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News Article

August 07, 2012
Rolle begins chairmanship at aviation show

The Chief Pilot and Aviation Specialist for The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Greg Rolle, began his chairmanship of the International Federal Partnership (IFP), at the recent EAA AirVenture 2012.
At the helm of IFP, a prestigious international aviation organization, The Bahamas aviation chief's place aids in strategically positioning The Islands Of The Bahamas to receive maximum visibility within the lucrative general aviation industry, at the AirVenture show, the largest aviation show worldwide. With a group of federal agencies from the United States, Canada and The Bahamas, IFP participates at AirVenture annually in what has come to be known as the International Federal Pavilion. As chairman of this body, The Bahamas' Chief Pilot work closely with the Federal Agencies to ensure that pilots flying to The Bahamas, have all the procedural information required for a hassle free crossing of the US borders.
To mark the beginning of its aviation chief in his historic leadership role as the first non-American to head the IFP, during the recent AirVenture, The Bahamas staged a grand cultural extravaganza that it is said will be the talk of the aviation community for years to come. Many of those in the aviation industry at AirVenture 2012, who were lucky to receive a coveted invite and attended the "Taste Of The Bahamas" function, commented afterwards that the event far exceeded all expectations.
"A Taste Of The Bahamas" included a lavish reception that featured a Bahamian rum punch and numerous seafood hors d'oeuvres. The reception ended with guests being ushered into an elaborately decorated dinner hall, where the main event commenced with the ceremonial parade of The U.S., Bahamas and Canadian Flags. The Royal Bahamas Police Force Pop Band, entertained with a diverse selection of music from traditional island music to the crooning stylings of Louis Armstrong.
The three course, gourmet, meal, prepared by Bahamian chefs, included queen conch and lobster chowder; plaintain wrapped, pan-seared snapper fillet (imported from The Bahamas) and a guava and mango rum mousse cake with benny tuille, warm sugar banana and mint bread pudding with a peppercorn and sugar Apple syrup. The entertainment continued with costumed Bahamian Junkanoo cultural dancers, who drew guests to the floor to dance the night away.
Dinner guests included aviation media, key aviation executives and members of the International Federal Partnership. The distinguished guests and V.I.P. list included National Transport and Safety Board (NTSB), Deputy Director, Dana Schultze; Bonnie Perkins - Sun N Fun's Executive; EAA International Government Director, Randy Hansen and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Special Agent David Grantham.
Representing The Bahamas Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Obediah H. Wilchcombe, the Under Secretary to The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Charles Albury, greeted guests and invited them to fly down to The Bahamas. Albury also noted that the Bahamas' presence at AirVenture as well as its participation with the International Federal Partnership are clear indications of its interest in expanding business from the general aviation market.

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News Article

April 08, 2013
Man says confession was forced from him by police

By LAMECH JOHNSON?Tribune Staff Reporter?ljohnson@tribunemedia.net??A MAN alleging that his confession statement to a 2010 murder was forcefully obtained from him by police is presenting a final witness today in the Supreme Court.?Billy Johnson intends to call attorney Dion Smith to testify on his behalf in today's proceedings before Justice Bernard Turner.?Johnson faces a charge of murder, which he denies, where it is claimed that he, on March 26, 2010 caused the death of Rodne Feritilien.?Fertilien was found dead on Dowdeswell Street with multiple gun shot wounds about his body.?Johnson was charged September of that year in connection with the murder after he reportedly confessed about the crime to police.?The confession was brought to trial by the Crown. However it was disputed by the defence that alleged the statement was obtained from Johnson through police brutality.?Particulars of the brutality allegations were put to Sgt 1908 Keith Rolle who denied that Johnson was forced to admit to the crime.?Johnson alleged that he was hog-tied, slapped, punched, fish bagged, as well as beaten with a bat and had pliers attached to his genitals.?The officer denied that this occurred and that Johnson came clean about the murder of his own volition.?Today, defending attorneys Romona Farquharson-Seymour and Candice Hepburn will call Mr Smith as a witness.?Public prosecutors deputy director Garvin Gaskins prosecutes for the Crown with Viola Barnett.

