This is now the tradition, that of walking on Budget Day, this year on 27th May, with the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie as he goes to present the Nation’s National Budget. The Budget laid out a spending plan on the recurrent side of just over 2 billion dollars; on the capital side 242 million; 2.3 billion dollars in revenue. And a deficit of 293 million dollars. Despite the implementation of VAT and the unhappiness of that in some quarters, and because of the introduction of VAT, this makes a much happier national fiscal picture in 2015/2016. The monetary situation has also improved as well with the reserves standing at around 900 million dollars at the Central Bank. So the smiles on the faces of the ministers are somewhat deserved. However, the Prime Minister continued to express concern for what is the elephant in the room of the national economy that of youth unemployment which remains stubbornly high. Our photo the week is that of the traditional walk of the Prime Minister Perry Christie with his Cabinet as they marched to the House of Assembly in anticipation of the national budget presentation. The photos appeared in The Tribune. ;
This is the 18th annual version of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Caricom. Their council is called the Council for Foreign And Community Relations (COFCOR). The meeting is chaired this year by Alva Baptiste, the Minister for External Affairs of St. Lucia. The Ministers or their representatives gathered in Runway Bay in St Lucia for the annual event. During the time they discussed how the coordination of foreign policy can be better improved and they got to interact with outside countries who wish to come and make various presentations to the group. Foreign Minister of The Bahamas Fred Mitchell joined the annual meeting. That is our photo of the week, the so called family photo taken on Friday 22nd May in Runway Bay , St Lucia.
THE PLP SEEKS TO DELIVER IN SOUTH ELEUTHERA: - Damien Gomez, the MP for South and Central Eleuthera and the Minister of State in the Attorney General’s office has not been a happy camper. He has openly lamented in a letter to the Prime Minister that there was little to no economic activity in his constituency and too many people were on welfare. He then publicly offered his resignation when it appeared that files related to a former client and now constituent went south from the AG’s office. He offered when the resignation was refused to be transferred to another Ministry. This should put a smile on his face. The Prime Minister Perry Christie has been looking around for a deal that would bring some economic activity to that area. He thinks he has found it and went to Rock Sound to participate in the ground breaking of the project long in coming of Dr. Luis Samiento, reportedly Columbia’s richest man to put a hotel development there. Smiles all around we hope. Our photo of the week then is the Prime Minister at the groundbreaking in South Eleuthera on Thursday 14th May.
THE CARNIVAL CAME TO NASSAU; so after all the naysaying and all the back and forth about whether it should be or not, the FNM’s opposition to the first Junkanoo Carnival collapsed when people voted with their feet to join the fete on Nassau’s Clifford Park. People were there in their thousands to see the performers and to engage in the revelry. Even the religious do-gooders could not stop the carnival. So congratulations to the PLP for pulling this one off. That is our photo of the week, the scene of people enjoying themselves at the Junkanoo Carnival at opening night in Nassau on Thursday 7th May.
MORTIMER PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO PRESIDENT OF INDIA – our Photo of The Week. It shows-newly appointed non-resident High Commissioner of The Bahamas to India, H.E. Mr. Lowell J. Mortimer, O.B.E. presented his Credentials to the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 30th 2015. Mr. Mortimer, an attorney, is currently the president of Campbell Shipping Company and was a veteran educator. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the President of India). The two countries signed a bilateral cooperation agreement on 23 January2006. An honorary consul as appointed in 2007 to represent Bahamian interests in India. Now one step up the appointment of a High Commissioner. Congratulations to Mr. Mortimer.
MICHAEL JORDAN: was the centre of attraction as the Prime Minister visited Baker’s Bay in Abaco. The rich enclave located off the Abaco mainland on Guana Cay has lots of land going for 10 millioin dollars a piece with not one building on it. The head honcho at Baker’s Bay Micahel Meldman told the press on Thursday 23rd April that there are 80 homes built and 80 homes in the que. He said that he can increase the number of jobs from the 800 they have now up to 1500 and well what he needs from the government is the work permits to bring foreign labour to make that happen. It was a happy gathering from all accounts. Mr. Jordan is the famous former basketball player and now one of the owners of an American professional basketball team is either an owner or frequent vistor. He prounouced himself happy with The Bahamas. He said that he has been coming to The Bahamas for 15 years. He says the people are nice to him. He says he likes to be low key and let his hair down. There was no evidence of any hair on his head since he is the one who started the bald head craze for black men losing their hair to male pattern baldness, but we get the point. The photo of the week then is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services on Thursday 23rd April at Baker’s Bay with the leaders of the country Prime Minister Perr Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis, Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin and Environment Minister Ken Dorsett all present and accounted for.
THE JUNKANOO CARNIVAL TAKES OFF: after all the naysaying and negative press about the Junkanoo Carnival and whether it would come off, there is nothing that succeeds like success. On Friday 17th April, the Junkanoo Carnival blew its critics and their naysaying out of the water with a spectacular and thrilling precursor of what is to come in Nassau up in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The young song writers, producers, directors, deejays, all turned up in droves and their fans the people of Grand Bahama were there in the thousands. BTC the phone company sponsored the event and their CEO Leon Williams was beaming with pride. The youngsters voted with their feet. KB and his all Bahamian talk did not deter them. Ziah from Bahamen with his all Bahamian talk did not deter them. They turned up and supported the Junkanoo Carnival. The irony of the Bahamen objection was the song Who Let The Dogs Out was a Trinidadian song, yet they were objecting to a Trinidadian artist coming to perform in The Bahamas. The photo of the week then is that of the Prime Minister Perry Christie at the microphone with his Tourism Minister Obie Wilchombe, Culture Minister Danny Johnson, BTC CEO Leon Williams, Grand Bahama Minister Mike Darville and Junkanoo Saxon Leader Percy “Vola” Francis behind him at the opening of the Junkanoo Carnival in Freeport, Grand Bahama 17th April. Nassau is next. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
PRIME MINISTER CHRISTIE CHAIRs OBAMA MEETING:  there was a debate amongst PLPs and we suppose others about why the meeting did not take place in Nassau, after all the tradition is that whoever is the Chair gets to host the meeting. However, it appears that the U S President had promised Portia Simpson Miller, the Prime Minister of Jamaica that he would come. Never mind. The meeting in Kingston was flawlessly organized, and as Prime Minister Perry Christie, Chair of Caricom, said in his opening statement “the optics are good”. The naysayers of course were saying that the US simply fobs us off as a photo shoot. That is not quite correct but the photo shoot is important too because it sends a signal to those at home that there are no public differences between the US leadership and our leadership. There were substantive matters to discuss as well like the assault of the banking system of the region, the continued violence, crime and poverty and what the major trading partner in the region can do to assist in alleviating that problem. For now though our photo of the week is that of Prime Minister Perry Christie in Jamaica serving as Head of Caricom shortly after he arrived in the meeting room with his guest U S President Barak Obama in Kingston, Jamaica on 9th April at the University of the West Indies Headquarters. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
A RARE SCENE IN THE BAHAMAS: a white person, a white woman no less, being taken to court and being charged with murder. Her name is Donna Vasyli. She is Australian and at 54 years of age she is charged with the murder of her husband Philip. The murder is alleged to have taken place on 24th March. Her lawyers applied for bail. It was refused. The first picture is the day of her arraignment on 30th March. The charge was filed under Section 291 (1B) of The Penal Code, Chapter 84, which does not attract the discretionary death penalty if a conviction is reached at trial in Supreme Court. The press said when she appeared in court she blew a kiss at her family members and said she would see them soon. Not so on bail said Jon Isaacs, the Justice before whom she appeared for bail on 2nd April. Our photos of the week then are the before and after of the appearance of Donna Vasyli at her arraignment and at her bail hearing. The photos are by The Tribune.
