Note from the Publisher
This piece is being written from Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera.  This is the site of the Pineapple Fest.  Pineapples grow plenty here in this part of Eleuthera.  The long drought affected the crop but there is still plenty of sweet, delicious pineapple available.

THIS IS ALSO AN opportunity to get in touch with PLPs in Eleuthera.  What is remarkable was that in 1997 despite a depressed local economy people voted for the FNM.  The economy has taken an even further dive in South Eleuthera.  The question is have the people been abandoned sufficiently by the FNM to cause the voters to return to the PLP.  Further, is the PLP sufficiently organized to take advantage of any shift in the voter's attitudes?
The PLP's organization is suffering on the ground, and needs some attention from the central party.

IT WAS GOOD to visit with Philip Bethel, former Minister and 25 year representative for the Governor's Harbour constituency; Oswald Ingraham, former PLP candidate in the 1997 general election; and Albert Sands, prominent businessman in Rock Sound.  It is time for the PLP to make a concerted effort to regain Eleuthera.

THIS WEEK ALSO CELEBRATED LABOUR DAY.  Labour Day was a holiday moved in Parliament by Sir Randol Fawkes. We have been celebrating it since 1962 on the first Friday in June.  The day was chosen to mark the anniversary of the 1942 Burma Road riots.  Bahamian workers rioted because of low pay and poor working conditions over two days in 1942.  British soldiers killed six people.  We salute those workers.

The news of the web site increases.  For the month of May which means up to midnight 31 May, we had 13,163 hits on the site.  For the month of June so far we have had 1,416 hits up to this morning.


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Stupidity must run like a disease in the brain of Hubert Ingraham.  Freeport is supposed to be FNM country.  The businessmen there support Mr. Ingraham and his party.  But what set the cat amongst the pigeons was a Government greedy for revenue after a spendthrift term.  Mr. Ingraham looking for a 20 per cent increase in revenue from Freeport announced in his usual bombastic fashion that effective immediately, the bonded car exemptions and open bonded warehouses would come to an end.  Everyone would have to pay duty on items that were bonded.  The first person this columnist thought about was Maurice Glinton, the Freeport Attorney-at-Law.  If the Government went through with that foolish plan, they would have hell to pay from Mr. Glinton.

FREEPORT HAS A special status under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.  Any change in the conditions of bonds had to be done with the agreement of four fifths of the licensees.  That is the law.  Some one forgot to tell Hubert Ingraham and his hapless Minister of Finance.  In Freeport if you are a licensee of the Port, you can obtain a car with a bonded license for use of your business.  You do not have to pay duty on that car.  If you are an importer, you are allowed to have an open warehouse.  That gives you the right to import goods for sale into the warehouse, hold it until they are sold.  The sale can either be a bonded sale if it is to another licensee and for use within the Freeport boundaries.  It can be a duty paid sale.  Many car dealers take advantage of those provisions.

WHEN THE CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT heard the Prime Minister's pronouncement, they immediately moved into action. They stopped processing applications for bonded licenses.  They notified all those who held bonded warehouses like car dealers that the duty became immediately payable.  Ingraham then heard about it politically.  He had to call a hurried press conference to eat humble pie, although not exactly.  He blamed the civil service: the Comptroller of Customs John Rolle.  He said that Mr. Rolle had misinterpreted what he had said.  Yeah right.  Of course this is par for the course to blame civil servants. Janet Bostwick and Orville Turnquest blamed Nathaniel Dean, the then Registrar of the Supreme Court, when they interfered with a Justice's ability to come into The Bahamas.  The Prime Minister blames Luther Smith and George Stewart, both of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the Government's problems with the Swiss government.  Now John Rolle is the fall guy for a stupid and ill thought out policy.

