Note from the Publisher
Nassau and The Bahamas is bracing for more industrial unrest as the bull-headed Prime Minister went to the country on Wednesday 31 March to threaten the BaTelCo Union with mass dismissals of its members.  The Unions have decided on a work to rule and go slow. Up to press time telephones at Paradise Island were out.
DEFENCE FORCE OFFICERS are increasingly being called in to guard various establishments in the country: BaTelCo has defence force officers throughout its establishment.  ATMs at banks, credit card machines were all out this week because of the BaTelCo dispute. Shane Gibson, the BaTelCo Union President, announced that he had been double-crossed by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister met with the Unionists, gave certain assurances and then reneged on those promises.  The BEC Unionists think it is time for Ingraham to go.
THE PLP HELD A RALLY, and is preparing for a snap General Election. The way it looks, there is going to be a slow, deteriorating situation and Ingraham may be forced to go to the country.
FIVE COB STUDENTS were arrested in a separate demonstration at the College of The Bahamas campus. They were out supporting their teachers who went on strike. We have passed the 13,000 hits mark. This surpasses Rev. Myles Munroe's web site for monthly hits. That was the previous known record.  Thanks again.
THERE IS A LONG HOLIDAY WEEKEND in Nassau with Good Friday and the day after Easter as public holidays.  Many people have flown off island. Bahamian teams have flown off to CARIFTA Games in Kingston, Jamaica and in Martinique. The Prime Minister is said to have gone fishing for five days after threatening the Trade Unionists.  No negotiations are therefore planned until his return.


The COB demonstration, teachers on strike. Students started to protest as well and Police came in as the enforcers.

e-mail timbuktu@batelnet.bs

This columnist represented five male students at the College of The Bahamas when they were arrested on Wednesday 31 March by an overzealous police officer at the scene of the demonstration on the campus of the College of The Bahamas. They are to be arraigned on Wednesday 7 April on charges of obstruction. The demonstration came as teachers at the College went on strike.  This came after the Minister of Labour refused to certify, unlawfully so, a strike vote by the Union. Lecturers are fed up.  Hubert Ingraham claims that the strike at the College of The Bahamas is political. This is not surprising since he has a pathological hatred of this columnist, attorney for the Union and Zendal Forbes its president. The students were congratulated by this columnist for their stand.  Five male students taking a stand is an important milestone in our contemporary Bahamas.  They were told that they are following in the great traditions of Martin Luther King being involved in civil disobedience. This columnist told them that he was especially proud of them as young males to stand up for a political belief, and that they should be proud of their stand for a belief. The men were later released from jail that day. The Nassau Guardian showed a photo of the students being released from the Quackoo Street police station.

Two remarkable articles by two different intellectuals in their thirties, who ought to be siding with the pro-nationalist, pro-worker cause appeared in The Nassau Guardian this week. The pieces claimed that workers were responsible for the disorder on Bay Street during last week's demonstrations. They also claimed that there is a limited right to demonstrate; that you have to be reasonable, that you can not incite violence, and that you must have justifiable and rational reasons for demonstrating. While no one condones violence, the columnists of The Guardian were wrong on all points. Both are students of history and politics in The Bahamas and revealed a shocking ignorance of the facts. The fact is that the Burma Road Riots in 1942 brought about social changes in this country which would have not happened if those riots did not take place. The second is that the General Strike of 1958 brought about the political and social changes like the change in the constitution, the first laws on labour relations, the extension of the franchise to all men and women on a universal basis. The fact is that you do not need to have a reason to demonstrate and there is no requirement to be reasonable in order to demonstrate. It is a matter of concern that the men from that generation are now siding with the traditional elements in society. One would have expected that after all this time and training for and on their behalf that some eloquent voices would emerge to support workers in the society. Instead it seems and regrettably so that they are now using the education to turn against workers. What are we to do?


The Commissioner of Police was at it again inventing laws on civil rights, civil disobedience and getting involved in the policies of The Bahamas. He threatened the Unionists with arrests if they tried to go over the Paradise Island Bridge. Luckily, this did not happen because Hubert Ingraham backed down in the face of the Union threat. But Mr. Bonamy needs to be reminded that it was police acting on his orders that caused the disturbances at Bay Street on both occasions last week in Nassau. Despite the so-called devolution of authority; the police at the bridge could not change the order that no-one would be allowed over the bridge. Further, it was not until the police showed up at the College of The Bahamas demonstration that there was any problem at the College of The Bahamas. Clearly, the police need training in restraint and crowd control. The Commissioner himself must be less belligerent and stop acting as if he is working on behalf of Hubert Ingraham who is a totally public figure. Last week's Sunday New York Times carried an interesting article in the Week In Review section about how the New York police department works with civil rights protesters. The Commissioner ought to read it. This columnist made several copies available to police officers.

The latest round of Union recriminations against the Government was kicked off by a comment alleged to have been made by Anthony Rolle, the Minister of State for Public Enterprises at the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay. Mr. Rolle reportedly told the Unionists gathered there that the Government had nothing to offer them. He was allegedly belligerent in his tone. That set the cat amongst the pigeons. His boss Hubert Ingraham must have gotten the message by Monday 29 March, some two days after Mr. Rolle's comments. He came up with a package for BaTelCo workers who are to be forced out as follows: one year's pay for those working up to five years; two years for those working up to ten years; and two years plus six weeks for every year for those working over ten years up to two and a half years. The Unionists rejected that at a fiery meeting on Wednesday 31 March. Shane Gibson took that back to the Prime Minister and asked that the ceiling be increased to three years. The Prime Minister withdrew all offers from the table and told the unionists that it was six weeks for every year take it or leave it. At another fiery meeting of BaTelCo workers, it was decided that there will now be a go slow at BaTelCo that means that the telephone system will deteriorate until the Government decides to deal honourably with the workers.

Many a country faces this dilemma. They find that they elected someone who they believed had good sense and sensitivity, only to wake up one morning and find an idiot in charge. We now have one of the worst examples of megalomania at work in Hubert Ingraham. At a PLP rally on Thursday 1 April, this columnist pointed out that Mr. Ingraham has deep-seated psychological problems because of his background. He keeps bringing it up time and time again as if we are responsible for that. One's background is no excuse for present problems. Our problem is what do we do to get rid of this fellow.

The GG having just buried his brother Roderick Turnquest launched back into official duties. There was a three-hour high mass at St. Agnes on Tuesday 29 March for Roderick Turnquest. The older Turnquest was the godfather of this columnist in addition to P. Anthony White and Anthony  "Skeebo" Roberts. He was laid to rest in the Western Cemetery. The GG hosted a group of over fifty men at an annual lunch at Government House on Maundy Thursday.  Perry Christie, Leader of the Opposition was amongst those attending.

Basil Sands, an accountant, the father of hotelier Sandy Sands, has been appointed Honorary Consul-General of Japan in The Bahamas. This was conferred on him officially at a reception held three weeks ago at the Nassau Beach by the Ambassador for Japan to The Bahamas, resident in Kingston, Jamaica.  Mr. Sands has been honorary consul for Japan since 1984. Congratulations on the promotion.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has intervened in the Doyle Fox Texaco dispute.  As a result of the civil unrest, Texaco agreed to meet with the TUC. The TUC gave Texaco an ultimatum: fix the Doyle Fox problem or unionists will organize a boycott in Mr. Fox's favour. Texaco tried to persuade the unionists that Mr. Fox was a bad guy. The Unionists did not want to hear it. Texaco says they will check with Coral Gables and get back to the Unionists. We shall see if Trevor Edgehill turns out to be an honourable man. In the meantime, the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association has ended its demonstration phase against Texaco. It sent a letter to the Director of Immigration asking for the removal of Trevor Edgehill from The Bahamas.

