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  • PM TO MEET WITH CABINET MINISTERS INDIVIDUALLY;DEEPEN CONVENTION REGARDING DISCUSSIONS WITH GG

    Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said Wednesday (October 11) that he will meet with each Cabinet Minister individually on a quarterly basis with a view to assessing the work of individual ministries while helping to improve the effectiveness of each ministry in carrying out the Government’s policies. The decision is part of the Minnis Administration’s programme of reform and transformation in governance as foreshadowed in the Speech From the Throne during the Opening of Parliament (May, 2017). Prime Minister Minnis also announced that each government ministry will be asked to develop a multi-year plan with clear, annual, metrics for that ministry, and in keeping with available finances and resources. “These plans will be developed by senior staff and technical officers in each ministry in accordance with my Government’s Manifesto commitments and related objectives,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “These plans will be developed with reference to the National Development Plan. My Ministers will be held accountable for these plans.”

    Closing out debate on a Resolution to thank the Governor-General for reading the Speech From the Throne Wednesday in the House of Assembly, Prime Minister Minnis also pledged to “regularly call on” Her Excellency, Dame Marguerite Pindling, GCMG, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to discuss matters of state.

    The Prime Minister said the Constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas provides executive authority to the Governor General and mandates that the Government keeps the Governor General informed about what his/her government is doing. “This is a mandate I intend to honour. With her permission and at her convenience, I plan to deepen the longstanding convention by which a Prime Minister regularly calls on the Governor General to discuss matters of state. “This commitment is part of my Government’s programme of government and political reform. We must continue to perfect and deepen our constitutional and parliamentary democracy which enshrines ancient traditions, both necessary and relevant in the 21st Century,” Prime Minister Minnis added. Prime Minister Minnis also pledged to continue to visit sub-offices of the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama and Abaco on a regular basis. Additional sub-offices are to be opened in Eleuthera, Exuma and Andros. “To better connect the Central Government to these major islands, I plan to visit each of these offices on a regular basis. This will improve the effectiveness of government. “As noted in the Speech from the Throne and other communications, my government has embarked upon a programme of reform and transformation,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Such reform requires a long-term vision and concrete steps for change. Such change will not happen overnight, but we are laying the groundwork for change in areas ranging from combating official corruption to bringing Local Government to New Providence, to dealing effectively with the New Providence Landfill, to the expansion of the use of solar and renewable energy.”

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  • 156 NATIONAL YOUTH AWARD NOMINEES HONOURED

    The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture held a National Youth Awards Nominee Medal Presentation Ceremony at Government House, October 11, 2017 during which the Ministry honoured 156 outstanding persons of the community. Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite, as patron, made the presentations, and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard gave words of encouragement and inspiration to the young people, nominated for excellence in various categories of society achievement and service. ‘National Youth Awards’ was first implemented by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in October 2014. Each year since, Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor-General, has served as Patron of the distinguished honour presentations, and at the conclusion of yesterday’s ceremony presented approximately 538 medals to exceptional, well-deserving young Bahamians.

    Added to the collection of honours this year -- is the ‘Living Legend Award’ for Youth Practitioners who have given exemplary service well beyond the age of retirement. The 2017 recipient is Captain Fernley Palmer, MBE, JP, who served for more than 60 years as a member and leader in The Bahamas Boys Brigade. The Ministry pays posthumous tribute to Lionel R. S. Elliott Sr., former Youth Development official in the Division of Youth and longstanding Executive Director and Programme Manager of Junior Achievement Bahamas.

    National Youth Awards winners will receive their trophies at the Gala Awards and BTC Cash Prize.

