Comment of the week
Every police officer who is a part of the witch hunt in which FNM politicians Hubert Minnis, Carl Bethel and Marvin Dames are involved in locking up PLP politicians should remember the Nuremberg trials. Those trials established the legal principle that you cannot as a defence to carrying out an unlawful order say “ I was only following orders”. Paul Rolle, the police officer who is in charge of the investigations of the so called anti-corruption unit in particular ought to think very carefully about this as he goes about his job. There will be a day of accountability for every man or woman on the force who was engaged in this activity.
There are many questions that will have to be answered for the record. The question is who ordered this to take place? What conversations were had and with whom? How come there were only investigations and charges on one political side? Why were these matters not dealt with by summons instead of arrest? What did the Prime Minister know about this and when did he know about it? What did the Minister of National Security know and when did he know it? What did he say to the police officers in charge of these investigations?
Where is the Attorney General in all of this and what role did he have to play in bringing these investigations?
What has happened to the Commissioner of Police who reported that there were no complaints about corruption but suddenly arrests were being made after the general election?
What promises and or threats were made in order to get crown witnesses to testify in these matters? Did the police conduct themselves properly in these investigations? Who was responsible for ensuring that what the police were doing in terms of their investigations were leaked selectively to the press?
The FNM has seriously divided the Royal Bahamas Police Force. They have turned it into an organization that is so politically tainted that the entre Force may have to disbanded and started again. That is a serious step but the situation has been taken beyond reason with the FNM.
One way for the PLP to deal with this is first to ensure that the PLP wins the next general election. The second is to follow up quickly with a Commission of Inquiry that will look into all matters concerning the prosecution and charging of the former PLPs MPs, and to seek to uncover the political motivations and machinations behind what has happened?
There is no doubt in our minds that this exercise is not totally above board and both the politicians and the police will have much to answer for when the day of reckoning comes.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 19 August 2017 up to midnight: 363,422;
Number of hits for the month of August up to Saturday 19 August 2017 up to midnight: 849,702;
Number of hits for the year 2017 up to Saturday 19 August 2017 up midnight: 8,067,689.
Last week there was an amusing headline in the press when The Tribune on Friday 18 August reported that Brent Symonette, the only white man in Hubert Minnis Cabinet and the richest of the MPs at net worth 156 million, and the representative of the United Bahamian Party (UBP), the old Bay Street Boys, told the Government that the austerity measures that were ordered by the Government don’t and will not affect immigration. Mr. Symonette is the Minister for Immigration. He then went on to explain during his tour of the Department exactly what Fred Mitchell, his predecessor, had said for five years. He did not change the script, not a word, nothing. This should cause every PLP to smile. It is yet another example of the lying FNM and how they came to power. Say anything, do anything. Just win. Lie if you have to. Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister, had earlier announced that there would be a ten per cent cut across the board for all pubic expenses. Brent Symonette said not for him.
His Excellency Lowell Mortimer, OBE, non-resident High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to India paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Darren Henfield.
7 August 2017
For immediate release
Bahamian awarded 2017/18 Chevening Scholarship
The British High Commission is pleased to announce that a Bahamian national has been awarded a 2017-2018 Chevening Scholarship to study in the UK.
The 2017-18 Chevening scholar is Ms Sasha Dixon.
Chevening Scholarships are awarded to individuals with demonstrable leadership potential who also have strong academic backgrounds.
The scholarship offers full financial support for future leaders to study for any eligible master’s degree at any UK university whilst gaining access to a wide range of exclusive academic, professional, and cultural events.
NASSAU, Bahamas – His Excellency Huang Qinguo, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis on Monday, August 14, 2017 at the Office of the Prime Minister. The Bahamas and China recently recognized their 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations at a reception on Friday evening at the British Colonial Hilton. Photos show a gift presentation during the courtesy call, and the Prime Minister with the Ambassador in a group including, from left: Chinese Embassy officials, Ambassador Huang Qinguo (third left), Prime Minister Minnis, Office of the Prime Minister Senior Policy Adviser Joshua Sears, and Office of the Prime Minister Permanent Secretary Jack Thompson. (Photos/OPM Media Services) 15 August.