How can this man Sol Kerzner be comfortable knowing that the chief slave of the country has failed to control the restless natives?  Mr. Kerzner would be used to this kind of oppression having brought these social ways from South Africa. Interestingly enough, demonstrators were able to report that a security man known to be an employee of Sun was seen with a video camera taping the demonstrators on the Paradise Island Bridge last Friday 26 March.  Now why would Sun have its security force spying on demonstrators. Rodney Moncur, political activist and PLP council member took a picture of the would be spy.  Will Sun say it ain't so?

The talk is that Berkley Evans, good friend of the Prime Minister, has fallen victim to the expatriate accountant at the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas. Mr. Evans who was sent there by the Prime Minister to put the Corporation on the road to destruction, allegedly received a bitter letter from the Prime Minister telling him that he had failed to do just that. Bahamian workers at the Corporation have been watching with interest as the relationship between the Prime Minister and Mr. Evans is said to have deteriorated. The Prime Minister would visit the Hotel Corporation and not speak to Mr. Evans. Mr. Evans is said to have submitted his resignation for continually being ignored in favour of the expatriate accountant. That accountant has been responsible for the demise of one Bahamian after another including a young Bahamian accountant who supported Frank Watson in the 1992 General Election. She ended up having to leave The Bahamas. It is said that Arnold Bain is being asked to leave by the Prime Minister as well. This must be better better. But for whom? Will the men concerned please speak up and tell us what the truth is. The Prime Minister has had the Hotel Corporation on his hit list since he came to office.

It is the night of Good Friday at 8 p.m. at the Nassau International Airport, domestic section. The 8 p.m. flight to Freeport is delayed until 10 p.m. One staff member is sound asleep behind the counter having worked with five delayed flights until midnight the night before. Tonight, they have only one jet working. One jet went to take the team to CARIFTA. The other is working Miami and Ft. Lauderdale exclusively. The other has broken down in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The domestic section of the airport is hot, no air conditioning. Two noisy fans are blowing. There is paper and garbage and the remains of popcorn and peanuts all over the floors and conveyor belts. The passengers groan and complain to this columnist. This is the state of Bahamasair. It is digging itself deeper and deeper into a hole, out of which the Government has no idea, how to climb. That is why what Hubert Ingraham had to say in favour of BaTelCo being privatized, namely, that the Corporation was overstaffed is a big joke. The PLP knew that Bahamasair was overstaffed and was taking steps to reduce the staff when they got tossed out of office. Hubert Ingraham promised to take all the people back, and did with more.  Now the figures are up from the 600 who worked under the PLP to 880.  The story is that BAHAMASAIR WILL LAYOFF 280 MEMBERS OF STAFF AS OF JUNE 1.


The Government has been playing a game with Bahamasair. They have been hiring temporary workers for six months at a time, dismissing them, then hiring them again for another six months. This is the airline that in 1992 was overstaffed.  The FNM came to office saying that they were going to bring sound business principles to its management. Today the airline is worse than ever. These days not even the first flight in the morning leaves on time. It is difficult to see how the staff can take the stress of the job. On Thursday night 1 April, the police had to be called to restore order at the domestic section. The press of people who were fed up with late flights was impossible for the staff to cope adequately. Something must be done. One hopes that this kind of disorder does not extend to the safety of Bahamasair.

The Prime Minister has carried out his threat and taken on 29 Defence Force officers to learn air traffic control. This after the Christmas slow down at the airport by the controllers. The Prime Minister told the Union leader at the recent meeting that he did not need to have any further conversation with him. The Defence Force Officers are away being trained and if he has any further trouble from them he will simply replace them with defence force officers. A source at the banks said that each defence force officer who has gone off on a 6-month course was given $12,000 dollars by the Government to take with them for expenses. That is 12,000 by 29 Defence Force officers. That money could have been given to the air traffic in controllers to give them a raise and then you would not have to worry about bringing in the military.

The Prime Minister is increasingly using the military to deal with civilian problems. It is believed that during last week's disorder he called up Defence Force marines with live ammunition to deal with protesters. Further, he has deployed Defence Force personnel to run the Port Authority in New Providence, to guard BaTelCo and BEC from sabotage, and soon he will have them running air traffic control. If this were another country, you would say that here is the makings of a man who has a military complex and wants to be in a in a position to run the country under military dictate. The Commander of the Defence Force must be extremely careful not to allow the Prime Minister to use the Defence Force in the way he is presently using the police force in purely civilian matters. The Defence Force has no place in the civil polity of this country.  We shall be on our guard.

12,000 feet over the Berry islands is not in the controlled air space The Bahamas. 7000 feet over the Exumas is not the controlled airspace of The Bahamas. This, say air traffic controllers is the reason why there are sometimes delays out of Nassau. Miami has control of the airspace and tells Nassau to hold up the flights on the ground in Nassau. The air traffic controllers say that the airport must have an upgrade, there must be further training and the purchase of new equipment. But instead of doing this the Prime Minister is busy trying giving money to defence force officers to defeat the civilian air traffic controllers.

The colleagues of Hubert Ingraham say that he is so nervous and under so much pressure that he is more irascible than ever.  In his speech to the nation on Wednesday 30 March about BaTelCo, he accused the unions of having the agenda of politicians, and wanting to form a  political party. He claimed that the industrial unrest won't go away simply because of the solutions, which he has agreed to broker. This man will stoop to anything to pollute the issue. At the College of The Bahamas he started a rumour that the PLP was behind the legitimate demands of trade unionists there for an increase in salary. Some of the people involved in that strike would never vote PLP if it could save their lives. But anything is said to escape the responsibility for one's own stupidity.

Clearly there is so much work to be done.  The country is fed up, and ripe for the taking. The PLP must get itself organized if it is to take advantage of the trouble. We must get the nationalist side back into Government, otherwise we are in deep deep do do.

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Note from the Publisher
The tension in the country was only marginally reduced as the key person who causes all of the unrest was out of the country for most of the week in Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands on a fishing trip. No doubt as soon as he returns there will be problems. It is a pity that the Prime Minister is the cause of all of the trouble
THE FNM has announced that it has started its own web site. The site's address is www.fnmbahamasfacts.com. Up to Wednesday 7 April, the site was saying that it was still under construction. A company in Boston is constructing the site. FNM Chairman Dwight Sawyer could not say why the site is being built in Boston and not in The Bahamas. The site promises the FNM will be put in place to counteract misinformation from any other sites. Translation, to counteract this web site. Good luck fellas, but we doubt it.
PLP LEADER PERRY CHRISTIE is on the move with the continued rebuilding of the PLP. The Women's Branch is well on the way with its leadership being officially installed by the Leader at a ceremony on Sunday 3 April. Glenys Hanna-Martin is its new Chair.
THE PLP Leader is also revitalizing the Young Liberals and forming a new group of Young Professionals of the PLP. All of this is to put the party in some kind of shape to meet the tasks ahead.

