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The 10 passengers who remain unaccounted for from the "Glory Time" boating disaster in Abaco Sunday night are feared dead, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage revealed in the House of Assembly yesterday afternoon.
Nottage said it's believed that those people drowned along with 11 others pulled from the ocean on Monday.
Twenty-eight passengers were reportedly onboard the vessel police believe was involved in an illegal smuggling operation.
Seven people reportedly survived.
Nottage added that officials believe that all passengers onboard were of Haitian descent.
He also reported that eight people who were "seen in the area of Cooper's Town and are believed to be associated with the sunken vessel" have been arrested for questioning in connection with this incident.
Police have reported that the vessel left Farmer's Hill near Treasure Cay, North Abaco, en route to South Florida around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Nottage said one of the survivors, a man of Bahamian-Haitian descent, said he boarded the boat because "his mother insisted that he go to the United States aboard the vessel".
"The gentleman further stated that he believed each person paid a total of $5,000 a head for the journey," Nottage said. "He said the vessel was outfitted with a 250-horsepower engine and a 200-horsepower engine."
The vessel started experiencing engine trouble around 8 p.m. in the vicinity of Crown Haven, North Abaco, Nottage said.
The young man told police one of the boat's engines kept cutting off, which slowed the vessel down.
Nottage said the survivor also told authorities that there were four large drums of fuel and oil onboard the vessel.
"He reported that the seas were very rough and the vessel began to take on water," Nottage said.
"The vessel eventually capsized and everyone began to scramble to save their lives. He reported that he did his best to save other persons, but the sea was too rough, so he had to save his own life."
Nottage said the young man reported that nine children, five young women and 14 men were on board.
He said the young man further recalled seeing six others who survived the ordeal. However, once on land, those six people disappeared, Nottage said the man told police.
Nottage said that a man from Crown Haven went out to the ship and recovered 11 bodies.
He said the recovered bodies were transported to the morgue in New Providence.
Nottage extended condolences on behalf of the government to the families.
"I trust that this unfortunate incident will further buttress the resolve of all right thinking persons to bring to an end the smuggling of persons to and through our waters," Nottage said.
The search for the captain of the vessel that capsized in waters off North Abaco earlier this week continues, according to Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade.
The commissioner claimed the captain is known to police.
At least 11 people died when the 'Glory Time' went down Sunday night.
Seven people reportedly survived the disaster, which police claim was the result of an illegal smuggling operation.
Ten people are still unaccounted for and feared dead.
Greenslade noted that the captain, if caught, would likely be charged for the deaths.
"It's a tragedy that should not have happened, but it speaks to this business of human smuggling and the challenges and risk associated with [it]," said Greenslade. "[It's] very unfortunate that children have lost their lives and adults have lost their lives because of that criminal activity."
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said Tuesday that according to reports the passengers of the sunken 25-foot vessel paid $5,000 a head for the journey to the United States.
Superintendent Noel Curry said on Tuesday that police hope that some survivors were able to make it to one of the Abaco cays.
He said of the seven survivors, one person has come forward.
Curry said the male, who is in his late teens, reported that he along with six other males swam to shore.
The survivor said the captain was not among that group. Curry said the teen provided the identity of the captain to police. Curry identified the captain only as a "known sailor".
He said the survivor was assisting police with their investigations.
Marsh Harbour, Abaco, The Bahamas - Agape Christian School student
Rebecca Higgs performs a pop music solo, during the recent E. Clement
Bethel National Arts Festival adjudications in Abaco, at the Marsh
Harbour Gospel Chapel.
Agape Christian School student
Christina Pyfrom sings "I Am A Promise".
Agape Christian School student sings the song "Pray"...
Two years ago, young sprinting boys from the Moore's Island all Age School, under the guidance of Rev. Anthony Williams, their coach, made a huge splash on the national scene, when they dominated their relay events during a Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) high profile meet.
They subsequently traveled to the prestigious Penn State Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and impressed yet again. Today, the sprinting program has become almost as synonymous with Moore's Island as its "fishing village" reputation. Prior to the emergence of the dynamic young track hopefuls, Moore's Island was more noted for its flats, the habitat of one of the largest bonefish populations in The Bahamas. A nearby reef is famous for sharks.
Jutting out of the water, just 28 miles off the western coast of mainland Abaco, Moore's Island is the residence of some 1,000 people. It's small, just seven miles long and nearly four miles wide, and one of the delightful spots in the Abacos. Like many other communities in The Bahamas, Moore's Island is historically linked to African slaves. Its first population of note was made of a group of 'Free Blacks'.