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  • MINISTER FERREIRA SUPPORTS GLOBAL OCEAN CONSERVATION EFFORTSAT EU'S "OUR OCEANS" CONFERENCE IN MALTA

    Bahamas Minister of the Environment & Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, recently attended the European Union's Fourth "Our Oceans" Conference, held October 5 and 6 in Valletta, Malta. Hundreds of marine resource representatives from member countries met to improve and strengthen ocean resource security and policies. Keynote speakers at the international event were His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales, and His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco, both of whom spoke on the importance of marine life protection. Minister Ferreira spoke on The Bahamas’ contribution to protection of ocean ecologies. Minister Ferreira said: "We congratulate all governments that participated in this exercise to finalize this Coral Reef Life Declaration, as it solidifies our commitment to the protection of our global commons. It highlights our interconnectedness and interdependence. More importantly, it displays our dedication to a generation unborn, who, without such a declaration, may not know the wonders and abundant offerings of these great global commons. "In The Bahamas, coral reefs play a pivotal role in the continued viability of The Bahamas. They are the foundation of our unique fisheries, a tantalizer to our tourists and a first line of defense against ever-frequent storms and hurricanes. Currently, we are halfway to meeting our commitment to protect at least 20% of our near shore environment by 2020. The goal is in sight, as we are making steady progress towards the target."

    The conference delivered unprecedented results in drawing support for a commitment to protecting the ocean environment and managing its conservation. Mr. Ferreira stated: "We are however, doing our part, not only through the declaration of Marine Protected Areas, but through the replanting of endangered reefs and the creation of artificial ones. Because life below water also depends on life above water, we must extend our obligations, not only to the conservation of marine environments, but to end practices that lead to ocean acidification, climate change and other harmful impacts to the Earth’s oceans. "The Coral Reef Sculpture Garden, commissioned by The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, in 2014, is the country’s first underwater living art gallery. It is home to the largest underwater sculpture in the world and now home to thousands of coral. It is a stunning example of a multipurpose hub for the marine environment. Time is of the essence. I again applaud the finalization of this declaration, but admonish us not to become complacent, there is much that remains undone. “The outcome of the 4th ‘Our Ocean’ conference stands to prove that when the world comes together for a common cause, much can be accomplished in peace. "I understand that over 200 commitments were tabled by different countries. There were a combination of 87 NGOs, foundations, research institutes and international organizations that also made commitments. “This year's conference has mobilized an impressive involvement of at least 100 commitments from corporate leaders and the business community, to dedicate a budget to conserving our ocean. Hopefully, the next conference will yield more obligations as we all share the same water that covers 75 percent of the Earth," said Minister Ferreira.

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  • 'TIME TO CLEANUP' GETS STARTED

    The Ministry of Environment & Housing this month has begun a 'Time to Clean Up' Campaign. Catching the theme, on Friday and Saturday through Old Boat Alley, off Market Street, residents gathered for two days to clean up their surroundings, making a difference in their communities. Over the weekend, Minister of the Environment & Housing, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira visited the Eastern Parade on National Heroes Day, October 9, to show support to a group of cleanup volunteers for a private cause, led by Ed Fields, Senior VP at Atlantis. Ed and his team of volunteers spent the morning cleaning up the green spaces and empty lots, near the Pond, Betty Cole Park, Butlers Funeral Home, and the area around the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge.

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  • 'SAMMI STARR'S' MENTORING APPLAUDED

    Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard commended award-winning Bahamian recording artist and producer ‘Sammi Starr’ Poitier for an initiative he’s undertaking that should encourage more Bahamian performers to follow their dreams. The Minister noted: “Sammi Starr is a gifted entertainer who has an incredible voice; he is as effective behind the scenes as a producer and a mentor for emerging performing artists.” “I wanted to meet with the Minister today to discuss working with young entertainers, young artists, and mentoring them and helping them get into music full time,” Sammi said during a recent courtesy call. “You know, give them some encouragement to let them know that there is an opportunity to make it as an entertainer – for income, exposure, and, of course, a lifetime career.” The purpose of meeting with Minister Pintard, Sammi continued, was to see if he could get the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to be aligned with that vision and support it. “The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is happy to collaborate with him as we seek to mentor emerging artists, continue to contribute to his success as an artist, and gain from his expertise as we seek to internationalise various genres of the arts,” Minister Pintard said.

