Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames... Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
Volume 7 © BahamasUncensored.com 2009
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
|SIR CLEMENT MAYNARD DIES...||REACTION TO SIR CLEMENT’S DEATH...|
|THE HEALTH DEBATE...||THE PLEASANT BRIDGEWATER TRIAL...|
|BRENT SYMONETTE AT THE U.N....||$5.8 MILLION ON MISS UNIVERSE...|
|THE GUARDIAN: HUBERT INGRAHAM’S MOUTHPIECE...||MITCHELL BOOK SIGNING...|
|THE PRIVY COUNCIL DEBATE...||MOTHER PRATT ENDORSES BRAVE...|
|KEN DORSETT LAUNCHES FOR PLP CHAIR...||IN PASSING...|
|The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party...||The Official Site of the Free National Movement...|
|JeromeFiztgerald.org||Bahamas Government Website|
|KendredDorsett.com||Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links|
|FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...||Bahamians On The Web|
|Bahamian Cycling News|
|VINCENT FERGUSON IS BURIED: If you did not know Vincent Ferguson (known as Geech to many) in real life, you would think that this man is really quite a difficult fellow. But inside that outer mould was a heart of gold that cared deeply for his country and gave a life of unselfish service to the country. What is remarkable is that he gave so much to the country and in return got little. He was reduced to a paltry pension as a result of the quirks of the service to the government that was not long enough to give him a liveable pension. All of the politicians who sat in the funeral from the Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham to his representative Tommy Turnquest and those from the previous administration, many of whom he taught, were either unwilling or unable to help the situation. But despite that indignity, he continued his lifelong contribution to the country in which he was born and raised in the remote settlement of United Estate in San Salvador in 1938. He was a migrant to Nassau, but armed with a Catholic education he went on to excel in Triple A baseball in the United States, a Masters Degree in Education and one of the progenitors of the Bahamas Basketball Association. In addition, he served as an administrator in the Catholic School system and in the public school system. Mr. Ferguson was honoured in death with a Christian service at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Nassau on Thursday 1st October. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Nassau. He is survived by his wife Mary and two adult children Alex and Ann Marie. Photo/Peter Ramsay|
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
WHO IS THAT GUY GRUMBLING
Sometimes you want to ask if the Prime Minister is drunk or crazy. This has got to cross the mind of any sane and sound individual when they come into contact with his public behaviour in the House of Assembly.
There was a public forum at the College of The Bahamas on Friday 2nd October by Camille Barnett’s sociology class. The topic was the Government’s proposals to criminalize marital rape. At one point, one of the presenters, a well-known lawyer, simply would not let one of the other presenters, a well-known pastor, speak. Before the pastor could answer the question, the lawyer intervened, shouting from his seat. While the pastor was talking, the lawyer was again shouting from his seat and intervening in what was supposed to be a forum for discussion and dialogue. The pastor looked over at one of the guests, a Member of Parliament, and said: “You should feel at home, since this is way you all carry on in the House of Assembly.” A wry comment, but with some truth.
Hark back, then, to the most recent debate on the drug prescription plan that the government has introduced to the country and passed on Thursday 1st October. This is a plan that will do nothing to ease the pain and suffering of the thousands of people who cannot afford health care. It is really a mechanism for the government to pay for the medicines which it is already supposed to be providing free of care to the Bahamian public. The plan is to be paid for by an increase in the national insurance contribution rate of one percent. That rate is scheduled to go up another one percent in January to pay for the unemployment benefit, which the government has also introduced. But the government introduced a bill and you would have thought that they were actually interested in hearing the other side. Not a chance.
Throughout the contribution of Dr. Bernard Nottage, the Prime Minister sat in his seat, grumbled, interrupted, and shouted out one form of abuse and nonsense after the next. If he were in primary school in the classroom, his teacher would have given him three cuts with the cane for talking too much. In the schoolyard, he would have been decked to the floor for being a bully.
Throughout the debate, the FNM's men tried to rewrite history. Their story is (see below) that the PLP cannot criticize their drug prescription plan by offering as an alternative the national health insurance plan the PLP left in place because according to the Minister of Health Dr. Hubert Minnis, the plan left in place by the PLP was unsustainable. That we know is nonsense. During Dr. Nottage’s contribution, Mr. Ingraham was shouting out that he was responsible for engaging Dr. Nottage in the first plan for national health insurance, as if that made any difference to the fact that there is no plan today.
The debate then was the same old ‘blame the PLP’ game. The FNM has no plan but what they do is stop, review and cancel the PLP’s plan, and when the public complains, they blame the PLP. The pattern of the debate then was vintage FNM and vintage Ingraham.
But the main point of we make here today is the continued lack of decorum in the House of Assembly, led by the national joker that the Prime Minister has become. The House of Assembly threatens to turn into a kind of national barroom, the kind that he likes to hang around on weekends. The fish fry at Arawak Cay is to be transferred to Bay Street, the manners prevalent there transplanted to the hallowed halls of the Parliament. What one wonders is if this man Ingraham has no shame? His behaviour is sickening; increasingly sickening and disgraceful; it is almost as if you have man who is so impressed with his image in the mirror, so self absorbed, narcissistic that he has lost his sense of balance and place in the world. You ask yourself why a 62-year-old man is grumbling to himself in the House of Assembly every week.
The PLP talks policy, the FNM comes back with foolishness. The country deserves better leadership than this. And Mr. Ingraham’s answer to Perry Christie, the Leader of the Opposition who challenged the Prime Minister and his Minister of Health to produce the facts to support their outrageous allegation on the PLPs health plan, and to correct its defects: “I won and you lost” Oh well, one supposes that satisfies everything. Is this like Junkanoo then; a question of who lost and who won?
So when we see the schoolyard bully succeed in life without let or hindrance, when we see the society disintegrate into shouting matches, stabbings and shootings, when we see the authorities themselves unable or unwilling to bring order or discipline into our national life, you cannot be surprised. All you have to do is to turn your television to the parliamentary channel and watch the Prime Minister in the House of Assembly. If you have any sense of civic pride and civility within you, you will be ashamed that this idiotic and nasty performance is what passes for public policy today in The Bahamas.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 3rd October 2009 up to midnight: 153,352.
Number of hits for the month of September up to Wednesday 30th September 2009 up to midnight: 630,357.
Number of hits for the month of October up to Saturday 3rd October 2009 up to midnight: 53,269.
CLEMENT MAYNARD DIES
The former Deputy Prime Minister of the country and Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, Sir Clement T. Maynard, died at his home in Adelaide on Friday 2nd October. Sir Clement had been suffering from the effects of a stroke he suffered in January 2008. He had a long and distinguished career in Bahamian public life, first as a trade unionist and then as a Senator and then Member of Parliament. He was the only member of the original majority rule cabinet of 1967 to serve his entire time in the Parliament as a cabinet minister.
Sir Clement was 81 at the time of his death. He served in retirement as an informal counsellor to various governments including on a commission to review the salaries of Parliamentarians under Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. He is survived by his wife Zoë, Lady Maynard and children Senator Allyson Gibson, David, Peter, and Clement III. No funeral announcement has been made. In July of 2007, Sir Clement published what was to be the first volume of his memoirs ‘Put On More Speed’. Sir Clement wrote in that book:
“The matchless honour of standing in January 1967 among the great leaders of my country as a member of the first “Majority Rule” government will remain freshly etched in my memory. I thought especially of the older fatherly members who sacrificed, struggled and yearned so long for justice and right; I remain very thankful for God’s grace and favour. At midnight, 9th July 1973, these experiences were culminated by the raising of the Bahamian flag and the lowering of the Union Jack. Thus, transformed to nationhood, a new journey began. The many manifestations of this ethos have given the Bahamian people a deeper understanding, a sense of responsibility, a stronger feeling of belonging, an enduring hope, and a constant love for our country and our newly embarked way of life. All this admirable fortuity, a boy from St. James and Kemp Roads, even in his most presumptuous moments, could hardly have dreamt.”
TO SIR CLEMENT’S DEATH
PLP Leader Perry Christie issued the following statement following the death of Sir Clement T. Maynard:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing earlier today of former Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Clement Maynard. He was a great national hero and a major builder of the modern Bahamas, especially in the development of the Bahamian tourism industry. Above all, he was a patriot whose disciplined devotion to public service and outstanding ability, both as a minister of the Government and as a Member of Parliament, set a standard of excellence that few have been able to match.
“Sir Clement was one of the last surviving members of the original Majority Rule Cabinet of 1967. Indeed, only His Excellency the Hon. Arthur Hanna and Warren Levarity now remain. For a full quarter of a century, Sir Clement served with distinction in a succession of ministries, none more notably than the Ministry of Tourism.
“Sir Clement was also a long time Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party and in the first rank of Stalwart Councillors of the Party. It is also a matter of historical record that he was the first President of the Bahamas Public Services Union, a post he held prior to his induction into Cabinet and his appointment to the Senate in 1967.
“Sir Clement was a true role model not only as a statesman but as a family man, Anglican churchman, and community builder as well. He was the consummate gentleman, always deporting himself with great dignity and demonstrating the true meaning of civility.
“I am personally indebted to Sir Clement for his advice, inspiration and example over many long years, as indeed is the case; I am sure, for numerous others in the political arena on both sides of the political aisle.
“On behalf of the entire PLP family, my wife, Bernadette, and on my own behalf, I extend deepest condolences to Lady Maynard on the loss of her husband and to Peter, Allyson, David and Clement III, on the loss of their father.
“A truly great Bahamian has now passed on and our nation is all the poorer for his passing.
“May he rest in peace.”
Mr. Christie is shown in this file photo receiving from Sir Clement a copy of his book 'Put On More Speed'.
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill issued the following statement upon the passing of Sir Clement T. Maynard:
“Sir Clement was a close friend of my late father. Up until the time of my father’s death in 2001, Sir Clement, the late John Crawley (father of Linda Crawley Gibson), the late William Eneas (father of Godfrey Eneas) and my late father met once per week for lunch. Following my father’s death, I remained close to him and to his family.
“I appreciated his quiet support of what I did as the spokesman on foreign affairs for the PLP, allowing me to draw upon his considerable experience as a Cabinet minister and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs. He always sent a quiet word of support to me in messages through his daughter Allyson.
“It was always an honour to see him sitting in the audience whenever I was performing a public duty. His last public duty was in fact at a forum that I organized in Grand Bahama in January 2008 to mark the anniversary of 10th January 1967. He came to speak about the events that led to majority rule and to talk about the book which he had published in 2007. His parting request to me was to ensure that the housekeeper for his room got a gratuity because he had forgotten to leave the tip in the room in which he was staying.
‘This was the quintessential Clement Maynard, a gentleman, soft spoken most times. But I also remember him as a fierce debater, and an advocate for the cause of the PLP. He was a good representative and was faithful to his people. He served them with devotion until he retired from politics in 1997. I pattern many of my ideas on representation after what he did.
“I wish on behalf of the late Fred Mitchell Sr. clan, all my siblings and the grandchildren and on behalf of my constituents to extend condolences to Lady Zoe Maynard to Peter, Allyson, David, and Clem III.”
Sir Clement (seated with microphone) is pictured in this file photo sharing a humorous moment with Fred Mitchell MP and former Senator Paulette Zonicle, co-hosts of a PLP forum on Majority Rule. More photos from that forum and a subsequent, similar one in Grand Bahama appear below.
Philip 'Brave' Davis MP issued the following statement
upon Sir Clement's death:
"Ann and I with deep sadness today mourn the passing of Sir Clement T. Maynard. Again The Bahamas has just lost another giant, who stood on the frontline as our people fought to build a better Bahamas.
"We extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife Lady Zoe; their children Peter, Allyson, David, Clement III and his entire family.
"May he rest in peace."
The Bahamas government passed in the House of Assembly on Thursday 1st October its drug prescription plan to be funded by National Insurance to allow for drugs to be paid for by the Fund to a specified class of individuals for a limited number of chronic disease, amongst them breast cancer, prostate cancer and hypertension. The debate was led on the Government’s side by the Minister of Health Dr, Hubert Minnis. He led the debate by accusing the PLP of leaving in place a National Health Insurance plan which was unsustainable. He offered no proof for his assertion. Here is what he said in his own words as reported by the Bahama Journal on Thursday 1st October 2009:
“The Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) National Health Insurance scheme, which sought to create universal healthcare for all Bahamians who could not afford private health insurance, was an ambitious plan, but unsustainable in the long term.
“The former government was advised by its own consultants that the cost to implement such a scheme was grossly underestimated.
“In fact the Christie administration was advised that many of the services started would have to be rescinded, removing the help and hope that the then government had promised the Bahamian people.
“The former government was advised that not only was this programme even more ambitious than any OECD country has ever attempted, but [The Bahamas] would have been the first and most definitely the last to try such a comprehensive health insurance plan.
“They were advised that the package was more generous than their consultants have ever seen. The former government was advised further that promotion of private health insurance for national security – police and defence force – nurses and public servants contradicts the goal of the national health insurance and recommended to them to take steps to prevent them from receiving any private independent insurance.
“It is interesting that the former government is now insisting that nurses in the country receive private independent insurance.
“So, in 2005, when they signed the nurses’ current industrial agreement promising private health insurance were they sabotaging their own comprehensive National Health Insurance plan?
“So, I ask, was the NHI plan a public relations ploy? Was the NHI plan an election tool? Was the NHI plan not to come? As I stand here today representing the great constituency of Killarney, I would not be affiliated with any political organization that engages in tactics that appear to overtly mislead the Bahamian populous to win an election.
“The same consultants that recommended that the NHI plan be introduced in a phased approach rather than comprehensively represents recommendations in the government’s recently tabled drug plan.
“Despite what the critics say, this government does believe in a national health insurance plan. However, he said, it is essential to introduce a plan that is affordable and sustainable and manageable, yet attainable.
“The people of The Bahamas want a national health insurance plan. The nation’s former Prime Minister (Sir) Lynden Pindling, a man for the people, wanted a national health insurance plan. The plan he presented in 1987 was one of stages – a plan like I spoke of today.
“Our leader, our prime minister, wants a national health insurance plan. The former leader of our great political party, Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield wanted a national health insurance plan. They, like Pindling, wanted a plan that is created for the people – a plan that is sustainable, a plan that would uplift all. Let us not look after the greedy, but the needy.
“Over the years, many Bahamians have had to resort to securing donations from families, churches and friends and even cook-outs and steak-outs to assist in their medical expenses.
“In 2005, the government issued food vending permits to 136 individuals – 22.7 percent of which were specifically for medical expenses. In 2006, the government issued 139 permits – 10.7 percent of that figure was specifically for medical expenses. And in 2007, the government issued 119 food vending permits – 21.8 percent of which were for steak-outs or cook-outs for medical expenses.
“Phase I of the drug prescription plan will cover 32,000 beneficiaries. The figure includes NIB pensioners, retirees and non-contributory persons, NIB invalids, children under the age of 18 as well as students under the age of 25 who are pursuing full-time studies in university.
“Future phases of the plan will benefit 48,000 beneficiaries, employed as well as self-employed persons, voluntary contributing persons and indigent persons and well as individuals in government institutions.
