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News Article

April 18, 2012
Crowded field in Bamboo Town contest

It officially became a four-man race in Bamboo Town yesterday after the candidates vying for the seat filed their nomination papers at Carlton E. Francis Primary School.
The group includes Free National Movement (FNM) candidate Cassius Stuart, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate Renward Wells, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader and incumbent MP Branville McCartney and independent Craig Butler.
Each of the contenders arrived with a contingent of enthusiastic supporters who blared music, waved posters and banners and boasted that their candidate was going to win.
The four men all said they would work to create more employment, better education and improve standards of living in Bamboo Town, if elected.
McCartney was the last to arrive at the nomination site. He was accompanied by more than 50 supporters who played Junkanoo music and danced in a circle around him. On his way into the nomination room, McCartney hugged Butler who was exiting the area.
Afterward, McCartney said he was confident he would retain his seat - and that his new party would win the government - in spite of the showings of support for the other candidates. He said if he is re-elected he will expand the social programs he began in his constituency in 2007.
He added that it does not matter who has the biggest rallies this election season, but which party could best address critical social issues.
"It's not about a party, it's not about dancing and entertainment," he said. "It's about the crime rate we have that's the worst we've ever had, the illegal immigration problem is the worst we've ever had, the educational system is certainly not working and we have over 30,000 people out of a job. You can party all you want, but when the rally is over, the issues are still there."
Stuart was the first candidate to go through the nomination process. He arrived at the school at 9:40 a.m. with his wife Sharmaine, two young daughters and around 30 supporters.
As he entered the gates of the school, some members of his crowd danced, waved posters bearing his face and beat on goatskin drums.
After he handed his documents over to returning officer Herbert Brown and paid his $400 nomination fee, Stuart told reporters that he was confident of a win.
"The best will come out on top and we will win this," he said. "This has been an historically Free National Movement seat. . .we will return this seat. People in Bamboo Town don't play with personalities, they just vote for party."
Stuart spent 13 years at the helm of the now defunct Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM) but was never elected to Parliament despite contesting in two general elections and one by-election. He said that after his failed bids to become a member of Parliament as leader of the BDM, it was a "breath of fresh air" to be running under the banner of one of the major political parties.
"We worked hard in the past and we just have more fire behind us. [Being a part of the FNM] has given us that extra push that we need to go to the top," Stuart said.
The PLP's candidate was the second to arrive at the site.
Wells, a former member of the National Development Party (NDP), was accompanied by nearly 100 supporters who came in several cars, two jitneys and a flatbed truck that blared music.
Although the area is considered an FNM stronghold, Wells said the tide will soon turn in favor of the official opposition.
"The PLP is going to win Bamboo Town. The PLP has not run a candidate in Bamboo Town in [10] years. The PLPs in Bamboo Town are hungry to vote and to vote this government out," said Wells, flanked by his wife Sara.
"First on my agenda is to work with the new PLP government that's going to right off the bat lower the cost of living for the Bahamian people, deal with the energy situation in terms of BEC, we're going to deal with mortgage situation and expand the economy."
Butler, the only independent running in Bamboo Town, arrived with a group of about 35 supporters.
Butler said even though he is not attached to a major political party he has enough support on the ground to be elected to Parliament.
If elected, he will use his constituency allowance to build a community center, launch a program to reintegrate released convicts into society and help homeowners facing foreclosure.
"We will be victorious, we are confident. It's no longer about just the views of the FNM and PLP," Butler said.

