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Volume 4 © BahamasUncensored.Com 2006
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8th October, 2006
15th October, 2006
22nd October, 2006
29th October, 2006
Columns From 2002 - 2003

1st October, 2006
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - MITCHELL AT THE UN PODIUM - The annual policy statement on Foreign Affairs was delivered for the fifth time in his career as Foreign Minister by Fred Mitchell at the famous green marble podium of the United Nations.  He was there in front of the gathered world audience but more importantly in the presence of Bahamian students from the SUNY Maritime College, St. Andrew’s in Nassau, St. Anne’s and the University of the Northern Caribbean.  You may watch the speech on the UN’s web cast archive at or click here for the text version of the speech.  The speech reinforced the position of The Bahamas that its foreign policy is not ideological even as it speaks up for the dispossessed and those who cannot speak for themselves.  Our photo of the week is the fifth appearance of Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the podium at the UN on Tuesday 26th September.  The photo is by Jeffrey Alves.  We also have a photo essay below.


A convicted drug criminal by the name Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles was extradited from this country on the 28th August 2006 to stand trial in the United States for allegedly smuggling drugs into the United States.  For one month since that time, the press of The Bahamas, fed by a group of conflicted lawyers, has been waging a campaign against the Attorney General Allyson Gibson and then the Minister responsible for extraditions Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell.  In the case of the Attorney General, the argument was that she advised the Minister to act.  In the case of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the argument was that he acted precipitously.

Never mind the fact that in the days before the extradition took place, the press was covered in allegations that the Minister of Foreign Affairs was dragging his feet with the innuendo that somehow Mr. Knowles had something on the Government and so Mr. Mitchell would not act.  Never mind the fact that Mr. Mitchell had signed a warrant of surrender before for Mr. Knowles.  Let’s not let the truth interfere with a good story.

For one month, you had the lawyer for Mr. Knowles Roger Minnis,
a PLP Senator Damien Gomez, who it is now announced is to be a judge (see story below), Paul Moss, whose brother is wanted in the United States on similar charges and is awaiting a hearing on extradition, then Wayne Munroe, the President of the Bar Council, and some dishonest journalism fed by Eileen Carron and John Marquis of The Tribune,  Raymond Kongwa of the Nassau Guardian, all with conflicts of one kind or another, weighed in against the Government on the matter of the extradition of Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles.

The talk shows had their daily wag about this or that and how the Ministers were going to go to jail because they were in contempt of Court by allowing this drug criminal to be extradited.

The Church, interested as they are in protecting family values, was silent.  Not a word of support.  Nothing said about the fact that a message needed to be sent that if you are involved in drugs there is a price that you will pay.  Nothing!  Just shameful unadulterated silence in the face of the barrage of nonsense spun by these people listed heretofore.  One hell of a society.

Well Roger Minnis, the lawyer for Mr. Knowles got his day in Court on Thursday 28th September, just one month later, and he asked the Judge to adjourn the hearing so that Mr. Knowles could be brought back to the Court from Miami or else summon the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General to court to ask them to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court since Mr. Knowles was in Miami and he had been extradited before all legal proceedings were complete before the Courts.

The judgment was a highly technical one but clear at its very end.  The Judge, Justice Lyons, an Australian émigré to The Bahamas, said that what Mr. Minnis proposed was an abuse of the process of the Court.  Mr. Minnis intended to argue that Mr. Knowles could not get a fair trial in the United States because the U.S. president had issued a notice that Mr. Knowles be designated a foreign drug kingpin.  That has certain consequences in the law of the United States.  Justice Lyons said that the Privy Council had already ruled in a similar case that Mr. Minnis’ argument was impossible.  The Judge said if he acceded the result would have been the same and would only occasion a delay.  He refused Mr. Minnis’ request saying that the end of the line had come, the game was over.  You may click here for the full Judgment of Justice Lyons.

Now the question is what will Roger Minnis, Damien Gomez, Paul Moss, Wayne Munroe, Eileen Carron, John Marquis, Raymond Kongwa and all the other naysayers have to say to the Ministers who they attacked over the course of the last month.  It shows that the law was followed, that the criticism was wrong and in fact we go further and argue that the lawyers for Mr. Knowles simply dropped the ball.  They did not do what they promised they would do for him, and all the noise being made in the market was simply clutter to hide the fact of their dropping the ball.  We have no sympathy for any of them.  The lot of them for their views are to be condemned.  Talking fool is very serious thing!  Their language was unwise, biased, over the top and out of order.

If there were any decency in them, they would apologize to the Ministers personally and to the Government.  But no, that won’t come.  We will hear nothing.  There will be silence.  In the end, the truth comes out but often the truth comes out so far down the line that reputations become victims even in the face of the truth.  That is the problem.  In the mean time, the sleaze balls who are simply in the business of selling papers are on to the next headline.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 30th September 2006 at midnight: 77,144.

Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday 30th September at midnight: 339,768.

Number of hits for the year 2006 up to Saturday 30th September 2006 at midnight: 3,579,645.

Stan Burnside's 'Sideburns' from The Nassau Guardian 30th September, 2006


    The Free National Movement is so desperate for an issue that they will grab at anything.  Their latest grab at an issue was the processing of the Permanent Residence application for B movie star Anna Nicole Smith.  Ms. Smith, a U.S. citizen, has had an interesting life and now wants to live in The Bahamas.  She married an octogenarian billionaire who left her money in his will.  The will was set aside by his children.  She has been allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court to continue challenge the will.
    Ms. Smith gave birth to her lawyer’s child as it now turns out in Doctors Hospital in Nassau and her son Daniel 20 years old died the next day in an overnight stay in her room at the hospital.  A foreign pathologist has revealed to a U.S. magazine that the young man died from a fatal combination of drugs in his system.  Then came the news that she and the lawyer Howard K. Stern, father of the child; “married”.  Michael Scott the local lawyer then said that they didn’t get a marriage licence but exchanged vows before God on a boat in waters off Nassau.
    We give all this lurid detail because the FNM could not resist attacking a Minister who described himself as a friend of a woman of such shapely proportions and with such an interesting life.  The FNM was using nasty innuendo and subtext to attack Mr. Gibson.  They alleged, wrongly as it turns out, on their website last week, that Immigration Minister Shane Gibson personally picked up the cheque for the permanent residence permit.
    The mainstream press without checking a word ran with the story.  Mr. Gibson denounced it as vicious lie.  Prime Minister Christie got into the fray defending his Minister and decrying the desperation of the FNM to grab at an issue.  He added that if they didn’t like it, they could lump it.  It’s said desperate men will take desperate measures.
Prime Minister Perry Christie is pictured defending Minister Shane Gibson during an address at the opening of the Government's new 'Excellence' housing subdivision. BIS photo - Peter Ramsay

    Last week we wrote in our comment of the week about the state of Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.  The island is of paramount importance to The Bahamas and there is a sense of drift and disquiet in the city as a result of the death of Edward St. George and the family feuds that have been revealed.  You may click here for last week’s comment.
    Over the past week, the Grand Bahama Port Authority seemed to have found its voice.  Sir Albert Miller was quoted in the press in the Bahama Journal as saying that all was well and that the public troubles had not affected the investor confidence in the Port.  Then Hannes Babak, the controversial new Chairman, issued a statement saying the same thing.  You may click here for that statement.
    Odd thing though.  In every human endeavour gossip and talk has the affect of unsettling people both from within and without.  It is clear that the staff are unsettled.  So how could the news not be affecting what is happening at the Port?  To say so would be counter intuitive.  Simple tourists reading about a hurricane affecting St. Lucia for example, one thousand miles away from us, stay away from The Bahamas because they think a hurricane is in the region.  What more an investor reading about public squabbling in an area that he plans to put millions of dollars?  Again, to say so would be counter intuitive.  But that is what the Port says.  There is no affect on investor confidence.  So we print it without further comment.
The Port Authority released this photo of the Group’s executive team along with their statement.  From left are Albert Gray, GBPA President; Ian Barry, GBPA Chief Financial Officer; Hannes Babak, GBPA Chairman; Sir Albert Miller, GBPA Chief Executive Officer and Graham Torode, President and CEO of The Grand Bahama Development Company Limited.


    The Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) headed by Elvin Nimrod, the Foreign Minister of Grenada met with the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday 25th September in New York in the margins of the General Assembly of the United Nations.  The meeting took place at the Waldorf Hotel in New York.  While no public statement was issued, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas Fred Mitchell who was part of the gathering said before he left for New York that the issues of security co-operation and trade were expected to be part of the agenda.
Photo: Jeffrey Alves


    Last week, our photo of the week was that of the private lunch between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas Fred Mitchell and the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Waldorf.  The lunch took place on Saturday 23rd September.  You may click here for last week’s photo.
    One would have thought that given the issues of US/Bahamian relations and all the dire predictions on the front pages of the newspapers of The Bahamas that the meeting between The Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs and the US Secretary of State would have been front page news.  Instead, one paper did not carry it at all.  The others buried it in the back pages.  They were taken instead by the titillation and innuendoes of an untrue story about Shane Gibson, the Immigration Minister and a B actress named Anna Nicole Smith.
    Stan Burnside the cartoonist though seemed to get the point of the importance of the meeting in the face of all the criticism by the PLP’s political opponents.  So we show you his cartoon from The Nassau Guardian of Wednesday 27th September.

    On the morning that the Parliament resumed from its summer recess, Wednesday 27th September Prime Minister Christie should have been a happy man.  He and his party the PLP had gone through an entire summer of good news mainly.  The country was seeing unprecedented economic growth.  The children were all back safely in school and it looks like we are heading for further unprecedented growth over the next year.  All of this portends good news as we face an election campaign.  Except that there is always someone or some people who are in the pile to cause a problem.
    The newspapers were distracted over Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles, not a political problem at all as it turned out.  The Judge tossed Mr. Knowles’ lawyers out of court.  Then there was the titillation over Shane Gibson, the Immigration Minister and the B movie actress Ana Nicole Smith.  Just gossip.  Not much to that! (Click here for story above).  Two of his own Members of Parliament though ended up inflicting damage in the news.  So instead of the headline that the House would reopen on that day, the news is instead of fisticuffs between two of his own Parliamentary team.
    It was reported and the men have confirmed there was a physical fight in the Cabinet room of The Bahamas where the Parliamentary Caucus of the PLP was meeting.  The fight took place in private and it is sign of how slack the PLP can sometimes be on itself that a private matter became instantly a public issue and the next day the newspapers had details of the fight and why and who when only PLP members of Parliament were in the room.
    The two are amongst the party’s first timers in public life and amongst the youngest.  Kenyatta Gibson (right) who defeated Senator Bernard Nottage in Kennedy and Keod Smith (left), who defeated Senator Tommy Turnquest in Mt. Moriah.  Mr. Gibson issued a statement when it was clear that the matter had blown up in their faces.  Mr. Smith did not do so but the two are scheduled to appear on a radio talk show this evening shortly after the upload.  The publicity on Love 97 which will carry the taped show at 5 p.m. today says that both men have indicated that they have buried the hatchet and they have apologized to their mothers. No doubt it will be a combination of contrition and patchwork public relations in order to dampen the public ire about what happened.
    The PLP itself at its base is outraged.  Some of their constituents were quoted in the press as being troubled by the fact they are trying to teach their children to hold their tempers.  Yet two grown men, MPs at that, can’t hold theirs in a situation where the homicides in the country are being fed by people who can’t resolve conflicts peacefully.
    Further there is a general concern amongst party seniors about the attitude of many of the younger male members of Parliament who have a misplaced sense of entitlement because they were able to win seats in the House during a time of a sweep, taking advantage of years of ground work being laid by others.  There is not a bone of humility in some of them.  The power appears to have gone to their heads with some of them demanding cabinet posts when it is simply not in the cards.
    The question is what should be done?  Will the apology be enough?  In any other system, the two should offer their resignations to the Prime Minister forthwith as Chair of the Gaming Board (Gibson) and Ambassador for the Environment (Smith).  As proper as that is, it is, given our lack of adherence to these conventions, unlikely to happen.  Whatever they do, they should make quick work of it, make a clean breast of it, and hope to God that it does not in fact do permanent damage on the PLP.
    The only other comment we make is that the FNM carpetbaggers are everywhere on this demanding that the PLP disclose fully what happened in its parliamentary caucus.  They must be kidding.  We should also mention in passing that the other perennial carpetbagger in politics Cassius Stuart has arisen from the grave this time to call for the Prime Minister’s resignation.  We’ll see the second coming first.  They mussy t’ink we fool.

    The Nassau Guardian published what it said was an apology by Kenyatta Gibson MP (PLP Kennedy) for a fight that took place between himself and Keod Smith MP (PLP Mt. Moriah) in the Cabinet Room on Monday 25th September.  Here is what was reported in his own words:
    “I am deeply saddened that human frailty led to behavior that I deeply regret.
    “I realize that these events declined to an unacceptable level.  I therefore sincerely and unreservedly apologize for my conduct and I hope the Bahamian people, my constituents, and my colleagues can forgive me.
    “I wish Mr. Keod Smith the very best and I pray that we can work together for the benefit of all Bahamians.
    “Much public attention has been given to the events.  Many of the reports have been sensationalized and overstated and it has become the fodder for political exploitation.  My remorse and regret is however unconditional.  The last few days have been spent in deep reflection.  Indeed I am sorry.  I sincerely hope that I can put this unfortunate incident behind me and request your support in this regard.  To err is human, perfection is divine.”

    Residents of the Fox Hill constituency in Gleniston Gardens North are incensed and have called for investigation into a fence that has appeared on what was believed to be space allocated for a public park.  The young men in the area complain that they have used the tree on the park for years to play dominoes and suddenly a fence appeared.  It is not known who put the fence up but the land is also adjacent to the land of the FNM’s putative candidate for Fox Hill, ‘Doctor Doctor’ aka the Faker of Fox Hill who is married into a family that is known for grabbing land.  The residents have called on the Government to investigate the matter.

