Eurovision – A word about media freedom?

first_img News RSF_en Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Azerbaijan Related documents IPGA 2012 reportPDF – 749.5 KB News AzerbaijanEurope – Central Asia AzerbaijanEurope – Central Asia May 24, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Eurovision – A word about media freedom? Organisation News “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says June 4, 2021 Find out more News RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan to go further Russian peacekeepers deny foreign reporters access to Nagorno-Karabakh June 8, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts The eyes of more than 100 million TV viewers will turn to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku in two days’ time for the Eurovision Song Contest final. The European public will be shown a beautiful country and a hospitable people. “But there is another side to Azerbaijan that the authorities have done everything possible to mask – a repressive and brutal regime that stops at nothing to silence the few journalists who try to investigate sensitive subjects or provide critical news coverage,” Reporters Without Borders said.“We are not trying to spoil the party or, still less, promote any ‘hostile’ political agenda, as the Azerbaijani government likes to claim, but how can song be completely dissociated from freedom of expression? Singers have come from 40 countries to make their voices heard in Baku but other voices will remain unheard. “What about the voices of the blogger and five journalists currently in prison for what they wanted to say, the two journalists who were murdered, the dozens of journalists who have been the victims of physical attacks that go unpunished, and the independent media that have been largely eliminated? Civil society will struggle to make its voice heard. They should all, in their own way, be contributing to the concert.”The Azerbaijani authorities have spent hundreds of millions of petrodollars on giving the capital a facelift for this event, which crowns an international charm offensive. No effort has been spared to project the image of a modern, dynamic and open country, a new Dubai growing at a breakneck pace, with trendy discotheques and welcoming beaches. A paradise for investors if you can turn a blind eye to the corruption.But Azerbaijan is definitely not a paradise for journalists. Nor for human rights in general. Ranked 162nd out of 179 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, it also has two of the world’s “predators of freedom of information” that Reporters Without Borders has identified – President Ilham Aliev and his loyal henchman, Vasif Talibov, who tests the most draconian repressive methods in the isolated exclave of NakhchivanThe International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan, a coalition of NGOs that includes Reporters Without Borders, issued a report on 26 March documenting the appalling state of freedom of information in Azerbaijan.A broadcast media regulatory body under the president’s direct control ensures that all radio and TV stations support the government. The few independent publications hardly circulate outside the capital. The media situation deteriorated even more as a result of the violent crackdown on a wave of pro-democracy demonstrations in the spring of 2011, in the wake of the Arab revolts. Bloggers were arrested and beaten, opposition journalists were abducted and foreign journalists were deported.The remaining handful of independent journalists are often the targets of threats and smear campaigns. The murders of two outspoken journalists, Elmar Huseynov in 2005 and Rafik Tagi in 2011, are still unpunished, as are the frequent physical attacks on journalists.“We urge the performers taking part in this event to express their support for Azerbaijan’s civil society and media,” Reporters Without Borders added. “France’s representative, Anggun, is said to be sensitive to human rights issues. Will she point to the parallels between the prison environment shown in her video clip and the fate that Azerbaijani journalists often suffer?“The European Broadcasting Union, which oversees the contest, should start to speak out about the grave situation of Azerbaijan’s media, in accordance with the principles and values it is supposed to promote. Finally, we appeal to each of the 1,600 journalists who are expected, urging them to assign at least a few hours of their visit to conducting interviews and research into this issue.”By turning the international spotlight on Azerbaijan, the authorities have given civil society an unexpected chance to make its voice heard. Azerbaijani civil society now needs the support of the international community. It must also be ready for the reprisals that are liable to follow once all the cameras have left.Get informed, join the campaign! – International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan- Sing for Democracy campaign- Read the report “Running scared. Azerbaijan’s Silenced Voices”: April 9, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

