• SIX FEMALES AMONG GOVERNMENT SENATE APPOINTMENTS INCLUDING POSITIONS OF PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT

    Six females have been named to fill Government Senate Appointments in the Upper Chamber including Mrs. Katherine (Kay) Forbes-Smith and Dr. Mildred Hall, who will serve as President and Vice-President of the Upper Chamber respectively. Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis said the Government Senate Appointments “reflect the diversity of our Commonwealth.” Monday’s appointment to the Senate will serve as Mrs. Forbes-Smith’s third stint in the Upper Chamber beginning in 2001 with her first appointment. Prime Minister Minnis said that first appointment in 2001 “was part of the historic advancement of gender equity in the make-up of the Senate.” A former Diplomat and Parliamentary Secretary, Senator, the Mrs. Forbes-Smith served a second stint in the Senate in 2007. Mrs. Forbes-Smith also served as the first Consul-General for The Bahamas in Atlanta and was the Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister prior to that posting.

    Prime Minister Minnis said Dr. Hall will help to exemplify the spirit of community service and volunteerism that are a major theme of his government. He said both women are of enormous talents and diverse experiences who will bring many fine qualities to the Upper Chamber. “The Hon. Vice-President of the Senate exemplifies this spirit of service. Her community service is impressive. She has served with the Zonta Club of Nassau, the Nassau Chapter of Links Inc., the Bahamas Family Planning Association, the AIDS Foundation of The Bahamas, the AIDS Secretariat of The Bahamas, the PACE Foundation, the National Association of Child Birthing Centers, The Bahamas National Trust, The Bahamas Red Cross and internationally, has served on the Board of the Howard University College of Medicine. “I have known and respected Dr. Hall for many years as a medical colleague and I am happy to serve with her as a colleague in government. I will call on the Hon. Dr. Mildred Hall and other community-minded individuals to inspire in others the spirit of community service,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

    Other Senate appointments included the Hon. Juanianne Dorsett; the Hon. Jasmine Turner-Dareus; the Hon. Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson; the Hon. Sharon Annafaye Ferguson-Knowles; the Hon. Jamal Moss; the Hon. Ranard Henfield and the Hon. Dwight Sawyer. Prime Minister Minnis also announced that the Hon. Carl Bethel, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, will serve as Government Leader in the Senate. Minister of Labour, the Hon. Dion Foulkes and Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Kwasi Thompson will also serve in the Senate.

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  • MINISTER OF TRANSPORT OPENS OIL SPILL PREPAREDNESS AND MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP

    Minister of Transport and Local Government, the Hon. Frankie Campbell welcomed delegates for an Oil Spill workshop on Sunday, May 21. The event was held at SuperClubs Breezes on West Bay Street. The event is sponsored by the Government of Malaysia and entitled ‘Sub-regional Level III Workshop on Oil Spill Preparedness and The International Maritime Organization’s Guidance on the Implementation of an Incident Management System.” After extending a warm welcome to delegates, Mr. Campbell asked officials to convey the government’s appreciation to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and to the Minister of Transport for agreeing to co-host the workshop.“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and The Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information and Training Center Wider Caribbean (RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe) for the work the organizations have done over the years in promoting the protection of the marine environment,” said Mr. Campbell. “All of the countries in the region greatly appreciate the efforts undertaken to promote sustainable development in the wider Caribbean.”

    He said that the maritime industry is ‘critical’ to the global economy, as over 90% of goods are transported by sea. In the case of The Bahamas, Mr. Campbell said that the maritime industry is ‘particularly critical’ to The Bahamas, especially given that the country is an archipelago, and the islands of The Bahamas are sustained by the weekly arrival of ships transporting goods and people. “It is certainly the case that both the aviation and maritime sectors are essential engine drivers of our economy,” he said. “In the maritime sector, the Bahamian brand is supported by a successful ship registry, active cruise ports, a lucrative fishing industry, steady yacht calls, busy container ports and many industrial operations. He said that this workshop on the Incident Command System and Oil Spill Preparedness would ‘greatly’ assist both The Bahamas and regional partners in developing policies and procedures, which protect and preserve the marine environment. “This workshop constitutes a follow up to the recent Regional Workshop in December 2016, at which time each participating country’s national oil spill plan was assessed,” said Minister Campbell.