    Two weeks ago the then Senator Damien Gomez was engaged in a vicious rant against the two Ministers of the Government involved in the Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles extradition case.  He accused the Ministers of violating the law and of putting the courts in a position where they would have to choose between returning Mr. Knowles to The Bahamas or putting two Ministers in jail.  It was harsh and surprising given his political affiliation.
    Then there was the statement issued by Mr. Gomez on behalf of Caroline St. George in which he promised that he would fight to take the Port Authority back from Sir Jack and Caroline’s step mother and that when he did, his client would reverse everything that had been done since Mr. St. George died.
    Now it has been revealed that now former Senator Damien Gomez (his resignation became effective Saturday 30th September) is to become a Judge of the Supreme Court.  He told the Bahama Journal on Tuesday 26th September that he was resigning to take up the bench and so he felt that he needed to insulate the bench from politics, sanitize is the word he used, by resigning now and taking up the offer of the Bench next year.  Interesting reasoning given the pronouncements he has made on the law relating to extradition.
    In his letter of resignation, Mr. Gomez was quoted by the Bahama Journal as saying to the Prime Minister: “We may well cross swords in our respective future responsibilities.  Notwithstanding institutional conflict, you may rest assured that I remain your friend through thick and thin.”


   Marguerite, Lady Pindling was sworn in this past week as Deputy to the Governor General.  Lady Pindling is pictured during the ceremony with Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall.  Congratulations!
Bahamas Information Service photo by Peter Ramsay


   Lady Pindling was joined by Prime Minister Perry Christie and Public Service Minister today, Sunday, at the Abundant Life Church for a service marking the beginning of Public Service Week.  Minister Mitchell addressed the congregation and introduced greetings by the Prime Minister.  Please click here for the Minister's full address.
Bahamas Information Service photo by Peter Ramsay


    Photos from the 61st General Assembly of the United Nations: - Foreign Affairs Minister Mitchell with Bahamas Vice Consul in New York Sandra Poitier; Minister Mitchell greets Bahamians Henry Dean and Ethan Adderley; Rev’d. Dr. J. Carl Rahming and Bahamian students with Minister; Mr. Mitchell with Ian Martin, son of Minister Glenys Hanna Martin and his (Mitchell's) niece Zoe Clarke, daughter of John and Marva (nee Mitchell) Clarke; the Minister with the family of Kevin Rolle, a young 12 year old Bahamian student from the University of the Northern Caribbean and Bahamian maritime cadets with First Assistant Secretary Rhoda Jackson and Bahamas UN Ambassador Paulette Bethel.
Photos: Jeffrey Alves

Andrew Edwards Called to The Bar
Eugene Andrew Edwards was called to the Bar of The Bahamas on Friday 29th September.  Mr. Edwards is the son of Andrew and Pauline Edwards and Grandson of the late Eugene Edwards.  His grandmother is a well known stylist in Grand Bahama Eloise Edwards.  Mr. Edwards is a former Chairman of the Young Liberals.  Congratulations.

Carifesta Participants Safe after Earthquake
An earthquake registering 5.5 on the Richter scale shook Trinidad on Friday 29th September.  There is a contingent of 120 Bahamians in Trinidad for the Carifesta programme, showcasing the art of The Bahamas.  The writer Obediah Smith reported that all are well despite the shaking and rattling.

Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Resigns
Knowlson Gift, the Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago resigned on Monday 25th September without giving a reason.  The Prime Minister Patrick Manning who returned to his country on Thursday 28th September announced a new choice, a former Minister of Works Andrew Piggott as the successor.  He said that there was no acrimony in the resignation but that as in any family there is sometimes a divergence of views.

Gerald Bartlett Jr. Buried
Gerry Bartlett as he was known died suddenly in his sleep and was buried on Friday 30th September following a service at the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral.  He was 43 years old.  Mr. Bartlett was a son of the former Commissioner of Police of the same name.  He was an employee of Family Guardian insurance company at the time of his death.  He leaves behind his wife Karen and a son Gerald III.  His widow Karen is the daughter of Edward and Esther (nee Mortimer) Williams.

    This month is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in The Bahamas.  It is a time when all men are being asked to be aware of the dangers of the disease and the fact that with early detection, it can almost certainly be cured.  All men over 50 and some say black men over 40 should have a yearly prostate exam both digital and a blood test for Protein Specific Antigen (PSA) done by their doctor.  The treatments are available in Nassau both the removal of the prostate and the use of radiation therapy but certainly all the treatments are also available in Nassau.  But kudos to T. Joseph Forde whose photo appeared in the paper during the week.  Mr. Forde, is the former PLP Member of Parliament for Inagua and Mayaguana, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1991.  He is a survivor of the disease from that day to this.

    Perhaps we were wrong… You know when we said that it was possible to find a Bahamian to fill the job of Managing Editor for The Tribune.  We insisted that we could; but then again, can any Bahamian really fill these criteria?
     They must be anti Bahamian in their views, anti Black in their views, hate the PLP and all it stands for with a passion; and worship the ground that Eileen Carron walks on, agreeing to mouth any colonial and racist sentiments she might wish to promote.
     Tough job to fill for any Bahamian.  No wonder Immigration had to grant the work permit to John Marquis.  He fits the bill exactly.

Mr. Nat Beneby & Royal Bank Should be Commended
    I wish to publicly congratulate Mr. Nathaniel Beneby, Jr. on his recent appointment as Vice President & Country Head for The Bahamas of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).  In a nation where Bahamianization should be one of our highest priorities, he is without doubt a shining example of the levels of attainment to which Bahamians can aspire.
    I also wish to commend Mr. Ross McDonald, Senior Vice President, Bahamas & Caribbean for RBC, for having the acuity to appreciate Mr. Beneby’s expertise and capability and the faith in this exceptional Bahamian to elevate him to this position.
    I would be remiss if, while I am congratulating Mr. Beneby on his advancement, I did not also mention that, although he is not the first Bahamian to be promoted to such a high level in this industry by an international banking institution that is the second pillar of our economy, I would like to encourage him to be the first Bahamian to create a legacy of identifying, developing and encouraging other Bahamians in his company to follow in his footsteps.  I would very much like for it to be said that Mr. Beneby, unlike the other Bahamian who attained this kind of status in another international banking house of more than fifteen years in the role of Country Manager, but did not have the vision to train a Bahamian to succeed him in that position, was the first in a long line of Bahamians in that position at the RBC, as well as other multinational banks and companies.
    Mr. Beneby’s promotion is indicative of a very exciting future for our young men and women.  His promotion is significant because it symbolizes the potential for the development of a culture of Bahamian managers who can not only lead businesses in this country but who are in demand to fill those same positions all over the region and the world.
    Just as I hold the policy of Bahamianization in the highest regard and believe that it is one of the most important building blocks for our nation, I also want to see the encouragement of excellence in our financial services sector and other disciplines.  I want to see an active effort made not only to Bahamianize the management levels of every business, but also to develop the incredible talent that exists in our workforce today with an eye toward ensuring that they are prepared and made ready to assume leadership roles in business and industry, both here and abroad.
    I envision that we must create a Bahamian nationalism that includes the highest degree of distinction and transcends our borders, so that non-Bahamians like Mr. McDonald will easily recognize and promote our Bahamian men and women to even greater positions of authority and leadership.
    I applaud Mr. Beneby for putting the lie to those declarations that we hear all too often today, statements made by supposedly responsible people who claim that there are no outstanding, capable Bahamians to put in high places.  I look forward to the day when Bahamians are as readily able to discern the valuable and talented people we have in our nation, as did Mr. McDonald, and place them in the proper positions to guide our Bahamas to higher levels than we even dare to dream of today.
Senator Philip C. Galanis
September 24, 2006


New Stalwart Councillors in Bimini
    Prime Minister Perry Christie began the week Sunday 24th September with Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia 'Mother' Pratt in Bimini for the installation of a large group of Stalwart Councillors to the Progressive Liberal Party.  The two were hosted by West End & Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe for the gala affair..

Miss Commonwealth
    The guest book at the Office of the Prime Minister this past week contained the signature of Bahamian beauty Miss Commonwealth Bahamas Francesca Plakaris.  Ms. Plakaris is THE Miss Commonwealth, having won top prize in the international competition.

Excellence Gardens
    The Prime Minister becomes expressive as he talks with new home owners in the Government built Excellence Gardens subdivision.  Mr. Christie officially opened the housing community early in the week.

BIS photos - Peter Ramsay

8th October, 2006
Welcome to
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...Talking About Debt...

The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party... The Official Site of the Free National Movement...
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Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Air Ambulance was a service that was started in 1999 by Dr. Franklin Walkine.  At the time he was two years out from being a Member of Parliament, having served in the House of Assembly from 1989 to 1997.  Air Ambulance and its companion company The Travel Club have been a roaring success.  Relying on the Beechcraft King Airs, the company has developed a reputation for good pilots, on time service, and the ability to save those who are at risk in the country and in need of air ambulatory care within the country or to the United States.  Prime Minister Perry Christie officiated at the dedication of two new aircraft on Thursday 5th October.  The ceremony was attended by Cabinet Colleagues Glenys Hanna Martin, Minister of Transport and Aviation; Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service; and James Smith, the Minister of State for Finance.  Our photo of the week then is Dr. Franklin Walkine with the Cabinet members gathered there as they celebrated the dedication of the new aircraft by the Rev. Dr. James Moultrie, Rector of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church.  AAS photo


For the past week in the Nassau Guardian there has been a series running on the debt that Bahamians have run up in consumer credit.  There has been an explosion in lending since the Central Bank loosened the controls shortly after the PLP came to office, largely because the state of the reserves allow there to be an expansion in credit.  At the time the PLP came to power, the 2001 emergency financial controls were in place to prevent the leakage of foreign currency at a time when there was a concern about the tourist sector.

The PLP completed the financing process for the US 125 million dollar facility that the Government of the Free National Movement had negotiated prior to its leaving office.  The money was borrowed in US currency; the net result was an immediate impact on the reserves.  With the tourism product rebounding and the borrowed funds, the country was flush.  It was time to loosen the controls.  Businesses were suffering, particularly in the sale of cars.

When imports stop, the Public Treasury suffers.

The policies of the Free National Movement had also led to a contraction of the mortgage market, with a requirement for high equity by potential homeowners in order to buy a home.  The PLP decided to loosen many of the controls and the market opened up, making it possible for Arawak Homes and many other housing companies to get off the ground and make a good living.  The result was that you could see all around the country the construction of new homes and buildings.  It showed that the people of the country had confidence once again in their future.

Now the Nassau Guardian’s commentators say that they are worried that Bahamians are too much in debt and that they worry that the debt is unsustainable.  They list the fact that Bahamians borrow to get their homes, their vacations, their health care, and to buy consumer items like TVs, computers, and other electronic equipment.  It’s a bad idea argued the pundits all week, because at some point the bubble is going to burst and the loans that many people have taken on will be unsustainable.  That may be so but may we put a counter argument.

We believe that the national savings rate is too low.  That much is clear.  The only domestic savings of any employed person in The Bahamas is usually his or her national insurance.  But we must not be too severe on the average Bahamian.  We would guess that many people have to borrow to get by because of the low wages they are paid and the high prices in the country.  While there is a lot of attention to wages, there is very little attention paid to lowering prices.

The price for education, for example, is outrageous and if the public school system could improve its quality that cost would be eliminated for many families on the margins who now spend a significant proportion of their income on education because they believe that it is the only way for their children to be able to get a decent education and succeed.

Transportation is another issue.  If there were a proper bus system or system of public conveyance, that would eliminate the necessity to buy a car.  This would be another chunk out of the income that could go to savings.

Then the banks should make it easier to save by offering better financial investments and a wider range of products.  They could do this by encouraging the Government to loosen capital controls further to allow people to invest overseas.

But all of those are far reaching public policy issues.  Perhaps we ought to return to the more mundane issues.  We think that poor people have no choice but to borrow.  What have they got to lose if they fail?  All the banks, one thinks of Commonwealth Bank especially, charge interest rates that fairly, even more than fairly compensate them for the risks that they take.  We have no problem if the poor want to borrow to essentially see themselves advance.  The banks can help here too by stopping their push to lend, lend, lend at any price and then complain when people cannot pay.  The dilemma is that you have children and they need an education.  You would do anything except steal.  Your taking a chance with loans in fact helps to secure your future.  Nine times out of ten, you make it even though you end up refinancing, borrowing again and again.  It is worth the struggle because at the end of the day you have a home, children who are educated and you have a sense of satisfaction even if you are broke.

The problem is when you reach the age of 60, things begin to get difficult and go wrong.  In this present dispensation, you can hardly afford to buy a house until you are in your forties.  By the time you pay for it, you are in your sixties and if you have had to educate children you are stuck with bills and the income potential is running out.  There is no insurance coverage for health care and well you know the rest.

So to us it makes no sense to complain about how Bahamians like to borrow and not save.  The system encourages just that and the financial houses profit mightily from it.  There clearly needs to be from the time children are in school help given in making choices: choices about when to start a family and how large.  Choices like what gives you satisfaction and how you need to stay within your income rage.  Choices like how to save money and where to invest.  For most people their homes will be their largest investment.

We have to educate people about choices and make sure that those choices make sense.  Until then we continue to say the best bet for the poor is; borrow as much as you can get because in the end, you will in this dispensation end up ahead even if you fail.

The tut tutting about borrowing seems a little sanctimonious to us.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 7th October, 2006 at midnight: 105,482.

Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday 7th October, 2006 at midnight: 339,768.

Number of hits for the year 2006 up to Saturday 7th October, 2006 at midnight: 3,685,127. 


