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Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday defended the large size of his newly formed Cabinet, claiming the challenges confronting the nation warrant as many hands on deck as possible.
Government yesterday announced the final Cabinet appointments of 11 ministers, pushing the number of posts in Christie's Cabinet to 21 (16 ministers and five ministers of state). Three parliamentary secretaries have also been appointed.
"Under ordinary circumstances I would have selected a smaller Cabinet but the quite extraordinary and multi-faceted challenges facing our country today have compelled me to put together a Cabinet that will enable us to tackle these challenges simultaneously on as many different fronts as possible," the prime minister said after the 11 ministers were sworn in and took their oaths of office at Government House
He added that the size of his Cabinet is approximate to the one formed by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham at the start of his term in 2007.
However, Ingraham's Cabinet was later reduced to 17 members. Those appointed to Cabinet yesterday include familiar faces like Fred Mitchell, appointed as minister of foreign affairs and immigration;
V. Alfred Gray, appointed as minister of agriculture, marine resources and local government; Shane Gibson, appointed as minister of labor and national insurance; Glenys Hanna-Martin, appointed as minister of transport and aviation and Melanie Griffin, appointed as minister of social services.
The list also includes newcomers to Cabinet: Dr. Michael Darville as minister for Grand Bahama; Dr. Perry Gomez, minister of health; Kenred Dorsett, minister of the environment and housing; Dr. Daniel Johnson, minister of youth, sports and culture; Hope Strachan, minister of state in the ministry of transport and aviation; and Khaalis Rolle, minister of state for investments in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Of note is the appointment of Darville, who will be the first minister to head the newly created ministry for Grand Bahama. After the ceremony, Darville said he will work to bring duty free concessions to West Grand Bahama, have open and frank discussions with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and find ways to revitalize the island's economy.
The creation of a specific ministry for the economically depressed island was something the Progressive Liberal Party promised to roll out within the first 100 days of its term.
MP-elect for Bamboo Town Renward Wells, MP-elect for South Beach Cleola Hamilton and MP-elect for Exuma Anthony Moss have been appointed as parliamentary secretaries. They will serve in the Ministries of Works and Urban Development; Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Agriculture and Marine Resources respectively. The trio will be sworn in at Government House on Monday.
Christie added that the Cabinet appointments were not a five-year deal and would be subject to change later in his term. He promised to provide leadership opportunities for his party's "new generation" when he shuffles his lineup later on.
"I fully intend to make mid-term ministerial adjustments with a view to bringing into the Cabinet some of our elected members of Parliament who have not been included in the first round," he said. "By the end of our term in office the new generation of political leaders will have risen to dominance in the Cabinet."
Dr. Kendal Major, MP-elect for Garden Hills, has been appointed as the next speaker of the House and MP-elect for Nassau Village Dion Smith will serve as his deputy.
Christie said MP-elect for Mount Moriah Arnold Forbes has asked to become chairman of the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation and an ambassador with a special focus on trade and job creation.
Over the next few days, Christie is expected to announce several other appointments to government boards and agencies.
Cabinet will have its first meeting Tuesday morning.
The Honorable Perry Christie newly elected Prime Minister of the Bahamas has announced the members of his new Cabinet. The Prime Minister seems to have done a good job of selecting an impressive team of Ministers. A review by the Council of Concerned Bahamians Abroad (CBA) finds that this new Cabinet and executive branch of government in the Bahamas is competitive with the best Cabinets in the English Speaking Caribbean region. This should give Concerned Bahamians domiciled abroad (CBAs) an early sense of relief and hope that the new government is starting out on the right foot in solving the Country’s numerous problems.
Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez said yesterday that Cabinet will review suggestions made by Court of Appeal President Anita Allen urging the government to amend the law which outlines mandatory minimum sentences in certain cases.
"We will discuss it in Cabinet and give it our consideration. I can't anticipate what Cabinet will do or won't do," Gomez told The Nassau Guardian when asked if plans to amend the law were still on the government's agenda.
Gomez said he agrees with Allen's critique of the law.
"I've always taken the position [that] the mandatory minimum sentences were an attempt to encroach on the discretion of judicial institutions," he said.
"Her comments merely vindicate a position which I have held for many years.
"I think that one of our problems today has been that matters that are in the Magistrate's Court have ended elsewhere unnecessarily."
He added: "The other courts, which these matters have gone to have had to deal with matters which really ought not to be before them.
"I'm just one member of Cabinet, but my view may not be shared by others."
On Thursday, Allen indicated that many of the cases involving mandatory minimum sentences have been subject to appeals and have essentially wasted the court's time.
"Significantly, magisterial criminal appeals accounted for over 50 percent of the number of matters disposed of and well over 90 percent of those were appeals against the imposition of the mandatory minimum sentences for drug, firearm and ammunition possession," said Allen at a special sitting of the Court of Appeal to mark the new legal year.
