Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames... Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
Volume 11 © BahamasUncensored.com 2013
|2nd March , 2014
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
|BRADLEY LASHES LORETTA BUTLER TURNER|
DELTA LAMBDA BOULE’s 20th anniversary Gala Banquet was held at the Crown Ball Room at Atlantis, Paradise Island on Saturday 1st March. All the mucks were there, mugging for the cameras with Andrew Young, the former Ambassador to the United Nations for the United States and the former Mayor of Atlanta. That is our photo of the week our Prime Minister Perry Christie and the Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes at the ball for Delta Lambda Boule with Mayor Andrew Young. From left to right: James Smith, Rose Thompson, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis, Mrs. And Mrs. Young, the Governor General and Lady Foulkes, Mr. and Mrs. James Payne.
Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services took the photo.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
There was a headline in the press during the week about former Senator Ishmael Lightbourne and the fact that he owes the government real property tax. Apparently The Bahamas is now the United States where there is some moral disgrace attached to not being able to pay your taxes. Not. We come to that point later.
Mr. Lightbourne spells his name with an e on the end. As in L-I-G-H-T-B-O-U-R-N-E.
This is not to be confused with and to be distinguished from L-I-G-H-T-B-O-U-R-N, without the blessed ‘E’ on the end of the name.
The headline came a day after there was yet another lecture by the Member of Parliament Richard Lightbourn (without the e on the end) for Montagu (is that with an e or without an e at the end) to the natives on why one should pay your taxes. In the process of his debate on Thursday 26th February, he took issue for fifteen minutes or so with this column bahamasuncensored.com which column he said was connected with a Member of Parliament then sitting in the House and he said he took issue with the column’s last characterisation of him as having been teaching the natives lessons in grammar and more particularly spelling his name incorrectly with an “e” on the end. Lord forgive us!
Those who read this column and presumably you all read it voluntarily, would know that Mr. Lightbourn's (without the e) contribution to the debate on the proposed government geographical information systems legislation was that the government's bill was riddled with grammatical and spelling and drafting errors. Fair enough. But during the same address Mr. Lightbourn (without the e) also managed on one occasion to speak a sentence and not have his subject and verb agree. But never mind, he is in fact a Lightbourn (without the e). Different rules apply than for someone who spells his name without the “e” on the end.
Mr. Lightbourn (without the e) does not get it of course, whether by deliberate obtuseness or by happenstance. His comments come off as harking back to a by-gone era. He is an anachronism in a modern Parliament.
Of course, anyone is entitled to have their name spelt correctly. However, some points you just let go in the grander scheme of things. The legacy of The Bahamas is this:
If you are a Bethell, spelt with two lls on the end, everyone knows you are of European ancestry. If you are a Bethel, spelt with one l, everyone knows that you are more than likely of African blood. The Bahamas has many examples of that kind of distinction. So when Mr. Lightbourn without the e on the end makes the point, some would argue that he is making another point.
Back to poor former Senator Ishmael Lightbourne, with the e on the end. He has been pilloried in the press because of the irony of a situation where he is arguing in favour of Value Added Tax, as the government’s point man on the tax and he himself, they say has not paid his personal property tax and his property tax on some commercial properties that he owns.
Like the good PLP that he is, his own party allowed him to twist in the wind without saying one word in his defence for weeks. He himself admitted that the reason was he could not pay. This is not a novel proposition. The PLP is not the FNM and not paying taxes for the PLP is not a crime of moral turpitude. The Minister of Finance has the power to make it right by arranging an agreement with Mr. Lightbourne (with the e on the end) to pay off the taxes by arrangement since he is now working.
Mr. Lightbourne ( with the e on the end) fell on hard times after being the head of the accounting firm Coopers And Lybrand and losing that job because he was caught up in one of those Nigerian scams and lost every cent that he had. He was fired from Coopers and could not work for years. The PLP rescued him by giving him a job, to do a job that he can do well. It’s called forgiveness and second chance.
