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The families of six victims of the 2010 Lake Killarney plane crash are engaged in settlement talks with several insurance companies, according to the lawyer representing the group.
Devard Francis, an attorney at Laroda Francis & Co, expects the negotiations to conclude as early as April with a financial settlement forthcoming for the bereaved families.
Francis said he was approached by several insurance companies to begin settlement talks in early December 2011, not long after the official accident report was completed.
The report was leaked to the press last November.
"We are at the stage now where we are quantifying and assessing damages and trying to come to a reasonable figure [for] all those families that lost loved ones," the lawyer said.
Francis told The Nassau Guardian that he could not divulge the identities of the parties who were offering the settlement to the families for legal reasons.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace yesterday said that as far as he knew, the government was not involved in the negotiations.
Francis said his clients, many of whom lost breadwinners in the deadly crash, want to get the whole process over with so they can provide for their loved ones.
"The families are anxious for a settlement because most of them have dependants and children who they have to take care of. They have feelings of anxiety to see what the settlements are going to be," he said.
Last year, Francis said the group he represented planned to sue, however he held off from filing a lawsuit once settlement talks began.
Nine men, including pilot Nelson Hanna, were killed on October 5, 2010 when the twin engine Cessna plane they were on crashed into Lake Killarney minutes after takeoff from Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).
The Acklins Blue Air Charter flight was en route to San Salvador to take the men to a Discovery Day weekend festival.
The men onboard the plane died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries from the crash.
They were Clarence Williams, 38; Chet Johnson, 39; Corey Farquharson, 41; Junior Lubin, 23; Devon Storr, 27; Chanoine Mildor, 44; Lavard Curtis, 26; Delon Taylor, 28 and Hanna, 43.
The leaked report, prepared by investigators at the Civil Aviation Department, revealed several contributing factors to the crash.
The 90-page document said Hanna was not certified to operate commercial charter flights; that he and his co-pilot ignored earlier signs that the plane's left engine was faulty and the small plane was more than 500 pounds overweight.
It was also revealed that Hanna turned off the power to his plane's right engine - which showed no mechanical problems - while the plane's left engine was failing, smoking and 150 to 300 feet in the air.
The pilot then turned while the plane's landing gear was down as he tried to return to the runway but the plane stalled, pitched nose down and fell into the lake shortly after 12:30 p.m., the report said.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday encouraged political parties against 'griping' to election observers over issues that Bahamian officials can address.
"One of the things that I hope political parties and the people of The Bahamas do not do when observers come to The Bahamas is to go to them griping about all manner of things that are capable of being resolved by the persons who have to conduct the election because at the end of the day whatever reports are made, good or bad, will reflect upon The Bahamas and whatever political party happens to be in office," said Ingraham in the House of Assembly as he wrapped up debate on amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act.
One of the amendments would allow international groups to oversee the upcoming general election.
"While we certainly encourage political parties to make legitimate and deserved complaints where they can't be resolved by the person who has the legal responsibility to deal with it, we hope that it doesnt' become a place or an opportunity for griping and the feeding of all sorts of bad information about The Bahamas itself," the prime minister said.
Ingraham explained previously how the process will work. He said the observers will be given an opportunity to meet with each political party's candidates, examine election laws and media and work with electoral authorities and citizens' groups.
"We hope that they will learn from us many things and make recommendations to us to help to improve our system and to take some of the things they find in The Bahamas to improve other people's systems," said Ingraham on Wednesday.
He said yesterday the government decided to invite international observers for two reasons.
"We do it because we think it's the right thing to do," he said. "We think it's about time that The Bahamas puts itself in the position where its electoral position can be certified independently by others.
"We also do it on the basis that members opposite, every election they do not win, have an excuse as to why they didn't win it, that something went wrong. Only when they win, everything is fine. When they lose, it's a different matter."
The House of Assembly passed the amendment bill yesterday afternoon.
Another amendment would allow Bahamian students in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados to vote, and another would change the size of ballot boxes for overseas voting so they can fit in the overhead compartments of airplanes.
Speaking on behalf of the opposition, Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage said while he appreciates the amendments, more needs to be done.
He said the government needs to bring amendments to the House of Assembly to make it easier for people to register, make it easier for people to vote, and make it easier to have fair elections.
"And that's all that I want to see," Dr. Nottage said. "We have no problem with the amendments that are brought, but I feel that they do not go far enough."
