News Archives

New fridges, stoves for twenty-five Joaquin victims

New fridges, stoves for twenty-five Joaquin victims

Thu, Jun 30th 2016, 05:26 PM

Marie Rodland-Allen, Managing Director of CIBC FirstCaribbean presents to Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA. CIBC FirstCaribbean donated 25 fridges and stoves to the Hurricane Joaquin rebuilding effort. (Photo credit: Bahamas Information Services)

CIBC FirstCaribbean has purchased 25 refrigerators and 25 range stoves and donated them to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the National Repairs and Reconstruction Unit (NRRU) for their installation into 25 new government-built homes in the Southern Bahamas. The new homes will house 25 families who lost theirs in Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015.

Following 3 months of discussion and planning, Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA, and Melanie Roach, head of the NRRU, were ready in February 2016 to sign-up local contractors to begin the work on 25 new homes. They went to Crooked Island, San Salvador and Long Island, the areas hardest hit, signed up local contractors and issued mobilization cheques, materials distribution lists, building plans and building code manuals. Their initiative to build new homes was reported in the local papers and CIBC FirstCaribbean donation committee voted to help in the process of re-housing 25 families as the bank’s Hurricane Joaquin relief effort.

CIBC FirstCaribbean Managing Director, Marie Rodland-Allen said, “As a good corporate citizen, CIBC FirstCaribbean staff are encouraged to help when and where they feel it is needed. We don’t have a banking presence on Crooked Island, San Salvador or Long Island but our staff rose to the occasion and donated supplies to those most impacted by the hurricane last year but we had always intended to do even more. This donation of appliances is taking it a step further of course and it came about during a brainstorming session with staff on how we could make the most impact to those hard hit by Hurricane Joaquin. Our enquiries led to Melanie Roach, head of the NRRU.”

Ms. Roach advised that they needed 25 sets of fridges and stoves for the kitchens of 25 homes they were building on three of the Family Islands. CIBC FirstCaribbean, Bahamas, decided to purchase them as the bank’s donation to the Hurricane Joaquin effort.

“We felt that it was a very useful, meaningful and direct method of assistance for these in need, “said Mrs. Rodland-Allen. “ I’m looking forward to visiting some of the homes to see the installation in progress and to meet the families moving in.”

Samples of the Frigidaire stoves and gas ranges donated to NEMA’s rebuilding efforts for Hurricane Joaquin by CIBC FirstCaribbean. (Photo credit: Frigidaire)

About CIBC FirstCaribbean
CIBC FirstCaribbean is the largest, regionally-listed bank in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean serving over 400,000 customers in 17 markets, through approximately 2,700 staff, across 100 branches and offices. The bank, which has almost 250 years of combined experience in the region, offers a full range of market-leading financial services in: Corporate and Investment Banking, Treasury Sales and Trading, Retail Banking, Wealth Management, Small Business and Credit Cards.

CIBC FirstCaribbean is a member of the CIBC Group. CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world.

For more information about CIBC FirstCaribbean, visit

By Chauntez Dillet-Wilson

Source: Serena Williams Media & Public Relations

We must not give up on basic human rights

We must not give up on basic human rights

Thu, Jun 30th 2016, 03:56 PM

Dear Editor,

We collectively owe a debt of gratitude to the 46 percent of citizens who exercised a fundamental right guaranteed to all of us under the constitution and voted in the recent referendum.

As free participants in our democracy we make collective decisions that bind us all. We accept the results and move on. But in this case, move on to what?

Some used their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote to effectively bar the door denying certain other rights to our brothers and sisters. Many were motivated by bigotry, and hatred.

The politics of the matter must be shunted to the side as we begin the process of dissecting how a fun-loving people who would without hesitation feed a total stranger; a people who daily break the law in order to do right by another group of law-breakers (illegal aliens) because they perceive it to be in the spirit of brotherhood and Christian charity to do so, would so callously deny equality to their own children and grandchildren.

Some of these people bowed their heads in reverence on June 5 at places of worship and then two days later proudly dispensed with age-old teachings to do unto others and voted to say that women are not equal to men; fornicating men deserve to go to hell and take their out-of-wedlock children with them; and that the dictionary definition of sex must be changed to mean gay marriage.

There is plenty of blame to go around but I completely reject the call from some quarters that the prime minister ought to resign because of the failure of this referendum. There are many, many other issues for which Perry Christie ought to consider resigning. This is not one of them.

A prime minister must never demit office for doing the right thing. It is his job to stand up for the rights of all citizens. He had a solemn duty to bring to the people and to promote an equality referendum.

What he must hang his head in shame for is his mind-numbing about-face in first supporting then flip-flopping to actively campaign against a similar referendum when it was brought by Hubert Ingraham in 2002, helping to ensure its defeat.

Certain pastors need to atone for the role they played in promoting hatred and driving divisiveness. And for what? Because they felt some obligation to promote biblical teachings on homosexuality (which was not in any of the referendum questions, despite what the conspiracy theorists might have us to believe)?

