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Bahamas -- The Ministry of Transport and Aviation assisted the US Embassy
in Nassau to open
an aviation security seminar to screen
anti-terrorism techniques. The seminar was held January 21 at SuperClubs
Breezes Oceanview Conference Room and attended by representatives from
local and US airline companies.
"I am delighted to join you
at the opening of this 'Aviation Security Excellence in Screening Techniques
Course'. I would be remiss if I did not recognise the important and
continued assistance and collaboration between the Inter-American Committee
Against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organisation of American States, and...
Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade announced yesterday that a police liaison officer will be assigned to each government school when schools re-open in September.
Greenslade and other government officials, including the Director of the Immigration Department Jack Thompson, met with public school principals during a forum at SuperClubs Breezes Resort yesterday morning to discuss crime and immigration related issues affecting the public school system.
School violence has been a major concern in public schools, especially in New Providence, over the last few years. The Department of Education and police have had to respond to fights, stabbings and at least one homicide on or near New Providence public schools.
"I've assured principals that they are fully in control of their schools and we stand in full support of them," Greenslade said.
"But we will be more than happy to ensure that there's a school liaison officer assigned to every school in The Bahamas. We have sufficient officers to deal with that and they should be available at all times to the schools and any issues that needs to be pushed further up will be handled by our officers."
Greenslade's announcement came fours years after the Free National Movement (FNM) administration dismantled the school policing program left in place by the last Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration.
This program involved stationing police at public schools.
That initiative was replaced with a community policing approach through which officers are stationed outside schools during peak hours (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and his government have held to the position that police officers do not belong in schools.
Director of Immigration Jack Thompson yesterday called on school principals to report unregularized students who register at their institutions, saying the Department of Immigration intends to "flush out" undocumented foreign nationals enrolled in the public school system.
Thompson, who was speaking at a forum for public school principals yesterday morning at SuperClubs Breezes, said The Bahamas can not afford to have illegal immigrants in the public school system "absorbing our resources."
"You should call me and tell me where they are living because I have to deal with them," Thompson told the principals.
"We have to hit at the root. The root is the parent. I am not in the business of sending the children home and not the parents or sending the parents and not sending the children. We have to send them together.
"All of them must go and they must go as soon as possible because we can't have people illegally residing and going to school and absorbing our resources. You know how the community feels about this. The communities are outraged."
He pointed out that the children who are not Bahamians should be in receipt of a permit to reside.
Thompson noted that the permit to reside card is similar to a Bahamian driver's license.
He said his department has to begin a dialogue with the Department of Education "so we can flush out and unclog the system because there is a lot of concern."
Thompson stressed that immigration officials will not target the undocumented children but will go after their parents and deal with both simultaneously.
Public school officials cannot refuse to register illegal immigrants, as according to Bahamian law, all children residing in The Bahamas have the right to an education.
"This is a balancing act, because while on one hand you can not deny education, by the same token we have a responsibility to crack down and to deal with this issue," Thompson said.
Children who are born to Bahamian women, whether married or single, have the automatic right to citizenship. Only in cases where a non-Bahamian woman is married to a Bahamian man is the child automatically granted citizenship.
Children born in The Bahamas to single women who are not residents of The Bahamas have a right to apply for citizenship when they turn 18.
Thompson said immigration officers never round up illegal immigrants at schools, hospitals or clinics and churches.
"That is a no, no," he said. "While we have a job to do, we have to do things the right way."
He said apprehension exercises will take place in the communities where they live.
While he had no official count, Thompson said there are "a number" of children attending school without proper documentation.
He said it is the department's policy to ask undocumented migrants to leave the country and apply to be regularized through the proper means.
"What we are challenged with now is, should we regularize someone while they are here in the country? Should we regularize someone after they have been here for five years?
"So we're often criticized when we send people back but if we start regularizing persons who are here to start with, then I'm not sure what message we are sending."
Director of Education Lionel Sands, who also attended the forum, told principals that they should work along with the Department of Immigration in its efforts.
Immigration Department Director Jack Thompson yesterday revised remarks he made Thursday on the issue of undocumented migrant children in the school system, emphasizing that his department does not intend to enter schools and remove children who do not have legal status to be in the country.
