Comment of the week
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
—- Shakespeare’s Macbeth
It looks like Andre Rollins is on his own. He has no company with this tirade that he is on attacking his own party and his own government’s policy on gambling. The latest outrage was his attack in the House on Wednesday 11th September on the party’s gambling bill, saying falsely that the bill enshrines discrimination, emotive statements about people not believing in the government and predicting that the PLP will lose the next election. He spoke like a man possessed. It was very sad and disappointing.
Mr. Rollins is more politically isolated than ever within the party structure, with the party faithful furious that a man was given a golden opportunity and now he is biting the hand that feeds him. People are calling for his head. His response: he loves the notoriety.
Some had thought that he had some fellow travelers. They were looking for Greg Moss, the MP (PLP) for Marco City, to join the dissent. He did not. He said that he was satisfied with the bills. Then they thought that Renward Wells, the MP for Bamboo Town would join his dissent. No can do. Mr. Wells spoke for 30 minutes. He did not say how he will vote. He laid out a set of principles to which he espoused then sat down. What is clear is that he is not with Andre Rollins. So Mr. Rollins is on his own.
People like this fellow but just can’t right now figure where his head is at as a one man demolition squad.
The gay community is furious with him, after they supported his candidacy and then he sandbags them in the way that he has on the constitutional amendments, raising the red herring of same sex marriage and saying that he could not vote for the amendments and in effect disavowing them in public. The numbers boys are equally as furious for reasons only they can tell. The PLP says where you put me.
If martyrdom is what is being searched for, he has got to think again. Not going to go down that road. The passion with which he acts is no substitute in the eyes of many of good old plain common sense. This is the time to be sticking together. There is no fundamental point of principle involved in what he says. It is simply an idle protest.
Welcome to the world of real politics. This is no play play anymore this is the real deal. The three step dance that was last week is now a one-step dance. And the Jamaicans say it this way: one hand can’t clap.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 13th September 2014 up midnight:368,902;
Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday 13th September 2014 up midnight:757,847;
Number of hits for the year 2014 up to Saturday 13th September 2014 up to midnight:7,753,950.
The late Deputy Director of the Bahamas Information Services, and press aide to the Prime Minister Perry Christie who was murdered in the early hours of 25th August was buried following a service at the Voice of Deliverance Church in New Providence. The Prime Minister attended the funeral with members of the Cabinet and he paid tribute to Mr. Mackey’s help in getting the PLP elected to office. Peter Ramsay took the photographs.
The Prime Minister pays tribute to Latore Mackey at Mr. Mackey’s funeral on Saturday 14th September at Voice of Deliverance Church.
From left Minister of State Hope Strachan, Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell and Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis.
At far right Luther Smith, Director General of the Bahamas Information Services, next to him his Bahamasair board Chair Valentine Grimes and behind them is Athama Bowe, Ministry of Culture consultant.
On Thursday 11th September, the government of The Bahamas sent a diplomatic note containing expressions of support to the government of the United States of America on the anniversary of the attacks in New York city on 11th September.
Brent! Is that you? Well it looks like Brent Symonette; talks like Brent Symonette; acts like Brent Symonette! By damn, it is Brent Symonette. He is the former Deputy Prime Minister and son of the first Premier of the country Sir Roland Symonette, the bootlegger who became first minister. Here was his son, whose wealth leaped from 7 million to 58 million in five years; who was the shareholder in companies that benefitted from government largesse while he was in office. Yes here he was sporting a goatee no less, pronouncing on faith and morals of all things. Mr. Symonette was warning Prime Minister Christie that the PLP’s demise was upon us because of the decision to change the law on gambling in the face of a referendum which said no last year. Bah humbug. Here is the math. 25 per cent of the electorate voted no in the referendum The others either stayed at home or voted yes. So the math suggests that the yes side for gambling is the silent majority. Mr. Symonette said that the last fellow who was in charge of the country got too cocky and ended losing the government. Interesting. The press reported it as an attack on current Prime Minister Perry Christie, but the real story is that it was an attack on Hubert Ingraham, who was Brent Symonette’s boss before the last election. Things that make you go hmmm! Brent Symonette’s remarks were originally reported in the Nassau Guardian on 9th September.
“Every time, every minute the Leader of the Opposition if he here today he over here tomorrow , oh man he’s everywhere, he’s a Houdini he can disappear and appear all over the place Mr. Speaker I’ve never seen anything like it. Leaders don’t do that they stand up for what they believe. — Obie Wilchcombe Minister responsible for Gaming
Women Parliamentarians “steadfast and immovable” on equality
Bahamas Information Services
Pictured during the press conference are from left, State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Hope Strachan; Minister of Social Services and Community Development, Hon Melanie Griffin and Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin.
Acknowledging that there are elements who would wish the referendum to fail, the bipartisan women’s parliamentary caucus remain “steadfast and immovable” and “are focused on what the intention of these (constitutional) amendments are and that is to provide equality for men and women under the constitution.” This according to Social Services and Community Development Minister Hon. Melanie Griffin as she and fellow Parliamentarians addressed the media on their strategic plan going forward regarding the constitutional referendum. She was joined by Transport and Aviation Minister Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin and Transport State Minister, the Hon. Hope Strachan.
Echoing this theme of unity and bipartisanship was Transport and Aviation Minister Hanna-Martin who reiterated that “politics is not separating us (meaning women parliamentarians) on this issue” and women members of both chambers of the House “are ready to go ensure that we achieve this important …objective.” Hanna Martin also pointed out that the current parliamentarians will be calling on former female Parliamentarians to join their “yes” vote campaign and the group is “heating the coals and getting ready to take an aggressing stance (on the constitutional bills).” She strongly believes that an aggressive “yes” campaign in addition to the public education campaign by the Constitutional Commission will “give this referendum the best chance for success. For us, this issue is one where failure is really not an option.”