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News Article

April 06, 2013
Unnecessary disclosures

In parliaments, vicious debates often take place. Opposing sides do everything they can to win a point or cause the other side to be derailed. Parliaments are not places for thin-skinned people or for the faint of heart.
Public life in general is similar. Those who are against you will tell all manner of lies about you. Some will be highly offensive personal attacks that seek to destroy your reputation.
To make it in public life one has to be able to withstand these attacks and know when to respond and how to respond. Some criticisms from the shadows are not worth dignifying.
Dr. Andre Rollins is a young politician serving his first year as an elected representative. In a recent debate, he stood up in the House of Assembly and went on a tirade defending, in his mind, his sexual identity against questions to it he claimed were made by Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis.
"For the record, I am absolutely 100 percent heterosexual," Rollins declared.
Rollins went further.
"I was accused by him of living a lifestyle that I do not live so that he could use his contacts in The Punch to try and scandalize my name," he said.
"Anybody who knows me knows the lifestyle that I live.
"I had the FNM, while I ran for the PLP, trying to tell parents lies about me, a professional who works with children, to try and scandalize my name, to cause me to lose business.
"And you think I am not going to defend myself when the member for Killarney who was lying on me, stood up on his feet because he and the member for Long Island (Loretta Butler-Turner) were trying to get into my head and bend their wrists?
"And he's supposed to be a leader of the opposition?"
Minnis said he has no interest in Rollins' sexual preference. Rollins allowed himself to be flustered by the opposition's private taunts. Consequently, he made a bizarre declaration about his sexuality - declaring to be fully heterosexual - that made many people wonder why he felt the need to say such a thing.
We elect people to Parliament to do our business. We expect them to be law-abiding citizens who live honest lives. Being gay is not a crime. Being straight is not a crime. Therefore, it is unclear why a member would need to declare if he is or is not heterosexual or homosexual.
The 100 percent heterosexual declaration by Rollins will linger for a while. Rather than people thinking about his work as an MP and Gaming Board chairman, many will think about his sexuality.
Rollins chose to enter public life. He must learn to be more strategic in his statements. He must also learn that when you are loud, aggressive and challenge your political opponents, they will retaliate. And some people in the public sphere fight dirty. If he cannot handle the fight and is easily drawn to strange declarations on the record, he will not make it as a politician.
When unnamed sources attack unnamed politicians in tabloids, Rollins should know that an elected representative should not respond to that on the floor of Parliament. He must also learn how to fight back when the opposition tries to provoke him - without embarrassing himself.

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News Article

April 05, 2013
American Citizens Abroad Blasts FATCA in Comment to House Working Groups, Calls for Repeal as Part of Tax Reform Framework

Washington, DC - In an
April 4, 2012, submission to the leadership of the International Tax
Reform Working Group and the Financial Services Tax Reform Working Group
of the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of
Representatives, American Citizens Abroad (ACA) - the flagship
association representing the interests of some seven million Americans
residing outside the United States - has again called for repeal of
FATCA ("the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act") as part of a
comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. tax system.   While focusing on the
particular damage FATCA does to U.S. citizens living abroad, ACA pulls
no punches in spelling out the broader harm this 2010 law (now pending
implementation) threatens to inflict on the American economy as a whole,
while failing in its stated purpose of curbing offshore tax evasion.

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News Article

November 23, 2013
Who is trying to intimidate The Punch

Dear Editor,

It has often been said that journalism or the press is the fourth estate. The first estate is the clergy; the second the nobles, and the third the commoners.
Journalists play a pivotal role in democratic nations. They are the ones who keep the government honest and accountable by asking the hard questions and by sounding the alarm when there is governmental misconduct. They form that important informative bridge between the commoner and the state. Had it not been for the fourth estate, Bahamians, by and large, would still be groping around in the intellectual dark age. I believe that past governments in The Bahamas have fallen at the polls during general elections due to the immense influence of the fourth estate. Whether we would want to admit it or not, the media has helped to mold and shape the political views of thousands of Bahamians during election time.
That is why authoritarian, autocratic, totalitarian, despotic and dictatorial regimes have an irrational hatred for the fourth estate. Indeed, rogue regimes view journalists as nagging thorns in the flesh. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an astounding 45 journalists were killed this year alone. Seventy-three were killed in 2012. Countries such as Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, the Philippines, Mexico, Bahrain, Cote d'Ivoire and Egypt are extremely dangerous for journalists. In countries such as these, members of the fourth estate have been arrested, censored, threatened, physically assaulted and murdered. Bahamians must be wondering if the November 18 failed grenade attack on The Punch tabloid is an indication that some criminally minded elements in our society are now attempting to silence the fourth estate by acts of violence. Obviously, somebody's feathers were ruffled.
This could potentially be a dangerous trend in the making. I don't recall ever hearing of Bahamian journalists being attacked or targeted in this fashion. Usually, enemies of the fourth estate in The Bahamas would use economic warfare to get back at journalists for mashing their "corns". For what it's worth, the failed grenade attack was nothing short of terrorism. Bahamian journalists have for years endured maltreatment at the hands of government officials who viewed them as not being of the same political persuasion because they dared to ask simple and straightforward questions.
In the pre-1992 Bahamas, the politicians we hired to manage our affairs seemed to have been offended at the mere thought of being accountable to us. I know of two journalists who were persecuted by the government in the 1980s. One is now in the bosom of the current Christie administration. The political victimization of the fourth estate is an ancient practice that has spanned the duration of the independent Bahamas. And for all intents and purposes, it is here to stay.
The failed grenade attack on The Punch is a somber reminder of this sad fact.

