Sunday, August 31, 2014

HOMOSEXUALITY, PHOBIA OR PRINCIPLE

BY DR. MYLES MUNROE:


FREEPORT BAHAMAS-CELEBRATION OF INSANITY


In the guise of “Civil Rights” and ‘Human Rights’ the LGBT minority community have decided to ‘celebrate’ the civility of their very uniquely chosen lifestyle and sexual preference publically. I am not sure what their mission or goals are in this effort, but obviously they have received enough incentive and motivation to attempt something that 90% of The Bahamas and Bahamians consider unacceptable and violates their collective convictions, moral standing and values.

Perhaps it may be helpful to first ask a simple yet profound question; “Is it civil, right, reasonable, logical, sane to promote a cause, lifestyle or practice of a behavior that could in its ultimate conclusion cause the extinction of the human race? It is insanity to demand the ‘celebration’ of your own extinction

I am not sure what role is being played by Government, Government Leaders, Ministry of Tourism, or other parties that may have provided, if any, the incentive for this defiant social act, but I believe this must be addressed from the perspective not from any religious position, but rather from the concern for our very small fragile social fabric being held together by values and moral standards that provide the framework for a healthy Bahamian society.

Concern is also raised concerning the assistance, support and promotion of these efforts by international organizations and in individuals including travel agencies and tourism promotion entities such as gaytravel.about.com. The citizens of the Bahamas have a legitimate right to be and express their concerns in these matters.

I think it is dangerous, inappropriate, immature and disingenuous to accuse anyone with a deep concern about any attempt to impose, force or establish a set of values, standards, moral trends or lifestyle that could and would drastically change and in a very real way destabilize the foundations of a society, as have a phobia – or fear.

THE BLESSING OF PHOBIA

One of the greatest natural competent of human mechanism for survival and safety is the element of fear. Without the ability to embrace ‘fear’ or ‘panic’ the human species cannot protect himself against threats. The beauty of fear is that is an in inherent human quality that protects against danger and extinction. Phobia is inherently good.

HOMOPHOBIA MISCONCEPTION AND DECEPTION

There is no greater harm to human dignity than deception. Throughout history the power of deception has ruined millions of lives, started world wars and even changed the climate of nations. In our postmodern world there is a massive deception invading the very moral fabric of nations and dismantling the very core of the natural existence of humanity. As matter of fact this deception is threatening the extinction of mankind. What is amazing is that this deception is not a new one, but it emerged in the context of human existence on the planet as long ago as five thousand years. However, despite the reality of its existence, it has historically always kept its place at the fringes of mainstream society.

What is this deception? It is the unnatural attraction and relations between human species of the same sex or gender attempting to normalize the unnatural under the guise of being normal? Even though this unnatural behavior disguises itself under many labels, it is generally described as Homosexuality. The word itself incorporates its basic premise and that is, it is primarily sex driven. Those who have decided to embrace, practice, encourage, and surrendered and succumb to its passions, and they desire to dignify, promote and civilize this “lifestyle” over the past generation have become more aggressive even to the point of violence in some instances. This strategy seem to be one of fear mongering, psychological battery, and the selling of self-pity and abuse. Terms like bigot, hate crime, closed minded, conservative, anti-human, anti-civil, bulling, and the most common, phobia, are used to isolate the mainstream of humanity painting them as unloving, insensitive, ungodly, human haters, unsympathetic and uncivilized.

It is my view that this accusation of ‘homo-phobia” is the greatest deception of all. Its intent is to make those who are considered ‘normal’ feel guilty for being normal. This deception is unfair, dishonest and dangerous. Its affect is to make the majority of humanity feel guilty for not accepting, glorifying and dignifying this ‘unnatural’ human behavior.

I am sure the question will arise, “What is ‘unnatural’ and who defines ‘natural’?” It is essential to understand that natural cannot and does not need to be defined. Natural is simply the normal state of creation which manifests itself by its natural essence. In other words, nature defines itself. What is defined by nature is also what is considered as ‘normal’. Normal is that which is the result of the natural course of life as nature or creation works in sustaining itself. Therefore the source of ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ is creation itself and any opinion of attempt of human genius cannot change what is natural.

