MARCH 2004
Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames   Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
Volume 2 © BahamasUncensored.Com
While material on this web site can be used freely by other sections of the press, as a courtesy, journalists are asked to attribute the source of their material from this web site. Click here for the law on copyright as it applies to this website.
14th March, 2004
21st March, 2004
28th March, 2004
Columns From 2002 - 2003

7th March, 2004
Welcome to
  How do you do today?  It's great to have you as a reader.  We have the most incisive political news about and from The Bahamas! 
Please tell all your friends about us.
The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party... The Official Site of the Free National Movement...
PLPs On The Web... Interesting Places...
Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town Bahamas Government Website
Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte Bahamians On The Web
Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw Bahamian Cycling News
John Carey / PLP Carmichael FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...
Grand Bahama PLP
Click on a heading to go to that story; press ctrl+home to return to the top of the page.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The Royal Bahamas Defence Force was not looking or sounding too royal this week as the Commission of Inquiry began its work in earnest into the arrest of the ship Lorequin in 1992.  The week saw a string of witnesses, high profile brass from the police and defence forces both former and present.  The incident was dredged up by former U.S. Ambassador J. Richard Blankenship. During the Ambassador’s intervention on 6th December 2002, he accused the Government of a cover up of what he called the Inagua incident.  The HMBS Inagua was the name of the boat that interdicted the Lorequin in the Nassau Harbour, searched her and then under arrest towed her to the Coral Harbour base.  The packages of cocaine planted on the boat by U.S. Agents went missing.  Mr. Blankenship said that the incident was never satisfactorily investigated despite the fact that US agents were involved at every step of the investigation.  And so The Bahamas government is chasing after that shadow this week, dredging up the lives of Defence Force officers, and drugs once again casts a shadow over the security forces.  The photo of the week is the Defence Force Commander Davy Rolle who insisted on testifying in camera as he arrived at the Commission to testify.  The Commissioners are Stanley Moore, President, Sir Albert Miller and Archbishop Drexel Gomez.  The photo is from the Nassau Guardian Tuesday 2nd March 2004 by Donald Knowles.


The United States Government has sent in the marines to Haiti once again, and banished its leader to the Central African Republic.  The U.S. now occupies that country again, for the third time in one hundred years.  That is as starkly as one can say it.  Jean Bertrand Aristide was hustled out of Haiti in the early morning hours of Saturday 28th February, the U.S. says on the brink of a blood bath.  They produced a copy of a letter that the President “signed”.  In signing it, he said that he was leaving the country to avoid bloodshed.  The U.S. says that some time around 6:15 a.m., the plane carrying the President of Haiti flew out of Port-au-Prince headed to God knows where.

Certainly as it transpires, the President and his wife who were on board did not know where they were going.   They did not know for some 20 hours.  They were not allowed to look out of the window of the plane and they were not allowed to communicate with anyone.  The President told the world’s press that the trip came about because U.S. agents came to him and told him that there were white mercenaries in Port-au-Prince who were about to unleash a bloodbath on the city, and that if they came, the U.S. would not be able to protect the President.  It turns out under heavy cross examination by U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega that the U.S. told President Aristide that if he did not sign a letter of resignation, they would not help him on his way either.  In other words, they would let him die in Haiti.

So here is how it looks.  The United States insists that they did Haiti, President Aristide, his family and the world a favour by hustling Mr. Aristide into ignominious exile in the Central African Republic.  No one had heard of that country for years in the west, and the last time we heard, it was the outrageous allegations being made by western papers that Bokassa, the head of that state who declared himself Emperor, used to eat people and drink their blood. That is where they took Mr. Aristide, they say because no other country would take him.  Their version of events is that South Africa said no because they were in the middle of an election campaign.  South Africa said that they would not take him unless they heard from Mr. Aristide himself or a request was made from Caricom.  Mr. Aristide says that he was kidnapped by U.S. agents and forced to sign by psychological pressure a letter of resignation which according to the Jamaican Foreign Minister K.D. Knight, Mr. Aristide had no intention of doing up to 8 p.m. on Saturday 28th February, the last time they spoke.  Sometime after that Mr. Aristide changed his mind, and now he is out of his country and no doubt going out of his mind.

From his spot in exile, Mr. Aristide said that he would be working toward returning to Haiti.  The Haitians ought to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for running out of the country an elected President, whose only crime seems now to have been that he offended the United States and the business interests in the country.  France joined the bandwagon because it saw an opportunity to retake the sovereignty of Haiti in its 200th year of independence, thus avenging the defeat of Napoleon’s armies.   The U.S. is now engaging in a full court press against the Caricom nations that support the constitutionally elected President of Haiti.  There is a smear campaign by the U.S. against Mr. Aristide accusing him of every nefarious activity under the sun: murder, drug trafficking, you name it; they say he’s done it.  The Congressional Black Caucus in the U.S. is livid, and the matter appears now to be part of the energizing effort of the black base in the United States against George Bush, the sitting U.S. president who himself came to power as result of similarly flawed elections that they accused President Aristide of holding.

The populations of the Caribbean are not pleased at all by the snubbing of Caricom's leaders.  It reinforces the feeling that the U.S. is fundamentally a racist country that can’t help itself when it comes to small black nations.  They think that the writing is on the wall for other small black nations whose only offence will be that they are headed by individuals that those in the corridors of power in Washington don’t like.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 6th March 2004 at midnight: 59,719.

Number of hits for the month of February up to Sunday 29th February at midnight: 241,800.

Number of hits for the month of March up to Saturday 6th March at midnight: 46,709.

Number of hits for the year 2004 up to Saturday 6th March at midnight: 472,146.

CARICOM Heads teams in Kingston, Jamaica emergency session: Jamaica's Daily Gleaner;
US Marine in patrolling in Haiti - photo / NY Times


    There was far too much hand wringing and angst coming out of the Caricom group of countries over the departure of Jean Bertrand Aristide.  The Caribbean countries ought to know by now that the US, Canada and certainly the arrogant and racist French have no respect for Caricom, and it was only a matter of time before the fast one was pulled.  The answer then is to have your own wherewithal if you are going to play in the big leagues, your own force.  It may mean that we have to team up with the Africans to see if something like that can’t be developed.
    The fact is that President Aristide is out of his country, and it seems a little strange that a man so resolute would actually allow someone to force him to sign a letter of resignation.  It seems to us that he should not have signed, death be damned do not sign.  As long as he stood still, the U.S. had to act to prevent disorder.  But that is all hindsight.  The question is: where do we go from here?  We think that Caricom has made the right decision, and no doubt The Bahamas would have been a major consideration in all of this, to continue to engage with Haiti. After all come whatever government there is, the Haitian people have to survive.  Caricom has an obligation to keep trying.
    We support the efforts of the Bahamian Foreign Minister to get Ambassador Eugene Newry (pictured with Minister Mitchell at right) back into Haiti by the end of this week.  There is no sense staying out if it is safe to return.  It was never unsafe for him to remain. The only reason he left was because the domestic public was screaming for him to come home, we suspect.  Now it is time to get back to work, and start doing the things that will help to create goodwill with the Haitian people.  We agree with Caricom’s call for an investigation into what happened with President Aristide.  That should not deter the forward movement of engagement to help the Haitian people move forward.
    We think that President Aristide might well still have a legal claim to the Presidency of Haiti.  In the halls of power, the Caribbean Governments, together with Africa ought to ensure that his case is properly put and that he gets an opportunity to put his case to the world.  But in the meantime, let us move ahead working toward peace, stability and economic development in Haiti.
    You may click here for the statement of P.J. Patterson, on behalf of Caricom issued in Jamaica on Wednesday 3rd March.  There was also a statement on the supply of equipment to the Haitian National Police by Caricom.  You may click here for that.  Finally, you may click here for the Minister of Foreign Affairs statement to civil society on the way forward in Haiti. Prime Minister Perry Christie is shown conferring with his Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell during a news conference at Nassau International Airport upon their return from the CARICOM Heads of Government emergency session in Kingston, Jamaica.  BIS photo / Derek Smith.  Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell looks on as H.E. Dr. Eugene Newry briefs the press.  BIS photo / Peter Ramsay.

    The United States Charge d’affaires in The Bahamas Robert Witajewski was out into the glare of the media light defending his Government’s wrong move in Haiti on Friday 5th March.  He said that the United States did not contact Caricom on the question of Mr. Aristide's removal from Haiti because Caricom is too slow moving an organization.  This is a curious comment since by media accounts out of the mouths of the State Department’s spokesmen, the Secretary of State Colin Powell was working the phones throughout the night to forge a consensus on President Jean Bertrand Aristide’s departure.  That explanation simply does not wash.  This is the same Government that takes years to process simple visa applications.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  The U.S. could have called Prime Minister P.J. Patterson at any hour.
    What is clear is that the U.S. did not want anyone from the Caribbean to speak to Mr. Aristide because it would have counterbalanced their arguments and Mr. Aristide would have stayed.  The U.S. official in The Bahamas also said that Mr. Aristide was more interested in his personal fortune than in Haiti.  That seems a bit of a smear as well.  In the aftermath of the mistake, there is a full court press to smear Mr. Aristide in the eyes of the public as a man who was corrupt.  This was not the public posture of the United States up to Saturday 28th February evening when they facilitated his removal from Haiti.  Finally, the U.S. official said that The Bahamas should take the lead in Caricom and re-engage in Haiti.  We agree with that but the record of how this matter was handled is certainly not a trust building mechanism.  No doubt the public throughout the Caribbean will now have jaundiced eyes. US Charge d'affaires Robert Witajewski / file photo

    The Commission of Inquiry into the loss of the drugs (50 packets of cocaine) on the ship Lorequin in 1992, arrested by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is in full swing.  All the big wigs from the Police Force and the Defence force have been lining up to testify.  The Commodore of the Defence Force Davy Rolle asked to testify in private about the matter.  The Nassau Guardian pointed out that this seemed to be just the Opposite of what had been promised by the President of the Commission retired Justice Stanley Moore when he opened the proceedings.
    The idea of the Commission is to get to the bottom of the loss of the drugs and supposedly satisfy the U.S. authorities that the matter was thoroughly investigated.  The RBDF men who were on board the HMBS Inagua that arrested the ship have been said to be living under a cloud since that time, unable to get visas to travel to the United States.  For most Bahamians that is a fate worst than death.  The U.S. plays the matter to the hilt.  The matter was in fact thoroughly investigated by the police.  While the events that are coming out now like the changing lifestyle of some of the officers on board the Inagua after the incident are titillating, no new ground has been broken.
    There has to be some resentment in this society again with The Bahamas government spending valuable monies and resources on an investigation that the U.S. already knows the answer to.  Further, it is doubtful that they will change their policy toward the persons who can’t get the visas.  But once this Commission is complete, it should put the matter to rest, The Bahamas government must insist that the U.S. perform its end of the bargain and give these men their pass to the U.S.  We live to see the day when the U.S. actually treats small countries and people from them as equals and fairly.  Nassau Guardian photos of Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodores Davy Rolle, left and his predecessor Leon Smith, right.

    Some say that perhaps it is one of those days that should live in infamy.  We do not go that far.  We simply thank the Nassau Guardian for commemorating from its files, the little known fact that on 1st March 1958, the white oligarchy that had ruled The Bahamas for a century or more joined themselves into a political party called the United Bahamian Party (UBP).  It was the second political party in the history of the country, third if you count the extra-parliamentary party of the late Sir Etienne Dupuch known as the Bahamas Democratic League.
    The UBP became known as the Bay Street Boys and ruled the country in that guise until their defeat by the nation’s first political party the PLP on 10th January 1967.  The UBP became defunct and dissolved shortly before the General Election of 1972 when the UBP amalgamated with Cecil Wallace Whitfield’s breakaway Free PLP and formed the Free National Movement.

