Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames... Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
Volume 8 © BahamasUncensored.com 2010
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The site is compiled and edited in The Bahamas by Russell Dames, with writer Claire Booth
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
|BAHAMIAN SWIMMER WINS BRONZE AT FINA||PYL RECEPTION|
|PLP RESPONSE TO THE PM ON GRAND BAHAMA ADDRESS||XMAS AT ALLYSON’S HOUSE|
|THE BLUE HILL ROAD GROUP WINS THE FIRST ROUND||HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM THE HON. PHILIP 'BRAVE' DAVIS|
|DEMONSTRATION DAY IN PICTURES|
|CHRISTIE’S COMMENTS ON LEADERSHIP||CARICOM CALLS FOR RETURN TO LOCAL RULE IN THE TURKS|
|THE LANDSCAPE OF LEADERSHIP IN THE CARIBBEAN||BRAVE DAVIS ON THE SAWYER REPORT|
|THELMA GIBSON AT JUNIOR JUNKANOO||THE FNM PARTY IN GBI WAS A FLOP|
|MITCHELL ISSUES STATEMENT ON FNM FRONT GROUP||LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...|
|FRIENDLY FIRE AT THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE||IN PASSING...|
|AWARDS FROM THE QUEEN|
|Fred Mitchell Launches 3rd Edition of 'Great Moments In PLP History...||Fred Mitchell's 56th Birthday Party In Support of the 'Mission Fund'...|
|The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party...||The Official Site of the Free National Movement...|
|JeromeFiztgerald.org||Bahamas Government Website|
|KendredDorsett.com||Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links|
|FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...||Bahamians On The Web|
|How & Why The PLP Lost in 2007 - The Greenberg Report...||BahamasIssues.com|
|CHRISTMAS IS A COMING: by the time that this column appears next week, Christmas will have come and gone. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. The photo is by PLP Fox Hill Media of the Doris Johnson Snr. High School Band under the direction of Aaron Neely playing Christmas music on the Fox Hill Parade Pavilion on 5th December. Merry Christmas everyone...|
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
INGRAHAM FLEES LIKE THE POLITICAL
COWARD HE IS
The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion
You could tell from the way the FNM started the House of Assembly that morning that things would not go according to the script. It was Wednesday 15th December.
The Bahamas House of Assembly is poorly designed and not fit for the modern purposes of passing laws. It is too intimate a building and everyone is on top of one another. There is no privacy and no respect for the integrity of the party processes. This means that everyone is within earshot of everyone else.
The FNM’s Leader of the House Tommy Turnquest is not really the Leader of Government Business in the House. The Prime Minister really leads the House. The Speaker; the FNM's Leader of House Business Tommy Turnquest all take orders from the Prime Minister or so it appears.
Prior to the sitting of the House on Wednesday 15th December, the Leader of Government business Tommy Turnquest indicated that his party wanted the concurrence of the House to move all stages of a bill to deal with some corrections to the badly drafted Business Licence Act earlier passed by the FNM over the objections of the PLP. The PLP agreed to deviate from the rule and allow all stages of the bill to be read in one day. The PLP agreed because it knew that the trade unions would be in the square raising the issue of the sale of BTC, the telephone company, and it believed that the government should be in the House of Assembly giving a full account of why they are selling BTC and on what terms.
But from the moment the House started, you could hear Hubert Ingraham talking to Tommy Turnquest. “Tommy”, he said, “do we have the amendment?” No was his answer. “So we shouldn’t be in here wasting time”, said the Prime Minister.
The House started. A note is sent over to the Leader of PLP business Obie Wilchcombe. The note said that the government had changed its mind and wanted to suspend after some first readings because they didn’t have their amendment ready. Mr. Wilchcombe wrote back that the Opposition wanted to do Members’ Statements and also questions. The note went back. Tommy sent it to the Prime Minister who said audibly to Tommy Turnquest: “Not a chance!”
Obie Wilchcombe said to the Prime Minister: “Why?” The Prime Minister replied: “Because I say so.” The FNM moved then to suspend the House and the real reason it became clear was the noise that was being made below by the hundreds of demonstrators in the public square. They had breached the police barriers and the police were beating the protestors with batons. It is clear that the Prime Minster wanted to high tail it and run.
At one point, the Prime Minister got up and went to the Speaker’s chair and whispered in the Speaker’s ear. The Speaker nodded his head. What did the Prime Minister say? Did he call for the Speaker to suspend the House right after the first readings? The Leader of the PLP's Business thought so and warned his members.
The first readings were finished. The Leader of Government Business Tommy Turnquest moved for suspension of the House until 19th January, 2011. This was the same man who asked for the PLP to agree to read all stages of the bill in one sitting because the matter was urgent. Now the House was being suspended for almost a month. No Christmas greetings. No exchanges to constituents.
Without so much as a by your leave, the Speaker put the question and moved the vote. The leader of PLP’s business was on his feet asking for the Speaker’s attention. The Speaker ignored the call and protests on the PLP and walked out of the House.
Not only is the Prime Minister's conduct disgraceful and cowardly, so was his Leader of the House who sat there lamely and did what he was told. At one point, the Prime Minister said to him audibly, “Tommy, I want you to suspend the House.” Mr. Turnquest nodded back. Fred Mitchell shouted over to the Prime Minister: “That's right make sure he gets it right.” The Prime Minister looked up and said: “And I am staying right here so if there is a mistake, I will make sure I can correct it.” The cartoon by Stan Burnside is not a part of the Comment of The Week. It is an independent comment and is used by permission.
The conduct of the Speaker is simply spineless and cowardly as well. Shame on him. How long will we let them get away with this conduct?
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 18th December 2010 up to midnight: 145,684.
Number of hits for the month of December up to Saturday 18th December 2010 up to midnight: 364,777.
Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 18th December 2010 up to midnight: 7,794,390.
BAHAMIAN SWIMMER WINS BRONZE AT FINA
Bahamian swimmer Arianna Vanderpool Wallace has won a Bronze Medal at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Dubai. Arianna's outstanding performance in the 50-metre freestyle makes her the first Bahamian woman to make finals and to medal at this level of swimming competition.
Arianna is the daughter of Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool Wallace and Tietchka Vanderpool Wallace (nee Knowles).
Super Congratulations to Arianna!
PLP RESPONSE TO THE PM ON GRAND BAHAMA ADDRESS
THE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL PARTY
RESPONDING TO THE PM ON GRAND BAHAMA ADDRESS DEC 18th 2010
December 19th 2010
The PLP is convinced that the remarks in Grand Bahamas by the Prime Minister on Saturday last were not logical, reasoned and sober reflections by the Prime Minister. It appears to us that he may have been carried way with the Yuletide spirit and was not reasoning locally or sensibly.
We read carefully what he had to say in the official transcript that was issued by the Bahamas Information Services. Mr. Ingraham cannot be seriously threatening the jobs of workers in this country at time like this. The threats are obvious and direct at the workers at BTC. We condemn them and call upon Mr. Ingraham to enter into sincere dialogue with the trade unions. This is not politics. It is time for him to rise to the level of a statesman and stop acting the part of a political hack.
He said the following:
“But the truth of the matter is that for those who are employed at BTC and elsewhere in the public sector – I wish to caution them not to follow the current plans of the president of the NCTU and BCPOU; Ms. Dobson and Mr. Evans – because when you walk off your job, if you do, there is no guarantee that you can come back to that job – no guarantee.
“Jobs are scarce. Jobs are hard to find. And no one is able to stop you from cutting off your nose to spite your face; that is your face. But at the end of the day, you won’t have a nose – that is the judgment you can make.”
Mr. Ingraham and his party keep trying to poison the well by suggesting that the Unions are engaged in a political fight with him, with the PLP pushing a political agenda. If he wishes to turn it into a political fight that is his business, but the fact is the Unions have legitimate grievances which they are seeking to address by lawful means. It is unconscionable and reprehensible and just plain lousy of a Prime Minister to threaten people's jobs and to try and mix the PLP up in his lame attempt to defend an indefensible policy. The PLP simply stands with the people and their legitimate concerns. No amount of propaganda can change the facts on the ground. The PLP simply stands for the people.
As for the following statement by the Prime Minister:
“The PLP, just before the last election, agreed to sell it to some person. Zhivargo [Laing] reminded me this morning that normally in The Bahamas, you find a Bahamian fronting for a foreigner. They agreed to sell to somebody who some people think were fronting for some of them. “
This statement is a well known untruth being peddled by the Free National Movement in its propaganda programme. Mr. Ingraham is being less than frank in this matter. If the Prime Minister is correct in his assertion of fronting, then his government has some explaining to do to the Bahamian people.
His government recently paid 1.9 million dollars to a foreign entity (plus significant legal fees), the company he now accuses of fronting. If the company was fronting why did the government pay the hard cash of the Bahamian tax payer to this foreign entity voluntarily. This was a penalty which the FNM agreed to pay to Bluewater the putative buyer of BTC’s minority interest because the FNM cancelled the deal. If the Prime Minister is correct that there was fronting then surely by logical reasoning then the FNM is now complicit in the fronting exercise by paying those who were fronting to end the deal.
There was no fronting. The Prime Minister must put up or shut up on this issue or stop his party from spinning this total and absolute lie. We call for him to put the entire file on the table and produce the evidence or cease and desist.
Another incredible statement by the Prime Minister was if he reduces the rates of cellular hundreds of people at BTC would be fired. Rates changes; falls within the preview of URCA ex PUC and not the government. Clearly the PM did not think that such a proposition through, as it was the then PUC who turned down BTC’s request to lower cellular rates to protect SRG.
We hope that in a period of sober reflection that the Prime Minister will rethink his views and provide the country with a more reasoned and considered approach to the public policy on this issue.
BLUE HILL ROAD GROUP WINS THE FIRST ROUND
Ethric Bowe who is one of the leaders in the fight for justice of the Blue Hill’s business group that challenged by judicial review the government’s decision to reverse the traffic flow on Baillou Hill Road announced that the Judge Neville Adderley had ruled in their favour and ordered damages against the government on Friday 17th December. No word on whether the government will appeal.
The judgment appears to say that even though there is no statutory right to consultation that when consultation is embarked upon it creates a legitimate expectation for proper consultation and in this case, there was no proper consultation. He ordered damages to be assessed against the government, which may be in the millions.
Rupert Roberts, the owner of Super Value food store estimated
that he lost 300,000 dollars since the road changes. “We have come to
the point where elected representatives don’t seem to care”, Mr.
Roberts said to The Tribune on Saturday 18th December. This is almost certain
to be appealed by the government, particularly since the case was argued on
the government’s behalf by the Attorney General John Delaney himself.
You may click here
for the full judgment.
DAY IN PICTURES
The National Congress of Trade Unions (NCTU) led a massive demonstration and march to the public square to protest the selling by the government of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd. (BTC). The photos:
COMMENTS ON LEADERSHIP
Last week, just after this site’s first edition was uploaded, PLP Leader Perry Christie appeared as a guest on the Island 102.9 talk show ‘Parliament Street’ and said this about the comments he had made earlier promising to step down in midterm should he be elected to allow someone else to lead. This was in contradistinction to Hubert Ingraham who is seeking yet another term in office without end in sight.
Mr. Christie said: “I was trying [when I made my first comments] to communicate in fact that at the end of the term we should be in a place to signal to the Bahamian people what I mean by orderly succession. When it was said that I would leave mid-term or when it was said that I said I would leave mid-term that perhaps was a mischaracterization or a misstatement on my part. I know that people will vote for you because of what they think you can do for them and for me to hold out the probability that I would leave mid-term would not be fair to the people who would vote for me; to present those programmes and policies that we will present during our next campaign.”
The Bahama Journal carried a headline the next morning: “Christie’s About Face”.
George Smith, a former Minister of the PLP under Sir Lynden Pindling and a Stalwart Councillor responded the next day in The Tribune by saying: “We in political parties are in the business of winning. He cannot be judged by talking about winning. If he wins, he will lead. If he loses, the obvious will happen.”
Mr. Smith also told The Tribune that while he was one of the first persons to come out and publicly support Mr. Christie to remain as leader of the party, he also would be looking at his performance in office if the opportunity is afforded to Mr. Christie again.
The PLP’s Deputy leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis spoke to The Tribune to say that he did not think Mr. Christie's decision to now stay on in office will cause any issues within the party, or stir up any former rivalries for the top post.
“From my perspective, I think Christie is sensitive to the views and thinking of the Bahamian public and he will know when best to go. No one is going to push him out. He will decide when he wants to go.”
LANDSCAPE OF LEADERSHIP IN THE CARIBBEAN
The fact that Perry Christie should change his mind about stepping down in midterm even though he will be near 70 years old if he wins the Prime Ministership again should be no surprise to anyone. The culture of The Bahamas does not admit to resignation, retirement or stepping down from any institution voluntarily. The Leadership in the Baptist churches should give you examples a plenty. That is the closest thing that we have to culturally authentic African organizations in The Bahamas. In leadership in Africa, it is very much til death do us part.
When you look in the region with the exception of Bermuda, where within the PLP of Bermuda they have changed Premiers 3 times with four PLP Premiers there since 1998; no one goes whether they win or lose voluntarily. Everywhere else in the Caribbean, leaders stay on until they are pushed out by death, ill health or dragged kicking and screaming into the political graveyard.
Recently, we had Hubert Ingraham coming back to office after saying when he took office the first time in 1992 that he only wanted two terms or ten years. He said that his predecessor Sir Lynden who was 62 at the time he lost office was too old and had overstayed his time and should go. Now, Mr. Ingraham is 63 and says he needs another five years.
In Barbados, Owen Arthur having lost and resigned, fittingly so in 2008, took the reins of his party back this year with the full support of cheering delegates at the age of 62.
In Antigua, Lester Bird now 72 and Leader of the Opposition and a former Prime Minister who promised his party that he would be stepping down within 2 years of the loss, announced just last week that he would not be stepping down after all but would await the wishes of his party because some people think that he needs to stay on to lead the party back to victory.
In Jamaica before all of that, we had Michael Manley who lost office to Edward Seaga in 1980 but stayed on to retake the government from Mr. Seaga a decade later. In Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning lost office in 1995 and stayed on as Leader of the Opposition to retake the government from Basdeo Panday. Mr. Manning lost again this year and even though he has stepped down, the rumours abound that he is about to make a comeback to lead the party again.
In St. Lucia, Kenny Anthony, the former Prime Minister is waiting in the wings as Leader of the Opposition to retake the government when elections are called. In nearby St. Vincent, the Prime Minister there Ralph Gonsalves is 64 years old and just won a squeaker of a victory on 13 December to lead the country for a third term. In winning, he defeated a former Prime Minister Arnhim Eustace, now Leader of the Opposition who lost office to Mr. Gonsalves in 1995 and having lost three times in a row and despite the speculation there is no sure bet that he will step down.
In St. Lucia, we had the granddaddy of them all, where Sir John Compton came out of retirement at the age of 83 and retook the government from Kenny Anthony ending up dying in office as Prime Minister.
Edward Seaga in Jamaica had to be dragged kicking and screaming out of office in Jamaica as Leader of the Opposition to allow Bruce Golding to get the chance he now has of being Prime Minster.
George Tillman became Prime Minister at the age of 61 in Grenada for the first time. His immediate predecessor, Dr. Keith Mitchell, the man he defeated in the elections in 2009 sits as Leader of the Opposition hoping to make a comeback.
Power concedes nothing without a demand, said Frederick Douglass.
This style of leadership retention is also reflected in the cultural landscape; the Baptist church we have already cited, but let’s go to Junkanoo: who is going to tell ‘Vola’ Francis and ‘Gus’ Cooper that they must leave as head of the Saxons and the Valley Boys. Both are well into their sixties. Good luck with that!
FNM PARTY IN GBI WAS A FLOP
This late news came in from a correspondent in Freeport about the party thrown by the FNM on Saturday 18th December. The party was held after the PLP held a party the Saturday before called Dance With the Leaders at Our Lucays. Some 60 people showed up to the FNM function. At the function, Mr. Ingraham launched into a rant against the PLP and threatened the workers; You may click here for his full remarks. The PLP will issue a statement shortly.
