Sunday, August 31, 2014




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 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.


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.


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.


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 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 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 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.


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 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

Tribune Chief Reporter

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


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The gender equality issue is a civil rights matter 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

Managing Editor

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.


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


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

Guardian Staff Reporter

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


Monday, August 18, 2014

From NO in the 2002 Referendum 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”!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Solar energy solutions in The Bahamas

Demand For Solar Solutions 'Never Been Greater'

Tribune Business Reporter

The demand for solar energy solutions in The Bahamas “has never been greater” in light of “stability” concerns over the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) grid a renewable energy solutions provider said yesterday, telling Tribune Business that this nation was effectively “underpowered”.

Phil Holdom, president of Alternative Power Supply, told Tribune Business yesterday that the government’s restructure of BEC would do nothing in the short term for the state of the corporation’s power grid. The Government had stated initially that its BEC reform plan, which is the first step in liberalising the Bahamian energy sector, involved splitting the Corporation into two - between its generation/transmission and distribution assets.

“This country is underpowered and we are about to put on one of the largest resort developments in the Caribbean. The demand for solar has never been greater especially in light of the recent outages. People not only want to reduce their bills they want to have backup power. We think there is a tremendous amount of interest because their is great concern for the electricity grid on this island. We could do even more business but there is uncertainty between with regards to renewable energy,” said Mr Holdom.

Mr Holdom reiterated his disappointment at the government’s decision not to allow commercial entities to install grid-tied systems. The benefit of tying into the grid is that the consumer can offload extra power produced into the national grid rather than needing batteries to store it, which can be the most expensive component of a renewable system.”BEC is telling us we can’t do certain systems and yet the government themselves is putting in those systems. What message does that send?” questioned Mr Smith, referring to to the Bahamas Agricultural & Industrial Corporation’s (BAIC) new headquarters.

“The rest of the world has been doing grid-tied systems for 30-40 years.

What they have effectively down is eliminated the most cost effective solar system that a person can install. For some reason the government can install it on their government buildings so how do you explain that? Its a system with no batteries so it’s the least costly about half the cost of a system that utilises batteries. It’s also modular so your an install whatever your budget allows,” said Mr Holdom.

The government has indicated it is targeting 30 percent of power in The Bahamas being produced from renewable energy by 2030 – from a mix of residential, commercial and utility-scale providers. The government intends to create either a net billing or net metering system with a grid tie-in, via a legislative update, to incentivise renewable energy. The government has indicated that it will not allow commercial entities to tie their renewable systems into the grid in the “short term”.

August 14, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What are the Bahamian people saying about value-added tax (VAT)

VAT – Permanent failure for the government?

The subject of value-added tax (VAT) has stirred up quite a bit of discussion on social media and in the public sphere. In fact, the emails which I received were quite enlightening, informative and thoughtful. There were many more questions raised as a result and in this vein I propose to relate some of them today for consideration.

Has the Ministry of Finance been presented with alternatives to VAT? If so, did it do a proper evaluation of them? Will implementing VAT ensure that we improve efficiency and eliminate the potential for fraud with regard to government revenue collection? Why has the government operated with deficit spending for 18 of the past 21 years with the exceptions being 2000, 2001 and 2008? I should add that during the time I served in Parliament (2002 to 2007) this trend continued so I do accept responsibility for not speaking out and challenging my colleagues at the time on it.

To this end, we were either ill-informed or ill-prepared to understand the basic principles of running a government and derelict in our duties because we did not understand that successive governments could not go on spending binges without reaching a day of reckoning which is where we are today.

Why would the current Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Dr. Delisle Worrell, call VAT an anti-tourism tax and the VAT system in Barbados a mess?

Are there lessons to be learned from Barbados? Merton Moore, who headed the VAT Implementation Unit in Barbados, calls it the “Rolls-Royce of taxes; treat it with intelligence, integrity, care and respect and it is likely to reciprocate”.

Will the government be bringing the VAT experts from Barbados, which is most similar in economy, culture and population to enlighten the public on VAT?

What spending cuts have been put forward as we prepare to implement VAT?

Clearly, all and sundry are aware that the government needs additional revenue. In fact, the government needs enough revenue to eliminate the deficit spending. This figure is close to half a billion dollars.

What mechanisms are in place to collect the outstanding hundreds of millions of dollars owed to the government now by taxpayers? Does anyone truly believe VAT will solve the economic issues that the country faces? Or will implementing VAT buy time with the international agencies to appear as if we are doing something to address our growing debt and deficit spending?

