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News Article
Vernice Brenette Alleyne Prudent, 64

Funeral service for Vernice Brenette Alleyne Prudent, 64 yrs., a resident of #3 Oxford Avenue, who died on 21st August, 2011, will be held at Bethel Baptist Church, Meeting Street, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Rev. Timothy Stewart, assisted by Other Ministers of the Gospel. Inerment follows in the Church's Cemetery.
Left to cherish her memories are her children: Two Daughters: Patrice Hepburn, Vilvert and Sharmaine Ferguson of Miami Fla., Two Sons: Bernard Collie Sr. and Leroy Miller; Adopted children: Vanessa Walkes, Terrance Cooper, Rev. Ethan Fairweather, Att. Carla Demeritte, Phillipa Thompson, Juanita Gibson, Andre Wallace, Prince Prudent, Scott Taylorm Ken, Peter, Stacia Thompson, Darrie, Francis, Tia Francis, Torshika Bain, Geanno and Shandia Beneby; five grandchildren: Bernard Collie Jr., Jeffrice Strachan, Vestrinique Miller, Zion Conneym, Alexis Ferguson; five sisters: Vanria Malcolm, Roslyn Fernander, Sandra Johnson, Carmetta Nesbitte and Prescola Barbes; nine brothers: Kermit Douglas, Anthony Marshall, Clifford Fernander, Shuffel, Vandyke, Phillip, Elvis and Oliver Hepburn, and Kenneth Alleyne of New York; two sons-in-law: Harold Vilvert and Renald Ferguson of Miami, Florida; one daughter-in-law: Cpt. Inez Miller; four brothers-in-law: Wendall Malcolm, Larry Johnson, Corneilus Nesbitt and Rodyn Barbes; six sisters-in-law: Helen Alleyne, Tanya Douglas, Susan, Michelle, Dioni and Susan Hepburn, one adopted sister: Louis Crenshaw of Minnesota (USA); two step sisters: Rowena Albury and Pauline Nairn; Kristin, Shanna, Royannm Shakara, Crystal, Shantavia, Rhondam, Patrenda, Sameatta, Helena, Lorraine, Ketra, Vandrya, Meaghan, Lavanda, Lashelle, Monteza, Shayla, Diannam Stacia, Kenva, and Tia; twenty-nine nephews: Trevor, Kevin, Kent, Kyle, Patrick, Roswell, Don, Gino, Chino, Javison, Quawadis, Isreal, Kermit Jr., Samuel, (Joey), Alexander, Rodyn III, Shuffel Jr., Jammal, Thedore, Elbert, Avener, Theron, Elliott, Philip Jr., Nathan, Kyle, Elvis Jr., and Warren; two uncles: Charles and Edward Poitier; two aunts: Ikena and Thelma Poitier, numerous cousins including: Paulamae Ferguson, Idamae Bain, Capt. Vernita Hepburn, Theresa Hepburn, Sheryl Major, Vandell Thomas, Sharon Poitier, Ronda Nixon, Winnfred, Charles Poitier, Oswald Poitier, Solomon, Lawrence Rolle, Alfred Knowles, Kermit Hepburn, Edwin and Melvin Poitier, Austine and Carmen Heoburnm Janet Poitier, Wendy Smith, Donna, Lil Clifford, Julia and Julian Hepburn, Audrey and Parish and Rev. Tony Hanna; Thirty-five grand nieces and twenty-eight grand nephews: Other relatives and friends including: Rev. Timothy Stewart and Family, the Dorsett Family, Ruth and Donnell Russell and Family, Marie Woodside and Family, Denise Stubbs and Family, Patsy and the Girls, Florence Greenslade and family, Dr. Hubert Olander and Family, Michael Pintard and Family, The Quakoo Street Family, The Thompson Lane Family, Judy Beneby and Family, The Lewis Family, Rosalie Neymour and Family, Uleus Prudent and Family, John, Campbell, The Stubbs Family, Lucille Kelly and Family, Madlyn Wells and Family, Shawn Sturrup & Family, The entire Bethel Baptist Church Family, Henry Bostwick and Family, Kenneth Johnson and Family, The Staff of Family Guardian Insurance, Sandra Hepburn and Family, Sandra Mackey and Family, The Newbold and Higgs Families, Keva Brahilda Johnson and Family, The Department of Social Services, Melrose Pinder and Family, Debra Saunders and Family, Dora Bethel and Family, other Family and Friends too numerous to mention.
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 10:00 a.m. until service time.

