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Columns From Previous Months

10th August, 2003
17th August, 2003
24th August, 2003
31st August, 2003

3rd August, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The people of New Providence and the rest of The Bahamas were awakened to the shattering news that there had been in the dark and early hours of the morning of Saturday 2nd August a tragedy at sea.  The early reports were of 30 deaths but the number soon was officially confirmed at 6 deaths, 17 injured and the other souls with numbers varying from 157 up to 175 said to be well and accounted for.  The Sea Hauler and the United Star, the latter a barge, collided at sea at some time between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. on Saturday 2nd August.  Most passengers were asleep at the time.   The entire Government and emergency services swung into operation, with the assistance of the United States Coast Guard.  The photo of the week must surely be the Deputy Prime Minister as she comforted the injured, the survivors and the merely curious at the Prince Margaret Hospital.  The photo is by the Bahamas Information Services.  We report more on the story below.


The mantra of the week by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell as he did the talk show rounds to try to undo the irresponsible damage done by the anti CARICOM crowd was that Bahamians should stop being so frantic and hysterical about the proposed Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME; see story below) and what it means.  He told the country at one point on the Jeff Lloyd ‘Issues of the Day’ Show: “This is The Bahamas – take it easy”

At another point in the programmes on radio, the Minister was being asked in his capacity as the Minister for the Public Service how the negotiations were going with the public sector unions.  The lead spokesman for the negotiations on the postponement of the salary increase for Government workers is Kingsley Black, the head of the Bahamas Union of Teachers.  Mr. Black had issued an ultimatum to the Government.  He said: “Pay us by 1st October or else.”  He predicted that there would be widespread industrial action if the civil servants were not paid by that date.

Mr. Mitchell told the country that there would be no fight from the Government’s side.  He said that he could not understand in an easygoing country like The Bahamas why all this hysteria was being whipped up over these negotiations.  He said that the media had an interest in trying to portray this whole thing as an epic drama between two elephants in the jungle but it simply was not that.  The facts on the economy were all agreed between the Unions and the Government.  The fact is the economy is in deep do do.  The only difference between the sides is when is the pay increase going to come.  The Government says December, the Unions have now moved from July to October.  According to Mitchell and the Government, “We are only quibbling over a couple of weeks.”

Later in the week, the National Congress of Trade Unions, the umbrella union to which Mr. Timothy Moore’s BEC management union belongs met with the Government.  What emerged out of that meeting was a Union ultimatum to the Government that Mr. Moore should be restored to his job at BEC from which the Corporation had sought to dismiss him or there would be industrial action.  There was said to be the same demand from the Board who it was claimed by some would resign en masse if Mr. Moore were taken back. (Click here for last week's story on Timothy Moore).

Again the question one asks oneself is how is it that we have come to the point in The Bahamas that no one wants to negotiate?  It is always my way or the highway.   It is as if we have lost our national character or something as we try to flex our muscles for absolutely nothing.  There is always a price for flexing muscles, and very often the threat is more potent than the actual act.  Almost everyone loses in a war.

The United States is finding that out now as it tries to repair its reputation in the world after the silly exercise that it conducted in Iraq.  As the body bags come back home, and the economy goes into a nosedive, and they now need the help of the international community, it turns out that even giants have their limitations.

And so we echo what the Minister said: This is The Bahamas, take it easy.  Why are we getting all hyped over these maters that have nothing to do with life and death?

The number of hits for the week ending Saturday 2nd August at midnight: 22,879.

The number of hits for the month of July ending Thursday 31st July at midnight: 129,969.

The number of hits for the month of August up to Saturday 2nd August at midnight: 4,176.

The number of hits for the year up to Saturday 2nd August at midnight: 816,812.



   As we go to upload today, the nation is numbed by the tragedy that unfolded at sea in the early hours of the morning of Saturday 2nd August in the Bahamas.  The first weekend in August is a bank holiday weekend, marking the anniversary of the freeing of the slaves on 1st August 1834.  It has increasingly become a time when mail boats have special hires with masses of people going to the Out Islands for a weekend of relaxation and fun.  Weekend excursions of overcrowded boats leave New Providence on the evening after work on the Friday and return in the early hours of the morning of the following Tuesday.  Everyone suspects that the ships are dangerously over crowded and ill equipped for transporting people.  They are after all mail boats, and essentially cargo ships.
    There have been warnings for years that there needs to be a stricter regime for inter island travel.   The report is that sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. on Saturday 2nd August, the barge United Star, said not to have had its running lights on, collided with the Sea Hauler, a mail boat.  The barge was coming from Cat Island.  The mail boat was loaded with 194 passengers and 7 crew.  Most of the passengers were sleeping on the deck.  The Sea Hauler has a crane on it.  The captain of the Sea Hauler saw the barge coming at the last minute and tried to take evasive action.  The action may have saved lives, since the impact of the hit was on the side near the crane on the mail boat.  The boat did not sink.  But the crane fell over and crushed several people. There are six people reported dead.  There were some 17 injuries.
    The police were informed at 1:37 a.m.  The Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt who is responsible for the police was informed at 3 a.m.  She left for the hospital as soon as the injured began arriving and spent the entire morning comforting the crowd that gathered at the hospital.  The Prime Minister was informed later in the morning and he arrived at 9:30 a.m. to be fully briefed.  A review must now be done to see if these reporting procedures are effective.  The question is: when was the Disaster Preparedness Committee notified?  The emergency services went into action with the hospital calling doctors and ambulances.  The news started to spread and the crowds of weeping and noisy onlookers turned up at the hospital.  The police set up a reception centre at their barracks.
    The survivors were brought back to Nassau on the Sea Wind, owned by Bahamas Fast Ferries at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday 2nd August.  The survivors pronounced themselves happy with the way the emergency services performed.  The Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin has appointed a special Committee to investigate the accident and report its findings according to law to the Government.  Special kudos to the United States Coastguard for swinging into action with its helicopters to get people off the boat and into Nassau for treatment.  Of the serious injuries there was one amputation and one person paralyzed from the neck down.  The whole thing just left the country deeply saddened.  We show some of what happened in pictures.

    This column wishes to extend condolences to the people of the country on the tragic deaths at sea over the past weekend.  All Bahamians have been deeply moved by the events, and more importantly by the great work that was done by our emergency services in this matter.  There are lessons to be learnt to be sure in this tragedy.  Some lives are shattered forever as a result of what looks like a careless act by some person or persons.  We think that the full weight of the law must be brought against those who are responsible.  But just like the rest of the nation we are in mourning.

    There is a Disaster Preparedness Committee that is supposed to swing into action once a disaster of this nature occurs.  Or are they supposed to be involved?  It did not appear that they were very much involved in what happened over the past weekend on the Bahamian high seas.  Certainly then, we call for an investigation into the effectiveness of the Disaster Preparedness Committee, how it functions and its reporting mechanisms.  It appears that the police and the hospital emergency services were the ones who were running the show, without a specific central person who deals with the event, one person to whom the decisions could be referred and who could decide amidst the chaos.  Perhaps, nothing succeeds like success, so this comment might be much ado about nothing. But one can’t help the feeling that a review is in any case necessary to see if there are not lessons to be learned.  Generally though the Bahamian people and the Government were pleased with the manner in which matters were conducted.


    The Fox Hill Festival for 2003 has commenced.  The Chairman of the Fox Hill Festival Committee John Bullard pronounced himself pleased.  The Member of Parliament for Fox Hill and the Minister of Foreign Affairs officially declared the festival open on Friday 1st August. The festival is organized around the anniversary of Emancipation Day.  The day is named after the day when the British law freeing the slaves in their empire came into force.  That was 1st August 1834.  It has been 169 years since that time.  Fox Hill is one of the few communities that celebrates the anniversary.  The other is the community of Gambier. The activities during the week will include the traditional plaiting of the maypole, the climbing of the greasy pole and sale of refreshments on the parks on the Emancipation Day holiday celebrated on August Monday, 4th August and Fox Hill Day 12th August.  The symbolic torch of freedom was lit on the Freedom Park at the official opening on Friday 1st August.  We show pictures of some of the ceremony.



    The new BaTelCo business office in Fox Hill is open for business.  It was officially opened by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the representative for the Fox Hill constituency Fred Mitchell on Saturday 2nd August.  At the opening Mr. Mitchell congratulated BaTelCo for reopening the office that had been closed under the FNM's administration.  He said he thought it was a mistake to have closed the office.  He indicated that the closure had caused a lot of pain in Fox Hill.  He remembered in Opposition how he had led a protest against the closure of the office and pledged that if he were elected he would try to have it reopened.  He thanked the Minister for BaTelCo, Bradley Roberts and the Chairman of the Board Reno Brown for their reopening the office in Fox Hill.  He said it meant a lot to the community.  He also said he had a special affinity for BaTelCo having served as a director of the company when Loftus Roker was the Minister responsible in 1977 and 1978.  He said that it was an asset of the Bahamian people and we had no right to dispose of it at fire sale prices. From left are Rev. Dr. J. Carl Rahming, BaTelCo Chair Reno Brown and Mrs. Brown; Minister Mitchell, former MP Frank Edgecombe, Developer Derek Davis and Mrs. Jan Davis; Rev. Dr. Phillip Rahming and Mr. C. John Bullard, Chairman Fox Hill Festival Committee.  Festival Committee photo.

    We have now added yet another picture to the masthead of this site of a missing boy in Freeport, Grand Bahama.  Joe Darville, the human rights and child advocacy activist, was beside himself saying to the press that parents had relaxed their precautions, since none of the three previously missing boys had been found after three months.  Scotland Yard's Caribbean Regional Advisor Larry Covington flew into Freeport to offer advice on the subject and to consult with Superintendent Marvin Dames of the Bahamian police.  The Bahama Journal reported in its Thursday 31st July edition that Myrthia Jean Tinrod 33 reported her son missing on Wednesday 30th August.  She last saw him when her son had asked for $4 to go to a local movie theatre.  Missing is 11 year old Junior Reme.  The police are stumped and the community is frightened.  The profile of the disappearances on the surface seem the same. These are pubescent little boys who are vulnerable to the lure of money in circumstances where there is a lack of available resources in their families.

    No one is quite sure why the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell who is also responsible for extraditions was called to the witness stand by the defence counsel in the extradition case of Austin Knowles of Eleuthera and his three other co accused.  The four persons all from Eleuthera are said to be involved in a large drug ring and are wanted by US authorities.  The case resumed on Wednesday 30th August and the Minister was subpoenaed to testify at the trial.  He appeared at 2:30 p.m.  At that time he was asked whether or not he was the Minster during the period 13th February to 20th February.  He was asked whether he was in The Bahamas at that time, which he answered in the negative.   He was asked was he still able to perform the functions of Minister.  He answered yes.  On cross examination, the Crown asked him if he had left an acting Minister in place.  He answered yes.  He identified that Minister as Dr. Marcus Bethel.  He said that it was Dr. Bethel who had signed the extradition papers.  That said he left the box.
    Later that day, a call was said to have come in from what appears to be prankster that because the Minister was not in town to sign the extradition papers that he would be the subject of a drug man’s hit.  It shows how being dragged into these matters can bring out the crazies and some unintended consequences.  Counsel ought to be careful then how decisions are taken to drag persons into matters when it is not absolutely necessary because of the special dangers they might pose.  Fighting drugs in The Bahamas is serious and sometimes a life threatening matter.

    It is said that it is getting more and more difficult to control the numbers racket in The Bahamas.  That is because the numbers fellows are not just selling numbers on slips of paper on the street anymore.  Numbers have now gone high tech in The Bahamas, a number of them (forgive the pun) have taken to opening Internet cafes, and selling their wares over the Internet.  You get an account by computer and your account is credited with the money if you win.  The result is that you have no slips of paper with numbers lying around for the lawmen to capture, making an already difficult crime to prosecute, even more difficult.
    Our suggestion is that since gambling is so widespread in our community, it should be legalized and the Government get its cut by way of taxes.  Everywhere you go in New Providence, there is a slot machine, in every bar, in the wide open and nothing is done to enforce it.  The problem is now, that the police having read this will probably launch raids to stop it.  But we can tell them, they are only wasting time and should go fight other crimes because the reality is that Bahamians do not support the ban on gambling and the law must catch up with that reality.

    It has been several months now since Butch Kerzner and the Prime Minister announced that Kerzner International, formerly Sun, and the owners, managers and developers of the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, was to invest a further 600 million dollars on the island.  No shovel has gone into the ground yet and the natives are getting restless.  The question is whether this most signature of projects expected to jump start the economy and settle the natives down with jobs will in fact get started. And so the question is being asked: when is it going to start?  The reply has been given that the Kerzners are reliable developers and it is known that they stick by their word and contractual obligations, but equally important is the responsibility of the Bahamian people through their elected representatives to have an update on where things now stand.

