February 2002


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Volume 3  © Fred Mitchell 2002
While material on this web site can be used freely by other sections of the press, as a courtesy, journalists are asked to attribute the source of their material from this web site.
10th February
17th February
24th February
3rd February, 2002
This Week on fredmitchelluncensored.com
John Carey / PLP Carmichael... Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte... Bahamians First.Com / PLP Grand Bahama
Shane Gibson / Golden Gates...  Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town...
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This happened in the supermarket on Saturday 26 January 2002.  It was in City Markets’ store in Harbour Bay.  Minding my own business when up comes a face that I thought I recognized.  She was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  It turned out to be the daughter of one Senator Lynn Holowesko (FNM) and here is what she had to say: “How dare you say hello to me, after you called my mother Osama bin Laden.  I want you to know that is the most despicable thing.”  She stalked off.  I chuckled to myself and let it go.  Had this not been election season, those shoppers that morning would have been treated to what we shall call politely my East Street strategy.

The daughter of Senator Holowesko was referring to some political remarks made in the Senate by this Senator last year when Senator Holowesko made what I considered a cowardly attack on me, while I was not in the Chamber and which was patronizing, racist and denigrating.  It appears that what is good for the goose is not in the case of the Holoweskos good for the gander.  It appears that you are supposed to sit back because of who they are and allow Senator Holowesko to say any patronizing thing she likes, but you have no right of reply.  It is interesting to recall what columnist Nicki Kelly had to say about the matter and you may click here.

The same applies to Eileen Carron of The Tribune.  Last week we responded to several editorials that she has written in the most disparaging and patronizing terms.  There is underlying racism in her remarks.  And the public policy matter that was being addressed by me was simply that of whether BEC can provide the electrical power that the island needs to conduct normal commerce.  Everyone agrees that BEC has not done a good job.  And the fact is that J. Barrie Farrington has been the Chairman of BEC while working as Vice Chairman of Sun International, where the light burns brightly rain or sunshine.  Not so with the lights in Nassau.  The question raised is why?  The answer says Mrs. Carron disingenuously, intellectually dishonestly, is that Paradise Island has emergency generators.  Well does that not beg the question, facetious though it may seem, that maybe BEC needs emergency generators for New Providence?

We move on.  This is the time in life when this writer will not take last from anyone.  I will respond and I will say what ever comes out of my lips at the time in response to an insult.  And that goes for Senator Holowesko, her rude daughter and for anyone else –from the Queen on down.

This week we welcome a new website to our collection of links.  Our colleague Senator Melanie Griffin, the PLP's candidate for the Yamacraw constituency has joined us on the World Wide Web.  Welcome, and congratulations to Melanie on her new website www.melaniegriffin.com.  The site will be a regular link on this website.

This week we had 35,766 hits on this site for the week ending 2nd February at midnight.  The month of January saw 146,348 hits on the site up to 31st January at midnight.  Thanks for reading and please keep reading.

by Nello Lambert, taken at 'Montrose' - Christmas 2000

by Kendal Demeritte
No, No, No, No to the referendum.  See you next week.

12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral

e-mail timbuktu@batelnet.bs

Site Links
The PLP Position on Clifton
http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/2477/index.html Canadian contacts Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
http://members.tripod.com/~xtremesp/wolf.html Bahamian Cycling News
http://www.bahamiansonline.com/ Links to Bahamians on the web
http://www.bahamanet.com/JujuTree.cfm Politics Forum
http://www.briland.com/ Harbour Island Site


    The Prime Minister appeared on Darrold Miller’s ZNS Radio Show ‘Immediate Response’.  On it he said that the General Election will be called some time between 28 February and 9 April.

    The campaign by the political parties over the national referendum that the Government is pushing down the throats of the people of the country has begun.  It started with a public forum at the College of The Bahamas on Wednesday 30 January.
    The panellists were the leaders of the three parliamentary political parties (well, one leader designate): Tommy Turnquest, Perry Christie and Bernard Nottage.  Gilbert Morris of the right wing think tank the Nassau Institute was also a panellist.  The two Opposition Leaders have said that they will vote no.  The issue as far as they are concerned is that the process is flawed.  The process is rushed.  In this they have joined the Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez and the Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Burke who both indicated that more time is needed for people to reflect on the issues in the referendum.
    For his part Tommy Turnquest said that people should stop concentrating on the process and deal with the substance of the bills. You may click here for this Senator’s presentation in the Senate that explains the proposed amendments. Each side seemed to have their crowd out so it was hard to tell who won.  But of course our support is with the Opposition leaders and we are encouraging everyone to vote no.

    The Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie has told the country why he will vote no when the referendum is held.   Speaking at the Forum at the College of The Bahamas on Wednesday 30 January, Mr. Christie called on the Prime Minister to withdraw the amendments.  Mr. Christie said that the questions being asked of the public on the ballot for the referendum are misleading and improperly framed.  Mr. Christie said: “I therefore call upon the Prime Minister to pull back and cancel or postpone plans for the referendum.  It should be left to the next Government of The Bahamas to do it the right way.”   Mr. Christie said that the question as framed on the ballot paper does not fairly represent the bill.  He said that “Instead it deceives the voter in voting for something that is not even in the bill.  It seeks to fool people into believing that if the bill becomes law it will give foreign spouses an automatic right to Bahamian citizenship after five years of marriage.  The bill will do no such thing.  That is why I say that the question is based on fraudulent and fictitious premises.”
    Other points raised by the Leader of the Opposition are whether, when the House is dissolved after the referendum, the Bills all die since the way the provisions of the constitution now read, it appears that the Bills after being approved by the electors have to be further ratified by the two Houses of Parliament all over again.  Further, Paul Adderley, the former Attorney General has put forward the view that you will have to amend article 54 of the constitution to give the power to the Government to amend Article 54 to alter the entrenched provisions of the Constitution.  Mr. Christie said that the situation was sufficiently unclear and the implications far reaching enough for the matter to be withdrawn and reconvened until after the next General Election.  He pledged that if he were Prime Minister after the next General Election he would carry out such a commitment.

    Last week there was a forum put on by the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas in which Paul Adderley and Maurice Glinton roasted the Attorney General on his position and that of the Government on amending the constitution.  During the course of it Archbishop Drexel Gomez offered the following: “grave disappointment over the failure of the present Government to honour its promise to provide broad a consultative process as a prelude to parliamentary action on the referendum.”  He offered that the Government should delay the referendum for a year.
    The Prime Minister attacked the Archbishop with the response that the Archbishop made a political statement.  The Archbishop responded that he stood by his words.  He said that the Government failed to keep its promise to the people of The Bahamas and also failed to offer a reason for its change of heart over the process of constitutional change.  “Surely the people are entitled to an honest explanation,” said the Archbishop.  He said that a weak attempt was being made to equate opposition to the process employed by Government in contradiction to its own promise, with the opposition of some slaves to emancipation.
    The Prime Minister returned from Trinidad where he had been interfering in the personal business of the people of Trinidad and Tobago to express regret over his statement attacking the Archbishop.  This only came after the Roman Catholic Archbishop supported the Archbishop’s comments.  Archbishop Burke said in his statement: “I think if people feel that they do not have enough time they should vote against it, not because they are against the particular change, but they might say I don’t understand it sufficiently so I am going to vote against it.”
    On Friday 1 February, The Nassau Guardian carried a headline that said the Prime Minister had apologized.  He did no such thing.  He simply withdrew because the Bahamas Christian Council also stood behind the Archbishop in its statement.  Bishop Sam Greene, President of the Council said that the amendments should not take place until there has been widespread consultation.
    See if you think that these words by the Prime Minister amount an apology: “I did not really intend to offend the Archbishop. I did want to make the point that I thought it was unfair for the Archbishop to arbitrarily say that this matter should be dealt with in a year’s time… I thought it was a little unusual for a direct opposite position to be taken from the Government on a fundamental issue and for the Archbishop himself to decide that 12 months from now is an appropriate time.”  Doesn’t sound like an apology to me.  The attack is still there.  The Prime Minister just doesn’t get it.  It is simply bad manners to invite someone to participate in a panel, ask them to give their views and then you get offended when they give their views.  But that is the kind of Prime Minister that we have.

   You may or may not remember the story that you read when in primary school about the barber who swatted seven flies dead with his barber strap at one stroke.  He went around the town ever after that with a sign around his waist boasting: SEVEN AT ONE STROKE.  He got a reputation for being a brave warrior.  That is the kind of reputation that the Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez has developed in the Caribbean.  He is an astute reader of the tea leaves, and has faced down more than one Prime Minister in the Caribbean.  Each time that Prime Minister has been on the losing end.
    Archbishop Gomez was the Bishop in Barbados during some turbulent political years.  Those years in the late eighties and early nineties, the Prime Minister there Erskine Saniford seemed to have lost all reason.  The Archbishop called for his resignation.  Mr. Saniford lost the General Election in a landslide to the now Prime Minister of Barbados Owen Arthur.  The Opposition Democratic Labour Party has not been able to recover.
    Over to The Bahamas where the Bishop of Barbados the same Drexel Gomez was invited to The Bahamas in 1983 to sit on a Commission of Inquiry.  It was the then Bishop’s minority report that indicated that the answers given by Sir Lynden Pindling, then Prime Minister, about his bank account raised the suspicion of transactions that were unsavoury. The minority report was used to great effect by the then Opposition Free National Movement.  The PLP fell in the elections of 1992 to the now Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.  Mr. Ingraham often quoted that minority report.
    And now we come to today.  One asks whether or not Mr. Ingraham is not a student of history?  Why would he fool with this Archbishop?  Surely, it’s a situation of three strikes and you’re out. Guardian photo.

    Bishop Lawrence Burke just celebrated twenty years as Bishop of The Bahamas.  In the time that he has been in The Bahamas, after succeeding Lawrence Haggarty an American, the Church has seen unprecedented growth.  He is a Jesuit and a Jamaican by nationality.  He was chosen after the top Bahamian priest Monsignor Preston Moss indicated that he did not deem himself worthy to accept the challenge.
    The church has become part of an Archdiocese in the time of Archbishop Burke.  It has embarked on an expansion of buildings that is unrivalled since the early years of the Catholic Church.  He makes quiet interventions.  He is a conservative man and tends not to face the Government down in his pronouncements.  For example, last month he issued a nation-wide letter to all Roman Catholic parishioners telling them that it was the church’s teaching that all citizens must register to vote and must participate in the process.  The letter was widely praised.  He has pushed the church’s mission of a private sector with a conscience.  He has overseen the church’s mission of social outreach to the economically deprived.  He has increased investment in the intellectual development of our people.
    Now comes his quiet intervention on radio that supports that of Archbishop Gomez.  He has told his people if you do not understand and you think you need more time then you must vote no. Bahama Journal photo by Tamara McKenzie.

    The last assignment of this Senator as a public servant came in 1981, shortly after returning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.  I was working in the Office of the Prime Minister out of the Bahamas Information Services.  My assignment was to promote the then Government’s plans to amend the constitution following the decision in the case D’Arcy Ryan vs. the Attorney General.  D’Arcy Ryan was a Canadian resident of The Bahamas, married to a Bahamian, the former Sheila Pembroke.  He had what was called Belongers status.  This was a status before Independence that was equivalent to citizenship.  It was the position of the British at Independence that all those persons would become citizens of The Bahamas subject to review by the Cabinet and only rejected then for cause.  Mr. Ryan’s application was rejected by the Government.  Some say while he was a young campaigner for the United Bahamian Party, the FNM’s political predecessors, he turned the dogs on former PLP Deputy Prime Minister Clement T. Maynard.  The PLP accused him of being a racist.
    Mr. Ryan died a broken man in Grand Bahama but a valiant campaigner for human rights.  The FNM did not give him citizenship until nearly the end even though it was the FNM’s late leader Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield who fought for his right to citizenship that he won in the courts.  When I asked the now Prime Minister about why Mr. Ryan had not been given citizenship, he growled back: “Let Ryan wait!”
    The PLP decided after the Privy Council’s decision in the Ryan case to amend the constitution to make it clear that the Government was the only one who could grant citizenship.  The move was widely opposed by the then Opposition FNM but also by the church most notably, then Anglican Bishop Michael Eldon.  It is this Senator’s memory of it that following upon Bishop Michael Eldon’s charge at Synod on the matter in either 1981 or 1982, the Government quietly dropped the whole idea.  The feeling was, that by amending the constitution as the PLP then proposed, the Government would be taking away an entrenched right that was enjoyed by Belongers under our constitution.

Back To The Top

Bradley Roberts, the MP for Grants Town and Chair of the PLP, has dropped another bombshell.  This time it appears to be a case of self-dealing with a board member of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC). Fred Ramsay, a former FNM candidate, was a board member of BEC up to December 2000.  During that time, it transpires that he owned a company that purchased material and equipment for BEC.  This appears to be a clear case of conflict of interest.  Mr. Ramsay in a statement heard by many on radio said that he was not the owner of the company but merely a partner.  Mr. Roberts at a press conference in Nassau on Thursday 31 January accused the Minister responsible Frank Watson of being asleep at the wheel.  This is yet another allegation of corruption against Frank Watson or some entity under his control.  You may click here for the full report.

Last week on this site, we published the death announcement of Kendal Moss. Mr. Moss is a former Torchbearer President and Fox Hill resident.  He died at the age of 36 and was buried in St. Mark’s Cemetery in Romer Street, Fox Hill on Sunday 27 January. In reporting the list of survivors, we neglected to list Magistrate Linda Virgill and another sibling Gilbert Hepburn.  The problem was the way the names were listed in the obituary, it was not clear that these persons were siblings of Mr. Moss.  Nevertheless, we apologize for the error.  Mr. Moss on his death had become disillusioned with the FNM and had said that he was not going to vote this year.  He urged this Senator to win Fox Hill but he said that he was going fishing on that day.  At the funeral, it was made clear by the Pastor that it was Mr. Moss’ wish that no politicians speak.  So none were listed on the programme.  Of course, this could not have been a point being made to me who attended as the PLP's representative.  We would not have been expected to speak, but one wonders what Tommy Turnquest, the FNM's Leader designate and all the other FNMs gathered there thought about that.  We found Mr. Moss to be a good person and a proud Fox Hill resident.  May he rest in peace!