Perhaps at point is it may also be important to note that the root word from which we derive our modern word ‘Law’ is the word ‘norm’. The obvious implication is that all nature is the source of natural law and therefore defines what is the reference for the creation of any human law that attempts to interfere with nature itself? It is also important to note that any law made by man is ignored by nature.

Human sexuality is a product of natural creation and is rendered as normal, thus does not need definition. Any deviation from the natural is generally considered as ‘unnatural’ or ‘abnormal’. In nature there will always be exceptions and these must be recognized as such. But even exceptions must be properly defined, for even in nature there is a natural inherent response to safe –guard its survival by minimizing the impact of the exception. All exceptions in nature are natural and not by choice.

In light of this natural reality why should homosexuality be considered ‘unnatural’ and perhaps ‘abnormal’? Perhaps the answer is in the very description of homosexuality as ‘a lifestyle’. Being an heterosexual is not a lifestyle but a natural by-product of nature and not by choice. Lifestyles are ‘chosen’ or a result of ‘circumstances’ but never a product of nature. We can choose lifestyles but never our nature.

The natural definition of ‘unnatural’ is that which is not a product of nature itself is, and that which cannot naturally reproduce in creation naturally. Perhaps this is the greatest challenge of the great deception of homosexuality, the natural fact that members of the same sex can come together, live together, express intimacy, and even be deeply emotionally involved with each other, but the reality and truth is they can never naturally reproduce after their kind. It is this fact, truth and reality that renders this lifestyle ‘unnatural’.

It is this simple truth that make those who wish to perpetrate this unnatural ‘lifestyle’ of ‘orientation’ dishonest and deceptive. I am not against nor will attempt to prevent any human deciding to practice a specific ‘lifestyle’ or are inclined to follow a certain ‘un-normal’ behavior, but my concern and contention is their attempt to impose that decision on those who by nature are considered normal.

THE LIE OF HOMOPHOBIA.

It is amusing that when the majority of the human community respond, express their disagreement with, or their deep honest concern about the attempt of those who embrace and practice this lifestyle to impose this ‘unnatural’ human lifestyle on society response this is interpreted a Phobia or fear.

If this accusation was levied by ignorant, uninformed persons perhaps it would be laughable, but one when intelligent individuals make this claim of phobia to a responsible intelligent person, one must take personal offence. Maybe the real fear is that one I would call ‘truthphobia’ or ‘realityphobia’. Could it be that those who wish be considered normal, acceptable, natural, and civil, fear that self-evident truth that what they are claiming, demanding, promoting and fighting for is by nature unnatural and abnormal?

However, I agree with their accusation from one perspective; and that is yes, I am afraid of any lifestyle, orientation, preference or behavior that threatens that very survival of the human race. Could it be that the homosexual harbor an unspoken heterosexualphobia? Heterosexual never attempt to impose itself on society nor does it need to fight for or recognition any defense.

THE HIGHJACKING OF CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS

The lifestyle of homosexuality and all the other names and labels it has come to be described as, is as old as the biblical character Abraham, and was practiced by members of communities of his contemporary over four thousand years ago. Many of the minority who are still involved in this lifestyle seem to act as if this is a new cause for which they were born to fight for. In the early sixties some individuals in high profile positions in society began to venture out of what they called ‘the closet’ to expose themselves to the larger community as if to test the waters. The reaction from that time by the majority of the population was one of resistance and discomfort which still exist today despite the claims to the contrary.

This resistance has been so strong that those involved in the LGBT lifestyle changed their strategy for social acceptance from imposing by exposure demanding their social rights, and resorted to making the issue one of civil rights. It is interesting to note that after over 4000 years of the recorded existence of the this lifestyle and unnatural behavior the social resistance still exists and I'm sure will continue, no matter how social and so-called civic society attempts to disguise it socially acceptable attire. Nature will never disagree with itself and common or legislative law can ever change natural law.

I have with great disappointment stood on the balcony of history and watched with horror and shock the high-jacking and raping of what we have come to know as the Civil Rights Movements. What made it more distressing was to see many individuals who were actively involved in these historic resistance movements, abandoning the sacrifice of many who died for the noble causes of human dignity for the majority who were being abused, to use their blood to cover the demands of minority sectors of society to justify and civilize their selfish and munnatural preferences.

