Public Works/Infrastructure

Work to start on Mayaguana runway
Work to start on Mayaguana runway

June 03, 2013

Two months after three people were killed in a runway accident on Mayaguana, repairs on that runway are set to begin, and are expected to be completed within 12 weeks, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said yesterday.
The government recently met with the I-Group's project manager and contractor and agreed on the timeline for completion, weather permitting, Hanna-Martin said.
She said the work will start next week Tuesday.
"The Ministry of Works and Urban Development along with the Ministry of Transport and the Department of Civil Aviation will closely monitor the work to completion," she said in a statement.
"It is anticipated that on completion, Bahamasair will recommence regularly scheduled flights to that island."
She also said, "It is to be noted that construction work on the Mayaguana runway has been substantially stalled for a period of years, thereby negatively impacting airlift to that southern island."
A runway accident at that airport on April 4 triggered widespread discussion over why some Family Island runways in The Bahamas still do not have lights, something Hanna-Martin has pledged to address.
Former Cabinet minister Sidney Collie's mother, sister and brother-in-law were killed when a twin-engine plane crashed into their truck on the runway around 1 a.m.
They were using the truck lights to light the runway for a LeAir charter plane, which was making an emergency medical flight to the island for Collie's uncle.
In the days following the tragedy, Hanna-Martin and MICAL MP V. Alfred Gray blamed the Ingraham administration's restructuring of the agreement for the controversial I-Group development in Mayaguana for the lack of runway lights.
Under the I-Group agreement, developers are responsible for the refurbishment of the airport and runway.
They said the runway lights were not functioning because of the I-Group's ongoing work.
At the time, Hanna-Martin pledged to install lights at the airport and said the process could take at least six weeks.
At the six-week mark, May 16, she said the process would take another two weeks.
"I had said about six weeks and we are a little off it and we are looking at another two weeks, but we are moving expeditiously to get this accomplished," she said.
"The lights were acquired through a tender process with companies in the United States that provide solar lights."
Yesterday, Hanna-Martin said temporary emergency lights had been delivered to Mayaguana.
She also said the Department of Civil Aviation has purchased permanent solar lights that will be installed on completion of the runway.

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BEC union rejects sabotage claim

May 29, 2013

The Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) has taken exception to the accusation of sabotage made by Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller, and has pledged to launch an investigation of its own.
On Monday, workers at BEC's Clifton Pier Power Plant found severed power lines in the engine and auxiliary rooms five feet underground after powering down the 31-megawatt engine, which began to overheat, Miller said.
He told reporters he was convinced the damage was the work of BEC employees, before announcing the launch of a full internal and police investigation.
Ervin Smith, vice president of the BEWU, said yesterday the accusation is simply wrong.
"Everything that goes wrong in the corporation or seems to go wrong the problem is made by the union," Smith said.
"While he (Miller) did not say union he referred to the employees, and the line staff that work at Clifton Pier are members of our union, and it is our right to stand and support and defend the rights of our workers.
"Why is it that a proper investigation was not conducted, and as a result of the investigation then you come and make a statement?
"You can not come out and make an allegation against employees and expect smooth sailing. Yes, we want a proper investigation and as a matter of fact we are conducting an investigation ourselves, and we will let the general public know what our findings are."
Miller claimed it will cost the corporation in excess of $250,000 per day in extra fuel to make up for the generation loss of the engine that was tampered with.
He suggested households could expect higher energy costs this summer if it is found that the engine sustained major damage.
Tensions remain high between Miller and the leaders of the union over the implementation of a rostering system in March and overtime.
Miller suspects that this is the latest act by workers who he said are trying to undermine changes underway at the corporation and efforts by the government to cut electricity costs.
Smith said a contract worker could have caused the damage. He was unable to say how many full-time and contract workers were on site on Sunday or Monday.
"There are contract workers who are hired, who are not persons off the street," Smith said.
"These are people who are on BEC's compound every day. It does not take a rocket scientist to see where cables are.
"As a matter of fact they are there now and sometimes when our employees are getting off, contract workers are getting on."
During a site inspection, Miller told reports there are no surveillance cameras at the Clifton Pier power station, however, Smith said he found the news alarming.
"I live in Exuma and at our power station there are cameras at every entry and exit of this compound," he said.
"In the power station, in the office, in the control room, and these cameras were set up under this previous executive board.
"You are going to tell me that they don't have cameras in Clifton Pier?"
Miller said security cameras will be installed at each power plant on New Providence within 30 days.