    Following upon the passage of a new law bringing into force the revised laws of The Bahamas in newly bound volumes current to 2000, the Attorney General Carl Bethel has announced that the new laws have been published.  They are to be known as the Revised Edition of the Statute Law and Subsidiary Legislation of The Bahamas 2000.  It is about time.  The laws will be available to the public once they are tabled in Parliament.  They will be available on CD Rom, bindery and loose leaf formats.
    The Attorney General announced the new law books at his offices on Monday 28 January.  The books are published by Juta Law of South Africa.  The Government ordered 15,000 loose volumes and 500 bound volumes.  The laws can be updated more easily with a loose-leaf inventory.  The Law Reform Commissioner who was in charge of editing the project was Faizool Mohammed.  Mr. Mohammed has ended his assignment and was sworn in as a Judge of Supreme Court on Thursday 31 January. Nassau Guardian photo by Donald Knowles shows Mr. Bethel (centre) with Juta Law Publishing Director Ciaran Macglinchey (left) and Mr. Mohammed (right).

    M. Teresa Butler, the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister has officially retired from the public service.  She served her last day on Thursday 31 January.  She is to be replaced by Acting Permanent Secretary and former Consul General in Hong Kong Camille Cartwright.  Ms. Butler took advantage of a law specially amended by the Free National Movement and the Prime Minister she served to get out early with a full retirement package.  This way she does not have to concern herself with serving any new administration.  The word is that the Prime Minister intends to appoint her Chair of the Public Service Commission.  Lucky lady she is!  Her entire time as Permanent Secretary in the public service has been serving one person, the Prime Minister.  In that post she eclipsed the Secretary to the Cabinet as the most important post in the service.

    It is now official.  Jon Isaacs has been sworn in as a Permanent Judge after acting for far too long.  He has been joined by former Law Reform Commissioner Faizool Mohammed.  Both persons came from the public service.  Only Mr. Isaacs is a Bahamian.  Mr. Isaacs is said by The Tribune to be the youngest Judge to the bench at 47 years old.
    Meanwhile Jeanne Thompson, the Judge sworn in just before these two, is cooling her heels in her own chambers because there are no facilities in which to do her work.  She hears cases in the Senate’s committee room and uses the President’s office as her chambers.  She has no space for her secretary and clerk and no computer with which to work.  So when she is finished her limited hearings for the day, she repairs to her own private chambers in Queen Street there to await the next day’s official work. This is a disgrace.

Back To The Top

    I want to thank the Bahama Journal for its editorial under the headline U.S. ALIENATING FRIENDS in its publication of Thursday 31 January.  This columnist has expressed a concern since the day of the 11 September and the events that followed that the United States was overreacting and engaging in what appeared to be excessive rhetoric over the matter.  There does not seem to be a response in scale.  That concern was heightened after listening to the statements by U.S. President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address.
    The Journal said: “If the United States continues on this hyperbolic path of wordy excess and hyperactivitively venomous war-talk, it runs the serious risk of alienating some of the support it has earned for itself from a broad based coalition of states and interests around the world.”
    What is of course of more concern is not only the bellicose words but the fact that it appears that the U.S. does not care what anyone thinks and as soon as some word or expression of dissent is given you are labelled as a friend of terrorists.  Surely the detentions without trial or access to lawyers, both in the United States and on Guantanamo would not be tolerated by the United States of its own citizens anywhere else in the world.  Something is not right here for a nation based on Christian values and the rule of law.

    Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is the Chairman of Caricom and as such he led a delegation of his fellow Prime Ministers to Trinidad last week to see if they could be useful in ending the political stalemate in Trinidad.  Basdeo Panday, the Indian ancestry Prime Minister was not chosen by A.N.R. Robinson the President, to be Prime Minister following an 18-18 tie in their General Elections on 10 December.  Mr. Panday pulled out of an agreement to respect the President's decisions reached with then Opposition Leader Patrick Manning.  Mr. Manning, after being chosen Prime Minister then set a about putting together a Government that included his wife as Minister of Education and he is acting like he can govern without the Opposition’s co-operation.  It is doubtful that he can continue beyond the third quarter of the year if the Opposition does not agree to convene Parliament.
    It appears that the Prime Ministers of Caricom were able to get both sides to agree to move forward.  But what was interesting was a look at the comments by Prime Minister Ingraham on the situation in Trinidad.  He spoke about Trinidad’s peculiar racial politics.  Of course, Trinidad has no peculiar racial problem.  The Bahamas has a racial problem and so does Guyana.  Then he said that he supported the decision of A.N.R. Robinson, a decision considered controversial by fully one half of the population of Trinidad.  This is the problem with this guy.  He is always trying to show others how smart he is.  In the end, he was interfering in the internal affairs in Trinidad.  He should have had nothing to say about their internal situation, only that he had accomplished his mission of getting the parties to talk to each other.  The Prime Minister is pictured in Trinidad with Mr. Manning.   AP photo / Shirley Bahadur courtesy of The Tribune.

    The art of intelligent conversation and polemic is just that an art.  It is not bolstered by bluff, nor enhanced by bull crap.  You either have it or you don’t.  Perhaps you can acquire it, unless you are too arrogant to learn from anyone.  It is embarrassing really to hear the defences put forward by Carl Bethel, the Attorney General on his Government’s policies in the referendum and the amendment to the constitution.  It is like these silly arguments one makes up off the cuff when desperately trying to get a Magistrate to go your way.  It is a combination of idle flattery and unintelligent though intelligent sounding rhetoric.  In short, there is nothing to this man and his ability to defend what his Government has done.  He just doesn’t have it.
    People told me about the pathetic performance of the AG on television two weeks ago opposite real lawyers like Paul Adderley and Maurice Glinton, but I heard it for myself on radio on Love 97 on Friday 1 February on Jeff Lloyd's show.  It is quite simply embarrassing.  Not only does the Attorney General not know the laws of the country, he does not know its history.  He like all of his contemporaries in the Cabinet are so impressionistic that they try to get away with the bombast of their boss Hubert Ingraham but it comes off as a caricature.
    I thought I would fall out of my chair when I heard the Attorney General dismiss the case of McKenna, an Irish case that says that the Government cannot use public monies to promote a yes vote in a referendum.  He dismissed it by saying to the moderator, “I don’t need to go all the way to Ireland to know that.”  It is an appeal to nationalism in which the FNM does not believe but he thinks it will resonate with the population so he uses this desperate tactic – our nationalist Attorney General.  Except that his lawyers use foreign cases all the time to demonstrate a principle of law and he knows it.  It is intellectually dishonest of him to argue otherwise.  Further, he knows that his answer obscures the real fact, which is that the Government is busy using public monies to promote a yes vote.  And he is dead wrong when he says that the decision on a yes vote is an act of state in the sense that it is the policy of the Government of the Bahamas.  If he indeed had read the case and understood it as he said, he would know that it was that specific rationale that the case rejects.
    This is really a sad state of affairs.  How from where we started did we get saddled with these boobs?

    We have reported over the weeks and now over the year, the concern that we have for the economy of The Bahamas, and the fact that the men and women who run it appear to have no concern for the trend of contraction and displacement that has been in evidence over the last two years in particular.  We opposed many of the labour polices of the present Government because they tilted against workers and toward employers to the disadvantage of workers.  Now we must say it again, the Government of The Bahamas must be condemned for the way they have managed this economy over the last five years.  While GDP recorded growth, the Government must ask itself the question whether or not there has been an increase in the quality of life for the workers of the country?  The evidence is that there has not.
    One imagines that consumer debt is the highest it has ever been.  The Government itself is now struggling to find revenue. The tourism sector is crippled with no one offering a clear direction as to how to lift us out of the morass.  BaTelCo workers were sent out to pasture and have now run out of money.  The Financial Services Sector has been crippled by laws that were excessive and unnecessary.  And while there are a few discordant voices from those of the Government, in the halls of power they still seem to be singing in one accord with the developed world and still genuflecting in the ‘right’ direction.
    Nothing showed this genuflection up more than William Allen, the Minister of Finance flying off to Washington and signing without any consultation with the private sector, the Tax Information Exchange Agreement.  This agreement will allow the incursion of American tax authorities behind the veil of confidentiality in our banking system.  Our way of life has been changed without consultation, without any thought for the consequences for workers.  The PLP must rededicate itself to reviewing all of this with a view to reversing our slide into poverty.

The Union that represents Barclays’ workers is now threatening to file an injunction against the Bank as it proceeds to a merger without dealing with the concerns and contracts of workers at the institution.  The Union’s reps told The Tribune in its Tuesday 29 January edition “Barclays and CIBC have painted a picture that all is moving along smoothly.  We do not know who painted this picture, but the scenery that we are gazing upon does not appear to be a smooth one.  In fact, this picture has the potential of becoming ugly...  Just as they will transfer ownership of their computers, their desks, their chairs, they [Barclays] want to transfer their employees.  We are being viewed as property and are simply being transferred.  We are telling Barclays Bank that we are not slaves and will not be treated as such.”

It has been announced that Citibank has sold its Visa business in The Bahamas to Scotiabank.  According to Scotiabank this makes them the largest issuer of Visa and Master Card business in The Bahamas.  Beginning last week, all Citibank Visa customers should pay their bills at Scotiabank Branches.  This was reported in The Tribune’s Business section Wednesday 30 January 2002.

The Colina Financial Group is in a deal to buy a majority stake in Global Life Assurance (Bahamas), but it still awaits regulatory approval in The Bahamas. The trading of its stock has been frozen pending the regulatory approval.  If approved Colina will have some 35,000 insurance policies in The Bahamas.  This story was reported in The Tribune’s Business Section Wednesday 30 January 2002.

    This columnist continues to express concern about this yearly forum that purports to represent a cross section of views on how the economy is going to develop.  It was opened on Monday 28 January by the Prime Minister on videotape because he was down in Trinidad interfering in those people’s business and so could not attend in person.  The problem with this and other productions that come out of The Counsellors like the programme ‘You and Your Money’ is that no one from Opposition parties ever appears on these programmes.  The programmes are good programmes but simply one sided in favour of the Government’s views.  I have heard the explanation on ‘You and Your Money’.  I don’t quite buy it but I hear it.  But it cannot be argued with a General Election coming within ten weeks, that the Opposition’s views are not aired.  Supposed there is some secret nationalizer (which there is not) in the Opposition, the Business Outlook Seminar would have no idea what is in store from them should the Government change.  It is short sighted and a snub to the PLP.

The Mount Carey Baptist Church in Fox Hill, the village's oldest church, has installed Rev. Dr. Enoch Silbert Backford II to be its 13th pastor in the 158 years of its existence.  He was installed by the Superintendent of the Salem Baptist Union with which the church is affiliated last Sunday 27 January.  He succeeds Rev. Dr. Philip Rahming.

We first carried this story on this site two weeks ago on 20 January 2002.  Since then, Government's new website has been slow to launch on Sundays, perhaps because of the high traffic.  For the benefit of our readers, we present the story and the hotlink again: The National Co-ordinator for Information Technology Charles Knowles has announced the launching of the new Bahamas Government website.  It can be accessed at www.bahamas.gov.bs. Mr. Knowles said that it was decided to embark upon a “friendlier” approach to interaction with government.  The website is also a timelier means for disseminating information, as well as letting people know that we too are operating in the electronic world. The Bahamas Information Services photo by Derek Smith shows Mr. Charles Knowles and the Senior Supervisor of Systems and Programming, Ms. Carol Roach (right), viewing The Bahamas Government's new web site January 11 with members of the Web Design Team.  Also pictured, from left, are Arlene Thompson, Theresa Major, Patricia Armbrister, Perciss Mackey, Denise Clarke and Michelle Small.

DONZEL HUYLER -   Donzel Huyler Sr. was buried in the Eastern Cemetery, following a service at St. Matthew's Anglican Church on Saturday 2nd February.  Mr. Huyler was 84.  He was a well-known welder and maker of cowbells for a generation of Bahamians.  He was married to my late mother's first cousin, the former Althea Isaacs.  He is survived by four children: Donzel Jr., Philip, Rogann and Glendia.

Sybil Louise Bowe, for many years a fixture of central Nassau was buried Wednesday 30 January, 2002 in Ebenezer Methodist cemetery after a funeral service at the Central Gospel Chapel.  Mrs. Bowe, long of Christie Street, Nassau, is survived by her husband Mr. Leonard 'Bowtie' Bowe, sons Leonard Maxwell M. Bowe Jr., P. Colin Bowe and James Michael Bowe; daughters Sonia Dames, Janeen McCartney and Antoinette Bowe and stepdaughters Zelma Roberts and Helen Butler.  Our sincere condolences to the family.

ANTANESE ROLLE - We also buried Antanese Rolle on Saturday 2nd February.  She was only 18 years old and died suddenly.  She is survived by her mother Debbie Stubbs, father Anthony Rolle; sister Paige Forbes; Esther Rolle her stepmother and grandparents Melvina Sturrup and Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Rolle.

ANDREW BLAIR - Also 22-year-old Andrew Blair was buried on Saturday.  Mr. Blair was burned to death in a gasoline fire.  A boy with a bright future is no more.  He is survived by this mother and father Leslie and Judith Blair and 6 brothers.

News From Grand Bahama welcomes the many employees at the former Princess hotels now Resorts at Bahamia who read this site.  Pass on the word and please keep reading.  We know the inside stuff.

People First - FNM leader designate Tommy Turnquest has told FNMs in Grand Bahama during a rally that he believes in Bahamianization and in putting people first.  We would like to remind the leader designate that he was the Minister for People to People who ridiculed Bahamas Immigration Officers for interfering with foreign workers who were gainfully employed without the necessary work permits on the Lucayan strip.  It was this same leader designate who called the Bahamas Immigration Officers "overzealous" for doing their job and attempting to protect Bahamian workers.  We further remind the leader designate that he is the same person who, as Minister of Tourism, presided over and watched in silence as one Bahamian manager after another was dismissed or made redundant at Resorts at Bahamia.  The FNM leader designate continued in silence as those Bahamian managers were made to suffer the indignity of having to report back to the scene of their dismissal every two weeks for their severance pay, watching as they were replaced by foreigners often with less qualifications than they.  Perhaps the leader designate means that he believes in putting Bahamians first out the door.  Or perhaps he meant that he believed that the 35 dismissed Grand Bahama Container Port workers should have been put first when they cried out to the deaf ears of all six FNM representatives on Grand Bahama.  The leader designate should think of all these things before he tries to put a fundamental principle of the PLP in his mouth.  During his weekend in Grand Bahama, the FNM leader designate toured the now infamous Resorts at Bahamia and knowledgeable sources say he was taken around by one of the two or three Bahamian managers left and "Can you believe it?  There wasn't one single Vietnamese tile layer in sight!"

