Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames... Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
Volume 9 © BahamasUncensored.com 2011
January 1st, 2012
January 8th, 2012
January 22nd, 2012
January 29nd, 2012
|1st. January ,
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Junkanoo the Saxons won. THE SAXONS were victorious at the Boxing Day Junkanoo parade, with One Family pulling in behind them in second place. The Roots Junkanoo group finished in third place, followed by the Valley Boys, Prodigal Sons and Music Makers. Percy Vola Francis is the king of Junkanoo at least until New Year’s Day Junkanoo. One Family the group founded by the late Jackson Burnside was the emotional favourite of the crowd when they came out in memory of their late founder. But it was the Saxons that predominated. For our money though what was magical was the theme Let It Snow and Peter Ramsay was there to capture that theme in his photo which is the photo of the week. Congratulations to all on a fine parade and best wishes to all on New Year’s Day.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday was the last day of the year. We have had hits for the year 2011 on this site. Thank you to all loyal readers. It has been a difficult year for all Bahamians and we do not see light at the end of the tunnel for next year. We are looking through a glass darkly. But we think that it is important to remain positive. Once again let us hope that 2011 is the last year that we will see Hubert Ingraham as Prime Minister of this country, a veritable political albatross around the necks the Bahamian people. Go and he must go sooner rather than later. Please enjoy the New Year safely.)
It is a helluva thing when you have the Prime Minister of a country who has no moral compass. That is exactly what we now have in The Bahamas. Last week, we showed an exchange of e mails between the Prime Minister and Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill which shows why Hubert Ingraham cannot be trusted as Prime Minister to know when it is time for politics and when it is time for honest relations with an adversary. There is no distinction. That is the difficulty which the PLP has had in dealing with him. The PLP is playing by an old set of rules. Today under the Hubert Ingraham dispensation those rules of civility and honest dealings do not apply. If the PLP does not get it, then it will suffer an ignominious fate.
Last week showed that when contacted to dispense a government programme and give support to the people of Fox Hill and their local Junkanoo group, the Prime Minister chose instead to attack the member of parliament with insults and then he leaked the information to his would be candidate for Fox Hill who then showed up with five thousand dollars in hand.
So the MP of course ended up in a strange way doing for the Fox Hill Congos what they needed anyway. Mr. Ingraham thought he was being smart, but too smart for his own bloody good.
We say this as we reflect on the year gone by and the untold suffering which Hubert Ingraham and his government have inflicted on this country. They are clueless as the MP for Golden Gates likes to say. The fact is that they are completely oblivious to what is happening in the country all around them. The ground has shifted on them and they don’t know it.
Consider the asinine comments of Carl Bethel, the chairman of the FNM who incredibly claimed that people will forget about the problems of roads in New Providence when they see how good they look as the election nears. Does the think that all those people who lost their businesses and livelihoods will forget about how they lost
their business once they see the pretty roads? How idiotic?
Then incredibly again Michael Turnquest who is a Deputy Chairman of the Free National Movement and a would be candidate for the party in the next election told Bahamians that no matter what they should spend, spend and spend. He said that this would somehow help the economy. How can you spend if you have no money? These are the same people who would then argue that poor people spend beyond their means?
This FNM bunch is simply clueless.
On Thursday 29th December the left of centre party the PNP in Jamaica led by Portia Simpson Miller stormed back into power against the odds with a 41 to 22 seat majority after losing power less than five years ago. We think that the FNM should take note. It is a portent of things to come. The issues are the same in The Bahamas: a government concentrating on the macro; things over people. We predict The Bahamas will follow Jamaica and vote them out. First the British Virgin islands restored their former government to power, then the people of St. Lucia, now Jamaica and next we think will be the people of The Bahamas.
It is not longer than it has been.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 31st December 2011 up to midnight:
Number of hits for the month o December up to Saturday 31st December 2011 up to midnight:
Number of hits for the year 2011 up to Saturday 31st December 2011 up to midnight:
PHOTOS FROM JUNKANOO
SIR CLIFFORD DARLING PASSES AWAY
We announce with great regret and sadness the passing of Sir Clifford Darling, the former trade union leader, former Senator, former Member of Parliament, Minister of the government, former Speaker of the House of Assembly and former Governor General. Sir Clifford who was knighted by her Majesty The Queen personally in 1977 was born in 1922 in Chester’s, Acklins Island in the remotest spot in The Bahamas. MP Fred Mitchell speaking in the House a few weeks ago said that he admired Sir Clifford’s courage and wondered what caused a man who came from such humble beginnings to stand up and bring the Bay Street establishment to its knees. Funeral Services will be held for Sir Clifford at the Zion Baptist Church where he worshipped in Nassau on 5th January. It will be a state funeral. He was 89 years old when he died at the Princes Margaret Hospital on Tuesday 27th December 2011. May he rest in peace!.
PLP COMMENTS ON SIR CLIFFORD
The Leader of The Progressive Liberal Party Perry G. Christie offered this formal statement on the passing of the former Governor General Sir Clifford Darling:
PRESS RELEASE BY THE RT. HON. PERRY G. CHRISTIE PC MP
I mourn the passing of our esteemed former Governor-General, Sir Clifford Darling, one of the major builders of the modern Bahamas and a true national hero.
Sir Clifford was credited with many diverse distinctions in the public life of The Bahamas. He was a parliamentarian for more than a quarter of a century, during the course of which he served as a Minister - most notably as Minister of National Insurance - and then later as Speaker of the House of Assembly before being elevated to the office of Governor-General, the highest office in the land.
However, as impressive as those achievements were, it was Sir Clifford's courageous leadership during the 1958 General Strike that constituted his greatest single accomplishment. As the leader of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union at the time, it was Sir Clifford who instigated and led what is rightly regarded as the largest and most successful struggle in the entire history of the labour movement in The Bahamas, a struggle that began with the blockading of the airport by Sir Clifford and his fellow taxi-drivers.
Of even greater significance than that, however, it was the General Strike that sparked the final phase of the political struggle that would lead to the attainment of Majority Rule in 1967. Clifford Darling was a major figure in that political struggle as well under the banner of the Progressive Liberal Party.
At a more personal level, Sir Clifford will be remembered by all who knew him as a man of exceptional modesty and uncommon humility. Indeed, it is largely because of that that his achievements, especially in relation to the 1958 General Strike, are not as well known as they should be. Sir Clifford was also a true Christian gentleman from the old school who treated everyone with kindness and courtesy. He was a wonderful example of civility, even towards his political foes.
Above all, Sir Clifford was a man of tremendous compassion, courage and integrity. He was determined to play his part in the alleviation of human suffering and the upliftment of a long oppressed people. In all his endeavours towards these noble ends, he succeeded grandly, and as a nation we are all the richer for it.
On behalf of the Progressive Liberal Party and on behalf of my wife, Bernadette, and on my own behalf, I extend heartfelt condolences to Sir Clifford's widow, Igrid Lady Darling and to all his children and wider family.
May the soul of this great Bahamian rest in peace.
YOUTH LEADER COMMENTS ON SIR CLIFFORD
Latrae Rahming, the head of the Youth Advisory Council issued this statement on the passing of Sir Clifford Darling:
December 27, 2011
I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Sir Clifford Darling, Sir Clifford was many things to many people: a person who served others; a husband who supported his wife , a former Governor General and Speaker of The House. But above all, he will be remembered as one of the best leaders in our nation's history ,he was a champion for those who had none, and as an extraordinary individual ,and who, as much as anyone, taught our nation , that no physical or mental barrier can resist the power of the human capacity. His leadership greatly enriched the lives of many Bahamians throughout our country. Like many , I was inspired by his words and leadership. ,He was a testament to the strength of a human and what we can achieve if each Bahamian do their individual part in shaping the Bahamas.
He along with others marched and summon their voices to protect the rights of their union. He will remain a symbol to others because of the shared sacrifices that he made. Our nation has lost a patriotic Bahamian and a distinguished public servant. Whether it was a President of a Union, Senator, Member of Parliament , Speaker of the House , or Governor General he fought to retain our country's founding ideals of equality, justice, and opportunity for all.
His love of country was incalculable , he will always be remembered in the hearts of every Bahamian. He had a vision that engaged and played an instrumental role in national insurance ,which many benefit from today. Sir Clifford Darling embodied extraordinary the qualities of an outstanding citizen, his continuous faith in our future and his endless devotion to public service provide a lasting light. His life and career will continue to inspire many young persons who aspire to serve their country. On behalf of the Advisory Youth Council Of The Bahamas we extend our condolences , our thoughts and prayers are with entire Darling family.
THE STORY OF FR. THEOPHILE BROWN
In honour of the memory of Rev. Fr. Theophile Brown, the former Headmaster of St. Augustine’s College in Nassau, the former French and Latin teacher at the school, and the former Prior of the St. Augustine’s Monastery who died on Christmas Eve 2011, we present this obituary which appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch on 28th December 2011.
Father Theophile Waldorf Brown
BROWN, Father Theophile Waldorf, O.S.B. of Mary Mother of the Church Benedictine Abbey, entered eternal life on December 24, 2011. He patiently endured the ravages of tongue and throat cancer for several months and died peacefully at St. Mary's Hospital. Born August 24, 1925 in Richmond, Va., Father Theophile was the third son of Thomas and Sarah (Taylor) Brown. He is survived by an older brother, Thomas; as well as a host of nieces and nephews and cousins . He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and two brothers. After high school graduation, he worked a few years and attended Van de Vyver Adult Education Center and then entered the monastery at St. John Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he professed his first vows on July 11, 1950 and later continued his education there. Father Theophile was ordained to the priesthood on May 19, 1956. He was the first Afro-American priest ordained from the Diocese of Richmond. After his ordination, he was assigned to St. Augustine's Monastery in Nassau, the Bahamas, where he was Prior for 10 years. He also taught at St. Augustine High School and assisted at parishes in Nassau for 38 years. In 1994, he transferred his stability to Mary Mother of the Church Abbey in Richmond, Va. so that he could be near his family. He served his new community as prior, and later as novice master. He was spiritual director of the Benedictine Oblates. He also taught French at Benedictine College Preparatory School. Father Theophile was an accomplished musician and played the organ at the
liturgy at the Abbey. He also assisted in celebrating weekend Mass at various parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond and served many years as Chaplain of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Father Theophile was very active in his monastic community until three months before his death. A visitation will be held on Thursday, December 29, 2011 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at The Little Sisters of the Poor. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Friday, December 30, 2011 at Mary Mother of the Church Benedictine Abbey, with the interment to follow in the church cemetery. In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to the All Saints Catholic School, 3814 Noble Ave., Richmond, Mary Mother of the Church Benedictine Abbey, or a charity of your choice .
DEATH IN THE EARLY MORNING
It turned out to be murder number 125. Since that time there have been two others in the bloody carnage of the Bahamian times of today. Up to midnight at the turning of the year, 127 people died as a result of homicides in The Bahamas. This in the face of a Prime Minister who condemned the PLP when the murder count was half of what it was when the PLP was kicked out of office in 2007. He said he would hang his head in shame if his record was that of the PLP. We say he should be horsewhipped for being such a useless chump. Murder number 125 took place early in the morning on December. A young man, 25 years old, with a baby daughter, was with a group of women coming back from a night of fun at Club Luna, the Blackout was what the event was called. It turned out to be lights out for him. As he was leaving the event, on East Bay Street, he was allegedly pursued by someone in a Honda vehicle; they say someone with whom he had had an argument over a girl at the Club. The “someone” pursued him after he left, pulled up to his vehicle on the road and shot him dead. A day later in Chippingham, a car rolls up to a bar in the area, and shots again ring out. One man is left dying in the streets. That was 126. And then 127, the picture of which is on the front page of The Tribune of Saturday 31st December. Farewell 2011. The FNM must go.
CLAY SWEETING ON BEC FAILURES IN HARBOUR IS.
The Progressive Liberal Party’s candidate for North Eleuthera Clay Sweeting issued a statement last week about the power cuts in North Eleuthera and Harbour Island in particular. This gives the lie to the promises of the FNM that the power situation has been resolved in that part of The Bahamas where the rich and famous live and play from around the world. It is badly affecting the tourist product. The words were not out of his mouth properly before the PLPs’ candidate for South Abaco Gary Sawyer joined in saying that the same thing was occurring in South Abaco where the government has spent just over one hundred million dollars to resolve the power issues and they are still having power cuts:
Clay Sweeting, PLP Candidate for North Eleuthera
BEC Widespread Blackouts Continue Despite Assurances By The Government
27th December 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Despite numerous assurances given by the government and BEC, the vexing problem of power outages in New Providence and the Family Islands continue, disrupting the lives of residents, visitors and adversely impacting many businesses.
Harbour Island suffered power outages on Monday of this week - the third blackout in one week. This is wreaking havoc on tourism, the lifeblood of that community. The public will recall that in November 2011, BEC disclosed that the power issues plaguing Harbour Island were 95% resolved, but after expending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to fix this problem, the blackouts continue unabated. It is the hard working people of Harbour Island and Eleuthera who are adversely affected by Government’s neglect in the provision of basic and reliable utilities such as electricity.
I am reliably informed of the continuing power outages in Abaco. The FNM’s record on BEC in Abaco is absolutely disgraceful, as the Wilson City power generation plant has suffered cost overruns in excess of $25 million to-date. To add insult to injury, special transformers are reportedly now needed for parts of the Abaco electrical grid to the tune of some additional $10 million.
So almost five years after an electrification project left in place by the PLP was cancelled by the FNM and their alternative potentially $35 million over budget, there is no relief in sight for the residents, visitors and businesses of Abaco; this is criminal and reeks of mismanagement as the government clearly failed to place Bahamians first.
Government’s failure to properly plan and prudently allocate scarce financial resources have turned many lives upside down, caused businesses to fail and has put too many people out of work. This Government has mismanaged and has placed politics before people and as a result, has placed additional and needless financial burdens on the backs of an already overburdened, taxed-out Bahamian working class and future generations to come. This cannot be right.
In New Providence, there were a number of power outages with no explanation from BEC or the government ministers responsible. The public is reminded that BEC recently leased additional power plants to the tune of some $20 million and assured the general public that this problem was resolved and as of yesterday, this problem of blackouts continued.
I call on the ministers responsible to account to the Bahamian people by explaining why these blackouts continue literally nationwide after tens of millions of dollars were expended to solve them and after assurances were given to the general public by the government over and repeatedly that these issues were being resolved.
ELAINE PINDER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS AT JUNKANOO
The proprietor of Bamboo Shack and La Rose women’s boutique was at the annual Boxing Day parade on 26th December. Elaine Williams Pinder was captured with family sister Sharon and her husband Pastor Timothy Stuart and ZNS reporter Giovanni Stuart.
AMBASSADOR SIDNEY WILLIAMS VISITS
Former U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas Sidney Williams is shown here with his wife Congresswoman Maxine Waters at the annual Boxing Day Junkanoo parade 2011 with Bahamian icons of culture John “Chippie” Chipman and Count Bernadino Ellis. The photo is by Peter Ramsay.
ELECTION RESULTS FROM JAMAICA
We present photos of the happy events in Jamaica on Thursday 29th December. Andrew Holness who was appointed Prime Minister in October of 2011 in the face of the sudden resignation of Bruce Golding, the disgraced Jamaican Prime Minister, called elections for 29th December in the middle of the Christmas season. His gamble was that he got a bump in the polls being 39 years old and would get the support of young people against the veteran Portia Simpson Miller who had herself been defeated after just about 18 months in office. Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill and Alfred Sears MP for Ft. Charlotte flew to Jamaica for the elections. They spent the evening with P.J. Patterson, the former Jamaican Prime Minister at his home in Kingston and watched the results. They then went to the PNP’s headquarters to witness the masses of young people celebrating in the streets. The election was Jamaica’s most peaceful. People were proud that they were able to pass the reins of power seamless and without violence. The result was not close as the polls had been saying; the result was a landslide, a blowout as the press in Jamaica called it: 41 to 22 in favour of the incoming Peoples National Party (PNP). Now Portia Simpson Miller is once again Prime Minister of Jamaica. Congratulations. We show photos of the scenes in Kingston and short audio clips of the concession and victory speeches of Andrew Holness, outgoing Prime Minister and Portia Simpson Miller incoming Prime Minister.
INDUSTRIAL ACTION BY CUSTOMS, IMMIGRATION AND ATC
JOEY GASKINS DEMANDS A NATIONAL POLITICAL DEBATE There are, I would argue, questions that remain concerning the lack of any pronounced or marked ideological difference between these three parties, and in these difficult times the Bahamas needs thoughtful and critical leadership. As a bonus, I hope this piece will also serve as an indictment of politics as usual in the Bahamas and an appeal directed especially at young voters. Those with influence often accuse us of apathy while simultaneously shirking responsibility for our current condition. I fear that we will follow in their footsteps -- deifying political leaders and being baptised in red, yellow or green (or whatever the colours of the day are) on the altar of our own political immaturity. This is not the time to reify that tradition; we know now where that path leads. Look around you. Bahamians have unfortunately been let down by a great deal of our erstwhile political pundit class, many of whom seem, quite frankly, bitter. A number of these political commentators betray what can only be described as hurt feelings and personal vendettas in their writing and on the radio. In turn they've become the spin doctors of choice for their patron political parties, making house calls even. I'm certainly skeptical that they can be relied on to provide non-partisan opinions and I've long since rid myself of the expectation that this particular sphere of influence will ever mount a meaningful challenge to the status quo. These days there is no white supremacist regime that must be challenged. Instead, the status quo is represented by the uncritical and empty party politics that characterises our electoral contests. The Bahamas has more than its fair share of the latter. The walls for Bahamian political Facebook groups are dominated by a small fraction of the members, most of whom are vehemently partisan mouth pieces for their team of choice. I use the word "team" carefully, because many Bahamians treat political parties like they would a sport team -- counting who had the most people at the home game, idolising the star quarterback, comparing the roster and trash talking. Most sports teams are devoid of ideology and I would argue our political parties are as well. For the majority of Bahamians, I would imagine that this doesn't matter; what counts is which team scores the winning touchdown. We've yet to learn that in this kind of a game everyone loses. Sadly, referencing Hughes' book, you will quickly learn that in the early years of the 20th century the Bahamian electorate viewed the election season as a chance to get something for nothing -- then it was rum and rice. What is now, a free T-shirt and a Christmas ham? When, as made clear by the Bahamian Wikileaks, our politicians are comfortable claiming that "free paraphernalia" is one of the most important factors in winning an election, this particular piece of history becomes significant. The lack of universal participation on Facebook may be because of apathy, but I've observed another possible explanation: outsiders and disagreeable opinions are not welcome. In preparation for this article I decided to engage in some informal ethnographic research. I even participated in the discussion on few posts as an independent voter. In one particular instance, my intervention was not appreciated. According to one of the regulars, my point of view apparently violated the "wisdom of God." And when I pointed out the wisdom of God, as espoused by man, has been used by man to inflict pain and suffering, no less on our own ancestors, things got ugly. The good Christian who originally countered my argument Biblically, called me everything but a child of God, blocked me and apparently continued insulting me so that I could not respond. Meanwhile, others rushed to the post, and with a click of the "Like" button and "lol" in repetition, they patted each other on their virtual backs for maintaining a comfortable level of ignorance and aggressively defending business as usual. This perhaps provides some insight: even on Facebook, where the access to political debate has been democratised, only certain people get to speak about certain things, and only in certain ways. There is no space on the Bahamian political landscape for alternative political discourses and few have been brave enough to try and make space. Honestly, it can't. But, it is a step in the right direction. Against my better judgment, I want to suggest that if anyone should be responsible for showing the Bahamian people how to conduct the kind of political debates necessary for us arrive at the best political conclusion for our country, it is our political leaders. A nationally televised, internet streamed, radio broadcast of our two seasoned political leaders and the firebrand new contender debating policy, defining differences in ideology and comparing visions of the Bahamian future is beneficial for all, especially the Bahamian people. The politicians and the politics of the 1990s -- even of 2007 -- are obsolete. And as far as the politics of the Bahamas is concerned, both of our long-standing parties have seemed comfortable with the formula bequeathed to us by our colonial forefathers, a pepper-pot of traditionalism in some areas and a discourse of modernisation in others -- a dish which has resulted in the gradual disintegration of the Bahamian middle class over the last decade in the face of a global economy in transition, concentrating wealth more and more in fewer peoples' hands. Not only is it time for Prime Minister Ingraham, Mr. Christie and Mr. McCartney to explain why any of them should be allowed to stand at our country's helm in these rough waters, but it is time for the people of this country to require it of them. In the past, we've failed to hold our leaders truly accountable. When the Prime Minister feels it is within his right to say that the new contender won't be carrying "his tings" anywhere, the Bahamian people must necessarily retort, "Tell us why you think you'll be carrying our tings anywhere?" When the leader of the opposition places the blame for our country's current economic condition squarely on the shoulders of the sitting government, the Bahamian people must necessarily inquire, "How does your partisan rhetoric square with the reality of a global economic downturn, and what exactly would you do differently?" And, when the only difference between the various parties seem to be colour scheme and personality, aren't we really choosing between parties intent on steering us basically down the same path, perhaps some more vigorously than others? To echo a ghost from the Bahamian political past, and referencing Hughes' book yet again, in 1971 the youthful Vanguard Nationalist and Socialist Party (VNSP) wrote of the PLP, "The lack of a basic and coherent political philosophy ...has been a major factor in its failure ...to correct the abuses of Bahamian society by the wealthy few, to create genuine political and economic opportunity." When it comes to politics, in the same way the media and the electorate have remained seemingly unchanged decades later, I would argue that the charge levied against the PLP in 1971 is true of all our political parties today. You may not like the source but they had a point then and they have point now. What we have here is not a failure to communicate but a history of neglect concerning the Bahamian political consciousness by the Bahamian political elite -- neglect that, in the end, benefits them. It's time we do something differently. They say a people deserve its leaders. If that is true, it begs the question, what kind of a people are we?Post-1973 Bahamians have often shown themselves to be a people divided by frivolous considerations like loyalty to political parties with no clear ideological direction and politicians that are scandal ridden, self-indulgent and entitled. Because of our inability to unite around holding our political leaders accountable, those whose interests are contrary to the welfare of the Bahamian working and middle classes often succeed in having those interests met. Our leaders should be the ones fighting -- warring for our trust and confidence, crusading for our well-being. Until we demand that our government and the opposition speak to their value outside of the comfortable, staged events of political rallies and the "Real Politicians of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas" docudrama that is our parliament proceedings (divas, cat fights and all), those of us who the government should serve -- the people -- will find ourselves left fighting over whatever gets tossed our way. And sadly, at this moment, there's not much to go around. Joey Gaskins is a graduate of Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY with a BA in Politics. He was born in Grand Bahama and is currently studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where he has attained his MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies and has begun a Doctoral Degree in Sociology. Joey also writes for the Bahamas Weekly and the Nassau Liberal. RUNNING DATE
TO THE EDITOR The International Monetary Fund (IMF) seems poised to assume control of the Bahamas’ financial affairs. They have been warning the Ingraham Administration, for the last four years, and exhorting them to get the country’s house in order but the brilliant Zhivargo Laing and his maximum leader Hubert Ingraham chose rather to ignore the warnings and continue on their merry way of, borrowing and spending. They’ve gone so ridiculously out of touch with what is real that they have resorted to even accusing the International Rating Agencies (S & P and Moody’s as well) of being purely partial to the PLP. The duo chose to continue on their merry way of borrowing and spending as if money grows on trees. These two “budget-busting” politicians should be locked up and the keys (to their cells) thrown away. I would venture to say that even a slightly retarded eight-year old child, displaying the common sense of a two-year old, would know that one cannot (for extended periods) spend more than one takes in and then routinely borrow the shortfall to cover the over expenditure and not expect to face dire consequences sooner or later? Thank you. Parliament Opens In St. Lucia New Opponent For Senator Jerome Alexandra Rigby is the wife of Attorney Raynard Rigby of Gibson Rigby and Co; he is the former Chair of the Progressive Liberal Party and she is a fan, supporter and participant in the One Family Junkanoo group. This portrait of Mrs. Rigby at Junkanoo is by Peter Ramsay as she appeared in the One Family tribute to Jackson Burnside III on Boxing Day. Bishop Moss At Home
For over a week now the Customs Department, the Immigration Department and the Air Traffic Controllers have been engaged in industrial action here in The Bahamas. This has resulted in long delays on the tarmac waiting for planes to take off and long lines at the Lynden Pindling International Airport at the height of the holiday season. The actions are caused because the government agencies and the Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes in particular refuses to deal with the matters which are pressing from those quarters. The government will not sit down and negotiate a recognition and industrial agreement with the new union for customs and immigration. They also refuse now to issue a certificate from a strike vote which was taken last month. We call upon the Minister of Labour and the Hubert Ingraham administration to act before this situation gets more radicalized. The Customs and Immigration Departments have met and have decided that since the government will not act, they must step up the pressure. This is not a good sign. If you read the column of Forrester Carroll in this week’s edition of bahamasuncensored.com you will find that Mr. Carroll has warned the government that this is the only way for us to deal with our national problems and that is to get the stakeholders to see the bigger picture. However, it requires respect of the individuals and their organizations. That fundamental aspect of this process is missing with this FNM government. They will now let the issue spiral totally out of control.