Chair of the PLP Womens Branch, Mrs. Glenys Hanna-Martin (centre) during the ceremony of her official installation. At right is PLP Leader Hon. Perry Christie MP. Senator Obie Wilchcombe is at left. Guardian photo.

e-mail timbuktu@batelnet.bs   
Patrick Walkes, the new General Manager of the Nassau Guardian, called a staff meeting on Tuesday 6 April 1999. The meeting was called after every one of the staff refused to sign a new contract of employment put to the staff last week. The staff was told unceremoniously to sign or consider themselves not a part of the Guardian staff. Twenty-two members of the staff met with this columnist to talk about the contract. The contract has two seriously immoral provisions. The first is a non-competition clause, which would almost certainly be struck down by any fair court as void for public policy reasons as being in restraint of trade. The clause forces Guardian employees to commit not to work for any one who competes with the Guardian anywhere it or one of its affiliate companies has an office for two years. That is foolishness. The second forces employees accept a notice period upon dismissal of thirty days. Imagine you are an employee of 15 years, under the present department of Labour guidelines where a contract is silent like the Nassau Guardian's is on termination, you would be entitled to two weeks for the first year and one week for every year of employment after that as notice or pay in lieu of notice. The Guardian wants employees of long standing to give that up for thirty days notice. The Guardian has to pay out everyone's contract if it wants to start anew. The General Manager told the staff that the 1 April initial deadline has passed and he gave the staff until Monday 12 April to sign the contract or it will be assumed that people no
longer want to work for the Nassau Guardian. It seems that the corporate culture has gotten worse.  The employees ought to mark out those areas on which they disagree  in the contract and send it back to the General Manager.

Everyone had high hopes for Dr. Leon Higgs a man who raised himself up by his bootstraps to the Ph D level. He raised his five sons on his own. Yet he seems not to have empathy or understanding for the plight of COB lecturers. Last week at a COB demonstration the President had nothing to say by word of apology or concern for the arrest of five students on his campus, the first of its kind. The five students are to be arraigned on Wednesday 14 April. Dr. Higgs has allowed a cabal of insiders at COB to blind him to the light of how to deal equitably with his staff. One of the reasons that he was supported as an outsider to COB was the fact that he would bring a new sensitivity to the situation there; new ideas. Instead, he appears to have fallen victim to the cabal that was in charge before he arrived. The result is that a strike took place at COB. Lecturers and students demonstrated every day until Wednesday 7 April. Meetings were called at the Department of Labour, but the discussions were laborious. The strike was rock-solid behind the Union President Zendal Forbes. The foolish Prime Minister got into the act by suggesting that the strike at COB is politically motivated. Only in his wild imagination! It is just part of his pathological hatred of Zendal Forbes and Fred Mitchell.   The President of COB should have moved expeditiously to deal with the lecturers so that the students of COB did not suffer. It was clear that Dr. Higgs was insensitive to student concerns or he would have moved to settle this issue. On Tuesday 6 April, a press conference was reported and it was full of misinformation and disinformation by Dr. Higgs and Rhonda Chipman-Johnson, the latter of whom appears to be the tail wagging the dog. There is still a need for Dr. Higgs to rise above the actions of the cabal around him and take the bull by the horns, bite the bullet; whatever it takes to get this thing solved.  Dr. Higgs is shown with Dr. Rhonda Chipman-Johnson during a news conference. Guardian Photo.

Michael Pintard the FNM's candidate for Centreville in the last General Election came out of the blue and cobbled up a compromise which allowed the lecturers to get back to the classroom. That's how the press would have it believed. The real hero of the piece, quietly behind the scenes is National Congress of Trade Unions President Duke Hanna. He got the sides together and was able to get the lecturers  back to work. The College gave Zendal Forbes the President of the Union a letter to reaffirm that there would be no reprisals and no victimization. COB also agreed that the agreement when signed will have retroactive affect.

The five COB students charged with obstruction while demonstrating last week are to appear in court on Wednesday 14 April 1998. COB President Leon Higgs was attacked by students at a general meeting held on the college campus with students on Thursday 8 April for not stopping the arrests of the students.  Reports say that the student population took Dr. Higgs to task for allowing a strike to develop, and not doing more to avoid the strike.


Baroness Thatcher pictured at Government House with her husband,
Sir Denis, at left and Paradise Island's Sol Kerzner in the background.
Perry Christie, the Leader of the Opposition, is obviously being courted by the Governor General.  After PLPs started complaining that Government House had virtually become a revolving door for FNM propaganda exercises particularly those of the Minister of Housing Algernon Allen; and after PLPs had threatened to complain of partisanship at Government House to the Prime Minister, it appears that Government House is attempting to mend its ways.  The Leader of the Opposition was invited to the lunch of politicians and retired politicians and public servants who are over the age of fifty at Government House last week.  Then this week the Governor General specially invited the Leader of the Opposition to attend the presentation of letters of commission by South Africa's first non-resident High Commissioner to The Bahamas.  The Governor-General also invited Senator Melanie Griffin. Not invited was this columnist, the Opposition's spokesman on Foreign Affairs.  The new High Commissioner is the daughter of the great South African freedom fighter Albert Luthuli.  The late Mr. Luthuli was prior to Dr. Martin Luther King, the only black Nobel peace laureate. Also at the ceremony were Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and her husband Sir Dennis. Baroness Thatcher was the guest of Edward St. George in Freeport.  Mr. St. George also attended the function. The Governor General arranged it so that Dr. Bernard Nottage sat next to Sol Kerzner, the South African head of Sun International during lunch.  Would there have been a fly on the wall of that conversation?


The GG is supposed to be purely apolitical. He is not supposed to know a side.  Sir Orville needs to go further. He needs to call the Prime Minister in, pursuant to his powers under the constitution and ask him to cease and desist from putting political expressions in Speeches from the Throne. It is an embarrassment to this country. Hopefully, once there is constitutional reform, the office of the Governor General will be abolished, and we will have a President of the republic of The Bahamas, freely elected by the people of The Bahamas. Until then, PLPs must be on their guard and not let anyone take over Government House for the purposes of the FNM.

If indeed Frederica Fraser is a real person, this web site really got her waters running.  In a letter published in The Tribune on 6 April 1999, she claimed to predict what will happen to the political future of this columnist. That is not a concern here. What is a concern are certain inaccuracies about his site. She claims that the site was started to promote the PLP, and therefore criticizes it as an act of self-promotion. The fact is the site by its name is fredmitchelluncensored. That speaks for itself.  Is this a person of low intelligence?  It is unfortunate that the letter writer herself is so bitter that she herself cannot see. This columnist does not care one hoot whether Hubert Ingraham speaks to him or not, the point is that, as Prime Minister, Hubert Ingraham is expected to behave in a civilized fashion, not like a pig in a hog pen. Finally, each Union, which is represented, is aware of the fact that this columnist is the shadow spokesman on labour. Any potential conflict is therefore waived.  The letter writer also does not understand the nature of the web. The writer attempts to impugn the statistics recording the number of persons who hit the web site per month. That figure is up to more that four thousand for this month alone. It is not the cumulative hits for each page one hits. The figures represent the accumulation of those persons who hit the home page of the web site. Frederica Fraser should perhaps go to St. Agnes Church and pray for her sin of lying and envy. Of course, we don't believe for a moment that such a person exists, but we believe that we know the FNM ideologue that wrote the letter. It is piece of disinformation and propaganda.


The Trade Union Congress last week read the riot act to Texaco. They told Trevor Edgehill to settle with Doyle Fox or face a workers' boycott.  Texaco responded by sending another letter to Doyle Fox telling him that he ought to leave the station.  The Law Reform Commissioner has been having extensive talks with both the oil dealers and the oil companies with a view to making recommendations on the further regulation of  the oil industry in The Bahamas, along the lines of legislation from Australia.  What has happened to Doyle Fox must not be allowed to happen again.  The Trade Union Congress expects to have some answer about Doyle Fox's situation shortly.  TUC President Obie Ferguson made it clear to Texaco that they were not bluffing.  That seemed to do the trick. We shall report the outcome as soon as we know it. Mr. Fox was to have left on Thursday 8 April. He will not move until all issues are settled. Mr. Fox is caught, unmoved, at his station in this Tribune photo.