I have tasted the negative impact of civil oppression by a regime that devalued my humanity, but this was not because of a lifestyle I chose, or a behavior that was by orientation, or a disposition preferred, but rather a reality that was ‘natural’. I was as victim of by inherent pigmentation……I was born black and had no choice in the matter. In The Bahamas I and my family along with the majority of the Bahamian population were discriminated against, devalued as humans, disenfranchised, and oppressed by a minority regime.

I have with all my logic and sought to understand, but still cannot equate the Philosophy, ideology or purpose for the Civil Rights movements with the agenda of the Homosexual LGBT community. I think the attempt to equate the historical Civil Rights movements with the demands for the right to dignify, glorify and accept as normal the practice of a lifestyle that could render the human race for which they sacrificed extinct, is illogical, dishonest, and is the abuse of the blood and imprisonment of many. It’s a high jacking of the gains paid for by the blood of honorable men and women for an unnatural human-destroying behavior.

THE OPPRESION OF THE MAJORITY

The fundamental principle of the Civil Rights movements was the freedom and restoration of the dignity and value of the Majority of an oppressed humanity. As a matter of fact, historically it was usually the imposition of the values, prejudices and inhumane ideology of the minority on the majority that was the context and source of oppression and devaluation of humanity. The context of the present LGBT movement could be considered in the same light where a small percentage and minority segment of the population are attempting to impose their unnatural ideology, values, morals and personal sexual preference on the common culture, moral convictions, standards and values of the Majority.

Perhaps, this could be considered the new 21st century regime of oppression. This idea seem to be further enforced by the encroaching influence and demands of globalization, the United Nations and other world bodies and agencies who have now conditioned their offer of national economic assistance to national social and cultural conformity that embraces moral and values-based compromises.

THE MEDIA AGENDA

The most powerful and dangerous partner to deception is perception. The world of media is really about the business and management of perception. The power of the media cannot be calculated and must not be miscalculated or minimized in its impact for creating perception. This is why throughout history anytime there was a need to control the mental environment or to create a perceived reality, the use of the media has always been engaged as the critical tool in exporting, importing and disseminating deception. It is therefore important that in our modern democracy the demand for truth, transparency and objectivity in the media be a primary concern to all responsible citizen. We must always be on our guard as civilly minded citizens to watch for the collective agenda and bias in the media. It has been my observation that in recent times the print and electronic media both nationally and internationally seem to favor the prominent and multiple placement, and preoccupation with stories that promote or glorifies this lifestyle. There seem to be many times and Imbalance of opinions and views. It is my hope that all media would make an effort to also publish the views of the majority.

INTELLECTUAL AND ECONOMIC BLACKMAIL

There also seem to be the increase use of economic and political blackmail in the area of manipulation by the LGBT minority forces, which also includes an intentional smear campaign of the majority as bigots, human haters, intolerant, and bullies. This is a dishonest and grave misrepresentation of the facts. There is also the misuse of un-substantiated claims by the minority regarding changing trends and attitude to boost their own positions. This is incredible. In fact, there seem to be massive plague on intellectual, social and physiological and logical dishonesty. There is no conclusive scientific confirmations that verify claims that the minority who practice this lifestyle, that their condition is matter of biology or genetics rather than a habitual learned behavior which become a lifestyle they prefer.

Let us reiterate once again that the majority of the population in most countries throughout history and in our contemporary society, are not ignorant of the existence of abnormal behavior or unnatural preferences of the homosexual lifestyle. This lifestyle and behavior is really an old story with a new twist. What the majority does not appreciate is the dishonesty and deception that have been engaged by those who wish to impose their will on them. Every human has the right to choose his or her unnatural lifestyle, but must demand that we accept it as natural. They are free to prefer any unnatural sexual orientation they desire or crave, but they must, cannot and should not require that we the majority dignify it by promoting or glorifying it as normal. All the majority want are Honesty and the Freedom to express our concerns, opinion and positons without being labeled ignorant, intolerant, unsophisticated, or homophobic.

Dr. Myles Munroe

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Trade unions ...trade disputes ...strike votes ...the Minister of Labour ...and ongoing matters before the Industrial Tribunal

Six Unions Have Filed Trade Disputes

By Jones Bahamas:



The Ministry of Labour and National Insurance has announced that at least six trade unions have filed trade disputes with the department of labour and have subsequently taken strike votes on the disputes filed.

