MICHAEL JORDAN: was the centre of attraction as the Prime Minister visited Baker’s Bay in Abaco. The rich enclave located off the Abaco mainland on Guana Cay has lots of land going for 10 millioin dollars a piece with not one building on it. The head honcho at Baker’s Bay Micahel Meldman told the press on Thursday 23rd April that there are 80 homes built and 80 homes in the que. He said that he can increase the number of jobs from the 800 they have now up to 1500 and well what he needs from the government is the work permits to bring foreign labour to make that happen. It was a happy gathering from all accounts. Mr. Jordan is the famous former basketball player and now one of the owners of an American professional basketball team is either an owner or frequent vistor. He prounouced himself happy with The Bahamas. He said that he has been coming to The Bahamas for 15 years. He says the people are nice to him. He says he likes to be low key and let his hair down. There was no evidence of any hair on his head since he is the one who started the bald head craze for black men losing their hair to male pattern baldness, but we get the point. The photo of the week then is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services on Thursday 23rd April at Baker’s Bay with the leaders of the country Prime Minister Perr Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis, Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin and Environment Minister Ken Dorsett all present and accounted for.
THE JUNKANOO CARNIVAL TAKES OFF: after all the naysaying and negative press about the Junkanoo Carnival and whether it would come off, there is nothing that succeeds like success. On Friday 17th April, the Junkanoo Carnival blew its critics and their naysaying out of the water with a spectacular and thrilling precursor of what is to come in Nassau up in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The young song writers, producers, directors, deejays, all turned up in droves and their fans the people of Grand Bahama were there in the thousands. BTC the phone company sponsored the event and their CEO Leon Williams was beaming with pride. The youngsters voted with their feet. KB and his all Bahamian talk did not deter them. Ziah from Bahamen with his all Bahamian talk did not deter them. They turned up and supported the Junkanoo Carnival. The irony of the Bahamen objection was the song Who Let The Dogs Out was a Trinidadian song, yet they were objecting to a Trinidadian artist coming to perform in The Bahamas. The photo of the week then is that of the Prime Minister Perry Christie at the microphone with his Tourism Minister Obie Wilchombe, Culture Minister Danny Johnson, BTC CEO Leon Williams, Grand Bahama Minister Mike Darville and Junkanoo Saxon Leader Percy “Vola” Francis behind him at the opening of the Junkanoo Carnival in Freeport, Grand Bahama 17th April. Nassau is next. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
PRIME MINISTER CHRISTIE CHAIRs OBAMA MEETING:  there was a debate amongst PLPs and we suppose others about why the meeting did not take place in Nassau, after all the tradition is that whoever is the Chair gets to host the meeting. However, it appears that the U S President had promised Portia Simpson Miller, the Prime Minister of Jamaica that he would come. Never mind. The meeting in Kingston was flawlessly organized, and as Prime Minister Perry Christie, Chair of Caricom, said in his opening statement “the optics are good”. The naysayers of course were saying that the US simply fobs us off as a photo shoot. That is not quite correct but the photo shoot is important too because it sends a signal to those at home that there are no public differences between the US leadership and our leadership. There were substantive matters to discuss as well like the assault of the banking system of the region, the continued violence, crime and poverty and what the major trading partner in the region can do to assist in alleviating that problem. For now though our photo of the week is that of Prime Minister Perry Christie in Jamaica serving as Head of Caricom shortly after he arrived in the meeting room with his guest U S President Barak Obama in Kingston, Jamaica on 9th April at the University of the West Indies Headquarters. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
A RARE SCENE IN THE BAHAMAS: a white person, a white woman no less, being taken to court and being charged with murder. Her name is Donna Vasyli. She is Australian and at 54 years of age she is charged with the murder of her husband Philip. The murder is alleged to have taken place on 24th March. Her lawyers applied for bail. It was refused. The first picture is the day of her arraignment on 30th March. The charge was filed under Section 291 (1B) of The Penal Code, Chapter 84, which does not attract the discretionary death penalty if a conviction is reached at trial in Supreme Court. The press said when she appeared in court she blew a kiss at her family members and said she would see them soon. Not so on bail said Jon Isaacs, the Justice before whom she appeared for bail on 2nd April. Our photos of the week then are the before and after of the appearance of Donna Vasyli at her arraignment and at her bail hearing. The photos are by The Tribune.
MEETING THE STUDENT PRESS: it seemed to have been a hell of a meeting. The Prime Minister Perry Christie agreed to speak to the journalism class of the College of The Bahamas. He had a hell of a time. The report said that he said of the press: “to hell with them”. The Tribune, competitor now to the down-market Punch, ran the headline in red. In reality the expression to hell with them was in its context understandable. It was a rough day the day before. The Speaker of the House, a PLP, claiming his integrity was being challenged, took a position contrary to the rules and apposite what his party had asserted in the House was the correct position, allowing slanderous statements to be made about his minister whom he had just asked to step aside from his duties as Local Government minister. If you read the headlines, it seemed that things were not going his way, even in the face of his logic and rationality. Tough time. The students then got what they paid for, the Prime Minister in full form and in full flight for two hours. So that is why we think the photo of the week then is the interface with the students of the College of The Bahamas at their journalism class on Thursday 26th March. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE FOUR JACKASSES OF THE PHONY HAITIAN APOCALYPSE: these four people embarrassed themselves, sought to embarrass and defame The Bahamas by going to Washington to purvey their suite of lies, distortions and untruths. They portray themselves as the champions of victims: supposedly poor migrants from Haiti escaping poverty. But the victims they are talking about are said to pay anywhere from 1500 dollars to 5000 dollars per head to be smuggled into The Bahamas and then to the United States. That makes these four people and their exaggerated, lying advocacy unwitting accomplices to stopping the government from interrupting a sophisticated criminal enterprise. The question is why? No one can accept that Fred Smith has one altruistic bone in his body. His game is always money, money and more money. It is interesting the confluence of his now four-man, one woman Grand Bahama Human Rights Association with the RFK Centre. These are all part of another well-funded campaign to stop development in The Bahamas by a rich billionaire who lives at Lyford Cay. The question is whether or not this is being funded from that same source, and then you ask yourselves since that source was said to be funding the FNM whether this advocacy for migrant victims is not manufactured to destabilize the PLP in favour of the FNM. Inquiring minds want to know. The picture show Louby Georges, recently fired from Guardian Radio, Paco Nunez, recently fired from The Tribune, Fred Smith, the Jackass In Chief, and Joseph Darville, the former headmaster, taking a break from Island Luck. They said in the release of this photo that they briefed U S Senators about the plight of the victims, only no one could find any Senator that they briefed. The photo of the week then is the four Jackasses of the Phony Haitian Apocalypse pretending that they were briefing U S senators on 18th March.
This photo taken by Peter Ramsay is our photo of the week. It was taken at the farewell party for George Markantonis, the CEO of Atlantis, who resigned to leave for a new job as Head of the Venetion in Las Vegas in the United States. There was farewell party for him at Atlantis on Thursday 12th March. The picture speaks a thousand words. There to say farewell to Mr. Markantonis who is at the left of the picture in the gray jacket was the Prime Minister Perry Christie, the former owner of Atlantis Sol Kerzner and the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
THE BAHAMAS DEFENDS ITSELF: when Fred Smith QC and his allies began an all-out campaign to discredit The Bahamas on the human rights front, they did not consider that the times had changed since he last time they derailed the effort by Loftus Roker, a Minister of Home Affairs to deal with the problem of illegal migration in 1986. The irony of their position is that today they have trotted out Mr. Roker, now in memory deficient old age, on to public platforms with them. Even though he is defending his position and trotting out the old bromides, the public opinion has changed and they firmly support the government on the issue of illegal migration. They want something done about it, quickly and in an humane manner. Fred Smith, a victim of self-loathing of his Haitian ancestry, not known for his balanced rhetoric, keeps going on in public both at home and abroad scorching the earth. What it has required is expenditure that the government does not have to try to beat back all of trash and nonsense that he spins about the policy. One such effort to defend and explain was Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration at the Human Right Council’s high level dialogue in Geneva on 4th March. Our photo of the week then is that of Mr. Mitchell appearing before the council to defend The Bahamas from its mainly internal enemies on the question of human rights. You may click here for the full address..
