Comment of the week
Dame Joan Sawyer in full flight rabid dialogue
There are two kinds of FNMs in this Bahamas. There are stupid FNMs and sensible FNMs. Unfortunately, the stupid FNMs are now in control of the country. As a result the whole country now suffers.
One such stupid FNM was someone who signs him or herself as Dodgridge Lewis on Facebook. No doubt this is a nom de plume for some phoney who wants to be noticed but we make the point using him because his views are typical of the stupid FNMs who are the masters of our fate. They are so stupid that you cannot even begin to wonder where to start.
Last week, our photo of the week showed Shane Gibson, the former Minister of the Government, as he was taken in handcuffs and without his crutches to court, in obvious pain and discomfort. The column pointed out the unlawfulness of the conduct and the inhumanity of it even if it were not unlawful. Mr. Lewis responded not in a rational way but in the form of an irrational, hysterical diatribe, by saying Mr. Gibson “with his corrupt ass” and said that the police should have put a dog chain around his neck.
This is the stupidity that you have to put up with in this country today. It passes for a sensible discussion on public policy. Mr. Lewis by his comments about Mr. Gibson is on the face of it guilty of a criminal libel and so perhaps the police should arrest him and put the dog chain around his neck.
The next on the stupid FNM list is Dame Joan Sawyer. She was intervening in the press again last week to attack two distinguished clerics Archbishop Drexel Gomez and Bishop Neil Ellis, both of whom had deplored the inhumanity shown to Shane Gibson as he was taken to court. They made no other comment. According to Joan Sawyer, stupid woman, this was wrong.
The Privy Council has deplored the practice in legal cases before the courts of slave shaming by bringing people to court in cuffs and shackles, but a lawyer, nay even a former judge, says that this is something about which two clerics should not be able to speak.
Dame Joan has been irrelevant for years. She shamed all womanhood by not supporting gender equality in The Bahamas. She is now irrelevant and sadly is seeking headlines to make herself relevant. She instead she goes into the column of stupid FNMs.
One of our friends who is a professional called up to say that an American businessman in Ft Lauderdale called him and asked him was what the hell was going on in The Bahamas. He asked: are my plans to invest in The Bahamas a good idea? It seems like the country is in trouble,
He said that because every time he is reading in the newspapers some Bahamian Government official is saying bad things about their own country. The FNM will not stop until this country and its economy is talked into the ground.
The question is: when will the sensible FNMs begin to speak and reign in the stupid FNMs? But then again maybe they are all stupid FNMs; there are no sensible ones left.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 12 August 2017 up to midnight: 324,172;
Number of hits for the month of August up to Saturday 12 August 2017 up to midnight: 486,280;
Number of hits for the year 2017 up to Saturday 12 August 2017 up to midnight: 7,704,267.
It is difficult to fathom how well thinking people in the United States must be feeling now that this man Donald Trump is their President and has been so now for over half a year. He is an embarrassment. Nothing in his head. Last week, he stooped to a new low when he promised that he would rain fire and fury on the North Koreans because they have a nuclear arsenal and because they have used rhetorical excesses themselves to say things about the United States, which he perceives as a threat. The fact is North Korea cannot do anything to the United States. The very notion is ludicrous. The problems of a war at this time which will kill millions of people should cause everyone to pause. North Korea is not that significant in the world economy, not significant in the scheme of things and can be contained. There is no reason why they cannot have nuclear weapons. They will never be allowed to use them. This bellicose rhetoric by the person who is supposed to be the Guardian of peace is simply unacceptable. Then to make matters worse, after John Kerry under the Obama Administration pledged that the United States would no longer interfere in the affairs of Latin American and Caribbean nation, Mr. Trump indicates that he might use military intervention in Venezuela. For what? What threat does Venezuela pose to the United States? What did Venezuela do to the United States that would cause the United States to think of military intervention? That too is simply unacceptable. Lord help us when the dummies get control of power and don’t have a clue what they are doing.