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Young Gunners defeat Brick Squad in Bellevue Chopin’s ball-o-rama

first_imgPhoto credit: flags.redpixart.comThe Bellevue Chopin Small Goal League, organized by the newly formed Bellevue Chopin Sports Committee began on Sunday with a Ball o rama league on the Bellevue Playing field.Four teams, Young Gunners, Brick Squad, Bloods and Mad Squad participated in the ball-o-rama and another two teams are expected to join the league later.In the finals Young Gunners defeated Brick Squad 2 – 0.  Kyle Davis and Odel Robin were the goal scorers.League matches begin officially Saturday June 11.The community is asked to come out in large numbers to support the players when the league begins officially andCommittee will use the village league as a means of selecting a village team for the proposed Southern Football League to be held soon and to use the league and other sporting disciplines as a means of helping developing  the community.Mr. Abraham BrowneSports Officer South NewsSports Young Gunners defeat Brick Squad in Bellevue Chopin’s ball-o-rama by: – May 31, 2011 Sharing is caring! Share Tweetcenter_img Share Share 71 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

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Crusader girls tennis team ends season going 1-2 in state tennis tournament

first_imgPeyton AdamsKelsey WhaleySumner Newscow report — The Crusader girls tennis team ended its season this past weekend in Topeka with the Class 4A State tournament at Kossover Stadium in Topeka.Wellington doubles partners Kelsey Whaley and Peyton Adams made their second trip to the state tournament and didn’t have the outcome they were hoping for going 1-2 on Saturday.In their opening match they lost to the Matthews sisters from Independence 6-1, 6-0.  “We just couldn’t shake our nerves the whole match, and the other pair had a match before they got to us because we got a bye,” said Brian Aufdengarten, Wellington head girls tennis coach. “You want those byes but sometimes having a warmup match is good because you sit for another two to three hours.”The Wellington pair bounced back and beat Chapman 9-3, then in another elimination match the nerves showed up again after falling behind to Parsons.“After we tied it up at 2-2 I thought that we would be ok, but we just played nervous the whole matching knowing that we are eliminated if we lost,” Aufdengarten said.Parsons went on to win the match 9-5.Kelsey Whaley will graduate this year and ends a very good career with 95 career wins that moves her into sixth place on the all time win list, Aufdengarten said. The Wellington pair finished 24-11 this year.“I know it is not what we wanted but to even make state is a great accomplishment and these two kept our streak alive now for 10 straight years of having Wellington represented at the state tournament,” Aufdengarten said.Wellington finished 17th as a team. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (2) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +1 Vote up Vote down Sally · 355 weeks ago congratulations girls. Report Reply 0 replies · active 355 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down WHSFAN · 355 weeks ago Congrats to both of these young ladies, you made Wellington Tennis proud. Report Reply 0 replies · active 355 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

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Raiders and Arden Key a perfect match, at least for now

first_imgALAMEDA — Arden Key might be a first-round talent, but talent is only one piece to the puzzle. And that’s why the LSU edge defender slipped to the third round.The Raiders are historically a franchise known for giving players second chances. Just look at the past week. Cornerback Daryl Worley, wide receiver Martavis Bryant and now Key, who left LSU for four months last spring for personal reasons, had shoulder surgery and skyrocketed to around 270 pounds (he said he’s at 250 now). Add on an …last_img read more

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a month agoArsenal boss Emery takes squad out for ‘unity’ dinner

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal boss Emery takes squad out for ‘unity’ dinnerby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery is demanding unity from his players.The Sun says he ordered Arsenal players to show “solidarity” to the outside world during a team dinner called straight after the Watford debacle.Gunners stars dined at trendy Mayfair restaurant Novikov with the management following their catastrophic defensive performance in the 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road.In an attempt to salvage team spirit, under-pressure boss Emery told his squad that the critics were watching for their reaction.The Spaniard ordered them to put on a united front — despite huge cracks and factions developing within the dressing room.Emery wants to portray the image that the players all get on and are a tightly-knit unit.But that could not be further from the truth after skipper Granit Xhaka claimed Arsenal’s players were “scared”.According to Arsenal insiders, there is a lack of discipline at the club and Emery has struggled to exert any authority over an unruly dressing room. last_img read more

