MARCH 2003
Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames   Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
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9th March, 2003
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23rd March, 2003
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2nd March, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - It appeared that the entire Cabinet emptied out into the streets to greet their colleague V. Alfred Gray following the declaration by the Election Court that he was indeed the winner of the General Election contest in the MICAL seat.  The Election Court made up of Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall and Justice Jeanne Thompson ruled that 29 people were not entitled to have voted in the election.  They went into the ballot boxes, took the votes out and then started recounting.  The result is that Mr. Gray won by two votes.  And so that is settled.  Mr. Gray went off to his constituency to celebrate.  But the picture on the front page of the Nassau Guardian showed her celebrations began early with virtually half the Cabinet out in the road, smiling from ear to ear.  That is our photo of the week by Donald Knowles of the Nassau Guardian.


There are now those who seriously are questioning why the Progressive Liberal Party is not taking a harder line against Hubert Ingraham and his tomfoolery in the House of Assembly. (See story below).  He has said it himself but it is clear that he has nothing to do and he is not serious about his interventions in the House of Assembly.  It is simply one disgraceful, playful performance after another that simply erodes any repository of respect that one has for him as a former Prime Minister of the country.  That makes his interventions dangerous and we believe that the PLP ought to take a more aggressive stand against Hubert Ingraham in the House.

There is another duty that the Government has.  That duty is to protect the public treasury from abuse.  Everyone knows that it was Mr. Ingraham who falsely forced the late former Prime Minister Lynden Pindling into retirement on the grounds that he would not get his money for the pension as a former Prime Minister unless he retired.  The PLP held only six seats in the House at the time and they wanted to at least have Sir Lynden serve out his term there to hold on to the seat.  Hubert Ingraham forced Sir Lynden go.  But that is not what the law said.  It turns out that Sir Lynden could have stayed and could still have gotten his pension.  But Hubert Ingraham refused to consider it.  Sir Lynden retired.  Now it turns out that Hubert Ingraham is now receiving a full pension as a former Prime Minister and his salary as a Member of the House of Assembly.  That is $128,000 of taxpayer’s money.  In fact he should have been made to choose between his House seat and the pension.  If you are retired from politics you are retired.

And so what we see now is that he is occupying a seat in the House.  He hardly ever comes to the House and when he does, he simply makes mischief.  He ties up the agenda running from one topic to another that is of little relevance to the debate.  When challenged he says that he is going to speak as long as he wishes on any topic that he wishes.  He then descends into jocularity, trivializing the House's time and making the PLP look as if it is party to that trivialization.

We would like to suggest to the PLP the following measures.  There is a fifteen minute rule for speeches in the House unless you are the mover of a motion.  Since the PLP came to office in 1967, the rule fell into disuse because it was used by the then UBP government to stop PLPs from speaking.  But we believe that there is a special case for invoking the rule against Mr. Ingraham.  This is not because we think that there ought to be a limitation on the time for speaking but we believe that some how it must be brought home to him that he has a larger responsibility to the Bahamian people and the House to be relevant.  He is the only member against whom it should be invoked and it should only be used until he gets the point.  The only other way to deal with the matter is to invoke closure of a debate to prevent him from abusing House time.

Secondly, we think that the Public Treasury should immediately stop paying the $100,000 per year pension of the former Prime Minister.  This should be done by the Attorney General seeking a summons in the Courts and requesting an injunction against the law being carried out until such time as the legality of the payment is established and until such time as its constitutionality is established.  Perhaps this might give Mr. Ingraham pause to reflect on his behaviour here.

The idea here is not to stop Mr. Ingraham from performing any duty he wishes for his people in Abaco.  But the idea is to restore him to seriousness and have him make the kind of contribution to the public debate of which he is capable.  The PLP has that duty to the Bahamian people or we ourselves will go down in the wash as having contributed to the levity of Bahamian national political life.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 1st March 2003 at midnight: 34,486.

Number of hits for the month of February ending 28th February at midnight: 112,974.

Number of hits for the month of March to Saturday 2nd March at midnight: 2,621.

Number of hits for the year 2003 to Saturday 2nd March at midnight: 206,628.


    Steve McKinney, the radio talk show host, had a brilliant idea.  He wanted to have a week of discussions about diplomacy and in particular relations between the United States and The Bahamas.  That kicked off the week before when the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell spoke about the relations between The Bahamas and the United States and about other foreign affairs matters.  During last week, the Minister was again on the talk shows talking about Foreign Affairs.  But the man who was especially busy with a full frontal assault on The Bahamas Government and the Bahamian people was the US Ambassador J. Richard Blankenship.
    The week began with the Minister of Transport forcefully denying that she had been unavailable to meet with the US Ambassador as he had charged.  It appears that the US Ambassador was miffed because he was unable to get the Minister on the telephone because of the insistence of her Ministry that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs be contacted first.  The Ambassador in a statement at the Rotary Club later in the week said that he was not going to use the Ministry of Foreign Affairs protocol to access Ministers of the Government.  This kind of statement is perhaps part of the reason that many people who called into Steve McKinney’s radio talk show where the Ambassador appeared told him he was rude and disrespectful to Bahamians.  Mr. Blankenship was unmoved and said that the only person that he had to please was George Bush, the President of the United States.  But surely this is short-sighted.  Mr. Bush will not continue to support him if his style ends up causing more damage to the relationship than it is worth.
    During the talk show and at Rotary on Friday 28th February, the US Ambassador rattled the cages of many Bahamians by saying that the Pre clearance Lounge at the Nassau International Airport was going to be lost if the security at the airport was not improved.  Some argued that the Ambassador himself had compromised the airport's security by highlighting the issues in public as he did, thus making the airport a potential target for those who were looking around for a target.
    At week’s end, the Ambassador’s comments were very much the subject of debate throughout the country.  The feeling is that the Ambassador is intent on wrecking the economy of The Bahamas and on subjecting Bahamians to maximum pressure out of a need and desire to be seen as the man who controls the destiny of The Bahamas.  And so many people have called this week the week of the Blankenship.  It was an unhappy week for Bahamians who are simply non-plussed by the rude behaviour and the lack of public respect for a country that always supports the United States, has done so and will always do so.  But he certainly must know why he is behaving this way. Tribune photo by Omar Barr.

    The US Ambassador appeared on the radio talk show by Steve McKinney for two hours to face the Bahamian public.  It was a mixed reception.  Some people were obsequious in the extreme; thanking Mr. Blankenship like the slaves of old for a wonderful job he was doing and told him how he spoke the truth.  He in turn railed at anyone who called him a racist, although it was not certain who brought that subject up.  Then there were those who told the Ambassador that he was rude and disrespectful to The Bahamas.  The Ambassador replied essentially that he did not care.  The only person he needed to please he said was George Bush, the President of the United States and as long as that happened, he did not care. Our words not his.  He at times threatened the pre-clearance lounge at the Nassau International Airport.  He said he had security concerns.  He said that if The Bahamas did not sign the article 98 agreements with the United States over the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction, the US would withdraw military support.  He seemed to think that Bahamian Ministers were at his beck and call and that once he called they had to snap to attention.  Interesting theory.
    The obsequious press of The Bahamas had the man all over its pages all week.  His psyche apparently enjoys this kind of attention.  It is obvious that he likes his picture in the newspaper and he likes the sound of his voice.  And so for many, many months to come we can expect this kind of dominance of the Bahamian media.  Given the reports that the US Government intends to start paying for propaganda in friendly countries it may soon emerge that we have to be careful about the independence of media reports in The Bahamas.  There was even a controversy in the press about his every appearance on the radio.  The Ambassador told The Tribune that his appearance on the Steve McKinney show had been cancelled and suggested that someone was trying to censor his appearance on the radio.  Mr. McKinney addressed the concern on the radio by saying that the fact is Mr. Blankenship appeared on the radio and that no one had suppressed his appearance or his views.
    It appears that there is no opportunity to nit pick and complain that would not lead to an appearance in the newspapers of The Bahamas.  Some are worried that the Ambassador is simply setting up a newspaper file in order to report that The Bahamas Government had been uncooperative with him in his work in The Bahamas.  The fact is that there is no evidence of this but some feel that he has a special hatred for the Progressive Liberal Party that is driving what he is doing.

    The calmest man in the eye of any storm this week was Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister.  He told the Steve McKinney Show and the Jeffrey Lloyd Talk Show of Love 97 that he had no problem at all with the US Ambassador conducting the foreign affairs of his country in any way that country wanted him to do so.  It was for the Ambassador to judge whether that conduct was appropriate or not.  The Minister said that he conducted the Foreign Policy of The Bahamas the best way that he knew how and would meet the case for The Bahamas as any one challenged it.  He said that Bahamians did not need to be concerned. That they ought to defend their country.  He said that the basic fundamental relationship between The Bahamas and the United States is good and the problems are not such that they change the nature of that fundamental working relationship.  The last sentiments of the Minister were echoed by the US Ambassador himself who called into the show of Steve McKinney on Friday 28th February about five minutes to five.  He said that the relationship between the two countries was good.
    The Foreign Minister has urged all Bahamians to stand up for their country.  He said that The Bahamas conducts its foreign relations through the normal diplomatic channels.  He said that this was our way.  The Ambassador's way was to conduct his in the open.  If he chose to do that, only he could determine whether or not that was being effective.  It seems to us that it is being counter productive because The Bahamas government with limited resources has to spend time dealing with the public clutter from the Ambassador and no time dealing with the substantive issues that need to be corrected.
    What the Bahamian Foreign Minister made clear is that notwithstanding the media’s attempt to portray this matter as a personal one between the Ambassador and himself, there is no personal element in it.  He said that he represented The Bahamas and the US Ambassador represents his country and that was all.

    The US Ambassador charged that there was an attempt to prevent him from appearing on the Steve McKinney Talk Show on Tuesday 25th February.  The appearance took place on Wednesday instead.  The Tribune contacted the Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell who said that he was aware of the issue as raised by the Ambassador through the Ambassador.  He undertook to find out what had happened.  He said the issue was later resolved.  He said apart from that he had nothing to do with the matter.  Steve McKinney himself said that there was no censorship of the Ambassador or attempt to do so.

    The site editor received an e-mail from an address purporting to be that of US Ambassador J. Richard Blankenship.  The e mail takes issue with a characterization on this site of the countries of Eastern Europe in a story about the US attempts to build up an international coalition around itself to invade Iraq.   Here is what the e mail said in its own words:

Maybe from this you will understand why it is important for the Bahamas to support the US position on Iraq rather than casting its lot with CARICOM.

Ambassador J. Richard Blankenship

"Many of us, I know, are sickened by the repeated denigration of the Eastern European states that have supported the U.S. in this confrontation [with Iraq]," Jay Nordlinger writes in his Impromptus column at National Review Online (
     "A prominent left-wing journalist, as Mark Steyn pointed out, described the former Iron Curtain countries as nations 'you can buy on e-bay.' And Mark Shields of CNN said, sarcastically, 'Everyone's feeling better. Albania signed on.'
     "This struck a nerve with me, as I was in Albania in September. I had never been to that country before. (Few of us Westerners have.) I met with many intellectuals and journalists. I met men who had been in prison for years, because they had dared to dissent from the brutal totalitarian regime that was ruling them. I was terribly moved by their expressions of support for America — and by their gratitude for the American role in opposing Soviet Communism. One intellectual told me that some other Europeans sneered at Albania as 'the Israel of the Balkans.' I said he ought to consider that an enormous honor.
     "I have an Albanian flag — the double-headed eagle — 'flying' in my office right now. And I am thrilled by the support and the heart of such people, for they know — more than people in Paris — about tyranny, freedom, and appeasement. In a way, I regard the support of Eastern Europeans as more desirable than the support of comfortable Westerners," Mr. Nordlinger said

    Turkey was in danger of becoming known as a certain undiplomatic word by accepting US money in exchange for letting the US fight a war on Iraq from Turkey.  On Saturday its Parliament salvaged its world reputation by turning back an attempt by its Government in the face of 90 percent opposition from the people of Turkey to allow US Troops to fight a war from Turkey.  Some people have suggested that this is what The Bahamas should do.  It is said that The Bahamas should develop a shopping list and go to the US ambassador and sell our support in public for the shopping list from the Americans.  Of course there is a word they call people who do that.  Anyway congratulations to Turkey for being a restraining force against war.

    While all the to and fro was going on between the US Ambassador and The Bahamas thousands of people were showing up at the well promoted ‘Revival is Here’ promoted by Bishop Neil Ellis of Mount Tabor and the Full Gospel Fellowship in The Bahamas.  The whole thing began in controversy when Apostle Cedric Moss challenged the established king of the evangelicals on the question of the foreign woman preacher Juanita Bynum and the fees for preaching in The Bahamas (Click here for last week’s story).  Meanwhile Pastor Moss took aim at the Prophetess as she calls herself.  The nub of the problem seems to be the whole concentration of these religious leaders on the collection of money and their ability to use God to get money out of the pockets of their faithful believers.
    The crowds were enormous which is probably a black eye on Pastor Moss.  But the Tribune that has been relentless in its support of Pastor Moss’ criticism was suggesting in its Saturday 1st March edition that there was a gap between revenue and expenditure on the revival of 197,000 dollars.  The Tribune said that this was brought on by the fact that Pastor Moss’ criticism had shamed the preachers into not asking the faithful for money.  Anyway the scene at the Clifford Park in Nassau was of legions of faithful, arm waving, promises of healing going on, people rolling on the ground supposedly filled with the fervour of the holy spirit and on and on.
    Some went so far as to say that during the time of the revival, crime was cut absolutely to zero.  What does that say?  Some say it was the power of God at work.  Others suggest rather cynically that maybe the criminals were kept off the streets by the revival.  And still others say it had nothing to do with it.  The Government simply has the police on full alert, stopping and searching cars and it has put the special patrols back together to keep the bad boys under control.  The picture in the Nassau Guardian showed the legions at the revival.  The faithful were joined one night by the Prime Minister and a number of other Ministers of the Government.

    The observation is being made that there is still a separation between church and state.  One has to be extremely careful that the one does not blend into the other.  The recent controversy arising out of the ‘Revival is Here’ (see previous story) visits of Prophetess Juanita Bynum is instructive.  Apostle Cedric Moss who started the criticism was after one thing and that seemed to be the over concentration on money and religion, giving people unreasonable expectations.
    The Pastor of Zion Baptist Church Rev. T. G. Morrison has also been a critic of the school of evangelicals who not only preach about money but who often cross the line between their political pulpit neutrality and their role as civic spokesmen.  He was particularly concerned about the declarations made by certain Ministers in favour of political parties.  He thought that was wrong.  Rev. Morrison was last week describing the matter as too many “pulpit stars”, setting up churches in New Providence to make money.  He was speaking at a farewell service for Fr. Dwight Rolle, the Anglican priest who is moving to Abaco.

    The Election Court made up of Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall and Puisne Judge Jeanne Thompson declared V. Alfred Gray of the Progressive Liberal Party, the true winner of the contest between the FNM and the PLP on 2nd May 2002.  That was the only contested result.  Mr. Gray was the winner by two votes.  For the PLP it was a moment of relief.  For the FNM, it as a moment of disappointment.  A scant two votes separated the two men.  But as they say a miss is as good as a mile.  Mr. Gray immediately went off to his constituency to an Acklins homecoming.  He now goes about the task of bringing help and hope to his constituency.  The winner was declared on Tuesday 25th February.  Outside the court waiting for the result were FNM Leader Senator Tommy Turnquest and Opposition Leader Alvin Smith.  Court costs were awarded to V. Alfred Gray and he estimated his costs to be in the neighbourhood of $680,000. Defeated FNM candidate for MICAL Johnley Ferguson, left; Leader of the Opposition Alvin Smith, centre and FNM Leader Tommy Turnquest, right in this Donald Knowles Guardian photo.