STATEMENT BY SENATOR FRED MITCHELL
OPPOSITION SPOKESMAN ON LABOUR
ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT STATS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 August 2017
The Labour Survey facts now released by the Department of Statistics, as opposed to the propaganda department of the FNM, show that the PLP left the country in good shape to grow and prosper. Under the PLP, unemployment was trending downwards, employment was trending upwards. Under the PLP, the deficit was trending downwards, the revenue was up, reforms were underway, the financial services, immigration, health care, tourism and public service sectors were being reformed, and the country was headed in the right direction. The people of the country prior to the general election had every reason to have confidence in the government that they had. Those are the facts.
Unlike the FNM in 2012, the PLP did not leave the economy in a wheel chair.
On the other hand, we have a government that has now proven to have deceived the Bahamian public on the unemployment and employment figures, the revenue and the value added tax, on the state of the nation’s deficit and that of the economy generally.
They came to office based on a fundamental set of deceits and conceits. Based on their propaganda, they have laid off staff from the public service, they have cut back spending in the economy. They have decided to halt hiring in the public service, at a critical time when the country was poised for growth.
The Government is the largest spender in this economy. When they cut back and fire, the whole country trembles and the private sector follows. Consumer spending is contracted and revenues begin to drop. Investors lose confidence in the economy, when the Government preaches doom and gloom as the FNM is doing.
The FNM through its current policies is damaging the reputation of the country, talking down the economy and threatening investor confidence. It is unable to stop campaigning and start governing.
Schools will re-open in two weeks. Money should be in good supply to help parents with their back to school burdens. Instead, the FNM preaches doom and gloom.
We take some comfort in the fact that we were doing the right thing for the economy and easing unemployment and suffering. We can take little comfort in saying we told you so, because the present suffering inflicted by the FNM has consequences for the people of The Bahamas.
The latest employment numbers show that between May 2012 and May 2017 under the PLP administration, 39,505 jobs were added to the national economy with 7,770 added in the last six months of the PLP’s term in office. This is the largest jobs expansion by any government administration in any 5 year term. Regardless of what is said about the PLP government, those are the objective numbers and the unvarnished facts.
The daunting challenge facing the FNM administration is to continue this positive pro-growth trend. It is unfortunate that the incoming FNM administration has started off on a losing wicket with its mass firing exercises while blaming it all on the PLP.
These figures represent further empirical evidence that the PLP did the heavy lifting and laid a firm and strong foundation of progress on which to build.
During the past week there were two things that were being passed around by PLPs that were really vexing. We have argued time and again that it is the PLP that is its own worst enemy. These two examples shows the extent of the problem. Some miscreant had put together a facsimile of USA Today, the American daily newspaper, and on the front page it showed the former Prime Minister Perry Christie had been arrested on corruption charges. It is patently false. If the Data Commissioner or the Commissioner of Police were worth their salt, the persons who authored it would be in handcuffs now. But this is the people’s time so you know ow that goes. The second was the front page of The Punch, the downmarket newspaper in The Bahamas, with a fake story which essentially accuses PLPs of planning an assassination for hire against the Minister of National Security and the Prime Minister inter alia. Of course that too is patent nonsense and the author of that needs to be in handcuffs but again it’s the people’s time so nothing. However, the damage is not done by the deed itself so much as by the fact that every PLP on What’s App and Facebook seemed to be passing this crap around. Each person asking: is it true? Good God almighty. So the FNM gets to work of destabilizing the PLP by getting PLPs to hand this nonsense around. When will we ever learn?
11 August 2017
Bahamas Foreign Affairs Headquarters: Foreign Service Officer Anastacia Minnis shares her experience when she participated in the Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations Diplomatic Training Programme for Junior Diplomats.