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  • PARKER-EDGECOMBE TO HEAD INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS ARM; OVERSEE TRANSFORMATION OF ZNS/MODERNIZATION OF BIS

    Former veteran broadcaster Mrs. Pakeisha Parker-Edgecombe will serve as Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Communication in the Office of the Prime Minister, Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis said Monday. Prime Minister Minnis said Mrs. Parker-Edgecombe will help to oversee the transformation of ZNS “from a State propaganda machine under the last government, into a properly functioning public broadcasting corporation” among other duties. Other Parliamentary Secretaries sworn-in Monday, taking the Oath of Office and receiving their Instruments of Appointment included: Vaughn Miller, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development; Carlton Bowleg, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources; James Albury, Parliamentary Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Abaco; and Travis Robinson, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. Iram Lewis will serve as Parliamentary Secretary, the Ministry of Public Works. “In 1992, the Free National Movement freed the broadcast media from state control. It is now time to liberate the state broadcast agency from political manipulation.”

    Prime Minister Minnis said the modernization of Bahamas Information Services (BIS) will include greater use of social media to help inform younger generations of Bahamians. Dr. Minnis also promised to transform how the Parliamentary Channel is currently being utilized. “It is also my government’s intention to transform the Parliamentary Channel into a public information platform similar to C-SPAN in the United States of America,” Prime Minister Minnis added. The Prime Minister said, as with his appointments to the Cabinet and the Senate, the appointment of the new Parliamentary Secretaries reflects the diversity found throughout the Commonwealth. Dr. Minnis said the Parliamentary Secretaries will help his government “to focus on the many challenges ahead.” As with his other appointments (Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, Senators) Prime Minister Minnis mandated the Parliamentary Secretaries to be true to the Oath they swore to Monday.

    “Fidelity to the oath you swore today is essential in order to provide the Bahamian people with a government of integrity,” Dr. Minnis said. “Good and open government demands transparency and accountability. Good governance demands being responsible for our actions. “Accordingly, I will hold you to the highest standards of ethical conduct in the performance of your public duties. I look forward to working with you in a spirit of collegiality and collaboration in a government which adheres to collective responsibility,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

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  • HIGH MARKS FROM CARICOM FOR CONDUCT OF 2017 GENERAL ELECTION;88 PERCENT OF REGISTERED VOTERS CAST BALLOTS

    A preliminary report from the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Election Observer Mission has given The Bahamas high marks for the conduct of the 2017 General Election. The elections were conducted May 10, 2017 during which the Free National Movement won 35 of the 39 seats contested to form a new government. An Advanced Poll was held May 3, 2017. Parliamentary Registration Department officials say 88 per cent of the 181,000 registered voters in The Bahamas cast ballots during the General Election. Parliamentary Commissioner (Actg.) Charles Albury said Wednesday that officials at the Department had received a preliminary report from the CARICOM Election Observation Mission with respect to the conduct of the 2017 General Election, effectively congratulating The Bahamas on the conduct of the elections in many instances, while offering recommendations for improvement in others. Commissioner Albury said Mission Observers, who visited 223 Polling Stations throughout The Bahamas, observed that polls opened on time in the majority of polling stations; that most of the stations were fully staffed and that the majority of those polling stations had at least two agents present representing the two major political parties.

