|WILCHCOMBE JAILED...||WHY SENATOR WILCHCOMBE REFUSES...|
|LEGAL PRIVILEGE FOR JOURNALISTS...||THE PLP SUPPORTS SENATOR WILCHCOMBE...|
|WHAT OF THE DECISION BY SAUNDERS?...||ALLYSON GIBSON'S COMMENT ON WILCHCOMBE...|
|JANET BOSTWICK ATTACKS FRED MITCHELL...||AMBASSADOR ALMOST RECALLED...|
|FRED MITCHELL'S PRESS CONFERENCE...||LABOUR PARTY ANNOUNCED...|
|BAHAMAS WEEK AT UWI JAMAICA...||PRISON SUPER TRANSFERRED...|
|INGRAHAM TO DELAY PROROGATION OF HOUSE...||A MESSAGE TO BOOZIE ROLLE MP...|
|WALL STREET JOURNAL ON SUN INTERNATIONAL...||A HERO IN A BURNING HOUSE...|
|INDUSTRIAL TRIBUNAL CHIEF: THE OUTSIDE TOILET...||IBC COMPANY LEGISLATION TO CHANGE...|
|CITIBANK MAN SAYS NO TO BAHAMAS EXCHANGE...||BAHAMAS LOSES MONEY TO CRIME...|
|THE EDWIN 'VIKEY' BROWN PHOTO SPREAD...||THIS WEEK AT KRISTI'S...|
|This Week on fredmitchelluncensored.com|
The other thing that made the week extraordinary was a remarkable attack by Janet Bostwick, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This Senator is her opposite number on the Opposition benches as shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs. It appears that the Government was stung by the criticism that it had done nothing to assist the Bahamians in Cuba while detained there for two years. We have a full report of Mrs. Bostwick's remarks below.
We also have a report on the new political party formed and announced by the Trade Union Congress, headed by Obie Ferguson. Then we talk about the new political party which B. J. Nottage is supposed to form and what he expects that to do.
What the events of the week show more than ever is that despite all the talk about the PLP not doing anything, the PLP was at centre stage this week. Between the news about Senator Wilchcombe which dominated the papers for all week and the attack by Mrs. Bostwick, the PLP pushed all other political news off the front pages. And that is what established parties have the power to do. Never mind them seeming to be in a deep sleep. The lumbering giant can awake and push everyone in the jungle aside.
A special welcome this week to an eminent reader of this site. The Right Reverend Michael Eldon, Lord Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Nassau and The Bahamas (retired) who is a faithful subscriber to fredmitchelluncensored.com. Welcome m'lord, and thanks for reading.
We had 31,930 hits on this site for the month of January, and up to midnight 6 February, we had 5172hits on this site. Thank you for reading and please keep reading.
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John Higgs, convicted wife murderer and now suicide victim (or so it appears) is still causing havoc from the grave. Rather than face execution on Epiphany on 6 January, the day before, Mr. Higgs apparently cut his right wrist and bled to death in the prison. He left several notes or so it appears. One of them found its way to Senator Obie Wilchcombe who has a radio talk show. He read the note on the radio. Now the Coroner wants to know who gave him the note and where was the note passed to him. On Tuesday 1 February, Senator Wilchcombe appeared before the Coroner. He was asked if he knew the identity of the person who gave him the note. He said no. He said he had been called by telephone and asked to go to a particular place; a Black male, whom he did not know gave him the note. He refused to answer the name of the place because that might tend to identify who the person was. For that the Coroner purported to exercise the power to sentence him to jail for four days on the grounds that he refused to answer a question put to him by a Coroner. It was a bad decision on the part of the Coroner. Justice Ricardo Marques freed Senator Wilchcombe a few hours later. The photo by Peter Ramsay shows Senator Wilchcombe being escorted to court. A judge of the Supreme Court is to review the matter on Monday 7 February at 2:30 p.m.
The sentence of imprisonment for four days was handed down on Thursday 3 February. The country was shocked. The headlines were blaring. There were giant photos in all papers and headlines on TV and radio. Journalists were outraged. They thought that their profession was under threat and said so loudly and clearly. Senator Wilchcombe told the press that the Coroner had struck a blow against journalism, in that a journalist was now being pressured to reveal his sources. The photo by Peter Ramsay shows Senator Wilchcombe was joined by colleagues outside the Supreme Court shortly after he was freed. Senator Wilchcombe's move was a great political master stroke in that the country immediately believed that the FNM government was trying to put a PLP in jail. Senator Wilchcombe told the court and the country that he was prepared to go to jail rather than reveal his sources and he would lead a hunger strike if necessary until he was free.
The lawyer for Senator Wilchcombe is Glenys Hanna Martin. The pair are back together again. This time it's real life. They both attended Queen's College, the Methodist High School. Mrs. Hanna Martin, who is the daughter of former PLP Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Hanna, was Senator Wilchcombe's campaign manager for Student Council president when they were in school. Now she battled to free him from jail. The Coroner refused to accept and ruled that journalists unlike lawyers have no legal immunity to protect sources. Mrs. Hanna Martin and a battery of legal scholars believe that Mrs. Hanna Martin was on strong ground when she argued that the question the Coroner was asking was not relevant to the inquiry and therefore in excess of the Coroner's jurisdiction. In fact, the statute gives the mandate to find the cause of death of the person - in this case John Higgs. Now the Supreme Court will decide.
SUPPORTS SENATOR WILCHCOMBE
Mrs. Hanna Martin is the Chair of the Women's Branch of the PLP. This senator who was involved in obtaining the release of Senator Wilchcombe is a PLP Senator. The PLP is not destabilized by this but rather it is seeing this as a direct challenge to it in the country, not as a straight out legal fight. But many PLP's were worried. The PLP supports the fight of a young man, its Chairman, on a point of principle. We are always complaining that young men in the country do not stand up, and now when one stands up we will not sag in fear of the consequences which he will face. This columnist supports Senator Wilchcombe. The matter ought to be appealed all the way to the Privy Council if need be. We should inform Amnesty International.
THE DECISION BY SAUNDERS?
If you had read these columns in previous weeks, you would have known that this columnist supports Winston Saunders as a judge of the Supreme Court. Now the whole matter has been thrown into doubt because of this decision. The question about judicial philosophy is being raised. One of the reasons that this columnist opposed Gonsalves-Sabola as Chief Justice and as President of the Court of Appeal is because he had a propensity to lock up those who exercised their right of free speech. Locking up a journalist is not to be taken lightly. While many PLPs see this as an FNM directed and ordered matter, the truth is that this has bi-partisan opposition. On the morning of the appearance of Senator Wilchcombe to show cause, the Senate met and the President of the Senate, husband of Janet Bostwick the FNM's Minister of Foreign Affairs asked all Senators to show their support to Senator Wilchcombe. Now you have FNM leaders calling up this senator and asking if this is really the man that this columnist would want as a Supreme Court judge. He now has PLP supporters against him because of the decision. The FNM does not need encouragement to be opposed to him. e-mail to this site on the matter has been unprecedented. One writer, an insider of the legal establishment, said that "It would appear that while defensible as a decision of an independent minded judge, the matter unfortunately seems to have rendered the question of a promotion to the Supreme Court dead in the water." Coroner Saunders now has the entire community of journalists against him. On Monday afternoon 7 February, we shall see what the fate is of Obediah Hercules Wilchcombe.
GIBSON'S COMMENT ON WILCHCOMBE
Allyson Gibson who is the Assistant Secretary General of the PLP wrote a letter to the press published on 5th February in the Nassau Guardian. She said in part the following: "The manner in which Magistrate Winston Saunders handled the matter of the Wilchcombe contempt must erase any doubt that Bahamians should fill all spots on our Supreme Court bench... Of course a strong fourth estate is vital to a strong democracy... Magistrate Saunders as a judge is not concerned with political considerations such as a fourth estate. Neither Senator Wilchcombe nor his lawyers can point Magistrate Saunders to any legal authority. Citizens must be assured that judges will enforce the law."
BOSTWICK ATTACKS FRED MITCHELL
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Janet Bostwick has often been described by this columnist here and in the Senate as being as quiet as a church mouse. She apparently believes that foreign policy is simply going to cocktail parties or tripping up and down behind the Prime Minister on one foreign jaunt or another. So it was quite a shock when she called a press conference on 2 February to dress down the Cuban Ambassador to The Bahamas Lázaro Cabezas. It was shameful and stupid. She, like the rank amateur that she is, told the country that she had called the Ambassador in to tell him not to have lunch with Fred Mitchell or the PLP or any other Bahamians to negotiate agreements with regard to The Bahamas. Who said that he did that anyway, is quite another thing. She was responding to a photo which appeared in the press and a release by the PLP that an agreement in principle had been reached to visit the Bahamians in Cuban jails. The PLP received reports that she has done nothing to help free them, and there are outspoken letters on record about the failures of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister said that the Ambassador now agrees with her that there should be non interference in the internal affairs of The Bahamas and vice versa and that he will keep those principles in mind when dealing with Bahamians again. The Minister's dragging the Ambassador into this was disgraceful.
One had to look behind the bland statements by the Minister to find out what really happened. The true story is pieced together also from back channel sources. Ambassador Cabezas has now been warned by the FNM to stop talking to the PLP. The Government has effectively put a stop to the PLP going to Cuba to look into the plight of the Cuban prisoners. The Minister's action was a political one orchestrated by the Prime Minister. Behind the scenes, the Minister was being goosied by her colleagues that her thunder and that of the Government had been stolen by the Opposition, they could not strike back at the truth of the allegations, so instead they threatened the Ambassador's career. The man has been Ambassador here for some nine years and he has many Bahamian friends. He is resident in Barbados. His friends say that if it were not for the fact that he and Castro are friends he would have lost his job. The Bahamas Government apparently filed an official complaint with the Cuban Government. The Minister summoned the Ambassador to Nassau and told him never to do it again. From sources inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we heard that the Permanent Secretary advised the Minister to have Ambassador Cabezas recalled. This was overruled by the Prime Minister. In a press conference called on Friday 4 February, this Senator answered Janet Bostwick and regretted that she had brought the Ambassador into a purely domestic political dispute.
Peter Ramsay was passing by as the press conference began on Friday 4 January. The Minister pulled up at the same time. The press conference was held right on the grounds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This columnist licked his fingers at the Minister in fun and the Minister put her fist up in the air. This columnist told her he hoped that she had been told that she had to come out swinging. "I hope you are ready for the world series," this columnist told the Minister. She replied: "You got struck out". The truth is that the Minister threw a wild pitch, and egg is on her face. Mr. Ramsay caught this photo of the two of us talking in front of the Ministry. We put directly to the Minister the inappropriateness of the Government dragging the Ambassador into a purely domestic matter. At the press conference, we announced that there will be a move by the PLP in the Senate to have a request for a Select Committee to look into the conduct of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister should start to do her job and realize as we said in the press conference that the PLP does not work for the FNM. This columnist does not work for Janet Bostwick. If the policies of the Government have been undermined then we in the PLP and this spokesman on Foreign Affairs has done his job.