Letters to the editor
COMMENTARY BY BAHAMAS SCOOP
RATING THE FNM’s FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE
According to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis from his campaign rhetoric and the speech from the throne, the signature promise made by the FNM was not to grow the economy, create jobs, protect the environment against the threat of global warming, energy sector reform, protect our borders or make The Bahamas safer with an aggressive anti-crime strategy – the FNM promised to fight and eliminate corruption. With Thursday marking the government’s first 100 days in office, Bahamas Scoop wishes to assess the government’s performance to date on this flagship election promise.
The government has failed on this score. They botched the investigation into a reported theft at BAIC and everything went downhill from there. “Victor’s justice,” “political persecution,” and “witch hunt” are being used to characterize the manner in which the FNM is going about the fight against corruption.
The only people who could be heard talking about this anti-corruption fight were rabid FNM supporters and FNM politicians gloating on social media and in the press about who “gern to jail” and who will be doing the “bank Lane shuffle;” Cabinet Ministers, no less, told the media to stay tuned because there was more to come. The public heard about the establishment of some anti-corruption unit within the police force but nothing else about the structure, the function and the procedural guidelines governing the unit’s work. Who were the virtual complainants? If there were, then what were the complaints and who were the complaints filed with? Who determines the cutoff investigated period for the alleged corrupt act and what is the cutoff point? All of these questions have fallen on deaf ears. According to National Security Minister Marvin Dames, the decision to pre-empt the passage of relevant enabling legislation and the appointment of an independent and specialized body to superintend this process in the interest of fairness was made by the cabinet.
Hmmm. The decision to prosecute only PLP politicians was made by FNM politicians based on what members of their political base told them?? Mr. Dames told the press that they heard complaints of corruption on the campaign trail and the government was acting on these complaints. Were these the virtual complainants?
Well Bahamians also heard a lot of charges made on the campaign trail ostensibly by the same people.
We heard the PLP stole the VAT money. We heard the PLP government sold 500 citizenships to the Chinese. We heard the PLP gave the Chinese 10,000 acres of land in Andros. We heard all kind of unflattering and questionable stuff about former PM Christie and his family. We heard the Christie government conspired with the Chinese on some secret Baha Mar deal. We heard Baha Mar was not opened but it was all a PR stunt by the PLP government to fool Bahamians. We heard the PLP was conspiring to steal the election. We then heard that the overseas election observers had called for the elections to be immediately terminated and rendered null and void because of fraud, prompting a denial from the acting Parliamentary Commissioner. We heard the treasury was broke. We heard that one million dollars went missing from the public treasury. Yes Mr. Dames we heard a lot of things during the course of the election campaign.
Of all those “things” that were said and heard during the campaign, we know two facts for sure. THEY WERE ALL LIES AND THEY ALL CAME FROM THE FNM PR MACHINERY!! Those are the only two facts we know to date. Did the FNM government make anti-corruption policy and acted on the same based purely on fabricated propaganda generated by its own party’s propaganda machinery? This is happening in a democratic country driven by the prevalence of the rule of law? GOD FORBID!
This is why the United Nations is so clear and adamant about how member states should go about establishing executing mechanisms that are both specialized and independent to address issues of corruption. The guidelines were ignored by the FNM government. The entire process was botched and they failed in executing their flagship election promise. Had the FNM told the Bahamian people that they would simply crucify the PLP at the first opportunity, then I would say they succeeded but all Bahamians know that this is not about cleaning up corruption.
And the misrepresentation did not end on the 10th May. How does Minister D’Aguilar explain going to Parliament and telling outright lies on Pat Mortimer and the NAD board? How does DPM Turnquest go to Parliament and intentionally misrepresent the budget deficit? Was it to borrow $722 million, much more than was needed? And for what reason? Nobody could get a straight answer from this Minnis crew on nothing. When their actions are questioned or challenged, FNM Ministers simply throw tantrums as if to suggest, “hey, you can’t question us – we are the big bad FNM – we won the elections so go crawl under a rock.”
Bahamians should not have trusted anything the FNM said in opposition and now Bahamians should know better than to trust anything this FNM says as the government.
Remember the old adage about fooling me once and twice and where the shame lies.