Keod Smith Raises Eyebrows Again
    A letter writer to this column Jolyen Bethel who claims to have an interest in environmental matters was incensed over another appearance in the press by Ambassador Keod Smith.  We have come down on no side on the issue but here is what that writer letter had to say:
    “There is a neat phrase that is often employed in law which says that at a particular point in a civil case, if the defendant decides that he is going to make a “No Case To Answer” submission, the defendant is put to an election.  He is made to choose whether or not his case will live or die without putting witnesses in.  In other words, if he chooses to make a “No Case” submission, he will not be allowed to call witnesses.  If the judge rules against him on the submission, he loses and unlike in the criminal trail, he cannot then call witnesses.  The defendant can’t have his cake and eat it too.  That is how it is in life with so many things.  So yet again when the newspaper headlines were enlivened by the fact that an Ambassador of the Prime Minister was proffering adverse advice to the Prime Minister in the press, there was a lot of talk about whether that Ambassador would be put to an election.  The Bible has another neat way of putting it: 'Choose ye this day whom you will serve!'  For many, the reply is clear: 'As for me and my House I will serve the Lord'”.

    Several letter writers wrote to correct our piece from a Grand Bahama reader:
    Sorry, it was Beyonce's sister [Solange] who got married at the Old Bahama Bay in West End.
    She and her boo, Jay-z were attending.

    And another:
    I read your Web site every week. It's excellent. But your Grand Bahama correspondent apparently was mistaken about the Beyonce wedding item.
  Here's a wire story that was published in today's Palm Beach Post:
Beyonce's 17-Year-Old Sister Weds
NEW YORK - Beyonce's little sister is now a married woman. Solange Knowles, 17, wed Daniel Smith in a ceremony in the Bahamas over the weekend, according to her record company, Columbia Records.  Beyonce, her parents, Mathew and Tina Knowles, and Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland were in attendance.  "I am excited about this new phase in my life," Solange said Monday in a statement. "I am very happy and feel truly blessed to have the unconditional love and support of my parents and my entire family."
    Solange released her debut CD, "Solo Star," last year. She'll make her feature film debut in "Johnson Family Vacation," due out later this year, her record label said.
    Smith, a college football player, and Solange are natives of Houston.

    Thanks to our eagle-eyed readers- Editor

More on Key & BahamasUncensored
One regular reader writes:
"I am not a PLP supporter but I thought that last week’s column was complimentary of Mr. Key.  So, I concur with you that someone needs to get their head examined.

    And we concur with that!  Ed.

    Marva Moxey is Ed Moxey's daughter.  Those who know Ed Moxey, the rebel politician of the 1970s and 80s, know that this is a woman who will not be messed around easily.  It is thus a cause of consternation to so many people in Grand Bahama as to why the Minister of Local Government is engaged in a contretemps with the Chief Councillor Ms. Moxey in Freeport when she is backed up by three members of the PLP who are members of the council, and she would (from all accounts) wish any opportunity to assist the Government in its mission.  At every turn it appears she is turned back and rebuffed by the Minister in favour of the FNM majority on the Council.
    Oswald Brown writing in his column in the Nassau Guardian pointed out the futility of it all.  He said that the row was one created by persons who have the naked ambition to become Members of Parliament, and are being manipulated by others in their pursuits.  He thought none of the insurgents were fit to serve in that place.
    We believe that it is in the best interest of Local Government in The Bahamas for the legal position to be made absolutely clear.  The Chief Councillor Marva Moxey has the law on her side.  She quoted chapter and verse that says if you miss three consecutive meetings, your seat as local councillor is deemed vacant.  She said that having established that the renegade councillors were missing for three meetings, as Chief Councillor, she changed the locks so that the insurgents who were trying to stop the business of the Local Government from going on could not have access to a place they were no longer properly entitled to enter.  The Minister would have none of it and said that he ordered the locks changed again.  Ms. Moxey responded that the Minister did not have the right in law to change the locks, and if he felt that she had violated the laws on Local Government his recourse was to the courts.

    Scarcely a week passes in this world when the United States Government or the agglomeration of European countries that together rule the world don’t come up with some scheme or other to try to blackmail developing countries into doing things that will in some way harm their national interest.  Now the latest thing is the United States Trade Office proposes to put The Bahamas on a list that will stop us from trading our crawfish to the United States.  Their decision may also affect our tourist trade.
    And so we are scrambling round to do what the FNM government was supposed to do from 31st December 2000.  An amendment to the Copyright Act was to have been passed to limit the scope of compulsory licensing that Hubert Ingraham and his cronies passed to allow Cable Bahamas to take the signal down from the satellite in English and broadcast it.  A fee would have to be paid, and this would be turned over to the copyright holder.  Except that the US in support of its copyright owners, the Motion Picture Association of America said no dice.  They refused to take the money and it is piled up in a bank account in Nassau.   And they refuse to enter into negotiations as contemplated by the agreement between the Ingraham Government and the US and now one which the Christie Government has to enforce.
    The rubber may hit the road as early as April.  No amount of pleading and imploring has moved the position of US Government agencies on these matters, as President Aristide found out, you don't mess with the big boys.  The U.S. would bring the whole Bahamian economy crashing down on our heads just to make the point that they don't want us to have their motion picture broadcasts in English because the market is too small for them to bother.  But if compulsory licensing catches on, then the larger markets will try and it and they're sunk.  So compulsory licensing in The Bahamas has to go. Cable Bahamas isn’t worth the trouble.  But there is always something that smacks of unfairness in all of this.

    The PLP’s first response to former Senator Edison Key was to deal with his allegations seriously but with some circumspection having regard to his long history in the party.  Mr. Key rewarded that approach by taking it as a sign of weakness and in the week before last, he ratcheted up his political campaign against the PLP and the Prime Minister by resigning for the spurious reason that he read something about him in this column.  It turns out that he could not have understood what he was reading or he would not have come logically to the conclusion that the column was an attack on him. Last week, Mr. Key ratcheted it up yet another notch when he released the letter that was supposedly delivered to the office of the Prime Minister on 10th January 2004.  This is the 7 page letter that was supposed to have been the dynamite to blow the PLP out of the water.  It was released to all the press.  You may click here for the letter.  We have blacked out two lines which we consider libellous.  The Tribune when it published the letter on Friday 6th March, it also blacked out the references in the letter to individuals.  The Guardian did not and it appears that legal action may be taken against The Guardian and Mr. Key for the libel.  Mr. Key should therefore retract it and apologize.
    You should read the letter.  It is really in the main a gripe session.  The central point of corruption is an allegation that says that he brought to the Prime Minister’s attention a copy of a document that he described as an attempt to defraud the Public Treasury of 38 million dollars.  He did not name the persons in involved. When you look at the terms of his letter and the allegation, there is no corruption at all since the matter at best was inchoate.  So no actual defrauding took place and even defrauding seems in the context to have been used loosely and without foundation.
    The Prime Minister is to issue a statement and meet with the media.  No doubt the matter was investigated and proved to be totally false by the results.  Contrary to the letter's assertion, Mr. Key was not ostracized by the PLP.  In fact on this very site, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was pictured (see at right, July 2003) with Mr. Key at a public ceremony in Abaco after when, by his own account, the information that damned him to being 'ostracized' had been delivered.
    The question for many now is: what is actually going on here?  Certainly, all bets have to be off in terms of dealing with this politically.  It is clear that Mr. Key is motivated by something other than simple love of country and party.  He intends to inflict maximum damage on the PLP and on Prime Minister Perry Christie and his Ministers so as to cause the party to lose the next General Election.  The only beneficiary of that will be the Free National Movement.  That means then that Mr. Key is seeking to help the FNM win the Government and his attacks therefore are politically motivated.
    As we went to press, Mr. Key made another allegation.  He claimed that the police had raided the home of a relative in Abaco executing a search warrant reportedly for drugs and guns.  He said that the person was being victimized by the Government because of him.  It is a sad, sad day that at the end of a distinguished career in politics, when he was always on the right side, that he now finds himself cast by his own hand behind God’s back.

    If you want to get the Prime Minister Perry Christie fighting mad, you have only to attack his integrity.  Edison Key, the former Senator did just that over the past few weeks with one allegation after another that went to the heart of Mr. Christie's honesty as a politician.  The Prime Minister is said to have been restrained in the face of the attack, counselled that to overreact might inflict more damage to himself and the party while only enhancing Mr. Key’s allegations that are baseless.  Now it has come to the point of responding.  He will meet the press shortly.
    No doubt the record will ultimately show that an investigation was held into the allegations made by former Senator Key and the results proved to be that the allegations were false.  The Prime Minister is reportedly absolutely unconcerned that any of this is correct.  But what we are concerned about is not so much the truth or falsity of the allegations.  We have no doubt that the allegations are completely untrue.  Our concern is that the Opposition forces now seem to have a concerted programme, aided and abetted by recent former PLPs, who did not get the financial largesse and patronage that they expected out of the new PLP, to pile up unfounded allegation after allegation of corruption in the hope that even if none of it is true it paints a picture in the minds of the public of a PLP that is corrupt.  That is what we ought to be planning actively to combat.

    It turns out that this column still has a number of Bahamian students who faithfully read it every Sunday.  Many look to it as a counterbalance to the unending commentary about newsmakers throughout the world that has a distinct anti Black and pro western bias.  In some comments made recently about the column, it is refreshing to know that the subtext of African ness is still important to many of those who are in their teens and 20s and are Bahamians abroad.  This bodes well for the country.  Let Africa never die!


    Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe in Grand Bahama for the recent Grand Bahama Business Outlook symposium has highlighted a recent $2.5 billion proposal received by the government which is expected to change the face of western Grand Bahama and benefit the whole island's economy.  The Minister said the Ginn Development Company out of Orlando Florida intends to develop more than two thousand acres in West End into a world-class resort, condominium, residential and yachting community. Minister Wilchcombe, left, is shown at the conference with GB Chamber of Commerce President Gwendolyn Newbold and Bahamas Hotel Corporation CEO Dr. Baltron Bethel.  BIS photo / Vandyke Hepburn.


    The Reverend Father Howard Hanna was buried Saturday after funeral services at St. Agnes Anglican Church.  Archbishop Drexel Gomez officiated.  Father Hanna was who had also been on the Royal Bahamas Police Force was paid military honours by the police.  Among his survivors were his wife, Mrs. Trixie Hanna and two daughters, Bernadette, wife of the Prime Minister and Paula.  Photo / Peter Ramsay


    The Honourable Paul L. Adderley, Deputy to the Governor General is in Barbados.  Mr. Adderley is representing The Bahamas at the funeral of Sir Harold St. John, former Prime Minister of Barbados during the 1980s.  Sir Harold was a long serving Member of Parliament for the Barbados Labour Party and as Deputy Prime Minister in 1985, became Prime Minister on the death of Prime Minister 'Tom' Adams.


    Prime Minister Perry Christie travelled to and from Kingston, Jamaica this week for an emergency session of CARICOM Heads of Government on the situation in Haiti.  Upon his return, Mr. Christie is shown explaining the intricacies of world power, relating to Haiti to journalists at a news conference.

