Sunday, 10 December 2017

ACP Council Takes Key Positions on Migration, Trade, ACP-EU Relations


Brussels, 10 December 2017/ ACP: Decision-makers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States approved key policy and administrative actions for the organisation, while also taking a stand on major issues affecting ACP countries.

The 106th session of the ACP Council of Ministers was held on the 4th to 6th of December at the ACP headquarters in Brussels, chaired by the Minister of Trade, Industry, Informal Sector and SMEs of the Republic of Senegal H.E. Mr. Alioune Sarr. The Council of Ministers took 16 Decisions, passed five Resolutions and made one Declaration, including the approval of the Secretariat’s work programme and budget for 2018.

Post-Cotonou Negotiations
The Council of Ministers instructed the Committee of Ambassadors to take several steps in preparation for upcoming negotiations with the EU for a renewed ACP-EU partnership agreement. These include elaborating the core guiding principles for negotiation, engaging with regional and continental organisations to consider regional specificities, conducting a comprehensive analysis of the EU’s preferred scenario for post-Cotonou ACP-EU relations, and completing outstanding studies related to the negotiations.

Ministers also agreed to convene a special session of Council dedicated to Post-Cotonou negotiations on 27th May 2018, preceding the 107th meeting of the Council of Ministers to be held in Lomé, Togo.

EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions
The Council of Ministers passed a resolution strongly condemning the unilateral and discriminatory practices of the EU in publishing a list of “non-cooperative tax jurisdictions”, which includes eight ACP states, despite these countries being compliant or largely compliant with the standards set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - the international body recognised for setting norms and standards on tax cooperation at the international level.

The Council noted that the ACP countries blacklisted are mostly small, developing states with vulnerable economies, which will suffer further negative economic impact and extensive reputational damage from the EU’s unilateral actions, which go against the spirit of partnership enshrined in the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement and undermines the trust and confidence leading up to Post-2020 negotiations. The Council demanded that the EU enter into dialogue with the ACP to resolve this matter.

Sale of African migrants in Libya
In a strongly worded declaration, the ACP Council of Ministers unanimously condemned the inhumane auctioning of migrants in Libya, which has been documented in the media. Denouncing these actions as “despicable acts of slavery” amounting to crimes against humanity, the Council called on the cooperating development partners to take a holistic and development approach in addressing the challenges of migration, including effective means of countering human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

The Council commended the Libyan authorities for their immediate response in investigating these heinous acts, as well as the swift engagement of the African Union. The Council of Ministers requested the Government of Libya to provide all necessary assistance to ensure the full respect of the rights of migrants and refugees.

Resolutions on situations in Guyana, Belize, Cuba
The Council of Ministers adopted resolutions in full support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of ACP member states, urging just and peaceful resolutions of territorial disputes between Guyana and Venezuela, as well as Belize and Guatemala. The Council also expressed its full support and solidarity with Cuba in its fight against the economic, commercial and financial blockade and extra-territorial measures imposed by the United States.

Enhancing trade among ACP countries
Several decisions were taken on trade, including a commitment to enhance intra-ACP trade and economic relations by setting up an ACP-wide trade information portal for ACP individuals and businesses in search of information on manufactured products, commodities, services, investment opportunities and best practices. Ministers also endorsed an incremental approach to intra-ACP trade, targeting areas that could being immediate benefits such as dealing with non-tariff measures and trade facilitation.

To tackle non-tariff measures set by the EU that impede, the Council of Ministers mandated the establishment of a new programme to support ACP states to cope with the myriad of SPS (Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary), TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) and other challenges related to exporting to the EU market.

The Council of Ministers also passed a resolution welcoming progress towards the implementation of the ACP’s “New Approach” to commodities, which focuses on transforming ACP commodities by enabling integration into regional and global value chains. The Council urged the expeditious completion of a new programme on value chains that will provide support to sectors such as cotton, sugar, banana, cocoa, kava, fisheries and rum.

Post-2020 ACP-EU trade
Looking towards trade with the European Union after the current ACP-EU Partnership Agreement expires in 2020, the Council of Ministers welcomed the EU’s assurance that trade and development cooperation will continue to play a key role in future relations, including Aid for Trade. The Council acknowledged that the cornerstone of future ACP-EU trade relations will likely be the reciprocal but asymmetric Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), for export growth and diversification. However, ministers underscored the need for the future partnership framework to allow discourse on cross-cutting issues under EPAs as well as bilateral and multilateral trade.