THE PM AT THE HELM IN NASSAU: the Captains of the Caribbean are shown here in this group photo as they appeared in Nassau on 26th February for the Heads of Government meeting of Caricom . The Prime Minister Perry Christie with the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling posed for the traditional family photo on 26th February. The photo is by Elcott Coleby of the Bahamas Information Services. That is our photo of the week.
MITCHELL IN ABACO: he visited with the four major Abaco communities on 2nd and 3rd of January to speak with them about the problem of the incursion of illegal migrants in The Bahamas. The communities of Cooper’s Town, Hope Town, Marsh Harbour and Sandy Point all agreed that some action needed to be taken. The Minister promised a staging meeting with all the government agencies on 20th February. The meeting took place hosted by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and MP for the area Renardo Curry. The Police, Defence Force, the Depts. of Education, Local Government, Environment and Social Services were all there to present their views. Targets and approaches were discussed and a plan of action suggested. The meeting adjourned for the law enforcement agencies to start planning logistics. The Minister said key to the success of the operations will be the public affairs which seek to shape public opinion, keep the public informed and to ensure that there is community support. He said that the operations must be carried out strictly but humanely. The photo of the week is the staging meeting hosted at the OPM Marsh Harbour to plan the action to stop illegal migration in Abaco.
DANCING IN SPANISH WELLS: well of all places to see it. The Prime Minister Perry Christie was dancing the Junkanoo in what is supposed to be lily white Spanish Wells. Things have changed since the late Edwin Taylor, the Methodist Minister, who was black was chased from Spanish Wells and could not spend the night there. Now you are in an era when the Spanish Wells School actually participates and win the Junior Junkanoo. Junkanoo is the essence of African culture in The Bahamas, embraced by Spanish Wells. Wonders never cease. The occasion was the name of the all age school in Spanish Wells, a fishing community off the coast of North Eleuthera on Thursday 12th February as the Samuel Guy Pinder All Age School. The Prime Minister was accompanied by his Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald. The photo of the week is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE BAHAMIANS AT CAVE HILL. They spent the week exposing the people of the University of the West Indies about Bahamian food and culture. People were lined up in front of their food tent to taste conch, peas and rice and well all the Bahamian goodies. It was interesting to see the leadership of the next generation at work. The Bahamian Students Association invited Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs to come and speak to them for their inaugural lecture. He spoke on the topic: The Future Is You, a tour de force of his own life and how the experiences in their early lives will determine the choices they later make. He urged them to be confident about themselves. The photo of the week then is Fred Mitchell the Minister of Foreign Affairs with the Bahamian students in Barbados at the University of the West Indies on Tuesday 3rd February.
FREE EJ: He is now the star of the Bahamian porn world. His name is Edmund Lewis Jr. He was up until two weeks ago an unknown, obscure ordinary policeman, but now E.J. as he is called by his friends is famous or infamous as the case might be. He was charged last week with child pornography because he took videos of women with whom he was having sex and someone put the videos on the web and it appears that they were done without the consent of his partners in sex and also one of the women may have been a minor. That did not stop the video from being circulated widely across the country, and the conversations about EJ, his equipment and his prowess, the positions that rival the Karma Sutra and on and on. The Magistrate Joy Ann Pratt at first refused him bail but on reflection having made an error in his first arraignment gave him bail. His girlfriend blew him a kiss as he was being led away to jail and it appears that when he was released on Thursday 29th January, she was there to greet him in his arms. So for all the titillation that he has given the tired lives of the sex starved in The Bahamas, the opportunity to give those righteously indignant a chance to get on their high horses, our photo of the week is the picture of EJ from the front page of The Tribune Friday 30th January of EJ just after being freed.
PRIME MINISTER COMMISSIONS 100 MILLION DOLLAR FACILITY: on Thursday 22nd January the Prime Minister Perry Christie officially commissioned the new 100 million dollar critical care bloc of the Princess Margaret Hospital. To the consternation of some, the Prime Minister paid tribute to his predecessor Hubert Ingraham, repeating a line which Mr. Ingraham used to say when he defeated the now Prime Minister in 2007: “ Some sow and others reap”. It would probably be best to ignore Hubert Ingraham. Mr. Ingraham would have and still does savage Mr. Christie at every turn and in this atmosphere there should be a “take no prisoners attitude”. But then Mr. Christie is the Prime Minister, schooled in the political art and it has worked. That is why he is where he is and Mr. Ingraham is in the audience watching from the sidelines. It was a proud moment for the Government. The Government had to find an additional 40 million dollars to staff and equip the hospital. That is why long after the physical building was finished it took so long to get it going. With this there should be some relief for the hospital that has an acute shortage of operating theatres and intensive care beds. Elective surgeries are often cancelled because of this shortage. Mr. Christie renewed his promise that National Health Insurance is coming. Not a moment too soon. So congratulations to Mr. Christie, the Government, the Minsiter of Health Perry Gomez, Hubert Brown it’s much maligned but worthy Managing Director, Chairman Senator Frank Smith and all the staff for the work done in making this possible. Our photo of the week then is the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling as she cut the ribbon marking the formal commissioning of the new critical care bloc at the Princes Margaret Hospital Nassau on 22nd January. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
BAMSI BURNS: For Perry Christie, the Prime Minister, the Bahamas Agriculture Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), is his baby. We are talking legacy politics now. He was an agriculture and fisheries minister once and didn’t get a chance or so he thought to really get agriculture going. So he is determined that this time he will do it. Thus BAMSI was born. He put Godfrey Eneas, a former Director of Agriculture, there to get it done. He sent Ronnie Thompson, a former PS at Agriculture to Andros to shepherd and look after the project. All the old agriculture crew. He promised the Principal at the UWI campus in Trinidad that he was going to do it. The Principal proclaims that he thought it was just another Caribbean politician talking to hear himself. He was surprised that it’s done. The buildings are up. The crops are in the field. There are problems to be sure but North Andros has a shining light. One issue was one contractor got into a dispute with the workers over pay. It left some people broke and angry. People nursed their wounds. Then on Thursday evening 15th January, the pictures started surfacing on social media. BAMSI on fire. Some people, mainly FNMs were jubilant. The PLPs were depressed. Mortified. Miffed. Rumours of arson, by disgruntled workers. The building, a male dormitory, burned. By morning's light and with no firefighting equipment, the fire cold have done worse. The Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis was there to inspect the buildings to find that the roof was gone but the structure seemed sound. So we start again. Our photo of the week then is that of the BAMSI building burning in the night in North Andros.
THE PM COMES A CALLIN ON CHINA: the Chinese have a philosophy. They treat every country and its leaders the same. So whether you are small like The Bahamas or large like the United States, you receive equal treatment. They do not apply conditionalities with the assistance to countries. It appears that they have accepted the Biblical principle: to whom much is given much is expected. They have risen to the occasion. The question looms large: what of our friend the United States, who simply seems to have such a myopic view of life, that all they are concerned about is national security and limit their assistance to that. The Caricom leaders are unable to get even half an hour with the US President, a remarkable fact given all the hype in the Caribbean populations about Obama and his African heritage. He does not give the Caribbean the time of day. In the meantime, the Chinese are winning friends and influencing people, while the US seems to be dying on the vine. We are in the American orbit but only they seem not to know it. Prime Minister Perry Christie has paid his second official visit to China in a decade. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham before him also paid two visits to China. On each occasion, they met the leaders of China at the top levels. Not so with the United States or Canada or Britain. Interesting how we are taken for granted. Such is life. The photo of the week is Prime Minster Christie meeting President Xi Jinping of China at the Great Hall of The People on Tuesday 6th January. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
The Prime Minister gave a national address in which he spoke to the themes for the year 2015. These included immigration, crime and the economy. He deepened his views on the subject with an interview with Steve McKinney, the talk show host. The interview appears tomorrow on the Broadcasting Corporation’s TV ZNS Channel 13. Our photo of the week is the Prime Minister being interviewed by Steve McKinney who spent the whole of last year bashing the Prime Minister and his government. The interview was recorded on Friday 2nd January.
