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By PAUL G TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
REPRESENTATIVES from the National Development Party and the Bahamas Democratic Movement were scheduled to meet again last night at the home of Independent MP Branville McCartney as plans for the formation of a third-party alliance continues to take root.
On Tuesday night, Mr McCartney held discussions with representatives of both third parties where more than 100 persons were said to have gathered to discuss a way forward for third-party politics.
At the meeting, NDP chairman Renward Wells said it did not appear as if the Bamboo Town MP was inclined to join their organisation. In fact Mr Wells said Mr McCartney appeared mor ...
Friday 3rd August 2012 6:00 PM
Beach Club Cafe Happy Hour Every Friday 6-9pm DJ Yiorgo's Beach Club Cafe West Bay St 1/2 Priced Appetizers with the purchase of Heineken Buckets Opened in May 2007, the Beach Club Cafe serves local, seasonal food in a relaxed seaside setting that makes us a perfect spot for parties, weddings or intimate dinners on our private pier on Sandyport Beach, Bahamas. Please visit the Cafe Boutique and discover original crafts made by local artisans and from around the world.
Calling Monday's general election "free and fair", the Organization of American States (OAS) electoral observation mission yesterday offered four preliminary recommendations to The Bahamas government after monitoring the country's electoral process.
The OAS team recommended the "adoption of a legal framework on the financing of political parties and campaigns in order to enhance the accountability, transparency and equity of the democratic process".
The team also recommended the process of redrawing constituency boundaries and the membership of the Boundaries Commission be independent of the government.
This recommendation was also an issue visited in the 2002 referendum.
The majority of Bahamians polled (57,291) voted against the creation of an independent Boundaries Commission, with 30,903 voting in favor of it.
The mission also encouraged the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB) to "provide access to all political parties and candidates in a free, fair and independent manner".
The mission also encouraged political parties to incorporate more women in leadership positions and as candidates.
"[The year 2012] marks the 50th anniversary of women's suffrage in The Bahamas," said Alfonso Quinonez, chief of the mission for the observation team.
"For this election there were, 18,574 more women than men registered as voters. However, the increased participation of women as voters has not yet translated into other key areas of political participation. Only 22 out of the 133 candidates for this election were women."
Former prime minister and Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Hubert Ingraham noted on the campaign trail that women would be a deciding factor in the election.
This was the first time that outside observers were invited to monitor an election in The Bahamas.
Teams from the OAS and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) were at various polling divisions on Monday.
Quinonez said it was an honor to observe the general election and noted that his team monitored 30 constituencies on election day.
"OAS international observers visited 189 polling stations throughout election day," he told reporters.
"In all observed cases police were present and helpful to ensure a peaceful atmosphere. Voter participation was high and estimated at 88 percent."
Quinonez pointed out that the mission would soon present to the OAS permanent council a detailed report that would be made available on the OAS' website.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce's president yesterday urged all relevant parties to "work out finally once and for all" a long-term solution to Freeport's over-the-counter bonded goods regime, adding that Customs' demand for a National Insurance Board (NIB) letter had caused some retailers' sales to slump by 40 per cent during the first two months of 2011.
Speaking to Tribune Business from Minneapolis, on his way back from the Government/private sector trade and investment promotion tour to Canada, Mr Turnquest praised the Ingraham administration for acting in the interests of Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) licencees, ...
Motherhood is one of the most treasured experiences on the planet. Many women will bear children, but not everyone will manage to have that special bond that can only exist between a mother and her child.
Stepping into parenthood is not something a woman should take lightly, and being able to establish a healthy relationship with a child is not always the easiest thing. Many mothers raise their young children with the best intentions, but the love they may have shared in the early part of their relationship can sometimes be strained, or even completely lost over time. The main cause of many poor relationships between mother and child is often the parent's inability to transition into the person their child needs at the various stages of their life that includes mother and youngster, mother and teen, and mother and adult, according to family and relationship counselor, Camille Bullard.
Mother and youngster
When a child is first born until he is a pre-teen the mother is supposed to be the child's guardian, protector and guide. While it is important to be as loving and understanding as possible during these early years, the relationship counselor said a clearly defined line between oneself and the child is essential. And that setting boundaries for the child at this point will allow him or her to firmly trust in you and understand without a doubt the way things are meant to be. Allowing there to be a gray area at this stage should not happen because the child will keep pushing the boundaries and, upon seeing that there aren't any, will result in having a healthy and respectful relationship between mother and child more difficult.