Meanwhile our correspondent writes:
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW, THEY [THE FNM] ADVERTISED ON RADIO TELEVISION AND THE PRINT MEDIA THAT THEY WERE HAVING A "PRE-CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST" ON SATURDAY MORNING BETWEEN 9 AM AND 1 PM, THE 18th AT THE MARY STAR OF THE SEA AUD. WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO, IN FACT, WAS FOR INGRAHAM TO SEE WHAT HIS LEVEL OF ATTRACTION WAS IN FACT. THEY OFFERED FREE BREAKFAST FROM 9 AM TO 1 PM WITH INGRAHAM AND ALL THE OTHER CRAPPERS IN ATTENDENCE AND IT TURNED OUT TO BE A TOTAL DIASTER. I PASSED BY ABOUT 10:30 AM; VERY FEW CARS (I ESTIMATED BETWEEN 60-75 CARS, IF THAT. ANOTHER FRIEND PASSED BY ABOT 11:30 HE TOLD ME AND NOT MUCH HAD CHANGED AND AGAIN AROUND 12:30 AND THE CROWD, HE TOLD ME, WAS LESS THAN I SAW. SO WE CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS A FAILURE. INGRAHAM AND LAING FLEW DOWN FROM NASSAU ON SATURDAY MORNING TO BE AT THE EVENT AND THEY RETURNED WITH THEIR TAILS BETWEEN THEIR LEGS. INGRAHAM COULDN'T EVEN GET PEOPLE IN GRAND BAHAMA( AS MUCH AS THEY ARE HURTING) TO DROP BY FOR A FREE VARIETY OF BREAKFASTS SERVED CONTINUALLY BETWEEN 9AM AND 1PM. IT WAS POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO EAT AND CARRY AS MUCH AS THEY FELT LIKE BUT THEY STILL DIDN'T NOT TURN UP.
TELL THE KING THAT THE PROCESS OF HIS DETHRONEMENT IS TAKING PLACE RIGHT BEFORE HIS MISERABLE BLOOD SHOT EYES. TELL HIM, "TAKE THAT" FROM GBI
TO THE EDITOR
Dupuch writes again answering his sister Eileen at The Tribune and Rick Lowe his former campaign manager who attacked him first.
By Pierre V.L. Dupuch
December 13, 2010
Bahamian Leaders Should Develop Guts & National Pride!
Pierre Dupuch Asks the Aga Khan a Question About Bahamian National Treasures.
In the Tribune of December 3, 2010 I read a letter entitled, "We must avoid trying to create acrimony for foreign investors." This was a letter written by Mr. Rick Lowe and commented on by the editor of the Tribune concerning comments I had made about the dredging at Bell Island.
Still having a bit of "male chauvinist pig" left in me at 72, I will answer the lady first. I agree whole heartedly with her comments about the destruction of monuments in Egypt in order to save lives. History shows that this is widespread. During the Second World War many historic sites and documents were destroyed and gallons of human blood shed to preserve our freedom so that we fools could use, abuse and destroy it fifty years later.
Reading the Editor's note was a good history lesson but all it did was to muddy the waters. I am glad, however, that she finally said that "there is no comparison between Egypt and Bell Island, except the same principle applies ... there has to be a bit of give and take provided no damage is done to Exuma's precious marine park."
Everyone knows that there is a continuous struggle between "environment" and "development." There must be give and take. That is the rule of thumb. But the destruction of a national treasure for one man's pleasure is, to say the least, a stretch.
To save lives in Egypt and the destruction of national treasures during war in the pursuit of freedom is one thing. But the destruction of national treasures that destroys livelihoods and restricts freedoms is something else.
The editor contends that scientists (environmental studies) confirm that there will be no damage done to the environment if the Aga Khan is allowed to carry on with his proposed activities at Bell Island. I disagree.
The BNT and the Minister of Environmental Destruction contend that the environmental studies show that there will be no "appreciable" damage done to the environment. They further contend that using "modern methods" will guarantee this "minimal damage."
This is interesting. I am sorry, but I have seen the results of many so-called "environmental studies" gone wrong to convince me that the old adage "the person who pays the Piper names the song." Frankly, I don't trust them. Has anybody told us what these "modern methods" are that will confine the sediment to a restricted area when the digging will be something like fifteen feet deep over an area several acres in the middle of the Park? Has anyone ever told us what will happen to the thousands of baby conch living several hundred feet from the proposed dredging site?
I'm no scientist, but I'm no fool either. Nor are the Bahamian people. My "gut feel" and common sense tells me that there is something wrong here. If all was so right, why don't they tell us what these "modern methods" are and why have they not released the environmental study so that the Bahamian people can properly decide for themselves? I'll tell you why. Because I suspect they can't without exposing themselves.
The editor suggests that the Aga Khan should be given access to his private property ... "and this can only be done by boat, and as night follows day, a boat needs a channel." True. But God has already taken care of that for us. He has given Bell Island two channels ... one deep and one shallow. What more does a man want? He could, of course, use his helicopter.
And now to Mr. Lowe. For him to say that this development would only affect a fraction of the Park is not quite correct. If one has ever flown over an area that is being dredged in the water it would be obvious that the sediment from the dredging would cover miles and cause irreparable damage to reef for miles around.
At no time in my article did I say that the Aga Khan, or anybody else for that matter, would be asked to leave Egypt. How could the Aga Khan be asked to leave Egypt? Leave the Government's office to be sure, but not to leave Egypt. There is a tremendous difference.
How does Mr. Lowe conclude that my letter would create mistrust and acrimony for foreign investors when I was simply asking a question ... "How would Egypt handle a similar situation involving one of its National Treasures?" If I wanted to know how another country would react, would I not be well advised to ask someone who is from or familiar with the area?
I was suggesting that the government should ask any outsider to show the same respect for our National Treasures as we would be expected to show for theirs.
It's past the time that our leaders (not only politicians) develop some kind of guts and national pride.
In case certain people are running late to catch the helicopter, let me ask the Aga Khan myself: Is it unreasonable, sir, to ask you to show the same respect for our national treasures as we would be expected to show for yours?
Forrester Carroll writes:
Forrester Carroll agrees with Sir Jack Hayward…
Sir Jack Hayward has set the record straight with his pronouncements, appearing in Monday’s (6th December) Freeport News, that it is the actions of Hubert Ingraham’s government which are directly responsible for the lack of economic growth in Freeport and Grand Bahama.
Sir Jack is claiming that Ingraham’s refusal to renew the work permit for his Chairman, Hannes Babak (which action has prevented Babak from going to his office in the pink building in downtown Freeport), has effectively stymied the Port Authority’s efforts to improve the island’s economy. Without Hannes Babak, Sir Jack said, “we’re a bit leaderless and the projects he was working on are now simply gathering dust,” he told the reporter.
Hannes’ work permit was denied in the middle of his negotiations on another rock dredging organization; a possible oil refinery; a new cement plant and an LNG plant with the possibility of supplying the state of Florida with some of their electrical supply needs, bemoaned Sir Jack. Sir Jack’s claim is that the FNM government denied the permit without giving him or the Freeport community an explanation for why. He reiterated his displeasure and anger over the whole disgusting affair opining that if there was ever a good candidate, for approval of a work permit, it is Hannes Babak. He reminded that, out of the almost 300 employees, in his firm’s employ, only one is on work permit; all the others are Bahamian citizens so why (he wants to know and I do as well) is the Port Authority Ltd, Sir Jack Hayward and Hannes Babak being singled out for such dastardly behavior from this Ingraham, FNM, government?
I am reliably informed that while Hubert Ingraham is miffed with Sir Jack for not acquiescing to the idea of selling his shares, in the Port Authority, to Hutchison Whampoa, he is more than peeved with Hannes Babak for not being able to (at his-Ingraham’s- request), I am told, convince Sir Jack to do so as well as – it is alleged – more private matters.
These personal gripes of Ingraham’s seem to be the very frivolous reasons for which Ingraham was prepared to undermine the Immigration department; hog-tie his immigration minister and embarrass both Sir Jack and Hannes when he declared, at Nassau’s Lynden Pindling Airport, on his way to Denmark last year sometime, that Hannes’ work permit would not be approved. I don’t think that he was even asked a question about the matter. He simply volunteered his sentiments to ensure that they were known, publicly, it appeared. This is probably one of the reasons why Bran McCartney may have resigned as well. This is the action of a spoiled little brat who, if you don’t let him win all the games, would take up his marbles and go home pouting. Ingraham continues to be willing to let Freeport and Grand Bahama die, a slow death, if he can’t have his own way. His conduct has nothing to do with good business ethics or prudence in business.
One thing we all should be reminded of and that is that the stark reality, of this situation, is that neither Sir Jack nor Hannes Babak needs Freeport to boom, anytime soon, for them to live and feed sumptuously for the rest of their lives but we do; and Ingraham does and Neko does and Kenneth Russell does and so do Thompson and Laing. Both Sir Jack and Babak could take off on four-month world cruises, when they feel like doing so, and not miss a beat but us; well we need economic activity to happen in Freeport and if it doesn’t, very soon, all of the remaining businesses could possibly fail. Oh I take it back; Ingraham doesn’t need Freeport to survive for him and his family to live comfortably either, but you do and this FNM country does. Whatever we may think of Sir Jack; Hannes Babak or the operations down at the pink building, Sir Jack’s “Freeport” is the largest single investment in the country’s history-barring none-and Sir Jack deserves to be dealt with, with respect and dignity by the Bahamas government. Since 1955 the Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited has grown the city, from its embryo stages of swamp land, to what it is today, notwithstanding, and our government ought to show some gratitude even while taking issue with aspects of its operations.
Ingraham has embarked on a mission which he cannot complete.
He has engaged Sir Jack but he should know that better persons (than him)
have done so, in the past, and could not win. Sir Jack can well afford to
wait it out, economically and otherwise, but Ingraham has very little more
time to be around; what say ye you five FNM members of parliament? You three
Senators? You deputy speaker of the House of Assembly and you three cabinet
ministers? What say ye and where are you, while all this is happening to our
fair city which you represent? Cat gat your tongues?
I saw where a certain ill-mannered henchman could not leave Ingraham’s fight alone but had to get involved and jump into the mix. On the front page of the Freeport News this morning (7th December), true to form, Zhivargo Laing is reportedly responding to Sir Jack. Laing should learn how to stay out of the business of grown-ups but since he wants in, then he will have to take some of Ingraham’s licks. First of all, Zhivargo, Sir Jack could be your Great grand father so you are not in his company. Didn’t your mother teach you how to respect your elders? What are you doing in big people’s business anyway? Silly, misguided and offensive is how Laing described Sir Jack’s comments(published from the day before) but if he were to fine tune his ears, and listen to what Grand Bahamians are saying, he would hear all of them saying the very same things that Sir Jack has said. Like the proverbial Ostrich, though, he (Laing) has his head in the sand and, like his seven other colleagues, has tuned out Grand Bahama. To many, Sir Jack may not be their favorite person but all of Freeport, and Grand Bahama, will tell you that he spoke truth.
Laing went on to chastise Sir Jack for accusing his FNM government of stifling the economic growth of Freeport, at this time. He alluded to the impasse between the St. Georges and Sir Jack, over the shareholdings in the Port Group of Companies, and opined that it is more likely that that had more to do with stifling Freeport’s growth than the slow down in the world’s economy and the hurricanes of 2004/2005 combined. Of course Laing was only trying to see how good a smart-ass he could be because he knows the truth and the truth is as Sir Jack said. Had the PLP been in power and Sir Jack made the same observations, under the same circumstances, about a PLP government, Laing and his leader would have been the first two to concur readily. Well it is not the PLP in power, but the FNM, and the FNM government is indeed responsible, for the most part, for stifling this city’s economy.
No one could deny that Sir Jack did not warn the Ingraham government that things would heat up in Freeport. The FNM contingent of eight Grand Bahamian parliamentarians-if they were smart and had any guts (which I guess is a bit much to expect from this crop)-should fight Ingraham on this Babak work permit matter, but they have no grit; no backbone. Instead of Laing declaring his remorse for how Sir Jack feels, about his governments unwise, and quite frankly, asinine decisions, he chose rather to get into a fight, as did Ingraham; a fight, I submit, neither of them will win.
Sir Jack sits on top of a billion dollar empire, and has been for most of his 87 year life span, while Laing couldn’t manage a book-sellers club and he (Laing) purports to lecture this financial guru? Give us a break Zhivargo. You have seventeen more months left to collect a fat salary at the taxpayers’ expense, Zhivargo; make the best of those pay cheques my son.
Parents of yesteryear taught all their children that “manners and respect” would take us around the world. It would reap great dividends for this youthful generation if they were to just remember and adhere to that old adage, when addressing their elders. We never did have but if there were youngsters, residing in any of our settlements in Long Island while we were being reared as children, who dared speak to person who was, even five years, his/her senior in the manner that the Freeport News reported that Laing spoke in reference to Sir Jack, that young man/woman would have been immediately cast forth as an “ill-mannered, no good, puppy dog” and would have been disowned by the community, as well his/her family members. At the very least the family would have been awfully ashamed of him/her and that child would have been branded and scorned all his/her youthful days and into adulthood, if the many cut behinds did not bring him/her in line. The child’s behavior wasn’t left to be corrected by its parents only but the whole community. Our communities never tolerated that sort of thing and felt duty bound to correct any deficiencies in any of the neighborhood’s children. A curse would be put on the youngster(s) who could not be reformed and believe me there were very few, if any, that couldn’t be reformed. The curse would have been to the effect that no good will ever follow you, as none will follow this “Young Turk junior minister for finance.” Sir Jack is 20 years my senior and I am, no doubt, 20 years (plus) yours, just remember that young minister.
Forrester J Carroll J.P
Freeport, Grand Bahama
GIBSON AT JUNIOR JUNKANOO
Photos from the Junior Junkanoo on Thursday 9th December. These photos are from Ryan Pinder MP PLP’s Facebook page of the primary school in his area Thelma Gibson. Enjoy!
ISSUES STATEMENT ON FNM FRONT GROUP
“There was a press conference held on Tuesday 14th December at Fox Hill. The group call themselves Consumer Voices Bahamas. One of the group's spokesmen was a former candidate of the FNM. My constituents who were present identified a number of others as family members of the FNM's last candidate in Fox Hill and other FNM Fox Hill Constituency Association officers. It would seem therefore that the group's spokesman David Jordine was being less than frank when he told the press that this new consumer organization is not affiliated with any political party.
“I believe that the organization is an FNM front organization, which is being used as one of the political guises by the Free National Movement to fool the public that there is general consumer support of the FNM's decision to sell BTC to a foreign entity. For absolute clarity and out of an abundance of caution, I wish to say they do not speak for Fox Hill.
“The arguments that they put forward as a consumer perspective also do not make sense. They said that selling BTC to a foreign entity will make it cheaper for the consumer. Is this group aware that the BTC management put a proposal to the government to lower the cost of cellular phone service but that proposal remains unanswered to this day?
“Is this group aware that it was the FNM government that told the management of BTC after 2007 not to make any major capital decisions pending privatization and now three years later no decision having been made on privatization by the FNM, the FNM are now blaming the management of BTC for not making the capital decisions?
“Is this group aware that almost 160 million dollars were taken out of BTC in dividends by the government since 2009? That today there are almost 35 million dollars in the BTC bank accounts that can pay for the transition to 3G service without having to get a government loan guarantee?
“Is this group aware that what the FNM government proposes is to continue the public monopoly as a private monopoly for at least 3 years after the sale of BTC to a foreign entity?
“No real consumer group, knowing the true answers to these questions, would advance the arguments that they have. The press conference held in Fox Hill on Tuesday must therefore be dismissed for what it is; an FNM propaganda ploy.”
FIRE AT THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
The Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade with not even a year gone by since becoming commissioner is now under fire from one of his own about the way he runs the Force. An Assistant Superintendent has said that he believes that the Commissioner is more interested in public relations than in policing. Harsh words were said and we wonder whether this is appropriate for a subordinate in a military force. No doubt, the correct action will be taken to deal with that. The outburst came in the Nassau Guardian in a story by Brent Dean. The officer Glenroy McKenzie is a relative of an officer Archibald Miller who was killed by another policeman in what is being described as an accident. The relatives don’t buy the story. Here is the report from the Nassau Guardian carried on Monday 13th December:
A senior police officer has called for an independent investigation to be launched into the killing of Inspector Archibald Miller, 47, as he has “lost confidence” in Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade to ensure that a proper inquiry is conducted.