In a statement released Tuesday, the ministry said the filed disputes have been referred to the industrial tribunal by the Minister of Labour.

Furthermore, the ministry notes that these matters are ongoing before the Industrial Tribunal.

The unions with matters before the tribunal include 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, and The Bahamas Educators Managerial Union

The Ministry reminds all concerned persons that Section 77 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act Chapter 321 of the Statute Laws of The Bahamas states that , “No employee shall go on strike, and no employer shall declare a lock-out, and no union or member of the executive committee or other governing body of a union shall call a strike or declare a lock-out in consequence of a trade dispute while proceedings taken in relation to that dispute are pending before the Tribunal or the Court of Appeal.”

It advised workers that any industrial action taken after these disputes were referred to the industrial tribunal is illegal.

Accordingly, the ministry said, any worker who engages in any illegal strike action is not protected by the laws of The Bahamas and employers are free to treat them as employees, illegally withdrawing their labour.

August 28, 2014

Jones Bahamas

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gay Pride in The Bahamas

Bid To Strengthen Support Systems For Lgbt Community



By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
aturnquest@tribunemedia.net


FOUR days of pride celebrations will kick off this weekend in a bid to strengthen existing support systems for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

Organisers yesterday confirmed that the “Bahamas Pride Freedom Weekend” will take place at an all-inclusive resort on eastern Grand Bahama beginning this Friday.

The event was originally scheduled for the Labour Day weekend, but was postponed.

In a recent interview with The Tribune about the event, organiser Victor Rollins underscored the critical need for outreach and empowerment within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community.

He said he envisioned the pride weekend as an opportunity to target the marginalised community, members of which he felt were often stigmatised, manipulated or exploited.

“The Bahamas Pride Freedom Weekend will cater to the various layers that impact the lives of LGBT Bahamians,” a press statement released on the event yesterday read.

The press release continued: “This event is not the first event of its kind and leading up to Bahamas Pride Freedom Weekend, members of the now defunct Rainbow Alliance Bahamas, Bahamian Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination and Hope Through Education and Awareness will be highlighted and given tribute for the cornerstones that they have laid for the community during their active period.”

The statement added: “The event will also have a moment of memoriam for all LGBT individuals who were victims and or lost their lives because of hate crimes or HIV.”

The weekend will feature seven themed parties, including a talent showcase and pageant; however, organisers also pointed to a Health Fair as integral part of the event. Activities highlighted include: a Great Gatsby themed all-white affair, a pyjama party, a retro party and signature beach and pool parties.

Society Against STIs and HIV (SASH) Bahamas, a nonprofit organisation, was listed as a major stakeholder in the planning of the event.

Amard Rolle, executive director SASH Bahamas, said: “The community needs a much needed boost of new energy, safe spaces and structured environments to truly be innovative.

“We agreed to be a part of this event because we at SASH Bahamas are committed to being social helpers and community builders.”

Yesterday, organisers could not confirm how many persons were expected to participate this weekend.

August 28, 2014

Tribune242

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The gender equality issue is a civil rights matter ...as was slavery, as was the right to vote in The Bahamas ...for both men and women

An argument before its time


Gender equality a civil rights issue


By CANDIA DAMES
Managing Editor
candia@nasguard.com


A package of controversial constitutional amendment bills appears set to get the approval of members of Parliament today, but the reform effort continues to face serious opposition among Bahamians.

Among the arguments now being advanced against gender equality is that the constitutional framers must have had good reason to agree to the provisions they agreed to at the independence conference in London in 1972.

There are some who believe that “tinkering with” or “messing with” the constitution would be tantamount to altering the Holy Bible.

This, however, is among the weaker arguments being made ahead of the November 6 referendum.

Our framers were men. They were not infallible.

If we follow the logic that is being put forth now, then we would all still be slaves. The U.S. constitutional framers encoded in their document that a person of African descent was three-fifths of a human being. Are we to place those words above challenge?

The gender equality issue is a civil rights matter, as was slavery, as was the right to vote in The Bahamas for both men and women.

