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News Article
Government in talks for judo training centre

By ERIKA RAHMING

VLAD Marinescu, personal assistant to Marius Vizer, president of the International Judo Federation (IJF), met with several high ranking Bahamian officials to discuss plans for the future of judo in the Bahamas and the Caribbean region.

Mr Marinescu was in town for the Bahamas Judo Open this past weekend.

Bahamas Judo Federation (BJF) president D'Arcy Rahming and Mr Marinescu met with Minister of Youth and Sports Charles Maynard to discuss the possibility of a regional judo training centre for the Caribbean within the sports complex currently being built here in New Providence.

The minister was enthusiastic and expressed interest in reviewing a more detailed plan.

Mr ...

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News Article
Letter: Social policies needed to deal with teenage prostitution

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Teenage prostitution published by The Tribune on July 23 is a report about underage girls exchanging sexual pleasures commercially. The well reported article features primarily Dr Sandra Dean-Patterson, director of the Bahamas Crisis Centre, discussing the matter. Dr Dean-Patterson expresses that the problem of teen prostitution doesn't exist because individuals under the age of 16 cannot give consent to sex; therefore, they are not committing prostitution. She said the girls are being exploited.

On the Tribune's website (www.tribune242.com) some people opined under the article. They aired how much they disagreed with Dr Dean-Patterson's assertion that the kid ...

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News Article
GBPA Employee Group Formed to Assist the Community

Freeport, Bahamas

- Employees
of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) have launched a new
organization, 'GBPA Volunteers', to better the lives of the Grand
Bahama community.

According to newly elected president, Kendra Clarke, the group's formation was the
brainchild of GBPA-President, Ian Rolle. 
"GBPA Volunteers is an organization, envisioned by our President, as a
means of giving back to the community.  Its sole purpose is to cultivate
corporate social responsibility in the form of employee volunteer
projects," explained Clarke.

While participating in the election process,
GBPA-President, Ian Rolle expressed
his excitement regarding the project. "I think this is great! I shared
the vision for this organization with our employees and they ran with it..."

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News Article
The Obama and the Ingraham haters Pt. 2

Barack Obama and Hubert Ingraham share more than a birthday and being reared from a young age by devoted grandmothers who instilled within them confidence and the promise of rewards for hard work and relentlessness.
Against considerable odds, both men combined prodigious intellect, a dogged work ethic and discipline to overcome disadvantage, setbacks, and racial and class prejudice, eventually becoming the leader of their respective countries.
The President and the Prime Minister are highly successful politicians with notable accomplishments who chose the law as their profession but public service and politics as their passion and life's vocation.  Men of clear ideals, they are pragmatists getting what they want over time.
What fellow Nassau Guardian columnist Ian Strachan astutely observed of Mr. Ingraham can be said of Mr. Obama:  They are typically the smartest people in the room.  And, they take great pride in recruiting people of talent into their administrations.
Both can be technocratic, delighting in the details of public policy and the workings and intricacies of government.  Early risers, they enjoy working, doing so around-the-clock and often at a feverish pace.  They know the value of time and that lost time means squandered opportunities.
The leaders take considerable care with important public statements and addresses suggesting a discipline of mind and a penchant for preparation resembling an attorney preparing to deliver a public brief on behalf of a client.  Neither is given to empty rhetoric in their policy utterances.
PERSONA
It is not an uncommon mistake in politics to confuse persona with policy and even with potential for productivity.  Winston Churchill, Britain's articulate, eloquent and charismatic wartime leader would undoubtedly win the popular vote for greatest prime minister.
But a more sober and reflective group of historians came to the conclusion that that title should go to Clement Attlee who was the exact personality opposite of Sir Winston: mild-mannered and almost totally devoid of anything that could be described as charisma.
Yet it was Mr. Attlee, the historians concluded, who changed Britain forever with his socialist revolution in 1945 bringing about the most fundamental, sweeping and lasting changes in British society.
Though stereotyped as cool and unfeeling by their detractors, both Mr. Obama and Mr. Ingraham have demonstrated that the critics have missed out on something deeper and more important about the two men.
Mr.Obama's critics were misled by his persona to conclude that, for instance, he would be soft in the "fight against terrorism", especially when compared with his bombastic predecessor, George Bush, who indulged in "dead or alive" rhetoric about Osama bin Laden.
Yet it was the allegedly effete, arugula-munching Barack Obama who demonstrated the kind of courageous decisiveness and nerves of steel that resulted in the death of bin Laden.
Because of his less than warm and cuddly persona, Hubert Ingraham has been accused of being lacking in compassion.
CHANGES
Yet, historians -- and those who care to examine the record even now -- will conclude that he was the Bahamian Prime Minister who brought about the most sweeping and progressive changes to the benefit of working class Bahamians, including the minimum wage, shorter work week and unemployment benefits.
Although Barack Obama and Hubert Ingraham have different personalities and different life stories, it is intriguing how they evoked similar responses from their detractors when they aspired to national leadership.
The personal attacks on the black man who presumed to aspire to the highest office in the United States started at the very beginning and has not let up.  That racism has fuelled much of the relentless onslaught is undeniable.  Sometimes the language is barely veiled.
Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Ingraham did not have the opportunity for a university education and the acquisition of great social polish.  In a country such as the Bahamas one might have thought that one so capable would have been celebrated for having come so far from such humble beginnings.
Yet, like Mr. Obama, Mr. Ingraham has had to endure endless abuse.  While not all motivated by racism, the attacks on Mr. Ingraham have certainly been about class and background.
Even those who acknowledged his extraordinary intellect and his obvious political talents (one even claiming credit for helping to develop the latter!) still attacked him on the basis of class and background.
UNAMBIGUOUS
Also, in the case of Mr. Ingraham, there has been little if any attempt to use veiled language.  Witness such expressions as "rude boy", "delivery boy", and the clear and unambiguous "no broughtupsy".
What is remarkable is that Mr. Ingraham does not lose his temper when he hears some of his detractors whining and complaining about "personal attacks".
Mr. Obama and Mr. Ingraham have different public personas but similar political characters.  They are both pragmatic, results-oriented political leaders who are not afraid of crisis and challenge, but who are impatient with stupid talk and dismissive of pie-in-the-sky dreamers.
Barack Obama came into the presidency of the United States at a time of great economic challenge.
While Hubert Ingraham has practised the art of politics longer than Barack Obama, they are both good at it and generally effective.  To borrow a witticism, they also share the sort of critics who, even if they walked on water, would criticize them as for being unable to swim.
Barack Obama came into the presidency of the United States at a time when America was facing its greatest economic challenge since the Depression.  It appears that his efforts to guide the country out of the crisis may have been successful in spite of the stumbling blocks put in his way by his opponents.
Hubert Ingraham, in his first administration, had the unenviable task of restoring the good name of the Bahamas which had been dragged through the mud of corruption and scandal by his opponents.
In his second administration, Mr. Ingraham and his colleagues have successfully steered the Bahamas through rough economic waters brought on by external forces.
No doubt historians will examine with great interest how Mr. Ingraham was able to avert what could have been a catastrophic experience while at the same time carrying out the greatest infrastructural restoration in the history of the country.
frontporchguardian@gmail.com
www.bahamapundit.com

