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MINISTRY OF FINANCE FEES PAYABLE BY RETAIL BANKS for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash revealed yesterday that police returned his cell phone and laptops not long after seizing them three weeks ago, but said he has refused to use them because he suspects they have been bugged.
"The phone was returned the following day and the laptops were returned three or four days later," Cash told The Nassau Guardian.
"I have not used the instruments to any meaningful degree because I fully expect that they have been laden with spyware."
Police seized the items from the chairman's Cable Beach home on May 1 as a part of a probe into confidential leaks from Bank of The Bahamas.
Speaking to the issue yesterday, Cash said, "I have since this event detected numerous unusual events in my email account, and I intend to raise those issues with my service provider.
"Suffice it to say that nine of 10 persons that I spoke to during this entire event opined that all instruments ought to be immediately discarded and it is troubling the extent of distrust that exists, but obviously it is not something that the commissioner or the ministers of national security care about.
"That is to be expected and so often they speak, and people do not believe what they are saying. It is as simple as the statistics that they release on a regular basis that people don't believe. They are distrustful of their institutions and that is not good for our democracy."
Police have not charged Cash or anybody else in relation to the Bank of the Bahamas probe. They also have not said whether they found anything on Cash's equipment.
The Nassau Guardian was told by a senior police official that only Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson could comment on the matter, but Ferguson has been unreachable.
"I'm now wondering why there has been no action because whatever it is they were looking for, they didn't find it," Cash said. "Not only was there not a smoking gun, there was no gun."
Asked about his exchange with police at the time the items were being returned, Cash said, "We engaged in unproductive banter".
He said he expressed to police that as far as he could see they were doing nothing to investigate underlying allegations made by The Punch about certain activities at the bank.
Bank of The Bahamas officials have strongly denied allegations that loans were granted based on political favors or that the bank's financial position is under threat.
Earlier this year, Cash called for an investigation into the allegations made by The Punch.
Following the seizure of his property, Cash sought redress in the Supreme Court, alleging that his constitutional right to privacy had been violated.
He has made two appearances already before a judge.
Asked why he still pursued the legal matter even though the items were returned, he said, "Fundamental to the point that we made is if there was a narrow scope of the police's investigation, meaning Bank of The Bahamas, the scope of their search should have been equally narrow".
Cash said he was not surprised that he got his items back so soon.
"This is the information age and any competent 10th grader knows how to conduct a search, and so that is the same reason why nearly one month later it hasn't surprised me that we haven't heard back from them to confirm that there was nothing there," he said, adding that he fears information relating to his party might have been shared with others.
"And the easiest way to do that was to find a scapegoat with a mere tangential connection to the information that was disclosed in The Punch, someone who didn't have direct access or even indirect access to the information. The only connection was [my wife] happened to work for the same organization."
Cash said his wife, Annette, remains on paid leave.
He insisted that the whole matter goes to the heart of trust in democratic institutions.
"The nature of society that [Prime Minister] Perry Christie has produced is one where people distrust their government, and they distrust the police. And this matter is far from over," he said.
"That's all I'm prepared to say right now."
Net income for The Central Bank of The Bahamas more than doubled during the 2011 fiscal year, as the financial institutions saw its profits grow to $5.6 million in the year ended December 31, 2011.
The figure went up from $2.5 million year-on-year, which represented a $3.1 million rise. One of the reasons for the profit jump was due to a 12.7 percent spike in total income from $24.6 million in 2010 to $27.7 million in 2011. The bank also managed to keep its expenses relatively the same from a year ago, only experiencing a $34,000 increase.
Another factor that played a role in the net income rise was the 27.8 percent jump in interest on foreign investments from $12.8 million to $16.4 million year-on-year. Interest on domestic investments grew by 21.5 percent during that period, growing from $7.2 million in 2010 to $8.7 million in 2011.
Total assets were also up during the 2011 fiscal year, rising by 4.2 percent to $1.23 billion from $1.18 billion year-on-year. While some areas in the assets segment of the financial report experienced slight increases and decreases, the major difference came in the Bahamas Government Treasury Bills, where $26.1 million was recorded in 2011 -- where no amount was recorded in 2010.