VAT fraud is a major concern for European countries that are well-developed and have a history of compliance. The Bahamas has a large underground economy, thousands of illegal immigrants who live outside of the law and a history of not paying taxes, and up to $400 million in uncollected taxes. How are we going to collect VAT? Further, there is the argument that every other country that has implemented VAT has used it as a slush fund to enable more spending and borrowing. What makes the Bahamas any different given our track record for running up debt?

Successive administrations have taken the easy way out and chosen to stick their heads in the sand and hope that things get better without adhering to the best financial principles for good governance. Political expedience was more likely a driving factor in the decision making and not fiscal prudence and responsibility as our current state of affairs makes the case for this argument.

The government has been lackadaisical and complacent in collecting existing taxes. Moreover, existing elected officials are setting a bad precedent by being blatantly delinquent on their own existing taxes and financial responsibilities to government agencies and corporations. This does not bode well for setting an example in a democracy nor does it help to champion an argument in support of VAT that is palatable to a majority of Bahamians. Implementing VAT without remedying the precursor is a recipe for lawlessness in the future.

Moreover, if the government is serious about tax reform, it would implement the policies of existing tax collection methods as an immediate priority.

In exploring expenditure reduction, has there been serious consideration given to public service mutuals as currently used in the United Kingdom? Also, would energy sector reform potentially raise a large revenue stream on a recurring basis for the government? How can we afford to give public servants increases in salaries when the government is operating at a deficit? In many countries around the world, governments have reduced salaries of public servants to reduce the recurrent expenditure in an effort to close the gap.

We have an indebtedness issue in the Bahamas. Eighty percent of persons with checking accounts in The Bahamas have a balance of under $1,000. Doesn’t this factor into an unsuccessful VAT system reality? Are members of Parliament visiting their constituencies to listen to what the Bahamian people are saying about VAT? If they were, there would probably be a different legislative agenda. Will it be that the $30 to $40 million coming as proceeds of VAT are used through Social Services where a debit card will be issued to persons in need, the pre-qualifier for issuance conducted through Social Services and in a way that is susceptible to politics? If such is forecasted then we know what outcomes to expect. VAT will take at least 7.5 percent out of the economy. Is there a corresponding increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of say 10 percent to compensate? I know that’s a big dream given the facts.

The harsh reality for The Bahamas of our current state of affairs is that our national debt has climbed from $1.1 billion in 1993 to approximately $5.2 billion at June 30, 2014. In the past seven years our national debt has more than doubled from $2.5 billion in 2007 to $5.2 billion in 2014. We accept that this cannot continue.

Further, from 2007 to 2014, the GDP of The Bahamas grew by only $1 billion. This means that in the last seven years we had stagnant growth along with excessive spending. Is VAT going to fix this problem? I put it to the ordinary person that VAT alone will not be enough. Moreover, we can find an alternative revenue stream to VAT, along with radical expense reduction and a real commitment to changing our reckless fiscal ways.

The Bahamian people want to see the government succeed but recognize that this means the government needs to operate with either balanced budgets or surpluses. If the current administration is not prepared to find and implement the solutions, which in my view do not have to include VAT, then it will be at their peril and further plunge this country into an abyss of failure the likes of which can be seen in many countries in the region.

• John Carey served as a member of Parliament 2002 to 2007 and can be reached at

August 08, 2014


Monday, August 11, 2014

Andros Island is the “sleeping giant” of The Bahamas

The Islands of the Bahamas - Andros

By Philip C. Galanis

“…Love, peace and unity, all over Andros land, Oh my Andros, she big, she big, she big…”
– Androsian musician, Elon Moxey


Bahamians love summer. School is out, the kids are home, beaches are crowded, and our culturally casual pace of life slows to a more sedate saunter, often as much for the heat that exceeds 90 degrees as for the humidity that sometimes exceeds 90 percent. The perennial, though futile, effort to stay cool, especially at night when BEC (the Bahamas Electricity Corporation) fails us, is aided by evening showers that both refresh and reset the temperature to a more bearable level.

Summer also marks the travel period, with many Bahamians travelling to the United States and Canada, although more recently more Bahamians have opted to travel to the Family Islands. Therefore, over the next few weeks, we will devote this column to a series on domestic tourism as we Consider this… what is the lure for Bahamians to explore our Family Islands? This week, we will explore the island of Andros, the largest of the major 26 inhabited Bahamian islands that is often referred to as “the Big Yard”.