The Minister of State Michael Halkitis spoke up on Thursday 26th February when he said that Mr. Lightbourne (with the e) will keep his job and an arrangement will be made to pay the taxes off. Mr. Halkitis’ actions is a sign that these young PLPs don’t have ice in their veins. That for us is the end of the story. The FNM can go twist.
As for Richard Lightbourn, without the e on the end, well no doubt he has never had himself in any financial problem whatever that could not be handled. No doubt to the manor born, silver spoon and all that so the ordinary problems of this world are not his to comprehend or consider. His lectures to us, his public service are all noblesse oblige.
Congratulations Mr. Lightbourn, without the e on the end. May God continue to bless you so you can continue to lecture the natives and tell them what is right and just. They are all deeply grateful.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 1st March up to midnight:182,124
Number of hits for the month of February up to Friday 28th February 2014 up to midnight:778,731
Number of hits for the year 2014 up to Saturday 1st March 2014 up midnight:1,688,676
THE GOVERNMENT HAS THE REPORT ON THE CENTRE
Members of the Panel to investigate the Operations of the Detention Centre presents their report and recommendations for its efficient administration and management to Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, at the Department of Immigration, on February 25, 2014. Pictured (from left) are Panel Members former Superintendent of Police Douglas Hanna, the Rev. William Higgs and Justice Emmanuel Osadebay (Retired); Minister Mitchell; Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cleola Hamilton; Director of Immigration William Pratt and Permanent Secretary Philip Miller. (BIS Photo / Eric Rose)
THE GANJA DEBATE IS JOINED
Bahamians woke up to their newspapers on Wednesday 26th February to find out that marijuana is to be one of the subjects upon which the Heads of Government of Caricom will ponder when they next meet in St. Vincent mid-March. The Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell was asked the question on marijuana by the press the day before by phone and on the day of Parliament the electronic media asked the visiting American dignitary his view on the subject. The matter came up because of headlines in the Caribbean press that Jamaica plans to decriminalize marijuana this year. This was the comment of Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives in Jamaica. He said that a task force is scheduled to meet within the next two weeks to sign off on plans to officially launch the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association. We applaud Jamaica for this move after decades of the fruitless use of the police and military to suppress the marijuana trade, the usage of the drug in Jamaica being endemic and religious in many circles. The move was impossible because the Americans had taken such a hostile attitude toward the issue of marijuana. The visiting dignitary a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Luis Arreaga said that the US Federal policy continued to insist that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that all the medical evidence points to that according to him. Mr. Mitchell said that the matter of medical marijuana is being studied by Caricom heads and the issue of whether to use the market to fight drugs as opposed to military coercion was being explored. The Bahamas Attorney General Allyson Gibson was quoted as saying that the government plans to continue to enforce the laws in The Bahamas on marijuana. Here is the formal statement by Mr. Mitchell on the issue given on Tuesday 25th March:
The Bahamas was present at the table in Trinidad when the issue was raised with regard to medical marijuana at the Caricom meeting. We agreed that the issue should be studied then and signed off on the matter in Guyana last month as an agenda item at the next Caricom heads meeting in St Vincent in March. The delegation will be headed by the Prime Minister.
We have heard the views on a market approach to fighting anti-drug efforts advanced by many countries. We note the developments in the United States and have canvassed the potential policy changes with United States officials.
We can say nothing more on the issue until such time as the Caricom consensus has been reached and the studies returned and the Bahamas Cabinet has a chance to review the issue.
THE AMERICANS GIVE MONEY
MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell said the collaborative efforts between the Government of the Bahamas and the United States of America remains critical to the continued success against the “constant assault” of trans-national criminal activity.
His remarks came during the signing of a “Modification/Amendment Five to the Letter of Agreement (ALOA) on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement” between the Bahamas and the US at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday morning.
Mr. Mitchell signed on behalf of the Government with Deputy Assistant Secretary of United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Luis Arreaga signing for the US.
“Today, money laundering and trafficking in illicit drugs, illegal small and light firearms and human continue to test and challenge the national law enforcement agencies of countries globally in the Bahamas and the United States, as criminals are becoming more ingenious in their methods of trans-national criminal activity, which have no boundary and continue to attack and destroy the very essence of our society,” Minister Mitchell said.
