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Press Releases
Statement from the Ministry of Labour and National Insurance on CBTUC strike action
Submitted by BIS   
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 15:02

The Ministry of Labour and National Insurance (ML&NI) is extremely concerned with a number of public statements made in the print and electronic media regarding the possibility of strike action by trade unions associated with the Commonwealth of the Bahamans Trade Union Congress. The Government remains committed to the concept of partnership with all trade unions and will keep the channels of communication open for discussions with trade union leaders.  

In an effort to update the public and clarify any misconceptions resulting from the public statements made by Mr. Obie Ferguson, President of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Trade Union Congress (CBTUC) regarding a pending strike by affiliates of the CBTUC, the ML&NI can confirm that the following trade unions and association have matters before the Industrial Tribunal pursuant to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1970:  

  • The Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union,

  • The Bahamas Nurses Union,

  • The Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers,

  • The Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association,

  • The Bahamas Customs Immigration Allied Workers Union,

  • The Bahamas Educators Managerial Union

    On May 6th, 2014, in The Tribune, President Ferguson was quoted as saying  

“…. there is nothing the government can do to stop the withdrawal of labour of hundreds of unionized and non-unionized workers in the coming days”.  

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DNA commentary: Governments FOR SALE?
Submitted by the DNA Party   
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 09:51

Last week the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and scores of other citizens and residents of this country watched with dismay, as the government pressed forward with its plans to legitimize the long illegal web shop industry in the Bahamas. This action comes following the resounding public no vote in the January 2013 “referendum” and further upholds years of gaming discrimination against Bahamians. In addition to inviting the potential for new levels of government corruption, the recently tabled gaming legislation seems to be an effort by this Christie led administration to reward web shop bosses who have for years operated in contravention of the law; giving the owners of these illegal establishments what equates to a mere slap on the wrist for years of illegal operation with only minimal fines, fees and penalties imposed.

Clearly, the government’s gaming legislation was designed, not with the interests of the wider Bahamian population in mind, but was instead formulated to meet the needs and desires of web shop owners. The question though, is why? Why would a government which claims to be acting in the best interest of ALL BAHAMIANS table legislation which clearly caters to the whims of a select group? Could it perhaps be payback for the millions of dollars reportedly pumped into the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) 2012 election campaign?

The tabling of the new gaming legislation once again thrusts the important issue of Campaign Finance Reform back into the spotlight. The DNA Calls on the government to implement clear guidelines which will govern future election campaign donations. Such guidelines should require ALL POLITICAL ORGNAIZATIONS to make full disclosure of its financial statements. Under the new regulations, all political parties would be bound by law to publicly disclose the amounts of all campaign finance donations and make known how those funds were raised. In addition, campaign finance reform would also place limits on how much one individual or organization is allowed to donate to a political party.

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Ministry of Finance clarifies treatment of VAT on pre-existing contracts
Submitted by BIS   
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 06:38

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Guidance Note on Transitional Arrangements that was issued on September 6, 2014 provides a summary review of a number of transitional provisions that are contained in the VAT legislation. One of these relates to the VAT treatment of contracts that are concluded prior to the entry into force of the VAT Act which include the provision of taxable supplies to be made after the entry into force of the Act and which do not provide for the imposition of VAT.

For the sake of greater clarity in respect of this matter, the Ministry of Finance wishes to reiterate that such issues are subject to the legal provisions contained in the VAT Act itself.  As is made clear in each of the Guidance Notes, these are provided to the public as general overviews on specific areas of the legislation; as such, they have no legal bearing and interested parties are referred to the VAT law for definitive legal interpretations.

The transitional provisions of the VAT Act are covered in section 98 of the Act. The issue of pre-existing contracts is covered specifically in sub-section 98.(1) as follows:

“A supplier may –

(a)        where a contract was concluded before the entry into force of this Act and no provision relating to tax was made in such contract; and

(b)        where the supplier after the entry into force of this Act becomes a registrant and makes taxable supplies under the contract,

recover from the recipient of a taxable supply made after the entry into force of this Act the tax due on the supply.”

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COB issues statement on the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute
Submitted by COB   
Tuesday, 09 September 2014 06:40

The College of The Bahamas will be transitioning to the University of The Bahamas within a year. By doing so, the nation’s primary tertiary-level institution is positioning itself to be an even greater instrument of those public and non-public strategies that support national development goals. Accordingly, when the opportunity presented itself for the soon-to-be university to be involved in a major initiative of the Government of The Bahamas to diversify the economy, to create a greater level of food security and to encourage applied research across our archipelago, the opportunity was embraced. How could it not?

Contrary to what the President of the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) has stated in the press, COB is not in a “forced relationship” with the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI). The mission of BAMSI is in complete alignment with the mission of the College and the University. Through its whole-hearted embrace of its partnership with BAMSI and by attempting to ensure BAMSI’s success, the College/University fulfills one of its key strategic goals. Administrators and faculty members alike see it as a privilege for our beloved institution to be asked by the Government of The Bahamas to provide academic quality-assurance oversight of such a major initiative of the Government to promote food security and applied research in agriculture and the marine resources of The Bahamas. Therefore, it is a surprise that some would see this function for something other than the academic function that it is. Indeed, it has not been unreasonable to anticipate that the College would be unanimous in its support of a COB partnership with BAMSI.

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Leading real estate broker: Housing incentives fastest route to economic boost and improved credit rating
Submitted by DP&A   
Monday, 08 September 2014 06:36

 Leading Broker Mario Carey urges a series of incentives to encourage home ownership in light of last week’s further downgrading of the country’s credit rating. Calling the housing market the horsepower that fuels Western economies, Carey said US research shows every new home sale generates at least three full-time jobs in America and he believes the number is even greater in The Bahamas. Sales also generate immediate revenue for government in Stamp Tax. NASSAU, Bahamas -- With financial experts searching for ways to recover from last week’s stunning further downgrading of The Bahamas’ credit rating, a leading real estate broker today said one answer is right in front of our faces and up and down every block.

According to Mario Carey, incentives to encourage a flurry of activity in the housing market, both new construction and sales of existing homes, will spur economic growth in a way that no other quick fix with long-term benefits can.

“The housing market in Western societies is a leading predictor of economic health,” said Carey, founder and president of MCR, one of the country’s top property sales, leasing and management firms.

“Strong sales mean a strong and healthy economy and when sales fall off, it’s just a matter of time until you see a slide in all aspects of an economy.”

More than just an economic barometer, housing sales translate into jobs, he said.

“Every home that is sold generates three full-time jobs, according to research commissioned by the National Association of Realtors in the U.S.,” said Carey. “Here that number would be even greater. In both places, the spin-offs from home ownership are enormous and create sustainable business activity. It is not just the fees generated by the move itself but the ongoing expenses the homeowner assumes – lawn and gardening services, painting, perhaps pool or roofing or plumbing, electrical, air-conditioning, furniture, décor, appliances. There are also the benefits to government from Stamp Tax. On a luxury property sale of $10 million, for example, government immediately collects $1 million in Stamp Tax. Incentives move people at every income level. If the Stamp Tax is reduced to 6% for a specified time, the buyer considering a purchase may be prompted to complete and save a substantial sum when they split the tax with the seller.”

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