Andros Island has an area greater than all the other 700 Bahamian islands combined. It is the sixth largest Caribbean Island after Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Andros is approximately 2,300 square miles in area – roughly 104 miles long and 40 miles wide at its widest point - with a population of approximately 7,400 inhabitants based on the 2010 census. While it is considered a single island, Andros consists of hundreds of small islets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and tidal swamplands as well as three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros.


Approximately 40,000 Lucayans, a subgroup of the TaĆ­no people, were here when the Europeans first landed. The Spanish valued the Lucayans’ free-diving skills in fishing for conch, therefore they enslaved the natives and transported them to Cubagua to work as pearl divers. The Lucayans suffered high mortality due to infectious diseases carried by the Spanish, diseases for which the Lucayans had no immunity.

After the Lucayans became extinct, there were no known permanent settlements in The Bahamas — including Andros island — for approximately 130 years. However, during the late 1600s and early 1700s, pirates and buccaneers frequented Andros island. Morgan's Bluff and Morgan's Cave on North Andros are named after the famous privateer-pirate, Henry Morgan.

Loyalists fleeing the United States during and after the American Revolution settled on various Bahama Islands including Andros, bringing their slaves with them and, by 1788, Andros reported 22 white heads of families, with a total of 132 slaves who cultivated the land.

After the United States acquired Florida in 1821, Seminoles and black American slaves escaped and sailed to the west coast of Andros where they established the settlement of Red Bays. Hundreds more of these “Black Seminoles” joined them in 1823, with more arriving in later years. While sometimes called "Black Indians", the descendants of Black Seminoles identified as Bahamians, while acknowledging their connections to the American South.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Greek spongers immigrated to Andros for the rich sponge fishing on the Great Bahama Bank off Andros' west coast. For many years, Andros sponging was The Bahamas' largest industry until the industry was wiped out by the Red Tide algae in the 1930s.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, the Owens Lumber company, a US-owned company, deforested much of the indigenous pineyards that grew on North Andros. As a result of poor planning for sustainable harvests, the island today has overcrowded forests of mainly young trees.


Tourism is Andros island's largest industry, and the largest private employer. Andros is marketed as the least-explored island in the chain. From Nicholls Town in the north to Little Creek in the south are 35–40 hotels, resorts, guest houses and lodges with a total of approximately 400 rooms.

Small Hope Bay Lodge, near Fresh Creek, the first dive-dedicated resort in the world, was founded by Dick Birch, a Canadian immigrant. It continues to operate, owned and managed by Dick Birch's children.

Andros is known as the bonefish capital of the world because it is surrounded by hundreds of square miles of fishable flats. Other varieties of fishing are available on Andros and there is an abundance of snapper and grouper.

Tourists are primarily scuba divers, attracted to the barrier reef, the third largest in the world, the Tongue of the Ocean, and Andros’ world-famous blue holes. Also vacationing in Andros are bone-fishing anglers, and those looking for relaxation at a destination that, while off the beaten path, has easy air connections.


The infrastructure in Andros is like many of the islands of The Bahamas. The public utilities are generally of average quality and in urgent need of upgrading. The roads, especially the main highway that connects North Andros to the south with its many cavernous pot-holes, are poorly maintained and extremely difficult to navigate.

Andros has four airports with paved runways: San Andros Airport at Nicholls Town, Andros Town International Airport located at Fresh Creek, the Clarence A. Bain Airport at Mangrove Cay and Congo Town Airport in South Andros.

Andros is connected to Nassau by Sea-Link ferry, which runs daily, and is also accessible by mailboat from Nassau and for inter-island travel with stops at numerous Andros settlements. There is no public transport on Andros Island, but a private shuttle bus service on North Andros connects Nicholls Town with Behring Point. Taxi and rental car service are available at all four airports.

Recent developments

The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) is the most recent development on North Andros.

BAMSI is expected to establish and operate a state-of-the-art comprehensive commercial teaching farm, which will include crop and livestock enterprises, production of fresh fruits, condiments, fish, meat and value-added processed items, primarily for the domestic Bahamian market.

The Institute intends to demonstrate that the production of farm and fish products is financially and commercially self-sustainable, and once BAMSI is fully operational, it should significantly reduce the nation’s billion-dollar food import bill.