“Once the programme has been enacted a registration drive is envisaged to allow individuals with any of the CNCDs (communicable and non communicable diseases)to be registered by their physician. He said after registering, the forms would be taken to the National Insurance Board for a crypted card to be generated. The card would then allow individuals access to medication at all participating pharmacies.
“The medicine would be dispensed free of charge.
“We are all aware that patients may develop at a later date, new disease entities and again these new entities will be registered by their physicians, thus allowing [their cards to be updated]. The card will also assist with the pharmacist receiving their payments online in a more efficient system."
“Funding for the plan will be obtained from the Medical Benefit Branch of the National Insurance Fund and sums approved by parliament for payment into the fund.
“Bahamian taxpayers will not pay additional charges.
“At this time, it is essential to note that the plan covers both breast and prostate cancer prescriptions. These two illnesses have great impact on our society as approximately eight men are diagnosed with prostate cancer per month, with a total of 1,153 diagnosed today.
“As for the other illnesses that rock our society today, approximately 10 women are diagnosed with breast cancer monthly. As we speak, 1,530 women in our community have been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Dr. Hubert Minnis debates the National Insurance Chronic Diseases Prescription Drug Fund bill in the House of Assembly. Bahama Journal photo/Torrell Glinton
PLEASANT BRIDGEWATER TRIAL
The Pleasant Bridgewater trial got into the thick of the evidence during the past week. The Crown was successful in all of the challenges to the admissibility of its evidence by the Defence, including the video and audio tapes of conversations with the defendant former Senator Pleasant Bridgewater. You get the feeling that given this heightened publicity, this judge Anita Allen is not going to let this get away on a technicality and that this must go to the jury. It means that the likelihood of the no case submission succeeding is slight to none. The policy in the case seems to be, let it go to the jury. The jury has plenty to hear, including the recall of Mr. Travolta who, at least according the press reports, expressed no fear or anxiety and communicated to the court nothing that promised a threat. The threat was later identified by his lawyer Michael McDermott who said that the threat was to paint an otherwise innocent man as guilty of breaking the law.
Former Senator Pleasant Bridgewater with her attorney Murio Ducille. Nassau Guardian photo/Tony Grant Jr.
Alyson Maynard Gibson, who is the PLP’s leader of the senate, and was the colleague and leader of Pleasant Bridgewater in the Senate at the time of the incident, testified that she was given the document that was a release form signed by Mr. Travolta that was in the possession of Tarino Lightbourne, Ms. Bridgewater’s co-accused. The document is at the centre of the alleged threat. The press reported that Ms. Gibson was given the document by Ms. Bridgewater on the basis that they were colleagues. Ms. Gibson said that she then called Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, the Attorney General and Marvin Dames of the Freeport police. Out of that came a sting operation to tape Ms. Bridgewater in a hotel room. Ms. Gibson gave permission for her conversations with Ms. Bridgewater to be taped. Ms. Gibson said that she warned Ms. Bridgewater that what she was doing was wrong.
Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson on her way to court. Nassau Guardian photo/Tony Grant Jr.
Mr. Travolta testified that he had received information through his lawyers that there was a document that he signed that might show that he was culpable in his son’s death. He said he signed the document in a rush. He put his American lawyers on the issue.
Actor John Travolta on his way to court. Nassau Guardian photo/Tony Grant Jr.
Travolta’s American Lawyers
Michael McDermott caused a ruckus in the court on Thursday 1st October by challenging the way the counsel of Ms. Bridgewater pronounced his name saying that his name was Irish and that Mr. Ducille was pronouncing it in the Scottish way. There were then a set of testy exchanges between the two and the Judge lost control of the courtroom and ended up walking out of her own court. The next day she issued stern warnings to both the witness and the defence counsel. But Mr. Ducille’s main point was that Pleasant Bridgewater did not solicit anything. He argued that at all times the solicitations seem to emanate from the side of Mr. Travolta. The question, then, is where is the threat and where is the attempted extortion? Stupidity, yes. Bad judgment, yes. Extortion, well that’s another thing all together.
John Travolta’s American attorneys Michael McDermott (left) and Michael Ossi outside the Supreme Court. Nassau Guardian photo/Tony Grant Jr.
SYMONETTE AT THE U.N.
This time, he read the nation’s public statement on foreign affairs as if he had actually seen the statement before. You may click here at www.un.org for the full video (real player needed) and the text version of the address. The annual United Nations address by the nation’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette was delivered on Saturday 26th September. The press seemed to think that Mr. Symonette’s complaint about the fees that The Bahamas must pay to the United Nations was the top story.
The fees paid at the UN are based on the per capita income of each country. The Bahamas has long complained that using per capita income is not the right measure for The Bahamas and a host of small developing countries in this region and abroad because it does not take into account the distortions of a small proportion of rich expatriates who provide high incomes and go into the mix of the GDP per capita. It does not reflect and is not a true measure of the income of the average Bahamian. This message has fallen on deaf ears in the past and broke no new ground this time. But it was said, and at least this time the speech was not delivered as if there were an error on every page.
MILLION ON MISS UNIVERSE
The Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool Wallace (pictured) finally came clean with the figures that the Government said were spent hosting the Miss Universe contest. According to Mr. Vanderpool Wallace, this was a bargain for The Bahamas. He said that the benefits were incalculable. He said that not only did it help to improve the visitor count for the month of August, but it also led to press and media coverage for which The Bahamas could not pay. To support this view he produced for the press three binders full of press clippings to show the publicity the country got from hosting the contest. Press clippings!
This is not a major gripe this business of hosting Miss Universe. The government was entitled to try something to lift the tourism product out of the doldrums during the summer and especially this worst summer of all. What made the problem as bad as it is: the refusal of the government up to now to say how much they spent on the hosting exercise. No one believes them now. Some say the government forgot that they spent 2.4 million dollars on repaving the road from the airport to Paradise Island. Add that to the $5.8 million they say they spent and that makes $8.2 million for three books of press clippings.
GUARDIAN: HUBERT INGRAHAM’S MOUTHPIECE
You could be forgiven for thinking that The Nassau Guardian was the official propaganda arm of the Free National Movement and that Candia Dames was the Prime Minister's personal amanuensis and mouthpiece. Last week, it was not just shameful, but embarrassing. It was as if Hubert Ingraham was personally dictating the front pages of The Nassau Guardian with stories on Monday 28th, Wednesday 30th September.
Not just one story, but on the 28th, there were three stories, all dictated it appears from Mr. Ingraham as if he were having a personal conversation with Sharon Turner his Deputy Director at the Bahamian Information Services. Only it was with Candia Dames, editor of The Nassau Guardian, an independent and privately owned newspaper, and it was put it in the press apparently raw and unedited. It seemed like pure propaganda.
As Mr. Ingraham himself said in one of the pieces that he had never heard such cock and bull from people who were demanding money from the government at a time when the government simply did not have it. We do not feel sorry for Mr. Ingraham, he came back into office saying that he could fix it and would fix it and now he is complaining because he does not know what to do.
Monday 28th September: 2000 TEMPORARY JOBS PLANNED; GOVERNMENT ORDER REVIEW OF DISCONNECTIONS; PM: FNM BATTLE READY (three stories on the front page). On Wednesday 30th September: GOVERNMENT DEBT MAY SOAR TO 50 PER CENT OF GDP. On Thursday 1st October: PM GOVERNMENT CAN’T PAY BILL WITHOUT BORROWING. Each was dictated from Hubert Ingraham's mouth to the ear of Candia Dames.
What would be good is if Perry Christie or even some other PLP could get equal time, but a faint hope. The Nassau Guardian is a newspaper that is supposed to serve the public. Anthony Ferguson believes that his newspaper has no biases, but Oswald Brown continues with his FNM domination of the paper and as for Candia Dames well, we have said enough already.
Fred Mitchell MP has formally launched the new edition of his book GREAT MOMENTS IN PLP HISTORY. Mr. Mitchell held a book signing party at the Garden Of Eden Hotel in Fox Hill on Monday 28th September. Amongst his special guests were constituents, friends, family and political colleagues. Mr. Mitchell told the group in prepared remarks:
“As I move into what is the next and final stage of my public political career, it is for me to convince the PLP that there is need for a transition to new leadership. My role is to transition the party to a lean, mean fighting machine that embraces the demographic that is presently relevant to the times. That means that we must sign on to an agenda for change, change at all levels of our party. Those who now lead will need to be content that they can advise, counsel, and arrange the transition.
“That is the kind of leadership I mean to provide.
“I have only this to say to the 20, 30 and 40 somethings who run the nuts and bolts of the country today and who are looking for leadership and a sign of where to go and who to follow. It is in yourselves and not in the stars. It is right in front of you.”
You may click here for the full address.
Book signing photos: top, Mr. Mitchell with Dr. B.J. Nottage MP Bain and Grants Town; with businessman Henry dean and Alfred sears MP Ft. Charlotte; with South Beach PLP deleagtes Stephan Rahming, Viraj Perpall; Melanie Griffin MP Yamacraw and former PLP Chair Raynard Rigby; and with fellow auher 'The Tears I Cried' Utah Taylor (Rolle) of Controversy TV. Please click here for a full 3-page photo spread of the book signing. Page 2; Page 3. Photos/Fox Hill PLP
PRIVY COUNCIL DEBATE
The British have now formally established a Supreme Court as the final appellate court of the United Kingdom. This took place in a ceremony on 1st October in London. The Supreme Court replaces the House of Lords as the final court of appeal for Britain, removing the appellate court from being a part of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The House of Lords on its appellate court side also served as the final court for Caricom countries as the Privy Council.
Last week, we reported the sentiments of Lord Nicholas Phillips, new head of the British Supreme Court who said that the Caricom countries should find their own appellate court. Only Barbados, Belize and Guyana use the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal. Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has already scheduled a vote on the subject in St. Vincent for November, saying that he has been given notice to stop loitering on colonial territory.
In The Bahamas, the feeling is mixed, with the progressives saying that they want to move to the CCJ; and with the right wing UBP and PLP old guard saying that they want to stick with the British. Given the sentiments of the new head of the Supreme Court in Britain, it won’t be long before we get a formal notice to quit. Former Attorney General Sean McWeeney(pictured), a partner in the Graham, Thompson and Co. law firm, told The Tribune on Friday 2nd October that the comments of Lord Philips should be of concern for the Bahamian judiciary. Former Attorney General and PLP MP Alfred Sears told The Tribune on Saturday 3rd October that he supports the CCJ. Not so fast said that wise sage and all round know-it-all Brian Moree of McKinney, Bancroft and Hughes, whom when he is against it is a good sign that it is a good idea.
Said Mr. McWeeney in The Tribune: “Basically he [Lord Phillips] was saying ‘Go find your own final court, leave us alone’. That has already drawn quite a bit of notice from legal scholars and lawyers in the region and will spur a new round of debate at the national and regional level of the need to accelerate new arrangements.”
According to Mr. McWeeney, the framers of The Bahamas constitution anticipated that this change would one day be necessary, adding that the provisions that refer to the Privy Council are not firmly established.
“The provisions of the Bahamian constitution, which established the Privy Council as the ultimate court of appeal, those provisions are not entrenched, they explicitly contain the possibility that some new arrangement may be made to replace the Privy Council”, he said.
Mr. McWeeney believes “a new regional court will emerge within the next decade.
“Here in the Bahamas there is still a lot of resistance to it (the CCJ). Now that the English Law Lords are becoming increasingly vocal, you're going to find that there will be increased movement towards having the Privy Council replaced by a regional court.”
PRATT ENDORSES BRAVE
Philip ‘Brave’ Davis MP for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador hosted a breakfast for Stalwart Councillors on Saturday 3rd October, looking to become the next Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party. Mr. Davis travelled later the same day to South Eleuthera to join in with party supporters there on a boat cruise. You may click here for the full address and more photos, or here for an audio version of his remarks. You may click here for a report of Mother Pratt's endorsement.
DORSETT LAUNCHES FOR PLP CHAIR
Ken Dorsett, National Deputy Chairman of the PLP has launched a campaign for the Chair of the Party. After having spoken with “PLPs throughout the country”, Mr. Dorsett offered himself for the post with a formal announcement at a Wednesday news conference. Please click here for the full text of his announcement.
Sunday Mr. Dorsett officially launched the ‘Progress Now’ platform. ‘Progress Now’, he said, “is a campaign for change, revitalization and transformation of our Party. It is practical, result oriented and inclusive.
“We need all PLPs to recommit themselves to our Party and work together with a single purpose of restoring the PLP as the Government of The Bahamas.” The candidate for the Party chairmanship invited the public to visit his website to view the platform at www.kenreddorsett.com; a permanent link to the site has also been placed at the top of this site.
Fire Deaths Ruled Homicides
The four people found dead in a house fire in Englerston on 17th September have been classified as murder victims. The police say they have a person of interest who is helping them with their investigations. The victims are Teresa Brown 52 years old; Teliar Johnson, one year old; Kashella Bodie and Seveana Stuart 18.
Choo Choo Stripped Of His Crown
Germaine ‘Choo Choo’ Mackey was stripped of his British Commonwealth super middleweight title. On Tuesday 29th September, the Commonwealth Boxing Council stripped Mr. Mackey of the title and declared it vacant after Mr. Mackey, a Bahamian, lost Saturday 26th September to Haitian-born Canadian Adonis Stevenson in his bid for the World Boxing Council’s International Championships in Montreal, Canada.
Turner Given An Extension
The press has reported that Bernard Turner has been given an extension in the office of the Attorney General to continue as Director of Public Prosecutions. Mr. Turner was scheduled to leave the office at the end of last month to become a judge of the Supreme Court. Instead, he is staying on as prosecutor in the attempted extortion case of former Senator Pleasant Bridgewater.
Neil Ellis' New Book
Full Gospel Baptist Church Bishop Neil Ellis is embarking on a book tour to launch his latest book, 'Pursuing The Glory'. The noted author of ten books, Bishop Ellis is expected to tour ten cities promoting the book. Please click here for the full release.
Serfent Rolle Called To The Bar
Serfent Rolle was called to the Bar by newly appointed Chief Justice Michael Barnett. Mr. Rolle has just returned from a stint in Norway where he obtained his Master’s Degree. His parents hosted a reception for him on the Eastern Road. Among those present were National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest, Mrs. Turnquest, and Fred Mitchell MP.
An Australian View of Nassau
Lleyton Hewitt, the Australian tennis player and his wife Bec are reportedly residents of the private enclave next to Lyford cay called Old Fort Bay. An Australian news magazine wrote an article (we do not have a date on our copy) that trashes life in New Providence. It is interesting to see what some people think of us under Hubert Ingraham. You may click here for the link.
Dr. Gail and Dr. Keva
The College of The Bahamas announced that Dr. Keva Bethel former President of the College and now President Emerita of the College is to be a scholar in residence for two years. Dr. Bethel is to work on the history of tertiary education in The Bahamas that led to the development of the College. Dr Gail Saunders, the retired Director General of Heritage for The Bahamas is also to be a scholar in residence. She will be researching the history of race relations in The Bahamas on her way to writing a new book on the subject.
