Nassau Guardian Stories

IBC pilot project live December 1

November 16, 2014

Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson disclosed that the target date for the IBC Pilot Project in the Registrar General's Department, which will allow international business companies (IBCs) to be incorporated online, is December 1, with a similar pilot project for companies set to go a week later.
Speaking at the gala ceremony for the Bahamas Financial Services Board's (BFSB) Annual Financial Services Industry Excellence Awards, Maynard-Gibson touted the fruit of the collaboration between the public and private sectors.
"This collaboration was critically important in developing at the Registrar General's Department the new automated system to incorporate IBCs and Companies Act companies entirely online - from name registration to obtaining the certificate of incorporation," the attorney general said.
The target date for the IBC Pilot Project is December 1 and, for the Companies Act Pilot Project, [it] is December 8."
The AG also revealed that voluntary dissolutions are expected to be available online within the first quarter of 2015.
"In the meantime, the manual process for such dissolutions has been streamlined and we expect that you will see a marked improvement in delivery times. Again, we thank BFSB for its collaboration on these projects," she said.
Maynard-Gibson also addressed the matter of the world perception of this jurisdiction.
"The Bahamas' greatest asset is its people. People (human capital) are vital to the success of financial services," she said. "We are in an environment where competence is assumed and even taken for granted. Expertise, efficiency and excellence will distinguish us in the new competitive normal."
She said the country's standing in the world is good.
"Recently, after extensive consultations with the industry led by BFSB; AIBT and the Ministry of Financial Services, the government of The Bahamas announced our commitment to implementing global standards on the automatic exchange of information by 2018. Next year, The Bahamas will undergo the CFATF Fourth Round Review."
"In order to sustain and expand the sector, especially in an era of transparency, The Bahamas must stand out as a center of expertise, efficiency and excellence," she said.

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Govt using VAT to subsidize its revenue, Moss says

November 16, 2014

Marco City MP Greg Moss has accused the Christie administration of using the looming value-added tax (VAT) on professional services as a means of "subsidizing" the government's revenue stream.
Moss told Guardian Business that the anticipated impact of the 7.5 percent VAT on legal services is "very troubling" for the legal community and will inflate cost of services.
"The fact that professionals will be required to pay VAT as they render invoices, even before they collect VAT on those invoices, makes it very clear that one aspect of VAT is to cause the professionals in this country to subsidize the government's revenue stream in the hope and anticipation that they will actually get that money back without any assurance that they will. That's very troubling. That's obviously going to have a significant impact on the rendering of professional advice to people in the community. [VAT] clearly will inflate the cost of services," he said.
Moss spoke during a VAT educational seminar hosted by the Bahamas Bar Association (BBA).
Although the seminar provided some clarity regarding the VAT-exempt status of pro bono legal services and retainer fees, many local attorneys were left with unanswered questions and confusion over the tax's reach.
"The most telling outcome of this conference today is that, even at a professional level, with attorneys and accountants, we're seeing significant areas of concern with the implementation of VAT," said Moss.
Moss notably voted against the VAT Bill in August due to concerns over its widespread effects on the economy. He was the only PLP MP to do so.
Aside from the tax's impact on costs, Moss and several attorneys had additional concerns over VAT's ramifications on client confidentiality. BBA members claimed that the tax's current filing system would require legal professionals to reveal confidential material on their invoices.
"The details that we are going to have to put in our reporting concerning the work that we've done for our clients [breaches] our duty of confidentiality with respect to our clients," said Moss.
Although Moss urged the government to revisit this aspect of VAT reporting, he suggested that there is "no mindset" to do so in the near future.
"I think VAT is not only a bad idea, but will be disastrous in its implementation, and I suspect that the idea of revisiting it will become an election issue," he said.
Businesses and professional service providers, including attorneys, accountants and doctors, with annual turnovers above $100,000 must register for the tax by November 30.
With less than two weeks until the registration deadline, it has become increasingly questionable whether the government will be able to register the growing number of mandatory registrants by that date.
"We know, based on recent statements that have been made, that only about 7.5 percent of those who are expected to register for VAT have registered. That says a lot about maybe the apathy but certainly the confusion that the public have about VAT. Unless we're going to take some very draconian steps of implementing these extreme, excessive fines that we've legislated, clearly there's going to be a more extended period that's needed to allow the transition to VAT. I'm hopeful that we're realistic when we do that," said Moss.