Turning their attention to a possible delay to the announced date of November 6 for the referendum vote and responding directly to newspaper reports that PLP women Parliamentarians want a delay in the referendum, State Minister the Hon. Hope Strachan had this to say: “The PLP women do not want a delay. What the PLP women want is to give this referendum the best chance of success.” She continued that the developing circumstance relative to public education on the constitutional bills “dictates that we proceed with caution” because ostensibly “we want to ensure that we have a level of comfort in terms of the degree of knowledge that our people have before they go to the referendum polls.
“So while we do not want a (referendum) delay, we recognize that in the reality of the situation that it may actually require one” said the State Minister.
“If it is at the end of the day” said Minister Griffin, “we have to put off the date, I see (nothing) wrong with that…if there is any indication that the people in this country simply need more time to be educated on this issue, that is a preferable path than to go down the path where we know that our chances of success are hindered.”
The press conference was held in the Majority Room of the House of Assembly on Wednesday, September 9th.
Nassau, Bahamas – The following is a statement by Citizens For Justice:
Former workers of City Markets are angered at the proposal of share offering made by Mark Finlayson this week and have all strongly rejected this offer. Workers have been denied their pension and severance packages since 2012 when the company was closed and later sold.
A number of breaches to the laws of the Bahamas and a total disregard of the fiduciary and financial responsibilities of the workers have left the workers of Bahamas Supermarket Limited without the funds that are rightfully and legally due to them. The pension fund owes workers in excess of $5 million and severance packages due is over $4 million.
Whanslaw Turnquest the representative for the former employers and pensioners said that the workers are frustrated and are disgusted that all attempts to have matters resolved by Mr. Finlayson have failed. Bishop Walter Hanchell, Chairman of Citizens for Justice has joined with the workers in fighting for their monies.
Bishop Hanchell said “We are calling for government intervention in the City Market dilemma. We cannot ignore these workers who have labored with this company for all these years to be treated so unjustly and unfairly. We call on the Minister of Labour to assist these workers. These workers need justice and they need it now. This matter will receive international attention if these workers are not compensated forthwith”.
Nassau, Bahamas – One Bahamas Foundation and BTC announced a partnership in which BTC will sponsor the One Bahamas Foundation’s annual national unity walk held each February. Additionally, Her Excellency the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling accepted to become the event Patron. The announcement was made at Government House, September 9, 2014, where the Governor-General received directors of One Bahamas Foundation and executives of BTC. The sponsorship will allow for the unity walk to be held nationwide.
Theta Epsilon Zeta
Her Excellency the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling welcomed members of the Bahamas Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. — Theta Epsilon Zeta — in a courtesy call at Government House, September 11, 2014. Pictured from left: Lekeisha Bostwick; Lekeisha Rolle; Anita Davis-Saunders; Ronique Tinker, 2nd vice-president; Taisha Lloyd, president; Dame Marguerite Pindling; Georgette Albury, 1st vice-president; Phillandra Bain; Erin Swain; and Adia Deveaux.
The phrase “speaks with a forked tongue” means to deliberately say one thing and mean another or, to be hypocritical, or act in a duplicitous manner. In the longstanding tradition of many Native American tribes, “speaking with a forked tongue” has meant lying, and a person was no longer considered worthy of trust, once he had been shown to “speak with a forked tongue”
— United States First Nation Saying
STATEMENT BY COB — The College of The Bahamas will be transitioning to the University of The Bahamas within a year. By doing so, the nation’s primary tertiary-level institution is positioning itself to be an even greater instrument of those public and non-public strategies that support national development goals. Accordingly, when the opportunity presented itself for the soon-to-be university to be involved in a major initiative of the Government of The Bahamas to diversify the economy, to create a greater level of food security and to encourage applied research across our archipelago, the opportunity was embraced. How could it not?
Contrary to what the President of the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) has stated in the press, COB is not in a “forced relationship” with the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI). The mission of BAMSI is in complete alignment with the mission of the College and the University. Through its whole-hearted embrace of its partnership with BAMSI and by attempting to ensure BAMSI’s success, the College/University fulfills one of its key strategic goals. Administrators and faculty members alike see it as a privilege for our beloved institution to be asked by the Government of The Bahamas to provide academic quality-assurance oversight of such a major initiative of the Government to promote food security and applied research in agriculture and the marine resources of The Bahamas. Therefore, it is a surprise that some would see this function for something other than the academic function that it is. Indeed, it has not been unreasonable to anticipate that the College would be unanimous in its support of a COB partnership with BAMSI.
The relationship between the College and BAMSI is being structured through a general Memorandum of Understanding and a Franchise Agreement. These agreements define the relationship between COB and BAMSI, the obligations of both parties under the agreements, the joint endeavors anticipated to be effected through the collaborative efforts of the parties and generate a new stream of revenue for COB. Acting in good faith, the institutions, who will be the parties to both agreements, will have begun to collaborate and create a partnership relationship before the agreements have been signed. This is not an uncommon practice where the parties to such agreements are acting in good faith. Indeed, the College’s general experience with MOUs suggests that such instruments are more meaningful when they consummate a relationship that is already being worked out ‘on the ground’. An MOU and a Franchise Agreement between COB and BAMSI is currently being reviewed by both parties in the knowledge of the many practical issues that need to be resolved as a consequence of the already established working relationship between the parties. The UTEB President would have the College wait to begin the working relationship with BAMSI after the MOU had been signed with BAMSI. This is a distorted understanding of how the world works and truly naïve when you consider that behind BAMSI stands the Government of The Bahamas, which is the main funding source for COB.
BAMSI does not pose an economic strain on the College, as the UTEB President erroneously and disingenuously has been suggesting to the press. As the President of UTEB sits on the Council of the College of The Bahamas, he is well aware that the College sees its partnership with BAMSI not only as a process of attempting to fulfill its national development promise to the nation, but as an investment in a means by which the College can diversify its revenue streams. Far from being an economic strain on COB, BAMSI represents an economic opportunity for COB and the future university.