Having been disciplined a little, they will receive a great good, because God has tested them and found them worthy of himself.  --  The Book of the Wisdom of Solomon Chapter 3, verse 5

   The question is: have they or have they not?  We are speaking about the two PLP brothers about whom we wrote last week.  The week was a punishing one for them.  We decry the foolish article written in The Tribune last Monday October 2nd that tried to get what was written in this column up in their propaganda work.   (Click here for last week’s story)
    The Tribune continues to tell the bold faced lie that what is on this site is the opinion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We suspect that one day when a law suit hits them, they will know.  It is interesting how John Marquis, the Tribune slave master, has cracked the whip and the propaganda gets spewed out.  The public servant Adrian Gibson who is in clear violation of his contract by working without permission for The Tribune and expressing political opinions in violation of general orders is busy doing Mr. Marquis’ work as well in his weekly column.  Slavery is hard to shrug off.
    But moving right along to the subject at hand: the speculation was all week that Kenyatta Gibson MP PLP for Kennedy and Keod Smith MP PLP for Mt. Moriah had resigned their seats.  Mr. Gibson went so far as to deny it in print.  Mr. Smith has stayed silent and out of print.  The appearance of Messrs. Gibson and Smith on Love 97’s Jones and Company talk show last Sunday did not quell the discontent about the fight that never was.  The show seemed only to worsen the problem.
    The matter descended into the realm of the comic.  Stan Burnside devoted fully three cartoons to the matter during the week, one showing Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin, refereeing the alleged fight.  She was reportedly in the room when the alleged fight took place.  Then there was the one about the question of how an apology made no sense if nothing happened as the show seemed to suggest.  Then there was the line of them burying the hatchet.  The lesson here is probably when it doubt say nothing.  No word either from the Prime Minister.
    The question no doubt that haunts the two MPs is coming this close to an election what does it actually mean for their future political careers if they resign?  Would the party continue to support them?  That is why we thought the verse from the Book of Wisdom is so apt.  It all depends on what their reactions are to what happens, assuming that they do the honourable thing in the circumstances.  There is no harm in offering ritualistically the Prime Minister an opportunity to reorient the Government.
Stan Burnside's 'Sideburns' from The Nassau Guardian of 2nd, 3rd, & 4th October, 2006

    We promised never to let the words of the sly Nassau Institute, the let’s pretend we are an independent voice think tank that spews out racist claptrap and FNM propaganda as economic advice; go unanswered.  This time the “Institute” which we suspect is really the car salesman in disguise took time out of its busy schedule to pick through the national address of the country at the United Nations on 26th September in New York.  You may click here for the video and here for the text version.  If you have a problem viewing these links, please visit and go to webcast.
    In the country UN address, The Bahamas asked for all parties to sign the Kyoto Protocol who have not done so.  This was constituted as spitting in the wind and an attack on the United States.  How interesting that all but a handful of countries have not signed the protocol, and not signing is spitting in the face of all the science.  The fact is even state governments in the United States are seeking to comply with it, as the only means of saving small countries like The Bahamas from drowning in water and suffocating in the winds of change coming as a result of global warming.
    Again, anything to attack the PLP.  Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.  The “Institute’s” letter appeared in The Tribune on Friday 6th October.

    Last week on Tuesday 3rd October, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell and Ambassador John Rood of the United States spoke at a joint press conference to announce that the pre clearance facility at Freeport was off the chopping block.  The Minister and the ambassador had earlier announced that due to the low volumes of traffic through the Freeport facility that allows US bound passengers to clear in Freeport and walk off the flight in the states as a domestic one, and because of security breaches, the Pre Clearance U.S. Customs and Immigration facility would close in Freeport.  Following a meeting with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in New York, it appears now to have been resolved.
    At the same time, the men announced that they had been to view the Container Port in Freeport to view the Container Security Initiative that pre clears cargo inbound for US ports for security purposes and the Mega Ports Initiative that clears cargo of the suspicion of nuclear contamination.  These are all good marketing tools for the Port where 40 percent of its traffic goes to the United States.
    Some have argued that what the US gave with the one hand it took with the next in the sense that the Western Hemisphere Initiative comes into force as it affects US air travellers to the Caribbean on 7th January 2007.  A last minute intervention on behalf of land passengers and cruise passengers gave the deadline for them to June 2009.  The Caribbean Tourism Organization went ballistic.  They claimed that this would create such a disadvantage in the region that it would have the affect of a category six hurricane; a disaster, they said.  We think that this is a bit over the top.
    A category six hurricane that has never occurred in the region would mean total devastation.  Just on the math of the industry in Nassau where one out of four now come without a passport, it suggests that there may be some impact but not as major as it is being said.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs worked with others in the region to get the date slipped back once.  Perhaps it is time for the industry to begin adjusting to the new environment and move on.  The fact is it is better for our security to have all persons coming here to have passports than any Tom Dick or Harry walking in with a piece of paper that says they were born in the U.S. or Canada and be able to get into The Bahamas.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and The Public Service Fred Mitchell (left) is pictured with US Ambassador John Rood announcing the continued operation of the US Pre Clearance facilities in Grand Bahama.  Bahamas Information Services photo: Vandyke Hepburn

    Old habits die hard.  That is all you can say really to the continued unethical habits of the Nassau Guardian with regard to their last report on the case of Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles.  It is as if the writer there has nothing else to write about than this case.  It is one supposes difficult when sleaze writing is all that someone’s basic training is in, when the down market habits of English papers are reinforced in an impressionable mind, it is difficult to escape it.
    This week in reporting the story, there seemed to be an over emphasis on a report that the US claims that they do not know what charges to bring against Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles because they are awaiting clarification from The Bahamas Government.  That is foolishness in law.  Anyone who checks the law will know that the warrant of surrender issued from the Government must say what the person is being extradited on.  So the claim of the US is an impossibility in law.  That does not stop the sleaze writing at the Guardian where the delight seems to be ‘we called this one; we called that one.  He said this.  They didn’t say that.’
    The Nassau Guardian is supposed to be a paper of record not the tableau for any sleaziness to sell papers.  Let’s leave that to The Punch.  The story appeared on Friday 6th October 2006.
Stan Burnside's 'Sideburns' from The Nassau Guardian of 5th October, 2006


    Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, celebrated his 53rd birthday with the people of Fox Hill at a special benefit concert to raise funds for the Fox Hill Community Centre.  There were a number of choirs and singers who came in for the occasion.  They included well-known Fox Hill vocalist Leon Taylor, 12 year old Osama Neely, a capella group Friends for Life, Robert Pinder, the Highgrove Singers, the St. Marks Choir and the St. Paul’s Children’s Choir.
    The event raised some $8,000 in cash and pledges.  It was an exciting evening.  Minister Mitchell thanked his constituents for the personal gifts and the support for the Community Centre on the occasion of his birthday.
Fox Hill Pastor Rev. Dr. J. Carl Rahming (centre) looks on and applauds as 12 year old Osama Neely is congratulated by Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell during a special birthday service held in honour of Mr. Mitchell to raise funds for the Fox Hill Community Centre.  Nassau Guardian photo.

    An accountant sitting at the dedication of the two new aircraft for The Travel Club and the Air Ambulance Service on Thursday 6th October was full of praise for the founder and owner of the two services.  He said that Dr. Franklin Walkine simply had a knack for business.  He said: “Some doctors, lawyers and accountants, just don’t know what they are doing and squander their money but this guy just has a knack for it.  He knows a good deal and he is really good at investing his money.  He can see it right away.”  That is a sentiment that we endorse.
    Dr. Walkine whose father died when he was a teenager was left to be raised by his mother who was a lunch vendor.  The family hailed from Crooked Island, an island known for its frugality.  One of the leading lights of the Crooked Island/Acklins area, Sir Clifford Darling, attended the ceremony.  The Prime Minister named him as a contemporary of Dr. Walkine’s father.  Dr. Walkine’s father was a taxi driver.
    Dr. Walkine came home after medical school with a keen eye to succeed.  That he did is not a surprise and that he did is also a surprise, given all the odds against a young black man succeeding in The Bahamas.  But he has done well.
    The intelligentsia, the upwardly mobile class in The Bahamas, the political elites, and the banking community were all there to pay tribute to this extraordinary success.  Fr. James Moultrie said this prayer for the planes:
    “Oh God , who has made all things for Yourself, and has appointed every element of the world or the service of the people; bless ,we beseech You, these airplanes; that every evil and danger being eliminated, they may serve to make the praise and glory of Your Holy Name more widely known and the temporal affairs of people to be more speedily carried on; and grant that the minds and hands of those pilots who fly therein may take their patients and themselves safely to their destination.  Grant travelling mercies to the doctors, nurses, who will accompany the pilots and other support staff that all may travel in peace and safety, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
    Jason Sweeting, the Chief Pilot of Air Ambulance was more voluble than all of Dr. Walkine’s customers have ever seen him.  Clearly excited about the new direction of the company, he thanked Dr. Walkine for the seven years of service under his direction and promoted the company’s attributes.  Mr. Sweeting is the public face of The Travel Club and Air Ambulance.
    You may click here for the full remarks of Dr. Walkine who reinforced his company’s support of quality health care in The Bahamas.
Dr. Franklyn Walkine (left) chats with Prime Minister Perry Christie during the dedication of Air Ambulance Services two new Beechcraft King Air craft.  BIS photo: Kris Ingraham

THE FNM IS DELUSIONAL (Commentary on Fox Hill)
    As the campaign for re election gets closer and closer, the Free National Movement gets more and more delusional.
    The Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell, who is the Member of Parliament for Fox Hill was leaving the precincts of the House last week on Wednesday 4th October when Brent Symonette, the Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement shouted out that the Minister takes vacation leave to campaign.  Mr. Mitchell was overheard to answer that he never runs away from that.  To that the FNM members started shouting that their candidate has the Minister on the run.
    This is a very interesting bit of delusion.  The FNM should keep it up.  The moniker the Faker of Fox Hill has stuck to their candidate.  The problem is that she is not running a truthful campaign.  It may not be her; it may be the people around her but it is clear that the campaign is not based on the truth.  That lack of truth has clearly infected her own party.  They are the ones who should take the scales from their eyes.
    The question is whether or not the FNM candidate, the same candidate who has been PLP all her life, can be trusted to go the distance.  They ought also to think very carefully about the need for stability, the need for truthfulness, the need for someone who is loyal and faithful.  Does ‘doctor doctor’ have those qualities?  We aren’t saying.

Congratulations to Eric Wilmott
Fox Hillian Eric Wilmott has been an organist for the Roman Catholic Church mainly at St. Anselm’s Catholic Church in Fox Hill for 54 years.  Mr. Wilmott was honoured by the church at a special banquet on Friday 6th October.  Attending the award banquet was the Deputy to the Governor General Lady Marguerite Pindling and the Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie. Congratulations to Mr. Wilmott.

The Future of Chef Chris Chea
We noted carefully the remarks of Obie Wilchcombe, the Minister of Tourism of The Bahamas in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 6th October.  He spoke abut the tourism industry and how the Bahamians in the industry were being shunted aside by the hiring of foreign workers.  The Bahamar Project has been getting a bad name for some of this.  No more obvious case is the case of Chris Chea who many Bahamians feel is the country’s best Bahamian chef and who it appears has been deliberately shunted aside in his work at the new Bahamar.  The Minister for Immigration and the Minister of Tourism both have to investigate this matter.

Fr. Magnus Wenniger OSB
We reported last month the death of Fr. Bartholomew Sayles, former music teacher at St. Augustine’s College.  Now we celebrate the life of Fr. Magnus Wenniger, the Math teacher for a whole generation of SAC students.  Colina Imperial Insurance held a salute to Fr. Magnus with SAC Alumni on Friday 6th October.  Fr. Magnus taught math at SAC from 1946 to 1971.  He served comptroller of SAC from 1971 to 1981.  He is currently in residence at St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota.  A math seminar is to be held during the week featuring Fr Magnus. Welcome back!

    John Marquis, the Tribune writer of down market, slimy scum journalism, was at it again on Monday 2nd October.  He wrote a series of articles which prove nothing save that he is full of himself and certainly takes himself too seriously.  Any time you have a man quoting himself in drop lines as if he is some major commentator on life, you know you are dealing with a sickness of conceit.
    Our main point here though is the attack on the Minister of Immigration Shane Gibson who just gave Mr. Marquis a work permit to remain in this country for another year.  For us this year can’t be up quickly enough.  He should not get another work permit.  As the line goes in the Lion in Winter: “Say goodbye to my horse’s ass, you can count your reign in weeks.”
    The Marquis article was critical of the decision to grant Anna Nicole Smith, economic permanent residence.  This is a creature that is different from the permanent residence that allows people to work here in The Bahamas and therefore there are different considerations.
    Mr. Marquis claims that Bahamian businesses are being crippled by the Immigration department.  This is strange in an economy that is doing so well.  We do not think that anything John Marquis says is worth the paper it is written on.  His work is racist, anti black and anti Bahamian, and the quicker this ungrateful wretch is expelled from The Bahamas the better.
    One of the pieces written by Mr. Marquis was so inaccurate and misleading that the Attorney General issued a scathing release in response to it.
    The AG’s office was quoted by the Nassau Guardian as saying: “The Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Legal Affairs rejects the scurrilous allegations made today against the Bahamian judicial system by John Marquis of The Tribune and wishes to emphasize that The Bahamas is a nation ruled by law rather than rumour and speculation.  The legal and investigative process into the death of Daniel Smith has followed protocols established under Bahamian law.  As is true in any case, whether it involves a Bahamian citizen or foreign national, established protocols are followed.”

    On Friday 6th October, The Tribune in its predictable but erroneous editorial claimed that The Bahamas must vote on 16th October, 2006 at the UN for Guatemala to become a member of the Security Council as opposed to Venezuela.  They say that this is because the United States wants us to vote for Guatemala.  They claim that The Bahamas vote is critical.  They claim that The Bahamas acted in secret on the matter of the Cuban vote.  Wrong on all counts.  There was no secret on the vote for Cuba on the Human Rights Council.  There is no secret here and there is nothing critical about it except in the minds of the people at The Tribune.