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News Article
Concerns about APD share offering

Dear Editor,
 
Kindly allow me space in your valuable column to express my views on the recent IPO of shares on APD Limited.
I believe it is necessary to reiterate and to expand on the recent concerns and views expressed by Franklyn Wilson and the Office of the Prime Minister, and also to put some pertinent questions to the Securities Commission.  While I'm not attempting to repeat what has already been printed in the newspaper, I will say that I support Mr. Wilson's position.  And I believe we ought to be appreciative of persons like Mr. Wilson, who have the courage and intellectual ability to recognize, expose and reveal the loopholes in the IPO that the average person may not be aware of.  More importantly, Mr. Editor, where is the voice of the Securities Commission?  Aren't they supposedly looking out for the investor?  According to the press, APD is hoping to raise $10 million from investors which will represent a 20 percent minority interest.  However, presently there is no representation for minority investors on the board.
Personally, I believe there is something sinister about the manner in which the prospectus was prepared, intentionally omitting board representation for minority investors.  I believe it is incumbent upon the Securities Commission to immediately ensure that the above investors are represented.  It is not enough for a principal to remark that it will be dealt with at the first board meeting.  That can't be right.  And to add fuel to the fire, he goes on to say, 'that person should bring something to the table'.  Like Mr. Wilson said, "They are bringing $10 million."  Mr. Editor, one would have expected the Securities Commission to immediately put a halt to the IPO and insist that APD Limited correct the concern the Office of the Prime Minister has.  I can almost guarantee you that if it was a group of a darker shade, the Securities Commission would have been all over them.  Sir, you know some of our journalists, sometimes they make you wonder and question their ability to be a journalist or a reporter, while some are glorifying the IPO and talking about an upcoming whirlwind  tour as if this is the second coming.  What they ought to be doing is examining and investigating the concerns raised and putting pressure on the regulatory body to act, so that the integrity of the body will not come into question.  Mr. Editor, I've been following this scenario since its inception and I certainly would not buy into it.  And I would advise that others to follow suite until the concern is corrected.
 
- Pat Strachan

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News Article
MDeez's Without You

By LESH

THE ARTIST they call MDeez was quick out the blocks in 2012, dropping a new soulful single called "Without You". Love, regret, and making this right are themes explored in the new single, the fourth from MDeez's album entitled "Two Faced Bastards".

With its usual mix of hip hop and rhythm and blues styles, MDeez said the new song has been a crowd pleaser so far.

"This is the best I have heard thus far. I know the year just started and all but I like this one here," said one fan, who took to Facebook to express his support.

Another fan wrote: "MDeez has done it again, never cease to amaze me. First love is and now this. It always warms my heart to he ...

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News Article
160,000 now registered to vote

The number of people who have registered to vote increased by more than 12,000 in less than a month, according to recent figures from Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel.
Bethel said up to yesterday morning 160,000 people had registered to cast ballots in the next election. Figures provided by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in the House of Assembly on January 25 revealed that 147,871 people were registered voters at the time.
That number is expected to increase to as much as 170,000 before registration closes.
Bains Town and Grants Town has the highest number of voters registered with 5,570.  Elizabeth has the lowest number of registered voters in New Providence - 4,473.
Last month, Ingraham said an election date has not been set yet because the government was still in the election preparation process.
"The first thing a prime minister does is find out how are we with respect to the preparation for election, what else do you need to do? Once we are satisfied all those things are done, then we fix dates. We don't fix dates because we wake up one morning and say, 'Let's go'," Ingraham told reporters at a press conference in Grand Bahama.
One of the loose ends that  government has to tie up is passing ammendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act.
The ammendments were brought to the House of Assembly last month and passed. However, they are still being debated in the Senate.
One of the ammendments will make it possible for international observers to come into the country and oversee the next election.
Officials from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States have expressed interest in monitoring the election.
Ingraham has said he is confident the country's electoral process will stand up to international scrutiny.
The other amendment allows students at schools in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad to vote overseas in an advanced poll.
Under the old law, overseas students or public officers at foreign missions had to return home in order to register and vote.
 

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News Article
Bahamian Idol contestant eliminated - 'This is just the beginning of my journey'

By LESH

AFTER successfully making it through to the Las Vegas rounds last Thursday, Bahamian contestant Mathenee Treco's road to becoming the next American Idol came to an end.

Following his journey from the day he was given a golden ticket to Hollywood, Bahamian fans rejoiced and expressed their love for Mathenee after he was the only contestant in his group, the "Make You Believers", to advance to the next round of the competition.

Sadly, he was eliminated right after, having failed to make the top 42.

Keeping up to date with his followers, Mathenee took to his Facebook page to share the news of his progress on the hit singing show.

After securing his spot in the Las Vegas ...

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News Article
PLP wants answers on Atlantis deal

With ongoing worries in some circles over the recently announced Atlantis ownership change, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) yesterday renewed demands for the government to make public the details of the asset transfer agreement between Brookfield Asset Management and Kerzner International.
The PLP said the government "must immediately come clean to the Bahamian people in the public interest".
In late November, Kerzner International Chairman and CEO Sir Sol Kerzner announced that his company was transferring ownership of Atlantis Resort and the One&Only Ocean Club to Canadian real estate conglomerate Brookfield Asset Management, one of his company's lenders.
Sir Sol also said at the time that he received a commitment from the new owner that staffing and capital investment levels will be maintained.
But the PLP said yesterday that, "With the jobs of more than 7,000 Bahamian employees at stake and with uncertainty among the affected workers, this government's insensitivity and lack of transparency are proof positive that it does not put the well being of Bahamians first -- above their narrow political interests and above special interests."
The PLP called on the government to say whether there are any guarantees in the agreement to protect and preserve those jobs, wages and benefits and if so, what the terms, conditions and duration are of such guarantees.
"The PLP reminds the FNM about its much-touted principles of public life where transparency and accountability were prominently featured," the party's statement said.
"Many Bahamian families are relying on these jobs so it's incumbent upon the government to be seen to be fighting for the rights of and protecting the interests of Bahamians. Our people deserve no less."
Kerzner signed a four-year management contract for Atlantis, a move that ignited concerns among the business community on the long-term health of the biggest private employer in The Bahamas.
This week, Guardian Business noted that the deadline for the transfer of Kerzner International's assets in The Bahamas and Mexico has come and gone.
Brookfield agreed to exchange approximately $175 million of debt for the holdings, which include Atlantis Resort, The One&Only Ocean Club and the One&Only Palmilla in Mexico. The agreement ended months of speculation as Kerzner International sought to restructure $2.6 billion in mortgage debt.
Zhivargo Laing, the state minister of finance, told Guardian Business he was unsure of where the matter stood.
He said he had not been following the matter but expressed confidence that the deal was well in hand.
Ed Fields, the senior vice president of public affairs and retail services at Kerzner International (Bahamas), said the agreement is "moving along as planned".
"The delay is attributable to the time of year and the complexity of the transaction," he told Guardian Business.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, the senior vice president of communications at Brookfield Asset Management, Andrew Willis, insisted "there's nothing out of the ordinary with the process".
"We're working with all parties to close the transaction," he said.
When he spoke in the House of Assembly on the matter in November, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he had received assurances that the 7,000 jobs Kerzner provides on Paradise Island were secure.