The following article appeared originally in the Tribune on 30th December. This is the second foray of Mr. Gaskins a Ph D student at the London School of Economics into debate on public policy. Here he argues for a national debate in the general election of political leaders:
By JOEY GASKINS
EXPLICITLY, my intention is to present an argument for why I believe this election season requires a debate between the leaders of the three most visible political parties.
Public debate should enrich the political process and supply Bahamians with varying and alternative imaginings of our possibilities as nation. It seems clear to me that the level of public debate in the Bahamas cannot adequately answer this challenge.
Colin A Hughes reminds us in his book, Race and Politics in the Bahamas, during the run-up to the 1967 election, the two most read papers in the Bahamas, The Tribune and The Nassau Guardian, both seemed to support the ruling United Bahamian Party (UBP).
As the revolutionary theorist, Antonio Gramsci, makes clear, there are two types of intellectuals: those who align with emergent, new intellectual and social forces, and those who work to maintain the old.
Facebook has seemingly provided an opportunity for more democratic political debate. However, upon closer inspection, you realise that only a few people are actually speaking.
Hughes' also remarks that for politicians, elections amounted to nothing more than sporting events, a game between peers carried out over generations. Ninety plus years later and things seems remarkably the same. Maybe it's an age thing but when politicians shout, "Come on down," at each other across the parliamentary aisle I can't help but think of "The Price is Right."
Go off the reservation, show the ruptures of illogicality in age-old political wisdom, the senselessness in so-called political common sense, and face a collective wrath.
You can dare to question the status-quo but know that at the very least you and possibly your family will be blocked, insulted and laughed at. This is something made intelligible after my last article for this paper. My untraditional (dare I say un-Bahamian) position on homosexuality cost a family member a job opportunity. None of this makes for meaningful, respectful or productive debate, does it?
How then can a national political debate transform the grim picture I've just painted?
I know I'm not alone when I say that I'm interested in hearing what our hopeful leaders have to offer, outside of the theatrics of adversarial parliamentary posturing and away from the throngs of adoring fans. Despite the fact that some political leaders believe they must no longer compete for their inevitable ascendancy, that they are tried and tested, these are new and unusual times.
This is also not the most opportune time for a greenhorn politician to stake a leadership claim with a less than impressive political resume. The simple answer would be to say the Bahamas needs a new politician or a new political party, when in actuality what I think we need is a new politics. I am left unconvinced that, in what has become a politics plagued by ego, we should suffer yet another political contender asserting his dominion over our government with an air of entitlement.
Prime Minister Ingraham could once and for all show the truth of the Free National Movement's record, and himself as a man of action. Mr. Christie could mount a clear opposition to the FNM, and set out a bold vision for the Bahamas as imagined by the Progressive Liberal Party. It would also benefit Mr. McCartney, who could finally show all of those who doubt him that he can contend on the national level and that Democratic National Alliance's promises of hope for the Bahamian people are not empty.
When the dewy political newcomer promises change and hope, the Bahamian people must necessarily interrogate - "How do you intend to deliver given the greenness of you and your party -- a hastily stitched together team of entrants -- and what can you offer that will change the game?"
I hate to use polemical and loaded phrases like "ruling class" and "foreign interests," but as Bahamians battle each other over an ever-widening terrain, even on virtual socialscapes like Facebook, it is the Bahamian bourgeoisie, the ruling class, and foreign interests that benefit from this distraction.
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Forrester Carroll writes this week from Freeport, Grand Bahama having read the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on The Bahamas. He argues that the policies of Hubert Ingraham and the FNM have led to a dangerous level of borrowing and debt for The Bahamas. He says that the Bahamian dollar is in jeopardy because the FNM refuses to mend its ways and have a sensible conversation with stakeholders about how to address this urgent financial situation.
S & P warned Ingraham, more than a year ago, of the impending financial disaster headed our way if, as minister of finance, he failed to desist from his bad habit of, willy-nilly, borrowing and spending as if money were water gushing from a mountain stream. Ingraham was warned, over and repeatedly, about the financial tsunami coming our way but he laughed at the notion. The government was warned, repeatedly as well, by the official opposition PLP about the lurking dangers to the country’s rapidly climbing “DEBT-to-GDP ratio but, Mr. Know-it-all Zhivargo Laing giggled at the notion just like his Piss-Head leader did. He cited Trinidad’s climbing Debt-to-GDP ratio (which was more than 50% he said at the time) as an example and opined that if they were managing; we would manage through it as well. What he did not explain (to his FNM constituency) was that countries with all the natural resources (Oil etc) that Trinidad has would always be in a better position to eventually conquer their problem than the Bahamas would. We have no oil, like Trinidad does, or other mineral (natural) resources and that is the clear difference between us and the example (Trinidad) the boy minister used.
The most recent IMF report on the Bahamas, issued December 2011 was, I am convinced, our last warning to mend our bad financial habits. They have warned us for the last time, I am convinced, to get our financial house in order. They observed that Ingraham’s government’s plans, to arrest the debt-to-GDP rise set to top 69% by the year 2016, are insufficient. In addition the IMF criticized the FNM government over its infrastructure borrowing and the lifting of the public sector wage freeze. As well, they warned that there is a need for an urgent plan to lower the drag, on the consolidated fund, from public enterprises namely: BEC, Bahamasair and the Water and Sewage Corporation. The Washington-based Fund went on to chastise the government for its failure to adhere to “tax reforms advice” given them years ago. Without those reforms, the Fund opined, a sustained recovery will be jeopardized. The government was strongly advised to trim its wage bill and reduce it to the pre-crisis level. It is feared that the country’s ability to service the interest, on the continuous borrowings, would only be possible (under the circumstances) if education, health and crime-fighting-budget allocations are starved of resources. In just two years (2009-2010) the debt-to-GDP ratio increased by 14% to end the year, 2010, at 48%. This was a phenomenal increase especially after being warned, by the Washington-based Fund, to adopt measures and policies which could have a declining effect, as opposed to an increasing effect, on the ratio of spending to income. Sadly the only profit-earning Corporation they could have relied on to put an extra $60 million into the consolidated fund each year was BTC and jackass give that away to the foreigners.
The IMF, as I pointed out earlier, called on the Ingraham Administration to urgently curtail the amount of money squandered on Bahamasair, the Water & Sewage Corporation and ZNS. They warned Ingraham that his government should move quickly to implement a stronger fiscal strategy to place the public debt-to-GDP ratio on a sustainable path, and to contribute to a reserve fund for the purpose of mitigating the impact of natural disasters and external shocks which are bound to occur.
This recent most detailed report seemed designed to act as a last warning (to the Ingraham government) before the IMF feels it will be obliged to move in and take over, I suspect. There are a number of Caribbean Nations (of peoples) who can testify to the drawbacks and humiliation resulting from such take-overs; they’ll tell you that it was/is a most unpleasant period. If I am not mistaken, Jamaica is still under their gun and has been for a couple decades with no relief from their hard-nose measures in sight. This is what your Ingraham government labels as, “proven and trusted governance.” This is the predicament in which they’ve landed us; it is where we now stand, in jeopardy of our currency being devalued as a natural consequence of the FNM’s bad policies. To borrow a phase commonly used by US President Barak Obama against his Republican opponents, “the Hubert Ingraham Administration has successfully driven our once vibrant economy into the ditch and under the bus.”
Notwithstanding the stern warnings from the IMF, this box-fish head Hubert Ingraham is still pursuing loans totaling some $500 million. He wants now to borrow $81 million for the water and sewage corporation; $314 million to pay debts and another amount (they say $40 million; but I say at least $60 million) for the cost overruns on the lousy road works contract. This will increase our national debt to around $5 billion, immediately, and counting. It is estimated that our growing national debt, in the circumstances, will be around $6 billion by budget-year 2016. Zhivargo Laing seemed to have finally come around to admitting that the situation is bad; that our current fiscal position is not an ideal one; that to tackle our fiscal woes, it would be a fundamental necessity to return the country to economic growth; however the FNM government, which took us down this road, can now hardly claim to be the ones best able to get us out of the mess.
Bahamians have forgotten (like we usually do) that the FNM government, which is a one-man-band operation, drove the country to the precipice of financial ruin in 2002. For their efforts, at that time, they were kicked out of office but the country forgot and re-elected the suckers in 2007. When they were forced to demit office, after borrowing and spending more than $1.3 billion in their 10 years to that time, they were in the process of borrowing an additional $125 million to pay off debts and it looks like déjà du all over again. I recall how terrible we (the PLP) thought things were but couldn’t know for sure until after the general elections and Christie and his finance team settled into office. They went through the accounts and discovered, what turned out to be, the worse nightmare of their five-year tenure. A shocked Christie told the nation, after settling in, that his team was stunned numb when they discovered just how badly Ingraham, and his FNM government screw-balls, screwed up the country’s finances; this time (I am convinced) it’s going to be even more shocking.
From what I’ve read (in the IMF’s report) it seems that if the government hadn’t received several one-off lump sums, from the sale of Borco to Vopak; Vopak to Buckeye and the sale of South Riding Point Oil Storage Facility to Statoil; the huge amount when the Baha Mar deal was eventually signed and then the measly sum from the BTC giveaway sale, we would have been taken over already by the IMF.
What pisses me off (with Laing and Ingraham) is that when we point to these obvious flaws, in the way they operate, they brand us politically mischievous. They say nothing they are doing is wrong and that the tell tale signs of disaster (which are clearly obvious to us, at the very least) are nothing for the country to be concerned or alarmed about. They tell us this as if we are silly little children.
I’ve read pertinent excerpts from the December 2011 report and garnered that the IMF is not even being subtle in telling the Ingraham government that if they wish them (The IMF) to relax their pressure on them (the government) they would have to begin doing things differently. They told Ingraham that his government will have to freeze expenditure immediately; that he should not have removed the freeze in the 2008/2009 budget; that he must enhance government revenue collections; that he must put a moratorium on civil service/government corporation employment and that he must allow attrition to take its course, through retirements, deaths and dismissals in order to reduce recurrent expenditure. To achieve this, it is my view that Ingraham and Laing would have to convene an urgent meeting with all the stakeholders in the country namely: all government departments and corporation union heads. He would have to come clean with them about the adverse financial position in which the country finds itself. He would have to appeal to them, in a respectful manner, for their indulgence. This would mean that Ingraham would have to come down off his high horses and begin to treat union leaders with the respect they deserve and not dictate to them as if the Bahamas and its affairs are his personal little empire. The problem for Ingraham and Laing, though, is that they cannot now admit to the stakeholders that things are as bad as we were telling them all along; lest we forget they were in denial for all these years. If the IMF sees that the government is willing to put in place the austere measures recommended, I am convinced that they would relax their threats of a full take-over of our economy.
The $25 million so-called jobs program has been a dismal failure and another waste of borrowed funds. It is my understanding that businesses (certainly in the Freeport area) have refused to accept the numbers that Laing and Ingraham have been coercing them to take on. They simply do not wish to have young bodies, falling all over each another with nothing to do, hanging around their business establishment all day. The Port Authority, am told, initially agreed to accept forty youngsters but since reduced that number to ten. I am also told that a selective group of young people are sitting it out at home doing absolutely nothing but each Friday, at 3pm, trekking down to Ingraham’s office to collect their paychecks. I am told further, from extremely reliable sources, that Zhivargo Laing has three young ladies who are, on the government’s jobs program payroll, working in his campaign headquarters. I am putting this young boy on notice that we are on his trail and will expose him if the rumors prove to be true. The FNM government has made a mockery of the instruments of our governance. We would have been far better off if all the money that was borrowed remained within The Bahamas but Ingraham borrowed, indiscriminately, to award contracts to foreigners. He not only awarded them the contracts but approved the importation of foreign labor to perform the contracts, as well. Simply put the man is a complete ninny. Ingraham told us that we are not qualified to own or perform yet it is us Bahamians who will have to re-pay all the money that the bastard has borrowed. Both he (Ingraham) and Laing should be locked up for being so reckless.
The challenge for the next government (PLP) will be to address the IMF’s advice at section A Item 17 of the report. I quote the section here for easy reference: “The financial position of several public enterprises (including Bahamasair, BEC and Water & Sewage Corporations) appears to be weak, and the lack of timely information on the contribution of public enterprises to the overall fiscal stance is a vulnerability that needs to be addressed. Several public enterprises are inefficient and require recurrent government transfers to operate. A strategy to lower the drag of these enterprises on public finances (including through divestments) is urgently needed.” What the IMF means (for those of you laymen who may not understand what they are suggesting in this section of the report) is that government needs to do one of three things with Bahamasair, BEC and the Water & Sewage Corporation; make them profitable; cause them to operate on the income they generate or dispose of them. Those are the only options to the government.
This is crunch time; the Bahamian Dollar is in jeopardy of losing its parity with the United States Dollar and the IMF has given us no wiggle room so we had better get down to business and mend our reckless ways. If we fail to adhere to the IMF’s advice, doom’s day is right around the corner and believe me we wouldn’t want to opt out to the only other alternative that would be left to us i.e. that of the IMF moving in and taking over. They will begin telling you what you can fund and by how much; how many civil servants will have to be let go and how much civil servants’ salaries will have to be reduced by. Unions and Union agreements will have no affect and all of us will be at the IMF’s mercy. Ask Jamaica which has been under the IMF’s gun for more than a couple decades now? This is the bad state-of-affairs that, that so-called “trusted FNM government” has brought us too; it is time for Bahamian voters to “take heed; lest they fall” into this trap. We can’t afford another five years of this lousy and reckless leadership. Khaalis Rolle, former President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce (now PLP candidate for Pinewood) thinks that it’s a three-year window of opportunity before we fall into the hands of the IMF; I think it’s far less than three years and more like a year. When the IMF does finally take over the affairs of the Bahamas (as surely I believe they will) I hope the Bahamian people remember who it was, and which political party it was, governing the country, which drove us all into this economic ditch. We Bahamians have a nasty and bad habit of conveniently forgetting.
Forrester J Carroll J.P
Freeport, Grand Bahama
Letters to the Editor : Oswald Brown
Oswald Brown, the former Freeport News editor, has become a scourge of the FNM, predicting daily through Facebook that the FNM will meet a bad fate in Grand Bahama, losing all of the seats in that city. Here he writes about report that Zhivargo Laing , the MP for Marco City, is to move to Nassau and run in the seat where he was defeated in 2007 Ft. Charlotte.
By OSWALD T. BROWN
In a press statement released on Wednesday, the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) Northern Bahamas Campaign described Zhivargo Laing’s decision to abandon the Marco City constituency in Grand Bahama to run for a seat in New Providence as “a clear admission that he had reached the conclusion that he would be soundly defeated if he chose to seek reelection in Grand Bahama.”
The decision for Laing to run as a Free National Movement (FNM) candidate for the Fort Charlotte constituency in New Providence reportedly was reached Tuesday night at a meeting held in Freeport by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham with FNM Grand Bahama Council members.
“No reason was given for Mr. Laing’s surprise decision to desert voters of Marco City, whom he has represented in the House of Assembly for the past four-plus years, but there was clear evidence that Mr. Laing would have been easily defeated by noted Grand Bahama lawyer Gregory Moss, the Progressive Liberal Party’s candidate, who has been waging an impressive campaign in Marco City with an army of spirited young supporters,” the PLP’s Northern Bahamas Campaign press release said.
The press release added that the “prospect of an overwhelming victory by Mr. Moss was advanced considerably by the fact that Mr. Laing was one of three ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham who remained silent as Mr. Ingraham and his FNM government totally neglected Grand Bahama over the past four-plus years, resulting in an unemployment rate in Grand Bahama that is estimated to be around 25 percent.”
“Additionally, in his capacity as Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Laing and Prime Minister Ingraham, who is the Minister of Finance, have been widely blamed for the poor state of The Bahamas’ economy because of their mismanagement of the country’s finances,” the release noted.
It added: “Nonetheless, the decision by Mr. Laing to forsake Marco City must have come as a surprise to residents of that constituency, considering that in the recent redrawing of the boundaries of constituencies in Grand Bahama, it was quite obvious that an attempt was made to boost Mr. Laing’s chances of winning the seat by moving some polling divisions into Marco City that were believed to have a majority of FNM supporters.”
In moving to the Fort Charlotte constituency in New Providence, the release said Mr. Laing is “going back to the constituency he represented from 1997 to 2002, when he was defeated by PLP Alfred Sears, who is not seeking reelection.”
Noting that the PLP has already ratified Dr. Andre Rollins to run as its candidate in Fort Charlotte, the release added: “We in the PLP Northern Bahamas Campaign are absolutely certain that Dr. Rollins, one of several dynamic young professionals that have been chosen by the PLP as candidates for the next general election, will defeat Mr. Laing in the same convincing manner that Mr. Moss would have trounced him if he had remained in Marco City.”
Knowledgeable sources in Grand Bahama say Laing made his decision after canvassing the area over the past several weeks in the aftermath of the boundary changes and determined that the support for Gregory Moss was too substantial for him to overcome.
He has also been dogged by a “revival” of the Mona Vie scandal, which was a hot topic in 2008. The scandal centered around a decision made by the then Comptroller of Customs John Rolle to properly change the duty on the importation of Mona Vie, a nutritional drink, from 10 percent to 45 percent and the alleged involvement of Minister of State for Finance Laing in reportedly seeking to have that decision reversed. His sister-in-law was one of the importers of Mona Vie.
Recently, questions have also been raised about Laing’s brother-in-law being fast-tracked to become the Assistant Comptroller of Customs early next year, despite the fact that there are a number of more well qualified senior customs officers. The questions are related to the fact that as Minister of State for Finance, Laing has responsibility for Bahamas Customs, and the issue of whether nepotism is involved has been raised.
Whether or not these issues had anything to do with Laing’s rapid decline in popularity in the Marco City constituency is open to speculation. But the fact of the matter is that the Mona Vie scandal is a national issue and it will remain a millstone for Laing to overcome no matter which constituency he runs for; so will the charges of alleged nepotism.
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill and the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs will travel to St. Lucia for the state opening of Parliament on 5th January 2011. Kenny Anthony is the new Prime Minister of St. Lucia having been elected again on 28th November after having lost office in 2006.
We know that Earl Deveaux is out as the incumbent for Marathon for the FNM, having disgraced himself as a minister. Then it was supposed to be Michael Turnquest, the Deputy Chair of the FNM to run against Senator Jerome Fitzgerald for the PLP. We reported that he was out last week because he dared to speak before he talked to Hubert Ingraham, and Mr. Ingraham decided that he was not mature enough. Then Mr. Ingraham decided that he wants to run ten female candidates. We understand now that the new candidate for Marathon for the FNM will be Heather Hunt, who is an attorney at McKinney Bancroft and Hughes.
Bishop Cornell Moss is back in The Bahamas for a break from his duties as Bishop of Guyana’s Anglican diocese. He was the guest preacher at a funeral service for Mary Smith, wife of PLP Stalwart Councilor Modesta Smith in Marsh Harbour, Abaco on Saturday 31st December. The mass was celebrated by Bishop Laish Boyd of The Bahamas’ diocese. Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill attended the funeral on behalf of the party as did Gary Sawyer, PLP candidate for the South Abaco constituency.
People Laughing At Hubert Ingraham In Abaco
The talk is that they have never seen Hubert Ingraham spend so much time in Abaco since Renardo Curry was declared the PLP candidate of North Abaco. Mr. Ingraham is up and down Abaco and spending the public money like a drunken sailor. There is much talk in Abaco that Roscoe Thompson, the DNA candidate for South Abaco will announce within days his return to the FNM despite his most recent public denials that he is abandoning the DNA which he helped to found. The FNM is having an internal disagreement about whether to run the 72 year old Edison Key in South Abaco or to replace him with someone who is more FNM. Party elders were reportedly worried when Mr. Key in his recent argument with DNA leader Branville McCartney in the House of Assembly launched into fulsome and unrepentant praise of the late Sir Lynden Pindling, the PLP’s late leader and the former Prime Minister. The FNM bench sat in silence.
Loretta Butler Turner In Long Island
The pressure is on for Loretta Butler Turner, the Minister of State and FNM MP, to abandon her seat in Nassau and move to Long Island. We reported this on this site last week. It has gone further now with bahamaspress.com reporting that Hubert Ingraham has actually flown to Long Island to officially dump Larry Cartwright, the incumbent FNM and Minister of Agriculture. Alex Storr for the PLP is making waves in Long Island, reaching out to FNMs and shoring up PLP support. With Mario Cartwright for the DNA in the race there will effectively be two NM candidates and this will split the vote. Tennyson Wells, the former MP and a Long islander himself, was touring the island last week to see the lay of the land. He was reportedly surprised at what he found. Mr. Wells ran as an independent in the last election and generally supported the PLP in his last term in office from 2002 to 2007. On the Prime Minister’s way back from Long Island on Thursday 28th December, Mr. Ingraham also made a quick stop in Exuma trying to use the public treasury to persuade civil servants to support his party. Phenton Neymour, the Minister of State, who is abandoning his South Beach seat where he was a hopeless as representative and is to run in Exuma, is getting significant push back from people there.
Fred Mitchell Calls For An Explanation
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill issued the following statement from Freeport Grand Bahama on New Year’s Day:
The Free National Movement administration must explain to the Bahamian people why for the second time in a row, the government has not provided national honours for deserving Bahamians. They did not do so for the Queen’s birthday list and now have not done so for this New Year. This is surely disgraceful. Each year there are deserving Bahamians who should be honoured by their country. The PLP passed a law to abolish the Queen’s Honours and to provide local honours but the FNM has refused to put the law into effect. So what we have is the system left to us by the British. Since we have it we should use it. I have on two occasions provided recommendations to the Prime Minister regarding Queen's honours, one for a former Parliamentarian and the other for a deserving police officer. The Prime Minister last year personally assured me that the honour for the Parliamentarian would be considered. Nothing has been done. I call on the FNM to explain fully this slap in the face to deserving Bahamians and to bring into force the National Heroes Day legislation which will create a National Heroes day holiday and the national honours for deserving Bahamians.”
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JOEY GASKINS DEMANDS A NATIONAL POLITICAL DEBATE
There are, I would argue, questions that remain concerning the lack of any pronounced or marked ideological difference between these three parties, and in these difficult times the Bahamas needs thoughtful and critical leadership.
As a bonus, I hope this piece will also serve as an indictment of politics as usual in the Bahamas and an appeal directed especially at young voters. Those with influence often accuse us of apathy while simultaneously shirking responsibility for our current condition.
I fear that we will follow in their footsteps -- deifying political leaders and being baptised in red, yellow or green (or whatever the colours of the day are) on the altar of our own political immaturity. This is not the time to reify that tradition; we know now where that path leads. Look around you.
Bahamians have unfortunately been let down by a great deal of our erstwhile political pundit class, many of whom seem, quite frankly, bitter. A number of these political commentators betray what can only be described as hurt feelings and personal vendettas in their writing and on the radio.
In turn they've become the spin doctors of choice for their patron political parties, making house calls even. I'm certainly skeptical that they can be relied on to provide non-partisan opinions and I've long since rid myself of the expectation that this particular sphere of influence will ever mount a meaningful challenge to the status quo.
These days there is no white supremacist regime that must be challenged. Instead, the status quo is represented by the uncritical and empty party politics that characterises our electoral contests.
The Bahamas has more than its fair share of the latter.
The walls for Bahamian political Facebook groups are dominated by a small fraction of the members, most of whom are vehemently partisan mouth pieces for their team of choice.
I use the word "team" carefully, because many Bahamians treat political parties like they would a sport team -- counting who had the most people at the home game, idolising the star quarterback, comparing the roster and trash talking.
Most sports teams are devoid of ideology and I would argue our political parties are as well. For the majority of Bahamians, I would imagine that this doesn't matter; what counts is which team scores the winning touchdown. We've yet to learn that in this kind of a game everyone loses.
