|RAMBLIN THRU THE BUSH IN FOX HILL...||FRED MITCHELL AND HUBERT INGRAHAM PART I...|
|INGRAHAM AND MITCHELL FROM THEN TO NOW...||LAING THE ERSTWHILE MINISTER OF YOUTH...|
|OZZIE BROWN- NOBODY'S FOOL BUT HIS OWN...||WHAT OSWALD BROWN HAD TO SAY...|
|BROWN HAS DESTROYED THE GUARDIAN...||FORMER LABOUR MINISTER GETS HER OWN BACK...|
|SHELL CUTS GAS PRICES...||BRADLEY ROBERTS CONFRONTS THE SPEAKER AGAIN...|
|ELAINE FERGUSON - THE BANE OF ZNS NEWS...||ROBERT KENNEDY JR. THREATENED BY FNM...|
|STEVE MCKINNEY HAS A NEW SHOW FROM MIAMI...||SPECIAL HELLO TO ANTHONY KIKIVARAKIS JR...|
|BFM LEADER URGES CHURCH INVESTMENTS...||BIMINI REGATTA...|
|BAHAMAS STOCK EXCHANGE DATE...||JOHN DELANEY WARNING ON TAX HAVENS...|
|INGRAHAM'S PROMISES IN SPEECH FROM THE THRONE...||THE LABOUR BILLS...|
|FINANCIAL SECTOR LEGISLATION...||OTHER BILLS FROM THE SPEECH FROM THE THRONE...|
|NEW POLICE POWERS...||CLIFTON CAY FINISHED?...|
|NEWS FROM GRAND BAHAMA...|
And so it was that Martin Minns, a political consultant and friend from the UK who knew of the interest of this columnist, sent a gift over of a book called 'Eleanor Of Aquitaine: By The Wrath of God, Queen of England' published by Jonathan Cape Ltd. and authored by Alison Weir. It is riveting stuff and a line jumped out that brings us right back to the Bahamian situation: "An unlettered king is a crowned ass."
This week in all his puffed up but inadequate splendour Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, stood at the head of a parade of legislators headed by puffed up Speaker Italia Johnson into the road to hear the Governor General read the speech from the Throne. If we did not know any better we, like the Beatles have sung, would have felt as if we were in a play, and we are anyway. Just what Mr. Ingraham and his colleagues thought they were doing by proroguing the House, then opening a month later with promises to do everything and anything passeth all understanding.
Love 97, the radio station, counted 23 bills which the Government promised to bring back to Parliament that they promised to bring in the last session and didn't. How pray tell are they going to do the number of bills they now promise to do? It is unrealistic and over ambitious. An unlettered king is a crowned ass. This columnist could not best that line.
It was surely a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. All of us sitting there in the public road instead of the Senate Chamber, pretending that all is well. We know that all is not well. They know it. We know it. We know that they know that we know it (to steal another line from The Lion in Winter). We are a very knowledgeable people. Yet the Prime Minister tries by smoke and mirrors, a wink and a nod to govern this country. What we know is that the ship of state is headed for the rocks, if the Bahamian people don't do something and fast.
An update on the newest member of the Mitchell family. Carlton Seymour Jr. is shown with his baby sister Celine, recently christened. Celine is the daughter of the sister of this columnist, Carla and her husband Carlton Sr.
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MITCHELL AND HUBERT INGRAHAM PART I
We have known each other for a long time. Different ages, from different sides of the track but brought together for a few years in a great organization called the Progressive Liberal Party. He is the quintessential opportunist. The first memory one has of him is his trying to act on behalf of his then partner Perry Christie to stop this columnist from getting the nomination for the Centreville constituency. We were at a PLP rally at the C.I. Gibson Gym. Mr. Ingraham walked up and started talking sotto voce and conspiratorially. Something like this: "Mitchell you know you have Mr. Christie very worried. He wants the Centreville nomination and you are stopping him. You are a young man (then 24 years old). You can have your chance. Why don't you withdraw since Mr. Christie is going to get the nomination anyway and then you can try after he has had his time." My reply: "Well if Mr. Christie is going to get the nomination anyway why should I withdraw? He will get it anyhow so I should take my chances." His terse reply: "Very well!" Mr. Christie got the nomination. We have ended up being colleagues and friends. Mr. Ingraham is quite another story.