    Gilbert Morris provided for the press an excellent commentary and explanation as to why the Privy Council continues to be an important Court for The Bahamas.  In the case being brought by Maurice Glinton and Leandra Esfakis, the Privy Council forced the Government's lawyers to concede that the law as it applies to the Compliance Commission in The Bahamas is to be on hold until such time as the Privy Council hears and rules on the matter in October.  This is in distinction to the short shrift and discourteous actions of the Court of Appeal in The Bahamas (Click here for last week's story).  This is the second example of the Privy Council showing the Bahamian Court of Appeal how sensible judges and lawyers act toward each other.  There is no need for insulting language and gratuitous comments.
    In the Thomas Reckley case, the Privy Council told the Court of Appeal in The Bahamas that in death penalty cases, even where the appeal is plainly hopeless they ought to put in place a conservatory order to allow the litigant to get his last day in court.  They reminded the Court of Appeal that the death penalty is uniquely irreversible.  We agree with the interlocutory relief in this case brought by Mr. Glinton and Ms. Esfakis.  Our view is that the Court should eventually roll back all of the laws passed by the Ingraham administration that have hobbled our financial services industry.  You may click here for the full story by Gilbert Morris.

    Everywhere Ministers of the Government go there is a trap waiting on the question of gay marriages in The Bahamas.  It is an artificially created issue in The Bahamas.  This is a matter which came up out of the blue at the Independence anniversary service on Sunday 5th July by the President of the Bahamas Christian Council.  Most Ministers have studiously avoided the topic.  Fred Mitchell happened to be on the radio talk show Issues of the Day only to be blindsided by the question what is the position on gay marriages.  The Minister according to the Bahama Journal was nudged into a clipped comment on the issue.  Here is what he said in his own words:  “My view is that the position is really clear.  Marion Bethel wrote a letter that I saw in the press that said there is no issue on the matter pending; there is none under consideration.  It is really not an issue at all.”  The Minister’s remarks were made on Wednesday 30th August and reported in the Journal on Thursday 31st August.

    The British Government has published its much anticipated paper on the future of the Courts in Britain, which will now lead to the abolition of the House of Lords as a final Court of Appeal in Britain.  The Supreme Court is to become the ultimate Court in the United Kingdom.  Of importance to The Bahamas is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council made up of the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary; that is a special group of the Law Lords in Britain’s House of Lords.   Some had argued that the paper would herald the abolition of the Privy Council as the final court of appeal for some Commonwealth countries.  There are said to be about 70 cases per year before that body.
    The British have decided that they will keep the Privy Council and that it is to be manned by the judges from the new Supreme Court.  That will be a welcome relief to the human rights community in The Bahamas and elsewhere that oppose the creation of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that the CARICOM wants to replace the Privy Council.  The most recent arguments by the CCJ’s proponents is that the British will be abolishing the Privy Council in about three years.  No such luck.  The British have obviously decided that notwithstanding the pull toward Europe there is still money making and prestige in the Privy Council business.

    The South African parent company of Ansbacher Bank in The Bahamas has announced that the company is for sale.  It is said that the priorities of the company’s parent have changed and is more focused on economic developments in South Africa.  They are looking for a buyer.  Hey, know anyone who wants to by a bank?

    The reaction to the visit of Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur who was in Nassau to talk about the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) has unleashed a flood of uninformed and ignorant commentary, based largely in prejudice against West Indians.  That said; there is a need for further public discussion on the issue.  The question that is paramount: will it be good for The Bahamas?  We think that the answer is an unequivocal yes.


    Jennifer Smith, the former Premier of Bermuda, had a fast exit last week after the members of her governing Progressive Labour Party's caucus gave her an ultimatum.  Alex Scott is now the new Premier and Ewart Brown, the Deputy Premier.  Ms. Smith was offered a Cabinet post but refused it to sit on the backbench.  (Click here for last week's report) Mr. Scott is said to be a consensus builder and is thought to be a friend of The Bahamas and the Caribbean.


A Fourth Boy Missing in Grand Bahama
Life was slowly beginning to return to some degree of normalcy as the May disappearance of three Grand Bahama boys, Jake Grant, Mackinson Colas and DeAngello McKenzie was beginning to fade in the public's mind.  Then on Tuesday 30th July, came word that 11 year old Junior Reme of Garden Villas, commonly called 'The Ghetto' was reported missing.  Junior's mother reported that on Tuesday morning, he asked her for four dollars to go to the movies.  She told him that she didn't have it, so he should stay at home.  After she left him to deal with another of her children and when she returned Junior was gone and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

There seems to be pattern developing.  Two of the four missing boys worked as packing boys at the local downtown food store.  Two of the boys were of Haitian descent.  All of the missing boys lived in relatively close proximity to each other and all of them were around the same size.  The Ministry of National Security in a statement said that they have sought the assistance of Scotland Yard who have sent an expert in the area of missing persons to assist the local police with their investigations.  The statement also said that the Government is considering putting up some reward money in the hope of obtaining information.  Private citizens have already donated about $85,000 in reward money.

Local Government
The Local Government Council was in the news again this week.  This time staff were complaining that they were not paid for the month of July.  The Chief Councillor for the Freeport area, Ms. Marva Moxey explained that it had nothing to do with the City of Freeport Council, but was an administrative problem with the Island Administrator who was not in place to sign the pay vouchers.  The Administrator was in the newspaper on Saturday making a public apology for the glitch.  The employees, he said, should have been able to access their money this weekend.

Justice of Attrition
This week we focus on a court case that has so far taken eleven years and is today no closer to being resolved.  It is the case of the Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas and the Parliament of The Bahamas and The Bahamas Conference of Methodists.  It is one of those politically unpopular cases where Parliament passed a law that facilitated the transfer of the property of the historic body (MCA) to the newly formed Bahamian church body.  The case was fought all the way to the Privy Council, only to be sent back to the lower courts to be heard, where it has remained permanently stalled.  Maurice Glinton is a lawyer who has taken the lead in this case.  He is also a Methodist who is proud of his Methodist heritage.  He has waged a crusade to have his day in court and for these questions to be adjudicated and settled - to no avail.

The question must now be asked of Attorney General Alfred Sears - Where does the case stand?  Why has it not moved forward since his appointment over a year ago?  It would seem that the old practice of stalling is still in place, carried over from the previous FNM administration, where it is hoped that the aggrieved either tires or runs out of money and gives up the challenge.  The question of Parliament's right and how far it goes will never be known unless the case is heard.  For those who believe in the rule of law, this state of affairs - no matter the outcome - should never be allowed to persist in our Commonwealth.

10th August, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION—On Thursday 7th August the morning daily newspapers in The Bahamas led with a photo of the Most Reverend Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies and the Bishop of the Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.  The reason for the photo was the expressed indignation at the fact that an openly gay Bishop had been ordained into the American version of the Anglican Church.  Fire and brimstone came from the local Bishop.  He said that as long as he was Bishop no openly gay clergy would be allowed to celebrate mass here.  He extended that to the newly elected gay Bishop of New Hampshire, and he said that any clergy that blessed gay unions in The Bahamas would have their licenses revoked.  The headlines said that there was the threat of a schism in the Anglican Communion, as it is euphemistically called.  We report on the matter below, but we thought that the expression of righteous indignation on the face of the Bishop was enough for photo of the week from The Tribune.



Let us go back in history as to why the Anglican Church exists today.  The conventional wisdom is that Henry VIII, King Of England, decided that since the Pope in Rome would not grant him an annulment of his first marriage so that he could marry a woman that could bear him a son, he nationalized the church in England and made the Roman Catholic Church, the English Catholic Church, hence Anglican.  After the fall of British rule in the colonies of the United States, the church in the US became known as the Episcopal Church but in its worship service and liturgy, it is indistinguishable from the Bahamian practice of the faith.  The Bahamas even had an American Bishop Spence Burton in its history.  So there was no grand theological issue that founded Anglicanism, like the Lutherans who came out of the German Martin Luther’s revolt against the selling of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church.  This is a church founded on political considerations.

The truth be told, the decision by Henry VIII was able to succeed so popularly in England because Henry VIII by his decision to seize church property was able to enrich the English treasury, increase his power, tap into a popular anti foreign sentiment in England and get to remarry as a bargain.  He made himself Defender of the Faith (fidei defensor), a title which Queen Elizabeth II now has and which Prince Charles, the British heir has promised to remove from the title when he takes it, seeing that he is now living with his mistress next door to his apartments in Kensington Palace.  This then is a church founded in politics.

That much must be clear: the political genesis of what is today the Anglican Church.  The church itself was for a long time the state church of The Bahamas before it was disestablished by the Methodist majority in the House of Assembly in 1869, and the stipend paid by the Government to priests was discontinued.
During much of its life, the church covered up the racist sins of previous Governments in this country.  It was the colonial church.
It has of course transformed itself today into an indigenous church of African majority that is responsible for shepherding sensible and reasoned political and social debate.  It must not depart from that image in its commentary over the recent ordination of the “gay” Bishop in the United States.

But also as we reach today, as the number of Anglicans is falling, due to the competition from the evangelicals and the charismatics, there are fresh challenges.  Despite the church’s change in the liturgical practice to add loud amens and hallelujahs, people have continued to drift away.  So the response of the church by its Bishop to the ordination of the gay Bishop would not be surprising. The church cannot afford to lose any more members by being perceived as soft.  It must also be seen to be theologically preeminent in The Bahamas since despite the drift away from the church by the great majority, the leaders of the country continue in the main to be Anglican. It is one thing for Bishop Sam Greene to denounce something.  It is quite another, according to some, coming from the Anglican Archbishop.

There is said to be a similar problem in the West Indies generally and in Africa, where the competition from other protestant religions and from Islam in Africa challenges the masculinity of the church.  So the church is forced to defend its masculinity by the harsh response to the ordination of an openly gay bishop.
Our concern as always is the temperature and passion with which this is all being spoken.  It smacks in so many circles of a frightening demagoguery, that absolves some for sin and others not.  That some sins are more equal than others.  Nothing said about the widespread reports of adultery and fornication amongst clergymen. That presumably is acceptable. From a doctrinal point of view that cannot be so.

We say a church of forgiveness does not exclude people.

Further, the logical response of the church in The Bahamas, given what has been said before about the incompatibility of doctrine with the stand of the US church is to break away from the total worldwide Anglican Communion.  The Bishop appeared to rule that out by saying that the Province remains committed to the maintenance of communion while not compromising the integrity of the mission to uphold the faith.  We think that is a sensible approach.

But what is unfortunate is the tone of the public debate generally on this from Christian gentlemen in The Bahamas, which seems to lack the principal of Christian charity.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 9th August 2003 at midnight: 34,101.

Number of hits for the month of August up to Saturday 9th August 2003: 38,277.

Number of hits for the year up to Saturday 9th August 2003: 850,913.


    The police in The Bahamas seem to have a problem.  It is not a problem that is unusual to The Bahamas.  It is a problem that we see happening every day in Jamaica where the police have the reputation of being executioners, extra constitutional killers of civilians who cross their paths.  We only hear about it occasionally in The Bahamas but when it happens, it contradicts the goodwill that Commissioner Paul Farqhuarson and his senior officers are trying to build up in the community through their community policing effort.  The story this time is another shooting.  This time it was fatal.
    The Commissioner told the country that the shooting was committed by Reserve Police officers who were said to have given chase to a man on motorcycle.  The chase ended in the death of a 16 year old girl about to go into the 12th grade at the Government High School.  The public and the family wanted an explanation immediately as to how someone could be running away from you on a motor bike and shooting at you at the same time, with a female girl on the back seat.  The Commissioner promised an investigation.  The names of the officers have not been revealed.
    The shooting took place on Thursday 7th August.  The dead girl is Jiselle Glinton (pictured).  The man who was riding the bike was shot twice: once in the arm and another time in the wrist.  He is Kenneth Dorsette of Yellow Elder Gardens.  The girl was shot in the back.  We think that although we have not reached the point of Jamaica, something must be done, for this same old story is happening in The Bahamas all too often.

    Last week, we presented the most update and comprehensive coverage of the tragedy at sea in the waters off Eleuthera in the early hours of Saturday morning 2nd August.  It spoiled the Emancipation Day holiday for many people.  Four people lost their lives in what appears to have been a combination of bad regulatory practices, resulting in overcrowding of the boat and the fact that it appears that when the accident occurred, no qualified person was at the wheels of the vessels United Star and Sea Hauler.  There are some persons who are threatening to sue of course.  But for most unless there is nervous shock there probably is not much by way of damages that they can collect.  People should thank God that they are still alive.  The Captain gave a tearful account of what he remembered (See story below).  But over and over throughout the country, throughout the week, at the coffee shops and the watering holes, the conversations in The Bahamas turned to this accident and how this could have happened. The Government tried to be proactive on the matter, even as the carpetbaggers that run the FNM were trying to get brownie points for calling for a public inquiry.  Too late. The Government had already through its Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin secured the services of retired Justice Joseph Strachan to be the Wreck Commissioner under the Merchant Shipping Act to conduct a formal inquiry into the matter.  The others assisting the Commissioner in his work are Sir Durward Knowles, retired boat captain and Dwaine Hutchinson of The Bahamas Maritime Authority in London.  We await the formal reports conclusions.  Prime Minister Christie is shown comforting concerned relatives outside the hospital during the aftermath of the accident.  Photo by the Tribune's Dominic Duncombe.  Tribune cartoonist Stan Burnside tribute from the Tribune of 5th August, 2003.

