7th February, 1999 - THIS WEEK ON THE WEB: AGRICULTURE STAFF HIT WEB SITE... PM SITS THROUGH WHOLE ANGLICAN SERVICE... DR. NOTTAGE COMPLAINS... WHAT'S WITH PETER BETHEL?... PM ATTACKS NIKI KELLY... DR. NOTTAGE AND PERRY CHRISTIE...ARTHUR AND DION FOULKES... FNM CONTINUES TO SELL OUT THE COUNTRY TO CLIFTON POINT DEVELOPERS... CLIFTON CAY COMMENTARY... COMMENT ON THE FUTURE OF THE PLP...
Note from the Publisher:
There was great excitement at the Ministry of Agriculture this week as staffers hit the web to see the situation about which they had been complaining for months. The exposé last week showed how the FNM's policies have been a failure in agriculture. This week Bradley Roberts, the PLP MP for Grants Town, described the situation in The Bahamas as sitting on a powder keg. There is a certain frantic quality about The Bahamas. It is a season of discontent as voters realize that they were had by a flim flam man, who intends to run off with a comfortable pension after the year 2000. It reached a boiling point when some 400 persons gathered at St. Paul's Catholic Church at Lyford Cay to denounce a land sales scheme to create a gated community next to Lyford Cay to be called Clifton Point. Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie attended the meeting. A full-scale revolt seems imminent as people are concerned about the environment and the social costs of selling the large acreage to non-Bahamians who will block access to one of the last stretches of beaches on the western shore.
INGRAHAM MAKES IT THROUGH THE WHOLE SERVICE
The Most Reverend Drexel Gomez was officially recognized as the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the West Indies at a long church service on Tuesday 2 February. It was as colourful as it was long. The Prime Minister came, and for the first time actually sat through the whole service, with his usual blank and vacant stare. He has developed a reputation for walking out of church services before they are over. Drexel Gomez is the first Bahamian to become Archbishop. Noticeablyabsent was any representative from the Roman Catholic diocese. Archbishop Gomez is pictured at right.
THE PRIME MINISTER ON CRIME
Parliament continued with its idle debate on crime last week. The Prime Minister said that the recommendation by the Crime Commission to get rid of mandatory sentencing was a bitter pill to swallow, but the Government has finally accepted that it was wrong. What a stupid fellow he is. If he had not been blinded by politics and pandering to the blood lust of the mob, trying to show off about being tough on crime, it would never have happened. Now years later, when several innocent people have gone to jail because of the stupid law requiring a mandatory minimum sentence of two years for firearms possession, he comes crying crocodile tears about a bitter pill to swallow. Ingraham deserves to be horse whipped for his stupidity. But worse than that: who is going to compensate these people who are languishing in jail because of this stupid law?
THE FOULKES FAMILY
This was the week for breaking out at the Foulkes household. First Junior Foulkes, the Minister of State for Education (pictured, left) got up and said that even though he was a Cabinet minister he was against the death penalty.He also asked Texaco to stay its hand and reconsider their position on Doyle Fox, the embattled Texaco dealer. Then the Senior Foulkes, the High Commissioner Arthur Foulkes wrote a letter to The Punch in which hedefended the early days of the PLP, and made it clear that Stafford Sands was a racist. Mr. Foulkes is about to end his term as an Ambassador in June, so no doubt he does not care any more. Knowing howvindictive Ingraham is, it was a brave step. Senior Foulkes showed that he was different from the pack of jackals like Oswald Brown of the Guardian who in their rush to out-do Uncle Tom have been defending the decision to put Stafford Sands on the ten dollar bill.
WHAT ARTHUR FOULKES HAD TO SAY
On Sir Stafford Sands being on the ten-dollar bill, Arthur Foulkes is absolutely opposed. He told the Bahama Journal that it is not a good idea to put Sir Stafford on the currency. Said Mr. Foulkes to the Journal: "[He] doesn't qualify for anything. He failed the test on race and on the establishment of democratic government; he was opposed to the vote for women; he failed the test on corruption, having exposed the country to the biggest scandal since bootlegging; and while he did a good job on tourism and on establishing our financial services based economy, Sir Stafford abandoned his country."
THE CLIFTON POINT DEVELOPMENT
Last year, Stuart Cove who runs a dive operation on the southwest point of New Providence, an industry that brings 18 million dollars into the New providence economy annually, and countless free publicity for films shot under water, announced that there was a development coming thatwould ruin the reef. The movies: Flipper, Jaws and Cocoon were shot off the southwest point of New Providence. The proposed development turned out to be Clifton Point. The development would be built on 570 acres ofland. It would be parceled up and sold to 600 individuals. It would be a gated community. The public road would be rerouted, a golf course built, a wall put up and the public shut off from access to the sea. There was a huge uproar. The Government seemed to shelve the proposalfor which they had given approval in principle.
REVIVED CLIFTON POINT PROPOSAL
Just when we thought it was safe, the FNM Government announced that there would be a town meeting at Lyford Cay to hear what the public had to say before a decision was made. The announcement came after a publicity blitz by a group of fellows who looked like two carpetbaggers. (Seen at right) They claimed that they had answered all the objections raised earlier by the public. They said the reef would not be harmed. It was absolute hogwash, and when the meeting took place on Thursday 4 February, the public ate the Minister Tommy Turnquest, the developers and the Chairman of the Town Planning Committee Ken Russell alive.
"UNCLE TOM TOMMY "
Tommy Turnquest had to face the wrath of two FNM Council members: Oscar Johnson, the former Member of Parliament and George Capron, ally of Pierre Dupuch at the meeting on Clifton Point development. Oscar Johnson told the Minister that never in his wildest imagination could Tommy ever dream of becoming Prime Minister of The Bahamas. It was rough going.
THE FALLOUT FROM THE CLIFTON POINT TOWN MEETING
The Government is apparently unmoved, despite the huge turnout at the meeting, despite the fact that whites and blacks, people of both parties, and of all economic strata voiced objection to the project, theGovernment reportedly has okayed the project. Mr. Ingraham, the Prime Minister, was unmoved. The developers and Mr. Turnquest took the view that the protests at the meeting were stage-managed by politicians anddo not represent the views of the majority of Bahamians. The PLP can benefit if the government decides to go ahead with this. A revolt is coming. The FNM is losing its base because of a number of bad decisions.They should keep doing what they're doing. The only problem is the country suffers.