The COB-BAMSI collaborative partnership represents a potential shift for COB – a shift in which COB begins, as the forerunner of the University of The Bahamas, to seek out revenue-generating opportunities for the institution and research collaboration opportunities for its faculty members by deepening its engagement – through research, advisory services and outreach service – with the life of the nation. This shift going forward rests on the confidence Bahamians will repose in the University of The Bahamas, which is intimately tied to the University of The Bahamas’ belief in itself. Press statements that would have the effect of disturbing COB’s momentum towards deepening its community engagement only pose a threat to, and lack of understanding of, this shift.
Nassau, Bahamas — Scholarship opportunities are expanding for civil engineering majors at The College of The Bahamas, due in part to the generosity and vision of BHM Co. Ltd, formerly Bahamas Hot Mix Co. Ltd and the Bahamas Society of Engineers. On Thursday, September 4th, The College of The Bahamas received a donation that will fund a scholarship of $3,000 every two years for a full-time, undergraduate civil engineering technology major. There will also be an opportunity for the scholars to intern with BHM Co. Ltd.
From left (seated) are Dr. Carlton Watson, Dean, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences and Ebbe Saidi, Managing Director of BHM Co., Ltd. From left (standing) are Davinia Blair, Director of Alumni Relations and Development; Dr. Maria Oriakhi, Chair, School of Mathematics, Physics and Technology; LaToya Johnson, Treasurer, Bahamas Society of Engineers; DeCosta Bethel, President, Bahamas Society of Engineers; Zanda Bonamy, member, Bahamas Society of Engineers and Robert Deal, Chairman, Bahamas Society of Engineers Scholarship Fund and a College of The Bahamas Alumni Society Hall of Fame inductee.
The COB President’s Award
Nassau, Bahamas – Stanley Vanzeylen and Taneshia Swan are no strangers to the rigours of academic life; when they were students of the C.V. Bethel Senior High and R.M. Bailey Senior High schools respectively, they were exceptional learners.
Now, The College of The Bahamas students have been granted the 2014-2015 President’s Scholars Award. The two will receive an academic scholarship of $6,000 each under the President’s Scholars Programme (PSP), which is renewable each year for four years.
Membership in the PSP is merit-based and each scholar must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5. The PSP is focused on the three principal threads of academics, leadership and service.
“When I go into the job market, I know that I have to start out at the bottom, but my goal is to be a manager, my goal is to be in leadership. I would hope from being a President’s Scholar that I would learn how to be a better leader,” says Taneshia, a second-year Accounting major whose drive for academic excellence is matched by her passion for leadership development.
This is the passion that the President’s Scholars Programme seeks to cultivate both in and out of the traditional learning environment. It embodies the education of the whole student and grooming them to become contributing citizens of The Bahamas.
A Biology with Chemistry major, Stanley was equally delighted to be selected as a President’s Scholar.
“As a President’s Scholar you are supposed to be an ambassador for the programme and a leader. I plan on using my skills to help make the programme better known,” says Stanley.
Recently, the two scholars paid a courtesy call on Acting President of The College of The Bahamas Dr. Earla Carey-Baines, soon after they were named as the latest recipients of the award.
Dr. Carey-Baines expressed confidence in their ability to meet the challenges of higher learning and optimism about their future endeavours.
“As you have already begun to realize, college is an extremely different experience from high school,” Dr. Carey-Baines said.
“What you had a year to learn in high school you have fourteen weeks to learn. It’s intense, its demanding, the good thing is you’re both already focused and you’ve both already proven yourselves in terms of your high school careers and in terms of having been awarded this prestigious honour of being President’s Scholars. We have a lot of confidence in you and we are expecting a lot from you,” she added.
Stanley and Taneshia have demanding schedules ahead of them. In addition to their studies, they will participate in a comprehensive leadership development programmes, study abroad and be mentored by the President of The College of The Bahamas.
The President’s Scholar Programme is open to Bahamian high school seniors who are accepted to The College of The Bahamas as incoming students. The criteria for selection are highly competitive. Applicants must have a high school cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5, be involved in school leadership, civic engagement and community service and have an upstanding moral character and a commitment to responsible citizenship.
Since 2006, when the programme began, generous donors have been investing in the potential of these scholars to become leaders in their own right, capable of building The Bahamas in key ways. That philanthropy has come from partners in education including CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Bahamas Supermarkets Foundation, Lyford Cay Foundation Inc., J.S. Johnson C. Ltd. and Baha Mar Lt
|We are really happy that KB aka Kirk Bodie is happy that the word Junkanoo has been added to the promotional effort of the government of The Bahamas for next spring now to be called Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. Mr. Bodie has been leading the fight by the cultural community who felt that Junkanoo was being dissed by the government by promoting “ Carnival” as opposed to “ Junkanoo”. All that is bye bye now. Mr. Bodie pronounced himself well pleased. If he is pleased, we are pleased. His letter appears below.( Editor)
Firstly, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for hearing the cries of the few in the cultural community who spoke up, along with the Bahamian public. Thank you for adding a name that is synonymous with one of our major Bahamian cultural expressions.
Although I felt like you did not go far enough. In my opinion, the festival could have been named Rake-N-Scrape, Jumbey, or Goombay, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that there was a change and that you listened to us. It also shows that the ‘voice of the people’ is the voice that matters.
I feel proud to have been in the dissent column. The column that stood up for our culture and not just someone’s selfish ambitions. It feels great to know that there was a compromise made. When others said nothing would change, it changed, “Take Dat Haters!!” Again, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
I also sat down with the Minister Of Youth, Sports, and Culture, a few weeks ago and had a very insightful meeting with him and his Permanent Secretary. We ironed out most of my objections. I found most of his present and future plans groundbreaking. I would like to commend him for being open and available to meet with me.