Thompson, who was speaking at a forum for public school principals Thursday morning at SuperClubs Breezes, said The Bahamas cannot afford to have illegal immigrants in the public school system.
"You should call me and tell me where they are living because I have to deal with them," Thompson told the principals on that occasion.
"We have to hit at the root. The root is the parent. I am not in the business of sending the children home and not the parents, or sending the parents and not sending the children. We have to send them together. "All of them must go and they must go as soon as possible because we can't have people illegally residing and going to school and absorbing our resources. You know how the community feels about this. The communities are outraged."
Yesterday, in a statement, Thompson emphasized a point he made at the event Thursday while backing away from some of his more aggressive remarks made at the education forum. He said his department will be humane as it carries out its duties.
"The director emphasized that as a matter of policy the church, schools and clinics were off limits for apprehension exercises," said Thompson's statement.
Thompson also stressed Thursday, while calling on educators to inform his department of undocumented students, that immigration officials would not target these children. Instead, he added, they would goafter their parents and deal with families simultaneously.
"Administrators were told that students of foreign nationals attending schools should apply to the Department of Immigration for a residency permit or permit to reside. It was emphasized that while students should not be denied the right of a basic education, records by the Department to Immigration are critical for future applications - i.e., permanent residence (and) citizenship," said Thompson yesterday.
The public school system in The Bahamas does not bar children from receiving an education if they have no legal status in the country.
Life will never be the same for participants in the recent Woman of Worth (WOW) Ministries International conference because after two days of interceding prayer, they left the conference knowing they would be held accountable for their actions, and that their lives would never be the same.
Under the theme "Positioned for Such a Time as This" intercessors saturated the atmosphere in the Ocean View Suite at SuperClubs Breezes. It was transformed into a tabernacle of worship, with prayer and praise.
Minister Lavette McFall spoke to the women about what God has in store for them, while Reverend Eileen Johnson told them that they had been handpicked, processed and positioned and that God was getting ready to promote them.
Pastor Patricia Womack, out of Atlanta, Georgia, spoke to the women about being "light" in accordance with the conference's theme.
"When we are called out by God, we cannot be threatened by other people's gifts or talents because there is no competition in God," said Womack.
She told them that everyone has been gifted for the role they are to play in the kingdom. And that God wants to reveal his plan and purpose for their life to each person individually. The pastor told the women that they all have their own unique flavor so there was not a need to compete because competition is counterproductive. And that weakness of attitude will lead to weakness of character and God wants women to be exceptional, established, extraordinary, excellent and endowed with power from on high.
Co-pastor Cleopatra Williams warned the women that they can be in position to receive their gifts, but out of place. And she encouraged the women to be vocal on issues. She told them to speak out on issues because they know the truth and if they don't they would be out of place.
Behind the gates of Her Majesty's Prisons, crimes are being committed by both inmates and prison officers, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said yesterday.
Nottage said some incarcerated criminals order hits while a small group of "rouge" prison officers supply inmates with contraband.
"With respect to the importation of contraband, it is well known that illicit drugs and cellular telephones are the contraband items of choice in prisons worldwide," he said while addressing the Caribbean Association of Corrections Conference at SuperClubs Breezes.
"These twin evils continue to wreak havoc on prison administrations because of the polluting and contaminating influence on institutional law and order and public safety generally.
"The incorporation of various technological devices to stem the stream of contraband smuggling has met with varying degrees of success.
"I am advised that this is because most of our penal institutions are saddled with a relatively small band of highly organized rogue officers who use trafficking as a part time occupation."
Nottage said in order to reduce the problem, officials must not only focus on trying to identify those who are corrupt, but must find ways to incentivize officers "who are otherwise law abiding but indifferent and silent in the face of wrongdoing."
"So members of ACHCPS (Association of Caribbean Heads of Corrections and Prison Services) must find new ways not just to oppose corruption; it is your duty to expose it," Nottage said.
He said the emergence of gang activity in prisons is also a major concern.
"Given the poisonous, insidious impact of gangs in our prison systems, no effort should be spared to eradicate them by all lawful means necessary," Nottage said.
