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Elcott Coleby: This week in The Bahamas (January 12-16, 2015)
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Sunday, 18 January 2015 07:38

Ministers update the House

The big event last week of course was the Prime Minister’s trip to China both as the chairman of CARICOM and as Bahamas Prime Minister to seek greater trade opportunities for the Bahamian people. Ministers of his delegation and others used the occasion of Parliament to update members about that trade mission and other policy initiatives.

Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, Tourism Minister reported to the House on a number of important tourism related items Prime Minister Perry G. Christie covered with the Chinese leaders that were of particular importance to The Bahamas in fostering economic, social and cultural ties between our two countries. They included the following:

1.    Specific initiatives and strategies in conjunction with the Chinese Government, relevant agencies and Chinese companies to grow tourism and direct flights from China to The Bahamas

2.    Chinese investment by China Construction and Engineering Company of $150 million in Baha Mar Resort project, funding of Baha Mar ($3.5billion) resort project by China EXIM Bank, and the acquisition and $200 million redevelopment expansion of the Hilton Hotel property by China Construction Company.

3.    Opportunities for further infrastructural investment in The Bahamas through concessionary loans and public/private sector partnerships.

4.    Grant funding of a multipurpose auditorium to facilitate various indoor sports, vital to the development of the country’s youth, sports and sports tourism.

GBHRA asks: Where is Jerome Fitzgerald?
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 17:48
By Joseph Darville
GBHRA Vice President

This month marks the third anniversary of the massive and dangerous gasoline leak from a fuel station on Robinson Road, yet the pleas of Marathon families for a guarantee of their safety and security have fallen on deaf ears.

So far, the government has done little but give lip service to caring about the health of these citizens and the integrity of their property, but the Christie administration has not lifted a finger to actually help them.

Where is Jerome Fitzgerald? The Marathon MP and Minister of Education, who has continually asserted his care and concern for the next generation, must know that there are many children in the area who have been exposed to the toxic fumes and other extremely harmful substances as a result of this leak.

Three years have passed without a word from Mr. Fitzgerald, and no confirmation that the spill has been properly cleaned up. There have been no health screenings of residents, despite the fact that gasoline is known to cause a host of aggressive illnesses, including many forms of cancer.

From all accounts, the leak of 30,000 barrels of from a Rubis station in January 2012 was itself just the latest in a series of similar incidents that put unsuspecting residents of the surrounding community at serious risk. Senior officials have known for some time that highly toxic materials were being leaked into the ground water that supplies the houses of scores of residents.
Cable Bahamas giving away $70,000 in prizes to new REVOICE subscribers
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 11:41

Nassau resident Terrell Neely (second right) was randomly selected as the first winner in Cable Bahamas' 12 Days of Giveaways drawing and received a brand new Apple MacBook Pro as her prize. Cable Bahamas is giving away weekly prizes to new REVOICE subscribers leading up to the promotion's grand finale, when one lucky customer will receive a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited worth over $60,000. Pictured with Neely from left to right: Bahamas Bus and Truck General Manager Ben Albury, Hot 91.7FM Radio Personality The Natural Empress and Cable Bahamas Residential Group & REVTV Media Sales Manager John Clarke. (Photo: Aaron Davis)NASSAU, Bahamas -- Cable Bahamas is welcoming new REVOICE subscribers to the REV family in a major way this season with its Rejoice with REVOICE holiday campaign. As a follow up to the immensely successful 2012 and 2013 promotions, the company will give away more than $70,000 in prizes to some lucky customers.

Cable Bahamas Vice President of Marketing David Burrows stated that the company has seen tremendous growth in REVOICE subscriptions since the service launched three years ago. To date, the home and business phone service has amassed nearly 30,000 subscribers - over 28 per cent of the country's total landline phone market - and continues to attract customers who enjoy the reliability, clarity and affordability the fixed-line service offers.

Mr Burrows noted that past holiday campaigns served a key role in REVOICE's growth, and he expects that this year's promotion will result in an even greater boost in its share of the local landline phone market.

Residents in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera who sign up for any REVOICE home phone service between now and February 21 will be entered to win one of twelve great prizes in the holiday promotion through Cable Bahamas' weekly drawing, dubbed the "12 Days of Giveaways."   

During the promotional period, the company will reward a prize to one eligible subscriber over twelve different days, leading up to the promotion's grand finale, when the company will give away a 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from Bahamas Bus & Truck, worth more than $60,000.   

DNA commentary - VAT: Victimizations. Aspersions. Transgressions
Submitted by the DNA party   
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:34
Rather than take legitimate steps to address the myriad of problems which plague the business community in the wake of Value Added Tax (VAT) implementation, this PLP government and its agents have chosen instead to victimize and castigate business owners over their attempts to remain viable in the new environment.

As has been the Modus Operandi of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), E.J. Bowe has been brought out of retirement and obscurity to further the government’s VAT agenda as head of the Price Control Commission. Bowe’s reappointment to the commission is again a reflection of this administration’s lack of vision. As a government, they have demonstrated an inability to pool new talent to contribute to national development strategy. Instead, they have again – without the benefit of a public process – reached into the past as part of a weak and lackluster attempt to move the country forward.

While completely ignoring the government’s role in creating this economic disaster, Bowe has targeted at least 3 companies owned by members of the DNA, attempting to paint the operations as unscrupulous price gougers. This though, could not be further from the truth and is simply an attempt by the government to deflect from its own titanic failures on VAT.

Each of the private businesses on Bowe’s Hit List – which has so far included Galleria Cinemas, Super Value, and QBC – is collectively responsible for the employment of hundreds of hardworking Bahamians. Ironically, Bowe’s attacks come at a time when the Department of Statistics reports an increase in unemployment AND increase of the number of discouraged workers. Bowe, undoubtedly acting on instructions from higher ups in government, insists on making it difficult for these businesses to remain operational and keep their employees on the payroll.

After already receiving his pensions and gratuities Bowe has returned to the public service to collect a salary from the treasury, while countless Bahamians remain out of work. Now, under the guise of consumer protectionism, Bowe in his new role has launched an unwarranted and unprovoked attack on businesses owned by members of the Democratic National Alliance and countless others.
This week in The Bahamas (January 5-9) by Elcott Coleby
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:24

Prime Minister Perry Christie leads delegation to China

Bahamas Prime Minster the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie became the Chair of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community, on 1st January 2015. Surprisingly his lofty appointment was only publicly acknowledged by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and his party. In fact this is a great honour for The Bahamas as Mr. Christie is the effective political head of CARICOM. Also, The Bahamas will host the next CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Nassau in February 2015.

The first official duty as the Chair of CARICOM was to represent the region at the China/CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean countries) meetings in Beijing China on the 8th and 9th of January and this trip dominated government news this week in The Bahamas.

The Prime Minister delivered a statement on behalf of CARICOM where he announced that a proposal to acquire funds from China’s $3 billion dollar investment fund will be made on behalf of the Bahamas as one of the initiatives that The Bahamas will pursue in coming weeks.

“Welcoming the 3 billion dollar commitment on China’s part for investment on concessional terms” said the Prime Minister, “we will be raising at the Conference the proposal to use this funding for budget support, as well as debt restructuring and refinancing.”

In addition, Mr. Christie said that the Bahamian government will also be promoting opportunities for investment in the energy sector, gas exploration, mining, forestry, tourism, airline services, financial services, agriculture and fisheries.

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