FNM MP BREAKS RANKS WITH HIS PARTY ON CLIFTON
Floyd Watkins MP for Delaporte where the Clifton Point development will be situated announced at the town meeting that he had heard the message of the people loud and clear, and unambiguous. He said he would take themessage back to the Government. Mr. Watkins is known to be an enemy of Mr. Ingraham, in Mr. Ingraham's mind. The problem dates back to the fact that just before the 1992 General Election, Mr. Ingraham's law firm owedthe Bank of New Providence some money on a mortgage. The firm had defaulted and Mr. Watkins was given instructions to move to foreclose, which he did. Ingraham never forgave him, to this day.
DOYLE FOX AND TEXACO (3)
There seemed to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the embattled Texaco dealer who was unceremoniously dumped by Texaco because he was outspoken. Mr. Fox requested and got a meeting with the HQ inCoral Gables, Florida. They promised to investigate the matter. Plans for the demonstration in Florida are now on hold. It helped that Minister of State Dion Foulkes broke with his cowardly colleagues and called for Mr. Fox's reinstatement.
WELLS RESPONDS TO FRED MITCHELL - The primary Prime Minister-in-Waiting
Tennyson Wells, who happens also to be the Attorney- General was busy defending
the Government’s abysmal record with regard to the Judiciary during the
crime debate in the House last week. The Prime Minister turned out
to be a more eloquent spokesman on the issue than the Attorney General.
The AG says that contrary to what was asserted by this columnist under
the fig tree in the annual review of the judiciary, the magistrates are
grateful for the raise that they received from the Government. This is
hogwash. He also claims that we will always have to have foreign judges.
That too is hogwash. Maybe we should import an Attorney General as well.
C.A. SMITH LIVING IN A DREAM WORLD
According to C.A. who is the Minister of Tourism and also one of the FNM representatives for Grand Bahama, there are more people working today in Grand Bahama than in 1991. Freeport is an economic basket case, a political graveyard for the FNM if they called an election now. Unemployment has wreaked havoc in the society. Straw vendors sit around with nothing to do. Stores are closing down. Social Services are overwhelmed by requests for assistance. C A used to be regarded as one of the better representatives because people thought he stayed in touch. Clearly being a minister must do something to one’s ability to see the truth.
FINGERPRINT ISSUE AT MARRIOTT CRYSTAL
Every week, there is some new encroachment on rights by Sun International. This week they took away the right of the staff of retail shops to enter the hotel through the front door. They have toenter through the security entrance and are subject to searches by security. They cannot use the bathrooms used by hotel guests. The fingerprint issue is still alive. Ed Fields the son-in-law of the Governor-General who just got a job at Sun to be their official mouthpiece called up Perry Christie the Leader of the Opposition to suggest that his spokesman on Labour, this columnist, did not attack Marriott Crystal Palace on the fingerprint issue because Mr. Christie's firm represented Marriott. This is of course nonsense. Marriott is justas bad. Since then the Marriott Hotel has been advised to cease and desist. They have. What about Ed Field's company? They are still plugging along taking people's fingerprints. It is a disgrace and the Minister of Labour ought to intervene if she can. Of course, she is totally hopeless and will not do so.
PM ATTACKS NIKI KELLY
The weekly Tribune columnist was called a liar twice on the floor of the House of Assembly. The weak Speaker of the House did not stop the Prime Minister. It was left to PLP Dr. Bernard Nottage to rise to her defence. This kind of cowardice and crudeness on the part of the Prime Minister is not unusual.
WHAT'S PETER BETHEL'S STORY?
The country was stunned by the story in the morning paper. Peter Bethel who gave up his post as deputy Leader of the PLP last October, and had not uttered a public word since, suddenly had an interest. The Clifton Point Development. He claimed that the project meant 1500 jobs and so it should be approved. He claimed that the environmental concerns had been met. The Nassau Guardian put him as the banner headline story. Knowing Oswald Brown's connection to the FNM it was clear that this was being pushed by them to confuse people about the PLP's position. Mr. Bethel does not speak for the PLP. Even his ally Dr. Bernard Nottage was shocked by the story and asked him "what the f... are you doing?" Perry Christie is expected to make a statement about the PLP's opposition to the development this week. At the Clifton Point Town meeting, Mr. Bethel's older brother - a heavy equipment operator - was seen attending the meeting. Is that a clue as to why the defence by Peter Bethel?
NOTTAGE SAYS: I HAVE NO ROLE TO PLAY IN PLP
The comment came in a remarkable interview with the Bahama Journal in its 5 February edition by Candia Dames. The comment is quizzical because Dr. Nottage is powerfully enough placed in the House of Assembly and in the PLP to have any role that he wishes. No one has to define a role for him. There is no evidence that the lack of a role for him is anything other than his own choice. It is a pity that a man of such obvious talent would have it so. This despite those who have spoken with him, implored him to simply step back in and begin working; who have counseled him that the way it looks now, his actions are perceived as sour grapes. In Jamaica, once Vivian Blake lost the election to succeed Norman Manley as head of the PNM to Michael Manley, Mr. Blake resigned from Parliament.
WHAT SHOULD DR. NOTTAGE DO?
Candia Dames in her story described the dilemma. She wrote: 'Deeply pained by what he [Nottage] says is the failure of the party to move with the times and the emerging hostility between Bahamians and the Progressive Liberal Party's leadership, the former Co-Deputy Leader is steering now in his own direction but may be becoming overwhelmed by hislack of uncertainty and blurred path. Asking him what's next results in ambiguous answers.'
WHAT IS NEXT FOR DR. NOTTAGE
The history of third party efforts in this country has been abject failure. What happens is that in between elections, people disgruntled about how both sides conduct their affairs, talk about the need for a third party or third force. However, when the election comes around the country divides between PLP (or the nationalist, pro-blacks) and the UBP/FNM (pro-white, pro-business group). The evidence dates back to Etienne Dupuch and the Bahamian Democratic League; Paul Adderley and the National Democratic Party, John McCartney and the Vanguard Nationalist Socialist Party and this columnist and the Peoples Democratic Force. As the election comes nearer, the major parties pick off all the support. The third party is as dead an option as the role of an independent. The conditions, which led to Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham being successful politicians as independents in 1987, do not obtain today. Dr. Nottage has never enjoyed the kind of popularity, which those men enjoyed in their constituencies. His majorities were razor thin in both 1992 and in 1997. This would seem to indicate that a run as an independent or a third party in his seat would only give the seat to the FNM.
