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Department of Correctional Services advises of altercation in Medium Security Housing Unit resulting in death
Submitted by BIS   
Thursday, 16 July 2015 08:10

Death of Resident (Inmate)

NASSAU, Bahamas -- On Sunday, 5 July 2015 at about 8:00 p.m. two residents housed at the Medium Security Housing Unit were involved in an altercation.

As a result of the altercation, one of the residents was taken to the Department of Correctional Services ‘ Medical Department, and was seen by the Medical Officer who referred the resident to the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) for further management and treatment.

The said resident was detained at the hospital where he died on Friday, 10 July 2015.

The matter has been turned over to the Royal Bahamas Police Force for further investigation and no additional information is available at this time.

DNA commentary: BTC’S Russian Roulette
Submitted by the DNA party   
Thursday, 16 July 2015 08:07

The government’s announcement of cellular liberalization has so far failed to usher in any of the benefits that Bahamians were promised. In fact, by all accounts liberalization has stalled entirely with the government failing yet again to meet its own self-imposed deadlines.

What the Christie administration has succeeded in doing however, is ushering in new levels of uncertainty for scores of employees at BTC, who since March of this year, have been forced into a game of Russian Roulette with management as they wait for the company to pull the trigger and effectively end their employment.

In recent weeks, leaders of the unions representing those workers have had public clashes with the company over the apparent culture of secrecy that has kept them in the dark about which of its members would be affected by the terminations. The Democratic National Alliance feels that it is most unfortunate that these hardworking Bahamians – many of whom have served the company for many years – have not been properly informed about their respective futures. With the country’s economy still struggling to find a solid footing, keeping these employees in the dark is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment. Each employee to be cut should have been made aware of the company’s decision well in advance in order to fully plan their next move and protect the livelihoods of their respective families.

Unsurprisingly, this government led by Prime Minister Perry Christie has been deafeningly quiet on this matter. In the months after taking office, this Christie administration made a public spectacle of its efforts to reclaim “controlling interest” in BTC. Negotiations between the government and the principals of Cable and Wireless dragged on for months and at the conclusion of those talks, Mr. Christie and his cabinet boasted about the landmark deal which he promised would make the government an equal shareholder with Cable and Wireless and ultimately result in major benefits for employees of the company and the wider public as well.

Fred Mitchell responds to Brent Symonette's comments in The Tribune
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Thursday, 16 July 2015 08:05

Statement by Hon. Fred Mitchell

In Monday's edition of the Tribune, it was reported that former Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette was giving me advice on what was appropriate to say in public. I penned a reply but it did not specifically address Mr. Symonette because the reporter never indicated who delivered the remarks but attributed the remarks to the FNM.

I now address Mr. Symonette specifically and in the interest of fairness and balance, I wish the Tribune  would faithfully report what I say.

I thank Brent Symonette to keep his advice to himself. The day I take advice from him is the day pigs grow wings. He is in no position to tell me about appropriateness. When he left office as a Cabinet Minister, he was richer than when he became one. He was asked to step down as Airport Authority Chairman because a firm he owned was awarded a contract while Brent sat as Chairman. While he was a Minister, firms that he owned were awarded contracts from the government yet he wants to lecture me about what is appropriate.

I have told him before that I do not owe any money to Commonwealth Bank.

I implore him once again to go hide under the rock from whence he came.

DNA commentary: A first world vision for passport production
Submitted by the DNA party   
Tuesday, 14 July 2015 10:38

Bahamians applying to get their passports renewed over the last several weeks have been subject to incredibly long lines and even longer wait times in getting their documents processed. During a recent budget communication, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell estimated a wait time of 12 weeks. This, during the busy summer travel season where scores of families hoping to take their vacations outside of the Bahamas and where countless more new and returning college students require their travel documents as they prepare for their studies abroad this Fall. According to a recent statement from government officials, that 12 week deadline has been extended, and deadlines given to applicants voided and pushed back as the government attempts to deal with an application backlog of some 6500 cases.

The challenges associated with the production of passports are not new. Year after year, particularly during the summer months, Bahamians face the same issues and after more than 4 decades of producing passports for its citizens, the government still can’t get it right with the minister promising now, that additional manpower and equipment is being brought in to address the issue.

In a 21st century Bahamas, a Bahamas which just 3 days ago celebrated 42 years of independence, this is unacceptable. Despite the many technological advances in the world, the outdated policy directives of the leaders of our country continue to keep us from the cutting edge while our international counterparts and allies continue to serve their citizens in an efficient and cost effective way. While thousands of Bahamians have their applications languish at the passport office, Canadian citizens living within our borders are able to receive their renewed passports – which are processed in Jamaica – within a ten day period. The Canadian government’s first world service to its citizenry should be an example which our own government should seek to adopt.

Elcott Coleby: This week in The Bahamas (July 6-10)
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Saturday, 11 July 2015 11:37


Calling it a “red-letter day for Bahamasair and The Bahamas,” Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis presided over a short ceremony on Monday where the Bahamas Government signed a $100 million contract with Avions de Transport Regional for the purchase of five ATR 600 model aircraft on behalf of Bahamasair, the country’s national airline.

Pointing out the strategic significance of the fleet upgrade, Davis said that the new fleet presented an opportunity to cause the airline to “service designated routes in The Bahamas while seeking to expand its transnational flight operations to service new tourist routes.”

He went further, stating that the fleet replacement was “critical” in maintaining the airline’s record of “safe, reliable and economical air service” in addition to rendering the airline “economically viable in the short-term and to make it attractive to private investors in the longer term.” 

The new aircraft comprise three 50-seat ATR 42-600 and two 70-seat ATR 72-600, an upgrade to the existing fleet of Bombardier Dash 8-300’s. The aircraft are expected to be delivered between November 2015 and June 2016. The two 70-seat ATRs will be delivered before the end of 2015.

The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of Works and Urban Development, JFK, and attended by senior government officials, members of the Board of Bahamasair and representatives of ATR.

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