- Kevin Evans

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News Article

November 26, 2013
Mitchel hits back at The Punch

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell yesterday blasted a local tabloid for allegations over spending.

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News Article

August 13, 2014
Bahamian women: Slaves to religion, culture and tradition

She - her body and mind - was once owned by her slave master.She - her body and mind - is now owned by her husband, her pastor, her priest or her political leader. So, what has really changed since the abolition of slavery in The Bahamas, if Bahamian women have dropped one slave master and picked up three more by buying into the belief that the man is head of the woman? The real and unending problem of slavery is the warped mentality it left behind to be further cultivated by the inequity of a superimposed religion, and the layers of tradition and culture that emanated from it.

The very things that define our society, culture and religion, are the same things that break it down, through all of the prejudices and discriminations that go along with them.Is it in the nature of Bahamian women to be owned, controlled and cajoled by Bahamian men? Did our master forefathers do such a perfect job of dismantling our psychology to cause us to think that, for the duration of our visit on this planet, it was/is essential to be someone's property? You - Bahamian woman - you, who like nothing more than to boast about your 'independence', and how you have your own money, pay your own bills and buy your own clothes. You - who tell Beyonce to "preach, gyal", when she throws these lyrics out and her hands up.Perhaps you didn't recognize that, according to Bahamian constitutional law, you are not equal to your Bahamian man, and, therefore, you really are not Beyonce's 'independent woman', who is "always 50/50 in relationships".Perhaps, like many others (including myself until I paid attention and learned differently), you assumed that everything was fine in your Bahamas and there were no issues with the question of your inherent citizen rights and freedoms.Perhaps you (still) don't understand why it's important to be considered in law and in practice as equal to a man, because you've been brainwashed by years of religious tradition and culture which tell you that you are not and will never be because you were never meant to be.The same god you believe in, the all-powerful, ever-present, all-seeing one - the very one at the center of the belief system you hold dear that preaches male supremacy, somehow you think the love "he' has for you is worth less than the love 'he' has for your father, brother, son, uncle and other male relatives or friends. But surely 'he' could not love you equally and simultaneously hold the man in higher esteem, could 'he'?Would a god so comprehensively loving and eternally just ever pick favorites amongst 'his' children?

Why would you ever think that?

Why would that good god that taught all 'his' biblical children to stand firm - be they female/woman, male/man - not inspire the same in you today and every day? Do you think that same god would want or take delight in you being regarded as less than human compared to any man, by being the receiver of physical, sexual, and psychological turmoil and other abusive acts brought on by the mere fact that you are born a female?Because, if so, would 'he' not have to be a pretty violent and hateful god to find it alright for you to be trampled on, to be responsible for the trampling (because it's 'God's will'), and to ultimately infer that you were not worth enough, so that you were trampled on in the first place? What about the comprehensive and equal love for all 'his' children?If you could believe that same god has such a split identity, then surely you must either be mistaken about who or what 'he' is or represents, or 'he' is not what you have been made to believe all along. Which is it?But you and Beyonce stay singing about how you "depend on no one else to give you what you want", and on the other side of that tune you're waitin' around for your politician, priest, pastor and/or partner to decide your fate? Why allow them to decide your fate, when you are the vehicle for their own existences? Why allow them to decide your fate, when they will never take the blame for your fate?

