Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peter Nygard has betrayed The Bahamas / Bahamian People's hospitality by assuming to have more rights than a resident’s permit gives him in The Islands

Where Did Nygard Find The Ku Klux Klan?

Tribune242 Editorial

AT LEAST two of our readers are holding us to our promise to research Peter Nygard’s far-fetched claim that a racist gene is embedded in Lyford Cay neighbour Louis Bacon’s DNA.

Mr Nygard would be surprised to know how many Bahamians are incensed that after so many generations of struggle to bring all races in this country together as one people a foreigner has come into our midst to re-inject the racial virus and open up old wounds. Many believe that – despite his financial generosity — Peter Nygard has betrayed this country’s hospitality by assuming to have more rights than a resident’s permit gives him.

The quarrel between these two neighbours — Bacon and Nygard — is so intense that seemingly Mr Nygard can’t even present a donation without burdening his listeners with the Nygard-Bacon saga. It is almost like a plea to recruit Bahamian sympathy to his side in his campaign against Mr Bacon in return for his financial generosity.

This last episode, which resulted in our promise to our readers that we would research a statement by Mr Nygard, which was made at Mr Nygard’s home — Nygard Cay — when he presented a $10,000 cheque to the Acklins regatta. It could have been a very pleasant afternoon if Mr Nygard had not decided to turn it into a Bacon-bashing event. Possibly this was to deflect attention from reporters’ main interest — the extent of his financial generosity to the governing party, both before, during and after the 2012 election. Also reporters wanted to know what he expected from our government in return, especially in view of his latest video release announcing that he — Peter Nygard — had taken this country back. Mr Nygard will never know how much he has damaged himself and his government with this one presumptuous pronouncement. He must learn that people do not like to feel that they have been bought.

On the afternoon of the $10,000 presentation, Mr Nygard told reporters that Mr Bacon’s attitude against blacks was in the Bacon family’s blood line.

In fact, he said, it stemmed from a great grandfather — one Colonel Roger Moore — who, he claimed, was a high-ranking Ku Klux Klan member.

As we stated at the time, although no one can be held responsible for his ancestors, the story told by Mr Nygard is not the same as the one we discovered when we did a quick check before writing the July 16th article. However, we promised to do further research and report back to our readers.

Nevertheless, we did point out at the time that the Moore – later Bacon — plantation was owned by Mr Bacon’s great-grandfather 11 times removed in 1752. The Ku Klux Klan did not come into existence until a century later, around 1866.

As a result of a superficial search, we obtained the following from the US governmen’s Official Records p. 86-87, which is entitled the “Wilmington race revolution - the true story from the official records”.

“… the building caught fire soon after the arrival of the crowd. Many joined in the statement that the fire resulted accidentally. In any event the building was practically destroyed, the blaze, at the same time wiping out of existence the negro sheet which had carried the editorial defaming and traducing the white women of the South.

“When reports of the fire were received in the business district, considerable excitement prevailed. At the corner of Front and Walnut Streets, a large crowd of negro laborers, who were employed at the nearby cotton compresses, gathered. These colored people were not intent on making trouble. The fact is, the belief was expressed that few, if any, were armed. They were, rather, in a state of bewilderment, wondering what had happened, and what might eventuate.

“Colonel Roger Moore, as stated above, was in command of the entire situation. While controlling the assembled citizens at Front and Walnut Streets, Colonel Moore was harassed by two or three excitable, white men. They told him, in effect, if he did not give the order to fire into the negroes on the opposite corner, that they would do so. Without losing his head, but with calmness and determination, Colonel Moore responded to these hot heads. He said he had been placed in command by his fellow citizens. Until they recalled him he intended to remain in command. He said there was no occasion at this time for bloodshed and he certainly had no intention of having bewildered negroes slain in cold blood.

“With this announcement Colonel Moore told the several men who were commanding him to give the order to fire, that he would allow them exactly one minute in which to take their place in the ranks. If they did not comply immediately, then he would have them arrested and placed in jail until they cooled off. These men clearly perceived that Colonel Moore meant exactly what he said. They then lost no time in obeying his command.

“The actual outbreak, resulting in loss of life, happened in the northern section of the city, early in the afternoon. A negro fired into a crowd of white men, standing near the corner of Fourth and Harnett Streets. One white man was seriously wounded. Later, another was shot and painfully hurt. During the turbulence and conflict which resulted, it was estimated that from seven to ten negroes were killed.

“Realizing that the aid of military forces was essential, appeal had been made to the Governor for declaration of martial law. In the late afternoon, this step was taken. Several companies of soldiers from nearby points were ordered to Wilmington. Colonel Walker Taylor, of the National Guard, was then placed in command. With this step, the organized citizens forces which had been functioning on a quiet basis for a year or more under the direction of Colonel Moore, disbanded. There was no further need for their services. Colonel Taylor was a man of discretion and good judgment, and the situation within 48 hours was so much quieter, that the visiting troops were ordered home.

“Many negroes who were frightened to the point of distraction with the turn of events, went to the woods near the city. They thought their lives were in jeopardy. One of the last orders given by Colonel Moore before his authority was vested in Colonel Taylor, was to a number of white men. He told them to go in the woods, tell the negroes they could safely return to their homes, if they behaved themselves, and that they would be protected.“

This is obviously the story to which Mr Nygard referred, embellishing it with his own twisted anger against Colonel Moore’s descendent – Louis Bacon – who has lived quietly at Lyford Cay for many years.

If Mr Nygard has a problem with his neighbour, then let him find redress in the courts, not create divisions in our community over something that is none of their business.

July 29, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The hubris, narcissism and self-indulgence of Peter Nygard in The Bahamas ...have earned him the disgust of many Bahamians...

Perry Christie and the PLP’s Nygard Problem

By Simon

It wouldn’t be a PLP term in office without the party’s entanglement with highly controversial, eccentric and flamboyant foreigners seeking to use the country as an outpost for their curious interests, pressing for privileges to which they may not ordinarily be entitled.

Why do so many more of these characters flock to the PLP, like moths to a flame? It has to do with the party’s history, with Sir Lynden Pindling and his coterie of the compromised having fuelled and encouraged such a party culture.

It has also to do with the history of a number of the leaders and political parties which helped to usher in majority rule and independence in various former colonies.

Flushed with adulation and hero worship, and having gained political power and access to enormous economic wealth, many freedom fighters were lured into corruptions of power and money arising from their new circumstances and fortunes.

This happened most recently in South Africa under the African National Congress, now heavily criticized for corruption within its ranks, betraying the example set by Nelson Mandela.

Even the great Ghanaian independence leader Kwame Nkrumah gave in to corruption, as did Sir Lynden and his court, with an excessive lifestyle which demanded considerably more cash than a prime minister’s salary might afford.

Like the days of piracy and wrecking, the PLP have a particular talent for fleecing foreigners. Buyers beware. It is not only Bahamians who are at the mercy of the party’s broken promises. Many foreigners are also left waiting for promises which never materialize despite their generosity to certain coffers.

Casino license

Back when, there was Mike McLaney beseeching a casino license, which was faithfully promised to him by Sir Lynden were the PLP to win office. Having given the party electoral support which, according to a New York Times story included “cash, aircraft, boats, and a campaign headquarters on Bay Street” McLaney eagerly anticipated a license.

Though having described the PLP as being in his “ass pocket”, relations soured between Sir Lynden and McLaney as the latter’s reputation became better known. Sir Lynden eventually refused to meet with McLaney, who was subsequently labelled as an undesirable by a Commission of Inquiry.

Milked and bilked, McLaney left town broke, without a license. At the inquiry there was a discrepancy in the competing testimonies of the amount McLaney said he donated to the PLP, and the amount Sir Lynden said he received. Sounds familiar? Perhaps the old and the new PLP aren’t so different.

Then there was the fugitive U.S. financier Robert Vesco. Vesco fled the U.S. in 1973 to escape a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation concerning an alleged massive fraud by the financier estimated today at more than $1 billion.

He crisscrossed the region, finding governments that would give him protection from U.S. authorities, even allegedly attempting to purchase Barbuda from Antigua in order to make the former an autonomous country. A 2008 obituary of Vesco in the U.K.’s Guardian observed: “Vesco had cozied up to Nixon’s [U.S. President Richard Nixon] two brothers and employed his nephew Donald. ... As well, he found ways to reach Bahamas Prime Minister Lynden Pindling and Costa Rican president José Figueres via strategic loans, donations or investments.”

