Nassau Guardian Stories

Culinary team pays visit to governor general

August 27, 2014

The national culinary team, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association representatives and sponsor companies paid a visit to Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling at Government House last week. The governor general thanked the team for their participation in the recent Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition in Miami, Fla., and expressed her pride and appreciation for the Bahamian team and the sponsors who made their participation possible.
Pictured from left (front row): Chef Michael Adderley, Bahamas Culinary Association member and team manager; Stuart Bowe, president, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association; Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling; Suzanne Pattusch, executive vice president, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association; Chef Charon McKenzie, beef competition, Lyford Cay Club.
Pictured from left to right (back row): William Saunders, Majestic Tours; Rochelle Walker, senior marketing coordinator, Bank of The Bahamas; Byron Miller, manager, Bank of The Bahamas; Patricia James, manager, Bank of The Bahamas; Charlotte Knowles-Thompson, team coordinator, Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association; Marv Cunningham, team mixologist, Aura Night Club; Indra Solihin, team ice carver, Atlantis; Chef Richmond Fowler II, seafood competition, Albany Private Club; Carolyn Russell, Bahamas Food Services; Berkley H. Williamson, general manager, Bahamian Brewery and Beverage; Bobby Briggs, Bahamas Food Services; Chef Edwin Johnson, Sapodilla Restaurant; Chef Sheldon Tracey Sweeting, Le Sprouts Personal Touch and team manager. (Photo: Jamal Jones / J&J Imaging).

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Bank gives 10,000 to two local students

August 27, 2014

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has awarded two new $10,000 scholarships for Bahamian nationals and continues to support two previous scholarship winners through its partnership with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF).
Scholarship recipients are pursuing higher education or professional development in the hospitality and tourism industries.
The 2014 FirstCaribbean scholarship winners, their future courses or academic degrees and academic institutions are as follows:
o Kirvez E. Ferguson (Bahamas) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, culinary arts and food service management, Johnson and Wales, Providence;
o Domonique Sturrup (Bahamas) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, BS baking and pastry arts, Johnson and Wales, Providence.
"CIBC FirstCaribbean is pleased to be able to continue to be part of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Scholarship program, lending support to the development of the hospitality and tourism industries, by providing opportunities for the growth of the very best of our region's tourism talent," said Donna Wellington, managing director, Barbados, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank.
Scholarship recipients are either starting their studies or continuing their education in various specialties in the hospitality industry. Scholarships were awarded based on prior academic achievements, previous work or internships in the Caribbean hospitality industry and economic needs.
Previous CIBC FirstCaribbean scholarship winners working to complete their studies include:
o Christine Gibson (Barbados) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, hospitality studies, Barbados Community College;
o Jael Avion Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, AIB BA business administration tourism and hospitality management, Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality Institute
"We sincerely thank CIBC FirstCaribbean for their generous support of these students as they pursue their educational goals. Without FirstCaribbean's continuing partnership with CHTAEF, these scholarships would not be possible," said Richard S. Kahn, chairman of CHTAEF.
"This year's applicant pool was comprised of a talented group, all of whom deserve to receive funds towards their education so that they may help sustain the vital Caribbean hospitality industry," Kahn said.

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Baha Mar appoints top marketing executive

August 27, 2014

Baha Mar has appointed a new executive vice president for international marketing for the Baha Mar Casino and Resort.
The Baha Mar Casino and Hotel, which will feature the largest casino in the Caribbean with 100,000 square feet of gaming space and a 1,000-room hotel, is designed to compete with the best casinos in the world.
Alex Pariente will focus on developing the Baha Mar Casino and Hotel's international gaming clientele, as well as building strategic marketing alliances and brand loyalty. Pariente will draw on his extensive experiences in opening and managing luxury casinos and resorts in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. Most recently, Pariente served as executive vice president, international and domestic marketing for Wynn Resorts, where he was a senior member of the opening teams for both the Wynn Resort and Encore Las Vegas, the highly successful gaming resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.
Before joining Wynn Resorts in 2004, Pariente served as senior vice president of international marketing for Caesars Entertainment, where he was responsible for strategy and marketing in building business plans for both the U.S. and international gaming markets in table games and slot play. Before joining Caesars Entertainment as senior vice president of international marketing at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2001, Pariente oversaw marketing strategy and worked to open the Conrad Resort and Casino in Punta del Este, Uruguay for Caesars International. A native of Argentina and a U.S. citizen, Pariente is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
"Alex brings a wealth of experience in marketing and operating international luxury casinos and resorts to Baha Mar," said Joe Brunini, president of global marketing and customer development for the Baha Mar Casino and Hotel. "It is people like Alex that underscore Baha Mar's commitment to becoming an iconic gaming destination."
Pariente believes that training, empowering and promoting employees will give Baha Mar a singular edge. "Our team members will make all the difference in distinguishing the Baha Mar Casino and Hotel as a global gaming destination," Pariente said.
"We're targeting an exclusive clientele that has a wide array of travel options and limited leisure time. Our goal is to create unique guest experiences by building a culture of excellence and accountability among our team members and partners. I'm privileged to be part of this amazing opportunity to build an iconic Caribbean resort that will be known worldwide for its ambience and first-class service."

