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11th December, 2005
18th December, 2005
25th December, 2005
Columns From 2002 - 2003
4th December, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The final curtain came down on the time of Dame Ivy Dumont as the Governor General of The Bahamas on Wednesday 30th November after four years as Governor General of The Bahamas.  We in The Bahamas have this anachronistic situation where the Queen who we got our independence from in 1973 is still the Queen of The Bahamas and she appoints a Governor General to represent her in Nassau.  In fact the Prime Minister and his Cabinet appoint the Governor General.  Dame Ivy was Hubert Ingraham's choice, one of his former ministers.  The present Prime Minister chose as a symbol of continuity to allow the Governor General to continue in office until Dame Ivy saw fit to demit office.  The PLP believes that the institutions of the state should not be bastardized in the way that Hubert Ingraham packed up Sir Clifford Darling, a previous Governor General and in office when Mr. Ingraham first came to power, who was sent to Canada because they wanted an FNM to deliver the speech from the Throne in the person of the late Sir Kendal Isaacs, their former Leader.  The PLP ensured that there was a proper state farewell for the Governor General.  The ceremony returned to the Senate chamber and not out in the road as Hubert Ingraham's administration had done.  Dame Ivy gave a brief and dignified farewell, and the ceremony planned within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was all executed within their Minister's edict of less than one hour.  In fact, it took 35 minutes.  Farewell to Dame Ivy who was lauded by Prime Minister Christie for the manner in which she served in her position.  Our photo of the week then is Dame Ivy Dumont surrounded by the Chief Justice, the heads of the country’s uniformed services and the Secretary to the Cabinet preparing to take the final salute as Governor General of The Bahamas and we wish her well in her retirement. The Bahamas Information Services photo is by Derek Smith.


Hubert Ingraham, the former Prime Minister, who became Leader of the Opposition again on Monday 28th November, likes to intimidate his opponents or try to.  He has the voice of big Billy goat gruff, and seeks to make sharp barbs and comments designed to frighten.  That is how he ruled, that is how he plotted and schemed his way to the top with the FNM, and now he is trying it again with the new PLP.  Only this time its does not work.  There is no one in the PLP who is afraid of him.

Last week in the House of Assembly Prime Minister Perry Christie reminded the former Prime Minister that when he came to power against Sir Lynden Pindling, he (Mr. Ingraham) said that the rabbit had got the gun from the farmer.  Now Prime Minister Christie said it is the farmer who has the gun.  Mr. Christie added that when he went to Malta, he knew that rabbit was one of their native dishes, and told them he would like to eat rabbit.  The House got the point and dissolved into laughter.

We thought that Hubert Ingraham would stick around the House now that he is Leader of the Opposition.  You know when he was supposedly retired he used to come into the House for ten minutes to mark himself present and then leave.  Since he is leader of the Opposition, we thought he would now stay.  But Mr. Ingraham had such a bad day on Wednesday 30th November that when things got too hot for him, he again jumped up and left.  His performance was poor during the week, blustering at times, but humbled most of the times as he came to realize that yes indeed the farmer has the gun again.

Nothing could have been more humbling than the experience of having to sit by and listen to a blistering attack on his character by Keod Smith, the Member of Parliament for Mt. Moriah.  Mr. Smith was deeply offended by comments Mr. Ingraham had made about his ancestry, and told Mr. Ingraham that he had defamed his mother and father in the process.  You may read in detail below.  One of the reasons we mention Mr. Smith is the fact that we warned Mr. Ingraham that he faces a virtual nightmare with these young Members of Parliament who have no respect for him, who will eat him alive every time he gets up.  Mr. Ingraham when he tried to speak was reduced at the end to asking whether or not the Speaker was going to protect his right to speak without interruption.  Mind you this was the same man who minutes before was interrupting the Prime Minister as he spoke.  Such a pitiful character.

As we look at his first weeks in office first as FNM Leader and then as Leader of the Opposition, we think that his heart simply isn’t in it.  He does not have the patience and sustainability that is required of him to do it. Perhaps it is that heart attack he had earlier in the year.  He thought that when he came back the PLP would be trembling and would fall back in his wake.  No such luck.  You have young ambitious Members of Parliament who just don’t give a hoot about all that, and who will fight to keep what they have established.  The world has changed since Mr. Ingraham first came to power in 1992 and it certainly has changed since 2002 when he lost.

We asked the question in the headline: Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?  The wolf is of course metaphorically Hubert Ingraham.  The answer is that no one in the PLP is afraid.  As the months unfold toward the election, and Mr. Ingraham exhausts himself and his party's resources, it will become clearer and clearer that the wolf is now a pitiful shadow of himself.  He himself says that he will only be there for eighteen months after the election and hand it off to the next person.  Well as the FNM liked to say in the old days, in the name of God go now.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 3rd December at midnight: 94,931.

Number of hits for the month of November up to Wednesday 30th November at midnight: 473,092.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 3rd December 2005 up to midnight: 3,767,351.



    The Cabinet office announced last week that the Queen had assented to the Hon. Paul Adderley, the former Attorney General to act as Governor General, succeeding Dame Ivy Dumont who retired on 30th November.  The appointment began on 1st December.  The Cabinet Office did not say how long the acting appointment would last.  It is thought that it will not be a permanent appointment.  Mr. Adderley has acted as Deputy to the Governor General on a number of occasions when Dame Ivy was absent from the country.  The Prime Minister Perry Christie and other Cabinet Ministers attended the swearing in at Government House led by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Sir Burton Hall.  The Bahamas Information Services photo is by Peter Ramsay

    Last week, this column described him as the idiot savant of Bahamian politics.  This week, he is the man who knows no political father.  Hubert Ingraham in his defence against the onslaught by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell and Carl Bethel’s manufactured visa scandal disassociated himself from the remarks of Carl Bethel.  Mr. Ingraham said that the visa issue was a statement by Carl Bethel and not one of the FNM.  He said that while the FNM might adopt what Carl Bethel said, the fact is it was Carl Bethel’s statement.  Now that is an interesting thing for the new Leader of the Opposition to say in the face of the fact that two other people showed up at the Sunday press conference to make the announcement on visas with Carl Bethel.  One was the Leader of the Opposition business in the House and now Deputy Leader Brent Symonette; the other was Alvin Smith, who was then Leader of the Opposition.  So Carl is on his own, no support from the FNM.  That is why we thought this week, not only do we describe him as the idiot savant of Bahamian politics but also as our “un-valuable” JACKASS OF THE WEEK.



   Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, was on his game.  He was at his most brilliant.  The people of the country were wowed by his skilful use of language, words and the teleprompter at the PLP’s convention where he savaged Hubert Ingraham and his greed to return to power.  But this week in Parliament on Wednesday 28th November he was even better than that.  He wrote and delivered a skilful response to the spurious allegation of Carl Bethel and the FNM which really sought to say that he was presiding over the sale of visas in The Bahamas.  He responded point for point and in detail about allegations made about him.  As the FNM MPs in the House sat in silence with their heads hung down, Minister Mitchell revealed evidence that there was a pattern of FNM MPs writing for visas for others.  One of those MPs was Carl Bethel himself, who was attorney general at the time that he wrote the letter.  Mr. Mitchell laid the letter on the table of the House.  You may click here for Mr. Mitchell's full response.  A lame Carl Bethel could only say the next day in the Senate that the response of the Minister was a red herring but of course the real point is that Carl got caught with his pants down.

    All of the press of The Bahamas resent the PLP, even that section of the press which has been deliberately courted by Prime Minister Perry Christie.  The reporters seem not to take the proper care to examine what is before them.  Their writers seem to go out of their way with inaccurate headlines, inaccurate stories and twisted logic.  One only has to remember the CSME debate earlier in the year.  The lies and distortion perpetrated by a supposedly independent and balanced press should cause The Bahamas to hang its head in shame.  The editors and writers in the press are unrepentant about it, or are simply unwilling to do anything about it.
    Since Hubert Ingraham has returned the pages of the newspapers have been filled with the pro Hubert Ingraham programmes, embraced uncritically and as if what he has to say is absolute gospel.  When the Foreign Minister and Minister for Public Service established that Hubert Ingraham stands to make $196,000 as Leader of the Opposition on the Government’s coffers, The Tribune printed the story as an allegation.  The fact that the law is absolutely clear made no difference to the lies told in their headline about an allegation of a salary.
    Now the Minister of Foreign Affairs has pointed out that Carl Bethel has simply spun a story that has no truth to it but his views have been embraced uncritically by the press as if they are the truth, and then they did not report the facts as outlined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs which clearly show that Mr. Bethel has told a gross distortion and untruth.
    When the Prime Minister returned home from Malta and had his press conference within hours of it they were on to Hubert Ingraham and printed a rebuttal of what the Prime Minister had to say on the same front page.  On the other side, if they speak to the FNM or to Hubert Ingraham, they don't bother to check with the PLP for any response or if they get a response they simply bury the matter within the FNM’s story.
    This the same old story.  The PLP has no friends in the media and the PLP is now in a state of siege.  This is not going to change any time soon.  The PLP had better realize it and treat the press accordingly.

    When Hubert Ingraham became Leader of the Opposition again, he announced that his party would be holding a series of rallies throughout the islands to galvanize FNM support.  This is strange for a number of reasons.  It is an old and tired play book.  The play books have all moved on from those times.  We reported how the first one that he held in Nassau fell flat because the young people here felt that it was boring and unexciting.  Further, his own party members don’t have their hearts in it because they believe he is too dictatorial.  Secondly, the elections are nowhere in sight and Christmas is coming.  People’s attention now turns to social matters and to their families, not politics.
    The weather in The Bahamas is much cooler in the evenings, and no one wants to show up for rallies at night shivering in the dark to wait for a message that is tired and comes on too late.  That was the problem Mr. Ingraham had in Grand Bahama as he tried his rally to recapture Freeport on Friday 2nd December.  It was cold.  The rally was too long.  People left.  He came on after 10 p.m.  He was making the case that unemployment had increased in Grand Bahama.  He tried to blame that on the PLP.  The only problem is that the hurricanes that destroyed the Royal Oasis had nothing to do with the PLP.  We all remember who it was that against advice allowed the Royal Oasis in the first place.
    The PLP warned the FNM government that the hotel owners were not proper owners for the facility since they did not appear to the PLP to have the resources to sustain an operation.  The PLP was correct.  The owners could barely make payroll, and ended up leaving bills to National Insurance, to the Gaming Board for casino taxes and to the workers themselves.  They also left a huge power bill that they had not been paying on and could not settle.
    So we encourage Mr. Ingraham to continue in his old ways.  The old magic has worn off and no one gives a hoot about him and his idle words.  It is to the PLP that the future belongs, not to the backwardness of the past under Hubert Ingraham.  Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell ended his presentation in Parliament on Wednesday 30th November with the words “Forward ever!  Backward never!”  We agree.  In a late word from Grand Bahama, it seems that Hubert Ingraham’s rally in Freeport was widely known among former FNMs as the ‘Turn Yourself In’ rally, and it is now being said that since so many former supporters missed the opportunity to come back, those wishing a private appointment “may contact Boxer, Kelly or Sonny no later than Thursday of this week”.  My, my, my.


