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It takes approximately three-quarters of a million dollars to effectively operate the Cancer Society of The Bahamas (CSOB) each year. This annual budget is primarily used to further the Society's corporate mission and objectives which includes serving cancer patients, survivors, their families and persons at risk, through various screening and education programs; providing residential care; advocacy and financial aid. While the Society depends to a large extent, on donations and grants from corporate and individual donors for a significant portion of its operational budget, it also coordinates in house, a number of fundraising activities each year. One of these is the "Stride for Life Walk."
"Stride for Life Walk" (SFLW) was first introduced in 2004, under the chairmanship of Terry Fountain, immediate past president of the CSOB. The walk serves not only as a major plank in the CSOB fundraising arsenal, but also as a means of raising public awareness to the issue of cancer in general, and to breast cancer in particular, as well as to mobilize public support for the ongoing work of the CSOB. It is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 1, with a 6 a.m. start. There are seven categories in which individuals may register and actively participate, 6-12 years; 13-20 years; 21-30 years; 31-40 years; 41-50 years; 51-60 years, and 61 and over. Each category is further grouped by gender, as well as whether a participant is a cancer survivor or not.
There are two routes for the walk, one for the younger, able-bodied participants known as group one, and one for cancer survivors and "older," less able-bodied participants, known as group two. Both routes will begin and end at the CSOB's headquarters, East Terrace, Centreville. While both groups will travel the same route to East Bay Street,
Group one will walk north over the "new" Paradise Island bridge to the Golf Course and back over the "old" bridge to Mackey Street. They will continue south to Shirley Street, walking west to Collins Avenue and south to the CSOB. Group two's route will omit the walk across the two bridges and will continue to walk east on East Bay Street to Mackey Street, and proceed south to Shirley Street and follow a similar route to the CSOB's headquarters.
The planning process for S4LW begins from as early as mid-January each year with a team of volunteers from both the private and the public sectors, ranging in age from 22 years to 60-plus. This team, coordinated by Gennie Dean, consists of both cancer survivors and friends of survivors.
The Rt. Rev'd Laish Boyd, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands and Erin Brown, both of whom are cancer survivors, serve as honorary co-chairpersons of the committee.
The business community has been extremely generous, as always, in their support of this event; Major sponsors include: Bahamia, Shoe Village, Aquapure, Atlantic Medical, BAF Financial & Insurance (BAH) LTD, Bahamas Food Services (BFS), Bank of the Bahamas, Chevron, Colina, First Caribbean International Bank, Island Games, J.S. Johnson, Nautilus, Phil's Food Services and Scotia Bank.
Additionally, Bahamas Waste Management, Caribbean Bottling, Fidelity Bank, the National Insurance Board (NIB), and the Teachers' and Salaried Workers' Credit Union have generously paid the registration fees for their employees to participate in the walk. In addition, the international Susan G. Komen Foundation will again be participating.
In 2010, the S4LW netted over $21,000. The target for 2011 has been set at $26,000. Despite the ongoing recession and increases in prices in many instances, the committee is confident that this target will be realized.
At the conclusion of the walk, Minister of Health, Dr. Hubert Minnis will speak, as well as a cancer survivor that will share his/her experience. Bodine Johnson is also expected to perform.
The "Stride for Life Walk" is now in its eighth year, having been introduced in 2004 for the dual purpose of raising funds and raising public awareness around general and specific cancer issues. It is an event that is suitable for the entire family's participation. Registration forms for all categories and groups are vailable from the Society's headquarters on East Terrace or can be downloaded from the CSOB's website at www.cancersocietybahamas.org. For more information, telephone the Cancer Society of The Bahamas at 323-4441 or 323-4482.
Funeral service for Vernice Brenette Alleyne Prudent, 64 yrs., a resident of #3 Oxford Avenue, who died on 21st August, 2011, will be held at Bethel Baptist Church, Meeting Street, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Rev. Timothy Stewart, assisted by Other Ministers of the Gospel. Inerment follows in the Church's Cemetery.
Left to cherish her memories are her children: Two Daughters: Patrice Hepburn, Vilvert and Sharmaine Ferguson of Miami Fla., Two Sons: Bernard Collie Sr. and Leroy Miller; Adopted children: Vanessa Walkes, Terrance Cooper, Rev. Ethan Fairweather, Att. Carla Demeritte, Phillipa Thompson, Juanita Gibson, Andre Wallace, Prince Prudent, Scott Taylorm Ken, Peter, Stacia Thompson, Darrie, Francis, Tia Francis, Torshika Bain, Geanno and Shandia Beneby; five grandchildren: Bernard Collie Jr., Jeffrice Strachan, Vestrinique Miller, Zion Conneym, Alexis Ferguson; five sisters: Vanria Malcolm, Roslyn Fernander, Sandra Johnson, Carmetta Nesbitte and Prescola Barbes; nine brothers: Kermit Douglas, Anthony Marshall, Clifford Fernander, Shuffel, Vandyke, Phillip, Elvis and Oliver Hepburn, and Kenneth Alleyne of New York; two sons-in-law: Harold Vilvert and Renald Ferguson of Miami, Florida; one daughter-in-law: Cpt. Inez Miller; four brothers-in-law: Wendall Malcolm, Larry Johnson, Corneilus Nesbitt and Rodyn Barbes; six sisters-in-law: Helen Alleyne, Tanya Douglas, Susan, Michelle, Dioni and Susan Hepburn, one adopted sister: Louis Crenshaw of Minnesota (USA); two step sisters: Rowena Albury and Pauline Nairn; Kristin, Shanna, Royannm Shakara, Crystal, Shantavia, Rhondam, Patrenda, Sameatta, Helena, Lorraine, Ketra, Vandrya, Meaghan, Lavanda, Lashelle, Monteza, Shayla, Diannam Stacia, Kenva, and Tia; twenty-nine nephews: Trevor, Kevin, Kent, Kyle, Patrick, Roswell, Don, Gino, Chino, Javison, Quawadis, Isreal, Kermit Jr., Samuel, (Joey), Alexander, Rodyn III, Shuffel Jr., Jammal, Thedore, Elbert, Avener, Theron, Elliott, Philip Jr., Nathan, Kyle, Elvis Jr., and Warren; two uncles: Charles and Edward Poitier; two aunts: Ikena and Thelma Poitier, numerous cousins including: Paulamae Ferguson, Idamae Bain, Capt. Vernita Hepburn, Theresa Hepburn, Sheryl Major, Vandell Thomas, Sharon Poitier, Ronda Nixon, Winnfred, Charles Poitier, Oswald Poitier, Solomon, Lawrence Rolle, Alfred Knowles, Kermit Hepburn, Edwin and Melvin Poitier, Austine and Carmen Heoburnm Janet Poitier, Wendy Smith, Donna, Lil Clifford, Julia and Julian Hepburn, Audrey and Parish and Rev. Tony Hanna; Thirty-five grand nieces and twenty-eight grand nephews: Other relatives and friends including: Rev. Timothy Stewart and Family, the Dorsett Family, Ruth and Donnell Russell and Family, Marie Woodside and Family, Denise Stubbs and Family, Patsy and the Girls, Florence Greenslade and family, Dr. Hubert Olander and Family, Michael Pintard and Family, The Quakoo Street Family, The Thompson Lane Family, Judy Beneby and Family, The Lewis Family, Rosalie Neymour and Family, Uleus Prudent and Family, John, Campbell, The Stubbs Family, Lucille Kelly and Family, Madlyn Wells and Family, Shawn Sturrup & Family, The entire Bethel Baptist Church Family, Henry Bostwick and Family, Kenneth Johnson and Family, The Staff of Family Guardian Insurance, Sandra Hepburn and Family, Sandra Mackey and Family, The Newbold and Higgs Families, Keva Brahilda Johnson and Family, The Department of Social Services, Melrose Pinder and Family, Debra Saunders and Family, Dora Bethel and Family, other Family and Friends too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
Hurricane Season in The Caribbean officially began on June 1st and ends November 30th, meaning that this is the period most likely to see Hurricane activity. However, a natural disaster can occur at any time, and the best defense is to always be informed and prepared
Apart from the dangers posed by the force of high winds and heavy rainfall, a hurricane can also produce abnormal and extremely dangerous storm surges. These occur as a result of the unusual combination of atmospheric pressures, and with the addition of the strong force of the winds, become even more dangerous.
Eleuthera has been granted its own Chamber of Commerce, which will change the way the island - and indeed the country - conducts business.
Thomas Sands, a prominent entrepreneur on the island - with interests in retail, property, insurance and tourism - takes up the post of president.
He told Guardian Business the paperwork has been approved to become a legal, incorporated entity.
"We questioned the viability of acting as a club versus an incorporated Chamber that is recognized throughout The Bahamas and the world," Sands added.
"It was important, going forward, to legitimize the organization prior to establishing membership or activities. We will now have influence over our own economy and communication with any developments that may take place."
However, it took a lot of hard work to get to this point, he said.
In July 2010, Guardian Business reported that executives announced their intention to launch a Chamber of Commerce for Eleuthera.