The PLP is particularly disposed to strategic loans, donations and purported investments from certain parties, domestic and foreign.

Among the worst were foreign drug lords, who seemingly had near carte blanche from the Pindling-led PLP government during the 1970s and 80s, making The Bahamas a “Nation for Sale”, a ruinous period from which we have still not recovered.

Bank license

On Prime Minister Perry Christie’s watch there was the likes of Iranian businessman Mohammed Harajchi, who desperately wanted the restoration of a bank license from the PLP, but which was never granted. Harajchi claimed that he gave a substantial sum to the PLP for the 2002 general election.

In response to Harajchi’s claims, Christie made one of those solemn, passionate and supposedly high-principled declarations for which he is famous: “My party is presently conducting an accounting of monies received from Mr. Harajchi but I can state with complete confidence that Mr. Harajchi’s claim that it was $10 million is an absolute lie. It was nowhere near this amount. It was but a fraction of this amount. Details of our accounting will be made public once completed.

“Ordinarily we would not disclose the source of campaign contributions but as Mr. Harajchi has made this a public issue we are obliged to present the detailed facts concerning his contributions as indeed we will do as soon as possible.”

This promise was made by Christie on August 12, 2004, almost exactly nine years ago. It follows a pattern: A heated denial, a promise of full accountability, followed by absolutely nothing, all of which calls into question the prime minister’s credibility on these issues. We still do not know how much money Mohammed Harajchi gave to the PLP.

And then there was the late Anna Nicole Smith, a B-rated celebrity and Playboy’s 1993 Playmate of the Year, to whom then Immigration Minister Shane Gibson gave special attention, personally handling and expediting her immigration request, going so far as to making a home delivery of a certain document.

Gibson resigned due to the controversy with Christie sitting next to him on television almost holding his hand in one of the more bizarre Cabinet resignation events in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Despite its longstanding deeply entrenched culture of chronic incompetence under Christie, the PLP knows politics. Still, when it comes to certain zany foreigners and money flowing into PLP coffers, the party seems to lose perspective, a mixture of hubris and a bunker mentality.

Late-again, Christie could not or refused to see how rolling scandals like the Anna Nicole affair were to make his the first one-term government in an independent Bahamas.


Fast forward to today. What Christie and the PLP seem to fail to understand is that the Peter Nygard matter is not a singular or stand-alone event in the minds of voters. Instead it is representative of a concern, like the Anna Nicole affair, of a PLP little concerned about questions of propriety and the kinds of perception it is creating.

Even worse is the suspicion by voters of ‘Corruption 2.0’ in the PLP, the sort of rolling scandals and unseemly dalliances with all manner of characters which led to the party’s loss in 2007. The Nygard matter capsulizes and crystallizes a widely held perception about the PLP.

Moreover, the Nygard matter has many more chapters. It is like a volcano that will spew all manner of material. Christie may well come to regret his effusive and gushing accolades to Nygard.

The now infamous YouTube sensation of the controversial businessman supposedly taking The Bahamas back is a watershed moment in Nygard’s relationship to the country.

The video speaks volumes about the hubris, narcissism and self-indulgence of a character who has now earned the disgust of many Bahamians, including many who formerly dismissed him as mostly clownish.

As more is disclosed on the lifestyle, employment practices and other controversies surrounding Peter Nygard, he will prove to be toxic to the PLP, including those who are so foolishly defending him now. The man who helped the party win office may now play a role in its defeat. Clearly, Nygard seems to have little sense of propriety and is unconcerned about certain perceptions. As a private resident that is his right. But those political figures still inclined to afford him a red carpet and a Junkanoo rush-out may be as short-sighted and as self-injected with hubris as is the foreign eccentric who is set to deeply embarrass the Christie administration.

July 25, 2013


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The debate on the regulation of stem cell research and therapy

Consider this: The stem cell debate

By Philip C. Galanis

“Stem cell science is evolving rapidly and carries the promise of bringing us therapies that will revolutionize medicine.”

– Prime Minister Perry Christie


This week, the debate on the regulation of stem cell research and therapy in The Bahamas began in Parliament. The heated parliamentary debate was eclipsed by a certain mesmerizingly colorful personality, whose insinuation into the debate unfortunately distracted from the essence of the potential benefits and challenges of this controversial science. Therefore this week, we would like to Consider This... should we be concerned with regulating stem cell research and use for medical purposes in The Bahamas?


Stem cells

Stem cells are biological cells found in all multi-cellular organisms that can divide and self-renew in order to produce more stem cells. The importance of stem cells is that they can significantly regenerate or restore degenerating human cells, thereby contributing to the quality and longevity of human life. There are two broad types of stem cells: adult and embryonic stem cells.

Adult applications

In adults, stem cells act as a repair system for the body in order to replenish degenerating adult tissues. There are generally three sources of adult stem cells in humans:

1. Bone marrow – which requires extraction by harvesting, or drilling into bone.

2. Adipose, or fatty, tissue – which requires extraction by liposuction.

3. Blood – which requires extraction with blood being drawn from the donor passed through a machine that extracts the stem cells and returns other portions of the blood to the donor.

Adult stem cells are currently routinely used in medical therapies such as bone marrow transplantation. Stem cells can now be artificially grown through cell culture and transformed into specialized cell types with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves.

Of all stem cell types, harvesting involves the least risk. Cells are obtained from one’s body, just as a person can “bank” his own blood for elective surgical procedures.

Adult stem cell treatments have been successfully used for many years to treat leukemia and related bone or blood cancers. Additionally, in instances where adult stem cells are obtained from the intended recipient, the risk of rejection is essentially non-existent and the outcome much better for the patient. Consequently, considerable funding has been provided for adult stem cell research.

The use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not as controversial as the use of embryonic or fetal stem cells because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo or fetus.

Embryonic applications

In a developing embryo, stem cells can maintain the regenerative organs, such as blood, skin or intestinal tissues. Embryonic stem cell lines are cultures of cells derived from early stage embryos. Stem cells can also be taken from umbilical cord blood just after birth.

There are currently no approved treatments using embryonic stem cells in the United States. The first human trial was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2009, although human trial was initiated on October 13, 2010 in Atlanta for spinal injury victims. Because of their abilities for unlimited expansion, embryonic stem cells remain theoretically a potential source for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease.

Fetal and amniotic fluid stem cells

The primitive stem cells located in the organs of fetuses are referred to as fetal stem cells. The Roman Catholic Church forbids the use of embryonic stem cells in experimentation and medical application, primarily because the embryo or fetus has to be destroyed in order to access the stem cells for medical research or therapeutic applications. Stem cells are also found in amniotic fluid. Use of stem cells from amniotic fluid overcomes the ethical objections to using human embryos as a source of cells.

The stem cell act

On April 10, 2013, the prime minister introduced “A Bill for an Act to Regulate Stem Cell Research and Therapy in The Bahamas.” In presenting this bill, the prime minister admonished Parliament that “The Bahamas has an opportunity to become a world leader among nations in this field. This legislation is designed to help achieve that goal.” He also noted that the “act would create a strict oversight regime to ensure that no prohibited procedures occur in The Bahamas... and that every person who conducts research or provides treatment using stem cells must secure review by a Scientific Review Committee and an Ethics Committee, which must ensure that a sound scientific basis exists for permitting the proposed research or therapy to proceed.”

The official opposition’s objections

The official opposition has once again flip-flopped on its position regarding stem cell research and therapy. It has proven to be duplicitous and simply opposing for the sake of so doing, particularly since, while it was in office, the FNM government supported and allowed the establishment of stem cell operations in The Bahamas. In addition, prior to the debate, the opposition confirmed its support for this cutting edge medical procedure. In fact, while serving as the minister of health in the Ingraham administration, the current leader of the opposition strongly supported stem cell research in The Bahamas and, at that time, without the benefit of any regulations whatsoever. That the opposition and its leader have now reversed their position for a more regulated regime is the height of hypocrisy.

It is therefore commendable that The Bahamas government has sought to regulate stem cell research and therapy. The government has clearly indicated that it will not support embryonic stem cell research and therapy and will scrupulously regulate medical practitioners working in this field to ensure they do not stray into this prohibited area of stem cell research. This is extremely important because any support of embryonic or fetal stem cell application could greatly contribute to abortions in order to access embryonic or fetal stem cells.

Parenthetically, it is wholly unfortunate that a serious debate on this noble initiative was foiled by one whose fetish for flamboyance was featured in our local dailies for an entire week. But more about that in a future column.