LABOUR PARTY ANNOUNCED
Last week, one of the umbrella unions the Trade Union Congress, headed by Attorney Obie Ferguson announced that they are forming a political party to be called the People's Labour Movement. This came out of months and years of frustration said the unionists and the inattention of the major political parties. There was a conclave held at the British Colonial hotel in the last weekend in January. There, the heads of the unions under the TUC announced the party. It includes the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union and the Water and Sewerage Union amongst its most ardent supporters. The PLP's Leader is unhappy about this development and believes that a serious mistake has been made by the labour movement. His best guess is that this will only encourage employers more to load up money with the FNM to defeat labour. Dion Foulkes, the Minister of Labour, made it clear on Thursday 4 February in a meeting with the other umbrella organization that the FNM is opposed to the formation of a labour party. This columnist does not support the idea either. Anything that the labour movement needs can be obtained from one of the existing political parties. It seems a waste of resources. It will deflect from the true work of labour which is to better the conditions of the working man. If the aim is to get seats in Parliament, the PLP or the FNM could be asked to provide seats in Parliament for Labour. But being in Parliament is not necessary to making changes in society or working effectively for and on behalf of labour. Further, political parties have a different function than unions. Labour parties thrive in circumstances where there is no other channel for political dissent. The chances of this getting off the ground are not good. This may cause a rift in the movement because some workers will not support a political party. Duke Hanna the head of the other umbrella union which includes the giant Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union told the press that his organization will not support the People's Labour Movement. He said that it will support labour friendly causes. He is pictured with the Minister of Labour in the Nassau Guardian on 4 February.
AT UWI JAMAICA
This columnist will join the students of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica for the start of Bahamas Week at the University on 13 February. The Governor General Sir Orville Turnquest will officially open the week.
PRISON SUPER TRANSFERRED
There was no announcement from the Government. The press was able to find out that following his return from a three week course in England to look at prison administration Philip Turner who has been at the prison since 1992, latterly as the prison superintendent has been reassigned or transferred. He is now reportedly a Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security. Mr. Turner has a law degree and one should not be surprised if one finds that he will soon, like the Commissioner of Police, resume his studies at the bar. The transfer on promotion comes following three major breakouts from the jail, and the apparent suicide of death row inmate John Higgs. The Opposition has been calling for some explanation about who would accept responsibility for what happened. It turns out that Mr. Turner may now be the scapegoat of the Government. Mark Wilson, the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of National security told The Guardian, reported in its Wednesday 2 February edition: " Mr. Turner is in the process of being transferred from the prison. He is going to come to the Ministry of National Security to head a special project which will concentrate on national security issues in the entire Bahamas." Sounds like make work to us. Mr. Turner is pictured in The Guardian photo.
TO DELAY PROROGATION OF HOUSE
After the loud-mouthed Prime Minister announced his Cabinet changes, he said that he would prorogue Parliament in February. It was expected that after the Senate passed the last legislation this week that would be it for Parliament until the House was called back to session in March. Now for some reason Mr. Ingraham has changed his mind and is going back to Parliament on 10 February. Things that make you go : "hmmm!"
TO BOOZIE ROLLE MP
Anthony 'Boozie' Rolle, up to the time of Hubert Ingraham's last reshuffle was a Minister of State in the Ingraham Government. He is now a backbencher waiting to resign his seat. He may do this as early as March. This will precipitate a bye-election and he is to go to New York as Ambassador to the United Nations. It is incredible to us who consider him our friend that he would agree to allow the Prime Minister to end his political career. Taking the post of ambassador now is a bad idea. An ambassadors job for The Bahamas is a do-nothing job in a sense because the Government does not take its seriously. You are left to drift out in space once you leave town. You lose your economic base. You have only to ask L. B. Johnson, the attorney who was our first Ambassador to New York. He has never recovered economically from the six years he spent as Ambassador to New York. The thing to do if Mr. Ingraham insists, as he has, that you have to leave the Cabinet is to get back into the private sector or start a business while you still have friends at court and the protection and support of a powerful government. In two years time, the PLP could be in office and you are out and have to return home and what do you have? You will come back home to start from scratch under an administration that would not be able to help you. Take a page from the American political system. Two years before the President leaves office, all his men and women start looking and take new jobs while he can help them. That's the thing to do. New York is a nice town, but for a man with college aged children, it's a bad idea to take that assignment now.
STREET JOURNAL ON SUN INTERNATIONAL
On 3 February the Wall Street Journal reported that Sun International has some rainy days ahead. The Directors of Sun were meeting on Paradise Island last week. The Journal says that Sun's properties are not doing well in Atlantic City or in Las Vegas. The stock has plummeted fifty per cent in the last few months. Sun is planning a buy back of its stock which someone is trying to stop in the Court. The only bright spot is the Nassau property but according to the Journal there are two worrisome problems there: an unstable work force and hurricanes. Plenty for old Sol Kerzner whom The Journal says is 76, to think about. The Journal says that Sun may not be able to stand the strain of the debt of a buy back of stock, estimated at some one billion dollars.
A HERO IN A BURNING HOUSE
The President of the Christian Council presented Delgado Rolle of Windsor Lane in New Providence with a cheque for $1200 this week in appreciation for his act of heroism. Mr. Rolle, a car washer, risked his life to save three children in a home consumed by fire on Tuesday 1 February. He had to be stopped from going back in to save a fourth child, five years old, who died. He is pictured in a Tribune photo with Rev. Dr. Simeon Hall, President of the Council. The Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham later in the week also congratulated the hero.
TRIBUNAL CHIEF: THE 'OUTSIDE' TOILET
The formal opening of the Industrial Tribunal's fourth year came on Monday 31 January. It is headed by President Harrison Lockhart. Joining him was Nathaniel Dean, Vice President of the Tribunal. Mr. Lockhart announced what we have said before; Kelphine Cunningham is to start work in Freeport for the tribunal for at least six months until a permanent replacement can be found. Mr. Lockhart asked the government to effect repairs to the building they are in. He said that the bathroom facilities at the Tribunal are referred to by he and the staff as "the outside toilets". They have to go outside to use the bathroom. He said once he had the ignominious experience of sitting on the toilet only to have a complainant try to pick his mouth about his case from the stall next to him. Mr. Lockhart asked the Government to amend the law to ensure that the Tribunal can enforce its own awards. He also asked for the Tribunal to be able to award costs. Dion Foulkes, the Minister, promised to study the recommendations. These are the same complaints made last year. Don't hold your breath Mr. Lockhart. Mr. Lockhart was pictured by The Guardian at the opening.
COMPANY LEGISLATION TO CHANGE
In a copyrighted report from the Financial Times of London, it was reported in The Tribune of 31 January that the Government plans to change the legislation regulating International Business Companies in The Bahamas. These companies, known as IBCs, are for those who are not resident in The Bahamas and are not subject to exchange control. Sir William Allen, the hapless Minister of Finance of The Bahamas, was quoted by the FT as saying that as a result of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) initiatives, bearer shares are to be eliminated and it will soon be a requirement that directors of the IBC be disclosed. Bearer shares are share certificates with no named person on the certificate. This will meet key objection which US authorities have to IBCs. They believes that bearer shares allow for money laundering in The Bahamas.
MAN SAYS NO TO BAHAMAS EXCHANGE
Scott Fisher, Citibank's Corporate Finance head for Latin America told The Bahamas Society of Financial Analysts on Friday 28 January that The Bahamas should abandon plans for our own securities exchange. The exchange to be known as BISX is already capitalized and is expected to be up and running in the new Hilton Sheraton British Colonial Building shortly. Mr. Fisher thought that exchange control regulations would be a problem for The Bahamas but believed that it would be better for The Bahamas, to join a regional stock exchange instead of each country forming small exchanges. This was reported by The Tribune.
MONEY TO CRIME
Samantha Joseph reported in the Tribune 1 February that Bahamian businesses lost $256,000 to white collar crime in December 1999 alone. For 1999, a total of 289 recorded cases saw losses of 1.4 million dollars.
THE EDWIN 'VIKEY'
BROWN PHOTO SPREAD
A grand time was head by all in Freeport, Grand Bahama at Jim White's Studio 69. They were celebrating the appointment of Senator Edwin brown to the Senate. We promised last week a photo spread. Congratulations again and see below in This Week At Kristi's for the spread.
WEEK AT KRISTI'S
Get well greetings to Princess Carroll, wife of Forrester who is convalescing at the Rand Memorial from minor surgery. We wish her a speedy recovery.
FIGHT JANET FIGHT
Inside word reached the Kristi's group this week that Minister of Foreign Affairs Janet Bostwick had arisen from her sick bed to attempt battle with PLP Foreign Affairs Spokesman Senator Fred Mitchell. "A bad idea" said one, "Janet walked straight into a trap set by Fred Mitchell." The group's considered opinion was that Mrs. Bostwick should dot all i's and cross all t's before she fights with that particular Senator. As for getting out of her sickbed for the conflict, one member of the group pointed out "This Prime Minister fires his Ministers unceremoniously and Fred Mitchell makes him a little edgy... Janet wasn't taking any chances, so she had to come out and fight." Fight, Janet fight.
COURT SETTLEMENT FOR BURN VICTIM
Dolly Dawkins and Claudius Burrows - two of the Kristi's faithful were in the news this week when their son Claudius Burrows junior was awarded $330,000.00 in damages for burns sustained six years ago in the first Junior Junkanoo parade on Grand Bahama. Young Claudius was a student at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic School at the time when his costume caught afire and he was severely burned. If there is a moral to this story it is that we should teach our young people to stop drop and roll. It also showed the lack of safety preparedness and that organizations can be held liable for children in their care. For Dolly's part, she was awarded twenty thousand for loss of income... We guess the outspoken Dolly be buying the Kristi's boys breakfast on Monday...
VIKEY'S BIG BASH
This week we can report that after the party hosted by friends of Vikey Brown the main crowd cleared out and the real politicking began along with the all the normal plotting and scheming that we have become so familiar with. One Minister declared that Tennyson Wells is beginning to gain ground in Grand Bahama and has pledged to come back here and spend more time with the rank and file of the FNM in an attempt to slow down or derail Wells' progress.
Another Minister has set up private meetings with the movers and shakers of Grand Bahama and was expected in Grand Bahama on Saturday. A report on this visit is to come. Yet another Minister said he was prepared to allow the big fellows to fight and then decide whether or not it was worth the time and the effort to enter the fray. The two Ministers from Grand Bahama played it safe by letting anyone who would listen know that they were not interested in running for anything. All night they contented themselves with playing the part of gracious hosts... Noticeably absent was our friend David Wallace, MP for West End and Bimini who was said to be recovering from the flu.