WHAT MUST PERRY CHRISTIE DO?
Sitting in Mr. Christie's seat, you don't have to do anything. The fact is that a legitimate leadership election was held which he won... fair and square. It is a good idea, however, to seek to build a bridge and reach out to the insurgent candidate and his allies, and perhaps for the sake of peace some efforts will be made in that direction. What seems to be emerging is that as time goes on, the allies of Dr. Nottage are increasingly visiting the Leader of the Opposition to establish that they are PLPs, even as they continue to attend Dr. Nottage's meetings. This is no disrespect to Dr. Nottage. They continue to like him but they feel that if the pro-nationalist side in this country is to have a chance of winning, it is with the PLP as a united organization. Their drifting back to the central party can only lead to more isolation for Dr. Nottage. The difficulty is that at the moment their champion is not hearing any advice. It appears that there is still too much anger, instead of dropping the issue and moving forward to make his presence felt in the institution. Dr. Nottage has a seat. He has talent. He has money. All of that should be directed at Hubert Ingraham and the FNM, not wasted in self-pity or at narcissistic political efforts.
ARE ANY COMPROMISES NECESSARY?
To keep the peace, some compromises must be made. One of them, some argue, is that there must be an agreed and defined and limited private role established for Sir Lynden Pindling. It is a problem for Mr. Christie too. Sir Lynden is at once the PLP's greatest asset and at the same time its greatest liability. Sir Lynden's role should be confined to private advice, and there should be an agreement that Sir Lynden should refrain from any further public comments or official engagements until after the next general election in deference to the Leader of the PLP Perry Christie
THE PRESS AND THE PLP
The clearest example was a town meeting held last year to discuss the question of the Privy Council. At the meeting was the Leader of the Opposition. The press barely gave Mr. Christie a mention. They concentrated instead on what Sir Lynden had to say. People criticize the present Leader of the Opposition for not being assertive enough. The fact is the organization chose that brand of leadership style. It is a new style of leadership. The organization, if it wants to win, must then decide on how to mould that kind of leadership style into what it will take to win. To do this we need all of the men and women of talent. That is why Dr Nottage cannot stand alone, but it is clear that notwithstanding the stand-alone policy, the organization will for good or ill move on. One should not ignore the evidence that the press is deliberately trying to sow confusion in the minds of PLP supporters. People keep talking about a split in the PLP, but there is no evidence of any split. The only evidence is that of a powerful, intelligent and rich Member of Parliament who can mobilize the press. Nevertheless perception in politics is often reality and the PLP must pay attention to the talk.
THE INSTANT PUDDING FACTOR
Perhaps PLPs, including Dr. Nottage are much too anxious to have the problems of the PLP resolved. They should be anxious about it but the party did not disintegrate overnight. It cannot, therefore be rebuiltovernight. Politics is very much a fortuitous business. Sometimes men and women have to realize that it may not be their time, and that their role is to prepare someone else to lead. Their role might simply be tokeep things going in the meantime until someone comes along and excites the public's imagination. It sounds like fatalism but there is enough evidence in history to show that this is absolutely correct. The placefor Dr. Nottage therefore is squarely within the PLP or to move off the scene completely, and he should move to return full-fledged without a moment's delay. He must help prepare the way for whatever and whomever. He can help determine the answer, and may have to concede, as we allmight that it may not be us. Nothing else makes sense. He owes it to his supporters to be definitive and get back in. One has been wrong before, however. We will see.
Note from the Publisher:
The Government continued to come under fire this week for its policy with regard to the development at the western end of New Providence called Clifton Point. Tribune columnist Niki Kelly wrote a scathing critique of the Government and its plans. Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson told the press that while he was not prejudging the issue, he felt that the objections were based on emotions. He said there was nothing that persuaded him in the objections that the development should not go ahead. But this is the same man, who cannot understand what all the fuss is about Stafford Sands being on the money. He can't understand why that would insult Bahamians. It is pity voters can't undo what they did in 1992. Clearly by electing the FNM in 1992, they got a pig in a poke. Perry Christie, Leader of the Opposition told the country that the Government must reconsider the project. Word about the web site continues to grow. A Bahamian student writing from England said it was the only source of what was going on in The Bahamas for those overseas. A Minister of the Government just back from London claims that he read it while he was away. He said he was not impressed. But he is FNM and it hits them, so what do you expect?
A new poem is posted this week on our Poet's Page. Enjoy.
KEN PERIGORD BLASTS TEXACO
It was another breach of good faith. Some 33 dealers showed up on the picket line which has been going since the dispute started four weeks ago. At a press conference, special task force chief Ken Perigord told the Bahamian public keep your gas tanks full. That message went out over the radio, and in a few minutes New Providence gas stations were deluged with cars, and there was a serious run on gasoline. Mr. Edgehill has become a real problem for the gasoline industry in The Bahamas. It is difficult to see how he believes that it can be good business to take on the whole Bahamian public over this issue.
MINISTER PIERRE DUPUCH GETS INTO THE ACT
The Minister for Consumer Affairs and Aviation, the regulator of the Petroleum industry has been playing a coy game over this. But not any more. He rose to his feet in the House of Assembly on Thursday 11 February and blasted Texaco. He told the House that as long as he had breath in his body he would not allow a big multinational like Texaco to step on a small Bahamian businessman. Mr. Dupuch is the second FNM Cabinet Minister to come down on the side of Mr. Fox. Texaco was so frightened after the last Minister Dion Foulkes made his statement that they violated the confidential relationship between Mr. Fox and themselves by sending confidential documents from Mr. Fox's file to the Prime Minister and copies of them to the Leader of the Opposition. The number of potential lawsuits is piling up.
WHAT DOES TEXACO HOPE TO GAIN?
The whole approach of Texaco appears to be stupid. The fact is that Doyle Fox took over the station on East Bay Street and built the station up from 35,000 gallons per month to over 100,000 gallons per month. He is extremely popular with his customers. Texaco is only victimizing Doyle Fox because he is outspoken and because he is the Chairman of the BPRA. The Association can show that Doyle Fox began to get letters about breaches of contract shortly after he became the head of BPRA. This is a clear violation of his constitutional right to free speech.
