JUNE 2005
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12th June, 2005
19th June, 2005
26th June, 2005
Columns From 2002 - 2003
5th June, 2005
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John Carey / PLP Carmichael FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...
Grand Bahama PLP
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The week began with Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Community meeting in The Bahamas.  They were meeting for the eight annual ministerial meeting of Foreign Ministers.  Their new leader is the Foreign Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas Fred Mitchell.  The Foreign Ministers met in Freeport, Grand Bahama from 31st May to 3rd June.  During their time in The Bahamas they held a retreat at the North Riding Point Bonefishing Lodge, held formal meetings at ‘Our Lucaya’ and settled the agenda for the next Heads of Government meeting for St. Lucia from 3rd to 7th July.  Our photo of the week is the Foreign Ministers of Caricom gathered in Freeport, Grand Bahama for their meeting.  The photo is by Van Dyke Hepburn of the Bahamas Information Services.


The real question the Government has to ask itself as it faces the difficult leadership question on the relationship with the Caribbean Community is whether or not it is prepared to give up formal relations with Caricom.  The Secretary General of Caricom Edwin Carrington put it ever so gently in his interviews with Bahamian media when he reminded us of the obvious.  The Bahamas can indeed decide to go it alone.  It has the sovereign right to do that, but where exactly does that leave 300,000 people?  Who then are our friends?  Who helps to speak up for us in the world?  Is it practical to go it alone as a sole state in the world?  Such is the debate in The Bahamas today that many people are saying they don’t care; they just don’t want Jamaicans and Haitians coming here.  The fact that the possibility of The Bahamas allowing the free movement of people is not open and the fact that Jamaicans and Haitians are already here seem to have escaped their notice.

The evidence is pretty clear what the answers to those questions about The Bahamas going it alone are.  The answer is that we must be a part of the region, but in the present climate of fear and irrationality it is hard to see who is listening.  Even the critics who say they support relations with the Caribbean countries are getting lost in the politics of the matter.  Craig Butler, the columnist who recognizes that as a fact the best way to go is continued relations with Caricom, himself has blamed the Government for not giving enough information on the subject.

This must be a difficult pill to swallow for the tiny Ministry of Foreign Affairs since it is precisely because that Ministry’s campaign has been so comprehensive that the present debate endures.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs has spoken on this subject following the Cabinet decision of 21st December 2004.  There is booklet which is available for all to see with answers to questions on the matter.  The Ministry's website is available for all to see.

There have been scores of public meetings with groups of one dimension or another.  The policy has been painstakingly and fully explained.  Yet even some of the groups that have the information; some of the individuals who know the facts, get discombobulated by a campaign of spin, of fear and of prejudice.  What is being suggested now is that the Government engages in an advertising and media blitz to sell this policy.  We don’t think so.  It is not that kind of issue.

The fact that the French people and the Dutch people have rejected a referendum brought the wily Tribune to suggest that the Bahamian people should be given the same opportunity here.  Of course, the fact that the French and the Dutch were being asked to change their national constitutions does not seem to have been pointed out anywhere in The Tribune’s arguments.  No national constitution is being changed here, and the sovereignty of The Bahamas is in no way compromised.

Last week, we did a dissection of the life and times of Fred Smith the so called human rights activist who has been running a campaign of deceit in the Bahamian press on this issue.  Mr. Smith added to the matter by running another ad which lampoons the Foreign Minister as the President of the United States of the Caribbean and groups of foreigners including Haitians lining up at the gate waiting for The Bahamas to sign the Caricom treaty.  This comes from a man who represents a human rights association.  He was forced to explain this irrational behavior the next day in the press.

A prominent lawyer Norris Carroll in Grand Bahama took the same tack, suggesting that “Fred” not the Minister of Foreign Affairs was taking on the Bahamian people and giving the FNM an issue to win the general election.  It is interesting how quickly persons who were once allies disrespect one another in public which probably goes to show what he really thought of Mr. Mitchell.

And so it goes on and on and on.  Meanwhile, the only calm man in the eye of the storm is Fred Mitchell himself.  The fact is he has a Cabinet decision on which he is acting.  The Leader for House Business of the FNM Brent Symonette tried to suggest that this was not the case in the House last week by cross examining another Minister.  When he got less than the answer he wanted, he said that he would be seeking to ask the Minister the question when he returned to the House.  Mr. Symonette need only look to the communication of 20th April 2005 delivered by Minister Mitchell in the House of Assembly which announces the Cabinet decision of 21st December 2004.

How do you meet rationality with irrationality?  Difficult, but if it is the right decision for The Bahamas, the leaders have to help turn public opinion around.  The leaders of the PLP must understand that ultimately, division on this issue has implications for the survival of the Government.  For Mr. Mitchell, it is clear there is no Prime Minister to help him in this matter.  The Prime Minister is still recovering.  If Mr. Mitchell has any hope of ever leading this country, he must in fact see in this the opportunities and the pitfalls.  There is a great danger for him since everyone, both friend and foe, is portraying this as a Fred Mitchell matter, not as it is; a decision of the Government to engage in public education.  If he is turned back, then that will not bode well.  If he succeeds, then, well you know.  Clearly, his opponents know that and no doubt that is why all the forces are concentrated against him on this one, and some friends are obviously scrambling to the four winds.  Some have suggested that he is out on a limb, being sawed off by his own supposed allies.

We think that these people don’t know the PLP at all.

Number of hits for the week, ending Saturday 4th June 2005 at midnight: 57,148.

Number of hits for the month of May up to Tuesday 31st May 2005 at midnight: 288,279.

Number of hits for the month of June up to Saturday 4th June 2005 at midnight: 31,802.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 4th June 2005 at midnight: 1,615,139.

We think that these people don’t know the PLP at all.

'Shuteye' from The Bahama Journal 2nd June, 2005


    The Tribune, which is perceived in the country as the voice of the Free National Movement, published a story during the past week that the leadership of Tommy Turnquest was in trouble on another score.  Relying heavily on interventions by Tennyson Wells, a former FNM, who is now elected to the House of Assembly as an independent, the paper published a gossipy front page story in which it asserted that the financial support of the Free National Movement would drop if  Senator Tommy Turnquest were re-elected Leader of the FNM.  The re-election of Senator Turnquest arises in November when the Free National Movement holds its national convention, postponed for a year.  The latest talk is that Dion Foulkes the man who was Minister of Education in the last FNM government and who ran as Tommy’s running mate as Deputy in the 2003 general election plans to challenge Senator Turnquest for the leadership of the Free National Movement.
    Meanwhile out in the country, the Hamlet like figure Hubert Ingraham is going around meeting his small groups asking the question to be or not to be.  This is titillating all of the press with The Punch, the  sleazy tabloid suggesting, that Mr. Ingraham has lined up his main buddy Dr. Hubert Minnis to run for the Delaporte constituency against Neville Wisdom, the now Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.
    On that story about money, Senator Turnquest attacked The Tribune saying that it was not a good idea for them to quote Tennyson Wells on the matter since he is no longer an FNM.  He said that the party’s finances were quite good under him, and that to prove it they were republishing The Torch, the party’s newspaper.  Oh no!  Not another sleazy tabloid.

    Last week, this column showed the first official photograph of the Prime Minister out to an official function while convalescing.  His doctors issued another statement this week saying he was fine and on the mend and that he could return to light duties.  The Deputy Prime Minister sounded much the same theme.  The reason for all the statements is the continued push through the gossip press that the Prime Minister has suffered a second stroke.  It is not true but that has not stopped them from making up the stories.  The Prime Minister attended a function put on by his constituency last week. During the week, there was another photo of the Prime Minister setting about his exercise routine.  It is said that the PM has lost 15 pounds, looks fit and trim.   The photo is by Peter Ramsay.

    The Deputy Prime Minister opened the debate in the House of Assembly on the annual Budget with a further explanation of her statements in the budget with regard to The Bahamas participation in the Caribbean Community.  You may click here for last week’s story.  The people of The Bahamas are nervous about joining the Caribbean Community by signing the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.  Here is what she said in her own words on Wednesday 1st June:
    “The suggestion that the country’s regional neighbours would exert fierce pressure on The Bahamas should it resist becoming a member of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) is ridiculous.
    “The Bahamas is one of the strongest economies in this region and it contributes its fair share to regional initiatives.  It would be ludicrous for the regional beneficiaries of the generosity of The Bahamas to want to expel The Bahamas.
    “As I said during the Budget communication, the only significant advantage that The Bahamas derives from the regional grouping is that it provides some regional support in which The Bahamas has an interest.
    “If we do not get the minimum amount of support we require, or if we are expected to seriously damage our own interest in support of a regional initiative, which is of no benefit to us, we would simply stand back in our involvement in the Caribbean.  The Bahamas will always reserve the right to advance its own interests.
    “We do not intend to damage the employment and career prospects by opening up our borders.  We do not intend to undermine our legal system by removing the recourse to the Privy Council.
    “We do not intend to undermine the strength of the Bahamian dollar by joining with currencies which are much weaker and we do not intend to fundamentally change our customs system to provide advantages to Caribbean producers which do not result in reciprocal advantages for The Bahamas.  Five years, 10 years or even 20 years from now nothing will have changed.  No Bahamian government will enter into an arrangement which could or would be damaging.”


    Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell became the Chairman of the Council for Foreign and Community relations (COFCOR) on Wednesday 1st June.  He takes over from Dame Billie Miller, the Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados.  The first job was the chair the COFCOR meeting held in Freeport, Grand Bahama from 31st May to 3rd June.  Next it is off to the Organization of American States (OAS) meeting in Ft. Lauderdale.  At that meeting, the Minister is to Chair the session Monday afternoon with the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  You may click here for the opening remarks of the Minister as he took over the COFCOR meeting.