NOTTAGE ADDRESSES ROTARY CLUB
This week Dr. Bernard Nottage was in Freeport to speak at the Rotary Club of Lucaya weekly luncheon. The Rotary crowd turned out in full force for Dr. Nottage who spoke on his vision for The Bahamas. In answer to a question, Dr. Nottage said that the single most important thing he would change in Freeport if he could was to try to put power back into the hands of the people. Dr. Nottage shared his ideas on the country's educational system, the need for more venture capital and the necessity of decentralization from Nassau to the family islands. A spokesman for Dr. Nottage said that he was "warmly received" by Freeporters and "extended every courtesy".
|THE CORONER'S COURT...||FAMILIES DEPEND ON THE CORONER...|
|WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN WITH THE CORONER...||WHOSE SIDE: THE CORONER OR SENATOR WILCHCOMBE?...|
|REFORM OF THE CORONER'S STATUTE...||BERNARD NOTTAGE MAKES IT OFFICIAL...|
|WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF THE NEW PARTY?...||RESPONSE FROM THE PLP...|
|NEW DEPUTY SPEAKER ELECTED...||DISABLED DAY AT THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY...|
|AND SIR CLEMENT IN THE SPOTLIGHT...||THE UNION PROSECUTES COB...|
|WILLIAM ALLEN ON INCOME TAX...||OZZIE BROWN AND THE CUBAN AMBASSADOR...|
|FINANCIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT COMING...||BAHAMIAN WOMEN WIN MORE RACES...|
|IMMIGRATION CRACK DOWN IN THE BAHAMAS...||CRACKDOWN ON THIRTY DAY JOINTS...|
|GEORGE WILSON WRITES...||THIS WEEK AT KRISTI'S...|
In delivering the ruling, Justice Marques pointed out that a judicial review, which this was, is concerned not with the decision of the Coroner, but the decision making process. He said the court did not determine the merits of the decision made by the Coroner. Justice Marques acknowledged that there is "some degree of confidentiality" which exists between a journalist and his source, but nonetheless refused Senator Wilchcombe's application.
After his ruling, Mr. Justice Marques - still speaking from the bench - said that certain elements from the media could have been "brought in" for comments made about the case, but posited that it was not a power exercise by the courts, but a bona fide move to ensure that their duty was discharged.
Senator Wilchcombe refused to answer questions put by Coroner Winston Saunders in the inquiry surrounding the death, allegedly by suicide of convicted wife murderer John Higgs. Senator Wilchcombe, in his capacity as a journalist, received a purported 'suicide note' from Higgs via persons unknown.
Dr. Bernard Nottage is the Leader of a Party. Two men held a press conference at the Nassau Beach and a simultaneous announcement was made in Freeport that a new political party called the Coalition for Democratic Reform had been formed. CDR has as its Leader pro tem Dr. Bernard Nottage. Its Chairman is Ethric Bowe, a former engineer at the Water and Sewerage Corporation. We give an analysis below.
People are still trying to assess what this all means to the PLP and for the PLP. The prevailing feeling is that the PLP is still the place to be if your are in Opposition politics, but there is exasperation that it is taking too long to get up off the ground. We trust that this perception will have cause to change within the next few weeks. However, supporters should not lose heart. Hang in there.
This columnist travels to Jamaica on Saturday 12 February to attend the Bahamas Week Festival by the Bahamian Students Association. While there, we will also pay a courtesy call on the Leader of the Opposition of Jamaica Edward Seaga at the behest of the Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Perry Christie.
We had 16,135 hits on this sit up to 12 February at midnight. Please keep reading.
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What is this Coroner's Court that has caused all the uproar in the news? The Coroner is an investigator with the same powers of a Magistrate in The Bahamas. Every magistrate in The Bahamas is a coroner. He is charged with finding out the cause of a death that cannot otherwise be explained. He can find out the cause, how and after what manner. The Coroner in the Obie Wilchcombe case argues that the phrase "after what manner" is broad enough to make the question of where the alleged note from John Higgs was passed to Mr. Wilchcombe relevant. The Supreme Court will decide on Monday 14 February. Under the Coroner's Act, he can order a witness who refuses to answer up to seven days in prison or until he decides to answer. The difficulty with the Act is that it is a 1910 statue. The PLP did not update the statute when it was in office. In fact, most people never heard about the Court or its powers under the PLP. The FNM came to office and in Manifesto I it said that it would appoint someone and activate the Court. That someone was Winston Saunders and he has done a good job in clearing up the backlog that existed up to 1992 of unsolved deaths. Mr. Saunders is a graduate of the old Government High School, a former head boy of the school and a graduate of the University of London - and so without a doubt is amongst the country's brightest and best. He is well qualified to sit on the Supreme Court bench.
ON THE CORONER
The Coroner is used on a volunteer basis by families whose loved ones have disappeared or who have died in mysterious circumstances. The police are unable to find an answer. Often the Coroner will discover facts which the police cannot. Sometimes a person might have disappeared and no death certificate is possible or available. The Coroner can often solve insurance problems by declaring that the person met his death and bring some closure to the families and settle the insurance claims for family members. It is quite a useful court.
HAPPEN WITH THE CORONER
There is no doubt that there are two competing interests at stake here. One is as yet an unrecognized privilege that journalists ought to be allowed to protect their sources. The law recognizes the privilege of self-incrimination - you can refuse certain answers that would tend make you the subject matter of a criminal charge. Senator Wilchcombe was unwilling to use that privilege because it might show that he was hiding something. There is also a privilege between husband and wife. But other confidences such as that between the priest and penitent; the banker and client; the doctor and patient are not recognized. The Courts will pay heed to them as with any confidence but they must give way to the competing public interest, the maintenance of the authority of the courts or the administration of justice.
WHOSE SIDE: THE CORONER
OR SENATOR WILCHCOMBE?
It is not as clear cut as all that. The fact is that the administration of justice must be preserved. To the extent that the Coroner is upholding that principle, then the decision is eminently supportable. However, locking up a journalist is a whole different matter and one seeks to persuade the Court that the committal to prison was disproportionate to the alleged offence committed. We seek to act in the public interest. The argument is that in these circumstances the Court should come down in favour of the journalist. One should note that most cases go against journalists and one expects that no matter which side wins on Monday 14 February at 10 a.m. the matter will be appealed to the next level at the Court of Appeal and perhaps on to the Privy Council.
OF THE CORONER'S STATUTE
One of the ironies of all this is that the present Coroner had made legion recommendations to the now Government to change the law with regard to the Coroner's Act. For example, there is no right of appeal from a decision of the Coroner. That's what makes Senator Wilchcombe's case so difficult. It can only be dealt with by way of judicial review, which is a review of whether or not the Court acted fairly or reasonably and within its powers. This is infinitely more difficult an issue than whether or not the Court can revisit the matter on its merits on appeal. One should not be harsh on the Coroner personally. He has upheld a principle of law that superior Courts more often than not support. And the very independence of the Judiciary that we seek and hope for allows precisely for the actions of a Judge to be free from political interference. That independence whether a decision is good or bad must be upheld. The only question is whether jailing Senator Wilchcombe is needed to do that.
NOTTAGE MAKES IT OFFICIAL
The pictures appeared in the press on Thursday 10 February, reflecting the official announcement. There was a smiling Bernard Nottage on the new disabled access ramp at the doorsteps of the House of Assembly smiling with his wife having announced that he had formed and headed a new political party called Coalition for Democratic Reform. Earlier in the week, the press had accused him of ducking them when the party announced its existence at the Nassau Beach on Tuesday 7 February but Dr. Nottage, its interim leader was nowhere to be found. Party Chairman Ethric Bowe told the country with Charles Maynard, the son of former PLP Chair Dud Maynard, at his side that the party was not about Dr. Nottage and so it was not necessary for him to be there. Forrester Carroll, a former PLP NGC member, and candidate in the 1997 General Election along with Attorney Rawle Maynard made a simultaneous announcement on Monday 7 February in Freeport. The party outlined a belief in the independence of the judiciary. It talked about the need to be people oriented. According to Mr. Bowe: "Our findings indicate that a new people oriented political entity is not only feasible, but necessary. Our analysis revealed that a properly structured party would enjoy strong support from a significant segment of the electorate who are more concerned with issues than party labels". Nassau Guardian photos of Dr. Nottage and his wife and the party's launch are shown. Ethric Bowe, Chair is shown with Charles Maynard, and other committee members.
WHAT IS THE
IMPACT OF THE NEW PARTY?
Two weeks ago, the Labour movement announced that it had formed a new party called the People's Labour Movement (PLM). Those labour leaders told this columnist that they had recommended to Dr. Nottage against forming his party. But both parties are more expressions of strong leaders than broad political movements at the moment. The PLM is led by the strong and charismatic labour leader Obie Ferguson. The CDR is clearly a Dr. Nottage creation. The question is what stock will these parties have beyond the next election. To some extent that depends on the Progressive Liberal Party. All the about the place, there are complaints both loud and silent that the PLP is not doing enough, that the PLP is too silent on issues and there are quite personal attacks on the Leader of the PLP. In fact, both the Leader of the PLM and the Leader of CDR trace their present political positions to disgruntlement with the Leader of the PLP Perry Christie. In Dr. Nottage's case, he was defeated by Mr. Christie twice in elections held by the PLP. Dr. Nottage and his supporters say those elections were jury rigged by Sir Lynden Pindling. It is all very sad. The fact is that the Opposition in the country is now split. The three sectors can only lead to the defeat of all. If history is anything to go by, if the experience of other countries is anything to go by of the three organizations, the one to place a bet on survival is the PLP. The PLP, of course, triumphed before when it was down to three members in 1967. It simply represented the majority of the people. It wiped out the rival NDP of Paul Adderley. As Lady Patsy Isaacs once told this columnist after he joined the PLP which she opposes: "I can't say that I wish you luck but I do wish you well personally." That's all one can say to these new political leaders.
RESPONSE FROM THE
When Dr. Nottage made his announcement in the House of Assembly, the Leader of the PLP responded on behalf of the party. Perry Christie told the nation after having thanked Dr. Nottage for his service to the PLP: "I regret, of course, that he has now decided to chart a new and divergent political course but I understand and respect his decision in that regard." Mr. Christie said that the PLP will continue "with all the vigour at our command the high constitutional duty which rests upon our shoulders. Our duty is to oppose, and in doing so, position ourselves before the national electorate as the only viable and sensible alternative to the present Government."
House members on Wednesday 9 February elected Alvin Smith as their new Deputy Speaker. He succeeds Mike Smith who has become a Parliamentary Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister. Alvin Smith is the FNM's Member of Parliament for North Eleuthera.
