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Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Michael Pintard yesterday said the government can and should do more to protect the workers who will be laid off from the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC).
BTC's is planning to downsize its staff complement as it prepares for the liberalization of the cellular service market.
Pintard was responding to Labour Minister Shane Gibson who said "the agreement the FNM administration signed with Cable and Wireless gives them the authority to do what they are doing".
But Pintard said he doesn't buy that excuse as the government has found multiple ways to amend the contract that the Ingraham administration inked with BTC's parent company, Cable & Wireless Communication (CWC), to sell 51 percent of BTC in 2011.
He pointed out that last January, Prime Minister Perry Christie and CWC CEO Phil Bentley announced that CWC agreed to transfer two percent of its shares in BTC back to the Bahamian people.
"So clearly no matter what is written in heads of agreement or the contract, the government reserves the right to go into a different direction," Pintard said.
"There was a timeline for the liberalization market, again they varied, which is another example of their ability to deviate from the original arrangement they would have met in place.
"So why is it they are not prepared, in this occasion, to stand up in defense of the workers at BTC...
"Whose interests are the Progressive Liberal Party in general, and the minister of labor in particular, protecting?"
Pintard also pointed to the jobs that the government saved at the Atlantis resort.
Gibson advised last week that Christie helped to save the jobs of 300 Atlantis employees last September.
"So if we are to believe that they were successful in that regard, how can they now explain having done something so amazing with a private enterprise that they can not affect an enterprise that they have substantial ownership of," Pintard asked. "I think something is amiss.
"I simply do not believe that the focus of the PLP at this juncture is protecting the interests of the Bahamian worker."
Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) President Bernard Evans said on Tuesday that the union intends to fight to protect the jobs.
BTC intends to offer voluntary separation packages (VSEPs) to as many as 150 employees, The Guardian understands.
Scores of workers at BTC called in sick on Thursday, forcing BTC to close its flagship store in the Mall at Marathon and several other locations on New Providence and the Family Islands.
Fewer workers called in sick yesterday. But BTC said some stores remained closed on New Providence, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Exuma, and Abaco.
The 11th edition of the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) will showcase 95 films from 30 different countries, including 48 features and 47 short films of which several are international premieres and all are Bahamian premieres, according to festival founder and executive director Leslie Vanderpool.
BIFF takes place December 4-9 in New Providence and December 10-14 in Harbour Island, Eleuthera.
"Like Sunday Like Rain" starring, Starring Leighton Meester (Gossip Girls) and Debra Messing (Will And Grace) and Billy Joe Armstrong, will open the festival with a red carpet screening at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island on Thursday, December 4. American Comedy "Big in Japan" starring Phillip Peterson, Sean Lowry, David Drury, Alex Vincent, Adam Powers as Mans will close the festival with an evening screening on Sunday, December 7, also at the Atlantis Theater.
"Like Sunday Like Rain" directed by Frank Whaley tells the story of Reggie, a 12-year-old rich prodigy who lives in a castle in New York, surrounded by wealth but living a lonely life as his parents are frequently absent. Eleanor is a young musician going through the pains of growing up, who is having problems with her boyfriend and was recently fired from her job. Making matters worse, she finds herself with no place to live and far from her unsupportive family. In a desperate attempt to find a new job, she finds herself at the home of Barbara, Reggie's mom, and is hired to take care of the young boy. She is surprised by Reggie's intelligence and street smarts but is worried about his odd behavior of avoiding riding in cars, skipping summer camp and only having one friend, Raj. Little by little they both learn about each other lives until an emergency forces Eleanor to visit her family in Upstate New York. After unsuccessfully trying to find a replacement, she takes Reggie with her where he is exposed to a whole different world. This is a beautiful story about discovery and acceptance.
In "Big In Japan" directed by John Jeffcoat, things are looking bleak for the members of rock band Tennis Pro. They've been struggling to connect to an audience in the Seattle music scene, with a recent run of shows drawing sparse crowds and uninspiring day jobs that are quickly eclipsing their dreams. So when an opportunity arises to take their act on the road to Japan -- where the allure of a second chance at recognition awaits them -- they can't refuse. Embarking on their Tokyo musical odyssey, the guys experience all the thrills and setbacks of taking their music into unknown territory (at least to them) and in the process learn a thing or two about themselves. It's just possible they won't fade away.
The four competition categories at BIFF are Spirit of Freedom: Narrative and Documentary; New Visions; and Short Film. Special sections include Caribbean Spotlight and World Cinema as well as special screenings.
