Senator Fred Mitchell with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica and Leader of The Opposition Philip Davis at Jet Aviation at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau 22 September. The Prime Minister stopped in Nassau for a fuel stop on the way to the United Nations General Debate. Our photo of the week.
A word to the wise is usually sufficient. However, even those who are supposed to be clothed in their right minds in this FNM people’s time Government seem to have lost their reason. We say the words of Mark Anthony at the funeral of Julius Caesar as penned by William Shakespeare: “O judgment thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason.” We direct those words to Jeffery Lloyd not personally but as the Bahamas’ Minister of Education
How can you stand up in front of six hundred people, and tell a bold faced untruth that these low level workers at the Minister of Education were not hired properly? And even if that were the case, how can you threaten to fire them and to talk down to grown men and women like children? How can you a former Catholic Deacon stand up and say such a cruel and heartless thing in the name of being frank and direct and honest? Who mistreated them? Who disrespected them?
Some of those people have been on contract for as many as ten years, meaning that they may have been hired by the FNM administration. It was Perry Christie who agreed last July and announced the regularization of 3500 people in the public service in the position of being on contract without any end in sight.
You are no longer a Deacon and no longer a talk show host, you are the Minister. Your role is not to describe problems but to fix them.
How can you stay in a Government that persistently and consistently lies about the state of finances of the country and its public policy?
How can you be a part of scrapping an immigration policy which is designed to protect the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and secure that everyone within its borders are registered and we know who is within are borders and what we are doing here?
If the immigration policy is scrapped, you will open the floodgates to every illegal immigrant to come to The Bahamas. It will be open season.
One cannot be so FNM that you cannot see the truth.
Many people were counting on you not to get swallowed up in the FNM fervour.
This is too much for many to bear.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 23 September, 2017 up to midnight: 311,670;
Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday 23 September, 2017 up to midnight: 1,055,535;
Number of hits for the year 2017 up to Saturday 23 September, 2017 up to midnight: 9,775,377.
PRESS STATEMENT BY GLENYS HANNA MARTIN SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL SECURITY ON THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
We are very concerned in the Official Opposition about the uncertainty which is surrounding the Office of the Commissioner of Police and his status. Our system of Government provides for the Constitutional protection of that Office in Articles 119 and 120 which mandates the procedures for both the appointment and the removal of the Commissioner of Police. This is based upon a fundamental tenet that the Officer in Command of this law enforcement agency is able to execute his duties in an objective fashion, immune from political manipulation. It is an enshrined feature of our democratic system for the protection of the rights of our citizens.
Despite being queried on multiple occasions on this matter the Minister of National Security has yet to give some satisfactory explanation on this disturbing state of affairs. Our concerns were exacerbated yesterday having heard the Minister’s communication to Parliament and his frequent references to the Acting Commissioner. We are calling upon The Government to immediately provide an explanation to the Bahamian people on the standing of the Commissioner of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. The government must account for what may now be perceived as an interference with the underlying protections established in our Constitution which is intolerable.
We also admonish the government to be careful that in their action or inaction they do not cast negative aspersions upon the reputation of Commissioner Ellison Greenslade who by all accounts has come up through the ranks of the Force and has served the Force and his country with distinction and commendation.
STATEMENT BY JEROME FITZGERALD
FORMER EDUCATION SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MINISTER AND MP FOR MARATHON.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
21ST SEPTEMBER 2017
IN RESPONSE TO NEWSPAPER HEADLINES AND CERTAIN MEMBER (‘S) OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY COMMENTS
“I wish to advise the public that upon review of the headlines of the local dailies today, 21 September 2017, and the egregious and skillfully misleading information contained therein, I have consulted my attorneys, with the clear objective of bringing a legal action for defamation.
I understand that the Minister of Works, the Honourable Desmond Bannister, made certain comments about one of my father’s companies and its relationship with BPL in the House of Assembly yesterday, gratuitously interposing my name in his statement.
I have made it unequivocally clear both inside and outside the House of Assembly on numerous occasions, that I do not own any shares in any of my father’s companies and this most recent assertion, in light of all that has been previously communicated, is defamatory and is not protected by the privileges of the House of Assembly. I am not a beneficiary of any of the proceeds of any such contract, if indeed there was one.
I am advised that Bahamas Cargo and Logistics formerly Global Custom Brokers of which my father is the beneficial owner, has maintained a longstanding commercial relationship with BEC/BPL which dates as far back as the late 1980s. The inference that the familial connection with me was the reason for the contract or that I influenced or benefitted from the contract are both false and defamatory.”