During the early part of the 19th century, life in Moore's Island was centered around farming. The great hurricane of 1932 reportedly wiped out the farming sections and residents leaned heavily on the sea for subsistence, thus the beginning of the fishing legacy. Now, a different element of history is being crafted for the island.
The new minister of youth, sports and culture, Dr. Daniel Johnson, has promised that a quality sporting facility will be constructed in Moore's Island, beginning in June of this year. That announcement immediately served notice of a bright future in sports for Moore's Island. If indeed, the minister sees to it that his promise is fulfilled, he would have accomplished something kind of politically amazing and most interesting.
When one considers that the island is part of the North Abaco constituency, represented by a man who was prime minister of this country for three terms in the last 20 years, it is puzzling that Rev. Williams and his young charges had to train on the hard road and a small grass area throughout.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham could have made something positive happen for the young athletes. Couldn't he? Perhaps a sporting facility was in his plans. He is gone now though, from the post of prime minister and he looks to be departing politics altogether. So, if the youth, sports and culture minister very early in his tenure, ensures that Moore's Island gets a new sporting facility, such a development would be a huge boost for Dr. Johnson and his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government.
A new facility in Moore's Island would be a prime example of the 'Investing in Bahamians' theme of the present central administration. The view here is that Dr. Johnson is off to a good start.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Despite a considerable decline in sales, Sotheby's International Realty objective is to "press forward", reporting an average of $10 million in sales per month over the last year.
The report, obtained by Guardian Business, provides a glimpse into homes sales in The Bahamas.
George Damianos, the president of Sotheby's International Realty, called 2011 "shaky", but has nevertheless expanded the company's operations throughout in the country.
Over the last year and a half, the report said Sotheby's opened offices in Treasure Cay and Guana Cay, Abaco, George Town, Great Exuma and Old Fort Bay. The additions bring the firm's total number of offices up to 11.
He also made reference to the New Permanent Residency Policy brought in a few months ago, whereby the government has promised to process applications with 21 days for those who purchase property over $1.5 million.
As a result of residency, these owners can take advantage of tax benefits in their home country.
However, this change in policy and Sotheby's expansion doesn't necessarily reflect the market, according to The Bahamas MLS.
The number of properties sold during the period January 1 to August 31 declined by 22 percent compared to the same period in 2010.
"The answer is simple," Damianos said in the report, while endeavoring to explain the decline.
"Due to the increased number of sales in 2010, sellers became greedy and began to raise asking prices to unrealistic levels."
Stronger sales in 2010, he felt, gave buyers a sense of over-confidence - "there are buyers out there, but they are only buying the attractively priced properties", he concluded.
His comments in the new report may reflect the general sentiments among property experts.
In an earlier interview with Guardian Business, Patty Birch, the president fo the Bahamas Real Estate Association, said only now are homeowners starting to "wake up" that property isn't worth perhaps what they thought it was.
It's a trend Bahamians might need to get used to as the U.S. property market continues to struggle.
"It's not that it's a bad house," she said.
"The people who can afford that price range have significantly decreased."
While blessed with high per capita income, Bahamians continue to be plagued by the high cost of basic utilities with none more daunting than the astounding .38kwh charged by the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC). And even more so, BEC continues to prolong maintenance leading to operation failures that require further borrowing to rent additional generators for peak load demands this summer.
This is a dismal state of affairs.
The resignation of Michael Moss as chairman of BEC and with the change in government, we are presented with the opportunity for a review and overhaul of the entire government-owned entity. With high costs and low reliability, the government needs to take control of costs and perform scheduled maintenance to keep our existing turbines and generators running. We need to invite and pursue innovative power generating technologies such as OTEC.
Blaming high costs and the inconsistent price of oil is merely a scapegoat tactic since oil has fluctuated consistently over the last decade with an apparent upward trend, and has generally been high in price for many years. The oil embargo of 1973 should have proved a warning to countries reliant on foreign oil, but largely stable prices from the late 1980s to late 1990s masked the volatility of the crude oil market.
Even with the prospectus of oil drilling in The Bahamas, the actual extraction of oil, if economically viable, is years away and does nothing to resolve the need to pay $6 million for rented generators this summer. There is no investment in renting generators; it is merely a stop-gap to keep our lights on and refrigerators humming.
