the Attorney General, was granted a stay of the order pending an appeal.
The applicants in the matter were the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (STB); Zachary Bacon, the brother of hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, a resident of Lyford Cay, and STB director of legal affairs Fred Smith and lawyer Ferron Bethell.
STB was seeking a permanent injunction against Fitzgerald and Mitchell.
However, Charles said Mitchell was not in breach.
Outside court, Smith expressed confidence the Court of Appeal will uphold the ruling.
"The courts are supreme in The Bahamas, not parliamentarians," he told the media.
"We have a constitution and the constitution trumps politics.
"Thank God. This is something I have been fighting for over 40 years in The Bahamas.
"The courts in The Bahamas have repeatedly demonstrated that they are independent and that they stand for the rule of law and the constitution."
In March, Fitzgerald read from private and confidential emails and other documents belonging to STB as he tried to make a case that the group was part of a plot to destabilize the government.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Dr. Kendal Major ordered that the documents be tabled.
He subsequently refused to release the tabled documents, according to court documents.
Mitchell also referenced the emails in Parliament in March.
STB applied and was granted an ex parte injunction in April to prevent further disclosure of its emails ahead of a substantive hearing.
The Office of the Attorney General sought to have the matter set aside, but was unsuccessful.
The injunction caused an uproar in Parliament.
Major condemned the order, calling it a "blatant breach of parliamentary privilege" and said it violated the "principle of the separation of powers critical to parliamentary democracy".
Fitzgerald moved a motion for the matter to be sent before the House's Committee of Privilege.
He also suggested that Smith and Charles be made to appear before the committee to answer for the injunction.
But in May, Major said the move to call the judge would be a "gross violation" of the separation of powers.
Committee of Privilege Chairman and Central and South Eleuthera MP Damian Gomez sat in court during the ruling yesterday.
Smith told The Nassau Guardian this was highly inappropriate.

Separation of Powers

In her ruling, Charles said the Supreme Court has the "original jurisdiction" to decide over breaches of the constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, and Parliament cannot change the scope or divest the court of this original jurisdiction by legislation.
She also said the government cannot rely on the "shield of parliamentary privilege to oust the jurisdiction of the court when a person alleges a breach of the constitution".
"In addition, it is for the court and not Parliament to decide on the scope and application of parliamentary privilege," Charles said.
She referenced the landmark case of R v Chaytor et al [2010] UKSC 52 in which Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers delivered the leading judgment that stated, "It is now accepted in Parliament that the courts are not bound by any views expressed by parliamentary committees, by the Speaker or the House of Commons itself as to the scope of parliamentary privilege... Although the extent of parliamentary privilege is ultimately a matter for the court, it is one which the court will pay certain regard to any views expressed in Parliament by either House or by bodies or individuals in a position to speak on the matter with authority."
Charles said there is a wealth of judicial authority which emphasizes that breaches of the constitution by the government and its Cabinet ministers when in Parliament is clearly a matter for the court and not for Parliament to decide.
"That said, the court acknowledged that as a general rule, it should not meddle in the affairs of Parliament, but leave it to regulate its own internal affairs," said Charles, who made a similar point during the ex parte hearing in April.
Charles said the respondents' arguments, which implied that the court's ability to deal with breaches of the constitution is precluded by the doctrine of the separation of powers, "in my respectful opinion, is wrong".
"The court is assigned with the delicate task of determining what is the power conferred on each branch of government, whether it is limited, and if so, what are the limits," she said.
"The court is also tasked to decide whether any action by any branch transgresses such limits.
"It is therefore incumbent on the court to uphold the constitutional values and to enforce the constitutional limitations. This is the quintessence of the rule of law.
"The upshot of this is that parliamentary privilege is trumped by breaches of the constitution and although Parliament is supreme, it is not as supreme as the constitution."
Charles recognized that the case has sparked national and regional interest as it raises "complex and grave issues" as to the scope of the powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament vis-a-vis the constitution.
She also noted that the matter has brought some tensions between the branches of government.