MEETING THE STUDENT PRESS: it seemed to have been a hell of a meeting. The Prime Minister Perry Christie agreed to speak to the journalism class of the College of The Bahamas. He had a hell of a time. The report said that he said of the press: “to hell with them”. The Tribune, competitor now to the down-market Punch, ran the headline in red. In reality the expression to hell with them was in its context understandable. It was a rough day the day before. The Speaker of the House, a PLP, claiming his integrity was being challenged, took a position contrary to the rules and apposite what his party had asserted in the House was the correct position, allowing slanderous statements to be made about his minister whom he had just asked to step aside from his duties as Local Government minister. If you read the headlines, it seemed that things were not going his way, even in the face of his logic and rationality. Tough time. The students then got what they paid for, the Prime Minister in full form and in full flight for two hours. So that is why we think the photo of the week then is the interface with the students of the College of The Bahamas at their journalism class on Thursday 26th March. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE FOUR JACKASSES OF THE PHONY HAITIAN APOCALYPSE: these four people embarrassed themselves, sought to embarrass and defame The Bahamas by going to Washington to purvey their suite of lies, distortions and untruths. They portray themselves as the champions of victims: supposedly poor migrants from Haiti escaping poverty. But the victims they are talking about are said to pay anywhere from 1500 dollars to 5000 dollars per head to be smuggled into The Bahamas and then to the United States. That makes these four people and their exaggerated, lying advocacy unwitting accomplices to stopping the government from interrupting a sophisticated criminal enterprise. The question is why? No one can accept that Fred Smith has one altruistic bone in his body. His game is always money, money and more money. It is interesting the confluence of his now four-man, one woman Grand Bahama Human Rights Association with the RFK Centre. These are all part of another well-funded campaign to stop development in The Bahamas by a rich billionaire who lives at Lyford Cay. The question is whether or not this is being funded from that same source, and then you ask yourselves since that source was said to be funding the FNM whether this advocacy for migrant victims is not manufactured to destabilize the PLP in favour of the FNM. Inquiring minds want to know. The picture show Louby Georges, recently fired from Guardian Radio, Paco Nunez, recently fired from The Tribune, Fred Smith, the Jackass In Chief, and Joseph Darville, the former headmaster, taking a break from Island Luck. They said in the release of this photo that they briefed U S Senators about the plight of the victims, only no one could find any Senator that they briefed. The photo of the week then is the four Jackasses of the Phony Haitian Apocalypse pretending that they were briefing U S senators on 18th March.
This photo taken by Peter Ramsay is our photo of the week. It was taken at the farewell party for George Markantonis, the CEO of Atlantis, who resigned to leave for a new job as Head of the Venetion in Las Vegas in the United States. There was farewell party for him at Atlantis on Thursday 12th March. The picture speaks a thousand words. There to say farewell to Mr. Markantonis who is at the left of the picture in the gray jacket was the Prime Minister Perry Christie, the former owner of Atlantis Sol Kerzner and the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
THE BAHAMAS DEFENDS ITSELF: when Fred Smith QC and his allies began an all-out campaign to discredit The Bahamas on the human rights front, they did not consider that the times had changed since he last time they derailed the effort by Loftus Roker, a Minister of Home Affairs to deal with the problem of illegal migration in 1986. The irony of their position is that today they have trotted out Mr. Roker, now in memory deficient old age, on to public platforms with them. Even though he is defending his position and trotting out the old bromides, the public opinion has changed and they firmly support the government on the issue of illegal migration. They want something done about it, quickly and in an humane manner. Fred Smith, a victim of self-loathing of his Haitian ancestry, not known for his balanced rhetoric, keeps going on in public both at home and abroad scorching the earth. What it has required is expenditure that the government does not have to try to beat back all of trash and nonsense that he spins about the policy. One such effort to defend and explain was Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration at the Human Right Council’s high level dialogue in Geneva on 4th March. Our photo of the week then is that of Mr. Mitchell appearing before the council to defend The Bahamas from its mainly internal enemies on the question of human rights. You may click here for the full address..
THE PM AT THE HELM IN NASSAU: the Captains of the Caribbean are shown here in this group photo as they appeared in Nassau on 26th February for the Heads of Government meeting of Caricom . The Prime Minister Perry Christie with the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling posed for the traditional family photo on 26th February. The photo is by Elcott Coleby of the Bahamas Information Services. That is our photo of the week.
MITCHELL IN ABACO: he visited with the four major Abaco communities on 2nd and 3rd of January to speak with them about the problem of the incursion of illegal migrants in The Bahamas. The communities of Cooper’s Town, Hope Town, Marsh Harbour and Sandy Point all agreed that some action needed to be taken. The Minister promised a staging meeting with all the government agencies on 20th February. The meeting took place hosted by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and MP for the area Renardo Curry. The Police, Defence Force, the Depts. of Education, Local Government, Environment and Social Services were all there to present their views. Targets and approaches were discussed and a plan of action suggested. The meeting adjourned for the law enforcement agencies to start planning logistics. The Minister said key to the success of the operations will be the public affairs which seek to shape public opinion, keep the public informed and to ensure that there is community support. He said that the operations must be carried out strictly but humanely. The photo of the week is the staging meeting hosted at the OPM Marsh Harbour to plan the action to stop illegal migration in Abaco.
DANCING IN SPANISH WELLS: well of all places to see it. The Prime Minister Perry Christie was dancing the Junkanoo in what is supposed to be lily white Spanish Wells. Things have changed since the late Edwin Taylor, the Methodist Minister, who was black was chased from Spanish Wells and could not spend the night there. Now you are in an era when the Spanish Wells School actually participates and win the Junior Junkanoo. Junkanoo is the essence of African culture in The Bahamas, embraced by Spanish Wells. Wonders never cease. The occasion was the name of the all age school in Spanish Wells, a fishing community off the coast of North Eleuthera on Thursday 12th February as the Samuel Guy Pinder All Age School. The Prime Minister was accompanied by his Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald. The photo of the week is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE BAHAMIANS AT CAVE HILL. They spent the week exposing the people of the University of the West Indies about Bahamian food and culture. People were lined up in front of their food tent to taste conch, peas and rice and well all the Bahamian goodies. It was interesting to see the leadership of the next generation at work. The Bahamian Students Association invited Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs to come and speak to them for their inaugural lecture. He spoke on the topic: The Future Is You, a tour de force of his own life and how the experiences in their early lives will determine the choices they later make. He urged them to be confident about themselves. The photo of the week then is Fred Mitchell the Minister of Foreign Affairs with the Bahamian students in Barbados at the University of the West Indies on Tuesday 3rd February.
FREE EJ: He is now the star of the Bahamian porn world. His name is Edmund Lewis Jr. He was up until two weeks ago an unknown, obscure ordinary policeman, but now E.J. as he is called by his friends is famous or infamous as the case might be. He was charged last week with child pornography because he took videos of women with whom he was having sex and someone put the videos on the web and it appears that they were done without the consent of his partners in sex and also one of the women may have been a minor. That did not stop the video from being circulated widely across the country, and the conversations about EJ, his equipment and his prowess, the positions that rival the Karma Sutra and on and on. The Magistrate Joy Ann Pratt at first refused him bail but on reflection having made an error in his first arraignment gave him bail. His girlfriend blew him a kiss as he was being led away to jail and it appears that when he was released on Thursday 29th January, she was there to greet him in his arms. So for all the titillation that he has given the tired lives of the sex starved in The Bahamas, the opportunity to give those righteously indignant a chance to get on their high horses, our photo of the week is the picture of EJ from the front page of The Tribune Friday 30th January of EJ just after being freed.
PRIME MINISTER COMMISSIONS 100 MILLION DOLLAR FACILITY: on Thursday 22nd January the Prime Minister Perry Christie officially commissioned the new 100 million dollar critical care bloc of the Princess Margaret Hospital. To the consternation of some, the Prime Minister paid tribute to his predecessor Hubert Ingraham, repeating a line which Mr. Ingraham used to say when he defeated the now Prime Minister in 2007: “ Some sow and others reap”. It would probably be best to ignore Hubert Ingraham. Mr. Ingraham would have and still does savage Mr. Christie at every turn and in this atmosphere there should be a “take no prisoners attitude”. But then Mr. Christie is the Prime Minister, schooled in the political art and it has worked. That is why he is where he is and Mr. Ingraham is in the audience watching from the sidelines. It was a proud moment for the Government. The Government had to find an additional 40 million dollars to staff and equip the hospital. That is why long after the physical building was finished it took so long to get it going. With this there should be some relief for the hospital that has an acute shortage of operating theatres and intensive care beds. Elective surgeries are often cancelled because of this shortage. Mr. Christie renewed his promise that National Health Insurance is coming. Not a moment too soon. So congratulations to Mr. Christie, the Government, the Minsiter of Health Perry Gomez, Hubert Brown it’s much maligned but worthy Managing Director, Chairman Senator Frank Smith and all the staff for the work done in making this possible. Our photo of the week then is the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling as she cut the ribbon marking the formal commissioning of the new critical care bloc at the Princes Margaret Hospital Nassau on 22nd January. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
BAMSI BURNS: For Perry Christie, the Prime Minister, the Bahamas Agriculture Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), is his baby. We are talking legacy politics now. He was an agriculture and fisheries minister once and didn’t get a chance or so he thought to really get agriculture going. So he is determined that this time he will do it. Thus BAMSI was born. He put Godfrey Eneas, a former Director of Agriculture, there to get it done. He sent Ronnie Thompson, a former PS at Agriculture to Andros to shepherd and look after the project. All the old agriculture crew. He promised the Principal at the UWI campus in Trinidad that he was going to do it. The Principal proclaims that he thought it was just another Caribbean politician talking to hear himself. He was surprised that it’s done. The buildings are up. The crops are in the field. There are problems to be sure but North Andros has a shining light. One issue was one contractor got into a dispute with the workers over pay. It left some people broke and angry. People nursed their wounds. Then on Thursday evening 15th January, the pictures started surfacing on social media. BAMSI on fire. Some people, mainly FNMs were jubilant. The PLPs were depressed. Mortified. Miffed. Rumours of arson, by disgruntled workers. The building, a male dormitory, burned. By morning's light and with no firefighting equipment, the fire cold have done worse. The Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis was there to inspect the buildings to find that the roof was gone but the structure seemed sound. So we start again. Our photo of the week then is that of the BAMSI building burning in the night in North Andros.