Without a doubt The Bahamas incurs significant infrastructure costs to provide basic utilities to residents scattered throughout our 700 islands. But we have yet to grasp and fully realize the potential contribution of innovative and renewable power generating technologies. One certainly hopes that BEC will maintain the MoU signed with OTEC and that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) will encourage investor contributions, if not allow OTEC to break ground.
BEC is a monopoly energy provider expected at least by the people to provide reliable cost-efficient electricity and if not break-even, accrue a small debt simply by the enormity of the task to provide electricity to our island nation.
But it cannot, and yet, legislation continues to discourage individual investments in renewable technologies that may even provide power back to the grid. Solar water heaters made a brief appearance in the press after the government received an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) grant and invited eligible homeowners to apply.
Some say the government relies too heavily on taxes levied from petroleum, which discourages it from renewable energy investment; but how can a government corporation with escalating liabilities really be a positive contributor to the economy?
That's not even to mention the burden of high operating costs to local businesses and households.
Yet, business continues as usual with a $105 million 48 MW power plant in Wilson City, and a new $23.7 million 24 MW turbine for Nassau in summer 2013, and $80 million 52 MW power plant in Grand Bahama by the Grand Bahama Port Authority, all of which run on heavy fuel oil otherwise known as Bunker C. We continue to invest in antiquated technology that is bad for our health and our economy.
Abaco continues to experience major power outages even with the new Wilson City plant online. There are serious doubts in BEC's ability to maintain the new generators. Performing scheduled maintenance is crucial for any facility or piece of machinery. Anyone who has failed to change his or her motor oil over the years of owning a car is more than knowledgeable about the perils of skipped or delayed servicing.
Let's hope that the national budget released at the end of this month will provide additional concessions to promote high efficiency products and the PLP will continue to work OTEC and encourage additional alternative energy investment to secure reliable, safe, and cost-effective sources of energy.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said yesterday the government's Speech from the Throne offered nothing revolutionary but for the most part presented a "doable" plan that he would support.
Ingraham spoke to The Nassau Guardian in an exclusive sit-down interview at his law office on west Bay Street, a few hours after he was sworn in at the House of Assembly as the MP for North Abaco.
After the swearing in, Ingraham made a hasty exit from the House and left before the Speech from the Throne was read in Parliament Square.
Ingraham said yesterday was his final time attending Parliament.
He made his comments based on a perusal of the speech after the ceremony was over.
"It doesn't say anything that's revolutionary or that is inconsistent with past policies of The Bahamas specifically," Ingraham said. "Some things in it I think are quite doable and I certainly would support them."
The Speech from the Throne sets out the government's legislative agenda for the upcoming Parliamentary session. Included as part of that agenda is the Progressive Liberal Party's (PLP) controversial mortgage relief plan, a scheme that attracted criticism from international credit ratings agency Moody's last week.
Ingraham said yesterday that it appeared as if the government had scaled back its mortgage relief proposal. He said the plan presented in the Speech from the Throne seemed more practical, unlike the version that was talked about before the PLP won the general election.
"I thought for instance that the commentary they made on the mortgage relief program was a sensible and doable proposition similar to what we had proposed while in office and were having discussions with the banks on," Ingraham said.
"It was quite different from what they promoted to the public of The Bahamas, which was a thoughtless, undoable proposition.
"What they put forward today (Wednesday) is workable so that someone who's been paying their mortgage consistently for a long period of time, has fallen on hard times because they're income is reduced can be provided with some relief and assistance from the government."
The government also plans to rescind the portions of the Police Act, which was passed under the last Ingraham administration.
"My government will move for the repeal of all provisions of the Police Act, which are unconstitutional or attempt to politicize the police force or undermine the impartiality and security of tenure of the commissioner and deputy commissioner of police," the speech said.
Ingraham said he hopes these planned changes by the government do not harm the structure of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
"It makes no difference if they choose to amend it," he said. "I just hope that they don't screw the police up like they did the last time.
"I just hope that the police force will have a structure so that you don't have a gang of chiefs and very few Indians. The public requires and needs a structured force."
The speech made no mention of the government's plan to regain the majority shares of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
The former administration sold a 51 percent stake in BTC to Cable & Wireless Communications in April 2011 - a transaction that the then Official Opposition opposed in Parliament.
Yesterday, Ingraham said there are many things his administration did while in office that cannot be changed by a new government.
"The reality is that many of the things we did in office are irreversible," he said.
"Nevermind talk; the reality is they remain the reality for The Bahamas, notwithstanding any noise you hear to the contrary."