It used to be that when you became the Manger of the Royal Bank Main branch you had reached seventh heaven.  That was the top job that a banker could reach in the country, and it still has great psychic value today.  Of course, the bank has long since been reorganized and the position does not have the importance that it once did but in The Bahamas it is still considered very much the top of the heap.  Nevertheless, Al Jarret reached the pinnacle of his banking career first as the Manager for the Main branch in Bay Street and then as the regional manager for a number of the other branches of the bank.  Mr. Jarret is now heading to Finco where he once served as General Manager.  He is now to become the Managing Director of the Finco which is the largest mortgage company in The Bahamas.  Peter Thompson who has headed the company for the past decade has retired and is headed to being President of British American Bank.   Mr. Jarret is the natural choice for Finco.  Quincy Fisher who up to last week headed the Palmdale Branch of the bank is to succeed Mr. Jarret.  Mrs. Fisher is a classmate from St. Augustine's college in Fox Hill. Congratulations!

The last time that there was a story in this column about British American Bank, we had to eat humble pie.  The story was inaccurate.  This time the news is more positive. Peter Thompson from Finco is to head the Bank. It is said that the bank is suffering from low staff and customer morale.  That some order needs to be put in its mortgage business.  Well if there is any one who can do it, it is Peter Thompson.  Best wishes to him.

For the first time in eight years, the two umbrella unions made a decision to march as one, in one Labour Day parade.  Up to last year politicians had themselves quite a job to try to decide with whom to march on Labour Day.  Credit for the unity march can go to Obie Ferguson and Duke Hanna.  Mr. Ferguson is the President of the Trade Union Congress and Mr. Hanna is the President of the National Congress of Trade Unions.   While Mr. Hanna's umbrella union has more members and has tended to get more official sanction from the Government and international bodies, Mr. Ferguson's stature grew especially after the explosive demonstrations against the Government in March which he led.  The situation appears to be coming to a boiling point again.  Charles Rolle, who represents the workers at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, has called for a strike vote.  His membership is angry at the Government's refusal to solve a number of outstanding issues.

The Labour movement is concerned that Hubert Ingraham has superseded his Minister of Labour.  In fact, they believe that effectively there is no Minister of Labour since the Prime Minister appears to be settling every dispute and negotiating every contract.   Case in point is the announcement by the Prime Minister that five-year contracts are to be imposed on both BaTelCo and BEC like they have been with the Bahamas Union of Teachers and the Bahamas Public Services Union.  Charles Rolle, President of the BEC workers and Huedley Moss, who is President of the Water workers both, denied that any such contract had been negotiated.  They also added that five-year contracts are not acceptable to them.

Negotiations have been stuck in a rut at the Ministry of Labour following a strike in April of this year by the Union of Tertiary Educators.  This is the Union that represents the lecturers at the College of the Bahamas.   The College pays slave wages.  The Union has been seeking a 45 per cent increase in wages so those lecturers would begin over a period of time to take home sensible, liveable wages.  The College has so far countered with ten per cent, take it or leave it.  It is curious how the Government wants to have its cake and eat it too on COB.  On the one hand they tell us that COB is autonomous and makes its own decisions.  However, the negotiators keep saying: " Well you know we can't decide that because the Government has to tell us what to do."  Things that make you go "Hmm".

Because of the Labour unrest at BEC, we can expect more black outs than ever in New Providence over the early summer. The Prime Minister must resile from his intransigent position and allow the Corporation to negotiate a sensible agreement with Charles Rolle and the workers of BEC.  The Prime Minister is of course intent on privatizing BEC.  Only this time he intends to do it by stealth.  He has in the back of his mind announcing the out-sourcing of various BEC departments without telling the public what he is doing.  One by one bits of BEC will disappear.  This is to avoid any confrontation with the BEC union in the way he was embarrassed and frightened by the BaTelCo union.

