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News Article

December 14, 2013
Sustainable art communities

"Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean" explores how the understanding and formation of sustainable community for the Caribbean and its global diaspora may be supported by art practice, curating and museums. The project was a collaboration between The Open University and the University of Leiden, in partnership with the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), London, and was led by Dr. Leon Wainwright.
Participants in the second conference in this series, which took place December 3-4, 2013, included Alessio Antoniolli (UK), Marielle Barrow (Trinidad and Tobago), Charles Campbell (Jamaica/UK), Annalee Davis (Barbados), Joy Gregory (UK), Therese Hadchity (Barbados), Glenda Heyliger (Aruba), Rosemarijn Hoefte (the Netherlands), Yudhishthir Raj Isar (France/India), Tessa Jackson (UK), Nancy Jouwe (the Netherlands), Charl Landvreugd (the Netherlands), Wayne Modest (the Netherlands), Petrona Morrison (Jamaica), Jynell Osborne (Guyana), Marcel Pinas (Suriname), Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname), Leon Wainwright (UK) and Kitty Zijlmans (Netherlands).
As the conference on Sustainable Art Communities started, we immediately encountered one of the problems relating to sustainability across the diaspora - first speaker Marcel Pinas could not be there because of visa issues, thus highlighting a key obstacle in the transnational dialogue. Meeting in person builds community, as all who attended can attest to, and nothing beats a face to face discussion. Raj Isar used the German word "gemeinshaft", which basically refers to living, breathing and eating together; for a few days that is what this conference facilitated. Leon Wainwright started the discussion with a few questions, one of which was "Should the arts be burdened with the task of building community?"
Rather than actually coming up with answers, the conference was very enlightening because it showed that issues experienced in the Caribbean are also in effect in the diaspora. Questions like "for whom is the work made?" and "are institutions disconnected from the audience?" were addressed. The importance of critical discourse in countries like Jamaica, Suriname and the Netherlands was expressed by Petrona Morisson.
As the mark of success in art seems to be related to public engagement, establishing links through existing spaces to broaden local audiences on artistic, critical and financial levels is paramount. Part of this can be achieved through carefully archiving Caribbean lived experience. As an example of this, Joy Gregory started/is starting up a residency in the former house of fashion designer Trevor Owens in Jamaica, providing a way into understanding this experience. At the same time, according to Therese Hadchity, the local and historical context is being transcended by artists like Sheena Rose, Ewan Atkinson and Alicia Alleyne, and is being picked up in other parts of the world. A new hybrid globalized subject is emerging with mixed sensibilities. Jynell Osborne made this clear by speaking about diversity in heritage and how this affects social and political issues in a country like Guyana. "We have to recognize where cultures come together and where they stay apart in Guyana, and by extension in the Caribbean. Part of building a strong society is building a strong culture that is sustainable." Tying back to the production of a critical discourse, this seems to be done more by writers than visual artists in smaller countries. Why is that?
One thing that the speakers and audience agreed on was Petrona Morisson's sentiment that the Caribbean and its diaspora should not repeat patterns of exclusion in our effort to build a sustainable art community. Annalee Davis' presentation on the initiative Fresh Milk is seen as one of the ways in which talent can be nurtured in our own geographical space. She made a case for the fourth sector model of social economy in light of the lack of funds, creating wealth by means of nurturing creative talent within the region. This, the panel agreed, is a revolutionary act. By first working within the local space and sustaining creative process, expansion to include all of the region is anticipated. The question of an understandable art language for everybody may be a consequence of this way of working. What the impact of this will be outside and inside of academia can only be imagined at this point. Who defines and critiques history, and is history in the way of the future? This was asked by Ozkan Golpinar when he explained the way decisions on funding are being made in the West.
The question about craftmanship vs art was raised by Wayne Modest, who is concerned with the relationship between the local and the global; "What happens when elite practices take up the 'ghetto'?" He took some time speaking about the 'ghetto' as a native place for contemporary Jamaican artists, in comparison to previous generations who saw Africa as the native place. This echoed my idea of continental Europe as a native space to Caribbean subjects who were born and or raised there. It was also exemplified by Glenda Heyliger's presentation on her work in Aruba. Fittingly, Marielle Barrow contributed to this exchange, joining the conversation via Skype from the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti. Unfortunately the connection went bad several times as it did with Raj Isar, but her message of multimodality was strong. How to sustain a network without funding was one of her main questions. Transformation seems to be one of the principles here. Charles Campbell showed us how he did it with 'Actor Boy', who became real, participated in society, started creating his own artworks and mythologized himself once over. As Alessio Antoniolli said about the organizations connected through the Triangle Network, "The most successful groups are the ones who are self serving."

