Nassau Guardian Stories

Stop pointing fingers

March 25, 2015

Dear Editor,
Recently, high-ranking members of the PLP government and party sought to deflect and point fingers at the FNM to justify callous abuses of authority and mediocrity in delivering on campaign promises. No less than the prime minister, minister of agriculture and PLP chairman seem to have forgotten that as of May 7, 2012 the PLP secured the mandate to govern for five years.
As such, it is appalling that such prominent and long-serving political figures would seek to absolve themselves of responsibility for events taking place almost three years after their party returned to office.
The examples below demonstrate their obvious disregard for being held accountable and their disconnect from the reality that Bahamians want delivery on campaign promises and good governance instead of the constant tit-for-tat politics.
o When confronted about the partisan awarding of government contracts to PLP supporters, the prime minister sought to deflect and justify the obvious by claiming that the FNM did the same while in office.
o When contacted about the FNM's latest press conference regarding the recent island-wide blackout, the PLP chairman claimed that the FNM left BEC in a total "mess".
o After admitting he informed a local magistrate in Mayaguana that he had the right to grant bail on appeal to a convicted man, Minister Gray completed his excuse-heavy diatribe by claiming that the FNM needs to find leadership.
Each of the above referenced instances highlights a vexing problem that has historically persisted in Bahamian politics.
Bahamians en masse are tired of these stale and played out political tactics across the political spectrum.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister and Co. categorically believe that finger-pointing at the FNM in matters real or imagined, negates any and all instances of failure or misconduct on the part of the PLP government or its agents since 2012.
This is a dangerous psychological game for the political party with a documented history of impropriety and scandals in government to be playing. Prime Minister Christie is the prime minister of The Bahamas and not of the PLP. Thus, he should be more circumspect in his tit-for-tat utterances.
As Prime Minister of ALL he should speak clearly to equal opportunities for ALL. Qualified and reputable Bahamians should receive government contracts based on merit and no consideration whatsoever should be given to political loyalty.
After all, the PLP slogan for 2012 was 'Believe in Bahamians' and not 'Believe in PLPs'.
Chairman Roberts should also be circumspect in his tit-for-tat utterances. Irrespective of any alleged "mess" he claims the FNM left BEC in, three years after taking office the PLP government is now fully vested in and responsible for BEC's management and maintenance. Any mishaps or issues relative to BEC 'belong' to the current PLP administration.
Bahamians demand and deserve a consistent supply of electricity in 2015. Informing Bahamians who last governed The Bahamas, an obvious fact, does not provide that consistent supply of electricity, nor does it prevent island-wide blackouts.
However, chairman Roberts' aggressive energies toward the FNM would be better served along with his institutional knowledge of BEC, in attempting to deliver upon that section of the PLP's Charter For Governance that states 'Reducing the cost of electricity'.
To date, much, if not all, of this section remains unfulfilled.
Minister Gray should also be circumspect in his tit-for-tat utterances. As a seasoned politician and learned attorney he knows full well that his conversation with the local magistrate in Mayaguana might be improper and an apparent conflict of interest on a number of levels.
It is clear that the local magistrate in this matter has knowledge of the law relative to matters upon which he decides.
Therefore, he needed no (advice), legal or otherwise, from a sitting Cabinet minister, notwithstanding his position as member of Parliament for the area.
Moreover, Minister Gray need not offer advice to the FNM on its leadership. Instead, he should have advised himself to brush up on the separation of powers doctrine under the parliamentary system prior to conversing with the local magistrate.
In light of the above, it is evident that the standard of representation and behavior of elected officials in this commonwealth must be elevated.
We can no longer sit idly by and allow abuses of authority and sit silent due to our partisan preferences.
I call upon my preferred party, the Free National Movement, to document these matters not just to score political brownie points but also as learning tools. The elevation of this standard of representation and behavior must cover all political parties and to the benefit of all Bahamians.
Undoubtedly, the PLP government will not hold itself accountable for misdeeds or failures, nor will it discontinue the practice of mediocre governance through deflecting upon previous FNM administrations.
It is incumbent upon the FNM therefore, should we prevail at the polls in 2017, to 'draw a line in the sand' and govern based on the fulfillment of our promises as opposed to governing based on finger pointing at the previous administration.
The Bahamian people want and deserve better!

- Howard "Mr. Bamboozle" Johnson

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Chief Justice responsible for judiciary, not Attorney General

March 25, 2015

Dear Editor,

Ortland Bodie, Jr. like most of the nation, has come to the conclusion that Minister Alfred Gray did the wrong thing when he spoke with a Family Island magistrate about a judicial matter that was completed before him.
What is stunning is that the minister still sees nothing wrong, or says he sees nothing wrong with what he did.
But that's not why I am writing this. Bodie goes on to say that if the Family Island magistrate needed advice he should have consulted the attorney general. Wrong, Mr. Bodie.
A lot of people are confused about the role of the attorney general who is responsible for legal affairs and also for relations with the judiciary, but Bodie should know better.
The attorney general is not responsible for oversight of the judiciary. Former Justice Lyons famously and publicly lectured Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson on this very important point years ago.
It is the same point which you so lucidly explained in your editorial today.
It is the responsibility of the legislature and the executive to adequately provide resources, accommodations and facilities for the courts.
It is not the job of the legislature and the executive, including the attorney general, to oversee the courts on judicial matters.
Ultimate oversight of the judiciary rests with chief justice and under him is the chief magistrate.
If the Family Island magistrate wanted advice on a judicial matter he should refer to the chief magistrate - not the attorney general.

