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Statement on Baha Mar Proceedings

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Nassau, 02 Jul 2015 – On Monday 29 June 2015, Baha Mar Ltd. and 14 affiliated companies involved in the Baha Mar Resort filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the Courts of Delaware, U.S.A. Baha Mar did this without prior notice to the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and related entities. And, we are advised that no advance notice was given to the China Export Import Bank (“EXIM Bank”), the China State Construction Company and numerous Bahamian employees and contractors.

Fourteen of the affiliated companies are incorporated and doing business in The Bahamas. They own, operate and have an interest in Bahamian assets and businesses, including much of the land comprising the Baha Mar resort.

As the public is aware, the Prime Minister, for the past several months and as recently as 26 June 2015, has been negotiating and communicating with the Developer and the EXIM Bank to ensure sufficient funding to enable the opening of the resort at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Government at all times will continue to act in the best interest of the Bahamian people. The successful completion and opening of Baha Mar is in the national interest and is a matter of national priority.

Of particular importance is that the nearly 2,400 Bahamian employees who have been prejudiced by this bankruptcy proceeding must be paid. Paying the employees without conditions attached would allow negotiation, hearing and resolution of other critically important issues determinative of the future of this project.

To this end, the Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas, yesterday wrote to the Developer of Baha Mar advising that it is the position of the Government that the Developer should pay the Bahamian employees. They should not be used as pawns in negotiations about the future of the project. The Developer was also advised that in the event that Baha Mar or the EXIM Bank was unable or unwilling to pay the workers, the Government will step in and make the payment for this month while negotiations continue.

The court documents in this matter were obtained by the Office of the Attorney General only yesterday, 1st July 2015. The team at the Office of the Attorney General and our international lawyers are carefully considering these documents and the issues that they raise. We are advised that the EXIM Bank, the Project’s largest creditor, has not been served with the documents.

The Government and the EXIM Bank today, believing that the Bahamian Supreme Court should hear from all parties with an interest in this matter, asked the Supreme Court to adjourn the Developer’s application for the Bahamian courts to recognize the Orders of the Delaware court. The Supreme Court ordered that the matter be adjourned to Tuesday 6th July 2015 at 10am; that the Attorney General and EXIM Bank be joined as Respondents; and that Baha Mar give the Attorney General the employee payment details so that the employees may be paid. The Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas stands ready to make the payments.

It is important that the public be made aware that the orders obtained unilaterally by the Baha Mar entities from the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware were obtained on the basis that matters profoundly affecting the Government and people of The Bahamas will be subject to adjudication in the United States. This would have serious and far-reaching implications for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas as a sovereign nation.

Completion and opening of the Baha Mar resort are matters of paramount importance to The Bahamas. The Government feels very strongly that resolution of the disputes that have delayed the project should occur in the Bahamas, subject to adjudication (to the extent that they cannot be resolved consensually) by Bahamian courts, consistent with the sovereignty of The Bahamas. The Office of the Attorney General and the Government’s international lawyers are therefore examining options that will ensure that the courts of The Bahamas are front and centre in this matter. This would not preclude ancillary orders being sought from foreign courts should such orders be needed – but as a matter of high constitutional principle and in the interests of national sovereignty, it cannot be the other way around.

The Government will continue to keep Bahamians advised of steps taken in this matter. Today for example, the Government has instructed the Department of Information Technology to provide the means by which there will be access to the publicly available court documents in this matter and briefings on court proceedings as and when they occur. This information will be housed on the website of the Office of the Attorney General.

In closing, I cannot say this strongly enough: the Government, led by the Prime Minister, will continue to do everything possible both through negotiations and lawful means to achieve the earliest possible completion of the project and its successful opening, in the national interest.

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Covid-19 Update for Turks & Caicos

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#TurksandCaicos, January 23, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos recorded seven new Covid-19 cases in the period from January 8th to 14th pushing the county’s total active infections to 18.  Four of the seven new cases were in Providenciales and three were recorded in the nation’s capital Grand Turk.