Assistant Superintendent Glenroy McKenzie, a 32-year
veteran of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), made the declaration in
an interview at The Nassau Guardian.
However, senior RBPF spokesman Assistant Commissioner Hulan Hanna rejected the assertion that the force is not conducting proper investigations into Miller’s death
McKenzie, a relative of Miller, said he wants an independent investigator to be brought in from an international police organization such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States, or from Scotland Yard in the United Kingdom, in order to pursue all leads regarding the death.
McKenzie emphasized that he would want the independent investigator to examine if the death was a homicide.
Miller was shot to the upper body multiple times on December 2. After the incident, police said he was accidentally shot by another police officer during an operation in southwestern New Providence around 5 a.m. Miller died at Doctors Hospital on December 5.
McKenzie said he does not think the officer internally identified as the shooter was in any way involved with killing Miller.
McKenzie said Miller received more than one gunshot wound above the bulletproof vest he was wearing.
“If Miller was hit by friendly fire, the family would forgive and forget about the matter because we all know the risks involved in policing and Miller loved his job and he loved his colleagues,” he said.
McKenzie said he criticized the commissioner because,
in his view, Greenslade is too concerned with public relations.
“He appears to be more concerned about his public image rather than confronting this matter and having it properly dealt with,” said McKenzie. “I actually feel sorry for him because the new amendments to the Police Act limit his term in office and prevent him from being as effective as he could be. It turns the commissioner into a politician and takes away his strength.”
Hanna, who responded on behalf of the commissioner after being contacted by The Guardian, said the force is saddened by Miller’s death and its leadership has met with his family.
Miller is scheduled to be buried today.
“And there are things that the leadership of this force has committed to do in conjunction with this family but we will not speak to publicly. But we have every confidence going forward that this family is going to be okay and that our prayer is that they would be able to survive this very sad loss,” said Hanna.
“As far as the investigation is concerned, the investigation continues aggressively and there is nothing that we are aware of in the investigation that would change, or is likely to change, the initial stance taken by the police.”
Hanna emphasized that the force is able to properly conduct investigations involving the death of officers.
“It has been demonstrated over and repeatedly that the Royal Bahamas Police Force is able to police its own. But it is also to its credit that the force now has a civilian inspectorate, or a civilian oversight group, that is headed by a distinguished Bahamian,” he said of the body headed by attorney Elliot Lockhart.
“And the office is staffed by an office manager and the group is a very competent group that has the authority in law to call for any files in any investigation that the police are engaged in within the context of what we are discussing.”
According to McKenzie, police did not initially collect all of Miller’s clothing. He provided The Guardian with pictures of the clothing. The photos were of the rear of Miller’s clothing and they included a photo of the rear of his bulletproof vest, according to McKenzie.
He added that the front portion of Miller’s clothing and vest were taken by police who eventually collected the remaining clothing.
McKenzie also criticized the force for dismissing possible links between Miller’s death and another recent homicide.
Police do not publicly discuss the details of ongoing investigations. Hanna did not discuss specifics of the investigation. However, he said incidents such as Miller’s death end up before the Coroner’s Court.
“And so we are satisfied as a force that there
are sufficient checks and balances in the system that would disallow for any
misconduct on the part of any entity or any person in this organization,”
FROM THE QUEEN
Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes presented the awards given by Queen Elizabeth on the advice of the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham at Government House. The ceremony took place on Monday 13th December. Among those rewarded was Sol Kerzner, the man who owns Atlantis and Paradise Island and is believed to be one of Mr. Ingraham’s financial benefactors. He received an honorary knighthood, which leads to a correction from a report earlier on the site about a problem with the award. The problem appears to have been Mr. Kerzner's inability to go to London to receive, it not the award itself. Others of prominence who were rewarded were Elaine Pinder who received a Member of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and Monsignor Preston Moss who became a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) and retired teacher Arlene Nash who received a British Empire Medal (BEM) as did Brenda Archer, FNM Women’s Association leader. Mrs. Pinder was sponsored by Dame Marguerite Pindling. Bismark Coakley, retired businessman, became an MBE as did Insurance Executive Marvin Bethel MBE.
BIS Photos/Peter Ramsay
The National Chairman, the Hon. Bradley Roberts and Mrs Roberts host PYL Reception
Saturday 18th December at the home of Bradley Roberts, PLP Chair :the all day rain competed for the attention of the PYL members, friends and Advisers who fellowshipped while enjoying the beautiful setting; the strictly native delicacies,pastries and desserts, certainly challenged ones diet regime and began the season for enjoying the festive delights.PLP Party Leader, the Rt. Hon. Perry G Christie and the Hon. Philip Brave Davis, Deputy Leader, stopped by to extend Christmas greetings and express their regards for PYL. National Chairman Roberts in welcoming PYL, expressed his recognition of their contributions to a Better Bahamas; he urged them to exceed all expectations as they go about preparing to become the next generation of Nation builders. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all,from PYL. The photos are by Athama Bowe.
AT ALLYSON’S HOUSE
The Nassau Renaissance Singers continued their Christmas music traditions this year under the direction of Audrey Wright who succeeded the late Pauline Glasby as its director last year who had succeeded the late E. Clement Bethel. A fundraiser was held at the home of Senator Allyson Gibson and her husband Max for the singers who gave their Christmas concert. The event took place on Monday 13th December. Amongst those in attendance were Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill, the Chinese and Swiss Ambassadors to The Bahamas. A great time was had by all.
GREETINGS FROM THE HON. PHILIP 'BRAVE' DAVIS
Holiday Greetings from the Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, Hon. Philip ‘Brave’ Davis M.P.
My fellow Bahamians,
Christmas is once again here. This is the time when we celebrate the gift of Christ in the lives of our friends and family. I know that many of us are finding it difficult to get into the Christmas Spirit. The challenges that we have faced and continue to face have taken their toll on all of us.
We have witnessed record unemployment and its unfortunate consequence – an increase in violence. Far too many of our countrymen have lost their lives in an unnecessary battle to ride out this recession.
The economic downturn, coupled with a daunting lack of hope also claimed the lives of too many of our brothers and sisters to suicide.
In moments when things may seem bleak, I ask you to be brave as we look to a new year that brings with it the hope of a bright future.
I encourage you to let us march forward and look toward two thousand and eleven with a great promise. The trials we have embraced this past year are almost over.
To my constituents, the great people of Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, your perseverance and resilience are a beacon that serves as a model throughout the country. You are an inspiration to my family and me and at this time I say, Thank You. I also take this opportunity to wish you Season’s Greetings and God’s blessings in the year ahead.
In this past year of highs and lows we cannot forget the eight men who tragically lost their lives in a tragic plane crash this past October. All were well known members and friends of our community and their loss still echoes in my heart and the hearts of their loved ones. I ask you to be brave and know that God’s purpose, while not known to us, is always best.
This holiday season let us not forget to reach back to assist and uplift those who have fallen on hard times and despair. Let us all this holiday turn to them, our brothers and sisters, and lend a helping hand. Let us all remember them in our prayers. We are one Bahamas!
During this blessed season as we reflect on the grace of God, let us also personally assess our lives and its impact on each other. Let us grow together as a nation economically and spiritually as we celebrate God’s gift of his son and welcome a new year.
My family and I wish all Bahamians a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
DAVIS ON THE SAWYER REPORT
Below are videos of MP Philip Brave Davis on the Sawyer Report last evening...
These were adde to Facebook:
Part 1: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=172854946079689
Part 2: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=172949109403606
Part 3: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=172972036067980
CALLS FOR RETURN TO LOCAL RULE IN THE TURKS
Britain urged to restore constitutional government in Turks and Caicos
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Sir Edwin Carrington, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) secretary-general on Friday called on the United Kingdom, through its newly accredited Plenipotentiary Representative, Paul Brummell, to restore constitutional government in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Speaking on Friday at the Georgetown, Guyana Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat, Carrington said that the Community saw the UK’s imposition of indefinite direct rule in that associate member of the Community as being “totally at odds with the development of good governance, including improved fiscal and administrative management, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington
“CARICOM contends that those objectives of Her Majesty’s Government cannot be met by the continued effective disenfranchisement of the Turks and Caicos Islanders or by the denial of their inalienable right to shape their own future,” he said.
For this reason, he said that CARICOM looked forward to the restoration by the UK’s new administration of the “islanders’ full franchise.”
The secretary-general noted that the Community and the UK had benefited over the years, from “frank and open dialogue” and had “co-operated constructively” in defence of common values such as good governance, democracy; respect for the rule of law and for the basic, inalienable rights of all peoples.
“We must strive to remain guardians of these all too fragile and important tenets of modern civilization. It is in all of our interests,” Carrington said.
The CARICOM secretary-general said that the 7th meeting of the CARICOM-UK Forum due to be held in 2011 in Grenada, the first meeting between CARICOM foreign ministers and new foreign secretary of the UK, William Hague, should be a “most fruitful opportunity” for the strengthening of UK-Caribbean relations.
Former Athlete and Reservist Craig Hepburn Freed From Sex Charges
On 13th December, the prosecution in the case brought against Craig Hepburn, national record holder in the long jump, for unlawful sexual intercourse with minors was dropped by the prosecution for lack of evidence and Mr. Hepburn was discharged. Magistrate Guillimina Archer discharged Mr. Hepburn and he was free to leave. Mr. Hepburn said that he was relieved that his innocence had been affirmed and hoped that this will now clear his name and allow him to continue with his life. He thanked all those who continued to believe in him during his ordeal especially his employers and his family members.
Impressed By Leon Williams
Congratulations to Leon Williams for his stout defence of the public policy on BTC, which is; the company can be sold and owned by Bahamians.
The Suicide Hotline
It is a sign of the times that the Minister of Social Development Dion Foulkes has announced that there is a Suicide Hotline now installed by his Ministry to deal with the growing tide of suicides in the country. Well, this is FNM country at the moment, almost 100 murders this year alone and a rising suicide rate.
The Top Of The Waldorf And Richard Holbrook
He was a wealthy man and spent a lifetime in the US diplomatic service mainly working for Democratic presidents. They say that if Hillary Clinton had won the Presidency, he would have been her Secretary of State. Instead, Barrack Obama won and appointed him a special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. He worked tirelessly on the cause. What we remember is that he was the Ambassador to the United Nations who would not live at the top floor of the Waldorf Hotel in Manhattan that is the official residence of UN Ambassadors for the United States. He said it was too small and took his own money and got a huge house out in New Jersey and commuted to work in Manhattan. He died suddenly last week and was mourned by his colleagues but remembered mainly for his indefatigable work in brokering the Dayton peace accords that brought an end to the war in the Balkans.
Missouri Sherman Peter Resigns
Last week, one of the blogs reported that A. Missouri Sherman Peter, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, resigned her post. No statement from the government on why or if it is true. The only thing we have heard is that Mrs. Sherman Peter believed that she was disrespected at a function to which she was invited as a public official and turned in her resignation as a result of it. Both she and the government should clarify this issue.
One of the biggest laughs on Facebook last week was the FNM site ‘Voices Bahamian’ quoting the section on criminal libel from the penal code and warning those who use Facebook that they can be prosecuted for libelling someone on the web. All we can say is, physician heal thyself. Voices Bahamians is the biggest offender and should look for the police to come looking for them shortly.
Mitchell Addresses The Caucus
Fred Mitchell MP addressed the PLP Pressure Group called the Caucus on Tuesday 14th December at the Anatol Rodgers School. He spoke on leadership and the tactics that the PLP has to employ to win the next general election.
Kevin Harris Mr. Gospel FNM Says
On his posting on Facebook on Thursday 16th December: “I was shocked when I read that the Police had to use their batons on some BTC and union members yesterday. This is the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and not a Communist Country. I believe it was wrong and bad judgment to erect the barricades in the first place. Bahamians should always have access to the public square to voice their concerns and confront their leaders for answers. This is a Democracy.”
(Things that make you go: hmmm! No PLP government would have done any such thing. And if the PLP had done so, Mr. Harris would have been on the radio, gospel and all, denouncing the PLP in the name of God. – Editor)
Latrae Playful Mood On facebook
The leader of the Youth Advisory Group of the PLP 17 year old Latrae Rahming sent a message on Facebook to Dr Hubert Minnis, the Minister of Health asking if he could use his official car for a few minutes. He posted a picture to prove the request. No word on whether Dr, Minnis approved the request.
Ian Strachan Declares A Tie
In his weekly column last week, Ian Strachan, the Assistant Professor at the College of The Bahamas thought that there were several issues that affected the main political parties that he needed to examine and see how they will affect the party’s fortunes. He did not support the PLP in the last election and generally does not support the PLP. He says in his analysis: three advantages for the PLP, three for the FNM and two ties. So he thinks that the election result is a tossup.
Supt. Rodney Burrows (Retired) Rev. Rodney Burrows (Retired)
He has written a book called ‘Destiny’ about his life as a humble man from Inagua and on to become a police superintendent. Retired policeman and priest Rev. Rodney Burrows launched the book at a special ceremony and reception at the headquarters of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in the presence of the Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd and the Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade. The master of ceremonies for the occasion was fellow Inaguan Archdeacon James Palacious. Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill and Loretta Butler Turner, the Minister of State for Social Development were there for the event on Wednesday 15th December.
The Injunction Against BTC Union
We found it extraordinary that the newspaper reported that Justice Bernard Turner in hearing the case by the Union to lift an ex parte injunction (granted after hearing only the government’s side) told the Union that if he does not make a decision about the case by 23rd December, it is unlikely that he will make a decision before next year. Something must be wrong with that. Here is the lawful right of assembly and free speech being stopped by the state by the coercive power of an ex parte injunction. An inter partes hearing should come about quickly and the judge ought to be in a position to make and should make the decision with dispatch and without delay. We assume that the Nassau Guardian simply is not reporting this correctly. There has to be something fundamentally wrong with restraining the right of free speech and assembly in this manner. The Judge ought to be asked to recuse himself if he does not have the time to deal with it or simply make a decision and the parties can go the Court of Appeal if one of the parties thinks that the judge got it wrong, but the status quo is unacceptable where free speech and the right to assembly is being restrained.
Seatbelt Law Comes Into Force
Imagine; there is a controversy in The Bahamas about a seatbelt law coming into force. The law has been on the books for years. It was never enforced. The PLP passed a new law that softened the penalties and changed some of the requirements for taxis. The FNM has ignored the new law and has simply brought into force the old law. The country is mutedly upset. The seat belt law should have been enforced a long time ago. The fines are too high however and need to be revised. The seatbelt law caused a laugh amongst House members. Some say the House was suspended so abruptly on Wednesday 5th December (see Comment of The Week) that the Prime Minister didn’t even have time to put his seatbelt on he was moving so fast.
Acting Secretary General For Caricom
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chairman Bruce Golding Friday announced that Deputy Secretary-General, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, will act as Secretary-General of the 15-member regional grouping from January 1 next year. Thre present Seceratry General Edwin Carrington retires on 1st January after 18 years as SG.
It seems like only yesterday that he was a student the College of The Bahamas but today he is the head of the Bahamas Hotel Association. Stuart Bowe who is the General Manager at the Coral Towers, Atlantis is the man. Congraulations.