The Free National Movement (FNM) administration is finishing its parliamentary agenda. The unregistered should take this opportunity to join the voters' list. There is little time left to do so. Those not registered before Parliament is dissolved will not be able to vote.
We have said before that no one should feel pressured to vote, but all eligible voters should register in order to ensure they at least have the option to vote on Election Day.
Much will happen in the weeks and months to come that will affect your perception of the parties and the political process. Information may be revealed, changing your impression of a politician; a new candidate you like may enter the race; a party might bring forward a policy position you think necessary and urgent.
All of these things could happen suddenly. If you are not registered, you will not be able to make your vote count. It does not hurt to register.
It is now a cliché to say "every vote counts". But it is true.
In the February 2010 Elizabeth by-election, Dr. Duane Sands was ahead the night of the election by one vote; after the recount Dr. Sands was up two votes; after the Elizabeth Election Court case, Ryan Pinder won by three votes. Every vote will count in many constituencies in 2012 - especially in New Providence.
With the FNM winning just under 50 percent of the vote in the 2007 general election and it only defeating the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) by just under 4,000 votes, the Bahamian electorate has been closely divided between the two parties for the past five years.
In this environment, it is reasonable to suggest that the next government of The Bahamas will be decided on slim margins in New Providence swing seats.
This election another party is in the contest - the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) led by Branville McCartney. Bahamians will have the major parties, some marginal groups and numerous independents to choose from.
This is more than the people of Cuba can choose from. This is more than the people of North Korea can choose from. This is more than the people of Iran can choose from. We must take seriously the freedom to choose our leaders and at least consider voting.
Sometimes, it is fine to just choose the best of a weak group of prospects. Casting a vote for a PLP, FNM or DNA does not mean that you support the party. It might just mean that you think the party, the candidate or its leader is the best of the bunch. That person may not be your ideal candidate, but he may be good enough to earn your vote.
Many in modern western democracies are too busy having a good time to think about issues of governance. The latest smartphone, top, piece of jewelry or song occupy the focus of too many people. The leaders of a country directly influence if there is prosperity or hardship; if there are safe communities or if there is fear; if there is freedom or if there is tyranny.
We must all watch the process. We are the guardians of our own freedoms. We must be sure that the people who work for us are capable and qualified.
An election nears. Get registered.
John Bain is the managing director of John S. Bain Chartered Forensic Accountants, a boutique firm specializing in investigative reporting, fraud, asset recovery and bankruptcy proceedings. According to the International Association of Asset Recovery, Bain is among the first 40 candidates worldwide to be certified as a specialist in this area.
Guardian Business: What is the biggest challenge facing your business or sector? What measures need to be taken in The Bahamas to solve it?
John: I practice as a forensic accountant. The major challenge I face is that most people - even professionals - don't know what a forensic accountant is. In a nutshell, we assist attorneys, individuals and companies involved in civil litigation matters that involve money. We may have to trace accounts to settle partnership disputes, land issues, insolvency or determine legitimacy of a creditor's claim. The official definition of forensic accounting given by the Forensic Accounting Academy is: "The art and science of investigating people and money."
The second challenge is the delays in the court system and judges being unaware of the value of our services. The recent appointment of former civil litigators to the Supreme Court has helped tremendously because we now have persons who not only understand what we do, but appreciate the value we add to ruling on civil matters. A further strengthening of the civil division of the bench would assist us.
GB: How has your business or sector changed since the financial crisis?
John: I am almost always involved in contentious issues. My services are only called upon in disputes, whether it is a divorce matter and I am appointed to verify the assets and income of one of the parties, or whether a company is in trouble and requires restructuring or the appointment of a receiver. In tough economic times, minimizing fraud becomes even more important. Disputing parties want to know the truth about previous financial transactions. Recently, we had inquiries on elder abuse (financially) where trustees and others appointed to fiduciary relationships with elderly persons have been systematically ripping them off by using their assets in ways that they were not contracted to do.
GB: Can you describe a life experience that changed how you approach your work today?
John: I am a qualified accountant and I have been fortunate enough to have multiple certifications. It was not always this way. I was always a good student, but the first time I took an accounting class at the College of The Bahamas, my Alma Matter, I got an "F" grade. This was shocking because this was the first time I ever failed a class. So I was determined to do it again and get an A. I repeated the class, studied hard, attended all lectures and when the term ended, I got a "D" grade. I had met my match. This changed how I approach my work today. That was the beginning of my track to master the subject of accounting.
