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After general elections in The Bahamas there is always a back and forth over the issue of victimization. Some who were employed by the old regime accuse the new administration of firing them just because they politically supported their former bosses.
In The Bahamas there is not a clear enough distinction between the political appointees of an administration versus those who are employed by state agencies to do bureaucratic work, or to consult, on behalf of the state.
Political appointees are people hired by politicians to work for the state, but their duty is primarily to advance the interests of the politician or party who hired them while that person or group is in public office.
For political appointees, when the people who hired you lose office you should do the honorable thing and resign unprovoked by the new administration.
Last week former Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman and candidate Johnley Ferguson complained about how he was treated by the new Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration. He was a consultant in the ministry now led by Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government Alfred Gray. The ministry terminated Ferguson after the PLP won the election.
"Johnley is opposed to this government and its policies, so obviously I didn't think he should be surprised," Gray said when asked about Ferguson's complaint.
As a frontline politician, Ferguson should not think he should continue on in the post under the PLP. Similarly, if Gray was a consultant and the FNM won the general election he should know that he should resign.
It is disingenuous for political appointees to cry foul when they are removed because they will not resign. It may be useful for there to be a formal acknowledgement of these political posts so there is no dispute as to what should be done when regimes change.
For permanent and pensionable public servants, the issue is quite different. Once these individuals do their jobs politicians should not molest them. However, the issue of victimization becomes complicated regarding public servants who politicize themselves. These people openly let it be known that they support a side and advocate for this side while on the job. When a new administration comes into office it will obviously be mistrustful of these individuals - especially if they hold sensitive offices.
Some of these partisan public officials are consequently transferred or they are stripped of their portfolios and left with nothing to do, as the new administration does not trust them.
This is the consequence of self-politicization. If the government acted to strip responsibility from a public servant or to demote a public servant because of presumed political affiliation that would be victimization.
By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Staff Reporter
WHILE several lawyers attached to the Attorney General's Office called in sick yesterday, it remains unclear if this was connected to the mould problem that persists in the Post Office building.
Sources close to the matter claimed that as many as 17 lawyers failed to turn up. Attorney General John Delaney could not verify that number but admitted that "several" persons had called in sick.
Mr Delaney said that he also could not confirm whether their reported illnesses were in any way related to the mould issue that persists in the 40-year-old Post Office building which also contains offices of the Ministry of Labou ...
In 1973, the year of Bahamian independence, the U.S.-based fast-food chain Burger King launched the "Have it your way" advertising campaign. In a famous jingle the chain promised they could: "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce. Special orders don't upset us. All we ask is that you let us serve it your way!"
The burger house, like others, was spreading its franchise globally, and adding a critical dimension to its marketing strategy. That dimension was giving consumers a customized product with greater choice, a hamburger made to order satisfying a range of tastes.
Burger King's strategy was the opposite of what the automobile pioneer Henry Ford quipped in 1909 about the mass-produced Model T: "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black."
Fast forward many decades. With the introduction of the Sony Walkman in 1979 the audio cassette player went portable. Portability was now taken for granted. Then there was a quick skip from portable CD players to the iPod.
The revolution sparked by the iPod and intensified by smartphones and other mobile smart devices was marrying portability and ubiquity of service to a dazzling array of choices. No matter where we are we can utilize smart devices and a wireless connection to near instantaneously access all manner of content.
We no longer have to purchase an entire CD to get the song we want. Now we can mix Lady Gaga, rake and scrape, and Bach's Piano Concerto in F Minor from the musician of our choice.
With devices like the Kindle and the Nook, we can hit a hyperlink from an article online taking us respectively to our Amazon or Barnes & Noble account downloading a book through a one-step order process all done wirelessly in 30 seconds. This isn't just choice; its choice on steroids meets instant gratification for bibliophiles or those simply interested in a given subject matter.
Today, we enjoy an extraordinary variety of choice in selecting the content of our liking whether in entertainment, news, general information, pornography or whatever peaks our curiosity or suits our fancy.
The reality of this array of choices engenders what might be called the sociology of choice influencing everything from ethics to education to politics. The worlds of advertising and marketing have an in-depth understanding of this new social ecology, applying it to sell every product or service imaginable from soap to sex.
The new mega churches understand the power of choice, while many traditional churches are still scratching their heads and souls wondering what's going on. The latter are often paralyzed by a static approach to new technologies and how to reach and influence current and prospective churchgoers.