    The Observers also found that the polling stations were conveniently located in the majority of cases and easily accessible to voters including those with disabilities. The Mission further observed that the materials and supplies on hand at most of the polling stations were available in the required quantities and that adequate security was in place at all locations with the officers conducting their duties in a professional manner, which they felt contributed to the level of calm that prevailed during the voting process. The report further noted that poll workers appeared to be “focused” as they steadily carried out their required procedures to ensure that all eligible voters who turned out to vote were able to do so. The Report noted a number of areas for consideration for improvement to the process.“The Mission also pointed out that most of the pre-poll activities including the late publication of the advanced poll register; voters’ inability to confirm beforehand whether or not their names appeared on the Advanced Poll Register; and the incorrect polling station numbers being written onto the Voters Cards are among several issues that can be addressed with the introduction of modern technology into the voter registration process,” Commissioner Albury said.

    “[It is their belief] that this will facilitate a more timely extraction and publication of the Voter Register as well as provide voters with the ability to carry out online verification to determine if their names appear either on the Advanced Poll Register or the Election Day Register,” Commissioner Albury added.

    A full report will be forthcoming from the Mission.

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  • CARICOM S.G READY TO WELCOME NEW BAHAMIAN PM’S FRESH IDEAS

    CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque is looking forward to an early briefing with new Prime Minister of The Bahamas Dr. Hubert Minnis on matters relating to the Caribbean Community and the Prime Minister’s portfolio in the quasi-cabinet of the CARICOM Heads of Government, that of Tourism.

    “I look forward, Prime Minister, to the fresh ideas that you will undoubtedly bring to assist in the progress of our integration process,” the Secretary-General said in his letter of congratulations to Prime Minister Minnis. He also gave the assurance of his full support and that of the CARICOM Secretariat as the Prime Minister seeks to enhance the lives of the people of The Bahamas during his term of office.

    Dr. Minnis led his Free National Movement (FNM) to a landslide victory over the incumbent Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), winning 35 of the 39 seats at stake, in the 10 May general elections.

    “The sweeping success as evidenced by the margin of victory, reflects the level of confidence that the people of The Bahamas have in your leadership and in the programmes of your party”, Ambassador LaRocque’s congratulatory letter said.

    He noted that the conduct of the polls once again demonstrated the commitment of CARICOM Member States to the democratic tenet of free and fair elections. CARICOM mounted an eleven-member Electoral Observation Mission to monitor the process leading up to, and, on Election Day.

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  • PM MINNIS SAYS ‘PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT’ WILL BLEND EXPERIENCE WITH NEW TALENT AND FACES

    Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis thanked Governor-General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, on May 12, 2017, for appointing K. Peter Turnquest as Minister of Finance and Carl Bethel, Q.C., as Attorney General; and said that his Government began the formation of "The People’s Government" by swearing them into office that day. "In order to best serve the Bahamian people, my cabinet will blend experience with new talent and faces in government," Prime Minister Minnis said at their swearing-in ceremony at Government House. "Today’s appointments reflect this goal." Prime Minister Minnis added that Minister Turnquest will also serve as Deputy Prime Minister. Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest has had extensive experience in business, having worked mostly in Grand Bahama and New Providence, Prime Minister Minnis noted. He also had international business experience and served as President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Prime Minister Minnis added. "Mr. Turnquest is a Certified Chartered Accountant in The Bahamas," he added. "He served as Shadow Minister of Finance during the past five years. "He also has experience in a number of professional organizations including as a Member of the Inter-American Development Bank Civil Society Group."

    When speaking about financial issues, Prime Minister Minnis stated that transparency and accountability in public finances were often absent by the former government in the past five years. He said in the administration of public finances, his Government would adhere to the Constitution and to the 2010 Financial Administration and Audit Act."We will adhere to other relevant laws and best practices of financial administration," Prime Minister Minnis said. "We will also improve the administration of public finances through legislative and regulatory reform and modernization." "My government will ensure that the Public Treasury is utilized for the public good rather than directed toward private interest," he added. "I will ever remind my ministers to avoid conflicts of interest in the exercise of their public duties." Prime Minister Minnis then noted Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest’s "extensive" community service, highlighting his serving as Chairman of the Grand Bahama Scout Association, being a Rotarian and serving with the Anglican Church Men at the Church of the Ascension in Grand Bahama. "Community and voluntary service will be an essential theme of my administration," Prime Minister Minnis said. "The cultivation of the common good should inspire in us all a commitment to serve our fellow-citizens, especially the least among us."