STATEMENT BY CHESTER COOPER, PLP SHADOW MINISTER OF FINANCE, FINANCIAL SERVICES & INDUSTRY
Though the prime minister has promised to table information regarding the low payout by and apparently exorbitant premium paid to the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) with respect to this budget cycle and Hurricane Irma, there are some critical questions that bear asking.
First, of course, is the essential question: How much was paid for the latest annual premium?
I understand that the amount paid exceeds $2.6 million, which would be more than double what the Christie administration last paid before cancelling the policy – a move the Minnis administration has been highly critical of.
Second: Why was the policy continued despite the advice of experts that it not, without further examination of the risks vs. benefits?
Third: Why does the minister of finance now say he will seek to renegotiate the terms of the policy after having already paid for the contracted policy?
Fourthly: If it is a Group Policy how does the Minister anticipate being able to negotiate the terms more favorable to the Bahamas that its joint-insureds?
I am intimately familiar with the insurance industry, and it is a ridiculous notion that you will renegotiate a policy that has already taken effect with a potentially significant claim pending. Perhaps the minister intends to negotiate better terms on the next policy.
However, this begs a fifth question: Why did the Minnis administration not properly assess and negotiate the current policy before signing it?
On the face of it, it appears, in a time when the Free National Movement is preaching fiscal discipline and trimming government expenditure, the Minnis administration negotiated a deal that cost The Bahamas some $2.4 million it may never recoup.
We look forward to the government explaining the circumstances of the current CCRIF in full view of the public, given its commitment to transparency and accountability.
It appears that in the new Gov’t haste to find a smoking gun it made an egregious and expensive error to which they must be held to account.
The PLP supports identifying suitable mitigating strategies to natural disasters given that we live in a hurricane zone. We anticipate that the Gov’t will be able to design over time an appropriate facility drawing on the expertise resident in the private insurance sector.
BANNISTER COMMENTS RANK ABUSE OF PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGE
Today both the Tribune and Nassau Guardian carried, uncritically I may add, House comments attributed to Works Minister the Hon. Desmond Bannister. One headline read Gifted millions and in the other the Minister reportedly highlighted no-bid contracts.
I point out that trading goods and services for money is not a “gift” and as for no-bid contracts, all of the contracts awarded to repair public schools for the current fiscal year were no-bid negotiated contracts – all $20 million worth – so the last people to talk about no-bid contracts should be hypocritical FNM Ministers.
Former Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald responded that the inference by Bannister that his familial connection was the reason for the contract award to Bahamas Cargo and Logistics, formerly Global Custom Brokers, or that he influenced or benefitted from the contract were both “false and defamatory.” Fitzgerald said he would file a lawsuit and we agree.
Sunshine Insurance for its part responded that at no stage did they ever use any political effort or leverage to seek to influence the outcome of any tender process; we believe them. This insurance broker participated in a sealed tender process for the provision of captive insurance coverage for BEC/BPL in 2013; they won the bid and was awarded the contract. In 2017, four years later, Sunshine Insurance again participated in the same process and the contract was renewed in June 2017 to the period June 2018 under the superintendence of FNM Minister Bannister.
The contract award begs the question of why Minister Bannister refused to intervene in the public interest if he had evidence of impropriety on the part of Sunshine Insurance that he felt corrupted the process. Impropriety is sufficient cause for cancellation and I charge that Bannister has no cause or evidence of impropriety and his posturing and charade in the House were cowardly abuses of parliamentary privilege.
The PLP takes note of the recent appointment of the new Chair of BPL Mrs. Darnell Osborne whom we are advised is employed by J. S. Johnson and publicly question whether there is a nexus between her position at J.S. Johnson and the false declaration Bannister made against Sir Franklyn Wilson and Sunshine Insurance.
Surely Minister Desmond Bannister and Sunshine Insurance cannot both be correct.
If Bannister’s sole aim was to malign the character and reputation of political personalities aligned with the PLP, then the FNM is fair game. His Deputy Prime Minister recently awarded himself a huge contract from Bahamasair and the FNM cabinet reportedly cancelled the contract for the new post office to relocate the same in Brent Symonette’s Town Center Mall.
TALK ABOUT “GIFTED MILLIONS” AND NO BID CONTRACTS TO DONORS, FRIENDS AND CRONIES.
No politician in my lifetime has used politics and the public treasury more extensively and greedily for personal enrichment than one Brent Theodore Symonette. The sizable share of the financial proceeds from the $200 million NPRIP; the $70 million Airport Gateway Project; the $48 million parking lot and access road to the TAR National Stadium and the Frank Watson Highway found its way into the pockets and coffers of Brent Symonette. Brent is now back in the proverbial buffet line no doubt seeking multiple helpings from the public coffers.