    At question time in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 25th February, the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham got up on his feet to ask a question of the Attorney General.  On the face of it, was a serious question.  He asked what was the position on capital punishment in The Bahamas.  But Mr. Ingraham did not have a serious intent.  He was intent on mischief.  He went on in a cross the floor dialogue to imply that executions were being held up in the Christie Government by the fact that the Attorney General, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Transport were all opposed to capital punishment.  Mr. Ingraham knows that this is the case.  He knows that the cases are being held up because of a constitutional challenge to the death penalty.  He knows that when the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death penalty is unconstitutional, it effectively nullified the sentences of 40 persons on death row in The Bahamas.  So no executions are likely to take place so long as the law is at present on the books.  When challenged from his seat by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell about his own position on capital punishment, Mr. Ingraham said that he was opposed to it and had always been opposed to it but he allowed it to go ahead because he did not think that the laws of the country should be held up because of his personal views.  Of course that only went for some things.

    There is an old expression that Bahamians like to use.  They say that so and so is a “poppy show”.  Not quite sure where that comes from, but the people of The Bahamas can be forgiven for thinking so of the Minister for Trade and Industry Leslie Miller and Sidney Stubbs, the MP for Holy Cross.  For the last half year or so the two have been at public loggerheads with even this column weighing in and asking the Prime Minister to stop the public madness and ask the Chair of Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation (BAIC) to resign so that the PLP could save face on an embarrassing row.  Now after all this time of rowing back and forth, with the Minister insisting that the Chairman had to go; the Chairman threatening to tell all if he were not protected, the two are said have buried the hatchet (presumably not in each other) and all is well.  There was even a picture in the press to prove it.  This is remarkable.  But every one is holding their breaths. They can hardly believe it and many think the PM should really reorganize anyway, since it may be a time bomb still waiting to go off.  Nassau Guardian photo / Donald Knowles


    A bald headed Ashley Newbold faced the cameras and the courts this week as jury selection began in his trial for the murder of Joy Cartwright.  This trial is being watched closely by high ranking FNMs who expect political fireworks, following an outburst by Hubert Ingraham, the former PM last year in the House.  The young woman used to be the manager of Club 601.  She was murdered on 26th December 1996.  Which leads to another point.  Here you have a trial for murder taking place six years after the murder.  Incredible. Nassau Guardian photo / Tim Aylen


    There was an engaging photograph that appeared on the front page of the Bahama Journal with Prime Minister Perry Christie and former US President Bill Clinton.  Mr. Christie and his wife were visiting Atlanta for a lunch called the NBA/Hank Aaron Chasing a Dream Foundation presidential luncheon.  The Journal said that the former President plans to visit The Bahamas in April.


    We want to congratulate the following members of the Fox Hill Branch of the PLP for their appointments to various Government Boards.  Kendal ‘Funky’ Demeritte for his appointment to the Licensing Authority; Calvin ‘Lady’ Brown, for his appointment to the Road Traffic Authority and Altamese Isaacs to the Advisory Committee on the Archives.  Congratulations again!


    Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell who represented the Government of The Bahamas at the Black History Month Service at St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Miami last Sunday was presented the key to the city of Miami by Commissioner Arthur Teele of the City of Miami Commission.  Donald Knowles took the photo that appeared in the Nassau Guardian on Monday 24th February.  St. Agnes Episcopal Church was started in 1897 by a priest who heard a Bahamian washerwoman at the home of whites in Miami singing the hymn ‘The Church is One Foundation’.  He enquired where she learnt it and she told him that she was a member of St. Agnes Church in Nassau but there was no church for Blacks who were Anglicans in Miami.  The church was funded and the congregation today in Overtown has some 3000 members of Bahamian descent.

    The police seized two kilos of cocaine on a Bahamasair jet bound for Miami on Tuesday 24th February.  The drugs had a street value of $40,000.  Three persons have been charged for the offence. Two of the persons are Bahamasair employees.

    In the press this week, there appeared an article which seemed to accuse no less a person than the Minister of Foreign Affairs of writing an article on this website.  The article in question had to do with attacks on The Bahamas from a disenchanted German.  Ho hum, here we go again.  Not only did the Minister categorically disavow writing "any such words" but, people: please read before you leap.  The Minister has nothing to do with  This site is a successor to the old, the archives of which - by the way - are still available at that address.  This is a new website, compiled and edited by Russell Dames, with writer Claire Booth.  We can be contacted by e-mail at  This information is always available at the top of each week's page.  Oh, and while we're at it; thanks for reading and please keep reading.


We Are Believers
This week the talk around town was about Zhivargo Laing who was the Minister of Economic Development in the FNM Government.  We consider Zhivargo our friend and a Christian gentleman, so on that basis, we were surprised to see his stance in his weekly column dealing with the US.  In his article, he implied that as a sovereign country, we should not determine our fate because of who the US is and we should capitulate at every twist and turn.  We say to our friend that our stand is that we believe in Jehovah Jireh, and we should all always believe that God is our provider...

What no politician has been able to achieve has certainly been achieved this week after the US ambassador was the guest on Steve McKinney's live ZNS talk show.  For the first time in a long time, the boys at Kristy's were of one accord.  Among the quotes heard: "He full of sh..!"... "He could keep his bullets and his uniforms"... "The runway at Great Inagua will get lights when the Government of The Bahamas is able to pay for them."... "We've had enough of his lowness and threats."  One poor soul then suggested to the mixed group of politicos "Why we can't just do what they want us to do and then all might be well?"  To put in mildly in Bahamian terms, he was severely rebuked by all and left shortly after.  One patron told him "The problem is when individuals behave that way and you give in to their demands, you find that a week later, they'll be right back with even more outrageous demands, so at some point you have to take a stand."  To that we say, amen.

Will He Survive?
A war has broken out in the Grand Bahama Taxi-Cab Union.  It started early in the week with embattled president James Kemp taking to the press with the suggestion that the Minister of Transport should take some taxi franchises in Grand Bahama from those members that have more than one franchise.  An incredible statement for a president of a taxi-cab union.  By Thursday night, a meeting was called by the taxi-cab union to elect four members to serve on the board of directors of a joint venture company between the union and the tour operating company with the exclusive to collect passengers from the Grand Bahama airport and harbour.  The meeting erupted quickly into chaos when members tried to bring a motion of no confidence in the president.  Some were suggesting that they had been sold out and that Mr. Kemp should no longer have the privilege of serving as president.  The chaos was such that the meeting had to be suspended leaving the question, will Mr. Kemp be able to survive?  From this site, we said long ago that we knew problems were coming.

Immigration Raids
This week, officers of the Immigration Department conducted raids searching for illegal residents.  The Department has been criticized severely in Grand Bahama for enforcing the immigration laws only on people of African descent, mainly Haitians and Jamaicans.  So this week, Immigration officers picked up one Canadian and one Turk and charged both of them with working without a valid work permit.  In one instance - the Canadian - the person pleaded guilty and was deported.  The other person pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.  A footnote to this story is that this site received numerous calls advising that Immigration needs to pay a visit to the Grand Bahama Container Port, but we would be very surprised if that company would bring in people as tourists and then put them to work.

Hugh Campbell Basketball
Six high school basketball teams from Grand Bahama are still alive in the Hugh Campbell basketball tournament going on in Nassau with only three Nassau teams remaining.  We say to our Grand Bahama teams that hard work is always rewarded and we wish you well.

Terminations At Royal Oasis Casino
Late word is that six people have been let go from the Royal Oasis Casino.  The inside story that is being put about is that it might be a union-busting tactic, but we are following several leads and hope to give a full report on the matter next week.

Footnote to US Ambassador
During the US Ambassador's appearances on the Steve McKinney radio show last week, Mr. Blankenship issued categoric denials in response to a caller's question over whether the US military conducted missile firings from its AUTEC base at Andros.  Still, in the news this week in Grand Bahama something looking very much like a spent missile shell turned up on the beach in front of the Viva Club Fortuna hotel.  The object was imprinted with an 800 number (imagine that?), which was called and lo and behold, the US Coast Guard showed up to take possession.  Perhaps it was a stray from that island off Puerto Rico.  Things that make you go, hmmmm!

9th March, 2003
Welcome to
PLPs On The Web... Interesting Places...
Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town Bahamas Government Website
Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte Bahamians On The Web
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The Tribune’s photographer Omar Barr took this engaging photograph of the dancers of the Cat Island Mites at the opening of the Heritage Festival at Arawak Cay.  The Festival is an annual event is hosted by the Ministry of Tourism to promote the national patrimony and culture of The Bahamas.  That culture is a mix of African and European traditions.  The Cat Island mites are the dancers that have preserved the quadrille tradition of dancing.  The quadrille is a rather elaborate set of steps that require couples to dance in carefully set out patterns, with male and female parts.  It is thought to be a European tradition but in The Bahamas it is spiced up by the sounds of the saw and the drum and the accordion or piano – the music we call rake and scrape.  The Heritage Festival opened on Tuesday 4th March and ended Saturday 9th March.


If you didn’t know any better you might have been convinced by George Bush, the US president on Thursday 6th March that there was actually an attack that was going to happen on the US mainland within days. This was the upshot of his prime time news conference on US television where he tried to convince the US public and a skeptical world that he did indeed have a just cause to go into Iraq and kill innocent people in order to displace their President who most people admit is a terrible man.

The problem all along about the American “evidence” on this issue is that it relies simply on their say so.  The “evidence” that was given to the UN weapons inspectors does not convince anyone because the inspectors find that they cannot verify what US intelligence has said.   Even Colin Powell, the most credible Bush cabinet member, now risks losing his credibility because he has now jumped on board a flawed strategy and he too is simply stating that because the US says so, it must be so.

Then there is the question of how they are going about trying to convince the world that they are correct.  Their own public is split down the middle, and but for a handful of countries that seem to want something from the US, they are unable to convince the world about their cause.  Sure the Iraqi ruler is a bad guy but so are at least a dozen other world rulers, including some of their friends.  The Russians, Chinese and French are resolutely against what the US is doing and so is the Pope. The Pope’s envoy told President Bush that there is no moral justification for a war.

Because they can’t get their way with the world and their population, the US Administration is trying intimidation.   They have called the French the worst names in the books, called that old civilization that helped them win their freedom, part of the “axis of weasel”.  They have tried scare tactics at home with elevated threat levels and increased harassment at their airports.  In the Caribbean they have sent their Ambassadors out to threaten all kinds of retaliation if the Caribbean does not comply with the message.

The Bahamas is perhaps the example of the crudest approach, with the US Ambassador here clearly stepping over the line.  His comment was that The Bahamas should simply support the US on Iraq because the Bush administration remembers its friends.  This means that some punishment is to be loosed on The Bahamas because it simply stood with the world community including the United States in support of the UN charter as it applies to the Iraqi government.

But all the threats, the intimidation, the hectoring have not worked.  They have convinced no one of the dire consequences that they predict about Iraq.  And this week a letter circulated on his resignation by a former a State Department employee who worked at their embassy in Israel shows that there are deep doubts within the US about the policy of frittering away world support on the policy of invading Iraq.  The hectoring, hysteria and intimidation give rise to greater disbelief on the part of the world, and makes it looks as if the Bush administration is desperate and will do anything including perhaps arranging an incident in order to precipitate a war.  This is a very dangerous time.

But it is clear that something is up with the Bush administration.  It appears that they are intent on war.  The President’s press conference seemed to be setting the stage for a declaration of a right to invade Iraq within the UN charter relying on the right of self-defence.  In other words, the US is under direct attack from Iraq and has a right to defend itself.  The very notion is ludicrous except to those who have whipped themselves up into hysteria on this notion and forgive the cynicism but see only Iraq's valuable oil fields.

This column humbly asks the United States to cease and desist and to remember the strong democratic principles and human rights ideals on which the country is founded.  The policy in the Middle East is flawed and threatens to plunge the world into a morass that knows no early end.  The policy is shortsighted and is selfish.  Our British friends with a longer experience on all this should know better as well.

But it has gotten to the point with this administration in the US that their friends are unable to speak frankly to them without being called names, insulted and threatened.  What is one to do?

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 8th March 2003 at midnight: 28,298.

Number of hits for the month of March up to Saturday 8th March at midnight: 34,078.

Number of hits for the year up to Saturday 8th March at midnight: 238,085.


    Obie Pindling, the oldest son of the late founding Prime Minister of The Bahamas Lynden Pindling took the stand in the murder trial of Ashley Newbold on Friday 7th March.  Mr. Newbold is on trial for the 1996 murder of Joy Cartwright with whom Mr. Pindling acknowledged he had a relationship.  Mr. Pindling's name had been all over the daily press during the week as a supposed confession by the murder accused read out in court contained accusations about Mr. Pindling’s involvement in the murder of Ms. Cartwright.  The police read the statement.  (See story below)  Mr. Newbold himself took the stand and said that the statement was not his and that he was forced to sign it.  Here is what Obie Pindling said: “Those allegations are the most outrageous lies.  I am not involved in the murder of Joy Cartwright.”  Mr. Pindling said that he had been threatened with blackmail by Mr. Newbold.  He said that he reported the matter to the police.  He said that he had been arrested for three hours and questioned extensively by the police about the murder.  The Tribune also carried a story about an allegation by Mr. Newbold that he (Mr. Pindling) had met with drug dealer Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles now awaiting extradition.  Mr. Pindling said that he did not know Mr. Knowles.  Bahama Journal photo by Otis Forbes.

    Malcolm Adderley, the MP for Elizabeth (PLP) rarely speaks in the House but when he does, he makes lots of sense.  This time in addition to making sense, he was incensed.  His full ire was directed at the Free National Movement and the US Ambassador J. Richard Blankenship.  Mr. Adderley thought that Mr. Blankenship in his public remarks over the last week had crossed the line.  He said:
    “Sometimes I wonder whether war hasn’t been declared on the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.  It frightens me when we are told ‘you must do this or else my Christmas list won’t have you on it’.  My God, look who it's coming from.  This person represents the most powerful nation in the world.  We can’t laugh at these things.  We can’t take these things or granted.  You can't drink and have cocktails and pretend to be friendly, then hold a stick over my head.”
    As for the Free National Movement which issued a statement earlier in the week saying that they support the US in a war on Iraq, Mr. Adderley said: “What the FNM said seems to be a contradiction between what the United Nations - of which we are a member - seems to be saying.  It gives me, as a Bahamian, great reservations because if the Opposition is saying it supports the United States, it’s a question of sovereignty.  What sort of signals are we sending out to people in the world?  And what bothers me and I would ask the Leader of the Opposition now to please clarify the position as to whether that position is the position of the party, because people are really talking about it.”