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Long Island councilor: Govt must ease availability of Crown land

November 16, 2014

Long Island Chief Councilor Ian Knowles has called for the government to make Crown land more readily available to Long Island's farmers in a bid to develop the country's local food supply.
Speaking at the inaugural Long Island Business Outlook (LIBO) last week, Knowles stated that he has received significant interest from the local Long Island community in boosting the island's mutton farming efforts.
Long Island has long been one of the main producers of mutton in The Bahamas. However, Knowles said that the government needs to provide additional incentives for livestock rearing on the island if it wants to increase production.
"We have a lot of people who want to rear animals. There's Crown land available, but when they apply, it takes a long time to get land for those persons who want to rear [livestock]. We've been talking for a long time to develop a food supply for our nation. I think more of an incentive needs to be given to those [rearing livestock]. We need provisions of cattle wire, provisions of feed for animals, and a slaughterhouse," said Knowles.
Knowles argued that these are necessary steps if The Bahamas wants to reduce its dependency on foreign food imports. Other agricultural programs, including the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), have been developed with the same goal of promoting local produce.
Despite the island's livestock opportunities, Knowles conceded that Long Island can only grow limited amount of produce due to the island's relatively poor soil quality.

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SME empowerment focus at workshop

November 16, 2014

Entrepreneurs both new and established participated in the Entrepreneur Empowerment Workshop last week. The event's organizer and host, Mark Turnquest, said the entrepreneurial spirit in The Bahamas is alive and well.
Turnquest and The Small Business Resource Centre worked with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide information on how to start, manage and grow a business in an effective and efficient manner, and to "enlighten" new entrepreneurs and existing SME owners on how to successfully prepare and execute business plans.
The workshop also gave the presenters a forum to report on the importance of the SME Act, the SME Developing Agency (SMEDA) and value-added tax (VAT).
Business presenters at the event included: Simon Wilson, deputy financial secretary at the Ministry of Finance; Lateisha Black, supervisor at the National Workers Co-operative Credit Union; Terence Bethel, president of Professional Certification Bahamas; Wayne Johnson, president of Wayne Johnson International; Anna Wilson-Smith, financial services executive agent at Family Guardian Insurance, and Sean Brennen, fund administrator at Bahamas Entrepreneurial Venture Fund.
Turnquest explained all sections of the business planning and execution process through a new business training/development model.

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Munroes' funeral set for Dec. 4

November 14, 2014

Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth Ann will be laid to rest on December 4 following a service of thanksgiving at Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI), Pastor Dave Burrows revealed yesterday.
A service will be held for BFMI Senior Vice-President Dr. Richard Pinder at BFMI on December 2.
Burrows said the life and contributions of Munroe and his wife will be celebrated during a memorial service of thanksgiving and praise on December 3 at an unspecified location.
Burrows said Munroe's funeral will be by invitation only due to the large number of people who have expressed interest in attending. The service will also be streamed live across the globe.
There is also consideration for Munroe to have a state-recognized funeral, Burrows said.
He added that officials

are "speaking to the relevant authorities and we should have additional information shortly".
Munroe and eight others were killed in a plane crash in Freeport, Grand Bahama, on Sunday.
Along with the Munroes and Pinder, Youth Pastors Lavard and Radel Parks and their son, Johannan; pilots Stanley Thurston and Frahkan Cooper and Diego De Santiago were onboard the deadly flight.
The group was traveling to Grand Bahama for the Global Leadership Forum, which Munroe was scheduled to host.
An eyewitness said the plane was flying low over the Grand Bahama Shipyard when it hit a crane and exploded on impact.
The eyewitness said the plane then crashed into the junkyard area.
Burrows said the family at BFMI is doing its best to overcome the loss.
"Church members have said to me, 'Pastor Dave, we're ready. We are ready to proceed with the vision'," he said during a press conference at BFMI.
"We lost a visionary, but we didn't lose the vision. We lost our leaders, but we haven't lost our leadership potential.
"We lost our mentors, but we haven't lost our mandate. So, as a church body, what I have received to this point is total support and resolve to continue and to ensure that the legacy, the work and the message of Dr. Myles Munroe live on and continue to impact the world for generations to come."
Burrows said officials at BFMI have been "flooded with calls and well wishes" from all over the world.
"We have entertainers from Hollywood, from the gospel arena, movie producers, presidents of countries, heads of states, prime ministers, singers, actors, dignitaries, [who have] all expressed their condolences and many have indicated a desire to attend the celebrations," he said.
Sunday will mark the first service at BFMI since Munroe's death.
Burrows said officials plan to honor Munroe's memory and begin anew under the theme, "Carrying on the vision: Preserving the legacy".
"This Sunday, we are going to outline for the church where we go from here," he said.
He continued, "It is going to be a very special service for us because it will be a new beginning.
"But we begin with our family, friends and church members. We are ready and resolved to move ahead."
Burrows, chairman of the board of directors at BFMI, also said the group intends to recommend to the government that Carmichael Road be renamed Myles Munroe Highway.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced for the other crash victims.