Going forward, my only objection to the Carnival/Festival, at this point, is the type of music that will now represent the Bahamas and the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. From what I have heard, and know, the top 25 songs selected were mostly authentic Trinidadian sounding soca songs. Using Trinidadian slang, Trinidadian cultural verbiage and phrases that they use at their Carnival in Trinidad.
Where is the Bahamian in that? With 170 plus songs to choose from that Bahamian recording artists wrote and produced, you mean only Trinidadian sounding songs made the cut? It seems to me that there was some kind of hanky panky going on there, influencing of the judges to choose Trinidadian soca material. Why choose soca songs? Did these judges have something against Bahamian music?
Mr. Prime Minister, it seems like you are the only one hearing us out here, please have your people address this confusion. I have no horse in this race, I just want to see that the Bahamian people’s interest is put first. If one or two of these soca songs are to win this song competition and is exported to the world, this sound or genre of music will represent us, represent the word, ‘Junkanoo’. A soca sound representing Junkanoo? Another country’s music representing Junkanoo? Sir, that doesn’t make any sense.
Come on Festival Committee members, we will be promoted as a soca destination. I thought our main objective was to push Bahamian Culture. Our taxpayer dollars will be used to promote music that is not ours, exposing and biggin’ up someone else’s culture at our expense. I hope you all understand what this means. Unless this is what someone truly wants? If not, then we must correct this, the music needs to suit the name, the culture, Junkanoo.
Why was the criteria of this competition not outlined that these songs must be in the musical vein of Rake-N-Scrape, Junkanoo or Goombay? A Bahamian thing! Mr. Prime Minister, this needs to be rectified, it’s weird that this was overlooked. The judges should have thrown out any song with music that was not identified as authentically ours. We as Bahamians know our sound, and especially judges who are supposed to be musicians. Furthermore, in my view the committee should still add some well-known Junkanoo songs that were mega hits, to add excitement and familiarity to this Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival album and concert event.
If others like myself and other stakeholders in the Bahamian music industry were approached on this Festival/Carnival plan much earlier this would have been a better and much smoother process. I am also kind of disappointed in some of the well-known artists and musicians who did not step up and at least let their voices be heard. “Let me let y’all know”, to make a change taste really sweet… To be vindicated is an awesome feeling, versus, entering a competition with questionable judging. It couldn’t have been about the cash prize… Could it? We could have all stood together and demanded more.
“United we stand, divided we fall.”
Once again, thank you Mr. Prime Minister for hearing us on this matter.
Kirkland H. Bodie
His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, is pictured welcoming guests to the “Night In The Bahamas” on Saturday, September 6, 2014. At left of Dr. Newry is Mr. Chet Neymour, Deputy Chief of Mission; at right of the Ambassador his wife Mrs. Francoise Torchon Newry; and far right is Miss Krissy Hanna, Second Secretary, Embassy of The Bahamas.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A heavy downpour of rain during the early evening forced organizers to move the opening of the event under a tent erected on the patio outside the conference room of the Embassy of The Bahamas, 2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., but that did not prevent some 100 guests from enjoying “A Night In The Bahamas” on Saturday, September 6, 2014.
The evening of fun, food and dancing was organized by THINGS TO DO DC, which bills itself as “the premier social and networking organization for young professionals.” Similar events are periodically sponsored by the organization at various Embassies in Washington, D.C.
His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, welcomed the guests to the Embassy during brief remarks and invited them to visit The Bahamas.
Guests dined on traditional Caribbean cuisine, including such Bahamian staples as peas and rice, fried plantain and conch fritters and the traditional Jamaican dish curried chicken along with an assortment of deserts. Caribbean dance music was provided by Ryan Browne (DJ PUMPKIN).
THINGS TO DO website claims that it has “an active membership of over 175,000 local young professionals” and it “produces original events that enrich your social and cultural experiences while enabling you to meet other young professionals in a friendly environment.”
“Our primary goal is to help enrich the personal and professional lives of professionals of all ages,” the website states. “We accomplish this by producing a wide variety of interactive social, educational, and cultural events that encourage our members to learn new things and meet new people. We are quite proud of what we have built in the past and are continuing to build. With your continued participation, Things To Do® will remain the consummate organization for Washington’s young professional population.”
Upcoming events include a Black Tie Venetian Ball at the Embassy of Italy Saturday, October 4, 2014.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States; his wife Mrs. Francoise Torchon Newry (second from right); and Mr. Chet Neymour (right), Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of The Bahamas (right) are pictured with Ms. Cisa Riley (left) of 212 Degrees Realty, LLC, a real estate firm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, at the “Night In The Bahamas” on Saturday, September 6, 2014, at the Embassy of The Bahamas, 2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Congratulations to Rev. Diana Francis, succeeding her father Rev. Earl Francis as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Coconut Grove. She has lad a long struggle, with a revolt against the idea while the old man was alive and then some folks objecting to how Rev. Dr. William Thompson, head of the Bahamas Baptist Missionary and Education Convention conducted the elections to choose her. But all of that is over now. She has the job and is by all accounts doing well at it. She is the sister of Junkanoo and Saxon great Percy “ Vola” Francis.
Nassau, Bahamas – The Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, left, gave remarks during the Installation Service for Rev. Diana Francis, right, as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Market Street South, September 11, 2014. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
Rev. Diana Francis during her Installation Service as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Market Street South, 11 September 2014. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
This Week in The Bahamas (Sept 12)
Commentary by Elcott Coleby
The future of land-based casino gambling and online gaming and a strike action by the affiliates of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Trade Union Congress (CBTUC) dominated the national events this week in The Bahamas.