- Corrector

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Baha Mar should take its time

March 25, 2015

Bahamians are hopeful for Baha Mar. The $3.5 billion resort in western New Providence is the only immediate thing on the horizon that can bring down our high unemployment rate. In effect, Baha Mar is the whole economic plan of the governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for this term in office.
The national unemployment rate was last measured at 15.7 percent in November 2014. In Grand Bahama, the jobless rate was 18.6 percent; in Abaco, 20.3 percent. Youth unemployment nationally stood at 31 percent. We have been dealing with double-digit unemployment rates from the financial crisis of 2008.
Baha Mar said it would open on Friday - this after previous statements that it would open last December. Yesterday, the company said it would not open on Friday but in May instead.
Baha Mar said that despite repeated assurances from the contractor that the resort would be able to open on Friday "it has become clear that the contractor has not completed the work with an attention to detail consistent with Baha Mar standards of excellence".
The Export-Import Bank of China is financing the resort. The main contractor is China State Construction Engineering Corporation.
Last week, Baha Mar Vice President Alyssa Bushey told "Travel Weekly" that only one of the four new Baha Mar hotels would open on Friday - that being the Baha Mar Resort and Casino which is a nearly 1,000-room property with a 100,000-square foot casino.
The Grand Hyatt is set to open on May 1, and the former 694-room Sheraton Nassau Beach Hotel, now the Melia Nassau Beach, is supposed to be renamed the Melia at Baha Mar once that property completes its $19 million renovation.
There have been no details on when the SLS Lux and the Rosewood Baha Mar will open.
Officials broke ground at Baha Mar in February 2011. The resort is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs, a fact Prime Minister Perry Christie has touted on numerous occasions.
At this stage Baha Mar needs to work to ensure the resort is completed. It is not necessary for the company to keep making declarations regarding the open date when there is clearly so much work to do. Get the work done. And when it is just about done the company would be able to project a realistic time for it to open. Constantly moving the goal post for its start creates uncertainty surrounding the property, its ownership and management.
The resort's amenities will include the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the ESPA at Baha Mar spa and more than a dozen pools. Other attractions will include 50,000 square feet of high-end retail and shopping and over 30 restaurants, bars and lounges.
There will be 200,000 square feet of combined state-of-the-art convention facilities, including a 2,000-seat performing arts center and an art gallery with the largest curated collection of Bahamian art, a beachfront sanctuary with native Bahamian flora and fauna and a private island.
All of this will bolster the Bahamian tourism product when it is ready. Baha Mar is nowhere near ready right now. That is obvious. The statement the company released yesterday on this latest delay surprises no one. Anyone who drives by it can see it's not ready. But once it is the company will have a whole nation supporting it.
It makes sense at this stage for the company to just focus on finishing. Once the work is done then it will be obvious when the doors can open.

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Challenge or opportunity State-owned Chinese investment in the Caribbean

March 25, 2015

Caribbean leaders and politicians, as they tend to do, ignore the long-term effects of unregulated Chinese investment projects. Their concerns hardly extend beyond their political terms and the short-term economic gain.
Chinese investment throughout the region is dominated by state-owned enterprises. Caribbean resources are increasingly owned by the Chinese state, and not, as they have historically been, simply by private investors.
For this reason, among others, our leaders' irresponsibility is detrimental to the long-term sustainability and independence of the region. Chinese state-owned enterprises own over $690 billion in investments abroad. Our region is but a small fraction of that staggering number.
Caribbean citizens, however, are increasingly curious about the real intention behind the sudden surge of investment by state-owned and private Chinese enterprises in their countries. A quiet, but necessary, rhetoric is slowly stirring among policymakers and Caribbean peoples that questions the vulnerability of our economies to economic and political control by our relatively new and dominant foreign investors.
Our politicians irresponsibly support and accept these investments with little to no care about their social and political effect on the citizens. The real threat posed by foreign investment is both in our politicians' irresponsibility to use investment from China accountability but also the international legal mechanisms that may exacerbate our citizen's vulnerability.
Despite these concerns, Caribbean leaders accept projects and investments, likely to gain political capital for their next elections, with little to no oversight or accountability to screen the environmental, industrial, social, cultural or political impact of these investments. Without such a procedure for appropriately screening these investments, industries throughout the region are, in many cases, suddenly almost entirely financially owned by foreign Chinese investors. The region is suddenly saddled with industries almost wholly controlled by Chinese enterprises.
In Canada, a screening procedure exists, whereby investments over a certain amount must be reviewed by the appropriate industry minister and must undergo a test to determine how beneficial they are to Canada.
Caribbean governments should consider such a useful tool. Without such a process our countries are exposed to significant foreign ownership of domestic economic industries. Even more worrisome are the international legal mechanisms that protect such foreign ownership and that can facilitate a type of control that limits domestic and regional sovereignty.
A deep-seated fear surrounding this issue stirs throughout the region. Newspapers, blogs, gossip, political discussions and parliaments in the region are right to express caution. The most concerning dimension of this issue, however, has yet to be addressed. The real threat posed by Chinese investment is not just our policymakers' unregulated acceptance of investments and projects or industrial vulnerabilities. The real threat to Caribbean state sovereignty is the legal mechanisms available to Chinese enterprises that directly and indirectly allow for political and economic control over our industries and over our governments.
This legal mechanism is popularly referred to as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), an integral clause of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). These treaties are negotiated between countries that seek increased reciprocal investment. ISDS allows a corporation to sue a country's government directly in an international tribunal that is removed from that country's own domestic courts, for public policies that may affect the investor's economic interests. That tribunal's decision is final, without appeal and can be enforced in domestic courts around the world.
In many respects, this mechanism can guarantee rights to investors and encourage positive investment. However, if leaders irresponsibly accept those investments, then a country may be subject to a procedure that places their economy at a disadvantage.
For example, imagine that countries A and B negotiate a BIT and that an investor from country A invests in a hotel project in country B. Further imagine that a labour union in the hotel industry in country B initiates a strike and that country B legislates changes to the industry. This change accommodates the demands of the labour union but in some way causes harm to country A's investor's profits in the hotel project. The investor now has grounds to sue country B in an international tribunal court whose judgment can be confidential, expensive to country B and result in a judgment against the state that will be paid by country B's taxpayers.
ISDS can be dangerous to a country's sovereignty. ISDS can be particularly dangerous to developing countries with irresponsible leaders. It can be ever more particularly dangerous to developing countries whose leaders fail to regulate incoming foreign investments to benefit their economies and potential investors.
There are five BITs signed between China and major Caribbean countries: The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. This is no coincidence.
In The Bahamas alone, state-owned Chinese enterprises finance a multi-billion dollar hotel, own a major hotel, are in talks to purchase the country's national airline, propose to reconstruct its downtown core and propose to finance the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, the state's only electricity company. In other words, Chinese investment in The Bahamas targets the country's tourism industry, which accounts for over 60 percent of its GDP and for even more jobs. Bahamian leaders continue irresponsibly to accept Chinese investment projects with no proper screening procedure and no real evaluation of the societal effects of an industry's foreign ownership and on their citizens' jobs.
On these bare facts, this is particularly worrisome not just for Bahamian policymakers but also for employees in the hotel industry. The Bahamas is particularly vulnerable to Chinese investment due to ISDS provisions in its negotiated BIT with China. When The Bahamas' BIT with China, signed in 2010, enters into force, Chinese investors will be able to directly sue the country for any changes in the tourism industry that affect their investments.
In Namibia, for example, Chinese investors signed a BIT with the government before their investments into the country began. Chinese investment throughout the world targets developing countries and many of those countries' leaders are blindly accepting investments with little to no regard for their long-term effects.
Imagine this hypothetical, but possible, example: The Bahamas legislates a change to its tourism industry that affects profits in Chinese-sponsored projects. The Chinese enterprise initiates a claim against the Bahamian government for this change in an international arbitral tribunal that awards the enterprise damages for $50 million. Not only will The Bahamas pay a $50 million bill that will be footed by its taxpayers and pay for costly litigation, it will have little to no choice but to revise its legislation to appease the Chinese investors in an effort to retain its credibility as an investment destination. The Bahamas is here sued for the exercise of its sovereignty and must accordingly limit it.
It cannot legislate freely and Bahamian citizens will see their taxes redirected to pay both the litigation and damages, if enforced. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is one of the only institutions in the region well acquainted with this issue. It has consistently acted prudently in addressing it.
This situation is not uncommon throughout the Caribbean region with countries facing a similar fate. A similar pattern is already occurring through developing regions. The only solution to this terrifying threat is for Caribbean leaders, both domestically and regionally, to implement necessary and measured regulations to screen investments and assure that they, and their citizens, do not become victims to political control through economic control by the Chinese state.
These hypothetical situations are yet to occur but are far from impossible. Criticisms of ISDS throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia are increasing because of the reality of its threat and its continued likelihood. Our leaders should turn their eye beyond their political terms to address this issue now. We face a long-term problem that will be exacerbated only to satisfy short-term gains that boost our economies.
We must be cautious, we must be measured and we must be prudent. Our leaders have yet to exhibit these qualities as it relates to this issue.

