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13th February, 2005
20th February, 2005
27th February, 2005
Columns From 2002 - 2003
6th February, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - They look like little boys who could not hurt flies.  Yet, they are now at the centre of another shock in the Bahamian community.  They are charged with the murder of another young man Philip Andrew Moss 32 in the wee hours of Sunday morning 30th January.  The allegation is that they and two others jumped the deceased as he went into a club called Da Bing, owned by the son of former Fox Hill MP Lionel Davis, for a beer.  He was set upon with a cutlass and a two by four.  He was left to bleed to death on the porch.  Two men are still at large.  In Fox Hill, the talk is that this is a feud which dates back to at least Fox Hill Day last year when one of the friends of this pair got sliced in the jaw by the brother of the deceased.  The killing is said to be revenge for that.   The Member of Parliament Fred Mitchell has brought a professional team into Fox Hill to try to see if he can get to the bottom of the matter.  It does not bode well.  To complicate matters even further the last names are Nicholas and Toussaint.  Both are Haitian names.  These are perhaps that unaccepted generation of youngsters born in The Bahamas whose parents nor they have citizenship or any status in the country.  They are now a burden on the society, a society which refuses to face up to the cold hard facts of the need for integration or there will be more death and destruction.  But these faces of innocence are now connected with wicked and great evil. One of the men shouted as he was being taken to jail: “Don’t worry, next year this time I will be right back under the tree”.  No remorse!  No fear for being in the very serious trouble that he is in.  They are the photos of the week that appeared in The Bahama Journal on Friday 4th February 2005 and the photos are by Omar Barr. 


By Sharon Zoe Smith (from London)
There is no question that the headline in The Tribune of Tuesday 1st February must have caused concern, hurt and injury in the political circles that count in The Bahamas.  The headline read: ELLIS URGES PM TO SHOW GUTS.  The story then went on to say that in a sermon delivered in his church Mt. Tabor last Sunday, Bishop Neil Ellis launched a blistering attack on the Member of Parliament for Marathon Ron Pinder.  Mr. Pinder has been under attack for several weeks from Opposition politicians because of a faux pas he made when he entered the tarmac of the Nassau International Airport, boarded the flight to Washington without going through the proper procedures.  Mr. Pinder apologized to the House, the Prime Minister and the country in the House of Assembly.  The apology was carried here last week.  Mr. Pinder did not plead ignorance.  He admitted that what he did was wrong.

The country responded well to what he had said.  All the newspaper editorials praised him for his behaviour.  They accepted that here was a bright young politician who overstepped his bounds acting like he was not subject to the laws and had caught himself and apologized.  That was the end of that.  And so it was somewhat of shock for the words attributed to Bishop Ellis to be published, and there has been no denial that those were the words spoken.  We print them in their entirety below.

The essence of the point made by the Bishop is that Ron Pinder is giddy with power and that he should resign or be fired from office for the incident at the airport.  We do not agree.  Mr. Pinder is one of the brightest and the best of the PLP and has a great future in the Progressive Liberal Party.  The Prime Minister is a great teacher, and it is his job to tame the youthful exuberance of a man like Mr. Pinder and lead it in the right direction.  Mr. Pinder is extremely popular with young people.  He has acquitted himself well in his job as Parliamentary Secretary.  But it is clear that the knives are out, and it would seem that it is in his interest to take stock of why all of the animosity has emerged and how he has to recast himself to avoid the pitfalls of envy.

The other point made by the Bishop is that the Prime Minster must have the guts to deal with others around him or go down with them.  We do not believe that the Prime Minister is without guts.  It is easy to believe the other man’s propaganda.  Because of the PM’s particular decision making style, his civility and deliberation, it is easy to mistake those for weakness.  But a man does not get to be Prime Minister after fighting battles for a generation in politics by being without guts.  That would seem to speak for itself.

Sunday morning in church is one of the most challenging times for preachers.  Every Sunday they are under pressure to produce for the faithful a message from God.  All who are in public life, preachers and politicians alike have to be careful to speak with deliberation, care and  thought for the consequences, both intended or unintended of any words spoken.  Words spoken are taken to mean the consequences that the speaker had when he spoke them, particularly words spoken to your friends.

It was probably just a bad morning.  Everyone has those, and we put it down to nothing more than that.  We hope that Bishop Ellis can see his way clear to resile from his position.  He is quite a good man.  He does great things.  However, as we saw with Ron Pinder's behaviour as good as we are, none of us is perfect and all are at some point short of the glory of God.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 5th February 2005 at midnight: 77,365.

Number of hits for the month of January up to Monday 31st January 2005 at midnight: 317,212.

Number of hits for the month of February up to Saturday 5th February 2005 at midnight: 43,891.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 5th February 2005 at midnight: 361,103.


    The public didn’t know what to think about the news on the front page.  The Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Agatha Marcelle marched into the Nassau Guardian on Monday 31st January and said that she had had enough of the bad treatment at the hands of BaTelCo, the telephone company with the monopoly on land lines in The Bahamas.
    Ms. Marcelle who could well have gone to the Minister directly said that she felt that she had nowhere else to go, having come to the end of her rope with the bad customer service.  She had asked months ago, five to be exact for her telephone to be toll barred.  BTC never carried out her instruction, and the result was that long distance charges piled up on the bill.  She was outraged.  She refused to pay, and BTC in the end backed down, credited her account and apologized.
    Lots of consternation in the PLP and in the public who did not quite know what to make of it.  To be sure BTC and its staff attitudes are unpopular and many thought they got their comeuppance but what a way for a Parliamentary Secretary to act was the whisper on every lip.  Ms. Marcelle was defiant and unrepentant.
    The Unions then got into the act by reacting to a story that was later published in the Nassau Guardian that Ms. Marcelle claims used quotes that took her comments completely out of context.  On Thursday 3rd February she seemed to say that unions were dangerous for the country.  The BaTelCo union accused her of forgetting that they helped her when she was down and out by giving her work as a human resources expert before she was a parliamentarian, and that now that she has “a little power” how dare she attack the unions.  It seemed an unnecessarily unkind remark to make by the union, who could well have called Ms. Marcelle, knowing her as they said they did, and asked her whether or not what she said was correct.  It was the same point we made with Bishop Neil Ellis and his attack on Ron Pinder and Perry Christie (See Comment of The Week).  Call first, before attacking your friends in public.
    Ms. Marcelle issued a clarification, and now we believe that all is now settled.  But what a week!  Click here for the full statement by Ms. Marcelle.  The cartoonist Stan Burnside thought that Ms. Marcelle was no doubt right, and the cartoon of Saturday 5th February in the Nassau Guardian is pictured.


    Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs headed the delegation to Jamaica last week instead of the Prime Minister.  Visiting Jamaica was the Vice President of China.  The fair took place from 2nd February to 3rd February.  China and Jamaica held a joint trade fair and some 25 businessmen and Bahamian politicians visited the fair.
    The Minister issued a statement on behalf of the Bahamian delegation.  You may click here for the address.
    While in Jamaica, The Bahamas signed an accord to make The Bahamas an approved destination for Chinese tourists so that The Bahamas may access some of the tourists who leave from China, 16.6 million last year.  The Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller also signed a trade and economic framework co-operation agreement.  China's vice-president Zeng Qinghong is flanked by two beautiful Jamaican women as he cuts the ribbon to officially open the China-Caribbean Trade Fair at the National Arena in Kingston. (Jamaica Observer photo - Joseph Wellington)


    Vincent Peet was Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs for a couple of day this week when he delivered an address for the substantive Minister Fred Mitchell.  Mr. Peet made the point that the US/Bahamas relationship is good and that it is built on mutual trust and admiration.  The speech was delivered on Tuesday 1st February 2005 at the Rotary Club. You may click here for that address. Minister Peet (foreground) is shown with Minister Mitchell in this file photo.

    The Caribbean Community is in a tail spin.  The Caribbean Single Market and Economy is all set to go and is to have a court called the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) with an originating jurisdiction to adjudicate all the various disputes that might arise between countries on the issues arising out of interpretations of the Treaty of Chaguaramus.  It is also to be an appellate court that would replace the Privy Council as the final Court of Appeal for Jamaica and many of the Caribbean countries.
    The Bahamas had already decided that they would not join the Court, even though they will help to pay for it.  It is insurance against the day the British decide that the Privy Council will be abolished.
    Jamaica’s Prime Minister P.J. Patterson meant to leave office having accomplished the CCJ, which had been talked about since he was a student at the University of the West Indies in the 1950s.  Mr. Patterson whose successors are now lining up for the fight to succeed him, (he is supposed to leaving September), will to be able to accomplish that dream it seems unless a miracle happens.  The Privy Council has struck down both as it relates to Jamaica, the court of originating jurisdiction, and the appellate court legislation being inconsistent with Jamaica’s constitution and therefore null and void.
    The Privy Council said that since the change was an amendment of the constitution by implication, the procedure for changing entrenched provisions of Jamaica's constitution had to be followed if the legislation as contemplated is to take effect.  Read in the Privy Council judgment paragraphs 19, 21 and the last paragraph for the import of the judgment.  Click here.
    The political impact is devastating.  Caricom tried to put the best face on it saying that the Court could proceed without Jamaica, but like with the ill-fated West Indies Federation before it, without Jamaica, what is the Court.
    Jamaica’s Cabinet was sanguine about it.  They will meet on Monday to decide the next step.  Edward Seaga, having demitted office as Leader of the Opposition in Jamaica and the Bar Association who led the charge must feel vindicated.
    For now the Privy Council, which has stopped hanging in the Caribbean, is still the final Court of Appeal.  You may also click here for an analysis of why the NGOs moved the matter to the Privy Council.


    The former rector of St. Anne’s, some 54 years as a priest; the founder of St. Anne’s High School (1955), died in Wales at the home of his sister.  Death came at 1 p.m. on Friday 28th January. Fr. Pugh who first came to The Bahamas to serve in the RAF during the war became an Anglican priest after training at Codrington in Barbados.  He was the first headmaster of St. Anne's.  He adopted many boys from the Village of Fox Hill.  He was a mentor to George Mackey, the former representative of Fox Hill who wrote a brilliant tribute to him in the press of The Bahamas during the week.
    Fr. Pugh loved The Bahamas and took Bahamian citizenship.  He reverted to his British citizenship when he left The Bahamas last year through force of illness and to enable him to take advantage of the medical system in Britain when he returned to live with his sister.  He had suffered a broken hip and had lost his ability to move around on his own.  He was 84 years old.  Canon Pugh will be buried on Monday 7th February in Wales.  A memorial service will be held at the Christ Church Cathedral on Friday 11th February. We thank him for all the wonderful things he did for The Bahamas and the men and women he helped to make.