THE PM COMES A CALLIN ON CHINA: the Chinese have a philosophy. They treat every country and its leaders the same. So whether you are small like The Bahamas or large like the United States, you receive equal treatment. They do not apply conditionalities with the assistance to countries. It appears that they have accepted the Biblical principle: to whom much is given much is expected. They have risen to the occasion. The question looms large: what of our friend the United States, who simply seems to have such a myopic view of life, that all they are concerned about is national security and limit their assistance to that. The Caricom leaders are unable to get even half an hour with the US President, a remarkable fact given all the hype in the Caribbean populations about Obama and his African heritage. He does not give the Caribbean the time of day. In the meantime, the Chinese are winning friends and influencing people, while the US seems to be dying on the vine. We are in the American orbit but only they seem not to know it. Prime Minister Perry Christie has paid his second official visit to China in a decade. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham before him also paid two visits to China. On each occasion, they met the leaders of China at the top levels. Not so with the United States or Canada or Britain. Interesting how we are taken for granted. Such is life. The photo of the week is Prime Minster Christie meeting President Xi Jinping of China at the Great Hall of The People on Tuesday 6th January. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
The Prime Minister gave a national address in which he spoke to the themes for the year 2015. These included immigration, crime and the economy. He deepened his views on the subject with an interview with Steve McKinney, the talk show host. The interview appears tomorrow on the Broadcasting Corporation’s TV ZNS Channel 13. Our photo of the week is the Prime Minister being interviewed by Steve McKinney who spent the whole of last year bashing the Prime Minister and his government. The interview was recorded on Friday 2nd January.
THE HAITIAN BOATS HAVE ARRIVED. This was the scene off Barracuda Rock, six miles off Barre Terre in Exuma on the afternoon of Christmas Day at about 3:30 p.m. When they were landed and the count was in, as incredible as it seems there were 119 people on board this vessel: 93 males and 19 females. They were landed at Barre Terre and taken to a holding facility at the E C McKenzie auditorium in Ramsay, Exuma and then the next morning were taken by boat to the Detention Centre in Nassau. The centre already had too many illegal migrants in the facility. Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister, advised the Haitian Government both privately and publicly that the Miami Herald had written a story by Jacqueline Charles on 22 November that people were going to set out for The Bahamas from La Tortue in Haiti in December. In their public response at the Organization of American States, the Haitian government said they could find no evidence of it. The boats are now here. Twenty three were caught in the days just before Christmas in Exuma. The 119 caught on Christmas Day told the authorities that they came from La Tortue. Our photo of the week then is that of a Haitian sloop breaching the borders of The Bahamas off Barre Terre in Exuma on Christmas Day. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY.
OUR MAN AT THE VATICAN: life is full of wonders and ironies and of course sadness. Last week was one of the wonders that makes you glad you are alive to see it. Imagine you are 18 years old and you have taken a stand against a wishy washy headmaster at the school where you are taking your A levels, preparing for a career in college and the law. Because you are outspoken, the school’s headmaster decides that out you go. The world must have seemed to come crashing down around you but there was a greater inner self that propelled you to move forward and you did. So much was the propelling forward that you ended up being the voice of radical youth in The Bahamas, the voice of the PLP’s future in the 1970s, an Attorney, the Attorney General, the Party Chairman, the voice and rescuer of Pindling’s regime in its last days; the counselor for Pindling and Ingraham and Christie ( the last names of the three Prime Ministers of The Bahamas), the go to man for crisis on an official level to clean up the messes, the voice of solid reason behind the scenes. Then to cap all of that off you become, being a Roman Catholic, your father was a monk and a devout follower of the faith, the country makes you one generation and some years later its man at the Vatican, Ambassador to the Pope in Rome. Sidney Poitier’s story is perhaps the only one that succeeds this amazing story. Yet it is the truth and not fiction. From an expelled high school student through to all of those posts and now Ambassador to the Pope. That is the Sean Mcweeney story. He presented his credentials in the presence of Bahamian public officials and his wife and children on Thursday 18th December. The photo of the week therefore is that of the Pope Francis in Vatican City accepting the credentials of Ambassador Sean McWeeney. Those youngsters who despair today that their time will never come: read and inwardly digest.
PRIME MINISTER PERRY CHRISTIE MET WITH RAUL CASTRO, the President of Cuba on Tuesday 9th December. Mr. Christie was a guest of the Cuban Government for the Cuba/Caricom Summit which takes place every three years. This is his second summit. Mr. Christie when he was last Prime Minister became the first Bahamian Prime Minister to visit Cuba. The Cubans pulled out all the stops, with a full military guard, a one hour and five minute meeting with the President and a spontaneous and unrehearsed apology by the President for the sinking of HMBS Flamingo in 1980 by Cuban Migs in which four Bahamian sailors died. Mr. Castro said that he was deeply embarrassed about it and he wished to apologise personally for what he said was a tragic mistake. Our photo of the week then was that of Prime Minister Perry Christie in Havana inspecting the official military honour guard drawn up for him in the Palace of the Revolution on Tuesday 9th December just before his meeting with President Raul Castro. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE FUNERAL TO END ALL FUNERALSthe state recognised funeral for the late Rev. Myles Mu roe and his wife Ruth who died two weeks ago in a plane crash 9th November in Grand Bahama took place at the Diplomat Centre on Thursday 4th December in Nassau. It was a spectacle. It lasted from 10 a.m. until they left the church building sometime around 4:30 p.m. They reached the graveyard at 5:30 p.m. The family and mourners had to use the light of their cell phones in order to see as the coffins were lowered in the graves. The thing ran so long that by the time they reached the graveyard, many of the ceremonial parts of the service had to be truncated because they could not be performed in the dark. Nevertheless, thousands turned out and thousands stayed to see the spectacle and to witness history one supposes. The governmental authorities were there. The celebrity pastors and just plain celebrities were there. So there was quite a lot of hype. Myles and Ruth Munroe are now in the ground. All that can be said about them has been said. The question is what now, with his church family rumoured to be in substantial debt and his two children having to pick up the ashes of an empire that must now survive off intellectual property rights and of course if the children have the talent of their father for preaching and talking. Our photo of the week then is the caskets of the Rev. Myles and Ruth Munroe on Thursday 4th December at the Bahamas Faith Mission church the day the Cabinet came to pay their respects. This was a first for a private citizen. The Prime Minister bowed to the caskets. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information services.
THE EYES SHOW IT: Well the dust has sort of settled since the election of the once and now leader again of the Free National Movement Dr. Hubert Minnis on 21st November. The pundits are now having their say and the words within the FNM from the losing team are bitter and vituperative about the new leader, despite all the public words of reconciliation and support. The PLPs got into the debate and Hope Strachan, the Minister of State for Transport, wondered aloud whether or not the result would have been different if Loretta Butler Turner had been a man. Melanie Griffin, the Minister of Social Services, paid tribute to Mrs. Butler Turner for raising the bar for women and stepping forward. There is of course always a reason for a loss and we do not think that it had to do in this case with gender. Elections are won by delegates to the convention. There is no point running a great national campaign when the electorate is not the nation but the convention delegates. Dr. Hubert Minnis won because he captured most of the delegates. He went from island to island delivered the voters to the booths and onto the ballot papers. Some of Mrs. Butler Turner's supporters are bitter, with one young FNM supporter telling the Minister of Foreign Affairs that the PLP now has a safe and assured victory for 2017. Well nothing is over until it’s over. Our photo of the week though is Loretta Butler Turner standing in the hall, the defeated insurgent candidate for leader of the FNM. The story is told in her eyes as she learned she had lost and was beaten badly on the evening of 21st November 2014.