An interesting study was provided to this columnist by Jerry Hutchinson.  Mr. Hutchinson late of Imperial Life and now a security consultant is interested in the issue of downsizing as a security issue.  The study reveals that contrary to all the glowing reports about downsizing, the company suffers, as a result of it, the workers who are left are uncertain about their futures.  It adversely affects the families of those who leave who are more often than not mature workers forced to take lower paying and menial jobs.  It also affects those who are left on the job; they are demotivated and uncertain about their futures.  Of course who it helps but only in the short term are the business owners.  Their stock soars, and they make more profits - all at the expense of the workers.  The benefits are not so clear after reading this study.  We know how it has affected the people at the Nassau Guardian for example.  The Guardian wants every one there to be one big happy family after dismissing 30 members of its work force.  Similarly BaTelCo is suffering because of the downsizing.  The acts of the Government in that regard have been particularly cruel.


As you drive down Eleuthera's 110 miles, you pass through the settlements from the Bogue in the north to Deep Creek in the South.  As you pass through each settlement, you will see office after office of BaTelCo shuttered and closed.  The settlements are without BaTelCo service for the first time since the UBP was in power in 1967.  The PLP's view was that BaTelCo was to bring services to the people.  The people viewed the arrival of BaTelCo's services as a sign of progress.  Now progress is gone because the offices without consultation with the citizens of the settlements are closed. The FNM wants now to claim this as progress.  One guesses that progress must now depend on who is looking at it.  But certainly, the PLP believed that the improvement of communities meant bringing to each settlement the services which other settlements had or Nassau had, except on a smaller scale.  The FNM says no to that, and are taking away services and trying to call it progress.  Sixty people in Eleuthera have been put out of work from BaTelCo.  BEC is next on the chopping block.  Clearly, no one bothered to think about the social impact of this on the people of these various neighbourhoods.  It was all a matter of dollars and cents.  We shall see who benefits in the long run.


The Minister of Finance announced that the Government will pay all civil servants a one-time lump sum payment of $1200.  This is a continuation of the policy of the FNM Government to bribe public servants for their votes.  In 1997 on the eve of the election Mr. Ingraham paid the police $1500 as a lump sum.  Then he got up on a platform and said to the police when you vote tomorrow" "Remember the money! Remember the money!"

Consternation in PLP circles over the published remarks of Owen Bethel, head of Montaque Securities, about the death of Bahamianization.  We spoke at length.  He says that Bahamianization is still a relevant policy, but that it must mean more than just protecting jobs for Bahamians who want to work for some one else.  It must mean that we ought to become owners of this economy.  Agreed! What is tragic, he points, out is that with the privatization of BaTelCo by the consultants Stone and Webster, no Bahamians were involved as understudies to see how the process went so that if it is to happen again a Bahamian would have some expertise.  Of course, Anthony Ferguson and Kenwood Kerr would agree with him.  They run their own financial services business.  Last year, they were pretty peeved at the fact that no Bahamian company was asked to bid on the right to advise the Government on the privatization of BaTelCo.  Of course the Government is anti-Bahamian.  It did not even have in its plans to offer the shares to a group of Bahamian entrepreneurs to buy the strategic share that they plan to give away at fire sale prices to a foreign strategic partner.  Still no word yet on why they are compelled to give BaTelCo away to foreigners.

Senior Magistrate Sharon Wilson, who is also the wife of the businessman and former Parliamentarian Franklyn Wilson, has reportedly told the Chief Justice no thanks to a job which was offered in one form by the Chief Justice then arbitrarily changed to another form.  Magistrate Wilson was reportedly offered the job as Registrar of the Court of Appeal.  The President of the Court of Appeal, a Guyanese-born man named Sabola, decided that he did not want Kelphine Cunningham as the Registrar any more.  The Government accommodated him by offering Mrs. Cunningham a place as one of the Vice-Presidents of the Industrial Tribunal. She has now taken that job.  Mrs. Wilson was reportedly all set to go when she heard the loud-mouthed Prime Minister announce on radio that the job of Registrar of the Court of Appeal had been abolished and a new position called Deputy Registrar was being created.  That person would report to the new Registrar of the Supreme Court.  Mrs. Wilson has reportedly said thanks but no thanks.   From the floor of the House, the Prime Minister blamed the Chief Justice as usual.  The Chief was reportedly furious about that and made it clear that she had nothing to do with it.