Implications for The Bahamas

There is no mistake that, apart from progressive medical advancements that are likely to ensue from the legalization and regulation of this science, there is a tremendous financial windfall that will accrue for medical practitioners who engage in medical stem cell procedures.

Stem cell therapy also offers substantial medical tourism potential for The Bahamas. Medical tourists tend to travel in large groups, stay for long periods of time and spend considerable sums in many sectors of the society as they obtain the treatment that they are unable to access in their home countries. It is well known that the FDA tends to move at the pace of a snail wading in molasses to approve cutting-edge medical procedures and pharmaceuticals. As most of our tourists hail from the United States, that country will likely provide a plethora of patients in pursuit of stem cell medical treatments.


It is critically important for the government to focus its attention on redirecting and reframing the debate on this important development in medical science, so that Bahamians will fully appreciate the advantages that will accrue to The Bahamas, to Bahamians and to people from all over the world by the passage of this legislation and the accompanying regulations. It is now time to silence, not muzzle, stem cell detractors from what will undoubtedly positively contribute to the development of our country’s future.

• Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

July 22, 2013


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rodney Moncur and the Negros’ News Network / African-Bahamian News Network

By Dennis Dames:

Have you heard about the Negros’ News Network / African-Bahamian News Network?  It’s an online / Facebook publication with Mr. Rodney Moncur as the Editor / Publisher in Chief.  It provides current news on the happenings in the Bahamian society; and its main staging ground is presently Facebook.  Mr. Moncur is live 24/7 with the political juice, fresh off the vine; while The Tribune, The Punch, The Nassau Guardian, The Bahama Journal and the rest sleep straight through the night. 

He is loved by thousands of his subscribers, and many are encouraging him to compete with the Tribune, Guardian, Punch and all the rest who think that they are the apple of the Bahamian readership eyes.  Will the Negros’ African-Bahamian Network become a competitive newspaper in The Bahamas soon?  We shall see.
In the meantime, Mr. Rodney Moncur is reporting the news uncensored and undeterred, while gaining the love and respect of his vast clientele; and he is doing it free of charge.  Could I have a free Tribune, Guardian, Punch, Journal and whatever else of news exists out there please?

Peter Nygard and his Stem Cell Concept ...to introduce an Anti-aging Treatment Facility using Stem Cells

Nygard Talks Of His Stem Cell Centre

Tribune 242 Editorial

AT a press conference at his Lyford- Nygard Cay home last Monday Peter Nygard called The Tribune “silly” to think that he would create a stem cell centre in his own backyard.

In fact Mr Nygard expressed it in far more colourful language, so here goes – Nygard at his best:

“Stem cell facility here...there is another silly thing The Tribune wrote as if we are going to do a stem cell facility here as if there is a secret agreement...my goodness how can you stoop to such stupidity who in hell would ever even conceive that – it doesn’t make any sense at all to fabricate such a silly story if a stem cell facility and medical facility (will be built) it’s going to be a grand facility that will be a centre core to attract everyone else to it and it has to be a substantial business that would attract some of the smartest people in the industry but it needs to be the trophy of the Bahamas.”

So that is settled. This statement from the great man himself will obviously allow many Lyford Cay residents, who believed he had plans for an international youth rejuvenating centre at Nygard Cay, to sleep more peacefully tonight.

As a matter of fact, the only thing that makes The Tribune “silly” is that it believed Mr Nygard at all — and we even question whether we should believe him now. You see on June 19th last year, it was Mr Nygard himself who said that his spa was planned for Nygard Cay. He is recorded as having told the Bahamas Investment Authority: “The original concept is to house this facility in the same location as Nygard Cay, but to change the look and feel of some of the buildings.”

Are we to now believe that he has had a mind change? We hope so.

At least one Lyford Cay resident was also greatly relieved to learn that Mr Nygard is not a Bahamian, despite the assurances given in the House of Assembly last week by none other than MICAL MP V Alfred Gray that he was.

“Mr Nygard is a Bahamian,” Mr Gray told parliamentarians, “he is a philanthropist, and I think he has given more to this country than many other Bahamians – including those who criticize him.”

That was surely a mouthful from the cocky, little Mr Gray.

However, before the Assembly adjourned to this morning Mr Nygard’s Immigration file was pulled and the public was assured that Mr Nygard was in fact a permanent resident —not a Bahamian citizen. He had no more rights than any other permanent resident.

The Tribune, hearing the complaints of Lyford Cay residents, believed what it had been told about the location of the stem cell centre — which had been confirmed last year by none other than Mr Nygard. The argument was that the area was zoned as residential and private. Many a resident’s convenants would have been breached if the gates had been thrown open. There was much chatter of law suits if the area were commercialised.

The problem that residents faced was that the security, peace and quiet of Lyford Cay was about to be changed — a possibility that its Canadian developer EP Taylor could not have conceived in 1948.

Apparently, in developing Lyford Cay, Mr Taylor carved out for himself what is now Nygard Cay, minus all the restrictive covenants required of those buying property in Lyford Cay.

Mr Taylor also retained for himself, family and staff all the easement rights over the road and pathways in Lyford Cay, which led to his home. Mr Taylor could never have anticipated a Peter Nygard who would want to change all of that.

In June last year, Mr Nygard met with the Bahamas Investment Authority, headed by Sir Baltron Bethel, government’s senior policy adviser, to discuss his plans to restore parts of Nygard Cay damaged by fire. Also his proposal for a Medical Spa that would specialise in stem cell research and treatment.

Mr Nygard told the meeting that he planned to invest about $50 million in all — $29 to $30 million to restore Nygard Cay and $26 to $30 million invested in building a medical spa.

The whole concept seemed to be planned as one large unit at Nygard Cay. In fact that is what Mr Nygard told the Investment Authority last year. Obviously in view of last week’s statement when Mr Nygard virtually told The Tribune it was “silly” to believe his first statement, he has now changed his mind. If there is ever to be a stem cell centre it will not be at Nygard Cay.

It is understood that his stem cell concept was to introduce an anti-aging treatment facility using stem cells.

He said his vision “would be to put together an environment where the Bahamas can practice the most advanced medicine in the world, and do it within the regulatory lines of the government.”

The only problem is that we understand that there is another developer, whose plans have already been approved in principle by the Ingraham government. He has already invested millions into preparing a facility in Freeport and was just waiting for the legislation to be passed to proceed with his plans. We understand that his plans have also been approved by the medical ethics authority.

We shall now see if our legislators are in a position to objectively decide which plans will be best for the future of this country and its people.

July 22, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie on Protecting The Bahamas Natural Environment at All Times ...in the Best Interest of the Bahamian People

Bahamas Government Protecting the Environment of Bimini

By Llonella Gilbert

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie said the Government and developers will ensure that the jetty and terminal to be constructed for the Bimini Superfast “will neither be obstructive in appearance nor cause damage to the environment, which must be protected at all times”.

The developers will complete, at their own expense, the construction of a deep water jetty and terminal for the berthing of the Superfast Ferry, the Prime Minister explained while speaking at Resorts World Bimini after the inaugural voyage of the Bimini Superfast with passengers from the Port of Miami, Saturday, July 20.

He said, “I do know that in the nature of things in The Bahamas, there will be the rumblings and the beginnings of some grouping that says it is concerned about the environment in Bimini.

“Well, I want them to know that as a prime minister, I anticipated them, I will continue to anticipate them and all of our efforts will be to ensure that even if they want to go to court, we will be able to take them on wherever they want to go and whatever they want to do, because all of our efforts are driven by a commitment to ensuring the maximum effort in protecting the environment of these areas being developed.”

He said it is important to the Government for future generations of Bahamians and visitors to enjoy the island and not have its beauty destroyed.

The Bimini Superfast, which has the capacity to travel with 1500 passengers, made the voyage with 600 specially invited guests, which included the Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe; Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Prime Minister Sir Baltron Bethel and Chairman of Resorts World; the Genting Group (a leading international resort, gaming, cruise line, agriculture and energy conglomerate based in Malaysia), K. T. Lim; government officials and the media.

Prime Minister Christie explained that the developers, which include The Genting Group and RAV Bahamas Ltd. led by Geraldo Capo, have been required to pay a substantial sum of money by Government appointed auditors to conduct an environmental impact assessment study of the jetty and terminal.

He added that the Government has also brought in its own experts and specialists, a well-known international firm from Canada, to do a microscopic examination of what the developers' experts have said should happen and how the development should take place.

“We are taking steps in the best interest of the Bahamian people.”