    Sammi shared the stage with international recording artists such as Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Barrington Levy, and Diddy at "Miami's Best of the Best 2010," becoming one of the first Bahamians to perform at that concert event – and continuing to do so for more than 4 years. He has also won major talent shows including Charlotte, North Carolina’s “You Got Vocals,” the “2007 Junkanoo Song Competition” in The Bahamas, and the inaugural Music Masters Competition at Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival in 2015 – the latter of which resulted in his landing a recording contract with Sony Music Latin. Sammi also spoke highly of the talent of Bahamian performers. “The talent that we have in The Bahamas is unreal,” he said. “We have talent here that can be on the same stage as world-class entertainers – Grammy-award-winning entertainers. There is no question about it. They just need the exposure.” Sammi encouraged persons who want to work with him to contact him on social media, across various platforms. “This is one of the mandates for the rest of my career; so just get in touch with me,” Sammi said. “We will talk and hear you out about whatever your vision is as an entertainer, a musical artist or just an artist period. “We can talk about it and whatever I could do to help, I will.” Minister Pintard responded, “We believe that more Bahamian artists should contribute to taking our various forms of art internationally, and we are happy that Sammi Starr is committed to working with us in doing just that.”

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  • A.M.M.C LIVING HISTORY AWARDS CEREMONY PLANNED

    The Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation (AMMC) will host a Living History Awards ceremony in early December at Baha Mar to recognize Bahamian talent and create greater awareness of the role, significance and contributions of the AMMC. Executive Chairman Reece Chipman made the announcement on Thursday at the AMMC offices on Shirley Street.

    The public will nominate persons for awards in these categories: Research and Education, Architecture and Historical Restoration, Oral History and Genealogy, Youth Entrepreneurship and Vendor Award, Historic Districts and Townships, Journalism and Talk Shows, Artistry and Craftsmanship, Technology and Social Media, Historic Churches and Faith Centers, Archaeological and Paleontological Research, Junkanoo Heritage, Cinematography and Photography, and Festivals and Events, among others.

    Funds raised from the AMMC Living History Awards will be used to facilitate the preservation and restoration of important historic resources throughout The Bahamas. Corporate Bahamas is being invited to partner with the AMMC on this event through several different sponsorship packages. More information about the awards gala can be found on the AMMC website, www.ammcbahamas.com, or by calling 242-397-6800 or email ammcawards@ammcbahamas.com

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  • MINISTER DAMES ADDRESSES ILLEGAL FIREARMS, ZERO TOLERANCE

    During his Contribution in The House of Assembly on the Speech from The Throne, on October 4, 2017, Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames said, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, murder rates in the Caribbean are higher than in any other region of the world. “The CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Regional Task Force on Crime and Security recently commissioned a report on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Caribbean,” Minister Dames said. “The Report noted that a major factor contributing to the surge of guns-related criminality in the region is the trafficking of narcotics, which has facilitated the availability of firearms.” With that regional context in mind, Minister Dames said, stakeholders know that law enforcement partnerships, intelligence, drug interdiction and gun control must be the focus over the next five years. He pointed out that, as delineated in the speech from the throne, the government is focused on making the nation safer through a number of strategic priorities, including the following: a Zero Tolerance approach to crime; the establishment of a Guns and Gangs Unit; the establishment of a DNA Lab; the detection of financial, commercial and cyber-crimes; and enhanced training across Law Enforcement Agencies.

    Minister Dames added that other priorities include strengthening partnerships in regional, hemispheric and international organizations; the creation of Neighborhood Safety Programs; engaging members of The Bahamas' religious and civic communities; increasing youth employability through the Citizen Security Project; anti-corruption legislation; establishing a National Intelligence Agency; and the creation of a Parole and Probation System. He noted that the speech from the throne also articulated a number of ways in which the Government seeks to modernize the Parliamentary and elections processes of The Bahamas including the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission and Boundaries Commission, the introduction of term limits for Prime Ministers, and the introduction of a recall system for non-performing Members of Parliament. “We are determined to deliver on these commitments; a promise we made to the Bahamian people prior to the May 10, 2017 General Elections,” Minister Dames said.

