NASSAU, Bahamas – The main opposition Free National Movement (FNM) says it will win the May 10 general elections even as a political storm appears to be brewing over remarks made by Prime Minister Perry Christie that not even “God could stop” the ruling Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) from attaining victory at the polls.

Addressing a political rally in Grand Bahama over the weekend, FNM leader, Dr Hubert A Minnis said before arriving to address the rally, he had received “a formal report on the state of the general election.

“The report is based on information from every constituency and includes specific numbers. I formally report to you that the Free National Movement will form the next government of The Bahamas.”

Minnis dismissed the PLP of not being “really a political party alone.  They are a business club who use politics to serve the corrupt interests of a very few”.

He said the FNM on the other hand is a “party of good governance and public service” and that on election day, voters will fire Prime Minister Perry Christie and the PLP.

“We are ready to serve the people. We are ready to work for the people. We are ready to end the corruption. We are ready to end the lies. We are ready to end the secret deals. Grand Bahama. It’s the people’s time,” said Minnis, accusing the PLP of being “the most corrupt, malicious government”.

“The PLP’s plan is simple, make more and more promises and hope you forget the mismanagement, recklessness, and incompetence. Can you believe that after five years in office the best they can come up with is free electricity?

“Your FNM will immediately remove VAT from bread basket items to bring relief to the less fortunate. We will immediately expose and make public all secret deals of the PLP.”

Meanwhile, a political storm is brewing here over a statement by Prime Minister Christie that not even “God can stop the PLP” from winning the general election.

LONDON – Rihanna has been hit with backlash from offended Brits after superimposing the Queen’s head onto her own racy ensembles in a bizarre birthday tribute.

As the British monarch celebrated her 91st birthday over the weekend, the Barbadian hitmaker took to Instagram to share four snaps in which her own sexy looks had Queen Elizabeth’s head attached.

While an array of her 52.4million followers saw the funny side to the tongue-in-cheek gesture, the comments section on the snaps was swarmed with counterblast in which she was branded a “stupid little girl” for the “disrespectful” doctored images.

Rihanna is never shy of controversy and Saturday’s posts were no exception as she chose four of her sexiest and quirkiest ensembles to give the Queen a shock and unheard of image makeover, much to the chagrin of fans.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Keen to tap its natural resources as a way to boost its struggling economy, Guyana struck a multi-million-dollar deal with Norway in 2009.

Under the deal, Norway agreed to pay up to 250 million dollars over five years, if Guyana, a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country in South America, maintained a low deforestation rate.

It was the first time a developed country, conscious of its own carbon-dioxide emissions, had paid a developing country to keep its trees in the ground.

The initiative was developed by the United Nations and called REDD+ (for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus conservation).

The main aim was to allow for carbon sequestration – the process involved in carbon capture and the long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Trees are thirsty for the potent greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, soaking it up during photosynthesis and storing it in their roots, branches and leaves. Each year, forests around the world absorb nearly 40 percent of all the carbon dioxide produced globally from fossil-fuel emissions. But deforestation increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as trees are burned or start to decompose.

Most of the other Caribbean countries do not have the vast forests present in Guyana, but one expert believes there is still a huge potential to sequester carbon.

While the bamboo plant can be found in abundance in several Caribbean countries, the director of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Dr. Hans Friederich, said its importance and the possible role it could play in dealing with climate change have been missed by many of these countries.

“Bamboo and rattan, to a lesser extent, have been in a way forgotten as mechanisms that can help countries both with mitigation of climate change and with adaptation. And I think, certainly for the Caribbean, for Jamaica, both aspects are important,” Friederich told IPS.

“Mitigation, because carbon is sequestered by bamboo. It is a plant, it does photosynthesis, but it happens to be the fastest growing plant in the world so the absorption of CO2 by bamboo forests is quite significant.”

“The stems are thin but, over a period of time, the total sink of CO2 from a bamboo forest is actually more than the average from other forests. We’ve tried this, we’ve tested this and we’ve measured this in China and that’s certainly the case over there,” he added.

As far as adaptation is concerned, Friederich said bamboo also has a key role to play.

“For example, helping local communities deal with the effects of climate change in relation to erosion control, in relation to providing income in times when maybe other sources of income are no longer there or have been affected through floods or droughts or other environmental catastrophes,” the INBAR official explained.

“So, bamboo really is something that should be included in the overall discussion about climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

INBAR has facilitated a trip to China for a group of Jamaicans, to show them how the Chinese are using bamboo as a source of energy, as a charcoal source – to replicate that intelligence and that experience in Jamaica and help the island develop a bamboo industry.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - On Friday morning April 28 th , Prime Minister William Marlin met with the Progress Committee. Prime Minister Marlin said that in the past reports have been very critical,

but the reporting this time has been quite positive.

The new Justice Minister, Mr. Rafael Boasman is very serious about tackling the Plans ofApproach. The Management Team at the Police is very enthusiastic and structural growth in the

force is expected by 2018.

MIAMI – The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says a Caribbean cruise line has been ordered to pay a US$40 million penalty – the largest-ever for crimes involving deliberate vessel pollution – related to illegal dumping overboard of oil contaminated waste and falsification of official logs in order to conceal the discharges.

The DOJ said the sentence was imposed here on Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. (Princess) by US District Judge Patricia A. Seitz.

Judge Seitz also ordered that US$1 million be awarded to a British engineer, who first reported the illegal discharges to the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which in turn provided the evidence to the US Coast Guard, the DOJ said.

It said the newly hired engineer on the Caribbean Princess reported that a so-called “magic pipe” had been used on August 23, 2013, to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England without the use of required pollution prevention equipment.

The evidence gathered by the whistleblower, including photographs of the magic pipe, led to an inspection of the cruise ship both in England and then when it reached New York on Sept. 14, 2013, the DOJ said.

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