    Later in the week, the Prime Minister travelled to Steventon, Exuma for the opening of a new health clinic on that island, where he again exhorted residents to take advantage of the new economic opportunities being provided by his Government in the Family Islands.  Exuma is home to a just operational $400 million dollars resort complex.
    At the end of the week, the Prime Minister mourned the loss of his father-in-law, Rev,d. Fr. Howard Hanna.

14th March, 2004
Welcome to
  How do you do today?  It's great to have you as a reader.  We have the most incisive political news about and from The Bahamas! 
Please tell all your friends about us.
The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party... The Official Site of the Free National Movement...
PLPs On The Web... Interesting Places...
Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town Bahamas Government Website
Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte Bahamians On The Web
Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw Bahamian Cycling News
John Carey / PLP Carmichael FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...
Grand Bahama PLP
Click on a heading to go to that story; press ctrl+home to return to the top of the page.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK - It was a joyous and proud time this week in the country as it basked in the glory of the victories of two of its premier athletes.  The joy about it is that these are new names on the scene coming into their own.  The Minister of Sports Neville Wisdom, still in his coaches’ cloth, was pleased as punch to announce and congratulate the winner of the 200 metre indoor International Association of Athletics Federation’s World Indoor Championship held in Budapest, Hungary and the bronze medalist for the women’s 400 metres.  The pair Dominic Demeritte and Tonique Williams-Darling won in 22.66 seconds and 50.87 seconds respectively.  They smiled from ear to ear as they received their accolades from the Prime Minister, from the Minister of Sports and from our first champion medal winner overseas Tommy Robinson.  So the photo from the Nassau Guardian by Letisha Henderson on Friday 12th March of Dominic Demeritte and Tonique Williams-Darling is our photo of the week.


The Free National Movement must constantly ask itself: how from where they started did they get to this?  They must in their heart of hearts get that sinking feeling that they have to climb out of a big black dark hole to get back to where they were, the glory days under Hubert Ingraham.  Mr. Ingraham, now a shadow of himself, comforts himself on his Government pension, monies being collected in excess of 100,000 dollars and police bodyguards to boot, content with cackling and cussing at the fish fry on Friday nights.  The other leader of the FNM Tommy Turnquest is left to the device of struggling on his own, trying his best to appear to be brave but not quite drowning out the whispers of those who say Ingraham should come back, and that Tommy just doesn’t have it.

The public knew it back in 2002 and judging from what has happened since then, the fact of his not ‘having it’ has only been confirmed.

He got it wrong when he said during the visit of South African President Thabo Mbeki that in the face of a go-slow by the Union, the Government should warn tourists not to come to The Bahamas.

Then he tried to separate himself from the PLP on the question of Haiti, saying that he did not support the effort to stop people from violating the immigration laws of the country by stopping persons from coming to this country as illegal immigrants and then getting work permits.

He just doesn’t have it.

It would seem that if he were in a ministerial position again, he would simply give the country away, not be able to defend its material interests.

There are a lot of pretenders sitting in the wings.  One of them is the mercurial Zhivargo Laing, having blown a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent the people of Ft. Charlotte, where he was given a tailor made seat by his mentor Hubert Ingraham. He seemed to become too pumped up about himself, too full of himself, too much righteous Christian indignation, and in the end all for naught.  And judging from his sense of judgement since the election that view is only confirmed in the minds of many.  That this is a fellow who knows how to say the right things to your face, in fact knows what is the right thing to do, but somehow when he gets to putting pen to paper to defend his political ideas, he feels some macho penchant to twist and contort perfectly honest political truths into perverted versions of the political truth.  You get the feeling that this is a fellow still struggling to believe in something and in someone.

The PLP of course has it own problems.  The economy is not performing well, and everywhere the cry of the faithful and their children is the need for jobs.  There is, for the moment, no hiring in the public sector.  In the private sector, the Government is trying as fast as it can to make the decisions that will cause the jobs to start flowing.  But what comes instead is investors who say that they are ready to start but take too long to get started.  In the meantime when you look on the parks, the young adolescents are struggling to keep their identities intact in the face of nothing to do.  The twenty somethings are struggling to protect what they have earned in the face of no earnings.  And the thirty somethings just beginning to start families are struggling to keep their self esteem while facing unemployment.

In the face of such a situation, the normal answer would be to look to an Opposition party.  But the Opposition party that we have is hopeless, no idea where they are going, and no interest, apparently, in going anywhere.  They seem just to be marking time.  The PLP has to thank its lucky stars that this is the state of affairs, so the public is not rising up to complain about drift.

The Opposition Free National Movement is in a life and death struggle for its existence.  It still has its forty percent to be sure, but right now its voice is muted because its leadership is struggling to find itself.  We think it might be a good thing for the country if they could find their voices.  But we also think that their lack of a voice hands a golden opportunity to the PLP to succeed and to succeed beyond all imaginations.  We think the PLP has the capacity to do so under its Leader Perry Christie.  What we do know also is that under their Leader Tommy Turnquest, who does not himself ‘have it’, the FNM just don't have it.  But let us not sleep on that!

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 13th March, 2004 at midnight: 56,397.

Number of hits for the month of March up to Saturday 13th March 2004 at midnight: 103,106.

Number of hits for the year 2004 up to Saturday 13th March 20045 at midnight: 528,543.

Tommy Turnquest in the Senate.  Photo-Bahama Journal / Omar Barr


    Will wonders never cease?  One week after the warning signs seemed quite dire for the Ambassador for the Environment within his party circles, it appears there has been a revival of fortunes.  It is called the art of learning how to get along within a party.
    Last week, a letter writer to this column quoted the Bible for the Ambassador: “Choose ye this day whom you will serve!”  So there was this wonderful moment of epiphany that appeared in the form of a photo in the press this week: the Ambassador of the Environment and Chairman of the Bahamas Environment Science Technology (BEST) Commission appeared with Gerardo Capo, the Cuban American investor, who had been accused of destroying the environment of Bimini with his proposed project.  Mr. Smith proved to be an irritant to the Government with his pronouncement that he was not pleased with the project and what it had done.  Not so now.
    Appearing on ZNS television with PLP Attorney Valentine Grimes in the background and standing next to Mr. Capo, Mr. Smith pronounced himself satisfied.  Said he: “I feel comfortable in saying that I am satisfied that the company has come more in line with compliance than it was before with the standards that we have set, and we will be making recommendations that the project certainly be allowed to continue along that line.”
    Singing from a Spanish hymn sheet is sweet music indeed.  Nassau Guardian photo of Mr. Smith, centre, and developer Capo, right, at Bimini Bay with Arana Pyfrom of BEST - Patrick Hanna.


    A long, long time ago David Melville, a man from Boston, Massachusetts with more money than he knew what to do with, moved to Rum Cay, built a marina and small hotel and he used it as a past time.  That was back in 1978.  The whole complex fell into disuse and nothing much has happened on the Island of Rum Cay, home to just about one hundred people, mostly old people.
    Now, the Government has just completed a new airstrip in Rum Cay and the Prime Minister while there announced that he wanted the new development there signed within two weeks.  This past week on Wednesday 10th March, the Prime Minister announced the development of a 90 million dollar project: two hotels on 870 acres that used to be owned by David Melville.  One will be 60 rooms; the other 190 rooms.
    The project will be known as Rum Cay Club and Villas. We are really looking forward to this coming out of the ground.  People are screaming for work in Nassau.  Prime Minister Christie goes over plans for the Rum Cay development with architect (top); Rum Cay Crowd (right) - island residents gather for the opening of the airstrip; seated at front is runway builder and former Cabinet Minister Earvin 'E.K.' Knowles and Mrs. Stella Knowles.  BIS photos / Peter Ramsay

    Tit for tat, butter for fat.  That is a Bahamian saying.  It ends: “You kill my dog, I kill your cat.”  That is how the drama unfolded this week with Edison Key, the now former PLP senator and former Member of the PLP and former Stalwart Councillor.  Here is man who for no explicable reason resigned his position in a party that he fought for and on behalf of for thirty years, supporting a black man's party in the land of the whites in The Bahamas.  It does not seem the act of a rational and stable person.  Through the halls of the PLP, there is the resounding question, what in God’s name is wrong with this fellow to have gone so far off the rails for no sensible reason?
    The Prime Minister issued a stinging rebuke to Mr. Key's allegations of corruption.  He called the allegations of Mr. Key absurd and said that Mr. Key did not even interpret the information that he saw correctly.  The central allegation was that a contract was proposed to a Ministry of the Government that would have ended up defrauding the Treasury.  The Prime Minister said that the matter never even got to the contract stage because the company was not even qualified to bid.  You may click here for the full statement by the Prime Minister.
    Mr. Key issued a statement the next day saying that the Prime Minister ought to release the information that he gave him in fully laying it on the table of the House.  The Prime Minister told Mr. Key in a curt reply that since he had the information and had confidence in the information he ought or release it.
    It appears that Mr. Key was trying to cloak his scurrilous and defamatory allegations with the privilege of Parliament.  The Prime Minister was telling Mr. Key you swim or sink by your own actions.  That is where it was left, and we hope we do not hear a word more about it.
    There was a lot of commentary about whether the Prime Minister should have replied or not but the Prime Minister seems to have taken the position that his integrity was at stake and he and only he could defend it.

    Two politicians in their prime and beaming from ear to ear.  It was a happy photo.  The Ministers of Tourism and Transport Obie Wilchcombe and Glenys Hanna Martin did a tour of the harbour on Thursday 11th March. They were in the harbour in part to hear the complaints of the ferryboat operators who feel that their livelihood is being threatened by the tour boat operators who have all their fees paid in advance but still take passengers who have no prearranged tour.  The operators say the competition is unfair.  But from the looks of the photo they were happy to see both Ministers and we hope that the problem gets solved.  Nassau Guardian - Donald Knowles.

    The Jamaican Government announced on Thursday 11th March that it would allow the former President of Haiti to come to Kingston to visit his children.  Mrs. Aristide will accompany him. The announcement did not say how long he would be allowed to stay.  It did say that the Aristides did not request asylum in Jamaica and none has been granted.  He will enter the country as a visitor.  This is likely to raise the hackles of the Americans who are busy all over the place vilifying Mr. Aristide.  The fear is that once he gets back into the region, he will be able to foment a revolt against the new Government of Haiti.
    The new President of Haiti was officially installed this week and the new President appointed a new Prime Minister, one of the hacks out of Miami who served under a previous Government.  His first promise was the restart of the army disbanded by President Aristide when he returned to the country in 1994.   And so it appears that with the complicity of the United States, the rebels who were all part of the dislodged army are now likely to be back in Haiti and in full control of the Government, with brand new army uniforms to boot.
    There is also still a lot of ire by the U.S. aimed at Caricom.  The feeling is that Caricom should praise the U.S. for what the U.S. did in Haiti, solving the political crisis in the region.  In the region though, the stock of the United States has never been lower, with most of its citizens even in The Bahamas thinking that their governments were out foxed and insulted by the U.S. in dealing with this matter.  They wonder who is next.
    The U.S. tried to calm Caricom's fears by the right-winger Roger Noriega, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere, who is a former Chief of Staff for the racist Senator Jesse Helms, releasing a statement in the press throughout the region.  In part it said:
    “Now some leaders in the region have expressed concern that what happened to Aristide could happen to any one of them.  Knowing what I know about the responsible elected leaders of the hemisphere, I find it difficult to even conceive of such an eventuality.  I know of no other leader who would, for more than a decade, systematically violate his people’ rights, defy the international community, countenance drug traffickers, or tolerate such pervasive corruption.  And that is what Mr. Aristide did and that is why he found himself where he did – with legitimacy, without support.”
    The problem is that no one in the Caribbean buys that line of argument.  The Bahamas Government reportedly plans to send Ambassador Eugene Newry (pictured in the foreground at right with Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell) back into Haiti by early next week. Interim Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue arrives in Haiti from South Florida. Pablo Aneli/AP


    Stan Burnside, the cartoonist, is apparently happy again and flourishing in his new format at the Nassau Guardian where he began his career as a cartoonist many moons ago.  The Tribune forced him out but he has not skipped a beat.  Nothing marks the importance of political events and political impacts like getting into a Stan Burnside cartoon.
    This week, a look at the cartoons clearly showed that Haiti was very much on the minds of Bahamians.  Mr. Burnside drew three cartoons on the subject.  One showed a caricature of Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell flying over Haiti and cussing the Americans.  Then there was one showing George Bush singing to Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica the popular Bahamian song: “You Get Swing”.  That is the vernacular for being outwitted or fooled.  Then there was another caricature of the Foreign Minister in a car with Ambassador to Haiti Eugene Newry in a car marked Caricom up on blocks and trying to get started.  We thought that you would enjoy seeing them. Great work Stan!