Mitchell Turns 56
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill turns 56 on Monday 5th October 2009.
Happy Birthday to Senator Anthony Musgrove
FNM Senator Anthony Musgrove celebrates his birthday today Sunday 4th October. Best wishes.
French Banks To Leave The Bahamas
BNP Paribas (Bahamas) Ltd have announced they are leaving The Bahamas as of March 2010. This is in line with an agreement announced by the French Government and reported on the Caribbean News website on Friday 3rd October that all French banks with branches in tax havens would leave those jurisdictions by March 2010. This will mean significant job losses in The Bahamas. The Bahamas Financial Services Board and the government have not been very active in response to this. The reason given for the departure is that The Bahamas is still on the gray list of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as a country that has not signed at least 12 Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) with the OECD countries. So far, The Bahamas has signed three: with the United States, Canada and Monaco. Bahamian employees at establishments in The Bahamas are preparing for the worst. The view is that the financial services sector will be a thing of the past within five years and most are seeking to find alternative employment, including emigrating abroad.
Hotel Union Elections
Nicole Martin is the winner once again of the delayed and run again elections of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union. The election was held on Tuesday 29th September. The result was known in the wee hours of the next morning. Ms. Martin defeated the nearest rival by almost twice the number of votes. That rival was Kirk Wilson who caused all the delay and confusion because of his court cases. He is threatening to go back to court again with a fresh case challenging the ruling of Justice Neville Adderley for the poll to go ahead without certain potential candidates being allowed to run. Then there is the appeal of the ruling of Justice Jon Isaacs in the Court of Appeal. The agent provocateur behind all of this is the attorney Keod Smith. Mr. Smith benefited to the tune of $140,000 in the brief interregnum when his client and his allies were in charge of the Union. They persuaded a willing Bank of the Bahamas to transfer $700,000 of union funds out of the Bank’s accounts for use by the insurgent team, ostensibly for union purposes. Amongst those purposes was to pay the legal bills of Keod Smith. The Union has taken quite a battering and people had hoped that Mr. Wilson would see that he simply cannot win at the polls. He does not have the support. He is continuing on the course of court action after court action. For the time being, though, Mrs. Martin is back in control having won with 1553 votes to Mr. Wilson’s 426; Sidney Rolle’s 194; and Tyrone Butler’s 123. The Tribune reported on Saturday 3rd October that there is a move afoot for union workers to break away in Freeport from the main union. Ms. Martin was defeated by Kirk Wilson in Freeport.
The unusual site of two women being dragged off to jail in chains and hiding their faces from the public appeared in the Bahamian press during the past week. Last week we reported the rumour going around the community about the murder of Bahamasair pilot Lionel McQueen. Turns out that what we said last week was not so at all. Linda Knowles, 19, aka ‘Ganja Baby’ and Genea McKenzie, aka ‘Nettle’ were charged with the murder of Mr. McQueen and the attempted murder of his cousin who shared the apartment with him and who was seriously wounded in what appears to have been a robbery attempt. The report is that Ms. Knowles is 19 and has an eight-year-old child.
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|CHRISTIE LASHES OUT...||PAUL MOSS IN THE GUARDIAN ON CHRISTIE...|
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|GEORGE SMITH HAS HIS SAY...||KEOD SMITH TO RUN FOR CHAIRMAN...|
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|HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRED! Fred Mitchell the MP for Fox Hill celebrated his 56th birthday with a reception put on by friends of Mr. Mitchell at the Balmoral Club in Cable Beach. Amidst the lush gardens and vintage photographs, the friends gathered, some contributing to The Mission Fund, a new initiative of Mr. Mitchell to help raise money to support PLP candidates in the next general election. The party caused a bit of a fuss because in the glare of media in The Bahamas these days, everything is in the spotlight. In this case, the down market newspaper said that Mr. Mitchell was having a ‘birthday bash’ to announce that he was running for leader of the PLP. Mr. Mitchell had already done so and so it was curious that it was an issue, but more than that, the newspaper created a problem where some could get offended because they were left off the list. It was pure political mischief on the part of the newspaper. But a great time was had by all as they gathered to mark 56 years of the life of Fred Mitchell. Our photo of the week shows Fred Mitchell with Harvey Tynes Q.C. and Philip ‘Brave’ Davis as they gathered to say happy birthday (See other photos below). Photo/Peter Ramsay|
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
THE COURAGE TO RUN
Well it is almost time. The convention of the Progressive Liberal Party is just about one week away. This will be an exciting time. All of those who wish to enter the race for Deputy Leader of the PLP have announced their intention. They are Philip ‘Brave’ Davis MP, whom this column endorses, Senator Jerome Fitzgerald and Obie Wilchcombe MP.
For the leadership race, the names are not all in but we endorse Fred Mitchell if he chooses to run. The press said on Friday 9th October that an announcement might be made on Thursday 15th October. The press has also speculated that Dr. B.J. Nottage MP will enter the race. The incumbent is Perry Christie.
During the week, Mr. Christie went on television to warn the potential contenders from the parliamentary team that there will be consequences for their actions. He argued that since his political career would be finished if he lost, that those who challenged him would face the same oblivion. He is wrong on both counts. His career would not be over and neither would the career of those who contend. It would be unwise to think so and it is unwise to argue so.
The atmosphere is so lively, well touchy is a better word, that during the past week, there was a false report in The Tribune and on bahamaspress.com that the PLP would try to bring two resolutions at an emergency meeting of the party on Thursday 8th October. The Council meeting was packed and the press turned up in full force expecting that there would be a huge fight.
The report was that an attempt would be made to amend the constitution of the party to prevent Paul Moss, the extra parliamentary candidate for leader, from running for office. The reaction to Paul Moss seems a bit hysterical and runs the danger of making a martyr out of a candidacy that is a protest candidacy and also a marketing strategy for Mr. Moss. To react in the way that he is, the PLP’s leader runs the risk of promoting the very person that he does not want to promote.
The reports also said that a resolution would be passed to force those in the parliamentary team to disclose their interest before a certain time or be barred from running. The Leader said while this would not affect the present election, he supported such a resolution because someone could jump up and run and find him asleep at the wheel so to speak (see quotes below).
The report also said that a resolution would be passed to create positions for two Deputy Leaders. Nothing of the kind on any of those resolutions came up. It remains to be seen whether or not there is an attempt at the convention itself to change the rules. The leader says that he will reveal all those possible resolutions on Tuesday 13th October.
Philip Davis, the candidate for Deputy Leader, issued a statement saying that he opposed the creation of two Deputy Leader’s positions. We agree with him. It would be unwise.
In the meantime, there is another suggestion that is circulating and that is that because candidates in the convention have been spending money moving about the country and campaigning and the party needs money, all the candidates should be made to pay a fee for becoming a candidate.
This is the time for strange ideas. That one got nowhere as well.
This convention is supposed to be fun. Yet from the top you keep hearing expressions about war, doom and gloom, do or die, scorching the earth. Where does this all come from and what is the utility of the rhetoric? Is this kind of violent language the abuse that the PLP wants circulating with its campaigns? This kind of language is being used at a time when we are seeking to tell the young men that they need to calm down. This is not about life or death. Nothing that will be decided at the PLP convention next week will touch life or death. Win, lose or draw, next week is not the end of a process but the beginning of a process and the continuation of a struggle.
The PLP has two realities. One inside the National General Council of the PLP where the average age is 70 plus and that of the outside world. In that world of the National General Council, the existing leadership is a reminder of the glory days. Those glory days are gone and there is no turning back to those days. A new day must dawn. Inside that reality, there is this preoccupation with secrecy and closed doors. That is not the climate today. The climate today is open, wide open and in the full media glare.
As the loud cheers go up to continue the present order, there is a great danger of confusion about what is really reality. The reality outside is a completely different reality. The party must not delude itself into thinking that the reality on the inside of its halls is the same reality of the outside world.
In that outside world, the Greenberg report (click here for the full report) told us that it was the independents in the last election who decided the election. The PLP lost every category of socioeconomic group except those with a high school education or less. It lost every age group except those over 60. It warned the PLP that in a country that was becoming wealthier and more educated, if the PLP did not change its strategy, it was going to die. Yet two years have elapsed and not one single thing has been done about it.
Reporters indicated that outside the hall after the National General Council meeting on Thursday 8th September, the supporters of the incumbent leader were shouting at challenger Paul Moss as he left “One Leader! One Leader!” It is not clear what impact that was supposed to have on Mr. Moss, he is running anyway. Any attempt to block him would prove to be a public relations disaster.
To show you the extent of the problem, the establishment of the PLP still does not want to change. See for example the reported endorsement this week by a former MP. Some complain behind the back of the leader, but they do not want anything to change. What is it that drives this, knowing that there is disaster down the road?
It will take a lot of courage, and a lot of money to move heaven and earth to cause there to be new leadership in the PLP at the convention, but someone must have the courage and give it a try, money or not. A try, even if not successful, might just help to create the space to say to the independents that there is still hope for you in the PLP. The alternative is too dread to contemplate.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 10th October, 2009 up to midnight: 193, 741.
Number of hits for the month of October up to midnight Saturday 10th October, 2009: 247,010.
The past week has seen frantic activity from the Leader of the PLP Perry Christie trying to stem the tide of apparent defections and dissatisfaction with his leadership. He appeared on radio and on television and on the web. In both the interview with Jerome Sawyer on ZNS TV on Wednesday 7th October and on the web on Monday 5th October, he said that there would be consequences for anyone who ran against him for leader of the party.
The Tribune quoted Mr. Christie as saying to them on Saturday 10th October on the question of someone from the Parliamentary team running against him:
“As I indicated to ZNS in an interview, that has some serious consequences. Because when you contest me, you are saying that I really should leave public life. And if you do so without even speaking to me, you are saying that I should do so in the most undignified manner. It therefore means I must protect myself and make judgments as to what is best for the organisation as we go forward.
“The good news is I am going to win. The good news is I am going to be the leader of the PLP, and the good news is I will be competing for the prime ministership of The Bahamas.
“And I believe the most important point I can make is that my party will be fully in support of me moving forward even unto the point when we name the many candidates who will be coming in for the first time.”
On Trying To Stop Paul Moss
Mr. Christie told The Tribune on 10th October 2009 on the challenge by the extra parliamentary member of the party Paul Moss:
“I deny that I am attempting to deny anyone the right to challenge me at the upcoming PLP National Convention. It is not true that we intended as an organisation to cause any resolution to be put here this evening (Thursday 8th October at an NGC emergency meeting) that may have resulted in a candidate not being able to contest the election.
“My goodness me, I have always believed that I am supported by the majority of the people that vote in the PLP election. I believe that.
“I have no doubt the person set to challenge me [Paul Moss] is a credible candidate.
“But how Mr. Moss could even think of doing such a thing, when he is a new member of the party and hasn’t even made a speech in the PLP's hall.
“But that is how it is. The constitution allows it to happen. He claims to have support. He is representing St Cecilia; therefore, the constitution will allow him to contest the election. It means that I will be challenged by him.
“It is also for me to say that it is quite possible that another or others will exercise their right as they complete the explorations they are now making to determine whether I should be challenged.
“With this likely to be the only convention the PLP will hold before the next general election, it will be a defining one as many members will use this opportunity to test themselves.”
Related Comments On Paul Moss’s Challenge Within The PLP
The Tribune reported the following comments in a front-page story on Saturday 10th October from the Leader of the PLP. What is fascinating is that despite the criticism of the critics that the opponents of the present leadership of the PLP are using the press to fight their battles, Mr. Christie himself has been using the press to respond to his critics. In this piece, he denied allegations widely circulated in Nassau over the past week that he was behind an attempt to pass a resolution to stop Paul Moss from challenging him for leadership of the party:
“I would not support any effort to oppose his nomination on a technical point. I’ve heard about some attempt to stop Moss from running, but God almighty, when the day comes that Perry Christie would have to rely on a technical intervention (to remain leader of the party), by God, I should go.
“Rumours that I was behind a move to block Paul Moss or any other would-be challenger in this way are being put out by people who intend to cause mischief. There was never any attempt by any of the established party to block anyone.
“It has come to the attention of those of us who are in leadership of party that it is possible by our constitution for someone to join the party and two weeks later declare they’re running for leader. If a resolution was passed to allow the National General Council to vote to disallow the same, a vote in favour of the move should not be considered.
“Ordinarily there ought to be some preconditions that require someone to be a member in good standing and otherwise qualified to hold the position (of leader). Clearly, there’s consideration in that area, but if such a resolution would pass, it ought not to be considered. In other words, I myself would oppose any attempt to prevent someone from running who is duly qualified to run. Right now, the only one who has declared his intention to do so is Paul Moss. I would not support an effort to oppose his nomination on a technical point.
“In principle I would support another proposed amendment to the party’s constitution -- that anyone who is to run for a post in the convention must declare their intentions ahead of time -- but not for this convention.
“I support any kind of proposal that advances the internal workings of democracy inside the PLP. Such a stipulation such as advance notice would give people more time to find out about the person they are voting for, and whether they have the qualities of a leader.
“What I have said to people who assemble in the NGC (National General Council) is that we must become more accountable. People are looking at us and we should have reflected in our business how the country does its business. I am committed to evolving rules to ensure people are free to contest elections and contest elections that are fair.
“That must be the commitment of the party -- to have free and fair elections, so people are able in an unfettered way able to exercise the right to vote for the candidate who is right to lead the party. By Monday or Tuesday it is likely that people should know which proposed amendments to the party’s constitution will be voted on at the convention”
The Guardian 10th October quotes Christie On Line:
“It is unfortunate that the party’s constitution does not require people seeking office in the party to announce their intention by a certain time to give everyone an opportunity to determine their fitness for office.
“So someone could wait until the moment of nomination to nominate. And in the case of leader like myself it would mean that I would have no preparation and foreknowledge of any such event and could caught sleeping at the wheel so to speak.”
MOSS IN THE GUARDIAN ON CHRISTIE
He has certainly caused quite a flap in the PLP, with the institutional PLP making apparent moves to block him from running because he has never had any experience in the party. The party has suddenly realized how vulnerable it is and is seeking now to change the rules to prevent it in the future. Here is what Paul Moss, who plans to challenge the incumbent leader of the PLP had to say:
“I would not have believed people when they told me what Christie had to say because I thought he was a principled person. But I heard it for myself.
“I took it as a direct statement to all young people in this country who love this country and believe they have the right to offer themselves because they feel they can do better, and it’s the kind of politics we really ought to bury.
“That is why I am running and we have to bury this kind of politics where one would be threatened in that way. I listened quite intently and he said should he lose he leaves public life and those who lose should leave public life. This is not Worldwide Wrestling Federation. You don’t have to leave town when you lose. Everyone wants to contribute because they love this country and everyone wants to be afforded an opportunity not to be in a position where they are penalized because you want to serve your nation…
“[The statement on amending the constitution to put additional qualifications to run for office in the PLP] is a direct statement to me because of course I am not a Member of Parliament. But I dare say that one does not have to be a Member of Parliament if they want to contribute to this country in a political party. This is why the PLP's constitution permits what I am doing. So to even think about the idea about having some resolution passed to limit or block a candidate such as myself is very undemocratic and really it’s not the kind of democracy that the some that I know want to be associated with.”