NASSAU, Bahamas (BIS) — His Excellency Jean Victor Geneus, Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, paid a Farewell Courtesy Call on Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling at Government House, August 16, 2017. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)
Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield (middle right) and Chinese-Bahamas Ambassador along with their wives during the Bahamas-China Diplomatic Relations Anniversary reception.
1 August, 2017
Bahamas and China Celebrate 20 years of Strong Diplomatic Relations
After 20 years of establishing diplomatic relations with China, The Bahamas continues to expand its cultural influence internationally through promoting diversity, building people-to-people friendships, and establishing sister city relationships through Sino-Bahamian expressions of mutual respect.
“There have been many exchanges of high-level delegations between our two countries as we deepened and strengthened our knowledge, understanding and appreciation of one another’s cultures, priorities, commitments and needs,” said the Hon. Darren Henfield, Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister.
“To be sure, much has happened between us. It is the people-to-people exchanges that have demonstrated to us the face of the relationship, and which help to provide mutual benefits and understanding.”
Minister Henfield presented his remarks at the 20th Anniversary celebration of The Bahamas’ establishment of Diplomatic Relations with the People’s Republic of China at ceremonies on August 11, 2017 at the British Colonial Hilton.
“Official bilateral relations between our two countries were established on the 23rd of May, 1997. As two member-states of the United Nations, we have been able to develop a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship in the twenty years since,” said Minister Henfield.
“Ours has been a particularly harmonious relationship that has been guided and solidified, in the first instance, through the will and effort of our two nations to develop that relationship into a friendship. So, Ambassador Huang, we welcome this opportunity to share this evening with you to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements reached between The Bahamas and China in those twenty years.”
Minister Henfield pointed out that the international relationship has introduced The Bahamas to the appointments of eight Chinese Ambassadors to The Bahamas and three Bahamian Ambassadors to China, as “the immediate and official link between our two Governments… to facilitate the communication, planning and implementation needed to realise our common aims and goals.”
Both countries have agreed upon the long-term goal of establishing a qualifying academic environment, comfortable for both Bahamian and Chinese students to choose The University of The Bahamas as an eminent educational institution for higher learning, research, and earning their academic degrees.
Minister Henfield added: “The Bahamas has been fortunate with the envoys who have been appointed to represent China in our country. You and your predecessors had a keen understanding of our common goals and aspirations, and the passion and commitment to move towards attainment of the same.”
Some of the notable diplomatic accomplishments over the last 20 years that Bahamians have witnessed emerging from the relationship between The Bahamas and China are construction of the Airport Corridor, the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, the Baha Mar resort complex, and The Pointe resort.
They also include the infrastructural developments to help buttress local coastlines against the ravages of sea-level rise, and the port developments in Grand Bahama and Abaco, along with the renewable energy endeavours.
“Modern diplomacy is built on a multitude of experiences and realities of different people, which allows them to co-exist peacefully in this shrinking world of ours. The ideals for which we are striving cannot happen unless we come together, meet each other and commit to work side by side,” said Minister Henfield.
“Respect for the sovereignty of nations, the promotion and advancement of the socio-economic and sustainable development agendas, urban and rural development, the protection of the environment and human rights, capacity building, and the quest for peace take place when, collectively, we combine our efforts.”
Bahamians also enjoy the mutual support for international candidacies, visa-free travel to China, natural disaster relief assistance, as well as the dialogues engendered and arrangements agreed at the national, regional and hemispheric levels.
“All contribute to a strong and mutually beneficial relationship, just to mention a few,” said Minister Henfield.