AND MITCHELL FROM THEN TO NOW
Never did one imagine that from that day at C.I. Gibson (see previous story) to this, this would be the story of Hubert Ingraham, and Fred Mitchell. Anything he can do to defame, to block to stop, while pretending that he is a friend. The height of that kind of treachery was his gerrymandering of the boundaries in the Fox Hill constituency once it became apparent that on the then boundaries his candidate would be defeated in the 1997 elections. Since then, while we have served together as executors on the Estate of the Late Garth Mitchell, it has been a see-saw. One day, he is talking to you, the other day he isn't, while telling everyone that you don't talk to him. Childish! And yet he can sometimes be a charming, sort of regular fellow. No doubt that is the quality that his friend the Minister of Health Ronnie Knowles finds endearing. So long as you follow his lead, feed his ego then all is well. During the Speech from the Throne, he kept looking over and smiling and nodding as he announced one policy after the other that stole the PLP's ideas. As Henry II said in The Lion in Winter: power is the only fact. That's what counts with Hubert Ingraham. Bradley Roberts understands that fact. The PLP is coming to see that fact. Power is the only fact. We must therefore wrest power from a man who should not have it. Mr. Ingraham will do anything to keep power. This columnist now lays in wait for yet another devilish and dastardly deed by the Prime Minister. One does not know what it is. But we know it is coming.
THE ERSTWHILE MINISTER OF YOUTH
He was just transferred in the New Year's reshuffle of the Cabinet from Minister of State at the Ministry of Youth, to now the Ministry of Education. But what one is always forced to ask is why it is that a man whose official bio boasts that he is the youngest man ever appointed to the Cabinet of The Bahamas, likes to act like an old man. Case in point. He is giving the official opening remarks at the debate on the question of Capital Punishment by high school students live on TV on Thursday 30 March. The debate was won by the Grand Bahama team. The winners got a $2,000 prize. No question, the winners were those in favour of capital punishment. But in the speech the Minister gave for the umpteenth time a tiresome opening in various languages, starting out with the Japanese. He spent some time in Japan and so knows a few words in the language and then he goes on to Chinese and Jamaican and then U.S. UGH! Makes you want to holler, throw up both your hands! We have heard it so many times before that it has become a bit stale. And, one feels that it's time that he teaches himself a new introduction. It's like an older man who knows no other way and can't or won't teach himself a new way.
BROWN- NOBODY'S FOOL BUT HIS OWN
He is named on the masthead as the Managing Editor of The Nassau Guardian. Managing idiot would be more appropriate. This week, the Managing Editor on Monday 27 March had himself a ball attacking the Lord's anointed, an Anglican priest the Rev'd. Canon Harry Bain, rector of the pro-cathedral Christ the King in Freeport. We hear that the good Canon's wife will a have a few choice words to say to Mr. Brown after the unseemly attack on her husband in the column.
OSWALD BROWN HAD TO SAY
Mr. Brown claimed that Fr. Bain was preaching racism from the pulpit because he told his congregation that he did not believe that it was appropriate for Stafford Sands, the racist former Minister of Finance to be put on the Bahamian ten dollar bill. Mr. Brown who thinks of himself as an intellectual - one of the greatest acts of self-deception - sought to match wits with the padre, but didn't come close. His column was an embarrassment. Here is man who is so closely allied with the FNM, the governing party, so much up in their behinds that Mr. Brown can't see the forest for the trees. He has no objectivity in his journalism. He is an FNM ideologue who will only come to grief as soon as this wicked FNM regime is tossed out. If you are going to be a political prostitute you should be an honest prostitute. But he wants to go around parading in the clothes of honest journalism.
HAS DESTROYED THE GUARDIAN
Oswald Brown has reduced the Nassau Guardian, the country's oldest newspaper into a trash paper similar to the trashy tabloid The Punch. The Guardian is now a pure unreconstructed propaganda paper for the FNM. He is so enamoured of his latest marital relationship, so pleased to have married above himself into society that the column could only have been showing off to please the distaff side. Even FNMs who agree with the Sands note, believe that Mr. Brown was out of line to attack the priest whose pulpit is a centre of free expression on matters of conscience and morals and for that matter anything else on which the priest would wish to speak. This foul ungentlemanly behaviour, this boorish knavery attached to the one who calls himself a Managing Editor is to be condemned. Oswald Brown's behaviour is an embarrassment to his profession - a national disgrace. Someone needs to ask him to take a good look in a mirror. That should be enough to dismiss him out of hand. But he continues to push himself and his brand of pure ignorant Uncle Tomism on the Bahamian people. The unsuspecting must be warned. Remember it was the role of the prophets of old to give the king the unpopular message. But one also remembers that there is a role for the court jester as well.
LABOUR MINSTER GETS HER OWN BACK
We can't say when it was said but we are reliably informed that the former Minister for Labour and Immigration is now laughing all the way to her new Ministry. She got the sack from the old job and was given the low-level job of Minister of Commerce. The reason is that she was widely believed to have been an abject failure in the labour and immigration area. Now she is said to be quite pleased because the Government's immigration and labour policies are still under attack with hundreds of foreign workers being brought into Grand Bahama. Friends say that she said: "You see they thought it was me, but see it wasn't me!" Well it doesn't matter who the individual Minister was, the fact is that the FNM is to blame for not protecting the Bahamian worker. In Grand Bahama, Centex Rooney, the contractors for the project on the Lucayan strip said that they advertised for workers but can't find skilled workers in Freeport or Nassau. The want to import 300 workers to get the project finished in time. While up in Freeport two weeks ago (see Freeport News headline), we found workers standing around who claimed they had the skills but were turned away by Centex Rooney.