Budget 2018
The Council of Ministers approved the budget of the ACP Secretariat, to the tune of €15,798,678 for the 2018 financial year. A revised scale of contributions for ACP Member States was also approved, with effect from 1 January 2019.

Next Council session
The 107th session of the ACP Council of Ministers will be held in Lomé, Togo, to be followed immediately by the 42nd session of the Joint ACP-EU Council of Ministers (28 May – 1 June 2018).

For more information, please contact:
Josephine Latu-Sanft, ACP Press Office
Ave. Georges Henri 451, 1200 Brussels; +32 2 743 0617

Visit our website or follow us on Twitter @PressACP

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Thurston Responds to PM's Critical Remarks



Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, in his address at the Bahamas Press Club’s awards banquet, came across as rather presumptuous.

Here is a man with less than zero experience in journalism telling experienced journalists how to practice their profession.

It is akin to me, having absolutely no knowledge of medicine, lecturing him, a gynecologist, on how to perform a caesarean section.

When I was given the mic, I was tempted to remind him that talking fool is a very serious thing.
Members of the press ought rightfully to have felt insulted by the Prime Minister’s remarks.

In effect, he told us we were failures at our profession, especially for not supporting his pet projects, like his attempt to have citizenship bestowed outside the provisions of the Constitution.

To regurgitate the prime minister’s insane attempt at rank intimidation is to yuck up my vexation. You could read it in mainstream.

Suffice to say, the prime minister’s remarks only made what I had to say all the more pertinent.
The press is a pillar of strength for democracy in our Bahamas, I said.

At no other time in our Bahamaland, post Independence is the role of the press more crucial.

With such a runaway victory at the polls by the FNM, and human nature being what it is, it falls on the shoulders of the press to hold the government true to the national cause.

During the glory days of the Pindling administration, the FNM oftentimes reminded that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

We must ensure that that does not become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the FNM.

More than just regurgitating press statements, we must go behind the scenes and investigate from top to bottom without fear or favor, leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of the truth.

We cannot leave such vitally important processes to the much-discredited PLP, which has been fated with the important role of the Official Opposition.

The PLP, in its present state, is so utterly discredited, Bahamians do not have sufficient confidence in them for them to properly be seen to be performing the important role of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

This could have been a golden opportunity for the DNA to prove its devotion to the national cause.
Alas, the couple of press statements I read coming from the DNA shows it to be merely reactionary.
They have taken the easy path most trodden – government bashing.

And, since a strong Opposition is cornerstone to a transparent and productive government, the press must see to it that advantage is not taken of the naïve Bahamians who so overwhelmingly put their trust in the FNM.

We must ask the hard questions and demand the right answers. Report with neutrality and impartiality. Let the chips fall where they may. Investigate from top to bottom and back. Take nobody’s word for it.

We must be in a position to determine when the government moves from being a solution to the problems facing the nation, to itself being a part of the problem.

And since the press is the watchdog of the nation’s affairs, Bahamians must co-operate with the press. Report to them everything.

And, my colleagues, I urge you: cultivate sobriety, and most of all be vigilant.

I thank you.

Veteran Bahamian journalist Gladstone Thurston

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Press Club President Responds to PM's Remarks about Media


November 21, 2017

Press Club President responds to PM's remarks about media

NASSAU, The Bahamas – President of The Bahamas Press Club 2014, Anthony Capron has responded to remarks made by Dr the Hon Hubert A Minnis, Prime Minister, during his Keynote address at The Bahamas Press Club Awards on Saturday, November 18, 2017.

The Prime Minister seemingly bashed the media and suggested what they should be reporting on, instead of critcizing him and his Government.

“I would say that the Prime Minister was perhaps misguided in the opinions he expressed about the media and the hard-working professional men and women who daily gather the news from every corner of this archipelago,” Mr. Capron said.

But that is exactly why The Bahamas Press Club has instituted the annual media awards, he noted.
“Because you always hear the press being bashed for what it is not doing. The good goes unspoken, unrecognized and unappreciated by the critics.

“And so, we cannot and will not be put off by the bad mouthing that will come our way. We have a job to do and we will do our job.