    Julian Francis has now officially left the Central Bank of The Bahamas.  He has been replaced at the Bank by Wendy Craig, the former Deputy Governor.  Mr. Francis now takes over the helm of the Grand Bahama Port Authority as the Co Chair.  The city of Freeport waited with bated breadth to determine just how he will fare within a family company in the midst of transition.  The question is will he be allowed to actually do his job?


    Minister of Labour Vincent Peet marched with gusto during the annual Labour Day parade as thousands upon thousands of people lined the streets.  Minister Peet pledged that government would do all it can for the country's workers.  Th is year's parade was in honour of the 'father' of labour in the country, Sir Randol Fawkes, now deceased.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell was in Freeport for the entire week in his capacity as the Chairman of the Council for Foreign and Community relations of Caricom.  Labour Day was celebrated in The Bahamas on Friday 3rd June.  He took time out from his conference to march on the Labour Day parade.  He addressed the crowd in Freeport, paying tribute to the men and women who sacrificed on 1st June 1942 in what was known as the Burma Road Riot that led to Labour Day being what it is today.  Bahama Journal photo of Minister Vincent Peet on the Labour Day march.

    The thirty four foreign ministers of the hemisphere will begin meetings in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida today, Sunday 5th June at 5:30 p.m.  They will be welcomed by the Chair for the time being of the General Assembly of the OAS Secretary of State of the United States Condoleezza Rice.  The two day meeting will seek to pass a resolution called the “Declaration of Florida”.  The U.S. is pushing this declaration as the way to enforce the civil society charter of the OAS.  Under that charter all countries are supposed to be adherents to democracy and democratic principles.  The problem is that many delegations at OAS see the resolution as a means for the United States to further its bilateral fight with the Government of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
    The OAS meeting will also look at the question of what it can do to further the cause in Haiti.  The latest report is that the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of Haiti is unable to advance the elections in that country because the European Union has frozen some 8 million euros destined to pay for the work of the Commission.  The EU has concerns about the ability of the Commission to actually use the money and spend it properly.  Up to now only 1.3 per cent of the voting population estimated at four million has been registered in a country with bad roads and bad communications.  The
    United States has announced that it is withdrawing all non essential personnel from Haiti.  That means that the security situation has worsened to such an extent that they cannot protect their dependents.  This is a serious matter, and the suggestion is that Haiti has now no Government with a proper reach throughout the country.  The country seems to have disintegrated into a series of armed camps with little warlords having sway over specific areas.  Meanwhile, the Government has finally charged the former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.  Mr. Neptune was the Prime Minister of Jean Bertrand Aristide and is being held on what are widely believed to be purely political charges of authorizing the killing of persons in St. Marc in north Haiti when the police were trying to restore order to the country during the height of the rebellion against Mr. Aristide.
    Haiti looks as intractable as ever.  The Caricom countries are now saying very much: ‘we told you so’.  Caricom foreign ministers are expected to meet the United States Secretary of State on Monday 6th June.


    The row that is going on in The Bahamas has no rhyme or reason on the relationship with the people of the Caribbean region.  In the middle of this comes the news that Vincent Vanderpool Wallace has agreed to become the head of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).  The Bahamas is a member of the organization.  Mr. Vanderpool Wallace takes over in nine months time, following the tenure of Jean Holder, a Jamaican.  This is great news and it is an opportunity for Bahamians to engage and transform the industry in the region into a truly competitive business.  Mr. Vanderpool Wallace is one of the smartest Bahamians.

    The Tribune in its anxious race to outdo The Punch has been pushing a story that one of the employees of the office of the Attorney General Cheryl Grant Bethell has filed a complaint against the Attorney General with the Bar Council on the ground that she did not like how he gave her an instruction.  The story says that the lawyer is also miffed that she was not allowed to argue a case in Grand Bahama against Fred Smith who wasted the time of the court bringing an action against the developers of Guana Cay in Abaco.
    Presumably, if the reports are true and it appears that Mrs. Grant Bethell has not denied them, then it must question the right of the Attorney General to direct who should argue on his behalf in the courts.  Seems to be pushing the envelope a bit to us.  The constitution gives the Attorney General that absolute right, and not even the Prime Minister can question it much less an attorney in his office.  As for how he spoke to the lawyer, we are unable to comment but one wonders how in the midst of all the serious business in the attorney general's office such a complaint cannot be considered anything more than de minimus.  Bahamians would say, cry baby sour lime.
    The headline in The Tribune read on Thursday 2nd June: PRESSURE ON SEARS TO RESOLVE ROW WITH LAWYER.  One wonders are we reading The Punch, the sleazy tabloid or are we reading a mainstream newspaper that is supposed to be engaged in responsible journalism and not gossip.  The distinction is ever being blurred.  Lawyers are in demand throughout the country and especially in the private sector so one solution for any impasse might be for attorney to choose to go elsewhere.  The Tribune said that it tried to get a comment from the Attorney General.  He did not respond, they said.  We stand with him.  Some things you just let pass.  Some stories are so silly, so irresponsible, how does one respond?


    The Bahamas at the Nassau International Airport now has a new state-of-the-art one million dollar Doppler radar system that will be 95 per cent accurate to be able to predict the weather and where storms will hit.  On Wednesday the new system was commissioned.  The Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin said that the launching of the new system came at a perfect time since the hurricane season started on 1st June.
    The local radar will be able to more accurately predict where thunderstorms are and their intensity, helping to warn the local populations about impending weather conditions.  Congratulations to the Minister, who is pictured with Ministry officials and the staff of the Meteorological Department in this Bahamas Information Services photo by Raymond Bethel.


    His Majesty King Mswati III of The Kingdom of Swaziland arrived in Nassau Saturday, 4th June, 2005.  The King, who has 13 wives, will call on Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont and Acting Prime Minister Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt on Monday. His Majesty is on his way to Cuba for a State Visit.  King Mswati is shown being greeted at Nassau International Airport by Andrew McKinney, Chief of Protocol (Actg.).


    Elvado Romando Turnquest was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church on 1st June at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral by Archbishop Patrick Pinder.  This is the first ordination of a Bahamian priest by a Bahamian archbishop in the Catholic Church.  Photo by Peter Ramsay.

    This week, recording and literary artist, Giovanni Stuart –, presents verse two from his epic poem, ‘The Deth of Ayana’.  The mythological piece was written in 1999.  Please click here.

    Our regular feature 'This Week with the PM' through Bahamas Information Services photos by Peter Ramsay will return as the Prime Minister's continuing convalesence allows.

12th June, 2005
Welcome to
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The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party... The Official Site of the Free National Movement...
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Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte Bahamians On The Web
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Grand Bahama PLP
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The success of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell last week despite all the noise in the Bahamian market about the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) was evident.   He had just left Freeport chairing a successful meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Caribbean.  The Ministers all left and headed for Ft. Lauderdale where they gathered as part of the 34 member Organization of American States (OAS).  There the Ministers elected as the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS a Caricom candidate Ambassador Albert Ramdin of Suriname.  So things went generally well.  The icing on the cake though seemed to be the meeting with Secretary of State for the United States Condoleezza Rice.  Ms. Rice was known to the Ministers before as the National Security Advisor to the U.S. President.  This was the first meeting with the Ministers in their present capacity.  Our photo of the week then is without doubt the photo of the Minister of Foreign Affairs meeting with the Foreign Ministers and shaking the hand of the U.S. Secretary of State.  The photo is by Tim Aylen who works for the Bahamas Information Services.


The discussion on whether or not The Bahamas should sign the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas has reached a mature stage, and in some senses the final stage for this term.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell is set to address the House of Assembly on Monday 13th June on the matter.  It is likely to be his final public address on the issue for this year and in the foreseeable future.  The public debate has become so poisoned that no one is listening to the facts.  There is so much b.s. being spread on the issue that it may in fact have to wait for another generation of leaders to move the country forward on the issue.

The really tragic part about the matter is the number of Parliamentary Secretaries who rose to speak up against what is their Government's policy.  These are young people and, the next generation of leaders of the country.  It was quite sad to see it, and quite appalling to hear it.  The brightest and the best do not understand and apparently do not want to understand.  Populism has gone amuck in a sea of emotion and prejudice.

Nevertheless, this is where we are in The Bahamas.  It is too late in the term.  The Free National Movement thinks that it can organize a reprise of the 2002 general election by seeking to dupe the PLP into calling a referendum on the matter.  Why the government of the PLP would be so foolish as to call a referendum no one would know.  Certainly, it can’t be because the Government wants to find out what people think on the issue.  The Government must really be out of touch with the people of the country when it needs a referendum to tell it that the people of the country are opposed to what is being proposed.  They may be fool but they aint crazy.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs announced two weeks ago that the matter is to be referred to The Bahamas Commission on Trade, a Commission that reported on the matter in 2003.  Yet the dialogue goes on and on.  Clearly, the talk shows have nothing else to talk about.  The talk show hosts themselves seem to prefer the ignorance.  They allow the most unintelligent commentary.  Unintelligent commentary is one thing though, offensive language is another.  That is the state of public discussion, ignorance being paraded around as the truth.