The playwright and novelist wrote a letter published in The Nassau Guardian on Tuesday 6 April.  Dr. Strachan, who resigned from the College last year, and now teaches abroad, joined the march of lecturers last week. He had a goatskin drum beating as we walked along the march. Dr. Strachan told The Nassau Guardian that the new College President could not succeed because he does not have the respect of his own management team. He added: " Many of whom [the management team] were fuming because they did not have the sexual organs which would have qualified them for the presidency ."  But Dr. Strachan's most important point as the lecturers went back to the classroom was that COB is worse today than it was in 1989 when he was a student there. Further, he said that without the support of parents to force the College to become better the lecturers struggling by themselves were ultimately destined to fail. The fact that an FNM ideologue in the person of Michael Pintard intervened this week, shows how the Government is insidious in undermining the labour struggle at COB.


The talk is that the College will have to propose an extension to the semester to make up for lost time as a result of the strike.  It will be interesting to see how they will get the cooperation of the lecturers to get that done.


PLP supporters were happy to see an advertisement, which appeared, on page 9A of The Nassau Guardian on Tuesday 6 April. The headline of the ad says " HUBERT INGRAHAM MUST GO NOW! " The advertisment caustically but factually lays out the reasons why Mr. Ingraham has to go. It explains that when he retires after 8 years as Prime Minister and at the age of 55, he will get nearly one million dollars in benefits form The Bahamas. The FNM immediately accused the PLP of running a dirty tricks campaign. The only dirty trick is the FNM calling it a dirty trick. No one knows who the Committee to Save The Bahamas is. That's the group that paid for the ad. What is good is that at last someone is attacking the FNM where it hurts. The mealy-mouthed Nassau Guardian attacked the ad in its editorial column. That did not stop them from taking the money from the persons who paid for the ad though.

On Thursday night 8 April, the rumours were rife throughout New Providence about the formation of a labour party. It was being said that a pact had been reached between a PLP MP and the labour unions for the formation of a political party. They even tied this columnist to such an effort. For the record, this columnist knows of no such effort.

A press conference held by Shane Gibson and TUC officers revealed to the nation that the Government does not want to sell shares in BATELCO to the Union. The PLP has always said that the FNM and Hubert Ingraham is anti-Bahamian.  More next week.

Things as they say get curioser and curioser. Darren Cash, who every one hoped would be a voice of sanity and independence, spoke in the Senate and according to the Tribune praised the Government for appointing Geoffery Johnstone, the last captain of the UBP, as the head of the Government's constitutional commission. Senator Cash is reported to have said that the appointment was "a bold step". It is matter of concern that this generation is determined to lead us back into Egypt, despite the fine education that has been provided for them. It is a great shame.


This column is being written from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in the United States.  This is the time for this columnist's annual physical that has turned up no irregularities.  Given the dangers of  colon cancer for black men, and the high incidence of prostate cancer amongst Bahamian Black men, it is important for males over the age of forty in particular to have a regular medical exam. Further, young males should learn to choose a doctor early, someone whom you can trust that will be able to provide help when you need medical problems solved, and will develop a history of your medical life which can help as you get older. The old lore still remains amongst men that it is better not to know.  It is part of that school of thought that can be described as fatalistic.  That there is nothing one can do about one's condition or life; to direct it on another path.  This is a curious position to take in a society that professes to be Christian in nature, and the essence of the teachings of Christ seems to be that you can determine your future and the quality of your present by the way you conduct your life.  And so think of the pain that might be saved some loved ones by the early detection of cancer of the prostate or colon.  The tests that are given are not absolutely foolproof.  For example most colon tests look into only 85 per cent of the bowel where most cancers occur.  They will do a more thorough test if you have a history of colon cancer in your immediate family.  Under the age of fifty and over the age of forty, a test should be done for colon cancer every three years.  The test for the prostate should be done every year. There should be regular diabetes checks and high blood pressure checks, particularly if you have a history of those diseases in your immediate families. You may as well try to let life last as long as you can.


BREEF is a public education non-governmental organization dedicated to saving the fishery of The Bahamas. The organization is founded and directed by Sir Nicolas Nuttal, a British baronet who lives in The Bahamas and is married to the former Eugenie Mc Weeney. This columnist has a passionate interest in environmental matters, having served as the Chairman of the Environmental Committee of the Bahamas National Trust. Bahamians should be warned that the conch is on the list of potentially endangered species.  Sir Nicholas says that it is a difficult animal to farm unlike shrimp.  Sir Nicholas has managed to get the Government to put in place a closed season for the grouper that is clearly in danger of disappearing.  Bahamians ought to educate themselves on these issues.  Thank you for a pleasant lunch, Sir Nicholas.


Leadership in this day and time is difficult.  This is more the case where you have a highly educated group of union workers, with strong views and politically high profile and ideologically eclectic group of workers.  This week Zendal Forbes was able to lead his workers at the College of the Bahamas back to work, after having totally embarrassed the College administration at COB.  The Union has the public's support.  One hopes that this matter will soon be settled.


The paternal aunt of this columnist died quietly in her bed on Wednesday 7 April.  She was 90 years old.  She was buried in the Western Cemetery, following a funeral service at St. Agnes Anglican Church in Grant's Town.  Miss Mitchell never married.  She was a well-known seamstress in her day.  One of her great joys was to sew the wedding gown for her niece Corliss who is married to Mann Judd accountant Clifford Culmer.  Miss Mitchell was the oldest of seven children born to Robert and Odessa Mitchell (nee Weech).  The Bahamas she left was a completely different place than the one into which she was born.  She lived her early years in Bain Town.  She sewed all her life, and was a favourite of winter resident women who came to live in The Bahamas in the old days
during the season.  She was predeceased by her parents, and three of her siblings. She is survived by her sister Ruth Granger; her brother Fred Mitchell Sr.

There was a report shortly before press time that the Police Association was moving to get an injunction to restrain Commissioner of Police B. K. Bonamy from continuing to implement Force Order number one of 1999.  That order adds an additional requirement for a promotion from the level of constable to corporal, from corporal to sergeant and from sergeant to inspector.  The Police Association has publicly argued that this is a unilateral change of the terms and conditions of their contract.  The order make it mandatory for each person to attend and be certified in a training course after they have passed the requisite exam for the next promotion level.  The Association argues that while this may be lawful to be imposed on new recruits, one cannot change an existing
contract in midstream without running afoul of contract law. The newspapers reported on Saturday 10 April that a petition has been presented by the Police Association calling upon the Commissioner to resign from his position. More next week.


Hubert Ingraham came to office promising that the National Debt was going to decrease.  Now it has increased to 1.7 billion dollars, some thirty four million more than the end of 1997.  What does the pied piper have to say now.

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Note from the Publisher
The FNM's bid to open a web site has flopped like a flat pancake.  The site is so boring  that many wondered what they were trying to achieve. Perhaps they can get that dummy that has an infatuation with Fred Mitchell and keeps writing to the newspaper under the nom de plume Frederica Fraser to write for the web site.  It can use a few more lies to lighten up its life. W. B. Yeats wrote a long time ago that the best lack all conviction.  That is what our informant thought about a meeting put together by FNM partisans and public officials in Freeport on Thursday 17 April to define the policy of selling Batelco to a foreign strategic partner.  It was clear that the FNM does not have a clue why it's doing what its doing.  What they are hell bent on doing, however is putting 1200 plus people out of work. THEY SAY YOU COULD HEAR HUBERT INGRAHAM screaming at the Union leaders from the rooms down the hall.  Mr. Ingraham told the Batelco Union leaders on Tuesday 13 April, : " Look at me good. I don't care how many cables y'all cut this is the last offer take it or leave it."  With that the Union believed that it had cut the best deal that it could for its members and in a raucous meeting before a disappointed group of unionists, the BCPOU threw in the towel.  At week's end some 500 workers had applied for a package to leave Batelco.  The Deputy Prime Minister announced that he does not want to wait until September for them to leave that they must leave by the end of May. THIS WEEK WE PUBLISH THE presentation of this columnist at the political economy class of Felix Bethel of the College of The Bahamas on the question of public
administration in its constitutional context.  You may click here for the full address.  In the address this columnist warned the Commissioner of Police not to make his office a political one and to stop trying to make it appear that he has the power to stop people from demonstrating when he does not. WE NOW HAVE REACHED 6975 HITS FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL UP TO PRESS TIME.