For more information contact: Lindsay Thompson, Secretary, The Bahamas Press Club 2014 at: (242) 434-5643. Or (242) 557-0862. Facebook: The Bahamas Press Club 2014. Website:

Saturday, 18 November 2017

2017 BPC Media Award Winners


WINNER: Ayhisha Small – Paginator, The Nassau Guardian

WINNER: 4 – Torrell Glinton – Photographer, The Nassau Guardian

WINNER: Karissma Robinson - News Anchor/Journalist, ZNS

WINNER: Taneka Thompson – News Editor, The Tribune

WINNER: Renaldo Dorsett – Sports Reporter, The Tribune

WINNER:  Timothy Bain – Instagram Reporter

WINNER: Kyle Walkine – Reporter, Our News/The Nassau Guardian

WINNER:  Jessica Robertson - Journalist/Marketing/Advertising/PR


WINNER: Shavaughn Moss - Lifestyles Editor, The Nassau Guardian

WINNER: Rossano Deal – Social Media Editor, The Nassau Guardian

WINNER: Inigo ‘Naughty’ Zenicazelaya – Columnist, The Tribune


WINNER: Leah Cooper – Student, Media Journalism, University of The Bahamas

PM's Remarks at BPC Media Awards

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis at the Third Annual Bahamas Press Club Awards.

Remarks by Dr. The Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, M.P.
Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
The Third Annual Press Club Media Awards
Saturday, November 18, 2017
British Colonial Hilton

SALUTATIONS: Press Club President Capron;



Invited guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Thank you for the invitation to bring brief remarks at your third annual awards banquet. Let me begin by congratulating this year’s nominees.  I also wish to recognize the Lifetime Achievement Award granted to Gladstone Thurston for his contribution to journalism over many decades.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The press has an essential role in promoting good governance, transparency and accountability. By pressing public officials for accurate and timely information, the press helps citizens to learn about the decisions being made by a government on their behalf.

But in addition to the sometimes-heated moments or events of the day, there is much more that the press may report on, especially on matters of public policy.  There has been a tendency by political journalists to mostly report on the clashes and drama of politics.  Such reporting is fairly easy and exciting.  Still, while there is news in such events, there is considerably more, much more, when reporting on politics and the workings of government.  Some in the press often miss important and more consequential stories on important public policy questions.

By example, the landmark legislation that will be introduced to enable a certain classification of women and men denied equal access to citizenship in the Constitution has been unreported, while some other stories have gained more traction. Drama undeniably excites viewers and readers.  This is much easier to report on.

But certainly the press has a broader obligation to report on policy matters that will have a greater impact than some stories that are less substantial.

I have often found that the better reporting in our daily newspapers is to be found in the business sections, where the writers report in more detail on critical issues, which will have a significant and long-term impact.  It is telling that the headlines in the business sections are not tabloid in nature.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 A good journalist does not think or write in clichés.  A good journalist appreciates nuance and complexity. Often missing from local reporting is a broader context, which helps readers and viewers to understand an issue or story, with greater historical background and comparison with other countries and jurisdictions.

    I recall a conversation in which someone referred to a matter as a Bahamian problem.  They were corrected by someone else in the conversation, who rightly said that the matter at hand was a human problem, with a Bahamian twist.

Good public servants and good journalists have a broader, more global horizon. It is easy for public officials, business people, journalists and others to be insular, to navel-gaze, while avoiding a broader horizon.

Journalism that is not nourished by in-depth reading and by external news sources such as international broadcasts, magazines and newspapers, remains narrow and insular.

The government of the day is committed to creating a new culture when it comes to official corruption.  We are instituting a number of measures to promote cleaner government and to stem corruption.

This would be a good moment for the media and certainly for an enterprising reporter to research and report on the clean government and anti-corruption regimes of other jurisdictions.

Likewise, on other matters of public policy, it would be useful for the media to give their readers and viewers a more global perspective – in both senses of the word, “global” – on issues being debated in The Bahamas.

A good journalist is one who is curious and who continues to learn.  A good journalist appreciates the need for comparative reporting.  Readers and viewers are short-changed when reporters and editors become rote, mundane and predictable in their reporting.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

While I understand that journalists in The Bahamas must take on multiple roles given the number of reporters and limited resources; it is still surprising that some who serve as editors also regularly write or offer commentary.  This is not a practice that would be allowed by journalists in other countries.  I am not speaking here of editorial writing.

A journalist and a columnist are distinctly different roles!