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12 days agoArsenal eyeing Scunthorpe’s son of a gun Joey Dawson

first_imgArsenal eyeing Scunthorpe’s son of a gun Joey Dawsonby Paul Vegas12 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveScunthorpe United’s teenage midfielder Joey Dawson is attracting Premier League interest.The Sun says the talented 16-year-old became the youngest first-team player in Scunthorpe’s history in August.He is the son of former Iron left-back Andy and a nephew of ex-Tottenham defender Michael Dawson.Dawson has made just one appearance this season, coming off the bench in the 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat at the hands of Derby.And Arsenal are keen to snap up Dawson in a surprise deal. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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OSU football game day costs add up to 94 million for athletic

Ohio State students paid $32 per ticket for home football games last season. The OSU Athletic Department spent more than $1.3 million a game to host them. The department spent nearly $9.4 million on the 2009 season. That figure would have covered the cost of tuition for nearly 1,000 in-state students. The department made almost $31.4 million on games last year, good for nearly $4.5 million a game. Department officials said they expect similar numbers for expenses and revenue for the 2010 season. Profits from each game remain relatively constant throughout the season, but the expenses vary drastically, even though the price tag per game covers similar services. The difference between the most expensive game for the athletic department, Navy, and the least expensive, University of Southern California, was $945,784. Because of agreements with contractors, the cost of electricity, cleanup services and payments to game officials is fixed. The disparity in overall cost comes largely from game guarantees. These guarantees — the amount the athletic department pays visiting schools — are usually negotiated by the athletic director. “If it was a home-and-home situation like USC was, the guarantees are usually significantly less,” said Pete Hagan, associate athletic director of finance. OSU played at USC in 2008 before the Trojans came to Ohio Stadium last season, meaning the schools essentially traded game guarantees. “The Navy one was higher because there was some glitch in the schedule that … required us to go out and give them a much higher guarantee to get them in here,” he said. Hagan said those types of scheduling problems are rare but would not disclose precisely what the “glitch” was. In the Big Ten, the more profitable teams — such as OSU — are required to distribute $1 million to opponents for home conference games, Hagan said. Removing game guarantees from the equation, the USC game cost the university $88,968 more than any other contest, looking at only operating expenses. That variation stems primarily from kickoff times. “The only thing that really affects the expense side is if it’s a noon game, a 3:30 (p.m.) start or a night game,” Hagan said. “A lot of the security and traffic control … has to start for a night game early in the morning just like a regular game would.” The USC game kicked off at 8 p.m. Those traffic control and security costs constitute the two largest portions of the operational expenses for a given game. OSU spent just more than $1.4 million on security and traffic and parking for the 2009 season. By comparison, the University of Nebraska spent nearly $849,000 on those areas last season, and the University of Iowa expects to spend $975,000 on security and traffic in 2010. Don Patko, OSU’s associate athletic director of facilities management, said the university ultimately benefits from the money spent. “Between in-bound and out-bound (traffic), we are second to none … in and out. For 102,000 fans in an urban setting, we’re one of the best,” he said, sitting in his office inside the stadium. The stadium holds 102,329 people. With that many people clustered in one area, security becomes another major factor, officials said. “We know that Ohio Stadium is a desirable target for the bad guys so we do everything that we can … to protect our fans,” said Ben Jay, associate athletic director of finance and operations. Officials said that, to protect visitors and athletes, the university works with about a dozen law enforcement agencies to secure the stadium and surrounding areas. Though officials would not say exactly which agencies are involved, it includes Columbus Police, OSU Police, the State Highway