    This is the age of startling headlines.  The Nassau Guardian and The Tribune now having to compete with The Punch for readership and the nasty Confidential Source are now specializing themselves in alarmist headlines.  This is of course helped by national leaders who seem to specialize in creating and seeing their words in startled and bold headlines each day in the newspaper.  Thus it was that Obie Ferguson, head of the Bahamas Trade Union Congress, said in a national headline in The Nassau Guardian on Friday 4th   February that Minister of Labour Vincent Peet was indecisive and that he had abandoned the workers.  The fact that this was the same man who said in an earlier version of his press views that the Minister was the best Minister of Labour ever, seemed to escape many.  Ho Hum!
    We are all watching with care, some would say bemusement as the two umbrella unions in the country the National Congress of Trade Unions (NCTU) and the TUC say that they are going to sign an accord to get together as one single union.  Who will lead that union?  We will see the second coming first.   There is great pressure on the Government to declare the NCTU as the official umbrella union for the purposes of the International Labour Organization. (ILO)  Mr. Ferguson perhaps knows that he may be on the losing end of that stick so that he is now trying to put himself in the best position to take advantage of what comes next.


    William Jefferson Clinton is the 42nd President of the United States of America.  We couldn’t get him to come here while he was president. Well you know The Bahamas is only a playground so why would they want to waste time coming here to play golf and frolic on the beach?  The last visit of a U.S. President was in 1963 when John Kennedy came here shortly before he was killed.  But since Bill Clinton left office, he has been to The Bahamas twice.  The first time to launch his Aids initiative, to lower the cost of drugs for Aids patients.  Now that the programme is in full swing, he came back again.  He met with the Prime Minister.  He met with the Minister of Health Dr. Marcus Bethel who beamed from ear to ear, thrilled no doubt by the cause celebre and perhaps by the celeb himself.  The President heaped praise upon the Minister. The real hero of the piece of course is Dr Perry Gomez who has sacrificed his income and practice to fight this dread disease.  He is laying up treasures in heaven.  We congratulate all the Bahamians for this world model programme, and thank President Clinton for coming to see us and our programme. The visit to the PM and the Princess Margaret Hospital took place on Friday 4th February. BIS photo - Peter Ramsay

    The story must have been a real sensation for The Tribune.  It was three days old by the time that it hit their paper.  Nonetheless it was front page news and a banner headline.  The PLP Bishop Neil Ellis had dumped on the PLP and its leaders.  We are certain that is not how it was meant but it was the sensation for the week.  Here is what was reported and which has so far not been contradicted in the Tribune of Tuesday 1st February in the Bishop’s own words:

“Who said that the foreign elements last week are not doing what they are doing because they saw how a Member of Parliament behaved going to another foreign nation and don’t want to obey the law.

“ It is not enough as a Member of Parliament to plead ignorance because you should know the law before you go try make law.
Are you going to be lawmaker in ignorance?  It is your responsibility if you are elected to Parliament to know what is right, know what is wrong, know what is against the law.

“With all that is going on with terrorism, you mean to tell me you don’t know that you can’t go right on a plane out of your car, going to America, without crossing all the inspection sites.

“It sounds to me like this young man giddy.  He thought he was Prime Minister…if you break the law, why wait on the Prime Minister to fire you?

“Why can’t you be honourable and say before I caused the country further embarrassment and the people who I’ve been elected to serve, let me do the honourable thing?

“I believe God has anointed Perry Christie to lead this country at this time, but he has to have the strength, the guts and the ability to deal with those around him or you go down with them.

“When violence breaks out in a town, it’s time for all sensible people in any kind of leadership in the country to stop and analyze…It is because we are so mixed up in The Bahamas now with all this foreign element that the government seem not to be doing anything about?”

    This is a man and his so called party the Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM) who shows up everywhere like bad money.  Having not heard from him for weeks, this week he popped up on the talk shows to talk the most unbridled drivel that has been heard in years.
    Yes we are talking about Cassius Stuart, the man with the lean and hungry look, who has found his latest Hobby Horse to ride.  This time it is the illegal migrants and in particular Haitians, whether legal or illegal.
    Mr. Stuart asserted that he had been told by a Haitian that the reason why so many Haitians are in The Bahamas is because they pay Defence Force officers 150 dollars per head in order to get free passage through The Bahamas when they are interdicted.  The commentator rightly asked him did you take this information to the police.
    Then Mr. Stuart went further, he claimed that there were persons in the business of manufacturing work permits. When pressed he insisted that there are people who are in the business of manufacturing work permits.  The commentator again asked him whether he had taken the matter to the police. On both counts he hemmed and hawed.
    This is again an example of the waffle approach to politics, the anything goes school.  You simply, desperately want to unseat a government, a government in which he personally has so many friends in the PLP who go out of their way to protect him but whose reward for their friendship is trash talk by him on radio and in the press, without thinking of the larger consequences for his reputation and that of the country.


ERMA GRANT SMITH 85 was buried on Saturday 5th February in Nassau. Mrs. Grant Smith is the less well known sister of PLP activist and former Senator Austin Grant of West End, Grand Bahama.  She had a successful real estate business in Freeport and was known for her elegant language and intelligent commentary on political affairs in Freeport.  She moved to Nassau in her later years where she helped out at the Conliffe Bakery.  She is survived by a brother Carver, an appraiser in Freeport and a sister Claudia who owns the bakery in Nassau with her husband Andrew.

BENEDICT DOMINIC DEAN 46 was buried  today February.  He died after being hospitalized in the Princess Margaret Hospital. No cause of death was disclosed. He is one half  business of Duff and Stuff that developed a reputation for some of the best Guava Duff in The Bahamas.

BISHOP MICHAEL ELDON, the retired Anglican Bishop, the first Bahama to serve in the post, was hospitalized during the week with a respiratory ailment.  It appears this is a result of catching the flu.

This week, we post a poems by Bahamian recording and literary artist, Giovanni Stuart (  Giovanni is the author of, ‘Psalm Bird’, the album original classic of spoken-verse, muse and Bahama love poetry.  Entitled, ‘Sonnet Ttsunami’, the poem celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and is a well-wish for Asia, Africa and all persons affected by the recent natural disasters.

Jongkanu Tidings/ Gold/ Fortune for Youth
Tragedy Factor/ Forged Huemanity
In a Flood/ Global Harmony Came/ Through
Quelled Pessimistic Mind/ of One Earth View
Dazzling display of Nu Order’s True Shape
The Caribs plus, Stars/ His Nations Awake
Afrika and Asia, Love Extended…
Even Bahama Brilliant (Moons Ago
Fresh from Her Nnatural Atrocity)
Gifts Proportionate 2/ Sent out/ Send Heart
Fear Not/ Market Single/ Economies
Libertine! Eradicate Poverty
Lumination/ Mixed with Tangible Gifts
Instant World Access/ Far as the 4 Winds

© Giovanni – Literati


    The highlight of the week this past week with the PM was undoubtedly the visit of former US President Bill Clinton.  Mr. Clinton, who was on a private visit to The Bahamas, none-the-less used the opportunity to renew an old friendship with Prime Minister Christie.  The two chatted for over an hour, before which the former president delighted the staff of the Office of The Prime Minister by chatting extensively with them.

CHILEAN INTERIOR MINISTER - Also this week, the Prime Minister received a courtesy call from the Interior Minister of Chile, who is in the running for the post of Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS).  No doubt the Minister was on the campaign trail, but there has been no indication of whose candidacy The Bahamas will support.

PM At Cooper's Terrace Cathedral Church Of God, INC. -  Last Sunday, Prime Minister Christie visited the Cooper's Terrace Cathedral of the Church of God Incorporated.  Mr. Christie is shown with the church's First Lady, Evangelist Modena McPhee and Bishop & Superintendent Robert McPhee, celebrating their 24th pastoral Anniversary.

Bahamas Information Services photos by Peter Ramsay

13th February, 2005
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Bradley Roberts, the Minister of Works always makes an annual trek to Trinidad and Tobago for the Carnival.  This year more than 50,000 other revellers joined him in Port of Spain.  Obie Pindling, son of the first Prime Minister of the country, leads his band annually to the Carnival.  The Carnival precedes the somber Christian season of Lent, which began on Wednesday 9th February. 

Lent began in The Bahamas with Bahamian Christians going to the traditional churches for ashes on their foreheads.  It recalls the period of forty days in which Christ spent his time in the desert preparing for his final destiny.  This photo by the Bahama Journal was typical of the religious scenes, with Rev. Fr. James Moultrie at St. Matthew’s leading the rites.  That is our photo of the week. 


It was supposed to be a quiet debate about Rent Control.  But it was perhaps too much to expect that things would go according to the script.  The Minister for Trade Leslie Miller, whose job it was to introduce the Bill, launched into a fierce attack against Haitian illegal immigrants.  He accused them of impinging on the resources of The Bahamas, and asked them to go back home.  Some people were quite incredulous that a Government Minster would say that something had to be done about the illegal immigrants.

At the same time that the remarks were being made in the House of Assembly, it appears that the Department of Immigration was executing a series of raids, some in New Providence and some in Abaco to deal with illegal Haitian immigrants.  This no doubt answers the demands of the public who are saying like the Minister that something must be done about the illegal immigrants in the country.

The immigrants themselves seem also to be responding in desperation, with a report carried in one newspaper this week that a boat of immigrants trying to reach The Bahamas, tried to ram a Defence Force boat to stop from being interdicted.

While people ritually add the Jamaicans, Cubans and Chinese into the mix, their real ire is directed at the Haitians.  They are Black people, phenotypically Black and African.  They conjure up therefore the very worst revulsions in our culture, the bottom of the pile of the despised.  Jamaicans have an education and so will not suffer the same loathing and will fight back.  The Chinese are in the commercial sector, light skinned and a nation of their own.  The Cubans are politically protected by the U.S. and are light skinned.  So the African Haitians, poor and despised, black as the ace of spades, take the brunt of our anger.  They are to be rounded up and sent back home.

While under Perry Christie we will not see the kind of vile behaviour by Immigration forces that existed back in the 1985 round ups under a previous PLP immigration Minister, we are forced to sound a note of caution.  This is playing the same old script again.  Round ups and repatriation!  It is a failed policy.  The only successful policy must be integration.  The integration was stopped in 1973 by a foolish policy in the Constitution that denies citizenship at birth to those who are born here.  It was an artificial device to stop a problem that continued to grow, largely because we were unable to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.  So rather than stop the immigrants, we tried to prevent them and their children from getting status here.