Sadly, referencing Hughes' book, you will quickly learn that in the early years of the 20th century the Bahamian electorate viewed the election season as a chance to get something for nothing -- then it was rum and rice. What is now, a free T-shirt and a Christmas ham?
When, as made clear by the Bahamian Wikileaks, our politicians are comfortable claiming that "free paraphernalia" is one of the most important factors in winning an election, this particular piece of history becomes significant.
The lack of universal participation on Facebook may be because of apathy, but I've observed another possible explanation: outsiders and disagreeable opinions are not welcome.
In preparation for this article I decided to engage in some informal ethnographic research. I even participated in the discussion on few posts as an independent voter.
In one particular instance, my intervention was not appreciated. According to one of the regulars, my point of view apparently violated the "wisdom of God." And when I pointed out the wisdom of God, as espoused by man, has been used by man to inflict pain and suffering, no less on our own ancestors, things got ugly.
The good Christian who originally countered my argument Biblically, called me everything but a child of God, blocked me and apparently continued insulting me so that I could not respond. Meanwhile, others rushed to the post, and with a click of the "Like" button and "lol" in repetition, they patted each other on their virtual backs for maintaining a comfortable level of ignorance and aggressively defending business as usual.
This perhaps provides some insight: even on Facebook, where the access to political debate has been democratised, only certain people get to speak about certain things, and only in certain ways. There is no space on the Bahamian political landscape for alternative political discourses and few have been brave enough to try and make space.
Honestly, it can't. But, it is a step in the right direction. Against my better judgment, I want to suggest that if anyone should be responsible for showing the Bahamian people how to conduct the kind of political debates necessary for us arrive at the best political conclusion for our country, it is our political leaders.
A nationally televised, internet streamed, radio broadcast of our two seasoned political leaders and the firebrand new contender debating policy, defining differences in ideology and comparing visions of the Bahamian future is beneficial for all, especially the Bahamian people.
The politicians and the politics of the 1990s -- even of 2007 -- are obsolete. And as far as the politics of the Bahamas is concerned, both of our long-standing parties have seemed comfortable with the formula bequeathed to us by our colonial forefathers, a pepper-pot of traditionalism in some areas and a discourse of modernisation in others -- a dish which has resulted in the gradual disintegration of the Bahamian middle class over the last decade in the face of a global economy in transition, concentrating wealth more and more in fewer peoples' hands.
Not only is it time for Prime Minister Ingraham, Mr. Christie and Mr. McCartney to explain why any of them should be allowed to stand at our country's helm in these rough waters, but it is time for the people of this country to require it of them. In the past, we've failed to hold our leaders truly accountable.
When the Prime Minister feels it is within his right to say that the new contender won't be carrying "his tings" anywhere, the Bahamian people must necessarily retort, "Tell us why you think you'll be carrying our tings anywhere?"
When the leader of the opposition places the blame for our country's current economic condition squarely on the shoulders of the sitting government, the Bahamian people must necessarily inquire, "How does your partisan rhetoric square with the reality of a global economic downturn, and what exactly would you do differently?"
And, when the only difference between the various parties seem to be colour scheme and personality, aren't we really choosing between parties intent on steering us basically down the same path, perhaps some more vigorously than others?
To echo a ghost from the Bahamian political past, and referencing Hughes' book yet again, in 1971 the youthful Vanguard Nationalist and Socialist Party (VNSP) wrote of the PLP, "The lack of a basic and coherent political philosophy ...has been a major factor in its failure ...to correct the abuses of Bahamian society by the wealthy few, to create genuine political and economic opportunity."
When it comes to politics, in the same way the media and the electorate have remained seemingly unchanged decades later, I would argue that the charge levied against the PLP in 1971 is true of all our political parties today. You may not like the source but they had a point then and they have point now.
What we have here is not a failure to communicate but a history of neglect concerning the Bahamian political consciousness by the Bahamian political elite -- neglect that, in the end, benefits them. It's time we do something differently.
They say a people deserve its leaders. If that is true, it begs the question, what kind of a people are we?Post-1973 Bahamians have often shown themselves to be a people divided by frivolous considerations like loyalty to political parties with no clear ideological direction and politicians that are scandal ridden, self-indulgent and entitled. Because of our inability to unite around holding our political leaders accountable, those whose interests are contrary to the welfare of the Bahamian working and middle classes often succeed in having those interests met.
Our leaders should be the ones fighting -- warring for our trust and confidence, crusading for our well-being. Until we demand that our government and the opposition speak to their value outside of the comfortable, staged events of political rallies and the "Real Politicians of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas" docudrama that is our parliament proceedings (divas, cat fights and all), those of us who the government should serve -- the people -- will find ourselves left fighting over whatever gets tossed our way. And sadly, at this moment, there's not much to go around.
Joey Gaskins is a graduate of Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY with a BA in Politics. He was born in Grand Bahama and is currently studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where he has attained his MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies and has begun a Doctoral Degree in Sociology. Joey also writes for the Bahamas Weekly and the Nassau Liberal.
TO THE EDITOR
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) seems poised to assume control of the Bahamas’ financial affairs. They have been warning the Ingraham Administration, for the last four years, and exhorting them to get the country’s house in order but the brilliant Zhivargo Laing and his maximum leader Hubert Ingraham chose rather to ignore the warnings and continue on their merry way of, borrowing and spending. They’ve gone so ridiculously out of touch with what is real that they have resorted to even accusing the International Rating Agencies (S & P and Moody’s as well) of being purely partial to the PLP. The duo chose to continue on their merry way of borrowing and spending as if money grows on trees. These two “budget-busting” politicians should be locked up and the keys (to their cells) thrown away. I would venture to say that even a slightly retarded eight-year old child, displaying the common sense of a two-year old, would know that one cannot (for extended periods) spend more than one takes in and then routinely borrow the shortfall to cover the over expenditure and not expect to face dire consequences sooner or later?
Parliament Opens In St. Lucia
New Opponent For Senator Jerome
Alexandra Rigby is the wife of Attorney Raynard Rigby of Gibson Rigby and Co; he is the former Chair of the Progressive Liberal Party and she is a fan, supporter and participant in the One Family Junkanoo group. This portrait of Mrs. Rigby at Junkanoo is by Peter Ramsay as she appeared in the One Family tribute to Jackson Burnside III on Boxing Day.
Bishop Moss At Home
SIR CLIFF IS BURIED: on Thursday 5th January, the nation paused with its national leaders to pay tribute to an old soldier who faded into eternity on Christmas Eve 2011. He lay in state in the House of Assembly on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th January and then with the Governor General his old comrade Sir Arthur Foulkes and with the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and the Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie leading the mourners, Sir Clifford was churched at Zion Baptist where he was an elder and then carried to his final resting place in the Western Cemetery by a police honour guard. He was 89 years old when he died. The photo of the week shows the pageantry of that event. It was captured by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
WHAT IT MEANT TO BE CLIFFORD DARLING
Maybe for once Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister, has done something decent in his life. We are not sure he is the one deserving of accolades here so we withhold judgment but the service for Sir Clifford Darling was a fittings send off even for an FNM administration that does not support the nation as a nation but is so fiercely partisan.
The Prime Minister also had the decency not to open his mouth in the church. He was right to stay silent. He simply wrote a tribute in the booklet to Sir Cliff and left it at that. It was for Perry Christie the Leader of the PLP to make the nation's tribute to the quiet man from Chester’s who exceeded beyond all expectations.
The Prime Minister could do another decent thing for the nation and that is posthumously apologize to Sir Clifford Darling's family for embarrassing Sir Clifford during his life time when as Governor General during the change of administrations from Sir Lynden Pindling to Mr. Ingraham in 1992, Mr. Ingraham and his FNM partisans forced Sir Clifford to take leave in Canada so that he did not read the speech from the throne but Sir Kendal Isaacs was appointed Deputy to the Governor General to do so. This was done so a PLP could not be seen reading a speech from the throne from an FNM government. It was a lousy and worthless thing to do and could only be hatched in the wicked mind of Hubert Ingraham. Further, while Sir Clifford was Governor General, Mr. Ingraham’s administration refused to provide the monies for Government House to be properly comfortable for a Governor General. As soon as Sir Clifford was replaced by Sir Orville Turnquest, the former Deputy Leader of the FNM, the house had money for much needed repairs.
And yet you should read the flowery prose Mr. Ingraham had in the booklet about how well he knew Sir Cliff and how close he was to him and on and on and on. But we know how he treats his friends after seeing how he turned without mercy on his most faithful friend, ally and slave Ken Russell late of the Ingraham cabinet who was simply unceremoniously dumped.
We pay tribute then ourselves to the man from Chester's Acklins. Acklins is surely one of the most and remote spots in The Bahamas today. In 1938 when he left there at the age of 16 on the four day sailing trip to Nassau imagine what it was. Could Sir Cliff have imagined as a 16 year old boy that at the end of his life he would have the whole nation: its defence force, its police force its national leaders including the white ones that he defeated marching behind his coffin to the cemetery to say rest in peace? That is the story which the PLP must cause to be repeated as policy in this country. To be able to rise from poverty and in one generation so alter your circumstances by dint of hard work and merit to exceed to the very top.
Farewell Sir Cliff.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 7th January 2012 up to midnight: 180,794
Number of hits for the month of January up to Saturday 7th January 2012 up to midnight:180,794
Number of hits for the year 2012 up to Saturday 7th January 2012 up to midnight: 180,794
THE PLP’S NEXT GENERATION AD
PHOTO SPREAD FUNERAL OF SIR CLIFFORD DARLING
The scene on 5th January was one of great pageantry and impressive though long. The principal minister of the state showed up for the funeral of the beloved and respected former Governor General Sir Clifford Darling who died in Nassau on Christmas Eve 2011. He is survived by his widow Lady Igrid Darling and by Sir Clifford's natural children. The funeral took place at Zion Baptist Church on Shirley Street where he was an elder and he was buried in the Western Cemetery. The procession took his body from the House of Assembly to the Church and then from the church to the cemetery with the Prime Minister and the Governor General in the procession. A life well lived and celebrated. The photos are by the chronicler of our times Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE BISHOPS AT THE FUNERAL
Archbishop Patrick Pinder ( Roman Catholic background) with Archbishop Drexel Gomez (retired Anglican) and Suffrugan Bishop (retired Anglican) at the funeral of Sir Clifford Darling former Governor General of The Bahamas on Thursday 5th December. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
DAME MARGUERITE PINDLING
Dame Marguerite Pindling, the widow of the founding Prime Minister of the country the late Sir Lynden Pindling is pictured at the funeral service for the late Sir Clifford Darling. Sir Clifford served in the House of Assembly with the late Sir Lynden and in the Cabinet with him. He was appointed Governor General on the recommendation of Sir Lynden. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
MITCHELL AND SMITH
The photo shows MPs Frank Smith ( St. Thomas More PLP) and Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill at the burial service of Sir Clifford Darling, the former Governor General in the Western Cemetery on Thursday 5th January. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
MITCHELL SIGNS BOOK OF CONDOLENCES
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill signed the book of condolences for the late former Governor General Sir Clifford Darling at the House of Assembly on Tuesday 3rd January. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION VIEWS THE BODY
Leader of the Opposition PLP Perry Christie viewed the body of the late Sir Clifford Darling on Tuesday 3rd January at the House of Assembly. Earlier he signed the book of condolences. Speaking at the funeral service Mr. Christie said that Sir Clifford had a good name and he died with that good name intact. You may click here for the audio embed of his statement in the church on 5th January.
BRAN MCCARTNEY’S PREDICTIONS ABOUT PARADISE ISLAND
Branville McCartney, the MP for Bamboo Town and the Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) went to the press last week to speak about the Brookfield purchase of Atlantis. In his statement to the press he claimed that both the PLP and the FNM are responsible for a state of affairs which will lead to layoffs at Paradise Island before the year is ended. He predicted this will happen within six months. In the course of his exposition he said that the PLP is responsible for the situation for allowing Sol Kerzner to mortgage the Bahamian property in order to borrow money for developments outside The Bahamas. The statement was made on 3rd January. In the meantime, the Bahama Journal is reporting that Sol Kerzner is personally distressed at the situation he is now in at Paradise Island. In effect his life’s work has been taken away from him at the end of his life. He is almost like Job of the Old Testament with Mr. Kerzner having lost his beloved son in a tragic air crash in the Dominican Republic in 2006 and now his business is gone. A man in his post 70s in age has to start all over again. He announced last week that Alan Liebman who was here in The Bahamas before is to come back to take over the reins of the company while he Mr. Kerzner becomes the Chairman of the board only. Mr. Kerzner now has a management contract to run Atlantis which he was given after the equity firm foreclosed on the property. No one believes the assurances given to the government that there will not be layoffs.
MITCHELL RESPONDS TO MCCARTNEY
The Punch reported the following response to Branville McCartney from Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill on his accusations made on 5th January about the PLP being responsible for the foreclosure of the Paradise Island asset of the Kerzner International Company called Atlantis. Mr. Mitchell made his original remarks in a telephone interview on Love 97 on 3rd January.
FOX HILL MP Fred Mitchell has defended the 202-2007 PLP Government against charges by DNA Leader Branville McCartney.
Bamboo Town MP McCartney claimed that the PLP allowed Kerzner to “leverage” its Atlantis properties to secure loans to build resorts overseas – and ended up in a $3.2billion debt crisis.
Mr. Mitchell said had the then PLP government tried to prevent Kerzner from securing loans to build more properties, it would have been accused of putting a “stranglehold” on free enterprise and discouraging foreign investors from doing business in the country. He said Mr. McCartney’s charge against the former PLP Government and ex PM Perry Christie is similar to attacks made by the FNM administration.
“They can’t have their cake and eat it too. I am not surprised that this would be an argument by Mr. McCartney because the fact is, the two FNM parties always agree on the same thing,” Mr. Mitchell said.
THE LEGAL YEAR BEGINS
The Roman Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder hosted the legal profession at the Red Mass at his Cathedral of St. Francis in Nassau this morning. The Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett headed the profession at the church. The photo is by Peter Ramsay.
THE PLP’S DEMANDS ON PARADISE ISLAND
The PLP issued the statement calling for the government to disclose all the details of the Brookfield foreclosure on Atlantis. The party believes that the government knows more than it is telling:
6 January 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today marks the thirty-seventh day that the leader of the opposition publicly requested the government to make public the details of the asset transfer agreement reached between Brookfield Asset Management and Kerzner International. To date, the government has failed to do so and must immediately come clean to the Bahamian people in the public interest.
The FNM government does not put Bahamians first.
With the jobs of more than 7,000 Bahamian employees at stake and with uncertainty among the affected workers, this government’s insensitivity and lack of transparency are proof positive that it does not put the well being of Bahamians first – above their narrow political interests and above special interests.
We again call on the government to come clean and reveal the details of the deal to the Bahamian people. Bahamians want to know if there are any guarantees in the agreement to protect and preserve their jobs, wages and benefits and if so, what are the terms, conditions and duration.
The PLP reminds the FNM about its much-touted principles of public life where transparency and accountability were prominently featured.
Many Bahamian families are relying on these jobs so it’s incumbent upon the government to be seen to be fighting for the rights of and protecting the interests of Bahamians. Our people deserve no less.
PLP TAKES A CRITICAL LOOK AT TOURISM FIGURES
The following statement was issued by Obie Wilchcombe the PLP’s spokesman on tourism on the performance of tourism in the country to date:
Wednesday January 4th, 2012
The Progressive Liberal Party is gravely concerned about the continued decline in the performance in our number one industry, tourism, which is the country’s primary source of employment. The Government’s mismanagement of the sector has caused record high level of unemployment, hotel closures, layoffs and immeasurable human suffering.
The year 2010 recorded one of the lowest stopover arrivals since 1985 and already 2011 numbers are below 2010 by some 4%. The government has not articulated an effective plan to reverse this trend. Of the 20 countries in the Caribbean region surveyed by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, The Bahamas is the only country to have experienced a decline in tourism for the year 2011. The Minister, trying to mask his abysmal performance, is pointing to the increase in cruise ship visitors. Facts are a stubborn thing. It is a fact that stopover visitors are down. It is a fact that the government refuses to produce the figures for the TOTAL expenditure of visitors for the years 2008 through 2010 and 2011. The fact is that the Government has failed to put Bahamians first. This relaxed, neglectful and lackadaisical approach to this critical area of our economy has resulted in The Bahamas losing its premier position in the Region.
The Government’s neglect of Bahamians is highlighted by its failure to provide or release tourism expenditures for the years 2008 through 2010. The Central Bank of The Bahamas uses such critical data to advise government on appropriate monetary policies to protect and safeguard the interests of the Bahamian people. Numerous Bahamian entrepreneurs have been adversely impacted by this terrible government failure. They are not able to provide realistic budgets to banks and suppliers and especially in the face of consecutive downgrades of The Bahamas, they are unable to properly plan the future progress of their businesses. The Minister of Tourism is yet another FNM Minister asleep at the wheel. The PLP calls upon the Ministry of Tourism to release these figures without delay. And the PLP assures Bahamians that in government it will restore timely reporting.
Of particular concern is the mismanagement of the economy of Grand Bahama. After making numerous promises to improve the lives of Grand Bahamians, one hotel after another has either gone out of business or is operating at minimal levels. Thousands of workers have been misplaced and countless families have had their lives disrupted as breadwinners have moved to other Islands to eke out a living and too many Bahamians have become virtual economic refugees in their own country.
As Tourism Minister in the Christie government, our team was successful in facilitating increased airlifts into Grand Bahama, namely West Jet, Spirit Airlines, Jet Blue and Virgin Airlines. Additionally, the PLP government diversified the tourism product by tapping into the film industry, African American Tourism, Religious Tourism, Sports Tourism and tapped into the Chinese market. It is regrettable that the FNM government failed to build on these successes.
The following hotels are economic casualties and a horrific testament to the mismanagement, neglect and economic decay of Grand Bahama on the watch of the FNM government: Royal Oasis Hotel and Casino. Island Palm Hotel. Royal Islander Hotel. Reef Village @ Our Lucaya. Port Lucaya Hotel. Lighthouse Point Hotel @ Our Lucaya. Old Bahama Bay West End Closed. Xanadu Beach Hotel 75% Closed.
Of the hotels that remain open, the government has not done enough to attract sufficient stopover visitors to fill the significantly reduced number of hotel rooms in Grand Bahama. The FNM stands condemned for its abject failure to put the welfare of Bahamians first, especially in Grand Bahama.
Going forward, the PLP has proposed a dynamic and comprehensive jobs creation plan that offers incentives to SME’s including small hotel operators. As regards Grand Bahama that is particularly hard hit, we will move quickly to revitalize, diversify and grow our tourism product by partnering with the Grand Bahama Promotion Board to guarantee airlift to Grand Bahama. We will also retool and equip the Hotel Corporation so as to give the necessary support and incentives to smaller boutique Bahamian owned hotel properties.
The PLP stands ready to get to work for the Bahamian people on day one.
FRED MITCHELL’S RELEASE ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
The following press statement was issued by Fred Mitchell MP, the Opposition’s spokesman on the Public Service on the appointment of Brian Moree as Chairman of the Public Service Commission:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The appointment of Brian Moree Q.C., the Managing Partner of McKinney Bancroft and Hughes, to the Chairmanship of the Public Service Commission is inappropriate and a travesty of public administration. He is someone who has no experience with the public service but more importantly, the appointment is being made at a time when the FNM Government is at the end of its service and the new appointment should wait the choice of the next Prime Minister and the next administration.
This is a favourite trick of the Prime Minister, to seek by the use of his agents to bind the hands of any succeeding administration. It is wrong and the appointment should be withdrawn.
Further, the Prime Minister has to be careful of engaging in cronyism where he seeks to place in office people who are openly aligned with his party and therefore are perceived as appointments done on that basis rather than on the appropriate match to the demands of the job.
Click here for more details
TO SIR WITH LOVE
Those of a certain age remember this song sung to Bahamian actor Sidney Poitier in the starring role as a teacher in the movie To Sir With Love sung by Lulu, the English actress and singer who performed the original song. Enjoy!
TO THE EDITOR
Forrester Carroll writes this week from Freeport about National Health Insurance and why the Free National Movement, the doctors, the Insurance companies and Bay Street merchants all oppose the PLP’s plan:
NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE is such an important issue (and will be in the next general election) that I shall deal with it, exclusively, in this article today. Those who opposed the proposed legislation back in 2005-2006, and who continue to do so today, have their own, private and financial agendas. Their opposition to a state-sponsored health care system (I submit) has absolutely nothing to do with what is in the best interest of the majority of the Bahamian people.
Doctors (not all of them) opposed it; insurance companies opposed it; Bay Street’s elites opposed it and the Free National Movement party, in opposition, opposed it. The pertinent question to be asked here is; why would these four distinguished groupings oppose this very timely piece of social legislation; legislation which promises to provide comprehensive health insurance coverage for ALL BAHAMIANS (and RESIDENTS alike) no matter their status in life? I shall attempt to explore those possible reasons in this writing.
Thirty-seven, or so, years ago this same Free National Movement party opposed and indeed campaigned, vigorously, against the introduction of the National Insurance Scheme proposed by the then Progressive Liberal Party government. To our (PLP government) credit, however, we stood firm, against the Bay Street-backed FNM party, and introduced the plan anyway. Today, literally, thousands of Bahamians are benefitting from the program. Most importantly are the maternity, retirement and burial benefits which, were it not for these entitlements many thousands of single mothers, the aged and retired persons would not be able to sustain themselves. Additionally many thousands would be finding it considerably more difficult, today; to come up with all the funds needed to lay their deceased loved ones to rest. I would venture to say that many more would not be able to actually feed themselves, were it not for the retirement benefits from the national insurance scheme. I wish to pause here and say “thank you; thank you; thank you” to Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling and his PLP government for the leadership, exhibited, during the two and one half decades he served as our esteemed leader, prime minister and visionary Father of the nation.
The fight for NHI (for all Bahamians) continues and as opined earlier this same Free National Movement, which opposed the National Insurance scheme in the 1970s, figures prominently in opposition to the introduction of the NHI plan today. In addition Doctors and Insurance Companies have come on board, in their collective efforts, to deprive Bahamians the comfort of knowing that they, and their loved ones, are fully covered for health insurance benefits in the event of sickness; not only when sickness occurs but, as well, for regular doctors’ visits to prevent illnesses. I am privy to the suffering and eventual deaths of many who were/are in the unfortunate position of not being able to afford the kind of medical attention necessary to get the relief they need. Full coverage for Health Insurance (and not the “FNM’s Prescription drug plan”) is the key to bringing this comfort and relief to the masses. For sure we all know that no medical practitioner and or medical institution will attend to you (as a patient) unless and of course you are able to prove, up front, that you are in a financial position to pay for their services and no one should expect business to be conducted, nowadays, in any other manner. This is a costly business given all the instrumentation and personnel qualifications needed to diagnose diseases in today’s world. We’ve all heard the horror stories of loved ones being diagnosed incorrectly and having died as a result. A friend of mine was diagnosed by a very prominent doctor in Freeport very recently and was told that both his legs had to be amputated immediately. His wife was advised to pack him up and send him off to the Cleveland Clinic in Weston Florida for further diagnoses. After much threatening the doctor to have her husband released to her care for air ambulance transport to Cleveland Clinic he arrived in Florida to a waiting team of medical experts. After the real experts did their testing and diagnoses they found that the Freeport Doctor’s diagnoses was woefully faulty and that his legs did not have to be taken off. After a week at Cleveland Clinic he is now back home in Freeport recuperating comfortably. This is a tragedy and we will continue down this road unless patients, at large, are able to afford access to the best medical care, locally and or otherwise. The only remedy I know for this situation is for each and every one of our citizens to be fully insured for medical treatment. Thank God my friend had good medical insurance coverage from his workplace at one of the industrial plants in Freeport; otherwise he would today be a legless invalid, going around in a wheelchair depending on his wife and family to do everything for him. This is tragic; we need NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE for all, in this country, not this farce of a NATIONAL DRUG PRESCRIPTION PLAN which the FNM government introduced and which is limited to dispensing certain prescription drugs (when and if they are available) to a selective group of patients, most of whom are at death’s door already.