"One cannot just decide to be fun and carefree one day and no-nonsense the next. Consistency from early in the child's life is essential because it will establish the foundation for the future relationship a mother will have with her child," said Bullard. "This means that whether it is your son or daughter, as a mother you have to be a firm, yet loving authoritarian. This is a hard thing to balance as you don't want your child to fear you, but you also don't want to instinctively give in to their demands particularly when they are young. But the saying goes that you must bend the tree while it's young ... and it couldn't be more true, especially when it comes to raising children today."
Having a double standard can also plant the seed to ruin relationships between a mother and her children. She said, often times a mother can be strict with their daughters but leave their sons to their own devices. They don't ensure that what works for one child goes for the other, and that this can leave a lasting impact later on in a child's life, particularly in how they regard the mother.
"All relationships should be based on trust, understanding, honesty and equality. Which means that although your child might be young, you should always treat the relationship professionally. You shouldn't favor one child over the other even if you love one a bit more. It can cause unnecessary discord that can last well into adulthood. If you allow your sons to go about on their own, you are putting them at a disadvantage because they are still immature, and girls can resent you for not trusting them enough to do simple things they feel ready for."
The therapist said it is also important to not pretend to love your children too much to discipline them. She said there has to be some repercussions for good and bad behavior. If a child does well, she encourages mothers to praise them, and to feel free to give hugs, kisses and show love, because even if the child is two or three, she said it would stay in their subconscious that they are loved and doing well is rewarded.
She also said when children perform poorly that should also be highlighted so children know not to do it again. She said it does not mean that parents need to be harsh with them or quick tempered, but rather patient and provide the consistency children need to understand how to do a new task effortlessly.
"A mother can damage her relationship with her child by being harsh with him too often. The child learns early to be afraid of her, to lie to her to cover up failures or wrongdoings, to do whatever they can to not be around her because she is not a warm or inviting person," said the relationship counselor. "Even when you are angry as a mother it is essential to be gentle and firm with the child. Find a way to establish that you are upset and disappointed, be it through punishment or talking to the child at length about what he did. But do not curse or row the child endlessly. This stunts the growth of the relationship."
Although parents want children to be obedient at an early age, it is just as important for them to allow a child to learn to express themselves healthily when angry, sad or happy. This will allow the child to learn to be open later in life about how they feel and how to deal with negative feelings constructively.
"The most important thing for mothers to do is to always let their child know they are loved. Youngsters will not always understand or appreciate fully when they are shown love. They may know they are loved but hearing it is just as important. If they know they have someone who loves them at home they are less likely to search for affection and love outside of the home." she said.
Mother and teen
The next stage of motherhood comes during the child's teenage years and they become more independent and opinionated. According to Bullard, at this point, a mother is no longer meant to be the strict authoritarian. She is instead supposed to be more of a guide.
"This is not to say to let children do what they want to. Rather as a teenager, a child has their own ideas and wants to explore in their own way; you are there to guide them as they venture out. You have to be that force that tells them no or go. You can't treat them the same way as you did when they were children, but you still have to be firm with them. They will want to go to parties or out to different places, so you have to be there to teach them what makes a good choice from a bad one. You are there to teach them how to form their own ideas and even suffer the consequences at times."
As children get deeper into adolescence, the counselor said mothers need to start getting out of their child's way. She encouraged mothers to allow their children to be individuals, while still being strict so they don't lose their way. She said holding tightly onto their child at this stage compared to when they were children will only frustrate the child and cause resentment towards a mother.
"This stage of your child's upbringing is about lessons and letting them taste life on their own at times. Still keep a rein on them but this is the time they want to prove themselves and as a parent you should let them," said Bullard. "Trusting them to go to a party alone and behave in the way they were brought up is a risk, but as a parent you have to let them go at some point. Not trusting them can cause them to stay dependent on you for longer than necessary and for some it can become a bone of contention that they will not let go of even later in life."
During their teen years is also a good time to teach teens about delayed gratification, according to the counselor. With children she said mothers may get away with saying say no or yes to a request without explanation, but with a teen she said it is important to them involved in decision making.
"Sometimes it is necessary to let the child know that honestly the family is unable to cover the cost of an outing or trip they may want to go on. This may result in the child understanding and accepting the decision, suggesting ways to earn the money to be able to go or some will take longer to fully grasp the concept. Being honest with the child and giving him a glimpse of how he is able to live in comfort is a conversation a mother should have with her child. Using this stage in the relationship to reveal the realities of life is a good idea," said Bullard. "You can't let them assume money grows on trees and everything in life is free. You want to be open with them so they can be open with you."