The Australian judge that was attacked in this column for his lack of a judicial temperament is about to leave.  4 June is supposed to have been the departure date.  Yet there are some who are clamouring for him to stay.  It is interesting how Bahamian practitioners are.  At first they were all up in arms calling the office of this columnist to complain about the new Judge.  Now there are some who are positively in a swoon.  The wily Judge had his own public relations programme going.  First he convinced The Tribune to dub him Hurricane Howard.  You then had columnists like Niki Kelly saying what a great job he was doing.  Rodney Moncur, the political activist followed suit.  The Attorney General called this columnist to find out why he was opposing Justice Nathan.  He claimed that he has one million and a half-dollars to continue this programme of rent a judge for at least another year.   Andrew Allen, the son of Bill Allen, the hapless Minister of Finance, joined the chorus in his column by suggesting that Nathan was a good thing and that those who were upset some how did not like efficiency.   As usual this columnist now finds himself in a minority position. Bahamians will not look at the facts.  The fact remains that Nathan has been an unmitigated disaster for the system.  What has happened is that the system itself has not improved. So what if a few old cases have been disposed of?  What about the destruction of law and precedent in its path?  Nathan runs back to Australia after teaching the natives here a thing or two but we are left with the Court of Appeal to sort out whether or not he is right in law.  Bahamians it seems to this columnist are far too gullible and impressionable.  Our system is still broke.  It seems to this columnist that the other judges ought to wonder whether or not they do not have egg on their faces.  By all this praise for the rent a judge, they have been in fact, told by the public that their services are not up to scratch.  By the way, the Australian judge Justice Brownie who came here before Nathan has said in a report to the Government that there are too many judges anyway.  We need, they say to reduce, down to seven from the 11 which we now have room for. Our problem they say is that the judges are not efficient enough.  As for Mister Justice Nathan, he made a name for himself with the LUNCH BUNCH.  He showed up at Archdeacon William Thompson's lunch and engaged in a tete-a-tete with the Archdeacon on scripture and ancient Greek.  Mr. Justice Nathan is Jewish and reportedly gave as good as he got.  The LUNCH BUNCH loves a good argument.

Peter Young's term as High Commissioner is coming to an end on 30 June. He is headed back to England to be debriefed.  He retires after that.

The news is that Wendall Jones now has a printing press for his daily run of the evening Bahama Journal.

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Brent Dean writes in answer to the comment on taxes imposed by the Government last week:
" The recent budget seems to illustrate again the lack of ideas... They have apparently found the way to offset a resurgent economy.  The P.M. and the 'Dr. Kevorkian of finance' have turned their back on the same middle class that put them where they are today.  But why? Could they possibly believe these new taxes to be beneficial?  This budget serves to place a serious barrier in front of what was an emerging Black middle class, and this barrier is not all in the form of taxes, but in the message that they send.  Instead of being offered a way up, we are being kept where we are.  Economic misadventures have ruined many economies.  These changes will not ruin us, but they surely are not the solution for the ambitious plans the government seems to have in mind."



Note from the Publisher
ONE OF THE MOST boring exercises in life as a reporter is covering the annual budget debates of the Parliament.  Every Member of Parliament is impressed with his or her own prose.  Some times as a reporter, this columnist would end up in the House of Assembly until 5 a.m. waiting for the annual budget to be passed.  Hubert Ingraham's Government has not improved the situation.  In civilized countries, countries with far larger budgets, the Chancellor's address is maybe fifteen minutes.  The sides all agree on a limited number of speakers and then it is over.  In Nassau, we have had a week of debates each night going until 10 p.m.  It's still not finished yet.  The Prime Minister will speak on Monday 14 June.  One member spoke for five hours and twenty minutes.  That is ridiculous.  Save us from our FNM Members of Parliament.