Minister Wilchcombe said the introduction of the Bimini Superfast represents a new era for the island.

“It is the giant step we have taken toward the economic sustainability of the island of Bimini.”

He also stressed that the people of Bimini would not be left behind as the developments take place.

“The Prime Minister based the entire programme upon causing for the involvement of the Foreign Direct Investment but also calling for Biminites and people of The Bahamas in their respective constituencies to be a part of the developments.”

Mr. Lim explained that the ship has been refurbished at the cost of $100 million.

He said they want to build the jetty and terminal because in the winter the waters will turn rough and the use of tenders to bring the visitors to the island would not be plausible.

The ship is now travelling to the island from Miami daily.

Mr. Lim also explained that the ship would bring a lot of benefits for Biminites and these include getting fresh produce from Florida daily and more tourism dollars as more visitors make their way to the island.

He added, “We want to do more. We are in the process of getting a private jet that will bring people in from Mexico City and New York City directly to you.”

July 21, 2013


The Coalition to Save Clifton reissues the call for Cabinet to reject an application by Lyford Cay resident Peter Nygard ...for a lease of Crown land in the area

Renewed call for govt to refuse Nygard’s land application

Guardian Senior Reporter

The Coalition to Save Clifton believes that the government does not need an environmental assessment of Clifton Bay and reissued calls for Cabinet to reject an application by Lyford Cay resident Peter Nygard for a lease of Crown land in the area.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Perry Christie told reporters that he “intervened” in the conflict between Nygard and his billionaire neighbor Louis Bacon.

Christie also said he engaged an American firm to conduct an environmental assessment of the Clifton area, which is located near Lyford Cay.

“There is no need for a discussion,” said Coalition President Rev. C.B. Moss, when contacted for a reaction yesterday. “We ask the government to not approve that application.

“I would assume that the Government of The Bahamas would already have sufficient scientific information to arrive at a conclusion. And the conclusion was arrived at by the government in 2010.”

The previous administration told Nygard that because the work was unauthorized, he must stop doing additional work, according to Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, who raised the issue in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

Moss said yesterday, “We are saying to the government, refuse his lease, if the government wants to consider leasing him land on Carmichael Road or anywhere else, that’s a different story.

“Refuse that three acres of land and allow that land to go back to its natural state.”

The prime minister did not say when he intervened or when the environmental assessment was conducted. He also did not name of the American firm or say what its findings were.

“He (Nygard) and Louis Bacon were having problems,” Christie said.

“Those two were having problems, and I intervened with both of them and their problems. The next thing I know, there was a legal action, but I anticipated there would be a legal action, so I engaged an American firm to do a comprehensive environmental assessment.”

Christie told reporters it is up to the court to determine if any environmental damage has occurred at Clifton Bay, but the government has to decide what to do with the land in question.

Lightbourn said yesterday he did not think it was appropriate for Christie to intervene in the Nygard, Bacon dispute.

But he said action needs to be taken on what becomes of the land.

“Some decision needs to be made, but whether you lease it, whether you sell it to him or whether you order him to remove it, government needs to address it,” he said.

“This is not the appropriate time for the government to become directly involved because it would seem that they are taking sides in determining whether there is in fact any environmental damage being caused by virtue of Nygard having extended his property.”

Members of the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay allege that Nygard Cay has doubled in size since Nygard purchased the land.

The billionaire acquired the most western tip of Lyford Cay in 1984.

However, Nygard’s attorneys have argued that additional land formed as a result of the gradual and imperceptible deposit of materials from the ocean onto land.

July 20, 2013


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dr. Duane Sands on modernized views on abortion ...after physicians in The Bahamas were accused of profiting from conducting illegal abortions in the country

Dr Sands Joins Call For Dialogue On Abortion

Tribune Staff Reporter

WOMEN should not be forced to break the law in order to exercise rights over their own body, according to Dr Duane Sands, who yesterday joined activists in their call for national dialogue on the abortion issue.
Dr Sands spoke to the need for modernized views on abortion after South Beach MP Cleola Hamilton accused physicians of profiting from conducting illegal abortions in the country.
During her contribution to the stem cell debate on Wednesday, Ms Hamilton told parliamentarians that the practice was rampant, unchecked, and lucrative.
Dr Sands said he felt that Ms Hamilton “sucker punched” the medical community, instead of taking a “responsible” approach and initiating national consultation on the issue.
He charged that the current legislative environment created an economic disparity between those who can access legal services in other jurisdictions, and those relegated to “community abortions”.
“This is a conversation that as a people we simply have not had in terms of a woman’s right to choose, and so we pretend that Bahamians don’t have sex, we pretend that they don’t have unprotected sex, we pretend that they don’t get pregnant, and we certainly pretend that they don’t have abortions,” said Dr Sands, admitting that his strong stance on the issue could harm his political future.
He said: “(Hamilton) raised a very important issue in the Bahamas and it is one of the serious issues that we need to contend with at the age of 40. In the Bahamas it is said that numbers is illegal and yet you have web shops on virtually every street corner in the inner city.”
The decision of whether or not a woman has the right to decide to bring a pregnancy to term is an intensely controversial, moral and legal issue in many parts of the world. While abortions are legal in the United States, some states have varying regulations.
A major argument against outlawing the practice is that it increases the rate of unsafe abortions, and ultimately maternal deaths.
In an interview with The Tribune, Bahamas Crisis Centre director Dr Sandra Patterson explained that victims of rape and incest should not have to depend on a physician’s “goodwill” or legal interpretation to terminate a resulting pregnancy.
Dr Patterson said: “Women should have the choice, when they don’t have the choice awful things happen like abandonment of children, and unsafe abortions. It’s time for us to be talking about that and looking into legal provisions that could provide conditions under which it would be available instead of leaving it up to a doctor’s goodwill.
“If you’re an incest victim,” she said, “you miss your period and you tell someone about it, if you don’t want to have that baby you shouldn’t have to do it, and you shouldn’t only be able to have it because you have money and can pay a private physician to do it.”
In a report submitted by the government last year to the international committee of the United Nations governing discrimination against women, it was revealed that officials are aware of cases where licensed physicians perform abortions in private and public hospitals for justifiable reasons.
The report stated that the code does not define what constitutes medical or surgical treatment, and in practice, the law is interpreted very liberally.
The report was presented in compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), an international human rights treaty that focuses on women’s rights and women’s issues worldwide, ratified by the Bahamas in 1993.
According to a Tribune feature article on the report, the CEDAW committee expressed concerns over the government’s failure to provide statistics on state-sanctioned abortions, and called on the government to “broaden the conditions under which abortions can be legally available.”
Abortion is criminalised in the Bahamas through the Penal Code of 1924; however it allows “for abortions to be lawfully permitted under specific circumstances relating explicitly to the preservation of the mental and physical health of the woman and to save the life of the woman.”
The law also states that acts that lead to an abortion or are intended to cause an abortion that are done “in good faith and without negligence for the purposes of medical or surgical treatment” are justifiable.
Dr Sands said: “I’m calling for a mature national conversation on a very challenging issue that has moral and religious implications, so that we can bring our current view into the 21st century.
“I am not suggesting that we are going to change our approach but I think that because this is such a political hot potato that nobody wants to touch it.”
He added: “We as a country have been prepared to sacrifice one or more 
young women every year on the altar of ‘I’m not touching that’.”
Melanie Griffin, Minister of Social Services, could not be reached for comment as she was out of the country.
Requests for comment from the Bahamas Medical Council were also not returned up to press time.
July 19, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

Matthew Feshbach, CEO of the Okyanos Heart Institute; the only stem cell facility to have received government approval to operate in in The Bahamas ...is in the midst of a court battle to have $3.8 million in debt to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) discharged ...due to alleged inability to pay

Stem cell investor fights IRS debt

U.S. tax agency claims $3.8 million owed

Alison Lowe
Guardian Business Editor

The co-founder and key financial backer of a stem cell treatment facility in Grand Bahama is in the midst of a court battle to have $3.8 million in debt to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) discharged due to alleged inability to pay.

As Parliament yesterday debated the Stem Cell Bill, which would put in place the legal framework to govern stem cell research and treatment in this country, it emerged that Matthew Feshbach, CEO of the Okyanos Heart Institute, declared bankruptcy in the Florida courts in June 2011.

Since this time, Feshbach and his wife have been seeking to have a $3.8 million debt relating to 2001 tax liabilities discharged, alleging that in 2011 their joint assets amounted to just $138,000, according to documents filed in the Middle District of Florida’s Tampa Division of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

A government minister, who declined to go on record, said yesterday that the Christie administration is unaware of Feshbach’s court battle with the IRS.