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Murders up 15

August 27, 2014

The killing of Bahamas Information Services (BIS) Deputy Director Latore Mackey on Monday pushed the country's murder count for 2014 up to 83, police confirmed to The Nassau Guardian yesterday - a figure representing a 15 percent increase in murders compared to the same period last year. This time last year the murder count stood at 72.
Police have arrested four men in connection to Mackey's murder, who was shot dead early Monday morning.
Police said officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit, acting on intelligence, picked up the men between 1:30 p.m. and 3:20 p.m. yesterday.
The men, ages 24, 22, 20 and 18, are residents of Palmetto Avenue, Bimini Avenue and Young Close respectively.
The murder occurred on Market Street and White Road around 4:30 a.m.
A black Hyundai Tucson sport utility vehicle had collided with a lamp pole near that intersection.
When officers arrived on the scene, Mackey, 37, the prime minister's press secretary, was found slumped over in the driver's seat with a gunshot wound to the neck.
Mackey's death came after a weekend of bloodshed that saw four men murdered in 24 hours on New Providence.
Police also said yesterday that two additional men were arrested in connection with two recent murders.
A man, 20, of Kemp Road was arrested shortly after noon in connection with the murder of George Nixon, 23, and Charles Davis, 22.
Police believe those killings were somehow related.
Nixon was killed around 10 p.m. Thursday on Lyon Road, off Kemp Road.
Police said on the scene that they believed two men chased Nixon and cornered him in the back of Penn's Convenience Store and shot him several times.
He was found face up on the ground. He was bareback and barefoot.
Nixon was released from Her Majesty's Prisons a week before he was killed, police said.
Davis, 22, also a resident of Kemp Road, was shot and killed on Sunday around 1:30 a.m.
Reports are that Davis was walking along Johnson Alley when four men in a silver Honda Accord drove through the corner.
One of the men got out of the car, chased Davis down the street and shot him several times.
A second man, 33, of West Ridge Estates was arrested around 3:45 p.m. in connection with Davis' murder, police said.
The suspect is expected to be charged with abetment to murder, according to police.
Davis' murder was reportedly connected to two other separate killings over the weekend.
Rickhia Kelly, 20, a resident of Avocado Street, Pinewood Gardens was shot and killed on Saturday around 10 p.m.
Kelly was sitting on a wall through Avocado Street with a group of people, when the silver Honda pulled up and one of the occupants rolled down a window and opened fire on the group with a gun.
Kelly was shot in the neck, and a woman was also hit, according to police.
He died in hospital.
Another man, who had just left his sister's home on Strachan's Alley in the Kemp Road area, was hit by a silver Honda Accord, the same vehicle police believe was used in two earlier murders.
Police were investigating the Lyon Road resident's death as a traffic fatality, but Superintendent Paul Rolle, who heads CDU, said police are trying to determine exactly how the man died.
Reports are that the man was rolled over by the car.
In a separate incident, another man was shot in Nassau Village around 8:45 p.m. on Sunday. He died in hospital.
Outside the House of Assembly on Monday, Prime Minister Perry Christie said he was distressed about the killings and shootings.
He said the government has a lot of work to do and must go "back to the drawing board" to re-examine how its strategies are impacting crime.
He also suggested that Bahamians should be concerned that the carnage is not limited to retaliatory killings among gangs.
His comments and the government were yesterday criticized by members of the official opposition and the Democratic National Alliance.
As it relates to the arrests yesterday, Rolle thanked the public and his colleagues for their efforts and information.
"I must commend the efforts of the police in taking into custody the men who were wanted in connection with these recent incident," Rolle said.
"Officers from the Wulff Road Police Station, Firearms Tracing Unit, Flying Squad, Drug Enforcement Unit and CDU went around the clock and pursued these suspects relentlessly.
"I want to thank the public because we have gotten a lot of information. We cannot solve these crimes without the continued support and help of the public."

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FNM deputy suggests PM lost on crime

August 27, 2014

Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday charged that Prime Minister Perry Christie is "in over his head" when it comes to fighting crime and suggested that the government take "drastic measures" to reduce the level of violence in the country.
However, Butler-Turner did not say what those measures should be.
She was responding to Christie's admission that the government has "a lot of work to do" to reduce crime in the country and that his administration will now "go back to the drawing board" with its plan to fight crime.
Butler-Turner said she
was "flabbergasted" by Christie's admission.
"I think the prime minister clearly has realized that he is in over his head," she told The Nassau Guardian during an interview at her home.
"I think they have been back to the drawing board at least two times since they've come to office. They were ushered in on the promises that they had the answer to crime.
"I must add that they have two ministers of national security, one of whom, the junior minister Keith Bell, derailed the entire FNM administration on its poor performance with crime and to this day the only thing I have seen is that crime is escalating in this country.
"The government said they had the panacea, the magic bullet -- I'm sorry, no pun intended there -- but they had the answer to...bring crime to an irreducible level. Unfortunately, they sold the Bahamian people a dream."
The prime minister's statements on crime came after five people were murdered over the weekend.
According to police, a group of men in a silver Honda Accord went on a killing spree on Saturday night, murdering three men in separate incidents.
On Sunday night, another man was shot in Nassau Village and died in the hospital.
The following morning, Bahamas Information Services Deputy Director Latore Mackey, 37, was shot dead on Market Street.
Police said he was found slumped over in the driver's seat of his government-issued vehicle around 4:30 a.m.
The killings drove the murder count up to 83 for the year so far.
According to The Nassau Guardian's records there were 72 murders this time last year, which means that the murder count has increased by 12 percent.
Butler-Turner said it has become clear that the government has no idea how to respond to crime.
"This government is clueless when it comes to having the answers to crime," she said. "It's more about showboating and talking.
"There is no real action plan with regard to crime."
The government has announced several crime-fighting initiatives in the last year. The plans included adding members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to the fight against crime, placing police on 12-hour shifts, and expanding the CCTV program, among other things.
Asked what her recommendation to the government would be, Butler-Turner said: "I think that drastic times call for drastic measures.
"That's all I would say. There are things that can be done. They know what can be done. They know where most of the criminals are...there has got to be greater intel done."
Butler-Turner said the Free National Movement is willing to share the responsibility in the crime fight.
"The opposition has offered to sit with the governing party to see if we as Bahamians can come together as a united force to demonstrate that we can not take any more of this crime," she said.
"Essentially we are willing to go all in because it's not about the PLP, it's not about the FNM or any other political party.
"This is about us trying to help to fight the crime issue and save our country."
The FNM administration also struggled to battle high levels of crime.
The prime minister said he intends to meet with law enforcement officials over the next few days.
He said those meetings may lead to the government developing other crime strategies.
"We cannot compromise on the safety and security of our citizens," Christie said.