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News Article
What is the creative economy

The word economy is thrown around a lot in society, but how the world thinks about economic possibility is undergoing a significant change. This Thursday, the multidisciplinary and collaborative network tmg* (the method group) will host their last of three discussions centered on business and design in The Bahamas. After discussing the design and business of producing and promoting "The Bahamian story" and exploring such branding through the case study of architecture, tmg* member Royann Dean brings together a panel of artists, creative entrepreneurs, critical thinkers, economists and politicians to explore how all of this comes together in the creative economy.
On June 16th at 6:30pm at The Hub, panelists John Cox, Jon Murray, Nicolette Bethel, Olivia Saunders and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard will engage this very complex issue concerning the state of our economy and society.
The creative economy in a broad sense can encapsulate everything at the four-way intersection of art, business, culture and technology. If that sounds hard to pin down, that's because it is -- it's an offshoot of the knowledge economy, and like the knowledge economy, its effects can't entirely be tangibly measured like the imports and exports of other industries. But that doesn't mean it's less valuable or should be overlooked -- on the contrary, creative economy is an extremely important factor in the way a country efficiently and consistently brands itself and grows and thrives. Creative entrepreneurship by artists, nonprofits and businesses can produce goods and services that not only generate jobs and revenue in a country's economy, but also have far-reaching positive societal effects.
"One of the benefits that's been stated about the creative economy is, aside from the economic side of it, that you have social inclusion, because you don't necessarily need to have this division between trained people and less-trained people, because creativity can be reflected in all parts of generating economy," Royann Dean explains. "You have cultural diversity because at all levels people can create something based on culture or heritage and still generate income; and there's more social interaction because you have these people that are going to be bridging these divides to actually create something."
CREATIVE ECONOMY
The concept of a creative economy is relatively new; the term began appearing sometime around the turn of the century and has become particularly relevant in the age ofglobalization and rapid modernization. Yet, Dean points out, as the rest of the Caribbean region and indeed world embraces this perspective by encouraging creative entrepreneurship initiatives, The Bahamasseems woefully out of touch with this worldwide shift.
She uses the example of the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD)'s Creative Economy Report 2010, which analyzes and measures the state of creative economy worldwide. The Bahamas is hardly mentioned alongside varied case studies and efforts by other countries in the region such as Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. We're essentially ten years behind in terms of creative economy development when we look at our neighbors, Dean points out.
This lack of quantifying our creative industries to gauge its economic benefits is worrying to panelist Jon Murray, who is an entrepreneur in this relatively new and underappreciated sector. He started Downtown Art Tours last year, giving locals and visitors alike a sampling of artistic spaces in our historic city, including the National Art Gallery, The D'Aguilar Foundation, New Providence Arts and Antiques and the murals the Love My Bahamas campaign.
"What's interesting about what I do is that it's service-based," he says. "I provide a service for this stuff that already preexists, so it's almost like a secondary industry where I'm not marketing or selling the works themselves; I have no ownership of the intellectual properties created, which is interesting because so much of creative economy is based on intellectual property."
"I think my business is a service business dependent on there actually being a creative economy," he continues. "Without the other institution and galleries functioning, I can't function appropriately. It shows a level of maturity in our industry if it were on paper."
But, he points out, it's not on paper -- in fact, there are hardly initiatives in place by any sector of society to measure the effects of creative industries and thus investment in potential exports for the country. This is unacceptable for many reasons, one being that our future potential as a destination in the globalized world hinges on culture and heritage -- not the same old sun, sand and sea.
Moderator Royann Dean hopes to also address this idea of "the experience economy" during the talk as it is important to the creative economy. After all, once tourists have their needs met, they seek an overall experience different from any other worldwide, and they are able to get that from culture and heritage.
"For tourism economy-based countries, that's a huge reason to have a good creative industry. This is the same thing Jackson Burnside was talking about 20 years ago -- we have the sun, sand and sea but people aren't going to be coming here for that anymore. Other countries have sun, sand and sea, plus they have mountains," Dean points out. "So the one thing we have going for us in terms of that is accessibility -- but Cuba is right there, and you can already use Euros in Cuba, so where is our experience? Where is our authentic experience? You can't really deliver an authentic experience unless you have something related to some sort of creative or cultural heritage, you can't."
Dean seems to be on point with the global perspective, for in the same UNCTAD Creative Economy 2010 report, their assessment for the region by the organization results in this advice: "In order for Jamaica and the Caribbean to survive in a globalized world, policymakers and stakeholders seeking economic growth and job creation must position the creative industries as the cornerstone of any serious development strategy."
Yet, points out fellow panelist Nicolette Bethel -- educator, anthropologist ,writer and former Director of Cultural Affairs -- we are lacking in that promotion through governmental policy.
"The Bahamas has absolutely no data because we don't think there is anything measurable about the creative economy," she says. "It's sad, but it is a measure of a) who we continue to elect into office and b) who they bring into civil service."
BRANDING & MARKETABILITY
In spite of this and recognizing the need for individuals to drive such change, working with the College of The Bahamas, Bethel has been producing measurable statistics about one of our main cultural industries that have export potential in terms of branding and marketability, and also potential to generate economy within the country: Junkanoo.
These surveys have uncovered quite a bit of information about the cost of Junkanoo, the Junkanoo participant, and also the Junkanoo consumer -- three parts of which can overall address how useful Junkanoo is to the economy, how it functions in branding and tourism, and how it can be used to generate economy in these sectors as well as become a viable source of income for its participants, making it a legitimate and measurable component of our creative economy. Bethel supposes that by making Junkanoo a major part of our creative economy, The Bahamas will see social improvements.
"Junkanoo is our major creative activity. One thing we are able to say is that Junkanoo involves thousands of people every year and many of these people are young men who are not necessarily hugely employable. Now, we have a major problem with unemployment and crime. What we haven't begun to measure is how much in man-hours each person was in the shack, how many hours that is, and just calculate the minimum wage, and thus the value of that particular commodity," she explains.
"If there was some way of generating revenue for some time that they were there -- I think that there are all kinds of ways to generate revenue -- then these people would be working, they'd have jobs. And they'd have jobs they'd generate their own money for that the government wouldn't have to do anything with. In Trinidad for example, this is a major part of their economy. The challenge to the Junkanoo community is how are we going to take all of these man-hours and make them profitable -- make them able to sustain some measure of employment for these guys?"
One way is to up our marketing of Junkanoo--and indeed, all cultural sectors -- to tourists, and this is where our government comes in. After all, they draft the policies that contribute to our branding. Yet this is the area in which Bethel -- and many participants in the creative and heritage sector in this country -- recognize our downfall. While elsewhere in the Caribbean, cultural festivals are seen as a viable source of tourism, employment generation and income, we seem to lack such perspective in The Bahamas, putting cultural events such as hosting CARIFESTA -- which twice we unsuccessfully attempted -- on the backburner.
