Thursday, May 10, 2018

242newsBahamas - Will we ever get a real FREE press? (Weekly Highlights)

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Dear Readers,

For more than five years, countless groups have been agitating for the introduction of a fully enacted Freedom of Information act. The Bahamas remains one of few countries int he world that still do not have such laws and if we're being honest, our country and our democracy suffers because of it.

The importance of having access to information cannot be overstated. Access tot information is perhaps one of the valuable tools available to journalists, organisations and the general public who require answers about  how the government is ACTUALLY spending taxpayer money and not just the stories told by Ministers in their well written speeches and government press releases. Except here in the Bahamas, we literally have no access outside of information that is LEAKED to press.

A viable Freedom of Information Act would essentially open the floodgates for memmbers of the press, giving them access to secrets that would have otherwise died within the hallowed halls of parliament, or the office of the PM or any other government institution. 

It seems that successive government have chosen to take the position of extreme "caution" when approaching freedom of information. This posture says to me that they are afraid of what could be uncovered in a specific FOI Request.  one thing is important to remember: the information that government departments hold isn't their information, it's ours. We as citizens, given that we are living in a democratic society, have a right to know what elected officials are doing with our money and data. 

Here at home, however, what goes on in government has been a closely guarded secret that only become public when leaked.  Now, while successive governments have started the process of making this legislation a reality, the road has been long and winding with the current administration only committing to a phased implementation. 

Ironically though, as the government works to keep its secrets, its simultaneously looking to pass laws that give them access to ours - yours and mine. The Interception of Communications bill affectionally named the spy bill by former GB Human Rights President Fred Smith has stirred up a ton of controversy.

When tabling the bill last year, the Jr. Minister of Legal Affairs explained that the bill which would allow the interception of both public and private communications systems would be authorized under a single Framework. Here's what the Nassau Guardian Reported on September 17:
"The bill provides for the interception of all communication networks, regardless of whether they are licensed as public or not," the bill reads.
"This will include public telecommunication operators and also Internet providers.

"The bill also provides for the interception of communication carried wholly or partly by wireless telegraphy and also encompasses all mail handling systems, which includes all parcel and courier services.

"The bill further provides for the use of certain devices for listening to private conversations."

The ICB would be in the "interest of national security" and the "protection of The Bahamas from threats of sabotage, espionage, terrorist acts, terrorism or subversion", according to the bill.

The bill notes that interception may only take place when the information cannot reasonably be acquired by any other means and "each interception or entry warrant is authorized by a judge, upon ex parte application by the attorney general, at the request of an authorized officer", which includes the commissioner of police or a person authorized in writing by the director of the Bureau of Investigation.

The bill says interception of any communication in The Bahamas would take place in the course of its transmission from an address by means of a postal service or a public or private communications network.

If passed, an entry warrant would authorize an authorized officer to enter premises to intercept a communication, install and maintain an interception device or remove such device or devices.

An entry warrant would not be granted by a judge unless there exists a related interception warrant.

The bill would also make it an offense to misuse or abuse information obtained, including prosecution.

Private conversations recorded by listening devices would be inadmissible unless consent is given or the prosecution relates to an offense under the bill.
The minister of national security would list and gazette electronic devices deemed listening devices.

Once enacted, to possess devices on this list would require an exemption.
Certain non-governmental organizations have called on the government to hold off on passing the bill before consulting stakeholders.

The previous administration introduced a similar bill, but shelved it in the face of staunch opposition from a cross-section of civil society groups, which coined the bill the "spy bill". 

Since then, the government has been unable to convince anyone that this bill will actually serve the "intended" purpose of aiding fighting crime. And despite calls from various sectors, there has been little effort (in my opinion) to really address the lingering concerns.

