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News Article

October 24, 2012
The strength of the PLP's leader

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has now finally defeated its latest great foe (Ingraham). Its candidate Renardo Curry won the North Abaco by-election, a seat Ingraham held for 35 years after the former prime minister's retirement. Prime Minister Perry Christie now stands alone on top of the Bahamian political mountain and he now has some significant political achievements.
Christie has won a second term as did Sir Lynden Pindling and Hubert Ingraham. Christie has also retired a multi-term prime minister and taken his seat, just as Ingraham did to Sir Lynden. As prime minister he now has no rivals, as the PLP's leadership is something that has to be given to another by the holder of the office - it cannot be taken away.
There are some positive trends ahead for Christie. Baha Mar is scheduled to open in 2014, 1,000 jobs are coming in Grand Bahama, and the government seems prepared to green light several other projects under consideration. If these projects help drop the joblessness rate a few points, Christie and his party could go in to the next general election in a strong position.
Another unraveling situation may further strengthen the PLP's leader. The FNM is in another divisive leadership transition. Current party Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has lashed out against Ingraham, and the Ingrahamites are unhappy. Further, FNMs are increasingly questioning if the new leader has what it takes to lead them to success. The opposition party was crushed in the North Abaco by-election, the first electoral test of the doctor's leadership.
We assume the FNM will sort out its leadership questions long before the next vote. But suppose the party does not. In such a scenario, Christie would have a clear path to another win. Most people assume he will not run again. It is unclear why they would assume that.
Since returning to office Christie has again demonstrated a love for being prime minister. On a rally stage in Abaco he even went as far as saying God put him back in the job.
"If Hubert Ingraham, or [Hubert] Minnis, if they want something to happen for you, listen now, I know they want something to happen for you if not this year, next year or even the year after," he said.
"But guess what? Do you know who the prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is?
"You could go to Hubert. You can go to [Greg] Gomez. You even could go to Minnis, but then they got to call me.
"They could have the best intention in the world. They can pray and [say], 'Oh God I want to do this'. But God has spoken. God has made me the prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas."
All powerful and with "the hand of God" behind him, do you think Christie would turn down a free run at another five years as the "divinely ordained" ruler of The Bahamas?
No Bahamian leader thus far has retired while prime minister. Even when things looked tough, as they did in 1992 for Sir Lynden and in 2012 for Ingraham, the leaders still tried again to maintain power.
And those who crave Christie's seat should not assume he is going anywhere just because of his age. Christie is 69. Ronald Regan began his presidency at the age of 69. The West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was in office until he was 87.
A culture has emerged in the post-independent Bahamas in which leaders do not leave. They have to be defeated in general elections in crushing defeats for them to go. We have no term limits, so men can run the country until they die if the people keep voting for them. If Christie wins another term he would equal Ingraham. This may be a goal of his.
Of course, it is too early to speculate about the next general election. A lifetime exists between now and then. But history has shown us that our PMs love that job. They love it so much that they just can't let it go.

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News Article

September 22, 2010
Walker's Cay deal in limbo

By JAMMAL SMITH
Guardian Business Reporter
jammal@nasguard.com

Negotiations for the purchase of the Walker's Cay resort have come to a standstill, with the primary bidder for the site claiming that the seller is making the process to close the deal on the multimillion dollar project more difficult.
Principal of the offshore developer Victoria House IBC, Scott Ronning, told Guardian Business that little progress has been made on finalizing an agreement to purchase the Walker's Cay resort in Abaco.
He claims that the seller of the property is making demands that are becoming hard for his group to meet. Walker's Cay has been owned by

the Abplanalp family from New York and their ...

