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The Ministry of Labour and National Insurance CBTUC Strike Action

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Bahamas – The Ministry of Labour and National Insurance (ML&NI) is extremely concerned with a number of public statements made in the print and electronic media regarding the possibility of strike action by trade unions associated with the Commonwealth of the Bahamans Trade Union Congress. The Government remains committed to the concept of partnership with all trade unions and will keep the channels of communication open for discussions with trade union leaders.

In an effort to update the public and clarify any misconceptions resulting from the public statements made by Mr. Obie Ferguson, President of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Trade Union Congress (CBTUC) regarding a pending strike by affiliates of the CBTUC, the ML&NI can confirm that the following trade unions and association have matters before the Industrial Tribunal pursuant to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1970:

• The Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union,
• The Bahamas Nurses Union,
• The Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers,
• The Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association,
• The Bahamas Customs Immigration Allied Workers Union,
• The Bahamas Educators Managerial Union

On May 6th, 2014, in The Tribune, President Ferguson was quoted as saying

“…. there is nothing the government can do to stop the withdrawal of labour of hundreds of unionized and non-unionized workers in the coming days”.

The ML&NI wishes to refute this statement and remind President Ferguson and affiliates of the CBTUC of the provisions of Section 77 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act Chapter 321 of the Statute Laws of The Bahamas which states;

“No employee shall go on strike and no employer shall declare a lock-out, and no union or member of the executive committee or other governing body of a union shall call a strike or declare a lock-out in consequence of a trade dispute while proceedings taken in relation to that dispute are pending before the Tribunal or the Court of Appeal.”

As stated in the Ministry’s press statement published on Thursday, 28th August 2014 in The Tribune, The Nassau Guardian and broadcast on various radio stations, any strike action taken by the above mention trade unions and or associations, while the dispute was before the Tribunal constitutes a breach of section 77 and is deemed a criminal offence as stated by Supreme Court Justice Maynard in his judgment in Commonwealth Electrical Workers Union v The Minister of Labour and Immigration and Another FP/PUB/jrv/0001/2006 where he states at paragraph 31:

“……then it appears to me that under section 77, a trade dispute proceedings are pending before the Industrial Tribunal and in these circumstances it would be an offence for any employee to go on strike or for any union or member of the executive committee or governing body of the union to call a strike”

In the same Tribune article, President Ferguson was quoted in the second paragraph as saying:

“……. a mass rally, tonight will inform the workers why the union has decided to strike and also to decide on which days the strike will be called”

The ML&NI is most concerned of the implications of President Ferguson’s statement, wherein he appears to be calling members of a number of trade unions and associations, which are affiliated with the CBTUC, to take strike action when he is aware of the contents of section 74(3) of the Industrial Relations Act. Finally, the ML&NI wishes to caution President Ferguson regarding his statement in the Tribune’s article where he was quoted as saying:

“The purpose of this meeting is to inform the workers as to the issues are and for them to understand there needs to be a recess of about two to three days. We will also make the determination tonight when they will strike.”

As a leading Trade Unionist, President Ferguson must be mindful of the provisions of
Section 74(2) of the Act which states:

It shall not be lawful for any person or any trade union to declare, instigate, incite others to take part in or otherwise act in furtherance of, a strike or lock-out when there is not in relation to the matter in question a trade dispute in relation to which all the conditions of subsection (1) have been satisfied.

The instigation or incitement of members to take part in or in furtherance of a strike when the matter is before the Industrial Tribunal would be in contravention of the relevant provisions of the Act.

The ML&NI supports all workers and will continue to defend their rights to take part and participate in lawful demonstrations and strike action pursuant to the statutes laws of The Bahamas and Judgments of the Court. President Ferguson is reminded that all employees and employers are subject to the laws as expressed by Justice Maynard in paragraph 9 of his ruling in Commonwealth Electrical Workers Union v The Minister of Labour and Immigration and Another

The ML&NI anticipates that the Trade Disputes referred to the Industrial Tribunal regarding affiliates of the CBTUC will be scheduled for a hearing and resolved in an amicable manner in the shortest possible time but is prepared, even at this stage, to enter into discussions with Mr. Ferguson and his Team, at any convenient date and time, in an effort to resolve the matters in an amicable fashion. The ML&NI attaches a copy of the judgment of Maynard J (Ag.) in the case of Commonwealth Electrical Workers Union v The Minister of Labour and Immigration and Another.