o Orignally published on arcthemagazine.com
o Charl Landvreugd is a Dutch artist, born in Suriname and raised in Rotterdam. Aesthetically, politically, theoretically as well as practically, black is the base color in his practice. The artist has studied at the Goldsmiths College (London) and Columbia University (NYC), and now continues his investigations of black and Blackness. He explores the plurality of black hues and advocates for distinctions in black diversity. Inspired by the gathering of people from the African diaspora in the Bijlmer, he unites the four continents around the Atlantic in the video work Atlantic Transformerz 2010.

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News Article

December 06, 2013
VAT: A hangman's noose

Dear Editor,

The gold rush administration is between a rock and a hard place. During the electoral campaign back in 2012 its leadership cadre, sycophants and political allies said that they had the solutions to all national problems, inclusive of being able to fix the economy. All the PLP wanted was an opportunity to govern again. The party was returned to office big time.
Fast-forward to 2013. A badly managed opinion poll, dressed up like a referendum, was soundly defeated by an ill-informed and apathetic electorate. The PM's pronouncement that he had no horse in the race was a deathblow to the possible success of the same. Strike number one.
The party also promised to introduce a modified form on National Health Insurance within its first year in office, having had an opportunity to extensively research the feasibility and ramifications during its 2002 to 2007 term in office. Sixteen months later, the plan has been relegated further down the road and is not likely to see the light of day anytime soon. Strike number two.
Now the administration is faced with a looming fiscal crisis and possible economic downgrade by various international credit rating agencies. Successive governments, especially the last Ingraham administration, racked up debt and spent taxpayers' money like dirt. We are now saddled with a declared debt in excess of $6.5 billion and counting. The annual deficit exceeds $500 million, if not more.
To dig its way out of this fiscal hole the gold rush administration has proposed the introduction of a value-added tax regime, complete with a new level of bureaucratic support and an enforcement arm. In the majority of regional nations where VAT has been introduced and implemented their economies have gone south and debt servicing consumes in excess of 70 percent of GDP (gross domestic product). If you wish, refer to Barbados as a classic example of a failed economy which is burdened down with a VAT regime.
There are any number of creative ways through which this administration would be able to claw its way back to fiscal stability without imposing a knuckleheaded, unworkable and badly thought-out replacement tax regime.
The administration has rolled out several individuals, who really should know better, to act as propaganda fodder, in the form of Ishmael Lightbourne and one John Rolle. The former is a former senator within a former PLP administration and the latter is a big honcho at the Ministry of Finance and an academic to boot.
Lightbourne is a noted chartered accountant and has some private business experience. Rolle, I believe, is a career civil servant who has never operated or managed even a petty shop. This is not to suggest that they might not know what they are talking about, but the administration is dead wrong on this issue of VAT.
The gold rush also rolled out a former prime minister of Barbados, Owen Arthur. He was brought in to opine on the benefits of VAT. He did not tell his restricted audience in Grand Bahama, however, that under his watch (he served as PM of Barbados for three terms) his nation went from a surplus to a massive deficit. In fact, Barbados tried to float a $500 million bond issue the other day and was unable to get a single dollar on the international market.
An income tax, at a flat rate of 10 percent , across the board, coupled with a sales tax of four percent to five percent and an aggressive collection policy on overdue existing taxes would wipe out the national debt at the stroke of a pen. The gravy would come when this administration promulgates legislation to regulate and tax the so-called web shop industry.
It is interesting that the Bahamas Christian Council and its self-appointed leadership of potentially political bootlickers have come out in support of VAT. Will VAT be applicable to church collections and the income from tithes and love offerings? That council is infested with theological bloodsuckers of the highest order.
The Bahamas Christian Council appears to have no problem with yet another tax being imposed upon the collective backs of the poor and middle-class Bahamians but are bitterly opposed to the regulation and taxation of the web shop industry. Gaming by Bahamians, regardless of the shape or form thereof, is not going to just go away. I often wonder just where the council's head is. I have a good idea but will not opine at this time.
The PLP will lose the goodwill of the business community and the political support of its traditional bases over this vexing issue of VAT, mark my words. Perry Christie is being ill advised and, clearly, he does not have a grip on what to do with the economy.
It is most unfortunate, however, that people and politicians like Christie & Company, will never be subjected to the harsh realities of VAT or any other form of taxation as most of them, inclusive of the PM, are set for life. VAT will be the hangman's noose for the PLP.
I now appeal to the DPM to urge the hapless minister of finance to step back from the brink. Davis has a date with destiny as the next logical PM of The Bahamas and he can ill afford to permit the stillbirth of his ascendancy by bumbling colleagues.
To God then, in all things, be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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News Article