CUTS GAS PRICES
It is going from bad to worse for Shell. About a month ago, Shell embarked on a campaign to regain market share in The Bahamas by telling every one that they had been selling bad gas in the past, that they learned from their mistakes and now would do better. The result of the campaign has been predictably lacklustre, and may damage their market share even further. Dealers have become tight lipped about it but they were said to have been stunned last week when Shell announced that they were dropping the price of gas by 25 cents per gallon. That would seem to confirm that the gas is still not a high quality product. This all seems rather desperate by Shell. But what should tell them something is that after a month of this campaign, the other players in the market both Esso and Texaco have done nothing to react. They did not even bother to match the drop in price. In other words what Shell is doing is having no affect in the marketplace at all.
ROBERTS CONFRONTS THE SPEAKER AGAIN
She looked as if she were in a Gilbert and Sullivan presentation. There she was walking through the crowd of public servants who had been press ganged to attend the opening of Parliament in the road in the Public Square on Wednesday 29 March. She bowed to the crowd's applause, bobbing and weaving as she led the Members of Parliament up to the Governor General. It was an embarrassment, again not knowing how to act. When they got back inside though, all hell broke loose. Bradley Roberts the fiery PLP Grants Town MP, accused the Speaker of being biased against him. He reminded the Speaker that she has a duty to act fairly. The Speaker tried to stop Mr. Roberts, but he refused. She rose and suspended the House for disorder. If you remember that is exactly what happened the last time the House met before it was prorogued; it ended then in disorder because Mr. Roberts was refused permission to read his Communication to Parliament. Mr. Roberts has consistently criticized the Speaker for having one rule for the PLP and another for the FNM. The Nassau Guardian photo shows Mr. Roberts at the end of the Speaker's parade.
FERGUSON - THE BANE OF ZNS NEWS
She is the Acting News Director of the Broadcasting Corporation's news service. That is about as much as one can say charitably about her. She has pulled stories about the Opposition PLP off the air for spurious reasons. Her appointment has led to the demoralization of the staff. There is a virtual revolt in the newsroom. She does not appear to understand the role of party political ideologue from that of news editor. In that regard, she and Oswald Brown of the Guardian may be kindred spirits. We have had occasion to warn her before to tread easily but she has refused. She continues acts of discrimination against the Opposition, and will not reform her behaviour. Reporters come to the Leader of the Opposition every week and complain about political decisions which she is making about the news. This is what the FNM promised to stop. Ms. Ferguson would do well to remember what her role is before an official complaint is made against her with her political bosses. She pulled the story of the Leader of the Opposition's comments on Clifton Cay on the grounds that it was too political. She did not carry bits of the statement until the FNM responded, then she used the FNM's statement to rebut Mr. Christie. So she must be working for the FNM. A reporter describes the experience of talking to her as being like talking to a thick gangplank. But the problem is that a vacuous intellect may not care to know the difference. Very sad! We shall continue to watch what she does and how she treats her staff and their professional work.
KENNEDY JR. THREATENED BY FNM
Robert Kennedy Jr., the environmental activist from the U.S., the son of the murdered U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy and nephew of the murdered President John Kennedy, came back to The Bahamas. He returned to speak to a town meeting at St. Paul's Church, Lyford Cay, on the Clifton Cay project. He spoke on Saturday 1 April. His visit has caused a controversy reported around the world by the Associated Press. The Governing FNM has issued a statement saying that they had advised the U.S. Embassy to warn Mr. Kennedy not to come to The Bahamas or he will be put on the stop list for working here illegally. This is the problem when you have imps trying to make public policy. The statement was made by Oswald Marshall, Deputy Secretary-General of the FNM. The remark has important implications. It was broadcast around the world by Associated Press. Here is the governing party that invited foreign investors like the ones who are developing Clifton Cay into the country. The Clifton Cay developers have been all up in the business of The Bahamas, attacking the Leader of the Opposition. It is at the least ironic that they now threaten Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy ignored the threat. He said he was used to dealing with tyrannical governments.
MCKINNEY HAS A NEW SHOW FROM MIAMI
Following a contractual dispute with the local radio station More FM, Steve McKinney, the talk show host has negotiated a new show with the American radio station WVCG at 1080 AM on the dial. The station broadcasts with 50,000 watts throughout Florida and the Caribbean. The announcement was made at a press conference and reception at Breezes Superclubs on Cable Beach on Friday 31st March. Present for the announcement were scores of well-wishers and friends and from the political community, this Senator (PLP); Tennyson Wells (FNM); Halson Moultrie (BFA); Dr. Bernard Nottage (CDR). Mr. McKinney is pictured. The General Manager of WVCG Winsome Charlton made the announcement.
HELLO TO ANTHONY KIKIVARAKIS JR.