Nor the editors of The New York Times or Globe and Mail in Canada, nor the editors at the British Broadcasting Corporation would allow their editors to write commentary or to host a radio program driven by personal opinion as well as commentary that purports to be news analysis.

The 24-hour cable news shows in the United States have in a number of ways led to a lessening of standards that would not have been allowed in previous times. There has been a considerable blurring of reporting and commentary. 

It is telling when certain standards have been breached, that some in the press do not even realize that a standard has been breached. Journalists are not supposed to be champions of any political party, business, group or interest in a country. 

Journalists must avoid conflicts of interest, and must be allowed to report fairly and honestly on where a story takes them.  The best journalism criticizes, celebrates and inspires. 

I note that while some journalist are often more prone to negativity and cynicism, there are many wonderful and positive stories reported by the press, though I sometimes believe there can be more such stories.

The editor in chief of the UK Guardian news and media group Katharine Viner recently noted:

“If people long to create a better world, then we must use our platform to nurture imagination – hopeful ideas, fresh alternatives, belief that the way things are isn’t the way things need to be.

“We cannot merely criticize the status quo; we must also explore the new ideas that might displace it.  We must build hope.”

I believe that it is the great task and wonderful responsibility of all of us in the public domain, including political leaders and journalist, to “build hope” and not merely to “criticize the status quo.”  May we use our platforms in journalism and government to “nurture imagination.” 

Let me close by thanking all of you for your work as journalists. 

I especially thank the reporters and editors who work hard to inform and educate viewers and readers.

Your role in our democracy is essential.  This is why I thought it important to appoint a press secretary.  I note that Anthony Newbold is a past president of the press club.

I wish the Press Club every success as you continue to develop as an association of journalists committed to the values, ethics and principles of your craft.

Thank you all and good evening.                                                                         

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

New Anchor for JCN, Jillian Gray

Bahamas Press Club member C. Jillian Gray debuts as the new evening news anchor at JCN.  Watch her  every week on JCN Channel 14. 

Friday, 3 November 2017

Bahamian Journalist Meets with Members of Congress of Parliamentarians

Dr. Debbie Bartlett meets with Members of Congress of Parliamentarians of the Americas in Washington D.C.
The congress of Parliamentarians enjoy a membership of 700 Congressman. Senators and Parliamentarians from the United States and Latin America.
The keynote speaker for the Private dinner hosted by ADF and The Congress of Parliamentarians on October 30th 2017 was Senator Mike Lee.
Dr. Debbie Bartlett (center) meets with members of the Congress of Parliamentarians of the Americas. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Media Awards 2017 Ticket Sale Begins Oct. 21

Media Awards 2017 tickets on sale beginning October 21.

Place ticket order at or call 242-434-5643.

Bahamian Journalist and Press Club Member Participates in NBCUniversal Workshops

Bahamian journalist and Bahamas Press Club member Deandre Williamson participated in the CNBC Business News Associate Workshop and NBCUniversity at the Excellence in Journalism Convention in Anaheim, California,
September 7-9, 2017.

The Bahamas Press Club 2014 is proud that its member, Deandre Williamson was selected from among hundreds of applicants to participate in the CNBC Business News Associate Workshop and NBCUniversity at the Excellence in Journalism Convention held recently in Anaheim, California.

The Press Club congratulates Williamson, in keeping with its mission, which is to foster a culture of excellence and integrity in the profession of Journalism and Mass Communications.

The convention was held September 7–9, 2017 and hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Williamson was among the few journalists who participated in the CNBC Business News Associate Workshop, designed to educate journalists about the fundamentals of world-class business journalism and demonstrate the underlying strategies that define and differentiate CNBC in the marketplace.

“The selection process for the CNBC workshop was highly competitive, but I’m excited to have been chosen,” Williamson said.

Unfortunately, the convention occurred during the passage of Hurricane Irma in The Bahamas and Williamson was unable to assist her JCN news team with its coverage.

“I was a bit disappointed that I was unable to help my colleagues at home with Irma’s coverage, but Irma became the topic of many discussions during the conference,” Williamson said.

“Since hurricanes have many business news angles, I was able to pitch several story ideas for business news coverage on Hurricane Irma during the CNBC workshop.  I had to present the story ideas and explain how the stories would be covered for CNBC, which was a part of the business news simulation exercise.”

Williamson also participated in NBCUniversity, another competitive workshop hosted by NBCUniversal.