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Fitzgerald: I acted legally

August 03, 2016

Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald insisted yesterday that he acted within the law when he obtained the emails of Save The Bays (STB) members, which he then read in the House of Assembly.
Fitzgerald spoke to reporters not long after Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles ruled that he breached the privacy rights of STB members, and ordered him to pay $150,000 in damages.
"I refute that wholeheartedly," he told reporters outside Cabinet, referring to any suggestion that he acted outside the law.
"I have from day one."
Fitzgerald said he had not yet seen the ruling.
"I have not had an opportunity to review it yet nor has the government's attorneys," he said after coming out of a Cabinet meeting.
"I made it quite clear that I never obtained anything illegally at all and so the burden is on those who brought the claim to show it, and so I will be reading the judgment to see where in there they were able to establish that I obtained information illegally.
"I am under no obligation to say how I got the information. The burden is on them to show that I obtained it as they claim, illegally."
Charles granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the MP from disclosing or publishing any private information belonging to STB without its consent and ordered that Fitzgerald destroy all material within 14 days.
Asked if he had any other documents he wished to release on the organization, Fitzgerald said "no".
"I think at the end of the day, I have made my point clear that I have said what I have to say. It's before the House and we will see where it goes for there," Fitzgerald said.
The applicants in the matter were the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (Save The Bays)? Zachary Bacon, the brother of hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, a resident of Lyford Cay, and STB director of legal affairs Fred Smith and lawyer Ferron Bethell.
Attorney Loren Klein, who represents the respondents, including the Office of the Attorney General, intends to appeal the decision.
The appeal will result in a stay of Charles' destruction order.
Outside of court, Smith expressed confidence that the Court of Appeal will uphold the ruling.
Fitzgerald said he had a special interest in finding out what led the court to its final ruling.
"At the end of the day, I would be curious to see on what basis the court ruled that I obtained information illegally," he said.
The minister said he found it interesting that the group spent so much money in its attempt to silence him.
"It's just interesting, as I said, that an environmental group would spend the kind of money and time they have to keep me quiet, but obviously they didn't get costs in this case. The judge didn't give them costs," Fitzgerald said.
"And I know they had to pay their lawyers close to $1 million in order to bring this case to where it is. And so, they spent a lot of time and money to try to keep me quiet, and so let's see where it goes."

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Reports: Sandals to close until Oct.

August 03, 2016

Government officials were last night investigating reports that Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort is closing its doors until October.
A letter signed by Gary C. Sadler, senior vice president of sales at Unique Vacations, Inc., advising of the closure circulated yesterday.
It said: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa & Resort & Offshore Island will be temporarily closing from August 15 to October 13, 2016."
The letter said, "We appreciate your patience as we work through this challenging time.
"We have instituted a streamlined and efficient course of action for those guests affected and are extending all of our call center resources to you, including a 24-hour hotline."
Guests were offered re-bookings at another Sandals Resort or Beaches Resort and were assured that Sandals would absorb all airline change fees.
They are also being offered two complimentary nights at any Sandals Resort.
Senior government officials told The Nassau Guardian late yesterday that they were not aware of any planned closure of the property at Cable Beach.
Director of Labour Robert Farquharson also said he had not heard anything of the sort.
"Reports have reached the Department of Labour concerning the possible closure and the department has initiated an investigation to confirm the facts and ensure that the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act are satisfied," said Farquharson after The Guardian brought the letter to his attention.
He said he spoke with two members of the senior management team at Sandals yesterday evening.
"They themselves are unable to speak until they get some concrete information," Farquharson said.
"I'm not commenting on it because I don't want to comment until we have completed our investigation."
He admitted though that he was not surprised to hear of a temporary closure at the property, which he said employs about 490 line staff and just under 100 managers.
"As I indicated, the Department of Labour has been in discussions with the senior management team of Sandals concerning a number of employee related issues and non employee related issues, and so that it is not surprising," the director of labor said.
Farquharson noted however that seasonal closures are not unusual in the hospitality sector.
"Most hoteliers take the low season, the end of August to October to renovate. So this is nothing new in the industry. This isn't out of the norm in the industry," he said.
The reported plans to shutter the property for two months comes weeks after industrial tension led to a protest being staged by the union representing Sandals workers.
Officials of the Bahamas Hotel Maintenance and Allied Workers Union say Sandals officials have refused to negotiate an industrial agreement.