    The Chief Executive at the Port Authority in Nassau believes that he already knows the cause of the accident.  It appears that it is blamed on the fact that on the fateful morn when four souls perished on the high seas off Eleuthera, no qualified person was at the helm in either boat.  Some have already said that the barge had no running lights on, and so it could not be seen by the smaller passenger carrying vessel. Port Director Anthony Allens is pictured at left [centre] announcing a preliminary investigation of the incident.
    The Captain of the Sea Hauler is Allan Russell (pictured at right in a Nassau Guardian photo by Kristaan Ingraham).  According to the Nassau Guardian, he gave a tearful interview about what happened.  In addition, he has hired Philip Davis, the Member of Parliament for Cat Island as his lawyer.  The police are now investigating the matter with a view to determining whether or not there is any criminal culpability.  Captain Russell was the only qualified boatman on his vessel.  He told The Guardian that the accident happened in the space of two minutes when he went to the bathroom.  Here is some of what was said by Captain Russell in his own words as reported to the Nassau Guardian on Tuesday 5th August:
“As I ran out of the bathroom, I said that there aint no reefs in the middle of this ocean.  It is impossible.  So I asked him [the person at the helm] what he saw and he said nothing.  And I looked at the radar screen before I even moved to go to the bathroom, and I didn’t see anything.  My radar was in working condition and I still didn’t see that boat.
    “It was a very bad scene...very, very, very bad
    “I felt like those people were my sons and daughters.  That’s how close I felt to them.  It was a very bad scene.  I could just picture it.  When I went down there and saw those people…ohhhh!... bad scene.  I will remember this to my grave…
    “From my experience, if you see an object, you can deal with it by protecting and shunning yourself from it, but if you haven’t seen the object, it is difficult to shun something that you can’t see.
    “It was chaos.  A lot of people panicked, but I was able to calm them down as much as possible and there were some men who were experienced and they assisted me very, very well in keeping them calm.  Trust me, they reacted very good because it was a very very bad scene.  (One of the Captain’s daughters received serious head injuries.  The Captain said that after the hit, he was unsure that the barge United Star was aware that they had hit another vessel and another vessel radioed the barge to return to the scene. He had already established that his ship was not in danger of sinking.)
    “She did come back.  By that time, Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) and the coast guard made some contacts with me and advised me to go alongside and tie up ship to ship until they arrived.  They said that it would be between an hour and an hour and a half before they could get us, which they did.  We had already transferred all the capable passengers from the Sea Hauler on to the deck of the United Star.
    “The ones who were not able to move remained on board the Sea Hauler.  Then I waited until the authorities reached, which was the coast guard.  They conducted first aid on the people and took over the whole operation from there.
    “When I left Potters Cay, the count was 191 people, and you know our people have a very bad way of jumping on these boats after the count has been scored. We come with extra people at the time of the accident when we were trying to find out if any went overboard…
    “I am still in shock from this incident.  My deepest regret to this day is that those people got hurt.  I always believe that God is in control.  It could have been worse.  The whole ship could have gone down, but thank God we didn’t lose a lot of people.  Although in losing four people, it is still very very sad but it could have been everybody.  And that could have been a real disaster to families in this country.”


    Judy Johnson and Luther Riley, the parents of a 14 year old Lynden Riley were incensed at the hucksters who have been coming up to them and offering money for a photo of their dead son, taken shortly after his death on aboard the Sea Hauler in the wee hours of Saturday 2nd August on the high seas.  The parents said that they were being harassed by insensitive and uncaring photographers who were either aboard during the incident or arrived shortly after and that as many as six had offered to sell them pictures of their son’s dead body in prices ranging from $200 to $1000.  The extent of commercialism is quite incredible.  “These people are sick,” the boy’s father told The Nassau Guardian: “They have no respect for people’s feelings.”  Nassau Guardian photo of parents by Donald Knowles.

    Our photo of the week shows the Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez denouncing the ordination of an “openly” homosexual priest to the office of Bishop in the United States.  The Nassau Guardian criticized the comments of the local Anglican prelate in its editorial of Thursday 7th August a bit of “homophobic ecumenism”.  But the Archbishop’s words were direct and stinging.  He said that the Bishop Elect from the US would not be allowed to serve here, and that no “openly gay” priest would be ordained nor allowed to practice in The Bahamas.  Further, he said that if same sex unions were blessed by any Anglican priest his license would be revoked.
    The Archbishop of Canterbury has summoned all the Anglican Bishops to London for an emergency conference on the matter.  Here is what Archbishop Gomez had to say to the press on Thursday 7th August in his own words:
    “What was surprising to me was the number of votes they [the supporters of Bishop elect Robinson of New Hampshire] were able to garner because when we started this dialogue, we were only certain of 24 Bishops who would vote no and 25 voted no.  So they were able to influence some others.  And so while I expected this result, I didn’t expect for this to be this close…
    “As long as I am in this office, the practice of homosexuality will not be permitted… And any evidence that that is going on will be dealt with very firmly by the Bishop and no person who is openly practicing a gay lifestyle will be considered for ordination.
    “While we remain committed to the maintenance of communion, we cannot compromise the integrity of our mission to uphold the faith once delivered to the saints.  In the present situation, we applaud the noble efforts of the bishops, clergy and laity in the Episcopal conference of the United States of America who upheld the church’s teaching in the wake of the revisionists’ onslaught.  While we encourage them to remain faithful, we pray that a Communion response to our present difficulties will be given urgent attention.”

    The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the nominal head of the Church of England, has convened a conference of Bishops in London for October to discuss what is now being called a crisis in the Anglican Church.  The American church has asked for a separate province to be carved out that allows the conservative elements to exist as a separate province in the United States.  The Africans are threatening to split altogether and well we don’t quite know what The Bahamas plans to do as part of the West Indies.  Our suggestion to the heads of the churches in the West Indies is that people are more tolerant than all that, and there is no need or requirement for the West Indies province to split from the Church of England.  It will be an overreaction and unnecessary since the decision does not affect the West Indies in any way shape or form.

    Arthur Foulkes, the retired politician and ambassador is usually a good read and last week was no exception to that comment.  He spoke mainly about the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and how the Government must engage in further public education on the issue.  But his ire was reserved for Bishop Sam Greene of the Bahamas Christian Council who in Mr. Foulkes' view sought to rest the defence of his statements about blowing up the Parliament of The Bahamas on the Pope’s statement that the Vatican was opposed to gay marriages and urged legislators to vote against any such laws.
    When asked for his response to the Pope's statement, Bishop Sam Greene said that he was basking in pleasure. In other words, he felt vindicated by the Pope's statement.  But Sir Arthur pointed out that Bishop Greene is missing the point.  The point that people take issue with is not his right to say and believe that he disagrees with gay marriages, the only point is he needs to apologize for saying that he will blow up the Parliament.  Until that time, the statement will continue to haunt him.


    Whatever went right or wrong during the fateful weekend of August Monday 2003, the Government seems to have done something right.  Its main asset in the handling of the crisis was clearly Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt whose instincts told her shortly after being notified that the accident had occurred to head down to the Princess Margaret Hospital.  She was the first to arrive and she immediately went about comforting the people on the scene.  It was later that her voice was heard over national radio relaying the information, as it was then known to the public.  The Prime Minister arrived on the scene at about 9: 30 a.m. Saturday 2nd August.  He stayed in the background, observing, giving hugs and words of comfort himself.  This engaging photo by Dominic Duncombe of The Tribune and published on Tuesday 5th August showed the combination and the contemplation.

    Bill Allen, the former Minister of Finance, has a good boy Andrew who writes for The Tribune.  Many times, young Allen falls into error with tangential arguments and attacks on individuals in the Government and mischievous comments about this column.  But for two weeks now, it appears that he has found the right tack.  He has preached tolerance and honesty in the great gay debate going on in the country.  He has been a proponent of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.  It only goes to show that political opponents can find common cause on issues.

    Not to be outdone in the great gay debate, Bishop Simeon Hall has now called for a conference of church leaders to be convened in The Bahamas to mount a defence against the current discussions in the society on gay and lesbian issues.  No doubt this conference will stamp out gay and lesbian activity in The Bahamas once and for all.  The interesting phenomenon is as the Nassau Guardian pointed out in a series that it is running with interviews between two homosexual men, the phenomenon in The Bahamas is so suppressed and secret that the folks who are shouting the loudest about this issue might not even realize who they are talking to and who may be surrounding their very selves as they talk.  It is just like those condemning Haitian Bahamians and not knowing that right around them are people of Haitian descent.


    The Fox Hill Festival is drawing to a close this weekend as it moves toward Fox Hill Day on Tuesday 12th August.  Fox Hill day is the day the second Tuesday in the month set aside by Baptist Churches in the village of Fox Hill for talent concerts at the churches followed by a fair on the Fox Hill parade grounds. The Prime Minister is expected to visit the churches on Fox Hill Day.  He will officially open the Park Plaza Building in Fox Hill owned by Mr. and Mrs. Derek Davis on Monday 11th August.  But in Fox Hill the sports activity and Junkanoo came to a highlight with the presentation of trophies and monies on Thursday 7th August.  Minister of Sports and Culture Neville Wisdom made the presentations.  MP for Fox Hill Fred Mitchell rode on the fire engine on police day in Fox Hill on Saturday 9th August.


    One of the most popular features of the Fox Hill Festival is the climbing of the greasy pole, where the trunk of a large Yellow Pine is liberally coated with heavy grease and a cash prize is attached to the top.  Teams of young men from the village of Fox Hill strategise together to reach the coveted envelope.  Crowds gather to watch the fun.  Here is the climbing of the greasy pole in photos.


    Philip “Brave” Davis MP for Cat Island announced that a fund has been opened at the Royal Bank of Canada to assist the victims of the accident at sea on the weekend of August Monday.  The trustees for the fund are all Cat Islanders: Kemuel Hepburn, Fritz Stubbs, B.K.Bonamy, Dorothy Gilbert, Melvin Seymour, Bishop Albert Hepburn and David Bowe.  It is called the Cat Island Excursion Disaster Relief Funds 2003 account number at Royal Bank of Canada is 2812956.  Mr. Davis (right) is shown with Mr. Kemuel Hepburn announcing the formation of the relief organisation in this Nassau Guardian photo by Patrick Hanna.

    Philip “Brave” Davis has responded to allegations that the Kerr McGee oil exploration licences granted by the Bahamas Government were granted by the Government because he was the former partner of Prime Minister Perry Christie.  Sam Duncombe, an environmental activist, accused the Government of cronyism because of the decision.  Mr. Davis said that the allegations were not only incorrect but also potentially libelous.
    The difficulty with environmental activists is that often they overstate their cases, and go a bit over the top in an effort to cause public reaction and debate.  The fact is that the firm Davis & Co in its previous incarnation Christie Davis and Co developed a reputation and is still one of the only firms with expertise on Bahamian law in the area of oil exploration.  Sam has gone over the top.

    The Tribune of Saturday 9th August reported that Chandra Sturrup, one of the Golden Girls of The Bahamas at the Olympics of 2000 is on target for a one million dollar jackpot as a runner’s prize.  The prize is for the top athlete in the six race Golden League series.  The Tribune reports that she and Mozambique’s Maria Mutola are the only two women in contention for the gold bullion haul.  Ms. Sturrup runs the fourth race in the series in Belgium today.

    The Bahamas Government will have to find a way and soon to finance tertiary education.  The loan underwriting scheme invented by the Free National Movement administration was and is a disaster for so many reasons.  But mainly today, it is because the programme has run out of money and many want to recommend that no loans be granted this year.  That will knock the socks out from under any parents who have no other means of paying for the necessary tertiary level education of their children.  The Government should address this on an emergency basis since the time is running out and no decisions have been made about who is going to get money, and the rumours are that very few if any will be able to get money from the programme.


Mike Pilgrim
Mike Pilgrim is a former teacher at Hugh Campbell Primary School who has taught in The Bahamas for the past 20 years.  He was back in court this week to answer a charge of vagrancy.  He was charged in May of this year and given bail in the sum of $20,000, later reduced to $10,000.  The charge – if guilty – carries a fine of $50.  When he turned up to court, the prosecution was not prepared to go forward with his case and asked for an adjournment to December 17th.  The attorney for the defence objected calling the charge frivolous and asked that it be dropped; instead in was adjourned until December 17th.

Upon attempting to leave the court, Pilgrim was rearrested and charged with bestiality and the assault of two minors, charges for which the allegations go back to 2000 and 2001.  This time, he was remanded to prison until a preliminary enquiry in December.  It now appears that Pilgrim is being singled out by the criminal justice system and it is hoped that the police have the evidence to support these charges and that this individual is not being made a scapegoat for the inability of the police to solve the disappearance of four little boys from the Grand Bahama community.

Backsliding Bishops
When one Canon Robinson was elected this past week to be the new Bishop of New Hampshire it caused some believers in Jesus Christ worldwide to pause and say that we are indeed approaching the long anticipated time when Christ will soon return to rapture his church.

The American bishops electing an openly gay person to be a bishop have departed from the truth.  In the first instance Robinson does not meet the biblical qualifications for the office of a bishop according to the standards set in first Timothy Chapter 3.  Robinson can be the president and CEO of any Fortune 500 company.  He could even be the president of the United States or head any secular organisation, but according to the Holy Scriptures, he does not meet the standard of qualifying for a bishop and no amount of debate will change that.  As believers, we either accept the Holy Scriptures as God inspired instructions or we do not.  It is not something that we pick the doctrines we believe and reject the ones we don’t.