TEXACO EMPLOYEES COME TO THEIR BOSS’ RESCUE
It was really pitiful and embarrassing. There was Trevor Edgehill, mister big bad biggety Texaco manager himself, sitting silently in the middle of his entire staff of 43. They were all sitting at a press conference called by Byron Woodside, the senior Bahamian in the group, to say how much they loved Mr. Edgehill, what a nice man he is. Things must be getting desperate. When you have to resort to bringing your employees out to defend you, you must really be in trouble. The strain was obvious on Mr. Edgehill’s face. We predict that he does not have long to be in The Bahamas. Texaco will eventually make him the fall guy because this confrontation is unpopular with the Bahamian people, and market share of Texaco will begin to fall. Can't say we didn't warn him.
P. ANTHONY WHITE REMAINS DEFIANT
Mr. White who is a paid consultant of the FNM has a problem. It is difficult to tell where his personal opinion begins and his paid political views end. His column defending the indefensible decision to put the racist Sir Stafford Sands on the ten dollar bill so incensed Arthur Foulkes, the High Commissioner to London that Mr. Foulkes broke with the Government and roasted Mr. White. Mr. White turned to his FNM hear no evil see no evil attitude and simply wrote a letter back and said I stand by my position. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
SENATOR FRED MITCHELL ON CRIME
The Senate met this week after a long recess. The Senate met to discuss an address of thanks to the Commission appointed by the Government to report on the causes of crime in The Bahamas. This columnist was scathing in his attack on the Judiciary in particular the Prime Minister for interfering with the courts and judges, the Attorney General for being totally out to lunch, and the Chief Justice Dame Joan sawyer for being unwilling or unable to stand up to the Judiciary. This columnist in the Senate quoted Jeanne Thompson, a thirty-year veteran at the Bar. She has said that the Courts are in the worst shape that they have ever been since she has been practicing.
MAGISTRATES UNDER ATTACK
The Prime Minister and the Attorney general keep boasting about what they have done for the courts, but Magistrates are unhappy. During the address in the Senate, it was pointed out that MAGISTRATE CHERYL ALBURY has lost five of her dogs by poisoning within the last week. This follows a break in during her absence from the country at her office. A scissors was found stabbed in the neck in the photograph on her desk. The police have not investigated, and the Prime Minster and his colleagues have taken no steps to protect the Magistrate. The Commissioner of Police has refused two Magistrates who asked for guns to protect themselves.
POLICE OFFICERS UNHAPPY
This columnist also reported that junior police officers as represented by their Police Association are unhappy about a number of things. They want their uniform allowance increased from the present $43.50 per month to $120 per month. Police want to be able to wear the simple cotton blue shirt, and not the complicated and unwieldy white tunic they now have for regular duty. They want policewomen to be able to wear pants on the job. They also want the Commissioner to rescind his decision to add yet another layer of screening in order for a junior officer to get a promotion. The Commissioner is also refusing to give details on how money is collected for the police welfare fund and how it is dispensed.
FRED MITCHELL OFF TO JAMAICA
This columnist spoke to the students from The Bahamas at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Kingston, and Jamaica on the evening of 12 February. This is the second official visit to the campus to speak to the students. Students will be encouraged to join the PLP. There will be a full pictorial report next week. While in Kingston, this columnist will also meet with Vice Chancellor of the University the Hon. Professor Rex Nettleford.
TESTIMONIAL BANQUET FOR GLEN ROLLE OF BIMINI
One of the leading citizens of Bimini is to be honoured on Saturday 13 February at a banquet in Bimini. This columnist could not attend due to the trip to Jamaica but will try to make special visit to Bimini to greet Glen Rolle. Mr. Rolle has been ailing for some time. He is giant supporter in every way of the PLP. We deeply regret not being able to be in two places at one time.
LATEST EVENTS IN BIMINI BAY DEVELOPMENT
The Leader of the Opposition is extremely concerned about reports that a new investor has taken over Gerado Capo’s wild plan to convert Bimini into a casino town with a massive land development. The problems and objections to Clifton Cay in The Bahamas pale in comparison to the potential environmental and social damage that will be done to Bimini by what is proposed. The word is that the new investor has so much money that literally Bimini will become a company town. It is all a part of the plan of the FNM to sell the country out from under us on the elusive promise of jobs.
PLP CHAIRMAN IN HOSPITAL
Senator Obie Wilchcombe, Chairman of the PLP, underwent surgery to correct a long-standing sinus problem. He is expected to be away from The Bahamas for two weeks. Mr. Wilchcombe is in hospital in Houston, Texas. Senator Marcus Bethel in the Senate announced this on Wednesday 10 February.
EDWARD ST. GEORGE HAS SURGERY
Grand Bahama Port Authority Chairman Edward St. George is reportedly recovering from cataract surgery.
SHOOTING CONTINUES EVEN DURING DEBATE ON CRIME
As the politicians shouted out hot air about how much they were against crime, the gunmen have caused havoc in the streets of New Providence. Cynthia “ Mother ” Pratt, the PLP MP for St. Cecilia put together a prayer service with all the churches in her constituency on Thursday 11 February. She was reacting to a series of shootings in her constituency. There have been six homicides by shooting in New Providence alone since the start of the year. The politicians clearly do not know what to do. The Crime Commission was the Government's answer to the problem. It remains to be seen whether the recommendations of the Commission are eventually carried out. A police officer was charged with the shooting of a young girl in Mother Pratt’s constituency. He himself is a young man, and it is young males that are inevitably involved in the shootings.
Suddenly all the FNM’s spokesmen are saying that crime is not a political problem. This after Janet Bostwick, the FNM’s first lady of politics, told the country in 1991 that if you got rid of the PLP you would get rid of crime. This when following the murder of an FNM cabinet Minister, the Prime Minister went to Church and blamed the PLP for the murder the Cabinet minister. Now they want a bipartisan approach to crime. The Prime Minister says that the Commission's recommendation that mandatory sentences be eliminated is a bitter bill to swallow. We hope he doesn't choke on that pill.
KELPHINE CUNNINGHAM OUT AT COURT OF APPEAL?
