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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So Carl Culmer, the feckless Chairman of the Free National Movement, finally found his voice from the grave by issuing a long press release in answer to the decision by the Prime Minister Philip Davis to appoint his Cabinet. According to Mr. Culmer, the Cabinet of Mr. Davis is the largest ever and that this was exactly the opposite of what Mr. Davis had promised in the run up to the general election.
There were other discordant voices some of whom had become recent allies of the PLP in the general election who were expressing surprise at the size of the cabinet. The problem is that Carl Culmer and the others have just now found their voices.
The facts as far as we can say in these circumstances are these: Philip Davis was elected by the Bahamian people and in that election with an overwhelming majority of seats, he has the mandate to exercise his own judgement with regard to how the affairs of the country are to be managed. So our view is that the size of the Cabinet is one of those decisions. Let’s give the man a break. Let us give him a fair shot at succeeding instead of sandbagging the man at the start and prejudging.
This should be the position of all people of goodwill.
We think that all the men and women who have bene elected must be keenly aware of the state of the country and the job and task which they have now to get things done, done effectively and get them done quickly. It is our hope that the Carl Culmers of this world will just be quiet for a season and let the man get on with his job.
However as was said in many other fora, the PLP cannot over read this mandate from the people, as giving the party carte blanche to do as it wishes. The party must be effective in its actions and judicious in its words.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday, 25th September, 2021 up to midnight: 293,008;
Number of hits for the month of September up to Saturday, 25th September, 2021 up to midnight: 1,106,361;
Number of hits for the year 2021 up to Saturday, 25th September, 2021 up to midnight: 11,869,245.
There was a meeting of the FNM’s Council held on Wednesday 22 September 2021 to determine the fate of the party going forward from their defeat on 16 September 2021. There were some noisy councilors like Hiram Kelly who is not sober in the best of times, who ranted and cussed Hubert Minnis reportedly. However, in the main they decided that they would hold on to Hubert Minnis until there is a convention to decide whether to elect a new leader. The convention is slated for November of this year. The bet is that Michael Pintard, the MP for Marco City and Shannondon Cartwright, the MP for St Barnabas will give it a try as a pair to head the FNM. Hubert Minnis says he will step down but no one counts on that being true when the time comes. Dr. Minnis for his part, observers say, are determined that it will not be that pair and instead hopes that Kwasi Thompson, his cousin , and the former Minister of State for Finance, will emerge the Leader of the Opposition. In the meantime, the Governor General has sworn in Dr. Minnis as Leader of the Opposition. This is a decision made by the Governor General in own deliberate judgement. The presentation of the instrument took place on Friday 24 September 2021
The persons at ZNS responsible for the unauthorized response to the scathing critique delivered by the international observer group on the 16 September 2021 general elections must cease and desist any representation on behalf of the Bahamas Broadcasting Corporation (BCB) as they have no standing to do so.
This story appeared originally in The Tribune — Editor
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
FOREIGN Affairs and Public Service Minister Fred Mitchell yesterday said all political appointees were recently asked to submit resignations as a matter of routine with the Davis administration’s election to government.
Mr Mitchell was contacted to respond to a voice note circulating claiming that up to 15 people at the Office of the Prime Minister were told to go home this week.
It was further alleged that their contracts were not being honoured, but that they were given one month’s salary instead.
Mr Mitchell said while he was not familiar with what took place at the Office of the Prime Minister, he suspected that whatever happened was routine.
“I don’t know the specifics of what happened at the Office of the Prime Minster, but I explain to people that there are two levels of hirings in this country as in other countries. One is at the political level and the other is the public service level and if you are at the political level, once the administration changes all the politically hired people have to change.
“That’s the way the system is, and I suspect that that’s what is at work as you report at the OPM.”
He continued: “They (the former administration) did the same thing, so I am not sure. I am not using that as a defence, but that’s just the system and, for example, the most obvious example would be the Foreign Ministry.
“All political level appointments like consulate and special contracts have been asked to submit their resignations to the permanent secretary. That is a matter of routine, and the prime minister decides whether or not to accept the resignation or to allow them to continue.
