Comment of the week
PM AND LATORE IN HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
We dedicate this column today to the late Latore Mackey. The sentence seems incredible. Here was a full grown, 37 year old man, press assistant of the Prime Minister, substantively the Deputy Director of the Bahamas Information Services, owner of a karaoke bar on Saunders Beach, everything to live for, nothing to die for. Personable, calm, peaceful. Yet this young man in the wee hours of Monday at 4:30 a.m. 25th August was gun down, killed in a hail of bullets. What a way to go?
The Prime Minister spoke of Mr. Mackey as he left the House of Assembly on Monday 25th August, hours after his death. The death cast a pall over the entire PLP and especially among the younger ones who expressed outrage and sorrow. That night as Fred Mitchell, the Fox Hill MP spoke at the National Progressive Institute (NPI) the think tank that Mr. Mackey once chaired, the crowd was awash in tears.
We wish to express our condolences to the family of Mr. Mackey. We express those condolences not only not his natural family but to his wider PLP family. This is sad beyond measure. It raises again what the heck are we going to do about crime. It shows us again to be impotent with rage.
What we also want to do however is to condemn in the strongest terms that little piece of do do or defecation ( sugar honey ice tea) who runs The Punch newspaper for seeking to trash Mr. Mackey’s reputation in death. The depravity of Ivan Johnson knows no bounds. There is nothing he would not do to sell a newspaper. It is incomprehensible, the nastiness of this individual. And yet he continues to sell newspapers to PLPs and FNMs alike, even as their own reputations are sometimes tarnished by the utter nonsense and lies that he spews.
The fact is this and these are the only salient facts that bear repeating: a young man is dead. Whatever it was, he did not deserve to die. A promising future was lost in this country for no sensible reason. We know that is the way of life. We have no reason to go forensically through who did what and did not do what in their life time. He is dead.
W H Auden said:
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Rest in peace dear brother
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 30th August up to midnight:383,159
Number of hits for the month of August up to Saturday 30th August 2014 up to midnight:1,458,578
Number of hits for the year 2014 up to Saturday 30th August 2014 up to midnight:6,846,579.
Bahamas High Commission, London
National Junkanoo Committee in London for Notting Hill Carnival
Members of the National Junkanoo Committee paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, High Commissioner Eldred Bethel on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 at Bahamas House.
The Bahamian group included Assistant Director of Culture, Edison Dames, Co-Chairman of the National Junkanoo Committee George Bethel and NJC executive Quentin ‘Barabbas’ Woodside.
The cultural delegation was on an official visit in London to observe the 2014 Notting Hill Carnival weekend as a precursor to The Bahamas’ first Carnival to be held in May 2015.
The group also discussed plans for various Bahamian cultural exchange programmes and performances to take place in the United Kingdom.
Left to right – Assistant Director of Culture, Edison Dames, Co-Chairman of the National Junkanoo Committee George Bethel, High Commissioner Bethel and NJC executive Quentin ‘Barabbas’ Woodside.
GROUP FROM MORTON IN INAGUA PAYS COURTESY CALLS
ON AMBASSADOR NEWRY AND CONSUL GENERAL ZONICLE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four employees of Morton Bahamas Limited in Inagua who are attending a conference in the Washington, D.C., area paid courtesy calls on His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, and Mrs. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consulate General to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
Included in the group are Mr. Etienne Farquharson, Environment, Health and Safety Manager with Morton Bahamas Limited; Mrs. Jennifer Brown, President of the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU); Mr. Wilfred Solomon, BIMAWU Vice President; and Mr. Allan C. Clare, BIMAWU Secretary General. They are participating in the annual Voluntary Protection Programs Safety Conference currently being held at the Gaylord Hotel, Oxon Hill, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., from Sunday, August 24, to Friday, August 29.
Secretary Mikhail Bullard at the Embassy, 2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., and after a light lunch in the conference room, they called on Consul General Zonicle at the Consulate Annex, located at 1025 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Introduced by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in July of 1982, the Voluntary Protection Safety Conference is the largest safety conference held in the U.S.
“OSHA’s goal is to be partners with management and labor for a safer, healthier work environment,” OSHA notes in a brochure. “In addition, OSHA encourages continual improvement of safety and health through the VPP process.”
Only companies that “demonstrate commitment to safety and health beyond OSHA requirements can participate” in the conference.
Mr. Farquharson said Morton Bahamas Limited sponsored the group’s participation in the conference because the company “is big on safety and believes that if union and management work in harmony everyone prospers.”
Pictured from left to right during a courtesy call by four employees of Morton Bahamas Limited on His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, are: Mr. Etienne Farquharson, Environment, Health and Safety Manager with Morton Bahamas Limited; Mr. Chet Neymour, Deputy Chief of Mission; Ambassador Newry; Mrs. Jennifer Brown, President of the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU); Mr. Wilfred Solomon, BIMAWU Vice President; Mr. Allan C. Clare, BIMAWU Secretary General; and Mr. Mikhail Bullard, Third Secretary/Vice Consul.