"In the case of The Bahamas, I am advised that organized gangs in our prison system is a relatively new phenomenom. Not only do gangs spell violence but they are often central to hits being ordered on law-abiding witnesses and ordinary citizens.
"I note from your program that one of your sessions will examine the role of gangs within prisons. It is my hope that as a result of your deliberations you may help to formulate new ideas and policies on how we may best deal with this vexing problem."
In recent years, some witnesses have been murdered.
Earlier this month, two people who were witnesses in an approaching murder trial were killed.
Dario Dean, 23, and his mother Nora Mae Johnson, 53, were shot to death at an apartment on Buttonwood Avenue in Pinewood Gardens on June 5.
Shareholders were treated to welcome news at the Commonwealth Bank annual general meeting (AGM), as executive chairman William B. Sands Jr. announced a 20 percent increase in the 2011 quarterly common dividend to six cents per share from last year's five cents per quarter.
Nearly 300 Commonwealth Bank shareholders filled the ballroom at SuperClubs Breezes, Cable Beach, for the annual general meeting held on Wednesday, May 18. Under the theme "From Strength To Strength", shareholders heard a glowing report on what marked the 51st. year of the bank's operations.
"Your bank continues to grow from strength to strength," said Sands. "I am pleased to report that the bank recorded a new high of $1.4 billion in total assets in an economy that has still not recovered from the 2008 downturn." Net income for the year was $53.8 million, a new record for the bank and a 27 percent increase over the results recorded in 2009.
The chairman's report further revealed to shareholders that while a challenging operating environment in 2010 repressed loan growth, the bank was able to meet or exceed many of the significant objectives.
Mr. Sands also recognized the bank's shareholders whose continued support and loyalty contributed to the company's overall success. In 2010, the bank was again able to sustain its long-standing and consistent dividend program, distributing more than $25.6 million to common shareholders. With the bank's continual strength in performance, it has maintained a position as the largest public company traded on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX).
Sands also disclosed that during the year, the bank successfully expanded its Saturday banking service to a third branch in New Providence - Oakes Field Branch - and launched a major development project at its Marsh Harbour, Abaco branch. Speaking to the latter, Sands said that the branch expansion project would serve to accommodate the rising economic activity on the island. "It is important to the board of directors that the bank invests in our local communities and continues to support the growth and revitalization of the areas in which we do business. When the branch is completed in the fourth quarter 2011, it will transform the existing structure by adding an additional 6,000 square feet and creating a modern state-of-the-art full-service facility featuring the bank's signature design and amenities."
Overall, the bank remains cautiously optimistic as it looks to the future and the anticipated domestic economic and global recovery. Economic indicators point to the beginning of a recovery in late 2011 or early 2012. The bank's president Ian Jennings noted that Commonwealth Bank has always been a market leader, and its business model has provided it with a strong, time tested foundation, which allows it to quickly adjust to market diversities in order to maximize the opportunities that exist. "Our underlying strategy is to continue to produce long-term, profitable growth by delivering exceptional value to our customers, shareholders and communities through a well controlled and risk mitigated environment," he noted.
The evening ended on a celebratory note, as the bank saluted former chairman T. Baswell Donaldson, CBE on his retirement after an outstanding and distinguished career of 13 years of service, marked by the bank's asset and profitability growth and its focus on distinctive customer service.
Nassau, Bahamas - "On behalf of all
exhibitors, the organizers of the annual Bahamas Bridal Show wish to
thank every person and company for their efforts and contributions to
another successful event," said show executive producer Tommy Stubbs,
general manager at Buttons Bridal & Formal Wear which organizes the
annual event. "We are always pleased with the enthusiasm of the
hundreds of brides and grooms and the thousands of show followers who
make the bridal show the No.1 social event of the year."
Breezes took the spotlight during the trade exhibition as the
all-inclusive resort took up a large portion of the ballroom serving
sample Asian food for hours. Other notable exhibitors included the
British Colonial Hilton, Burns House, Arawak Homes, Colina Insurance,
Noveltease, Grand Bahama Development Co. Ltd., Template, Bahamas
Local.Com, Jewels by The Sea, Bristol Wines & Spirits and Bertha's
Go-Go Ribs Catering...