She encouraged mothers to talk to their children about sex, money management, how they lived as a child and what they like and don't like. She said parents aren't being a friend to their children yet, but are showing them that they are human and that they understand. At the same time, she said, they are preparing their children for the real world.
"If you don't use this time wisely, when they are ready to leave home they will not be as ready as they should be," she said.
Mother and adult
Adulthood -- the stage of a mother's relationship with her child that lasts the longest, and at which point a mother can finally be her child's friend. It is during this time that mothers are supposed to let go and see their children soar. At this stage a mother's duty is not to be an interloper, but a guide only when asked, even though for mothers it is natural to want to continue to give advice, and push the child. But according to Bullard, this is no longer a mother's job. The counselor says that hopefully by this stage a child should have the right level of responsibility and stickability to leave home and make it on their own.
"You have given the child a minimum of 18 years of strictness and advice. It is up to them to do what they want to do. You can only suggest what may be best, but at this stage your advice is rarely wanted. Children will go through a stage in their adulthood when they will want to do things on their own completely and you should let them unless they are totally going in the wrong direction. Only then do you step in and try to make suggestions, but do not push. Your role now is to advise, guide and console."
The counselor said the best way for mothers to transition into this last phase is by seeing themselves as gardeners who have planted seeds, watered them, fertilized them, deweeded them and put posts in the ground to influence their upward growth. She said after all is said and done, at a certain point it is essential to just step back and let nature take its course.
"As a gardener one only looks back at the young tree as its roots deepen, but the time for constant care is over. Only in great drought or danger will the gardener water the now grown tree. But otherwise it is up to the tree to find ways to keep itself standing tall. This is the same way with children who are grown. Mothers should step back and not intervene unless asked. And at this stage, if there are any bad feelings between mother and child it should be resolved. You both are adults and can try to understand each other more profoundly," said Bullard. "It's not about exerting authority, but about making repairs to a relationship that could never be repaired before. Being able to say sorry is something you won't feel bad about anymore because you can finally have another kind of relationship with your child. At this point it is still important to say 'I am here for you if you need help.' Still praise them for wanting to move and launch out on their own. Be an open ear and shoulder for them. You are now an advisor."
If families are still struggling to repair their relationship despite individual efforts, getting professional counselling be it from a minister or a counselor may be necessary, according to Bullard.
By TANEKA THOMPSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THERE is little chance that incumbent Bamboo Town MP Branville McCartney will win his seat in the next election in a face-off against the two major political parties, predicted former area representative Tennyson Wells.
In fact, Mr Wells expects a candidate from the Opposition Progressive Liberal Party to come out victorious in Bamboo Town based on perceived public disappointment with the governing Free National Movement.
"If he runs as an independent and the PLP run and the FNM run he will lose. If it's a three-way fight the PLP will win it," Mr Wells told The Tribune yesterday.
The former attorney general believ ...
Warring metal trade brothers Amir Weissfisch and Rami Weisfisch have failed to reach an out of court settlement, their lawyers told the Court of Appeal yesterday during a case management hearing.
The appellate court will hear arguments on the ruling of Justice Stephen Isaacs over a disputed accountant's report from November 12 to 14.
Rami has filed an appeal against the judge's ruling.
Amir, who ran The Bahamas registered Metals Resources Group (MRG) with his elder brother Rami Weisfisch, claims that Rami reneged on a plan to dissolve their partnership and is suing for up to $88 million.
This is denied by Rami, who spells his surname differently from Amir. Allen Steinfeld, QC, who represents Amir, asked the bench of Justices Christopher Blackman, Abdulai Conteh and Stanley John to consider requiring Rami to post a security for costs since he did not live in The Bahamas and has no assets that they know of in his name.
The court said it would take the matter under advisement.
Nicholas Lavender, QC, appears for Rami.
Justice of Appeal Blackman told the parties that they are not precluded from reaching a settlement before the hearing date. He said the parties would have to keep the timetable for the filing of submissions and responses set by the court, if no settlement is reached.
The former CEO of the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) is defending how the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) first granted an exploratory license in 2007.