Pictured from left to right during a courtesy call by four employees of Morton Bahamas Limited on Mrs. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consulate General to Washington, D.C., are: Miss Faith Maycock, Third Secretary/Vice Consul; Mr. Etienne Farquharson, Environment, Health and Safety Manager with Morton Bahamas Limited; Consul General Zonicle; Mr. Wilfred Solomon, BIMAWU Vice President; Mr. Allan C. Clare, BIMAWU Secretary General; Mrs. Deborah Harrison, Consul General Zonicle’s Secretary; and Mrs. Jennifer Brown, President of the Bahamas Industrial Manufacturers and Allied Workers Union (BIMAWU).
NEW YORK — Mr. Karl Rodney, Publisher and CEO of The New York CARIB NEWS, along with his wife and President of CARIB NEWS, Mrs. Faye Rodney, paid a courtesy call on the Hon. Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York, on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at Bahamas House, 231 East 46th Street. Mr. and Mrs. Rodney will be hosting the 19th ANNUAL CARIB NEWS MULTI-NATIONAL BUSINESS CONFERENCE in Nassau, Bahamas, November 6-9, 2014 at Sandals Royal Resort. For the past 19 years, the annual CARIB NEWS Multi-National Business Conference has been instrumental in encouraging investment, cross-border trade and business partnerships, the role played by executives of major corporations, medium and small-size businesses and entrepreneurs deepening connections with key government officials. Pictured from left to right are Mr. Rodney, Consul General Carroll, and Mrs. Rodney.
Fourteen years after his passing, Her Excellency the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling laid a wreath at the mausoleum of her late husband, the Right Honourable Sir Lynden Pindling, also known as the father of the nation, at St. Agnes Anglican Cemetery on Tuesday, August 26, 2014.
Minister of Foreign Affairs & Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell also paid his respects at the mausoleum.
Summer has ended, and the time has come to ensure that schools on Grand Bahama are ready to receive new and returning students. To this end, Minister of Education, Science and Technology, the Honourable Jerome K. Fitzgerald, paid a visit to several schools on the island to check in with contractors and principals on the status of work done during the summer break. This work included repairs, refurbishments or replacements.
Joined by Deputy Director of Education, Sandra Edgecombe, and Superintendent, Dorothy Kemp, the Minister did a walkabout on the following campuses: (1) Catholic High School, (2) Jack Hayward High School, (3) Beacon School, (4) West End Primary School, (5) Holmes’ Rock Primary School, (6) Martin Town Primary School, (7) Eight Mile Rock High School, (8) Bartlett Hill Primary School, (9) Lewis Yard Primary School, (10) Hugh W. Campbell Primary School, (11) Walter Parker Primary School, (12) Freeport Primary School, (13) Maurice Moore Primary School, (14) East End Primary School, (15) St. Georges and (16) Mary P. Russell High School.
Most principals reported that only minor repairs were needed, such as replacing screens and window operators, painting, tiling, replacement of light bulbs, fans, ballasts, doors, bathroom fixtures, cabinets, louvers, and the installation of air conditioning units. The Minister indicated that the contractors are seeking to address all concerns in the shortest possible time.
Overall, the principals spoke positively about this year’s repairs and indicated that the contractors and the community were very supportive. Minister Fitzgerald expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the school repairs thus far on Grand Bahama. He also credited the administration, staff and students for the excellent condition of the campuses and encouraged principals to continue to teach their students to respect each other and their schools’ property, so that they may continue to enjoy comfortable teaching/learning environments.
Last week there was lot of angst in the PLP about Andre Rollins, the errant MP from Ft. Charlotte, about what he intended to do and why he did what he did when he launched into a bitter and vituperative attack against the leader of his own party in public in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 20th August. Now the fog has cleared somewhat and the conspiracy theorists have to look in another direction. First thing is it seems that this is just a question of his personality. He likes being the centre of attention and loves a good row. He himself denied that he intends to the leave the PLP or that he was having talks with any other party. But then that’s what Branville McCartney said when he first left the Cabinet under Hubert Ingraham. Eventually he broke away and formed his own party. Mr. Rollins was unrepentant. He said that his dismissal from the job of Gaming Board Chair was a political stunt, so much for the Deputy Prime Minister’s actions. It looks like his attitude is if I feel like doing it, I will do it again. So look for more from that quarter. He is a free man now and the Cabinet or executive restrictions no longer apply to him. Leslie Miller, the MP for Tall Pines, who himself was thought to be about to be dismissed and is now still Chair of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, provided cover for Mr. Rollins, saying essentially to leave the kid alone. As for Mr. Rollins, we think he is enjoying the notoriety, being the centre of attention. All eyes on him, everyone wants to speak to him, plead with him. Tantrum worked like a dream. The thing is he is like a fellow who knows his father well. He can be the enfant terrible anytime he wants because he knows at the end of the day, tantrum or not, his father aint gonna do a blessed thing to him but say don’t do that again.