Add into the mix some pseudo-science that is now being espoused by the think tank headed by Dr. David Allen.  Dr. Allen’s objectives are laudable but a woman named Sandra Davenport launched into a paper that seemed prejudicial in the extreme, as if she had made up her mind that these nasty immigrants in Abaco had to go, and found the science to support it.  Her solution: to stop building, to round those up who should not be here and take them home.  No analysis of the fact that over thirty years, you have Haitian children who are Bahamians in every way but in law who are seething with rage at the legal limbo in which they find themselves and how we are to deal with that.  How they even try to hide their names, change their names; Anglicize their names because to be known to be Haitian is a disgrace in The Bahamas.  How that cannot be healthy for this society because we are becoming a society within a society, which must explode and cause harm to us all eventually.

There is a lack of political will all round.  No leadership is being effectively exercised on the subject.  The Minister of Immigration is doing in our view a credible job with the bad hand he has been dealt.  The thousands of citizenship applications by the children of Haitians born here are languishing unanswered.  This means that thousands of disenfranchised young Haitian children born in The Bahamas are here.  Part of the solution to the Haitian problem is granting the citizenships.  The Minister does not have the resources to stop the inflow.  The economy is going great guns and inviting the poor and dispossessed here to take jobs that Bahamians won't do.  He cannot stop that growth.  So when the prejudices of the Bahamian poor rise to the top, in a tight job market, Bahamians say round them up and send them home.  So round them up and send them home it is.

What is clear is that the last Immigration Minister who tried this ended up losing his job, abandoned by the party that was encouraging him to do it.  Now his name is called on people’s lips almost two decades after the fact, saying if only we could have him back.  It is done with reverence like a ritual incantation.  But few people acknowledge the ambivalence of the Bahamian people, the impracticalities of the policies of The Bahamas, which caused the failure of the policy in 1985.  It is still happening today.  As fast as you round up you have Bahamians running to the police station asking for “my Haitian” to be released.  Integration is the answer.  Strict enforcement the other answer.  International aid to assist with the problem.  Until there is that rationality brought to bear, the policies are bound to fail again.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 12th February 2005 at midnight: 73,249.

Number of hits for the month of February up to Saturday 12th February 2005 at midnight: 117,140.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 12th February 2005 at midnight: 434,352.


    The Nassau Guardian published a story on Friday 11th February attributed to unnamed sources in the Police Staff Association who attacked Ron Pinder and Kenyatta Gibson, the MPs for Marathon and Kennedy for their role in trying to quell the disturbances in Nassau Village.  We hope that the Police Staff Association formally repudiates those persons who made that statement.  They are cowards.  They as paramilitaries who are subservient and answerable to civilian authority must be very careful.  What they have done is a direct challenge to the civilian order.
    The fact is that a Member of Parliament has the right to come into his constituency and bring peace if he can bring peace.  The police wanted to go into Nassau Village and crack heads.  Their view seemed to be that since others had gotten away with riots before, they needed to show once and for all who was in charge.  They came with lethal weapons, few tools in between and were about to fire shots.  The Members of Parliament restrained that, and spoke to the Commissioner of Police to avert bloodshed.  In that they were right.
    When the PLP was in Opposition, all of its MPs and activists would have been in Nassau Village seeking to bring peace. The MPs did nothing wrong.  We go further and say that there appears to be a campaign by some rogue policemen to suggest that because the political authorities seek to govern their behaviour that this smacks of political interference.  It is again leading to the view that somehow, the PLP are against the police.  The fact is that while the PLP stands for law and order, it does not standing for killing people in civilian riots.  The matter was brought under control, and the guilty will be brought to justice.
    People are going around saying rather loosely that this is the first time something like this has happened where a police car was destroyed.  What convenient memories we have.  We seek to put the blame on the Haitians.  But we forget that it was only about a year ago that in St. James Road, another mob disturbed by police behaviour destroyed a fire truck.  There were no Haitians involved in that.
    We think that both Ron Pinder and Kenyatta Gibson did a splendid job in bringing peace and were restraining forces that should be encouraged to keep working in their communities.
    Speaking earlier to The Bahama Journal, Assistant Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson said that last year the Commissioner and his top officers drew up a list of persons and sent a recommendation to their minister requesting that a citizens’ review board be set up to have oversight of the Complaints and Corruption Unit, which investigates all complaints against the police.
    “We are fully aware of the perception that the police are investigating themselves,” Mr. Ferguson was quoted by the Journal as saying, “and it was for reason that we requested a citizens’ oversight committee.”
    The Journal notes that "Although the xenophobia seems to have gotten the lion’s share of media attention following the Nassau Village riot, there are those who have been looking at ways of improving policing."

    John Rood, the U.S. Ambassador must spend a great deal of his time here dealing with the bad public relations that centres around the visas issued or not issued to Bahamians, how Bahamians get treated in the visa section, and how they get treated going through the pre-clearance lounge at the Nassau International Airport.
    Nassau is one of a number of airports outside the U.S. that has American Customs and Immigration personnel who are responsible for entering people into the U.S. on this side of the pond.  The facility has been here since 1959.  It avoids the long lines in Miami.  You find them only in Bermuda, Canada, Shannon, Ireland and Aruba, in addition to Nassau.  The facility is good for Bahamian tourism.  The Bahamas Government goes to great lengths to protect it.
    The U.S. pre-clearance lounge is also a symbol to the Bahamian people of their special relationship with the United States.  Anything that goes wrong there is a sign, no matter how misguided the analysis, that there is something wrong in the relationship with The Bahamas Government.  The Tribune is the newspaper that most pushes this line, what with their most visceral hatred of the PLP.
    The Tribune's owners Eileen and Roger Carron are in their own eyes so circumspect, that their attitudes often border on self righteousness.  In fact, their attitudes make them objects of parody.  They are examples of self contempt.  They have never done anything wrong in their lives.  They are always subservient to European based authority and customs, how could they possibly ever have any difficulties crossing borders and such mundane things.  The problem is that it could happen to anyone.  And while entering the pre-clearance lounge in Nassau this month, the husband Roger was detained and the couple was kept waiting for two hours without explanation while an issue was resolved in the American's databases.
    This has happened to Government Ministers.  This has happened to many lesser mortals.  You will remember all the fuss they made when the Government of The Bahamas, without any desire to make a fuss, protested to the U.S. about the searches of the Governor General and Prime Minister at U.S. airports.  The Carrons made sure that despite the wishes of the Government they would publicize it, and they made sure that it was done in an embarrassing way.  They also lashed the government for making an issue of it.  Mind you it was only their newspaper that made an issue of it.  But why let the facts get in the way of a good story.  What was the big deal, they said.  Now the shoe is on the other foot.
    Mrs. Carron  wrote editorial after editorial during the past week, lashing out at the US for stopping her husband and inconveniencing her; the fact that they were treated poorly, and not told what the reason was for the delay.  Welcome to the club and to the real world.  It could not have happened to finer persons.
    Now one wonders why stopping the Carrons, does not mean that there is a problem between the U.S. and The Bahamas instead of a simple mistake on the part of the U.S., which we all agree they must get straightened out.  These issues happen all too often for the U.S. with all their technology, delaying innocent people and inconveniencing many. We are certain that whatever it is Ambassador Rood will get to the bottom of it, notwithstanding the quarter it has now affected.

    John Pinder (pictured), the President of the Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) simply talks too much.  He presented his proposal for the new contract for public servants to the Minister for Public Service back in January.  He was advised and so was the public that the cost of the proposals had to be calculated, and then the Government would respond.  Instead he has been in the newspapers every day and on the radio pushing the line of the great benefits he is supposedly asking for the public servants.
    According to him, the increase on the public purse will be in the neighbourhood of 70 million dollars.  This is absolute madness.  There is no way in hell such a shocking increase can be supported.  Yet every day, he is pushing this line.  The reason, one suspects, is that he is facing a tough and uphill battle to survive the elections for president.  He is facing opposition from his executive team.  He did not even tell them about the proposals before he sent them in.  So the best defence is an offence.  Look to hear more from him as the time gets nearer to election time in September 2005.

    The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is much maligned and much neglected.  The PLP came to office with the overwhelming support of RBDF officers who believed that there would be change in the command that they believe has so sapped morale in the Force.  No change has occurred, and the men and women on the Force are restless.  For their restless behaviour, the RBDF Commander Davey Rolle (pictured) had a few choice words to say to them.  Speaking at the annual church service he let them know in no uncertain terms that he is the leader of the RBDF and that he will continue to be there.  That those who do not like it know what to do.
    The RBDF officers do indeed know what to do, but of course what they do may not be to the liking of the Commodore.  One thing they are doing is lobbying their MPs for change at the Force.  The Government has announced that it is looking at a review of the total command structure of the Force.  The report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Lorrequin just completed was a sweeping indictment of the both the past and present leadership of the Force.  So one wonders who would be taking bets on the second part of the Commodore’s assertion that he will continue to be there. --- Contributed by John Thomas.

    In our editorial today, we referred to comments made by the Minister for Trade and Industry (pictured in this Bahama Journal photo) speaking in the House of Assembly on the question of illegal immigration on Wednesday 9th February.  Here is what he is reported to have said taken from The Tribune of Thursday 10th February 2005 in his own words:
    “The Bahamas is facing a catastrophe and is sitting on a time bomb which will explode unless the country deals realistically with the issue of illegal immigration.  If Bahamians do not deal with the situation, it will deal with us.
    “Affordable rental units are being removed further from the grasp of Bahamians because of the high number of illegal immigrants in the country.
    “If I was (sic.) to take you to Garvin Tynes Primary in Sunset Park Number one, there are more Haitians, Haitian-Bahamians, you can call them whatever you will, in that school as students than Bahamians like you and me who were born here.  Many parents are frustrated and turn to their MPs and complain that they cannot get their children into primary school.
    “I am not saying that those who came to our shores for a better way of life should not enjoy some of the situations such as a basic education but this is my Bahamas.  This is all I have; all we have is The Bahamas.
    “A situation is developing where illegal immigrants are also using health care facilities to the detriment of Bahamians requiring the same service.  Not only Haitians but Jamaicans, and others in the Caribbean and elsewhere.  You have Africans now, Chinese, Taiwanese, you name it they are here, that come here pregnant with one view to have children in The Bahamas to ensure that they have a birth certificate and that the child is allowed to go to the school.  There is a lot of frustration; there is a time bomb we are sitting on.
    “This problem did not happen overnight.  I am told that in some areas of Abaco you have more foreigners than Bahamians.  I don’t care who these people are and how some people may plead for their cause, I say to them, please man, do me a favour, go back home, we love you but we can’t afford for you to impede the progress of naturalized Bahamians.”

