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The chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) plans to improve the organization's outreach to small businesses in an effort to make the sector feel more valued and less isolated in these challenging financial times.
Winston Rolle told Guardian Business the first meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday at St. Angus Church.
"We're trying to reach out and have dialogue with them," he added. "There is a perception that the BCCEC is not about small businesses. The Chamber is trying to combat that and get a better sense of what their needs are and examine ways to get them more engaged in the process."
Noting that many attempts have been made to establish their own association, Rolle threw cold water on the idea of separating from the BCCEC and insisted his organization is capable of championing the interests of this all-important sector of the economy. Next week's outreach program will be the first of many meetings with stakeholders to create a greater sense of community."There have been a number of attempts to start a small business association, but the reality is small businesses by themselves in that manner is not practical," he felt. "The fee structure, for example, for a small business association would end up being such that they couldn't afford it."
Rolle also pointed out that separating from BCCEC would mean smaller operations will lose networking and mentorship opportunities.
During the first meeting next week, he expects crime prevention to be top fo the agenda for many entrepreneurs, especially coming into the Christmas season.
Meanwhile, the new outreach program is expected to complement the pending introduction of small business legislation still to be tabled by the government. Partially funded by Compete Caribbean, a $40 million program jointly supported by several organizations, including the Inter-American Development Bank, the initiative for small business in The Bahamas should establish the framework to encourage growth, according to Rolle.
BCCEC, he said, actually submitted the full proposal and now "we are waiting for the wheels of government to turn so it can get tabled".
The small-to-medium-sized business act will serve as a one-stop shop for stakeholders. Essential to the program, Rolle added, will be the ability to solicit more funding for the sector. He told Guardian Business there were a umber of success models being looked at for the process.
The outreach is expected to provide a head-start in terms of understanding their needs and pay dividends once the legislation comes to ass.
"It's part of my mandate," Rolle said. "We want to reach out to them and see what we can do to help."
Despite a ban the government placed several weeks ago on copper exports and restrictions placed on other scrap metal, theft of these materials remains a major problem, police said yesterday.
Police said they arrested two men, ages 38 and 26, after they were caught stealing metal pipes from the Water & Sewerage Corporation's (WSC) well fields off Frank Watson Boulevard Saturday morning.
Police reportedly caught the men digging pipes out of the ground and loading them onto trucks.
Director of the National Crime Prevention Office Superintendent Stephen Dean said yesterday the theft is having a negative impact on government agencies.
"Earlier this year we had an incident where a major section of New Providence was shut down as a result of copper theft," said Dean at a press conference at Police Headquarters on East Street.
"When essential services [provided by] WSC, the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas (BCB) and the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) are affected, their customers are also affected. There is a major cost involved."
Dean said police are taking a zero tolerance approach to the theft. "The police will spare no efforts to make sure that these people are arrested," he said.
"We have beefed up security in areas where essential services are located. Anyone found breaking the law will be arrested."
In the House of Assembly last week, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham tabled a bill that would allow police greater access to cash for gold and scrap metal businesses, which are currently unregulated.
The bill would allow appointed officers to enter a business person's premises to inspect articles.
Dean reiterated the need for business people in the scrap metal business to form ties with the police. "Scrap metal businesses must ensure that any stolen properties presented to them are turned into police," he said.
"These businesses have a big responsibility because if they are found with these properties in their possession, they will be arrested."
Dean urged all businesses to properly secure their properties.
"Put no trespassing signs and surveillance cameras around your businesses," he said.
Dean said in most instances, the culprits who are stealing scrap metal and copper are repeat offenders.
It has become fashionable of late, when discussing policing efforts and strategies, to refer to the need to combat both crime and "the fear of crime".
Some feel this reference is appropriate; that a feeling of safety and security is a prerequisite for a healthy and well-functioning society. Others say we have begun to pay too much attention to the surface, at the expense of substance, in an area where concrete results should be the only thing that matters.
One thing, however, is clear: In recent years both law enforcement and legislators have come to adopt the view that the public's impression is an important factor in any discussion of crime and violence.