THE HAITIAN BOATS HAVE ARRIVED. This was the scene off Barracuda Rock, six miles off Barre Terre in Exuma on the afternoon of Christmas Day at about 3:30 p.m. When they were landed and the count was in, as incredible as it seems there were 119 people on board this vessel: 93 males and 19 females. They were landed at Barre Terre and taken to a holding facility at the E C McKenzie auditorium in Ramsay, Exuma and then the next morning were taken by boat to the Detention Centre in Nassau. The centre already had too many illegal migrants in the facility. Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister, advised the Haitian Government both privately and publicly that the Miami Herald had written a story by Jacqueline Charles on 22 November that people were going to set out for The Bahamas from La Tortue in Haiti in December. In their public response at the Organization of American States, the Haitian government said they could find no evidence of it. The boats are now here. Twenty three were caught in the days just before Christmas in Exuma. The 119 caught on Christmas Day told the authorities that they came from La Tortue. Our photo of the week then is that of a Haitian sloop breaching the borders of The Bahamas off Barre Terre in Exuma on Christmas Day. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY.
OUR MAN AT THE VATICAN: life is full of wonders and ironies and of course sadness. Last week was one of the wonders that makes you glad you are alive to see it. Imagine you are 18 years old and you have taken a stand against a wishy washy headmaster at the school where you are taking your A levels, preparing for a career in college and the law. Because you are outspoken, the school’s headmaster decides that out you go. The world must have seemed to come crashing down around you but there was a greater inner self that propelled you to move forward and you did. So much was the propelling forward that you ended up being the voice of radical youth in The Bahamas, the voice of the PLP’s future in the 1970s, an Attorney, the Attorney General, the Party Chairman, the voice and rescuer of Pindling’s regime in its last days; the counselor for Pindling and Ingraham and Christie ( the last names of the three Prime Ministers of The Bahamas), the go to man for crisis on an official level to clean up the messes, the voice of solid reason behind the scenes. Then to cap all of that off you become, being a Roman Catholic, your father was a monk and a devout follower of the faith, the country makes you one generation and some years later its man at the Vatican, Ambassador to the Pope in Rome. Sidney Poitier’s story is perhaps the only one that succeeds this amazing story. Yet it is the truth and not fiction. From an expelled high school student through to all of those posts and now Ambassador to the Pope. That is the Sean Mcweeney story. He presented his credentials in the presence of Bahamian public officials and his wife and children on Thursday 18th December. The photo of the week therefore is that of the Pope Francis in Vatican City accepting the credentials of Ambassador Sean McWeeney. Those youngsters who despair today that their time will never come: read and inwardly digest.
PRIME MINISTER PERRY CHRISTIE MET WITH RAUL CASTRO, the President of Cuba on Tuesday 9th December. Mr. Christie was a guest of the Cuban Government for the Cuba/Caricom Summit which takes place every three years. This is his second summit. Mr. Christie when he was last Prime Minister became the first Bahamian Prime Minister to visit Cuba. The Cubans pulled out all the stops, with a full military guard, a one hour and five minute meeting with the President and a spontaneous and unrehearsed apology by the President for the sinking of HMBS Flamingo in 1980 by Cuban Migs in which four Bahamian sailors died. Mr. Castro said that he was deeply embarrassed about it and he wished to apologise personally for what he said was a tragic mistake. Our photo of the week then was that of Prime Minister Perry Christie in Havana inspecting the official military honour guard drawn up for him in the Palace of the Revolution on Tuesday 9th December just before his meeting with President Raul Castro. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE FUNERAL TO END ALL FUNERALSthe state recognised funeral for the late Rev. Myles Mu roe and his wife Ruth who died two weeks ago in a plane crash 9th November in Grand Bahama took place at the Diplomat Centre on Thursday 4th December in Nassau. It was a spectacle. It lasted from 10 a.m. until they left the church building sometime around 4:30 p.m. They reached the graveyard at 5:30 p.m. The family and mourners had to use the light of their cell phones in order to see as the coffins were lowered in the graves. The thing ran so long that by the time they reached the graveyard, many of the ceremonial parts of the service had to be truncated because they could not be performed in the dark. Nevertheless, thousands turned out and thousands stayed to see the spectacle and to witness history one supposes. The governmental authorities were there. The celebrity pastors and just plain celebrities were there. So there was quite a lot of hype. Myles and Ruth Munroe are now in the ground. All that can be said about them has been said. The question is what now, with his church family rumoured to be in substantial debt and his two children having to pick up the ashes of an empire that must now survive off intellectual property rights and of course if the children have the talent of their father for preaching and talking. Our photo of the week then is the caskets of the Rev. Myles and Ruth Munroe on Thursday 4th December at the Bahamas Faith Mission church the day the Cabinet came to pay their respects. This was a first for a private citizen. The Prime Minister bowed to the caskets. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information services.
THE EYES SHOW IT: Well the dust has sort of settled since the election of the once and now leader again of the Free National Movement Dr. Hubert Minnis on 21st November. The pundits are now having their say and the words within the FNM from the losing team are bitter and vituperative about the new leader, despite all the public words of reconciliation and support. The PLPs got into the debate and Hope Strachan, the Minister of State for Transport, wondered aloud whether or not the result would have been different if Loretta Butler Turner had been a man. Melanie Griffin, the Minister of Social Services, paid tribute to Mrs. Butler Turner for raising the bar for women and stepping forward. There is of course always a reason for a loss and we do not think that it had to do in this case with gender. Elections are won by delegates to the convention. There is no point running a great national campaign when the electorate is not the nation but the convention delegates. Dr. Hubert Minnis won because he captured most of the delegates. He went from island to island delivered the voters to the booths and onto the ballot papers. Some of Mrs. Butler Turner's supporters are bitter, with one young FNM supporter telling the Minister of Foreign Affairs that the PLP now has a safe and assured victory for 2017. Well nothing is over until it’s over. Our photo of the week though is Loretta Butler Turner standing in the hall, the defeated insurgent candidate for leader of the FNM. The story is told in her eyes as she learned she had lost and was beaten badly on the evening of 21st November 2014.
There is a pall that still hangs over The Bahamas and possibly will continue to hang over The Bahamas until Myles Munroe, the Reverend killed in a plane crash two Sundays ago, is buried. It is like a big shadow over the whole country. It is so inexplicable that a man at 61, so vibrant and full of the collective memory of The Bahamas was taken away in what appears to have been a totally avoidable accident. A plane hits a crane at 116 feet at 4:52 on a blinding rainy afternoon in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The country is still picking up the pieces but the whole country is picking over the pieces of it and trying to figure out why. The newspapers have been fulsome in their coverage of the events from that day to this. The latest installment was the return to he bodies of the pastor and the eight others on the plane on Thursday 20th November to New Providence for burial. Our photo of the week then is that of the five hearses and the minders at the airport with the hearses as they stood in a line awaiting the moment for departure. There was a brief service at the airport in Nassau with Glenys Hanna Martin, the Minister of Transport in attendance. Our photo of the week.
A NEW FACE FOR BFM: : the Brits have a saying when their monarch passes: “The King is dead! Long live the king!”. That is how life is. In the midst of life there is death, inevitable, inexorable. The Bible says, that you do not know the day or the hour. It also says in the moment in the twinkling of an eye. Rev. Myles Munroe Sr. died in a plane crash shortly after our upload last Sunday. It changed the dynamic of the news day. But after the shock and in the midst of the grief, life had to go on and by mid-week out of the mist of depression came a new fresh face, Myles Munroe Jr. They say he doesn’t have the gift of his father for public speaking but then neither did Aaron when he succeeded Moses. They say he is not interested. But then neither was Rajiv Gandhi, the son of the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In each case though, the successors stepped up to the plate. This young man who presented to the nation his thanks to the country has the name Myles Munroe. He is a junior but Myles Munroe all the same. So the possibilities seem endless. We say again like the Brits say the King is dead! Long live the King. Our photo of the week is that of Myles Munroe Jr. expressing his thanks to the country on the outpouring of grief for the death of his father on Wednesday 12th November.