The most egregious example of this is of course the Nassau Guardian.  It makes error, after error in its own news coverage.  Yet it then accuses others of making mistakes in their own logic and facts.  It refuses to public corrections on the record.  On at least three occasions they have been caught in untruths and on each occasion they have refused to correct the record.  This is not surprising since this is the same newspaper that for several years refused to print anything that was said by first the late Sir Randol Fawkes, then of the now Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell.  They are then back to their old tricks.  The news is that the paper is up for sale again.  Perhaps this time if someone buys the paper, it will produce a sensible product.

What then should the Foreign Minister do, come Monday morning in the House of Assembly?  We believe that he should take his time in a clear and concise way, and answer all of the points.  We do not think that it will make any difference to the public debate because right now no one wants to hear the facts.  He must do so for the record.  In the end, it is the record that will vindicate the position of the Government.  No one will ever be able to accuse the PLP of not trying to reposition the country to be able to protect itself from the coming onslaught of globalization.

He must be direct about the misinformation that has been spun by various groups and individuals, and he must expose their personal gripes against him which are the real motivations behind the protests by the individuals who you can name on two hands that are behind the protests.  The point must be made that each of them has a personal gripe.  Perhaps some wise newspaper person would go behind the record and look to see how the personal motivations of the individuals may well be the motivations behind the protests and nothing to do with the principles of the matter.

Such is the life in The Bahamas today.  During the coming weeks, the nine days of news on this issue will have died down and some new matter will emerge.  It is in many ways a remarkable country where there is protest and threats of civil disorder over an important trade agreement that has no profound affect on our way of life.  Yet the President of the College of The Bahamas admits publicly to plagiarizing a speech and the lecturers at the College of The Bahamas and the students rally to the defence of dishonesty.   In which other country would such a person survive beyond the day of admitting such an offence?  But this is The Bahamas, not some other country.  We do things differently here.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 11th June 2005 at midnight: 69,774.

Number of hits for the month of June up to Saturday 11th June 2005 at midnight: 101,567.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 11th June 2005 at midnight: 1,684,904.


    Beside being just a miserable personality, the Member of Parliament for High Rock also has a penchant for doing the FNM’s nasty work in the House of Assembly.  PLPs writing to this website were incensed as they saw Ken Russell, from High Rock for the FNM, being prompted and pushed by Hubert Ingraham into ever more dangerous territory in his vicious personal attack on Obie Wilchcombe (pictured in this Bahama Journal photo), the Minister of Tourism in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 8th June.  They were even more incensed to see Brent Symonette, the Montagu MP, whispering at Mr. Russell’s side.  Mr. Russell’s performance was a disgrace.  He did it in front of school children visiting from the Eleuthera constituency of the Speaker of the House of Assembly.
    Mr. Russell charged that Ministers of the Government flew in on a plane that was chartered by Gerardo Capo, the developer who is in trouble in Bimini with the residents there.  The meeting was called by the Minister of Tourism and representative for the area because of complaints by the residents about a gate being put up to stop the residents from passing through the development.   The Minister took his colleagues Allyson Maynard Gibson, Bradley Roberts, Glenys Hanna Martin, and Keod Smith to speak with the residents about the issue.  Mr. Russell claimed that the developer paid for the travel by plane, and for the ferry service and for the bus ride on Bimini.  He could not substantiate any of it.  He was forced after an angry fusillade of words came from the Minister of Tourism.
    Poor Ken was so discombobulated by the whole thing, that following a ten minute suspension moved by the Member for Fox Hill Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell, Mr. Russell, finally and tortuously withdrew his remarks.  The conclusion was that he could not prove the allegations he made.  Later as he finished his speech after lunch, he said that he felt threatened by the Minister of Tourism who he felt had personally threatened him and he had reported the matter to the police.  Cry baby sour lime!


    The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell addressed the General Assembly of the Organization of American States on Monday 6th June.  The theme of the meeting was “Delivering the Benefits of Democracy”.  The Minister made the point that the security arrangements at the conference in effect walled the leaders from the people they led, and that while the security efforts were to be applauded, leaders had to be careful that they didn’t overstep the line with regard to security.  The Minister spoke on behalf of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Caricom of which he became the leader in the meeting in Freeport from 31st May to 3rd June.  You may click here for the Minister’s full remarks.  The photo of the address being delivered is by Tim Aylen of the Bahamas Information Services.  The Minister is shown projected on a big screen television are rear.

    The students of the College of The Bahamas appear to be supporting him.  The teachers of the College of The Bahamas are holding a rally in support of him.  The him is the new President of the College of The Bahamas Rodney Smith.  Dr. Smith stands accused of plagiarizing a speech which he delivered to a College of The Bahamas convocation earlier in June.  The speech was discovered to be taken from another person’s address.  The President admitted to the press that he did not attribute one of three sources in his presentation.  It is not known how the college plans to deal with the issue.

    The Chief Councilor for Central Abaco Cay Mills is now before the courts charged with aggravated assault, causing damage and causing harm to Revis Rolle, the Senior Administrator for the Central Abaco District.  Mr. Mills is alleged to have punched Mr. Rolle in the face, bruising his eye and damaging his glasses.  Mr. Mills was responding in a heated exchange when he challenged the right of the Administrator to inspect some basketball courts being paid for by the Government.  The incident is alleged to have taken place on Tuesday 7th June at Ocean View Park in Dundas Town Abaco.
    Mr. Mills is in the middle of a re election campaign.  He is also the security officer for the Gauna Cay project.  It is interesting that something like this should happen in the middle of a campaign but also that an allegation of this serous nature can occur with a man who is supposed to be the chief security officer of an important project that requires cooperation and working with the authorities in Abaco.

    In a remarkable outburst, the normally PLP supporting Ronnie Butler attacked the Minister of Culture Neville Wisdom.  In a set of remarks made on Saturday 4th June in Cat Island, he said that the Minister of Culture is not interested in culture.  He was speaking at the 7th annual Rake and Scrape festival primarily sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism.  He said that he was disappointed that the festival was not organized by the Ministry of Culture.  Mr. Butler said that the Minister of Culture needed another job.  Mr. Butler then went on to say that he and a group were scheduled to go to Cuba last month with Peanuts Taylor, and the Ministry of Culture did not provide the funds for the performances and did not act upon his requests.
    Two things about this.  We think that it might have been a good idea not to have said those things in a public forum to be used as fodder against the Government in a situation where the Ministry of Culture is always under funded.  The Ministry of Tourism operates in a different way from the Ministry of Culture and can spend its own money.  The Minister of Culture on the other hand has to provide an explanation to his cabinet colleagues to get money spent.  So if any money was not allocated it was not Neville Wisdom who was at fault but the Government itself.  And finally, it does come off as a rather selfish thought the fact that the Ministry of Culture cannot pay for one’s personal trip as being the reason why you don’t support the Minister of Culture and worse to make the general assertion that the Ministry of Culture does nothing.  The report of the remarks was published in the Nassau Guardian on Tuesday 7th June.


    The Glass Window Bridge of Eleuthera is to be replaced by a new 8.9 million dollar structure. The Nassau Guardian reported that the Minister of Works Bradley Roberts revealed this is the amount that was allocated for the replacement of the bridge.  The bridge was damaged last year in the hurricane.  It was the third time in as many years that the bridge has been damaged.  This seems a little strange for a little bridge over a small piece of water that engineers in this country can't seem to get it right.  We trust that this time when the repairs are done that this will mean that the bridge can withstand the torrents of the hurricanes and northwesters to come. The Minister told the press that this time it will be done right.  Nassau Guardian photo.

    The Attorney General Alfred Sears announced in the House of Assembly that there is to be a new Magistrate Courts building constructed in Nassau Street at a cost of 5.9 million dollars. Ground has already been broken on the building.


    Rev. Victor Cooper, the principal of the Mable Walker School is to retire after 30 years of service.  He has been an exemplary principal in the school system and a great example to the young men in the school system. He is one of the few male school principals.  The Nassau Guardian wrote a glowing tribute to his work.  He is now going to work full time as a Pastor.  We wish him well and thank him for the years of dedicated service.  The photo is by Donald Knowles from the Nassau Guardian.

    The Nassau Institute that cabal of racists and nincompoops who hide behind anonymity in their press statements have been at it again.  They are continuing to distort the arguments about the relationship of The Bahamas to rest of the Caribbean.  Their latest set of lies has to do with the standing Committees of the Caricom organs in which The Bahamas now participates.  They claim that in signing on to the treaty, The Bahamas will have all of its practices superintended by a new set of bureaucracy.  This is absolutely crazy.  The Caricom bodies would have no say over how the Government of The Bahamas does its work.  Nowhere does it say that in the Treaty.  However, we must add that for the Nassau Institute they never let the truth interfere with a good story.

    Elizabeth Thompson was once the Registrar General of The Bahamas.  She did not last long and in December of last year she was dismissed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.  Since that time, she has been on a relentless campaign to smear the Minister of Financial Services and Investment Allyson Gibson and to portray herself as the innocent victim, a mother of four children who has been dispossessed of her job and the ability to feed her children.  It appears that she got a judge to believe her story as well, and in what seems to be the strangest of rulings, the judge apparently set aside all the precedents of contract law before this one and decided that she is entitled to the same rights as a tenured civil servant.  The Government should appeal the matter straight away.
    You will remember that Justice Hugh Small who heard this case was the same justice who set aside the warrant of surrender of the famous Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles on the grounds that he could not get a fair trial within the United States.  That decision was set aside by the Court of Appeal.  One hopes that this decision which has wide implications for the public service generally will be appealed and a stay is requested by the Government.