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
|UNIONS MOBILIZE TO FIGHT FOR BTC...||THE NIGHT IN PICTURES...|
|BRADLEY RESPONDS TO NEIL HARTNELL...||TURKS AND CAICOS LEADER IN THE BAHAMAS...|
|BRAVE RESPONDS TO THE FNM...||THE NASSAU GUARDIAN REFUSES TO PUBLISH RYAN...|
|PRIVATISATION IN PANAMA AND CABLE AND WIRELESS...||AN ANALYSIS OF WHY THE PLP SHOULD VOTE NO...|
|TONIQUE WILLIAMS DARLING...||ABACO MURDER SOLVED...|
|SIR JACK ATTACKS GOVT. - LAING ATTACKS BACK...||CHANGES IN US VISA PROCEDURES...|
|LARRY SMITH ON DAME JOAN SAWYER...||PLP VISITS MARIO'S PALACE...|
|THE TEST OF WHETHER YOU ARE STRAIGHT OR NOT...||LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...|
|Fred Mitchell Launches 3rd Edition of 'Great Moments In PLP History...||Fred Mitchell's 56th Birthday Party In Support of the 'Mission Fund'...|
|The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party...||The Official Site of the Free National Movement...|
|JeromeFiztgerald.org||Bahamas Government Website|
|KendredDorsett.com||Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links|
|FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...||Bahamians On The Web|
|How & Why The PLP Lost in 2007 - The Greenberg Report...||BahamasIssues.com|
|CHRISTMAS IN FOX HILL - The annual Christmas tree lighting took place in Fox Hill on Sunday 5th December. Each year the Fox Hill parade grounds are lit from stem to stern. This year Jan Davis of the Village Convenience Store and Davis Enterprises and her team used a green and yellow motif to light the tree, which is supplied by Ken Perigord Enterprises. The tree lighting is organized by the Fox Hill Festival Committee headed by Maurice Tynes and a team of Fox Hillians. They name the tree each year after a prominent Fox Hillian. This year the tree was named in honour of Mildred Edgecombe, a civic activist and mother. Ms. Edgecombe had the honour of turning on the Christmas lights in the centre of Fox Hill. A special treat for the residents was the performance by the Doris Johnson Snr. High School Band under the direction of Aaron Neely. Fred Mitchell Fox Hill MP is shown at the far right of the photo. Photo/Fox Hill Media|
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
THE WEB IS NEITHER
FREE OR DEMOCRATIC
This is quite a small point but an important one. You know the western democracies were all busy a few weeks ago attacking China for seeking to cut off access to the World Wide Web, otherwise known as the internet. The western countries led by the United States said that they want the web to be free and that there ought to be access to all. They argue that the Chinese government was engaged in censorship and that China ought to conform to 21st century western standards of behaviour, which include the right to dissent and the right to material that the state might find objectionable.
It is against this background then that one is highly amused at the efforts of the US government and other commercial enterprises to stop Wikileaks from operating because they have been leaking US State Department classified documents to the press.
So far, there is no great damage to the national security of the United States or any other country for that matter. It just seems like a bunch of gossip in private cables sent back to the US by their diplomats. Maybe embarrassing for some, maybe titillating for others, but hardly earth shattering. Much ado about nothing really.
The Bahamas has to get in on the show as well. The Tribune ran a story last week in which it said that there was a Bahamian group that would have the right to disseminate the information that Wikileaks had on The Bahamas. They went further and said that the reason that the PLP and the FNM were so quiet was because they stood in dread of what the cables would say.
What hogwash! The PLP has nothing to fear about any private cables sent to the US government about the PLP or any personality. Whatever comes, comes.
The more important and general point of public importance is that if we believe in a free democratic society, why would we be concerned about some silly cable traffic being leaked to the news media?
What all the efforts of the establishment to actually stop the disclosure and then shut down the site itself tell us is that governments harbour ill intent toward the web and one day even the western democracies can and will shut down the web if it suits their political purposes: calling it of course - what else - national security. Bull crap!
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 11th December 2010 up to midnight: 139,529.
Number of hits for the month of December up to Saturday 11th December 2010 up to midnight: 202,419.
Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 11th December 2010 up to midnight: 7,632,032.
MOBILIZE TO FIGHT FOR BTC
Despite being defeated in the Trade Union elections, John Pinder has not learned to stop using double speak. Instead of saying what other unionists have said about opposing the sale of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd., Mr. Pinder is equivocating. The statement published in The Tribune on Friday 10th December does not answer the question of whether or not the Bahamas Public Services Union is going to support the BTC workers.
Here is what The Tribune said that John Pinder, as president of the Bahamas Public Service Union said, “We don't want to make this look like this is a union issue. The trade union movement is leading in the education to the general public on this company - its ownership and performance throughout the region - we think that the rest of the Bahamian population should be involved and do their own research and find out so that we can all come together to determine whether or not we think this is the best way to go and if it's not, we ought to sign a petition against it and try to get the government to change their mind on it while it's still at the stage of MOU.”
Things that make you go: hmmm!
Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson, president of the National Congress of Trade Unions in The Bahamas, said: “The unions didn't know what was going on because they were not a part of the actual committee that was responsible for privatisation. Evans and Carroll (BTC union leaders) were a part of the advisory committee, but the decision to sign the MOU did not even come to that committee.”
We believe that this is not a time for deliberation. This is a time for action. The sale of this aspect of our national patrimony must be stopped. These traitors must be defeated and stopped in their tracks.
Here is what Dion Foulkes, the labour minister was reported to have said: “I wish to encourage labour leaders throughout the country to approach this issue from a very mature point of view and not to take any actions that would damage The Bahamas, generally, and that would damage industrial relations between unions and their employers. I would also encourage all union leaders in the country to follow the legal process, and the legal process is that before any strike can take place there must be a strike vote that is certified by the Department of Labour and that is monitored by the department.”
One supposes a Minister of Labour has to say that, but the government must come to understand the full nature of the resentment over this exercise. The government’s spokesmen are increasingly obtuse when it comes to this. Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of State, tried in his statement on the issue to pollute the issue by suggesting that it was all politically motivated. That was a line that Senator Michael Halkitis answered in the Senate when he told the FNM’s Minister of Labour who was trotting out the same line on Thursday 8th December that the trade union movement brought freedom to our country, so the PLP was free to support the work of trade unions and attend any meetings that they had.
NIGHT IN PICTURES
The Members of Parliament of the Progressive Liberal Party were present in numbers at the public meeting of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officer’s Union on the privatization of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd., the government owned phone company. If the zeal with which the matter was addressed by the National Congress of Trade Unions (NCTU) under their new leadership is anything to go by, the PLP can have the courage to vote no when this matter comes up for debate in the House of Assembly at the end of January. The photos of the meeting are by Athama Bowe. The meeting took place on Wednesday 8th December.
RESPONDS TO NEIL HARTNELL
Bradley Roberts, the PLP’s Chairman issued the following statement in response to comments made by Neil Hartnell, The Tribune’s Business Editor, about the PLP’s position on the privatization of BTC.
“The Tribune failed miserably to live up to its motto when it refused to publish any information from my address at the PLP’s Town Meeting on BTC. The Tribune also failed to carry an Ad on the meeting, which was paid in advance but instead decided to publish weeks later an OPINION on my address, which I read with much interest. This is clear discrimination by a media outlet that’s licensed to serve the public news.
“I ask the following questions in regards to Hartnell’s Opinion:
“Is Mr. Hartnell of The Tribune suggesting that the $212 Million profit that BTC made while at the time myself and the Honourable Marcus Bethel were Ministers during 2002 to 2007, compared to $112 Million BTC earned while the FNM was in charge (1994 -2002). Was this a fable?
“Is Mr. Hartnell suggesting that when the FNM left office in 2002 that the $4.7 Million in BTC’s bank account was a fable? When the FNM returned to office in 2007 the $130 Million they found in the BTC bank account was that also a fable?
“I am aware Mr. Hartnell that the rule of thumb in the Telecom Industry is that when liberalization is introduced the Incumbent loses 30% of market share. This rule applies to privately owned Telcos or Government owned Telcos. Except in the case of LIME (C&W) Jamaica where a company with little or no experience in Telecoms (Digicel) took 60% plus of Market share from C&W a privately owned Telco who had been in the business for 140 years.
“Mr. Hartnell I am aware that:
“In 2000 BTC's Revenues for International Long Distance calls were $103 Million while the Revenues for the same stream in 2007 were just $27 Million.
“In 2000 BTC had 32,000 Cellular Customers and 114,000 Landlines.
“BTC now has 330,000 plus Cellular customers and 134,000 Land Lines.
“65% + of BTC's revenues come from Wireless.
“There are no Long Distance companies existing in the world today.
“Did you read the Profile of C&W? The profile indicates that C&W have 600,000 Broadband customers, 1.8 Million Land Lines and 8.1 Million Cellular customers. Does this suggest that C&W is a Wireless Company?
“C&W's Financial Interim Report for the First Half 2011 published November 4, 2010 indicates that all major Key Financial Indicators for the Caribbean have gone south. And, this follows a similar report of decreases for 2010. C&W Jamaica has experienced losses of J$3 Billion plus in the last three consecutive years. Does this mean that C&W is approaching "Junk Status?"
“Two months ago it was rumoured that AT&T was about to purchase C&W and a week after the AT&T rumour a new rumour emerged that SingTel (Singapore Telecommunications) was going to purchase C&W. Does this suggest that C&W has a problem?
“Up to 8 years ago C&W:
AND CAICOS LEADER IN THE BAHAMAS
Clayton Greene who heads the former governing party in the Turks and Caicos Islands was in Nassau over the past week for a series of meetings to mobilize support for the return of democracy in his country. The British overlords suspended democracy in that country in 2009 in response to a Commission of Inquiry. The PLP has opposed the decision of the British, but the oppression of the Turks people continues. While in Nassau, Mr. Greene appeared on Wendall Jones show The Platform; he met with Opposition MPs Fred Mitchell, Ryan Pinder and Alfred Sears. He met the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and the Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie. Mr. Greene also took the opportunity to meet with Turks and Caicos Islanders in Nassau. The British position can be found in this Foreign and Commonwealth Office report. We think that the British are wrong and should return full democracy to the Turks and Caicos Islands without delay.
RESPONDS TO THE FNM
The Free National Movement was exercised about the statement issued by the PLP in response to their meeting with executives of Cable and Wireless, the company that wants to buy the Bahamian telephone company. We think that the PLP should have the courage to vote no in this matter. The FNM’s statement tried to sully the issue with the fact that Philip Davis was the lawyer for Bluewater, the last company that had a deal under the PLP to purchase a minority share in the company for 260 million dollars. Mr. Davis issued this statement in response to the FNM’s statement:
“I find it indeed incredible to see members of the Free National Movement engage in the political masquerading with deflections of the facts on BTC at a time when the future of workers all across this country hang in the balance.
“Firstly, it should be made clear that my colleagues and I did not initiate the meeting between Cable and Wireless representatives Sharon Brown and David Shaw.
“At the outset of the meeting on Wednesday, I declared my interest as the former legal representative for Blue Water, a group with considerable expertise and access to cutting edge technology in the global telecommunications sector, who had placed a bid for the Corporation’s 49% minority stake under the former Christie Government.
“That aside, it was clear from our meeting that the representatives of Cable and Wireless were unable to share with our delegation any details of the “secret deal” and have failed to explain the Memorandum of Understanding.
“Cable and Wireless representatives were unable to explain the role The Bahamas will play in its overall Caribbean network or give direction as to how hundreds of employees at BTC will be impacted. They called the meeting, yet they had no answers!
“My colleagues and I find it very strange that the Prime Minister of the Bahamas speaks of being open on matters of national concern, but yet practices high-level corporate secrecy, and lacks the needed transparency and openness in the sale of this most valuable public asset.
“The Ingraham Government has yet to provide a list of bidders for the purchase of the profitable asset and their bids nor could they explain how they came to the conclusions how some 30% of the Bahamian workforce at BTC will be made jobless. When we sat with Cable and Wireless yesterday, they explained they had not completed plans for staff.
“No one has spoken to the tens of Millions in liabilities of the BTC pension fund and how this sale will affect the hardworking staff members who have given so many years of services to our country through BTC. They expect to receive their pensions and should not be held responsible for the shortfall caused by the Prime Minister’s reckless first attempt to privatize the corporation almost 10 years ago.
“This Government has yet to tell us how a former executive of Cable and Wireless who now heads URCA will regulate their operations in the Bahamas in the interest of the Bahamian consumer and not Cable and Wireless. It is clear that the Bahamian people and the workers at BTC are the ones who have been dealt a deadly blow
“Plans by the FNM Government to sell 51% majority control of BTC is a bad deal, and to sell the public asset far below its market value is indeed reckless to say the least and cannot be justified as being in the public interest.
“The Ingraham Government should know that as the Government of the Bahamas that they have a sacred duty to look after the well being of Bahamians - the protection of jobs should be priority one.
“Unlike the PLP, The FNM government continues to be led down a blind path by abdicating this responsibility and appears hell-bent on signing a deal with Cable and Wireless knowing that much needed jobs will be lost. In fact, they have made it their mantra to fire workers, in this second term in office as done recently at The Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas and in the Police, Immigration and Customs departments.
“Additionally, rather than focusing their energies on the PLP and myself, the Government should confirm or deny if there is a finder’s fee being collected in the sale of BTC. Who is the person collecting that fee, and what is the percentage being collected on the sale? The government should also come clean and state, whether a member of the board at BTC is indeed the beneficiary.
“My colleagues and I find it shocking to see the FNM machine focus on us while they avoid explaining the facts to the Bahamian people. Our people deserve better!”
NASSAU GUARDIAN REFUSES TO PUBLISH RYAN
On Sunday 5th December, Ryan Pinder MP PLP released the following statement on behalf of the PLP in response to the fairy tale speech of Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister on the economy. No newspaper except the Bahama Journal covered Mr. Pinder’s statement. When the Nassau Guardian was called for an explanation, they said that they were not under an obligation to publish it. Herewith the statement:
Hon. L. Ryan Pinder Member of Parliament Elizabeth Constituency Press Statement on the Economy
December 5, 2010
“I read with anticipation the Prime Minister’s speech Thursday evening on the state of the economy, hoping to understand definitive plans and policies of the Bahamian Government with respect to the advancement of our economy. Sadly I was disappointed as it offered nothing new or progressive for the country. After a review of the Prime Minister’s speech, it further reiterated to me the difference between the PLP and FNM when it comes to the economy of the Bahamas. The FNM is satisfied with the same as usual, while the PLP, based on its track record in governance, and the plans and policies for the future demonstrate a national plan and vision for the Bahamas.
Reaction to Prime Minister Speech
“The Prime Minister represented to the Bahamian people that “signs of economic recovery are evident in the Bahamas” and he largely based this conclusion on the economic climate in the United States and on miss-guided statistics. In fact, the Prime Minister stated “a modest rate of increase in the U.S. economy” is “early signs of an economic recovery.” Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is no economist. In fact, there are distinct indicators that the U.S. economy is not experiencing a “modest rate of increase”.
“Even though consumer spending numbers are up in the U.S., as the Prime Minister points out, unemployment in the United States is increasing, and the private sector is not hiring. In fact, the Wall Street Journal, just the other day on December 3rd, points out that “The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in November, and the unemployment rate rose to its highest level since April, indicating the economic recovery remains weak…” It is acknowledged that job creation is the most significant problem that the United States economy faces. I make this point not to be gloom and doom and the bearer of bad news, but to point out that it is unfair for the Prime Minister to grasp onto one statistic such as consumer spending and then forecast the turnaround in the United States, and as a result, the Bahamian economy because of it. This is misleading to the Bahamian public. The U.S. economy is clearly in flux, maybe showing signs of recovery, also showing signs of instability.
“I was also disappointed that the Prime Minister did not articulate an economic vision that would not only explain to the Bahamian people, how we were going to create additional employment opportunities, but also how he was going to address the significant issues related to the financial state of affairs of the country, including the escalating debt of the country, and the contracting GDP of the country. This is where the Progressive Liberal Party differs from the Free National Movement. Unlike this FNM Government, whose economic model continues to be tied directly and exclusively to foreign direct investment, tourism and the U.S. economy, the Progressive Liberal Party governed and created policies for economic expansion, for the development of a national economic plan.
PLP Economic Plan under Rt. Honourable Perry G. Christie
“The economic vision of the Progressive Liberal Party when Mr. Christie was Prime Minister was modelled around the promotion of anchor developments throughout the Bahamas. This was a fundamental component of the PLP Government’s national economic plan. Not only is it a national promotion and development of the tourist product, but it was also based on the need to create mini-economies throughout the Bahamas where other businesses and industry could thrive, creating linkages between entrepreneurial endeavours with significant tourist products throughout the islands.
“This would be the first step. The PLP understands the need to have a comprehensive plan on how we will designate industry throughout our archipelago to take advantage of historical expertise but to allow specific islands to thrive in specific industries. An example of this would be handicraft manufacturing in Long Island, which is historically known for their handicraft artisans. This will require an analysis of the handicraft market, and the promotion of necessary infrastructure such as a manufacturing facility and training. We have committed to a long term relationship with China; it just so happens they have an expertise in manufacturing these types of products so the Bahamas can request technical assistance in the area of institutional training and expertise.