This note from Democratic National Alliance leader Branville McCartney was posted on Facebook in honour of his brother who was brutally murdered last year on 27th August ( Editor):
Happy Birthday Kurt! On this day it was routine that we would have been together enjoying your day to the fullest. Indeed, the angels on high have the benefit of your presence now. I have no doubt that they are laughing until they cannot laugh anymore. That’s just how you were…putting a smile on everyone’s’ face when they most needed it. As instructed, I will keep one on mine. And to all your family and friends on this side, I will tell them “to have one on you” because it is regulations. Yes Sirrrr!!! Cheers my brother. We love you but God loves you best! Kurt McCartney
Peter Ramsay joined the Prime Minister Perry Christie and his cabinet with Craig Flowers of the FML Group to salute the singing legend Ronnie Butler. Mr. Butler was surrounded by family and friends and serenaded by artists. He sung some of his favorites. Enjoy Mr. Ramsay’s photos:
Fred Mitchell MP was a guest speaker at the National Progressive Institute’s meeting on Monday 25th August. He spoke to the issue of the ethics of the media, the need for the PLP to run a counter narrative, the need for the PLP to tell its history and to concentrate on doing the little things that are necessary to win the next general election. Mr. Mitchell is shown with the executives of NPI headed by Obie Roberts, third from left.
You my click here for the full address.
The Minister Fred Mitchell is show below with copies of his book Great Moments In PLP History after he spoke to NPI on Monday 25th August. It chair Derek Carey shakes his hand.
By Andrew Burrows, Director of News Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas.
(The photos show a portrait of the late Latore Mackey and his remains being removed from the scene of his death.)
At 5:15 AM, my phone rang. I had an early morning call time to shoot the first day of Shock Treatment season 2 but this was too early. Something else must be going on I thought. I looked at my caller ID, it was Devard Francis. I knew right then that something bad had happened. The conversation was very short. Devard: “Andrew. Latore Mackey was just murdered.” Me: “You gotta be shitting me. Really?” Devard: “Really.” Me: “Okay, I’m on my way”. I hung up. It couldn’t have lasted more than 15 seconds.
I checked my messages. There were none but there was one message in WhatsApp. It was Paul Rolle, head of CDU. The message didn’t contain names, just that a male, late 30s fatally wounded White Road off Market Street in the Grove.
I got a feeling that I had almost a year ago when a similar call came around 10 PM with the news that Kurt McCartney had been killed. For me, it’s an uncomfortable feeling of knowing that my brain and my soul were about to have an intense debate on whether to go to the scene to do my job as a professional or as a friend/colleague. It is impossible to do both at once. I knew which role I had to take on but still, it was a debate that raged in my head as I drove to the scene, camera in hand and phone working intensely on gathering information. I had a reporter on scene and was working on another cameraman since I’d only be the backup. Remember, Shock Treatment?
As I drove, I called up members of the SIU team of which Latore was a member. First was Nikki Simmons. Then Aarone Sargent. Then Joette Penn. They know what SIU means. I wanted to call Delgardo Mr. Professorial Forbes, Paulette Zonicle Dwight Hart Burton Wallace Sen. Joseph Curry & Allyson Gibson, Elcott Coleby and Faith Hall but I wanted to remain professional and opted not to. Julian Reid called me. I promised to call him once I got eyes on confirmation but we both knew that Latore was gone.
I am stunned still and still in a daze that I doubt I will exit soon. My brain functions in a peculiar way with moments of utter sadness for me. I compartmentalize the grief and I focus on my professional task first and foremost. Then I release and feel it all. I know that this one would be tough because of what I am in the midst of doing with Shock Treatment. Latore was a major proponent of this program and fully supported our effort to try something to help our young men. He wanted the program to be more intense. He wanted a full on national youth service kind of program.
I couldn’t cry, although when I woke Mrs. Burrows to tell her what was up, I had no idea a tear had escaped. I didn’t notice the stream until I was brushing my teeth. My soul was winning the physical debate with my brain. I was deep in organizing in my head, the possibility of the narratives Genea Noel-Ferguson and I would go over when I got on scene. I thought of the irony of it all. She was the first reporter to respond to my Whatsapp and it wasn’t a secret that she and Latore had a difficult working relationship. Two intensely focused pros going at it 24/7 without letting up. She and I bonded over a run in with Latore when I first arrived at ZNS. She said she respected me for the conversation she witnessed between he and I when I went to battle for her.
What Genea didn’t see or know or hear is that Latore was the kind of person who lived for the battle and the debate. He respected the process and had the highest regard for people who fought hard for their points like he did for his. I personally felt he respected Genea tremendously but would challenge her at every step. Nothing personal. That was just his way. I think I even told her as much to little avail. I do remember telling her “I bet he was smiling the whole time he was threatening to make sure you were “spoken to” by me…”
And now he is gone. I can’t say that I miss him though. Because my brain is still in charge and I’m still in that mode. I have to go to Her Majesty’s Prison this morning with the boys. There is a 10 year old who says he’s in a gang. There is a 16 year old who says he plans to terrorize the people who put him in the program…his mother and sisters. The same one who smiles with glee as a mother talks about how her son was gunned down as the country’s first murder of the year, a boy only 17 at the time. I know the prison officers will be rough on him. I can’t think about Latore when I go to prison this morning. My brain won’t let me.
I’m hoping and praying however, that my soul doesn’t betray me again when I enter those gates cameras rolling. There are no tears in the belly of the beast. But I will be subconsciously thinking about Mr. Mackey and how a promising future was abruptly ended because of this disease of violence in our land. I won’t point any fingers because it’s pointless if I’m not prepared to do anything about it.