It's shame because in the same UNCTAD report, they point out that "Heritage tourists are one of the highest-yield tourism groups; they stay longer and spend 38 percent more per day than traditional tourists. Therefore," they continue, " efficient heritage tourism policies and infrastructure at regional level can be an important approach to attract international travelers with special interest in heritage and the arts of the Caribbean region."
So why aren't we catching up to this fact? This is where the creative economy and how it is generated and promoted becomes a chicken-or-the-egg dance between government responsibility and responsibility by the creative community.
GOVERNMENT & POLICY-MAKING
Panelist Charles Maynard, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, is hoping to add the perspective from the government and policy-making side. Though he agrees that the cultural economy is important and should be developed and structured, his solution lies in the ability by the creative sector to take charge and make the government take notice. He uses Junkanoo to illustrate his point as it's our main creative industry.
"Over a period time Junkanoo has become popular for the general public and the funding followed it. When you have a large sector of your population involved in something and trying to push it forward, those are the kind of things that usually get the attention of the policy-makers," he explains. "The commitment to culture region-wide is always driven by the cultural community itself. If you depend on any government to drive your cultural development in terms of cultural expression and cultural economy, it isn't going to get anywhere."
What Minister Maynard implies in this statement is something many artists already unfortunately -- that they only have each other. In the end, panelist John Cox points out, creative people just make the most of what they have, making connections within the field and with those who can fund them. As founder of Popop Studios -- which recently became an international center of visual arts with their new not-for-profit status, allowing them to invite international artists to work in The Bahamas -- Cox recognizes the power of collaboration and education and the need to move beyond the limited idea of what being an artist or even being creative entails.
"Students say 'I want to do art' but they never really know exactly what they want to do because it's kind of presented to them in these vague terms all throughout primary and secondary school. So they have this vague idea of what it means to be creative, and most of that comes from the idea of well, if they make a hundred paintings and they sell them for a hundred dollars each, that's a hundred thousands dollars, and that's a pretty good salary, right?" he explains. "So we have this kind of basic kind of lemonade stall mentality, which isn't really the way businesses sustain each other. Really the way businesses kind of sustain each other is by networking and partnering and being able to predict long-term relationships with people where you know you're going to be able to build and predict support and also be able to provide an audience for your product, spawning positive future potential and future potential relationships that can build sustainability."
We've already seen that kind of mentality change just in the past five years, for in fact, many artist-run collectives -- the Bahamas Art Collective and Creative Nassau, for example -- are doing just that: bringing together people from all sectors of the creative community to think about creating their own opportunities, self-empowerment and making Nassau a cultural center in the world. Already dissatisfaction about governmental support and a desire to improve the standing of The Bahamas in the creative sector have spawned events just in the past few years such as Shakespeare in Paradise, Carifringe, The Bahamas International Film Festival and the Bahamas Writer's Summer Institute. In the end, it seems artists are always on their own, although they may band together.
UNTAPPED POTENTIAL
But why exactly is this so? And how is the government already investing in the art it sees as having proven itself -- would that be Junkanoo, with already a tremendous amount of untapped potential that we aren't recognizing? The question then seems to become: How do we change what we think is important and worth investing in? Minister Maynard offers the solution of instilling that indefinable "Bahamian spirit" found in Junkanoo in all aspects of the creative sector, but all that offers is more of the same kind of creativity and way of thinking, when creative economy is about reevaluation -- as Royann Dean puts it, "Nobody is looking for new ways to do things, they are looking for new ways to do the same old thing. We need to challenge things." Even Minister Maynard recognizes what's needed is an upheaval of the perception of creativity, even if it is within the perspective of the creative sector simply being responsible for themselves, which is only one dimension of this reality.
"We need to as a country appreciate some of these things we create, to have value for what's ours instead of importing it," he says. "It's cultural awareness, it's a collective thing to be able to team up and do as partners do, not sitting down and feeling sorry for yourself and saying the government isn't doing anything to get you any further in terms of where you want to go -- instead we need to say we need to be more focused not only from an individual standpoint but a collective vision standpoint, we need to have a collective vision."
This is something that panelist Olivia Saunders -- economist and educator -- is most concerned about when she thinks about the economic implications of the creative industry. For when we talk about the creative economy, we're not just talking about the arts -- we're talking about having a creative approach in general to our economy.
"I think I'll look from the perspective that we have to look beyond the boundaries we have set for ourselves in terms of what the economy is and what the economy is supposed to do for us or what the economy is supposed to be. We just have to be creative and think differently about our economy in The Bahamas," she says. "One side of it is how creative we are in this existing economy, whether we think the economy we have is creative. Does it lend itself to creativity, or are we to be considering a brand new kind of economy we can truly call creative? Once we do that, what ought it to mean for us then if we decide to design a sort of creative economy?"
Essentially, she points out, flaws in the systems of our everyday lives contribute to this mindset.
"It's a culture. If you look at our politics, it's not really creative. If you look at so many other aspects of our life, they're not creative," she says. "The economy is an extremely important part of it but it's just a part of how we just look at things, we really don't want too many things to be very different from what we know for sure, so at the very core there has to be people being sufficiently open to accept creativity."
In the end, it would seem it all comes down to how we value ourselves as a culture. After all, if we value intellectualism, if we value creativity, if we value our heritage and indeed ourselves, we become a society open to creative ways to engage and advance our economical structure. And that responsibility is not on any one group, but each group, and each individual, and certainly with response from an open-minded government.
However these only scratch the surface of what the creative economy even is and how to improve it -- the deeper we go, the more we come full circle or stare into an abyss. The first step, Royann Dean emphasis, is to educate yourself about options -- all creative thinkers, government employees, and even people who believe they are not affected by the creative industry, for if the creative economy operates as it should, it affects the entire society positively.
"The whole idea behind tmg* talks was to get the conversation started, to get the ball rolling and to let people know that listen, there are other people thinking the same things you are, asking the same questions and who have ideas. Things can happen," Dean says. "In that way, I'm happy with the result. The question is, what happens after? How do we put the insight that was gained from the talks in motion?"
Have some ideas? Collaboration is the first step, and everyone matters. The discussion begins at 6:30pm at The Hub on Colebrook Lane and East Bay Street and is free to the public though you are welcome to donate to the venue. For more information, visit the tmg* website at www.tmginnovates.com.

