MAY 2010
Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames...  Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
Volume 8 © 2010
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The site is compiled and edited in The Bahamas by Russell Dames, with writer Claire Booth.  This site does not represent the views of Fred Mitchell, the Government of The Bahamas, the PLP or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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JANE BETHEL IS BURIED: She was the late Sir Milo Butler’s sister before she became the wife of the late Marcus Bethel.  She died at the age of 93.  She was a businesswoman in her own right, having taken over the reigns of Bethel Brothers Morticians founded by her late husband before he disappeared on his way back through bad weather from Exuma on 8th November 1967.  He left her a widow and seven of their natural children and taking on an eighth.  They are all prominent members of society today: Marcus, former Minister of Health and medical doctor in Freeport; Pam, a doctor; Ruby, a former Judge and Chancellor of the Anglican Diocese; Michael who lives in Eleuthera and who helped to develop the family business; Marion, an attorney and poet; Paulette, the UN Ambassador; Owen, an investment banker and financier; Paulette Rahming who helps run the business.  Her funeral services were held at St. Matthew’s in the parish where she grew up and she was buried in the Ebenezer Methodist Church yard.  The leaders of the PLP turned up in force, led by PLP Leader Perry Christie and including son-in-law Alfred Sears MP.  The Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd celebrated the mass; the retired Archbishop Drexel Gomez preached the sermon.  She was awarded an MBE from the Queen.  A full and successful life.  The society paid tribute to her passing.  Our condolences to the family.  Our photo shows Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes with the Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd in the foreground at the funeral as our photo of the week.  Photo/Peter Ramsay


There is a time for every purpose under heaven...
A time to keep silent…
A time to speak…
    The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 3

Last week in a small note ‘In Passing’ in this column, we reported the news that the bright and shining star of the Vice Chairs of the PLP Melissa Sears had resigned her office.  She has not spoken to the public to say why.  What we have gleaned has been gleaned from a running series of stories, some of them bordering on the salacious, which seems to suggest that there might have been some unhappiness with the PLP itself.  According to the PLP’s Chairman Bradley Roberts, the letter said only personal reasons.  He said that his understanding was that there were some personal matters with which she had to deal, that she was not leaving the PLP and only stepping down from her office.  In the normal course of things that ought to have been that.

In a story published on Monday 26th April, Mr. Roberts told a Freeport News reporter the following “She certainly is a brilliant young lady.  I like her charisma and her tenacity. She is a fearless warrior”.

We agree.

That is the official and only position of the PLP with regard to Melissa Sears.

Later in the week, though, The Tribune ran one story after the next based on gossip and as we said before bordering on the salacious.  This is yet another example of The Tribune’s maxim: ‘Don’t let the truth interfere with a good story’.

In one story, their speculation was that Mrs. Sears had resigned because she had taken offence at an uncomplimentary remark allegedly made by the Leader of the PLP.  The PLP Chairman issued another statement denying such a thing was said or took place.  You may click here for the full statement.

The day after that story, The Tribune was at it again with another story that was based entirely on gossip.  This time, they carried a picture of Mrs. Sears with the headline: PLP BID TO SMEAR EX CHIEF.

You can go to The Tribune’s site if you wish to read the garbage contained in the story, but we make the point here that a newspaper of record is again engaging in the sensational to sell stories without any foundation based on sources who will not name themselves.  For example, the story implicated a government minister and a PLP Member of Parliament as being somehow connected to Mrs. Sears, who is a married woman.  She should sue them.  Of course, you could also argue that no publicity is bad publicity.

The question the public has to ask is how is this theatre of the absurd elevated to front page commentary, given all else that is happening in the country?

Not to be outdone, Eileen Carron, the wicked witch of the East at The Tribune, rose up to write an editorial on Friday 30th April claiming that the PLP was engaged in a campaign to vilify Mrs. Sears.  The only evidence of this however was The Tribune itself with not one attributable source to back it up.

All is often not what it seems in politics and no doubt, the whole story will come out in the end if the story is not what it seems.  But for now the truth does not seem to matter.  The Tribune and the FNM would wish this to inflict maximum damage on the PLP in the hope that this distracts attention from the FNM’s inability to govern.  The news was all bad for the FNM last week, with the economy going further into the tank.  That is the real issue, jobs for Bahamians, not the personal life of an ex PLP official.

It is a point that we have made here before and we make again.  Young politicians and those in waiting often think of public life as a glamorous one.  It has its moments but more often than not, it puts you, your family and friends into public prominence that many do not want and the politicians himself or herself is not prepared to accept.  The media in The Bahamas is now relentless including the social networks like Facebook; texting, e-mail.  There is no part of your personal life that is not open to scrutiny.  If you are not strong, if your spouse is not strong, if your relationships and family ties are not strong and if you are unable to learn to ignore the noise in the market, you would not get out bed in the morning.

Women have a particular problem in politics.  The first offence on a female politician is to suggest that she is sleeping with every man they are seen with.  The second is to suggest that they are mentally and emotionally unstable.  No such litmus test is applied to men in politics.  Women who get into politics in The Bahamas must come to understand that reality and deal with it.

The newspapers don’t care about the subjects about which they write.  They are simply in the business of selling newspapers.

A political party can come calling with their operatives and sweet words telling you all sorts of things so that the grass always looks greener on the other side.  If you are not able to hold your head, you could get swung.  Imagine now all the sweet words the FNM, a very desperate FNM, will be offering to PLPs to come over to their side with jobs and promises of nominations and public prominence.  We have seen how Hubert Ingraham works.  You have to have a strong head.  A great rule of thumb is when in doubt; when they come calling, no matter how good it sounds, do nothing.

The facts before us this day are that the general election is the PLP’s to lose.  There are less than 18 months to go before the FNM administration is finished.  They are now like the potcakes (the local name for a mutt) who as you are leaving the yard, come running nipping at your heels but if you turn around, they go running in the next direction.  The FNM is very much a sinking ship and given what time is left, it would be unwise for anyone to get on that leaky ship.

The pop song advises: you gotta know when to hold them and know when to fold ‘em.

The Book of Proverbs says there is a time to speak and there is a time to keep silent.

From the PLP’s side, this is a time for silence.  There is too much work to be done to save our Bahamas.  Let the PLP get on with its work and win the next general election.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 1st May 2010 up to midnight: 165,211.

Number of hits for the month of April up to Friday 30th April 2010 up to midnight: 769,752.

Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 1st May 2010 up to midnight: 3,173,193. 


    The announcement was made by the Central Bank of The Bahamas like a thief in the night on the weekend and buried in Saturday’s paper where no one would read it.  This is typical of Hubert Ingraham, who once again proves that he is a total and absolute Uncle Tom.  The PLP decided to discontinue the likeness of Stafford Sands the Minister of Finance under the United Bahamian Party’s racist government on the $10 bill.  The FNM has now decided that despite it all they are going to put his face back on the bill.
    The PLP should not get distracted by this matter.  The issue is the economy.  Hubert Ingraham putting Stafford Sands on the bill is symptomatic of the fact that he is completely out of touch with the reality of economic deprivation in this country while he pleases his political masters.
    The PLP should make the point that it will not be distracted but when it returns to office it will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that there is an accurate historical record of what transpired in this country, and no amount of rewriting history by the FNM will change the facts.  Sir Stafford’s face should be removed from that ten-dollar bill.

March 2000 - In this Tribune photo from ten years ago in March of 2000, Fayne Thompson and Forrester Carroll led a protest in Freeport to burn the then new Stafford Sands note.

    The following statement was issued by the Progressive Liberal Party on the occasion of Black Tuesday 27th April, 2010, which marked the 45th anniversary of the mace being thrown out of the window by the late Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling when he was Leader of the Opposition.
    “Tuesday 27th 1965 was a special day in the history of our Party and our country.  It was the day that the late Sir Lynden Pindling, the then Leader of the Opposition and later Prime Minister threw the Speaker's mace from the east window of the House of Assembly to protest the gerrymandering of boundaries by the then governing United Bahamian Party.  The day is known in history as Black Tuesday.
    “Tuesday 27th 2010 is the 45th anniversary of Black Tuesday.  The demonstration appeared to be spontaneous at the time but it was not.  Throwing the mace out of the window was a carefully orchestrated plan by the PLP's leaders at the time to demonstrate their position on the right to a fair and equal distribution of boundaries.
    “The election of 10th January 1967 was fought on the boundaries set in 1965.  The PLP demonstrated against the backdrop of their loss in 1962 to the UBP that came about because the number of seats in the then-called ‘Out Islands’ exceeded the number of seats in New Providence where the majority of the population lived.  That resulted in the PLP winning the popular vote in 1962 but losing the general election because they lost the seat count.  The PLP determined that with the new Constitution of the country in place, the boundaries had to be fairly drawn.
    “The Mace was later repaired by the government from funds raised by the public.  No prosecutions ensued from the event.  But the event catapulted the then Leader of the Opposition Lynden Pindling into greater national prominence as a man of courage and foresight.  The late Sir Milo Butler Sr. threw the Speaker's hourglass out of window as a protest against the limitation of speaking time in the House.
    “The PLP remembers the day and pays tribute to the national heroes and heroines who joined the party in the public square such as the late Ena Hepburn and the now Mrs. Effie Walkes on that day 27th April 1965.  Also there were retired Governor General Arthur Hanna and now Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes.”

    Ethric Bowe, a civic activist with PLP leanings, has been leading a group of ‘Over-The-Hill’ businesspeople from the Blue Hills and Coconut Grove areas of New Providence who are against the road changes announced by Works Minister Neko Grant.  He says that the businesses have suffered badly because of the changes and there have been many accidents on the street since the changes.  As part of the government’s road programme, Baillou Hill Road to Wulff Road in New Providence is north bound only and Market Street is south bound only to Robinson Road.  The businesspeople argue that this has been disastrous for their businesses and that it has caused accidents, confusion, and congestion.
    Neko Grant has pleaded with the businesspeople to give the system a chance to work.  They have rejected that plan and staged a demonstration on Wednesday 28th April blocking the roads.  Tommy Turnquest, the Minister of National Security told the audience at a town meeting last week that the road changes would not be reversed.
    Former Chamber of Commerce Chief Dionysio D’Aguilar blasted the changes, saying that the government had gotten it totally wrong.  On Facebook, there is a campaign on the road changes with the slogan: ‘Reverse The Curse’.


    Two women were charged in the Magistrates court for the murder of another woman on 25th April outside a bar in Gladstone Road.  The Tribune said that the bar was a gay bar where gay women hung out, a fight ensued, and the two women got together and killed the third woman by knocking her over with a car.  There was also a fight that led to a stabbing and someone was charged out of that same incident with the offence of grievous bodily harm.  What is interesting is that The Nassau Guardian reported the same event, but simply referred to it as a fight, which led to the events that were described.  The Tribune has gone to the salacious.  How do they know it is a gay bar?  Who says?  Where is their evidence?  We think that The Tribune is lowering it standards by stooping to the salacious in order to sell newspapers.
    It was interesting, for example, to compare The Tribune headline of Thursday 29th April with that of The Nassau Guardian.  One headline spoke about some gossip about Melissa Sears (see Comment of The Week).  The other headline was that some 4500 Chinese are to come to work at Bahamar on Cable Beach to build the new hotel complex there.  The headline blared something about foreigners coming to Bahamar.  This is interesting since the editor of The Tribune is a foreigner.  They did not seem to get the irony.  But it shows the cynical nature of the people who run the paper: anything for money it seems.  Many will remember that Oprah Winfrey used to have a show that dealt with the salacious and seamy side of life, but her real success came when she took a decision to take the high road in her show.  Perhaps The Tribune and its British editor can take a lesson in that.
Lacey Knowles, 19, (left) and Janiqua Russell, 20, (right) being escorted from court after being charged with causing grievous harm to Angela New church - Nassau Guardian Photo/EDWARD RUSSELL III


    Jane Bethel, nee Butler, was buried in the Ebenezer Methodist Church cemetery on Friday 30th April.  She was 93 years old.  She was a businesswoman in her own right and was so honoured on two occasions as Businesswoman of the Year.  Mrs. Bethel ran the famous Bethel Brothers Morticians, undertakers to the Black elites.  Peter Ramsay attended the funeral and we present his pictures of the service.  The funeral saw a turn out of the black elites in the country.  The only FNMs to turn up were Loretta Butler Turner, her niece and Sidney Collie MP for Blue Hills.  PLPs were out in full force led by Party Leader Perry Christie.   Above left: - the children; from left Mrs. and Mr. Michael Bethel; Paulette Rahming; Marion Bethel; Owen Bethel and Ambassador Paulette Bethel… Above right, Marcus Bethel Jr., former Minister of Health, eldest son , leads the pallbearers.  Please click here for a Peter Ramsay photo essay on the funeral.
Photos/Peter Ramsay

    Pastors Lyall Bethel and Mario Moxey who earlier teamed up to protest homosexuality in The Bahamas and in particular the visit of the ship with Rosie O’Donnell’s gay cruise are back together again.  This time, they are attacking the plans of the government to legalize the numbers business.  Both men say that it is a sign of weakness on the part of the government when they argue that the local lottery called the numbers houses must be legalized because the law cannot be properly enforced.  They also argue that living off someone else’s misfortune (how they characterize gambling) is a sin.  We of course have argued the opposite.  There is no moral component to gambling.  Gambling is not immoral.  It is a personal choice that any citizen of full age ought to have the right to make in The Bahamas.  At present, there is a restriction against Bahamians gambling.  We believe that all of those restrictions ought to be removed and removed forthwith.


    The National Insurance Board is in a fight with the Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association over the new drug prescription plan.  It has been playing out in the press.  The implementation date for the plan has been postponed twice because the NIB can’t get pharmacists to agree on the pricing.  NIB wants only a 25 percent mark up and the pharmacists are saying they cannot agree to that.  Only two pharmacies have signed up: Lowe’s, only at two of their locations and at the People’s Pharmacy.  The others are standing by.
    Algernon Cargill (pictured), who is the Director of the NIB, said that he was no longer interested in talking to the pharmacists; he was going ahead on his own to set the system up.  But it is hard to see how he can do that without the co-operation of the pharmacists, particularly since in law, they are now the only ones who can sell prescription drugs.  Dr. Marvin Smith, who is responsible for the pharmacists’ negotiations, said that they will need a higher mark up and other matters to be settled before there can be any agreement on the programme.
    The drug prescription programme is the FNM’s answer to the PLP’s National Health Insurance programme.


    It looks like three times is a charm for Nicole Martin, the President of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union for the third time.  Ms. Martin (shown in this file photo) defeated her opponent Lionel Morley by over a 1000 votes on the court ordered election of 27th April.  Mr. Morley is now talking about going to court to continue the battle that he waged against her during the campaign.  His tack was that she permitted the employees to raid the pension fund and diminished the fund to the disadvantage of future pensioners when they retire.  Ms. Martin says that is definitely not so.  The members obviously don’t believe it either.  On Tuesday 27th April, they voted for the third time in a year, after many court battles and skirmishes to put Ms. Martin back in place as the Union’s President.  We wish her well and hope that she uses her mandate to ensure that hotel workers get a fair deal in this very difficult country.


    The Regatta, also known to locals as the “Regretta”, is now history in its 57th incarnation.  A great time was had by all.  The leaders of the country all descend on Georgetown, Exuma’s Elizabeth Harbour for the annual boat race, the first of which started in 1953.   Jen Dames, who is an Exumian, made sure that the fun and frolic was recorded on her facebook page.  We present a photo by Patrick Hanna of Bahamas Information Services of Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill with Anthony Moss, the PLP MP for Exuma presenting the Prime Minister’s cup for the Regattas in Class B sailing to Jeff Gale of Abaco.  Other photos from Jen Dames facebook page on the Regatta.



    Fred Mitchell, lead speaker for the Progressive Liberal Party in the debate on the Forestry Bill, said the party wanted the government to address serious concerns about the constitutionality of the provisions of the bill, which will convert private lands into a public use for conservation purposes without compensation.  Mr. Mitchell said that while the provisions of the bill are laudable and as it affects crown land there are no issues, the party was concerned about the conversion of acres of land in the country now in private hands and commonage to a public use that of being a conservation forest.
    Once the bill is passed and the lands are designated a conservation forest then the owner of that land will not be able to sell that land without the permission of a minister of the government and a resolution from Parliament.  Mr. Mitchell said on the face of it, this was inconsistent with the ownership of land and may offend Article 27 of the constitution, which says that if you are going to compulsorily acquire someone's land you must give prompt and adequate compensation.
     Mr. Mitchell added that there is a need for consultation to let the owners of land know who is affected by this and what the actual areas of land are.  For example, the bill seeks to convert 151,000 acres of private land in West Grand Bahama to a conservation forest.
    Click here for the full statement to the House of Assembly delivered on Wednesday 28th April.  Elizabeth Member of Parliament Ryan Pinder also contributed to the debate on the Bill on behalf of the PLP.  You may click here for Mr. Pinder's contribution.