This signing, he said, signified the Government of United States’ commitment in the areas of law enforcement, support, counter-narcotics control, drug demand reduction and anti-corruption reform.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, I offer my thanks for this contribution of $1,850,000, which will assist in the efforts of the Bahamas in its initiatives and fight against the surge of organised crime,” he said.
RYAN IN HIS STRAW WAISTCOAT
Minister Pinder supports local artisan 'The Dot Miller Collection' and encourages all to support our fellow Bahamians. Bahamians are talented and need the support to advance their business especially within the Creatives Industry of The Bahamas. The photo was taken on 26th February.
BRADLEY LASHES LORETTA BUTLER TURNER
The following statement was issued by Bradley B. Roberts, the Chairman of the PLP in response to a comment by Loretta Butler Turner, Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement that Prime Minister Perry Christie was incompetent:
Loretta Butler-Turner’s characterization of the Prime Minister as incompetent is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. In light of the damage she and her cabinet colleagues inflicted on this country and our people, she has no shame or conscience to deflect from her government’s failure rather an account and apologize to the Bahamian people.
After inheriting a robust economy with record government revenue; record employment; record direct investment, she and her cabinet colleagues managed to help wreck the Bahamian economy is five short years, driving the economy to the edge of the fiscal cliff. Unemployment doubled; the economy contracted and our national debt expanded by 40% in those five short years.
She and cabinet colleagues are quick to blame the recession and shamelessly use it as a crutch for their failures in governance, but consider the following:
The STOP, REVIEW AND CANCEL economic policy was arguably one of the dumbest and most harmful policies on record. Did the recession force the FNM into this self-serving act?
What about the jumpstart program? Millions of dollars were spent on small businesses, but where are the businesses and the jobs they were intended to create? Was the recession to blame for this lack of accountability?
The infamous New Providence Road Improvement Program (NPRIP) where gross mismanagement resulted in the unnecessary closure of numerous businesses and the loss of many jobs, not to mention $100 million in needless cost overruns placed squarely on the backs of hurting Bahamians. The PLP had to offer relief to over 200 businesses at an additional cost of $15 million. I suspect FNM’s cry is that the recession made them do it.
An estimated Fifty million dollars spent on a so called jobs training program, but no accountability or transparency on the numbers of persons trained, the disciplines in which they were trained and the certification as proof of competencies. Tens of millions of hard earned tax dollars wasted with nothing to show for it the FNM used the money to advance their narrow and selfish political interests. How else can Butler-Turner explain this spectacular failure in governance?
And what did the FNM do for an encore: they all washed their hands like Pontius Pilate, walked away from the mess they helped create, and feigned ignorance of their five years of governance. At all material time Loretta Butler-Turner sat at the FNM Cabinet and approved all of these terrible policies and the Bahamian people are suffering from to this very day. She or any one of her colleagues should be the last to call anybody incompetent.
The FNM cabinet members are the poster children for incompetence.
Thankfully through the grace and mercy of God the economy has turned the corner, Bahamians are returning to work and the government has succeeded in attracting fresh money into the country. We remain confident and optimistic about the future of our country, notwithstanding the hurricane Bahamians have had to endure, courtesy of Loretta Butler-Turner and her colleagues
ARTHURíS TOWN AIRPORT REOPENS
Further to the notice remitted on the 18th February, 2014, advising the temporary closure of the Arthur's Town airport, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Department (BCAD) is pleased to inform the public that the works to the runway at the Arthur's Town Airport have been completed and, with effect today, 21st February, 2014, have re-opened and are fully operational. The Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) has issued a notice to all airmen (NOTAM), ref. A0019/14, in this regard.
A COMMENT FROM NEWS DIRECTOR ANDREW BURROWS
Okay, here's one for you to chew on. The folks who are in the front of the anti VAT movement say "Let's collect the taxes that are already owed" as an alternative to VAT. Fine. Michael Halkitis revealed that there is more than $500+ Million owed in back Real Property Taxes over the last 30 years. Of that amount, approximately 60% is owed by businesses. Businesses owned by these same people who say "Let's collect the taxes that are already owed."