Anticipating that the constitution would be changed one day, our own framers put provisions in on how to change different articles. That move established that the constitution is a living document. Indeed, no constitution in any country is cast in steel.

The most important articles, those dealing with citizenship and provisions for the protection of fundamental rights, require a three-quarters vote in the House of Assembly and the Senate and a majority vote in a referendum.

On November 6, Bahamians are set to vote in what will be the second constitutional referendum since the current constitution came into effect on July 10, 1973.

Former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes is one of six signatories to the constitution who are still with us today.

Sir Arthur told National Review that not all the framers of the constitution thought discrimination against women was the best course, but it ended up being the agreed position at the end of the 1972 talks with the British.

“Some of us argued for full equality for women even though I see some attempts are being made to rewrite history in that regard, but some of us argued at the conference and even before the conference that women be given the same rights as men,” said Sir Arthur, who was a part of the opposition delegation that attended the independence conference.

“That argument was before its time, I guess. The practice at the time in matters of citizenship and marriage, was the woman followed the man. The British government took that position.”

Today, that remains a strongly held view among many people.

While saying he is not opposed to women having the same rights as men, A. Loftus Roker, who was a member of the government delegation in 1972, does not appear too comfortable with the idea of constitutional change, although he is not staunchly opposed to it.

“Men themselves should be feeling bad when they find that their children have to take the citizenship of his wife and not his citizenship and that he now wants to take the citizenship of his wife. That sounds funny to me. Maybe we know better,” Roker said.

The first constitutional amendment bill seeks to give a child born outside The Bahamas to a Bahamian-born mother and non-Bahamian father the same automatic right to Bahamian citizenship that the constitution already gives to a child born outside The Bahamas to a Bahamian-born father and a non-Bahamian mother.

The second bill seeks to enable a Bahamian woman who marries a foreign man to pass on her Bahamian citizenship to him. However, the bill will still outlaw marriages of convenience. As it stands now, a Bahamian man is able to pass on his citizenship to his foreign wife.

The third bill seeks to reverse the law that prohibits an unwed Bahamian man from passing his citizenship to his child if he or she is born to a foreign woman. It would require proof of paternity.

The final bill seeks to make it unconstitutional for any law or any person acting in the performance of any public office to discriminate based on sex.

Support

Sir Arthur supports the measures.

“I support any legislation, the object of which is to give Bahamian women full equality with men. That has been my position all my life and that is still my position today,” he said.

“If there are any legal defects in the bills then it is not beyond the ingenuity of all those involved, including our very competent Constitutional Commission, to deal with them, but I certainly hope that we will not miss this opportunity to make this right in our constitution.”

He added that success at the polls on November 6, “would finally remove the last vestiges of discrimination against women and that refers to the provisions for citizenship, primarily”.

“That was the outstanding area in which women are discriminated against in our constitution and I would be very, very happy to see the end of that,” he said.

George Smith, who at 30 was the youngest member of the bi-partisan delegation at the conference, said he has no doubt that if the late former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling were alive today he would support the current reform effort.

In his recent series of articles entitled “Constitutional referendum: Correcting an historical error”, former Attorney General Alfred Sears noted that Sir Lynden, at a colloquium on political reform of the constitution at The College of The Bahamas in June 1998, presented a paper entitled “Refining the Revolution”.

Sears recalled Sir Lynden, with the perspective of 25 years of the independent Commonwealth of The Bahamas during most of which he was prime minister, implicitly challenged us to correct this historical error of discriminating against Bahamian women and their children when he posed the following question: “While defining the rights of Bahamian citizens for the 21st century, don’t you think favorable consideration will have to be given to the question as to whether children born outside The Bahamas to Bahamian mothers and foreign fathers should become Bahamian citizens on the same terms as children born outside The Bahamas to foreign mothers and Bahamian fathers?”

Smith told National Review that in 1972, there were many unknowns.

“So we took what was an acceptable thing at the time to pass the citizenship by virtue of the male,” he said.

“All of the people who went to the constitutional talks, with probably one or two exceptions, knew that in time we would have to look at the constitution and give to women that which the constitution was giving to men.

“We knew that, as other countries have advanced, we would advance to that point, and in other areas too, like the state. The state will become a republic eventually. We weren’t exactly unfamiliar with what was happening in other countries of the world.”

