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EMBRACE COLLABORATION, REDUCE CONFLICT – BASIL SPRINGER COLUMN

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April 11, 2023 – “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 15:5-6

“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 23:9

“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers.” – Surah Al ‘Imran 3:103

The above quotes from the Bible, Torah and Quran, respectively, remind us of the importance of treating others with respect and kindness, regardless of their background or faith. They promote the values of collaboration, peace and harmony, which are essential for building strong and diverse communities.

With Holy Week coming to a close in the Caribbean, it is an opportune time to reflect on the religious and cultural diversity of the Caribbean. This is a place where people of different faiths and cultures come together in peace and harmony. While Christianity is the dominant religion in the region, there is a rich tapestry of other beliefs, including Judaism and Islam.

The 2022 and 2023 calendar overlap of Easter, Passover and Ramadan provides an excellent opportunity to celebrate the Abrahamic similarities of these wonderful faiths and to embrace closer collaboration between the different communities that are united in their commonality: spiritual beings on a course to master the human experience, and to return to our heavenly father.

Easter commemorates the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of the Christian faith. It is a time of renewal and hope, as Christians celebrate the triumph of life over death.

Passover, on the other hand, celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. It is a time of remembrance and gratitude, as Jews give thanks for their freedom and reflect on the importance of family and community.

Ramadan is a month-long fast that commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be unto him). It is a time of spiritual reflection and self-discipline, as Muslims seek to purify themselves and draw closer to God.

Despite their differences, these holy seasons share a common heritage and promote universal values of love, peace and compassion. They remind us of the importance of faith, family and community, and offer an opportunity to come together in celebration and solidarity.

The Caribbean is a shining example of how people of different backgrounds can coexist in harmony. It is a region where diversity is celebrated, and differences are for the most part respected. In a world that is increasingly polarized and divided, we can all learn from the Caribbean’s example of relative collaboration and peace.

Embracing collaboration and reducing conflict is not just a matter of religious or cultural tolerance; it is a fundamental requirement for the economic and social development of the Caribbean. The region’s multicultural, multiethnic and multireligious character presents unique opportunities for business and trade, as well as for cultural exchange and tourism.

As we reflect on this holy season, let us take stock of the blessings we have and focus on the things that unite us rather than divide us. Let us work together to build a brighter future for all our communities, based on the values of love, compassion, collaboration, peace and harmony.

Bahamas News

124 HAITIAN NATIONALS REPATRIATED TO CAP-HAITIEN, HAITI

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#TheBahamas, May 21, 2024 – On Wednesday, May 15, the Department effectively executed the repatriation of a group of illegal migrants from the Lynden Pindling International Airport, New Providence to Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

At approximately 9:11 a.m., a Bahamasair chartered flight departed New Providence en route to Haiti with one hundred twenty-four (124) Haitian nationals onboard; a hundred and eight (108) adult males, thirteen (13) adult females and three (3) minors. The Department’s Deportation and Enforcement Units led the escort.

All security and health protocols were observed as the safety and welfare of our officers, law enforcement counterparts and migrants remain the highest priority.

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Bahamas News

Introducing The Bahamas Cannabis Authority; Marijuana Bill tabled by Darville

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, May 20, 2024 – A medical marijuana industry is set for establishment in The Bahamas, following the tabling of the Cannabis Bill, 2024, in the House of Assembly, by Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Dr Michael Darville, May 15.

The Minister said objective of legislation is to set up a framework to establish The Bahamas Cannabis Authority, and to regulate the of importation, exportation, cultivation, processing, manufacturing, producing, sale, possession, distribution, and use of cannabis.

He told the Assembly that the law represents a thoughtful and balanced approach and was driven by a duty to act as he referenced the number of Bahamians who are battling cancer and in need of alternative treatments for pain management and other related issues.

“The legislative package, the Cannabis Bill, 2024 is designed to introduce a controlled system of cannabis use in medical treatments. The bill establishes the Bahamas Cannabis Authority.  A regulatory body overseeing all aspects of cannabis management and cultivation and distribution.  The authority’s mandate is to ensure that cannabis production and use are safe, controlled and effectively integrated into our health care system,” Minister Darville said.

Adding that the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill, 2023 that he also tabled, reclassifies cannabis by removing it from the dangerous drug list, now recognises its potential for medical use, he said the change aligns “our nations laws” with evolving global perspectives on cannabis.

The new law makes provisions for the licensing of cannabis handlers across various aspects of The Bahamas, and Dr. Darville said the licensing is structured to prioritise Bahamian ownership, with provisions ensuring that significant control remains in the hands of Bahamian nationals, fostering local entrepreneurship and economic benefits “for Bahamians across the country.

“We are here to make a difference, to enact change, remove years of stigma and transform lives by offering alternative treatments by way of medical cannabis.  The legislation before us offers a careful, considerate approach ensuring that we prioritize the wellbeing and safety of our citizens. Let us move with compassion,” he said.

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Bahamas News

Pinder announces Trial by Judge Alone, New Courts, Harsher Penalties in Judicial Reform legislative Package

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, May 20, 2024 – The Bahamian Government has moved to open new courts, increase penalties for serious and violent crimes, as part of its reform of the judiciary to create efficiency in the system, and gang reduction efforts.

Outlining the administration’s legislative agenda on crime reduction, and judicial reform, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senator, the Hon. Ryan Pinder said in the coming months there will be the opening of the juvenile and family courts allowing “us to bring on new judges for criminal and civil matters.

“We also anticipate establishing this year a commercial court that will be focused on hearing commercial disputes to ensure that the pace of business is not impaired by delays in trials,” the Minister said while addressing the Senate on May 15.

He was presenting the second reading of the Trial by Judge Alone (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2024 and The Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which allows for the Supreme Court (Criminal Case Management) (Amendment) Rules, 2024.

Senator Pinder said the bills are in line with the commitment of this Government to ensure that the necessary laws are in place to facilitate the “timely and effective” administration of justice.

Stressing that the administration have been working hard this legislative session to put in place the improvements in law to address the judicial system as well as the treatment of bail for an accused, and ensuring stiff penalties for major criminal violations, he said  the Government have passed a series of legislation to facilitate trials and prosecution of criminals.

“I would suggest that we have done more on the legislative front than any former administration to address crime, and we are not done.”

“The Magistrates (Amendment) Bill increased the financial thresholds of the jurisdiction of a Magistrate to hear certain matters and adjusted the maximum penalties. The broadening of the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court is intended to rebalance cases between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court in order to relieve the volume of minor disputes from the calendar of the Supreme Court,” he said.

For the magistrate’s court, he said, it is many instances the primary court for many civil and criminal cases, and especially in civil matters operating more of a small claims court, and the jurisdictional limits increased had not been adjusted in many years, and the operation of society has outpaced their limits.

The Court Services Bill empowers the judiciary to operate autonomously from an administrative point of view, by taking away oversight by central Government, thereby removing the bottleneck caused by the current system and providing further judicial independence.

For the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill, it increases the maximum number of Supreme Court judges from 20 to 25, increasing the capacity to conduct trials in the Supreme Court by 25%.

“It is the Government’s intention that this not only contribute significantly to concluding the backlog of cases but will also give the Chief Justice the flexibility he requires to better allocated judges through the courts,” the Minister said.

The Trial by Judge Alone (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2024, to grant a right of election to persons charged with indictable offences in the Supreme Court to be tried by a Judge alone.

“We believe this is a positive legislative reform to provide yet more support for timely trials in criminal matters,” the Minister said.

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