Okyanos Heart Institute is at present the only stem cell facility to have received government approval to operate in this country and was mentioned by name several times during yesterday’s parliamentary debate.

In an April 4, 2013, filing for a motion for a summary judgment on Feshbach’s desired discharging of the IRS debt, the Feshbachs’ attorneys describe the pair as “honest and unfortunate debtors” who cannot pay their creditors.

In a declaration dated November 12, 2011, Matthew Feshbach stated the “massive tax liability from 2001 arises from ‘phantom income’ triggered by changes in the tax code that affected some of the hedge fund positions I was managing”.

“We are not millionaires,” said Feshbach in the declaration to the court. “In fact, the very generous appraisal of our assets recently obtained by the Chapter 7 trustee in our case showed that all of our assets totaled $138,000.”

In support of his claim that he is unable to pay the IRS, Feshbach stated in court filings that he became “seriously ill with chronic pelvic pain syndrome” in 2008, “curtailing his ability to restart and investment business, interview for employment with an investment firm or otherwise engage in meaningful business opportunities.”

Court documents show a hearing took place on Tuesday relating to the motion for a summary judgment on the question of discharging Feshbach’s IRS liabilities. The outcome of that hearing is at present not clear. The matter was previously set down for trial on August 20, 2013.

Feshbach has stated that he has not sought to evade his debts and engaged in “numerous attempts to work with the IRS prior to seeking bankruptcy.” Court documents filed on his behalf state that he paid the IRS $5.62 million in principal taxes due, interest and penalties since 1999.

The former hedge fund manager has described the Okyanos Heart Institute, set to be based in Freeport, Grand Bahama, as offering “a new option, standard of care and quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), utilizing cell therapy technology from the growing field of stem cell therapeutics.”

According to information on the Okyanos Heart Institute website, Feshbach co-founded the facility with Manuel Vianna, who lists Feshbach’s now defunct hedge fund operation – MLF Investments – as a former place of work on his LinkedIn profile.

MLF Investments was liquidated in 2008, according to Reuters news agency, after it “suffered a reversal of fortunes”. Prior to founding MLF Investments, Feshbach, the article notes, had been “one of the most famed short-sellers of the 1980s” gaining “praise and vilification” for his strategy of betting on stock declines.

In a statement to Guardian Business on Tuesday, Okyanos spokesperson Erika Mansur had described how Okyanos Heart Institute intends to undertake a hiring drive should the Stem Cell Research Bill be passed by the government.

Mangrum said that construction of the facility would be completed by “the end of the year.” Late last night the Bill was still being debated in the House of Assembly.

Contacted for comment yesterday Mangrum said she would supply a statement to Guardian Business today on the issue of Feshbach’s court case.

July 18, 2013


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Peter Nygard on Stem Cell Research and Therapy in The Bahamas

‘No personal interest in stem cell bill’

By Taneka Thompson
Guardian Senior Reporter

Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygard yesterday said he has no self-serving interests in the government passing a law to govern stem cell research and therapy in The Bahamas.

Nygard said any advice Prime Minister Perry Christie has sought from him on stem cell research is due to his knowledge of the science and well-placed contacts within the international medical community.

Nygard, who said he uses stem cell therapy to slow the aging process, told reporters that the prime minister should be congratulated for advancing such “historic” legislation.

The Lyford Cay resident said he has given advice to numerous world leaders and helped set up laws in St. Kitts, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Panama.

Nygard said Christie approached him two years ago and asked his advice on possible opportunities for medical tourism in the country.

He said he told Christie that a stem cell research and therapy industry would make The Bahamas a world leader in the science.

“I said this will be a big coup for you if you could do it,” Nygard told reporters at his compound shortly after announcing his financial support of the upcoming Acklins regatta.

“I don’t know why anybody would paint that as doing it for me. I think he is doing for [Bahamian] people, for The Bahamas. If I can help and I will then that’s a whole different issue. There is nothing in it for me. This is not a money venture for me at all.

“There’s no promise to me. The promise that I made to him (Christie) is that I will do everything that I can to spur and bring like-minded people like myself to invest in this place to be the leading edge, to be the catalyst [to bring investments] here.”

On Friday, Christie confirmed that Nygard promised to bring experts in stem cell therapy and research to The Bahamas if the government passes legislation to govern the sector.

Christie said that Nygard approached him two years ago, while he was then leader of the opposition, and told him of his problems trying to find reputable stem cell treatment for his sick mother.

That ordeal prompted Nygard to pledge to bring top doctors and researchers in stem cell therapy to the country once there were laws in place, the prime minister said.

Two weeks ago, during the House of Assembly’s debate on a stem cell bill, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis accused the government of “rushing” the law to appease Nygard.

However, this claim angered several government MPs who denied it.

Minnis said on Sunday the prime minister’s comments validated his concerns on the stem cell legislation.

“I was very shocked,” he told The Nassau Guardian. “What he (Christie) said is open for interpretation.”

Debate on the legislation is expected to resume when the House meets on Wednesday.

July 16, 2013


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Peter Nygard Takes Bahamas Back!!! Who gave The Bahamas to Peter Nygard?

Government Silent Over Nygard Questions

Tribune Staff Reporter

THE government remains silent following calls from the opposition that several PLP MPs tender their resignations after being filmed at a private meeting with billionaire businessman Peter Nygard.

While official government spokespersons had no comment and the Prime Minister’s press secretary said he was out of the country, sources inside the PLP sought to downplay the matter claiming it was of no importance.

However, FNM chairman Darron Cash said the surfacing of the video confirms that the Christie administration is compromised. 

“The emergence of the now famous Nygard video of the PLP near-full cabinet descending on his exotic retreat to kiss his ring and genuflect to him confirms what we already knew,” he said. “This PLP administration is far too compromised to govern effectively.

“From the Prime Minister on down there continues to be enormous public doubts and concerns about whether the pre-election deals made by the PLP leave them sold to rich, usually foreign special interests.

“Once again, it appears that under Mr. Christie’s leadership, talk is cheap but money buys access and influence.

“The Bahamian people deserve to know how many other foreign investors are laying claim to the Bahamas’ Prime Minister as their man.”

The professionally shot and edited film was posted on the YouTube website by user “PeterNygard1” on October 9, 2012, but was being shared around the internet over the weekend, collecting dozens of comments on the social media site “Facebook.”

So far, the short eight minute 33 second film called “Nygard Takes Bahamas Back”  has been viewed 4,227 times on YouTube.

Mr Nygard is shown celebrating the PLP’s victory at the polls following the May 7 General Election.

Later he is introduced to Deputy Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, Housing and Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett, V Alfred Gray, Agriculture Minister, Health Minister Dr Perry Gomez and Housing Minister Shane Gibson.

The footage goes on to show Mr Nygard injecting himself with what he describes on screen as an anti-aging medication.

The FNM has tried to link the PLP and Mr Nygard’s support for research into stem cell therapy.

Mr Nygard, a resident of Lyford Cay, has said it is essential The Bahamas embraces what is happening in the stem cell industry.

Recently in the House of Assembly, FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis accused the government of “rushing” stem cell legislation through Parliament.

Dr Minnis suggested that the government was pushing the law to appease Mr Nygard.

Over the weekend, FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said each of the Ministers in the video should tender their resignations

She said: “Just seeing the way that they are with Mr Nygard. It seems as though he feels that he is cozy with the government.”

This claim has been denied. PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts has said that Mrs Butler-Turner’s concern made no sense.

He said that records are available to support that the stem cell facility in Freeport was licensed under the current leader of the Opposition Dr Minnis who was the Minister of Health at the time.