    While speaking about Attorney General Bethel, Prime Minister Minnis said he was pleased to have advised his appointment to the Senate, where he will serve as Leader of Government Business. "Mr. Bethel brings enormous experience to government," Prime Minister Minnis said. "He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2002. He also previously served as Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, and as a Member of Parliament for three terms. "Mr. Bethel served as Minister of Education, Youth and Sports from 2007 to 2009; as Minister of Economic Development from 2000 to 2001; and as Minister of State for Economic Affairs from 1997 to 1999. He also served as Chairman of BAIC from 1995 to 1997." Prime Minister Minnis noted that Mr. Bethel has had an extensive background in the law and what members of the legal profession describe as “a love of the law.” "He has been a lawyer for three decades," Prime Minister Minnis said. "In 2015 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel. "Mr. Bethel has a deep knowledge of and appreciation for the Constitution. He was a member of the Constitutional Commission from 2012-2013."

    Prime Minister Minnis noted that Attorney General Bethel had served the country's community as a Kiwanian, and served as a Past-President of the Kiwanis Club of Fort Montagu. Prime Minister Minnis reiterated that his Government "will respect and will be guided" by the Constitution and the conventions of The Bahamas' parliamentary democracy. "It is essential that The People’s Government respects and is seen to respect the rule of law," he stated. "We cherish and will protect the rights and freedoms of the Bahamian people."

    To the two newly-elected Cabinet Ministers, Prime Minister Minnis pointed out that fidelity to the oath they swore that day was essential in order to provide the Bahamian people with a government of integrity. "Good and open government demands transparency and accountability," Prime Minister Minnis said. "Good governance demands being responsible for our actions. "Accordingly, I will hold my minsters to the highest standards of ethical conduct in the performance of their public duties."

    Prime Minister Minnis said that he looked forward to working with them in a spirit of collegiality and collaboration, in a government which adheres to collective responsibility. "In congratulating you on your appointments, I commend to you the values of honesty, hard work, sacrifice and an abiding commitment to the dignity of the Bahamian people," Prime Minister Minnis said. "We must never forget that we serve as The People’s Government," he added. "The spirit of democracy must be our constant companion and guiding light. "May God bless The Bahamas. God bless you all and thank you very much."

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  • DR. HUBERT MINNIS SWORN IN AS NEW P.M

    Dr. Hubert A. Minnis was sworn-in as the fourth Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas by Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling today at Government House before family and friends, clergy, government officials, and party colleagues.

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  • P.M MINNIS: TODAY REPRESENTS A NEW DAY FOR THE BAHAMAS

    Newly-sworn-in Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, said, on May 11, 2017, that the day represented "a new day" for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and one that was also steeped in ancient tradition."Today also represents a renewal and reaffirmation of our democratic heritage," Prime Minister Minnis said, during his Swearing-In Ceremony at Government House. "Exercising a cherished right that is still not universal, the Bahamian people freely elected a new government. "We will honour this mandate for change."Prime Minister Minnis thanked Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling for "most graciously" appointing him as the fourth Prime Minister of an independent Bahamas. He also thanked her for her gracious hospitality, and that of the "fine staff" of Government House.

    "I wish to thank the many people who are here today, including special guests, party colleagues, well-wishers and constituents of Killarney," Prime Minister Minnis said. "I thank also my wife Patricia, my father Randolph Minnis, family and dear friends for their love and support. "I remember today all those on whose shoulders I stand, including my mother Rosalie North, and my sister Doris Hall, who though long departed, are forever in my heart," he added.

    Prime Minister Minnis said that although The Bahamas is a small country, its democracy is rightly the envy of many countries throughout the world that "mark the manner of our bearing." "Yesterday’s general election was peaceful and free from violence," he pointed out. "With civility and nobility, Bahamians from all walks of life joined hands and hearts to forge a new direction for our country. "Now we are witnessing another orderly transfer of power," he noted. Prime Minister Minnis said that, with tremendous gratitude, he again thanked the Bahamian people for reposing their trust in his party. He pledged that his Government would honour that trust with an unwavering commitment to good governance, the rule of law, transparency and accountability.