DAY AT THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
The Minister of Idle Poetry aka Minister for Social Services was at his best on Wednesday 9 February. It was championing the disabled this time. No alliteration to report, however. The Nassau Guardian pictured him wheeling in one amongst the scores of the disabled who turned out in the public square to mark the occasion of the report on the disabled being tabled in the House of Assembly. It all looks on the surface like the Government is doing something. However, it is all cosmetic. The House of Assembly is a case in point. The House now has a spanking brand new ramp and Mr. Allen announced that the House was "disabled friendly". Of course, it needed to be pointed out that once you got inside the House of Assembly if you were disabled there is no way that you can access the chamber of the House which is upstairs unless you had assistance from someone who is able bodied. The steps cannot be negotiated by a wheel chair and there is no elevator. Another example of FNM sloganeering. The Nassau Guardian's photo of Minister Allen is shown.
AND SIR CLEMENT
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Sir Clement Maynard, former Foreign Minister for the PLP Government, is now the Chairman of the National Council on Older Persons. His co-chair is Lady Patricia Isaacs. The project was launched at Government House on Monday 8 February. He is pictured at Government House in the Nassau Guardian's photo.
The trial of the College of The Bahamas for intimidating its lecturers began on Tuesday 8 February before Magistrate Crawford McKee. Union executives Margo Blackwell and Zendal Forbes took the stand. The trial continues on 22 February. The Unionists claim that as a result of a unilateral imposition of changes in their contract which forced them to sign or not get their back pay in August of last year, their rights have been violated.
ALLEN ON INCOME TAX
What did he say and when did he say it? That's what everyone is asking after the Financial Times reported that William Allen, the hapless Minister of Finance, had said that the Government would eventually bring income tax to The Bahamas. Well scramble, scramble, scramble. That's not what was said, so the apologists said. Chief amongst them was the Nassau Guardian last Saturday 5 February. Of course the Financial Times is sticking by its story. We in The Bahamas are as always with this worthless Government the last to know. The Government, led by Prime Minister Ingraham who was so wowed by being in the presence of Bill Clinton, signed on to the Free Trade of the America's Agreement (FTAA) in Miami in 1992. That agreement pledges The Bahamas to eliminating customs barriers. Translation, the customs duties which give the country 70 per cent of its revenue will have to go. The Government does not know and has not said what will replace it. So with Bill Allen, the hapless Minister of Finance on his way out, he would say in his usual bungling fashion that income tax is an option. But then again, he said he didn't say it and of course we believe him. Yeah right!
AND THE CUBAN AMBASSADOR
Last week, in characteristic slavish style, Ozzie Brown, that jackass who is the editor of the Nassau Guardian, wrote two editorials calling for the removal of this Senator as a Senator and if not then he claimed that Perry Christie should go. This is not new and so the comment itself is of no consequence. But what is of consequence is the continued failure of the PLP to deal institutionally with the rank prejudice by the Nassau Guardian against the PLP. It appears that the party sees it as an individual thing against one person and so has not moved to deal with it. Last week the Minister of Foreign Affairs attacked this columnist in his capacity as her opposite number. We reported it extensively here. The Nassau Guardian attended the press conference but did not report the story. Instead, it reported what the Cuban Ambassador had to say. This columnist spoke to Ozzie Brown who claimed incredibly that once Janet Bostwick spoke that should have been the end of the matter. He also claimed that once the Cuban Ambassador spoke then no one could refute it. Quite apart from the fact that that is patent stupidity, the question is whether or not Ozzie Brown is the Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs or not; whether he runs the PLP or not. Clearly he does not and as a newspaper editor, he has no right to editorialize and decide by giving his public only one half of the story. This is why we need to move to a meritocracy in this country. When you have so patently an ignorant and stupid man in charge of a national paper, we are in serious trouble. You talk to him but he is too dumb to understand. Shown is a cartoon published in the Bahama Journal.
INVESTIGATION UNIT COMING
William Allen, the hapless Minister of Finance, has told The Tribune that in an effort to combat money laundering the Government is thinking of establishing with the Central Bank a unit to investigate money laundering crimes. This was reported by Neil Hartnell, The Tribune's business reporter, on 8 February 2000.
WOMEN WIN MORE RACES
The Tribune reported on 10 February that Savatheda Fynes and Debbie Ferguson each won a race on Wednesday 9 February at the IAAF Athina 2000 indoor track and field meet in Athens, Greece. Ms. Fynes won the 60 metre race in 7.03 seconds besting her previous 7.4 seconds. Ms. Ferguson won the 200 in 23.44 beating Jamaica's Deon Hemmings. Fynes is shown in the Tribune's AP photo finishing the 60 metre final ahead of Greece's Katerina Thanou.
CRACK DOWN IN THE BAHAMAS
We reported two weeks ago that we now have a new Director of Immigration in Vernon Burrows. He is a man who has come up from the ranks. It has made an immediate change. The new Department head has started a crackdown through the neighbourhoods of New Providence against illegal immigration. This was confirmed by his new Minister Tommy Turnquest in a press conference on Tuesday 8 February.
ON THIRTY DAY JOINTS
The Police swooped down into Fox Hill and other lower socio-economic areas of New Providence last week arresting people who have been selling without liquor licenses. These are called 30 day joints in The Bahamas, after the occasional license which many of them use which gives them 30 days of permission. Usually, those permits have expired. One man told this Senator that in 18 years of doing this that was the first time this had ever happened in his life. The police told the defendants that the Prime Minister had ordered a crackdown on thirty day joints. That should endear him to the working classes!
GEORGE WILSON WRITES
We have a lot of sympathy for George Wilson and his problems in the United States where he seems to have been singled out for prosecution and then had the book thrown at him without the merest consideration of justice. Mr. Wilson is a former head of the FNM's Action Group, now imprisoned in the US for 20 years for allegedly bilking insurance investors. Mr. Wilson has written the press in the Bahamas about his plight. What is interesting is that this is precisely what the PLP and this spokesman have been complaining about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He wrote: "... for the fourteen months that I have been detained in the United States, not one member of the Bahamian Embassy in Washington or the Bahamian Consulate in Miami or any of my many friends in the Government made any unofficial or official inquiry or attempted to visit me to assure themselves of my treatment by US authorities and assure my family of my treatment. It is my understanding that one of the primary purposes of a consulate or embassy under all international agreements is to assist its nationals who find themselves in legal difficulties within the territories they are stationed." The point we wish to make again is that Janet Bostwick is not doing her job.
WEEK AT KRISTI'S
Condolences to Mr Art Culmer and Mr. Hilton Bowleg of Bootle Bay, outside West End. Art's son, Hilton's nephew was lost at sea and presumed drowned. Our prayers are with them during this time of trouble.
CHRISTIAN COUNCIL ATTACK
Grand Bahama Christian Council President J.C. Wallace was on the attack this week. He took to the local papers blasting the Ministry of Tourism, harbour officials and everyone else he could think of for a gay cruise that birthed in Freeport Sunday. "They came in like cowards on the sly" said Wallace, promising that if anyone had known of the ship's arrival church would have turned out if force to protest. What is interesting is that this attack set Brother Wallace at odds with his close friends and political allies in the FNM and caused quite a stir in Freeport town this week.
NOTTAGE'S CDR ANNOUNCED IN FREEPORT
The front page story in Tuesday's Freeport News threatened to provoke mayhem at Kristi's this week. There was former PLP candidate Forrester Carroll along with former Chief Magistrate for Grand Bahama Rawle Maynard announcing the formation of the Coalition for Democratic Reform. However, Maynard said publicly that the word 'coalition' in the name was an anticipation of new members from an impending split within the FNM. The split, said Maynard, would come shortly after the FNM's next convention. FNM politicos at Kristi's went wild. Vicious attacks from that quarter against Maynard, who himself is a Kristi's regular, were the order of the day. While some FNMs at Kristi's felt that any new opposition would help stop the FNM from treating its own members with disrespect and disdain "bad", most of the FNM crew at Kristi's vowed to work to politically destroy the new CDR. Hmmm...
SLOW BOAT FROM HAITI?
One hot topic of conversation this week at Kristi's was the issue of the illegal influx of immigrants. Specifically a Haitian smack boat discovered off Paradise Island with more than fifty illegal immigrants aboard. How is a slow moving sailboat able to make its way from the south all the way up the Bahamian archipelago to Nassau without being detected? Some called into question the integrity of our enforcement authorities. They say that they might be selectively enforcing our immigration laws...
MORE FROM TENNYSON... ON THE MOVE?
The persistent report is that Tennyson Wells' forces in Grand Bahama will be getting together to intensify their campaign here. In the past month, the constant visits of Mr. Wells have apparently been giving dividends.
Stunned. There is no other word to describe the reaction of all and sundry at Kristi's this week, when - in the middle of a work week - a top Ingraham loyalist originally set up in Grand Bahama, but who hasn't been seen here in many moons, turned up at the table. The only plausible explanation is that Mr. Ingraham has dispatched this top aide to find out what's going on, but will it help?
Thursday, 24th February: Site Editor's Note - Wednesday 23rd February, Senator Fred Mitchell dealt in detail during the session of the Senate with the 'Cuban Affair' involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bahamians detained in Cuba complaining of a lack of consular assistance. The move came during a request by Senator Mitchell for a Select Committee of the Senate on Foreign Affairs. A full report on Sunday. Click here for the text of Senator Mitchell's intervention.
|MURDERS MOST FOUL...||MORE AND MORE MURDER...|
|FRED MITCHELL VISITS JAMAICA...||A MEETING WITH FORMER JA PM...|
|LOOKS LIKE A REMATCH IN FOX HILL...||HURRICANE SUPPLIES GOING TO WASTE...|
|MOTHER PRATT PLEADS FOR POLICE OFFICERS...||PM CUTS OFF POLICE SIDE JOBS...|
|POLICEMAN'S FAMILY OUTRAGED...||NEW SCHEME FOR TUITION LOANS...|
|CC SWEETING TEACHER BEATEN BY STUDENT...||SENATOR WILCHCOMBE APPEALS COURT RULING...|
|BAHAMA JOURNAL LIES ON FRED MITCHELL...||PAULA (NO RELATION TO PAUL) ADDERLEY ON B. J...|
|FORMER UBP CHAIR BUMPY WATKINS ON BJ...||CASSIUS STARTS A NEW PARTY...|
|AIDS DEATH RATE FALLING...||KOED SMITH DEMONSTRATES...|
|KEN KERR WRITES AGAIN...||COUNCIL OF LEGAL ED ATTACKS TRINIDAD AG...|
|BAHAMAS STOCK EXCHANGE RESPONDS...||GLADSTONE THURSTON ON THE PRESS...|
|WHERE IS THE BAHAMAS NOW?||THIS WEEK AT KRISTI'S...|
The group that attends are mainly senior citizens, i.e. those who are over 65 years of age. This columnist is 46 and he was the youngest person in the room. The transition of the next generation has begun and he is now on the way to becoming a senior citizen himself. One parent is dead; the other is not ill but frail and ailing, and needs constant care like a baby at the age of 81. There are younger people who depend on you absolutely for their survival. One godparent is dead. Since 1985 when this columnist began to revisit church with some regularity, the senior men and women of the guardroom, the area under the balcony of St. Agnes where the older persons sit, have witnessed the permanent departure of many of the familiar faces - gone to be with the Lord.