    The debate going on in the United States over the question of gay marriage spilled into the local scene this week with fire and brimstone from the head of the Church of God of Prophecy Bishop Elgarnett Rahming (pictured in this Nassau Guardian photo by Donald Knowles).  Here is some of what he had to say in his own words:
    “…worst of all, is the recent spate of same sex marriages taking place among our neighbours to the north… Marriage between a single man and as single woman is the only lifestyle that is sanctioned by God and His order for the union and perpetuation of humankind.  There is no alternative lifestyle for it.”


    Cassius Stewart, the leader of the extra parliamentary political party, the Bahamian Democratic Movement (BDM) was at the convention of the Church of God of Prophecy where Bishop Elgarnett Rahming preached his fiery sermon.  According to Mr. Stewart, The Bahamas ought to ban same sex marriages.  One wondered whether this was simply a pandering grab for headlines or a serious attempt at commentary on public policy that is not in question.

    It is always amazing when you realize how little people in public life pay attention to life outside their direct field of endeavour.  Such is the thought as the Leader of the Opposition Alvin Smith (pictured) got up in the House of Assembly to talk on the Bill to enact into law the Montreal Protocol on the protection of the ozone layer.  This was Wednesday 10th March.
    After rambling on from one thing to the next, Mr. Smith finally turned to the fact that in Harbour Island the coconut trees are dying from the lethal yellowing disease.  This disease that has a long history in The Bahamas has virtually wiped out all the indigenous coconut palms in New Providence over the last thirty years, and is no doubt going to do the same in the islands.  It starts with the leaves on the outside of the tree shrivelling and dying and then the coconuts fall off.  Finally, the tree dies; leaving a headless, stump of a trunk.  It is a ghostly site particularly in The Bahamas where the lack of civic pride often allows us to just leave the stumps without cutting them down, even though the tourist brochures promise the allure of the coconut palm.
    According to Mr. Smith, the disease can be arrested by a chemical that they apply to the tree.  That is nonsense.  The tree cannot be saved by any chemicals.  The standard advice of the Ministry of Agriculture has been for years: cut down the Jamaica tall variety that we generally grow in The Bahamas because they are all going to die from the disease sooner or later.  They should be replaced by the Malaysian dwarf or a Malaysian / Panamanian hybrid that are resistant to the disease.  The Ministry of Agriculture can import the trees and during the worst of the epidemic in the 1970s and 1980s sold the tree at the Nassau Botanic Gardens for the princely sum of five dollars a tree.  Certainly that should be within the knowledge of Mr. Smith.  Instead, he is prescribing hocus pocus science in order to effect a solution for Harbour Island which should not allow its coconut trees to disappear.

    We thought that the most hilarious letter appeared in the newspaper this week by someone signing his or her name Dr. A. Rolle.  The letter writer is complaining about the place that condoms are put in stores for sale.  It appeared in the Nassau Guardian on Thursday 11th March.  The letter reads in part: “Please, Mr. Editor permit me to make a necessary observation and one that poses a challenge for the buyers.  I ask the question, why do stores particularly pharmacies and major grocery stores display their condoms selection behind of the cashiers.  Most of these cashiers are “older mom” types that would make even a grown man or woman blush while attempting to purchase one of these most useful intimate objects.  Can you imagine asking your mother about the finer points of whether to purchase a rough rider, an extra large or wild and sexy condom and what might be the benefit of each one?”
    But just a thought… isn’t that part of the reason why sexually transmitted diseases are so rampant in The Bahamas because of this prudishness about buying condoms and about issues of sexuality period?  Further, the letter writer should know that if you need condoms, you can get them by the case from the AIDS secretariat for free.  But what we do acknowledge is that there still needs to be a merchandising effort to get material on sexuality, sexual behaviour and improved distributions of condoms throughout the whole society if the AIDS epidemic is to be ultimately eliminated. The signs around town are getting more explicit but the problem still seems to be with us.
    The other thought is that the reason the things are kept where they are is because the items would be stolen by the people coming into the shops.  It is an easily pilfered item, and there is rampant theft amongst Bahamian young men and women, Bahamians period that the merchants are constantly complaining about.  Perhaps, using vending machines might be one solution to the problem.

    We received this response to our story last week ‘Bahamians Students’.  The correspondent entitled it:
    "Hey, just wanted to let you know that you have about two hundred Bahamian readers checking in from Los Angeles each week... both black AND white.  Good writing and effective analysis appeals to a LOT of islanders, irrespective of colour.  So, here's a shout out from our very own LA-Bahamas listserv [], serving Bahamian expats throughout sunny Southern California!"
    Thanks!  We appreciate your joining us every week from LA.  Say hello to all the Bahamians and our friends out there--Ed

    The former Minister in the Hubert Ingraham Government Zhivargo Laing is shaming us all, letting us down by the continued sophomoric and silly commentary in The Tribune every week. Just when you think it is safe to accept him into the community of the sensible, we have to deal with some serious argument that you know he does not believe in any more than the man in the moon..
    This past week on Thursday 11th March, Zhivargo Laing wrote in his column a clever piece of propaganda.  The thrust under the headline: HAITI POLICY IS A MISERABLE FAILURE, was that Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister seemed to be on a frolic of his own. That’s it plain and simple.  Everything else about Caricom not knowing the real nature of the problem and not knowing the limits of its power is simply errant nonsense.  That is the only way to deal with silly commentary, you have to acknowledge that he has a view but dismiss it as entirely foolish.
    Mr. Laing ended his column with the advice: “Only fools rush in where wise men fear to tread”.  We say to Mr. Laing, he should learn that lesson.  If he doesn’t know what he is talking about be quiet.  It is better to be thought a fool when no one hears what you say, than to open your mouth and confirm it.


    The 'Friends of Fox Hill' held a Lenten Tea Sunday 7th March at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Derek Davis.  Please click here for a photo essay by Peter Ramsay.

    The Bahamian American Cultural Society, Inc. of New York is staging a Bahamian Genealogical Heritage Seminar and Workshop Saturday 27 March. Organisers say the event is “in response to the expressed need of the thousands of Bahamian-Americans and their descendants to reconnect with their ancestral background, and the overwhelming desire to continue that legacy in their children.”
    The purpose of the Seminar and Workshop is “to lay a foundation for constructive dialogue and discussion of ancestral roots in and among families, groups and organizations, and to identify meaningful connections to their environment and lifestyle.”
    Will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Center at 144 West 15th Street, New York City, beginning at 9 a.m.
    The President of the Bahamian American Cultural Society Mrs. Beryl Edgecombe, notes that among the presenters are Dr. D. Gail Saunders, Director of the National Archives of The Bahamas; Mr. George Mackey, Chairman of the Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Board of The Bahamas; His Excellency Edison Bethel, New York Consul General of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas and experts on laws of The Bahamas, ancestral real estate, using church Records for ancestral research and researching Bahamian wills in the USA.
    For further information, contact 212- 213-0562 or e-mail


    Many of the Prime Minister's duties this week appeared to have been of a private nature, with no photographs allowed.  However, Mr. Christie take great pleasure in announcing an investment for the island of Rum Cay, worth ninety million dollars.  He is shown in the Cabinet Office at the signing of the Heads of Agreement for the project against the backdrop of an artist's rendering.  The investors involved have said that work is to begin immediately.  In reference to this and other projects now getting off the ground, the Prime Minister later told the House of Assembly that "help and hope is here".  From left are Minister of Financial Services & Investment Allyson Maynard Gibson, UK investor John Mittens of Montana Holdings, the project developer; Mr. Christie and Philip 'Brave' Davis, Member of Parliament for the area.  The development will comprise two hotels, one 60 rooms, the other 190 rooms; 100 condos and private villas; a residential community and a marina.

AMBUSHED! - These students, apparently on a field trip with their teacher, intersected the Prime Minister's path as he strode from his office to the House of Assembly.  Pausing for a photograph with the youngsters, Mr. Christie laughed as they spontaneously began to flash the sign of the crab, a political symbol for the governing PLP.  "I bet if this was that other fellow, you'd be flashing a different sign" quipped the PM.

21st March, 2004
Welcome to
  How do you do today?  It's great to have you as a reader.  We have the most incisive political news about and from The Bahamas! 
Please tell all your friends about us.
The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party... The Official Site of the Free National Movement...
PLPs On The Web... Interesting Places...
Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town Bahamas Government Website
Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte Bahamians On The Web
Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw Bahamian Cycling News
John Carey / PLP Carmichael FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...
Grand Bahama PLP
Click on a heading to go to that story; press ctrl+home to return to the top of the page.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The Commission of Inquiry looking into the drug bust by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has adjourned for five weeks.  The Chairman, retired Justice Stanley Moore, is going to South Africa and then when he is back, the Archbishop Drexel Gomez, who is another commissioner is off to Africa to settle the gay issue for the Anglican church.  But the Commission had an interesting week.  They searched the boat the Lorequin that had the drugs in it.  The allegation is that some of the drugs on the boat went south after the ship was interdicted by Defence Force officers in the Nassau harbour back in June 1992.  This inquiry is a wild goose chase precipitated by an allegation made by the former Ambassador to The Bahamas for the United States in December 2002.  From the evidence so far, it just seems like a lot of hearsay and one wonders what it would accomplish.  Probably not a lot.  But the sight of these luminaries of the countries looking and peering into a boat looking for evidence of an event that happened 12 years ago.  Sheeesh!  But that is our photo of the week by Omar Barr that appeared in the Bahama Journal on Tuesday 16th March 2004.


The Caribbean has never witnessed or experienced the kind of pressure of a political nature they now witness and experience since the United States Government engaged in a destabilization programme against Michael Manley in 1980 and 1981.  That destabilization programme pretty soon led to Mr. Manley’s defeat.  Over 900 people were murdered for political reasons in Jamaica.  Edward Seaga became the Prime Minister of Jamaica.  Michael Manley became a capitalist after having been booted out, and now his party is back in power.