As for me, I say NO ICB until we get FULLY Implemented FOIA. Clearly, the government understands the importance of having access to information the only difference...they want access but continue to deny us ours! That sounds totally out of balance for me. We can't have one without the other. Simple as that.
Interested in reading the bill for yourself? Here's the link  

Prime Minister Opens PMDU to Monitor Government's Services to Community

In keeping with its commitment to improving the quality of services to the community at large, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis officially opened the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit to do just that.
The launch ceremony was held Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at the Office of the Prime Minister. On hand for the historic occasion were Cabinet Ministers, other government officials, representatives from Canada which utilises a similar concept, and representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank. Read More
GBPA Serious About Keeping their Island Beautiful
Silver Sands demolished to prevent safety concerns and to improve cityscape

In its hay day, the Silver Sands Hotel property on Grand Bahama Island welcomed thousands of guests from around the world. However, following the devastation wrought by multiple hurricanes, the resort, which had once been a beacon of relaxation, has been left abandoned and uninhabitable. The now structurally unsound buildings have become not just an eyesore to the surrounding community but a potential danger as well. Read More
Sands Beer Cup Tournament Marks Second Anniversary

 For a second consecutive year, The Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company has joined forces with The Bahamas Golf Federation(BGF) for the annual Sands Beer Cup series of events which kicked off in Grand Bahama in March of this year. Read More
Derelict Buildings to Fall
Pioneers Plaza the First of many on Grand Bahama

 In keeping with its mandate to manage the City of Freeport, the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) is continuing the process of ridding the island of abandoned, derelict and structurally unsound properties.
"The beautification and maintenance of the City of Freeport are always of paramount importance to GBPA. While there are inevitable constraints, mostly legal, we are committed to that responsibility and to our customers," said Rupert Hayward, GBPA Director. Read More
45th Independence Anniversary Activities Announced

The search is on for the best national recording artists, essay writers, runners and walkers as the National Independence Committee prepares to celebrate the country's 45th anniversary of Independence.
The planning committee announced initiatives and outlined details of the 45th Independence celebrations during a press briefing at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre, East Street, May 7, 2018.
 Read More
Bahamians Earn Coveted Awards from Global Real Estate Brand

A rental queen, a top rookie and a broker who racked up over $1 million in sales in less than a year were among five agents at Better Homes and Gardens MCR Bahamas Group recognized by the international franchise for outstanding sales performance. Read More
St. George Joins the Official Opening the UB Hawksbill Dorms GBPA donates 3 Million towards its build out
In 2015, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, under the direction of the late Sir Jack Hayward and Sarah St. George, committed a donation of three million dollars towards student dormitories to the then, College of The Bahamas. Now, three years later, The University of the Bahamas (UB) officially unveiled the new campus dorms in a special ceremony held at UB North on Grand Bahama Island under the auspices of University President Dr. Rodney Smith, the Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Peter J Turnquest and other dignitaries. Read More
Open letter to Minister Jeffrey Lloyd

Dear Minister Lloyd:
Re: Congratulations on your bold defence of the principle that all children have a right to be educated
I write to congratulate you on your bold and determined move to protect the sacred principle that all children are entitled to an education, regardless of their background or ethnic origin. This principle, enshrined in both our Constitution and Education Act, is also a cornerstone of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child, an agreement which the Bahamas has ratified and subsequently reinforced in our own Statute law with the passing of the Child Protection Act (2006). Read More
Former M.P. Pierre Dupuch comments on Majority Rule in The Bahamas.

When Hitler came to power he used a secret weapon called Goebbels. Goebbels was Hitler's Minister of Propaganda who believed that if a lie was repeated often enough people would start believing it. And it did wonders for him. He destroyed Germany and killed six-million Jews.
The PLP had its own Goebbels. The lie of Majority Rule has been repeated often and now is believed. But, thank God, the young people of this country are now using the two phrases that keep Democracy alive, "why" and "how come". Read More