Future prospects

Given Andros’ proximity to Nassau (only 30 miles away), its gargantuan land mass, its abundant fresh water supply, its multifaceted natural resources and inviting landscape, although there is an urgent need to upgrade the airports, docks and roads, the island’s future prospects are enormously positive.

However, unless the prohibitive cost of travelling to Andros, as well as the other Family Islands, is creatively and comprehensively addressed, the average Bahamian will consider vacationing in the United States before his own country because the airfares are the same and, in some instances, less expensive.

Additionally, the cost of accommodations and transportation once on the island are very high, given the amenities offered. When a family travels to a Family Island now, since the family members who used to live there and offer housing are for the most part no longer there, they must consider lodging cost as well as the cost of other activities. A vacationing Bahamian family needs to be able to find things to do, tours to take and other ways to spend their time.

We have seen the wonderful Androsian events like Crab Fest, homecomings and regattas which draw large crowds. The same wonderfully creative Family Islanders responsible for those activities should also turn their attention to more regular events aimed at tourists, domestic and foreign.

We should approach the challenge of Family Island tourism fully cognizant that the Family Islands are in direct competition for the vacationing dollar with North America, where not only do many Bahamian travelers feel that they can get more bang for their buck, but where there is a plethora of activities for young and old alike.


Undoubtedly Andros is the “sleeping giant” of The Bahamas. Once it is seriously encouraged to stir from its slumber, through public/private partnerships, Andros will become a more significant contributor to the nation’s GDP, growth and development.

Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis and Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in parliament. Please send your comments to

August 11, 2014


Friday, August 8, 2014

The National Prescription Drug Plan and its Healthy People Programme

Concern Over Sustainability Of Prescription Drug Plan

The National Insurance Fund pumped nearly $7.5 million into the National Prescription Drug Plan back in 2012, throwing into question the continued success of the programme to provide quality drugs and supplies as well as future expansions.

Based on the fund’s most recent audited report tabled in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, there was a significant growth of 41 per cent in the cost of drug and medical supplies from $4.06 million in 2011 to $5.71 million the following year.

According to National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson, much of this 41 per cent growth is attributed to reimbursement costs to private sector pharmacies as the purchase price for drugs for public pharmacies was significantly less in 2012 at $464,300 from $738,500 in 2011.

“…If we continue in this direction and with the funding of mini hospitals by the medical benefits branch, the branch will be challenged to provide continued funding for the plan,” he said.

“Indications are that the central government will soon have to consider providing funding for the plan, at least until the drug plan is incorporated in the pending National Health Insurance (NHI) programme.”

Since its inception, more than 1.1 million claims have been paid and over $20 million spent on drugs and medical supplies.

According to the minister, whilst this is the case, a great percentage of the beneficiaries – 84 per cent – have opted to use private pharmacies as opposed to the public pharmacies.

“To paint a clearer picture, the average number of weekly claims paid to private pharmacies total 5,984 and for the public pharmacies this average is far lower at 898 claims weekly. These numbers are not satisfactory and evidence that the plan is not being utilised to capacity in the public sector,” he said.

Other challenges in the public and private sectors include turning away drug plan members from accessing medications resulting in low drug utilisation, not requesting members use their ACE prescription card and dispensing from public stock instead, filling prescriptions under the clinic name instead of the doctor’s name, inhibiting claim submission on refills because the prescriber is unknown and not using the claims processing system when dispensing to members resulting in a higher number of manual claims.

Officials have also found that less than consistent internet connections have prevented the adjudication of claims and that there has been tardiness in sending in requisitions for supplies in checking and verifying receipt of supplies.

“I appeal to those persons on the front line to keep in mind that one of the reasons the drug plan was implemented was to relieve the stress on the public system and increase availability of medications for chronic diseases. If we all work together, we can improve the plan throughout The Bahamas,” Minister Gibson said.

The drug plan was implemented nearly four years ago to essentially increase access to cost effective drugs for specific chronic illnesses and to reduce the financial burden of purchasing the drugs and specified medical supplies.

There were 6,500 beneficiaries in its first place.

To date, the number has more than tripled to just over 25,000 active beneficiaries.

“We have heard the cries of many and I am pleased to say that recommendations have been made to add medication for Alzheimer’s disease to the presently covered condition psychiatric illness,” Minister Gibson said.