INSPECTING THE GUARD: the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis inspected the honour guard drawn up by Squad A of the Department of Immigration on Wednesday 5th November. The occasion was the graduation of the first immigration class since 2009. The class graduated 54 people: ten in Freeport and 44 in Nassau. Another class will start soon. This is in line with the minister’s view that the Department of Immigration should increase threefold over the next three years. It was a proud day for the recruits as they presented their military style drill in front of friends, family and the public officials. The Minister for Immigration Fred Mitchell spoke on the occasion and reminded them that there is in his words “a lot of idle propaganda” going around about the Department but that they should ignore it and do their work. The photo of the week then is that of the Deputy Prime Minister inspecting the guard of immigration officers at their graduation on Wednesday 5th November. The photo is by Christopher Rahming of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
APPLES AND ORANGES; CHEEZE AND CHALK- by whatever words you want to use to express the contrasts, they would be apt. The picture shows two happy people. On the left is Cyril “ Boxer” Minnis. On the right is Loretta Butler Turner MP, the insurgent candidate for the leadership of the Free National Movement and now its outgoing Deputy Leader. Mr. Minnis is the brother of the Leader of the Opposition. He is a take no prisoners kind of guy but he does it with an infectious good humour and a hearty laugh. Don’t mind that though, he goes for the jugular when it comes to politics and particularly if it involves fooling with his brother. Now to Loretta Butler Turner. She has been trying to soften her image of late, the woman thing you know. Pretty brown eyes and plenty of good moderated language. But don’t mind that either. That’s a biggity gal and if you cross her she will slash and burn. Just ask Andre Rollins about the slap heard across the islands. But the two people for the purposes of this photograph portrayed themselves as a happy couple, although everyone knows that they are playing for keeps. The Minnis faction says that she doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning. She with artful messaging and pretty graphics is selling a message oriented campaign. Boxer and his bother the doctor are counting votes on the ground. Whatever the outcome on 21st November, we think that by any measure this mugging for the cameras is the photo of the week. It was posted on Facebook.
The Prime Minister attended a Diplomatic Week Heads of Mission Luncheon, October 22, at Melia Nassau Beach Resort. Diplomatic Week of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the first of its kind and features a number of events with participation from Bahamas Heads of Missions who are in Nassau for the landmark occasion, and members of the diplomatic community residing in The Bahamas. Pictured at Melia are Bahamas Heads of Mission at the luncheon, and gathered for photo, from left: HE Eldred Bethel, Bahamas High Commissioner, United Kingdom; HE Calsey Johnson, Bahamas High Commissioner, Canada; HE Alma Adams, Ambassador to Cuba; HE Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Permanent Representative to the UN in New York; Mr. Ricardo Treco, Consul General, Miami, Florida; HE Captain Godfrey Rolle, Ambassador to Haiti; Ms. Sheila Carey, Charge d’Affaires, Beijing, China; HE Rhoda Jackson, Permanent Representative, Bahamas Permanent Mission to the UN and other International Organizations, in Geneva; Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Perry G. Christie; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Hon. Fred Mitchell; Mrs. Cleola Hamilton, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration; Mr. Forrester Carroll, Consul General, New York; Ms. Paulette Adderley-Zonicle, Consul General, Washington, DC; Mr. Randy Rolle, Consul General, Atlanta; HE Dr. Eugene Newry, Ambassador, Washington, DC; Mr. Philip Miller, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration; and HE Picewell Forbes, Bahamas High Commissioner to CARICOM. (BIS Photos/Peter L. Ramsay). That is our photo of the week.
THE GOVERNOR GENERAL WITH THE QUEEN:Well it was quite an event, Our Dame Marguerite Pindling was there in London to meet the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II held an audience with Dame Marguerite Pindling upon her appointment as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and invested her with the Insignia of a Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George at Buckingham Palace on 14th October in London, England. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images). It’s our photo of the week. Interesting commentary by way of the British Daily Mail about the audience. The sequined Bahamas straw bag of Dame Marguerite made the news. That is our photo of the week, Dame Marguerite with the Queen.
THE GOVERNOR GENERAL LEAVES FOR LONDON:Dame Marguerite Pindling left Nassau for London on Friday 10th October. She returns to the country on 17th October. The tradition of the appointment of the Governor General is that it comes with the award of an additional knighthood of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Dame Marguerite is to receive that further award from the Queen. She is already knighted. The tradition also is that upon the appointment of a Governor General, that individual pays a call on the Queen. That will take place on 14th October at Buckingham Palace. Thus the ritual of the appointment to office will be complete. Our photo of the week then is that of the Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade at the Lynden Pindling International Airport saying a fond adieu to the Governor General as she leaves to see the Queen. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
FRED MITCHELL, THE FOREIGN MINISTER, spoke at the United Nations as Foreign Minister for the 7th time in his career on Tuesday 30th September. The annual statement given at the General Debate of the United Nations is a chance for countries large and small to say what their positions and policies are on various subjects. This year The Bahamas focused on the environment, crime and illegal migration. The photo of the week then is that shot taken on 30th September as the statement was delivered at the traditional iconic green marble podium of the United Nations.
TWO LEAD COUPLES OF THE BAHAMAS AND THE UNITED STATES: it certainly looked like a good time was had by all. The Prime Minister’s wife Bernadette and the President of the United States’ wife Michelle were all smiles as were the two men. This was a happy photograph. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell pronounced himself pleased; after all it’s his job to get these things done. First Pope Francis, now the President of the United States. What more could you ask for? The photo of the week then was this photo with the President of the United States at his annual reception at the Waldorf Astoria in New York city for the delegates attending the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday 23rd Sepetmber.
NEVER GET A LICKING TIL YOU GO DOWN TO BIMINI: well in this case we hope not. We wish only success. The Prime Minister Perry Christie is shown cutting the ribbon to mark the start of the cruise port at Bimini where a cruise ship actually can come straight up to the new dock built on the ocean side of the island for the purpose of Bimini’s tourism resort and casino. Bimini has had a dramatic rise in tourism over the past year. There is full employment on the island as a result of the new investment by Malaysia’s Genting Group of companies. It appears that the arguments with the native Biminites is over, with the investment finally trickling down to the local people. The arguments over the environment seem to have gone nowhere. So there is progress with some 500 people now employed and another 400 to come. There will be a brand new airport and new housing developments. That is what we call progress and the PLP has done it. Our photo of the week then is the Prime Minister with the CEO of Genting Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay as they cut the ribbon on Thursday 18th September. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
Death be not proud – John Donne
O death, where is your sting ?--- Corinthians 15:56
Oh death look what you’ve done – From a folk song sung at graveside in Fox Hill
Our photo of the week by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services
Rest In Peace Latore Mackey, until we meet again
THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE CHARGE: it has been almost three years since the United States has had an Ambassador to the Bahamas in place. That means that there has been no political representation in this country from the closest country to us for almost three years. The job has been done by a Charge D’affaires ad interim. That means the number two person in the embassy heads the mission until the political head can come. Cassandra Butts is the person nominated by the President Barrak Obama to do the job but the politics of Washington D C does not allow her to come and take the post. This is really outrageous for a developed country not to be able to put an ambassador in place in a country so close to it. Anyway that’s life and the critics in The Bahamas were having a field day at the expense of the government when they thought we in The Bahamas did not have someone in Washington. Nothing said about the opposite. Our photo of the week then is the first formal call by the present head of Mission for the United States Lisa Johnson as she met the Prime Minister on Thursday 4th September. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
GATHERING FOR RONNIE: Ronnie Butler is a poet and he knows it. He is simply brilliant. Nothing surpasses in our minds than the song Burma Road. Mr. Butler recorded that song in 1968 and it is still being sung by children today. In it he did a medley of Bahamian tunes, starting from Fox Hill with the ditty “ Don’t mind Livingstone, Josiah the JP”. The song then turns into Going Down Burma Rd, don’t lick nobody.” What the real apotheosis of the song is though was the improv, that of in giving in commentary to music about the contrasts between modern Bahamian life and the old days. He says for example “I remember when we used to go to high mass on Sunday morning with high top tennis with no socks on and God help you if it rain because toe jam will kill you.” That is our Ronnie Butler, the same who decades later said age was nothing but a number . On Thursday 28th August his friend Craig Flowers, of the FML Group, led a tribute to Ronnie Butler. He had unveiled in the presence of the Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet a larger than life statue of Ronnie Butler. In our view this man should have been knighted and we should know him as Sir Ronnie. Ah well. In the meantime, our photo of the week is that of the larger than life statue of Ronnie Butler: going down Burma Rd, indeed. The statue is located on Bay Street west of the Hilton British Colonial in front to the east of the FML Headquarters. The photo is posted on Facebook. For more photos of the opening by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services. See below.
WELL THE CONSTITUTIONAL BILLS ARE IN COMMITTEE: if all goes well and the government thinks it has the 29 votes that it needs, the constitutional bills will pass the House of Assembly tomorrow by this time. They are now in Committee, various amendments have been agreed: principally to make the questions easier to understand and to define what sex means, as if we didn’t know already. If the bills pass it will be because of the work of these two men Perry Christie, Leader of the PLP and Hubert Minnis, leader of the FNM, who were able to overcome their mutual loathing of each other to agree on a package of bills to grant women equality in the law. Our photo of the week is a picture by Peter Ramsay of the two men as they left the House on Wednesday 20th August following the vote to send the bills to the Committee stage.