There is a pall that still hangs over The Bahamas and possibly will continue to hang over The Bahamas until Myles Munroe, the Reverend killed in a plane crash two Sundays ago, is buried. It is like a big shadow over the whole country. It is so inexplicable that a man at 61, so vibrant and full of the collective memory of The Bahamas was taken away in what appears to have been a totally avoidable accident. A plane hits a crane at 116 feet at 4:52 on a blinding rainy afternoon in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The country is still picking up the pieces but the whole country is picking over the pieces of it and trying to figure out why. The newspapers have been fulsome in their coverage of the events from that day to this. The latest installment was the return to he bodies of the pastor and the eight others on the plane on Thursday 20th November to New Providence for burial. Our photo of the week then is that of the five hearses and the minders at the airport with the hearses as they stood in a line awaiting the moment for departure. There was a brief service at the airport in Nassau with Glenys Hanna Martin, the Minister of Transport in attendance. Our photo of the week.
A NEW FACE FOR BFM: : the Brits have a saying when their monarch passes: “The King is dead! Long live the king!”. That is how life is. In the midst of life there is death, inevitable, inexorable. The Bible says, that you do not know the day or the hour. It also says in the moment in the twinkling of an eye. Rev. Myles Munroe Sr. died in a plane crash shortly after our upload last Sunday. It changed the dynamic of the news day. But after the shock and in the midst of the grief, life had to go on and by mid-week out of the mist of depression came a new fresh face, Myles Munroe Jr. They say he doesn’t have the gift of his father for public speaking but then neither did Aaron when he succeeded Moses. They say he is not interested. But then neither was Rajiv Gandhi, the son of the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In each case though, the successors stepped up to the plate. This young man who presented to the nation his thanks to the country has the name Myles Munroe. He is a junior but Myles Munroe all the same. So the possibilities seem endless. We say again like the Brits say the King is dead! Long live the King. Our photo of the week is that of Myles Munroe Jr. expressing his thanks to the country on the outpouring of grief for the death of his father on Wednesday 12th November.
INSPECTING THE GUARD: the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis inspected the honour guard drawn up by Squad A of the Department of Immigration on Wednesday 5th November. The occasion was the graduation of the first immigration class since 2009. The class graduated 54 people: ten in Freeport and 44 in Nassau. Another class will start soon. This is in line with the minister’s view that the Department of Immigration should increase threefold over the next three years. It was a proud day for the recruits as they presented their military style drill in front of friends, family and the public officials. The Minister for Immigration Fred Mitchell spoke on the occasion and reminded them that there is in his words “a lot of idle propaganda” going around about the Department but that they should ignore it and do their work. The photo of the week then is that of the Deputy Prime Minister inspecting the guard of immigration officers at their graduation on Wednesday 5th November. The photo is by Christopher Rahming of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
APPLES AND ORANGES; CHEEZE AND CHALK- by whatever words you want to use to express the contrasts, they would be apt. The picture shows two happy people. On the left is Cyril “ Boxer” Minnis. On the right is Loretta Butler Turner MP, the insurgent candidate for the leadership of the Free National Movement and now its outgoing Deputy Leader. Mr. Minnis is the brother of the Leader of the Opposition. He is a take no prisoners kind of guy but he does it with an infectious good humour and a hearty laugh. Don’t mind that though, he goes for the jugular when it comes to politics and particularly if it involves fooling with his brother. Now to Loretta Butler Turner. She has been trying to soften her image of late, the woman thing you know. Pretty brown eyes and plenty of good moderated language. But don’t mind that either. That’s a biggity gal and if you cross her she will slash and burn. Just ask Andre Rollins about the slap heard across the islands. But the two people for the purposes of this photograph portrayed themselves as a happy couple, although everyone knows that they are playing for keeps. The Minnis faction says that she doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning. She with artful messaging and pretty graphics is selling a message oriented campaign. Boxer and his bother the doctor are counting votes on the ground. Whatever the outcome on 21st November, we think that by any measure this mugging for the cameras is the photo of the week. It was posted on Facebook.
The Prime Minister attended a Diplomatic Week Heads of Mission Luncheon, October 22, at Melia Nassau Beach Resort. Diplomatic Week of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the first of its kind and features a number of events with participation from Bahamas Heads of Missions who are in Nassau for the landmark occasion, and members of the diplomatic community residing in The Bahamas. Pictured at Melia are Bahamas Heads of Mission at the luncheon, and gathered for photo, from left: HE Eldred Bethel, Bahamas High Commissioner, United Kingdom; HE Calsey Johnson, Bahamas High Commissioner, Canada; HE Alma Adams, Ambassador to Cuba; HE Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Permanent Representative to the UN in New York; Mr. Ricardo Treco, Consul General, Miami, Florida; HE Captain Godfrey Rolle, Ambassador to Haiti; Ms. Sheila Carey, Charge d’Affaires, Beijing, China; HE Rhoda Jackson, Permanent Representative, Bahamas Permanent Mission to the UN and other International Organizations, in Geneva; Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Perry G. Christie; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, the Hon. Fred Mitchell; Mrs. Cleola Hamilton, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration; Mr. Forrester Carroll, Consul General, New York; Ms. Paulette Adderley-Zonicle, Consul General, Washington, DC; Mr. Randy Rolle, Consul General, Atlanta; HE Dr. Eugene Newry, Ambassador, Washington, DC; Mr. Philip Miller, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration; and HE Picewell Forbes, Bahamas High Commissioner to CARICOM. (BIS Photos/Peter L. Ramsay). That is our photo of the week.
THE GOVERNOR GENERAL WITH THE QUEEN:Well it was quite an event, Our Dame Marguerite Pindling was there in London to meet the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II held an audience with Dame Marguerite Pindling upon her appointment as Governor-General of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and invested her with the Insignia of a Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George at Buckingham Palace on 14th October in London, England. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool /Getty Images). It’s our photo of the week. Interesting commentary by way of the British Daily Mail about the audience. The sequined Bahamas straw bag of Dame Marguerite made the news. That is our photo of the week, Dame Marguerite with the Queen.
THE GOVERNOR GENERAL LEAVES FOR LONDON:Dame Marguerite Pindling left Nassau for London on Friday 10th October. She returns to the country on 17th October. The tradition of the appointment of the Governor General is that it comes with the award of an additional knighthood of the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. Dame Marguerite is to receive that further award from the Queen. She is already knighted. The tradition also is that upon the appointment of a Governor General, that individual pays a call on the Queen. That will take place on 14th October at Buckingham Palace. Thus the ritual of the appointment to office will be complete. Our photo of the week then is that of the Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade at the Lynden Pindling International Airport saying a fond adieu to the Governor General as she leaves to see the Queen. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
FRED MITCHELL, THE FOREIGN MINISTER, spoke at the United Nations as Foreign Minister for the 7th time in his career on Tuesday 30th September. The annual statement given at the General Debate of the United Nations is a chance for countries large and small to say what their positions and policies are on various subjects. This year The Bahamas focused on the environment, crime and illegal migration. The photo of the week then is that shot taken on 30th September as the statement was delivered at the traditional iconic green marble podium of the United Nations.
TWO LEAD COUPLES OF THE BAHAMAS AND THE UNITED STATES: it certainly looked like a good time was had by all. The Prime Minister’s wife Bernadette and the President of the United States’ wife Michelle were all smiles as were the two men. This was a happy photograph. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell pronounced himself pleased; after all it’s his job to get these things done. First Pope Francis, now the President of the United States. What more could you ask for? The photo of the week then was this photo with the President of the United States at his annual reception at the Waldorf Astoria in New York city for the delegates attending the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday 23rd Sepetmber.