The figures were revealed in the Central Bank's Annual Report for the 2011 fiscal year, which also uncovered the financial institution's strategy for 2012. Part of its plans for the 2012 fiscal year includes strengthening its monetary policy framework, strengthening and expanding the role of bank supervision, developing financial stability framework and modernizing bank legislation and operations. Under those objectives, the bank hopes to roll out some of its initiatives that have been in the works such as its Credit Bureau project and Risk-Based Supervision Framework (RBSF), among others.
The annual report also provided an economic outlook for 2012, saying while growth is to be expected, it will not come without its fair share of challenges.
"The expansion in the domestic economy is expected to be sustained in 2012, fuelled by construction activity related to several significant foreign investment projects and the public sector's infrastructure development programmes," the report said.
"However, conditions in the job market are expected to remain challenging, until the economic expansion filters down to other sectors, such as personal services and wholesale & retail, which account for the largest share of employment," the report continued. "Inflation rates, which rose steadily in 2011, are likely to persist at current levels, although continuing tensions in the crude oil market could place further upward pressure on fuel costs."
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank has awarded two new $10,000 scholarships for Bahamian nationals and continues to support two previous scholarship winners through its partnership with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Education Foundation (CHTAEF).
Scholarship recipients are pursuing higher education or professional development in the hospitality and tourism industries.
The 2014 FirstCaribbean scholarship winners, their future courses or academic degrees and academic institutions are as follows:
o Kirvez E. Ferguson (Bahamas) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, culinary arts and food service management, Johnson and Wales, Providence;
o Domonique Sturrup (Bahamas) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, BS baking and pastry arts, Johnson and Wales, Providence.
"CIBC FirstCaribbean is pleased to be able to continue to be part of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Scholarship program, lending support to the development of the hospitality and tourism industries, by providing opportunities for the growth of the very best of our region's tourism talent," said Donna Wellington, managing director, Barbados, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank.
Scholarship recipients are either starting their studies or continuing their education in various specialties in the hospitality industry. Scholarships were awarded based on prior academic achievements, previous work or internships in the Caribbean hospitality industry and economic needs.
Previous CIBC FirstCaribbean scholarship winners working to complete their studies include:
o Christine Gibson (Barbados) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, hospitality studies, Barbados Community College;
o Jael Avion Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) - CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank scholarship, AIB BA business administration tourism and hospitality management, Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality Institute
"We sincerely thank CIBC FirstCaribbean for their generous support of these students as they pursue their educational goals. Without FirstCaribbean's continuing partnership with CHTAEF, these scholarships would not be possible," said Richard S. Kahn, chairman of CHTAEF.
"This year's applicant pool was comprised of a talented group, all of whom deserve to receive funds towards their education so that they may help sustain the vital Caribbean hospitality industry," Kahn said.
Scotiabank is pleased to announce the launch of its Everything Bahamian 2015 Calendar Photo Contest. For the past four years, Scotiabank has been celebrating the wonders of The Bahamas and the talents of local photographers through the production of its calendar photo contest. The intent of the calendar contest is to motivate the community by giving amateur photographers the opportunity to capture the essence and diversity of 'everything Bahamian'. The calendar showcases local talents who are passionate about photography and inspired by the brilliance and distinctiveness of the country and its people.
The calendar features 12 months of breathtaking, captivating and authentic photographs taken in and around The Bahamas, depicting the diversity, strength and beauty of The Bahama Islands. They capture the natural resources, traditions, lifestyle and culture of our people. A cash prize of $350 will be awarded to each winning entry. The first place winner will be featured on the cover of the Scotiabank Bahamas 2015 Calendar. The official rules and entry forms for the photo calendar contest are available in all Scotiabank branches and at bahamas.scotiabank.com/photocontest.
"In support of our Scotiabank Bright Future program, we will continue to give donations to a charitable organization of choice on behalf of each winner," said Leah R. Davis, senior manager for marketing and public relations at Scotiabank.
Local businesses are falling short of the 5 percent standard spend for training and development - a crucial factor that is contributing to unemployment, according to a veteran human resources strategist.