It is my view that Doctors, who are opposed to NHI, are so disposed for one simple reason and that is that they fear the possible greatly reduced NHI mandated fees, for doctors’ visits by patients. In addition, they fear having to see huge numbers of patients, daily, in order to earn the kind of money most of them are accustomed to earning in their private practices presently. On the face of it, this seems so trivial a reason for grown men and women professionals to advance as a legitimate excuse to disqualify the proposed program. I would have thought that doctors would have been elated to support any measure(s) that could improve the health of the entire population. Let’s face it, from where I sit, the longer a patient lives; the longer he/she remains a patient and therefore the more money the patient’s doctor is apt to earn. I submit that the one single reason for opposition to the plan (from all quarters) is profit making; money making. Neither of them are concerned about anything else but lining their pockets and I make this charge without reservations. I dare any of the groupings to challenge me on my submissions. The suggestion I make here (I know) is going to anger many medical practitioners but so be it. No opposing doctor, with whom I have had discussions on the subject, could give me what I would regard as an intelligent reason for their opposition to the plan. One doctor’s reason (as opined in conversation with me when I visited him as a patient) was that there are too many “theoretical uncertainties” with Christie’s PLP plan. Well (I suggested to him) we will correct those “theoretical uncertainties,” which he pretended to be concerned about, after we would have enacted the plan. We would make all the obvious and necessary adjustments (I told him) as and when those anomalies come to light. I told him further that as long as we don’t know what those “theoretical uncertainties” are; we surely wouldn’t know how to correct them.
The insurance companies, on the other hand, are aware that their high “bottom line,” (realized at the end of each fiscal period) will bottom out, for sure, and they would never again be able to earn the millions of dollars they’ve been exacting from us over the years. We are obviously not opposed to them earning a decent profit (for their troubles) but most of the suckers are too damn greedy. The ideal situation for them is to have clients who are perfectly healthy and who would never, ever, claim against their policies. In other words insurance companies would love to have portfolios comprising a totally “risk free” clientele which is only possible in a perfect world; the fact of the matter is, though, we do not exist in a perfect world. It would be foolish and disingenuous of me to suggest that if I were in the same racket I wouldn’t want to have the same fantasy ideal conditions prevailing; however it is not reasonable to expect to have a one-sided “risk free” situation in their favor only. The client takes a risk, as well, when he/she gives over that cheque for $800-$1000 each month and gets nothing in return. Insurance companies seem to hold it against you if you were to make more than two claims against your policy in a lifetime. Many of them will simply drop you, as a client, and usually when they do it is when you need your insurance coverage the most. Unless your most recent medical check-up shows that you are in perfect health, they would opt not to accept you, as a new client, even if you agree to signing off on certain exceptions; God help you if once in your life time you were diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. The point I make here is that this “risk taking” should be a two-way street; I am taking a risk when I give my insurance agent my cheque for $800-$1000 each month and claim no benefits and the Insurance company takes a risk on my not having to claim against my policy. For sure, though, the Insurance Companies have more going for them. The truth of the matter is that I personally would rather be in perfect health, my entire lifetime, and not be put in the position where I am obliged to claim against my insurance, ever, but that is also a fantasy that will never be.
Bay Street’s elites opposed the scheme (in my view) because it would have required them (as employers) to contribute, as in the case of national insurance, a portion of the required contributions for each and every person in their employ. We are all aware that “Bay Street-owned businesses” employ hundreds of workers and as such would be required to disburse a considerable amount of money, each month, on behalf of their many employees. That, I submit, was the only consideration for Bay Street’s objections. The FNM, as the official opposition at the time and their (Bay Street’s) agents, was Luke warm in their support because Bay Street didn’t support the program and (as their financial backers) if Bay Street didn’t support the program then Ingraham and the FNM were obliged to satisfy their MASTERS. We all (clearly) remember the NHI debate when Ingraham literally bridled the mouths of all six or seven of his MPs and prevented them from even speaking during the passage exercise of the landmark Legislation. He was the only one, from the FNM side, to speak and he had very little to say. When the vote was taken Ingraham, again, was the only one who participated from the FNM side and voted (very feebly, I might add) in favor of its passage. His reason for casting his vote in favor of the measure was to hood-wink the FNM’s base support into believing that he and the FNM were all in favor of supporting something good for them. His posture, since winning the government however, speaks volumes about the degree to which he and his Party are obligated to Bay Street’s big boys. What Bay Street wants; Bay Street gets (from Hubert Ingraham) and that’s just the way it is. I would love to see the day when (if even) one FNM supporter would stand up and challenge Hubert Ingraham to explain to them how he could sit comfortably in the prime minister’s chair fully covered by health Insurance (both he and his family), paid for by us taxpayers no less, while maintaining that, for every other Bahamian, it is too expensive a venture; all this while many of our brothers and sisters are dying for lack of good medical care. There is surely something about “Moral Imperatives” that the FNM Administration has never been able to grasp when balancing the interest of the 99% poor and struggling Bahamians (in our society) against the interest of the 1% Bay Street mongrels. Bay Street’s elites are the ones who control the FNM’s legislative and policy agendas and there is no question about it.
Good and adequate health care is accepted, universally, as a basic right and entitlement of every single human being on earth. There ought not to be discrimination, when it comes to accessibility to good health care for all, predicated on ones status or station in life. This, I submit, is the real reason behind the disparity of quality health care (in this country) which, disparity heretofore, has been allowed to exist to the detriment of 99% of the Bahamian masses. There ought to be a high degree of intolerance, co-existing with this societal down-side, where fellow Bahamians are dying literally prematurely, for lack of their financial ability to access the very best of medical care possible, while the few elites among us, on the other hand, have no problems getting the very best in medical care. Governments should be about the business of bettering the lives of all their countries’ citizens (by any means possible) not stand by and watch while a selective few are afforded more of an advantage (at living healthy lives generally) than the majority of the others. We are supposed to use the country’s resources (fairly) for the good of the nation; we ought not be the ones (by our actions) to allow a situation to exist where some (usually the selective few) are able to access the very best of medical care and attention while the majority of others are allowed to die prematurely for lack of resources. All of us should have the same fighting chance at living healthy. I would remind you that we taxpayers are, in fact, picking up the costs for the medical care and attention of Hubert Ingraham and his entire family while he tells you that the country cannot afford a NHI plan for all at this time. And so I ask; what makes him and his family more deserving than yours? It is often said that there is some good in all of us; I dare say that Hubert Ingraham is the one exception to that rule; the man is truly a “Jungle Bunny.”
Forrester J Carroll J.P
Freeport, Grand Bahama
Oswald Brown, the former Freeport News Editor writes that the brother-in-law of Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of State in Finance is now the Assistant Comptroller for Customs in Freeport. This originally appeared on Bahamaspress.com :
It is now official that Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing’s brother-in-law, Alfred “Milo” Stubbs is the new Assistant Comptroller of Bahamas Customs in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
This was confirmed in a memorandum dated December 19, 2011, from retiring Assistant Comptroller Lincoln Strachan to “all staff” of Customs in Grand Bahama, a copy of which I obtained today.
“On the 1st of January, 2012, I shall begin pre-retirement leave, leading to my retirement from the Department on 31st July 2012 after forty three (43) years of service,” Strachan wrote in his memorandum. “I therefore take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful association we have had over the years.”
The memorandum adds: “I especially wish to thank you for your support during my tenure as the Assistant Comptroller of Customs for Grand Bahama and Walker’s Cay. Your continued support is expected for my successor, Mr. Alfred Stubbs, superintendent. As this is the season when Christ is being manifest to the world anew, I can think of no better way to say goodbye than to wish that the joys of Christmas and the peace of the Christ Child be with you now and always.”
Ordinarily, this would be considered just another formal memorandum from a retiring head of a department to his staff, but the eyebrow-raising aspect of Strachan’s memorandum is that Laing’s brother-in-law reportedly was fast-tracked to be in the position to succeed Strachan as Assistant Comptroller of Customs.
Indeed, Bahamas Customs officers were said to be very disturbed about the promotion of Milo Stubbs to Assistant Comptroller of Customs, given the fact that Laing, in his capacity as Minister of State for Finance, has responsibility for Bahamas Customs. This has led to charges of nepotism by some Bahamas Customs officers, who question Stubbs’ rapid rise to the position to become Assistant Comptroller.
In fact, Stubbs reportedly leap frogged over several senior and more experienced customs officers to be appointed to the position. Two years ago groups of Customs officers in Grand Bahama and New Providence reportedly sought legal advice from Grand Bahama-based lawyer Fred Smith and New Providence-based lawyer Wayne Munroe to find out if they had legal grounds to contest Stubbs being fast-tracked to become Assistant Comptroller of Customs after he was reportedly given a double increment and promoted to Customs Superintendent.
“The fact that his brother-in-law is the Minister of State for Finance, who has responsibility for Bahamas Customs, certainly gives rise to charges of rank nepotism,” one Customs officer said. “This can’t be right, and it obviously has had an effect on morale in Customs.”
This is not the first time that charges of nepotism have dogged Laing. Back in 2007, questions were raised in the House of Assembly by Frank Smith, PLP Member of Parliament for St. Thomas More, related to the alleged intervention by Laing after the then Comptroller of Customs John Rolle changed the duty on the importation of Mona Vie, a nutritional drink, from 10 percent to 45 percent.
According to information that surfaced at the time, Laing’s sister-in-law, who was one of the importers of Mona Vie, complained to him about the change in duty, and Laing reportedly requested that the Secretary of the Revenue look into the matter. Subsequently, the Comptroller of Customs allowed the lower rate of 10 percent to remain in place until the new budget process.
Due to legal constraints that prohibit press reports on lawsuits still pending before the courts, press scrutiny and further investigation into the mushrooming Mona Vie scandal were curtailed after Laing filed a defamation lawsuit against St. Thomas More MP Smith, retired Customs Comptroller Rolle, and Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage, then leader of the Opposition Business in the House, who conducted a comprehensive review of the allegations and concluded that “the Minister (Laing) is in a clear position of conflict of interest.” Laing’s lawsuit, however, remains among the backlog of cases still pending.
The revival of the Mona Vie scandal certainly appears to have created a dark cloud over Laing’s political future and this latest claim of nepotism is bound to raise further questions about his stewardship as Minister of State for Finance, given the fact that he and Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, are widely blamed for the poor state of the country’s economy because of their mismanagement of The Bahamas’ finances.
These are among the reasons believed to be responsible for his shocking announcement several weeks ago that he would not seek reelection as the MP for Marco City, but would rather try and be reelected to the House by running for the Fort Charlotte constituency in New Providence.
Sources say that Laing decided to abandon Marco City after he did a survey of the area in the aftermath of the constituency changes, which were structured by Prime Minister Ingraham to make it easier for him to win in Marco City, but the survey concluded that he would be badly beaten by PLP Marco City candidate Gregory Moss.
Can We Start On Time Next Time?
If there is one criticism of the funeral of Sir Clifford Darling it is that the service was too long and the service did not start on time. The service was supposed to start in the church at 11 a.m. on the dot. It did not start until 11:40 .m. The problem: the public officials did not leave the House of Assembly to process to the church until 10:40 a.m. They were scheduled to leave at 10 a.m. They did not leave because those working the programme seemed not to be able to decide what to do. One rule of thumb in future: simply start. Then after arriving at the church at or after the scheduled starting time, the official mourners were not properly accommodated in the church because the seats were all taken. This resulted in crushes in the pews. The family mourners then processed in followed by the clergy who themselves took half an hour to assemble outside to begin the procession in. The result was an 11:40 a.m. start. The service ended at 2 p.m. This is much too long. Preachers need to know that while one wants not to take away from the spontaneity of a religious event, it is a formal service from the country and a formal service requires a certain discipline which should not be dispensed with on a whim. The service should not have exceeded an hour. The result was that at 4 p.m. the official mourners were still in the graveyard and there was still the official repast at Government House. The question must be asked how in a modern country do we continue to tie up all of officialdom for a whole day to conduct a funeral that can be done in dignity and in honour in half the time. The late Norman Solomn’s funeral was another example in the Anglican cathedral of excess. When will we learn?
Patrick Pinder With Valentine Grime
Former MP Valentine Grimes is shown with Archbishop Patrick Pinder at the funeral service for former Governor General Sir Clifford Darling on Thursday 5th January.
Alex Zybine Dies
Reports have come that on 4th January Alex Zybine, the dancer who trained a generation of dancers in The Bahamas in the 1970s, reportedly died of carbon monoxide poisoning with his wife in their home in Mexico.
Congratulations To Rev. Timothy Stuart and Russell Miller
The Trump Awards were presented in Atlanta, Georgia over the weekend and amongst those honoured for their work were Reverend Timothy Stuart, the Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Nassau and Russell Miller, the Hotelier who works with the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans. Mr. Miller is the second son of former Grand Bahama Port Authority Chairman Sir Albert Miller.
Portia Sworn In
Portia Simpson Miller stood triumphant at King’s House, the official residence of the Governor General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen to take the oath of office. At least one Bahamian was reportedly there: Craig Flowers of the FML Group of Companies. The swearing in took place for the office of Prime Minister on Friday 6th January, the day of the feast of the Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas and the day the wise men reported to the baby Jesus from the east. Mrs. Simpson Miller is starting her new stint as Prime Minister in her own right. She served 18 months before losing office in 2007. She promised that Jamaica will become a republic and that Jamaica will join the Caribbean Court of Justice and rid itself of the Privy Council as its final Court of Appeal. This is welcome news. The next day she appointed her Cabinet. Most notable amongst the appointees, Peter Philips, who was the campaign coordinator of the election victory is to be the Minister of Finance. Congratulations to them all and best of luck down in Jamaica. The Bahamas is next. In the last election in Jamaica Portia Simpson Miller’s PNP won 42 seats to 21 seats by the Opposition JLP. The PNP won with its first Rasta and dreadlocked candidate and also its first openly gay candidate, in homophobic Jamaica. In the campaign the PNP promised to change the laws decriminalizing homosexual behavior in Jamaica.
Sir Ronald Sanders Wanted By Antigua Police
Sir Ronald Sanders, the former Antiguan diplomat and now columnist in amongst other papers The Tribune, is wanted by the police in Antigua in relation to a 14 million dollars fraud investigation while he served in the government with former Prime Minister of Antigua Lester Bird. The police described him as a person of interest and said they were sending out a public appeal for him to report to the police with regard to the matter.
All PLP Nominations Now Complete
The last two nominees for the PLP have been approved by the Candidates Committee of the party. Picewell Forbes for South Andros. He is the incumbent. Attorney Damien Gomez for South Eleuthera. Both are expected to be ratified at a special meeting of the National General Council of the party on Wednesday 11th January.
Philsha Grant for East Grand Bahama
The FNM is saying that Philsha Grant is to be the nominee for East Grand Bahama. She will face Tanisha Tynes of the PLP. Ms. Grant is a director for the National Insurance Board and is on the staff of the Freeport Power company.
Majority Rule Day
Tuesday 10th January will mark the 44th anniversary of the coming of Majority Rule to The Bahamas. On that day the white minority government lost power and ushered in what was truly representative government with the PLP maintaining power thereafter for 25 uninterrupted years with Sir Lynden O. Pindling at the helm. The day should be a national holiday. The PLP will mark the day with a round table discussion on Majority Rule day at Gambier House (the Lynden Pindling Centre) on Tuesday 10th January. The party will attend the church service at Bethel Baptist Church on Sunday 16th January to mark the day.
Laing's brother In Law Takes Over Customs In Freeport
The report is that Alfred “Milo” Stubbs, the brother-in-law of Zhivargo Laing the Minister of State, is to take over as the Assistant Comptroller of Customs for Freeport. This comes against the background of the Mona Vie scandal in which the Minister used his authority to permit the re-classification of a drink being sold by a family member to attract a lower rate of duty.
Ingraham Still Scrambling
Last week, we reported the moves being made by Hubert Ingraham to set up a victory for the FNM in the next general election. It is difficult to see the how the choices are being made because they would appear to have destabilized his party particularly at this last minute with elections only months away and no time for soldiers to get in the field. He is moving Desmond Bannister from Carmichael in New Providence to North Andros and the Berry Islands. Mr. Bannister is already promising contract after contract in both parts of the constituency. He is to be replaced by former Senator Darron B. Cash in the Carmichael seat. Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour having failed in South Beach is being moved to Exuma where he is getting significant push back. He is promising promotions in exchange for the cooperation of civil servants to help unseat the PLP’s Anthony Moss. Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of State in Finance, having been dumped by the people of Ft. Charlotte in 2002, and abandoning them for Freeport, is to abandon his seat in Freeport and move back to Ft. Charlotte in Nassau. Ken Russell, a Minister in a safe seat in Grand Bahama was pushed out to be replaced by a novice candidate in a newly configured seat. Verna Grant, an incumbent in West Grand Bahama, is out and is to be replaced by the ZNS news reader Pakeisha Parker Edgecombe against the formidable PLP Obie Wilchcombe.
Tony Scriven is denied a place
Tony Scriven is a trained lawyer and member of the Bar. He is also a Customs Officer of long standing. The Comptroller of Customs Gomez asked him to take up the position of Assistant Comptroller in charge of Freeport. He was already set and ready to go. Everything in place. The word then came down from upstairs that the choice had been vetoed by Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister and the Minister responsible for Customs. It appears that one greater than he and more well connected was to get the job. So it was that it came to pass that last week it was announced that Alfred Stubbs, the brother-in-law of Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and also the Minister with day to day responsibility for Customs administration is to get the job.
Facebook Down For Several Hours
The Bahamas government was accused by some Facebook users on Friday night 6th January of blocking the use of Facebook. The site appeared to be down for several hours and the accusations about Hubert Ingraham’s government started coming fast and furious over bbm, the Blackberry messenger service. No official word on what happened but on Saturday 7th January the site was accessible again.
Mother Pratt and The Senate President
Both women were dressed in their finery. Senate President Lynn Holowesko in her formal and official gear as President of the Senate and Cynthia "Mother" Pratt, the former Deputy Prime Minister and retiring MP for St. Cecelia, as they stood awaiting the start of the march to the church for the funeral of Sir Clifford Darling in the public square on Thursday 5th January. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
Not Easing Up At All
It looks like Joey Gaskins, the student writer and activist, may be raising his pen again to explain the counter argument after having tangled with Bishop Simeon Hall on the subject. Another Pastor has taken issue with what he described as the gay agenda of the United States and Canada. Pastor Mario Moxey who led the unsuccessful fight against a gay ship coming to The Bahamas, went to press on Saturday 7th January to denounce the plan by the Utilities Regulatory Competition Authority (URCA) which regulates broadcasting in The Bahamas. They want in their draft policy to be able to control hate speech on TV and radio and one of the categories against which they want to control hate speech is attacks on people based on their sexual preference. The pastor objects to that.. It makes it appear some argue that he is condoning hate speech simply because of the person's sexual orientation. That cannot be what he means. The argument is really one that suggests that URCA may be trying to stop a pastor from objecting to sexual preference on radio and TV as a doctrinal matter. That is a different matter though from hate speech. They have no right to control the former but should control all hate speech on radio and TV.
Ingraham's Annual Party
Anton Saunders is the host for the annual Hubert Ingraham party which is held each year after New Year's on Saturday 7th January. So that the Prime Minister does not have to invite all and sundry he has the party hosted by Mr. Saunders, the chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation and a faithful adherent. We await word on who was left off the invitation list and what deals were made and undone.
Teej Grant Takes On Arnold Forbes Or Is It The Other Way Around
The Bahamas Christian Council
What a humorous moment when the public read that the Bahamas Christian Council that august body of men and women who guard the public morals objected to Cable Bahamas showing what they said were pornographic movies on their channels. The point of humor. It took them watching 12 movies before they decided they had seen enough. Wonder what took them so long to get the point.
What Is To Happen To Zhivargo Laing?
It appears that Hubert Ingraham is not satisfied that Ft. Charlotte is a seat that his protege Zhivargo Laing the Minister of State can win. The word is that the Prime Minister is now asking his Minister of Health Dr.Hubert Minnis, his most popular Minister to leave his seat Kilarney in favour of Mr Laing.
Philsha Grant Is Out Peter Turnquest In
Late word is that Peter Turnquest has edged out Micahel Pintard and Phisha Grant for the FNM's nomination for East Grand Bahama.
Photo Of Valentine and Thelma Grimes Grand Daughter's christening
This was taken at St. Agnes Church in Nassau on Saturday 7th January. The christening was conducted by Archdeacon Ranfurly Brown. The child Hiram is the grandson of former MP Valentine Grimes and his wife Thelma. The parents and Drs.Valron & Olu Tinubu who practice in South Africa.
|15th. January ,
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
THE CHIEF JUSTICE INSPECTS THE WOMEN GUARDS:
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
THE SCRAP GANG
Hubert Ingraham is really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this list of candidates that he presented on Thursday 12th January. Nothing shows this more than the look on his face in a telling picture as he announced Shonel Ferguson as the candidate for Fox Hill. He looked tired and defeated.
And why not, just a few minutes before this supposed happy occasion, the Prime Minister had to announce that one of the rats was jumping off the sinking ship. He tried to spin it as best he could but no one believes a word of it. Brent Symonette, the Deputy Prime Minister, whose only interest in life is making money, can know a bad deal when he sees it. He is voting with his feet and taking his parachute and jumping for dear life. His family members are telling their friends that he expects that the FNM will be soundly trounced in the next election and why be a part of a sinking ship. He announced that he is retiring from frontline politics.
What is interesting of course is the contradiction of Mr. Symonette in his press statement making the assertion that he was making way for a new brand of FNMs to come to the forefront. Interesting new brand. Well, how about Hubert Chipman who is replacing him as the nominee for St. Anne's. Mr. Symonette was born in 1954. Mr. Chipman was also born in 1954. The same age. No change in generation there. Nothing brand new. Oh did we mention that Mr. Ingraham at first offered the seat to Anton Saunders one of his friends or boys who heads the Water and Sewerage Corporation who turned it down so it went to his other boy Hubert Chipman, who now heads the Straw Market. This is Mr. Ingraham then feathering his nest with his cronies. That’s it pure and simple. Next generation our foot.
Then Hubert Ingraham asked the 58 year old Ken Russell to step down saying that he was too old and need to go from Grand Bahama. Never mind that Mr. Ingraham is himself six years Mr. Russell’s senior. Never mind that the person who is replacing Loretta Butler as the nominee for Montagu is Richard Lightbourne, a UBP from a by-gone era who is 66. Then you have Edison Key, the MP for South Abaco, who is 73. So what is this about next generation and new brand.
The other point that observers must point out is the destabilizing affect this must all have on his party. They are late getting out in the field. They give the impression of running from their constituents because they had done such a bad job, they had to go into other places. Phenton Neymour, a failure in South Beach, runs to Exuma. Desmond Bannister, the Minister of Education, a failure in Carmichael, runs to Andros. Loretta Butler, the Minister for Social Development, fails in Montagu, runs to Long Island. She has to take the abuse for the failures of the incumbent MP Larry Cartwright, the now Minister of Agriculture who is leaving. Then Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of State for Finance and Grand Bahama incumbent, begging on his hands and knees in Ft. Charlotte in Nassau, to the people he abandoned ten years ago.
But here is the Ingraham strategy. He believes no one votes for candidates. They only vote for Hubert Ingraham. So it does not matter he thinks who the candidate is; there is only one candidate that counts: Hubert Ingraham. That together with buying votes is the FNM’s answer.
We will see whether this time the Bahamian people fall for that trick. Whatever way you look at it though whether you count the FNM candidates as one or 38, it’s a scrap gang.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 14th January 2012 up to midnight: 156,913
Number of hits for the month of January up to Saturday 14th January 2012 up to midnight: 337,707
Number of hits for the year 2012 up to Saturday 14th January 2012 up to midnight: 337,707
BRENT BOWS OUT BUT DOESN’T TELL THE REAL STORY
Here is what Brent Symonette MP, the Deputy Prime Minister had to say as he announced on Thursday 12th January that he was no longer going to stand for office. The words come from a report in The Tribune:
"It is with a spirit of gratitude and great satisfaction that I announce today that the time has come for me to leave the frontlines of politics. I shall not be offering for re-election in St Anne's in the general election this year.
"The FNM is committed to introducing a new brand, a new group of candidates. I feel it is time, the Prime Minister and I have discussed it, for me to make way for other persons to come forward and contribute to the party in whichever way they can.
“I thank the constituents of Montagu and St Anne's who elected me to Parliament. I thank the Prime Minister for appointing me to the notable Cabinet position of deputy prime minister. I thank my colleagues in the House of Assembly and the government. It has been a wonderful time during which we, together, have accomplished much for our country. We have delivered accountable government to the Bahamian people and restored the good name of the Bahamas in the world."