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News Article
The URCA controversy

After alleged 'attacks' on him in the media, CEO of the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) Usman Saadat resigned from the regulatory agency, URCA chairman Wayne Aranha announced on May 6.
Aranha said Saadat submitted his resignation and URCA's board reluctantly accepted it.  Saadat agreed to stay on at URCA until August 31, 2011.
Aranha revealed months later that more than 30 people applied to fill the position, but no new CEO has yet been announced.
Saadat was a controversial figure, particularly when URCA was considering the sale of a majority interest in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to Cable and Wireless Communications (CWC).
Saadat was featured prominently in a series of exclusive investigative articles by The Nassau Guardian questioning CWC's connection to URCA.
Saadat formerly served as CEO of CWC's St. Lucia operation.  He joined URCA (formerly the Public Utilities Commission) in 2009 as its director of policy and regulation (DPR).
He was embroiled in a storm of controversy after The Guardian revealed that, in 2009, he introduced former CWC executive Marsha Lewis to URCA's board.
Lewis soon landed a human resources consultancy contract with the regulator.
In those articles The Guardian also revealed that URCA never advertised the human resources position locally, and that when Saadat applied for the CEO position last year he had to forward his resume to Lewis, his former colleague, for vetting.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has said URCA broke immigration rules.  At a Free National Movement (FNM) rally in March, Ingraham announced that Lewis "won't be coming back to work here in The Bahamas".
Lewis leads LCI Inc. in Barbados and her husband -- up until the time of The Guardian investigation -- still served as a CWC executive.
URCA approved the BTC deal earlier in the year and its chairman maintained that there was never any conflict of interest.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) had expressed concern about the fact that a former CWC executive headed URCA at a time when URCA was considering the BTC sale.
"The Progressive Liberal Party finds it most interesting that Mr. Saadat's resume made no mention of his return to the Far East to 'settle down' as noted by him as his main reason for resigning from Cable and Wireless St. Lucia in 2008," the party said in a statement earlier this year.
"The PLP asks how is it that in less than eight months Mr. Saadat, with just 14 years of experience, was selected by the FNM government to become the director of policy and regulation at URCA in The Bahamas and was then instantly promoted to the position of chief executive officer at URCA."
In his statement back in May, Aranha also said, "The board would have wished Mr. Saadat to stay for the length of his tenure, until 2013, given that it has full confidence in the ability, integrity, and leadership of its CEO."
Aranha also said, "However, noting that this is a personal decision, which has been directly influenced by the recent unfortunate and unwarranted personal attacks on him and his family in different media, the board has reluctantly accepted his resignation.
"He has contributed significantly to the development of URCA and the advancement of the regulation of the communications sector in The Bahamas.
"He will be leaving URCA at a critical juncture as it seeks to ensure that the full benefits to be derived from the newly liberalized sector accrue to all Bahamians.  We wish him well in his future endeavours and the board will now focus on engaging a new CEO."
In the statement, Saadat said, "I have enjoyed the challenge of leading various aspects of change -- external and internal -- over the last two years.
"At the time I was appointed as DPR, I then understood my broad mandate as helping to transform the legacy regulator (PUC), implement the new regulatory regime, effectively regulate under the new framework, local capacity building and providing the certainty and predictability in the regulatory regime that is conducive to investment through new operators and via privatization.
"I feel satisfied that I have fulfilled a large part of that mandate.  I want to express my sincere thanks to the board, who [has] backed me through some challenging times recently.
"Finally, I want to thank my colleagues at URCA who have endured major changes but delivered the necessary outputs and outcomes under demanding circumstances."

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News Article
Smith: Govt strayed from the table

Former state minister of finance James Smith is joining a chorus of discontent over the legal battle for Atlantis contending the government has "strayed from the table" on an issue that's crucial to the long-term stability of the country.
Smith told Guardian Business the government owed it to all Bahamians, and in particular the thousands of employees on Paradise Island, to be clear on where the matter stood.
"You're the government. There are a lot of jobs at stake here," he said. "They ought to be at the table. Atlantis is a central feature of our entire economy. The government ought to be totally engaged and ensure the country's interests are met."
On Friday, The Nassau Guardian revealed a legal battle being waged in the U.S. between Brookfield Asset Management and senior lenders in Kerzner International's $2.5 billion mortgage debt.
A court document detailing the particulars of the case has been a matter of public record since January 4.
Four senior lenders from the U.S. are suing Brookfield, the Canadian conglomerate, to stop what they call "brazen self-dealing" that resulted in its apparent acquisition of Kerzner International's assets in The Bahamas and Mexico back on November 30.
The plaintiffs allege that Brookfield colluded with junior lender PCCP and special servicer Wells Fargo, exploiting certain administrative powers to carry out the transfer of assets without approval and in violation of the loan agreement.
Guardian Business first reported earlier this month that the January 1 deadline for final approvals from the government had come and gone.
Zhivargo Laing, the current state minister of finance, told Guardian Business on January 4 he was unsure of where the matter stood, but expressed confidence that the deal was well in hand.
Laing and other members of the government have not formally commented on the matter ever since.
"The point is these things are going on, but nobody seems to be checking," Smith said. "I think this is where the government needs to come in and take a shot across the bow. For anybody who is interested in taking over and moving forward with the property... these are the guidelines."
Franklyn Wilson, the chairman of Sunshine Insurance and Arawak Homes Ltd., agreed that the public has the right to know if a deal of this magnitude is in jeopardy.
"For this country to develop, I don't care who the government is. There are certain cultural things that need to happen. There has to be transparency and people have to be accountable," he said.
Wilson said there are a number of "immense implications" to the current legal battle for Atlantis, with court involvement being "just the tip of the iceberg".
He told Guardian Business the situation creates a profound uncertainty for all Bahamians, in terms of the longevity of the tourism product on Paradise Island and overall health and confidence in the marketplace.
Smith also felt the legal action taken against Brookfield places a "damper" on the industry in general.
"From the way I look at it, Atlantis was one man's dream - Sol Kerzner. It was supposed to be carried on by Butch, his son. To the extent that Kerzner was on board with his hands on the wheel, we could feel safe that he was driving a first-class tourism destination," he explained. "Now it's a big unknown. We don't know where we're headed."
On November 30, Brookfield, a multinational with $160 billion in assets, agreed to a debt-for-equity swap with Kerzner International.
Brookfield exchanged $175 million of debt for Kerzner's holdings in both The Bahamas and Mexico, including Atlantis, The One&Only Ocean Club and The One&Only Palmilla in Mexico.

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News Article
Cable: Haitian-Bahamian tension could lead to violence