It’s that same party of Michael Manley, the Peoples National Party that is in power today under P.J. Patterson.  Once again, following their instincts and the natural independence of the Jamaican people, they took it upon themselves to invite Jean Bertrand Aristide, the ousted former President of Haiti into their country.  The United States did not like it.  They still do not like it, and they seem to have pretty much ordered Jamaica to get rid of Mr. Aristide, or else.  Frantic efforts are said to be underway to find Mr. Aristide another sanctuary.  This is a great shame.

You wonder what this man Mr. Aristide has done to the Americans.  He is the tiniest of people physically.  He certainly does not have the power that they claim he has but yet there is a visceral hatred for him that goes much beyond reason.  He landed in Jamaica accompanied by Maxine Waters, the US Congresswoman.  He stepped off the plane in the freedom of Jamaica and made a pledge that he would not engage in any political activity while he was in Jamaica.  He is not likely to violate that pledge and probably does not have the power to do so.

What was most unfortunate was the response of the interim government of Haiti. The interim Prime Minister announced that he was recalling his ambassador from Jamaica.  He also said that he was reconsidering the relationship of Haiti to Caricom.  It would be silly for Haiti to withdraw from Caricom.  It should not freeze its relationship with Jamaica.  It is wrong and the now Haitian Government should back away from the foolish decision they have now made.

Many Bahamians wondered whether or not The Bahamas would be next.  That is why it is of paramount importance for The Bahamas Government to get its ambassador to Haiti back in Port-au-Prince.  He has been out too long, and the longer he waits, the more difficult the relationship will get.  We think that the sooner he gets back to Haiti the better.

There was a great deal of debate in The Bahamas over the past week over whether or not Mr. Aristide should have been allowed into Jamaica.  But why not?  Mr. Aristide is a free man and not a criminal.  After all he is a citizen of Haiti and if he wants to return to Haiti he should be allowed to do so.  It is his home.  It just seems that the whole matter is unfair on so any fronts.

Caribbean countries have to remain united in the face of the onslaught.  Every developed country has taken the view that Mr. Aristide got what he deserved, and good riddance.  They reject any arguments that a democratically elected President was removed by force.  The persons who tried to overthrow the Government by force are now being rewarded in Haiti rather than being prosecuted.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados did not help the situation by appearing to pull the rug out from under Jamaica when she announced in her Parliament in Wednesday 17th March that she was not consulted on Mr. Aristide’s coming into the Caribbean and Jamaica.  But that should be best for Barbados, now they can tell the U.S. it was all Jamaica’s fault.  But it would have been better for her not to say anything publicly and make that point quietly to Jamaica.  The headline in the Jamaican daily was that there is a row in Caricom over Haiti.  The US must be positively gleeful since it appears to be the policy of the United States to break up Caricom.

The Caricom Heads of Government will discuss this and other issues when they meet in St. Kitts on 25th and 26th March.  St. Kitts just happens to be the home of Randall Robinson, the African American activist who has been Mr. Aristide’s main political supporter in the United States.  On the other side is the unrelenting pressure from the U.S. to do their bidding to a regime that may have been established in power by rogues and thieves.   But that is what the Heads will face.  The independence of their nations will be sorely tested.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 20th March 2004 up to midnight: 60,515.

Number of hits for the month of March up to Saturday 20th March 2004 up to midnight: 163,621.

Number of hits for the year up to Saturday 20th March 2004 up to midnight: 589,058.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide during his former exile in Washington in the '90s. Internet photo


    The President of the Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) John Pinder was at it again.  On Wednesday 17th March, he launched a tirade at the Government and threatened industrial action if, according to him, the Government did not fulfil its promises.  What promises?
    You will remember an agreement signed between the Government and the public sector unions: the Bahamas Union of Teachers and the BPSU.  That agreement from last year pledged to carry out certain reviews and to effect the salary increases promised by the previous administration.  To carry out that promise, another 24 million dollars was added to the wage bill of the Government.
    John Pinder has had unusual access to the records of the Government as an employee’s representative.  The Minister for the Public Service Fred Mitchell is said to have shared everything with him.  It must have been a great shock therefore to the Government that Mr. Pinder would engage in such a public rant, when he was in possession of all the facts.  All one could figure out was that this was an exercise in posturing or as the Government called it in its press release of Thursday 17th March “grandstanding”.
    Mr. Pinder said that the Immigration promotions had not been effected and that the firemen had not been paid their overtime in the Family Islands, that the Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation and Airport Authority workers were still owed thousands of dollars.  He also said that the anomalies pay due to Family Island administrators had not yet been paid.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Fred Mitchell answered each in turn.  He said that Mr. Pinder knew that the promotions for Immigration Officers were held up in part because of a request from him.  Secondly, the Minister said that Mr. Pinder was aware that some persons needed security clearance that had not yet been obtained. The Minister said that Mr. Pinder knew that the matter with the Family Island administrators had also been settled and that the pay was due shortly.  The other two matters were the subject of a legal dispute and should rightly go before the tribunal to decide.
    You may click here for the full statement by the Ministry.
    Many people in the Bahamas Public Service Union are now questioning whether Mr. Pinder should continue to lead the organization into the confrontation that he does, knowing that the mood of the country is against him, and that constant confrontation unionism would be counterproductive. Bahama Journal photo of John Pinder by Omar Barr.

    The speculation has finally reached the mainstream papers.  You will remember the concern expressed earlier on this site about fooling with the COB president.  You may click here for our previous story.  The point of the previous commentary was that it was inadvisable for the present president of the College Dr. Leon Higgs not to have his contract renewed.  It was the view expressed here that he had not been given a fair opportunity to carry out his mandate during the first five years of his administration.
    Dr. Higgs himself refused to comment on whether not his contract had been renewed.  He simply told the Nassau Guardian that there was some restructuring going on.  The Chair of the College Council Franklin Wilson also refused to say.  That did not stop the headline in the Nassau Guardian of Wednesday 17th March: COB MAY RETIRE HIGGS.  The Tribune entered the picture with a more comprehensive and speculative story of a stormy board meeting, of disagreements amongst board members over the decisions on the choice of Chair of a particular division.  There were also reports in The Tribune story of industrial action being planned.
    The problem with all of the speculation is that this comes off as a campaign to undermine the College as an institution and to get at the PLP.  In the press report, there was an attack on the Minister of Education as well.  When these kinds of reports surface, someone is trying to get the attention of the authorities because that someone disagrees fundamentally with some of the decisions that the College is making but does not have the clout to properly influence the decision.  By revealing it to the press, the idea is to force a different decision.
    Those who run the College would do well to pay attention to it all, with a view to ensuring that any discord or purported discord disappears from the headlines.  Whatever it is, this can’t be good for the College.
    In the meantime, the Haitian community is most upset at the College because they say that children of Haitian parents born in The Bahamas have to pay double the fees at the College.  They say this is a further act of discrimination pursuant to the legal discrimination in the constitution that denies citizenship automatically to these children even though they know no other country.  In The Bahamas, you do not get citizenship of The Bahamas as of right at birth, unless one of your parents is Bahamian and in some cases your parents are married.

    Throughout the past weeks, with the discussions about what to do on the Haiti question becoming more intense, the question has been asked whether or not the government of The Bahamas actually knows how many illegal migrants are in The Bahamas. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell speaking at a forum of clergymen on Thursday 18th March, told them that the answer was no.  He said that there was a clear information deficit in The Bahamas.  Public policy was being determined not on evidence but based on educated guesses.
    The last census put the number of Haitians living in The Bahamas at seven per cent of the population. That translates into just over 20,000 people.  The census does not say whether or not these were legal or illegal.  The Minister said that the International Organization for Migration has agreed to do a study for The Bahamas on border control.  That study will include an attempt to count all the illegal immigrants in the country.  The figures being bandied around in the country say that some 60,000 illegal Haitians live in The Bahamas.  That is probably way out of line but we have no way of knowing.
    What we do know is that the Bahamian population is getting fed up with the sight of Haitians in the country where some people are proposing to take the law into their own hands.  The hatred seeps into talk shows and into almost every forum on the subject.  Inevitably someone shows up and makes disparaging remarks about Haitians, about their supposed uncleanness, dedication to voodoo and their general unfitness to be in The Bahamas.  They then say that Haitians are taking over the country, and say that the Government must do something to get rid of these Haitians.
    The Government is riding a tiger on this one, with ministers trying desperately to keep the passions of people under control on this issue.

    Several times during the past month, public officials, including American public officials in The Bahamas have had to release statements of one kind or another responding to stories in The Punch and The Source, two newspapers in The Bahamas that specialize in making up stories, most of them entire bits of fiction and lies simply designed to sell newspapers.
    This past week, The Punch was at its best (or worst) depending on your perspective.  The newspaper claimed that the United States Government had issued a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs warning The Bahamas not to admit Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide to The Bahamas.  A spokesman for the Ministry said that the story was a complete lie and utterly baseless concoction of a lurid and evil mind.
    The problem is that there is just one lie after another published in those sections of the press, and the cry is growing louder and louder for something official to be done about it.  Chances are nothing will be done; probably nothing official should be done.  What should be done is people should stop buying the papers and supporting the lies and the liars who write them.

    The issue is in the news again in The Bahamas. The Gay and Lesbian community in The Bahamas has apparently decided that they will not be silent.  On Tuesday 16th March, Erin Greene, Mindell Small and Dr. Kemuel Saunders appeared on the Issues of the Day programme of Jeff Lloyd.  They argued that the Bahamas constitution does not specifically ban same sex unions.  Ms. Greene urged homosexuals in The Bahamas to apply for marriage licences if they wish to marry.  They argued for equal rights in The Bahamas.  The wrath of God, fire and brimstone came breathing down on their heads almost immediately.
    Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez who has been leading the fight against homosexuality in The Bahamas said that the church would be opposed to same sex unions and to any change in the constitution of The Bahamas to legalize those unions.  The Archbishop is also engaged in the fight internationally to stop the spread of homosexuality.  The West Indies Province of the Anglican Church, the Asian and African provinces are all in a union with conservative parishes in the United States to oppose the acceptance of homosexuality and more particularly the ordination of homosexual clergy and same sex unions.