AN ANALYSIS OF THE FNM CANDIDATES
|Hubert Ingraham||Brent Symonette||Neko Grant||Vincent Vanderpool||Dion Foulkes||Dr. Hubert Minnis|
|Tommy Turnquest||John Delaney||Earl Deveaux||Byron Woodside||Charles Maynard||Lawerence Cartwright|
|Desmond Bannister||Loretta Butler|
As we upload, the FNM and their Leader Hubert Ingraham is presenting that part of their scrap gang for Parliament to the electorate in Grand Bahama. They plan to hold a rally in Nassau on Monday evening to announce their candidates. What a scarp gang. We for our part present as promised a report card on all the FNM Ministers for your entertainment and enlightenement. Just another reason to vote PLP ALL THE WAY!
REPORT CARD OF MINISTERS
PRIME MINISTER HUBERT INGRAHAM
MINISTER OF FINANCE
Prime ministers under our system of government are described as being “first among equals.”
During World War II, a phrase was coined, “loose lips sinks ships.” This best describes Mr. Ingraham’s third non-consecutive term as Prime Minister. Days after being sworn in, Mr. Ingraham embarked on a very public course of STOP, REVIEW and CANCELLATIONS of legitimate government contracts. This single handedly had the bone chilling effect of frightening off foreign direct investment into the Bahamas, sinking his own ship followed closely by a global recession which no one saw coming.
Today, long after the people of this country would have driven this administration out, the tax payers will be saddled with the bills brought about by the breach of contracts. This was all brought on by biggity talk to show strong and decisive leadership.
Secondly, the strong leader is a micro manager who does not tolerate dissent within his ranks, or appreciate free flow of ideas: Therefore, most of his cabinet colleagues have fallen fast asleep and they became too afraid to put forth any contrasting points of view around the collective table of ideas. So today, we have economic stagnation and depression, from Inagua in the south to Grand Bahama in the north coupled with the loss of investor confidence in the FNM administration.
Overall grade is D.
BRENT SYMONETTE, FOREIGN AFFAIRS and IMMIGRATION
This week, the Deputy Prime Minister gave the Bahamian public a sophisticated lesson on how to contain a bully boss. Mr. Symonette abandoned ship on anticipating the loss that was about to come. The public need only ask three (3) questions:
1. Did Mr. Symonette’s announcement strengthen the political fortunes of the FNM?
2. Did the move inspire confidence among the white community?
3. Does it seem plausible that Mr. Symonette and his family were insulted by the Wikileaks revelations?
On the Foreign Affairs side all that was needed was for the Minister to build upon the foundation that was laid by his predecessor, Fred Mitchell, but instead, because of this administration’s dislike for the former minister an insular approach was taken. The only thing coming out of foreign affairs was the signing of tax information treaties for four and one half years. The business of the immigration department was shrouded in secrecy and charges and counter charges of this department giving mass citizenships.
Overall grade is C-.
NEKO GRANT, MINISTER OF WORKS and HOUSING
This Minister from day one should have never been given a cabinet post of any sort. His temperament does not lend itself to working well with others. So it was no surprise to see the manner in which the New Providence road improvement is being handled. This Minister did not learn from the first missteps of the Coconut Grove business people. Now scores of small businesses have been forced to close. Yet, he was promoted and given additional responsibilities and made Minister of Housing. This Minister’s legacy will no doubt be that of accepting advice from foreign professionals over Bahamian qualified professionals. In fact, it is said that he never saw a foreign professional that he could disagree with.
Overall grade for Ministry of Works is F; and, Ministry of Housing is D.
Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labor
The second generation FNM acumen is known to all and for this reason his upward mobility has been suppressed. He was in the last election given a seat he could not win; and as a Minister, he was given a ministry where he could not shine. Now, he has been moved to another area where he is unlikely to win. His leadership aspirations will now have to be placed on hold for at least another five years. From a ministerial standpoint, he has held the line at the Ministry of Labor.
Overall grade is C.
VINCENT VANDERPOOL WALLACE, MINISTER OF TOURISM
One of our nation’s finest sons, he has deported himself in the tradition of a Tourism Minister. His credentials and ability go before him; however, we believe that he has not moved swiftly enough to look for new markets because our traditional Florida market has been eaten up by the new casinos in south Florida. We believe that this ministry will quickly be brought back into line and explore new markets.
Overall grade is C+.
DR. HUBERT MINNIS, MINISTER OF HEALTH
Dr. Minnis is a good example of how governments ought to operate by building on the foundation of his predecessor, Dr. Nottage, and the PLP. His colleagues, Neko Grant, Dr. Earl Deveaux, and Junior Minister, Zhirvargo Laing, will do well to learn from. On the downside, Dr. Minnis did not advance the course of National Health Insurance. In Grand Bahama, the Ministry of Health spent in excess of six million dollars ($6,000,000.00) on the Rand Memorial Hospital. The Rand Memorial Hospital is landlocked in terms of space for future expansion. This was not in the long run a good investment based on that situation. The five (5) MPs on Grand Bahama ought to be held responsible for not standing up for the people of Grand Bahama. Instead they allowed a twenty million dollar ($20,000,000.00) government complex to be built only to give the Prime Minister’s friend a contract; a clear case of misplaced priorities.
Overall grade is C+.
TOMMY TURNQUEST, MINISTER of NATIONAL SECURITY
Tommy Turnquest is also a second generation FNM. His upward mobility is also being carefully managed as not to allow any room for political mischief. Any prime minister who appoints a Minister of National Security along with being made leader of government business in the House is confident that that Minister, after being bogged down, will not find time for anything other than his official duties. So at times, the Minister seems as if he is overwhelmed. But, to his credit, he has held the line. We believe, given his ability, he can do better.
Overall grade is C-.
JOHN DELANEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL, MINISTER OF JUSTICE
Mr. Delaney has developed a reputation of saying what he means and meaning what he says. He is respected in his Ministry and among his peers. However, he has not been in the position long enough because the government of Hubert Ingraham has had no less than four (4) Attorney Generals in four (4) years. Notwithstanding the lack of continuity, the course of justice has been advanced.
Overall grade is C.
DR. EARL DEVEAUX, MINISTRY of ENVIRONMENT
This Minister has to be among the most enlightened of cabinet ministers, but his abilities were never brought to bear it seems around the cabinet table. It is said he does not work well with others. For this reason, it is not surprising that he will not seek re-election. His legacy as a Minister would be that he was the Minister that granted permission for dredging to take place in the Exuma Land and Sea Park.
Overall grade is D.
BYRON WOODSIDE, MINISTER of LANDS and LOCAL GOVERNMENT
We look forward to the way when prime ministers will not use the Public Treasury as a jobs program
for their MPs. This is the case for the Ministry of Lands and Local Government. We are informed that Minister Woodside seems to be a nice guy but simply has nothing to do in this Ministry. And so, it is grossly unfair to even grade this Minister.
CHARLES MAYNARD, MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORTS AND CULTURE
The Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture, to his credit was able to advance Bahamian culture a little more during his term. He also ensured, it seems, that all cultural events were given all necessary funding and progressed without any hitches. However, regarding sports, facilities throughout the populated islands are not up to par; The Grand Bahama Sports Complex still does not have the necessary equipment and amenities needed; and sporting federations are still not being held accountable for funds that they receive from government. However, the area of youth is where he made his most catastrophic error: dismantling the National Youth Service (Restorative Program). This program, implemented by the PLP no doubt had proved to have helped a lot of young men and diverted their lives away from crime, drugs, etc. Moreover, upon dismantling the program, he nor his government offered a viable alternative to assist with the prevalence of teenage male delinquency in this country.
Overall Grade: C-
LAWERENCE CARWRIGHT MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND MARINE RESOURCES
The Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources has presided over the demise of agriculture in this country. One would have expected that Long Island (his constituency) would have been a developing farming mecca. The only significant thing that he has done was to send a farm tractor there. Aside from the fact that it has never been used, it is not suited for the “ripped rock” soil found on Long Island...a waste...Large scale farmers on the family islands have struggle by God’s grace to sew seed and pray for a good harvest. The area of Marine Resources is where he was an abject failure. Firstly, under his watch, the grouper season has been closed for the past several years. . Why was such draconian action taken against Bahamian fisherman? During the 2011 season it was publicized that the Florida Grouper Season was not closed until June 2011. Many fishermen in the family islands depend on the grouper season for survival during the year. Bankrupt of ideas as usual, neither this government nor this Minister offered any alternatives. The fact is that the situation would not have had such a negative effect had options been given to fisherman, and there are many options. For instance, the season could have been opened for a week or two out of the year. Further, allocations could have been made for fishermen to raise fish (mutton snapper, grouper, or conch) as they do in other places; or fisherman could have been allowed to catch a specified number of pounds per season (as is the case in Florida). The Minister, a fisherman himself, offered no logical views on the matter, thus many suffered. Interestingly enough though, the season was closed completely to Bahamian fisherman, whereas Dominican and other foreign fisherman could poach at leisure. Who advised this Minister? He was clearly operating out of his element to the sacrifice of the survival the fishermen and farmers in this country.
Overall Grade: F-
DESMOND BANNISTER MINISTER OF EDUCATION
With national grade averages near failing, the literacy of this country was placed in the hands of the Minister of Education. The Minister of Education had a mammoth task of restructuring and reorganizing his ministry’s professionals to raise the standard of education and learning in the Bahamas. To his credit, he has taken up the mantle in this area. Specifically, he led a delegation to tour countries abroad who have established vocational schools as an option for learning. He assisted in providing opportunities for teachers to advance their learning and prepare for the ever changing dynamics of children. However, his downfall drew between procedures and incompetence. Reference is made to a former principal in Grand Bahama who is yet to be formally investigated or charged for the improprieties against her. Minister Bannister reportedly smoothed the issue over by “claiming” that the former principal would be removed from the school to pursue doctorial studies. He set a terrible precedence her . Additionally, there was the fiasco with the group of teachers from Cuba who were so qualified and who were brought here to assist in areas where our education system was lacking; only they could not speak English. This was more than just a big “joke”; it was embarrassing for our country. It shed a bright light on the incompetence of the Department of Education. In the same way, reports indicated that at the beginning of this new school year (2011), many teachers reported for work after the summer vacation, and it was then that they learned that they were no longer employed by the Ministry of Education. Despite what the underlying issues were, this was insensitive. Nobody deserves this. Moreover, a number of teachers who are being admitted into the public school system without proper background checks seem to be a big issue, and there are far too many teachers being indicted for fraud, drugs, and sexual improprieties. In such a critical area, this Minister has failed in many crucial areas.
Overall Grade: C
LORETTA BUTLER TURNER MINISTER OF STATE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES
The Ministry of Social Services still continues to be poorly managed. There are no improvements in the clarity of requirements for assistance and political favors are still paramount. The mishaps at Willamae Pratt are causes of the concern. There were too many and they occur too frequently. Though this is a rehabilitative institution, special emphasis should be placed on keeping the place safe. To the annoyance of many, The Minister made the Department of Social Services more about her, and less about helping people to be independent of welfare. Bragging about the amount of people receiving grocery assistance from Social Services is not commendable; it sheds light on the failure of the government. More people are now in need of Social Services than ever before because of the continuing economic demise of the country and this government has no vision, nor innovative ideas to enhance its populace.
Overall Grade: C-
PHOTO SPREAD OF OPENING OF THE COURT
Peter Ramsay was there on Wednesday 11th January to record the events for the opening of the legal year in the city of Nassau by Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett. It began with a service at the Christ Church Cathedral with lawyers processing from the courts to the church and back on the streets of Nassau. It ended with the inspection of the guard by the Chief Justice, all female honour guard, and with his annual address to the country on the state of the judiciary.
FRED MITCHELL MP AT OPENING OF LEGAL YEAR
Fred Mitchell MP is the Opposition's spokesman on the Public Service and in that capacity attended on behalf of the PLP the service to mark the opening of the legal year at Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau on Wednesday 11th January. Malcolm Adderley former MP and Judge is shown in the foreground. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
MITCHELL ON SHARES FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE
The following statement was issued by Fred Mitchell MP, the Opposition spokesman on the Public Service in answer to the Prime Minister’s decision to advance public monies to public servants to buy shares in the Arawak Port Development:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9th January 2012
Public Servants are asked to treat with the greatest caution the recommendation from the Prime Minister to borrow money to invest in the Arawak Cay Port Development. There are too many unanswered questions of fact and law which must be answered before this can be considered a worthy investment. There is a material non disclosure in the prospectus which may in fact be a breach of the law.
It also confounds the imagination, boggles the mind, that the Prime Minister can take public monies and make them available for a speculative investment at interest free terms when civil servants are unable to get loans and advances for items which they consider necessities.
People do not want public monies to be used by their Prime Minister in speculative ventures. What they want to hear from the Prime Minister is a plan to save their homes from default; how to the government will reduce the cost of electricity for businesses and homes. They want to know will the Ingraham government stop terminating the sole breadwinner in homes. Will his government make public the secret Brookfield Atlantis deal that affects 7000 Bahamian jobs?
The government and the developers of this project have serious questions to answer about the governance of this company: the directors; the shareholders; and the fact that the Port will be controlled by an undisclosed group of private investors for 45 years who will have a monopoly on the port and be able to control all the resources that flow through that Port. The fact of public participation by civil servants or others Bahamians will have no effect whatsoever on how the project will be run or controlled. This small group of traditional Bahamian merchant families from Bay Street will continue to control the port for 45 years.
The developers and promoters, officers and directors of the Arawak Cay Port Development are proceeding with the development of the container port without regard for the political facts on the ground. In doing so, they may well be in breach of the law. In this connection, I propose to write the Securities and Commission to remind them of their role in the oversight of any prospectus which is seeking money from the public.
In The Tribune of 20th December, the Leader of the Opposition, head of the political party to which I belong, and for which I am a Member of Parliament said that the project is to be reviewed upon his coming to office. A general election is to be held within four months. There is therefore within that promise of review by Mr. Christie the distinct possibility that the new government may have a different policy view of this matter.
The fact is that lawyers have looked at this deal constructed by the Prime Minister and the attempt to tie the hands of any future administration by imposing severe penalties on any change in policy. The view of many of these lawyers is that just as in the case of the BTC deal the provisions in the Port agreement will be struck down as void for public policy. In any event, the deal is on the face of it contrary to the best interests of the Bahamian people.
In essence, the Port deal is structured so that it gives a select minority the right for 45 years to control access to the port of Nassau and all the resources that come into that port. A practical example of the unfairness is this: a director on the Board who is interested in construction could well use his influence on the Board to ensure that his rivals do not get access or timely access to the Port. You see the problem that this could cause. It may well be an answer to why the apparent beneficence of one of the shareholders who told the press this week that their money has been invested in the project for two years without any return.
Mine now is a legal point, however. Have the promoters of this investment to the public disclosed fully the factors which will affect this investment. They must do so by law.
Section 60 of the Securitas Industry Act 1999 says the following:
For the purposes of the foregoing provisions of
this Part —
(a) a statement included in a prospectus shall be
deemed to be untrue if it is misleading in the
form and context in which it is included or omits
any material facts
Regulation 87. (1) After the registration of the prospectus is
declared effective, it shall be the responsibility of the
company to keep the information in the prospectus correct
and not misleading.
(2) If prior or subsequent events have made the
prospectus materially misleading, then the company shall
immediately amend the prospectus, with the permission of
the Commission, by affixing a sticker containing the new
information on to the prospectus
In the first schedule to the Regulations, Rule 31 says the following:
31. Where appropriate describe the most significant factors
that makes the offering speculative or risky. Explain how the risk
affects the issuer or the securities being offered. Set out each risk
factor under a sub-caption that adequately describes the risk. The
risk factors may include, without limitations, the following —
(k) political and economic factors that have affected or are
likely to affect the future of the business.
While there is obviously an attempt by the developers to list some attendant political and economic risks in the prospectus, the document as it now reads is not specific enough. It does not reflect the fact or record the fact that there may be change of administration within a year which is political factor which may affect the viability of the project.
It seems to me in the circumstances that both the promoters and the Securities Commission have a job to do in service to the public. I call for them to conform with the law or cease and desist.
PLP ON BRENT SYMONETTE
The following statement was issued by the Progressive Liberal Party on the announcement by Brent Symonette, the Deputy Prime Minister that he will not be running for office in the next general election:
12th January 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hoping to avoid a flood of new questions about major conflicts of interest and his role in the millions of dollars in cost overruns related to the roadworks, FNM Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette announced he would not seek re-election.
Under Hubert Ingraham’s protection and with his encouragement, Symonette has never missed an opportunity to use his public office to increase private gains.
In particular, Bahamians were angry to learn that Mr. Symonette, whose family has major financial interests in the shipping business, had chaired the committee on port relocation. The FNM eventually chose Arawak Cay, although a serious study ranked that location 6th out of 7 possibilities in desirability, and the FNM had promised in their 2007 Manifesto to develop Arawak Cay as a cultural center.
Unfortunately, this conflict between Mr. Symonette’s public duties and private business interests has played out over and over again.
As minister with responsibility for immigration matters, he came under fire for the issuance of excessive work permits and what many believe to be fast-tracked citizenship applications that lacked transparency and were politically motivated. The record reflects that neither the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister feel compelled to answer repeated calls from the public for transparency on this and other matters.
Mr. Symonette has admitted his ownership stake in Bahamas Hot Mix, a company chin-deep in the controversies swirling around the roadworks’ cost overruns and delays.
We in the Progressive Liberal Party note, with amusement, Mr. Ingraham’s attempt to distance himself (and his party) from the conflicts of interest, and questionable conduct, of Messrs. Symonette and Deveaux, by chasing them off to operate behind the scenes.
Mr. Ingraham -- if they acted improperly, they did so with your knowledge and blessing.
And believe us, Bahamians are ready to hold you accountable.
SHANE GIBSON RESPONDS ON HOUSING
Shane Gibson, the MP for Golden Gates, issued the following statement answering allegations of wrongdoing while he was the Minister of Housing. Mr. Gibson made the statement in answer to allegations made on the Jeff Lloyd radio programme on Wednesday 11th January by Dr. Duane Sands, the Chairman of the Mortgage Corporation. Dr. Sands said that as Minister Mr. Gibson was responsible for malfeasance in public office and that the matters were referred to the Attorney general’s office for further investigation. Mr. Gibson called the charges all lies. He made his statement on Thursday 12th January:
Shane Gibson MP
Response to Dr. Duane Sands
11 th Jan 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
I’m here today to drive home a conclusion the Bahamian people have already reached themselves: the FNM’s last-minute election-season allegations about events that took place years ago are straight-out lies, and nothing more than an attempt to distract voters from the FNM’s terrible record of failure.
Under the FNM, murder records have been set four out of five years. They axed Urban Renewal. They ended Swift Justice and Witness Protection. They have presided over record increases in violent crime. They raised taxes during a recession. They’re borrowing millions from the Chinese to pay an Argentine company to build roads. They cut education funding. They don’t have a clue about how to create jobs in the 21st century. They have failed to invest in Bahamians, and they have failed to put Bahamians first.
So you can see why they don’t want this election to be about their record.
Bahamians are too smart, though – they’re too smart to buy charges invented on the eve of an election.
Years ago, as a union leader fighting for working Bahamians, I stood up to Hubert Ingraham, calling him a coward when he was too scared to face demonstrators.
Well, I have never stopped fighting for Bahamians, and we all know about how Hubert Ingraham feels about people willing to stand up to him.
So, he probably won’t like this much either: in our last term, we built more than 1400 homes. We came in and fixed a department that was millions in debt, without proper contracts or procedures, without enough engineers or inspectors. We turned the Housing Ministry around, and because of our work, thousands of Bahamians had a place to live.
The FNM hasn’t even come close to matching that record of success.
And in fact, here we stand today – on a lot in a subdivision built by the FNM -- one that has no infrastructure!
PLP LEADER DENOUNCES DNA
PLP leader Perry Christie made the following statement to the country in answer to an allegation made by Branville McCartney, the leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), that Mr. Christie participated in an FNM cabinet meeting to approve the transfer of the Atlantis assets at Paradise Island from Kerzner International to Brookfield Asset Management. Mr. Christie said that the DNA statement was full of lies. The statement was made on Wednesday 11th January by Mr. Christie.
THE PLP’S LIST
The Progressive Liberal Party presented its list of candidates to the country at a special council meeting on Wednesday 11th January. The announcement was made by Perry G. Christie, the Leader of the Party.
Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie
Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party
PLP Ratifies All 38 Candidates
Nassau: 11 January, 2012
This evening, the National General Council of the Progressive Liberal Party unanimously ratified the final five candidates to offer in the upcoming general elections.
They are Dr. Michael Perry Gomez for North Andros and the Berry Islands; Picewell Forbes for Mangrove Cay and South Andros; Gary Sawyer for Central and South Abaco; Damian Gomez for Central and South Eleuthera and Dion Smith for Nassau Village.
Dr. Gomez, a native of the Berry Islands graduated from the University of the West Indies with a medical degree and specialized in Internal Medicine and infectious diseases from Wayne State University. During his illustrious career as a public servant, Dr. Gomez served as the National Director of The Bahamas’ HIV/AIDS programme and is a pioneer in the fight against HIV/AIDS locally and internationally. He also served as head of the Blue Ribbon Commission on National Health Insurance under the last PLP administration.
Mr. Picewell Forbes was born in Smith’s Hill, South Andros. An alumnus of the College of the Bahamas, Mr. Forbes went on to complete studies at the University of the West Indies (Bachelor’s) and Nova Southeastern University (Master’s).
Mr. Forbes has been a member of the broadcasting community for a number of years and has served in various capacities including Announcer, Deputy Director, Radio Programming & Production, Acting Assistant General Manager, Radio and as Deputy General Manager, Radio Programming & Production. He is presently the Member of Parliament for South Andros.
Mr. Gary Sawyer is a native of Cherokee Sound, Abaco and the Principal of Abaco Petroleum. He attended the All-Age School in Man-O-War Cay and took a number of business courses. He is an accomplished businessman with considerable business interests in Abaco and Eleuthera. A former standard bearer for the party in South Abaco, Mr. Sawyer is ready to assume his place on the team and to become the next Member of Parliament for Central and South Abaco.
Attorney Damien Gomez is a graduate of the University of Bristol with a degree in law. He is head of litigation at Chilcott Chambers and has served as a PLP Senator and ran for the North Eleuthera constituency during the 2002 general elections.
First time candidate Dion Smith, a young attorney, was previously ratified for the constituency of Kennedy, which under the new boundaries no longer exists. He has now been ratified as the candidate for the Nassau Village constituency. He is the Managing Partner of Dion D. Smith and Company.
These new candidates join what is already an extraordinary slate, the best ever put forward by any political party in The Bahamas. They stand ready to implement the PLP's serious and innovative plans to reduce violence and create jobs. The Progressive Liberal Party is ready to invest in people, ready to put Bahamians first.
I am pleased to officially announce those candidates ratified by the Progressive Liberal Party for the upcoming elections:
Bain Town and Grants Town Dr. Bernard Nottage
Bamboo Town Renward Wells
Carmichael Dr. Daniel Johnson
Centreville Perry G. Christie
Elizabeth Ryan Pinder
Englerston Glenys Hanna Martin
Fort Charlotte Dr. Andre Rollins
Fox Hill Fred Mitchell
Garden Hills Dr. Kendal Major
Golden Gates D. Shane Gibson
Golden Isles Michael Halkitis
Killarney Jerome Gomez
Marathon Jerome Fitzgerald
Montague Frank Smith
Mt. Moriah Arnold Forbes
Nassau Village Dion Smith
Pinewood Gardens Khaalis Rolle
Sea Breeze Hope Strachan
South Beach Cleola Hamilton
Southern Shores Kenred Dorsett
St. Anne’s Gregory Burrows
Tall Pines Leslie Miller
Yamacraw Melanie Griffin
Central Grand Bahama Julian Russell
East Grand Bahama Tanisha Tynes
Marco City Gregory Moss
Pine Ridge Dr. Michael Darville
West Grand Bahama and Bimini Obie Wilchcombe
North Abaco Renardo Curry
Central and South Abaco Gary Sawyer
North Andros and the Berry Islands Dr. M. Perry Gomez
Mangrove Cay and South Andros Picewell Forbes
North Eleuthera Clay Sweeting
Central and South Eleuthera Damien Gomez
Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador Philip ‘Brave” Davis
The Exumas and Ragged Island Anthony Moss
Long Island Alex Storr
MICAL Hon. V. Alfred Gray
The ratification of these candidates now completes the PLP slate of candidates who will run in the 2012 General Elections.
