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Statement from the Department of Immigration regarding Bruno Rufa case
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Friday, 05 February 2016 08:11

Statement from the Department of Immigration

4th February 2016

The Tribune published a letter to the editor on the 3rd February signed under a cognomen which mischaracterized the actions of the Department in relation to the case of Bruno Rufa.

The Department wishes again to place in the public domain the following statement issued by the Department of Immigration on 29 January 2016:

"The Tribune reported the following this morning with regard to the matter of Bruno Rufa, a matter that concerns the refusal of status of a non-Bahamian in Freeport:

“He [Fred Smith QC] said that Mr. Rufa and his partner, Sandra Georgiou, have both submitted applications for their annual homeowners resident card last May, along with required payment, to Bahamas Immigration, but their applications are still pending and have not been approved.”

"In the public interest the Department wishes to say the following:

The statement quoted in materially incorrect. The applications are not pending. Both applications have been refused.

GBHRA: Concerns persist over riot gear arsenal
Submitted by Rights Bahamas   
Thursday, 04 February 2016 10:41

The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association remains alarmed over the government’s acquisition of armored vehicles, anti-riot gear, grenade launchers and tear gas from the People’s Republic of China.

Regardless of their efforts to downplay the implications, senior officials have yet to adequately explain why they would seek to bolster their capacity to suppress the civilian population, seemingly without justification.

Civil unrest of the degree that would necessitate the use of such equipment is totally unprecedented in this country. We therefore demand that the government outline in detail under what circumstances and to what ends it plans to use these potentially deadly military materials.

After all, the remarks of Minister National Security Bernard Nottage suggest that the government chose these specific items from a longer list of materials being offered as a donation by the Chinese government.

If this was the case, Nottage and his colleagues must tell the public why their selection included: two armored vehicles, two automatic anti-riot grenade launchers, 10,038 smoke tear gas grenades, anti-riot gear sets, and 60 portable low-light level night vision goggles.

DNA commentary: Unfit to Govern
Submitted by the DNA party   
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 07:21

Over the past few weeks Bahamians have watched members of government and the official opposition, men and women who were elected to be about the business of the people, squabble publicly like a group of unsupervised toddlers.

For months now, the governing side has struggled to recover from defections in its own ranks all while floundering under the weight of the PM’s broken promises on addressing crime or the stagnant Bahamar property. With each passing day, senior members of the Christie government continue to prove themselves less concerned with moving the country forward, and more so with the preservation of their personal political legacies.

Equally disappointing in recent weeks has been the behavior of those within the Free National Movement. As the official opposition, they too have been sorely lacking. Instead of rising to the occasion and holding the government’s feet to the fire, this hapless, ineffective opposition is too busy bickering among themselves to present the public with a united front. BOTH HAVE PROVEN UNFIT TO GOVERN.

Now, more than ever, what the country needs is an administration which is focused purely on the business of moving the country forward. What the country needs is a DNA administration, one focused on reversing years of mismanagement and cronyism.

Sandals issues statement related to trial of former Premier of the Turks & Caicos Michael Misick
Submitted by Chester Robards   
Saturday, 30 January 2016 08:31

On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, Andrew Mitchell Q.C. in continuing his opening statement in the criminal trial of former Premier of the Turks & Caicos, Michael Misick and others, stated that payments were made to Michael Misick by one or more Sandals-related companies. It is a fact that those payments were made.

The matter first came to light in the course of investigation by the US Department of Justice. This triggered a series of internal investigations by Sandals to determine the source of the payment and the responsible parties., Tom Scott, a retired Federal judge and partner in the Florida law firm, Cole, Scott & Kissane, was retained by Sandals to assist with the investigation and a highly reputable forensic accounting firm in Washington D.C. was also engaged to conduct an in-depth accounting investigation into the affair. The results of the investigation and the forensic audit revealed that some US$1,650,000 had been paid to Prestigious Properties Limited, a real estate company in which Michael Misick, Phillip Misick and Washington Misick were the shareholders, and Chalmers Misick & Co., a firm of lawyers in the TCI. All those payments were made without the knowledge or consent of the principals of Sandals.

The unauthorized payments were made by a Senior Executive and then Treasurer of Sandals. This culminated in the separation of the Senior Executive from the company and was followed by Sandals filing a lawsuit against him in the Bahamas to recover the unauthorized payments. The damage done to the Company by his actions was substantial. Not only had he betrayed the trust which the Chairman and other Directors had reposed in him but based on the level of his authority, the Company was legally bound by his actions and this culminated in the Company having to absorb a fine of US$12M imposed by the Turks & Caicos authorities.

Bahamas Attorney General responds to local newspaper (Tribune) article
Submitted by BIS   
Friday, 29 January 2016 09:38

I wish to respond to a recent article published in the Tribune on the contribution given in the House of Assembly by Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins on January 27th, 2016.

A key quality of good leadership is to accept responsibility for the actions of those you lead. As Attorney-General, I have the privilege of directing an office filled with talented, hard working, dedicated Bahamians whose sole concern is the pursuit of justice for the benefit of the Bahamian people. While prosecutors are empowered to make the decisions they see fit during criminal proceedings, ultimately when there are missteps, I must carry that burden.

As the opposition’s shadow minister of national security and an aspiring leader, Dr. Rollins would do well to contemplate the qualities of good leadership- qualities which include being fully informed of matters on which he wishes to make public pronouncements. By suggesting that, “Swift Justice has become no justice,” in the case of the six men accused of being members of a gang and the woman convicted of human trafficking, Dr. Rollins has evaded the facts of both cases and insulted the resolve of prosecutors to see justice done. The men accused have been arraigned on multiple other charges and the Office of the Attorney-General intends to pursue the human trafficking conviction to the highest courts. Justice will be done.

In his eagerness to mock me, and by extension the Office of the Attorney-General, Dr. Rollins also avoided the successes realized through the Swift Justice initiative. Since 2012, conviction rates have doubled. In 2015, we disposed of 110 more cases than at the start of my tenure as Attorney-General, and 7 murder cases went from charge to conviction in a year. The reality is that through the work of the Swift Justice initiative we are tirelessly moving toward a more effective and efficient justice system.

Now that Dr. Rollins is more aware of these matters, he should respect the separation of powers and desist from speaking about on-going judicial matters in the House of Assembly. Instead, Dr. Rollins should celebrate the progress we have made and join in the continuous work of making our Bahamas safer.

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