    Ambassador to Haiti for The Bahamas Dr. Eugene Newry told the Nassau Guardian on Thursday 1st December that next year telephone call charges to Haiti could be substantially reduced following a deal between the state owned Teleco de Haiti and Bahamas Telecommunications Company Ltd.  The deal will see a fibre optic cable link up between Haiti and The Bahamas, with the link up being completed at Inagua.  It is expected to come on stream in June of next year.  Ambassador Newry arrived back in Nassau during last week following talks with the Haitian Government.  We congratulate BTC and the Minister of Works Bradley Roberts on this historic milestone.  On Friday 2nd December Minister Roberts traveled to Bimini where he officially inaugurated the new digital service via fibre optic cable to Bimini.  This will substantially improve the service between the island of Bimini and the rest of The Bahamas and allow data traffic and gsm cellular service between that island and the rest of The Bahamas and the world.  Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Housing and National Insurance Shane Gibson are shown at the Office of the Prime Minister receiving the first telephone call from the new Bimini system made by Minister Roberts.  You may click here for the full remarks of Minister RobertsBIS - Peter Ramsay


    One the final public duties of outgoing Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont was to present the awards from Her Majesty the Queen for the Birthday Honours list 2005.  The awards are the British Honours that we inherited after independence and included Commanders of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) and other awards.  Those receiving the CMG, the highest given out this year were Winston Saunders for culture and the arts; Bishop Neil Ellis of Mt. Tabor Full Gospel Baptist Church; Archbishop Patrick Pinder, Leader of the Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas.  Winston Saunders, who heads the Cultural Commission that has recommended the abolition of the British Honours, was asked how he could accept the British Honours while calling for their abolition.  He deferred saying that the day was for accepting the country’s honours such as they were not one for entering into controversy. Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay

    The Minister of Financial Services Allyson Gibson, in foreshadowing the delivery of the electronic services of the Registrar General's Department to Ragged Island, delivered a scathing press statement on Thursday 1st December answering false charges made by Senator John Delaney of the Free National Movement.  Mr. Delaney, a Lyford Cay resident, was crying crocodile tears over what he said was an incident where sewerage leaked on to documents and caused the closure of the office for an extended period and the contamination of documents from the company files.  Not so said the Minister.  The Minister said while there was an incident, it did not damage the files, and further the incident did not shut down the public's access to the office for any extended period of time as Senator Delaney would have us believe.  Senator Delaney has become the resident expert on everything to do with financial services of late.  Mrs. Maynard Gibson reminded the public that “Mr. Delaney was a paid consultant during the previous administration which presided over the near destruction of the financial services sector of The Bahamas.  Now that Mr. Delaney is on the public payroll at the Senate, he must not be allowed to further destroy the financial sector through deliberate misrepresentation.”  Please click here for the full statement of the MinisterFile photo

    People were simply embarrassed for Hubert Ingraham.  And but for one word when the Member of Parliament called Hubert Ingraham Brutus, the character from Shakespeare who stabbed his friend in the back, all of it got through into the public domain.  Hubert Ingraham sat in the House of Assembly holding his head down and did not say a word.  All he could manage quite pitifully at the end was to say that he would not dignify what Keod Smith said by responding to him.  But Keod Smith was angry.  He said that Mr. Ingraham had been involved in a campaign of disparaging remarks about his ancestry.
    Mr. Smith said the comments made by Mr. Ingraham in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 21st November were racist, and defamed his (Mr. Smith’s) mother and father.  The FNM and the down market Punch has been running a campaign against Mr. Smith that he is Haitian and not Bahamian. Mr. Smith said that he was proud of who he was.  He was Bahamian in every respect, with Turks Island roots but that he had no difficulty with Haitians and that one family member had married a Haitian and another spoke the language of Haiti.
    In his House remarks, Mr. Smith called Mr. Ingraham racist.  He told Mr. Ingraham that he, Keod Smith, was born to married parents.  He repeated it.  He said that he knew who his father was and that the problem of those who did not was their problem.  This is a response to Mr. Ingraham's foolish bent in public of reminding people that he was a bastard, his words not ours and that he did not know his father until very late in life, and look how successful he has been.  While we agree that Mr. Ingraham is also a bastard is a political sense, the words of Mr. Smith were stinging.  Hubert Ingraham sat there and took it, only holding his head down in shame and embarrassment.

    When Prime Minister Perry Christie stepped off the plane from Malta, he was fired up and ready to go.  While he dealt with the issues of foreign affairs that were the centrepiece of the Malta Heads of Government trip, he had also prepared extensive notes on domestic affairs that became issues in his absence.  He launched a blistering attack on the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham who during the absence of the Prime Minister had made several allegations with regard to the project out at Cable Beach that is being developed by the Baha Mar group headed by Sarkis Izmerilian.
    Mr. Ingraham, who always criticized the PLP for making foreign investors the subject of political debate, tried to claim credit for the investment by saying that the PLP did not give permanent residence status to the Izmerilians, that it was the FNM government that did.  The Prime Minister derided that saying that nothing turned on it.  The fact is that the former Prime Minister Ingraham wanted to play the childish game of who did what, whether or not the permanent residence status was granted under the FNM, the investment was not done on the watch of Hubert Ingraham but under the Christie watch.
    Mr. Christie also took issue with Mr. Ingraham’s comment that the details of the investment in Cable Beach were secret.  He pointed out that the entire deal was released in detail with the Head of Agreement to Parliament.  Tourism Minister Obie Wilchombe laid it out in a sixteen page communication to Parliament which was subsequently published in the newspapers in double page ads.  Further, there was a town meeting held where some 600 people attended to review the details of the project.
    The sale of the Crystal Palace formerly owned by Phil Ruffin and the sale of the Radisson Cable Beach from the Government did several things.  It stabilized the employment situation in Cable Beach.  There has been no loss of jobs but a net gain of jobs.  The project will also revitalize Cable Beach for the future with some 3500 hotel rooms; part of an investment package in which some of the investors include the Harrah’s group of Las Vegas.  Mr. Ingraham can produce nothing from his watch that beats this project.  Prime Minister Perry Christie is shown at the news briefing on his return from Malta holding a special Financial Times newspaper supplement heralding the success of the Bahamian economy.  He is flanked by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell and Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.  Bahamas Information Services photo - Tim Aylen

    Raynard Rigby makes the point in a letter to The Tribune that he was born in 1969, after the revolution of 1967.  He could only recall the stories his grandmother told him of the days when the PLP fought for the dignity of Black Bahamians.  He was responding to the campaign by the FNM dominated press that the PLP is playing the race card.  We address that in a letter to the editor this week to this column.
    It is all foolishness of course but what the FNM is hoping is that the marginal voter is fooled by this stuff and that a shift away from the PLP is caused by it.  Mr. Rigby’s letter was straightforward and direct.  The PLP's campaign is not about race.  But it is also clear that the history of The Bahamas is one of racial discrimination.  He argues, how could talking about the history of The Bahamas be racist?  You may click here for the full text of a brilliant letter.


    Mrs. Bernadette Christie, wife of the Prime Minister on Friday 2nd December, officially opened the 11th Annual Authentically Bahamian Christmas Craft and Souvenir Show at the Crystal Palace Hotel.  The event has become widely popular, with both tourists and Bahamians looking for something authentically Bahamian for Christmas decorating and with artisans from across the country, who come to display their creations.  Mrs. Christie is pictured examining items from one of the many booths, as Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe looks on.  Bahamas Information Services Photo – Derek Smith

Ingraham Cannot Be Allowed to become Prime Minister
    Thank you for allowing the space in your website.  It is with time that I realize the grave mistake that the FNM has made with their leadership choice.  Hubert Ingraham rose to the leadership post with deceit and treachery.  He came to be Leader by the wrong means and we cannot allow this demon to be Prime Minister.  He felt no qualms about stripping the leadership from Tommy Turnquest, and there is no telling what he will do to the Bahamian people.  Ingraham only cares about himself and his ego will destroy our nation.  I have always been an FNM, but because of what Ingraham has done to the FNM, I can no longer support this tyrant. We, as proud citizens of this great nation, cannot permit this (unpublishable comment deleted – Editor), to be prime minister.
Relying on my conscience,
Russell R.


More on Racism
    I read your page every week and have done so from its inception.  I enjoy it; it is well written despite its obvious political bent.  If this article were to be believed the PLP government has done no wrong since its election to office in 2002.  That aside, what amazes me is your ability to put a spin on situations.  An example of this is the racism agenda ascribed to the PLP convention.  You tried to justify whatever racial crticism the PLP got by stating that the FNM introduced race by referring to Mr. Ingraham and Mr. Symonette as salt and pepper and by playing the song ebony and ivory.  While I accept that they did highlight race, there was no hint of racism.
    The PLP convention on the other hand was a different story.  I watched both every night.  I would say that there was an undercurrent of racism.  It was insinuated that a vote for the FNM would be a vote for the 'white man' and the way of life prior to majority rule.  It reminded me of the PLP tactics of playing 'Roots' before election.  It may persuade or make some fearful but I don't think it would be the majority.  I think it is a dangerous tactic.  Just my thoughts.
(Name Withheld)

    Interesting.  The PLP is not playing the race card.  The FNM introduced salt and pepper, ebony and ivory.  Presumably they did that because they thought that being white and being black was of some importance.  But of importance to whom?  Certainly not the PLP.  It was the FNM in fact that argued against Brent Symonette running for leader because they were not ready for a white leader, presumably because they thought that The Bahamas would not be ready for a white Prime Minister.  Again, that was them and not the PLP.
    All we say is that the evidence points to the same oligarchs that had power before 1967 bankrolling the FNM's fight for power.  We saw how they all resurfaced during the ten years of the FNM's time in office.  Brent Symonette represents them, and whatever you argue today, if power were returned to them, they would benefit disproportionately to their size in the population but certainly well within the proportions of their financial contributions.
    You would not really want the PLP to play the race card in the same way the FNM keeps trying to suggest that one of the PLPs is Haitian, playing the Haitian card.  If the PLP really appealed to race, you would see quite a mess indeed and the FNM would not be able to survive.  Fortunately, the PLP has responsible leadership, and no matter how the political enemies of the PLP try to twist it, race is not an issue for the PLP.
    Oh by the way further confirmation of what is intended came from Hubert Ingraham this week when he indicated after being made Leader of the Opposition that he if he wins the Prime Ministership will step down in 18 months, and hand it off to guess who?  Brent Symonette, scion of the last UBP leader.  Oh well! – Editor


    This past week Prime Minister Perry Christie received at donation of $250,000 to assist victims of Hurricane Wilma from a private sector group known as the Action Bahamas Committee.
    The group is chaired by businessman Franklyn Wilson, and raised the money in recent weeks mainly through a national telethon which accepted pledges of about $500,000.  Mr. Wilson said the cheque was only a first installment, which the committee presented so that victims could get immediate relief.
    Prime Minister Christie encouraged the group to continue to assist Bahamians impacted by disaster and invited their input to government’s plans for emergency measures in times of disaster crises.
    From left are Ronnie Armbrister, Cleomi Turner, Algernon Allen, Bishop Neil Ellis, Prime Minister Perry Christie, Franklyn Wilson, Al Jarret, Freddie Munnings Jr. and Kendrick Christie.

Farm Road Street Festival - Prime Minister Perry Christie this past Friday, officially opened the Farm Road 'Joe Billy and Blind Blake' Festival in his constituency.  The week long street festival is a cultural celebration and the brainchild of Senator Traver Whylly, who is pictured with Mr. Christie and Miss Farm Road, along with one of the performers.