There are some things so obvious that a person need not seek counselling on.  A good example is if a young man is engaged in sweethearting, he need not go to his parish priest to ask what should he do in order for him to take communion.  We all know that all he need do is to repent and cease his sweethearting and then he will be accepted back into the communion, but if he partakes of communion without first repenting, he does so unworthily.  The same is true with the gay lifestyle; this is according to the Holy Scriptures.  It seems that the American bishops have departed from the truth and have embarked on a course of human secularism that will eventually lead a lot of the sheep astray and God will judge them for that.

17th August, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Patrick Pinder, the Roman Catholic priest is now the first Bahamian born Roman Catholic Bishop of The Bahamas.  He was ordained Bishop and consecrated in the office on Friday 15th August in an impressive ceremony attended by the Pope’s personal representative.  The ceremony was held at the St. Ignatius Loyola Hall on Gladstone Road in New Providence on the same date 23 years ago that he was ordained a priest.  We thought that this was of such great moment that the photo of the new Auxiliary Bishop by Peter Ramsay should be our photo of the week.  See the story of the Catholic Church in The Bahamas below.


The Catholic Community in The Bahamas, a church that came to be established here relatively late in the history of the country, is about to come of age.  Patrick Pinder of the St. Augustine’s College Class of 1971 is now the Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Church in The Bahamas.  We congratulate him.

The first stage of the establishment of the church was the missionary phase during the 19th century.  During much of the twentieth century, the church was looking for converts, and they did that by an investment not in church buildings but in the schooling of Bahamian children.  The work of mission was entrusted to the Benedictine monks.  They supplied the first Bishop.  The next Bishop Leonard Hagarty expanded the education effort, with the establishment of Aquinas College, the Bishop Leonard High School (now closed) and of course the expanded work of St. Augustine’s College and the Xavier’s Elementary School.

The new Bishop Lawrence Burke who succeeded Bishop Leonard in 1981 and who is now the Bishop was Jamaican born and he has in addition to the role of education taken the church in The Bahamas to a second phase.  He has expanded the infrastructure of the church with a new hall for education at St. Augustine’s, a new all purpose hall on Gladstone Road and several new church buildings that show that the church has in fact arrived.  He expects to consecrate a new cathedral church to replace the old St. Francis building sometime next year.

The consecration of the Auxiliary Bishop, a product of the Catholic school system, a child of the dispossessed, born himself out of wedlock, is a remarkable accomplishment for the church, and made all Catholics, indeed all Bahamians beam with pride.

During the tenure of Lawrence Burke, the diocese of The Bahamas became an Archdiocese, no doubt in part to compete with the Anglican Church whose Bishop became head of the Province of the West Indies and is the first Bahamian Archbishop.

In his homily, the Roman Catholic Archbishop appealed for tolerance and for an end to prejudice.  He called most notably in the list of those who are the victims of prejudice: lesbians, gays and immigrants.  As if to reinforce the immigrant life amongst us, he had the gospel delivered in Haitian Creole.  The Archbishop also attacked the protestant denunciation of the Catholic veneration of Mary, as the mother of Jesus.  He said that he could not understand how his protestant brothers could not see her special role.  He also attacked the creed of materialism that can be found in various protestant churches, where he said there is a view that the words of God can be heard and interpreted by mere mortals, and that religion and God are reduced to slogans.  He said that he was concerned that the current popular religions had the emphasis on the size of your bank account as a sign that God had blessed you.

While many applaud that frankness, because the signs are that many of the charismatics and evangelicals are behaving as if The Bahamas is some kind of theocracy, some were put off by the convoluted announcement at the mass that those who were not Catholic should not apply for communion.  It was insensitive and insulting, but that aside it was a glorious ceremony.  Today, we have pictures from the ceremony for our readers including (top) Bishop Pinder greeting wellwishers, followed by Archbishop Burke and the Papal Nuncio greeting the congregation. The photos are by Peter Ramsay.

Congratulations to the new Bishop and we wish him well.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 16th August at midnight: 30,878.

Number of hits for the month of August ending Saturday 16th August at midnight: 69,155.

Number of hits for the year up to Saturday 16th August 2003 at midnight: 881,791.

Photos by Peter Ramsay


    There is a picture that many people remember from 1967.  That is a picture of Basil Kelly in a cape with the words UBP written all over it as he flew in from his Crooked Island constituency where he had been victorious in a bye-election.  That bye-election had been called because of an irregularity at the time of the nomination for the General Election of 1967.  The courts said that the election had to be held again.  It was the UBP’s last stand.  The General Election of 1968 wiped them out as a political presence in The Bahamas.  Basil Kelly lost the seat he had held since 1962.  They are now safely entombed in the bowels of the Free National Movement.  This quintessential UBP and Bay Street Boy, whose family came to The Bahamas in 1780 and has stayed for seven generations was hailed on his death at 73 after a brief illness on  Monday 11th August (the 90th  birthday of the   late Sir Milo Butler) as a decent man and a good Bahamian son.  The tributes came from his party the Free National Movement, from his kith and kin like Robert Carron and Lynn Holowesko and from the Prime Minister.  Government Ministers Fred Mitchell, Allyson Maynard Gibson and the Prime Minister attended the funeral on Friday 14th August at St. Anne’s Anglican Church.  The former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was also there. Photo by Peter Ramsay.

    It was if the angel of death had some how visited upon the Bay Street Boys.  Fayne Solomon, the Bay Street merchant who was not involved in politics but came from a family of politicians and activists so that he was identified as a Bay Street Boy died on Monday at the age of 85 at his residence in Treasure Cay, Abaco on Monday 11th August, the same day as Basil Kelly (See story above).  He had no funeral.  He was cremated and his ashes spread at sea near the lighthouse that he built on the Eastern Road.  Mr. Solomon while a supporter of the Free National Movement was seen as an independent thinker and actor to the black community.   In the case of Basil Kelly and Fayne Solomon their life’s work reads so differently from the experiences of today’s Bahamians.  It is like they lived in a different world, and yet their fortunes were made here in The Bahamas.  A chapter in Bahamian history is fast coming to a close.

    The statement of Senator Tommy Turnquest on the FNM’s position on same sex marriage was an extraordinarily brave statement given the tenor of the times.  There is a witch hunt going on, with all of the politicians and intelligentsia scrambling for the hills.  There is a fear that if you defend tolerance or if you say that you have no issue with gay and lesbian people that you will be called a sissy.
    The fact is that most people believe that marriage is a religious concept that has a civil character to it.  It is clear that there is no support then for same sex marriage, since that would obviously be a contradiction in terms.  Marriage in its religious aspect means a relationship between a man and a woman solemnized by the church. But the pure civil character of marriage is really a contract between two individuals to reorder their property and family relationships in a particular way.  It was that aspect of the Canadian constitution that caused the Courts of Canada to rule that the laws on marriage in Canada were discriminatory.  In other words, strip away the whole question of marriage and its religious character, if two people  want to arrange their property and family relationships in a particular way and choose to do so, what role does the state have in preventing that from happening.  Solemnizing those relationships in a church is quite another thing.  It cannot and should not be imposed upon a church.  Such an action would be clearly unconstitutional.
    The Free National Movement's leader Senator Turnquest said that his party does not support gay marriages.  We agree with that. There is no support in The Bahamas for it.  He said that while there ought to be latitude for what goes on between consenting adults, the party did not support same sex marriages.  He said further:
    “The FNM has always had a position of inclusion of all Bahamians, but we do not support same sex marriages as a party, but we don’t believe that we should be intolerant to segments of our society.  We do take issue with volatile statements being made on the issue.  For example, we don’t; think that it was appropriate for Bishop Sam Greene to talk about blowing up the House of Parliament… We don’t believe that we can just cut off a segment of our population because they happen to be gay or lesbian, and we do feel that it is moving ahead.”

    The person in question is now out of political office but he tries to keep his name alive by writing a politically dishonest column in The Tribune every week.  The name is that of former Minister of the Government Zhivargo Laing.  And every week, he is calling on the Prime Minister or the Government to state its position on one thing or the next.  This week his column is taken up with the subject of homosexuality.  He says of the Government: “Oddly, it seems to feel no need to speak to these issues despite the wide public debate”.  Speak precisely to what?  What widespread public debate?  It is as clear as day that no Government of The Bahamas today or in the past has contemplated nor is contemplating same sex marriages. The column is clearly pandering to the lowest common dominator in pursuit of petty political gains, one expects someone supposedly well-trained to use intellect to calm fears that arise out of ignorance, not seek to inflame them.
    The former Minister writes under the headline: PLP LEGALISED SEX BETWEEN SAME SEX PARTNERS.  The story says that it was under the PLP’s government pre 1992 that the laws on sexual relations changed.  He is right but his comment is disingenuous, politically dishonest.  He knows or should know that the law was passed with the unanimous consent of all members of the House including the members of his party the Free National Movement.  There was not one objection or dissent.  He also claims that the passing of the act was done in secret.  That is a lie.  The Act took two years to pass Parliament, because of the controversy over it.  The provisions on homosexuality were not the least of the controversies.  If Mr. Laing would only trouble himself to research the record of the same paper that he writes for, he will find the same lurid headlines that we see today in the years when the bill was debated.
    But what Mr. Laing has to say for all is whether or not he is able to put aside his religious views and tell us what business indeed does the state have in the bedrooms of any two adults.  The arguments for the bill turned essentially on that question.  The Supreme Court of the United States has now upheld that position.  That does not touch and concern religious doctrine, which also outlaws fornication.  The rate of births out of wedlock in the country shows that both fornication and adultery are rampant.  No one argues that this behavior should be criminalized.
    The fact is that we are facing a manufactured issue, manufactured by persons who ought to know better.  It has come at a time when the economy is at a low ebb and is a sure sign that people have nothing better to do with their time, than spend time and effort not on building up the common life but rather seeking to destroy in idle chatter.  Mr. Laing should not be a part of that but should be a part of uplifting the human spirit.  We expect nothing less from him.


    The Fox Hill Festival came to a close on Tuesday 12th August after 12 days of activities.  People were seen stretching as far as the eye could see on the two parks that form the staging ground for the festival.  Both newspapers led with the climbing of the greasy poll on Tuesday 12th August. The day before, Jan and Derek Davis officially opened their new Plaza on the Park Building at Fox Hill.  There was a grand party.  The Prime Minister Perry Christie was there for both occasions.  He spent time walking about the community, and on the Tuesday morning Fox Hill Day visited three Baptist churches in Fox Hill: St. Paul’s Baptist Church, St. Mark's Church and Mt. Carey Baptist Church. There is a full spread of pictures of the events by Peter Ramsay. Greasy pole photo from The Tribune by Dominic Duncombe.


    Two of the victims of the tragic boat crash on the high seas of The Bahamas during the Emancipation Day holiday weekend were buried on Saturday 17th August.  Their names were Brendamae Smith Ellis known as Big D and Brunnell Smith Leslie better known as Poompey.  They were 40 years old and thirty years old respectively.  The service was held at the Joe Farrington Road auditorium of the Church of God.  The Prime Minister attended the service and spoke on behalf of the nation.  The Deputy Prime Minister cut short her vacation to join the service for her constituents.  Also in attendance were the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell and the Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller.

    Kudos to Brian Nutt, head of the Bahamas Employers Confederation (BEcon) for his thoughtful presentation in the newsletter of his organization recently reported in The Tribune of Thursday 14th August.  He described the condition of The Bahamas as that of the proverbial frog soup.  He said that The Bahamas has been losing market share in tourism.  The statistic he quoted is a decline in the total Caribbean market share of 15.4 percent in 1993 to 10.7 percent in 1999.  Notwithstanding the FNM’s propaganda, there has been deterioration under their watch.  The PLP’s job now is to stop the obvious rot that took place, and the steady deterioration of the social fabric of our lives.  To do this, the country must undergo radical change.  It will be difficult but it must be done.  The newsletter wrote:
    “There is an urban legend that if you drop a live frog into a pot of boiling water he will, by reflex action jump right out.  But if you drop him into water of a comfortable temperature and turn up the heat, he will sit there until he boils to death.  The analogy used is to show the consequences of failing to recognize and react to slow incremental changes in an environment.  Bahamians are in danger of becoming frog soup. The socio economic environment around us is slowly deteriorating, and we are failing to recognize and react to slow, incremental changes in an environment.”
    We agree and pledge ourselves to joining people like Mr. Nutt to produce change.

    The Government of The Bahamas sent official representatives to the Turks and Caicos Islands for the swearing in of the new Chief Minister for the colony Michael Missick.  He replaces outgoing Chief Minister Derek Thompson.  Mr. Thompson was forced to resign after the results of bye-elections on 7th August saw the defeat of his party's candidates and the loss of his majority in the Parliament.  Also in the Turks and Caicos for the swearing in was the Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party Raynard Rigby.

