BATELCO PRIVATIZATION ON HOLD?
The Government of The Bahamas promised, more properly threatened to privatize BaTelCo, the telecommunications monopoly, by the end of the year 1998. The year has come and gone and no privatization. In fact, the Prime Minister shocked the country by saying that his Government had reversed course on privatization and would not privatize Bahamasair, the worst performing of the publicly owned entities. This despite the fact that Tennyson Wells who is challenging Ingraham's leadership has said that Bahamasair ought to be privatized. Employees of BaTelCo late last year were sent around circulars to identify themselves and their positions, qualifications and salary. The staff wanted to know why this was necessary when the Corporation should already have had the information on file.
BATELCO SABOTAGE IN FREEPORT
Two days before the New Year, a junction box at Bahamia, a well-to-do subdivision in Freeport, Grand Bahama was broken into and the cable connections destroyed. The act is suspected as a deliberate sabotage of the telephone connection. It is the sixth act of such sabotage in Grand Bahama this year. Neither BaTelCo, nor the police have a clue who is doing it. They know that it must be an inside job because the special tools that are needed to interrupt the service were utilized. The question is, why? When something like this happens one begins to think that this is an act of organized political violence. The Government has not addressed the country on this possibility. One is not surprised, however, given the economic climate in Freeport where 3000 jobs have been lost from 1995 to 1997 by the Government's own statistics. BaTelCo employees are also unhappy about the Prime Minister's treatment of the privatization of BaTelCo. This story bears watching.
THE MITCHELL PLAN ON PRIVATIZATION
There is no magic to this. There is no need to follow the Government's stupid and complicated plan to give away the national wealth of this country at a fire sale price. All the Government has to do is to create divisible shares in the Corporation as they did in the Bank of The Bahamas and sell the shares to Bahamians. Simple, but apparently too simple for Simple Simon, the pie man in charge of the country. The privatization of BaTelCo smells like corruption, and we must continue to watch it.
THE LATEST ON THE PRINCESS DEAL IN GRAND BAHAMA
It was reported in this column last week that the deal for the purchase of the run down properties known as the Princess Hotels in Freeport fell through. This caused the Prime Minister and a group of Grand Bahama Port Authority folk to travel to London to try to save the hotels from an early closing. Lonhro, the owners of the hotels, are ready to close them if they can't get rid of them. Lonhro wants to get back into its primary business of mining precious metals in Africa. Now comes the news that a Bahamian group is trying to buy the Princess Hotels. Tennyson Wells, the Attorney-General, announced that he would support the purchase of the Princess Hotels by a group of Bahamians. Reportedly, he then spoke to Franklyn Wilson, the PLP business whiz, who is putting together a group to make a bid for the hotels. The deal is that Princess will keep the hotels open for another six months to give the Port Authority time to find a buyer or to exercise the option they have to purchase if no other purchaser can be found. Edward St. George, Port Authority Chairman, has found a Canadian group that has until next week to put up the money. If that does not come through then the Port will deal with the Bahamian group. This shows how out of touch Ingraham is. He should have been the one to put together a deal for Bahamians. Being the good slave as he is, however, that is the last thing on his mind.
CENTRAL BANK SUED OVER GULF UNION BANK CLOSURE
The Central Bank of The Bahamas and the Minister of finance have been sued by Sidney and Deborah Outten, the owners of Burger King in Nassau. Mr. and Mrs. Outten allege that the Central Bank and the Minister of Finance were negligent in their superintendence of Gulf Union. A generally endorsed writ has been filed. However, a detailed statement of claim will allege that the Bank and the Minister of Finance knew or ought to have known that Gulf Union Bank was close to collapse and did not warn the public or do anything to save the bank. The bank closed last year. Mr. and Mrs. Outten lost some half a million dollars in deposits. Prime Minister Ingraham under political pressure last year promised to legislate insurance retroactively to bring relief to the depositors in the bank, but as yet no one as heard another word about it. Some 200 million dollars in deposits both foreign and domestic were lost in Gulf Union's collapse.
ARTHUR FOULKES TO LEAVE LONDON
High Commissioner to London for The Bahamas, Arthur Foulkes is to leave London after almost seven years of service. He has been asked to stay on until June 1999. He is a popular High Commissioner, having established rapport with both the student and diplomatic communities, and done a yeoman's job in terms of helping attract business to The Bahamas. Mr. Foulkes, a retired Bahamian politician, deserved this post and the benefits that it gave. He gave all to this country to obtain majority rule; he was treated badly by the Pindling Government and was unceremoniously dumped by them in 1969. He was able nonetheless to survive with the founding of the now governing FNM. We wish Mr. Foulkes well in business when he rejoins us in Nassau. His charming wife Joan has been an excellent ambassador for her country as well. Good luck to you both. Mr. Foulkes has a son who is a Cabinet Minister. Dion Foulkes is Minister of State in the Ministry of Education.
BASIL O'BRIEN TO SUCCEED ARTHUR FOULKES
Basil O'Brien, the Secretary to the Cabinet, has agreed to accept the post of High Commissioner to London, succeeding Arthur Foulkes. Congratulations to Basil. No word yet on who is to become Secretary to the Cabinet.
SUN INTERNATIONAL FIASCO
The Bahamian public is incensed by Sun International and its policies of exclusion of Bahamians from their facilities. They started charging Bahamians 12 dollars to tour what they call 'The Dig'. This is really a large fish tank, which allows you to see the so-called lost city of Atlantis. It is a well-put-together exhibit. There is a restaurant there called Fathoms. Last week, this column reported that the food and service is terrible and the cost is too high. The Dig is part of the public areas of the hotel. Sun claims that it is not their intention by putting in place the 12-dollar fee to discriminate against Bahamians. But they surely can't argue that the 12 dollars they will get from Bahamians will cause a blip on their profit margin. The only reasons then to start charging for something that was always free is to keep Bahamians out. Everywhere you go on the property, there are security guards stopping you, and if you are Black, they ask you where you are going and to state your business. On Steve McKinney's show on radio the public blasted spokesman Ed Fields for Sun's policies.
THE DUCKING, DODGING PRIME MINISTER & SUN
Here's what that slave Hubert Ingraham had to say in response to Sun International charging Bahamians 12 dollars to see The Dig: "While the Office of the Prime Minister has no objection to the introduction of an entrance fee for non-guests, it is unacceptable that Bahamians be required to take and pay for a tour of The Dig or purchase a meal simply to gain access to the Gardens and or lagoon areas." This sounds like lawyers double speak. The paragraph's logic is internally inconsistent. On the one hand, it says you are free to charge, on the other that you cannot charge. The statement reads like something Sol Kerzner and Hubert Ingraham cooked up so that Sun could later claim that the Government did not strong-arm Sun to drop the fee, while the Government could claim that it did. In any event, the whole thing has been a public relations disaster for Sun, and it is in their interest to drop the fee and improve their relationship with Bahamians who are their best ambassadors. It is almost standard for Bahamian church-goers to ride over to Sun with their families after church and also with foreign guests and let them see the facilities at Sun of which we are all proud. But at 12 dollars that is clearly an attempt to keep Bahamians out. Sun should drop it or suffer for it.