This was a humbling experience. I had to start from scratch and get to know a topic inside and out in order to pursue one of the most difficult paths to becoming a Chartered Accountant. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) examinations based in the UK is known to be one of the most difficult accounting examinations in the world and they consistently have the lowest pass rate, as low as 2 percent for first attempts and about 30 percent overall, including repeats. Passing the ACCA examinations gave me the confidence to take and pass other international certifications.
I use the same approach in passing those exams in my approach to my work. I put in long hours and I am thorough and detailed when constructing and writing my Forensic Reports.
GB: What are you currently reading?
John: I am reading "How Math Explains the World" by Professor James D. Stein. I am simultaneously reading "Forensic Analytics" by Professor Mark J. Nigrini. The second book goes deeply into Bedford's Law, a mathematical system of interpreting numbers, especially when looking for fraud. It's hardly bedtime reading for most but I love the absoluteness of math.
GB: Has the high cost of energy hurt your business? What solutions have you initiated or considered to combat it?
John: The high cost of energy has not only increased the cost of my business, but also the businesses of my clients who continually try to negotiate fee reductions. The solutions to this problem are not rocket science. We currently depend on fossil fuel for energy. We need an energy solution that is dependent on several alternatives, including solar, ocean, wind or any other alternative forms of energy available. We have been too slow to react and too comfortable doing things the way they have always been done.
GB: If you could change one thing concerning business in The Bahamas, what would it be?
John: We are not preparing our children for tomorrow's world. I believe the study of computer science is just as important as mathematics and English and should be a mandatory part of every school curriculum, starting at the earliest grades. Although there are computers in classrooms or in most school labs now, they are not used effectively. Computer science is not a luxury; it is essential knowledge for the 21st century.
GB: What keeps you grounded? Do you have any major interests other than work?
John: My family keeps me grounded. Having young children means that I must do what I can to remain healthy for their sakes.
In addition to working full time and teaching part time, I am also a member of the board of directors of The Ranfurly Homes For Children. We have some real challenges there, so my extra time is dedicated to improving the home and the lives of our children there.
GB: What should young businesses keep in mind in this current economic climate to survive?
John: A lot of businesses are operated as petty shops where the owners do not separate their personal lives from that of their business. We should realize that the business is a separate entity. We should capture our costs and record them, as well as our income. There are low cost accounting systems that can be easily implemented. The devil is in the details when it comes to business.
The Free National Movement's (FNM) Bamboo Town candidate, Cassius Stuart, said it took Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie eight months to respond to him when he was deciding which party he would join.
Stuart said he reached out to the heads of the two major parties after his crushing loss in the 2010 Elizabeth by-election.
The former leader of the now disbanded Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM) said he was "tired of losing" and was set to abandon his political hopes.
After advice from his wife, Stuart said he contacted Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Christie.
"Shortly after the last by-election, I made the decision to leave frontline politics after being unsuccessful on three occasions as the leader of the BDM," said Stuart yesterday at the official unveiling ceremony for the Free National Movement's election candidates at the Wyndham Nassau Resort.
"I said to [my wife] I can't do the third party thing [any] more because I don't like to lose. So the idea was to look at both the FNM and the PLP."
He said Ingraham contacted him in an hour while Christie did not respond until eight months later.
Stuart said this was indicative of the major leadership styles of the two men.
"There is a big difference between this party and that party. There is a big difference between [the FNM's] leader and that leader," he said.
"I sent messages to both Ingraham and Christie. Mr. Christie took eight months to call me back. Mr. Ingraham took one hour. FNMs now you tell me what leader I should work with."
In April 2011, after a 13-year turn in politics, the BDM dissolved and most of its members joined the FNM.
During his time in the BDM, Stuart was a harsh critic of the policies of both the PLP and the FNM.
He took part in protests against the sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) last year.
His former party previously said both the FNM and PLP failed the nation when it came to policies on education.
Stuart will face off against DNA leader Branville McCartney, Renward Wells of the PLP and independent candidate Craig Butler in Bamboo Town.
Wells was once a part of the National Development Party (NDP).
Wednesday 14th July 2010
Each & Every Wednesday - Free Jello Shots - Illusions Drink Specials all nite 3 For $10 or 1 for $4 Guiness $2.50 All Nite Admission: FREE Where: Nassau Street, Opposite Shoal Restaurant For more parties, concerts and club events click here
Last week we reviewed what we believe will be the 'sexy' general election races to watch in New Providence, namely Bamboo Town, Montagu and Fort Charlotte.
