May 22, 2012
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REGULATIONS tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday contain a provision for the public to be notified through the Royal Bahamas Police Force of the release of a sexual offender from the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.
The government gave up more than $1.3bn in customs duties during the 2015-2016 fiscal year due to the multiple tax breaks afforded investors and corporate entities.
THE Department of Social Services’ uniform assistance programme will receive considerably more money in the upcoming fiscal year in an apparent effort to curtail the anger government received last cycle for allotting what many saw as insufficient to cover the needs of dependents. Government estimates that $462,000 will go toward the social assistance benefit.
Parliament has passed 58 bills since the Free National Movement won the general election two years ago.
The Government yesterday moved to revive a near two-decade effort to banish the legacy of Carlos ‘Joe’ Lehder by seeking Parliament’s approval for a two-way, nine acre land swap.
CHANGES to the Road Traffic Act meant to save lives were passed in the House of Assembly yesterday.
TWO of three parliamentarians who requested extra time to disclose their assets and liabilities this year made their disclosures before the end of the extension period, according to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
FORMER chief parliamentary clerk Maurice Tynes has criticised the handling of the decision not to hold a debate in the House of Assembly on the mid-year budget statement, telling The Tribune the government does not own Parliament.
THREE Free National Movement parliamentarians - two of them Cabinet ministers - were granted more time to file their public disclosures, The Tribune was told.
ENGLERSTON MP Glenys Hanna-Martin said yesterday she will be carefully watching the response of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis regarding parliamentarians missing the deadline to disclose their assets and liabilities.
UNREGULATED campaign finance and an opaque procurement process continue to expose the country to potential abuses, according to the US State Department.
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell confirmed on Friday that all Opposition parliamentarians have filed their public disclosures.
PUBLIC disclosures from parliamentarians were flying in like “hotcakes”, according to Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda yesterday.
GOVERNMENT will table proposed amendments to the Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Act when the House of Assembly meets today.
THE House of Assembly approved a resolution yesterday to borrow $100m from the Inter-American Development Bank as a contingency against natural disaster emergencies.
GOVERNMENT is expected to move a resolution in the House of Assembly today seeking approval for the conveyance of 1.2 acres of land in Fox Hill to be developed for sale as serviced lots.
Poor governance and business processes have slashed Bahamian economic growth by an average one percent of GDP every year this century, the Government has admitted.
The Government has refused to adjust its gaming revenue projections despite the web shop industry’s legal challenge to the increased taxation, arguing that its case is “on solid ground”.
PROPOSED amendments to the Road Traffic Act will make it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while using a cellphone, or with an open alcoholic beverage.
OPPOSITION Leader Philip “Brave” Davis called yesterday on Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to live up to his pre-election promises and identify those who have not declared their assets and liabilities to the Public Disclosure Commission in accordance with the Public Disclosure Act.
THE public will have to wait just a bit longer for the final listing and review of financial disclosures for the last three years, with Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda yesterday refusing to comment on the work of the unit without f
BUSINESSES behind on National Insurance Board contributions, business licence fees and real property taxes will not be granted concessions through the Over-the-Hill revitalisation programme, according to the Economic Empowerment Zones Bill which was tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday.
GOVERNMENT appointees who voted against an increase in value added tax to 12 percent should have resigned their positions rather than wait to be fired, retired parliamentary clerk Maurice Tynes says. Mr Tynes, the chief adviser to House Speakers from
WEB shop employees yesterday suggested a boycott of businesses or economic interests of Cabinet ministers as operators pledge to take their fight against an impending tax increase on their sector all the way to the Privy Council.
GOLDEN Isles MP Vaughn Miller yesterday became the third Free National Movement member of Parliament to publicly oppose the government’s impending value added tax increase.
MOST Bahamians oppose the Minnis administration’s “People’s Budget”, with more than 70 percent against the impending value added tax increase, a new scientific poll from marketing and research firm Public Domain reveals.
PINERIDGE MP Frederick McAlpine said Grand Bahama “is dying a slow death,” urging his governing party to try a “little harder and faster” to bring some economic relief to the island.