    "We will respect the Constitution; and we will abide by the longstanding and tested conventions of our parliamentary democracy," Prime Minister Minnis said.

    He also thanked his colleagues for reposing their confidence in him as Prime Minister. In turn, he said, he pledged an unwavering commitment to collegiality, collaboration and collective responsibility. "Ours is an extraordinary system of government," Prime Minister Minnis said. "I will honor the spirit and traditions of our democratic heritage."To Her Excellency, the Governor-General, Prime Minister Minnis pledged, on behalf of his colleagues, their commitment to serve with integrity as Her Majesty’s Bahamas Government. He added that he looked forward to the "most cordial relations" with her office in the service of the nation."We commit ourselves to the common good of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas," he said. "We rely on the blessings of Almighty God, who is the source of all power and grace."I thank you and good evening and God bless us all."

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  • DID YOU KNOW SOME OF YOUR GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES HAVE A BACKGROUND IN SPORTS?

    PLP

    P.M Perry Christie - Track & Field

    Leslie Miller - Track & Field

    Greg Burrows - Baseball

    Norris Bain - Basketball

    Shane Gibson - Golf & Sailing

    B.J Nottage - Track & Field

    Khalis Rolle - Track & Field

    Clifford Butch Scavella - Softball

    Obie Wilchcombe - Football

    FNM

    Renward Wells - Track & Field

    Desmond Bannister - Track & Field

    Gadwell McDonald - Swimming

    Iram Lewis - Track & Field

    Mark Humes - Track & Field

    Shanandon Cartwright - Basketball

    Shonel Ferguson - Track & Field

    Vaughn Miller - Basketball

    DNA

    Gerino Saunders - Track & Field

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  • BAHAMAS TO HOST CARIBBEAN BROADCASTING UNION’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY

    The Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, in conjunction with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), announced in a recent press conference that The Bahamas will host the CBU’s 48th Annual General Assembly August 21-24, 2017.Chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB) Rev. Dr. William Thompson said “representatives from more than 48 media houses, 23 countries and territories from the English, Dutch, French and Spanish speaking Caribbean and South America will be in The Bahamas for the Caribbean Broadcasting Union’s 48th general assembly. The Bahamas has been a longstanding member of the CBU with several general managers serving on the CBU’s executive board, including Diana Swann its current general manager. As is customary, during the general assembly the CBU’s awards ceremony will be held. The Broadcasting Corporation has won several awards at this prestigious event and is optimistic that it will win more during this year’s event. BCB has taken big steps in technological advancement in celebration of 40 years of television this year, said Rev. Dr. William Thompson. In 2013, it began broadcasting in a digital format to better serve customers.

    He continued that the annual general assembly presents a great opportunity not only for media professionals at the broadcasting corporation, but also for all journalists and students of media and communications throughout the country: “As such, I urge you to participate in the open events and take advantage of the offerings that the CBU will afford you.”Secretary General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union Sonia Gill announced this year’s theme is Digital Developments in Caribbean Media.The CBU is a nonprofit nonpartisan grouping of media entities from around the Dutch, English French and Spanish Caribbean; and it continues to focus on strategies that will build the capacity of its members and their personnel to grapple with the social, economic and technological changes that challenge the media sector. The assembly is one way for media owners and executives to share knowledge gained from their day-to-day experiences. One of the highlights of the conference will be an examination of what’s happening in digital television standards. Another area the assembly will delve into is “Social Media Guidelines for Journalists” with support from long-time partner, the Public Media Alliance, formerly Commonwealth Broadcasting Association.

    Registration information will shortly be available on the CBU website www.caribroadcastunion.org and from the secretariat at info@caribroadcastunion.org.

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