This week we would like to Consider This...are there any 'sexy' or especially thought-provoking campaigns that should be more closely watched in the Family Islands? We can think of several and suggest that those worth watching closely are Long Island, The Exumas and Ragged Island and both Andros seats.
Long Island has traditionally been a seat where men have dominated that island's politics. If Loretta Butler-Turner, the FNM's candidate, wins there, she will score a historic achievement because there has never been a female Member of Parliament on Long Island. Whether her claim that her grandmother, Sir Milo Butler's wife Lady Caroline, is from Long Island will be sufficient to gain her the victory remains to be seen. It is more likely that her party affiliation will play a greater role in her successful bid than any familial connection to the island.
Mario Cartwright possibly represents the DNA's best chance for winning a seat in the upcoming foray. Mario was born on Long Island, lives there and is a known quantity. His father ran for the PLP on Long Island and whether he is able to succeed where his father did not remains to be seen.
Alex Storr, the PLP's Long Island standard bearer, is neither from there nor does the PLP have a track record of successfully convincing Long Islanders that a PLP should represent them. He has a challenge ahead for his candidacy to gain sufficient traction in order to prevail.
Mangrove Cay and South Andros
None of the candidates in Mangrove Cay and South Andros provide any real inspiration to the people there. Picewell Forbes, the incumbent PLP Member of Parliament, has not been particularly star-studded in Parliament, and his representation of that constituency during the last five years has been lackluster.
Ronald Bosfield, the FNM's standard bearer and the winner of the by-election in 1997, will best be remembered during his last outing as a nondescript and uninspiring sleeper.
Whitney Bastian, the independent candidate and one-term Member of Parliament for South Andros, also has considerable challenges to conquer.
Wayde Forbes Ferguson, the DNA candidate, is as generally unknown as the other candidates are uninspiring. None of the candidates are thrilling prospects for the people of the constituency that was long-represented by Sir Lynden, who, despite his notable national contributions and legacy, left little of note for his constituents during his many years as their representative. The race in Mangrove Cay and South Andros will, perhaps more than any other, represent a melee of the mediocre.
North Andros and the Berry Islands
The exceptionally impressive candidates in North Andros are at polar opposites to their colleagues in South Andros. Each of the offerings for the three major parties is remarkable in his own right. Captain Randy Butler (DNA), Dr. Perry Gomez (PLP) and Desmond Bannister (FNM) are all stellar candidates, so impressive that it could cause one to wonder in amazement as to whether, at least in the case of the two major parties, the candidates in North Andros were selected by the same persons who chose their South Andros counterparts.
Given his impressive ministerial performance over the past five years, Desmond Bannister is the candidate to beat. He is perhaps the best candidate that the FNM has ever fielded in that constituency although he has taken a calculated risk of abdicating what would have been a safe seat for him in Carmichael. Desmond Bannister was born in Staniard Creek, grew up there and in Mastic Point and has strong family ties in the constituency, which he hopes will contribute to his success.
Dr. Perry Gomez is a prominent medical doctor who is best known for his sustained efforts in the battle against AIDS in The Bahamas. His roots go deep in the Berry Islands and he also hopes that this fact will not be lost on the voters of North Andros.
Captain Randy Butler, the DNA candidate, is a high profile aviation businessman who heads up SkyBahamas and represents the kind of individual who would bring tremendous business experience to Parliament and governance.
This race will be very interesting to watch, although we think that Desmond Bannister presently has the advantage.
The Exumas and Ragged Island
The PLP's candidate for The Exumas and Ragged Island, Anthony Moss, who is the parliamentary incumbent, is also lackluster, does not excite the voter and has spent a 'sleepy' decade in Parliament. His selection is shrouded in controversy and some of the island's stalwart PLP supporters still question whether the selection process was open, transparent and democratic. Whether some of the prominent PLP stalwarts on Exuma will support him will be an important factor in how that contest will be played out. George Smith's views about Moss' parliamentary performance and his electability are well-known and to what extent the party leadership will attempt to reconcile with Smith's views and that of other noted PLP supporters on Exuma who disagree with Moss' candidacy will be revealing.