    When speaking of the Zero Tolerance Approach, Minister Dames said that, since May 2017, the police had executed the new zero-tolerance approach with precision through aggressive anti-crime operations throughout the capital with a focus on crime hot-spots, prolific offenders, persons with firearms, gang members, persons in violation of their bail, drug peddlers, shutting down drug houses and persons in violation of the nation's traffic laws. “This new strategy is reaping positive results,” he stated. “Between May and September 2017, the police have arrested over 269 persons for an array of serious offences ranging from murder to robbery. They have seized over 125 illegal firearms, and 5,316 rounds of ammunition. In addition 9,381 fixed penalties (traffic tickets) were issued to drivers in violation of our traffic laws. “The police have also 'ramped up' their drug interdiction efforts by executing over 140 anti-drug operations since May of this year. During this time period, over 10,332.15 pounds of marijuana and 1,428.87 pounds of cocaine have been seized.” Drug Enforcement Officers, he added, had executed over 120 search warrants on suspected drug houses and have also searched over 1,186 persons. A total of 627 persons had been arrested for drug-related offenses, 528 of whom were subsequently charged and placed before the courts, Minister Dames noted. “This clamp-down has resulted in many well-known drug houses, which were operating for far too long in our communities, to be finally shut down,” he said. “Despite these successes, there remains much

    work to be done.”

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  • MINISTER DAMES PURSUES EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES FOR CORRECTION FROM UB/IDB SYMPOSIUM ON PRISONERS

    Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames told participants at ‘Our Prisoners: A Symposium’ on October 4, 2017, that he believed that the information disseminated at the event would “go a long way in providing good and holistic analysis about offenders, their criminogenic (‘causing or likely to cause criminal behavior’) needs” and the underlying challenges within The Bahamas' correctional system. “As I have indicated in my communication on crime (in the House of Assembly) a few weeks ago, my Ministry has reached out to researchers at the University of The Bahamas to explore ways in which your institution can assist in finding more evidence-based strategies to combat crime,” Minister Dames said at the event held at the University of The Bahamas (UB) Performing Arts Centre and facilitated by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in conjunction with UB. “Furthermore, I am moved by the willingness of your institution to assist with evaluating anti-crime programs to determine what impact they are having on crime and public safety indicators,” he added. Minister Dames said that the emphasis of the discussion that day focused on the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services and the need to facilitate alternatives to imprisonment and conditional release for non-violent offenders. He noted that, over the past four years, the correctional services had been transitioning from a “punitive base to corrections.” “During this process, the enactment of new legislation to govern the service and changing the name of the institution was achieved,” Minister Dames pointed out. “However, the process fell short of establishing a clear correctional strategy, that will benefit staff and offenders.”

    Minister Dames stated that, at that time, The Bahamas ranked third in the region in incarceration rates – 439 per 100,000 in 2016. “This rate reflects the challenges of crime, punishment and recidivism that exist within the Criminal Justice System in The Bahamas,” he said. In 2016, he added, Inmate Admissions at the correctional facility were 2,528, with male offenders continuing to remain the larger gender group admitted into the institution, exceeding female offenders by 93% in total inmate admissions. “Particularly, young males between the ages of 18–25 [who] represent the largest age group at 41%,” Minister Dames said. “These trends suggest that we must engage dialogue relative to Corrections, alternatives to incarceration and their role in the Criminal Justice System of The Bahamas. “We must define exactly what should be accomplished while offenders are incarcerated. At this point we need to understand what works and whether punishment, rehabilitation and reintegration are impactful within our system.” Minister Dames said that, within that context, the correctional institution faces a myriad of challenges and the need for clear evidence-based practices must now be considered. “Evidence-based practices, as a part of the criminal justice system in The Bahamas, can mean revolutionizing the Correctional Services and developing much-needed community supervision programs for offenders,” he pointed out. “Moreover, these objectives can only be ascertained through making organizational decisions and directing policy-making initiatives based on measurement, research and evaluation.” Minister Dames said that a very important step of our government’s crime focus is the rehabilitation and re-integration of offenders. “Noting that current incarceration and recidivism rates are at unacceptable levels, we understand that recently-released inmates – who are typically males in the prime of their lives – seem to have very few viable options to be successfully rehabilitated and re-integrated into society,” he said. “As a result, Government will be enacting legislation shortly to address the conditional release of offenders into society through a Parole and Probation System for first time non-violent offenders.