November 13, 2013
Gov't urged to protect poor in VAT roll-out

As the target date for the implementation of value-added tax (VAT) approaches, a retired politician is calling on the government to develop a plan that would cushion the impact for poor people.
"We have to find the avenue to make sure that the increase in the living cost that will inevitably come is not too much for the disadvantaged among us," former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Cabinet Minister George Smith told The Nassau Guardian.
"We have to make sure that the people least among us, the people who can least afford to pay more, we have to find avenues of easing the burden on them."
Financial Secretary John Rolle said on Monday the cost of living in the first year of VAT is likely to increase by around five or six percent based on an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study.
Smith said there are several things the government can do to soften the blow for the poor, including subsidizing their electricity bills.
The government has not yet outlined specific measures intended to protect the poor.
In a speech to the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur underscored the importance of implementing policies to shield the poor.
Noting the tendency for VAT to hit the pockets of the poor disproportionately, Arthur said it is important to build "special discriminatory features" to help the poor or to redistribute a percentage of VAT proceeds to support programs targeted at the poor and the disadvantaged.
Arthur, whose administration implemented VAT in 1997, said one of the measures introduced in Barbados was a new Poverty Eradication Fund, which was annually capitalized from the proceeds of VAT to deal with poverty at the individual level.
The government of The Bahamas intends to introduce VAT in July 2014 at a rate of 15 percent.
The introduction of the new tax regime is one of the measures intended to enhance public finances.
Smith said the government must also move to cut wastage. Specifically, he said it is the time for the government to stop pumping money into Bahamasair.
"We need to find a way to operate Bahamasair so that it is profitable," he said.
He said the government must also address subsidies to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) and Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), which have been a consistent drag on the public purse.
The government allocates tens of millions of dollars annually to BEC, WSC, and Bahamasair in subventions funding.
Based on the legislation and regulations that were drafted to guide the VAT regime, the government would tax over 80 different professions, cable bills and phone bills for all consumers, and electricity and water bills for businesses.
The Value Added Tax Bill 2013, and the Value Added Tax Regulations 2013, obtained by The Nassau Guardian, proposes that many financial transactions and insurance transactions and premiums, except for health and life insurance, will be subject to VAT.
However, a variety of breadbasket items, educational institutions, daycare, after school, retirement, medical, and disabled facilities, religious institutions, charitable organizations and the sale or rental of a dwelling not part of a hotel complex would be exempt.
VAT is expected to improve revenue by $200 million, officials estimate.