“I am certain to the delight of many individuals, recommendations have also been made to increase the number of covered conditions with the addition of Lupus to the drug plan.

But despite its growing plans, the minister noted that one of the plan’s greatest successes lie in its Healthy People Programme.

In each phase, 40 individuals were afforded the opportunity to 12 weeks of professional wellness coaching and personal fitness training.

Many of the participants experienced significant weight loss with some as high as 78 lbs. There were also significant reductions in blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol readings with more than 12 people being taken off prescription medication.

However the minister accepted that there are many people who suffer from more than just chronic diseases that require a lot more than just prescriptions.

“There are many who cannot afford private health insurance, hence our goal is to provide affordable coverage for persons to have access to the health services they need,” Mr. Gibson explained.

“This comprehensive care will definitely improved the lives of many Bahamians and given them peace of mind in knowing that they are covered no matter what.”

August 07, 2014

Jones Bahamas

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Anyone who believes in freedom and democracy ...should protest and oppose the horrible provision of Section 64 the revised Value-Added Tax (VAT) Bill

Qc Pledges Constitutional Challenge To The Vat Bill

Tribune Business Editor

A well-known QC yesterday said he is mulling whether to challenge the Government’s plans to prevent delinquent Value-Added Tax (VAT) payers from leaving the Bahamas before the legislation even becomes law.

Fred Smith QC, the Callenders & Co attorney and partner, warned that if the Government succeeded in getting Section 64 in the revised VAT Bill on to the statute books and enforced it, it would soon seek to apply similar ‘travel bans’ to defaulters on other taxes.

Arguing that Section 64 was akin to something “totalitarian dictatorships” would seek to implement, Mr Smith backed private sector executives who had warned it violated freedom of movement provisions in the Bahamian Constitution.

“I will immediately bring an action for a declaration that it is an unconstitutional provision in the law,” Mr Smith told Tribune Business, when asked what he would do if Section 64 was ultimately included as is in any VAT Act.

“I might even sue beforehand,” he added. “I am considering suing before it comes into effect. I call on anyone who believes in freedom and democracy to protest and oppose this horrible provision.”

As revealed on Monday by Tribune Business, the new Section 64 in the revised VAT Bill would allow the VAT Comptroller to prevent delinquent taxpayers from travelling until they pay off their liabilities in full or agree a settlement/payment plan that is acceptable.

The legislation states that persons owing the Government VAT monies “may not leave, or attempt to leave, the Bahamas for an indefinite or prolonged period of time” - although it does not attempt to specify the duration that would meet this criteria.

“Where the Comptroller has reasonable grounds to believe that a person liable to pay tax outstanding under this Act may leave the Bahamas for an indefinite or prolonged period without paying such tax, [the Comptroller] may] issue a certificate in the prescribed form to the Commissioner of Police and the Immigration director, requesting the Commissioner and director respectively to take such steps as may be necessary to prevent the person from leaving the Bahamas” until due payment is made, the revised Bill states.

Those who attempt to flee the Bahamas without making due payment will face either a $100,000 fine or imprisonment for up to a year.

Section 64 appears designed to prevent foreign owners of Bahamas-based businesses, as well as Bahamians, from running away from their VAT liabilities, but it could well spark legal action of the kind promised by Mr Smith.

Analysing Section 64’s impact as is, Mr Smith said; “Every Bahamian, permanent resident, work permit holder, and their children and families, can be stopped at the border and prevented from travelling - to go on vacation or conduct business - simply because it is alleged that they owe VAT.”

This, he added, was exacerbated by the “vagueness” of the ‘indefinite or prolonged period of time’ wording, and the QC added: “There are no rules or boundaries, and excess and abuse will reign supreme.”

And Mr Smith quickly warned that, if it was successful under VAT, the Government would likely extend the ‘travel ban’ to cover defaulters on other taxes.

‘The idea of being able to stop people from travelling because of alleged arrears of taxation under VAT means the Government can extend this to arrears of real property tax, National Insurance Board contributions, Customs Duties and real property taxes,” Mr Smith told Tribune Business.

“If this legislation applies to one tax, it can apply to any tax, and this kind of dictatorial approach to government will make Bahamians prisoners in their own country. If this clause is permitted to stand, each successive government will extend it to every form of taxation.”

Mr Smith added that Section 64 would effectively make Bahamians and residents “slaves of the taxman, who will be judge, jury and executioner all in one.