   There is a new Ambassador for Norway to The Bahamas.  His Excellency Torbjorn Holke presented his credentials to Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes on Thursday 29th April at Government House.  The two men said that they were pledged to improving relations between the two countries.  Honorary Consul for Norway in The Bahamas Craig Symonette is shown at Government House at the reception afterwards with his wife and Lady Foulkes.  The Governor General, the Ambassador and Fred Mitchell Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs are shown also at the reception following the ceremony.
BIS photos/Peter Ramsay


   Speaker of the House Alvin Smith (FNM) at the end of the last session of the House of Assembly on Wednesday 28th April told the members that as of that meeting, it would be the last time that he would be wearing the wig and gown of the Speaker in regular meetings of the House.  He said that this joins the trend throughout the region.  He said that he would continue to wear the wig and gown on ceremonial occasions.  Readers of this column will remember that on Sunday 18th April, we called for the wig and gown to done away with in The Bahamas.  Now that the Speaker has stopped, maybe the lawyers and judges will get wise and be done with this nonsense.
House Speaker Alvin Smith in full wig - BIS photo/Peter Ramsay

    Life expectancy at birth figures are out for the last year from the United Nations.  The measure is defined as the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future.  Each entry includes total population as well as the male and female components.  The Bahamas is 76th in the ranking of countries; Barbados is the highest Caricom country at 42nd in the list.  The United States is 38th in the list and Japan is first in the list.
Selected Facts...
The Bahamas
73.5 years
70.6 years
76.3 years
77.3 years
74.4 years
79.8 years
United States
78.2 years
75.6 years
80.8 years
82.6 years
79.0 years
86.1 years
    You may link here for the full list.  -
    There continues to be a difference between what the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States and the UN say about life expectancy for The Bahamas.  They say The Bahamas ranks 163 overall, with 65.78 years for women; 62.63 years for men and 68.98 years overall.  This stuff is sobering.


   The latest ship which will be registered on the Shipping Registry of The Bahamas was formally named by Mrs. Esther Williams at the shipyard of Jiangsu Hantong Heavy Industry Co. Ltd. In Jiangsu, China.  The vessel was named the CS SORAYA.   In the photo, Mr. Lowell J. Mortimer, President of Campbell Shipping brings remarks while Mrs. Esther Williams, Godmother and her husband Edward Williams look on.  You may click here for the company's full news release and more photographs.

Forrester Carroll - Deaths At Freeport Container Port Cry Out For Justice…

    “…When Ingraham made the deal with Beijing’s Hutchison Whampoa in this Container Port project, he sold the birthright of every single Bahamian - past present and future - down the drain.  The FCP principals were given all they asked of Hubert - and then some - but they’ve reneged on the all the core principals of the agreement; delivering nothing they promised him, in return, for all the concessions he allowed them.  … Some have opined that talking business with these particular investors, in an effort to consummate an arrangement which would be mutually beneficial to both parties, was both naïve, amateurish of Hubert Ingraham and a big mistake on his and his government’s part, in the first place.
    “…What makes me angry as hell is the fact that we’ve gone overboard to accommodate these people; even when they wanted more, more, more and still more; and yet after giving them everything we possibly could, they still work our citizens to the bone, like slaves and under slave-like conditions.  Plainly and simply the work environment at the container port is very dangerous, to say the least.  There never existed - it appears from its inception - the kind of conditions that “safety-conscious” persons would readily allow themselves to be exposed too except under duress.  There are still few safety measures in place, I am told, which could never be remotely regarded as adequate for the protection of workers, and the few that are in place, I am further told, are not operational most of the time.
    “…It seems that Chinese businesses, as a rule, pay little attention to matters of this kind and they have a very cavalier attitude toward prioritized protection of their employees.  For them the overall welfare and safety of their employees, while on the job, seems to be secondary.
    “…I am very concerned for those employees who,  despite the possible dangers of working at that facility, perform their duties, nonetheless, without the comfort of knowing that they are fully covered with health and other insurances, in case of an unfortunate accident.  I note, and I stand to be corrected, that even after their apparent negligence in causing the deaths of those three young citizens, the container port’s  compensatory gestures toward the families, left behind to suffer, were few if any at all.  These people appear to be telling us (not in so many words, however) that those deaths go with the territory and they seem to be asking us, silently albeit - what the hell are you’all so disturbed about; three people dying is no big deal.  Well, it’s a big deal to us.
    “Well we hear rumblings now of FCP threatening to dismantle the facility; pack it up - and their bags too - and leave town.  This is another of their blackmailing tactics.
    “I am outraged at this attitude; this is blackmail of the highest order - plain and simple - and we shouldn’t tolerate this from them.  This is all Hubert Ingraham’s doing and he is to be blamed for this Chinese ‘anvil’ around our necks.
    “They are not a bit concerned by the deaths of those three young Bahamian martyrs; their obvious attitude?  People die everyday; it’s a part of living, so why all the fuss over three souls dying in an accident?  That is the attitude, I perceive, of those slave masters who control management at the Freeport Container Port.  The innocent blood, though, of our young men cries out from the ground for justice and I wish to know when will the tyrants be made to pay?  Who will make them pay?”
Forrester J Carroll J.P.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
2nd May  2010

You may click here for Mr. Carroll's full letter - Editor

Storm In A Tea Cup Over PLP Website
Carl Bethel, the FNM Chair, has apparently nothing better to do with his time and his mind.  Since losing the job as Minister, his mind is obviously going wasting.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste.  So what does he do?  He issues a statement because the PLP’s website was down for half a day because the contract expired and had not yet been renewed.  The PLP Chairman answered him asking him if he had nothing better to do with his time and most notably thanking him for reading the PLP's website that he said was the most read political site in the country. Click here for the full statement of Bradley Roberts, Chairman of the PLP.

Andre Rollins Still Contemplating
Rodin has several statues in bronze; one of them is in front of Philosophy Hall at Columbia University in New York City.  It is called ‘L'Pensuer’, which in English means ‘The Thinker’.  It is a man sitting on a stoop with his hand under his chin, thinking.  The press said last week that André Rollins who wowed PLPs in the bye-election by his manner and words is still thinking about what he is going to do rejoining one of the major parties.  He was on the front page of The Trib a few weeks ago as the flavour of the month, where he said that he was talking to Hubert Ingraham about the FNM and also talking to Dame Marguerite Pindling about the PLP.  In official PLP circles, this seems to have been a turn off, because the answer should be clear and obvious that where he needs to be is the PLP and there is space for him at the table.  But keep on thinking.

John Pooh Poohs A Run In Fox Hill… Well Not Quite
John Pinder was sort of hopping mad, but it all seemed an act to us.  He was presented with the report of what was said in this column last week (click here).  He went all around the mulberry bush to say to The Tribune (Monday 26th April) he could not understand why people keep saying that he is seeking a nomination for Fox Hill.  He could get one if he wanted to from any party but Senator the Honourable Jacinta Higgs, oh sorry we forgot the Doctor, was his cousin and he would not do that.  Of course, the interesting thing that he did not say was that he is not seeking to run in Fox Hill.  It was quite a dance in words.

UTEB In Wage Dispute With COB
The lecturers of the College of The Bahamas are up in arms because their pay has been cut as a result of the strike in which they engaged two weeks ago.  The lecturers were all sent letters about their strike action, which they interpret as intimidation according to the law.  They plan to take legal action, but President Jennifer Dotson says this will not stop the ongoing negotiations to get a contract.

Myron Rolle Drafted

Myron Rolle, the boy wonder who is also a talented football player, has been drafted to the Tennessee Titans in the United States national football league.  He is the son of Whitney Rolle of The Bahamas who is a former St. Augustine’s student.  He was born in the US, but knows his Bahamian roots.  Having studied as a Rhodes scholar, he is now back to the football field where he is expected to do very well.  He eventually has to be a doctor.  A smart man.  He was congratulated in the House of Assembly by PLP Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin.

Stunce Williams Dies
Gospel Hall preacher, evangelist, radio commentator Stunce Williams has died.  He was buried following a service at Believers Gospel Chapel in New Providence on Saturday 1st May.  He is survived by his wife Andrea and his sons Stunce Jr. and Steven.  He was a great supporter of the PLP and we extend condolences to his family.

Florence 'Ma Flo' Edden Dies
Stalwart Councillor Florence 'Ma Flo' Edden has died.  She was 96 years old.  Mama Flo, matriarch of Smith's Point, one of the surrounding communities of Freeport in Grand Bahama was famous for holding court at her seaside restaurant in the community, providing advice, a comforting shoulder and a game of pool to all comers.  She was eulogised Saturday 1st May by PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts at a requiem Eucharist service at the Anglican Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King.  Click here Mr. Roberts eulogy.

Raymond Lloyd Buried
Raymond Lloyd of Barre Terre lived to be 92 years on that piece of the rock in Exuma.  He lived a good life and was considered a community elder when he passed away.  He was the subject of some political controversy when the FNM came to office and took away a grant that was given to him from the crown under the PLP.  George Smith, the former PLP representative who raised the matter, said that he was later awarded another inferior piece.  He was buried in his home town of Barre Terre to a full house including MP Anthony Moss of the Progressive Liberal Party and Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson. Our condolences to him.

The Child Is Buried In Fox Hill
Sandryea Demeritte, the three-year-old child, who suffocated to death in an abandoned car in Fox Hill, was buried in the Fox Hill cemetery following a service at St. Mark’s Native Baptist Church in Fox Hill on Saturday 1st May.  The community turned out in full force.  Her mother Sandra McDonald and her father Larry Demeritte were at the service.  Both had been held by the police and then released after questioning.  The father said that he thought the mother of the child was being badgered by the police.  The police have said that the mother is wanted in connection with manslaughter by negligence.  Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill in a letter released in this column last Sunday said that this is not a matter for the criminal law, but for social services.  He repeated that sentiment at the funeral on Saturday 1st May.  He said that the evidence suggests that the young girl’s death was a tragic accident and he could not understand why more was being made of it than that.  Rev. Carrington Pinder, in his homily, said that if people would come and talk to the neighbours they would know how much Sandra McDonald loved her children.  Mr. Mitchell said that he would seek to bring the sentiments of the community to the attention of those in authority and is expected to write the Attorney General asking him to review the case.  The mother was reportedly released to bury the child and has reportedly been told to return to the police afterwards in order to face formal charges in connection with the death of the child.

Lady Patricia Isaacs Dies
Lady Isaacs, the wife of deceased former Leader of the Opposition Kendal G.L. Isaacs has died in Chicago at the home of her niece.  No word on funeral arrangements.  Lady Isaacs was a close friend of Dame Marguerite Pindling, the widow of the late Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling.  Dame Marguerite says that their friendship survived the political differences.  In her own right, Lady Isaacs served the country as Director of Training in the public service and as a nurse.  She was at Sir Kendal’s side through the vicissitudes of Opposition electioneering.  She was lauded in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 28th April as a great lady.  We extend our condolences.

Joy Jibrilu’s Condition Deteriorates
Prayers are needed for Joy Jibrilu (nee Carey), the Director of Investments in the Prime Minister’s office who was the victim of a medical incident in Nassau at a local hospital.  She is said to have gone in for a gall bladder operation and reportedly her small intestine was punctured and her system went into shock.  She was airlifted to a Miami hospital where she has been since we first reported this a month ago.  Last week, we reported that she was on a respirator.  This week we understand that the situation had gotten worse.  Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham went to visit her in hospital in Miami on Saturday 1st May.

Agatha Burrows
We regret to report the death of Agatha Burrows, the mother of Derek Burrows, the musician and Philip Burrows, the playwright and director on Saturday 1st May.  Her death was sudden and unexpected following a complaint of pain in her joints.  Our condolences to the family.

Trinidad Elections
The snap general election called for 24th May is proving to be a problem for Patrick Manning, Prime Minister, who in 2007 seemed to be the one exception to the wave that seemed to sweep Caribbean governments out of office.  In fact, he ridiculed the fact of The Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and Jamaica losing their governments in rapid succession and said his was the only one to survive.  Now it looks like his calculation might backfire.  The talk in Trinidad is that he is running behind in the campaign, although it is still possible for him to win.  They say that the matter will turn on three seats and the majority will be razor thin no matter who wins.  There was a big problem last week when a judge, Herbert Volney, stepped down and accepted a nomination to run as an opposition member.  The Prime Minister said that this might be investigated as an interference with the independence of the judiciary because the judge was giving rulings while talking to the Opposition about a nomination.

Caricom Agreement Signed With Brazil
The Caricom/Brazil summit held in the Brazilian capital on Saturday 24th April ended with a technical co-operation agreement being signed between Caricom and Brazil, which will allow for further co-operation between The Bahamas and Brazil.  The agreement was signed by Brent Symonette, the Foreign Minister of The Bahamas.

Coroner’s Jury on Brenton Smith
The death of Brenton Smith, the 18-year-old shot by a policeman earlier in the year has a new chapter.  The Coroner’s Jury returned a verdict of justifiable homicide, based on the police officer’s testimony that he felt that he was in danger of his life.  The family called it a slap in the face.  They said that they will be pursuing other remedies.  The only thing now is a civil action against the police office who refused to apologise for killing their son.  He maintained that he thinks that Mr. Smith was in fact the person who was wanted for the robbery.  Quite sad really.

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY:We present our photo of the week, Carmen Balthrop Delaney, wife of Patrick Delaney, who is the brother of former radio man Anthony Delaney, now a lawyer at the AG’s office and a cousin of the Attorney General John Delaney.  Mrs. Balthrop Delaney is quite a star with a remarkable voice and showcased her exceptional talent with ethereal beauty against the backdrop of Elridge McPhee’s Bell Canto Singers and as a soloist on Friday and Saturday 7th and 8th May at the Presbyterian Kirk in Nassau.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay.  See more photos from the concert below.


The PLP made a strong statement about the state of the economy, which was published on Tuesday 4th May.  The statement said that the government of Hubert Ingraham, elected in our words on a set of false promises, has now been in office for three years; his so called third non consecutive term.  It has been a failure.  That much should be clear.  You may click here for the full statement by the PLP.

It should be clear but it does not appear to be so clear that the result of the next general election is foreordained.  The Elizabeth bye-election showed that despite all the evidence that the economy is in the tank, the public remains sceptical.  The PLP only squeaked out a win in Elizabeth, despite all the evidence.  The victory should have been overwhelming.  The PLP has many questions to ask and must engage in the most vigorous self-examination.

Then there is the press.  The Bahama Journal that is the most objective among the newspapers did a man in the street interview to seek the collective will, so to speak, of that man in the street on just how the government was doing.  This does not a proper sample make, but of the three people who were sampled in the interview, two of them said that while things were bad, they thought that the government had done a good job so far.

It should be so clear that there should be no such accolade from the man in the street.  After all the man in the street at the current time is the one who bears the brunt of this bad economy.

Then the Nassau Guardian, not the most objective news medium insofar as the PLP is concerned, ran an editorial in which it accused the PLP in our words of posturing on the economy.  Their view too was that the government had done all the right things to protect the country’s position.  They said that the onus was on the PLP to explain how it could do any better.  A newspaper should know better, when just the week before, they carried once again the words of Standard and Poors, the financial analyst firm who said that the government’s review of 80 million dollars worth of contracts during its early months in office caused the momentum of the economy to slow down.  Their editorial said nothing of it.

Perhaps the prevailing sentiment of this hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil approach can be seen with the Izmeralian investment at Bahamar on Cable Beach.  Sarkis, the mastermind behind the development, said that he thinks that it is about come on stream.  He defended the use of Chinese labour.  He said the project would change the face of The Bahamas.  He added that it created a lot of buzz in the market.  And here’s the point; he said that he was not concentrating on the past.  The question for him was the future.  There you have it.  All the nasty things that the Prime Minister has said about him and his investment are forgiven and they now move forward.  In fact, so moved has the position become that they supported the campaign of Duane Sands, the FNM’s candidate in Elizabeth in the last bye-election.

So this appears to be the prevailing mood of the country at least in its visible forms, a kind of comfort with the status quo is setting in.  After three years, the argument of many is that the reality of an FNM government is a fact.  Mr. Ingraham looks like he and his boys and gals are here to stay.  They are the only game in town and so can’t we all get along.

The only thing is, that is not the true picture of what is going on here.  There is deep, deep deprivation in The Bahamas.  The loss of homes, the unemployment, the inability to feed families, the tales of woe.  But it appears that all of that rings hollow in official Nassau.  It has apparently become so, don’t know what to call it, but the Minister of Social Services Loretta Butler was moved to say that the people who come to social services are trying to cheat the government and further they are spending their money on the wrong things, living above their means.

The Tribune helped Paul Adderley, the former Attorney General and Minister of Education get into trouble when he was in office and said a similar thing.  His contribution: Bahamians live too well.  Oh the hew and cry!  But this time, the FNM dominated media buried the Minister of Social Services rebuke to the poor and indigent in the back pages of the newspaper.

An opposition party has to help frame the debate.  In the absence of a public debate on the issue, of course the public will be lulled into thinking that all is well.  One press release will not do it.  This is not to minimise the difficulties the PLP faces in getting its message out, but get its message out it must.  There is a good team.  There is a good product in the PLP but the message must get out that Hubert Ingraham has driven this economy deep into the tank.

The day before Jean Claude Duvalier, the man they called Baby Doc, was ousted as the strongman in Haiti, he told his country he was a strong as a monkey’s tail.  He was on the plane to Paris within hours and into exile.  The point is that it does not matter how it looks.  No one is impregnable. Anyone can be beaten.

Bill Clinton’s campaign said it a long time ago: ‘It’s the economy stupid!’

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 8th May 2010 up to midnight: 167,125.

Number of hits for the month of May up to Saturday 8th May 2010 up to midnight: 167,128.

Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 8th May 2010 up to midnight: 3,340,318. 



