Comment of the week
The hotel in Grand Bahama was empty. The buffet looked sad. The trees were torn to shreds and looked like someone had gone through with a blow torch. The waiter said the buffet was so reduced because they had only four guests in the hotel since the hurricane. On 15 September when American Airlines landed, they had stopped using the Embrarer 175 and had shrunk down to the 145. The plane was basically empty. The only passengers were the workers coming to take jobs from Bahamians at the Grand Bahama Shipyard
Meanwhile the Prime Minister of Touring Hubert Minnis was on the run from here to there and everywhere. The hurricane sure was a godsend to Dr Minnis. He doesn’t have to explain anything on crime, the economy and not even the foolish decision to pay 2.6 million dollars for insurance only to get $234,000 back.
The Prime Minister and his Cabinet are all on the same plane as they go island hopping from one place to the next looking at people in their homes. There is one particular picture that showed the stark desolation and hopelessness and that was the Minister of Education who was standing in Ragged Island in the middle of a school destroyed by the hurricane. You would have thought that in a small area like Ragged Island, the minister would have come with the tractors and the builders and set about rebuilding the school. What in God’s name is it that he has to look at, to know that the place is destroyed?
Ragged Island is perhaps the most devastated community of The Bahamas from Hurricane Irma. Next to that is Bimini and then in varying degrees Salina Point in Acklins and then the tornado scored Grand Bahama. It has left the country relieved in a sense but war weary.
It has caused various officials to say some unfortunate things in the midst of these storms. There is another storm right behind it, now hovering over the Antilles and headed it appears to The Bahamas.
The Prime Minister led the way with the unfortunate comments when he said that he thought that the people of Ragged Island should move. He expressed the view that maybe it was not worth rebuilding. The next to pile on was the Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Edison Sumner who said that these little communities on the islands made life too expensive to rebuild the infrastructure after each storm. He opined that maybe we should move them all to one settlement.
You can forgive the Director of the Chamber for his faux pas but not the Prime Minister. Elliott Lockhart Q C who hails from Ragged Island was immediate in this response. Not a day like it he said. Ragged Island must be and will be rebuilt.
Someone must have gone gotten to the Prime Minister because the next thing we knew he was crowing from rafters about how Ragged Island will be rebuilt, and how it’s going to be the first green small island community in The Bahamas. Chastened, he was. The statement was stupid and shows how we have a Prime Minister who does not know our history and the fact of the defence of the country taking place there, way back in 1980 when the Cubans landed there trying to chase our Defence Force away.
That’s the problem with the FNM government, they think they know everything. They are too smart for their own good and they don’t listen or think before they speak.
Dud Maynard who is now with them (the FNM) but then he was with the PLP when he used to say: “Don’t let your mouth write a cheque which your ass can’t cash”
That’s good advice for Mr. Minnis.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 16 September, 2017 up to midnight: 351,305;
Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday 16 September, 2017 up to midnight: 743,865;
Number of hits for the year 2017 up to Saturday 16 September, 2017 up to midnight: 9,463,707.
Sheila Carey presents her letters of credence to the Secretary General of the United Nations 14 September:
UN Headquarters, New York: H.E. Ms. Sheila Carey, Permanent Representative of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to the United Nations, presented Credentials to H.E. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. On behalf of The Bahamas Government, the Permanent Representative welcomed the opportunity to strengthen the longstanding relationship of mutual support between The Bahamas and the United Nations, particularly in light of the recent devastation of Hurricane Irma within the region.
Following the presentation, a brief meeting between the Permanent Representative and the Secretary-General took place during which key areas of national priority were discussed.
Diplomatic Relations were established between the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and Montenegro, 6 September. The Joint Communiqués were signed in Geneva at the Permanent Mission of Montenegro, by Her Excellency Rhoda M. Jackson, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of The Bahamas to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva and His Excellency Mr. Milorad Šćepanović, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Montenegro to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva. Following the signing, the two Ambassadors exchanged views on opportunities for future cooperation between The Bahamas and Montenegro.