Other clerics supported the referendum questions, not on the noble basis of promoting equality but rather with the curious qualifier that a supposed back door to gay marriage would be locked down and battered shut by one of the questions.

I believe in the separation of church and state. Parliament must not pass any law telling church leaders who can and cannot get married in their sanctuaries. It is their right to impose whatever litmus test they can dream up to command of their faithful. That includes deciding whom they choose to allow to marry in their church. The government must never compel them to marry people of another faith, or gays, or black people, or left-handed people, for example.

But freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. We must always remember that marriage is first and foremost a civil contract overseen by the state, not the church. Clerics must seek authorization from the state, not from their religious elders to be able to perform a marriage. That is why no one is legally married until a duly sanctioned officer proclaims: "By the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, I now pronounce you married", or words to that effect.

According to our laws, authorized public officials and others have the same right as the clergy to perform marriage. You are no less married if you did it in front of the registrar, as opposed to a pastor. And if you don't believe marriage is a civil contract, try ending one without going through a court.

Your pastor may give you spiritual counseling to help you through the ordeal, but only a judge can dissolve the legal contract. And so just as we were are all mixed up in this conch salad of hope and fear, common sense and irrationality, along came a neutral arbiter. Since we are a nation of laws, a gentle voice of sanity rose to speak to a group of people on the cusp of joining the legal fraternity.

Until a few weeks ago, few Bahamians could pick the president of the Court of Appeal, Dame Anita Allen, out of a line-up of legal luminaries. She spoke because the Eugene Dupuch Law School had invited here to address them, months ago. We got a totally dispassionate, fact and reason-based interpretation of the law from someone who studies and interprets the law for a living. She didn't bore her audience with her religious beliefs, and nobody left any wiser on what her personal feelings are towards gays. And it didn't matter. Justice was truly blind that night.

I don't accept, as has been suggested, that it took bravery for Dame Anita to go against the grain of society on this issue. It took a woman, in love with the rule of law, and sworn to dispensing it equally and fairly. That's not judicial activism. That's a belief that the law must remain relevant and fluid. Old Smokey Joe, the pen name for the namesake of the law school, would have been so proud of her at that moment.

Some may take up the gauntlet that Dame Anita threw down and run with it. Perhaps some brave souls will mount a court challenge to the marriage laws. If they do, they will be doing us all a favor by helping to drag us out of the stone age and in so doing begin the process of making ours a common wealth of equality and justice.

In the meantime, let us gird our loins and start re-laying the foundation for another chance to expand constitutional rights, not deny them. Globalization means that Bahamian women will continue to marry non-Bahamian men and will want their rights and their children's rights respected.

Bahamian men will continue to have out-of-wedlock children with non-Bahamian women and we must not turn our backs on these Bahamian (in every sense but legal) infants.

It is not if, but when, we try again, for try again we must. Basic human rights are too important to ever give up on. I suggest we start by encouraging openness. We must accept that we all know or have gay children, gay siblings, gay parents, gay teachers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, maids, taxi drivers, straw vendors and hair braiders. We love them already.

If a gay doctor is good enough to perform surgery on us, a gay lawyer is good enough to defend us in court, and a gay nurse good enough to bind our wounds, why are they not worthy of equal treatment by us?

A good conch salad tastes best when all the ingredients get equal treatment and neither the lime nor the onion is allowed to overpower the tomato or the conch.

- The Graduate

Working for money
Working for money

Thu, Jun 30th 2016, 03:54 PM

Christie should just go
Christie should just go

Thu, Jun 30th 2016, 03:46 PM

Government continues major infrastructural projects in Grand Bahama

Government continues major infrastructural projects in Grand Bahama

Thu, Jun 30th 2016, 02:30 PM

Prime Minister, the Rt. Honourable Perry Christie told the residents of Smith's Point at the contracting signing for the construction of a seawall in their community to treasure the moment that has finally arrived for future generations to enjoy. Minister Darville, right, is pictured with Washington Smith, proprietor of Smith's Construction Company.

Investing in the welfare of future generations, Government signed a $4.8 million contract for the construction of a seawall in Smith’s Point to safeguard against further coastal erosion.

The project is one of several underway as part of the government’s revitalization of Grand Bahama, which also include a state-of-the art Fire Station and a new causeway to replace the Fishing Hole Road.

Acknowledging that 25 years is a long time for residents of Smith’s Point to have waited for a seawall, the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Perry Christie said the decision to build one now would prove to be the best one for future generations, 40 years from now.

“But good things come to those who wait and good things have now come. I hope that the entrepreneurs amongst you would see the exciting possibilities that this has now heralded,” the prime minister told the gathering at the contract signing and groundbreaking ceremony.

Minister for Grand Bahama Dr. Michael Darville at the contract signing and groundbreaking ceremony for the multi-million dollar seawall project for the community of Smith's Point.

Having heard stories from older residents of being able to picnic on land as a youngster where the sea has now claimed, and having listened to the debate internationally on climate change, Prime Minister Christie said unless countries take special steps and engage special policy and strategy initiatives, future generations will have not a place to live in comfort

“So any efforts and all efforts that governments make to protect against coastal erosion can be banked up as a major investment in furtherance of protecting the rights of citizens of our country,” the prime minister said.

Cognizant of the fact that Smith’s Point serves as a gateway to East Grand Bahama, a hub for tourism, a cultural activity in the centre of entrepreneurship and the Home of Fish Fry, Minister for Grand Bahama, the Honourable Dr. Michael Darville is pleased that the seawall project is now a reality for the residents.

“The building of the Smith’s Point Seawall is just one example of this government mobilizing and working to solve old-age problems on Grand Bahama, as well as this administration’s thrust to modernize local communities, advance tourism and spur economic and cultural activities throughout Grand Bahama,” Minister Darville said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development, the Honourable Philip Davis revealed that the project, which includes a reinforced 1,730-ft. concrete seawall, a sidewalk, ramp, steps to the beach, road drainage and street lighting, is expected to be completed by Smith’s Construction Company Limited in 26 weeks.

The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Perry Christie, centre, was on hand for the contract signing and ground breaking ceremony for the Smith’s Point Seawall Project set to be completed in 26 weeks (Photos: Immerse Bahamas)

By Immerse Bahamas

PM says nation must change to keep up with rest of world

PM says nation must change to keep up with rest of world

Thu, Jun 30th 2016, 01:48 PM

PRIME Minister Perry Christie said yesterday that it has become increasingly clear that The Bahamas must undergo a series of self-examination processes to achieve higher global standards.

As a part of his clarion call to the nation to adhere to the proposals being developed by the National Development Planning Unit, Mr. Christie said The Bahamas must come to grips with the “great deal of heavy lifting” yet to be done as the country continues to move forward.

The Centreville MP, who was speaking at the opening of the Inter-American Development Bank’s joint national development plan seminar, said the only way to improve the Bahamas’ current position would be through true self-analysis in the public and private sector.

He suggested that modern times present the need for governments to be more transparent in their operations.

“Particularly at a time in The Bahamas where we are faced with complex issues and increasingly so, where the absolute necessity for understanding what is happening in the outside world is even more profoundly important than it has ever been before in our history and where the challenges of government have been able to be ignored by not having them confront you,” said Mr. Christie.

He added: “If we do not make a number of changes now, that divide will widen and we will be left behind and many of our citizens will feel even more marginalised. So there is this compelling urgency of making decisions now that are important to The Bahamas. There is a small window of opportunity to make some very hard choices and key changes. All changes take courage in government particularly as you approach general elections.

“The accountability, whether at my level, the ministerial level, the permanent secretary level; accountability is important. Knowing and having the capacity to do the job is critical. And you must clearly be able to meet the standard that is so vitally important today.”

As proposed, the Vision2040 National Development Plan would address systematic flaws that exist in both the public and private sector, aiming to, for the first time, drive social, economical, environmental and governmental reform from a national, non-partisan platform.

Mr. Christie said the plan once implemented would give successive administrations something to aspire to.

Crime and poverty
Addressing crime through the prism of the 2040 plan, Mr. Christie said the future of the fight against crime must be built around programmes crafted and maintained by data.

“Lives are extinguished with an unimaginable degree of callousness,” he said. “Good, up to date data is essential if we are to understand the root causes of crime.”

Mr. Christie said the value of information is key to combating the criminal element as it presents platforms to both measure and manages programmes and procedures.

“When the data suggests that a programme is not working let us discontinue that programme and redirect resources towards effective interventions. We have seen the importance of data driven solutions to those agencies fighting crimes, but it is not just limited to these agencies, data is vital to all government agencies,” he added.

“We can address crime and the fear of crime through innovative, data driven programmes guided by clear, well executed strategies leveraging the best technology as we move to a smarter Bahamas.”

Touching on the issue of poverty, Mr. Christie described it as a circumstance that “robs” the Bahamian society of the potential of the human spirit and “blights” communities.

He cited statistics released in 2014 that show that 43,000 persons or 12.8 per cent of the population live in poverty. Of this figure, roughly 20 per cent are estimated to be children.

“This is probably the most critical point in our country,” he said.

According to Mr. Christie, scores of Bahamians that now find themselves in poverty have now lost the will to move out of it.

“Today, all too often we have become hostage to poverty and the incentive to escape from it have been dulled and the will of people have been sapped. And so governments therefore have more and more been designing and devising interventions into people’s lives to provide a connection point to survive it – unemployment, homelessness – all of the social interventions that have been introduced.”

He also launched what he termed a 30-day challenge of public service innovation.

He challenged public service employees to submit ideas that could either strengthen existing services, improve an existing programme, propose a new programme or policy that could improve the lives of the citizens and residents that they serve daily.

Director of Economic Development and Planning in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle said the Vision 20140 plan is expected to be concluded in the coming weeks at which time it would be presented to the public for review.

Following the review process, the document will be reformatted to reflect any necessary changes and then advanced to Cabinet for review and then, if all goes well, implemented as a national plan in part or in full.lobal standards.

By Ricardo Wells, Tribune Staff Reporter