“Likewise, different islands have different environments. There should be an aggressive policy of promoting agriculture throughout the family islands, but in a well-planned and researched manner where agricultural products are grown in environments where they may thrive. Agriculture also requires an aggressive approach to re-education in modern farming techniques. We can once again be a jurisdiction with a thriving agricultural industry, but we must be committed with effective analysis and planning.
“The PLP will also promote the creation of sustainable industries in which the Bahamas can be regional leaders. The PLP advocates the development of a trade agenda, based on our commitment to trade agreements such as the EPA and the WTO. The Bahamas is perfectly positioned, geographically and with its infrastructure to be a dominant force in international trade. A commitment to international trade will provide expansion and development of the following inter-connected industries:
Recommendations of the PLP to the Government of the Bahamas
“We believe that it does little good to sit here and merely point out the deficiencies of this Government. We believe that as we prepare to be the next government of the Bahamas, it is our obligation to not only prepare our platform for when we are the Government, but to also provide our suggestions to the best way forward right now for the country.
“The PLP calls on the Government to immediately appoint a bi-partisan advisory Committee. This “Economic Committee” will be charged with the analysis of our current economic model to provide a report addressing the following goals: 1) expansion of the economy to form new industries, and the further development of our current industries; 2) a model of sustainable economic expansion that will provide on average 15,000 new, sustainable and permanent private sector jobs every year for Bahamians for the foreseeable future; and 3) a reformed tax structure that, coupled with a program of economic expansion, will generate the necessary government revenues to create a surplus to pay down the Government debt, while lowering the tax burden for all Bahamians.
“This report will form the foundation of a National Economic Plan. As part of such plan, we need to expand our economy in order to provide the necessary revenues to operate the Government, because without the Government able to function, it matters not how many tourists or foreign direct investment is in the Bahamas.
“Government Revenues, Deficits and Debt Not too long ago, the Prime Minister admitted that the Bahamian Government is borrowing to pay the salaries of civil servants. The deficit year after year is increasing at an alarming rate. The debt of the country seems to be increasing exponentially, yet there are no plans put forward on how this Government will address this concern. We are all concerned about the growing debt, I believe even the Prime Minister is concerned about the growing debt. There are only two ways for a Government to pay down the debt, generate a surplus, which the Bahamas Government hasn’t done in over a decade, or sell assets of the State to pay debt, something we are currently witnessing with the sale of BTC.
“I argue that with a policy of economic growth and a true dedication to a National Economic Plan, we as a country can be in a situation where a growing economy can generate the necessary tax revenues, at a lower overall tax rate, to create surpluses necessary to pay down the growing debt burden. Addressing this issue is a significant concern. Addressing it in a way that does not result in limited opportunities for Bahamians paying higher taxes is a necessity; it frankly must be done.
“So in conclusion, it is important that I reiterate that it is unfair to the Bahamian people for the Prime Minister and the Government to reference isolated indicators of the U.S. economy to support a hypothesis that the economy in the Bahamas is improving. The Bahamas has serious economic issues confronting it and without clear policies on how we will rise out of these obvious challenges, the state of the country may deteriorate further. We as Bahamians need to unite and rally behind an economic revolution for the benefit of all. The PLP advocates for this bi-partisan approach during these dire and challenging times.”
IN PANAMA AND CABLE AND WIRELESS
We think that this story about privatization in Panama and the company Cable and Wireless which is to buy the Bahamian company Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd. is instructive of why the PLP should have the courage to vote no when the matter of selling BTC to Cable and Wireless comes to the House. Please click here for the story from the World Press Review.
ANALYSIS OF WHY THE PLP SHOULD VOTE NO
We have said repeatedly on this site that the PLP must find the courage to vote no when the vote comes to the House of Assembly on the divestment of the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation, the government owned telephone company. The reasons are legion, but you still have some people who are confusing the situation of the issue of competition with the question of being government owned. We already have a model in The Bank of The Bahamas, which shows that the government can own the bank but there can be privately held shares and competition. This is a no-brainer to us, but yet you hear the FNM trotting out silly arguments about what the PLP did in office, which are completely irrelevant to the point. A correspondent provided this analysis about the failure of the Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan models in the year 2010. We commend it to you.
I read where senior members of the parliamentary
group met with the representatives of C&W. It is good form to do so but
it does not change the position that the company will be the new owners of
BTC. But it is a matter that the PLP must not let go gently into that good
The PLP's position has been well framed and vigorously presented in public forum but the PLP's policy position should be based on more fundamental arguments from which hopefully a telecommunications policy will emerge:
The era of privatization is long gone and as you would see from a recent article in the Economist, most governments are getting back into the business of public ownership and intervention in the market place, especially after the shock of the financial meltdown.
Privatization and its role in public policy
Fundamentally, there is no reason for the sale of BTC at this time. The era of the trend towards the sale of state assets is long past and it was an economic and political experiment on which the jury is still out. The driving political philosophy behind the sale of public assets was twofold: (i) the prevailing view of monetarist economists and public policy pundits, characterized by politicians such as Margaret Thatcher (Sir Keith Joseph was her guru) and Ronald Reagan (Milton Friedman was his guru) that the government had no in the marketplace, and (ii) there needed to be a more competitive environment in the marketplace and there was no role for monopolies which by their very nature were inefficient, uncompetitive and was a drain on the public purse because of the need for continuous financial subventions from the public purse.
This philosophy led to the massive sell off state enterprises commonly known as “privatization”. In the process, it made some individuals very wealthy but the process also led to greater competition and may have had an effect in driving down prices to the consumer. There are two things worth noting about this process – privatization occurred quickly and there was an uptick in competition. The result was more airlines, more power companies, breakup of telephone companies into smaller and more efficient units. There were adverse effects too. The rights of the workers were trampled on in terms of benefits, security of tenure and lower wages. There was unevenness in terms of service application. Services, such as telecommunications and electricity were not available to certain regions and communities considered to be unprofitable and unbridled market forces prevailed. For a time all went well.
The interesting thing about this scenario was that it unfolded in large economies which could withstand the shock and where sufficient capital existed for the average consumer and groups such as trade unions and others to access these emerging markets and purchase stocks in new companies. The other aspect of this is that the economies were sufficiently large to allow for competition and viable, transparent and independent regulatory institutions existed and responded to the needs of the business sector while setting standards and ensuring the protection of the consumer.
I fear that none of these conditions exist in The Bahamas and the sale of BTC seems motivated by no other public policy than the FNM Government said it would sell it and they have gone along on done so. Can they realistically explain why it has been sold and at such a rock bottom price? I do not think so because if they attempted to do so they will fail on every one of the yardsticks mentioned above.
On this basis it was not a wise move to sell BTC, a viable and productive concern. What was the fundamental reason for the sale?
We in The Bahamas are doing something that is at least 15 years outmoded. In its heyday, the concept driving privatization was competitiveness. In other words Government should not be operating state monopolies. Privatization was supposed to have led to greater competition and an opening up of the market place. We in The Bahamas have done something that is entirely against public policy; we have privatized a monopoly but we have not allowed for other competition. In short a public monopoly has been replaced by a private one and if there is to be a monopoly then ideally it should be a parastatal which at least will be driven by public concerns as well as business principles. In terms of competitiveness the situation remains the same and will become progressively worse. Now if everything fails (as I predict it will) then the Bahamian consumer will be left without any viable options, as we have not levelled the playing field so as to allow a competitive environment for telecommunications in The Bahamas. As an example of the advancing technology, it is predicted that by 2020 the last line in the USA will be eliminated... How, therefore, are dealing with the advances in telecommunication technology? Does this company have the resources to invest in new technology?
As an appropriate example I am also attaching the telecommunication policy for New Zealand, which as we will all recall was at the forefront of the drive to sell off everything. You will note that they are reversing their position and are concerned about access and have taken action to allow government intervention in telecommunications in rural areas.
I regret that we are following the fashion of privatization too late and all for the wrong reasons.
The PLP should be direct and not prevaricate on this and affirm that on coming back to office it will reverse the sale. It must say something a bit stronger than expressing disappointment. Put the argument in the affirmative. A PLP government will reverse the sale. This is not to say that there will not be room for private enterprise, BUT, they will have to be prepared to ante up seed capital and invest in their business. Cable and Wireless on the other hand will be taking over a well oiled and function entity and will not put a penny of money into new technology.
The PLP’s policy on telecommunication should be developed along the above lines and it should be announced at the earliest.
On Saturday 11th December, Camari Magazine hosted a reception for its second edition, which features an inviting picture of Bahamian Olympic Gold medallist Tonique Williams Darling. We thought the picture said it all.
As the national murder rate inches closer and closer to 100 for the year, which will be a first for The Bahamas, police have solved one of the most brutal murders, the second in the island of Abaco for the year. Stanley Saintville was killed on Monday 6th December after allegedly collecting 55,000 dollars from a web shop where he had won a bet.
Someone followed Mr. Saintville and went to his home with the intention of robbing him, an argument ensued it is alleged between his girlfriend and the alleged killer in seeking to take the gun away and Mr. Saintville is dead. The girlfriend and their baby were shot critically and had to be flown into Nassau where they are still in hospital. The police have recovered the $55,000 dollars.
A couple of things. This is a Haitian family and Haitian families are still vulnerable to this kind of attack in The Bahamas because of their status. Secondly, it appears that more and more the so-called web shops, where the numbers are played in The Bahamas are becoming targets for crime, with people staging robberies of the places themselves and robbing the patrons after their winnings. It begs again the question of why the government will not licence these establishments and regulate what they do. If this kind of criminal activity continues, the country and the government cannot continue to turn a blind eye to it. We again call on these establishments to be legalized.
JACK ATTACKS GOVT. - LAING ATTACKS BACK
Jack Hayward is still just one half of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the owners of the city of Freeport, but he has a mouth that is certainly all over the place and would give you the impression that he is large and in charge. Most people and this includes his children, think of him as a twit with not a nickel’s worth of sense but plenty money. That apparently gives him the right to talk and say anything he likes.
Sir Jack was in the press last week at a press conference to say how unhappy he was about the fact that even though the Port was building a new four million dollar bridge (the old bridge worries him sleepless in the night), the Port was leaderless because his man Hannes Babak was denied a work permit by one man and not the Government. This was a reference to the fact that the Prime Minister told Mr. Babak in the presence of Sir Albert Miller, the former Port Chair, that when his work permit from 2006 to 2009 expired, it would not be renewed because the government did not think that he was the right person to head the Port.
While we agree that Mr. Babak is not the right person to head the Port, the problem is a policy one. The policy is that a man who has a business in The Bahamas has the right to ask for a work permit for his top employee to mind his business and so if Jack Hayward wants Babak then Babak it is. There is no public policy reason to deny it since the man is already a Permanent Resident.
Sir Jack said that he did not think that the government was doing its best to improve the economy of Freeport. Well that got under the skin of Zhivargo Laing who is now, doubtless to his longer term detriment, the chief promoter of FNM policies. The Minister of State replied that Sir Jack’s remarks were silly, insulting and offensive. He said that if the Port depends on Hannes Babak to manage its fortunes then its management was not worth two dimes. Harsh words. Great stuff! This should further drive the rich man into the hands of the enemy.
The PLP must be salivating at the possibilities of Jack Hayward and his many millions making sure that the death knell of the FNM is sounded in Freeport and in Grand Bahama. We are more sanguine and wonder if the price would be worth it.
Here is how The Tribune reported what Sir Jack had to say on Monday 6th December:
Sir Jack Hayward, one of the principal
owners of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), said the Government's decision
not to renew the work permit of former chairman Hannes Babak has left the
Sir Jack also noted that some of the big projects that Mr. Babak was working to bring to Freeport are now "gathering dust". He said the Port Authority was doing its best to improve the economy of Freeport.
"We are working on things," he told reporters on Friday at a press conference announcing the Port's plans to start construction of a new $4 million bridge at the Grand Bahama Highway.
"We are a bit leaderless without Hannes Babak, who has been denied a work permit, of course, without any explanation."
Sir Jack said Mr. Babak had been working on bringing several major projects for Freeport, including an LNG plant, a second rock dredging company, a refinery, and a new cement plant.
"The projects are gathering dust. He flew to Texas several times for an LNG plant to provide cheap electricity to Grand Bahama, Abaco, and also for export to Florida. That was one project that was looking very promising," Sir Jack said.
"But the Government denied his work permit, no explanation to me or to us (the Port); just did it arbitrarily. I think one man, I don't think the Government, but... we are missing, obviously, his input and we need that; we need someone."
Mr. Babak, a native of Austria, was appointed GBPA chairman on June 1, 2006. His work permit expired in December 2009, and was not renewed by the Government.
According to an article published in January in Tribune Business, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham himself confirmed that he had personally informed Mr. Babak during a meeting at which Sir Albert Miller was present that the Government would not renew his work permit, as it did not believe he was the right person to chair the GBPA.
When asked whether there would be a replacement for Mr. Babak, Sir Jack said there are no plans at the moment to replace him.
He said the Port Authority currently holds only one work permit. He said the company's application for a second work permit for the position of special projects was also denied.
"We have one work permit in our organisation (Graham Torode, president of DEVCO), we have over 250 Bahamian employees and...I think that's a hell of a good record," added Sir Jack.
"When we applied for another work permit for Chris Johnston it was denied. We wanted him for special projects... to supervise the bridge (construction). He is an engineer of 22 years with Hutchison Whampoa, and he worked seven days and had to leave."
Sir Jack stressed that there is an urgent need for an alternate bridge, as the Casuarina Bridge is now old and the only causeway connecting Freeport and East Grand Bahama.
When asked his opinion on the state of the Grand Bahama economy, Sir Jack said he hopes it is improving.
He noted that one of the hindrances has been the high cost of power and frequent outages that have affected major businesses on the island.
"We are doing our very best. I don't know that the Government is doing their best," he commented.
"I like the building (the new government complex under construction), I think it is terrific. We gave them the site free of charge, but what they are doing to stimulate the economy, I don't know. We are doing our very best."
IN US VISA PROCEDURES
A release from the US. Embassy says the following:
US government regulations now require all individuals applying for US visas to submit DS-160 visa application forms that are fully accurate and complete.
Individuals presenting applications containing omissions or errors in biographical data (i.e. name, date of birth, and place of birth, passport number, any prior or maiden names, gender) or purpose of travel, will be required to correct the omissions and/or errors to their online applications before their interviews can take place.
Those applicants will be asked to complete the corrections and return to the US Embassy at a later time to complete processing of their visa applications.
"We encourage international travel and regret any inconvenience that these new regulations may entail. For the best possible customer service, we strongly recommend you complete your own application form in order to guarantee its accuracy," said the Embassy statement. "If you choose to have another person complete your application on your behalf, we recommend that you personally verify the accuracy of the information before the application is submitted electronically.
"Please note that biographical information in the DS-160 application form must match the information stated in your passport.
Please see our website (http://nassau.usembassy.gov) for a complete step-by-step guide on how to apply for a visa at the US Embassy in Nassau.
"We strive to provide better services for our visa customers. Therefore, we have expanded the hours offered to individuals wishing to submit application materials on behalf of minor children, 13 years of age and under. Individuals who will submit application materials on behalf of minors may now do so without a previously scheduled appointment (drop off) on Monday and Tuesday afternoons from 1pm to 3pm, except for official holidays.
"Please note that applicants 14 years of age and older with previously scheduled appointments may also submit applications for minor children at the time of their own appointments.
The Embassy said it is still accepting mail-in application materials for children under 14 via courier.
The requirements to use this service or find out additional information about the US visa application process can be found on http://nassau.usembassy.gov.
SMITH ON DAME JOAN SAWYER
Usually, we think that The Tribune columnist writes a “do do full” load of drivel but we thought last week’s column on Dame Joan Sawyer, the now departed President of the Court of Appeal was something with which we could agree:
Dame Joan Sawyer was quoted in The Nassau Guardian last week to the effect that her main purpose in life was to arrange a junket to Nassau for a bunch of British judges in 2006 and again in 2007.
The meeting of the London-based Privy Council in one of Her Majesty's lowliest former colonies has been previously described as "historic", but now it has also been revealed to be divinely inspired. And we should all be relieved to learn that the divinity in question is male.
Dame Joan, who was being interviewed on the occasion of her retirement as president of the Bahamas Court of Appeal, informed readers that God had spoken to her one night at 3 o'clock (in a masculine voice) to confirm that she had achieved her mission in life - that mission being the organisation of the judges' junket.