We know the FNM has no plans to govern; no plans for BEC and after being scammed out of $2.8 million, we know the Prime Minister has absolutely no intentions of tabling that letter from CCRIF he promised three times to table.
Deflections, however, through lies, deceit the flagrant abuse of parliamentary privilege are unseemly even for a FNM Minister.
Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield joined CARICOM Foreign Ministers on Wednesday 20 September, 2017 for a meeting with the United Kingdom Minister responsible for the Caribbean. The meeting was held in the margins of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. Minister Henfield is at centre in the second row.
21 September Gandhi Pinder visits the Tourism Office in Canada to speak about the brands she represents Frankie Gone Bananas, Bamboo Shack, Sapodillas. She was full of praise for the work of the staff led by Director Paul Strachan.
18 September 2017 United Nations, NY – Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon Darren Henfield, participating in the UN High Level Meeting on UN Reform convened by US President Trump.
THE Bahamas formally established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Armenia on Thursday, through the signing of a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The joint communique was signed on behalf of the government by Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield and Edward Nalbandian, minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Armenia. The signing ceremony took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Foreign Minister Darren Henfied MP and Mrs. Henfield meet Bahamian student and former Carifta Swim Team member, Ms. Simone Sturrp, (Iona College, New York) at meeting with Bahamian Diaspora, New York. 22 September.
Last week when we wrote about the FNM and its Minister of Works, we spoke about how you simply could not trust the word of the Minister of Works or the FNM when they said that they did not know who was on this list of people that BEC/BPL had that put them in a special position where their electricity could not be cut off no matter the size of the bills. At the same time that the Minister of Works was denying that he knew who was on the list, the names on the list ended up in The Punch and then later last week ended up in the Tribune in full details. With the exception of Renward Wells who was once a PLP, all the names on the list were PLPs. Mr. Wells said in his defence that he had asked for no special privilege or favour and was unaware that he was on a list. He gave the same answer all the PLPs did. For us the question of whether there was a list or not, or who was on it, was and is irrelevant. A business does what it wishes with regard to how it collects its money. Our concern is that the Government has been complicit in leaking the private information of individuals to the press for political reasons. This shows the duplicity of this crew. They have the Leader of the Opposition in pictures inspecting hurricanes while leaking damaging information about the party to the press. This includes the private details of the compensation of the former BEC/BPL Boss Pamela Hill. Mr. Bannister should hang his head in shame for releasing those details to the public. This is really a cheap and petty government. The fact is someone gets paid what they can negotiate and are worth. The fact is that Power Secure performed and did all that they were supposed to do. It may turn out when it all comes out in the wash that in the end it was the FNM government that was responsible for the failure of Power Secure. Unfortunately, it appears that PLPs have gone again believing the lies of the FNM on this matter. They ought to ask themselves the following question: if everything that the FNM heretofore have said about the PLP and its performance in office has proven to be a lie, why would this present set of revelations be the truth?
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit stopped in The Bahamas on Friday 22 September to refuel on his way to New York to speak at the United Nations on Saturday 23 September. While at the Lynden Pindling Airport’s Jet Aviation Fixed Base Operation, he met with nationals of Dominica in The Bahamas Peter Garraway and his family. The photo shows the family at the airport with Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis.
Darren Henfield, the Foreign Minister of The Bahamas, had his debut read of country’s statement at the United Nations on Saturday 23 September. Wonder what he is doing up there. We thought that all foreign travel had stopped. But never mind. At least he didn’t stumble and bumble through the speech like Brent Symonette who rad it like an illiterate. He at least can pronounce the Queen’s English. As to the substance: a 4. https://gadebate.un.org/en/72/bahamas
After closing bank branches in Bimini, Abaco and New Providence the news comes that RBC is closing the branch in Gray’s in Long Island. So there is a diminution in services and choices in FNM country Long Island under the FNM. Meanwhile, RBC charges two dollars to deposit your own money into your account in the bank and 15 dollars plus VAT to cash a cheque that is drawn on their bank but made out to a non-client. The Central Bank is silent and there is no consumer watch group making any noise. But hey it’s the people’s time.
On 20 September, Omar Archer, the political mental case, was convicted and sentenced to 21 days in prison by a Supreme Court judge for contemptuous remarks he previously made about the legal proceedings against former Cabinet minister Shane Gibson.
However, Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson suspended the sentence for 21 days on the condition that Archer donate $15,000 to the Cancer Society of the Bahamas in Centreville and another $6,000 to the Bahamas Red Cross on John F Kennedy Drive.
Mr. Archer must also provide six months of community service at the Eloise Penn Ward at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
Additionally, Mr. Archer must also “wholly withdraw” the statements he made on social media, and make a public apology in “clear” terms by the same medium. He must also request that a copy of his apology be printed on the front pages of The Tribune, The Nassau Guardian as well as The Punch.
Mr. Archer must then provide to the court by close of business on 18 October proof that he made the donations and apologies.
Mr. Archer was represented by Fred Smith Q C
Krissy Love aka Christina Thompson did not show up and the Court said no reasonable excuse was provided for her non-appearance. A warrant of arrest was issued. Her lawyer Murio Ducille said that there was a constitutional motion in front of her on the matter and that the Judge Cheryl Thompson should recuse herself. The Judge refused and set the hearing date for the matter.
We think that this is a first step at trying to bring some order back to the public discourse. Both Mr. Archer and Ms. Thompson should be imprisoned for long prison sentences.
Ms. Thompson’s response was a stream of cursing and invective on line, aimed at her relatives and the politicians that she supported. There were so many F words it was hard to count them in her response. She is surely headed to jail and so she should be.
STATEMENT BY I. CHESTER COOPER MP -Re. PLP CONVENTION
September 20, 2017
Let me firstly thank the wonderful people of Exuma, Exuma Cays & Ragged Island for giving me the opportunity to serve as their Member of Parliament. My continued thoughts and prayers go out to the people and descendants of Ragged Island who experienced the vicious ravages of Hurricane Irma.
After much thought, prayerful consideration and discussions with my family and those whose counsel I value, I have decided to offer myself for Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party at the upcoming October convention.
Given the challenges and opportunities facing the party at this time, I am confident that I can lend my talents to the leader and leadership of the party to help reform, rebrand, reenergize and reinvigorate the PLP as we seek to return to our core values, regain the confidence of the majority of the Bahamian people and return as the Government of the Bahamas in 2022 or whenever election is called.
As Deputy Leader, I can and will play a deliberate role in the rebuilding and transformation of the party, but I will also focus on the constituency I’ve pledged to help transform with my eVision 2030 plan. I’m very focused on making progress happen for the people of Exuma, Exuma Cays & Ragged Island.
We will need all hands on deck if we as a party and its leaders are to demonstrate to the nation that we are capable of rebounding from our recent loss and can become stronger, more efficient, and more effective.
The Bahamas is faced with a need for social mobility, education, moving poor people into the middle class and creating business opportunities to expand an upper class.
To even begin to do this, and to address many of the social ills that plague us like crime; we must get back to prioritizing education, properly resourcing it and making it the great equalizer that it can and should be.
We must get back to instilling a sense of pride in our people – as individuals, and a nation.
The Bahamas also has a pressing need to create and shore up institutions that protect the vulnerable and uplift them; these were the core values the PLP started with and we still hold sacred to this day.
The PLP championed a political transformation in The Bahamas. People now understand the power of their vote, the ability to use that vote to create change in government and national change generally, as we did with majority rule and independence.
The PLP led a social transformation in this great country, from creating a safety net like NIB to inspiring Bahamians to move up in the socio-economic strata, to own a nation, to believe in ourselves, and not cower in the face of opportunity for upward mobility.
With that back-drop, my desire to seek the deputy leadership of the PLP is also to help expand and implement the ideal of the economic transformation of our people and our nation. This would be the natural evolution from whence we came. A transformation where entrepreneurship thrives, our economy blossoms and our people are empowered.
As deputy leader, I commit to executing a plan to bring disaffected voters home to the PLP, attract new voters and expand our base with engagement and a commitment to swiftly confronting the woes that stifle our party and endanger our nation. A plan that embraces our millennials, values the wisdom of our elders and regains the trust of the Bahamian people.
The Progressive Liberal Party has come too far, has been propped up by the sacrifice, prayers and hard-work and resilience of our past and present leaders and our members too many to name, to fade into the annals of history now. We must be resurgent. We must not falter, we will not fail.
This convention will be a pivotal one, and I ask for the support and vote of all stalwart councilors and delegates to allow me to play a pivotal role in helping to implement the needed reforms and carry our party forward.
With much hard work, and God’s help, we can rise from the ashes of defeat and return to governance in 2022 or before, to continue the work the PLP was established to do: help those less fortunate, educate our populace, empower our people and raise the standard and quality of life for all those throughout our beloved Bahamaland.