Dr. Paul Crevello, who resigned from BPC in August 2011, called the exploration license procedure "arduous", and claimed the hiring of lawyers associated with the PLP was consistent with best practice.
"Yes, we engaged Davis & Co. to represent the company and file our license applications," he said. "But they were the only law firm qualified in the oil and gas sector and had experience with Kerr McGee. So they were and still are the top firm in this field."
Kerr McGee, a major U.S. oil company, was awarded a license by the PLP back in 2003, according to Crevello.
The disclosure by the former executive sheds new light on a hot-button issue that often dominated the political spotlight in the run-up to Perry Christie's victory on Monday. BPC shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) surged in yesterday's trading, rising more than 25 percent before settling at 9.55 pence per share, or a 16.89 percent rise.
It was the largest gain since BPC's share price plummeted last month, losing a fourth of its market value after former prime minister Hubert Ingraham declared his administration, if elected, would not pursue oil drilling in The Bahamas.
He later attacked Christie for apparent links with the oil explorer, pointing out Christie has benefited from providing legal advice to Davis & Co., a law firm founded by PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis.
Crevello insists that BPC's exploratory license, established at the end of the PLP's term in 2007, was an exhaustive process two years in the making.
"The license application and approval process followed established government procedures," he explained, "which was a multi-stage approval process that in the end both major political parties reviewed and approved."
The former CEO said he held multiple meetings with various agencies, and officials at various levels of government. BPC's license applications went through three approval processes, he described. First, it was signed by Leslie Miller, the minster of energy in early 2006. Following revisions, provisional approval was granted in late 2006 by Camile Johnson, the permanent secretary, "with final approval signed into effect in early 2007 by Dr. Marcus Bethel, then the minster of energy and the environment".
The licenses finally passed with Arthur D. Hanna, the governor general at the time, who invested "consider time" in reviewing the agreement, Crevello said.
In fact, the former BPC executive said Hanna and the PLP administration insisted that certain environmental protocols be inserted that were not required under the Petroleum Act.
The licenses were signed into final effect in April 2007.
BPC sought the renewal of these licenses last month. Days before the election, the now outgoing Free National Movement suspended the licenses and returned $300,000 in "rental fees", insisting that further discussion on the issue is required.
The renewal of BPC's licenses until 2015 would mean the company is expected to perform an exploratory well in Bahamian waters in less than a year.
Rick Lowe, vice president of The Nassau Institute, a local think tank, said "everyone is flying by the seats of their pants" on the oil issue.
BPC executives have yet to comment on the cancellation.
In fact, the company's apparent "license renewal" was still posted on their website as of yesterday evening.
Lowe said The Nassau Institute is in support of the tremendous economic potential behind oil drilling in The Bahamas.
"It's just a matter of how the process is managed. It's a national issue that requires more than politics. This issue is bigger than all of us. It should be handled with care," he added.
Crevello couldn't agree more. He said what is important is the benefit to the country and BPC, "and nothing more, leaving politics aside".
Now that the election is past, he said the government owes it to the people to test the potential in the south, near the Cuban border, an area that is rapidly becoming a hotbed for oil explorers.
"Let the government regulations, public forums and the best interests of The Bahamas decide on the potential of the petroleum investment, not politics, rhetoric and ivory tower special interest groups," he said.
According to executives at BPC, Crevello stepped down in August of last year due to his "dislocated" relationship with the firm's board of directors.
Simon Potter, the former CEO of Dart Energy, accepted the CEO position the following month.
The winner of the 2012 general election was not known at the time today's Front Porch was written. But, whoever is the new government will face the same challenges.
There is the continued challenge of economic recovery and growth from the lingering effects of what is now being called the Great Recession. Economic prospects in The Bahamas are dependent on those of the U.S. While the U.S. economy has improved it still has a way to go.
There are still economic clouds including in Europe which can slow broader recovery in the global economy. Despite promising signs, we will need to be vigilant and aggressive in pursuing job creation and opportunities for growth. This will have to be done in a fiscally prudent manner with a watchful eye on our annual deficit.
Innovative ideas will be needed to strengthen and expand opportunities in the areas of tourism, financial services, maritime services, as well as agriculture and fisheries. Ongoing diversification within these sectors can yield promising results especially in certain niche areas.
The issue of violent crime remains. Despite the rhetoric by some, there is no magic bullet in terms of crime prevention and aggressively combatting the causes of crime and antisocial behavior.