The Americans are of the view that the unaddressed issue of Haitian integration in The Bahamas could eventually lead to ethnic violence in this country, according to a diplomatic cable from the United States Embassy in Nassau.
The detailed nearly 3,500-word cable from June 2009, obtained by The Nassau Guardian from WikiLeaks, is an extensive analysis by the embassy of the tense Haitian situation in The Bahamas.
"The existence of a large, dissatisfied and poorly-integrated ethnic minority is a potential risk to social and political stability in The Bahamas," said the embassy.
There are a wide range of estimates as to how many Haitians reside in The Bahamas.  The numbers range from 30,000 to 70,000 in a country of 350,000 people.
Many Haitians live in shantytowns and the majority of these shantytowns are in New Providence. However, two of the largest are in Abaco (The Mud and Pigeon Pea).
Successive governments, for the most part, have maintained the country's traditional policy position regarding Haitians, pushing repatriation of the undocumented and the regularization of those eligible for legal status.
This policy has not solved the problem.  There are no official numbers, but many Haitian children born to parents illegally in The Bahamas are 'stateless'.  They consider themselves Bahamians, but have no legal status in this country, having not taken up the Haitian status of their parents.
The Americans consider further engagement of the Haitian community as a possible means of preventing conflict between the communities.
"The GCOB (Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas) would be well-served to encourage integration, as some commentators recognize, both to diffuse existing animosities and (to) avoid future manifestations of discontent," said the cable.
"In the short term, given the economic and social pressures, GCOB anti-immigration policy is unlikely to change. As a result, well-entrenched Haitian communities are barely tolerated and the risk of ethnic flare-ups rises in proportion to economic hardship and stricter immigration enforcement. The possibility of overt inter-ethnic violence persists."
No sustained inter-ethnic violence between Bahamians and Haitians has emerged, though Bahamians regularly express frustration, and sometimes hostility, via talk radio about the Haitian situation.
The Americans suggested that in a down economy, with increasing numbers of Haitians coming to the country and increased anti-Haitian sentiment, Haitian-Bahamian conflict could at some point emerge in various parts of The Bahamas.
"Inner-city Nassau neighborhoods are most at risk, but the potential for conflict also exists in suburbs where new subdivisions encroach on existing migrant settlements," said the cable.
"Conflict is also possible in outlying islands, which are proportionately greater affected by demographic changes or economic deterioration, and the competition for scarce land and jobs is fiercer."
 
The Haitian vote
In recent years, the Free National Movement (FNM) has publicly been 'softer' in its public tone towards Haitians than the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), which has held more to the traditional policy of repatriation.
At a rally in March at Clifford Park, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham began by reaching out to the Haitian community, acknowledging the return of the former leader of the country.
"Firstly, I want to give a shout out to my Haitian brothers and sisters and say how pleased I am that President Aristide has been allowed to return back to Haiti," Ingraham said.
Though a casual remark, Ingraham's reference to Haitians in The Bahamas as his "brothers and sisters" was a significant demonstration of solidarity by a Bahamian politician and leader.
The extent of anti-Haitian sentiment in The Bahamas was evident after the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  Ingraham suspended repatriations and released Haitians being detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.
Talk radio across the country was overwhelmed by those expressing anger with Ingraham's decision.
Thus far Haitians have not organized a political lobby to agitate for their interests in The Bahamas. There are no openly Haitian representatives in Parliament.
With the large number of Haitians in the country, however, the Americans realize that they would have significant power if they came together.
"A well-organized community might already have the power to swing a close election and wield increased influence as a result.  Haitians in The Bahamas, however, do not appear as yet to have the will or organizational wherewithal to risk an open challenge to the status quo," said the cable.
"Instead, most prefer to seek integration in place while others move on to the U.S."
With the large number of Haitians in the country, despite the current reluctance by them to openly enter front-line politics, sustained and open Haitian representation in Parliament going forward is inevitable.
 
The flow of people and discrimination
Cables on China have revealed the American concerns regarding The Bahamas being used as a transit point to smuggle Chinese to the United States.
Many of the Haitians that come to The Bahamas are smuggled into the country by Bahamians. The Americans described these smugglers as experienced.
"Migrants from poorer Caribbean countries are smuggled to or through The Bahamas, destined for the U.S., by well-established, island-hopping networks. Many are run by Bahamian smugglers based in Freeport, Grand Bahama or Bimini, two of the closest points to Florida shores," said the cable.
These migrants risk their lives to come to The Bahamas, as the Americans noted.  Haitians have relayed stories revealing that they have been told by smugglers to jump overboard from vessels into the sea and to swim to shore when they approach Bahamian islands.  Some who could not swim drowned after paying $2,000 to $3,000 to escape the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
"Such tragic incidents highlight the desperation of the migrants and indicate that the illicit Haitian migration flow to and through The Bahamas is unlikely to stop," said the cable.
After suffering through this ordeal, many Haitian migrants are faced with discrimination once they settle in The Bahamas.
"Bahamians strongly resent the social cost, cultural impact, and crime linked - in popular stereotypes certainly - to Haitian immigration.  These sentiments are confirmed in contacts with government officials, political activists, especially the youth, and NGO leaders who interact with both communities," the Americans observed in the cable.
"Haitians are thought to impose disproportionate demands on inadequate social services, primarily health and education, due to the higher birth rate in the Haitian community."
These issues, the Americans observed, have the potential to explode someday in The Bahamas if constructive policies are not introduced to further integration.
 
 
 

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News Article
Butler dealt a bad hand

Dear Editor,

It appears as if Opposition Leader Perry G. Christie is unmoved by the sudden resignation of Craig Butler from the Progressive Liberal Party.  Christie stated that people are always leaving the PLP. He also stated, however, that people are always joining his party. Mr. Christie also added that he wishes Mr. Butler all the best in his future endeavors.
Christie said this much about Craig Butler during a PLP rally that was held at their headquarters Gambier House on June 1st.  Mr. Butler is the grandson of Sir Milo Butler, the first Bahamian governor general.  He was also the treasurer of the PLP.  It appears that Mr. Butler's family connection was not enough to help him get the nomination for the PLP.
Mr. Butler has on numerous occasions expressed an interest in running as a candidate for the PLP.  In fact, just last year after the resignation of Elizabeth MP Malcolm Adderley from the House of Assembly, Mr. Butler, along with Ryan Pinder, both vied to get the PLP nomination for that constituency.  The nomination was given to Mr. Pinder.
He was favored by Mr. Christie to run in the 2010 bye-election in Elizabeth.  However, Mr. Christie, before he had made his final decision on who would run in Elizabeth, sounded as if Mr. Butler had a fighting chance to gain the nomination.