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News Article

April 12, 2012
Lynn Patricia Hanna-Demeritte, 55

Funeral Service for the Late Lynn Patricia Hanna-Demeritte, 55 years of Citrus Meadows, will be held on Saturday April 14th, 4:00 p.m. at St. Agnes Anglican Church, Baillou Hill Road. The Venerable I. Ranfurly Brown and Rev. Edward J. Sykes assisted by Rev. Fr. Neil Nairn, Rev. Fr. Dwight M. Bowe, Canon Warren Rolle and Rev. Emily Demeritte will officiate.  Interment will follow in St. Agnes Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Lynn is survived by her Parents: Allan and Marinetta Hanna; Husband: Greylin Demeritte; Sisters: Garnell (Audley) Kemp and Constance (Carl) Gibson; Brother: Allan Hanna; Nieces: Anya Kemp, Carla and Chelsi Gibson and Kache Hanna; Nephews: Audley Kemp III, Tamal Hanna, Joshua Hanna, Cameron Gibson and Lynden Rahming Jr.; Grandniece: Sanaeya Robinson; Grandnephew: Audley Kemp IV; Uncles: James Hanna (Pittsburg) and Paul Hanna; Aunts: Rosemary, Dr. Andree, Deloris ( Pittsburg), Doloris and  Lee Hanna, Florence Scott, Tina Rolle (Freeport) and Luzera Rolle;  Brothers-in-Law: Godfrey, Mark (Stephanie), Bradley, Charles, Ian, and Kendal (Emily) Demeritte; Sisters-in-Law: Evita Butler, Marsha, Cecilia, Maria-Ann (Raymond) Culmer, Karen (Garth)Woodside, Katie Hilton and Keva Demeritte; Cousins: Eric, Everette and Althelda Hanna(Pittsburg), Ivan Hanna Jr., Gina Dean, Gail Stuart(New York), Terri Bellot, Kevin Hanna,  Dr.  Alys Hanna- Morris and Alexander Hanna (London, England), Clarice Cooper, Tracy and Gina Stubbs, Philip Coakley, Arthur (Helen) Rolle, Donna McPhee, Marionette Rolle, Hazel Bevans, Yvonne McPhee, Elsa Miller, Randolph and Alexander Scott, Tyrone, Van, Dwayne & Tanya Rolle, Hubert,  Michael, Anthon & Darnell Rolle (Freeport), Yvonne Wilson, Joan Roach, Judith Cumberbatch, Alcot Wilson, Eric Butler, Maria Taylor,  Clarissa Honett, Teresa, Carlos, Margaret & Carmen Butler, Cassandra Davenport, Cheryl Stubbs, Marilyn Cambridge, Linda Bullard, Mavis Burrows, Marsh Bullard, Karen Cargill, Eleanor Butler, Dorothea Godet, James Butler, Betty & Vernal Butler. Godchildren: Shakera Johnson, Desmin Bullard - Collie, Khrisna Virgil, Lareisha Johnson, Shantique Virgil, Tramaine Virgil and Lauren Nwankwo. Many Friends including: Margaret Thompson-Nwankwo & family, Eleanor Delancy & Family, Jestina Virgil & family, Geneva Mortimer & Family, Margaret Johnson & family, Debbie Brown & Family, Brian Wright, Elsa Munnings, Marcia Bain, NIB Accounts Department,  Micheal Ellis, Alice Rolle, Althea Clifford, Bishop Laish & Joan Boyd, Edna Simmons, Louise & Christine Adderley & Family, Charmaine Miller & family, Vanria Williams, Yontaley Bowe & Family, Gloria Bethel, Margurite Jackson, Andrea Jackson-Coakley, Sharon Jackson-Waterman, Zerifeh Eiley, Glenda Thompson, Cleomie Harris, Janet Bunch-Lightbourne & family, Bernard Bostwick, The Kemp Family, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Gibson Sr. & Family, Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Whitfield , Mrs. Angela Tynes & Family, Mrs. Lillian Gibson & Family, Mrs. Carmen McCarthy & Family, Mrs. Beryl Huyler & Family, Mrs. Dorothy Nairn & Family, Mrs. Maxine Taylor & Family, Mrs. Eloise Colebrook, Mrs. Carmie Ramsey & Family, Rev. Edward Sykes & Rhodes Memorial Methodist Church Family, St. Agnes Anglican Church Family, ACW & Usher Board, St. Mary's Church Family & ACW, many more too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, #34 Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and at the church from 2:30 p.m. until service time.