How does this all relate to a rite of passage? Just as that dead godparent, that dead parent and the other persons brought you to the font as a baby for baptism, and saw you through confirmation and first communion, graduation from high school and university; your summer jobs and then permanent job, it occurred to this columnist sitting in that quiet St. Agnes Chapel on a still Thursday early morning that he is being trained to take his place as a senior at early morning mass. Young people do not attend. It is like the people who are there are preparing themselves to move on by trying to be at one with God before moving from this world into the next. Some sober thoughts.
WE PAY OUR DEEPEST RESPECTS TO YVONNE JOHNSON, CLERK OF THE SENATE WHO SUCCUMBED TO CANCER DURING THE PAST WEEK. A DILIGENT AND FAITHFUL PUBLIC SERVANT. SHE SHALL BE MISSED. MAY SHE REST IN PEACE.
Condolences also to the Grant family of West End on the loss Pearl Grant (pictured), sister to Carver Grant, Irma Grant-Smith and Claudia Conliffe. Miss Grant was predeceased by her brother former Senator Austin Grant. She was aunt to our friend and colleague Robert Grant of West End. We share the sorrow of the Grant family.
This week we had 24,757 hits on this site up to midnight 20 February, 2000. Please keep reading, and have good week.
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MURDERS MOST FOUL
The murder rate in The Bahamas continues to grow and grow. It is going at approximately the same pace as last year - one per week. This week there have been three murders. Two policemen were shot death on Monday 14 February. According to Acting Commissioner of Police Paul Farqhuarson, one of them, Constable Gerald Mainville, was suspected of trying to break into a store known as Lil General's in New Providence. While apprehended in the police car, the Commissioner said, Mr. Mainville shot PC Jeffery Tucker, who managed to shoot Mr. Mainville. Both died. A chagrined Commissioner of Police announced this at a press conference on Monday 14 February. According to the Commissioner one PC Mainville had been moonlighting as a security guard with Lil General. The other murder was a spectacular murder of Ben Beneby in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Mr. Beneby was just up himself before the courts on a manslaughter charge some three weeks ago. He was given bail after a lot of pressure on the Courts. He was well known in Freeport as a drug dealer and flasher of money. He is now dead, shot down on Tuesday 15 February outside his girlfriend's apartment in Sea Horse Village in Freeport in a hail of 33 bullets. The country yet again had an air of being out of control. The Government had nothing to say on crime. It was left to the Commissioner of Police who was pictured in this Nassau Guardian photo on Tuesday 15 February to explain the problem at a press conference. We also show a picture from The Tribune of Ben Beneby taken during his arraignment in Freeport on 15 January when he was charged with abetment to attempted murder and we show what appear to be standard mug type shots of the officers killed in the Lil General robbery.
MORE AND MORE MURDER
New Providence is getting to be like the set of a Hollywood movie. On Thursday night 17 February, two more bodies. One person was shot to death in the Bain Town area and another body was discovered off the Carmichael Road area. How many is that now?
It was Bahamas Week 2000 at the University of the West Indies Mona campus. One year ago at this same time, this Senator visited Mona in Jamaica to participate in the week's activities. The week began with a flag raising ceremony outside the main hall at the Mona Campus. The Governor General of The Bahamas Sir Orville Turnquest attended and was the keynote speaker at the opening ceremonies inside. Also attending was the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Alvin Smith MP, who is also the Chairman of Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation. Stan Smith took a picture of the group assembled for the flag raising ceremony; from left to right: Senator Fred Mitchell, Monique Rose, President of the Bahamian Students Association; Alvin Smith MP, the Governor General, Professor Kenneth Hall, Principal of the Mona Campus and Professor Rex Nettleford, Vice Chancellor of the University. Also pictured are Bahamian students at an exhibition staged as part of Bahamas Week.
WITH FORMER JA PM
Part of the reason for this columnist's trip to Jamaica was to pay a courtesy call on the now Leader of the Opposition in Jamaica, the Hon. Edward Seaga. Mr. Seaga is also a former Prime Minister of Jamaica. The visit to Mr. Seaga was at the behest of Leader of the Opposition in The Bahamas Perry Christie. Mr. Christie is trying to get Leaders of the Opposition in the region to meet in Nassau for a summit like the one which is held by Heads of Government. Our photo shows Senator Mitchell with assistant Kevin Bow, a medical student at UWI and Mr. Seaga at his office in Kingston on Monday 14 February. The photo was taken by Stan Smith.
LIKE A REMATCH IN FOX HILL
A disingenuous Juanianne Dorsett, the now representative for the Fox Hill constituency, was giving the impression, in fact, she actually reportedly said so, that she was not going to run again for office. The fact that she turns up at funerals and weddings was a sure clue that she had not yet given up the fight. Now her friends have begun saying that Mrs. Dorsett has decided that she wants two terms before she retires. We shall have to see about an early retirement for her as a result of her poor representation of the people of Fox Hill.
SUPPLIES GOING TO WASTE
Bradley Roberts, the MP for Grants Town told the House of Assembly on 15 February that hurricane supplies in Abaco are going to waste. He told the House: "I saw building supplies being corralled and sitting there and people who need the supplies are not receiving them. I saw cement sat there and got wet turned into rock because they didn't give it to the people who needed it. I received stories about food rotting in Marsh Harbour that was donated but because of their stinginess they didn't give it out to people and it rotted on the dock."
PRATT PLEADS FOR POLICE OFFICERS
Cynthia 'Mother' Pratt, the Member of Parliament PLP for St. Cecilia, has spoken up for the families of slain police officers. Mother Pratt, always a voice of sanity and compassion, told the House of Assembly on 16 February that the Government must do more for the families of slain officers. "We can't just talk about how we care," said Mrs. Pratt. The Prime Minister was up on his feet like a jack in the box claiming that as a result of speaking to the Leader of the Opposition the Government was going to review the support given to officer's families slain in the line of duty.
OFF POLICE SIDE JOBS
Both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have asked the business community to stop hiring off duty police officers. This is being said as a knee jerk reaction to the death of the two police officers. According to the Prime Minister, the business community should stop doing it without the permission of the Commissioner of Police. Further, he claimed that the Government has the resources to get all the tools of the trade for the police and the police should stop looking to the private sector to private them with equipment. What all this has to do with the murder of the two police officers, we are not quite sure, but we are sure the loud mouthed Prime Minister will think of something.
The Police Commissioner, nor the Prime Minister know for sure how the two police officers died. That is becoming clear after a rash of conflicting statements and rumours going around New Providence. The family of PC Gerald Mainville is outraged. They say that their son, husband and brother has been defamed in his death by the Commissioner of Police and the Prime Minister and the press. The Coroner is to begin an inquest into the matter on Tuesday 22 February. That means the truth will probably come out later and be substantially different than the statements made to the press. It appears that the Commissioner of Police and the Prime Minister rushed to judgement about the young PC Mainville and now it will be impossible for him to get his reputation back in death.
FOR TUITION LOANS
In the PLP's campaign of 1997, this candidate told voters that he would work for the creation of a tuition underwriting scheme, this is to stop parents at the University level scrapping around to find tuition money to send their children off to University. The Government would underwrite the loans at the bank which would allow you to go to any school you wish. Surprise! Surprise! the Prime Minister has now stolen the idea and is announcing it as his own. This after he was confronted by the Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie in the House of Assembly on the matter. People keep criticizing the Opposition for not being able to accomplish much, but the fact is that Hubert Ingraham is a thief of ideas and the PLP can take credit yet again for this new policy.
SWEETING TEACHER BEATEN BY STUDENT
The Government earlier in the week had been crowing about the fact that school violence was decreasing. Of course, this is the same Government that says: apart from murder, crime is down. That should have given us a clue. The words were hardly out of the mouth of the Government spokesman when Kingsley Black, President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers announced that a teacher was beaten by the students in the classroom at C. C. Sweeting and another had a gun pulled on her. Mr. Black said that public school teachers are in fear of their lives at several junior and senior campuses in New Providence. Mr. Black said that the Ministry of Education is nonchalant in its response to the life threatening incidents of violence. The Bahama Journal photo is used of the Union's press conference on Wednesday 16th February.
WILCHCOMBE APPEALS COURT RULING
Marques J. ruled against the application of Senator Obie Wilchcombe who refused to answer a question put to him by the Coroner. The Coroner is investigating the death by apparent suicide of would be candidate for the hangman John Higgs. John Higgs, convicted for the murder of his wife, it appears took his own life on 5 January. Now the Coroner wants to know how and Senator Wilchcombe is accused of holding up the inquiry. As reported last week Senator Wilchcombe is holding out on the principle that a journalist does not reveal his source. The matter was reviewed by the Supreme Court, Justice Ricardo Marques turned down the application of Monday 14 February. He granted a 14 day stay of the four day committal to prison by the Coroner to allow him to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
JOURNAL LIES ON FRED MITCHELL
An editorial by the Bahama Journal on 16 February said the following about the Obie Wilchcombe matter and journalists: "We have very vivid memories of the occasions when we and others in the craft were hauled before the courts and we recounted the fact that few people, including Senators Wilchcombe and Fred Mitchell, raised a finger of protest." As regards Senator Wilchcombe, this columnist cannot speak, but as regards Fred Mitchell that assertion by the Bahama Journal is an absolute fabrication and lie. It turns out that they do not have a vivid memory at all. They have a cloudy and selective memory which appears to be coloured by some kind of inexplicable and visceral dislike of the individual called Fred Mitchell. One thing the Bahama Journal should not confuse is their personal feelings with the truth.
(NO RELATION TO PAUL) ADDERLEY ON B. J.
What appeared to be a letter from the daughter of former Attorney General Paul Adderley was written to the press on the new political party called Coalition for Democratic Reform, (CDR) headed by Dr. Bernard Nottage PLP Kennedy. Mr. Adderley's daughter says that person who wrote the letter is not her. But the person wrote in a letter published in the Bahama Journal on 16 February: "It is my humble opinion that this purple-pulsing contaminated vein of the PLP has finally found the courage to show their faces in the sunshine after groping in the darkness for a long time... How can a party expect us to trust it when it is founded in deception?... And so the once mighty PLP has now degenerated to nothing. Hopefully it has freed itself of the biblical millstone around its neck and now Christie can earn the confidence that the PLP placed in him."