WE BELIEVE IN THE BAHAMAS. WE BELIEVE IN BAHAMIANS.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TRUMP WINNERS
The Trump Awards were presented to three Bahamians last week and one with a Bahamian connection. Receiving the prestigious award for their work in hospitality were Michael Hooper, son of King Eric Gibson, the Bahamian musician and brother of Shane Gibson PLP MP and Russell Miller, a Ritz Carlton hotelier in New Orleans, who is the son of Sir Albert Miller, the retired Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority. An award also went to former Ambassador to The Bahamas and now chief Barrack Obama fundraiser in California Ambassador Nicole Avant of the United States. The photo shows though Rev. Timothy Stuart, the Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Nassau for his work in the field of religion with his wife the former Sharon Williams as they arrived to receive his award. The awards were founded by Xernona Clayton of Atlanta, Georgia in 1993 by Ted Turner’s Turner Broadcasting to reward Black people who had made contributions to the civic life of the world.
MARRIED THE GALLIN
The late Tony McKay had a song called “Damn Fool” on his break out album Exuma, The Obeah Man. The lyrics went like this: “Damn Fool you married a gallin, damn fool!” Now a new generation of Bahamians have a song with similar sentiments. It rocks enjoy.
SENATOR JEROME ON THE FNM AND COB
Senator Jerome Fitzgerald served on the Board of the College of The Bahamas during the years 2002 to 2007 under the Chairmanship of Franklyn Wilson. During that time and under the leadership of Alfred Sears as Minister, the College committed itself to become the University of The Bahamas. That objective has been abandoned or so it seems by the actions of the FNM administration since they came to power in 2007. Senator Fitzgerald had an opportunity in the Senate last week to review all that the PLP accomplished during its time at the College. You can click here for the full statement to the Senate.
THE SUNSHINE MARATHON
The day has come and gone for the second annual Susan G. Korman run for the cure and today was the day for the early morning start of the third annual Sunshine Marathon. The photos are by Peter Ramsay. The organizer is Franklyn Wilson , CEO of Arawak Homes and Sunshine Holdings.
OAS SCHOLARSHIPS NOW
The Organization For American States (OAS) the body which includes all countries of the region except Cuba has an annual scholarship programme which is open and available for Bahamian applicants. The information below comes from their website:
MUH BOY DEM DOH PLAY
JUST GOT PAID BY JOHNNIE KEMP
This song was launched by Johnnie Kemp in 1987 in his album Secrets of Flying. It became a number one hit in the U.S. in 1988. Bahamians were proud of this son of the soil. Enjoy!
MAJORITY RULE DAY MARKED AT R.M. BAILEY SCHOOL
The R.M. Bailey School invited civic leaders into the school on 10th January to talk about Majority Rule Day, 10th January 1967 when people of African descent were able to run the political power in the country for the first time in its history. Amongst those invited were Dame Marguerite Pindling widow of the Premier who was chosen on that day Sir Lynden Pindling, Dr. Elwood Donaldson one of the Members elected on that day, Arthur D. Hanna, the Deputy Premier elected on that day; Arlington Miller, former Head of the Bahamas Public Services Union, Italia Johnson, former Speaker of the House of Assembly; former Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia "Mother" Pratt. The photo is by Peter Ramsay.
PAINTING THE TOWN GOLD
Progressive Liberal Party candidates were out in the streets in full force on Saturday 14th January in an exercise called painting the town gold. Candidates and MPs were out in their constituencies to meet and greet the people. Our photos show Melanie Griffin MP in her Yamacraw seat and Greg Burrows, the PLP's candidate for St. Anne's. From the Facebook page of Davin Beneby.
TO THE EDITOR
Forester Carroll writes this week from Freeport about the Norris Bain, the FNM's nominee for the Marco City seat where he will face the PLP's Greg Moss. It is a scathing condemnation of Mr. Bain.
I have never met the individual but I respected him; I knew nothing of his family ties, his religious background, where he was born but I regarded him highly; now he prompts me to remember the old wise expression which says, “If you want to know who I really am you must come to live with me.” This indeed is applicable to the character of one NORRIS BAIN, Assistant Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Principal of the church’s school and basketball coach extraordinaire. I still haven’t formally met this guy but I do now know that he is nothing but a damn low down worthless snake who needs to go back to the alter and have a little talk with Jesus about his sins. He has proven to me (by his recent conduct in events involving the Assistant Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church/ Principal of the Church’s school and basketball coach) that all the nice things they were saying about him are false rubbish and that he is indeed nothing more than in a political sense a lying, deceiving, conniving snake of an individual. Woodside (the church’s senior pastor) should not allow this DECEIVER back into that pulpit (at the church on settler’s way) until he repents of his sins.
Permit me to qualify the harsh negative opinion which I now harbor for Norris Bain and the contempt I hold for this lying, deceiving snake.
It was not more than three months ago that Bain sat on his flat-behind and wrote a letter to the candidates committee, of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), begging for the PLP’s nomination for the then High Rock Constituency (now re-named East Grand Bahama). His letter was one among five or six others of PPCs (possible potential candidates) who were vying for the PLP’s High Rock candidacy. It is alleged that Bain had a laundry list of financial pre-requisites, conditional on him being nominated, and it is further alleged that the party had indicated a willingness to consider any reasonable request (condition) he may have had; all this in order to go the extra mile to have the best and the brightest to represent the Grand Bahama people. Obviously (like me) the PLP’s leadership was duped into believing that this guy had an impeccable character and that he would have qualified to the PLP’s standards for candidates in this general election. This thinking came about from the many years of hearing the name, Norris Bain, associated with excellence in terms of national basketball championship winnings. The man’s public persona, in the Grand Bahama community, convinced us that, as one of our candidates, he would have been something special. The FNM heard of his applying for the PLP’s nomination and set about to thwart the outcome at all cost. Their first effort was to get Ingraham to meet personally with the basketball coach in an effort to have him change his mind and run for the FNM instead (after all he has been an FNM all his life). In a closed-door session with the political hog (we are told) Ingraham committed to meeting all on Bain’s laundry list of financial conditions and then some (an offer Bain couldn’t refuse?). Bain admitted to meeting with Hubert but denied that he was moved by Ingraham’s very generous financial, buy-out offer. He insisted that he, after consultation with his wife and family and church family, decided not to accept a nomination from the FNM because of their disastrous economic blunders in Grand Bahama. He claimed he couldn’t associate with such a group any longer but time (the revealer of all things) has a way of revealing truth and it all comes out in the end. A man who cannot admit truth is no man at all and is far worse, in my opinion, than an infidel.
The candidates committee of the PLP, after concluding its due diligence process, made the decision to accept Bain’s request and approve him as the party’s nominee for High Rock (now East Grand Bahama). This decision, I am told, was taken by the candidates’ committee in spite of some very strong advice and objections (from some here on Grand Bahama including an uncle of Norris’) against the nomination of the basketball coach. The committee was told that the man could not be politically trusted; that he has a reputation; that never mind his public persona the man had plenty baggage; that all that he purported to be, publicly, was not who he really was in private; that he was a total political FAKE; that he would embarrass the PLP in the end; that the PLP would live to regret their decision; that we would curse the day we wasted our time fooling with the political snake. As it turned out we should have taken that well founded advice. However whether he embarrassed the PLP (at the end of the day) or himself is a matter for the public to decide.
|22nd. January ,
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
|DNA LAUNCH LONG ISLAND|
THE PLP UNVEILS ITS FULL SLATE: behold the men and women who will lead us after the next general election which is slated to take place within three months time. The signs are all there. A frantic and desperate Prime Minister rushing to put things in place; launches of FNM candidates, trying to catch up with the PLP; police leave cancelled for the next three months; the lines to pick up voter’s cards and the last minute registration. The PLP ran a full page ad on Monday 16th January in the Nassau Guardian with all of their candidates. We believe the PLP has pound for pound a better team and a better leader. We expect the PLP’s team to be victorious and to be the better team. Congratulations to them. The photos are by Antoine Ferrier. Our photo of the week, the PLP’s winning team.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
INGRAHAM’S CONVENIENT MEMORY ON P.I.
When Hubert Ingraham announced last year in November that the government had approved the transfer of the assets of Kerzner International from the privately owned company headed by Sol Kerzner to the Canadian asset management company Brookfield, he said that the government approved the deal. The PLP’s leader immediately called for the details of the deal. It turns out that it was a bad deal, and the government did not do due diligence in lending its approval.
Last week, the deal unraveled. The first hint of trouble was when the other bond holders (this was an old fashioned foreclosure for nonpayment) filed a suit in the court in Delaware in the United States to block the agreement which would have taken out the Paradise Island based assets and given control of those assets to Brookfield with a management contract to Sol Kerzner's company for two years.
The other bond holders thought that this was a sweetheart deal; that Brookfield was a relatively small lender and should not get the prize without due consideration being given to the other bond holders.
There was another problem. Mr. Ingraham did not disclose that until last Friday 13th January, there was in fact no application before the government of The Bahamas to approve anything. In fact, the approval was never given because on the same day that the application was made by Brookfield, it was withdrawn. The court ordered an interim injunction against any transfer of the asset pursuant to that deal.
Where does that leave Paradise Island? Well in a legal sense it is still in the hands of the Kerzner company, no foreclosure or transfer of the asset having taken place. The management continues to run the place as they have under Sol Kerzner's direction. Alan Liebman has been brought in as the CEO of the company. He used to work here in the early days. That is not the end of the story however.
The Prime Minister was quick to run out and say that all is well, no jobs will be lost and that he expects that the employees have nothing to worry about. Save and except that he lied to the country about this before and so why should anyone believe him. Further, he is so consumed by politics and general elections and his failures to the Bahamian people that he did not tell the Bahamian people that the deal had fallen through on the Friday 13th January. Instead he was up in Grand Bahama politicking and announcing that miserable slate of candidates.
Our other concern is this however and that is the resonance that it is getting in this country of Mr. Ingraham’s charge that this is all the PLP’s fault because they allowed the asset to be mortgaged in 2006 to allow the company to go private. Imagine if the PLP had refused permission, Mr. Ingraham back them would have been braying like a jackass that the PLP was trying to stop the work of a major investor in the country. He cannot have his cake and eat it too.
Mr. Ingraham now has to accept responsibility for the fact that he is the government of the day. He cannot simply sit on his hands. The PLP has said that it would take a proactive approach in seeking to solve the crisis and is doing what they can even in Opposition. In the mean time, Mr. Ingraham with his convenient memory is playing politics.
We publish in this comment a photograph taken from the FNM’s website which shows Mr. Ingraham touring Paradise Island with his bosom buddy Sol Kerzner. Not a word then on the tour or any objection to what Mr. Kerzner proposed. That proposal to go private which needed the blessing of the then government to mortgage the asset at Paradise Island was announced on 21st March 2006. Mr. Ingraham visited in the property in August of that year. Not one word of objection. Now that it is convenient as ever for him, it’s the PLP’s fault. The devil is a liar.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 21st January 2012 up to midnight: 179,057
Number of hits for the month of January up to Saturday 21st January 2012 up to midnight: 529,883
Number of hits for the year 2012 up to Saturday 21st January 2012 up to midnight: 529,883
THE RUNNING PHOTOS
Last week, we published some early photos of the running of the third annual Sunshine Marathon sponsored by the Sunshine Insurance company and its Chairman Franklyn Wilson. This week, we present a spread and provide you with the name of the winner of the full marathon Bryan Huberty, who took the top spot in a new course record of 2:42.53s. The top female: Angela Cobb, who set a new course record in last year's half-marathon, returned to take the top overall finish in the marathon with her time of 3:00.17s. Plans are already underway for the fourth edition of Marathon Bahamas scheduled for 19-20 January 2013. Registration opens 1 May. The photos are by Peter Ramsay.
PETER TURNQUEST: SOME SPLAINING TO DO
Peter Turnquest who is the now the FNM’s surprise candidate for the East Grand Bahama seat has some questions which he must answer in relation to his ownership of Sky Bahamas, the Bahamian private airline and his relationship to Fred Kaiser, who is reportedly the owner behind the scenes and certainly the financier of the airline Sky Bahamas. Mr. Kaiser reportedly worth in the billions lives in Grand Bahama. Mr. Turnquest who also lives there and is a former President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce is said to be Mr. Kaiser’s accountant. That on the face of it is fine save and except that Fred Kaiser is now been convicted by his own admission of U.S. tax fraud. As head of a company Alpha Technologies, he was ordered to pay 36 million dollars in back taxes to the United States Internal Revenue Service. It is alleged that he would direct monies from his companies in the US to the Cayman Islands or to a Cypriot corporation. This happened in 2004. Mr. Turnquest is listed as having 35 per cent share in Sky Bahamas. Randy Butler, the DNA candidate, is listed as having 35 per cent share in the business. The issue is now this: does Mr. Kaiser have any interest in Sky Bahamas? Is Mr. Kaiser bankrolling the campaigns of Randy Butler and Peter Turnquest and therefore by extension the campaigns of the DNA and of the FNM. These are legitimate questions which must be asked now that Mr. Turnquest is in public life and so is Mr. Butler. It is said that the participation of a foreigner in the airline is contrary to law and policy. Mr. Turnquest must let us know what the truth is about this campaign, its funding and his connection if any as the accountant to this tax fraud issue. Mr. Butler has even more explaining to do, and since he is never short for words he must come forward and say what he knows. Both Peter Turnquest and Tanisha Tynes, his opponent in the next general election and the PLP’s standard bearer are Anglicans and meet at the altar of Ascension in Freeport and share the same cup and table. When they next make the greeting of peace and promise to do the things that make for peace and build up the common life, Peter Turnquest ought to have his explanation at the ready.
ANDRE ROLLINS’ STATEMENT ON LAING
The following statement was issued by Andre Rollins, the PLP’s candidate for Ft. Charlotte on Zhivargo Laing, who is leaving his seat and his constituents in Marco City in Freeport and running to Nassau in the hope that he win the seat for the FNM:
This General Election must be about addressing the real issues facing our country and our people, not about using deception and lies to distract voters in an effort to cause them to forget just how bad things are presently in The Bahamas.
Our education system is producing alarmingly high rates of school leavers who cannot perform at basic levels; our economy and industries are shrinking; our skyrocketing national debt is prompting recurrent downgrades of our sovereign credit rating; the number of unemployed and discouraged workers is enormous; Bahamian workers are increasingly feeling squeezed by high numbers of immigrant laborers; and we are shooting our way to the top of the list of the world’s most murderous places.
Instead of dealing honestly with these very serious issues, the FNM has shown that they are prepared to instead deceive and distract voters in hopes of deflecting the Bahamian people’s attention away from their record of failure. This was evident when at the FNM’s Take 5 rally in Grand Bahama on Sunday past, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham made what can only be described as an ill-advised impromptu remark, and in the process inadvertently revealed that his junior minister of finance, Zhivargo Laing, lied to the people of Grand Bahama in a statement he issued a little more than a year ago.
In an article appearing in the Freeport News on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 written by Ms. Cleopatra Murphy, she wrote that Sir Jack Hayward reported in an earlier communication to the media that the Government’s refusal to renew Hannes Babak’s work permit left many of the company’s projects in a state of limbo. This implied that the Government’s lack of cooperation and engagement with the Port was playing a direct role in stalling and stifling the Grand Bahama economy.
Following Sir Jack’s remarks to the press, Mr. Laing called them “silly, misguided and offensive “and the article went on to say that Laing further claimed that:
“It is a terrible admission on (Sir Jack) Hayward’s part to acknowledge that the hopes of he and his family as well as the other Port families were entwined in Hannes Babak. If that is so, then the Grand Bahama Port Authority Board, its management and partners are not worth two dimes,” and “instead of laying the blame at the feet of the Government, Hayward should turn his sights to the GBPA.”
According to Mr. Laing, “…nothing has been more injurious to Grand Bahama’s economic health than the awful fight between the shareholders of the GBPA in which Sir Jack was a leading player”.
The article then quotes Mr. Laing as saying that the Ingraham administration was “working to improve the economy of the island regardless of the infighting that has been going on within the GBPA.”
This is in contradiction to Mr. Ingraham’s off-the-cuff remark at Sunday’s Take 5 rally, when he said:
“Since the last time I spoke to you, Sir Jack Hayward and I had a chance to talk. Now that he is willing to divorce himself from one Hannes Babak, we can do business.”
Mr. Ingraham accidentally revealed that Mr. Laing’s claims that the Ingraham administration was “working” with the GBPA to improve the island’s economy, despite the infighting between the Port’s shareholders, was quite simply a lie. This admission also proved that this FNM administration has in fact been a major impediment to economic progress on that island, because only since this recent turn of events was this administration willing to work with this critical grouping.
If Mr. Laing would deceive the people of Grand Bahama about the true state of affairs involving the relationship between the Government and the Port, and its damaging affect on the economy of Grand Bahama and the lives of its people, then it stands to reason that there is nothing stopping Mr. Laing from attempting to deceive the constituents of Marco City and, by extension, Fort Charlotte about why he abandoned his seat in Grand Bahama to offer himself once again to the same Fort Charlotte constituents who rejected him in 2002.
There is nothing noble about Mr. Laing’s departure from Marco City. It has nothing to do with helping his party try and pick-up a seat in New Providence. It does, however, have everything to do with scientific polling done by his party that revealed just how unpopular he had become with the people of Marco City in just 5 short years, in the very same way that he alienated the constituents of Fort Charlotte after only a single term.
Mr. Laing is arrogant enough to believe that he can once again get away with trying to deceive the Bahamian people and Mr. Ingraham is wrong to believe that the long dollars of the FNM will create short memories in the minds of the people of Fort Charlotte. I believe that no amount of deception by Mr. Laing, or money spent by the FNM, can erase the bad memories they have of Mr. Laing’s 5 years in Fort Charlotte.
PLP ISSUES STATEMENT ON ATLANTIS
The Progressive Liberal Party issued the following statement following the collapse of the Atalntis deal.
17th January 2011
Forty-eight days after the Progressive Liberal Party expressed serious concerns about the FNM government’s approval of the Atlantis deal, that deal has fallen apart, leaving more than 7,000 Bahamians even more anxious about the security of their jobs.
The Prime Minister and the FNM government have shown extraordinary incompetence when it comes to dealing with our nation’s largest private employer. Working in secret behind closed doors, they approved a takeover by a junior creditor without first securing support from more senior creditors, who went on to pull the deal under, leaving the future of Atlantis uncertain. Despite repeated calls from the PLP, the FNM has never shared the details of that agreement with the Bahamian public.
This is not a game. Bahamians must have an effective representative at the bargaining table. The PLP is willing to assist the FNM going forward. The Bahamas must now reach out to all creditors, assist in new negotiations, and work with all stakeholders to preserve the operations of the resort, protect Bahamian employment, and avoid foreclosure or insolvency
MAJORITY RULE AT BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH
Last Sunday as we were uploading this site, the PLP was gathered in solemn convocation at the Bethel Baptist Church to mark the 45th anniversary of Majority Rule which came on 10th January 1967. That was the day that the black majority in the country first took political power in The Bahamas. The period lasted for 25 years under the PLP. Fred Mitchell MP represented the Leader of the PLP at Bethel and gave his address:
Reverend Timothy Stuart and Mrs. Stuart, the officers and members of this church in particularly to my constituent and mentor the Rev. Mathias Munroe; Mr. Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party, colleague Members of Parliament, Brother and sister candidates of the Progressive Liberal Party, officers and members of the party, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
Let me say what a special privilege and honour it is to be with you here in Bethel this morning. In a very real sense this is where it all began. This is the beginning of the Baptist faith in The Bahamas and with it integrally intertwined is the history of the struggle of the people of Africa in The Bahamas for their freedom. We salute you this morning.
There is yet another role which Bethel played to which I will come but I want to say here the profound thanks of the Leader of our Party the Rt. Hon Perry Christie for your hosting us this morning on this special occasion. It is always good to be back in Bethel. I wish on their behalf to extend his regret and that of the Deputy Leader of the party Philip Brave Davis for their inability to be here this morning due to a conflicting assignment overseas. They both consider Bethel to be in a very real sense a church home for them and for this party.
One other matter by way of housekeeping, it remains for me to be amongst the first to congratulate you Rev. Stuart, your beautiful wife Sharon and this church family on the recent Trumpet Award given to you in Atlanta, Georgia last Saturday 7th January. It is well deserved for your pioneering work in religion and in the civic life of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Today, we come to mark Majority Rule day. If we are not careful it will soon slip into obscurity. We of this generation must make it right. On the day itself, but for the single article in the newspaper by Raynard Rigby, the former Chairman of the PLP, not one newspaper, published one word to mark the day. Yet 45 years ago this was an earth shattering day in the history of The Bahamas. Those of us, who were alive on that day, know that not even independence day moved the earth in the way 10th January 1967 moved this nation.
To find an equal moment in the history of our country, I would argue that you would have to reach back 133 years before 1967 to the 1st August 1834 when the slaves were freed. That day Emancipation Day was the formal start of the inexorable march for the full acceptance of the humanity of African peoples in The Bahamas. It culminated in Majority Rule day 10th January 1967.
In the modern era, you can see the development the full freedom of the Bahamian people as a construct which began in 1942 and culminated in Independence in 1973.
The markers are these: the Burma Road riots of 1st and 2nd June 1942, the formation of the Citizens Committee to reverse the ban on the showing of Sidney Poitier’s first film in 1950; the formation of the Progressive Liberal Party 23rd November 1953; the General Election of the First PLP Members to Parliament on 29th November 1956; the formation of the United Bahamian Party, the party of the Bay Street merchant ruling group in 1958; the General Strike of January 1958; women obtaining the vote in July 1961; constitutional changes to ministerial government in January 1964; Black Tuesday on 27th April 1965 when Sir Lynden Pindling threw the mace out of the window; and then the general election result of 10th January 1967. Today, it may seem to young people as no big deal. No one questions their ability to get ahead in this nation because of the colour of their skin, but 45 years ago that was a real question. If someone asks you today what was the change that was brought about in 1967, you can tell them just look at the pictures. Look at the picture of the Cabinet of The Bahamas prior to 10th January 1967 and then look at the picture of the Cabinet after 10th January 1967. When you look at the pictures you will get the point that we the people became the rulers of ourselves, the captains of our own destiny and our own fate.
Here is how Michael Craton, the Canadian historian records the points: “Though the UBP cannily cut off voter registration early, the election was fought with unparalleled enthusiasm and almost no violence. For the first time the PLP realizing its strength in the capital, campaigned hardest in the Out Islands, where the movie idol Sidney Poitier… made several telling appearances on behalf of the party. Beside this, an enterprising Nassau preacher reminded his congregation that it was on the tenth day of the first month that the Israelites were led out of captivity in Egypt, and the PLP votes went to the polls singing the theme song from Exodus as their anthem.”
Let me ask Bethel if they know who that enterprising preacher was? It was Rev. Dr. H.W. Brown of Bethel. Craton continues: “The result of the election was the utter defeat of the NDP and a tie between the two major parties, with UBP and PLP returning 18 members each. The balance was held by Randal Fawkes, the sole Labour member, and Alvin Braynen, a white maverick from North Eleuthera who stood for election as an independent. After some hours of tumultuous suspense, it was announced that the Governor sent for the leader of the PLP, the 36 year old lawyer Lynden Pindling, to form a government, that Fawkes had been offered the Ministry of Labour and Welfare, and that Braynen had agreed to act as Speaker.
Craton concludes: “For the first time, the power of “Bay Street” had been humbled and the Negro majority had come to rule.” Sir Henry Taylor writing in his book “ My Political Memoirs’ records it this way: “ For the first time in the history of the government of The Bahamas Islands, the Bay Street Boys found themselves in a minority position. Fr nearly three hundred and fifty years the country was controlled by this group. All the old concepts of government were accepted by them and perpetuated through the years during their administration. They wanted no change in the status quo. They were quite satisfied that in the Bahamas government was getting along well.” My mother Lilla now deceased was a typist at the then Ministry of Out Island Affairs, the Minister was Donald D’Albenas who died last year in Canada at the age of 95. She reported to us that when he came to say goodbye, he said to them he could not understand what had happened to the people.
10th January 1967 then set the stage for the new horizons which we enjoyed in this country. It lifted the ceiling, opened the doors, the psychological barriers had been lifted for all Bahamians black and white. There was now full adult suffrage. All of that became possible on 10th January 1967.
We must try always to remember. I was speaking once to a young liberal. He was then 18 years old. I was trying to explain to him who Sammie Starr, the former DNA candidate was, and why he should not be surprised that Sammie Starr would go into politics because I said after all he came from a political family. I explained that Sammie Starr is actually Sammy Poitier and is the nephew of Darrell Rolle. To which this young liberal replied: who is Darrell Rolle?