    Joining Malcolm Adderley MP for Elizabeth in his condemnation of the US Ambassador was the Ambassador for the Environment and MP for Mount Moriah Keod Smith.  Mr. Smith in posing several questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs said: “Is it not that the US Ambassador would be [like] any other Ambassador out of order based on what is considered to be diplomatic protocol in his behavior in and around The Bahama Islands and if it is that he is in fact out of order what exactly is it that is to be done… to be sure that we don’t have the kind of public play out of diplomacy that we see engaging a representative of another state in the kinds of things which happen on the ground in this country.
    The Minister replied: “I understand the concern and anxiety of some Members of the House and citizens of The Bahamas about many of the public comments that have been made by Ambassador Blankenship over the past few weeks.  I just want to, however, be very careful.  We must exercise caution when addressing diplomatic relations in Parliament.  The relationship between the United States and The Bahamas is a secure one, is a safe one.  Relations are good.  I would simply say that we both agree and characterize the relations as such.”

    In previous incarnations of this column, we have tried to be kind of Zhivargo Laing.  He is the son of one of the soldiers of the revolution and so should be given respect just for the work of his mother at helping to make our country free.  What is a great pity is that he has become slavish and intellectually dishonest. He must have been tainted in the Government of Hubert Ingraham.  During his time as Minister he became known as a virtual nuisance in the House, always interrupting and interfering in the business of big people.  He obviously did not take care of his constituency because even though the Prime Minister Ingraham went to the maximum extent to ensure that Mr. Laing won on gerrymandered boundaries, he still lost.  And now that we see his public commentary this week on US Bahamas relations and his attack on Prime Minster Perry Christie for his engagement with the religious community, we see why he deserved to lose.
    Mr. Laing doubts in his column that US/Bahamas relations are good.  In that he is following the line of his leader Senator Tommy Turnquest who in taking direction from some source has decided that there is political fodder in trying to make it appear that there is a problem between the US and The Bahamas.  All these gentlemen have to do is examine the record.
    The daily march of US/Bahamian relations appears to continue without incident.  The only issue seems to be the fact that the present US Ambassador does not understand that you need to keep quiet in another man’s country, and speak through diplomatic channels.  The FNM is giving the impression by the words of Laing and Turnquest that they are marching to that drum or taking instructions from an Ambassador who does not understand his role.
    And so now there is a problem in US/Bahamian relations, and that problem is not the two countries themselves or their representatives (Despite our difference with the US Ambassador’s style, he is entitled to represent his country as he sees fit and as his country requires him to do—Ed.) but it is now the FNM and its spokesmen like Mr. Laing.  It does not appear that these two gentlemen (Turnquest and Laing) understand what the role of the Opposition is in this matter.  Mr. Laing and Senator Turnquest have now broken with the Government and are hoping that they can use this to help them win.  The fact is they are totally discredited.  They are discredited because, people perceived them as weak and unable to support themselves without the help of Mr. Ingraham.  Nothing that has occurred since the election has changed any minds.
    As for the attack on Mr. Christie for his participation with the religious people, Mr. Laing should be the last one to speak, since he seemed during the campaign to have lost his religion, although not his bible quoting tendency.

    This is a case of no news being good news. This week there is nothing to report about the Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation (BAIC).  The Corporation and its Chair and Minister have been in the news consistently since last year.  Last week, the two men, Minister and Chair announced a truce and pledged to work together.  The PLP breathed a sigh of relief and so did this column.  Let us hope that the truce continues to hold.


    The Deputy Prime Minister was furious.  She rose to answer a question in the House of Assembly from one of the backbenchers Sidney Stubbs MP on Wednesday 5th March.  She said that the headlines in The Tribune about the annual drug report of the US State Department said simply that The Bahamas was a drug transshipment country.  It did not show that the US report also said that there was no evidence of Bahamian senior officials being involved in corruption.  It also said that The Bahamas government was fully cooperating with the United States in the war on drugs.  Mother Pratt said all of those points and more in the House, but there is something that all Governments in this region must address.  It is quite strange for the United States every year to involve each of the countries of the world in this examination process that looms much larger in our own countries than in their own.  It is time now in fact for the Caribbean to do its own annual report on the state of cooperation between the United States and ourselves and CARICOM generally.  This should be annually publicized in our own countries. Nassau Guardian photo of Deputy Prime Minister Pratt by Donald Knowles.

    This week has been a sad one for the Pindling family. (Click here for latest story above) Their oldest son’s name is the headlines, mixed up in a lurid murder that on the face of it appears to implicate him as a conspirator in that murder.  The evidence of the crown against Ashley Newbold, the defendant in the murder of former Club 601 manager Joy Cartwright in 1996 is that Mr. Newbold claimed that he was paid by Obie Pindling to assist in the killing of Ms. Cartwright and that Mr. Pindling pulled the trigger.
    The Tribune made sure that the Pindling name was there almost every day.  Both morning newspapers carried the portion from the confession statement of Mr. Newbold that the mother and father of Mr. Pindling warned him about seeing Ms. Cartwright.  There is no doubt why The Tribune is acting the way it is.  It is on its unrelenting campaign to sink the PLP and hoping that this direction will cause some damage.  The fact is that it won’t.  The Bahamian people are not stupid.  And no one believes for one moment that Obie Pindling killed anybody or paid to kill anyone.
    The Crown Prosecutor Bernard Turner warned the jury at the start of the case that this case was not about a famous name that was going to be called, it was a question of who killed Joy Cartwright and the crown is convinced that they have their man.  All the rest is simply commentary.  In the meantime, it is left only for us to express our sincere concern for the Pindling family who having given so much to this country just can’t seem to get a break.  We sympathize especially at the sadness of a mother’s pain and wish Lady Pindling well.

    The Leader of the FNM Senator Tommy Turnquest issued a statement in which the party said that it was firmly behind the disarmament of Iraq by force.  It said, “We in the FNM are gravely observing that the PLP Government is embarked on a very dangerous game and course which could seriously harm The Bahamas.”  The party said that in taking the stand the Government was not speaking “for the more than 50,000 Bahamians who voted for the FNM, and the thousands of other Bahamians who today see the Government's actions and attitude as reckless and ill-advised.”  The FNM also found it “reckless and ill-advised for the PLP Government to be playing around with the US request” to exempt US military personnel from the provisions of “the International Court of Justice” [they mean the International Criminal Court].
    The statement of the FNM was attacked by Malcolm Adderley MP for Elizabeth in the House (see story above).  But we add our two cents.  Clearly the FNM does not understand what is going on.  The United States itself is using the UN to prosecute its aims on Iraq.  The FNM statement is therefore foolish and done out of ignorance.  Secondly Bahamians are entitled to ask whether or not the FNM realizes that they are no longer the Government of The Bahamas and so they do not speak for The Bahamas.  Thirdly one must question their good sense in breaking with the Government on a policy that is so obviously innocuous in the face of the world.  It sends the wrong signal.  The FNM criticizes the position on the ICC when they were the ones who signed the document on behalf of The Bahamas when they were the Government.  The instrument establishing the Court does not permit the derogation from the treaty as the US would wish and so the request is a non-starter.
    They also had the criticism that the PLP were hiding behind CARICOM in foreign policy.  Successive governments including their own have conducted their foreign policy in concert with the CARICOM countries so there is nothing new here.  What you have is political party that is like a set of carpetbaggers.  They rush into town and take advantage of the latest wind blowing and then out of town again when they have exhausted all they can get.  PLP Chairman Raynard Rigby issued a statement on behalf of the PLP in which he condemned the FNM for their statement.

    Central Bank Governor Julian Francis has been the butt of criticism in the financial sector because of the cap that was instituted by the Central Bank on lending since September 2001.   It has virtually shut down commerce in the banking sector with very few loans being granted.  The interesting thing though is recent statistics from one of the major housing companies in the country that even when the mortgage lending programmes were promoted by the banks, the response from new home buyers was not overwhelming.  This indicates a soft economy.
    Many believe that one of the ways to stimulate the economy is to get some additional lending going.  Under the present rules, the Central Bank is not allowing it.  The idea is to save valuable foreign exchange for the hard times that are coming with war on the horizon.  But many argue that the Central Bank is too restrictive and the clearing house banks have been seeking to have it removed.  Paul McWeeney of the Bank of The Bahamas said that the restrictions on credit may have the effect of increasing the cost of money to consumers.  We support some less restrictive lending cap.

    You can forgive an error of facts.  That can happen to anyone. You can forgive the odd spelling mistake.  It happens all the time.  You can forgive the editorial opinion.  That is the business of the newspaper to state what they believe.  What is a disgrace, however and cannot be forgiven is the fact that a daily newspaper that is supposed to provide the news becomes a propaganda rag for the official Opposition.  And even the editorials, while their business, have become so intellectually dishonest as to be useless.  It is the same old tired complaint one supposes but it needs to be said anyway.  The policy of The Tribune is to discredit the PLP at any cost and at all times.  It is that inveterate hatred of self that is inbred in Eileen Carron, its publisher, so that she cannot help herself.  What a pity?


    Bradley Roberts came off the plane from Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival hopping mad on Wednesday 5th March.  The Tribune had run a series of stories in which it said that he as Minister for Bahamasair forced one of the two jet planes off the line with the passengers bound for Miami so that the Minister could get to the Trinidad carnival.  Mr. Roberts accused The Tribune of being irresponsible.  They simply didn’t check to find out the facts.  The whole idea is again to paint the PLP with the brush of improper use of power.  The facts turned out to be something completely different.  It’s Eileen Carron again and her propaganda but she has failed again.  Please click here for what the Minister had to say in his statement to Parliament.

    You may remember that after the adjournment by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell on 6th December 2002 of the joint anti-drug task force talks between the US and The Bahamas, there were some Opposition commentators like Eileen Carron of The Tribune who tried to make a mountain out of the word  ‘satrap’.  The Minister said that the US Ambassador was behaving like a satrap.  A satrap is a provincial governor in the Old Persian Empire and has come in modern times to be a symbol of a colonial like exercise of power.   And so there was a bit of bemusement this week in the House as the passage was read from Daniel Chapter 6 by House Chaplain Antonio Beckford.  The word satrap in its proper meaning was used throughout the text.  We thought you might find it interesting:
Daniel in the Lion’s Den
Chapter 6
It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, (2) with the administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel.  The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. (3) Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. (4) At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so.  They could find no corruption in him because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. (5) Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.
    Perhaps Eileen Carron at The Tribune will now read, learn and inwardly digest instead of spewing nonsensical propaganda and lies.

    The Director of Education Iris Pinder has indicated that the Government will now review the rules as they relate to field trips for students at Government schools.  This follows the drowning in waters off east Grand Bahama of two school children from the Martin Town Primary School on Monday 2nd March.  The tragedy occurred when 40 students supervised by five adults discovered that three of the children were missing.  A search ensued and two bodies were discovered.  It is assumed that they got washed away in a strong current.
    The Tribune reported that most independent schools have a ratio of one adult to 3 to 5 students, especially around water. We hope that the Ministry will hurriedly put in place the new rules.  One family has indicated that it will take legal action against the Ministry for negligence. According to The Tribune of Wednesday 4th March, Betty Ewing, mother of 11 year old Indira Ewing who died is planning to sue.  No word from the parent of the other child Giovannie Ferguson.

    There are now 13 murders in The Bahamas for the year.  The latest was a 26 year old on Friday 7th March gunned down in Yellow Elder Gardens in New Providence.  This is after a two week lull, increased police patrols and more searches by police of cars on the roads.  Meanwhile a meeting in the constituency of Bradley Roberts MP called for hangings and the lash.  Mr. Roberts said that he did not believe that this was the answer but the public is getting more hysterical as the days go by over this issue which many fear may force the Government to consider truncating civil liberties.

    It is reported that an associate who helped significantly with the settling of the famous Oracle case is moving on from the Higgs and Johnson.  Several in the sector expressed surprise after all the work that he had done to settle the matter.  The talk is that he crossed one of the senior partners.


    Charles Robins III (aka 'Softly') of Bimini is the Coach of the Catholic High Crusaders.  They have won the annual Hugh Campbell Basketball Championship, accepted as the premier high school championship in the country.  The final was an all Grand Bahama affair with former winners Tabernacle Falcons trying desperately to make one final shot before the buzzer.  The Catholic High Crusaders won the game 46-45.  This is the Coach’s second title.  The Catholic Crusaders have now won more than any other school.  The Championships seem now more or less to permanently reside in Grand Bahama.  The coach was shown in the winning photo by The Tribune on Monday 3rd March with his team around him and the trophy.  Congratulations!


    It had all the hallmarks of a national general election.  And it seemed for many parents of the children who are in the national swim programme; it was do or die.  But the result is that they worked and campaigned and got proxies and argued to a cliff hanging 79-77 defeat of Vincent Wallace Whitfield as the head of the Bahamas Swim Federation.  Mr. Wallace Whitfield had been criticized for his management style.  Algernon Cargill, a marketing executive is the new Chair. Many feel that the sport can now grow with the coming of a new administration.  Congratulations to the new President! Guardian photo of Algernon Cargill.

    The irrepressible Apostle Cedric Moss, Pastor of Kingdom Life World Outreach Centre in his newspaper column this past week entitled ‘Why They Vex?’ shares “some preliminary thoughts” on the ‘Revival Is Here’ meetings.  See previous stories about Pastor Moss and his to and fro about the revivals.  This week, Pastor Moss wrote to this site:
    “[M]y only desire was frank disclosure to the public regarding the amount the speaker was going to make (on the past 2 occasions I cited it was a pre-arrangement of 50% of all the offerings she raised, approximately $25,000 and $125,000 respectively).  Those were much smaller events.
    In an effort to achieve a ZERO offerings objective I had suggested, our church, Kingdom Life World Outreach Center, offered to give to the budget the same equal amount as the supporting churches (even though we were not in support of the event).
    About the crowds, I knew they would be massive so I was not surprised or disappointed so it was not a black eye to me at all.
    If you have heard/read reports coming out of the “revival”, you would no doubt see that my concerns about financial manipulation and greed were very much founded.  In spite of all the watching eyes on how they would raise money, towards the end, the hired speaker called for $500 and $1,000 offering lines with the promise of blessings.  It stands to reason that anyone who has the power to financially bless others should be able to bless him or her self and not live off seductive, manipulative offerings.  But I guess those who go on the lines with high hopes don’t think that way.
Cedric B. Moss

    A sad note in the sporting community.  Denny Bell, wife of renowned Freeport coach and Cacique Award winner ‘Bert’ Bell has died.  Mrs. Bell is reported to have succumbed in Nassau on her way to hospital after battling illness for some months.  In addition to her husband Bert, she is survived by a daughter, Trudy and two sons; David and Andrew, both standout athletes of international calibre.  A teacher by profession, Mrs. Bell exhibited the generous nature of her Andros home island and was a well-liked backbone of support around many sporting disciplines including track and field, cycling and swimming.  Our most sincere condolences are with the family.


Students Drown
The news in Grand Bahama started off with the tragic drowning deaths Monday of two Martin Town Primary School students.  They were among a group of forty students on a field trip to Sweeting's Cay off the eastern end of Grand Bahama.  The two victims were identified as Indira Ewing 11 years old and Geovannie Ferguson aged ten.  A third student Lakerthera Rollins aged ten was given CPR and survived.  The girls were pulled into a strong current, which took them into deeper water towards the mangroves.  According to reports in the Freeport News, the disaster could have been worse if it were not for the aid and assistance of some residents who were bonefishing at the time and quickly went over to get the children out of the current.