Given this context, we are puzzled by the contradictory statements that have been issued in recent weeks by political and law enforcement leaders.
Last month, on the heels of a weekend that saw five murders, including that of his own press secretary, Prime Minister Perry Christie admitted that the government has "a lot of work to do".
He said his administration will rework its plan to fight crime and "go back to the drawing board".
But last week, when asked if the government needs to rework its crime-fighting strategies, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade defended his policing plan for 2014, although he was careful not to respond directly to the prime minister.
"I am very proud of the policing plan that I have to the public and to the force," he said. "And I am very, very pleased with the significant results that we have had as a result of those seven priorities we launched in January."
Asked the same question during Wednesday's meeting of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Technical Working Group at police headquarters, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage suggested the current approach is sound, and needs expanding rather than reworking.
"If you look at what we're doing here and look at what's happening all over the world, everyone is trying the same types of strategies. My emphasis is really on prevention," he said.
If public impression is significant, the government must ask itself what kind of image it is creating through the contradictory statements of the three most prominent figures in the fight against crime.
Surely, a significant factor in reducing the fear of crime is encouraging a feeling of confidence in those tasked with maintaining law and order.
Certainly, a less fearful society would be one in which the public believes its leaders have a comprehensive plan to fight crime, are all on the same page, and seem to know what they are doing.
This summer, the Progressive Liberal Party released a tough, innovative and comprehensive plan to fight crime.
We are calling for an updated urban renewal program, implementation of swift justice, a new Operation Cease Fire initiative to break the cycle of violence, and a range of other proposals focused on crime prevention, prosecution, punishment and rehabilitation. The details can be found on our website, at myplp.org.
PLP candidates are also sharing copies of the plan in their constituencies.
We are clear, reducing violence must be a top priority for the nation.
Bahamians could be forgiven for wondering whether the prime minister agrees.
Back from an extended summer vacation, Ingraham finally -- six months after promising to do so -- got around to addressing the nation on crime, and came up with not very much.
The PLP has said that several of the PM's ideas are reasonable and will find support from our party; we are always looking for common ground in the battle against crime.
We also said the proposals in the PM's address were "too little, too late". Perhaps we should have been more emphatic, because the truth is the PM's ideas are much too little, much too late.
With an entire generation and the nation's families at risk, the prime minister proposed $1 million for new social intervention efforts -- $5 million less than his government spent on Miss Universe.
Not the type to accept responsibility for errors, the prime minister left unmentioned the national consensus that his government made a grave mistake when they gutted urban renewal.
The PLP's pioneering program won international awards and, more importantly, broad support from Bahamians who viewed it as a critical tool in the nation's arsenal against crime.
It should be noted, too, that in a recent press conference, DNA Leader Bran McCartney also spoke out against urban renewal.
The DNA's knee-jerk opposition to urban renewal -- and to the PLP's entire Project Safe Bahamas plan which was designed in consultation with law enforcement experts, clergy, and community leaders -- shows that the DNA is not something new and different, just more of the same and not ready for the big time.
Opposing urban renewal for political reasons is not putting Bahamians first.
Our Urban Renewal 2.0 will: cut through red tape and address street-level problems troubling our communities; provide grants for community improvements, empowering residents and civic leaders; introduce a new mentoring program with 50 successful Bahamians from tough backgrounds building relationships with at-risk youth; increase support for faith-based initiatives; strengthen after-school programs, and more.
The FNM ended it; the DNA is on the record against it. The PLP is the only party with the expertise and the intention to implement urban renewal.
The PLP proposes increased funding for drug rehabilitation, safe havens created by the police in conjunction with the clergy, saturation patrols in crime hot spots, "violence breakers" with special training in conflict mediation, and increased surveillance of repeat offenders. On these issues and many more, the prime minister was silent.
The PLP's crime plan will be implemented alongside our extensive plans to expand the Bahamian economy. We've proposed doubling the nation's investment in education and training; we're serious about giving Bahamians the skills they need to compete for and keep sustainable jobs in the 21st century.