GILBERT AND KATHY KEMP OF Eleuthera Island Shores were the gracious hosts of the visit to Eleuthera last week.  The purpose of the trip was to meet with disgruntled residents of Eleuthera Island Shores Subdivision.  Mr. Kemp was elected unopposed to the Town Council of Hatchet Bay of which Eleuthera Island shores is a part.  Let us hope that Tommy Turnquest who was busy boasting about what his Ministry is going to do over the next fiscal year, gets those roads fixed.  His Ministry keeps telling the residents that the Government doesn't have the power to fix the roads.  Hogwash!

THIS WEEK, we comment on the poor performance of Earl Deveaux the Minister of Agriculture, and review the budget statements of various FNM Members of Parliament.

BY THE WAY IN Eleuthera, things are reversed.  You say down north and up south for directions, as in if you are in Hatchet Bay, you say I am going down to Gregory Town.  Says Jimmy Isaacs, public servant and protocol officer for the Government on the island, this is because in the old days you had to travel by boat to get from settlement to settlement.  That meant that to go north you had to go down wind in a sailboat and up wind to travel south.  Thus down north and up south survive to this day even though we can travel by road up north and down south.


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All around the House of Assembly was buzzing during the boring budget debate about Algernon Allen, aka, Bulgie, declaring for Prime Minister.  His campaign is in full swing.  We reported earlier that Frank Watson, the Deputy Prime Minister who will be 62 when the election takes place in 2002 has agreed with the now Prime Minister to throw his hat in the ring. Mr. Watson has reportedly been saying to his colleagues that he only wants one term.  Mr. Allen has been using Mr. Watson's age as a factor.  In addition, he has bumped up his already high profile.  What he has reportedly been saying privately is that because Perry Christie is such a good orator and an attractive personality that the FNM will need an equally flamboyant personality to match Perry Christie in the next election.  The strategy then is to bump up Mr. Christie even further in the eyes of FNM MPs so that Mr. Allen will seem the natural choice.  Unfortunately for them it does not matter who they choose, all will go down in the flames of defeat and not a moment too soon.

Most people believe that the Ministers of The Bahamas Government are living in a fairy tale world.  They believe their own propaganda that things are going well in this country.  You hear them making these grand public statements about unemployment figures being down.  But they are not around when people are having their houses repossessed because they can't pay their bills, and friends of mine are having their cars repossessed simply because they can't make ends meet.  They forget to tell us that youth unemployment is at 24 per cent.  That means that there are a lot of young people out of work. They forget the level of job dissatisfaction in the land.  The FNM had better enjoy the good life while they can.  But they ought to remember that life is not good for everyone.


The decision of The Bahamas Government to raise the taxes of Commonwealth Brewery has put some 500, direct and indirect jobs at risk.  The shareholders of the Brewery led by the Heineken management team from Amsterdam and Garret Tiger Finlayson, Bahamian Brewery shareholder, met with the Minister of Finance on an emergency basis the day after the annual budget statement.  They laid it on the line plainly and simply.  If the tax goes up the proposed four dollars per gallon, the brewery will have to close.  The Minister promised to get back to them the next day.  The latest information is that the brewery's principal shareholder Garret Finlayson met one on one with the Prime Minister and that there may be some new developments on the issue by Monday 14 June. The cynical amongst us would say that Mr. Finlayson was just given an O.B.E. from Her Majesty the Queen in this year's birthday honours on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.  It is as if the Prime Minister was seeking to buy Mr. Finlayson's silence on the tax issue by the honour from the Queen.