Royal Oasis
As we went to press last week, reports came to News From Grand Bahama that the Royal Oasis casino had let go some five employees.  This week the company remained tight-lipped on the whole matter, but further reports are that more persons were let go from the hotel side of the operation and we are informed that management has instructed their employees to report weekly over the next year to receive their severance pay.  We believe that this is a cost cutting measure by a company whose usual method of operation is to buy distressed properties, refurbish them and then resell.  In this instance, it seems that cost overruns have caused serious financial setbacks and the company is now trying to find a way out.  We believe that more layoffs are going to follow as the company fights desperately to remain afloat.

Hotel Union
Word is the Royal Oasis casino employees' dismal letters were on the letterhead of Obie Ferguson and Co.  Obie Ferguson is the president of the Trade Union Congress.  Employees said they saw this as a betrayal.  On the other hand, the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union members took a strike vote on Friday and employees of the casino and the hotel have voted overwhelmingly to strike against the Royal Oasis and Casino.  The matter is now under a thirty day cooling off period, but sources tell us "never mind the pronouncements of the union bosses... they know exactly what the score is and half a loaf is better than no loaf at all... all they [the union] are doing in public is posturing."

Tommy T
In May of this year, the Free National Movement is going into convention and we are reliably informed that there is unlikely to be a challenge to the leadership of Senator Tommy Turnquest.  We have also observed that the only real potential challenge to his leadership in the FNM is Brent Symonette, the MP for Montagu and son of former Premier Sir Roland Symonette.  Brent, our sources insist, is not going to make a move at this time because "these are considered to be the 'caretaker' years in FNM politics and the fact that he [Brent] has a seat in Parliament gives him the platform he needs to showcase his political talent for the future."

Why, Tommy, Why?
We now wonder why Tommy has taken the position on things that he had no need to take a chance on... For example, the ZNS issue where he was embarrassingly lectured on the facts by Corporation Chairman Calsey Johnson or his stance on foreign affairs where he exposed his party to charges of disloyalty to the nation.  He needed only to have paid attention to the pronouncements of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s statement in Parliament on the matter and to the statements of former ambassadors in the FNM government Sir Arlington Butler, Anthony Rolle and Sir Arthur Foulkes.  Had he listened, Tommy would have learned that politics in matters of foreign affairs always ends at the border and secondly he would have seen in the debate that who is our closest ally had nothing to do with this whole matter, but in fact process was everything.  The question must be asked whether to get at one devil who is Saddam Hussein must we dismantle the United Nations in our zeal to achieve this objective?  When we would have broken the only apparatus for the arbitration of international disputes what will we then use when other disputes arise between large and small states?  Is it worth it all to destroy the mechanism we now have?  Process is everything and under these circumstances, the question of whether or not America is our friend and ally does not arise.

Raynard in GB
PLP Chairman Raynard Rigby was in Grand Bahama on Friday and broke bread with the Kristy’s lunch bunch.  Mr. Rigby was told by one of the members at the table that the CDR would miss him, but in any event, wished him well in his new post as PLP Chairman.  The group all shared a hearty laugh as they assured the rising PLP star that – though he disowned and denied them, they would never do the same to him.  A PLP familiar with the group observed that "Notwithstanding all the jocularity, PLPs everywhere await the day when all ‘CDRs’ stop the foolishness and come on home".

16th March, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The Tribune showed a picture of Obie Pindling, the son of the founding Prime Minister of The Bahamas the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling, as he arrived at court on Wednesday 12th March on his final day as a witness in the trial of Ashley Newbold, who was later convicted of the murder of Mr. Pindling’s former employee and girlfriend Joy Cartwright. The trial bore some sensational headline after another, and with the police charging Mr. Newbold and a nameless other person for murder, the public was left wondering why the other person was not charged whoever that other person turned out to be.  Mr. Pindling took the stand to defend himself against the allegations that he called “outrageous lies”.  He said there was no truth to the allegations.  There were many who criticized the Judge in the trial for allowing Mr. Newbold’s confession statement which contained what seemed to be hearsay about Mr. Pindling.  Photo by Felipe Major.


The Court of Appeal of The Bahamas has had some very bad judges sitting on its benches during the lifetime of many of today’s practitioners.  It has had a few good ones as well.  The situation has gone from bad to worse over the years.  In the past there was at least one public figure who sought to bring some kind of balance to the Judiciary and its unfettered ability to exercise public policy over the lives of Bahamians by making the Judiciary subject to public criticism.  At one time, one of the Judges tried to have him disciplined for that but the effort failed.

Another time a prominent Bahamian advocate asked for the adjournment of a trial that was being conducted in the Court of Appeal to ask to see the judges in camera.  When he went behind closed doors, he is said to have told them that if they ever spoke to him again in the tone of voice that they did and with the disrespect they showed, they would have to deal with him at another level.  He reportedly left no doubt as to what he meant.  The rude behaviour to counsel stopped but that lawyer was never able to win a case again in that forum.

We have seen reports over the past month of a judge in the Court of Appeal who has attacked officers of the Attorney General's office for their conduct of certain trials.  The remarks appeared to be intemperate and some say that when the allegations and when the remarks were actually investigated, they fell short of the mark when it came to the truth.

As a result of the reputation of these kinds of remarks many legal practitioners in The Bahamas are refusing to appear before the Judges of the Court of Appeal particularly if a particular Judge is sitting on the bench.  Some argue that they witnessed the treatment of several non Bahamian lawyers who came in to do special cases, leaders in their fields abroad and the level of disrespect and lack of civil courtesy was appalling.

The problem is that people who are charged with offences need to get Justice.  The system is bad enough when you have a lawyer, but judge when you do not have a lawyer to act for you.  And if the report from the previous paragraph is correct, defendants will be denied justice if their lawyers refuse to appear before the Court for fear that their heads will get taken off for some perceived slight to the bench.

The complaint is not a new complaint about Judges.  The question is how do you deal with it?  Perhaps it is time for the Bahamas Government at the executive and the legislative level to intervene to impose a Judicial code of conduct that could lead to the removal of a Judge who engages in behaviour which is clearly uncivil or tendentious.  Perhaps there needs to be a complaints procedure implemented outside of the one that now obtains in the constitution to sanction judges who do not conform to a published code of conduct.

The most recent complaint on this matter has come from observers of the challenge of two death penalty cases that were remitted by the Privy Council to the Court of Appeal.  The report is that the comments made in the court suggest a hostility to the Privy Council itself that was not seemly.  It is important that this matter be investigated and that some effort be made by the Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to bring it to the attention of the court concerned before some public steps are taken that may prove embarrassing to the whole country.

The number of hits for the week ending Saturday 15th March 2003 at midnight: 28,845.

The number of hits for the month of March ending Saturday 15th at Midnight: 62,910.

The number of hits for the year 2003 ending Saturday 15th March at midnight: 266,917.


    It looked to us like Pierre Dupuch, the independent MP for St. Margaret’s had been saving up some harsh words for J. Richard Blankenship, the US Ambassador to The Bahamas.  Mr. Blankenship has touched a raw nerve in Mr. Dupuch who is the brother of the Publisher of The Tribune Eileen Carron.  Whereas Eileen Carron has been slavish in her support of everything that the US Ambassador says or does no matter how ridiculous or insulting to The Bahamas, her brother let loose with an attack that cheered The Bahamas generally.  Mr. Dupuch told the House of Assembly on Wednesday 12th March: “He says he is blunt speaking, well I speak blunt as well.  So blunt meets blunt.”  Here is what Mr. Dupuch had to say in his own words as reported in The Nassau Guardian and the Bahama Journal:
    “The old [Testament] text says Samson killed ten thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.  Many friends, especially recently are lost today with the use of the same weapon.  The American Government has sent some 600,000 or 200,000 fully armed with everything except nuclear to seek Saddam in the Gulf.  They’ve sent Ambassador ‘Flagship’ to The Bahamas armed with a loose jawbone to do the same thing to this Government.  Unfortunately both don’t have the same effect…
    “The Ambassador who obviously does not like the choice of the Bahamian people and wants to undermine them, brings us cases of drug abuse from 1992 when these people weren’t even around, and believes that he convinced the Bahamian people and the world that they’re a bunch of bad people… I am not a PLP, but that is the Government Bahamians democratically chose. They put their X where everybody could see.  Who is he to come here and try to undermine it, by putting fear?  He’s lucky he’s not dealing with me.
    “I must say that he [Blankenship] doesn’t represent the same Americans that I know because the Americans that I know and I have gone to school with, been a guest of, lived on their farms, they are some of the finest people that walk this world, and this man certainly does not represent them.  Sometimes he thinks he is the Ambassador, sometimes you think he is the town clown, other times, he’s doing business as usual.”

    Wouldn’t you like to be in the Azores this weekend as a fly on the wall?  But maybe you wouldn’t need to be a fly on the wall because you could probably stand on the beach and hear the war drum a beatin’.  We are talking about that summit of the willing the US President, the British Prime Minister and the Spanish Prime Minister who are all willing to plunge the world into darkness on the adventures they have planned to launched against Saddam Hussein the President of Iraq.  They have no business planning such misadventures but they are launching it anyway in the face of world opinion and in the face of significant opposition within their own countries.
    The British Prime Minister Tony Blair is almost certainly in big trouble with losing his job if he goes ahead with the war in Iraq without getting a second resolution from the UN.  He is not going to get it and the French have threatened to veto it.  The US through its loose mouthed Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld told the world that the British were superfluous anyway since the US could do so alone.  And so it appears that the US and its allies are thrashing all about, trying to figure out just what to do. They are trying to tell the world, convince the world, including Pope John Paul that they have a morally just cause that will lead to the death of tens of thousands of women, children and male civilian non combatants to get rid of a man whom they loathe.
    The fact is that Saddam Hussein is a bad man but there are many other bad men.  Why for example don’t they rid the world of the junta that suppresses the people of Burma?  But no, they want to make the world unsafe for democracy by interfering in Iraq when there is no threat of attack on the United States or Britain.  It is big stick politics and it should not be supported.  What’s that sound you hear?  It’s the sound coming on the northeast winds to Nassau from the Azores, the sounds of the war drums of Bush, Blair and Aznar. Photo by Reuters.

    Fred Mitchell, the Bahamian Foreign Minister is to travel to Haiti as part of a special Organization of American States Mission from 18th March to 21st March.  The trip was originally scheduled to take place in February on the heels of the Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago but was postponed because the US side was snow bound in Washington.  The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon describes the visit to Haiti as one of importance.  The US side is participating in the visit and Ambassador Otto Reich who is a special envoy of US President George Bush is representing the US on the mission.  The CARICOM side includes Julian Hunte, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of St. Lucia, the Bahamian Foreign Minister, the Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister and it is headed by the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of the American States Luigi Enauldi.
    The Bahamas side in the talks will no doubt see this as an important mission because it is thought to represent the best chance for the people of Haiti to have elections this year.  The US side is insisting that the security climate in Haiti be improved before elections can be held, but the Haitian Government strapped for cash as it is and without an adequate security force is unable to provide that atmosphere.  The US itself should do more to help the security situation, providing the money and manpower to do so. This column hopes that the mission is a success. The Haitian people deserve it.


    Rev. Carrington Pinder, the Pastor of St. Mark’s Native Baptist Church in Fox Hill celebrated his 21st Anniversary as the Pastor of the church in Fox Hill.  The Minister for Social Services Melanie Griffin and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Public Service Fred Mitchell who is also the Representative for Fox Hill where the Church is located attended the service.  The Pastor has a reputation for honesty and integrity and as a builder.  Since he became the Pastor of the church the building programme has been substantial and the church has bought additional lands.  He has also founded a pre school.  We congratulate the Pastor.  Rev. and Mrs. Pinder are shown.

    The week of news in the Courts re the testimony of Obie Pindling, the son of the founding Prime Minister of the country has left the country somewhat off balance.  It is not the kind of conversation that the intelligentsia or the elites would want to have but it was being had and whispered in corridors all about the place.  No one wants to believe and no one believes that Obie Pindling is guilty of anything.  It is unthinkable.  Had a relationship with the girl - yes.  Killed her or arranged to do so - no.  But the testimony in the courts did not quite solve the unanswered questions of the public.
    The defendant claimed that he [the defendant] did not give the statements to the police that the police said that he did.  Mr. Pindling when he took the stand was outraged but he did say that he was holding $30,000 in US for Ashley Newbold. What was the money for and how was it obtained since the defendant appeared not to have any visible means of support?  Mr. Newbold's statement to the police said that Mr. Pindling still owed him some money.  Mr. Pindling denied that saying that he had to advance some of his own monies to Mr. Newbold.  Mr. Pindling said that Mr. Newbold was involved in an attempt to blackmail him.  The police charged that Mr. Newbold, with another, murdered Ms. Cartwright.  Mr. Pindling who is the only other person whose name was called in the case and who was directly fingered by Mr. Newbold, albeit in a statement later denied, was not charged.  So the country was asking, who is the other?
    Some lawyers said that the Judge should not have allowed inadmissible hearsay in with the confession that brought into it the extraneous comments about Mr. Pindling, forcing Mr. Pindling to attempt the impossible; that is prove a negative.  Others say that it would have been impossible in law to succeed on a charge against Mr. Pindling in any event because there was no admissible evidence against him.  The evidence in the confession statement would have been inadmissible against Mr. Pindling.  In the end though there was a guilty verdict for Mr. Newbold and he has been sentenced to death.  His attorneys vowed that they will appeal.  Most pundits feel that the case is a fertile one for an appeal given that the only evidence was the confession.  For the moment though the family of Joy Cartwright said that justice has been served.  They are satisfied and they hope that Joy’s name can now rest.  We hope so too and that all other people can move on with their lives.


    The Nursing profession has some small comfort in the fact that someone has been convicted of murdering Nurse Joey Lunn (newspaper file photo).  One of the nicest persons you would ever have wanted to meet, Nurse Lunn was shot dead on 7th July 2001 as she was caring for a patient Anthony Saunders who seemed to be involved in some kind of drug war.  Shots were pumped into the room to kill the patient and in the end brought about the death of the nurse.  The whole profession threatened to go on strike if the Government did not do something about the security at the hospital.  Kendon Brown has been convicted for being the trigger man.  He has been sentenced to death.  Monet Thompson was convicted of conspiracy to murder.  And so another one is put to bed.  One hopes that the families now feel a sense of justice and that Nurse Lunn can rest in peace.  The verdict came on Wednesday 13th March.

    Ashley Newbold was convicted of the murder of Joy Cartwright (see story above) on Thursday 13th March.  There was a unanimous verdict.  He was sentenced to death.  The sentence seems almost certain not to be carried out since there are strong questions on the constitutionality of the penalty as it now stands in The Bahamas.  Ms. Cartwright died in a hail of bullets on the early morning of 20th December 1996.  Mr. Newbold claimed that it was not he who killed Ms Cartwright but the son of the late Prime Minister Lynden Pindling, Obie Pindling.  Mr. Pindling vigorously denied the charges.  He was arrested for three hours in the matter questioned by police but not charged.
    Ricardo Marques, the Judge in the case said that if the jury agreed with and believed the only evidence of the court, the written statement of Mr. Newbold given to the police on 3rd and 4th June 2001, they should have regard to its entire contents and not disregard any portion of it.  According to The Tribune the Judge said that if someone is present at the scene of the crime with another, the person who did the shooting and their cohort should be equally as guilty.  He also warned them not to be side-tracked by irrelevant issues but to focus on real matters of concern.  Presumably the irrelevant issue was the allegation against Mr. Pindling.  And presumably the fact that Mr. Newbold's statement once admitted showed in Mr. Newbold's own words that he was on the scene of the crime and so he was equally as guilty as the person Mr. Newbold was accusing in the statement.  His statement did not exonerate him.
    Things as they say get curiouser and curiouser and that is the mood in the country over this.  The Tribune reported that outside the court, Winston Culmer the father of the deceased said he does not feel anything toward the parties involved.  He said that he was satisfied that he case was ongoing, because Newbold was charged concerned with another which means that someone else should be sought and charged.  Stay tuned then?  The Defence has said they respect the decision of the jury but are likely to appeal. Tribune photo by Omar Barr.