This columnist will be travelling to Boston for the Executive Alumni meeting of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from Tuesday 20 April until Saturday 24 April.

The five COB students, shortly after they were freed, on the steps of the cenotaph, just outside the court.  From left: Wayne Wilson, Maquin Carey, Bjorn Ferguson, Devaughn Munroe and Jamaine Major. Mr. Ferguson is the newphew of Agnes Ferguson, ZNS news anchor and the grandson of PLP Stalwart Councillor James Minns.  Standing at centre is Senator Fred Mitchell and to his left is President of the Union Zendal Forbes. Photo by Rodney Moncur.

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THE FNM ADMINISTRATION IN a rare bout of conscience freed the COB Five. During demonstrations week before last at the College of The Bahamas, police officers under the direction and control of the FNM arrested five COB male students who were demonstrating in support of their lecturers' demands for improved pay and working conditions. The five fearless young men stood before the court presided over by Magistrate Renae McKay on Wednesday 14 April.  The charges of obstruction were read to them.  The prosecutor then rose and told the students that her instructions were to offer no evidence against them.  The Magistrate then formally acquitted them.  Outside they were greeted by an enthusiastic group of friends, family and lecturers.  Amongst the lecturers was Zendal Forbes, President of the Union of Tertiary Educators, who represents the lecturers at COB.  We have exclusive pictures by RODNEY MONCUR, political activist and PLP council member.  This one is a contemplative photo of two of the five sitting in their jail cell at the Quackoo Street police station in New Providence.


At the age of fifty-four suffering from collapsed kidneys, awaiting a transplant, suffering from diabetes and hypertension, Lionel Dorsett formerly of Exuma and later of Grand Bahama passed away quietly in his sleep.  At his death, he was a broken man.  He was broken after the trial in 1987 for criminal libel brought against him as Editor of the FNM's newspaper The Torch. The PLP administration charged him with criminal libel for printing the headline in the newspaper " THE CHIEF IS A TIEF ". It was the rallying cry of FNMs in the 1987 election.  A picture of then Prime Minister Pindling was shown on the same page.  The Government said that this meant that Mr. Dorsett was accusing Sir Lynden of being a thief.  The trial ended in an 11 to 1 acquittal. True to form,  the FNM leadership was no where to be found during the trial.  They scampered away from Mr. Dorsett like he was a plague. Chuck and Linda Virgill were called in at the last minute to conduct his defence. Sir Orville Turnquest, now Governor General, an expert on criminal libel, ought to have done so. After the acquittal though, they all rushed to take a photo with Mr. Dorsett outside the courtroom. Particularly prominent was now Minister of Foreign Affairs Janet Bostwick, grinning from ear to ear.  It was a disgrace. They gave him no financial support after that. Mr. Dorsett is shown at centre in this Tribune photo with Guardian reporter Gladstone Thurston (left), Janet Bostwick (right) and Carl Bethel pointing his head out at far right.


At the time of the trial Hubert Ingraham was an independent.  He was busy making sanctimonious statements about how Mr. Dorsett should never have been tried.  As usual, he did nothing to help Mr. Dorsett's defence.  Once Mr. Ingraham became Prime Minister he ought to have used his power to change the law so that no one else could tried for that offence in this country again.  It is clearly unconstitutional and a travesty of the whole idea of free speech for that law to be on the books.  It means that you can actually go to jail for expressing your opinions in speech.  The sentence is two years in prison.  Mr. Ingraham is a hypocrite, and his words upon hearing of the death about what a wonderful and courageous fellow Lionel was ring hollow.  His best bet would have been to shut up and keep quiet and not embarrass himself and his party. A Tribune Photo.


The FNM was busy on Freeport radio waxing eloquent about Lionel Dorsett.  A caller professing to be Lionel's cousin brought the house down when he told the audience that Lionel Dorsett died a broken man, who received no assistance from the Government and the FNM and all these people making these noises about what a great fellow he was.  In fact, he virtually saw none of them near the end.  Pindling always said, we don't' know how to treat you in your lifetime but we sure know how to bury you."  Worthless Ingraham has learned from his master well.


Funeral services for the late Lionel Dorsett will be held in Georgetown, Exuma at St.Andrew's Anglican Church on Saturday 24 April. He will be buried in his native Exuma. Yet another tragic story of how politics can use you up in The Bahamas without mercy.

After weeks of taking it on the chin from their staff, and following a week when the line staff virtually unanimously signed on as members of the Bahamas Communication's and Public Officers Union (BCPOU ), the Nassau Guardian's General Manager Patrick Walkes announced that the contract which the staff were being forced to sign was being withdrawn. Mr. Walkes claimed that it was a mistake. He said that the Guardian instead was going to release to the staff a Group Culture Statement.

Oswald Brown, the Editor of the Nassau Guardian, is almost universally reviled at the Guardian as an ignorant buffoon, who is living in the dark ages of journalism. He claimed last week that he always stood up for his staff. His comments came as the Guardian's management introduced its group culture statement, which read like a religious pledge.  In fact it ended with the words: " WE ARE THE GUARDIAN GROUP!!! AMEN."  When he made the comment, the Guardian's writers were shocked.  This is the same man who rampaged around the editing room at the Guardian telling the staff to sign the contract or be fired.  This is the same man who said: " Fred Mitchell will never appear again in this newspaper. " This is the man who let his political prejudices keep stories out of the paper because they come from the PLP.


Remember the chain of events.  Two weeks ago, the Guardian's staff were called together and given contract a which obliged them not to work for anyone who competed with the Guardian anywhere in the world for two years after they left the Guardian.  They were also obliged to sign a contract that would allow the Guardian to change its terms without reference to the employee and to accept thirty days notice for dismissal no matter how long they had been working at the Guardian.  So the staff were shocked when they were told by managers in small group meetings this week how much they were loved, and how much the Guardian had to work together to get a good product. People could hardly keep a straight face in the meeting.

The meetings were called to encourage the staff to say what they felt about their supervisors.  Brown came out smelling like a hog.  The meetings began when a member of the staff was identified and asked by the manager to read the pledge out aloud.  It was like Sunday school.  Then at the end of the meeting, just before they break they had to read the statement again.  It was embarrassing.  The whole exercise was repeated at the Guardian's sister publication The Freeport News in Grand Bahama.


After all the bad blood of the last week, with 30 of their colleagues dismissed and sent home for being nothing more than senior employees with too large a pay cheque, the Guardian is planning a Fun Day for the staff.  The staff now is supposed to gather on the beach to have fun with the managers who tried to cut their heads off two weeks ago.


The tactics of The Guardian are simply designed to prevent the staff from unionizing.  The effort to unionize the staff is rock solid. It is believed that no one will show up to the so-called Fun Day.  The Guardian has fourteen days from Monday 12 April to answer whether they accept that the BCPOU has fifty per cent plus one of the staff as members. While the staff complaints meetings were going on, the representatives of the American owners were sitting a room next door to the meetings where it is believed they could hear what was going on.