    The talk is all over town that the FNM Women’s Association meeting last week may have descended into a catfight were it not for more sober minds.  The dramatis personae: Caron Shepherd, Women’s President (above left) and amongst others Teresa Moxey Ingraham, the former Minister (above right).
    You know there was a public dust up between the women over the latter’s intervention with the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham on the appointment of Sir Arthur Foulkes as Governor General.  Mrs. Moxey Ingraham, former MPs Italia Johnson and Juanianne Dorsett of the FNM all wanted Janet Bostwick the former Minister to get the job.  Mr. Ingraham refused.  When Mrs. Moxey Ingraham’s letter of objection became public, the FNM Women’s Association, under Ms. Shepherd, issued a statement supporting the PM.
    Mrs. Moxey Ingraham told Ms. Shepherd in no uncertain terms that she did not like how it was handled.  Then someone said, “you really shouldn’t make progress on your back”.  Whereupon, there was an attempt at a set to and the parties had to… let us say it gently; had to be restrained.


    An otherwise sterile and uninteresting debate was enlivened by PLP MP for Ft. Charlotte Alfred Sears’ call for reform of the system of funding elections.  Mr. Sears used to be Attorney General and one of his constituents was Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles who was extradited to Florida to face drug charges in the United States during the time of the last PLP administration.  The move was quite unpopular at the time.  When Hubert Ingraham came to office under the FNM he would seek to start a rumour campaign by suggesting that Alfred Sears got money from Mr. Knowles’ campaign.
    Mr. Sears told the House on Thursday 6th May that he received no money from Samuel Knowles.  But he charged that the Free National Movement got contributions from the Grand Bahama Port Authority to match those that the PLP got, according to the Hansard, the record of the House of Assembly’s proceedings.  This was the record of remarks made by the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
    Mr. Sears called for complete reform of the system, where there are transparent processes for making donations to political parties.  We support that call.  It is important that there be publicly financed campaigns.  The PLP, of all parties, ought to fight for it, since the party is perennially in the deficit position as a result of the antipathy to the PLP by the business community.
File photo Alfred Sears

A Release from the Embassy of the United States in The Bahamas:
    “The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce that it will co-sponsor The Bahamas/USA Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Heritage Connection Conference May 17-20, 2010 at the Wyndham Nassau Resort. The Bahamas and the United States share an excellent relationship built up over a century of close partnership on important programs vital to our economic and national security. This close relationship also includes a shared history involving escaped slaves who settled in The Bahamas in the 19th century.
    “To begin the process of documenting this important connection between The Bahamas and the United States, two program managers from the National Park Service Network to Freedom Program will travel to Nassau and Andros. The Network to Freedom Program has the mission of commemorating the Underground Railroad legacy worldwide.
    “With this conference we will explore how we can collectively promote the international connection of the Underground Railroad through historic education, preservation and heritage tourism. The National Park Service representatives will tour, learn from and lend their expertise at several historical sites to include The Red Bay settlement, Gambier Village, Clifton Heritage and Delancey Town - sites that are all associated with the Underground Railroad history of the United States. The National Park Service is looking forward to collaborating with the Bahamian government and community to develop a range of programs and preservation efforts to document this important story.”


    Speaking at the Eastern Community Association’s Panel Discussion on Crime, Justice Jon Isaacs on Saturday 1st May said that he would have no difficulty not releasing people on bail who are charged with crimes if their cases are heard within a reasonable time.  That is a statement of the current law.
    Mr. Isaacs said, “The only difficulty I would have is if persons are left to languish in prison for inordinate periods of time… If persons are brought to trial within a reasonable period of time I have no difficulty with them remaining until such time as they face their accusers.”
    This is precisely the issue that faces the country.  The law is that you must be brought to trial within a reasonable time.  We believe that the Court should in fact dismiss these cases where people are languishing in jail for years awaiting trial.  But the way that the Courts have aided the state is by simply allowing the people out on bail.  Yet the government has failed to be able to get people to court on time.
    Dr. Bernard Nottage, speaking in the House of Assembly, reminded the House how the FNM government promised by a series of measures enacted following the 2007 general election that there would be an effect on crime.  He said that there has been no effect on crime.
    The government proposed in its speech from the throne to great applause to pass laws to limit the right to bail.  We have already said in this space that this is something about which we must be most careful because the Privy Council has indicated in decided law that you cannot take away the right to grant bail from the Supreme Court without altering the fundamental nature of a democratic society.  This must be done by amending the constitution and not by the ordinary statute law processes.
Justice Jon Isaacs


    As the society gets more desperate to stop crime and more concerned, more desperate measures are being advanced.  One came from Permanent Secretary A. Missouri Sherman Peter who is the P.S. at the Ministry of National Security and so it is a sentiment that presumably reflects official thinking.  Speaking at the Eastern Community Association’s Panel discussion on crime on Saturday 1st May, Mrs. Peter said that she was in favour of the adoption of a curfew law that would restrict the right of teenagers to come out of their homes on pain of penalty after 11 p.m. in the evening.  This is similar to what is being employed in Florida.  Almost before the words were out of her mouth, Assistant Commissioner Hulan Hanna speaking at the same exercise said that it would be a fool’s paradise if we thought that crime would actually stop because of a curfew of teenagers that began at 11 p.m.
    Mrs. Sherman Peter said, “I say this unequivocally, that a curfew is only a curfew if it is enforceable.  But personally, I think that there is need for a curfew.  I think it should be done.  My problem is the enforcement of it and who do you hold responsible if the children do not keep the curfew?  Are we also going to attach parents?  What is Miami doing about that, for example, when we find that a child is not keeping the curfew?  Do we go and pick up the parents and lock them up; what do we do?  A fine for parents may be reasonable.”
    Assistant Commissioner Hulan Hanna said, “I think you'd only be living in a fool’s paradise to think that the police can enforce such an incredible curfew in New Providence in particular…  Our problem in the main has to do with young people creating problems in the communities between the hours of [3 p.m.] to about [8 p.m.].  Now am I not suggesting we have a more draconian policy to say young people cannot be in the streets after 8 p.m.? Perhaps we have to look at that.”
    We disagree with any idea of a curfew as illegal, unconstitutional and unnecessary.
File photos Missouri Sherman Peter, left; ACP Hulan Hanna, right.

    There is a spirited debate going on in the press between pilots who work for non-Bahamasair airlines.  It does not appear that it simply a labour dispute, although that is part of the package of complaints.  The pilots complain about long hours, overwork, and underpay.  The say that the charter operators are abusing them as employees and they are forced to work in substandard conditions because they have to feed their families.  A meeting is to be held to discuss the issue on Tuesday 11th May.
    While the labour issues are important, the more important issue is that of safety.  The pilots also claim that the operators of the non-Bahamasair airlines are operating in a way that compromises the safety of the flying public.  In aid of their case, they talked about the lack of maintenance on the Chalk Airline plane that led (click here for our report on that crash) to a deadly crash killing all 19 people on board the plane as it departed Miami for Bimini in December, 2005.  This is serious stuff.
    Captain Randy Butler, who heads Sky, refuted the safety claim.  Speaking on Love97 Radio News on Thursday 6th May, he said that there was no truth to the claims that pilots were being underpaid and overworked.  He said that no pilot in his operation took home less than 44,200 dollars per year.  He said that safety was the number one issue and the evidence is that the planes in his operation fly safely and serve the flying public safely.  You may click here for the pilots’ complaints... And here for a response from Western Air owner Shandrice Rolle.
    What we say is that these complaints must be investigated.  Although we agree with Captain Butler that his and the other businesses seems to have a good record, we are concerned that the rapid expansion of private flying has led to the inability of the Bahamian Civil Aviation Authority and Department to police and regulate the new operators.  We believe that if this is so that this must ultimately affect safety.  A thorough investigation must be done and a report made by the Government to the public on the status of safety concerns in the sector.


    One policeman has been charged with murder and dismissed.  Another policeman was sentenced to 15 years in prison for armed robbery.  All in the past week.  To be correct, they are former policemen.  This is a sign of the times, because policemen after all come out of the general society.  Crime is the number one problem.  Most curious of all however, was the fact that two police officers were charged on Friday 7th May with permitting the escape of two prisoners.  One was Corporal Jay Sargent, the other Constable Harold Sands.  Mr. Sands has been on the force 10 years and the Corporal for 24 years.
    Ricardo Knowles, one of the men the pair are alleged to have permitted to escape, was shot dead by police at about 3 a.m. on 4th May, shortly after his escape from the police lock up on East Street.  Renardo Bastian, the other, was recaptured and subsequently acquitted by a jury of the substantive charge.  Now that’s interesting.  He later pleaded not guilty to escaping and may go to jail for that, even though he is free of the substantive charge.
    You often cannot believe what is being said on the street, but the talk is that these men were two bad boys that the police wanted to deal with and Ricardo Knowles’ death was an example of the kind of summary justice that will be visited upon habitual criminals in this society as the police get frustrated with their inability to stop the crime.  Renardo Bastian is said to be on that wanted list as well.  He is being advised to change his life or face certain death on the streets.
    Meanwhile, The Tribune of Saturday 8th May reported that the father of the dead escaped prisoner has apologized for the crimes that his son committed.
Left: Constable Harold Sands; Corporal Jay Sargent are led away - Tribune photo/Felipe Major... Right: Recaptured prisoner Ricardo Bastian - Nassau Guardian photo/Tony Grant Jr.


    It was a wonderful evening with spirited classical, negro spirituals and familiar church music which cheered the spirit.  The audience rose to its feet for Carmen Balthrop Delaney and pianist Dion Cunningham, son of  Pastor D’enza Cunningham and Mrs. Cunningham.  A great talent.  Kudos to Director Elridge McPhee for a great performance at the Kirk on Saturday 8th May.  And we must not forget the dulcet tone of Candace Bostwick.
Peter Ramsay photos

Forrester Carroll - Enough Chinese Investment…
   “Bahamas immigration’s, ‘gainful employment’ laws are on the books for the single, most important, purpose of protecting jobs and opportunities - created in The Bahamas, for Bahamians.  This is their sacred mandate.  When Bahamian Nationals cannot (truthfully) be found, qualified sufficiently, to fill job vacancies in this country, then those laws are permitted to be relaxed to allow foreign qualified workers to be admitted, for specific periods of time…
    “If there is even a semblance of truth to [the announcement of almost 5000 Chinese workers for BahaMar], then I hope that Mr. Jack Thompson would have had the guts to return the letter to the Chinese Embassy - postage unpaid - marked “intended recipient unknown”.
    “The pre-application process (as I understand it) before even approaching the immigration department with a request for a migrant worker’s permit to engage in “gainful employment” in The Bahamas, is not as simple as simply writing a letter to the department and expecting approvals to be sent in the mail, willy-nilly.  As a pre-requisite, the process involves a thorough search of the entire country, using the daily newspapers and the assistance of the labour department, in a concerted effort to determine, first and foremost, the local qualified pool of human resources available, before the immigration department would, usually, entertain any applications for foreigners.
    “Besides, aren’t each of the applicants obliged to submit along with all the other required supporting documents, a police record and a health certificate issued by the relevant institutions in their various countries of residence to ensure that those individuals we admit are fit and proper, healthy law-abiding persons?
    “For all we know, the people who are scheduled to be sent here by the Chinese authorities could very well be prisoners who they intend to let out on work detail.  This may not be so farfetched a suggestion, by me, as what you are thinking, it is, right now because - lest we forget - it has happened in the United States of America, when Mr. Castro pulled that same dirty trick on President Jimmy Carter…
    “…Ingraham, for some strange, and I submit, sinister reason, seems to have an unusually cozy relationship with these people from the east.  His attitude toward matters involving them has prompted me to ask, on a number of other occasions in the past, and I ask again; is Ingraham benefiting, personally, from his cozy relationship with these Orientals and if he is; what is he getting from them?
    “There are at least 1000 working on the sports stadium in Nassau, at the moment, half of whom will probably not return to China when the sports stadium is completed.  BahaMar now wishes to import 5000; 3000 of whom will, in all probability, not return to China as well.  And, lest we forget, the Chinese are in the process of hoodwinking Ingraham into allowing them to establish a farm in his constituency of North Abaco and have already quantified their Chinese manpower needs, for this proposed project, at 5000 as well…
    “I have taken due note of Ingraham and his government’s silence in this matter of BahaMar and their overtures to the Bahamian people about their proposal to deploy 7000 Chinese, to work on that PLP-initiated Cable Beach re-development project.  It’s a hot potato that Hubert would obviously rather not have to handle right now because he knows, very well, that we do have the capacity and the ability, in this country, at this particular time to pool our resources and come up with the manpower and skills to get that job done…”
Forrester J Carroll J.P.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
9th May  2010

You may click here for Mr. Carroll's full letter - Editor

Mothers Day In Marathon - Jerome Wishes His Mom Happy Mother's Day

The Marathon Branch of the PLP led a progress in the constituency to deliver yellow roses to all homes in honour of Mother’s Day.  Jerome Fitzgerald, the PLP’s candidate for the area, led the delegation and started by giving his own Mom her flowers.  His mother is Allardyce Scott Fitzgerald, an insurance executive.  Said Senator Fitzgerald, “It was a joyous occasion for all and I felt blessed that my mother, whom I love deeply, was able to accompany me.”

Edith Turnquest Taken Ill

Edith, Lady Turnquest, the wife of Sir Orville Turnquest and mother of Tommy Turnquest, the Minister of National Security has taken ill in London.  She was taken to the hospital for care in the UK following what is believed to have been a stroke on Saturday 8th May.  Her husband and grandson were with her at the time.  The three Turnquest children Tony, Michelle and the Minister flew to London on Saturday 8th May to be with their mother.
Lady Turnquest, dancing with Sir Orville in the file photo

Fitzgerald Says No To Port IPO
The government has let it be known that it intends to offer shares for sale to the public for this hare-brained scheme to move the freight port of entry for New Providence to Arawak Cay.  As many as 19 percent of the shares may be offered to the public.  Senator Jerome Fitzgerald, who has been leading the effort in the PLP to oppose the Port, said that the PLP would oppose any such move and speaking in The Tribune he warned potential investors that this is not an investment, which the PLP will approve or condone.  Buyer beware!

C.B. Moss’ National Crime Council
Rev. C.B. Moss is still on his game fighting crime.  Two weeks ago, he held a crime symposium that he said was attended by more than 100 persons.  Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest was there and told us that the murders in The Bahamas are not random (We never heard a corpse complain about how it got so cold).  Fresh off that venture, Rev. Moss has announced a private national crime council that will keep the issue under review.  If nothing else can be said, this is a tenacious man.

Sands On Ten-Dollar Bill
The public did not seem particularly moved by the perfidy of the Hubert Ingraham regime in putting the visage of the racist Stafford Sands back on the ten-dollar bill after its removal by the PLP when it was in office.  Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill was the only PLP MP to go on the record to oppose it, saying that while he could not speak for the PLP; his view was that if the PLP came to power, it should be removed from the ten-dollar bill once more.  The Jones Love97 Radio station discussed the subject on Monday 3rd May.  Mr. Jones himself thought that there was nothing wrong with it.  There is a great deal of revisionism going on and again the PLP must help frame the debate or risk being irrelevant.  Not to be outdone that great rewriter of history and revisionist Eileen Carron over at The Tribune predictably congratulated the government in her editorial of 3rd May.  She called the PLP’s decision to remove Stafford from the bill, spiteful.  She could not possibly know what spiteful is… a woman who savaged the father of the nation directly and through her hired editor, libelled and defamed him in death and was allowed by the PLP to keep her hired gun who helped to destroy the PLP in 2007.

Fr. Burton Bloms Dies In Minnesota
When the then new St. Augustine’s Campus was built by Fr. Burton Bloms in 1965, it set the school on a forward trajectory and a new direction that had been topped only by the founding father Frederick Frey.  The school expanded and began in earnest the more comprehensive education of the leaders of the country today in the new dispensation that was to come.  Majority rule led to changes in the leadership, with Bonaventure Dean succeeding him as the first local head of the school.  But by that time, post 1967, the rigors of what was required to take the school into the new order had been set.  The man who did it was Burton Bloms.  He died at the age of 90 in St. John’s Monastery in Collegeville, Minnesota.  He was buried on 6th May in Collegeville.  He seemed an unlikely monk, gruff and hard-nosed; take no prisoners.  But he was an excellent fundraiser and good disciplinarian.  Just as unlikely was the fact of the Benedictine presence in The Bahamas set up from Minnesota.  But the monks made a great contribution to the development of The Bahamas through education and Burton Bloms goes down as one of those who helped to make the modern Bahamas what it is.

ILO To Study Freeport Disaster
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes says that there will be a study done of what happened at the work site at the Freeport Container Port when the tornado hit there on 29th March of this year killing three people.  The allegation is that the place was an unsafe work site generally, but specifically that the government is culpable because it allowed the Met Office to close there and did not provide adequate warnings for the facility in Freeport leading to the deaths.  The PLP has called for the resignation of Minister of the Environment Earl Deveaux in the wake of the disaster.  They also called for a Commission of Inquiry.  The government has refused and instead says that it will get someone from the International Labour Organization (ILO) to investigate the matter and report the findings first to the government.  The government then proposes to make the findings public.  This is a half way measure at best and there ought to be a full Commission of Inquiry.

T & T Judge Called On To Explain
Last week in this column, we reported that a Trinidadian Judge was in hot water because he stepped down from the bench and immediately became a candidate for Trinidad’s UNC Opposition party in the general election of 24th May.  The governing PNM in Trinidad has denounced his jumping into the political fray as suspect and says that his decisions made as a judge are also suspect.  Herbert Volney, the judge, defended himself from the public platform saying that he made the right decisions in setting free a controversial defendant on a murder charge.  In its response, the PNM asked the Judge to explain why he was turned down for a job on the Court of Appeal in The Bahamas.  We would like to know as well.  There is a Trinidadian judge here now who was also mired in controversy when he came here.  Speak up Mr. Volney; inquiring minds even in The Bahamas want to know.