    Following upon the General Election campaign of 2002, many people inside the PLP and out in the country were afraid that the closeness of the PLP to the Ministers of the gospel might give them the impression that we are creating a theocracy in The Bahamas and that the religious leaders had to the power to appoint and disappoint leaders.  For some, the headline in The Tribune of Monday 11th August sent chills down their spines.  One must, however, take what is reported by The Tribune with a grain of salt but there was no denial of the report.  The Tribune said that in his Sunday sermon Bishop Neil Ellis of the Mt. Tabor Full Baptist Church said that if the Government dared to take the words Christian values out of the constitution “all hell will break loose”.  So that seems to mean that you can’t even suggest changes in the constitution.
    The Bishop was reportedly reacting to a booklet circulated by the Commission on Constitutional change for people to consider various ideas.  One of them was the question of whether those words should remain in the constitution.  The words have no legal effect but one supposes it makes good fodder to row about it.
    We are concerned about the rising tide of intolerance that appears to be coming from some of our Christian brethren and wish they would really lower the temperature of these remarks and also back away from the intolerance and crudeness their remarks portray.  They are not helpful at this difficult time.  But we think Rick Lowe, the right wing political activist said it best when he wrote a letter to the Nassau Guardian on Thursday 14th August.  He told Bishop Ellis that just in case he did not yet notice, the words Christian Values are in the constitution and hell has already broken loose.  Well said and it brought a chuckle.

    The Gay and Lesbian Alliance has now called on the Government to make its position known on gay and lesbian rights.  They are entitled to do so but we think that we are entitled to know who they are.  The Tribune who reported the story on Tuesday 12th August said that the persons did not want their names to be known.  Such is the state of affairs in The Bahamas.  The atmosphere is still too dangerous to advocate rights that people feel are dear to them.  The level of ignorance displayed on local talk shows on the subject, the crude banality is disgraceful but there is little to be done, if those who are undercover refuse to stand up for their own rights.   So the question we ask the Gay and Lesbian Alliance is if the Government answers then who will it be answering?  The Tribune reported on Saturday 15th August that the Prime Minister would not engage in any debate on the subject because he wants to concentrate on more important issues like getting the economy going.   If that is so, we agree.

    One letter writer was upset about our story last week about the shooting of a 16 year old girl.  The writer took us to task and wrote this:
    “There seems to be a growing ‘Americanized’ problem we are developing in The Bahamas - the complete abdication of personal responsibility when something that is clearly (the death of this teenage girl) painful happens.  We never seem to want to address the more salient issues around these problems, particularly when we have to point a finger.  The easiest route is to blame the police.  There should be a few questions asked before we take that easy route:
1. Where were this CHILD’S parents ?
2. What is a SIXTEEN year old girl doing out at 11.45pm in the evening ?,
3. What is a sixteen year old girl doing on the back of a motorcycle at 11.45pm?,
4. What is a sixteen year old girl doing on the back of a motorcycle at 11.45pm with a 25 year old man,
5. What is a sixteen year old doing out at 11.45pm, on the back of a motorcycle, with a 25 year old man who takes off when approached by the police… and then apparently opens fire with the officers in pursuit?
    Answer these questions along with others you ask…


    Minister Fred Mitchell and Scotia Bank Manager, Mr. Hugh Tai are pictured along with bank staff following a motivational address on national issues by the Minister to the staff of Scotia Bank, Wulff Road and Jerome Avenue, on Wednesday morning, August 13th, 2003.


    There is a controversy brewing in Jamaica.  A white Jamaican artist, commissioned by the Government, has done a statue called Redemption Songs, in honour of Bob Marley and to mark the Emancipation Day of slaves in Jamaica.  The new statues were unveiled in Jamaica's Emancipation Park.  The statue is of two naked people, rising out of the water and looking to the sky.  The public was aghast.  The photo of the statue is shown.  Some objected saying that it was typical of white Jamaicans to make such a statue.  But Barbara Gludon, the Jamaican columnist added a touch of humour when she said that the matter was simply penis envy.  You judge for yourself.  The photo is from the Weekend Observer.


Isle of Capri / Our Lucaya Casino
A public hearing was held this past week at the Justice Centre to hear from any member of the public any reason why Isle of Capri which is to operate the casino at Our Lucaya should not be granted a gaming licence.  At the public sitting there were no objections so the Chairman of the Gaming Board Kenyatta Gibson MP told the news media that he would recommend to the Minister that Isle of Capri be granted its gaming licence.  It is hoped that the operations would be up and running in a maximum of four months.  Isle of Capri anticipates hiring approximately two hundred people, which will help to alleviate some of the pressure on the female unemployed ranks in Grand Bahama.

Change Must Come
With a new ten million dollar Police headquarters you would think that the Grand Bahama Police would have budgeted some monies for the human resource training of its staff that deals directly with the public.  On Friday past, I visited the new police headquarters criminal records department to have an error on a police certificate changed, only to be given the run around.  I was told that the only person who could have the matter corrected was the person who made up the record.  Further, I was told, that officer would not be in until 4p.m., when I was advised to return.  I was then beckoned to a seat and allowed to sit for about fifteen minutes before I could explain to the officer with whom I was already dealing the exact nature of the problem.  I am informed that the sub par treatment is the norm for citizens applying for police records on a daily basis.

I would like to suggest to Assistant Commissioner Greenslade who is in charge of the police on Grand Bahama that he immediately implement a customer relations programme that takes into account minor problem solving and promotes an attitude which recognizes that the average citizen doesn’t have all day to hang around police H.Q. to accomplish a simple task.  It makes no sense to have the top brass of the police force to be in the midst of positive change and the lower ranks headed in the opposite direction, so we suggest that with a new building, a new attitude should come along with it.

Jodi Curtis Off To Brazil
The young and lovely Jodi, daughter of Anne and George Curtis, a recent graduate of Grand Bahama Catholic High School and a talented competitive runner and swimmer is off to Brazil.  Jodi is a Rotary International Exchange student for a year.  She left for Brazil on Friday morning and we’d like to wish her well.

McLean’s Town Ferry
According to police reports on Tuesday evening the ferry that plies between McLean’s Town, Grand Bahama and Crown Haven, Abaco sent out a distress call saying that the cabin cruiser was taking on water fast and was in danger of sinking.  Boats were immediately dispatched from McLean’s Town and from Crown Haven and were able to transfer the twenty passengers along with their cargo to Abaco.  It turns out that a self-baling plug was not secure, according to police reports.  The boat was then towed to Crown Haven, repaired and later put back into service.

24th August, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Prime Minister Perry Christie celebrated his 60th birthday on Thursday 21st August.  He is not a man for celebrating birthdays but despite his best efforts, friends and supporters insisted.  The PLP’s Council held a birthday bash for him on Wednesday 20th August at the Sir Lynden Pindling Centre, Gambier House. Then the next morning the CEO Network headed by businesswoman Debbie Bartlette and Bishop Samuel Greene, invited the Prime Minister and his wife to a prayer breakfast to mark the occasion of his birthday.  Also there were a number of Cabinet colleagues, friends and family members.  The Prime Minister shares a birthday with Dr. David Allen, psychologist, who is the head of the Urban Renewal Commission.  They were said to have been born within one half hour of each other.  Photographer Peter Ramsay caught the Prime Minister and Mrs. Christie sharing a hearty laugh in this candid and engaging photo that we thought made the best picture to make photo of the week.



It was a strange kind of celebration of an anniversary.  The Free National Movement decided that since they had been elected on 19th August 2002, they would celebrate that anniversary this year, even though the people of the country effectively cancelled that event on 2nd May 2002 with the election of a new Government.   But celebrate they did, with a church service at St. Mark’s Baptist Church in Nassau on the 19th itself and with a political rally the night before in Freeport, the so called FNM country.  The star attraction was Hubert Ingraham, their displaced former leader and the country’s second Prime Minister.

Mr. Ingraham was in his usual form.  He engaged in sleights of hand with his language.  His vocabulary has not changed.  He is still talking about the inept and corrupt PLP.  He is still speaking in those staccato sentences and words that get the crowd riled up essentially by reducing complex issues to deceptively simple formulations that turn out to be lies when examined thoroughly.  He is back to his charge of corruption in the PLP.

Prime Minister Perry Christie described the whole thing as foolishness.  We have the full text of Mr. Ingraham’s remarks and you may click here to read them.  The Minister for Immigration called Mr. Ingraham's remarks brazen and arrogant.  The Foreign Minister called Mr. Ingraham’s remarks mischievous and unbecoming of a former Prime Minister.

The Bahamian public must, however, be made to come to grips with larger issue about Mr. Ingraham and what role he should now play in the public life of The Bahamas.  The fact is that he is a man who receives a pension of $100,000 from The Bahamas Government.  Pensions come to those who have retired from politics.  At least by the very arguments advanced by Mr. Ingraham in his address that was the idea when the bill was passed to facilitate Sir Lynden’s retirement.  He insisted that Sir Lynden had to go or he would not get the pension. It turns out that by law, Sir Lynden was entitled and should have received it and now the Government has to pay some $500,000 to his estate.

Mr. Ingraham says that he does not believe in double dipping so he is not taking any salary, the $28,000 due to him as an MP.  He knows that he cannot refuse the salary.  In law, he is entitled to receive it and it is only awaiting his collection.  That was politically dishonest.

Since he is not retired, he should in fact not be receiving the $100,000 per year annual pension.  He also has a Government supplied car and aides for the rest of his life.  But it would seem to us that all of this is predicated on the fact that he is retired from politics.  So while one should expect some statesmanlike interventions from time to time from him, no one expected him to get back up on a public platform engaging in political polemic.  That means he is not retired at all.

This issue was put to Mr. Ingraham in the House of Assembly before, and he refused to accept that the proper course was that he ought to give up the $100,000.

But the conduct that we saw displayed in Freeport was vintage Hubert Ingraham.  One thing we can say is that he invigorated the old faithful of the FNM, wistfully dreaming of the glory days.  The truth doesn’t matter, just someone who can slam it to the PLP.  They say that once he finished, and they announced that the leader was coming on, one Senator Tommy Turnquest, the crowd - obviously sated with nostalgic bliss - began to leave.  Mr. Ingraham said in his final sentence: “I will God willing be back”.  One could almost hear tens of thousands of right-thinking Bahamians groan, "Save us Lord!"

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 23rd August 2003 at midnight: 29,861.

Number of hits for the month of August up to Saturday 23rd. August at midnight: 99,016.

Number of hits for the year 2003 up to Saturday 23rd August at midnight: 911,652.


    The fake crisis that was created with all the badinage about gay marriages and whether the Government would sanction such marriages has finally been put to rest it seems.  Prime Minister Perry Christie commented on the matter when visiting Freeport on the weekend of Sunday 17th August.  A young and aggressive reporter ambushed him and asked him what was the position on gay marriages.  The report of what the Prime Minister said was written by Denise Maycock of The Tribune.  Here is what he had to say in his own words:
    “We have laws in place to determine who can get married to whom and during the time at which they can get married.
    “They are the laws.  And my government has not had any reason whatsoever to contemplate change of existing laws of our country.  And, no one has made any recommendations that we should.
    “No one has ever approached me or asked me to make any representation to Parliament with respect to changing legislation.  The changing of legislation requires a sponsor.
    “Either it is a sponsorship through the government and, therefore, someone would have to approach the government.  If not me, one of my ministers whose ministry may be relevant to that issue such as Social Services or the Attorney General’s office.
    “Someone may approach the position, or any opposition Member in Parliament or independent member in opposition to sponsor legislation.  But no one has ever presented any critique of our existing laws as to their adequacies or inadequacies as the case may be."

    This week The Tribune reported that Alamerica Bank headed by Donald V. Watkins, one of the richest Black men in America, is to trying to establish a branch in The Bahamas.  The Tribune picked up the news from the Birmingham News.  They contacted The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell because the story said that the Minster had been responsible for bringing the bank to The Bahamas.  Mr. Watkins said that the Alamerica Bank planned to establish a four million dollar development fund that would finance small business projects in The Bahamas.  This is to be the first overseas venture for the bank.
    Alamerica Bank was created on 28th January 2000 and had chosen The Bahamas as the nation for its first overseas expansion after Mr. Watkins was invited to visit this nation by the Bahaman Foreign Minister.  Mr. Mitchell told The Tribune that he was introduced to Mr. Watkins by a colleague from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University while Mr. Watkins was here on holiday.  They began to talk to Mr. Watkins about his concerns about the inability of Bahamian entrepreneurs to begin start up business, then introduced him to Bahamian friends who might assist him in a project in The Bahamas.
    Mr. Mitchell told The Tribune: “I am always interested in young Bahamians having access to capital.  Since we lost office in 1992 we have regretted that there was not a sufficient enlarging of the economic pie for most people.  Since then there have been a lot of complaints that there is no access to capital, and during our last campaign we made promises.”  We hope that the Minister’s ideas come to fruition.


   Dongcun Jiao is the new Ambassador for China to The Bahamas.  He presented his credentials to the Governor General on Thursday 21st August.  This the third Chinese Ambassador since The Bahamas and the Peoples Republic of China  began diplomatic relations on 23rd May 1997.  Since that time, there have been a number of high level delegations from China, the highest of which was the visit of Madam Wu, a State Councillor and Deputy Premier of China and now Minister of Health, following the SARS crisis in China.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell welcomed the new Ambassador and announced that he would be travelling to the Peoples Republic on an official visit during the coming week.  Mr. Mitchell said that the idea of relations with China is one that signifies that The Bahamas is an open country with a world view.  China has much to lend to the country’s economy and to assist in its economic development.  The new ambassador is shown during a courtesy call to present a gift to Prime Minister Perry Christie.  BIS photo by Peter Ramsay.