OUTSPOKEN Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine yesterday ridiculed his government’s budget, telling parliamentarians it appears Free National Movement politicians have reneged on their words.
THE government’s proposed value added tax increase was not only a shock to the nation but completely blindsided several Free National Movement members of Parliament who told The Tribune yesterday it appeared the decision was kept within the confines of Cabinet.
Governance reformers yesterday called for increased web shop taxes in tomorrow's Budget, coupled with 5 per cent annual spending reductions through 2023, to avoid a fiscal crisis.
THE Free National Movement is “eating its words” on major issues it admonished the former Christie administration over, according to retired Court of Appeal President Dame Joan Sawyer.
THE controversial Interception of Communications Bill was passed the House of Assembly yesterday with no input from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, once a fervent critic of the bill.
PUBLIC procurement processes in the Bahamas, long derided by the US State Department as “opaque,” will be standardised through the Public Procurement Bill 2018, a draft version of which has been submitted to the Organization of American States who released the document.
AS the deadline for members of Parliament and senators to file financial disclosures approaches, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said everyone is on target to meet the timeline of March 1. “The Public Disclosure Commission continues to meet and the
THE Organization for Responsible Government has condemned the events that took place in the House of Assembly in the past three weeks.
THE power of magistrates to grant bail in all but the most serious of offences should be returned forthwith, the country’s top judge said yesterday, as he urged Parliament to pay more than “lip service” to the issue.
ALTHOUGH Free National Movement parliamentarians unanimously voted to pass the Commercial Enterprises Bill in the House of Assembly last week, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold, in the face of criticism from some, yesterday said the administration will consider “recommendations and suggestions” for the bill and incorporate those it believes have merit.
IN the face of public uproar, the Minnis administration has placed a stipulation on its pledge to increase salaries for Members of Parliament next year, with the prime minister’s Press Secretary Anthony Newbold saying yesterday the salaries will not be increased if the economy does not improve.
DEPUTY Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday said he believes “there will be an improvement to the country finances” in next year’s budget cycle when members of Parliament are expected to receive pay raises.
ANOTHER local advocacy group has spoken out against the government's failure to fully enforce the Public Disclosure Act, charging that not doing so could undermine public trust in two recently tabled pieces of anti-corruption legislation.
CITIZENS for a Better Bahamas (CBB) yesterday slammed the government for failing to meet its campaign promises on enforcement of the Public Disclosure Act.In a press statement the advocacy group called on citizens to reject “implausible” and “unreaso
IN keeping with its pledge to tackle corruption and introduce a new standard of accountability in the country, the Minnis Administration tabled its highly anticipated Integrity Commission bill yesterday.
PUBLIC officials would face additional financial disclosure requirements under the Integrity Commission Bill the Minnis Administration tabled yesterday.
THE Minnis administration tabled an Interception of Communication Bill and legislation to create legal framework for the disbanded National Intelligence Agency in the House of Assembly yesterday.
THE Minnis administration tabled the first Bill of its tenure yesterday: a Constitutional Amendment Bill to establish the independent Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
PUBLIC Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda yesterday distanced himself from the government’s pledge to prosecute non-compliant parliamentarians, telling The Tribune it is possible no penalties will be exacted.
THREE parliamentarians have missed the deadline imposed by the government to file financial disclosures, but that list is not at the Office of the Attorney General just yet, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday.
DESPITE his critical role in an ongoing process to have delinquent parliamentarians and senators file their outstanding disclosures or face prosecution, Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda said yesterday that his appointment has expired, leaving aspects of the process “up in the air”.
WHILE today marks the deadline for both sitting and former parliamentarians to file financial disclosures, Public Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda told The Tribune yesterday that there were still some that are “outstanding”.
THE Government racked up more than $100,000 in legal costs connected to its appeal of the landmark Supreme Court ruling on parliamentary privilege, according to Attorney General Carl Bethel, who noted that the sum represented costs for foreign lawyers.