The week started with a scandalous allegation about  a prominent church leader, which has been subsequently but so far privately denied by all those in the know.  But the only importance to public policy of an unsubstantiated rumour is the fact that it came at the time of the nominations for a new slate of officers of the Bahamas Christian Council. The Roman Catholics are said to be so concerned about the state of the Christian Council that they do not send representatives to meetings any more.  There are some in the Anglican Church who are in favour of bolting the organization in the face of this latest report.  The report is that there was an agreement made when the last elections were held that instead of elections to the offices of the Council there would be a rotation of the leadership
amongst denominations.  Under the present rules, even though the Anglican and Catholic Churches have between them 40 per cent of the church going population, when put in the face of the individual, independent churches, the Anglican and Catholic prelates can never become leaders of the Christian Council.  The Prime Minister, who is up in every body's business, has to answer the question: did he interfere with the choice of the successor to the present head of the Christian Council to prevent the Anglican Archbishop from becoming head of the Council on a rotation basis?  Mr. Ingraham is
known to be afraid of Archbishop Gomez.  It would be interesting to see what his answer is to the question.  No one should be surprised if it is true.


Four hundred thousand mangoes from Peru were on their way to Britain from Peru in sealed containers.  They were dropped off here to be flown by plane to Britain. Someone opened them because it was believed that they were rotten.  They decided not to fly them to Britain but instead to bury all of them on the Government's Central Agriculture Station at Gladstone Road.  A senior staff member of the Ministry called this columnist to complain and The Tribune was informed to investigate the matter.  The problem is that Peru is a med fly country.  The Tribune photos showed thousands of boxes of mangoes in the open air.  The Minister of Agriculture Earl Deveuax who seems increasingly out to lunch, said that it presented no problem for med fly infestation.  The staff advising this columnist said it is too late to know.  By opening the containers the med flies or their larvae may have escaped.  Med Flies can ruin the citrus crops of this country.  They bury themselves into the fruit and then destroy it on the tree. A Tribune Photo.


The Minster of Agriculture has been in trouble for some weeks.  The staff at the Ministry is now openly accusing him of looking the other way when his relative got a special favour from the Ministry of which he is the head.  There does not appear to be any policy on agriculture in the country.  The Minister is so afraid that he will lose North Andros that he said to be encroaching on the territory of his brother FNM MP Ronald Bostwick who succeeded Sir Lynden Pindling in the South Andros seat.  By week's end it was too much for the Minister and he made  pledge not to run for the South Andros seat.  The PLP expects North Andros to be in its column the next time around.,  There is no employment in North Andros and agriculture has been decimated in that part of Andros. A Guardian Photo.


Yet again it was reported to us that the Director of Agriculture was out of the loop, kept out by the Minister. It appears that the Deputy Director is running the Department on his own.  A case in point is a seminar planned for staff all day off the job site.  The Director found out about it when he received an invitation to attend, like he was a stranger to the Ministry.  Things that make you go " hmm".


Thandi Luthuli is the daughter of the Nobel Laureate Albert Luthuli. She led the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, following in the footsteps of her illustrious father.  She is now the High Commissioner to The Bahamas. The first from her country.  She was invited to Government House for a strange ceremony: the presentation of letters of Commission of the High Commissioner. Very strange indeed. Our Governor General is an innovative man.  Only Ambassadors, that is those from non-Commonwealth countries, present letters of credence in the elaborate ceremonies at Government House. This must be a first for a High Commissioner.  Usually an HC stops by for a chat and introduction but the envoy presents his formal letter of introduction to the Prime Minister.  The constitutional theory is that you cannot have Ambassadors from one Commonwealth country to another, since the Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth.  That did not stop our GG from having his ceremony.  The talk is that the High Commissioner may have been offended  by the presence of Margaret Thatcher at the lunch held at Government House. Mrs. Thatcher was Prime Minister of Britain and refused to implement the sanctions program wanted by the African National Congress, the party of Mandela. The talk also is that Sol Kerzner, the South African, who owns Paradise Island was a source of contention as well.  Ms. Luthuli led the boycott against his Sun City complex in South Africa. During the apartheid days, the white South African men who could not be seen with black women in regular South Africa were able to take advantage of the fiction of the independent homelands created by the apartheid Government to have a racial fling.  Mr. Kernzer built Sun City on that. Of course no one from the anti-apartheid movement in The Bahamas was invited to the Governor-General's lunch, nor was this columnist as Opposition spokesman Foreign Affairs.  For the benefit of stupid Frederica Fraser who seems to have a crush on this columnist (every week "she" is busy writing letters to the press about this column), the point is not whether Fred Mitchell individually is asked. The point is whether the Governor General - not Orville Turnquest - knows that in our system there is a shadow cabinet and the Opposite number of the Minister of Foreign Affairs ought to be involved in matters relating to foreign affairs.  Otherwise we could all
avoid each other's company.


All of the friends of this columnist are taking bets as to who the real Frederica Fraser is.  No one for a moment believes that such a person exists.  The feeling is that it is a paid political writer by the FNM, spreading disinformation.  Low intelligence is a bitch.  There are just some people who are too dumb to bother arguing with. But keep it up " Frederica". It's good entertainment.


Howard Nathan, QC, of Victoria, Australia, has been appointed a Justice of the Bahamas Suprene Court for three months. One Australian judge has left after three months here trying to get rid of the FNM's backlog of cases in the courts.  Another was sworn in for three months here.  This looks to be a good vacation spot for Australian judges, all expenses paid by the Bahamian Government.  This is getting to be scandalous.  What do we have here: rent a judge?  The Government needs to deal with the problem of hiring permanent judges to the Bench.  They just allowed Joe Strachan to go into retirement, even though he could have been extended for another two years.  They believed that his politics was of the wrong shade so out he went.  Instead they bring in Judges from Australia, three months at a time, and they have the Registrar of the Court writing lawyers demanding that the cases are brought up or they will be dismissed in their absence.  One wonders how they will stand up on appeal.  What a country. A Tribune Photo.

The British High Commissioner has responded to a query by the Opposition's spokesman on Foreign Affairs about Bahamians detained at the Turks Island Airport at Providenciales. The High Commissioner said that some of the Bahamians required work permits.  The Director of Immigration granted the permits and they were then free to enter the country.  The  Bahamians felt that they were being discriminated against because they came to support an Opposition candidate in the Turks Island elections.


This week this columnist in his capacity as a Senator together with Senator Lonnie Rolle attended His Excellency the Governor General to present a copy of the resolution from the senate thanking him for his speech to the throne.  There was a photographer there from the Government's information agency Bahamas Information Services.  He promised that the photo would be ready the next day.  Not only has the photo not appeared but we could not get the agency to return our telephone calls.  So much for information from the Bahamas Information Services.

Last week 1200 passengers were left stranded because of the break down of equipment. The three jets were out.  Some passengers did not get home until 7 a.m. the day after their departure and had to spent the night in the airport.  The situation at the airline is going from bad to worse.  The problem is where is the outrage of the Bahamian people from this continued poor service by the Government?


Some people think that the harsh criticism of the occupant translates into lack of respect for the office of Prime Minister.  This columnist says respect is due to those who give respect.  When you act like a hog you have to be treated like a hog.  When you act like a civilized person then that's the treatment you will get.  'Nuff said.

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Note from the Publisher
OUR STUDENTS IN JAMAICA report that they are safe and sound after three days of rioting in Kingston.  The rioting came following a Government announcement that fuel prices would rise dramatically.  Seven people were reported killed. Calm was restored after P. J. Patterson, Prime Minister, announced that the price increases might be rolled back. Kevin Bowe, a Bahamian medical student, reports that he had to walk to the hospital in order to report to work. He said that the streets were all closed to traffic. Otherwise people seemed to be fine. Neil Parker, President of the Bahamian Students Association sent a letter to the press in Nassau in which he reported that all students were safe, sound and accounted for. Jamaica is suffering from the same problem we have. There is an ineffective Opposition, and no way for dissent to find its way into the mainstream without resorting to violence. The fact that you have the FNM with a large majority like P.J. has in Jamaica means absolutely nothing. This is evidenced by the Batelco workers in the streets. If the PLP does not find a way, we can expect the same thing to happen here in The Bahamas.