When this is over, I will take a moment to give control to my soul. I will think about how we joked, fought, joked and fought some more. I will think about how the rest of us SIU used to “do the Mohawk” and beat box dance music or sing “What is Love” during the campaign when Latore went into “Limelight” mode. I will think about how easy it was to get him to “volunteer” for any task as long as a camera was involved and a chance to hear his name called. I will think about the only real argument we had during the campaign when he felt we were picking on him and Allyson brought us all to the table. We never had any kind of serious disagreements that were personal. He was who he was and I am who I am. I never judged him on anything. I admired his drive. He complained about the hours but I knew he loved every moment of it. He laughed when I called him Fonzworth after the “umbrella video” came out.
When this is over, I will take a moment to feel sad but also to smile and laugh at his jokes and observations. I’m smiling now. My soul understands.
Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Gladstone Christie visited Grand Bahama August 28, to expand the launch of the first ever Bahamas Carnival. The mega event is planned for May 2015 and will allow for Bahamians and visitors from around the world to immerse themselves in the music and culture of The Bahamas.
Bahamas Carnival “In The Spirit of Junkanoo” was officially launched in New Providence on Wednesday night by the Prime Minister, whose idea it was to stage the mega event. It is envisioned there will be four events in one weekend designed, as the organizers say, “to let loose in The Bahamas,” immersing in its rich medley of arts, crafts, and music.
“Junkamania” will kick it off the first day, between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m., when participants will feel the rhythm, the music of Junkanoo and the soul of the Bahamian people; “Music Masters” will follow when people from around the globe can witness the best Bahamian musicians sharing the spotlight with a Grammy-award winning artist on a stage built for stars; “Midnight Rush” between 12a.m. and 6 a.m. when all can participate in sweet Junkanoo street rush; and “Road Fever,” the main masquerade, in the capital 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. that will showcase an epic collage of costumes, colour and culture on parade in front of the most iconic grandstand crossing of any carnival in the world.
Prime Minister Christie traveled to Grand Bahama along with Tourism Minister the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe; Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Dr. Danny Johnson; and members of the Bahamas Carnival Commission headed by Mr. Paul Major.
Prime Minister Christie brought the message of involvement to the Junkanoo community of Grand Bahama during a meeting at the Ministry for Grand Bahama, then went on to meet with more than 100 persons from the business community to encourage their active participation in the event. While meeting with the Junkanoo group leaders, the Prime Minister said he wants to create a platform to take Junkanoo to the world, and that he wants Grand Bahama to be a major participant, with involvement from the business community.
He noted, “we have not yet found the formula to take our culture and integrate it into our economy and make money for the people who are practitioners in our culture.” According to the Prime Minister “we have not taken advantage of a billion-dollar tourism economy and maximized the return on it for the people who spend their lifetime making other people happy as participants in culture.
“We you look to other countries and there are three hundred plus Carnivals in the world. When you look at other countries you see that the people who are leading in those enterprises make money from it,” he said.
Mr. Christie said that he had been sitting with Percy “Vola” Francis and the late Gus Cooper for years, lamenting the fact that they are artistic geniuses who have not really benefited economically, while there is “no parallel in the world for people with their talent and what they do, their output culturally, there is no way to explain it.”
He recalled returning to The Bahamas on an aircraft with the Tourism Minister and telling Mr. Wilchcombe that he was going to start a festival by whatever name similar to Carnival.
According to Mr. Christie, the decisive intervention for him was when Gus Cooper and Vola Francis came to him and said to make this work, they would bury their differences as Saxons and Valley Boys, form a company jointly together, and they would begin the process.
The Prime Minister recalled then going out and finding Paul Major to head the Commission, and finding leading businesspersons in the country to be a part of the Commission. (BIS Photos/Vandyke Hepburn)
By Betty Vedrine
Bahamas Information Services
Nassau, Bahamas – In less than one year, the country will be welcoming another form of cultural expression when the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival debuts in May 2015. During an official ceremony launching the event at Pompey Square on Wednesday, August 27, Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, expressed his optimism for the event.
“I am very pleased that we will be soon be able to showcase even more of our country’s culture via this new event,” said the Prime Minister. “Not only is this a great opportunity for Junkanoos, artisans and other craftsmen to display their wares and talents but it also offers us the opportunity to provide additional entertainment for guests who visit our shores.”
The event featured several forms of entertainment including dance performances by the Junkanoo group, Colours, headed by Mr. Chris Justilien; a tribute to the ‘Obeah Man,’ fire dancing, musical selection by Visage and promotional material provided by the Ministry of Tourism.
The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is a new event on the Bahamian social calendar. It will be an annual event spanning five weeks and will kick off on Easter Monday. The period will feature a series of activities including concerts, cultural shows, balls and street parades, which will depict all aspects of Bahamian culture and heritage. During the period, one week will be set aside and will be known as Carnival Week. The first Bahamas Carnival Week is scheduled for May 3-9, 2015. During Carnival week, four major events will be staged. A Commission headed by former Banker, Mr. Paul Major, will oversee the Bahamas Carnival.