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News Article

November 04, 2013
VAT: Fiscal savior or looming tsunami

A group of obviously concerned and jittery Bahamian business leaders got a sobering message recently from Financial Secretary John Rolle: The country would suffer a "bloodier and more painful" experience in a few years than it currently faces with unsustainable debt levels if it does not move quickly to reform its tax system.
The government has announced that Value Added Tax (VAT) will be introduced on July 1, 2014.
Rolle said the cost of inaction would result in an unchecked rise in debt, less capacity to borrow for emergencies, which increases our vulnerability to shocks like hurricanes and sudden contractions in foreign economies on which we depend for tourists.
"There will also be a credit downgrade and eventual loss of access to credit markets. This will result in one outcome: Much higher tax increases, larger reductions in spending, possible reduction in public sector employment [and] scrutiny of the exchange rate parity," he warned.
The nightmare scenario presented by Rolle should be enough to wake every Bahamian up.
The Bahamas' financial future faces a crisis.
On our current path, it is no understatement that we are doomed without action.
Government debt as at June 30, 2014 is projected to be $4.9 billion, compared to $2.4 billion as at July 2007.
The Bahamas has a legacy of high budget deficits.
Over the last two fiscal years, the government has seen a total deficit in excess of $500 million. The projected deficit at the end of 2013/2014 is $529 million.
The government intends to borrow $465 million to finance the projected revenue shortfall in the 2013/2014 fiscal year. This would add to the $650 million the current administration already borrowed.
Almost one out of every four dollars in revenue collected by the government must be allocated to pay the interest charges on the public debt and cover the debt repayment.
This current state of fiscal affairs is worrying on many levels, and it is unsustainable.
At a recent gathering of business leaders hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, Marla Dukharan, senior economist with RBC Caribbean, revealed a startling reality.
The Bahamas' financial capacity to cover its import needs is the lowest in the region -- at just seven weeks worth of import cover, or around half of the regional average, and significantly below international "prudential" benchmarks for external reserves.
Dukharan views taxation reform for The Bahamas as "quite critical" at this stage in the evolution of the Bahamian economy and suggested the alternative could be a "spiraling" debt situation.
For the government, continuing to do things as it has been doing is not an option.
"You'd be surprised of where you could end up if things don't work out," Rolle told business leaders.
"I know there is the thinking that [we should] leave the revenue side alone. But are you prepared to have a bankrupt government? Are you prepared to change the value of your currency?
"Are you prepared for the social consequences of what happens when a government runs out of resources and can't even find the money to provide support for the poor and those who may get angry when they run into tough times?"
REFORM
The government is not prepared for any of these consequences, and it is unlikely that the citizenry is either.
No reasonable Bahamian armed with the facts of the current situation would deny there is a need for reform.
What many do not agree on is what reform option the government should pursue and the timeframe for implementation.
In the government's white paper on tax reform, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie notes that the government's revenue base is extremely narrow and ill-suited to the expanding needs and demands of modern Bahamian society.
The country's tax system is out of balance as it predominantly focuses on goods, he pointed out.
It does not share the tax burden with those who are providing services in a way that is either fair or adequate.
The government has decided to go the way of Value Added Tax to secure an adequate revenue base in support of modern governance.
According to the white paper, the government intends to effect the eventual reductions in import duty rates that will accompany The Bahamas' accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and reduce excise tax rates to compensate for VAT.
As a consumption tax, VAT provides a broader base for government revenue; imposes taxes on goods and services equally and imposes greater discipline on businesses, the white paper says.
It also says it encourages investments by providing incentives to business on capital expenditure, and the audit trail that would be required promotes greater efficiency in the collection of taxes.
According to the white paper, the primary distinctive feature of a VAT as compared to a traditional sales tax is its unique method of collection, which also represents its main attraction relative to a sales tax.
VAT is collected and remitted at each stage of the production and distribution chain. VAT paid at each stage is credited against VAT owing at the next stage, and only the difference is remitted.
As such, a VAT system has a built-in mechanism to encourage compliance, the white paper notes.
A VAT registrant expects the buyers of his product to claim credits for VAT paid to him, thereby discouraging him from attempting to hide VAT receipts.
In its look at various options for tax reform, the white paper highlights VAT as a more favorable option than a sales tax, which is a tax imposed at the final point of sale.
It says that while relatively simple to administer, a sales tax suffers from important drawbacks. As a single stage tax, it is susceptible to evasion if it is imposed at a rate in excess of 10 percent, the document notes.
Professor Gilbert Morris, who chairs the Turks and Caicos Resort Owners Economic Council, said what the Bahamas government is effectively introducing amounts to a sales tax "with all the complications and inefficiencies of a VAT".
"You bring in something, you sell that to a wholesaler, or you bring in something if you're Solomon's and you sell and you are going to charge VAT on that. Where is the value added? There is no value added. We didn't do anything to the product," said Morris, who served as an observer during the implementation of VAT in several African nations, and now sits on the Turks and Caicos Islands' commission on future tax needs.
"If you look at the government's white paper, it actually describes a manufacturing process using a farmer, something that's not particularly relevant to The Bahamas."
In that example, a farmer cuts down trees and sells them to a lumber mill, charging 15 percent VAT, which he remits to the government; the lumber mill transforms the trees into wood and sells to a furniture manufacturer, charging 15 percent VAT.
The lumber mill deducts the amount of VAT it paid to the farmer and remits the difference to the government.