The Ministry of Tourism plans to aggressively market fly fishing, as it shows great economic potential for the country.
"Fly fishing is by far the biggest segment that we are going after in our marketing initiatives moving forward. It's an area where Bahamians can compete with the rest of the world," according to Earl Miller, the Ministry of Tourism's general manager for vertical markets.
Miller explained to Guardian Business that the country's fishing market consists of three sections: fly fishing, deep sea fishing and recreational fishing.
However, the tourism executive revealed that fly fishing is leading the way. The tourism official believes it is an area in which Bahamians can compete, estimating thousands of dollars could be made during a weekend fishing excursion.
"A Bahamian doesn't need $1 million to build a lodge. He can build a four- or five-room lodge and it can be very profitable and that could sustain him and his family for years simply because this is not a high-end accommodation," he told Guardian Business.
"It's rustic, but clean and comfortable. He can make an average of $3,500 for a weekend fly fishing trip. It's an area where Bahamians can compete with the rest of the world in terms of foreign investors that want to come in and build lodges."
He pointed out fly fishing can take place throughout The Bahamas, but admits that islands like Andros, Exuma, Crooked Island, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Acklins are all considered "hot spots".
Fly fishing can also be done on Nassau, which most people would overlook. There is great fly fishing on the southern end of the island and sometimes even deep sea fishing, Miller explained.
As exclusively revealed by Guardian Business, the $5 million Black Fly Lodge recently opened at Schooner Bay. The destination is reporting full occupancy between now and the end of June.
Clint Kemp, one of the owners at Black Fly, described it as the "new wave" of fishing lodges.
"We feel the lodge will create a substantial number of investors that will either come back and stay with us or perhaps invest in the community itself," according to Kemp.
A gracious woman retaineth honor; and strong men retain riches. - Proverbs 11:16
How powerful are the words of our text today in light of the imminent global celebration of Mother's Day. Abraham Washington and Abraham Lincoln in paying tribute to their mothers said "All that I am, I owe it to my mother. All that I am or ever hope to be I owe it to my angel mother." These same sentiments were uttered at a post-graduation function by Franklyn Bosfield, Anthony Robinson, Dario Newbold and Nikita Williamson. These three young Bahamian men and young woman majored in the field of architecture at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, better known as Florida A&M University or FAMU. Each one spoke with pride of the sacrifices their mothers made in their upbringing and achievement being a part of the Class of 2013.
Also you will notice in our text that specifics are given to both sexes -- male/man, female/woman. I am not ready to go there with some of you as to the equality movement, for if I am one of the only kind, and you don't have what I have, how in the land of fairy tale can you and I be 50/50. God so designed it that a woman can be gracious and strong, but tongues wag when a man is referred to as strong and gracious.
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary describes the adjective gracious as courteous, kind, pleasant and showing elegance and politeness, and things being as they are one would attribute these qualities to the fairer sex. Buddha said that "wherever there is light, there is shadow; wherever there is length, there is shortness; wherever there is white, there is black. Just like these, as the self-nature of things cannot exist alone, they are called non-substantial."
Because mankind has been so disobedient to guidelines as set down by Holy Scriptures and words of wisdom running parallel by great philosophers of the past, the multiplicity of problems in our land and indeed this global village, stem from the lack of adherence to the words of our text -- gracious women and strong men.
As you travel here and there within the boundaries of our land and beyond, doesn't it make you sad many times to see the plight of children at the hands of mothers who have strayed far from the admonition, train up a child in the way he should go and when he is young he will not depart from it.
Mothers have a very powerful role to play in the success of their children, their children and their children's children. In many instances, we do not pass on the faith and values of our parents to our children. We want them to believe that the mode of life was always an everyday happening, and there was no such thing as achievement and success by climbing up the rough side of the mountain.
It is truthful to say that as women who seek to daily live lives pleasing to God, family and country; there are times when although gracious, a tinge of despondence seeps in because the strong arm of encouragement is withheld. Such was the case as I spoke with my friend of many years, Eleanor Johnson by marriage, but really of the Neilly/Roberts extraction of Abaco. As we shared on the telephone and she put me on hold to answer another call, she was excited because someone on the line wanted to speak to me -- someone who did not know me and vice versa.