    The PLP has promised that it will seek to transform the inner city area of New Providence that has consistently and without fail voted for the PLP since 1956.  If you cast your minds back, the late Sir Lynden Pindling and the late Sir Randol Fawkes were the first representatives of the PLP elected in 1956 from what was then known as the Southern District.  That is the district South of Shirley Street and known broadly as Grants Town.  It stretched all the way back to the sea.  Since that time, the boundaries have changed, the names of constituencies have changed, the representatives have changed but the people of that area have always voted for the PLP.  Even when the PLP was down to its lowest ebb in 1997 with just five seats, those seats Englerston, Grants Town, St. Cecilia and Centreville, Kennedy were all part of the original Southern District.
    This time Perry Christie is determined that the PLP will do something for those areas and has launched an urban renewal programme, under the direction of Dr. David Allen, with the assistance of another trained psychiatrist Dr. Desiree Cox, the nation’s first Rhodes Scholar.
    One of the first aspects of the programme is what has come to be known as the Farm Road project. The project seeks the help of the police, and under Inspector Keith Bell, the police moved in and cleaned up the area, knocking down old dilapidated structures.  Then the Social Services and Housing Ministries moved into provide new housing and social support to the people in the area.  The police claim that this has caused a dramatic decrease in the crime rate in the area.
    The Prime Minister officiated at the opening of the Farm Road office for the Urban Renewal Project, the first of its kind on Friday 19th March.  Prime Minister Perry Christie, assists Lillis Pennerman of Fowler Street with the cutting of the ribbon at the opening of the Farm Road Urban Renewal Project Office on East and Eneas streets Thursday.  Also shown are Tom Roberts, pastor of the East Street Gospel Chapel, left, and Minister of Housing and National Insurance Shane Gibson (Bahama Journal Photo Omar Barr)


    The original owner, and the creator of the concept of Paradise Island came back to Nassau two weeks ago.  According to The Tribune Huntington Hartford, now 93 years old and wheel chair bound was accompanied to he country on a visit with his daughter. He was pictured on the front page of The Tribune.  Mr. Hartford purchased the island from Axel Wenner-Gren, the Swedish industrialist, who lived there prior to the war.  Mr. Wenner-Gren was deported from The Bahamas on the suspicion that he was a Nazi spy.
    Mr. Hartford got the Government to change the name of Paradise Island by Act of Parliament from the then Hog Island to Paradise Island.  He imported the Cloisters into the island.  But he was unable to get the concept of major gambling up off the ground.  That came when Jim Crosby of the Mary Carter Paint Company bought Mr. Hartford’s interest.  Mr. Hartford left The Bahamas.
    At the time of the sale, Mr. Hartford was known as a dashing kind of ladies man.  He was the heir to the A&P Supermarket Chain fortune in the U.S.  He has since fallen on hard times and is said to have very little money left.  His daughter told The Tribune that her father likes what he now sees on Paradise Island, would like to spend the rest of his days in The Bahamas.  Huntington Hartford at the Ocean Club on Paradise Island with his niece Sibilla O'Donell Clark (left) and his daughter Juliet at top in this Tribune photo by Dominic Duncombe; at right as a much younger man in this file photo from the Tribune.

    Prime Minister Perry Christie accompanied by the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell is headed to St. Kitts in the southern Caribbean for the Heads of Government conference of the Caribbean Community.  There are tensions over Haiti, mainly because the United States is pressuring the Community to recognize the regime that was installed in Haiti on the weekend of 29th February.
    Sitting in the wings and somewhere in the background will be Jean Bertrand Aristide, the deposed President of Haiti.  The Americans have called him a pathological liar in an unseemly campaign of vilification that has been going on in the press of the United States.  Unnamed individuals from the State Department have been cited as the sources for the campaign.
    Mr. Aristide claims that he was forced out of office and says that he is still the true President of Haiti.  He is in Jamaica and the Americans want him out of the region.  It is not known what Jamaica’s response will be.  What everyone recognizes is that this is a group that will be under the microscope with US envoys reportedly being dispatched to capitals in the region demanding that the regime be recognized in Haiti, even though the new regime has snubbed its nose at Caricom.
    One solution is to do what most countries do and that is say nothing, just work with whoever the de facto regime is in Haiti, until such time as democratic elections are held to put in place a really representative Government.  Interim Haitian President Boniface Alexandre, left and interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, hand credentials to member of new cabinet.  AP photo.

    There was a tragic occurrence on a Bahamasair flight heading for Miami on Tuesday 16th March.  Anthony Bain (pictured), the owner of Fashion Trap and a resident of Monastery Park, was on his way with his wife to Miami on board a Bahamasair flight 221 at 6:30 a.m. Mr. Bain appears to have suffered a heart attack.  According to Bahamasair, oxygen was immediately administered, and the flight turned back to the Nassau International Airport.
    The spokesman for the airline said that when the passenger left the airplane he was still alive but she could not vouch for what happened after that.
    The next day, the wife of Mr. Bain came back with a scathing response.  She said that her husband had died because of the interference with her attempts to administer CPR to her husband.  She is a trained nurse.  She said that none of the staff on Bahamasair knew CPR.  She said that she was told to stop pounding her husband on the chest.
    The spokesman for Bahamasair told the Guardian the next day that if the person had died, she apologized.  Here is what Phyllis Johnson, Bahamasair spokesman told The Nassau Guardian in her own words: “There was a heart attack, but there was no death.  Now we don’t know what happened after they left for the hospital or if there was a death, nothing has reached us.  He may have died when he left the airport, we don’t know that, but if he did, then we extend apologies to his family.”  That was a strange way to put it.  The bottom line is that the man is dead.  This is quite sad.


    Minister of Transport & Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin stopped by the taxi drivers' lounge at Nassau International Airport Friday.  The Minister was fielded concerns from the drivers and said that the time had come for a first-of-a-kind national symposium to address the needs of the taxi drivers.  Also this week, Minister Hanna Martin announced significant upgrades to begin in June at Nassau International Airport.  In recent weeks, Minister Hanna Martin has been meeting both formally and informally with owners and operators in various sectors of the transport industry.  She is in the process of regularising the much maligned jet ski business and also last week held the first of a series of meetings with jitney owners and drivers.  It will be interesting to see the progress the Minister makes with jitneys, which are the special area of transport that most people seem to love to hate.  Good work staying in touch, Glenys.  Minister Hanna Martin; top with taxi drivers (Tribune / Tanya Cartwright), right, announcing NIA upgrades with Airport Authority executives Anthony Kikivarakis and Idris Reid (Bahama Journal / Omar Barr).

Doctor, Doctor...
    It was great shock as I read last week’s column that you referred to someone in a caption as “Dr.” who received an honorary doctorate some years ago.
    The perpetual reference to people as honorary recipients as “Dr.” long after they were bestowed as such, was a faux pas that many would have thought that your site amongst other forums of Bahamian media would never have committed.
    These references only belittle the hard and voluminous work that many legitimate PhD’s go through before receiving such a well earned and deserved title.  In fact when one presents themself legitimately as such many initially question them if only in thought.
    It is hoped that your site may assist in educating its readers and other journalists that recipients of honorary degrees are not entitled to its usage beyond the day of its bestowing and will stop the perpetration of intellectual fraud.
    A loyal reader.
We couldn't quite figure out the reference point of this writer to last week's column, but she makes a point worth thinking about.  Perversely, perhaps, the letter brought to mind a scene from an old Chevy Chase movie in which he and a cohort pretending to be doctors greet some real doctors in a desert hospital. Between the six of them all greeting each other, they utter the single word 'Doctor' with different inflections at least fifty times. --Ed

    Freeporters are waiting for the next instalment of what is developing into the epic saga of the Local Government Council there.  The next regular meeting of the council is set for Tuesday 23rd March.  Each meeting seems to bring a showdown between factions of the council.  Chief Councillor Marva Moxey and her supporters on the one side; several other councillors (or former councillors, depending...) on the other.  At issue is whether or not the opposing councillors remain as members of the council after having not attended three meetings as prescribed by law.  The island administrator, statutory secretary to the council, has one view, apparently supported by the Minister.  The Chief Councillor - and seemingly the law itself - are of another view.  The situation has long descended into open bickering with several lock changes by both sides on the council's door.  Senior government officials are reportedly being asked to intervene before the matter gets worse.

    Congratulations to David Wallace, former MP for West End and Bimini up to 2002 and Michael Pintard, the former candidate for the Centreville Constituency, both FNM.  They have a new show on.  They have teamed up before to help us laugh at ourselves.
    The new show is called SAY 99.   It is really a stand up comedy routine, a mixed bag of standard jokes told with a Bahamian flavour and political humour about the PLP and the FNM.
    On Friday 19th March the pair packed them into the Camelot Hall in Freeport.  Mr. Wallace said that they had to turn 300 people away.  At $30 a pop that is a fair chunk of change.
    Mr. Wallace seems transformed on the stage, and clearly he is in his element.  He is like a new man.  He kept asking the cheering crowd who responded when he asked for all FNMs in the House to cheer, where they were on 2nd May?  It was a self-confident performance.  He is said to do well out of these efforts.  He himself added that he charges now for what he does, including being the M.C. at weddings.  And he added: “I especially charge the people of West End and Bimini”.  That brought down the house.
    It would be good if he could bring the show to New Providence but some of the humour is Freeport based, like the offer of a lock for Marva Moxey, the Chief Councillor who has been embroiled in a fight over access to the Local Government offices in Freeport.  That is not fatal to the translation of the routine to Nassau.
    Mr. Wallace is loose and fancy free in his routine, at turns bawdy, mock serious and sarcastic.  He calls the names of well known faces in the audience and pokes good fun at them.  You have to be able to take it.  Mr. Pintard is the more serious one.  He is a poet of some recognition, a social commentator and a motivational speaker.  The two play good foils to one another.  The show is well put together.
    What is really good about this is that it displays the maturing of the Grand Bahama community that can laugh at itself.  It is still a small community though.  Everyone who was anyone was there: Edward St George and Lady Henrietta his wife, Sir Albert Miller, retired Chair of the Port Authority and Lady Miller, and Willie Moss, the new President of the Port.  Former Ministers and MPs Zhivargo Laing, C.A. Smith were there as was Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell.  Said Mr. Pintard to Mr. Wallace about the Foreign Minister:  “Did you notice that in the U.S. during the Haitian crisis, they kept referring to the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell as the Prime Minister?”  But what is interesting said Mr. Pintard is that the Foreign Minister did not issue a statement to correct it.  Hmmm!


    During a recent visit to the island of Rum Cay, Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia 'Mother' Pratt took time out for a game of dominoes with island residents.  We thought you'd like to see the photo with its picturesque backdrop of the mailboat bay at Rum Cay.  Of course, there was no gambling involved, just good old 'meet the people' stuff.  Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin (back to camera) looks on as Mother Pratt demonstrates how they do it in St. Cecilia. BIS photo Peter Ramsay


    The Prime Minister travelled to the island of Abaco this week, principally to address the Chamber of Commerce there.  It was an important speech in which Mr. Christie outlined foreign investment in Abaco's tourism industry at about 500 million dollars.  The Prime Minister foreshadowed a major new government investment in the airport at Marsh Harbour for a new control tower, to cost as much as two million dollars.  Please click here for the Prime Minister's full address.  Also while in Abaco, Mr. Christie, accompanied by Local Government Minister Alfred Gray and Transport Minister Glenys Hanna Martin, visited the Every Child Counts Learning Centre.  The trio is shown above speaking with students.

NATIONAL CLERGY CONCLAVE - Prime Minister Christie confers with Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez during the closing luncheon of a national conclave of clergy.  During his address to the clergy, Mr. Christie affirmed his belief that the church has a role to play in Government irrespective of which political party is in power.

28th March, 2004
Welcome to
  How do you do today?  It's great to have you as a reader.  We have the most incisive political news about and from The Bahamas! 
Please tell all your friends about us.
The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party... The Official Site of the Free National Movement...
PLPs On The Web... Interesting Places...
Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town Bahamas Government Website
Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte Bahamians On The Web
Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw Bahamian Cycling News
John Carey / PLP Carmichael FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...
Grand Bahama PLP
Click on a heading to go to that story; press ctrl+home to return to the top of the page.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Haiti continues to dominate the news in The Bahamas, long after the Americans predicted that Haiti would go into a new phase of rebuilding following the departure of Jean Bertrand Aristide.  There is a great deal of passion about the subject.  The Caricom leaders in St. Kitts on Thursday and Friday 25th and 26th March, in the shadow of the Black American political activist Randall Robinson, grappled with the pressure of the United States on the one hand to recognize the Government they installed in Haiti and pressure from people like Mr. Robinson to stick to the principle of not recognizing Governments installed by military might. In Nassau on Sunday 21st March, Haitians gathered on Baillou Hill Road, about one hundred of them to demand the return of Mr. Aristide.  The photo made the front page of both The Tribune and The Nassau Guardian.  We thought the Guardian photo said it all, and that is why it is our photo of the week, published on Monday 22nd March and the photo is by Donald Knowles.