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Bahamas News

Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis pledges to govern in the interests of all Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 19, 2021 – During his ceremonial swearing-in today as the nation’s fifth Prime Minister, Hon. Philip Davis pledged to govern in the interests of all Bahamians and to consult widely with the Bahamian people.

The best way to make progress as a nation is to bring people together, said Prime Minister Davis, who was presented with his instruments of Office in ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre, on Saturday 18 September 2021.

Prime Minister Davis was officially sworn in as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on Friday 17 September 2021 at the Office of the Governor General.

“We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, so that it’s not one rule for one set of people, and another for another set of people,” said the Prime Minister.

“There is much work to be done; but I know that by working together we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us.”

Prime Minister Davis said that while there are big challenges ahead for The Bahamas, his team has the right vision and policies to take the country forward.

The Prime Minister said the new administration is coming into office at a time when the Bahamian people are hurting as never before.

The country faces many crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy in decline and deeply concerning challenges in education, said Prime Minister Davis.

If everyone works together towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are possible for The Bahamas and its people, said the Prime Minister.

But no government can do great things on its own, Prime Minister Davis added.

“I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people,” said the Prime Minister.
“We are going to listen, we are going to consult widely and we are going to bring people together.”

_
18 September 2021
Office of the Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Contact: opmcommunications@bahamas.gov.bs
Website: opm.gov.bs

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Caribbean News

North Caicos man beheaded in what could be TCIs most bizarre murder case yet

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#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2021 – Explosive talk show host Courtney Misick lost his brother last weekend in a bizarre killing which raised alarm and left residents flabbergasted at the extreme violence, which pointed to a heinous killer being at large in North Caicos.

While police have now made two arrests; giving one suspect bail and holding another on suspicion in the gruesome killing, the pastor, farmer and former election candidate publically questioned the time it took for investigators to arrive at the scene.

He said, in a string of Facebook posts, that it was some six hours before police got there.

Royal TCI Police confirmed the body of the male found in a home in Kew North Caicos; that they got the call at 5:45pm.

“The Police can confirm that the body of a man was found inside a house in Kew, North Caicos and that the body was decapitated. Although formal identification procedures have not yet taken place, the body is believed to be that of 57-year-old old Isaac Missick. The Police are in contact with the next of kin at this difficult time,” informed a Thursday press release.

Rev Misick, at 11:30pm on Saturday posted that investigators from Provo had finally arrived; another team got in on Sunday morning.

Family was disappointed with North Caicos police manpower “wasting hours guarding the crime scene” instead of “looking for Mack-B’s killer.”

Isaac “Mack-B” Missick was beheaded and worst of all, his head could not be found at the scene of the crime.  People were dumbfounded by the monstrous nature of the killing and the family was activated to mount their own hunt for the body part.

There was no success, however, for the family and friends of Mack-B.  Relatives spent the day on Wednesday in Kew battling heat, the blazing sun and swarming mosquitoes in an effort to find the head.

Mack-B’s sister, niece, cousins and eldest son travelled to North from Providenciales determined to give it a try, said Orville Selver, a cousin of the deceased who also described the scope of the search: West of the victim’s house, in the bush from Hall town, to Henfield town, near the house of Mack Bs mother, who died in May this year; on Forbes road and near all the old wells.

The search party which began at 9am fanned out in two groups;” some went on the north side and others went the south side into the deep woods,” he said.

Meanwhile police were questioning two suspects in the case, now ruled a murder.  It is the TCI’s sixth homicide for 2021.