CHAIR BUMPY WATKINS ON BJ
Errington Watkins gave an interview published in The Tribune on Saturday 12 February. In it he said that while The Bahamas needs a third party, it cannot get off the ground under Bernard Nottage. Mr. Watkins in characteristic bluntness said that Dr. Nottage did not have the charisma to lead a party.
STARTS A NEW PARTY
It never hurts one supposes for a man to try, but the well worn path of a third political party is now being trod almost to excess. Cassius Stuart a near 30 year old up and coming has announced the formation of a political party, it appears centred around the Students of the College of the Bahamas. Advice given this man was that he ought to stop playing doll house and come join the PLP and work toward getting elected to the real house. Instead, energy is being wasted on a new entity which cannot get off the ground in the short term and in the long term, its chances of success are not better. But we must invent the wheel. Students from COB came to see the Leader of the Opposition this week and reported on Wednesday 16 February that the party lacks the support at COB that its founder has represented. Not surprising. This election unless something dramatic happens will be a contest between the PLP and the FNM. Mr. Stuart would do well to use his considerable talents and energies at getting a PLP nomination and getting directly to the House of Assembly before he is too old to continue calling himself a youth which is a time perilously close by.
AIDS DEATH RATE
Dr. Perry Gomez, the AIDS Czar, had some good but cautious news. The rate of deaths from AIDS has dropped significantly within the last two years. He was speaking at a press conference announcing an AIDS conference. The press conference was on 15 February. The AIDS conference will be 24-25 February. Dr. Gomez said new AIDS cases declined from 388 in 1997 to 323 in 1998. But Dr. Gomez said he is concerned because we continue to have in excess of 300 AIDS cases per year.
KOED SMITH DEMONSTRATES
A demonstration was led to protest the Clifton Cay project, now about to be approved by the Bahamas Government. Koed Smith, a PLP, led the demonstration in the Public Square on Tuesday 15 February. Mr. Smith accused the Prime Minister of being involved in a conspiracy. The Bahama Journal took a photo of the event.
KEN KERR WRITES
Ken Kerr, the investment advisor, has restarted his column in the Nassau Guardian. His first topic: 'STARTING OVER AGAIN' Sage advice he gives to those who do not have inherited wealth: "Without good savings habits, there is nothing... the real key for those who have not inherited wealth... get into good savings habits."
OF LEGAL ED ATTACKS TRINIDAD AG
On Friday 11 February, the Council of Legal Education of the West Indies ran a paid ad in The Tribune attacking the decision of the Trinidad Government to build its own professional law school in Trinidad to rival the three law schools at Norman Manley, Hugh Wooding and Eugene Dupuch. The CLE was not only upset about that decision but also about the comment made by the Trinidad AG that the legal education was not up to international standards. The CLE pointed out that the T&T Minister is part of the governing Council of the CLE. But they should not be surprised at the T&T AG. He is the same one who hanged nine people to try to get a bump in the polls in Trinidad, a former advocate of abolition of capital punishment who is now calling to hang em high.
STOCK EXCHANGE RESPONDS
A Vice President of Citibank was reported in this column two weeks ago to have said that The Bahamas should abandon its plans for a stock exchange and seek a regional exchange. Brian Taylor, the CEO of the exchange to be called BISX has responded. According to the Tribune, Mr. Taylor says that the exchange will have no geographical boundaries. He said: "In the information age, the boundaries are simply global, and the BISX client base is potentially one billion personal computers and a similar number of mobile phones. As a result BISX will create a virtual community that knows no geographical boundaries." BISX is to start in two months and according to Reece Chipman, financial trainer, the financial services sector is already beginning to benefit from the coming of the exchange.
ON THE PRESS
Letters published in the press last week during the Obie Wilchcombe hearing before the Supreme Court attacked the Bahamas Press Club for coming to support Senator Wilchcombe but not opening their mouths when Gladstone Thurston and other reporters were fired by the Nassau Guardian. He accused the Club of being hypocritical. Ed Bethel, President of the Club responded by saying that the facts are that the press club did respond. He said his response was carried in all the media. He reminded Mr. Thurston that he Ed Bethel was unceremoniously sacked once from ZNS and no one came to his rescue. Interesting!
THE BAHAMAS NOW?
There is a palpable sense of drift through out this country. The country has a feeling that we have dumb and stupid political leaders who just don't care. All the institutions have been destabilized. You have a police force which has cut loose 23 of its senior officers, virtually accusing them of being corrupt. The officers themselves do not have the will to fight back for their reputations. You have the force sagging under the weight of change, with the Commissioner of Police off to school, and the Force having not found its feet under a new Commissioner. Crime is out of control and the Government does not know what to do. All around in the middle of the gunshots and the invective, is the cry for a new Government. The PLP must get about the task of building the coalition. We must win. No one else has at this point in time a chance.
WEEK AT KRISTI'S
MOTHER KNOWS BEST
Grand Bahama watched with interest as two of the Bahamian prisoners returned from Cuba and the mother of a third spoke to the Freeport News in outrage at Janet Bostwick taking credit for their return. "They only want to get at Fred Mitchell" said the mother. The Kristi's crew and much of Grand Bahama finally understands from that story that the issue is only about the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs failed in its duty to ensure that Bahamian citizens were accorded what is due to them under the law. Nothing to do with guilt or innocence. The Bahamians had to return home on temporary British passports. More on this to come in the main fredmitchelluncensored.com. The report vindicates Fred Mitchell's point in the recent set to with Minister Bostwick over doing her duty for Bahamians abroad.
TENNYSON... WAS THAT FOR REAL?
The FNMs would-be leader in waiting Tennyson Wells was addressing Rotarians in Grand Bahama this week. Mr. Wells painted a rosy picture of a Grand Bahama benefiting handsomely from the Government's policies. Mr. Wells has obviously bought into the FNM propaganda about this mirage of an economic boom allegedly underway in Freeport. Perhaps his Freeport general Talmadge Pinder needs to take him for a spin through Port Lucaya Marketplace and the straw market there for a clearer picture.
DISAPPOINTED IN PM
Reports from political observers who meet regularly at neighbouring Geneva's restaurant say that there was dismay and disappointment at Hubert Ingraham's attempt to blame subordinates for the dismissal of 23 senior police officers. Speaking on Picewell Forbes ZNS morning talk show, the Prime Minister sought to lay blame on the various Commissioners of Police for the removal of an aggregate 650 years experience in police management. Now all hell is breaking loose on the streets. Only in the topsy turvy world of Alice-in-wonderland. Besides, since when does Prime Minister Ingraham heed the advice of Bahamians subordinates anyway? Please. One wonders what his English police consultants are saying now.
FROM "HANG THE SOBs"...TO - "WE NEED TO PRAY"
As the week began, the crew at Kristi's was blaming the lawyers and human rights activists for the unprecedented level of crime in Nassau and Freeport. The simple solution they said is to hang the SOBs. The next day Kristi's along with the nation was stunned by the fusillade of thirty three bullets which killed reputed local drug lord Ben Beneby. By the time of Thursday's news of Defence Force officers arrested with illicit automatic weapons; the group had retreated from "hang the SOBs" and was quoting scripture "we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers" The solution, they now say lies in prayer. One Kristi's regular recalled the quote from an FNM, now Minister: "get rid of the PLP and you'll get rid of crime."
WHO IS THAT WOMAN?
ZNS in Grand Bahama has a new voice. Reporter Maryanne Burrows is newly returned from the United States by way of a journalism degree from Howard University and investigative reporting jobs at CNN and NBC. Since Miss Burrows hit town, she's managed a hard-hitting feature story on the inefficiencies at Bahamasair, another on the shortcomings of the Accident & Emergency Department at the Rand Memorial Hospital; she's mashed the corns of the Board of Directors at BaTelCo and even touched on the otherwise sacrosanct Grand Bahama Port Authority. We hope that Miss Burrows does not take too seriously the Prime Minister's pronouncement about a government of sunshine, accountability and transparency. One senior Government employee in Grand Bahama has left a standing order with his secretary: "If that woman calls, I have left for the day." Whatever happened to the Prime Ministerial edict for public servants to stop ducking the media? We wish her well, but advise vigilance and care. In other words, watch out. In the words of one politico she must remember that she is back home on the plantation now. There are many sleepless nights ahead for her brother Kelly.
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|ACCUSED IN TOURIST MURDER: NOT GUILTY...||MURDER! MURDER! MURDER!...|
|WHAT DOES THE MCINTOSH ACQUITTAL MEAN?...||THE IMAGE OF THE POLICE AND THE CROWN...|
|MITCHELL CONFRONTS JANET BOSTWICK...||WHAT'S THE STORY OF DARRON B. CASH?...|
|DARRON B. CASH'S COMMENTS ON FRED MITCHELL...||CASH SAYS FRED MITCHELL US RUDE AND CRUDE...|
|SENATOR CASH APOLOGIZES?...||SENATOR CASH RECALLS FRED MITCHELL...|
|CHALK ABANDONS BIMINI...||SHELL GAS' UNUSUAL ADS...|
|ROBERT KENNEDY JR. ON CLIFTON CAY...||DR. NOTTAGE OFFICIALLY STARTS CDR...|
|TOMMY TURNQUEST - IMMIGRATION OFFICER...||BUTCH A-CRYING AT SUN...|
|STOCK SPLIT FOR FINCO...||CHEZ WILLIE'S NEW RESTAURANT...|
|HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO FRED SR....||ARCHIE CAMBRIDGE OF ZNS MARRIES...|
|OSADEBAY ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE...||THIS WEEK AT KRISTI'S...|
When the week started out, we were preparing for a major debate in the Senate but we had no idea that this was so crucial to the recovery of one's reputation. But it appears in retrospect that this is what happened. Last week the Minister of Foreign Affairs accused this columnist as Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs of breaching diplomatic protocol and leaking secrets told to me at lunch. It was an absolute and total lie told by the Minister who was embarrassed because the Government's decisions came out before she was able to announce them.
This week we report on this columnist's full response to the errant and somnambulant minister. You may click here to see the full speech in the Senate.
Then in the middle of that debate over who said what at lunch, Cornelia Minus a cousin died suddenly. She has no first degree relatives and died intestate. Being the only lawyer in the family, it all dropped in this man' s lap. Funeral arrangements, arbiter of family decisions. Dealing with the fact that one is moving inexorably up the age ladder.
Fred Mitchell Sr. celebrated his 81st. birthday. This columnist remembers how it seems only the blinking of an eye ago, this man could pick my brother Ian and myself up in his arms as he came into the gate of our Collins Avenue home. Those days are going forever. We have a picture spread.
The Cuban Foreign Minister visited and helped the Government out of their dilemma this week. He made announcements about the establishment of a consulate in Nassau. We have a full report below.
And finally we have a remarkable set of excerpts from the intervention of Darron B. Cash who was the chosen one to respond to this Senator's attack on the hopeless Minister of Foreign Affairs. La de da!