Phenton Neymour, the current FNM Member of Parliament for South Beach has apparently determined that he has been a failed MP in that constituency and has opted to move to Exuma for fear that he might not be re-elected in South Beach. Notwithstanding this, Neymour is personable, outgoing and confident and the FNM party machinery will be in full gear for his candidacy.
Floyd Armbrister, the DNA's candidate, was born in Steventon, Exuma and is a bright, talkative, aggressive individual who will likely take votes from disgruntled and disaffected PLPs.
Reginald Smith, the independent candidate, is a former ZNS broadcaster, and is currently a realtor on Exuma. He is smart, affable, and speaks with a rich accent. Born in Georgetown, he is an attractive candidate who promises to raise the standard of debate and speak to the vision that Exuma could play an important role in the development of a modern Bahamas.
The contest in The Exumas and Ragged Island is shaping up to be a race best described as one where it appears that the voters don't like what they have and are not confident of what they might get. The outcome will depend on whether the candidates can count on party loyalties and how the significant number of workers from Long Island who have moved into the Exuma Cays since the last general election will influence the vote.
The stage has been set and the only truism is that "it ain't long now"! It will be interesting to see, despite the candidates who have already been presented, whether there will be last minute adjustments in candidates for any number of presently unforeseen reasons. The only critical date for concretizing any uncertainty in that regard is nomination day. Nonetheless, there are many sexy races, and in the words of a fallen master politician, "The world is watching"!
oPhilip 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.
I was surfing the web recently and my search led me to September 2005. This was when there was much uproar in the Free National Movement (FNM) with regard to its leadership. Tommy Turnquest was the leader of the party and Alvin Smith was the party's leader in the House of Assembly. Turnquest was a senator at the time.
On Tuesday, September 27, 2005, the dailies reported that there was a move within the FNM to replace Smith and Turnquest with Hubert Ingraham as party leader in the House and as leader of the party. Turnquest told the press that Ingraham assured him that this was absolutely not true and that he had Ingraham's support. He said that Ingraham was his friend. On Thursday, September 29, 2005 the FNM council voted 88 to 40 in Ingraham's favor as leader of the FNM. This was a resounding defeat for Turnquest from his friend who days earlier assured him that he was not seeking to return to power.
Turnquest did not bicker publicly but went on in support of Ingraham and the FNM, who won the 2007 general election by a slight margin over the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Ingraham did say earlier that he only wanted two terms in office but as he said, the people requested his return. Turnquest won his seat and is now minister of national security, arguably the second or third most important post in government.
During the by-election for Elizabeth, leaked cables posted by WikiLeaks stated Cassius Stuart, former leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM), refered to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, leader of the FNM, as Robert Mugabe and Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former Zimbabwean dictator and former Haitian president, respectively. Stuart also said that he could not align himself with any of the political parties because he felt that "endemic corruption" resided in both. Stuart is now the FNM's candidate for Bamboo Town and he assured the public during his official joining of the FNM that the next five years is for us.
Dr. Andre Rollins, former leader of the National Development Party (NDP), was in my view an up-and-coming champion of the people. He fought valiantly in the Elizabeth by-election and exposed improper governance tendencies in the FNM and the PLP. I always wonder how the political landscape would be like today had he stayed on his course. He is now a PLP candidate for Fort Charlotte.
Philip Russell was a Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate for Freeport. He said that the DNA was a party of change and that change is now. His ratification was revoked by the DNA. He is now the Bahamas Constitution Party's candidate for East Grand Bahama.
There have been many other political moves in Bahamian politics that are food for thought. Dr. B.J. Nottage left the Coalition for Democratic Reform + Labor (CDR) to return to the PLP. In one of Dr. Nottage's speeches in 2002 while leader of the CDR, he said, "The PLP, which has had its turn governing the Bahamas for 25 years, appears still not to have reformed itself internally and the question that you must ask yourself, therefore, is whether they can be entrusted to bring the urgent and necessary reforms needed at the national level."
Charles Maynard and Phenton Neymour left the CDR and joined the FNM. They are both now ministers in the government. Renward Wells left the NDP and Rodney Moncur dissolved the Workers Party. They are now candidates for the PLP and the DNA, respectively. Dr. Madlene Sawyer left the PLP because she was not nominated and is now a candidate for the DNA.