o Marvin Coleby is a Bahamian law student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. This article is published with the permission of Caribbean News Now.

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June referendum 'unlikely'

March 25, 2015

Constitutional Commission Chairman Sean McWeeney said yesterday it is "increasingly unlikely" that the government will hold a constitutional referendum in June.
In a recent interview, Prime Minister Perry Christie was hesitant about giving a date for the proposed referendum.
"The process leading to a referendum is being directed by the Constitutional Commission, Mr. Sean McWeeney," Christie said.
"They have required certain consultations which I am told have taken place. That is with respect to political directorate.
"I was very clear with my own pronouncements that I wanted near to unanimity as possible and I did not want to campaign on this matter.
"I am reliant on what is taking place with the Constitutional Commission and in relation to that, their discussion with [Minister of National Security], who represents the government in any decision as to the date of the referendum."
Asked whether a June referendum is likely, Christie said he did not want to speculate.
"It is a matter that requires certainty," he said.
"In terms of any pronouncement on my part, it is a matter that I would prefer to defer to the minister of national security, who has the constitutional and ministerial responsibility to deal with that issue.
"And he has in fact been in discussions with the Constitutional Commission.
"So, he would make the recommendation to us as to the readiness of his department, which will conduct any polling.
"So, that it where it is."
When pressed on whether a June referendum is likely, McWeeney said, "June is increasingly unlikely".
With just over three months before the proposed gender equality referendum, the four constitutional amendment bills remain in the committee stage in the House of Assembly.
Two weeks ago, Nottage said there was no indication as to when the bills will come out of committee and be voted on.
"There is no indication yet," Nottage said. "That is the answer."
He said while there is no hold up with the bills, the commission was given more time to educate Bahamians.
In September 2014, the government delayed the referendum until June.
It was the fourth time the government delayed the referendum.
The referendum was originally expected to take place in June 2013, but it was delayed to November 2013.
It was then pushed to June 2014, and then to November 2014.
After the referendum bills were tabled in Parliament last year, controversy erupted in various circles.
The fourth bill would make it unconstitutional to discriminate against someone based on sex.
There is fear the bill could lead to challenges in support of same-sex marriages.
The concern surrounding the second bill is that it would spawn marriages of convenience.
In order for constitutional changes to take place, the bills must be approved with at least three-quarters support in both the House of Assembly and the Senate.
The bills must then be approved by a simple majority of voters in a referendum.
A similar referendum held in 2002 was defeated.

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Appeal court reserves decision on preemptory challenges

March 25, 2015

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday reserved its decision on whether the reduction of jury challenges without cause has violated a murder suspect's right to a fair trial.
Attorney Murrio Ducille yesterday argued that Valentino Yustare, who is accused of the December 23, 2009 murder of Raymond Morley at the Golden Gates Shopping Plaza, has been disadvantaged by an amendment to the Juries Act, which reduces the number of peremptory challenges from 10 to four in murder cases. Peremptory challenges for other offenses have been reduced from seven to two.
Ducille argued that the November 2014 amendment should not be applied retroactively as 10 challenges without cause were permitted at his arraignment.
However, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Vernal Collie argued that the constitutional right to a fair trial was still intact.
Collie said the amendment was procedural , but the right to challenges with cause remained.
Earlier this year, Justice Bernard Turner ruled that the amendment did not prejudice Yustare's right to a fair trial.
Yustare's trial has been adjourned to January 2016.