The manufacturer transforms the wood purchased from the lumber mill into a chair and sells the chair to a retailer, charging 15 percent VAT.
The manufacturer deducts what he paid the lumber mill in VAT and remits the difference to the government.
The retailer then sells the chair to a client and charges 15 percent VAT. He deducts what he paid in VAT to the manufacturer and remits the difference to the government.
Rolle shared with The Nassau Guardian what is perhaps a more practical example in the Bahamian context.
A retailer imports a refrigerator. He pays a now reduced customs duty and 15 percent VAT on that product.
When he sells this refrigerator to the consumer at a higher price, he charges 15 percent VAT and remits to the government the amount of VAT he paid at the time of import.
VAT, properly structured, is a tax on consumption (both good and services), not a tax on business.
Agriculture and fisheries; social and community services; health and education services are among the areas that will be exempted.
But exemptions will be kept "to a bare minimum", the government has advised.
The effectiveness of the tax is tied to many factors, including how it is implemented, tax experts and others with experience in effecting tax reform have said.
In a 2010 interview with Erasmus Williams, press secretary to the prime minister of St. Kitts-Nevis, former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur warned that VAT could result in "very serious defects" if its implementation is not properly managed.
Arthur said that once properly managed, VAT could be of tremendous benefit.
He noted that ahead of the implementation of the tax system in Barbados in 1997, there had been fears and concerns among some.
One leading businessman, for instance, put out an ad warning consumers that Hurricane VAT was coming.
"Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die," the former prime minister said.
"I think it's a minor miracle for a country to believe that you can have a well developed set of social services but you have no tax on income, and no tax on consumption.
"I wouldn't know how to run a country in that way and people have to understand that if you want to have social benefits they have to be paid for."
UNCERTAINTY
The Bahamas is roughly eight months off from implementing VAT. With each passing week, fears over the pending tax seem to be rising.
No legislation or regulations have been released as yet, and there is a lack of specifics and answers to key questions from everyday consumers and the business community, which will be responsible for collecting the tax and remitting it to the government.
Kevin Burrows, senior vice president at CFAL, suggested that as a tax, VAT is a good option.
"Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with a VAT if the economy has enough time and leeway to be able to know what's coming," Burrows said.
"VAT is only a problem if we have such a tight timeframe like we do now. I think that's more of a problem than the VAT itself."
Many business people fear the complex auditing that will accompany VAT will be onerous, and they want enough time to understand the new system.
Worries over VAT's likely inflationary impact are also apparent.
Morris pointed out that when the new system is implemented, the cost of living will "absolutely" rise.
"It's basic first year economics," he said.
Rolle admitted that, "On the cost of living there will be some initial impact from the VAT but that initial impact will disappear in a very short timeframe, over six, eight years. That is not long.
"...You can look at other international experiences. A country typically has a single response in the price the year after.
"Their inflation goes back down to the normal level and in some cases it goes lower. The fact that your inflation is lower in subsequent years means that on a compounding basis, eventually the prices under the VAT system fall behind the prices that were being paid without VAT."
He made the comment at the recent Chamber event, but it did not appear to provide comfort to the many members of the business community who were gathered.
Pressed on the cost of living issue, Rolle said while some estimates had been prepared, the government was not yet prepared to release them as they were being looked over.
Also pressed on a timeline for the availability of legislation, he gave "two weeks" as an answer. If that is true, it would mean legislation would be ready this week.
In a letter to Prime Minister Christie on October 16, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's Coalition for Responsible Taxation requested the release of "critical information": the proposed VAT Act; VAT regulations; the revised Customs Tariff Schedule and the financial modeling that justifies the financial claims being made by the introduction of VAT.
Given the "seismic change" in the country's taxation system and the delays in the release of critical information, the Coalition strongly recommended that the government postpone the intended date of implementation of VAT "to a date that is not less than 12 months" from the release of that information.
On its current track, VAT appears doomed to be a difficult birth.
While Rolle has been making the rounds and has started the discussion with the business community and other groups, the desperately needed public education campaign has yet to start in earnest.
Toward the end of the year, the government will likely lose the attention of the business community and the public generally as the holiday season tends to create distractions.
With so much unknown about how VAT is intended to work in The Bahamas, the so-called education process is hobbling along with a couple of broken limbs.
While more information is likely to be out by the new year, this might raise more questions that need to be addressed.
The government will have to have two messages: One for the business community and one for the consumer. VAT is a complex issue. The challenge is to simplify it and provide assurance that it is being handled properly.
With all the matters that now concern the government, perhaps no one in government thought of the fact that the VAT public education campaign will take place simultaneously with a promised constitutional referendum education campaign.
That referendum has already been postponed twice and is now scheduled to take place by June. This is a lot to put on the public. It is a lot to digest.
Taxpayers will be worried about their wallets. Businesses will be worried about their profit margins. In some instances, projects will be placed on hold and it is likely too that some businesses will place a hold on hiring, if not shave their staff count.
With such a short window before July 1, the government has a lot to consider.
It is asking the Bahamian people to make an investment in the country's longer term economic health.
Such an investment is vital, of course. It is in nobody's interest for VAT to fail.
As the financial secretary opined, "If it doesn't work, we're all going down with it."