Mrs. Cunningham was first at the Attorney -General’s office, and had to be transferred to the Registrar General’s office. The staff of the Registrar General was soon in revolt. The Prime Minister because of a previous connection between Mrs. Cunningham and her former husband tried to find a place for her by looking to make her the Registrar of the Magistrate's Court. The Magistrates revolted. Finally, the Court of Appeal needed a Registrar and she was placed there. Last week during the crime debate in the House of Assembly, Tennyson Wells the Attorney General for helping identify the backlog of cases praised Mrs. Cunningham. Now comes the news that Mrs. Cunningham was so concerned about the actions of the Court of Appeal that it is alleged that she accused the court of certain acts of discrimination against Bahamians. For that the naturalized, Guyanese born Sir Joaquim Gonsalves-Sabola, who has managed to get every benefit he can get out of the Bahamian people, has reportedly said she has to go. He needs to go.
INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY
Maurice Glinton, a prominent attorney practicing in Freeport gave an excellent presentation on why the judiciary ought to be indiginized. He spoke to students at the College of The Bahamas on Thursday 11 February. Mr. Glinton said that it is a matter where we have to have confidence in ourselves.
LOW TALENT POOL IN THE CABINET
This is probably the worst Cabinet that we have ever had. They spend an awful lot of time meeting but there is very little being accomplished in the country. It seems that while it took the PLP 25 years to get tired on the job, this crew has managed to get tired and run out of ideas within six years. It appears that all they are interested in is buying new cars for themselves with red license plates, and getting more and more perks for themselves. The country is suffering from lack of vision. Ingraham is soon on the way out, and the bets are that Tennyson Wells, the Attorney General is to succeed him. Ingraham is doing all in his power to prevent that from happening. The idea is to pack the House of Assembly with his cronies before Ingraham demits office. In that way he can dictate the result of a leadership election. There is so much disarray on this in the FNM that there is talk that they will scrap plans for an April convention. Too much rowing is expected.
SHORT SIGHTED ZHIVARGO LAING
The photograph on the front page of the Guardian said it all. The Ministry of Youth's failure to take steps to regularize motor bike racing and drag racing in The Bahamas is leading to an increasing number of accidents and casualties as the bikers and dragsters play tag with the public and the police on the streets. Each week out at the old abandoned Oakes Field Airport, dragsters and bikers would race on the strip. There were a lot of betting games. But in the main hundreds of young people, mainly males gathered for peaceful fun. The Government agreed to provide an area for them to race but won't proceed. Instead their response was to dig up the racetrack, as if that would stop it. All that did was drive it to some other more dangerous place. So what happened to the progressive sensitive Minister of Youth. A hopeless failure.
Note from the Publisher:
On Friday last this columnist visited Bahamian students in Jamaica. There is a new and full photo spread. Visit the spread and also see the previous photo page of the visit to St. Augustine’s College in North Carolina. The purpose of the trip was to encourage the students to become involved in public service and to join the PLP. There was a dinner and discussion. Otherwise it was a fractious week in The Bahamas. The Prime Minister was shoved and jostled in the public square as he tried to leave the House of Assembly and lost his footing twice. Protestors from the BaTelCo Union were angered by a report that 1000 of them are to lose their jobs before BaTelCo's scheduled privatization. Bay Street was shut down for most of the day. The protestors threw beer and peanut shells at the Prime Minister. We increasingly get e-mail about the web site. We encourage you to keep reading and send your suggestions. This month we have had 3455 hits.
Pictured from left to right in their seats at the Senior Common room, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica on Friday 12 February: Basil Smith, newly appointed Honourary Consul for The Bahamas in Jamaica; Neil Parker, President of Bahamian Students Association; this columnist; Keisha Simms, Vice President of the Bahamian Students Association.
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION MEETS BCPOU LEADER
Perry Christie met with Union Leader Shane Gibson on Friday 19 February to be briefed about the BaTelCo situation. The PLP repeats the position that BaTelCo should be privatized only in the sense that shares ought to be sold to Bahamians. This seems an incomprehensible thing for the workers of BaTelCo to understand, but it is as simple as that. Their jobs would not be threatened under such a plan. Rather, the jobs would be enhanced.
ALLEGED TREASURY ROBBERS GET OFF
The nation was shocked as one after another the persons who were charged with robbing the Treasury last year were found not guilty by the jury. It left the feeling that someone had robbed the Treasury and had gotten clean away. It again raises questions about the quality of prosecutions at the Attorney General’s office. When Vylma Hilton was brought in to replace Cleopatra Christie as the person who would lead prosecutions for the Crown, she was supposed to work magic. Apparently, the magic is not working so well. Perhaps, it is time for her to go. She did not prosecute the case, but the Attorney General and herself have to answer what happens now on the Treasury robbery. Half a million dollars of the people's money has gone missing, and the money recovered for the trial seemed to be the Treasury’s money. Now with a not guilty verdict, it all has to be returned to those who were as it turns out wrongly accused. What is even worse is the appalling security at the Treasury. During the trial it was revealed that sometimes hundreds of thousands of cash money was moved around the Treasury by one person in a cardboard box. Sometimes there was a policeman, sometimes not. That’s the FNM’s "better better" for you.
TEXACO VS DOYLE FOX (6)
(DOES HUBERT INGRAHAM SUPPORT TEXACO?)
Texaco loosed its dogs on the Minister for Consumer Affairs Pierre Dupuch. They called Mr. Dupuch in other words a liar. Mr. Dupuch answered them in the House, and didn’t take it lying down. He said for the first time in 60 years, his integrity had been questioned. He called Texaco arrogant. It seemed a little peculiar that Texaco would feel brave enough to attack the Minister to whom they have to go to for regulatory approvals. Could it be that there is in fact a Cabinet shuffle coming, and Trevor Edgehill, Manager of Texaco, who is known to be close to the Prime Minister, knows what Mr. Dupuch does not know? Perhaps Mr. Ingraham has told Mr. Edgehill that Dupuch will be changed as Minister before the Parliament comes back into session. What was even more remarkable is that after PLP MPs could see Mr. Ingraham handing some papers and talking furiously to Carl Bethel in the House, Mr. Bethel got up and attacked the Minister for Consumer Affairs. He did not do it by name. He attacked persons who attack multinational companies. He could only have been talking about his colleague. PLP supporters were shocked. The PLP believes that Mr. Ingraham supports Texaco in this matter against the Bahamian people, against his Cabinet and against bi-partisan support in the House and the Senate. It would not be the first time that Mr. Ingraham prefers foreign interests to that of Bahamians. We predicted it before, but Mr. Ingraham thinks that he will be able to leave office after August 2000 with his comfortable pension, but he will be dragging slippers around here yet for the way he has treated people during his term in office.