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National Youth Choir starts season on high note following law firm's donation

March 25, 2015

The Bahamas National Youth Choir is singing a different tune following a donation from a local law firm.
Sharon Wilson & Co. on Monday donated $5,000 to the choir.
The firm has been a platinum sponsor for the last five years and has, to date, donated $25,000 to the BNYC.
Principal of Sharon Wilson & Co., Sharon Wilson, said she was pleased that the firm was able to make its contribution to the choir's annual performance, particularly on its 25th repertory season.
"Through the Bahamas National Youth Choir, Cleophas Adderley and others have given so much over the years in the development of the voices, poise and discipline of so many of our youth," Wilson said.
"The National Youth Choir is truly a national asset of which we can all be proud. No doubt it takes the wider support and appreciation of our community to continue this excellent work."
The BNYC was founded in 1983 and its members have sung in dozens of languages in more than 20 countries around the globe. It has even performed for Her Majesty the Queen.
The choir celebrates its 25th repertory season at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts from March 25 to 28. Tickets are $20.
The gala performance takes place tonight at 8 o'clock and is preceded by a cocktail reception starting at 7:15 p.m. Tickets cost $60 per person.
For more information, contact the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts' box office.

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'Angry with life'

March 24, 2015

The 36-year-old woman who died along with her two daughters when her car went off the Montagu ramp on Sunday night was "confused, angry and depressed" and had fallen into some bad luck, her relatives said yesterday.
They also revealed that Shemicka McKinney had just been kicked out by a cousin she lived with.
Police pulled the bodies of a woman and her daughters, Gabrielle, six, and Alicia, three, out of the water after 10 p.m.
Witnesses reported that the car McKinney was driving plunged into the water after going at a very high rate of speed.
Police said yesterday they still could not conclude whether the incident should be classified as a murder-suicide, but family members fear McKinney intentionally killed herself and her children.
As tears rolled down her face yesterday, Alice McKinney admitted her granddaughter had troubles, but said she had been "a very nice person" growing up.
"During her latter years, she became confused," said McKinney, outside her home, off Carmichael Road.
"She went away to college. When she came back, everything in her life had changed. She had the two kids...she fell into some bad luck and she was just going on and on.
"The last time I saw her was Friday afternoon. I never thought I would never see her again."
"I don't know [anything]. This morning I listened to the 7:30 news and I heard about it, and I said to myself, Lord don't tell me that girl did some stupidness."
Shemicka McKinney's grandmother added, "Nobody knows what I am feeling right now, only the good master knows. To see those two little babies, they were a pride and joy.
"Those two little babies. Man if she wanted to do something foolish, leave those two little kids. Right now, I'm [not well], but he promised never to put more on me that I can bear and I know he will not put more on me than I can bear. My Jesus is there. He is there on the throne.
"Lord, help me to overcome this."
McKinney said her granddaughter always bottled up her problems.
She said she never asked for help.
The two lived in the same house for several months until Friday, when the cousin kicked her out.
That cousin, Paula Davis, said she and McKinney had many problems.
Davis said although they were cousins, they didn't know each other that well.
She described her cousin as a stranger and an argumentative person, who was difficult to get along with and was angry with life.
Davis said McKinney was having difficulty finding a permanent place to live and although she held a bachelor's degree, she could only find a minimum wage position at a fast food restaurant.
"Me and her fell out and I told her that she had to leave," Davis said. "She was very disrespectful and I couldn't have it in my house."
Asked if she regretted kicking McKinney out, Davis said no.
"I did everything that I could have possibly done for her," she added.
"I just saw that it wasn't working. Honestly, I'm just sorry that the kids lost their lives. I'm sorry that she took the children.
"But if I look back probably if she had stayed, she could've gotten into an argument and then one of my kids might have gotten killed because it was at that stage where she was just argumentative."
Davis claimed that McKinney got into problems everywhere she lived.
She said McKinney could have gone to other people, but they would have refused to help her because of her attitude.
Davis said she will miss the girls.
Police said autopsies will be performed this week.

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Gray says he will not resign

March 24, 2015

Minister of Agriculture and Local Government V. Alfred Gray said yesterday he has no intention of resigning from the Cabinet, and denied the Free National Movement's allegation that he interfered in a judicial matter.
Gray said he never sought to "pervert the course of justice" when he called Mayaguana Administrator Zephaniah Newbold, who was acting in his capacity as local magistrate, and told him he could grant a man bail.
Newbold convicted the man of a minor offense last Thursday.
Gray said he understands Newbold eventually released the convict on bail pending the outcome of an appeal.
On Friday, the FNM suggested in a statement that island officials were preparing to transport the prisoner to Nassau for him to serve a three-month sentence when Gray intervened.
On Sunday, the FNM called for Gray's resignation or for Prime Minister Perry Christie to fire him over the matter.
Gray said yesterday that he has no intention of resigning.
While he gave The Nassau Guardian an extensive interview on the matter on Friday, he said yesterday he will make no further statements as the matter is still before the courts.
On Friday, he had said he saw no problem in discussing the case with Newbold because it had already been disposed of.
Gray said the FNM's call for resignations from the Cabinet have been ongoing.
"That is a matter for them," he said.
"They can call for whomever they want. They can ask for whomever they want. But at the end of the day we have a government to run and I suppose the prime minister will have the final say on these situations."
He added, "They seem to have very little else to do and they are seeking to stay relevant."
When asked if he would resign, Gray said, "No.
"For what? I have done nothing wrong.
"You step down when you have been caught doing wrong. I have done nothing wrong. So no, I am not doing that."
When contacted for comment yesterday, Newbold repeated that he had no comment at this time.
On Friday, Gray admitted that he spoke to Newbold on Thursday.
"I understand that an appeal was filed by a convicted person and once an appeal is filed the magistrate has an option to grant bail or not grant bail until the appeal is heard," he said.
"That's what I told the administrator and he exercised his discretion once the appeal was filed."
During a press conference at FNM headquarters on Sunday, FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said Gray "stands condemned by his own words".
"Mr. Gray must resign from Cabinet forthwith or be fired," Minnis said.
"We call for the immediate resignation of Alfred Gray from Cabinet, failing which, we call for his immediate dismissal from all public offices.
"Further, we repeat our demand that the attorney general cause this matter to be immediately and impartially investigated to determine authoritatively whether any law was broken."
According to Gray, the man was prosecuted for "obscene language or obstruction or some minor matter and nothing major".
Gray added that he was bothered that the same police officer offended by the man, was prosecuting the matter.
He said no one should be "judge and jury".