Fight in the brotherhood!
    Just a quick note: - I agree that in any other society the disgrace which the government has suffered at the hands of these two men would have been quelled by the offer and indeed acceptance of their resignations.  It must follow however, that given our general lack of adherence to such high standards, our dear Prime Minister must not allow the dignity of our great Parliament to live or die by the virtues or lack thereof of such men.
    I dare say that in the absence of the honorable resignations, dismissals must follow!  Failing that, I fear that we may give credence to the view that “Politicians are a lot like diapers.  They should be changed frequently, and for the same reason!”
P.S. - Keep up the good work!
Randol M. A. Dorsett

Thank you. – Editor

Carolyn Macaulay answers back
One of the last conversations that this columnist had with his mother was about the roads in Collins Avenue.  She wanted to see Perry Christie, the Member of Parliament for Centreville where she lived. The state of that road is typical of the situation throughout New Providence.  All the roads are chewed up from one public corporation or another working on the road.  They are in the worst state in years.  The point is that there is a double standard being employed in the repair of the roads after the corporations have chewed them up.  On the Eastern Road, the Government hired a private company to fix the roads.  Over-the-hill, they simply let people suffer until the Ministry of Public Works can get around to fixing the roads.  There is something definitely wrong with that. The Water and Sewerage Corporation have just chewed up Collins Avenue.  It has been a week since they finished.  The dust is intolerable, and it's hell on your shocks.  Let's see how long this one is going to take to fix." - FredMitchellUncensored.Com 1999

    I am one of those Bahamians whose passion it is to read. Generally I will read anything, but I prefer to read any material about the Bahamas and its people, especially the local newspapers.  This daily ritual started from an early age spent at the feet of my grandparents, Henry and Muriel Lynes of Okra hill [the mother of the late, former Minister of Works Simeon Bowe.]  To have to read The Nassau Guardian after them, then explain to them what I had read so that they would know if there was comprehension.  My grandparents were fiercely PLP so they NEVER bought The Tribune.  They claimed the Tribune owners were UBP who made it law that children leave school at 13.
     When I was old enough to buy my own newspapers, I brought both papers, but THEY refused to read The Tribune past the headlines.  I’ve seen a lot of newspapers come and go but I still get my daily Guardian and Tribune and Bahama Journal online, the bi-weekly Punch and the monthly Blackbelt.  On Sundays after work I read Bahamas Uncensored which I have been reading from its inception. As a matter of fact I have archives of Fred Mitchell Uncensored as a favorite on my PC.
     I also watch most parliamentary sessions and I listen to most of the talk shows, as I work nights.  I have a folder of over 10 letters that were published in the press, that I have written from the first time I voted in 1982 and 15 that never made it to publication.
     I said all that to say, I am not your ordinary, run of the mill constituent who is not well informed or is looking for handouts.
     I started this email with an excerpt from the Fred Mitchell Uncensored May 1999 column to defend myself from an unwarranted attack.  When I read Bahamasuncensored September 17th 2006 issue I was en route to Amsterdam to spend time with in-laws and have a good time.  I decided I would respond after my vacation.
     If you want to defend Ron Pinder, whom you know, that’s perfectly alright, but you do not know me or the residents of Benson Street or of our frustrations.  You accused me of the being the kind of constituent who was “quite clearly talking fool” and an FNM who was making things up to be able to serve my “FNM masters”.  You claimed I had the sin of ingratitude.  Where the hell does that come from?
     When Ron Pinder came to our house on Sunday Oct. 1st to tell us of the progress with regards to our street, he agreed wholeheartedly that we the residents of Benson Street are entitled to decent roads as are all other road users.  Also, as in the case with Mr. Mitchell's late mother, the DUST is intolerable.
     I wrote on behalf of my neighbors and myself and not the FNM MASTERS or The Tribune, thank you very much.
     If you couldn’t sympathise with your fellow Bahamians who are badly in need of a paved road as promised, you should have SHUT THE HELL UP!!
     Thank God Ron Pinder does not get his training from you guys, he could teach you a thing or two.

Your comments are fine as far as they go.  They are certainly more measured and rational than the comments written in The Tribune that were certainly uncalled for given the work that you know that Mr. Pinder does on behalf of his constituents.  The fact that you wish to have the road fixed does not call for an irrational response that gives the impression that a good Member of Parliament is not doing his work.  The fact is by your own admission Mr. Pinder visits his area and communicates what is going on.  All the more reason why the letter to The Tribune was irrational and unwarranted.  A measured response is necessary.  It is quite incredible that some people believe that they can say anything that comes to their minds because they are angry or frustrated and in lashing out hurt the very people that are seeking to help them.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  That lesson from physics translates into real life.  The reaction then causes people to link you with the FNM that has the job, and rationale to attack for the sake of attacking. – Editor

    I have been an advocate for sports and those persons who have made invaluable contributions to the growth of sport and would like to see Coral Road North (North of the Circle at Coral Road & Settlers Way) be renamed after a gentleman who has been producing distinguished athletes from the days of Hawksbill High School.
     I speak of Mr. Errol Bodie.
     The Errol Bodie Way - Errol Bodie Esplanade - Errol Bodie Pavilion - Errol Bodie Road - Errol Bodie Boulevard would do.
     I feel it is high time that we, as Grand Bahamians start to honor those in our community who have contributed immensely to Sports here on the island and The Bahamas in general.
    I feel that the renaming of that portion of Coral Road (North) should be done simultaneously with the renaming of the Grand Bahama Sporting Complex, hopefully to the Basil Neymour Sporting Complex.
Jasmind Smith

Good idea.  Errol Bodie is a good man. – Editor

Forward in Caribbean Agriculture

    Among the Prime Minister's public engagements this past week was an address to a Caribbean Conference on Agriculture and Marine Resources.  Mr. Christie encouraged the participants to seek greater linkages between agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

BIS photo: Peter Ramsay

15th October, 2006
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Howard Brent ‘Butch’ Kerzner; a friend of The Bahamas and a dynamic young businessman.  Gone too soon.  1964-2006  Our photo of the week, by Peter Ramsay.  See more pictures below. 


Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walking over the hill
--- From Abraham, Martin and John by Dion

The news spread around Nassau and The Bahamas like wild fire, Butch Kerzner, son of the legendary Sol Kerzner, both of them geniuses in the hotel business was killed in a helicopter crash in the Dominican Republic while on a mission to look over a prospective new property on Wednesday 11th October.  This is a sad loss for the Kerzner family, his father Sol in particular, but no doubt his business family as well, where in The Bahamas this talented and personable young man was well liked and embraced by those who worked with him and for him.

At times like these it is hard to know what to say but we have to say that our heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

There was a recent piece in the International Herald Tribune’s Op Ed Page.  In it, a columnist talked about death and the illogic of it all.  He said how one of his parents had been taken from him when he was very young.  He said how his son died leaving him as a parent to bury him.  On each occasion, there were those who offered to give advice.  Advice came from a psychologist who told him that he was not grieving in the right way that he was at the stage of anger when denial should be the first stage of grief.  Then when his son died, the writer said that he could not make sense of why a good God would allow a young man to be taken away from him, and from a wife who now had to raise two young children who did not understand why they could not go out and play with their father anymore.  His rabbi came by and took him for a walk to tell him that God does not intervene in the affairs of man in that way; that we have free will and free choices.  The writer said in each case he simply wanted to tell those giving the advice to butt out.  He wanted to grieve as he wanted to grieve and simply to leave him alone.

The Biblical story teller in the Book of Job seeks to supply the only answer that there really is: the Lord gives, the Lord takes it away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Translate that into more agnostic or neutral terms, it simply means death is what is and we must accept it because we can do nothing else but move on.  This is a sad, sad thing and we must feel sad but life moves on.

The Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie immediately issued a statement upon hearing of the death of Mr. Kerzner.  You may click here for that statement below.  What the statement shows is the importance of Mr. Kerzner to The Bahamas and its economy.

The last time Mr. Kerzner appeared at work in public came when he was accompanied the President of the Dominican Republic around the property at Paradise Island.  He told the President that he planned to come to the DR to look at a development site that his advisors had told him was simply beautiful.  He had agreed to come and the President wanted to show him around.  No one there could have known then that the end was coming.  But the end has come.  That was just last month.

This is a sad sad thing.

In December 2004, the Grand Bahama Port Authority lost its visionary leader Edward St. George, one who had led the company for a generation, and it now appears that there was no succession plan.  The whole Port Authority and Grand Bahama are now at sea.  One side of the family owned company has disintegrated into internecine fighting, while the other side has hired leaders that the community does not accept.  The Government seems paralysed as to what to do, and the community is suffering from drift.

The Kerzner property was taken private earlier this year.  So there are no difficult public shareholders to deal with.  But there is that vision thing.  In the middle of Phase III, with Phase IV in the minds of many, and with Mr. Kerzner the younger being very much the driving force and executor of his father’s vision, the country must wonder what now?  In the short term Paul O’Neil who had retired from Kerzner has been brought back to be the Acting CEO while the dust settles.

Just as everything was going great comes this.  It is a great loss, a sensitive, well adjusted young man with a great future ahead of him and in a community that he embraced and which embraced him.  Oh well!

It is a very human thing to wonder why.  It is a very human thing to be stunned and to seek to process new information that comes as disorder in the face of order.  The old order passes away, and what do we do, we wonder.  The only thing we can do is to move on.

We believe that even in the face of the tragic loss of this young man the vision of the older Mr. Kerzner will go on.  At least that is our very present hope, that the projects will continue and that there will be the management talent, the vision to continue with the work that has been started, that the human chemistry that existed does not so dissipate that the company immediately starts to drift and loses it viability as the engine of the Bahamian private sector,

This has, make no mistake about it, sent our country reeling in many senses.  But we know that we have had setbacks before and we have always overcome.

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley
An lea’s us nought but grief and pain
For promised joy”
          --To a mouse by Robert Burns (1759 to 1796)

This is a sad sad thing.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 14th October, 2006 at midnight: 140,642.

Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday 14th October, 2006 at midnight: 246,124.

Number of hits for the year 2006 up to Saturday 14th October, 2006 at midnight: 3,825,769. 



    It is always comforting to know that the views of this column are supported by the mainstream press.  They are so anti PLP that it is difficult to get a straight story out of them.  But on Monday 9th October, the Bahama Journal ran a story under the headline FNMS FOR CHRISTIE.  The story said that a number of former prominent FNM MPs would not be supporting the FNM this time because of the leadership of Hubert Ingraham.
    The Journal listed the 'FNMS FOR CHRISTIE' as: Tennyson Wells (pictured), Lester Turnquest (pictured), Algernon Allen (pictured), Floyd Watkins, Anthony Miller, Pierre Dupuch (pictured), Elliot Lockhart, Ronald Bosfield and Sir Arlington Butler (pictured).  All are former MPs who served under Mr. Ingraham during his time in the Government from 1992 to 2002.
    Others who are reportedly a part of the effort are former party officers Derek Simms and Roston Miller.
Most recently Dr. Lee Percentie, a dentist from Grand Bahama, an activist in the human rights movement, wrote to The Tribune on Thursday 12th October to say that he was no longer supporting Hubert Ingraham and the FNM but was supporting Perry Christie of the PLP.  This is a stunning development.
    We have been saying for months that the FNM's campaign has fallen flat.  You will remember that it was almost one year ago that Hubert Ingraham had his great come back.  Tommy Turnquest was politically stabbed in the back by Mr. Ingraham but the press hailed Hubert Ingraham as the great saviour of the FNM.  Mr. Ingraham said that there would be rallies throughout the country but the rallies fell flat.  It was a foolish strategy with elections being more than a year away.  When Christmas 2005 came, the effort died because no one was interested in politics.  It appears that the country still isn’t and you can barely hear a word from Hubert Ingraham.
    This is a serious cause of concern for true patriots of The Bahamas because an active Opposition is supposed to stop the Government in its tracks from doing foolish things that it might ordinarily not do.  But in the present state of things the FNM can safely be ignored because they simply lack the strength to muster any kind of opposition effort.  The country can be and is often bullied by friend and foe alike and it is not able to defend itself adequately because there is no opposition that it can count on as a counterfoil to garner support.
    Nowhere is this problem more glaring than in the area of foreign affairs where it appears that there is no point of principle that the country will stand up for once we are threatened in public with complications with visas and travel to the United States.  The FNM instead of being an opposition party that causes the country to stand up and take principled stands even when our friends ask us to do foolish things and take positions on matters that are against all principles and contrary to the long history of support by this country, seem to be even more supportive of the outsiders undermining the independence and integrity of The Bahamas.  It is not a proud moment for this country.  Hubert Ingraham is to blame for that.
    Mr. Ingraham has chosen FNM candidates because he likes them.  Those he dislikes he discards.  It has caused much bitterness on the part of many members of the FNM who are simply sitting on their hands.  The list supplied by the Bahama Journal suggests that others including many former MPs have decided to do so no more.  We thought that it was important to show the reason why these former MPs say that they are against Mr. Ingraham.
    One of the former MPs who is a part of the strategic planning gave the Journal 10 reasons why the former MPs favour Mr. Christie over Mr. Ingraham. The reasons he gave are:

  1. 1. Christie generally is a nice person.  That is a tremendous plus when you contrast him with the mean spiritedness of Ingraham.
  2. 2. Christie does not like hurting people whereas it is a reinforcement of Ingraham’s sense of power to hurt people.
  3. 3. Ingraham appears to embrace the views and advice of foreign persons over that of Bahamian professionals.  This is why the professional class did not support the FNM during the last elections.  This is why the FNM could win only one seat in New Providence.
  4. 4. Ingraham resented original FNMs because he thought (correctly) that they expected to participate in the governance of The Bahamas.  And as history would show, he was a one-man band preferring to embrace those persons whom he felt were of no threat to his dominance of the political process.
  5. 5. It was quite clear that his professed stance against conflict of interest and correct practices are tailored for political expediency.
  6. 6. The saga of Tommy Turnquest’s travails as leader provides a window into the cynical and duplicitous modus operandi of Mr. Ingraham.  For example, to have communicated in no uncertain terms that less than 24 hours before nomination at the party’s convention that he would not be offering for leader and then to do so in an organized and pre-meditated manner ought to tell all Bahamians the nature of the man.
  7. 7. Ingraham has ensured that a significant number of FNM nominees for the next general elections are his handpicked loyalists.  As an example of the turmoil created in Grand Bahama, one has only to look at the Zhivargo Laing comedy, where Mr. Laing withdrew from politics because God told him so, and returned a short time later because Ingraham told him to.
  8. 8. Ingraham’s inability to connect with the electorate is because The Bahamian people have outgrown Hubert Ingraham.  He is a 1950s politician trying to run in the new millennium.  In addition to this, the many contradictions and the flexible morality of Ingraham’s last two terms in office have made the electorate distrustful.
  9. 9. When a prime minister articulates at the dawn of his term a manifesto pledge of two terms and refuses to go then it is sufficiently [indicative] as to the content of his character.
  10. 10. Many persons on both sides of the political divide were horrified that Mr. Ingraham would make the payment of Sir Lynden’s pension contingent on his retirement from parliament, but in the same breath remain in parliament and collect his prime minister’s pension.  This is as twisted and unfair as any action by a political leader in Bahamian history.
Stan Burnside's 'Sideburns' from The Nassau Guardian 11th October, 2006