"I don't make plans for my life," Dame Joan confided. "My life was given to me for a purpose. As far as that voice was concerned I had fulfilled my purpose. I don't belong here (on earth)."
It is refreshing to know that one of our leading judicial figures is on such familiar terms with the deity, and to hear that she has no ambition in life other than to make travel arrangements for her former colonial masters. With all the problems and deficiencies surrounding our criminal justice system, we expected a more cogent and useful exit report.
Mellifluously described by the Guardian as "the diminutive Dame with the pleasant demeanour," Joan Sawyer was our first female Bahamian chief justice, and was appointed to head the appeal court in 2001. The Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for the Bahamas.
What do you think?
VISITS MARIO'S PALACE
Mario's Palace is a monument to the ingenuity of former PLP Minister and MP Leslie Miller but also to his murdered son Mario whose murder remains unsolved. The building is a six million dollar state-of-the-art bowling alley and restaurant. Members of the PLP took the time out to visit Mario's Palace as the special Christmas guests of the owner Leslie Miller. Mario's Palace is located on the Tonique Williams Darling Highway and has become a popular spot for families, Bahamians and visitors alike.
TEST OF WHETHER YOU ARE STRAIGHT OR NOT
The BBC reports that the government of the Czech Republic has had it up their necks with people seeking asylum in their country on the basis that they are gay and therefore cannot go back to their home country because they will be persecuted. They have come up with a test to see whether you are straight or not. The BBC describes it as a “phallometric” test. Here is the story:
Czech gay asylum 'phallometric test' criticised by EU
The EU's leading human rights agency has sharply criticised the Czech authorities for using a controversial method of testing whether homosexual asylum seekers are genuinely gay.
The Fundamental Rights Agency said the Czech Republic was the only EU country still using a "sexual arousal" test.
Gay asylum seekers are hooked up to a machine that monitors blood-flow to the penis and are then shown straight porn.
Those applicants who become aroused are denied asylum.
The agency said in a report that "it is dubious whether [the test] reaches sufficiently clear conclusions".
It said the practice could violate the European Convention on Human Rights "since this procedure touches upon a most intimate part of an individual's private life".
The interior ministry reacted angrily to the claims, saying that the "phallometric tests" had been used in fewer than 10 asylum cases.
The tests were always conducted under the supervision of experts, said the officials, and always with the asylum seeker's full written consent.
The case first came to light after a German court refused to deport an Iranian asylum seeker to the Czech Republic, saying as a homosexual he would be subjected to the test.
The Czech government's human right's commissioner, meanwhile, has described the phallometric tests as "undignified".
TO THE EDITOR
Forrester Carroll on Wikileaks...
We will know, very soon, whether Mr. Gorman Bannister had the facts right when he accused and published a dossier on a certain high ranking sitting politician, in this country, of acts of treason allegedly committed during the 1980s.
For a number of years, while publishing his “Black Belt” series, Mr. Bannister told the nation about, at least, two alleged traitors (one of whom was allegedly serving in the Pindling cabinet at the time) who were roaming freely, among our top crop of political leaders, in the 1980’s, who, he said, were complicit in providing certain sensitive, cabinet, information to United States Authorities.
Mr. Bannister, in an effort to prove the truth of what he had published, on more than one occasion, went as far as to boldly publish, what he claimed to be, actual letters written back and forth between these alleged conspirators and certain high ranking US Officials. All the documents seemed very authentic and what made the information more believable was the fact that Bannister dared the two accused (one he identified with the jailhouse number, given him by the U.S Authorities, as “C.I 1622” and the other “C.I 0842) to sue him for libel, but neither of the two alleged traitors dared to take action against him.
I said at the commencement of this article, that we will soon know whether Bannister was being truthful or not; and we will. The Nassau Guardian reported, in its Wednesday 1st December edition (front page story) that the now, very infamous, “Wiki Leaks” has 394 classified U.S. documents, on the Bahamas, to be released for public scrutiny within the next couple weeks. The documents apparently span the years 1966-2010. According to the news story, the United States Embassy has already taken the initiative to seek out Hubert Ingraham (in his capacity as the country’s CEO) to brief him on what, they seem to know already, will be coming down the pipe.
The Guardian story went on to suggest that certain aspects of the information, to be revealed, will be of a treasonous nature and those involved could be in for a whole heap of trouble. The only thing I would wish to say to Hubert Ingraham, and the person hiding behind the U.S jail tag number C.I 0842, at this point, is to remind them, both, that our parents always warned us that whatever we do in the dark will, assuredly, come out in the light. That it will be revealed and that if you are not alive, when it does, your children, or theirs, will certainly be around to suffer the embarrassment. In other words they warned us, like am warning you’ll, that whatever one does (good or bad) will become known; it is just the law of things.
C.I 1622 was the number by which the United States Authorities identified the main player, in the espionage plot, who was feeding them Pindling’s cabinet secrets. His nasty cohort was a civilian identified as C.I 0842. It was a nasty act of treason committed by two no good, traitors and I can’t wait for the documents to be released (in three weeks time they say), so all of us can know, finally for sure, the identity of these traitors.
While Gorman Bannister was hammering away at the culprits,
identified only as C.I 1622 and C.I 0842 by the United States Authorities,
trying to smoke the suckers out of their crab holes and begging them to sue
him, the country did not take Bannister or his disclosures very seriously.
We thought that Gorman was a crazy man; that no Bahamian-no matter how much
they hated Sir Lynden Pindling at the time-could run to a foreign government
with the country’s secrets; especially if the main player, in the plot, was
a cabinet minister, no less, sitting around the table like Judas, every Tuesday
morning, breaking bread with Sir Lynden, the man who gave him the cabinet
post in the first place.
Rt. Hon. Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling may be dead and gone but the truth will come out, finally, to exonerate him of all that he was falsely accused of and the suckers who bore the false accusations will be around, it seems, to face the music. If Gorman Bannister was right in his assertions and his identification of C.I. 1622, then the lead sucker is still alive, pontificating in high office and, God willing, will live at least until the next month or so, by which time his identity will be revealed. We will all then be able to look into the suckers’ drunken eyes and throw stones at them for their treasonous acts against our country. How low and nasty can one be, to sell ones country for a morsel?
I can only imagine the thoughts running through the nasty minds of the traitors when they heard the news from the U S Embassy officials. The United States Government themselves seem to be apologizing, in advance, for what they anticipate will be revealed and they seem also to be trying to mend the fences, of our mutually good relationship, which they expect to be strained when the news gets out, and the raw details known, in the Bahamian public domain.
The question for us now is; was Gorman Bannister correct in his identification of C.I 1622? If he was (and he was convinced that he was spot on) then the traitor is presently serving in high office in the government and will soon get his just desserts for his treachery.
“It is unclear when Wiki Leaks will release the documents
on the Bahamas, but questions about whether or not Bahamians committed treason,
via their involvement with the U.S Authorities, could arise if the documents
are made public,” the reporter opined. “The release of the documents, naming
Bahamians who secretly worked with the U.S. could be damning and dangerous
to those mentioned” unquote. Well I say bring it on, Wiki Leaks, and let the
chips fall where they may. We will then see who the traitors are.
Forrester J. Carroll J.P.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
FNMS Boasting About Buying The Election
The General Election widely expected to be called in the second half of next year is going to be a scrap. If you are to judge by the Elizabeth bye-election, the country is split down the middle and one third of the population is indifferent. So each vote will be a scrap. The election can go either way. The PLP has a strategy to win hearts and minds, the FNM’s strategy is to buy the election. Sources close to the FNM's leadership say that there are ten constituencies that the FNM has identified that it can buy and they intend to spend the money to buy election 2011 or 2012. They remember the boast of a former FNM fundraiser: “if the PLP thinks it saw money in the last election, wait until the next one.”
Selling E Commerce In Abaco
Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance was in Marsh Abaco with a travelling road show on e government. The Ministry of Finance is tasked with introducing e government to The Bahamas. The meeting was mainly attended by public servants and by community leaders. Not too many of the general public attended. Newly declared independent candidate for South Abaco Roscoe Thompson was there. The Minister was trotting out the familiar mantra that the government must be more responsive to the people it governs and held out the expectation that come July 2011, all you will have to do is sit in the comfort of your home no matter in which part of the world you are or The Bahamas and pay your taxes, order a driver's licence or a passport. We live in hope. He is still defending the inadequate platform of bahamas.gov.bs; blaming its failures on the computers of those who seek to access it. He should drop that. Even the Prime Minster told the House that the site is simply unacceptable. Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell attended the meeting. The meeting was held on Thursday 9th December at the Anglican Church Hall in Marsh Harbour.
Giving Out Toys In Fox Hill
MP for Fox Hill Fred Mitchell made his annual end of year appearance to give his Christmas greeting to the children of the Sandilands Primary School. Each child gets a toy and a snack. The distribution took place on Friday 10th December.
The Town Meeting In Freeport On The Bahamar Project In Freeport
The Bahamar project is the multibillion dollar project slated to begin in New Providence early next year to refurbish and redevelop Cable Beach. So the question is why did the Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes and all the FNM MPs for Grand Bahama and their retainers show up to a town meeting on Monday 6th December in Grand Bahama to promote the jobs that the project will offer for Bahamians? The crowd really wanted to know what does the FNM have to offer in the way of developments and jobs in Grand Bahama. The talk is that what Bahamar will do is strip Freeport of its population and leave the economic and social situation even more precarious than it already is and which is not being addressed by the FNM even though they hold 5 of the 6 seats in Grand Bahama.
The Bahamas International Film Festival
Congratulations to Leslie Vanderpool, the indefatigable executive director of the Bahamas International Film Festival. This year’s special award went to actor Alan Arkin for his lifetime achievements in film. The festival took place from 1st December to 5th December with the final night showing the film The King’s Speech about the father of now British Queen Elizabeth II who had a bad stammer when he became king and had to be taught to overcome it. The photo shows the 2010 BIFF Spirit Of Freedom Narrative Award Winner THE ATHLETE, Directed by Rasselas Lakew and Davey Frankel. (Photo, Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool, Juror Hannah Fisher,Film Director Rasselas Lakew, Juror Morris Ruskin and Juror Rani Sitty.) Also 2010 BIFF Winner for CONTACT ZONE, directed by Gustavius Smith
Marvin Dames To Leave The Force
The street is suggesting that there is about to be a change in the Royal Bahamas Police Force with Marvin Dames, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, slated to leave the force for a high-powered security job at the Lynden Pindling International Airport. Ironically, this is the same job that his family savaged the PLP for giving him as Assistant Commissioner of Police. Quinn McCartney, the Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, now serving in Grand Bahama is slated to replace him as Deputy Commissioner.
Dame Marguerite Pindling: How Old?
Sir Lynden O. Pindling described her on his 25th wedding anniversary as a princess. “She was a Princess when I married her and she is still a princess”, he said. Here, she is with one of the young liberals who goes by the Facebook nom de plume of Swagga Like Dat. She was born 26th June 1932, which makes her, on her last birthday; you figure it out.
Christie On Parliament Street Show Today
The Leader of the PLP will appear on the radio show Parliament Street beginning at 4 p.m. on Island FM with host Charles Carter. The phone lines will open at 5 p.m.
Junior Junkanoo Winner
The winner of the annual Junior Junkanoo Parade this year was C.R. Walker Snr. High School.
Aretha Franklin Is Ill
The press in the US is reporting that Aretha Franklin, the African American singer, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the disease that killed the Prime Minister of Barbados David Thompson earlier this year. The disease does not have a high success or cure rate. Ms. Franklin made her name with the signature tune Respect.
Blood For Etienne Farquharson PLP Stalwart
A call has gone out from Grand Bahama to help Etienne Farquharson who used to be the main aide to Kendal Nottage when he was the MP for Grand Bahama. Mr. Farquharson is to have heart bypass surgery and requires blood.
US Ambassador’s Party
The lawn of Liberty Overlook was resplendent and Christmassy as the US Ambassador Nicole Avant and her husband Ted Sarandos hosted the Embassy’s annual Christmas do. A great time was had by all on Saturday 11th December. Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill, Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs attended for the PLP along with Allyson Maynard Gibson, PLP leader in the Senate. The photo shows Captain Paul Aranha, Kim Aranha, Ted Sorandos, US Ambassador Avant and Fred Mitchell MP.
Bostwick and Nottage Bury The Hatchet
Kendal Nottage was honoured by the Bar Association at their annual Christmas luncheon on Friday 10th December. Mr. Nottage, who is recovering from a serious stroke, was one of several honourees. Henry Bostwick spoke on his behalf. It appears that despite the bitter exchanges between them in the years when they were active politicians that has all now been put aside to the surprise and delight of many.
Government Fails In Providing Stats
On 7th December, the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham gave a lousy excuse for not being able to produce the unemployment statistics for the country. He said that the Dept. of Statistics could not muster the manpower to do both the census and the labour survey. What utter rubbish. The government should have provided the wherewithal for them to do so. There are to be no excuses. The fault therefore is Mr. Ingraham’s and his government. This was the same man who in his 1995 Budget Communication spoke about the critical need for statistical information. His party made a solemn pledge to do something about it. 18 years later, they have failed. FNM; the party of failure.
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|MICHAEL MOSS TOO BIG FOR HIS BRITCHES...||CHRISTIE SAYS BTC SALE IS A BAD DEAL..|
|CHRISTIE’S VISIT TO EXUMA IN PHOTOS...||INGRAHAM SAYS DEBATE STANDARD DETERIORATES...|
|NEW TUC HEAD IS A WOMAN...||MEET THE CANDIDATE IN FREEPORT...|
|RODNEY MONCUR GETS TO BE A JP...||MISS PROFESSIONAL BAHAMAS...|
|MITCHELL PRESENTS STALWART COUNCILLOR MEDAL...||PLP TOURS THE LYNDEN PINDLING AIRPORT EXPANSION...|
|SENATOR ALLYSON GIBSON IN MID EAST...||FINI ENEAS IS 90...|
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...||IN PASSING...|
|Fred Mitchell Launches 3rd Edition of 'Great Moments In PLP History...||Fred Mitchell's 56th Birthday Party In Support of the 'Mission Fund'...|
|The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party...||The Official Site of the Free National Movement...|
|JeromeFiztgerald.org||Bahamas Government Website|
|KendredDorsett.com||Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links|
|FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...||Bahamians On The Web|
|How & Why The PLP Lost in 2007 - The Greenberg Report...||BahamasIssues.com|
|CHRISTIE ON RADIO IN EXUMA - In his second broadcast with question and answers from the public in a week Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister Perry Christie appeared on Island Breeze FM’s round table talk show live in Exuma on Thursday 2nd December. He took questions from host Dwight Hart and from the public including hard core FNM general Cecil Smith. Mr. Christie promised that Exuma would have a brighter future in the PLP. Mr. Christie later met with the leaders of Exuma’s taxi association to talk about their concerns for Exuma. Anthony Moss MP for Exuma and Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill accompanied Mr. Christie into the studios. Photo/Linda Wilson|
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
It is now official. The Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cable and Wireless to buy the controlling interest in BTC, the Bahamian telephone company for 210 million dollars, fifty million dollars less than the PLP would have sold 49 percent in the year 2007.
The PLP’s leader Perry Christie has called it a bad deal and said that the country has been shortchanged.
We call it an act of traitors. It is treachery of the worst kind. Those who vote for this divestment will be labelled traitors to The Bahamas. If you want to know what traitors look like, look no further than anyone who votes for the bill to divest BTC in this way.
The Trade Union for BTC has said that they do not support the deal and will do all they can to stop it. We applaud them for this and think that they ought to get cracking.
The PLP ought to be mobilizing public opinion against this fire sale of Bahamian assets to outside control without any thought of the wealth creating opportunities that this can provide for Bahamian entrepreneurs. It is simply sickening.
What we have is a politically blind, deaf, and dumb political directorate who are hell bent on destroying all that has been built up in the national patrimony.
Here you have a company that has built up 500 million dollars in equity over a generation of hard work and labour by Bahamians and one man and his government comes along and gives the asset away in one fell swoop never to be gotten back.
Thankfully, there is the example of Belize where the government has renationalized the company after a crooked deal went down with the last government for the sale of their national telephone company.
Perry Christie, it is over to you. Hubert Ingraham must be stopped. We are awaiting the call.