"The sheer number of these appeals, however, places immense pressure on this court. Moreover, it is in my view an injudicious use of judicial time to have three senior justices doing what magistrates could have done if they had the discretion to impose the appropriate sentence in the first place."
Under legislation passed in 2011, people convicted of drug possession with intent to supply or illegal firearm possession face a fixed sentencing range of four to seven years.
Prior to the change in law, magistrates were able to sentence those convicted of such crimes based on their own discretion.
In May 2012, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said the government planned to review the mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
The Bahamas will be pursuing a Model I Intergovernmental Agreement under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Guardian Business can confirm.
After a lengthy presentation last week, Cabinet approved the Ministry of Financial Services' recommendation to negotiate with the United States for The Bahamas to enter into a Model I Intergovernmental Agreement.
Ten years after stealing scenes in Sam Boodle's The Landlord, Ward Minnis and Anthony 'Skeebo' Roberts are returning to the
Dundas stage this weekend with twice the laughs in The Cabinet, a play that has been called the biggest comedy to hit the
stage so far for 2011.
"We just got back from Freeport with the play at the Regency," says Minnis, who in addition to playing one of the lead characters,
serves as director of the comedy which took him three years to write. "We weren't exactly planning on doing the play again
so soon in Nassau, but the last time we were at the Dundas, the role that Skeebo is playing was played by someone else. Skeebo
is just so awesome and beause he is who he is, he brings so much more to the character than you can anticipate so we ended
up editing and ad-libbing because of what he bought to the role.
Skeebo has been doing this [theatre] for about as long as
I've been alive so he contributes in more ways than even he knows."
Minnis admits to being in awe of Roberts during their first time on stage together and had no problem asking him for tips
when it came to learning the art of the stage. Now, he says, he he is humbled that Roberts actually agreed to be a part of
"It's amazing when someone you admire suddenly is taking direction from you and acting out what you wrote," says Minnis.
"Some actors arrive and then forget that this is a small but growing community and humility is key to success. Skeebo has
been all over the Caribbean, North America and the UK in films, commericals and on the stage. Yet he still has time to work
with little old me. When those we admire give us up-and-comers a chance it really motivates us."
Minnis added that he has also been motivated by several politicians and campaign workers who have seen the play who told him
that its great to sit back and laugh while seeing people they know indirectly potrayed in the characters.
"None of the parties or politicians are real in the play," laughs Minnis.
"However, if you see someone you voted for, voted
against, on the campaign trail or in the House of Parliament in one of our characters, it might be coincidental and in your
imagination. However, yes, we do draw inspiration from real life but we have to take it up a notch. But if it weren't for
the voters who are also members of our audience, we would not have been able to continue doing what we are doing or entertaining
requests to consider taking the play to other islands which is something we are optimistic about."
Tickets for The Cabinet are currently on sale at Galleria Cinemas. The play runs from June 24 to June 25.
Cabinet Office announced just moments ago that Prime Minister Perry Christie has advised the Governor-General to make the following cabinet appointments:
The Hon. Dr. Bernard J. Nottage - Minister of National Security & Govt Leader in the House of Assembly
The Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe - Minister of Tourism
The Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald - Minister of Education, Science & Technology
The Hon. Ryan Pinder - Minister of Financial Services
Senator the Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson - Attorney General & Minister of Legal Affairs
Damian Gomez - Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs
The Hon. Michael Halkitis - Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance
Senator the Hon. Keith Bell - Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security
The statement further mentions that the appointments made were done so with 'critical bearing' on three of the most pressing issues currently facing The Bahamas: crime, the economy, and the need to re-vamp educational system.
The Cabinet Office staff on Monday, May 31, presented a cheque to the Bahamas Red Cross to assist with the rebuilding of Haiti following the January earthquake. Mrs. Anita Bernard, Secretary to the Cabinet made the presentation to Mrs. Carolyn Turnquest, Director General of the Bahamas Red Cross
>By ARTESIA DAVIS
Guardian Senior Reporter
A judge yesterday sentenced Ellison Smith to life in prison for the murder of Free National Movement(FNM) Cabinet Minister Charles Virgill.
Smith, who denied his involvement in the murder during an interview with probation officer Lisa Bowleg, continued those denials yesterday, telling Senior Justice Jon Isaacs that he was innocent.
Virgill's murder occurred during a kidnapping and armed robbery. Smith had to be resentenced to comply with a recent Privy Council decision that found the mandatory death sentence unconstitutional.
Justice Isaacs told Smith that his crime was heinous and he deserved the most condign punishment ...
Grand Bahama - With the formation of new political parties, familiar
political faces and the nation already caught up in new political
campaigns, the latest political play
The Cabinet has decided to change constituencies and take the laughs to Grand Bahama after a successful run in New Providence.
to premiere at 8pm at the Regency Theatre this weekend (May 27 and May
28, 2011), director and writer Ward Minnis promises the play will have a
few surprises in store for viewers, most notably a new cast member in
the person of Anthony 'Skeebo' Roberts...