THE WORK OF THE MISSIONS ABROAD
BAHAMIAN GOSPEL STAR CHESTERNIQUE PRESENTS ALBUMS TO CONSUL GENERAL RANDY ROLLE.
Chesternique recently presented "Expressions of The Heart" and "Get Away" to Consul General Randy E Rolle following her recent return tour of The Bahamas. The album can be purchased at 100% Bible Bookstore in the Marathon Mall in Nassau. Check her out on www.chesterniquemusic.com(website), chesterniquemusic (Facebook), @chesternique (twitter).
Here's a bit more about her:
Riding high off the success of the single and music video for her latest release “Get Away”, Bahamian gospel singer Chesternique is poised to make her mark in the contemporary music industry.
Singing publicly since the age of 8, Chesternique is a seasoned performer. After her parents heard her singing in the shower, she spent the early years of her music career singing in the church choir and performing at small events. Soon she was introduced to Bahamian music mogul Vincent MacDonald, who asked her to be featured on his upcoming “Just Believe” project, which released a single and music video in 2009. A working relationship developed between the two; Chesternique was featured on several projects and served as a backing vocalist during performances. Shortly after the release of “Just Believe”, Chesternique independently released her debut single, “Get My Praise On” in 2010. The success of the song merited Chesternique the opportunity to perform it later that year at the Marlin Awards.
Chesternique continued to hone her vocal skills as the first vocalist for the jazz combo in addition to singing in the chorale during her college years at Taylor University in Indiana. After graduating in 2011, she returned to the Bahamas and continued to sing with fellow contemporaries until a record deal was offered by Elevation Records. Chesternique triumphantly announced her arrival into the gospel industry with the release of her vibrant debut album Expressions of the Heart in September 2012.
She headlined her first concert shortly after, with Damita Haddon of Detroit as a special guest. Since then she has gone on several tours, performing her hits for sold-out audiences in the United States. Chesternique’s soulful sound and winning drive have garnered her lots of attention in a few short years. Her journey to becoming an international sensation continues as she uses her music to encourage others to enhance their relationships with God.
NEW YORK -- The Hon. Forrester J Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York, accompanied by his wife Dr. Valencia Carroll, attended “SUNY Maritime College’s Cultural Club’s Black History Month’s Annual Scholarship Dinner,” held at the college on Thursday night, February 27, 2014. The college paid special tribute to Bahamian graduate Mr. Leeman Pearson, son of Frank and Yvonne Pearson of Freeport, Grand Bahama. Young Leeman died recently in Nassau when he was involved in an unfortunate car accident. The College’s Cultural Club honoured his memory, supported by a very interesting pictorial of his life as a young Bahamian Marine. He will be sadly missed by all faculty and staff at the college. Pictured from left are: Mrs. Beryl Edgecombe, President of the Bahamian American Cultural Society (BACS); Mr. Kyron Cooper, President Of SUNY Maritime College's Cultural Club; Mrs. Yvonne Pearson, mother of Leeman Pearson; Consul General Carroll; Ms. Patricia Norman, SUNY Maritime College Cultural Club Advisor; Dr. Valencia Carroll; and Rev. Bobbie Knowles, aunt of Leeman Pearson.
Pictured at the Interfaith service at St. Augustine Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, New York, celebrating St. Lucia’s 35th anniversary of independence from left to right are: The Rev. Fr. David R. Steele, St. Augustine Episcopal Church; Hon. Barbara Dailey, Dominica Consul General to New York; His Excellency Forrester Carroll, Bahamas Consul General to New York; Her Excellency Menissa Rambally, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Saint Lucia to the United Nations; and Hon. Derrick James, Grenada Consul General to New York.
During a courtesy call on His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, by Mr. Francisco Palmieri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Caribbean and Central America in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. State Department, on Friday, February 21, 2014, pictured from left are: Mr. Gianni Pas, Jamaica/Bahamas Desk Officer, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Mr. Palmieri; Dr. Newry; the Hon. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C.; and Deputy Chief of Mission Chet Neymour.