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Man murdered outside home

November 14, 2014

A man was shot outside his home in Pinewood Gardens during a suspected armed robbery yesterday and died in hospital, Chief Superintendent Ken Strachan said.
Strachan, the officer in charge of the firearms unit, said the incident happened at 8:30 a.m. on Cottonwood Street.
The man, identified by relatives as Antonio Morris, was found facedown in a pool of blood, Strachan said.
He said the victim was outside his home when a gray Honda, license plate 24746, approached him.
Strachan said three men exited the car and reportedly snatched a chain from the victim.
"One of the individuals in this vehicle fired two shots in the direction of the victim, striking him to the upper chest," he said.
"We don't have any information on any of the suspects at this time, but we are appealing to members of the public who may have witnessed this incident, even the suspect... bring an end to this aggression. Turn yourself in."
Morris's relatives and friends were inconsolable at the scene.
They described him as a humble man who never looked for trouble.
"He didn't bother anyone," said a close friend who did not want to be identified.
"He was humble. He was a working man. He was into making money so anyone around him could eat. He never bothered anyone in his lifetime."
One of Morris' neighbors described him as a "nice young man".
"He was very quiet and hardworking," she said. "You never heard his mouth around here. We're sorry, but this is what happened today."
Pinewood MP Khaalis Rolle, who was at the scene, said young men in the country need help.
"We believe that in order to be respected, you have to be macho," he said.
"We have to be this alpha male and people have to know me as a gunman or bad boy. On the streets that is how these young men get their identity, and we have to replace that with something."
This latest incident pushed the murder count to 102 for the year so far.

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Prison guard remanded to prison

November 14, 2014

A prison officer was yesterday charged with possession of dangerous drugs with intent to supply.
Ervin Miller, 51, was represented by attorney Tonique Lewis.
When Magistrate Constance Delancy asked Miller whether he would plead guilty or not guilty, Miller requested a moment to speak with his lawyer.
After a moment, Delancy again asked Miller for his plea. However, Lewis requested that her client's family be allowed into the courtroom so that he could comfortably make his plea. Delancy denied the request and Miller eventually pleaded not guilty.
Miller was not eligible for bail and was remanded to prison. Delancy said she would ensure that steps will be taken to ensure Miller's safety while in prison.
According to reports, Miller was searched by officers from the Drug Enforcement Unit on Wednesday.

They reportedly found $700 on him.

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Mitchell reminds: Citizenship can be revoked

November 14, 2014

After a state representative from Florida called on tourists and businesses to boycott The Bahamas, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that the ministry is determining what measures to put in place to protect the "sovereign integrity" of The Bahamas.
Mitchell was responding to Florida State Representative Daphne Campbell.
He said several complaints have been made to the ministry from Bahamian citizens about Campbell's remarks as well as those of "a purported citizen of The Bahamas who now lives in the U.S."
"The Bahamas Nationality Act says... that the minister for nationality may by order deprive someone who is a naturalized citizen of his or her citizenship if that person has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards The Bahamas," he said.
"The ministry reminds the public that the constitution requires all citizens to act in a manner which does not prejudice the sovereignty of the state or jeopardizes their citizenship," he said.
"Any visitor to our country must comport themselves in accordance with the law."
He said the constitution gives the governor general the power to "deprive a Bahamian of citizenship".
"The point here is that citizenship of The Bahamas is precious and important and worthy.
"It is not to be enterprised or treated lightly.
"I urge all citizens therefore to be mindful that we have in all things to be sure of our conduct. The world marks the manner of our bearing."
He warned foreign nationals in The Bahamas to ensure that their documents are in order as immigration checks will continue to occur daily.
Campbell was responding to The Bahamas government's new immigration policy, which took effect November 1.
Several children were picked up during the November 1 raid.
President of the Haitian Bahamian community in The Bahamas Jetta Baptist told The Tribune that she fully supports Campbell's comments.
The new policies require all non-Bahamians to have passports of their nationalities and evidence that they have permission to live and work in the country.
It also states that the Department of Immigration will not accept first-time applications for residence or work permits from those who have no legal status in The Bahamas.