“Once they stop us from travelling, does that mean they’ll take us into custody until we pay the taxes? Where will it end?”

Mr Smith added that the Bahamas appeared to be “going backwards as a democracy, instead of forwards”, and warned that freedoms were often eroded by stealth, one stage at a time, if governments were allowed to get away with the first move.

Gowon Bowe, the Tax Coalition’s co-chair, told Tribune Business earlier this week that the restriction contemplated by Section 64 would likely violate constitutional rights relating to a person’s ability to move and travel freely.

He added that it had been “a sticking point” in the initial November 2013 draft legislation, and had now been ‘broken out’ and stated more explicitly in the revised legislation tabled in the House of Assembly last week.

And Mr Bowe, a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) accountant and partner, said imposing restrictions on a person’s ability to travel should be the sole preserve of the judiciary and Bahamian court system, not a tax authority such as the proposed VAT Department.

“I am not sure that will stand constitutionally. It would run against movement and free movement,” Mr Bowe told Tribune Business.

“The focus should be on prosecuting those individuals, with their ability to travel restricted only by the courts. That should be purely a court function; that shouldn’t be the ability of the tax authority to restrict a person’s movement.”

Suggesting that the focus should be on prosecuting VAT delinquents, not taking away their travel and movement freedoms, Mr Bowe said the world was “too much of global society to impose something as outdated as that”.

August 01, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Haitian President Michel Martelly seems to be trying to shed his responsibility to curb the illegal migration of Haitians from Haiti to The Bahamas ...on the backs of the Bahamian people

Dr. Munroe suggests Martelly’s comments irresponsible

Guardian Staff Reporter

Bahamas Faith Ministries International President Dr. Myles Munroe yesterday suggested that Haitian President Michel Martelly’s call for Bahamians to invest in Haiti was inappropriate and pointed to a lack of leadership.

Munroe, who was a guest on the Guardian Radio show

“State of Affairs” with host Kevin Harris, said Martelly seemed to be trying to shed his responsibility on the backs of the Bahamian people.

On Tuesday, Martelly suggested that a portion of the substantial sums of money the Bahamas government spends on fighting illegal immigration should be invested in Haiti to address the problem from that end.

“The other day, I was talking to the prime minister [Perry Christie] and I heard him say he was investing about $200 million to protect the Bahamian coast to stop the boat people,” said Martelly during a meeting with Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Chipman in the Minority Room in the House of Assembly.

“...But that idea came to me, and I told him, ‘why don't

we invest some of that money, or at least bring in some Bahamian investors, down to the north of Haiti where these people live who come here?’”

Munroe said Martelly’s comments indicate a level of irresponsibility.

“Maybe it’s a pipe dream,” Munroe said. “Maybe it’s someone saying, ‘look, I’m going to give you my problems. I’m going to transfer the problems from my government to you. I’m [going to] be irresponsible by making you responsible for my responsibility’.

“I think that this is definitely a sign of absence of effective leadership or maybe lack of leadership completely.”

Munroe said Martelly should have communicated that idea to the government in private.

“My leadership in The Bahamas should have said that there are certain things you can’t say publicly,” he said.

“I’m not sure what the context of that was, but I am concerned. But I do think that we have to protect our independence and our sovereignty.

“I do think any relationship should be in our best interest, not in the interest of other people.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, Chipman agreed that there should be increased Bahamian investment in Haiti.

Martelly, who was in town to sign several investment and agriculture agreements with the government, said it is in the interest of Haiti and The Bahamas that things go well in Haiti.

“Sometimes investing to protect just your country is not sufficient, because that doesn’t stop Haitians from fleeing,” Martelly told reporters and government officials later that day.

“That doesn’t stop Haitians from dying, and as leaders we have a common interest in strengthening the region.”

Munroe said Haitians should invest in their own country.

“Haiti is not a poor country 100 percent,” he noted.

“They have wealthy, wealthy Haitians there. And then of course you have areas where you have low-income areas. So I don’t want the Bahamians to think that the Haitians that they may have met here is Haiti.

“I guess my point is this — why don’t those wealthy Haitians invest in Haiti, or why don’t those wealthy Haitians invest in The Bahamas?

“Bahamians themselves are not necessarily interested in investing in their own country. So how can we expect Bahamians to invest in other countries?

Munroe said while The Bahamas should be a good neighbor, it is the Haitian government’s responsibility to build its nation.

August 01, 2014