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IN TOURIST MURDER: NOT GUILTY
The country was in a state of shock, if anything can shock you for long these days, when a jury of his peers acquitted Tennel McIntosh of the rape and murder of British tourist Joanne Clarke on Wednesday 24 February. The case has been going on for three weeks with lurid headlines about semen and panties and confessions and DNA. All for nothing. The Crown's Cheryl Grant-Bethel said this was the strongest case she had ever put to a jury. She was stunned. Godfrey 'Pro' Pinder who represented McIntosh said that he knew his client was innocent. During the trial he portrayed the Crown as tampering with the evidence and suggested that the police had beaten McIntosh to confess. The jury took two hours to come to the verdict. It was 11-1 not guilty on murder and 10-2 not guilty on rape. McIntosh was remanded in custody because he is to be tried at a later time for the murder of another tourist, an American. Remember last year when we made fun of Hubert Ingraham as he dragged the Commissioner of Police and other high level officers into an international press conference. The Police Commissioner sat there in silence as the Prime Minister and DPM Watson started the murder investigation. We called them Chief Inspector Ingraham and Sergeant Watson. The case seemed an open and shut one for the Crown. This has sent the Government reeling in its crime fighting efforts. Tribune photo.
Each morning one wakes up, or as the old people say, each day God brings sunshine, one expects to find murder in the headlines. During last week, there were three murders in three days. The Government this week published the number of murders for the last ten years. It is startling for a small country; topped off by the 62 last year. This year, the numbers are running at the same pace. The Government does not know what to do. All it can say is: "Apart from murder, crime is down!" This is utter foolishness. The PLP's Leader Perry Christie held a public meeting on crime on Thursday 24 February at the BUT Hall. The room was packed to capacity. People are concerned about crime. Information released from the CDR International investigation for the Government: 1997 - 46 murders, 164 rapes, 373 robberies and 1326 armed robberies; 1998 - 41 murders, 128 rapes, 354 robberies and 1046 armed robberies; 1999 - 62 murders; 110 rapes; 248 robberies and 870 armed robberies. So there you have it: "Apart from murder, crime is down." Give me a break!
DOES THE MCINTOSH ACQUITTAL MEAN?
The verdict of acquittal in what should have been an open and shut conviction means that crime fighting has been set back. It appears to this columnist to be a purely political verdict. This columnist believes that the case was decided against the background of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister getting directly involved in the investigation. They brought in foreign policemen, set up a special task force because a tourist was involved and there were bad headlines in the British press. So the country got the impression when McIntosh was arrested that they had grabbed the first one that they could find. It was then easy for Godfrey Pinder to set into the minds of the jury that McIntosh was framed. The DNA evidence seemed clear. The confession did not seem coerced. But the jury, this columnist believes, wanted to send a message on behalf of all Bahamians of the double standard of the Government of the FNM on crime as it relates to tourists on the one hand and Bahamians on the other. Remember this was the same Government who said that once you got rid of the PLP, you would get rid of crime.
IMAGE OF THE POLICE AND THE CROWN
The problem remains in the country a lack of recognition and acceptance on an official level that there is a a serious belief amongst all strata of society in this country that the police routinely beat confessions out of people. There are few people, including police officers who do not believe that this is a routine occurrence. Add to that the serious problem of scholastic success among the lower socio-economic group from which the police force draws its recruits and you have the makings of a problem. Former Assistant Commissioner Grafton Ifill once made the point that the police draw from the same cohorts from which every other sector draws. Some persons become good citizens, others become bad ones. Some are just this side of the line. Too often that is what you have when persons join the Force. The same pathologies and dysfunctions are ending up in the Force. Add to that the fact that 23 senior officers were summarily dismissed last month by the Government, and there is no permanent Commissioner of Police in place, you can see the recipe for disaster. Further, the Crown's lawyers come off as inexperienced next to those in the private bar, and they do not seem to appreciate that their case must also be won in the court of public opinion which is hostile to the police. It is a pity, but we must together work on this. The PLP is willing to help before the system collapses completely.
CONFRONTS JANET BOSTWICK
It was a 69 page address to the Senate on Wednesday 23 February about an Opposition request for a Select Committee to look into the conduct of the Ministry Foreign Affairs. The Government turned down the request but not before its foreign policy was scorched by this Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs. Janet Bostwick was accused of being asleep at the wheel. The whole controversy centres around an accusation made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Janet Bostwick that this spokesman was seeking to conduct foreign affairs policy with the Cuban Government and had undermined sensitive negotiations with the Cubans on the transfer of prisoners and on the opening of a consulate in The Bahamas. All nonsense! The Minister was embarrassed because the PLP got the news out before she did. Her colleagues 'goosied' her into summoning the Cuban Ambassador and embarrassing him to apologize in front of her. In Cuban culture, can you imagine the male Ambassador being dressed down by a woman Minister of Foreign Affairs in public? That is what Janet Bostwick did to the Cuban Ambassador. At the direction of Perry Christie, Leader of the Opposition, a letter of regret for the Minister bringing him into the politics of The Bahamas was issued by the PLP. The whole speech can be seen by clicking here. The Tribune gave excellent coverage but The Nassau Guardian refused again to print anything on the subject.
THE STORY OF DARRON B. CASH?
The Rubicon has been crossed in a political sense for Darron B. Cash. Now he is a full-fledged FNM doing the bidding of his political masters. Gone is the political correctness and now he is fully on the attack. Senator Cash was the Government's defender of its foreign policy, being the lone speaker in the Senate responding on the Foreign Affairs debate. He had the staff of the Ministry at his disposal. Two of them sat in the gallery. Well that was no problem. It is the first time that the Minister actually did what she was supposed to do when the Opposition brings matters to Parliament. But we thought our readers might be interested in some of what Senator Cash had to say, not about foreign affairs but about Fred Mitchell and fredmitchelluncensored.com. He said he was not a reader but he sure seemed to know a lot about this site.
B. CASH'S COMMENTS ON FRED MITCHELL
In the Senate on Wednesday 23 February, Senator Cash said: "As a matter of course I don't make it a habit of reading Senator Mitchell's weekly diatribe on the Internet - inappropriately called fredmitchelluncensored.com... After looking at a few of his earlier columns, it would seem that fredmitchell-nonsensical.bs would be a more apt description of the site.
"At the top of the column he boasts about the number of hits and encourages readers to continue reading. The Senator probably knows this already, but I will remind him nonetheless. I suspect that at least 75 per cent of the hits are from people in search of hot, spicy and sexy articles similar to page ten of The Punch and Doc's Tonic. By the time they get to the end of the second page and realize that they have been misled, they are ready to move on. The term 'uncensored' didn't mean what they thought it would."
SAYS FRED MITCHELL IS RUDE AND CRUDE
In the Senate presentation Senator Cash continued: "It is disappointing to me that such a fine gentleman, and one who has spent so many years identifying and building up leaders would so blithely seek to tear them down. As I've said before, this Opposition's tactic is to tear leaders down in order to make itself look good. Indeed, Senator Mitchell in a fit of righteous indignation, at one point came to this House to condemn the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister for what Senator Mitchell called the politics of personal destruction (or was it vendetta?). Yet consider the Senator's own actions. When one sees the language used by Senator Mitchell in his column, it could only be characterized as shameful. He insults, derogates and often fabricates. He ought to take a page from the FNM's web page where the emphasis is on providing factual information. One wonders why is he so rude? Why is he so crude? It is clear that his approach to gaining leadership is to make everyone else look dumb, stupid, uneducated and uncouth.
SENATOR CASH APOLOGIZES?
In his Senate address on 23 February, Senator Cash continued: "It seems inappropriate that someone who hopes to lead a nation would adopt such a negative and destructive posture. I certainly believe that it is possible for one who wants to lead to aggressively promote and protect the interest of the people without maligning or denigrating those presently in office. Senator Mitchell clearly has a knack for provoking people to respond in kind. But such reactions should be avoided. In that respect, Mr. President, I recall some months ago that in response to an attack upon me by Senator Mitchell I responded with a reference that was quite out of character. I wish to state for the record that I regret the inappropriateness of those remarks." (Publisher's' note: This is clearly a piece of fiction. Senator Cash does not have his facts straight. No attack was made by this columnist upon him. He attacked me, unprovoked, in scatological terms, with an inappropriate sexual innuendo on the floor of the Senate in my absence from the Chamber.)
CASH RECALLS FRED MITCHELL
Senator Cash completed his review on 23 February (mind you this was a foreign affairs debate) as follows: "I first met Senator Mitchell while I was a student at the College of The Bahamas. Senator Mitchell spoke to Circle K (the Kiwanis organization at college campuses). [He] came to introduce himself and offer his support at the time of the student demonstrations. [He] remained quite supportive and encouraging. [He] encouraged participation in politics. So I have his good interests at heart when I encourage him to tone down the level of his unkind attacks on our leaders. One day he may be in the same position and I am certain that he does not want others to call him names. (Editor's Note: The FNM are the masters at name calling, and if this columnist listened to the names he has been called and the names people continue to call him, he wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.)
The people of Bimini are complaining. They report that Chalks has not been able to provide service from Florida to Bimini for at least five days during the past week. This is crippling those who depend on tourists flying in to Bimini to do deep-sea fishing. The Ministry of Tourism is mute on the subject. The other complaint is that the service to Florida costs too much. They say that the attitude of the owner of Chalks is that he can do anything to the people of Bimini because they have no other choice but to fly on the seaplane service to Florida. The representative for the area has been silent on the point.
The Shell Petroleum company did a strange and stupid thing this week. Against the advice of their dealers and other friends, Shell has decided to run a series of ads in the press admitting that they had bad gas over the past years. The first one appeared on Friday 25 February. Shell's market share has continued to fall steadily despite changes in the Shell formula for gas, new stations and millions of dollars spent in retooling. Shell's problems had gotten so bad they let go their Bahamian country manager. They then brought in a succession of foreign managers who could not get along with the dealers. Today Andrew Kerr is the Manager and there is finally equilibrium in dealer relations. At one point they were thinking of pulling out of the country, but decided instead of pulling out the country, they would re-invest. But market share continued to decline. So now they have brought in a team from the U.S. with the novel idea of admitting that their gas was bad. The ad said: "WE MADE A MISTAKE ". It would seem that Shell must have gone loony. All that will happen is that Bahamians will say that this confirms what car dealers have been telling them all along, i.e. "Don't put Shell gas in your car". Further, Shell may leave themselves open to law suits from disgusted car owners (more money for H. Campbell Cleare III). The problem with Shell is that one has the impression that its foreign management disrespects the Bahamians who work for them and their dealers. They refuse to listen to what their dealers and Bahamian staff are saying. But there is an old Bahamian saying: "If you don't hear you will feel."