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Mitchell reminds why young MPs were recruited

August 27, 2014

Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said the new generation of Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MPs was not recruited to hold hands with the forces who want to "drive us back into the era of intolerance, ignorance and prejudice".
"I told our younger MPs, and I say this to you. The reason they were recruited into the PLP was to help the PLP make The Bahamas a more tolerant, liberal democracy, where the wealth is shared and not distorted," he said in a speech to the party's National Progressive Institute (NPI) on Monday.
"...I say the same to you. This party's values are fixed in the tradition of a liberal democracy. You are to be the foot soldiers in pursuing that tradition, looking out always for the needs of the small man.
"No amount of FNM propaganda can change that fact or shake your faith in that. If that is not what you believe, then the PLP is not the place to be."
Mitchell said his remarks were not about any specific recent events.
The role of new generation leaders has come into the spotlight following criticisms of the government's value-added tax (VAT) and constitutional amendment bills by Marco City MP Greg Moss and Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins.
Last week, Moss warned the government that VAT would savage Bahamians and that it was un-PLP.
He previously predicted it would cost the party the next election.
Rollins resigned as government whip after he said he could not support two of the constitutional amendment bills.
He later chastised Prime Minister Perry Christie over perceived threats to the new generation MPs and charged that the country needs new political leadership.
Mitchell said, "Dissident opinion is valuable to any organization and forward movement.
"However, the PLP is not a drawbridge upon which people can walk and just use for their purposes.
"During the FNM years, part of their political strategy was to seek and destroy the reputation of the PLP and so effective were they that even some of our own youngsters have adopted uncritically their narrative. The bits about corruption and incompetence were part of their propaganda, which is simply false."
He added that dissidence should occur within rules and regulations.
"We are in a volunteer organization and we voluntarily agree to the rules," he said.
"This requires discipline, loyalty, faithfulness and trust.
"When people lose that in those who are their colleagues and give public voice to this without airing differences internally then it is time to look elsewhere.
"The organization itself has a role in protecting its own integrity by ensuring that its rules are obeyed and be shown to be obeyed."
The Fox Hill MP said the current narrative about the government is too negative.
He said to some extent it is due to the "midterm blues".
"We must remember that 53 percent of the population voted against us in 2012," Mitchell said.
"Fifty-three can make a whole of lot noise more than 47, particularly where the 53 control the press, and we do not fill the space with our own noise."

Media
Mitchell also criticized the media.
"There are no lines, it appears, between private and public life, and it appears that reporters do not know that there are certain comments that they should not make because it compromises their independence in writing a news story," he said.
"We who are public officials are in an intense period of scrutiny unlike any other in my political experience where, before the public gets to digest one fact, there are others thrown at them and opinions come a mile a minute.
"The fact that this is the milieu within which we operate does not change this immutable fact.
"And I now say we are responsible for our own image. We decide what our image is or is not going to be. There are rules of conduct which should guide public discourse and the printing of public information and how you access public officials.
"It is important for us to counter this narrative of a PLP that is not fit to govern, spun by the FNM and its fellow travelers with a counter narrative where we challenge the ethics of those who run and write newspapers and call them to account for their ethics or the lack thereof in the same way they challenge public officials. Social media provides us the space to do so."

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BEC unions demand transparency from PM on sale

August 27, 2014

The presidents of the unions at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) have decried the lack of transparency involved in the current reform process at the corporation.
In a letter to Prime Minister Perry Christie, Bahamas Electrical Utility Managerial Union (BEUMU) President Clinton Minnis and Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard said the unions will not sit idly by and "watch our future and current livelihood be potentially taken away".
The unions are asking to be a part of the reform process at the corporation.
"While we welcome this process and the finalizing, we decry the lack of transparency and lack of our participation in the process," the letter said.
"As we, the workers of the corporation, are integral to this process and its eventual success now and going forward.
"Finalizing this historical and vital decision without either union's knowledge or collective input could result in serious consequences.
"We do not intend to sit idly by and watch our future and current livelihood be potentially taken away."
The letter, dated August 20, is signed by both presidents of the BEUMU and BEWU and their secretary generals.
Last August, Christie revealed the government's plans to engage private companies to offer power generation for BEC and gain a management contract to take over transmission, distribution and customer billing.
At the time, the government proposed a timeline for reform, which would see private companies launch their operations by May 2014.
To date, the government has announced that it has shortlisted five or six bidders, but nothing further.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis has defended the continued delays in decision making on the future of BEC, stating that the government is taking the time necessary to ensure it gets "the best results for the Bahamian people".
The union leaders said they believe that the problem at BEC is generation, not simply transmission and distribution.
"Therefore, the only solution to the problem is changing the fuel and equipment that generates the electricity," the letter said.
"BEC is hemorrhaging very badly, and focusing on transmission and distribution is a waste of time and will not solve any of the problems the corporation is experiencing at this present time.
"The Bahamas Electrical Managerial Union (BEUMU) and Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) wants the best arrangement that is in the best interest of the Bahamian people, and that by extension all BEC employees that we represent.
"We welcome a solution that would relieve the government of The Bahamas of the financial burden that it is costing for BEC to operate.
"Also, we want a solution that would bring relief to the Bahamian people and businesses."
The union leaders said the recent power outages and load shedding are the worst it has ever been at the corporation noting, "it is all due to old, outdated equipment".

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Gaming Board employees demonstrate

August 27, 2014

More than two dozen employees demonstrated in front of the Gaming Board yesterday demanding the government pay them a performance-based lump sum payment they claimed was due since last year.
President of the Bahamas Public Service Union John Pinder said his union is gearing up for industrial action if the government does not address the concerns.
He said around 150 employees are owed between $600 and $900 each.
Other issues include what Pinder called "hazardous" working conditions and some employees who are still on contract after being employed for several years.
The Gaming Board building, off Collins Avenue, is being renovated.
Steel pipes and other construction material crowd the front of the building.
Pinder alleged that two employees have already been hurt on the job.
However, Director of Labour Robert Farquharson said yesterday was the first time he was hearing about the matter.
Farquharson said Pinder had not filed a trade dispute with his department, but, if and when he does, the claim would be looked into expeditiously.
The director also said he will contact Pinder to discuss the matter.
Pinder also claimed that some employees are due incremental payments dating back to 2010.
Several Gaming Board employees who spoke to The Nassau Guardian said they were frustrated and pushing the union to take action.
Inspector Dayvonne Fitzgerald, a mother of three, said her colleagues have performed well despite poor working conditions and they feel unappreciated.
"We are tired and how is it expected of us to continue working?" she asked.
"We have kids to take care of. We are fed up. We are tired. We need to be paid.
"School is opening on Monday and a lot of things need to still be done.
"Most of us have children. Come on. We need all of our money - and not some, which they think we will accept - all."
Carolyn Johnson, who claimed she fractured her ankle in February after falling near the entrance of the Gaming Board building, said after being on sick leave for five months she has exhausted her benefits.
"I have medical bills that need to be paid," she said.
"These people are calling me. I saw my doctor yesterday (Monday) and he asked when am I going to pay my bill.
"I need the funds. I really need my money. I was told my injury is not an industrial accident. I understand that, but I just want a fair chance."
Aneida Fitzgerald, another employee, said the employees have been more than patient with the government.
She questioned why the government has not seen fit to do the "right thing".
"The only thing we are asking them to do is pay us what we are owed," she said.
"We have already worked for this money. This needs to be paid retroactively. Just pay us our money and everything will go back to normal.
"If the government chooses not to assist us, we are going to have to do something about that."