“China has proven to be a good friend and development partner to the people of The Bahamas. To this end, my Government will do its utmost to maintain and promote Sino-Bahamian relations through on-going dialogue between our capitals, and our business and cultural communities, for the benefit of both our nations and our peoples.”
By Gena Gibbs
Bahamas Information Services
The results are in following the melt down of the United States President Donald Trump at a news conference on 15August. Mr. Trump decided to double down on his comments that both sides were responsible for the racist violence that took place in Charlottesville. Neo Nazis and White Supremacists held a rally on Saturday 12 August. Amongst the chants: Jews will not replace us. Mr. Trump’s daughter is married to a Jew and Mr. Trump could not bring himself to find the moral courage to stand with his daughter. Instead, he stood with the racists, the Nazis and white supremacists. He gave a moral equivalence to the Now Nazis and the protestors against racism. This was a moral low for the United States. Their representatives around the world and in The Bahamas must be thoroughly ashamed of their country to have produced someone who The Economist Magazine said is: “politically inept, morally barren and temperamentally unfit for office.”
We should not be surprised though at the United States and what happens there. The U S has done some weird things as a nation. Their genesis is the invasion by European settlers who displaced the native population, killed them out, displaced them and confined them to small spaces and the decimation continues today. They brought in enslaved Africans, made them work for free, built their nation on their free labour. Then fought a war over them and when they were freed continued discrimination, segregation and perpetrated violence against them in order to keep them under control. They were freed without any compensation. Then think about the stupid idea of passing an amendment to the constitution of the United States to ban the drink and sale of alcohol. This was something that was entirely stupid and unenforceable but it took more than a decade to reverse it. During the Second World War, they rounded up all the American citizens that were ethnic Japanese and put them in concentration camps, even as they were decrying concentration camps in Germany. Following the Second World War, they then had an alcoholic lunatic named McCarthy in the Senate who led a witch hunt against every one they suspected to be a communist. It took decades to undo the harm. Some people died without any redress. That is the United States. The land of the free and the home of the brave. The latest though is really an affront to the world order. Mr. Trump is an embarrassment to his country and to all right thinking people. He should be removed from office and quickly.
The march is scheduled for 2nd September 2017
It is our hope that the march being organized by the PLP support group We Rise will be supported by all people of goodwill. The march is set for the Southern Recreation grounds on Saturday 2nd September. We must not be risk averse. All PLPs should be present. March for Justice and Fair play. The slave shaming of members must stop. The political persecution of our members must stop. The FNM must stop firing people and letting them go home to suffer. This is a cruel regime that must be stopped in its tracks. Help us push back on 2nd September.
Letters to the editor
COMMENTARY BY BAHAMAS SCOOP
THE PLP VIS-A-VIS THE FNM ADMINISTRATIONS AT 100 DAYS IN OFFICE
At their 100-day mark in office after much electoral pomp, pageantry and fanfare, many Bahamians are finding it near impossible to identify one substantive policy or legislative success story by the Minnis administration that can be used to shape the vision and policy direction of The Bahamas; this is disgraceful after promising change, prosperity, good governance and repeatedly pronouncing the PLP government an abject failure.
The FNM did succeed in bringing four former PLP Parliamentarians before the courts on charges of bribery and extortion. The process remains clouded in secrecy as nobody knows who the virtual complainants were. Meanwhile, with all the evidence available to the government on more than $7 million that went missing from BPL, nobody has been brought before the courts and the low level rank and file accounting clerks who were fired claim to have no knowledge of the fraud scam. The government clearly is not serious about cleaning up corruption.
There are complaints of a political witch hunt, the politicization of the RBPF and the mass firings of public servants. After much talk of transparency, accountability, honesty and the people’s time, routine public administrative processes such as timely school repairs are proving excessively challenging for this government. They have disrespected Bahamians by awarding a huge contract to a foreign firm for tourism marketing and many of the contracts for school repairs were not competitive. Mal Jack shows up again with a handsome non-competitive $4 million contract. We all know Mal Jack very well. This FNM’s favourite contractor is notorious for cost overruns and not finishing projects. The government complex on Mangrove Cay, Garvin Tynes Primary and the Government High School are current monuments to this government’s repeated failures in contract administration and protecting the public purse and interests. He was banned from the government’s list of approved bidders by the Ministry of Works so why is he still around?