The Gaming Bill House debate intensifies
The Gaming Bill and attendant regulations designed to effect sweeping changes to the gaming and Financial Services sectors were read for a second time in the House this past Wednesday. The debate intensified the following day, the thirteenth anniversary of 911. The exchanges were emotive and at times contentious with charges and counter-charges of discrimination, the death of democracy, election defeat, cronyism, hypocrisy and money laundering. This level of intensity and range of the verbal sparring between House members are normal and usual in the halls of Parliament and Congresses around the world for legislation of this magnitude, gravity and transformational qualities.
In summarizing the pros and cons of the Gaming Bill, Foreign Affairs Minister Mitchell argued that the result of a successful Parliamentary “no” vote “would be to drive money underground and increase the criminality in the country; increase joblessness and all the attendant problems that causes; and erode the already precarious financial state of the country by the misallocation of valued resources into law enforcement.” He characterized the “no” vote as the practice of “tomfoolery” which was redundant.
Correspondingly, with a successful “yes” vote in the House, “there will be a strong, well regulated and healthy domestic gaming sector” continued Mitchell, “with money in the bank and people in work prospering, with the government getting its share. We will eliminate the potential for more criminality. Sounds like a win win to me.”
In the end and against a backdrop of criticisms, the Prime Minister explained his leadership motivation generally and summed up his government’s decision specifically to legalize and regulate the web shop gaming industry this way: “Right now I am driven to do what is right for the country…whether I am seen to be doing the right thing or not, so long as I am in the belief that what I am doing is honestly intended to benefit the Bahamian people – it is not harmful to them – it is not a sinful action that I am taking, but it is one that is manifested in the best interest of the country itself, then I am moving forward as strongly as ever and resolute in my determination to make a major impact on the country, positive, not negative – positive.”
Prime Minister Christie went further in explaining the far reaching empowerment and economic impact a fully regulated web shop gaming industry with an estimated $600 million in annual sales can have on the lives of thousands of Bahamians: “If you see that we can use as a foundation, a foundation subject to audit $600 million – how do you think $600 million can be in play for Bahamians – how many thousands – tens of thousands of Bahamians that are a part of making that money available to that market.” The Prime Minister shared these thoughts during the second annual Straw Vendor’s Appreciation awards ceremony at the straw market on Thursday afternoon.
The House is expected to vote on the Gaming Bill on Monday of next week at the Bill’s third reading.
CBTUC members strike
While the debate continued in the House, some members of the CBTUC went on strike in New Providence and Grand Bahama. Calling the strike illegal, the Ministry of Labour issued a press release on the strike action. Reiterating that the Government of The Bahamas “remains committed to the concept of partnership with all trade unions and will keep the channels of communication open for discussions with trade union leaders,” the statement updated the public on the trade unions and associations that have matters before the Industrial Tribunal pursuant to the provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1970:
- The Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union,
- The Bahamas Nurses Union,
- The Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers,
- The Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association,
- The Bahamas Customs Immigration Allied Workers Union,
- The Bahamas Educators Managerial Union
Having listed the unions and associates with matters before the tribunal, the statement went on to remind the affiliates of the CBTUC and the general public of the provisions of Section 77 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act Chapter 321 of the Statute Laws of The Bahamas which states the following:
“No employee shall go on strike and no employer shall declare a lock-out, and no union or member of the executive committee or other governing body of a union shall call a strike or declare a lock-out in consequence of a trade dispute while proceedings taken in relation to that dispute are pending before the Tribunal or the Court of Appeal.”
On Wednesday, the Minister of Labour and National Insurance the Hon. Shane Gibson obtained a Supreme Court injunction signed by Acting Justice Ian Winder to bring the strike to an end until the Industrial Tribunal’s ruling. The Injunction ordered the CBTUC affiliates to “cease and desist from taking part in any industrial action until their matters are heard by the Industrial Tribunal.” Despite the court order, the TUC President promised to appeal the ruling and the strike continued until Friday.
Prime Minister Christie was on Kamalame Cay, Andros this past Tuesday to attend an event under the auspices of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Nature Conservancy. He was congratulated by the IDB for being the first Prime Minister in the Caribbean to spearhead “an existing environmentally based initiative.”
In other local news this week, the Prime Minister revealed that Stem Cell research and therapy applications are expected this month as the government tabled Stem Cell regulations in Parliament.
The government announced that it is in the final negotiation stages with a short list of bidders for the overhaul of BEC which will include the establishment of a new legal entity owned by BEC. This means that as the government moves ahead with energy sector reform, BEC will no longer be split into two entities.
Finally, Labour Minister Hon. Shane Gibson revealed that the National Health Insurance (NHI) report is complete. The report prepared by the Costa Rican Accountant firm Sanigest Internacional, will outline the overall cost to implement the National Health Insurance Plan. The firm was contracted by the government in April of this year to conduct this feasibility study.
Members of the Executive team of the Bahamas Press Club 2014. Pictured from left are Kendeno Knowles, public relations officer; Julian Reid, education officer; Marguerite Guillaume, ethics committee chair; Anthony Newbold, president; Lindsay Thompson, secretary; Anthony Capron, second vice president and Vincent Vaughan, treasurer. Executives not pictured are Shenique Miller, assistant secretary; Carla Palmer, assistant treasurer; and Clint Watson, chaplain.
They have announced again a Press Club. This is yet another attempt to bring together a professional association for press people. This is tried territory: been there and done that. We are that the only people who can have a press club that can succeed are Eileen Carron, Anthony Ferguson and Wendall Jones: the publishers of The Tribune, the Nassau Guardian and the Bahama Journal respectively. ( Editor)
Nassau, Bahamas – The following is a statement by the newly formed, Bahamas Press Club:
Although this concept may be new to some, it is not a novel idea. Over the many years in recent memory, dating back to the early 1970s, there have been numerous tries at establishing an association of the press corps in The Bahamas. The most successful of which began in 1996.