Since then, hundreds of discussions, memos and proposals have taken place.
With the approval now in place, the next task is to develop the membership, which will include business owners, stakeholders and individuals of influence on the island.
Elizabeth Byron, the editor and owner of 'The Eleutheran', will serve as vice president.
Unlike some other Chamber of Commerce entities in the Family Islands, Sands said making the organization incorporated gives it real teeth when dealing with the government.
In other words, it is expected to have significant clout in all future business dealings on the island.
Winston Rolle, the Chairman of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employer Confederation (BCCEC), told Guardian Business that, in the past, there was only one real economic center in the country.
That, however, has changed over the years as the islands develop industry and work to address their specific needs.
He believes the Eleuthera Chamber of Commerce will only strengthen business in The Bahamas.
"The way we see it, while we are focused on things in New Providence, we can now focus on the more macro items - the things that affect us as a country, and that shall facilitate business as a whole," he said.
"We envision other chambers will provide focus on issues in their areas, and we can leverage and exchange resources, training and contacts.
"We want a better relationship with our Family Island chambers."
For example, Rolle pointed out that this week, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, the BCCEC has put on a free training seminar for aspiring entrepreneurs in Grand Bahama.
The 40-hour training program at the Sunrise Resort and Marina is giving participants access to top business and financial consultants.
"The idea is to have a partnering relationship and leverage our resources," he added.
Accessing these resources is a top priority for Sands, he told Guardian Business, and it should be on the agenda for their first meeting in the next 30 days.
Sands said he would like to establish more educational programs with the BCCEC and be involved in the small-to-medium-sized business legislation currently being worked on in New Providence.
The hurricane, he said, has set them back somewhat in terms of progress, and businesses need time to get "their priorities sorted out" before turning attention to the new chamber. Other issues on the agenda will be tackling the tourism challenges faced by Eleuthera, with a focus on improving the number of flights and increasing the island's overall exposure in the market.
But Sands felt the most important function of the new chamber is communication.
"We have spoken a lot about communication between developers and business," he said. "There is a sense of working together to develop the island and eliminating the idea that people do their own thing and feeling threatened. That dialogue is a priority."
He said, at first, progress will be slow as they gather momentum. The most important thing is Eleuthera now has a united, legal voice.
"It will make business more efficient," Rolle agreed.
"All of the islands have their uniqueness. I would not try to sit in New Providence and indicate what is going on in Exuma or Eleuthera. But that doesn't preclude us from working together and forming a better relationship."
Companies lose an average of five percent of their annual revenue due to occupational fraud and abuse, according to a recent survey released by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).
Marlon Cooper, managing director at Symptai Consulting Ltd., addressed the importance of businesses having certain systems in place to ensure they don't suffer such revenue losses, during a seminar yesterday at the British Colonial Hilton.
"Often times, persons within a company use their positions to destroy the company one way or the other. They abuse processes and systems, so the company are faced with those losses," he explained.
"That's completely different from those additional losses where external persons or entities also attempt to defraud a company or to get monies or services out of a company and then not pay for those services."
Cooper addressed seminar attendees on the topic "Delivering Business Value through Continued Monitoring".
"We are trying to educate the Bahamian market about how you can continuously monitor the controls within your business processes, to ensure that the business does not suffer money leakage, revenue loss and is not susceptible to fraudulent activities that may be as a result of overpayment, or payment of things that should not have occurred. We are trying to educate the public that technology is available and being used here in The Bahamas," Cooper noted.
Cooper pointed out how the National Insurance Board (NIB) is one of the major entities locally that has put a system in place to combat these issues in regards to the unemployment benefit fund.
"In addition to that, they wanted to ensure that they are able to deliver on their promise to make long-term and short-term benefit payments, and also that the contributions payments that are set to come in, come in a timely manner," he said.
With the Caseware Solution system, Cooper shared that there is a tight system of accountability.
"It monitors regular business processes, whether you are looking for duplicates of payments, your payroll process or you want to make sure that only persons who were employed are being paid."
Around 119,000 Bahamians have registered to vote in the next general election, Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel told The Nassau Guardianyesterday.
Of that total, 50,000 are from Grand Bahama and the Family Islands, Bethel confirmed.
He suggested registration has slowed in recent weeks because people think the recent closing of the old voter register meant the closing of voter registration altogether. Registration will continue until an election is called and Bethel encouraged Bahamians to continue to register.
Bethel said his department probably did not even register 1,000 voters this past week.
The department issued a public notice yesterday asking Bahamians to take advantage of the registration locations that are open today at the Parliamentary Registration Department, the Mall at Marathon and the Town Centre Mall. Those locations will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The notice also reminded the public that registration centers at the Parliamentary Registration Department, the Mall at Marathon, the Town Centre Mall, the National Insurance Board, Baillou Hill Road, Lowes Pharmacy, Soldier Road, the South Beach Post Office, the Carmichael Post Office, the Elizabeth Estates Post Office, the General Post Office and Super Value Food Store, Mackey Street, will be open August 8 to 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Evening registration centers will be open at the Parliamentary Registration Department, the Mall at Marathon, and the Town Centre Mall from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
"The public is reminded that only Bahamian citizens 18 years and older are eligible to register to vote and applicants are required to produce proof of citizenship," the notice read.
Bethel said there is still a lot of work for his department to do considering that the boundaries commission has not yet met.
"After the boundaries commission is done, then voters cards will be issued," he said. "There is lots of work for the Parliamentary Registration Department."
Please allow me a few lines to address the recent Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government board appointees and how the majority of trade union leaders were somehow rewarded for their part in giving the Free National Movement (FNM) government hell during its years in office.
I hope the rights and privileges of the workers of this country are not compromised due to these positions on boards and the stipend pay that comes along.
Let's look at the following as published in the local paper. I draw attention to this Mr. Editor because when the time comes for these union presidents to show their muscle for the best intent of their members, I certainly hope they can flex their stuff the same way they did to the FNM leadership. But, of course, we all know there were promises made to these leaders and some of the pay is already being handed out.
Keep watching Bahamas, more to come. My question is will the workers be shortchanged as their leaders gets richer and richer? I wait to see who will be the first to stand up for their members against this promised happy government.
o John Pinder, president, Bahamas Public Services Union - Bahamas Mortgage Corporation board
o Bernard Evans, president, Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union - National Insurance board deputy chairman
o Belinda Wilson, president, Bahamas Teachers Union - Educational Loan Authority board
o Obie Ferguson, president, Trade Union Congress - Bahamas Electricity Corporation board
o Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson, president, Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas - Bahamas Development Bank board
o Sloane Smith, executive, Bahamas Customs, Immigration and Allied Workers Union - Bahamas Trade Commission board
o Nicole Martin, president, Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union - Prices Commission
- Eyes wide open in Pinewood
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
A LEADING Bahamian health insurer yesterday saw its attempt to 'stay' an agency's demands for due commission payments shot down by the Court of Appeal, which found that the carrier and its general insurance affiliate were not "a single economic unit".
The appellate court's judgment showed how Atlantic Medical Insurance attempted to tie the action launched against it by Fred S. Ramsey General Insurance Agency to another Supreme Court case, which had been initiated against the same agency by its property and casualty underwriter affiliate, Security & General.
Atlantic Medical and Security & General have as their parent ...
Turks and Caicos Islands - The Government is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Colin Heartwell as the new Chief Executive Officer for the Turks and Caicos Islands National Insurance Board. Mr Heartwell will begin his three year contract at the end of August.
Mr. Heartwell is a senior executive with two decades of business management experience in various areas of economic development. He has been a Director General of Western Economic Diversification Canada, overseeing an investment portfolio of more than $350 million, the inaugural CEO for TCInvest, attracting significant foreign ...
The Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) is encouraging insurance companies to make it easier for farmers, whose crops were destroyed during Hurricane Irene, to claim benefits.
"We want to take this opportunity to make an appeal to persons in authority to ensure that those persons, farmers in particular in the islands who lost quite a bit of their vegetation, to have those restored because they rely on those as income for their family," BCC Vice President Victor Cooper said yesterday during a press conference at Cousin McPhee AME Church to announce a National Day of Prayer to be led by the council.
While seeking to help farmers, Cooper also said the council is organizing other relief efforts.
"Right now churches are in the process locally of raising funds to assist persons in our Family Islands whose homes were damaged in Irene. So the hurricane relief fund is going. Once we visited the island of Exuma, we got firsthand knowledge of persons needing help.
"And so we saw several homes that were damaged and immediate steps and efforts were put in place to secure funds to ensure that those homes could be restored."
Several islands sustained damage as a result of the storm.
BCC President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson said that despite the destruction on some islands, Bahamians are blessed in that no lives were lost during the storm.
The day of prayer will be on Wednesday and BCC officials will meet at 10 locations across New Providence between noon and 1 p.m.
The meetings are scheduled for Transfiguration Baptist Church, Market Street; Lynden Pindling International Airport; Potter Cay Dock; Arawak Cay; Rawson Square; Paradise Island next to the taxi stand; the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Base; Yamacraw Beach; South Beach Pools and Clifton Heritage Park.