Former press attaché to the Washington Embassy of The Bahamas had this to say on his Facebook page in response to this stupid article in the press about the drivers and their pay at the embassies of The Bahamas Abroad:
WHY IS THIS CONSIDERED NEWS?
I would not ordinarily comment on a post like this that I saw in one of the groups on Facebook, but it obviously is aimed at criticizing the manner in which government funds were expended at our diplomatic missions abroad, and as the former Press, Cultural Affairs and Information Manager at The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, D.C. for four-plus years before my diplomatic status was revoked following the May 10 general election, I feel compelled to respond to the grossly unfair implications contained in this article.
For starters, I really don’t know why such a relatively small compensation over a three-year period to a driver who was required to be available sometimes for up to 16 hours a day is considered news. I know both drivers attached to the Embassy very well, and on numerous occasions have commended them for their strong work ethic and professionalism in doing with dignity and pride what essentially is a low-paying job.
The Embassy of The Bahamas in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States and by extension one of the most important political capitals of the world, is The Bahamas’ most important Diplomatic Mission in the United States, even more so than The Bahamas’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations, where virtually every other country in the world maintains a Mission.
It is also true that virtually every other country in the world has an Embassy in D.C., which legally and diplomatically is recognized as a part of the respective country. Even more important, D.C. is the city that the President of the United States, arguably the most powerful political leader in the world, calls home.
Let that sobering realization percolate in your minds for a brief moment, then consider the fact that whenever members of The Bahamas Cabinet and other top government officials visit D.C. on official business, the chauffeurs at the Embassy are generally required to transport them to-and-from their various appointments and social engagements. In the case of the Prime Minister and persons in his immediate party, for security reasons the U.S. Secret Services assumes this responsibility.
I have personally taken note of the long hours Embassy chauffeurs work during these visits without complaining, and given the fact that time worked beyond regular working hours is considered overtime paid at time-and-a-half, I am surprised that the overtime paid to the Ambassador’s chauffeur over the three years mentioned in this article is not considerably more.
One of the major problems with Facebook is that it has provided a means for irresponsible individuals to make claims without supporting facts and to foment mischief under the guise of being “Facebook journalists.”
12 September 2017
Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis in Ragged Island
Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis with the Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper and Carmichael MP Desmond Bannister.
Permanent Secretary Jack Thompson with MP Chester Cooper.
Chester Cooper MP for Ragged Island led a tour of the devastated community to show the damage done to the island by Hurricane Irma.
16 September 2017
Senators Fred Mitchell and Michael Darville at Smith’s Point 16 September
Photo 1 of the wall done by Smith Construction
Photo two of the work done by Waugh Construction
Here is the point that the village observers make about the Smith’s Point wall. Background: back in June, the People’s time government of the FNM, took the contract for building the Smith’s Point Seawall away from a PLP contractor and gave it to an FNM contractor. Three months later, just before Hurricane Irma hit, Senators Michael Darville and Fred Mitchell visited the site to warn that nothing had been done since the contract had been taken away and that what had been done did not revisit or change what the previous contractor had done. Therefore the FNM’s claim that it was some lack of competence that led to the cancellation did not hold true. Senators Mitchell and Darville went back on Saturday 16 September after the hurricane and saw that some action had been taken and thankfully the hurricane did not cause major disruption. But the pair warned another hurricane is on the way and the wall is still not done. But what was pointed out is that the “snap ties” that are used to hold the forms together to pour the concrete and then are supposed to be removed are still in that portion of the wall built by the Waugh Construction group. The Smith Construction group used PVC pipes, put the steel through the pipes and when the forms hardened they withdrew the steel snap ties. This present company is simply leaving the steel in the wall and corrosion is now obvious because they are not using stainless steel, nor are they using the technique of the Smith Contractor. This needs to be checked by the Ministry of Work engineers before there is not another catastrophe. The photo one shows the work by Smith, the photo two shows the work by Waugh.
Letters to the editor
Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis responded to rumours that he is unable to travel to the United States because of his former legal work. The question came up at a campaign stop in Grand Bahama for the leadership of the PLP on Friday 15 September. Mr. Davis took out his passport and showed the audience the numerous stamps evidencing his travel to the U S. The photo shows Mr. Davis with the passport.