Artists and spectators alike crowded the Central Bank of The Bahamas Wednesday night to hear the announcement that Jackson Petit-Homme had been chosen by the judges as the winner of their 28th Annual Central Bank Art Competition in the Open Category.Petit-Homme is no stranger to the feeling -- he's walked away with recognition in both the high school and open categories before, winning the High School Category twice, coming second in the Open Category twice, and winning the 3D portion of the Open Category as well, among honorable mentions.
But this is the first time he's won since the High School and Open Categories were split three years ago when Heino Schmid came on as curator of the Central Bank art gallery space. The new prizes of$7,000 and an offer to hold a solo exhibition by the winner in the space are exciting prospects for the artist who we haven't seen a solo show from before.
"The advantage of having the prize money is to use it as funds for materials for this show," Petit-Homme points out. "Jumping off the piece I've done for this competition, it's going to be a continuation. I think I've found the direction I want to go in."
This year, the theme for the Open Category was "So So Beautiful", chosen by Ian Fernander, the Head of Administration for Central Bank. Petit-Homme's winning piece,"Beautiful Monsters"stood out from other competitors, the judges said, because of its flawless technique and approach to the theme which kept drawing their gazes back.
"As soon as the announcement for the theme was made, I thought about the piece for an entire year and only in the last month did I make it," he says." Lately I've been thinking about my Haitian connection, and also the mythologies within Haitian culture, and creating my own mythology out of these in a way. But I'm also thinking about challenging beauty in it."
Petit-Homme's piece depicts, in a flurry of subdued, dreamy colors, parents with human and animal features looking upon their newborn--indeed, the opposing forces of beauty and monstrosity provide tension that challenges its viewers but presents a resolution in the child's story beyond the frame. Though fantastical, the piece resists high fantasy, and instead draws upon folklore and magical realist roots to pierce the veil of reality and touch upon the inherent "what if" in the ideal of beauty.
Petit-Homme will be following in the footsteps of recent winners Lavar Munroe(2009 winner with the theme"Redefining the Portrait")and Omar Richardson (2010 winner with the theme "A Mighty Push Forward") -- Munroe's show at the gallery was hugely successful, and Richardson's upcoming show in December will also prove to be spectacular.
Curator of the space, Heino Schmid, looks forward to Petit-Homme's compelling solo show as the artist is known for both his painting and video installation work.
"I'm really happy mainly because I'm excited to see what he does with his solo show," says Schmid. "He's a prolific artist and works in a variety of mediums. I hope he's ambitious as he wants to be with both the content and medium of work."
Indeed, the offer of a solo show remains optional for the artist to take -- however, it is usually expected that the prize money can help winning artists purchase supplies for a dynamic solo show that can have great financial and professional outcomes.
To Schmid, the pieces submitted to the Open Category Competition act somewhat like proposals for a solo show and should reflect that ambition -- which both he and the judges did not see strong evidence of this year around.
"I think a lot of people who enter this competition enjoy the one-off quality of their work and it's difficult to access how they would develop an exhibition based on the pieces you see here," says Schmid.
"I really want people to think in terms of not just winning this--I want them to look past winning this and also see their solo show as the actual culmination of this competition--a stepping stone to this grander gesture."
With a theme of "So So Beautiful", artists produced pieces that attempted to literally illustrate the theme--but like all competitions, the pieces which stand out always provide fresh and unusual perspectives to the theme or challenge the theme, which only a handful of pieces took the chance on.
"I think the weight of the prize makes you want to be the good student, meet the criteria and check the boxes to make sure you win, which may need some rethinking," says Schmid."There are more than a few very literal pieces instead of using the theme as a jumping-off point."
The result is an overall exhibition that may not entirely lack technique but does lack ambition, and after three years of lackluster response to themed exhibitions, Schmid is ready to further change the way the competition functions in the changing Nassau art scene.
Indeed, for many years the Central Bank of The Bahamas was the closest thing to a gallery space Nassau had, holding shows that would launch or define artists'careers. Likewise, their Annual Art Competition acted as a salon-style space for both up-and-coming and established artists to present their work. No doubt, it will always be regarded as a major player in the history of art in The Bahamas.
Yet the past decade came with a surge of new gallery spaces and The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas with their biannual National Exhibition, provided more avenues for artists to not only hold shows--but to gain more control of how their pieces were presented and who they were presented with.
