Photo of The WeekCONFUSION INDEED: the facsimile of the National Review page of the Nassau Guardian. The Guardian even had an editorial on the same issue last week. The Tribune had its own version. The Government when it talks says that its doing a great job. Well we think not. But then again Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is a genius and we are all fools. Our photo of the week of the National Review of The Nassau Guardian describing on Wednesday 23rd October 2019, the decision to change command at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force in mid hurricane relief as a wave of confusion.
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Every time you open the newspapers and listen on What’s App, Facebook, or the radio and television, there is the peripatetic Michael Pintard, the Leader of the Opposition, opining on some subject or other, usually an attack on the PLP and Philip Davis, the Prime Minister. Last week alone he was accusing the Government of unlawfully supporting late reports on the fiscal performance of the country. Then he said that the Prime Minister should shuffle his cabinet.
One supposes this is in part what a Leader of the Opposition should be doing: critiquing the government. The problem is that all he does is criticize the government. You keep asking yourself where is the vision.
The best we can say for him in the past week was the news that Nicolet Bethel of the Shakespeare In Paradise Franchise announced that they are going to reprise Mr. Pintard’s play “Still Standing”, written just after the 1997 general election and borrowing on the slogan of the PLP in that year when they lost the election miserably to Hubert Ingraham. This reminded the population that after all, Mr. Pintard is a playwright. He is also an actor and comedian and he is good at it. This means that maybe what we are witnessing in the political theatre is just that: a political act and comedy show. It doesn’t come off as serious although he means well.
But what is interesting is what accounts for the frantic speechifying of Mr. Pintard. We got the news this weekend that Hubert Minnis is leading a full and happy delegation to visit the island of Grand Bahama. Grand Bahama you know is the redoubt of the FNM. They say it’s their country. So here you have Dr. Minnis who is reportedly one parliamentary vote away from regaining the leadership of the Opposition challenging Mr. Pintard in his own backyard.
All we say in the face of all this to Mr. Pintard: instead of minding the PLP’s business, how about paying attention to what is going on with your own member in your own backyard.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday, 28th January, 2023 up to midnight: 383,297; Number of hits for the month of January up to Saturday, 28th January, 2023 up to midnight; 1,562,943; Number of hits for the year 2023 up to Saturday, 28th January, 2023 up to midnight: 1,562,943.
Minister for Immigration Keith Bell announced that they will now be paying special attention to documents coming out of Haiti because as a result of the collapse of Haitian government agencies, they cannot rely on the authenticity of documents coming out of Haiti.
The Prime Minister has ordered an immediate involuntary departure from Haiti of all diplomatic personnel or as soon as security conditions permit.
Up to this time, there was a voluntary departure order in place and all staff at the embassy chose to stay. Per the new instructions, they are to leave for home as soon as conditions permit.
This is only a temporary measure in light of recent developments which require a corporate security and intelligence assessment and restaging.
This morning the Chargè reported that they had been stopped by Haitian police and relieved of their vehicle and weapons. This is part of a protest by the Haitian National Police against their own authorities.
All of our diplomats are personally safe.
There also is a report of 5 Bahamians from Bahamasair who landed at Port Au Prince Airport who were unable to leave the environs of the airport. They are all safe and well.
The security situation appears less stable over the past three days in the country, and we are taking steps out of an abundance of caution.
The pattern of security concerns is one of ebb and flow and these withdrawals are sometimes necessary to regroup.
The Security Forces in our country have been alerted to these developments.
As soon as conditions permit a team will be sent back into Haiti without further announcement.
27 January 2023
The Ministry is able to confirm that this morning all 7 Bahamian diplomats including the spouse of the Chargè d’affaires were airlifted out of Port au Prince by helicopter and have landed safely in the Dominican Republic.
The Prime Minister has expressed his deep gratitude and highest consideration to the President of the Dominican Republic Luis Abinadar and the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic Roberto Alvarez for the execution of this process.
The future in part of the Progressive Liberal Party seen at UB for their Thursday afternoon interface with UB students with Senator Barry Griffin, Mekei Clarke, Jordan Clarke, Chris Saunders, Jackson Cooper
A contributed comment:
From the day Lynden Pindling and his colleagues of that generation died, it seems that the PLP lost its voice. Understandably so, one imagines from the period 1992 to 2002, when Hubert Ingraham with his bull dog style tried to intimidate the PLP, and wanted to make them apologise for black people coming to The Bahamas. But what is the reason now? The PLP has had now three stints in Government since Lynden Pindling. They have been unable to win two consecutive terms. The reason is largely because while in office, their supporters go into hiding at the least attack by the FNM and don’t seem to be able to raise their voices in defence of their own policies. The situation is starting in again. When you look at the PLP’s Council and its age profile, most of its members are over 70 years of age and certainly over 60. Given the rate of deaths in The Bahamas this means fifty per cent of those people will be dead within five years. That means those who are in their thirties and forties and twenties and fifties in the PLP have an automatic berth by simply being present and accounted for. But if they do not practice strengthening themselves in the battle, they won’t last long with this generation of FNMs of their same age who seem more aggressive and more hungry for power. Just saying. The PLP must get real or die.