Nevertheless, despite what could only be described as a major disappointment in being rejected by the PLP in Elizabeth, Mr. Butler remained a loyal PLP supporter.  Mr. Butler then turned his attention to the Kennedy constituency.
That constituency is represented by FNM MP Kenyatta Gibson.  Gibson had defected from the PLP in 2008. I understand that Mr. Butler had been canvassing the Kennedy area, with the hope of galvanizing support from PLP supporters.
Many of the PLP supporters in Kennedy were interested in Mr. Butler and his message.  It appears as if Mr. Butler really believed that he would be given the PLP nomination for Kennedy.  According to some political observers, it appears as if Butler was given this impression by the leaders of that party.  This would explain why he was so disillusioned with the PLP and resigned after he was once again rejected by the party.
According to the press, one Dion Smith has been given the nomination to run for the PLP in Kennedy.  It is obvious to myself that Mr. Butler was really disappointed at being overlooked again by the PLP.  According to the press, Butler was denied a nomination because of his past drug addiction.
Butler has admitted that he once struggled with drug addition.  Yet he is quick to add, however, that he has truly reformed.  Christie, however, appears not to be impressed with Mr. Butler.  Perhaps the opposition leader feels that Butler's past indiscretions would turn off too many voters from the PLP.
Mr. Christie obviously wants to present to the Bahamian electorate a slate of candidates that are squeaky clean.  Therefore, it is understandable why Mr Christie is unwilling to accept Butler's nomination. But with that being said, why has Mr. Christie refused to heed the warning of Raynard Rigby, Philip Galanis and George Smith?
These three prominent PLPs had warned Christie not to accept the nominations of Obie Wilchcombe (West End and Bimini), V. Alfred Gray (MICAL), Shane Gibson (Golden Gates), Leslie Miller, Picewell Forbes (South Andros), Anthony Moss (Exuma) and Vincent Peet (North Andros), for the upcoming general election.  Most of these gentlemen listed above have also had their share of issues.  In fact, several of them, including Keod Smith, Kenyatta Gibson and Sidney Stubbs, had caused the PLP to lose the 2007 general election.
Mr. Christie obviously intends to run these men in the general election.  He had written a letter to a prominent tabloid newspaper stating the reason why he had rejected the suggestions of Rigby and co.
Question: If the leader of the opposition is hell-bent on running these candidates, who have also made their share of mistakes, why is Mr. Christie unwilling to do the same for Craig Butler?
If Mr. Christie is willing to overlook the alleged indiscretions of these men, why not do the same for Butler?  After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  If he is determined to reject Mr. Butler's nomination because of his past, then he should do the same thing to his MPs, who were mentioned in that famous letter that was leaked to the press!
Further, the incident with Craig Butler is similar to an incident that had occurred almost ten years ago in Marco City.  The Rev. Frederick MacAlpine was a PLP supporter who himself was given the impression that he would be given the PLP nomination for Marco City to run in the 2002 general election.  I live in Marco City.  I remember the Rev. MacAlpine sending us letters and holding functions in Marco City.  I thought that he would be running in Marco City for the PLP.  However, Miss Pleasant Bridgewater was given the nomination instead.
The Rev. MacAlpine felt slighted by Mr. Christie and the PLP. Therefore, he, like Butler, eventually left the party.  It appears as if Mr. Christie and his party have a penchant for leading people on.
These men had obviously spent a lot of money and time in these constituencies, only to be told at the eleventh hour that they won't be receiving any nomination from the PLP.  If this is what was done to Mr. Butler, then Christie and the other leaders of the PLP should at least apologize to him for wasting his time.
Why tell a man that he has a good chance of securing a nomination, when you have already made up in your mind to run someone else?  This is one reason why I find it difficult to support Mr. Christie.
Mr. Christie needs to understand that you just can't treat people like impersonal objects. People are to be treated with dignity and respect. I believe that Christie dealt Craig Butler a very bad hand in this case!

Yours, etc.,
KEVIN EVANS

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News Article
PLP supports gay rights

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has added its support to a recent United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that

affirmed the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to choose their own sexual identity.
PLP leader Perry Christie indicated at a press conference this week that the opposition supports such "progressive policies."
"I think from our point of view we understand the sensitivity of this matter," said Christie, adding that the PLP has "always

been committed to progressive policies -- policies that emphasize our commitment to human rights."
Christie said the resolution, which calls for an end to discrimination against gays worldwide, is humane and therefore the

party is in favor of it.
Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette last week said that The Bahamas also supports the resolution "in principle."
The resolution, which narrowly passed in the council in Geneva, Switzerland, expressed "grave concern" about discrimination against gays throughout the world and affirmed that freedom to choose sexuality is a human right.
The Bahamas does not have a seat on the council.
The PLP has no difficulty agreeing with the government on the issue, Christie stated.
"The (PLP) is always committed to ensuring that our policies and our commitments are consistent with the obligations of international

agencies and most certainly respecting the rule of law," he said.
The resolution passed in the Human Rights Council also asked the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct

a study by the end of the year that would point out "discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals

based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in all regions of the world."
Twenty-three countries on the Human Rights Council supported the resolution, 19 voted against it and three countries abstained.
The resolution was the first of its kind passed by the council. It was fiercely opposed by Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and

Nigeria, among other countries.
The United States supported the resolution, which also asked that the study be conducted before the end of the year to look

at how international laws can "be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and

gender identity."
The resolution also said that the council will form a panel once the study is completed to discuss "constructive, informed and transparent dialogue

on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation

and gender identity."

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News Article
Cable: Christie considered resigning

Opposition Leader Perry Christie told a U.S. Embassy official that he planned to resign from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) if the party was unsuccessful in its Election Court challenges that followed the 2007 poll, according to a diplomatic cable written in 2008.
The official wrote that Christie indicated that "he would stay on only as long as the PLP had a realistic chance of being named the victor in the contested seats."
It is unclear which embassy official wrote the cable, but then Ambassador Ned Siegel's name is at the end of the document.
Following the 2007 general election, the PLP through its defeated candidates challenged three seats: Pinewood, Marco City and Blue Hills.
It lost both the Pinewood and Marco City challenges. The Blue Hills challenge was dropped.
Leslie Miller, who ran for the PLP in Blue Hills, said he considered the challenge a waste of time, as elections are not won in court.
After the Pinewood loss, and Kenyatta Gibson's resignation from the PLP, the American diplomat speculated in the 2008 cable that Christie was about to step down.
"For the foreseeable future, the PLP will be distracted and consumed with its ongoing internal disarray and lack of direction," the official wrote.
"The party convention, if and when it is held, may not resolve even the leadership crisis....With this defection (Gibson) and the FNM victory in the first court challenge, it is likely that Christie will now step aside unless the factionalism is so strong that no consensus can be reached on a successor."
In the 2008 cable, the embassy official wrote, "Gibson's resignation is a big nail in Perry Christie's political coffin.
"It will intensify pressure for Christie to step aside for new leadership. It also eases political pressure on the FNM, which is expecting to win ongoing court challenges to three seats by the PLP."
The embassy official expressed the view that Gibson's "attack" on Christie after his resignation from the party was ironic given that he was one of the MPs involved in a high-profile fight in the Cabinet Office while the PLP was in office.
"Christie's unwillingness to replace Gibson fed the image of his indecisiveness as a leader, and of the PLP as a party without internal discipline," the cable said.
"Christie no doubt feels personally betrayed for having stood by Gibson only to have Gibson bite his hand."
The cable added: "The resignation has laid bare the fractional lines in the party, with the party's official website now being used to criticize other members, and those members in turn publicly criticizing the party's own website."
The embassy official wrote that Gibson's resignation undermined the PLP leadership's post-election strategy of contesting the three seats.
"The resignation, which was accompanied by a blistering exchange with the PLP leadership, is a blow to the embattled PLP leader, former Prime Minister Perry Christie."
The official opined at the time that Gibson's resignation was certain to reopen debate about Christie's record and the need for strategic changes following the PLP's "shock election defeat" in May 2007.
"The unexpected resignation has bared to the public the infighting and backstabbing that had plagued the PLP during its time in office and has only intensified following the PLP's loss," the cable said.
"The turnabout in parliamentary fortunes eases pressure on the FNM government as it struggles to deal with daunting challenges of crime and stagnating tourism numbers."
The U.S. Embassy official also wrote that Gibson's surprise resignation not only upset the PLP's post-election strategy, but further undermined the already "weak position of PLP leader Perry Christie who, like the rest of the party, was reportedly blindsided by the news."
The official noted in that 2008 cable that Gibson's resignation came only days after the PLP's spokesman on foreign affairs, Fred Mitchell, sought to downplay in a media statement the liklihood of any leadership challenges at the next PLP convention.
"On the contrary, Gibson's strategically timed announcement on the eve of the anniversary of the PLP's achievement of Majority Rule in 1967 added insult to injury by upstaging the party's commemoration," the official said.
"It has also intensified questions about Christie's viability as opposition leader."
But at the party's convention in 2009, Christie crushed his opponents, winning more than 80 percent of the votes cast for party leader.
RELIEF FOR EMBATTLED FNM
The 2008 cable characterized Kenyatta Gibson's resignation as a relief for the "embattled Free National Movement".
"Striking like a thunderbolt out of a clear blue sky, news of Gibson's resignation came just in time to become the top story on evening news broadcasts and morning newspaper headlines, pushing all other current affairs aside," the official wrote.
The cable added that the media splash handed the FNM a bit of unexpected relief after months of pressure from negative crime stories and unfavorable tourism numbers, coupled with stinging opposition attacks over both.
"The FNM's presumed courtship of another MP whose allegiance to the PLP may be shaky, Malcom Adderley, may also return to center stage," the official wrote.
"Speculation about Adderley's loyalties returned to the forefront recently after Prime Minister Ingraham reappointed him to a two-year position as chairman of the Gaming Board, the sole PLP member to hold on to such a position after the May 2007 elections.
"While the urgency of such an effort might wane, the prospects for another defection cannot be ruled out."
Adderley resigned from the PLP and Parliament in early 2010, triggering the Elizabeth by-election, which was won by the PLP's Ryan Pinder.
In a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian, Christie said some of what the American diplomats attributed to him was inaccurate, and their characterization of him as weak and indecisive was also wrong.
Christie said the leak of the cables is a lesson to public officials that they need to be more disciplined in how they deal with foreign diplomats.
Christie added that he had no concerns that the cables would negatively affect him politically.
 