Photos by Peter Ramsay

11th December, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - While Hubert Ingraham was carrying out his pilgrim’s progress in Abaco, seeking to fire up his base with yet another political rally before Christmas, Prime Minister Perry Christie was busy announcing yet another mega million dollar, nay billion dollar deal in West End, Grand Bahama.  There is no doubt that Grand Bahama needs an economic boost, and the Prime Minister and his economic team Allyson Gibson, James Smith and Dr. Baltron Bethel were busy trying to put the finishing touches on a deal with the Florida developer Bobby Ginn that would dwarf anything heretofore in The Bahamas.  It is a delicate balancing act between present and future Bahamian interests, between development and the environment, between jobs and national pride.  But the time is now to forge ahead as we have the devil on our trail and less than eighteen months to go before we have to go back to the people.  Our photo of the week then is Prime Minister Perry Christie presiding over and announcing the deal with Bobby Ginn to develop a resort and residential community for second home owners in West End on Friday 9th December 2005.  The Bahamas Information Services photo is by Peter Ramsay.


Eileen Carron is a Dupuch; the daughter of the late long serving second Editor of The Tribune, Sir Etienne Dupuch.  She married a man from Mauritius; they have one adopted son Robert.  She has been engaged over the past week in a full scale attack on the PLP as being crippled by race.  She has laid open the columns of The Tribune as the almost exclusive space for Hubert Ingraham.  She means to bring the PLP down as she has always meant to do, and she is using the same old tired strategy.  She is using her own insecurities about race to try to beat the PLP with that tired old stick.

If you read any of the authoritative works on the history of Bahamian politics and social structure, whether by Dr. Gail Saunders, Michael Craton or Colin Hughes, or for God sake’s just live in the place, you will know that race is the major and dominant political cleavage in The Bahamas.  It has dominated every election in The Bahamas from the time of Stephen Dillett, who was denied his seat in the Parliament because of his colour in the 1800s.  The Parliament was dissolved by the then establishment rather than seat him.  When elections were called one year later, and he was re-elected, they allowed him finally to sit.

Up until 1967, the House of Assembly was dominated by white merchants.  That is a fact.  The United Bahamian Party ran the country, and if you saw a picture of the Cabinet of their day, there was not a black face to be found.  Except that, as Colin Hughes rightly points out in his seminal work ‘Race and Politics in The Bahamas’, white did not mean necessarily Caucasian as we understand it in, say, the United States of America.  He talks about the difference between phenotypical colour and associational colour for example.  To translate, it means simply that even though some were not European and therefore not “pure white” but were in fact mixed, and were quite pronouncedly brown, for all intents and purposes because they were “associated” with the power structure in the country which was white or European, they were considered white.

A caller to one of the talk shows was trying to argue this in a crude way by saying that we should not be calling Brent Symonette a white man because his father the country’s first Premier Sir Roland Symonette was not white.  His father was quite brown in appearance but if you use Mr. Hughes’ arguments in the power structure Sir Roland was clearly regarded by black Bahamians as white.  The only time that you would hear otherwise about Sir Roland and others like him is when black Bahamians seek to be disparaging about the person, to give someone who sought to “pass” their comeuppance, they would then say something like “he isn’t white anyway”.

In some circles in The Bahamas to suggest such a thing about one’s race is a slur akin to challenging a macho male with a slur about his sexuality.  It is that grave.

Cyril Stevenson, of mixed race himself and one of the founders of the PLP, always referred to himself as coloured or black.  But he was very fair skinned.  And when he ran The Herald, the PLP's mouthpiece of the 1950s and 1960s, he once carried a headline that charged that R.H. ‘Bobby’ Symonette, a former Speaker and former Representative for Exuma, the oldest son of Sir Roland by his first marriage, was a coloured man.  Mr. Stevenson got ahold of Mr. Symonette’s birth certificate which in the law and practice of the day stated the race of the individual.  On his birth certificate was mixed.  The other designations of the day were European and African.  The practice no longer continues on birth certificates since 1962.  Bobby Symonette now deceased was a half brother to the present Deputy Leader of the FNM Brent Symonette.

A similar story can be told of Eileen Carron.  Her father was of mixed race himself, very brown and with clearly African hair type.  He married a white woman from the United States.  His children are much fairer than he and with European hair type.  But the story of the disaffection caused by the marriage of one of his daughters to an obviously black man was quite something in the 1950s when it occurred.

This is all intensely personal stuff which has to do with one’s sense of self, one’s identity.  It is so sensitive that some mixed race families who were rejected by the white establishment of that day are psychologically damaged by it to this day, and still can't quite bring themselves to describe what race they are.  They rely on avoiding the subject all together by arguing that race is not important and often ask why should it be brought up any way.

They have been losing the battle on that score for years.  It just can't be helped.  The United States which dominates our culture is infused in its politics by race.  That same culture is here, where racial discrimination existed in the country itself, within the times and memories of those alive today.  Even the younger Bahamians see it all around them today, the obvious disparity between where the general African looking population is and the circumstances into which they were born, and the general lot of the European looking part of the population and the circumstances into which they were born.  The two are as different as night is from day, generally speaking.

It has taken a while but our point is that Eileen Carron is the victim of that which we describe.  She is damaged by it, and cannot get over it.  So when she attacks the PLP on race as she has done in her editorials, in a way one must forgive her.  She cannot help it.  Racism is insidious.  It is a sickness.  The victims of it cannot help themselves.  The PLP strikes at something visceral and atavistic in Eileen Carron; primordial, very primitive, in her very being.  The fact that the present reality of the PLP, as it always was, is to fight for justice for all Bahamians does not arise for her.  She just can’t get over her psychological hump.  She will go to her grave that way.

Raynard Rigby, born after the 1967 revolution, wrote a letter, which we published last week, where he said that he found it inexplicable that people would say the PLP is racist, simply because the history of the country is recounted and remembered.  Well, good sir, unfortunately we all have to get used to it.  It is a sickness.  Eileen Carron is but one example of the many who carry around that burden that they cannot get rid of.  We really feel sorry for her.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 10th December 2005 at midnight: 81,262.

Number of hits for the month of December up to Saturday 10th December 2005 at midnight: 110,067.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 10th December 2005 at midnight: 3,848,613.


    When the FNM left office, the cry was that the PLP should not be elected to office because they were anti foreign investment.  No one can say that to day with over 7 billion dollars of investment attracted to the country since Perry Christie has been the Prime Minister.  This is remarkable for a man who the FNM says can’t make a decision.  The point is that it is all propaganda.
    You will also have read in this column how the press in the country is anti PLP.  They make the argument that the PLP is anti foreign, that they can’t make decisions, and then refuse to report anything which would give the lie to the lies that they have told.  Nothing can demonstrate that more than this week’s 3.7 billion dollar deal signed at West End, Grand Bahama between the Government of The Bahamas and Robert Edward Ginn III and his Ginn Company, land developers headquartered in Carolina in the United States.  The signing took place on Friday 9th December.  The project is to start right way.  It was the largest single investment ever in the history of The Bahamas.  The Guardian did not report it at all the next day in their edition of Saturday 10th December.  The Tribune put it down low in a minor headline on the front page.  The PLP had better get used to it.  The facts are clear, the press in The Bahamas will not spread the message, and we have to find a means of getting our message out.
    Here is what the Ginn deal is about.  The PM announced that the total deal is 3.7 billion dollars.  It will mean an additional 4 billion dollars to the GDP of The Bahamas over the 20 year life of the investment.  It is anticipated that some 3700 construction jobs will be created during the construction phase and 4,000 permanent jobs.  It is being built on 2000 acres of land in West End.  The proposal is to build 4,000 condominium hotel units, 870 single family dwellings, a casino, a two championship golf courses, two marinas and a private airport.
    On the revenue side the concessions of 318 million dollars represent eight per cent of the total investment.  There are special concessions to be given on stamp duty but there will be stamp duty payable even though this is normally not the case under Hotel Encouragement concessions.  Those taxes will amount to 196 million dollars.  The occupancy taxes are expected to contribute 59 million dollars to the revenue.
    We congratulate the Prime Minister, his Minister of Financial Services and Investments Allyson Gibson, the Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who is the representative for West End in the House of Assembly, for their hard work on this project.  The people of Grand Bahama deserve a boost.  The Prime Minister promised West End that if the PLP returned to office in 2002, the glory days of West End would return.  The shovels are in the ground come Monday.  You may click here for the full address of the Prime Minister.

    Cleola Hamilton has been a good leader for the nurses of The Bahamas.  She led the fight for the separate recognition of nurses as a union, separate and apart from the Bahamas Public Service Union, and she has now obtained the first industrial agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and the Nurses Union.  Those who argue that the Bahamas Government is not labour friendly and not a vast improvement over the period of industrial disharmony that existed under the Free National Movement are sadly mistaken.  The last days of Hubert Ingraham saw virtual insurrection in the streets.  To be sure, there have been some industrial disruptions within the PLP’s time but not to the extent of the FNM’s time.
    In fact, the country was surprised this week when the nurses led by Mrs. Hamilton staged a two day sick out on Tuesday 6th December and Wednesday 7th December by the Public Hospitals Authority Nurses.  There was fifty percent compliance but that caused major disruptions in the provision of emergency service and other services for the poor.  This was truly regrettable.  It is always the poor who suffer.  The matter had to be settled quickly.  The Church, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Labour, the Minister for the Public Service from his assignment in Barbados all got into the mix.  This column’s view is clear.  Honour the nurses' reasonable requirements.  After this country quite disgracefully allowed Nurse Joey Lunn to be murdered in cold blood in the hospital ward, and the security is still not what it should be, it seems to us here at Uncensored that whatever their reasonable requirements, they should get.
    It is a job which requires the nurses to go above the call of duty.  And no one can say that they do not perform, like the arguments advanced against teachers who cannot seem to produce a set of people who can read in the country.  The contract settling the issues was signed with Minister of Labour Vincent Peet on Thursday 8th December.  We agree with Hannah Gray from the PHA that it was unfortunate that the sick out had to occur.  The package is a five year contract which starts with a $900 lump sum and includes in the first year a $100 per month increase.  It also includes a commitment to a comprehensive health insurance for the nurses.  The sick-out should be put behind the Authority and the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau and the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport and their nurses should now get back to work. Minister of Labour Vincent Peet is pictured signing the nurses' contract. At left is Acting Managing Director of the Public Hospitals Authority Hannah Gray, and at right is Bahamas Nurses Union President Cleola Hamilton.  Bahamas Information Services photo by Eric Rose.

    The people of The Bahamas have no idea how badly served this country is by the public service that it has.  They may only think of the song by the artist K.B. where he lampoons those who work for the Service as being lazy, late and indifferent.  We think of another level, not the level that directly interfaces the public but the level that is supposed to be preparing, advising and executing the Government’s policies and decisions.  It appears to many that as it is getting closer to elections, there is a strong undercurrent of resistance in every theatre to what the Government is hoping to accomplish.
    The politicians complain that every executive order, every decision appears to be the subject of stall, delay and defer.  Paperwork seems to get conveniently lost, and the cry of every senior government executive seems to be that whatever the policy is it can’t be done.  This is the complaint that has come from an anonymous letter writer to this column.  The letter writer argues that if the PLP does not get on top of this issue with the movement of senior executives and other changes in the service, it will see all the programmes it presently wants to execute before the end of this term mired in bureaucracy and red tape, not necessary for its execution, but part of a deliberate effort to stall all of the programmes.
    Another letter writer pointed out that on the day that Hubert Ingraham's return was announced in some offices, even those close to the top levels of the Government, some individuals went around offices saying “He’s Back! He’s Back!”  Then there was the noticeable taunting of persons suspected of being PLPs, and deliberate slowing down and interference in the work of the Government.
    Hubert Ingraham’s return to the FNM was a serious mistake.  His return to Government should be stopped at all costs.  He will be bad for this country with his peremptory style of leadership, his interfering in every little thing, and running a country by dictate and fiat.  The Bahamas has long gone past that.  But in order for any Government to function, it must have a competent and committed public service that will actually work for the Government.  We do not think that it is so much a political agenda.  It is as if the Service has a mind of its own.  That mind tells them that they want no change and so anything that goes in the direction of change, there is an automatic and inbuilt resistance.  The PLP must get on top of this or it will get on top of them.