“That’s the way it works so we have them all in the Foreign Ministry at the moment with the exception of one, the other one is outstanding as well.”
From left Mario Bowleg, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, JoBeth Coleby Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing, Dr. Michael Darville, Minister of Health and Wellness, Ryan Pinder, the Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs, Secretary to the Cabinet Nicole Campbell, Philip Davis, Prime Minister, Chester Cooper, Minister of Tourism and Investments and Deputy Prime Minister, Alfred Sears, Minister of Public Works and Utilities, Senator Michael Halkitis, Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Ginger Moxey, Minister for Grand Bahama, Zane Lightbourne, Minister of State for Education, Vaughn Miller, Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment, Lisa Rahming, Minister of State for Urban Development, Jomo Campbell, Minister of State for Legal Affairs, Keith Bell, Minister for Labour and Immigration, Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service, Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, Wayne Munroe, Minister of National Security, Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Pia Glover Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service, Myles La Roda, Minister of State for the Office of the Prime Minister, Basil Macintosh, Minister of State for the Environment
Prime Minister Philip Davis with Antonio Gutierrez, the Secretary General of the United Nations 25 September 2021.
Prime Minister Philip Davis visited New York for the first time as Prime Minister. He hosted a number of dinners for the Bahamian community and the international leaders there in New York but his main job was to present the case to the world for The Bahamas. He delivered the speech on Saturday 25 September 2021. Here is the full text of his address:
NATIONAL STATEMENT PRIME MINISTER THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS ON THE OCCASION OF 76TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEW YORK, N.Y. SATURDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER 2021
“Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the United Nations”
Esteemed Colleague Heads of State and Heads of Government, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres;
President of the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives:
On September 16th, Bahamian citizens took to the polls to make their voices heard.
It is an honour to meet with you fewer than ten days after this peaceful exercise of the democratic process.
I wish to extend congratulations to the Maldives, a sister Small Island Developing State, on their election to the helm of this General Assembly. Know that you will find The Bahamas to be a strong, engaged and thoughtful partner for the road ahead.
We also congratulate Secretary-General Gutteres on his re-election to a second term, and wish him every success.
Colleagues, we are meeting at a most extraordinary time. We come here from different corners of the earth, with our theme — “building resilience through hope” – reflecting our shared determination to pivot from crisis to opportunity.
These crises are inter-connected and multi-faceted, and need a global response.
We must collaborate to end the Covid-19 pandemic and address public health issues.
We must co-operate to mitigate the effects of climate change.
And access to development financing must be equitable and fair.
An inadequate response to these issues will have dire consequences for the global economy.
Collaborating to End the Pandemic
The world has changed enormously since we first learned about the COVID-19 virus.
This crisis made abundantly clear what has always been true: we’re all in this together.
In every country, we have lost loved ones. We have seen our healthcare workers battle bravely. We have contended with disruption, uncertainty, and grief.
We have benefited from extraordinary co-operation and achievements in science, but we also had to contend with misinformation and disinformation, and insufficient attempts to curb bad actors propagating the same. Bad information has flowed across borders, undermining public health and public trust.
The pandemic has been particularly difficult for countries like mine. We face an extraordinary need for new resources in health and education and housing just as our economy is contracting dramatically.
Our inter-connected world means that we will only be safe when all countries, including mine, have the tools needed to fight this virus.
This requires the equitable distribution of vaccines. That includes distribution to Small Island Developing States, who are not manufacturers. Stockpiling for self-preservation is a fallacy.
You will only be safe when we are all safe!
I wish to thank the Government and People of the United States for their donations of vaccines to The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region.
This gift, alongside donations received previously from India, China, Antigua & Barbuda, and Dominica, will save many Bahamian lives. This is in addition to the ongoing support of PAHO, CARPHA and the COVAX facility and the regional collaboration among CARICOM countries.
But this is still not enough. We need more. Our demand for vaccines has significantly outstripped supply.
Along with vaccines, it is important that safe treatments and therapeutics, are made accessible and designated as public goods. We need to fortify critical global supply chains, and distribution mechanisms, so that we can win this battle, and be better prepared for the next one.
You will only be safe, when we are all safe!
The Bahamas joins those reiterating the need to fully fund the ‘Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator’ and its COVAX facility, led by the World Health Organization. And we reiterate our alignment with CARICOM’s call for continued high-level engagement to urgently address equitable vaccine accessibility.
When vaccines are deployed to reduce transmission, everyone is made safer – not just the direct recipient. We can then reduce the opportunities for new and more dangerous variants to emerge. This virus is global and requires a global response.
COP26 Matters/ Disasters Response
Colleagues, even before COVID-19 shut down my country’s borders, we were dealing with a catastrophic shock to our economy and our country.
Two years ago this month, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic caused catastrophic damage to our islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Hurricane Dorian was strengthened by waters that were well above average temperatures; the earth’s changing climate means that hurricanes like Dorian linger longer and cause more damage.
The devastation caused by this storm is part of our country’s landscape; the physical and emotional wreckage are still with us.
Recently I spoke with a woman who lost her husband and her three children in the storm. Every rainfall is a reminder of the horror. How can we continue to do nothing in the face of such tragedy?
The very worst thing about Dorian is our sense of foreboding – our sense that this hurricane, which took so much from so many – is only the beginning.
None of us believe this is a once-in-a-generation storm. Instead, we know it is a nightmare that could easily recur – tomorrow, next week, next month.
To any leader who believes we still have plenty of time to address climate change, I invite you to visit Abaco and Grand Bahama.
For island nations such as ours, climate change is here. And is a real and present danger.
Before Hurricane Dorian in 2019, we faced hurricanes: in 2015, in 2016, and in 2017.
We cannot survive this “new normal”.
Thus, we are not here to call for measured steps. We are here to say that big and radical change is the only response that can save our country. We are out of time.
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report warned that avoiding the worst outcomes requires immediate action; this is, as the Secretary-General noted, a ‘Code Red’ moment.
We stand with CARICOM countries and Small Island Developing States to remind the world that those who are hit hardest by the impact of climate change, are the least responsible.
Our countries disproportionately bear the burden of the “Recovery Trap”, in which we attempt to rebuild to the tune of billions – billions we never had, even before COVID.
Colleagues, in a few short weeks, we will meet in Glasgow, Scotland.
The 26th Climate Change Conference cannot be like the twenty-five that preceded it – we cannot pretend that incremental change is sufficient. We cannot set goals we have no intention of meeting. We cannot keep postponing the change we need for countries like mine to survive.
If we are the serious leaders these times require, we must raise our ambitions, and make real commitments to cut emissions.
We must make real progress on bridging the divides in investment, and access-to-technology and skills, especially in areas relevant to climate mitigation and adaptation.
We must strengthen technical assistance for creating action-oriented, nationally-determined contribution (NDC) commitments, along with commensurate ‘implementation financing’.
We must give teeth and substance to the mechanism for loss and damage if it is to be a meaningful tool for supporting fair recovery, and not simply an exercise in defining and highlighting disaster risk.
Along with our sister nations in CARICOM, The Bahamas calls for greater climate financing and the need for more engagement and progress on a Climate Investment Platform.
And, as a matter of priority, more innovative financing and debt solutions are needed, including debt for climate adaptation swaps. We also look forward to the capitalization of a Caribbean Resilience Fund. We also need adequate resourcing and timely access to the ‘Green Climate Fund’ and the ‘Climate Finance Accelerator’.
In our just-concluded campaign, we called for new renewable energy initiatives in our own country. We are going to build structural and economic resilience, in a green recovery, with plans to invest in climate-smart infrastructure and environmental protection.
The Bahamas will lead on wetland and ocean preservation, and we will seek re-election to the International Maritime Organization. We look forward to the Biodiversity Conference next month; we are committed to the successful conclusion of negotiations towards an international treaty to conserve marine bio-diversity.
Advancing an MVI/ Affordable, Accessible Development Financing
Colleagues, the compounding impact of economic, environmental, and now public health shocks, means that access to affordable finance will be the real driver of progress in the near and long term.