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Govt to 'deal with' officers who marched

March 24, 2015

Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell yesterday blasted the Bahamas Prison Officers Association (BPOA) and the Police Staff Association (PSA), claiming they were acting like unions.
Bell pledged that the government will "deal with this".
"I saw the prison staff association engaged in what they called a walk-out," Bell said in the Senate.
"They are moving in a direction to think that they are a union.
"We are going to deal with this. This government is going to deal with this once and for all.
"We cannot have the prison staff association behaving as though they are a union or a political party."
The PSA and BPOA, joined by members of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and Bahamas National Citizens Coalition (BNCC), marched downtown on March 12.
The PSA and BPOA said the march was over outstanding issues regarding salaries, promotions, insurance and "disrespect from the government".
Bell said "instead of looking at the glass half empty", the associations should look at the improvements the government has made at the prison and within the police force.
Regarding the PSA, Bell said he cannot understand how an interdicted officer can serve as its executive chairman.
"What is amazing to me in my opinion, is that the chairman of the Police Staff Association could be charged criminally, with a sexual assault charge, and be allowed to continue to operate," he said.
"He is interdicted. I don't know on what planet on God's earth we could allow that to happen."
He was referring to PSA Executive Chairman Dwight Smith, who was charged in January 2014 with indecent assault.
Bell labeled the police association as nothing but a "political tool" that "disrespects the office of commissioner".
Opposition Senator Carl Bethel challenged Bell to "govern his tongue" on the PSA and labeling it a tool of the Free National Movement.
The PSA and Bell have locked horns on several occasions.
Last week, Smith said the police force has launched an investigation into whether the PSA associated with a political organization when it marched downtown.
Smith said a senior police officer served the association's executives letters, which indicated they were under investigation for associating with a political organization.
He said the association will challenge any attempt by the police force to charge and reprimand officers over the allegations, which he suggested are unfounded.

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Man stabbed to death at Arawak Cay

March 24, 2015

A man was stabbed to death and two others injured following a fight at Arawak Cay shortly before midnight on Sunday, police said.
According to Chief Superintendent Paul Rolle, two men were fighting when one of them drew a knife.
Another man came to the unarmed man's aid and managed to disarm the man wielding the knife.
However, Rolle said the three men were stabbed in the process, one fatally.
The victim has not been identified.
Rolle said two men were being questioned in connection to the stabbing incident.
The killing pushed the country's murder count for 2015 to 33.
Murders in The Bahamas have increased by 32 percent over last year, according to The Nassau Guardian's record.

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Teen charged with murdering architect

March 24, 2015

Police have closed the investigation into the murder of architect Theophilus Thompson, who was gunned down at Podoleo Street on March 6.
Kevin Telusnord, otherwise known as Johnny Telusnord, 19, of Isabella Boulevard, Marathon Estates, appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt yesterday on a single count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Prosecutors say that Telusnord murdered Thompson and attempted to murder Rashae Lundy and Neko Lundy.
Telusnord, who did not have a lawyer, was not required to enter a plea to the charges. He has been remanded into custody and makes his next court appearance on May 11.
At that time it is expected that the case will be transferred to the Supreme Court for trial.
According to police, Thompson was sitting in his car with others when four to five men opened fire.
Thompson attempted to drive himself to hospital, but crashed on the way.
He was taken to hospital by ambulance and died there.

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Man on trial for body armor

March 24, 2015

The prosecution yesterday opened its case against a man accused of unauthorized possession of body armor.
Dino Bethel, who is also known as Deon Bethel, has pleaded not guilty to the charges at his trial before Senior Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs.
In her opening statement to the jury, prosecutor Desiree Ferguson said that police executed a search warrant on Bethel's home, located off Armbrister Street in Fox Hill.
Police allegedly found a camouflage bullet proof vest, a ballistic helmet and a ballistic face mask in the ceiling.
Attorney Murrio Ducille represents Bethel. Eucal Bonaby also appears for the prosecution.

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Fired BAMSI employee speaks out

March 24, 2015

A former Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) employee and Free National Movement (FNM) supporter said yesterday he has instructed his attorney to take legal action, claiming he was "politically victimized" when he was fired on March 3.
Micah Valdes, 46, was hired on a one-year contract as an aquaculture technician on September 14, 2014.
The father of seven said he has 14 years' experience in the field.
Valdes claimed a senior manager advised him that he was being let go for insubordination.
But he said he never received a termination letter explaining the reason.
"It really hurts to know that we still live in a society that actually thrives on victimization," Valdes told The Nassau Guardian.
"It is a strain on our system. We have educated Bahamian people, who are capable of doing the jobs, but are not afforded the opportunity because of their political affiliation."
Attorney Dion Foulkes, who represents Valdes and terminated irrigation specialist and staff supervisor Lenny McDonald, said both men were victimized because of their political affiliation.
However, Minister of Agriculture V. Alfred Gray previously said while he is not familiar with the circumstances surrounding the termination of these employees, he is confident "if they were let go, they were let go for reasons".
But Valdes said representatives of the Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) recruited him for the position at BAMSI.
He was previously employed as an on-site coordinator at Lucayan Aquaculture Ltd. in Grand Bahama, where he was responsible for producing 100,000 pounds of shrimp annually.
"Having a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of contacts in the industry, when I went to the program (BAMSI) it was like I was in isolation," Valdes said.
"They never really asked for recommendations or anything.
"Coming from the private sector, recommendations, different views and criticisms are welcome.
"But actually going to BAMSI, they consider that undermining the project."
Having turned down a job offer in Texas to work at BAMSI, Valdes said his termination has deeply hurt him and his family.
"My motivation to this project was like that of a solider," Valdes said.
"When a solider goes to war, it is not about party, but it is about country."
Gray has insisted BAMSI hires people based on their qualifications and their abilities to fulfill their obligations in accordance with the project's policies and direction.
He said when there is a breach, BAMSI's board of directors determines whether to retain or fire.
"I would not make a second guess of it," Gray said.
"The president of BAMSI Godfrey Eneas is well qualified to determine whether those who are hired are doing what they were hired to do in accordance with the company's policies and direction."
Calls placed to Eneas were not returned up to press time.
Speaking to the project, Valdes said equipment was limited and employees often had to wait to use tools.
He said his salary was frequently paid weeks after payday.
In a letter to Gray two weeks ago, Foulkes said he was instructed to claim damages for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal and breach of contract.
"Additionally, I have been instructed by Mr. Valdes to seek damages for the violation of his constitutional rights with respect to his right to support the political organization of his choice without fear of retaliation or discrimination from authorities or from the government," Foulkes said.
"We are of the firm view that this is a case of political victimization and discrimination."
Foulkes said a formal letter of demand will be sent to the government and BAMSI's management this week.
He said failure to respond within seven days of it being issued, would result in a writ being filed in the Supreme Court.
FNM Chairman Michael Pintard previously promised that the party would not rest until "justice prevails in North Andros".