His father and this columnist shared a house in London at 47 Granville Road in Woodgreen as students in 1972-73. He must now be in his early 20s and is now a student in Miami. His father Anthony Sr. is a partner in Deloitte and Touche, the accounting firm. He celebrated his 50th birthday at a surprise party at Montagu Gardens in New Providence on Friday 31st March. His son Anthony Jr. flew in from Miami; son Karim flew in from London and daughter Kim who is a student at COB joined wife Joy to make the event a smashing success. Congratulations to Kiki Sr. for reaching 50 years. To Anthony Jr. who says he reads the site every Sunday 2:01 p.m. greetings from The Bahamas. Let us know what the Bahamians in Miami are saying.
LEADER URGES CHURCH INVESTMENTS
Myles Munroe, the charismatic leader of Bahamas Faith Missions held a press conference on Thursday 30 March to announce a public education programme to encourage worshippers to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the local economic market. This is a big theme of Dr. Munroe and others of that generation of preachers like the Anglican's James Palacious and Bishop Neil Ellis of Mount Tabor Baptist. Dr. Munroe said: "They say that every Monday morning millions of dollars are deposited in banks by churches. Therefore, the church needs to educate its members and those who it serves on how to better manage their funds."
This weekend the people of Bimini gather in Alice Town for their annual regatta.
STOCK EXCHANGE DATE
D'Arcy Rahming, chief operating officer of the Bahamas Stock Exchange (BISX) says that the stock exchange will come on stream 6 April. It is to be housed at the newly renovated British Colonial on Bay Street. He announced also that four of the nation's 17 publicly traded companies are now listed on the exchange. Another 7 companies are expected soon.
DELANEY WARNING ON TAX HAVENS
The Tribune reports that Higgs and Johnson partner lawyer John Delaney has warned that as a result of the ruling by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's decision to eradicate tax haven countries, The Bahamas is facing its greatest external challenge ever. The story appeared on 28 March. In previous columns this columnist has warned that the Government is not dealing with this problem effectively. We need to have an answer for a worst case scenario, that is, if OECD countries decide by legislation instead of policy to eliminate tax havens. Mr. Delaney says that already South American countries are reacting to the ruling of the OECD by clamping down on capital outflows. He said that the countries include Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela. According to Mr. Delaney. Those countries are a source for moneys for our offshore sector. He said that the Bahamas Financial Industry provides 15 per cent of the GDP and employs five per cent of the work force. He could have added that the five per cent make a lot of money per head. Mr. Delaney is pictured.
PROMISES IN SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
In every other civilized country a speech from the throne would not drone on for one hour and a half. But Mr. Ingraham must not have a life outside of politics and so we have to put up with the incessant verbiage. The Governor General sitting out in the public square is made to be part of the propaganda exercise. But the station Love 97 said it counted 23 pieces of legislation that were promised in the last session that the Government never presented. The audience comprised largely of press ganged public servants did not interrupt the speech once with applause. Now in addition to renewing the promise to bring those back to the House, there is to be more. Substantial changes in police powers, in financial sector legislation and in workers rights are promised. Mr. Ingraham led a seminar of business, employees and Government called Trifor (short for forum) on Monday 27 March. He foreshadowed the labour legislation which was promised in the Speech from the Throne Wednesday 29 March.
A new Co-operatives Bill; a Bill to Regulate Private Pensions; a New Conditions of Employment Bill; a new Industrial Tribunal and Trade Disputes Bill; a new Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill and new legislation to prohibit fingerprinting and to prohibit the mandatory taking of lie detector tests by employees. Labour was cheered by the news that the work week is to be reduced by 8 hours under the new legislation, so that overtime will now kick in after 40 hours instead of 48. No employer will be allowed to reduce the present weekly salary of any employee after the change. The labour legislation is to be passed before the summer recess in July. The Prime Minister said that he will not be deterred. There has been enough discussion, barked the PM. The bill has left a sour taste in the mouths if businessmen who see increased costs and see in the bills a betrayal of their support for the FNM in 1997. The decision is clearly a political one for Mr. Ingraham who has been losing support because his Government is perceived to be anti-worker. Unfortunately for him no one will be fooled by this.
The Speech from The Throne confirmed that there will be an amendment to the International Business Companies Act ( IBC) to abolish bearer shares and cause there to be mandatory reporting of the names of directors. The Money Laundering Legislation is also being revised. A Domestic Insurance Bill is promised as is a Bill to allow for the transfer of home mortgages between financial institutions without the payment of stamp duty.
BILLS FROM THE SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
A new Fisheries Bill is promised, a Forestry Bill, a bill to Regulate Residential, Pre-school and Day Care Facilities; a Bill to Regulate Professional Engineers; a new Town Planning Act.
There was promised a Bill to require full Third Party Insurance Coverage for vehicles; a Bill to Allow Police to take Alcohol Tests and Drug Tests for drivers; to allow left turns at various street light junctions; prohibit the dark tinting of vehicle windows; make it mandatory for seatbelt and car seats for children; legislation to regulate jet skis. The Port Authority in New Providence is to become a Corporation.