Youth Ambassadors who paid a courtesy call on His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, on Monday, February 24, are pictured with the Ambassador and the Hon. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C., and Deputy Chief of Mission Chet Neymour. From left to right are: Catalina Albury, Forest Heights Academy, Abaco; Nick DeRoche, Grenada; Kefa Smith, Guyana; Consul General Zonicle; Dennis Glasgow, Guyana; Ambassador Newry; Conrad Cornish, Abaco Central High; Deputy Chief of Mission Neymour; Berthony McDermott, S.C. Bootle High; Kimberly Rahming, guidance counselor, Abaco Central High; Brady Rhodes, co-director of Bold Leaders; and Kandise Kelly, Forest Heights Academy, Abaco.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Twenty-three students from Bayview Academy on Augusta Street in Nassau, accompanied by 26 parents and two teachers, visited the Embassy of The Bahamas, 2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., on Friday, February 28. The group, led by teachers Monique Munroe and Kimberly Dorsette, arrived in D.C. on Tuesday, February 25, and will return to The Bahamas on Sunday, March 2. They were welcomed to the Embassy by His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States; the Hon. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C.; and Deputy Chief of Mission Chet Neymour. Mrs. Monroe said the children were “very excited” to be seeing snow for the first time, and the bitterly cold weather did not seem to bother them as they posed for this photo with Ambassador Newry, Consul General Zonicle and Deputy Chief of Mission Neymour in front of the Embassy, with snow that fell on Wednesday still visible on the front lawn and the temperature outside around 28 degrees.
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME NEXT WEEK CRAP!
PS ARCHIE NAIRN RETIRES
27 February 2014
Nassau, The Bahamas – Permanent Secretary Archie Nairn was recognised during a retirement luncheon held in his honour by the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs. He is retiring from the Public Service after 43 years of service.
Prime Minister Perry G. Christie, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Damian Gomez, and senior government officials attended the event held in the foyer of the Ministry of Legal Affairs on J.F. Kennedy Drive. Family, friends, religious leaders and colleagues also shared the occasion with Mr. Nairn.
Attorney General Maynard acknowledged some of the department’s initiatives led by Mr. Nairn. She particularly singled out Mr. Nairn’s adherence to the request of Abby Daxon, a visually impaired staff member, who requested special software to assist her in carrying out her duties. She underscored Mr. Nairn’s care for others and said he believes all Bahamians should be allowed to fully develop their talents. The Attorney General said Mr. Nairn would be “terribly” missed. Tributes were also given by Prime Minister Christie, Cynthia Gibbs, Undersecretary; Debra Fraser, Director of Legal Affairs;
LETTER TO THE EDITOR ELCOTT COLEBY SPEAKS
LETTER TO THE EDITOR ELCOTT COLEBY SPEAKS
“WE GAT BAD WAYS AND WE BAD PAY”
The government this;
the government that;
the government looking bad on VAT;
but consider this: the government’s full faith and credit remains intact.
The Bahamas government has never defaulted on any of its financial obligations to local or international agencies and institutions. Not to the Inter American Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations or CARICOM. No Bahamian government has compromised the full faith and credit of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. I dare anybody to show otherwise. On that score, the government of the Bahamas has not failed its people.
The government floated $200 millions in bonds back in 2003 and just recently the government floated another $300 million of public debt on the international market and both times the securities were oversubscribed. This is tangible evidence of the level of confidence international investors have in the full faith and credit of The Bahamas. I know for a fact that on the 2003 issue, investors were paid their premiums of $7 million in May and November of each year; the government has not defaulted on those payments to this day.
I will go further: Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Chrsitie has said publicly on numerous occasions that upon coming to office in May 2002, he was faced with a $125 million bill that the government had to pay – and it did. Ten years later upon his return to office, as an encore the Prime Minister claimed that his government was faced with a $550 million obligation to various creditors that his government had to make good on – and his government did.