The more cutting edge educational institutions understand the importance of integrating choice and various communications technologies to enhance student learning, such as utilizing experiential education methods employed by programs like the International Baccalaureate.
Meanwhile, many schools in The Bahamas, public and private, are lagging behind in approaches to teaching and learning, failing to connect the daily experience of their students with new approaches to learning.
In the political realm, one of the more important marketing features of the Democratic National Alliance was offering voters a different choice. Whether the DNA was a good or sensible choice is another matter. Still, by offering the idea of a different choice, the party attracted a fair number of voters probably costing the FNM a number of seats.
Those who fail to understand this notion of choice, whether religious groups, political parties or businesses, will pay a price in terms of votes, clients and adherents.
For example, the government-operated postal system is a dinosaur with a near fossilized network of branches. Because it was unable to deliver mail to consumers in a timely manner, thousands of Bahamians now utilize private post boxes for international mail and packages.
The lower level of the Main Post Office downtown where parcel posts can be collected resembles a graveyard. Still painted drab green the sign over that section should read: Rest in Peace.
In promoting a new mission for post offices as government information and services centers, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was attempting to drag the postal system from the 19th to the 21st century.
What many older folks are still getting used to in terms of the new world of choices galore, is second nature to younger people. Shopping at the Mall at Marathon, a 19-year-old is mesmerized by a love song she is hearing in a store playing a recording through its satellite radio service, Sirius XM, which offers the store owner and clients a plethora of musical choices.
The young lady is so enchanted by the sultry voice she is hearing for the first time that she has to know who is the artist pining, "Black is the color of my true love's hair...".
Our 19-year-old holds her smartphone up to the source of the music, hits the Tag button on her Shazam mobile application to identify Nina Simone singing her 1964 recording of "Black is the Colour".
Later at home, the young lady listens to several of Simone's recordings, and then posts a note on Facebook declaring to her over 1,000 "friends" her infatuation with the artist, 10 of whose songs she's already downloaded.
Inspired by her posting, several of her friends have also downloaded some of Simone's recordings, including a friend living in Seattle, who Skypes her that evening to share that she also has a newfound love of the artist.
All of which speaks to the other critical feature of the new world of technology and choice. The world of one-way communication has passed. Choice has been married to interactivity. What both choice and interactivity appeal to is the desire for agency, the ability to express one's desires.
By tapping into choice, a marketer, salesman or public relations expert taps into something fundamental and powerful in the human psyche, namely, the desire for individuality, with a complex of messages from an individual such as: "I matter!", "I'm important!", "Don't take me for granted!", and related messages of individuation.
Today, choice is not just something we appreciate. We demand and expect to have multiple choices. Yet there are a number of ethical dimensions to so much choice, including maintaining an ethic of a common good, how to choose wisely, and how to cultivate good or ethical decision-making and critical thinking in young people.
In terms of the latter, many of our schools are oblivious to the type of experiential education, critical thinking methods, ethical instruction and media literacy absolutely necessary to prepare our young people for a world quite different from when Bahamians needed an antenna on the roof to pick up one of three stations from Florida.
o email@example.com www.bahamapundit.com.
...HIGH WIND WATCHES AND WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT FOR THE
MID-ATLANTIC STATES AND SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND...
...SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE IS ALSO EXPECTED...
SUMMARY OF 500 PM EDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 335 MI...540 KM ESE OF CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 345 MI...555 KM S OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 35 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...961 MB...28.38 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...
THE BERMUDA WEATHER SERVICE HAS REPLACED THE TROPICAL STORM
WATCH WITH A TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR BERMUDA.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS DISCONTINUED ALL TROPICAL
I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in authority: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. - 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Every now and then, I watch "Storage Wars", which is all about the auctioning of storage spaces that went into default because of non-payment by those who rented them, and as you can imagine, anything can be inside from junk to treasure. In many cases if there is a sixth sense that a certain storage bin has valuables in it, the bidding can become quite tense and competitive. Mostly men, but women do also enter the bidding process.
After the coming of the Ingraham government, many radio licenses were granted to individuals in the media world. This was a plus as it gave listeners a broader choice of programming.
While this was good however, many saw it as a chance to, no matter how raw and tasteless, get things off their chests about national leadership one way or the other. They also were not slow in putting the licking stick on those who were supposed to be about their father's business. And so sometimes it would seem that it is a media war on who could be the best one to rain blows on leadership.
In speaking to a friend recently about all the talk shows and questions being put to listeners, the performance of those who serve in Parliament, I told her that the duty of talk shows is not to incite but to inform. Of course, the easiest task to perform is criticize.
