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DNA commentary: Scathing US Critique Highlights the Need for Freedom of Information
Submitted by Branville McCartney   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 12:50
The recently released US State Department Report on the Investment Climate in the Bahamas is yet another scathing indictment of this PLP administration’s failure to properly manage the country’s economy and the obvious abuses of power which have been allowed to flourish under this Christie government.

The report, which grabbed media headlines this week, pointed to the number of complaints received by the US Embassy from US companies wanting to invest in the Bahamas but have concerns of the lack of transparency and unwarranted government interference in the bidding and procurement process surrounding government contracts. These concerns are not uncommon however, as the PLP government has become known for abusing its governmental influence to line the pockets of friends, family members and selected party supporters. Unfortunately this practice which Bahamians have lamented for years has now caught the attention of our international allies.

What message does this send to potential foreign investors? Indeed the release of this report has a potentially damning effect on the country’s international reputation as a business jurisdiction. The US Government has rightly criticized the poor governance demonstrated by this administration pointing to its failure to meet its own self-imposed deadlines on issues of national importance.

Their critique, now more than ever, further highlights the need for a viable Freedom of Information Act. The Democratic National Alliance repeats its call for the government to enact this key piece of legislation; first as a means of encouraging free access to public information and second, as a means of correcting years of deficiencies in government which have cost the country millions on the economic front.

Now, with Value Added Tax on the country’s economic horizon, The DNA again endorses the recommendation of the government’s New Zealand consultants who advised that the implementation of the new tax regime must be accompanied by increased access to information. The DNA would take that recommendation a step further. We believe that freedom of information must happen BEFORE VAT implementation or any other type of tax reform.

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FNM commentary: ‘GBPC Unchristian and Uncharitable’
Submitted by Peter Turnquest   
Thursday, 03 July 2014 08:32

From the Office of the Shadow Minister of Finance

Hon. K. PETER TURNQUEST, member of parliament for EAST GRAND BAHAMA    

“GBPC Unchristian and Uncharitable”  

Reading today’s headlines in The Freeport News must be a grave disappointment and cause for concern for all right thinking Bahamians as it shakes the trust of all entities conducting business with this PLP Government.  

In commenting on the disconnection of electrical supply to schools on Grand Bahama last week, rather than address the core issue of weak financial performance, planning and management by his Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance characterize The Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) as “unchristian and uncharitable”. The Minister of Education, characterized it thus, “that it was very unfortunate that a company doing business in the Bahamas would want to have a strained relationship with the government” and that we “just have to accept that moving forth we will have strained relationships with them”. How unchristian and uncharitable are those statements and what message do they send to local and international business and investors? In light of reports from the United States Department of State, is this the message we wish to send to investors and would be investors?  

It is a basic responsibility of the Government to fulfill its obligations to the citizens of this country (in this case its children), to manage its fiscal affairs in such a manner that a situation such as the disconnection of vital utility services to schools, hospitals and other national institutions never occurs. That Public Service salaries are paid on time and materials are provided in a timely manner to ensure service to the public is not disrupted.   In this regard the PLP government has failed again and again.  

With hundreds of small residential customers struggling to meet their monthly light bills, we certainly hold no brief for the GBPC. However, we believe the GBPC was well within its rights to aggressively protect their investment and to enforce collections on behalf of its employees, shareholders and the approximately 19,000 small consumers who receive no breaks and who have had to pick up the slack for this delinquent and careless government.  

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RBC Royal Bank, sponsor of the second annual 2014 Bahamian Icon Awards, honours nominees in the Humanitarian category
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:10
NASSAU, Bahamas – RBC Royal Bank, sponsor of the Second Annual Bahamian Icon Awards, will be presenting the Humanitarianism Award at the Icon awards ceremony on July 12, 2014, taking place at the Atlantis Theater, Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino. Mr. Robert Pantry, recently named managing director of RBC FINCO, will present the award on behalf of RBC.

“We are proud to partner with the Bahamian Icon Awards as they honour exceptional Bahamians who are making significant contributions to our country,” said Mr. Pantry. “RBC has a long-standing commitment to support, build and empower communities where we do business. Our sponsorship of this event – particularly the Humanitarian category – ties directly to that commitment.”