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Ingraham: Christie is the best person to lead the PLP

August 03, 2016

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham believes Prime Minister Perry Christie is the best man to lead the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) into the next general election.
"The truth of the matter is, whatever is said about Christie, there is none in the PLP who is more acceptable to the population of The Bahamas than Perry Christie. That's a fact of life," Ingraham said in an interview with ZNS News early last week.
"I think it is wrong for people [to be] saying, 'Christie should go. Christie should go.'
If you want him gone, you should vote against him.
It's not a big deal. He is not where he is because he put himself there. He got there because people elected him to be there.
"Clearly, Christie is fully entitled to remain in office until the end of his term. Fully entitled. And he is fully entitled, if he chooses, to offer himself up for re-election as leader of the party and the party decides [for him] to lead the party in the next election."
Despite leading the PLP since 1997, Christie recently said he is staying on because many " new generation" leaders have asked him to.
However, Ingraham suggested it may also have something to do with the political rivalry between the former law partners.
"He and I were elected to the House at the same time in 1977," Ingraham said.
"And so I could also understand... I was able to serve three terms as prime minister. Why wouldn't Christie want to match that? Why wouldn't he, from his point of view?
"I wouldn't be surprised in the back of his head sometimes if he says, 'Well Ingraham had three terms, why I can't have three terms?'"
Ingraham also said Christie's dreams of becoming prime minister a third time may be achievable if the votes are split among the among the Free National Movement and other parties.
"You must remember one thing: The base PLP support in The Bahamas is firm, unyielding... ain't going nowhere," Ingraham said.
"So to the extent to which others have put it to you that they want to share between the FNM and this thing and the next thing, etc., carry on. All you're doing is guaranteeing the PLP will remain in office. That's what you're doing."

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Mitchell: Lightbourn should be sanctioned for comments

August 03, 2016

Fox Hill MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell believes Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn should be sanctioned for his statements regarding the forced sterilization of certain unwed mothers and that Lightbourn should "not return to Parliament and give another person a chance in that seat".
At last week's Free National Movement (FNM) convention, Lightbourn suggested the state should consider tying the tubes of unwed women who have more than two children.
Lightbourn's comments sparked much criticism and outrage from other parliamentarians, human rights activists and civilians who have argued that his suggestion disparages women's rights in The Bahamas, but Mitchell believes that there is a bigger picture to what Lightbourn had to say.
"Some have drawn this as a matter of women's reproductive rights and the freedom to choose," said Mitchell at an ecumenical service on Emancipation Day in Fox Hill.
"I am sure it is that and I agree, but there is something much larger at stake here.
"The racist element in it cannot be overlooked.
"Even if it were not intentional, closing ones' eyes to the obvious shows the disregard for the humanity of the African people of this country and women of African descent in particular.
"It is so serious that it must not be overlooked."
Mitchell said Lightbourn made his comments without thinking about what he was saying, about who he is and what he represents in the history of the country.
Mitchell also charged that Lightbourn was completely insensitive to the larger meaning of what he was saying and closed his eyes to the obvious issues his comments would cause.
Hours after his suggestion, Lightbourn issued an apology, particularly to Bahamian women, in which he said his remarks "in no way or form reflects the position of the Free National Movement".
Mitchell said no one believes Lightbourn's comments are sincere.
"That here was a white Bahamian, tied to the old United Bahamian Party (UBP) regime, whose doctrine was racial discrimination, saying in effect that black women were having too many babies and it should stop," he said.
"It's what you call a dog whistle.
"My mother used to say, even if you think that, there are some things you just don't say.
"Since then he has apologized, but no one for a minute believes that the apology was anything more than a politically correct patch up job that was uttered because it might adversely affect his political fortunes.
"There ought to be sanctions for that and he ought to consider whether it is advisable for him to stay on as a MP for the Five Pound Lot and for Kemp Road in the circumstances of his statement."
Mitchell said there is a precedent for what political parties should do when representatives cross a certain line.
"There is an example of what to do from the United States," said Mitchell.
"When the former Majority Leader Trent Lott made a statement in which he supported the segregated South in America, the then U.S. President George Bush from his own party disassociated himself from the remark and Mr. Lott not only lost his job as majority leader, but as a senator as well.
"It seems to me that this must follow in The Bahamas.
"The organization to which he belongs must make that clear and fully dissociate themselves from it."
The FNM has also distanced itself from Lightbourn's comments.