My solution: later this year with God’s help and yours we are set to become the government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Next year this time, 10th January 1967 should be a public holiday. There must be no more discussion on this. We must do it. The state must take over the observances and ensure that it is weaved into the national educational curriculum of the country.
In this connection, we want to thank the leaders of the R.M. Bailey School for their inviting in the speakers including Dame Marguerite Pindling to talk about majority rule day.
Also by this October, with a PLP government in power, the National Heroes day legislation that we brought onto the books should be brought into force making the second Monday in October a national holiday replacing to so called Discovery Day. That day will be National Heroes day. There is time to stop asking about it and do it.
As our youth grows pale, as our eyes dim, as we move off the scene, we must ensure that they who come behind us know the story. So that the young who come behind us will be able to tell the old old story of how we came to be free.
I thank you all. God bless you and God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. end
BRAVE PHOTOS OF LAUNCH IN SAN SALVADOR
Philip Brave Davis is the Deputy Leader of the PLP and the incumbent Member of Parliament for Cat Island Rum Cay and San Salvador. He visited San Salvador on Thursday 19th January to formally launch his campaign for re-election. His opponent will be Senator Michael Pintard of the Free National Movement. We predict that poor Senator Pintard will be trounced. In the meantime, the happy photos of the Deputy Leader launching his campaign. These are taken from his Facebook page.
NIGERIAN AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS
The Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes accepted the credentials of the High Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Thursday 19th January at Government House. She is non-resident and serves The Bahamas from Havana, Cuba. Seen at the reception following the ceremony is the Governor General and Lady Foulkes with Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell at the left, the High Commissioner Laraba Elsie Bhutto next to him. The photo is by Derek Smith of the Bahamas Information Services.
AT LAST A SALUTE TO THE LATE ETTA JAMES DEAD AT 73
JAMAICAN PATRIOT DUDLEY THOMPSON DIES
|The photo shows a picture of Dudley Thompson's visit to The Bahamas in July 2010 at Government House. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.|
He was a friend of the Bahamas, and a supporter of the PLP's move to get majority rule in The Bahamas. The Jamaica Gleaner reported that Dudley Thompson died in Florida yesterday at the age of 95. The full report appears below: Mr. Thompson visited The Bahamas two years ago as the guest of Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes.
DUDLEY THOMPSON, the brash, outspoken and colourful former minister of national security in the Michael Manley administration of the late 1970s, is dead.
Thompson, the man who laughed as easily as he frowned, passed away yesterday in the United States where he had been living for several years.
He died a day after celebrating his 95th birthday and less than two months after the death of David Coore, another stalwart of the ideologically flavoured period.
The former Rhodes Scholar featured prominently in the Michael Manley administration during the heady days of democratic socialism in Jamaica and is remembered for his defiant declaration that "no angels died at Green Bay", after five men were gunned down by members of the army at the military base located on the outskirts of Portmore.
At a time when many eyes were focused suspiciously on Jamaica's foray in the socialism ideology, Thompson's controversial trip to Cuba with a mysterious character from that country dubbed the 'Moonex Man' also grabbed headlines.
The struggle for the West Kingston seat between Thompson and the Jamaica Labour Party's Edward Seaga at a time when none of the political parties demonstrated any real dominance over the constituency proved fascinating.
After a bruising battle in the 1962 general election, the relationship between the two defiant personalities was always strained at best, but in the latter part of his life, Thompson described Seaga as a man who was "necessary for Jamaica".
The focus of Dudley Thompson's attention was not confined to local shores as he was an advocate of Pan-Africanism.
Born in Panama and raised to manhood in Jamaica, Thompson served in Britain's Royal Air Force during World War II. In England, he interacted with such Pan-African greats as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, George Padmore of Trinidad and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya.
LORETTA BUTLER TURNER IN LONG ISLAND ( SPECIAL)
On a news report this week, Clint Watson, ZNS reporter, on commenting on the changes of the candidates said that Loretta-Butler Turner is returning to her “childhood home” on Long Island as a candidate. That is an incorrigible lie and it needs to be corrected.
Mrs. Butler-Turner can make no claims on Long Island other than the fact that her grandmother (Lady Caroline Butler) was from Long Island. Mrs. Butler-Turner or any of her family members do not have as much as a chicken coop in Long Island. The sad fact is that she has begun her campaign on Long Island and is looking for a house to rent for three months, only.
Moreover, being the successful business persons that the Butler family has grown into, it is quite shameful that they have not looked back on the island and have not invested a dollar in Long Island. The only thing of significance that Mrs. Butler-Turner and her family has done, is buried a few of the dead, and they were paid for that service. Incidentally, it is interesting to note that she has been removed from what is considered to be a safe seat in Nassau, to Long Island, but what could you expect when the “powers that be in the FNM” instructed the Prime Minister that they have someone to represent them, and he must find a seat for her?
Long Island is one of the most deprived islands of the Bahamas. The island has much potential, but has not grown in any way under the continuous representation of the UBP and FNM members of parliament. As a matter of fact, Long Island is worst now than it was 30 years ago.
The fact is, Long Islanders who have done well for themselves in government, business, and otherwise; including five or six cabinet ministers who were descended from Long Island at one time, and the many millionaires have done absolutely nothing for Long Island, other than come around during election time to instruct Long Islanders how to vote.
It is time for a change. Long Island deserves better. Long Islanders will not support the FNM this time. We do not want to treated like a step-child any longer; we refuse to be led by incompetent leaders; we refuse to be forgotten; we refuse to be given the crumbs the fall from the table; we are one of the jewels on the Bahamas, and we want more this time.
DNA LAUNCH LONG ISLAND
Friday night saw the launch of the DNA in Long Island. Known FNM’s turned out in impressive numbers at the DNA headquarters in Deadman’s cay, Long Island. DNA leader, Branville Macartney, introduced his man for Long Island, businessman, Mario Cartwright.
The news is not good for Loretta Butler Turner and the FNM. She has a big job encouraging the disenchanted FNM’s on Long Island to support the party who they have constantly turned their backs on them. Additionally, traditional Long Islanders would not vote for a woman, an oversight on Mr. Ingraham’s part in choosing to send her to Long Island.
Sources say that there were close to 300 persons attending the function on Friday night, and the vast majority of those attending were known to be strong supporters of the FNM. With only about 1500 eligible voters in Long Island, the FNM votes with be split. One former general of Larry Cartwright even took photos with Mr.Mario Cartwright and Mr. Macartney while holding up the pointing finger, the proverbial DNA sign.
The race in Long Island is now between Alex Storr, the PLP’s candidate, and Mario Cartwright, the DNA’s candidate, with Alex Storr now being the front runner. Long Island is not going to be an easy win for the FNM, and it seems Mrs. Butler-Turner will be banished to the sidelines of front-line politics after all the votes have been tallied. But, the question still remains, being the incumbent in Montague, why was she not nominated to Montague instead of being sent to Long Island? It seems that she will turn out to the sacrificial lamb…
NOTES FROM GRAND BAHAMA
MESSAGE TO MR CHRISTIE AND THE PLP
A Grand Bahama church elder is sending a message to Mr. Perry Christie: The message is Mr. Ingraham’s political season is drawing to an end; he sees what is coming. As election day draw closer, Mr. Ingraham’s insults and tirades will become increasingly worse. My word to you and your party is do not answer him, or be drawn into this game. Continue to spread the PLP message and vision for the country going forward.
The church elder went on to say you only need look at the story of King Nebuchadnezzer and how he exalted himself only to be brought low. Prime Minister Ingraham for his part has chosen a team of candidates weak in their personal beliefs who he believes would follow him blindly like lemmings over a cliff to their destruction. He further stated, “Show me one of those candidates who would dare question their mighty leader’s decision.” If the PM finds himself where he is unable to serve, who among this group will lead? This one man rule is not of solid foundation on which to build. Mr. Ingraham must realize that he is a mere mortal, and then, ask himself the question, what is man?
It seems that the FNM has a problem in the old HIGH ROCK constituency. The Prime Minister after dismissing Ken Russell went on national television and asked the branch to submit two (2) names for the national party consideration for a new candidate. The branch met and we are informed that Michael Pintard and Reverend Frederick McAlpine were the branch’s clear choice. After the process was finished, the Leader then chose Peter Turnquest, so why did he ask the branch in the first place to choose. On Sunday, we saw a number of disgruntled FNMs absent from the meeting at Our Lucaya. Some among them have vowed not to work for the candidate; and, others said they will not vote.
Mr. Turnquest attended a funeral yesterday in Pelican Point, noticeably absent were some chief generals. Things that make you go……..hmmm………………………………………………
The politicos at Wendy’s were asking why was it necessary to bring people from Nassau to set up the room at the Our Lucaya Hotel for a Grand Bahama function. Could we not have given some of the local young people that job?
Politicos said that the food provided at the function was not sufficient; others insist that the food was sufficient, but our people known for toting wrapped it in small napkins and carted it off. While others said it is about time we get something out of these su……………………..s.
Now we all know that Grand Bahama economy was being held hostage because of HannesBaback. There was no spin that FNMs could put on the unfortunate statement made about Sir Jack and HannesBaback. It seems as if FNMs, PLPs, and DNA’s were made to suffer because Ingraham had a problem with Baback.
Finally, of all my mother’s children, I love myself the best, and as long as my belly is full, I do not care about the rest. This was the label attached to Zhirvargo Laing, Junior Minister of Finance. Clearly Zhirvargo has abandoned the ship and taken to the life boat leaving behind the fateful passengers.
TO THE EDITOR
This week Forrester Carroll writes from Freeport about the history of the expulsion of Hubert Ingraham from the Progressive Liberal Party. This is the first of two parts. The second part will continue next week.
I am occasionally ask about the events which led up to the expulsion of “big head-bird brain-jumping Jack” Hubert Ingraham from the ranks of the PLP. I shall attempt to give some insight of as many details, as I can recall, as to why the PLP had no choice but to expel the man. I can tell you that my account (of the events) may not be put here in any particular chronological order but will be accurate as to what actually happened which necessitated the decision. Consequently, therefore, I will stand corrected on very few (if any at all) of my recollections.
I dare say that Hubert Ingraham must have gotten wind up his rear-end when he decided that he should be the PLP’s king-maker and not prime minister Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling. He must have smelled his stop lip at the time when he embarked on that “mission impossible” and decided to proceed with his planned plot to overthrow Sir Lynden and take power in, what the piss-head conceived as, a political coup d’état. I am still at a loss (even now) as to how, exactly, this Negro thought he would have accomplished such a feat. Nobody liked the man so how in this world did he expect to pull off that stunt? Matters of this kind are fought on the convention floor and it was no way in hell Hubert Ingraham (or anyone else for that matter) could defeat Sir Lynden in such a showdown. At the end of the day though, as fate would have it, all his nasty, cowardly plans would be revealed and he would pay the ultimate political price.
Ingraham-being the sneaky cowardly bastard that he is-went about the country doing all he could to bring disgrace to Sir Lynden’s name. It was alleged that he plotted, with several of Pindling’s cabinet ministers, to overthrow Sir Lynden but, as in most plots involving Bahamians, when the time came for his partners in crime to show up; bush crack and only three of them were left standing. As a matter of fact, it was reported that one of the original group of plotters, allegedly, betrayed Ingraham and told Sir Lynden what the “piss-head” was planning. The group eventually dwindled to just Ingraham and another as one of the three (I guess on principle) apparently couldn’t continue to be a part of Ingraham’s nastiness so he finally deserted the bully and resigned from his cabinet post before Pindling could fire him (as he did Hubert and the other). Sir Lynden jumped the gun and fired the other two schemers before they could embarrass him (Sir Lynden) and resign as well. The resignation of three cabinet ministers (at the same time), from any sitting democratic government, would have far reaching consequences for that government. Sir Lynden, being well aware of those consequences, took the right decision which insulated his government from falling.
When Ingraham’s nasty plot failed, and there was no more support from his colleagues he went, on the rampage, about the country (a loner) making mischief for Sir Lynden; verbally abusing him, the PLP and his estranged colleagues. He was warned several times (in writing), about specific incidents by the chairman of the PLP, and asked to desist. His public deportment and demeanor was very much unbecoming and indeed breached the code of conduct and conditions which governed his continuing as a senior member of the party and a member of the national general council (NGC). As a matter of fact Ingraham’s conduct breached all the rules governing the code of conduct of even ordinary card-carrying members and certainly endangered his membership in the organization. The chairman reiterated this grave position in writing, several times as I said earlier, but in his usual belligerent fashion the Ingraham ignored all warnings. His conduct, by this time, was deemed by the NGC to be ultra virus to a member in good standing and so he was commanded to appear before it to answer for his dastardly public behavior. Ingraham refused several written commands to appear before the NGC and so the decision was taken to deny him the PLP nomination for the 1987 general elections for his North Abaco constituency. This, of course, further inflamed the Abaco Dragon. Subsequent to the council’s decision Sir Lynden planned a meeting in the North Abaco constituency to explain to the people the reason(s) why the party took the decision (it did) to drop the bully from the party’s slate of candidates for the pending general elections. Sir Lynden travelled to Abaco with a delegation, including Minky Isaacs, and a meeting was convened at a specific venue in Treasure Cay.
Shortly after the meeting began it was very obvious that Ingraham attended prepared for a fist fight, if necessary. He had his GOONS present, in the room and in position, which were prepared to take Sir Lynden out if necessary. Minky Isaacs, though, and the others who travelled with the PLP’s leader, protected him from being ambushed. For Sir Lynden political troubles, on the Island of Abaco, were not an unusual occurrence; they tried to kill him, literally, one time during 1972. The incident as recalled by Mr. Errington Watkins they prepared a metal tub, (this time), full of explosives, anchored the tub in the sea and tied it to a tree near the dock where the Prime minister was scheduled to stand and speak. The location was carefully and strategically chosen so as to ensure maximum effect. The explosives were designed to ensure that the nation’s beloved leader did not leave Abaco that night ALIVE. The bomb was set to explode at 11pm, at which time Sir Lynden would have been wrapping up his speech. You can read all the details, in my uncle’s (Errington W “Bumpy” Watkins) book of memoirs which I believe is now on sale on the shelves of bookstores throughout the country. My uncle, who was told of the bomb plot by one of his supporters around 9pm that night, was the one who actually saved Sir Lynden’s life, in the end, as detailed in his Memoirs. Bumpy (as my uncle is affectionately called) was, at the time interestingly enough, the independent MP for Marsh Harbor who, along with the Abaco Independence Movement (AIM) committee, was in the middle of a campaign opposing independence for the country. They argued that if independence was granted to the colony that Abaco would wish to secede and remain a British Dependency. It was really ironic and an act of Providence that the informant would spill the beans about the bomb plot to Watkins, of all people, and that Watkins, who opposed Sir Lynden and the PLP, at the time, would be the one to save him (Sir Lynden) and the others with him from being blown to smithereens. The rest, as they say of course, is a part of this country’s colorful dastardly political history.
But getting back to the subject at hand it was after the brawl, which disrupted the meeting at Treasure Cay that the PLP’s Chairman, Sean McWeeney, wrote to Ingraham informing him that the incident in Treasure Cay was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He informed him, further, that because of it the party was not prepared to give him any more opportunities to mend his dirty ways but rather intended to bring him before the full convention (1987) to answer for his conduct. He would be required to show cause why he shouldn’t be expelled from the organization. Prior to this time he was warned on several other occasions about incidents, involving him, which breached the rules of the PLP party for any person continuing as a member in good standing. The Chairman did not fail to ensure that he (Ingraham) was given ample written warnings about what was expected of him as a senior member of the party. He was asked to desist or suffer the consequences for his dastardly public behavior; the warnings fell on deaf ears; he continued his shenanigans unabated.
Sometime during this period, while he was a cabinet minister no less, it was alleged that this “excuse for an honorable human being-patriot,” approached the United States Authorities and offered to become one of their confidential informants against his PLP colleagues and the PLP government. What this means is that Ingraham allegedly offered to help the USA, and report every move that Pindling and his government made. It shouldn’t be forgotten that this was a cabinet minister who agreed, allegedly, to talk about his own colleagues. It was further alleged that, for easy identification (since one’s real name is never used in these circumstances), he was given, allegedly, the tag name/number of “CI 1622” (confidential informant # 1622). It was further alleged that during those months, he passed sensitive information to the USA Authorities; all this in an effort to embarrass and bring down Sir Lynden Pindling’s regime. Ingraham’s ultimate goal, allegedly? To become the country’s leader, by any means necessary. If it meant making a deal with the devil then so be it.
At the convention (closed afternoon session), after the usual preliminaries were concluded, the time came on the agenda for the matter of Hubert’s conduct to be dealt with. I was careful to take a seat on the front bench, to the left of those who would be at the lectern. The usually loud mouth, badly attired Hubert Ingraham was conspicuously missing from the conclave to that point. Being satisfied that the defendant was properly served, with a summons, to appear before the convention, the session chairman proceeded with the agenda and called to the podium Sean McWeeney, the party’s national chairman. Needless to say every single delegate, both official and observer, was in the house and I can tell you that, having observed Ingraham’s bad behavior over the previous months, they all had blood in their eyes; yours truly being no exception. The sergeant-at-arms, who manned the entrance door, was careful not to allow admittance to any news reporters and or other casual observers. As can be imagined news reporters and casual spectators were buzzing around the Holiday Inn Hotel’s lobby, on Paradise Island that afternoon, as if this was the only story in town. Only delegates, wearing the required badges, were allowed in the packed room.
The National Party Chairman then informed the convention of the procedure to be followed in dealing with Ingraham’s matter. I took particular notice of the care exercised, by all, to ensure that History had no reason to point an accusing finger at the PLP Organization, over the handling of the situation. The case against Ingraham (which turned out to be quite telling) would be put by the National Chairman who would be allowed one hour to do so; followed by a delegate (William “Bill” Swain, Hubert’s leading general from Dundas Town Abaco, I believe ) who would second the motion (Fifteen minutes).
(This will be continued next week)
Forrester Carroll JP
Loretta Denies That She Running Away
Loretta Butler Turner, the incumbent for the Montagu constituency and a Minister of the government, told The Tribune last week that she is not running away from the people of Montagu. She says that she is happy to serve in Long Island where she grew up as a little girl. Well what do you expect her to say. The truth is her own side has been saying that she is one of the laziest of Ministers of the government; that she has been a failure in her constituency; and that they wish her luck as she tries to pick up the pieces for the failures of Larry Cartwright the incumbent in Long Island.
Papa Puts Off His Launch
Here is how it was supposed to go. The launch in Grand Bahama last Sunday. That came off but Hubert Ingraham aka Papa was disappointed in the numbers. He was even though he held it inside just in case. He wanted to then hold a mass rally on Clifford Park to show Perry Christie who the real boss is in Nassau. That as to have happened last Sunday. No can do. The intelligence coming back said that the numbers would disappoint so he had to find a room on the inside like he did in Freeport. The room was not available for him today, so the launch is put off until next Sunday. And speaking of Sunday where is the darn Christian Council who is always making noise about how holy Sunday is. Obviously those rules only apply if the PLP was doing it. When Mr. Ingraham does it, since that’s their man, no noise at all. Not a peep.
DNA Launches In Fox Hill
Kendal Smith is the DNA’s candidate for Fox Hill and he launched his campaign with a rush out at the Fox Hill parade featuring the Original Congos. Part of Mr. Smith’s political strategy is to infiltrate the Junkanoo group in the hope that this will win him support in the general election. Mr. Smith even rushed with the group at Boxing Day last year and this year’s New Year’s day parade. Leader of the DNA Branville McCartney spoke at the rally. The photo is from the DNA’s Facebook page. Mr. Smith is at the centre of the photo with the cowbells.
Glenys Hanna Martin Campaigning
Well Glenys Hanna Martin, the PLP incumbent for the Englerston constituency, is on the hustings. This photo is from her Facebook page was one of many showing her as she moved through the constituency asking for the votes of the people.
Annual Parliamentary Church Service
Members of Parliament and Senators will meet at church shortly after their first meeting for the year convenes on 23rd January. They will suspend and process over to the Zion Baptist Church where the Bahamas Christian Council will host a service for the opening of the Parliamentary year. The members of the House will then reconvene.
Roads Dig Up Again
On Tuesday 17th January, there was chaos in the streets of eastern New Providence once again. This time it appears that orders came down from the Office of the Prime Minister to close the roads because they want the work finished before Hubert Ingraham has to call elections. The OPM overruled the decision of the traffic management committee of the Ministry of Works. The Argentinean contractor is taking orders directly from Mr. Ingraham. In any event, it took some people two hours or more to get to work from the east. They are singing Geno’s song again that the roads dem dig up, dig up.
Meeting With Students In Miami And The PLP
The Leaders of the PLP will be meeting with the students and government workers in Miami at the Omega House, Florida Memorial University in Miami on Thursday 2nd February at 6:30 p.m. Please tell your friends and plan to attend. The next day, the leaders will fly to Atlanta for a similar meeting with the students there. The delegation will be led by Perry G. Christie MP, leader of the party. He will be joined by Philip Brave Davis, Deputy Leader and Fred Mitchell MP the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs.
Freddie Munnings Widow Dies
Winifred Munnings, the widow of the late and popular musician Freddie Munnings, died in Nassau after a long illness on Tuesday 17th January. Mrs. Munnings was the quiet companion of the flamboyant musician who ran the famous Cat and the Fiddle Nightclub, part of the cultural folklore of The Bahamas. Mrs. Munnings is survived by her five children Raphael (of Funky Nassau fame); Lana, Cyprianna, Andrea, Teddy and Gayle.
What Is Pakeisha Thinking?
The people of Grand Bahama are wondering what did Hubert Ingraham promise Pakeisha Edgecombe to persuade her to leave her good job as a news reader at ZNS to run for the House for the losing side. She reportedly said at her launch last Sunday that she was always an FNM. That then may explain why the PLP could not get a fair break on ZNS news in Freeport.
Sidney Poitier Film Festival
Ian Strachan, the Assistant Professor at the College of The Bahamas, has announced the third annual Sidney Poitier Film Festival at the College campus from 29th February to 4th March. This is well worth seeing and joining the discussions. Alink for more information
Loretta Butler Turner To be?
The Tribune reported on Saturday 21st January that Loretta Butler Turner, who is now an FNM Minister, and is looking to be the next represetative for Long Island, is a possible candidate to replace Brent Symonette as Deputy Leader of the FNM and Deputy Prime Minister of the country. Now truth that will make truth stranger than fiction.
Norris Bain What Is The Answer?
The talk is that the FNM candidate for Marco City struck a sweetheart deal with the National Insurance Board to pay soome $100,000 to NIB for monies deducted by the school Tabernacle which he headed and not paid to the NIB. Can we hear from the candidate and the high and moral Prime Minister?
Blessing Of The Campaign
The PLP candidates of the northern region will get their official blessing at the Church of Bishop Ricardo Grant in Freeport this afternoon at 3 p.m. This will include Tanisha Tynes ( East Grand Bahama), Julian Russell (Central Grand Bahama), Obie Wilchcombe ( West Grand Bahama and Bimini), Michael Darville ( Pineridge), Greg Moss ( Marco City), Renardo Curry ( North Abaco) and Gary Sawyer ( South Abaco). The official launch of the campaign will take place on 27th January in Freeport.
Madeline Sawyer Says PLP Discriminates
The once Chair of the PLP Women's Branch Madeline Sawyer is now amongst the DNA's candidates for politcal office. She is quite qualified and might well have made a good PLP candidate. Trouble is she could not get past the Candidates Committee. As she left though, she claimed that the PLP would not nominate her because she is a woman. Let's ask Melanie Griffin, Glenys Hanna Martin, Hope Strachan and Cleola Hamilton why they were nominated then. Former GG Arthur Hanna used to say talk sense not non sense. The report of her remarks appeared in the Nassau Guardian of Friday 20th January.
|29th. January ,
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In the old days (which for these purposes) means the years in the mid to end of the 20th century) the St. Agnes patronal festival was the dominant festival in the church community and the Anglican communion over the hill. When that festival as celebrated, the ladies turned out in their large hats and the men in their finery. There was a procession of witness through the streets of the over the hill community. It is a long tradition as these things go. Archdeacon I. Ranfurly Brown was a little boy and served around the altar at the time and no doubt now that he is the rector he sees it as one of his responsibilities to make sure that the tradition continues bigger and better. These days the streets around the church are closed for the duration of the Sunday festival activities. The procession of witness tool place just as it has every year, last Sunday 22nd January. Our photo of the week then is that of the St. Agnes Anglican church and their procession of witness through the streets of Grants Town. The photo is by Peter Ramsay and there is a photo spread down below.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
He is in the habit of talking nonsense now, like he is in the beginnings of rabid dementia. It also looks like something is physically wrong. It could be that he is simply on a diet and is losing weight but that and the irrationality of his public statements adds to an atmosphere which suggests more than ever that those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.