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News Article

October 03, 2014
IBS hosts inaugural Bahamas International Club Championship

Intelligent Business Services (IBS) hosted the Bahamas International Club Championship charity golf tournament yesterday at the Lyford Cay Golf Course.
More than 50 golfers from various clubs around the island came together to participate in the event, which was held to raise money for autism awareness and the Bahamas Diabetic Association.
The Poop Deck Palmdale Club finished first and claimed the Lee Elder floating trophy along with a bottle of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label for every player on the team.
Lee Elder was on-hand to present the trophy; Elder is best remembered for becoming the first African-American to play in the Masters Tournament in 1975.
"Overall the tournament went very well and the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) was involved to a large extent," said owner of IBS Sidney Strachan.
"Ben Archer participated in it with us and helped to organize the rules and the players. Things just went really well."
Both charities are expected to receive their proceeds from the tournament sometime next week.
This is the third charity golf tournament that IBS has hosted over the past three years.
"We did the children's emergency hostel for about two years and over those two years we donated about $25,000 towards the charities," said Strachan.
"I got the idea to do golf tournaments from my business partner Ingrid Black. She used to lead the junior golf program for the BGF for almost 18 years. She is a big golfer and wants to see the sport revived and revitalized in the country.
"I have always been an event planner and, although our company is a business research company, she kind of pulled the event side of me back out."
Strachan said that not only is he looking forward to hosting the event again next year, he is also looking to expand by inviting teams from Abaco and Grand Bahama to get involved.
He also said that, although he is sure about the tournament, he has not decided on the location as yet.
"We have had interest from Baha Mar and a couple of other places, but it all comes down to the best deal," he said.
Some of the other companies that participated in the event include Atlantis, Bahamasair, The Medical Pavilion, Coin of The Realm, Coca-Cola, Sunryse Shredders, Little Switzerland, J.S. Johnson, The d'Albenas Agency Ltd. and the Bahamas Bus & Truck Co.

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News Article

January 09, 2012
The latest issue of Ca Mari Magazine is now available online!

Ca Mari(TM)
Winter 2011 edition features Make
Me Out TV Show Prizewinner Molly McIntosh from Green Turtle Cay, Abaco in
The Bahamas.

  The annual Make Me Out
makeover reality television show, a collaboration of Ca Mari(TM) and Clouds Image,
followed

Ca Mari(TM)'s ambush
makeover contest in search of one lucky nominee to win a head to toe makeover
and several other prizes.

  Our top
prizewinner, Molly McIntosh, received a photo shoot and became this edition's
cover and feature spread.

  We're sure you
can agree we did a fabulous job!

This
edition marks the fourth bi-annual print and online issue available since Ca
Mari(TM)'s debut in 2010.

  Readers will love
the interesting articles...

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News Article

September 23, 2014
PM lauds Commodore Leon Smith for 'positive leadership' of RBDF