COMPTROLLER OF CUSTOMS LOSES COURT CASE
Ralph Munroe, a veteran customs officer, has won his case against the Comptroller of Customs. The ruling made by Mr. Justice Davis may be an important one for customs officers generally and their entitlement to overtime pay. The Customs job is popular amongst young men and women because the base salary plus substantial overtime is paid for working as a customs officer. The airlines and shipping companies pay the overtime so that there is no direct charge against the Government. What happened in Mr. Munroe's case is because the Comptroller considered him a discipline problem, he was removed from the overtime roster. It was argued successfully that this was a form of discipline, which was not provided for under the public service rules, and discipline was not a matter which was within the purview of the Comptroller. The written ruling is awaited. The ruling may mean that customs officers have an entitlement to overtime, and that overtime when dispensed, must be done on a rational basis, not on the basis of the favourites of the supervisors.
TRAFFIC LIGHTS ON THE BLINK
The case for Local Government in New Providence grows every week. Never is this more evident than in the number of traffic lights that go bad on a monthly basis. There are simple problems like blown light bulbs, or the light does not stay green on one side long enough to allow cars to pass through. Some agency ought to be checking on a regular basis to see that the lights work. One light was out for several months on Collins Avenue in New Providence causing some eight traffic accidents at the junction before the authorities did something about it.
Doctor's Hospital in Nassau is trying to get international certification. Perhaps the international body ought to survey patients of the hospital who say that lately the standards at the privately-owned facility in Nassau have dropped. This has happened despite the fact that Barry Rassin, CEO of the hospital, is head of the Quality Council of The Bahamas.
The amount of cocaine and marijuana passing through The Bahamas is on the increase. This is to be expected following upon the lessening of the resolve of U.S. authorities and a cut in the financial resources given to The Bahamas to fight the transshipment of drugs throughout The Bahamas. U. S. dollars can be found amongst working class, young black men in unprecedented numbers, and more and more of them are getting caught. In Bimini, there is not a month that goes by when some young men are not arrested in Miami for shuttling drugs from The Bahamas to Florida. The question that must be asked is what will happen to the windfall profits made by these young men? Will they squander the windfall the way the last generation did by buying cars, and investing in an expensive lifestyle or will they save any of the money? It looks as if history is repeating itself.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE JUDICIARY BY FRED MITCHELL WILL BE PRESENTED UNDER THE FIG TREE IN THE FRONT OF THE SUPREME COURT AT 9.30 A.M. ON 11TH JANUARY. THE TEXT OF THIS REVIEW WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE ON THIS WEBSITE SOON AFTER ITS RELEASE.
MAJORITY RULE DAY
1O January 1967 was a magical day for Bahamians. The spirit of it was recaptured by this writer just last year when the Bermuda people turned out the United Bermudian Party (UBP). The PLP in Bermuda had been trying for 35 years. People were emotional, they turned out in the streets in droves, and the Black Bermudian felt that he had been delivered. At the time of our transition to majority rule in 1967, this writer was 13 years old. People took to the streets after it became clear that the PLP would take the Government. Today, we are faced with those who want to turn back the tide. We have a Prime Minister who is being called an Uncle Tom throughout the over-the-hill community. He is impervious to the criticism. The question is what will the young people do when they see their heritage being sold under the aegis of this Prime Minister? 10 January 1999 is the 35th anniversary of that day.
STAFFORD SANDS ON THE CURRENCY
The Prime Minister astounded the country by announcing that Stafford Sands, the country's first Finance Minister and Minister of Tourism was to be put on the ten-dollar bill. Sands is regarded as the architect of the modern Bahamian economy. He also announced that Sir Roland Symonette, the first Premier of the country, would go on the fifty-dollar bill. While Roland Symonette is defensible, Stafford Sands is unacceptable. Sands left his country after the 1967 General Election. He is widely acknowledged as being a white supremacist and racist. He died in exile. The PLP will remove the face from the bill when it becomes the Government.
MORE ON BATELCO PRIVATIZATION
The Prime Minister in his New Year's address told the country that while he did not manage to sell off BaTelCo to foreign Investors in 1998, he plans to do so in 1999. The sale of BaTelCo has Bahamian professionals upset, but with no political institution to turn to, their dissatisfaction remains embryonic. Most people believe that Bahamian financial experts should have a chance to arrange for the sale of BaTelCo. Further a number of Bahamians with expertise in telecommunications in anticipation of privatization find that they are being given the shaft by the Government which is blocking them at every turn from developing their businesses. A Bahamian group has obtained part of the franchise from Lucent Technologies, but the problems they have faced are a study in how the policies of the FNM do not implicitly protect Bahamian investors. It appears that the foreign investor has the jump on Bahamian investors every time, and the Bahamas Government will not step in to protect Bahamians. However, the PLP must act quickly if it is going to capture the hearts and minds of these men and women before the next election.
BATELCO AND THE INTERNET
The employees of BaTelCo were surprised at the lack of support amongst the public for the cause of BaTelCo during its struggle against privatization. While Bahamians do not support the Government's wholesale giveaway of BaTelCo to foreign investors; they do not support the continued inability of BaTelCo to provide telephone lines and other allied telecommunications services. The monopoly of BaTelCo must go, the Government does not propose to do that even after the company is privatized. They intend to keep the monopoly. Nothing is more exasperating than the cellular phone service, which has significant black out areas in a small island 21 by 7 in New Providence. Downtown Bay Street is one of the areas where the signal breaks up. Fox Hill is another. The Internet service is terrible, with constant busy lines. Often, one has to try 14 times just to access the Internet. Complaints have been made but BaTelCo refuses or is unable to do anything about it. In the meantime, the Government's dithering about privatization is seeing the decline of the value of BaTelCo on the market. Some say the persons who were initially interested in buying it have been scared off by the potential labour problems. Once again, the solution is simple, just divide up shares like in the Bank Of The Bahamas and sell them to Bahamians. The monopoly must go, a regulator must be appointed, and decisions made on who will own the telephone lines.
A FIGHT IN THE SUN INTERNATIONAL BOARD ROOM
Sol Kerzner has a problem on his hands with his fellow investors. At a showdown in a board meeting, one investor who had put 26 million dollars into the project was concerned that Sol had made precipitous decisions, which resulted in a confrontation with the Bahamian people. Apparently, the dissatisfaction of both guests and staff has become widespread, and it is reaching shareholders. This comes at a crucial time when it is almost time for Sol to find capital to build the 1000 additional rooms which he promised the Government he would build. The problem is persons like Alan Liebman, the Chief Operating Officer, is simply too arrogant to understand that you cannot have a confrontation with the Bahamian people over the resort. If the Bahamian people do not support it, then the investment will fail. The national pride of Bahamians has been offended by Sun. The Bahamians who advise Sol and company about what they ought to be doing are giving bad advice or being ignored. This bears watching.