Unless they are the perpetrators - which they very well could be - they won't be there the next time you get boxed in the eye or lip, punched in the ribs, cussed at, put in a chokehold, slammed in the head with a chair, held at gun-, knife-, cutlass-, bottle-, rock-, or fist- point, raped or molested in the streets or behind closed doors.And, if they're not there for all or any of those incredibly difficult and lonely moments, they certainly won't be there at the simpler but no less important times when you don't get a job, a raise, or a promotion because you have milk-producing breasts, a period, and can get pregnant. And there will be no one there but you to fight your cause.And when you or your loved ones have to stand in fear and loneliness, to deal with the problems that arise because your protections by law and by practice are not fully recognized or exercised, how would you then feel to know you could have made a difference in your daughter's, sister's, mother's, aunt's, friend's or your own life, and been protected, instead of subjected, by your politicians, police, priests, pastors and partners, if only you had made it clear to them without hesitation or reservation that for now and all time beyond now, in spite of our man-worshipped constitutional origins, the law will clearly state that you and all the women you love with the equality of 'God's love' are equal to men as human beings, with equal human rights and opportunities as the men who have, thus far, choreographed your lives in every sphere?

o Facebook.com/politiCole

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News Article

July 03, 2014
Understanding gender equality

I am imploring the male readers of this column to focus on these songs -- the 1965 song by Hal David and Burt Bacharach: "What the world needs now is love, sweet love, It's the only thing that there's just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No, not just for some, but for everyone". Then here are the words from Bob Marley's famous song also written in 1965: "One love! One heart! Let's get together and feel all right".
These songs are telling us that the big problem facing our society today is the lack of true love. My emphasis in this article is to talk about the lack of loving of the males in our society toward the females. Let me hasten to say that I am not talking about every male. There are loving males in our society, but far too many do not know how to truly love and are wounding instead of loving their female partners.
In fact this is the fundamental reason the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was organized. Far too many women are being abused around the world. We have discovered that far too many men are wounding women because they have negative views of the role of women and a misuse of abuse of their own perceived power as men.
Hence, the gender equality initiative by CEDAW is simply to help men to love their women the same way they love themselves, and to help them consider women as their true partners in society and not competitors. Understanding gender equality is simply about accepting the equal value of the women in our lives. It is accepting that both male and female are designed by God to have equal voice, vote, power, access and opportunity in society and the world.

Questions to think about
Therefore men, could you pause for a little while and focus on what these songs are talking about -- loving, and more specifically loving the women in our lives -- our wives, sisters, nieces, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, mothers, girlfriends and all other women we work and play with. Here are the important thinking questions: Are you satisfied with the way you love the women in your life? Are you treating them the way you want to be treated? Men, are you loving them gently, kindly and with respect? Do you love them the way you want to be loved as men in their lives?
When Adam saw Eve for the first time, he saw his alter ego. This means he saw his other self -- someone like himself. He did not see a competitor or someone opposite to himself. Therefore he said to her "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh". Men, how do you treat someone who is "bone of your bone"? Would you deliberately slap, punch, hit, kick or curse yourself? Therefore, why would we do it to our equal partners?

Love
I believe that if men truly understand the meaning of love they would not wound the women in their lives and would have no problem understanding the importance of gender quality.
Men, many of you, like me, claim to be believers of Jesus and readers of holy scriptures. Therefore the passage of 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 should have special meaning to them. It is perhaps the best description of love anywhere.
"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance". [Corinthians 13:4-7]
Ironically it is among Christian men -- men who know these texts who are most abusive to the female partners in their lives. It seems as though men who know more of scripture and study it the most, are the ones who hurt the most. This allowed me 15 years ago to discover the formula for violence against women and children. When rigid traditional family values are combined with rigid traditional religious beliefs, there is always abuse. This has never failed. I have discovered that as long as men continue to rigidly hold to the view that they are superior to women or have a "divine right of power over women", the end result is always abuse. It can be emotional, psychological, spiritual, sexual or physical. Statistics show us that this abuse against women occurs from the pulpit to the pew, from the corporate office to the utility room, from the boardroom to the secretary's office, from the bedroom to the kitchen, etc.
I am postulating that the main reason men are hurting the women in their lives is because they do not know how to truly love. The truth is that when women and men truly love, no one will be "over" the other. There will be equal power sharing.
Before sin, God made both male and female with equality authority, and that authority was not over each other, but their surroundings. Since the resurrection of Jesus he redeemed human beings to stand beside his side as equals. He said in Christ there is not male or female. [Galatians 3:28]

My appeal to men
Men, my appeal to you is to understand that the upcoming gender policy is simply about having guidelines to ensure that we all love each other equally -- both genders. I think it is a shame that societies have to establish laws to create quality and fairness in society when just being human should be sufficient. Because of our selfish, stupid and arrogant, attitudes and erroneous beliefs, societies around the world have created laws to deal with racism, child abuse, rape, murder, domestic violence, etc. Men, if you cannot love freely, equally and unconditionally, then you are continuing to support the downward trend of our society in which women and children continue to be degraded. You are not following the biblical mandate to love everyone equally. Men, I request of you to start thinking of women as your "other self". Would you hurt yourself? Think about it.

o Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist, U.S.A. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com; or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas; or visit www.soencouragement.org; or call 242-327-1980, or 242-477-4002.