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News Article

May 16, 2014
Chickens coming home to roost

It seems the accusations of abuse at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre are once again coming back to haunt us, no matter how much our political leaders would like them to go away.
U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for ambassador to The Bahamas, Cassandra Q. Butts, said that if confirmed one of her priorities will be to ensure that all illegal migrants detained in The Bahamas are treated humanely.
Butts was speaking during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week. Florida Senator Marco Rubio expressed concern about "forceful repatriation" of Cuban detainees by the government of The Bahamas, adding, "I've seen the videos of some of this."
Rubio noted that the footage had been disputed by The Bahamas but said, nonetheless, he remains very concerned.
For her part, Butts assured the committee that she would not only look into the issue, but also report back on her findings.
When the allegations first arose last year, the government seemed relieved to grasp on to a video they said appeared staged, holding it up as proof that the allegations were not true.
Later, when eyewitness statements from marines at the detention center emerged detailing severe beatings following an escape attempt, a disciplinary hearing was launched and five marines were charged.
There has been very little progress since then, as after repatriating the detainees in question the government awaited permission from Cuban officials to interview them for the hearing.
And there the matter lay quietly, for the last several months, until the Rubio-Butts exchange.
Now, we are again reminded of the bitter anti-Bahamas demonstrations in Miami last November and our collective anxiety over the possible damage to tourism from South Florida, and our international reputation in general.
For anyone who has followed this issue over the years its return should come as no surprise. Under the first Christie administration, accusations of violence against detainees at the center also arose only to be downplayed by authorities. Under the last Free National Movement (FNM) government again the specter of abuse raised its ugly head, only to be dismissed without serious investigation.
Again and again, the attitude has been that to take such allegations seriously would be in some way anti-patriotic, a betrayal of our law enforcement officers and an admission of inferiority on some level.
The fact is the more a country -- especially a small developing country -- seeks to avoid confronting such situations honestly, the more corrupt and backward it appears to the rest of the world.
In truth, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have allowed a misplaced nationalism to prevent us from instituting the kind of internationally recognized best practices that would have prevented this kind of allegation, whether true or false, from arising in the first place.
Our immigration detention system should long ago have adopted proper independent oversight to prevent the impression of white-washed investigations; our immigration and Defence Force officers should have been trained to international standards in how to deal with the pressures that come with this kind of work; and above all, we should have instituted an efficient and transparent system for processing migrants, sorting those with genuine refugee status from those to be repatriated, and taking the appropriate steps swiftly so that detainees are not left languishing for months and the opportunity for abuse does not even arise.

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News Article

November 18, 2013
An excellent Accountants' Week

As an institute, we are committed to ensuring that we provide the focused, relevant educational opportunities, as well as guidance and thoughtful leadership to government, industry stakeholders and affiliates in this time of change.
- BICA President Jasmine Y. Davis

In November of each year, the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) observes "Accountants' Week", during which members of the accounting profession convene to focus on accounting education and topics of interest to members of that profession. The week begins with prayerful thanksgiving at a local church service, followed by four days of educational seminars, workshops and presentations for its members and other interested financial services stakeholders, and culminates with a Saturday morning fun/run/walk/push for accountants and others whose energy levels enable them to rise at 5 a.m. to participate in that early morning sojourn.
Therefore, this week, we would like to Consider This... has BICA achieved this year's thematic objective of "Broadening Our Expertise to Support the Changing Economic Environment"? A synoptic review of the week-long activities will assist us in answering that question.

Day 1: Preparing for VAT implementation: Presenting all the factors
Given the tremendous interest in and public discourse on the national issue of value-added tax (VAT), it is not surprising that the entire first day was devoted to this topic. The session commenced with an address on the subject by Michael Halkitis, minister of state in the Ministry of Finance, who outlined the rationale for the government's plans to implement VAT by July next year. The minister's succinct but comprehensive presentation addressed the urgent need for tax reform and shed light on the government's decision to introduce this new form of taxation.
In a second address on this subject, John Rolle, the financial secretary, explained that VAT represents the centerpiece of the government's tax reform. Numerous professionals from the Ministry of Finance delivered presentations at concurrent break-out sessions on a variety of topics, ranging from "the VAT Registration and De-Registration Process", "Accounting for VAT and VAT Accounting Systems", "VAT Compliance, the Legal Framework for VAT Legislation, Regulations and Penalties", "VAT Customs Transitional Arrangements for the Implementation Date" to "Legal and Compliance Issues".
Undoubtedly, the informative sessions on VAT highlighted the enormous resources that have been expended in developing this centerpiece of government's tax reform endeavors and the policy considerations that have been factored into the development of this subject. In the final analysis, the participants recognized and appreciated that many questions need to be answered relative to this transformative shift in the country's taxation system.

Day 2: Building on our foundations in accounting and
financial services
On Tuesday, conference participants were apprised of "The Expected Impacts of New Tax Legislation on the Financial Services Industry"; a presentation that was delivered by Cassandra Nottage, a stand-in for Ryan Pinder, minister of financial services.
An address entitled "Statements of Membership Obligations" was delivered by a representative of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the international accountancy body that promulgates the accounting and auditing standards for the profession. BICA has been a member of IFAC since 1978. In addition, a representative of the World Bank delivered an address on "Institute Capacity Building". This was a historic moment for BICA because it was the first time that representatives of those two prominent international institutions, IFAC and the World Bank, addressed BICA members.
An extremely lively VAT panel discussion, comprised of members of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employees' Confederation (BCCEC), raised grave concerns about the impending introduction of VAT next year. In essence, the panelists asserted that there were many unanswered questions as we approach this imminent launch date of July 1, 2014.
The afternoon session featured a presentation by the Bahamas Trade Commission and senior trade professionals of the Ministry of Financial Services on the topic "Regional Comparisons & Initiatives, Reciprocity Agreements specifically with respect to the World Trade Organization, Economic Partnership Agreements and CARICOM Perspectives".
The second day ended with an "Update on Pending Legislative Changes (to the Public Accountants Act) and Expected Impacts". Participants were apprised of important changes that are being considered to the legislation that regulates the accounting profession, most notably the legislative framework for practice monitoring and peer review of accountants who are engaged in public practice, as well as disciplinary matters for persons who breach the rules of professional conduct that govern the profession.