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Man murdered on Grand Bahama

August 03, 2016

A 46-year-old man was found dead with multiple stab wounds on Grand Bahama yesterday, police reported.
Police said they were called to an apartment complex on Drake Avenue shortly after 3:00 a.m., where they discovered a man lying on the ground.
When emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrived at the scene, the man was already dead, police said.
A 45-year-old man was taken into custody to assist authorities with the investigation, according to police.
Police appealed to members of the public who have information on the crime to come forward.
This latest killing comes after there were no murders recorded in July.
As of the end of last month, murders were down 28 percent compared to last year.
The murder count for the country for 2016 is 64.
There were 146 murders in 2015, the highest in recorded Bahamian history.

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Man arraigned for armed robbery and murder

August 03, 2016

Police believe that they solved the murder of a man during an armed robbery in April.
Charlton Williamson, 22, of Carmichael Road, appeared before Acting Deputy Chief Magistrate Constance Delancy yesterday charged with the April 6 murder and armed robbery of Arnord Green.
Williamson was not required to enter a plea to the charge at his initial court appearance.
Delancy advised Williamson of his right to seek bail in the Supreme Court before she remanded him to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
Tai Pinder represented Williamson.

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Watson: Minnis will need all FNMs

August 03, 2016

Now that Dr. Hubert Minnis has retained his post as Free National Movement (FNM) leader, former Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson believes that Minnis should not alienate the six MPs who expressed a lack of confidence in his leadership, as he "will need the input of all FNMs to develop the proper plan" to win the next general election.
"I think one of the first things he should do is get the council to ratify all the standing members and that will go a long way towards unity," Watson told The Nassau Guardian.
"If we're going to do unity, we have to talk it and not just walk it.
"I would like to see that we are totally united, that we are setting a course for the next election and ready to fight that battle."
Last week, the highly anticipated convention seemed to go off the rails after high drama took over the second night of the three-day event.
Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner contested Minnis for the leadership position while her running mate Senator Dr. Duane Sands was vying against FNM Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest.
Hours after her 45-minute speech was interrupted by "Roc Wit Doc" chants, Butler-Turner and Sands confirmed to The Guardian around 2 a.m. on Friday that they had withdrawn from the leadership and deputy leadership races respectively, calling the process "corrupt".
Watson has openly supported the Butler-Turner and Sands ticket.
When asked if he believes Minnis has what it takes to reunite the FNM, he said, "I certainly hope so."
He suggested that Minnis should embrace all of the standing members of the FNM for a better party.
The Nassau Guardian understands Butler-Turner has been offered a renomination, the post of leader of opposition business in the House of Assembly, a prominent role in the Free National Movement's (FNM) general election campaign and a senior position in a Minnis Cabinet, should the FNM win the election while Sands has been assured that he would remain the candidate for Elizabeth.
He has also been offered a prominent role in the national campaign, the post of leader of opposition business in the Senate and a senior position.
Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly and St. Anne's MP Hubert Chipman have also expressed dissatisfaction in Minnis' leadership.

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Couple convicted of criminal libel

August 03, 2016

A married couple who published nude photographs of the husband's former mistress have been convicted of intentional libel.
Angelito Cayetano and April Cayetano, who are originally from the Philippines and now live in Mount Pleasant Village, posted 13 photographs of the woman on Facebook in 2014, who is also Filipino.
Magistrate Samuel McKinney has allowed the convicts to remain on bail until a sentencing hearing on Friday.
According to the victim, a 39-year-old live-in housekeeper, she began dating Mr. Cayetano in 2011 and their relationship ended the following year.
The woman said that Mr. Cayetano tried to blackmail her into continuing the affair by threatening to release photos and video of her that he had taken of her in compromising positions.
She said that Mr. Cayetano gave her two weeks to change her mind. After she did not capitulate, the woman said friends told her that they had seen naked pictures of her on Facebook.
One of the victim's friends testified that Mrs. Cayetano sent her the photographs.
When the friend asked Mrs. Cayetano when she had posted the photos, Mrs. Cayetano allegedly said, "Your friend is a whore and she's having a relationship with my husband."
Sergeant Philip Davis prosecuted and Tai Pinder appeared for the Cayetanos.