The word of God sets the guidelines for successful living and we are admonished to forego our political affiliation when it comes to giving honor to those who are in authority over us. We are not to malign their characters, disrespect their offices or plot coups against their leadership, but rather do what is expected of us, and if leadership goes against the grain that is in the best interest of people and country, then God will be the ultimate and just judge through the voice of the people.
From my vantage point and having been on planet Earth for a while, some of the disrespectful behavior I see towards national leadership, the lack of pride for the environment, lawlessness in more than one area, blatant nonchalance towards work ethic, the scoffing of excellence and the lowering of the standard of dignity, decency and decorum, causes me to cry out along with Isaac Watts to "O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home."
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage being aware of the breakdown in family life due to the absence of so many fathers, is seeking to promote a mentoring program, "Give Every Child A Father", which will allow those suitable to become father figures to some children bereft of fathers. This is to be commended, as it will bring joy to the child and satisfied pride to the father.
So here in our text today, the Apostle Paul being mindful of his past has become a mentor to a young man by the name of Timothy and to whom the two Epistles were named.
"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightiest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling: desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men: for kings, and for all who are in authority: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our savior.
No one knows the future and it could be that many who give little or no respect for national leadership may one day they, their children, loved ones or acquaintances become the leader of the land. It really behooves us to know how to behave ourselves when it comes to honoring the king. We are to pray for them particularly so that God would grant them wisdom for the passing of those hours when decisions lie in the balance of national progress and fulfillment.
Family life played a very significant part in Timothy's life, and Paul being cognizant of this gave high praise to his mother and grandmother.
"When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
If we as a people are taught right in the things which are right, then it does not matter who leads for honor will be given to those to whom honor is due. It all boils down to a matter of what is deposited in us being displayed on the outside of us. As the Rasta man would say, "respect due".
o E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's Blessings!
How long does it take for a delivery truck to drive from a bank on Frederick Street in downtown Nassau to Cable Beach? Maybe 45 minutes on a bad traffic day. How long does it take for the Bahamas Post Office to deliver an ordinary letter that distance? How about 20 days. And from the BEC office on Baillou Hill Road to Cable Beach? How about 21 days via our Government-run postal service?
Police Staff Association (PSA) officials announced yesterday that Sergeant Dwight Smith has been re-elected as executive chairman of the association.
Smith noted yesterday that the majority of the PSA's 2,200 members participated in the election, held last week Thursday at various polling stations across New Providence and on Grand Bahama.
He further noted that there was a need to establish additional positions within the PSA, including an executive director, a chief welfare officer and an information and events officer, to increase the professional capacity of the organization.
Newly-elected executive member Corporal Kevin Farrington is now the PSA's legal aid & right officer.
"This position has been established to protect the officers' legal and constitutional rights," said Smith during a press conference at PSA headquarters on Bank Lane.
"This is the first legal position established to help police officers deal with the increase of litigation sweeping through our police force.
"It will also educate and advise officers on the art of not falling or yielding to temptation or corruption, as we have seen far too many officers before the courts or dismissed from the force for unwanted behavior or illegal acts."
The majority of last year's board was re-elected, with a few notable changes. Constable Darius Sealy is the new assistant welfare officer in the Family Islands.
The executive secretary position is now filled by Sergeant Lisa Saunders Armbrister, who replaces Corporal Prescott Pinder. Constable Kirk Bastian, who was previously assistant treasurer, is now the executive treasurer. Inspector Warren Johnson has been appointed deputy chairman in New Providence.
The positions of deputy chairman, Grand Bahama and chief welfare officer, Grand Bahama are still held by Sergeants Darrell Weir and Chris Barr respectively.
Corporal Leonard Barr has replaced Corporal Innez Miller as chairman of private engagement. Corporal Claudius Collie has replaced Corporal Theresa Stuart as deputy chairman of private engagement.
Corporal Nicola Mackey retained her position as assistant secretary, while Constable Kirk Bastian, who previously held the post of assistant treasurer, has been elected as executive treasurer, replacing Inspector Kenery Stubbs.
Constable Jacqueline Jones has been appointed as the public relations officer, replacing Lashawn Brice. Constable Latroy Bodie has been elected as the assistant treasurer. Constable Ernie Barr, who was previously the deputy chairman for Grand Bahama, is now the chairman of private engagement, replacing Corporal Lincoln Dawkins. Constable Gerard Miller now holds the position of sergeant of arms.