    The Nassau Guardian of Saturday 12th February reports that Magistrate Linda Virgil refused bail to three persons of Haitian origin and ancestry who were charged with minor offences arising out of the riot in Nassau Village.  The three persons are apparently work permit holders and long time residents of The Bahamas.  She refused bailed in some stern tones, even though the damage done was only 150 dollars, and there was no loss of life.  The three are father, son (pictured in this Nassau Guardian photo) and mother.  The son is 18 years old and born in The Bahamas.  She got into an argument with the attorney for the trio, insisting that the persons were a flight risk.  She went further and seemed to comment on their guilt in the matter.  This is serious.
    We believe that the hysteria in the public should not find its way into the Courts.  We also believe that had this been three whites from Europe or America, there is no question that bail would have been granted.  Certainly, if they had been Bahamians (which the boy at least has a claim to), there is no question there would have been bail.  The fact that the police granted bail and they showed up for court gives the lie to any suggestion that they were a flight risk.
    Now one must get concerned, what if the next thing is the whole family is out of their house and their property is stolen and robbed because now they are marked as a target in that community.  Given the hysteria in our country over this Haitian matter, persons in authority have a responsibility to act with caution when making public policy.


    The Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and substantive Minister for Immigration spoke in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 9th February in support of the Government’s amendment to the Rent Control Act.  The amendment would raise the existing ceiling of $25,000 to $75,000 for rental properties to be subject to rent control.  The Minister explained the government’s thinking behind the Bill.  You may click here for the full text of the Minister’s remarksMinister Peet is pictured in this Bahama Journal photo.

    Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs travelled to London last week for a series of meetings as part of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).  The group was put together to enforce the Harare Principles of the Commonwealth on Democracy.  Pakistan is the last nation on its agenda and was subject to review having regard to the fact the President Perez Musharaff of Pakistan still holds the title of Army Chief of Staff.
    CMAG is chaired by Nigeria’s Foreign Minister.  Other countries in the group are: Sri Lanka, India, Malta, Lesotho, Tanzania, Samoa and Canada.  The group decided that instead of re-suspending Pakistan from the Commonwealth because the General reneged on his promise to leave the uniform behind that it would rap him on the knuckles.  He has effectively been given a bye until 2007 to get rid of the uniform.
    The Pakistanis themselves were hard at work seeking to avoid a re-suspension from the Commonwealth.  They have accomplished that.  The Bahamas as the representative of Caricom supported the position of the regional power India that wanted to continue the rapprochement that it has begun with Pakistan.
    The Bahamas also signed articles of diplomatic relations with Pakistan.  Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell said that the timing was coincidental.  He said that in doing so The Bahamas was simply carrying out the mandate of the Cabinet of The Bahamas to conclude articles of diplomatic relations with all states in the Commonwealth before the Heads of Government meet in Malta in November.  Minister Mitchell is shown looking on as Bahamas High Commissioner to London Basil O'Brien exchanges articles of diplomatic relations with his Pakistani counterpart in London on Friday 11th February.

    The Tribune has published a letter that is unsigned attacking the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell for carrying out his annual physical at the Mayo Clinic instead of choosing a Bahamian doctor.  We think it is probably not a doctor at all.  However, it is interesting now that we are in political season that the smallest triviality becomes an issue.
    Mr. Mitchell has been doing annual physicals at the Mayo Clinic, we believe, since about the early to mid 1990s.  The fact that this is done does not mean as the writer implies that he does not have a Bahamian doctor.  Further, certain matters whether someone is a politician or not are personal choices and none of anyone’s business.  Lastly, the letter writer is obviously a coward since he did not even have the courage to sign his name.


    The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security announced last Sunday that there is to be a new head of Her Majesty’s Prison.  He is Dr. Elliston Rahming who headed up the Prison Reform Commission appointed by the Prime Minister and which reported last year.  Edwin Culmer who has been the Acting Superintendent will be the new head of the Carmichael Road Detention Centre operated by the Department of Immigration. Deputy Prime Minister Pratt is flanked by Minister Vincent Peet (right) and the new head of the Detention Centre Edwin Culmer (left) in this Bahama Journal photo by Omar Barr.

    The Tribune columnist and former Minister and Ambassador Arthur Foulkes has had one of those off weeks again as a columnist.  He was in full flight in the most recent column of Tuesday 8th February.  He was attacking Ron Pinder, the Member of Parliament and everyone’s favourite whipping boy for entering the tarmac without a security escort, and for which the MP has since apologized.  Ordinarily that brings closure to the matter but not so for the FNMs.  They keep whipping this dead horse.
    Sir Arthur claims that Mr. Pinder should have resigned.  He further argues that Mr. Pinder is yet another example of the arrogance of the PLP.  We say quite the Opposite.  Mr. Pinder is one of the party's shining stars and Sir Arthur Foulkes is being most unfair by portraying things the way he has.  He then goes on to raise again that PLP Ministers do not listen to public servants, and how they should not blame them when things go wrong.  This is another dead horse that he is whipping.  We say again, Sir Arthur's memory fails him when he does not recall how he was undone by the public service.
    It was the failure of the politicians of his generation to get on top of this situation where policies are being undermined, instructions not followed, advice not given, but the consequences fall on Ministers of the Government who are only responsible by convention and nothing else.  This is a convention that should be changed.  Clearly, too may in the public service do not themselves play by the rules.  Reform of the public service is therefore key, but unfortunately in this matter as with all other governments before them, time has now run out on the PLP for this term.

This week, a verse-epic by Bahama recording and literary artist, Giovanni Stuart (  Giovanni is the
author of, ‘Psalm Bird’, the original CD album classic of spoken-verse, muse and Bahama love poetry. Please click here.

Sharon Zoë Smith
    As a faithful reader and friend of the site, I was wondering if you could tell me who Sharon Zoë Smith is.  I like her writing style… could you also furnish me with an address if she offers no objection?
Kele' Isaacs

We will pass on your request to Ms. Smith – Editor

Haitians, yes – Shanty Towns, no!
    As we all know, Bahamian Governments over the years have allowed illegal immigration to get out of control for all known and frequently discussed reasons and more.  Succinctly, they all lack the political will to do anything, in addition to the system now being infiltrated at every level with illegal sympathizers.
    From my own perspective, I can say that I have no issue with the illegal population being in the Bahamas.  They must be grandfathered in because the short of it is; we need them and have some obligation to assist.  However, what we do not need is the manner in which they live.  Beyond charity extended to a certain level for their care (health care and education), they must pay their way given that they have jobs and money to live normally.
    An interesting comparison to how and what they are allowed to do comes from what I now like to refer to as a lack of discipline in Black led countries.  Haitians live in greater numbers in the USA and in francophone Canada, but for ABSOLUTE CERTAIN, any attempt to develop shantytowns or other forms of substandard housing, is NOT tolerated.  Therefore, they must live in rental housing which promotes the general well being of the country.  Why can't the Government do such a thing?
    Shane Gibson is off to a good start but the message must be consistently promoted that they must rent ‘approved’ housing.  Bahamians who allow them to erect homes on undeveloped land should be called to account and someone in Government must have the gumption not to cave in to what is a meaningless special and extremely selfish interest.
Roger Brooks

We disagree that all illegal Haitian immigrants should be ‘grandfathered’ in – there must be some perceived ‘natural right’ for their presence, such as birth and / or longevity, or an identifiable and justifiable need for their presence in the Bahamian economy.  Having said that, the elimination of shantytowns would go a long way toward assisting the integration that is necessary. – Editor.


    On Saturday the 12th February, 2005 the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister and Leader of the PLP along with the National Chairman of the PLP, Raynard Rigby, addressed the newly approved New Providence Stalwart Councillors at a Briefing Session at the Party's Headquarters on Farrington Road. The Hon. George Mackey, Stalwart Councillor Tom Basden and Stalwart Councillor Doris Burrows also addressed the gathering on the role of the Stalwart Councillor in the Party. During the course of this year, the PLP will induct over one hundred faithful party supporters into its prestigious and distinguished Stalwart Council. Plans have already been finalized for two such inductions; on the 23rd April 2005 in Grand Bahama and on the 7th May, 2005 in New Providence.

ADVENTISTS VISIT PM  - Also this week, the Prime Minister received a courtesy call from several leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in The Bahamas to introduce a guest from Florida; from left to right are C. Melvin Lewis, Bahamas Conference treasurer; Erick D. Clarke, Bahamas Conference Executive Secretary; Prime Minister Christie, Bishop Earl Mason, Pastor from Tampa, Florida; T. Basil Sturrup, Pastor and Gary King, Pastor.

PM with Bank of Bahamas Execs -  The Prime Minister also received a courtesy call this past week from the newly appointed Chairman of the Bank of The Bahamas Al Jarrett (right).  Mr. Jarrett was accompanied by Managing Director Paul McWeeney (left).

Bahamas Information Services photos by Peter Ramsay

20th February, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Could you believe the kind of month and week, revellers must have been having.  The week before last they were relishing and grovelling in the splendid sweats of the Trinidad fetes.  Lent was coming and the sinners had to get it all out before Lent came.  Last week, we saw the faithful in this spot getting their ashes.  But obviously that was not enough of the good times; Valentine’s Day, St. Valentine if you please, was upon us.  The love notes, the flowers, the red and white were everywhere.  What captured our eye, however, was this picture by the Nassau Guardian’s photographer Donald Knowles and published on Tuesday 15th February which showed a group of seniors, women, dressed to kill in their red and white, remembering the times no doubt, and saluting St. Valentine.  That is our photo of the week.


There has generally been a problem with this new PLP.  They have forgotten how to be political.  In this new dispensation, it appears that there is the view that all will be hunky dory once you are nice to people.  That has never been the case and it is not now the case.  As we get closer and closer to the election year, it is clear that the Free National Movement is in a position to try to strike back, and it is coming in some strange ways.

Cast your mind back to the year 1997.  There is a General Election, and the police are about to vote.  The night before the vote Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, takes to the platform.  He reconfirms that which we did already know, that on the day that the police were going to vote some $1500 would be paid in an increase to the police to their pay.  He stood on the platform and addressed the police directly.  “Remember the money!  Remember the money!” he said.  They voted for him along with the rest of the country in droves.  The net result was a landslide for the Free National Movement.

It was said that the PLP lost the police force because it allowed Salathiel Thompson to remain too long as the Commissioner of Police.  He was long past his prime when he retired and the morale on the Force simply fell and fell.  The police have been thought ever since that time to vote in the majority for the Free National Movement.  Some of that sentiment might have been recaptured in the last General Election where the police gave the PLP their fair share of votes.  But the old problems are beginning to rise up again.

In this space last week, we brought to the attention of the public the concern that we have about the police staff association or someone purporting to be a representative of that association, attacking Ron Pinder MP and Kenyatta Gibson MP.  Both men showed up on the night of the riot in Nassau Village to stop innocent civilians from being shot down like dogs.  Mr. Pinder and Mr. Gibson did what any PLP MP or leader would have done prior to 2002.  All of the PLPs would have been down there that night to see what they could do.