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AG to review incest penalty

November 14, 2014

After a Supreme Court justice expressed concern over the maximum penalty for incest in The Bahamas, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said she asked her advisors to benchmark the penalty in other jurisdictions.
"I can definitively say that I've asked the persons who advise the attorney general to benchmark other jurisdictions and to see whether we comport with international best practices in terms of sentencing for this particular offense," Maynard-Gibson said in a recent interview.
During the sentencing of a man convicted of incest in relation to the "rape" of his 65-year-old mother, Justice Indra Charles suggested that lawmakers review the law.
She sentenced the man to eight years in prison, but said he will serve five years, as she took into account that he was on remand since January 2012.
Currently, an adult who is convicted of incest with another adult faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
"It is an insult," Charles said. "The legislature of this country needs to quickly look at the penalty."
Maynard-Gibson said, "when a judge speaks from the bench, we have to take note".
"I'm grateful to Justice Charles for pointing out her concerns," Maynard-Gibson said.
"If the advice coming back to me, having benchmarked other jurisdictions, [is] that their penalties are higher, significantly higher, I would then take the matter up with my colleagues to see whether or not it was a matter of government policy that they would wish to increase the penalty based upon international best practices and standards."
In Jamaica, incest carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Trinidad and Tobago also imposes a life sentence for incest.
In Barbados, if an adult commits incest with someone under the age of 14, they can face a life sentence. But if incest is committed between an adult and someone over 14, the maximum sentence is 10 years.

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No VAT for school exams

November 14, 2014

The Ministry of Education yesterday dismissed claims that value-added tax (VAT) will be applied to national examination fees.
"It has come to the attention of the minister of education that one of the ministry's school's officials disseminated information that is inaccurate and untrue," the ministry said in a statement.
"We wish to clarify this matter and assure the public that the information circulating in the public domain regarding the addition of value-added tax (VAT) to school-related fees is unequivocally false."
The ministry was responding to a letter from a government school which stated that "all payments for Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) subjects that are paid after December 19, 2014, will have 7.5 percent VAT to the payment".
According to the VAT Act 2014, educational services are exempt.
"We assure you that the Ministry [of Education] will do whatever is necessary to ensure that all school officials, both public and independent, are well informed of the Value-Added Tax Act and its implications on educational services," the ministry said.
The statement also encouraged parents to review the VAT Act on www.bahamas.gov.bs.
The Ministry of Finance also released a statement in response to the letter, which has been widely circulated on social media.
The ministry said that Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and BGCSE exams would not be subject to VAT.

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The Minnis team should avoid publicity stunts

November 14, 2014

Dear Editor,
Instead of substance, the team surrounding Dr. Hubert Minnis seems to prefer to organize publicity stunts.
Recently, the FNM leader rode the jitney, then his people took a picture of him getting off the bus.
I feel this action insulted thousands of Bahamians. Everybody knows that Minnis is one of the richest members of the House of Assembly. Rather than showing him riding a bus, in an attempt to show that he's one of the people, why don't his team advise Minnis to use his money to set up a scholarship fund for poor Bahamians, especially those from Bain Town?
It isn't about where you came from in life, it's about where your heart is now. There are many people who came out of poverty but who don't help other poor people. Then there are people who are well off, who spent their life trying to help the less fortunate among us.
Dr. Minnis should show the nation that he is one of the second group.
- Regular Jitney Rider