    The details of the accident in the Dominican Republic are sketchy but it appears that Butch Kerzner was in the DR to inspect the site of a project that the company was interested in developing.  With him were two of the company’s executives.  One was in the helicopter with him; the other was in a second helicopter.
    The accident occurred in the afternoon of Wednesday 11th October.
    Sol Kerzner, the father of Mr. Kerzner, flew immediately to Santo Domingo and joined the younger Mr. Kerzner’s widow.  Also flying in was Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.  No funeral or memorial has been announced.  The Government of the Dominican Republic was quoted in one press report as saying that the accident was caused by mechanical failure.
Bahamas Information Services photo: Derek Smith


    "The tragic death of Butch Kerzner in the Dominican Republic today represents a major loss for The Bahamas.
    "Following in the footsteps of his father, Butch was a visionary developer with a 21st century plan for resort development in The Bahamas.  He was an incredibly bright young man, full of energy and passion, and imbued with a special quality that endeared him to all his fellow-workers at Atlantis and his partners in the tourism industry here and around the world.
    "Butch’s death robs our country of one of its most vital spirits.  This is a sad moment for our nation, especially for those of us who had the privilege of knowing him and working with him.
    "Our only comfort is the certain knowledge we have that Butch’s work in The Bahamas here will continue on pace and that his shared vision for Atlantis and for Bahamian tourism will be brought to fruition by the excellent team, headed by his father, that he leaves behind.
    "On behalf of the Government and people of The Bahamas, and on my own behalf, I extend deepest condolences to Butch’s widow and to his entire family.
    "Our entire nation shares in their grief."
Bahamas Information Services photo: Peter Ramsay



  As a further tribute to Butch Kerzner, we present some recent images of Mr. Kerzner with the President of the Dominican Republic at Paradise Island on 17th September 2006, with the Prime Minister of The Bahamas on the PM’s last visit for the topping off ceremony at Phase III Atlantis and at his visit to Fox Hill for the dedication of the Urban Renewal office and the inspection of the Fox Hill Community Centre.


    Last week we featured the dedication of the new airplanes of Air Ambulance and The Travel Club.  Two spanking new Beechcraft King Airs.  We thought that we should show a few more shots of the aircraft, its personnel and some of those gathered.
BIS photos: Kristaan Ingraham

    “Heartened by the comment on the ZNS newscast of Friday 6th October, 2006, which quoted the father of a deceased victim in the notorious Cordell Farrington murder trial, that finally he now sees and feels the effects of ‘swift justice’”, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Allyson Maynard Gibson gave an update on her programme of ‘Swift Justice’.
    The victim’s father said, “we see [swift justice] happening with a man being swiftly caught and swiftly punished and I am pleased and happy at this outcome.”
    Minister Maynard Gibson ‘swift justice’ is “intended to achieve effective, efficient and timely results in all matters placed before the courts for both complainants and accused persons alike.”  Please click here for the full statement of the Attorney General.

    There was no local announcement but the Turkish press reported that Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell met with the Foreign Minister of Turkey Abdullah Gull for official talks in Ankara, the Turkish capital.  The two discussed how ties could be strengthened.  Turkey is seeking an outreach to the Caricom region because it is seeking a seat on the Security Council for the year 2009.

    We have learned that the Nassau Guardian has sent dismissal letters to 30 members of its staff.  Reportedly, the reason given is they chose people who did not seem to be able to keep up with the rapid changes in the Guardian in technology and journalism practices.  That seems an odd reason given some of the people who are reportedly laid off.
    There is no confirmation of this but popular photographer Donald Knowles and writer Vanessa Rolle are said to be amongst those who no longer work for the Nassau Guardian.  The Guardian’s writing, reporting and editorial standards have been going steadily down hill for the better part of a decade.  It has been unable to keep up with the news and has been struggling to find an editorial identity.

    For a full year St. Agnes, the popular Anglican Church for the black elite in The Bahamas has been struggling with the question of a rector to succeed the Rev. Fr. Patrick Johnson who died suddenly earlier this year.  There was speculation that the Archdeacon Keith Cartwright would be offered the job.  He is said to have turned it down.
    The vestry of St. Agnes had before it two choices and at first turned both down but it is reported that the Archbishop has prevailed in his selection of the Rev. Archdeacon I. Ranfurly Brown (pictured) as the new rector of St. Agnes.  This has not yet been confirmed.
    Archdeacon Brown will have to invigorate a parish left reeling by the death of its rector and some internal difficulties brought on my unsubstantiated allegations that have been proven to be false.  The parish is a traditional parish and hand clapping foot stomping revival time is not a part of its traditional approach.

    It is nothing short of disgraceful that a PLP government cannot decide on a National Heroes Day.  National Heroes Day should have been the 12th October 2006.  Instead we are still “celebrating" this wretched anniversary called Discovery Day.  Pray tell, who was discovered?  The Bill is sitting in Committee of the House languishing in silence.
    The National Heroes Day Committee did not even bother this year to have some kind of counterpoint to this celebration of Columbus to remind people of the need to bring the Bill into effect.  Rev’d. Fr. Sebastian Campbell, Chair of the Committee appeared in the newspaper and chided the Government for dragging its feet and urged that Bahamians push to “hasten our cultural revolution”.
    We would therefore like to support the Bill coming into effect immediately without any changes.  The Bill now says that 12th October should be NATIONAL HEROES DAY.

    It is being reported that former Senator Ishmael Lightbourne has been named to the World Bank for The Bahamas.  A news statement from Strategic Advisory Services Limited announcing the departure of Mr. Lightbourne from its Board of Directors congratulates him on his appointment.  The statement:
    “The Directors of Strategic Advisory Services Limited wish to announce the departure of Mr. Ishmael Lightbourne, a key director of the company. Mr. Lightbourne has accepted an appointment as the Bahamas Government designate Executive Director, World Bank, Washington DC. This is a 3 year assignment to take effect November 1, 2006.
    “We extend our congratulations to Mr. Lightbourne on this prestigious posting and are certain that he will undertake this new responsibility with a similar sense of purpose, professionalism and passion that he exhibited in his tenure at SAS.
    “We also wish to welcome Mr. Kendal Munnings, Mr. Lightbourne’s replacement on the SAS Board. Mr. Munnings is a senior Bahamian chartered accountant, trained in London, England. He is a former partner in KPMG, Bahamas, former Registrar of Insurance Companies, Bahamas and has served on numerous public and private boards.”


    Photographer Peter Ramsay took this engaging recent photo of Mrs. Bernadette Christie, wife of the Prime Minister and Marguerite, Lady Pindling, Deputy to the Governor General, which he entitled 'First Ladies'.  We thought we'd share it with you.


Photographs by Patrick Hanna

Fred Mitchell’s Age
    Mr. Mitchell graduated from St. Augustine's High School in 1969.  If he just turned 53... That would have made him only 15 yrs old at the time of his graduation. Bullsh**!!!  He is either 55 or 56 years old...  I think 56.  So you need to correct your records.  He needs to STOP fabricating regarding his age.  One or two years ok, however, three years?  NO way!!!
[Name Withheld]

Our records show that Mr. Mitchell graduated from St. Augustine’s College, Nassau in June 1970.  He was 16 years old at the time.  His birth is recorded as 5th October, 1953 which by our calculations makes him 53 as at 5th October, 2006.  Thanks for your interest and we’re glad to know you're paying attention. – Editor

Trade with China Numbers
Dear Mr. Mitchell:
    I was surprised to read The Tribune Business of Wednesday, September 13, 2006 that The Bahamas Trade with China totalled some $155,000,000 last year.
    Let me explain.
    The front page story quotes you as saying that "There had been an explosion of Bahamian trade in recent years - an estimated $150 million US between countries just last year,..."
    So being curious I called the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask for the details. They were unable to provide them.
    I then called the Department of Statistics to see what they recorded as imports from China during 2005. They confirmed that we imported $401,392 worth of goods. A far cry from $150 million I think you would agree?
    Still confused I called the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again and they suggested I speak with the Chinese Embassy.
    So I called the Chinese Embassy and spoke with a very helpful gentleman who informed that there was $155,000,000 of trade between the two countries.
    I then pressed for details of this number and was advised that the $155 million included the sale of ships that are registered in The Bahamas, but he could not provide any further details.
    Pressing a little further he advised that he thought China imported some $18,000,000 from The Bahamas and this included things like seafood.
    Continuing to press I learned that the Chinese numbers do not show the value of goods actually imported by The Bahamas as the ships are only registered here, not owned by Bahamians. Also, some of the $155,000,000 worth of goods could have been transshipped to other nations through the container port in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
    If you haven't figured it out by now, I am quite thick, and still can't reconcile how the Department of Statistics could record imports from China at $401,392 while China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs numbers suggest we imported some $137,000,000 ($155 million total trade less $18 million of exports to China) of goods from China.
    So "despite the fact that the information is there for all to see" as you implored, I am hoping you can clarify these particular numbers for me when you get back from Cuba.
    Looking forward to receipt of your reply.
Rick Lowe

    As Minister Mitchell is not able to or will not answer this request, maybe you can?
Rick Lowe

This letter, which appeared in the newspaper, also seems to have been sent to several e-mail addresses, purporting to belong to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  One wonders why it has now been sent to us?  This is a merely a piece of wickedness by an FNM operative in disguise.  Minister Mitchell is a public figure and can be contacted through his office and the numbers are publicly available in the telephone directory.  Good luck, Mr. Lowe.  – Editor

Archbishop Burke's 25th

    Prime Minister Perry Christie was among the leading dignitaries on hand this past week as Roman Catholics gathered in a mass of celebration for the 25th anniversary of the consecration of Archbishop Lawrence Burke to the bishopric.  The Prime Minister is pictured congratulating the Archbishop following the service at St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral.

P.J. Patterson Visits

    Former Prime Minister of Jamaica P.J. Patterson, hailed regionally as a hero of CARICOM, visited The Bahamas this past week.  Mr. Patterson is shown during a private meeting with Prime Minister Perry Christie at the Office of the Prime Minister.

At Dinner with the Deputy G.G.

    Marguerite, Lady Pindling, Deputy to the Governor General was at Government House this past week, filling in for Hon. A.D. Hanna who was travelling.  Lady Pindling is seen greeting Prime Minister Perry Christie at the Governor's mansion for dinner.

BIS photos: Peter Ramsay

22nd October, 2006
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - On Tuesday 17th October, the Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that he had after much thought accepted the resignations of Keod Smith as Ambassador to the Environment and Chairman of the BEST Commission and Kenyatta Gibson as Chairman of the Gaming Board.  Both Members of Parliament for the PLP had become the subject of public controversy as a result a fight that occurred in the Cabinet Room at the end of the meeting of the Parliamentary Caucus of the PLP on Monday 25th September.  Once the Prime Minister spoke, the incident should have been at an end but the now former Chairman of BEST decided that he would have the last say and held a press conference to release his letter of resignation and to exonerate himself by shifting the blame for the incident to Mr. Gibson.  With him at the press conference on Wednesday 18th October at the House of Assembly was fellow MP Sidney Stubbs, who himself had only recently emerged from bankruptcy following a long battle that led to the Privy Council.  Our photo of the week is that of MP Keod Smith flanked by MP Sidney Stubbs at the former’s press conference on Wednesday 18th October. The Nassau Guardian photo is by Letisha Henderson. 


When Hubert Ingraham became Prime Minister in 1992, the Bahamas Government owned a King Air.  This aircraft was serviced by Bahamasair and piloted by Bahamasair pilots.  The aircraft was for the use of the Prime Minister to travel throughout the country.  It was safe and convenient.   Hubert Ingraham took the position then that everything that the late Sir Lynden Pindling used as Prime Minister was an extravagance and was bad and decided as a matter of policy to sell the aircraft and to use private charters to fly the Prime Minister around the country.  It is said that one of his FNM supporters made a fortune off the Government flying the Prime Minister around the country under Hubert Ingraham.

Last week, we covered extensively the death of Butch Kerzner the late CEO of Atlantis.  Mr. Kerzner met his death at the age of 42 in a most untimely way.  The facts now seem to show that at the last minute Mr. Kerzner decided to take a helicopter that he was not designated to fly on, at the end of his tour of the properties he was looking at in the Dominican Republic.  That split second decision cost him his life.  According to a statement by the Prime Minister Perry Christie to the House of Assembly on Wednesday 18th October, it appears that the tail rotor of the helicopter fell off and the craft careened out of control and slammed into the ground, bursting into flames.  All four of the occupants on board died in the crash.

The Prime Minister said that Lionel Fernandez, the President of the Dominican Republic, personally called him to express his shock and sorrow to the Bahamian people on the death of Mr. Kerzner and to say also that it appears that the helicopter that Mr. Kerzner was flying on may have had a design fault since a similar accident with a similar helicopter had occurred in the United States.  No doubt the facts will be proven once a full investigation takes place.

The questions come fast and furious.  Why would a rich man, so important to his company and to this country, simply accept rides in an aircraft without proper advance teams and safety checks and advice, so as to avoid accidents?  Perhaps he did and the question may already have an answer in that it was simply an accident without fault to be assigned to anyone.  The question however for us goes more importantly to our own public leaders who have to travel up and down the islands of The Bahamas on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to visit the people whom they govern.