GBCP Unethical - The apparent campaign by the foreign owned Grand Bahama Container Port to run a Bahamian engineering firm out of business has heightened.  Employees of Motherwell Bridge Bhicam are said to have been approached by executives of the container port with job offers.  News From Grand Bahama has reported that Bhicam's contract to maintain engineering at the container port is being pulled.  Bahamian insiders at the container port say that "they can't complain about the quality of Bhicam's work, so what it is?"  Many within the Bahamian business community in Grand Bahama are outraged: "This behaviour is unethical in the extreme." said one businessman "I just don't see how it can be allowed to happen."  Bhicam is said to have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in training and physical plant in order to tool up for the container port job.  It has provided round-the-clock maintenance for the container port for some years.

Container Port Trouble Coming - Meanwhile, union workers at the container port are awaiting the outcome of a court action against the container port concerning overtime pay which some expect to be resolved in their favour.  Estimates are that the container port could face settlement charges of up to ten million dollars.  News From Grand Bahama has learned that some in the union favour drastic industrial action against the container port in retaliation for what it charges is victimization against the workers.  All week in Grand Bahama, copies of various e-mails have been in circulation warning that the container port could be paralysed to the point of closure.  The Grand Bahama Container Port is owned by the mainland Chinese conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.

How The Mighty Have Fallen - It is undeniable: ten years ago 'FNM country' was synonymous with Freeport and most of Grand Bahama.  At that time, the mere rumour of an FNM public meeting here would have brought thousands flocking to the Sunrise Shopping Centre.  On Friday past 1 February, there was one such rally and to the dismay of the FNM leadership, the numbers were but a fraction of days gone by.  Reports say the gathering was lacklustre and unenthusiastic, with rally-goers separating into camps: Ingraham / Turnquest / Foulkes here Algernon Allen people there.  When the still-popular former Minister of Idle Poetry Allen took the podium, members of the other faction in the crowd began to grumble: "I ain' know why they bring him here... He must believe we can't do without him eh?"   Earlier in the day, Mr. Allen appeared on the popular ZNS radio call-in show 'To The Point' with Byron Stubbs.  Unlike every other Friday, that day, ZNS mysteriously developed 'technical difficulties' which made it impossible for the show to be heard around The Bahamas on the network.  Callers to the show scolded the former Minister for not standing on principle: "How could you let bygones be bygones; if the process was corrupt and / or your colleagues are corrupt?"

On The Block - Print ads in the Freeport News this week put the lie to pronouncements of 'boom' or 'upward trend' in discussing the Grand Bahama economy.  The ads listed unprecedented numbers of homes and cars being sold at auction for default.

Say What? - Resorts at Bahamia has everyone looking on again.  Word is that the (newly renovated?) resorts are set to "reopen" on 27 April.  No mention of the promised sophisticated new arcade that was supposed to link the casino and the Tower at Bahamia and be the crowning glory of the renovated properties.  No mention of the "man-made beach" which turned out to be a not so large swimming pool for which a main thoroughfare was closed and dug up.  What happened?  We all know the answer, and word is that Resorts at Bahamia employees are now in line at the bank ten minutes after they get their paycheques.

Kristi's Crew Say NO - The straw poll was not scientific, but the result is telling.  The politicos who meet for breakfast at the local eatery Kristi's say the answer to all but one of the Government's referendum questions is NO!  "They just might get the Teachers Service Commission," said one, but it's plain to see that the people's answer is no.

The 'Dream Team' What Happened? - Ever since the announcement of Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes as the FNM's 'Dream Team' the two were inseparable in the public eye during trips to Grand Bahama.  Both men were here at the weekend, but - wonder of wonders - they managed at every turn to be at opposite ends of the island.   FNM generals say "It's obvious that Tommy is trying to shake Dion... evidently there's some strain in their relationship."  Out of their own mouths.

10th February, 2002
This Week on fredmitchelluncensored.com
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The news came on a political trip to Bimini.  And it always seems to happen at the moment when you least expect it.  There was a successful meeting on Tuesday 5 February to urge the people of Bimini to vote no in the referendum of 27 February.  The call came at 7:30 a.m.  A friend had suffered a heart attack and was in the intensive care unit of the hospital.  He is 50 years old.  It turns out that he thought he had indigestion but it was a pain that would not go away.  And luckily he went to a doctor who recognized that something was wrong, admitted him to hospital.  The hospital found a blocked artery and they were able to remove the blockage and save the patient.

Quite apart from the automatic response which is to suspect that every ache and pain you now have is a heart attack, it gets you to thinking about transitions again.  It is hard to believe that me and my contemporaries actually run The Bahamas and that we are at that age where we start to worry about heart attacks and prostate cancer.  It was reinforced by the fact that for the first time in my 25 years of travelling to Bimini our great PLP general Cy Smith is ill and is unable to move around.  He expresses openly that maybe his time is at an end but he wants to be alive to see the return of the PLP to power this year.  And who is he appealing to but the generation behind him.  We have come to promise him, Senator Obie Wilchcombe and me, that we can deliver.

But then you get to thinking about public policy and health care. Our friend with the heart attack reported that there was a 36 year old man in similar circumstances to his who presented to the Princess Margaret Hospital with the same illness, only to suffer a complete heart attack because he had no medical insurance or money to pay for the medical care.  It reminds me of another story of a 36-year-old man who died of AIDS who called it “a rich man's disease”.  He did not have the money to pay the $1500 plus to prolong his life.  He died because he did not have it.  And so the next government of The Bahamas will it seems have to bite the bullet on national health insurance.

But our friend is recovering.  He has been told that he must stop eating out in restaurants because the food is too high in salt and cholesterol.  He has been told that his cholesterol levels may be hereditary, his father having been a heart by-pass patient.  His siblings have been ordered to report to their doctors right away to check.

Death comes like a thief in the night.  And all this sudden illness and the rituals around the hospital bed reminded us of the fragility of life in general.  It’s scary in one way but then there is nothing that we can do.

This week we had 34,256 hits on this site up to midnight Saturday 9th February.  That brings a total of 39,487 hits on this site for the month of February.  Thanks for reading and please keep reading.

by Nello Lambert, taken at 'Montrose' - Christmas 2000

by Kendal Demeritte

On Corruption And How It Is Dealt With By The P.L.P.

Corruption, corruption a Jack Ass load of corruption levied at some of the F.N.M. party and Government members, and the way the F.N.M. leaders are dealing with it leaves one laughing all the way to the barnyard. Especially when one hears the Bulls… explanations given in defence of such corrupt behaviour from a once politically sane man.  None other than the Prime Minister Hubert Alexander Ingraham who has appointed himself… Judge and Jury in the case of his wanna-be leaders under the cloud of corruption, this fella really aint ga no shame!

The relentless and unfair bombardment by F.N.M. accusing the P.L.P of corruption will no doubt be settled after understanding the following: Whenever the ugly and nasty head of corruption revealed itself during the P.L.P. Government, it was promptly and justifiably dealt with, as I am relying on my memory, my dates and time may be questionable but the events are unmistakable:

· Mid 1970’s - then P.L.P. cabinet minister, and MP for Salem the late Hon. Simeon Bowe accused of corruption involving the purchase of P.V.C. pipes by a company that Minister Bowe might have had some material interest in. Resignation requested and received. 

Hubert and Tommy… We followed convention

· 1976 – Opposition charges of corruption in the purchase of a building to house the National Insurance Head Office. A dear friend of the PLP and its MP for Fort Charlotte, Earl Thompson.  Resignation requested and received. 

Again Hubert and Tommy… We followed convention

· 1980 – Allegations PLPs were involved in a grand scheme to sell the mineral rights of the Bahamas to a foreign entity.  The PLP immediately called for a Parliamentary investigation of all parties concerned, and guess who chaired that investigation committee?  None other than the member for Cooper’s Town, The Honourable Hubert Ingraham (the present Prime Minister), whose findings were tabled in the Parliament clearing Sir Lynden and others of all undue allegations and calling for the presenters of that allegation to be censored and punished by the Parliament.

Again Hubert and Tommy… We followed convention

· 1984 – A special investigative report broadcast internationally by NBC targeting Norman’s Cay in the Northern Bahamas and alleging that drug smugglers were operating at will while supposedly having the protection of the Bahamian government.  We called for an immediate investigation and for the appointment of a Blue Ribbon commission of Inquiry to investigate the Government, the party, members of the civil service, police and defence force, including private individuals. Despite the absence of concrete evidence, two senior ministers were asked to resign on hearsay, and to this day this Corner is strong in the belief of their innocence. Resignations requested and received.  The report of the Commission is published for all to see.  The resignation of one of the Ministers had no connection to the Norman's Cay allegations. 

Again Hubert and Tommy… We followed convention

· 1989 - The resignation and incarceration of one of the country’s most dignified and noble sons, the Representative for Acklins and Crooked Island, Parliamentary Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister, a Christian gentleman, and a friend to all, the late Hon. Wilbert ‘Pete’ Moss. It was alleged that he tried to bribe a Magistrate in a matter regarding the son of one of his constituents while the matter was before the court. If anybody had the privilege to know Pete Moss they will tell you without hesitation that might have been the only wrong thing he had done in his life and suffered GREAT indignity, shame, and embarrassment for doing so. But it all was not for self, but in trying to help another. Resignation requested and received.

Again Hubert and Tommy… Sir Lynden followed convention

· 1990 - Charges of corruption against the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Ervin Knowles for contracting a company owned by a family member to carry out and perform works in the renovation of his office in the Ministry. This, they alleged, was a direct conflict of interest and not acceptable by standards of political convention.  Resignation requested and received.

Again Hubert and Tommy… Sir Lynden followed convention



12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral

e-mail timbuktu@batelnet.bs

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On Wednesday 6 February, Colin Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State visited The Bahamas to meet with the 15 Foreign Ministers of the Caricom states. He arrived on the 6th and left The Bahamas on 7th February.  While in The Bahamas, he visited the Simpson Penn School for Boys, the correctional and custodial centre for young men.  He gave them a pep talk.  According to the pundits, this is the highest-level visit of an official of The Bahamas Government since John F. Kennedy visited here in 1963.  Not so, since George Bush visited the country while he was Vice President of the United States during the last years of the Pindling administration.
    Mr. Powell’s visit is the substitute for one that was postponed last year due to the United States having to deal with the 11 September crisis.  He brought his wife Alma.  The 15 Ministers were able to raise issues of Haiti, money laundering, drug trafficking, criminal deportees and the impact of 11 September on the economies of the Caribbean.  Foreign Minister Janet Bostwick called the talks “candid”.  An appeal was made particularly from The Bahamas, which in these days is being swamped by Haitian immigrants, to free the aid package available to Haiti by the Organization of American States (OAS).  No dice said Powell who says that his country continues to object to Haiti’s internal arrangements with its opposition.  And so we can and will continue to see The Bahamas swamped by refugees from Haiti.
    These meetings often come off as talking shops but they are a useful nod in the right direction by the United States that has generally ignored the Caribbean until there is some military problem on its doorstep.  BIS photo by Derek Smith of Gen. Powell t Simpson Penn Centre, Bahama Journal photo of Foreign Ministers.

We have used all sorts of adjectives to describe the work by the present Foreign Minister of The Bahamas Janet Bostwick.  We have called it hopeless, idle and we have said that her tenure as Minister has been marked by somnabulance.  She seems only to come alive when some big wig from the United States comes to town - hugs and kisses all around.  Lots of smiles for the cameras.  You have the impression that she is saving all of this for her grandchildren to see what kind of company she used to keep.  Of course that has nothing to do with what she is actually doing, or should be, for The Bahamas.  And the answer is not much.  There is no policy that has been applied by her that has actually had an impact on the country.  All it is under her tenure is a shake hands talking shop cocktail partying ministry.  It has left the professional staff demoralized and tired of her and her administrative team and wanting them to go as soon as possible.  From an official point of view, she continues to ignore the fact that particularly so close to a general election she has not briefed the Leader of the Opposition or the Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, this Senator, on the issues that were discussed at the forum with Colin Powell.  And we found it offensive that a visit can be arranged to this country that involves the Government, even a private visit to a school and no opportunity for Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie to speak directly to Secretary Powell.  Anyway, we hope to solve that in a few weeks. Then the country will be rid of Janet Bostwick, perhaps for good. Useless, that’s the word! BIS photo by Peter Ramsay showing Mrs. Bostwick greeting Gen. Powell on his arrival in The Bahamas.

On Tuesday 5 February, Jon Isaacs, described by the FNM ideologues angry at his ruling, as the most junior of judges, ruled that Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles be freed on bail in the sum of $100,000.  Mr. Knowles had been ordered extradited to the United States after a high-level international sting operation by the US, Canada, Jamaica and The Bahamas.  The U.S. alleges that Mr. Knowles was the main man behind an international conspiracy that imported drugs into to the United States involving Jamaica and The Bahamas.
    The lawyers for Mr. Knowles, Edward Fitzgerald, an English Q.C. and Philip ‘Brave’ Davis argued that the extradition order by the Magistrate Carolita Bethel was flawed because it was based on inadmissible evidence.  Mr. Isaacs agreed but the Government indicated it was appealing and so bail was again set.  The Government was furious.  The day when Mr. Knowles was scheduled for release they claimed that they could not find his passport and other supporting documents.  This was clearly a lie, since all around the political community the police had planted information that they intended to rearrest him as soon as the bail conditions were made and charge him under a fresh warrant.
    Most people believe that the Government simply lied in order to give themselves time to get the new papers in order.  That is certainly the way it looked when the next day shortly after Mr. Knowles made bail, they rearrested him and took him straight away to a magistrate and charged him on a fresh warrant with new counts of conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States.
    So here we go again. No bail was granted and he was whisked away back to the Fox Hill prison where he remains.  This incensed a group of Mr. Knowles’ supporters who were outside the court over the three days with placards among them reading: FREE NINETY.
    Many people in The Bahamas believe that the re-arrest is an abuse of the process by the Government.  One former police officer was troubled by all of this saying that The Bahamas needs to ask more pressing questions of the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).  He is convinced that the DEA has no interest in stopping drug trafficking into the United States and accuses them of being corrupt, of planting evidence and of allowing violence to foment in this society in 2000 in their effort to catch Mr. Knowles in their sting operation.  In the year 2000, there were 72 murders in the country compared to 42 in 2001.  The suggestion by the former policeman is that it was the violence involved in the competition between the gang of Mr. Knowles and the gang of Ben Beneby in Freeport that led to all the killing and shooting.  But, said this officer, the U.S. DEA knew of the source of all the killing, they were funnelling the drugs, they were funnelling the money, they knew what was happening and yet it was allowed to continue. “Someone should ask some hard questions of the DEA,” he said.  Tribune photos of Knowles being escorted by Drug Enforcement officers with automatic weapons (top) and a placard carrying Knowles supporter.