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A Nation is in Crisis

November 14, 2014

Dear Editor,
I feel that the people who are praying are not the ones who should be praying. Rather, those who God will hear when they pray should pray for the nation. Those who are heard when they pray should pray for those who were not qualified to pray - God will hear them and heal the nation.
Remember, it is still true that: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, then I will hear from heaven and I will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
It seems that whenever we have a crisis, we call for the executives to pray, but let me not hesitate to say that God is not impressed by big names or bureaucracy or the title "executive", or even religious titles; such titles are very common today, giving the appearance of power to many who hold a religious rank in the various places of worship.
I feel that God will prefer to hear from a little barefoot boy or girl, or anyone who humbles himself before God and pray. God will hear this little boy or girl's prayer and heal the nation, but don't go before God with some big name such as the reverend doctor or council member this or that and expect God to listen just because of the name you have attached to you.
You must humble yourselves, turn to God, away from your wicked ways, and then He will hear you in Heaven and heal the land.
I'm wondering, if God were to send someone to find 10 righteous persons in the Bahamas, could they be found?
Some love to pray standing in the synagogues and speaking things to tickle the ears of those who are listening and they actually believe that they will be heard for their great speaking (Matthew 6:5). We actually need to get out from the walls of a building called the church and take the Church of Jesus Christ with us in the streets.
We preach in our alligator skin shoes and expensive suits when we stay in the walls preaching in our $700 expensive suits and ties and the people who should be hearing us, especially the young people like the young man in Grants Town, Pinewood, Kemp Road, are not hearing us. They are still so unreachable.
What are we doing to reach them? Their hearts and their spirits are broken. God says in his word that he draws near to those who are broken in spirit. Are we cultivating the holy spirit like Jesus Christ did, or are we so caught up in our own agenda and only appearing to have concern, while saving of lives is not a part of it?
What about the young people, especially our young men, who are being shot down every day? Let us get to them by getting from behind the walls. Let's go in the streets and reach them. Touch a young man on the shoulder on Peter Street, Kemp Road, Pinewood, Elizabeth Estates or Bain Town and when he turns around, he is looking into a preacher's face.
Show them that you care. Find out what we can do and how we can help them. Pray with them, ask them what they want first from God and what they want from the nation. If we do this, then the murders will stop. Remember preachers, Rev. Dr. this and Rev. Dr. that and council this and council that does not impress God.
Something has to be done about crime in this country. I'm not for capital punishment in its present state or how it is represented in the law of this country.
There are actually heinous crimes that merit the death penalty. I those cases, I have no objection. However, where a life can be saved and an individual allowed to be corrected and returned to society, that is a great success story.
Additionally, I don't think anyone (by himself) has the right to kill anyone as punishment for a crime that has been committed. But we as citizens and the ones among us hired to enact the judicial laws, do have to obey the laws of the lands and capital punishment is on the law books of this country.
One of the answers to crime is putting young people back to work. What about the young person (man or woman) who was arrested by the police and taken to court for allegedly committing petty crimes, but never convicted due to lack of evidence or some technicality? Often, the charge still sits on his record.
Chances are, no one went to court to testify against him/her and nothing ever came of the case. In some cases, these young people appear so many times before the court and finally the case is thrown out yet the matter still appears on his record.
He applies for a job and the character reference states that he was charged but he has never been convicted but the background check says that he was arrested by the police but it did not come to the trial. This is held against him and he cannot get the job.
This is not helping anyone, much less the individual who needs to work. He becomes a burden to his family, the community etc. because no one will hire him and he cannot get paid and thus cannot ever turn his situation around. No one wins like this.
What about cleaning out those old incomplete cases and cleaning up those character references so that young people can gain independence and a sense of dignity and find a means to take care of themselves? As it stands now, these petty crimes and background incidents have young people locked outside of the gate of employment.
I would suggest that the minister of national security, by regulation or by legislation, take a closer look at this and tweak and sweep those petty matters not only from these young people's records but also from their background checks so when they apply for a job, their record will be clean and allow them to enter the work force or allow them back into the workforce.
After all, the law itself says that one is innocent until proven guilty. This in itself is another way to win or fight the war on crime.
Also, bring the gang leaders together and find common ground through dialogue to end this war and bring peace to our nation. If we want to have a brighter future, we need to leave the past behind and go forward. Education and forgiveness are the keys. Let us forgive the young people like someone forgave us. (Matthew 6:14-15)
- David A. Fox

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The failure of the state and the illegal immigration issue