July 15, 2013

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Peter Nygard is having too much to say in the business of the Bahamian people in The Bahamas

Pastor Wants Government Answer On Nygard Land

Tribune Staff Reporter

AN INFLUENTIAL church pastor is urging the government to make its position known as to whether billionaire Peter Nygard’s request to lease acres of Crown land will be granted.
Rev C B Moss, who is also a part of the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, insisted that answers are needed over the application especially as hundreds of Bahamians have waited for years to receive such an approval.
He was speaking to The Tribune after a video of himself engaged in an argument with Mr Nygard outside Mount Olive Church was posted on the internet. In it, Mr Nygard is accompanied by an entourage to the Meeting Street church claiming that he was seeking to squash the bad blood that existed between them.
However, Rev Moss suggested that his only issue was that the undertakings at Nygard Cay were robbing Bahamians of that to which they are entitled.
“Mr Nygard,” he said, “is having too much to say in the business of the Bahamian people. If he made a request to lease the land, he should wait and see what the government will do, but it seems as though he is badgering the government.
“One thing is certain, the government of the Bahamas needs to state to Bahamians what they will do regarding what belongs to us. Do you know how many people have made requests for Crown land and years later, and hundreds of people later, they haven’t heard one thing?”
Mr Nygard also suggested in the video that Rev Moss and Lyford Cay billionaire Louis Bacon were friends, which was the reason for Rev Moss’ opposition to the continuing development at the Cay.
But Rev Moss assured The Tribune that he has never met Mr Bacon nor has he ever advocated anything on his behalf.
“Nygard is all about bad mouthing people and that is anyone who goes against him. They are vilified. People all over social media networks have been tearing into me.
“It is all a smoke screen with people representing the Coalition made criminal.”
On its website, the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay have claimed that Simms Point, or Nygard Cay, had allegedly “almost doubled in size” from 3.25 acres in 1984 – when Mr Nygard bought it – to 6.1 acres by 2012.
“This accreted Crown land reputedly has a value of between $25 to $30 million,” the Coalition alleged, suggesting that the land reclamation had negatively damaged the surrounding marine habitat and environment.
July 12, 2014

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

From July 10, 1973 to July 10, 2013... ...Reflection on The Bahamas 40 Years of Political Independence from Great Britain

Cecil, Lynden and Milo

By Philip C. Galanis

“Pressing onward, march together, to a common loftier goal…”

 On Wednesday, July 10, 2013, The Bahamas will celebrate 40 years of political independence from Great Britain. This week, as we reflect on the developments in the country over the last 40 years, we would like to Consider This... what would three giants who were intimately involved in the Bahamian march to freedom say about this day? Imagine these three giants, Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Sir Lynden O. Pindling and Sir Milo B. Butler, looking down from where their spirits are resting and marveling at the progress of these past 40 years. We can imagine the conversation going somewhat like this:

Lynden: I see that the fellas are getting ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of independence. My, how time has flown!

Milo: It surely has. It seems just like yesterday that we were all fighting for majority rule. Lynden, you and Cecil were very young when I ran for the House of Assembly in July 1938. I believed that the Western seat was safe because it was in a largely black constituency and was traditionally won by non-white candidates. I ran against Harry Oakes, the multimillionaire.

Cecil: Milo, I heard that that was a rough campaign because the white Bay Street oligarchy worked tirelessly to derail you.

Milo: That’s right. They tried every trick in the book to win. First the Royal Bank of Canada, under pressure from the Bay Street Boys, suddenly cut off my credit. Then, on Election Day, Oakes’ representatives distributed money and liquor in a shameless – and successful – attempt to buy votes, right in front of the police who were right there to prevent any disturbances. When it became apparent that I was going to lose, I promised to lodge a protest against the blatant bribery. When the polls closed, a drunken and disorderly mob attacked the police, hurling missiles that injured two officers and two of my supporters were arrested, convicted and jailed for six months.

Lynden: But, Milo, that was a defining moment because the next day you and 40 of your supporters went downtown to the office of the colonial secretary to voice your grievances, causing the colonial secretary to order an investigation of the whole matter. As a result of your petition to the governor calling for a secret ballot, the creation of an Election Court of Appeal and a fairer representation of the black population on all public boards and in the civil service, great changes were to come.

Cecil: Milo, it was your actions that convinced Governor Dundas that the secret ballot was the very least that should be done to defuse the situation. He announced plans to dissolve the House of Assembly and threatened to call a general election in support of the secret ballot. Of course, the members of the House were afraid that the issue of color would be predominant in such an election, so they decided to take a softer approach. In June 1939, they passed an act for a five-year trial period for the secret ballot, but only in New Providence. The Out Islands were where only one third of the voting population resided but they returned two thirds of the members of the House, so Bay Street was very reluctant to tamper with what was, for them, a winning situation. The secret ballot, therefore, did not come to those Out Islands until 1949, 10 years later.

Milo: But that was just the beginning of the long, hard-fought battle for majority rule. It took the Burma Road Riots, the General Strike and Lynden and me throwing the mace and the hour glass out of the House of Assembly to get Bay Street’s attention. We even had to go to the United Nations to make our case against unfair election practices that kept Bay Street in office for so long.

Cecil: And then our prayers were answered by the people on January 10, 1967 when majority rule was finally realized. And what a glorious day that was! We all celebrated with the people.

Lynden: True, but that was the beginning of so many other challenges. Cecil, it wasn’t long before we started to fight among ourselves. You and the other seven left us and formed the Free PLP and then the FNM. The biggest battle that we fought though was based on our decision to seek political independence.

Milo: And what a battle that was! It nearly destroyed our march to a common loftier goal. I remember in 1968, Roland Symonette said that independence was not in the best interest of the people of the Bahamas Islands. Geoffrey Johnstone, the leader of the UBP, said that there was no enthusiasm for independence anywhere. And, Cecil, in May 1971, you told a large gathering that independence now would only serve to break this country into small groups and that there would be countries like Abaco, which would not want to associate with the rest of The Bahamas simply because there had not been sufficient preparation.

Cecil: That is true. I also said that independence should not be sought then, nor any time before the next two general elections. We believed that independence should be a unifying force among Bahamians, not a dividing force among our people.

Lynden: It’s interesting that the newspapers also opposed independence. In September 1970, a Tribune editorial announced that every political organization in the colony outside of the PLP was opposed to any plan for moving into independence. Then, in January 1971, the Tribune editor also wrote that an independent Bahamas would become a threat to the security of the United States and as such, a menace to the Western Hemisphere and that the whole world would become embroiled in conflicts that might arise from an independent Bahamas.

Milo: Yea, Lynden, they always hated you. And The Guardian also opposed independence and wrote that the assumption of independence seemed nothing less than an act of madness. It maintained that at this particular period, with the government still in a state of immaturity and myopia, with the economy still sick, with a substantial amount of investment capital having fled to safer climates, it was hardly the time to be talking of independence.

Lynden: Even some in the church opposed independence. Rev. Murillo Bonaby, pastor of Christ the King Anglican Church, said that the church was scared stiff of independence. But the voices against independence were drowned out by the results of the September 19, 1972 general election when a vote for the PLP signified a vote for independence. The PLP won 29 of 38 seats – the people were loudly and clearly stating their support for independence. At last, once the people supported independence, we all attended the Constitutional Conference in London in December 1972 with a determination to draft the best constitution for our new nation. I have to say that during my entire Parliamentary career, the single most satisfying event was the lowering of the Union Jack and the hoisting of the Bahamian flag at midnight on July 10, 1973.

Cecil: And I have to agree that the constitution has served us well these past 40 years. Despite our intense disagreements and bitter political battles, we have done well as an independent country. I regret not being there on August 19, 1992 when my party won the election. But Lynden, I was happy to see that your erstwhile son, Hubert (Ingraham), finally had an opportunity to make some important changes we had fought long and hard for over many years.

Lynden: I am also pleased to see how well Perry (Christie) led my party to victory in 2002 and again in 2012. I believe we should all be proud of the legacy we left. I am disappointed, though, that, while we achieved political independence for our people, greater economic independence and empowerment of our people still eludes us. That must be the next major challenge for the fellas we left behind.

Milo: True, but look at what has been accomplished in the last 40 years. We established a national insurance program, a College (soon to be University) of The Bahamas, a Central Bank and a defence force and so many other institutions that serve our people. And look at the vast number of Bahamians we educated in so many professional and skilled occupations. Can’t wait to see what will happen in the next 10 years as we approach the 50th anniversary of independence.

Lynden: I agree. You know, when you look at it, we really did build a firm foundation that, year after year, ensures that the nation we left behind will undoubtedly continue pressing onward, and marching together, to a common loftier goal.

• Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

July 08, 2013


Monday, July 8, 2013

Constitutional Commission Recommendations - 8 July, 2013

In August 2012, the Prime Minister of The Bahamas appointed a Commission with the following broad mandate: “To conduct a comprehensive review of the Constitution of The Bahamas, and to recommend changes to the Constitution in advance of the 40th anniversary of Independence next year. These changes will require a national referendum to be held in due course so that the will of the people can be determined on the matter.”

The following are a list of recommendations by the Commission issued on the 8th July 2013.