The fastest and most efficient way to travel is by air.  Our concern is that the level of hacking in The Bahamas is so high with air charters.  We are concerned about the level of air safety and air regulation in The Bahamas.  We are concerned that people, including our public leaders, are jumping willy nilly on aircraft that are unsafe, with no insurance and no charter licences.

Too many times, we see our national leaders hitching rides on planes without regard for the history of maintenance of the planes, the history of the pilots on the planes, flying with only one pilot on the plane, flying deliberately into bad weather.  The plain fact is that this is dangerous; it is an accident waiting to happen.  The accident involving Butch Kerzner should be a wake up call to them all.

The FNM needs to get a life on this issue.  The PLP needs to get some courage on the issue.  There needs to be a plane that is assigned to the Prime Minister.  This does not mean that the Government needs to buy a plane for these days there are plenty of alternatives available by interval ownership.  It should be possible for the Prime Minister of this country to be able to reach any island in The Bahamas, any country within this hemisphere, meaning within four hours flying time in a comfortable, safe and direct manner.  He should not have to be scrapping around looking for a plane to use or using a plane owned by someone else with all the concomitant political difficulties that may present.

If the Prime Minister has to travel through the United States, if he does the trip on the spur of the moment then the Secret Service protection is not available in the U.S.  Never mind that we would not treat a U.S. official in that way no matter how late the notice.  Without the service, this means the Prime Minister has to undergo the indignity of being treated like a criminal going through public airports in the U.S.  Flying The Bahamas Government’s plane would eliminate that.  If the Prime Minister has to travel to a Caricom country, a direct flight to any one of them can be accomplished within four hours.  If he has to go on a commercial flight, a full day has to be dedicated to getting there.  For example, Nassau to Port of Spain direct is three hours and some.  Take an American Airlines flight through Miami and it is a twelve hour journey beginning very early in the morning.  By the time you have arrived at your destination, you are exhausted.

Trinidad and Tobago has decided that they are going to get a plane for their Prime Minister and one that can be designated for the use of other Ministers at the Prime Minister’s direction.

We believe that having seen how Dr. Franklin Walkine operates the only executive level charter service in this country, the way to go would be to approach him or someone like him to operate the service and you will be sure that the pilots are properly trained and up to date, that the best safety practices will be utilized on the aircraft, their records will be up to date and you will not be flying with daredevils.  You will also be assured that the carrier is insured and that it has a charter licence from the Government.

Failing that, it is our belief that as much as possible within and without the country, the politicians of this country should stick to commercial aircraft.  Bahamasair has a lousy record for time but has an excellent record for safety.  It is simply safer to travel commercial than hitching rides to the islands not knowing if you are really going to get there, given all that we know about the safety or more properly the lack of safety of the hackers at the airport.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 21st October 2006 at midnight: 119,835.

Number of hits for the month of October up to Saturday 21st October 2006 at midnight: 365,959.

Number of hits for the year 2006 up to Saturday 21st October 2006 at midnight: 3,945,604. 


    Last week, we made the observation that the Free National Movement seems to have gone absolutely dead as an Opposition party.  This is all the more so since it appears that Hubert Ingraham has lost his tongue and we are unable to hear from him on any subject.
    Perhaps we have an answer for that.  Our sources inside the party tell us that Mr. Ingraham is in the horns of a dilemma.  He has been advised by the party’s minders that he should try and keep as quiet as possible in this period running up to a General Election because when he opens his mouth, he energizes the PLP’s base.  This story was told to some of the former MPs who were FNM who are now supporting Perry Christie and they laughed.  They said the problem is not only does he energize the PLP’s base when he opens his mouth; he also energizes the FNM’s base as well.  They are reminded how much they dislike him and how they want to work to get rid of him.  There are plenty of examples of what we are talking about.
    Last week on Wednesday 18th October, the House of Assembly met.  The day was devoted to the business of the Opposition.  Mr. Ingraham came to the House late.  When he arrived the House was paying tribute to Butch Kerzner.  He sat down and his only complaint was how long did the Government intend to “run on” with the tributes to Mr. Kerzner.  His view was that he had already said something about Mr. Kerzner’s death and  he appeared bored.  Within short order, he was on his feet and out of the House of Assembly never to return for the day.
    So the FNM few were left on Opposition day to ask questions of the Government.  There were no issue oriented questions, just questions about bridges, roads and seawalls.  Ho hum!
    When the Bill to create further private trust products in The Bahamas came to be debated, it was clear that no one from the Opposition’s side had read the Bill.  Ken Russell whose job it was to lead for the FNM side started running on about houses in Grand Bahama and mortgages in Grand Bahama.  He was stopped in his tracks when the Prime Minister objected on the grounds of relevance.  When the Speaker agreed, his whole debate collapsed and he was down into his seat within minutes, badly embarrassed.
    The question the PLP asks itself is what is Mr. Ingraham up to?  It appears that he has abandoned the House of Assembly as a political strategy and is seeking to use the newspapers and other non House opportunities to spread propaganda against the Government.  But even that he is having a rough time, because his council is not co-operating.  They have told him that after telling them that he was to be the only one to speak on matters of national importance, they are reluctant now to accept his invitation to speak, now that the political advisors have said that his voice energizes the PLPs base.  Many FNMs are simply sitting on their hands saying silently “I told you so. If you can win by yourself then go and do it.”

Cartoon 'Sideburns' by Stan Burnside from The Nassau Guardian of Thursday 19th October, 2006
    The Prime Minister Perry Christie announced on Tuesday 17th October that he has accepted with regret the resignations of two of his Members of Parliament Kenyatta Gibson and Keod Smith from their executive level positions in the Government.  Mr. Gibson served as Chairman of the Gaming board and Mr. Smith as Chairman of The Bahamas Environment Science & Technology Commission and Ambassador for the Environment.
    With the acceptance of the resignations comes to an end the saga of a fight that happened at the Parliamentary Caucus of the PLP on Monday 25th September in the evening between the two MPs.  It seems clear that since their appearances on radio when they both seemed to deny that the fight actually took place that they have both recanted from that position.
    Mr. Gibson has been more sanguine about the matter than Mr. Smith.  Almost immediately after the PM’s statement which should have ended the matter, Mr. Smith seemed to go on a series of public appearances on radio and television in which he said that he had not been the aggressor; that he had been attacked and that the matter was about a client that he represented and Mr. Gibson as Chairman of the Gaming board was on the other side.
    It is not clear what the public feels on this.  Many are bored about it, and until the PM’s press conference and Mr. Smith’s follow up, it appeared to be fading from the headlines.  It is sure to be resurrected now that Mr. Smith has not accepted the PM’s approach to the matter.  The question is; will Mr. Gibson be restrained in the matter or feel the need to present his own version of the facts?  Mr. Smith called the matter an “inconsequential private conflict”.

    Last week on Wednesday 18th October Dr. Doswell Coakley announced that he was resigning from the post of President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce to pursue a career in politics.
    Dr. Coakley, who is a former Immigration Chief for Freeport, and who served as Consul General in New York for The Bahamas Government, has now taken the public plunge.  We  congratulate him.  He has been working for months now at getting the PLP’s nomination to run against the FNM’s incumbent Ken Russell.
    We predict that Mr. Russell has a rough time in store and that this is his last term.  Dr. Coakley told the Grand Bahama Chamber that he had enjoyed his contributions to the Chamber but he had decided it was important to move into another arena.  You may click here for the full statement of Dr. Coakley.
    Most recently, Dr. Coakley has been amongst those in the forefront in Grand Bahama fighting for the Government to intervene in the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s decision to name Hannes Babak as the new Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

Brenda Russell
It seemed only days ago but in fact it is longer that Brenda Russell who had been fighting a long battle with cancer got a final boost from her fellow employees of Love 97 to try an experimental cancer treatment.  Everything else was failing.  Alas, that did not work.  Ms. Russell is the third member of her family to die as a  cancer victim within a year.  She has been a brave warrior in the cause, even volunteering for the Cancer Society to show off her bald head, made bald by the chemotherapy.  Senator Michelle Pindling Sands has now publicly joined the anti cancer fight, herself now suffering from the disease.  But our condolences to the family of Brenda Russell.

Tony Curry
Tony Curry was eulogized by the Prime Minister Perry Christie in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 18th October.  Mr. Curry only the second Bahamian to play professional baseball in the United States at a time when baseball was a popular sport in The Bahamas.  He helped to lift the national spirit.  Mr. Curry died of kidney disease.  He was buried on Saturday 21st October from St, Matthew’s Anglican Church.

Roy Samuels
Leroy Samuels of Hampton Street west in Nassau is in hospital at the intensive care unit of the Doctors Hospital.  Mr. Samuels is a well known figure in the Valley community and his daughters Charlene and Cheryl are well known figures in the community generally.  Get well soon!

Daniel Smith
The son of the B class movie star Anna Nicole Smith who died in the hospital room of his mother in September shortly after she gave birth to a daughter has been buried.  His body was withheld from burial pending the results of an autopsy to establish the cause of death.  While an American pathologist claims that he died from a mixture of drugs in his system, the Bahamian police have not pronounced on the matter.  The burial took place at Lakeview Cemetery John F. Kennedy Drive, New Providence  on  Thursday 19th October.

Joshua Sears
The retired diplomat who just finished serving the PLP for four years in Washington has bitten the hand that fed him.  Mr. Sears has announced by a pamphlet being circulated in Exuma that he is the candidate for the next election for the FNM in the constituency.  What a shame!  Disgraceful!  Cut behind on the way!

    Dr. Bernard J, Nottage has a mission and that mission as the Minister of Health for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is to deliver a saleable package on National Health Insurance.  He told Members of Parliament and Senators for whom there was a seminar on Wednesday 18th October that he would have the package ready so that if the Government wished to implement the programme, it would be ready for 1st January 2007.  If it does come, it would not be a moment too soon.
    The Minister told his audience that they will have to raise from the  fees for a national health insurance some 235 million dollars to take care of the anticipated needs of the population in The Bahamas.  This would mean that all people who are employed have to be a part of the scheme.  The scheme will require each employee whether self employed or not to pay 5.1 per cent of their income for national health insurance.  Pensioners would also have to pay although they will pay 2.3 per cent of their income.  Each member will get a swipe card and be able to access health care services at the public clinics and hospitals as well as at private doctors’ offices.
    The National Health Insurance will fully bear the cost of Government’s services, but if the person wishes to get private care, he or she will then have to pay the difference between the  fee paid by National Health Insurance and that charged by the private doctor.  The National Health Insurance will pay for ambulatory care both on land and by air, for hospitalization, doctor’s services and for services overseas when they are not available in The Bahamas.
    The PLP wants to end the situation where cookouts are being held every weekend for people who cannot afford care.  The Minister promised that when the scheme is introduced it would lessen considerably the waiting times now for surgical and other procedures as a public patient.  This is a PLP policy.  You would have thought that the Opposition Free National Movement would support this or at least would want to find out what this programme was about, given the clear importance to the public.  Not one of their Members of Parliament or Senators showed up to the seminar on National Health Insurance.
    Tennyson Wells, the Independent MP for Bamboo Town, castigated the FNM in the House of Assembly for being derelict in their duty toward the Bahamian people in not showing up to find out what the programme was about.  We refer to our main story above, where it appears that the FNM has no interest in national  politics.  They seem to be interested only in the parochial and mundane.  This is a sad state for an opposition party.  But the FNM must make no mistake about it, the dividing  line in the election will be between the PLP that supports National Health Insurance and the FNM, a party that is indifferent to it and a party that does not support the better health care for the Bahamian people.
Minister of Health & National Insurance Dr. B.J. Nottage addresses Parliamentarians on the National Health Insurance initiative. Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay

    The Bahamas Government and the Vancouver Airport Services (YVRS) have signed an agreement to manage the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPI).  The agreement was executed between the Government and a subsidiary jointly owned by the Airport Authority and YVRS, the Nassau Airport Development Company.
    The airport is to get a much needed facelift with a clean up of the present facility, and alleviation of the congestion at the airport as part of Phase I of the operation connected with U.S. departures through the pre clearance lounge.  Phase I will also include the construction of adequate check in spaces for additional air traffic growth.  Phase II will span 48 months and during that time it will include the construction and design of new and /or upgraded airport terminal facilities and related airport infrastructure.
    A training programme will also be implemented to offer more exposure for employees.  This move is expected to significantly increase the number of Bahamian middle managers within three years and within a six year period; the majority of top level non-Bahamian managers will be replaced with Bahamians.  The Government wants the maximum benefits for Bahamians for this enterprise.  The management contract will be for ten years.
    The first phase is for 24 months and is to begin within 60 days.  Once the airport is fully overhauled there will be a passenger facility fee of $15 and a security fee of $5.  This fee will go toward the continued development of the airport.  This is a major accomplishment by Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin and the government.
    The FNM left the airport in a complete state of disrepair.  When the PLP came to office in 2002, after ten years under the FNM, the main runway needed to be fixed and required some 40 million dollars to rectify it.  The story of the FNM in office was a story of neglect of the public infrastructure.  The PLP is to be commended for the execution of this excellent deal.  The signing took pace on Thursday 19th October.
Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Transport & Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin pictured during the signing of the management contract for Lynden Pindling International Airport in this Bahama Journal photo by Mario Duncanson



   Last week we reported that the Turkish press announced that the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell visited Turkey for a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Turkey Abdullah Gul on Wednesday 11th October.
    This week the Clipper Group released a photograph of the Minister with a group of Bahamians in Turkey for the launch of a ship owned by the Clipper Group called Clipper Loyalty.
    The ship is to join the Bahamian register.  At 10,000 dead-weight tons, it is the tenth of 20 ships built at the Yedemci shipyard in Turkey for the Clipper Group.  Minister Mitchell was the sponsor of the ship and cut the ribbon to launch the 'Loyalty'.  The launch took place on Sunday 8th  October in Istanbul.