Nassau Guardian photograph of Paul Moss
GALANIS ON THE CHRISTIE INTERVIEW
Philip Galanis, a former Senator and MP for the PLP and the campaign co-ordinator for the 2007 general election of the PLP, responded in a Tribune interview to the comments of Perry Christie, leader of the PLP as reported in this column above.
Here is what he said to The Tribune reported on Friday 9th October:
“I think that if he [Perry Christie] were to have said it objectively and if persons looked at it objectively it would appear that he (Mr. Christie) didn’t have the level of security that he is purporting to have. And I don't know why that is.
“He is the leader. He ought to be secure in his position. He has been in politics for a very long time. He has appointed numerous Stalwart Councillors. He has led the party and I think has done a fairly good job and so there really is no reason for him to be insecure.
“What he ought to do in my opinion is invite as many and whoever wishes to oppose him to do so and if he is confident in himself then he will win.
“If he does the kind of things that they are suggesting is being done tonight (see other stories on this matter), this will not inure him to PLPs and certainly it will not inure him to those undecided voters who are thinking of coming in.
“We need to be a welcoming party, not a party that is fighting within itself.”
ON CHRISTIE INTERVIEW
TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell issued the following statement congratulating the President of the United States Barack Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize announced on Friday 9th October:
“Congratulations are in order for the United States President Barack Obama on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. This is a significant honour for him personally and for his country. The honour is a sign of the acceptance of the world at large that there has been a shift in the positioning of the United States as a part of the world community. Since the presidency of Mr. Obama, the integration of the United States into the world of multilateralism has been good for the world. Let us hope that this signal honour is a fillip, which will encourage the efforts toward world peace in the hemisphere, our region and around the world.”
The House of Assembly’s Select Committee appointed on 22nd July to inquire into all matters connected with the disposition of publicly held lands met in a public hearing for the second time on Monday 5th October. Appearing before the Committee were the Hon. George A. Smith (see story below), former MP for Exuma and a former Minister responsible for Crown Lands, and Tex Turnquest, the former Director of Lands and Surveys who was forced to resign after allegations of impropriety appeared in the press about his conduct as the Director of Lands and Surveys.
Mr. Turnquest denied that he was involved in any nepotism in advising the government to grant leases to his mother-in-law Mae Morton Curry and her brother George and the godmother of one of his children. He said that at the time the application was made for the grant, he was not married. He admitted under questioning that he and his wife were an item before they were married and that his mother-in-law had asked him where he she could find crown land. He said that he advised her that it was not a good idea to “flip” the land by selling land she got from the crown for 1200 dollars for half a million dollars three years later. Here is what he said in his own words:
“At the time I gave the stamp of approval for the land, I was not related to any of the four people in question, although I knew three of them personally.
“If I could do it all over again I would have done some things differently.
“I resigned at Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s request after it was revealed that at least four parcels of crown land in Forbes Hill, Exuma, were approved for people close to me I was asked to explain how the approvals came about and did so to the best of my ability before my resignation was requested.
“I confirm that the parcels — which were approved in 2001 for the purpose of building dwelling homes, and later sold — were granted to my wife’s mother, uncle, godmother and a friend of mine.
“I maintain I did not act inappropriately.
“The allegations that you all know, are not true. I did not act improperly.
“There have been repeated news stories accusing me of nepotism and I wish to state emphatically throughout the approval process — A, when the applications were submitted; B, the recommendations were submitted to the Office of the Prime Minister for consideration; C, the conditional purchase leases for residential purposes were approved; and D, notification of approval of the conditional purchase leases were sent out; I was not married and therefore was not related to any of the applicants.
“As such, I was under no obligation to disclose a relationship as a part of the recommendation or to recuse myself. These are the facts and the accusations of nepotism are therefore totally without merit.”
“The applications were recommended by me for approval in 1998 and I was married on October 30, 1999.
“The four parcels of land in question are among a group of 21 applications included in the recommendation. Of those, 12 were later approved related to 13 lots (one person applied and was granted two lots). The remaining nine were denied for various reasons.
“The four lots represented a portion of lot eight, which had been previously leased as a single parcel to one person in 1984. That lease was subsequently cancelled, as it had not been developed.
“It was recommended that the same lot be offered to five people as conditional purchase leases for residential purposes to facilitate the construction of vacation or retirement homes.
“In July 2000, I received a written directive from the Office of the Prime Minister that all conditional purchase leases approved for residential purposes be converted to crown grants.
“All crown grantees own the full legal title to any land granted to them.
“Once (land) is granted it is not my business. It pains my heart when anyone sells crown land which was granted... I tell anyone who asks me that you ought not to sell crown land that was granted to you. I offered that same advice to the woman who is now my mother-in-law.
“I had no knowledge of the onward sale of the properties, nor did he have any involvement with the sale.
“These questions along with the question of why the processing of these grants might have appeared to have been accelerated implied that this was a scheme set up by me for personal gain. Let me state emphatically for the record that neither I nor my wife have ever personally benefited from any transaction in the Department of Lands and Surveys and the lots at Forbes Hill are no exception.
“My integrity and reputation have been negatively impacted, perhaps irreparably, by the persistent repetition of the false accusations against me.
“During my 35 years in the civil service, I served 33 years in DOLS (Department of Lands and Surveys) and two years as coordinator of the Land Use Policy and Administration Project in the Office of the Prime Minister. Throughout this tenure, I have had an unblemished record and it is indeed disappointing to be subjected to these unfounded accusations.
“I hope my life will now return to some degree of normalcy so that I can serve my God and country in peace.”
CLEMENT’S FUNERAL SET
The arrangements have been announced for the funeral of the late Sir Clement T. Maynard. A memorial service was held Saturday at the Diplomat Centre, hosted by Dr. Myles Munroe. Leaders of the Progressive Liberal Party spoke along with civic and community leaders. The funeral service will be held at the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Nassau on Wednesday 14th October at 2 p.m. The Rt. Rev. Laish Boyd will officiate. The funeral will be a state funeral with full military honours.
Sir Clement served as Deputy Prime Minister under the late Sir Lynden Pindling. He was the only member of the Cabinet from 1967 to have spent his entire life in politics in the Cabinet where he served for 25 years. He died on Friday 2nd October following complications from a stroke. He is survived by his daughter Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson, his sons Peter, David and Clement III, his wife Lady Zoë Maynard.
Lady Maynard greets Governor General Arthur D. Hanna at the memorial service - BIS photo/Peter Ramsay
MITCHELL'S BIRTHDAY IN PICTURES
With an iconic photo of Sidney Poitier shown in the background we begin the photo essay of Fred Mitchell’s 56th birthday party, held Monday evening 5th October at the Balmoral Club in Cable Beach. The party was a fund raiser for Mr. Mitchell’s ‘Mission Fund’ in part to assist in the campaigns of PLP MPs.
Fred Mitchell MP and Brave Davis MP at Mr. Mitchell birthday. Please click here for a full 3-page photo spread of the celebration. Page 2; Page 3. Photos/Peter Ramsay
CROWN CLOSES ITS CASE
The case against Pleasant Bridgewater, the former PLP senator and her co-accused Tarino Lightbourne on attempted extortion charges is coming to an end after three weeks of testimony. On Friday 9th October, the Crown closed its case with the startling evidence that Ms. Bridgewater was arrested and took them to her home where she showed them a candle that she used to destroy what the press described as key evidence in the trial. The evidence was a copy of the form that her co-accused and client at the time was trying to sell to John Travolta, but which the Crown says was at the centre of the extortion plot.
We continue to say the whole thing is overblown nonsense but not criminal and the Crown’s prosecution of this case is badly misdirected. But all eyes were on the jury when the bit about the evidence was given. They leaned over and immediately started talking to one another. One hopes that when Ms. Bridgewater presents her side of the story, assuming the ‘no case’ submission by her lawyers does not succeed, then this matter will be cleared up. The lawyers had a rough time of it with the judge and their no case submission.
What the evidence shows so far on the alleged destroyed evidence is that there were three people in the room. The officer who testified and Ms. Bridgewater and another officer who has had a stroke and cannot talk. In the end then, it is Ms. Bridgewater’s words against the other officer and Ms. Bridgewater could assert that it was simply not so.
We think that there is little likelihood that a ‘no case’ submission will succeed, because the Judge is unlikely to take the throwing out of the case on her shoulders, given all the publicity. This one is going to go to the jury, although we believe that the no case submission is compelling.
The other strange bit of evidence is the fact that the police charged and arrested Ms. Bridgewater before they actually had a complaint in their hand from Mr. Travolta, who was the subject of the alleged extortion plot. The case continues on Tuesday 13th October.
Pleasant Bridgewater is pictured speaking with her attorney Murio Ducille at the court in this Nassau Guardian file photo.
MILLER ENDORSES BRAVE
The former Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller (pictured in this file photo) has announced that he is endorsing Philip ‘Brave’ Davis for Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party. Mr. Miller was speaking on Orthland Bodie’s Show ‘Real Talk’ on Tuesday 6th October. Here is what The Tribune reported on 7th October:
“Mr. Davis brings a level of maturity and experience to the table which is badly needed at this time.
“He is always there willing to help you.
“Anytime you are in a problem, the first person you call is Brave.
“And Brave's message of change has connected with young voters and the country understands that today’s voters are only concerned about getting the job done and fixing the problems that they face on a daily basis. The time for cotton candy politics is over.
“You know the kind of politics where they say a lot and not accomplishing a lot. That is finished with.”
SMITH HAS HIS SAY
The Hon. George A. Smith served as the Minister responsible for lands in the administration of the late Sir Lynden Pindling. He was also the Member of Parliament for Exuma from 1968 to 1997. Mr. Smith testified before the House of Assembly’s Select Committee on Crown lands on Monday 5th October. He called for reform of the process and changes at the Department of Lands and Surveys. Here is how the press reported his evidence in his own words:
“If the government wants to rid itself of controversy surrounding the improper granting of land by officials within the Department of Lands and Surveys, it must revamp the entire system.
“The current leadership of the department, it’s inadequate.
“I think that the government must look at the department, and possibly with a few exceptions, conclude that even after the departure of the substantive director of Lands and Surveys, efforts were made to have conveyances and documents signed to people who well may fit into the same category as those who some of us may object to.
“The department needs to be completely revamped and properly and adequately staffed because many times when people go to Lands and Surveys to find many cases that may be vital information... they can't find [them].
“They are badly staffed. They don’t have the level of professionalism that they should... you have to pretty much start from scratch in rebuilding the department to the level that it ought to function at.
“The department generally treats Bahamians with a lack of respect.
“Officials are overly accommodating to foreigners.
“I guess it’s because the foreigners go with some high pressure lawyers.
“I also applied for but never received crown land.
“And I have been treated exactly the same way I tell you Bahamians have been treated, so I know what they go through.
“Another issue plaguing the department is the practice of flipping or the resale of crown land after it is granted to people.
“I recommended that the government create legislation that would empower the court to extract from an individual or individuals the amount gained from selling or flipping crown land or other public-owned land, in advance of fulfilling the conditions of the sale from the crown or government agencies or of the lease.
“The government should be required by law to lay on the table of Parliament all transactions in land by the Department of Lands and Surveys and or any over government agency.
“You have to send a very strong message.
“Additionally public officers should have to disclose whether they have any relationships with applicants.
“Many Bahamians were outraged after they learned that the family and friends [of the former Director of Lands and Surveys] were granted prime pieces of land.
“If there had been a similar situation as Turnquest with politicians, there would have been a public outcry.
“I believe the same standard ought to have applied to the same public officers in that they ought to have disclosed that the individual in question was related [to them].”
SMITH TO RUN FOR CHAIRMAN
Keod Smith (pictured), the former MP for Mt. Moriah for the PLP in the House of Assembly announced on Wednesday 7th October that he will be running for the office of Chairman of the Party. He will be challenging incumbent MP Englerston Glenys Hanna Martin. The other challenger is now Deputy Chairman Kendred Dorsett. You may click here for the full text of Mr. Smith’s statement and a video link.
PARTY OFFICES UP FOR GRABS
The following are offering themselves for positions in the PLP at the party’s next convention:
NEIL ELLIS TO GET TRUMPET AWARD
Mount Tabor Full Gospel Baptist Church Pastor Bishop Neil Ellis CMG has been tipped to receive a 2010 Trumpet Award. This prestigious annual award is presented to men and women deemed to have significantly contributed to enhancing the quality of life of others.
Organisers seek out men and women who - through consistency and longevity - have achieved success in a chosen profession or career.
The Trumpet Awards were originally created to herald the accomplishments of black Americans who have succeeded against the odds. However, in recent times the organisation has gone international, recognising those who have overcome racism or poverty to achieve ‘special greatness’ while helping others.
Former recipients include former South African President Nelson Mandela, former Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, Justice Thurgood Marshall, Ted Turner, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Rev Jesse Jackson, Quincy Jones, Maya Angelou, Tiger Woods and Sir Sidney Poitier.
Founded by Xernona Clayton in 1993, the Trumpet Awards has been televised annually and seen in more than 185 countries.
Bishop Ellis will receive a Spiritual Enlightenment Award and join the ranks of those previously honoured, including Bishop TD Jakes, Pastor Paula White, Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Bishop Charles Blake and Bishop Eddie Long. Bishop Ellis said: "Given the fact that the award is a distinguished international award, I am pleased to accept it on behalf of the Christian community here in the Bahamas and I am humbled over the fact that I have been considered much less chosen as the recipient of this 2010 distinguished award."
Bishop Ellis is the Senior Pastor of Mount Tabor Full Gospel Baptist Church in Nassau, the second presiding bishop in the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International and chairman of the Full Gospel Baptist Denomination in the Bahamas.
The Trumpet awards will be held January 28 to 30, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.
SMITH ENDORSES ‘BRAVE’ AND CHRISTIE
The Hon. George A. Smith who served in the Cabinet of the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling and is a Stalwart Councillor of the Progressive Liberal Party has announced his intention to endorse Philip ‘Brave’ Davis as the next Deputy Leader of the Party. In his statement, Mr. Smith also endorses Perry Christie for leader of the PLP. You may click here for the full statement.
George Smith (right) is pictured conferring with then Prime Minister Perry Christie in this file photograph
The Bahama Journal reported in its 7th October edition that the number of HIV/AIDS cases is falling in The Bahamas. This came during a press conference held by Dr. Perry Gomez (pictured), the chief fighter of AIDS/HIV and Director of the National AIDS Programme in The Bahamas. Dr. Gomez said that during the first quarter of 2009 there were 42 new cases of AIDS reported and 22 deaths as a result of the disease. He said 57 persons tested positive for HIV in the first quarter of 2009.
Cumulatively, at the end of 2008 there were 6,103 cases of AIDS in the country. Cumulatively, there were 263 new cases of HIV in 2008. The highest ever recorded was 657 new cases in 1994. Dr. Gomez said: “We have 2,078 people alive and well living with AIDS. Of that number we also have 5,387 persons with HIV infection - these are people who are not sick and who are testing HIV positive. And so, cumulatively, we have just under 8,000 persons with HIV/AIDS and if you do the figures properly - it is 7,400 plus.”