The DPM misled Parliament on the budget deficit – an impeachable offense. When this serious breach was brought to his attention by the shadow Minister for Finance, the PLP member for Exuma and Ragged Island, Mr. Turnquest in typical arrogant FNM fashion engaged in a public argument in a futile attempt to defend the indefensible; so much for accountability, honesty and transparency in government, the major campaign pledge made by Dr. Hubert Minnis.
In stark contrast, say what you will about the Christie led PLP government, but in their first 100 days in office, there were clear and finite policy measures taken and the direction of the country was clear. In the interest of fairness and perspective, let us examine some of those policies and their legislative agenda.
The Ministry of Grand Bahama was established, populated and given a $3.19 million operating budget. The Ministry of Financial Services and Investments was also immediately created and received an operating budget of $4.4 million
The $15 million mortgage relief program was in progress along with clear policy outlines for the promised gaming referendum, lowering the cost of electricity, immigration reform to better control our borders, key elements of Project Safe Bahamas, Operations Cease Fire and Urban Renewal 2.0 to buttress the country’s fight against crime.
Further, the doubling of the nation’s investment in education and training was articulated by Minister Fitzgerald to include the following: the expansion of preschool education; access to the best training and best practices for teachers; improved and expanded after school programs: early detection of special needs; a new high school equivalency diploma; upgrading school technology; career path academies; expanded technical and vocational training and new apprenticeship opportunities; transforming The College of the Bahamas into a university and worker retraining.
State Minister for Finance, the Hon. Michael Halkitis tabled legislation in the House of Assembly to amend the Bahamas Development Bank Act on the 8th of August 2012.
The Christie government also reduced the maximum level of stamp tax payable on real estate transactions from 12 percent to 10 percent. The PLP government also re-introduced a ceiling on the maximum level of real property taxes payable on a primary residential property and passed amendments to both the Stamp Tax and Real Property Tax Acts in the Lower and Upper Chambers of the House.
IN STARK CONTRAST THE MINNIS TEAM WHEN ON AN EXTENTED VACATION SHORTLY AFTER THEIR CELEBRATION AND GLOATING IN PARLIAMENT SQUARE!
I could on and on about what the PLP administration accomplished in its first 100 days in office but objective readers get the general picture. The more I list the accomplishments of the PLP, the more embarrassingly amateurish Minnis and his FNM team looks.
Suffice it to say, the FNM game to office with a huge electoral mandate, high expectations but sadly no plans to govern this country and very little to show for their time in office. The objective and empirical evidence bear this out to the chagrin of many of their ardent supporters. FACTS ARE INDEED STUBBORN!
EDITOR, BAHAMAS SCOOP
Saturday 19 August is a date that lives in infamy in The Bahamas. It was the day the Free National Movement was first elected to office under Hubert Ingraham. Politically it unleashed the forces of evil and degradation for a decade. The PLP took over after that in 2002 but the evil returned in 2007. They were defeated again in 2012 but the evil has now returned again. They celebrated this weekend this infamous date. They pretend that they brought salvation to this country but instead they have brought shame and disgrace. They are busy talking the country into the ground, firing people from jobs and lying their asses off to stay in power. They are damned.
Senator Fred Mitchell with the Leaders of We Rise Too at their planning meeting for 2 September march at Southern Recreation Grounds 6:30p m. 16 August in Gambier House
The former Press and Cultural Attaché of The Bahamas Embassy in Washington D C posted this on this on his Facebook page 19 August:
GOD IS CERTAINLY GOOD: The first printed copy of my novel WOES OF LIFE arrived in the mail yesterday for final review. After closely checking all 341 pages and 24 chapters, I’m as excited as a six-year-old boy on Christmas Eve waiting with giddy expectation for his “reward” from Santa for being “good” throughout the year, knowing that it will be available to the reading public next week. My wife Elisabeth Ann Brown took this photo of me with the first copy after the “good news” arrived in the mail.