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The PLP: Disintegration, mismanagement or inept

March 24, 2015

Dear Editor,
The question that many would wish to ask but are afraid, in most cases so to do, is: Is the PLP disintegrating before our very eyes, or is it a case of gross mismanagement? At the very least, the PLP and its leadership would appear to be inept and clueless as to governance. Oh, by the way, I am still a supporter of that iconic party.
The Renward Wells saga has yet to be explained or dealt with by the prime minister. The most stupid of persons would acknowledge that Wells did something that was not within his portfolio. A commission was appointed by the PM and one by the DPM. Yet, months later, we have heard absolutely nothing from those commissions or even if they would have reported.
The PLP is treating the people of this wonderful nation with contempt and total disdain. Last year, the PM led a delegation on a European junket to visit with the Pope and to attend a high level conference relative to the Commonwealth heads of government. Questions were raised about the costs of that trip. The loquacious PM, as usual, promised a full accounting. A year later, the silence is deafening and a threat to good governance and accountability.
The NIB report and "investigation" relative to the very public spat between the then director and the chairman have yet to see the light of day, much less be fully aired and debated in Parliament. The NIB, headed by my beloved brother and friend, continues to issue no-bid contracts, with impunity, and an 'in your face' attitude. Questions about competency and qualifications are swept under the rug.
Sidewalks are necessary, especially in areas of high pedestrian traffic (school and business zones) but never before in the history of this wonderful nation have so many contracts been issued for such construction. This is a clear sign that political cronyism is alive and well, as we approach the electoral season. Taxpayers' monies are again being deployed to secure political support. Yes, some might suggest that this is necessary to generate employment, but who is getting the bulk of such contracts?
The PM is either delusional or something worse when he was able to fix his mouth the other day to suggest that he hoped that the majority of contracts awarded at BAMSI was to PLP contractors! Never before in my life have I ever seen or heard of such blatant and disgusting drivel from a sitting leader of a nation.
The PM should be above such mundane utterances and sentimentalities. Was he suggesting, coyly, that in order to secure a governmental contract that one had to be a certified or perceived member or supporter of the PLP? The PM has yet to understand and possibly appreciate that he is the prime minister of and for all Bahamians, regardless of race, color, creed or political affiliation. The PM is in urgent need of a reality check, with the greatest of respect.
There are too many negatives now coming on-stream against the PLP, and no one seems to realize it except for a handful of its parliamentary members. The PM acts as if he is a political novice or, even worse, an amateur. The PLP is disintegrating, right before our very eyes. It is being badly managed. The ineptitude displayed by some of its ministers leaves much to be desired.
As if BAMSI, Renward Wells, Andre Rollins and the landfill were not bad enough, we now see the judicial spectacle where, by his own public admission, Minister V. Alfred Gray, spoke to a quasi-judicial administrator in his constituency and explained to him his legal powers. The administrator could have and should have sought advice from the Office of the Attorney General.
The PLP has much to be proud of over the years, but in recent times it is clear that it has lost its way.
If it does not get back on track sooner rather than later, this may well result in an electoral loss at the polls, especially if the dragon from North Abaco decides to heed the massive call for his return to front line politics. To God then, in all things, be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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Police in schools

March 24, 2015

Dear Editor,
Call 911! That's right, editor, call the police! What's the matter? Well, I'll tell ya - there's a fight going on in one of our schools.
Remember the good ole days, editor? A fight was just that - a fight - fists and legs flailing about. No guns. No knives. Just a good ole rumble. Nowadays that is not the case. These children today are getting out of hand. These fights are so dangerous now that it is not enough to call a security guard to break up the fight; the school authorities have to call the police to deal with the matter. Now that the government has seen fit to station the police at our schools, there is no need to call Central; an officer should already be there. I pray to God that that police officer is well armed, or else he/she will find himself/herself at a disadvantage.
But how did this whole imbroglio evolve (fights with guns and knives)? The students who have these weapons must have brought them to school with them. And (I suspect) that these same students cannot resist the temptation to reveal to other students that they are "packing heat". News spreads, and soon enough most of the students in the school know who not to "fool with". Can you believe that, editor? So, tell me, editor, where are the prefects in these schools? Where are the students who participate in the police cadets program. I am certain that if news is circulating about these nefarious culprits, then they too should get wind of that same information. I was told by two police officers that the police even have "pimps" in the schools as part of their secret police cadet programs. Where are they? What's my point? Well, the prefects, the cadets, and the secret cadets should be able to identify these students who are carriers of dangerous weapons even before the fights start; thereby avoiding a situation where the police have to be called to diffuse volatile states. The guilty students, who were only looking for trouble, could be charged and removed from the schools and disciplined.
And, editor, it is my humble opinion that these prefects, cadets, and secret cadets should be paid on a regular basis for participating in maintaining the peace in their respective schools. If they were not motivated before, they would certainly be motivated if they know that they will be paid for their services. Come on, editor, let's put these students to work and start ridding our schools of these (young) criminals. However, a word to these student police - your education always comes first. It is paramount.
Thank you for your time and space in your newspaper.