That night at 7:30 there will also be a praise rally at Pinewood Gardens Park. Similar prayer sessions are scheduled for the Family Islands.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) member of Parliament for Mangrove Cay and South Andros Picewell Forbes is probably wondering why he has fallen into the bad grace of his leader Prime Minister Perry G. Christie. Forbes, who is currently serving in his second term in the House of Assembly, has not been appointed to the Cabinet or any of the government boards. He has been relegated to the backbench of the governing party's parliamentary caucus. This intriguing development was not missed by Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Charles Maynard, who questioned the absence of the South Andros member of Parliament in any of the appointments. Maynard even wondered if Forbes was being punished by Christie. I think that the FNM chairman may be on to something here.
Every last one of the PLP members of Parliament, except Forbes, is either serving in the Cabinet or on a board. Unsuccessful PLP candidates such as Tanisha Tynes, Julian Russell, Alex Storr, Jerome Gomez, Gary Sawyer, Frank Smith and Clay Sweeting have been appointed to the senate or to government boards. Sweeting has been appointed vice-chairman of the Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation (BAIC). Mount Moriah Member of Parliament Arnold Forbes is the chairman. Smith has been made chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority Board; Tynes is chairman of the Hotel Licensing Board; Sawyer has been appointed chairman of the Air Transport Advisory Board; Gomez is chairman of Nassau Flight Services; Russell is chairman of the Hotel Corporation and Alex Storr chairs the Mortgage Corporation board.
Interestingly, many of the board appointees figured prominently in past PLP governments, especially during the 80s and early 90s. For example, Franklyn Wilson, Valentine Grimes and Philip Galanis have all been appointed to boards by the governing party. Wilson heads the Bahamas National Commission for UNESCO; Galanis heads the Bahamas Trade Commission and Grimes heads Bahamasair Holdings Limited.
Like Maynard and many FNM supporters, I thought that Christie would have at least given the chairmanship post at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB) to Forbes, seeing that he is a journalist by profession. Instead, that post has been given to the Reverend William Thompson. One Louis Hancell has been appointed to the vice chairmanship position at the BCB.
I think that Forbes and the BCB would have been a match made in heaven. What must surely raise the ire of Forbes and his supporters is the fact that many of his parliamentary colleagues are serving in their first term in the House of Assembly and the Senate. Yet Christie has placed more confidence in them than in the South Andros representative, who has been in the House of Assembly since May 2007. Political newcomers such as members of Parliament Greg Moss (Marco City); Dr. Michael Darville (Pineridge); Dion Smith (Nassau Village); Dr. Kendal Major (Garden Hills) and Senator Cheryl Bazard have all been appointed to key positions in the fledgling Christie regime. Both Smith and Major serve as the speakers of the House; while Moss heads the National Insurance Board; Darville, of course, is the minister for Grand Bahama and Bazard has been named chairman of the Compliance Commission.
Also, newcomers such as Dr. Andre Rollins (Fort Charlotte) and Renward Wells (Bamboo Town) have been given important positions by the prime minister. Rollins heads the Gaming Board and Wells is parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development. Interestingly, both of these men were leaders of the now defunct National Development Party (NDP). Rollins even contested the 2010 by-election in Elizabeth as an NDP candidate. Yet these two johnny-come-latelies to the PLP are serving in prominent positions, while Forbes languishes as a parliamentary backbencher.
By virtue of his seniority, Forbes should have at least been appointed to the Cabinet. But I believe that his absence from any of these board appointments is a calculated more on the part of the hierarchy of the governing PLP.
To put it bluntly, Forbes has been slighted by the prime minister. And this isn't the first time that this has happened to the South Andros representative. A few years back, a former PLP parliamentarian, who, by the way, has also been appointed to a board, was openly campaigning in South Andros. He was seeking to get the PLP nomination to run in that area, notwithstanding the fact that that area already had a sitting PLP representative. He had evidently heard of Forbes' much publicized financial difficulties and wanted to take advantage of the situation.
It was also rumored in the press that the PLP was seriously considering dropping Forbes from its ticket. Much to his relief, Christie went to South Andros and publicly endorsed his candidacy. But this was weeks after the political drama began. What took Christie so long anyway? For what it's worth, Forbes made a strategic blunder in allowing Christie and others to lure him away from his lucrative career in broadcasting to enter into the cut-throat world of Bahamian politics.
When it was being rumored in the press prior to 2007 that Forbes was being courted by the PLP to run on its ticket, he was considered by many political analysts to be a future star in the PLP. But obviously that has not transpired. His decision to enter frontline politics has probably set him back five, six or even 10 years, from a financial standpoint. He should have never left his well paying job at ZNS.
Personally, the only sensible course of action for Forbes to take is to severe his ties with the PLP and Christie and get a job at one of the radio stations such as Guardian Radio or one of the radio stations of Eileen Dupuch Carron. Media personalities such as Ortland Bodie, Darold Miller and Chrissy 'Love' Thompson are all thriving in the radio talk show industry. Why stay with a political organization whose leadership seems hell-bent on embarrassing you at every given opportunity? Forbes must come to grips with the fact that the prime minister has no confidence in him and probably doesn't even want him to be a part of his party.
The rumors about the PLP plotting to dump him in the lead up to the 2012 general elections were probably true after all. This latest saga only serves to reinforce my suspicions. Forbes should cut his losses and leave the PLP. There is no future for him in that party.
Looking back in hindsight, he is probably regretting that he did not take that six-figure job at the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) from the then FNM government. He probably thought that his fidelity to the PLP would have been rewarded by the prime minister (Christie).
So far, he has been dead wrong. Judging from the shoddy manner in which he has been treated, he should have taken the URCA job. Perhaps, he is being punished by Christie for contemplating on leaving the PLP for the URCA job. I don't know for sure. But I believe that Christie no longer wants him to be a part of the PLP. This latest snub by the leader of the PLP should serve as an indication to Forbes that he is no longer wanted by Christie. He should pack up his georgie bundle and leave the party.
For what it's worth, though, Forbes deserves better from the prime minister and the PLP. If Christie could treat his own like this, what would he do to a political opponent? Just a thought to ponder.
- Kevin Evans
By CELESTE NIXON
Tribune Staff Reporter
PLP representatives held a joint press conference outside the National Insurance Board (NIB) Baillou Hill Road Headquarters yesterday claiming that the unemployment rate is higher than recent government reports indicate.
MP for Elizabeth Ryan Pinder said the recent employment statistics released last week are misleading Bahamians into thinking that the country's unemployment situation has improved.
"These figures are FNM voodoo economics at its best," said Mr Pinder.
The Department of Statistics released the results of its Labour Force and Household Income Survey on Friday, revealing a slight decrease in the nu ...
I was surprised to hear and see media reports on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning of coverage of Prime Minister Perry Christie's remarks to senior public officers. He reportedly acknowledged that our country is now "in the midst of one of the most difficult and challenging fiscal periods in the nation's history." In his budget communication last month, also he admitted that the Bahamian economy was inextricably linked to that of the United States and that recovery in our economy was dependent on recovery in the U.S. economy.
On Thursday, the minister of labour, Shane Gibson, also advised the media, following the execution of new agreements with the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) providing for the payment of increments to public officers concluded by the Free National Movement (FNM) government, that "the financial conditions of the country remain the same" - presumably, the same as reported by the FNM government prior to May 7.
When the FNM government advised of the serious threats to the Bahamian economy resulting from the worst international financial and economic world crisis, we were scoffed at by Christie and his colleagues. They claimed that the weak Bahamian economy was the result of FNM policies. Indeed, they seem to have convinced themselves to believe their own brand of voodoo economics.
Ignoring all of the warnings and advice on the economy given by the previous FNM government in the House of Assembly, in annual budget presentations and in nationally broadcast addresses to the nation on the state of the economy, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) made all manner of promises to the Bahamian people claiming that they could do a better job on the economy than the FNM.
Now, the prime minister and his colleagues want to use the conditions prevailing in the Bahamian economy as an excuse for their inability to deliver on the outlandish promises made during the recent election campaign - promises for dramatic levels of new job creation, promises of the introduction of national health insurance, promises of private home mortgage relief, and promises to double the education budget to list only a few.
The Bahamian public is not so silly as to believe that the true financial condition of the country was not known to the PLP before May 7 when they were dreaming up their "charter" for governance. They made campaign promises knowing fully that they could not deliver on them. Now, deliver they must.
Now, instead of delivering on its promises the PLP government is busy trying to lower expectations among its supporters. And they are holding out FNM initiatives coming on stream as the best, if not only, hope for better in the weeks and months ahead. For example, the prime minister is now promising, with great passion, to maximize Bahamian employment at the Baha Mar project notwithstanding that he knows (and we know) the requirements of the government and the commitment of Baha Mar to do just that. He is also busy announcing new tourism related developments scheduled to commence shortly at Albany and in Bimini among others - all matters approved and in hand prior to the election.