White Egrets By Derek Walcott
Sonny Ramphal, the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth and former Foreign Minister of Guyana under President Forbes Burnham, wrote a cri de coeur on Caribbean Net News last week about the current state of the region.  He said that the region no longer has the clout that it once did and that there is need for the body to find its mission.  We agree.  In passing, Mr. Ramphal quoted these lines from a newly published work by Derek Walcott, the St. Lucian Nobel Laureate.  The lines come from his new work ‘White Egrets’, “With the leisure of a leaf falling in the forest/ Pale yellow spinning against green - my ending.”  He said that this must not be the epitaph of Caricom.

Sabola, the Dead Chief Justice
The revisionism on the life and times of former Bahamian Chief Justice Joaquim Gonsalves Sabola, who was buried last month with full honours here in his adopted country, continues.  Brian Moree, who hired the retired Judge at his McKinney Bancroft and Hughes firm even before the ink on the retirement paper was dry, claimed in a full-page ad in the Nassau Guardian of Monday 3rd May that he was a scholar and a great justice.  Not to be outdone was Stanley Moore, the former Justice who is now serving as a Judge in Botswana and Swaziland.  We only repeat these facts.  Sabola was a judge who, in the middle of a case involving The Bahamas government, took citizenship of The Bahamas from that government, the same FNM government now in power and then did not step down from the cases involving the government from which he had just gotten a gift.  Fortunately, history and facts are stubborn.  No amount of revisionism can change that fact.  Great jurist our foot!

Big O Dies
The popular personal trainer Wendell ‘Big O’ Ferguson has died at the age of 54 after fighting cancer.  He died on Saturday 1st May.  Big O was the talk of the middle-aged ladies who liked his training routine and his friendly manner as a personal trainer.  A public campaign was led within the last two months to raise money to pay for his health care.  All to no avail.  Sadly, he is dead.

Patsy Isaacs To Be Buried
An official funeral is to be held at Holy Cross Anglican Church in New Providence for Lady Patricia Isaacs, wife of former Leader of the Opposition, Sir Kendal Isaacs on Friday 14th May.

Census To Begin
Work on the census for 2010 began in The Bahamas on Tuesday 4th May.  Census workers were sworn in on that day, pledging to keep the data that is shared with them secret on pain of penalty.  The census is held every ten years and in addition to counting the population, it serves to provide data on income and social habits that can properly inform public policy for the next decade.

Credit Bureau Coming Says Central Bank
The Central Bank is indicating that a credit bureau is coming for The Bahamas.  This will now centralize the issue of whether someone is creditworthy or not.  The banks have long wanted this service.  We are always suspicious of these central information systems and their potential for abuse.  In the US, for example, you have to watch what your score is before you can get a loan from a bank.  There are reports of errors and any missed payment leading to difficulties getting credit.  So The Bahamas with this new bureau will be entering the more intrusive practices of the developed world.  Another feature of small town living goes the way of the wind.

What’s Happening With BTC Privatization?
You cannot even get an answer from the FNM government on the privatization of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd. (BTC) the nationally owned telephone company and internet and data provider.  The government has been trying to sell it for a decade.  Two hundred million dollars later and it is still not sold.  The company cannot make investing and upgrade decisions because it is supposed to be sold.  The latest privatization process, launched by Hubert Ingraham following his stop, review and cancel of the last decision by the PLP to sell to Blue Water just before the last election, has stalled.  The company was supposed to have been sold by the end of last year.  No statements have been issued by the government, except a lame one by State Minister Zhivargo Laing who said the process was still on track despite the evidence that it is not on track.  But June is coming fast, which will make six months since the deadline.  The press reported (30th April, Guardian Business) a story from a regional publication  that the privatization is no longer a priority for The Bahamas government, that other issues are more important.  That certainly seems the fact on the ground.  Selling BTC is still politically sensitive because the price for the company will be a fire sale price.  The government waited too long to sell and should have gone with the deal that the PLP left in place.  The result is that they will give away BTC for a song and not the 260 million dollars that the PLP negotiated.

Sears May Step Down Says Tribune
The Tribune reported on Tuesday 4th May that Alfred Sears, the former Minister of Education, and MP for the PLP in the Ft. Charlotte Constituency in New Providence is involved in a consultation process to leave politics.  The paper said that he has communicated his decision to leave after the next general election; not standing again.  The paper also quoted sources saying that his constituents are seeking to persuade him to stay on.

Marina Glinton Dies
The former Director General of the Bahamas Red Cross Marina Glinton has died.  Mrs. Glinton headed the executive arm of the Red Cross during one of its most dynamic and expansive periods of work in the history of The Bahamas.  She was a tireless worker for the Red Cross.  Our condolences to her family.  She started off in an entry-level position in the Red Cross and ended up as its Director General.  She was honoured by the local society in 2008.  Mrs. Glinton was 73 years old when she died.

British Election Results
Political watchers are having a good look at the election results in Britain where the three parties are involved in horse-trading to see who will govern the country.  The Conservative Party headed by David Cameron won 306 seats, 26 short of an overall majority.  The Liberal Democrats have 57; Labour got 258 and others got 29.  Mr. Cameron is seeking to get the support of the Liberal Democrats with a view to governing in a coalition.  This is the most likely scenario, but it will mean that Nicholas Clegg and his Liberal Democrats will have to give up the idea of proportional representation instead of the first past the post system.  This shows the difficulties of the present system, which we also use in The Bahamas.  Labour got 29 percent of the votes but 258 seats.  The Liberal Democrats got 23 per cent of the vote but 57 of the seats.  Raynard Rigby, former PLP Chairman, writing on Facebook, said that the British election is instructive for the PLP that things don’t simply fall into your lap because of a bad economy.

Rev. Wellington Pinder Is Buried
Religious leader Rev. Wellington Pinder was buried in Freeport Grand Bahama following church services at St. John’s Baptist Church in Freeport.  Rev. Pinder was a giant in his own right, but begat, amongst others, the Rev. Michael Pinder who succeeds him to the pastorate in Pinder’s Point and Rev. Peter Pinder who is Pastor at Upper Zion in Freeport.  Our condolences to the entire family but particularly to his wife Val.  Perry Christie, PLP Leader, attended the funeral.

Mitchell Back From Mayo Clinic
Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill has returned to the Bahamas from his annual health check up at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

SAC Class Of 1970
The Class of 1970, the first class of St. Augustine's College to graduate after five years at the campus below the hill is to mark 40 years as graduates of the school.  Amongst those in that class, Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett, Advisor to the Prime Minister Teresa Butler and Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill.  After a year of fundraising and socializing, the Class is to celebrate on the weekend of 28, 29 and 30th May.  They have a reception planned and will attend mass to mark the occasion.  There is also a scholarship founded in the name of the class at SAC.

China Bahamas Caricom Consultations
Bahamas Information Services has announced that our country will host the fourth round of the China-Caribbean consultations at Police Headquarters this Monday.  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette heads the Bahamian delegation, while Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Jin Zhang will lead the Chinese delegation.  The consultations involve the participation of China and those Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, namely; Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.  These consultations were borne out of a desire to develop friendship and comprehensive co-operation between China and Caribbean countries based on mutual respect.  The first China-Caribbean consultations were held in September 2002 in New York on the margin of the 57th Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly.  Since that time, meetings have been held in Antigua and Barbuda in 2004 and in Beijing in 2006.

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LADY PATRICIA ISAACS REMEMBERED: The widow of the former Leader of the Opposition Sir Kendal Isaacs and a national figure in her own right as a former Deputy to the Governor General was remembered in a memorial service in Nassau at the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity where she worshipped for much of her public life.  The day before, the principal officers of the state came by to sign the official book of condolences.  Lady Isaacs died in Chicago where she had been living with her niece Joy.  Our photo of the week is the memorial service of the late Patsy Isaacs on Friday 14th May 2010.  Photo/Peter Ramsay


The Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has shown how out of touch with reality he is.  He hates Bahamians.  He is like the Emperor Jones.  He has a Cabinet that supports him in working for the interests of Bay Street and for the hatred of Bahamians.  Here is a man who was given an opportunity by Bahamians to run this country, but he is busy putting in place everything he can to make sure that Bahamians are not running the country.

On Wednesday 12th May, he was in full flight in the House of Assembly speaking of his anti crime strategy.  Part of that anti crime strategy is to create four new positions for Judges.  At present, he is unable to fill the vacancies that they have for judges, the 11 that now exist, so this means that judges will come in from outside the country to fill these positions.  But what was startling is that he has indicated that a new Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is to be appointed by August.  He did not say who that was going to be, but what we do know is that the person who is actually doing the job and who has built up 20 years of prosecutorial experience, Cheryl Grant Bethel, has not been offered the job.

In fact, during her interview friends say she was quizzed only about her personal life, not on the plans and qualifications for the job.

We are advised that Mr. Ingraham intends to bring in someone from Jamaica to do the job.  Jamaica, which has now over 500 murders for the year, where its government is unable to say how to fight crime.  It just seems ludicrous.

We said it before in this column but we repeat it.  Mr. Ingraham needs something to finish the PLP off politically.  His friends say that he thinks that if he can get a Director of Public Prosecutions who will do what he says and thinks, it will be fine.  One of those things is to prosecute some PLP MPs before the next general election.  Mrs. Grant Bethel may not want to be a part of that so no job offer.

The point we make here is that Mrs. Grant Bethel is Bahamian.  She is competent.  She has the experience to do the job and should be allowed the opportunity to do the job.

That is it plain and simple.  We trust that she takes a legal action to restrain the government from what it is about to do.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 15th May 2010 up to midnight: 158,014.

Number of hits for the month of May up to Saturday 15th May 2010 up to midnight: 339,252.

Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 15th May 2010 up to midnight: 3,512,442. 



    Perry Christie, the Leader of the Opposition, told The Tribune on Tuesday 11th May that those who invest in the Port that the FNM government insists will go at Arawak Cay should know that if the PLP comes to power it will be reversed.  This extends his earlier comment to the Nassau Guardian that the decision of the government to put the port there was an abomination.
    Some have said that they thought that the PLP argued against breaking the commitments of governments.  The point here is that this decision is taken in the face of direct opposition by the PLP.  The PLP has made its position known, so any investor should know that they invest at their own risk.  They know that in advance and cannot say that they did not know what the PLP's position is on the matter.  They therefore invest with that knowledge in advance.  The investment then is not worth the paper on which it is written.  Buyer beware.
    Under Hubert Ingraham, the rules have all changed.  Agreements mean nothing.  They are torn up at will and the only question is damages.  If that is the new regime then so be it.  Mr. Ingraham has tried to hobble the PLP with the agreement he signed with Jimmy Mosko on Monday 10th May.  In it, he provides for compensation to the owners, if the government scuttles the Port idea.  He also says that these people who have signed the agreement with the government are to get an exclusive to any port within 20 miles of the one that they are set to build on Arawak Cay, so that means that if the PLP changes to the site on Clifton Pier then these investors will be the ones to get the port there as well.  Hell will freeze over first.
    Mr. Ingraham is shameless.  He just cannot help being an Uncle Tom and serving the interests of the Bay Street group.  There now needs to be a call from the PLP on full disclosure of all Members of Parliament in the FNM who have an interest in the new Port and the clear conflict of inertest positions.


    Shane Gibson, MP PLP Golden Isles, has been evicted by the government from the place that has been his headquarters and community centre for most of his time as Member of Parliament.  Mr. Gibson said that he had gotten permission from BEC to develop the property and signed a contract on 2nd April 2007 to buy the building but the FNM government refused to follow through with the necessary resolution to sell the building.  He claimed that they have an FNM general lined up to buy the building that he has developed and fixed up.

    Stan Burnside's 'Sideburns' from The Nassau Guardian.



    The pilots who work for the private airlines in The Bahamas have taken their fight to the House of Assembly.  Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill attended their meeting on Tuesday 11th May and heard a litany of complaints, which, he said when he spoke in the House the next day, raised concern about the safety of the non-Bahamasair airlines.  Mr. Mitchell tabled a series of questions for the Prime Minister, who, when presented with the questions, said that he had not been following the issue and was unaware that there were any safety issues connected with the airlines.  You may click here for the questions asked of the Prime Minister by Mr. Mitchell.
    Last week we carried the response of Western Air owner Shandrice Rolle to the complaints of the pilots.  This week, we carry the response of the pilots as posted on Facebook, summed up by the line “We are sorry, Master… An observation from the point of view of the slave”


    Dr. Bernard Nottage, MP for Bain and Grants Town, led the debate on the request by the Opposition for a Committee to investigate all matters connected with crime in The Bahamas.  It was the reappointment of a Committee that was unable to report in the last session of the Parliament.  Dr. Nottage said that one of the reasons that the Committee could not report was the lack of resources to do its work.  The Prime Minister promised that this time the government will provide the resources to the House for its work.
    Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill spoke to the issue of crime saying that he believed that more resources needed to be put into education and that he was concerned that the young kids were not going to school.  He asked the Minister of Education about attendance officers to enforce the rules that children should be in school.


    Twenty year old Braneka Bassett was crowned Miss Bahamas World 2010 Sunday 9th May in the Atlantis Imperial Ballroom.
    Seventeen other women competed for the title of Miss Bahamas World.  Ms. Bassett told The Tribune "Never in a million years did I believe I would have been the next Miss Bahamas. Now that I am Miss Bahamas there is a lot more I can do for my country.
    "My platform is the first thing I want to start working on. I went to a school and I heard the kids talking about big dreams they had but they didn't know how to reach their dreams. So I want to empower them to take the steps that will get them closer to their dreams," she said.
    Miss Bahamas is a Grand Bahama native who attended Mary Star of the Seas Primary School, Sea Saw Christian Academy before attending high schools in California and Georgia. The beauty queen who has modelled since age 16 has had several jobs in California at the Next Model Agency and the Osbrink Talented Agency. She also participated in the Janice Dickenson Modelling Agency, which used to air on the Oxygen cable channel and would like to one day host camps for aspiring models.

    B.J. Moss, the entrepreneur and political activist who hosts a radio talk show on business took his show on the road with a town hall meeting at the Holy Cross Parish centre on Wednesday 12th May.  He was seeking to build some consensus on the support for small business.  Among the guests were Minister of State Zhivargo Laing.  Mr. Laing did not have much to offer for those gathered except to say that when the government has finalized its plans on the small business act that it promised in the speech from the throne then it will call another series of meetings to help sell their ideas.  Translation, the government does not have a clue what it is going to do.  The main point of those gathered there though seems to be that there is a need for capital and management support of small businesses.  There is also the complaint that there is too much of a hassle getting into business in The Bahamas.


    Mining Facebook turns up some interesting facts.  One is that there is a new President of COBUS, Antonio ‘Toons’ Butler.  He lists himself on his Facebook page as PLP.  We are told that he was elected unopposed, so popular a man is he, on 23rd March of this year.  Mr. Butler held a party for his friends to celebrate his victory at the polls.  Here are some of the images including former PLP Young Liberals Chair Viraj Perpall, now PLP Young Liberals leader Aarone Sargent and FNM Torchbearers Leader Jamal Moss.


    Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes joins with Senator Allyson Gibson and Mr. Max Gibson at their home to host the international and domestic guests In honour of the 71st Annual Convocation of the Bethel Baptist Association.  Bethel Baptist is the oldest continuous church congregation in the country.  Pastor Timothy Stewart shepherds the flock and is pictured at front right.  Mrs. Stewart is to his left.  Sir Arthur is at the centre.  Senator Gibson is next to Sir Arthur and Mr. Max Gibson at the right of the middle row.
Photo/Peter Ramsay

National Heroes Day
    Hi, my name is Lulus McQueen, a Bahamian who is currently residing in Miami Florida.  I would like to know the outcome of this bill and request that committee member Wanda Moss contact me at this email address [].  Thanks to the entire committee for trying to bring recognition to these great Bahamian heroes.
Lulus McQueen

[We will try to follow up - Ed.]


Gulf Oil Spill

    Because of the April 20, 2010, explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig owned by Swiss-bass Transocean Ltd., leased to UK- bass BP PLC, a lawsuit was filed by Lanier Law Firm.  According to the lawsuit, BP PLC, Transocean Ltd, Cameron International Corporation and Halliburton Energy Services, violated the Oil Pollution Act and were negligent in failing to properly operate, inspect, and maintain the Deepwater Horizon rig.
    The Gulf of Mexico’s fragile ecosystem was severely damaged due to the defendant’s inadequate response to the explosion and than oil leak.  Initially, 1,000 barrels per day were reported to be leaking by the companies; however, a US inspector suggested 100,000 barrels of oil per day is leaking off the coast of Louisiana.
    This catastrophic oil spill, has the potential to reach the Bahamas, then what?
    …What is the Government of the Bahamas doing, other than waiting for the oil to wash up on our shores?
    …I hope and I pray, if only in the face of this catastrophe and immense danger to the Bahamas, the FNM Government will make us proud.  Show us they are capable of representing the Bahamian people.  Please, show some leadership.
Lewis E. Astwood Jr.

[You may click here for Mr. Astwood's full letter. - Ed.]