Patrol, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Fire Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For each agency, OSU is “at the mercy” of its union when it comes to cost, Hagan said. “Ohio State is looked at as the leader in this type of security business,” Patko said. “We’ve got to be the best secured stadium in the country.” Megan Schneider, a third-year in nursing, has attended football games at the University of Illinois in addition to OSU and noticed a difference in the level of security. In Illinois, “I still felt secure, but it wasn’t quite as intense as Ohio State,” she said. Molly Shlaes, a third-year in civil engineering, has attended games at Ohio Stadium and the University of Iowa. “Around the stadium, I would say there’s a lot more (security) here,” she said, “because the streets surrounding are bigger than the streets surrounding at Iowa, so they have to direct more traffic.” OSU officials said the security effort for home football games is such a smooth operation that other universities use OSU’s model as the standard. “About a year ago, the Department of Homeland Security partnered with the university creating a video that’s used as a training module for other venues on how to set up security at their stadiums,” said Tom McGinnis, assistant athletic director of administration and human resources. The video was federally funded through the Urban Area Security Initiative, said OSU Police Chief Paul Denton, in an e-mail. The stadium’s clean-up operation is another area that officials think sets OSU apart. “We probably have the lowest cleanup cost in the country,” Patko said. “A lot of stadiums go $15 (thousand) to $20 (thousand) in just power washing and trash removal, where that has been stabilized at about $7,100.” Total cleanup expenses at other universities are often around $50,000 a game, he said. The University of Georgia, whose stadium seats 10,000 fewer fans than Ohio Stadium, spent about $40,000 per game on cleanup costs last year. Lower clean-up costs are largely tied to a 43-year relationship with the university ROTC, which works alongside student employees Sunday mornings to clean the stadium. The cooperation leads not only to lower costs, but also rapid turnaround. “By 10:30 or 11 a.m. Sunday morning, we are ready for a meeting, another game, an event or anything inside” the stadium, Patko said. Though the post-game cleaning saves the department money, cleaning during games, especially in restrooms, is costly. “We have specific crews that have to hit those areas at strategic times during a game,” Patko said. The effort of the athletic department to increase recycling efforts has also resulted in higher expenses. “We are trying to get to zero waste, and that’s hard to do,” Patko said. “There’s some extra cost going to recycled products.” Although the choice to recycle has increased expenses, officials said the athletic department is looking to cut costs in other areas. “Cutting expenses, there are always ways to look at that,” Patko said. “If you cut expenses you’ve got to defer something.” Officials are wary, though, to cut corners by hiring fewer staff members. “You could save it on not having so much personnel here,” Patko said. “But personnel things can create a risk.” Although officials gave their program ample praise, they wouldn’t compare their facilities to the most prestigious football venues. “We’re not at the pro level. The pro level is the Cadillac,” Patko said. But “we’re probably giving the folks a little more service than some of the better schools.” Ultimately, some said, comparing Ohio Stadium to others around the country is difficult. “It’s very hard to compare us even to some of the major big-school programs around the country,” Jay said. “We’re a different animal than everybody else.” The differences arise because of the stadium’s size and location, he said. The urban surrounding in Columbus is rare for college stadiums. The other universities whose stadiums make up the five largest in the country, University of Michigan, Penn State University, University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama, are all in lower-populated areas. Columbus also has more than four times as many people as the cities where those schools are located. Officials toyed with Penn State and the University of Texas for size comparison but had difficulties coming up with college venues that matched Ohio Stadium in both capacity and surrounding population. “As far as (college) stadiums of our size around the country, we’re second to none,” Patko said. “Of the stadiums over 100,000 in North America, it would be Dallas Cowboys in pro and then Ohio State.” read more