It seems clear that the Prime Minister and his colleagues need a lesson in how to develop public policy.  You do not impose taxes without some consultation with the industries that will be taxed to find out how the industry can absorb the tax.  Sol Kerzner who has been having his way so much in The Bahamas was in a state of shock after the taxes on Kalik beer were increased a whopping 130 per cent.  He was further incensed by the fact that the tax on hotel rooms is going up another two per cent to a total of six per cent.  He went to see Mr. Ingraham and told the PM that the industry was just trying to get off the ground and that this would cause cost increases at a time when they needed to hold the line.  Joining him in this effort is Phil Ruffin, the owner of the Marriott Hotel at Cable Beach.  Mr. Ruffin says that he does not want to pay the tax, and he certainly does not want to pass the cost on to his customers.  His view is that in order to deal with it, he will have to cut the subsidy to the promotion boards.  The All Inclusives are concerned as well. Breezes and Sandal do their pricing in advance.  They include the taxes.  Now they are being asked to cut into their profits in order to pay a Government tax in the middle of the market year.  This Government knows just how to shoot itself in the foot.

The Caribbean Bottling Company, bottlers of Coca Cola in The Bahamas,  and Pepsi Cola Bahamas Limited must be singing the blues this week.  The Government announced that amongst the new taxes they were imposing is a tax on empty bottles and cans for the production of soft drinks in The Bahamas.  This is threatening the very survival of the soft drink industry in The Bahamas.  Coke had reportedly been experiencing some cash flow problems as a result of buying out the debt off Bacardi who after selling out their interest to present owners was trying to rule the company by manipulating the debt that the company still owed them.  That is reportedly why Coke has been in short supply in some areas in The Bahamas.  Now the new tax threatens them further. It will add another $700,000 to their costs which they can not afford.  Pepsi has also made representations.  One suggestion is that there be a one hundred per cent tariff on imported sodas which continue to encroach on the local market producers.  The Government is to give a reply next week.

Bradley Roberts, the PLP's fiery MP for Grants Town brought the proceedings to a halt in the House of Assembly as he launched a full scale attack on Algernon Allen, the Minister of Housing and Social Services.  Mr. Allen, who is known in PLP circles as the Minister of Idle Poetry, has been misrepresenting what he is doing in the area of housing in The Bahamas. Under the FNM there continues to be a deficit in the building of houses annually to keep up with demand.  Mr. Allen has tried to cover up a do nothing job with high profile public relations.  Mr. Roberts wanted to know why the Minister's Ministry borrowed some one million dollars from the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation and who gave the Ministry the authority to do so.  Mr. Roberts was concerned about the number of parties, social functions and press conferences of the Minister without any apparent progress in the area of housing or social services.  Not to be outdone, the Minister was reported by The Tribune of Saturday 12 June to be close to tears after receiving the report on the disabled in the country.  What a ham!

A mass rally was held by three public sector Unions to protest the five year contract proposals which the Government is seeking to impose on the Electrical Workers Union and the Water and Sewerage Workers and those at National Insurance.  Huedley Moss (Water), Charles Rolle (Electricity) and Francis Moss (National Insurance) all spoke and said they would not sign five-year deals.  Shane Gibson from BaTelCo was also there and said that his Union won't either.  Both the water workers and the electricity workers are on a work to rule.  Nassau has been experiencing frequent blackouts and it takes nearly a week to receive regular services that BEC would ordinarily take to do in one day. The BEC UNION burned the proposals to BEC along with photos of the Prime Minister. Tribune photo


This columnist, the PLP's spokesman on Labour, attended the rally of the public sector Unions on Wednesday 9 June.  He was asked to speak for two minutes.  He pointed out that Hubert Ingraham said when he came to office that he would not sign agreements to bind future Governments; that his agreements would be within his term.  This columnist asked the question why with these five-year union agreements the Prime Minister was proposing to bind the future Government of the PLP in 2002.


A lot of mischievous commentary was afoot as the former Prime Minister Lynden Pindling attended the annual Labour Day march.  Some were suggesting that he was planning a comeback. Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie was there on the march.  That is why Jimmy Carter when he lost the Presidency and George Bush after he lost the presidency stayed out of sight, to avoid overshadowing his predecessor.  One has to do what is necessary to win.