PUBLIC Disclosure Commission Chairman Myles Laroda yesterday remarked on the high-level of engagement experienced by his office due to the looming deadline for former and current parliamentarians to file financial disclosures or face prosecution.
FORMER ministers in the Christie administration are “guilty” of “misfeasance” and Attorney General Carl Bethel will have to determine if they should be held liable for the “millions” in taxpayer dollars that were awarded in questionable contracts, in some cases to “inexperienced” contractors, Minister of Works Desmond Bannister told the House of Assembly last night.
THE government has set a June 30 deadline for former and sitting parliamentarians to file disclosures or face prosecution, according to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold.
DELINQUENT former and sitting parliamentarians have been given three weeks to file disclosures or face the court for breaking the law, according to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold.
DESPITE repeated calls for parliamentarians to submit annual financial declarations as mandated by law, Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) Chairman Myles Laroda said yesterday that there is a handful of officials who did not make a single disclosure for the entire five-year term of the Christie administration.
THE Bahamas government has received confirmation from two of four international organisations invited to send electoral observers for the upcoming general election.
MEMBERS of Parliament clashed in the House of Assembly yesterday over allegations St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman made in a letter to House Speaker Dr Kendal Major in which he claimed that the draft order for constituency boundaries that was tabled last week differed significantly from the report he signed as the Official Opposition’s representative on the Constituencies Commission.
THE government has tabled a bill in the House of Assembly that aims to create a “single legal framework” that would allow the Commissioner of Police to obtain a warrant from a judge to intercept and examine a person’s communications from telecommunications operators, internet providers and postal services for a period of three months.
THE Constituencies Commission is expected to convene today for a final meeting on its recommendations for boundary changes, which, according to well-placed sources, will call for the addition of only one seat in New Providence.
POLITICAL analyst Dr Ian Strachan believes the country may experience its lowest voter turnout in history for the upcoming general election due to lack of faith in the current political system and “weak” alternatives to the current administration.
MAJOR investigations by Parliament’s Committee on Privilege have stalled in recent months, with no clear end in sight for them.
AS the 2017 general election draws near, the number of constituencies in New Providence and the Family Islands is expected to increase by at least four seats with the Constituencies Commission set to finalise its report by the end of the month.
OPPOSITION MPs of the House of Assembly’s Committee on Privilege have been advised to request that the probe into Justice Indra Charles’ ruling on the limits of parliamentary privilege be adjourned until the matter is no longer before the courts.
With the 2017 election season on the horizon, what will you be looking for in a political party to ensure your vote?
SAVE The Bays (STB) has appealed for international observers to oversee the House of Assembly’s Committee on Privilege’s probe into the landmark ruling by Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles over the leak of its private emails in Parliament.
IN THE wake of Sandals’ decision to make hundreds of its employees redundant, the government wants to bring “emergency legislation” to Parliament that would make it a criminal offence for employers to fail to consult or notify the relevant minister or bargaining agent about their intention to make ten or more workers redundant.
SAVE The Bays Chairman Joseph Darville yesterday urged House of Assembly Speaker Dr Kendal Major to “call off efforts” to have certain members of the organisation held in contempt of Parliament.
CENTRAL Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant yesterday resigned as Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Assembly and the Free National Movement’s shadow Works Minister, pointing to his relationship with FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis as the motivating factor.
New political movements prove the health of democracy in the Bahamas but won’t unseat the PLP as divided factions, Malcolm J Strachan says . . .
With Dr Duane Sands saying the FNM has not being “gaining traction”, and the PLP recovering from the referendum defeat, what steps should each party take to convince the public they should be elected at the next election?
CABINET ministers responsible for at least six quasi-government institutions and agencies have failed to table audit reports, creating a lapse in the public record that contravenes the law.
THE Christie administration’s track record could doom the upcoming gender equality referendum, as there is growing public dissatisfaction towards the government and its handling of similar votes.
CENTRAL and South Eleuthera MP Damian Gomez said he would be “surprised” if Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles is called before the Committee on Privileges after being named last week in a resolution to determine whether she and others should be held in contempt of the House of Assembly.