This was Williamson’s second time participating in NBCUniversity.  She was selected to participate in this workshop in 2015 at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“NBCUniversity this year was awesome as expected.  You have to complete your script homework assignment before attending NBCUniversity,” Williamson explained.

“I saw the improvements in my broadcast script when compared to the one presented during the session in 2015.  Actually, my script was the best presented in my group.  The NBC news director, who did the critiques for my group this year, gave me thumbs up.”

This year, NBCUniversity focused on the Fourth Estate and delved into the role of journalism in the society’s emerging political and social landscape and the give and take between government and media.

“NBCUniversity reminded me to be proud to be a journalist because journalists are in need now more than ever before.  It’s a great time to be a journalist!” Williamson said. 

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Anthony Newbold steps down as Bahamas Press Club President; Anthony Capron voted in

Anthony Newbold (left) hands the gavel to Anthony Capron.
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Veteran journalist Anthony Capron takes the gavel and is now President of The Bahamas Press Club 2014. Mr. Capron was unanimously voted in, succeeding Anthony A Newbold, who led the organization for almost three years.

Mr. Newbold officially stepped down as president during the Annual General Meeting held at the British Colonial Hilton on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. He relinquished the post following his appointment as Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister on May 18, 2017; so as to avoid any conflict of interest.

Mr. Newbold thanked the executives and members for their support since the reestablishment of The Press Club in 2014. He also pledged his continued support to the further growth of the organization and encouraged members of the mass media to join.

He also encouraged media professionals to submit their work for judging in the Press Club Media Awards scheduled for November 18, 2017. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Incoming President Anthony Capron thanked outgoing president Newbold for his dedicated service over the past three years and pledged to work for the growth of The Press Club.

British Colonial Hilton-Harry Oakes Room
JUNE 27TH, 2017

Good evening and thank you for coming to this third Annual General Meeting of The Bahamas Press Club 2014.

Despite what some may consider great odds we continue to survive. However, the ultimate survival of the club depends on you and those you can convince of the righteousness of this cause.

On May 10th, 2017, Bahamians went to the polls and 91,000 of them decided that it was time for a new government. The Free National Movement led by Dr. Hubert Minnis polled 91,394 votes or 56.98% of the ballots cast to the Perry Christie led progressive liberal party’s 59,248 or 36.9% to win the most lopsided victory in the political history of The Bahamas.

Baha Mar, the decade old project that continues to tease the Bahamian people inched a step closer to becoming a real player in the economic life of the country with a soft opening in early may. President Graeme Davis says the resort is on track for the planned ramping up of operations.

This is important as the GFS deficit for 2017/18 is expected to be $323 million. While it is a marked improvement from the $500 million deficit in 2016/17, it is still higher than the $310 million deficit posted in 2015/16. The new government has promised robust efforts at collecting outstanding amounts owed to the government and introducing new measures to earn revenue.

Crime is still a problem that residents of New Providence in particular hope the new government can get a handle on, especially murders.

We have once again been able to attract some of the best and brightest to our ranks. Included in the list is head of media at the University of the Bahamas, Dr. Yvette Stuart. It is expected that others like tribune chief reporter Ava Turnquest will once again step forward for service as every able bodied member of the media is needed to move the organization forward.

The Bahamas Press Club became a Founding Member of The African Caribbean & Pacific (ACP) Press Clubs Federation in October 2016. I was fortunate to represent The Club at the Founding Congress in Kigali, Rwanda.

Because of my involvement in the meeting and moving the process forward, I was voted on to the Interim Executive Council, which remains in place until 2018 when a permanent council will be appointed.

The follow-up meeting was held in Brussels in November 2016 where further steps were taken to solidify the mandate of the Federation and create new alliances.

At that time, despite my absence, I was appointed vice president of the organization and charged with producing a business plan.

My attendance brought us to the attention of The Press Club of Brussels and the International Federation of Journalists. Both are robust organizations and membership in either is a coveted item.

We were privileged to have several interesting presenters over the past 12 months, none more influential or important than Prime Minister, Dr. Hon. Hubert Minnis. He spoke to us shortly before the General Election and addressed the role and expectations of the press from a public perspective. Dr. Minnis also encourage journalists to be more diligent in preparing their stories and reports and to dig deeper for the real story.

Attorney Alfred Sears also addressed The Club shortly before Dr. Minnis. Mr. Sears was, at the time, contesting for the leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party. Mr. Sears was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat Party Leader and then Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie.