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Govt responds to Supreme Court parliamentary privilege ruling

August 03, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles' ruling that Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald breached the constitutional right to privacy of the environmental group Save The Bays (STB) when he read its private emails in Parliament is "wrong on the facts and the law", the government said in a statement.
"The judgement delivered today (Tuesday) in the matter of parliamentary privilege and involving the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Fred Mitchell] and the Minister of Education [Jerome Fitzgerald] is being carefully studied by the government," read the statement.
"The government awaits formal advice on the effect of the judgment, but preliminarily is of the view that any finding that there was a breach of the constitutional rights of anyone in this matter is a decision which is wrong on the facts and the law."
The government added, "While due respect must be given to the role of the courts to adjudicate fundamental rights, the privilege of parliamentarians to speak freely within Parliament is inviolate, and it is the intention of the government to seek to defend the law, which now obtains on the subject, and to preserve the freedom of members of Parliament to speak freely in the houses of Parliament."
The ruling was handed down yesterday morning.
Charles said Fitzgerald's disclosure of STB's private information in Parliament, which he claimed he got from his "political garbage can", was a "deliberate act made to avoid scrutiny by purporting to hide behind the cloak of parliamentary privilege".
However, Charles said Mitchell was not in breach.
Charles granted a permanent injunction prohibiting Fitzgerald from disclosing or publishing any private information belonging to STB and ordered that Fitzgerald destroy and delete all material within 14 days.
She also ordered that the MP provide an affidavit of compliance within the same time period.
Attorney Loren Klein, who represents the respondents, including the Office of the Attorney General, was granted a stay of the order pending an appeal.
In its statement, the government noted the status quo remains pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
The applicants in the matter were the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (Save The Bays); Zachary Bacon, the brother of hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, a resident of Lyford Cay; STB Director of Legal Affairs Fred Smith; and lawyer Ferron Bethell.
In March, Fitzgerald read from private and confidential emails and other documents belonging to STB as he made a case the group was part of a plot to destabilize the government.
Mitchell also referenced the emails in Parliament in March.
STB applied and was granted an ex parte injunction in April to prevent further disclosure of its emails ahead of a substantive hearing.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Dr. Kendal Major condemned the order, calling it a "blatant breach of parliamentary privilege" and said it violated the "principle of the separation of powers critical to parliamentary democracy".
Fitzgerald moved a motion for the matter to be sent before the House's Committee of Privilege.
He recommended that the judge be made to appear before the committee to answer for the injunction, a move Major later said would be a "gross violation" of the separation of powers.
The matter remains before the committee.
In her ruling, Charles said the Supreme Court has the "original jurisdiction" to decide over breaches of the constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, and Parliament cannot change the scope or divest the court of this original jurisdiction by legislation.
She also said the government cannot rely on the "shield of parliamentary privilege to oust the jurisdiction of the court when a person alleges a breach of the constitution".

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Rotarian and Olympian Sir Durward Knowles celebrates 40th anniversary of club's formation