    The former Prime Minister and now once again Leader of the Opposition Hubert Ingraham held a public rally in Marsh Harbour, Abaco on Thursday 9th December.  He had his crowd we give him that but he told a number of untruths, half truths and distortions which we cannot let stand.  Now the fact that he had a crowd needs to be explained.  First, he took a large contingent with him from Nassau and from Grand Bahama.  Then you know that Abaco is where his constituency is and Abaco is already in the hands of the FNM.  So now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the untruths, half-truths and distortions.
    Mr. Ingraham had the nerve to criticize the immigration policy of The Bahamas Government, and not just on the overall immigration policy but the policy toward the people of the Pigeon Pea and the Mud areas of Abaco.  There was recently another devastating fire there and parts of the shanty town that built up on reclaimed land were destroyed.  The Government is now in a desperate battle to find suitable housing and space for the displaced people who are largely Haitian or of Haitian decent.  It is a sore point for the community.  It is a sore point, notwithstanding the fact that the community itself including Hubert Ingraham and his new found pal Edison Key was responsible for the shanty towns by encouraging the use of cheap Haitian labour to build Abaco.  Now suddenly everyone including Mr. Ingraham is having amnesia about what happened and why it built up.  That is were we start, the shanty towns built up and flourished under Mr. Ingraham, he did nothing about it.
    Edison Key, the former PLP Senator who is being paraded all over the FNM’s platforms brought the first set of Haitian workers into Abaco to pick cucumbers on his farm.  Now that the PLP is doing something about it, Mr. Ingraham and Mr. Key say that this is not the right way to go.  Then he tackled the issue of passports and visas again.  This is a tired old story.  When will Mr. Ingraham explain instead how the intends to deal with the collection of his $196,000 per year income as Leader of the Opposition, double dipping from the public purse, instead of spreading larceny about visas and passports.  The country knows that it is the PLP who has put in place for the first time, the restrictions on the use of brokers to get visas.  For the first time, there is a security clearance officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deal with visa security clearance.  As for the machine readable passports, it is clear that the delays have been caused by a change in the standards required for those passports since Mr. Ingraham was in office.  He now claims that they left in place a decision to get machine readable passports but he fails to remember that this was three years ago when he left office.  Times have changed.
    Mr. Ingraham also sought to attack the Ginn deal in Grand Bahama, saying that the deal would never happen.  The fact that the Heads of Agreement has been signed, and that the shovels will be in the ground come Monday morning, gives the lie to that.  Quite apart from that, Mr. Ingraham engaged in the same old tired rhetoric, giving a list of what the FNM did while they were in office.  This is good for the Party faithful but the country is not interested in the past but in what will be done for the future.


    Minister of Culture Neville Wisdom presided over a major milestone in the development of Junkanoo this past week as the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence signed a revised contract on seating a ticketing for the year end parades.  The Minister said that the establishment of the corporation (JCNP) “ensures that the business of Junkanoo is officially transferred into the hands of the Junkanoo community”.
    The selection and training of judges is also to be the responsibility of the Junkanoo Corporation Mr. Wisdom said: “The great advantage of this new system is that the gross sales of tickets for Junkanoo, which has always generated moneys to go towards the prize money for Junkanoo, will go directly to the Junkanoo community, who will cover the expenses of managing the parade."
    Under the revolutionary new plan the Minister says that the government’s only involvement in the business of Junkanoo is to guarantee its business plan.  The net profits from the sales of tickets will go towards the prize money and the government will guarantee the shortfall in that prize money.  Minister Wisdom (left) and Permanent Secretary Harrison Thompson (centre) and Culture Czar Winston Saunders are pictured standing as a representative of the seating and ticketing company watches Les Johnson of the JCNP sign the contract.  Bahamas Information Service photo by Peter Ramsay.


    The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell addressed the Honorary Consular Corps annual luncheon on Monday 5th December at the British Colonial Hilton.  In addition to those from the Honorary Consular Corps there were members of the resident Corps.  The Minister uses the occasion of the luncheon which is organized by the Dean of the Corps Anders Wiberg, the Honorary Consul for Sweden, to review events over the year in Foreign Affairs and then to talk about events for the New Year in his Ministry.  The Dean of the Corps praised the Minister for his proactive approach to the foreign policy of the country.  You may click here for the full address of the MinisterBahamas Information Services photo: Eric Rose


    RBC Financial Group, which operates RBC Royal Bank of Canada, RBC FINCO. and RBC Trust in The Bahamas and Caribbean, contributed $45,000 to the National Emergency Management Agency to aid the victims of recent storms including Hurricane Wilma in a recent presentation to Prime Minister Perry Christie..
    RBC Financial Group is committed to making contributions to worthwhile community causes year-round, but the NEMA fund was considered a priority in view of the extensive damage from recent hurricanes.  Ross McDonald, RBC's Senior Vice President of Bahamas and Caribbean, said, "We are committed to the restoration of our communities and the lives that have been impacted by the hurricanes and deem it a privilege to help in whatever way we can."
    RBC Bahamas and Caribbean has a retail network of 42 branches, four business centres and 68 automated banking machines in eight Caribbean countries, employing 1,500 persons and serving 205,000 customers.  From left are Carla Jackson, Manager, Finance & Operations RBC Trust; Ross McDonald; Prime Minister Christie and Nathaniel Beneby Jr., Managing Director RBC FINCO.  Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay

    As we go into election season, the Royal Bahamas Police Force has chosen to lead a campaign against the proliferation of web shops.  This after allowing them to multiply and be fruitful all over the islands.  Gambling is not legally permitted in the country without a certificate from the Gaming Board or a dispensation from the Ministry of Finance.  Bahamians are not allowed to gamble in the casinos in The Bahamas.  There is no form of legalized gambling for adult Bahamians since the horse racing track closed down in the 1970s.  The continued prohibition on Bahamians gambling is widely perceived as an anachronism that needs to be removed.
    The web cafes are the latest permutation of what is called “buying numbers” in The Bahamas.  All over the islands are establishments known euphemistically as Web Cafes.  They resemble the traditional internet cafes in look only.  What goes on there is a sophisticated approach to “buying numbers”.  Gone are the little sheets of paper with numbers written down on them.  You now have an electronic account into which you pay money.  You can play on line.  The money is transferred on line.  When you go into these establishments people are lined up in droves like in a bank, only they are buying numbers.
    The police have turned a blind eye to the matter for years, some of their number actually buying numbers themselves.  Within the past week though, three of these establishments have been raided.  The latest was the Flower Mat Limited on Balfour Avenue in New Providence.  Some 30 patrons were arrested, and detained before being given bail.  The money was confiscated and a trial is to come.  Craig Flowers who is said to be the owner of the establishment was taken away as well.  The police say they are determined to shut down the illegal gambling houses.  This won’t be their first try and certainly won’t be the last one.  They simply cannot stop it.
    Many believe that the Government itself needs to legalize "numbers" or tax the practice.  It may not be an efficient use of police time and resources to chase after what can be argued is essentially a victimless crime, an adult pursuit.  The arrests are not popular and in this election season, the only backlash can be against the PLP.  The crowds outside the latest arrest taunted the police.  One patron made the point that this is often the only way for many poor Bahamians to make it.  We suspect the protests are going to get worse if it continues.  The Nassau Guardian published a photo of patrons as they were carried away on Friday 9th December.  The photo is by Letisha Henderson.

Website Plaudit
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    Your website is a part of our Sunday afternoons.  Thank you for the quality of reporting that you deliver, it presents clarity to the news stories we may miss otherwise.
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    Prime Minister Perry Christie welcomed the willingness of the National Congress of Trade Unions to collaborate with the Government in various areas of national development, including training.  Mr. Christie made the comments as he received at donation of $10,000 to assist victims of Hurricane Wilma from the NCTU.  The Prime Minister noted that the donation brought the total of moneys received for assistance with Hurricane Wilma to over $700,000.
    From left are Elgin Douglas - President, Bahamas Commercial Stores, Supermarkets & Warehouse Union; Dennis Williams - 2nd VP, National Congress of Trade Unions & President, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union; Patrick Bain, President, National Congress of Trade Unions & Bahamas Hotel Catering & Allied Workers Union; Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson, Trustee, National Congress of Trade Unions & President, Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas; Prime Minister Christie; Linda Denise Evans, Treasurer, National Congress of Trade Unions & Treasurer, Bahamas Financial Services Union; Denise Wilson, 3rd VP, National Congress of Trade Unions & Secretary General, Bahamas Communications & Public Officers Union; Robert Farquharson, Secretary General National Congress of Trade unions & President, Bahamas Communications & Public Officers Union; Stephano Green, Secretary General, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union.

Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay


Breaking news....

Monday 19th December, 2005 6.11 p.m.

At around 3 p.m. today, a Chalk's Airlines flight bound for the island of Bimini from Miami crashed into waters a few hundred yards off Miami's Government Cut.  19 people, including two crew members were reported on board.  At the time of this upload, 14 people had been confirmed dead and no survivors had been found.  Following is the text of a statement issued by the Office of The Prime Minister of The Bahamas:

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie has expressed shock and concern over the crash of Chalk's Airlines flight from Miami to Bimini.

"Tragically, it now appears that there has been loss of life.  The nation wishes to express its deepest condolences to the people of Bimini on their apparent loss.  I have spoken to the representative Obie Wilchcombe and I have asked him to personally convey my regret and deep sorrow in this matter.  I ask all Bahamians to join in prayer for what appears to be a most serious tragedy.

"I have dispatched both the Represenative Obie Wilchcombe and the Minister of Transport & Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin to Bimini.  It is expected that they will be joined tomorrow by other senior Government officials.

"The Bahamas Consul General in Miami, Mrs. Alma Adams is now directly on the scene working with the Miami Police Department and the emergency services in Dade County.  Mrs. Adams has also already met with some family members on the scene of the accident.

"Resources of the Government are to be committed to finding out what went wrong and to assisting Bahamian families in their time of bereavement.  The Government will keep the country advised as more information becomes available.

"At first light tomorrow, Tuesday, the flight inspectorate of The Bahamas Government will dispatch a flight standards inspector to coordinate on behalf of The bahamas information between the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

"The Bahamas Department of Civil Aviation has already been in contact with the FAA in Washington and is expecting a formal report shortly."