Day 3: Technical update
Historically, the technical update is the most popular session during Accountants' Week because it affords accountants the opportunity to be informed about the most recent accounting and auditing developments, pronouncements and practices. The theme for this year was "Maintaining Our Technical Competency". This session has normally been led by foreign employees of the larger, international accounting firms. This year, however, witnessed a departure from that tradition. For the first time, the technical update was presented by a Bahamian accountant, Gowon Bowe, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and, by the reaction of many participants, attendees were treated to an exceptionally outstanding update of accounting, auditing and reporting standards.

Day 4: Cutting edge
tools, energy reform, ethics and certification fundamentals
The final day of educational sessions featured a potpourri of topics that were both timely and informative. The sessions included presentations on: "Making Information Technology Effective", "MS Office 2013 Highlights - Tools to Keep Your Business on the Cutting Edge", "Energy Reform for The Bahamas: A Step Change for Social Change & Economic Development", "Upholding Ethics in the Profession & Avoiding Scandals and Broadening Our Expertise Through Professional Training & Certifications".
Each of those sessions provided invaluable information, which when applied, will enhance professional efficiency and effectiveness and also provided registrants the opportunity to network with colleagues and presenters.

The week's highlight
Unquestionably, the highlight of the week of activities was the impact that VAT will have on the economy, the financial services sector, the society and the profession. Accountants by their education, experience and discipline are uniquely qualified to speak to and advise on the issues associated with taxation in general and VAT in particular.

Conclusion
The Bahamian accounting profession, which began in the 1960s, and culminated in the establishment of the institute with 13 original qualified accountant subscribers to the articles of incorporation in 1971, can now boast of more than 500 members. Approximately 250 accountants are licensed to engage in public practice by BICA. Twenty years after BICA's incorporation by guarantee, Parliament enacted The Public Accountants Act, 1991, which established a regulatory, legislative framework for the profession and that act has served the profession very well for the past 22 years. The profession is once again at the junction of legislative reform in order to assimilate the rapidly accelerating realities and nuances of the profession and the external demands of the world of business and finance.
Jasmine Davis, president of the BICA, her council and the continuing professional education committee should be heartily congratulated for a superlatively outstanding week of activities, which truly enabled the institute's members and participants to realize their objective of "Broadening Our Expertise to Support the Changing Economic Environment".

o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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News Article

June 11, 2014
Lucaya International School graduates 14

Lucaya International School's (LIS) Michaela Ince will be attending Pomona College with the knowledge that her undergraduate degree studies will be paid for in full as the winner of the Grand Bahama Port Authority's (GBPA) top achiever award. As the winner, she was granted a full four-year scholarship for the college of her choice.
Ince, who was also the valedictorian of the class of 2014, said her years at LIS made her a well-rounded, open-minded individual who is not afraid to face challenges head on. She believes that high school not only taught her academically, but it also taught her valuable life lessons.
She told her fellow International Baccalaureate program graduates that, no matter how challenging something may seem, there is no point in getting intimidated.
"As we prepare to walk out of this graduation ceremony and walk into the 'real world', each of us following our own paths, I would like to remind us all that, while we may never be in a class together again, we will always be our class - the Lucaya International School class of 2014," she said.
Keana Pakosh was named salutatorian.
Fourteen of the graduates were accepted into university with one opting for a gap year. They include: Alliqueka Capron, University of Nottingham, U.K.; Rhumer Culmer, University of Tampa, Fla.; Keana Pakosh, University of Toronto, Canada; Alexander Thompson, Texas A&M Galveston, Texas; George McInnes, gap year; Alexander von Albedyhll, University of Groningen, The Netherlands; Imani Sterling, University of Westminster, U.K.; Eric Grigorof, OCAD (the Ontario College of Art and Design), Canada; Cassandra Haddad, University of South Florida, Fla.; Asiyah Robinson, Gulf Coast University or University of Victoria; Katie Hindley, Newcastle University, U.K.; Ince, Pomona. College, Calif.; Andrew Hindley, Liverpool John Moore's University, U.K. and Rania Williams, Michigan Technological University, Mich.
Sharon Wilson, LIS headmistress, said that for administrators at schools, universities and colleges around the world, the IB is more than a curriculum and a testing service, but a powerful experience in learning and growth; it is a way of life and shared experience that develops character and bonds students and teachers together in friendship and attitudes that will last lifetimes.