Though the Central Bank remains an active part of the art scene, Schmid points out that its role as a gallery space has shifted, and it's time to shift the Annual Art Competition as well.
He already started by separating the High School and Open Categories three years ago and providing themes, hoping that the they would provide more of a compelling and unified space for up-and-coming and established artists to play and hold meaningful conversations with one another.
"One of the things I want to do with the competition is to develop a group exhibition that provides a relevant context for work and provides an opportunity for artists not to win an amount of money but to be in communication with each other,"says Schmid.
As of yet, though, Schmid has not been impressed with the turn out, leading him to think about tweaking the Annual Art Competition further to bring out the strong work he knows exists in the art community.
"I just want the show to be stronger -- I want artists to pick up the challenge and baton from the last winner and build on it," he says. "The exhibitions are never as ambitious as I want them to be. I am more than anything an art lover, and I want to be blown away by an art exhibition."
"I like to think momentum is building a little bit and in the future when we set a precedent with an exceptionally strong exhibition that will force people to reevaluate their systems and their practices a little."
The pieces entered into the 28th Annual Central Bank Art Competition in the Open Category are on display in the Central Bank of The Bahamas until October 28th. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Call 302 2600 for more information.
Hoping to make a difference in the "long term success of the Caribbean region", the Royal Bank of Canada hosted an international conference in the Cayman Islands, entitled Toward a Corruption Free Caribbean: Ethics, Values, Trust and Morality.
The conference, which is hosted by the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI), featured presentations from political leaders and world-renowned experts, including Prime Minister Perry Christie.
RBC Royal Bank is the featured sponsor of his presentation, which was delivered at the plenary session on Thursday, March 20.
"RBC has a long history of partnership with the Bahamian government and with the communities where we do business," said Nathaniel Beneby, managing director of RBC Royal Bank in The Bahamas, Cayman and Turks & Caicos.
"Our organization adheres to the highest ethical standards and operates with strong governance. We are proud to be partnering with UCCI to bring this conference to the Caribbean. It supports our commitment to foster economic development and collaborate on solutions for our region's most difficult challenges."
Michael A. Munnings, country head and area vice president for RBC Royal Bank in the Cayman Islands, introduced Prime Minister Christie and served as chair for his conference session.
"At RBC, we believe it is critical for business leaders to work together with government officials and community leaders to eliminate corruption, create an environment of fair trade for economic growth and educate clients on their rights and opportunities," said Munnings, who originates from The Bahamas.
Other speakers at the UCCI conference included Dr. Huguette Labelle, chair of the Board of Transparency International, an organization that works in more than 100 countries in the fight against corruption; Dr. Ralph Everard Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who will reflect on the state of corruption in the Caribbean as a whole; and Dr. The Hon. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance of Nigeria and former vice president of the World Bank, who will share lessons for the Caribbean based on the Nigerian experience. In all, more than 100 experts will share their perspectives during presentations and panel discussions.
"Through our support of this conference, we hope to make a difference in the long-term success of the Caribbean region," said Beneby.
Operations at three businesses on the Tonique Williams-Darling Highway came to a standstill for almost an hour yesterday, after a generator caught fire at a bank in the area and forced an evacuation.
The generator that supplies power to the Bank of The Bahamas caught afire some time after mid-day, surrounding the building in thick smoke and setting off the alarm.
The bank, the National Workers Cooperative Credit Union and Workers Wash were immediately evacuated.
There were no injuries and the buildings were not damaged.
Cable Beach Fire Branch officer Corporal 1331 Lamont Bain said the fire was confined to the bank’s generator system, which is located at the back of the building.
He said the ...
Track and Field fever is alive and well in The Bahamas this spring and Bank of The Bahamas is helping to keep the heat going. The Bank recently took the decision to expand its relationship with Olympian Gold medalist Chris Brown by becoming a partner of the first Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational Meet. This exciting event, set for April 13, 2013, at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, is expected to feature fierce competition amongst 100 top professional track and field athletes many of whom are Olympians.
Customers of Fidelity Bank may have received an email similar to the one pictured below prompting viewers to click a link to view their Fidelity Online account. We are advising our customers not to click on this link, as this email is fraudulent and was not sent from Fidelity Bank. We are working diligently to resolve this issue.