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Movie
Blue Sky
  • Genre : Drama, Romance
  • Rating :

Hank Marshall is a tough, square-jawed, straitlaced Army engineer and nuclear science expert, assigned to help conduct weapons-testing in 1950's America. Hank has become a thorn in the side......


News Article
Participants of the Ministry of Youth, Sports Culture's Theatre Camp perform at Just Dance

Nassau, Bahamas - Participants of the Ministry of Youth, Sports &
Culture's Theatre Camp perform during a show held at the National Centre for
the Performing Arts on Thursday, July 26th, 2012.

The piece was written by Carlene Nixon based
on stories relayed by children of the inner city and it is being directed
by Rowena Poitier who was assisted by the Camp Director, Terez Davis...

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News Article
Value added tax, part 2

Last week we examined the need for a new tax system in The Bahamas and gave an example of how value added tax, or VAT, would be calculated in practice.  In this article we examine the experience of Barbados in its transition to VAT and look at how we can apply those lessons to The Bahamas.  Finally, we present an argument for why the tax discussion should ultimately be extended to include modest corporate taxes.
In an excellent article recently published in The Tribune titled "Barbados's Lessons for The Bahamas over VAT", Dr. Nikolaos Karagiannis of Winston-Salem State University presented a detailed overview of the process that took our southern Caribbean neighbor to its new tax system.
VAT was introduced in Barbados at the beginning of 1997 at a standard rate of 15 percent (it has since been raised to 17.5 percent).  Among the reasons cited for its choosing to implement VAT was to reduce the complexity of the country's indirect tax system and to reduce the high level of duties and taxes on imported goods.
Serious discussions on tax reform began in earnest when Barbados underwent stabilization and structural adjustment under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1991.  In order to coordinate the extensive work of implementing a VAT, Barbados established a VAT Implementation Unit (VIU) in 1993. In January 1994, it entered a technical cooperation agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  Under the agreement, loans were allocated for the design of the VAT system and to bolster the Customs and Excise Department.
When the Owen Arthur administration came to office in 1994, the implementation of VAT was postponed to mid-1996 while research continued on estimating the impact of the tax on revenues, prices and the productive sectors.  
The VIU started public relations outreach programs in May 1995, including the release of pamphlets and booklets, targeting four main target audiences: the private sector (retailers, manufacturers, importers and managers); the government sector agencies involved in the administration of the system; members of the general public (consumers) and finally the school system.  The VIU presented at workshops, seminars, as well as via television and radio to further educate the public and business community.  The major features of the new act were passed by the Barbados House of Assembly in September 1996 with effect on January 1, 1997.
 