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Govt blasted on capital's drainage

May 29, 2013

The former minister of works and urban development is blasting government for failing to ensure local contractors adequately clean storm sewers and wells in the capital.
Neko Grant, the member of Parliament (MP) for Central Grand Bahama, called on the Philip Brave Davis to provide proof that contracts were issued for the cleaning of wells. Davis, the current minister of works and urban development, did not respond to requests for comment before press time.
However, during a press conference yesterday, Davis did note that private contractors have been enlisted to deal with the wells following the latest storm.
"There is a real question as to whether they were cleaned," Grant told Guardian Business. "We have conflicting reports. We have an engineer from the Ministry of Works who suggested they would endeavor to clean the wells. Then we had a contractor saying the wells did not function. It raises the question as to whether the wells were properly cleaned on time."
The MP said that wells were cleaned by four main contractors on New Providence during the last Free National Movement (FNM) administration.
Last week, parts of the capital were severely flooded after long periods of heavy rainfall, which caused power outages, lost revenue for businesses and big losses for local insurance companies.
Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology issued a warning yesterday that New Providence can expect more excessive rainfall and flooding between now and Friday, as well as thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.
The poor weather has not only raised the question of proper well maintenance by contractors, but also whether government has properly invested in the capital's infrastructure.
Glen Laville, the general manager of Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), said there needs to be an overall improvement in storm water drainage.
Nassau had been improperly planned in the past, he said, and new measures must be put in place to protect residents and businesses. The WSC executive said many areas that used to be wetlands have now become residential subdivisions.
"Concrete, asphalt and all these things change the runoff situation. The removal of vegetation and trees also plays a role," he explained. "Like anything it comes down to a national development plan and a financial plan to implement it."
Laville told Guardian Business that everyone knows where rainwater tends to accumulate in dangerous quantities. Therefore, new building codes must be imposed so houses in Pinewood, for example, are one or two feet higher to avoiding any flooding.
"A lot of people end up suffering otherwise. A lot of people say buyer beware, but people in residential areas are looking for a home and not thinking about these things, they put their trust in regulators."
The WSC chief said that only the new highways and downtown areas have proper interconnected drainage systems, where water collects and goes out to sea. Many existing roads are challenged because there is no central collection system.
Water typically goes into the ground, although that capacity is severely diminished depending on the amount of rainwater. This second bout of rainfall could present even bigger challenges for residents and businesses.
One Easter Road resident said she sustained more than $50,000 in damage when water flowed through the ground floor of her home. She said the government suffers from a "national paralysis" that seems to stop leaders from planning.
"The reality is that New Providence is a low-lying island, despite the ridge that runs along the center. Yet we continue to allow more and more construction without provision for drainage," she said.
"The more concrete, the less area available for water to drain naturally, to soak into the land. In the absence of a plan that shows areas set aside as drainage canals or water recreation areas or ponds, we will continue to face flooding when we have extraordinary conditions as occurred on May 21."

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Jack Nicklaus Returns to Baha Mar
Jack Nicklaus Returns to Baha Mar

May 07, 2013

Golf legend and course designer Jack Nicklaus returned to the site of the future Jack Nicklaus
Signature Design Golf Course at Baha Mar to review the development of the course since his
last visit in February 2013. During the current visit, Nicklaus carefully inspected the 18-hole,
par-72 course, providing a strategy for the holes according to his vision of how golfers will play
each hole. The Golden Bear’s input on the strategy of the course includes features such as
bunker placement and green design which incorporate the contours of the local landscape
while creating a scenic golf course that is suitable for a broad variety of players.

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Bahamas Road Works Compensation Programme a Huge Success

May 03, 2013

Nassau, Bahamas - The much talked about $15 million compensation plan designed by the government to bring relief to businesses adversely impacted by the beleaguered and controversial road works project is branded a success by the Ministry of Finance.

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Social Services Staff Speak out Over 'Neglect'

May 01, 2013

THE Department of Social Services is speaking out over what it claims to be "years of systematic neglect", including staff shortages, limited internet access, no health insurance or risk allowance, and a myriad of other problems.

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Baha Mar Associates Judge Bridge Architecture and Construction at IBS Build-A-Bridge Challenge

May 01, 2013

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Baha Mar sponsored and participated in the 6th annual IBS Build-A-Bridge Challenge thattook place at the College of The Bahamas Performing Arts Centre on April 25. Teams from 20 schools throughout The Bahamas competed, building bridges made of Popsicle...

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Bahamas Most Popular Island Destination while Turks Caicos is Island Most would Like to Visit

April 30, 2013

The Bahamas continues to attract the most American luxury travelers, according to a new study released by Resonance Consultancy in collaboration with the Luxury Institute. The report also shows that the island destination more affluent Americans want to visit than any other is the Turks and Caicos.

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Freeport Local Government Workers Sign Public Service Appointment Letters

April 25, 2013

Freeport – Six local government workers in the West Grand Bahama District signed letters of appointment with the Public Service yesterday, officially becoming public servants. The group of women – five janitresses and one security officer – have worked in the public school system for between six to...

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US Officials Raise Concerns Over Prison's Failure to Meet Standards

April 25, 2013

HER Majesty's Prison continues to fail to meet international standards, with overcrowding and access to adequate medical care presenting major problems in the men's maximum-security block, a newly released 2012 human rights report from the US State Department points out.

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PM Renews Concerns on Shipping Port

April 15, 2013

Prime Minister Perry Christie, who once called the Arawak Cay port deal an "abomination", said he is even more convinced now that the port has been completed. Christie said he is "disturbed" by the port's proximity to eating establishments, describing the impact as being potentially "unhealthy" and...

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Consular Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Closed Friday

April 12, 2013

Nassau, Bahamas -- Please be advised that the Consular Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be closed to the public on Friday, 12 April 2013 as we move to our new location at the South Beach Shopping Centre, East Street South. COLLECTION ONLY of Apostilled Documents will be facilitated between the...

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Bahamas Government Ministers Tour Baha Mar

April 11, 2013

Ministers and Baha Mar executives discuss the luxury resort's contribution to Bahamian economy Nassau, Bahamas - Key government officials were recently hosted by executives at Baha Mar. The Hon. Khaalis Rolle, Minister of State for Investments, Hon. Dr. Daniel Johnson, Minister of Youth...

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Damaged Road Untouched Six Months After Storm

April 09, 2013

Nearly six months after a portion of West Bay Street near the caves was badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy, the road has still not been repaired. However, Director of Public Works John Canton said yesterday repairs will begin today. "Well we had to go to competitive tender because of the value...

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New 150-bed hospital for Grand Bahama planned

April 08, 2013

Freeport – Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville said a new 150-bed hospital will be constructed on Grand Bahama to meet the demands of both public and private patient care. Dr Darville admits that there is a bed shortage issue at the Rand Memorial Hospital.

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PM at Growth Forum: Planning is essential for the future development

April 08, 2013

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Planning is essential when looking to the future development of The Bahamas, and every decision made for the country should be thoroughly thought out, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said at the Bahamas Chapter of the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF) held at...

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Palm Cay Unveils New Development Plans for Upscale Seaside Nautical Community

April 02, 2013

Nassau, Bahamas -- A standing room only crowd packed the Palm Cay clubhouse Thursday to hear a new executive and operations team unveil plans for the upscale $200 million, 69-acre community at the eastern end of New Providence.by-year schedule of construction plans.

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Ten Years and Still no Payout to Workers

March 26, 2013

Freeport – The former workers of Island Construction who were laid off more than ten years ago have still not received their redundancy payments, despite a judgment in their favour by the Industrial Tribunal. Ceva Seymour, a spokesperson for the workers, held a press conference at her office on...

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Preserving the Public Space

March 21, 2013

The value of public space in Nassau is acutely underestimated in our most urban areas. Urban Renewal 2.0 demolished dilapidated buildings under the premise of eradicating areas that harbor and facilitate criminal activity. Such government intervention is needed but it should not come at the cost of...

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