    The Attorney General Alfred Sears announced to the House of Assembly on Wednesday 8th June that the matter of a complaint filed by Cheryl Grant Bethel on the question of how the Attorney General spoke to her about a matter in the office and also the question of her removal from work on the Guana Cay legal case has now been settled.  You may click here for last week’s story.  The A.G. read into the record of the House that the matter had been settled.  He did not disclose the terms of the settlement.

    Nurse Olive Winifred Godet Cox died on 3rd June 2005.  She was 96 years old.  Mrs. Godet would be remembered for her long life but also for her care as a nurse and as a prison officer.  She was loved by her children, grand children, great grand children and great great grandchildren.  She was particularly fond of the Prime Minister Perry Christie who she saw as a son, having lived in the Valley for many decades.  Nurse Godet was buried in St. Agnes Church cemetery following a service at St. Agnes on Saturday 11th June 2005.

    Kingsley Black did not stand for re-election for President.  Elections for the Presidency of the Bahamas Union of Teachers were held on Wednesday 8th June.  The results were inconclusive on the Presidency for two days.  It now appears that Ida Poitier has defeated Frances Friend of Freeport for the job.  The fiery Belinda Wilson is now the new Secretary General.  The Government can expect a hard time from this pair as it works toward negotiations on pay and working conditions.


    Archbishop Patrick Pinder, Bishop Nell Ellis and Attorney and playwright Winston Saunders were all were made Commanders of the Most Distinguished Order of St, Michael and St. George in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. What some would call this anachronistic set of orders that comes from the Queen on the advice of the The Bahamas Prime Minister still continue despite promises by successive governments to institute a set of Bahamian honours.   Still, these are the highest order of honours which the country can give and remain widely respected and sought after.  The two clergymen were given awards for their work in religion of course and Winston Saunders for his contribution to the cultural development of The Bahamas.  Congratulations to them all.  This is the nation’s best gift and we think it is deserving.  Bahamas Information Services Photos by Peter Ramsay

    The contractors and sub contractors at Kerzner Paradise island development Phase III of the Atlantis project are getting worried and nasty.  Despite a glowing  report in the week’s business news that the budget for the project has now increased from 600 million to over 700 million, the reports are there is no activity at P.I. to show that the project is up and running.  The project was supposed to start in June.  Now the rumour mill is going overtime that until the airport is fixed and the dolphin legislation is passed by the Government, Kerzner will not begin the project.  The other quizzical issue is why is Chief Executive Paul O’Neil leaving the company?  No answers all around but plenty of questions.  With elections coming up within a year to 15 months this is a critical time for the PLP at P.I.


    Four new lawyers were called to The Bahamas Bar on Friday 10th June before Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall.  Randol M. A. Dorsett, who was presented Mr. Michael Barnett; Omara Pinder, presented by Carl Bethel; Linda C.Y. Hanna who was presented by Valentine S. Grimes and Nadia J. Taylor who was presented by Ruth Bowe-Darville.
    Following in her father’s footsteps, Omara Pinder is the eldest daughter of Dion and Emma Foulkes.  She is a graduate of St. Augustine’s College, College of The Bahamas, and Buckingham University, Buckingham, England where she obtained LLB and LLM degrees with a special designation as a World Trade Specialist.
In March she was admitted to the English Bar as a member of Gray’s Inn.  Omara, 24, will begin her legal career as an Associate at the law firm of Higgs and Johnson.  From left are Omara Leontyne Pinder, Nadia Janelle Taylor, Sir Burton, Linda Catherine Hanna and Randol Mark Anthony Dorsett. - Photo by Peter Ramsay.

    This week, recording and literary artist, Giovanni Stuart –, presents verse XV, ‘AdNiS [Intro-].  This selection adds flesh to the male lead character introduced in last week's poem epic.  Please click here.


    Prime Minister Perry Christie left Nassau this morning, Sunday 12th June, 2005, for Baltimore, Maryland.  While in Baltimore, the Prime Minister will attend the Johns Hopkins Hospital for a final, routine review of his medical condition, which his doctors planned and advised as part of their care prior to his return to work.  This review is expected to take approximately two days.
    The Prime Minister is accompanied by his brother Gary Christie and his physicians Dr. Perry Gomez and Dr. Conville Brown.  The Prime Minister is expected to return to Nassau sometime next week.
    Prime Minister Christie is pictured on his way to the aircraft accompanied by Ministers Hon. Bradley Roberts and Hon. Allyson Maynard Gibson in this Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay

19th June, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - If it weren’t the speech of his life then we would not know what else came close.  Nothing that he has said before, not even his speech that heralded his return to the PLP in the winter of 1997 comes close to being so watched, and then later so pored over for clues as to where we go from now and what did he mean.  We are talking about the intervention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell in the House of Assembly on Monday 13th June.  The Minister announced  just before the House suspended the week before last that he would address the House on the Monday and would speak comprehensively with what he called the “ topic du jour” that of the relations of The Bahamas with Caricom.  On Monday, a riveted House of Assembly, and people watching from their television screens heard him bring an end to the debate on the issue, saying the Government must stop, must pause.  “We have been stymied,” he said.  He added “in the court of public opinion you some times have to lose your case in order to win.”  The photo of that address was taken by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell announced that The Bahamas Government will no longer discuss the matter of The Bahamas signing on to the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.  It was the wrong decision and it was the right decision.  Effectively, the announcement in the House of Assembly on Monday 13th June brings the present debate to an end.  The thought police have won, and there will be no further debate or discussion.  That is clearly wrong but the Minister told the Assembly that what convinced him most that it could not continue was the fact that the level of invective against people from the southern Caribbean had reached such a fevered pitch that it was threatening social disorder.  It also threatened to undermine his mission as a Foreign Minister representing not only The Bahamas but also representing the Caribbean.  You may click here for the full address by the Minister.

It was the right decision because there should be no social disorder over this, and in the present climate people were being so irrational that there was very little public education going on.  It is the wrong decision because The Bahamas must sign the Treaty and should do so without delay and without any reservations at all in its best interest.  The Bahamas is losing its competitive edge and the country should integrate fully into the world economy.  What happens now is that we will have to make ad hoc decisions in a predatory trade environment which will only exacerbate our already hopeless state of public decision making.  But such is democracy gone amuck that few people could stomach the fight it would take to reverse the tide of dissension so close to a general election.   There is of course the school of thought that nothing matters any way, so it will all muddle its way through in the end.

The Ministry and the Minister, the wider Government if it is interested needs to study this question of what went wrong here.  This is a simple and uncomplicated trade matter, affecting in the short term less than one half a per cent of Bahamian trade.  The facts were clear, concise, direct, yet they were all lost in the din of a nationalistic tide that saw all other West Indian cultures as inferiors and West Indian people as lower than life.  The Minister quoted one of the critics as describing West Indians as “cockroaches”.

The Bahamas is already integrated into the Caribbean whether we want to or not.  The international political and commercial realities are such that we have no other choice but to become more fully integrated.  The need to harmonize and standardize practices is clear and it will be forced upon us.   So what is likely to happen is that The Bahamas will in fact become a part of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy, fully integrated into Caricom in everything but in name.  That is CSME by stealth.   We simply will not be able to stand outside the processes.  Each Bahamas Government regardless of who wins the 2007 election will be faced with a series of individual choices with regard to CSME matters and on each, the answer will have to be yes.  What The Bahamas can then do is fool itself that it is not in the CSME but in fact it will be right there.

It reminds us of the arguments that were made before Hubert Ingraham forced the issue on the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children, the latter being an unfortunate expression used to describe people who were born out of wedlock. The howls of protest came in the country about this being a Christian nation, and that we could not reward immorality by conferring the legitimacy on the children.  The children of course cannot be illegitimate.  The sins of the mothers and fathers should not be visited upon those who had no choice in the matter.  So the arguments of those against the legislation were that by not passing an act to regularize the rights of children born out of wedlock, we would remain a moral country.  Curious illogic!

Curious illogic is how then you would describe all of the critics of this matter of The Bahamas and CSME: Brian Moree, Zhivargo Laing, the group called BARF (which means vomit in some cultures).  They all used this issue to up their profiles.  A special form of condemnation must be reserved for William Allen, the former Governor of the Central Bank who simply let every one down by the sophistry in which he engaged, and the pure political comments that he made, knowing that he could not possibly believe a word that he was saying.  The Minister quoted William Butler Yeats in the matter saying “the best lack all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity.”  That did not stop William Allen from quibbling over whether or not Barbados has a faster growing economy or Zhivargo Laing from calling Minister Mitchell ungracious.  But the fact is they have no more issue.  It is dead in the water.

The speech pulled the rug out from the FNM as well.  They who had been following the same policy of reserving the position against the CSME while engaging with the organs of Caricom, started calling for a referendum.  What they were hoping to do by that was to recreate the conditions of the 2002 general election which led to their demise as office holders.  They believed that could set up the same thing for the PLP.  The Minister argued in the House: “why do we need to call a referendum to tell us what people already are saying that they don’t want it?”

The comments and analysis will no longer continue.  The Minister has announced that he has cancelled all discussion on this matter.   It will then die a natural death.  The Bahamas will go on.  The critics who are still "jonesing" for a fight on this can't understand that it’s over now and they need to pack up their bundles and go home.  They are like the pot cake dogs that you have thrown out of your yard.  They realize that they are out of the yard but as they are being chased down the road, they keeping turning around every once in a while to bark.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 18th June 2005 at midnight: 76,247.

Number of hits for the month of June up to Saturday 18th June 2005 at midnight: 177,814.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 18th June 2005 at midnight: 1,761,151.