I have established contacts in New York, Atlanta and Chicago as possible stops on my book-signing tour, but I plan to kick-off the tour in Nassau and Freeport, where my work as a journalist is well known, in late September of early October. Arrangements are being made for WOES OF LIFE to be available at LOGOS bookstore and BUY THE BOOK bookstore in Nassau as well as Bethel Superstore on West Mall Drive in Freeport and for book-signing events to possibly be held at those establishments. But you can order your copy at www.oswaldtbrown.com
WOES OF LIFE is a wonderful book and I guarantee you that you will enjoy reading it. Let me forewarn Bahamians, however, that it is fiction and not based on political events in The Bahamas, as many people seem to think it is. Of course, while reading it some Bahamians will swear they know who some of the characters are based on, but as the saying goes, any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental. God is certainly good.
NASSAU, Bahamas (BIS) — Bahamas Red Cross Society President Craig Gomez and Director General Caroline Turnquest (right) paid a courtesy call on the Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, at Government House, August 16, 2017. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith) 16 August.
PM, DPM LEAD VERIFICATION PROCESS FOR CABINET MINISTERS
By MATT MAURA
Bahamas Information Services
NASSAU, Bahamas – Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Kevin Peter Turnquest, led the verification process for Members of Parliament prior to participating in the weekly Cabinet Meeting on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
Prime Minister Minnis and Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest were two of 15 Cabinet Ministers to take advantage of the opportunity provided by officials from the Public Treasury Department who were on hand at the Cecil V. Wallace-Whitfield Centre to conduct the verification process for public service employees there.
Other Cabinet Ministers undergoing the verification process included: the Hon. T. Brent Symonette, Senator the Hon. Carl W. Bethel, the Hon. Desmond T. Bannister, the Hon. Jeffrey L. Lloyd, the Hon. Marvin H. Dames, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, the Hon. Dionisio J. D’Aguilar, the Hon. Michael C. Pintard, the Hon. Darren A. Henfield, Senator the Hon. Dion A. Foulkes, Senator the Hon. James Kwasi Thompson and the Hon. Elsworth N. Johnson.
Cabinet Ministers the Hon. Romauld S. Ferreira, the Hon. Lanisha T. Rolle and the Hon. Brensil D. Rolle were off island. Health Minister Dr. the Hon. Duane E.L. Sands had already completed the verification process.
The verification of the Cabinet Ministers/Members of Parliament is part of an ongoing national verification exercise for Government Monthly and Weekly Employees and Senators and Members of Parliament.
Verification Centres were established at Ministry of Education schools in New Providence and at Government/Administrator’s Offices in Grand Bahama and the Family Islands since the process began on Tuesday, August 8, 2017. Verification ends Thursday, August 31, 2017.
The five Verification Centres in New Providence — H.O. Nash High School, T.A. Thompson Junior High School, C.C. Sweeting High School, C.R. Walker High School and Doris Johnson High School – will cease operations as of the close of business on Friday, August 18, 2017 in preparation for the upcoming school year. Operations will be relocated to the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
Treasury officials say Public Officers who are assigned to the Ministry of Foreign and the Ministry of Tourism overseas offices, are expected to verify at their respective locations, “following the procedures that have been forwarded directly to them by the Treasury Department.”
Persons who fail to present themselves to be verified will have their salaries interrupted – not ceased — beginning September 2017, until such time as they comply with the verification and reinstatement process.
Treasury officials further say the 2017 Verification Process is not new in Government, as “some form of the process has been undertaken by all serving Treasurers.”