So when Ron Pinder and Kenyatta Gibson went there they were following the traditional and finest instincts of good PLPs.  People were not going to be killed for throwing rocks and stones in the face of lethal force.  There must be another way.

At first the political propagandists tried to portray this as a Haitian/ Bahamian battle.  The unfortunate and ill timed words of a Magistrate helped to reinforce that notion.  It is simply not true.  It had nothing to do with Haitians fighting Bahamians.  The facts revealed that the entire community came out in response to an attack on one of their members not to stop Haitians from attacking Bahamians.

It appears however that certain elements within the police were trying to make that stick to obscure what really went on there, a failure of the original officers who went to the scene to respond properly to a disturbance.  They could simply have withdrawn and this whole mess could have been avoided.

Since the Haitian/ Bahamian fight propaganda is not working, the next tack is to try to denigrate the Members of Parliament.  We defend them absolutely and fully.   There is no situation that could possibly exist where the PLP could allow a situation to develop where lethal shots would be fired that could lead to a serious loss of life.  Contrary to what is being said and alleged, there was no interference in the duties of the police.  No command structure was interrupted.  If the police stood down, it was because they were ordered to stand down by their Commissioner, not by any politician and certainly not by Ron Pinder or Kenyatta Gibson.

Mr. Gibson had had enough, and this week in the House of Assembly he answered his critics.  He has called for a full and independent inquiry.  We agree with him.  There is too much at stake.  Not the least of the matters at stake is the reputation of two of the most promising PLP MPs.  They have a right to their reputations and no one should be allowed to sully it.

The question we ask as this goes to print is what is behind a secret attack by members of a police staff association that have access to the entire leadership of the Government directly and who have the standing to make a press statement in its name?  The answer seems political.  It was a political attack by anonymous souls saying that they were acting in the name of the association.  The Association has not repudiated the statements.  So what happening there?

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 19th February 2005 at midnight: 67,161.

Number of hits for the month of February up to Saturday 19th February 2005 at midnight: 184,301.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 19th February 2005 midnight: 501,513.


    The Central Bank of The Bahamas has announced that it has reduced the lending rate to the commercial banks by 50 bases points from 5.75 per cent to 5.25 per cent.  The Bank said that it expects the commercial banks to reduce the rate that it lends money to its customers by a similar percentage.
    The reserves of the Central Bank now stand at 700 million dollars for the first time in the history of the country, and are expected to reach one billion dollars by the end of the year.  This would seem to be good news and should lead to some additional credit in the system, allowing for more commercial activity in the country.  The Bank had been at loggerheads with the Ministry of Finance over the last year for keeping the level of reserves high.
    Now one hopes that the new rate will lead to increased activity in the Bahamian sector of the economy and create more jobs.

    We want to congratulate attorneys Eliezer Regnier, Fayne Thompson, Paul Moss and Pastor Cedric Moss for their valiant stand against what appears to be patently unconstitutional behaviour on the part of a member of the judiciary.
    Last week, we reported in this spot that a Magistrate had refused bail to three persons who were charged with offences connected with the riot in Nassau Village.  They were charged with minor offences, and yet despite the fact that police had granted bail, they were determined by the magistrate to be a flight risk and were refused bail.  Further, the Magistrate said that she was revoking their permanent residence, something which she does not have the power to do.  The four persons just named appeared on the front page of The Nassau Guardian newspaper on Monday 14th February to denounce what they called an unconstitutional action by the magistrate.
    Pastor Cedric Moss also sounded a word of caution on the kind of knee jerk reaction that is going on now in the country where round ups of Haitians are taking place, blaming them for every social ill in the country.  The Haitian Ambassador Louis Joseph also joined the conversation later in the week appealing for calm and understanding in the present times.  The four men also asked that the Magistrate Linda Virgil recuse herself from the case since it appears that she may have prejudged the result by her actions in the court.
    What is further disturbing about this whole matter is later in the week others were charged with riot offences from Nassau Village.  They were charged with throwing missiles.  The Magistrate in that case denied bail in those cases as well.  This is clearly gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.  There is no way that in law one could justify holding people who were throwing missiles who are not a flight risk and who are not a threat to the existing peace and good order in the country.
    The Judiciary has to be careful how it gets itself involved in the prejudicial reactions of a society that does not have a clear view of what happened in Nassau Village, and begins to penalize people before they actually hear the evidence of what happened.
    The Commissioner of Police entered the debate by saying at a police ceremony on Monday 14th February and being quoted in the Bahama Journal of the next day “I thought that in handling the incident the police did what they were supposed to do.  You would note the strong message that was sent in the courts just a few days ago.”  Hmmm!  From left are Fayne Thompson, Eliezer Regnier, Paul Moss and Pastor Cedric Moss.

    The Tribune of Monday 14th February told a frightening story to the Bahamian public of three passengers who were injured on a bus ride through the southern part of the island of New Providence.  It appears that the attacks were unprovoked.  It seemed to be a robbery attempt.
    The story is that the passengers got on the bus riding down Baillou Hill Road and ultimately into the Kennedy Subdivision and the Pinewood area.  Two men on the bus attacked first one passenger, trying to get money and threw him off the bus, then another male passenger and then a female passenger.  One passenger was said to be in hospital with serious injuries.  The other two were out to tell the tale but not without the frightening picture of serious bruises and lacerations about their bodies.
    The female passenger is an English woman married to a Bahamian, having lived in The Bahamas for eight years.  She said that in England there is no experience with violence on buses.  Rubin Rahming who is the head of the Bus Drivers Association called for those who saw the incident to come forward and urged that there be an upgrading of the standard for buses, particularly since tourists are increasingly using the bus system.  The woman said that the result of the incident might be a travel advisory on The Bahamas by the British, telling people not to ride buses.  That is a potent threat having regard to the fact that the British are already unhappy with The Bahamas and its inability to respond to the inquiries on the death of the young Gallagher boy in a boating accident at Paradise Island.
    The bus driver and one other were held by police to answer inquiries about the incident.
    We believe that the whole bus system as it is should be abolished and replaced by a state corporation.  It is the only way to rationalize what is a very chaotic situation at the moment.  The buses have bad drivers who disrespect the law, who are often unkempt and who deviate from their routes taking passengers on wild goose chases in pursuit of a bus fare, whose owners do not maintain the buses.  The state corporation should of course be immediately privatized, so that the public at large can own it.  Tribune photo by Felipe Major of the bus victims Sharad Lightfoot, left and Stephanie Sturrup, right.

    Lagan, an Irish company, has the contract to complete the construction or should we say reconstruction of runway 14-32 which is the long runway at the Nassau Intentional Airport.  The runway, which was neglected over the ten years of FNM rule and now will cost in excess of 40 million dollars to repair is scheduled for completion in time for Virgin Atlantic to fly here beginning 28th June 2005.  The airport management contract negotiations are now going apace to settle the rebuilding and reorganization of the airport.  Nassau International Airport is a disgrace for a tourist destination.  Help is on the way.  Prime Minister Perry Christie visited the site of the reconstruction of the runway on Monday 14th February and pronounced himself pleased with what he saw. Bahamas Information Services photo of Prime Minister Christie along with Transport Minister Glenys Hanna Martin and officials inspecting work on the runway at Nassau International Airport by Derek Smith.

    Mr. Bradley Roberts, Chairman of the Cabinet Select Sub-Committee dealing with the concerns of the redundant workers of the Royal Oasis Resort in Freeport, announced today the condition under which the Government has agreed to pay some $8.4 million in redundancy to affected workers.
    Speaking to a gathering of workers in the Jack Hayward Auditorium, Minister Roberts, along with Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, told the workers, “Not withstanding that the government has not been able to develop a full understanding of what has gone down, the Government of The Bahamas has decided that, if you agree to assign your redundancy benefits, the Government will step up to the plate and pay those benefits to you, and will await the outcome of the final determination as to what will happen with those properties, and when it will happen.
    Mr. Roberts told the workers that it is up to them, and, “Upon agreeing to assign your redundancy benefits, the Government proposes to pay immediately as all parties agree as to what that number is for each individual employee, 25% of what is due to you, immediately; in 90 days another 25%, and the remainder within 120 days.
    Workers were told that the “Government is doing this out of the generosity of its heart.  The Government is not obligated to do so.  This is unprecedented in the history of our Bahamaland where your Government has stepped in,” said Mr. Roberts.  Reported by By Gregory S. Christie of Bahamas Information Services.

    Bradley Roberts, the Minister responsible for the Water & Sewerage Corporation this past week announced the approval of a reverse osmosis (RO) water production facility for New Providence.  The new plant will be capable of producing in excess of 5 million gallons of potable per day.
    The announcement was greeted with wide public enthusiasm, as Nassau is in the grips of a water crisis, precipitated it seems, by the contamination of the Andros well fields during the recent hurricane and the failure of one of the corporation’s barges.  The announcement was yet another example of how the PLP is addressing a problem caused by the FNM neglected a major issue during their ten years in office.
    The RO plant is a major achievement of the government.  Please click here for the Minister’s announcement.

    It is a fact that the United States is today the most powerful country n the world.  It should be seen as an avuncular, kind of older brother type, a world protector.  Increasingly though its is seen as the bully in the ring or the 800 pound gorilla that simply plops itself down wherever it wants, does what it wants without any regard for the impacts and cares of other societies.  Nowhere does this fact seem to loom so large as in the whole debate about nuclear proliferation in the world.
    The idea of the anti proliferation treaties to which countries are being urged to join is that only those who have nuclear weapons should have them, and no one else should be allowed to have them.  That is totally unrealistic.  There is no way that this can be successfully maintained.  The theory is that those who have them are responsible enough not to use them indiscriminately, and that if they use them they will only use them for wise purposes.
    The other argument is that those who have them can simply determine who they want to blow up, when its suits their purposes and for whatever reasons they choose.  This would be especially troubling in a situation where a country comes to be dominated by religious ideologues.  Imagine if Germany had gotten the nuclear bomb in the Second World War before the good guys did.  It seems to us that the only solution is for everyone to get rid of them.  That too will not happen.  So until that time, in another dimension and galaxy, we must face the fact that every nation will feel the right to do what is necessary to protect itself.  That unfortunately will mean acquiring nuclear weapons.
    What those who have nuclear weapons must now decide is how to treat with other nations and peoples to ensure that no one uses them, to so conduct their foreign policies that it does not appear that simply on their whim they decide to change governments in other sovereign nations and replace them.  We believe that this is what helps to fuel the desire and the need for other societies to seek the weapons, which they believe, will stop the threats to their existence.  Some people will be evil but that too is a fact of life but it is equally as true that all the good in the world does not repose in one side either.