The breakdown of those persons was 3,626 males and 2,477 females. According to Dr. Gomez, the female to male ratio of those carrying HIV/AIDS is close to 1:1. He said among the people with HIV/AIDS there were 2,678 males and 2,726 females. In 2007, there were 221 new cases of AIDS and 329 new cases in 2006, according to officials.
In 1997, officials recorded 382 cases of AIDS - the highest number of any one year. In 2007, there were 72 deaths from AIDS and 65 deaths in 2008. “It has been declining since then. We’re making progress,” Dr. Gomez said.
TO THE EDITOR
Kelly Burrows Disagrees With Us
I read your column regularly, but I have to disagree with the below comment from your column.
"Throughout the contribution of Dr. Bernard Nottage, the Prime Minister sat in his seat, grumbled, interrupted, and shouted out one form of abuse and nonsense after the next. If he were in primary school in the classroom, his teacher would have given him three cuts with the cane for talking too much. In the schoolyard, he would have been decked to the floor for being a bully."
This comment should be directed to your colleague Picewell Forbes, who needs to be taught what is the proper decorum with behavior in the Honorable House of Assembly. As a matter of fact all of you need to learn how to behave in that place, remember that people are watching.
I have been observing Mr. Picewell Forbes GAUCHE – UNCOUTH behaviour in the House of Assembly for a period of time. His actions are unbecoming of a representative for the people, his constituents cannot be proud of him.
May I suggest to Mr. Forbes that he request a copy of the house proceedings for Wednesday 30-2009 and take a look at himself during Bernard Nottage’s contribution on the health bill. He should ask himself whose behaviour was more appropriate? His stately colleague Obie Wilchcombe or the actions of the laughing hyena, which he has perfected.
Kelly D. Burrows
[We do not accept the arguments advanced by Mr. Burrows. Picewell
Forbes makes an excellent contribution towards stopping and counteracting
the clutter which comes from the FNM side. It is the Prime Minister
who must set the example. - Editor]
Anita Steps Down From Harl Taylor Case
Senior Justice Anita Allen will not preside over the retrial of the alleged murderer of Harl Taylor. The judge clarified the position during the week when the press reported that she had recused herself. She said that she had simply taken it off her calendar and so another judge will have to hear it. The retrial begins on 4th November.
Kelly Burrows Back For Treatment
Kelly Burrows, the former Freeport hotel executive has had to return to Florida where he is being treated for a rare cancer. He said to be doing well. We wish him well. He first travelled to Florida for medical care back in May of this year.
Employees of the Wyndham Crystal Palace told the press last week that they were happy to be back to work. The hotel has been closed for two months, seeking to weather the storm of bad visitor arrival numbers. It reopened on 1st October. The hotel said that while the numbers had not fully recovered, there are some bookings. The hotel may benefit from a deal recently signed with the Chinese to invest in the development of Cable Beach. The deal will call for a multi billion dollar investment in the strip. Perry Christie, the Leader of the PLP said that while the investment is welcome he thinks that it will call for some 4000 work permits to be issued to Chinese for construction purposes.
Liquidity and Reserves
The Bahama Journal reported that the Central Bank is saying that liquidity in the credit system of the banks is good despite the down turn in the external reserves as a result of cyclical demands in the second half of the year. This is thought usually to be driven by merchants ordering inventory for Christmas. The sign of firm liquidity is a sign that the economy is generally sluggish and the banks are simply not lending money.
Ron Pinder Marries
Former Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health Ron Pinder, the PLP MP who lost surprisingly to FNM MP Earl Deveaux in 2007, was married in a religious ceremony held Thursday, 8th October at the Hilton British Colonial. Former Prime Minister Perry Christie and Deputy Leader of the PLP Cynthia Pratt attended the wedding. The wedding was a high profile affair, complete with a picture spread in The Tribune of the former MP sporting a full beard in addition to his signature clean head look.
Photo from The Tribune
Police Act To Come Into Force
The Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest told the press last week that the new Police Act will be brought into force in January. The Government has been criticized for passing the act in a rush and then not bringing it into force because one of its provisions calls for the retirement of police officers at age 60 and the present commissioner is 62. The solution: the act allows for it to be brought into force section by section and the government can simply not bring that section into force. For his part, the Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson said to the press that when his time is up he will go.
Police Fooling With The PLP Again
The Nassau Guardian led on Monday 5th October with the headline that the police were expanding their investigation into an alleged housing scam. It is reviving a story about irregularities in the housing ministry under the PLP. No names were called, but again stories about arrests and trials. This is part of the continuation of the smear campaign using the Police that has been employed by the FNM since they came to office in 2007.
Beryl Hanna Is Ill
Wife of the Governor general Beryl Hanna is said by her daughter PLP Chair and Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin to be progressing following a stay in intensive care at the Princess Margaret Hospital. The Tribune reported on Thursday 8th October that Mrs. Hanna was suffering from the affects of an ailment with her throat. We wish Mrs. Hanna well.
PM In Turkey and London
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in his capacity as Minister of Finance travelled to Istanbul, Turkey for the International Monetary Fund Board of Governor’s meeting. He was accompanied by Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing. Mr. Ingraham also stopped off in London reportedly for a meeting with the Fleming Group that is interested in investing in Freeport.
Ingraham To Shuffle The Cabinet
The Tribune reported in its Thursday 8th October edition that the Prime Minister is to shuffle his Cabinet. The story says that he is planning to petition Desmond Bannister the now Sports Minister to stay on to become the full time Attorney General, a post now held by Brent Symonette, the Foreign Minister, since the last AG left to become Chief Justice. The report is also that Works Minister Neko C. Grant I is to get additional responsibilities, which are to include becoming Minister responsible for Grand Bahama. The story also said that Senator Anthony Musgrove may be offered the post of Minister of Works following the naming of an additional FNM Senator by the Prime Minister to replace Michael Barnett who became Chief Justice
BEC Blacks Out Again
The power was off in the Dowdeswell Street area Thursday 8th October for the entire day without explanation or warning. They claim they put the announcements on the radio and TV but how about contacting the customer directly? A whole day’s production down the drain. Then the next day there was an island wide blackout for one hour and a half in some places. At least this time the Minister for Power Phenton Neymour had no excuse like, ‘it was act of God’. There was a fault in the transmission line said the GM of BEC on Saturday 10th October. He promised they would study the problem and do better. But yet again, BEC cannot keep the power on.
Candia Dames At It Again
The assault on the PLP by the Nassau Guardian’s lead writer continued last week with a front-page story about a civil judgment in default that was to be taken out against Paul Moss who happens to be running for leader of the PLP. That was front-page news again.
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|SIR CLEMENT MAYNARD IS BURIED: A memorial service of five hours on Saturday 10th October and a three and a half hour funeral service on Wednesday 14th October; and three hours of tributes by Members of the House of Assembly including tributes by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and MPs of all sides; a three hour procession and graveside ceremony were the observances in the country for the late Clement Trevelyan Maynard, former Deputy Prime Minister of the country and known as the father of modern tourism in The Bahamas. Sir Clement died on 2nd October. He was buried in the eastern cemetery in the dark of evening. The government provided a state funeral for him, the first since the state funeral for the late Sir Lynden Pindling, complete with three volleys of 21 guns. It was a fitting tribute to a survivor of thirty years in the Parliament of The Bahamas, all but five of which were served in the Cabinet of The Bahamas, and being one of only two people to have served in the original majority rule Cabinet of 1967 right up to the PLP’s loss in 1992. BIS photo/Peter Ramsay|
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
THE DIE IS CAST
Bernard J. Nottage MP for Bain and Grant Town has announced that he intends to nominate for the post of Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party on Wednesday 21st October when the annual general convention of the Progressive Liberal Party begins. This is the third time for Dr Nottage and his allies and friends are hoping that this time the calculus leads to a victory. There is a lot riding on the result in the sense that those who hope for reform hope that if Dr. Nottage wins or there is some new leader of the PLP that the party’s chances at the next general election are enhanced. Alternatively, these reformers hope that the present leader if re-elected will arrive at a new sense of purpose and work ethic to bring about victory at the polls for the PLP.
It is a funny business, the internal elections in the PLP. You have a party whose electors do not represent the present but rather its glorious past. The voters who are Stalwart Councillors outnumber the regular delegates elected from amongst the membership at large approximately three to one. They are a very conservative group and change will not come quickly or at all.
The wife of the Leader of the Opposition Bernadette Christie was interviewed on Cable 12 News with her husband having returned from the United States where she chaperones her daughter’s musical career. She said that she had to be home to support her husband. She said that people talked about change and there was a need for change but change back to the policies that were interrupted when the last government ended.
The race for Deputy Leader of the Party is also hotly contested. There are three candidates; Senator Jerome Fitzgerald, Obie Wilchcombe MP for West End and Bimini and Philip ‘Brave’ Davis the MP for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador. The race is thought to be tightly contested with some speculating that the Leader of the PLP is giving his support to Mr. Wilchcombe. Mr. Christie himself has not said who he is supporting and has maintained that he is supporting no one.
In the race for Chairman Glenys Hanna Martin is seeking re-election after being on the job since February 2008. She is opposed by the now Deputy Chairman of the Party Kendred Dorsett and former MP Keod Smith. The talk is that Bradley Roberts, the former MP for Bain and Grants Town will enter the race.
Reduced to its essence, all of this is just a contest. There are people who feel that they can offer a better alternative to what now exists. But it is not shaping up that way. From the moment there was the thought that Mr. Christie would be opposed, he framed the debate as a personal affront to his leadership, that there is an entitlement that should not be challenged until he is ready to demit office. It appears that he believes that no one should challenge him and that he ought to be allowed to leave, if at all, on his own terms. He has a great deal of latent anger about the loss in 2007 and that he ought to have an opportunity to vindicate the loss.
It is curious that ZNS TV has been playing over and over again the famous interview with him exclusively that there will be consequences to anyone who opposes him if he wins. It appears that those who oppose him stand to lose their nominations and their positions in the parliamentary group. There appears to be special venom for Dr. Nottage who people in Mr. Christie’s camp have been labelling a traitor and worse. Dr Nottage is neither, but no amount of appeal to civility appears to quiet those waters.
In fairness to Mr. Christie, his latest statements to the press reported below in this column have resiled from the positions and he has indicated that those who lose would be expected to resume their positions in the caucus.
How the party comes out of this no one quite knows. We have the sense that it will be all right. We were confident that this would be the case up to a week ago. But it all depends on how the leaders of an organization deal with challenges. In Bermuda, the Opposition party there the United Bermudian Party will have a leadership challenge as well. When the Opposition spokesman on Finance for the UBP announced that he would be challenging the leader of that party, the leader issued a statement welcoming the challenge. Not so here. The response was that the challenge was a shocker.
Over on the other side of the fence is of course Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister. He took a lot of time with his colleagues to make fun of Mr. Christie's apparent predicament in the House of Assembly when it met on Thursday 13th October. He told Mr. Christie without any interruption from the Opposition benches that the party was in his words willed to him by Sir Lynden Pindling with two encumbrances that of appointments of Fred Mitchell and Obie Wilchcombe to the Senate. He told Mr. Christie that he was given the arsenal in his hands to defeat his enemies in the party and he must use the arsenal to crush his opponents.
At the same time, he said that his party the FNM had only a passing interest in the internal workings of the PLP and was forced by Mr. Christie to withdraw the comment that the PLP was not a democratic organization because of the balance of the votes being tipped in favour of the Stalwart Councillors who were not elected delegates.
There was talk that Mr. Christie will now be travelling the country to ask for the support of delegates to the convention. The battle lines are drawn and it may well be that this is the battle that needs to happen; Nottage against Christie. There are some bitter words going here but all coming from one direction.
Dr. Nottage for his part simply says that he has a vision for where the PLP should go and he wants an opportunity to put it before the delegates. We think he ought to have a fair, transparent opportunity to do so without rancour and savagery.
The country is watching this.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 17th October 2009 up to midnight; 162,526.
Number of hits for the month of October up to Saturday 17th October 2009 up to midnight: 409,536.
Former Party chairman and retired Minister of Works Bradley Roberts is set to rejoin the frontline political battle with an announcement said to be set for Sunday 18th October (today) to run for Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party. Mr. Roberts is set to appear on the programme Parliament Street on Island FM radio at 4 p.m. If he joins the race, he will be opposing Glenys Hanna Martin, MP for Englerston, the existing Chair, Kendred Dorsett, the Deputy Chair and former MP Keod Smith.
Dr Bernard Nottage MP for Bain and Grants Town officially launched his campaign to become leader of the Progressive Liberal Party at his Bain and Grants Town constituency headquarters on Thursday 15th October. He is running with the theme: Decisive, Determined, and Dedicated’. In some quarters, there is the view that because he left the party and fought it in a general election that this disqualifies him from the right to run. Some say he owes Perry Christie something because he brought him back into the party, gave him a Senate position, a ministerial post and a safe seat in the House. Here is what Dr. Nottage said in his own words as reported in the Nassau Guardian on Friday 16th October:
“I wasn't told when I came back to the PLP that I can only come back if I don't challenge for high office. I wasn't told that. If I was told that then I would have to consider whether or not that is a party I wanted to come back to. But thank God Almighty that is not the kind of party that the PLP was or is.
“And so I am not a traitor. I am just a Bahamian who is patriotic, loyal, and passionate about our country and its people. I have travelled throughout the country and have been well received at every turn by supporters who want to see change in the party and a more ‘aggressive’ style of leadership.
“The people I have met want to know how we are going to face the issues in their communities. The people in South Andros don't have anything to do. If you don't work for the government, you don't work. In South Eleuthera, people say the economy is standing still. So people are very concerned. Very concerned. And so yes, the response has been very positive. Now other people have gotten positive responses too and everybody can't win.
“I am concerned over the level of transparency there will be at the party's upcoming convention. I would like to see an amendment added to the party's constitution ensuring that all members of the party - not only stalwarts or super delegates - will be allowed to vote.
“I would like to see an open party where you belong to a party, you pay your dues regularly, you are on a list, and when an election is held everybody who is a member can vote. And the election will not be conducted by sitting officers who are also challenging in the election.
“I have some support within the PLP's parliamentary block.
“I also wish to assure PLP's near and far that whatever the outcome of the upcoming election, I am a PLP and will remain one.
“I want to say that without equivocation. I am a member in good standing with the PLP.
“I am loyal to its leadership, I am loyal to its membership, I am loyal to my dear constituency of Bain Town, and there are no more diversions for me. I am PLP.
“I am not concerned about any political attacks that me or my family may face in the coming week.
“I am like Teflon. It will just flow off of me.
“While they focus on whatever the negatives are, I am going to focus on the needs of the people.”
Dr. Bernard Nottage is congratulated at the announcement of his candidacy in this Nassau Guardian photo/Edward Russell III
IS FRED MITCHELL?