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Shaqiri and Alisson start dates revealed

first_imgAlisson Becker and Xherdan Shaqiri will begin their Liverpool careers by linking up with the squad for the training camp in France.The Brazilian goalkeeper, who completed his move from AS Roma on a long-term contract on Thursday, will be part of the group that departs for the continent later this month.Meanwhile, fellow new signing Xherdan Shaqiri is set to join his new teammates in New Jersey on Tuesday.Jürgen Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “Shaqiri will come the day after tomorrow directly to New Jersey and Alisson will come with Roberto Firmino and will be a part of the second camp in Evian.Roberto Firmino, LiverpoolVirgil van Dijk praises Roberto Firmino after Liverpool’s win Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Virgil van Dijk hailed team-mate Roberto Firmino after coming off the bench to inspire Liverpool to a 3-1 comeback win against Newcastle United.“That’s good that we’ll have them all together, apart from the semi-finalists of the World Cup.”The Reds will play Borussia Dortmund in the International Champions Cup on Sunday evening before facing Manchester United and Manchester City in the other games.With the addition of Naby Keita, Fabinho, Shaqiri, and Alisson Becker Jurgen Klopp’s men have been tipped to mount a serious challenge on all fronts in the new season.last_img read more

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DPMs Communication to the House on BAMSI

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNassau, 11 Mar 2015 – COMMUNICATIONBYHON. PHILIP E. DAVISMEMBER OF PARLIAMENT(CAT ISLAND, RUM CAY, AND SAN SALVADOR)DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER ANDMINISTER OF WORKS & URBAN DEVELOPMENTCONCERNINGTHE BAHAMAS AGRICULTURAL & MARINE SCIENCE INSTITUTE (BAMSI)WEDNESDAY, 11th MARCH 2015HOUSE OF ASSEMBLYCOMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMASNASSAU, NEW PROVIDENCEAs DeliveredMr. SpeakerWhen I stood in this place to give my contribution to the Mid-Year Budget Debate, I determined and said that I would bring an update to the House on the project to construct the Bahamas Agricultural & Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) at North Andros. This communication meets that commitment.Mr. SpeakerThe Bahamas, not unlike the rest of the Caribbean, is faced with an exorbitant food import bill because we have traditionally neglected to work towards maximising our potential when it comes to feeding ourselves. The fact that we also have the added burden of literally feeding our tourism product worsens the whole issue of food imports as the challenge here is to feed others as well.As a Government, we can sing our praises forever, but when it comes to validation, the eye of an objective outsider rings truth. Most recently, the Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Guy Ryder, in referring to the creation of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) said that The Bahamas has ‘gotten the message’ and is on the ‘right track’ for sustainability.Mr. SpeakerThe message was also echoed several days earlier by the Director-General of the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) José Graziano da Silva, when he urged Heads of Government at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Summit to strengthen support to agriculture, to contribute to job creation and tourism revenues, and to protect our economy from external price shocks.Mr. SpeakerAs it stands, The Bahamas imports 85% of the food products it consumes taking our food import bill to nearing US$1 billion. This is a consequence of failure of successive governments to address the circumstance which negatively impacts our economy. When you consider what we have and will potentially lose in terms of jobs and foreign exchange; when you consider that the profits derived from tourism are substantially expended on food imports, there can be no more innovative mechanism to turning our circumstance around than BAMSI.While we cannot get away from the vulnerabilities which stem from our national composition of many islands, we cannot sit idly by and not make significant strides toward reducing our dependence on food imports.Mr. SpeakerWhen this Progressive Liberal Party campaigned for office, our bold statement in our Charter for Governance was: “Now is the time to lay the ground work for a more healthy and secure nation.” Prior to this Government coming to office, two decades saw virtually no public sector investment in infrastructural upgrade, manpower development and public/private sector partnership of food production. Agriculture was on the decline in terms of interest, acreage, and farmers.BAMSI represents tangible and meaningful steps toward realising a long-held dream of food production, independence, and security for our country. It is mobilising the core ideal of the Progressive Liberal Party that agriculture is an integral part of our sustainable economic development. BAMSI was and remains this Government’s step in the right direction to maximise our national potential and to materialise this goal.That is the bigger picture, Mr. SpeakerBut, if we refine the focus to North Andros alone, Mr. Speaker, we are able to see the awakening of the proverbial sleeping giant. Local Government Administrator Ivan Ferguson reports that his office is bustling since the BAMSI project came to town. Government revenues have increased as more residents are applying for business licences and building permits. Applications for building permits have in fact quadrupled! Residents are busy clearing land! They are building! Indeed, Androsians are positioning themselves to take advantage of the economic benefits that BAMSI will bring.I am advised that one is hard-pressed to find accommodations because everywhere is occupied – small hotels and apartments. Apartments that have been sitting unused for years have tenants – mostly contractors and their employees. Car rentals have outpaced anything that the area has ever seen. In fact, entrepreneurs have had to secure more rental franchises to meet the demand for transportation.Mr. SpeakerI am also