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News Article

December 02, 2011
Roland Fenelon, 69

Funeral service for Roland Fenelon, 69 yrs., a resident of East Street & Mason Addition & formerly of Cap Rouge, Haiti, who died on 20th November, 2011, will be  at St. Agnes Anglican Church, Baillou Hill Road, on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Officiating will be Archdeacon I. Ranfurly Brown, assisted by Rev. Fr. Neil G. Nairn. Interment follows in St. Agnes Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Left to cherish his memories are his wife: Juliette A. Fenelon; mother: Anatascia Gracieus Fenelon; 8 children: Harold, Jean-ronnie (both deceased), Jeanine, Rolande, Rolbert, Carol, Ronald & Rodna; sons-in-law: Willie Mistilien, Cleon Alexson Maronie, Santee Johnson; adopted children: Anchelle Dawkins, Treaser Ferguson, Annisha Wilson, Sophie Robinson, Florence Rolle & Desmond Miller; 13 grandchildren: Benita, Carola, Roski Robert, Fritz Gerald, Joana Fenelon, Lemuel, Juliana Fernander, Keshawn Nesbitt, Wilgens, Wilkenson, Ronaldson Mistilien, Sandra & Jessica Maronie; adopted grandchildren: Jermaine, Joshua Farrington, Davonye Edmond, Santee Johnson Jr., Sereno Ambrose, Derek Brown Jr, Aaliym, Midyann Poitier & Sean Major; godchildren: Mrs. Merlande Guerrier, Louvince Labranch, Ritchie Baptiste, Ingrid, Mimose Austral, Odney Timothe, Owenta Pennerman & Berlinda Jean; brother: Jospeh "Jor" Charles; sister: Marie Therese Louis-Norvil; 7 brothers-in-law: Leon Norvil, Anthony Sherry, Aldor, Robinson, Vilneus & Amondieu Charles, Henri Joseph; sisters-in-law: Madeline Sherry, Bonette Charles, Marie Helen Joseph, Mrs. Vilneus Charles, Mrs. Robinson Charles & Natilia Charles; aunts: Dieudone Fenelon, Emerise Joseph, Mrs. Ophelant & Ms. Denise Gustave; nephews & nieces: Itabert, Roseline Louis, Ansonia Jean Philipe, Linda Joseph, Islande, Roseline Charles, Derona, Antoinio, Arianna, Whitney Sherry, Jessika & Rosako Lucas, Ashtae, Stacy, Chad Louis, Jumelde Angelo, Wadne Victor, Shakespere Fenelon; cousins: Rosny Labrache, Emile Labrache, Ricot Fenelon, Robert Louis, Liktor Pierre, Jeanrilo Jean-Pierre, Bonlevar Gustave, Obrian Joseph, Maxilien, Rosmaine, Odiera Charles, Maxo Guerrier, St. Gerard Guerrier, Marie-Helen Dormivil, Karen Odner, Cloudell, Ajeepb, Rose Michelle Louis, Kattie Jounas, Kidne, Marcolo, Maxson Charles, Oliceour Toussaint, Benito Francois , Desir, Etevia, Eddie Tulse, Fredre Dormivil, Mrs. Souvier Beljour, France Harris, Manor Arres, Fountan Joseph, Franceo Petitfere, Consepsa Jean Pierre, Mrs. Leceour Toussaint, Magra Paul, Noger Loudor, Charlisna Louis, Delinar Baptiste, Reinise Charles, Nadelia Pierre, Elda Timothe, Seneo Laguerrier, Matt Francois, Marie-Therese Louis, Fezima Louis, Luciano Joseph, Souel, Delivarence Oscar, Rasilien & Erid Jean, Bruno Pierre, Mark Pierre, Iraman Dolce, Oliva Edmond, Ivrose, Harry, Raymond, Urainie Dolce, Adina Mathurin, Ismaylen, Shanyna, Mercita Massioneve, Mrs. Sylvest, Claudette, Austral, Jean Robert "Ber-Ber", Mrs. Gardiner Monnestine, Mrs. Rosena St. Louis, Mrs. Wilno St. Juste, Fre Demerlus, Nadline Augustine, Chantal, a host of other relatives & friends including: Silvia Dawkins & family, Priscilla Johnson & family, Mary Wilson & family, Winifred Palmer & family, St. Agnes Parish, the staff of Nassau Flight Services, Dr. Albert Francois & Princess Margaret Hospital staff.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 9:00 a.m. until service time.