We also heard the views of Canadian/Guyanese John “Ish” Ishmael on Citizen Journalism and from Ms. Mary Curtis from the National Public Radio on the recent U.S. Election via skype.

As always The Press Club Awards on November 19th, 2016 was the signature event of the year. For the first time the number of awards presented was expanded, with the Lifetime Achievement Award going to his Excellency, Calsey Johnson, Bahamas High Commissioner to Canada.

Awards for Best Documentary, Political Story and Best Photograph among others, were presented. While several categories were not represented, Columnist of The Year, for example, we should not be deterred in seeking to generate interests for all of them in 2017.

Former Jamaican Prime Minister, The Most Honorable P. J. Patterson was the keynote speaker.

The University of the Bahamas held Media Week, March 19th – 25th on the campus. The Press Club was invited to sponsor a Media Reception, which we did at Choices Restaurant. By all accounts it was well received. Thanks go to among others, Secretary Lindsay Thompson, Treasurer Vincent Vaughan, Gina Morley, Deandre Williamson and Frankie Ferguson who provided food for the reception and Charles Sawyer for the brochures. The Club will need to engage in more events such as this to increase its profile and visibility and to pique the interest of those we wish to attract. Several scholarships were awarded, thanks to Assistant Prof Winston Mitchell, UB Journalism, who arranged for The Club to be invited to sponsor the event.

Berthony McDermott and Jillian Grey are among those students.

After many fits and starts I am proud to formally announce tonight that The Bahamas Press Club has a new and functioning web site, designed and built by our own Deandre Williamson. The website will be officially launched shortly. I also note that Deandre was the First Place Winner in the Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics and Integrity.

I have been fortunate to be tapped by the prime minister to be his press secretary. The first one ever in The Bahamas. Another milestone for The Bahamas Press Club. As a consequence I must resign as president of this fine organization.

As I turn over the gavel tonight, I reflect on June 2013 when I began the journey that resulted in this latest incarnation of The Bahamas Press Club.

Unfortunately conditions were pretty much the same: the country was beset with crime and deficits and journalists were not bonding and banding together as we should to advance the profession.

However, in all fairness, we have made great strides since then.

We are now in our third year of existence, with the first Pioneer Awards and Mrs. Eileen Carron as the Lifetime Achievement Awardee, under our belt. The public attention and respect we were able to garner propelled us into the 2nd Annual Media Awards last November. And, we can boast membership in the ACP Press Clubs Federation. Locally we can say that our members remain steady with the possibility of growth.

There is obviously much work to be done but I am confident that you have within this organization the ability to accomplish much. It is now a matter of will and commitment.

I must commend my executives who have been steadfast with me since the beginning. Lindsay Thompson, our secretary, Vincent Vaughan our treasurer and Anthony Capron, our 1st vice president who takes the gavel tonight in order of succession.

I could not have done it without you and you have my undying gratitude. I must also commend Frankie Ferguson who could not be here but who was always ready to lend his support, especially when I needed a quorum. I thank Charles Sawyer, who also could not be here. Going forward you have 60 days, until August 29th, to either confirm Mr. Capron or choose a New President. You will also get to choose a vice president. In the meantime, please give Mr. Capron the kind of support you gave to me. That is what he will need. I wish you well and much success. The world awaits you.

I will always be available for advice and consultation but I must move on. It has been a labor of love. Those of us who love the profession must never give up on any effort to make it better and more effective.

God speed and good night!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, FNM Leader to Address Bahamas Press Club Monthly Meeting

Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, FNM Leader
to Address Bahamas Press Club Monthly Meeting

Free National Movement Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Free National Movement Leader the Hon Dr Hubert A Minnis will address The Bahamas Press Club monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at the British Colonial Hilton.

Dr Minnis, is scheduled to speak to the organization and other media colleagues at 7 p.m. in the Sir Harry Oakes Boardroom.

As the country gears up for General Election, The Press Club will facilitate a number of such presentations “aimed at strengthening the democratic process, thus encouraging eligible Bahamians to register to vote,” says Press Club President Anthony A Newbold.

Affectionately known as ‘Doc” Hubert Alexander Minnis, first entered frontline politics in 2007 when he was elected as the Member of Parliament for the Free National Movement (FNM) Government. He served as Minister of Health under the FNM from 2007 – 2012.