18th December, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Within one week, we will celebrate Christmas Day.  The year has gone by blazingly fast.  The parties in Nassau have begun in earnest.  Nassau has a festive feel about it.  In two weeks, we will be right at the start of the year 2006.  If you had any doubt about the season though, that doubt should have been dispelled by the appearance of the Junior Junkanoos on Bay Street.  Each year now for fourteen years, the students of the country representing their various schools have started the Christmas season off by a resplendent display of the local culture and festival.  They are the forerunners of the beauty of the Saxons, Valley Boys and One Family adult groups to come on Boxing Day 2005.  The children get better and better every year, beating the drum, shaking the cowbells, learning and celebrating the rhythms of their forefathers.  Prime Minister Perry Christie and his Cabinet members were there to watch the celebration of Junior Junkanoo on Thursday 15th December.  We thought that the photo of the week was definitely Junior Junkanoo in bloom.  The photo by Stephen Gay is from The Bahama Journal.


During the past week, the press gave widespread coverage to a report prepared by a coalition of private sector organizations on the state of education in the country.  One newspaper led with the headline: EDUCATION IN CRISIS.  The report was the familiar pabulum these days that the students that we are producing aren’t making the grade; that if something is not done we will not be able to compete in the year 2020 with the rest of the world.

On one level this is all clearly true.  J. Barrie Farrington, the Head of the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association said that local business people are becoming increasingly concerned about the education level of job candidates, many of whom are barely literate.  He said that one Bahamian executive reportedly found that job candidates could not write a simple paragraph with clear sentences.  Another reported that applicants were doing poorly on aptitude tests.

Frank Comito who is also with the Association said this: “Twenty years down the line, we could find ourselves in a very uncompetitive situation where our cost of living would be incredibly high and our productivity would be incredibly low and the amount of dollars circulating through the economy because of that would be minimized and it could have severe consequences not only on every individual in The Bahamas, but certainly on government revenues and support services and everything else.”


Having not had sight of the full report, it is difficult to judge whether what it says is true or not.  Certainly from what the businessmen have said, we agree that there is a problem in the system of education, and the products that come out of that system. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell speaking in his Fox Hill Constituency told of how he had been asked by his colleague Melanie Griffin to provide three persons for jobs as case workers, an entry level public service job.  The job requires five Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) subjects for entry into the service.  This is an exam taken in junior high school at the age of 13 or 14.  Mr. Mitchell said that he could not find in the five pages or so that he had in his constituency office of persons looking for jobs, one person with five BJCs.

The problem we have with the report, such as we have seen, and the businessmen is this.  When the Minister of Foreign Affairs was engaged in the fight for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) talking about the nation’s need to compete, to prepare itself for the year 2020, and to harmonize our standards with our neighbours around the region in order to compete, where were the voices of these businessmen?  They sat silently and allowed an unenlightened and selfish intelligentsia to derail a perfectly acceptable formula for The Bahamas to boost its outside competitiveness.

The foolish arguments about Caribbean people encroaching on the privileges of Bahamians, when they are a part of us, caused a policy to be wrecked that could in fact help to improve our standards and our competitiveness.  But no the businesses in The Bahamas have the foolish view that they can go it alone in the world, and depend on the United States to save them.  On one level then we say to these businessmen tough if the system is poor, and suffer it to be so.  You obviously want to do no nothing about it.

The second difficulty we have with the report is its observations which appear to be political in nature, and we are not certain that they are true.  The report alleges that the decision to end the old Government High School and allow open access to secondary education, following the coming of Majority Rule in 1967 caused the education system to suffer.  It is described as the end to academic elitism.  The report says that Government High School's enrolment was limited by its capacity and candidates were selected in part on the basis of entrance exams.  The school sought the best and brightest students and tried to provide a superior education.

That is certainly not something that can be borne out by the facts.  The removal of Government High School had nothing to do with the present state of the public school system.  It should be clear to all but the most ardent revisionists that the system that existed in 1967 could not continue because it simply did not meet the demands for the number of students who required an education.   The report will have to show by cogent statistics that what they assert is true, rather than a repeat of political propaganda designed to say that since black people took over the standards of education have declined.

The report also criticizes the Bahamianization of the education system in the sense that teachers became Bahamians.  It says that it had the effect of precipitously reducing the qualifications of teachers.  It says: “that means that less than ten per cent of the teachers had the minimum high school grade to enter college.  One must note that another unintended consequence of Bahamianization was the social promotion of students… students could advance in grade without passing the grade.”

Again, we challenge the authors of this report to say on what do they base this information.  It may be true that social promotion existed and probably exists today in public schools but the point is what does Bahamianization of the teachers have to do with that?  Where is the link?  Did social promotion just start in the school since Bahamian teachers began teaching in the schools?  Again, this appears to be a dig at the post 1967 era and the public policy decisions made by the PLP to expand the educational opportunities for the masses.

Having read just those bits, one has to be wary of this report.  How helpful is it, save and except to merely add to the chorus of persons who are concerned about the future.  It does not seem that it can be relied upon to show us the way forward into the future.

Surely, we know that with the “old” Government High School gone, the private sector schools are now more expanded than ever.    The academic elite that would have gone to the Government High School are surely in the private sector schools.  It must follow.  No doubt some are still in the public school system.  The Government subsidizes the private schools to make the fees for their parents affordable.  Without those schools, the public system could not function because it still does not have the places for every child.

It must follow then that the logic of the report and its authors is totally off.  There is something more fundamental at work in The Bahamas which is adversely affecting our ability to prepare for the future.  The brightest and the best from the old Government High School ran the country in the post 1967 era.  So if the system was broken by them, clearly the old Government High School was not the best for The Bahamas, since they were the ones who designed the new education system.  We are only seeking here to follow the logic of the report and its authors and show them the graveyard down which such logic goes.

We do not find what the report said to be useful in many aspects. We are not sure what to do about education but what we suspect is that the Bahamian leadership both political and civic must start to be more open-minded, less prejudiced in their thinking, and understand that a small country must in fact allow itself to be infused with new ideas and conform to international standards.  In order to do this, it will have to be competitive. To be competitive it must join the world community and conform to the standards of the world community.  It cannot opt out.  This means joining the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, and the World Trade Organization and the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and working toward preparing ourselves to meet the standards demanded by the world.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 17th December 2005 at midnight: 72,330.

Number of hits for the month of December up to Saturday 17th December 2005 at midnight: 182,397.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 17th December 2005 at midnight: 3,920,943.



   Rev. Fr. Patrick Johnson, the Rector of St. Agnes Church is dead.  The Rector died in his sleep of natural causes in Eleuthera where he was visiting family to console them in time of their bereavement.  He was scheduled to perform a funeral service on Saturday 17th December for the late Leo Roberts, member of St. Agnes, pharmacist and one of the founding members of the Renaissance Singers.  Instead, the funeral for the reverend father himself is to be held at the Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday 22nd December at 10 a.m.  He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
    Fr. Johnson was an excellent priest.  He took over St. Agnes parish, the largest in the Anglican diocese and its largest financial contributor, the parish with many of the muck-a-mucks in Bahamian society, shortly after the death of the beloved Archdeacon William Thompson whose life was tragically cut short by a murder most foul.  Now the parish is reeling once more as it faces a forced transition through death.
    The Rector goes to his grave having increased the numbers of the parish and increased its level of giving.  In the last months of his life, he was distressed as was the congregation about a swirl of public disinformation, generated it appears from some internal sources about his leadership of the parish.  It led to some bitter feelings all around, and charges that he was left to twist in the wind without the support that should have been forthcoming.
    The Rector himself had not been well for some time and the stress may have contributed to his untimely demise at 55.  Nevertheless, the good rector goes to his grave with his reputation intact, with a record of service to St. Agnes, faithful until death.  Archbishop Drexel Gomez travelling in Barbados issued a statement of condolences on behalf of the diocese.  In a family photo at top by Kenneth Love, Father Johnson is shown with his wife, Ethel, standing, and his two daughters, Shaundica, left, and Sonja.  Father Johnson is also pictured at right in a Peter Ramsay photo.


    On Monday 12th December the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union and the Bahamas Electricity Corporation signed a new industrial agreement.  The agreement brings to an end the protracted struggle between the two sides at the work place at BEC.  This is yet another feather in the cap of the Government.  The nurses’ agreement has been signed, the doctors have signed off and the last of the agreements to be negotiated in the public sector will be that with the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT).  No doubt the BUT will prove to be most difficult.  The leadership of that trade union has proven to be difficult in reaching consensus on issues, so most people are bracing for a difficult time.
    The BEC dispute, which led to angry words in public and threats of strikes and industrial action, was settled in part by the intervention of Bishop Neil Ellis, the head of the Mt. Tabor Full Gospel Fellowship who brought the two sides to a compromise.  The terms of settlement seem generous.  Union members in the bargaining unit are to receive a $2500 lump sum payment within seven days of the signing of the agreement.  Some departments with effect from 1st May 2006 will receive a 2.5 per cent increase in pay: clerical computer operators and technicians, office staff supervisors, and managers of group one and two.  The labour trade and craft group 3-8 will receive a three percent salary increase.  The supervisors and managers of the Labour Trade and Craft group one to three will receive a 3.5 percent salary increase.
    The Management, the Union and the Government pronounced themselves pleased.  But we think that the most important point is a pledge by management and union to work together to conciliate disputes rather than threatening each other, and airing their dirty linen in public.  Kudos to Vincent Peet and Minister Bradley Roberts on their good work in settling this difficult dispute.  From left are BEC Chairman Keith Major; BEC General Manager Kevin Basden; Labour Minister Vincent Peet; and BEWU President Dennis Williams.  Bahamas Information Services photo by Raymond Bethel.


    On Monday 12th December, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the United States Coast Guard acting together apprehended 311 Haitians on board a fifty foot vessel on the Cay Sal Banks trying to reach the United Sates.  The 311 have all been repatriated to their home land Haiti.  The Royal Bahamas Defence Force reported that the total they have apprehended at sea so far this year is 1200.
    At the join task force meeting held on Friday 16th December between The Bahamas Government and the U.S. Government, migration was the number one topic, even though the talks are centred on drug interdiction.  Both countries now realize that illegal migration from Haiti is central to the security of their borders.  The Bahamas Government has had joint operations with the United States Coast Guard on drug interdiction matters since 1987 through Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT).  The successful anti drug operation often intervenes in migration matters because increasingly illegal migration has been a source for drug trafficking.
    At the meeting, both countries pronounced themselves satisfied with the progress on the anti drug effort and said that they would increase their efforts to fight the trade.  There is some resentment amongst Bahamian citizens at what appears to be the public hectoring by U.S. officials about what The Bahamas ought to do and not do when the whole problem is driven by the demand in the United States.  The Bahamas seems to be starting a formal approach to the United States Government on the issue of expanding the work of OPBAT to include illegal migration. Foreign Minister Mitchell and US Ambassador Rood are shown shaking hands at the Joint Task Force meeting at top and strolling to the meeting at right in these Bahamas Information Services photos by Tim Aylen.

    Bradley Roberts, the Minister with responsibility for Bahamasair has corrected a Tribune report in which FNM Leader Hubert Ingraham is quoted as speaking about a “…return of Bahamasair flights to Treasure Cay”.  Minister Roberts points out that despite some consideration of “outsourcing” by Bahamasair, flights into Treasure Cay continue “to this very day”.  The Minister advises The Tribune to investigate all utterances of Mr. Ingraham for credibility.