NEVER GET A LICKING TIL YOU GO DOWN TO BIMINI: well in this case we hope not. We wish only success. The Prime Minister Perry Christie is shown cutting the ribbon to mark the start of the cruise port at Bimini where a cruise ship actually can come straight up to the new dock built on the ocean side of the island for the purpose of Bimini’s tourism resort and casino. Bimini has had a dramatic rise in tourism over the past year. There is full employment on the island as a result of the new investment by Malaysia’s Genting Group of companies. It appears that the arguments with the native Biminites is over, with the investment finally trickling down to the local people. The arguments over the environment seem to have gone nowhere. So there is progress with some 500 people now employed and another 400 to come. There will be a brand new airport and new housing developments. That is what we call progress and the PLP has done it. Our photo of the week then is the Prime Minister with the CEO of Genting Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay as they cut the ribbon on Thursday 18th September. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
Death be not proud – John Donne
O death, where is your sting ?--- Corinthians 15:56
Oh death look what you’ve done – From a folk song sung at graveside in Fox Hill
Our photo of the week by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services
Rest In Peace Latore Mackey, until we meet again
THE PLP SEEKS TO DELIVER IN SOUTH ELEUTHERA: Damien Gomez, the MP for South and Central Eleuthera and the Minister of State in the Attorney General’s office has not been a happy camper. He has openly lamented in a letter to the Prime Minister that there was little to no economic activity in his constituency and too many people were on welfare. He then publicly offered his resignation when it appeared that files related to a former client and now constituent went south from the AG’s office. He offered when the resignation was refused to be transferred to another Ministry. This should put a smile on his face. The Prime Minister Perry Christie has been looking around for a deal that would bring some economic activity to that area. He thinks he has found it and went to Rock Sound to participate in the ground breaking of the project long in coming of Dr. Samiento, reportedly Columbia’s richest man to put a hotel development there. Smiles all around we hope. Our photo of the week then is the Prime Minister at the groundbreaking in South Eleuthera on Thursday 14th May.
THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE CHARGE: it has been almost three years since the United States has had an Ambassador to the Bahamas in place. That means that there has been no political representation in this country from the closest country to us for almost three years. The job has been done by a Charge D’affaires ad interim. That means the number two person in the embassy heads the mission until the political head can come. Cassandra Butts is the person nominated by the President Barrak Obama to do the job but the politics of Washington D C does not allow her to come and take the post. This is really outrageous for a developed country not to be able to put an ambassador in place in a country so close to it. Anyway that’s life and the critics in The Bahamas were having a field day at the expense of the government when they thought we in The Bahamas did not have someone in Washington. Nothing said about the opposite. Our photo of the week then is the first formal call by the present head of Mission for the United States Lisa Johnson as she met the Prime Minister on Thursday 4th September. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
GATHERING FOR RONNIE: Ronnie Butler is a poet and he knows it. He is simply brilliant. Nothing surpasses in our minds than the song Burma Road. Mr. Butler recorded that song in 1968 and it is still being sung by children today. In it he did a medley of Bahamian tunes, starting from Fox Hill with the ditty “ Don’t mind Livingstone, Josiah the JP”. The song then turns into Going Down Burma Rd, don’t lick nobody.” What the real apotheosis of the song is though was the improv, that of in giving in commentary to music about the contrasts between modern Bahamian life and the old days. He says for example “I remember when we used to go to high mass on Sunday morning with high top tennis with no socks on and God help you if it rain because toe jam will kill you.” That is our Ronnie Butler, the same who decades later said age was nothing but a number . On Thursday 28th August his friend Craig Flowers, of the FML Group, led a tribute to Ronnie Butler. He had unveiled in the presence of the Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet a larger than life statue of Ronnie Butler. In our view this man should have been knighted and we should know him as Sir Ronnie. Ah well. In the meantime, our photo of the week is that of the larger than life statue of Ronnie Butler: going down Burma Rd, indeed. The statue is located on Bay Street west of the Hilton British Colonial in front to the east of the FML Headquarters. The photo is posted on Facebook. For more photos of the opening by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services. See below.
WELL THE CONSTITUTIONAL BILLS ARE IN COMMITTEE: if all goes well and the government thinks it has the 29 votes that it needs, the constitutional bills will pass the House of Assembly tomorrow by this time. They are now in Committee, various amendments have been agreed: principally to make the questions easier to understand and to define what sex means, as if we didn’t know already. If the bills pass it will be because of the work of these two men Perry Christie, Leader of the PLP and Hubert Minnis, leader of the FNM, who were able to overcome their mutual loathing of each other to agree on a package of bills to grant women equality in the law. Our photo of the week is a picture by Peter Ramsay of the two men as they left the House on Wednesday 20th August following the vote to send the bills to the Committee stage.
THE HOUSE UNITED: Leslie Miller not so long ago was not on the proper list of Loretta Butler Turner. He is the PLP MP for Tall Pines, and outspoken to a fault. He will slash and burn and if you get in his way. He was not the champion of women because of some things which he said which in our view were taken not in the proper context. Nevertheless, he was not on their proper list either. The last thing he said was that he did not believe that a man should come from another country and be able to get citizenship in The Bahamas after marrying a Bahamian woman. Uh oh! Mrs. Butler Turner, the Deputy leader of the FNM and an advocate for women's rights said that was from the caveman era. Mr. Miller didn’t like it and threatened to deal with her. But all were smiles and a handshake in the House when Mr. Miller spoke and said he was supporting the four bills to amend the constitution without dissent. Loretta Butler Turner got up and turned around in her seat shook his hand and bowed. All then is forgiven? The photo of the week then is that of Loretta Butler Turner MP for Long Island FNM shaking the hand of Leslie Miller for Tall Pines PLP on Wednesday 13th August in the House of Assembly. The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER: after a rousing but sober talk by the Rev. Hugh Roach, the Chaplain of the House of Assembly to the group there gathered on Freedom Park on Wednesday 6th August, they held hands and sung. This was a sign of the unity which has been exhibited from the Fox Hill Community since the death of the four people shot down on the park on 27th December 2013 as they were awaiting the Junkanoo results for the Original Conges. The park was awash with tears and emotion still raw after the events more than six months ago as the people remembered Claudzino Davis, Shanique Sands, Eric Morrison and Shaquille Demeritte. We hope that the service helps to soothe and that the object of the service to break ground for the construction of the monument to the four people will help also to heal. As the Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis said: “to do the things that make for peace and build up the common good”. Our photo of the week then is Fox Hill during the hour of prayer on Wednesday 6th August 2014. The photo is by Raymond Bethel of the Bahamas Information Services from left to right Catholic Father Reggie Demeritte, Monsignor Preston Moss, Rev. Hugh Roach, Fred Mitchell MP, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis.
MARTELLY COMES CALLING FROM HAITI: it was all smiles, the Prime Minister Perry Christie, the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell and their supporting cast of officials.
This photo was taken as the Prime Minister Perry Christie was escorting President Michel Martelly back to his car and then to the airport for departure to Haiti. It was quite a successful visit.
None of the acrimony over interfering in the internal affairs of the country like the previous visit under the FNM.
Even the FNM seemed to embrace the general themes of migration and business as issues that The Bahamas has to sensibly manage.
The countries signed three agreements: one on general technical cooperation including migration; another on agriculture and how to import agricultural goods into the country; the third on investment promotion and protection.
You can see the facsimiles of the three agreements by clicking here.
The photo of the week is the joyous farewell to Haitian President Martelly as he concluded his official visit to The Bahamas by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.
THE QUESTION IS WHAT WERE THEY SAYING AND THINKING. Peter Ramsay captured this interesting photo at the House of Assembly on Wednesday 23rd July. The setting: the House had just adjourned and members Fred Mitchell and Bernard Nottage are discussing something that obviously elicited great laughter. Not so for the Prime Minister Perry Christie who can be seen in the background in quite a ponderous mood. What were they saying? What was he thinking? Renward Wells to resign? VAT to be passed? Will the “vimin” vote yes for the referendum questions? A lot to think about. But the song says. Don’t worry! Be happy! Our photo of the week that of Bernard Nottage, Fred Mitchell and Prime Minister Christie in the House of Assembly on 23rd July by Peter Ramsay.
A FAR COUNTRY: the Foreign Ministers of Caricom have held their first meeting as part of the consultative process between Caricom and Turkey which was agreed by Memorandum of Understanding in 2011. Foreign Ministers of the region met in Istanbul from Thursday 17th July to Monday 21st July to discuss an ambitious agenda of support for Turkey’s bid to become a Member of the Security Council of the United Nations and the outreach of Turkey to the region in development assistance. Fred Mitchell MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas represented the country at the meetings. Our photo of the week then is the usual class photo of the Foreign Ministers of Caricom with their Turkish counterpart (at the centre) Ahmet Davutoglu. Mr. Mitchell is second from the right.