It is a sign of the desperation of the Government that Hubert Ingraham put together a new panel to discuss the national referendum that he proposes for the country on 27 February.  He wants the country to agree to amend the constitution in six different ways.  Sorry did I say six?  No I mean five.  How’s that?  Well would you believe it, after all the talk about the referendum going ahead and the process being flawed, the Government sought to sneak on the Bahamian public that they had decided to drop the sixth and final question.  That question would have approved of an amendment to the constitution that would give a five-year spousal permit to work in the Bahamas and then the right to citizenship for all spouses of Bahamians.  No explanation as to why it was not included in the proclamation for the writ of the referendum.  No statement from the Government.  The press simply asked Carl Bethel, the Attorney General, why it was not included. They had to, since no one from the Government said a word.  His Brilliance Mr. Bethel said that the Government simply decided not to proceed.
    So we are left to guess, was the amendment flawed; did they make a mistake; does that not mean that the Government rushed the whole process?  And then if they rushed that one and made a mistake on that one, are there not other mistakes?  PLP Leader Perry Christie told his supporters at a rally in South Beach on Thursday 7 January that it was clear that the Government has made a mistake and can’t admit it, and that PLP supporters should vote no.
    On Wednesday 6 January, Mr. Christie on the ZNS programme ‘Immediate Response’ said that he was asking for equal time for Government resources to be used to put the opposing view, since the Government was holding a forum with all one side (their view) at the Kendal Isaacs gym that day.  The Prime Minister at that forum sat on a panel of all FNMs after the first panel two weeks ago at the British Colonial with a mixture embarrassed his Attorney General.  There were barely 500 people there in the gym.  He told his supporters that he was going to win the referendum.  He said that he had never lost an election, and the only reason that the PLP was opposing the referendum is because they thought that if they lose the referendum they would lose the general election.
    Tommy Turnquest, described this week by Tribune columnist, Nicki Kelly as a parrot, the so called leader designate of the FNM, was nowhere in sight on the night of Mr. Ingraham’s panel address.  We are now in full gear in Fox Hill urging people to vote no in the referendum. Guardian photo of Mr. Ingraham at town meeting on the national referendum.


    In an interview with ZNS on Thursday 7 January, the FNM MP and former Minister Algernon Allen asked the Government to reconsider its position and withdraw the proposed referendum.  While acknowledging that he had voted for it in the House, he said that he had been persuaded by the arguments of Archbishop Drexel Gomez and Lawrence Burke (pictured) that the matter should be put on hold.

Errington Watkins, the former Police Inspector, the former United Bahamian Party Chair; the former Member of Parliament; the former secessionist leader, called a press conference on Tuesday 5 February to denounce the FNM and the hurried manner by which they are seeking to amend the constitution.  He called on the electorate to vote no.  Mr. Watkins is the Uncle of FNM dissident MP Tennyson Wells.  He is part of an effort in Long Island to support the candidacy of Larry Cartwright to unseat 25-year incumbent MP for Long island James Knowles.
    The PLP is unlikely to put a candidate in the race in Long Island.  James Knowles has made many many people bitter in Long island.  He has become known as too arrogant and a know-it-all.  They are waiting to vote in favour of Larry Cartwright a retired teacher who has a reputation for being an honest, quiet, community man.
    Said Mr. Watkins: “I don’t think that it should be put on hold.  It should be aborted.  I don’t see anything in the Constitution that needs changing.  This should be aborted now, and it is better for the Government to abort it, than for the people to abort it.  It is better that it die a natural death now and everybody forget about it and move on to something else.”

    We thought that the country was rid of this idiot called Oswald Brown who used to be the Editor of the Nassau Guardian.  Instead every once in a while, he raises his head out of his hole to intervene in the public life of The Bahamas.  One such opportunity came this week in the Nassau Guardian of Wednesday 4 February.  This is the same newspaper that he attacked after he left and in which while he was editor he stopped people who opposed his contorted view of fairness from being heard in the newspaper.  But the present editor allows equal access to every opinion.
    Mr. Brown attacked Perry Christie as being wishy-washy because he is telling his supporters to vote no in the referendum, while he (Mr. Christie) voted yes in the House of Assembly.  Of course Mr. Brown is simple-minded man, with the I.Q. of a 2 year old.  That was his problem as Editor of the Guardian; he simply could not understand complex ideas.  So we forgive him.  Ignorance is a hell of a thing.  And that’s why we won’t even waste time calling him yet again JACKASS OF THE WEEK.

Back To The Top

    A 17-year-old boy was shot by the police in the right buttock after he and his friends fled the scene of the Fox Hill park on Saturday 2 February.  The boy and his mother have filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Police.  This appears to be part of an increasing pattern of harassment by police officers in the Fox Hill neighbourhood.  The police officers are said to be part of the November Unit.  They ride around in a bus terrorizing neighbourhoods.  In one case, a bus they were riding in a reckless manner reportedly turned over on Bernard Road.  They are reportedly brutal and unpleasant in their policing duties.
    The report coming from the boy and his mother is that some time around 9 p.m. the boy was on the Freedom Park in Fox Hill.  The bus carrying four police officers circled the block and threatened the young men gathered there to disperse from the park.  They returned a short time later, jumped out of the bus and as the boys fled, one officer execution style fired his weapon hitting the young man in the buttocks.  He ran home.  The police did not know he was shot and did not call an ambulance until moments later when they circled again.  When they got on the scene they reportedly threatened the persons who were eyewitnesses to say that they had seen nothing and they attempted to hide their numbers from the bystanders and witnesses.
    The community in Fox Hill is incensed.  The Commissioner of Police promised an investigation.  But so far the response has been a standard one. The police claim that one of the persons in the crowd had a weapon.  The fact that no weapon was found, that the boy was running away and that he himself was unarmed seems not to have made any sense to them at all.  It appears that a lawsuit will have to be brought against the officer.

    The Nassau Guardian reported in its edition Wednesday 7 February that Colombian businessman Luis Carol Sarmiento has denied allegations made in The Punch of 17 January that he made substantial donations to the Progressive Liberal Party.  The release by Mr. Sarmiento said:
    “I have not contributed, nor have I committed myself to give any political party in The Bahamas, any amount of money or any other type support whatsoever.  I have not been and have no interest in being involved in any manner in politics in The Bahamas.  I have never met PLP chief Perry Christie nor requested anything from him.”  The statement was issued by his lawyers Graham Thompson.  Mr. Sarmiento denied that he had any intention of establishing a colony of South Americans in Eleuthera.  The statement added “I have great affection for the people and residents of The Bahamas where I have a place of my own in which I spend most of my leisure time.”

The Nassau Guardian reported in its Business Section on Thursday 7 February that Philip Keeping (pictured), the major shareholder of Cable Bahamas is selling his shares, five million of them, the controlling interest at $8.69 to Persona Inc, a Canadian publicly traded company.  Mr. Keeping will retain 950,000 shares and hold on to the preferred stock of Cable Bahamas.  The deal should not be approved by regulatory authorities without proper and full investigation into the circumstances of how Mr. Keeping got to be the licensee for cable in The Bahamas.  This Senator has repeatedly said in the Senate that there is something corrupt about the license being given to Cable Bahamas.  There is a certain shareholder behind the deal, and the PLP ought to hold a public inquiry when it becomes the Government to see who the actual owner of those shares is.  The talk in the political community is Mr. Keeping is a favourite of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham whose government is now the subject of corruption allegations.  It is being suggested that Mr. Keeping is divesting his shares so that he can be in a position to be the purchaser of BaTelCo, which the Government intends to put on the market.  Hopefully, that will be the end of that.


  Global Life, the Bahamian Insurance company owned by Jamaican investors has now been sold to Colina Insurance.  As a consequence of the sale Patricia Hermanns the CEO of Global (pictured) and Vincent D’Aguillar, Member of the Board have both resigned.  Michelle Fields, the wife of the big mouth at Paradise Island Ed Fields and daughter of former Governor General Sir Orville Turnquest, is now the acting CEO for the company.


    If there is ever an industry that keeps making money, even while there is human suffering it is the banking sector.  Tim Donaldson, the Chair of the Board of Commonwealth Bank (pictured left) said that its net income grew by 4.7 per cent even though 2001 was a flat year for banking growth. The last quarter of the year 2001 was not good as a result of the reverses after the events of 11 September… Notwithstanding that Bank of The Bahamas has declared a dividend for its shareholders of ten cents per share for shareholders of record at 28 January.  The dividend was paid on 8 February. … And Julian Brown (pictured right) the head of Benchmark has gained a brokerage licence from the Securities Commission through its subsidiary Alliance Investment Management.

Back To The Top

    A young man died this year after suffering from AIDS.  This is the leading cause of death in The Bahamas for people 15-44.  While we see the faces of the dead in our newspapers every Thursday in the obits, we are not reacting to this like it is a real public health problem. The reason is that there is still some moral opprobrium that goes with dying of the disease.  The woman who told me why the man died said he died of “the ting”.  Dare not speak its name. The result is that all of the normal human process of grieving, recovery and in fact while alive trying to heal or ameliorate cannot take place because of the shame associated still with this disease.
    When I was a child, cancer had a similar problem.  And a friend of mine who is in his eighties still cannot speak the word “cancer” in his normal voice.  He goes into a whisper.  The fact is that alarm is not strong enough to record the public health crisis that we face in a society that won’t change (not stop) its sexual habits, and won’t deal publicly and forcefully with a disease that is decimating the young of the society.  The man died at an age when he ought to have been contributing some thirty plus years of economic productivity to The Bahamas.  Instead his skills have been lost not only to something that is preventable but which if caught can be ameliorated so that one can have a long and fruitful life.
    We don’t provide the medicine, and we won’t provide the other therapies, and we are going on business as usual as our people, young people, men and women die every week.  What a great shame it is!

    The political activist Rodney Moncur (pictured) has announced that he will run as a candidate in the Grants/Bain Town seat.  He will be opposing the PLP’s Bradley Roberts and the FNM’s Rev. Philip McPhee and Obie Ferguson of the Coalition for Democratic Reform.  Mr. Moncur told The Tribune in a story reported on Friday 8 February.  He claims that Mr. Roberts and his campaign co-ordinator Rev. C.B. Moss were campaigning in the area and saying “unprintable” things about him in their door- to-door campaign.  He claims that a robbery took place in the area in the confusion that ensued when his supporters tried to oust Mr. Roberts and Rev. Moss.
    The story reads like one from the Pink Panther and Inspector Clouseau.  In a follow-up article by the Tribune, Mr. Roberts commented that he did not consider Rodney Moncur to be a serious candidate and did not consider him to be a threat.  He said that the last time Rodney Moncur ran for Parliament, he got twelve votes.  C.B. Moss was also contacted by the Tribune and indicated that the story simply wasn't the way Mr. Moncur described it to the Tribune.  Mr. Roberts is expected to win the seat handily.

    The report comes to this Senator that the Department of Social Services is demoralized because the Government is routinely turning down assistance to people who need it.  There are so many needy cases now that the Department is overwhelmed and instead of the Government providing more funding for the Department, they are refusing to provide the assistance for the neediest cases.

Shame At Container Port (GBCP)- The Grand Bahama Container Port, owned by the giant Chinese conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa is beginning to lose support in important quarters as shameful dealings come to light.  News From Grand Bahama has learned that the Industrial Tribunal is daily uncovering instances where the Container Port has repeatedly ignored and wilfully flouted the labour laws of The Bahamas.  Sources say that the Container Port will eventually be made to pay millions of dollars in overtime and back pay to workers who have been exploited.  In one case, a worker who was injured on the job is said to have been dismissed without proper compensation.

Legal Action Against GBCP - Meantime, word in the harbour community say that Bahamians from Motherwell Bridge Bhicam are encouraging the company to take legal action against the Container Port in a desperate effort to save their employment and professional dignity.  The Bahamian company, with its forty-plus Bahamian professional has been responsible for maintenance work at the Container Port.  One worker spoke: "We have given the Container Port good service for many years by their own admission, now they just want to put us out of business in favour of foreign workers."

GBCP Losing Support? - FNM MPs on Grand Bahama have long been silent over the reported transgressions of the Container Port.  Now, the Grand Bahama Port Authority has divested itself of shares in the Container Port, and the goodwill of the Government appears in doubt as a general election nears.  At a recent FNM rally, FNM MP for High Rock and Minister of Works Kenneth Russell asked from the podium whether anyone had ever seen a foreign investor pack up their investment and put it on a boat.  Curious words at the time, but perhaps they now become clear.

Voters Should Be Heard On GBCP - Workers at the Grand Bahama Container Port and at the Bahamian engineering company Bhicam should remember their parliamentary representatives silence and remember that it is now their turn to hold these MPs to account by voting them out.

PLP Rally - This past week showed a successful PLP rally in Freeport.  By the time Senator Obie Wilchcombe and Party Leader Perry Christie had finished for the rally's grand finale, most FNM spies (or were they potential new supporters?) had left the rally, shaken and disillusioned.  The following morning, FNMs gathered in the local Freeport eatery Geneva's, had descended into bickering over the comparison with their own rally a week before: "For the governing party to hold a rally in a town where the people are under severe financial strain and pressure was just plain foolhardy."