In the closing days of the 2012 election campaign, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reported that the economic tide was no longer ebbing but rather beginning to rise. He promised that all would benefit from that rise. He also cautioned that the PLP were reapers not sowers. He was absolutely right on that score. Having defeated the FNM at the polls the PLP is now seeking to score points among its supporters with promises of fruits that are the product of FNM labor. And they are seeking to restrict the distribution of those fruits amongst their supporters only - as admitted by the prime minister in North Andros and as alluded to by the deputy prime minister and the chairman of the PLP with regard to staffing in the Urban Renewal program.
Even internationally the PLP seeks to bask in the glow of FNM accomplishments. It is a cruel irony that Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell traveled to Rio+20 Conference in Brazil to boast of The Bahamas' accomplishments on the environmental and conservation fronts, protecting sharks and turtles and expanding the network of marine protected areas - all accomplishments of FNM administrations.
Then Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle traveled to London pursuing investments by pushing The Bahamas' modern and efficient public infrastructure and welcoming investment climate - all the result of FNM policies and programs. He subsequently met with owners of downtown Nassau properties to remind them of targeted concessions available to facilitate the repair, upgrade and expansion of their properties under provisions introduced via amendments to the Hotels Encouragement Act made under the FNM and under the City of Nassau Redevelopment Act, enacted under the FNM.
Most recently the minister of financial services, Ryan Pinder, returned to the capital following meetings in Geneva to proudly report that the World Trade Organization (WTO) had commended The Bahamas for the progress made in readying The Bahamas for entry into that global organization - work undertaken and implemented under the FNM and work which Pinder criticized as being insufficient while it was taking place and he sat in opposition.
I do acknowledge that Christie in speaking with the press admitted that the work required to bring the illegal numbers/lottery within the framework of taxable businesses had been completed by the FNM and that the work for the adoption of the new tax system outlined in his budget communication was undertaken by the previous FNM government. Indeed, the prime minister might have advised the media that the "white paper" on value added tax (VAT) to which he referred was left in place by the FNM. He might also have acknowledged that the Debt Management Committee in the Ministry of Finance was the creation of the FNM administration which had already reached agreement on a joint arrangement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a plan for managing our national debt going forward. Finally, he might also have admitted that the reform and modernization of the real property tax system had been in train for well over a year, that the government was in receipt of recommendations on a way forward from tax consultants and that Cabinet had already accepted and given formal approval for the Ministry of Finance to move forward with the recommendations.
I look forward with great interest to a time when this PLP administration will begin to implement any of its elections promises. So far their single accomplishment after seven weeks in office has been to fire Bahamians where they found them working and to feed seeds of doubt on whether any of the jobs and skills training and job creation initiatives in place on May 7, 2012 will be continued. Christie must soon enough come to accept that the way to create jobs is not to fire employed persons and simply replace them, but rather to grow the number of new and additional jobs over the number which he found in the economy.
The prime minister may, in the spirit of full disclosure, advise the Bahamian public of the sums of money being expended by his government during these difficult economic times to expand his personal office at the Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre, create new office spaces for Minister of State Khaalis Rolle and senior advisor Sir Baltron Bethell at the Office of the Prime Minister, and to create new luxury accommodations for the Ministry of Financial Services at West Bay Street.
Perhaps a report on monies being dedicated to these ventures and the re-engagement of retired policemen and customs officers and other retirees should be disclosed so that public officers and the general public, who are being advised to take fiscal responsibility seriously, might be convinced that their new government intends to practice at least some of what it preaches.
- Dr. Hubert Minnis, leader of the Free National Movement
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) ran a magnificent electoral campaign. The gold rush worked and the Christie administration is back for the second time. The majority of the people of this nation, regardless of the numerical spin being placed by the vanquished Free National Movement (FNM), supported the big gold dream. What is that dream and how will it come into reality?
Many Bahamians had gotten tired of the antics and gyrations of the former prime minister, who, apparently, has yet to come to terms with the electoral decimation of the party which he led down the proverbial garden path. When he bogusly declared that he was a "one-man band" the scales fell from the eyes of countless right-thinking Bahamians. His uncouth dismissal of Dame Marguerite Pindling, on a public platform, was the icing on the cake, so to speak.
I used to love Hubert Alexander Ingraham with a passion akin to hero worship. There was little that I would have not done to advance his political agenda. It was only after I realize that he was not checking for me, on a personal and professional level, that I decided, reluctantly, to abandon him. Too many of us cling to people who may not have our best interest at heart because of false loyalty and tradition.
The first two terms were progressive. The third term was indicative of a man who had come to see himself, I submit, as a master and a demi-god. Bahamians, it has been opined, love a strong leader but we do not love a leader who wears his perceived authority on his shoulders. The PLP, to its credit, has sold the big gold dream to the nation, hook, line and sinker. It must now stand and deliver.
The introduction of a form of national healthcare and the timely implementation of a workable and sustainable national youth service are mandatory. The proposed referendum on gaming can wait for some time next year or beyond. Private sector jobs must be created in short order. The economy must be stimulated.
Crime and the fear of crime are literally killing this country while the high costs of healthcare is killing off the rest of our citizens. The sad thing is that most of our recorded crimes are being perpetuated by our younger people. Too many of them appear to be aimless and lack discipline.
Prison has become another institution of higher learning no matter how dubious the degrees conferred may be. This is where my good friends, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage (PLP-Bains Town and Grants Town) and Minister of State for National Security Senator Keith Bell, come in.
Thousands of Bahamians are dying yearly because they cannot access or afford basic healthcare necessities. Governments come and they go while talking the same shaving cream about national healthcare. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to formulate and implement a workable scheme of national healthcare service, in my humble view.
An integral part of the big gold dream includes the provision of affordable and subsidized national healthcare. Dr. Perry Gomez (PLP-North Andros and the Berry Islands), who holds the vital portfolio of minister of health, is mandated to ensure that such a system is up and running within the next year or so. I could care less about what some say will be the astronomical costs. The life of one single Bahamian is worth more than whatever it would cost to implement such a scheme.
The big gold dream will also mean that our decaying, if not already dead, educational plant must be revamped and become more meaningful to our societal and economic needs. This graduation of functional illiterates must cease. The never-ending processing of generations of "know nothings" is passé and unsustainable. I would hope that Jerome Fitzgerald (PLP-Marathon), our minister of education, is up to the task, as he appears to be.
D. Shane Gibson (PLP-Golden Gates), minister of labour and national insurance, is my "favorite" Cabinet minister and member of Parliament. He is to be commended for having inked several wide ranging industrial agreements within the first 100 days of the Christie administration. This is what the big gold dream is all about action and less talk. Gibson is a man of action with a laser-like focus. While many others shoot the proverbial breeze and talk shaving cream, he delivers.
Last year or two, John Pinder, president of the Bahamas Public Service Union, was all over the place begging and pleading with the now mercifully defunct Ingraham administration to sign off on a new contract for public service workers. Ingraham and his sidekick, Zhivargo "seatless wonder" Laing, either ignored his justifiable pleas or marginalized him while allegedly promoting his hoped for replacement as president of the relevant union.
The big gold dream means many things to many people but the PLP must now stand and deliver. My good friend, Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis (FNM-Killarney), leader of the defunct FNM, has his work cut out for him. He's been promising to appear on the talk show which I am privileged to host for weeks, if not months now, to no avail. He will, however, be constrained to come, sooner rather than later, if he aspires to become prime minister.
The FNM can bounce back but it will never do so, I submit, unless and until its leadership comes to understand and appreciate the influence and necessity of public relations. Mere talk and shaving cream ad nauseum will not and cannot cut it, with all due respect. I actually supported Dr. Minnis' elevation to the leadership of his party and I pray that I did not make a mistake in so doing.
The big gold dream was conceptualized by the deputy prime minister and the national chairman of the PLP et al, with the able assistance of countless others. My own advice played, I believe, a small part in the regime change which we witnessed on May 7, 2012. Mind you, I also advised the FNM and, in a discrete way, the other so-called parties, but they paid me no mind and the rest is written in concrete.
And so, the big gold dream is unfolding. As it unfolds, however, PLP's must understand that it is not all about them; their cronies and sycophants. It is about all Bahamians. None of us can or must be left behind. The boys may well be back but they are able to go back just as quickly as they came.
Eventually, in due season, Philip Brave Davis (PLP-Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador), our beloved and hard working deputy prime minister, will come into his own. The never-ending legacy and dreams of our founding father and much lamented Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling will come to realization. Brave will do the right thing.
As we prepare to celebrate our 39th year of independence, let us never forget or cease to remember that it is our collective duty to wipe away the tear from every eye; to uplift the downtrodden and to show love to our fellow Bahamian regardless of race, political persuasion or creed. This is what the big gold dream is all about. No more, no less.
To God then, in all things, be the glory. Happy independence.
-- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.
I thought I must have misunderstood the report in the paper which seemed to suggest that Prime Minister Perry Christie believes that members of Parliament should receive pay increases and that constituency allowances for MPs should also be increased.
If accurate, this would support the view that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) election plan was to win the government and then share the Public Treasury's funds to handsomely pay the PLP inner-circle - hence, the Gussie Mae Cabinet and the excessive appointment of senior PLPs, their family members and close friends to chairmanships and posts on statutory boards where they are all paid stipends and honorariums. Now we have talk of pay and allowance increases for MPs? This is shameful.