Well there was no talk on their chat webs, that of the young PLPs, about old men falling asleep in their House of Assembly and church seats and a need for change. What a difference a day or a week makes in politics. The young PLPs lit up the web with positive commentary about the annual budget of the country which was presented over some three hours at the House of Assembly on Wednesday 27th May. The Prime Minister began the day walking over with his colleagues from the Cabinet office, the budget traditional walk, and then entered the House and began. There was something for everyone.
The good news is that the budget since the implementation of value added tax at the start of the year has seen a significant improvement in the deficit. The deficit appears to have been cut by two thirds. This means that the annual deficit will come somewhere under two hundred million instead of the closer to three hundred million and a half.
No one in the country cares about the deficit however; the question is what is in it for people? There appears to be plenty. A reduction in the overall duty on cars from 85 per cent to 65 per cent. There is 20 million set aside to tackle the issue of youth unemployment. MPs got some relief for their allowances for constituency offices with it being taken up from 1500 to 2500 per month. Over all the young ones seem to have the impression that the PLP was cranking up to run for office again and to win the country.
Cars over ten years will be banned from importation into the country. That too is a good thing.
The result or bottom line as they say is that the fundamental issue which the PLP faces in its so called PR dilemma is that of the confidence of its young leaders in where the party is going seems on the mend. They thought the budget was great. They started circulating spontaneously memes promoting the budget and the ideas therein. We show a sample of them below. No one had to prompt them and they took on the FNM trolls on the web. That is what they are supposed to do instead of concentrating on attacking this one or that because well the public relations is not right.
We hope the older ones get the message. The PLP’s PR problem is not that the country does not know what the PLP is doing; it’s the fact that the supporters don’t feel engaged in the process. You know all politics is local. What’s in it for me?
The FNM’s response was hopeless. They claimed in their press conference on Budget Day that there was no hope in the budget, there was no way forward. Well one supposes that they have to say something. Didn’t amount to much. What is clear though is that there is no need for fancy consultants, paid large sums to get the message across. What is needed is the younger ones to get on their bikes, and start spreading the message, the PLP is back. The PLP is here and that the PLP is going to win the next general election.
Bottom line again as they say, turn the country over to the younger ones to run. Let it be seen to be so. You will be surprised what the Lord can do.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 30th May 2015 up to midnight: 526,229; Number of hits for the month of May up to Saturday 30th 2015 up to midnight: 2,153,720; Number of hits for the year 2015 up to Saturday 30th May 2015 up to midnight: 10,235,712.
Well despite the high level publicity stunt pulled by the United States Justice Department on Wednesday 27th May on the world’s most popular game, the man who they were trying to get rid of survived so far without indictment and also as leader of FIFA again. Yes Sepp Blatter once again leads FIFA, re-elected on Friday 29th May. No doubt he has not seen the end of the Americans. They mean to get him. Yes you will remember that on the eve of the election, the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch called a press conference and with much drama and grave faces pronounced that they were indicting people across the globe for using the US financial system and the geographical offices in the US to bribe officials to decide where world cup games in football are to be held. The next games are set for 2016 in arid hot Qatar. They are going to be held in the winter because it’s so darned hot in Qatar in the summer it will simply be impossible to play them. The choice of Qatar in 2016 and then Russia in 2018 as against the United States by the FIFA board did not sit well with the Americans. So they decided well it must be because the Russians and the Qataris bribed officials to do it. What better targets than the products of small island developing states, after all they are always with their hands out. So Jack Warner of Trinidad who in the midst of attacks on him about the subject in 2011 abandoned his job as a minister and as a FIFA official. Jeffery Web who heads the Americas and Caribbean Division who is from the Cayman is also indicted. The Americans said that poor old Jack who is in the middle of an election campaign against his former party took ten million dollars. They didn’t say how much Mr. Webb got but they had Mr. Webb arrested and another 83 year old and put them all in the clink in Switzerland and in Trinidad. Mr. Warner couldn’t make bail despite the fact that he is not a security risk, no flight risk. The Magistrate suddenly had difficulty determining whether his property was good enough to stand surety for his bail. So now these people will have their reputations and fortunes destroyed because of all of this. If this column seems skeptical about all of this you are right. The American Justice system is corrupt. There are too many instances of it, from a Supreme Court that threw an obvious win from one person to the next in the presidential race where the winner’s father put the judges on the Supreme Court that made the decision to hand him the election. Then you had the case of the black people in a small town in Texas all locked up by the police only for all the cases to fall apart. Similarly a white family all locked up for molesting kids and the cases fell apart. The examples now of policemen shooting down black men in the streets unarmed and no justice. The US justice system cannot defend itself as one of integrity. So for this well dramatized show , one of the prosecutors said this was “ the world cup of fraud”, too many people smell a rat. It smacks of vengeance justice because they lost the bid to host the World Cup. We hold no brief for these people but this act by the US Justice Department is not right. Soccer is a game they don’t even play really in the US. How does any of this get to be their business. They use as the jurisdictional point that the money passed through their banking system and that the offices were in Miami. Now you see why the Chinese are trying to create a separate banking system so one does not have to put up with this kind of nonsense. The US argues free trade, tells you are good to do business in their country, and then ends up arresting you on the flimsiest of pretexts. Well we will watch for the outcome. Problem is there is such a high cost to defending oneself that the US at bottom forces people who are innocent to give in and pronounce yourself corrupt just to get rid of the problems with the government. Sad on all accounts. No doubt there is a rush to judgment throughout our region: Jack did it. Few will one see it the way we see it. So we are the skunk at the garden party.
The Bahamas and China signed an air services agreement between the two countries on Thursday 28th May at the Office of the Prime Minister. The agreement is designed to govern flight traffic between the two countries and ground handling. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin on behalf of the government of The Bahamas and the of China.
There was a huge row at the end of the session of the House on Tuesday 26th May over a decision by the Chair of the Opposition led Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to get up on the adjournment and attack a ruling of the Speaker. Fred Mitchell MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs objected to the points raised by the Chair of the Committee Hubert Chipman FNM for St Anne’s. The video is captured by C Allen Johnson.
ATLANTA, Georgia ( 29 May 2015) – After having a very successful meet and greet last month with Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, several members of the Atlanta business community met at the Bahamas Consulate in Atlanta this past week to discuss planning a visit to Nassau to look at opportunities to do business in The Bahamas. Pictured from left to right are Mia Ferguson, Vice Consul; Milton Jones, Peachtree Providence Partners; Thomas Dorch, Entrepreneur; Bahamas Consul General to Atlanta Randy Rolle; Deputy Consul General Monique D. Vanderpool; and Leona Davenport, President and CEO of Atlanta Business League.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mrs. Gina Rodgers Sealy, daughter of the late Andre Rodgers, the first Bahamian to play professional baseball, presented copies of her acclaimed biographical documentary on her father, “Gentle Giant—The Andre Rodgers Story,” to His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, and Mrs. Paulette Zonicle, Bahamas Consul General to Washington, D.C., during a courtesy call at the Bahamas Embassy, 2220 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Mrs. Sealy was accompanied by her husband, Mr. Leslie Sealy. Pictured from left to right are: Consul General Zonicle, Deputy Chief of Mission Chet Neymour, Mrs. Sealy, Ambassador Newry, and Mr. Sealy.
That familiar FNM refrain of oppose and delay, reprobate and approbate is stale and rings hollow and after forty years of the same old tune is simply tiresome. Such was the case this morning in one of the dailies when Dr. Minnis called for yet another delay in the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI).
The FNM claimed to support independence, but not in 1973; they thought the country was not ready for the College of The Bahamas in 1974; wrongly predicted economic catastrophe with National Insurance; they opposed ZNS national television; they said no to the Royal Bahamas Defense Force in 1979; opposed Bahamianization; they opposed national service and canceled the National Youth Restorative Program; so Bahamians far and wide were not surprised when Minnis as FNM leader called for another delay in the implementation of NHI. History has well recorded FNM short-sightedness and ideological bankruptcies in the form of opposition to all of the major public institutions that collectively form the modern Bahamas. This is a terrible legacy that he perpetuates to this very day. The record is clear; the FNM opposed all progressive initiatives for the Bahamas.