FNM GB Campaign Hits Snag - FNM workers manning phone banks for the party were surprised this past week to find that the telephones of many of their erstwhile party supporters have been "temporarily disconnected".  More evidence of the current economic conditions in Grand Bahama piled up, along with reports that some FNM (and PLP) families in Freeport are living for days without electricity while gathering funds to pay the power company.  This, in the so-called 'booming city' of Freeport.  After all the rhetoric, the facts are that people today are worse off than they were ten years ago.  Vote them out.

MPs Gong Bankrupt? - Persistent reports indicate that two of Grand Bahama's FNM MPs are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.  "They're in bad shape", said our informant.  One MP has reportedly given up his cheque-writing privileges, while the other is in rent arrears to the point of 'ducking' his sweetheart's landlord where he lives.  Politics aside, this is a sad and regrettable situation.  If FNM policies have rendered even its MPs like this, what about the rest of us?

FNM MP Breaks Ranks On Referendum - An FNM branch meeting in Grand Bahama this past week erupted in so much conflict that the Member of Parliament broke ranks with the Government, telling his supporters and branch members to "vote your conscience".  There is major rebellion in the FNM camp over the process and content of the Government's referendum to amend the constitution.  We at this site are on record: just VOTE NO!

Immigration Department Under Pressure - This week, sources within the Immigration Department told News From Grand Bahama "We know that again Bahamians feel like second-class citizens in Freeport and that they are being fired for less experienced foreigners to take their management jobs.  We know what is going on at Resorts at Bahamia, but you would be shocked to know who is interceding on behalf of these people at the highest political levels."  Our informant has not yet called names, but stay tuned.  Sources say that no one else at Resorts at Bahamia is to be fired or displaced until after the general election, so it seems that News From Grand Bahama has been able to buy time for some executives over there. Our advice to them is to either save their money or vote the FNM out because if this Government is returned the displacements will continue.

Ship Care Facility Death - An expatriate worker has died in an industrial accident at the Grand Bahama Ship Care facility.  We have been reporting more than once on this site that environmental and safety officers are needed at the ship care facility and at the container port.  Maybe now, with the loss of life, the Government will step in to put proper oversight of safety measures in place for the protection of the workers.

Parliamentarian Wins Big - A Nassau parliamentarian who likes to visit Grand Bahama and is currently posted abroad is rolling in the money after two big wins on Super Bowl Sunday.  The greying, humorous and likeable FNM took the two biggest Super Bowl jackpots on the island.  We don't know how much it was, but we know it was plenty, so don't let us hear any anti-lottery talk from that quarter!

17th February, 2002
This Week on fredmitchelluncensored.com
Bahamas Government Website www.bahamas.gov.bs
John Carey / PLP Carmichael... Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte... Bahamians First.Com / PLP Grand Bahama
Shane Gibson / Golden Gates...  Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town...
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The Prime Minister and Chief Slave Hubert Ingraham is on the campaign trail in earnest.  There is no confusion now as to who is in charge.  Tommy Turnquest does not have the slightest idea what to do or to say and he is supposed to be the Leader designate.  As Nicki Kelly pointed out in her column on the subject on Tuesday of last week, Leader designate has no standing at all in the constitution.  Mr. Ingraham intends to run again in the general election and if he wins, he may still be in a position if (God forbid) the FNM gets the majority of the seats to be in the line up to be chosen Prime Minister.  He is a great deceiver.  Mr. Ingraham is large and in charge of the FNM.

Mr. Ingraham is his own worst enemy.  We have called him rude and boorish.  And the more he injects himself into the campaign the more his rude stripes come out.  In Freeport, for example, at a town meeting on Monday 11 February, Mr. Ingraham insulted Phillipa Russell in front of the whole nation as she rose to the microphone to ask a question.  “Now Phillipa,” he shouted, “I didn’t come here to talk foolishness.”  Yet again, as he insulted the Archbishop of the Anglican Church Drexel Gomez at the first forum, he insulted Ms. Russell and tried to insult Michael Edwards, a former officer of the FNM in Grand Bahama.

The problem I have is that this society is too polite in the face of such rudeness.  Ms. Russell simply looked down and apologized for her question being thought of as foolishness.  But when someone disrespects you in public in that way, you are supposed to cuss him and tell him about his you know what.  His behaviour is worthless.  He acts as if he is the only one with sense.  For these and reasons of fact and substance, Bahamians must vote no in the referendum on 27 February.  N. O. No.

This week we had 31,548 hits on the site for the week ending Saturday 16th February at midnight.  That makes a total of 70,974 hits on this site for the month of February.  Thank you for reading and please keep reading.

by Nello Lambert, taken at 'Montrose' - Christmas 2000

by Kendal Demeritte

Funky's Short Corner will return next week.

12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral

e-mail timbuktu@batelnet.bs

Site Links
The PLP Position on Clifton
http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/2477/index.html Canadian contacts Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links
http://members.tripod.com/~xtremesp/wolf.html Bahamian Cycling News
http://www.bahamiansonline.com/ Links to Bahamians on the web
http://www.bahamanet.com/JujuTree.cfm Politics Forum
http://www.briland.com/ Harbour Island Site


    Perry Christie is a man with a mission these days.  He believes that he has been deceived by the Prime Minister and he believes that the country has been taken for granted in the exercise of the referendum.  He has arranged a meeting with some 200 church leaders for Monday 18 February to discuss with them the substance of the amendments to the constitution.  This is not a situation of an objection to mere process.  This is an objection on substantive grounds.  Further, Mr. Christie proposes to take the Government to court unless the Government agrees forthwith to provide equal time for the Progressive Liberal Party to put its views about this matter to the public.  In a crooked move last Sunday at his weekly press conference, the Prime Minister announced that because the Opposition PLP objected to the referendum and are urging a ‘no’ vote, the matter was now political and his party was going from then on to pay for its own forums.  No so fast.  The Government had already paid for one forum.  So the Government owes the PLP an opportunity for equal time.  He has no right to use Government funds to promote a yes vote, which is a partisan political objective by the Free National Movement.  Dr. Bernard Nottage in a press conference on Thursday 14 February made the same point to the country.  He said that the Government cannot just allocate monies for Opposition parties without authority.
    In the Prime Minister’s press conference he said that he would allocate $50,000 to Opposition parties so that they can have agents at the polls to watch over the process.  This senator held a rally in Fox Hill to acquaint people with the message on the referendum on Wednesday 13 February.  The meeting was well attended.  The momentum is against the Government on this one, and when Mr. Christie’s campaign gets in gear then the contest will be on in earnest.  It is absolutely essential that the campaign gets in gear and gets in gear now.  You must vote NO.

    Silly old goat that Prime Minister, the pig in poke elected to office in 1992, went on a public platform in South Beach during the week on Tuesday 12 February to tell the country that the election will be held within 90 days.  This is all silly.  It is raising the call for a fixed date for elections.  Even in Britain where this system of the Prime Minister calling the election date and only he, the Prime Minister announces well in advance when the poll is going to take place.  There is no guess work to it.  And that makes sense because elections are not without costs.  The referendum is already costing the people of this country something.  It is divisive for one.  It creates tension in the society.  Then there are actual financial costs.
    Schools are being shut down around the country to allow for those schools to be used as polling stations.  That means children will have their school days interrupted.  One parent was furious because he had already made reservations for him and his family to travel to the U.S. for a mid term break.  Then without notice the Government comes up with this referendum and the dates are all changed because the schools’ mid term break changes as a result of the referendum.  He will now have to pay $75 per ticket in order to change his reservations.  You can imagine the business deals and banking decisions that are on hold because of the pending election.  So all around it’s complications.
    Mr. Ingraham should just call this general election and stop talking foolishness at public rallies about when he comes back on 25 February he will be ringing the election bell.  As I told the people of Fox Hill, John Donne wrote a poem and that said ‘Never seek to know for whom the bell tolls.  It tolls for thee.’  Mr. Ingraham should read and inwardly digest.

    Sir Geoffrey Johnstone, the last Leader of the Opposition under the United Bahamian Party, was on the radio on Monday 11 February and he had plenty to say.  Massa Geoffrey as he is affectionately known said that if Hubert Ingraham, the chief slave were to change his mind and decide to serve for a third term he would be supported.  He didn’t have to think about the question for long it appears.  Sir Geoffrey, newly knighted by the Chief Slave and said to be engaged in plenty of fund raising for the Chief Slave said that he was not entirely convinced that term limits were a good thing.  Where do these guys learn to talk in negative concord like that?  Why don’t they just say they want Hubert to serve for a third term? Not entirely convinced indeed.  He also said that the Prime Minister had done a remarkable thing in what was the old British Empire and now the Commonwealth of Nations.  British Empire indeed.  Tommy who is to become the Leader of the FNM after the general election would apparently be dispensed with just like that.  So much for Tommy.
    As for the former Governor General Tommy’s dad, the talk is that he has a new office on a floor in a building on Dowdeswell Street formerly owned by Kendal Nottage.  They say that it has become a virtual second headquarters for the Elect Tommy campaign.  There is a constant stream of Eastern Roaders coming in and out.  We can hear the cash register jingling, raking in the donations.


   Wednesday 14 February was Valentine’s Day in The Bahamas as it was everywhere else in this hemisphere.  What a Valentine’s Day it was.  Everywhere you passed on the streets in New Providence there, higglers were set up on the roadside selling keepsakes for Valentine’s Day.  For most politicians it passed us right by as we continued working door to door.  But in the offices of the city of Nassau, the humblest of employees received large bouquets of flowers, fruits and chocolates.  In one office, you could barely pass the floor for the bouquets.
    There was the outright romantic to the downright corny.  There was also a public service element.  On the romantic side was the Singing Policeman Addie Johnson who serenaded his wife for the 17th Valentines Day in a row.  He was pictured in The Tribune doing so.  As for the public service element, hats off to the Junkanoo Group Barabbas and the Tribe, also photographed in the their effort of providing a happy time for people at the Persis Rogers Home for the Aged.  All in good fun and people seemed to have a good time over all.

    The Government announced Saturday 16 February that fourteen prison inmates had received full pardons on the basis of "good behaviour, signs of rehabilitation and time already served."  The Government refused to release the names of those pardoned because, according to the statement, "Bahamian society tends to be unforgiving".  We wonder how many of them are connected to FNM families.  And we wonder, why these people are being pardoned now, on the eve of a General Election?  The timing seems suspicious.  Pardons are traditionally done at Christmas and at Independence.  Perhaps this is the start of Valentine's Day pardons?  The Minister of National Security Frank Watson must answer.

    The man is absolutely amazing.  We said in Fox Hill on rally night that the FNM is expert at telling you that something is what it isn’t.  You could be looking at something that is clearly a tree and the FNM will keep telling you that tree is a goat, trying to convince you that it is a goat.  That is the kind of propaganda blitz that Mr. Ingraham has the country engaged in as we speak.  He did a press briefing on Sunday 10 February in which he says that the PLP has made the referendum a political act.  This is absolutely false.  This whole cockamamie scheme was put together by Mr. Ingraham to try to deflect attention from the allegations of corruption against the Ministers of Tourism and Education (aka Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum) Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes.  So it was in fact Mr. Ingraham and the FNM who made the whole thing political.  Now he has a fight on his hand, but the fight is of his own making, so don’t blame the PLP for your foolishness.  Yes your remember it.  You can’t put a goat on a board floor because it will prance.  And for that comment and others this week, Mr. Ingraham is the JACKASS OF THE WEEK.

    As the election comes near, the asphalt is being spread all over New Providence.  During the week, the tractors and pavers showed up in the Fox Hill area and they paved every nook and cranny.  Everywhere there was a bump; they paved the road.  This is an insult to the intelligence of Bahamian voters who are being asked to vote for the FNM representative for Fox Hill on the basis of some roads being paved.  We think that voters are smarter than that.  But the Chief Commissar of the Bahamas is not to be deterred.
    This week on Wednesday 14 February, Hubert Ingraham in all his pompous splendour was at the podium opening a road that he has named after Rev. Charles Saunders the legendary Baptist preacher who headed the Bahamas Baptist and Missionary Education Convention and the former Principal of the Jordan Prince William High School as well as the founder of the Bahamas Baptist Bible College.  The Chief Commissar, no doubt thinking of himself as Royalty, put Rev. Saunders in the back of the jeep and with his official car behind him they went on a tour of the new road.
    The road joins Sea Breeze with Pinewood Gardens and should avoid the necessity of going on Prince Charles Drive in order to get to the western side of the island from the east.  The total road works by the Government are to cost 66 million dollars.  They promise by this method to be able to ease the traffic congestion. This is nonsense of course.  A PLP Government will have to implement a total reworking of the transportation sector.

    The sister of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret who died last week is remembered in this country mostly for the fact that her name is attached to the Princess Margaret Hospital.  As monarchy becomes more and more irrelevant to Bahamians, this was a week of nostalgia to all the monarchists in the country.  The Tribune led the way with old photographs of visits of the Princess to the country.  The hospital was in fact named after the Princess following an official visit to this country in 1955.  Otherwise no one even thought about her from day to day other than as a curious part of the soap opera that much of British royalty has become.
    One person though had a special view of the Princess and she was featured in an article by the Bahama Journal of Friday 15 February. He name is Deborah Bowleg.  According to Felicity Delancey of the Journal, Ms. Bowleg was the first female born at the hospital after the naming of the hospital.  She was supposed to be named Margaret and get 100 pounds and gifts from the Princess.  The parents of the girl refused but Ms. Bowleg still got gifts from Princess Margaret.  The last gift received was recalled by Ms. Bowleg.  She told the Journal: “It was a 21 karat gold chain, with a snake design – it was really beautiful.  I was only nine years old at the time, and I did not really understand the importance of the gift at first.  My mother would only allow me to wear it on Sundays, and as people admired the chain, I would say: “See what is written on the back!” ‘To Deborah from Princess Margaret!’ ” The chain was later stolen.
    Princess Margaret was cremated and buried beside her father King George IV on Friday 15 February.  Deborah Bowleg is pictured in the photo from the Bahama Journal by Felicity Delancey.