INGRAHAM WANTS TO CALL BYE-ELECTIONS
It appears that Mr. Ingraham is intent on packing the House with his operatives so that he can rule from behind. Bill Allen, the country’s worse Minister of Finance in history was busy boasting in the House of Assembly this week about his son’s article as a columnist in the Tribune which pooh poohs term limits in the Westminster system. One guesses Bill has to have something to smile about in his life; every one is entitled to a bright spot. The talk is that Mr. Ingraham before he leaves will orchestrate Frank Watson to take his place as Prime Minister so Mr. Watson will have some time to run the country before another election. Mr. Ingraham will then rule from behind on the back bench. Bill Allen will resign and be replaced by Ronnie Knowles, Janet Bostwick will resign and be replaced by Daphne Duncombe Cooper; Jimmy Knowles will resign and be replaced by an Ingraham operative as yet unnamed. Voters are obviously playthings to the FNM. The PLP must have the courage not be involved in that charade or if its going to do it, let’s do it with vigour.
GROWN MEN COPYING INGRAHAM
Dupuch Publications Photo
It is strange to see how all FNM cabinet ministers and Parliamentarians try to act and talk like Hubert Ingraham, particularly the use of the two hands with a shrug and a giggle. Usually, this is behavior associated with impressionable adolescents. But you check it out the next time you see Frank Watson, for example. He is like an Ingraham clone. Yet Mr. Watson is a senior man to Hubert Ingraham. There are other examples but that one will do. Quite frankly it’s embarrassing.
CYRIL STEVENSON IS HONOURED BY PRESS CLUB
Nassau Guardian Photo
Cyril St. John Stevenson should have a knighthood, but he was never quite able to connect at the right time with the right individuals in the Government. He was honoured by the Queen with an LVO after one of her visits to The Bahamas in 1977. His country has not given him an honour for being the tireless propagandist and newspaper proselytizer for the PLP as editor of The Nassau herald from 1954 to 1964 that he was. The Bahamas Press Club, headed by veteran journalist Ed Bethel, honoured Cyril Stevenson at an affair at Government House on Friday 12 February. The Governor General did the honours. Unfortunately because of the visit to Jamaica, this columnist was not there. A salute to Mr. Stevenson with whom this columnist worked with at the Bahamas Information Services. Thank you for the many stories of the old days, and we wish him a happy rest of his life. He has made a fine contribution to this country.
NASSAU GUARDIAN FIRES 30 PEOPLE
It was particularly mean and nasty, and not one politician, save this columnist, came to the defence of the workers at The Guardian. The Guardian itself who publishes everyone else’s problems did not report the fact that it had decimated its entire senior staff. Following the departure of Ken Francis, long-term publisher, and the bloodletting around that, the foreign owners of the Guardian struck again. It was laughable since the Guardian has been advertising itself as a Bahamian paper where decisions are made by Bahamians. Foolishness! Clunis Devaney, Robyn Adderley (Freeport News), Derek Smith, photographer, Derek Carroll (Freeport News photographer) amongst others were dismissed. They have gotten rid of all the senior staff, persons who obviously were costing the company what they thought of as too much. The company has been badly run. It is the worst newspaper in the country, although the most widely read. It is full of errors of facts and grammar.
SURVIVORS OF THE GUARDIAN MASSACRE
The foreign owners of the paper flew in, made the decisions then flew out. Patrick Walkes, the new General Manager, wrote and signed the letters dictated by the directors. The letters were kept until the persons had completed their workday, and then delivered without warning with cheques enclosed. This was absolutely heartless. Gladstone Thurston still works for the paper. But of course the main survivor is one who should get his behind into the dark room of ignorance where he is most comfortable that is OSWALD BROWN. Mr. Brown is an FNM party hack who is busy FNMizing The Guardian. He will further cement his FNM credentials, it is alleged, by marrying into the family of the Governor-General Sir Orville Turnquest. Mr. Brown’s last wife died tragically on Saunder’s Beach just last year. This is fine with the paper's owners whose philosophy is never offend the Government in power. It only shows how sucking up is such a successful occupation in this country. Oswald Brown whose duplicity knows no bounds is a survivor. But at what price?
A SIGN OF HUMILITY FROM SOL KERZNER
In a remarkable radio interview on Love 97 Sol Kerzner actually sounded like he had a bit of humility. He told host Wendall Jones that he believed that some mistakes were made by his company and that the security may have been too oppressive. This columnist will be taking a tour of the Sun facilities during the week that’s coming to see whether there have been any improvements. Mr. Kerzner needs to have a talk with the staff at MURRAY’S, one of P.I.’s new restaurants. Bahamian employees are accusing the foreign staff of treating them like slaves. This columnist has written a letter directly to Alan Leibman, the CEO, asking him to investigate the problem.
CLIFTON CAY GOING AHEAD?
Algernon Allen, the Machiavelli of Bahamian politics, claimed that seventy per cent of the Bahamian people support Clifton Cay. Only a fool or a diehard blinded FNM could believe such errant nonsense. The proposal will wreck the reefs, cause price inflation in the land, deny recreation beaches to Bahamians, ruin the Whylly plantation. Mr. Allen claims to have a keen sense of what Bahamians want. Only in his twisted political imagination! Two NGOs: one headed by Rev. C.B. Moss and another Koed Smith are at work to stop the Government's plans. Once again the Government is accused by many of working in complicity with foreign elements to sell out the Bahamas. members of the newly formed coalition to Save Clifton Cay are shown at a news conference. Pictured from left are Fred Munnings, Sam Duncombe, Rev. C.B. Moss and Halson Moultrie.