We have not been alone in wanting to create such an organization for ourselves. In Britain, the Birmingham Press Club established in 1865, has survived for 149 years and is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. In the United States the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. was established in 1908 and has been addressed by every U.S. President since Theodore Roosevelt and has also played host to many leading world figures.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware, I’m sure, in practically all professions everywhere in the world, there is a body that oversees and looks out for the best interest of the practitioners of the profession.
For example right here in The Bahamas: The legal profession has the Bar Association and the Bar Council, the doctors have the Bahamas Medical Association, the accountants have their associations and so do the engineers, the architects, etc.
Today, we are off to another start at establishing a press club, which will only be sustained if everyone here and those to come, put their best efforts forward. Some may ask why a press club? what’s the reason for it?
These are valid questions.
I will say up front, that the Bahamas Press Club is not a union in the sense that it will broker deals with employers and negotiate for employees’ salary increases and benefits. That is not the purpose of the press club.
The purpose of the club, to borrow from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., is to encourage friendly intercourse among news practitioners and everyone with whom they have contact in the pursuit of the profession, to promote the interests of those employed in the media, to ensure public access to information and to guarantee as much as possible the accuracy of that information and to cultivate literary tastes.
We will endeavor to promote and uphold the highest ideals and standards of journalism, while providing for the exchange of ideas and experiences and the offering of professional development opportunities.
We are fortunate, not to have to start from scratch. Founding president Darold Miller and his team, of which I was privileged to be treasurer, laid the foundation. His successor, news photographer Miss Margaret Guillaume took the foundation to belt course during her tour of duty. Miss Guillaume’s tenacity and commitment to the highest standards of journalism helped to further cement the vibrancy, respect and integrity so necessary to an organization such as ours.
Miss Guillaume continues to play a very active and important role in the affairs of the Press Club.
While he was not president, it is important to acknowledge the contribution of Mr. Steve McKinney whose idea it was to form a press club in 1996 and who used his best efforts and resources to ensure that the club became a reality. Mr. McKinney, who is now a member, has also pledged his support for this effort. Ed Bethel also served for one term as president.
Under president Guillaume and her team, a scholarship in Journalism was given to the College of The Bahamas in memory of Dorothy Panza-Robinson, the first female to anchor news at ZNS Channel 13 back in the 1970’s. Mrs. Panza-Robinson’s husband in a show of gratitude for the gesture gave a donation of $500 to the Press Club, who, in observation of our code of ethics, gave the money to the scholarship fund, bringing the total to $1,400. The seed money was obtained from a dinner sale.
Our list of speakers included some of the who’s who in our community, such as the late Sir Lynden Pindling, the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, chief clerk of the House, Maurice Tynes and then Mr. Fred Mitchell, himself a former journalist.
Advocating for our members, occasioned the club speaking to directives issued by a news director, which was eventually satisfactorily addressed by the then government in the House of Assembly.
As a body, members signed the condolence book at Government House on the death of Diana Princess of Wales.
The club was dormant until August this year.
As the new president of the Bahamas Press Club 2014, I’d like to share some of our goals for the coming year, which include requesting an accredited national press pass from the Commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police, for those involved in the dissemination of the news; to become affiliated with the National Press Club in Washington, D.C; to establish a code of ethics for those involved in the media; to establish a solid membership base which will include members from the Family Islands.
To this end election of officers was held on August 28, 2014, with the following persons being elected to the executive leadership:
· Anthony Newbold, president;
· Anthony Capron, second vice president;
· Lindsay Thompson, Secretary;
· Shenique Miller, asst. secretary;
· Vincent Vaughan, treasurer;
· Carla Palmer, asst. treasurer;
· Kendeno Knowles, public relations officer; and,
· Julian Reid, education officer.
Clint Watson was appointed as the club’s chaplain.
A constitution for the Press Club 2014 was subsequently ratified at our first monthly meeting last Sunday, September 7th.
On another note, we in the Bahamas Press Club 2014 are aghast at the violence being perpetrated against journalists, especially in the war zones of the world. Just recently, two free-lance American journalists – James Foley and Steven Sotloff — were executed by the terrorist group Isis in Syria.
While we extend condolences to the families of the executed men, we are also concerned for the safety of the estimated 20 other journalists that are reported to be missing in the country, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Which brings us to one of our own, Bahamas Information Services Deputy Director LaTore Mackey, who was allegedly murdered on August 25. As this is now a case in the courts we will not comment further except to offer sincere condolences to his bereaved family with the hope that justice will be served.
We look forward to a very exciting future of positive interaction between the Press Club and the people of The Bahamas.
Prime Minister meets with members of the Nature Conservancy at Kamalame Cay. Photo shows Minister Dorsett, ; Mark Tercek, President and CEO The Nature Conservancy, Eleanor Philips, Director Nature Conservancy, the Prime Minister, Craig Mccaw, Chairman of the Board of the Nature Conservancy and Minister of State Khaalis Rolle.
Updating residents of my constituency on the Constitution Amendment Bills and the Gaming Bill 2014. Seabreeze will present its argument in the honourable Chambers on Thursday 12th September.
Notes by Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill
On the Gaming Bills
House of Assembly
11 September 2014
I wish to pay my respects to the family of Stephanie Martin Mackey. She was the daughter of the late Elon Sonny Martin and I want express my condolences to Strech, to Sheila, April and Ricardo.
A former Miss Grand Bahama; and good friend from my days in Freeport in the 1980s has passed. Gone too soon. May she rest in peace.
I wish to state that I support these bills in their entirety and without exception or equivocation. This matter is impatient of debate. We are only here because the enemies of progress have one philosophy that of stall delay and defer.
I asked the leaders of the party that I speak near the back end of this debate because I wanted to see what direction this would take. This for me is a political matter; it is a rights issue.
It is political because we need to get all of this stuff behind us and concentrate on the campaign for 2017. The Progressive Liberal Party needs another five years at the helm post 2017 to so shape the values and ethos of this country; that it is reset firmly on the base on which Bahamian nationalism was begun.