It was not coincidence but an act of God. Eleanor told her that she was speaking to her friend Ruby Ann Darling and the lady on the other end, Leattar Sands, said that she could not believe it because she was right then reading an article of March 7 on the subject forgiveness. She was so excited as she told me that she just happened to pick up an old newspaper and read the column and it was such a blessing to her. On the other hand, I was just about to call it quits from writing, but her encouragement to continue, as there are many who may not say, but are receiving a blessing each and every week.
Even in times of conflict and difficulties, lack of respect, trials and tribulations, the woman who shines with being kind, honest, courteous, comforting and yes, elegant, God comes through with saving grace and mercy.
Yes, Eleanor and Leattar, you have indeed been gracious women this week in speaking kind words and commendations. Indeed down through the years, there have been so many gracious women in our lives -- women who may not have owned a Cadillac but nevertheless were worthy of praise and for the sake of praise to Almighty God, I include my dear deceased mother, Florence Louise Edgecombe Cooper.
Yes, Abraham Lincoln and others, gracious mothers are also the force behind strong men -- men who are rich in values, family life, Christian upbringing, community builders, role models, faithful providers and brothers' keepers. When these qualities of our text, gracious women and strong men, are downplayed, neglected and thrown by the wayside of degradation, then terror rules and roams the land night and day without any fear of rule of the land.
I pray to God in His divine mercy that hearts would be changed to graciousness, peace, love and understanding within our borders and beyond when the winds of adversity sweep over the earth. God give us Christian homes -- homes where the mother is caring, strives to show others your way is best. Homes where the Lord is an honored guest; God, give us Christian homes.
o E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org write to PO. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns or comments. God's Blessings!
Just over half of the 44 people who were sworn in as citizens of The Bahamas less than two weeks before the Ingraham administration was voted out of office were born in The Bahamas, but 14 of them spent a great part of their childhood in Haiti, according to information from the Department of Immigration.
Ten of the 28 new citizens who were born in The Bahamas lived here all their lives.
The 44 new citizens were sworn in on April 26, but it is unclear whether this was the final group of citizens to be sworn in under the former government.
Some of the new citizens who were born elsewhere, including Haiti, have lived in The Bahamas for more than 10 years.
The new citizens were not able to vote in the recent general election, as voter registration had come to an end by the time they became Bahamians.
The individuals who were born in The Bahamas had a constitutional entitlement to apply for citizenship. Many of them are in their early 20s.
According to the information, some of them were taken to Haiti within a year or two of their birth.
For example, one new citizen born in 1986 was taken to Haiti in 1988 and returned to The Bahamas in 2005. Another was born in 1983, taken to Haiti in 1986 and returned to The Bahamas in 2001.
The new citizens have last names like Christian, Polynice, Clervil, Francois, Monsieur, St. Luc and Delhomme.
One new citizen is 38 years old. He was born in The Bahamas, lived here all his life, but missed the deadline to apply at age 18.
Children born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian mothers are not automatically Bahamian citizens. The Bahamas Constitution provides that people born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamians could apply for citizenship on their 18th birthday or within the following 12 months.
As a result, many children born to illegal immigrants have become Bahamian citizens.
Two new citizens were born in Guyana and have lived here for 22 years. Another was born in Nairobi, Kenya, has been here 10 years and is married to a Bahamian citizen.
A woman born in Port de Paix, Haiti, who lived in The Bahamas for 15 years and is married to a Bahamian also got citizenship recently. Another new citizen was born in Kingston, Jamaica, has been in The Bahamas for 20 years and is married to a Bahamian.
Four new young citizens born in the United States were only periodic visitors to The Bahamas when they received Bahamian citizenship. Their mothers are Bahamian citizens.
The Nassau Guardian previously revealed that 151 people were sworn in as Bahamian citizens between November 18, 2011 and January 13, 2012.
Most of them were born in The Bahamas to foreigners and lived here all their lives, but some of them also spent part of their childhood in Haiti.
New Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell has met hundreds of citizenship applications, according to documents obtained by The Nassau Guardian.
Some of these applications stretch back to the 1990s. According to notations from immigration officials, many of the applicants can no longer be reached and a few of them are being investigated for having documents identical to other applicants.
Many of the people seeking citizenship were born in Abaco, where Haitian immigrants make up a substantial portion of the population.
In 2003, 76 or 63 percent of all babies born at the Marsh Harbour Clinic were to Haitian mothers, while 45 or 38 percent were to Bahamian mothers.
According to the Ministry of Health, this is the first district in which the number of infants born to Haitians was greater than the number of infants born to Bahamians.
One of the people sworn in on April 26 was born in Abaco and has lived in The Bahamas all her life.