The cultural community is now happy that the government has capitulated and added the work Junkanoo to the line “Bahamas Carnival”. Men like K B ( Kirk Bodie) and Stan Burnside ( both artists) were beside themselves on that point. Carnival was Trinidadian not Bahamian and the government should not be spending tax funds to promote something foreign . They wanted Junkanoo which was Bahamian. The compromise is that it will be called Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. All is well that ends well. With that the Prime Minister Perry Christie was able to formally open the event on 26th August. (Editor)
(now if only we can make phone calls)
Franklyn Wilson, the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee to return the majority shares of BTC, the phone company, back to the Bahamas Government is finished his work and is now functus officio. So congratulations to Chairman Wilson, Sean McWeeney Q C, Rowena Bethel and Leon Williams. A good job was done by all. A signing over ceremony took place on Friday 30th August with effusive praise to all the parties from all the parties. The Prime Minister Perry Christie spoke at the event. We have the three speeches, one by Mr. Wilson, the other by the PM and the third by the Chair of BTC Philip Bentley. BTC is preparing for competition and according to its Chair is spending much cash to get it ready. In the meantime though, we cannot hear anything on the phone, can make phone calls at all, or make a phone call without the calls dropping and the public is simply annoyed and fed up with the company. Only thing causes people not to make noise about the lousy service is because they believe that in time Leon Williams will fix this.
You may click here for the speeches:
The Prime Minister
Commentary by Elcott Coleby
BIS pay tribute to a fallen colleague
The mood was somber and the atmosphere filled with grief late Monday morning (Aug 25) as the staff at the Bahamas Information Services (BIS) gathered to pay tribute to the life of former Deputy Director Latore Mackey who was killed earlier that morning.
He was fondly remembered by his colleagues as a conscientious and disciplined worker who was gone too soon. Led by Anglican Archdeacon, the Venerable James Palacious, the staff prayed for the repose of Latore’s soul and collectively hope for justice.
Outside the House of Assembly, Prime Minister Christie expressed the stark contrast between the civility, calmness and coolness of Latore’s demeanor in life and the violence of his death.
ICON Bill passed in the House
Later that morning in the House, Financial Services Minister, Hon. Ryan Pinder introduced the Investment Condominium Bill 2014.
Readers would recall that it was back in February 2013 that the Ministry of Financial Services launched its Strategic Plan to steer the Bahamian financial services sector over the next 10 years. One of the key issues addressed in the plan was the development of new products and new markets as well as a deepening of existing products and services with a view to “expanding the financial services pie” according to Minister Pinder.
Leading off the second reading of the Bill, the Financial Services Minister said that “these bills establish The Bahamas as the first common law jurisdiction to have created an investment fund vehicle which perfectly aligns with the traditional structuring of Brazilian funds. The Bahamas has termed this fund the Investment Condominium or ICON.”
Simply put, an Investment Condominium is a formal “joint ownership and administration of property (in all forms) between co-owners within an unincorporated entity that looks very similar to a partnership but operates in many respects like a company” explained the Minister.
Tourism grows in Grand Bahama.
There was more good news for Grand Bahama this week as hotel occupancy levels there soared in the first half of this year compared to 2013 according to the latest data released by the Department of Statistics.
Between January and July 2013 -136,262 rooms were occupied in Grand Bahama compared to 203,446 rooms occupied in the same period in 2014 – a difference of 67,184 room nights or a 49.52% increase.
This growth reflects a 6.71% increase in the hotel occupancy rate over the same period in 2013, which stood at 56.23%. Further, revenue grew by 35.90% – from $12.09 million in 2013 to $16.43 million over the same period this year.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said this improvement is only the beginning of great things happening in Grand Bahama.
“Grand Bahama has shown tremendous improvement over the past seven months and it continues to improve,” he said.
“With continued focus and determined efforts, Grand Bahama will return to its glory days and by extension The Bahamas regains its place as the premier global destination.”
The good news coming out of Tourism continues: The first NCAA Division One Football game in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to be played outside the United States will take place at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium here in Nassau on Christmas Eve this year. This comes on the heels of the HBCUX between Central State University and Texas Southern University scheduled for the 13th of September 2014 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Both sporting events are historic firsts for The Bahamas and represent an important component of the country’s tourism product offerings.
Bahamas “Junkanoo” Carnival kicks off with a bang
Pompey Square came alive Wednesday evening with all the fanfare, lights, glitter and the pulsating rhythm of Junkanoo as the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie officially launched the 2015 Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival scheduled for May of next year. Highlighting the inextricable link between the festival, our culture and our number industry, the Prime Minister said that he was very pleased that The Bahamas would soon be able to showcase even more of the country’s culture via this new event. “Not only is this a great opportunity for Junkanoos, artisans and other craftsmen to display their wares and talents” said the Prime Minister, “but it also offers us the opportunity to provide additional entertainment for guests who visit our shores.”
This new tourism product offering will be an annual event beginning on Easter Monday and will include participatory street parades, concerts, cultural shows and balls – all depicting various aspects of Bahamian culture and heritage. Of the five weeks that comprise the festival’s period, one week will be set aside and called “Carnival Week.” The first Bahamas Carnival Week is scheduled for May 3-9, 2015. During Carnival week, four major events will be staged.