We have truly been baffled by the PM's almost nonchalant attitude towards crime; certainly, given the way the FNM operates, Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest's callous and cavalier dismissal of record murder rates as "criminals killing criminals" must have the PM's backing.
For years, the PM has failed to lead in the battle against crime. He used it as an election issue in 2007, and then promptly abandoned the cause. Now, with an election looming, he's once again entered the fray. But he's underestimating Bahamians.
They know that we need a government focused on fighting crime all the time, not just at election time.
PHILIP BRAVE DAVIS, M.P.
PLP Deputy Leader
Police revealed yesterday that armed robberies are on the rise on New Providence.
Superintendent Stephen Dean, who is director of the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s (RBPF) Crime Prevention Office, said at a news conference at Police Headquarters that contractors and sub-contractors at the increasing number of construction projects on the island have become targets for robbers.
Police, however, insisted that 50 percent of robberies could be prevented through the use of personal security measures and awareness.
Dean said contractors and sub-contractors must stop bringing large amounts of cash to job sites to pay workers.
“This will go a long way in minimizing anyone who is thinking ab ...
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
SIXTY-SIX people have been the victims of armed robbery within the past two months - an average of one person per day - it has been revealed.
But police say at least half of these crimes could have been prevented had the victims carried out basic proactive measures.
Personal responsibility is said to be a vital prerequisite of crime prevention.
Supt Stephen Dean, director of the Royal Bahamas Police Force's National Crime Prevention (NCP) office, said: "Opportunity is the key element in crime, reduce the opportunity, reduce crime.
"A lot of these cases were unnecessary and could have been avoided had ...
It is sad and seems so unreal that the human race over the millenniums has inflicted unkindness, violence and injustices upon its very own. It is like a dog eating its own foot off and preventing itself from walking. Millions of men, women and children have painfully, emotionally and physically suffered. Historically, the ones who have suffered the most and been dealt a blow of injustice and pain are the children and women. It was just a few hundred years ago that children were considered no more than "talented toys". At age 11 they were forced to work in factories and dark dungeons, mining coal and working on farms. Today, in many countries around the world, children are still being raped, beaten, used and abused; thus, governments have passed laws to protect the right of children to be safe. It has been 52 years since the women in The Bahamas were allowed to vote. When slaves were freed, soon after, the black man was legally allowed to vote in the United States of America (in some states), but women -- white and black, had to still struggle for equality. It was not until almost six decades later in the USA (1921) that white and black women were given permission to vote. In The Bahamas, it was not until 10 decades later.
Because of the ill treatment of humans, many treaties or conventions have been developed to bring equality, justice and fairness. These conventions, having been created by the United Nations, are to be agreed upon by each member state. It is a shame that we humans have had to develop treaties to remind us what should be so basic and humane -- fair treatment, freedom from violence, equal voice, power, vote, access and opportunity. Here are a few conventions that have been written, simply because of humans being unable to act like humans -- the Conventions on Human Rights; Convention on the Rights of the Child; Convention to Eliminate of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; Convention Against Torture; United Nations Convention Against Corruption; Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
I will share with you excerpts from a few of the conventions or declarations -- notice how basic, yet important, they are. First, I must share the Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women given in 2000. Note how basic they are and how we take such rights for granted.
The fundamental right of Afghan women, as for all human beings, is life with dignity, which includes the following rights:
oThe right to equality between men and women and the right to the elimination of all forms of discrimination and segregation, based on gender, race or religion;
o The right to personal safety and to freedom from torture or inhumane or degrading treatment;
o The right to physical and mental health for women and their children;
o The right to equal protection under the law;
o The right to institutional education in all the intellectual and physical disciplines;
o The right to just and favorable conditions of work;
o The right to move about freely and independently;
o The right to freedom of thought, speech, assembly and political participation;
o The right to wear or not to wear the veil or the chadri;
o The right to participate in cultural activities including theater, music and sports.