Smith added, “That is why I am very comfortable, once they guarantee the retroactive nature of these changes, I am comfortable with what is happening. I don’t think that men who had the knowledge that the founding fathers had and the wisdom that they had could possibly in 2014 have a difficulty with what is happening.”

But Roker told National Review constitutional change should be “a last resort”.

“I’m not saying you should never touch the constitution, but the constitution is supposed to be a sacred document and you only amend that if you have no other choice,” he said.

“I am satisfied that we have something called the Bahamas Nationality Act and I am saying somehow we should look at that and see if we can do what we say we want to do by amending the constitution.

“…If you amend the Bahamas Nationality Act and it turns out you did something wrong with that, it’s easy to fix. You just amend it again. The constitution though cannot be amended like that… Within days after it was presented to the Parliament, somebody came to introduce amendments (to the package of bills) and this thing was going on for so long you would have thought they would have at least had it halfway right.”

The reform process has been subjected to tweaking along the way. It fueled serious contention in the House of Assembly during the recent debate on the bills.

It appears now though that the bills will easily pass through Parliament.

While that will be an important hurdle behind the government and those groups pushing a “yes” vote in the referendum, bringing the public onboard will be a challenge that could prove insurmountable.

In the weeks since the bills were tabled in Parliament, we have heard repeatedly, “I believe in gender equality but…”

The arguments have been endless.

There are suggestions that the bills are “elitist” bills; there are those who still submit that bill number four would lead to same-sex marriages; others fear that allowing a Bahamian woman to pass on citizenship to her foreign husband, and an unwed Bahamian man to pass on citizenship to his child by a foreign woman, would change The Bahamas as we know it today, in ways we would not welcome.

There are also those who argue that the government cannot be trusted to abide by the results of the referendum, despite the fact it is binding; there are still ill feelings associated with the PLP’s campaign against a similar referendum in 2002, and there is a pervasive anti-government sentiment that could end up sinking the referendum.

The public debate thus far has been punctuated with misinformation, fear-mongering and illogical assertions.

These will all be hard to overcome.

August 25, 2014

thenassauguardian

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) on Value Added Tax (VAT) in The Bahamas


The PLP Unleashes the VAT BOMB!





With Value Added Tax (VAT) now just 4 months away, the legislative arm of the government has only now completed debate on the laws which will govern tax reform in the Bahamas.  In just 132 days, scores of businesses will be forced to confront the impact of the new taxes on their profit margins, which has raised concerns about further job losses and a deferment of new hires in an already struggling national economy.

True to form however, this Christie led administration has waited until the 11th hour to table, debate and pass the legislation making any real preparation on the part of the local business community, nearly impossible.  Even as Wednesday evening’s debate wrapped, scores of Bahamians in various sectors of society remain unclear about how this new tax will truly affect their lives.

Most noteworthy however, was Mr. Christie’s absence from the actual vote.  Billed as the cornerstone of the Prime Minister’s plans for fiscal reform in the Bahamas, VAT will have long lasting and far reaching implications for the citizenry of this country; however the PM’s failure to be present when the bill was passed displays a lack of focus and calls into question his commitment to providing economic stability.

Over the past few days, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has watched ministers of government attempt to defend the need for VAT by blaming the former administration for the country’s financial woes. While the Free National Movement (FNM) indeed played a key role in the mismanagement of the nation’s wealth, it is not a pattern of behavior limited only to that party. Successive governments – including the first Christie led government – have spent recklessly, borrowed without restraint and sold for little gain, invaluable natural resources. Now however, hardworking Bahamian families and businesses have left holding the bag. We, the people are now being forced to bear the burden of additional taxes in an environment where government officials, their friends, families and lovers are exempt.

The DNA questions whether or not these very members of parliament who have defended this new tax system even consulted with residents within their constituencies. Did they acquire feedback? Did they genuinely listen to and seek to address the myriad of concerns being expressed?

Parliamentarians are representatives OF THE PEOPLE; chosen BY THE PEOPLE, to represent the INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE. Elected officials are not simply put in power to push the agenda of any one political organization. Instead, they are mandated to outline the views of their constituents and ensure that the interests of those constituents are being served in way that pushes the country forward. If it is the intent of this administration to spark real progress, then Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers alike must listen to the voice of the electorate and make decisions which benefit the overwhelming majority.