    Acting Governor General Paul Adderley, on his first visit to Grand Bahama since assuming the post, had high praise for Minister of Health, Dr. Marcus Bethel and the staff of the Public Hospitals Authority and the Grand Bahama Health Services.
    Mr. Adderley, who delivered remarks at the Government Clinic in Eight Mile Rock, referred to the hurricane damage suffered in the area, saying “Despite your problems and setbacks,” he declared, “it is evident that you have again risen to the challenge and are well on the way to achieving the ambitious but necessary improvements presented in the Government’s annual budget this year.”  He commended the staff for their “indomitable spirit and resiliency, and for your dedication to the provision of quality service to all, no matter the personal cost.”  The visit took place this past Friday, 16th December.  Dr. Baldwin Carey, Director of Public Health, Mrs. Elma Garraway, Health P.S. and Parliamentary Secretary Ron Pinder greet the acting Governor General at the Eight Mile Rock Clinic as Dr. Marcus Bethel and Ms. Sharon Williams, the Administrator of Grand Bahama Health Services look on.  Bahamas Information Services photo by Vandyke Hepburn.


    Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service, was busy in his constituency of Fox Hill this week.  As Christmas comes he treats the children of Fox Hill to gifts and a party, and he sponsors a Christmas service on the Fox Hill Park.  This year he added a new twist with a lunch for the prefects of the three schools in his area: L. W. Young Junior School, Dame Doris Johnson High School; and Sandilands Primary School.  The lunch was hosted by the General Manager of the Hilton British Colonial Michael Hooper, who is the son of King Eric Gibson and the brother of Shane Gibson, the Minister of Housing.  Mr. Hooper told the students that he wanted to bring them to the hotel to expose them to what hotel life was like from the customer side so that they can experience the ambience of a hotel, and what goes on there.  He said that there would be plenty of opportunities for them in the hotels in the future, not just in Food and Beverage but also at the front desk, in administration, in accounting, and in the mechanical side of the business.  The students thoroughly enjoyed the lunch and thanked the General Manager for his treat.  The photos:  the party for the children of Sandilands Primary School on Wednesday 14th December; Community Leaders join Minister Mitchell for the lighting of the Christmas Tree in honour of the late Bishop Austin Saunders (the widow Saunders 4th from left) and the prefects luncheon (photo by Tim Aylen / Bahamas Information Services).

    On 17th December at the Logos bookshop John Marquis, the expatriate, English editor of the Tribune, was available for a book signing.  He was launching a fairy tale that the publicity blurb said was a book that unearthed a new theory into who killed Sir Harry Oakes, the late Canadian baronet whose murder in 1943 was never solved.  It appears that while Mr. Marquis was in The Bahamas in the 1960s before his work permit was not renewed, he was told by a drunk at a bar that the Duke of Windsor was responsible for the death of Sir Harry Oakes.  This he has spun into a tale for a new book, and thus the book signing.
    We thought that the book signing was an interesting event for another reason and that is the nonsense that he wrote in the press on Monday 12th December in a Tribune column called INSIGHT.  Even though an author is not named, every one knows that it is John Marquis who writes it.  He is another one of these Black haters, anti PLP haters who simply will use any pretext to spin idle untruthful yarns about the present Government.  He is a perfect tool for Eileen Carron.  If you read last week's editorial in this column, you would have seen what we think of her.
    Mr. Marquis’ Insight piece may as well be a first chapter in yet another novel, a tall lying tale of people buying visas, and selling them in a parking lot.  Quite fanciful stuff, and all a lot of nonsense.  The quotes from unnamed sources without the back up anywhere, is unethical yellow journalism.  The Tribune used to be thought of as a paper of record what with the Nassau Guardian always being under the thumb of some political group or other, but now it has lost its reputation.  It has joined the bandwagon of the gutter press, all of them competing for the down market space.  What a pity.

    We wondered what happened why Ingraham's Progress across The Bahamas in pursuit of political rallies came to a halt this week.  The rally that was scheduled to be held by the FNM on Thursday 15th December was cancelled.  No surprise to us.  We told you they would run out of steam.  Had to!  Who in their right mind is interested in politics at this Christmas season? The air is cold outside and most Bahamians are interested in preparing for Junkanoo or attending the various parties.
    Down in Exuma, the park was being used that night to light the Christmas Tree.  Junior Junkanoo was on the air being broadcast so that Love 97 was not available for the FNM's live broadcast of the rally.  Further, Mr. Ingraham has not settled on a candidate for Exuma.  Tommy Turnquest, the previous leader had settled on Anthony Musgrove, the dynamic young FNM, to face incumbent Anthony Moss.  The battle of the Anthonys.  But Mr. Ingraham with his biggetty self does not like Mr. Musgrove and has been saying all around that no one is going to choose any candidate for him, and it aint going to be Musgrove.  Well we hope he can build a party like that, just about cheezing off all of Tommy’s supporters.  Bottom line, no rally in Exuma this year.

    Andrew Allen is sometimes on point, other times he is badly misguided.  His latest foray into the realm of the misguided is an article in The Tribune Tuesday 13th December in his column PERSPECTIVES.  Mr. Allen warns us to beware of paper independence.  His thesis is that while Caribbean countries have become independent and handle their own affairs, they cannot stop crime in their societies and have to depend on expertise from Britain to help them fight crime.  He named Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago as two societies who have made such a decision.  He goes on to posit that this means that these societies are not really independent since the essence of independence is the ability to protect your own citizens and when it comes to crime these societies cannot do so.  The argument is not a worthy one.
    All societies whether large or small depend on expertise from other countries to deal with various problems.  Even the United States borrows expertise.  Independence as a political stage means the legal authority to chart the destiny of the people who fall within the definition of your state.  Coming with it must be the ability to ensure the security of that state but everyone knows that there are more powerful states in the world than other states.  The fact that Britain can be defeated by the United States in a war because of the superiority of U.S. might does not mean that Britain is not an independent country.  The fact is we all get along with the relative powers that states have in relation to one another, and we all borrow from the expertise of one another, but as independent countries, unlike the Turks and Caicos for example, we can make those decisions on our own, with full legal authority.
    There are those who argue that The Bahamas is virtually occupied by an American army.  There are American helicopters in our skies.  In our waters, U.S. ships patrol right up to the twelve mile limit and can even pursue people within the twelve mile limit.  Even in times of disaster, The Bahamas has to call on the U.S. and other countries for assistance.  Just like Pakistan, Sri Lanka called on the assistance of their friends following the recent earthquake.  Does that mean that we cannot protect our citizens because we call for help?  In fact when the help comes, it shows that we can protect our citizens.  Does that mean that this is paper independence?  The notion is ludicrous.  Those are the necessities of life.  The fact is the decisions to make those calls are done in Nassau, not in London, and there is a discrete community of interest in this geographical location of islands that thinks of itself as Bahamian.
    Being independent then is not just matter of military might or physical coercion, or legalisms for that matter.  It is all that and more.  But more fundamentally it is a state of mind.  The problem one gets with Andrew Allen and his supporters at The Tribune is that they do not have that state of mind when it comes to The Bahamas.

McKinney now Chief of Protocol

    Andrew McKinney has been named to Chief of Protocol in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after acting in that capacity for the last six years. Mr. McKinney’s appointment takes effect from January 1, 2002 and was announced to the Ministry’s staff and the public by Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Fred Mitchell on Wednesday December 14, 2005.
    Minister Mitchell said Mr. McKinney was “a good example of what the public service is and ought to be and public servants would do well to emulate his work ethic… as the generations come down, they will know Andrew McKinney as the person who wrote the script for how official ceremonies are to be conducted here.”
    Mr. McKinney reaffirmed his commitment to strive “to be that perfect officer in the Ministry of Foreign and The Bahamas Government.”
    Mr. McKinney served as Deputy Chief from July 1994 to January 2000.  He first became involved in protocol matters as a  young Customs Officer, recruited by the country’s first Chief of Protocol, late Ernest Strachan, when The Bahamas was still a dependent territory, just before Independence in 1973. McKinney is pictured at right with Minister Mitchell and Permanent Secretary Dr. Patricia Rodgers in this BIS photo by Raymond Bethel

Grouper Fishing
    The grouper fishing ban has begun and will end on 16th February 2006.  From now until then, no live Nassau grouper can be taken from Bahamian waters lawfully.  And with respect to the humour now doing the rounds, yes, that also means Freeport grouper, Exuma grouper and so on.

The Web Cafes
    Last week we reported on a swoop by police on various “numbers” houses in The Bahamas or web cafes as they are now known.  The report is that all of the persons were released without charge by the police.  It may well be that the Attorney General's office will determine whether a charge is to be brought by summons.

    Sitting under the gray drizzly skies of miserable England, Jonathan Linsley slammed The Bahamas from his home in Bexhill in England.  Ever heard of it?  Probably never.  Anyway Mr. Linsley has had the good fortune of landing an acting job that took him to Freeport in The Bahamas where the sun shines most of the time and the living is laid back.  He didn't like it, and went back home and laid waste the place.
    The Ministry of Tourism and the people who are the producers of Pirates of the Caribbean Part II ought to have a word with this dullard who obviously doesn’t understand that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.  We say without fear of contradiction that while the U.K. is a nice place, it does not and cannot compare to The Bahamas.  We leave this ingrate to the Bahamians abroad.  Here is what he had to say in this own words on 14th December 2005 to the Rye and Battle Today News:
    “The Bahamas is a very boring place to be honest, very dull unless you are into swimming, snorkeling and all that.
    “It is a very poor country, geared up for tourists.  After six weeks, you have been to every restaurant and you have seen every pub.  There are ex pats living out there, all bored but trapped by the tax thing because they don’t pay any tax there.  They are all talking about what a good hurricane they had.
    “It’s all a bit depressing really. The poor people of The Bahamas have lost everything on their end of the country…”
    The article continues: “Back in The Bahamas Jonathan experienced the drama of a fire in his hotel, with safety measures leaving a lot to be desired.  Since then there have been other problems such as theft from rooms, but it’s the day to day life of the island which leaves him unsettled.”
    “It’s very expensive there because everything is imported.  A bag of salad we could buy here for 99 p is about three pounds there.  If you buy a two litre carton of milk here it costs one pound and twenty five pence but there its six dollars and fifty cents, which is about three pounds and twenty five pence for a carton of milk.  These are the prices they charge tourists but when you go to supermarkets the locals pay the same prices.
[How he can complain about prices when the prices in the U.K. are simply outrageous is beyond us—Editor]
    “Fruit and veg is [sic.] in short supply, so they import a lot.  For instance, all the watermelon come from Spain. (We didn’t know they grew watermelons in England, all of England’s fruit comes from Chile and Israel.  Shows how daft the fellow is really-Editor). The wages are not high, so of course they are desperate to make some money out of tourists and out of our film.
    “If I had to be there and live on $100 a week wages [The minimum wage in The Bahamas by law is $150 per week – Editor], I don’t think that I would survive.”

    The Freeport News has reported an attack on Roman Catholic priest Father Alain Laverne in Pinedale, Eight Mile Rock, but Grand Bahama police say that they have made no progress in the case. The incident is reported to have stemmed from a minor car crash, but an onlooker got involved and began swearing at the priest after discovering that he was of Haitian background.
    Such actions must be strongly condemned.  The climate of anti-immigrant hate filled language has been engendered by jingoistic and overemotional critics of the immigration policy.  It is a serious problem that the country will come to regret if not controlled and eradicated.