    The murder several weeks ago of Philip Andrew Moss in Fox Hill has caused a spike of concern in the Fox Hill community. The representative for the area Fred Mitchell brought a professional team in to try to work with the community on the way forward.  There was a community meeting at Faith Mission Church of God Community Hall on Thursday 17th February.  The police as well as the community leaders and citizens were there.
    It appears that on one side there is a denial that there is a problem.  Some community leaders objected to the characterization by Dr. David Allen, the psychiatrist and head of the Urban Renewal Commission that “Fox Hill is at war”.  On the other side, there is the desire that there be a programme of action.
    Some argued that here is no evidence of a “war” in Fox Hill.  However, staring the community in the face is the fact that a series of murders dating back to 2002 appear to be connected to the most recent murder.  At the very least, the present murder is being linked to a dispute, which led to a knife attack last year at the annual Fox Hill Day celebrations.
    The meeting agreed on a series of measures to try and combat this growing problem.  Melanie Griffin, the Minister of Social Services filled in for the representative Fred Mitchell at the meeting.  She asked the community to pull together and to work toward peace.

    Prime Minister Perry Christie has turned to his domestic agenda as the time for the election campaign begins.  The Prime Minister told The Bahama Journal in its Thursday 17th February 2005 edition that he had been consumed by trying to conclude an agreement with the Bahamar Group.  That group has put forward a proposal to invest one billion dollars in the Cable Beach strip.  It would mean a complete reinvention of Cable Beach as a tourist attraction.  The devil has been in the details, and the Prime Minister was determined to see it through to conclusion.
    There was a bit of bad news in that the Bahama Journal showed a picture of the group moving out of the Crystal Palace.  They had been there for weeks interviewing staff, and appearing to make preparations to take over.  It did not look propitious.  Nevertheless the will is still there to try to conclude it.
    In the meantime, Mr. Christie dispatched the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell to the Heads of Government meeting in Paramaribo, Suriname from 16th to 17th February.  At the meeting, The Bahamas had two matters of interest, the question of support and reengagement with Haiti.  That was agreed.  The other was to settle an approach on the successor to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States.  The countries agreed that for the moment they would say nothing, and that Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica would have the responsibility of trying to forge a consensus around one of the candidates either from Mexico, Chile or El Salvador.
    On Saturday 19th February, the Foreign Minister travelled to Georgetown, Guyana, standing in for Prime Minister Christie at the official commissioning of the new headquarters building for Caricom, called Caricom House.

    The country has now gone into full knee jerk mode with the Immigration Department in a frenzy to lock up, round up illegal immigrants and send them back to Haiti.  The fact that they will probably be right back in the country within three weeks, having regard to the lack of capacity on the part of the Defence Force is not a matter to be discussed in polite circles.  What also makes the whole policy a bit of a joke is the fact that we all know that the reason why the Haitians are here is to supply labour at the bottom of the labour pool for all the jobs that won’t be done by Bahamians.  They do it well, and they have a good work ethic.  Stan Burnside, the cartoonist, always knows how to get to the heart of the matter and he drew something on Tuesday 15th February that describes the situation to a T.  Take everyone out except: “My Haitian”.  The cartoon appeared in the Nassau Guardian.

    In a bold move meant to boost the production of chickens in the country, the College of The Bahamas has officially opened a poultry unit.  The unit sits on acreage at Gladstone Road made available by the Ministry of Agriculture, which also allowed the secondment of one of its poultry experts to run the unit and train students.  Justin Taylor, technical officer in charge of the unit is shown with Minister of Agriculture Alfred Gray and the president of the College Dr. Rodney Smith in this Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay.  The COB Poultry Unit was made possible by a grant from the Freedom Foundation of which Mr. Lowell Mortimer is trustee.


    On Friday 11th February, the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell visited his alma mater the University of Buckingham.  He attended law school there from 1983 to 1985.  The reason for the visit was to meet with Bahamian students at the university.  There are some 26 students there.  The visit was organized by Bahamas Student Association 'The Bahamian Society' president Andrew Rolle.  The Minister took time out to listen to the concerns of the students and for this photograph from left to right are Domek Rolle, Treasurer; Terence Kealey, Vice Chancellor; Sasha Lighbourn, Secretary; Fred Mitchell; High Commissioner Basil O'Brien; Andrew Rolle, President and Krystle Rutherford, Vice President.

    The verse this week is, ‘Sonnet: Political Greatness’ (click here), by classical poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley --- Contributed by recording and literary artist, Giovanni Stuart (

The Cacique Awards Show will be televised this Sunday, February 20th on ZNS TV at 9:00 p.m.

Transportation - Michael Thompson
Human Resources Development - Felice Renee McKinney
Nature Tourism - Ben Rose
Sports, Leisure & Events - David & Kathleen Ralph
Creative Arts - Elyse Wasile
Handicraft - Joseph Albury
Special Awards - Brian & Jennifer Hew (Kamalame Cay)
Clement T. Maynard Lifetime Achievement Award - Sir Albert Miller
The Minister's Award - Margarita Clarke
Airline of the Year  - Air Tran Airways
Cruise Line of the Year - Discovery Cruise Lines
Travel Writer of the Year - Paula Thrasher
Travel Agent of the Year - Neil Henderson (Banana Travel, UK)
Tour Operator of the Year - Paradise Island Vacations
Employee of the Year - Dellarese Frazier
Supervisor of the Year - Stephen Moncur
Sales Executive of the Year - Andre Newbold
Chef of the Year - Jasmine Young
Manager of the Year - Lynn Johnson
Hotelier of the Year - Paul D. Thompson
Gospel Song of the Year - Hold On To Jesus - Da Fam
Secular Song of the Year - Mr. Gofa - Phil  Stubbs

    I, T. Khalieah Butler, am the grad in the photo.  I am the first in the family to go to college.  I graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Florida A and M University, Tallahassee, Fl.  The lady in the photo with the RED hair is Millie Ledon, my grandmother.  She was given away at birth, lived in Sand Cut, and then to Miami.    I know her family comes from Cat Island (New Bight maybe) in the Bahamas, but we do not know our family there.  Her Mother was Lillian Ledon, daughter of Albertha (?) and father I do not know.  My grandmother has always helped others her whole life and never had a family of her own.  She works in a homeless shelter today for people who have no home or have no family.  If it was one thing I could ever do to repay her for her sacrifices, it would be to help her find the family she never knew.  My grandma Millie would tell us stories about how she grew up with no education and worked in the fields.  She also said that Sidney Poitier was a relative she remembered growing up, but never knew how to find the rest of the family.  My grandmother says that they were less than poor.  She said that several members of the family migrated to Florida and other places.  I do not know where to begin.  Can you help???


INTERNATIONAL CONTACT – Candidates for the post of Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) are circulating through the member countries of the group in advance of the selection process scheduled for June of this year.  In this connection, one of the candidates, His Excellency Fransisco Flores, former president of El Salvador, visited The Bahamas this past week.  Mr. Flores paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Perry Christie at the Office of The Prime Minister on Cable Beach and met with Mr. Christie, Minister of Foreign Affairs & The Public Service, Fred Mitchell and Attorney General & Minister of Education Alfred Sears for more than an hour.  Mr. Flores has visited The Bahamas previously, though before he was a declared candidate for the OAS leadership.  From left are Salvadorian Ambassador-at-large Ricardo Moran Ferracuti, Minister Mitchell, Prime Minister Christie, former President Flores; Salvadorian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Margarita Escobar and Minister Sears.  There are two other candidates vying for the top OAS post, one from Chile and another from Mexico.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE - Prime Minister Christie this past week took delivery of the formal plan for the redevelopment of Bay Street.  Mr. Christie is pictured with officials and executives of the world reknowned planning consultants EDAW.  The presentation ceremony was immediately followed by a private planning session for the island of Eleuthera. One of the hallmarks of Mr. Christie's government is his insistence that the development of the entire Bahamas be carefully planned to avoid the pitfalls of haphazard decisions.  From left are George Mackey, Chairman of the Antiquities Corporation, Dr. Baltron Bethel, Prime Minister Christie, Barbara Faga, Chairman of EDAW, Todd J. Hill, EDAW Vice President and Ellen M. Heath, EDAW Vice President.

A WEDDING IN PARADISE - Last week say the 25th wedding anniversary & renewal of wedding vows of Lillie and Dapo Popoola, M.D.   The couple are friends of Prime Minister Christie and travelled from their home in Africa to stage the ceremony at Paradise Island.

Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay

27th February, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - At the end of this photo caption, we may in fact be accused of the same thing, that is, the promotion of the images of the young men who are charged in The Bahamas these days with the kind of mindless violent crimes of which we will speak.  In The Bahamas, you tend to lose count of the murders in the year.  They seem to come with all too much regularity and rapidity.  The profile is the same: young black men, not usually older than 25 who just cannot wait and need to rob someone, or who just can’t control their answer and their need to be intoxicated and end up killing someone.  The newspapers seem to glory in it, and ensure that the crime and the alleged criminal get notoriety, a quirky kind of fame which seems to feed the notion that there is not a negative consequence to be charged with a crime.  There you have the picture of the defendant being charged, accompanied by the well dressed police officers, all of them seeming to mug it up for the cameras. They have more than their fifteen minutes of fame.  The Tribune’s photographer Mario Duncanson took this shot of yet another 19 year old being prosecuted for murder.  Kingsley Adderley, 19, was charged on Wednesday 23rd February for the murder of 19 year old Brandon Pierre.  The photo was published on Thursday 25th February and is an example of the kind of concern that we have about glorifying crime. It is our photo of the week.


Tennyson Wells MP (Independent) Bamboo Town was incensed or so it appears. He was so incensed about the matter of the payout by the Government to the Royal Oasis workers (click here for last week’s story), that following a communication to Parliament on the matter by Minister of Works Bradley Roberts, who chairs the Cabinet sub committee on the Royal Oasis crisis, he rose to his feet and proceeded to blast the Government.  He said the move was unprecedented for the Government to use the consolidated fund to pay off private debts.  He said that he believed it was illegal, and demanded that the Attorney General write a legal opinion on the matter to ensure that the matter was in fact legal.

The front bench was silent in the face of this unprecedented and blindsiding assault from someone who is generally believed to be an ally of the Government.  If the remark had come from a Free National Movement MP, there is no doubt what the response would have been.  Nonsense! The fact that the issue is before the House and has the support of the Government, it means quite clearly that the Attorney General who is part of the Government saw no illegality in the matter.  It was the stuff of headlines, tailor made by The Tribune, and they dutifully trotted out the appropriate headline the next morning. Whether it is the right thing to do is quite a different matter from whether it is illegal.

Notice that all FNM MPs stood silent.  They know that they cannot open their mouths to object to something that will help their constituents and their base in Freeport.