LAW SCHOOL FINALS
The Eugene Dupuch Law School’s conversion course is coming to an end. The six-month course for lawyers already called to the Bar from another common law jurisdiction will end its first group some time in mid March. They will get their certificates in September. It has been a trying time for them. We wish them well. Meantime, the two year students struggle with lack of money and resources. Finally, the library hours have increased, and it’s also available on Sundays. A team from UWI is coming to town to review the possibility of the College of The Bahamas doing an LLB in The Bahamas. They had better start improving the library facilities first. Then they need to get a proper building. However, given the narrow-mindedness of The Bahamas as a society do we want to encourage people to remain in this country for all of their tertiary level education? This columnist would be opposed to such a move. It was great getting to know Ed Burns, a Deputy Sheriff and fellow Harvard alum, who is amongst the first entrants to the law school.
DO BAHAMIANS HAVE ANY VALUES?
As a political party, the PLP’s strategists are constantly thinking about the problem of what Bahamian society values as essential and valuable. Will money cause Bahamians to move from any perch, to give up their birthright? This is critical as the PLP begins to plan its election campaign. The question of candidates for election, the question of how much money will be available to those candidates, the question of whether or not Bahamianization still means anything to Bahamians. During the Stafford Sands on the ten dollar bill debate, many Bahamians when told that Sir Stafford was a racist replied: “So what?’’ That seems to be the prevailing view more and more with our young people; 'so what?' on so many questions. The report coming from the foreign campuses where Bahamians go to school reveals that Bahamians do care about specific values. However will this hold up when they return home? It is the PLP's job to get to the hearts and minds, to try.
BIMINI BAY REVISITED
Candia Dames did a good story in the Bahama Journal following up a story first introduced here on the web last week about Gerado Capo’s plan to convert Bimini into a company casino town. Mr. Capo could not be reached but his son claims that they are still searching around for a partner. Ms. Dames quoted a Government source who confirmed the story on the web last week that a rich partner has been found that will relegate Mr. Capo in the investment.
GOOD RESTART AT L.W. YOUNG
The boys were separated from the girls. The girls were bussed to Grace Gospel Chapel and the boys stayed on the campus. The Ministry of Health psychological services personnel came in to conduct a day-long workshop with the boys and girls to see if they can get on top of the problem of school violence. The project was headed by Vincent Roberts. Katurah Wright, the principal, called in community leaders at a special meeting on 16 February, including this columnist, who is nursing Fox Hill for the PLP. She told the meeting that the school needed help to get on top of the violence problem that erupted with a vengeance last month. Thirty-three students were arrested for fighting one afternoon. This columnist attended the workshop, and it seemed to be successful. It needs to be done again. The state needs to put more resources into this problem. It obviously overwhelms parents. We cannot have no-go areas in schools. Ms. Wright said while they have gotten on top of the issue, the Fox Hill boys had a bathroom which was off limits to the Elizabeth Estate boys and vice versa. The principal called for mentoring programmes. Let us hope that this can all be done for the long haul. The kids need the help. Mrs. Wright has made an excellent first step.
Note from the Publisher:
The city of Nassau seemed more quiet this week after the pushing and shoving of the Prime Minister last week. The move was extremely popular with most people thinking Mr. Ingraham got his comeuppance. The Unions held a follow up meeting at the parking lot of Mega Markets, a new store on Blue Hill Road owned by the Unions and the churches. The store is to compete with City Markets and Supervalue. Lynden Nairn, former Supervalue employee, runs it. The Leader of the Opposition, Perry Christie attended as an observer. Also there was the Party's Vice Chairman who looks at Labour issues Melanie Griffin. The meeting was not well attended by Union members. Meanwhile, in Freeport the Trade Union Congress (TUC) rival to the National Congress of Trade Unions that organized the New Providence rally, held its triennial convention. The TUC unanimously reelected Obie Ferguson as the head. There is talk in both umbrella groups about running candidates in the next General Election. Some hope that there can be an accommodation between the PLP that would allow a labour candidate to run unopposed by the PLP. This is unlikely to happen but no official position has been taken. What the PLP is watching to see is if labour can sustain a campaign against the Prime Minister's privatization efforts. The conventional wisdom is the kind of outburst that took place in the square week before last will be a one-off situation. It cannot be sustained. That is what the Prime Minister is counting on, that the opposition will fizzle the more time passes. The Unions are also planning mass demonstrations for the state opening of Parliament on 17 March. In terms of hits on the web we have passed the five thousand per month mark. We did not expect to reach that mark until June but here we are at the end of February. We appreciate all the e mail messages, keep on sending them.
TEXACO TURNS TO PRAYER
On Friday 26 February the sounds of praise the lord and amen could be heard ringing out from the offices of Texaco Bahamas Limited. Texaco's General Manager Trevor Edgehill is supposed to be a born again Christian. So is at least one of his Bahamian managers. The problem is that their state of belief does not find happy resonance with the distaff side what with all the trips to the Family Islands, but nevertheless, prayer changes things. The prayer service was conducted by the Family Island affairs representative who herself is a born again Christian. No doubt sins of all ten kinds were prayed for including thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife, but the main purpose of the prayer service was to pray that Trevor Edgehill would be victorious over Doyle Fox. This is quite incredible. The Lord is being asked to bless the work of the Devil. It is incredible cheek that after having done the dirty deed, made the decision, the General Manager and his cohorts now want to dress a bad, wicked and evil decision in the cloak of religion and prayer. It is a good thing as they say that God is not like man. Mr. Edgehill has only one decision to make. First, he must repent of his sins, ask God's forgiveness and then give Doyle Fox back his station. When that happens all Bahamians will pray for him.
TEXACO OWES DUPUCH AN APOLOGY
It has been several weeks now since Texaco called the Minister of Consumer Affairs a liar in public. They owe the Minister an apology. Texaco keeps insisting that The Bahamas Government cannot tell them what to do. The fact is that The Bahamas Government can advise them how best to do business in The Bahamas. If they do not, then theirs is the folly. Trevor Edgehill likes The Bahamas; he does not want to leave. He was deeply offended when the dealers reminded him that he was not a Bahamian. This has caused him to cry on more than one occasion. The problem is that even the devil can cry. What Mr. Edgehill needs to do is to apologize to Pierre Dupuch.