advised that the shipping industry is reaping major benefits – transporting goods and services directly and indirectly related to BAMSI. Airlift, particularly the air charter business, is equally as profitable with the movement of people attached to BAMSI. I am told that the Ministry of Tourism held a reception for winter residents of that area and that the attendance was greatest ever – and invariably, they all were excited about BAMSI.Mr. SpeakerThe excitement about BAMSI is even more tangible among the locals. Store owners are having good sales. More restaurants are opening. Those that exist are taking in the largest sales ever. Farmers that had just about given up on the industry have gone back to cultivating their farms.This, Mr. Speaker, is the Big Picture!The Opposition went on a fishing expedition to BAMSI the other day. What a production they made about their experience there. What they didn’t talk about was the excellent workmanship that the contractors have displayed in their construction. They have not said that these men and women – all Androsians or rooted in Andros – are creating what will be the wonder of the Caribbean. When you go into those buildings, you see the work of ace contractors – men like Solomon Roberts, Bennett Knowles, Prince Mackey, Hugh Fowler, Cecil Marshall, Sidney Cargill, McGregor Russell, and Brudienell Kelly, among others.Not one word did they utter about BAMSI having already established 68 acres of banana, papaya, plantain, peanut, coconut, and lime crop in the ground and moving the economy. They are not interested in the fact that harvesting has started with banana yielding over 5,000 pounds per week and papaya yielding 6,000 pounds per week. These two products alone have generated revenue in the amount of approximately $7,500 weekly. When these crops have expanded in acreage and the additional crops introduced, the projected weekly revenue is expected to be $52,000. But they are not interested in that!They have not told us about the land that is being cleared to accelerate the crop production programme, where 150 new acres of crop including banana, papaya, pineapple, and lime. They have not talked about the additional acreages for navel oranges, mangoes, avocado, and sour sop.I know they have not been listening for any good that this Government can bring, so they missed the fact that an aggressive intercropping programme is on the way to produce acres and acres of watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew melons.In total, Mr. SpeakerThe area under crop cultivation by the end of June will be 450 acres of crop with 200 acres for the rotation cycles and 90 acres in inter and companion cropping. 650 acres will be fully occupied. That is the big picture!I have not even gone into the livestock, poultry and fisheries aspect of BAMSI, Mr. Speaker, and the excitement generated by this revolutionary project is already immeasurable.We have only just begun with BAMSI and five farmers have already been granted licenses to produce under the BAMSI label. These farmers are producing vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, onion, sweet pepper and hot pepper. This is the big picture!We have only just begun and there are 39 students enrolled at the Institute in various programmes and skills training. There are also 50 Androsians fully employed at BAMSI.That is the big picture!!But, Mr. SpeakerChuck Palahniuk once said that “the trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close up.” So it is with BAMSI and the consequential position of the male dormitory that was gutted by fire, the work of an arsonist. The political pundits and supporters now offer the distraction of chatter concerning the fire. Notwithstanding, we are not distracted and we are not deterred. We will rebuild; and from the ashes of that fire, BAMSI is rising to continue our push forward to feed ourselves.Mr. SpeakerI know that it is of paramount importance that I should give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. When I last spoke, my advice was that “at the contract’s signing, the contractor [for the male student dormitory at BAMSI] had everything that was required to contract work with my Ministry, including Contractor’s All-Risk Insurance.”Mr. SpeakerThe files in relation to this contract was provided to me on Monday, 2nd March 2015. I have reviewed them and the following details are now presented as verifiable facts.On 30th January 2014, Government approved construction for the BAMSI project and noted that the construction of the student dormitories, among other buildings, was critical to the Institute’s opening for September of that year.Consequently, on 6th February 2014, my Ministry issued a Letter of Intent to contract Mr. Audley Hanna, trading as Paradigm Construction, to build the male student dormitory for the base amount of B$2.6Million. The contractor was notified that formal contract documents would be prepared; and that mobilisation payment would be processed as soon as the Ministry was in receipt of the contractor’s Business Licence, All Risk Insurance and National Insurance Compliance Letter.On 10th February 2014, the contractor requested 20% mobilisation payment. The normal course of action provides that at mobilisation, that is the first payment toward satisfaction of a contract, the following must be available:A Contract or Letter of Intent duly signed by the Permanent Secretary;The original claim letter from the contractor, requesting payment. The letter shall be duly signed by the contractor;A copy of the Bill of Quantities/Scope of Works/Schedule of Works, which is part of the contract document;The original “Contractors All Risk Insurance”, including Public Liability of not less than $1,000,000.00;Copy of current business license;Current “National Insurance Board” (NIB) compliance letter; andThe original Contractor’s Performance Bond, if applicable.The contract was duly executed on 21st February 2014 at North Andros.Mr. SpeakerThere were several indicators that led me personally examining the relevant file concerning the insurance of the male dormitory. I am now in a position to say that the contractor provided all that he was required, save a certificate for