“The verification process actually protects the public service employee because in addition to ensuring that they are legitimate public service employees, it also ensures that we have the correct data on each employee,” officials say.
Officials also noted that not having up-to-date data can, for example, affect employees’ current and future National Insurance benefits and also their Treasury Pensions.
Allowances have been made for public service employees on vacation within and outside of The Bahamas. Those traveling outside of the country whose return date will not allow them to return to The Bahamas ahead of the August 31 deadline can verify at any Bahamas Tourist Office (BTO) or Foreign Affairs Mission abroad while those within The Bahamas can verify at the Administrator’s Office in any Family Island, along with the Public Treasury (Central Abaco and Freeport, Grand Bahama).
Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest participating in the verification process.
Attorney General Carl W. Bethel (left) and Minister of Works Desmond T. Bannister participating in the verification process.
University of The Bahamas (UB) announces the appointment of Dr. Pandora Johnson as the Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives Liaison in the Office of the Provost.
As the Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives Liaison, Dr. Johnson coordinates strategic academic affairs partnerships and initiatives, leveraging both existing and new strategic partnerships to advance and grow UB’s teaching, research, scholarship, creative activities and outreach agenda. In conjunction with the Office of the Institutional Strengthening and Accreditation, she assists with gathering information for quarterly Key Performance Indicators on such partnerships and initiatives.
Dr. Johnson has served the institution for more than 30 years as a faculty member in the School of Education and in various senior administrative capacities. Most recently, she served as Acting Vice President, Academic Affairs, and was responsible for all educational planning, administration and academic programme development and policies as well as recruitment, selection, orientation and evaluation of faculty. She also had direct oversight for all academic units as well as the Culinary and Hospitality Management Institute, the Research Advisory Board, the Northern Bahamas Campus (now UB-North) and Testing Services. Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. in Educational Theory from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; a Masters in Educational Studies from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science Education, also from Concordia University.
NASSAU, Bahamas – Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General of The Bahamas, is pictured greeting the family of the late Sir Geoffrey Johnstone at the funeral service held for the noted Bahamian lawyer and politician at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk on Saturday morning, 12 August 2017. The service was conducted St. Andrew’s Kirk pastor, Rev. Bryn McPhail, with interment at The Garden of Remembrance, Christ Church Cathedral. Also attending the service were Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, members of the government and other officials.
Bahamian musician Julian Believe wrote this in tribute to musical icon Ronnie Butler on Facebook 17 August: “The most memorable performance of my career was with our very own Bahamian Legend Ronnie Butler!
“As we enjoy his Birthday breakfast post your Happy Birthday comments so he can see the love from his people!”
Statement by Senator Fred Mitchell
Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Labour and Immigration
On Remarks By John Pinder Public Service Union President
On Steve McKinney Show 15 August
For Immediate Release
16 August 2017
One of my former constituents reported to me that on the Steve McKinney Radio show yesterday, John Pinder, the President of the Bahamas Public Services Union described the decision to hire 200 immigration officers as a “stupid” decision” and blamed the Minister for it. That minister was me. Mr. Pinder was being engaged in the telephone talk show by someone whose family member is apparently one of the recruits and complained that the recruit had not been paid for six months.
The facts as I recall them are these:
The Cabinet agreed to the hire of the 200 or so immigration officers.
The first permission was obtained in April 2013, the second in September 2016 and the final in late 2016 or early 2017.
The demand for immigration officer jobs was substantial with over a thousand applicants.
The demand for immigration officers services are substantial with several ports in The Bahamas with no immigration officer at all, and with the incursion of irregular migrants to The Bahamas increasing.
I had promised as minister to increase the force to 900, three times its present size.
There are several steps that had to be carried out: financial clearance and vetting are two major steps that are usually obstacles to progress in hiring.
There were also arguments over qualifications, and the ability of the Department of the Public Service and human resources at immigration itself to process applications.
If the political directorate waited on the public service to get these steps done within its term, it would never have gotten anything done.