The slick Prime Minister announced in the Speech from the Throne so many environmental measures, the creation of new public parks and measures to allow better access to existing public beaches. Oh, by the way, a marine park is to be established in the area of Clifton Bay. This is just adjacent to Clifton Cay and nothing around the area can be removed or damaged. Question: how will Clifton Cay develop if you have to dredge canals and through the reef for the promised marina if this is now to be prohibited by law. It is clear to us that the Clifton Cay project is dead and Mr. Ingraham is just finding a way to slip out of it. Sean Connery, the U.K. actor who is a resident of Lyford Cay was reported in the Bahama Journal of 30 March to have been enlisted as among those publicly opposed to Clifton Cay's development in New Providence.
FROM GRAND BAHAMA
Resorts At Bahamia (Princess) Sale Nears Close - The off again, on again sale of the Resorts at Bahamia property in Freeport, formerly the Princess hotels, now appears imminent. This week, Minister of Tourism C.A. Smith opined that most employees at the resort would remain in place. "Those who are at retirement", he said "would probably be retired." The Minister hinted that some managerial jobs might not be safe. Everyone is scrambling to protect their respective positions. We will watch closely.
Private Developer Replies - We previously reported residents of Freeport's Imperial Park subdivision up in arms over the developer's lack of attention to maintenance in the area. The residents complain about the roads and some have refused to pay service charges. It is a story that crops up from time to time in Freeport. The developer, Berkeley Smith (Freeport News photo), responded this week with ominous hints about how "serious the question of services charge is." Still no word on a call from residents for intervention by the Government and / or the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
Explosion Wrecks Time-Share - Room number 1014 (shown) at the Island Seas time-share resort will never be the same, nor will the units above and beside it. This week a gas explosion in the plumbing wrecked the units, driving pieces of the toilet through the ceiling. Luckily, no one was in the unit at the time, and no one was injured. Apparently workmen blocked a bathroom vent that should have been open to release the pressure. Investigations continue.
- end -
|CHAOS IN FNM OVER STAFFORD SANDS BILL...||FNM COUNCIL DEFEATS INGRAHAM'S PLAN...|
|HOTEL WORKERS UNION ELECTIONS...||HAITIAN DEATHS...|
|AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ON GO SLOW...||PHOTOS OF U.S. VISIT...|
|FNMS ATTACK NIKI KELLY...||PINDLING TO VISIT FOX HILL BRANCH OF PLP...|
|TALKS CONTINUE AT THE COLLEGE OF THE BAHAMAS...||GEORGE TOWN REGATTA...|
|BAHAMASAIR STRIKE MAY BE AVERTED...||VICTIMIZATION OF ZNS EMPLOYEES...|
|TEACHERS IN WILDCAT ACTION...||L.W. YOUNG MUSIC TAPE...|
|NEW BOOK BY SIDNEY POITIER...||POITIER'S RAGS-TO-RICHES STORY...|
|RACE & POLITICS IN THE BAHAMAS...||CHAIRMAN OF BISX...|
|BISX STILL WAITING...||FERGUSON, KERR ALL MOVE TO NEW QUARTERS...|
|COMMONWEALTH BANK REPORTS EARNINGS...||FRANKLIN WILSON ON REAL ESTATE...|
|RESPONSES FROM STUDENTS...||NEWS FROM GRAND BAHAMA...|
It is clear that The Bahamas has a significant talent pool abroad both in the general population and in the school system. The Beloit College experience is one of a small liberal arts college on the border between Wisconsin and Illinois. It is within two hours driving time from Chicago. Beloit is the centre of the wealth of Harry Moore of the Lyford Cay Foundation and he has made scholarships available to Bahamian students. The students are happy and are enjoying the experience. Next week we have a full photo spread of the visits. But below, we show a few of the pictures.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney must be the best kept secret in The Bahamas. There are thirty Bahamian students there. All of them are from Freeport with the exception of Greer McKinney from Nassau. The school has a significant cost price advantage. It is now used to Bahamian students and welcomes them.
What is clear though is that while officials at both schools are concerned to have more Bahamian students, Bahamian students face critical issues when it comes to paying for their education. If it were not for the generosity of individual Americans and the school itself, many Bahamians simply would not be able to afford to go to these schools. Even with assistance on tuition, too many students are finding it hard to make ends meet. Clearly there must be a public policy response by the Bahamas Government. University abroad must be made affordable to the average citizen.
This also affects the question of returning home. More responses to this question are reported below. Students keep saying that having invested in an education that the Government of The Bahamas does nothing to help pay for, the question of whether to come home is less a question of patriotism and more a question of pure economics.
But in any event this columnist believes even if Bahamians don’t come home, they still help The Bahamas.