BTC majority shareholding transfer final
Some eight months after the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the government of The Bahamas and CWC, the transfer of the majority of shares from BTC to the Bahamas government is final. A luncheon was held at the Balmoral Club on Friday, 29th August to mark this momentous occasion. The principals on hand for this occasion were Bahamas Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie; CEO of CWC, Mr. Phil Bentley; Franklyn Wilson, local businessman and government negotiator and Sean McWeeney QC, also a member of the government’s negotiation team.
During his remarks, the Prime Minister reiterated that the new partnership framework with CWC was more beneficial to the Bahamian people than the 2011 agreement:
“The final configuration of the partnership framework that we now have with CWC is undeniably more beneficial to the Bahamian interest, in all aspects, than the construct agreed by the former administration in 2011. We also believe that it produces an equitable win-win result that both sides can live with. Here are some of the benefits:
· the Bahamian people are guaranteed to receive the economic benefits to be derived from the two percent shareholding and CWC maintains management control of BTC with assurances that their right to consolidate BTC’s accounts into the Group accounts is preserved.
· Additionally, the reconfigured partnership provides for important cooperation between CWC (Cable and Wireless Communication) and the BCB (Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas) for implementing and integrating technologies and developing strategies to enhance BCB’s capacity and ability to profitably deliver programming. It also provides for other forms of collaboration with Government agencies to implement agreed “Social telecoms” programmes including, but not limited to, the areas of health, security, education and e-government solutions.”
By Arthia Nixon,
The Ambassador Agencyfor Bahamas Consul General’s Office, Atlanta
Xernona Clayton with George Weech, former Member of Parliament for Bimini and the Berry Islands (left) and Consul General to Atlanta, Randy E. Rolle (right) during her birthday celebrations in The Bahamas
(Bimini, Bahamas) Xernona Clayton, founder of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame celebrated her 84th birthday on the Bahamas island where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned a portion of his “I Have A Dream” speech. One of the more notable Atlanta-based female civil rights leader, Xernona Clayton Brady and her twin sister were born August 30, 1930 in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
The broadcasting executive who founded the Trumpet Awards was joined by over 70 friends and family members on the island of Bimini, which lies just sixty miles off the coast of Florida.
Among the guests was former Member of Parliament for Bimini and the Berry Islands, Hon. George Weech. Bishop Neil C. Ellis, who was the third Bahamian inducted onto the International Civil Rights Hall of Fame in Atlanta and his wife, Patrice also joined in the festivities, with the clergyman bringing remarks as a friend of the birthday lady. Bahamas Consul General to Atlanta, Randy E. Rolle, a native of Bimini was also on hand to bring remarks and gave visitors a true island experience, before inviting them to return for their special events.
“Xernona Clayton is truly a friend to The Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” Rolle said. “It is an absolute honor to be here to pay tribute to a woman who has been such a big part of our Consulate in Atlanta. There are many from Atlanta who have chosen The Bahamas as the place to make their memories. This year we’ve been proud to have provided assistance to Think Like a Man producer Will Packer with his birthday bash and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and his wife with their engagement. So we are excited when The Bahamas is the setting for such momentous occasions.”
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE)
The Ministry of Labour and National Insurance advises that the following trade unions have filed trade disputes with the department of labor and have subsequently taken strike votes on the disputes filed. All of the filed disputes have been referred to the industrial tribunal by the Minister of Labor and are therefore on-going matters before the Industrial Tribunal:
- 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
The Ministry reminds all concerned persons that Section 77 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act Chapter 321 of the Statute Laws of The Bahamas states that , “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.”
Workers are, therefore, advised that any industrial action taken after these disputes were referred to the industrial tribunal, is illegal. Accordingly, any worker who engages in any illegal strike action is not protected by the laws of The Bahamas and employers are free to treat them as employees, illegally withdrawing their labor.
Letters to the editor
The equal rights amendments that the government proposes for the constitution have still not gotten past the house. There is a lot of time being spent trying to please a group of male pastors who are ideologically opposed to the effort and will not give any quarter no matter what. They are dressing up their opposition to women’s equality with men because its unfashionable to tell the truth with this nonsense about same sex marriage which is a complete red herring. We say to the Commission, this is a matter around which women ought to be mobilized. Women should not listen to these backward men who keep talking this nonsense. They have a more powerful weapon at their disposal. They should make it clear to their spouses at home that legs are closed officially until they vote yes No nookie until the bills pass. When the bills passes, the legs are open again. But given that some of these pastors don’t believe that rape is possible within marriage, you never know if that will work.
28th August Lester Cox, the radio talk show host posted this about Minister of State Michael Halkitis. They are shown in a photo with Terrance Bethel, accountant .
Fun and relaxing show with the money man of the Bahamas Hon Michael Halkitis Minister Of State for Finance. I can safely say that few people know the state of Bahamian finances the way Michael Halkitis does. He has been a winner and loser in politics. A family man and one of those new generation politicians. I was joined in studio by Terence Bethel who forgot to tell us about his personal research on VAT. Sometimes that is how radio shows go. We spoke about VAT, gambling, oil and the country’s resources. The national debt stands at $5 billion
On Tuesday 26th August, the Opposition Free National Movement met with the ratings agency Standard and Poors shown are Richard Lightourn MP, Opposition Finance Spokesman Peter Turnquest and Opposition Foreign Affairs Spokesman Hubert Chipman.