The Cabinet therefore indicated that vetting in advance would be waived with the understanding that each person hired would know that if the vetting came back negative they had to be redeployed elsewhere in the service.
Financial clearance was obtained for everyone.
The police routinely take nine months or more to do the vetting. That is the single biggest obstacle to progress of applications.
The caller to the show and Mr. Pinder should not be expressing surprise at the delays in payment. Mr. Pinder knows that routinely new teachers take anywhere from three months to six months to get their first pay cheque. Our systems are simply that bad. It has nothing to do with the decisions to hire people being a stupid decision.
Since Mr. Pinder is well aware of how the public service works and as head of the Union for three terms, he should have used the occasion on radio to educate citizens on the problems of public administration in this country which have nothing to do with who the minister of the government is.
Perhaps Mr. Pinder should use his time left as Union President to urge a reform of how the government pays its new employees.
Perhaps his failures are why he no longer represents Immigration Officers.
Since he is so interested in their welfare, he should check into reports that the Government intends to fire some of those hired and is one month behind in the salary payments to officers,
Instead, he used the occasion of the radio show to turn a matter of systemic poor public administration into another political hatchet job against me Fred Mitchell, someone who he inexplicably hates.
As for the use of the word “stupid”, it seems to many in these circumstances, it is a word deserved for the man John Pinder in his home when he wakes up with morning and looks in the mirror.
Statement By Senator Fred Mitchell
In Response To Dame Joan Sawyer’s personal attacks
16 August 2017
For Immediate Release
There is a headline in The Nassau Guardian reporting that Dame Joan Sawyer lashed me.
What a privilege and pleasure to be at the end of the lash of so distinguished a person as Joan Sawyer.
Seriously though, there is nothing of substance to answer in her comments. It is the usual ad hominem drivel from scoundrels who have no logical answers.
I stand by my comment yesterday that she is not relevant to the times.
Dear lady go gently into that good night. Take your rest.
Accept Christ as your personal saviour. You must be born again. Learn charity in your senior years.
Your services are no longer needed now.
(First published in The Nassau Guardian 16 August 2017)
My time on the frontlines of politics was enormously exciting and instructive. Representing people in both Fort Charlotte and Marco City was an honor, even if challenging at times. Serving as a Cabinet minister in the areas of youth, sports, culture, education, economic development and finance was a unique experience that I shall always cherished. It filled me with both pride and humility to have served my country that way.
I learned many things while I was in politics. I learned that nothing is permanent, except permanent secretaries. I learned that people don’t vote for you; they vote for themselves through you. I learned that winning is only the start, and that governing is entirely more difficult. I learned that there is nothing romantic about governing and representing people; it is complex, difficult and frustrating. I learned that honor is more important than popularity, and if you have to choose between the two, choose honor. I learned that humility is a virtue. I learned that all politics is local, so no matter how lofty the heights to which you ascend, keep your feet firmly anchored on the ground. I learned that the powerful have feet of clay, so don’t be surprised when they show themselves flawed or frail. I learned that people need leadership and not pandering. And finally, I learned that unity is crucial to effective leadership and governing, but it is quite elusive. These are all profound lessons, and ones that I will never forget. However, the lessons I have learned since politics are equally or even more profound. There are five that I hold especially dear.
The first lesson I learned since politics is that knowing who you are apart from what you were is critical. There are some politicians who never seem to adjust to the fact that they are no longer holding the office they once held. Not being a prime minister, minister, senator, member of Parliament, ambassador or committee chairman, for them, amounts to not being anything. They crave the recognition of their former office, so much so that not being referred to as “the former minister” or the like is a real problem. Not having people acknowledge their presence in private or public is offensive for such a soul. Frankly, there should be certain regard for people who served in public life, especially if they served well. But if it does not come, craving it is only coddling suffering and shame. More importantly, it is important to dwell in your present self and live the truth of it. Besides, the fact that it is insanity to obsess with what one was, it is simply refreshing to be what you are at present.