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Chipman 'surprised' Americans have not answered spy claims

August 27, 2014

Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Chipman said yesterday the time has long passed for The Bahamas to receive a response from the American government over the allegations that the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States was recording and archiving every cell phone call in The Bahamas.
Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell confirmed to The Nassau Guardian yesterday that the government has yet to receive an explanation from the United States.
Chipman said, "The Bahamian people are still waiting on this report.
"I find it somewhat surprising that the U.S. has not answered the minister either.
"Even though we don't control what the U.S. does, people want to know."
Mitchell had said that the government was expected to receive a report from the U.S. Department of State in June addressing the claims.
The allegations were first reported on May 19 and were based on documents leaked by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
The story was originally reported by U.S. website The Intercept.
According to the documents, the NSA was using a program called SOMALGET to store and collect full take audio of cell phone calls in The Bahamas and one other country, revealed to be Afghanistan by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
"What I find very interesting is that the minister finds time to talk about things outside his portfolio," Chipman said.
"He was talking about national security and murders. While he might be a Cabinet minister, we need to know what is going on in foreign affairs.
"What is the position on that? We need to know.
"Absolutely, it is past time. We don't dictate to them, but I find it surprising that America has not responded. It's shocking... We don't even know what is going on. It has gone very quiet too."

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Wells awaits word on his fate

August 27, 2014

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works Renward Wells said he is waiting to learn his fate following the completion of an investigation into the controversial letter of intent (LOI) that he signed with Stellar to Waste Energy last month.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said last week that the Ministry of Works investigation is completed and the results of that probe were sent to the Office of the Prime Minister.
"I have said before that I won't comment on it until the prime minister comments on it further," Wells told The Nassau Guardian on Monday.
"I understand that the deputy prime minister says that his investigation is completed. So I will wait for the results."
Davis said last week that he expects Christie to turn his attention to the matter after the government has dealt with several pieces of legislation.
"We are doing some heavy lifting now in executing our legislative agenda, and as soon as we have a respite from this I'm sure it'll be addressed," he said.
The LOI was for a $600 million-plus waste-to-energy plant for the New Providence landfill.
Wells reportedly did not have Cabinet approval to sign the document.
Following the revelation of the signing, Christie asked Wells to resign.
But Wells has not resigned and Christie has not fired him.
Christie said on August 7 he will make a final determination after he completes an investigation. But Christie has not said anything on the matter since.
During a press conference at the House of Assembly three weeks ago, Free National Movement Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said Christie is either afraid or unwilling to fire Wells.
Ministry of Works Permanent Secretary Colin Higgs previously said in a report to Davis that the LOI was more of an expression of interest rather than a letter of intent and does not bind the government to the proposal.
The fate of the Stellar proposal remains unknown.

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DNA says Christie administration failing on crime front

August 27, 2014

Nearly two-and-a-half years after the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) won the general election with promises of having the answer to key issues such as crime, Prime Minister Perry Christie's statement that the government has to go "back to the drawing board" is an admission of his administration's failure to keep Bahamians safe, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Deputy Leader Chris Mortimer said yesterday.
Mortimer also questioned why the government is only now re-examining its crime strategies after "one of their own" became a victim of the continued bloodshed.
"Before taking office in May 2012, this PLP administration berated the then Free National Movement government on their failures to keep the rising crime rate in check," Mortimer said.
"In fact, this Christie-led administration plastered crime statistics on billboards as part of an election campaign tactic.
"They assured the public that they had the answers to address crime and the fear of crime in The Bahamas; touting programs like Project Safe Bahamas and Urban Renewal 2.0.
"Bahamians bought into the promises of the PLP, but have so far received no return on that investment."
Five people have been murdered in the country since Saturday.
The incidents pushed the murder count for 2014 to 83.
The most recent killing took place early Monday morning.
Latore Mackey, Bahamas Information Services (BIS) deputy director and the prime minister's press secretary, was found in the driver's seat of his government-issued vehicle on Market Street around 4:30 a.m.
He was shot in the neck.
"Would such a re-examination of police efforts been at the forefront of the prime minister's mind had his press secretary not been one of the victims?" Mortimer said.
"Would the four other murders have been enough to warrant Mr. Christie's intervention?
"Was it only because the matter hit close to home did the prime minister decide to call a meeting with the relevant stakeholders?
"The life of every Bahamian should be valuable, and the loss of such life should be the driving force behind what must become a sustained effort to keep the criminal element at bay.
"Rather than pay lip service to it, this and future governments must take a long, hard look at implementing the needed changes to our overburdened courts and the reintroduction of capital punishment as a deterrent to criminal behavior."
Christie, who returned to the country on Sunday, said he was distressed by the shootings and killings over the last few days.
He expressed shock about Mackey's murder and said he did not expect him to be the subject of "the kind of horrific incident that happened to him".
Christie admitted that the government has a "lot of work to do" to reduce crime in the country and said his administration will go "back to the drawing board" with its plan to fight crime.
He suggested that Bahamians should be concerned that the carnage is not limited to retaliatory killings among gangs.
Mortimer agreed that no one is safe from crime, sentiments echoed by Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis after one of his police aides was shot in eastern New Providence last year.
In the aftermath of a mass shooting in Fox Hill and Davis and his wife becoming the victims of an armed robbery at their home last December, the government launched more than 20 crime strategies in December 2013
The opposition criticized the plan as "more of the same".
On Monday, Christie said he intends to meet with law enforcement officials over the next few days.
He said those meetings may lead to the government developing other crime strategies.
Mortimer said despite the government's continued promises to tackle crime with new initiatives, crime and the fear of crime remain the "most pressing of all the country's national concerns".
He said crime cannot be controlled without a greater commitment from the legislative arm of the government; re-examining the prison system and better management of the resources of the police force.
He added that if the government does not get tough on crime, more families will feel the "sting of death's touch, and citizens of this country will continue to be paralyzed by fear rather than enjoying our beautiful paradise".