Editor of Bahamas Scoop
We are saddened by the news that a great friend and supporter of the PLP and a former Progressive Young Liberals Chair died today following a brief illness in Miami. Rest in peace dear brother.
Senator Fred Mitchell with Senator Rodney Moncur, talk show host at the Fox Hill day celebration 8 August
John and Joseph Culmer performing on Fox Hill day 8 August at Mt Carey Baptist Church
Senator Fred Mitchell with Rev Sabrina Pinder at St Mark’s Baptist Church in Fox Hill on Fox Hill day 8 August. Leader Of The Opposition Philip Davis made remarks and stands at the right.
Senator Fred Mitchell with Leader of the PLP Philip Davis at Mt Carey in Fox Hill at Fox Hill Day.
Senator Fred Mitchell with Rev. J Carl Rahming of St Paul’s Baptist in Fox Hill Day in Fox Hill along with Leader of the PLP Philip Davis.
Senator Fred Mitchell at Macedonia Baptist Church along with Pastor Hartman Nixon and Leader of the PLP Philip Davis.
Senator Fred Mitchell with Dame Marguerite Pindling on Emancipation Day in Fox Hill.
Senator Fred Mitchell with the people of Fox Hill at the community centre Emancipation Day 7 August. The house that Fred Mitchell built.
Andre Pratt climbs the greasy pole in Fox Hill on Fox Hill Day.
Dr. Arthur Clarke, the PLPs former candidate for St Anne’s, shown in Fox Hill on Fox Hill day in the pineapple eating contest.
Senator Fred Mitchell enjoys Emancipation Day Junkanoo
The PLP held its first branch meeting in Abaco since the general election. It was organized by Vice Chair of the party Obie Roberts. Present were Senator Fred Mitchell and Chester Cooper MP and Eva Bain, PLP Candidate for South Abaco on 12 August.
The returning diplomats for The Bahamas, having served their country overseas have returned to a host of problems. The main thing is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance claim they don’t have the money to pay them what they owed or they claim they are not entitled to the money. The diplomats are now consulting lawyers to get the monies that the Government is refusing to pay.
Dr. Ian Strachan has finally made it to a role in which he will have an opportunity to make a contribution to actually running something as opposed to being an eternal critics. It was announced last week on 11 August that the University of The Bahamas has appointed him to head the University’s campus in Freeport. Congratulations. He is a good FNM so he gets the job, even though there was this pretence of a pox on both their houses during the last general election campaign. He and fellow lecturer at the University Nicolette Bethel asked people to boycott the vote altogether. Very clever. It helped the FNM win. So all good FNMs get rewarded.
Below is the formal announcement of Dr. Strachan’s appointment:
University of The Bahamas (UB) announces the appointment of Dr. Ian Strachan as Vice President, UB-North, formerly Northern Bahamas Campus.
Dr. Strachan is a Professor of English at UB. He holds an Associate of Arts in English and Literature from The College of The Bahamas (1988); a Teacher’s Certificate from the University of the West Indies (1988); a Bachelor of Arts in English from Morehouse College (1990); and a Master of Arts (1993) and Doctor of Philosophy (1995) in English from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former Research Fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia (1998-1999) and a former Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (1999-2001). Dr. Strachan served as Chair of the School of English Studies at COB (2004-2007) and as the College’s Vice President of Advancement (2013-2015).
A poet, playwright, novelist and filmmaker, Dr. Strachan is an editor of Poitier Revisted with Mia Mask and Violence in The Bahamas with William Fielding and Virginia Ballance. He has written and directed a number of plays, including No Seeds in Babylon (1991) which appears in the anthology Contemporary Drama for the Caribbean (2001) and Diary of Souls (1999). In 1996 he founded the Track Road Theatre Foundation and served as its Director until 2006. In 2007, his poetry was included in the anthology New Caribbean Poetry (Carcanet 2007). He is the writer, producer and director of the television series, “Gippie’s Kingdom” and he wrote and directed his first film, Show Me Your Motion: The Ringplay Games of The Bahamas in 2006. In 2007, this documentary was featured in the UNESCO Caribbean Traveling Film Showcase. He is also the director/producer of the documentary I’s Man: Manhood in The Bahamas.