Enactment of the Constitution

The Commission recommends that no change should be made to the method of the enactment of the Constitution at this point, especially having regard to the very limited number of constitutional amendments proposed. So called ‘patriation’ would be of symbolic value only and necessitate a costly (and uncertain) referendum, as the wholesale repeal and reenactment of the Constitution would require the observance of all the entrenchment devices. When the time comes to consider more fundamental changes—what the Commission describes as the metaconstitutional issues—then it would be appropriate to consider the question of enacting a new Constitution.

The Preamble

The Commission recommends that the Preamble be retained in its current form and that no amendments be made to its content at the present time. The Commission considers the preamble to be of “inestimable historical and symbolic value”—to adopt the formulation of the AdderleyTynes Commission—and while nonjusticiable it may currently represent the most indigenous feature of the Constitution. Any perceived deficiencies might be met by the inclusion of directive principles of State.

General Constitutional Features

(a) The Constitution (or alternatively an Act of Parliament) should declare the relationship between international and domestic law, and in particular specify the roles of the Executive and Parliament in relation to the negotiation, signature and ratification of treaties, and their transformation into domestic law. On balance, the Commission feels that an ordinary Act of Parliament might be the preferable option.

The Commission recommends that the existing system of entrenchment of the most important provisions of the Constitution should be retained, except that there should be a uniform parliamentary majority of ¾ plus the referendum for altering any of these provisions. However, the other entrenched provisions that relate to executive or administrative functions need only be secured by a parliamentary majority of ¾ and should not be encumbered by a referendum requirement.

Founding Provisions

(a) The Commission recommends that the supreme law clause, as the basis for the review of the constitutionality of legislation, should be strengthened by providing for a ‘Constitutional Court’ (constituted by the Chief Justice and at least one other justice) to hear complex constitutional questions arising on magisterial references, as well as constitutional questions referred by the Attorney General. This does not require any alteration to the Constitution, but a change to the Supreme Court Act or Rules of Court. There should also be a provision for universal review by the citizen (i.e., on nonBillofRights clauses), subject to persons establishing that they have a sufficient interest to bring the action.

(b) A declaration of the land and sea areas of The Bahamas should be a part of the Constitution, with further details contained in a schedule. That schedule should be amenable to amendment by the GovernorGeneral by Order to take account of any delimitations in maritime boundaries that may be concluded between The Bahamas and neighbouring states.

(c) The principal national symbols and essentials of national identity (coatofarms, national anthem, national flag, pledge of allegiance) should be referred to in the Constitution, and displayed in a schedule to the Constitution.

(d) The Constitution should declare English as the official language of The Bahamas.


(a) The Commission recommends that all of the Articles of the Constitution which provide for the acquisition of citizenship based on birth, descent, or marriage should be recast in genderneutral language (by means of appropriate drafting formulae), with the goal of putting Bahamian men and women on an equal footing with respect to the acquisition and transmission of nationality.

(b) Article 14(1), which erects the common law rule of filius nullius, (child of no father) should be deleted to remove any difference in treatment attributable to the marital status of the parent. This may necessitate a review of other pieces of legislation for constitutional conformity as a result of this amendment.

(c) Bahamian men and women should have the equal ability to transmit citizenship to their foreign spouses under Article 10, except that there should be provisions (preferably in the Nationality and Immigration Acts) to guard against marriages of convenience.

(d) With respect to the position of children born in The Bahamas after Independence neither of whose parents is a Bahamian (Article 7), the Commission recommends that this be the subject of further study, for the reasons set out in the body of the Report. To achieve this, the Commission recommends the appointment of a commission to consider further questions relating to nationality and the basis on which nationality should be acquired by children born in The Bahamas to nonBahamian parents.

(e) Moreover, it would recommend that the principles set out below in the body of the Report (at paragraph 14.51) could guide the approach.

(f) Appropriate amendments should also be included to ensure that those persons born to Bahamians outside The Bahamas as well as persons born to nonBahamians in The Bahamas would not be rendered stateless. The ability of a Bahamian father or mother to transmit their citizenship to their children born overseas should be a right not conditioned on how the parent acquired citizenship. Thus, the proviso to article 8 “…otherwise that by virtue of this Article or Article 3(2) of this Constitution” should be deleted.

(g) Consideration should be to given to deleting the procedural temporal requirement at both Article 7 to apply within 12 months after attaining the age of 18 and in Article 9 to apply after 18 but before 21 to be registered, for the reasons given in the body of the Report. In any event, the appropriate amendment to Article 8 to make it applicable to both men and women would eliminate the need for Article 9.

(h) The situation described under Article 6, which provides for children born in The Bahamas to acquire citizenship if either parent is Bahamian, while not discriminatory on its face, has been interpreted by the courts in a way that discriminates against men. The solution would be to repeal subparagraph 1 of Article 14 (which assimilates the father of a child born out of wedlock to the status of the mother), and therefore the Courts would be required to give full effect to the natural meaning of “either parent” in Article 6 (subject to proof of paternity in the case of men). The Commission recommends the deletion of subparagraph 1 of Article 14.

(i) The position with respect to dual citizenship or nationality should be stated, and in particular persons who are eligible for Bahamian citizenship should not be denied registration simply because they possess another nationality. Renunciation of another citizenship should also not be made a conditionprecedent to the grant of citizenship. However, a register should be retained of Bahamian citizens with dual nationality.

(j) The Minister’s discretion to refuse a request for registration, which under section 16 of The Bahamas Nationality Act is declared to be nonreviewable, should be subject to review by the Courts.

(k) There should also be a statutory, independent Immigration Board or Committee with the responsibility to consider applications for citizenship and asylum requests, and make recommendations. These should be ratified by Cabinet unless there are substantial policy or national security considerations to override the recommendations.

(l) A proviso should be added to Article 7, along the lines suggested below, to exclude any nationality entitlement arising in respect of children born to foreign diplomats serving in The Bahamas: “Provided that a person shall not be entitled to be registered as a citizen of The Bahamas by virtue of this provision if neither of his parents is a citizen of The Bahamas and his mother or father possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded the envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to The Bahamas”

Fundamental Rights

(a) The Commission recommends that the constitutional right to trial by jury when charged with an indictable offence be dis-entrenched, and trial without jury should be available under circumstances prescribed by law.

(b) Consideration should be given to expanding Article 23 to expressly include a reference to freedom of the press and the media.

(c) Article 24, which grants a right of “protection of freedom of assembly and association”, should be expanded to constitutionalize the right to vote in general (and local) elections and referenda.

(d) The Commission recommends that “sex” be included in the definition of “discriminatory” in Article 26(3) as one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

(e) As a corollary to the recommendation at 24, the Commission also proposes that an amendment be made to Article 26(4) to provide that no law which makes provisions prohibiting same-sex marriage or which provides for such marriages to be unlawful or void shall be held to be inconsistent with the Constitution.

(f) While it is essential for the protection of human dignity that all vulnerable groups be protected from discrimination, we do not think this necessarily requires expanding the list of grounds of discrimination in Article 26. Such protection could be accomplished effectively by providing for specific, limited protection under ordinary legislation (i.e., the Employment Act, Disabilities (Bill).

(g) Social and economic rights should be acknowledged in the Constitution in a way that does not make them enforceable, but imposes a moral and political obligation on the state to pursue such goals for the general welfare.

(h) Article 29 of the Constitution dealing with declarations of emergency should be amended to amplify the circumstances in which a proclamation should be made and to provide for the geographical limitation of such a declaration.

The Commission also recommends that there should be a procedure, such as that contained under the 1969 Constitution, for an impartial and independent tribunal established by law and presided over by the Chief Justice to review emergency detentions.

(i) An amendment should be made to the Constitution to enable the implementation of the death penalty in appropriate cases, by precluding constitutional challenges based on criteria developed in the case law.

Environmental Rights

(a) The Commission recommends that the Constitution should recognize a right to environmental protection in general terms, although more specific provisions for environmental protection should be left to primary and secondary legislation, such as an Environmental Protection or Management

(b) Further, the Commission is aware that there is a draft Environmental Protection Act, which apparently has been under consideration for several years, and which is specifically intended to address most of the environmental concerns articulated. The Government is urged to take the necessary steps to engage in public consultation on the Bill before introduction in Parliament for debate and eventual enactment, and to treat this as a matter of high priority.