    We are in a frenzy again over the question of whether or not a controversial artist from Jamaica is able to come and perform in The Bahamas.  In 1982, the then Minister of Culture Kendal Nottage banned Yellow Man, the reggae performer of the day from coming to perform in The Bahamas, on the curious grounds that it would corrupt Bahamian youth.  He then moved to ban reggae music from the broadcasting Corporation, then the only radio station in The Bahamas.  That did not stop reggae music and the proliferation we see today is a testament to that.  And so with the Black Entertainment Network (BET) beaming in every provocative form of rudeness onto the screens for our children to see; with the Bahamian groups having the wildest most explicit gyrations on the Bahamian stages every day, with the web available with every form of pornography on it, what good does it do to try to stop a particular rude boy artist to come to The Bahamas?
    Further, what business is it of the Government’s to stop people from hearing what they want to hear, and  further from damaging the investments of young entrepreneurs who invest and promote these concerts?  That does not stop the controversy from raging, as a little known artist Fifty Cent (in the singular if you please) plans to come to The Bahamas.  Fifty cent is from Jamaica and is known for creating violent threats at his concerts against women.  He treats women with disrespect.  You will remember Buju Banton, also from Jamaica who said in his Boom Boom Bye Bye that gays should all be shot.  That did not stop his music from being played in The Bahamas.  We do not believe that Fifty Cent should be banned from The Bahamas.  That is bad precedent.

    The names are now out as to who got and who did not get.  It is said that there are some 200 fewer persons receiving financial assistance this year than last.  It is said that there is a default problem with persons simply abandoning their obligations to repay their loans.  The system is in plenty of trouble with the safeguard on means testing and limiting credits that should have been put in place from the start.  There were complaints this year about the distribution of cheques.  It appears that many people who claimed that they had put in documents complained that their documents could not be found.  They had to supply them again.  Some students reported to the press that they went to the National Centre for the Performing Arts to receive their cheques only to find that their names were not on the list.  The Government needs to change the system of distribution of cheques.  It is not private enough and treats everyone like cattle.  Further, there seems to be no end of complaints about missing cheques.  But more importantly, there needs to be put in place a pure grant system for people wanting to study who cannot afford to borrow money.  The present system is discriminatory and does not help poor people.  It leaves them without any assistance programme at all.  It was a mistake to eliminate the grant system put in place by the Progressive Liberal Party.  The Nassau Guardian published this Patrick Hanna photo showing students lining up for cheques outside the National Centre for the Performing Arts.


    The Foreign Minster Fred Mitchell is off to an official visit to China.  He will also visit Hong Kong and Japan before returning home.  The genesis of the trip is the invitation to the Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin who is to launch a ship owned by the Clipper Group.  The Clipper Group is one of largest ship owners on the Bahamian register.  They have their corporate offices in Nassau and contribute to the reputation of The Bahamas register.  This is one of two ships to be launched this year.  Joining the trip is Sir Sidney Poitier, the Ambassador to Japan and UNESCO for The Bahamas.  While in Hong Kong, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will join the Bahamian community there in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Independence of The Bahamas, which was delayed because of the SARS epidemic.  The Minister is now in Japan and will lead the delegation to a meeting with the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Monday 25th August to discuss matters of mutual interest, including the expansion of Bahamian Japanese relations, tourism and trade.  The official delegation is accompanying Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin on her way to China to launch a ship and includes The Bahamas Ambassador to Japan, Sir Sidney Poitier.  Minister Mitchell is shown with a delegation of Foreign Affairs staff and the Chinese Ambassador who bid him bon voyage at Nassau International Airport.

    A group of Bahamian artists under the direction of producer writer Fred Ferguson left The Bahamas on Friday 22nd August for Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname.  They will represent The Bahamas at CARIFESTA.  This is the cultural festival put on with all countries of the Caribbean.  The Bahamas contingent includes singers K.B. (Kirkland Bodie); Therese Hepburn, Sweet Emily, Audrey Wright, the Spank band.  The Chef de Mission is Patricia Bazard.  The group is expected to return on Friday 29th August.  The Bahamas was a big hit in Jamaica when a Junkanoo band visited Jamaica as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of CARICOM.


    Alpheus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson did not quite make it on to the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Council. He lost with 86 six votes, losing the last slot to Finland’s Ilkka Kanerva.  The same was not true for Pauline Davis Thompson, one of The Bahamas Golden Girls from the 2000 Olympics and now retired.  Ms. Thompson was elected to the fourth of ten slots on the Women’s Association of the (IAAF).  The vote took place in Paris, France, the scene of the 9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics.  This was reported by Shavaughn Moss of the Nassau Guardian on Friday 22nd August.

    The Bahamas is proving in yet another sport that it belongs right up there with the top contenders in the world.  Swimming standout Jeremy Knowles has won a bronze medal in the 200 metre butterfly at the World University Games in South Korea.  Knowles, who stunned the Caribbean as an age group swimmer by taking gold in each of 13 events, took the bronze in 1:59.21.  It was a personal best and a new Bahamas national record in the event. The World University games look to be a fast meet with many participants from the recent World Championships in attendance.  The gold medal in the 200M Butterfly was won by Takeshi Matsuda from Japan in 1:57.44; the silver went to Serhiy Advena from UKR (Ukraine) in 1:58.74 and the bronze to Jeremy.  The Bahamian team erupted in excitement, all waving Bahamian flags and cheering as Jeremy stood on the awards podium and they hoisted the Bahamian flag.  Other members of the team due to compete are April Knowles, who has won her first heat in the 50M breaststroke in a personal best of 36.75; Kristoph Carey and Corin McCartney.  Jeremy is pictured at the recent Bahamas National Swimming Championships with his parents Andy and Nancy Knowles.

    The community of Freeport and The Bahamas in general must be curious if not furious at the loss of some 11 kilos of cocaine from a police facility in Freeport.  The report says that sometime on Thursday 21st August, the cocaine went south.  On Saturday 24th August, the police in Grand Bahama announced arrests of persons from the ‘Ghetto’ area of Freeport of substantial amounts of cocaine, reportedly some 106 kilos.  No one knows whether the two are connected. The question must be asked after all the successes we have had with cocaine busts this year, how could the theft take place.  It appears to be some sloppiness, and there must be a very public and transparent investigation before the country again gets a bad name for being collusive in this nefarious business. The story is that the drugs were being kept in the former offices of the police now in the process of moving to new offices. Some heads must roll.  The other thing that must be addressed is why there is the necessity for these large amounts of drugs to be kept on hand anyway for trial.  Why can't samples be used and the rest of the drugs immediately destroyed? Shown is a Freeport News photograph of several 'uncustomed' vehicles also seized in the raids, called 'Operation Eagle'.  The photo is by Patrick McGregor.

    Now, now Tommy Turnquest: how could you of all persons open your mouth to criticize a Government Minister on the question of a conflict of interest?  The Senator and Leader of the Free National Movement held a press conference on Saturday 23rd August to call for the Prime Minister to step in on the question of a building being rented by BaTelCo from Leslie Miller, the Minister of Trade or so Senator Turnquest says.  He claims that this is in violation of the code of ethics and that Mr. Miller ought to step down or the lease cancelled or at the very least the lease ought to be investigated.  He says that there was a building available for BaTelCo to rent from someone lease.
    We have no idea what the facts are but the Prime Minister is clear that where there is conflict then that can only be resolved in favour of a Minister by his waiver.  None was requested in this case.  Further, the letter of the code speaks of conflicts where a Minister is directly involved, not where there is an arms length transaction with a company that may be beneficially owned by a Minister.  But what Senator Turnquest has to answer to is the fact that during his term as a Minister a Judge of the Supreme Court rented a House from him and it was unchallenged that he was the direct beneficiary of those monies.  He saw no conflict then. Things that make you go:" Hmmm!"  But we hasten to add that two wrongs don't make a right.

    The preachers who have been engaged in the idle polemic on the question of gay marriages managed to get themselves mixed up a number of times over this issue.  In the first place, it is not possible in Bahamian law for two people of the same gender to get married.  If any one bothers to check, there is a provision in the Divorce and Matrimonial Proceedings Act that lists the marriage of persons of the same gender as grounds for annulment.  In other words, such a marriage would be void.  Further, unlike the Canadian constitution that caused the Canadian government to move to eliminate the discrimination in their laws on marriages there is no such discrimination on the grounds of gender in The Bahamas, nor as in the South African constitution is there in The Bahamas constitution a prohibition against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
    What the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act says is that persons who are over the age of 18 can engage in the act of sexual intercourse, including penetration provided it is done in private.  The age of consent for homosexual sex in The Bahamas is therefore 18, unlike heterosexual sex where the age of consent is 16.  The Gay and Lesbian Alliance has called for the removal of all laws that discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.  They have a long way to go, because this is not a topic easily discussed in The Bahamas although various numbers have been bandied around about the prevalence of the phenomenon.  Even the Alliance is still afraid to have their names known.  The church has run a relentless campaign over it, and that campaign is likely to continue to influence political opinion on the subject.
    The FNM administration to its credit stood up to the religious pressure and indicated that in a secular state, people have a right to their own choices, just as they have a right to practice their religion.  The statement came in the wake of protests against a Gay Cruise that came to The Bahamas.  Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham repeated that view from the public platform in Freeport (you may click here for the full address).

    This letter in from reader Jason Weir:
    "If use your site all the time to keep up with what's happening in the Bahamas and all the talk over gay marriages caused me to think about something I once heard about the late Archdeacon William Thompson, the rector of St. Agnes Anglican Church in Nassau.
    "I know that during his lifetime, Father Thompson was firmly opposed to homosexual behaviour.  But he told the story once of an American priest who, said the Archdeacon, told him that he was homosexual.  The Archdeacon said that he began by condemning the man's sexual orientation.  But he said he priest said to him what happens if that is the way God made me and I'm so ordered and can do nothing about this in the same way that your skin is black and you can do nothing about that?
    "Archdeacon Thompson said that this caused him to stop and think, because he thought that he would hate it if the priest were right to have placed a man in position where he was the victim of discrimination in a situation where there was nothing he could do about the way he was.  It is serious story for all to think about as they rage in religious impatience and self righteousness."

    Also in our letters column this week, we thought to provide an interesting letter written by Marlon Johnson, part of Safe Bahamas and a young businessman in the country.  The letter came as a result of an intervention made by Pastor Cedric Moss as part of the great gay debate.  We thought that it was an interesting piece in the midst of all the messages of intolerance.

Marlon Johnson wrote:
Put an End to those Left-handed Deviants:

Dear Pastor Moss,
Seeing that being left-handed makes you a deviant (meaning someone who deviates from the norm), shouldn't we right-handed "normal" folks seek to change them?

In fact, in the very recent past, left-handed children were forced by their parents and teachers to use their right hands, often with severe punishments and beatings for those who persisted in their abominable left-handedness. Many of these kids did end up writing with their right hands - although they continued to be left-handed deviants.

So, in fact, if they wanted to do so - and if they prayed hard enough - any left-handed person could indeed become right-handed and so be normal like the rest of us. They are choosing to persist in their left-handedness, obviously because they are wicked and relish being deviants.

Indeed, I know left-handed people who really would love to have been born right-handed because the world is made for right handed people (desks, computer mice, appliances, Greco-Roman script,
Etc.). They would love to be right-handed, but by some genetic anomaly or brain defect, they are born left-handed and they really don't have a choice in the matter.

Why have we stopped punishing our children for this deviant behaviour, pastor? Why don't we preach to them that it just ain't natural to be left-handed?  Why does our society passively tolerate left-handedness? Why have we as parents given up and stop beating our children for their left-handedness? Why have we just accepted that God made some people left-handed or that some people have chosen to be left-handed - and we must love them anyway? My goodness, we have abandoned the traditional right-handed values of our forefathers!! No wonder the country is going to hell.

I don't know: Perhaps it was that because we allowed Canada to give rights to those left-handed people all those years ago - and we never spoke out about it!! And now we are suffering as a people.  In fact, I remember one time I hand to sit in a left-handed mini desk to write an exam - because all the right-handed mini desks were taken !! All because of those damn liberals who fought to stop people from "abusing" their children because they were left handed and they actually got the schools to bring in a couple of left-handed desks! Can you imagine?? God can't be pleased!

Thus, I entreat you and our entire Christian leadership to remind people once again of our tradition of "righting" left-handed children to stop their deviant actions. In fact, now is a good time, seeing that we are fighting hard to stop that other deviation destroying our society - what's it called again: ah, yes, homosexuality!!

Your partner against deviant behaviour – especially left-handedness,


    The Prime Minister made his way to Englerston this past Saturday 23rd August to stand in the his Minister of Transport & Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin who is off to Japan and China.  Minister Hanna Martin is the MP for the constituency which held a street festival on Saturday.  Prime Minister Christie seems to have had a good time. BIS Photos are by Peter Ramsay.



Every Man For Himself
If Tommy Turnquest is ever to be taken seriously as the leader of the Free National Movement he should never allow himself to be put in the position he was placed in on Monday past at an FNM rally held in Freeport to commemorate the August 1992 victory of the party over the PLP after 25 consecutive years as government of The Bahamas.  In what can only be described as a most uncharitable display of leadership by one who should know better by virtue of the office that he had held, Hubert Ingraham resorted to the ‘every man for himself’ principle when he took the stage and proceeded to speak for one long hour and 15 minutes.  After that, Tommy Turnquest as leader was to be the keynote speaker.