A common type of email fraud is called “phishing”. Phishing is the practice of sending phony email messages that are disguised as legitimate and often include company logos that look real. A typical phishing email will include a false claim about a customer’s account and either a link or button that takes them to a “spoof” website that mimics a reputable company’s actual website, in hopes that they will disclose personal information or account information. Some phishing emails may also have attachments which may contain potential email viruses.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas lowered the prime rate by 0.75 percent to 4.75 percent recently.
Former banker Mr. Al Jarrett and other Keynesians have been lobbying for this for some time on the assumption that it will save people lots of money and generate economic growth.
According to The Nassau Guardian (June 7, 2011), Mr. Jarrett said "the move should help many Bahamians to save their homes and assets, with some additional breathing room to service their loans."
A lower prime rate is not a bad thing as it reduces the cost of borrowing, but does little to help most people as shown below.
For a car loan of $25,000 at 10 percent over five years the payment would be approximately $529 per month. Assuming an interest rate drop to 9.25 percent, the monthly payment becomes $520. A savings of $9 per month.
What impact would this have on a mortgage?
Payments for a mortgage of $150,000 at 14 percent over 25 years would be $1,806 per month. With an interest reduction to 13.25 percent for the same term, the monthly amount would be $1,720. A monthly savings of $86. The lower interest rate only allows people to keep a little bit more of their money, it's not enough to save a house or a car from foreclosure as indicated.
Release of funds?
The former Chamber of Commerce president Dionisio D'Aguilar suggested in The Tribune Business, June 7, 2011 that the reduction would release some $60-$70 million back into the economy.
In the aggregate, it would appear the "release" of a large sum of money would generate spending but this overlooks what each individual would do with their money. Some might spend it, others might save it, while some might use it to reduce the principle on their loan/mortgage. These funds are not to be confused with new money entering the economy like foreign direct investment for example.
And then there are the savers and retirees living on a fixed income who, as a result of less interest will have less money to spend. Nor does it account for those businesses that rely on interest income in these tough economic times to assist with cash flow issues.
One positive aspect is the interest rate reduction will mean lower interest payments by the Public Treasury on the national debt denominated in Bahamian dollars. However, there is no indication this will be passed on to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts, but it will give the government some badly needed cash flow.
What about inflation?
The Nassau Institute invited comment from an Austrian economist on the effects of lowering the prime rate by 0.75 percent. Dr. Richard Ebeling, professor of economics at Northwood University, Midland, Michigan, - a recent guest of the Nassau Institute, simplified understanding of the action as follows:
"Since this reduction in the rate of interest is being made possible by the Central Bank increasing funds available for banks to lend, the lowered interest rates are the result of a monetary expansion. This, inescapably, runs the risk of price inflation in the future, which reduces the real value of everyone's income and wealth -- which is not conducive to longer-run, sustainable growth and prosperity.
"When the Central Bank's own monetary policy generates possible future price inflation, it will then have to rein in its own monetary expansion to counter-attack the inflation it will have caused. Interest rates will go up, and a portion of the investments in homes may very well be found to have been unprofitable mistakes that will end up harming the very people the "low interest rate policy" was initially meant to help.
"Such short-run policies always run the risk of serious longer-run negative consequences. Which is why the wisest policy for a central bank is to not focus on what seems to be the short-run politically expedient policy. Rather, they should take the long run policy perspective of not increasing the money supply, and letting market supply and demand determine what the rate of interest should be."
Dr. Ebeling recently conducted two days of classes for Bahamian students on the 'Economics of liberty from an "Austrian" perspective'. His lectures stimulated new ideas about the benefits of free markets as they encourage economic growth and improvements to living standards for all.
In other words, a short-term goal of a cut of 75 basis points in the prime rate might have no impact on economic growth or it could cause inflation. Unintended consequences, but the reality of expedient monetary policy.
The government should take the longer view and curtail spending, lower taxes, stop piling on regulations and wait for the uneasiness of the entrepreneurial class to fade so the economy can grow as a result of wealth creation as opposed to wealth redistribution.
o The Nassau Institute is an independent, a-political, non-profit institute that promotes economic growth in a free market economy with limited government, in a society that embraces the rule of law and the right to private property.