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News Article

November 12, 2014
RFP opens for 2nd cellular license

Prime Minister Perry Christie, together with the Cellular Liberalization Task Force (CLTF) headed by former Financial Secretary Ruth Millar, yesterday issued the government's request for proposals (RFP) for parties interested in securing license to provide cellular services in The Bahamas, laying out the terms of the two-phase competitive selection process expected to be complete by April next year.
The government noted that the cost of registration - a prerequisite for accessing the RFP - is $5,000. The fee to actually submit a proposal is $25,000, and those proposals are due by February 2, 2015. The government expects to announce a winner by April.
Prime Minister Christie explained that the selection process involves a technical and financial assessment in phase one and a spectrum auction in phase two.
"Only those applicants that satisfy the minimum criteria of phase one will be allowed to participate in phase two. The successful applicant, in the end, will be the one that acquires the highest combined score of the scores derived in phase one and phase two," he said.
"With this approach, the government is seeking to strike the right balance of optimizing the revenue from allocating rights to valuable spectrum, with its broader objectives of promoting competition, investment and innovation in the cellular mobile market."
Selection process
The first phase of the RFP process is a technical and financial assessment. During this phase, an evaluation committee consisting of members of the CLTF and other experts will judge the capabilities of those parties submitting proposals. Submitters will be made to prove their financial and technical capacity to meet the terms of the RFP and provide the service at the level required.
CLTF member Michelle Grell-Bereaux explained that once the evaluation committee has determined which applicants would progress to phase two, the spectrum auction, an announcement will be made.
"URCA (the Utilities Regulatory and Competition Authority) will conduct a spectrum auction on behalf of the government. The spectrum auction currently being proposed is a multiround ascending auction that would be conducted online. That is what is currently being proposed by URCA," Grell-Bereaux reported.
At least three companies have already expressed an interest in bidding for the second cellular license: regional telecoms giant Digicel, local start-up Junkanoo Mobile and IP Solutions International (IPSI), a Bahamian company partnered with Limitless Mobile Holdings.
Third license
BTC Deputy Chair Rowena Bethel confirmed for Guardian Business yesterday that the law provides for a third license to be issued in 2016.
Bethel pointed out that under the Communications Act of 2009, the then government provided for Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to enjoy a three-year monopoly in cellular services following the privatization. Given that the company was privatized in 2011, that puts the expiration of that monopoly at April 2014, opening the market for a second licensee.
"Under the same provision, it guarantees a duopoly - two players in the market - until 2016, and in 2016, the law gives the government the option to consider the entrance of a third licensee into the market," Bethel said.
"Of course the prevailing factors and circumstances would be brought to bear before the determination of that type would be made," she added, noting that while the government has the right to issue a third license in 2016, there is no guarantee that it will do so.
In fact, the information provided by the Office of The Prime Minister to accompany the announcement of the RFP indicated that the government's intention is to delay the possible entry of a third cellular mobile operator for at least three years from the commercial launch of the second operator.
Transparency
Christie also explained the measures intended to ensure the transparency of the process.
In order to receive a copy of the RFP, an interested party must register to participate in the process, at a cost of $5,000. All registered entities will have the opportunity to seek clarification on the RFP via a virtual data room that has been set up by the task force. All queries made and responses to those queries will be posted within the data room for all registered entities to see.
"This will be the only mechanism for persons participating in this process to communicate with the task force and/or the evaluation committee about this process," the prime minister said.
The task force has created a website where persons can obtain further details about the task force and the selection process on the government's website:
http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/cellularliberalisation.