What Bradley Roberts did point out was that the communication period in the House was not the appropriate time to engage in a debate on the matter.  Mr. Wells himself often relies on the rules.  The rules are the great comforter of the minority so it was unusual and unnecessary for Mr. Wells to make the outburst that he did.   While, we share his anxiety, we do not agree that it is illegal.

It appears from other reports, notably the former Tribune columnist Nicki Kelly who now writes for the down-market Punch that there are others who are unhappy and who take the Government to task over the matter.

These two persons Mr. Wells and Ms. Kelly are not opinions to which the Government should be indifferent.  The Government, however, is between a rock and a hard place.  It wanted to help the workers, stem the tide of political attacks that the Government was doing nothing in the extraordinary circumstances of what happened to help the employees, and without making a permanent charge on the revenue.  In the end, it may have caused everyone to be unhappy.  While Pat Bain, the leader of the Hotel Union, thanked the Government, he himself is under pressure from the employees.  They think the Union has not done enough, and some may argue that his embrace may be a situation of misery loving company.  There was no spontaneous applause from the employees for the Government's gesture.  Many are grumbling that it took too long to do anything.

The plan seems to us, not quite as open ended and unfettered as Mr. Wells would have us believe.  It is hemmed in with all kinds of conditions, the irony of which is why it may prove to be more trouble than it is worth.  First, there has to be an agreed position on where and what you are owed as an employee, the employee has to agree to assign his benefits to the Government. The payouts will be made over a period of months.

Some had argued for the use of another public policy instrument.  This would have satisfied Mr. Wells and the other fiscal conservatives who would argue that you use public works jobs to get money into the hands of those who are most in need, and you leave it to the individual to pursue their own contractual rights as former employees.

What many are quite perplexed about is why isn’t the Government being more aggressive in collecting the taxes, seeking to jail the bandits who are injuring the Bahamian workers, and seizing property to get the money to pay off this massive obligation.  The Prime Minister has said that there must be a more cautious approach.  For the moment, the public seems to trust his instincts.

However, while we disagree with Mr. Wells on the question of the illegality, and we agree that the Government had to do something, it is important also for the Government to be more aggressive to get the culprits who want to take the money and run. There is no way that the Royal Oasis and its owners should get away with this.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 19th February 2005 at midnight: 73,737.

Number of hits for the month of February up to Saturday 19th February 2005 at midnight: 258,038.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 19th February 2005 midnight: 575,250.


    In fulfilment of his promise to visit with the students in Jamaica who were airlifted to The Bahamas before the hurricane last year, Prime Minister Perry Christie will travel to Kingston to mark the start of the Bahamas Week celebrations on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. The visit will take place today and he returns to the country on Monday 28th February.

    The press is full of speculation about whether or not the deal to replace the existing hotel plant at Cable Beach is going to come off.  The Bahamar group was kicked out of Phil Ruffin's hotel Crystal Palace the week before last, and Phil Ruffin was busy doing interviews on radio saying that the deal was off because the group had refused to put up their money to take the hotel off the market.  The Prime Minister continues to work on the deal.  What it calls for is a comprehensive revamp of the entire Cable Beach strip in New Providence.  The hotel rooms will be refurbished; some will be replaced.  The road will likely be re-routed, and the properties expanded substantially.  The casino would be upgraded.  The total package is said to be over one billion dollars.  You can imagine the knock on effects that this will have for jobs in the country.  So everyone is kind of watching and waiting to see what exactly is going to happen.  The plan sounds too fantastic to be true.  No one is quite sure why the Bahamar group will not simply put down their money like any other buyer would do. It appears they do not want to risk losing their deposit.  So the deal is still dangling in the wind, but maybe by next week this time, we will know the fate of Cable Beach.

    Commodore Davy Rolle has announced that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force will be celebrating this year its 25th anniversary.  The Force was commissioned in the midst of controversy on 31st March 1980. At the time, the resistance to the Force was that the late Sir Lynden Pindling, then Prime Minister was seeking to start a military force to keep him in power.  It turned out to be a lot of nonsense.  The Force pretty soon went about its job of catching poachers, stopping illegal drugs and illegal immigration.  Two months after its inauguration on 10th May 1980, the Force suffered four casualties with the sinking of the HMBS Flamingo by a Cuban MIG that shot it out of the water.  Four marines died that day.  The Cubans later paid compensation and apologized for the event.  The Force has had its share of controversies.  Amos Rolle, the Commander of the Flamingo was later retired from the Force following a Commission of Inquiry into a drug operation at Norman's Cay.  Carlos Lehder, the jailed Colombian drug lord, was arrested in the raid at Norman’s Cay but later released after being taken into custody. It was claimed that money passed hands to effect that release.  Then there was in 1992 the Lorequin incident that led to another Commission of Inquiry last year.  Again the issue was drugs on board a ship, that didn’t seem to make it to shore.  The Government is now reviewing the Force.  The Commodore was blamed by the Commission of Inquiry as well as his predecessor for the failure to deal properly with the controversy surrounding the missing drugs on the Lorequin. The question many then ask is: who will lead the Force which Commodore Rolle described in his press conference on Friday 27th February as: “the best little navy in the Caribbean”.  The Government is reviewing its options for the Force, now including its command structure.  So while it celebrates the first 25 years, change would seem to be upon us at the start of the next 25 years.

It is panic time in The Bahamas again when it comes to illegal immigration.  The Haitians are now responsible for every ill in the country.  The pressure has caused the Government to move to increase the round ups and repatriation of immigrants throughout the country.  In the straw market, immigrants are being told that they have to leave.  The complaints about Haitian migrants working in the market have reached a crescendo.  The Minister of Immigration appears to have conceded on a Love 97 show recently that there could come a point when the Haitian migrants and their children outnumber those who are Bahamian by birth and ancestry.  This sent waves of shock in the community.  It may happen anyway. But as Nicolette Bethel, the Director of Culture points out: who here isn’t an immigrant anyway?  Prime Minister Christie speaking in his constituency on Wednesday February 23rd told the country that the Haitian community in The Bahamas and their descendants along with the entire citizenry, have a stake in making sure our borders are protected.  We simply urge caution to all.  This is not a time to panic on these issues.  This is a call to rationality. The fact is the Haitians are here because the work is here and they fill a niche in the labour market.    They must be here legally, and those who are illegal must go but let us try not to set upon Haitians and make them responsible for all that is wrong within ourselves.

    Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is in Jamaica today to join the Prime Minister in meeting with students at the start of the Bahamas Week celebrations.  He will return to The Bahamas on Monday 28th February. He is joining the Prime Minister in Kingston for the occasion.  Last week, Mr. Mitchell hosted the students of the Mt. Hope Medical School and the Roman Catholic Seminary in Trinidad and Tobago at a reception in Port of Spain. The president of The Bahamas Students Association in Trinidad is Zhivargo Rolle.  This week Alfred Sears, Minister of Education met with students in Trinidad to discuss the question of the fees for medical students there.  He was in Trinidad for the installation of the new Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies.  Later in the week, the Foreign Minister joins John Rood, Ambassador to The Bahamas for the United States, in Washington D.C. for a meeting with the Florida Congressional Delegation.  Ambassador Sidney Poitier will be joining them for those meetings.

   As Cabinet Ministers arrived at their weekly meeting on Tuesday 22nd February, they were greeted by the sounds and demands of the people of Bozene Town, who were afraid that they would lose their homes.  You will recall that Landco, a Bahamian company, obtained from the Supreme Court a certificate of title, that gave clear title to land on which hundreds of home owners had been living. Some of them obtained mortgages from banks.  All had invested their life savings in their properties.  The Quieting of Titles Act by which this matter proceeded is considered by many to be a pernicious piece of legislation that has been used by various and sundry, familiar land sharks to steal the land of innocent persons who are in uninterrupted possession of land. The legislation was meant to be able to provide a documentary title insinuations where someone had been in long possession of land but had no or partial documentary title.  It has been used to perpetrate many frauds on legitimate land owners.  Suddenly, and without notice, many people find themselves dispossessed of their lands.  While there is an advertising requirement to give those in actual possession notice of another claim, the descriptions of the land can often be so obscure that you don’t quite know it means the piece of property that you are living on.  Several areas in New Providence face this issue: Nassau Village is one; the Harrold area is the other.  The demonstrators sang, “We shall Overcome”, “We Shall Not Be Moved”, the civil rights era songs from the United States.  The Prime Minister met briefly with them. The Government was concerned that the matter had gotten out of hand, and MP for the area Leslie Miller spent his whole day meeting with the land owners.  By weeks end, it was announced that the Attorney General's office has obtained another 30 day extension so that the Government could see what it can do to intervene.  The problem is that no one wants to have any one profit by using the statute as an instrument of a fraud.  The only way to set aside a certificate of title is on the grounds of fraud.  There is one interesting phenomenon that seems to come out of all of this, is the development that the Government must do something. Most people, if they have right, should have moved the court themselves to protect themselves.  It appears though that here is phenomenon in The Bahamas that you simply complain that there has been an injustice even though you have slept on your rights, and the Government is bound to come and save you. At the rate we are going, everyone in the country will be on the Government’s dole. It appears that the Government will have to acquire the land in the public interest and then convey the title back to those in actual possession.

    We want to express our heartfelt condolences to the families of two long time supporters who passed away during the past week. They were both buried on Saturday 26th February.  First there is the well known businessman and stalwart councillor Tommy Thompson.  Mr. Thompson was 65 years old at the time of his death.  He had reached the heights in the tourism industry as a hotel manager.  He ran into the toughest of times in his field during the time that the Free National Movement was in office.  He tried his hand at running a Shell Service Station.  He was a strong Rotarian. His friend Winston T. Marshall, a fellow labourer in the vineyard of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, wrote in the Nassau Guardian Thursday 24th said: “Those of us who really knew him would know of his committed support of the Progressive Liberal Party and how proud he was in having been named a stalwart councillor and his disappointment of the party’s wilderness years and the joy of returning to power.”  May he rest in peace. Lydia Brown, 55, was a Mason’s Addition PLP.  She was a firm and committed supporter.  No one ever doubted that she was PLP.  She had a kind face and a gentle disposition.  She will be sadly missed. The Prime Minister and Leader of the PLP Perry Christie attended both the funeral services.  Mr. Thompson’s service was held at St. Matthew’s and Ms. Brown’s at St. Francis Xavier, the Roman Catholic Cathedral.