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Crying wolf over BEC blackouts

August 27, 2014

Dear Editor,
BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller says there may finally be an end to the blackouts that have plagued all areas of New Providence for weeks now.
According to Miller, a damaged generator has now been repaired and things should be looking up on the electricity front. He added however, that he could not guarantee there would be no more outages, as "things happen".
I sincerely hope that Miller is correct in his assessment of the situation, however his assurances remain hard to believe as he has cried wolf so many times over the last few months.
At the beginning of the summer, the executive chairman said BEC was in a position to provide power to the entire island and that he did not expect any outages.
This was promptly followed by repeated blackouts, both localized and island-wide, blamed on everything from malfunctions to lightning strikes. The need for new and expensive equipment was again raised.
After this initial round of outages, Miller made several other encouraging remarks, only to see the blackouts return, this time even worse than before.
I know Miller means well, but the truth seems to be that he really has no idea whether or not the lights will stay on, and if not, for how long they will be off. At this point, he might as well stop talking about it.
- F. Rolle

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Scapegoating women

August 27, 2014

Dear Editor,
It is interesting that the authorities have sought to argue that women are the weaker link. They do not deserve the equal right to pass on their citizenship to their husbands and their children. They are required to marry Bahamian males, despite so many of our number being the most irresponsible souls around and eagerly willing to sell themselves for a song.
Yet, the women are the persons who are charged with being the risk to the country. They are the ones selling off Bahamian-ness. They will sell their souls and their citizenship to the men who come into their worlds. Why is it then, that the statistics so utterly refute this fact? How can it be that men are more often married to foreign women than Bahamian women are married to foreign men?
There are two facts that seem so utterly misrepresented: one, that Bahamian women are less than men and, two, that Bahamian women are eager to sell their citizenship as men are eager to sell theirs. Men seem to be eager to sell the Bahamian birthright, as land is so often called. They are happy to divest, get rid of, sell out from under, the very land people live on, but the people complain, exclusively, among themselves.
This is a serious matter, yet the men in the rum shop argue about the corruption between parties. They argue about their wives' cooking and the goodness of their MP, who just so happens to be selling off all the acres around them, yet our citizenship is not for sale. How can we reconcile these to positions?
While men are statistically the more dominant group to marry foreign women, they can pass their citizenship on to their children in most cases, but women are blamed for their lack of fidelity to the males of their race and nation. Ironically, we are producing a group of young men who seem unable to do much for themselves or anyone else other than drink, talk, and reproduce. They are eager to demonstrate their hard masculinity, but unwilling and unable to go beyond that.
The word "automatic" is really very misleading when it comes to citizenship and rights to be here. There is nothing automatic in applying for or being granted status in The Bahamas. There are rules, laws, processes and hindrances, so the idea that one sex should pass on their citizenship automatically is slightly off, especially if you have ever attended a meeting of Cabinet where the person applying for residency has had his her application deferred for five years because more important matters have kept Cabinet busy.
Why does this all have to go to Cabinet? Who decides who is better than whom? How does it work when a rich person buys land and is told that their application has been expedited because they have invested a sum of money that not everyone will have in the bank at the same time so they could buy that piece of land. Further, even if they wanted to buy it and had the money, would they be given that same treatment?
We seem to argue against discrimination when it comes to Bahamians not being able to access the same prices on land sales, but we are happy to discriminate against women because they are women, only, don't mess with my mother.
Somehow, it seems that mothers are honorary men. Men talk about their mothers as if they were sacred beings, or they hate them as if they were Satan incarnate.
Mostly, though, they hate the men who fathered them because of the way they treated their mothers. Yet, we seem more than happy to push all women into a corner and not give them access to rights. It is simply confusing.
What are the discussions in Parliament based on? Are these discussions and hard and fast inflammatory positions based on fact or are they pulled from the seat of someone's pants and used to promote a biased discriminatory regime?
Bahamian men do not "automatically" pass on their citizenship to their children in all circumstances nor do they "automatically" pass on their citizenship to all their children. The law is extremely paternalistic, but it is also clear. We Bahamians need to read better. The laws and the constitutions are all published. While they may be written in language that is outside of our common speaking and reading, we need to be able to understand what is being said.
Men sell land; men sell women; women sell women, but more men than women in The Bahamas are married to non-Bahamians. Why is it that parliamentarians think that only their mothers have sense and no other woman can be sensible and will marry any man who passes in front of them? Is that because so many men do it and know how to work the system for financial gain?
We seem to be a society based on discrimination: Bahamians cannot gamble in casinos but they can now gamble in web shops; Bahamians cannot get preferential prices on land because they do not have the potential to develop it as foreigners do; Bahamian women are not as smart as Bahamian men, so they will sell their citizenship as soon as they attain rights on a par with men's rights.
Can we try to eliminate some of these discriminatory practices and then see how biased we are against women? Men and women often argue that a woman whose husband has beaten her did something to deserve it because men are all rational, and women, being inferior, are the provokers. Let's try to be reasonable about this and seek out the information that will serve the country best.
We complain bitterly about being locked out of the country's progress, but we seem happy to lock others out based on their sex. And as far as biology goes, sex is male or female.
- Ian Bethell Bennett

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More talk on the Wells matter, but no action