A comment on National Heroes Day?
Time for a change
    I would just like to scream at the top of my lungs from Mount Fitzwilliam that the time has so long come for us to rid ourselves of the cancer of Commonwealth, or the pretence thereof (the wealth sure ain’t common).  The presence of Christopher Columbus and of damn blasted Queen Elizabeth at the gateways of our most important political institutions is an absolute farce.  The more I travel, the more I realise that we are one of very few nations that actually CELEBRATES being conquered and subjectified. Just like good house niggers.
    The disgusting and insulting effigies of the Queen and Columbus are absolutely detrimental to our collective self esteem.  The statues of these European war criminals must either be relegated to a Museum of Genocide, or they must be made to dust by an act of dynamite.  They MUST be removed, no question. The government must now make that choice.
    The time has long come for us to step forward alone, we must link with our Caribbean brethren and sistren and we must come forward with a spirit of innovation and unity to create something new and best for our regional circumstance.  We can do it BETTER than these charlatans and oppressors.
    One love and guidance through Jah.
Black Lioness

Big Brother State
    I would love to share an article with you:
    When criminals think nothing of defacing the walls at Government House and other business houses, the time has come here in the Bahamas for CCT everywhere.
    I used to work in a Casino and yes, surveillance cameras do work as a deterrent to criminal activity.
    Something to think about.
Jasmind Smith

There has been a trend toward defacing public property in Nassau. – Editor

On Fred Mitchell's age
    This is in response to the letter writer on Mr. Mitchell’s age, whose name you chose to withhold.  Fred Mitchell graduated from St. Augustine’s College in Fox Hill during their Silver Anniversary year of 1970.  He was president of the Student Council the year we graduated and he was 16 at the time of graduation.  He turned 17 later that year, 1970.
    I know because I was a good and close friend of Fred and his family, and also vice-president of the student council that final year of high school, and I’m a year older than Fred.  He, along with Michael Barnett, Andy Gape, Louis Sawyer, Wayne Aranha and Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands were some of the youngest in that class.
    Thank You!
Tyrone ‘Oddball’ Olander
Class of 1970 - SAC
Chicago, Illinois

Thank you.  One small point of correction.  We did not ourselves choose to withhold the name of the writer.  That was their choice. – Editor

Brethren Elders Visit

    Prime Minister Perry Christie this past week on Friday received a courtesy call from Elders of the Brethren Church in The Bahamas.  Mr. Christie is pictured above with the Elders and Minister of Foreign Affairs & The Public Service Fred Mitchell.  Sadly, by Sunday morning, Pastor Errol Jackson, one of the group, had died.  Pastor Jackson one of the Elders of the East Street Gospel Chapel, owner of the popular Reef Restaurant and was the father of well known diplomat Rhoda Jackson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Our condolences to the Jackson family.

Tom 'The Bird' Grant Honoured

    Minister of Sports Neville Wisdom hosted a gala opening and naming ceremony Saturday of the Tom 'The Bird' Grant recreational complex at Baillou Hill in the vicinity of Tonique Williams Darling Highway.  Hundreds turned out to honour the legendary figure who is renowned as the father of competitive volleyball in the country.  'The Bird' is pictured at left with Prime Minister Perry Christie at centre and Minister of Health & National Insurance Dr. Bernard Nottage at right.

Caribbean Auditors

    Auditors from the Caribbean region were welcomed by Prime Minister Perry Christie to The Bahamas for their 7th annual CAROSAI Congress this past week.  The meeting was officially opened by Mr. Christie at the Wyndham hotel on Cable Beach in Nassau.  The Prime Minister is shown in the official photo of the event.

Local Auditors

    During the CAROSAI congress, Prime Minister Christie also took time out to chat with local members of the auditors group participating on behalf of the Department of the Auditor General of The Bahamas.

McDonalds Operators

    Owners of various McDonalds franchises in the United States were visiting The Bahamas this past week for the bi-annual symposium of the National Black McDonalds Operators Association.  Prime Minister Christie accepted an invitation to meet with members of the group at their Atlantis Hotel event.

BIS photos: Peter Ramsay

29th October, 2006
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Mourning Butch – The political and business community joined the father and widow of the late Howard ‘Butch’ Kerzner for a memorial service for Mr. Kerzner at Paradise Island on Thursday 26th October.  Mr. Kerzner died in a helicopter crash in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday 11th October 2006.  The Prime Minister Perry Christie, the Leader of the Opposition Hubert Ingraham spoke on behalf of the country.  Cynthia Wells spoke on behalf of St. Anne’s School where Butch had a special interest.  Paul O’Neil, the new Chief Executive Officer of the Company spoke on behalf of the company.  The employees contributed by way of a video presentation and two songs delivered by the Atlantis choir.  And then it was over.  Our photo of the week by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services shows Prime Minister Christie and Atlantis' Ed Fields escorting the widow Kerzner.


There was a memorial tribute for Howard Butch Kerzner on Thursday 26th October at Paradise Island.  The service was held against the express wish of Mr. Kerzner that there be no memorial service.  His father Sol Kerzner, his face straining with the signs of grief, said that his wife had explained that Mr. Kerzner, the younger, had the view that people should just carry on.  It was the way he lived his life.

In many respects, that is what the company did.  Within forty eight hours of the death, it appears Butch’s remains were in the ground.  The company announced that it had a new Chief Executive Officer in Paul O’Neil, and then Mr. Kerzner the senior headed off to complete a bid for a new project in which the company had an interest.  That should have been that, if Butch Kerzner had had his wish.

Sol Kerzner, though, explained that the company’s employees and   many of the friends of Butch Kerzner in The Bahamas kept asking for a memorial service.  So he persuaded the widow Vanessa that one should be held and she agreed.  Strange thing, this business of grief.  The inside sources at the company were remarking on the fact that the staff from high to low; bartenders, waiters, store attendants and senior executives were walking around like they were in a daze following Butch Kerzner's death.  It was affecting the productivity at the company.  There were so many questions; why, how, what was going to happen?

Public grieving seems to solve many of these issues in the psyche of human beings, and certainly in the culture of The Bahamas.  The Bahamas has a culture of prolonged, intense public grieving, and if Atlantis was to be consistent in its efforts to be sensitive to the culture of The Bahamas and get its employees to continue to be motivated they made the right decision in having the service.  That brief, one hour service for Butch Kerzner, brought about the fabled closure to a life.  It said to the employees that the death was acknowledged publicly to them and that it was final and closed and that they could now move on.  It was their public chance to express their solidarity with the family which is part of the Bahamian culture, but to also help to make sense out of something that is absolutely senseless.

Butch lived his life in the spirit of what is, is.  That is not the case for many of us.

The fact of the memorial taking place despite his wishes also shows how impossible it is to rule from the grave.  You can say whatever you like about what should or should not happen when you die; those who are left behind can do whatever they wish with impunity.  You have no way of enforcing it.  Any enforcement must be done by the living, and there is nothing you can do if they go against your wishes.

We also thought that the rapidity of the departure: the death, the burial showed a difference in the way grief is dealt with in different cultures.  In the Jewish culture of which Butch Kerzner was a part, once you die, you should be in the ground before the next possible sunset.  This sometimes means within 24 hours.  The Bahamas has a different tradition that of long waits for the family to come in, for all the announcements to be made, for the special clothes to be ordered and then the funeral.  At the funeral, there is great public remonstrating and weeping.  It is a very public and unrestrained example of grief.  You see similar pictures of this kind of expression in some Middle Eastern cultures.  We share this kind of corporate grieving with the Black American culture.

Not so, the Western European way of doing this.  This includes their cultural types that you find amongst the ruling elites of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.  Grief is treated very matter of factly and quickly acknowledged but the business of life goes on quite normally.  Some would argue that this is artificial because even though on the surface, it appears to be over.  It is not really over.  People grieve for years and more.  For some it never goes away.

Enough of the amateur sociology and on to the public policy issues which arise from the death of Butch Kerzner.  What does a seventy something year old man (the father Sol) now do; now that the light of his life, the apple of his eye is no longer around?  When one thinks about how you raise up your children, and you have many and one son proves to be the very thing that you always wished for, the exact replica of you.  He is even sharper because he has what you never had, an education from the best institutions in the world, money and access to power that you gave him.  You look at him and you cannot believe your luck.  And then he is taken away from you.  My God!  That is enough to set anyone back.

The memorial service seemed to evoke poetry from all of the speakers.  The Leader of the Opposition quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Paul O’Neil improvised about the stairway to heaven.  Prime Minister Christie composed a Japanese haiku.  For us, the book of Job says it best: Lord Gives, the Lord takes.  Blessed be the name of the Lord!  In other words, there is no choice but to carry on.

We hope that the future of the Atlantis resort is still a good one for The Bahamas and the fact that Mr. Kerzner the younger is now dead does not stop the forward movement of an exciting project.  In fact, the Government has an obligation to find out what the plans are and to ensure that there is continuity.  We have the two largest investors in The Bahamas without their guiding lights.  Grand Bahama is imploding because it lost its leader.  The same thing should not be allowed to happen in Nassau.

One sign of this is the Butch Kerzner Memorial Fund that Sol Kerzner announced to provide for the education of Bahamian children.  The children are the future.  Rest in peace!

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    Each week, there is some is some new disclosure about Freeport and its owner the Grand Bahama Port Authority.  Each disclosure confirms more than ever that the solution to the post Edward St George years is for the Government to buy the shares of the owners of the Port and take the whole thing over.  The arrangement of a private owner of a city is anachronistic in this day and time, and with the latest developments it is clear that the present owners are not fit and proper to run the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
    This week, the press received on Monday 23rd October a press release from Sir Jack Hayward, who was thought to be the owner of fifty per cent of the shares of the Port, that in fact he was the 75 per cent owner of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.  The press release seemed to be saying that he and Edward St. George had been fooling the public all along, that they had a gentleman’s agreement on the matter.
    The statement was made apparently to put an end to any speculation about the future management of the Port.  He seemed to be telling the country and in particular Edward St. George’s daughter Carolyn that there was no prospect of her getting control of the Port Authority.  If the country was not convinced before that Jack Hayward was a twit, they should now be convinced.  Clearly, he does not think very carefully.  The news that he is seventy five per cent owner opens up a new Pandora’s Box.  It will not stop litigation.  It will only cause more.
    In the first instance, the statement will harden the attitude of Carolyn St. George, the daughter of Edward St. George, who at last count has three law suits out against the Port.  Now it would seem to us that this could only lead to the widow of Edward St. George joining cause in the courts to establish whether in fact Jack Hayward is telling the truth on this matter.  During Edward St. George’s lifetime, Jack Hayward was kept at bay and out of the affairs of the Port.  We can now see why.  He just doesn’t have it.  Jack Hayward has no vision.  He is bad for business in Freeport.  He is sticking by the new Chairman of the Port Hannes Babak, who himself announced that in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, he was selling his construction company.
    One of the objections of the Freeport licensees about Mr. Babak being the Chairman is that he would use his position to negotiate deals for his own company.  There was a particular concern about the fact that Associated Grocers’ new warehouse in Freeport was being built by his company.  Mr. Babak announced that the company is now sold.  Of course there is no one in Freeport who believes that the company is actually sold.
    The mood in Freeport is sour and depressed about all of these issues.  While the Grand Bahama Port Authority and its owners are engaged in this trench warfare about ownership, nothing is happening economically in Freeport.  That more than ever seems to suggest that the whole lot of them ought to go.  You may click here for the full statement of Sir Jack Hayward.


    Grand Bahama was on display this past week as Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe (pictured) hosted the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's major conference.  The topic of interest was the changing US regulations on passports for its citizens, which is expected to affect regional tourism.  In officially opening the conference, Prime Minister Perry Christie called upon the delegates to mount a region wide diplomatic effort to postpone the US regulation and urged the delegates to fulfill the theme of their conference to 'co-operate, innovate, rejuvenate and create a brand new Caribbean'.  Please click here for the Prime Minister full remarks.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe addressing CTC-29.  BIS photo: Derek Smith

    Senator Philip Galanis was quick to put pen to paper last week in the face of an editorial that appeared in the Nassau Guardian on Tuesday 24th October.  The editorial was shameful and craven.  It appeared to be written by Oswald Brown, the political toady, who is allowed to edit the Freeport News, part of the Guardian group.  The editorial was so slavish in its fawning support of Jack Hayward and Hannes Babak of the Grand Bahama Port Authority that Senator Galanis felt the need to set the record straight for Bahamians who have some sense of pride about their identity.
    Why Charles Carter, Emmanuel Alexiou and Anthony Ferguson of Colina who own The Guardian continue to have Oswald Brown working for them in The Guardian group and embarrassing their company in this way is beyond us, but it is really a shame that a black man could write such nonsense.  Where is his pride?  The whole import of the article seemed to be that as long as you have money you are right.
    The evidence is clear that the present situation in Freeport is untenable, that there must be some dramatic intervention and soon by the Government to set matters straight.  The owner has his head in the sand.  His view is that all is well.
    Senator Galanis’ letter appears in the Letters to the Editor Section today.  It caused us to reflect on a number of other areas of concern about the press.  You know that we have written time and again about how John Marquis, the nasty writing Englishman who runs The Tribune, now that the Government has capitulated in the face of his journalistic blackmail and given him a work permit, is engaged in a salacious campaign against every PLP minister, every black politician that he can defame.
    During the course of the week, John Marquis has been running a series of unsubstantiated stories about the Minister of Immigration Shane Gibson in connection with B movie star Anna Nicole Smith for whom the American press seems to have such a fascination.  The story is a simple one.  The Government granted a permit to reside without the right to work, so called economic permanent residence, based on  representations by her attorneys Callenders and Co. and in particular Michael Scott that there was a conveyance of a $900,000 home to Ms. Smith.  There is no evidence of another transaction behind that bare conveyance.
    Now Mr. Scott is saying that the conveyance is not really a conveyance and they don’t know how it got into the hands of the Government.  Tennyson Wells speaking in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 25th October told the House that someone ought to go to jail.  We think so as well.
    The Tribune of course takes the side of Mr. Scott who in his attempt to wiggle himself free of apparent conflicts of interest and not disclosing fully to the government the facts has taken to polluting the issue with allegations of hard feelings on the part of Mr. Wells because an insurance firm that Mr. Scott represented turned down a claim by one of Mr. Wells’ companies.  We know that Mr. Wells is fully capable to defending himself.  Michael Scott ought to be careful how he claims unethical behaviour on the part of Mr. Wells.
    On a another matter The Tribune has been running up at the top of its front page a promo for its column INSIGHT, the salacious column, again by the low life writing John Marquis about what a Minister of the Government said to a Permanent Secretary and what the Government really feels about the people.  The headline is stupid.  The story will probably be even more stupid when it appears tomorrow.  All the more reason why we believe that the press is in such a serious state of decay in the Bahamas.  Run by two poor editors who cannot rise above their biases to write a straight story even if they saw one right in front of them.