There were six recoveries during the period and the current death toll remains at 38.

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Skerrit holds on as Dominica Prime Minister, Snap Elections decimates the Opposition UWP

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By Deandrea Hamilton and Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#Dominica, December 7, 2022 – The big story of the night was not that Roosevelt Skerrit and his Dominican Labour Party were able to hold onto electoral power in Dominica, but that independents caused an upset, denying the DLP a sweep of all 21 seats.

The snap election victory proved not to be a snap for Skerrit, who on a social media aired radio show congratulated the two independent candidates now holding seats in parliament.

Skerrit’s DLP was still unable to sway the constituents of Marigot and Salisbury; they continue to prefer other political options and this time, Anthony S. Charles won the Marigot constituency with 491 votes, securing – unofficially – a popular vote of 59.44 per cent.

Jesma Paul won with 617 votes with a voting turnout of 57.13 per cent and Lynsia Frank of DLP lost, receiving 463 votes 42.87 per cent from the Salisbury Constituency.

In a sixth consecutive political victory, the Dominical Labour Party gained one seat over their 2019 finish.  With a notable boundary change, the DLP took Rousea Central which had last time gone to the now, decimated UWP.

Elections are due every five years in Dominica; this election should have technically been held in 2024, however, Skerrit last month called the General Election early.

As prime minister he has the prerogative to call for an election anytime within the constitutionally mandated timeframe.  Still, the early call and boycott of the process by unprepared political parties drew in two election observer teams.

One from CARICOM, the other from the OAS.

Organization of American States dispatches team led by former Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie after concerns were voiced by residents and opposition members on the snap election called by Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to be held on December 6th the country’s leaders invited the Organisation of American States to witness the elections.

The OAS spoke to local media after ballots closed around 5pm explaining that for the most part they had not observed any questionable practices.

Perry Christie, former Bahamian Prime Minister who was part of the 16-person team told reporters

“We are aware of the extent to which there was concern about the electoral process. And or job simply is to make a report and recommendations all with the intention of advancing the democracy of this region— we are generally finding that the facilities are adequate, [though] there are one or two recommendations we will make.”

There were 15 seats up for contention since the ruling Dominica Labour Party was elected unopposed in five seats across the country as the main opposition party the United Workers’ Party boycotted the elections.

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Don’t be Spoofed!  Just Hang Up!

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#UnitedKingdom, December 7, 2022 – Spoofing’, it’s a silly sounding word for a very real cybersecurity threat, a sneaky exercise that criminals have used to defraud people around the globe.  In a single operation last month police found that at least 70,000 UK citizens had been scammed out of  £46 million through spoofing.

By now sensitization campaigns and news articles have warned about Lottery scamming and residents may well be aware not to send anyone who promises to make you a millionaire any money but what if the call is coming from your bank?  This is the premise of spoofing.  While it too happens over the phone it differs from lottery scamming in a big way.

“Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID display to disguise their identity.  Scammers often use neighbor spoofing so it appears that an incoming call is coming from a local number, or spoof a number from a company or a government agency that you may already know and trust,” the US Federal Communications Commission explains.

They can choose to appear as tax officers, your local bank, government institutions etc.

So how do you know if someone is trying to use spoofing on you?  And how do you protect yourself and your hard earned money?

The FCC says these scammers usually use a script, because, despite their appearance they don’t actually know you, as soon as the conversation begins. they make it their mission to get as much information about you as possible.

  • Hang up as soon as you get a suspicious call.  Don’t converse, don’t wait.
  • Request their full name, position at the institution they claim to be representing and the name of their manager.  Hang up and call the number listed in the phone book for the institution to verify the authenticity.
  • The FCC says, ‘do not respond to any questions’, especially those that can be answered with “Yes“ or “No.”
  • If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up.  Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it.  Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number.  A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.

Remember if in doubt just hang up.

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