    The news is not good.  The country received a depressing report from the nation's private sector businesses this week.  The Coalition of Private Sector Organizations conducted a number of surveys this week that were published in The Tribune.  They show that businessmen have lost confidence in the economy and that they all see a picture of doom and gloom.  Sixty four per cent of the businesses surveyed said that the economy was weak.  Four out of ten of the businesses saw losses last year in 2002.  Fifty two per cent gave a negative outlook for the economy this year.  The report indicates that business reserves are dwindling and business debts continue to rise.  Most businesses see continued losses of jobs. Some 34 per cent plan layoffs this year.  The Coalition of Private Sector Organizations is comprised of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, the Bahamas Employers Confederation, the Bahamas Hotel Association, the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association and the Nassau Tourism Development Board.  Add this news to a public sector hiring freeze, falling tax revenues, and a new war against Iraq -- whew!  BEC announced that electricity prices would go up.  Gas for cars has also gone up. The Central Bank has still not addressed the lending cap as the banks have asked.  It has said that this is impeding the country's growth.

    The Tribune of Friday 14th March said it was the 13th murder. The Nassau Guardian said it was the 14th.  But what ever it was the country heard of yet another murder.  This time is was in Harbour Island.  Dead is 34 year old Archie Curry, a resident there.  A woman was later charged with the murder.  Now that’s unusual!

    The Minister who told the country in the face of changes that we might face as a result of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas “don’t panic”, saw panic in the streets of New Providence on Tuesday 11th March.  The cause was a wild rumour that went through the community that the gas station owners were going to go on strike.  No one knew where it came from.  It was just like the thing that caused people to think there was a plane crash a couple of weeks ago that led to masses of people staring out to sea in search of something that never happened.  But this was certainly more serious.
    It all seems to have started when oil companies misinterpreted a statement by the Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller in the House of Assembly two weeks ago that he wanted prices for gasoline to remain below 3 dollars a gallon.  That was a faint hope since the oil tankers had already been filled up with gas bought at a price that with the taxes and price margins allowed took the price up over three dollars.  A request was sitting on the minister's desk that had not yet been approved.  The distributors refused to crack open the new gas supplies until they got word that the price would be allowed to rise.  Gas station owners were upset because they said that the Minister did not present the true picture with regard to gas.  And then the strike rumour.  The Minister was in Trinidad when it happened and so the acting Minister issued a statement appealing for calm.  There is no fuel shortage.
    The Prime Minister called the industry together and then the Minister agreed to allow the price to rise.  And so gasoline in the Bahamas today sells at 3.19 cents per gallon.  There were no demonstrations in the streets, just reports of long lines before midnight when the price increase took effect on Saturday last by taxi drivers.  Apart from that things went on as usual.  What made the distributors so angry was the fact that without a peep BEC, the power company, announced that due to oil price increases the electricity bills would go up.  Surely they argued the Government can't ask the private sector to take some medicine that they were not prepared to administer to the public sector. Guardian photo by Donald Knowles.


    The Social Services Minister had to take several minutes to compose herself as she spoke with passion about her sense of devastation when she heard that someone had delivered a baby and then disposed of the baby in the trash.  Melanie Griffin was speaking in the House of Assembly on the bill to establish a regime for the registration of pre schools.  She moved the House.  She made an appeal to women that no situation could be that bad to cause you to discard a child.  She urged them to call her if they felt the situation was so helpless and she would assist.

    The lawyers in the case were confounded.  An internationally acclaimed expert in the field of human rights law was treated with disrespect and discourtesy according to some observers of the court and its proceedings.  It was an embarrassment to the country said one observer.  That was how the proceedings in the Court of Appeal on Monday 10th March were described as the court almost summarily dismissed out of hand, the Privy Council’s remitting of a case to the Court of Appeal of The Bahamas on two murder appeals on the basis that the sentence of death in The Bahamas was unconstitutional.
    Despite the fact that it has been the practice since the Royal letters patent that preceded the constitution of The Bahamas as the primary law to remit matters from the Privy Council, the Court believed it had no jurisdiction to hear the matter because of their interpretation of the Constitution which says that the Privy Council should remit matters to the Supreme Court.  The fact that the Court of Appeal has since Independence heard matters remitted to it by the Privy Council before, did not seem to concern them.  The Court said it had no jurisdiction to hear the matters and dismissed the appeal.
    And so one guesses that it will go up to the Privy Council again.  The fact is the death sentence in The Bahamas is almost certainly unconstitutional having regard to cases from the Eastern Caribbean on similar provisions in their constitution and the same death sentence law.  The Privy Council upholding a decision from the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has ruled that the mandatory death sentence is unconstitutional.  All the death sentences now being administered in The Bahamas seem to fall afoul of that.  It is left for the Privy Council to formally rule on the matter.  It appears that there is hostility on the part of the Caribbean courts generally to the Privy Council, and it is quite strange since the Courts in the Caribbean always claim that they are creatures of statute and bound by it.  The fact is the ultimate statute, the Constitution, gives the Privy Council its role.

    The Bahamas celebrated Commonwealth Day through the country and mainly in schools.  There was a message from the Queen that was marked by its insipid and irrelevant nature.  It was even read in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 12th March, two days after the actual day itself.  But it was an occasion for students to get some exposure to the kind of country they have and the history of the country and to contrast themselves with the lot of other countries.  The Foreign Minister visited the North Andros High School as a guest of Minister of Labour and Immigration and representative for North Andros Vincent Peet.  There was a great display organized by teacher Heeria Lamlall.  How much longer will the Commonwealth last, since it appears on the verge of break up over the case of Zimbabwe and it’s failure to adhere to democratic standards?

    Dr. Edwin Carrington, the Secretary General of CARICOM was in town this week as the guest of the Minister of Trade and Industry to beat the drum for The Bahamas joining the single market and economy (CSME).  The Bahamas is decidedly lukewarm to the proposal and Dr. Carrington ran into a firestorm when he said that The Bahamas had to decide whether it was in or out.  Dr. Carrington told a town hall meeting that The Bahamas on Thursday 13th March at the College of The Bahamas that it had to decide where it wanted to be.
    Dr. Gilbert Morris and Reginald Lobosky led for the opposition to CSME.  Mr. Lobosky joined the called for a national referendum on the matter.  Some said that their presentations bordered on rude.  But others say at least Dr Carrington understands what he has to face in The Bahamas.  While in The Bahamas Dr. Carrington briefed the Cabinet, and the Opposition on matters relating to CARICOM.
    At the start of the week Dr. Morris was in the press arguing in favour of a referendum on whether or not we should participate in the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.  While some argue that it is too late since we are already committed, we think that there is merit in the suggestion and we hope that the Government intends to hold one before we proceed to the final stage.  What is interesting though is that while the private sector and the public sector have both been talking about reservations to these WTO, FTAA and CSME processes, no one has done a study about our tax system to see if what we are talking about in a negative and anecdotal way is correct.  Are we just being plain old sticks in the mud because we don't like change?

    The long anticipated report on Junkanoo is to be released as early as next week.  The FNM has been positively salivating at the anticipation of a report that probably has no smoking gun.  The FNM is hoping for signs of impropriety.  Our guess is that there are none there.  The Minister for Culture Neville Wisdom did a yeoman’s job in trying to move Junkanoo to the next level.  It worked.  Losses yes!  But impropriety no!


FNM Prayer Breakfast Flop
    What happened to the people?  The week began with FNMs pointing fingers at each other over why in "FNM country" a scant 70 people showed up to the party's prayer breakfast with the national leader in attendance.  Party faithful generally viewed it as a disgrace.  One FNM insider, speaking on the condition of anonymity said, "Freeport News and even ZNS tried to help by not highlighting the fact that there were only a couple people there, but it was a complete flop... maybe we should have let Dashie (Flowers) organise it".   Other FNMs said the reason for the poor attendance was "People are too broke in these economic times to waste ten dollars like that.  If it was free, you would have had plenty people there, if only for the free food... The passion for the FNM has run out in Grand Bahama."  Hmmmm.

Bring Us Christie
    On the PLP front, grumbling rank and file members were out in the open at breakfast calling for a conclave between the party faithful in Grand Bahama and Prime Minister Perry Christie.  "The PM is always in and out of Grand Bahama... we want a closed session where we can tell him what we are thinking."  All PLPs present in the normally influential discussion group agreed that it was high time for the Prime Minister "to have a chat with the Bahamian people, whether it be good or bad news to say exactly where this country is headed."  To that we say amen.

True Bahamian
    "I only have one passport, and that is a Bahamian passport."  With that comment and no more specific declaration of his intent, the Member of Parliament from Montagu and the sole FNM elected in Nassau Brent Symonette put himself squarely in the leadership race for the Free National Movement.  The party's convention is to be held in early May.  News From Grand Bahama listened as Mr. Symonette's declaration played out to a group of fervent UBPs who meet regularly at Wendy's.
    "Now we know that Brent would not sell this country out."
    "Don't call me no UBP, even though I voted over and again for Sir Geoffrey one time ago, but I 'ain sure the Bahamian people [are] going along with a white man running this country."
    "You been watching parliament? Alvin Smith don't have a clue about what's going on.  We need Brent."  (Sorry Mr. Leader but that's what was said. Ed)
    "We getting ready for final negotiations on FTAA, WTO and CSME and you’ all stupid enough to mention colour?  Man, we need every brain to come forward who could lend us some assistance."
    "I stand by what I said that Brent will not run.  He didn't actually say that he would.  He will, instead be given an offer that he is unlikely to refuse."
    Mr. Symonette appeared on the Steve McKinney ZNS talk show 'Drive Time Live'.

No Resolution In Bus / Taxi Quarrel
The Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna Martin this week bravely met at one and the same time with officials of Taxi-cab union, the rank and file taxi-cab drivers, officials of the Grand Bahama Port Authority executives and the Road Traffic Authority.  It was, shall we say, a spirited meeting.  Insiders told News From Grand Bahama "Man you’ all joking, we almost had to part about three fights."  As we have said from this column before, while this new arrangement for buses to pick up passengers from both the harbour and the airport in Grand Bahama might look good on paper, it is unlikely to work in the poor economic climate currently prevalent, given the low numbers of tourists on the island.  At the meeting, charges were made that the taxi drivers had been sold down the river and that there would be "trouble in the streets if they don't sit down and rectify that ungodly contract".  Taxi drivers feel that the contract is lopsided in favour of the bus company and will eventually put the more than six hundred drivers out of business.  Word is that the contract is to be renegotiated in a bid for peace at the harbour and the airport.  Thus far, taxi drivers have threatened and occasionally resorted to violence to press their point.

Local Government - Can't we all just get along?
The City of Freeport Council meeting this week is said to have lasted only about five minutes before it disintegrated into name calling.  One of the Councillors reportedly took aim at the Government Administrator to the point where the Administrator walked out.  A press conference is said to have been scheduled where dissident Local Government councillors are to continue their ongoing war with the Chief Councillor.  Stay tuned.

23rd March, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - George Wilson, the political activist and businessman, is back in The Bahamas. There was a joyous arrival party arranged for him at Workers House on Tuesday 18th March Nassau. The arrival was Monday 17th March.  We welcome Mr. Wilson back to The Bahamas from Texas where he was wrongly convicted of insurance fraud.  Mr. Wilson who was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined one million dollars was ambivalent about his stay in the US at the hands of the American justice system. He said that he thought that the case was racially motivated.  Yet he thought that The Bahamas government helped to put him there by refusing to turn over key documents to the courts.  He praised the US justice system for his ultimate vindication and said he planned to travel to the US soon.  Not a wise decision on his part but anyway. It is good to have him back.  The previous incarnation of this column supported him and we do not believe that the US justice system is any better or worse than that of The Bahamas.  They are both unfair.  The photo of George Wilson appeared in The Tribune on Wednesday 19th March.  (See story below)  Photo by Omar Barr.


It is all very tragic indeed but no shock and no awe because what do you expect when a superpower pounces on a defenceless backward state.  The bombs that the United States and its canine like allies are raining down on Baghdad prove one thing.  The bad dog that they have come to get has no bite.  He has no weapons of mass destruction.  He has no capability to fight back. However, many Bahamians seem to have bought into the propaganda and are now saying that Saddam Hussein must be disarmed because he failed to do so.  The facts on the ground show no such thing.  This is a total mismatch.  The French are absolutely right not to go along with this charade.  There is still the lurking suspicion that this is not about democracy or freeing the world from the threat of weapons of mass destruction but all about taking control of the oil fields of Iraq and putting them into friendly hands.

This is not something new or surprising.  It is about what the British and the Americans have been doing for years in that region.  Iraq is a creation of the British.  The Government of Iraq under Hussein is creature of the west.  As one Iraqi citizen overseas said to CNN “Hussein is a creation of the west so it is about time the west does something about him.”

We shed no tears for Saddam who is a bad guy and a fool.  The tears if any must be shed for the Iraqi people who have to undergo this unnecessary bombardment for an objective that is certainly disingenuously expressed.

This is a video game war.  Here you have a generation of American boys and girls raised on video games.  And now they have the chance to have real target practice, in real time and with real people.  That’s the way it appears, and those real people cannot and do not have the capacity it appears to strike back.

That said; the Prime Minister of The Bahamas has set the tone for the country.  He says that there are Bahamians fighting in the US armed forces and we must share a concern for them.  He has said there is no point in moralizing about the rights and wrongs of peace or war.  He said that the outcome of the war is a foregone conclusion.  He also said that the country must brace itself to protect itself against any possible attacks.  It must also adjust its spending patterns.

The address seemed to go down well in the country.  He even added for good measure that his Government must begin reporting more to the people about what they are doing.  The address had the effect of calming the population.  It shows that there is still a measure of goodwill for the PLP and its Leader.  We continue to pray for him, the PLP and for peace.

From London, where this is written, peace is a preoccupation that the Government here has studiously ignored.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 22nd March 2003 at midnight: 21,411.

Number of hits for the month of March ending Saturday 22nd March 2003: 84,385.

Number of hits for the year up to Saturday 22nd March 2003 at midnight: 288,392.



    The outcome of the invasion of Iraq by the United States has plunged the world into a greater period of uncertainty.  The Bahamas girds its loins for the effects of a conflict that it did not choose.  It is simply the hope of Bahamians that we will get by with God’s help.  The President of the Christian Council Bishop Sam Green has assured us that this is the case and we accept that.  We also accept that since we are in the shadow of the United States then we are protected.  We accept implicitly that if they are looking out for their best interests then those interests are subsumed in ours.  That is our hope and our expectation.  On Monday 17th March, the Prime Minister faced the cameras, having called the National Security Council into session with the threat of war looming.  He stood with two of his chief lieutenants by his side suitably grim faced Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister and Obie Wilchcombe, the Tourism Minister.  Guardian photo.