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IN FNM OVER STAFFORD SANDS BILL
The FNM's Council met on Thursday night 27 April. The Deputy Prime Minister was confronted by the Council members and asked why the Government makes these political decisions it does like the Stafford Sands ten-dollar bill decision and then expects its councillors to defend them after the fact. Stafford Sands is the racist former Minsiter of Finance who the Government has decided to put on the ten-dollar bill. A boycott and defacing campaign is to be organized. DPM Watson responded that some times the Government has to "do the right thing". All hell broke loose in the Council. People were shouting and screaming and threatening. A chastened Frank Watson could only shrug his shoulders. More mext week! What this shows is that the PLP's position is exactly right on the subject and we have bi-partisan support on the issue.
COUNCIL DEFEATS INGRAHAM'S PLAN
The plan of the Ingraham forces in the FNM was to arrange for Gladys Sands, Chair of the Women's Branch of the FNM to get her term extended by one year so that she does not have to face election at the Convention in November. This is because the Ingraham forces believe that she will go down to defeat. No sir, said the Council. Mrs. Sands will have to face elections like any one else. In the meantime, Hubert Ingraham has been desperately trying to arrange a meeting with Tennyson Wells. This is the same guy that Mr. Inrgaham tried to mess up three months ago. Tennyson wants to know what the Prime Minister wants to talk about and is resisting any meeting.
WORKERS UNION ELECTIONS
Hubert Ingraham like the bull in the china shop that he is went barrelling right into the Hotel Union's business on Saturday 29 April at the opening of the Union's new 3 million dollar structure in Governors Harbour. Perry Christie, PLP Leader; this columnist; and Bradley Roberts MP attended the opening. The news is that Pat Bain is to oppose Thomas Bastian for the office of President. The Prime Minister wants Tom Bastian to remain. He said in his speech that those in the Union who follow him should follow what he says: "Tom Bastian is a man I can do business with". Bad form Mister Prime Minister. Suppose Mr. Bastian loses? Does that mean that you will refuse to deal with Pat Bain?
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ON GO SLOW
The Bahamas Government has been involved in a plot to bust the Air Traffic Controllers Union. This week at a press conference on Thursday 27 April, Roscoe Perpall, President of the Union (shown at left in the Guardian photo with Union executive Mark Major) spoke to a number of industrial disputes between themselves and the Government. The main problem is the Government’s insistence that the controllers train Defence Force officers to be certified controllers. This means that if there is an emergency, the Government will simply break any industrial action by the Union in the same way former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was able to break the Union in the United States. The controllers have refused. The result has been suspensions by management. Now Management has taken over the controls. The problem is that many of them are not certified or up to scratch. Delays of up to three hours have been reported for the travelling public. While Minister of Tourism and the Minister responsible for Air Traffic Control said that air travel is safe, he is doing nothing to help solve the problem. Meanwhile the Government has announced that Brent Symonette, former Minister of Tourism is to become Chairman of the Airport Authority when it comes into force on 1 May.
Chicago Beloit Kearney
ATTACK NIKI KELLY
The FNM’s Oswald Marshall is once again an attack dog. In a remarkable letter published in the Nassau Guardian where his fellow attack dog Oswald Brown is the editor, he accused Tribune columnist Niki Kelly of having left The Bahamas during the height of the Pindling regime. He also accused her of the crime of buying numbers. The Guardian’s editor is so hateful and spiteful and such a liar that he does not even bother to check his facts and allowed Ms. Kelly to be libelled.We hope she is able to bankrupt The Nassau Guardian.Ms. Kelly got her own back in her column of Tuesday 25 April when she called Mr. Marshall’s comments asinine. You may remember that Oswald Marshall is the same FNM official who wrote the U. S. Ambassador suggesting that Robert Kennedy Jr. was not well advised to come to The Bahamas. He threatened to put Mr. Kennedy on the stop list.Mr. Kennedy was travelling to The Bahamas to talk about Clifton Cay. Mr. Marshall was roundly condemned for making a stupid threat. It only goes to show, some people never learn.
TO VISIT FOX HILL BRANCH OF PLP
Former Prime Minister Sir Lynden O. Pindling is to make an official visit to the Fox Hill Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party on Thursday 4 May at 8:30 p.m. Sir Lynden’s visit will come after the annual branch elections scheduled for that evening. Sir Lynden, who is being treated for prostate cancer, celebrated his 70th birthday on 21 March this year.
CONTINUE AT THE COLLEGE OF THE BAHAMAS
The College of The Bahamas and the Union of Tertiary Educators of the Bahamas (UTEB) continue to hold talks toward settling the industrial disputes between them. The Nassau Guardian working on behalf of its Board Member Leon Higgs, also President of the College, set up a picture that made it look like progress was good and the end was near. No such luck. The College administration has been dragging its feet. They claim that they have other important things to do. Lecturers are refusing to send in the grades of students until an industrial agreement is signed. The Prime Minister foolishly got involved in the debate by telling the public before the negotiations got started that the lecturers will not get one more red cent. So what exactly is the COB negotiating team doing?