- Marvin G. Lightbourn

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Gray should resign or be fired

March 24, 2015

We have three independent branches of government in The Bahamas with constitutionally defined powers and responsibilities: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. There is a separation to ensure checks and balances exist between these centers of authority. When power is concentrated in the hands of one group, or one individual, tyranny results.
In order for our system to work fairly and effectively there must be respect for the separations. When officeholders from one branch of government abuse their authority and interfere with the workings of another, our democracy is threatened.
This is especially so with the judiciary. The courts exist to ensure fairness, to protect the constitution and to ensure minority rights. Judicial officers are to make decisions based on the law and should not be interfered with by anyone. If an individual, company or organization disagrees with a judicial decision there is a system of appeal set out in law.
To contact a judicial officer and influence that individual while he is still engaged with a matter is an extraordinary violation of the rules of our political system.
This is why the allegation against V. Alfred Gray is so serious.
Gray is the MP for the MICAL constituency and the minister of agriculture, marine resources and local government.
Gray has admitted that he told Mayaguana Administrator Zephaniah Newbold, the local magistrate, that he could release a man convicted of a crime on bail.
Gray said, as far as he knows, Newbold did just that after their conversation.
"If the appeal is filed, I think that's the right thing to do," said Gray, an attorney with more than 30 years' experience.
"I didn't tell him he had to...I told him that he could consider releasing him on bail until the appeal is heard."
Gray also said he could not remember whether he called the administrator on the matter or whether the administrator called him.
"I'm not sure whether he called me or I called him," he said. "I'm not sure. I did speak with him. I think it's safe to say that I did speak with him."
In our system, island administrators are employees of the local government ministry, and at times function as judicial officers (as magistrates). This is not ideal, but it still happens in our Family Islands.
While Gray has every right to discuss local government matters with his administrators, it is improper for him to have discussions with them on matters before them as magistrates.
Gray has admitted that he had a conversation with Newbold about a case the administrator was involved with.
Gray admitted that he made a suggestion as to what could happen in the matter. The administrator granted bail as Gray suggested he could.
Those admissions are sufficient to conclude that Gray interfered as a minister and MP in a judicial matter.
Prime Minister Perry Christie should therefore demand his resignation as a member of Cabinet or terminate him if he refuses to step down.
If Christie leaves Gray in Cabinet it would mean that the prime minister endorses members of the executive interfering with judicial officers.
It would also send a message that our system of justice can be directly interfered with by members of the executive with no consequence for the extraordinary breach.
That message is profound both here and abroad. Bahamians would think fair play is not the standard in our courts, as ministers have special access to interfere.
Investors would be more wary about coming here. They would think that if you get into a fight with a minister, in this jurisdiction, ministers have unfair influence to sway the determination of matters before the court.
Gray's continued presence in Cabinet diminishes our system of justice. The prime minster has a responsibility to defend the separation of powers as set out in the constitution. Gray must go.

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Old soldiers never die

March 24, 2015

o First published Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The phrase "old soldiers never die, they just fade away" comes from an old army ballad which was popular with British soldiers during World War I. The lyrics, as recorded by Eric Partridge, read: "Old soldiers never die, Never die, never die. Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away. Old soldiers never die, Never die, never die. Old soldiers never die, young ones wish they would."
Earlier versions of this military song could be construed as complaints from soldiers on their living conditions in the barracks with intrinsic humor which poked fun at army life and career soldiers. However, the phrase gained much prominence and popularity after it was quoted by Douglas MacArthur - one of the most decorated and revered soldiers in American history - in a farewell address before a joint session of the U.S. Congress on April 19, 1951. This piece looks at this popular saying using the word "soldier" figuratively to represent the Bahamian patriots in the generations to which they belong within the Bahamian context and the socio-political landscape that is shaping up rapidly before our very eyes.

The anatomy of a soldier
The members of the armed forces of any nation are vital in the protection and preservation of the liberties of the people of that country. They are expected to be individuals of integrity and impeccable character, which are prerequisites in the upholding of the rule of law. These individuals are held to a high standard in their deportment and dealings with people in our society. Additionally, we expect them to exude physical discipline, perseverance and mental toughness in order to effectively discharge their duties.
The challenge faced by most old soldiers is that having been at the top of their game for so long and having built their lives around their craft, they have to confront the reality of departure and having to leave the scene to pave the way for the younger soldiers. While it is a known fact that even the best soldiers will eventually have to retire and confront their mortality, they struggle to come to terms with the inevitable decline in their fame, prominence and relevance with the passage of time. It is a difficult position that requires fortitude and great character but one which we must all ultimately reach in our lives; hence the importance of building a good legacy. The younger soldiers for their part are often anxious to take on the reins of power but spend little time training and preparing for the roles they long for. The song inherently highlights the impatience and enthusiasm of young soldiers as they wish that their older counterparts hurry off the scene. Alas, this script is played over with different casts from generation to generation in our country.

The Bahamian soldiers
It is common practice for civilian Bahamians to refer to one another as soldiers not because they are a part of the armed forces, but they do so in recognition of the fighting and determined spirit of the average Bahamian. We are built to survive, and the zeal to conquer every challenge we face is part of our makeup as a people. The Bahamian soldiers are diverse in terms of gender, backgrounds, fields, professions, political divides and race albeit we all share a common loftier goal.
The expectation of the Bahamian people is that the people that lead us in the government as well as the public and private sectors have and display the qualities of a true soldier. We expect them to have courage with empathy, self-pride with humility, be respectable but respectful and speak but have the wisdom to listen. The standards we hold them to do not seem to be unreasonable or unrealistic of people that have embraced the call to serve.

The young and old soldiers
The last line of the lyrics of the referenced army song could be interpreted in a number of ways. The story of combats and statistics on casualties of wars will often show that young men and women determined to serve their nations and die for a worthy cause have been massacred on the battlefield.
There is indeed great honor in this sacrifice, and the world will forever be indebted to them for risking their lives daily so that we may keep ours.
The role of the older servicemen and women in preparing and guiding the willing youth of this nation as they embark on their voyage of service is extremely important. Having been through the wars and being familiar with the perils of the battlefield, they have a duty to preserve the army for future battles as they journey to their twilight years.
While old soldiers never die but just fade away, what is the destiny of the young soldiers? Will the young soldiers be allowed to die figuratively speaking? In other words, while casualties in the battlefield of politics, public service, religion and commerce are inevitable, the old soldiers should not abandon their role to guide, mentor, teach and protect where necessary the young soldiers with minimal experience.
George McGovern said it best when he stated: "I'm fed up to the ears of old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in." For the sake of our country's future, young soldiers should not be deployed to wars that are senseless or designed to lead to their demise, thereby crushing their hopes and aspirations.