    The Tribune reported on three men who are serving with US forces in the Gulf region or Japan.  We thought that Bahamians abroad might be interested:

Jerome Eugene Hutcheson IV. He was born in Nassau 1st March 1982.  His rank is Private First Class of Kilo Company 3dr Battalion, 5th Marine, 2nd Platoon.   He is the son of Senior Immigration Officer Jerome Eugene Hutcheson III and his mother Sandra Creary Hutcheson.

Alexander Kraft.  Mr. Kraft is 20 years old.  He is the son of Aaron Kraft, a former St. Augustine’s College monk and a teacher at SAC for 39 years.  Farie Wilkinson Kraft, formerly of Bimini is his mother.  He serves in the 7th Calvary of the 3rd Infantry Division of Armoured Brigade and is the 5E Specialist gunner in a Bradley armoured vehicle.

Martino Davis 22.  He is stationed in Okinawa, Japan and it is said that he could be called into the Gulf.  He hails from Porgy Bay, Bimini.  He completed his basic training in August and has been stationed in Japan ever since.  The ship on which he serves the USS Essex has just pulled into South Korea after two weeks at sea.

We wish all these men and their families well.

    Someone repeated the mantra that the persons who are fighting in the Gulf Region are there to eliminate evil.  One must be careful of this because there is plenty of evil to go around and who’s to say who is evil.  What is probably more correct is that we are on the side of the United States and it is in our interests to be on that side.  So what you have is not a purely practical decision to be where we are but certainly as sensible one.  The Prime Minister has indicated in his speech on behalf of the Bahamian people that we are all in this together.  That is the right sentiment.
    You have the Pope calling for peace and opposing the war.  You have the sophisticated Governments of Germany and France saying that they disagree with this war.  The Chinese government has asked for those who are leading the military campaign to stop.  The fact is that the only thing that counts now is power.  Certainly Saddam Hussein is not who we should support in any conflict but it is quite another thing to cast this as a fight between good and evil.  So many evil things have been done in the name of democracy and bringing peace to the world.  The Christian world caused chaos in the Middle Ages through the Crusades in the region around Jerusalem.  The memories of interference by the Christian west are still painful.  The populations of those countries surely do not see this as a fight of good against evil, and if they do, the persons who are on the side of good would not be on our side.
    Let us be frank with one another.  This is not about good or evil.  This is about our security and safety.  This is about the resources of the Gulf region, in particular their oil being available at a cheap price.  That helps us but we should not believe our own propaganda of some noble objective.

    Leslie Miller, the Minister for Trade and Industry and the man who is responsible for price control issues as they relate to gasoline, is predicting that there will be a fall in gas prices in Nassau business again this week.   He said that he expects petroleum prices to fall from their present $3.21 per gallon to $2.85 within the next two months.  If so, this will be welcome relief for consumers particularly those in the public transportation sector that have seen rapid rises in petroleum.  Mr. Miller indicated that with Venezuela fully back on stream in producing oil and the general falling of prices in the markets we should see relief soon.
    Mr. Miller was in the news on another front this week when he criticized the staff of the Bahamas Agricultural Corporation for going to the press with complaints about preparations for downsizing at the Corporation.  He said that the staff should not have been there in the first place.  There was a truce announced between the Chairman of BAIC and Mr. Miller, the Minister responsible almost a month ago.  Some observers in the press are nervous that this may be coming apart.


    For only the second time in his ten months in office Prime Minister Perry Christie spoke to the nation in a nationally broadcast address.  The reason for the address was the fact that the United States made a decision to invade Iraq with its partners the British.  The speech from the Prime Minister concentrated on the practical realities of things.  He said that his government had fought for peace and they would still continue to fight for peace.  But he added that what was necessary was to deal with the security of The Bahamas and the national economy.  He went on to list a number of efforts in which The Bahamas is engaged to ensure that the nation is safe.  You may click here for the full address by the Prime MinisterGuardian photo.

    When the Prime Minister addressed the nation on Wednesday 19th March, there was a familiar face on the television who was described as the Prime Minister Press Secretary.  The face turned out to belong to Al Dillette, the former editor of this and its predecessor site  This is a great addition to the Prime Minister’s team and we now understand why he said goodbye to his work here.  We wish him well.

    US Ambassador J. Richard Blankenship was in the news this week but it appears that this may be good news for once.  He had high praise for the Prime Minister after he made his address to the nation about how The Bahamas will face the situation with the US invading Iraq.  Here is what he had to say in his own words and as quoted in The Tribune Thursday 20th March:
    “The Prime Minister did an outstanding job addressing the nation this evening.  The US is proud to call the Commonwealth of The Bahamas one of its allies.  We look forward to the time when those Bahamians serving in the United States military can come home and will be recognized as the heroes they are.”
    It is always curious that no other Ambassador in The Bahamas would think it necessary to make a comment on the sovereign decisions of a sovereign state.  But that’s life.

    The photo of the week above shows the triumphant return of George Wilson from the United States where he sat for five years in a US jail cell awaiting trial on a matter that was clearly statute barred from the start.  Mr. Wilson said something disturbing during his return press conference.  He said that The Bahamas Government refused to release certain documents which could have helped him exculpate himself and the matter could have been resolved long ago were it not for that fact.  This is a serious charge and one that bears examination.  The Government ought to dispatch someone to George Wilson’s home and find out what exactly this information is that the Government refused to release that would have helped its own citizen in trouble.
    We side with Mr. Wilson's view that the whole prosecution was racially motivated.  We do not agree with his point that the US justice system allowed him to exonerate himself.  We think it is just luck of the draw.  The US Justice system is biased against Black people.  It is biased against foreigners and like his mother said she really has to thank God for his release.  If it were not for that fact and for the money Mr. Wilson had to pay lawyers, he would still be sitting in jail.  The courts in the US most times side with the Government when it comes to foreign defendants.  That is the only explanation that makes sense.  It certainly isn't anything intrinsic to the US justice system.


    Doctors Hospital was in the commentary of this column several weeks ago.  They are in trouble.  Their share price has fallen to the lowest level ever.  Former Senator Darron Cash has been hired to try and rescue the company from itself.  It is said to have some 7 million dollars in outstanding receivables.  It over invested in the Western Medical Plaza just as the economy was going soft.  And so bowing to the inevitable, they have begun to sell off the household possessions in order to save the House.  The first to go is the Western Medical Plaza.  The Nassau Guardian reported on Wednesday 19th that the plaza is up for sale.  The complex is 34,000 square feet and they are looking to rent it or to sell it. We wish them well. These are hard times.  Bahama Journal photo.

    The PLP is surely on the move as it moves into its 11th month in office.  Nowhere is that more apparent than in the Ministry of Housing that is led by Shane Gibson, the Minister of Housing.  Mr. Gibson led a delegation to Exuma at the start of last week in which he announced a major new Government housing project for Exuma.  The Minister said that affordable housing would be built by the Government on some 44 acres of land acquired for the purpose.  He said that the lots would be offered to the people of Exuma first.  The housing is being built in order to meet the expected demand for housing as workers move to Exuma to serve the guests of the new Emerald Bay complex.  Also in Exuma on the trip were the Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt who opened a police station in Black Point and Minister of Culture Neville Wisdom.

    The convention of the Free National Movement is to be held beginning 7th May this year.  That will be the first convention since their ignominious defeat last year.  In the run up to that fact there is a lot of jostling that has been going on with Tommy Turnquest, now the Leader but in the Senate not the House being pitted in the press against the high profile of Brent Symonette, the son of the former Premier and the only FNM to win his seat in New Providence in the last election.  Into the mix comes Dion Foulkes, who lost his seat in the Blue Hills constituency last year and is now the Deputy Leader of the Party.  Mr. Foulkes announced on Sunday 16th March that after consultation with his family he would not be running for the post of Deputy Leader of the Party again.  He said that he thinks that the Leader and Deputy Leader should be in the House of Assembly.  That seemed like a direct message to Tommy Turnquest.  It is said that Alvin Smith, the now Leader of the Opposition is to become the leader of the party when the convention takes place.
    Not so fast said Senator Turnquest.  He told The Guardian in its edition of Wednesday 19th March that he did not believe that it was vital for the Leader or Deputy Leader to be in the House.  He said that Mr. Foulkes was entitled to his view but that he Senator Turnquest did not believe it.  Of course he has to say that, otherwise he would be out as Leader of the FNM and further into no man's land than he already is.  Senator Turnquest said that he is going to seek re-election.

    They say that Neville Wisdom, the Minister of Culture’s eyes welled up with tears as the defended himself in the Parliament in the face of a Junkanoo report that had long been awaited.  There was no impropriety found.  There was major loss of almost 1.2 million dollars of public funds that were spent on the bleachers.  There was some criticism of the accounting procedures.  There was no tiefing found, no funny contracts.  The Opposition ritually called for his resignation and some said he ought to be fired.  But the thing had been delayed so long; people’s minds are now on to other things like the war in Iraq.  Mr. Wisdom defended himself by saying that he did it for culture and you can’t put a price on culture.  One does not know whether the Opposition plans to debate the matter in Parliament.  But the only one who seemed to have any spunk about the thing was Brent Symonette who said that the Opposition had agreed to allow the Government to go back on the agenda for a Communication on Junkanoo and not an emotional diatribe.  The bottom line is, though, Mr. Wisdom is saved and obviously has the backing of the Prime Minister, his colleagues and the party.  We think the thing is as dead is a doornail.  Tribune photo by Felipe Major.

    The Princess Margaret Hospital is 50 years old this month.  The hospital will celebrate in grand style with a church service, an historical wall and the cutting of a cake during the week.  The hospital was the only public hospital in the country until the coming of the Rand Memorial in Freeport.  This is an important anniversary.  It is now a teaching hospital and has made an important contribution to the public health of the country.  While it is fashionable to choose Doctors Hospital, the private facility, the PMH is still the hospital of last resort.  There is much work that needs to be done to ensure that there is adequate medicine there and that the accident and emergency services treat people with dignity and serve people on time.  But for making it for fifty years, we say congratulations.

    Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell returned from Haiti on Friday 21st March.  He called the trip there “punishing and tiring”.  Mr. Mitchell was part of a joint Organization of American States (OAS) and CARICOM delegation to Haiti to give one last chance to Haiti to get the democratic process rolling that will free the money needed to advance Haiti’s economy.  At the airport in Nassau, Mr. Mitchell told the press that Haiti is facing starvation in the north and this has the Government of The Bahamas concerned.  He said that the Government thinks that it will cost some six million dollars to build a base down at Inagua and the Government is committed to do it.  The whole tone of the statement at the airport was pessimistic.  Accompanying Mr. Mitchell was Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Marco Rolle.

    Last week we did a synopsis of the trial of Ashley Newbold for the murder of Joy Cartwright.  The Tribune also did an analysis.  True to form they tried to savage Obie Pindling because of who he is.  In their editorial they asked given the evidence of Ashley Newbold in the trial, why was not Obie the other person charged for the murder of Joy Cartwright.  An FNM lawyer supplied them the answer, which this column gave last week.  The fact is that there was no admissible evidence against Mr. Pindling.  Eileen Carron, the publisher of The Tribune has been out of law school too long to know one supposes.  Michael Barnett, the former President of the Bar and an FNM supporter, so on the same side of the Tribune, had this to say this week in a letter to the editor published on Wednesday 19th March:
    “With respect, I think the editorial does a disservice to those involved in the administration of justice.  It implicitly suggests that there was some improper reason why Obie Pindling was not charged with the murder of Joy Cartwright.
    “Without speaking for persons named, it somewhat obvious why Obie was not charged.
    “The reason is that there was no admissible evidence against him to justify charging him.
    “The statement of Ashley Newbold given to the police and capable of being evidence against Mr. Newbold, cannot as a matter of law be admitted as evidence against Obie Pindling.
    “There is no other evidence linking Mr. Pindling to the murder.
    “It would have been a disservice to the administration of justice for those in authority to have charged Mr. Pindling with murder when there was simply no evidence against him to justify the charge.
    “The preferment of criminal charges is the responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
    “It is not the decision of any Prime Minister, PLP or FNM.
    “It is wrong to impugn the integrity of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
    This is our sentiment on the admissibility of evidence exactly and we said so last week.  The fact is that in the supposed scenario Mr. Pindling would have been an accomplice.  The rules of law are quite strict that if the evidence of an accomplice is uncorroborated, the jury should be directed by the Judge that it is unsafe to convict anyone of the evidence alone of an accomplice.  Had Mr. Pindling been charged, that would have led inevitably to a jury acquittal.  It would then have been an abuse of the process for any legal officer to have preferred such a charge knowing what the inevitable outcome would have been.  Such a defendant in those circumstances would have been entitled to sue the Government for malicious prosecution.  What Mr. Newbold did in his statement smacks awfully like blackmail or extortion to us and seemed inherently unreliable.  What further concerns us though is that the Government should have had its press office answer this since it was clearly a concern to the public.

    The Chairman of the PLP is on his game.  In a statement on Tuesday 18th March, the PLP’s Chairman Raynard Rigby attacked The Tribune for its unscientific poll published on Monday 17th March that claimed that the Prime Minister was thought to be unpopular by approximately 80 per cent of those who called into The Tribune’s telephone poll.  Mr. Rigby said:
    “The PLP is mindful of the fact that The Tribune has a history of hostility against the PLP, its leadership and the people whom the PLP represents.”
    The Tribune has set up a poll by telephone.  You call into The Tribune and leave a recorded message as your opinion on a question of the week.  The first question was whether or not their readers felt that the Prime Minister was doing a good job.  They claimed that of the 875 calls recorded, 709 were critical of his performance and 166 praised his performance.  The poll is of very little value, since the people who are motivated to call are not a representative sample of the people in the country.  That was the point of the Chairman of the PLP.

    The Financial community in The Bahamas is rocking as yet another one has bitten the dust.  The Fortis Fund, a mutual fund has given pink slips to 49 employees. These are Bahamians in the main who have high paying jobs.  They have gotten good packages but they are now on the dole.  It sends another signal to the Government that it has not yet reversed the slide of financial sector disasters started when the FNM put in place the legislation passed under Hubert Ingraham that decimated the sector.  Further, it sends another signal that the Central bank and the other regulators in The Bahamas are doings serious damage to the Bahamian financial services sector.  It appears that the regulators are intent on destroying the sector.  And so the question is asked whether the PLP gets the message that they must act quickly to do something to stop this slide.


Now We Understand
    On Wednesday past, we were summoned to the Port Lucaya Hotel & Marina to witness the checkout of approximately five hundred guests, believed to be spring breakers.  We sat along with the taxi drivers and watched the process of checking out playout.  The guests luggage was placed on the lawn where vans retrieved them and transported them to the various ports, then a local tour company's busses pulled up and collected the approximately five hundred guests.  When the process was finished, the taxi drivers said to us "You see, not one job!  Now what do you expect us to do."  Another taxi driver said "Sooner or later, we're going to have to take a stand... this is our bread and butter."
    In a related story, the Road Traffic Authority met early this week to vary or transfer the bus plates from the Grand Bahama Taxi Cab Union to this new tour company Expert.  The union, with its embattled president James Kemp, sought the services of Henry Bostwick, Q.C. to look out for its interests while the taxi cab drivers hired the services of Mr. David Thompson, former MP to stand and object to any transfer on behalf of the taxi cab drivers.  What a curious turn of events.  We thought that the union and the drivers' interests were one and the same.  The applications for transfer and the two lawyers took the Authority by surprise because it could not understand how the union's president and its members were at variance.  The transfers were put on hold and the new tour company was given a provisional thirty day licence in the hope that the parties could get together and work out their differences.
    Perhaps the time has come for the taxi drivers to consider the possibility that for better or worse, the industry has evolved to virtually exclude the type of service which they offer in the current volume and to somehow find a way to become more competitive without the protectionism they've become used to.