I would think that Bahamian parliamentarians, many if not most of whom are successful professionals with prosperous private practices, businesses and fat bank accounts, could wait for any increase in salary until such time as our economy rebounds and our unemployment numbers decrease. Why a minister of government who receives a ministerial salary of $60,000, plus a MPs salary of $26,000, plus entertainment allowances, health insurance and use of an official vehicle with fuel and liability insurance all paid for by the government needs a salary increase more than unemployed Bahamians need jobs escapes me.
As for the others, with the exception of Picewell Forbes, all PLP backbenchers have been appointed as parliamentary secretaries and as chairmen or members of statutory boards posts that all come with salaries and allowances attached, plus in some cases use of a corporation's vehicle is included. Again, why would parliamentary secretaries and chairmen of statutory boards need salary increases ahead of unemployed Bahamians being afforded the opportunity to obtain a job earning a minimum wage salary?
Christie has not been clear on the fate of the 52-week skills and job training program put in place to employ and train some 4,000-plus unemployed Bahamians. This program needs to be continued and expanded before any consideration can be given to increasing the pay checks of parliamentarians.
As to Christie's call for increases in constituency allowances for MPs, it is more than a little ironic that Christie, who found it impossible to spend the special constituency allowance of $100,000 provided by the Free National Movement government for small infrastructural projects in his constituency, now claims that MPs need more money if they are to adequately represent their constituents.
The prime minister needs to explain to the Bahamian people exactly what his election campaign pledge of believing in Bahamians and investing in Bahamians means, because for far too many of us increasingly it's looking like what he really meant was that he and his party believe in PLP parliamentarians and that they will use the country's resources to invest in those parliamentarians and their families.
He was scheduled to arrive at Nassau 7:15 p.m. the evening of January 31 but was delayed by several hours, arriving instead 17 minutes past midnight as the first month of the New Year rolled into the second. His arrival in a new year on a new day in a new month foreshadowed a number of transitions in church and state.
John Paul II arrived in The Bahamas in 1979 on the final leg of his first overseas journey outside of Italy as head of the Roman Catholic Church. He was, at just over three months, at the dawn of his papacy, in what would prove an extraordinary pontificate of approximately 27 years.
In his brief address at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre in the early hours of the morning of February 1, the pontiff highlighted two of the central principles of the Catholic Social Tradition, human dignity and the common good: "With the profound conviction of the surpassing dignity of the human person, may all the people of these islands make their individual and unique contributions to the common good that takes into account the personal rights and duties of all citizens...
"I ask God to lead you to the full achievement of your destiny. May he give to the people of The Bahamas rich and lasting blessings. May he assist the poor, comfort the sick, guide the youth, and bring peace to every heart."
The Pope's words were the proverbial mustard seeds delivered during a time of transition at home. Sir Milo Butler died just weeks before the papal visit. Bishop Paul Leonard
Hagarty, OSB, who came to The Bahamas in 1937 as a young priest, and who was first appointed by Pope Pius XII in 1951 as vicar apostolic of the Bahama Islands would resign as bishop of Nassau in 1981.
He was succeeded by Lawrence Burke, S.J., the first Caribbean man to lead the local church. Both prelates advanced the church's educational and social apostolates, with the latter often speaking out on matters of social concern.
In October of 1979, the governing Progressive Liberal Party held its 24th annual convention. Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham were at the beginning of their political careers.
Christie was a newly minted Cabinet minister having been appointed in 1977, to be joined in Cabinet by Ingraham as minister of housing, national insurance and social service in 1982.
At the convention, Sir Lynden gave a lengthy address during which he noted that Pope John Paul II's admonition inspired him to launch a "Social Revolution". He invoked the mustard seeds of assisting the poor, guiding the youth, comforting the sick and bringing peace to every heart.
While the efforts of his subsequent governments did not exactly constitute a "social revolution", there were important advances in social development. The PLP launched an impressive public housing program. The Grants Town Urban Renewal Project was introduced, a number of community clinics and schools were built, additional social assistance was granted for various groups, and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Affairs introduced a variety of programs.
But tragically, the late 70s and the decade of the 80s were a dark period for the country with rampant drug trafficking and use, mass corruption by the Pindling government, and an attendant decline in positive social mores.
Sir Lynden's PLP also failed to keep pace with the rapid urbanization of New Providence and increasing social dislocation and exclusion. Hubert Ingraham and the FNM's contributions to social development are well-known and considerable.
Yet, in comparison to both Sir Lynden and Ingraham, Perry Christie's contributions to various core issues of social justice have been abysmal. Christie has proven himself to be a paper progressive, long on rhetoric, short on action. Most progressives and arguably most Bahamians have come to expect little by way of Christie turning his grandiose rhetoric into reality.
Given a prior term to introduce National Health Insurance to relieve the suffering of thousands of Bahamians, Christie failed to do so. Now into his second term, Bahamians are being treated to more of the same banal and insipid rhetoric.
At the recent National Pride Day ceremony in Rawson Square commemorating the role played by various suffragettes and other women in national development, Christie offered his usual platitudes in a meandering speech filled with precious little that was substantive.
Shockingly, mere weeks later, Christie uttered perhaps some of the most offensive remarks any head of government might give pertaining to equality for Bahamian women. His remarks excused his party's failure to support a constitutional question making Bahamian women equal in law to men.
When asked by this journal whether the PLP's stance on the 2002 referendum was a setback for women, Christie reportedly answered a dismissive, "No." This, from the same man who attempted to wax eloquently a few weeks prior on women's rights and the equality of women.
One can almost hear the subtext: we'll get around to this at some point... no big deal. Once again Christie dragged out the lame excuse of the process as to why his party campaigned against the various questions in the referendum.
He admitted that he was not opposed to the question granting women greater constitutional equality. He just didn't like the process, as there needed to be more consultation with the church. How this mantra of process plays out on the proposed referendum on gambling should prove interesting. Nevertheless, where have we heard before this excuse about process?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was continuously confronted by Christian ministers as to why he moved so quickly in demanding various and immediate civil rights for black Americans. Why not delay your demands for equality, engage in more process and consult more widely, Dr. King was often asked.
He answered in his classic "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and in many other writings that the time to do the right thing was always now. He had disdain for those who argued process as an excuse to delay justice for others, insisting on the fierce urgency of now. He demanded in "I Have a Dream": "We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy."
Christie's PLP could have said to churches and the Bahamian people, in the spirit of the suffragettes and other champions of social justice, that by 2002 it was more than enough time to grant Bahamian women greater equality.
The majority of PLP parliamentarians sensed this when they voted for the questions in the House. The betrayal of the women's rights movement came later in the interest of winning office.
This was not one of the finest moments of the party of those heroes and heroines of the struggle for majority rule and female equality. Nor was the period from 2002 to 2007, when Christie and his party could have reintroduced the question, but never did.
As he signed the Civil Rights Bill of 1965, President Lyndon Johnson predicted, correctly, that its passage would cost the Democratic Party the South. But, Johnson chose to make history rather than delay justice.
Concerning principles like human dignity and the common good, the great men and women of history, given an opportunity to advance the cause of social justice, choose the path of progress and inclusion, even at risk to their contemporary fortunes.
Then there are those, who, though given an opportunity to lead and to achieve great things, are more content to talk into the sunset while making excuses for their historic failures.
First printed February 22, 2012
Recently the Department of Statistics released the latest unemployment numbers. They were not pretty to say the least. Given that we are in the "silly" season we expect many political analysts to offer their own opinions as to why the employment numbers are so high. What we would like to see are some specifics addressing the myriad of issues facing us today (including the high level of unemployment) over the next 36 months. We can write and pontificate on why the unemployment rate is so high, particularly among the country youth, but will instead today focus on the debt cancer affecting on our national body.
One of the single biggest issues facing us is our national debt. We are fast approaching the point when we will no longer be able to borrow at favorable rates in the international market. Although the debt build-up was several years in the making, we still have time to change course and address some of the attendant issues. We cannot continue to run deficits along with those unfunded liabilities which we never speak about -- i.e., civil servant pensions.
We are in urgent need of a plan to address unfunded pensions but also a plan to grow our economy and manage the debt problem. Debt is not all bad when used appropriately. It becomes a problem when we stop borrowing for development only and begin to borrow to meet interest payments and recurrent expenditures -- i.e., civil servant salaries, etc.
The Bahamas is not alone in this regard. One by one, the countries of Europe are losing their ability to sell their bonds at an interest rate that is sustainable for their economies. They have seen their revenue bases eroded and have had to resort to severe and socially disruptive restructuring exercises. Even with central bank's interventions to accommodate their spending by printing money together with the assistance of other countries, which tax their citizens to pay for the excesses, the debt burden still remains far too high.
Deficit must be addressed
We believe that dealing with the deficit is the single most important factor for the future of The Bahamas. Some would argue that crime and education are more important but that would be shortsighted. Whenever economies are doing well there is a tendency for crime and social ills to decline. Indeed, unless the country has the financial ability to provide funding to fight crime and provide education, the social condition would only get worse.