Lula Da Silva, President of Brazil, greets Prime Minister Philip Davis at the CELAC Summit in Buenos Aires in Argentina 24 January 2023
Prime Minister Philip Davis addresses the CELAC Summit in Buenos Aires in Argentina. He appealed to CELAC to help Haiti out of its crisis and resolve a socially disabling pressure on The Bahamas. He also denounced the attack on the new Government of Brazil. 24 January 2023
INTERVENTION BY HON. PHILIP DAVIS, KC, MP PRIME MINISTER & MINISTER OF FINANCE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS AT THE OPENING SESSION OF THE HEADS OF SUMMIT MEETING OF CELAC IN BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
24th JANUARY 2023
Your Excellencies, Esteemed Chair:
Introduction May I first convey my thanks to The Government of Argentina for hosting this Seventh Summit of Heads of State and Heads of Governments of CELAC, commend Argentina on its Chairmanship, and extend our gratitude for their warm hospitality.
Unprecedented Challenges Colleagues: Over the past several years, the Covid-19 pandemic compounded the complex problems we already faced, including climate change, economic inequality, and increasing threats to democratic values and human rights.
These growing challenges threaten our safety and security and undermine our pursuit for economic dignity.
Every one of our citizens deserves the right to experience the joys of family life, to do meaningful work, and to live lives full of purpose.
When we gather in regional meetings like this one, we must make sure that our debates and agreements concerning infrastructure and institutions always prioritize results that make a difference at the level of individual families. People must come first. And until doors of opportunity are open for all, we cannot rest.
Climate Change Colleagues: Rising sea levels pose an existential threat to my country. In 2019, a Category 5 storm devastated two of our main islands.
We are not and have never been the polluters, yet we suffer from the greatest vulnerabilities caused by carbon emissions.
Our debt burden remains high, in significant part due to these climate risks, including the need to regularly rebuild homes, businesses and infrastructure after devasting hurricanes.
Our cost of borrowing also prices in the risk of future hurricanes; we are already paying a high price for the intensifying weather patterns of tomorrow.
We urgently need the developed countries to honour their commitments to compensate for the Loss and Damage associated with climate change. And in order to build resiliency, we urgently need finance and access to technology.
Each of our countries must keep the pledges we’ve made, in this and other settings, to reduce our own emissions. We have seen glimpses of a future we cannot survive; we must change course, or perish. It is that simple.
Regional Peace and Security Colleagues: Democracy cannot be taken for granted; it is a commitment that must be continually renewed.
Just over two weeks ago, a violent mob stormed government buildings in Brazil in an effort to overturn the outcome of free and fair elections.
I reiterate the solidarity of The Bahamas, and CARICOM, with President Lula de Silva and the Government of Brazil, and our unwavering commitment to democracy and rule of law.
The scenes in Brasilia uncomfortably echoed those just a few years ago in Washington, DC.
Political violence, in all its forms, must be condemned anywhere in the Americas.
Haiti Colleagues: The crisis in Haiti is getting worse.
The tragic situation there continues to pose a substantial threat not only to Haitians, but also to The Bahamas and neighbouring countries, all of whom are experiencing a significant increase in irregular and often dangerous migration.
With the support and leadership of Haiti, collectively, we can, through CELAC and other regional organizations, help Haitians build a path out of crisis.
We commend Haitian-led efforts to hold elections before the end of 2023, to arrest the threat to public security posed by violent gangs, to relieve hunger and malnutrition, and to alleviate the political crisis.
Enhanced regional partnership can especially help to scale up capacity-building for the local police, and tackle trafficking, particularly in people, contraband and guns.
These Haiti-led solutions provide promising alternatives to the usual inclination to carry out activities in Haiti without Haitian direction, and the preference for investing in the strengthening of the NGOs in Haiti, as opposed strengthening her public institutions.
Extra-Regional Partnerships In terms of the wider region, the economic and security challenges we face are great, and we welcome CELAC’s initiatives to strengthen cooperation in facing them. Collaboration makes us stronger, and leads to faster and more durable solutions.
International Obstacles to National Development And even while we pursue national development, other international partners pursue policies which harm our progress. The Bahamas will continue to voice its displeasure with the discriminatory practice of the blacklisting of countries. I invite you to join us. We will also continue to advocate against the unfair use of GDP per capita to determine how or if developing countries, in vulnerable developing regions, qualify for reasonable concessionary financing or grants. The use of the Multi-Vulnerability Index in assessing eligibility for help, rather than the blunt, outdated measurement of GDP per capita. I invite you to join us in advocating for mutual agreement of alternative eligibility criteria for international financing and Overseas Development Assistance.