CITIZENS for Justice, an activist group, has said it will take legal action against the government this week hoping to force it to provide public funds to the constitutional referendum’s vote “no” campaigns.
RELIGIOUS leaders backing the constitutional referendum's vote "no" campaign are still waiting for Prime Minister Perry Christie to respond to their request for seed funding.
PRESIDENT of the Bahamas Global Impact Prayer and Fasting Network (BGI-PAFN) Jeremiah Duncombe yesterday said there is no need for the constitutional referendum scheduled for June 7, as the government is “fully capable” of amending the Constitution to show gender equality “all on its own.”
SUPREME Court Justice Indra Charles along with Save The Bays Director Fred Smith, QC, and lawyer Ferron Bethel were named in a resolution yesterday in Parliament for the Committee on Privilege to determine whether they should be held in contempt of the House of Assembly.
What do you think should be done to ensure members of Parliament file their financial declarations on time?
EVANGELIST Rex Major added his voice to the chorus of pastors urging Bahamians to reject the fourth constitutional referendum bill yesterday.
ALL Bahamians who registered to vote for the 2012 general election are eligible to participate in the upcoming gender equality vote, which is expected to take place in about six weeks, according to Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlin Hall yesterday.
THE Save Our Bahamas Committee - the group that opposed the 2013 gambling referendum - yesterday launched a vote no campaign against the fourth Constitutional Amendment Bill.
BISHOP Walter Hanchell has come out against the upcoming constitutional referendum, charging that it would lead to same-sex marriage and an “influx” of foreign men using Bahamian women as a “ticket” to get work.
After the findings of a US State Department report, what do YOU think should be done to prevent government corruption in the Bahamas?
What measures would you introduce to reform campaign finance?
THE four Constitutional Amendment Bills on gender equality were passed in the House of Assembly on Wednesday in what has been called a “historic day.”
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson yesterday insisted that unless the Free National Movement worked harder to connect with Bahamians on key issues, it is hard to see the party securing a victory in this country’s next general election.
THE draft Freedom of Information Bill does not eliminate the flaws inherent in previous legislation passed by the former Ingraham administration, an expert on right to information laws has said.
TENSIONS mounted in the House of Assembly yesterday after the Speaker, Dr Kendal Major, went against senior Progressive Liberal Party members and allowed an “intervention” by opposition leader Hubert Minnis into the “judicial interference” matter surrounding embattled Cabinet minister V Alfred Gray.
A BILL to abolish the controversial mandatory minimum sentences implemented by the former Ingraham administration was one of a compendium of bills debated in the House of Assembly yesterday as part of the government’s effort to modernise the judicial system and curb crime in the country.
THE FAILURE of the proposed gender equality referendum should not be an option, Sea Breeze MP Hope Strachan said yesterday.
IN a 2009 tribute to Sir Clement Maynard, then Governor-general Sir Arthur Foulkes wrote that “politics, that most noble of professions, can sometimes, descend into something approaching savagery. And it seems that there is no greater fury in the political arena as when colleagues turn on each other”.
FORMER PLP Cabinet Minister George Smith said all government MPs should “fall in line” and support the Christie administration as it attempts to pass the four gender equality bills to amend the Constitution.
ORGANISER of the government’s Constitutional reform education campaign, retired Justice Ruby Nottage, said yesterday that she was “taken aback” by the announcement that parliamentary debate of the highly anticipated equality Bills would be delayed.
WHILE a group of parliamentarians last week suggested their salaries be subject to an independent review with a view to increasing how much they are paid, the government has not made public the annual financial disclosures of elected officials since 2012.
DESPITE the country’s significant fiscal constraints, a government-appointed select committee recommends that the Christie administration build a new House of Assembly complex during this parliamentary term, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage announced yesterday.
THE new rules for those attending the House of Assembly are anti-democratic and amount to an attempt to manage the media, a former senior parliamentarian charged last night.
POLICE are warning people to watch out for road closures as the new session of Parliament meets.