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The Free National Movement (FNM) last night unveiled Manifesto 2012, pledging among other things to introduce a National Catastrophic Health Insurance Programme within three years, increase the strength of the police force to fight crime and create an 'opportunity society', which includes the implementation of a "recovery and growth agenda".
Manifesto 2012 also focuses on job creation, social development and reducing the public debt.
"Just as we delivered the greatest overhaul in decades of our criminal justice system, and of our national infrastructure and social security systems, we will deliver more during our next term," Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham pledges in the document released on the party's website, fnm2012.org.
"Our National Security Strategic Plan will guide our fight against crime, drug and gun trafficking, human trafficking, illegal immigration and poaching."
Ingraham pledged that an FNM administration will continue to build an "opportunity and shareholding society".
He said that in consultation with Bahamians, his administration would launch Jubilee Bahamas, a 10-year national plan leading to the 50th anniversary of independence.
The prime minister said a key part of this would be the recovery and growth agenda that focuses on jobs and wealth creation, small businesses, and support to entrepreneurs through innovative grants and incentives.
"We will launch the Back to the Island campaign, which we hope will become the largest migration of Bahamians back to the Family Islands in our history," Ingraham said.
"A focused heritage tourism initiative and a further incentivized creative economy will provide both sustainable economic growth and human development."
If re-elected, the FNM pledges to expand the Prescription Drug Programme to cover all workers and their families; extend the maximum period for National Insurance Unemployment benefits from 13 weeks to 26 weeks; institutionalize the National Training and Retraining Programme to build human resource capacity, and provide career development opportunities for Bahamians.
The party also pledges to incrementally increase the minimum wage over a five-year period. The national minimum wage is currently $150 per week.
On the crime front, the FNM pledges to increase the strength of the Royal Bahamas Police Force by an additional 250 officers; require the police to spend as much time at night on the streets as they do in the daytime, and significantly expand closed circuit TV coverage as a tool of crime fighting.
The party also said it would continue to expedite the naturalization and/or registration of children born abroad to Bahamian women married to non-Bahamians; continue the regularization of the status of long-term residents and of persons born and raised in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents, and ensure that work permits are issued only to fill posts that cannot be genuinely filled by suitably qualified Bahamians.
The FNM further said it would create a Jobs Training Fund to facilitate school leavers' participation in six-month-long, targeted training programs meant to satisfy unmet demands in the economy, and facilitate increased youth employment through the continuation of the National Job Readiness and Skills Training Programme.
It also pledges to accelerate taxation system reforms to reduce dependence on border taxes and broaden the tax base; establish a Consumer Protection Agency; continue to make Crown lands available to Bahamians at concessional rates and maximize opportunities for Bahamians to become shareholders in profitable businesses, particularly those resulting from the privatization of previously wholly government-owned enterprises.
The FNM administration would also conduct strategic overseas investment promotions targeting developers of environmentally-friendly hotels and resorts, marinas, golf courses and other amenities.
The FNM said it takes note of the recent difficulties Grand Bahama has faced.
The plan outlined in the FNM manifesto will help to lift Grand Bahama out of its depressed state, by introducing new opportunities for commercial expansion and improving infrastructure, the party said in a statement, which was also released last night.
The FNM's plans for Grand Bahama include: Establishing the Grand Bahama Business Development Board to promote the further development of business in Grand Bahama; relocating government departments to the island, and promoting and incentivizing the establishment of both an aircraft and a yacht registry.
Plans also include facilitating the development of a "logistic distribution hub" for international cargo in an effective "free trade zone"; constructing a fire station in Freeport; constructing a new community health clinic for Freeport and its environs and constructing a replacement Sunset Village Fish Fry and Cultural Centre at Eight Mile Rock.
We are three weeks away from making history. On May 7th, 2012 the Free National Movement will be elected as the Government of The Bahamas for the fourth time in an independent Bahamas.
Attorneys representing investors in the former Ginn Sur Mer development are fighting to secure information on computers that they claim will reveal a conspiracy that brought down the $4.9 billion mega resort.
Credit Suisse, accused of imposing "predatory lending practices" on the original stakeholders at Ginn Sur Mer, is also implicated in the downfall of three other luxury resort projects in the U.S.
The Swiss bank and property services firm Cushman and Wakefield, according to court documents filed in the District of Idaho, allegedly conspired in a "loan to own" scheme that artificially inflated the value of the resort projects.
The charges include racketeering, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy and breach of covenant of good faith. The plaintiffs, representing investors in the four resorts, are seeking $24 million in damages.