What we hear in the background is the chorus of Bahamians who are shouting out to Mr. Ingraham’s government: “Traitors! Traitors!”
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 4th December up to midnight: 99,985.
Number of hits for the month of November up to Tuesday 30th November 2010 up to midnight: 540,947.
Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 4th December 2010
up to midnight: 7,460,208.
MOSS TOO BIG FOR HIS BRITCHES
Michael Moss is supposed to be an educated and sensible man. But he has allowed his political beliefs to get in the way of sense and sensibility and decorum. Mr. Moss responded to a press release last week by Bradley Roberts, the PLP's chairman, in which Mr. Roberts questioned why Larry Smith who owns a media company was releasing information about the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas on that media company's stationery. Mr. Smith is a board member of the Corporation and it appeared without more that his company had been hired to work for the Corporation. Mr. Roberts was entirely correct to call the matter into question. You may click here for last week’s story.
Mr. Moss is the Chairman of the Corporation who recently presided over the decimation of the staff of the Corporation for political purposes. Mr. Moss called Mr. Roberts' comments asinine. The remarks by Mr. Moss were clearly out of order and make him seem like an ungracious ignoramus, as they would say in Jamaica; a butu. The problem is that under Hubert Ingraham’s FNM we have this thug culture taking over at all levels. What you have is people thinking that they can get away with high handed, insulting and stupid comments that only make them seem ignorant and yes asinine themselves.
Mr. Moss should not get too big for his britches and so far forget himself as to step out of the role that he has as the Chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation, a public entity and not the FNM Chairmanship. If he wants to be FNM Chairman then he needs to run against Carl Bethel, the present Chairman. Until then Mr. Moss should learn to govern his tongue or someone will govern it for him.
SAYS BTC SALE IS A BAD DEAL
Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie MP announced in Exuma on the Island Breeze Radio show hosted by Dwight Hart that the PLP believes that the decision by the Government under Hubert Ingraham to sell the controlling interest in BTC, the phone company, is “a bad deal” and the country “has been shortchanged”.
Mr. Christie said: “My colleagues and I will give consideration to this over the next few days. But we left in place a deal for 49 percent of BTC for 260 million dollars as compared to the FNM selling the controlling interest in BTC, 51 percent and giving control to foreigners… This is a bad deal. The country has been shortchanged.
“The control of BTC should be in the hands of the people of The Bahamas. We did not think that we would go and sell BTC's controlling interest to a foreign group that is why we purposefully kept it below 50 per cent”, Mr. Christie said.
“Why would a government of The Bahamas want to sell 51 percent and get $50 million less and not understand that a special value should go for that additional two percent? These people now have total charge for the decision making once it is executed.”
VISIT TO EXUMA IN PHOTOS
One thing we know is that when Perry Christie or any of the PLP’s leaders visit Exuma, there is a spontaneous and unrehearsed outpouring of affection. Photos of Mr. Christie’s arrival at the airport show some of that affection. Mr. Christie was visiting Exuma for his appearance on the radio show Island Breeze Round Table on Thursday 2nd December.
SAYS DEBATE STANDARD DETERIORATES
The following article appeared in The Tribune of 3rd December. Our comment follows:
THE level of debate in the House of Assembly has declined and the standard of members of parliament is not what it used to be, lamented Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday.
Despite this Mr. Ingraham implied that the behaviour of members in the Lower Chamber is not like some parliamentarians around the world.
"I'd like to encourage you to watch some other parliaments in the world. Sometimes we are very hard on ourselves but as a general statement the membership of the House today is not of the standard of the membership I met when I went to the House," said Mr. Ingraham, responding to comments made by a member of the Rotary Club of West Nassau yesterday over the private sector's displeasure at member's decorum in the House.
"Debate levels have deteriorated, they're not what they used to be, now there are many reasons for that. I don't want to get into it at this place, but when you vote next time take it into account," he quipped.
[We hope that the person who asked the question takes the Prime Minister
at his word and votes him out of office. Mr. Ingraham has been the
leader of rudeness and boorishness in parliament. He must really
think that the people of this country are stupid to hear him make this
idle lament when he is the worst offender. One only has to remember
that he is constantly grumbling and bumbling during other people’s presentations
in the House of Assembly. He is the one who called the Leader of
the Opposition “wutless”. The Prime Minister ought to be ashamed
of himself. ---Editor]
TUC HEAD IS A WOMAN
Jennifer Dotson nee Isaacs (pictured), the head of the Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas was elected the new head of the National Trade Union Congress (NCTU) on Wednesday 1st December. This is the umbrella union for a number of trade unions in The Bahamas and holds the largest membership of trade unionists. It is a first for the county, a female head of the NCTU. Mrs. Dotson defeated John Pinder, the voluble head of the Bahamas Public Services Union.
Mr. Pinder’s loyalty to the movement has been questioned in that many people feel that he speaks with both sides of his mouth: loyal to the FNM and paying lip service to the NCTU. There is also constant speculation about his lobbying for the FNM’s nomination to run against Fred Mitchell in Fox Hill. There was no comment on the loss from Mr. Pinder who normally has a lot to say.
Mr. Pinder is also suffering from an attack on his union by a group of customs and immigration officers who now have permission to form their own union and are seeking a representation agreement from the government to displace Mr. Pinder’s union as the representative for customs and immigration.
Now we wait to see whether John Pinder will go into a sulk after having lost the post as head of the NCTU and refuse to allow his union to participate in its activities, further weakening the movement.
THE CANDIDATE IN FREEPORT
PLP Senator Michael Darville is working hard to try and defeat the incumbent Kwasi Thompson in the Pineridge seat that the FNM now holds in Grand Bahama. These photos of the meet the candidate experience with Senator Darville in Freeport appeared on his Facebook page.
MONCUR GETS TO BE A JP
To show you how jacked up the FNM is, up until Michael Barnett, now Sir Michael the Chief Justice, was the Attorney General, the position of the FNM was that they were not creating any new Justices of the Peace. Now they have changed their minds without a by your leave. They have simply started giving them out. Not a word to Members of Parliament whose constituents have been asking for them for years.
The report is that when the request came from Rodney Moncur to the cabinet that Hubert Ingraham himself said “give that man a JP”… which might be saying something else in this country about who supports whom. Mr. Moncur is a civic activist, a political gadfly; as Paul Adderley said, a peripatetic political jack-in-the-box; he is everywhere. The self styled Mayor of Black Village and Chief of Countabutta is by the stroke of the pen a Justice of the Peace and we have the photo to show it as he was being sworn in by Roger Gomez the Chief Magistrate in November.
Mr. Moncur came to fame opposing the death penalty in a group headed by Ed Moxey called the Freedom and Justice Society back in the 1970s and is now on the street calling for the death penalty following the murder of one of his relatives.
BIS photo/Derek Smith
A former athlete and now a successful photographer, Fox Hill constituency resident Fabian Whyms is hosting this pageant. We encourage all to support it.
PRESENTS STALWART COUNCILLOR MEDAL
Doris Strachan, a double amputee who is a long serving member and supporter of the Progressive Liberal Party has been awarded the Party’s highest honour as Stalwart Councillor. Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill was deputized by the PLP’s Chairman Bradley Roberts to present the Stalwart Councilor’s award and medal to Mrs. Strachan at her home on Soldier Road south. The presentation was made on Sunday 28th November. Former Senator Telathor Strachan, a leader in the straw market and a friend of the honouree was present for the occasion to together with two of her grandsons and her daughter.
TOURS THE LYNDEN PINDLING AIRPORT EXPANSION
It was a deal signed when Perry Christie was the Prime Minister and he took his colleagues out to the airport to see how the work was coming along at phase one of the 200 million dollar project. The first phase is set to be completed and live by March 2011 and under budget. The photo spread shows the group of PLP MPs led by Mr. Christie on the tour.
Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson as President of the IWF is received in Amman, Jordan on 25th November, 2010 at the Senate by Speaker of the Senate, His Excellency Taher Al Masri (far left). Senator Gibson was accompanied by IWF Jordan President Reem Badran (3rd from left), who in the recent November 2010 elections in Jordan became the first woman in Amman to win a seat in the Lower House of Parliament through direct competition (as an Independent). Mrs. Badran is also the Head of the Investment Committee/Arab Economic Council – Arab League. Also accompanying Senator Gibson was IWF Board Member Haifa Fawzi Yousef Dia (far right) former Personal Assistant to HRH Crown Prince Hassan, educational consultant to Aga Khan Academies Unit and educational consultant to the Jordanian Parliament.
ENEAS IS 90
The widow of the late Dr. Cleveland Eneas and the mother of Drs. Fritzi, Judson and Agreta; Muriel 'Fini' Eneas turned 90 on Saturday 4th December. She is the retired principal of St. Anne’s Anglican School and a civic leader in her own right. Mrs. Eneas is pictured at her birthday celebration above; below with son Dr. Cleveland 'Fritzi' Eneas, grandchildren and friends Mrs. Gertrude Burnside and Mrs. Mildred Dillette; and seated, chatting with Mrs. Thelma McWeeney and friends, at bottom.
TO THE EDITOR
Cost Rite Robbery
The successful armed robbery of Cost Rite was facilitated by the one-way road. The police cannot safely travel south and quickly deal with crime in the mall. From the time of conversion of the traffic direction it was pointed out that this created a new security risk.
This government is so deaf they do not listen to themselves! They only listen to corrupting foreigners with money. Now the gas station on the corner of Blue Hill Rd. and Robinson Rd., Superwash and the other stores in that building, Kentucky on Robinson Rd are all exposed to increased risks.
They will tell you to hire more security. Except security is only another unarmed person to get shot and the cost of operation goes up. These costs will be passed to the customer who lives on a fixed income. The cost of everything is going up and the wages are not going up. This is a breakdown of the working class.
Societal stability is based on the working class. When we destroy the working class, we are in fact destroying society. The government can still correct the mess on Blue Hill Rd. and Market St. but huge egos stand in the way.
This government is actively working to make the working class poor. This results in higher crime and societal instability. And the official opposition is sooooo quiet.
We can do better. We need a real change.
Pierre Dupuch bores a new hole in Brensil Rolle in writing about
the Exuma Land and Sea Park:
Desecration of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park!
"We certainly do not agree with those who are calling on the government or the BNT to trap people into owning valuable and highly taxed land but not allow them reasonable access and use" - Bahamas National Trust.
Those were the words of wisdom uttered by the Bahamas National Trust in answer to public objections to permission granted by Minister Earl Deveaux, the Minister of Environmental Destruction, for the desecration of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. When I read them, my mind flashed back fifty eight years to a banner which was hung on the wall in the back of my high school's classroom which read: "It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt."
Everyone agrees that neither the government nor the Bahamas National Trust, or anyone else for that matter, should "trap people into owning valuable and highly taxed land ..."
In this case, who trapped whom into Bell Island? The real estate agent - did he not tell the buyer of Bell Island about the restrictions on the Island and the Exuma Land and Sea Park? I doubt it. Was it the people at the Bahamas National Trust who failed to advise the buyer? After all, they had to give their approval for the sale of the land. I doubt it. Or, alas, did the Government, who had to give permission for a foreigner to purchase the land, not tell the purchaser of the restrictions?
After all, the Exuma Land and Sea Park did not just spring up from nowhere. If the folks at the Bahamas National Trust would care to read the act, the coordinates of the Sea Park were made law in 1959.
Forgetting the saying "buyers beware," the sale of Bell Island was not just a land deal where only the real estate company and the buyer was involved. Four entities had to be involved in the sale of Bell Island - the buyer, the real estate broker, the government and the Bahamas National Trust. I cannot believe that at least one of those entities did not advise the buyer that there were restrictions.
I believe he was advised by all three local entities. Many years ago, I bought land in Gleniston Gardens. I was told before I bought it that there were certain restrictions. It was at that point that I had to decide whether or not the restrictions were acceptable to me. It was at that point I could have said "yes or no" to the purchase. These restrictions were placed on it by the developer. The restrictions placed on Bell Island and the Exuma Land and Sea Park were placed there by LAW.
In my last comment about Bell Island and the Exuma Land and Sea Park, I said that Mrs. Lynn Holowesko was President of the Bahamas National Trust when the Exuma Land and Sea Park was established. I was wrong. The Sea Park was established in 1959 when Mrs. Holowesko was still in school. For this, I apologize. She was, however, President of the BNT from 1976 to 1982 and again from 1984 to 1991. During her terms as President the restrictions about taking ones catch from the Park were rigorously enforced, and as President she was a staunch defender of the Land and Sea Park regulations.
Several days ago, Mr. Brensil Rolle said that the Park should be "managed" better. What is he talking about? A warden is already there and arrests anybody fishing in the Park. Unfortunately, the warden doesn't police helicopters flying overhead apparently making arrangements, in my opinion, to rape the park. It is best that Mr. Rolle keep his mouth shut!!!
During the course of these articles, someone wrote to say that the "little man" was not worried about what reef was being destroyed, or lionfish, or sea cucumbers being taken from the sea bed; the "little man" was worried about where the next job was coming from. He was right and he was wrong. In the short run, he was right. His first responsibility is to feed his family. But his responsibility does not stop there; he must help decide where the children yet unborn, when we're six feet under and pushing lilies, are going to find employment to feed their families.
If we allow developers to destroy our most valuable asset now, which could provide for our yet unborn children, we will have failed in our second responsibility and that is to leave this a better, more productive place than we found it.
The Exuma Land and Sea Park is a valuable asset. It could provide employment for generations to come. Its asset is beauty that can be packaged and sold many times over and remain to be sold again. There are only two such assets in the world and beauty is one of them.
To say that dredging over four areas of land, fifteen feet deep, will not cause damage to the surrounding reef, change the flow of water in the area and cause erosion is utter hogwash!!!! And the Minister knows it.
Reasonable access? I am told that Bell Island is on the edge of the park and that there is deep water on the other side. Is that not reasonable access?
Or, is access and use not really the story here? Several years ago, I was told that strip mining rock on these islands could be a multi billion dollar business. I was told that there was a company which will ... or already has ... made application to mine rock here under the "guise" of tourism development. Rock mined from fresh water is even more valuable. I understand further that applications have been made to mine areas of fresh water in Andros and opening them to the sea, thus destroying fresh water lenses in Andros.
When you strip mine, there is nothing left but a hole. Do we want to leave our grand children an empty hole, a hole of despair?
This whole sordid affair begs a number of questions:
1. Who was the public relations person or firm on the payroll of the Bahamas National Trust when this "deal" at Bell Island and the Exuma Sea Park was made?
2. What is the name or names of the companies doing the dredging at Bell Island and the Exuma Sea Park?
3. Who are the owners (front room and back room) of these dredging companies?
4. Where does the rock dredged from these sites go?
5. How many permits have been applied for and how many granted to do this kind of mining in The Bahamas?
6. Does the government benefit financially from any of this?
7. Name the islands and the locations on the islands that have already or are in the process of being mined.
8. Who commissioned the environmental impact study of the Park and who paid for it?
I still smell a rat!!
My advice to Mr. Eric Carey at the Bahamas National Trust is: Don’t be the fall guy ... just duck!!
By the way, what's happened to all these investigative reporters running around here? Are they too busy looking through keyholes, finding out who's sleeping with whom, or who's picking up whom in dark alleys?
Pierre V.L. Dupuch
November 17, 2010
Carroll Explains Customs Tariffs & Defends Small Aircraft Operators...
This FNM Administration and the one before it (1997-2002) have burdened poor Bahamians with increased (direct and indirect) taxation, the likes of which have never before been experienced, by Bahamians, in our Bahamas. They are now demanding that local airline operators pay ten per cent (10%) customs duties on aircrafts, parts and accessories imported, by them, retroactive to 1995. In addition to being an illegal move it will accrue to further, increased, cost to the travelling public. If the local airline operators acquiesce to this illegal demand, who do you think will pay, ultimately? You guessed it; you and I, of course.
In their 2008/2009 budget, the Ingraham Administration changed the entire customs tariff regime when they amalgamated the rate of stamp tax (at the time 7%) to that of the duty rates. In doing this the result was a drastic increase in the rates of customs duties, payable, on the various imports, into the country, especially for those Bahamians who shop, for the most part, and bring their purchases with them in their luggage. Bahamians, at large, are still at a loss as to the degree the effects of the increases have had on their households’ bottom line.