Back To The Top

    The representative for Fox Hill is one who is hardly seen or heard whether in the Fox Hill community or out of it.  So we were all surprised to see a picture of her showing her “constituents” the sites in Fox Hill.  One of those sites was the home of the Judge Robert Sandilands who was the pioneer of the Fox Hill village and after whom the Sandilands Primary School and Sandilands Hospital takes its name.  To be frank, no one recognized the persons in the picture and it seemed a bit shocking that there were only two people with her.  But what was striking was the picture looked quite lonely for Mrs. Dorsett; she was virtually standing in the bush by herself.  The picture claimed that she was telling people about the history of Fox Hill.  We hope that she can take up tour guiding as a full time occupation after April this year.  She runs a travel agency now.  Can you hear it now, the words of that Frank Penn song: “In the Bush! In the Bush! In the Bu-u-u-u-sh, Lord we gat to stay in the Bush.”

The PLP of Fox Hill held an outdoor branch meeting on the Fox Hill parade to brief its people on the national referendum.  This Senator in the address to the people in Fox Hill said that the Government is using the referendum to distract the people of the country from the issues of corruption against the FNM.  The people were urged not to be deceived by this grand deception by Mr. Ingraham.  You may click here for a full report of what was said at the meeting.

    The Roman Catholic Archbishop officially opened a three-day seminar at its Emmaus Centre in Fox Hill on Restorative Justice on Tuesday 12 February.  The idea behind the seminar was to explore ways to focus on the victims of crime and use the opportunity of a conviction to restore to wholeness the victims of crime.  The seminar is an idea of the Roman Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Burke and the Catholic Church.
    His Grace said as he opened the seminar: “Restorative Justice, animated by the possibility of reconciliation, places victims at the centre of a renewal process; insists on a responsibility from and rehabilitation for offenders; and reminds the community that amelioration of crime and the causes of crime are the responsibility of public servants and private citizens.  As a community, we can no longer be polarized over a false choice between either victim or offender.  Both are citizens of our Commonwealth.  We shall not live together in peace if we are not concerned about them both.”
    This is really the church at its best and this initiative must be applauded.  This is the way to go.  All my professional life I have been devoted to this as an approach and while I do not claim credit for the idea, it is good to see that there is now some official acceptance that this may be an idea whose time has come.


   The last time we heard from this very angry young man, he was busy attacking the people of the Dundas after he had a rough time convincing them to stage a play at the Dundas at which he was the artistic director.  You can click here for that story.  He does this sort of thing, disappears for a while, but like those geysers in old faithful you know that at any moment he is boiling up to something.  This time it was another doozy of a letter published in the Nassau Guardian of Thursday 14 February under the headline ‘AN END TO BIG MAN POLITICS’.  It goes something like this:
On Pindling
    Five years ago I refused to vote for a PLP led by Pindling, who could not bring himself to accept the loss of power and who practically drove the PLP into the ground through his meddling and stubborn pride.  In fact Pindling is still cramping the PLP and the nation from the grave since he was the one who preferred Perry to BJ
On Ingraham
    I refused also to vote for the Ingraham led FNM, as Ingraham showed all of the pettiness and dictatorialness of a Pindling without any of Pindling’s eloquence, finesse, or more importantly, flexibility… What kind of leader has Ingraham been?  The kind that hypocritically refused his salary as an MP prior to the ‘92 election and reduced the MPs’ salaries when he entered office only to later increase the said salaries beyond what any one imagined possible after the ’97 election.  The kind who wants you to pat him on the back for permitting new radio stations when the granting of the licences for said stations was his decision and his alone, and he had limited their broadcasting range.  The kind who puts cameras in the House to show “transparency” only to take them out when he deems it convenient to do so… Hubert has screwed things up and hopefully will attempt to ride off into the sunset (imagine him as an overweight Lone Ranger on an exhausted horse).
On Tommy Turnquest
    Tommy often comes off like a robot.  No one has faith in his ability to run the country.
On Dr. Bernard J. Nottage
    B. J. is not as alarming as Tommy or as frustrating as Perry, but neither is he as charismatic as Pindling or as brash as Hubert.  For reasons that can only be called “selfish” he is not heading the PLP- take a pick as to whose selfishness we should blame it on.  Rather, he is head of a fledgling party that has yet to gain popular confidence.
On Algernon Allen
    Algernon Allen, who threatened to become the latest Big Man and False Deliverer, is unwilling to leave the cozy confines of the FNM and go out into the storms of uncertain political fortune – and perhaps we should be thankful for that.
On the BDM
    The BDM’s leaders have shown a flair for the dramatic but they inhabit the periphery of our political consciousness.
On the voters
    Perhaps the time has come to vote for the person not party.  Let us judge each candidate on his/her merits (if he/she has any)… We must also admit that as a people WE are party responsible for this mess… Politicians are our employees but we have behaved like employers who put the worker in the shop and then never come back to see if the worker has stayed on the job or had totally burned the place to the ground… Being an active, politically aware and involved citizen takes WORK.  It’s easier to vote some fool in, sit home and complain.  It’s harder to say that we all have a responsibility to bring about good in our neighbourhoods and in our country, and then act on that fact.
    Thus spake Ian Strachan.  Something is wrong with everyone.  The only one he left out was himself.  This is ‘angry young man’ at its best.  He must be approaching middle age now and the angry young man position is wearing a little thin.  It’s time to figure out that he can make a go of it in The Bahamas, without resort to the angry young man.  But then again, he is primarily a writer and dramatist and his role in that way is to entertain us while trying to teach us a lesson.  A smart guy!  Has a way with words!  But there has to be some redeeming quality in someone, otherwise are we doomed?


    Cassius Stuart and the Bahamas Democratic Movement have announced 12 candidates for the upcoming General Election.  This is a long way from 40.  Mr. Stuart has been appearing on the platform with other leaders of Parliamentary political parties, getting good airtime on radio and television and good marks for being a smart fellow.
    The latest foray was an appearance on the same platform with Dr Bernard Nottage, Perry Christie and Tommy Turnquest to debate the issues in a forum organized by the Roman Catholic and Anglican Archbishops on Monday 11 February.  But many, many, smart fellows don’t make it in the political front lines.  The way forward would seem to be a strategic alignment with the Progressive Liberal Party since with 12 candidates they cannot become the Government, apart from other problems, which will prohibit it.
    There is a soft spot in the PLP for all of them and hopefully they will see their way clear to join the PLP in the necessary and consequential alignments that must come after the next general election.  But for now we are happy to show the 12 BDM candidates. As FNM voters say to me on the campaign trail, I do not wish you luck in the election but we wish you well.

Back To The Top


   Last Sunday, this Senator as Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs held a foreign affairs briefing.  It touched on the PLP's concerns about a bi-partisan approach to foreign affairs and the situation between ourselves and Haiti and the deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe.  You can click here for the full statement.  Stan Burnside, The Tribune's cartoonist captured the sentiments exactly in his cartoon on Wednesday 13 February.  The Nassau Guardian of the same day asked the Government to say whether the charges made by this Senator were correct.  There was silence from the Minister.

    Foreign Minister Janet Bostwick and the United States Ambassador Richard Blankenship announced on Tuesday 12 February what was called Operation Compassion.  The story was reported in the Bahama Journal of Wednesday 13 February.  The Journal did not say where the announcement was made and what the parameters of the agreement would be, and how it came about.  But the operation is supposed to involve United States Coast Guard cutters, Royal Bahamas Defence Force patrol craft and helicopters in a bid to stem the influx of illegal immigrants from Haiti.  The Leader of the Opposition was not briefed on this agreement either.
    How long is this to last?  What are the procedures for the interdiction on the high seas, and will there be procedures to determine whether or not the refuges are political refugees?

    One thing you can say about this man Ian Fair and the Bahamas Stock Exchange or BISX, he doesn’t seem to stop coming.  It is clear from this quarter that there should be no support for corporate welfare, that is, the so called free marketers coming with their caps in their hands demanding two million dollars of the Treasury’s money because the BISX investment is failing.  That went to ground for a while.  But on Friday 15 February, The Tribune’s business section reports that the exchange may get $500,000 to keep itself going over the next four months while it sorts itself out.  It is believed that the money is coming from the Treasury.  I object to this.  Let the bloody exchange fail.  No to corporate welfare.  But it appears that William Allen, the genius Minister of Finance is committed to saving the exchange and that means that he and the country’s Chief Commissar are likely to go running to the Treasury and pay out the $500,000 on the ground that the Government promised to help the exchange get off the ground and that it is in the national interest to save the exchange.  Poppycock.

    The Tribune’s Business Section of Friday 15 February reports that The Bahamas will sign up to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “harmful tax practices” initiative within the next two weeks before the 28 February compliance deadline.
    William Allen, the Minister of Finance said that the Government’s decision will depend on whether the OECD pledges that its 29 member countries will abide by the same standards they outlined in criticizing offshore centres, including the Bahamas in 2000.  Here we go again.  We say The Bahamas should take the stand of Barbados and tell these people to go to hell.


    The Nassau Guardian ran an interesting story about receptionists and how they can make or break a business.  The Bahamas Professional Receptionists Association named Sharon Seymour, Receptionist of the Year.  The Guardian did a story and a photo by Patrick Hanna on Thursday 14 February.  Said Ms. Seymour: “Sometimes they look at the receptionist or the telephone operator like hey she’s just a telephone operator but guess what? We sell the company.  In my company as a telephone company, the way I answer the phone sends my company a long way.  One wrong response on the phone can also destroy the company.”  Well said. Congratulations to Ms. Seymour who is pictured.


  It's time for the Hugh Campbell high school basketball tournament again.  The games this year are to be split between Nassau's A.F. Adderley gym and the Kendal Isaacs gym. Pictured is last year's Most Valuable Player, Marvin Gray of the Wildcats who defeated the C.I. Gibson Rattlers. Guardian photo.


 Bahamian standout swimmer Chris Vythoulkas is now ranked 10th in the world in the 100 metre backstroke.  Vythoulkas is in his last year as a junior swimmer, having turned eighteen years old this past week.  In addition to his world ranking in the backstroke, Chris is ranked 5th in the Commonwealth in the 100 metre breastroke.  The swimming community is excited over Chris' success and looks forward to his performance at this year's meets starting with the Carifta time trials slated for 23-25 February at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatics complex in Nassau.  Guardian file photo by Donald Knowles.

C.A. Smith On Entrenchment - The Minister was asked during the Friday 'To The Point' ZNS call-in radio show, what was meant by entrenchment.  He fumbled trying to explain and still didn't get it right.  So, for public information, an entrenched provision of the constitution cannot be changed, expect by a three quarters majority vote of both Houses of Parliament and a positive referendum of the people.  Now, if a senior minister of the Government cannot explain that after decades in Parliament... Thanks, C.A. for making our point about the referendum.  The people need more time.

Rudeness As A Sales Tool - As reported in the main site above, the Prime Minister exhibited his 'no manners' self this past week at a Grand Bahama town meeting, using rudeness and personal attacks in trying to sell the referendum in what was once FNM country.  Mike Edwards, former FNM Vice Chair read aloud questions from the referendum and asked whether people were able to understand it.  Mr. Ingraham snapped that Edwards was an officer of high standing in the party and would have had his opportunity to have a say.   The former Vice Chair responded that Sir Geoffrey (the supposed head of the non-functioning constitutional commission) never asked him... Minister Zhivargo Laing who was seen heckling Mike Edwards from the audience shut right up, never to be heard from again, after Mr. Edwards whispered in his ear.  Some things make you go hmmm!  Mr. Edwards was heard to say,  "Someone failed in their job of teaching that man manners."

He's Back - The expatriate employee of Resorts at Bahamia, brought in to displace a Bahamian chef is now back in Grand Bahama.  The expatriate was asked to leave the country "because his paperwork was not in order", now he is installed in the hotel as "some sort of trainer".  An inside source told News From Grand Bahama, "You just watch, we all know why he's here."  FNM Ministers and MPs in Grand Bahama are in an awkward position to criticize the resort after taking free rooms, lunches and dinners.

Just Wait - As we have reported, there is an unofficial and unspoken but very real moratorium on replacing senior Bahamians in the hotel industry until after the general election.  More proof of that this week at an Italian owned resort in Grand Bahama.  Sources say that a senior Bahamian worker was slated for dismissal, to the point of having been told the amount of her settlement.  Enter a politician from the highest levels of the FNM.  Not until after the election, he said.  The hotel worker is lucky to be the sister of a major FNM general on the island.  We ask, what about everyone else?

Referendum As Trojan Horse - This is the fear scandalizing many ministers of the gospel as they advise their congregations on how to vote in the upcoming national referendum.  Said one minister, "This is nothing more than a Trojan horse - which might leave us open to people asking for all sorts of things which would be unacceptable to the church...  I'm telling my congregation to vote no."


PLP WINS REFERENDUM - Nassau 27th February 11.30pm:  It has now become clear that the FNM Government has gone down to defeat on all five questions in the national referendum.  The Leader of the Opposition is to hold a news conference at 11am Thursday 28th February.  Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham conceded defeat over the national radio & television ZNS at 9.30pm Wednesday at accepted full responsibility for the loss.  More on this site as the story of the rout unfolds.

24th February, 2002
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The Tribune in a story dated 22 February 2002 carried the headline: MITCHELL LAUNCHES ATTACK ON PRIME MINISTER AT RALLY.  The story went on to say that this Senator had launched a vicious attack on the Prime Minister.  It is always curious to me what the FNM dominated press thinks is news.  Rally talk is rally talk!  The real news in the piece was the call for international election monitors to oversee the elections in this country.  The FNM simply cannot be trusted.  That never made the news.

But what of an attack on the Prime Minister?  Even some in our own party are soft on this issue.  They tend to believe that politeness will get us where we want to go.  Although, there is a point in the gutter to which you do not go, at some point fire has to be met with fire.  And there has never been a more vicious man in the political life of The Bahamas than the Prime Minister.  And so no apologies there.  And of course, he is perfectly able to defend himself, and no doubt he will.  But who cares.  Nothing was said there that has not been seen by readers of this site.  You may click here to read the address for yourself.

But what caused the address was a visit in the Fox Hill constituency to a constituent who will vote for me but is an FNM supporter.  The person who shall remain nameless said that they had worked with the Prime Minister for many years and knew him well.  It was their opinion that he was a crude and vicious man but he also had a soft spot in his heart.  But that softness could be easily discarded by the slightest perceived injury.