(Photos by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services)
13 September 2017
Chester Cooper MP talks to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis at the House of Assembly on its resumed date 13 September after a whole summer in recess. No substantive business was conducted. Just a communication on the hurricane then, business ended and to resume on 20 September.
The PLP’s team in the first four seats with Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis on his feet to the far left Chester Cooper MP Exuma and Ragged Island, Picewell Forbes, South and Central Andros and Glenys Hanna Martin MP Englerston. The photo was taken on 13 September. Philip Davis asked the Government what did they get from the hurricane insurance that they paid for and how much did they pay?
(Photos by Peter Ramsay)
Congratulations to the newest Anglican Deacon Eric Miller. He is a former altar server at St Agnes and has just completed his work at Codrington College in Barbados. Welcome home and congratulations. He was ordained to the deaconate on Thursday 14th September. He is pictured with the Bishops Laish Boyd and Gilbert Thompson and Archbishop (Retired) Drexel Gomez and with the Rector of St Agnes Rev. Ranfurly Brown and with the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.
Two of the most odious and ignorant people in our country are the talk show host Crissy Love and another jackass who has currency from the net called Omar Archer. They come off as if they should both be in an insane asylum. Yet they have received cover for their foul and crude attacks of lies and deceit on behalf of the FNM because they are FNM. It appears that time may have caught up with them last week, when a Judge of the Court Cheryl Thompson ordered them to appear for Contempt before the courts. They had attacked the Judge and accused her of political bias. At first they refused to appear but when formally summoned, Mr. Archer showed up on Thursday 14 September and apologised to the court. That means he pleaded guilty. He is to be sentenced on Wednesday 20 September. Then there was Crissy Love who told her internet show listeners one thing, defiance of the court’s order, but then ran off to Miami having her lawyer Murio Ducille say that she couldn’t come because she had to take her child to boarding school. A warrant of arrest was issued for her, stayed if she comes to court on 20 September. PLPs were salivating at the mouth because they felt that there is comeuppance due here. The two defendants had their lawyers file constitutional motions saying that the exercise of the contempt jurisdiction by the Judge was irregular and that it was unconstitutional. Yeah right!
Senator Michael Darville at the podium while at the table are Chester Cooper MP, Senator Fred Mitchell, Leader of the PLP Philip Davis, Senator Clay Sweeting, former MP Arnold Forbes and Senator Jobeth Davis
Virginia Thurston, third from left, Chair of the Women’s Branch of the PLP.
Former MP Arnold Forbes
Leader of the PLP Philip Davis with Chester Cooper
There was a huge turnout of supporters and stalwart councillors at the Bahamas Union Of Teachers Hall in Grand Bahma on Friday 15 September to listen to Philip Brave Davis launch his campaign for Leader of the PLP. The pictures tell the story. Mr. Davis pledged reform. There to support him Senator Fred Mitchell, Senator Jobeth Davis, Senator Michael Darville, former Minister Arnold Forbes, former candidates Norris Bain and Preston Laing. There were also 300 people in the room.
15 September 2017
Former head of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union Idena Burrows died in hospital in Nassau on 15 September. No cause of death was disclosed or her age. Former Senator Gary Sawyer wrote about Mrs Burrows the following: “I am deeply saddened, she was a wonderful LADY. I was honoured to have Mrs. Burrows served with me on the board of NFS. I will never forget her unwavering support, she was always concerned about the advancement of staff and the company as a whole. We became close friends and I affectionately referred to her as my girl. May her soul forever rest in glory.”
In her column of 11 September in the down market Punch newspaper, Nicki Kelly decided that she would mess with Senator Fred Mitchell. The following statement was issued by Mr. Mitchell in response:
Statement by Senator Fred Mitchell
Leader of the Opposition in The Senate
Responding To Niki Kelly
In The Punch Today
11 September 2017
For Immediate Release
From New York City
One of the Progressive Young Liberals has brought to my attention a piece of garbage written today by Niki Kelly.