A NIGHT AT THE OCEAN CLUB
Sol Kerzner claims that he has upgraded Paradise Island to a world class resort. There is no doubt that his significant investment has made a big difference in the way Paradise Island looks. The fact that he has ruined the natural environment of the island by the garish architecture of the new structure is one thing, but the worse problem is the level of service at Paradise Island has not improved. Last week, we had a family dinner at the Ocean Club. The first thing was a big palaver about wearing a jacket to dinner. This must be the last place in The Bahamas that requires a jacket for dinner in a hot country. The Ocean Club has dining outside. The jacket was provided but it had to be stripped off because it was so warm outside. The worse part was that a guest wanted tuna which was printed on the menu. No tuna was available. So what; is this Checkers, the cafeteria, which tells you sorry no macaroni but we'll give you potato salad? It should not be at an average 40 dollars for an entree. It got worse but one gets the point. Sun had better do something to improve the service at its facilities.
EXASPERATION IN THE PLP
The public continues to voice concern that the PLP is silent on too many issues. No one is quite sure what the reason is. There have been statements made by certain spokesmen for various areas of public policy but there are numerous complaints about silence from the top. It is not certain what can be done to address the complaint or if the complaint is considered a valid one. Nevertheless, the radio talk shows are full of the complaints. If the organization is to have a fighting chance at the next election, it must respond more vigorously to public issues.
NEW PRESIDENT OF THE LABOUR COURT
Nathaniel Dean who is now the Registrar of the Supreme Court is to leave soon to become President of the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal the labor court. Stephen Isaacs, the Deputy Registrar, is to move to Freeport as the Vice President of the Tribunal up in Freeport. No word as to who is going to replace these persons in Nassau. This writer will give a full review of the events in the Judiciary under the fig tree for the ninth annual time on 11 January at 9.30 a.m. It will be carried live on MORE FM 94.9
THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS INDUSTRIAL ACTION
For the entire Christmas period there have been substantial delays at the Nassau International Airport as a result of a work to rule by air traffic controllers. The flights of Bahamasair in particular and those of private fliers have been delayed sometimes up to three hours. The dispute is long-standing in nature with the Government consistently ignoring the legitimate demands of the air traffic controllers. The Government continued to ignore the situation during the Christmas season. But on Thursday 8 January, the Prime Minister held a meeting with air traffic controllers at the VIP lounge of the Nassau International Airport and read them the riot act. The response of the controllers will probably be to lift the work to rule. The Prime Minister told them that he will not sign an industrial agreement with them, that he will try to hire 50 new controllers by July. He told them that unless they removed the work to rule, he would not act. The controllers fear that Ingraham would do what Reagan did with air traffic controllers in the United States who were on strike. Reagan fired them all.
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE BAHAMAS
There is a critical shortage of priests in The Bahamas. The celibacy rule has decimated the ranks of trainee priests. The average age of priests in The Bahamas is close to 65 years old. The Catholic Bishop was so concerned about this that he asked the Pope for permission to ordain married men. That permission was turned down. This is a problem, which exists in other countries as well, but it will have to wait for the passing of this Pope before the rule will change.
The Commissioner of Police, flanked by his senior officers announced that the crime statistics show a decline in 1998 over 1997. The decline is said to be some 15 percent. This has not alleviated the fear of crime in the country. The public perceives that the FNM has not been able to deal with the crime problem. Neil McKinney, the Chamber President told the press that merchants consider crime the number one problem. The FNM must admit that its Government has been an abject failure on crime. The FNM has the distinction of seeing the murder of one of its own Cabinet Ministers in an armed robbery. The Prime Minister blamed the PLP for the murder during the election of 1997 The fact is that those charged with the murder were FNMs and the evidence is that it was nothing more than an armed robbery gone bad.
TEXACO PULLS THE PLUG ON ITS BEST DEALER
On Friday 9 January, the head of Texaco in The Bahamas called in Doyle Fox, the best dealer that Texaco has, at the Texaco East Bay, and told him that they will not renew his three year lease when it comes up for renewal in April. They said the issue was closed and that there would be no discussion on the point. It seems an odd decision. It can only be to strike fear into the hearts of dealers because Doyle Fox is chairman of the Bahamas Petroleum Dealers Association, the advocacy group for petroleum dealers in The Bahamas. Under the FNM, dealers have been seriously mistreated by the oil companies even though most of them support the FNM. What is happening to them could not have happened if the PLP were in office. The climate is anti the small man, and the FNM will take no steps to protect small businesspeople. One by one, the oil companies will pick of small business people unless the Government steps in. The answer is a return to the PLP, but right now it has its own problems.
A survey designed by the British consultant group Buffalo is about to get underway for the PLP. The PLP is trying to determine just what its standing is with the public, and what the themes ought to be for the next General Election.
THE GRAYING OF THE POPULATION
Increasingly, there are groups of Bahamians who are starting to organize health care for our citizens. They face a variety of problems, including physical ailments, loneliness, depression, loss of status and mobility. In the modern world, their children do not have enough time to care for them. The cost is becoming increasingly prohibitive for private nursing care. The problem will grow more acute in the next century. Statistics released last week in Nassau indicate that today the largest single cohort is the group 0-4 years old. That is expected to change early in the next century when the largest single group will become those 75 and above. We ought to start planning for what that means today. -
17th January, 1999
THIS WEEK ON THE WEB: RETRACTION FIDELITY BANK STORY… SPEEDING CHARGES AGAINST FRED MITCHELL…RIOTS AT NASSAU SCHOOLS… ALFRED SEARS SPEAKS… PERRY CHRISTIE VS. HUBERT INGRAHAM…UNCLE TOM AND HIS CABINET…CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION COMING… DOYLE FOX VS. TEXACO… C.A. SMITH TO RETIRE?… OSWALD BROWN TO MARRY… A NEW POEM ON POET’S PAGE
Note from the Publisher:
The site continues to grow in popularity, outpacing the number of hits received in December. The aim is to get 5000 hits per month by June of this year, and then to offer advertising on the web. We now have 726 hits for the month of January. This compares to 626 for the entire month of December. The most popular day so far was the day of the review of Judiciary. Let us have your comments. We hope to redesign the site in column style soon, in order to make it easier to read.
RETRACTION ON FIDELITY BANK AND TRUST STORY
On this site in the 27 December 1998 edition, it was reported that Fidelity Bank and Trust faced a judgement by Justice Anita Allen which threatened to wipe out the entire capital of the bank. That report was wrong, and the story is fully retracted, and we apologize for the story.
SPEEDING CHARGES AGAINST COLUMNIST DISMISSED
On Tuesday 12 January, this columnist appeared in the Magistrates Court in Nassau before Lay Magistrate Enoch Backford to answer charges that on 27 August 1998, at approximately 6:20 a.m., he exceeded the speed limit on East Bay Street in the vicinity of the Police Station near the entrance to the Paradise Island Bridge. The case was dismissed by the Magistrate. Shortly after the incident, in the incarnation of this column in the Nassau Guardian last year, it was pointed out that this charge of speeding was stupidly brought. It was like a scene out of the Pink Panther movies, with the infamous Inspector Clouseau. With all the raping, killing robbing and pillaging going on, the police in the dark of the morning at 6:20 are out stopping people for speeding. Seemed entirely stupid. Representing the columnist was none other than the wife of the Attorney-General, Attorney Stephanie Wells. Thanks a million Stephanie for a job well done.