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News Article

May 16, 2014
Mitchell reaffirms position on migrants after U.S. hearing

Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell reiterated yesterday that the government does not condone the abuse or ill-treatment of illegal migrants detained in The Bahamas.
Mitchell was asked to respond to comments made in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday by Florida Senator Marco Rubio during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
During the hearing, nominees for diplomatic posts were interviewed. Among them was Cassandra Q. Butts, the nominee for U.S. ambassador to The Bahamas.
Rubio expressed concern about the "forceful repatriation" of Cuban detainees by the government of The Bahamas.
"The comments and the exchange in the U.S. Senate should be seen in the context of the hearing in which it occurred and be taken no further," Mitchell said.
He said, "I add only once again that The Bahamas does not condone the ill-treatment or abuse of any one in any of its lock-ups and any generic allegation to that effect would be absurd and incorrect.
"We work with all international partners on migration and other issues and this would most certainly apply to representatives of the American government."
Mitchell was traveling and responded via email.
During the hearing, Butts said one of her priorities, if confirmed, would be to ensure that all illegal migrants detained in The Bahamas are treated humanely.
She was responding to a question from Rubio, who said he has seen some of the images of the alleged ill-treatment.
Rubio seemed to be referring to the alleged abuse of a group of Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre last year.
Images were aired on a Spanish language TV station in Miami last June purporting to show Cubans being abused by Bahamian officers.
Butts said the issue of migration is of great importance to her and was what attracted her to the post.
"I have not seen the images," she said. "I've certainly heard about some of the allegations with regard to how the Cuban refugees have been treated, [and how] migrants have been treated in The Bahamas."
She added, "It will be one of my priorities to ensure that all migrants are treated humanely."
According to witness statements from marines and detainees at the facility, Cuban detainees were severely beaten after they attempted to escape from the center.
The allegations made headlines for weeks and incensed Miami-based protest group Democracy Movement.
The government officially ordered an investigation into the alleged abuse of the Cuban detainees, most of whom have been repatriated or granted asylum in a third country.
A disciplinary hearing into the abuse claims started last November. Five marines were charged in connection with the incident.
The hearings are on hold as the Bahamas government awaits a response from the Cuban government on a request to interview detainees who were repatriated, authorities have said.

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News Article

May 15, 2014
Alleged abuse of detainees in Bahamas raised at U.S. hearing

U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee to the post of U.S. ambassador to The Bahamas, Cassandra Q. Butts, said one of her priorities, if confirmed, would be to ensure that all illegal migrants detained in The Bahamas are treated humanely.
Butts was responding to a question during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio expressed concern about the "forceful repatriation" of Cuban detainees by the government of The Bahamas.
"I've seen the videos of some of this," Rubio said.
He continued, "We've reached out to their government.
"They (the Bahamas government) dispute some of those assertions, but nonetheless, we remain very concerned about it.
"And I would just want to encourage you to work with the Bahamian authorities to ensure that not just Cuban refugees, but as well as other refugees, including Haitian refugees and others, are treated appropriately and humanely, if in fact they wind up on Bahamian territory.
"I think it's something that if people saw some of the images that have been put out there of how some of them have been treated by these authorities, they'd be very concerned."
Rubio seemed to be referring to the alleged abuse of a group of Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre last year.
Images were aired on a Spanish language TV station in Miami last June purporting to show Cubans being abused by Bahamian officers.
Butts said the issue of migration is of great importance to her and was what attracted her to the post.
"I have not seen the images," she said. "I've certainly heard about some of the allegations with regard to how the Cuban refugees have been treated, [and how] migrants have been treated in The Bahamas."
She added, "It will be one of my priorities to ensure that all migrants are treated humanely.
"And I am happy to, if I'm confirmed, to have a chance to come back to you, Senator (Rubio), and to your staff, and keep you up-to-date on the issues."
According to witness statements from marines and detainees at the facility, Cuban detainees were severely beaten after they attempted to escape from the center.
The Cuban detainees were violently beaten for almost two hours, and one even appeared to have temporarily lost consciousness as a result of the abuse, according to one of the marines.
The allegations made headlines for weeks and incensed Miami-based protest group Democracy Movement.
Rubio was among a group of Florida lawmakers who branded The Bahamas' decision to repatriate the Cubans among those allegedly beaten, as "immoral" and "spineless".
The statements were made in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Perry Christie last August.
The government officially ordered an investigation into the alleged abuse of the Cuban detainees, most of whom have been repatriated or granted asylum in a third country.
A disciplinary hearing into the abuse claims started last November.
Five marines were charged in connection with the incident.
The hearings are on hold as the Bahamas government awaits a response from the Cuban government on a request to interview detainees who were repatriated, authorities have said.