The weekend from Thursday 27 April to Sunday 30 April is the 47th Annual Family Island Regatta. All the crowds move to Georgetown. The debate is raging again about the commercialization of the sport. The problem is the sport is perennially short of money since the Government limited its sponsorship of the event after the 1978 Regatta. Former Representative for Exuma George Smith has re-entered the debate about commercialization in a letter published in The Tribune of Friday 28 April. In it he says that the regatta is “an event which must never be counted in terms of money, for no price can be placed upon things which preserve our heritage.” The Regatta was started as a fun time in 1953 by Linton Rigg, an expatriate living in Georgetown, as a way to mark the end of the crawfish season. It is held at this time of the year before the winds die down for the summer. The crawfish season ended on 31 March. Originally the boats were actual work-boats. Today, the boats only look like work-boats. They only engage in sport. The big argument is whether there ought to be commercial logos on the sails of the boats.
STRIKE MAY BE AVERTED
Frank Carter, President of the Airport, Airline and Allied Workers Union and other Union Leaders all swore that they would never sign five-year agreements. And now it appears that they all have, one by one: the teachers, the electrical workers, the hotel union and now the airline workers. The Prime Minister demanded and now has apparently gotten his way with regard to Bahamasair. Getting there has caused a war of words between the sides and there has been a war of nerves. No word from the Union as to why the position has now been reversed. With a five-year agreement, the Prime Minister feels he will have nothing to worry about in terms of industrial disturbances during the 2002 elections. Of course, knowing how volatile the labour situation is around this country, a five-year agreement is probably not worth the paper it is written on. The Bahamasair Union is set to sign so say the newspapers. A major strike was averted when the Union called off its threat to strike over the Easter holiday. The new Chairman of Bahamasair Frederick Gottlieb announced that the Company will lose another 17 million dollars up to June of this year. This is on top of the 64 million lost during the past five years. Meanwhile, two major Unions are facing elections this year the BaTelCo Union is facing an election and so is the Hotel Union. No word on a challenger in BaTelCo but word is that there is a major challenge coming in the Hotel Union. Stay tuned.
OF ZNS EMPLOYEES
A lawsuit is said to be in the works by certain ZNS news reporters against Elaine Ferguson for discrimination in the work place in violation of Articles 23 and 26 of the Constitution. Those articles protect persons who exercise a right of free speech. The suit is likely to be brought against her personally. Ms. Ferguson is said to have been engaged in a vendetta against certain reporters in the ZNS newsroom because they openly opposed her appointment as News Director. She has been acting more and more like a party political hack than a neutral news editor. The reporters complained but the Government is apparently happy with the choice. Stay tuned!
IN WILDCAT ACTION
Increasingly the only way to describe how this country is governed is Government by crisis. Nowhere was this clearer than a walkout by teachers from the classrooms of the public school system during the week of 17 April. President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) Kingsley Black had been trying to get an answer from the Ministry of Education on the rumour going around that the Ministry planned without reference to the Union to extend the school year. The teachers had had enough dilly-dallying so off the job they went. This caused Minister of State for Education to come running out of Cabinet to address the teachers in the Ministry’s yard. The Ministry then put its position in writing. Our photo shows this columnist with the teachers on the grounds of the Ministry of Education.
YOUNG MUSIC TAPE
It is available in fine music stores everywhere in The Bahamas at a cost of ten dollars. It is well worth the money. It will help a good cause. The L. W. Young music department headed by Byron Thompson has produced a fine audiocassette. Why not invest the ten bucks? Especially good is the medley of songs about the culture of The Bahamas. Also on the album is the National Anthem.
BOOK BY SIDNEY POITIER
The book is called 'THE MEASURE OF A MAN'. You must buy it. Every Bahamian should buy it. The story is inspirational. Mr. Poitier inspired his generation. One remembers vividly our mother taking us to the movies in 1963 to see Lilies of the Field for which Mr. Poitier won the academy award. She told us that she knew him, and damn if she didn’t. We later got introduced to him and he knew her by name. But Mr. Poitier has always been an ambivalent figure in Bahamian life. On the one hand, we have been proud of a poor Black Bahamian who has reached the heights of his profession and is a world figure who is admired by millions. No other Bahamian is so well known. His is a real rags-to-riches story. On the other hand, his personal interactions with Bahamians in The Bahamas have not always drawn accolades. The community of thespians in the country often complain that he has not done as much as he could have. Then there was his leaving the country in the 1970s after having some kind of political falling out with Sir Lynden Pindling, even though Sir Lynden later had a knighthood conferred upon him. That story has yet to be told. Bahamians felt he had abandoned the country. In retrospect, it was probably unrealistic to expect a man of such keen intellect and horizons to trap himself in a house in Winton, which subjected him daily to the gawking of tourists.