RIOTS AT NASSAU SCHOOLS
The police were called to the L.W. Young School on Wednesday 13 January as a pitch battle broke out between students from Elizabeth Estates, the low cost housing subdivision in eastern New Providence, and the students from Fox Hill, a traditional village also in eastern New Providence. While this is the first occurrence for this year, it has happened several times in the past. There is great antipathy between Fox Hill and Elizabeth Estates residents at the school. Buses have been broken up, students hurt. Thirty-three students were arrested. This columnist who is nursing the Fox Hill constituency for the PLP was called to the Wulff Road police station and arrived there to find scores of worried parents. Eventually most students were released without charge, but something is disturbing. Police Officer DSP Michael Ellis gave the boys a good tongue-lashing. It appeared that it went in one ear and out the next. The other disturbing thing is how inarticulate these high school students are. They had no idea why they were fighting and could not adequately describe in good English how the fight broke out. These are the people to govern us in 30 years! Headmistress Keturah Wright has called a meeting of community leaders for 16 February to see what can be done to stop the violence.
MORE RIOTS AT NASSAU SCHOOLS
On the same day that the riot took place at the L.W. Young School, there were outbursts at D.W. Davis High School; C. I. Gibson High School and R.M. Bailey High School. Michael Ellis is in charge of the police in that area and had his hands full. Inevitably, the students involved are young Black males. At least one principal points out that many of the students are the children of single Haitian parents. Another theory is that while the Government is boasting about how well the economy is doing, the civil society is collapsing. Parents of these low-income kids have to leave home before their children rise for school, and come home often when their children have gone to bed. There is no supervision or meaningful contact or influence from parents. The results that we see in the school are the social and economic stresses that the children are feeling at home, with which they leave home unresolved. The business community had better sit up and take notice; otherwise we are facing even more serious problems.
ALFRED SEARS ON A CIVIL SOCIETY
At the Business Outlook Seminar held on 12 January and sponsored in part by Fidelity Bank and Trust, Alfred Sears poured thoughtful cold water on the ebullience of the business leaders and Government hacks who were saying all is well in Bahamian society, because the economy is doing well. Mr. Sears pointed out that while the numbers may be looking good for the economy, our civil society is in danger of collapsing. He got a standing ovation. Copies of the address can be obtained form the Counsellors in Nassau. We shall try to supply it on this web site in the coming week.
CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR OVERSTEPS THE MARK?
PLP circles were concerned that Julian Francis, the Governor of the Central bank, is taking too partisan an approach to the economic policy of The Bahamas. His pronouncement last week that the economy has never been better, promoted the reply in PLP circles: “ better for whom? ” The choice of the word “ better ” seemed a little insensitive politically since that is the slogan word from the FNM’s last campaign. The Central Bank should not be involved in politics. Shadow Finance Minister Philip Galanis is expected to reply to Mr. Francis’ assertions next week.
PERRY CHRISTIE ATTACKS HUBERT INGRAHAM
The Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie was on fire this week because of the Government’s decision to put the racist Sir Stafford Sands on the Bahamian ten-dollar bank note. Sir Stafford, who abandoned his country after the coming of majority rule in 1967, died in exile. He was the country’s first Minister of Finance and Tourism. Mr. Christie told the public that this was the worst decision made by the Government. Radio talk show callers have agreed with Mr. Christie and the PLP on the issue. Steve McKinney had Geoffery Johnstone, the last Leader of UBP, Sir Stafford’s now defunct party on radio. Mr. Johnstone admitted that Sir Stafford was a racist but believed he should still be on the money. Steve McKinney held a poll at different sites in New Providence and asked people to vote on the issue. The result was overwhelmingly against Sir Stafford on the note. A campaign is being planned to get Bahamian people to refuse to accept the note at the bank, and also to deface the notes when they go into circulation. The PLP and the public were happy that Perry Christie spoke up, and answered Hubert every time. It was a good week for the PLP.
UNCLE TOM AND HIS CABINET
Hubert Ingraham has been reviled all week in the Black community of The Bahamas as having taken Uncle Tomism to a new level in The Bahamas. Some have argued that an apt expression on his tombstone would be: “ Here lies Hubert Ingraham, former Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, a serious mistake, and a great Uncle Tom. ” Mr. Ingraham’s spirited defence of his bad decision to put Sir Stafford Sands on the ten-dollar bank note will live to haunt him. As they say in The Bahamas, he will soon be around The Bahamas dragging slippers. His behaviour as Prime Minister has been nothing short of disgraceful, not to mention embarrassing. Who would have expected that someone raised out of the bowels of the party that brought majority rule to the country was really an Uncle Tom in disguise? What a pity. Then to add insult to injury, Mr. Ingraham sought to accuse the Leader of the Opposition of being a racist because he attacked the Prime Minister's decision. The Bahamas is becoming like Animal Farm. When you tell your children this story in ten years, they will think that it is a fairy tale. Oswald Brown, the Managing Editor at The Guardian joined Uncle Tom’s parade by promoting the Sands’ decision.
The talk is that the Prime Minister intends to move soon to appoint a Commission to look into changes in the Constitution. It is time to make changes, foremost amongst those changes sought is to simplify the citizenship provisions so that everyone born in The Bahamas is a Bahamian and if your parents are citizens of The Bahamas you are as well, whether born in or out of wedlock and regardless of where you are born. Parents should include mother or natural father. Further, The Bahamas should become a republic and the monarchy ended. In addition, gender ought to be added into the definition of discrimination in the Constitution. The problem is that rumours are abounding that conservatives are going to sit on this Commission. Further, Commissioners will be from that generation that drew up the last Constitution. The persons chosen should in the main be in their thirties, forties and twenties. They are the ones who will have to live with any changes in the Constitution. The last generation had their chance when they were in their thirties and forties and should not have two bites of the cherry. The PLP should consider, any way, whether or not it wants to cooperate in this exercise with Ingraham.
IN DEFENCE OF DOYLE FOX, THE TEXACO DEALER
In a remarkable about face, Texaco, who promised not to engage in a campaign of deceit and lies against Doyle Fox in public, did just that. They released a statement to the newspapers following their decision to end the lease and business arrangements with Doyle Fox, their best dealer who runs the station on East Bay Street. Texaco savaged Mr. Fox and may have laid themselves open to an action in defamation. Mr. Fox's colleagues have come to his defence from the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association (BPRA). Ken Perigord, the Shell dealer, has taken up the gauntlet. If Texaco is not careful, it may face the shut down of the entire gasoline industry over this stupid decision of theirs. The decision is about bloody-mindedness. They simply did not like the fact that Doyle Fox was a free spirit. They have set out to destroy him. The problem is that the present Government is a pussycat Government, weak-kneed and apologetic. You can not rely on them to stand up for their people. So the dealers can expect no public help from Minister Pierre Dupuch, and none from the Prime Minister. If the PLP had been in power, Texaco would not have tried this in the first place. Secondly, a telephone call would have been made to Texaco asking them if they were losing their bloody minds. With a man who is being called an Uncle Tom throughout the Black community at the helm, no one is surprised. The decision on the Texaco station must be changed and reversed.
WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH C.A. SMITH
The latest on the hapless Minister of Tourism C.A. Smith is that the Prime Minister is seeking to persuade him to leave the Ministry, take a knighthood and become Ambassador to the United Kingdom, replacing Arthur Foulkes when he leaves in June. If it happens this will mean a bye-election in Freeport. The Prime Minister is trying to get Senator Geneva Rutherford in the House of Assembly. What does this mean for Basil O’Brien who, it was earlier reported, had agreed to take the job in London, stepping down as Cabinet Secretary.
OSWALD BROWN OF THE NASSAU GUARDIAN
Reports say that the Managing Editor of The Nassau Guardian is about to get married to the sister of the Governor-General. The two have been a pair since the tragic death of Mr. Brown's second wife, who drowned in the surf of Saunders Beach in New Providence last year. Congratulations to the happy couple.
24th January, 1999 THIS WEEK ON THE WEB: OSSIE BROWN MARRIAGE MOST POPULAR STORY… DINGMAN, KERZNER AND ORVILLE TURNQUEST… FENCE ACROSS P.I. BEACHES… KERZNER TO REPLACE HIS CEO?… NEW SECRETARY TO THE CABINET… THE LATEST ON DOYLE FOX AND TEXACO… RESPONSE TO REVIEW OF THE JUDICIARY… THE CHIEF JUSTICE AND MAGISTRATES… STAFFORD SANDS AND HUBERT INGRAHAM… COZINESS BETWEEN BUSINESS AND GOVT… THE FULL STORY ON OSSIE BROWN… BLACKS AND WHITES GAINED UNDER THE PLP…. NEWS BRIEFS…
Note from the Publisher:
OSWALD BROWN MARRIAGE
LAST WEEK'S MOST POPULAR STORY
As of 24 January, there have been 2334 hits on the site for the month of January. That means that the site is growing in popularity. The most popular story last week was the story on the reported marriage of Oswald Brown, the Managing Editor of the Nassau Guardian who lost his last wife in a tragic accident at Saunders Beach last year. Many women called and e-mailed to find out how to get to the site and to read the story. Thanks for all the letters. This week, there is an extended group of stories on how the FNM has turned back the tide in The Bahamas, and displaced Black Bahamians as the masters of their destiny. Hubert Ingraham has led this. Even within his own party there is embarrassment at the anti-nationalist streak in Mr. Ingraham. It is clear that the masters of the Bahamian destiny are once again those that were displaced in 1967. It now leaves the PLP in the same place it was when it brought majority rule to the country. There is a difference this time. We do not have a politicized younger generation.
MICHAEL DINGMAN, SOL KERZNER, ORVILLE TURNQUEST
Sample Tribune picture Sample Guardian Picture
The picture said a thousand words. There on the front page of the newspaper
was a grinning Orville Turnquest surrounded by the two masters of the Bahamian
destiny Michael Dingman and Sol Kerzner. Dingman became a Bahamian
citizen, escaping the taxman in the United States and lives in splendid
isolation in Lyford Cay. Mr. Kerzner, dressed in a suit God bless
him, has moved the centre of his South African empire to Paradise Island,
and is busy setting up a secure state on that island. They were the
guests of the Governor General Orville Turnquest. It was clear that
they and the GG were very much hand in glove, and very much at home.
It is unseemly and inappropriate for Mr. Dingman to be seen hugging up
the Governor General in public. There is a certain formality which
P.I. CEO TO BE REPLACED?
The latest talk is that Sol Kerzner has decided that Alan Liebman, now CEO of PI, is to be superseded by one of Kerzner’s South African countrymen. Niki Kelly reported in her column that there is to be an exodus of South African whites from Joberg once Mandela leaves office. They will head to The Bahamas. Perhaps Kerzner is seeking to find an early home for two buddies. The unconfirmed reports say that two South Africans will come to Nassau, one of them is to oversee what Liebman is doing.
FENCE ACROSS THE BEACH AT PARADISE It was left to the official mouthpiece of Paradise Island, Barry Farrington to announce to the Bahamian people Sun’s explanation for putting up a fence across Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island to block out the public. Their rationale is security concerns have caused them to put up the fence. This follows the murder of two tourists on Paradise Island last year. Sources tell us that Sun claims that they now own the land on which those tourists were killed, and they are therefore civilly liable for anything that might transpire on that or their other properties in the future. That is why they are denying access to Bahamians and other non-guests on the beach. Mr. Farrington then added that while the company did not feel that it was legally obliged to do so, they were putting an access way to the beach for the public west of the present entrance, now near the Grand Hotel. Most say that means that you will have to drive down to the Golf Course to get to the beach. So put it all together: entrance fee to get into the hotel lobby's dig attraction; security guards every five feet on the property; fence on the beach. It all adds up to keep Bahamians out. Mr. Kerzner is busy recreating Bophuthatswana in The Bahamas.
THE PLP AND THE RICH AND FAMOUS
After the 1997 general election, it became clear that the PLP had lost all contact with the rich and famous at Lyford Cay. It became clear that Paradise Island was hostile to the PLP, notwithstanding their $50,000 donation to the PLP. There was not one PLP leader that had any contact with the people in Lyford Cay or Paradise Island on a friendly basis. That remains the situation today. These people determined what happened in The Bahamas by donating large sums of cash and plenty of kind to defeating the PLP. Today, there is still no contact. Mike Dingman and Sol Kerzner treat the PLP at best with indifference. The result is that a PLP win in 2002 will have to be done without the support of Lyford Cay, which is the way it has always been. It is remarkable how rich people continue to make the mistake in the paradises in which they set themselves up. They assume that the Government toadies and friends that they have as their so-called friends will protect them come any eventuality. The problem for them will be that there is a groundswell of Opposition to the FNM that only the PLP can take advantage of. Picture Mike Dingman and Sol Kerzner and their allies out on PI and in Lyford Cay, the PLP wins office and they have not one friend in the party. Orville Turnquest will not be able to help them. He himself will be gone.
A NEW SECRETARY TO THE CABINET
It was reported on this site several weeks ago that Basil O’Brien is to leave the country's top civil service post as Secretary to the Cabinet to become High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. It is now being reported that Wendal Major is to succeed him as Secretary to the Cabinet. Most bets would have been on Luther Smith. This will be Hubert Ingraham’s last appointment of Cabinet Secretary if he follows through on his promise to leave the Office of Prime Minister.
THE LATEST ON DOYLE FOX AND TEXACO
Texaco made an error in seeking to kick Doyle Fox, their best dealer out of the station on East Bay Street. They did not terminate his Star Mart franchise, the shop that sells convenience items at the service station. Mr. Fox notified Texaco under the terms of the agreement that he wishes another three years in the Star Mart. Texaco sent Mr. Fox's cheque back last Friday and rejected the request for the extension. A court battle looms. A defamation action is to be brought against Trevor Edgehill for remarks given to the press, which lowered Mr. Fox in the eyes of right thinking members of society. Our information is that Texaco went after Mr. Fox three months before his lease was up, thinking that any Opposition would die down after a few weeks. They also want to use Mr. Fox as a test case to eliminate all the older Texaco dealers who they say are making too much money, while Texaco's return on investment is only ten per cent. Texaco believes that it can then install younger deals that would be happy with taking home less money, and more money will go into the pockets of Texaco. The dealers had hoped that the Government would intervene. No dice. The Minister Pierre Dupuch is toothless, and is not taken seriously by his colleagues. Further, the Prime Minister works hand in glove with big business.