Eileen Carron is a tool
    As a Bahamian living abroad I look forward to your journal not because I'm a staunch PLP but because you really do tell it like it is.  However you seem to think that Ms. Carron is simply a case of sour grapes and racial bigotry.  She is more than that.  She is a tool of destabilization and uses her paper as a propaganda vehicle to advance the cause of her masters who happen to white supremacist and fascists bent on bringing about aligned governments the world over “for the rich, by the rich and of the rich.”
    With Hubert in power it did not matter that he was black.  What mattered was that he could be relied on and controlled but the puppet masters.  So much of what he did did not make sense until I read a book ‘Protocols of the learned elders of Zion.’  I suggest that you and every Bahamian read this book so that we may competently and not emotionally counter the evil agenda of the Carrons and Huberts of the world.
J. Lundy Roberts


    Prime Minister Perry Christie grins with delight as he greets performers in the Junior Junkanoo parade.  Minister of Works Bradley Roberts looks on at left.

Photo from The Bahama Journal by Stephen Gay.


Junkanoo postponed....

It has been officially announced that the Boxing Day Junkanoo parades have been postponed until 8.00 p.m. on Monday 26th December, 2005, due to the expectation of continued inclement weather.

25th December, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - It is Christmas Day.  Ordinarily this would be a happy day, and no doubt for some it is still a happy day. The little children are probably delirious as they are surprised at the new things they have: the toys, the skates, the food. The adults around them have done all that they can to make sure that Christmas is a happy and memorable occasion.  They ought to enjoy it while they can.  For in the midst of life there is death.  That is what is foremost on our minds as we face this Christmas season, even as we go to Junkanoo, and as we went to midnight mass.  We are speaking about the unspeakable; the death of 11 of our citizens at one time in a fiery plane crash in the shallow waters of the Miami Harbour on Monday 19th December.  The Government rose to the occasion and flew over two Ministers to Miami to deal with the relatives and friends of those who were lost in the crash.  Prime Minister Perry Christie flew to Bimini where he visited every family and comforted them in their loss and distress.  There are so many pictures and we share with you a photo essay below.  But we believe that the photo of the week was the Prime Minister comforting two little boys who lost their mother in the crash of Chalks Flight 101.  Merry Christmas to all!  The photo is by Peter Ramsay.


‘Tis the season to be jolly or so the song says.  But as Anglicans gathered to say farewell to one of their priests on Thursday 22nd December, the mood was anything but jolly.  We reported last week on this site that the Rev. Fr. Patrick Johnson, the successor to Archdeacon William Thompson at the parish of St. Agnes, died suddenly in his sleep.  The official announcements would not as they often do not do in The Bahamas tell the real story of the intrigue behind the scenes.  The funeral service therefore had the makings of a major drama, with the pomp and pageantry and the scene in the cathedral setting a stage for high drama indeed.

Last week we intimated that there had been some unspecified attack on the priest during his tenure at St. Agnes, generated we said from within.  We indicated that the priest himself did not believe that he got the support for his work, nor was there support to protect his reputation.  This week at the funeral the story all came out when the person chosen to deliver the sermon at the Christ Church Cathedral Canon Basil Tynes of St. Barnabas laid it all out, basing his sermon a book by Dr. G. Lloyd Rediger, “The Clergy Killers”.

According to Canon Tynes, the Clergy killers described how the priests of various dioceses across the world are unprepared for the type of person in the midst of the congregation or church board who works insidiously to bring the priest down, by reporting to the bishop certain unspecified discontent in the church, bringing the matter before the vestry, making allegations of sexual misconduct or stealing, and finally moving the vestry to remove the priest.  Those familiar with the St. Agnes matter over the last year said that this describes the situation there.  The Canon said that in making the case to the Bishop, the clergy killer will say that if the Bishop does not act, the people with the money in the church will leave the church.

The sermon was a scorcher, with the Canon calling for all those who attacked the priest to repent.  He said that his friend Patrick had wept on his shoulder because of the persecution that he had suffered.  The Canon implied that it was lack of the support of the leadership of the church that led to the untimely demise of the priest at the age of 55.  The sermon brought loud cheers and applause.  It seemed a very bitter and sharp thing to say within the context of a funeral and some of the more conservative members thought his remarks were out of place.  The message seemed wildly popular amongst the members of St. Agnes, however.

There are a couple of questions though.  Where does it exactly leave the Anglican Church?  The Canon’s message would seem to have ripped into the church institutionally and cannot be good for its reputation.  Will the message not adversely affect the contributions, the support?  The Roman Catholic Archbishop must be casting an interested eye at Anglican congregations.  It gives the impression of turmoil in the church.  Several priests were saying within the congregation that there is more to come, indicating a general dissatisfaction with the leadership.

The leadership of the Anglican Church is a highly intellectual one, and the criticism has always been that there isn’t a builder or an evangelizer at its helm.  In the time that Lawrence Burke the Roman Catholic Bishop was in The Bahamas, he built churches and centres for the advancement of Roman Catholicism.  Under the existing leadership of the Anglican Church covering roughly the same time as Archbishop Burke, the growth of the church has not been as dynamic when compared to Roman Catholicism.

But the Anglican Church is Episcopal, which means that the Bishop is the lord of all he surveys.  He is there for at least another three years.  He has announced that he will move for the election of a co-coadjutor Bishop in February, and that person will almost certainly take over the church when he leaves in three years time (click here for previous story). The question is will it be one that he supports or one that is diametrically opposed to what he stands for, and in the three years if they are diametrically opposed how will they get along?

Further, the people of Anglican congregations as with most church congregations are not interested in rabble rousing.  They go to church for peace, and when the Bishop makes his announcement of what he plans to do, they simply accept what he says even though they may disagree.  Priests are bound to do so more than laity.  It is part of their vow.  So it is difficult to see how, apart from a purging, the statements of the Canon would have advanced the work of the church.   The Archbishop and most institutions do in these circumstances can take the position that the priest has passed on, and that the way forward is simply to leave the status quo in place.  There would be few who would be troubled to disturb it, if he takes that position.  The Archbishop’s operatives in the church have indicated that the whole story was not told by the Canon.

In any event, those who were not at the funeral missed a great drama.  There is nothing on stage that could have exceeded it, with real dramatis personae, and a real story as backdrop to it all.  The stage was set.  The players were all elaborately costumed.  The leaders of the state were there as well, and then came the moment for the sermon and the radical priest took to the podium and he did not disappoint.  Drama is one thing though.  Our concern is the church and where it goes to from here.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 24th December 2005 at midnight: 70,928.

Number of hits for the month of December up to Saturday 24th December 2005 at midnight: 253,325.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 24th December 2005 at midnight: 3,991,871.



    The Luncheon at Government House with the Governor General was a particularly enjoyable one for all of the Cabinet.  One of their own was at the helm in Government House, and it was about to be a merry Christmas indeed.  But just as the Cabinet had finished their meal, disaster struck.  At 2:37 p.m. Chalk’s flight 101 plunged into the seas off Miami Harbour, taking with it 11 Bahamians and Christmas as well.  Nevertheless, life goes on and it is that time of the year when we reflect on what has happened over the past year, our accomplishments and failures.
    Our country has suffered much within the past year, what with the people of Grand Bahama being struck by a third hurricane in two years.  Hurricane Wilma left scores of people homeless and psychologically damaged.  Unemployment is up in Grand Bahama, and the Government's coffers are strained to meet the cost of infrastructure for this country, and to meet these emergency requests.  Nevertheless, the Christians say that in all things we must give thanks.  Put another way, there is nothing we can do any way, so life goes.
    For this column, we have been the centre of some attention, vilified in some quarters, misunderstood even by those whom we are sworn to defend.  But continuing this column is the right thing to do.  If the Prime Minister and his colleagues don't get the message of where the press is on the PLP and his leadership, then we are in serious trouble indeed.  On the day after he visited the people of Bimini to grieve with them in their sorrow, the two major daily papers did not publish one picture of the Prime Minister in the newspaper.  Such a visit deserved to be on the front page, but not even a mention was made.  That tells you what the time of day is.  So this column tries to help.
    This year it looks like we will meet the target of four million hits for the year.  That exceeds what was accomplished by the old  So we are well on our way.  Thanks for reading, and we hope that despite all the gloomy news this Christmas, that you enjoy Junkanoo, Christmas, and have a prosperous New Year, and that you continue to read next year.  We will as usual post the Junkanoo results as soon as they are available. From left are Alfred Sears, Fred Mitchell, Neville Wisdom, Vincent Peet, Prime Minister Perry Christie; Acting Governor General Paul Adderley, Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt, Glenys Hanna Martin, Obie Wilchcombe, Melanie Griffin, Shane Gibson and James Smith.

    Prime Minister Perry Christie was on radio and television today, with “a positive message, one of thanks, praise and hope.”  In his seasonal greeting, Mr. Christie remembered the victims of Hurricane Wilma and the bereaved in Bimini.  He thanked his colleagues and dedicated public officers, but cautioned “we must never rest for there is always more work to be done.”  The Prime Minister wished for all “a Merry Christmas and a Happy and meaningful New Year”.  Please click here for the full text of the Prime Minister's Christmas message.


    Flight 101 of Chalk’s Airline, an airline that has served The Bahamas throughout its fifty year existence, and that was the backbone of travel links between Bimini and Miami, took off at about 2:30 p.m. headed on a routine flight from Miami’s Watson Island to Bimini.  The flight is fifty miles, some 40 minutes in flight.  The flight on Monday 19th December did not make it more than three hundred feet off the water.
    To the horror of those in the Miami Harbour, something was going terribly wrong.  The engine of the plane on the right seemed to be on fire, then the wing broke off and the entire plane plunged into the ocean.  Despite the best efforts of rescuers on the scene within minutes, everyone in the plane perished.  Twenty people died on that afternoon, eleven were Bahamians. A nation mourns.  The speculation is that there was catastrophic structural failure in an ageing aircraft that came off the line first in 1947.  Whatever the cause, 20 people are dead.
    A nation is mourning, a community is stunned.  Prime Minister Perry Christie immediately issued a statement extending condolences of the nation to the families of the victims and to the people of Bimini.  Bodies have now been released to the funeral home in Miami.  The earliest funerals are expected in Bimini in the week of 7th January.  A memorial service is to be held in Bimini on Wednesday 28th December.  The Prime Minister and the Cabinet will attend.  TOP - A sombre Prime Minister Christie empathises with a Biminite who lost his wife, stepdaughter and granddaughter in the crash as Obie Wilchcombe, the Member of Parliament looks on.  (BIS: Peter Ramsay)  LEFT - The smoke trail from a Chalk's Ocean Airways drops into the ocean Monday, Dec. 19, 2005 next to Miami Beach. (AP Photo/Sandy Rodriguez)  RIGHT - The wing of the seaplane is lifted by a crane on a barge from the waters of the crash site Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)


    Prime Minister Perry Christie and members of his Cabinet including the Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe representative for Bimini and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Fred Mitchell; Social Services, Melanie Griffin and Aviation, Glenys Hanna Martin flew to Bimini to console those who were in mourning for the victims of Flight 101 of Chalk’s.  That was on Tuesday 20th December.  That same evening the Foreign Minister flew to Miami.  The pictures by Bahamas Information Services photographer Tim Aylen and Peter Ramsay say more than thousands of words.


    Carolyn Burke (American resident of Bimini); Bahamians: Barto Dean, Sabrena Dean, Sabre'a Dean (infant), Genevieve Ellis, Niesha Fox, Salome Rolle, Bethany Sherman (infant), Sophia Sherman, Donald Smith, Jacqueline Stuart, Jervis Stuart (infant).