25th August 2014
Edison Key when he left the PLP in our last term said of us that he just didn’t understand us anymore. He said that when he was a PLP, if he called Pindling, the phone wasn’t down properly before what he asked Pindling would be done. He argued that we had become strangers to our friends.
I always say that whether a man is my friend or my foe I always listen to what he says to see if what he is saying makes sense.
I leave you this story. It is a Delta Airlines commercial. A businessman is talking to his staff. He tells them that sales have been falling. He says that when he called an old customer, the man said to him: I just don’t know you all anymore. So he said to the staff he was going back to basics and he bought airplane tickets for them to visit all their old customers, and you guessed it on Delta Airlines. He said at the end of the commercial. I am going back to visit that old friend.
I can think of no finer advice than that to you group of PLPs tonight.
If C Allen Johnson’s assertions are correct the PLP needs to take a fundamental rethink of its political information infrastructure to ensure that it is relevant to the times. Mr. Johnson says that the people who call talk radio and those who listen aren’t as wide as we think but that it is often driven by the same small group of people and pushed by newspapers that are tied to radio stations. Things that make you go hmmm!
Fred Mitchell MP while speaking in the House of Assembly on Monday 25th August about Latore Mackey recalled the final address of Martin Luther King Jr. as he spoke about long life. Mr.King was 38 years old when he was killed in Memphis in 1968. Latore was 37 when he died on Monday 25th August. He could well have been a candidate for the PLP in the next election. Gone too soon. The full quote of Dr. King is:
Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
Krissy Love, a radio talk show host, was not too happy about Fred Mitchell speaking up to defend the integrity of the PLP when he spoke to the National Progressive Institute (NPI) on Monday 25th August. Her retort was that Mr. Mitchell should take his meds, posted on the page of the ever prolific C A Newry. A true Bahamian response to her would be it takes one to know one. It is a great pity that someone like her who appears to be intelligent, who obviously has the gift of gab has been so embittered in her life by so many secret and not so secret demons that she chooses not to display her intelligence but sells to the public an unintelligent mix of psycho-babble on the air. This is typical of someone who has problems with self-esteem. She needs a lot of work before she can give advice. Really now.
It appears that somewhere Myles Munroe, the anti-gay pastor, heard that Erin Greene, the pro-gay activist, had said that God is not a citizen of The Bahamas and ipso facto had no role to play in the referendum. That does mean because he heard it that she said it. But it was enough for him to fly back from his jaunt to Brazil and stop in Nassau to use his sermon last Sunday to denounce Ms. Greene and her words. In a one and half hour sermon he said amongst other things that God is not a citizen of The Bahamas indeed, he owns The Bahamas. He received a standing ovation. He then flew off to South Africa where he advises the polygamist President of South Africa. He has no moral problems with that though.
Andrew Edwards, the former Chair of the Progressive Young Liberals, and an attorney in the firm Davis and Co can now add the title father to his bio. Born to his wife and himself are a daughter on 28th August. Congratulations sir.
In public relations terms they say you have the story, meaning what is actually said and then there is the spin of the story. Today in the column we present the full text of what Fred Mitchell MP had to say about the PLP and the integrity of the organization. Facebook writers are amongst the main offenders and in one C A Newry post, he completely distorted what was said. So we thought that it was best to print in its entirety what was said. Then you had some fellow writing being the cowardly name POLITICAL OBSERVER in The Tribune who claims that Mr. Mitchell’s call to hear the other side in the Ed Moxey story was not acceptable and that the other side of the story of Mr. Mitchell should instead be told. The “political observer”, lousy coward that he is, is a nom de plume for the evil one who we dumped as the leader of our country a short while ago or certainly some friend of his. The person is very knowledgeable about Mr. Mitchell’s life and has a fascination with it. The good thing about it is that Mr. Mitchell has lived a public life since 1976 so it’s all there to see warts and all and he does not step away from it or try to rewrite history. It is what it is. For good or ill.
The Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald is to be congratulated for moving heaven and earth to be sure that the schools are ready for the children tomorrow. We wish them all a good term and that they do well in school.
Wonders never cease in this country. Scotia bank now has Trinidadians, yes you saw that right, Trinidadians calling up Bahamians to harass them to pay their credit card bills. Interesting. The control of Bahamian banking thus moves to another jurisdiction.
Latrae Rahming, former Progressive Young Liberals Chair and now a student in China, is shown meeting With His Excellency Yuan Guisen the Ambassador of the People Republic of China on 28th August. Mr. Rahming is a man always on a mission.
Nico Scavella of The Tribune wrote a story on 28th August quoting the LGBT activist Erin Greene and her support for the rights of LGBT people to marry. This is a contentious subject in The Bahamas. Three Sundays ago the Anglican Bishop of Guyana Cornell Moss spoke to the issue of same sex marriages and told the congregation at Ascension in Freeport that this was something that they had to anticipate and give a Christian response to it. The congregation was stunned those who were there said. He is right of course. Now Ms. Greene who has pretty much stayed out of the current debate trying not to derail the gender equality bills in the House has come out and forcefully said as she should that any attempt to restrict the rights of same sex couples would be unacceptable. Here is what she said in her own words:
In spite of Bahamians holding varying attitudes that same-sex attraction and intercourse are an affront to God, nature and society, a greater affront would be the idea that a citizen or a group of citizens would ‘give up’ a right rather than ensure that all other citizens could enjoy the same right.