Of course, there is nothing wrong and was nothing wrong with Shell gas. The story is that during the energy crisis in 1973, the then Prime Minister asked Shell's assistance to bring in emergency fuel so that the country would not run out of gas. The then Shell Manager David Reid responded by providing the gas, although of a lower grade just for that emergency situation. The gas caused problems for some motorists. Other gas distributors then happily blamed Shell for a problem even though they happily embraced Shell's gesture to help keep them in business during the crisis. The problem has remained with Shell to this day. Up to this day, they have denied that there was anything wrong with the gas. Now the ad says they were wrong. But Ken Perigord is the man who can tell them what to do to solve this problem. But institutional Shell hates Ken Perigord with a passion. It's unfortunate because this latest campaign can only sink their fortunes further.
The interesting thing about this announcement is that Jerome Gomez, a Bahamian, was asked to announce the dirty work. The marketing manager is a non-Bahamian from Latin America. He makes all the marketing decisions for the company. They refuse to give Mr. Gomez the job. The company is headed by Englishman Andrew Kerr. Mr. Kerr is in the paper often, handing out cheques but when the bad news is being announced Mr. Gomez a Bahamian gets to do the dirty work. Some have suggested that this borders on racism.
KENNEDY JR. ON CLIFTON CAY
The various Clifton Cay coalitions are in high gear again. This week the Chief Justice ruled that the 208 acres that the Government acquired from the Oakes Estate under the Pindling administration but never paid for, belongs to Nancy Oakes. The Prime Minister then announced that the Government will re-convey the land to the Nancy Oakes. He said he was washing his hands of it and Nancy Oakes could sell the land to whom she wanted. Not so fast said the Clifton Cay protesters. The Government still intends to approve the gated community that will wreck the environment and ruin the slave plantation ruins on the western end of New Providence. Further, there is an archaeological report which reaffirms how precious the site on the western End of New Providence is and clearly shows that there should be no development. Enter Koed Smith and C.B. Moss who have been leading separate environmental groups of protesters. Robert Kennedy Jr., son of the slain U.S. Senator, came to town. Mr. Kennedy was snubbed by the Government who refused to allow him to use the VIP lounge for an airport news conference. But at a speech at St. Paul's Church in Bias Street, carried live on radio, Mr. Kennedy said he came to condemn the U.S. company Bechtel for trying to do something with Clifton Cay in The Bahamas which would be clearly illegal in the U.S. He accused Bechtel, the ultimate parent company of the local developers of Clifton Cay of interfering in the democratic process in The Bahamas by using big money. Perry Christie, Leader of the Opposition plans to lead a group of PLPs to Clifton Cay next week. Stay tuned! Clifton Cay should not be allowed to proceed. It is against the interests of Bahamians and will destroy a valuable part of our heritage. We show a picture of Robert Kennedy in Nassau, taken by the Nassau Guardian.
NOTTAGE OFFICIALLY STARTS CDR
The new party is called the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR). Dr. Bernard J. Nottage (PLP Kennedy) announced the launch of his new party at the Nassau Beach Hotel at a cocktail reception. The turn out was good. He had enthusiastic young people, dressed to the nines in spanking new uniforms in the colours of the party red, black and gold. That was Thursday 24 February. There was a similar launch on 25 February in Freeport. It is simply a great pity that things have come to this. But that's the way it is. One hopes that he does not end up being blamed in history as the cause of the ultimate destruction of the Progressive Liberal Party without at the same time replacing it with a new and genuine people's movement. But as they say that's life!
TURNQUEST - IMMIGRATION OFFICER
We should have taken a cue from the Governor General down in Jamaica with us two weeks ago when he told the students that the new Immigration Minister (he didn't call his name but it just happened to be his son Tommy) was starting a retooling of the Bahamianization policy to put Bahamians First. This is the FNM's plan to appropriate the one potent election issue the PLP has on them., their anti-Bahamian attitude. The PLP has been afraid to embrace publicly its own policy, so the FNM is now intent on stealing it. But it's only a flam. They have arranged a series of high profile raids. One was led on 22 February at the site of construction at Ocean Club. Sixty-five people working on the site were detained and the site was closed down for 4 hours while every one's work permit was reviewed. The reports say that the Minister himself supervised the raid. This is in keeping with his Boss Hubert Ingraham's penchant for being all things to all men. Remember how Mr. Ingraham interfered in the police investigation that led to the acquittal of a murder suspect (see story above). Now we have the Minister of Immigration doing the job of an immigration officer. Strange things politics will make you do. The FNM, of course, does not have its heart in it. Sun International responded by admitting that they had made certain administrative errors and did not oversee the work of their sub-contractor. The mea culpa was released by the PR office of Sun, run by Ed Fields, son-in-law of the Governor General, and brother-in-law of the Minister. So you see it's a family affair. What we in the PLP ask is what about Sun itself and its policies toward Bahamian middle managers, and other employers who flout the work permit laws. Not just the little guys working construction sites. Be serious and go at the big guys. Tommy Turnquest, the Minister, is pictured... Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that the FNM is upset with Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham because - they are saying - he is giving Turnquest all the resources he needs to deal with Immigration having denied those resources to the previous Minister Theresa Moxey-Ingraham. "Theresa wanted to do the same thing that Tommy's doing" said one source, "but Ingraham set her up to fail because he withheld the resources." Hmmm.
CRYING AT SUN
The Tribune of Friday 25 February reported that Howard Butch Kerzner admitted that the company was "quite concerned" by the "troubling sign" of a decline in Atlantis room bookings over the past ten weeks. Room reservation rates were down some 15 per cent from the New York area when compared to last year this time. Mr. Kerzner indicated that while people were pleased with the buildings and facilities, service needed a lot of improvement. These guys at Sun are incredible. They continue to disrespect the staff who work there, so they have no staff loyalty from Bahamians who have to carry the business. The Opposition PLP has tried to point this out but relations are so poor with the PLP that Sun does not even bother to contact the PLP on any subject. This is something that they must correct or there could be more cloudy time ahead for them.
STOCK SPLIT FOR
The Tribune reported on Friday 25 February that FINCO intends to increase its share capital and do a stock split. The split will be a five for one split. So anyone who has one stock will get five. The new stock will open initially at 7 dollars compared to 34 dollars for the existing stock. Finco is by far the most successful company on the stock exchange. The company intends to float additional shares on the market. The announcement was made by David Gale, Chairman of FINCO. Finco is owned by the Royal Bank of Canada. Finco is managed by Al Jarrett.
Willie Armstrong, formerly of Graycliff, has invested in a new restaurant called Chez Willie. It represents and investment of more than $500,000 according to The Tribune of 23 February. The restaurant was officially opened by Vincent Vanderpool- Wallace, Director General of Tourism on Tuesday 22 February. Mr. Armstrong told The Tribune: "I don't want other people to get discouraged, but there are some realities. It's very difficult and discouraging if you rely solely on the banks." He said that the investment represents all his savings and that of family and friends along with the bank loans. The restaurant is located a few yards from the newly renovated Hilton British Colonial and can seat 300 people. Mr. Armstrong said: "I have always been business oriented. As long as I was employed at Graycliff, I was just another employee." The Tribune photo shows the Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace at left and Mr. Armstrong at right.
BIRTHDAY TO FRED SR.
Frederick A. Mitchell Sr. is a widower. He has now turned 81 - 22 February. He has moved into a new place on Armstrong Street on the site of what used to be the home of his wife in her childhood years. Friends and family gathered there on the 22 February for a mass of thanksgiving and a small birthday party put on by his daughter Carla Mitchell-Seymour. Fred Sr. celebrated with his sister Ruth...grandson Carlton Seymour Jr. and other friends and family. We show pictures of the gathering. Happy Birthday!
MITCHELL-SEYMOUR CHRISTENS NEW BABY
The baby's name is Celine. She is the daughter of the sister of this columnist Carla Mitchell-Seymour and her husband Carlton Seymour. The christening took place at Holy Spirit Anglican Church in Chippingham, New Providence on Saturday 19 February. This is couple's second child. Mrs. Mitchell is shown with Carlton Jr.
CAMBRIDGE OF ZNS MARRIES
All Georgetown, Exuma was in a tizzy. Archie and Charlene got married last Saturday at a moving and glittering ceremony in St. Andrews Anglican Church on 19 February. The ceremony was performed by Archdeacon Keith Cartwright. Archie works at ZNS. He is a good friend to this columnist and Calvin Brown took this picture of this columnist with the bride and the groom shortly after the ceremony. Congrats to Archie.
OSADEBAY ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE
Senior Supreme Court Justice Emmanuel Osadebay was sworn in this week as Acting Chief Justice during the absence from the country of Chief Justice Dame Joan Sawyer. Mr. Justice Osadebay is pictured at the swearing in ceremony with Govenor General Sir Orville Turnquest. Guardian photo
WEEK AT KRISTI'S
The 'New Bahamianization' Comes to Freeport
Tommy Turnquest's campaign to capture the Bahamianization issue from the PLP came to Freeport this week with the arrest of several travelling salesmen working illegally in the city. The Immigration Department files must be full of complaints over this particular abuse going back for at least six or seven years. Why now? Well the attitude among Grand Bahamians seems to be better now than never. People are saying that now is the time to complain about immigration abuses that were often ignored by the Department in the past... quickly before the FNM's real political bosses put their foot down and "stamp out this nationalist foolishness".
Senator Dr. Bethel Speaks Out
News reporters largely ignored two communications in the Senate this week from Opposition Leader in the Senate Dr. Marcus Bethel, but they spoke to two major frustrations of Grand Bahama and the country at large. Dr. Bethel raised the issue of crime which is on everyone's mind and he highlighted the complaints of Bahamian workers at the Lucaya Strip hotel development. "Bahamians feel that they are being treated unfairly and discriminated against," said Dr. Bethel "because of grave disparity with the pay scale being paid to foreign workers of similar skills... These disparities are the source of discord and dissension..." Can't say we didn't warn them.
Ben Beneby Laid To Rest
Slain businessman, accused drug lord, criminal defendant Ben Beneby was buried Saturday in Freeport. Beneby was killed in a hail of bullets by a reported gangland 'hit'. Feelings in the community remained strong, but mixed. Some say Beneby had changed and given his life to the Lord a couple of days before his death. However, in one area frequented by Beneby there were celebrations in the streets at the news of his death, with one woman reportedly awakened out of her bed by the sound of the revelry. Now, in the aftermath of his death there are reports of feuding over his possessions. A harsh lesson for all.
Police Complex Groundbreaking
Top Police Brass were in Freeport for the groundbreaking of a new police complex on the Mall. It will beat having to drive to Peel Street for CID, but will it make a difference in the fight against crime?
CDR Grand Bahama Launch
The few, the brave, the folly? B.J. Nottage's Coalition for Democratic Reform staged the official launch of their party in Grand Bahama this week at the Captain's Charthouse amid reports that much money was being offered to loyal young PLPs and FNMs to switch. Hmmm. We are reminded of the adage "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is."
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