    The sermon of the Rev. Canon Basil Tynes, the Rector of St. Barnabas Church (Anglican) in Nassau at the funeral of the late Fr. Patrick Johnson, Rector of St. Agnes has reverberated around The Bahamas.  There is a guessing game going on about who he was talking about.  The sermon was masterful, and presented the linchpin of a drama that played out on the national stage.  We have our doubts about its propriety and its efficaciousness.  There are those who said it needed to be said.  Others argue that it was the wrong place.  Whatever, it has been said and we thought that our readers ought read an excerpt in his own words:
Of his Friend’s Hurt
“[Patrick] said to me there are times when I wish my heavenly father could just take me home from all of this that I am going through.
    “A man four weeks ago, after we left a luncheon sponsored by the College of The Bahamas stood with me on the Cable Beach strip for 45 minutes and during the course of the conversation he could say to me: ‘Basil not all of us are as strong as you are.’  My friend was broken and battered.  And all for what?  You tell me!  Is God glorified?
    “But I believe his death must count for something to bring us to a new watershed in our development in this diocese, which needs to wake up and repent of the evil that goes on in the name of Christianity, that touches those who are coming from the fount to those who are seated on thrones in the diocese.”
[Canon Tynes is at the centre of this group of mourners at the graveside in this Peter Ramsay photo]


    Peter Ramsay, the Prime Minister’s personal photographer was at the funeral of the late Fr. Patrick Johnson at Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday 22nd December.  Here is his photo essay.

    Sean Hanna, one of the sons of the former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Arthur Hanna has died.  Mr. Hanna, in his forties, is said to have been discovered dead at home.  It is not thought that police suspect foul play.

    It appears that the United Sates Ambassador is starting to wander into territory that his predecessor did.  He has made several pronouncements over the last weeks which indicate a feeling of freedom to comment on the Bahamian political scene.  The Tribune published the comments in what they said was an exclusive interview on Thursday 22nd December.  Here is what the Ambassador John Rood had to say in his own words:

On Castro’s Cuba
“A tremendous opportunity was missed by The Bahamas and other friends of the United States in the Caribbean to question Fidel Castro about the poor human rights record of his country [at the recent Caricom/Cuba Summit in Barbados 8th October 2005]. Caricom countries should have done all they could to promote the virtues of democracy which they hold dear.”

(How would the Ambassador know what Caricom leaders said to Fidel Castro?  It is clear from their lives what their position on democracy, pluralism and elections is.—Editor)

On The Bahamas vote on Iran at the U. N.
“Unfortunately The Bahamas chose not to support the resolution,  [condemning Iran] and they chose to stand with Cuba and Venezuela and did not support a resolution that was sponsored by Canada and supported by the US and the United Kingdom… but then two weeks later [at the Caricom /Cuba summit] we have a resolution condemning the US.”

(The Bahamas and Caricom countries take the view as a matter of policy that it will not support at the UN country specific resolutions in the human rights context, unless all human rights issues of all countries are to be examined.  The developed countries want to pick and choose who they condemn but will not support an examination of their own records and policies.  Further, the Caricom/Cuba Communiqué speaks only to the issue of the economic embargo by the United States of Cuba.  It is not a general condemnation of the United States.  The position in Barbados is consistent with that taken at the UN which has annually condemned the embargo. --- Editor)

On Crime
“If the level of crime in The Bahamas continues, the U.S. Embassy may have to review its policy on how it advises visitors coming into the country. The three restaurant robberies this year were shocking to me and to many people.  The fact that people can come into a restaurant and hold up patrons is truly terrifying and it is a potentially dangerous situation and if it continues it is going to hurt these small businesses.”

(What about a night out in Detroit? ---Editor)

On Free Trade
“Countries that resist opening their borders to free trade will be at a disadvantage and will not have access to the economic benefits enjoyed by the rest of the world. There is a compelling argument against the type of tax structure where it is dependent on new major investment coming in, and if you don’t feed it with new investments you are going to really hurt your tax structure, so it does not appear to me to be a sustainable long term system.”

On LNG Benefits
“[LNG like] everything has a risk.  The cruise ships that we allow in this Harbour are a terrorist target; they are environmental targets.  A lot of things can happen, one could sink – we can go on and on about all the potential dangers of a cruise ship in your Harbour.  The people of The Bahamas have looked at the economic benefit, and said that without a doubt the economic benefit far outweighs those risks.  And they have made the decision and that is why the cruise industry is so strong here.”

    With the U.S. Ambassador and The Tribune trying to stir up trouble over the recent joint communiqué between Cuba and Caricom, the Cuban Ambassador Felix Wilson must have felt that he had to get into the mix.  So on Friday 23rd December 2005, here is what The Tribune reported that Mr. Wilson said in his own words:

On Bahamas/Cuba Relations
“The Bahamas and Cuba can be good friends despite the difference in ideologies.  We have been friends with Mexico, Canada and many countries around the world who are not communist as we are. The actions [of a nation] cannot be dictated by politics.  Relationships between countries cannot be dictated by political beliefs.  They must be dictated by interests of the countries and the peoples.”

On Cuba/Caricom relations
“The trade and cultural agreement signed between Caricom members and Cuba on 8th December is the culmination of many years of exchange and co-operation.  This is not something that comes overnight, this is something that has been developed over the years, where Cuba has a very open, friendly co-operative relationship with the Caricom countries, and so has been the case with the Caricom countries toward Cuba.”

    Leslie Miller is the Minister of Trade and his Ministry is charged with the responsibility of leading The Bahamas into the World Trade Organization (WTO).  He is fresh from the meeting in Hong Kong which cobbled up an agreement to advance the notion of free trade around the world.  Mr. Miller though has his doubts.  Here is what he had to say upon his return as reported in The Tribune of Friday 23rd December in his own words:
    “Is it in our best interest to sign that document to gain full ascension?  What are we giving up versus what are we getting? Believe me, from my vantage point as a Bahamian, this thing has to be studied very, very carefully.  And I will not advise the government or the people of The Bahamas to be in any rush to sign onto the WTO for at least the next five years.”

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell spoke at the annual Christmas Carol Service of the Ministry on Friday 23rd December.  In it he reviewed events over the past year but had this to say about the foreign policy of The Bahamas in his own words:
     “It is also clear that we face an ever more complex geopolitical environment.  Our citizens are unhappy about our relations with Caricom.  We have the United States on the one hand whose policies are not often transparent or clear, but who dominate the political thinking in the country.  The U.S. is generally a force for good and they remain our closest partner, but on the other side of our country is Cuba.  The United States is engaged in an ideological fight with Cuba and we have nothing to do with that.  It is clear what our values are.  We support the principle of sovereign integrity, and the right to self-determination, which includes the people of Cuba.  But we do not interfere in the affairs of other countries.  Our role is to live at peace with all of our nations in this hemisphere. And we do not have the luxury of being in a position to lecture others on how they ought to conduct their national lives.
    “Our foreign policy then is of necessity a practical one, and we do not and will not engage in any high profile fights amongst neighbours, which are simply none of our business. At the same time, the art of our diplomacy is to wade through these treacherous and difficult ideological and geographical waters.  Our skills will be required more than ever in 2006.”
    You may click here for the Minister's full address and here for his Christmas message to the constituents of Fox Hill.

    John Pinder, the President of the Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) looks like he has got trouble brewing and is singing the blues this Christmas.  He went and agreed with the Government in the latest industrial agreement to dismantle the pernicious overtime system at the Customs Department that sees some Customs Officers making in the six figures while their bosses have to make do with the basic measly salaries.  The situation is such that some customs officers refuse to be promoted because it will take them out of the over time category.
    In the name of public sector reform or of being helpful, Mr. Pinder in the last round of negotiations advanced to the Government moving to a shift system.  This would mean that when fully implemented all customs overtime would be eliminated in New Providence and Grand Bahama.  There would still be a need for it in some Family Islands because of the lack of manpower.  The customs rank and file have revolted and are saying ‘not a day like it.’  They want Mr. Pinder's head.
    Mr. Pinder’s spin doctors at the down-market Punch newspaper have been trying to say it was the Minister for the Public Service who imposed the change in the overtime system.  Not so.  It is clear from a close examination of the process that John Pinder advanced it.  The Government agreed.  That is what you get for concentrating on things like lump sums and what money is going to base salary, and not bothering to read the fine print, even the fine print supplied by one’s own union leaders.  The word is that customs officers now want to form their own union.

    Debbie Ferguson, the sports star and Golden Girl of the Olympics of 2000, is now a married woman.  On Friday 23rd December, the track star married Adrian McKenzie in a dazzling ceremony. We congratulate Mrs. McKenzie.

Jonathan Linsley
    Well, I hope Jonathan Linsley does not come back if that is how he feels about The Bahamas.  One can understand he is glad to be back with his family and friends... that is normal human behaviour... but to diss this country in the manner he did is quite unnecessary.  Such stupid remarks.  Obviously there will be a limited number of restaurants on a small island.  Obviously, we pay more for some items (and you are quite correct when you say prices in the UK are high) but we do not pay income tax here, an amazing difference to our pay check each month.  I could go on, but he is not worth it!  However, I must mention the bored expats.  If they cannot find a way to be involved in the community and make their lives worthwhile, well, then I guess they will be bored. That is of their own making.
    I am sure you know by now that I am an expat for over 20 years and so these kinds of comments really annoy me!

    Having read the article concerning education in The Bahamas, I would like to say that I am the product of a Bahamian education.  I remember 1967 when many of us were not able to get a good education because of the system set up; but in 1967 many of us were given a chance to get a very good education because the government gave scholarships to the schools that otherwise we would not have been able to attend.
    Government High School was not the best school in Nassau pre-1967 nor beyond.  I am a product of St. Augustine’s College and so many are in the government of The Bahamas today.  I remember the Hon. Alfred Sears.  We were classmates and the Hon. Fred Mitchell was a couple of years above us.  Many good schools existed in The Bahamas like St. John’s College, Aquinas College, St. Anne’s School in Fox Hill and many others.  Government High was just one of the good schools among many.
    Those of us who were recipients of the Government’s post 1967 scholarships are grateful I am sure for the opportunity to get a quality education.  I am proud to have been raised in The Bahamas and to have been educated in The Bahamas.  I don’t know what the educational system is like today, but I know when I was growing up it was great because we had to take the GCE and that put us up there with the best England had to offer.  We all had to take these exams no matter what high school you attended.

The system of education in The Bahamas today is basically sound but it does have its challenges. – Editor


    Prime Minister Perry Christie delights staff members with witticisms at the annual Christmas party in the Office of the Prime Minister.

    Miss Marisha Johnson is pictured with Prime Minister Christie at the dedication of a computer centre at the Church of God on East Street and Lilly of the Valley Corner on 22nd December.  The centre at the church under Bishop Moses A. Johnson is part of the Urban Renewal Project.

Family Island Airport Security - The day before Christmas Eve, Prime Minister Christie took the opportunity to stop in at the end of a training seminar for Family Island Airport Security officers.  More than 70 men and women graduated from the course that enables them to qualify for security screening work now to be conducted at all international airports in the Family Islands.  In a charge to the graduates, the Prime Minister reminded them to demonstrate competence and integrity while retaining the hospitality for which The Bahamas is famous. [Photo: Patrick Hanna]

Bahamas Information Services photos by Peter Ramsay