“Today, the Police made an application to the court to seek an extension to the time Officers can keep the arrested man in custody. The court case was adjourned until September 23rd, 2021, during which time the man will be held in police custody. The man arrested on Suspicion of Murder on Sunday, September 12th, 2021, has been released on police bail pending further investigation.”

It will most likely go down as the most gruesome killing in Turks and Caicos history; the beheading of this beloved North Caicos construction worker on Friday or Saturday at his home in Kew.

Our interview of his brother, Rev Missick, unearthed that Mack-B said he had to go home, he did so but never returned to work on Friday September 10.  Upon being missed by some relatives, his cousin set out to check on him and the discovery was gut-wrenching.

Said to be a gory scene as the man, lay on the ground with no head.  While relatives believed the head was at the scene, they later learned that it was missing.

From Police: “This is a very distressing and complex murder that will take time to investigate. However, many specialist Officers are involved in this case, and they are doing everything possible to fully understand the events leading up to this horrific attack. North Caicos is a very close community, and the Police seek their assistance in providing vital information to progress the investigation.”

Isaac Missick, leaves behind a wife and two sons.

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Bahamas News

PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Minnis Thanks Bahamians for the Last Four Years

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#TheBahamas, September 18, 2021 – Free National Movement (FNM) Party Leader, Hubert A. Minnis thanked Bahamians for the last four years in tonight’s concession speech:

“Tonight I spoke with Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis and offered my congratulations to him and his party on their victory at the polls.  I offered him my best wishes as his Government now faces the continued fight against COVID-19, and the restoration of our economy.

I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for Free National Movement candidates.  I also congratulate the FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly.  I am in that number, and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time.

I will lead the Free National Movement into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.  The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition.  The people decide who serves as government.  Our party presented its vision for the future to Bahamians from the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, all the way to the southern islands of MICAL.

The people determined that they preferred the Progressive Liberal Party.  My party and I accept that result.  We are proud of our record the past four-plus years.

During our term we faced the most difficult times in Bahamian history.  In September 2019, Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama were struck by the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.  Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest storms recorded on our planet.  It caused generational destruction to our northern islands.  Six months later, we were in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout each crisis my Government worked hard to assist the Bahamian people.  On the northern islands we have had to rebuild roads, water systems, schools, docks, bridges and other critical infrastructure.

In the pandemic, we provided tens of millions of dollars per month in food and unemployment benefits to citizens, along with tax credits to businesses.  We fought hard to secure more than half a million doses of three of the best vaccines in the world.

The FNM has a proud legacy.  We have governed The Bahamas over four terms.  Our philosophy is to use the resources of government to provide opportunity to those who have historically been without.  That is why we invested in free preschool, providing early education to thousands of children. That is why we invested in free tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas and BTVI.

That is why we created the Over-the-Hill initiative to benefit people in grassroots communities with tax concessions and development assistance.  That is why we invested record amounts in Family Island infrastructure.  That is why we created the Small Business Development Centre, extending millions of dollars to help Bahamians realize their dreams.

Our belief in the Bahamian people was also evidenced in the manifesto we ran on in this election.  We pledged a Universal School Meals Program, expanded access to afterschool programs, $250 million to Bahamian small businesses over five years, expanded access to Crown Land, support for the arts and agriculture and fisheries, along with many more policies for the people.

We did not win this time.   But I say to the next generation of FNMs that you should stay firm to this party’s founding ideals.  Always put the people first, and be honest in government.

The people have asked us to be the opposition.  We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability.  We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the Government’s plans are in the best interests of the people.

I thank my wife Patricia and my family for supporting me during this term, and throughout my life.  I also thank the officers, members and supporters of the Free National Movement for their assistance and encouragement during my time as leader.

And to the Bahamian people, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you for my time being your Prime Minister.  You are a strong, hardworking and resilient people.  Hurricane Dorian did not break you. The pandemic has not broken you.

You trust in the God who has brought us this far.  Trust that He will bring us further to brighter times.  Again, thank you. And may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

 

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