The global development financing gap for meeting Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, estimated in 2019 to be $2.5 trillion, is only increasing.
Today we reiterate our country’s support for the inclusion of a Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index in the decision-making of international financial institutions, and the international donor community.
On a related front, we believe that access to the global financial system and tax cooperation should not be undermined: by ad hoc and consistently shifting and arbitrary goal posts, and threats of exclusion from the global economy.
Financial Services is a crucial component of the Bahamian economy. We see an indispensable role for the UN in leveraging its universal jurisdiction for greater oversight of global anti-money laundering, de-risking and tax cooperation matters.
On a separate note, I wish to convey The Bahamas’ rejection of the ongoing economic blockade of our sister Caribbean nation of Cuba.
As I conclude, I recall the words of our nation’s first Prime Minister, Sir Lynden Pindling, as he stood here 48 years ago this month, on the occasion of our nation’s accession to the United Nations.
He spoke about the journey of our people, from slavery to colonialism to sovereign independence.
He spoke of our country’s wish to be neither dominated nor coerced, and our wish to build friendships with nations who respected our freedom.
He could not have foreseen at that time the challenges we face today, with intensifying hurricanes and a deadly virus that has left no nation untouched. But he saw already that “no nation is an island unto itself” and spoke of the interdependence of all countries.
That interdependence has never been clearer.
Rest assured, colleagues, that in The Bahamas you will find a trusted partner, committed to moving forward on our collective goals for sustainable development, security, and peace.
The following statement was issued by the Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party Fred Mitchell on the state of the Prime Minister after his having to cut short his time at a public swearing in ceremony:
On The Prime Minister
For Immediate Release
23 September 2021
At the end of the ceremony for Parliamentary Secretaries this afternoon, the Prime Minister experienced a bout of discomfort as a result of a combination of his routine medication and missing his morning meal. He left for home. I have spoken to him and he is recovered. He will Chair today’s first Cabinet meeting at 2 p.m.
The following statement was issued by Prime Minister Philip Davis upon learning of the death of Thomas Bastian, trade unionist:
Hon. Philip Davis QC MP
Prime Minister, Commonwealth of The Bahamas
For Immediate Release
22 September 2021
The Bahamas has lost a giant of the labour movement and a nation builder in the name of Thomas Bastian. I join Bahamians from all walks of life in mourning his passing.
As the Secretary General and later, president of the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union, Mr. Bastian was credited with building that institution into one of the largest and most powerful labour unions in The Bahamas.
The Worker’s Bank, a day care centre, a laundromat, a restaurant, and three union buildings were among the union’s impressive list of commercial acquisitions and extensive real estate holdings under the leadership of Mr. Bastian.
He was a good friend and I always admired his conviction – expressed through his ardent advocacy for the rights and protection of the Bahamian worker. Many of the rights and employment benefits enjoyed by hotel workers today were the result of his dogged tenacity and determination in protecting the rights and job security of hotel workers.
Even though we found ourselves sometimes on opposite sides of the negotiating table, he was always respectful of me, my colleagues and the process.
He was the architect behind two Memoranda of Understanding with the Progressive Liberal Party on the way forward for Bahamian workers – one signed in 1977 and the most recent MOU signed in 2021.
His passing brings to an end a significant era in the country’s labour movement. Thomas Bastian has left big shoes to be filled with many miles to travel before rest is taken.
I thank him for his service to the labour movement and to our country.
Having completed your earthly assignment with distinction, go with God Thomas Bastian and may the angels greet you at the gates and escort you to the Holy City Jerusalem.
On behalf of my wife, Ann Marie, Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. I. Chester Cooper, my cabinet and Parliamentary colleagues, and the officers and members of the Progressive Liberal Party, I express heartfelt condolences to the family of Thomas Bastian on his passing. I extend the same to his extended family in the labour movement.
We join in expressing our condolences on the passing of Keitha Archer, the veteran trade unionists 25 September 2021. Mr. Archer was for a long time head of the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union. May he rest in peace.