We believe that the major focus of this upcoming election should ultimately be about dealing with the deficit and putting the country on a path to achieving a sustainable budget deficit rate; one that is less than the growth rate of our country. By not dealing with this issue we run the real risk of creating many problems for ourselves including the likelihood of opening ourselves to harsh penalties such as those imposed by international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Continued economic imbalances could, in the long run, affect the exchange rate and our sacred one to one dollar peg to the U.S. dollar.
No one likes to talk about devaluation but we must face a new reality, we can't afford to put our head in the sand like the ostrich. Instead, we have to develop a coherent plan to grow our economy.
Unless we seriously attempt to address our problems directly and urgently, we will face tough choices in the future. Choices, which are not pleasant for any government.
The growing debt and the deficits are a deadly cancer on the economy. Together they will deliver a mortal blow to the economy if not dealt with. Putting off treatment as we all know will not make the cancer go away by itself, and the cancer of our debt is clearly growing and malignant. It will soon overwhelm our national economic body. The treatment of a cancer is always accompanied by both cost and pain, whether on the personal or the metaphorical national level.
Problem can be fixed
The problem is solvable and indeed there may be many different solutions. Our difficulty is that we have not yet found the political will to decide on what type of treatment is needed and the will to change our way of doing things and move away from doing only those things which we are comfortable with. Change is difficult, but we cannot grow without change.
Our solutions must be politically feasible; we have an aging population requiring increasing health service which is growing in cost annually. Some estimates place the figure as high as 70 percent over the last decade. This is clearly not sustainable. We must address this issue as a matter of urgency. As our population ages, an increased burden is placed on the National Insurance scheme. Informed opinion suggests that National Insurance in its present construct won't be able provide for all of us in the future unless fundamental changes are made. We should add here that National Insurance was never intended to provide 100 percent for us in our retirement.
We also need to address our tax structure. Why we continue to kick the can down the road is beyond us. We must deal with this issue now. It cannot be left for future generations to deal with. If we continue to ignore those problems, it is our considered view that our economy will become like some of our friends to the south.
If the government decides to raise revenue via tax increases, it may be useful to conduct an exercise to examine the different implications for various tax increases. Not all tax increases give the desired effect; some can have the reverse effect of further stalling revenue intake rather than increasing it. We won't argue how we should spend our tax revenues. However, we do suggest that we should seek to collect them with as little negative impact as possible. Taxes have consequences.
Some appropriate level of government spending is required. We believe, however, that the spending should be targeted with a view towards creating new industries and employment opportunities for our citizens. Keynes did argue that deficit spending was a good thing in recessions. But he also assumed that the debt would be paid back in the next growth cycle. Must government and citizens forget the latter part?
There are some ideas that are fundamental to the growth of the economy, capitalism and free markets as we know them today. Thomas Hobbes argued that income measures what you contribute to society and spending measures what take away from it. Adam Smith argued that it is the wealth of nations and not the wealth of governments that matters. He argued it was more important to grow the economy and not government.
Without economic growth, the average person will be left worse off. If our population grows by one percent a year and at the same time our gross domestic product fails to grow by one percent, there is less for each person to share. It follows, therefore, that private sector growth is what is needed for general prosperity.
We should take the opportunity to learn from the crisis. Our economic structure as it currently stands, cannot be supported or sustained if we are to move forward with minimal pain. Our structure assumes that our government knows best how to allocate capital, a proposition that has been rejected in both theory and practice over the years.
We should never let a good crisis go to waste. Our economic structure as it currently stands is just unworkable if we are to move forward with minimal pain. Our structure assumes government knows best how to allocate capital, a proposition that has been rejected in both theory and practice over the years.
With regards to the problems facing The Bahamas in the next few years, we believe that there is no easy solution. We are convinced that there are no easy choices. Nevertheless, we are confident that the choices we eventually make will have both short-term and long-term consequences and we stand a better chance of success if we plan carefully.
o CFAL is a sister company of The Nassau Guardian under the AF Holdings Ltd. umbrella. CFAL provides investment management, research, brokerage and pension services. For comments, please contact CFAL at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colina Insurance Limited has announced a four-week promotion in order to raise awareness of the role of insurance in warding off the stress associated with financial unpreparedness.
"At Colina we know the stress that financial uncertainty can cause," said Melanie Hutcheson, corporate communications officer at Colina, yesterday in a statement. "Our comprehensive life and health insurance plans are proven tools in providing peace of mind in the aftershocks of life's unpredictable events."
The 'Less Stress Makeover' promotion for September is designed to offer dozens of prize-winners a stress-free September through increased awareness of financial planning.
Participants will be required to answer a question - "what's your stress?" - in order to win one of several prizes, including an all-expense-paid vacation to a premier Family Island resort.
"Many of the prizes offer practical solutions to everyday stressors and, in this economy, they can meet a real need," said Hutcheson.
"There are also some feel-good prizes for those who just need a little pick-me-up. Ultimately, the goal is to raise awareness of the need to plan for life's what-ifs."
To participate in the contest, entrants must visit the website lessstressmakeover.com and answer the question. For several winners each week, Colina will offer prizes to meet the stated need, providing solutions for major stress-inducing challenges such as rising college tuition, struggling to maintain a healthy savings account, escalating gas and grocery prices and mounting utility bills.
The grand prize is a four-day/three-night stay at Cape Eleuthera Resort & Marina with a round-trip airfare courtesy of Bahamasair. Daily mini-stress-busters such as mini-spa treatments or an escape to the movies that will be won randomly by radio station listeners are also part of the promotion.
Colina Insurance Limited is The Bahamas' largest provider of life and health insurance and related financial planning products. The company services more than 100,000 clients throughout The Bahamas.
Cape Eleuthera Resort & Marina is a premier resort community. In September 2011 the resort was recognized as a 2011 Fodor's Choice selection. This distinction designates Cape Eleuthera Resort as a leader in its field for service, quality and value in 2011.
A MOTORCYCLE wreck turned a Lenawee County man into a paraplegic. Desperate for any relief, he chose stem-cell surgery in Europe, a procedure that may have improved his health but left him with a $51,000 bill.
Now, after years of litigation, the Michigan Supreme Court says Kevin Krohn's auto insurance company doesn't have to pay, declaring that the experimental surgery -- not approved in the U.S. -- was not "reasonably necessary" under state law.
The recent 4-3 ruling closes a case in which the court's conservative Republican majority prevailed over liberal Democratic justices. At least six civil cases this year have been decided by the same mar ...
o First published November 9, 2011.
Over the past few days we have seen a few news items about the Department of Statistics' pending surveys. We believe this is a good thing. But we wonder if the information collected from these surveys is used to inform those who plan the development of our country.
Most people generally recognize the role that demographic trends play in shaping societies, mature economies, emerging markets and the environment.
China and India, for example, have become immense economic engines in part because each has a population of more than one billion people. An increase in the youth population has been a major factor in the recent unrest in the Middle East. Young people are compelled to protest because they feel they deserve opportunities and a voice in society that reflects the strength of their numbers.
Europe and Japan, conversely, are known to be suffering economically because of their aging workforces. The proportion of the population that is retired, and thus dependent on others to support them, is rapidly increasing.
In The Bahamas our population is also aging, and with that comes a stress on our national insurance program.
Some may suggest that there is nothing we can do about demographic trends, and every country must live with its demographic destiny. We don't think this is the case.
Political and business leaders can do a great deal if they are willing to take a precise approach to prediction. Past and present demographic trends, as well as those expected in the near future, can help calculate socioeconomic trajectories.
In the public sector, the first step is to pinpoint a country's development trajectory and demographic profile. The next step is to plot the potential for social, economic and environmental progress. Then, look for challenges and opportunities. Finally, develop policies and actions to improve the country's trajectory.
Companies can use a similar approach to take advantage of demographic trends in countries where they hope to find new sources of talent or potential consumers.
A proactive approach to demographics will help in planning for our country's future.
Where will the demand for labor come from? Is it nursing and home-care, given the aging population? Is it the need for more resources to fight the ever-growing rate of crime? Is it education to position our citizens to take advantage of changing economic trends? Is it agriculture to decrease our dependency on imports? Is it a need to change our tax structure to meet our growing needs and the needs of a fragile and open economy?
Generally, as a population ages the economy sees a boom as the aging population saves for retirement.
Regrettably in The Bahamas, our savings and retirement planning are lacking at best. We all must admit that our national insurance program is not in a position to take care of us all on its current path, despite the fact that National Insurance is now in the best position since its formation.
Armed with the information to be collected from the soon-to-be statistic surveys, we trust that our leaders will have a better understanding of population trends and needs. This will allow them to develop strategies attuned to the newly acquired demographic information and determine the rate at which our workforce is aging and prepare accordingly, creating a self-sustaining future, avoiding long-term insolvency and improving the quality of life for generations to come.