    The decision of Justice Hugh Small in the matter of Elizabeth Thompson (click here for last week’s story) who claims to still be the Registrar General of The Bahamas has had a curious result.  The lady, intent on political histrionics, presented herself to work during the week with the press in tow.  The press and herself were allowed to barge into the office of the man who is actually the Registrar General and the Government was embarrassed as the public heard the now Registrar Shane Miller ask Ms. Thompson to kindly vacate the office.   This column would have preferred a repeat of the defenestration at Prague which would have solved all of our problems but the lady must have left at some time having proven her political point.
    It is not known whether the Government has filed an appeal although one is promised, and it appears that the Judge is so far not disposed to granting a stay in the matter if one has been asked for.  What is clear is that this hurdle must be removed from the public consciousness.  The Minister for Financial Services and Investment has done so much good work at that Registry, and the new Registrar is such a different human being, no crazy histrionics, staff work stoppages provoked by the previous Registrar; morale is now high.  This matter should be put behind the Government and quickly.

    The Minister of Financial Services and Investment spoke in the House of Assembly on Monday 13th June.  In her address she indicated that she had finally had enough of Elizabeth Thompson and the personal attacks which the lady had made on her.  She said that Ms. Thompson had attacked her integrity and that she would defend it.  She proceeded to do so by laying out in detailed chapter and verse the sins and transgressions of Ms. Thompson which led to her termination as the Registrar General.  The Minister is pictured during her contribution in the House in this Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay.  This is what the Minister had to say in her own words:
    “The overarching principle in this case is that no one; no one within the Public Service or elsewhere can be allowed to thwart the forward thrust of legitimate Government policy aimed at improving the service delivered to the Bahamian people…
    “She called me over and repeatedly wanting to get the job of Registrar General, that had been advertised.  I gave her a chance in spite of her poor record of 4 jobs in 4 years.  Rather than judging a book by its cover, I decided to give her another chance in large measure because of my respect for her mother…
    “Numerous complaints were made that she completely ignored phone calls of important clients of the Registry. When this was raised with her she responded that she did not have time for that. She found time to conduct marriages, however, sometimes charging and pocketing up to $600 for each even though she had been given a directive to stop taking this work from other marriage officers…
    “She was not victimized…
    “She swore in an affidavit that I made a “provocative comment” about her mother and that I directed her to incorporate companies for a customer.  Both of these statements are bold faced lies. She produced no evidence that these things happened because she can not do so…
    “Notwithstanding her unwarranted attacks on me, I now put this matter behind me, I am fully focused on my commitment to serve the Bahamian people and I wish her well.
    “I want to emphasize my passion and complete focus in service to the Bahamian people.  No one will nor should be allowed to frustrate the Mission. No one is greater than the Mission.”
    Please click here for Minister Allyson Maynard Gibson's entire remarks.

    The Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller spoke in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 15th June.  He spent much of his time talking about the position of the Government on LNG in The Bahamas. He is intent on proceeding with the processing of the applications of AES, notwithstanding that Florida Power and Light has pulled out of the deal. AES wants permission to put their LNG plant on Ocean Cay which is a man made uninhabited island in the Bimini chain. The Minister said that there is a need for fifteen LNG plants on the eastern seaboard in the United States and there is no land of contiguous 200 acres that has access to a deep water port on the eastern seaboard, thus the   access to The Bahamas.
    The LNG issue is quite a hot topic for debate in the country.  Together with the CSME debate which is now dead, that is the issue that kept the newspapers selling over the last few weeks.  Mr. Miller said that what concerned him was that the experts in this matter at the Bahamas Environmental Scientific Technology Commission (BEST)   all felt that LNG was safe and viable for The Bahamas.  He said that those experts had been mercilessly attacked by the critics of LNG and called all sorts of names.  He listed their qualifications which include masters and doctorate degrees.  He said that yet the main critic who was qualified as a graphic artist was getting more play in the newspapers than the experts.   Of course that is the essence of civil society and dissent that any voice can enter the debate.  The next question is how much weight do you give to that voice?
    With the Minister intent on going ahead then there is no doubt that the contention will continue.  We continue to be opposed to LNG in The Bahamas but there certainly needs to be an honest debate, and not the  personal attacks on the persons of the BEST Commission who we believe are well qualified indeed.  Minister Miller is pictured in the House of Assembly during the Budget Debate in this Bahama Journal photo by Omar Barr.

    Hubert Ingraham, the former Prime Minister showed up in the House all of last week and the week before.  What he does is he shows up for a few minutes so that he can be marked present and then he disappears.  What is interesting is the affect that this has on the members of the FNM.  Robert Sweeting, the Member for South Abaco, is positively in a thrall.  Their faces begin to glow, and they suddenly become vocal in their comments and snide remarks from their seats.  There is no doubt that Mr. Ingraham brings life to them. This year, Mr. Ingraham was severely circumscribed by the rules of debate.  The Opposition’s spokesman on the budget gets 2 hours to make the case of the Opposition.  Every other MP gets one hour.
    This was the first time that Mr. Ingraham had to subscribe to the rules and he was chafing at the bit.  His first objection was that he did not want to yield because it would take away from his time.  When told that the clock would stop each time he was interrupted he relented.  But when told that the moment he started talking again the clock would start running again, he became incensed and said that he would not further yield. Yielding is a practice where when a Member in the House is speaking and says something which another member feels needs clarification, the member seeking to make the clarification would rise and ask the Member to yield so he might do so.  Mr. Ingraham's point was that if he yields then he wants his answer not to count when he replies in rebuttal.  This of course is just sour grapes for not paying attention to rules which he agreed to implement.
    There was little of substance in Mr. Ingraham's debate save some passing references to the fact that he did not agree with the details of the deal on Cable Beach.  He was encouraging the unions to ask the Government for more money because there was according to him an additional 30 million dollars available from rebates from lower interest rates.  That was irresponsible and mischievous but that was vintage Ingraham.  What was more important is that he kept saying throughout his debate that he travels up and down the country and he finds that people are saying that he must come back because when he was in office money flowed in the pockets of the people.  The PLP kept asking him what was he telling them in response to their demands?  He replied that he was still listening.
    Like Hamlet, Mr. Ingraham is clearly trying to set up a “to be or not to be” strategy.  But the pundits are asking why would this man want to put himself through what is likely to be a bruising effort to displace Tommy Turnquest which he must do in November of this year when the FNM has its convention.  Waiting in the wings if he dares to step forward are Algernon Allen, Pierre Dupuch and Tennyson Wells, all of whom are former Ministers who feel aggrieved because of the way they were treated in the FNM’s leadership race in 2002.  So we can’t understand what Mr. Ingraham is up to.  However, if we wants to come let him come.  It will be round number two between Christie and Ingraham, and we know who will win and it won’t be Ingraham either.  Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is shown holding up his Government's last investment policy booklet during the Budget Debate in this Bahama Journal photo by Omar Barr.

    The Budget Debate for the year 2005 is over except for the tedious process of the heads for the Budget.  This is to take place tomorrow 19th June.  During this period Ministers are quizzed on the allocations and why the monies were allocated or reduced.  The Official Opposition promises that there will be a detailed questioning of the government in the heads.  Hubert Ingraham in his intervention promised that he will test Ministers on their knowledge of the budget.  It is really an exercise by them in futility if not stupidity.
    There are two things the Opposition hopes to accomplish through the Budget 'heads' process.  One is to try to make Ministers come out looking like they have no clue what is in the budget.  The other is that the FNM is able to make certain statements, outside of the time limits imposed on them by the new rules of the House of Assembly.   There is an assumption that people actually watch this stuff. Chances are they will be bored in the first few minutes.  Nevertheless, the PLP Ministers ought to be aware and ready.  It is time to put this away like a done turkey and get it onto the Senate for passing and then signing by the Governor General.


    The Tribune Monday 13th June reported that the Minister for Fisheries Alfred Gray is to begin the process of consulting the public and the fishermen in the country on the possible ban of harvesting conchs. There is now some concern in the country that this staple is in danger with over harvesting.  The juvenile conchs are turning up in the market place, and conchs are now being found further and further away from the shore in deeper waters.  Experiments with conch farming have not been as productive so as to allow for commercial production.
    The Minister will have a hard time we are sure to enforce any such conch ban.  When the Ministry announced the ban on groupers, there was a howl from the fishermen even though the ban was designed to save the fish for them to be able to harvest in the future.  The Tribune spoke to some fishermen who immediately denied that there was a problem with conch.  That goes to show what is waiting in the wings.  We support a ban on harvesting of conch during certain times of the year and in certain places in the sea all year round. Conchman with his grange on Potters Cay dock from Bahama Journal by Omar Barr

    Writers in mainstream newspaper columns should learn that they have a responsibility beyond the sleaze and slime balls that work and write for The Punch.  It is really heartbreaking that someone for example with the talent of Nicki Kelly finding herself to lower her standards by writing in such a sleazy newspaper, but there it is.  Not so Craig Butler who was the only one of the columnists who seemed to understand the issue of relations with Caricom.   But he let us down by apparently picking up without critical analysis a lie told in The Punch about the Prime Minister's health.  He then goes onto say that as result of this some sort of transition ought to be in place.
    The question of a transition is not a difficult one, since the Prime Minister has said that the next term will be his last one any way.  The FNM is seeking to make the PM's health an issue in their next campaign.  They will have to do that if Tommy survives as leader after November.  They will have nothing else to use.  The fact is that you now have in the present Prime Minister a 61 year old man who had a passing stroke, as many have.  He has returned to full health, and can return to work and running the party as he has before.  There is no issue with his mathematical or other skills.
    The only issue is whether or not as any person should, the leaders should not so regulate their lives that the body itself does not break down under pressure.  According to his doctors, Mr. Christie has pledged that he will.  That is the end of the matter.  He is not so fragile that he can't work hard.  He has simply to do like the rest of us and take care.