The Bahamian context
Will Bahamians comply with a new and seemingly complicated tax?  Many are skeptical that we can effectively get companies and individuals to forward the correct amount of tax to the government when we struggle to collect existing property taxes.  As reported numerous times before, our government is owed some $400 million in past due property taxes according to the auditor general; much of that amount will probably never be recovered.
However, the reality may prove to be less problematic: only persons/businesses of the size and capability to adhere to good record-keeping (as measured by annual gross sales) will be included in the VAT system.  Around the Caribbean region, this minimum threshold is TT$200,000 in Trinidad and Tobago (approx. US$30,000), JM$144,000 in Jamaica (approx. US$2,000) and BD$80,000 in Barbados (US$40,000).  Given the higher average per capital GDP of The Bahamas, one can reasonably anticipate that our exemption threshold will be much higher than the rest of the Caribbean.
The Barbadian government was equally concerned with tax avoidance and evasion.  Only those traders who were registered, and who displayed a certificate of registration, were legally authorized to charge VAT on the taxable goods and services they were selling.  On the other hand, those traders who were not registered were paying VAT on the goods they were buying, but were not legally authorized to charge VAT on the goods they were selling, thereby squeezing their profits.
No doubt Bahamian business culture will need to be transformed.  Compared to Barbados, which already had a strong tax framework and a history of paying taxes, this nation is starting from the opposite spectrum in terms of tax familiarity and compliance.  The principle challenge for the business community will be record keeping; many companies will need to hire book-keepers or accountants while upgrading their point of sales or POS systems.  Ultimately we will need to force compliance by tying it to the renewal of business licenses, alongside rigorous and impartial execution of the law by the newly created tax authority.
 
The move forward
As the Bahamian economy is a predominantly services-driven one, the real challenge for our policymakers is to introduce a VAT system that can achieve economic, fiscal, social and developmental objectives, while avoiding any adverse effects on tourism and financial services.  As one example, VAT in Barbados was applied at a concessionary rate of 7.5 percent (now 8.75 percent) on accommodation in hotels, inns and guest houses.  The government will need to decide very carefully which goods and services would be zero-rated and therefore exempted to make sure that VAT is neither regressive, nor penalizing those who are at the lowest levels of income.
Beyond VAT, how do we get the greatest mileage out of the many tax information exchange agreements, or TIEAs, that our jurisdiction has signed?  One of the stated goals of the Bahamian financial services industry is to see companies locate their head and subsidiary offices within our shores.
Would that be an easier sell if we had a tax regime that allowed foreign companies to offset taxes paid in our jurisdiction when repatriating income?  For example, Barbados has a number of double taxation agreements, or DTAs, that are extremely favorable for certain types of investors.  These agreements promote cross border trade, avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion.
As a result of its 2000 DTA treaty with China, Barbados has emerged as the leading jurisdiction for offshore wholly foreign owned enterprise (WFOE) holding companies in China.  Under existing law, payments of dividends by a WFOE to its foreign owners are free of Chinese withholding tax.  Payments of interest to foreign lenders are subject to withholding at 20 percent, typically reduced to 10 percent under applicable tax treaties.  However, where a taxpayer qualifies for benefits under the Barbados-China treaty, the tax rates are reduced to five percent for dividends and 10 percent for interest.
The Bahamas should be able to compete in this space with the proper tax structure.  The current tax debate is an ideal time to examine the merits of corporate tax as a boost to our competitive advantage in an era where being a zero-tax country is now a liability.  This would allow the Bahamas to obtain tax income from foreign companies operating here at modest rates of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent without increasing their overall tax burden since, by the DTA, the tax would be shared by our treasury and that of the home country.
Even as we move to a new tax system, we stress that the government will still need to be vigilant in controlling its spending and getting its fiscal house in order.  This is one reason why the so-called Tea Party in the United States is so adamantly against any form of tax increases, including any overhaul of the tax code which increases efficiency and as a consequence increases collection.  Instead, it feels the need to "starve the beast", as governments' natural inclination is to spend more than whatever revenue it takes in.
Referring to Barbados one last time, that country has a 17.5 percent VAT, 20 percent to 35 percent personal income taxes, 12.5 percent withholding on income and dividends, 15 percent to 25 percent local corporate taxes and import taxes on vehicles, spirits, tobacco and petroleum products. Nevertheless, they still had a 2010/2011 central government deficit of 8.5 percent of GDP and total government debt over 110 percent of GDP.  Clearly, getting the tax policy right is still only one side of the government's fiscal equation.
 
CFAL is a sister company of The Nassau Guardian under the AF Holdings Ltd. umbrella.  CFAL provides investment management, research, brokerage and pension services.  For comments, please contact CFAL at: column@cfal.com.

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News Article
New board vows to raise funds for restoration of one of the 'last truly grand Bahamian estates'

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Calling it "a major undertaking, but one that will create a lasting legacy" a newly-energized and expanded Historic Bahamas Foundation Council vowed this week to help raise up to $13 million to restore historic Collins House.
"The Historic Bahamas Foundation is committed to preserving the best of our historic sites and assisting the AMMC (Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation) in re-creating these sites as vibrant, living history, places alive with activity," said Council Chairman Owen Bethel.
"Toward that end, we are very pleased to announce the expansion of the Historic Bahamas Foundation Council with the appointment of former Tribune News Editor Paco Nunez and public relations executive and environmental and historic preservation advocate Diane Phillips. We believe Mr. Nunez and Ms. Phillips will bring unique perspectives and new energy to this task which we know is a major undertaking in challenging times - the restoration of Collins House, designated to become the National Museum of The Bahamas.
"We are realistic. This will not be accomplished overnight, but the result of our effort will be a lasting legacy that will make all Bahamians proud and educate locals and visitors to our shores, sensitizing them to the complex, romantic and intriguing that contributed to creating The Bahamas of today."
The new members join a Foundation Council that includes businessman and entrepreneur Philip Simon, senior lawyer and former Magistrate Court judge Tanya McCartney-Meredith, Senior Vice President of Albany Dr. Tyrone McKenzie and Bethel, who said four additional invitations for council membership are being issued.

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Movie
Little Fockers
  • Genre : Comedy
  • Rating : T - 15yrs and Older

The Focker and the Byrnes families brace themselves for the arrival of a baby....


News Article
Saturday on ArtOvation: Rowena Poitier - BAM (Bahamas Artist Movement)

Nassau, Bahamas -   

ArtOvation with TaDa  is
a weekly one-hour radio show of one-on-one interviews with the
brightest personalities in arts, entertainment and innovation! Tune in to ArtOvation on

Star 106.5 FM 

Saturdays at 8am EST or online via www.

star106fm.com.

Rowena Poitier and BAM (Bahamas Artist Movement)

Bahamas Artist Movement V-Day Joins Global Effort to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls.

V-Day Nassau, Bahamas 2013 Presents a benefit production of 'THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES'

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Movie
Blood Diamond
  • Genre : Adventure, Drama, Thriller
  • Rating :

A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond....


News Article
Caribbean's Next Top Model on-air appeal

NEW YORK, NY -
Caribbean's Next Top Model, a new model competition series created in
collaboration with CaribeNTM, Inc. emerges across 25 Caribbean countries
with partner brands to promote 11 episodes of the most popular and
first of its kind reality television.   The show debuted on Monday,
February 18, 2013 on free-to-air - various Caribbean local TV stations,
CaribVision and One Caribbean Television, WSEE TV in Puerto Rico during
primetime.

Mark Rowen, President of Blue Collar Productions said,
"We have been able to partner with CaribeNTM, Inc. to custom design and
tailor television production content which highlights the unique
attributes of the respective host countries."

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News Article
Caribbean's Next Top Model on air appeal

NEW YORK, NY -
Caribbean's Next Top Model, a new model competition series created in
collaboration with CaribeNTM, Inc. emerges across 25 Caribbean countries
with partner brands to promote 11 episodes of the most popular and
first of its kind reality television.   The show debuted on Monday,
February 18, 2013 on free-to-air - various Caribbean local TV stations,
CaribVision and One Caribbean Television, WSEE TV in Puerto Rico during
primetime.

Mark Rowen, President of Blue Collar Productions said,
"We have been able to partner with CaribeNTM, Inc. to custom design and
tailor television production content which highlights the unique
attributes of the respective host countries."

read more »