The strictures of demographics don't have to be destiny. If we don't use demographics to better plan the development of our nation, we fully expect our country to find itself on the glide path of some of our regional counterparts.
o CFAL provides investment management, research, brokerage and pension services. For comments, please contact CFAL at: email@example.com.
Response from the Straw Business Persons Society to the Ingraham's Administration on the Development of the New Straw Market.
EDITOR, The Tribune.
THE straw vendors will not be discriminated against!
It seems to me that the Ingraham administration has a serious issue with the straw vendors. The straw vendors are being asked to obtain their business license and ensure that their National Insurance contribution is current in order for them to receive a stall in the newly built Straw Market on Bay Street. Since when did this become a prerequisite to relocate an established business to a new premises?
Why is there a different demand placed on the straw vendors? A demand that is not common ...
Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said his party doesn't agree with the government's decision to cancel the sale of nine percent of its shares in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to the Bahamian public as previously promised by the Ingraham administration.
BTC CEO Geoff Houston reported last week that the government is getting almost double the profits as a 49 percent owner in BTC than it received as a full owner.
Minnis said Bahamians should be allowed to share in those profits.
"The small Bahamian would have been in a position to double and triple and possibly increase his profit margin," said Minnis.
"I think if you are truly interested in Bahamians, this would have been a great opportunity to empower them and empower the small man so he could share in a part of the wealth."
Prime Minister Perry Christie revealed on Sunday that his administration would not follow through with the sale of nine percent of its shares because "it stands in the way of what [the] government has a mandate to do".
Christie has repeatedly promised that his administration will make every legal effort to regain majority control of BTC.
The Nassau Guardian also revealed yesterday that Christie has appointed a negotiating team ahead of talks with Cable and Wireless (CWC) CEO Tony Rice.
Minnis said this is sending a bad message to the international community.
"That is now a private company," he said. "They (CWC) bought BTC from the government. They have majority share.
"For the government to now go and try to say they are going to buy it out, you are talking about nationalization; that is dangerous terminology in the international arena.
"You're sending a bad message, especially when he (Christie) was just in Florida the other day trying to lure investors here.
"Why would I want to invest my money [in a country where] a government...may not even be friendly?"
He continued, "This whole process of establishing his committee...I think that's a bunch of fluff.
"I could establish any committee; I could put Einstein on it if he is around. But what difference does it make? I'm not interested in their reporting because whatever they report isn't going to make any difference because he cannot do it."
The prime minister noted on Sunday that in a previous meeting, Rice attempted to convince him to reconsider his position.
However, Christie has maintained that it's not what he thinks that matters.
"It's what the people who voted for me think and I can't go back to them and tell them [maybe in] about the next four to five years," he said.
Minnis said that's just an excuse.
"He is trying to use the excuse that Bahamians told him to do this and that's a promise he made -- please," he said.
"Didn't he make a promise to give them national health insurance too?"
Cable and Wireless acquired 51 percent of the shares in BTC in April 2011.
While the previous Christie administration had planned to privatize BTC, it had said it would not sell a majority stake in the company.
The prime minister said he expects talks with CWC to start in August.
Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants visits with the Minister of State for Finance, The Honorable Michael Halkitis, and Superintendent of the Insurance Commission
Nassau, Bahamas -
Members of the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants' (BICA/the
Institute) newly elected Council recently paid courtesy calls to the
Minister of State for Finance, The Honorable Michael Halkitis, and the
Superintendent of the Insurance Commission, Mrs. Michele Fields; these
meetings were held on July 30, 2012 and July 31, 2012 respectively. The
main objectives of these visits were to strengthen the relationships
that exists between these agencies and encourage new collaborative
The country's leading authority on aviation law says the establishment of a Bahamas International Aircraft Registry would generate $22 million every year in government revenue.
That was the bottom line at the Sunrise Rotary Club of Nassau's featured presentation yesterday held at the British Colonial Hilton. Llewellyn Boyer-Cartwright, a senior associate at Callenders & Co., laid out the basics of a move that experts believe will help the aviation industry grow to "unprecedented levels".
While the level of revenue is estimated between $18 million and $22 million annually, the top attorney noted that the greater source of revenue would come from customs and duties from imports, National Insurance Board contributions from additional employment, building permit fees, stamp tax or real property tax from additional home ownership and temporary work permit fees.
The potential is so great that Boyer-Cartwright, a veteran in the industry for 29 years, is preparing a formal proposal for government.
"It could pave the way for so much opportunity. What I need to do with the government is explain what has been done in the past, how far we got, and where we perhaps need to go to move forward," he told Guardian Business.
Aruba, Malta and the Isle of Man have all recently established their own registries. The registry, Boyer-Cartwright said, adds another layer of convenience and prestige to prominent companies and individuals that may have considerable interests in the country or region.
It would add security, help complete the financial services package, and create a number of employment and business spin-off opportunities. In his presentation to rotary members, Boyer-Cartwright, who recently became the first Bahamian to be admitted to the Lawyers Pilots Bar Association, cited aircraft surveying, repair facilities, manufacturing and servicing as areas of growth.
"Bermuda is projected to experience an $18 to $20 million boost from its aircraft registry by the year 2017," according to the presentation yesterday. "Bermuda does not have a national airline, nor does it offer any repair facilities. Aircraft, like ships, are mobile and owners or shareholders are willing to go where the best, most secure, safest, most convenient registry exists."
The top attorney also explained to rotary members the basics of the Cape Town Convention, an international accord that creates rules and regulations for international registries.
Membership, he said, would be essential before the government and private sector could move forward on an international aircraft registry.
Boyer-Cartwright has also recommended the appointment of an Advisory Council to steer the committee guiding the creation of a Bahamas International Aircraft Registry. The creation of an independent Civil Aviation Board and Regulatory Body is suggested, consisting of representatives from different areas of the industry, whereby appointments are non-political.
The business community is bracing for the worst as Hurricane Irene sweeps in from the southeast, carrying with it the possibly of financial ruin.
Although the storm isn't expected to strike The Bahamas until Wednesday, for some entrepreneurs, the damage has already been done.
Preben Olesen, the CEO of Port Lucaya in Grand Bahama, said many of the boats docked at his marina have pulled up anchor.
"They were supposed to stay the weekend, and this obviously affects business," he said. "I had other clients who were supposed to come out here this weekend.
"Tourists won't come. Now we're making preparations to possibly leave."
Indeed, businesses across the country are now scrambling to mitigate a possible disaster.
The Director of Cruise Development, Carla Stuart, told Guardian Business that five ships are expected to arrive in Nassau on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Cancellation of these vessels "seems likely", will have considerable ripple affects on the local economy, she said.
"It is expected the port will be closed on Wednesday," she said. "That would be a major loss."
"Definitely it would be a tremendous hit for many different people, be it the tour operations, the restaurants, Atlantis and the Bay St merchants. Even the taxi drivers would lose revenue. There are so many people who would be affected."
Stuart added that there would be a series of emergency meetings over the next 24 hours to determine whether the cancellations are necessary. One Royal Caribbean ship, the Allure of the Seas, has already been re-routed to its final port of call, shifting its arrival into Nassau to Saturday. Carrying approximately 6,400 passengers, she anticipates no loss in revenue, if all goes to plan.
Monarch of The Seas will call on Nassau today, rather than Wednesday. Carnival Pride will make an unscheduled call into Freeport on Wednesday, and Carnival Conquest has cancelled its arrival into Freeport.
"We're watching and monitoring very close," Stuart said. "If this weather continues, then definitely, there will be further changes."
In the meantime, at The Welcome Center, Stuart said shutters are being placed on the windows and sand bags will soon be in place.
Thousands of other businesses throughout The Bahamas are following suit over fears of widespread damage to property.
At press time, the core of Hurricane Irene was moving just to the North of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The maximum sustained winds had increased to nearly 80 mph, and although it was classified as a category one hurricane, the storm is expected to strength considerably over the next 24 hours.
Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and dangerous waves, forecasters said.
David Johnson, the Director General of the Ministry of Tourism, told Guardian Business he's in the process of cutting his holiday short in Tampa Bay so he can be back in The Bahamas to help prepare for the landfall.
A command center has been set up at the British Colonial Hilton to field calls and establish what threat the hurricane could have to the industry.
"I'm making plans to beat the storm in," he said. "We have a national plan and there are various steps we must execute.
"There is an emergency meeting tonight [Monday] to determine the way forward."
Geneva Cooper is the Senior Director in charge of Crisis Management at the Hilton command center. She said the ministry is currently assessing the number of tourists in the country and any potential loss in business.
In San Salvador, she said, there are currently 448 tourists, and at the moment, all of them will be staying put to ride out the storm.
"The administrator on that island is having a preparedness meeting and most will be staying," she added.
Johnson said the hurricane's full impact on the tourism sector, including the scale of holiday cancellations, wouldn't be fully known until Tuesday.
The command center, which is staffed 24-hours a day, is currently checking in with various resorts and ensuring that lines of communication, such as satellite phones, will be reliable once Irene arrives in The Bahamas on Wednesday.
"Much depends on what happens in the next 24-to-12 hours," Johnson said.