Throughout the Caribbean region, and we include The Bahamas in that, it appears that representatives of the United States Government were dispatched to see the Prime Ministers or Foreign Ministers of each country.  They seemed to have come with a direct, blunt and disrespectful message.  The message was that all Caricom countries had to recognize the new Government in Haiti or else.  The message said that President Jean Bertrand Aristide was a nothing, a nobody; a has been.  They miss the point.  This is not about Mr. Aristide.

The “Prime Minister” of Haiti, (and we use that in quotes because the reports are that the state has collapsed in Haiti since the departure of Jean Bertrand Aristide in suspicious circumstances on 29th February 2004) Gerard Latortue who found refuge in Jamaica when he was kicked out of Haiti in a coup, now says that he is freezing relations with Jamaica and reconsidering the relationship of Haiti with Caricom.  He has refused to back down from those statements, and on two occasions has failed to show up for scheduled meetings with Caricom leaders.  How in those circumstances, the United States could ask the leaders of Caricom to recognize that regime in Haiti is beyond us.  Furthermore, it takes a lot of gall for them to come to Prime Ministers of Caricom to raise such a subject in such a manner.  It is the rule of the gun.

Mr. Latortue said some unfortunate things with a representative of the Organization of American States sitting on the platform in Gonaives last week.  He was flown there on an American helicopter.  He appeared on a platform with Guy Philippe, the murderous rebel who had policemen killed and was the main military opponent of Mr. Aristide, who forced him from office.  The public is entitled to know why the United States is now condoning a leader (Mr. Latortue) who goes on a platform with known criminals and congratulates them as freedom fighters.  This is a strange world indeed.

It is nothing short of disgraceful and shameful for any such demand to be made.  Looking back with the 20/20 of hindsight, it sure looks like the United States with a wink and a nod was supporting the rebel armies in the north, that the so called democratic opposition was supporting them, and that it was Caricom and Caricom alone of the group of official parties that had the interests of the Haitian people, by truly wanting to seek a peaceful settlement to a thorny conflict.  It now turns out with the benefit of hindsight that no peaceful settlement was possible since the only parties committed to peace were apparently Mr. Aristide and the Caricom leaders.  The others had their minds on removing Mr. Aristide by any means necessary, even to hijacking a Caricom plan.

It was important therefore in the circumstances of the meeting out of St. Kitts to lay down the law, the principle, to re-establish that in this case: might is not right.  The United States has to come to realize that they are on the wrong side of this issue.  They should resile from their position.  Mr. Aristide should not be vilified by them, and they must come to accept that he is still very much a part of the solution to the political issues in Haiti.

During the next week, we hope that it is safe enough for the Bahamian Ambassador to go back into Haiti.  It is important for there to be a political presence there.  The Bahamas needs to have eyes and ears there.  If there is to be a repatriation programme for the thousands of migrants coming to The Bahamas, then we must deal with the de facto Haitian Government.  That does not mean that you have to love them, that you have to recognize them, you need say nothing.  What it does mean is that you have working relationships borne out of necessity with Haitians and you may by influence be able to help the Haitian people while you are there.  Nothing else should be done and certainly under no circumstances can the thugs of Gonaives be recognized as the Government of Haiti.  Mr. Aristide should be restored, allowed to serve out his term, and then demit office when elections take place.  While he may be the beneficiary of standing up for the principle, it is not about him, it is about the process and supporting democracy.

[EDITOR’S UPDATE: On his arrival at the Nassau International Airport on Saturday 27th March, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced the reopening of the Embassy of The Bahamas in Port-au-Prince effective Monday 29th March.  You may click here for the full statement by the Prime Minister.  Heads of Government also decided that the matter of the seat of Haiti in Caricom will be decided at the next Heads meeting in July of this year.  A letter of explanation of the remarks of the Haitian interim Prime Minister came from him too late to be discussed at the St. Kitts meeting.]

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 27th March 2004 at midnight: 51,970.

Number of hits for the month of March up to Saturday 27th March 2004 at midnight: 215,591.

Number of hits for the year up to Saturday 27th March 2004 at midnight: 641,028.


    There are some pretty silly things that happen in a week in The Bahamas, and one of the more silly things was a demonstration held on the day the House of Assembly met Wednesday 24th March.  The demonstration was led by some friends and supporters of Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles, the convicted druggie and one of two Bahamians who is wanted in the United States for drug trafficking charges.  He is from the area in and around Chippingham and Boyd Subdivision.
    Mr. Knowles is apparently popular in the neighbourhood; so popular that he has influenced a Junkanoo Group.  The leader of the Junkanoo group Barabbas and the Tribe was in involved in the demonstration.  The group wore T-shirts and carried placards which read: FREEDOM MARCH - JUSTICE AND EQUALITY; EXTRADITION DO WE HAVE ANY RIGHTS?  They chanted “Free 90” and “Free the General”.
    The demonstration seemed aimed at Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell who was not in the House of Assembly at the time and was on his way to St. Kitts for the Heads of Government meeting.  Mr. Mitchell is Minister responsible for extradition.  After the court processes are exhausted, the Minister has to sign the order for the person to be taken out of the jurisdiction.  Mr. Mitchell has refused to comment on the case and rightly so.
    While on the face of it, there might seem to be some support for stopping the extradition, the common sentiment in the country is that this was bought support, not really motivated by the principles of love and affection.  It is not to be taken as real support but as a sign of the further moral erosion in The Bahamas, where persons of means when they run into trouble can use that means, no matter how it was gained, to buy influence in this society.  Nassau Guardian photo / Donald Knowles

    There is only one way to deal with a fly and that is to swat it.  There is only one way to deal with scum and that is to wipe it away.  Those are all the expressions that come to mind when dealing with the name Ortland Bodie.  He is all those things and more.
    Here is a person who is so enamoured of publicity, having failed as an attorney, being disbarred for taking client’s money, and hustling around from pillar to post, interfering with the good names of one person after the next.  He once again has his fifteen minutes of fame, this time by a reporter from the Nassau Guardian who quite irresponsibly published the following statement during the demonstration for Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles, the convicted drug trafficker, on Wednesday 24th March:
    “Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, should have signed the extradition order two weeks ago.  The PLP administration misled 90 Knowles before the elections of 2002.  They milked this man dry financially with the false hope that he would not have been extradited.  This government before it became the government, knew that the US government had solid evidence on Mr. Knowles and that he was in fact going to be extradited”.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs responded straight away.  You may click here for the full statement.  But we repeat; there is only one way to deal with scum.  The demonstrators in support of Mr. Knowles started to attack Mr. Bodie because of his remarks and the police called it to a halt and had to ask Mr. Bodie to leave Rawson Square where the demonstration was taking place.  For all of these reasons and more, Ortland Bodie is the Jackass of the Week.


    The founding Prime Minister of the country Sir Lynden Pindling would have been 74 years old had he lived to 22nd March 2004.  He died on 26th August 2000 at the age of 70 instead.  The whole thing was quite tragic.  He died before he could see his once powerful PLP come back to office under his protégé Perry G. Christie.  Friends and family gathered at a prayer breakfast last Saturday 20th March to commemorate the birthday, and to raise funds for the Pindling Foundation.  Present was the widow of the late Sir Lynden, Lady Marguerite Pindling.  Rev. Fr. James Moultrie, another of the protégés of Sir Lynden, was the principal speaker at the breakfast.  The country and the party miss Sir Lynden.  Sir Lynden is shown dancing with the principal of Columbus Primary school during a visit to the school in his latter years.  File photo.

    Prime Minister Perry Christie was present for the signing of a Heads of Agreement between The Bahamas Government and Governor's Harbour Resort and Marina Ltd.  The company is to develop the old property owned by Club Med.  They hope to invest some 40 million.  While construction will take up to 9 months for start up, the demolition work on the old property that has lain in ruins because of a hurricane is to be demolished right away.  Also present at the signing was Minister of Financial Services Allyson Maynard Gibson and the representative for the constituency Oswald Ingraham, who is also the Speaker of the House.
    Mr. Christie said that the PLP is seeking to return Eleuthera to the glory days.  He was talking of the times back in the 1960s, 70s and 80s when there was virtual full employment throughout Eleuthera when there was the Cotton Bay development at Rock Sound, the Club Med and Windermere Developments at Governor's Harbour, the Hatchet Bay Plantation at Hatchet Bay and of course the Harbour Island resorts.  Today only Harbour Island continues to thrive.
    Eddie Lauth III is a principal of the Governor’s Harbour Resort and Marina.  The project is to be a “six star” project that will include a mix of hotel condos, villas, residential, marina and spa facilities. We congratulate the Minister of Financial Services on bringing this matter to its conclusion.  We hope the developer now follow through on his part of the bargain.  Prime Minister Christie (centre) and Minister Maynard Gibson (right) examine artist's renderings of the Governor's Harbour Resort & Marina after the signing of the Heads of Agreement with attorney Valentine Grimes (left) and developers Susan and Eddie Lauth.  Nassau Guardian photo / Donald Knowles.

    Prime Minister Perry Christie’s statement said that upon his arrival in St. Kitts he had in his pocket the ideas and views of The Bahamas on the issues that have arisen in Haiti within the last two weeks.  The meeting lasted from Thursday 25th March to Friday 26th March.  The Prime Minister arrived back in Nassau on Saturday 27th March.  The Bahamas believes that it has no choice but to engage in Haiti.  It was time to move on beyond the recriminations and difficulties of the removal of President Jean Bertrand Aristide and try to engage the interim administration in Haiti.  He said that he argued for that position in St. Kitts and he and made it abundantly clear that the Bahamian Ambassador would go back into Haiti as early as Monday 29th March and the embassy would reopen for diplomatic and consular services.
    We agree with that.  It is time to move on.  But we also agree with the statement by the Heads of Government generally from St. Kitts that the investigation into the removal of President Aristide must be concluded.  The United States must not be seen with a wink and a nod to military types and criminals condoning the violent overthrow of an elected Government.  That is the real danger here.
    While The Bahamas certainly argued its points, other nations in the Caricom alliance have their points.  In Guyana, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname, there are fragile issues of peace between groups.
    Grenada had two coups, one of which ended when the United States Government stormed the country and installed a new Government.  The results of the last election there which saw Prime Minister Keith Mitchell return to office, has left a fragile peace with the younger people exasperated at the lack of change by the ballot box now openly thinking about Haiti and the success of insurrections in Haiti and the ending by the United States of such an insurrection.
    In Guyana, the ethnic differences have threatened to turn violent if the ethnic African population does not get its way.  The army is mainly African, the civilian Government mainly ethnic Indian.  Suriname has had a military Government that it is still trying to work out the aftermath of that coup.
    Trinidad and Tobago has had two attempted coups which almost cost the life of the then Prime Minister and the coup plotters and leaders got clean away as a result of a Privy Council decision upholding the pardon granted in circumstances where the decision was made under the threat of the life of the Prime Minister.  The Bahamas had to be sensitive to those points as well.
    Caricom’s statements are a compromise.  Those nations wanted a signal to go out to their populations that the military way was not the way to change Governments.  Caricom 30th anniversary logo; Prime Minister Christie reporting to Bahamian press on his visit to St. Kitts; Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell is shown in background.  BIS photo / Peter Ramsay

    The Bahamas Stock Exchange BISX has been in trouble from its inception, with not enough stocks to trade on it, and not enough money to run it.  It has been limping along.  It has now renewed is request for corporate welfare from The Bahamas Government.  The case is made in very sophisticated terms about the necessity to have a stock exchange and why the nation’s prestige will suffer if we do not have a stock exchange.  The Central Bank thinks that this is sound reasoning, apparently.  The word is that some $450,000 will be given to BISX from the public purse to help stabilize the exchange.  We again say that we are against corporate welfare to BISX.  There is no compelling national reason to do so.