 
 

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News Article
Bar Council chief says Privy Council still needed

President of the Bahamas Bar Association Ruth Bowe-Darville has expressed concern over recent calls for the country to move

away from the Privy Council as a final court of appeal in the wake of a controversial ruling on how the death penalty should

be applied.
Bowe-Darville said Bahamians who suggest abandoning the Privy Council are "treading in very dangerous water."
"Criminally, it's one thing. Civilly, when you're dealing with financial matters and the economic impact of it, litigants

who come before our court, they need that assurance that there is some place of last resort that is independent and seen to

be independent," said Bowe-Darville while appearing as a guest on the Star 106.5 FM program "Jeffrey" on Thursday .
"Litigants who come before us with multi-million-dollar cases and they see us as a great financial center, they need the assurance

that the Privy Council is there," she said.
Last week, the Privy Council quashed the death sentence of murder convict Maxo Tido and ruled that the gruesome murder of

16-year-old Donnell Conover in 2002 did not warrant a death sentence.
When police discovered Conover's body, her skull was crushed and she was badly burned.
But the Privy Council, while recognizing that it was a dreadful and appalling murder, said it did not fall into the category

of worst of the worst.
Tido was sentenced more than five years ago.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in the House of Assembly on Monday that the government intends to bring a bill to

Parliament before the summer recess to deal with "the question of the imposition of the death penalty in The Bahamas".
The legislation would outline specific categories of murder.
Bowe-Darville said the government has to address the question of the death penalty through legislation, but has to be careful

not to offend members of the international community.
"I think the question of the death penalty needs to be addressed. I think the country is torn by it because we're in the throes

of this crime epidemic as people have labeled it," she said.
"People believe that the sentence of death and the implementing of the sentence is going to solve the problem -- rightly or

wrongly.
"The debate is wide open. Whether the passage of legislation will resolve the problem is yet to be seen, but we need to address

it, not only for our own national or domestic needs, but the addressing of the death penalty issue also has international

implications for us. It also has economic implications for us."
Bowe-Darville said Bahamians must remember that the country is "a small fish in a very big pond."
"The wider community out there with whom we interact internationally, they're not for the death penalty and have long not

been," she said.
"We interact with them for trade; we look to them for funding. And so we have to consider those implications as well. [Certainly

the prime minister] would have considered our greater good and he would consider our interaction with the wider world as well

when the legislation comes forward."

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News Article
(Streaming Audio) Into the Crimson Room - Truth or Taboo

I find it inspiring, exciting and fascinating to read about women artists that are expressing themselves and their art in a surprisingly fresh way, even though many of the artists have been working since the 60's.

The art work is diverse, ranging from installations to performance art, new media, painting, patchwork, photography, and ceramics.

What appeals to me is the raw energy and unflinching truths that are portrayed. There is a steady gaze of comprehension, comprehension of the artists self and comprehension of the context - society- in which the artist exists. Self - being the pivotal point of reference for a large amount of the work...

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News Article
Ministers attend Grand Bahama Power Company's 80 million ground breaking

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Local Ministers and Grand Bahama Port Authority Executives attended the Grand Bahama Power Company ground breaking for the newly named West Sunrise plant. The Hon. Neko C. Grant, Minister of Public Works and Transport, addressed guests at the ceremony and expressed his excitement about the ensuing economic opportunities due to the large investment.
"The diesel plant (state-of-the-art facility) will be constructed at a cost of $80 million and will provide some 70 jobs for Bahamians during construction. At this time when the economic downturn has had a negative impact on employment levels in The Bahamas, as in other countries; this opportunity for additional employment on Grand Bahama is welcomed."
The 80 million dollar generation plant will be constructed on 6 acres of land adjacent to the current Steam Plant, and will significantly improve levels of reliability and stabilize electricity costs for Grand Bahama.  Emera is able to make the $80 million investment into the plant with no base rate increase to customers due to a new rate structure granted by the company's regulators, the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
"Today marks a turning point in the energy future for the Grand Bahama Power Company and the island of Grand Bahama," noted Sarah MacDonald, President & CEO of GBPC.  "We are not merely constructing a diesel plant on this ground but making an investment in the future of this island." She went on to add, "This is just the start of the plans we have for this company. Emera believes that the Grand Bahama Power Company has the ability to not only meet but also surpass the electric expectations of our customers. This groundbreaking ceremony represents a very important step towards achieving our overall vision as we work towards keeping Grand Bahama's future bright."

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News Article
Police advise parents to be responsible for children's safety

By LAMECH JOHNSON

OFFICERS from the National Crime Prevention division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force called on parents to assume responsibility for their children this summer.

In a meeting with the press at the police headquarters on East Street north, Sgt Chrislyn Skippings and Sgt Anthony Rolle expressed greater concern for children and the role of parents in protecting them, though they also gave advice for the safety of motorists and pedestrians.

Sgt Skippings, press liaison officer for the force, understands that many parents have to work, but says that this should not be an excuse.

"During this time they are away from school, there are summer camps and many activities going ...

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