The press reported that they expected Fred Mitchell to make an announcement about his candidacy for the office of Leader of the Party on Thursday 15th October. Mr. Mitchell met with the Fox Hill branch of the PLP on Wednesday 14th October to consult with them on what he planned to do. The following statement was issued by the Fox Hill Branch of the PLP on Thursday 15th October:
“The Fox Hill Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party met with its Member of Parliament Fred Mitchell last night Wednesday 14th October 2009 at the Sandilands Primary School.
“We wish to apologise on behalf of Mr. Mitchell for the fact that the meeting was a private meeting notwithstanding that an earlier announcement saying that it would be a public meeting. This was to give the branch to have a full and frank discussion with its Member of Parliament about the upcoming convention and the possibility of his running for the Office of Leader of our great party.
“Branch members advised Mr. Mitchell that they will support whatever he wishes to do. We asked Mr. Mitchell to conclude certain internal arrangements before he makes any further announcements. We believe that a free and fair race in our party at all levels will strengthen our party and its democracy.
“We do not believe that such a race will damage the party or the career prospects of who wins or loses. We thanked Mr. Mitchell for acting with respect and decorum with regard to our party and its present leadership and we know that he will go on to prove to be for our party and our country a fine example of good leadership.”
The Committee of the Leadership Council of the Progressive Liberal Party on Foreign Affairs and Foreign trade headed by Co Chairs Ryan Pinder and Fred Mitchell MP and including former candidate for PLP Chairman Elcott Coleby issued a statement on Friday 16th October refuting claims in a story by The Tribune published on Thursday 15th October under the headline: ‘Fury over Mitchell bid for PLP leadership’. The Committee said that the story was inaccurate. Here is the full press statement:
“The committee refers to a Tribune article entitled “Fury over Mitchell bid for PLP leadership” on Thursday, 15th October 2009. “The writer, Mr. Paul Turnquest, mischaracterized the meeting and the committee seeks to set the record straight.
“Firstly, the committee takes exception to the characterization of our host, the policy group, as “pseudo-intellectuals.” This is not only insulting and unkind, but simply untrue.
“Secondly, there was no fury over Mr. Mitchell’s bid for the leadership of the PLP nor did the meeting explode “into an all-out attack on Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell” as was reported. Mr. Mitchell was asked about media reports surrounding his desire to contest the leadership of the PLP and there was an open and frank discussion about the media reports.
“Further, nobody in attendance “almost took his head off” nor did anybody shout “how dare you” as was suggested by the writer.
“There was absolutely nothing in the tone and tenor of the meeting that would remotely suggest that the meeting would escalate “into any physical altercation” as the writer seems to suggest.
“The committee reiterates in the strongest terms that all suggestions, implications, and inferences of anger and fury mischaracterize those in attendance, the nature of the meeting, are misleading, and are inaccurate.
“The committee on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will not be distracted. We thank the policy group for their gracious invitation and the invaluable exchange of ideas. We remain committed to and focused on articulating policy proposals that will assist the PLP in crafting a progressive vision for a prosperous and secure future for the Bahamas.”
FOULKES ON SIR CLEMENT
We wanted to share the comments of Sir Arthur Foulkes (pictured, third from left) at the memorial service held for Sir Clement Maynard on Saturday 10th October at the Diplomat Centre of Bahamas Faith Missions. Sir Arthur was the editor of the Bahamian Times, the PLP’s newspaper. He served in the House of Assembly as a PLP representative until 1970 when he became one of the legendary “Dissident Eight” who voted against the government of Sir Lynden O. Pindling. That group headed by the late Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield later formed the Free National Movement. Sir Arthur served as a minister under the PLP and served a further term in the House of Assembly. He later served as Ambassador Non-resident to Cuba and to China. He now serves as Director General of the Bahamas Information services and Deputy to the Governor General. Here is what he said in his own words as reported in the Bahama Journal:
“I served alongside Sir Clement in the first Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Government. He contributed mightily to the country’s economic, social, political and constitutional development.
“I join with all Bahamians in expressing our gratitude for his long and excellent service to our country in the many ministerial portfolios he held with distinction over these years, including that of minister of tourism and deputy prime minister.
“But… I have chosen to say a few inadequate words about a friend, a brother and a comrade in the struggle for the second emancipation of the Bahamian people, the struggle that culminated in the dramatic and historic events of January 1967.
“Sir Clement was instrumental in helping to usher in Majority Rule – a pivotal event in the political development of The Bahamas where the country transitioned from the white minority rule of colonialism to black majority rule.
“Sir Clement was among those who boldly demanded equality and was in the trenches with those who fought for the rights of the Bahamian people.
“He was not afraid to struggle, to plow, to agitate, to endure the thunder and lightning, and the awful roar of the ocean. The struggle was against an unyielding and entrenched oligarchy, against a mighty colonial power, against an electoral system that had only a nodding acquaintance with the principles of democracy, and, alas, against the residual psychological effects of a dehumanizing slavery.
“The scarring effects of generations of pernicious brainwashing and distorted history had to be confronted. The greater challenge was, as [former Prime Minister] Lynden Pindling once put it, not the shackles on our feet, but the shackles on our minds.
“In the face of such odds Sir Clement and his comrades had to make many sacrifices, endure years of disappointment, and spend countless days and nights of arduous toil.
“At the same time they had to prepare themselves for the day when some of them would be called upon to represent their people. They educated themselves and read everything remotely related to their quest. And they read some things they were not supposed to read," he said.
“In those days Lady [Zoë] Maynard (Maynard’s widow) was a very successful travel professional with British Overseas Airways Corporation so Sir Clement had more opportunities to travel than the rest of us. And whenever he did, he took our shopping list of books that could not be found in The Bahamas but were readily available in the bookstores of London. It had obviously been decided that it would be too dangerous to allow the natives to read certain books – the same position taken with regard to Sidney Poitier’s movie No Way Out."
“The struggle for majority rule was exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence.
“Clement Trevelyan Maynard was never one to do nothing. He was a freedom fighter and a passionate crusader for the political, social and economic emancipation of the Bahamian people.
“Politics, the most noble of professions, can sometimes, unfortunately, descend into something approaching savagery. And it seems that there is no greater fury in the political arena as when colleagues turn on each other.
“Later I went on to become one of the founders of the Free National Movement (FNM) and even though we found ourselves on opposite sides of the political divide later on in life, we remained good friends throughout the years.
“I believe Sir Clement was as pleased as I am to see his daughter, Allyson [Maynard-Gibson], and my son, Dion [Foulkes], face each other across the table in the Senate, but still carrying on our families’ tradition of friendship.
“Sir Clement was also capable of a gesture that is seldom seen in our political arena. I remember when he invited me to attend an event in connection with the development of Bahamasair. Having regard to the political climate in those days, just extending that invitation was notable enough. But Sir Clement stunned the mostly civil service and partisan crowd in the room when he announced that he was following on with the dream that his friend Arthur Foulkes had earlier pursued about the development of a national airline. Such political generosity is rare indeed.”
Sir Arthur Foulkes is pictured with other colleagues of Sir Clement Maynard at the memorial service for the former Deputy Prime Minister Saturday 10th October at the Diplomat Centre, Carmichael Road. From left Hon. Paul Adderley, Hon. Arthur D. Hanna, Sir Arthur and Hon. Loftus Roker. BIS photo/Peter Ramsay
CHRISTIE'S REACTION TO B.J.
The Nassau Guardian reported the following response from Perry Christie to the announcement that Dr. B.J. Nottage would enter the race for the position of Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party on Friday 16th October in his own words. Mr. Christie was talking to Anthony ‘Ace’ Newbold of the Parliamentary Channel and the Guardian’s reporter. These quotes come from both interviews:
From Anthony ‘Ace’ Newbold’s Interview:
“It's a shocker. But, you know, that's how it is. It is what it is. We are tested at different times of our lives as to our strength, our resolve. This is just yet another test. We have a wonderful party with a wonderful heritage. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will be able to move forward and conduct ourselves in a proper way”.
From the interview with Brent Dean Guardian, reporter:
“Dr. Nottage attempted to speak to me on Wednesday night 14th but we were unable to do that.
“Dr. Nottage phoned me yesterday morning (Thursday 15th October) and we agreed to meet that morning at the House.
“But by the time he got to the House, the House was commencing and I knew he was having a press conference. And then I got a letter delivered to me in the House around 10:30 a.m., which indicated that after consideration he had determined that he would contest my position and that he thought that he should offer his resignation [as leader of opposition business] in the event I may wish to accept it.
“Given that position, I thought that it was the appropriate thing for me to do, to accept the resignation (and) to assume responsibility myself for that position until such time as I can appoint a replacement
“I expect (him) [if Dr. Nottage loses the race] to continue on as a member of the PLP because Dr. Nottage has said he supports the values of the party.
“In the event of my being elected next week Thursday, I will expect Dr. Nottage and others who support him who may be members of the parliamentary group to resume their positions and be as active as they were.”
PLAYS THE FOOL
Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell has branded Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s comments on the transition of leadership within the PLP as “invented fiction”.
Speaking to Parliament during the debate on several bills on Thursday 15th October, Mr. Ingraham poked fun at members on the opposite side ridiculing the PLP for being a shadow of its former self. He also suggested that Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell and West End and Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe were appointed to the Senate by PLP leader Perry Christie at the behest of an ailing Sir Lynden Pindling.
On Friday 16th October, Mr. Mitchell released a statement which sought to clear up the Prime Minister's “jokes”.
“While we can all have good laugh once in a while in the midst of a very tense political situation, the Prime Minister’s version of the facts must not go unchallenged. His reported comments could leave the uninitiated with the impression that what he says is true.
“Suffice it to say, the Prime Minister does not have direct knowledge of any of the events that transpired with regard to the transition of the leadership of the PLP from Sir Lynden (Pindling) to Perry Christie and therefore he cannot be an authority on the subject.
“He certainly has no first-hand knowledge of my part in it. He should therefore desist in this folly. What he says is exactly how we took it in the House, a good joke.”
Governor General Arthur D. Hanna, Fred Mitchell MP and Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham share a joke in this BIS photo/Peter Ramsay
ELDERS ARE CONCERNED
The party’s elders, many of them former Parliamentarians and former Ministers, have been meeting from place to place to express their increasing alarm and concern that the PLP seems without direction and on the verge of imploding. They believe that the present process is not being properly managed. However, the young people in the party see the developments as exciting and a time of vibrant change, something which is good for the party and for democracy. Next week this time, we will see who has won out in the end.
ORDERED THEN STOPPED
Max Tido is a convicted murderer sitting on death row awaiting his fate.
With Rodney Moncur, a former abolitionist on the subject of capital punishment, now equally as convinced that hanging is the answer in the streets pressuring the government to hang people as a solution to crime, the government capitulated. They did the same thing when they were last in government. Once the public started calling for hanging, they picked a few people and hanged them as a means of quieting public down.
The year that the hangings took place was up to then the highest ever number of murders committed in the history of the country. So much for the argument on deterrence.
The Nassau Guardian began the week last week with an unsourced story saying that they understood that a death warrant would be read to some hapless inmate that week. It turns out that the Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy met and decided that Max Tido would be first one up. Luck of the draw. It was at that point that the Governor General was advised in the clinical language of the bureaucracy that this was not a proper case for the prerogative of mercy to be exercised. Translation into real talk: hang him.
The Governor General did not get to do the deed because the lawyer for Max Tido filed a motion for special leave to appeal to the Privy Council. This is the death penalty defence game. You do nothing until the state decides to move then you appeal to delay the hanging as long as possible. So Max Tido gets a few more weeks and then the Privy Council will make a decision on his life or his death.
Tommy Turnquest, the Minister of National Security predicted that he would act. In fact, even though they say it’s the Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, it is the Minister who makes the decision and it is his alone. No doubt, this will help his political career, and add to his biography.
AT COB DEMANDS NEW LEADERSHIP
On Thursday 15th October the College of The Bahamas Union of Students (COBUS) released a survey on leadership in The Bahamas. Some 73 percent of the 200 people polled said that there ought to be new leadership in the PLP and 70 percent said the same thing for the FNM. While allowances have to be made for the general cachet in student populations for being anti establishment, these numbers are statistically significant. The PLP ignores them at its peril. You may click here for the full release from COBUS.
MAYNARD IN BAD TASTE
The House of Assembly spent the morning on Wednesday 14th October paying tribute to former deputy Prime Minister Sir Clement Maynard. Sir Clement who died on 2nd October at the age of 81 was the uncle of now Minister of State for Culture Charles Maynard. Mr. Maynard had the responsibility of responding in the House on behalf of his family. Instead of being gracious, Charles Maynard was graceless and tasteless.
This is the FNM, use any occasion to insult the PLP and to campaign. In the middle of what is supposed to be a thank you for the plaudits to his uncle, Mr. Maynard started alleging that the PLP had mistreated his uncle, that PLP MPs did not show up but two of them to the memorial service for Sir Cement, which was five hours long… He then said that the PLP had changed the name of Gambier House, which was originally built by the old Gambier Branch of Sir Clement and given to the party, to Sir Lynden Pindling House. No quarrel with that, said Mr. Maynard, but what irked him and his uncle was that the plaque had been removed with the names of those who had contributed to the building of the headquarters and destroyed.
At this point PLP leader Perry Christie had had enough and told the young man he should desist because what he was saying was simply not true.
MAYNARD FUNERAL IN PICTURES
The funeral of Sir Clement Maynard was the first full state funeral in the country since that of Sir Lynden Pindling in 2000. It was an amazing spectacle, a combination of solemnity, European formalism and African spontaneity. Peter Ramsay covered the funeral on Wednesday 14th October and here, we present his photo essay. Above, Zoe Lady Maynard, widow of Sir Clement leads the bereaved family up the slope to the gravesite at the Eastern Cemetery.
The final submissions have begun in the attempted extortion case against Pleasant Bridgewater, the former PLP Senator. We have said that this case should never have been brought. We have also said that we thought that it would in fact go to the jury because no judge was going to put the weight of a dismissal in the circumstances of all the international publicity on their shoulders on the grounds that the Crown had not proven its case. Ms. Bridgewater elected along with her co defendant to make what is known as an unsworn statement from the dock. That means that she gives her side of the story without being cross examined by the other side. She said that she had been set up by her former Senate colleague Allyson Maynard Gibson. She denied that she was advised by Senator Gibson that there was anything wrong or illegal. The real importance of the case this week, however, is that the case is expected to go to the jury on the eve of the PLP's convention. Given how quickly Bahamian juries decide cases, it is conceivable that the verdict could come in the middle of the convention. A not guilty verdict would be a boon for the PLP during its special time in the public eye, while a guilty verdict would be a definite distraction.
GRIFFIN ON CHILD PROTECTION
Melanie Griffin, the Opposition’s spokesman on Social Services issued a press statement on Thursday 15th October on the secret way that the Government brought into force the Child Protection Act which was passed by the PLP under her superintendence before the PLP left office. She has been urging the Government for months to bring the bill into force which would amongst other things allow men to access the courts to see their children born out of wedlock without the need for the mother to seek a maintenance order. Please click here for the full statement.