The second lesson I learned is that 80 percent of the relationships you had in office were only because you were in office. People pursue their interests and align themselves with those who advance them. Politicians do this and those who are around them do this. There is no malice in this; it is human nature. However, there are politicians who believe that the relationships they have in office with people represent genuine relationships predicated on wanting nothing. That is simply naïve. Few relationships in politics are based on wanting nothing. When you are out of office, it will become clear that only about 20 percent of such relationships are authentic. This recognition helps the politician to appreciate that the scale of his or her network is narrow and that nurturing relationships should be done like mining gold – with care and precision. Authentic relationships in office are precious. Out of office they can be invaluable.
The third lesson I learned is that you never shed your partisan shade when out of office unless you carefully assert your existence separate and apart from your label over time. In a small country, political labels can be a challenge to life after politics. Whether in business or simply living in society, to have been a politician on one side or the other can prove an obstacle to moving forward productively. However, if one is careful not to define life outside of politics on the basis of life in politics, it is possible to reestablishment one’s non-political self over time. It does require the courage to be honest, fair and helpful. It also requires a willingness not to let blind fidelity to the party that you support guide your every utterance, conduct or aims.
The fourth lesson I learned is that value transcends political labels. People have their political preferences for sure, but they have a greater preference for that which helps them achieve the personal aims and objectives. As a former politician, if your expertise, skills or ideas are deemed valuable to people, businesses or organizations, they will seek them out, no matter their politics. It is therefore necessary for past, present and future politicians to establish a value in the world beyond the politics of their present moment. They must ensure that while they may earn a living while in politics, they can earn a living beyond politics.
The fifth lesson I learned is that the people who write your obituary are fraudsters. No one knows the future; and more importantly, no one knows your future. What is more important to your future than any pundit’s prophecy are the choices you make today and the aims you have for the future. What is clear is to preside over your present moment with awareness. Don’t live in your past or in your future, but in your present moment. Make the most of this moment for yourself, your family and your community. Forget the politics of it. If you are out, be out. If you get back in, get in but only then. Today, be fully about what you are about, seeking only to produce the results you desire. There is no more powerful moment for someone who was in an office than the present moment, because it is the only real moment any of us ever have.
Politics is a unique area of human life. It is the only place where legitimate coercive power dances with the will of people to choose who has that power. Anyone who has been in it knows its virtues and its vices; they know its highs and its lows. When you are in it, it is quite a ride, filled with ups and downs. When you are out, you are better off staying completely out, even if to observe, comment or advise from a distance. The lessons I learned in politics have been valuable, but the lessons I learned since are priceless.
- ZhivargoLaing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.
There is hardly anyone who can remember the time when the restaurant Pisces was not in Port Lucaya in Freeport. Now it appears that enduring restaurant is going to close its doors. Things are that bad in Freeport. It is the people’s time they say. Several other restaurants are set to close.
Senator Fred Mitchell with former Prime Minister Perry Christie and Mrs Christie and former Ambassador Alma Adams, former High Commissioner Ed Bethel at a welcome home dinner for returning ambassadors and consuls general to The Bahamas at Sapodillas 19 August.
Congratulations to the new leaders of the Progressive Young Liberals (PYL) of the PLP. At elections on 18 August, a new team was elected, headed by Attorney Barry Griffin. Mr Griffin is at 7th from the left.
The new executive board is as follows:
Chairman – Barry Griffin
1st Vice Chair – Neressa Seymour
2nd Vice Chair – Telia Saunders
Treasurer – Whitney Hanna
Assistant Treasurer – Delilah Strapp
Secretary – Uriza Hutchenson
Assistant Secretary – Lakelle Ferguson
NGC Representative – Tevin Ferguson
Public Relations Officer – Glenisha Albury
Chaplin – James Connolly
Sergeant at Arms – Andreas Kelly
19 August 20, 2017
Photo by Peter Ramsay
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