He was reelected to Parliament on May 7, 2012, as the Member of Parliament for the Killarney Constituency.

On May 26, 2012, Dr. Minnis accepted the leadership of the Opposition Free National Movement. During his acceptance speech, he pledged a vision for The Bahamas encompassing the principles of accountability and transparency. At the November 22, 2015, Free National Movement Convention, Dr. Minnis was re-elected as Party Leader. Once again, at the July 2016 Free National Movement’s National Convention, Dr. Minnis emerged as Leader of the Party.

Dr. Minnis is “dedicated to the promotion of Bahamian ownership and the expansion of wealth in the economy through the redevelopment and transformation of traditional Over-the-Hill and inner-city communities,” he biography reflects.

His biography also states that he has endeared himself to the children of the Killarney Constituency through his “Lets Read Killarney Program” designed to cultivate in the youth, and foster within them a love for reading and literature. He enjoys reading, meeting people, spending time with family and friends, and working out at the gym.

A Junkanoo enthusiast and member of the Saxons Junkanoo Super Stars, it is not unusual to see Dr. Minnis rushing on Bay Street during the Boxing Day and New Year’s Junkanoo Parades.

Born in Bain’s Town to Rosalie North and Randolph Minnis, Dr. Minnis attended Our Lady’s Primary School, Western Junior, and St. Augustine’s College in Nassau. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, U.S.A., with a Bachelor of Science degree and further matriculated in London, Great Britain. He is a Member of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (MRCOG) and a Fellow of The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (FRCOG).

Dr. Minnis is married to the former Patricia Beneby and has three children.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Sears Demands Constitutional Amendment for Free Press

Sears Demands Constitutional Amendment for Free Press
PLP Promised Free Press Since 1953

Alfred Sears, former Attorney General
A free press is vital to any democratic society and along with the citizens’ right to know, former Attorney General Alfred Sears is calling on the government to amend the Bahamian constitution to include press freedom.   

“I believe that the right of the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to know and to be kept informed on the conduct of public affairs via a free press is so fundamental that it should be expressed in the constitution rather than left for judicial construction,” Sears said during his address at The Bahamas Press Club’s recent meeting at the British Colonial Hilton.

During his presentation on ‘The Role of the Media in National Development,’ Sears said he is advocating for the constitution to be amended to include the right to vote and freedom of the press as fundamental rights. 

“I make no apologies for this because as I look at the history of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the most dramatic examples of accountability have been those occasions when the press through its diligence, through its investigation, and through its determined efforts have reported on the misdeeds of public officials within our country.  It is then that we respond by appointing Commissions of Inquiry,” Sears explained.

The discussion to include freedom of the press in the Bahamian constitution isn’t new. 
In 2013, the Constitutional Commission chaired by Sean McWeeney, QC, advocated for the amendment of the constitution to include a free press.

According to the Constitutional Commission’s report, “It cannot be denied that a free and unbridled press is one of the most important institutions of a democratic society and is deserving of constitutional protection.”

The report recommended that Article 23 of the Bahamian constitution be expanded to include a reference to freedom of the press and the media.

The Constitutional Commission also made the same recommendations in 2006.

Article 23 of the constitution states, “Except with his consent, no person should be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of expression.”

Sears also agree that this phrase should be construed liberally to include freedom of the press.

Sears, who is also the Progressive Liberal Party’s Fort Charlotte candidate, explained that the PLP, since its inception in 1953, included a free press in its pledge.

The PLP pledged in 1953, according to Sears, “A press which is unbridled.  A press which may be irritating, but it is a press which is not controlled by the policy makers of the state, by the politicians and by the vested interest within the society.”

The Fort Charlotte candidate expressed that the PLP, in its founding documents, also promised servant leadership.

However, Sears said servant leadership is not modeled in the political affairs of the country and as a result, citizens become fearful of those who exercise power.

“The concentration of power is so great, especially in the Office of The Prime Minister, that the citizens feel intimidated and fear with good reason because there have been cases where people have been victimized,” he added.

“And therefore, we see that the exercise of public power within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas tend to have a chilling effect on robust public conversation and petitioning of the government.”

When situations like this occur, Bahamians must wait five years until another general election for their voices to be heard, Sears said.

But, Bahamians should not have wait five years, he explained, because “the important role and the important function of a free press within a democratic society is one of the safeguards of democracy.”