MACHINE MOVES INTO ABACO
Contributed from Murphy Town, Abaco
Frontrunner for the PLP Deputy Leadership position Philip ‘Brave’ Davis flew into Abaco on Thursday to meet one-on-one with Stalwarts and potential delegates.
After spending the day in Abaco driving house-to-house to Party members, Davis treated his supporters to dinner and shared how through the “sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears of (stalwart councillors) and the PLP”, he was afforded opportunities that previous generations had dreamed of.
Davis spoke candidly about his personal story, stating, “My grandfather was a farmer that could not read or write, that worked hard to provide a better life for his children. My father could only go to school to the age of 13 as this was the furthest that All-Age-Schools went in those days. My dad then worked hard, as a jockey, and fireman, trying as best he could to provide a better life, once filled with more opportunities for my brothers and sister and I. Now I, as a father want nothing more than to see my children have more opportunities than I did; this is the story of the PLP! We need to get back to basics man! We are not in this thing for ourselves; this fight is for a better country for our children and their children!”.
Davis has travelled extensively throughout the Bahamas in his desire to speak to as many PLPs in his bid to become the next Deputy Leader of the PLP.
GIBSON ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S FORUM
Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson has been elected the President of the International Women’s Forum for the term 2009-2011.
The International Women’s Forum is advancing women’s leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s most pre-eminent women of significant and diverse achievement. Through this global organization, IWF members come together across national and international boundaries to share knowledge and ideas, to enrich each other's lives, to provide a network of support and to exert influence. Through the Leadership Foundation, IWF helps prepare future generations of women leaders.
Pictured from left are Prof. Mina Teicher (Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Science Culture and Sport, Israel); Mr. Maxwell Gibson; Senator Allyson Maynard Gibson ( President of the IWF); Hon. Tzipi Livini (Leader of the Opposition and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel); Esther Silver Parker (Vice President Wal-Mart and Past President IWF).
TO THE EDITOR
Kelly Burrows Strikes Back
Our readership was treated last week to an intervention by Kelly Burrows of Freeport (please click here for the previous correspondence) who has now written again to disagree. We are 'missing the boat' he says:
You are missing the boat re: my observations on
Picewell Forbes. I invite you to get a copy of the said House proceedings
of Wednesday 30 September; take a look at Picewell's uncivilized
behaviour during Bernard Nottage's contribution. I am not questioning his "excellent contribution", his decorum is questioned.
Kelly D. Burrows
[Ahh, Mr. Burrows, while we hear what you say, we are reminded of
the words of a famous Bahamian, whom we paraphrase - "We don't care what
the tapes say"; Picewell is our man and he is to be supported for his excellent
contribution. LOL! Seriously, though, thank you for your interest
in the column. Please keep reading - Editor]
A Different Reaction In Bermuda
Kim Swan is the Leader of the Opposition in Bermuda. He is being challenged in leadership elections in Bermuda's United Bermuda Party. The leader of the UBP issued a statement saying that he welcomed the challenge.
Gladstone 'Moon' McPhee 'Let Go'
Sporting icon Gladstone 'Moon' McPhee is reportedly being let go by the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture, prompting vehement protest from former Minister Neville Wisdom. A news statement from Mr. Wisdom said that he 'understands' that Mr. McPhee's contract is not being renewed even though the request for renewal was "advanced and supported" by the present Minister. Please click here for the full statement.
Rev. James Pratt Marries
Stalwart Councillor Rev. James Pratt of South Andros was married in a double ring ceremony at St. John’s Baptist Church on Meeting Street on Saturday 17th October. His representative in the House of Assembly Picewell Forbes attended the wedding along with Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill. Rev. Pratt married Mary Curry Saunders also of South Andros. Bishop Michael A. Symonette performed the wedding. The couple will reside in South Andros. It is the second marriage for both, whose previous spouses had died.
Dr. Davidson Hepburn At UNESCO
The former U.N. Ambassador for The Bahamas Dr. Davidson Hepburn has been elected to the Presidency of the United National Education Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is the first for a Bahamian. Dr. Hepburn was once a candidate for the Presidency of the General Assembly of the U.N. but fell short despite support from the United States. At the time, many in the FNM, the party he supports, believed that he was not supported by the Pindling administration because of an incident involving the wife of then Prime Minister Lynden Pindling. Dr. Hepburn was a retired public servant and honorary consul for Indonesia up to the appointment at UNESCO.
Archdeacon Brown Acquitted
Archdeacon Ranfurly Brown was acquitted by Magistrate Ancella Evans William following her acceptance of no case submissions by the Defence Counsel. The Magistrate accepted that the court document used to bring the charge was not properly executed. She said in the alternative that the evidence was so discredited that a conviction would have been unsafe. The crown has said it will appeal the verdict. The Anglican Rector of St. Agnes' Church Fr. Brown was accused of assaulting a young female parishioner. He said that he was merely correcting her for engaging in unseemly behaviour and she fell in the process.
Eight TIEAS Coming
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, whose government has been criticized for not signing more Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) with G20 countries, causing the banking sector to suffer the indignity of being a “grey list" country, told the House of Assembly that there are 8 TIEAs in the pipeline for signing. The country needs at least 12 in order to get off the grey list of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The critics say that the government is proceeding too slowly. The government says it does not want to proceed any faster lest it destabilize the sector.
International Food Fair
The 14th International Cultural Festival is underway today at the Botanical Gardens in Nassau. The festival, which was started in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, was stopped after James Catalyn, its long time organizer, quit in a row over the refusal of the Ministry of Agriculture to allow the use of the Botanical Gardens for the Festival. The Ministry argued that the garden was damaged by the use. This was pure nonsense. The garden now comes under the Ministry of the Environment. The Festival is back in the garden. It is organized virtually in the same way as before, with scores of countries including Indonesia presenting their food and clothing and cultural presentations, but the admission price is quite a lot steeper up from one dollar to five dollars. Children have to pay 2 dollars. Janet Johnson of the Ministry of Tourism is the Chairman of the Committee. A good show, but the five-dollar price tag may be a deterrent for ordinary people.
The First Cold Front
There have been no hurricanes to hit The Bahamas this year. The signs of change in the weather can be felt for the first time this weekend with the first cold front coming in. Temperatures are expected to be lower than the 90-degree daytime temperatures that the country has been experiencing. A welcome relief!
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|PLP ELECTION RESULTS...||NO CATASTROPHE (NOTTAGE LOSES)...|
|STAN BURNSIDE CARTOON FRIDAY GUARDIAN...||MITCHELL’S PRE CONVENTION ADDRESS...|
|THE PLEASANT BRIDGEWATER CASE ENDS, KINDA...||THE PLP’S APOLOGY...|
|CHRISTIE’S CONVENTION ADDRESS...||NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR...|
|ANGLICANS AT SYNOD...||BRADLEY RESPONDS TO THE FNM...|
|ROBERTS CONVENTION ADDRESS...||THE CONVENTION IN PHOTOS...|
|THE PLP'S PLAN FOR SOCIAL SERVICES...||HALKITIS CHIDES FNM ON ECONOMY...|
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...||IN PASSING...|
|Fred Mitchell Launches 3rd Edition of 'Great Moments In PLP History...||Fred Mitchell's 56th Birthday Party In Support of the 'Mission Fund'...|
|The Official Site of the Progressive Liberal Party...||The Official Site of the Free National Movement...|
|JeromeFiztgerald.org||Bahamas Government Website|
|KendredDorsett.com||Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links|
|FredMitchellUncensored.Com ARCHIVES...||Bahamians On The Web|
|How & Why The PLP Lost in 2007 - The Greenberg Report...||Bahamian Cycling News|
|CONVENTION 2009: There is nothing so glorious and exciting as a Progressive Liberal Party convention. You should have been there for the conventions of the glory days when Sir Lynden O. Pindling was in power. There is nothing to compare these days with those days; the conventions were held every year; there was a contest every year. No one challenged Sir Lynden or Arthur Hanna for Deputy. That day is over now. But everything else was up for grabs and in making the choices it was always a proxy fight between Sir Lynden and Mr. Hanna. Whomever Sir Lynden backed, Mr. Hanna opposed. The organization this year, not used to contests got a little frazzled because some people dared to contest. As we reported, the young were excited, the old were upset. The older voters control the party and the party has to watch to see that it somehow begins to match up with the expectations of a country-wide demographic that is much younger on average than its policy making body. For the moment though, that magical moment when the leader of the party is announced in convention there was a throng of supporters and music and joyous dancing as he Perry G. Christie made his way to the stage. Our photo of the week is that of the newly elected Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Perry G. Christie as spoke from the stage of the PLP’s national convention.. Photo/Peter Ramsay|
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
ONE MAN STANDING
The 51st National General Convention is now in the history books. Those who pushed for it must be in some sense satisfied that it came off. The party now needs to commit to the next National General Convention which by the Party’s constitution is supposed to be next October. In recent times, there has not been a commitment to that constitutional obligation. One result is that there is a breaking of the ties that bind and of the traditions that need to be shared.
The focus of the national attention was on the leadership race. Fred Mitchell, who played it out to the end, became a hero of sorts by allowing his name to be entered into the contest and then declining the nomination. He later issued a statement saying that he has proven the point, challenge was in fact being made and that he was confident that one day he would be leader of the PLP and establishing his continued commitment to fight for the job.
Declining the nomination was a disappointment to many but when the result came out, it was clear that the numbers for a contest were simply not there. Mr. Christie won the contest with 84 per cent of the vote some 1100 votes and the nearest challenger Dr. Bernard Nottage got some 200 votes with the extra parliamentary challenger Paul moss receiving 23 votes. We are able to reveal that back in August 2009 Mr. Mitchell had conducted a private poll of stalwart councillors of the party in New Providence. About 25 per cent of the councillors were polled by telephone and asked, would they vote for a new leader of the PLP? Only ten per cent answered that they would and of that number only 40 per cent of them gave an identifiable name. Given that the largest chunk of electors was the stalwart councillors, a nominated and not elected group of people, largely over 60, the hill to climb would have been enormous.
The question still remains what does one do now to ensure, having regard to the result, that the party is able to match policy with the requirements of the national demographic.
One hopes that with Bradley Roberts, the former MP from Bain and Grants Town now back at the helm, and Philip ‘Brave’ Davis as the Deputy Leader, there will be a recognition that the party must be driven by empirical data and not guessing. The polls are not wrong and the PLP must seek to accept what they say and begin to act in accordance with what they show. A good start would be reading Stanley Greenberg’s book: Dispatches From the War Room. It tells how a party and leader down in his fortunes can with discipline rebuild his reputation and party and get back into government.
While the focus was on the leadership races, there appears to be a cadre of young people now elected to offices in the party. Alex Storr is the Deputy Chairman and Ryan Pinder, Randy Rolle, Melissa Sears, Kevin Ferguson all made it to the Vice Chairmen’s positions. This is a good sign and much more of their talent ought to be employed in the coming year. The Young Liberals now have the right to elect a youth councillor to the party’s National General Council, one from each constituency as a result of the constitutional amendment passed at the convention. If they use this, it will mean a change in the complexion of the NGC, which is again dominated by a demographic that does not match up with the country at large.
Mr. Roberts in his address to the convention said that in the future the country will see a mix of people of all ages and genders as it moves forward. He went out of his way to say that he had come back to take care of Hubert Ingraham and to clear the way for young people in the party. One hopes that he finds a role for three people to play: Elcott Coleby who ran for chairman in 2008 and was relegated to the sidelines by the last administration and Kendred Dorsett who, had Mr. Roberts not stepped in, would most probably have been the chairman today of the party and Paul Moss, the defeated candidate for Leader of the party.
The reformers in the party are not quite disappointed in the result but can’t be deliriously happy either. It is clear that there is much more concrete work to be done to get the party to where it is supposed to be to fight a general election. The policymaking bodies of the party have to begin to function. There must be a functioning shadow cabinet, a functioning Leadership Council. The information strategy of the party must be improved. Many people concentrate on public relations as the answer, but what really needs to be solved is the fire in the belly of PLPs. The fire that was on evidence at the convention in 2009 is simply not in evidence in the country.
So there is now one man standing. His supporters kept crying One Leader so he it. Dr. Nottage put up a valiant effort in the face of unremitting hostility, but he did it. The internal democracy has won a great victory. It means that others coming afterward know that it is their right to try. No position belongs to anyone and each person must meet the test of the convention.
There must be much work done on the internal processes of election. There was much to be desired in its conduct, but that is not an issue for now. For now, we are happy that it is over for the year and in the history book and we move on to the next phase. Congratulations to all the winners and to those who entered the contest. We think that the PLP is the stronger for it.
Let us be clear though, this is not an end but a beginning.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 24th October 2009 up midnight: 153,306.
Number of hits for the month of October up to Saturday 24th October
2009 up to midnight: 581,501.
Leader: Perry Christie 1,158 Bernard Nottage 204 Paul Moss 23
Deputy Leader: Philip Davis 767 Obie Wilchcombe 401 Jerome Fitzgerald 217
Chairman: Bradley Roberts 834 Glenys Hanna-Martin 367 Ken Dorsett 141 Keod Smith 37
Deputy Chairman: Alex Storr (By Acclamation)
Treasurer: Craig Butler - 831 Lynden Maycock - 526
Five Vice Chairmen: Ryan Pinder - 920 Melissa Sears - 875 Omar Armbrister - 853 Kevin Ferguson - 682 Randy Rolle - 621
Leadership Council: Ricardo Moncur - 1,026 Forrester Carroll - 1,003 Zelrona Mackey - 868 Aaron Sargent - 758
Trustee: Doris Burrows (By Acclamation)
The results were certified by party Trustees Tom Basden, Henry F. Storr and Valentine Grimes on October 22nd, 2009.
CATASTROPHE (NOTTAGE LOSES)
Last week, we reported how the older voters in the PLP thought that the fact of a contest for Leader of the PLP would lead to disaster. The younger voters were excited about it. The older voters control the PLP and part of being post 60 is a certain comfort level with the status quo. This week, they see that there is no Armageddon or Apocalypse. Dr. Nottage is still a member of the PLP and Perry Christie is returned as its leader. It was just a contest.
Mr. Christie is shown greeting Dr. Nottage above in this Peter Ramsay photo as Paul Moss, at left, looks on. Here is the reaction of the two men in their own words as reported by the Nassau Guardian on Friday 23rd October 2009:
“I am feeling very, very good.
“I am very pleased that the delegates and stalwart councilors have come to this convention and have the opportunity to demonstrate to the Bahamian people that PLPs can come together and conduct themselves in a very mature fashion, a very competitive fashion having honest and fair results.
“And now we can look forward to unifying the party and establishing a victory platform in the next general election.
"With respect to the steps we must take, we expect our contestants, those persons who vied for offices, to reach a level of maturity that will enable us, after the disappointment has subsided, to come together in a very real way and show that we have now accepted those that won and will be prepared to go on and cooperate with those who have won.
“This is subject to any challenges that may come out of the election because the election was so competitive and charged that we are to understand that there may well be a challenge of some kind…
“I plan to offer myself for leadership if I am challenged during the party's next convention. I will be the man to take the party into the next general election.”