INGRAHAM HAS ANOTHER NAMESAKE
Newspaper readers of The Nassau Guardian were amused this week when they saw in a column a comment from a man named Hubert Ingraham. It turned out not to be the Hubert Ingraham that we know. Could this be the Hubert Ingraham who says he is the son of the Prime Minister who was born out of wedlock, is said not to be acknowledged by his namesake and natural father? In any event, the Hubert Ingraham the younger was asked along with six other respondents to comment on the kind of job the FNM was doing as a Government. His response was not complimentary. He thought that they were doing a bad job because he could not find a job.
DR. RONALD KNOWLES-SHOULD HE RESIGN?
The constitution is clear. Article 43(1) (h) says that if a Senator becomes interested in a Government contract, he must vacate his seat unless he first gets an exemption to hold the interest by the Senate. Dr. Ronald Knowles, the Minister of Health, disclosed by way of the Official Gazette of 17 March 1997 that he was interested in three contracts with the Government. He never got an exemption from the Senate. Senate President Henry Bostwick tried to block this columnist from raising this matter in the Senate last Wednesday. But even if the Government is able to argue that Article 43 does not cover pre-existing contracts what is its answer to Article 42 (1) (i) which says that one is not qualified to be a Senator if you have not disclosed to the Governor-General the contracts with the Government and the nature of those contracts? Dr. Knowles disclosed that he had disclosed the interest in Government contracts to the Prime Minister. Does that mean that at the time of his appointment to the Senate he was not qualified to sit as a Senator?
SANCTIMONIOUS NONSENSE FROM THE BAHAMA JOURNAL
The Bahama Journal is about to face competition in the opinion segment of the reading population. The Guardian has announced that it is going to start a weekend publication to be called The Observer. This is to be filled with opinion rather than hard news. That is the niche occupied by the Bahama Journal. The Guardian fired 30 people from its staff but wastes money on an afternoon edition, which no one reads. Then it's going to try to eat into a minuscule market occupied by the Bahama Journal. The Journal itself has become so pro FNM; it borders in its editorial positions on sanctimonious nonsense. One of the best examples was this past week when it attacked the BaTelCo union and its leaders for the attack on the Prime Minister. The Journal, which also owns Love 97, is interested in obtaining a license from the Prime Minister to go national. Can one then be surprised at its editorial position that attacks the Union for an attack on the PM for which the Union was not responsible? It is clear that the only person responsible for the attack on the Prime Minister was the Prime Minister himself.
WOMEN'S BRANCH OF THE PLP
Glenys Hanna Martin has been elected as the new head of the Women's Branch of the PLP. Mrs. Hanna-Martin is the daughter of Arthur Hanna, the former Deputy Prime Minister under the PLP. She replaces Mrs. Doris Burrows. A new generation of women is taking over in the PLP. Mrs. Hanna Martin took the post at the personal invitation of PLP Leader Perry Christie. Mrs. Hanna Martin and a delegation of women met last week with Bernard Nottage, the defeated candidate for Leader of the PLP, because of their concern that he needs to move into the mainstream. It appears that some progress is being made in that direction.
PERRY CHRISTIE MEETS PETER BETHEL
Former Deputy Leader of the PLP Peter Bethel and Perry Christie, the Leader of the PLP met at lunch last Friday 26 February. The two had a good meeting. Mr. Bethel is thought to have taken offense at remarks made in this column about his stand on the Clifton Cay project on western New Providence. He is welcomed to use the column for a response.
LYFORD CAY LAUNCHES A PUBLICITY BLITZ
A strange article appeared in the press this week. Lyford Cay's Managing Director Paul Thompson released figures that show that some $450,000,000 has been spent on homes in Lyford Cay from 1958 and 1998. He said 1,107 Bahamians are employed at Lyford Cay with an estimated payroll of $17,334,000. There are said to be 5,535 Bahamians directly dependent on Lyford Cay. He said that Lyford Cay pumps nearly 78 million dollars into the Bahamian economy every year. No doubt this will give the Government some comfort that Clifton Cay should come on stream right next door and double the benefits.
AUSTRALIAN JUDGE SHUTS DOWN FREEPORT COURT
He has not even been in The Bahamas for three months, and now he has found out how worthless the promises of the Bahamas Government are. The Australian Judge recruited to come to live in Freeport, shut down the court last Monday 22 February because it is reported that the Government was refusing to clear his trailer with his goods, books and household affects. They were insisting that the Judge had to pay the duty and be reimbursed later. The Judge refused. He reportedly said in open court that he was emotionally unsettled because of the matter and could not continue with the trial until the matter was resolved. So said, court was closed. The lawyers in the case then called a Minister of the Government who intervened and the goods were released from customs. The Judge is unhappy about other lies that were told to him to entice him to come to The Bahamas. He is supposed to have gotten a new car and a house in which he could entertain. He should also have law books. None of these things have materialized. Welcome to The Bahamas judge. In the first place a foreign judge should not be sitting on the Bahamian bench. But what the Judge did was a good example to the Bahamian judges including the Chief Justice who should get some back bone and shut down the courts to protest the working conditions in which they are forced to operate. As one friend said: when these Judges show that they will protect their own rights, we will trust them to protect ours.
THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY
There is an increasingly desperate atmosphere in The Bahamas. People believe that the country is crumbling and that the FNM is oblivious to how they are allowing the country to crumble. Grown men and women in their middle years can't find jobs, and can't support their families. There is no sympathy from the FNM Government.
TEXACO VS DOYLE FOX
The Bahamas Petroleum Dealers Association is expected to call a press conference this week to reveal the name of the Government Minister who owns the dock behind the Texaco station owned by Doyle Fox on East Bay Street. The BPRA will reveal that the reason why Texaco wants Doyle Fox out of the station is that a powerful foreign investor at Paradise Island wants to buy the dock from the Minister of the Government and then buy the station from Texaco to gas up their cars and trucks. Stay tuned. This conflict of interest Government takes after Stafford Sands. Perhaps that's why they want him on the ten-dollar bill. What does Finance Minister William Allen have to say in all of this?
KEEP GAS TANKS FULL
Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association (BPRA) task force chairman Ken Perigord announced on Sunday 28 February that the BPRA will be moving into phase three of its dispute with Texaco by raising the ante. This can only mean that gasoline stations may face selective closures over the next few weeks. Motorists in New Providence are advised to make sure that their gas tanks are kept full.
MARIJUANA SMOKING ON THE RISE
The newspapers were full of reports that the young kids are smoking marijuana. Perhaps that's what is affecting The Bahamas Government.