Summit Declaration Colleagues: Dialogue is important; collaborative solutions cannot be built without it. But talk is not sufficient. The work we do here must translate into tangible benefits for our citizens. Let us share a determination to make each meeting, and each conversation, a stepping stone to real progress for people.
Conclusion Finally, Colleagues, I wish to confirm that The Bahamas fully supports the candidacy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the Pro Tempore Presidency of CELAC for the year 2023.
The Bahamas looks forward to working with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and all member states, as we move to strengthen our “unity and diversity” and consolidate the region as a ‘Zone of Peace’.
And I pray that all our deliberations are fruitful and productive.
Prime Minister Philip Davis gives his imprimatur to the MOU between the Bahamas Maritime Authority and Argen Mar at the latter’s office in Buenos Aires, Argentina with from left Joe Elverdin, Ted Pyfrom, Jose Pablo Elverdin, JoBeth Coleby Davis, the Prime Minister, Jaqui Simmons, Fred Mitchell, Peter Goulandris, Dwayne Hutchinson. 23 January 2023.
Today I had the good fortune to attend the State Recognized Funeral of the Honourable Mr. Justice Roger Keith Gomez, Sr. (Ret) and was baffled with the lack of support from the Clergy, some who personally told me of Bishop Gomez assistance to them in Barbados where he served as Bishop, and particularly the absence of the hierarchy of the Anglican Church. Is there a veiled animus towards Bishop Gomez in the boycotting of his brother’s funeral that was so conspicuous from the Leadership in the Anglican Church? What can be so important on a Friday for such absence? Bishop Gomez attained the highest rank as Archbishop of the West Indies in this region, and is one of the most revered theological scholars in these parts, that in my opinion no Bahamian would ever achieve again in our lifetime, and to be treated so shabbily is a disgrace to our Church. Where is the love and togetherness we speak about? What can be expected from the membership when they see such naked behaviour from our leaders?
Maybe they all need to once again prostrate themselves on the altar of sacrifice and ask for forgiveness for their unfailing faults. Gentlemen you need to practice what you preach. The Gomez family is a highly respected family in the Anglican communion and The Bahamas and a pillow at St. Agnes Church for decades. What is the issue?
From left Fred Mitchell, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Kamina Johnson Smith, Foreign Minister Jamaica, Albert Ramden, Foreign Minister Suriname, Keisel Peters, Foreign Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines. 24 January 2023 in Buenos Aires at the Mexico/Caricom meeting.
Fred Mitchell with Kerry Simonds, the Foreign Minister of Barbados at the Mexico Caricom meeting in Buenos Aires 24 January 2023
The Foreign Ministers of Caricom with the Foreign Minister of Mexico and the ASG of Caricom at the Mexico Caricom meeting in Buenos Aires 24 January 2023.
In recent weeks things in The Republic of Haiti from a government standpoint seem rapidly deteriorating. Sadly for our island nation, The Bahamas with a population of four hundred thousand, there’s very little we can do about Haiti’s instability. Our neighbor to the South with a population of around 11 million will have to determine what is best for their people and the type of government they will have; any other type of artificial arrangement will not work and is a futile effort.
The government of the Bahamas has but one choice which is to defend the territorial integrity of our country as it has. To the credit of the Davis Administration, they have been able to hold the line interdicting boatload after boatload of migrants looking for a better way of life away from the chaotic conditions. This is the reality that confronts us as Bahamians and will not change any time soon.
It is not helpful or in the public interest for those Bahamians seeking political power to whip into hysteria a Bahamian population that loses all sense of objectivity and common humanity when the name of Haiti is mentioned.
Yes, we must vigorously enforce our Immigration laws. Yes, we must come to grips with the shanty towns that have to be dealt with within the confines of the law; while, at the same time, demonstrating who we are as a people. We are a nation founded on Christian principles and the rule of law. Therefore, everything that we do must be seen to be done with sober judgment in decency and order representing fair play that is consistent with Christian values. It is, also, good business to do so as a leading thriving tourist destination.
The hyperbolic racist comments must be discouraged and stopped because words do matter. If some weak-minded individual buys into this over-the-top language and does something stupid; then, we as a people will “all” suffer a backlash. The taxi driver, the tour operators at the airport, the hotel workers, and the shopkeepers will pay a price because of stupidity. Damaging our Brand, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas must always
be paramount and protected in our public discourse and decision-making.
Scapegoating desperate and despairing people for practicing nature’s first law “Survival” is just wrong. Let us, then, strive to do better.