    The Bahamas is an interesting place.  A matter of national and international importance to the survival of The Bahamas like our relations with Caricom neighbours get short shrift under a din of misinformation.  Yet the question that seems easily resolved on the face of it requires the rallying of lecturers at the soon to be University of The Bahamas.
    The president of the College Dr. Rodney Smith announced that he did not properly credit the words he used in a public address to the rightful author of that statement. That is usually described as plagiarism.  It is usually the death knell in any academic institution.  Not so in The Bahamas. Students and faculty are now rallying to Dr. Smith’s defence asking that the lord forgive him for what would result in the expulsion of any student at COB.  But that as we say is The Bahamas and we have nothing more to say.
    The waters were muddied by the noisy talking heads of the FNM called the Action Group who called for the resignation.  That may be reason enough to stay.  Or could it be that since lecturer Felix Bethel called for the resignation of his President that may be a reason for him to stay.  The cry might be who is Mr. Bethel to talk since he only escaped by the skin of his teeth a serious legal consequence when the Attorney General (sensibly so in our view) dropped a case against him for allegedly assaulting a fellow lecturer.  Things that make you go hmmm!  Demonstrator in support of COB's President during a rally from Bahama Journal


    This is to add our words of encouragement and congratulations to the new Director General of Tourism Venice Walkine.  Ms. Walkine is the first woman in the job and only the third Bahamian in the job.  The announcement was made by the Minister of Tourism at a press briefing last Sunday. She replaces Vincent Vanderpool Wallace who now moves on to the job of Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization. The Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, centre, looks on as former Director General of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool Wallace hands over the baton to Vernice Walkine who assumes the post as Director General of Tourism.  Bahamas Information Services photo by Derek Smith.

    Neko Grant MP, former Chairman of Bahamasair under the FNM was in the newspapers this week, attacking Bradley Roberts, the Minister responsible for Bahamasair over international consultancy fees paid to a firm helping to prepare the airline for privatization.  Mr. Roberts struck back, explaining that the consultancy fee “was approximately one third of the average bids we got to do the job.”  The Minister invited Mr. Grant to compare the one million dollars paid to the Bahamasair consultant “with the tens of millions the FNM Government frittered away on the botched BaTelCo Privatization which still remains an entangled mess.” Please click here for Minister Roberts’ complete statement.

    The buzz among the contractors and sub contractors waiting for the start of Phase III at Paradise Island is that the Kerzners intend to begin in earnest by the middle of July.  They are apparently aware of concern that there is yet no activity on the project, which was due to begin this month.


    Congregants of the church of St. Kevin in Miami, Florida celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its founding this weekend.  The priest is Fr. Antonio martin who served for a number of years in The Bahamas.  Has a Caribbean congregation including Bahamians Dorothy Turnquest nee Lightbourne and Cecile Herron nee Fountain.  The church invited Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Fred Mitchell to speak.  Please click here for the Minister’s address.

Foreign Ministers Ends CSME Debate
    I wish to congratulate Minister Fred Mitchell for the great job he has done in bringing the issue of CSME to the country.  If I didn’t know better I would think that the entire business of the relationship with Caricom and the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas was a Fred Mitchell invention.  From the television, it looked like not one backbencher, not one parliamentary secretary or even one minister was in the House of Assembly as he addressed the House to abandon a policy which the Cabinet agreed to just last December.  As far as I can tell, the only ones who went on the record in support of the effort were Minister of Education Alfred Sears, Parliamentary Secretary Ron Pinder and backbencher Philip ‘Brave’ Davis.  I think it is curious, but I guess that is how it goes in politics.  If CSME had been popular and successful, they all would have been there to take a bow.  The Minister himself said that in his political life he accepted the praise and the criticism as it comes.
    And so the idea of signing the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas is now dead for this government and who knows if it can ever find wings again.  I think Fred Mitchell is right that the older generation must probably pass on before this idea is accepted.  Tennyson Wells, the Independent MP for Bamboo Town, who also supports regionalism, said that the Minister should continue the business of public education.  He is right.  The problem right now is that the voices of ignorance have drowned out the voices of reason.  It is almost like thought police, where any idea that is unpopular dare not rise in reasoned public discussion.  Even groups that stood to benefit from the liberalization of trade did not open their mouths.  They only whispered their support behind closed doors and were wishy-washy in public.  Is this the modern Bahamas?  If it is, then we are all in deep doo doo.
Anastasha Boodle

    Eleuthera businessman Albert Sands has died,  He was by far South Eleuthera’s biggest businessman.  He was also an investor in the Cotton Bay development of Franklyn Wilson and looked forward to getting that development going again.  He discovered he had cancer late last year and died yesterday.  As a mark of respect, Cotton Bay has postponed plans for its groundbreaking until next month, 15th July.

    One supposes that we should wish all fathers amongst our readers a Happy Father’s Day.  Consider it done, but we reflect that while the arbitrary and commercially motivated celebration of fatherhood has some utility, the real business of fatherhood is of necessity a 24/7 slog, for which no thanks is needed and often none is given.  It is only later; much later, usually around that 30 year mark, when those fathered begin to realize that the real benefit of PARENThood is in the preservation and constant improvement of the society on which we all depend.  Happy Father’s Day.


Prime Minister Christie smiles as he is welcomed home by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Cynthia Pratt at Nassau International Airport Tuesday evening, as Minister of Housing & National Insurance, the Hon. Shane Gibson, left and Consultant Physician Dr. Conville Brown, Centre, look on.  Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay

PRIME MINISTER RETURNS FROM BALTIMORE MEDICAL EVALUATION - Prime Minister Christie returned to The Bahamas Tuesday evening, 14th June, 2005, from medical evaluation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.  Mr. Christie was accompanied by his personal physician Dr. Perry Gomez and Consultant Physician Dr. Conville Brown.
     “The results of all the Prime Minister’s evaluations were excellent,” reported Dr. Gomez; “…the doctors there have agreed with the findings and recommendations which we made here in The Bahamas.”  The Prime Minister travelled for a final, routine review of his medical condition, planned and advised by his doctors as part of their care prior to his return to work.
    Dr. Brown noted that the Prime Minister would now continue his rehabilitation as before, gradually returning to full workdays.  “We are proud that the Johns Hopkins team has confirmed our recommendations,” said Dr. Brown; “and we hope that Mr. Christie will take full advantage of the summer recess of the House of Assembly and as he returns to full workdays in the interim, he has promised to continue the lifestyle changes that have helped his excellent recovery thus far.”
    Dr. Gomez said that over two days of evaluations, Mr. Christie was seen by the Hospital’s top consultants in the areas of neurology and cardiology as well as specialists in the areas of ear, nose and throat (ENT) and orthopaedics.
    Dr. Gomez noted that in addition to those areas connected with his incident of some weeks ago, the Prime Minister was also evaluated for a pre-existing chronic sinus condition and a chronic problem with his left knee.  “A new course of action has been recommended in the case of the Prime Minister’s sinus condition,” said Dr. Gomez “along with continued medical management of the condition with his left knee.  However, no surgery has been recommended or is anticipated in either case.  We are very pleased with the results”
    During his two days at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Prime Minister Christie also found time to initiate discussions with hospital authorities aimed at creating linkages between the Hospital and hospitals in The Bahamas to the benefit of Bahamians.
    “Thanks to the Prime Minister, we now have the opportunity for specialists from Johns Hopkins to share their expertise and experience through working visits to The Bahamas,” said Dr. Gomez.  “It may be remembered that to this day, professors in ophthalmology from Yale University come to The Bahamas on a quarterly basis to operate and to teach due to an arrangement set up by the Prime Minister back when he was Minister for Health in the late 1970s.”
    The Prime Minister was also accompanied by his brother Gary Christie.  He was met at the airport upon his return by Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Cynthia Pratt and several Ministers of the Cabinet.

26th June, 2005
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The day before he showed up to work, he must have been watching the television as Hubert Ingraham, his former partner, the former Prime Minister and a whole lot of other formers that can be applied to the latter, was trying to savage the Prime Minister in the House of Assembly.  Mr. Ingraham kept saying throughout his debate that he was talking to the Prime Minister whom he had no doubt was watching him on television.  The fact is that Mr. Ingraham was handled expertly by the Government in the Chamber.  Mr. Christie was quite safely away from that.  But on Tuesday, 21st December with the Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt out of the country, the Prime Minister decided it was time for him to take the Chair of the Cabinet again.  He showed up to Chair the meeting that day and later to meet with the United States Ambassador John  Rood to talk about the need for the U.S. to postpone the deadline for U.S. citizens to have passports in order to return to the United States from The Bahamas.  The present deadline is 1st January 2006, unlike Mexico and Canada that is 1st January 2008.  Three Ministers joined them, meeting with the PM and the Ambassador: Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin and Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell.  Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services was there and it is that picture which is the photo of the week.


The atmosphere was quite heated in the House of Assembly on Monday 20th June as Hubert Ingraham tried to get around the rules of the House of Assembly imposing time limits on speeches. Under the new rules, each Member is limited to one hour of intervention unless you are a Minister of the Government or the principal spokesman for the Opposition.  In that case, your limit is two hours.