August 27, 2014

Renward Wells is the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) member of Parliament for Bamboo Town. He also serves as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works.
On July 4, Wells signed a letter of intent with Stellar Waste to Energy (Bahamas) to create a $650 million waste-to-energy plant at the New Providence landfill. The matter has become controversial. In our system of government, parliamentary secretaries do not have the authority to sign such documents on their own. If Wells negotiated with Stellar, helped formulate the agreement and signed it alone without the consent of Cabinet, the prime minister should fire him.
The minister Wells works under, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Philip Brave Davis, has said he did not authorize Wells to sign the agreement. We would be surprised if an intelligent man such as Wells signed a letter of intent for such a large investment without being properly authorized. However, no one has come forward in the weeks since this story broke to say they told Wells to sign.
Several weeks ago Prime Minister Perry Christie asked Wells to resign in a private meeting. But he has not. And Christie has not fired him. The last thing Christie said on the matter was that he was looking into it and that he, the prime minister, didn't tell him to sign.
Now we hear from Wells and Davis again. Davis said last week that the Ministry of Works investigation into the matter is done and the results of that probe were sent to the Office of the Prime Minister. Wells told this newspaper on Monday that he is waiting to learn his fate following the completion of that investigation.
Davis said he expects Christie to turn his attention to the matter after the government has dealt with several pieces of legislation.
Christie has tried a "wait-them-out" strategy on this issue. He hopes the focus of the media and population will eventually turn away from this matter so that he does not have to make a decision.
If the facts remain as they are, that Wells was not authorized to sign this deal but did so nonetheless, the prime minister would be forced to terminate him. But doing so could make Wells an enemy. He might then bring things into the public sphere that are harmful to the governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Wells might also become a PLP critic in Parliament - something Christie does not want.
If Christie fails to act and he lets this go with no sanction to Wells, if the MP acted beyond his authority, the prime minister demonstrates to us all that he is not up to the job he has been elected to. The Bahamian people deserve the facts on how their money will be spent. By now, the prime minister should know exactly what happened and he should be able to make a decision.

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Did Andre Rollins hijack the Bahamian Parliament

August 27, 2014

There's a lot of talk lately on radio shows, in social media, in grocery stores, in line at the chicken shacks, on bank lines and in private and government offices around Nassau about what Dr. Andre Rollins did or didn't do, said or shouldn't have said, during recent debates in Parliament and in the time that preceded his election to the House of Assembly as a PLP member of Parliament.
So many people have so much to say about Rollins' handling of political/government affairs in the House and in the media.
But all this talk about "Rollins should have known all along what the PLP was about" and chosen not to be a part of it, if he was in such great opposition to the PLP's methods and (unspoken) philosophies from the beginning, a sentiment being uttered by PLPs, FNMs, and DNAs alike, is really just amounting to spitting in the wind.
First of all, if Rollins didn't know what he was really and truly getting into, which may be a lesser possibility but a possibility nonetheless, then he also would not have known that the actions of the governing party could or would aggrieve him to the extent that they have, or that he would have become so impassioned about them that he would pitch a fit (or three) in the parliamentary debates and sessions.
It's also possible that Dr. Rollins knew very well what he was getting into, but sincerely thought he could make a real difference and that the PLP, as a unified group, would have been more attendant to his concerns.
But, what if neither of those possibilities was the reality?
What if Dr. Rollins knew about and considered - when he entered into politics and when he decided to cross over to the larger PLP that was ready and willing to embrace new blood to satisfy the party's own political agenda - all the possible ramifications and obstacles that would meet him along his walk with the PLP, but still decided to join them anyway?
What if, in fact, Dr. Rollins knew exactly what he was or could be getting into and foresaw the dissension between himself and his party, but chose to move forward anyway, in order to position himself strategically to create an unprecedented level of disruption within the party?
The changing landscape
Most young people were and, some are still, being taught to get a job, fit in, demonstrate ability and work their way up, doing whatever they have or need to do, in whatever capacity, until they can do differently.
But young people, nowadays, don't sit still for too long; the average time spent on one job is about two years. In a constantly evolving world driven by constantly evolving technologies and communications, and ferocious competition, it is almost problematic for an individual to believe he or she can get comfortable in one place for a long time; tomorrow's picture could easily be very different from today's.
By the same token, employers know that they have to remain modern; their company mandates and visions have to be focused on things that younger people find imperative: making improvements in their world, and not just making money for money sake.
Employers have to embrace new or restored ideologies and make concerted and consistent efforts to evolve with the universal mentality of the people they (now) hire.
Young professionals are primarily concerned today about growing by challenging the prevailing norms, preserving sustainable environments, committing to charitable causes and changing the world. And they're actually doing it.
For the PLP or FNM, as the two primary and longstanding political parties in this country, it must be obvious now, if it wasn't already, that the same old mechanisms and the tired old political claptrap is not what young politicians or young people are interested in.
And if the time comes for them to behave differently, in opposition to the norms, they will. When they have an opportunity to change the world, or in this case the political landscape, they will change it. And they will do whatever it takes to change it. They have new ideas, sharper tools, and they have more energy. This is not to say that they don't need certain wisdoms of the people who went before them, but young people and young politicians have something unlike most who did go before them; they are willing to take incredible risks. They will take whatever chances necessary to make the grandest statement and evoke the greatest change.
No mistake?
All that said, what if Rollins knew precisely what he was up against and chose to go against it anyway?
What if Rollins saw the PLP as a point of entry, to get the proverbial elder-advised 'foot in the door', and then create the beginning of a general uprising against the establishment? What if it was his intention all along to gain that access and to play by the rules until he could change them, or at least bring about the movement needed to change them, by using himself as the guinea pig?
Many are asking why he did not resign from his post as Gaming Board chairman, as he resigned from his position as party whip. But, given all of the above, and anything you could think to add to it, really, why would he resign?
Look back at history. Look back at Bahamian sociopolitical history. Do you remember clearly who resigned and why? Maybe not so much.
Do you remember more clearly who was fired and why?
It is far more memorable to be fired in politics or by specific politicians, than to resign. If you are fired, the impact is far-reaching and long-lasting among the citizenry. The fact that you were fired from such a position as the one Dr. Rollins held, and under such conditions, resonates among the people for many years to come.
It is regarded as a greater injustice in the hearts and minds of the people. They will see the person doing the firing as the wrongdoer and the person being fired as the wronged, and they will sympathize with the latter, especially when he is standing on principle.
Will you ever forget what was done to Edmund Moxey?
Take a look at the people who are supporting Rollins in his recent acts and words of defiance; they are mostly young(er) people. Compare that to the majority who condemn him for it; they are the not-so-young. This is not to say that older people have exceeded their 'use-by' dates, but, which grouping will matter most significantly, as an electorate, in the next 15 to 20, or 40 more years?
Current and staunch party members, PLP or FNM, must not regard Rollins' or any other young political candidate's actions as random or label her or him a firebrand. There is more at play than meets the eye.
o Facebook.com/politiCole.