Here are a few excerpts from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child
Article 6: Life, survival and development. The right of the child to life and the state's obligation to ensure the child's survival and development.
Article 9: Non-separation from parents. The right of the child to retain contact with his parents in cases of separation. If separation is the result of detention, imprisonment or death the state shall provide the information to the child or parents about the whereabouts of the missing family member.
Article 11: Illicit transfer and non-return of children. The State shall combat child kidnapping by a partner or third party.
Article 18: Parental responsibility. Both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing of the child and assistance shall be given to them in the performance of the parental responsibilities.
Article 19: Abuse and neglect (while in family or care). States have the obligation to protect children from all forms of abuse. Social programs and support services shall be made available.
Article 23: Disabled children. The right to benefit from special care and education for a fuller life in society.
Article 24: Health care. Access to preventive and curative health care services as well as the gradual abolition of traditional practices harmful to the child.
Article 28: Education. The right to free primary education, the availability of vocational educating, and the need for measures to reduce the drop-out rates.
Article 34: Sexual exploitation. Protection of the child from sexual exploitation including prostitution and the use of children in pornographic materials.
Here are a few excerpts from the International Convention on Human Rights
Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 13: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
These conventions really cause one to think. Shouldn't these be so natural for all humans to follow? Unfortunately it has not been the case. What part are you going to play to bring equality, justice, fairness and the illumination of all forms of violence? What are your personal codes for conduct and relating to others?
o Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist, U.S.A. Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org; or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas; or visit www.soencouragement.org; or call 242-327-1980, or 242-477-4002.
SAFETY TIPS FOR SWIMMERS, BOATERS AND DRIVERS
The National Heroes Holiday is usually a day
for family activities which include picnics at the beach, parties,
sailing or cruising around the island and visiting family and
friends.Police would like to encourage residents that are planning
activities at the beach or at other public areas to be extremely
vigilant. Pay close attention to your surroundings and be alert to
suspicious people, activities and vehicles...
Within recent weeks, the loud cries of criminality, gun violence and other forms of lawlessness have emanated from many local neighborhoods around the Greater Toronto Area, where there are noticeable Afro-Canadian Caribbean residents, especially in many of the low income housing complexes owned by the city of Toronto.
Criminality and lawlessness within these neighborhoods is not new, will not subside but is likely to escalate. It is important to stress in this article that similar behavior and activities are quite prevalent in many other communities in North America and Europe. Afro-Canadian and Caribbean neighborhoods in the Greater Toronto Area are not exempt from such conduct although economic disparity could be a contributing factor.
However, the binding and motivated factor is the commitment to hardcore criminality and growing tech savvy skills that are utilized in criminal activities such as lottery scams, extortion, credit frauds, prostitution and indiscriminate use of firearms.
With fairness to the situation in the Greater Toronto Area, many Afro-Canadian Caribbean residents who reside in and out of the housing complexes have expressed opposition and disgust at the criminality and violence because such conduct impacts on the overall community, which is law-abiding. During the recent shooting incidents in the GTA, many residents rose to the occasion and were quite critical of what had occurred and called for intensive police investigations and swift justice. The police have responded and these painstaking investigations are yielding slow results but the criminality continues in different forms.
These unjustified acts of criminality in Toronto by young people within the Afro-Canadian Caribbean community have led to speculation and suspicion about connectivity, deportation of criminals and, of course, family breakdown. Many commentators have linked the criminal conduct as a result of poverty and other social ills.
As a result, the McGuinty administration, through a hopeless minister of children and youth services, has re-entered the fray by providing $20 million for youth initiatives to focus on crime prevention and poverty reduction. This initiative, like many others, is another recipe for disaster and will only fill the coffers of the many financially strapped neighborhood nonprofit organizations. Many mainstream and Canadian-Caribbean groups, including the "faith-communities", will soon cash in on Queen's Park generosity. Criminality in these neighborhoods will continue.