After years of failing to adequately collect the taxes already on the books is this government really serious about reform or is this an easy way out solution? As has been recommended by countless local business leaders, the government must prove itself capable of recouping the millions already owed BEFORE they implement a new regime.

Before VAT, there must be a comprehensive and detailed education process, one which targets Bahamians at all educational, social, and economic levels to ensure that all Bahamians are fully aware of the impact of the new tax system.

Before VAT, the government MUST enact a Freedom of Information Act to ensure accountability at every level.

The country needs real leadership and good governance. The time for blind following and unwarranted political allegiances is OVER.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The issue of Marriages of convenience in The Bahamas

Immigration director: Marriages of convenience serious concern


By ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
royston@nasguard.com


Director of Immigration William Pratt yesterday raised a red flag over marriages of convenience in The Bahamas.

While Pratt could not provide statistics, he said the department constantly receives letters from Bahamians who report that they feel they have been taken advantage of by their foreign spouses, who only married them for status.

He said, in some cases, people are paid up to $5,000 to marry a foreigner in order for them to obtain a spousal permit.

He noted that the motivation behind the move is that a spousal permit costs $250 for five years whereas a work permit can range from $1,000 to $12,500 per year.

“We heard through the grapevine that there are a lot of marriages where Bahamians are being paid up to $5,000 to marry certain nationalities,” Pratt said.

“Bahamian citizens, who are concerned about their country, they call and give this information to us.

“And when we become aware of it, we continue our investigation.

“If we have good evidence that this is so, they will not be recommended for any status.

“This has always been a concern.

“The problem is we know The Bahamas is close in proximity to the United States.

“Most of these people coming from down south, their final destination really is the U.S.

“They would do anything in order to be able to get visas and get to the U.S.

“But we are not going to allow our department to be used in this fashion.”

Marriages of convenience have been a source of concern for several members of Parliament and Bahamians in general as the government seeks to amend the constitution to enable a Bahamian woman who marries a foreign man to secure the same access to Bahamian citizenship that a Bahamian man is able to pass on to his foreign wife.

The concerns stemmed from the belief that there would be an automatic right to citizenship after marriage.

However, The Nassau Guardian understands that the government intends to change constitutional amendment bill number two to indicate that the foreign spouse upon marrying a Bahamian citizen would have to apply for citizenship in addition to meeting certain criteria.

Pratt said the Office of the Attorney General is reviewing legislation to amend the Immigration Act to stipulate a $5,000 fine and/or up to one year imprisonment for a marriage of convenience.

“With this teeth in the amendment, at least we are hoping that Bahamians and whomever is involved in it would get the message that they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

“...Once we find out, we do not give those people any status. They would be dealt with as an illegal immigrant.”

Asked what nationalities are often found to be in marriages of convenience, Pratt said, “You would be surprised that it happens among some nationalities that you would never expect.”

However, he did not provide specifics.

During her contribution to debate on the constitutional amendment bills last week, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cleola Hamilton said the government does not have the proper mechanisms in place to detect marriages of convenience.

The South Beach MP expressed concern that the amendment to the constitution could be open for abuse.

Yesterday, Pratt warned Bahamians against selling their country short.

“Your country is more precious than that,” he said.

“When this act is amended we will prosecute foreigners and Bahamians once we have evidence that they have entered in a bogus marriage to the fullest extent of the law.”

August 20, 2014

thenassauguardian

Monday, August 18, 2014

From NO in the 2002 Referendum ...to YES in the 2014 Referendum to eliminate gender inequality in The Bahamas Constitution

By Dennis Dames:



I have, like thousands of other Bahamians, voted YES to the elimination of gender inequality in our constitution – in the 2002 referendum.  I am not motivated to participate in referendum 2014 about the same question, as I feel that this is the “2002 NO voters” referendum.

It’s time that they reconcile their conscience and do the thing that they should have done over a decade ago; Vote YES!

The “2002 referendum NO voters” have enough support no doubt, to bring about a YES victory in 2014.  Go for it - “2002 referendum NO voters”!