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News Article

March 17, 2014
Putting country above party and self

"My critics will argue that I am a horrible politician. When the Christie government was on the brink of disaster, some might argue that the best political move is to let them plunge over the edge. I do not believe that such a posture is in the country's best interests."
FNM Chairman Darron Cash
In Greek mythology, Cassandra, the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, is a figure of tragedy. She had the power of prophecy, accompanied by the curse of never being believed. A more common version of the story is that, even though she served as a priestess of Apollo and had taken a vow of chastity in order to remain a virgin for her entire life, she was given the power of prophecy by Apollo so that he could seduce her but, when she refused him, he gave her the curse of never having her prophecies believed, no matter how accurate or logical.
This week, Darron Cash, the chairman of the Free National Movement (FNM), came under considerable criticism from his colleagues because he courageously cautioned the party's leadership that they had taken the wrong position in several matters of national importance. Therefore, this week we would like to Consider this... by taking such a bold and courageous position on matters of national importance that are in opposition to the FNM's stated policies and political positions, has Cash relegated himself to a position similar to that of Cassandra whose prophesies, no matter how accurate and logical, are dismissed by those who hear them, namely his colleagues?
The background
In a recent communication to the FNM executive committee, Cash stated that the purpose of his memorandum "is to invite the party to sacrifice its current (yet short-term) political advantage over the PLP government in favor of doing something directly through words and actions - that I believe will be in the country's current and long-term best interests".
Cash criticized two FNM policy positions: the first related to the regulation and taxation of web shops and the second to the party's opposition of the implementation of a value-added tax, especially without offering any concrete alternative recommendations. The latter was especially hypocritical and disingenuous because, as Cash noted, the same value-added tax would have been implemented if the FNM had been returned to office in the general election of May 7, 2012.
The FNM position on web shops
In his memo, Cash chronicled how, in 2010, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham confirmed that the FNM council and parliamentarians "greatly support" the regulation of web shops in The Bahamas. He also noted that "our FNM government facilitated the expansion of the web shops. Then we 'elevated' them by calling them in for formal talks, indirectly validating what they were doing. We then gave them more licenses. How have they now become devils?" It is crystal clear that the FNM, while in government, which included three of the current parliamentarians who then served as Cabinet ministers, supported the regularization of web shops.
However, after losing office on May 7, 2012, and before the referendum on January 28, 2013, the FNM, now in opposition, reversed its earlier position on regulating and taxing the web shops. Cash noted: "The leader of the opposition drew a hard line by declaring that the FNM would not support the government because it would not go against the results of the non-binding opinion poll."
Cash maintained, "...that is not a sustainable position. There is no ultimate political escape from a definitive tough position on web shops and gaming. I propose an official position in support of the government's decision to normalize web shops. I propose an early decision."
Cash also astutely observed, "If we want to inspire a new generation of Bahamians to support the FNM and follow us, we cannot be entirely like the FNM that thousands of those new-generation-Bahamians rejected on May 7, 2012. In my view, the announcement to oppose the government's planned action on web shops plays into the narrative that all the FNM wants to do is oppose anything the PLP does for opposing sake. In the new debate over web shops we have an opportunity to perform a course correction."
The FNM position on VAT
In his memo, Cash also challenged the FNM's position on value-added tax which the government intends to implement on July 1, 2014. He observed that FNM supporters were interested in understanding the party's position on VAT and that "the November statement on VAT by the leader [of the opposition] was regarded less as a statement of alternative tax policy and more as an attack on the government for offering a tax option that Bahamians would later learn that the FNM's own minister of state for finance had stated publicly that the FNM would have considered. To reiterate the point, we have to date offered no specific alternatives to VAT."
Stepping back from the edge
In his missive to the executive committee, Cash stated, "My critics will argue that I am a horrible politician. That might be true. At a time when the Christie government was on the brink of disaster some might argue that the best political move is to let them plunge over the edge. I do not believe that such a posture is in the country's best interests. There comes a time when the dream of a new Bahamas must come face to face with the reality of The Bahamas as it is today. Our party must demonstrate the ability to act in a different way."
Political maturity in putting country first
We disagree with those who might suggest that Cash is "a horrible politician". We believe that what he represents is a breath of fresh air in our domestic politics and a level of political maturity that is sorely lacking and badly needed throughout our body politic. We also strongly disagree with the deputy leader of the FNM who suggested that Cash "may have been misled by PLP propaganda" and "is probably misguided in some of the utterances that the PLP has put out there". Why did she not say the same a few years ago when, while she was a Cabinet minister, Cash took another principled stand against the FNM's sale of BTC? Moreover, following that very public divergence from stated FNM policy in favor of what he believed to be best for the country, if Cash was seen then as so easily swayed by opposing political rhetoric, why was he entrusted with the very sensitive and important post of FNM national chairman?
No, we must look at the deputy leader's current criticism for what it is. Spoken like a veteran practitioner of the old-school, tit-for-tat, "don't take no last", scorched earth political approach of an earlier era, the FNM deputy leader has demonstrated anything but a progressive posture; instead, she is demonstrating an approach that is characteristic of the deeply divided partisan polemics that have resulted in the current ineffectual, gridlocked governance of the American "democratic" system. We deserve better and Cash alone has demonstrated that he is prepared to do better.
Conclusion
We hope that the level of political maturity that we have seen this week from Darron Cash represents the next generation of politicians on all sides of the political divide who will be guided by putting country above party and self.