But can the Bahamian people say the same regarding our tax obligations to our government?
It was recently reported in the media that Bahamians owe the government over $550 million in real property taxes ($557 million to be exact). The government offered them an amnesty period laden with incentives, but collected only $20 million of the $550 million bill. Of that $550 million tax bill, commercial properties accounted for some $341 million. I sincerely hope that nobody associated with the Coalition for responsible taxation is in that that delinquent grouping. They cannot be in arrears if they and their anti VAT campaign are to have any credibility with the public.
Further, arguably one of the greatest collective acts of tax fraud against the government take place in the customs clearance facility at the LPIA where literally thousands of Bahamians routinely under report the value of taxable goods and services purchased abroad, mostly in South Florida. Bahamians do this with impunity, without remorse and are cavalier about this irresponsible, harmful and unethical practice. The narrative on NIB payment compliance is eerily similar. Too many Bahamians do not believe that they should be held accountable and they have no intention of abandoning this practice.
These are precisely the practices that helped to get us into this fiscal quandary today yet Bahamians bark and balk at the idea of VAT as a viable instrument of tax reform. This is beyond irony or hypocrisy; this is madness.
This is akin to stabbing somebody, then blaming them for bleeding. This is akin to the patients at Sandilands lecturing the doctors and nurses on how to run the facility and on how to administer the medication protocol.
Bahamian thespian Ronnie Butler said it best when he sang “I know them long time - them people is mine” and “we gat bad ways and we bad pay.” When it comes to paying taxes, too many Bahamians have bad ways and are bad pay.
But in the end, the government of the Bahamas must do what it has to do because at the end of the day and despite the deafening din of dissent, the government must protect the full faith and credit of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas because only the government will be held accountable.
The Americans And Their Human Rights Report
The American government has issued its human rights report on The Bahamas, which a spokesman for the United States embassy in Nassau described as a snap shot of the country in terms of its human rights position. The report can be found at http://photos.state.gov/libraries/bahamas/8325/pdf/bahamas2013report.pdf
Bahamas Gov't Responds To United States 2013 Human Rights Report
The following statement was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday 25th February:
The report for 2013 is being reviewed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From what has been seen so far, there is no need for any alarm or undue concern.
In a free and open society like ours, anyone is free to comment and investigate the human rights record of our country and we do not fear such an examination.
We will take note of any errors or overreaches in the report and it will have to be determined to what extent we address those issues.
Things Turn Around In Freeport
A Mass Resignation At The Container Port
The Bahamian marine pilots who work for the Freeport Container Port owned by Hutchison Whampoa of Hong Kong have all resigned en masse. The Container Port has reportedly accepted the resignations. The pilots have been seeking to make the point that in all other countries beside The Bahamas, pilots are independent operators and do not work for an employer. The companies come to them and contract their services. That is the case in Nassau. Freeport has a tradition of pilots working for companies. The showdown is now set and the pilots ware looking to the government for support saying that the government promised to put Bahamians first.
Utah Rolle’s Birthday Party
Utah Rolle, who started out his career with Lincoln Bain of Controversy TV, has turned forty years old. He looks none the worse for the wear. He had a party at Dr. Butch Bartlett’s San Souci home on Friday 21st February. A fine time was had by all and especially the birthday boy. Leader of the Opposition Dr. Hubert Minnis was there for the occasion.
A Fire In Fox Hill
A place that was an old unused quarry pit now used for indiscriminate dumping caught fire last week on Sunday 23rd February. It enveloped Fox Hill just east of St. Augustine’s College in Gray’s Terrace in smoke. Both Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell and Environment Minister Ken Dorsett came to the scene and worked with the Fire Department’s Chief Walter Evans to extinguish the blaze.
Moncur is Freed From Charge
A magistrate freed Rodney Moncur, the political gadfly, on the charges of publishing grossly indecent photos following a no case submission by the political activist at his trial on Monday 24th February. The Magistrate said the Crown had not made out a prima facie case and discharged Mr. Moncur. As usual the over the top Mr. Moncur started crowing from the rooftops about his vindication and threatening to sue everyone in sight. Perhaps the authorities will now learn to leave those who simply crave and thrive off attention and publicity alone.