    Lester Bird succeeded his father to the Office of Prime Minister in 1994 in Antigua.  The Birds had been the Government in one form or another for a generation.  Antigua was the butt of many jokes: Bird land, A land for the Birds, A Virtual Aviary.  All of that seems now to have come to an end.
    On 23rd March, plagued by charges of scandal after scandal, the Bird family lost all of its seats in the House of Assembly including that of the Prime Minister himself, defeated by a former Minister who had been fired after allegations of corruption.  The new Prime Minister is Baldwin Spencer (pictured).
    The defeat was a rout.  The Government won 12; the Bird party now has four seats.  The problem with Antigua is the economy.  Beside being a virtual fiefdom for the Bird family, and beside all the charges of corruption, the fact is that the public service of Antigua is too large for the size of the country.  They take in some 14 million per month in revenue and pay out some 22 million dollars in salaries alone.  You can see that this is a recipe for disaster.
    The country was able to get a short term loan to see it through the election but after 31st March, the piper will have to be paid for his tune.  Part of the price for the short term fix was a promise to lay off public servants.  The new Prime Minister’s first job will have to be to cut the public service.  The margins that he won by are one hundred to two hundred votes so it is possible for the Birds to be back, even in what seems the face of a rout today.  Politics is a fickle business and if Mr. Spencer is unable to fix it, he himself will find himself out in the cold where he spent any of his years.

    The interpretations in the United States and Britain of the election result in Spain that saw the incumbent regime ousted from power are perverse.  The dominant commentary from the right wing media that predominates in the United States and in Britain is that the Spanish people responded to the terrorist threat and removed a Government in Spain.  They make that argument because the former Prime Minister of Spain was a staunch supporter of the effort by U.S. President George Bush to conquer and dominate the Iraqi people, having misled his own people as to the existence of the so called weapons of mass destruction.  Those weapons have not been found, and the international experts say that there are none there to be found, and that this was clear before the war started.
    Latest testimony from one former official of Mr. Bush’s administration is that the U.S. President knew there was no link between terrorism and Iraq but was set on a course to destroy that country in pursuance of some kind of unexplained logic.  The latest election result in Spain had nothing to do with terrorists choosing a Government.  No people make up their minds about a Government like that overnight.  The handwriting was on the wall for that Government long before Election Day.  The Government committed troops to Iraq in the face of popular sentiment at almost 90 per cent against the deployment.  The war was not wanted.  So it should not have come as surprise that when the Government of Spain first sought to blame the domestic insurgents ETA for the blast that killed 200 hundred people on a Spanish train, that when the truth came out that it was linked to the fact that Spain had supported the Bush administration during the Iraq war, the people voted their Government out of office.
    It was not the terrorists who caused the change but rather the incumbent Government who brought it upon themselves.  It was not the terrorists who changed the Government of Spain but the people of Spain themselves.  They ought to be congratulated.  One letter writer to this column said he was keeping his fingers crossed, together with many people around The Bahamas, that one was down, two to go: Blair and Bush next many were saying, hoping and praying.  How long Lord?  How long?  Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is shown with US President George Bush at the UN in 2003. Photo / US State Dept.

    Last week, we reported how Robert Bain aka Jim Brown, the owner of Fashion trap, died of an apparent heart attack while on the way to Miami on board a Bahamasair flight (click here for last week’s comment).  Bahamasair claimed that they followed all the procedures to save his life.  The wife of Mr. Bain said that they did not and said if Bahamasair had allowed her to continue with her resuscitation efforts, her husband would still be alive today.  Not so fast said Bahamasair.  The airline issued a statement in which it said that all of the proper procedures were followed, that their personnel all have training in CPR and that the procedures were all followed.

    The Chief Councillor for Freeport’s Local Government Marva Moxey is considering all her options.  The Minister for Local Government Alfred Gray is siding with the FNM councillors in the row up in Freeport over the control of the council.  The PLPs in Freeport are angry about it but are apparently helpless to do anything about it.  Ms. Moxey was forced to sit in a meeting on Tuesday 23rd March that she did not call and without being able to chair the meeting.
    Ms. Moxey has already declared the seats of the persons who are claiming to have the majority vacant because they have refused to attend meetings.  The Minister for Local Government Alfred Gray who has entered on the side of the FNMs in the matter claims that the meetings that Ms. Moxey called were never properly called and so the absence of the councillors could not be seen as absences because the meetings were never called.  It is strange that all previous meetings were called in that manner.
    The problem in our view is that Ms. Moxey has waited too long to take this matter before the courts and stop the inference in the workings of Local Government.  Faced with the present circumstances, it now appears that her only option is the court where she should have started long ago.

    Antonin Scalia (pictured) is a judge of the United States Supreme Court and he is in trouble.  He appears to have a problem with being able to discern when it is necessary to recuse himself from a case.  It reminds us of a similar difficulty a Judge in The Bahamas had some years ago.  Joaquim Gonsalves Sabola sat on the Methodist church case and in the middle of the case he accepted citizenship from The Bahamas government, one of the litigants in the case.  He did not recuse himself from the case.
    Under the present dispensation in the United States, there appears to be this kind of problem cropping up all the time.  In the executive there is the ongoing mess that is based on a policy in Iraq predicated on a lie:  that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that they were a danger to the United States that allowed them to act pre-emptively against the Iraqi government.  Now comes a Judge of the U.S. Supreme Court who has a similar difficulty.
    One of the litigants in the case before the United States Supreme Court is the Vice President of the United States.  Justice Antonin Scalia who himself is a right wing ideologue went on a hunting trip with the Vice President of the United States.  Further, he accepted a ride on the Vice President’s plane with the Vice President to get to the trip.  The litigant on the other side the Sierra Club has asked him to rescue himself from the case.  He has refused.  He has refused on specious grounds, and ones that clearly do stand up to reason.
    Amongst the reasons, that Judges have always gotten to the Supreme Court by reason of their friendships with members of the Executive and they should not be prohibited from having ordinary social intercourse with members of the executive.  Another reason is that the value of the trip on Air Force two was the same as if he had paid for a round trip air fare to and from Louisiana.  He scoffed in a twenty one page opinion that people surely could not argue that a Justice of the Supreme Court could be bought off for that small amount of money.  This problem is part of the reason why the moral leadership of the United States is in trouble.
    The United States seems to have accepted that power is the only fact, and do not realize that other countries look up to them in the world for the proper standard.  In Britain, one remembers how a whole decision was set aside at the House of Lords level against the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet when it was discovered that one of the Laws Lords had a connection with Amnesty International.  The whole matter was heard again.  It goes back to that standard: justice must not only be done but must be manifestly seen to be done.  Mr. Scalia ought to recuse himself from the case, and stop the use of sophistry in resisting the obvious.  You may read the opinion on the web at (

    Those in authority ought to investigate a story that has surfaced by way of a complaint to this site about businessmen in Freeport going through the United States immigration service.  After clearing in Freeport and making the requisite declaration about how much cash they have on them.  It is unlawful not to declare cash over $10,000.  The report is they get over to Miami and are stopped.  They are made to take out all of their cash, and the money is laid on the ground in public and counted before they are allowed not leave the airport.  That is a sick practice and the Bahamian authorities ought to ensure that a thorough investigation is made.

Paris Calling!
    Salut! As a former graduate of SAC (the best school in the Caribbean!), and also a former resident of Centreville, your weekly renderings are terrific!  Not only is it refreshing in such a climate of international hypocrisy and barbarity but as the Brits would say it is ‘spot on!’  I have e-mailed before, I know my missives are not as important as your as your white American and European readers, who get their responses posted regularly!  This is just to confirm, you also have an avid reader of your articles in Paris!  Your weekly is my only link right now to a place I long to return to!  Since I also lived for many years in Los Angeles, thank you for posting the Los Angeles e-mail address 2 weeks ago.
Paul Richards

We’ll forgive the reference to your letters not being important to us, as this is the first we have actually received.  Perhaps you might want to check the address.  However, thanks for reading and please keep reading.  Ed.

Stimulating Reading…
    As a Bahamian living in the US, I continue to enjoy the stimulating reading and outlooks you provide through your site.  Though, there are times I disagree with your point of view, I find that usually you represent your views articulately and rationally and so I can understand those views while at the same time disagreeing.
    Thank you for your continual hard work and know that myself as well as other Bahamians I know, that reside here, rely on your weekly updates as an added source of information about affairs at home.
Dawn Butler

Thanks, Dawn.  It is, of course, not necessary that we all agree.  What’s important is that we think. Ed.

More Jobs, Investment & Money...
    It was certainly a pleasure to read in last week's BahamasUncensored your comments on the realisation of unemployment in the Bahamas.  I would certainly hope that these sentiments are truly felt by the Prime Minister and all of his Cabinet.  Especially since I fell into this category before leaving home last year.  Up until now I truly felt like absolutely no one on the Island realised the true state of the country.
     I also read with great interest Minister Allyson Maynard's interview on ‘Issues of The Day’ [A daily call-in radio talk show available on the Net at] where thousands of jobs will become available in the near future.  Can we really look forward to these plans actually happening?  Or is this another one of her plans to sway the already disillusioned Public (old & young).
     Previously she was allowed to forecast the future of the Banking & Finance Industry.  She painted a picture perfect industry where the markets were opening up and jobs becoming readily available.  In the meantime more banks were closing and everyone was reducing staff after the implementation of new banking legislation in 2000.  There was absolutely no room at the inn for a 13 year bi-lingual veteran banker.
     Obviously, I will be returning home in the next few years after taking advantage of an opportunity to travel Europe extensively.  I have every intention to use my new found knowledge and ideas if I am allowed the chance, to benefit my country.  I also pray that life will be a bit easier in terms of opportunities (employment with a company or self-employed) for my children and every Bahamian.
     If it does not I am afraid of what will happen as a result, with a Nation of confused and misled people, all with respective contributions to make to this society.
     Watching & waiting from afar.
Mahalia Levarity


    Poet Giovanni Stuart has a new project.  He is the publicist for the Charlotte Street Fair.  The fair takes place every Saturday in the downtown area of New Providence, and is designed to assist merchants to market their wares and give people something to do in Nassau on a Saturday afternoon.  Here is his report with pictures of the first fair that took place on Saturday 20th March.

    Finco, the mortgage company, that is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada, had its annual general meeting two weeks ago.  But there is a story from it that won’t die.  There was a $500,000 write off expense in its annual report that has disturbed some shareholders.  The story has now appeared in the press several times.  The half a million dollar expense was not satisfactorily explained in the annual report.
    The Nassau Guardian now reports in its Business Edition of Tuesday 23rd March that the Bahamas Securities Commission has sent a letter to Finco demanding to know what the $500,000 item was about.  Nathaniel Beneby who heads Finco had earlier told shareholders that because of a contractual obligation they could not disclose the nature of the expense but that if the spending had been successful it would have added value to the shareholders stock.