As it turned out, J.S. Johnson Insurance Company will play the Central Bank of The Bahamas for the Banker's Bowling League Championship. J.S. Johnson eliminated Credit Suisse Bank by winning the first game on the final night of competition to finish off their semi-final series three games to one, and reach the championship. In the other semi-final series, Central Bank had to go the distance to beat UBS Bank in their series three games to two. Throughout that semi-final series, each game was close throughout.
RBC Royal Bank announced yesterday a donation of $180,000 to continue the RBC Royal Bank Scholarship for another three years. This grant will provide three Bahamian students with $15,000 per year to undertake undergraduate studies in areas critical to the continued development of The Bahamas.
"This program is life-changing for the scholarship recipients," said Nathaniel Beneby, managing director of RBC Royal Bank in The Bahamas, Cayman and Turks & Caicos. "The students are selected based on their academic achievements, and also based on financial need. These students likely would not have the ability to attend college abroad, were it not for this scholarship award."
RBC initiated the scholarship fund in 2008 with a $200,000 gift that created the RBC Royal Bank Scholarship at the Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation. The program allows Bahamian students to pursue undergraduate studies at colleges and universities in Canada. Martiniqua Moxey received one of the first RBC Royal Bank scholarships. With the support of the RBC scholarship, Moxey was able to attend Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. She graduated in 2011 with a joint honors bachelor of arts degree in economics and international political economy. During her summers she worked at RBC in Canada and in The Bahamas, gaining valuable work experience.
In May 2012, Moxey returned to The Bahamas and obtained a position as a research officer at The Central Bank of the Bahamas. "The scholarship I received from RBC and Lyford Cay set the stage for where I am now," said Moxey. "Every day I experience the trickle down effects of this scholarship. It gave me the opportunity to receive a world-class education. As a result, I continue to volunteer with high school students through mentorship and tutoring, so that they too are aware of the options available to them. I am forever grateful to RBC for all they have done for me."
The two newest RBC Royal Bank Scholarship recipients were announced in fall of 2013. The first student, Allena Albury, is pursuing a bachelor's degree in economics at Acadia University. Her future plans include obtaining her MBA in banking and finance at the American Graduate School in Geneva and securing a position at the Ministry of Finance.
The other is Byron McCartney, who is attending the engineering program at Dalhousie University. Eventually he hopes to obtain a graduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His future plans include establishing his own business manufacturing solar power panels on the island of Andros, his hometown.
"All of the RBC scholarship recipients have agreed to return to The Bahamas after completing their studies abroad," said Jan Knowles, manager, public relations and communications, RBC Royal Bank The Bahamas, Cayman and Turks & Caicos Islands. "We want to thank the Lyford Cay Foundations for their support and dedication to giving these Bahamian students access to higher education. We are confident that just like Ms. Moxey, all of our scholarship recipients will make positive contributions to our community."
A former bank manager and a stock broker have been convicted of securities fraud.
Wayde Bethel, a former manager at Commonwealth Bank, and Hiram Cox, a broker at First Bahamas Capital, facilitated the black market sale of shares purchased through an employee stock option plan (ESOP), Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell ruled this month.
The court found that between November 2005 and February 2006, Bethel participated in a scheme where bank managers sold shares to third party purchasers, who had unwittingly financed the purchase of the employee stock options.
During the charged period, the value of the shares fluctuated between $8 and $10, but employees had the option to purchase them at the reduced rate of $6. The managers who participated in the scheme earned a $2 profit per share.
As part of the scheme, the managers signed blank powers of attorney that purportedly transferred the not-yet-purchased shares under the ESOP to First Bahamas Capital, which sold them to third parties.
None of the transactions were registered on the local BISX exchange.
The prosecution, led by Garvin Gaskin, deputy director of public prosecutions, argued that the scheme had the ability to erode confidence in the market and result in a crash.
The magistrate fined Bethel $50,000 for dealing in securities without being a licensed stock broker. He was fined $25,000 for his part in the securities scheme.
If he fails to pay the fines, he will spend a year in prison. Bethel was also ordered to repay Commonwealth Bank $164,650 in commissions he earned through the illegal scheme.