There is no question in my mind that the governance of the Free National Movement for 15 years represented a concerted effort by fair means or foul to de Bahamianize the ethos of this country and that severe corrective action was needed. We are now on our way.
I believe that we can more profitably spend the rest of our term trying to get to the issue that in my view bedevils are success, the inability for us to get the bureaucracy to do what we want it to do in a timely, courteous and accurate fashion. If we can fix that at the end of this term, we will have left a great legacy to this Bahamas.
The matters which are before us: the tax bills, the amendments to constitution, the bills on gaming are all impatient of debate. They are simple. There is nothing complicated about them. We have spent too much time trying to get this done and it is simply time to put it behind us.
What I continue to marvel at, and I have so much experience with it now that I should no longer marvel at it, is the propensity for the opponents of these measures, the usual suspects of anti PLPs, who are able to deflect and derail the public by the injection into these campaigns of silliness.
We have only to look at the recent debates as an example: sex which we have always known what it is, has become same sex marriage. Left to these naysayers, women would lose their right to equality, an historic wrong going uncorrected, because of that foolishness.
With regard to these bills some emotive words have been used. Some people have used the word: “Apartheid!” Interesting! This is the system of organized racism by the Afrikaners of South Africa of separateness or apartness that was used to keep the races separated in South Africa and to oppress black people. It is quite an emotive word. So when someone compares this gaming bill and what it seeks to do, knowing that the architects of the anti-apartheid fight in The Bahamas are the designers of the legislation on gaming that is very serious accusation indeed.
I would invite the critics to re-examine that comparison and resile from that position.
The accusation is that the comparison is apt because the bill continues the discrimination, so the critics say, between Bahamians and non-Bahamians and their ability to gamble in the casinos.
Here are the facts on this matter of who cannot gamble in casinos.
The prohibition first of all is not against Bahamians but against those who are ordinarily resident in The Bahamas. So for example, my sister who is Bahamian but lives in the United States comes to Nassau and can and has gambled in the casinos in The Bahamas without offending any law. So as a fact, Bahamians are not excluded from the casinos, even though in most cases being Bahamian and ordinarily resident may be coterminous.
Secondly, the bill has in fact conceded the point of the young people of the country that the provision in the law which would tend not to allow them to gamble in casinos is now outdated and indefensible. The Minister for gaming will tell you that I am among the libertarians in the cabinet. I do not understand, nor do I accept these nefarious arguments that people have getting into matters which are people’s bedroom business, their faith, their morals and their habits and seeking to impose their views on others. That in my respectful view is none of their business. Yet people are all over the place getting up on their moral high horse about gambling.
I agree with Bill Bennett, the former Education Secretary of the United States, who said there is no moral element to gambling. There is none of course unless it offends your personal morals. If it offends your personal morals then that is your business, not mine and provided the issues of gambling do not offend the public interest then again the individual is free to do as he or she wishes. It is simply not my business.
This evolving of the public policy on this matter is a textbook case for the students of public administration at the College of The Bahamas.
First it is another warning that I gave when I spoke on the bills to amend the constitution that when you pass a law you have to be careful that it does not burden or tie the hands of your successors that makes it impossible for them to administer or govern without difficulty.
Such are the citizenship laws of The Bahamas in our constitution: a veritable nightmare of arcane provisions.
When Pop Symonette and his men put this law in place as a sop to the church way back in 1963 or thereabouts, it may have been fine then. I was a boy then and I resented it then. Judge now. However after 41 years of independence such a proviso is not acceptable to the kids who we have been telling for 41 years that this is their country and they are free to develop it and do as they wish within its borders.
However, it is not always that easy when you are in power to dismantle what has been established. These policies are compromises. I am from the school that says just do away with it. But I also know that you have to know the consequences of what you will do.
Yes some people will be happy. But what if what we do results in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs because we act too precipitously. What if what we do ends up killing the thing we love, to paraphrase the words of Oscar Wilde; the very gambling sector we seek to save.
What if what we end up doing is throwing the baby out with the bath water.
So the bill now provides for one simple thing: the minster can with the stroke of pen remove the distinction between those who can now gamble and who cannot gamble. It gives the power to do so without coming back to the Parliament. The Parliament is saying by this act, you have the authority to remove it when you feel that it is appropriate.
So no I do not think that the bill perpetuates discrimination against Bahamians.
I am advised that some are saying that the policy of restrictions on who can gamble in casinos is a sign that the big casino operators are yanking our chains; that this makes us therefore indistinguishable from the FNM. With the greatest of respect, that is simply untrue. The casino operators care not one whit whether the locals gamble or they do not. They made no such insistence. Secondly, this legislation was developed not as two regimes but one regime with taxation and oversight being an equal opportunity. What you see here is the result of work both with the domestic gaming sector and the traditional casinos.
No one got any particular advantage and no one was excluded.
The opponents have practiced the art of political sucker punching to a science but when you strike back at them with the words that aptly describe their behavior: intolerant bigoted and prejudiced, well you are called unfair.
Take the argument advanced by the Leader of the Opposition in the public domain that this will only assist a select few; the DNA is in the press today saying that this is a political payback. Anything of course to make headlines. Yesterday, we were treated to a tour de force of inaccuracies and half-truths which demonstrate more than adequately the maxim: don’t bore me with the facts, I have my story and I am sticking to it.
The regime of the bills is open, pellucid and transparent. The criteria for applying are laid out specifically. The fees are laid out. Who can qualify is laid out.
Yes there will be market limitations. But right now there are limitations on the number of taxi drivers we can licence. It’s been so for years. Right now there are limitations on who can open a port in New Providence and the last administration picked select families and gave them that benefit and put a poison pill in it to prevent the PLP or any of their successors from doing anything about it.
The last administration did the same thing with the sale of BTC.