The GovernorGeneral/HeadofState
(a) The Commission does not at this time recommend that there should be any change in the Queen as the Head of State and the Office of GovernorGeneral as the representative of the Queen under a constitutional monarchy. However, the Government should embark on a process of public education to prepare the public for a possible change to a republican form of Government at some point in the future. Should such a change be made, it would require amendments to the Constitution providing for a nonexecutive national President, as HeadofState, to discharge the functions formerly vested in the Governor General, with the Prime Minister and Cabinet continuing to exercise executive powers.

(b) The provision of the Constitution which permits the Chief Justice and the President of the Senate to serve as acting GovernorGeneral should be deleted to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Deputies should be appointed from among eminent citizens or retired parliamentarians to fill any vacancies in this office (as is already provided for in the Constitution).

(c) The Commission does not recommend the appointment of a standing Deputy Governor General, as there has been no indication that the appointment of deputies does not work well in practice. In any event, this would lead to duplication of public officers, with the attendant increase in administrative costs and bureaucracy.

(d) The oath of the GovernorGeneral and those of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers, Judges and other senior officials should be changed to include a declaration of allegiance to the Constitution and people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

(e) To remove all doubt it should be declared that the Governor General (Head of State) shall be a Bahamian citizen.


(a) The Commission does not recommend the abolition of the Senate, as was called for by a number of contributors. On the contrary, the Commission recommends the enlargement of the composition of the Senate and the manner in which senators are appointed to make it a more representative body, while ensuring the Government always maintains the majority necessary to achieve its legislative agenda.

(b) The number of senators should be increased to allow for representation based on geographical considerations and other interests.

(c) With respect to changing the age requirement for the Senate, the Commission recommends that the qualifying age limit of 30 be retained, based on a vote of the majority of the members.

(d) The Commission does not recommend the change of the electoral system to a mixed system of firstpastthe post and proportional representation in the House of Assembly (a mixedmember proportional model (MMP), as the experience of other countries does not indicate any huge democratic dividends over the firstpast thepost system.

(e) The Commission does not recommend that any limitations be placed on the privileges and immunities of members of the House of Assembly and Senate. However, citizens who are the subject of any unwarranted personal attacks should have the right to respond from the Bar of either House.

(f) The Constitution should be amended to create a truly independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, with constitutional autonomy and protection similar to the other service Commissions, which would replace the Constituencies Commission and assume responsibility for the conduct and regulation of elections. Judges, parliamentarians and public officers should be ineligible for service.

(g) The office currently styled Parliamentary Commissioner should be transformed into a Chief Electoral Officer, who should be ex officio a member of the Commission.

(h) The Commission recommends that Parliament make laws for the establishment, regulation, and funding of political parties, to ensure transparency and accountability, which should also come under the superintendence of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

(i) Consideration should be given to the establishment of a mechanism for Members of Parliament to be accountable to their constituents for the performance of their duties and accountable to Parliament with respect to their conduct and personal integrity (the latter extending to senior public servants).
 There should be agencies (such as an Integrity Commission) to investigate and take actions against parliamentarians who clearly fail to perform their duties, or violate the trust and ethics of their office.

(j) The power of the Prime Minister to effectively dissolve Parliament at any time in the run up to general elections should be modified by a procedure which requires that the Prime Minister give at least nine months’ notice before calling a general election.

(k) The Commission does not recommend that the procedure for determining the member who commands the support of the majority of a party in the House (or the majority of those in opposition to the Government) should be codified. This is a matter that should continue to operate as a constitutional convention.

(l) The office of Clerk to Parliament and Deputy Clerk, with responsibility for the Senate, should be established by the Constitution as public offices, independent of the Executive. The Commission also recommends the establishment of the Office of Chief Parliamentary Counsel, responsible for drafting of legislation and advising the Speaker of the House on the rules regarding the enactment of legislation.

Executive Powers

(a) The Commission recommends that there should be a limit on the size of Cabinet, and would suggest that the upper limit should be 15. It also makes the point that it does not seem to be the intention of Article 72(2) that every minister should be a member of the Cabinet although the historical practice in The Bahamas has always been to treat ministers as automatic members of the cabinet.

(b) The Commission recommends the establishment of a number of standing parliamentary committees empowered to have oversight of various aspects of government affairs and to act as a check on the powers of the Executive.

(c) The Commission recommends that the powers of appointment of the Prime Minister be reduced by transferring some of those powers to the GovernorGeneral in his or her own right, or to other permanent commissions whose independence and security of tenure members are already secured by the Constitution.

d) Limits should be placed on the number of MPs and Senators who could be appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries (pursuant to article 81 of the Constitution) and Ministers of State (junior ministers). The potentially overlapping roles of Parliamentary Secretaries and junior ministers should also be clarified. As it stands, there is no constitutional provision which speaks to the appointment of junior ministers.

(e) The Commission does not recommend placing any term limits on the tenure of the Prime Minister.

(f) The Commission supports the recommendation to remove the responsibility for criminal prosecutions from a political Attorney General and transfer it to a Director of Public Prosecutions with constitutional autonomy and independence in respect of prosecutions.  Further, the proposed amendment creating the office of the DPP should be entrenched.

(g) The Commission recommends the creation of the Office of Public Defender. This should be complemented with a suitable legal aid system. Both of these initiatives, however, could be accomplished by ordinary legislation.

(h) The Commission recommends that local government be given constitutional recognition. A specific part of the Chapter on the Executive should set out the system of local government, assign the responsibilities between central and local government, and grant a greater degree of autonomy.


(a) The Commission agrees that the necessary steps should be taken to correct the anomalies in the Court structure with regard to the rebranding of the Supreme Court as the High Court, which along with the Court of Appeal would come under a Supreme Court of Judicature presided over by the Chief Justice as head of the judiciary.

(b) The Commission recommends retaining the existing retirement age for Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal (respectively 65 and 68) but of making these an optional retirement age and raising the mandatory retirement age to 70 and 72 respectively, with no possibility for extension.

(c) The Commission recommends that both the Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal should always be Bahamians (as indeed they presently are).

(d) The Commission recommends that the provisions dealing with the appointment of magistrates should be dealt with in the Constitution under the Chapter on the Judicature. The magistracy should also be given a form of protection of tenure, not the same as superior court judges, but sufficient to achieve a constitutional guarantee of independence.

(e) The Commission does not recommend the abolition of appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council at this time. But it sees this as an inevitable event that must take place at some determined time in the future in the continuing journey towards full sovereignty.  We must also be cognizant that the imperative for this change might be driven by changes emanating from within the United Kingdom.

(f) The Commission does not recommend the elevation of the Industrial Tribunal into a branch of the Supreme Court. However, administratively, it should be placed under the Judicature and removed from the Department of Labour, and some form of tenure given to the President and Members.

The Public Service

(a) The Commission does not support the establishment of a separate Teaching Service Commission. It recommends instead the enlarging of the Public Service Commission and setting up divisions or sections to deal with specific sectors of the public service (e.g., Teaching Service Section). The specialist Commissions (Judicial and Legal Services Commission, Police Service Commission) should be retained, subject to the suggestion in respect of the Police Service Commission.

(b) The Commission recommends that consideration be given to reconstituting the Police Service Commission into a Security Commission, which will be responsible for the Police (Fire Services) and the Prison Service. This will ease some of the burden on the Public Service Commission and allow it to devote additional resources to categories such as teachers.

(c) The Commission recommends that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, which is a military organization, continues to be governed by its Act and Regulations for the time being, and remain under the administrative control of the National Security Council.

(d) The Commission recommends the establishment of the Office of Ombudsman, but it is not of the opinion that this Office needs to be a constitutional one and can be created by statute.

(e) The Commission recommends the establishment of the office of Contractor General as a public office, with security of tenure, along the lines of the Auditor General. Such a person would be responsible for overseeing the award of Government contracts and ensuring that public funds are expended fairly and that value is received for money expended.


(a) The independence of the Office of the Auditor General should be strengthened by making provisions for the independent funding of that office out of the Consolidated Fund and for the appointment and control of the staff of the Auditor General’s Office to be vested in the occupier of that office.

(b) The Public Accounts Committee should be elevated to direct Constitutional standing by enshrining that body and its mandate in the Constitution. The Constitution should also declare the relationship of this body with the Auditor General.

(c) Article 136(6) should be amended to provide for the accounts of the Auditor General’s Department to be audited by an independent firm, appointed by the Minister in consultation with the Public Accounts Committee.

(d) The Commission does not recommend including a clause in the Constitution requiring the Government to maintain a balanced budget.

To review the entire report of the Constitutional Commission go to our website at: www.halsburylawchambers.com