Canadians of Caribbean heritage have long been engaged in conversations pertaining to the deportation of persons from Canada. Many individuals in the Caribbean region have joined in the debate and described Canada's action as inhumane and unwarranted. However, to those who persist to pushing this position, it is incorrect and stems from a total lack of understanding about Canada's immigration policy.
There is no doubt that immigration through family union and other means has resulted in many youth arrivals from different corners of the Caribbean. Many of the young immigrant arrivals immediately join with accomplices who arrived earlier and understand the system. Our young newcomers become so entrenched in the corrupt lifestyle that they fail to remember that becoming a Canadian citizen will afford them greater shielding, especially when they face the justice system. In essence, they remain landed immigrants and when caught and convicted in the act of criminality, the deportation wrath usually steps in.
However, it must be reminded that it is not only young recently landed immigrants who engage themselves in criminality. There are many visitors who have overstayed their time, become engaged in criminal acts, and are caught and convicted. Under existing legislation, there are no alternatives but deportation. We understand the dilemma faced by regional governments when these persons are deported because their criminal conduct continues and, given the weakness of the region's national security structure, their wrongdoings often go undetected.
In defense of the Canadian judicial system, it is reasonably fair and Caribbean landed immigrants caught and convicted for criminal acts are not arbitrarily held and deported. These individuals have the right to appeal their deportations and often exercise such rights. Therefore, in many instances, they are successful with their appeals and are allowed to stay on certain conditions.
Behavior up north
Caribbean governments that continue to whine and make false allegations against the Canadian judicial and immigration system should pause for a moment and give deep thoughts about public safety. While Canada has and will continue to show its generosity to the Caribbean Commonwealth states, it should not be used as an enclave for criminality by immigrants and non-immigrants from the region. Public safety is important to all and it is the responsibility of regional governments and their law enforcement agencies to create and sustain the necessary crime prevention and detection mechanism to deal with returning deportees.
It is understood that deported criminals from Canada, the United States and Europe will always find creative and strategic ways to continue with their criminal efforts. Unfortunately, many of their criminal schemes involve the use and application of various forms of technology that might very well be ahead of our local national security forces. This is why regional governments must prioritize national security training with an emphasis on information technology.
My advice to Caribbean governments is to tone down the rhetoric about deportees from Canada. It is not a policy or legislative issue that they can influence. However, there is the possibility for more timely information sharing about deportees and maybe the region's consular representatives in Canada might wish to explore other efforts that extend beyond Canada's United Nations responsibilities on detained persons.
Let me conclude by saying that Caribbean immigrants to Canada have done well and are of critical value to the mosaic. Many whose children are now Canadians are doing extremely well. An attestation to these comments was clearly demonstrated in the recent London Olympics as many of the visible minorities who represented Canada are of Caribbean heritage.
Caribbean Canadians are contributing to the Canadian economy and exercising their civic engagement responsibilities. A small contingent of criminals and misfits should not depict the overall value of our community. If the criminals and misfits make the decision to survive through criminality and they are caught. They must be prepared to stand up and face the Canadian judicial system, face the possibility of deportation and our Caribbean leaders and begging civil society organizations must stop making apologies and accusing Canada of rights infringement.
This is not the case. Many of the criminals are visitors who have overstayed their time and resorted to criminality. Many of the newly arrived immigrants have failed to shield themselves by not obtaining Canadian citizenship. They have no one to blame. Crime does not pay.
Ian Francis resides in Toronto and is a frequent contributor on Caribbean affairs. He is a former assistant secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Grenada and can be reached at email@example.com.
By REUBEN SHEARER
Tribune Staff Reporter
A TOP police chief has warned armed robbers that his officers are "coming to get them".
Superintendent Stephen Dean, director of the National Crime Prevention Office, yesterday sent a strong message to those responsible for a recent spate of armed robberies on businesses.
At a Police Headquarters press conference, he vowed: "We want them to know that we know who they are, and we are coming to get them.
"Members of the public can rest assured that these prolific offenders' life of crime is running out."
Data from an analysis of the recent attacks reveal the offenders to be a relatively ...