Cox, who facilitated the purchases, was fined $15,000 for his role. He faces a year in prison if he fails to pay the fine. Cox also has to repay $7,805 in commissions.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has asked banks to accept money for a public Haiti fund.
Prime Minister Ingraham said the government asked Clearing Banks (see list below) to accept donations into a special account for Emergency and Reconstruction Assistance to Haiti.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
THE "sky's the limit" for Scotiabank (Bahamas) and its 711 employees, the bank's outgoing managing director said late last week, pinpointing the major achievement during his three-year tenure as being the creation of "a cohesive and able management team".
Arguing that the commercial bank was "well-positioned" to exploit and leverage a recovering Bahamian economy into improved profits, Barry Malcolm said that 37 of Scotiabank (Bahamas) current 40-strong management team had been appointed to their current posts since he took office.
Explaining that he joined Scotiabank (Bahamas) on a three-year contract which he would not ren ...
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
BAHAMIAN bank and trust companies will start to face enhanced capital adequacy requirements from 2013 onwards, the Central Bank of the Bahamas has warned, as this nation moves to implement the enhanced Basle III accords promoted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
The banking industry regulator, in its quarterly April letter to senior industry executives, said an additional requirement that "may be set" is for institutions to maintain a minimum 3.5 per cent ratio of common (equity) shares to total risk-weighted assets from January 1, 2013, onwards.
Urging all Bahamas-based institutions under its regulatory supervision to familia ...
For many children, Christmas time conjures up images of a mountain of gifts under their Christmas tree with many toys and treats inside.
But for countless others, receiving even one gift on this special holiday is cause for joy and celebration.
Such is the thought behind the latest charity drive by the Kiwanis Club of Nassau A.M. - Toys for Tots - which aims to provide Christmas gifts to children in the Bain and Grants Town areas this holiday.
The brainchild of Natila Saunders, director and Young Children Priority One chairperson of the Kiwanis Club of Nassau A.M., Toys for Tots encourages members of the public to donate one unwrapped gift to touch the life of one less fortunate child in the community.
Many individual acts of kindness will go a long way collectively - in fact, Saunders hopes to reach as many as 500 families this year.
"I know it sounds ambitious, but I think it's very easy to do that and even more," she said. "We're trying to get as many donations as possible so we can give them the Christmas that they deserve."
As part of the service organization Kiwanis Club of Nassau A.M., Saunders has been involved with many programs that aim to provide food and clothing to those less fortunate, especially in the Bain and Grants Town areas.
Last year, when the organization undertook a major service project assisting two families, the reaction by the children to the toys they donated made an impression on Saunders and inspired her to establish Toys for Tots.
"You should have seen the joy on the children's faces - they were elated," she remembered. "So I just wanted to do something that could touch even more children."
Partnering up with Bank of The Bahamas is perfect for Kiwanis Club as an organization that gives back to the less fortunate. Bank of The Bahamas employees dedicate their time to causes that are close to their hearts and which change the lives of others - and this program is no different.
All Bank of The Bahamas branches will be gift drop-off points during weekday business hours, as well as on Saturdays at the Harrold Road and Village Road branches which are open from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"I wasn't even expecting it to be this major but I'm really thankful because with Bank of The Bahamas as a partner, I'm sure it's going to have an even greater impact," said Saunders.
Once the drive closes on December 21, Bank of The Bahamas employees and Kiwanis members will sort the gifts and on Christmas Day will venture into the neighborhoods and provide them to the children and their families to make their holiday unforgettable.
Indeed, the drive taps into the true spirit of Christmas that encourages charity, selflessness and giving above receiving. Above all, it encourages the community to come together to uplift those who really need it during this time of year when disparity and lack become more apparent and difficult to handle.
"It shows the children that we actually care, to have complete strangers come into the neighborhood to do something for them," pointed out Saunders. "It's more special knowing that we go there on Christmas Day and they have something to look forward to on that special day."
They are appealing to the public to donate any gift at the Bank of The Bahamas branches until December 21, whether books, stuffed animals, board games, dolls, actions figures - anything will make a difference, insisted Saunders.