Dr. Bernard Nottage:
“I remain committed to the party. I am prepared to work with the winners
“We have been through – for me a very short campaign - and we presented to people the vision that we thought ought to be changed in the party.
“The people have made their judgment and they've decided they want to continue with what we've been doing and I respect that.
“I came here now because I want to see the leader and congratulate him and his team. But more importantly, I want to reassure the people who are members of the PLP that I'm a PLP. I am not going anywhere. I'm going to continue to work and support the Progressive Liberal Party and plan to see the extent of which we can work together.”
Philip Brave Davis:
“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support they have given me.
“I'd first like to thank my campaign team. They were a very young team that helped me along. This is a result of very hard work on all our parts.
“One of the first things I said we need to do is unify and strengthen the party and I gave some aspects of how we could do that. And that is one of the first steps [to get the PLP] out of the woods.”
You may click here for the full text of Mr. Davis' remarks.
STAN BURNSIDE CARTOON FRIDAY GUARDIAN
PRE CONVENTION ADDRESS
Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill declined the nomination made by his branch members to run for Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party. Mr. Mitchell, in explaining his decision, said that he had discussed the matter with the branch and had decided that it would not be in the best interests of the party to proceed at that time. He said that he was certain one day he would be the leader of the Progressive Liberal Party. He said that he had accomplished the objective when he had launched the Agenda For Change on 4th January 2009.
Mr. Mitchell declined the nomination on the floor of the convention on Wednesday 21st October. The night before, he addressed the country by way of Jones TV’s Channel 14 in which he laid out his candid views on where the party ought to be going. You may click here for the text of his address on television and the press statement on his declining the nomination.
Fred Mitchell, Picewell Forbes and Alfred Sears MPs are pictured at the PLP Convention in this Peter Ramsay photo
PLEASANT BRIDGEWATER CASE ENDS, KINDA
The PLP must at times these days think they must have robbed the church. On Thursday 22nd October as the convention of the PLP was in high gear Andros MP Picewell Forbes was addressing the convention. There was a buzz going on to his right, women were celebrating. He leaned over on two occasions. He asked whether what they were saying was true. He then announced that Pleasant Bridgewater was a free woman. This set the convention to celebrating wildly with some people crying. The only problem was that it was not true. It turns out that the jury was still deliberating after more than eight hours.
At around 10:30 p.m. the Judge called the Jury in and asked whether they had reached a verdict. They had not. She asked whether or not they thought they could reach a verdict. They said that they thought they could. She asked if they needed more time. They replied that they did. She gave them more time. Then she sent them back to continue their deliberations. Fifteen minutes later she announced that she was discharging the jury because of the announcement made she said two hours earlier at the convention.
This was a most unusual decision by this Judge and it makes Bahamian justice look quite lame. Unfortunately, her decision is not reviewable. The question is whether in the circumstances there was a need to discharge the jury. She later summoned Picewell Forbes, a Member of Parliament, to court to show cause why he should not be held in contempt. It not certain what the jurisdiction was to do so, and it once again raises the issue that Fred Mitchell had campaigned on to remove the common law contempt criminal jurisdiction and replace it with a statutory one. It is too easily abused. This is a serious charge and could end up with jail time or a fine. Attorneys Anthony McKinney, Wayne Munroe and Alfred Sears appeared for Mr. Forbes in the matter on Friday 23rd October.
The Judge said that she thought the announcement by Mr. Forbes interfered with the administration of justice. Earlier the PLP had issued a statement saying that the announcement was incorrect and was not intended to interfere with the administration of justice. It was simple mistake. This is one of a number of cases in a row before this Judge where there have been jury trials that were not completed. This year alone there have been two cases of hung juries. Then there was the Wiesfisch case in which the Court of Appeal overruled her refusal to recuse herself as a result of comments she made in the case. There was also the case of the juror that she discharged in the trial of the alleged killers of Leslie Miller's son Mario Miller. She dismissed the jury in that case as well. The Court of Appeal overruled her in that decision with regard to the sentencing of the juror.
On Saturday 24th October, the US lawyer for John Travolta, the complainant in the extortion case against former Senator Bridgewater claimed that he wanted Bahamian prosecutors to send the evidence to the U.S. for a possible trial in the U.S. This should be resisted at all times. The American lawyer knows that an announcement of the kind that Picewell Forbes made would not be grounds for dismissing a sequestered jury in the United States. In the U.S. such a decision would be wholly preposterous. As a result of this decision, these two Bahamians have to stand trial again in a case that should never have been brought. The matter of whether the jury should have been discharged is being hotly debated in the country. The state’s resources have been wasted. Justice has been given a black eye in the country, and the PLP’s name is again mixed up in controversy.
Pleasant Bridgewater pictured outside the court in this Bahama Journal photo - Picewell Forbes at court surrounded by his lawyers in a Tribune photo by Tim Clarke.
The following was the apology issued by the Progressive Liberal Party on Thursday 22nd October on the misstatement of the acquittal of former Senator Pleasant Bridgewater:
“Last evening in the course of an address at our National General Convention, it was announced that former Senator Pleasant Bridgewater had been acquitted. The announcement was incorrect. We give an unqualified apology. This was not intended to interfere with the administration of justice.”
Two years after the General Election of 2007, and newly re-elected as Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party, Perry G. Christie has gotten a second chance to lead. He apologized to delegates for his conduct during the last government. He said that he had made mistakes and he had learned from those mistakes and would not repeat them. He pledged to return the PLP to government. His words were part of his address on the final night of the National General Convention of the PLP on Friday 23rd October. You may link here to a video of the address and here for the complete text.
PLP'S PLAN FOR SOCIAL SERVICES
With the unprecedented suffering being experienced by the Bahamian people, the PLP featured its spokesman on Social Services to make a presentation as the keynote speech to the PLP’s 51st National General Convention on Thursday 22nd October. Melanie Griffin, the spokesman on Social services and the former Minister gave an address on the PLP's plans and what the PLP did and would do if reelected. Please click here for the full address.
The PLP's Senator Michael Halkitis addressed the Party's National General Convention and chided the FNM government for its handling of the economy. "The Bahamian people need relief and they need relief now" said the former Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance; "We need an articulated plan designed to begin to pull us out of the economic slump that we are in.
"We do not have the luxury of waiting for others to solve our problems for us. We definitely do not have the luxury of completely surrendering our economic destiny to the policies of another government. Regardless of traditional economic relationships, we must gain some measure of control over our fortunes. The security of our future depends on it." Please click here for the full statement.
Nicole Avaant became the 13th Ambassador of the United States of America to The Bahamas when she presented her credentials to the Governor General Arthur D, Hanna on Thursday 22nd October at Government House. Ms. Avaant was accompanied by her husband to the ceremony and the full complement of the senior staff of the United States Embassy in The Bahamas.
Ms. Avaant promised that she would continue to work toward closer relations between the two countries including the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. She pledged to work toward improving the consular services available for Bahamians at the embassy. The Governor General welcomed her to the country and said that he noted her pledge to work toward the improvement of consular services for Bahamians at the embassy. He reaffirmed the close ties between the nations.
Our photos show Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell with the new Ambassador, Governor General Arthur Hanna with Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest, Ms. Avaant and her husband Ted Sarandos with former head of the Bahamas Olympic Association Sir Arlington Butler.
BIS photos: Peter Ramsay
Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd gave his first charge at an annual Synod to the Diocese of Nassau, The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. He became Bishop last year following the retirement of Archbishop Drexel Gomez. The Bishop laid out his vision for the church on Monday 19th October at the Christ Church cathedral. He said that the church supported the marital rape law that the government has proposed. He indicated his opposition to capital punishment in The Bahamas.
RESPONDS TO THE FNM
He had not been on the job for 24 hours yet before Bradley Roberts got to work scorching the FNM. The FNM has had its political operatives reviewing the PLP convention and issued press statements daily responding to charges made by the PLP. Mr. Roberts responded in kind calling upon them to accept responsibility for creating the worse recession since the Great Depression. Please click here for Mr. Roberts’ full statement:
The PLP has put great stock in Bradley Roberts, known affectionately as Big Bad Brad. He was welcomed to the stage on the final night of the convention with thunderous applause. Mr. Roberts promised the delegates that he had come back to dismantle the FNM. He said that he had heard that ever since his reported return to the post of Chairman, Hubert Ingraham and his colleagues were starting to pack. The address was fiery and strong, aggressive and pungent. You may click here for the full address.
CONVENTION IN PHOTOS
We present a photo essay of the three days of activities at the Progressive Liberal Party’s 51st National General Convention as seen through the eyes of photographer Peter Ramsay. Please click here for the photo essay.
TO THE EDITOR
On The Convention & Leadership
The letter writer notes that this was prepared before the Convention - Ed.
In our current age the slow motion of the economy gives clarity daily to the inability of our political leaders to respond to these times when otherwise while the tourism market was fairly forecastable they marketed themselves as forgers of the future. But here we are watching them scour transparently for hotel investor success to link to their legacies – the end-game of election-winning. The truism is that a national leader’s legacy should be visionary fortitude of nation-building rather than election-winning prowess.
In 2009 the elephant is in the room. The PM has ground national development into the tribal politics that is a mix of administration management rhetoric and reactionary action in confrontations with sectors of the work force: For instance, the avoidable imbroglio with nurses.
In this bad state there is no sign of transformative engagement.
The Opposition Leader on the other part is relying on a bad economy to regain Government. Since 2007 Mr. Christie chose to sit in the belly of a whale. He had not engaged the Government or the country at large in any consistent effective form because, by his reasoning, the country doesn’t listen to the Opposition in the first two years of a new Government. Juxtaposed to that reasoning is the fact that Mr. Christie lost governance of the country in his last 12 months in office.
Mr. Christie’s inaction before and since the 2007 election allowed Mr. Ingraham’s marginalization-of-personality strategy to morph into an indictment not merely against the loser of the contest but also as manipulation of the image of the PLP organization, and its indictment followed. Mr. Christie has hurt the integrity of opposition politics. Short of complicity by Mr. Christie with the PM, the Bahamas has been getting two for the price of one since the 2007 election.
Now the PLP goes into Convention into a leadership contest. To his credit Mr. Christie has benefited from a career of saccharine insincerity. Feigning ignorance of the rightness of relinquishing leadership, little was said of what was understood by so many: That Mr. Christie should have stepped down immediately upon the PLP’s general election defeat.
Owen Arthur in Barbados, still in active politics, relinquished leadership of his party within the week of defeat as Prime Minister at the January 2008 general election. In Mr. Christie’s circumstances, figures in the PLP establishment have caused challengers to step forward. It resonates like the knowing moment for Mr. Arthur. Unfortunately, Mr. Christie misunderstands a change of leadership of the PLP to be the end of his public life. He is not enlightened.
Making the decision to attempt to oust Mr. Christie as Opposition Leader was made difficult by the dominating legacy of Sir Lynden still at large on the lips of those who can but will not challenge Mr. Christie, and the general lack of scrutiny for substance as a result of which people generally - not only in the Bahamas - are still taken up by the cult of personality.
Also a truism, opposition parties do not win elections; governing parties lose elections. In this case will PLP delegates conform to the loyalty-to-leader orthodoxy or do they yearn for a leader who can transform the next election platform into more national purpose than Mr. Ingraham’s or any other FNM leader’s personality contest?
In this moment there is the story about a hungry leper outside an enemy army’s gate contemplating that if he doesn’t enter the gate he will die of starvation; and if he enters he may be killed. But if he is not killed, he may be fed. Surely, not to proceed would be death. Appropriately, Mr. Christie is not welcome to continue as leader without a fight.
The country, by Mr. Christie’s empty suit politics, has been a victim of Mr. Christie’s illusion of relevance. Fortunately and unwittingly, the second greatest point of Mr. Christie’s legacy - whether win or loss of a challenger - will be Mr. Christie not having stepped down and thereby having forced PLP delegates to be confronted by, and allowing the country to experience, the undoing of the unspoken stalemate of party loyalty to leadership in default.
Monday 19th October 2009
Stan O. Smith
Anglicans Can Be Special Catholics
Pope Benedict XVI announced from the Vatican on Tuesday 20th October that he has made special provisions for Anglicans who wish to become Roman Catholics but keep their traditions. This is in response to the many requests from Anglicans who are unhappy about their own church's change in doctrine with regard to the ordination of women and the acceptance of homosexuality. This would also include married male priests becoming Catholic although they would not be eligible to be Bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury William Rowan, the nominal head of the Anglican Church welcomed the announcement in a joint press conference with the Roman Catholic Primate of the United Kingdom.
Secret Service Having Trouble Protecting Obama
The Boston Globe Newspaper reported an internal congressional study on Wednesday 21st October questioning the ability of the Secret Service to continue fulfilling its duties of protecting U.S. President Barack Obama and investigating financial crimes. The report says the Secret Service is strained by a drastic increase in threats to President Obama, coupled with deep budget cuts. The Secret Service which was started to stop counterfeiting of U.S. currency was given the addition task in 1901 following the assassination of then President William McKinley of protecting the President. The Congressional Report now suggests that the agency may need to relinquish all or part of its roles in protecting the U.S.’s financial machinery in order to focus resources on the protection of the president and other high-profile leaders. Ronald Kessler, the author of a recently released book on the Secret Service's protection of U.S. presidents, recently said that threats are up 400 per cent against President Obama when compared to the number of threats levied against former President George W. Bush, while the size of the agency's staff has only increased by 5.3 percent.
PLP Convention In Bermuda
Bermuda’s PLP was having its annual delegate’s conference last week in Hamilton while the PLP in Nassau was having its convention. The Leader of its party Premier Ewart Brown began the conference by scorching the press in Bermuda for the anti PLP bias. Sounds familiar. The Bermuda PLP which was founded in 1960 by Lois Brown Evans and other Bermuda pioneers is now in its third consecutive term of government, having first been elected in 1998. Mr. Brown is the third PLP Premier. Lois Brown Evans was a classmate of the late Sir Lynden Pindling and the PLP in Bermuda was founded on the advice of Sir Lynden. At one time PLPs from Bermuda received training on electioneering from the PLP here in Nassau and the two parties attended each other’s conventions. Anti Drunk Driver Campaigner Anthony Santucci has been elected the new Chairman of the PLP in Bermuda.
Mother Pratt Retires; Doesn’t Endorse The Leader
Former Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia “Mother” Pratt is winding down her time in politics. She has demitted office as Deputy Leader of the PLP. In doing so and with the departure of Glenys Hanna Martin as Chairman of the PLP, there is only one elected woman officer of the party Melissa Sears of Grand Bahama. Mrs. Pratt was hailed by Perry Christie, the man she supported when she was Deputy Leader in a prayer breakfast at the start of the week for her loyalty to him. During the week though the country was a bit surprised by the headline in the Nassau Guardian in which she said that she would not be endorsing any candidate for the leadership of the PLP.
Only One Woman
With the departure of Cynthia Pratt as Deputy Leader of the PLP and Glenys Hanna Martin’s defeat as the Chairman of the party, there is only one woman officer of the PLP and that is Melissa Sears of Grand Bahama.