RESPONSE TO REVIEW ON THE JUDICIARY
Magistrates took issue with remarks made by this columnist in the Review of the Judiciary for the year 1998. They got the impression that the Coroner's court was singled out as an exemplary Magistrates Court because of a friendship tie with the particular Magistrate. That was certainly not the intention. In this column on a previous occasion it was pointed out the diligence of Magistrates, and in particular the burdens upon the domestic courts. It should also be pointed out that the physical state of the courts continued to deteriorate and the salary of Magistrates was not addressed during the year 1998. Those were pointed out in the report.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE AND THE MAGISTRATES
Magistrates were also offended by the remarks of Dame Joan Sawyer Chief Justice at the official opening of the legal year. She indicated that many persons want to be judges but not everyone is suitable and that there was a process of investigating the past of the individuals who applied. Magistrates took this as an insult since, they are not afraid of anything in their pasts. Further, it is felt that the Chief Justice does not have a good record when it comes to investigating Judges if that is what they indeed do. Austin Davis was a disaster as a Judge and people were happy to see the back of him as he was shunted into the new law school as principal. Further, Magistrates point out that the Chief Justice should know that all magistrates have to go on circuit. They were told that as a fact. It was not conditional as it appeared in her remarks at the opening.
STAFFORD SANDS AND HUBERT INGRAHAM
What do these two gentlemen have in common? Perhaps Geoffrey Johnstone, the last Chief of the UBP, was able to give a clue. He told a radio audience two weeks ago that Stafford Sands was a physical coward. That is the impression most people have of the Prime Minister. He is good at rage and bombast, once there is a large group of his people round him, or if he has state power at his disposal. However, once you get him by himself, he shrinks back in fear. Perhaps that is why Kerzner and Dingman keep getting these good deals from him at the expense of the Bahamian people.
COZINESS BETWEEN BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT
The Leader the Opposition attended a dinner at Graycliff with Sol Kerzner as the guest of the Prime Minister in 1997. It was embarrassing. There was no sense of formality between Mr. Kerzner and the Prime Minister. Mr. Kerzner called the Prime Minister “Hubert”, like he was some little boy. Hubert called Mr. Kerzner, Kerzner. This kind of coziness between the Government and big business shows why the Bahamian people are in trouble. It would never happen under the PLP.
THE OSWALD BROWN STORY
Two years ago Ken Francis, the former publisher of the Nassau Guardian, made a mistake that he would live to regret. He hired Oswald Brown to become Managing Editor of the paper. Mr. Brown, who left The Bahamas during the Pindling years because he claimed the PLP stopped him from finding work, returned to The Bahamas after the FNM came to office. He is eternally grateful to the FNM. Hubert Ingraham, the Prime Minister was annoyed after the 1997 election that this columnists continued to enjoy access to the Nassau Guardian and The Tribune. Mr. Ingraham had effectively stopped ZNS from covering anything on the publicly owned stations said by this columnist. Mr. Ingraham called in Mr. Francis with a representative of the American owners of the paper and ordered them to put Mr. Brown in charge of the paper to keep Fred Mitchell off the front page. So said so done. Mr. Brown has followed that line since, and has also extended it to the PLP generally. Last year when Oswald Brown was rightly attacked on the floor of the PLP convention for his unethical journalistic practices, he sought to take revenge out against Perry Christie, the Leader of the Opposition, telling him through intermediaries that the paper would be available to him once he apologized to Mr. Brown for what this columnist had said at convention. No apology was forthcoming or will be coming. The coverage of the Leader of the Opposition is therefore nil.
OSWALD BROWN FRUSTRATES GUARDIAN REPORTERS
If you talk to reporters at the Nassau Guardian, the situation has gone from bad to worse under Mr. Brown. Reporters stories are routinely killed if they are too PLP oriented. The principal political reporter is Gladstone Thurstone who knows a good story when he sees one. He is constantly having to check with his interviewees to determine whether or not they are “cool” with Oswald Brown. He like other reporters know that if you are not cool with Mr. Brown then the story gets killed. The Guardian's front-page has become a propaganda rag for the FNM. It is often difficult to distinguish between The Guardian and The Torch the FNM’s newspaper.
OSWALD BROWN: INTELLECTUAL PROSTITUTION
Even Geoffrey Johnstone had to admit that Stafford Sands hated Black people. He also admitted that Stafford Sands was a physical coward and that he abandoned the country after majority rule came in 1967. Part of the problem today is that you have the likes of Oswald Brown that are in charge of powerful public instruments like The Nassau Guardian. They come with such bitterness and hatred in their hearts that they have embraced the ways of the oppressor, and defend his interests better than they themselves. People like this throughout the black community in The Bahamas are either derisively referred to as slaves or Uncle Toms. They do a grave disservice to the Bahamian community. Fortunately, these people do not last long because they pretty soon outsmart themselves. One just hopes that the damage can be minimized during the reign of terror of Oswald Brown at The Nassau Guardian.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT OSWALD BROWN
Clearly Mr. Brown must be dismissed as the Managing Editor and replaced with some one who will truly be neutral in their judgements about is news. This is not just a story to titillate about Oswald Brown but the larger public policy point is that an instrument with the influence of the Nassau Guardian must be fairly and equitably managed in the public interest and not become the captive of any one political party as it has. Patrick Walkes is the new General Manager of the company but it has not had a beneficial impact on the Guardian's product.
BOTH WHITES AND BLACKS GAINED UNDER THE PLP
It is clear that some Bahamian whites have an almost pathological hatred of the PLP. Norman Solomon, an otherwise intelligent man, was reported to have said upon winning the Cacique Tourism Award for his role as a businessman, that so long as the country continued to have a government like we have now, the country will continue to do well. This is interesting because Mr. Solomon gained all of his wealth under a PLP Government. Mr. Solomon, Billy Lowe of Lowe's Pharmacy, Rupert Roberts of Super Value, even the Kellys and the Symonettes made more money under the Pindling regime than any Black Bahamian ever could. A friend told a story of the irony, which one sometimes sees in the politics of The Bahamas. You go to a PLP meeting: people are poor, working class, they have to be bussed to the meeting or they walk. They thank God for the PLP and say how well things are for them despite their physical circumstances. You go to an FNM meeting. The businessmen are there. They are well to do in their BMWs, Lexuses and Mercedes Benzes. They have on the latest fashions, unlike the work clothes of PLP crowds. The people at that FNM meeting are saying how bad things are. This joke had some currency during the time of the PLP. It only demonstrated how the PLP really helped a middle class that came to despise the PLP. Majority rule lifted the yoke not only on Black Bahamians, but many poor whites who were despised by Stafford Sands were relieved that the PLP came to power.
C.A. SMITH AGAIN?
The reports are that the reason Hubert Ingraham is anxious to get rid of C.A. Smith is so he can get Geneva Rutherford, the now Senator, elected to the House of Assembly before he leaves office.