All Risk Insurance. What the contractor did provide was only a quotation of cost from RoyalStar Assurance for All Risk Insurance for a six-month period from commencement of the project. It is noted that mobilisation was issued thereafter. What the file does not tell me is who took the decision to advance the mobilisation without the requisite insurance, what intervention, if any, was made to ensure that this requirement was met once identified, and why the contract, which has been substantially delayed, was allowed to continue without this critical requirement.Mr. SpeakerIn the Construction Industry, large-project contractors generally maintain some type of all risk insurance – even when not engaged in any projects – so as to ensure that when an opportunity arises, he is ready for competition. Smaller contractors, on the other hand, are usually not able to afford continual insurance as many of them live from project to project and those projects may be few and far between. They, therefore, tend to engage insurance on a project-by-project basis, lasting the projected length of a contract.Mr. SpeakerThis Government has historically been about giving those in need a hand up. However, there can be no plausible explanation for an administrative error such as that which has occurred in this case. I should not speculate that any agreement existed, but if there was an agreement for the Ministry to advance the premium to the insurance company from the contractor’s mobilisation payment, this should have been done. I mention this because I am advised that this has been done in the past to assist contractors’ qualification for contractual works. In this case, however, it was incumbent on the contractor, having been paid full mobilisation, to ensure that the insurance premium, which was a mere $23,746.65, was paid immediately. If he had done so, a certificate of insurance would have been included on our file. From the outset, therefore, the contractor was in breach.So, Mr. SpeakerThis is where we are. Given the fact that the dormitory was not complete and has not been turned over to the Government, by contract, the contractor stands fully liable for the construction outlay to date, which totals $2,550.864.15. My Ministry is now making a determination as to how we will recover this loss from the contractor.Since the fire, two options have been determined. The first is to gut the building to its foundation and rebuild, given the fact that the fire tested the entrails of the building. The second is total demolition to rebuild a new structure. Estimates in hand target the reconstruction cost at around $5.5Million. The increase in cost takes into consideration the cost to reconfigure the units from single to double occupancy, ordinary inflation, and VAT.Consequently, the net cost to Government will be the cost of reconstruction, less the expenditure for the structure destroyed by fire. That is to say, just under $3Million.Mr. SpeakerI am constrained to call out the actions of technical officers whose duty it is to be good stewards of the people’s money and to lessen Governments’ exposure to potentially embarrassing situations.Given the experience of my technical team and the checks and balances of our bureaucracy, there was no reason to suppose that such an administrative error would be missed for so long. Beyond that, the public fully and rightly expects all Government officials to be above reproach in protecting the public’s interests. These citizens, our constituents, depend on officials to act in the public good, to know their roles well, to do their jobs efficiently, and to be honest in their handling of public resources, avoiding even the opportunity for, or the appearance of, impropriety. The Public Service provides the remedies that should ordinarily flow from matters such as this, particularly how best to manage them and how best to learn from them.For my Ministry, notwithstanding its difficulty, I should hope that this matter is taken as a learning tool. Bringing BAMSI to the point of service as initially envisioned by Government remains our top priority. Taking in the holistic challenge presented by the BAMSI project, my Ministry has engaged the service of a Project Management firm and is in the process of engaging an Employer’s Representative to guide this process to completion expeditiously.Mr. SpeakerWhile what has transpired is an avoidable error on the part of the Ministry, I do not think that any reasonable person would find malicious intent. On the other hand, that cannot be said with respect to the arson, which, if proved, was criminally intended to deprive the Bahamian people of the full benefit and impact of a vision that is becoming reality.But try as they may, Mr. Speaker This Government’s visions and dreams and hard work toward realising them will not be destroyed. BAMSI’s dawn has been unveiled. We look forward to it reaching its full potential, contributing to the change that we envision for The Bahamas and the Bahamian people.Mr. SpeakerAs I conclude, for the sake of transparency, I table copies of the following documents:The Contract for the Construction of the Male Student Dormitory for the Bahamas Agriculture & Marine Science Institute with Paradigm Construction CompanyMobilisation Payment Certificate Routing Sheet with its annexes to include:Letter of Intent to Contract WorksLetter of Acceptance from ContractorLetter from Contractor Requesting MobilisationBusiness Licence for Paradigm Construction Company LtdNational Insurance Board Letter of Good StandingContractors’ All Risk Insurance Quotation from RoyalStar AssuranceArchitectural Unit Request for Mobilisation; and finallyBalance Sheet for Male Student Dormitory at BAMSI (Paradigm Construction) from commencement to the date of the fire.Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Former PM And Deputy PM Christie and Davis Deep in Water Debt Government Ministers talk water in Nassau, Bahamas at CWWA conference Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Storm flooding influences Premier presentation at KPMG Summit in Miami Related Items:BAHAMAS AGRICULTURAL & MARINE SCIENCE INSTITUTE, deputy prime minister, phillip davislast_img read more