Retired Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commander, Commodore Leon L. Smith's steady, no-nonsense approach to leadership during the development years of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in the "very challenging" 1980s, must never be understated in the annals of Bahamian history, Prime Minister Perry Christie said at the commissioning ceremony of HMBS Leon Livingstone Smith, on September 19, at Kelly's Dock, Prince George Wharf.
Christie said it was under Commodore Smith's guidance that the defense force grew and flourished into a vibrant, multi-mission military entity, consisting of a cadre of fine naval officers and enlisted personnel with the capacity to perform at the best possible levels both on land and at sea.
"Quite frankly, except for Cuba and the Dominican Republic, whose navies are possessed of restricted offensive competencies, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is unrivaled in this region (as a result of Commodore Smith's leadership)," Christie said.
"Moreover, it is my view that the force's high approval, which persisted following the May 10, 1980 HMBS Flamingo tragedy, can be significantly attributed to the stable and sure-footed leadership of Commodore Smith over the years."
Smith, who served 14 years as the first Bahamian commander of the defense force, has been credited with implementing a number of "firsts" during his tenure, including the establishment of the force's Air Wing section; the establishment of the Ranger Cadet Programme at the Donald W. Davis Secondary School; the "Bahamianization" of the defense force; the construction of a sick bay at HMBS Coral Harbour base, which has since been upgraded to a medical facility, and the implementation of the Harbour Patrol Unit, among others.
Christie said Commodore Smith was able to garner the confidence and respect of his counterparts in the United States Coast Guard and elsewhere, which resulted in the granting of six decommissioned 95-foot Cape Class Cutters to the defense force in 1989.
"These served to shore up the force's, by then, overworked and rapidly aging fleet which at the time consisted of a few medium-range patrol boats supported by several converted confiscated crafts," Christie said.
"Additionally, the determined response of defense force personnel in addressing the devastation experienced by the people of Eleuthera in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, further served not only to build the confidence of the force, but to also further solidify the importance of the organization to the country."
Christie said by 1993, Commodore Smith had essentially presided over the complete Bahamianization of the force.
"In the process, he also demanded the respect of his Caribbean counterparts, who for all intents and purposes were leading armies as opposed to his naval-based organization, by insisting at all levels that his personnel were cross-trained in both naval and infantry operations and could compete at the highest levels with the world's best."
This confidence would be tested in 1994 when he was called upon to deploy Bahamian troops in support of the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) decision to send troops into the neighboring Republic of Haiti in an effort to restore democracy.
As a result of this action, Bahamian officers and marines were deployed overseas for the first time in the history of an independent Bahamas to participate along with multinational forces, and eventually became part of the United Nation's peacekeeping mission that was sent there to ensure free and democratic elections were held in Haiti.
Christie said Commodore Smith's confidence in the capabilities of his troops was completely validated over the ensuing three years of deployment, as Bahamian officers and marines received more medals and commendations than any of their CARICOM counterparts over the duration of the mission.
Realizing the need for discipline among Bahamian youth, Commodore Smith in 1995 instituted the first chapter of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers' Cadet Program, at Donald Davis Secondary School in New Providence.
"Looking at the results that have been achieved, it is my considered view that this initiative might very well be the bedrock upon which a national youth program can be developed as it has served to bring a sense of focus and purpose to the lives of many over the years," Christie said.
"To date, guided by its motto 'Discipline, Dedication and Determination', some 5,500 students have participated in the program. At present, there are 800 active members in some 39 schools throughout New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco.
"I am also heartened to learn that the Rangers Program is also considered a feeder system for participants who wish to go on to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force upon graduation from high school," Christie said.
He added that Commodore Smith, having benefited from the valuable clerical and other shore-based support provided by Women Royal Naval Services in the Royal Navy whilst at Staff College in 1979, and with the guidance of the then Secretary to the Cabinet Margaret McDonald, crafted a proposal aimed at convincing the Prime Minister Lynden Pindling of the need to recruit women into the service who would, as marines, be subject to force discipline and regulations.
The first woman's entry comprising 16 marine recruits was enlisted in the force in 1985. Ena Mae Rolle, an executive officer in the Ministry of Defence, served as their divisional officer, and Sergeant Ella Mae Rolle of the Royal Bahamas Police Force was assigned to serve as chaperone throughout their training period.
Cheryl Bethel and Gaye Major were selected to attend the nine-month officers' training course at Britannia Royal Naval College in 1987, and in so doing, became the first female officers in the force.
At present, 211 women serve in the organization -- two of the 13 officers as head of departments, and the others as integral members of every major department contributing equally alongside their male contemporaries.
"Commodore Leon Smith, over the course of his 40-year plus career of service to this country, 14 of which were spent at the helm of the defense force, did much good with little to no regard for accolades or fanfare. And as prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas it gives me tremendous satisfaction to salute you, sir, along with your wife Helen, and your children, for your many years of service to this country of ours," Christie added.

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News Article

September 22, 2014
FOCOL clarifies relationship with BEC

It has been inaccurately reported in the media that FOCOL Holdings, through its subsidiary company, Sun Oil Limited, supplies the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) with heavy fuel oil (HFO) and diesel fuel for power generation. According to a press statement recently issued by the company, no such fuel supply relationship exists between FOCOL or any of its subsidiary companies and BEC.
FOCOL Holdings Limited is the Shell brand licensee for The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. The branding relationship between FOCOL and Shell Brands International is separate and apart from any direct fuel supply relationships that Shell Western Supply and Trading Limited (a separate entity based in Barbados) may have with other entities in The Bahamas, notes the press statement.
Sun Oil Limited has the most expansive local distribution infrastructure of any oil company currently operating in The Bahamas. With its own fleet of coastal tankers and network of bulk fuel storage terminals located in Abaco, Exuma, Eleuthera and San Salvador, Sun Oil is uniquely positioned to provide logistical support services to BEC for the distribution of its fuel from Clifton Pier to its power plants in the Family Islands power. According to the press release, this is the extent of the fuel relationship between FOCOL and BEC.
"FOCOL does not subscribe to public discussions of its commercial arrangements with customers, however matters of national importance demand clarity to facilitate accurate and productive discussions," notes the statement.
FOCOL Holdings Limited is a publicly-traded company with over 800 Bahamian shareholders and 350 employees throughout The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