Sabola, the Dead Chief Justice
    I read your online weekly review every week and enjoy reading your opinions and perceptions of current events in The Bahamas.
    Even though I acknowledge, though not necessarily agree with,  your opinion on the integrity of the late Sir Joaquim Gonsalves Sabola, I find the heading to your ongoing criticism of him this week (Sabola, the Dead Chief Justice) to be highly offensive.
    I am not knowledgeable enough to question or argue the point you make about his accepting citizenship while doing a case involving the government, but obviously there are eminent lawyers who feel his contribution generally to The Bahamas is worthy of respect and praise.  This was indicated too by the impressive representation of the legal profession and MP's from both political parties at his funeral.
    Your heading shows total disrespect and disregard of his family’s feelings as they grieve his passing.  I hope they do not read your page.
Alison Hamilton

[Sir Joaquim Sabola should not have been made Chief Justice of The Bahamas.  Hubert Ingraham came to power saying that he would not agree with that choice.  When he got to power, he changed his mind and agreed to the appointment, gave the man a knighthood, which was a practice that was stopped when non-Bahamians started getting the job and then in a most cynical manoeuvre gave the man citizenship of The Bahamas.  He was sitting on two cases which both involved the government; the Methodist Church case and one in which Sir Randol Fawkes was seeking a pension.  Instead of stepping down from the cases, he adjourned them and then carried on to judgment.  To this day, the Bahamians in the Methodist church affiliated with the Caribbean Methodist church believe that they were unfairly stripped of their property.  No one could have confidence in his judgments after that and they were suspect before that.  He was suspect before.  So despite your sensitivities about this, and the comments of Brain Moree, who paid Mr. Sabola well for what he did at his law firm and the comments of others who have self-serving reasons for supporting this myth about Sabola, they are wrong and so are others who showed up at the funeral.  Politeness upon death in the face of stark truth is a disease in The Bahamas.  Thankfully, we do not have it.  While we appreciate your comments and your continued reading, facts are stubborn.  - Editor]


Forrester Carroll - Enough Chinese Investment…
   I wish to respond to a letter, which appeared in one of the daily newspapers on 11th May 2010, purportedly written by one Jeffrey Butler who attempted to make a case against the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe for speaking out against the Freeport Container Port over their alleged negligence in the deaths of the three young Bahamians recently.
    First of all, Mr. Jeff Butler, no matter how much you suck up to Hubert Ingraham he will never give you the FNM nomination for the West End and Bimini constituency; unless, of course, nobody else wants it, or unless Ingraham needs you to waste some of that pile of money he thinks you have tucked away. For your information, Mr. Butler, any Member of Parliament; Senator; Community or civic leader can speak out, for or against, any matter of public interest happening anywhere in this country. Wilchcombe, like any other member of parliament, is not restricted to addressing only matters arising in his own particular constituency, and where did you get that nonsense from? I thought you were smarter than that Jeff Butler.
    You talked about Wilchcombe needing to pay more attention to the needs of his constituents with respect to food; utilities; rents etc. Well I should remind you, Jeff Butler, that Mr. Wilchcombe could at least take credit for helping to bring Ginn Sur Mer to the West End community during his only five years in parliament, as part of the government, 2002-2007. What-pray tell me-can the FNM boast of doing for West End between 1992-2002 and then again within the last three years, from 2007-2010? Not one damn thing. The FNM has been in power 13 of the last 20 years and what have they done for West End? Not a Christ thing but Mr. Wilchcombe and the PLP, on the other hand in only five years, brought the Ginn Corp. with their $5 billion dollar investment to the West End community; match that if you are so you bad.
    Besides if I were you, Jeff Butler, I wouldn’t attempt to provoke and engage the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, because there are certain questions which he is just simply itching and anxious to ask you concerning your business activities here in Freeport and about certain alleged Bahamas Customs infractions reportedly occurring within the past several years. The investigations into these alleged infractions, we are told, allegedly resulted in some huge penalties being levied against a firm in which you allegedly have a major financial interest. You should be careful which can of worms you would want to open up with the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe because the world knows that you are not in his league and therefore no match for him. Wilchcombe, I am told, has a few other questions also about why you walk with such a terrible limp and he may want to know from you (if you care to tell the public from a political platform) how you got the limp and what were you doing at the time you sustained the alleged injury. Just remember, Jeff that in a political campaign one’s life is an open book for all to read. My advice to you, my friend, is that if you feel you wouldn’t want the public to read all the pages of your mystery novel, stand down because nothing will be off limits in the political campaign; to be forewarned is to be forearmed.  Don’t let those couple dollars you’ve been saving up so long for your campaign fool you my brother.  Leave well enough alone, my friend, you don’t want to get into that bag with Obie Wilchcombe because things you think are secrets are not as secret as you might think they are and a word to the wise should be sufficient.
My opinion of your letter?  It was a silly stupid letter.
Forrester J Carroll J.P.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
11th May  2010

Congratulations, Jared!
Congratulations to Jared Fitzgerald son of Senator Jerome and his wife Zarina on their son being named Primary School Student of the Year.  He is seven years old.  Here what his proud Dad had to say about him:
    “Jared is a gifted child indeed.  He has maintained an ‘A’ average throughout primary school and has placed either 1st or 2nd in class in 4 of the last 5 years and is presently on track to do the same in his final year of primary school.
    “He has excelled in sports.  Last year he received awards for the most outstanding male athlete and swimmer at Xavier’s in his age group.  Jared has been swimming competitively since the age of 5.  In the 2007 and 2009 RBC National Swimming Championships, he received the High Point Runner Up Trophy in his age group.  He is also a member of the Sea Bees Swim Club relay team, which holds the Bahamas Open Record and the Bahamas Record in the 200m Freestyle relay.
    “In the 2009 interschool track meet among Catholic schools he was ranked 1st in the long jump, 2nd in the 100M and 3rd in the 200M.  He was selected team co-captain of Xavier's Lower School Giants basketball team this year.  He has been playing tennis since age 7 and under the watchful eye of Coach Leo Rolle has developed into a very competent player.
    “Jared has been playing the piano since age 7 with Ars Nova Music Club with Mrs. Jai Kim and has performed at numerous recitals.  He has performed at various musical outreach programs… He is an altar boy at St. Matthew's Anglican Church where he ensures that the family is on time on Sunday mornings and that we remain faithful members.
     “Jared has decided that he wants to be a doctor and his goal is to find a cure for cancer so in his words ‘other women will not have to experience what my Mum went through’.
     “We are not sure where he finds the energy or the drive to be so organized and disciplined.  He appreciates that God has given him many gifts and has remained humble. I accept that he gets his good looks and brains from his mother, but I will take some credit for his athletic abilities (smile).”

[This is a magnificent accomplishment.  Congratulations to him and we say keep it up.  - Ed.]

Lady Turnquest Dies
The day that Oscar Johnson, the former MP and father of former Speaker Italia Johnson, died Arthur Hanna who was then Governor General was the special guest at the lunch bunch function hosted by former Governor General Sir Orville Turnquest.  Mr. Hanna said to Sir Orville that they had to all stick together because they were all dropping out one by one.  He looked around and said: “I am the oldest person in this function”.  He laughed.  He had lost his wife and was a widower.  He is 83.  Now Sir Orville is a widower at 80.  His wife, Edith Turnquest, died in London on Wednesday 12th May after what is believed to have been a hemorrhagic stroke.  She was one month shy of her 81st birthday.  She is survived by her son Tommy, the Minister of National Security and her two daughters Caryl (Toni) and Michelle.  Funeral arrangements have not been made but the speculation is that the service will be held at the Cathedral of the Anglicans on Thursday 20th May in Nassau.

Marina Glinton Funeral

Former Director General of the Bahamas Red Cross Marina Glinton is laid to rest following a church service at St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Fox Hill on Saturday 15th May.
Photo/Peter Ramsay

Trial For Mario Miller Murder
The men who are charged with killing Mario Miller are back in court again for the third time.  The first witness in the case was the murdered Mr. Miller’s father, former MP Leslie Miller.  The younger Mr. Miller was found dead in his SUV in June 2002, shortly after his father became a Minister of the Government.  This year makes 8 years since his son died and the third time the matter has been before the courts.  Let’s hope there is real closure to this case now.

Barbados PM Ill
Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson appears to be facing a serious illness.  An announcement was made to the country on Friday 14th May.  He said that he was not well and that tests had been undertaken in New York, the results of which will be known in three weeks.  Mr. Thompson was elected to office in 2007.  The church in Barbados has called for national prayers for the well being of the Prime Minister.

Why T&T Judge Not Hired?
We reported on this site last week that Herbert Vollney, the Judge who stepped down from his duties one day, and then nominated to run for office in Trinidad for the Opposition the next was attacked by the ruling PNM in Trinidad with the question: why were you rejected as a Judge in  Court of Appeal in The Bahamas?  It turns out that the reason is allegations of bribing judges when he practiced as a lawyer in Trinidad.

The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy’s Bahamas Branch headed by Eleanor Philips is to be the recipient of a generous donation from the Disney Nature Fund.  On Friday 14th May, there was a showing of ‘Oceans’, a film about the oceans by Disney and narrated by Pierce Brosnan the former James Bond actor.  The special showing held at Atlantis was attended by the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Minister of the Environment Earl Deveaux.  PLPs Fred Mitchell MP (PLP) and Ryan Pinder MP (PLP) and Kendal Wright FNM MP also attended.

Manslaughter Charges
Despite the intervention of their Member of Parliament Fred Mitchell, the Attorney General has proceeded with charging Larry Demeritte and Sandra McDonald with the death of their three-year-old daughter who suffocated in a car that was abandoned in their neighbourhood.  They were paraded through the streets in handcuffs on the day of their arraignment.  Mr. Mitchell had earlier described the matter as a tragic accident and asked the Attorney General to review the matter.  The public is now waiting to see whether or not the FNM Attorney General is going to charge the parents of a child who drowned in Treasure Cove who happens to be related to a high-ranking FNM.  We will watch and see.

Panel Discussion On The Economy
The public is invited to a panel discussion under the auspices of the Anglican church at Epiphany on Prince Charles Drive, which is slated to take place on the 31st May at 6:30 pm sharp.  Wendall Jones will moderate.  Some of the panellists include: Sharon and Franklin Wilson, Phillip Galanis, Ian Winder, Wendy Craigg, Glenn Ferguson, Jerome Gomez, Sonia Hamilton and Dr. John Rodgers and others.

Water Problems Power Problems
An apologetic Hubert Ingraham claimed that he cannot afford to give potable water to the people of South Eleuthera.  Incredulous, the PM’s remarks in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 12th May.  He also said he was unaware that Grand Bahama was having power problems.  Freeport has been suffering major power cuts for the past two weeks with no end in sight.  And Mr. Ingraham can’t supply water to New Providence either.  There have been serious water shortages in New Providence for the past two weeks.  Life in the third world.

Bruce Golding In Trouble In Jamaica
It turns out that Bruce Golding the Prime Minister of Jamaica was lying by omission when he allowed his government minister to claim that the Jamaican government did not engage an American law firm to seek to get it out of the trouble with the US government on the extradition of a drug kingpin from Kingston who controls Mr. Golding’s constituency.  The government of Jamaica insisted that it did not.  Now it turns out that Mr. Golding had authorized the expenditure of $50,000 US dollars to engage a US law firm on behalf of the JLP to do precisely what he said the government did not do.  There are now calls for Mr. Golding's resignation and it seems that he is on the ropes.

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LADY TURNQUEST IS BURIED: A grand dame by any standard.  She was Bertha Brown’s granddaughter.  Those who knew Bertha Brown said that Lady Turnquest’s sharp wit and sense of humour came to her honestly, direct from Bertha Brown, one of the leaders in the straw market.  No nonsense, but quite a pleasant lady.  She was the wife of a politician most of her adult life.  Her husband Sir Orville Turnquest, the former Governor General and she met at the, or as the elites like to say “thee”, Government High School.  They were a couple from those days in the 1940s through marriage in 1955 and until death did them part.  She was a tennis fanatic, with regular games with the remainder of the famous Gym Tennis set and by accounts with her son Tommy, the Minister of National Security.  No one would have imagined that having celebrated her 80th birthday and looking so well that she would be taken away so suddenly and unceremoniously during what was supposed to have been a happy family vacation in London.  As the country turned up to view her body, they thought whoever prepared her preserved her serenity and beauty.  The late Winston Saunders used to describe her as such a handsome woman.  She was a fierce partisan for the FNM cause and defended her husband the former Governor General, former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Orville through all the changing scenes of his life.  Lady Turnquest was buried in the family mausoleum at Woodlawn Gardens following a service at Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday 20th May.  It was a state recognized funeral and was attended by the Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes and Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie.  BIS photo/Peter Ramsay


There was a fascinating letter published in the press of The Bahamas during the past week by one of the leaders of the right wing think tank called the Nassau Institute.  As far as anyone knows this is a three member organization which specializes in the libertarian philosophy that has the would be American politician Rand Paul in so much trouble on the civil rights issue today.

Rick Lowe is the name of the letter writer.  He runs Nassau Motors.  By all accounts, he does a good job.  He has been an activist for years and years for every right wing cause, but also for some good causes like the rights of the individual.  He is a fierce partisan.  Everyone knows that he supports the FNM.  Everyone also knows that he supports Bay Street.

The one deviation that we saw in his public life from fighting for Bay Street was the 2002 general election when he supported Pierre Dupuch in that election against the Hubert Ingraham - Bay Street machine.

The letter (click here for its full contents) casts a pox on both political houses.  He seemed to argue that Peter is no better than Paul when it comes to politicians.  It appears that Mr. Lowe, and his group one supposes, are unhappy about the social spending, debt increasing, tax raising Hubert Ingraham administration.  He puts the PLP under Perry Christie in the same category.  He of course expects nothing better from the PLP but from his beloved FNM, one supposes he must be livid.

What is fascinating about the letter though is that there is a glimmer and just a glimmer that maybe; just maybe he will allow his intellect to direct him where to vote in the next general election.  If only we could believe him when he expresses his frustration and concern for the public policy of The Bahamas and the graveyard to which it now appears we are headed.

He has a prescription for the PLP.  He says that the PLP cannot simply attack the FNM’s policies.  It must also say what it proposes to do and presumably win the country once again.

All true, Mr. Lowe.  All true!

The question for Mr. Lowe is: is this truth we can believe in?  Can he rise above his partisan and cultural biases and vote PLP assuming the PLP can resolve the issues that he says he now has with the PLP?

Sir Durward Knowles once told Perry Christie that he agreed that he (Perry) was a nice man, that his policies were good policies but he just could not vote for the PLP.  He said he did not know why but he could not and his son probably could not and neither could his grandson.  He just could not do it.  This from the man who has apologized on no less than four occasions to black Bahamians for how they were treated by white Bahamians.  He just can’t make the leap even though the PLP has been good for him and his business.

One wonders whether the same difficulty applies to Mr. Lowe.

We have a prescription for Mr. Lowe.  How about this proposition: just for once, grit your teeth, close your eyes, clench your fist and do whatever you have to do, swallow hard and commit to vote for the PLP in 2010.  Then and only then can we believe that a new year has begun in Bahamian politics.  The Boers in South Africa did it by voting with the ANC.  God knows the PLP could use the support and the vote.  What about you Mr. Lowe?

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 22nd May 2010 up to midnight: 150,341.

Number of hits for the month of May up to Saturday 22nd May 2010 up to midnight: 506,058.

Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 22nd May 2010 up to midnight: 3,679,248. 



    PLP Party Chairman Bradley Roberts is having none of it.  He attacked the government for the way it is handling the process of the investigation into the deaths of three men at the Container Port in Freeport following the tornado there on 29th March.  Mr. Roberts said that his information was that workers were being briefed and debriefed before speaking with the International Labour Organization investigator.  He said that this an independent investigate did not make.  He called again for a Commission of Inquiry.  Senator Dion Foulkes, the Minister for Labour, who appointed the expert, was righteously indignant but did not deny the central charge.  You may click here for the full statement by the PLP issued on 17th May.


    The Elks organization is a shadow of what it once was.  But every year, the faithful gather at the lodge and temple to meet and greet and discuss their glorious past and the future.  The Civil Liberties Department, once headed by the late Kingsley Wilson, was one of the more dynamic parts of Elkdom in The Bahamas.  Today Brother Felix White heads it and the guest speaker for the occasion of the National Elks Convention Civil Liberties Luncheon was the Elks State Legal Advisor Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill on Friday 21st May at the Curfew Lodge in Hospital Lane.  Mr. Mitchell called for MPs to be properly compensated and supported in their work and for full time MPs to fulfil the promise of Sir Lynden Pindling to allow men and women of ordinary means to run for Parliament.  You may click here for Mr. Mitchell’s full remarks.