Crime is a complex phenomenon requiring a multifaceted response from aggressive policing to building the capacity of the criminal justice system. It requires also targeted social intervention utilizing strategies known to work in other jurisdictions.
The economy and crime were two of the major issues dominating the election campaign. But there were also other issues which will be on the major list of to-do items for the next government.
The question of oil exploration and drilling made a last minute appearance in the campaign. The decision on drilling will be highly consequential for the country.
It will impact on areas ranging from environmental protection to the regulatory regime needed to oversee drilling.
Further, to avoid the pitfalls which have befallen quite a number of countries in terms of the proceeds of oil sales, the country must have an exceptionally transparent framework regarding oil profits and government revenues.
The matter of healthcare was also discussed in the campaign. Advancing some version of National Health Insurance was spoken of by both of the major parties. Another major component of any healthcare strategy is the creation and upgrade of healthcare facilities.
There is also the long term issue of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes which affect healthcare cost, economic productivity and national development broadly speaking.
The preservation of fisheries and of poaching is now front and center. There will be the need to build the capacity of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force inclusive of bases, marine vessels, aircraft, personnel and various technology.
There is still critical infrastructure work to complete in New Providence and the Family Islands. Grand Bahama, long suffering and with significant economic challenges, will require special and concentrated attention.
The issue of whether to legalize the lottery should be decided this term. Both major parties have agreed to hold a referendum on this matter.
As always, the issue of good governance will be critical. Bahamians not only want a government that will address these and other issues. They also want a government that will be accountable and transparent.
St. Anne's MP Hubert Chipman said yesterday that he found it "disgraceful and appalling" that Prime Minister Perry Christie was absent when members of the House of Assembly voted on the Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill on Wednesday night.
"When I look at the whole thing, the record will show that he did not vote for VAT, he was absent," Chipman told The Guardian.
"He is putting a tax on the Bahamian people that he didn't even vote for. I find that disgraceful and appalling.
"While he might say he had the majority, he abdicated his responsibility as the minister of finance.
"What are you saying to the Bahamian people?"
On Wednesday evening, Christie traveled to Las Vegas with Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe for the opening of a hotel and casino.
The VAT Bill passed with 22 yes votes, eight no votes and six absent.
The opposition voted against the bill.
Chipman said he found it amazing that MPs were debating the most important piece of legislation in the Ministry of Finance and the minister of finance had "abdicated his responsibility and left".
"What is this? What is he doing?" he asked.
Noting that Christie's birthday was yesterday, Chipman asked, "Is this his birthday gift to the Bahamian people, VAT?"
The government will implement VAT on January 1, 2015 at a rate of 7.5 percent.
The imposition of VAT is expected to generate an additional $300 million annually, according to government estimates.
The bill was tabled on July 23 and debate began on Tuesday afternoon.
FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner and Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Deputy Leader Christopher Mortimer said Christie's absence was a "crying shame".
"As important as this issue was, as central as it was to them talking about reform, the prime minister did not even show up to vote for this bill," Mortimer said. "That, my friend, is a crying shame.
"If you are the prime minister of a country, if you say that it is absolutely important that this has to happen to fix our ailing economy, then the buck stops with you and you should be there for that vote.
"It is not sufficient to castigate members of the opposition [parties] or castigate opposition within your own party and then not do the honorable thing and show up to record your vote for history.
"He has not done that. I cry shame on the members of Parliament who sat in that House and voted yes. They deserve to lose their seats in 2017."
The DNA does not support VAT.
Butler-Turner said she thought it important that Leader of Opposition Business Neko Grant asked for a division on the vote.
"History would have recorded that as important as this shift is as being a cornerstone for reformation and financial tax shift in The Bahamas, the minister of finance saw fit to not be in the country for that vote along with six members for the governing side," she said.
"It certainly speaks to the lack of regard, I feel, and contempt and arrogance that the prime minister has toward the Bahamian people."
The Long Island MP added that the debate was rushed, stating that there has been no focused attention on the legislation.
"I have never ever seen the governing side, or any side for that matter, fight amongst its own the way I have seen over the last two days," she said.
"There is something inherently wrong with this."
She was referring to criticism from Marco City MP Greg Moss, who voted against the bill and Fort Charlotte MP Andre Rollins about the bill.
Moss said VAT will "savage" Bahamians, that it is a regressive tax and that it is not in line with the philosophy of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
Though Rollins voted in favor of the bill, he highlighted the plight of many young Bahamians who remain unemployed.