The Filmmaker's Residency Program will return this year. For the tenth year BIFF has broadened the program to include filmmakers from around the world to submit screenplays that are based in The Bahamas or Caribbean region. The Filmmakers' Residency Program nurtures screenwriters by providing them with an unrivaled opportunity to spend a week with accomplished professionals who make a living working in the industry from Los Angeles and New York. This year's program will be held in Harbour Island, Eleuthera, December 10-14.
About the Bahamas International Film Festival: The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the local community and international festivalgoers with a diverse presentation of films from The Bahamas and around the world. In addition to showcasing films that might not otherwise be released theatrically, BIFF provides unique cultural experiences, educational programs, and forums for exploring the past, present and future of cinema. BIFF aims to raise the level of filmmaking, participation and education throughout The Bahamas and the world. For more information visit www.bintlfilmfest.com or call 242-698-1800.
The official BIFF lineup is comprised of the following films:
Spirit of Freedom (narrative)
Come to my voice (Turkey) Director: Ray Meirovitz
The Gift, An Bronntanas (Ireland) Director: Tom Collins
Four Corners (South Africa) Director: Ian Gabriel
Lake Los Angeles (US) Director: Mike Ott
Sombras De Azul (Mexico/Cuba) Director: Travis Pittman
Tu Seras Un Homme (France) Director: Benoit Cohen
Wheels (US) Director: Donavon Thomas
Love Me "Mehe"(Turkey/Ukraine) Director: Maryna Er Gorbach & Mehmet Bahadir
Spirit of Freedom (documentary)
Chimeras (China) Director: Mika Mattila
Mala Mala (USA) Director: Dan Sickles
N'Kisi Concorde (USA) Director: Nikki Sass
Obama Mama (USA) Director: Vivian Norris
Poverty Inc. (USA) Director: Mark Weber
Spit' in Anger: Venom Of a Fatherless Son (USA) Director: Kenneth Braswell
Surviving Cliff Side (USA) Director: John Matthews
Vessel (USA) Director: Diana Whitten
Beti and Amare (Ethiopia. Spain Canada, Germany, Romania USA) Andy Siege
Battered (USA) Director: Robert Madero
Copenhagen (USA) Director: Mark Raso
Cru (USA) Director: Alton Glass
Five Star (USA) Director: Luisa Conlon
Lawrence & Holloman - (Canada) Director: Matthew Kowalchuk
Leave To Remain (UK) Director: Bruce Goodison
Marussia (USA / France) Director: Eva Pervolvici
Mom Murder and Me (USA) Director: Heather Donnell
Still (UK) Director: Simon Blake
Sun Belt Express (USA) Director: Evan Buxbaum
The Boys Castaway (Australia) Director: Michael Kantor
Abo So (Aruba) Director: Juan Francisco
De Pez En Cuando (Dominican Republic) Director: Francisco Adolfo Valdez
Ring Di Alarm (Jamaica) Director: Storm Saulter, Michelle Serieux
The Current (Bahamas, Mexico Tonga, USA) Director: Kurt Miller, Hans Rosenwinkel
You Have His Eyes (US/Jamaica) Director: Chris Wilson
Like Sunday Like Rain (USA) Director: Frank Whaley
Night Of The Living Dead (USA) Director: Zebediah De Soto
Boundaries Of The Heart (China)
Free Fall (USA)
I Believe In Unicorns (USA) Director: Leah Meyerhoff
Sleepwalkers (USA) Director: Ryan Lightbourn)
Jingle Bell Rocks!! (USA) Director: Michael Kezin
Art Of Darkness (Canada) Director: David Parker
The Barefoot Bandit (USA, Bahamas) Director: Carly Bodmer
Oil & Water (USA) Director: Francine Strickwerda & Laurel Spellman Smith
Sand Wars (USA) Director: Denis Delestrac
Ice Bear (UK, Canada) Director: Oliver Parker
The Widowers (USA) Director: Katie Irish
Under the Same Sun (Israel) Director: Yelena Gyulkhanda
37/0 4 S (France) Director: Adriano Valerio
A Spring Has Passed By (Syria) Director: Eva Daoud
Animal Cookies (USA) Director: Matthew Temple
Bis Gleich (Till Then) Director: Benjamin Wolff
Bodies Of Irreversible Detriment (USA) Director: Ben Lazarus
Butterfly Fluttering (Russia) Director: Roman Kayumov
Choongshim, Soso (Korea) Director: Kim Jung in
Con Quein Suena Berta (Spain) Director: Francisco Javier Gomez Pinteno
Danny And The Wild Bunch -(USA) Director: Robert Rugan
Distance (US/ Spain) Director: Danny Langa
Dove On The Roof
?????? (Kazakhstan) Director: Olga Korotko
El Bostan El Saeed Street (Egypt) Director: Maysoon El Massry
El Tiempo Del Agua (Argent
na, Canada) Director: Shahriar Adham El Kosht