THE HOUSE UNITED: Leslie Miller not so long ago was not on the proper list of Loretta Butler Turner. He is the PLP MP for Tall Pines, and outspoken to a fault. He will slash and burn and if you get in his way. He was not the champion of women because of some things which he said which in our view were taken not in the proper context. Nevertheless, he was not on their proper list either. The last thing he said was that he did not believe that a man should come from another country and be able to get citizenship in The Bahamas after marrying a Bahamian woman. Uh oh! Mrs. Butler Turner, the Deputy leader of the FNM and an advocate for women's rights said that was from the caveman era. Mr. Miller didn’t like it and threatened to deal with her. But all were smiles and a handshake in the House when Mr. Miller spoke and said he was supporting the four bills to amend the constitution without dissent. Loretta Butler Turner got up and turned around in her seat shook his hand and bowed. All then is forgiven? The photo of the week then is that of Loretta Butler Turner MP for Long Island FNM shaking the hand of Leslie Miller for Tall Pines PLP on Wednesday 13th August in the House of Assembly. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER: after a rousing but sober talk by the Rev. Hugh Roach, the Chaplain of the House of Assembly to the group there gathered on Freedom Park on Wednesday 6th August, they held hands and sung. This was a sign of the unity which has been exhibited from the Fox Hill Community since the death of the four people shot down on the park on 27th December 2013 as they were awaiting the Junkanoo results for the Original Conges. The park was awash with tears and emotion still raw after the events more than six months ago as the people remembered Claudzino Davis, Shanique Sands, Eric Morrison and Shaquille Demeritte. We hope that the service helps to soothe and that the object of the service to break ground for the construction of the monument to the four people will help also to heal. As the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis said: “to do the things that make for peace and build up the common good”. Our photo of the week then is Fox Hill during the hour of prayer on Wednesday 6th August 2014. The photo is by Raymond Bethel of the Bahamas Information Services from left to right Catholic Father Reggie Demeritte, Monsignor Preston Moss, Rev. Hugh Roach, Fred Mitchell MP, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis.
MARTELLY COMES CALLING FROM HAITI: it was all smiles, the Prime Minister Perry Christie, the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell and their supporting cast of officials.
This photo was taken as the Prime Minister Perry Christie was escorting President Michel Martelly back to his car and then to the airport for departure to Haiti. It was quite a successful visit.
None of the acrimony over interfering in the internal affairs of the country like the previous visit under the FNM.
Even the FNM seemed to embrace the general themes of migration and business as issues that The Bahamas has to sensibly manage.
The countries signed three agreements: one on general technical cooperation including migration; another on agriculture and how to import agricultural goods into the country; the third on investment promotion and protection.
You can see the facsimiles of the three agreements by clicking here.
The photo of the week is the joyous farewell to Haitian President Martelly as he concluded his official visit to The Bahamas by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE QUESTION IS WHAT WERE THEY SAYING AND THINKING. Peter Ramsay captured this interesting photo at the House of Assembly on Wednesday 23rd July. The setting: the House had just adjourned and members Fred Mitchell and Bernard Nottage are discussing something that obviously elicited great laughter. Not so for the Prime Minister Perry Christie who can be seen in the background in quite a ponderous mood. What were they saying? What was he thinking? Renward Wells to resign? VAT to be passed? Will the “vimin” vote yes for the referendum questions? A lot to think about. But the song says. Don’t worry! Be happy! Our photo of the week that of Bernard Nottage, Fred Mitchell and Prime Minister Christie in the House of Assembly on 23rd July by Peter Ramsay.
A FAR COUNTRY: the Foreign Ministers of Caricom have held their first meeting as part of the consultative process between Caricom and Turkey which was agreed by Memorandum of Understanding in 2011. Foreign Ministers of the region met in Istanbul from Thursday 17th July to Monday 21st July to discuss an ambitious agenda of support for Turkey’s bid to become a Member of the Security Council of the United Nations and the outreach of Turkey to the region in development assistance. Fred Mitchell MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas represented the country at the meetings. Our photo of the week then is the usual class photo of the Foreign Ministers of Caricom with their Turkish counterpart (at the centre) Ahmet Davutoglu. Mr. Mitchell is second from the right.
Those PLPs who have not read it should read it. We are not saying that you should believe it. But we do say that you should read the Front Porch column in The Nassau Guardian on Thrusday 23rd April. It is instructive of the FNM’s playbook. The person who writes it, is believed to be a woman and a close associate of the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. This is the same column that savages the FNM’s Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis but let there be no mistake about it, her hatred of the PLP is even more.
The column lists a host of alleged peccadilloes by the PLP: one right after the next and attaches the word scandals to them all. The latest is that Rubis, the French oil company that used to be Texaco in The Bahamas has had a gas spill into the aquifer in the Marathon area. There was a report done which outlined the scale of the problem and what should be done to remediate it and to protect the health of the people in the environs. Rubis and the government began the work immediately and it is on going. There is no evidence that any harm has come to anyone. There was a recently a town meeting.
The FNM and their progenitors in the press are all exercised about the fact that the report was in the possession of the government for a year without being made public. The public official speaking at the public meeting said that the reason why was because the Attorney General’s office had not given permission to release the report publicly. So that has joined the list of the “scandals” so says the FNM and the press.
The FNM domnated press and the FNM ought to go get a fucking life. What a bunch of utter foolishness. The problem is that the narrative on this is too quickly adopted by the PLP. PLPs should not adpot this narrative but instead tell their own story.
That PLP story is how the FNM had oil spill after oil spill and did nothing to stop it. That story is the smarmy former Minister of Environemnt Earl Deveaux taking a free ride on a helicopter by a rich investor in the Exuma Natonal Park and allowing the park to be dredged. That story is the fact that the work was done to remediate the present problem and it continues. Not adopting foolishness from the FNM.
The Front Porch article is precisely an example of the strategy of the FNM to kill the PLP by a thousand cuts. Any little story becomes a “scandal”. Then you have their media girls who spin out propaganda on their behalf in The Tribune and The Guardian all in the hope that the FNM and their gang of thieves will be back to rob and pillage The Bahamas like they did up to three years ago.
The only scandal this time is in their own minds and if of course PLPs are foolish to take on the propaganda of the FNM spinmeisters.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 25th April 2015 up to midnight: 450,254; Number of hits for the month of April up to Saturday 25th April 2015 up to midnight: 1,624,463; Number of hits for the year 2015 up to Saturday 25th April 2015 up to midnight: 7,771,638.:
The FNM failed to protect public interest on Rubis spill
Bradley B Roberts
Progressive Liberal Party
In the wake of the unfortunate environmental release at the Rubis Robinson Road service station, I express my empathy for the families adversely impacted by this spill and all must be done by all stakeholders involved to ensure that the families affected are dealt with in a just and fair manner.
As the current government continues to work with the affected residents and Rubis to bring a fair and just resolution to this matter, the hapless and opportunistic carpet bagging and self interested FNM has crawled from under a rock and behind the tall grass to see how they can best use the pain and suffering of Bahamians to secure a selfish and narrow political advantage. This is reprehensible, heartless and callous.
I am advised there is no file in the Ministry of The Environment as proof of the steps taken by the FNM government to protect the interest of the Bahamian people while in government and Minnis must speak to this if he is to appear to have a modicum of credibility as a leader. Having been exposed, Dr. Minnis must apologize to the Bahamian people for the negligence and inaction of the FNM government as far back as 1996 and during its last term in office when they had full knowledge of these environmental incidents at this very same Robinson Road site. The long term expose of residents in the Marathon area to this environmental contamination has adversely impacted their health and quality of life because 19 years is a long time to be exposed to such unhealthy conditions. This is reprehensible on the part of the FNM and a full and frank explanation is needed. I suspect that the shameless arrogance of Dr. Minnis will prevent him from acting responsibly.
I call for a public hearing on this matter with powers to send for people and papers as far back as 1996, at or around 2010 and again in 2012 to put the series of events in proper context so the Bahamian people can fully appreciate the timelines, the extent of the challenges at this site and for all to see exactly what the root causes were that brought us to this point.