Branville McCartney left the FNM to form and become leader of the DNA. Perry Christie left the PLP in 1984 and returned in 1990 where he eventually became the party's leader. Hubert Ingraham was fired from the PLP amid tears and he joined the FNM in a deal that made him leader of the party. In 1984, Ingraham and Christie were not happy with allegations of corruption in the PLP that had led to international attention and they spoke out against this. They ran as independents in the 1987 general election and won. Isn't it ironic that these same men who spoke out are now battling again for the leadership of The Bahamas?
They showed the courage that appears to be lacking on a national level today. Is this something that our current politicians, who seem to say "yes sir" at all manner of things, can learn from?
I would ask the "yes, yes" politicians if they don't find it odd that there are no clear leadership successors to Christie or Ingraham? This has to be especially difficult for Tommy Turnquest, who despite his unwavering loyalty to the FNM finds himself in a quandary. Christie and Ingraham did not last in politics for over 35 years because they always said yes sir. History will show where they challenged their leadership when it was evident that something wrong was amiss.
History hasn't been kind to Dr. B.J. Nottage, as all his leadership bids in the PLP were unsuccessful. Will it bode well again for Phenton Neymour and Charles Maynard? Will it bode well for Branville McCartney, who historically took a similar stance as Christie and Ingraham by going against the status quo? Will it bode well for Renward Wells, Cassius Stuart, Dr. Andre Rollins and Rodney Moncur, whose voices have been silenced on the public scene?
We are at a crossroads in our history and this election I believe will be one for the ages. No matter who wins the next general election, staunch representation will be needed to get The Bahamas on the right track and to truly empower Bahamians.
- Dehavilland Moss
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts revealed yesterday while on a talk show that the Christie administration has met a budget deficit of around $500 million. It was expected that the deficit would be around $314 million.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis confirmed the figure when he spoke to The Nassau Guardian yesterday. Davis blamed the Free National Movement (FNM) government's "mismanagement" and "abuse" of the public purse.
The FNM argued that it spent to keep the economy afloat during these tough economic times and that when it was in power it invested in infrastructure to prepare The Bahamas to take advantage of the economic recovery to come.
The new reality of the debt situation faced by the PLP administration will make closing the deficit even more of a priority than the party thought when it was on the campaign trail. This large deficit should also make the governing party and the citizenry aware that some of what was promised by the party my have to be delayed.
When reasonable political parties put together manifestos before elections they should do so based on the perceived economic conditions of the times. If elected, and the times remain as assumed, then the party should follow through on what was promised. However, when conditions are significantly worse than projected by the party, a reasonable group should go back to the table of consideration and determine how responsibly to carry out the party's agenda with fewer resources than expected.
It would be foolhardy and irresponsible for an administration to spend like it is in good times when it is not. Such behavior would make the country's fiscal situation worse.
Greece is in a depression because of the poor management of its affairs by successive governments. Other European countries are facing bankruptcy for the same reason. For these countries, they are at the beginning of a lost decade during which the quality of the lives of their peoples will be much worse than it was a decade before.
Davis added that the Christie administration will likely have to borrow a little over $500 million in the 2012/2013 fiscal year as a result of the previous administration's spending. We wonder if the full scope of the New Providence roadwork borrowing is factored into that $500 million figure. If not, it will increase.
The Bahamian economy has had a rough few years. In 2007 the unemployment rate was 8.7 percent. In 2008, the year of the financial crisis, the jobless rate rose to 14.2 percent. Unemployment was last measured at 15.9 percent.
The Bahamian people must realize that the government's primary responsibility now is to create an environment for investment and job creation, and to control government spending and manage our national debt situation. Politicians should be discouraged from wasteful spending.
We are now hearing dribs and drabs of information on the country's fiscal situation from various politicians. It will be interesting to listen to the minister of finance present the full situation in a few weeks during the budget communication. Bahamians should listen carefully and come to terms with what the new administration can reasonably do as our borrowing capacity lessens due to the significant amounts borrowed since 2008.
Five full days of activities are planned for the 19th staging of the Anglican Schools Festival in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
The all-out battle between the four Anglican high schools in the country, which was previously just a track and field meet, has branched off to include elocution, spelling, music, cheerleading and other sporting disciplines such as swimming, basketball, softball and soccer. Bishop Michael Eldon School will host the highly anticipated showdown set for February 8-12 in Freeport. The host Warriors will be joined by the St. John's College Giants and the St. Anne's Blue Waves out of New Providence, and the newest Anglican school in the country, St. Andrew's, in Exuma.