"We're asking for the public to respond to this very important project," she said. "It doesn't require much. No gift is too big or too small, and we'd appreciate anything because it will go a very, very long way."
In an environment where banks around the world are making "tough business decisions", Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) Senior Examiner Charles Virgill says the focus of the bank is to ensure a regime that manages risk and is conducive to best business practices.
Speaking with Guardian Business, Virgill said the recent closures affecting Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Wealth Management illustrate the difficulties facing Bahamian banks, which he said are "considering all aspects" of their businesses following turbulence in the regional banking sector.
"What we need to do as a country and certainly as individuals is ensure that we shore up and realize that the only constant is change. Banks the world over are making tough business decisions. Our focus is to ensure that the regime that is here in The Bahamas is conducive to good, sound business practices and that any risks to our jurisdiction are under control," he said.
RBC shuttered its wealth management division in the Caribbean last week, affecting branches in The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Barbados. The number of affected employees in RBC's Bahamian branch remains unclear.
RBC joined CIBC FirstCaribbean and Scotiabank on the growing list of international institutions experiencing turmoil in the region, which has put dozens of branches on the line.
"I think the whole world is prone right now to any reshuffling. Unfortunately, those are the times we live in," said Virgill.
The $2.2 million banks and trust companies spent on staff training in 2010 does not tell the full story of what's been happening in the industry, with many employees opting to foot the bill to upgrade their skills themselves.
Kim Bodie, executive director of the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) told Guardian Business yesterday that registration numbers at the institute remain strong at around 500 enrollees, despite a noted drop-off in banks' financial support for training.
"From where I sit, particularly since the economic downturn, we have seen some cutbacks by banks in support of training," Bodie said.
"...In consideration of what has happened, persons have taken [their training costs] on themselves. We have not seen a decline in numbers at the institution," Bodie said.
Commonwealth Bank shares Thanksgiving joy bringing song, cheer, books and more to local Children's Homes
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Commonwealth Bank's Corporate Learning Centre Book Club will celebrate Thanksgiving by visiting several children's homes, spreading cheer, donating books and extending the hand of friendship.
Through song, reading, games and book donations, the bank that bills itself as the leader in personal banking will demonstrate that it is also a model for caring for others in the community.
"Our members are dedicated to volunteering their time to these children for the entire holiday season and during other particularly poignant occasions during the year when it is important for the young people to know that they are remembered and important," said Anthea Cox, Vice President of Human Resources and Training.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Book Club will visit the Elizabeth Estates Children's Home, Children's Emergency Hostel and Bilney Lane Children's Home.
"The Bank is commited to investing in communities and we realize that every community begins with the children," said Cox. "The value added to the lives of these children via purposeful time spent with them is priceless. While we know we help promote literacy, the deeper meaning of the work we do with the book club is improving the quality of life for these children."
Profitability for local banks increased 34 percent to $62.3 million according to the latest quarterly report from the Central Bank of The Bahamas, with the former minister of finance saying more loan payments by customers could have been a contributing factor.
James Smith told Guardian Business yesterday that clients that are making more payments played a role in the growth in banks’ profit rise, along with other factors.
“The banks are probably getting bigger spreads now,” Smith said. “Customers are probably paying a little bit less on deposits and a little more on loans. Bad loans were providing for them but in spite of that they are still doing quite well wit ...
Commonwealth Bank AGM: Dividend Increase and Record Results Mark the Bahamian Bank Growing From Strength to Strength
Nassau, Bahamas -
Shareholders were treated to welcome news at the Commonwealth Bank AGM
as Executive Chairman William B Sands Jr. announced a 20% increase in
the 2011 quarterly common dividend to 6 cents per share from last year's
5cents per quarter.
Nearly 300 Commonwealth Bank shareholders
filled the ballroom at SuperClubs Breezes, Cable Beach, for the annual
general meeting held on Wednesday, May 18. Under the theme "From
Strength To Strength" shareholders heard a glowing report on what marked
the 51st year of the bank's operations...
With next year's one to two-and-a-half percent economic growth forecast for The Bahamas, Scotiabank (Bahamas) Limited is gearing up for a competitive 2012 with increased wealth management services in its plans for meeting shareholder expectations.