Presidente Takes to the Streets for Bahamas Carnival

The streets of New Providence were alive with the sights and sounds of Bahamas Carnival this weekend as thousands turned out for the full weekend of fetes and concerts featuring the brightest stars on the international Soca scene.
The highlight of the weekend's festivities, however, was undoubtedly the massive Road Fever Parade which saw carnivalists from the various carnival bands flood the streets to 'play mas' in brightly colored costumes as they strutted along the parade route to the sounds of the Soca music. Read More 
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One of the greatest shows to ever hit Grand Bahama was a big hit with Freeport audiences last weekend at the Regency Theatre! The team that brought you the Bahamian Icon Nominated plays Sarah's Wedding and the New Rules of Sex and Dating and the political drama Keeping up with the Boujees proudly introduced a fresh and innovative production called "STAR." One of the words constantly used by audiences to describe this performance was AMAZING! Read More
Paint for Fun - Garden Edition By Erika Gates
A group of local ladies spent the day at Garden of the Groves under the expertise of artist Paola Correa de Albury! The "students" learnt how to paint tropical leaves using the Garden's abundant lush tropical foliage. The results were astonishing and we hope that the class will exhibit their works at the Garden CafĂ© in the near future! Read More
The Importance Of A Warranty On Office Furnishings
As in many other businesses, in office design in the Bahamas, a common phrase that is used from time to time is, "this product comes with a warranty." While you may be familiar with the term warranty, are you as familiar with why it is important on for office furnishings? Today, we will take some time to make you aware or remind you of the importance of a warranty on your office furnishings.
Firstly, just in case you are not exactly sure of what a warranty is, a warranty is simply an assurance by one party to the other party that specific facts or conditions are true or will happen. In the case of office design, it's a statement made by the seller or manufacturer of the product saying that it will perform in the way specified, as products can have problems either upon purchase or after a certain amount of time.
A warranty is often one of the strongest indicators of product quality. It is very valuable to a customer and should not be overlooked. Today, SOS will give you a few reasons why it is vitally important to have a warranty on any furnishings you purchase for your office:
You Are Going To Keep Your Office Furnishings Past The Manufacturer's Warranty
Many employers and employees will make use of the office furnishings long after the manufacturer's warranty expires, therefore, should you have any issues with your product during the time it is under warranty, the product can be repaired or replaced and little or no cost to you as the customer. This will ensure that you get the maximum use of the product for as long as possible. However, our partnering supplier, Global Furniture, has a Lifetime Limited Warranty on its products.
You Use Your Office Furnishings More Than Most
Depending on the nature of your business, a warranty may be an excellent tool for your future. More frequent use of the furnishings can result in them not lasting as long as the manufacturer would have intended, at which time a warranty will allow free or minimal cost of replacement of the furnishing.
Peace Of Mind
This may seem like the most obvious, but it is an important note regardless. A warranty offers the peace of mind of knowing that a cost of repair or replacement won't completely wipe our wallets in a time of need. There is no way to ensure that all of the complex and intricate parts of our office furnishings will last it's entire lifetime.
Multiple Users Of The Office Furnishings
In most cases, multiple employees use office furnishings which can sometimes put different level of stress on the parts of the office furnishings. A warranty can save the company money in cases where office furnishings are not able to last its expected lifetime.
It's said that nothing last forever, but a warranty can help you to ensure that you get value for your money.
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Upcoming Calendar
New Providence
  • May 11th, 2018 
    • Woman's Tongue: A Social Commentary
      Art Show by Carla Campbell 6:30pm at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery, Village Road
  • May 17th, 2018 
    • Woman's Tongue: A Social Commentary
      Art Show by Carla Campbell Art Talk Panel Discussion 6:00pm at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery, Village Road
  • May 26th, 2018 
    • Solomon's Fresh Market 5K Fun Walk & Health Fair 6:30am
  • May 30th, 2018 
    • Bahamas Chamber of Commerce Trade Seminar & Expo 9:00am - 5:00pm at The Melia 
Grand Bahama
  • May 12th, 2018
    • Rotary Club 8th Annual Cigar Night 6:00pm at Grand Bahama Yacht Club
  • May 16th, 2018

    • Cat Island Association 4th Annual Seniors' Spelling Bee
Family Islands
  • May 12th, 2018

    • Red Bays Snapper Tournament at Red Bays, Andros
  • May 12th, 2018

    • Mangrove Cay Mother's Day Homecoming Regatta
  • May 13th, 2018

    • A Passion For Fashion at Cancer Society, Palmetto Point. Eleuthera 
  • May 15th, 2018

    • The Bahamas Boating Fling: Bimini
  • May 19th, 2018

    • Spring Garden Party 6:00pm at Queen's Highway, Cockburn Town, San Salvador 
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