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PDM Leader on latest crime spree and Haiti jail break

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, October 24, 2016 –  “Over the past near four years, the issue of crime and border control has been one of those areas in national life that drew my, as well as my Party’s keen attention. It is unfortunate that I am again speaking to this issue after a criminal spree over the weekend that saw a series of serious offenses committed which included the physical attack on a young lady.  The PDM continues to be concerned about crime and the recent spate over the past few days only heighten our concerns.”“Whilst persons will say we are out of control and others will say we must be guarded as we are a tourist destination. I say we are neither at the place that we wish to live in nor one that tourists will like to see. The recent crimes continue to be out of character for us and at a level and of a sort that we must never before seen nor can we accept even at the expense of development.”“My Party and I have already sought an audience with the Commissioner of Police and Governor Freeman to ensure that all is being done to minimize as much as possible the recent spike in crime.  We will also begin a dialogue with Flow and Digicel to implement a free non – emergency number to contact Police.”“We continue to recognize the importance for stronger and better Police/People relations and will seek to initiate crime prevention programs between the Police and the People. Since last year we began our call for Neighborhood Watch Groups and we will again renew these efforts. However, we will immediately embark on the establishment of a Citizens Advisory Board to advise Police which would foster a better relationship between Police and the People.”“We have over the years called for a Symposium, for a national dialogue, for stronger and innovative leadership of the Police and Border Control with new crime fighting tools that will outmatch today’s criminals. We have released a 12 Point Plan publicly for use by the authorities. We renew our call today again to take the fight to crime as crime has certainly taken its fight to our very own homes. We wish to reemphasize the need to never politicize crime or to use it as a political football and we remind all to continue to recognize that the powers, day to day operations and ultimate responsibility lies with the Governor and the Commissioner of Police. We must however see ourselves as critical stakeholders and partners in the fight.”“As we hear also of the recent Prison break from a Prison described by Haiti as “violent”, we are cognizant of the fact that it is highly possible that escapees can make their way here to our shores. To this end, whilst we acknowledge the Government’s call for heightened alert of our systems and for the UK to patrol our waters, we call for a high level dialogue with our partners in OPBAT, the Coast Guard and the Royal Navy.  These are unusual times and we believe that we do have a strong position for heightened assistance. We can ill afford to become a safe haven to any of these escapees.”“In the mean time we continue to ask our citizens and residents to form neighborhood watch groups, report suspicious behavior to Police, report any sloops that you may have knowledge of that may have TCI as its destination and do not harbor any illegal or criminals. This requires all hands on deck. A safer TCI depends on all of us.  We remain eager to assist as citizens and to be a more active and meaningful partner with those who have the constitutional and financial authority to curb this tide.” Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

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