Mr. Ingraham critiqued the performance of the PLP from the time of his party's humiliating defeat at their hands which kicked out of office on the island of New Providence every FNM standing, save Brent Symonette - a White Bahamian who was perceived to stand up to Ingraham from time to time - and who demonstrated some degree of independence.  The question most rally goers were asking was, what was Hubert up to?  Very deep in his piece was the pretext, we believe, that Mr. Ingraham will use for his launch pad and his active participation back into the leadership of his party's politics.  He told the crowd that he does not receive or accept an MP's salary, because that would be considered double dipping.  He only receives, he said, his Prime Minister's pension.  He further stated that he did not force Sir Lynden out of office; he said that that was a negotiated deal.  He went on to say that on at least one occasion, Prime Minister Christie sat in on a meeting that he had with the late Sir Lynden Pindling.  So, Mr. Christie knows all about the deal, he maintained.  "A deal is a deal,” said Mr. Ingraham.

Credible sources have told us that Mr. Ingraham is deeply offended by the impression that he feels has been given about his actions with regard to Sir Lynden's pension.  He is said to feel that he has been wronged by Prime Minister Christie and at the first opportunity, he will "drop all the facts" on Christie and his boys.  A second source has told us that Mr. Ingraham sees a leadership vacuum and, being the political animal that he is, will fill any vacuum that exists.  We believe that this will be a mistake on his part that would demonstrate on the part of Black leadership no knowing when it's time to go away.

The PLP has given its detractors sticks with which to beat them.  Two glaring examples are the privatization of BaTelCo and the bad laws that have to do with the financial services sector and the OECD attack.  On BaTelCo, it was generally believed that given the geography of The Bahamas with its many islands, privatization was an ill-conceived experiment and when the PLP was in opposition, they opposed it.  When they came to power, however, they allowed the process to continue and to drag on.

At the end of the day, the only people who will benefit from Hubert Ingraham's folly with BaTelCo and the squandering of at least one hundred million dollars would be the government's consultants.  We call on the government to immediately bring this folly to a close.

On the financial services laws, since the passing of those laws which were reportedly faxed directly from the U.S. capital, Washington by then Prime Minister Ingraham, they had the immediate effect of putting scores of highly paid Bahamians out of work and rendering others underemployed to the point of mere subsistence while hundreds of millions of dollars took flight to other jurisdictions because of the cowardly actions of the FNM.

Now all that is left in the wake of Ingraham's financial services laws are public announcements on almost a daily basis that the Central Bank of The Bahamas has revoked the licence of another offshore bank.  The PLP, we believe has not responded to what was clearly a sophisticated attack on the sovereign rights of The Bahamas.

We expected a new PLP government would have moved to repeal at least some of those laws or moved with haste to have the laws tested before the courts to see if they would stand judicial review.  Instead, we have seen the government stand still as hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues evaporate before our eyes.  It is hoped that the government realizes if they stand still and do nothing that our industry will die anyway so we can only gain if we succeed in standing up for our rights.

31st August, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - It is back to school for most parents this week and of course for their children.  You may have seen the ad on US TV with the music playing and the words: “It’s the most beautiful time of the year”.  The subtext is that it is beautiful for parents who won't have the children to contend with around the house.  But for some children it is a miserable thought.  Primary school teachers who take in this year’s class must be alert for those of their charges that want to run back home.  Some others are traumatized by it.  Others find it exciting.  For those going to tertiary level schools like the Prime Minister's daughter Alexis, it is a rite of passage.  Papa and Momma all go with the child to school to see her off for her first excursion as an independent adult.  The Prime Minister and Mrs. Christie accompanied Alex to her university and this photo was taken by Peter Ramsay at the departure at the Nassau International Airport.  We thought it should be our picture of the week.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell struck back at the disingenuous Zhivargo Laing by calling his words on the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) “tiresome and tedious”.  We can think of no better way to describe what the former Minister for Economic Development of the FNM had to say.  Responding in the place of Hubert Ingraham who got roasted royally by the Minister last week for his foolish comments about CSME at a political rally in Freeport, Mr. Laing claimed that the PLP had no position on CSME and that it should state what its position was.  Further he put the position that the PLP (without saying so) was inclined to allow free movement of people.

In the Minister's statement (please click here for the full text) he said that he would repeat it so that even Mr. Laing could understand.  The PLP does not support free movement of people.

The problem we have is this.  What in God's name is wrong with Zhivargo Laing?  It is almost as if someone has taken leave of their senses.  Here you have a man who has gotten what is supposed to have been a good Christian education, supposed to have been well trained, yet he continues to embarrass himself and his party by one foolish utterance after the next.  Beyond foolish, or perhaps more profoundly, simply untrue, betraying a frightening lack of comprehension on something that is so basic.

Unfortunately, you have to put it that way.  How else can someone who sees something in black and white.  It is clear what the position is, and yet he so perversely tries to turn the matter around to be the exact opposite.  This cannot be simply artifice or deliberate deceit.  It must be a basic inability to comprehend.  His actions are certainly beyond our comprehension.

For the record, our understanding of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy is that when the Free National Movement left office they had not made up their minds about what to do with Caricom.  Prime Minister Perry Christie decided that he would seek to define what we would do within the first year of his Prime Minstership. Unfortunately that was not possible but he asked Prime Minister Owen Arthur to come to Nassau to speak to the Bahamian people about what joining CSME would mean, and also for the Barbados Prime Minister to get a feel for what Bahamians felt on the matter.

When Mr. Arthur left The Bahamas, he left with an undertaking to the Government that he would argue for special and differential treatment for The Bahamas.  This would be so on a range of issues including free movement of people and the tariff structure, the most contentious issues.

The FNM’s spokesman keeps arguing about single currency.  This is something that all Caribbean countries agree is off the table so the issue does not arise.

So the other question, why do they keep raising these issues when they are no longer on the table.  Mr. Laing and those who hope to succeed Mr. Ingraham have the mistaken impression that the PLP won the last election because the PLP made the FNM look like a party that was too much in favour foreigners.  They feel, though they don’t believe that CSME is dangerous at all, that if they seek to frighten people that foreigners will take over as a result of joining CSME that they will get a chance to return to the Government.  It is as simple in our view as that.  And that is what is all the more disappointing about this Zhivargo Laing character that we no longer know.  One has to ask oneself, will he do anything to get power?  Is that the Christian way?

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 31st August 2003 at midnight: 32,490.

Number of hits for the month of August up to Saturday 31st August 2003 at midnight: 131,506.

Number of hits for the year 2003 up to Saturday 31st August at midnight: 944,142.


    There should be a clutching at straws department when it comes to the Free National Movement and their leadership.  Last week this column wrote a story about an alleged conflict of interest on the part of the Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller.
    It is our view that by the strict letter of the code of ethics, there is no conflict if there is an arms length transaction between a government entity and an interest owned by the Minister that may be in a corporation.  But we went further and said that the Prime Minister is the ultimate arbiter of the question of whether there is a conflict or not.  The Prime Minister has clearly not pronounced on the issue and we said that.  That was taken by Carl Bethel, the ever more desperate Chairman of the Free National Movement to mean that we had some how some magical connection to the leaders of the PLP by way of the previous writer of this site and that meant that we said that there was a conflict.
    Shakespeare said: “Mischief thou art afoot!”  We think that is the best thing we can say on this occasion in the clutching at straws department.  Mr. Bethel clearly ought to go out and find his own arguments to support his case, not try to pervert ours.

    While the Hubert Ingraham boys are ever more joyful about Hubert Ingraham's performance at the Freeport FNM political anniversary on 18th August, friends of Senator Tommy Turnquest, the Leader who Mr. Ingraham left in place and who lost his seat in the House, is now in a quandary.  He does not quite know how to tell Mr. Ingraham get lost.  Mr. Ingraham told the crowd as he ended his address in Freeport: “God willing, I’ll be back”.  Some one said: “This is a brazen…”
    The public finds it largely incredible that this man who ran the country into the ground single-handedly and managed in the process to ruin BaTelCo, the Financial Services Sector, and to cheese most of The Bahamas population is now back singing the same old song.
    Senator Turnquest should act and act quickly to get Mr. Ingraham off the public stage.  The first sign of trouble was the report that when Mr. Ingraham finished his speech in Grand Bahama, no one stayed around for Tommy to speak.  People went into their cars and started leaving the rally.  They forgot that Senator Turnquest is the leader.  Mr. Ingraham should really have been confined to a cameo performance.  But of course, it is not for us to tell the FNM how to conduct its business.

    This week the press in The Bahamas reported that there was a walkout at the Ocean Club, the upscale Paradise Island property owned by Kerzner International.  This seemed just a little strange, because the Ocean Club is about to do the ground breaking for its even more upscale villas on 10th September.  The hotel union’s President Pat Bain indicated that this was not an action sanctioned by the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union.
    The company was said to be nonplussed because they felt they had a deal with the Union to lay off the workers for a five week period while certain fix-it projects were done on the main property.  It seemed to betray a further fear of the company that the Union is not a reliable partner with which to do business on behalf of employees because the Union may not be able to speak for its members.
    At week’s end, it appeared that talks had resumed about the issue.  But looming in the distance is a greater problem; that of the ultimate contract between the two parties for the next period of three years, when Paradise Island is expected to see unprecedented growth.  The Kerzners keep indicating that containing costs is a significant factor in their project, and labour costs must not spiral out of control.  The Union takes the view that the labourers ought to be amply rewarded for the profitable success of Kerzner’s property.  Have things now reached an impasse on that front as well? Bahama Journal photo of the Ocean Club demonstration by Omar Barr shows Atlantis PR Vice President Ed Fields in yellow shirt in left foreground speaking with employees.

    No one over forty had or had barely heard of a Black American rapper called ‘Fifty Cent’, not “Cents” if you please.  The fact that he can’t get his grammar right should have been the first sign of trouble.  Add to that his reputation for attacking women in a derogatory and scurrilous manner, then you have trouble indeed.  But under the noses of the grown ups including in the listening ears of children of various Cabinet members, ‘Fifty Cent’ was being blared out from One Hundred Jamz the Bahamian pop station and other stations.  So when the parents tried through such agencies as the ever dread Bahamas Christian Council, and thence the Government to ban his coming to The Bahamas, there was revolt.
    It appears that having gone through the experience of censoring and banning Yellow Man in the 1980’s and finding out that censorship does not work, the morality police are still at it.  The promoter was aghast because he had spent tens of thousands of dollars in the expectation that the performance on Saturday 8th September would go ahead.  In the end, the Government came up with the right answer but no one is sure that it won't damage the ability for a successful concert anyway, with all the back and forth.
    The country needs to straighten itself out on this.  This is a secular state, not a Christian theocracy.  People should be wary of devolving to anyone the choice over one’s reading, listening material or choices period, particularly to a clerical elite or to a Government.  The announcement from the Government said that the rapper had been allowed in, but with conditions.  All the conditions simply repeat the law of The Bahamas so it seemed just a tad bit redundant.  If it makes the morality police happy, then fine.  As for the rest of us if we want to go to the concert we can, if not we will stay home. Internet image from '50 Cent's website.

    The news that the Wyndham Crystal Palace is not on the market for sale is not happy news.  The business community had been hoping and some Government members as well that there would be some relief for Cable Beach that has been suffering with the twin elephants of the Radisson and the Crystal Palace.  Both are in a word “dumps”.  In the Radisson’s case, the government does not have the funding to make the improvements necessary.  The Government has made it clear that it wants to sell it and sell it yesterday.
    In the Crystal Palace's case, the ever mercurial Philip Ruffin does not put the money into the property that he needs to make it a first class facility and some think that the whole thing ought to be imploded.  Whatever the case, the Government’s various agencies should get an urgent clarification of the declaration that the property is no longer for sale because we need some new life on Cable Beach to match the new life that is coming on Paradise Island.

    The Bank of Butterfield of Bermuda has announced that it has purchased what it called a small private bank in The Bahamas, managing assets from $150 million to two billion.  The report appeared in The Royal Gazette of Bermuda.  The Bank is called Thorand Bank and Trust.  The bank is headed in The Bahamas by Robert Lotmore.  The new bank will be renamed the Bank of Butterfield (Bahamas) Limited.
    There is a note of triumph here for our Bermudian neighbours and a pride that The Bahamas is still attractive to foreign capital.  But there is also some sadness because, it shows again that the Bahamian business community does not engage in wealth expanding opportunities.  Both Jamaican and Bermudian capital have found a welcome home in The Bahamas.  Where are the Bahamian investments overseas that will bring wealth to our country?  Instead we seem to be developing an increasingly narrow minded business community that can’t see to the end of their noses.  Everything is to protect this isolated paradise, a paradise that is deteriorating and they do not appear to have the talent to expand the growth opportunities for the country.  There are some notable exceptions like Alphonso Bowe who has invested substantially in Cape Town vineyards.  There may be others, but will somebody please step up to the plate and actively promote the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, both of which could mean expanded opportunities for wealth creation for Bahamians.