If Cash's mature approach is a precursor of the political behavior that will evolve in the 21st century, then our country will be better positioned to overcome the issues that will surely continue to confront us and emerge as the strong, secure, successful nation we all want to see.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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News Article

March 13, 2014
Eight honored for their contributions to ministry

Five youth members of Restoration Kingdom Ministries and three senior statesmen were honored for their contributions to the ministry, as the church celebrated its seventh anniversary recently.
Aailyah Anderson, Cassius Knowles Jr., Oteus Knowles, Cateleen and Catherine Wells were recognized at a service of thanksgiving. In addition, three adults were acknowledged for their work -- Juliana Major-Bullard, Joseph Wilmore "Bumpy" Saunders and Apostle Samuel Douglas Cleare, who was also the guest preacher.
"We decided to honor the youth of the church because they are the church," said Reverend Wells. "A few of them have been with us from when they were little children, and their longevity and consistency of service with the church has actually been very remarkable. We're going to keep saying thank you. I believe that if people are doing all they can to see the Kingdom of God succeed, the Kingdom should pause and say thank you," said Rev. Wells. "This is not a payment, this is a thank you because only God can pay."
Restoration Kingdom Ministries, co-pastored by Reverend Cleveland D.X. Wells and Minister Samantha Francis-Wells, has accomplished a lot in the last seven years. Already on its property on Faith Avenue South, it is occupying a temporary facility that continues to grow to meet its developing needs as a fellowship. According to Wells, its success to date has everything to do with the blessing of God and the dedication of its members, particularly a small core of leaders.
"One of the key things is our nucleus. You have to have a solid nucleus that has the church and God's house at heart and I can say that I have that," said Wells.
Two of those key members are Elders Wellington and Grace Francis, who is inspired by her personal relationship with God and her witness of the many miracles God brought in her life. Francis looks forward to the pastors' overall vision for their church including a school, a home for abused women and teens, and a counseling center for young men.
"Most of all we want to continue catering to the whole man -- spirit, soul and body," said Francis-Wells.
Francis-Wells said that a part of the ministry's restorative focus is the removal of the stigma that has developed over the whole issue of the church. She said Restoration Kingdom Ministries is creating that image of what the church used to be -- a place where families and communities can be educated, their lives enhanced and they can receive guidance and assistance.
"Our mission is to be really community-minded, to let people know there's a place they can come to, just as they are," said Wells. "In fact, our whole objective is helping people to live a healthy life spiritually so they can experience some Heaven on earth and then have Heaven as their final resting place."