Dr. Strachan is author of the popular newspaper column “East Street Blues” which appeared weekly in The Nassau Guardian (2006-2011). In 2009 he hosted the daily public affairs talk show, “The Nation Today”, on GEMS 105.9FM in Nassau and, in 2012, the current affairs television programme, “The Exchange,” on ZNS TV13. He is a founder and member of the civil society advocacy group, the 1962 Foundation.
Statement by Senator Fred Mitchell
Leader of Opposition In The Senate
On Notice For Verification Of The Existence In Order To Be Paid By The Government
For Immediate Release
By happenstance, I received a copy of a letter dated 31st July signed in a scribble by someone identifying themselves as Acting Treasurer but with no name with the following head: Re: Verification of Government Monthly and Weekly Employees, Senators and Members of Parliament.
The letter demands that those persons listed show up to various centres also listed in a flier attached between the hours of 9 a. m and 4 p .m. from the 8th August to the 31st August to present one of four acceptable documents, in order to verify that you are who you are and if you do not, you will in their words have your salary “interrupted” as of September 2017.
This entire and ridiculous circular would have been ignored by me, save that the Deputy Prime Minister is now reportedly defending the matter in the press by saying that the Government is trying to ensure that there are no ghost workers. Surely the Government has taken leave of its collective senses. As a matter of law, if someone works for their pay there is no basis on which you can deny that person their pay. Also in this day and age, the Government can surely be more sensitive and respectful than arranging yet another indignity for ordinary people standing on long lines to prove who they are.
I have been advised by the lawyers that the Government has no basis to deny anyone their pay if they work for their pay simply because they fail to comply with coming to some remote centre in order to identify who they are. This adds now to the list of indignities and disrespect that working people in this country have to put up with from an idle bureaucracy, supported by an equally idle political directorate.
What is laughable is when you go down the list and see the centres, you will find that the centre at C. R. Walker Senior High School is for “The Governor General and Staff”. Presumably this means that Dame Marguerite Pindling, well known to all, the person who appoints the public servants, must now go to C.R. Walker to identify herself to the Treasurer or the Governor General’s pay will be “interrupted”. She will presumably get on the line before the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Senators and MPs who will follow behind her with their documents. They are listed as being required to go to the same centres.
This is farcical on its face. It is a bunch of bull, pardon the indelicacy.
Parliament was convened for the first time after the general elections on 24th May. At that time, each Senator and probably each MP was asked to fill the paper work for their bank account information and their national insurance information. The responsible officers in each chamber is the Clerk of the Senate and the Clerk of The House received the information. Eight weeks later give or take a few days, these same people are being asked to verify who they are. Stultus est.
The law is clear though, if you do not pay people for their work earned, the Government can face court action and damages for failure to pay. The Government should seriously rethink this matter.
Jeff Lloyd, the Education minister, who will go down in history as the man who took scholarships away from Bahamian children, was very busy last week. After taking away the scholarships, he announced that he was taking away contracts from those awarded to contractors to fix the schools because they were PLPs. Mr. Lloyd said that the FNM had to distribute them more fairly. Translation, he is taking the contracts from PLPs and giving them to FNMs. Sounds fair to us. After all, it’s the people’s time.
During the week, the FNM announced that they would be spending some 20 million dollars on capital projects over the five years of their term. Only the headlines were deceptive. The FNM was seeking by sleight of hand to answer the PLP’s argument that they are contracting the economy of The Bahamas. This is what they have done. Each MP gets 100.000 a year for capital projects. They added up the 100,000 dollar over the 39 MPs and then multiply that by five years. That comes to 19.5 million dollars. It isn’t then as good as it looks. The monies are now controlled by an act of Parliament. What this does is it prevents MPs from using the money to help social groups in the constituency. The result of that has been for example, that the MP for Fox Hill Shonel Ferguson gave no support to the Fox Hill Festival this year. She had no money of her own to give and went around begging the business community that is already broke because of FNM policies to give to the Festival. So we thought we would explain, this piece of crookedness in which the FNM is engaged.