En Las Nubes (In The Clouds) (Argentina) Director: Marcelo Mitnik
Festus (USA) Director: Shawn Snyder
Frank and Azalee Austin (USA) Director: Zachary Kerschberg
Forget Me Not (USA) Director: Christopher McKee
Helium (Denmark) Director: Andres Walter
Hotel Y (Argentina) Director: Geraldine Baron Visher
I Know You (Italy, UK) Director: Colin Gerrard
I'm In The Corner With Bluebells (UK) Ako Mitchell
Idyllwild ?? (China) Director: Zenas Cao, Aisha Porter-Christie
Indian Summer (UK) Director: Toby Lomas
Into The Silent Sea (USA) Director: Andrej Landin
La Donna (Spain) Director: Nicolas Dolensky
La Gallina (Spain) Director: Manel Raga
Last Days Of Summer (Netherlands) Director: Feike Santbergen
Le Train Bleu (France) Director: Stephanie Assimacopoulo
Leave Keys In Car (USA) Director: Tessa Blake
Long Con (USA) Director: Kreimild Saunders
Love Me Haiti (Haiti, Poland, Sweden, USA) Director: Hugues Gentillion
Man Since Long Time (Egypt) Director: Mahmoud Yossry
Mr. Invisible (UK) Director: Greg Ash
Muted (USA) Director: Rachel Goldberg
One Armed Man (USA) Director: Tim Guinee
One night Only (USA) Director: Che Grant
Perfect day (USA) Director: Derrick L. Sanders
Salvatore (USA) Director: William Shermer
Second Act (USA) Director: Francesca De Sola
Somos Amigos (Spain) Director: Carlos Solano Perez
The Smut Locker (USA) Director: Harry Tarre
Tobacco Burn (USA) Director: Justin Liberman
Tribute (USA) Director: Neil Evans
Washingtonia (Greece) Director: Konstantina Kotzamani
When Pigs Swim (Bahamas) Director: Charlie Smith
Where Do We Go From Here (USA) Director: Matthew Szewczyk
Filmmaker Residency Program Selection
Bioterror Conspiracy, written by: Louis Lio
A beautiful Navy SEAL must stop a Naval Officer from making lethal a biological weapon. Sex, murder, and espionage mix with science, history and post 9-11 politics, in an odyssey with symbolism and trivia, flashes of humor, and a noble dream. Long after the Bay of Pigs Invasion, there's specter of another Cuban Missile Crisis, this time biological. The story is fiction, but the science, medicine, Navy operations, history and politics, is real.
Explorers, written by: Christopher Andre
Earth's survivors have been forced to go deep underground to reboot society. With resources running out and totalitarian rule building great discontent, A group of young criminals are tasked to explore the Earth's surface to seek out resources. What they find up above is far more frightening than anything they could have imagined.
Last Ones Left, written by: Oliver W. Ottley
Where survival of the fittest is code, four best friends get caught up in a whirlwind of unforeseeable danger, and are put to the test when the vicious street laws they're governed by threaten to claim their lives.
PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham reassured Bahamians last night that the failed deal between Atlantis and Brookfield Asset Management will have no adverse affect on jobs. He insisted that the creditors of the property are seeking to keep it running and profitable.
Developers of a "high-end" west New Providence commercial village, which hopes to feed off the Baha Mar development, have experienced higher than expected demand for what is now anticipated to be a "$50 million-plus" overall investment...
Bahamians already know the
DNA is not ready for the big time, and today we have further evidence,
with a DNA press release full of lies, from start to finish.
DNA states that I was in the Cabinet room with the Prime Minister and
his Cabinet to discuss the Brookfield purchase of Atlantis.
I was not.
Let me say it again, though, in case the slower minds in the DNA need it to be repeated: I was not in that room.
the other hand, Bran McCartney spent many long years in the FNM
Cabinet, smiling and saying "yes, sir" as the FNM cut education funding,
created jobs for foreigners instead of Bahamians, presided over record
levels of murder and violence, cut special deals for insiders and failed
to put Bahamians first.
The investor behind a new sushi restaurant at Elizabeth on Bay has begun construction, with an estimated budget of $1.2 million. Sur Club Sushi Bar, offering both a club and dining experience, is aiming to open by the end of September, according to owner Guy Gentile.