"We're delighted to be putting on the festival because it is a means of fellowship for the students, staff and parents of all of the schools," said Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in The Bahamas Laish Boyd. "It's a massive undertaking and we are very grateful to our Anglican educational department for putting it together. Interaction of this caliber fosters family togetherness. It challenges our young people to be at their best in a number of disciplines, and we are looking forward to a wonderful time together in Grand Bahama as an Anglican school family."
The opening ceremony of the five-day meet is set for Wednesday February 8, at 9 a.m., inside the Bishop Michael Eldon Auditorium. At that time, the Venerable Harry Bain, archdeacon of the Northern Bahamas and rector of the Pro-Cathedral of Christ The King, in Freeport, will be recognized for his contribution to the Bishop Michael Eldon School (formerly Freeport Anglican High) where he served as principal, from 1989-1998. The swimming competition will get underway at 12 noon that day, and the spelling competition will wrap up the day's activities, at 6 p.m. that evening.
On Thursday February 9, the elocution contest will get things started at 9 a.m., the junior boys and senior girls will engage in preliminary softball competition, at 11 a.m., at the Grand Bahama (GB) Sports Complex, the basketball championships will get underway, at 3 p.m., at the St. George's gymnasium, and the cheerleading competition will close out day two of the meet.
As for that Friday, the soccer competition will get the ball rolling with a scheduled 9 a.m. start at the Bishop Michael Eldon soccer field, the finals of the junior boys and senior girls softball competition is set to begin at 11 a.m., and the track and field portion of the meet - 3,000 meters (m), 5,000m, 4x400m, high jump, triple jump and discus - will occur at the GB Sports Complex, starting at 3 p.m. Later that evening, a student social will be held inside the auditorium.
On Saturday, track and field will continue at the GB Sports Complex, starting at 10 a.m., and a staff social is planned for later that night, at 7 p.m. inside the auditorium.
The meet will close out on Sunday with a church service at the Christ The King Anglican Church, in Freeport, Grand Bahama, starting at 10 a.m., and a 'Festival of Fine Arts' competition, getting underway, at 3 p.m. inside the school auditorium.
All of the Anglican schools will be closed on Friday, February 10, and organizers are encouraging alumni and parents to attend this year's event.
"We are really looking forward to this event," said Dr. Judith Tynes-Jones, director of the Anglican Central Education Authority (ACEA). "We are encouraging all of the old scholars to come out and support this event. We're just looking for a wonderful time where we could work on children spiritually, academically, physically, emotionally and socially. We are looking at developing the whole child," she added.
Dr. Tynes-Jones said that what the event does, is foster school spirit, and brings students and staff together as an Anglican community. The objective is to get the respective parties working together on the whole child. The Anglican social gathering rotates on an annual basis between New Providence, Grand Bahama and Exuma. The principal of the oldest school in the diocese, St. John's College (SJC), Antoinette Storr said that her SJC Giants will be coming with a full team, ready to bring the overall title back to the 'Land of the Giants'.
"As the lead school, we expect to come back with the championship. We expect to annihilate the competition," said Storr. "I think that we have a very balanced team. For the first time, we will be allowing our choir to compete. We have a very powerful choir, and that is going to be launched this time. We also plan to do a very good job in elocution, and of course, we are always strong in spelling and sports.
"What we are intending to accomplish is camaraderie among the students - the rapport. We want the children to really get together and have a good time - interact with each other through sports, elocution and the other areas. We are going to promote what Anglican schools always do - promote wholeness in the development of all of our children."
St. John's College has been in existence since 1947. The school will have its annual 'Mardi Gras' under the theme, 'Celebrating 65 years of Excellence', the following weekend at the school's Bethel Avenue campus.
As for the other Anglican school in New Providence, St. Anne's School Principal Cynthia Wells said that her entire school is motivated to re-capture the championship it last held in 2006.
"All of the students are being encouraged to play their roles to the best of their abilities, and cheer for their team," said Wells. "We're normally very strong in elocution, cheerleading and softball. We have a strong basketball team as well, and this year, we expect our track team to make a very good showing. The camaraderie is what is important though. You are supposed to come away from the festival having made a new friend in each of the schools and that is our intention," she added.
The St. Andrew's team is expected to charter a Bahamasair flight to the nation's second city for the event, while the Giants and St. Anne's Blue Waves are planning separate boat excursions. Parents and old scholars are asked to contact the respective schools to organize their travel arrangements.