RBC congratulates the five nominees in the 2014 Humanitarianism category:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Camille Lady Barnett - Bahamas AIDS Foundation – 92 words
As president of the Bahamas AIDS foundation since 2002, Camille Lady Barnett is a tireless advocate for improving the treatment and quality of life for those impacted by HIV/AIDS. During her career, she has spearheaded numerous programmes, including “Combating HIV/AIDS through a Culture of Reading,” to increase awareness and sensitivity among schoolchildren; the Men’s Health Initiative, to provide HIV/AIDS education to populations most at risk of contracting the disease; and a programme that provides financial support to purchase medications for individuals with HIV/AIDS. The foundation also sponsors World AIDS Day in The Bahamas, which involves hundreds of school children dressed in red creating a human red ribbon across New Providence.

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DNA commentary: The PLP has Failed to Protect the Rights of Women
Submitted by Branville McCartney   
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 14:27
History has shown that Bahamian women continue to make up a significant block of this country’ voting electorate; however this Christie led administration – whose victory at the polls was due in large part to the high voter turnout among women – has proven itself unworthy of that vote of confidence.

This PLP government simply does not care about the rights of women. Over the course of his term in office thus far, Mr. Christie has paid only lip service to the idea of female empowerment and equality while allowing those under his direction to further trample on the freedoms of Bahamian women across this great country; women who continue to contribute in meaningful ways to the development of our communities, and our democracy.

The PLP campaigned and won on the promise of a referendum which would finally address constitutional inequalities against women; however, more than 50 years since the women’s suffrage movement, months after receiving the recommendations of the constitutional commission, and more than two years in office, this government has not seen fit to make good on this promise.

Prime Minister Perry Christie has instead postponed the date of the planned referendum twice and his administration has, during this time, failed to undertake the promised educational campaign intended to make the public more aware of the key points at the heart of this very important issue.

While the Democratic National Alliance is saddened by this reality, we are not at all surprised. Since taking office, this administration has failed to meet its own deadlines on issues of national importance. As with issues such as Value Added Tax, National Health Insurance, the Freedom of Information Act, the implementation of the Sexual Offender’s Registry and countless others, the government has faltered consistently, failing not only to meet its own self-imposed deadlines, but also in providing the public with the necessary updates required to inspire confidence in the electoral process.

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HGTV presents first-ever Atlantis Live Paradise Music Festival at Atlantis, Paradise Island
Submitted by Morgan Fraser   
Monday, 30 June 2014 14:31
Atlantis will host top musical artists over a 3-day festival Labor Day Weekend

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Atlantis, Paradise Island’s celebrated Atlantis LIVE concert series will offer guests an unforgettable experience presented by HGTV— the first-ever Paradise Music Festival on Labor Day Weekend. Throughout the three-day festival, emceed by HGTV and DIY Network star Allison Victoria, attendees can catch performances by Rascal Flatts, the most awarded country music group of the past decade, multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley and platinum-selling trio The Band Perry.

Atlantis, a world-famous destination known for awe-inspiring waterscapes and one-of-a-kind guest attractions, continues to solidify its standing as one of the most popular entertainment venues in the Caribbean. In collaboration with leading home and lifestyle brand HGTV, the Paradise Music Festival ends summer on the sand by bringing together over six artists and exclusive HGTV experiences for Atlantis guests all weekend long. 

“Vacations are an extension of home life and a way to strengthen bonds with family and friends,” said Shannon Jamieson Driver, senior vice president, marketing and creative, HGTV and DIY Network. “HGTV's participation with Atlantis and Paradise Music Festival allows us to create the kind of end of summer experience that will cement family memories for years to come.”  

Paradise Music Festival kicks off Friday, August 29 in Atlantis’ Imperial Ballroom with multi-Grammy®, Academy of Country Music (ACM) and Country Music Association (CMA) nominated artist Dierks Bentley. The award-winning, country music star, released his critically acclaimed new album, Riser, in February 2014 and is currently headlining his 2014 RISER TOUR. On Saturday, August 30, CMA will present special songwriter guests as part of a special CMA Songwriters Series tenth anniversary show at Atlantis’ newest venue, Ocean’s Edge at The Cove.  The CMA Songwriters Series intimate experience exposes fans to the artisans who through their craft, pen hits that touch the lives of millions of music fans.  

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