By ALISON LOWE
Revealing a disappointing 2011 first quarter for bookings across the Bahamian hotel sector, Atlantis executives have confirmed that the resort is pushing ahead with its $100 million upgrade program, which has so far created 90 permanent jobs and will cause at least another 250 to 300 new hirings before the end of this year.
George Markantonis, president and ,managing director of Kerzner International (Bahamas), said bookings at Atlantis and throughout New Providence for the January, February and March period have "not been as good as [the hotel industry] had expected".
However, he added that beyond this, hotels are see ...
The Atlantis Resort officially opened its nearly 7,000-square-foot Cantor Gaming Race and Sports Book facility yesterday, which will create 20 to 30 jobs and boost gaming revenue.
In the new state-of-the art 6,860-square-foot facility, patrons will be able to wager using Cantor Gaming's mobile sports wagering application on their Apple or Android device, or on their wireless enabled personal computing devices, including tablets and smartphones, with Cantor Gaming's Wi-Fi enabled sports wagering solution.
During yesterday's brief ribbon cutting ceremony, Atlantis President and Managing Director George Markantonis said the resort is already benefitting from the new facility, as it is reportedly "jam packed" on the weekends.
"Right now, we have people sitting on the floors. So we are going to have to bring more lounge and sofa seating. To be honest, we weren't expecting the crowds that we have been getting on the weekends but the beautiful thing is that we have been having to add staff to keep up with the volume," he said to Guardian Business.
"It has generated jobs. We put this bar in, and it is doing huge numbers now. People like to have a drink while they are watching sports. Overall, this whole racing sports facility will be adding 20-30 jobs. The peak season for sports is September 1 through February 28."
After meeting with several sports book operators, Markantonis said Cantor Gaming stood out as the obvious choice for Atlantis to partner with, having several major operations under their belt in gaming powerhouses like Las Vegas. The Cantor Gaming facility marks the brand's first international racing sports location.
"We had a sports book before but frankly, it's like chalk and cheese. That was a dump in comparison to what we have now. They paid for the sports book. They showed a commitment not only to The Bahamas, but also to Atlantis because they wanted to be affiliated with this brand," according to Markantonis.
As sports wagering continues to show significant growth, Cantor Gaming President and CEO Lee Amatis said he saw the opportunity to deploy its mobile technology at the Atlantis Resort.
"Sports wagering is very popular. Having to be able to come this close to The Bahamas to be able to do it, we think it's a fantastic idea. I think we feel comfortable in the fact that we think that the numbers can be significant," he said to Guardian Business.
"It does require a fair amount of risk management because people can win in that regard so you have to be able to do a broader risk management program, which is what Cantor does."
To date, Cantor Gaming has invested $5 million to get the new Race and Sports Book facility at Atlantis up and running. However, he is confident that as business expands, the level of investment will increase.
"Then, there's the investment of mobile technology, which requires servers to be placed on the property. As it expands, it will be hundreds of thousands more dollars. It's an easy investment for us because we know it's going to be popular and we know it's going to create jobs and a lot of interest. So it's very exciting, Amatis explained.
Gaming Board Chairman Dr. Andre Rollins, who also brought remarks at Thursday's opening, said that with a facility like this, The Bahamas could position itself to benefit from the multi-billion-dollar industry.
"It accounts for $300 billion in gaming revenue in the United States of America. Ninety nine percent of that is done outside of the regulated entities so you have a large black market for gaming in the United States," he said.
"The Bahamas could well position itself to assist our neighbors in having a well-policed gaming regime that would allow us to take advantage of all that money that is in the black market."
"I think Cantor Gaming in partnership with the Atlantis casino is definitely on the verge of taking advantage of the huge promise that sports wagering presents."
Honourable Members will be aware that Mr. Ehurd Cunningham, former Acting Financial Secretary, passed away last weekend. I want to take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude and that of the Nation for the many years of dedicated and tireless service that he so warmly provided to his dearly beloved country. Mr. Cunningham was instrumental in initiating, and indeed championed, many of the fundamental and much-needed reforms to Government on which we are presently embarked. His memory will live on in the enhanced economy and society that will emerge from our efforts.
By PAUL G
Tribune Staff Reporter
EIGHT thousand jobs at Atlantis could be put at risk if Baha Mar is approved in its current state, Kerzner International's chairman and CEO stressed yesterday.
Voicing his confidence that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham will not pass the deal in its current form, Sir Sol Kerzner said that he was extremely disappointed in the former PLP government for their "overwhelming support" of Baha Mar, which he said will be violating the "most favoured nation" clause of their 1993 and 2003 Heads of Agreement.
Sir Sol informed the media yesterday in a teleconference with senior management of his Atlantis prop ...