One needs only look to FNM opposition to fiscal reform; gaming reform, Urban Renewal; Swift Justice; and Carnival to see their legacy of error on pivotal and transformational policies. The public can only expect opposition, delay and one red herring after the other and in the end history has proven the FNM wrong on one national issue after the other. How much longer and how many more times the FNM must find themselves on the wrong side of history before they come to their senses?
With more than half of our Bahamians brothers and sisters without health insurance for one reason or the other, the time for talk about implementing this important transformational policy is over and the country must act in the national interest.
Minnis and the FNM are about playing politics with the health and wellbeing of Bahamians while the PLP believes that access to affordable and quality health care is a human right and not a privilege. This is a fundamental tenet and value of the PLP.
The PLP fully supports the government’s plans to implement National Health Insurance in January 2016 and commends them on this bold initiative.
BAHAMAS, Nassau – His Excellency Rashid Mairza Mahmoud Al-Mulla, Ambassador-Designate of Qatar to The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 at the Ministry’s headquarters on West Bay Street. (BIS Photos/Elcott Coleby)
Later the Ambassador on Thursday 28th May presented his credentials to the Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling and becoming Qatar’s first Ambassador to The Bahamas. He will be resident in Cuba.
This week in The Bahamas Parliament, Tuesday 26th May 2015
When the House last met on the 20th May 2015, debate on the Petroleum Act was suspended pending the addition of amendments the opposition claimed were necessary to facilitate a full and proper debate on the bill. The amendments were delivered to opposition members but they claimed that they did not have sufficient time to review the amendments so debate on the Petroleum Bill was deferred.
The existing bill, number 138 on the House agenda, was withdrawn by its sponsor, the member for Southern Shores and the newly amended bill was introduced and read for the first time effectively paving the way for a full House debate on the Petroleum Bill. The long title of the bill reads as follows: “A Bill for an Act to provide for the exploration and production of petroleum and for matters incidental thereto.”
The State Minister for Finance and member for Golden Isles the Hon. Michael Halkitis tabled a resolution for a government guaranteed loan in the amount of $35 million for the Public Hospital Authority to improve the country’s health infrastructure in preparation for the introduction National Health Insurance (NHI). The first phase is scheduled for introduction in January 2016.
The member for Englerston paid tribute to the life and work of former Senator Mizpah Tertullien. Her body will lie in the foyer of the Senate on Thursday, 28th May 2015 and her remains will be funeralized and interred at St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on Friday, 29th May 2015.
There was an animated exchange in the House during a presentation by the member for St. Anne’s and PAC chair Hon. Hubert Chipman. He accused the government of breaking the law, said the judgment of the chair was in error and bogus. His assertions were challenged by the member for Fox Hill who referenced the Privileges Act or the Immunities Act as support. The speaker characterized the presentation as contemptuous to the chair; disrespectful to the chair; ultra vires the rules of the House and that the presentation did cast aspersions on the chair.
The House was suspended until 10 am on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 where the Honourable member for Centerville and Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie delivered the budget communication for the government’s 2015/2016 fiscal year.
PM Christie delivers 2015/2016 budget communication
The highlights of the two and one half hours budget communication delivered by Bahamas Prime Minister and Minister of finance the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 are as follow:
The GFS (Government Financial Statistics) deficit was reduced by $342 million or two thirds over the past three years from a high of $539 million during the 2012/2013 fiscal year. The Prime Minister stated that the Government will borrow only $182 million in the 2015/2016 fiscal year compared to some $670 million during the 2012/2013 fiscal year.
Pastor Mario Moxey of Bahamas Harvest sent out a video in which he says he is going to pray for the nation’s children because they are being taken over by the devil. This comes on the heels of reports on the web that children have been taken up with game called Charlie Charlie which supposedly calls up the devil. All of this is superstitious nonsense but church will be full come Sunday we suspect. Here is a letter purportedly from the Anatol Rodgers High School where they supposedly experienced the phenomenon.
We regret to report the death of Bishop Cornell Moss, the Anglican Bishop of Guyana and the formerly the Archdeacon of the Diocese of Nassau, The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands in Miami on 30th May. He made his reputation as a [ priest at the parish of Ascension in Freeport which congregation is reeling this morning. We present a tribute to Bishop Moss from Tristan Lockhart, a server at the Ascension Parish and a friend of the Bishops. Rest In Peace.
From Tristan Lockhart:
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.- Joseph Scriven
I write with a heavy heart tonight as I begin to come to the realization that my bishop, priest and friend is no longer here. Bishop Cornell Mosswas the most influential person that ever came into my life. He helped me through the darkest periods of my life, not only as my priest, but as my friend. We shared a very real friendship. One that was filled with the good, the bad and the ugly. However, through it all, we were friends to the end. His death is a shock to many of us, especially to his family, the church family, and the Diocese of Guyana whom he loved dearly. Cornell died empty. He had reached the mark as a priest that most priests could only dream of reaching. He has transformed and build every parish he touched, inspired hope and brought new life to the Diocese of Guyana. Most of all, I will miss our conversations. We touched on every aspect of life itself. Our most recent conversation was 3 weeks ago asking me “when will you offer yourself to the sacred priesthood. Time is running out” I laughed as it reminded me of our first conversation a decade ago. We had come full circle speaking about something we first talked about. Our conversations about current affairs, the church, bahamian politics, the lectures, the scolding and the jokes, I will always remeber. I will miss the bond we shared. The late nights with coffee, chicken in the bag, wine, with a big glass of water conversing I will cherish. I will miss the dedication and love you had for the church. You are truly an inspiration. I will always love you my friend. You have done well. Time to take your rest. I promise you, I will never let you down
Since the launch of the Budget last Wednesday, the young PLPs have been energized by the news that the government has had some successes in the economy and with the population. They have galvanized themselves into a new group on Facebook called “Forward Onward” . It provides new and excerpts and commentary about the PLP and its plans for the future of the country. Please take a moment this week and join the conversation. It is an extension of conversations and commentary led by young PLPs about the future of the country. It is frank, honest and direct, and pulls no punches. Please have a look on Facebook for the new page and “like” it so that you can always get the latest from the young PLP perspective on Facebook at “Forward Onward”.
This is the official Photograph from the Prime Minister’s Office: L-R: Mr. Forbes; Ms. Wilson, Mr. Fulford The Hon. Stephen Harper; The Hon. Don-hue Gardiner; Professor Gilbert Morris and Mr. James.
Countries must move assiduously to make their names in this world. Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Territory, and may have a difficult time getting the British to treat them seriously, but Canada rolled out the ‘red carpet for TCI.
The history of the two countries is more than 200 years long. Turks and Caicos provided salt for the armies of the American Revolutionary War; without Turks and Caicos’ salt, the Cod industry of 120 years ago, which provided the foundation of Canada’s wealth today could not have thrived.
Today Turks and Caicos’ Healthcare is managed by Inter-health Canada, its power company is FORTIS of Newfoundland, Canada many of its luxury resorts were developed and are owned by Canadians and It former Police Commissioner and first public Prosecutor were all Canadian.
The Premier Rufus Ewing and the Prime Minister of Canada tasked the Joint Working Groups, Canada and TCI to come up with a formula to recognise, confirm and advance the two country’s relationship.
According to the Minister for Immigration Border Security and Labour The Hon. R. Don-hue Gardiner, MP JP – Canada demonstrated its trustworthiness, its foresight and its credibility by engaging the TCI delegation with a series of the highest level members of the Administration, its agencies and associations.
The TCI delegation is constituted by The Hon. Don-Hue Gardiner – who according to Professor Gilbert Morris is a brilliant constitutionalist. In addition is Mr. Shirlen A. Forbes – a mathematician and TCI’s Chief Statistician; Mr. A. Mark Fulford, LLB – former Chief of Staff to the former Premier, and a fast rising lawyer, already trying cases at the Privy Council; also Mr. Ronlee J. James of the Premier’s office, the coordinator of the visit, and Ms. Rosemarie Wilson who represents TCI in Canada. Last is our own Professor Gilbert Morris – an advisor to many governments -whom we are told mastered every detail of the strategic potential inter-relations of the two countries.
The TCI Working Group with the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs The Hon. Robert Nicholson MP (Centre) and Parliamentary Secretary for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs The Hon. David Anderson. (left end).
The Minister, The Hon. Don-hue Gardiner said that ‘it was important to our Premier that we did not show up in Canada with out hand out. We came with strategies for cooperation, working together for our mutual benefit. This is an approach the preserves our dignity and the prestige of our country, even as it respect Canada’s willingness to work in concert.”