Christ you know it aint easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are going
They’re gonna crucify me!
    John Lennon in The Ballad of John and Yoko
    Funny thing, this concentration that the press has on the personal finances of Picewell Forbes.  Mr. Forbes, who a few weeks ago, went right up to the brink in the eyes of the press in committing himself to a position with the Ingraham administration, then made it clear that he was not crossing the floor.  He has been quite open about the financial difficulties that he finds in being a Member of Parliament.  Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill addressed this issue when he spoke to the Elks Civil Liberties Department on Friday 21st May (See story above).  But having made the statement that Mr. Forbes did about not crossing the floor, he obviously upset some very powerful people in the FNM.  They mean to get him.
    In an exchange in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 5th May, the Prime Minister said that there were some Members of Parliament that were not paying National Insurance because they had not authorized the deduction of the National Insurance payments from their House salary.  Bernard Nottage, the PLP MP, who was then on his feet replied that national insurance was being taken out of his salary and no one had ever asked him, nor had he signed anything for it to be deducted.  In the early days of National Insurance, the government announced that MPs would be considered self-employed and therefore would not have their salaries docked automatically, but they would, one supposes, have to enrol.  Mr. Forbes pleaded ignorance saying that he had assumed like other places he had worked that the salary was being docked for the NIB contribution.  In any event, he told the press when the matter was brought to his attention, he went and settled the issue with NIB and the money has been coming out of his salary since January.
    There is another issue, though, and that is the question of whether or not Mr. Forbes is the only offender; and further why is it that a PLP is being singled out for press treatment, and how is it so proximate to his spurning the Ingraham offer of a job and a political life elsewhere.  The lawyers argue the improbability of coincidence.  Go back to the exchange in the House with Mr. Ingraham and in our view it is not difficult to connect the dots.  Mr. Forbes is being singled out for spurning the offer made to him.  Given his acknowledged financial situation, the pressure is still being put on him.  Which brings us to the question of what does the PLP do to help?  His family is quite unhappy about the appearance that the organization to which he belongs appears to have left him out to dry or lowers his dignity in their eyes by having him appear to beg party luminaries to help him.  Go back to Fred Mitchell’s larger point, though, which is that the solution to this must be systemic and not going cap in hand to the leader of a party every time a Member of the Parliament runs into financial problems.
    Another legal issue, which should cause Mr. Forbes to think about suing the Nassau Guardian.  He is paying as an employee of the radio station Gems that he works for.  Does he also have to pay as a Member of Parliament?  We do not think the position in law demands any such thing.


    John Issa, the Jamaican hotelier who owns Breezes on Cable Beach, wrote in The Tribune last week that Edith Turnquest was in every sense a lady, even before the title of knight was conferred on her husband that entitled her to be called Lady Turnquest.  We agree.  There was a spontaneous outpouring of sorrow upon her death from a stroke in London.  The funeral was a solemn, dignified occasion, in every sense like she and her husband Sir Orville lived their lives.  Peter Ramsay, the BIS photographer, was present for the service and entombment and we present this photo essay of the event on Thursday 20th May.


    The PLP is moving forward with its candidate selection.  It appears that the party will select Senator Michael Darville (pictured, above) as the candidate for Pineridge in Grand Bahama, up against Deputy Speaker Kwasi Thompson for the FNM; and Greg Moss, former Grand Bahama Chamber President for Marco City, up against Minister of State Zhivargo Laing for the FNM.  The Nassau Guardian reported on Friday 21st May that “Party sources have confirmed” that attorney Randol Dorsett is the front-runner for the PLP Pinewood nomination, attorneys Keith Bell and Dion Smith are being considered for the Kennedy nomination and attorney Myles Laroda for the South Beach seat.

    Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill and the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is in Trinidad and Tobago for the general election to be held there on Monday 24th May.  From there he will make calls on officials in Barbados, Antigua and Jamaica before returning home.

    Last week we reported that Bruce Golding the Jamaican Prime Minister was in deep doo doo.  Mr. Golding was refusing up to this past week to authorize the proceedings in the Jamaican courts to enable the extradition of a reputed drug lord Christopher Coke nicknamed Dudus who controls Mr. Golding’s political future through influence in the volatile inner city constituency that Golding represents.  Mr. Golding said that some of the information obtained by the Americans for the extradition was obtained illegally.  He commissioned Lloyd Barnett, Senior Counsel in Jamaica to bring a case to court to cause the courts to say whether or not his government acted correctly.  The country saw this as stall, delay and defer.  It was politically foolish.
    The Americans have not sent an Ambassador to Jamaica since President Barack Obama has been in office.  That is interpreted as a sign of their ill will because of the extradition matter.  The US denies it.  Then, some high profile people including reggae artists got their visas revoked.  The US again denied there was any connection.
    Then, Mr. Golding became embroiled in a sin by omission.  He allowed the impression to be given that he had nothing too with the hiring of a US lobbying firm to negotiate away the problem.  In a shocking about face, he then told Parliament that yes, there was a contract with a lobbying firm, but it was on behalf of the party and not the government.  That sent shock waves through the country, with the establishment asking for his resignation.
    The pundits pointed out that this could not be the same Bruce Golding who had said when he was in Opposition that there was no distinction between party and government.  The National Executive of his party met last weekend and determined that he had done nothing wrong and though the communication had been badly handled, they unanimously supported his staying.  Ricky Singh, writing in his column in The Trinidad Express, said that there was no precedent in the Caribbean for Prime Ministers to resign on a matter of principle.  Mr. Golding did not become the first one.
    Mr. Golding apologized to his country in a mea culpa speech and asked for forgiveness on national radio and TV.  The pundits seemed to back off.  Then he did an about face and said that they would authorize the extradition of Dudus after all.  Next, the Jamaican army moved in to arrest Dudus.  They still can’t find him and people started boarding up their shops and homes because they feared violence.  Some people, including middle class Jamaicans, are planning to stay out of the country and have warned their friends not to come.  The situation is ugly in Jamaica where a criminal gang appears to have seized power in the Jamaican state.  All the more reason why the US ought to get this guy.  It may help to save the Jamaican state even if it won’t save Bruce Golding’s Prime Ministership.

[Shortly after we went to upload, a state of emergency was declared in Jamaica.  The state of emergency was declared in two parishes of the capital Kingston after shooting and firebomb attacks on police stations by suspected supporters of the alleged drug lord 'Dudus'.  At least one policemen was injured.  Streets into the poor Tivoli Gardens area of West Kingston, where Coke is believed to be hiding, were barricaded on Sunday in defiance of a police call for Coke to hand himself over, witnesses said.  The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert warning its citizens of the possibility of violence in Jamaica's Kingston Metropolitan area. - Ed.]


    Depending on who you talk to, Patrick Manning of Trinidad, the Prime Minister, is on the ropes, having called elections two and one half years before the term ran out.  He is absolutely confident that he will win.  The pundits say that Kamala Biscessar, the female Opposition leader has a good chance of winning, but it will turn on three seats.  The election is too close to call.  Monday 24th May is tomorrow and Patrick Manning’s future as Trinidad’s leader is at stake.  Fred Mitchell is in Trinidad for the elections and here are some photos from the PNM rally that he attended: Prime Minister and PNM Leader Patrick Manning (dark shades); multitudes of PNM supporters; observer Fred Mitchell MP.

[Update - Patrick Manning the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago gambled and lost for the seocnd time in his career.  He called a snap election in 1995 and lost and this time he called a snap election and lost badly.  He is reduced from 25 seats down to 11 in a 41 seat Parliament.  T&T has its first female PM in Kamala Persaud Biscessar.  She will lead a coaltion of parties.  Mr. Manning said last night Monday 24th May that he is considering his political future.]

    We look to the Anglican Church, with its educated clergy and tradition of intellectual cutting edge thinking, to be the leaders in civil society.  So it was quite a surprise with the new Bishop at the helm that the church has suddenly gone back to the dark ages with the public comment that it does not support legalizing the number business in The Bahamas.  You hate to disagree with the Anglican Church, but disagree we must.  The reason for legalizing this business in The Bahamas is as compelling as Sunday shopping, abolition of the dower and legitimizing children born out of wedlock.  There is no moral element to gambling.  It is a matter of choice for grownups.  The Church, however, is free to comment, as it must, on the moral excesses of the common life in The Bahamas.  One supposes it has now done so, but we don’t think that they are right on this one.  Here are the reported comments of Bishop Laish Boyd as reported in The Tribune:
    “We need to look for a moment at the term ‘gambling’.  Gambling is a broad subject area encompassing games or activities involving some risk with the potential for granting an advantage to the person or persons who 'play' or are involved.
    “Some persons condemn all forms of this activity.  There are others who tolerate them in varying degrees.  For example, many persons have no difficulty with raffles and door prizes, or with a game of bingo.  These are isolated and individual events which are usually held for fundraising and charitable causes.
    “Bahamians and Turks and Caicos Islanders will buy a raffle ticket, or a door prize ticket at an event, and give no second thought to it; they see it as harmless, as I believe these involvements to be.
    “It is this reasoning that let the 108th session of our Diocesan Synod meeting in October, 2008, to approve the allowance of raffles by our Anglican Schools as a means of fundraising.  This came after many years of a moratorium on the holding of raffles in the diocese that was put in place during the time of Bishop Michael Eldon.
    “Numbers, on the other hand, is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week enterprise in which persons engage and which is definitely habit-forming and downright addictive for a majority of its participants.  It is a system which is designed to exploit the participants so that the few will benefit at the expense of the many.  The modern-day reality is that this form of gambling is easily accessible to all via the internet, via numerous ‘web shops’ and via other means.  Persons can play with as little as 10 cents.  This easy access leads to widespread use by persons of all ages, classes, backgrounds and socio-economic standings.
    “Why do we stand as a church opposed to its legalization and subsequent taxation?  It is a matter of morality and of the moral responsibility which leaders have for those whom they lead.”

    Leaders of the PLP including Members of Parliament and Senators will appear on Wendall Jones’ Love 97 Radio programme, ‘Issues Of The Day’ on Wednesday 26th May.

The Government 2010/2011 Budget Communication will be made on Wednesday May 26th…
Schedule of PLP Broadcast - Wednesday May 26th 
Love97 Radio ‘Issues of the Day’ & JCN TV the same evening...
  • 11:00 am - 11:30 am: Discussion on the performance of the economy (2007-2010), the effectiveness of government policies and the consequences of those policies. 

    Led by Senator Jerome Fitzgerald, Glenys Hanna Martin MP, Senator Dr. Michael Darville, Cassietta McIntosh and Arnold Forbes.

  • 11:30 am - 12:00 noon: Discussion on the upcoming budget presentation and questions on the economy and the upcoming budget. 

    Led by Obie Wilchcombe MP, Senator Michael Halkitis and Frank Smith MP.

  • 12:00 noon - 12:15 pm: Discussion on crime, how it has worsened between 2007 and 2010 and the ineffectiveness of the government's policies to address this vexing problem. 

    Led by Alfred Sears MP, Melanie Griffin MP, former senior police officer, attorney Keith Bell, Senator Hope Strachan and a spokesperson for the Progressive Young Liberals.

  • 12:15 pm -12:30 pm: Perspective on the direction of the country. 

    Led by Ryan Pinder MP, Dr. Kendal Major, PLP Candidate for Garden Hills, Randol Dorsette, former PLP Chairman Raynard Rigby and Aaron Sargent, PYL.

  • 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm: Summary of the FNM’s stewardship in government and the plans of the PLP. 

    Led by Progressive Liberal Party Leader Perry Christie MP; Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis MP; and National PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.


    Sabola, the Dead Chief Justice
        With all due respect to Alison Hamilton [see Alison Hamilton’s letter] who has made an invaluable contribution to The Bahamas, I think it would be helpful to her if she would study in more depth the particular situation relating to the late Chief Justice, Gonsalves Sabola.
          While I myself can't remember all the minute details of the case, I do remember how shocked and distraught Sir Randol was when knighthood and citizenship were bestowed on the late Chief Justice within days of a ruling he was to give on the pension case involving Sir Randol Fawkes and the government of The Bahamas.  I can tell you that written records left behind by Sir Randol show that he never got over this travesty of justice.
          While Mrs. Hamilton is bemoaning your lack of respect and regard for the Chief Justice’s family, I hope that she will have some sympathy in her heart for Sir Randol, who walked the streets for ten years seeking a pension for the contribution he made to this country.  In the end, he got a pittance.
          Keep up the good work!  Keep pulling out the truth that some want to bury.  We are thankful that after the judges of the earth appoint and disappoint, we have a Supreme Judge in God himself.  His decision will be the final one and when man makes his decisions, he would do well to remember that!
    Rosalie Fawkes


    The Methodist Church
        I read your comments with regard to Justice Sabola.  Whilst I have no knowledge about the man or his background, I do know a lot about The Methodist Church as I am a Methodist.  I cannot see why the MCCA followers would feel that they were “stripped” of their properties when they did not own them in the first place.  Furthermore, the MCCA in Antigua did not contribute one penny to the purchase or upkeep or these properties.  One often overlooked little fact is the fact that the MCCA is operating illegally in this country as the Antiguan Act was never ratified by our Parliament.
         The Bahamas soundly rejected joining the MCCA in 1967 and by 1968, the West Indians had replaced all of those opposed to The Bahamas joining with their supporters.  They narrowly won the vote by seven and The Bahamas signed the Deed of Union in 1968.  The only church that was built whilst we (The Bahamas) was under the MCCA was Curry Memorial and moneys were raised by Bahamians for almost 20 years to build that church, so how is it that the MCCA feel that they were “stripped” of their properties?
         This matter went to the Privy Council and the Privy Council did not think so.  Why not speak to someone from our side to get the real history of what happened?
    George Knowles

    [Thank you for your letter.  The point we wish to make is that this column has no side in the matter.  The larger point is that Sabola ought to have stepped down from the case once he got the gift of citizenship from the government.  The rule against bias is absolutely clear on the point.  Whether the case has merit or not, the Privy sent the matter back to The Bahamas to be reheard and the case cannot come up.  In those circumstances when a case cannot even be heard, people will believe that they have been denied justice.  The merits of the matter are quite another thing. - Editor]


    Forrester Carroll - A Tribute To Rev. Dr. Wellington Pinder…
       Considered an Icon within the Christian Community of Grand Bahama, Rev. Dr. Wellington Pinder's life spanned almost a century and I've had the distinct pleasure of knowing and interacting with this great Grand Bahamian for almost 47 years of that time.
        Dr. Pinder's quiet and unassuming life came to a close on the 27th April 2010, after a three-year period of deteriorating ill health.  He was laid to rest during a service of thanksgiving, held at St. John's Jubilee Cathedral East Settler's Way in Freeport Grand Bahama, at 12:00 noon on Saturday May 8th 2010.
        Dr. Pinder was born during a dark period of our country's history, on 3rd November 1920. His parents, the late Rev. William and Estella Pinder of Pinders Point Grand Bahama, were broadcasters of the good news and pastors of the Zion Baptist Church in Eight Mile Rock Grand Bahama.  Young Wellie, as he was known back then affectionately they say, quickly caught on to what he thought it would take for him to advance in life and, as a student, he worked his way up to the top of his class in his academic studies. He became a top achiever at his school, excelling in the subject of ‘Math’.
        Notwithstanding his potential in academics-like every other underprivileged child during those times-schooling for him came to an abrupt end when he reached the mandatory age for leaving school, at the time, which was the ripe old age of 14 years. Being the Math wizard that he was, however, he was privileged to be appointed a Monitor, which afforded him the opportunity to become a Math teacher. Dr. Pinder, though, went on to eventually becoming an accomplished carpenter, but when the opportunity came his way for a joint business venture with his life long friend, Rev. Ralph Russell, he embraced it and the "Russell and Pinder's" Funeral Home became a reality.
        His accomplishments in the Gospel Ministry began in 1937 when he was elected Sunday School Superintendent at Zion Baptist Church in Eight Mile Rock, under his father's ministry. For seventy (70) years, he laboured in the ministry through all the ups and downs that are normally associated with being a Pastor, a Preacher and or an Evangelist.
        I was proud of the Grand Bahama Community-from East End to West End-for showing up in their hundreds to pay tribute to this quiet, unassuming giant of a man. They came from the United States of America, as well; the Family Islands and from Nassau, to pay their last respects and to say good bye to this Grand Bahama Icon. Cabinet members, Senators, the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe and the Leader of Her Majesty's loyal Opposition, the Hon. Perry Christie, all came to bid farewell-as well they should have. Hubert Alexander Ingraham, though, did not attend. One minute the announcement was made that the prime minister was running a bit late and then, later, another announcement was made, to the effect, that he was still on his way and then finally it was announced that he sent his regrets and that Kenneth Russell was designated to represent him. National leaders have only one opportunity to get it right and this was a missed opportunity for Ingraham.
        It is important that when we judge the worth of what a man or a woman accomplishes during their lifetime, we remember to do so within the context of the times the person lived and not in the context of any other unrelated period. Often we tend to belittle the achievements of others who have lived before us and compare their achievements (or the lack thereof) with these times, when in fact they were heroes of their own times; Dr. Pinder certainly was a hero of his time.
        May the soul of Rev. Dr. Wellington Pinder's and the souls of all the departed in Christ Jesus; rest in peace.
    Forrester J Carroll J.P.
    Freeport, Grand Bahama
    15th May  2010

    Utah Taylor Is Mad About Something
    Nitrofilmz is the production arm for Utah Taylor (Controversy TV) to make his films.  He has been seeking to get a production deal in the new media environment, but it appears that something may have gone wrong.  On his Facebook page, he said that he is "pissed off" at the way Nitrofilmz has been treated and so is going to go on his own.  No further explanation.

    The Budget Is Coming
    Hubert Ingraham will deliver his doom and gloom budget for the year 2010/2011 on Wednesday 26th May.  The International Monetary Fund and other international agencies have signalled to The Bahamas Government that the present level of social spending and the deficits that are being run by the government are unsustainable.  The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) met with the Prime Minister last week and circulated a memo to its members about the PM’s position.  They include a wage and hiring freeze, and cuts of pay for Members of Parliament, including himself.  The press says that the Prime Minister is expected to announce major hikes in taxes and in particular, it seems that the government proposes to implement one of the reforms of the Social Security Commission that reported under Perry Christie’s government to raise the ceiling on the salaries on which National Insurance contributions are now made.  That ceiling is now capped at $400 per week.  The actuaries have been saying for years that if this is not corrected, the NIB fund will soon go broke.  If it comes, it will be coming in the midst of the worst recession in modern Bahamian history.  Of course, National Insurance itself was started in a bad recession but it worked anyway.