How to secure your businessAlthough the initial focus should be on protection of life and property, Winston Rolle, the Chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), said entrepreneurs must prepare for Hurricane Irene if they want to protect the bottom line.
"You must secure your premises as best you can and ensure your staff aren't in harm's way," he told Guardian Business.
In collaboration with the government, the Bahamas Hotel Association and Planet Now, the BCCEC has contributed to Bahamas Hurricane Preparation (www.bahamashurricaneprep.com), a website intended to help residents, tourists and entrepreneurs brace for severe weather.
From a business perspective, at the top of the list is ensuring you have a back-up power supply. The lights could go out for several days after the storm, the website says, which could dramatically interrupt normal operations.
Installing a generator will go a long way to keeping the business operational.
However, entrepreneurs should prioritize which systems must be kept online in the event of a sustained blackout, whether it be the freezers, sprinklers, lights or alarm systems.
The BCCEC recommends you install the generator in an area that is safe from any potential flooding or high winds.
At the same time, it should also have access to the outside for exhaust.
Another consideration for businesses is the protection of records. Whether it be in electronic form or raw material, steps can be taken to ensure they are safe from loss or damage.
It's a good idea to back-up any information electronically and store it in a secure location.
In terms of insurance, entrepreneurs should keep up to date with their insurance policies, and note that, if you own a home business, the policy at your residence may not cover any damage related to the business.
You may require two policies to ensure complete coverage.
"Overall, the most important thing is to watch the storm carefully and take precautions," Rolle said.
Based on the forecasted track yesterday, it seems certain that Hurricane Irene will hit some parts of The Bahamas. If the eye of the system passes over New Providence, the heavy rainfall associated with the storm could add to the dengue fever problem we already have on our main island.
The Ministry of Health last week confirmed that there have been more than 3,000 cases of dengue fever in The Bahamas since the recent outbreak began. There has also been a confirmed death from the virus. The middle-aged woman's death was one of four deaths the Ministry of Health was investigating last week. However, it is assumed that there have been more cases and deaths than have been reported.
The outbreak has been so bad that the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) has asked all individuals experiencing dengue fever symptoms to contact its hotline to speak with a healthcare professional in order to obtain the relevant information before coming to hospital.
Irregular garbage collection and inadequate fogging by the Department of Environmental Health Services have been suggested by some as contributing factors behind the outbreak. The virus is spread by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
New Providence has long had a poor drainage system that is inadequately maintained. Any rain causes flooding in the most developed island in the country.
The Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of the Environment need to prepare for what is to come. Those drains that have not been serviced in a while need to be cleared in the short time we have left before the storm hits.
We also need to ensure that fogging is increased, considering that as a result of the storm there will be more standing water on the island that mosquitoes could breed in.
This dengue fever outbreak has taken a toll. It has harmed and killed Bahamians, reduced productivity at businesses due to staff illness and it has been a burden on the health care system and insurance companies.
An expansion of the outbreak could lead to problems with our tourism industry. The United States has already warned its citizens about the outbreak.
The government has urged residents to do their part to help with the problem. We agree that residents should ensure that outdoor containers that could store water should be removed, or regularly emptied, to eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
These micro-level activities are essential. However, the government also has to ensure that those necessary macro-level preventative measures are done to minimize the likelihood of a further expansion of the outbreak.
Nassau, Bahamas - Enclosed are Remarks by Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham Prime Minister given at the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services Awards Ceremony.
I am happy to join you for your 35th Annual
Presentation of Awards Ceremony.
The Bahamas Institute of Financial Services has long been a staple in
our financial services sector, ensuring that the Bahamian labour pool includes individuals
both academically and professionally trained in areas required by financial institutions
in our nation, be they commercial banks, trust companies, brokerage and
investment houses, insurance providers and the like.
Financial Services is an important segment of the
Bahamian economy providing some of the most secure and rewarding careers
available in our country...
At least one insurance provider is reporting an increase in renewals, upgrades and even new policies as the threat of Hurricane Irene - and millions of dollars in damage - hits home.
The situation has been more true for individual coverage rather than businesses, said the head of Summit Insurance, Timothy Ingraham.
"Businesses in recent times will look to see where they can save money," he told Guardian Business yesterday. "Most of them will try to continue it because they understand the value of it and in recent times there have been break ins and we saw more fires earlier in the year, so that got more business people thinking about insurance.
"[The recent policy business] would have come from individual home owners."
He added that in the past week, residents have been calling and coming into his office to check, change and begin coverage. However, Ingraham said that once a hurricane watch has been issued, most insurance companies stop issuing new policies.
Exceptions are made, he said, in cases where a brief lapse of two weeks has gone by -- something many panicked customers have found out the hard way this week.
While it may inadvertently be the wrong kind of impetus to get Bahamians current with insurance payments, it was effective. Ingraham notes a significant amount of delinquent accounts have been brought up to date since the hurricane watch was sent out.
It follows a sharp decline over the last two years in premium collections. Many insurers, even up to last year, described business as"fairly flat" as Bahamians continue to grapple with tough economic pressures that saw foreclosures increase over the years.
Ingraham said the fall off in insurance coverage usually occurs more in the New Providence than the Family Islands, where several hurricanes have directly hit.
"What we see is people who have been through a hurricane are more cautious with insurance, so they make sure to renew policies and check that the sums they are insured for is correct," he added. "They've seen the value of it. People who live in Eleuthera and Grand Bahama [for instance], they are mush more aware of the value of having insurance.
"In Nassau, there is much more complacency [because] people in Nassau to this point haven't had serious direct hits, so they don't know the value."
A hurricane may also mean more expenses for the insurer as well.
J.S. Johnson, for example, saw a 3 percent decrease in total expenses in 2009, which came courtesy of an inactive hurricane season that year.
Net claims dropped, which meant they paid less out for damages.
By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A SENIOR insurance industry executive told Tribune Business yesterday that damages from Hurricane Irene could likely be in the "hundreds of millions" of dollars, with claims potentially wiping out much of the sector's projected profits for 2011.
Steve Watson, RoyalStar's Assurance managing director, told Tribune Business: "I think damages could be in the hundreds of millions. It's a dangerous storm. We have our claims adjusters on stand by. I guess as soon as the airport is open, our claims adjusters will be on the first flight in."
When asked what impact the storm would have on his compa ...
Funeral Service for Daquin Antonio Bastian age 29 affectionately called "Chef"
Of Albury Street Chippingham, who died August 11th at the Princess Margaret Hospital will be held on Friday 10:45 a.m. at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church Boyd Road. Father Martin Gomes will officiate and interment will follow in the Church's Cemetery Boyd Road.
Precious memories will linger in the hearts of:
His parents: Howard and Deborah Bastian
One brother: Howard Jr.
Two sisters: Emerald and Jade Bastian
Grand parents: Cynthia and Henry Morris
Nine aunts: Linda Rolle, Tanya Morris, Vernita Polhemus, Telsine Pickstock, Malvise Bastian, Mary Mitchell Assistant Superintendent of Police, Joyann Hamilton, Martha Graff and Jennifer Davis
Six uncles: Henry Morris Jr., Kevin, Pedro, Trevor and Deaon Morris and MichaelRoker
Three nieces; Sierra Farrington, Rickara and Rickayla Johnson
Two grand-uncles: Vivian Thompson and Rudolph Bethel
One grand-aunt: Gloria Forbes
Cousins: Lakera, Lakara, Lyndina, Larissa and Lynden Rolle Jr., Brittany Morris,
Tamara, Tanisha, Tamia Mackey and Tavaz Kemp, Vointinette. Kishna, Kevinya, Rufus Jr., and Javon Polhemus, Kencress Tekel Fox, Oquendo and Cutell Pickstock, Malvin Gordon, Woman Detective 3007 Latoya Mitchell of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and Eltino Mitchell, Sirmar Rolle, Trey Bastian, Waltia Culmer, Duran Rolle, Donachello McPhee, Davonia and Arthur Culmer Jr., Thalia Graff, Altrice Singleton, Leland Taylor, William Morris, Alicia and Pedro Morris Jr., Tiarra and Trevor Morris Jr., Sharon Roker, Danielle and Michael Davis, Richara and Kevin Coleby
Other relatives and friends include: Bernadette Rutherford and family, Thompson
Family, the Sears and Whylly families, Clyde Warren Sawyer and family, the Jervis family, Edwin Hunt, Sheena Poitier and family, Sharon Pinder, Arthur Taylor, Chef JJ of The Chop Sticks Kitchen, Management and Staff at Atlantis, Management and Staff at the National Insurance Board, Management and Staff at Going Places Travel, Management and Staff at Campbell's Shipping, The Police Reserve Welfare Committee, Reserve Officers, The Internal Security Division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Management, Patrons and Staff of the Pointer's Restaurant and Bar, The Chippingham Community and other too numerous to mention.
Relatives and friends may pay their last respects at THE CHAPEL OF MEMORIES COMMONWEALTH FUNERAL HOME INDEPENDENCE DRIVE on Thursday from 3:00-7:30 p.m. and at the church on Friday from 9:30 a.m. to service time