    We want to use this opportunity to express our complete and unreserved support for Shane Gibson, the Minister of Immigration.  For the last two weeks, the press of The Bahamas has been engaged in an attempt through innuendo and the use of salacious writing to suggest that there was something wrong with the issue of a permit to reside to the American B movie star Anna Nicole Smith.  We think that this lady obviously is a lot of trouble, a lightning rod and one whom trouble follows everywhere.  She does not seem to live a quiet life.  However, the question is whether or not the permit was granted on a lawful basis.  All the evidence suggests that the permit was given lawfully and regularly.
    The attempts by the lawyers Callenders and Co. to refute the claim that they should be reported to the Bar Association for a material non disclosure to the Government by suggesting that there was something untoward in the relationship of Mr. Gibson and Ms. Smith is unworthy of such a firm.  Michael Scott, the lawyer who settled the transaction, clearly has a lot to answer for and is wiggling and wiggling to get out but is working himself into a deeper hole.  Mr. Scott has to answer how he ended up representing three parties in the transaction.  His earlier statement that he had parted company with Anna Nicole Smith over a dispute on tactics sounds now suspiciously like a dispute over money.  In other words, since it now appears that someone else is claiming to be the owner of the house of Anna Nicole Smith in The Bahamas, and Mr. Scott now represents him, you whistle we’ll point.
    There were two allegations that surfaced in The Tribune on Thursday 26th    October.  One was that Tracy Ferguson, an attorney, delivered a cheque for the permanent residence on behalf of Callenders to Mr. Gibson personally.  Mr. Gibson has denied this.  But let us even suppose that it is true.  The fact is the cheque was made out to the Public Treasury for the requisite fee and the money made its way in full to the Treasury.  The question is, what is the big deal about that?  No money found its way into the pocket of the Minister.
    The second allegation is that the application was somehow approved more quickly than it normally would have been.  Immigration officials will confirm that if a person’s application is straight with all of the requisite details when the application is made, such an application can also be approved within a short period of time.  That too then is not usual.
    What the Tribune and the FNM (and Michael Scott is an FNM, even a former candidate) is trying to do is to kill the PLP through one thousand little cuts.  The fact is that the truth is stubborn.  There is no fire here boys, and your attempt to make it look as if there is something untoward will not work.  Shane stand firm!  The Minister himself issued a statement to the House of Assembly on the matter on Wednesday 25th October.  You may click here for the full statement.

    On Thursday 26th October, the FNM’s Leader Hubert Ingraham thought that he would wind up the matter of the candidates for seats in the House of Assembly.  That was not to be.  He had to adjourn the meeting because of a raucous crowd that was brought out by Ramona Farqhuarson, the daughter of FNM founder Jimmy Shepherd.  Ms. Farqhuarson has been working the Kennedy Constituency since the last election.  She is a Tommy Turnquest supporter.  Mr. Ingraham has taken the ‘my way or the highway’ approach as usual and this time the FNMs in Kennedy are not taking it lying down.  The result: the meeting had to be adjourned.
    We have said that this is a party in the midst of a huge fight for its soul.  Mr. Ingraham is clearly becoming more and more of an obstacle to progress.  He is causing more problems than it is worth for the FNM.  He seems to have lost interest in winning.  This week again in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 25th October, with a major debate on child care, he did not even bother to stay in the House.  After ten minutes, he picked up his belongings and left never to be seen again for the day.

 The Fox Hill Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party joined their Member of Parliament Fred Mitchell in Fresh Creek, Andros for a retreat this past weekend.  The idea was for the executive of the PLP’s Fox Hill Branch to be able to discuss the themes for the campaign in the upcoming election and to plot a course for the future of Fox Hill over the next five years.
    While in Andros, the group went to Tranquility Hill, the bonefish lodge of Rev. Raymond Mackey.  They also travelled up to Small Hope Bay where they were hosted to lunch by Jeff Birch, son the legendary Dick Birch.  Then they were briefed on the environmental situation in Andros from Scott Kurth, Margo Blackwell of the College of The Bahamas in Andros and Steve Smith of the Local Government Council.
    The group ended their visit with an appearance at a beach party for the Minister of Financial Services Vincent Peet who is also the Member of Parliament for North Andros.  The group is pictured at Small Hope Bay Lodge (top) and at Tranquility Bay.


    The Memorial Service for Howard ‘Butch’ Kerzner was held on Thursday 26th October at the Crown Ballroom of the Atlantis Hotel.  The Prime Minister Perry Christie led the mourners.  Cabinet members, the Leader of the Opposition and his followers were also there, as were business leaders.  We thought that you might like to see some of the photos of the event by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

Congratulations to Minister Melanie Griffin

The Minister for Social Services Melanie Griffin moved for the passage in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 25th October, a landmark bill on child care and protection of children.  The bill will grant a right of access for fathers to the courts for their children, even in circumstances when the father is not married to the mother.  In today’s law, the father who is not married to the mother cannot access the child unless the mother moves the court for a maintenance order.  That will now change.  Cleaver Duncombe who has been prominent amongst the fathers fighting publicly for a change in the law has said that he is satisfied with some of the changes, that this is a first step in the right direction.

New Defence Force Commodore
Royal Bahamas Defence Force Lieutenant Commander Clifford ‘Butch’ Scavella has been announced as the new Commodore of the RBDF.  The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Cynthia Pratt made the announcement in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 25th October.  Lt. Comdr. Scavella, an officer of more than 25 years experience, returns from secondment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Chief Passport Officer having also served at The Bahamas Embassy in Haiti.  Commodore Davey Rolle is to demit office on 2nd November.

The Archbishop’s Opens Anglican Synod

In a one hour and a half charge to the delegates of the Anglican Synod and to the public including the Prime Minister Perry Christie, Archbishop Drexel Gomez criticized the recent imposition of a sentence of corporal punishment on a convicted offender as cruel and inhumane treatment.  The Archbishop also criticized the conduct of PLP MPs Keod Smith and Kenyatta Gibson and said they had done the right thing by resigning their seats.

Cuban Call
The Ambassador to The Bahamas from Cuba Felix Wilson has asked for the support of The Bahamas at the United Nations for the vote on the Cuban embargo.  The Bahamas has traditionally supported the vote to condemn the United States embargo against Cuba.  The Ambassador’s request came at a press conference on Wednesday 25th October.  No word from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on what the vote will be.


    Minister of Works Bradley Roberts (pictured, left) has announced the start of a study to finally solve the flooding and storm passage problems of the Fishing Hole Road in Freeport, Grand Bahama.  Speaking in the House of Assembly this past Wednesday, Minister Roberts said the government had approved the engagement of a firm to "undertake the Study, Physical Modelling and Design for the optimum solution at the Fishing Hole Road Causeway and its environs of Hawksbill Creek and Queen’s Cove."
    Mr. Roberts made note of Senator Caleb Outten (pictured, right) "who has led for years and continues to lead the fight to resolve the challenges of the Fishing Hole Road and the flooding at Queens Cove.  Senator Outten’s passion to find and implement the solution to this vexing problem remains very high on his agenda.  He has almost single-handedly kept my feet to the fire on this issue."
    Senator Outten is a community activist who came to prominence on the issue of the Fishing Hole Road, which is the sole route home for people living in west Grand Bahama and often becomes impassable in heavy weather.  You may click here for the full statement of Minister Roberts.


    The Royal Bank of Canada has announced a $2 million investment in Franklyn Wilson’s Eleuthera Properties project at Cotton Bay Estates.  The investment in a Bahamian touristic project is a first for the bank and comes in the wake of the appointment of Nathaniel Beneby as the institution’s Country Manager.  From Left in Mario Duncanson’s Bahama Journal photo are Mr. Wilson; Minister of Financial Services and Investment Vincent Peet; Ross McDonald, Royal Bank of Canada Senior Vice President for Caribbean Banking and Mr. Beneby.


    The Associated Press has reported that nearly one year after a crash (file photo) killed 20 people, mostly Bahamians, Chalk's International Airlines has received US federal approval to resume service to The Bahamas, but without its trademark seaplanes.  The report says Chalk's plans to begin flying from Fort Lauderdale to The Bahamas on Nov. 9 with land based planes.  The airline has been grounded since one of its seaplanes crashed into the water shortly after takeoff on Dec. 19, 2005, killing all on board.  No word yet on whether Bahamian officials have approved the resumption in flights.  Negotiations continue between Chalk's lawyers and attorneys for the families of the crash victims on how to divide a proposed $51 million settlement.

Freeporters Deserve Better
    I believe the time has come for the Bahamian public to ask loudly and with one voice: “What kind of man is in charge of the Grand Bahama Port Authority?”
    We have now seen that Hannes Babak will only do the right and proper thing when his actions are questioned in a public forum, when he is shamed into doing it.  No one should mistake his purported claims of selling his interest in H & F Babak Construction Company as a noble act.  The correct thing to do, indeed, what any prudent executive would have done, was to have divested himself of this interest BEFORE he was exposed, not after it was disclosed H & F Babak Construction Company had signed a very lucrative contract to build a warehouse for the Port’s newest foreign investor, a company which had received its license from Chairman Babak himself.
    And, if this underhanded behaviour is not insulting enough to the Bahamian public, Mr. Babak apparently expects us to believe his cock-and-bull story about having signed this contract to build the warehouse for Associated Grocers BEFORE becoming Chairman of the GBPA, which incidentally was also BEFORE Associated Grocers’ proposal had been approved and BEFORE they were granted a license.  Mr. Babak expects us to believe that this multi-national corporation is foolish and unprofessional enough to sign a contract to build a warehouse BEFORE being allowed to operate a business in Freeport.  Certainly Associated Grocers knows that you can’t agree to build a building before you have a permission to open a business.  They know that.  Bahamians know that.  Mr. Babak apparently does not, which is very alarming since he has been publicized as being the clever and experienced businessman whose unparalleled skill will supposedly turn Freeport’s economy around.
    And what about his interest in the Home Centre?  This, may I remind Bahamians, is the same Home Centre where GBPA licensees are “advised” to buy, among other things, their trusses for their new buildings.  When will Mr. Babak decide to  also divest himself of that glaring conflict of interest?  When he gets caught as red-handed as he was in his construction company?  That is patently and totally unacceptable.
    It was Mr. Babak’s duty and obligation to divest himself of both of these interests before he ever took up the reins of the GBPA.  Or does he consider Bahamians too stupid to notice this blatant conflict?  Or, even worse, is this the way he does business?  Either way, it spells disaster for the GBPA and for Freeport.
    The Bahamian people of Freeport clearly deserve better than this kind of underhanded management of the GBPA.  They have suffered enough.  They need someone now who genuinely cares about their welfare and who can chart a course with transparent and honest expertise to an economically rich and secure future.  What is not needed at the Grand Bahama Port Authority or in The Bahamas is Hannes Babak.
Senator Philip C. Galanis


More Pressing Issues Than ‘Anna’
    As the saga of the story of ‘Anna Nicole Smith’ continues to write on in the Tribune or in any other newspapers for political purposes, I wish to point out as a contributing Bahamian in the life of this country that there are much more pressing issues to deal with daily in this country than Anna Nicole Smith that deserve media attention.
    We have the young men in this country that need help and direction, child abuse, alcoholism, conflict issues and a host of issues.  If Minister Gibson has done wrong then deal with him and let’s move on.  This is political season and everything is taken to the extreme.
Calvin Greene

Well said.  We wish we could have made the point ourselves. – Editor

Caribbean Tourism Conference

    Prime Minister Perry Christie began this past week on Sunday evening in Grand Bahama, officially opening the Caribbean Tourism Organisation's major conference at Our Lucaya Resort.  As reported above, the topic of interest was the changing US regulations on passports for its citizens, which is expected to affect regional tourism.  In officially opening the conference, Prime Minister Perry Christie called upon the delegates to mount a region wide diplomatic effort to postpone the US regulation and urged the delegates to fulfill the theme of their conference to 'co-operate, innovate, rejuvenate and create a brand new Caribbean'.  Please click here for the Prime Minister full remarks.
BIS photo: Derek Smith

    On Monday morning the Prime Minister officially opened a project that he termed of "vital importance" to the future of The Bahamas.  The Ministry of Education's Global Information Education Project aims to make available detailed satellite mapping information available online.  The project also intends to create a cross referenced database of information from various areas of Government relevant to the mapping information.

Attentive to the Archbishop

    Monday evening, the Prime Minister was joined by Deputy to the Governor General Lady Pindling, Minister of Foreign Affairs & The Public Service Fred Mitchell and other senior Government officials attending the opening evening of the annual synod of the Anglican Archdiocese in The Bahamas.  A segment of the congregation is pictured above listening attentively to the Archbishop's charge.

New Stalwart Councillors in Long Island

Be Ready - In his role as Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, Prime Minister Christie is in motivational mode (top left) as invigorates PLPs in Long Island during a banquet to honour party elders on that island.  Among the 2006 recipients of the Party's highest honour, Mrs. Effie Cartwright is shown wearing the sash of the Stalwart Council and hugging the leader after receiving her honour.

BIS photos (except where otherwise noted): Peter Ramsay