Bishop Moss In The Hospital
Bishop Cornell Moss, the Bahamian who heads the Anglican Diocese in Guyana with its 200 churches is ill in hospital. He was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of the Rand Hospital in Freeport on Wednesday 25th February.
Swift Justice… Not So Swift Says Bar Lawyers
The criminal practitioners continue to complain about the fact that stenographers have been removed from the magistrates’ courts. They say now that magistrates have to write everything down by hand, the cases per day have been drastically reduced. It used to be 30 cases a day. That is now reduced to five cases a day. They say swift justice is no longer swift.
Demonstrations In Freeport Over Power
photos from Brian Seymour
Pastors joined in organizing a power boycott and demonstrations over power charges in Freeport on Wednesday 25th February. They encouraged people to turn off their power during the day to protest the high charges by the Freeport Power Company. Michael Darville, the Minister for Grand Bahama, said he was monitoring the situation.
Clash Of Cultures between Canadians and Bahamians
The situation in Grand Bahama and the cost of power in Freeport and the disconnections over failure to pay bills represents a clash of cultures. You have Canadians who own and run the power company who have the view that paying bills beyond being a contractual obligation, represents a moral imperative which if you fail to do so represents an offence of moral turpitude. It’s the same thing with the Canadian banks and their collection polices for delinquent loans in The Bahamas for the failure to repay loans at the bank. In The Bahamas, there is a more laid back attitude toward this. The view here is that when you get in trouble, you pay what you can and the company ought to work with you to allow that since they make out like bandits in any case. Push these days is of course coming to shove as everyone gets frantic in the bad economy.
Christian Council In Grand Bahama In A Dispute
Keith Meadows is the head of the Grand Bahama Christian Council. He is in a tussle with the executives of the council who want him out because he has reportedly been accused of certain unspecified sins. The insurgent pastors say they have a confession from Mr. Meadows and a promise in exchange for their reconciliation to make a public declaration denouncing the unspeakable vice. On advice of Legal Counsel he has refused. The stage is now set with a vote of no confidence by the executive council which Mr. Meadows says is null and void. He is planning a meeting with the wider constituent body to discuss it. Here was go again.
Our Man Elcott Has A Birthday On 26th February
BIS Deputy Director Elcott Coleby and frequent contributor to the public commentary celebrated his birthday with his wife and family at Luciano’s. He is seated:
A Turn Around In GBI
Woman sitting at breakfast in Zorba’s in the Port Lucaya Mall. She says that her store had the best January in six years and that February, a month shorter than January was even better than January. Evidence you think of a turnaround in Freeport.
Joseph Alfred Justice
Joseph Alfred, the former Supreme Court Justice, was remembered at a special service for him following his death in Trinidad earlier this year. There was a special service at Christ Church Cathedral on Thursday 27th February.
Carey Leonard Speaks
Those of you who didn't read it, should get a copy of Carey Leonard, the former Grand Bahama Port Authority's lawyer's address to the Chamber of Commerce last week about the failure of Hutchinson Whampoa to invest properly in Freeport. It is excellent. You can look for it on the Freeport News' website.
Detention Centre Is Full
172 Haitians are in the Detention Centre, captured on the high seas last week. Twenty three Cubans are being taken there today just having been interdicted by the US Coastguard yesterday. There are nearly four hundred people at the centre. You see the scope of the problem that this country faces.
A Note To Michael Halkitis
Two interventions in the press this past week, give hope that the next generation of PLPs stand for something other than economics but values of loyalty, faithfulness and a respect privacy. The interventions by you in defence of the much vilified former Senator Ishmael Lightbourn on revealing his tax problems and calling for his dismissal were a good example of what we ought to be about. We ought to defend our friends when we can and help them solve their problems. The refusal to support the idea of revealing people's tax business is also a good stand to take. Privacy is an important value that should not be dispensed with lightly even in this boorish culture. Kudos.
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