PM In Town
    On Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Perry Christie flew into Grand Bahama to attend the final day of the BAAA's National High School Track and Field Championships that were held in Grand Bahama for the first time Thursday through Saturday.  The Prime Minister brought brief remarks to the thousands in attendance.  He spoke to the gathering on the value of discipline and how the discipline learned in track and field can take one into life.  We were surprised to see the broad positive response that the Prime Minister received in what was believed to have been hostile territory as he worked the crowds.  We say he needs to press the flesh a bit more.

Senator Bannister and the BAAA's
    BAAA President Senator Desmond Bannister spent the past three days in Grand Bahama hosting the BAAA's National High School Championships.  He told News From Grand Bahama in an exclusive interview that he was delighted to see the lights finally installed at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex and hoped that they were a permanent fixture to the complex because it opened up new avenues for Grand Bahama hosting future large scale track and field meets and the benefits for the economy could be tremendous.
    On the subject of Carifta he told us that in approximately two years, based on the junior and intermediate athletes who are coming up through the ranks that The Bahamas will once again become a powerhouse at the Carifta level.  At present, he said, "we are a bit weak in the under twenty category, but if things continue as they have been, The Bahamas will be back in the top tier of Caribbean sport."
    On the subject of his running for the BAAA's presidency at the end of this administrative year, he said that he will not likely seek the presidency again.  Say it ain't so Desmond!  We feel that as president he has done a good job and his presidency has taken the BAAA's to what we believe to be higher heights and we will certainly miss his administrative abilities and whoever replaces him will bring the same level of credibility and organisation to the BAAA's.  Hundreds of athletes attended and the spin-offs from the event are generally being viewed as a great boon to Grand Bahama.

Tommy Or Brent?
    Last week's story on Brent Symonette's apparent run for the top spot in the FNM brought a lot of response in the community as to whether or Mr. Symonette's ethnic background is even a factor in The Bahamas of today.  A suggestion was made that we should conduct an informal poll on the question.
    The question, then, is: faced with a head-up race between Tommy Turnquest and Brent Symonette for the leadership of the FNM, how would you vote.  Please e-mail us at  Please also indicate age bracket on your e-mail, i.e.  18-25; 26-40; 40 & over...  We will bring you the tally of responses next week.  All e-mail shall remain confidential, unless otherwise specifically indicated.

The Blame Game
    One day and one time, we hope to see a politician who has made an honest mistake stand on his feet in Parliament, layout the case and not make any excuses for what we believe to have been a bad judgement in the loss of 1.2 million dollars in the Junkanoo parades.  We believe that Mr. Wisdom still enjoys the confidence of his Prime Minister, so it was not necessary to make excuses, but simply lay the report on the table of the house and move on.  One always encourages one's children to take responsibility for their actions, so we believe the same should be true with the adults.  Minister Wisdom's position that Junkanoo and Bahamian culture generally is priceless and that his bold decision will form the basis for future Junkanoo successes was good enough to have stood alone, without any excuse.

30th March, 2003
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK - The Welcome Centre at the Prince George Dock in New Providence was the centre of activity on Friday 28th March as the Prime Minister officially declared the new facility open.  The story behind the facility is fraught with stories of cost overruns and delays.  The facility is said to have cost some 14 million dollars when it should have cost less than half the amount.  The contract was given to the brother of the fallen Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson.  No one can nor has accounted for the cost overruns.  The straw vendors were said to be incensed that 14 million dollars was spent on 44 vendors in the new facility and they have to cool their heels in a hot tent in Nassau.  But all of that was forgotten as the opening took place and Prime Minister Perry Christie and his beautiful wife Bernadette were shown around the facility.  The Tribune showed an engaging photo of the couple as Protocol Chief Andrew McKinney helped the PM on with cuff links given to him. His wife looked on.  The photo is from The Tribune and is by Felipe Major.


If nothing confirmed the slave past of The Bahamas and how it has infected the culture this week’s public attitudes toward the war in Iraq would have.  You could hardly find an official word anywhere in The Bahamas that was against the US and its war on Iraq.  The press was filled with pictures and prayers of Bahamians who were concerned about the loved ones of many Bahamians who were fighting with US forces in the war. The official line is that The Bahamas prays for peace and for the safe return of the Bahamians who are fighting there.  We expressed similar sentiments last week.

That should not however be confused by anyone as to what many Bahamians feel deep down in their souls that all of this was unnecessary, that it does not have a moral leg to stand on, and that as much as we dislike the so called Butcher of Baghdad, the Iraqi people should not be butchered by high tech machinery to prove an ambiguous point.  Those tended to be the discussions in the watering holes, in the TV rooms as they watch the video game war unfold before them.  It is like secretly, since the Iraqis - bad guys that they are - were putting up a valiant fight, they had become rebels with a cause.  The cause was teaching the United States that they can’t just go around bullying everyone.  The US’s friends feel bullied by recent events and so while prudence and rationality says you must be on the US side, secretly many people don’t mind if the Iraqi government gets in a good punch or two.

That is how the slaves were said to have survived, give one face to the master but have your own thoughts in your own gatherings.  And since all the master was concerned about was to hear the things he wanted to hear, you told him what he wanted to hear and not the truth.  The reports about how dissent is being treated in the US lend credence to the prudence of the Bahamian strategy.

The problem with this is that there are real lives involved.  Young American men and women are out in a desert, fighting a country in difficult terrain and it appears that their political and military leaders did not think out this campaign very carefully.  There was the assertion by some military leaders and planners before the war took place that the war would be a cakewalk, over in six days.  Now there is pause for thought because at least one general of the US has said they miscalculated on the type of war they would have to fight, and they miscalculated on the ferocity of the resistance.  The official line is of course that the war is going according to plan.

The joke of the week had to be the protests from the US administration when it finally occurred to them that some people would get killed and that the Iraqis had captured some Americans, and the Iraqis put them on TV for all to see.  Suddenly you had the arrogant Donald Rumsfeld saying that putting these US soldiers on TV was a violation of the Geneva Convention.  The TV commentators of the US who have become like propaganda chiefs for the US military started calling the Iraqi tactics a dirty war.

But contrast that with the fact that the US continues to hold people against their will, thousands of miles away from their homes, blind folded and in conditions like animals at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and hold them without charge and without the prospect of a charge.  It goes against all the tenets of their society and there is little protest about it.  So one is forced to ask, who are they to talk about the Geneva Convention?  Interesting commentary.

So the war is now into its second week.  But never fear all things are going according to plan.  The Holy See sent an envoy to see President George Bush before this war got started and told them that the war was not morally justified.  The president ignored the advice of the man of God.  The last person we know who did that paid a political price for defying the word of God.  You remember Hubert Ingraham and his disdain for the church.  You remember what happened.  We will watch and see how this one turns out.

Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 29th March at midnight: 20,600.

Number of hits for the month of March up to Saturday 19th March at midnight: 104,978.

Number of hits for the year up to Saturday 29th March 2003: 308,985.


    If you recall, the mentions in this column about Junkanoo and the Opposition’s full court press on the subject of the Boxing Day and New Year’s Junkanoo Parades and Neville Wisdom (the Minister for Junkanoo), then you would think that this week of all weeks, we would have something of great note and excitement to report having regard to the fact that the Opposition scheduled a debate in the House for last Wednesday on the subject.  But no we do not have anything of note to report about the FNM and what they said about Neville Wisdom and the Junkanoo parades.  They walked out of the House on the pretext that the government did not provide them with information with which to prosecute their debate.   There were only three of them in the chamber at the time.
    Alvin Smith, their leader, made himself look like a nincompoop by standing up and reading some unintelligible nonsense into the record as the Speaker pressed him to continue with the business of the day.  The week before last, the Government agreed with the Opposition to set aside the whole day on Wednesday 26th March for the Opposition to debate its motion condemning the Minister for Youth, Sports & Culture for his conduct as the Minister responsible for the Junkanoo parade.  It never happened because the Opposition apparently unprepared for the debate walked out of the House.  It came off as ineffective.

    The Minister for Culture (the portfolio includes Junkanoo) Neville Wisdom the week before last had tabled a report from Deloitte and Touche on the Junkanoo parades for 2002/03 and it showed that there was a net loss of some 1.2 million dollars on the parade.   Most of that money was spent on bleachers for the public.  The public turned off the monies expended on bleachers early last year because the prices of seats were thought to be too high.  We thought that the debate was wrongly framed from the beginning by the Ministry of Culture.  It is not a question of whether the parade’s expenditure was a loss or a profit.  The only question is whether the public sees the expenditure on the bleachers as an investment and whether that investment was worth it.  The answer in a rational sense would seem to be yes.  The public sees it otherwise.
    There was a need for the Minister to act quickly to make a decision in October 2002 given the public's complaints from the year before about the need to have a safe and secure seat.  The order for the bleachers had to be made to a company that provided temporary bleachers because you cannot buy ready made bleachers for the sites available on Bay Street.  The bleachers were tailor made for the Bay Street sites, specially engineered to take into account Bay Streets peculiar configuration.  Further, Cable Beach Junkanoo added some 600,000 to the cost and that had to be done because the bleachers could not stay in Bay Street for the entire shopping period leading up to Junkanoo or we would be facing the wrath of the merchants.  But rationality is not what goes with this Junkanoo debate.
    The Minister became combative as the controversy grew.  The public complained about 100 dollar seats, even though the lowest prices seats were lower than the year before and contrary to popular opinion, there were ten dollar seats on Bay Street.  The public was set against Mr. Wisdom and they still find the expenditure on bleachers to be incredible, even though they admit that he did it with good intentions and the parades were the best ever.  The one million on bleachers is contrasted to what else could be done with the money, as opposed to looking at other wasteful investments by the FNM, or seeing the matter as an investment in the future of the national festival.
    Several letter writers to this column were incensed about last week’s comment that the whole Junkanoo controversy does not amount to a hill of beans. (See 'Mailbox' below)  Be that as it all may, the PLP passed a resolution to commend Mr. Wisdom for his efforts.  That was objected to by Tennyson Wells, MP for Bamboo Town who said that it was ridiculous.  But the PLP felt bound to proceed with its resolution when Alvin Smith refused to move what amounts to a vote of no confidence in the Government.  The PLP's move then cancelled Mr. Smith’s resolution out and the FNM cannot proceed with that motion again in this session.

    Norman Solomon is a former Leader of the Opposition.  He is the owner of Wendy’s and Marks and Spencer and Mademoiselle.  He is a leader in the Bay Street business community and an FNM supporter.  Here is what he had to say about the walk out by the Opposition in his own words.  The statement was published on The Tribune Friday 28th March:
    “Perhaps it is time for one of his colleagues to remind Alvin Smith, Leader of the Opposition, that the Opposition’s first duty is to oppose.  And you cannot do that by leaving the Floor of the House whence is generated all the action.  Even if you are losing the battle you don’t run from the battlefield.  You stay in action as long as you possibly can and if you do a good job on an important issue, even if you lose the vote, you will gain the admiration and respect of a large sector of Mr. and Mrs. Public as well as the respect of your political opponents.  And the latter is more important than you may realize.”

    Tennyson Wells, Independent MP for Bamboo Town, said that he did not intend to speak on the motion to commend or condemn Neville Wisdom but he said since the Opposition walked out and did not carry out its duties he had to speak for the minority position.  Mr. Wells said that Neville Wisdom had made an horrendous error by spending more than one million dollars on bleachers for Junkanoo.  Here is what he had to say in his own words:
    “I believe the Cabinet should have stopped him before he went too far, so the Cabinet made mistakes as well because anyone looking at it should have known better.  I believe that it was a serious error to spend more than one million dollars on bleachers.
    “I commend the Minister for trying to improve the bleachers but obviously he was over eager.  I suppose being new in the job he felt that he could turn the world around in a day or six months…
    “The Bahamian people are not going to thank you for losing more than one million dollars.  Don’t mind what they tell you in the street.  I listen to them all the time.  They think you made a horrendous error and I don’t mind who come in here and say otherwise, that’s what the public thinks and in my opinion, they are right.”

    The FNM is in some kind of trouble internally.  Just what we can’t say but every now and then there are signs, particularly as they move toward the convention to elect a new leader.  There is Tommy Turnquest who is the incumbent already declared.  There is Brent Symonette, the son of the former Premier of the Bahamas, who is white and wishes to lead a Black country and follow in the footsteps of his father.  He has said that he is 99.9 per cent sure that he is going to run for leader.  Then there is Alvin Smith, who Hubert Ingraham, the former Prime Minister, has propped up as a puppet Leader of the Opposition while the FNM sorts itself out.  He too is thinking of running.  Fuel was added to this with the Departure of Dion Foulkes as FNM Deputy Leader.  Mr. Foulkes in his bowing out statement said that he believed that the leadership ought to be in the House of Assembly.  Tommy Turnquest said he does not agree with that.
    Brent Symonette was not in the House when Alvin Smith decided to walk out of the stillborn Junkanoo debate.  Mr. Symonette later walked into the Chamber visibly present to talk to the Prime Minister.  Curious.  Then he issued his speech that he would have delivered to the House on the Junkanoo report calling for the whole Cabinet to resign and defending his decision that led to his dismissal from the Chairmanship of the Airport Authority.  He made it clear that he was not there for the walkout.  Translation: he did not agree with it.  Things get curiouser and curiouser.
    Mr. Symonette is being opposed in his quest for Leader of the FNM by Hubert Ingraham.  Folks won’t say why, other than because Mr. Ingraham dislikes him but the feeling is that since Mr. Symonette has not come to grips with life in a Black country and always throws the fact that he is rich up in one’s face, these latter factors make him too vulnerable a candidate.

    The Attorney General and Minister of Education Alfred Sears did an interesting analysis of Junkanoo and the value that it contributes to society.  He said that when he did an analysis of the labour and materials that a small group like One Family contributes in value to the exercise, you were looking at some 2.3 million dollars in value.  He said that when that analysis is extrapolated and projected to other larger groups like the Saxons it means on average some 7 million dollars in value.  Mr. Sears said that this meant that men like Vola Francis who heads the Saxons and Gus Cooper who heads the Valley Boys are really the heads of multi-million dollar corporations.  He said that when you therefore consider the contribution that the Government had budgeted for Junkanoo of $300,000 it was insignificant.  He said that the labour contributed by the persons who rush in Junkanoo is not paid for but it is expensive labour.  He added that everyone from lawyers and surgeons to teachers and ordinary labourers are working in the shacks for at least four months to provide entertainment for the public.  He said that when one puts this against the one million dollars spent on the bleachers, it could not compare to the sacrifices of the persons who contribute to Junkanoo.  Mr. Sears added: “It is within this context that in the first time in Junkanoo that we have the organizers and the government taking the risk to set up a safe environment that is comfortable and the average person in this society can appreciate.”