I thank the government of The Bahamas, especially the BEST Commission and the Department of Environmental Health for their decisive actions, leadership and general superintendence over the past 24 months in protecting the health and wellbeing of the residents and workers in the general area of the incident and for taking all necessary steps to protect the health of the environment for future generations. The honourable member for Marathon must remain fully engaged with the people of Marathon and a fierce and vocal advocate for those families.
The government must remain focused and vigilant in executing its primary duty in governance which is protecting the public’s interests, keeping the concerns of the people of Marathon and the public front and center at all material times. Further, the government must reject out of hand all attempts by the FNM at mass distraction, political posturing and bluster where they will seek to use the pain and suffering of ordinary Bahamians for its sick, selfish and narrow political means. The Attorney General, Senator Allyson Maynard-Gibson is on record as rejecting any attempt to use this unfortunate incident as a political football; this is wise and the entire government must take this lead.
Prime Minister Perry Christie is shown at the Cabinet Room with the children and their computers presented by Marcos Pizza in conjunction with the Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald and Environment Minister Ken Dorsett on Wednesday 22nd April.
The old folk in the old days of the 62 year old National Regatta used to call it “ the Regretter”, a derivative of the word “ regret ”. Point being it was such a happy and partying time that hardly anyone saw the races and the next morning they all had hangovers and regrets. The tradition continues with non-stop partying. Oh yes there were races too. The winners are: Tida Wave Class A; New Chase Class B; Witty K Class C
Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling did the honours.
Royal Bahamas Police Force Band perform at the final day of the National Regatta in Georgetown, Exuma on Saturday 26th April.
Platform guests as they bowed their heads in prayer at the end of the 62nd National Regatta at Georgetown. Exuma. Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling is in the front in white and Prime Minister Perry Christie is blue at the back. Other Ministers included Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell, Agriculture Minister Alfred Gray and MP for Exuma Anthony Moss.
Alfred Gray, the Minister for Agriculture and the former Minister or Local Government is not going to get a fair shake out of this process which is now unfolding in the public domain in which he is accused of interfering with the Judiciary. He is a victim of a kangaroo court, trial by the media and the subject of one tendentious leak after the next which is designed not for justice but simply to sully his reputation politically. No good can come of this. What is confounding is the subject of the original allegation by the FNM that a conversation which arises between local government administrators and Ministers of Local Government which is certainly routine and is supposed to be confidential should be transformed by FNM propaganda into something which it isn’t. If the PLP gets hornswoggled into that argument then there is hope for every devil in the deep blue sea. We have no idea what actually happened or what was said. The point is how can this man whatever happens recover from this serious of pointed, selective, irresponsible attacks and biased story telling. Last week on Thursday 23rd April, within days of the report being sent by the Commissioner of Police to the Attorney General for review, you have the affidavit of Mr. Gray leaked to the press. It could only have come from a limited set of sources. Yet no public official has answered and accounted to the public about how a confidential document of that nature leaks to the press. This sullies the whole process. It suggests that the whole thing was a put up job from the start. The press, the public officials all have much to answer for in this process.
Prime Minister Perry Christie with his fellows Prime Ministers in Grenada on Monday 20th April discussing the future of West Indies Cricket with the West Indies Cricket Board and cricket greats Sir Viv Richards in the green shirt and Sir Garfield Sobers third from right. The Prime Minister at the centre in the tie is flanked by Prime Minister Keith Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the short sleeves and in the long sleeves Prime Minister Keith Mitchell of Grenada, Lead Prime Minister on West Indies Cricket for Caricom. The Secretary General of Caricom is second from right.
NEW YORK – His Excellency Dr. Elliston Rahming (right), Ambassador and Permanent Representative of The Bahamas to the United Nations and the Organisation of American States, paid a courtesy call on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, on the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Paraguay to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Federico Alberto González Franco (left), as part of the Mission’s efforts to garner support among UN Member States for The Bahamas’ re-election to Category ‘C’ of the Council of the International Maritime Organisation, for which elections will take place in November of this year. Ambassador Rahming also met on Tuesday with the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations as part of these ongoing efforts.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In his capacity as chairman of the CARICOM Caucus, His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, along with His Excellency Paul Altidor, Haiti’s Ambassador to the United States, and ambassadors for other CARICOM-member countries hosted a reception on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, for members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) at the Embassy of Haiti, 2311 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Guests were welcomed by Ambassador Newry, who noted that members of the CBC have been the “best advocates” in Congress over the years for CARICOM countries.
“Over the years we have been able to forge a relationship that produced tangible results that have been beneficial to our region,” Dr. Newry said.
Ambassador Altidor also gave welcoming remarks, followed by brief remarks by legendary Congressman Charles Rangel, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who is now serving his 23rd term in Congress as the Representative for New York’s 13th District.
Congressman Rangel described the reception as “something that is so important to all of us.”
“Whatever problems we have, we have a culture that we share with each other,” he said, adding that during his recent meeting with CARICOM leaders in Jamaica, “our great President Barack Obama put forth some good ideas that we can work on.”
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who represents Florida’s 24th District that includes the southern parts of Broward County and the eastern parts of Miami-Dade County, also brought brief remarks.
She noted that she is very proud of the fact that she has Bahamian heritage.
NEW YORK – The Hon. Forrester J. Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York, attended an exhibition on Friday, April 24, 2015, at the Kazakhstan Mission to the United Nations. Entitled “ATOM PROJECT: Abolish Testing Our Mission,” the exhibition was hosted by Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations. It was organized by armless Kazakh painter Karipbek Kuyukov, Honorary Ambassador of the ATOM Project and Nuclear Tests survivor, and held in conjunction with “BIKE AWAY THE ATOMIC BOMB” to commemorate the final part of the “Washington DC – New York” bike ride event, devoted to raising awareness of the horrors and dangers of nuclear weapons testing, organized by “THE ATOM Project”, “Mayors for Peace” and “Bike for Peace.” Pictured from left are Mr Svein Arne Jerstad, Mayor of Kvinesdal, Norway; Consul General Carroll; Ms. Raushan Yesbulatova, Consul General of Kazakhstan to New York; Ambassador Abdrakhmanov; and Mr Thore Vestby, Vice President, Mayors for Peace.
DPM Davis holds town meeting in EXUMA – American Ex-Pats Raise Money To Rebuild the Exuma Straw Market
GEORGE TOWN, Exuma – American Ex-Pats residing in theElizabeth Harbour community garnered support from friends and family back home in the United States to raise thousands of dollars to rebuild the Exuma Straw Market that was burnt down to the ground on April 16.
A Town Meeting was held at the Kettel Centre of the Exuma Foundation, George Town, on Monday, April 20, attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works the Hon. Philip Davis, at which Exuma residents discussed last week’s straw market fire in George Town, and the next steps.
At the meeting Adam Stenftenagel of Boulder, Colorado, an Exuma resident, said so far, Exumian Ex-Pats have already raised about $20,000, which will go to building a facility similar to the Straw Market in New Providence, equipped with appropriate common amenities, particularly indoor public bathrooms.
He said: “I’ve been coming here for 15 years and I absolutely love it here! I was there when we saw the first flames coming out of the Straw Market right at the very beginning. We tried to do what we could to put it out with garden hoses from the two T’s (Two Turtles Hotel and Bar) and I came down with Dan, who is one of the managers at the Two T’s and worked hard to try to put it out, but that didn’t work.
“So anyway, it was a crazy night, and after we kind of watched everything get put out at the end of the night, I went back home and was like what do we do? What do we do? After talking to some friends back home, I was like ‘Oh, well why don’t I set up a donation page? It’s really easy to do and I put it together that night and we got our first donations early that morning. And within a day, we had $10,000 raised in less than 24 hours. It was pretty spectacular.”
Mr. Stenftenagel said they started spreading the word via email to all the local Ex-Pats and all the folks he knew in that way, as well as the Bahamians he knew on Facebook. He said they really started spreading the word, as best as they could, through the social media world.
“So today right now there’s $19, 600 in the account that has already been donated, and that just keeps going up. I’ll continue my efforts to do so,” said Mr. Stenftenagel.
“It’s really all over. We’ve have $20 donations and we’ve had $1,000 donations. It’s been a wide variety and there’s a lot of folks that just love the Straw Market that have donated. I really don’t know how many were actual Bahamians versus the Ex-Pats, visitors, and tourists, but I know there has been over 160 individual donors that have given close to $20,000.”
Mr. Stenftenagel said the donors left amazing comments on the donation page about how their individual visit to Exuma inspired them to want to contribute to rebuilding one of the main economic pillars of the George Town community.