The polling stations on New Providence were at police headquarters on East Street, the police college on Thompson Boulevard and the PSA's offices on Bank Lane. In Grand Bahama, the lone polling station was at the PSA office on Mahogany Street in Freeport.
Smith pointed out that the association has become an international member of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) for the first time in the history of the police force. NAPO is a coalition of police unions and associations from across the United States, that serve to advance the interests of that nation's law enforcement officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. Smith sits on NAPO's executive board, which is also a first for The Bahamas.
"This will enable us to actually look at our counterparts and see how they do policing," Smith said. "We can send officers to those various places for training that we may deem necessary, to help us police our Bahamaland," he added.
"We need real campaign finance reform to loosen the grip of special interests on politics." - Tom Daschle
Every five years around election time, incessant lip service is paid to campaign financing. It can only be lip service because after the ballots have been cast, counted and catalogued, the notion of campaign finance reform retires to hibernation - that is, until the next general election. Therefore, this week, we would like to Consider This...what practical approaches can we realistically take regarding how we finance political campaigns in The Bahamas?
Unquestionably, politics has become an extremely expensive exercise. When one considers the cost of political rallies, paraphernalia, including T-shirts and other garments now available, flags, posters, signage, printing of flyers, advertisements, including newspaper, radio and television broadcasts and commercials, the cost is staggering. Let's not forget the direct cost of personnel employed by political parties; the cost of constituency offices, sometimes four or five, particularly in the Family Islands; the cost of electricity, water, and telephones; the cost of food and beverages; of political consultants; and the printing of party platforms. When these and other costs are considered, the real cost of staging a general election could very easily cost $250,000 per constituency or nearly $10 million per party. So how are political parties expected to finance such a mammoth undertaking?
Using the public purse
It has become commonplace for the government of the day to use the power of the public purse to significantly finance its party's political campaign. We observed this practice when the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was in power; we witnessed it in the by-election in Elizabeth two years ago; and we are seeing it again in the current general election. While this has been a common practice, the Free National Movement (FNM) government seems to have taken this phenomenon to new heights.
Shortly after announcing the general election of 2012, the government launched a record contract signing marathon. The $12 million contract for the construction of a new clinic in North Abaco and a multimillion-dollar contract for a new hospital in Exuma are a few examples of this.
Last weekend, amidst great public fanfare at police headquarters, the prime minister awarded $1 million to charitable organizations. Ironically, this is the same government that - only one year earlier - reduced the government's subvention to such organizations during the annual budget debate in the House of Assembly. This is the same government that discontinued the extremely effective YEAST program that provided a positive prototype for young Bahamian men at risk and the same government that canceled the effective and internationally celebrated urban renewal program established by the PLP.
No matter which party is in power, an intelligent and discerning public should look askance at the government of the day exploiting and abusing the public purse in order to win votes after elections have been called.
In The Bahamas, political campaigns are predominantly financed by contributions from persons, companies, and organizations that believe in the democratic process and want to ensure that the message of the political party that they support is widely and successfully disseminated.
In the absence of campaign finance laws, there are no restrictions on who can contribute to a political party and how much they can donate. Accordingly, anyone -- Bahamians and foreigners - can contribute any amount to anyone at any time without any accountability whatsoever. The real question that we must address for the future health of our democracy is whether this is a desirable practice?
It has become customary for political contributions to be made in private, sometimes on the condition of confidentiality and often in secrecy with only a select few members of the party knowledgeable regarding the source of the funds.
Campaign 2012 has seen a new development in political funding. During the last few mass rallies, the prime minister has publicly appealed from the podium for campaign contributions, describing it as a further deepening of our democracy by allowing the public to become investors in his party. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, it is unprecedented and uncharacteristic. We have never before seen this prime minister - or any other for that matter - beg for money from a public podium.
It therefore begs the question: why has he done so now, during what he says is his last campaign? He alluded to the answer to this question on Thursday past at a mass rally on R. M. Bailey Park when he said that he will not tolerate anyone in his Cabinet who has financially benefited from conflicts of interest.
We believe that he made this appeal for financial contributions because, while the FNM is still well-funded by those wealthy interest groups who support him in order to continue reaping his government's largess, some of his traditional sources of funding are less generous than they have been in the past. This is possibly because he has cut some of his more financially well-connected candidates for reasons already stated and reiterated again from that podium last Thursday in a purposefully vague but very revealing way.