Shortly after the changes came into effect the PLP on Grand Bahama issued a press statement where yours truly was featured explaining, in some detail, how the FNM (contrary to what they were claiming that they were decreasing customs duties) had in fact increased customs duties astronomically. What they did, in fact, was eliminated (yes) the 2% stamp tax which was payable, up to 30th June 2008, on the food items (totalling160 they said) listed under the miscellaneous tariff headings found between chapters 01-21, of the tariff act, but what they didn’t tell you (but I did in our press release) was that while they did reduce those 160 items by 2%, simultaneously, they increased the remaining, estimated 160,000 items listed in chapters 22-97 by 10%-18%. Mr. Know-it-all, Zhivargo Laing, in his rebuttal took issue with me exposing their fraud and publicly accused me of being; quote, “politically mischievous.” He never gave regard to the facts, as I explained them, mind you, nor did he give me credit for knowing more about these matters than he, Ingraham and his brother-in-law (all three) put together. He just jumped on the political band wagon and trivialized what I explained as, simply, political mischief. Ingraham certainly taught him, well, how to bull-skate his way out these hot spots and to lie and deceive his way out of truthful accusations hurled against him.
Up to June 30th 2008 a returning resident, paying customs duties on say shirts, pants and dresses, would have paid at the rate of 25%. On the very next day (1st July 2008), when the budget took effect, due to the major tariff regime changes that fiscal year, the tariff rate on those same items automatically increased to 35%. You are now wondering how come, right?
Well when Ingraham and Laing amalgamated the 7% stamp tax into the duty rate and then round up the 7% to 10% it became part of the duty rate and the law, that exempted the passenger with accompanied dutiable items in his or her luggage up to June 30th 2008, fell away; hence the automatic 10% increase. The 7% stamp tax was payable only when the submission of customs C-13 forms were required when declaring imports for the payment of customs duties, but in the case of passengers arriving by air or sea, the forms were not required, by law, and therefore the 7% was not payable. Ingraham’s tariff regime changes brought about that critical change, as well, making it 10% more expensive for poor Bahamians who, for the most part, go away to shop and bring their purchases with them on the plane or boat.
Then there were items like Lubricating oils, which attracted the rate of 27%, up to June 30th 2008, which saw an increase of 18% to the 45% it still is today and you are wondering why motor oil is so expensive? Wonder no more. The duo (Laing and Ingraham) failed, intentionally as well, to tell the public of these increases but chose rather to lie, deceive and to insist that I was being politically mischievous when I explained the facts, in our press release. Laing and Ingraham only wanted you to know about the lousy 2% they eliminated from the 160 items, which they kept bragging about, but not a word, to you, about the 10%-18% increases on the remaining 160,000 items of the headings found under chapters 22-97 of the tariff act.
“We were hoodwinked,” would have been the term we used, when growing up, in describing how we were deceived by this FNM Government. They told us the little that we wanted to hear but the real truth of what they did to us they kept silent. When I exposed them, though, they took a swipe at my good character. I challenged Laing and Ingraham at the time, with the facts, and I challenge them now, to show me where I was wrong and where they were right (the deceitful *&!#).
We have barely gotten over that shock when in the budget, passed
this year for (2010/2011); they increased the tariff rates again; only
this time the average increases are more drastic, on all vehicles and heavy
equipment, of around 30%. Not only that but the suckers have increased
our drivers licence fees, as well, by $5 per year and the vehicle inspection
fees by $10. Fees on documents, to be stamped by the treasury, have increased
by almost 300%, and if you wish to file a document with the courts, I am
told, you will be required to pay a small fortune (they increased the fee
from 9$ to $300) due to this FNM’s increased taxation exercise.
But to refocus our attention on the local Bahamian Airline Operators’ dilemma, I am happy to have been told that they have banded themselves together and have engaged the services of legal counsel to fight this customs decision to go after them for 10% retroactive customs duties. If they fail to fight and the decision is allowed to stand many of the small carriers, which we have come to rely heavily upon for an “on time” travelling experience, will be put out of business. I have privately offered (and now publicly do so) any advice legal counsel may need in fully understanding aspects of the tariff which puts, in my view, the local carriers in good stead to win this argument against Ingraham, who is the real culprit behind this move by the Comptroller of Customs.
I have some questions though, for the comptroller of customs, regarding his legal position on this matter and as to how his department proposes to handle these aircraft with respect to the paperwork (if he is able to get the operators to pay what he is asking) when they fly back and forth-in and out of the country. Will he require an export entry, to be submitted, each time they fly out of the Bahamas and an import entry when they fly back in? Suppose a carrier makes multiple trips, overseas, each day for seven days each week; will the comptroller require them to submit multiple export/import entries each time they file a flight plan and make a flight (which will be the only legal way of handling them when they fly in and out)? Are you beginning to see, now, how stupid an idea this is that he (comptroller) has begun to pursue?
According to the newspapers, the comptroller has threatened the operators to confiscate their aircrafts if they fail to pay the duties called for, within the next two weeks, but I say to the operators don’t pay a damn red cent; let him, Laing and Ingraham(who gave him the instructions in the first place to target you all) confiscate the crafts. Better still, why don’t you operators suspend your operations; fly all your aircraft out to Opa Locka Fla or somewhere else and leave them there until Ingraham finds his senses. The Operators, according to the media, have apparently appealed to Ingraham but what good will that do I ask, when in fact it was Ingraham himself who instructed the comptroller to go after you in the first place. Do you think, for one minute, that Gomez (comptroller) would have the testicles to take such a position, on his own, without the concurrence of Ingraham himself? Come on guys; think, this man is only a puppet-on-a-string and has been ever since he was planted in the comptroller’s chair, by Hubert Ingraham, to do his dutty work.
Has the comptroller told Sky Bahamas or Westin Air or Regional Air or any of the other private operators how much money is owed by each carrier? Do you wish to know why he hasn’t told you? Because he has no information; he has no records; he has nothing; all he was told to do was to shoot an arrow in the dark; he did and now Ingraham thinks that the arrow has hit its mark and he hopes that you operators will be frightened enough to go to customs and throw yourselves at their mercy but I repeat my advice; you owe Ingraham nothing and you should pay him exactly that-nothing.
I am fully aware of what the tariff says about the 10% customs duties payable, but this came about only as a result of Ingraham making all the changes to the tariff act, in his and Laing’s 2008/2009 budget. Prior to July 1st 2008, Aircrafts, their parts, tires and all accessories were always allowed to be imported duty free unless, of course, a unit was shipped into the country as cargo, in which case the 7% stamp tax would have been levied. Quite frankly I am convinced that this is another one of those many errors occurring with the tariff changes, which Laing and Ingraham overlooked when they hurriedly implemented without thinking things through, as in the case of Bibles and other printed books which they eventually got around to correcting after being shamed by the public outcry. Besides legislation cannot be enforced (except in very special circumstances) retroactively I am told, by those persons more knowledgeable in legal matters than I am. And so in this circumstance (legally), customs will not be able to go back to 1995, as they have threatened the local airline operators that they intend to do. The law is not on their side, I am advised, for their retroactive claim for, as I said before, on importation aircrafts and all accessories were legally duty free up to June 30th 2008. I am further advised that none of the operators, in the country, have imported any new orders of aircrafts since July 1st 2008 and therefore not in breach of any customs laws and have no case to answer. Bahamas Customs have no case to put against them either and no money to collect from them. All aircraft, I am told, have been in the operators’ possession long before 2008, so there. If the comptroller persists, will he also go after those long time residents who live here for many months in the year as winter or part time residents and who keep their private aircraft here for all that time? Many of them leave their planes here and fly back and forth, at times, and commercially. Are you going to go after them as well Mr. Comptroller/Hubert Ingraham/Zhivargo Laing?
I read the silly answer that Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace gave the reporter, who asked him about the possible effects the Customs Comptroller’s demand if adhered to would have on the tourist trade; he said something to the effect that any prudent business person would provide for the payment of such expenses in their company’s budget. Ingraham was just as asinine, in his stupid response, when he was asked; he told the reporter, in essence, that no one is above the law. What he meant to say is (I am sure) that no one except him is above the law. He is right about no one being above the law, though, and that is why I say to the local private airline operators, in the country, that they don’t owe Bahamas Customs a damn red copper and not to succumb to this desperate threat from the Ingraham, revenue-starved, Administration. They are simply desperate for money and they are turning over all the rocks they can find to see what they can get; by hook or by crook. If, however, there were airplanes imported after July 1st 2008, according to the customs tariff (which I contend is really an error which was not corrected when they corrected the duty error on the Bibles) 10% of the landed value of each would have been payable at the time of importation, but I am assured that there were none imported after the coming into effect of the budget changes of July 1st 2008. The PLP government will fix this mess, though, when we take office in 2011 or 2012 after the bell rings for the next election. Aircraft, their parts and the accessories should all be allowed to be imported completely duty free as they have been all through the 30 years that the PLP governed the country and will be again.
I perceive that desperation, for revenue, has set in and it is driving
Ingraham up the wall. He will try anything to get more revenue dollars
into the treasury but there is no more to be had, Hubert. Like a wounded
lion, he will do all sorts of nonsense to stay alive but you are political
dead meat, Hubert Ingraham. There is no more juice in this orange, so you
might as well stop squeezing. They’ve (Ingraham and Laing) been trying
to squeeze Port Authority Licensees, in Freeport, using similar tactics,
in breach of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement but found that we were not going
to sit and allow the likes of him (Ingraham) and Laing to take advantage
of us. Now they are trying to put you small, very dependable, commuter
airlines completely out of business but their threats, in this regard,
will fail as well. Desperation will cause a desperate fool to do crazy
things like give away BTC for a mere pittance.
Forrester J. Carroll J.P.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
The National Democratic Party, the latest attempt by non-PLP and non UBP Bahamians, to start a successful third party movement, held its convention with a lot of fanfare and even a live broadcast on Wednesday 1st December at Worker’s House. The new leader of the party is Renward Wells, who is a civil servant, and who has been warned reportedly by the Prime Minister that the rules call for him to resign from the public service once he takes on the leadership role. The Deputy Leader is economist Lynden Nairn.
Customs Madness On Airplanes
The small new and developing private airline business in The Bahamas received a body blow last week when they all received letters telling them that they have fourteen days to pay up ten percent duty on importing their planes into The Bahamas. For some this will mean an unexpected bill of as high as $400,000 that must be found within fourteen days. They have appealed to Customs for time to pay but the Customs Controller has reportedly told them that the Prime Minister says that they must pay and pay now, because the government is desperate for the money. The law has been on the books, Customs argues, but unenforced until now. Randy Butler, who owns and runs Sky Bahamas, said that if Customs goes ahead with their plan, the local domestic airline industry would shut down. The irony is that the planes are leased in many instances so these companies will be paying duty on planes that they do not actually own.
[Forrester Carroll tackles this issue today - click here.]
Grouper Season Closed
The government has announced that there is a closed season for the Nassau Grouper throughout the entire country beginning 1st December 2010 and ending 28th February 2011. The closed season is an innovation of the Marine Resources Department that it is hoped will help save the last aggregating and spawning grouper population in the Caribbean region. All the other populations have collapsed. The fishermen argue that the scientists are wrong. They also add that the ban is unenforceable against anyone but Bahamians and that fishermen from Santo Domingo are continuing to take the fish off the Bahama banks without the Royal Bahamas Defence Force being able to stop them.
Attorney General’s Website
Attorney General John Delaney announced during the past week that his office has started a new website that will be the official website of the Office of the Attorney General. They are using www.bahamas.gov.bs/attorneygeneral. The new site went live on 1st December.
E Passport News
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 officially launched its E-Calendar, an online application for Bahamians to apply for their E-passport and make an appointment for enrolment at the Passport Office. The process is aimed at reducing the timeframe in which an E-passport is processed and issued. Applicants can log on to http://epassport.bahamas.gov.bs fill out the application and submit it to the Passport Office in New Providence. The Ministry says that they are now down to two weeks in terms of delivery of a passport.
New African Judge
The Hon. Abduial Conteh (left) is pictured being sworn in as a Justice of the Court of Appeal by Governor-General Sir Arthur Foulkes on Monday, 29th November 2010, in the drawing room at Government House. Mr. Justice of Appeal Conteh is from Sierra Leone but comes to The Bahamas from Belize where he served in the Court of Appeal.
World Aids Day
Wednesday 1st December was World Aids Day. There was a church service at Sacred Heart Catholic Church attended by officials and schoolchildren to mark the day sponsored by the AIDS Secretariat and the AIDS Foundation. Fr. Mel Taylor presided.
One Policeman Shoots Another
The Nassau Guardian reported on Friday 3rd December that a police inspector attached to the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) was in critical condition at Doctors Hospital on 2nd December after he was accidentally shot in the chest by another police officer. Inspector Archie Miller was shot around 5 a.m. during a police operation in southwestern New Providence. Assistant Commissioner Hulan Hanna said surgery was performed on the officer and he remained at the Intensive Care Unit at Doctors Hospital. Hanna did not name the officer who shot Inspector Miller, but described the shooting as accidental. This is the second officer to be shot in less than a month. The scuttlebutt is that the officer who shot the other officer was asleep in the police car and when the shot officer went to the car and tapped on the window, the officer in the car took out his service revolver and shot the officer outside.
Wind Power For Freeport
The Canadian Energy company Emera that up to last week owned only 25 percent in the Freeport Power Company has now purchased the holdings of the St. George family in the company from 41 million dollars. The press says that this makes them the majority shareholder. The company was said to have read the riot act to Freeport Power about the continued and embarrassing power cuts to Freeport. The promise is that all of that may stop, as there is investment in new equipment including a promise of converting Freeport’s power supply to wind power.
Murders Continue and Continue
The murders continue in The Bahamas to set records. Last week, the country passed another gruesome milestone, exceeding the 88-murder mark set as the highest ever last year. The count now stands at 91. Hubert Ingraham lied to the country while on radio Love 97 last week when he claimed that when he left office the number of murders was 41. In fact, when he left office, 2001 was up to then the highest ever number of murders in a year.
The US Leaked Documents And The Bahamas
Bahamians are waiting with great expectations to see what the United States authorities thought of our leaders during the period 1966 to 2010. The Wikileaks website has announced that they have cables from the US State Department that were heretofore secret about amongst other countries The Bahamas. The Guardian carried the story with banner headlines during the past week. The blogs have been predicting that they will confirm that Hubert Ingraham worked for the US government when he was in Opposition. Some have suggested that Cable Bahamas may be blocking the ability of Bahamians to get to the Wikileaks site.
Widespread Wiretapping By Police Of Politicians?
We have reports that there is widespread wiretapping of politicians and civil society leaders in The Bahamas at the behest of the leaders of the Free National Movement in Government. One police source said that it is unbelievable what they are doing listening in on people’s conversations. This comes on the heels of reports from the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago that her predecessors approved the tapping of the phones of leaders of the country including herself when she was leader of the Opposition and the President of the country.
Dominica To Have General Elections
Prime Minister Arthur Skerritt of Dominica has called a General Election for 18th December. This is the second General Election in the region. The other General Election is being held in St. Vincent where Ralph Gonsalves is seeking a third term as Prime Minister.
Bar Association Seminar
The Bahamas Bar Council sponsored a seminar on the proposed new rules of the Supreme Court, which are to come into effect next year. The rules seem unnecessarily complicated for an exercise that is supposed to make litigation cheaper, faster and more just. The experience in Barbados is that it is a nightmare of bureaucracy. The seminar was held at the British Colonial Hilton on Friday 3rd December.
Threatening Letter From Louis Bacon’s Lawyers
We have received a letter from the host server of this website threatening legal action if the story about Louis Bacon, the rich guy out at Lyford Cay in The Bahamas who is in a fight with Peter Nygard another rich guy in the ghetto for the rich called Lyford Cay in The Bahamas is not taken off the site. The lawyers of Mr. Bacon were particularly exercised about certain allegations that were made in a story run by the Daily Mail and the link to the Daily Mail. We do not believe that this is like China where you rewrite the history of something that is already uploaded and published but, given the legal threats, it is probably advisable that we take the link off and we have. In any event, we never warrant the truth of what other sites say but only assert that this is what they said.
Pastor Timothy Stuarts Anniversary
Calvin Butt of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York was the guest preacher at the 28th anniversary service of Rev. Timothy Stewart at Bethel Baptist Church, Nassau today.