There’s a page on Facebook with links to the donation pages. You can see all the comments and we’re close to 500 likes on Facebook and there has been over 1,000 people that have seen the donation page now. It’s pretty cool for just a few days,” said Mr. Stenftenagel.
A Signing of Visa Waiver Agreement for Official and Diplomatic Passports between the Governments of the Republic of Chile and The Commonwealth was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Headquarters.
Signing on behalf of The Bahamas Government was the Hon. Philip Davis, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Works and Urban Development and Acting Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs & Immigration, seated second left.
Signing on behalf of the Government of Chile was the Ambassador of Chile to The Bahamas His Excellency Eduardo Bonilla Menchaca, seated third from the left.(BIS Photo/ Raymond A. Bethel Sr.)
BAHAMAS JUNKANOO CARNIVAL LAUNCH A HUGE SUCCESS The Christie government was decidedly magnanimous and measured in its response but effusive in its praise and thanks to Bahamians and the event organizers in the wake of the hugely successful Grand Bahama launch of the 2015 and inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.
Speaking on behalf of the government was Tourism Minister Hon. Obie Wilchcombe who thanked the Bahamian people for their belief in themselves, their show of national unity and national pride. He characterized the whole event as a leap of faith.
“I join the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie and colleague ministers in expressing our profound thanks to the Bahamian people for their leap of faith and unshakable belief in themselves and their ability to execute a world class show and perform on a world stage before a global audience.
Bahamians and residents of Grand Bahama and elsewhere came out in great numbers over the weekend in support of the country’s inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. The government is especially pleased and thankful that Bahamians enjoyed themselves, proudly displaying their national pride and sense of unity as Bahamians from all walks of life celebrated our unique culture together and this massive event took place without incident.”
“Special thanks” continued Mr. Wilchcombe, “go out to the Bahamas Junkanoo Festival Committee, Carnival’s premier sponsor BTC, all other sponsors, the Grand Bahama-based organizers, especially Ginger Moxey and Jimmy Smith for their leadership; the Royal Bahamas police Force and the many cultural artisans, musicians, songwriters and dancers who contributed to the success of what was arguably the single largest event to take place on the island of Grand Bahama.”
Acknowledging that the Cultural Community had lobbied for this kind of public private sector partnership for quite some time, the Tourism Minister stressed the importance of the inter-industry linkages and sweeping economic impact of this cultural event and pointed out that Bahamians are limited only by their imagination.
“The pervasive and far reaching economic impact of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival cannot be understated as companies in industries as diverse as tourism, communications, transportation and events promotions to costume design, printers, artisans and even food vendors are all being positively impacted. This festival has the capacity to catapult the culture industry into a year-round industry and is only limited by the imagination and entrepreneurial spirit of Bahamians and for those who dare to dream, dream big and think “outside of the box” for the sky is the limit.”
PRIME MINISTER TOURS ABACO’S BAKER’S BAY The Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club, located on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos, is the third largest resort development in The Bahamas, behind Cable Beach’s Baha Mar and Paradise Island Atlantis Resort and the largest private employer in Abaco. More than $600 million has been invested in this project since phase one some ten years ago; the resort has created about 800 construction and operational jobs and it is estimated that nearly $1 billion has been pumped into the Bahamian economy as a result of this project. It has proven itself recession proof over the years and is a bona-fide success story.
It is against this backdrop that Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie and his ministerial delegation including DPM Philip Davis and Tourism Minister Hon. Obie Wilchcombe toured the luxury resort on Thursday of this week to see and hear of its impressive success, rapid expansion plans and its significant impact on the local economy. The Prime Minister spoke of Baker’s Bay future expansion plans.
“It will employ over 250 additional Bahamians in construction jobs. It will mount job fairs to attract Bahamian employees from throughout the country. Secondly, it will be permitted a limited number of essential specialized work permit holders who will also be able to sustain multi-disciplinary on-the-job technical skills training and apprenticeship programs designed to equip Bahamian employees and sub-contractors with high levels of proficiency.”
The 34.5 kilowatt power sub-station is being built by the developer to service the energy needs of the resort, the general public resident on Great Guana Cay and will “augment the power supply to at least two other cays in the Abacos” said Mr. Christie.
As for the private residential homes component of this mixed use luxury resort, there are about 40 luxury homes completed with 40 more coming on stream shortly. Speaking to this rapid expansion and its impact on the Abaco economy was President and Chairman of Discovery Land Mike Meldman who said “as you can see by the construction, we literally are growing faster than we can. We feel we can go from almost 800 to almost 1,200 to 1,500 employees and the amount of money that means to the local economy is staggering.”
Mr. Meldman also revealed that Baker’s Bay will spend several hundred million dollars over the next year and predicts that within a short period of time the resort will be a billion dollar operation.
CARICOM CHAIR INTERVENES TO HELP SAVE WEST INDIES CRICKET Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, in his capacity as Chair of CARICOM, was in St Georges, Grenada, on Monday 20th April to attend a special call meeting at the invitation of host Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, CARICOM’s sub-committee chair on Cricket. Mr. Christie was there to address the decline of the region’s national sport of Cricket and to craft the way forward; it is generally believed that West Indies Cricket is in crisis. He was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Hon. Fred Mitchell who chairs the Community Council.
Joining Prime Minister Christie were Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Gaston Brown, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
In updating The Bahamas Parliament upon the Prime Minister’s return, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell underscored the cultural significance of Cricket to the region:
“The issue facing the region is that the cultural life of the region and the history of the game are intimately tied up with the region’s reputation, image and sense of self. The West Indies team in its present incarnation continues to underperform and to lose in the international arena. This was a sport which the region dominated in the latter half of the twentieth century. It provides a sense of identity for young people throughout the region and provides a good living for scores of West Indian youngsters around the globe.”
I would strongly recommend that Algernon Allen, whoissupposed to be a lettered man, watching his futile attempt yesterday.Intrying to make wrong, right, to read, and digest, this morning’s Guardian Editorial, Forget about the perks, take off the blinders, and put the suffering Bahamian populace, that you and your sidekick claimed to care so much for.First, and stop the (Tommy Rot)Whohired the Auditor General???
The following statement was circulated by e mail to all PLPs by Fred Mitchell MP in response to a statement issued today by the Leader of the Opposition Hubert Minis saying that he has heard that the government does to support the Prime Minster:
For the record: I saw with my own eyes Hubert Ingraham in Exuma, with the Opposition spokesman for Foreign Affairs on the weekend. Dr. Minnis was not there. I can surmise therefore in the absence of anything to the contrary that the FNM is in meltdown. Dr. Minnis was not invited to the party. The rumours are rife that the former Prime Minister plans to supplant him and take over the FNM again. The Deputy Leader Loretta Butler Turner is said to be after his job. Perhaps this is what has Dr. Minnis speaking the foolishness which he now trots as commentary on public policy. It is plainly on its face stupid. The government supports the Prime Minister 2000 per cent. There is not one shred of evidence anywhere to support his assertion. Dr. Minnis is in cloud cuckoo land as usual. He ought to look after the disquiet in his own ranks. The press ought to be more responsible than parrot idle propaganda and lies as truth. Fred Mitchell MP
I as a citizen in the midst of this debate on crime I am very concerned as to what actions my government is taking on these issues. On Thursday [April 23rd, 2015] I was shocked to hear the Opposition Leader in the Senate the Hon. Carl Bethel making the point that the Attorney General should be cautious in sharing the data on how the courts are moving and how successfully today time for trials is being managed.
Firstly, I applaud the Attorney General Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson and her team on the stellar leadership the AG Office is providing the country. And I am happy to see that under her leadership the courts are up and running and are delivering results for the victims and families named as suspects.
Secondly, I want to add that it is our business as a nation to know what is happening in the courts and how smoothly the system is functioning. What is so incredible with the comments of Mr. Bethel is the fact that he and his side almost daily are counting incidents of crime and have advanced the argument as to whether Bahamians feel that justice is indeed working. In response we get data on the forward movement of justice in the country and the many upgrades that continue to evolve, and yet, here comes the opposition telling the Attorney General she should not be informing the public about what is happening to deliver justice in a timely manner for citizens?
You are wrong, Mr. Carl Bethel. It is our business to know what successes are being achieved in the courts. It is our business to know that we are repairing the damage of years of neglect by successive governments in this area. Just how we want to know who is being murdered and where crimes are being committed; we want to know who is being punished and how well our system is improving!