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NEMA: Islands not impacted by Tropical Storm Cristobal

August 27, 2014

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed that the islands in the projected path of Tropical Storm Cristobal fared well during the passage of that fourth named storm of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
On Monday, August 25, First Assistant Secretary at NEMA Chrystal Glinton said that Family Island administrators reported very little impact, with the exception of the flooding of a road in Mayaguana between Pirate's Well and Abraham's Bay.
By Sunday afternoon, the Bahamas Department of Meteorology issued tropical storm warnings for the central and southeast Bahamas, which includes Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, Ragged Island, Mayaguana, Inagua, Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.
Over a 48-hour period, Tropical Storm Cristobal was expected to produce rainfall totals of four to eight inches over the southeast and central Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
"NEMA monitored the system because there was going to be severe rainfall resulting in flooding," Glinton said, "but those islands were not impacted."
She explained that those islands were in a state of readiness and the emergency operation centers on each island were prepared to partially activate or fully activate, if there was a need to do so.
"The designated hurricane shelters were ready to be opened, and a list of tourists was compiled in the event their respective countries were concerned about their welfare and safety during the storm," Glinton said.
Once NEMA is advised by the Department of Meteorology of the severity of an impending storm, the various levels of activation are implemented.
"There is 'partial activation' and then 'full activation' and NEMA would monitor the system," Glinton said.
Once a system has passed through, the "all clear" is issued by the Department of Meteorology and then NEMA conducts a rapid assessment of the impacted area or areas. An initial damage assessment team is then dispatched from New Providence to the impacted areas where the level of destruction is recorded in a damage assessment report, and recovery and repair steps are taken to restore life to normalcy.
Meanwhile, residents are being reminded that the hurricane season is at its peak time and all the necessary preparations should be in place in the event the country is faced with a storm.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 to November 30. Weather experts predict eight to 13 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to two major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season's named storms are Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

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Grand Bahama Shipyard training young Bahamians in ship repair

August 27, 2014

GRAND BAHAMA - After participating in the Shipyard Apprenticeship Program - a four-year academic and on-the-job training course designed to prepare apprentices for a career in ship repair, Theo Pelecanos will be heading to Florida International University (FIU) to study mechanical engineering courtesy of the Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBS).
Pelecanos joined the shipyard in 2010 as an apprentice; he has progressed well during his four years and will be graduating from the Apprenticeship Program in September, but not before heading to college for the fall semester. Pelecanos received a full four-year scholarship valued at well over $100,000 and will also receive a portion of his salary while attending FIU.
"The GB Shipyard has been here for 15 years," said Carl Rotkirch, CEO of GBS. "We are in our infancy here but as we grow we take seriously our responsibility to training Bahamians to work and run this business. Theo is an exceptional young trainee who my staff has recognized as a leader and an exceptional potential engineer for the yard."
Speaking at a press conference to announce this exciting news, Don Forbes, GBS training manager, noted "Theo joined us after graduation from Sunland Baptist Academy. He excelled from day one and has met and exceeded the checks and balances we have in place here. It's very exciting to see this young man going off to study abroad and knowing he will come back and be a great resource for our team."
Pelecanos will leave this week to start his studies. He has lots of support, including former recipient of a GBS scholarship Miles Wilkinson, who Theo noted was a great mentor for him during his time at the shipyard. "I am so grateful for the possibilities the yard is giving me today," said the youngster. "I am honored to be chosen from my apprentices to receive additional study grants and because of people like Miles, I know I can come home and show the stakeholders what I am capable of, there are huge possibilities here for Bahamians."
As The Bahamas is beginning to play a greater role in ship repair, it is thanks to the opportunities being afforded to young Bahamians like Pelecanos and others that the industry in The Bahamas will continue to grow in a positive direction. "The talent of Grand Bahama is truly impressive," concluded Rotkirch. "I have every reason to see it continue and thrive."

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Interns gain knowledge at Bahamas Waste

August 27, 2014

Hosting numerous school tours about recycling and waste management, Bahamas Waste is known for educating Bahamian youth about the wonderful world of waste, and the company's internship program is no different.
There are currently two students interning with Bahamas Waste this summer, one in the maintenance department and the other in the medical waste department. Ashton Sweeting, a graduate of Kingsway Academy, is currently working in the maintenance field, helping the technicians in the maintenance department, and learning what it takes to help make The Bahamas a greener place. During his time at Bahamas Waste, he has assisted hydraulic technicians in repairing hoses and hydraulic cylinders, as well as electrical technicians in the servicing of the machine motors.
Ashton commented on his experience interning by saying, "During my time at Bahamas Waste, I have been enlightened on all the aspects of running and maintaining a garbage collection company that I was once oblivious to and have definitely found a new appreciation for the work that goes into it."
Cordero Mott, a graduate of C. V. Bethel Senior High School, is currently interning in the medical waste department. Mott's duties are to assist with the daily operations in the company's medical waste facility, including loading up the autoclave carts with biomedical waste, assisting with the loading and off-loading of biohazardous waste from the company's medical waste truck and emptying the autoclave carts once the biowaste within them has been sterilized. He also assists with the cleaning of the facility, as well as answering telephone calls.
"During the time that Mr. Mott has been working with us, he has performed exceptionally well and has become a valued member to the team," commented Carlton Strachan, administrative assistant in the medical waste department. "He has learned how to operate a few of the machines within the facility. He has also learned the importance of properly disposing of medical items and can now advise persons of the same."
It is of the utmost importance to Bahamas Waste that students gain valuable knowledge during their time interning, and both of the students now know more about waste removal, how to use the equipment and other aspects about Bahamas Waste.
"The experience gained at Bahamas Waste was a very unique opportunity that most people will not obtain. Working in the medical waste facility has opened my mind as it relates to biohazardous waste," said Mott. "I have also gained knowledge about our two machines (autoclave and incinerator) which I never knew existed. I've realized the importance of safety and protection. Henceforth I'm privileged because, in life, learning has no end."