The incident that we want to recount is the Prime Minister’s attempt to sum up the debate on the amendment to the Parliamentary Elections Act. This was yet another amendment to the amendment made last year which was done to facilitate the voting of students and government workers overseas. The Prime Minister claimed that he was simply tweaking the legislation in order to facilitate the students in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados where there were Bahamian populations but no permanent missions, as he said the law requires in order for the overseas voting to take place.
The amendment is unnecessary since the way mission is defined in the first amendment passed last year it could cover that of the honorary consulates in those various countries. What is interesting is how the government has decided that they are only going to have voting in the following places: London, Miami, Toronto, Ottawa, Washington, New York and the three countries in the Caribbean. There will be no voting in Havana, nor Beijing and Port au Prince where there are Bahamian missions. The law as it is presently written does not allow for the government to cherry pick where people are going to vote overseas once there is a mission but the Prime Minister has decided and so it is to be.
Another remarkable point made by the Prime Minister is the continued attack on the PLP for the conduct of the 2007 election. His favourite word is to call the PLP incompetent. The fact is that the PLP cannot be blamed for anything that happened in the last general election. The Election Court was clear on where the blame for any problems should be placed. That blame goes squarely on the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner.
The ingenious and some would say the disingenuous Carl Bethel, Chairman of the FNM said in his debate on the amendment that when the court was talking about the Parliamentary Commissioner in their decision, the Court was really taking about the PLP government that was in power at the time. What a load of codswallop. You can always depend on Mr. Bethel to make up some Mickey Mouse opinion. If the Court wanted to say the government was responsible both Judges in those court cases were perfectly capable of saying that it was the government that was responsible but they did not.
Again in desperation, the FNM’s first and last refuge is to blame the PLP. Hogwash!
Alfred Sears spoke for the PLP and he tore a stripe on the FNM on Wednesday 25th January: in fact on the whole history of elections in the modern Bahamas and its influence by money. He pointed out the denial by the Prime Minister of receiving secret donations from the Grand Bahama Port Authority and Jack Hayward but showed that on the record the Grand Bahama Port Authority admitted that it gave money to both the PLP and to the FNM. Well that obviously touched a raw nerve
The next thing we know as the Prime Minister wound up the debate on Thursday 25th January, he made an accusation about where Mr. Sears received money from to fund his campaigns. This set off a fire storm. If what Mr. Ingraham said was correct, then it would have mean that Mr. Sears got money from sources that were not on the up and up. Mr. Sears denounced Mr. Ingraham and insisted in a huge row that the Speaker expunge the remarks from the record when Mr. Ingraham refused to withdraw it. The remark was so expunged. It took a long time for the Speaker to agree to do the right thing. He ducked and dodged and then finally agreed to do it. The look on the Prime Minister’s face was priceless as he was made to stand down.
The more we deal with this fellow Hubert Ingraham the more dangerous the position becomes. It is clear that the more desperate he becomes. It appears that he will use any device any misstatement, any innuendo, anything to smear and muddy and the waters. In this case it did not work. However, the PLP must be eternally vigilant.
As Mr. Ingraham gets closer to losing and his grip weakens, like a wild dog he begins to thrash about and he is at his most dangerous. The PLP must beware and be wary. The PLP must strike back even as Hubert Ingraham dissembles.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 28th January 2012 up to midnight: 143,772
Number of hits for the month of January 2012 up to Saturday 28th January 2012 up to midnight:673,657
Number of hits for the year 2012 up to Saturday 28th January 2012 up to midnight: 673,657
CANDIDATES LAUNCH PHOTOS IN GRAND BAHAMA
Well the launch of the candidates of the PLP was a smashing success in Freeport on Friday evening 27th January. PLP leader Perry Christie introduced Tanisha Tynes (East Grand Bahama), Julian Russell (Central Grand Bahama), Greg Moss (Marco City), Dr. Michael Darville (Pineridge) and incumbent Obie Wilchconbe MP to the people of Grand Bahama and The Bahamas. Thousands turned out to hear Mr. Christie promise tax changes to help Grand Bahama grow again. You may click here for the full statement of Mr. Christie.
MARCUS RESPONDS TO INGRAHAM
Dr. Marcus Bethel served as Minister of Health in the Cabinet of Perry Christie from 2002 to 2006. He took issue with statements made by Hubert Ingraham in Grand Bahama on the record of the PLP on health issues and the Rand Hospital in Grand Bahama, when the Prime Minister opened an emergency care facility at the Rand in Grand Bahama on 18th January. Dr. Bethel who is now in private practice issued the following statement:
Press Statement For Immediate Release
Dr. Marcus Bethel, former Minister of Health (2002-2006)
January 23rd 2012
I wish to make the following statement in response to remarks made by Prime Minister Ingraham at the opening ceremony of the Rand Hospital extension of Wednesday 18th January 2012 during which he referenced "the lack of performance of the Minister of Health who lives in Freeport and served in the Christie Cabinet".
The Prime Minister referred to the Dorsett Report and the absence of any action by the said Minister.
The following facts were not forthcoming from the Prime Minister namely:
1. The Dorsett Consulting firm recommended along with other business, civic and social partners that the preferred action would be to construct a new green site hospital in Freeport because the existing facility was aged and inadequate for the anticipated growth of Freeport and Grand Bahama, and did not possess the land for adequate growth at its present site in the downtown area.
2. The Public Hospital Authority (PHA) on my instructions proceeded to initiate and concluded discussions with the Grand Bahama Port Authority for the acquisition of a new green site for the construction of a new hospital to replace the existing Rand Hospital.
The site identified was a 30acre area off Sergeant Major Road adjacent to the Jack Hayward High School.
3. Mr. Ingraham on assuming the reins of government in 2007 was reported to have said that the construction of a new hospital in Freeport was not a priority of his Administration and that he would concentrate his efforts on the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau.
4. Hence the preparation for the development of a new modern hospital in Grand Bahama was shelved by the FNM administration which then proceeded to step backwards and focus on a partial redevelopment of the existing structure.
Mr. Ingraham is being disingenuous and deceitful in his statement that "the Christie Administration left no footprints in Grand Bahama"
1. I invite Mr. Ingraham to view the Eight Mile Rock Clinic which his earlier administration was unable to complete but was completed and opened during the Christie Administration and regional ambulance service was provided to the West Grand Bahama communities
2. Mr. Ingraham needs to travel to East End Grand Bahama to view the Solid Waste transfer depot facility developed and opened during the Christie Administration. This facility has enhanced the environment in East Grand Bahama by eliminating indiscriminate dumping
3. Mr. Ingraham needs to visit the multiple public health clinics in Grand Bahama to view the upgraded and renovated status that took place during the Christie Administration following 10 years of neglect during his earlier administration (1992-2002)
4. Mr Ingraham needs to interview the many nurses that were trained during the Christie Administration and are working in our healthcare network throughout the Bahamas.
5. Mr Ingraham needs to return to the Rand Hospital to view the upgraded Xray facility including the CAT scan centre and the ICU facility, and the improved patient and administrative information management systems in place both at the Rand and Princess Margaret Hospitals.
I trust that Mr. Ingraham will take time during his electioneering to speak “the whole truth even though it may be an inconvenient truth” and avoid rhetoric that demeans himself and the country he wishes to lead.
CHRISTIE RESPONDS TO INGRAHAM’S FAKE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
Following upon the State of the Union address of the U.S. President, Hubert Ingraham decided that he would do his own annual address to the nation. The address was tiresome: all kinds of platitudes about how things were going to get better and like little Jack Horner, self congratulations. Mr. Ingraham’s address came on Wednesday 25th January. Perry Christie the Leader of the Opposition responded with the following statement on 26th January:
Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie
Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party
26 January 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In his speech last night, the Prime Minister continued to congratulate himself and his government.
But the truth is, they should be asking for forgiveness, instead of asking for votes.
They have failed -- fundamentally failed -- to keep Bahamians safe.
They have failed to put Bahamians first.
And they have failed to invest in people.
They never fail to mention the global economy, but the truth is, they have made a bad situation much, much worse: they have hired foreigners when Bahamians should have received contracts, they delayed projects for political reasons when the economy most needed a stimulus, and they raised taxes when other countries were looking to ease tax burdens during difficult times.
They offer no strategic plans to address critical national issues.
465 murders have been committed since 2007. Bahamians no longer feel safe in their own homes, or on the streets.
For petty political reasons, the FNM cancelled PLP programs, like Urban Renewal, Swift Justice, School Policing, Witness Protection, and Project YEAST. Nothing effective was put in their place. This toxic combination – cancelling programs that were working, plus indifference to creating new policies – has resulted in predictably terrible consequences for our nation.
It’s time for a government which cares about fighting crime all the time, not just at election time.
The PLP has a tough, innovative plan to fight crime, Project Safe Bahamas. We are proposing tougher sentences for illegal weapons possession, and returning police to schools where they’re needed. We are calling for Saturation Patrols in crime hotspots – the areas experiencing the worst crime should be flooded with well-trained police. We need Swift Justice, so fewer people are out on bail, and we need increased surveillance of those who are out on bail. Under Operation Cease Fire, we’ll recruit and train outreach workers in conflict mediation, so disputes don’t turn deadly.
In addition to these and many other crime-fighting proposals, the PLP is offering an updated version of our award-winning Urban Renewal programme. Urban Renewal 2.0 will support at-risk youth with mentoring and after-school programmes, and support for communities fighting violence. Police will work with clergy to create Safe Havens, so that people have an escape when violence comes kicking down their door. Another new element of Urban Renewal 2.0 is Shock Treatment, a plan to bring at-risk youth to clinics, hospitals and morgues, to show them the consequences of gun violence.
Regarding the economy, the Prime Minister has said he is waiting on a US recovery. The US economy has posted 22 consecutive months of job growth while 40,000 Bahamians remain unemployed and underemployed with no job prospects for another year. Many nations in our region have capitalized on the uptick in the US, improving their stopover tourists, with The Bahamas lagging far behind when we should be leading the field.
The FNM’s approach -- sitting back and waiting for the world to work out its problems – is a losing proposition in our newly interconnected, turbulent world.
Perhaps they are too busy with their insults and their one-liners to come up with a strategic plan to expand and diversify the Bahamian economy.
But in an increasingly complex and dynamic society, governments must find creative and innovative ways forward. A government’s responsibility is to offer solutions, not complaints.
The Bahamian election in 2012 is going to be about big things – about the fundamental right to be free from violence, and about giving Bahamians the skills, training and education they need to compete in the 21st century.
With the energy and innovative ideas of our new generation of candidates, and the experience and wisdom of our seasoned candidates, the PLP is ready to get to work on behalf of the Bahamian people on day one.
PHOTOS ST. AGNES PATRONAL FESTIVAL
It is an event that dominates the landscape in Grant’s Town: the St. Agnes Anglican Church patronal festival. The festival brings out the ladies and the gentlemen in their finery. Peter Ramsay was there for the service which was held on Sunday 22nd January. The church congregation processed through the streets of Grant’s Town, led by the Archbishop (retired) Drexel Gomez and the rector of the parish Archdeacon Ranfurly Brown. The photos are by Peter Ramsay.
RYAN ON THE NEW BANKING LEGISLATION
The MP for Elizabeth is the spokesman for the PLP on most financial services matters. In the House of Assembly, the government introduced on Wednesday 25th January a bill to regulate a payment system in The Bahamas. This is to facilitate the exchange of cheques and the payment of those cheques which is now done on a contractual basis. The new bill will put the Central Bank in charge of the exchange and settlement of cheques and each payment system in the country will have to be officially sanctioned by the bank.
You may click here for the full address of Mr. Pinder.
MITCHELL CALLS FOR NATIONAL DEBATE
The following statement was issued by Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill calling for a national debate by the Leaders of the political parties before the next general election:
24th January 2012
The Prime Minister must stop ducking and dodging. He must agree forthwith and without conditions to a debate on the issues facing this country in the next five year period. He must account for his decisions. Ducking and dodging will not do. The PLP's leader has already said that he will agree to a debate. The Leader of the DNA has agreed. Now all that is required is for the man who claims that he means what he says and says what he means to stop ducking and dodging and agree to the debate. This will not be the first time for a debate of the national leaders of political parties. Such a debate took place in 2002 with Perry Christie, PLP Leader; Cassius Stuart, Leader of the BDM; and Tommy Turnquest, Leader-elect of the FNM at the Xavier's College, hosted jointly by then Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez and then Roman Catholic Bishop Lawrence Burke. The electorate demands and expects this of the their national leader. If Mr. Ingraham continues to refuse, he will go down in history as being neither trustworthy, transparent or accountable. end.
MITCHELL ON THE AMENDMENTS TO THE VOTING LAWS
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill spoke about the amendment to the election laws proposed by the government on Wednesday 25th January. Mr. Mitchell. The law will allow for the honorary consulates in the Caricom countries to be missions for the purposes of voting in the general election. This will allow students to vote in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.
You may click here for the full address of Mr. Mitchell
PLP ON THE GROUND 14 JANUARY 2012
PHOTO SPREAD OF PARLIAMENTARY CHURCH SERVICE
On Monday 23rd January the Members of Parliament led by the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the President of the Senate and joined by the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie attended what is now an annual service put on for Parliamentarians by the Bahamas Christian Council. We are not sure what it does, since all the talk of peace and goodwill toward men is immediately tossed out of the window as soon as the service is over and the House and Senate reconvene. Nevertheless, it is one of these time honoured rituals that MPs and Senators must endure at the start of the year. The service this year was held at the Zion Baptist Church and the preacher was Rainford Patterson, the President of the Council. The photos are by Peter Ramsay.
FRED MITCHELL 24TH JANUARY ON URBAN RENEWAL
FRED MITCHELL ON THE DUG UP ROADS
THE PLP SAYS INVEST IN THE FUTURE
TO THE EDITOR
Forrester Carroll writes from Freeport, the second of a series of articles about the expulsion of Hubert Ingraham from the Progressive Liberal Party:
As outlined, last week, in part (1) of this article the party’s chairman proceeded, in chronological order, to meticulously lay out, for the convention, the charges brought against Hubert Ingraham. The delegate who seconded the motion (and I believe that delegate was, in fact, Bill Swain-Hubert Ingraham’s leading general from North Abaco), put the icing on the cake as he detailed meticulously, for the delegates, how Ingraham summoned him into Nassau and, at his law offices, explained his plot to get rid of Sir Lynden. Bill left no detail out as he reported, to the convention, how meticulous Ingraham was in relating the proposed plot to (in fact) overthrow Pindling. There was an unusual quiet hush in the convention hall as we listened, oh so attentively, to how the piss-head intended to bring down the PLP leader and his government. Bill was text-book when he told how shocked he was to hear what his member of parliament, for North Abaco, was planning and how he intended to achieve his goal. He could not believe what he was hearing, he said; he wondered, he said, “What manner of a snake is this man?” After getting over the initial shock, and re-gaining his composure, Bill Swain reported to the delegates that he immediately advised Ingraham (and the other person present) that there was no way, in hell, that he could be so treacherous especially against Sir Lynden who had done so much for the poor underclass in the country. Bill claimed that he told the sucker that he couldn’t be so ungrateful and betray the country’s highly respected leader by participating with him (Ingraham) in such a brazen treacherous act. He could not betray the leader who did so much for him, personally, and the nation. He said he pondered how Ingraham could be so ungrateful to bite the very hand that literally fed him. Mr. Pindling, he said, was the one who nurtured the BASTARD politically. Bill recounted how Sir Lynden fought with others, in the hierarchy of the party, to secure for young Hubert Alexander Ingraham the honor of replacing Sherlin Bootle (on Mr. Bootle’s recommendation) as the candidate for the North Abaco constituency at Bootle’s retirement. By this time convention delegates were foaming at the mouth and blowing fire from their noses like Chinese dragons. Delegates were good and ready to vote this bastard out of the party, once and for all, but it was important, for posterity and historical purposes, that due process be observed to the letter. When Mr. Swain had completed his presentation the chair invited those who would make the case for Ingraham to indicate their intentions and be recognized (Provisions were for one to make the case for Ingraham to remain and another to second that motion).
The Rt. Hon. Perry Christie was the lone brave soul to first indicate his intentions to speak in defense of the culprit and to appeal to the convention for leniency, on the piss-head’s behalf, and so he was invited to the podium. Christie spoke, as he usually does, eloquently in defense of the SNAKE and appealed against expulsion; he asked rather that Ingraham be forgiven for his misdeeds and given a “second chance;” sounds familiar? However despite the Hon. Gentleman’s eloquence of speech (and all that) the convention would have none of his “second chance” appeals and booed him down from the podium. Succeeding the Hon. Perry Christie was the Hon. A.D Hanna who claimed that Ingraham specifically asked him to put his case, on his behalf. However about fifteen minutes into the ramblings of the Hon. A.D Hanna (I say ramblings because the boos, from the crowd, made it impossible for the Hon. Gentleman to compose himself), a rumbling noise could be heard coming from the back of the hall. I looked around (as did all the other delegates) and what did I see? I saw the devil himself (Ingraham) walking down the middle of the isle, toward the podium, dressed in a short sleeved shirt, pants (of course) and that STUPID obeah-type cap on his big head. He had a file folder under his arm and he was shouting at the top of his voice, as he walked, obviously in an attempt to drown out the loud boos from the delegates; “I didn’t ask any one to speak for me; I can speak for myself;” very clearly directing his snide remarks at Mr. Hanna who was still standing at the podium in shock. On hearing what the piss-head was saying, the Hon. A.D Hanna (totally embarrassed, at this point, I am sure) left the lectern and took his seat. By that time Ingraham had reached the platform and was invited by the National Chairman to take as much time as he felt he needed to make his defense. It appeared, very obviously, that the man was suffering from the after effects of a drunken night on the town and so he himself was not very coherent in making his defense against the charges brought by the party’s national chairman against him.
The room went so silent that even a pin drop would have been heard as Ingraham himself took to the podium. Instead of the fifteen minutes allowed him, according to the convention rules, the chairman told the piss-head that he could take as long as he felt he needed to make his case. The piss-head rambled on and on and on, like a disoriented jackass, from one thing to the next until he was tired or until he decided that it made no sense as it was clear that delegates, for the most part, had already decided what they were going to do. After about an hour of ramblings, often interrupted by the loud boos from the convention floor, Ingraham picked up his file folder and the little stupid cap he wore on his arrival and left in the same manner he came; grumbling at the top of his voice and spitting thumb-tacks like the coward fool that he is. To the credit of the party’s national chairman (despite being accused by the Tribune of not affording Ingraham ample time to defend the charges) he gave Hubert all the time he wanted to convince the convention not to expel him but Ingraham’s defense was no defense. No one spoke after Ingraham and the convention was called upon to do its bounden duty. The vote was taken by secret ballot with the very predictable final outcome going lopsidedly against the accused. Forty five votes for the CLOWN to be forgiven and his membership to remain intact and more than four hundred votes against giving the rebel a second chance. The feeling was that he had, had too many “second chances” prior to then to mend his ways and he didn’t. The forty-five delegates who voted for the MULLET-HEAD, to remain, failed, I believe, to take into consideration the fact that Ingraham never once displayed any remorse, whatsoever, for his dastardly behavior. If he had, there is no doubt that he would have been forgiven and the convention would not have been called upon to consider his expulsion in the first place; it would not have gotten that far if he adhered to the numerous written warnings. He didn’t, and so the history books will record that while the PLP was appalled and angry as hell at this member’s conduct we were, nonetheless, fair and unbiased in deciding his fate.
Ingraham told Bran McCartney recently that he (Ingraham) himself was once young and hot headed like him (McCartney) but that he could always back up his bigotry self; but he couldn’t back up his biggoty self that fateful day; cat had his tongue all that afternoon; he couldn’t back up anything; he was lost for words, substance and coordination of thought. He looked like the IDIOT he really is, when he walked off that stage with that stupid (one size too small) obeah cap on his head. This watermelon-head character has always been selfish and self-centered. He has made it a habit of pissing all over those who would be his friends; he stabbed Sir Lynden in the back; he pissed all over Christie’s friendship with him; he asked the Hon. A.D Hanna to speak on his behalf, at that convention, but yet what did he do to him? He pissed all over him as well. I know of those ordinary folk, here in Freeport, who spent their personal resources to assist the snake when he was (like the old folk would say)down and out; when he was kicked out of the PLP and how he re-paid their kindness; he did what piss-heads do; he pissed all over them. For sure, this guy has become like the principal character in a never ending cartoon series of an Ebenezer Scrooge.
I’ll tell you this; I personally marked my (X) so hard against that box-fish-head idiot that my pencil lead broke in the process. I have no regrets; I am proud, as a matter of fact, to have been one of those more than 400 delegates who voted to expel the bastard. Given the same circumstances, I would gladly do the same again; and so, now, you know the rest of that story. Hubert Ingraham didn’t just become the personification of an idiot overnight; ask Frankie Wilson and he will tell you that the bastard has been this way for many moons.
Forrester J Carroll J.P
Freeport, Grand Bahama
The Abner Pinder Double Standard
On the same day that the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was accusing PLPs of taking money from known drug traffickers a picture appeared in the newspaper where a self-confessed drug trafficker from Spanish Wells Abner Pinder was shown being sworn in as a Justice of the Peace. The appointments of JPs are approved by the Cabinet.
Robin Hood Store To Close
Sandy Schafer announced last week that he is throwing in the towel and closing down his flagship Robin Hood store with immediate effect. He said there would a liquidation sale. Some 65 people will lose their jobs. Mr. Schafer said that he had no choice after 3.6 million dollars of losses last fiscal year. He said that BEC bills have been especially crippling and the government’s decision not to allow traffic during the road improvement project to his second store in Prince Charles was a body blow to the business.
Ingraham Predicts Many More Meetings Of The House
Sitting in his seat on Monday 23rd January, the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told the PLP that there will be plenty more meetings of the House before a general election is called. He said that he wanted the PLP to spend all it money. This is part of a tack he has been taking where he has told his supporters that the PLP has plenty money and they should take the money and vote FNM. This is classical reverse psychology. There is no way in hell that the PLP could have more money in its coffers than the FNM, tied as it is to the business community and all the multi-million dollars contracts Mr. Ingraham has been giving to his cronies.
Desmond Bannister Must Really Be Worried
The Minister of Education Desmond Bannister who has abandoned his Carmichael constituency in New Providence and is now running in Andros must be a worried man. He stood in the House of Assembly on Thursday 26th January to accuse the PLP of vote buying in his home town of North Andros. He had to withdraw the allegation because he had no proof. H said he would come back with affidavits to show that this was so. It turns out that Dr Perry Gomez, the PLP’s candidate for North Andros, who is opposing him was campaigning last week in the Ministers hometown of Staniard Creek and getting an overwhelming reception. Thus the story about vote buying. This is really sad. Sources tell us that it simply did not happen.
Winifred Munnings Buried
The widow of the iconic Freddie Munnings Sr. was buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery following a church service at Bethel Baptist Church on Saturday 28th January. She is survived by her children Raphael, Lana, Cyprianna, Andrea, Galya, Greg and Teddy. The photo is by Peter Ramsay.
Ken Russell The Step Child
Outgoing High Rock MP Ken Russell is highly contemplative these days. He told the press on Thursday 26th January that he was being treated like a step child of the Free National Movement. He said that they do not tell him what they are doing and leave him out of all of their meetings. He has other things to contemplate as well as his sister in law who is also the sister of former PLP Senator Pleasant Bridgewater is running for the DNA. Same thing for outgoing FNM MP Verna Grant of the Eight Mile Rock constituency whose son is running for the DNA. Things gets curiouser and curiouser.
PLP Leaders To Meet In Miami And Atlanta
PLP Leaders Perry Christie and Philip Davis will lead a delegation to Miami and Atlanta on Thursday 2nd February and Friday 3rd February. The meeting is to discuss with the students and Bahamian employees of the government in Miami and Atlanta the plans of the PLP for the future of the country should they govern the country after the next general election. The meeting will be held at St. Thomas University campus and not at Florida Memorial Universty as previously announced. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. at St. Thomas University Convocation Hall 16401 NW 37th Avenue Miami Gardens, Florida 33054. In Atlanta, the meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Pascal's 180 Northside Drive S.W. Atlanta, Georgia 30313. Please let family and friends in the South Florida and Georgia areas know and attend.