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News Article

March 07, 2014
It's good to be king

There was King Eric. And then there's King Errisson, who has been praised as "the unsung hero behind Motown" by Ray Singleton in her book "Berry, Me, and Motown" as well as by Berry Gordy in his book "To Be Loved".
King Errisson Pallaman Johnson, 70, who was born, October 29, 1941, and raised on New Providence in the Coconut Grove community to Pallaman Johnson (Acklins) and Josephine Johnson (Exuma), is known the world over as a master of funky disco with lots of congas.
As a session musician he has worked with a diverse group of artists representing a variety of musical styles-- Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. He has also worked with Herb Alpert, John Klemmer, Doc Severinsen, Ringo Starr, Blood Sweat & Tears, Jim Stafford, Swamp Dogg, Barbara Streisand, David Cassidy, Bobby Darin, Nancy Wilson, Johnny Mathis, OC Smith, Lou Rawles, Hodges James and Smith, Mickey Stevenson, Barry White and The Carpenters. King Errisson was a featured member of the Incredible Bongo Band and was a member of Neil Diamond's touring band since 1976. His musical resume is indeed impressive.
And then there's his acting resume. He has appeared in the movies "Uptown Saturday Night" with Bill Cosby and fellow Bahamian Sidney Poitier, and on television in Abe Vigoda's "Fish" series and "The Watcher", the 1980 remake of "The Jazz Singer" with Neil Diamond, and of course "Thunderball" with Sean Connery.
In fact, it was "Thunderball" shot in The Bahamas that got the ball rolling for him. At the age of 23, his talent with the congas was displayed in a memorable nightclub scene in the James Bond movie. In the scene he entertains audiences in a nightclub, when he notices a gun coming through the curtains at which point he frantically ups his drumming to attract Bond's attention that there was trouble coming. Bond turns around to see what King Errisson is doing and sees the gun. He puts the woman who was setting him up to be killed in the way and the woman gets shot instead.
"That scene catapulted me. And the rest is history," said King Errisson on a recent visit to the country of his birth.
He left Nassau to study drama in Canada, formed a jazz band in New York City and spent a year performing in a Bermuda club in those early years where he met Redd Foxx who invited him to appear at his place in Los Angeles. Sammy Davis Jr. asked King Errisson to appear on the Hollywood Palace and Cannonball Adderly became his mentor in the recording studio.
Despite the fact that he has attained his three score and 10, King Errisson is still in the game. He has just released a new album entitled "Secret Life". His previous albums include "The Magic Man/L.A. Bound" "Conga Serenade", Natural Feeling", "Nice" and "Global Music". He even has a jazz album called "The King Arrives". His work can be found on Amazon, iTunes, and CDBaby.
And while the man may have left the island, he still carries a part of the island with him today. On all of his work, there's a touch of calypso, even though he writes for a universal audience.
"My music is universal because I want to sell worldwide and not just be in a box, so I write music with a broad spectrum," he said.
King Errisson has enjoyed success musically, but to ask him he still believes he hasn't made it for the simple reason that he's an artist and he's always thinking that he could have done something differently and better.
"In our business, no matter how big you are, you've never made it. You always feel within your heart or in your mind that you could have sung a song better or that you could played a piece better. I have albums right now that to other people sound fantastic, and when I listen to them I'm thinking why didn't I do this or that. Like the new album right now, everything on it is beautiful -- I love every cut I did, I love every arrangement I did -- and when I listen to it, I smile and say I still have a better one."
As for his acting career, well, he believes because he did not give in to certain influences that he never made it as far as he thought he could have.
"After Thunderball, I got a hankering to be an actor and I was really gung-ho on being the next Sidney Poitier of The Bahamas and it almost happened. It didn't happen because of my biggityness... of my Bahamian style... of my not taking [expletive] from anybody because I am from The Bahamas. In Hollywood you gatta suck it up, and I never suck it up, so they were afraid of me ... they're afraid of anybody who don't suck it up, and I know that was my downfall," he said.
But as he sought a career in film, he had already enjoyed success as a musician, and said as a result he did not have to endure any foolishness just to get a part in a movie.
"God had blessed me enough to be such a great drummer and making so much money just playing my drums," he said. Despite that King Errisson still landed bit parts here and there and did some drumming in some films to round out his resume.
His advice to youngsters seeking a career in the music industry is to always be disciplined and sincere about where they want to go and how they want to go about it.
"You have to be disciplined and you have to be ready. When I left [The Bahamas] I said to myself that I would never leave this island until I'm the best in the world and when I thought I was the best I left, and then I never had to come back. But I was also prepared that if I lived on skid row for a day I was coming back home because I know I could eat out of the neighbor's potcake, rather than stay on skid row and sleep in box carts and stuff like that. I left here with that in mind, knowing that if I had to come back I could always come back because I have a home."
King Errison makes it a point to return home at least twice per year.

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