It got me to thinking about the views of Dr. John Lunn who thinks that our country’s leader is a candidate for therapy.  It also got me to thinking that when you analyse the comments of the Prime Minister, he is a deeply disturbed person in the sense that he obviously suffered some very serious injuries psychologically when he was a young man or boy.  He has not gotten over those slights.  The result is that he is an overachiever, a hyper personality that has great difficulty distinguishing the friend from enemy.  And perhaps that is why he has been so successful in subverting the will of the masses of the Bahamian people.  Politeness will kill this society.

The referendum debate is on in earnest, with the FNM engaged in the most vicious, negative advertising including an attack on the wife of the Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie and his daughter.  It was a worthless thing to have done.  We are urging all voters to vote no.  We take our cue from the Roman Catholic Archbishop who said that if you do not understand it then you ought to vote no.

That’s good enough for us.  Everywhere we go, people are saying that they do not understand it.  So we say, vote no.  Mr. and Mrs. Christie are shown at a rally in this Bahama Journal photo.

This week we had 39,627 hits on this site for the week ending Saturday 23rd February 2002.  That makes a total of 110,590 hits on this site for the month of February.  Thank you for reading and please keep reading.

by Nello Lambert, taken at 'Montrose' - Christmas 2000

by Kendal Demeritte

Funk’s Short Corner 
Well did you hear Sir Geoffrey Johnstone the other day on Darrold Miller’s ‘Immediate Response’ Show on ZNS? Sir Geoffrey is quoted as saying that all white Bahamians will vote for Ingraham’s Referendum. That’s no surprise to this Corner when one considers who Sir Geoffrey really is and what he represents.  People like Sir Geoffrey are really disappointed that the majority of the people in this country are black, and not white like him. Follow this corner, around the corner, to memory lane. Some time in the late 1950’s and the early 1960’s, Sir Geoffrey’s mentor and political leader, the late Sir Stafford Sands, Sir Roland Symonette (Brent’s Father), and the rest of the white oligarchy had cooked up a diabolical plan to recruit between forty to fifty thousand white South Africans, Europeans, Rhodesians, and racist Americans from southern states, to work and to establish permanent residency in The Bahamas. The clever and sinister plan of demographic assault by Sir Geoffrey and the boys was to naturalize all those foreign residents as Bahamian citizens with the right to vote in order to match the black majority population, which at the time was less than 100,000, in order to win the 1967 General Election. Particularly after the 1962 General Election when the PLP won the popular vote.  Pete Knure, a reporter who was hired by the Nassau Guardian at the time exposed the plot by the UBP, which exposé later became known as the Knure Report. Further exposure by the PLP and the international community forced the UBP to abort the wicked racial scheme.

Now one can easily understand why Sir Geoffrey would want all his white Bahamians to vote for, and only, Question Number One in the Referendum. After all, eighty-five percent of all white Bahamian females marry white foreigners and eighty-two and a half percent of all white Bahamian men marry white foreigners. We truly understand Sir Geoffrey, you are trying to re-kindle what was exposed by the Knure Report.  But be of good faith…Hubert Ingraham will keep the vibe alive for you and the boys… 'The Great White Hope!'

On this matter some of the dates and percentages might be off a bit…But the plot is and was unmistakable!

12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral

e-mail timbuktu@batelnet.bs

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    The Roman Catholic Archbishop Lawrence Burke was on the radio last week on the programme Jones & Co.  On that programme, the hosts tried to get him to the point that he was just a few weeks ago when he said that if you do not understand the issues then the voter ought to vote no.  No such luck.  The pundits got the clear impression that he was backing off from his earlier position.
    The Anglican Archbishop over the past week was fully engaged in the process that he started some weeks ago when he asked the Government to delay the matter to allow voters more time to consider the issues.  He has been appointed the official spokesman on the issue for the Christian Council by its President Bishop Sam Greene of the Zion Baptist Union.  The Council issued a statement in which they asked people to vote no.
    Shortly after that statement, a group of 15 dissident clergymen decided to take the other course.  They issued a letter in which they asked the public to vote yes.  Among them, in quite a public break with the Archbishop Gomez are Archdeacons Etienne Bowleg and Keith Cartwright.  They join the Rev. Fr. James Palacious, also an Anglican prelate, who had earlier said that he thought people should vote yes.  Joining the yes vote too and predictably so was Simeon Hall, the former President of the Bahamas Christian Council.  This is all in the face of compelling arguments by Perry Christie and Paul Adderley that the bills are seriously flawed and should not be approved in that form.
    Harvey Tynes Q.C. also weighed in this week when he told a seminar at the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union that he thought Mr. Adderley’s arguments were correct and that he would be voting no on all amendments.  In that vote, he said that he had the support of his wife and daughters.  The Bahamas Union of Teachers is of course saying to their members vote yes, even  though the  teachers will be left in a worse off position by these changes in the law.  The Bahamas Public Service Union is telling its members to vote yes as well.
    And so the forces have lined up exactly as they were in the last general election.  Nothing has changed.  Those union leaders who were FNM are still FNM and are voting down the line on party grounds that to vote for the no position in the referendum is to give the PLP a leg up, even though the PLP may be right.  The FNM preachers are still FNM and are voting in the referendum along party lines.  There you have it, a split in the church?  Felipé Major's Tribune photo of Archbishop Gomez with Opposition Leader Perry Christie at a luncheon for religious leaders.

    The Bahamas Christian Council held a press conference on Friday 22 February.  They told the public that they had been refused airtime on the Broadcasting Corporation’s facilities to air their views on the referendum.  They were also treated with discourtesy.  Further, the Anglican Archbishop was faced with questions about how two senior members of his church Archdeacons Keith Cartwright and Etienne Bowleg could engage in a contrary opinion to his in the press.
    The Archbishop said under canon law there was nothing that prevented them from having a contrary opinion.  But said he: “I don’t know the reasoning that led them to their position but I do know the reasoning that led to my position which I have stated categorically in the public and I invite them or anyone else to question me on this moral stand that I have taken to show me what is wrong with the moral stand that I have taken and I am able to do that any day or any time.”

    It was a remarkable sight to see.  There were by some counts two hundred and fifty officers at the front of the gate demanding that Frank Watson, the Deputy Prime Minister agree to see them in connection with the conditions at the prison, including promotions and pay.  They said that the environmental health in the prison is dangerous.  They say that there is severe overcrowding.  They say the promotions process is not fair.  They also say that the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent have been acting in their positions for two years and cannot get confirmed.  The Acting Superintendent Edwin Culmer was standing there as the officer spoke to the press and to the Permanent Secretary.
    This Senator attended the site as the Opposition’s spokesman on Labour and offered the assistance of the Opposition.  I spoke to Frank Watson, the Deputy Prime Minister who confirmed that he would meet with a committee of the officers on Friday 22 February at 11 a.m.  The problem with all of this is that it appears that the only way for government workers to get some kind of attention paid to their pay and working conditions is when they take drastic action.
    The immediate response of the authorities is always to threaten to take disciplinary action.  And some prison officials were trying to paint the officers as undisciplined rogues who really ought to be fired from the service.  The officers were quite responsible in their protests, and even the Deputy Prime Minister had to admit that there was no security problem as a result of the walkout.  We of course think the solution is all political now.  The FNM must be removed from office and the PLP should take the reins again.  The sensitivity that being in Government requires will then return. Bahama Journal photo by Yvette Rolle-Major.


    The Tribune took a touching photograph of the young baby rescued out of the arms of his dead mother on Thursday 21 February.  His mother 25 year old Yvette Culmer was gunned down by her boyfriend and the putative father of the child Rufus Dorsett, 26, who then turned the gun on himself.  The reports are that the couple was having a difficult time of it, and that the relationship was complex, thus said The Tribune.  Well surprise, surprise, who does not have a complex relationship?  But that is of course no excuse for that man to shoot that woman.  If you have a problem, go kill yourself but he had no right to take another person’s life, no matter what.  It was a senseless and stupid act on his part. Photo by Felipé Major.

    It’s happening again.  The rule of the gun in The Bahamas is alive and well.  Ryan Armbrister of Fourth Street the Grove, New Providence, was shot while walking along East Street.  The other Louis Whyte was a security man at the Zoo Nightclub.  He was shot following an altercation with a customer whom he expelled from the club.  He died instantly after being shot at point blank range.  This shows that we still have a long way to go in fighting crime in this country.

    The Free National Movement has now turned this referendum into a peeing contest between the FNM and the PLP.  You may click here to read the address by this Senator that documents the obscene amounts of money that are being spent to secure the victory in this matter.  But this is no time to be listening yet again to the blandishments of a pied piper.  Remember that it was only in 1997 that the Prime Minister’s party used money; sometimes counterfeit money, in order to secure a victory at the polls.
    Now they are throwing around money again, accusing the PLP in some of the crudest ads that this country has ever seen of lying.  The ads on radio are distasteful, with Mavis Collie, the wife of the former Senator, voicing one commercial that is in the most appallingly bad taste, and Theresa Moxey Ingraham, the Minister voicing another.  They both should know better.  But here are the five reasons that we say we ought to pause and vote NO.

QUESTION NUMBER ONE: On gender equality and citizenship.  If you vote yes to this, you will be voting to take away the right of an unwed Bahamian mother to pass on her citizenship to her child wherever in the world he is born.  You will also be voting to continue discrimination against women in the public service, in the Police Force and in the Defence Force.  You must vote no to this.

QUESTION NUMBER 2: To entrench a Teaching Service Commission.  If you vote yes to this, you will entrench a Commission from which there is no appeal.  Before now, a teacher had a right to appeal any dismissal or disciplinary action to the Public Service Board of Appeal.  With this new Commission, that right of appeal has been taken away. You must vote NO to this.

QUESTION NUMBER 3: Entrenching in the Constitution the Office of Parliamentary Commissioner.  If you vote yes to this, you will throw the whole system into confusion, because there is a drafting error.  In this bill, the Parliamentary Commissioner is appointed by the Governor General after consultation with the Prime Minister.  Yet in Article 109, the Parliamentary Commissioner is appointed by the Governor General acting on the advice of the Public Service Commission.  You will be voting yes to constitutional confusion.  You must vote no to this.

QUESTION NUMBER 4: The new Boundaries Commission.  If you vote yes to this, you will be voting to put into the constitution to an independent Boundaries Commission but one with a majority that is appointed by the Prime Minister.  There will be a three to two majority in favour of the Prime Minister.  So the Commission is not independent.  Further, the Prime Minister can still change the Commission’s recommendations once they get to the House of Assembly.  So it’s the same old game.  You must vote NO to this.

QUESTION 5: Increasing the maximum age of retirement of Judges.  If you vote yes to this, you will be voting to allow Judges to stay other bench of the Supreme Court until 72 and on the Court of Appeal until 75.  Remember teachers have to retire at 60.  You will be voting give a benefit to Judges who are sitting on the bench today.  Now if you were opposite the Government in a court action would you have any confidence in that Judges decision?  You must vote No to this.

    This is simplified.  And many FNMs are reluctant to vote for the PLP's position for fear that people may think that they are PLP.  But this about the right thing to do.  There is nothing earth shattering that will happen by voting NO.  It simply will allow the country to pause and reflect rather than make decisions in a big rush.  So please think of the future of your country and vote NO.

    The Nassau Guardian of Thursday 21 February reported that on the day of the advance poll, Foreign Minister Janet Bostwick showed up at the poll and walked into a hornet’s nest of Progressive Liberal Party supporters.  They even published a picture, showing Rohann Rolle, an aide to PLP Leader Perry Christie facing down Janet Bostwick.
    The advance poll is held a week before the election (in this case the referendum) for officers of the Defence Force and the Police and the Parliamentary Commissioner's workers.  There is a polling box for each constituency, and the votes for the day are sealed and kept for the day of the election itself.
    The PLP's female supporters shouted at Mrs. Bostwick as she passed n her car: “I am disappointed in you!  Shame on you!”  The PLP supporters were clothed in T Shirts that said “Vote NO” on them.  But what really got her was the taunt from one of the PLPs who asked: “As a staunch Anglican, how can you betray your Bishop?”  Another person said:  “For a religious woman in politics that is wrong.”  She turned to confront the demonstrators  but her words were drowned out.
    According to the Guardian, Mrs. Bostwick defended her position on the referendum by saying: “I am certain that I did not go against the will of who I have to answer to.”  Of course this Senator has heard this all before.  Once when we were involved in the Thomas Reckley capital punishment case on opposite sides, Janet Bostwick stood outside the halls of the courts and lamented aloud that in seeking Mr. Reckley’s death she was not sure that she would not have to answer to her God for what she was doing.  I thought to myself at the time, obviously she did not fear her God very much or she would not be engaged in the whole exercise.  Coming back to the present situation, it appears that the fear and nurture of God is little incentive for truth telling when it comes to FNMs. Photo by Donald Knowles.

    The Tribune reports that passengers on a morning flight to Freeport on Thursday 21 February were terrified when an engine on a Bahamasair jet shut down.  Passengers told The Tribune which reported on Saturday 23 February that they heard an explosion and saw fireball erupt from an engine, shortly after take off at 3000 feet.  The plane landed at the Nassau International Airport shortly after takeoff without incident.
    We continue to be concerned about Bahamasair and the fact that the Government is not paying attention to the serious problems at that airline.  The Government does not fund the airline adequately and the workers there report that the airline is the worse that it has ever been in its history. Everyone wants to know what the vision of the PLP is for Bahamasair.  I think that the airline needs to be privatized.  The Government can keep a share in it but I think that the routes to the islands ought to be spun off by bids to the smaller carriers that have sprung up to meet the travel needs in the country, and their flights can be subsidized just like the mail boats are subsidized.  Bahamasair can then concentrate on expanding international travel for The Bahamas.
    What I am afraid of now is that the old 1969 version of the jets that they have are a safety hazard.  They are now both out of commission for the second time this year.  Further, the Dash-8 props are constantly down, being over ten years old themselves.  They are being pushed and pushed and one wonders when this pushing is going to compromise safety.  The blow out of the engine after takeoff should be a warning to us all.

Back To The Top

    The United States Ambassador to The Bahamas has announced that an anonymous drug tips hotline will soon be launched by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in conjunction with the Royal Bahamas Police Force.  The announcement was made on Wednesday 20 February at a Rotary Club meeting in Nassau.   It will be a 24 hour per day line for tips, which will reap financial rewards for crime tipster to be paid by the Drug Enforcement Agency.  No report on what the telephone number will be.