    The Free National Movement has a convention that is coming up on the 7th May.  Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs launched an attack on the Free National Movement after it walked out of the House on Wednesday 26th March.  He said that he thought that the reason for all the FNM posturing in the House and outside the House was preparation for a fight over leadership in the convention.  His analysis was that there is a dispute within the organization over who should lead.  Senator Tommy Turnquest is now the Leader but he does not have a seat in the House.  When Dion Foulkes, his running mate last year for leadership and now Deputy Leader, made his statement (click here for last week’s story) he said that the leadership ought to be in the House.  Senator Turnquest said that he does not believe that.
    Most people now read what Mr. Foulkes said as an indication that he supports Brent Symonette for the leadership of the party (see story below).  Then there is Alvin Smith who feels that since he is already the Leader of the Opposition, he ought to have the post.  He is already in the House.  We will see what Mr. Symonette has to say about that.  But Mr. Mitchell said that it was a shame that the FNM was sacrificing their responsibility to the Bahamian people for their own selfish political gains.  Here is more of what he said in his own words:
    “The Opposition’s duty is to provide hope to its supporters… The Opposition has [by walking out of the House] disappointed the 50,000 supporters who voted for the FNM.  We [the Government] said that all of the business of this country would come to a halt on Wednesday 26th of March so that the FNM, its Leader of the Opposition, the official opposition, can have the whole live long day to say anything they want about the Government of The Bahamas and its minister.
    “They had the opportunity to condemn him, condemn us, anything, upside down, all around the place, and what do they do?  Take the chicken run though the tall grass and absolved themselves of their responsibility to the 50,000 people who voted for them…
    “Even our supporters understand that you have to hear the other side because the other side helps us understand if we are making the right decision, so they [also] shirked their responsibility to those who voted for us….
    “The FNM walkout was staged by the Opposition and is just a media sham and flam.  We can safely predict what the headlines will be tomorrow.  It brings to life the old adage ‘never let the truth interfere with a good story’…
    “And when you withdraw from the chamber you should withdraw from the chamber and the precincts of the House.  You should get up, go and leave.  What are you doing hanging outside the chamber and trying to find tuna fish and grits in the Smoking Room.”
(Editor’s Note: The Smoking Room is where Members of the House sit to relax off the floor.  Food is supplied in the mornings and afternoons for Members.)


    The Free National Movement’s Deputy Leader Dion Foulkes has said that he is not running and that he is not supporting any person for Leader of the FNM.  The Anglican creed says from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”.  Come now Mr. Foulkes.  We all know that you are supporting Brent Symonette.  The rhetoric was good, but who really believes all of that?  Here is what he had to say in his own words:
    “I think it is very important that delegates attending the convention in May should be unfettered in terms of their decision and their selection in terms of who should fill the various posts.  I hope that the party will have a truly open convention in which candidates for office will feel free to conduct vigorous campaigns on behalf of their candidacies…
    “I think that the leaders of the party, including myself should encourage persons to be competitive and to have a clean fight.
    “In the FNM any member must feel free to run for office in the party irrespective or race, social background or economic status.  It is for delegates of our party in convention to decide who will fill what office, based on the individual’s ability and acceptability to the party at large and to the Bahamian people.”
(Editor’s note: Isn’t it interesting that race is listed as one of the factors.  All known candidates for the leadership are Black except one person.  So why if he is not supporting or endorsing anyone is he throwing race in as a concern unless, he is supporting you know who but doing so in code.)

    The Civil Society consultation that is taking place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on our CARICOM membership had an interesting dimension on Thursday 27th March.  The leader of the civil society group Reginald Lobosky and the Minister for CARICOM affairs Fred Mitchell had a debate on the subject.  Mr. Lobosky gave several reasons why he did not support the CARICOM membership.  He was opposed to a co-ordinated foreign policy, saying that the sovereignty of The Bahamas should not be compromised.  He also said that joining the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) would mean a substantial drop in revenue for The Bahamas and no one could say where the additional revenue was going to come from.  The CSME requires a common external tariff for all goods coming into community countries and zero duty on goods from within the community.  The present Bahamas customs duty average rate is higher than the common external tariff.
    Mr. Lobosky said that we should also not do anything to offend the United States and adhering to the CARICOM treaty would be a slap in the face to our traditional ally and life blood.  He was also concerned about the free movement of people.  He said that we would be swamped by people wanting to come into this country from the southern Caribbean.
    In response the Minister said that The Bahamas could enter a reservation against any provision with which it could not live, and even though this was a reservation as to time of implementation, our partners would allow us the time that we needed.  The Minister said that the Free Trade Agreement of The Americas (FTAA) and World Trade Organization (WTO) process already require the adjustments that CSME contemplated so this would be the dress rehearsal for those.   The Minister also added that no country in the Caribbean is in compliance with the existing treaty.  He said that we simply have to sign to become full members of the community.  At the moment we are continuing to participate in the meetings but without a signature.  This could not go on forever.  We must either be in or out.  In his view it was in our essential geo-political interest to do so.
    Further, the Minister said that a co-ordinated foreign policy had no effect on sovereignty.  Co-ordination does not mean necessarily speaking with one voice.  He said it simply means that we agree to check with one another.  Sometimes we agree on a common position, other times we do not.  He said CARICOM was not a military alliance, as some would have us think.  So the question of rescuing us from a military incursion does not arise.  He added the US acts to defend The Bahamas because it is in their national interest to do so.  The Minister argues that the relationship between the US and The Bahamas and that of CARICOM and The Bahamas are not exclusive.  The two can co-exist.
    As to the free movement of people, the Minister said that we can enter a reservation against that but in any event, there are more people from CARICOM in The Bahamas than in any other Caribbean state.  He said the work permit regime in The Bahamas was not a barrier to entry, it is an administrative and revenue raising measure, so we already have free movement of people to The Bahamas from the Caribbean.  This is especially so, said the Minister, when one considers the rate of incursions by Haitians into the country unlawfully.

    Terry Hilts of First Caribbean, formerly of CIBC, was in the press again this week saying that the loan business would be slowing down.  He told The Tribune in its edition of Saturday 29th March that the Central Bank had sent out a letter again warning that the banks must not lend monies further than their paybacks.  In other words, there is to be no net increases in the lending monies.  Mr. Hilts had earlier expressed concern about this, as did Paul McWeeney from the Bank of The Bahamas.  They believe that it is slowing down the growth in the economy.
    The Central Bank is worried about the protection of the reserves at a time when the economy is slowing down internationally and the US has plunged the world into a war that does not have a finite end.  Julian Francis Governor of the Bank said to The Tribune in its Tuesday 25th March edition that while the reserves are decent, we need still to exercise caution.  Some people believe that the Central Bank is responsible for the slow down by crimping credit and by using extra regulatory powers to shut down the financial services sector.  Large numbers of formerly well paid Bahamian employees are said to be out of work because of the policy, and within political circles people are calling for a change of regime at the Central Bank.
    Mr. Hilts said that as a result of the Central Bank’s policies, loan applications will be slow in being approved.  This will especially affect banks that are in the consumer lending business like Commonwealth Bank and First Caribbean.  FINCO in the mortgage lending business does not have such worries.

    Leon Griffin (left) is the President of the Taxi Cab Union.  He appears to be under siege from a man who was his ally Rodney Moncur (right), the enigmatic iconoclast with a mission for mischief and controversy wherever it is – a kind of local version of the Rev. Al Sharpton of the United States.  The ever mercurial Mr. Moncur has taken to the press for his latest bit for notoriety.  After having been sacked by the union as its PR chief, he has taken with a vengeance to use his influence at The Tribune to savage Leon Griffin and a Vice President of the Union Theresa Ferguson.  There are charges and counter charges against and by Ms. Ferguson of misappropriation of monies.  The matter is in the hands of the police.
    Mr. Moncur led a siege of the Union offices on Monday 24th March.  Now there is a call for the Union executives to be revoked and replaced.  The new Union chief says that he is sticking by Ms. Ferguson, his Vice President who has been wrongly accused.  But in the press it appeared that the Union chief is on shaky ground and some rapid PR and reconstruction has to be done in order to save the Union from having a bad face in public.  The situation threatens to sully the name of the Union and so resolute action must be taken to stem the tide of bad publicity and settle the Union down.  Many had hoped that a period of reconstruction would take place but it appears that the reliance on Mr. Moncur has instead led to a further undermining of the Union's reputation in the country.

    Keith Curry, the husband of PLP stalwart and radio personality Hope Curry (of the Superwash Ads on radio) is lost at sea and feared dead.  It appears that on Tuesday 25th March, a boat on which he was a fisherman capsized near Andros and he and the captain of the vessel were trapped below the water in the engine room where they drowned.  The body of the captain has been found but Mr. Curry’s body has not been found.  There were three survivors.  We express our condolences to Mrs. Curry and her family.  We also express condolences to the family of broadcaster Wycliffe Miller who died suddenly just after completing his shift on Tuesday March 25th at ZNS.  He said goodbye to his audience.  Then rose and collapsed and died.  He is said to have had some history of heart problems.  Mr. Miller, an unusual success as a broadcaster because of a distinctive lisp, was loved by his audience and the workers at the Corporation.

    The opening of the new welcome centre has cheesed off the straw vendors who have been sitting in a hot makeshift tent on Bay Street since the disastrous straw market fire of 4th September 2001. The FNM Government promised them a new market and then proceeded to put a parking lot on the site of the razed market and do nothing further.  It has now fallen to the PLP government.  This week in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 26th March, Leslie Miller, the Minister responsible said that the finalists had been chosen from the contest for the architecture of the new market.  Mike Foster is the overall winner of the contest.  The public will now be invited to say what their views are and they hope to get started by June this year with the new market.  That was not good enough for Luke Small, the President of the Straw Vendors Union who said in The Tribune that the new welcome centre was an insult to the vendors and showed that the Government was not concerned about their welfare.

    President Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti has caused consternation in the international community again.  The President is said to have promised the Organization of American States and CARICOM mission last week that certain measures would be taken to improves security in Haiti by the 30th March.  One of those measures is reported to have been to fire the chief of the Haitian National Police and replace him with someone who had broad community support and the confidence of the international community.  Mr. Aristide refused to say whether he would comply with the 30th March deadline and instead acted on his own to appoint a new chief who is believed by the US to be involved in drug trafficking and by Haitians to have been involved in a political assassination.  And so the whole thing is back to square one it seems.

    An interesting sample of letters in our mailbox this week...

From John a Bahamian student studying in the US:
    “I have enjoyed reading articles about what is happening back home, however since the PLP have become the government the level of reporting has gone from relatively neutral to extremely onesided…You seem to downplay the government's improprieties such as the Junkanoo fiasco [but] highlight and drag out all of the things that the FNM does…”
    Well John, we have never made any secret of the fact that we support the PLP.  But the facts have always been reported.  The fact is that the Minister for Junkanoo may have made an error in judgement but there was no impropriety.  And while mistakes were made, Junkanoo is the better for what he did.  The public had better seating, Junkanoo had more exposure, and next year it will be even better.

From Bahamian student Nancy:
    “Now that the PLP is the government your site [seems] to only support them… Sadly, I am considering not reading it anymore.”
    Nancy, please see the response above.  As for the threat to stop reading, we can’t stop that; but you should be able to hear all sides of the question.  The FNM has a site and if you want their perspective you can go to that site.  We can assure you they do not report anything that the PLP does.  We defend our balance.

From Patty:
    “One thing you left out - a fairly small item that I read on the internet sometime just at the beginning of the Iraq conflict - France seems to have altered its position, saying that, if certain weapons were used (biological, etc.), they would have to re-think their position vis-a-vis the hostilities”
    Yes, Patty, France did say that if biological weapons were used that they would lend to the “coalition of the willing” specific and unique expertise, which they have in this area.  Thanks.

From Larry:
    “Methinks you may be hyper-ventilating a little on the anti-American stance you are taking on the war issue… our Secretary of State says we have 45....yes 45 countries that are supporting us on this Iraq liberation mission (30 public and 15 who must remain quiet), so you may want to update your material… A thought for you: don't lose faith in the inherent good nature of people and governments from democratic societies.  My opinion is that we don't always get it right, but there is always a day of correction that keeps us on the right path.  When we fall off, there is always a penalty to pay.”
    Thanks, Larry.  We simply hope that the ‘day of correction’ in this case does not affect us all.  And oh, by the way, one of those 45 members in the ‘coalition of the willing’ is Micronesia.  Things that make you go, hmmmm.

From Caroline:
    “Thank you so much for keeping me up to date on what's going on at home.  I am a Bahamian-American residing in the US and although I read the Guardian online, you are my source on what's really happening!  Please keep up the good work!”
    Thanks Caroline… And we wondered whether it was worth it giving up our Sundays.


    The Progressive Liberal Party is staging a nine month long celebration in observance of the party’s 50th anniversary.  National Party Chairman Raynard Rigby has announced the theme ‘Celebrating 50 years of advancing the rights of the Bahamian people’.  Mr. Rigby said that the PLP is the only party whose missed is so dedicated and pledged and “awakening and renewal” of the same spirit of freedom which “will live on for eternity”.  The festivities begin 31st March with a worship service at Golden Gates Assembly.  Tribune photo by Omar Barr.


The Weakest Link – A commentary by BS
    Someone once said that democracy is not the best form of government, but the best form of government available.  This was truly the case played out this week in our Parliament when the opposition Free National Movement missed another opportunity to show to the country what they are made of in the debate on the Junkanoo report.  The report showed a loss of 1.2 million dollars.  The Leader of the Official Opposition Alvin Smith left no doubt in anyone's mind that he ought to be replaced.  It became obvious that the charade with him as leader has gone on long enough when he refused to debate his own resolution, because he did not receive the documents he had asked for...  Those documents were tabled later in the day by Prime Minister Perry Christie.
    But, instead of seeking a suspension of the House or simply proceeding on the basis of the 1.2 million dollar loss reported by the auditors Deloitte & Touche, Mr. Smith told the Speaker that he nor any member of the official Opposition was prepared to take part in the debate.  The FNM then walked out.  That, we believe, was unfortunate because the FNM lost the opportunity to debate the issue and also lost its place on the agenda.  We noted with great interest the absence from the chamber of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham along with the Montagu MP Brent Symonette.  We wonder if this was a coincidence.
    However, it was overkill on the part of the PLP who took advantage of the parliamentary novices in the FNM to pass a resolution commending Minister Neville Wisdom's handling of the Junkanoo parades.  This did not go down very well in the Grand Bahama community, when you consider how the government's scarce resources could have otherwise been deployed and put to better use.  It was a sad day indeed for democracy.

No Vote Tommy
    Last week we asked our readers to say whom they would vote for in a heads up race for the leadership of the FNM between Senator Tommy Turnquest and Brent Symonette.  Of the responses received, Tommy Turnquest did not get one vote.  Not one.  A prior promise of confidentiality, prevents us from sharing most of the comments that came with the e-mail, but of those who gave us permission to quote, one said "Tommy was rejected in the last election by the people” Another’s opinion was "It is all based on the individual who the public perceives as having the most credibility and for them the person is Brent."
    We wonder if former Deputy Leader Dion Foulkes had someone do a poll and whether this might be the reason he has chosen not to run again.

New Port President
    Congratulations to Mrs. Willie Moss who has been promoted to the top position of president at the Grand Bahama Port Authority.  This brings an end to the speculation over who would replace the retiring Sir Albert Miller.  In the running was Andre Cartwright the company's Chief Financial Officer and company Vice President Barry Malcolm.
    It is believed that Mrs. Moss' even temperament and knowledge of the company and its staff from top to bottom won her the day and we congratulate her.