RAGS TO RICHES STORY
This is Mr. Poitier’s second book. The first one called THIS LIFE in 1980 was enjoyable but not accurate in some of its historical details. It is now out of print. The cussing in the new one: ample samples of pissed off and mother f...cker etc. Language, Mr. Poitier! How times have changed. But this Bahamian has devoured both books. The fact is that Sidney Poitier has accomplished much from his beginnings as a poor boy to where he is today. It is a story that should inspire all young Black Bahamian boys. The story starts out in Cat Island - no running water, no power, and no cars. It starts out in dire poverty. This book is that of a 70 odd year old man reflecting on where he has come. Life has been very good to him. You should go out and buy it. It is also a window into the minds of that generation of persons who led us into independence. Mr. Poitier is the only one of that generation beside Sir Randol Fawkes to write about it all; what were the psychological impulses behind why the Black people of his day did what they did and acted as they did. What is good about this is that there is a frank discussion of race, without apology. Perhaps he can do that because he lives in the United States. But his parents Evelyn and Reggie Poitier should be proud of him if they can in fact see him from heaven.
AND POLITICS IN THE BAHAMAS
Next week on this site, the full text of the lecture given by this columnist to the students of Beloit College on race in The Bahamas on Tuesday 25 April. The main thesis is that race is the subtext of the political divide in this country. The PLP can if it wishes use it to potent effect. But is that what the Opposition party should do? Read it all next week. Some people are trying to organize a boycott of the Stafford Sands notes. People are being encouraged to deface the notes by writing the word: “RACIST” on the note or by refusing to accept them from the Banks.
Ian Fair has been elected Chairman of the Bahamas International Securities Exchange or BISX. BISX is the operating company for the Bahamas Stock Exchange. Mr. Fair is Chairman of Mees Pierson and also head of the Bahamas Financial Services Board. Deputy Chair is Patricia Hermanns, head of Global Life Insurance. The announcement was made on 19 April 28, 2000.
The Tribune of 28 April reported that the decision of the Securities Commission to licence the start up of BISX was to have come on the same day. No word yet.
KERR ALL MOVE TO NEW QUARTERS
The International Portfolio Analytics Group has moved its offices from the Norfolk House to the new office centre at Goodman’s Bay.
BANK REPORTS EARNINGS
The share offer for Commonwealth Bank stock at $6 per share closed on Friday 28 April. It is likely to be oversubscribed. On Friday 28 April, The Tribune reported that Commonwealth Bank announced first quarter profits up to 31 March 2000 of 4.8 million dollars up 14 per cent over last year. The Tribune carried a photo of officers and agents of the Bank from left: William B. Sands, President and CEO; Larry Gibson of Colina Financial Advisors, Andrew Wells of Graham Thompson & Co; Ken Kerr of Colina and T. B. Donaldson, Chairman.
WILSON ON REAL ESTATE
If you did not know it before, Franklin Wilson has now confirmed it. The result of the FNM’s policy on land has been land price inflation. Mr. Wilson, who is the Chairman of Arawak Homes, the largest housing construction firm in the country, was reported to have said in a report in The Guardian of Friday 28 April that a lot in Pinewood Gardens which sold four years ago for $14,000 now sells for $21,000. He said land in Nassau East North has had a similar appreciation in price from $35,000 per year to $45,000. Nassau East is middle class. Pinewood is lower class. He also estimated that construction costs are escalating at ten per cent per annum. Yeah well, we told you so. That is a direct result of allowing foreign nationals without permits to buy land at will. The policy needs to be fine-tuned. We fear that the next generation of Bahamians will not then have a chance at all to buy land. A Guardian photo of Franklin Wilson was used for the report.
OF THE SWIM SEASON
If you are a real Bahamian, you know that you don’t swim after 12 October (Discovery Day). The water is too cold. You start swimming again on Easter Monday. The tradition continues and last weekend, persons flocked to the beaches in record numbers. Both morning newspapers carried photos of the activities.
System of Justice Under Pressure - Reports are that the decision by Mr. Justice Lyons to recuse himself from cases involving the Grand Bahama Port Authority has put the smooth running of the courts in Grand Bahama into jeopardy. No word yet on what the Chief Justice will do to resolve the situation. Lawyers and litigants wait. Mr. Justice Lyons has indicated conflict of interest since conceivably a portion of the Port's contribution to Government could go to pay judges' salaries.
Grand Bahama's Bahama's Bahamas Beauty To Take on Universe - Miss Bahamas Mikala Moss of Grand Bahama smiled from the front page of the Freeport News as she posed with her parents Willie and Michael Moss upon her departure for the Miss Universe contest. Good luck and God speed to Mikala.
More on the Swim Season - An abbreviated News from Grand Bahama this week. The site editor has been following the national swim team to the Carifta Games in Barbados. While Easter Monday may be the traditional beginning of swimming for most Bahamians, the youngsters of the 28 member Carifta Squad have long been in the water preparing for their day in the sun. A full report and photos next week.