Mr. Ingraham promised the PLP that he would have his say when it got to the heads of the budget or the line items as they are called in the United States.  In the past at Budget time he was known for speaking for two days or more on the subject.  The PLP was at first caught unawares on the matter despite the warning he gave.  True to his promise he came in juiced up it appears on something and simply heckled and pecked, and nitpicked over one thing or the next.   He started at the Minister of Foreign Affairs, accusing him of not knowing his Ministry because he gave an undertaking to get answers on certain questions which Mr. Ingraham raised.

The tradition is that Ministers have their officials in the gallery and if there is something on which the Minister needs to consult, he undertakes to get the answer, then goes to the gallery obtains the answer and returns.  It may take two minutes.

Mr. Ingraham claimed that this was not good enough and that Ministers should know their budget.  This of course is utter foolishness.  No minister can be expected to know the nitty gritty and the arcane procedures of budget making.  Ministers deal with policy.

Mr. Ingraham was finally put in his place when the Minister of Foreign Affairs exploded on him calling boorish and offensive.  He told Mr. Ingraham that he wanted to play crazy he would play crazy too.  “Not only one woman born a crazy child,” said Mr. Mitchell.

Mr. Ingraham's display was petulant, childish, disgraceful.  It is condemned in the strongest terms.  In the end, he was forced out of the House by his own tomfoolery.  In the early evening, he made an allegation against the Prime Minister accusing him of misleading the House, of being untruthful with regard to the pension of the late Sir Lynden Pindling.  Mr. Ingraham was asserting that Mr. Christie had agreed to the resignation of the late Sir Lynden as a pre condition of Sir Lynden obtaining his pension.

When the truth of the matter became apparent as a result of the suspension of the House to get the record, it was revealed that it was Mr. Ingraham who insisted that Prime Minister Pindling had to resign from the House before the payment could be made.  Please click here for the document annotated by Mr. Ingraham and laid on the table of the House.

Caught red handed, he was asked to withdraw his statement and then later ordered to do so by the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House who is also the Deputy Speaker.  Mr. Ingraham said he would not withdraw and refused to do so.  He told the Deputy Speaker that he must be a man and “do what you have to do.”  That meant he was looking for the PLP to throw him out of the House and name him.  No such luck.  The PLP was up to that trick and so was the Deputy Speaker.

There is another line that must be recalled.  Mr. Ingraham kept saying as he has been saying over the last two weeks, that everywhere he goes people are saying that he must come back.   It looks as if he is setting himself up to make a run at the leadership again.  He is busy undercutting the now leader of his party Senator Tommy Turnquest at every turn.  Mr. Ingraham is continuing his listening tour.  Week before last he was in Bimini stirring up trouble.

So that’s what this wanting to be thrown out of the House is all about.  No deal!  The PLP will not help him with that.  The presiding officers both Speaker and Deputy Speaker must have stiff spines and refuse to recognize him so long as he refuses to withdraw the statement accusing the Prime Minister of lying to the House.

Further, there is another very serious matter.  In trying to wiggle his way out of the untruth which he told, he said that the now Prime Minister and Sir Lynden knew and understood that the Cabinet of the FNM would not have agreed to give Sir Lynden a pension unless he retired.  Some of his Cabinet members, like Tennyson Wells and Pierre Dupuch would have a lot to say on that score since they can attest to whether he is speaking he truth or not.  What we know is that this is a different story than the first one he told.

But more seriously, he also claimed that he did not receive and does not receive his salary as Member of Parliament.  This was to answer the point made by Keod Smith (PLP MP Mt. Moriah) that he was double dipping by receiving both the pension of a Prime Minister and his salary as an active MP.  During his time Mr. Ingraham forced all civil servants to stop taking their pensions while working for the Government.  This was later reversed by the PLP as unfair.

Mr. Ingraham therefore gave his cabinet the impression that the bill that they approved would require all Prime Ministers to be retired from politics to receive their pensions.  It did not.  But he did refuse to pay Sir Lynden until he confirmed that he had resigned.  This was unlawful.  Mr. Ingraham did not apply this rule to himself.  The salary he is entitled to, yes.  The pension he should not be, and the PLP should move post haste to amend the law to ensure that in the future this does not happen again, and that if someone runs again, then they will lose the pension entitlement.  This will leave Mr. Ingraham with a choice.  Either retire at the next election or face losing the pension.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 25th June 2005 at midnight: 69,376.

Number of hits for the month of June up to Saturday 25th June 2005 at midnight: 247,190.

Number of hits for the year 2005 up to Saturday 25th June at midnight: 1,830,527.


    Keod Smith MP for Mt. Moriah (pictured) gave notice in the House of Assembly at its last sitting on Wednesday 22nd June that at its next sitting on Monday 27th June, he will be moving the first reading of a Bill to Amend the Prime Minister’s Pension Act.  The intention of the Bill is to make it clear that a person need not serve the two terms or eight years that are now required for a Prime Minister to receive a pension.  Further, it will state that a person cannot receive a pension if that person is still active in politics.  The latter point is one that was needed for some time.
    The Bill, if it becomes law, will force Hubert Ingraham to decide whether or not he wishes to remain in active politics and give up his pension or whether he will call it a day.  If he continues, he will have to give up the pension.  As our editorial points out it was Keod Smith who got Mr. Ingraham off kilter in the House when he accused the former Prime Minister of forcing Sir Lynden Pindling to resign in order to get his pension when Mr. Ingraham knew that this was not the law.
    When pressed, Mr. Ingraham later changed his story and said that both the now Prime Minister and the late Sir Lynden understood that he (Mr. Ingraham) could not get the pension bill passed by the FNM cabinet if Sir Lynden did not agree to resign.  Oh what a web we weave when first we practice to deceive.  BIS photo by Peter Ramsay

    Craig Butler, Nassau Guardian columnist, has an opinion, and he was the one soldier who got it right on the CSME debate.  Two weeks ago, though, he got it wrong in his column when he picked up unchecked an assertion in that sleaziest of papers The Punch on the question of the health of the Prime Minister.  This led to a story in The Tribune and a letter to the editor and to yet another column by Mr. Butler.
    Essentially Mr. Butler backed away from the claim that the Prime Minister has health difficulties to the extent asserted in the sleazy rag.  He offered through The Tribune an apology of sorts.  Later in the week though, he returned to the theme still asking for clarification on the Prime Minister’s health.  The fact is that these facts are easily clarified.  As a columnist he can call the Prime Minister's doctors.  He can also contact The Bahamas Information Services.  He can call the Prime Minister's press attaché Al Dillette.  What we do not think is that one should take a set of scattered facts that are in the public domain, arrange them in a particular order, build them as the premise and then come to a conclusion that on the face of it is logical.  Mr. Butler will know that no matter how logical the result, if it is based on a false premise then the entire argument is faulty.
    That said then, Mr. Butler says that the doctors in The Bahamas said that the PM needed rest of thirty days.  He said that the doctors from Johns Hopkins suggested that it should be 90 days before he gets back to a full schedule of work.  He suggests that there must have been some second hand equipment in The Bahamas why the John Hopkins doctors were able to give a different and in his view one supposes better judgment.  It does not follow that The Bahamas equipment was faulty.  It does not follow that the advice given by the doctors necessarily disagrees.
    What we know is that the Bahamian doctors said that after Mr. Christie’s transient ischemic attack, there should be complete rest for 30 days.  The Johns Hopkins doctors confirmed everything that the Bahamian doctors said and they further conferred together (remember the Bahamian doctors were in Baltimore) that the Prime Minister should ease back into a full schedule over 90 days.  The two are perfectly consistent.
    As to the claim that something must be wrong because the doctors say after 8 to ten hours of work per day the PM even on a full schedule should quit; not true again.  The fact is that eight hours is a full day’s work.  The fact is that all the doctors are saying is that at some point one has to put limitations on oneself or else you will get into problems.  This applies whether you had a passing stroke or whether you are perfectly healthy like Mr. Butler.  We must all discipline ourselves, eat on time, exercise, and regulate our work habits including trying to spend good quality time with our families. That applies to Prime Ministers as well.  It does not follow that something is wrong with our health because you get that advice.  That kind of thinking is what gets a lot of people in trouble with their health in the first place, thinking that they are indestructible.  Mr. Butler should therefore give this matter a rest or seek the proper clarification direct from the source on the issue. Anything else gives the impression that rumours are being spread to create problems for the PM.

    When former Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles Carter took over the helm of the Nassau Guardian there was the view that the Guardian would become a better paper.  To some extent it has.  We certainly appreciate the new content on Bahamians of yore and the features about life in The Bahamas, which are Mr. Carter’s stock in trade.  But something must be done about its news content.  It is biased and lacks balance, and sometimes whether through design or inadvertence just seems like an incompetently designed product.   It prints false information about Ministers of the government and government policy as if it were fact, and then when the facts are pointed out they refuse to retract and apologize.  They set up news headlines that are obviously designed to be propaganda pieces for the Free National Movement.  The latest instalment is the choice of a front page photo to announce that Dion Foulkes is running for the Leader of the FNM juxtaposed with a photo of Leslie Miller in informal attire, Dion’s photo has him fully suited.
    What was tragically laughable was their editorial about sad commentary.  There they were on Friday 24th June crying crocodile tears about the state of the House of Assembly and how MPs behave.  What they all conveniently forgot is that it was Hubert Ingraham's irresponsible and rude behaviour that had to be met with the fire that came from the PLP.  No attack was started by the PLP.  What then has the PLP got to do with what happened, except that it had a responsibility to bring order and decorum back to the place?
    A special slap (a horsewhip in fact) needs to be directed toward the ever more sanctimonious apologist opinion of Zhivargo Laing, who Mr. Ingraham announced in the Parliament is  now the chief speech writer for Hubert Ingraham's come back trail.  Mr. Laing claims that the chamber of the House of Assembly is no longer an honourable one but a chamber of thugs.  Again, we say, it must take a thug to know a thug and what he needs to do is try to advise the man for whom he writes speeches to stop behaving like one and set an example for the people of this country of how a former Prime Minister ought to behave.