August 03, 2016

At 98 years old, Sir Durward Knowles was not going to miss celebrating the anniversary of the Rotary Club he helped establish 40 years ago on July 19, 1976. When new clubs are established, Rotary International grants them their charter.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, Sir Durward was present at the Rotary Club of South East Nassau's (RCSEN) weekly meeting, joining charter member and past president (PP) F. Denny Curry as well as Judy Reiach, the daughter of the club's charter president, the late Edwin Deal. Also recognized were the club's long serving Rotarians Ralph Barnett who joined in 1982 and PP and past assistant district governor, Roger Kelty who joined seven months after the club's charter.
They exchanged fond stories and in a short address to the club, Sir Durward said, "Good luck, and I wish you the best of everything. If I am still living," he joked, "I will be back to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary with you."
During the tenure of Sir Durward's presidency of the Rotary Club of East Nassau in 1975, he along with Rotarians Edwin Deal, Harry Scates and Hopeton Ray, explored the formation of a fourth club in New Providence. It was the East Club that became the sponsor club of the Rotary Club of South East Nassau. Rotarian Edwin Deal moved from the East Club and became the founding father of South East, making it the seventh Rotary club in The Bahamas in 1976.
The founding officers of the RCSEN were Edwin L.V. Deal as president; Ernst Brokmeier, vice-president; H.R. (Rusty) Scates, secretary; Donald McLeod, treasurer; and the directors were Jerome Major, Alan Greenwood, Douglas England, Eric Carlsson and George Noble. The members first met at the Gleneagles Hotel, then located on Shirley Street, every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. with a membership that started at 27 and grew to 65 members nine years later. It has remained around the same average number since.
In its 40-year history the RCSEN has developed many projects supporting the local community and organizations, as well as other countries in their district. The club has had many notable presidents and outstanding members, and is known as an innovating club. It was the first club in New Providence to induct female Rotarians in 1995 and the first to have a female president in 2002 in New Providence. Over the years, South East has won many awards and has had Rotarians who have served on the Bahamas board and for District 7020. Recently, the RCSEN won a gold award from Rotary International and a platinum award from their district for their work in 2015-2016. The club's Early Act group at Columbus Primary School also won the recent competition for "Best Song and Video" about "Bullying".
Other clubs that have emerged from the RCSEN include two Interact Clubs, located at St Andrew's and Doris Johnson Schools, the Rotaract Club of South East Centennial, and the Rotary Club of Eleuthera.
During July, 2016 to June 2017, the club has many events planned with their charter banquet scheduled for late September. For the past 20 plus years, the RCSEN has been meeting every Wednesday at the East Villa Restaurant and for those interested in joining, please visit the club's Facebook page, or contact membership director Godfrey Bethell at godfrey@summitbah.com.
Rotary is a humanitarian organization, rated as one of the top charities in the world. Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. (www.rotary.org).

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Ecological camping on Andros with the BNT

August 03, 2016

Forty Bahamian teenagers from nine islands enjoyed six days of ecological camping on Andros recently, under the guidance of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT).
More than 200 young people have taken part in the BNT's summer Eco Camp program, which has been running for the past seven years.
The high schoolers stay partly at a wilderness campsite in the heart of Blue Hole National Park. The campsite is a three-mile hike from their home base at the Forfar Field Station near Blanket Sound.
"Campers explore the diverse ecosystems of Andros and take part in an intense environmental experience," said BNT Education Director Portia Sweeting.
Participants engage in both classroom and field work, including setting up and operating the wildness camp, snorkeling at the North Marine Park, exploring rocky shorelines and conducting an environmental awareness survey in Fresh Creek.
They also tour the historic Red Bays settlement, where they interact with local artisans and visit a crab hatchery. At the Androsia batik factory, they were able to design their own shirts.
According to BNT Executive-Director Eric Carey, this unique annual learning opportunity for Bahamian students is made possible by sponsors like Bahamas Ferries, Forfar Field Station, RBC Royal Bank, the Lyford Cay Foundation and the Lyford Cay Club, Caribbean Bottling, the Cable Cares Foundation, Sandy Port Beaches Resort, the Atlantis resort, Harbourside Marine and Cameron Symonette.

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Judge finds Fitzgerald breached STB's rights orders him to pay 150,000 in damages

August 02, 2016

Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles has ruled that Marathon MP Jerome Fitzgerald breached the constitutional right to privacy of members of the environmental group Save The Bays (STB) when he disclosed their private emails and financial details in Parliament, and ordered him to pay $150,000 in damages.
The ruling was handed down this morning.
Charles granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the MP from disclosing or publishing any private information belonging to STB without its consent and ordered that Fitzgerald destroy all material within 14 days.
The applicants in the matter were the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (Save The Bays); Zachary Bacon, the brother of hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, a resident of Lyford Cay, and STB director of legal affairs Fred Smith and lawyer Ferron Bethell.
STB was seeking a permanent injunction against Fitzgerald and Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell.
However, Charles said Mitchell was not in breach of the group's constitutional rights.
Attorney Loren Klein, who represents the respondents, including the Office of the Attorney General, intends to appeal the decision. The appeal resulted in a stay of Charles' destruction order.
Outside of court, Smith expressed confidence that the Court of Appeal will uphold the ruling.

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