Those watching Hubert Ingraham and how he dresses are starting to grudgingly admit that may be he has finally learned how to dress as Prime Minister, although he still does not know how to behave in public.  Dark suits at night and lighter suits for the daytime or morning.  Conservative ties befitting some one who holds a high office.  Perhaps he has been taking lessons from the Governor General who must have been insulted when the Prime Minister showed up to an evening reception at Government House independence 1997 in a brown suit.  Maybe he now shops at Saks Fifth Avenue where he claimed he did not shop when he was trying to disassociate himself from his good friend Everett Bannister now deceased.

You have only to travel through the farm belt of Eleuthera to realize what a failure Earl Deveaux has been as Minister of Agriculture. There are complaints wherever you go.  This year the pineapple fest in Eleuthera was shorn of the number of pineapples it needed because of a five-month drought in Eleuthera which just broke at the end of May.  The Ministry was late in realizing that the drought was a problem.  The assistance which was offered was too little and too late.  Down in the south Kathleen Culmer, operator of the famous Sammy's Restaurant, is one of the  most prolific and successful pepper farmers.  She says that she is limited to ten pounds of pepper per week at the packing house.  The Ministry has also limited her to a total of $9,000 of purchases per year by the packing house.  Most people will admit that there were problems with the PLP's approach to agriculture in that there were excessive purchases from a few farmers.  But surely the response can not be to limit the purchases to  nine thousand dollars.  That has had the affect of shutting down agriculture in North Andros and in Eleuthera.  The PLP subsidized agriculture in the islands to keep the small communities there alive.  The FNM has decided to abandon the family islands.  Now the average age of a farmer is older than ever.  The question is in a few years, after the FNM  is dislodged from office, will The Bahamas have a farming sector at all?  The PLP is opposed to this murder of the farming community of The Bahamas.

Just for the fun of it, this columnist shopped at the Oakes Field branch of City Markets in New Providence.  Normally, he shops at  Harbour Bay in the east.  The two are as different as night and day.  The Oakes Field shop is dirty and does not have the same variety and freshness of produce.  Clearly, the people in the eastern shop who come from a different socio-economic background are better treated as customers than the market in Oakes Field.  Things that make you say hmmm!

This columnist held a press conference with the people of Fox Hill on Thursday 10 June.  The conference was held to protest the closure of the BaTelCo office in Fox Hill.  The office was closed as part of the downsizing of BaTelCo.  The PLP put the office there to help provide a service for the community.  The FNM is now removing the service and trying to call that progress.  Fox Hill has also been without full post office service for almost six months.  The FNM representative for the area has been silent on the issue.  She spoke in the House of Assembly in a tiresome and hopeless address in which she defended the use of a bar as a community centre for young children in Fox Hill.  Clearly that representative Juanianne Dorsette is out to lunch and out of step with her own community.
           George Mackey  Frank Edgecombe   Carlton Francis   Lionel Davis    A.D. Hanna
The Fox Hill branch of the PLP will honour its former representatives at a banquet to be held on Friday 2 July at the Sheraton Grand Hotel.  Some 11 other stalwarts are to be honoured by the branch including Jason Ferguson, Branch Chairman, from 1997 to 1999. The former representatives to be honoured are George Mackey, Frank Edgecombe, the late Carlton Francis, the late Samuel Isaacs, the late Lionel Davis, the Hon. A. D. Hanna.
Tickets are fifty dollars.

ELLIOT LOCKHART  during the Budget Debate said that he no longer believes that there ought to be an all-Bahamian Judiciary. He says that the Australian Judges who came here showed the Bahamian judges how to do their work.  Wrong again Mr. Lockhart.  The Judiciary should be fully Bahamianized, not because of competence, but because this is The Bahamas, plain and simple.  We know of a representative in Britain who would love to come to The Bahamas to be representative for Exuma, maybe we should give him a work permit to do that. The constitution does not permit it.  We advocate the same on Judges.  FURTHER, MR. LOCKHART OUGHT TO DECLARE HIS INTEREST.  IT IS A FACT THAT MR. JUSTICE NATHAN, THE AUSTRALIAN JUDGE WHO CREATED THE DISASTER IN THE LAW IN THE BAHAMAS, GRANTED MR. LOCKHART HIS DIVORCE WHICH HE HAS BEEN SEEKING FOR NEARLY A DECADE.  Could that be why Bahamian judges are suddenly no good? BY the way Mr. Lockhart's wife is reportedly appealing the decision.