The event was planned to demonstrate the people power of the PLP and the dissatisfaction of the PLP with the rigged electoral boundaries on which the then governing UBP wanted to fight the General Election of 1967. Leader of the Opposition Lynden Pindling as he then was threw the Speaker’s Mace out of the window of the House and then led his members out to the streets where people sat down in protest before moving to the Southern Recreation Grounds. Thousands were there. The event which was catalytic for political change is to be commemorated on Tuesday 28th April in the Rawson Square at 7:30 p m. The Speakers will be Glenys Hanna Martin, Minister of Transport; Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister Perry Christie. The MC will be Obie Wilchcombe, the Minister of Tourism. Come out and attend.
Last week, the law was almost not followed again. The Public Accounts Committee said that it wanted to subpoena the Co-Chairs of the Urban Renewal Commission Algernon Allen and Cynthia “ Mother” Pratt on the grounds that they had refused to attend the sessions of the Committee to answer questions about a report on Urban Renewal by the Auditor General. It turns out that they didn’t have the power to do so. The Speaker Kendal Major went public and suggested that he had the power to summon the Co-Chairs. As we pointed out in this column last week, the power resides in the House where the majority decides what will and will not be enforced in that department if people refuse to come. There are no circumstances under which the PLP government should support any subpoenas for these two people. The coercive power of the House should only be exercised where there is a willful refusal to comply. That is not the situation in this case. The pre-conditions and the lawful basis of the enquiry of the PAC has to be established first. Otherwise the acts of summoning people are unlawful. The Speaker when he received the AG’s legal opinion on the matter pronounced himself shocked to The Tribune on Friday 24th April.
There is simply something wrong, dead wrong and unethical about a man who is supposed to be the host of a chat show at breakfast time engaging in political proselytizing and activist haranguing of public officials. We simply don’t get it: the ethical standards of the press and of journalists. Candia Dames of the Nassau Guardian does not understand what it is to be fair and balanced, to be dispassionate. Every week there is an unmitigated rant against the PLP. Then you have another reporter for the press who is so steeped in DNAism that he cannot see the forest for the trees. He rants against anonymous assholes as he describes them who criticize his editors but forgets that the Guardian itself is filled with columns and letters by anonymous assholes or so you could argue if you like to use that kind of language. Now we come to the case of the so called Environmental attorney Romi Ferreira, who is the host of a morning chat show. On the Facebook page of Fred Smith’s four man Grand Bahama Human Rights Association there is a video of Mr. Ferriera attacking a public official and demanding like he is on a TV legal programme and cross examining a witness about the Rubis oil spill and the report from it and whether it was certified according to law. How does he reconcile that activist screed and rant with sitting in his bowtie sipping coffee on a chat show the next morning? The essence of the chat show is to be largely neutral, almost insipid but pleasant. Certainly not haranguing. Something as we say is wrong with that picture.
Bradley Roberts, the Chair of the PLP, celebrated 50 years of marital bliss on Friday 24th April at a service of thanksgiving at St Anselm’s Chapel in Fox Hill. The man who married them Monsignor Preston Moss performed the blessing ceremony.
20th April 2015 Family members and professional colleagues gathered to pay tribute to retiring Jurist Arthur Dion Hanna Jr. for his life’s work of advocating for equal access to legal counsel and by extension justice for the poor, marginalized and culturally disadvantaged. Mr. Hanna was a member of the Bahamas Bar Association for thirty-seven years and is retiring as the Director of the Legal Aid Clinic at the Eugene Dupuch Law School. The press conference to announce Mr. Hanna’s retirement was held at the Ministry of Legal Affairs on Monday 20th April 2015.
Pictured and seated from left the Hon. Damian Gomez, State Minister for Legal Affairs; His Excellency Arthur Dion Hanna Sr., former Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; Senator Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs; the honouree, Arthur Dion Hanna Jr., retiring Director of the Legal Aid Clinic at the Eugene Dupuch Law School and Mrs. Cynthia Gibbs, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Legal Affairs. Standing from left are Kwame Hanna, son of the honouree; Elsworth Johnson, President of the Bahamas Bar Association; Rawiyah Rahming, daughter of the honouree and Gavin Gaston, Acting Director of Public Prosecutions in the office of the Attorney General. (BIS PHOTO/Elcott Coleby)
NASSAU, The Bahamas — Vendors of the New Providence Straw Market Authority gave a monetary donation as well as straw work to Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, DPM and Minister of Works and Urban Development, centre, on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, to help the straw vendors in Exuma, whose straw market was destroyed by fire last week. (BIS Photo/Letisha Henderson)
Opposition Leader the Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis and members of his Parliamentary Team, Deputy Leader, Peter Turnquest, and Senator Carl Bethel, Shadow Minister of Education, welcomed Dr. Roslyn Clark-Artis, President of Florida Memorial University (FMU), executive administrators and a group of Bahamian student leaders enrolled at FMU during a courtesy call at his No. 20 Parliament Street Office on Thursday, April 23, 2015. In their discussions, Dr. Clark-Artis noted the longstanding relationship between FMU and The Bahamas and praised Bahamian students for their high academic performance and leadership skills. Dr. Clark-Artis explained that the visit will present the opportunity to promote FMU as a viable option for Bahamians to peruse higher education. Organized by The Bahamas Alumni Chapter of FMU, the visit includes a recruitment exercise to be held on April 24. Bahamians currently represent 6 percent of FMU’s international enrollment.
Carl Bethel and Michael Pintard, the former usually a sensible fellow, the latter FNM rabble, both Senators got up in the Senate and challenged the Attorney General on Thursday 23rd April when the AG indicated that the time from indictment to trial has now been dramatically reduced by the PLP. The claim was that by announcing the stats, the AG was intimidating the Judiciary. This is what we mean about the FNM. They are simply incorrigible. What utter rot is that? They complain that it is taking too long for cases to come to trial. They say the PLP has done nothing to speed up justice. The facts are revealed to prove that what they are saying is a big fat lie. So they change the argument and suggest the PLP is trying to intimidate the Judiciary. They are simply perverse. Why is Carl Bethel keeping company with Michael Pintard anyway?
In a letter to the press Kirk Bodie, aka KB, the musician had this to say about the success of Junkanoo Carnival in Grand Bahama last week. He said in effect that it was his idea all along and he is glad the people have finally seen it his way LOL. Sometimes it is better for a fellow to be silent and simply admit that he lost the argument.
So when I saw the live stream of the so-called Carnival event in Grand Bahama, I was happy to see that they emulated the template of the successful “It’s A Bahamian Ting” show that we put on a week prior at Arawak Cay (April 11th, 2015). They had an all Bahamian cast, like we did. They had Rake-N-Scrape, like we did. They had a Junkanoo Rush Out, like we did. They had a super-sized Goombay Summer Festival, like we did.
It was awesome and I said to myself, this is what I was asking for all along, Bahamians and visitors enjoying our Bahamian Culture. What I did not want was a Trinidadian type carnival-styled event and from all indications, the Trini Road Fever thing never happened in Grand Bahama. Again great, that is not Bahamian Culture. So all in all, Grand Bahama held a complete Bahamian Festival and there was no need for the word ‘carnival’ to be added to it. No one came to GrandBahama looking for a carnival. No one purchased Road Fever Trini costumes.
In his real life, Michael Pintard is a sometime poet and a humourist. He should stick to that and leave politics to grown folks. Mr. Pintard got up in big people’s business the other day by issuing a statement in which he said that Randy Rolle, the Consul General to Atlanta, now on home leave, called the Prime Minister to get him out of the clink. It was not true. It was a big fat lie. The Prime Minister sued. Only to have Michael Pintard run off to another soldier of the FNM with crackpot ideas Fred Smith to protect him. Crying like a little girl, Mr. Smith said on behalf of his client how the Prime Minister was trying to intimidate his client by suing his black ass. To quote another FNM with reprobate ideas Ivan Johnson of the Punch,: “ stop being a big sissy” and take your medicine. Apologize to the Prime Minister and pay up.
Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is seen with former High Commissioner to London Richard Demeritte at his home in Cable Beach as he was presented with a copy of the former diplomat, former Auditor General’s life story in a book called The Consummate Diplomat. Mr. Demeritte writes the story of his life from humble beginnings in Balls Alley in east New Providence to the High Commissioner to London and describes his service as Auditor General. The presentation took place on Sunday 26th April.