I wondered why most people with considered opinions have lost respect for Niki Kelly as a writer. When she left The Tribune we were all mortified that she would migrate down market to an entertainment rag.
We are saddened further that she has now joined the Sawdust Brain Gang led by Candia Dames with Eileen Carron as founding members.
To make matters worse, Ms Kelly can’t even add. I left school a long time ago but the Progressive Young Liberals tell me that in today’s Math classes, two and two are still four and not five.
I am sorry for Ms Kelly that she is now also officially an FNM troll.
If these people don’t like us or me or the PLP or if as they claim we are irrelevant, why do they keep putting pen to paper to write about us? Ms Kelly’s article is replete with lies, non sequiturs and mischief making.
The PLP is capable of doing more than one thing at a time. Would it not be obvious for a reporter of her standing to actually check to see what I was doing while the Leader of The Party was in his constituency? Could it be that I was on assignment elsewhere?
In fact, I have a Facebook page Fred Mitchell Minute By Minute which displays all my public activities.
Bottom line why the frig don’t you all stay out of the PLP’s business? The FNM has had four months, fifty six to go. They had better enjoy it while they can.
As for Ms Kelly, my friend and mentor Cyril Stevenson, former MP and Newspaper man and a friend of yours too would not be happy with the untruths that you wrote today.
Senator Fred Mitchell with Jen Coppe nee Dames of Exuma and her husband Michael at dinner in Cambridge, Massachusetts 13 September. Jen is the daughter of well-known PLP Stalwart Mary Dames of Exuma.
The following statement was issued by Senator Fred Mitchell, the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs responding to reports from the Auditor General on the finances of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs:
Statement by Senator Fred Mitchell
Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs
On Tribune’s Report On Audit of Foreign Affairs posts
14 September 2017
For Immediate Release
I am laughing my head off at the nonsense and the preoccupation with matters that are de minimus in the larger scheme of the issues we face, looking for dirt where none is to be found and in the process sullying the names of good people. Where for example is the report by your paper of the PLP’s policy statement on Hurricane Irma…The matters in the Auditor General’s report are all matters for the technical officers to explain. Ministers don’t approve overtime for drivers or bills for events. When I actually read what your report said, it is clear that the headline is completely misleading.
Assuming, for example, that the figure is correct, overtime of 46k over three years, the Auditor General will have to show why that is even worthy of note.
My advice to date is that there is no legal impropriety on the part of the driver or the Ambassador or anyone else for that matter. I am advised also that all of these matters in the report were put to the Permanent Secretary who has now decamped to the United Nations in a new job, prior to her leaving for New York . It is for her to explain and the present minister. I am advised also that there were answers provided by her to the satisfaction of the Auditor General.
I would suggest to you also that the Auditor General’s report is simply a snap shot of what he saw on the day he visited and matters could easily have been explained and resolved afterwards. I would appreciate your paper dealing with our substantive policy issues, however.
In his professional life, he was the Assistant Controller of Road Traffic in Freeport. But his real talent and love was Junkanoo. He kept Junkanoo going in Freeport. He complained that it didn’t get the support it deserved but he never quit. His other love was the Progressive Liberal Party and at the campaign meeting of Philip Brave Davis in Freeport on 15 September, his friend Norris Bain, the former candidate for the PLP, led a minuets silence to mark his passing. Fred Mitchell posted this photo taken with Mr. Ferguson during Junkanoo 2016.
Sometimes you really should not curse people out when they say stupid things. You should like the good Lord said on the cross say: “forgive them God for being an ass”. So we won’t curse Quincy Parker out for making the utterly stupid and indefensible comment that these days when you hear Fred Mitchell speak you want to say “ Aw shut up!” Really? For a man who talks for a living, who requires people involved in public policy to make the show he works on lively and informative, for a man who has himself invited Mr. Mitchell on his programme many times, is that anything or Quincy Parker to repeat? It comes off as unintelligent and irrational. Presumably you invited him there to talk, not shut up. SMT. SMH. Being FNM apparently makes you stupid.
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