During one of her presentations at her first Fox Hill Day Celebration since her unfortunate election as the Fox Hill representative, Shonel Ferguson sought to quote Fred Mitchell, the former MP and now Senator. She said that Senator Mitchell had said something very profound and that was that life would not end after the election and life would go on. Then she fell into error, by saying that life was indeed going on in Fox Hill, that Fox Hill was in safe hands and that Fox Hill has moved on. While this a clever bit of political double speak, it is nonsense. She has proven to be so far a grand failure in Fox Hill, trying to claim credit for what she never did. People see through it and can’t wait. As they say: 3 months down 57 to go.
The Leader of the PLP is now moving around the country speaking to branches. The latest in New Providence was the branch in South Beach. Cleola Hamilton, the former MP, is now the PLP’s caretaker for the constituency until such time as the PLP makes another decision. The meeting took place on Thursday 10 August.
Senator Fred Mitchell presenting the trophy to Dylan Eddins the winner of the 50th annual Glenda’s Road Race in Bimini 10 August
Senator Fred Mitchell at the Glenda’s Road Race 50th edition in Alice Town in Bimini 10 August. The winner is Dylan Eddins at far right and Joel Fawkes at far left is the third place winner.
The late Glen Rolle was a businessman in Bimini and an adventurer. He started a road race fifty years ago in honour of his daughter Glenda. For the past ten years or so Senator Fred Mitchell who used to come to Bimini to support the race has been running in the race. He ran this year and improved his place from last year at number 20 across the finish line to number 16. It was all in good fun. Glen Rolle’s son Glenrick keeps the tradition going.
Tristan Lockhart of the Grand Bahama Shipyard, a sponsor of the Buddy Hield Tournament accepts a gift on Friday 4 August.
On 9th August, the Nassau Guardian wrote a piece in their National Review opinion section which is really the rant of the week by Candia Dames, its Managing Editor, which claimed that Fred Mitchell was “unhinged”.
Mr. Mitchell issued his own statement but we think it is important to add to it. Ms. Dames has a problem which she and her employer refuse to understand or acknowledge. That problem is the understanding of the ethics of journalism. You have to understand what self-dealing is and know when to step away from it. You have to also understand that you don’t on the one had argue for women to be treated like men in the business but then seek use your physical assets to get the story which often leads to people feeling used. The real problem though is that jiggling ones breasts doesn’t make everyone go cross eyed.
Here is Mr. Mitchell’s full statement:
9 August 2017
Someone pointed out to me this morning that Candia Dames has written a piece in The Nassau Guardian using my picture with the headline “Unhinged”. I am happy to collect the Nassau Guardian’s money for this clearly libellous assertion about me.
When this lady, who refuses to accept that there is something improper about her being the Managing Editor of The Guardian and shamelessly promoting her brother the Minister of National Security on its front pages, finally understands that this is a fundamental conflict of interest and unethical journalistic behaviour, then she might be able to talk to me about my views.
Her irrational response to me, her obvious bias and hatred, clearly shows that when sawdust was being given out for brains, in her case, it was not in short supply.
He was rumoured to be a trustee for the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in every endeavour but was said to be a decent man who was a competent contractor. During Mr. Ingraham’s period as Prime Minister, it appears that he was the major go to contractor for all the big jobs. Tongues used to wag. The PLP never pursued it. Not like these dogs who are running the government today. So Mr. McIntosh died in peace with reputation in tact on Friday 12 August. PLPs were mourning. This shows that through it all, the PLPs have not lost their sense of decency as opposed to these nasty stupid FNM that now run the government.
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