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PM's press secretary murdered

August 26, 2014

Police were last night still trying to piece together the circumstances that led to the murder of Latore Mackey, the Bahamas Information Services (BIS) deputy director and Prime Minister Perry Christie's press secretary, who was found shot dead on Market Street early yesterday morning.
Police on patrol in the area saw a government-issued vehicle in the middle of the road at the intersection of Market Street and White Road around 4:30 a.m.
The black Hyundai Tucson sports utility vehicle had collided with a lamp pole near that intersection.
When officers arrived on the scene, Mackey, 37, was found slumped over in the driver's seat with a gunshot wound to the neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Royal Bahamas Police Force Assistant Commissioner Anthony Ferguson said police do not have a motive for the killing. He appealed to those with information to come forward.
Up to press time last night, Superintendent Paul Rolle, who heads the Central Detective Unit, also said police had no apparent motive, and no one in custody, for the killing.
However, sources close to the investigation told The Guardian that the crime scene yielded several clues that have raised questions for officers.
Police sources said Mackey left the club he manages on West Bay Street alone around 3 a.m. Monday.
Police are also investigating information that suggests Mackey was in the Market Street area to pick up two male acquaintances, who police cannot find.
Police are also trying to determine whether Mackey was shot from inside or outside of the car.
One thing that has baffled police is that Mackey was reportedly found with several thousand dollars in cash on him when officers arrived at the scene.
Friends and family shared heart-felt messages and condolences on Mackey's Facebook page yesterday.
Members of Parliament, including Christie, and several employees at BIS also expressed condolences publicly to Mackey's family.
Anglican Archdeacon Father James Palacious, who counseled BIS employees, said no one ever expects tragedy, but when it occurs it is a time to pause and reevaluate self.
Luther Smith, director general of BIS, said the organization is "saddened and shocked" about the loss of "one who was so promising". He called his death a savage act and said he hopes those responsible are brought to justice.
BIS Deputy Director Elcott Coleby described Mackey as an ambitious young man. He said he was in disbelief about Mackey's death because they spoke just days earlier.
Outside the House of Assembly, Christie said he was in complete shock about Mackey's murder.
"When I was called this morning (Monday) and told that this young man, who I got to know during the course of the election; who I helped get a job after the election; who I assigned to work with me after the election; who appeared to be a person of what I call such equanimity," he said.
"He [was] calm. No violent thoughts. No violent expressions. And so you least expect it to have him the subject of the kind of horrific incident that happened to him. I was shocked."
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said Mackey was a great man, who played a vital role in the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP)-led government.
Davis said he will be greatly missed.
Mackey was a member of the now defunct National Development Party (NDP).
Former NDP Deputy Leader and current PLP MP for Bamboo Town Renward Wells said he spoke with Mackey, who he described as a good friend, on Friday.
Wells added that their last conversation centered around the negative impact the various social ills have on The Bahamas.
Before his communication on the Investment Condominium Bill in the House, Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinder also acknowledged the tragedy.
"On behalf of the colleagues on this side, and many in the room, I want to bring heart-felt condolences as a result of a horrific event earlier this morning, where a colleague of all in the room was tragically killed," he said.
The murder count for 2014 now stands at 82, according to Guardian records.
There have been five murders on New Providence since Saturday night.
Mackey operated a sports bar on West Bay Street.
He was appointed as BIS deputy director in June 2012.

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PM re-examining crime fighting strategies

August 26, 2014

Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday admitted that the government has a "lot of work to do" to reduce crime in the country and said his administration will go "back to the drawing board" with its plan to fight crime.
He also suggested that Bahamians should be concerned that the carnage is not limited to retaliatory killings among gangs.
"For us now, it is going back to the drawing board, reviewing where we are, testing to see whether what we are doing is having any kind of impact and what other strategies we can employ," Christie said outside the House of Assembly.
"Unless we are able to come to grips with what is happening at the level of the streets, we have a real problem in this country that goes to the root of how we react one to the other.
"It's easy to believe that it is localized and it is retaliatory, where you shoot me and I shoot you, and we are all in one group.
"When you see it now begin to stretch and extend itself to people who you least expect to be involved in any kind of underhand activity, who may have just been a victim of circumstance, then you know we have a lot of work to do."
Five people were killed between Saturday night and Monday morning.
A group of men in a silver Honda Accord went on a killing spree that started late Saturday night, according to police, who believe the assailants took the lives of three men in separate incidents on New Providence over the weekend.
On Sunday night, in a separate incident, another man was shot in Nassau Village around 8:45 p.m. and died in hospital.
Early yesterday morning, Bahamas Information Services Deputy Director Latore Mackey, the press secretary to the prime minister, was shot dead on Market Street.
He was found slumped over in the driver's seat of his government-issued vehicle around 4:30 a.m., according to police.
The latest killing pushed the country's murder count to 82.
Christie said the recent spate of murders is another example that crime has peaked in the country.
He returned to The Bahamas on Sunday after attending the opening of the SLS Las Vegas boutique hotel and casino.
"When I arrived back in The Bahamas yesterday (Sunday), as is usual, the commissioner of police met with me, and as is usual, I would have asked what has happened in the commonwealth," Christie said.
"And he indicated to me [that it was] a very heavy weekend, meaning that there were shootings and killings, and that in and of itself distressed me."
Christie's pointed that Bahamians should be concerned that crime is impacting everyone, was echoed by Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis last year after one of his police aides was shot in eastern New Providence.
Following the incident, Davis said, "No one is safe from crime."
In December, Davis, then acting prime minister, and his wife became the victims of a home invasion and armed robbery.
He did not have a security detail.
However, Davis appeared to downplay the security breach and said The Bahamas is not as dangerous as it is made out to be.
That month, a mass shooting near the Fox Hill Park left four people dead and seven others injured.
In the aftermath of that incident, the government launched more than 20 crime strategies, which the opposition criticized as "more of the same".
These included plans to increase saturation patrols, patrols in crime hot spots, and the reinstatement of the 12-hour shift for police officers.
The prime minister said he intends to meet with law enforcement officials over the next few days.
He said those meetings may lead to the government developing other crime strategies.
"We cannot compromise on the safety and security of our citizens," Christie said.
"We cannot have a situation develop where people are fearful to be out.
"Last night (Sunday), I saw the body of a victim, who was shot by high-powered machine guns.
"And to see the carnage, it brings home again the reality that we have to do more."
Christie admitted that clamping down on crime has been a large task for the government.
"At the end of the day, to each of you, I should say that it has to be of paramount concern to each of us as Bahamians."

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