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News Article

September 16, 2010
Judicial Reviews in 'Catch 22' via BEC plant ruling

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

The Supreme Court's ruling on the litigation brought against the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's (BEC) $105 million Wilson City power plant has left Bahamians seeking to bring Judicial Review proceedings against government actions in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" and "Catch 22" position, a leading attorney told Tribune Business yesterday.

Fred Smith QC, the Callenders & Co partner who represented Responsible Development for Abaco (RDA) in the action against BEC and the Government, said the case turned on Justice Hartman Longley's finding that his clients should have brought their case within six months ...

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News Article

January 03, 2012
The latest issue of Ca Mari Magazine is now available online!

Ca Mari(TM)
Winter 2011 edition features Make
Me Out TV Show Prizewinner Molly McIntosh from Green Turtle Cay, Abaco in
The Bahamas.

  The annual Make Me Out
makeover reality television show, a collaboration of Ca Mari(TM) and Clouds Image,
followed

Ca Mari(TM)'s ambush
makeover contest in search of one lucky nominee to win a head to toe makeover
and several other prizes.

  Our top
prizewinner, Molly McIntosh, received a photo shoot and became this edition's
cover and feature spread.

  We're sure you
can agree we did a fabulous job!

This
edition marks the fourth bi-annual print and online issue available since Ca
Mari(TM)'s debut in 2010.

  Readers will love
the interesting articles...

read more »


News Article

September 08, 2014
CHEC prepares 200 Abaco students for heading back to school

ABACO -- More than 200 local Abaco school children received bags, books and other supplies to prepare them for heading back to school through a joint collaboration between government and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
The students were treated to a day of food and beverages as they lined up to get their 2014/2015 school supplies. It was a move that was welcome by both the parents and the children.
"Thank you for your generous donation before the children return to school," said resident Carolee Russell on behalf of the local population. "Thanks for the contributions in Cooper's town. The town has not changed for many years; a lot of people have to work away from home, but you coming to our town has injected new vitality.
"I believe Cooper's town has a rich future because of the new port."
Through the event and interaction with the local residents, CHEC further strengthened its relationship with the community. Regional Project Manager Chang Qijun said CHEC was committed to building the North Abaco Port Project in a manner that brought about the maximum amount of benefits for the local people.
"We believe that by the completion of the North Abaco Port, CHEC will not only improve local traffic conditions, but also provide work for more people while promoting local economic development," he said. "We are also committed to China Harbour carrying out duties that enhance public welfare and improve the lives of local people by making whatever contribution we need to. We will actively fulfill the company's corporate social responsibility."
The back-to-school event lasted for four hours, ending with all of the participants taking photos, eating and playing together in the final hours leading up to the beginning of the school year.
CHEC is a full-service provider in large-scale construction business for more than 30 years. The leading engineering company specializes in the areas of marine engineering, dredging, land reclamation, and in the construction of roads, bridges, airports and railways. As such, the company has received more than 160 awards for a number of projects including the design and construction of two of the three longest sea-crossing bridges in the world.

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News Article

September 16, 2010
105m BEC plant 'violated the law'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

Opponents of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's (BEC) $105 million Wilson City power plant had "genuine complaints" about the way the project's permits were granted, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, finding that in the race to complete timely construction "many procedures were ignored or bypassed".

Justice Hartman Longley, although dismissing the Judicial Review action by Responsible Development for Abaco (RDA) that sought to block construction of the power plant, agreed with its attorney, Fred Smith QC, that if the project had been private sector-driven it would "have been stopped sooner" by the Government's ...

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