A national debate on the generations
There is a common commentary all across our archipelago of islands on the divide and disparity between the new generation and old generation. This discourse focuses on the knowledge, wisdom, ethics, discipline, commitment, loyalty and strength of both generations.
It is not unusual to hear words such as "they don't make them like that anymore" suggesting that the new generation lacks the fundamentals of their ancestors and predecessors. The discussion sometimes omits the reality that a person's age does not make him or her a part of a new generation; the individual's ideology does. An often ignored part of this discussion is also the difference in mind-set and information available to the generations.
Interestingly, the older generation of today were also at odds with their predecessors and had fundamental disagreements on how they felt things should be done. The ultimate goal should be the betterment and improvement of the status quo in the interest of our commonwealth. Change is a prerequisite if we are to experience continuous progress in our nation; hence, change is a perpetual process requiring real agents of change in every generation.
As Albert Einstein rightly stated, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". While approaches and methodologies adopted to enable our nations' progress may differ in an information age which features technology and unparalleled innovation, personalities and egos must not supersede the national interest. We must keep our eyes on the prize for a common loftier goal.
The legacy of the old soldiers as they fade away will not be defined solely by their exploits or victories on the battlefield but also by the condition or state in which they left the army. Was the army better upon their departure when compared with their enrollment?

The swan song of the old soldiers
As MacArthur addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress, he sought to chronicle his service to the American people and to defend his position in disagreeing with President Truman. The records suggest that the speech was well received and was indeed a masterpiece as it was reported that he was interrupted by 50 ovations.
The five star general who stated in his memoir, Reminiscences, that he "learned to ride and shoot even before he could read or write--indeed, almost before he could walk and talk" ended his famous speech by saying:
"I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that 'old soldiers never die, they just fade away'. And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."
As the old soldiers of The Bahamas pass the baton to their successors and the new generation of leaders, will they leave enough young soldiers on the battlefield to carry on with the fight? Will the old soldiers fade away with dignity and serve as statesmen and stateswomen while our country benefits from their insights and wisdom or will they leave a weak army with few wounded young soldiers and discredited veterans behind? As for the younger soldiers, have they learned from the old soldiers what to do and what not to do?

o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments on this article can be directed to a.s.komolafe510@gmail.com.

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Francis wishes carnival was delayed to 2016

March 24, 2015

Admitting that the organizers of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival did an "awful" job in publicizing the event, festival advisor Percy "Vola" Francis said yesterday if he had his way it would have been delayed until 2016.
However, Francis, who leads the Saxons Superstars Junkanoo group and is a former director of culture, said he still believes carnival can be a "great success".
He told The Nassau Guardian that while he and others will make the best of carnival, he is not "totally pleased" with the planning of the event, which is scheduled for May 7-9.
"I think that we could have done some things better," he said.
"I think we did an awful job in actually getting the message to the people and that was one of the first things that the prime minister wanted to do, to actually get the message out to sensitize the Bahamian people about this.
"I think if we had done this I don't think we would have had this kind of back and forward that we're having now."
Francis spoke to The Guardian after he made similar statements on the Guardian Radio show "Connected" with host Lester Cox.
Asked about the timing for carnival, Francis said more time was needed.
"I would have really liked carnival to be 2016 rather than 2015 because time went by so quickly and it's right upon us," he said.
"But be that as it may, it's going to be here and the baby is getting ready to birth, and so we're going to have a new mother, a mother of carnival in the world.
"I'm happy for that. Hopefully we can nurture, feed and cause the baby to grow."
Carnival has been marred by controversy, including the organizers' failure so far to lock down an international artist.
The Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) has yet to contract a headliner, even though the headliner is billed as an important feature for the success of the event.
Francis said he believes a headliner is important, but he said securing a big name artist would be too expensive.
The Cabinet of The Bahamas has also approved the recommendation for a headliner in a bid to attract visitors.
BNFC Chairman Paul Major said recently the number of people at carnival will likely be lower than original projected in the absence of a big name to use for international marketing.
"I don't know if it will induce more people to come [at this stage]; it's just a little late," he said.
Major said there is still the opportunity to attract those impulse spenders. But he said in order to maximize the benefit of marketing, a headliner should have been announced months ago.
Francis recommended contracting Trinidadian artist Machel Montano, but acknowledged that some Bahamians may have an issue with that.
As for the criticism that carnival will hijack Bahamian culture, Francis said those fears are unwarranted.
He said carnival will be Bahamianized.
"It's going to be a different and new kind of spirit," he said.
"People have their own opinions. But it's going to be worth it. We'll see as it goes along, but I think it's going to be a great success."

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'Minor' fire at Baha Mar

March 24, 2015

Baha Mar executive Robert "Sandy" Sands confirmed yesterday there was a fire on the balcony of the Grand Hyatt hotel, one of the four new hotels at the property.
Sands said the "minor construction fire" was isolated to the balcony and lasted seven minutes.
He said Baha Mar's internal team with the assistance of firemen dealt with the fire.
"There was no significant damage to the balcony. We thank all the teams for their quick response," he said.
Sands was unable to say what led to the fire.
The $3.5 billion resort is set to open on Friday.
However, Baha Mar Vice President Alyssa Bushey told "Travel Weekly" last week that only one of the four new Baha Mar hotels will open on Friday.
The Baha Mar Resort and Casino - a nearly 1,000-room property with a 100,000 square foot casino - will open as scheduled, according to Bushey.
The Grand Hyatt is set to open on May 1, and the former 694-room Sheraton Nassau Beach Hotel, now the Melia Nassau Beach, is supposed to be renamed the Melia at Baha Mar once that property completes its $19 million renovation.
There have been no details on when the SLS Lux and the Rosewood Baha Mar will open.
Officials broke ground at Baha Mar in February 2011.
The project had been scheduled to open to the public by the end of 2014.
Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe told Guardian Business that the delay was no surprise to him.
The resort's amenities will include the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, the ESPA at Baha Mar spa and more than a dozen pools.
Other attractions will include 50,000 square feet of high-end retail and shopping and over 30 restaurants, bars and lounges.
The resort will also include 200,000 square feet of combined state-of-the-art convention facilities, including a 2,000-seat performing arts center and an art gallery with the largest curated collection of Bahamian art, a beachfront sanctuary with native Bahamian flora and fauna and a private island.

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