THIS WEEK the bozo we call Prime Minister announced that he is offering a $10,000 reward for damage caused to Water and Sewerage trucks during continued industrial action at the corporation. He, of course, is the reason why we have the industrial unrest, so maybe he should pay the $10,000 out of his bloated salary.

EACH WEEK IN THE MAIL, each one of us probably receives a warning or an advisory of some kind about the Y2K problem. This is the man made problem as a result of the invention of the personal computer in the 1980s. The early computers were designed to save memory so they did not include the digits 1-9 in the year when marking a date in the computer. The result is that in some computers when the digits 00 turn up, the computer will read 1900. Not 2000. Dire consequences have been predicted. Some people believe that the end is coming and are preparing appropriately with gallons of water, extra food and shelter. It all seems like a lot of foolishness. We did an exercise at our firm. Even if the PCs were not 2000 compliant, there is nothing that we do in the office on the PCs that is date sensitive. The thing means nothing to us. At least that is the expert advice that we have been given. Yet one can't help but feel that something is going wrong since every one seems to be so upset about it.  The Royal Bank of Canada offers a loan program for those who want to replace their PCs to avoid the problem of being non-2000 compliant. So go see Al Jarret and perhaps he can fix you up with a loan.

THIS COLUMN IS BEING WRITTEN from Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is the site of the twice yearly meeting of the Alumni Executive Council of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University. This columnist graduated from here in a glorious spring of 1980.  Boston, right across the Charles River, is by far the favourite foreign city of this columnist. We are trying to mount an effort to start a fellowship for a Bahamian student to study at the Kennedy School. A representative of the University is coming to Nassau from 4 May to 8 May. The Kennedy School changed the whole way that this columnist thought about Government in 1980, and it would be good to have more Bahamians trained in the ways of Harvard. A BAHAMIAN WHO WISHES TO BE ANONYMOUS HAS AGREED TO DONATE $25,000 TO START THE FUND FOR THE FELLOW SHIP.

WE ARE EXPLORING ways of getting voice technology on this site so that you can hear as well as see what we're talking about. 

e-mail timbuktu@batelnet.bs 
Alfred Sears who is one of the country's best attorneys, and has had a life of political activism, ventured into the PLP's headquarters on Tuesday 20 April.  He was called by Perry Christie, the Leader of the Opposition, at a special meeting at party headquarters with a hundred others like Mr. Sears to talk about the reorganization of the PLP. A new organization is to be formed. Mr. Christie has made it plain that no officer of the PLP will be a candidate in the next election for the PLP.  Further there is a discussion about whether or not ministers of religion will be allowed to be candidates. The professional group met upstairs in the headquarters. The youth group met downstairs. There were hundreds of people in the building. Gambier House is taking on a new life.


Part of what Mr. Sears had to say was a kinder gentler version of what former Senator Damian Gomez was crucified for saying. Hubert Ingraham does not know how to behave as Prime Minister because he, not withstanding his aggression and power, has a limited education. The word education is used in its original Latin sense. He does not have the basic exposure for the job. It was certainly time for Sir Lynden to go in 1992 but the choice, which faced us, was a poor one.  Sir Lynden was a lettered man. Hubert Ingraham was not. So after years of the previous generation of Bahamians training their children to get the best education, we handed the country to an unlettered man. There is nothing wrong intrinsically with that, but some of the problems we see are precisely because he does not know how. Mr. Sears got a rousing applause.


The Fox Hill branch of the Progressive Liberal Party attended the regular morning Sunday service at 11 a.m. at St. Mark's Native Baptist Church in Fox Hill on 18 April. The occasion was to mark the second anniversary of this columnist as the candidate for Fox Hill for the PLP.  The sermon was delivered by the Rev. Carrington Pidner who is the executive secretary of the Bahamas Baptist Missionary and Education Convention. The Pastor talked about the value of integrity, of loyalty and dedication. He received a rousing response. Our picture shows the branch members gathered outside St. Mark's Church on Sunday 18 April. The Chaplain of the Branch Evangelist Irene Rolle arranged the service.

Branch elections were held in the Fox Hill branch of the PLP on Wednesday 21 April.  Dwight Armbrister, National PLP vice-chair for branch affairs, conducted the elections. The Branch paid tribute to outgoing Chair Jason Ferguson. He has been Chairman for two years. Mr. Ferguson is to become an officer in the national youth organization for the PLP. The new officers for the branch are as follows: Larry Wilmott, Chairman; 1st Vice Chair, Della Cockburn; 2nd Vice Chair, Clarence Moss; Secretary, Deidre Rolle; Assistant Secretary, Renee Major; Treasurer, Kayla Wilmott;  Assistant Treasurer, Charmaine Curry; Chaplain,  Evangelist Irene Rolle and Trustees: Een Colebrooke, Jason Ferguson,  Joanna Greene and Mildred Pratt. Congratulations to all!  Their mandate is to run the branch affairs with a sound financial base, and to have an outreach program to attract members to the branch.



Friends of Dr. Nottage say that he held a town meeting during the past week about the efficacy of a third party. He has organized his headquarters into a study centre. It has computers and a steady stream of traffic of people looking for information. Dr. Nottage has not said publicly what he intends to do politically since he resigned from the PLP's shadow Cabinet. He also visited Eleuthera last week. No word on the reason for the meeting. The Leader of the Opposition announced last week that he is beginning the selection of candidates for the next General Election.

Three weeks ago or so, a writer to the press complained about a double standard by the Government toward those people suffering from road works Over-the-Hill and those of  the Eastern Road.  The letter was perceptive in that it showed that the roads on the Eastern Road once dug up were immediately repaved, so that the disruption was at a minimum. Meanwhile over the hill, the roads were left unpaved with dust blowing around, and holes in the road.  The letter writer said that even under this dispensation, they exercise a double standard between the rich whites that live on the Eastern Road and the poor blacks who live Over-the-Hill.  The Ministry of Works was not amused. Tribune photo.


The letter writer expressed a sentiment that found currency amongst the Bahamian people. The Ministry of Works responded by saying that the only difference between the Eastern Road project and the Over-the-Hill project was that in the case of the Eastern Road a private contractor was hired to fix the Eastern Road. The Ministry itself was doing the work Over-the-Hill. That spoke even further about the fact that the Ministry did not get the point of the criticism. The fact that private contractors did the Eastern Road and the Ministry (presumably less efficient in fixing roads) was fixing Over-the-Hill showed a prejudice or bias in favour of the Eastern Road. Things that make you go "hmmm ". The roads of New Providence are an absolute mess. There are trenches everywhere.  The Ministry of Works has promised a massive road-fixing programme.  They say that this mess is necessary to put down the new water mains for New Providence and the project is ahead of schedule and will be finished by July. No one has the confidence that this will be true. No doubt, as soon as the roads are fixed they will be dug up again. The traffic problems resulting from the road works are horrendous.


It would seem that the Minister of Works must be living in ga ga land. His people have announced that they have hired an expert to come and train Bahamians how to patch roads. We kid you not.  Apparently there is a particular expertise to patching roads that Bahamians do not know. Not paving roads, not the quality of the aggregate, they do not know how to patch roads. For this a man from Britain has been hired by the Ministry of Works to provide training to both the Ministry's staff as well as local contractors  "ON THE TECHNIQUES OF BACK FILLING AND TRENCH REINSTATEMENT WHILE USING PROPER GRADE MATERIAL."