... The Deputy Prime Minister has announced that water rates are to go up in New Providence, and soon they may pass legislation to permit the operation and drilling of private wells by licence only. The problem is that the water table in New Providence is contaminated by sewerage. There is no island wide sewerage system. Cesspits are used.
...The Commissioner of Police has called for the total ban of all guns in the Bahamas. He believes that guns are wreaking havoc in the community. There has been one murder for each week of the new year. On Tuesday 19 January within two doors of the home of PLP Cynthia “Mother ” MP, a gunman robbed a local watering hole and killed a 67-year-old patron. The neighbourhood is terrified. The police do not seem to know what to do.
... It has been reported that consultants have told the Government that
973 jobs must go from BaTelCo before the company is privatized.
... Senator Fred Mitchell as opposition spokesman on foreign affairs met for one half hour on Tuesday 19 January with the new U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas Arthur Schecter. This followed the Ambassador's courtesy call on the Leader of the Opposition the week before.
LATE NEWS: The Court of Appeal
has declared that flogging is constitutional. The case
must be appealed to the Privy Council.
Note from the Publisher:
C. A. SMITH SAYS IT AINT SO - --- Standing in the public square,
just outside the House of Assembly was C.A. Smith, Minister of Tourism;
Idris Reid, Secretary to the Crime Commission; Michael C.E. Turner, Attorney-at-Law
and this columnist. We were all watching the anti crime rally on
Thursday 28 January. C.A. told us that it was a big fat lie that
he is going to London to serve as Her Majesty's High Commissioner for The
Bahamas. That would seem to suggest that it is indeed the Secretary
to the Cabinet Basil O'Brien who is on his way to London. What must
always be remembered, however, is that C.A. Smith won't be the first senior
FNM politician to have said I won't go, but their Prime Minister Hubert
Ingraham had other plans. Next thing you know they were gone. Remember
Maurice Moore who said he would go to New York over his dead body or Tiny
Turnquest who insisted he was not leaving Foreign Affairs.
Wendal Major is reportedly going to replace Basil O'Brien as Secretary
to the Cabinet.
January was a good month for the site. We have reached over 3500 hits for the month.
Thank you for your support.
THIS WEEK ON THE WEB: DOYLE FOX VS. TEXACO
The Bahamas Petroleum and Retailers Association (BPRA) Special Task
Force Chairman Ken Perigord has told the press that the Association intends
to demonstrate in Coral Cables to denounce what Texaco is doing to Doyle
Fox. Meanwhile, Trevor Edgehill, the Texaco Manager, sits tight
in The Bahamas threatening to dump Mr. Fox. He is reportedly offended at
the high level of personal insults being hurled his way. He reportedly
became so upset at a reporter's questions that he ordered the reporter
to leave his office.
BIGGETY TREVOR EDGEHILL OF TEXACO
Texaco is digging in its heels and is using all its commercial might to crush Doyle Fox. At last there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of Government support. It looks like Pierre Dupuch, the Minister, may be able to come through after all and do something to bring Trevor Edgehill to heel. Mr. Edgehill does not impress. He came outside to talk to the press in the most biggety manner. It is typical of the arrogant attitude, which he and Texaco have displayed throughout this entire dispute. Mr. Edgehill must remember that the last fellow who tried that biggety attitude ended up being put out the country. He is now languishing in one of the backwater places of a major oil company. A word to the wise is therefore sufficient. Keep going the way you are and you might find yourself out of here.
THE NASSAU GUARDIAN ATTACKS PETROLEUM DEALERS
The masters of the mealy-mouthed approach to editorials are the Nassau Guardian. They usually can't decide whether they are fish or foul on any issue, except that they will not offend their masters in the FNM Government. Yet, the Guardian now has the temerity to denounce the oil dealers for their valiant fight against the ogre that Texaco has become. The Guardian says that grown men ought to know what contracts they are signing, and should realize that two parties who sign a contract must learn to live by its terms. It is typical of them to reduce things like that to the simplemindedness of their editor. The fact is that there is such a thing in law as an unconscionable bargain. Further, there is also a thing called morality. Often a stronger party is able to get a weaker party to sign because the weaker party fears that he has no choice. That is why often legislatures intervene to equalize the bargain between the parties. It is done in labour law where the contract of employment is regulated in terms of the hours of work and vacation pay. In some countries there is rent control. The Bahamas has to decide whether or not they want the small businessman to survive in the form of a gas station dealer. It is in the public interest for that to be so. The legislature clearly has to intervene to help Doyle Fox in his valiant struggle to remain a Texaco dealer.
AN OLD STORY ABOUT TEXACO TACTICS
There seems little doubt that Texaco is attacking Doyle Fox because of his role as Chairman of the BPRA. It is designed to silence all Texaco dealers. There are a couple of things at work here. Texaco is using its clout in the advertising area to subtly influence the media to their perspective. Of late Doyle Fox has had a problem getting his message properly reported in the news. Then there is the suggestion that a senior Government official may have an interest in the dock and marina just behind Mr. Fox's station on East Bay Street, and is in cahoots with Texaco to kick Mr. Fox out, so that the official and his partners can run the gas station. But the story that sticks out is how a former Texaco manager when he was in a dispute with Peter Roker, another dealer, tried to call this columnist aside and influence him to turn against his client. This columnist's firm then represented Mr. Roker. So Trevor Edgehill and Texaco's tactics should not be surprising. You can expect anything from them. There is little that they would not do to have their way. Mr. Edgehill is reportedly upset at the personal attacks on him. If he thinks that the personal attacks are intense now, wait until things really get to be things. He has not seen personal yet.
ANGLICAN CHURCH BUILDING PLANS
The Anglican Church is reportedly set to put up a 13 million-dollar complex on the land, which once occupied the official residence of the Bishop. Addington House on Shirley Street in Nassau, once the official residence of the Bishop, is to be repaired. The Anglican Church has been struggling with finances for almost two decades, and can never seem to dig itself out from under. There has been one bad financial decision after the next. Now that the plans are going ahead, some are suggesting that the construction of the complex comes at the end of a boom of construction, and they will not be able to let the space in the building. Who knows maybe Higgs and Johnson, the law firm, might be
looking for a building.
SUN INTERNATIONAL APPOINTS A BAHAMIAN
Desperate for some good news about themselves and some positive public relations with the Bahamian community, Sun has announced that Russell Miller is now the General Manager of the Ocean Club. Of course they could not have picked a better man. Mr. Miller is the talented son of an another talented man Albert Miller, Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority and former Deputy Commissioner of Police. There is no question about his ability, and the Ocean Club will benefit from his talents. We wish him well. Sun must do more, and Sun must not do what it usually does when it appoints a Bahamian into an apparent position of authority. It gives you the title, but then appoints one of its South African fellows to actually carry the authority and responsibility. Let's hope this is a genuine effort on Sun's part to reform their behavior.
SEAN COX DIES BY SELF-IMMOLATION
We extend heartfelt condolences to Sonia Cox Hamilton and Cliff Hamilton on the death of Sean Clarke Cox. Mr. Cox, who had been dismissed, following his arrest over missing chips at the Crystal Palace Casino was suffering from a severe depression. He was able to speak to his mother shortly before he died. While the Coroner still has the matter open, Mr. Cox is believed to have died when he was burned to death. Mr. Cox was 33 years old. There was a large funeral for the popular young man at St. Francis Roman Catholic Cathedral in Nassau on Saturday 30 January.
