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Cablegate: Nassau Monthly-- February 2010

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SUBJECT: Nassau Monthly-- February 2010

1. (U) This is a monthly report on a variety of topics of
interest which do not merit full reporting cables.

--Haiti Earthquake Sparks Fear Of Illegal Drug Increase

--Cuban Detainee Shot at Immigration Detention Center

--Bahamas Gets Tough on Crime

--We're #4: Ship Registry

-- Court gives Pirate of Prague Safe Harbor in Bahamas

--We're #1: Container Super Ship

--We're #5: Offshore Banking

--Gay Cruise Ship Will Return to Nassau

--We're one of 12: Ugliest Airports

--Oil Terminal Expansion Project To Store Six Million More Barrels

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Haiti Earthquake Sparks Fear Of Spike Illegal Drugs & Migrants

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2. (U) Head of the Drug Enforcement Unit, Superintendent Anthony
Ferguson, said an increase in the flow of illegal narcotics in the
upcoming months is expected. This announcement was made in the
wake of several major drug busts within a week in February. The
earthquake in Haiti has also raised fears of the escape of
thousands of criminals with drug ties from its main prison causing
a significant rise in drug trafficking that will likely be felt in
The Bahamas. To date 78 illegal migrants have been repatriated.
The migrants were intercepted in waters near the Exuma chain, by
officers who were on a routine patrol in the area.

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Cuban Detainee Shot at Immigration Detention Center

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3. (U) A Royal Bahamas Defense Force officer shot a Cuban detainee
at the Carmichael Road Detention Center with a rubber bullet on
February 3. The detainee allegedly tried to attack the officer
with a makeshift weapon of sharpened bed springs. The incident
occurred after the officer ordered another Cuban detainee to the
back of the food line after he tried to jump the que.
Subsequently, eighteen other Cuban detainees began to shake the
fence at the center in an apparent show of solidarity. Back-up
Defense Force officers were called in to restore order. The
detainee and two others were isolated from the general population.
A police report was issued on the incident.

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Bahamas Gets Tough on Crime

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4. (U) A new National Crime Prevention Office was established
within the Royal Bahamas Police Force and will be lead by
Superintendant Stephen Dean. The mission of the office according to
Dean is "promoting awareness and concern about crime, and
disseminating the concept of self help and crime prevention."
There are plans to set up a National Crime Prevention office on
every island.

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We're #4: Ship Registry

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5. (U) According to a report from international research company
Clarkson Research Services, The Marshall Islands became the
third-largest ship registry of 50.7 million gross tonnage, followed
by The Bahamas' 49.6 million gross tonnage. The research report
also noted that The Bahamas, with a 4.2 percent registry growth
rate, is well below the global average of 6.2 percent. The
Opposition questioned why the government has not increased the
number of Bahamas Maritime Authority global offices. The Bahamas
has five offices, compared with the 20 worldwide for the Marshall
Islands.

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Court gives Pirate of Prague Safe Harbor in Bahamas

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--

6. (U) The Bahamian Court of Appeal upheld a Supreme Court decision
not to extradite fugitive Viktor Kozeny on a habeas corpus
application. Known as "the pirate of Prague" the Czech born Kozeny
was imprisoned in 2005 after an international warrant was issued
for his arrest. The 2005 indictment alleged that Kozeny and
American businessmen Frederick Bourke and David Pinkerton bribed
senior officials in Azerbaijan to take over the oil company. The
men were charged under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which
forbids American citizens and their companies from bribing foreign
public officials. Kozeny was released in 2007 after Justice Isaacs
ruled that it is not a crime to bribe a foreign public official in
The Bahamas. This case has received wide coverage and interest
from U.S. media outlets whenever there is a significant court
decision. The ruling can be appealed to the final court of appeal,
the Privy Council.

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We're #1: Container Super Ship

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7. (U) One of the largest container ships in the world, the MSC
Tomoko, with 8,800 containers, docked successfully at Freeport
Harbor in Grand Bahama on February 24. According to local port
officials, the boat was as "big as an aircraft carrier, but with a
wider hull." The MSC Tomoko draws 45-46 feet of water. Port
officials have courted large container ship companies to promote
the Port's expansion plans, which include the addition of 10 cranes
and six berths.

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We're #5: Offshore Banking

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8. (U) The most recent edition of the International Monetary Fund's
Cross-Border Investment in Small International Financial Centers
ranked The Bahamas as holding the fifth- largest sum of external
assets and liabilities among the world's offshore international
financial centers. These assets and liabilities totaled USD 941.5
billion. Guernsey was ranked ahead of The Bahamas at USD 1.02
trillion, Bermuda at USD 1.57 trillion, Jersey at USD 2.02 trillion
and the Cayman Islands at USD 8.4 trillion.

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Gay Cruise Ship Will Return to Nassau

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9. (U) Organizers of a gay cruise contracted to Miami Beach Gay
Pride have defended their decision to travel to The Bahamas in the
face of complaints from gay rights activists and gay rights groups.
Gay rights activists expressed opposition to the cruise by pointing
to the picketing of Rosie O'Donnell's Family Vacations Cruise in
2004, the banning of films with gay content and the high profile
murders of several gay men in 2007 and 2008. Miami Gay Pride
defended the decision by stating that such homophobic incidents
occur everywhere, adding the cruise is an opportunity to try to
change the attitudes.

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We're one of 12: Ugliest Airports

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10. (U) Travel and Leisure Magazine's February 2010 issue listed
the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) as one of its top
12 ugliest airports in the world. The ranking was derived from an
informal survey of frequent fliers, some of whom noted that LPIA's
poor aesthetics and lack of atmosphere which made flyers feel
"bleh" when passing through the U.S. departures terminal. LPIA
officials used the article as an opportunity to highlight its USD
400 million airport expansion project, including a brand-new, fully
modernized, and "attractive" U.S. departures terminal.

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Oil Terminal Expansion Project To Store Six Million More Barrels

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11. (U) VOPAK, a Netherlands-based company operating a major oil
storage terminal in Grand Bahama, announced plans to launch a USD
350 million expansion project that would allow the addition of six
million barrels of storage capacity. The expansion project would
bring approximately 600 jobs for Grand Bahama, which suffers from
unemployment levels of over 17 percent.
ZUNIGA-BROWN

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