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News Article

May 05, 2014
Nottage: No prior info on Cash matter

Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said on Saturday he had no prior knowledge that police planned to execute a search warrant at the home of Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash, nor did he inquire about details after learning of the incident.
When contacted for comment, Cash told The Nassau Guardian that "ignorance" seems to be a convenient excuse for the Christie administration.
On Thursday, Leader of the Opposition Dr. Hubert Minnis accused the government of orchestrating a "political witch hunt" against Cash.
But Nottage called this statement "foolish".
Nottage said Minnis' suggestions that the seizure of two laptops and a smartphone from Cash's home by police on Thursday was politically motivated "smacks of political mischief".
"But that's not surprising to anybody because the opposition leader is becoming known as one who routinely puts his foot in his mouth with inappropriate and off-colored remarks," Nottage said.
"For the record, as the substantive minister responsible [for] the Ministry of National Security, I take the lead in setting government policy.
"I do not interfere with the operations of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) as that is the responsibility of the commissioner of police and his executive team according to the dictates of the law.
"As trained officers in law enforcement, the police were simply discharging their duties under the law and the person of Mr. Cash is immaterial to the job of the police as nobody is above the law."
Minnis said he was not in a position to comment when contacted yesterday.
He did say the FNM will hold a rally tomorrow night and will discuss further action at a council meeting tonight.
However, Cash said he was not surprised by Nottage's statement.
"One needs not to have been a minister to know that rule number one of Cabinet government is that ministers are responsible for their own acts and the acts of their departments. Ignorance is no excuse, except under Perry Christie."
He added: "Neither he nor the prime minister seem to know or own up to what is happening in the RBPF unless and until it is convenient for them.
"As to the minister of national security's lame claim that no one is above the law, that is a big joke. If he turns to his left and right in Cabinet he will see at least two fellow ministers who have violated the existing data privacy laws."
Cash said Nottage has tried to distance himself from the police force's alleged "wire-tapping and eavesdropping of the phones of opposition politicians and other targets of his government's wrath".
On Thursday, three officers seized the items from Cash's home, reportedly in connection to a probe into the alleged leak of confidential information from the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB).
FNM Senator Carl Bethel, Cash's lawyer, has said the items were grabbed out of Cash's hands and taken by police. Bethel also said police "refused to deliver or leave a copy of the 'search warrant'" with his client.
Bethel said he will appear before Senior Justice Jon Isaacs on Wednesday to challenge the constitutionality of police search and seizure.
The FNM raised concerns about BOB after The Punch reported a series of allegations regarding loans from the bank.
Cash has spoken out on the issue several times over the past few months.
On Friday Cash denied that he or his wife, who works at BOB, are behind alleged leaks of sensitive bank information.

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News Article

August 10, 2011
Man on trial for murder of bully

Murder accused Simon Mackey had planned to make a complaint against his coworker Noel Pratt on December 11, 2009, but Mackey was the one who ended up locked up for Pratt's murder, a Supreme Court jury heard.
According to the evidence, Pratt had bullied Mackey during the time they worked together at the exclusive Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina. In his opening address, Prosecutor Basil Cumberbatch said the Crown contended that Mackey used excessive force to defend himself against Pratt's final attack.
Their coworker, Kevin Richards, said shortly after he arrived at work Mackey asked him for a ride to the police station. Richards said that Pratt pursued Mackey and threatened  to kill him.
Richards said Pratt announced,  "I'm going to the police."
According to Richards, Pratt did not retreat and pushed and punched Mackey several times.
Richards said he was not concerned because the feud between Mackey and Pratt was "ongoing." He said, "Normally Simon is walk away. Noel always bothering him."
Richards said Mackey reached for a screwdriver from his [Richards'] tool bag and used it to stab Pratt in the neck.
Immediately after the stabbing, Pratt threatened Mackey again, Richards said. In response to a question from Mackey's lawyer, Terrel Butler, Richards agreed that the level of aggression towards Pratt was escalating when the stabbing occurred.
Richards said Pratt ran towards the tool shed, but Mackey did not pursue him.
The case continues before Justice Roy Jones.
Mackey is on remand at Her Majesty's Prison.

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