    Vaughn Scriven is a regular reader of this site as he was of the previous incarnation of this site.  He wrote a letter to the editor of this site last week in response to the editorial on Mr. Ingraham's re-emergence into the political scene. We reprint it here but we think that it missed the point of our intervention last week.
    Our point is not that Mr. Ingraham does not have the right to speak.  Our point is that Mr. Ingraham has said that he is retired from politics.  If he is retired from politics that means that he is off the political stage and more importantly should not be collecting a pension.  If you are still active that goes against the very definition of being retired and collecting a pension.  Pensions are due to retirees, not active politicians.  If he wants to remain active in politics, the thing for him to do is to give up the pension and be the MP that he is.  That is the lawful and moral thing to do.  He can do what he likes of course but he has no ethical leg to stand on as long as he continues to speak from a pubic platform and collect that pension.  It makes a $100,000 difference.
    Mr. Scriven wrote:

"I don't propose to hold any brief for Mr. Hubert Ingraham but the last time I checked the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham, PC, MP, was a duly elected member of parliament.  He represents the constituency of North Abaco from the Opposition benches in The Bahamas House of Assembly.  He might have made a decision to step away from a leadership position in the Free National Movement but he never said anything about sitting back and taking a back seat from the issues of the day.  In fact, he is reported as saying that he would speak as he saw fit.  As such he is entitled to make any contribution he so desires.

"Margaret Thatcher might have been deposed as prime minister and leader of the Conservative party in the U.K. but she never hesitated to speak as a former pm and then as Baroness Thatcher in the House of Lords where she was a member of the Opposition.  William Jefferson Clinton, 4? president of the United States “retired” from front line politics on the 20th January, 2001 after serving a constitutionally mandated 2 terms.  Bill Clinton actively campaigned for fellow Democrats in mid-term elections and he is now advising former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.  In addition, he makes speeches, writes Op-Ed pieces, gives interviews and has appeared on several news shows offering his opinion on everything from Afghanistan to Weapons of Mass Destruction.  No one has suggested that he stay out of politics and leave the politicking for others.  So, rather than allow Mr. Ingraham to distract them from the pressing issues of the day, the Progressive Liberal Party should remain focused in their quest to create an environment where all Bahamians can live and prosper."

'Where there is no vision, there is no hope; where there is no hope, there is no growth; and where there is no growth, we cease to exist.'
Vaughn Scriven


    The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell has just concluded the first phase of an extensive tour of the Far East.  On the tour he was joined by Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin.  The Minister’s first stop was in Tokyo, Japan where he met with the Japanese Foreign minister on Monday 25th August.  During the visit, he raised the issue of Haiti and the continued support of Japan for the Haitian political and economic initiatives.  The Minister also pledged the support of The Bahamas for the reform of the United Nations, to give Japan, the second largest contributor to the UN's budget some greater say in the running of the organization.  The Far East tour is a means of raising the profile of The Bahamas with the countries of the East, an increasing source of capital, goods and technical expertise. From left are Ambassador Sir Sidney Poitier, Minister Hanna Martin, the Japanese Foreign Minister, Minister Mitchell and Dr. Patricia Rodgers, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


    The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service paid an official visit to China from Wednesday 27th August to Friday 29th August.  He was accompanied on his visit by the Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin who is in China to launch a new ship coming on to The Bahamas registry.
    While in Beijing, the Minister called on the Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, the Vice Minister of Commerce Lia Xioqi, and the Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng.  The highlight of the visit was a call on the Vice President of China Zeng Qinghong in the Great Hall of the People.  The Minister reaffirmed the good relations with China, and looked forward to subsequent visits by high level diplomats from China and Bahamians to China.
    The photos are by Nello Lambert.  They show; top from left Minister Hanna Martin, Minister Mitchell, the Vice President and Zhon Wenzhong, Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Bottom; from left Dr. Patricia Rodgers, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Darius Turnquest, Erin Dames, the Minister, Randolph Culmer, Minister of Transport & Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin and Freddie Tucker, Bahamas Consul General in Hong Kong.

    The Minister said that the tour of the Far East was important to raise the profile of the country in the region but he added that the relationship with China was important because of China’s place in the world as both an economic and political superpower.


    BaTelCo, the ailing national phone company, is pressing ahead with changes even as privatization appears to be coming to some final if halting conclusion.  There is the investment in the GSM system for the new cell phones, which has become urgent as the cell phone system collapses on a daily basis in The Bahamas, and no new numbers can be issued.  That was a bad business decision on someone’s part not to make a timely investment in the new technology.
    Now comes the report that it is starting on-line billing so that people can access their bills through the ‘net.  Those who tried to use it last week couldn't get the thing to work.  It is another hapless story in the life of the public utilities in The Bahamas for which there must be some solution, most probably getting rid of them to the private sector.
    Last week BEC, the power company, had another island wide blackout.  Now how do we get from this point to that is a whole other story.
    The problems seem to be exacerbated by the FNM leaping on Leslie Miller, the Minister of Trade and Industry who they claim has an interest in a building that BaTelCo sought to lease.  BaTelCo issued a statement claiming that it was an arms length transaction.  The Opposition claimed no such thing and demanded that the Minister resign.  Good luck to them!  When their Leader Senator Tommy Turnquest admits that he accepted monies from a Judge of the Supreme Court in what looked and smelled like a conflict for the rental of his home, perhaps we can make some head way.  The Government was taking the matter seriously and even as the Prime Minister was leaving to take his daughter to school events were said to be unfolding. Internet image of BaTelCo Online website; Tribune photo of workers repairing a BEC cable near Clifton Pier that caused the island-wide blackout by Dominic Duncombe.

    The newspapers carried speculative reports over the past week about the Director of Education resigning.  She came back and said that she was not resigning yet.  Emphasis on “yet”.  We wonder what that means.  The question is, what led to this coming to the fore?  The fact is that school is opening and one would have thought that this would not be an appropriate time for rumours to be floating about a director leaving.
    Those who can read the tea leaves know that things like this don’t surface without a reason, and we are asking the question, was there some dispute or other going on behind the scenes about education policy?  There should not be, since the Minister of Education is clearly the ultimate advisor to the Government on the policy on education.
    The FNM got into the mix by deciding that they did not like the fact that Cecil Thompson, long time resident of Grand Bahama, as an education official was leaving for a new post in Nassau.  Again, as Neko Grant, the FNM's Lucaya MP spoke one wondered whether he spoke with any authority, because in the system an education official is liable to be transferred anywhere in The Bahamas. Tribune photo of Mrs. Pinder during the Ministry of Education's annual press luncheon by Dominic Duncombe.


    Gertrude Burnside is the sister of the late Sir Randol Fawkes but her life’s partner Dr Jackson Burnside was a famous civil rights activist in The Bahamas in his own right.  He was the first of the trained Bahamian dentists to return home, after receiving his education in the United States.  Dr. Burnside was never elected to office but always had a say and a strong one in particular about the British dominated colonial country that he felt could use more of the American influence and approach to Government.  He believed that The Bahamas should be a republic.  He was seen as a kindred spirit to the late Dr. Cleveland Eneas.  He is now dead at the age of 89.  He rose above the scourge of polio in his youth to marry and raise a successful family of children Jackson, Stanley, Waymon and Julia.  Condolences to them all.

    Letter writer Jason Weir sent these autumn thoughts:
    “This is the month of back to school.  The bills for back to school pile high and worry parents. At the same time, quite apart from the general trough in the economy, this is the month of September and October when the tourism product is at its lowest ebb.  There is no work and there is no economic activity that seems to be able to brighten the immediate future.  And so the country sometimes wonders what is the Cabinet doing to produce jobs?  They wonder about it on the parks, in the bars, in the churches and on the jobs of those who have jobs.  Is the Government doing enough?  The answer for too many is aint nothing happening, much talk but there does not appear to be any evidence of the economy moving.  But for its own part, the Government says that it is working overtime to get the economy up and going, and that in a short time this bad time will have been forgotten.  It is our wish that this will come sooner rather than later.  The pressure on MPs is enormous and there is nothing to break a parent’s heart like sending a kid back to school without new shoes.”

Hundreds of job seekers are shown filling in applications for employment at the Exuma Four Seasons resort during an interview process held in Nassau at the Kendal Isaacs gym.  Nassau Guardian photo by Patrick Hanna.


    This is not The Bahamas’ year at the International Athletic Association Federation (IAAF) championships in Paris, France.  So far only one Bahamian has won a medal and that is Levan Sands who won the bronze in the triple jump. Nassau Guardian photo by Donald Knowles shows Sands holding the Bahamian flag following his medal performance.

    Apropos to our story above, we share this contribution from our mailbox by Rose Askew:

World Championships Team Performance
    "Just my humble thought.
    "I do hope that the MEDIA and SPORTS COMMENTATORS will not waste time over the fact that we did not "perform well" in terms of medals that our athletics did not get.
    "Let us keep in mind instead:
    "Those who made it into the final 8, but didn't get a medal will get at least a CASH PRIZE from $4,000 - $20,000 depending on where they placed.   NOT BAD.  At least it will help them recover some of their costs.   Perhaps the Ministry of Sports & Culture should try to at least give a third of the same to these individuals.
    "REMEMBER FOLKS it was The Bahamas against the WORLD!  So for my part I am pleased with the team.
    "MOST IMPORTANT - We have two of our most outstanding athletes sitting on IAAF committees, namely, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Debbie Ferguson.  They will be representing The Bahamas and TO GOD BE THE GLORY.  WELL DONE LADIES.
    "Having said all this, perhaps it's now time for a change in the leadership of the BAAA's?????
    "It seems ever since the “Chandra Sturrup saga’ all of the athletes including Chandra did not perform at their best.  Think about it, maybe it’s time that the whole BAAA’s look inside and make some changes to attitudes, rules and regulations and leadership."
Rose-Cecilia Askew

Relay runner Sevatheda Fynes is pictured in this Nassau Guardian photo by Donald Knowles during the effort for the finals in the heats of the women's 4x100 metre run.
    Last week, we published and interesting letter from Marlon Johnson entitled …. Now this week, a reply from Pastor Moss on the subject:
    "Comparing left-handedness to homosexuality is an inaccurate and inappropriate comparison.  You see, Marlon, left-handedness only deviates from the majority who are right-handed, but it is not a sin whereas homosexuality is both deviant and a sin, and an unnatural one at that.  Consider adultery and fornication, both of which are also deviant sexual sins, in the sense that they deviate from God’s norm of sex within the boundaries of a male/female marriage.  However, they are natural sexual sins…meaning they are only having sex with the wrong person and not the wrong gender.  Those engaged in homosexual sex are involved with the wrong person and wrong gender.
    "My daughter is left handed.  The reason I never forced her to be right-handed is God does not condemn or prohibit left-handedness in the Bible.  He does condemn and prohibit homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments.
    "Of course, underlying your inaccurate comparison is the false notion that people are born homosexuals like some are born left handed.  Take a look at the following link:  NARTH is National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.  There you can read a recent study done by homosexuals (not heterosexuals) that disagrees with your underlying assumption.
    "MJ, in any event, even is a person feels he or she was born homosexual, he or she would be wise to recognize that God’s Word still calls it sin and makes no accommodation for them to be/practice homosexuality so it needs to be repented of… of course only in the case of those who acknowledge the existence of a Supreme, Almighty God, the divine inspiration of the Holy Scripture as our basis of belief and behaviour, and believe that after this life they will stand before Him to give an account for their lives.  And trust me, “Why did you use your left hand?” is not one of the questions!
    "So MJ, don’t worry about the left-handed people…God is not!"


    Three years ago this past week the country lost its first Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling.  The widow, Lady Pindling marked the day with a private visit to Sir Lynden's mausoleum accompanied by close friends Duke and Joan Hanna.  Photo by Peter Ramsay.


Back To School in Grand Bahama
On Monday when most schools in Grand Bahama reopen, the test will come for the public school system to see to what extent the downturn in the Grand Bahama economy has caused the numbers to swell.  With large numbers of parents moving their children from the private schools, some rise in the public system enrolment is inevitable.  In Freeport, there are only two government high schools: Jack Hayward High School and St. Georges High.  Both schools were built to accommodate around 900 students, but their numbers have hovered around 1200.

The Ministry of Education has told the public that they have put in place a contingency plan that would bus the children of Freeport to the Eight Mile Rock High School where there is said to be space for at least 200 children.  On the industrial relations side, the teachers seem committed to have school open this week without incident, but will hold a meeting to determine what course of action if any should be taken against the government with regard to their pay increases, but that will come later on.

Dr. Bethel & The EIA
Minister of Health Dr. Marcus Bethel has lived in Grand Bahama for at least 30 years now, so he should know the people of Grand Bahama like no other in the Cabinet.  He knows that in Grand Bahama, people are suspicious of their government, so it was a surprise when a statement from his Ministry regarding the environmental impact assessment study on the proposed LNG gas line to South Florida from The Bahamas said that the BEST Commission was reviewing the report before a Cabinet review.  Only then would the statement be made public.  If this is how the PLP government has decided to act, then they are about to put needlessly put themselves into controversy.

Given the far reaching implications for The Bahamas and its environment, the EIA should be made public immediately and posted to the Internet so as to avoid any accusations of government sanitizing the report.  The government should allow the report to stand on its own.  The Bahamian people would then be able to do a cost benefit analysis of this project to see if the proposed 20 million dollars in revenue is worth it.  Finally the government would be well advised that Bahamians have a low tolerance for any administration that assumes that they know what is best for the people without allowing them the opportunity to have their say.