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News Article

September 08, 2011
Jacqueline Veronica Saunders, 78

Funeral service for Ms. Jacqueline Veronica Saunders, 78 yrs., a resident of Fritz Lane & Twynan Avenue, who died on 27th August, 2011, will be held at New Bethany Baptist Cathedral, Key West Street, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Bishop Victor Cooper. Interment follows in Southern Cemetery, Cowpen & Spikenard Roads.
Left to mourn are her Sons: Barry & Reno Bastian, Devain Saunders
Daughters: Deborah O Saunders, Deidre M. Bastian and Sophia Bethell,
Sisters: Clarinda, Debby, Patricia, Cheri, Helen and Erma Saunders
Brother: Harrington Lidney Saunders
Grand Children: Keisha, Tabitha, Keith, Shyanne, Arturo, Kevin Jr. Kevon, Kianae, Alexis, Alex, Barinae, Ali, Cortnee', Trevor Jr. Devaina, Devain Jr., Joshua, Lornel, Rickia, Rickyesh, Chelsea and Ellie
Great Grand Children: Justice, Brianne and Tamia, Keylandria, Delvano, Toro and R'Niyah
Daughter-In-Laws: Sophia Bastian and Natasha Saunders
Aunts: Rowena and Maria Taylor
Nieces: Andrea, Max, Gina and Ava.
Other Relatives: Glen Poitier, Mildred Gray & family, Michael Murphy & Family (Bimini) Christopher and Billy Saunders & family (Bimini), Robert Hall & Family (Freeport), Anthony Beckford (Freeport), Shawn Moss, Rosemary Taylor & family, Bastian family, Berth Edgecombe, Hesley, Wilmott, Edley, Paul, Elouise Taylor & family, Rowena Taylor & Family, Inez Brown & family, Maggie Wallace & family, Eleanor, Ivan Rolle & family, Susan Murray, Katherine Bethel, Patricia, Anthony and Dwight Sweeting & family, Shavonya Robinson & family, Tyrone Swaby & family, Crestwell Pratt & Family, Kevin Bowleg & family.
Friends: Patsy Smith & family, Ella & family, Altheston Bethel, Norma Clarke & family, Sylvia & family, Mrs. Edgecombe & family, Cielia and Lesley, Joan Williams & family, Ernestine Bartlette, Stephanie Bethel & family, Rochelle Bain & family, Madge Williams, Pearl and Ms. Uphammon (New Jersey), Veronica Pratt & family, Dr. Dario Curry, Shan Sands, Ms. Hamilton, Peggy, Allison Major & family, "Cocoa", Danny, Mario, Milton, Naomi, Christine, Bertram, Janet and Alphonso Taylor & family, Joane and Ingie, Shawnie, "Ace", "Bougnine", Kenny, and the entire family of Fritz Lane and others too numerous to remember.
Friends may pay their respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home on Friday from 10 am to 6pm and again on Saturday at the church from 9:00 a.m. until service time.
 

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News Article

August 06, 2010
Nixon Richard Mitchell, 35

Nixon Richard Mitchell, 35 of Sweeting's Cay, Grand Bahama, died at the McLean's Town, Grand Bahama on Sunday, August 1, 2010.

He is survived by his sons: Rashad, Nasthan, and Nixon Jr.; mother: Winifred Mitchell; sisters: Rowena and Mizpha Mitchell; adopted sisters: Diana and Hellen Tate and Margaret Reckley; brothers: Alvin, Tyrone, and Lemvel Mitchell; adopted brother: Jaret Jones; numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, fiancée: Henrietta Darville and a host of other relatives and friends.

Funeral Arrangements will be announced at a later date.

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