WHAT IS HAPPENING AT HIGGS AND JOHNSON
The rumours are all about the place about another bust up coming at the prestigious law firm in Nassau. It is denied by sources close to the firm. The bust, if it comes, is not said to be threatening to the existence or viability of the firm. Two years ago, Reginald Lobosky, one of the senior partners at the firm, left after an argument over the expansion and management of the firm. Mr. Lobosky now has a flourishing practice with his wife. It is reported that he may still own land in common with others of his old partners, which the firm may need for expansion. Geoffrey Johnstone, the senior partner has retired. Philip Dunkley is the new Senior Partner. The building in which the firm now sits, is owned by Peter Higgs. It is said that Higgs wants to leave law, and may want his building back. Stay tuned.
DID LAMBERT RAHMING LOSE THE APPLE CONTRACT?
It appears that the Apple Vacations people have given the contract for moving their people in The Bahamas to another Transport Company. This is regrettable since Lambert Rahming invested heavily and cut his profits to the bone in order to make the contract work. Mr. Rahming is a former awardee of the Chamber of Commerce for Entrepreneur of the Year. He also owns Convenient City Transport, the jitney company, and an Esso Service Station. Sources close to Mr. Rahming say he is deeply disappointed by Apple's maneuvers.
THE STORY OF VICTOR KOZENY
Out in Lyford Cay, the ghetto for the rich, on the western end of New Providence, lives Victor Kozeny, some times. He is a wealthy man, made a fortune off equities in Eastern Europe, and has one of the worst reputations as an investor in The Bahamas. His development of a Cay in the Exuma National Park horrified the Bahamas National Trust and caused the Prime Minister to personally visit the Cay and tell Kozeny to get his house in order. Kozeny may be the man and the money behind the devastating defeat of the Opposition in Grenada, which alleged corruption in the Grenadian Government. It would be interesting to know how much money he gave the FNM in the last election. He apparently has little respect for Bahamians or the Government of The Bahamas. He also has a terrible reputation amongst his staff. They believe that he does not care about their interests. It is time for an investigation into Mr. Kozeny's activities in The Bahamas. No one should be above the law or rules of societal behavior in The Bahamas. At 39 years old, most people see him as a spoiled brat who will spend any amount of money to get his way. The PLP ought to be wary of him.
TROUBLE AT THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND
The staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is concerned about the policies of the Department of Agriculture. There appears to be a war going on at two levels: between the Prime Minister and his favorites in the Department and the Minister and his favourites in the Department. The result is that agricultural policy is suffering. Under the FNM, food production in The Bahamas has plummeted, and the number of farmers has steeply declined. Under the PLP, agriculture was heavily subsidized because its was rationalized that the Family Island communities needed to protect family farmers as a social good to the community. Once the FNM came in they cut the subsidies, and the result has been the death of farming, and the death of communities. The FNM Minister now in charge is Earl Deveaux. Although a trained farmer himself, he can't seem to get his programme off the ground. The Prime Minister sent the Director of Agriculture there, most people believe to be the PM's eyes and ears in the Department. The Deputy Director is the Minister's favourite. The power is in the Deputy's hands. The Director and Deputy are at loggerheads on everything. The result is that the employees are left wondering what's happening. There are no promotions, employees are sitting around with nothing to do, and there appears to be a special liaison, which counts for a lot of progress on the part of one employee close to the Deputy Director. The entreaties of the staff do not seem to be working, and they have been desperately seeking the attention of the Opposition to the problem. Meanwhile, the pig production in The Bahamas is at the lowest it has ever been in the history of modern farming.
MAJORITY RULE HOLIDAY
The PLP has started a major petition drive to get 10 January to be a holiday. As usual the stupid Guardian was drawing red herrings, asking why the PLP did not create the holiday when it was in office. Could you just imagine the howls of protest from the then Opposition if that had happened? It's better that this crew, those who inherited the party of the slave masters instead of the party of the former slaves, should create the holiday.
THE ANTI-CRIME DEBATE
Hubert Ingraham thinks he is slick. Following upon the report of the Commission on Crime headed by Justice of Appeal Burton Hall, the Prime Minister scheduled a debate in the House of Assembly to debate the report. He came to the House with no new ideas. Perry Christie, Leader of the Opposition, saw the debate for the scam that it was. The Government had no ideas of its own but was waiting for the PLP to give it ideas about what to do then prorogue the house and come back with all the PLP's ideas and claim them as their own. The crime debate is a monumental waste of time.
SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RETIRES
The Government has foolishly allowed Joseph Strachan to retire from the Supreme Court bench instead of promoting him to the Court of Appeal or asking him to stay on. Meanwhile we have yet another foreign Judge, this time from Australia. There was Orville Turnquest the Governor General thanking the Judge John Brownie QC from Australia. Sir Orville says that the judge is here for three months to help alleviate the backlog of cases. Malcolm Adderley, the former head of the Bahamas Industrial Tribunal, has also been appointed an Acting Judge. We know what Mr. Adderley's record is on human rights. What about this Judge from Australia? Only Tiny Turnquest could say that we were fortunate to have him here. We have no idea who he is; what his background is. The business community and people generally ought to be concerned that this willy-nilly approach to the appointment of judge is not in the best interest of the Bahamian community.
The PLP must move fast to get some reform on the question of election spending. In Barbados, the Government of Owen Arthur has just won 26 seats and the Opposition 2. In Jamaica, the Opposition has only nine seats. In Grenada, the Opposition has no seats. In The Bahamas, the Opposition has five out of forty seats. In Antigua, where corruption in Government is believed to be endemic and widespread, and an election is to be held next month, and the Opposition is again threatened with a wipeout. In each of the cases there were a number of factors but The Bahamas and Grenada clearly point to money as the problem. The rich people are prepared to spend any amount to ensure that Ingraham stays in power in the Bahamas. Obviously, the back of this immorality must be broken. That must be priority one. The country of The Bahamas must be returned to its rightful owners, the people of The Bahamas.
ACKLINS AND CROOKED ISLAND FINALLY GET MAIL
The lousy FNM Government who promised to be all things to all men when they were elected in 1992 can't even get the mail boat service to work properly. The people of Acklins and Crooked Island haven't had regular service for food and essentials since last September when the operator refused to go because the Government owed him in excess of a quarter of a million dollars. The situation became critical this week, when it was reported in the press that Acklins and Crooked Island were dangerously low on food. The Government hurriedly caused a boat to go down. This is what the FNM promised, one supposes, when they boast about better better. As we say not better better but bitter bitter.
ANTHONY FERGUSON PURCHASES
Amongst the brightest and the best we have in the business of finance is Anthony Ferguson. He hails from Crooked Island, and heads International Portfolio Analytics. Now comes the news that he and some partners have bought Owen Bethel's Mutual fund from Montague Securities. Mr. Ferguson has had considerable success in equity investments. Let's hope that this increases confidence in his ability and gets this worthless government to give him some of their pension business. Mr. Ferguson is shown at right. On the left of the photograph is Owen Bethel.