Speaking of the Ministry of Works, Tommy Turnquest the Minister of Works has got to explain to the Bahamian people why his Ministry has so many expatriates working there. A Chemical Engineer with a Ph D, a Bahamian, who lives now in North Carolina was told that there was no place for him at the Ministry of Works, yet there are scores of expatriates running the Ministry of Works. The report is that the Bahamian staff at the Ministry are on the verge of a revolt. Nuff said.


The popular church leader found himself in the middle of a controversy on Saturday 17 April when he went ahead with the consecration of himself by the Full Gospel Fellowship of the United States of America as a Bishop.  Pastor Davis is the latest Bahamian to be so ordained. Preceding him was his brother Rev. Wenith Davis, Bishop Samuel Greene and Bishop Neil Ellis. The controversy came when the denomination to which Ross Davis belongs, the Assemblies of God, announced that they do not have Bishops in their denomination. It was against their constitution to be so ordained, they announced. Rev. Davis went ahead anyway, even after an ad from the Assemblies of God showed up in the newspaper.  There were hundreds out at the consecration at Golden Gates Assembly. A repast was prepared for some 800 people afterward. Pastor Davis appealed for reconciliation after the event, although he said that he had nothing for which to apologize. In a statement to The Tribune following the service, Pastor Davis denied that he was being consecrated for financial reasons. Tribune photo.

Last week we reported that an unsubstantiated rumour was circulated about a prominent church leader in The Bahamas. It was being denied privately. Now the police have gotten into the act and denied that the event happened at all. It only goes to show how Bahamians and particularly lying Ivan Johnson of The Punch can make things up out of thin air. The police officer who is said to be responsible for starting the rumour is to be disciplined.


We reported last week that the Ministry of Agriculture is in a state of disarray even though it has as its Minister a man who has served at every level in the Ministry previous to the level of Minister. The  Prime Minister in making the appointment as Minister said to the country that at last he had some one in the Ministry who understood agriculture. Yet Bahamian Agriculture has collapsed under Mr. Deveaux. Production of Bahamian agriculture is down to 10 per cent of food consumption compared to twenty five per cent under the PLP. We also reported that the med fly might have escaped into the country by the sloppy way the Ministry handled four hundred thousand mangoes that were to be dumped here on the way to Britain from Peru. Peru is a med fly country. Let's see what Earl Deveaux had to say about it.


Mr. Deveaux, the hapless Minister of Agriculture was so desperate to defend his reputation and Ministry that last Sunday evening 18 April at 6:30 p.m. he called a press conference to say the following: " the apparent ease with which this mass importation and transshipment of Peruvian mangoes was accomplished points to a significant fault in the quarantine system.  " [The] Department of Agriculture has determined that an intensive survey is required to further assure the Bahamian public and the agricultural community that no Mediterranean fruit flies are present in The Bahamas."   This Tribune photo shows hundreds of thousands of Peruvian mangoes lying in a pile.


We were so shocked at the statement that one could hardly say anything. Here it is the Minister who has worked at every level of the Ministry to this level of Minister and he has just discovered that the quarantine provisions of the Ministry are deficient. But what is worse is that what happened with the mangoes has nothing to do with regulations. It just has to do with common sense. If Peru is a med fly country, then when you discovered you had Peruvian mangoes in the shipment with no certificate then the shipment should not have been opened but sent back to Peru. Just plain common sense. At his press conference, the Minister said nothing about how come his brother LEVARITY DEVEUAX GOT A CREDIT FROM HIS MINISTRY EVEN THOUGH A STAFF MEMBER APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT THE MINISTER'S BROTHER'S EIGHT-YEAR OUTSTANDING BILL AT THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE.



The story reported in The Tribune Tuesday 20 April, the following: " Mrs. Sydney Godet was abducted from her husband's graveside Sunday morning by an armed man who forced her into a car, drove her to an unfamiliar area, and stuffed her into a discarded refrigerator where he left her until 11 o' clock that night."  Mrs. Godet is the owner of Donald's Furniture. She succeeded to that after her husband was brutally shot down by an unidentified gunman for his Rolex watch. The Bahamas has become a cruel place indeed. Now if the FNM were in Opposition they would blame the PLP for this. Now that they are in power whom do they blame? Mrs. Godet is said to be uninjured.


 The Tribune carried yet another letter by Fredericka Fraser, attacking this columnist. We have said that we do not believe that this person exists. The writer has answered everything except the question: do you really exist?. A clue to the identity could be found in our first response when we urged the real person to pray for their sins at St. Agnes Church. There is no doubt now that this is a paid political operative of the FNM. Fredericka Fraser happens to be writing this week in The Tribune about the same things that P Anthony White writes about in The Punch. Both of them are defending the biased practices of Government House with regard to the PLP. Mr. White has a sister named Fredericka.  Things that make you go "hmmm".  Why does one have to hide behind a nom de plume?


We read in the newspapers last weekend that there was a conference on FTAA in Santo Domingo.  No report from the Bahamas government on what happened even though it appears that it was a high level conference. Only four leaders from the hemisphere were not there. Mr. Ingraham was one of them. Castro was there, and the countries made (according to the Miami Herald) substantial progress in developing a free trade area for the Caribbean and Latin America. Where was The Bahamas? The baby Minister of Finance Carl Bethel jumped up and down about the fact that the PLP accused the Government of having no information policy on FTAA. Now we have proven it.  The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank attended the meeting, but where was the Government Minister?


There was an unusual ad in the Nassau Guardian on Monday 19 April. The ad appears to be from an American homeowner in Norman's Cay. Norman's Cay gained fame in the 1980s as the home of Colombian drug kingpin Carlos Ledher. The ad claims that there is a new cabal of Bay Street boys who are ruling Norman's Cay in a manner similar to Mr. Ledher. There is a court case which may lead to the owner having, he says, to pull down his home. The owner says that the hearing is to take place on 5 May in Nassau. The owner has invited the Miami Herald, USA Today and CNN.  This columnist is trying to get to the bottom of this issue and will try to give a fuller report next week.


The Prime Minister keeps trying to assure the Bahamian public that he has not sold or promised the forty nine per cent of Batelco to any strategic foreign partner yet. He says this despite rumours over the town that the company has been sold to ATT, the American company. The latest talk in Nassau is that Cable Bahamas is in fact the partner. They already have the entire infrastructure to compete with Batelco in telephone transmission. The accusation made by this columnist in the Senate is that there is something corrupt about the decision of the Government to allow Cable Bahamas to be the franchisee for cable in The Bahamas. It was too sweet a deal. Now imagine how sweet a deal it will be if Cable Bahamas actually ends up owning Batelco. How sweet it will be indeed? And who is the secret shareholder behind such a sweet deal. Wouldn't you like to know?


Workers from the Water and Sewerage Corporation continued their industrial action against the Government this week. The Prime Minister snubbed the head of the Union by reneging on an agreement to meet on Wednesday 14 April. The Prime Minister wanted to meet without the other TUC leaders. The Prime Minister responded in an interview over the weekend of April 18 by threatening to fire all the workers of Water and Sewerage. Meanwhile George Moss the first head of the Corporation has retired and been replaced by Richard Greene. Mr. Moss is to become the Secretary to the new Public Service Commission that will regulate all the utility corporations in the new environment following privatization. Tribune photo.

Ken Perigord turned over his last station to a new dealer last week. He is moving on to other interests. Mr. Perigord will be featured in the business section of The Tribune in the coming week.  He led the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association and lately led the losing battle for Doyle Fox.  Doyle Fox has settled his matter with Texaco and has reportedly moved on to another business. More, next week!


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