    Every time we see Cassius Stuart and his Bahamian Democratic Movement in the newspaper, we have the same response, “when is this guy going to join the PLP and stop doing doo doo?”  Another response might be “up from the grave he arose”.  It seems that he has a pattern of behaviour, going into a deep Rip Van Winkle like sleep and then suddenly he is back again.  This time, he is attacking the Cable Beach deal which will redevelop the Cable Beach tourism product.  He says that it is crazy.  Now there is a novel adjective.  But with all the jobs at stake and the whole area in need of a reform, how in the name of heaven you could call such a thing crazy is beyond us.  But then there is another saying “it takes one to know one”.

    Senator Tommy Turnquest who is the leader of the FNM outside the House went to Grand Bahama at a rally by their party two weeks ago to assert that the FNM never agreed to sign on to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).  He gave the impression that the FNM and the PLP were at complete odds on the matter of signing the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell said in the House that he was completely amazed at this about face by Senator Turnquest who had told him over the phone that the PLP and the FNM had no difference of opinion on the matter.  Larry Smith, the newspaper columnist, was able to confirm that position was on the FNM’s website as well.  Now we have further evidence.  This column has discovered the words of Tommy Turnquest printed in The Torch, the official paper of the FNM in 2003 in which he said that the FNM supported the position of signing the Treaty with reservations.  Please click here for the article on the position of the FNM from the September 2003 issue of The Torch.

    Minister of Health Marcus Bethel said in his debate in the Senate during the week that the number of Aids cases in The Bahamas is dropping.

    Tennyson Wells was quick to comment this week when it was announced that Dion Foulkes has now put his hat into the ring for the post of leader of the Free National Movement.  Mr. Foulkes is not a member of the House or the Senate so it is hard to see what standing he will have.  If he wins this will take matters back to the time when the leader of the FNM the late Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield could not get elected.
    We ourselves thought something was up the night that the rally was held in the St Cecilia constituency of PLP Deputy Prime Minister Pratt some months ago (click here for the story).  Senator Turnquest and company were hobnobbing with the PLP in Grand Bahama while Dion Foulkes and his daddy were having a rally in the heart of PLP territory.  It shows that there is yet another cleavage in the FNM between those who think that the FNM should strike at the heart of the PLP and those who take the more gentlemanly approach.  However, we think that Dion Foulkes should not be fooled by the gentlemanly response of Senator Turnquest to his announcement.  The senator said that as an FNM Dion is entitled to run.  Daddy Turnquest and Mother Turnquest don’t play that.  The son says where you put me.  You can expect a tenacious and vicious fight to stave off this challenge.  Judge also the fact that with less than two years to go for a General Election Hubert Ingraham, the former Prime Minister is actively seeking to come back.
    We think Tennyson Wells, the MP who was tossed out of the FNM over the last leadership row and now sits as an Independent, was right to describe what is coming down the pike in the FNM as a “bloodbath”.

    When Brent Symonette, the scion of the Symonette family, who has succeeded his father Sir Roland as a Member of the House of Assembly with the Free National Movement, left the House in a huff on Monday 21st June, he took the book containing the rules of the House of Assembly, pointed to his rear end and said that the PLP should shove it up their you know what.  This was incredible since the protest by the FNM walking out against the application of the rules on former Prime Minister Ingraham was against rules that were crafted and approved by Mr. Symonette who served on the House Rules Committee.  To Mr. Symonette's credit, he apologized to the House for his behaviour on Wednesday 22nd June.  That is what Hubert Ingraham should be doing but we won’t hold our breaths.


    Jolly old Neko Grant I, aka by his own mouth “Big Head Neko”, was in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 22nd June to attack Neville Wisdom (pictured), the PLP's MP for Delaporte for what he said in the House of Assembly on the evening of Monday 21st June following the walkout by FNM MPs from the House of Assembly.  Mr. Wisdom merely put in context the disgraceful behaviour by the FNM MPs and their past leader; want to be leader Hubert Ingraham.  After all the rudeness which the House had to endure during the day, it was really a bit of pique for Mr. Grant to dare to criticize Mr. Wisdom.  We want the world to know that we support Mr. Wisdom.  He speaks for, to and on behalf of the youth of the country and what the FNM did, their rowdy behaviour was not a good example for the people of the country much less the young people of the country.  So Mr. Grant should be quiet and leave well enough alone.  BIS photo by Tim Aylen


    Senator Cypriana McWeeney (pictured) spoke in the Senate on Thursday 23rd June about her political future.  There has been a great deal of speculation that she was about to resign from the Senate in order to accept a consultant’s job in the office of the Prime Minister.  Not so said the Senator.  But she did say that there was an opportunity arising in the private sector at which she was looking.  The clarification was made because again of the mischief making by the sleazy newspaper called The Punch.  We wish Senator McWeeney well what ever she does. BIS photo by Peter Ramsay

    Each political side has some soldiers who are with you no matter what.  They are not the classic leadership material in the sense that they will never serve in the House of Assembly or the Senate nor as party officers.  However, they are leaders all the same because they stand with their MPs and Senators, they are at every meeting, and they are the eyes and ears and mouths of the party as it enters battle and in between battles.  Such was Alphonso ‘Fonzo’ Rolle.  He was a stalwart of the Free National Movement.  But FNM that we was, that did not stop him from acknowledging and being friends with those from the other side.  He just made it clear that he was an FNM.  We appreciate that, and we are sad to announce that he has passed away at an all too young age.  Algernon Allen, the former Minister for Youth, was a good friend and eulogized him in statement during the week.  We say rest in peace.

    Foreign Minster Fred Mitchell was in Washington D.C. on Wednesday 23rd June to speak to a conference on the Caribbean on changing realities in US/Caribbean relations.  The conference was sponsored by members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Caribbean Education Institute, headed by Dr. Claire Nelson.  The Minister said that there is a conference being planned on the future of the Caribbean and invited all to participate in its planning with the US authorities.  You may click here for the full address.  Later he addressed the visiting Junkanoo troop of the Saxons, Barrabas and the Tribe and the Redland Soldiers all in Washington for the Carnival held on Saturday 25th June.  He told them that they were ambassadors for their country and wished them well as all Washington was excited about the Junkanoo group rushing there.

    Minister for Bahamasair Bradley Roberts this week responded to tired old charges made by FNM leader out of the House Tommy Turnquest over a “retainer” paid to Sears and Co. by Bahamasair.  The Minister responded that there was no retainer paid to Sears and Co but rather Mrs. Marion Bethel Sears of Sears and Co was engaged by Bahamasair to regularize the airline’s corporate records which had not been done in the airline’s thirty two year history.
    Mrs. Bethel Sears, said the Minister, was contracted because of her expertise in this particular area.  He pointed out that this same exercise “had been a work in progress most of the years the FNM ran the Government and the airline.  They engaged many lawyers including a Government employed attorney, The Attorney General’s office and most glaringly Mr. Elliot Lockhart while he was an elected Member of Parliament for the FNM.”
    “The truth is,” said Minister Roberts, “that for years none of the earlier attorneys were able to unravel and resolve the many issues that evolved over time with respect to the conduct of Bahamasair’s business versus the articles contained in its corporate records.
    “Mrs. Bethel Sears was able to resolve the matter which is critical to the Bahamasair privatization…  Mr. Turnquest and his FNM colleagues need to be less hasty in levelling such loose, unsubstantiated and inaccurate allegations.  Bahamasair today prides itself on its transparent modus operandi and stands ready to account to anyone any time regarding its corporate conduct.”

    The Church of England appointed its first black Archbishop, naming Ugandan born John Sentamu, a leading activist on racism and inner-city crime, to the church's second most important position.  The 56 year old priest worked at a series of London parishes before becoming Bishop of Stepney, also in London, and then Bishop of Birmingham in 2002.
    As archbishop, Sentamu, whose cathedral is the world famous Gothic building of York Minster, is the second most important figure in the Church of England after Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.
    Although Williams is also head of the Anglican Church, which covers the Church of England and its associated bodies worldwide, the Archbishop of York is not automatically second in the global hierarchy.
    "It is important that the Church of England's voice is heard locally, nationally and internationally, standing up for justice, bringing good news to the poor, healing to the broken hearted, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, and proclaiming the death of Christ and his resurrection until he comes again," he said.

    Giovanni promises to return next week: “ENTER SUMMER SOLSTICE: I am in total awe of the sudden artistic popularity this year, through out the global harmony and all your consumption of mine poesy, across the World Wide Web.  I adore your E-mails, describing your deeper introspection of my verse -  POET FEATURE, by Bahama recording & literary artist, Giovanni.Stuart ( returns next Sunday.


PRIME MINISTER RETURNS TO WORK - CHAIRS CABINET MEETING - Prime Minister Christie returned to work at Cabinet Tuesday morning, 21st June, 2005.  He is shown here being greeted by Cabinet Ministers and quizzed by eager news reporters at the entrance to the Churchill Building.  Bahamas Information Services said that the Prime Ministers work hours would be "as necessary".  Bahamas Information Services photo - Peter Ramsay