“The Marriage Act denies access to a marriage contract to same-sex couples, this is discrimination. The Bahamas Constitution – Chapter 3, Article 26 (4)(C) – permits the government to create discriminatory laws addressing all matters related to marriage, and specifically the provisions of the Marriage Act that discriminates against LGBT Bahamians by not permitting same-sex marriages.
“When LGBT Bahamians are denied access to a state marriage contract with a partner of the same sex they are being discriminated against.”
“[This is] diametrically opposed to the principles of democracy, equality and the Rule of Law, and to the fundamental principles of citizenship.”
“ [This is] in direct opposition to the biblical concept of free will and the message of Christ.”
“The removal and denial of human and civil rights of citizens is not the mark of a sovereign and democratic state, and it is not the standard for a country that is the home of the descendants of African slaves and Indian indentured servants. Indeed it is the slippery slope that we should all be aware of.
“Furthermore, it seems that all of the voices that seek to dismiss this part of the discussion and view it as a distraction, a debacle or a red-herring are willing to turn a blind eye to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fundamental nature of citizenship and equality.”
(Myles Needs A Tarsus Moment)
On Saturday 30th August Pastor Myles Munroe said amongst other things the following in a stupid and ignorant denunciation of the Gay Pride Weekend in Freeport. How the heck he gets into that or how it concerns him is another matter. We thought he was too busy hugging up the polygamist President in South Africa to pay attention to the gays in The Bahamas, who are in a private setting , not breaking any law and minding their own business. Mr. Munroe condemns them for their Gay Pride Weekend. The greatest thing of interest though in this press release was this: All the majority want[is] Honesty and the Freedom to express our concerns, opinion and positions without being labeled ignorant, intolerant, unsophisticated, or homophobic. Who said it was the majority of people who were expressing and agreeing with his ignorant views. They are not the majority, they are a noisy ignorant majority. The problem that all of us have is how a supposedly intelligent man like him could be associated with such ignorant and stupid rabble. Myles Munroe needs to find Christ.
Almost as soon as Latore Mackey’s death was reported than the subtext began to emerge, the attempt to trash the man’s reputation by a series of stories on the web about this or that or the next. Lot of nastiness which bears not repeating. We say as was said in this week’s editorial. The man is dead for god’s sake. That is the important thing. What does bear repeating though is the shocking ignorance, prejudice and hatred from amongst many of our citizens. We believe that in this toxic atmosphere once they can smear you as being gay that makes it acceptable for you to be killed. This is fed widely on the web. We carried a report on this site before on the number of murders that were based on being gay. They were not identified as such but the research shows that they were and how in most cases the cases were unsolved or where someone was brought to trial all they had to say was they were defending their manhood and the jury would let the person go. One correspondent for this site said that he was appalled when at the site of a demonstration recently policemen were gathered watching women demonstrate for gender equality only to have a policeman say on the scene: “ what these sissy gals need is some cock.”. That is an unacceptable comment from any public official.
Congratulations to Victor Rollins for organizing and being courageous to have Gay Pride Weekend in Freeport, Grand Bahama It is a stand against prejudice, ignorance and intolerance. And bigotry. Unfortunately it was not the commercial success that he had hoped but it went ahead anyway. We wish him and his friends well. The event took place this weekend at Club Fortuna in Freeport, Grand Bahama and the poster below invited all to come and celebrate.
25th August 2014
Dissident opinion is valuable to any organization and forward movement. However, the PLP is not a drawbridge upon which people can walk and just use for their purposes. During the FNM years part of their political strategy was to seek destroy the reputation of the PLP and so effective were they that even some of our own youngsters have adopted uncritically their narrative. The bits about corruption and incompetence were part of their propaganda which is simply false.
The modern state we have was created under PLP leadership. The FNM did not do that. They opposed the creation of The Bahamas.
What I am arguing is that NPI must develop the counter narrative and keep saying it to each generation that comes in. This is an absolute must. We know that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. We are not asking that you be a prisoner of history but you certainly need to be seeing the signs of reversal when they occur.
So dissidence should occur within rules and regulations. We are in a volunteer organisation and we voluntarily agree to the rules. This requires discipline, loyalty faithful and trust. When people lose that in those who are their colleagues and give public voice to this without airing differences internally then it is time to look elsewhere.
The organisation itself has a role in protecting its own integrity by ensuring that its rules are obeyed and be shown to be obeyed.
25th August 2014
I told our younger MPs and I say this to you. The reason they were recruited into the PLP was to help the PLP make the Bahamas a more tolerant liberal democracy, where the wealth is shared and not distorted. They were not recruited to go and hold hands with those who want to drive us back into the era of intolerance, ignorance and prejudice.
I say the same to you. This party’s values are fixed in the tradition of a liberal democracy. You are to be the foot soldiers in pursuing that tradition, looking out always for the needs of the small man. No amount of FNM propaganda can change that fact or shake your faith in that. If that is not what you believe then the PLP is not the place to be.
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