They also plucked an obscure company out of Canada and gave them a monopoly to run a Cable TV company for 15 years. They did not see anything wrong with that either.
The argument isn’t that because they did it we are doing it. The argument is this: who the heck are you to come preaching about a select few when that is the modus operandi of the FNM.
What the PLP is saying is that it is time for a new group of people to share in the wealth, not the same chosen few. This policy promotes Bahamianization; it promotes spreading the wealth. It is an equitable solution to vexing issue.
Then I add this. Let us say that the FNM succeeded with their no vote to stop the present policy that we have established on gaming.
What would the result be?
The local result will be either the continuation of the unregulated, untaxed sector that we have now which we all know cannot continue without consequences both domestic and foreign.
Or alternatively, it would mean that the police resources would have to be used to close the sector down. We all know that is impossible. We all know that that it would be a serious misallocation of the finite resources of the country to engage in such an exercise. Like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. We also all know that thousands of people will be put out of work.
So the result then of the FNM’s no vote if it were successful would be to drive money underground and increase the criminality in the country; increase joblessness and all the attendant problems that causes; and erode the already precarious financial state of the country by the misallocation of valued resources into law enforcement.
Why then should we engage in such tomfoolery, when with the simple passage of this bill we can have the best of both worlds. There will be a strong well regulated, healthy domestic gaming sector with money in the bank and people in work prospering, with the government getting its share. We will eliminate the potential for more criminality. Sounds like a win win to me.
For all of those reasons then, I support this legislation.
Letters to the editor
We wish happy fortieth birthday to Minister for Trade Ryan Pinder who turned 40 yesterday. Many, many more.
Andre Rollins speaking in the House on Wednesday 11th September said that the PLP will lose the general election in 2017 because of their position on the gambling bill. Mr. Rollins is dead wrong. The PLP will not lose the next general election.
It is now looking more likely than not that the date of the proposed referendum to amend the constitution will not be 6th November as previously announced. This is a pity. We do not agree with its postponement. We believe that if it is postponed the matter should be abandoned by the PLP for this term.
Glenys Hanna Martin MP for Englerston is to speak to the Fox Hill Branch of the PLP on the four bills which are being proposed to amend the constitution of The Bahamas. She will speak on Wednesday 17th September at 7:30 p.m. at Sandilands Primary School. Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill will be in attendance.
Obviously Ethric Bowe is a fellow who needs to find work to do in the day. Spends all his time on Facebook it seems, grumbling and complaining about something and usually in the form of a series of non sequiturs. The latest we print below. This time and yes once again his favourite person is being attacked Fred Mitchell, with the usual silliness about travel. But first you will see a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “Why what an ass am I?”
Fred Mitchell says the DNA will do anything for a headline.
If you live long enough you’ll see and hear anything and everything in this Bahamas. But imagine Fred talking about anyone loving headlines.
Fred needs to focus and address the accountability issues. When you know better you should do better. Fred knows better.
Fred knows it is our money he is spending jet-setting around the world. Since …its our money we are entitled to an accounting.
When the DNA comes to office there will be a full accounting for every trip they made. We hired people to do our business. Since there is no FREEDOM OF INFORMATION we cannot be sure they were not playing at our expense.
We cannot afford this government. We cannot afford VAT.
We reject this minority government that spends more drunkenly than the last government.
We also need a balanced budget act to control the spending of professional politicians.
An ass indeed ( Editor)
Kelvin Leach and Ryan Knowles, Bahamian citizens, are in the custody of the Belizean authorities following their arrest on Friday 12th September as they attempted to leave the country for The Bahamas. They were arrested for alleged currency violations. The charges are believed to be trumped up to stop them from leaving Belize to give the US government the time to get the paper work in order to have them extradited to the US to stand trial for alleged fraud in the US because of a financial services company that they ran with a US citizen in Belize called Titan International Securities. The Bahamas government has lodged a protest to the government of Belize in connection with the arrest.
A delegation of FNMs were in North Abaco over the weekend in North Abaco hosting a party with the Chinese builders of the port. The idea it appears is to introduce the man who they say will be their standard bearer in the next general election for the FNM in North Abaco Gary Smith, the brother of former MP, broadcaster and diplomat Mike Smith.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham appeared in Fox Hill for the 100th birthday celerbations of Gwen Clarke of Fox Hill at the Church of God In Fox Hill. He appeared with the FNM’ former candidate for Fox Hill. Things that make you go hmmmm!
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill and Minister of Foreign Affairs together with Consul General Paulette Zonicle and Honorary Consul Michael Fountain are shown with the leaders of the Bahamian community in Chicago Marva Cargill and McIntosh and the Bahamians Leslie Crawley, Michelle White, Constable Ronnie Ferguson, Joe and Linda Gibson, Tanya Fountain, wife of the Honorary Consul on Saturday 7th September at the Hyatt Regency.
We do not know what Obie Ferguson, the head of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress, has in his mind or had in his mind when he called a strike by some of his affiliates last week. These included most notably the Immigration and Customs Department and the nurses. The strike failed in that at best it was an inconvenience. But there is something slightly thoughtless about the matter. How does a union put the security of the state at risk by calling a strike which is illegal? The ports were left unmanned. People were turned away from the hospital. It comes off as heartless. Even after an injunction was filed, after the matter was referred to the tribunal, the strike continued. There is a problem with self-absorption going on in this country. What part of broke don’t these people understand? Negotiations have started again they say. But negotiations for what? The government cannot and will not move on money matters. There is simply no money to give. The paradigm has changed and shifted and the only answer for immigration and customs people who do not like what they face on the job is to move on to other jobs.
The press on Saturday 13th September reported Rev Alfred Stewart as saying that he hopes and prays that those how vote for the gaming bills before the House of Assembly now will lose their seats and be replaced by those who do not support gambling. Interesting. What is in his head? Thus saith the Lord, we suppose. How ridiculous can you get?
Last week posts