    Allyson Says She Won’t Run
    Senator Allyson Gibson, the PLP’s leader in the Senate, speaking on the radio last Sunday said that she would decline the nomination of the PLP and not run for the Pinewood Constituency, which she represented from 2002-2007.  She was defeated in 2007.  Having not heard it directly, it is not clear whether this means that she is skipping the next election and thereby bowing out of  elected politics.

    St. Andrew’s Kirk Breaks Away Because Of Gay Connection?
    The Presbyterian Church in Nassau, St. Andrews Kirk and the congregations in Freeport and in Marsh Harbour, Abaco have decided that they will no longer be affiliated with the so-called ‘mother’ Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.  They have decided to be independent said the spokesman for the church, but because they can’t quite afford it, they will affiliate in an interim step with churches in Florida.  That is one set of facts.  The mother Church of Scotland ordained an openly lesbian minister and is sanctioning gay ministers as cool with them.  In The Bahamas, the press put two and two together and decided that the Bahamian church had broken away because of gay ordinations.  Not so said the church’s spokesman.  You go figure.

    The Scotiabank Loan Programme
    Scotiabank, one the banks in The Bahamas that led the way in promoting the consumer credit boom in The Bahamas of the 1990s and early 21st century, is apparently at it again.  We have been saying for some time that the liquidity in The Bahamas system is piling up because there is no one who can qualify to borrow, what with high unemployment and consumer spending down along with their confidence in the economy.  Good times must be coming though.  This bank that harasses its customers if they miss one day’s payment is now to offer 100 percent financing for certain customers for a new car at 6 percent interest and if you buy from our friends at Nassau Motors (see Comment of the Week) run by Rick Lowe, you will get the loan at 4 percent.  Not bad.  But the thing is: do we really want to get back to this in an economy already wobbly because of bad credit and with our streets already choked with cars?  Perhaps someone at the Central Bank should have a quiet word with them to withdraw this  promotion.

    D’Brickashaw Ferguson At The White House
    The Bahamian left tackle of the New York Jets football team who lives in Freeport, Long Island in New York and has a street there named after him, but whose ancestry is Fox Hill in The Bahamas, got honourable mention at the White House state dinner held on Wednesday 19th May for Mexican President Calderon, which he attended along with Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.  Last time the US President held one of those dos, there were crashers at the party.  This time it went without incident.

    ABDAB Sells Shares
    The holding company ABDAB owned by Sir Garret ‘Tiger’ Finlayson, has sold its controlling interest in Commonwealth Brewery (brewers of Kalik and local brewers of Heineken and Guinness) and Burns House to Heineken with the blessing of the government.  One stipulation is that Heineken must offer 25 percent of the shares in the company to the public in an IPO.  If it is not subscribed then the government will buy what is left.  ABDAB issued a press release to confirm the sale.  The press speculated that the wad of cash, believed to be about 60 million dollars, will be used by the Finlayson family to pay down debt on their Solomon’s Mines businesses that are having financial challenges.  Sources close to the  company said that more likely it will continue to be used as an investment vehicle for Sir Garrett and his other shareholders.  Some dissenters made their concerns known.  Former Central Bank Governor Tim Donaldson and former Grand Bahama Port Authority chairman Sir Albert Miller said that as minority shareholders they were not consulted on the deal and have no idea what the benefits will be.  The Securities and Exchange Commission’s spokesman seemed to be clueless as well.

    Antonius Roberts Inspired By Jacinta Higgs

    At least one member of the art establishment thought that Senator Jacinta Higgs (pictured with her hat at the opening of Parliament on 12th April) was an inspiration.  Stan Burnside, the cartoonist trashed the hat, along with much of the art establishment.  But what is one man’s poison is another man’s manna.  Antonius Roberts was so inspired he created a sculpture in wood based on the hat.  It is now on sale.  If we were Senator Higgs, we would buy it quickly.

    The News Online In The Bahamas
    Wendall Jones’ Bahama Journal ( doesn’t update regularly.  It seems they forget to do so for weeks at a time.  The Nassau Guardian most times; and The Tribune, by design, don’t update their news sites until late in the afternoon.  This is to force people to buy their newspaper in hard copy.  The day is gone then, so those who depend on the online editions know what is happening in other parts of the world before they know what is happening here in The Bahamas where they live.

    Oil Spill Coming To The Bahamas
    The alarm bells are ringing.  Oil that originated from the break in the well in the Gulf of Mexico off the American southern coast is said to be headed into the Gulf Stream, which passes by Key West and The Bahamas.  Bimini, Grand Bahama and Abaco are likely to be badly affected.  Environment Minister Earl Deveaux says that The Bahamas cannot fight this alone, but will get international expertise to fight it.  Knowing Earl Deveaux and the FNM, it probably means some foreign expert standing on a Bimini beach and looking out to sea to tell us there aint a damn thing we can do but put our hands on our heads and scream.

    SAC Class of 1970
    The Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett is arguably the leading light of the St. Augustine's Class of 1970, a close second has got to be Prime Ministerial advisor Teresa Butler, known to her friends as Terry and somewhere in the running is Fred Mitchell, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and MP for Fox Hill.  There are at least three pilots who work for Bahamasair from the class: Godfrey Turnquest, Michael Weech and Augustine Roberts.  All are captains.  One member of the class was until recently the Managing Partner for Coopers and Lybrand, Wayne Aranha.  Not bad for a the group of 120 who left school as 16-year-olds or thereabouts in 1970 in a Bahamas that was a whole world away from where we are today.  They have succeeded beyond measure but also have done exactly what they were trained to do, run the country.  Beginning this weekend on 27th May, the group celebrates their 40th anniversary as graduates from St Augustine’s.  It culminates with mass at St. Francis on Sunday 30th May and a brunch hosted by the Chief Justice.

    CDB Meeting In Nassau
    The Caribbean Development bank (CDB) held its 40th anniversary annual general meeting in Nassau during the past week.  Caricom countries make up the contributories to the bank, which lends funds for development projects in Caricom countries.  The governors of the bank, all finance ministers in the region, agreed to increase the Bank’s capital.  The Bahamas signed a loan for ten million dollars from the bank during the meeting.

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    KAMLA SWORN IN AS PM OF T & T: 120 or so days ago, Kamla Persad Bissessar started on what seemed then a lonely and arduous battle.  The battle then was seeking to remove from the Office of Leader of the Opposition UNC in Trinidad Basdeo Panday, the leader of the Indian community, a former Prime Minister who seemed entrenched.  She did it, defeated him by a huge majority.  Having dispatched Mr. Panday, she then set out on the bigger prize, that of Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s office.  She could not have predicted the lightning speed with which he was dispatched.  It was helped by Mr. Manning’s ego and some internal misjudgements.  A smart man, he had become known for his imperiousness in the face of criticism.  When pressed by a potential vote of no confidence by Mrs. Bissessar eight weeks ago, he called a general election and up to the end, he was predicting that he would win by a landslide.  There was a landslide on 24th May alright, but in the other direction.  Today, Mrs. Bissessar is the leader of Trinidad and Tobago.  Mr. Manning has been dispatched to his private residence from the fancy US 24 million dollars digs that he built as a Prime Minister’s home.  Now begins the hard part of Mrs. Bissessar living up to the campaign of being for all Trinidadians, not the graveyard of racial policies that bedevils that twin island republic.  Our photo of the week is the swearing in of the new Prime Minster of Trinidad and Tobago Kamla Persad Bissessar on Wednesday 26th May.  AP Photo/Shirley Bahadur


    The law of contract is quite simple.  You and the other party agree that in exchange for one thing you will give another thing.  Once you agree then that is enforceable in law provided there is consideration.

    Then there is the public law, that of a vested right.  The law is clear; the government cannot take away your property without compensation.  That is article 27 of the constitution.

    All of this should then provide some fodder and fun for brave lawyers and an even braver Member of Parliament to challenge the unilateral decision of the government to reduce the salary of Members of Parliament without asking them whether or not that is something they agree to do.  Mr. Ingraham says that he is cutting his own salary and benefits by 16 percent.  That is fine for a man who is collecting a pension and salary.  It his own salary and he can do what he wants but not to other Members of Parliament.

    We argue that if Mr. Ingraham does not get the specific consent to reduce the salaries of the Members of Parliament then such a reduction unilaterally is an unlawful decision and should be challenged in the courts.

    Of course, the gamble is that no MP will dare resist it on the basis that it would be too politically unpopular to be seen not accepting a pay cut in these hard times.

    We say that someone should do so just for the hell of it.

    It will be difficult to explain but explain we will anyhow.  The issue is not the salary or the pay cut, it is an issue of governance.  All over the region, people are asking; does his one-sided unilateral system of governance actually serve us well?

    The Prime Minister, for example, makes this decision, but on one that is clearly within his ambit to make, he backs off claiming that there was not a national consensus.  What he really means by backing off on the legalization of the numbers issue is that the politics of it is unpopular and he does not want a fight so close to a general election?

    Somehow, the PLP must find a way to make the point that poor governance is a hallmark of the Ingraham administration.  He just will not do.

    Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 29th May 2010 up to midnight: 188,765.

    Number of hits for the month of May up to Saturday 29th May 2010 up to midnight: 708,314.

    Number of hits for the year 2010 up to Saturday 29th May 2010 up to midnight: 3,881,504. 



        The Progressive Liberal Party trashed the 2010/2011 budget statement of Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance delivered to the House of Assembly on Wednesday 26th May.  Mr. Ingraham took the traditional walk across the public square with Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance carrying his red briefcase.  The PLP called the budget a tax and pain budget saying that it would hurt the poor and revealed nothing about plans to grow the economy.
        We had been predicting that Mr. Ingraham would trash social spending given the comments of the International Monetary Fund and the firms like Moody’s and Standard and Poors who rate the nation’s credit.  Nevertheless, we agree with the PLP, Mr. Ingraham's budget is hopeless and visionless.  Mr. Ingraham will run a 432 million dollar deficit this fiscal year and he plans to slash that in half by next year.  The country’s debt to GDP ratio is to move up to a staggering 53 percent.  You may click here for Mr. Ingraham’s full statement.  Here is what PLP Leader Perry Christie said in his own words:
        "This is a tax and pain budget. It is the Prime Minister singing a sad story as he describes the problems, but without any ideas about how to grow us out of this crisis and without accepting any responsibility for the state we are in under his stewardship. The poor will suffer more with the increased taxation and the resultant depressed effect that there will be on spending. The government now sends out a signal to the private sector that they too must cut back; this is a recipe for further contraction of the economy in the short term; this is sad and sorry."  You may click here for Mr. Christie's full statement.

        The Cable Beach Straw market located in front of the Crystal Palace and just next to the Office of the Prime Minister burned flat to the ground at about two in the morning on Saturday 29th May.  Some straw vendors lost everything that they had.  This is a tragedy.

        Alfred Sears PLP MP and Opposition spokesman on Education blasted the Prime Minister for cutting the subsidy to the College of The Bahamas.  He said that COB will be devastated by the 2.47 million dollar cut.  Mr. Sears said that it shows that the Hubert Ingraham administration is not investing in the country’s human capital.
        That was just one of many responses that showed the folly of the Budget statement by Mr. Ingraham.  Friendly Ford Manager Andrew Barr was quite direct that the Prime Minister’s budget plans to raise duty to 85 percent on cars over 2.0 litre size engine will fail.  He said that he will cancel an order for 200 cars that they were about to make.  Here is what he told the Nassau Guardian on Friday 28th May:
    “This has no logic to it.  The government thinks this might increase revenue when in actual fact it is going to decrease revenue.  It’s going to encourage the importation of junk vehicles at the expense of good quality cars.
        “Talking on behalf of Friendly Ford, we don't sell any vehicle at Friendly Ford that has a 2.0 engine or less, so as a consequence, every single vehicle that we have will be impacted by the increase in the duty, which is a 25 percent increase from what it normally is... We’ll have to reappraise our whole position on what we’re going to do as a company simply because we don't have any vehicles at the present time that have that engine size to fall into [that category].
        “The price increases on certain vehicles are expected to be severe.
    “As an example, the Ford Explorer, which has a current local retail price of $43,069, is expected to see a price increase to $48,984.  The F150, which has a current retail price of $62,813, is expected to increase to $71,884.
        “Larger engine vehicles, like the ones sold by Friendly Ford, will now fall into the 85 percent duty category, and a rate of 65 percent will be applied to passenger vehicles with an engine of 2000 cubic centimeters or less.
        “All the vehicles that Bahamians love to drive like the Ford Explorers, the new Taurus, the Edges, all of these vehicles have engines bigger than 2.0, even the four-cylinder engines that we carry are bigger than 2.0.  We dealers were shocked by the sharp tax increases.
        “It's going to hurt all of the dealers in terms of the employment and even the possibility of some of the franchises staying open... Where we have vehicles now with very good prices that Bahamians could afford, as of today these vehicles are no longer attractive in price to consumers so it's going to affect our ability to sell vehicles.
        “The government is going to have significantly reduced revenue as it relates to the importation of vehicles.”

        As usual Stan Burnside the cartoonist for the Nassau Guardian was able to sum up the Ingraham budget in a picture:
    Stan Burnside's 'Sideburns' - Nassau Guardian 27/05/2010



        Last week we reported that Fred Mitchell, the Fox Hill MP, was on a tour of the Caribbean beginning with a stop in Trinidad for the general election there held on 24th May.  Patrick Manning’s PNM lost that election in a landslide with the then Opposition getting 29 seats and Mr. Manning’s party being left with 12 seats.  The new Prime Minister is Kamla Persad Bissessar (see photo of the week).  Mr. Mitchell is pictured in Trinidad at one of the rally grounds of the winning UNC.  Former Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning is shown reacting at a rally.
        From Trinidad, Mr. Mitchell flew to Barbados and paid courtesy calls on the Leader of the Opposition of Barbados Mia Mottley, and then to Antigua where he met with Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and other government Ministers and with Leader of the Opposition Lester Bird.  Antigua is in the midst of a political crisis of its own, with the Opposition boycotting parliament until the decision of the Court of Appeal expected on 29th June on whether to uphold a lower court election court order that the seats of the Prime Minister and two other Ministers are vacant because of election irregularities in the March 2009 election.  From Antigua, Mr. Mitchell visited Jamaica and obtained a briefing on the situation involving the political violence in that country.  He returned to Nassau on Saturday 29th May.
    Manning photo REUTERS/Andrea de Silva


        Senator Allyson Gibson, the PLP’s leader in the Senate and her husband Max Gibson hosted a reception in honour of the local and international visitors attending the 71st annual convention of the Bethel Baptist convocation in The Bahamas, the oldest continuous church congregation in The Bahamas, which has existed since 1790.  It was also to welcome Rev. Major Lewis Jemison, a past President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) and Mrs. Jemison and Rev. Carroll Baltimore the incoming President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.  The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was also a past President of the PNBC.
        We present an essay of photos of the reception attended by Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes, Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie, Deputy PLP Leader Philip Davis, Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell, St. Thomas More MP Frank Smith, Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez, businesswoman Elaine Williams and Media owner Wendall Jones.  The photos are by Peter Ramsay and were taken on Saturday 15th May.


       The press reported during the past week that John Pinder, the head of the Bahamas Public Services Union, may face a vote of no confidence from one of the vice presidents of the Union.  The Vice President said that he did not think that he could succeed with the executive board but he wanted to express the displeasure of the members at the performance of Mr. Pinder in failing to defend the interests of the customs and immigration departments.  Those departments have indicated that because of his failure to protect their salary and benefits, and the loss of overtime, they want to form a new Union.  Mr. Pinder was dismissive.  He said that what should happen is that the Vice President should wait until elections and see if he could defeat him in an election.
        Mr. Pinder is an FNM supporter who has denied seeking the nomination for the Fox Hill Constituency against the FNM’s former nominee Senator Jacinta Higgs.  He has become expert during the FNM’s time of making threatening statements and then with a wink and a nod agreeing with everything that the government proposes.  At the start of the FNM’s term, he agreed that the FNM was right to fire certain public servants.  Now he has said precious little in the face of a promotions, salary and hiring freeze announced by the Prime Minister in his budget communication to the House of Assembly on Wednesday 26th May.