Last week we carried in the Comment of The Week an analysis of what is happening with the leadership of the Free National Movement. We led with the headline: Minnis Supporters to Ingraham: Bring Ya Black Ass. The article was a big hit and the FNM supporters have said that it’s about right on target. Meanwhile Frank Watson, the former Deputy Prime Minister who is kind of Hubert Ingraham, the former PM’s spokesman, was in the press again last week saying that Mr. Ingraham does not have any plans to come back. We don’t believe him. Remember that is exactly what Hubert Ingraham said to Tommy Turnquest in 2006. Tommy Turnquest was then the Leader of the FNM. He got a call from Hubert Ingraham the night before the convention to assure Mr. Turnquest that he (Mr. Ingraham) was not going to run against him, only to see Mr. Ingraham nominate on the floor of the convention and defeat him and embarrass him. We don’t think that Hubert Ingraham will pull that maneuver on Hubert Minnis. But that’s the FNM’s business whatever they do. Mr. Watson has to answer this question: if Mr. Ingraham has no plans to come back why is Mr. Watson beating the bushes to get him back.
Congratulations to the graduating class of the College of The Bahamas 2105, amongst whom is Tyeson McKenzie, formerly of Mangrove Cay and now of Nassau but a hard worker and a leading light in the next generation. He obtained a degree in Public Administration. Let’s hope that the administration puts him to work to execute what he has learned. Not a moment too soon. Good luck to them all. The graduation took place on 28th May at the Thomas Robinson Auditorium.
After years and years of delay and promises, the Grand Bahama community in Freeport is to get a new fire station replacing the one that was destroyed. The price tag 6 million dollars. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Philip Davis was in Freeport for the signing of the contract and there also was a very happy Michael Darville, the Minister for Grand Bahama on Friday 29th May.
Our little country up to Thursday 28th May had reached the unenviable record of 62 people dead as homicides. Even as the graduating class of the College of The Bahamas 2015 was lauding its success, in Pinewood a young male who should have been in that class of 2015 was gunned down in the streets and killed. The scene spreads quickly as a fad now on Facebook and the crowds gather, the family screams, the police come and pronounce with indignation, then it’s off to another murder scene. This is sad.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell is shown with the staff of the office of the High Commission in Canada. The Minister made an official visit to the office on Friday 29th May. The photo shows from left: Lemare Major, LaVaughn Adderley, Roselyn Dorsett Horton, High Commissioner Johnson, the Minister, Alleem Mahamed and Ashley Pinder Siddiqui.
Fred Mitchell MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs paid a courtesy call on the Director General of Foreign Affairs for the Caribbean and the Americas of Canada on Friday 29th May at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa. Amongst the matters discussed were The Caribbean –US Security Summit to be held in Nassau on 4th June; the issues of Climate Change and the Paris conference in December; the support for Canada on the issue of GDP per capita not being the determinant for concessional financing from international financial institutions for Caricom countries; the end of the ban on Canadian beef into The Bahamas; the Oceana development in Exuma; student visas for Bahamians entering Canada. From left the photo shows: High Commissioner of The Bahamas to Canada Calsey Johnson; Johannesburg Forest, Director Central America and the Caribbean Relations ; the Minister; the Director General Heri –Paul Normandin; and an official of the Ministry in Canada.
We return to the failed opening of Baha Mar yet again. Last week we said how the developer Sarkis Izmirlian has the strange public relations habit of picking a fight with everyone while trying to open his new hotel. The list includes a public row with the government, the unions, the contractor, his immediate neighbour on Cable Beach. Add to that the China Export Import Bank. In an article in the Business Section of the Tribune last week, a story surfaced that Bahamar feels that the bank needs to do more to force the contractor to perform because after all it argued the Chinese contractor and the Bank have a stake in each other’s success. Suddenly The Tribune’s editorials by the crotchety wicked lady of the east Eileen Carron is filled with advice to the bank about what they should or should not do. Mrs. Carron says that the Chinese bank, a state owned entity could foreclose on the project . She said Hubert Ingraham when he was Prime Minister promised he would not allow that to happen because that would mean that China which owns the bank will be owning real estate once owned by the Crown and the Bahamian people. Mrs. Carron wants to know what Mr., Christie will do. Well it’s a commercial transaction, if you don’t pay your bills, then the bank will foreclose what do you want him to do?
Seemed like it should have been a good week, on Whit Monday 25th May, the pastors of Fox Hill led by Bishop Arnold Josey of the Commonwealth Baptist Church in Elizabeth Estates led a prayer service to banish crime from the Fox Hill area. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Fox Hill MP joined them in prayer as did Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin. That done, all seemed well. Except that it appears that the devil was still busy. There was a report , quite exaggerated, that children in schools throughout New Providence and they mentioned Anatol Rodgers High School and Sandilands Primary School in particular had to bring in preachers again because the children were said to be possessed with the devil. One teacher or someone connected to events at Sandilands sent an audio around saying how the children were possessed with the devil. That was irresponsible by the teacher but it shows how silly this country is and how difficult it is to govern when people believe nonsense so easily. There was no formal comment from the Ministry of Education but the spirit is said to be part of a game called Charlie Charlie.
We wanted our readers to be able to read the draft act and so you might do so by clicking right here.. The draft bill is being circulated for comments which should be addressed to the Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald who has carriage of the Bill.
The Nassau Guardian and its editorial writers seem to be leaning more and more toward the loony tune FNM ideologues. On Tuesday of last week 26th May, the editorial claimed that this has been the worst period of governance in the history of the country since Majority Rule. Really, of course they are not counting the one billion dollars of additional debt run up by Hubert Ingraham when he was Prime Minister from 2007 to 2012 and selling the telephone company to a group that had no clue what it was/is doing, giving away the national patrimony for a fire sale, pocketing the cash and nothing to show for it but bad phone service. Their hatred of Perry Christie knows no bounds. They are getting like the time when the paper was a mouthpiece for the Bay Street boys.
Prime Minister Perry Christie answered the prayers of many when he announced in the budget statement that the government will get five new planes for Bahamasair. The first of these planes should arrive in December and not a moment too soon. Bahamasair is plagued by delays and breakdowns from these forty year old planes that they are nursing in the air. It’s about effen time.
Roberta Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere, in the United States State Department, is to lead the US side in a meeting in The Bahamas with leaders from the Caribbean on Citizen Security. The exchange of ideas is convened at the request of the region’s Prime Ministers who thought that there needed to be a discussion with the US on how they can play a greater role in ensuring that the societies in the region are safe and secure. The topics to be covered are human smuggling, gun smuggling, drug trafficking, human trafficking, fish poaching and education of the young and the social mechanisms to be used to stop crime. The meeting is a one day meeting on 4th June at the Atlantis Paradise Island.
Prime Minister Perry Christie views the body of former Senator Mizpah Tertullien in the foyer of the Senate on Thursday 28th May, the eve of her funeral on Friday 29th May at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral. Mrs. Tertullien was lauded by head of the Women’s Parliamentary Branch in The Bahamas Glenys Hanna Martin for her pioneering work on behalf of women in the country as a politician.Photos by Peter Ramsey – BIS
With Gilbert Morris, Mark Fulford, The Bahamas High Commissioner Calsey Johnson in Canada and Foreign Minister of The Bahamas Fred Mitchell MP. The photo was captured of a chance meeting at the Hilton Lac Leamy in Ottawa on Thursday 28th May. Mr. Morris and Mr. Fulford were in town for consultations with Canadian government officials. They are from the Turks and Caicos Islands. Mr. Morris is also from Freeport. Mr. Mitchell was on an official visit to Canada.
Hamming it up in the House of Assembly in this Peter Ramsay of BIS photo on Wednesday 27th May, Budget Day. A good day was had by all. The Ministers are all smiles: Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism and MP for West Grand Bahama and Bimini; and the two women: Glenys Hanna Martin MP for Englerston and Minister of Transport; Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson, the Attorney General.
One of the people murdered this past week was the son of the Rev. Lloyd Smith. The son was from all accounts doing well and respected in his work. He was ambushed while dropping off his men from work. Omar Archer who has now been before the courts for criminal libel, who failed to kill himself when seeking to jump out of the courts to escape the police for yet another arrest, was at it again on Facebook. This time defaming Rev Smith’s son. This man is so nuts that it’s hard to describe what he is. The fact is we say again, the greatest failure for our country was that he did not end his life when he jumped out of the window of the courts. Instead of breaking his neck, he only broke his legs.