May God bless you. May God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
Senator Fred Mitchell said it over and over again but no one could say it like a resident of Fox Hill. Laverne McPhee said it all after a spate or murders went unanswered and the complaints of Senator Mitchell went unanswered.
Appearing on the Darold Miller Show Minister of Transport Frankie Campbell whose mother is Haitian indicated that he hold two passports. Now it could be that he means passports as in Diplomatic and Regular but many PLPs took it to mean that he holds both a Bahamian and Haitian passport. If it is the latter, he is disqualified from sitting in the House of Assembly. The Prime Minister must say.
The Minister of Tourism Dionysio D’Aguilar said last week he is not concerned about the fact that the Celebration ship, the last supplier of regular tourism to Freeport, has withdrawn from Grand Bahama and won’t be back until Christmas because the ships will coming from the Caribbean as a result of the storms to fill in. This man is so insensitive. How can you say such a thing? Anyone who saw his Prime Minister dancing in Port Lucaya with hardly a soul in sight understands the plight of Grand Bahama and how desperate the people are there. The straw vendors at Port Lucaya must be appalled at the sensitivity. What do you think is wrong with these people time people?
On Friday 22 September the Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was in Grand Bahama. He was there to hold the flag so to speak. His Minister of State sat there with his eyes down. His Parliamentary Secretary Pakesha Parker had her eye looking down but glowingly on. This is after all the people’s time. What he announced was insignificant. He should have given hope to Grand Bahama but instead confirmed despair. Later that night, the Prime Minister was seen dancing the night away with Lady Naomi Whitfield, the widow of the former Leader of the Opposition the late Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield at Port Lucaya’s hopeless promotion called “A Taste of Port Lucaya”. This is a promotion in which the owners of the facility and the government are seeking to attract business with entertainers and advertising. There was nary a person in sight. Lots of little children and the Prime Minister dancing with an old widow. It was pathetic. When are these people going to stop praying for hurricanes to come so they don’t have to go to work? When will they provide hope for Grand Bahama? What a shame.
Talk about inappropriate language. After being battered all last week to say what the status of the Commissioner of Police is, Marvin Dames, the now Minister of National Security told The Tribune that the Commissioner was on vacation. Said he: “No one has a gun to his head”. Interesting choice of language with all the crime going on.
The language of the US President Donald Trump at the United Nations was objectionable in the extreme. He is in a war of words with the President of North Korea. The President of North Korea is in a category all of his own. He appears to be a murderer, a paranoid, a man with a Napoleonic complex, it is hard to say what about him. We are careful though to add that the President of the United States should not be in that category at all. After his address at the United Nations on Tuesday 19 September, Mr. Trump must now put himself in that category. We hasten to add that this is not the case of the United States. People make a distinction now between the outrageous words and personal conduct of the President of the United States, because we know that the people of the United States are better than what he portrays. He can say what he likes but the leader of a nation that has the capacity to kill the world off in its entirety but is supposed to have the moral standing not to do so cannot go around saying in a public forum that he will destroy North Korea. That means if Mr. Trump is to be taken at his word, he is willing because of the leader of North Korea to kill the 20 million or so people who live in North Korea. This man obviously does not think before he says such stupid things. The icing on the cake is this for us: when after Mr. Trump’s speech, the only national leader who says “you did good” was Bibi Netanyahu of Israel, then you know you’re in trouble
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the top Democrat on the Committee, made the following statement on the nomination Doug “Papa” Manchester as the Ambassador to The Bahamas for the United States:
“The Bahamas is a transit country for illicit drugs bound for the U.S., which means that our ambassador must possess the skills to advance strategic counternarcotics cooperation. In addition, a majority of the estimated 5-6 million tourists visiting the Bahamas are from the United States, requiring unwavering attention to consular services.”
“I am concerned that Mr. Manchester lacks these requirements. He has been described in a number of news reports as abrasive, a poor manager, and prone to verbal tirades. Additionally, he made a number of troubling statements during his nomination hearing, including that ‘the Bahamas is a protectorate of the United States’ and that the U.S. would ‘want to avoid a South China Sea situation’ with the Bahamas. These statements indicate a less than thorough understanding of basic diplomatic and national security issues.”
“I note that U.S. Embassy Nassau has not had an ambassador since 2011, due to difficulties in confirming President Obama’s nominee for the position. Nevertheless, I cannot support Mr. Manchester’s nomination to serve as America’s ambassador to the Bahamas.”
Mr. Manchester was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today with a vote of 11-10 on Tuesday 19 September. All 10 members of the Democratic Party on the Committee voted against him.