November 14, 2014

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell held a news conference recently. He was responding to the comments of a man of Haitian ancestry that were aired on ZNS. The man made threats against Bahamians in an interview during a demolition at the Joe Farrington Road shantytown.
"Where [do] they want the people them to go?" the man asked.
"They want them to be homeless? They want them to go on the streets? You see what [I'm] saying. People like them force people to do bad things on the streets.
"...They have to understand that there are more Haitian-Bahamians in this country than Bahamians. And we [are] not scared. They don't want to start something that they can't finish."
His statements were widely circulated via social media.
During the interview, the man added: "Like how I feel [I'm] ready to put the Colombian necktie on these [people]."
While that part of his statement was not aired, it was circulated on social media. The Colombian necktie refers to a method of killing that involves the victim's throat being cut horizontally.
The matter was referred to the Royal Bahamas Police Force. Mitchell called for calm.
"All patriotic Bahamians and law-abiding non-nationals in this country should refrain from responding in this matter in a way which would approximate taking matters into your own hands. This is time for a reasoned response," he said.
"There are agencies of the government that are responsible for protecting the integrity of The Bahamas, and they should be allowed to do this work. Suffice it to say that this matter is being taken seriously."
Mitchell is right that the remarks caused outrage. Many are concerned about our illegal immigration problem when it comes to Haiti. Years of inadequate action by our state have led to shantytown proliferation across The Bahamas.
We have always known where these communities were. We drove past them. We commented on them. Yet nothing was done to permanently remove these illegal communities. Hence, they grew, and more and more Haitians came here because we are permissive of open illegality. We are the same way with numbers houses. Gambling remains illegal for Bahamians and yet the web shops were allowed to expand.
Despite the problem, Bahamians should not be unduly angry with Haitians. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We want all people who come to our country to come here legally. All peoples who are in desperate situations in their homelands, however, attempt to flee to a safer, more prosperous place in order to save their lives. Many Bahamians are in the United States, legally and illegally, for example, in search of better lives. It is ultimately up to states to ensure their borders are secured and that their laws are enforced. Our state has done a poor job doing these things.
We have all the laws and all the security personnel needed to clear all shantytowns in The Bahamas. The problem has been political will and interest. During this term in office, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has made some moves to clear some shantytowns. This progress has been slow, however.
The Bahamas has a shantytown problem and illegal immigration problem because we have not cared to enforce our laws. If we did not allow people to build sprawling illegal communities, they likely would never have come here. As a people, we need to be angry with ourselves and with our governments for allowing lawlessness to prevail.
The shantytown called The Mudd, for example, is in the middle of Marsh Harbour. Despite the tough words of the immigration minister, it is likely to still be there when he comes up for re-election. We talk. We get angry. But we have failed to act decisively in this country when it counts.