In this latest skirmish, plaintiffs hope to gain access to e-mails, data and documents between Credit Suisse and Cushman and Wakefield between 2003 and 2007.
"Plaintiffs have been given leave to receive the IT information from the laptops and/or PCs of six employees of Cushman and Mr. Barcy of Credit Suisse, which includes the data from the servers and/or backup files to which the laptops and PCs were connected for storage of their data," according to an affidavit filed this week by a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. "Both defendants objected to a vendor other than their own performing the forensic imaging, and both objected to physical delivery of hardware to plaintiffs' vendor."
Forensic imaging, according to sources close to the matter, would reveal whether any information on the computers had been deleted or altered.
It is alleged, sources said, that the scheme was hatched by Credit Suisse and Cushman and Wakefield was brought on to develop it.
A conference call with the court is scheduled for Friday, Guardian Business has learned, which could shed further light on whether the records will be released.
In a response to the request for computers and documents, Credit Suisse pointed out in a court document that only one of the seven individuals actually worked at the bank.
Jeff Barcy, the employee in question, allegedly left Credit Suisse in 2005.
At some time during the period between his departure and the filing of the lawsuit, the Swiss bank claims the desktop and/or laptop utilized by Barcy was "destroyed, re-formatted, recycled, or otherwise disposed of".
The bank stated for the record that the requests for information were "invasive".
"Credit Suisse objects to the request because, despite the stated limitations on relevance, imaging of any laptop or desktop computers utilized by Mr. Barcy (or any other identified individuals) would necessarily involve the turnover of non-responsive, irrelevant and privileged information without a showing by the plaintiffs that any danger exists that evidence will otherwise be destroyed, or that imaging of the computers is for any other reason necessary or justified," the court document read.
Cushman and Wakefield, meanwhile, called the instructions to supply computers and documents "overly broad, vague and ambiguous".
"The manner and form of production contemplated by plaintiffs are unreasonable, oppressive, overly burdensome and an abuse of process," the firm noted in a court document. "The defendant further objects to the instructions as they require the production of information that is not relevant to any party's claim or defense, is not relevant to the subject matter involved in this action, or is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence."
Other resorts cited in the case include Tamarack Resort, Yellowstone Club and Lake Las Vegas.
As for Ginn Sur Mer, it's alleged that investors were induced to borrow excessive amounts based on inflated valuations.
Credit Suisse, according to the court documents, subsequently charged tens of millions of "exorbitant" loan fees which eventually caused the project to become insolvent and fail.
In 2008, Ginn Sur Mer and its subsidiary developments defaulted on loans it took on after mortgaging the land for nearly $300 million in favor of Ginn-LA Conduit Lenders Inc. These rights were transferred to Credit Suisse.
Ginn Sur Mer, slated for Grand Bahama, was supposed to include nearly 900 homes, two championship golf courses, a 4,400 condominium hotel, two marinas, a casino and a private airport expansion.
TREASURE CAY, Bahamas -- Anyone registering online for the 2013 Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend before February 18th, 2013 will be automatically entered to win a stay at the Treasure Cay Beach, Marina, and Golf Resort, a round-trip ticket to Abaco, or a case of Sands beer.
"This is our second year for the event, and the support from the community has been wonderful. We have a lot of prizes to give out and this year we have started early on promotion. To date we are far ahead of where we were last year in terms of registrations numbers, and we still have about 7 weeks left till the event," said Lee McCoy, managing director.
"We have been advertising locally and abroad and the response has been positive, with registrations already in from Abaco, Nassau, Freeport, Florida, South Carolina, Illinois, Virginia and California to name a few. So far it looks like the women's sprint triathlon will be a hotly contested event, and I'm excited to see the level of competition and comradery that will take place throughout the weekend."
The 2nd annual event, which takes place March 22-24th in Treasure Cay, Abaco, includes a 1-mile open water swim, Sprint and Olympic triathlons (in both individual and relay events), a kids' 1-mile run and a 5k/10k fun run/walk.
The scenic destination of Treasure Cay, Abaco, encourages both tourists and locals alike to attend. The courses are flat, the beaches and waters are gorgeous, and the roads are smooth, making for an ideal location for the races.
Everyone who registers online before February 18th, 2013, will be entered into a drawing to win one of three prizes. The first drawing is for a complimentary night at the Treasure Cay Resort, the second is for a round-trip ticket to Abaco, and the third is a case of Sands Beer. Registration details can be found on the event website, www.GAFFW.com The winners will be announced via email and the newsletter, on the website, and on the Facebook page by February 20th.