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Elcott Coleby: This week in The Bahamas (May 4-8)
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Saturday, 09 May 2015 07:20

Attorney General decides on the Mayaguana court case

The statement on the Mayaguana court case is published in its entirety:

“On Monday, 20 April, 2015 the Office of the Attorney-General received from the Commissioner of Police the case file containing the results of the comprehensive full, fair and impartial investigation and report into the allegations made against the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, the Honourable V. Alfred Gray. The allegations, which have been widely reported in the media, concern the administration of justice and arise from the Minister’s interaction with Mayaguana Administrator Zephaniah Newbold in respect of a matter heard by Mr. Newbold in his role as a magistrate for the Mayaguana District.

“The allegations against Mr. Gray were referred to the Royal Bahamas Police Force, at the request of the Office of the Attorney-General, to ensure the said comprehensive full, fair and impartial investigation of the matter. The Royal Bahamas Police Force has reported that they have conducted the requested investigation.

“Upon a careful and complete review of the file, and after consultation with senior prosecutors and other senior legal officials within the Office of the Attorney-General, it was determined that in the circumstances of the conflicting nature of the evidence it is not desirable to institute criminal proceedings against any person before any court in respect of any offence against the law of The Bahamas. While it may be tempting to draw conclusions from allegations reported (second hand) in the media, it is important at all times that evidence guides the decision making process. This is especially important to preserve fairness and the integrity of all trial proceedings.

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Coca-Cola ‘Jumps in da Line’
Submitted by Cara Douglas   
Friday, 08 May 2015 11:36
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) was created with a mandate to stimulate economic opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises in the creative sector throughout the Bahamas by means of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. Caribbean Bottling Company (CBC), the local distributors of Coca-Cola, is actively working to help accomplish this goal by supporting both the Bahamas National Festival Commission and Bahamas Masqueraders Junkanoo Carnival Group.

“When called upon to support this, the inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, Caribbean Bottling (Coca-Cola) jumped at the opportunity to be named the official non-alcoholic beverage of “Da Cultural Village” May 7th – 9th.” Paul Major, Chairman of the BNFC, said. “Events such as this need the support of corporate Bahamas to ensure success, and accomplish all goals.”

“Bahamas Masqueraders Junkanoo Carnival Group has been working with CBC for the entire year, and are happy to have CBC on board as an official sponsor”, explains Coralie Adderley, one of the group organizers. “CBC has been a great assistance to our group, from giving us beverages, to prizes, and even lending us a truck!”

“Everyone is our customer” explains Cara Douglas, Marketing Manager for Caribbean Bottling Company. “We are a manufacturer by definition, but our brands are being enjoyed nationwide. For this key reason we would be remiss to overlook this opportunity to support both BNFC in this new venture, and a Bahamian Junkanoo Carnival Group.”

 
Save The Bays hails draft environmental bill a good first step
Submitted by DP&A   
Thursday, 07 May 2015 06:55

Minister Dorsett and his PLP government congratulated for launching public consultation process; finally addressing the urgent need for environmental protection laws

Save The Bays (STB) welcomes the news that a draft Environmental Protection and Planning Bill is being circulated for public comment in response to the Rubis fuel spill crisis in Marathon. We consider the move a significant victory for environmental protection, due process and the rule of law in The Bahamas.

Minister of Environment Ken Dorsett is to be congratulated, along with the rest of the Cabinet, for acknowledging not only the urgent need for enhanced environmental protection legislation, but also the legal requirement that all stakeholders and interested persons be afforded an opportunity to comment and offer suggestions before new laws are passed.

STB is currently in the process of reviewing the Bill and will comment further on its contents – particularly regarding the need to consolidate all existing environmental regulations into a single, rational, all-embracing regime – very soon.

We have long pointed out the need for a comprehensive Environmental Protection Act covering all aspects of the use of and interaction with the precious natural resources of The Bahamas. Our first impression is that the draft Bill falls short of this standard in a number of areas and we hope the government will prove itself willing to amend accordingly in an effort to protect our nation’s patrimony for the benefit of future generations.

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Statement by the Attorney General on Rubis fuel spill
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 11:34
PRESS STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL
Sen. Hon. Allyson Gibson
RUBIS FUEL SPILL
Monday, 4th May 2015

Thank you all for being here today.

As you well know by now, it was under the auspices of the Office of the Attorney General that the Black and Veatch Report – which assessed both Rubis’ and our Government’s response to the fuel spill – was recently released to the General Public.

The release of the report makes it clear that there was no intention on the part of Government to conceal anything in the Report.      

As a Government, we understand we should have released the report sooner. For this delay, we want to sincerely express our regret.   It is important, however, to make the point that even though the physical report was not released until recently, the recommendations in the Report were   acted on very early in the process by Rubis at the request of the Government, and in coordination with the responsible Government ministries and the Government’s environmental consultants.  

If I may, I would like to directly address the people of Marathon for a moment…  We know how much stress and concern the Rubis Spill has caused you and your loved ones.  And therefore, the households directly affected by the spill, residents of Marathon in general, and the public at large, deserve to know not only what we did to address the Rubis Spill, but how we can better prevent similar incidents in the future.  We will make sure that going forward you get all the information and support you need.
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FNM Senator Kwasi Thompson on Rubis fuel spill: PLP Government’s statement is too little too late
Submitted by the FNM   
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 11:28
Free National Movement Press Release
Senator Kwasi Thompson
Shadow Minister for Environment

The PLP’s overall response and in particular, their statement released in today’s newspapers and todays press conference have been wholly inadequate to address the Rubis Spill Crisis. The Christie Government has remained silent for two (2) weeks in the midst of heavy criticism by the Free National Movement while the residents in Marathon remained exposed to harmful chemicals for over a year and now true to form the PLP breaks its silence by first issuing a faceless, authorless, generic statement from the Government of the Bahamas only to be followed up by a press conference full of contradictions and an inadequate response one year to late.

The Government’s statement does not state which Ministry or which Minister issued the statement and seeks to hide behind the title “Government of the Bahamas”.  The PLP Government’s press conference unfortunately did not add anything new to the statement. The public should also question why both the PLP Government and the Rubis Company gave press conferences the same day of the town meeting. It would appear the PLP government has sided with Rubis and not with the people of the Marathon constituency.  It is laughable that the Government believes the release of this statement is an adequate response to one of the worse health crisis in Bahamian history.

The Statement and Subsequent Press Conference lacked Empathy and Compassion for the Residents

The impersonal statements lacked empathy and shows a complete lack of understanding and compassion for the position of the people of Marathon. It simply is not what a caring Government would do. The PLP in issuing such a statement, proves that they refuse to take responsibility for their inactions, continue to treat our people with contempt and shows that they refuse to be held accountable to the people for their wrong doing and dereliction of duty? It unfortunately reflects the three (3) years of PLP governance which has been incompetent, lacking in accountability and completely out of touch with the people they claim to care about.
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