    Almost eighteen months ago on 2nd August 2003, the quiet of the Bahamian night at sea somewhere off Eleuthera was disturbed by the crashing sound of two ships passing in the night and colliding.  The end result was four people were dead. The country was in mild panic and the whole Government was mobilized to get the people back to shore from what was supposed to have been a happy holiday weekend.  A Wreck Commission was convened by law by Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin, headed by Justice Joseph Strachan, retired RBDF Commodore Leon Smith and Sir Durward Knowles.  Their report is now in and the Minister of Transport presented it to the House of Assembly on Wednesday 23rd February. She said: “The collision resulted from the failure of the captains of each collision ship to maintain a navigational watch at all material times.  Both captains failed to discharge their duties and contributed to the collision and the failing of the deck hands caused it.” She said that the system was also to blame: “ The system failed in that it permitted an unsafe number of passengers to board the MV Sea Hauler and allowed the MV United Star to depart with passengers without any approval of any kind.  The Port Department failed to adequately consider all factors affecting a realistic determination of the numbers of passengers for whom approval should have been given and failed to obtain vital information from passengers and other persons before boarding them, and failed to carry out stipulations continued in the approval letter by the Port Official and no fire and emergency drills were conducted by Port officials.”  This therefore condemns the boat captains and the system of transport and its regulation.  Change again must come.

    Brent Symonette said something in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 22nd February with which we agree.  Gambling should be legal in The Bahamas for all Bahamians.  The only issue for us is what should the tax regime be.  The Member of Parliament for Montague for the FNM was speaking on a bill on Casino Taxation.  The chair of the Gaming Board Kenyatta Gibson, the Minister for Gaming Obie Wilchcombe all seemed to be in favour of a more liberalized view on gambling. We think that the present situation where Bahamians cannot gamble is silly, hypocritical, and simply something from the dark ages.  The reason Bahamians cannot gamble today is because the UBP government of the day was too weak to stand up to the religious community over the matter when gambling first came to The Bahamas in a big way in the 1960s.  Now it’s time to consign the policy to history.  Every day thousands of Bahamians gamble freely in the so called web cafés all around town.  It just seems ludicrous, that while gambling is illegal, everyone is simply doing it and there is no enforcement of the law.

The Nassau Guardian may have had its revenge against the trade unions at last.  Well, the Nassau Guardian is unionized but it now appears that the Supervalue Food store which has been fighting an action with the Bahamas Commercial Stores and Warehouse Workers Union headed by Elgin Douglas.  Mr. Douglas succeeded in unionizing City Markets, the competitor of Supervalue.  No such luck with Rupert Roberts and Supervalue. Mr. Roberts who had signed to recognize the union, later balked.  He accused the Union of bullying tactics. He and his daughter then set about seeking a poll and courting the workers.  The Nassau Guardian writes that of the 294 persons who voted in the poll, only 50 of those voted for the Union.  They were shown with the boss in the press on Friday 25th February, grinning from ear to ear at the success of turning back the union.  It seemed a most curious decision, and one must ask the question: “ what were they thinking?” The comments from the employees suggested that they thought that Mr. Roberts was a great boss, and that he was always looking out for their welfare.  They said that he continued to hire people even after the hurricanes when other companies were laying off people.  Mr. Roberts who was also grinning from ear to ear said that he developed his company without the Union.  “They knew the Union could not help them, “” he said. Things get curiouser and curiouser.  Mr. Douglas said that he was going to protest the poll.  He claimed that there were several technical irregularities which made the poll a flawed one.  Even so, the result 294 to 50 shows that there was serious disconnect between the Union and the workers at Supervalue.  The poll was taken and supervised by the Ministry of Labour on Thursday 24th February. This would also seem to be a major blow for the Bahamas Hotel Catering Allied Workers Union, who support Mr. Douglas’s Union.  It is a setback for the Union movement in the country.

    Chairman of the PLP Raynard Rigby led the PLP Branch executives in a seminar on Saturday 26th February at the Sir Lynden Pindling centre, formerly Gambier House in Nassau. The day long seminar saw Ministers Glenys Hanna Martin, Fred Mitchell and Obie Wilchcombe speak to the priorities in their Ministries. The Prime Minister was the wrap up speaker.

  The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) may be coming to a shop near you this year.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell speaking at a civil society meeting at the Ministry said that the Government has decided to write a white paper on CSME to make known its plans for joining Caricom.  It will likely mean no free movement of people, no monetary union, a transition to a common external tariff and no to the Caribbean Court of Justice.  The Minister said that the country needs to become fully a member of Caricom.  You may click here for the Minister's full statement.

It really does seem to be a bit of pique to land next to another man’s border and certainly within another man’s sphere of influence and tell that man who comes from a country with thousands of years of history behind it that he had better keep to the democratic path. That is what the President of the United States George Bush said when he went to Slovakia to meet with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.  The President politely responded by saying mind your own business. But the fact that it could be said, and that no one could advise the US. President of the U.S. that it simply was not the proper thing to do is what boggles the mind.  Anyway, these are the times.  Judge what he would tell a country like The Bahamas.


    Mrs. Bernadette Christie, wife of the Prime Minister, was honoured by the Rotary Clubs of Grand Bahama last week     Saturday.  Mrs. Christie received a Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest award of the worldwide organisation.  Mrs. Christie, centre, is shown accepting the PHF Award.  l to r, Dr. Bethel, Honorary PHF; and 2005 Paul Harris Fellows, Edwin 'Apple' Elliott, Mrs. Bernadette Christie, and Rev., Bishop Godfrey Williams.  right is Rotary District Governor Roland Benson.

1)  Dr. Doswell Coakley & Mrs. Coakley and the PM         2)  Mrs. Christie accepting recognition
                                                                                                          as a Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary District 6990
                                                                                                        Governor, Roland Benson and Dr. Marcus Bethel,
                                                                                                        Honorary Paul Harris Fellow.  PHF highest Rotary Award.

3)  Mrs. Christie
Bahamas Information Services photos

Haitian/African issue
As a Bahamian living abroad and committed to the advancement of African pride among Blacks of African heritage no matter where they are from, the reports out of my home have me quite disturbed. My people are so caught up in geographic divisions that they ignore our historical unity. Haitians and Bahamian Blacks are the fruit of the evil slave trade. Whether conditioned by British or French influence our ancestors sprang from our separate soils as a result of a unified scheme to enslave and degrade men and women because of the color of their skin. That color was Black and it didn't matter which part of the Black continent of Africa you were from.
Our Blackness was the one qualification that made us all equals in the race for exploitation and oppression. Now to blacks raised under the yoke of the unholy trinity of capitalism, democracy and religion, artificial nationalist considerations prevents us from seeing that we are equally despised as a result of the weakness inherent in division.
So our past tribal and religious differences prevented us from effectively opposing the evil threat to our existence posed by the white slave traders. Now our nationalist divisions keep us from unifying to uplift our Black race from the bottom of the human chain because we believe we are doing the right thing. In the words of T. S. Elliott " The last temptation is the greatest treason, to do the right thing for the wrong reason."
(Name withheld)

Amen brother! – Editor

British Buses
    While I am a resident here in The Bahamas and therefore get all the news from other sources, I always log on to your site each Sunday and have been generally very pleased with your commentaries on weekly news items.
    I would like to comment on the terrible incident that occurred to three passengers on a jitney last weekend. I think it is absolutely shameful that a bus driver, who has the responsibility of his passengers who are in his care while they are travelling on his bus, should be a party to the kind of attack and robbery that took place. I hope, like the rest of the nation, that justice is served. It is all well and good to tell people only to travel on buses on which they feel comfortable.... they may not have the option of choosing another bus or may not feel unsafe when they board the bus. I am sure if those three people had any idea of what was about to happen, they would not have boarded that particular bus.
    Having said all that, I do feel that undue emphasis has been placed on the fact that one of the passengers was British.... a resident of The Bahamas. What has that got to do with it? It does not appear that there was any racial preference in perpetrating this crime. I too am British.  I see in your article that the lady in question said there is no violence on English buses. If her statement has been correctly quoted then all I can say is "What nonsense!" If she said she had not personally experienced any violence on an English bus, then fair enough, she may well not have done. But there are certainly incidents of violence on British buses and trains.
    The inclusion of an advisory to British visitors may be advisable, as anyone travelling anywhere in the world should be cautious. Nowhere is particularly safe these days but I do think that tourists coming to the Bahamas feel they are coming to Paradise, where nothing bad happens and that is a misconception. The Bahamas has its problems like anywhere else, no more, no less.
    I could relate some terrible incidents that have occurred in London over the past few years, yet I feel quite safe when I am visiting. The reality is that bad stuff happens and it can happen anywhere and to anyone.
    Keep up your good work!
Alison Hamilton

We think you are right. – Editor

More information on Ms. Butler
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I feel this would be a wonderful start.  Since the letter I have spoken with my grandmother and she has shared some new information with me.  Her big mama's name was Albertha Williams.  Other family members that she remembers are Emma Newbold (deceased), Drucilla Poitier and Joe Saunders (Bimini).  My grandmother was born in 1934.  She says that she never knew her father, but that she knows he was a white man.  This man forced her mother, Lillian.  My grandma was a product of that.  Albertha (big mama) made Lillian give up the child.  I thought it necessary to send as much information as possible because so many years have passed us by (1920's and 30's).  This effort is for my family and most important for my grandma.  If you should get any leads please forward them.  Bless!

Please help anyone. – Editor

<  Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, which struck The Bahamas last autumn may be fading into memory, but thankfully not in the memory of various friends of the country who continue to donate to the national hurricane relief fund.  Minister of Housing Shane Gibson joined Prime Minister Perry Christie this past week to accept a cheque from Dr. James Leininger to go toward this worthy cause.
>  The Church Of God In The Bahamas, Incorporated spent the week in its annual general assembly under the leadership of the general superintendent Bishop Dr. Robert A. McPhee.  Among the guests of honour at the assembly was Prime Minister Christie who addressed the faithful.

CONGRESS OF EVANGELICALS - During the week, Mr. Christie also attended the official opening session of CONECAR 2005.  It was the 7th Congress of Evangelicals in the Caribbean.

CELEBRATING WITH MOUNT TABOR - YEAR 12  > Another anniversary for the PM this past week; this one at Bishop Neil Ellis’ Mount Tabor Full Gospel Baptist Church, where for the 10th consecutive year in a row, Mr. Christie was present to celebrate with the congregation.  Later in the week, Bishop Ellis and 12 other Baptist ministers paid a courtesy call on the PM.

Regional interface continued this week, with the Prime Minister receiving a courtesy call from the Foreign Minister of Mexico, Luis Ernesto Derbez.  The Prime Minister and Mexican Foreign Minister are pictured at the Office of The Prime Minister.

A VISIT TO S.C. MCPHERSON SCHOOL – A treat this past week for the faculty and students of S.C. McPherson School who hosted Prime Minister Christie at their awards night.  Mr. Christie greeted by School Principal Mrs. A. Storr; then presented gifts to students  in recognition of both academic and athletic distinction.  The Prime Minister is shown with the school’s Most Outstanding Academic Student Glathonya Sands.

Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay