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Freeport Container Port welcomes the Maersk Kotka, part of 2M alliance
Submitted by Lededra Marche   

L – R: Marcia Smith ~ Terminal Operations Manager, Ntieado Knowles ~ Commercial Manager, Sherry Brookes ~ PA/Corporate and Government Affairs Director, Capt. A. Raczkowski ~ Master the M/V Maersk Kotka, Lucian Laing ~ Container Port Director, Jeremy Cafferata ~ President, Freeport Ship Services. .FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- On Sunday, 1st February, 2015, the Freeport Container Port (FCP) welcomed the Maersk Kotka, the first Maersk vessel as part of the 2M alliance to call at Freeport since the announcement of the Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) between Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

The 10-year VSA involves the Asia – Europe, transatlantic and transpacific trades and began in early January. The agreement, which is known as 2M, encompasses 193 vessels with a capacity of 2.4m TEUs deployed on 22 strings.

FCP executives revealed that Freeport figures prominently in the new agreement as one of the 77 selected ports of call. Further, FCP is the only transshipment hub in the region to service 2m cargo from Asia and Europe to United States East Coast and Gulf.

Upon arrival of the Maersk Kotka, a Welcome to commemorate the first Maersk vessel was held on board the vessel late Sunday and a plaque was presented to the captain before the vessel departed.

FCP is the transshipment hub of the Americas and has the deepest and largest man-made harbour in the Caribbean with MSC as its major customer. According to FCP, with 2M, there is an opportunity for FCP to gain more volume with Maersk as a stand-alone client.

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GBHRA president Fred Smith: Mitchell believes he is King Herod
Submitted by the GBHRA   

GBHRA president Fred Smith, QCStatement by GBHRA president Fred Smith, QC in response to the Immigration Department’s new policy on Bahamian-born school children:

Fred Mitchell apparently believes he is King Herod reincarnated. His vile and cowardly tactic of seeking to deny children of the right to an education harkens back to the worst excesses of the Pindling administration in its later years.

A similar tactic was tried in 1986 – then, as now, in an attempt to distract from the failures of a crumbling administration. At the time, outspoken Pastor Roger Sweeting warned against politicians adopting a “Herod Complex”, destroying the lives of children in an effort to keep power.

Then, as now, the tactic was unlawful; a violation of both the Bahamas Constitution and the Education Act. This time, “King Mitchell’s” actions are even more egregious. As Minster of Immigration, he has absolutely no legal authority to interfere with public education. The Act clearly states that all decision-making power is vested in the Minister of Education. In this regard, I call on Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald to urgently disclaim this absolute outrage of a policy, for all the world to see.

Over the last several months, Mitchell has increasingly followed the playbook used by a desperate and severely compromised Pindling government in the lead up to the highly contentious 1987 election. No doubt, he has sold this immigration witch hunt to his Cabinet colleagues as part of a winning formula for an administration in crisis; one that has used up all its good will with the public.

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Resorts World Bimini spends millions with Bahamian vendors in 2014
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Resorts World Bimini (RWB) continues to provide a significant boost to the economy of Bimini and the Bahamas as a whole, spending millions of dollars with local businesses in the process. In 2014 alone, RWB spent more than $8.6 million with Bimini and New Providence based businesses for various goods and services including food and beverage, transportation, and entertainment.

“Resorts World Bimini continues to demonstrate its commitment to help fuel Bimini’s economy,” says RWB President Edward Farrell. “Bimini businesses are experiencing exponential growth as a result of our presence, and this will only get better as our project continues to expand.”

One of the businesses directly and indirectly impacted by RWB’s operation is Stuart’s Conch Stand which supplies the resort with seafood for its restaurants as well as services many of the visitors who come to the island in search of the Bahamian delicacy. Proprietor Fabian Stuart says business has been on an upswing since the advent of RWB.

“We are grateful to Resorts World for their support,” he said. “Business has been so good that we are in the process of expanding our operation and I’m really excited about what the future holds.”

Another food vendor that has been servicing the Resort is Nate’s Variety of Bimini Bread, which supplies bread to RWB’s six restaurants.

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs responds to Nassau Guardian editorial on new immigration rules for children
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   

The answer to every question asked in the editorial of the Nassau Guardian dated 2nd February 2015 can be supplied by the application of ordinary common sense to ordinary English words together with a reading of the existing law and the press release that was published in answer to the erroneous New York Times article. The latter press release in answer to the New York Times was published in The Guardian this morning.

Further, these new administrative measures being undertaken are the policies of the government of The Bahamas and not Mitchell’s “new rules for children” or “the Minister’s new standards” as the Nassau Guardian’s editorial erroneously stated in the title and the body of the op ed.

ANSWERS:

A permit to reside in The Bahamas is currently held by thousands of children in this country who are non Bahamians. That is the law. The Immigration Act says without distinction that everyone who is in The Bahamas who is not a Bahamian should have something which shows they have a right to reside or a right to work in The Bahamas.  This applies to children and adults without distinction. The Minister's statement at the Outlook Seminar reminds all who do not have such a permit that they should get one for their children. If the Nassau Guardian wishes to know what is on a permit, the face and form of a permit can be found in the official gazette of the Bahamas government, easily found at Government Printing.

With regard to whether it is prohibitive or not, that is a matter for the Education authorities. Nothing the Minister said spoke to the remit of the education authorities.  He spoke only what the law on immigration says. The law requires every non Bahamian to have a permit. The law also requires every child under the age of 16 to be in school.  The law says that where the Immigration Act conflicts with other acts, the Immigration Act prevails. However, in the past the Ministry of Education and the Immigration Department have worked hand in hand administratively to deal with particular cases. There should be no different expectation but the generality of the law should be enforced.   

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GBHRA vice president Joe Darville: Fred Mitchell will ruin the lives of children
Submitted by the GBHRA   

Joe Darville, GBHRA Vice President - In a statemnet by Joe Darville, GBHRA Vice President, he commented on the Immigration Department's new policy on Bahamian born school children.  Darville noted his time as an educator and most notably a principal and the fact that children are mentally and emotionally delicate.Statement by Joseph Darville, Grand Bahama Human Rights Association, in response to the Immigration Department’s new policy on Bahamian-born school children:

I am appalled at the new and most shameful depth to which Minister Mitchell has sunk with the announcement that he will target the most innocent and vulnerable among us.

I spent many years as an educator, and two decades as a high school principal. I know better than most how damaging discrimination can be on the delicate mental and emotional life of a child. Every single student forced to “document” themselves under Mitchell’s new plan will feel the stigma of difference and the sting of prejudice every day, in what is already far too divided and cruel a society.

But that travesty is nothing compared to the hundreds and eventual thousands of children he will drive away from an education and any chance at a decent life. Mitchell knows full well that thanks to his actions, anyone of questionable status will be forced to keep their children away from the classroom when the new school year opens in September. Those children – who, if they were born here, have a constitutional right to be registered as a Bahamian citizen when they turn 18, will be prevented from becoming a productive part of any society. He is taking away their chance of success and happiness. He is literally ruining their lives.

Perhaps the worst part about this is that Mitchell’s policy seeks to punish innocent children for the alleged crimes of others. Their parents may have come to this country illegally (no one has yet been charged or convicted), but the children who will suffer committed no crime whatsoever, unless it is now a crime to be born of Haitian descent. Indeed, that is exactly what is happening – we are becoming a society that hurts and punishes people because of their heritage and background. You would have thought that being persons of African descent, we would have learned a thing or two about the evil of discrimination by now. I cry shame on Fred Mitchell and anyone else in government who is involved in this catastrophe.

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