Campaign finance reform
Clearly, as the prime minister is opening party funding up to the masses in ways never seen before, the time has come to enact campaign financing legislation. There are several things that can be done in order to impose strict controls for campaign fund-raising, primarily to level the playing field and to minimize disparate levels of funding campaigns by the various political parties. Campaign financing legislation should also establish disclosure requirements with respect to funding and spending in elections.
Such a law could introduce statutory limits on contributions by individuals, organizations and companies, which would remove the influence of big money from politics and should also prohibit foreign influences from invading the local political process.
There should also be limits on large potential donors to prevent them from gaining extraordinary political access or favorable legislation or other concessions in return for their contributions. Campaign finance laws should also provide for the capping of such funding and for the disclosure of sources of campaign contributions and expenditures. It should also limit or prohibit government contractors from making contributions with respect to such elections.
Campaign financing legislation could even provide for matching funds by the government for all the candidates in order to ensure that the playing field truly is level and to enhance clean elections.
Finally, in order to more vigilantly protect the public purse, the law should strictly prohibit a government from signing any new contracts after general or by-elections are called.
Campaigns will become more expensive as time progresses. As we mature politically, we should seek to ensure that political parties operate on a level playing field and remove the barriers to participation in the democratic process because of a lack of funding. If we want to encourage the best and the brightest citizens to enter into the elective political arena, we should seek to eliminate the observation of U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton that: "Elections are more often bought than won".
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 email@example.com.
With a view to deepening mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation and achieving the common development of China and the Caribbean region, the government of the People's Republic of China and the government of Trinidad and Tobago will co-host the 3rd China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum (CCETCF) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from September 12 to 13, 2011. Vice Premier Wang Qishan of the State Council of China will participate in the forum on behalf of the Chinese government. I hereby wish the forum a great success with rich fruits.
The Bahamas is one of the member states of the forum. The Chinese government attaches great importance to developing practical cooperative relations with The Bahamas. In order to express the friendship of the Chinese government and people to the Bahamian government and people and to assist the Bahamian government in its rescue and reconstruction work in the wake of Hurricane Irene, Vice Premier Wang Qishan will bring a US$300,000 grant in cash on behalf of the Chinese government to the Bahamian government and will witness the signing of an economic and technical cooperation agreement between the two countries during his visit to The Bahamas prior to his travel to Trinidad and Tobago.
Review of Bahamas-China relationship
As Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas, I'd like to take the opportunity on the convening of the forum to review what we have done in China-Bahamas economic and trade cooperation in recent years, and look ahead to the prospects of future cooperation. By doing so, I wish to promote China-Bahamas economic and trade cooperation to a new high.
In accordance with the joint statement issued by the governments of China and The Bahamas and the Xianmen Declaration reached among enterprises from the two countries during the 2nd CCETCF in September 2007, both sides have put relevant measures into effect conscientiously, thus yielding positive results.
Firstly, the bilateral trade volume has been growing fast. According to the statistics of the Chinese General Administration of Customs, the bilateral trade volumes between China and The Bahamas in the four successive years of 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 were US$180 million, US$385 million, US$423 million and US$628 million respectively, up by 9.8 percent, 113 percent, 9.5 percent and 48.5 percent year-on-year. And, the 2010 figure was 3.47 times that in 2006.
Secondly, substantial progress has been made in investment. The Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, built on a Chinese grant, was handed over to the Bahamian government on June 22, 2011. The Chinese government also honored its commitment to providing a RMB 400 million (about US$58 million) concessional loan for the Nassau Airport Gateway Project. The construction of the gateway started in June 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2013. Moreover, the EximBank of China offered a commercial loan of US$2.45 billion to the Baha Mar project, a large-scale holiday resort; and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation also invested US$150 million in it. The project started on February 21, 2011 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. The resort is expected to open for business in the first half of 2015.
Thirdly, the first step of agricultural cooperation has already been taken. An MOU on agricultural cooperation was signed by the two governments in February 2009. Experts, engineers and market researchers from the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences and some Chinese enterprises have paid an on-the-spot inspection in The Bahamas. Some enterprises expect to develop agriculture here. Some have even submitted investment cooperation plans to the Bahamian government.
Fourthly, human resources training programs were well received by the participants. From 2007 to 2010, 90 Bahamians including government officials, business managers and technical personnel were sponsored by the Chinese government to participate in 40 training courses and seminars of various kinds. From 2008 to 2011, 22 Bahamian young students were granted Chinese government full scholarship, majoring in a variety of specialities such as traditional medicine, international trade, telecommunications and computer technology. In 2011, the Chinese government provided another three Bahamian officers with a one-year postgraduate training opportunity in China.
Apart from the above, the Confucius Classroom was approved by the governments of China and The Bahamas to be established at the College of The Bahamas, and it was formally unveiled in November 2009. A teacher from China started to teach the Chinese language in the classroom in early 2011.
Fifthly, tourism cooperation has expanded gradually, with more and more Chinese tourists targeting The Bahamas. In December 2008 and March 2009, the Chinese Tourist Agencies Association twice organized operators of its member agencies on invitation to make an on-the-spot investigation of the Bahamian tourist market. The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation of The Bahamas and Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. have established their offices respectively in China in an effort to develop new tourism products. During the Chinese New Year holidays in 2011, the first ever group of Chinese tourists choosing The Bahamas as their destination, made an eight-day tour in New Providence and some Family Islands.
Sixthly, personnel exchange has been expanding. Since 2007, the number of Bahamians visiting China has been on the rise steadily. More and more people from the Bahamian business circle participated in the Guangzhou (Canton) Trade Fair and other international investment and trade fairs held in China. Meanwhile, the number of Chinese visiting The Bahamas has also increased very quickly. There are two major reasons for that. The substantial progress of Chinese-invested projects in The Bahamas attracted more business visitors from China. The exchange of high-level visits between the two countries gave rise to deeper people-to-people understanding and more Chinese citizens visiting The Bahamas.
The road ahead
The economic and trade cooperation between our two countries foresees a bright future, featuring a high starting point, fast growth and great potential. Thus, there's more to be done. For a long period of time, from now on, the bilateral investment will focus on areas such as infrastructure, finance, tourism, renewable energy resources, agriculture and fisheries. And such cooperation will surely result in mutual-benefit and a win-win scenario.
In terms of infrastructure, The Bahamas has great demands for the construction of roads, airports, docks and small bridges while Chinese enterprises have the advantage in this field.
In terms of finance, The Bahamas is a major financial center in the Caribbean region. Over 270 international banks and financial institutions have registered and operated their businesses here. The Bahamian side wishes to see Chinese commercial banks set up branches in The Bahamas.
In the tourism sector, The Bahamas is one of the countries that got approved destination status for Chinese tourists. With the smooth construction and operation of the Baha Mar project, coupled with relevant facilitation measures in place from the Bahamian side, more and more Chinese tourists will target The Bahamas as their touring destination.
In the area of renewable energy, The Bahamas has promulgated some policies to boost the use of renewable energy resources. Its market demand for renewable energy is gradually growing. China takes the lead in utilizing solar and wind power in the world, and the Chinese skills in this area well suit the needs of The Bahamas.
As for agriculture and fisheries, The Bahamas is not yet able to realize self-sufficiency in grain currently. However, there's some quite good arable land lying idle on some of its islands. Chinese enterprises can come over to develop livestock and poultry as well as vegetable farms. They can also explore the possibility of developing aquatic products on these islands.
With regard to medical cooperation, China is famous for its traditional medicine, in particular its treatments by acupuncture and medicinal herbs. The traditional Chinese medicine is effective to many diseases, such as functional diseases, chronic diseases, mental diseases, gynecological diseases, initial recovery from serious illnesses, diseases with causes hard to diagnose and difficult and complicated diseases. There are many such diseases in The Bahamas and a variety of wild herbs here that can be used as medicine. Treatment with traditional Chinese medicine is less costly but very effective. So we are taking the initiative in setting up a traditional Chinese medicine research and treatment center in The Bahamas where doctors from both sides can work together to serve the Bahamian people in need of treatment.
In conclusion, China and The Bahamas have achieved great progress in bilateral economic and trade cooperation, and there's still more for us to do. Given that it is in line with the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples to strengthen our economic and trade cooperation, we will continue to make our efforts in this regard.
I am quite
concerned about the direction in which the Free National Movement (FNM)
is headed. It appears that since Hubert Ingraham returned as leader of
the FNM in 2005 he has made it his mission to be the sole face of the
FNM. So much so, that some of the FNM's constituency offices barely
display the faces of the candidates, but are decorated with the image of
Ingraham. This continues a trend which was clearly evident during the
Elizabeth by-election. For the number of Hubert Ingraham's posters
nailed to trees and light poles, you hardly knew that Dr. Duane Sands
was the candidate in that by-election. No wonder he blew it after the
entire Cabinet invaded and occupied Elizabeth and brought with them the
full resources of the government...