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Seeing the wider picture

November 14, 2014

Sell, and be thankful that I can deliver you into more debt through renting. But, let me take another selfie.
So, the times are a-changing and we as a country have sat back in our easy chairs and waited for the government to guide out of the promised land. Well, they say they are guiding us into sustainable development and employment for all. However, what cost is heaping on our heads?
When we were recently out of slavery, though we think we should have stayed, and blame those bloody Haitians for fighting to free themselves from mental and physical slavery, because of which they are evil and damned -- so we say and this is according to some scripture or the other.
Yet, we acclaim to be a sovereign black country proud in our blackness, but never mentioning African-ness. While all of our identity issues are played out through murder and mayhem, deportation and repatriations notwithstanding, we blame the government for everything that goes wrong or slightly wrong in the country. But, I comin' by you to take a drink even although I ain' work in months.
While the government can agree to sell the entire coast, we don't seem to care. It is interesting that a sovereign country would surrender its entire coast to a non-national company. But who a'xing anyt'ing? So much for the ability to defend oneself from attacks to the coast. Perhaps this danger has passed and there are no longer attacks that we should fear.
We cannot legislate to protect the environment, yet we sell tourism that depends on pristine environments for its success. We destroy the mangroves, yet, that's where the bonefish breed and that's what hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists want to catch every year. Bone fishing is one of our largest attractions. We bring them tourists down and bulldoze the mangroves that produce the almost inedible fish that feed so many local guides, but we are progressing to the next level in development. Let me take another selfie.
How can we be so stuck in the selfies that we can't see the wider picture? But, if there is one thing that's true, we are up on all the lingo and we talk a good talk. Yet, what are we doing?
We don't blame government when all the old employees are sent home once a new owner takes over a business that was recently sold. Of course that is the whim, of foreign direct investment. However, let a corporation try to let go some unproductive staff members, chile', everyone but Jesus is against them.
We sell oil and the options to buy into oil production in The Bahamas, but, sorry, not to Bahamians. Let me take another selfie. We can have 5,000 employees who come to work when they feel like, but leave them there because they producing for the country. They sellin' VitaMalt and cookie and a bag o' chip on the government job, but d'as cool. Yet we cuss when 'government' give away contract to someone. 'Fire de man', even if wasn't no way he coulda do it on he own.
When The Bahamas went through the truck system did anyone complain? Did the locals raise hell? We complain about violence being of the Haitians, yet they were all born here! Send them back. Or, should I take another selfie?
The truck system meant that we were never out of debt. We were held in constant bondage to our employers, who might have once been our owners during slavery. We could not make enough money to buy our economic freedom from bondage. Yet, we are happy when the Chinese buy Bay Street. Not one soul has complained or protested about the sale of Bay Street. I guess it no longer matters.
More important is to take another selfie or me in front of the fence they are going to put up to keep me off their beach. We says we feel buss right up, c'yan work on Monday, but let the Chinese try to fire us fa dat, is to da Labour Board. But what kind a foolishness is this? When we sell off every god-bless t'ing, including 3rd (or was it 4th Street?) Coconut Grove, to them and then want to take them to the Labour Board!
While our legislation is weak and our pockets are empty, we make every deal to sell, develop, indebt, rape and pillage every aspect of our patrimony to the almighty dollar, we still shouting 'bout 'send them back'. Who you t'ink coming to do the work next year?
We could complain all we like bout government, except when it comes to rep-pat-tri-ation, cause das a good t'ing, but jus' wait an' see what's coming down the tracks How many more job the bank send south this year? How many more workers the hotel sen' home? Who payin' their bills? BEC cyan even pay to keep the generators running good. When dey sell it, don cry.
Jesus take the wheel, because the Lord does provide, only we seem to be completely lost that we must work for him to provide. Stay right there an' wait an' see what happen nex', when you start blamin' governmen', you t'ink they checkin' for you?
Wake up an' read. No mangroves, no bone fish no tourists, no reefs, worser yet! But we still rentin' jet ski and sexing up the womens. Such a wonderful picture we paint. But das we culture.
o Ian Bethell-Bennett is a professor at The College of The Bahamas.

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Corporate Bahamas is joining in the cancer fight

November 14, 2014

Scores of leading businesses have signed on to sponsor the sixth annual Sunshine Insurance Race Weekend (SIRW) -- a community effort that brings awareness to the cancer fight and raises money for the cause.
The Susan G. Komen Bahamas Race for the Cure and Marathon Bahamas events are slated to take place January 17 and 18.
The Cancer Society of The Bahamas, the Cancer Association of Grand Bahama, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative Foundation and Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group will split the proceeds from the two-day event.
SIRW sponsors include: Sunshine Insurance, lead sponsor, Atlantis Paradise Island, the Ministry of Tourism, Emera, Focol, BTC, GU, John Bull, Arawak Homes, John Bull, Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), RoyalStar Assurance, Signman, Subway, BORCO, Burns House, Caribbean Bottling (Dasani), Graham Thompson, PharmaChem, Purity Bakery, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Aquapure Water (KLG Investors), Bahamas Hot Mix, Bahamas Waste, Bahamasair, BGC Limited, Cleveland Clinic, Colina Insurance, Deloitte, Doctors Hospital, Gatorade (Thompson Trading), Glass Accessories, Grand Bahama Port Authority, Handling your Health Wellness Rehab, KRYS Global, MAILBOAT Company Ltd, Tropical Shipping, UPS, Cable Bahamas, Island FM, Phat Grooves E-Blast, Star Guardian, Tribune, GBPA, Tech, Executive Coffee and Laura Jane Marketing Consultants Limited.
To register, visit www.marathonbahamas.com, komenbahamas.org or call 502-6500.
To become a corporate sponsor, contact Chakita Archer at carcher@marathonbahamas.com.