    “The new process of parole will address rehabilitation, reintegration, re-offending/recidivism and reduce the costs associated with incarceration.”

    Minister Dames said the goals of the initiative will also include the following: assisting ex-offenders in functioning in the community without becoming involved in further criminal activity; providing supervision or monitoring; and providing support to inmates enabling them to be reintegrated in the community through a productive and crime free lifestyle. Minister Dames commended the “committed support” of the IDB, which had demonstrated its assistance by providing funding and other pertinent resources to the project, and looked forward to initiating further collaborative efforts. “I also commend the faculty and support staff of University of The Bahamas that have committed long, sacrificial hours in the work that will be presented today,” Minister Dames said. We anticipate information revealed in this study will be useful in modernizing and strengthening correctional outcomes for the 21st century.” Minister Dames gave the full assurances of the government that his Ministry is a willing and committed partner and they were confident that underpinning the discussions at that dissemination exercise was the resolve to formulate data that will “chart the course of response to findings about offenders incarcerated in The Bahamas.”

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  • SOUTHERN SHORES M.P ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS NATIONALITY

    "I'm as Bahamian as conch salad" A declaration made by Southern Shores MP and Minister of Transport Frankie Campbell who sought to clear their air on questions regarding his nationality. He admitted to possessing two passports earlier this year on the Darold Miller show which created a firestorm on social media recently on whether or not he was eligible to be elected. He was born in 1967 to a Haitian mother and a Bahamian father. The term Haitian boy was commonplace for me I grew up accepting who I am without excuse even at this point in my life its not in search of sympathy. Campbell said while it is not ashamed of his heritage it was important to set the record straight. he has a Bahamian passport and is also in possession of a diplomatic passport that he received when he worked overseas years ago.

    Yes, I have two passports with Gods' grace I was appointed to embassy for the Bahamas in Haiti. I kept it for pride I didn't use and abuse it. Campbell jokingly added that he has a third passport that he received since being elected to parliament. He added that despite the criticism he will continue to serve. Campbell went on the say "I have only pledged my allegiance to the Bahamas I challenge anyone to find a document stating that I am a citizen of any other country other than the Bahamas.

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  • CAT ISLAND MURDER ARRAIGNMENT

    Twenty-eight-year-old Orange Creek, Cat Island resident Rodrigo Rolle declared his innocence during his murder arraignment in the magistrate court Wednesday, telling Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes quote, "I never kill no one." Rolle, who appeared in court without a lawyer, is accused of killing a seventy-four-year-old American citizen and long-time Cat Island resident Janice Kessinger on September 29th. Police say Kessinger was last seen alive on October 6th at Shanna's Cove in North Cat island. Her body was found in bushes at port royal and the vehicle she had been driving was also found burnt nearby.

    During the proceeding, the 28-year-old was also charged with robbing Kessinger at knifepoint on September 29th of a safe valued at $500, a $5,000 Rolex watch and a 2006 Ford Explorer that belonged to Frank and Gabby Wolf. He's also accused of breaking into the couple's home around 10 that night. He was not required to enter a plea, bail was denied and he was remanded. A voluntary bill of indictment will be filed.

    Now following the arraignment, Rolle make some charges of his own, alleging police brutality and claiming that he needed to see a doctor. The defendant also alleged that while in custody, a police officer made him perform a sexual act in a cup. He also claimed that police stomped on his foot, causing salt water to get into it. The magistrate noted Rolle's complaints and ordered that he see a doctor. Now authorities say Rolle is known to police and was out on bail for another murder at the time of the incident. He returns to court on November 30th for service of the voluntary bill of indictment papers.

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