        Bruce Golding, the Jamaican Prime Minister (above, left), appears to have weathered the worst of the storm.  Having spoken to the Jamaican people on radio and TV, and saying that he was sorry for all the miscommunication on the extradition of the alleged drugs lord Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke (above, centre) to the United States, he sent in the army and the police to get Mr. Coke.  That was more than a week ago and no Mr. Coke.  In between, the government had to declare a state of emergency in parts of Kingston and there was a running battle in the streets of parts of the city where Mr. Coke lived.  Some 77 people are reported dead, mostly civilians.  The police and army are now being blamed for being excessive.
        Smoke plumes could be seen rising from the city and even Parliamentarians needed security protection to get into Gordon House, their Parliament, during the past week.  Spent shell casings from the fighting could be seen outside the Parliament building.  This is incredible.
        The Opposition PNP under Portia Simpson should stand to benefit, but it appears that they have not because the feeling is that all the political leaders have benefited from the connection to gang leaders in parts of Jamaica.  Edward Seaga, the former JLP Prime Minister, issued a statement critical of his own party’s performance and their failure to protect the civilian population in his former constituency.  Some report that a calm and normalcy has returned to Kingston.  Most people believe the country will not be the same again.  There is a lot of handwringing about what had led the country into this crisis of governance.
        Some 500 people have been arrested in connection with the policing action and are being kept in the National Stadium where they are being processed.  No Bahamians have been hurt in the operation.  Bahamian students were taking medical exams at the University of the West Indies and all are safe.  Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill spoke with Bahamian Students Association President Lavard Roberts and Honorary Consul Keva Hilton during his stay in Jamaica on 28th May.
    At the weekend, soldiers remained posted on the streets and roofs of buildings in the affected area as shown in these Internet photos

        Last week, we disagreed with the Anglican Bishop on the position he took on not legalizing the numbers selling business in The Bahamas.  This time, we disagree with the Roman Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder who has said the same thing.  We find this incredible.  What these people are arguing is that the resources of the state must be tied up seeking to enforce a law that is unenforceable for a victimless crime.  It is the right of any adult who is over 18 to gamble is they wish.  That should be their choice.
        The Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was frightened by this entire din from the church.  He called it a lack of national consensus.  He said that he would not therefore go ahead and would instead hold a referendum after the next election on the matter.  Worse than that, he sought to blame the lack of agreement on legalizing gambling for Bahamians as the reason he had to impose high taxes on Bahamians.
        Here is what the Archbishop said in his own words in a statement on 24th May:
        “The Bahamian community is currently engaged in much discussion surrounding the possibility of the legalisation of gambling. Surely this matter calls for much serious thought and research as part of an in-depth, national conversation. Such conversation is a necessary aspect of the formation of public policy in a strong democracy. I wish here to offer an initial contribution to that conversation.
        “The question of legalisation of gambling is a challenging one for our Bahamian community as a whole. It is particularly challenging for our Roman Catholic community. At the risk of being quoted out of context, I must indicate at the outset the Church's longstanding tradition that games of chance are not in themselves morally evil. This finds official expression in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in these words: 'Games of chance or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice.' (CCC2413). It is on this basis that there is a well known practice of utilising various games of chance, in particular raffles, as a staple feature of parish fund raising.
        “However, the same section of the Catechism goes on to say: '(Games of chance) become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs or those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement.' (CCC 2431).
        “Our Catholic tradition recognised that while gambling is not inherently evil there is the tendency of human nature to go to excess and to extremes. Thus what may be harmless in the beginning can, without proper restraints become quite harmful later on. The wisdom of the law as it now stands seems to understand this reality. The law as it now stands appears intended to exercise an abundance of necessary caution for the good of individuals and the community as a whole.
        “Permitting the harmless use of games of chance while protecting against their harmful excess is indeed the value which the current law appears to protect and promote. As such, I as the leader of the Roman Catholic community in the Bahamas do not support a change in the current law which would allow the legalisation of gambling.
        “I realise that this is not a simple matter. While raffles are closely regulated by law, we do have the widespread breach of the legal prohibition of gambling in the case of the illegal numbers industry. Surely, we cannot simply pretend that this situation does not exist. Nor can public authority tolerate the routine violation of the law. Here we need to come together as a community to reflect on the values which the current law seeks to protect and foster. We need to explore why there is such widespread gambling in violation of the law. What is it telling us about our character as a people? How are we to address this stubborn reality for the good of us all? Should we not be encouraging our people to save rather than to gamble? What alternatives are there to the wholesale repeal of the current law?
        “Clearly this matter calls for further discussion. I am not convinced that a mere liberalising change in the law is the most wise or beneficial course to follow.”


        We are running out of words to describe the belligerent and foolish behaviour of Hubert Ingraham and those who support him.  The question must be asked, what is wrong with this man?  He simply does not have the common sense it appears to know when to pull back.  You may remember all the discussion in the public domain about whether or not he was going to stay on beyond the next election.  We have no doubt that he will if he can.  He cannot get enough of power.
        You will remember that this is the man who said that he would only serve two terms or ten years and then did his best to stench to stay on.  He then left in a huff after losing the referendum in 2002.  He supposedly handed off the party to Tommy Turnquest, his now Minister of National Security, only to undermine and undercut him and take the party back from him to run for Prime Minister again in 2007.  The PLP was caught flat-footed and lost the election to him in 2007.  Now that we know that he has an unquenchable appetite and does not know when to quit, it should not happen again.  The signs are that he plans to stay on for the next election.  Last week he told the press that he would stay on as long as people want him to stay.  He said that politics played no part in his decisions on the budget.  That is simply untrue.
        Hubert Ingraham’s political strategy is to show that he is a strong man, who has a definite agenda and that this is what the public wants.  The only thing is the economic mess in which we find the country today is in large measure the result of the failed policies of Hubert Ingraham.  We would not be in the great mess that we are in if he had acted prudently when he came into office and not acted like a bull in a China shop.
        The Nassau Guardian in seeking to defend the Prime Minister and his tough talk and the slashing of social spending, told the Bahamian public that they must get real.  The Nassau Guardian should get real and stop defending the indefensible.  The Prime Minister continues to spin the untruth that he has managed the Bahamian economy so that it is better off than any other economy in the region.  That, too, is simply untrue; a lie (See the chart circulated to MPs of the PLP that shows exactly the opposite).  Facts are stubborn.  Mr. Ingraham is also stubborn and push must come to shove.
    Nassau Guardian photo/Edward Russell III


        A delegation of Progressive Liberal Party members has returned to Nassau after a successful two-week visit to China at the invitation of the Chinese government.  The four who represented the party were Alex Storr, Deputy Chairman, Youri Kemp, Member of the PLP's Committee on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Robyn Lynes, PLP Vice Chair and Andrew Edwards, PLP Vice Chair and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.  The visit provided an opportunity for the exchange of views with the Chinese side on developments between the two countries and their political parties.  Head of Mission Alex Storr thought that the meeting went well and was able to establish contacts with the representatives of the Barbados Labour Party.  Our photo shows the delegation in the Forbidden City, Beijing China.  The visit took place from 17 May to 27 May.


        The Class of 1970 of St. Augustine’s College marked their graduation from high school forty years ago this weekend with a mass at St. Francis Xavier’s Catholic Cathedral.  Among the members of the class are Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill, Sir Michael Barnett, Chief Justice, Teresa Butler, the advisor to the Prime Minister.  Peter Ramsay took the photo.  More photos next week.

    Forrester Carroll - The Troubled GB Power Company…
       The Grand Bahama Power company has been having its woes in trying to keep Port Authority licensees adequately supplied with electricity, ever since Hubert Ingraham, in his capacity as prime minister of the country, allowed the Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited to opt out of its fiduciary responsibility.  He, by and of himself, without the required concurrence of two-thirds or eighty per cent of the Port’s licensees, sanctioned the Port’s request for permission to dispose of its majority shareholdings in the Grand Bahama Power company to a Florida based power generating entity (they have since sold to yet another entity).  Sadly, power outages seem to have taken on a new meaning on Grand Bahama since that illegal happening.  I say illegal because Ingraham had no such legal authority under the said Hawksbill Creek Agreement, in the absence of a tripartite agreement to the effect, to let the Port Authority off the hook.
        …Ingraham, in his predictable dictatorial fashion, ignored strong written objections from the Freeport Licensee Association to the sale, at the time, and arbitrarily took the decision to approve the Port Authority’s request to sell their assets in the power company and thus allowed them to opt out of their fiduciary responsibility to us, 5000 or more, licensed businesspersons.  From there on our (licensees) goose was cooked; they both (Ingraham and the Florida buyers) promised us everything in an effort to ease the tension; a more efficient supply of electricity; more favourable electricity rates they said (notwithstanding the rates were already the cheapest in the region) and more efficient power generating equipment, among a bunch of other good things, but what have we gotten?  Quite the opposite; a pig in the bag, if you will.
        …Asked in parliament, by members from the opposition PLP, as to what his government was doing about the problems Grand Bahamians were suffering with electricity supply, Hubert Ingraham declared that he knew nothing about the reported electricity troubles we were having here.  This was a shocker, to say the least; because it sent an unequivocal message that this FNM government really doesn’t give a damn about us in Grand Bahama…
        Has he forgotten that it was this island, and these constituencies, that gave his FNM party control of the country’s governance in his three election victories to date?  The audacity of him to stand in the parliament and declare that he knew nothing of our electrical woes is simply too much.
        Under legislation empowering the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Ingraham’s government saw to it that this consumer protection agency would have no jurisdiction or oversight over the Grand Bahama Power Company.  …The Freeport power company (now the Grand Bahama Power Co) has been taking advantage of this "central government-approved exclusion" for years and we, the consumers on this Island, have been suffering as a result.  …they pay customs duties - which average 45% on most landed values - on absolutely nothing.  Their generators are duty free; their cables are duty free; the fuel and lube oils they consume are duty free; their vehicles are duty free; the parts and tires for those vehicles are duty free; their buildings are duty free; all their office/ stationery supplies are duty free and the repairs and maintenance to the equipment, buildings and supplies are all done duty free.  No other, like entity in the region, including BEC, enjoys such a wide range of customs duty exemptions yet we are billed exorbitant fees.
        We should not forget that Ingraham allowed them all these exemptions, as well, on the equipment, supplies and fuels used in the servicing of customers outside the Freeport area namely; from Freeport to West End and from Freeport to Sweetings Cay.  This was clearly an abuse of the terms and conditions of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, but we tolerated this breach with the promise of greatly reduced electrical bills.  We received no such preferred power rates.
        But I ask now why are we still being charged a fuel surcharge when in fact the fuel, which was purchased at $140.00 per barrel several months ago and which they said was the reason for the additional surcharges being added to our bills, has now gone down to $70.00 per barrel with no reduction in or elimination of the fuel surcharge?
    Forrester J Carroll J.P.
    Freeport, Grand Bahama
    29th May  2010

    [You may click here for Mr. Carroll's full letter. - Ed.]

    The PLPs On Jones

    Last week we reported that Jones Radio Love 97 would host a morning long radio talk show with PLP MPs on the state of the economy in response to the Budget statement of the Prime Minister.  The show went well.  Here, PLP leader Perry Christie and MPs pose for a photo with Jones Communications CEO Wendall Jones.

    Murders Rise Again
    The death toll keeps climbing in The Bahamas murder count.  It is now 35, having reached that number with the death of two people in Grand Bahama who were killed in a hail of gunfire outside an apartment complex in Freeport.  The killings were believed to be gang related and connected to the Haitian gangs that seem to be springing up in The Bahamas.  Carlos Reid, the civic activist, warned the country that steps must be taken to address the gang problem.  He asked for a special unit to be created to deal with it.

    Tribute To James Williams Deceased
    He was the second half of the Duff and Stuff Team that produced some of the best guava duff for sale in The Bahamas as a commercial product.  Sadly, his partner Dominic Dean died and was gone too soon and now he has joined him.  While swimming in the ocean off Cable Beach, it appears that he ran into problems and drowned.  Mr. Williams was buried on Tuesday 11th May.

    US Student Fined $9,000
    An American college student who pleaded guilty to a number of charges stemming from a brawl with police on Tuesday 18th May, was fined $9,000 by a magistrate yesterday. Jordan Hawks Proffitt, a resident of Florida, pleaded guilty to 11 charges stemming from an incident at the rear of the Straw Market near Senor Frogs.  Magistrate Ancella Williams told a tearful Mr. Proffitt that she took into consideration his guilty pleas, his previous good conduct, the seriousness of the offences and the submissions of his attorney.  She told the Daytona State College student that his actions were "unwarranted" and "unacceptable."  Mr. Proffitt was convicted and sentenced to pay:
    * A fine of $2,500 or serve 12 months in prison on one count of grievous harm;
    * A fine of $500 on each of the three counts of causing damage;
    * A fine of $1,500 or serve six months in prison on each of the two counts of aggravated assault;
    * A fine of $1,500 or serve six months in prison on one count of issuing death threats;
    * A fine of $500 or serve three months in prison on one count of assaulting a police officer.
    Mr. Proffitt was also sentenced to time served time served for disorderly behaviour, obscene language, and resisting arrest. He spent a week on remand at Her Majesty's Prison.  These sentences appear lenient and should be appealed by the crown.  Bahamians were generally outraged that a policeman could be put in hospital by some brash and racist College student and end up serving no jail time.  The evidence is that he called the policeman whose shoulder he dislocated a nigger.

    Jerome’s Son Receives His Reward

    Two weeks ago, we reported the presentation of the prize for primary student of the year to Jarred Fitzgerald.  He is the son of Senator Jerome Fitzgerald and the grandson of Allardyce Scott Fitzgerald, the insurance broker.  We present the photo of Mr. Fitzgerald with his parents Senator and Mrs. Fitzgerald as he accepted the prize on Saturday 15 May.  Congratulations again.

    Kerzner To Expand Atlantis
    Sol Kerzner who is the genius behind the Atlantis brand appeared to be a dead funk up until last week.  His Paradise Island resort took the unusual step at the start of the recession of laying off 1200 workers, causing consternation and pain in the tourism industry.  Then he announced that his plan to redevelop the Hurricane Hole Marina complex was put on hold indefinitely.  Last week, all that changed with the announcement that he intends to spend 100 million to upgrade and fix up the PI property.  Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister, could not wait to crow about the news and the fact that the upgrade promises 400 additional permanent jobs.

    The March Down The Aisle At Bahamar
    Meanwhile over at Cable Beach, despite the noises being made by the developers that they have signed the financing deal with the Chinese Import Export Bank and going out to bid for a 200 million dollar portion of the development called Bahamar to fix up Cable Beach, the government appears sceptical.  The Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told the press that they still have no official application from the developers and the deal still awaits the approval of the Chinese government, which owns the China Import Export Bank.  The developers have said that they no longer plan a canal, which would have cut into the island of New Providence, but they assure the public that the deal is still on.  In The Tribune, the speculation was that Scotiabank has a 180 million dollar loan that has to be settled before the security for the loan to the China Import Export bank can be finalized.

    Rev. Dr. William Thompson Retires

    After three consecutive three terms as the successor to the Rev. Dr. Charles Saunders as head of the Bahamas Baptist Missionary and Education Convention, the umbrella Baptist organization in The Bahamas, Rev. Dr.  William Thompson has retired.  He remains the Pastor of the Faith United Baptist Church on Blue Hill Road.  During this tenure, he also served as President of the Bahamas Christian Council.  In his farewell address, Dr. Thompson lauded the government for not legalizing the numbers business.

    Leslie Miller’s Family Suffers Again
    A retrial has been ordered again in the murder trial of the men charged with killing the son of former Cabinet Minister Leslie Miller.  The jury could not reach a verdict and so with a hung jury, the judge has ordered a third trial.

    Archdeacon Bowleg Extends The Madness
    Now comes the news that in addition to making himself a liar at the end of his successful life as an Anglican priest, he goes on to make himself a fool.  The Anglican priest former Archdeacon Etienne Bowleg who was removed in disgrace from the rectorship of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity has resigned as an Anglican priest.  He has been holding services in a car garage and seeking to start a congregation affiliated with the conservative congregations in the US.  The following circular came from the Bishop of the diocese Laish Boyd:
        “Please be advised that Etienne Bowleg wishes "to renounce all allegiance as a priest of the Diocese of the Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands within the Province of the West Indies, with immediate effect."
        “This means that by his own choice, intent and assertion Fr. Etienne Bowleg no longer holds a licence to function in this Diocese.
        “As clergy of the Diocese all of you need to be aware of how serious this matter is and what its implications are.
        “The lack of a General Licence means that Fr. Bowleg is not allowed to function (officiate, celebrate, preach, vest, process, sit in the chancel or sit in the sanctuary) at any service or event of the Diocese or the Province, or under the auspices of the Diocese or the Province.”

    Attack On Senator Anthony Musgrove
    The mainstream press were laying in wait on Friday 28th May to make the front of the story that has been circulating on the web for weeks about an allegation made by Kenria Gray that Senator Anthony Musgrove of the FNM fathered her twin daughters and was being summoned to court to pay maintenance.  The case was thrown out by the Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans because the virtual complainant did not show up to court.  This is interesting.  The press seemed to assume that the allegations were true.  The lawyer for the party Roan Farquharson claimed that her client was being intimidated and so did not show up to court.  Interesting that all the pre publicity that was generated by this and as biggetty as Ms. Farquharson is, it did not seem to indicate that anyone was being intimidated.  The question that must be asked is given the background of the senator, is it not counterintuitive that this could possibly be as the summons alleges?  Could it be that there is some vendetta politics being engaged in here?  It is not for us to say, but once again we shake our heads at the ‘gotcha’ culture that exists in the Bahamas.

    New Chairman Of Bahamas Mortgage Corporation
    There is a report that Kenyatta Gibson MP for Kennedy who crossed the floor from PLP to FNM has been replaced as Chairman of the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation, following the scandal earlier this year when PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts revealed that he had granted a contract to his partner in business, former FNM candidate Reece Chipman.  The Managing Director Jerome Godfrey has also been dismissed.  The new Chairman is Duane sands, the defeated FNM candidate in the Elizabeth bye-election.

    Sybil Strachan Dies

    Sybil Strachan, the mother of Courtney Strachan, and widow of the late Courtney Strachan Sr., a former Assistant Commissioner of Police, was buried following a service at St Agnes Anglican Church.  She was the sister of well-known businessman Bismark Coakley.
    Peter Ramsay photo

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