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Culinary students dominate Lukka Kairi food competition

November 14, 2014

Lukka Kairi, one of the newest restaurants on the food scene will soon open its doors to the public, and it wants to do so with the best Bahamian food possible. As such, the restaurant's principals recently hosted what was known as the Great Bahamian Cook-off to find the best recipes out there to help determine the final menu for the soon-to-be-open restaurant.
Hundreds of entrants submitted samples of their signature dishes in six categories -- peas 'n' rice, macaroni, conch fritters, Johnny cake, fried fish and guava duff. After an adventurous elimination round, each category was left with the top five entrants who all converged at Choices Restaurant at the Culinary Hospitality Management Institute (CHMI) to prepare their signature dishes from scratch for a panel of judges.
The surprise hit of the day were the amateur entrants from CHMI, who won three of the six categories. Darleen Johnson's macaroni was a hit with not only the judges but the other chefs as well; Ruby Marie Nottage made a mean conch fritter, and Aliea Rolle's Johnny cake had judges begging for a good stew to go with it.
"I'm ecstatic and just overwhelmed with joy to have the best macaroni in The Bahamas," said Johnson.
For Nottage, it would not have been a success without family support.
"I'm in shock, but I'm glad that I won," she said. "I want to thank everyone here, especially my assistant, my Aunty Rhonda and my teachers."
Winning the event was more than a reward -- it was a boost of self-esteem for Rolle. "I feel pretty good about winning. I wasn't as confident in the beginning but now I'm very excited."
Tony Clarke took the fish category; while Michael Turner, a veteran baker, claimed the guava duff division. Jason Johnson took home the award for best peas 'n' rice.
Now under construction in Downtown Nassau, Lukka Kairi which is anticipated will be the hottest all-Bahamian restaurant overlooking Prince George Wharf will give patrons not only a great view of the harbor, but an authentically fantastic Bahamian experience.
The cook-off was a great experience for Lukka Kairi Executive Chef, Alpheus Ramsey, who credits his mother's cooking with getting him into the industry.
"I loved my mother's cooking -- that down-home, Family Island flavor. That's what I'm looking for and I'm finding a lot -- the dry conch... the salt beef. Some folks have their own twist, but the basic flavors are there, and that's what counts," he said.
Deriving its name from the native tongue of the Lucayan Indians, the country's first known inhabitants, the Lukka Kairi Restaurant promises to boast a 100 percent Bahamian look and feel from the entrance to the balcony and beyond. The restaurant's owners are ensuring that their patrons have an authentic, yet high-end, Bahamian experience. Completely designed and outfitted by Bahamian carvers and craftsmen, Lukka Kairi will transition from an upbeat atmosphere during the day to a more relaxed and contemporary facade in the evening.

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Men's basketball team drops out of CAC games

November 14, 2014

The men's national basketball team has elected to drop out of the 22nd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) basketball championships that will take place in Veracruz, Mexico.
The team qualified for the games this summer at the Caribbean Basketball Championships (CBC) in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, but elected not to take part in the games due to the absence of a number of key players.
The basketball championships are set to begin on November 24 at the Auditorio Benito Juarez in Veracruz. Unfortunately, the start date comes at a time when all of the collegiate and professional players who are a part of Team Bahamas are in the middle of their respective seasons, and the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) is not in a position to compensate them for the time that they would have missed. The financial issue had been going on for some time leading up to the games, but failure to reach a compromise forced basketball officials to withdraw the team.
Team Bahamas was assigned to group 'A' after the draw that was held on October 9. Other members of the group include Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) Secretary General Romel Knowles expressed his discontent with the situation and is looking to take steps to make sure that this is not a reoccurring issue.
"We'll sit with them one on one and review their policy, and perhaps have to reset or set a new one when it comes to national team travel," he said. "I think it's fine if the BBF can afford to pay it from their office, but the athletes have to understand that when it's to represent at a higher calling such as The Olympics, or at the CAC level, then they have to relax their demand and really put that aside and represent the country."
Some of the members of the team who were unable to play include Keno Burrows, Mitchell Johnson, Chavano "Buddy" Hield, Bennett Davis and Kadeem Coleby.
Volleyball will now be the sole team sport that The Bahamas will be represented in at the CAC games in Mexico.

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