    Shortly before the PLP left office Bernard Nottage, the then Minister responsible for Broadcasting tabled a set of rules meant to govern broadcasting during elections.  In one of the most perverse interpretations of those rules, someone came up with the idea that once the election had been called, no one except the leaders of the parties could be covered in newscasts.  Since that time, the FNM has perverted the process even further, by cancelling all talk shows on the station where politics might come up and refusing to cover any candidate even if it has anything to do with a completely different subject than politics.  Clearly this is perverse and stupid.  Yet the Prime Minister who called the Bahamian people stupid if they vote against him in the referendum continues to defend this provision of the rules of ZNS as the proper rules.  He likes to say that he told Perry (meaning the Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie) that the rules were left there by the PLP and they have to live with it.
    True the rules were left there by the PLP but the rules as applied by the FNM are perverted.  The rules left in place have only to do with political advertising and paid political broadcasts, not news and public affairs time.  It would be stupid (to use the Prime Minister’s word) for there to be any other interpretation.  To take an extreme example, the Prime Minister cannot be serious in his defence of the rules in the example that follows.  What if a candidate, not one of the leaders of parties, got shot while on the platform, is the Prime Minister saying that you can’t report that because he is a candidate and that coverage on the news would  give him political advertising over and above his opponent   Mr. Prime Minister you must think we’re stupid.

    The Tribune in its INSIGHT SECTION on Monday 8 February took a look at Zimbabwe and the deteriorating situation there. You must all know by now that Presidential elections are to be held there on 9 march.  The Opposition has been severely restricted by official pressure and restrictive laws.  The press has been restricted.
    As Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs, a statement was made in support of the people of Zimbabwe for free and fair elections.  The Tribune took up the statement as part of its analysis into the Zimbabwe situation. Said The Tribune: “Having once given financial backing to Robert Mugabe when he was opposition leader in Zimbabwe, the PLP is now urging CARICOM to probe the deteriorating situation there as laws are passed to stifle the Opposition, cripple the press and silence public dissent in the run up to the 9 March presidential elections.”
    I again call for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.  The European Economic Community has now imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe for throwing out its observer team.  We cannot support this and Caricom states ought to at least publicly condemn this kind of behaviour.

    If there is one reason and one reason alone why Hubert Ingraham ought to lose the next general election it should be because of what he and his Government did to the Financial Services Sector.  Even now we are feeling the fallout from it.  There are hundreds if not thousands of Bahamas who lost their jobs as a result of the FNM’s indifference to their plight.  All they did was rush, rush, rush through the bills and found themselves giving away the store without negotiating for and on behalf this country.
    A similar response has come from the Government’s decision without reference to the business community to sign a tax information exchange agreement with the Americans that will come into force in January 2004.  The Bahamian Government argues that in order to get qualified jurisdiction status from the United States Internal Revenue Service, they needed to sign the tax information change agreement.  And while some people were getting used to that, a policy which the PLP opposes, namely enforcing the tax laws of other countries, the Bahamas Government announced that it was seeking to enter in tax information exchange agreements with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states.  There has been wide spread revulsion to this in this country’s financial sector.
    Gilbert Morris the head of the right wing think tank The Nassau Institute has told the Government to use the International Monetary Fund rules to fight OECD.  But late word has it that the Minister of Finance William Allen is now circulating a letter in the financial services sector that would concede the tax information exchange agreement (TEIA) in principle with OECD, if the countries of the OECD commit to the same practices they demand of us in their own states.  This is the so-called level playing field principle.
    The Tribune’s business section of Monday 18 February quoted Dr. Richard Rahn, founder of the Task Force on Information Sharing and Financial Privacy that The Bahamas should not be polite in refusing to enter into such agreements.   He said that many of the money laundering and anti-terrorists statutes violate the human rights of people and The Bahamas should not be hesitant in protecting its interests.  Well said.
    I say again, this country built up an economy based on privacy and the absence of regulation.  Now we are moving toward more and more regulation of one's personal affairs, and violating the privacy of the individual by asking for information that should not ordinarily be the business of a bank.  This must stop and the PLP ought to issue a public statement separating itself from the efforts to undermine the right to privacy.

    The rush, rush , rush Prime Minister, passed the Employment Act and brought the law into force on 1st January 2002.  Then he said that hourly paid workers or weekly paid workers would suffer no loss in salary.  He didn’t quite put that in the bill though.  The fact is that those who are paid by the hour will continue to get their hourly pay and that comports with the law as long as it is above the statutory minimum wage of 4 dollars per hour.  But the hours are being cut back from 48 to 44 effective 1 February this year.  Next year they go down to 40 hours.  After that you have to pay the employee overtime.
    What ought to have happened is that the legislation should have said that your net pay per week should not change if you are an hourly paid worker.  That would mean a raise in your hourly rate of pay, if you were paid the same net weekly pay over less hours.  But the law does not say that.  The result is that those who work 44 hours will now see ten per cent less in their pay packet.  And he wants us to trust him to amend the constitution.

Back To The Top


    The Grammy award winning Bahamian group Bahamen took time out to say thanks last week.  The group hosted the press to a thank you luncheon on Tuesday 19 February.  The lunch was held at the Poop Deck West Bay Street.  The Nassau Guardian showed a photo of Isaiah Taylor, the leader of the group presenting the son of the late Freddie Munnings Sr. Raphael Munnings with a certificate of gratitude from the group.  Mr. Munnings of course is the author and singer of the hit million-dollar seller ‘FUNKY NASSAU’ the song that was popular in 1970 and 1971.  It had a reprise in 2000 when the movie Blues Brothers 2 was released.

    The name may not mean much to those who were born after 1980 but in 1975, Everett Ferguson who called himself Elisha Obed, made The Bahamas proud by becoming the country’s first world boxing champion in Paris.  He defeated  Brazilian Miguel Deviero. The coverage of the event was live on radio by Ed Bethel and Calsey Johnson in Paris.  The Tribune sent its then cub reporter Gladstone Thurston.  Later Eileen Carron was able to say of Mr. Thurston to her father Sir Etienne the editor about the writer's performance away from home: “Daddy we made him.  He is ours.”
    Mr. Obed has long since been retired and largely forgotten in the cut and thrust of today’s sports Bahamas.  The last we heard of him, he had fallen on hard times.  You know we forget you pretty soon as well.  The Bahamas Amateur Boxing Association held a birthday party in his honour on his 50th birthday at its headquarters in the Baillou Hill Sporting Complex on Thursday 21 February.  Happy birthday Obed who was pictured in this Nassau Guardian photo by Farreno Ferguson.

    This column is being written from Georgetown, Exuma.  The election is fresh in the air.  Most people think that a fresh wind is blowing, speaking the slogan of the Progressive Liberal Party for the election.  I am here to speak on the referendum.  But what is clear is that whatever happens in the referendum, people are unsettled about the state of policies of The Bahamas.  We have an obnoxious Prime Minister who does not know when to hold his tongue.  The country seems awash in red ink even as we are being told it is not so.  But some people who were PLP say they are confused, and some people who were FNMs say they will stay home rather than vote.  Most people think that the PLP has a good chance, and many think we will win outright.  But whatever happens, the last ten years have been to many like a national nightmare.  And they will be glad to see the back of Hubert Ingraham, who came promising an age of enlightenment, but has ended up a bitter man who like the Emperor Jones is contemptuous of his own people.

    For years, up to 19 August 1992, Helen Smith was the gatekeeper to the office of Prime Minister.  She served as the Secretary to Prime Minister Sir Lynden O. Pindling.  When Hubert Ingraham came to power, she continued to work at the Cabinet Office but he created a separate Office of Prime Minister and moved into a new office with his own personal secretary.  But Mrs. Smith continued to work.  She was respected and well loved by her staff.  She was efficient and competent.  She retired last week.  The staff at the Cabinet Office held a party in her honour to bid her farewell.  The Prime Minister did not show.  But the Secretary to the Cabinet Wendal Major hailed her as a competent and efficient public officer.  She celebrates her 65th birthday today.  We wish her well in her retirement.

    My first cousin Andre Mitchell, a banker working for FINCO, was injured in a traffic accident on Friday 22 February on the Eastern Road.  He is in Doctor’s Hospital and is thought to be resting comfortably.  He has a fractured neck and broken ribs.


    The premiere high school basketball championship game is still going on.  The finals will be held on Monday 25 February 2002. In this Tribune photo by Felipé Major, players from Nassau's C.I. Gibson and Freeport's Sir Jack Hayward high schools are seen battling for the ball.

Bhicam Employees Under Pressure -
    Foreign managers at the Chinese conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa's Freeport Container Port (FCP) are continuing in their attempt to put the Bahamian engineering firm Motherwell Bridge Bhicam out of business.  Friday's Freeport News carried a full page advertisement seeking applicants for the jobs of forty Bahamians now employed by the Bahamian engineering firm.  The ad is thought to be a pre-cursor to bringing in foreign workers to fill the posts.  The forty Bahamians are outraged and have threatened to walk of the job in protest at their treatment.
     The story, reported on this site, but seemingly ignored by Bahamian policy makers, is that Whampoa's FCP is threatening to put Bhicam out of business by internalizing functions which Bhicam has successfully performed at FCP for years.  In addition, Whampoa's FCP, proposes to hire (or not) Bhicam's existing 40 Bahamian employees on its own terms after putting the Bahamian company out of business.
     In the absence of support from the FNM Government, the Bahamian company has contemplated legal action as a last resort.  Meanwhile, embattled employees tell News From Grand Bahama that Whampoa's FCP Engineering Manager Maurizio D'Orfeo "without the knowledge or consent of Bhicam Management, met with us (Bhicam employees) to lure and threaten us away from our jobs."  A senior businessman in Grand Bahama told News From Grand Bahama "This is clearly unethical and improper behaviour on the part of the Container Port, in fact, it's disgraceful."
     Three weeks ago, Bhicam employees issued FCP with a list of "questions and concerns" about the move and according to one worker, "They haven't answered us yet."  Sources say that Bahamians now working at Bhicam have been given a week's deadline to apply and conform to the company's terms and conditions or face losing the jobs to foreigners.

Work To Rule in Resorts at Bahamia - More than 700 hotel workers at Resorts at Bahamia, members of the Bahamas Hotel, Catering and Allied Workers Union are now under a 'work-to-rule'.  Reports are that the company has hired a foreign manager, formerly of a Cable Beach property and known to harbour racist attitudes.  Said one union source, "We know this fellow, the whole industry knows that he was asked to leave the country because of his attitude toward Bahamians and now he's here.  How could the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Immigration allow this to happen.  We just can't believe it."  The work to rule comes amid many outstanding labour issues between Resorts at Bahamia and the Union, particularly in the food and beverage areas.  "In fact," according to the union source, "things have gotten so bad that we can't even deal with certain individuals at Resorts at Bahamia without a go-between.  That's how bad the attitude is."

Deputy Chief Councillor Writes on Resorts -  The Deputy Chief Councillor of the City of Freeport Council H. Rudy Sawyer has published a letter in the Freeport News accusing Resorts at Bahamia of a lack of respect for local feelings and culture in the construction of a wall intended to provide an entrance to the hotel's property.  The wall obscures the famous 'Torii Gate' an oriental symbol of welcome which has long signified the entrance to the Freeport International Bazaar where many Bahamians have businesses.  We say, good point, my brother, but in this atmosphere, anything goes for the foreign investor and they are investor.

Flat-Footed FNM - FNM poll workers in Grand Bahama at the advance poll on Wednesday for Police and Defence Force personnel were caught flat footed when PLPs showed up in large numbers with 'Vote NO' T-shirts and handout material.  Stunned FNM went looking for something to handout and came back with poster-sized photos of Hubert Ingraham, but caused such a ruckus with people who wanted nothing to do with the photos that the Police were asked to step in.

Friday Night Rallies - Sources who attended an FNM referendum rally in Grand Bahama Friday night say the Prime Minister was so disappointed by the size of the crowd relative to the PLP rally in Eight Mile Rock that he feigned a sore throat to get the audience closer and so that the number would appear greater to the television cameras.  "Come closer my friends so that you may hear..."  When the Prime Minister began personal attacks on PLP leader Perry Christie and former attorney general Paul Adderley, one FNM left the rally, saying "I didn't come to hear this and I won't stand for it."

One More Lawyer's Opinion - Grand Bahama attorney James Thompson, not a political player (that we know anyway) held a forum this week to educate hotel workers on the questions in the referendum.  Mr. Thompson said that the laws may not have the effect the Government is trying to achieve and may in fact have the reverse effect.  The test, he said of of a constitutional amendment is whether it can it be changed either by Government policy or statute law.  These questions do not pass that test.

Standouts In Forum - Former FNM Vice Chair Mike Edwards is to sponsor a forum on the referendum Tuesday 26 February at 7.30pm.  The forum will feature legal standouts Harvey Tynes, Q.C.; Constitutional lawyers Maurice Glinton and Fred Smith and women's advocate and attorney Constance McDonald.  The forum is to be held at the Foster B. Pestaina auditorium, Christ the King Anglican church.

Contretemps at Kristi's - Talmadge Pinder is a longtime FNM and current general of Tennyson Wells.  Mr. Pinder entered Kristi's - a local eatery favoured by politicos - and was asked by Ingraham intimate and sometime Grand Bahama resident Aaron 'Kiki' Knowles jr. whether or not he was still a member of 'our' party.  Talmadge reminded that he had been an FNM since the party's inception and noted that Knowles had come to the FNM with Ingraham and would probably leave the same way... other remarks were, well, better left unsaid.  Just another tibdit from the front lines of politics.

Et Tu Lewis? - Political observers brought FNM Sergeant-at-arms Lewis Missick under fire this week for his performance at the FNM sponsored town meeting at Freeport Anglican High School.  Lewis is said to have abandoned his former mentor Algernon Allen and shamelessly 'sucked-up' to the Prime Minister.  Said a friend, "If his party is wrong, which it is, he should not try and defend wrong...and poor Algernon..."  It is reported that his former mentor wept. Anyone else, but not Lewis....  Just another tibdit from the front lines of politics.


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