Mr. Tommy Turnquest is the now Prime Minister's favourite candidate as Prime Minister in waiting.  In an interesting address, Mr. Turnquest came up with an ad hominem aphorism which he (or his speech writer) had obviously spent a lot of time crafting - something about the Government providing enough for those who have too little.  He read his address like an Anglican priest who had taken his text from Second Corinthians.  He announced road after road after road.  He also announced that the Montagu Ramp is going to be improved.  But Mr. Turnquest has to answer how his Government shamefully allowed a six million dollar plot of land on which the Montagu Hotel once sat to get out of the Government's hands.  The Government should have acquired this land when it was vacant to be used to develop the park around Montagu and ease the strain on the present park.  Mr. Turnquest noted that the people of Kemp Road use the park and beach.  Perhaps that is why the Government pays no attention to it.  You know how the FNM feels about poor people.

Tennyson Wells is still patting himself on the back for bringing in the two Australian judges. Now that he has Elliott Lockhart's blessing, one supposes, he must be in seventh heaven.  The fact is, though, the backlog about which we have all been speaking has not ended.  The Australian judges have caused nothing but problems for the system, insulting Bahamian judges and leaving a new backlog for the Court of Appeal. Today if you want to get a trial, you can not get a date before Christmas of this year.

The Prime Minister called a town meeting for Freeport for Friday 11 June.  He announced that Lloyd Werft Shipping of Bremerhaven have been given the go ahead to establish a shipping conversion operation in Freeport.  The rumours are fast and furious that some 5000 work permit holders will be needed.  The PM would only say that there will be a lot of foreign people involved.  The official word is that ultimately there will be 475 jobs. Insiders say in the meantime 120 work permits will be required and 140 Bahamians will be hired along with those 120 work permit holders. One source says that a thousand work permits have already been issued. This has been denied and instead, officials at the Port are said to be concerned about the shortage of accomodations in Freeport to meet the demand for workers needing housing once they move to Freeport. The Port says it is willing to offer good land deals to investors who wish to construct housing suitable for these workers. The Government should know that if the rumours prove to be true about work permit holders, they are in for big trouble.

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Note from the Publisher
Today Robby Dillette, son of Al who constructs and edits this site, is to be confirmed.  It is another rite of passage.  His older brother is the godson of this columnist.  Confirmation is an exciting time, and all best wishes to him.

JOHNNY COCHRAN (pcitured in this Guardian photo) the noted U.S. attorney is in town for a few days as the guest of Rudy King.  Mr. King held a sparkling party at his residence for Mr. Cochran and his wife on Friday 18 June.  This columnist attended and had a brief chat with Mr. Cochran about the death penalty.  Also there were Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie and Mrs. Christie, the Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson, Fox Hill businessman Derek Davis and Mrs. Davis, former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling and Lady Pindling. Must say that Lady Pindling is still a beautiful lady.
     Hon. Perry G. Christie
Leader of the Opposition
The endless budget debate is over, with the Prime Minister having spoken for hours and endless hours, most of it partisan claptrap.  He launched a vicious attack on the Leader of the Opposition.  But that should be and was no problem for Christie.  There is no match intellectually between the two.  The Prime Minister has a problem: people are more hostile to him in Freeport, in Abaco he is becoming more and more unpopular.  He has taken to hiding out from the crowds as he nears the end of an unhappy Prime Ministership. The experience of the BaTelCo crowd throwing peanut shells on him in March, shocked him and frightened him.
The weather in The Bahamas is as hot as ever but drop-dead gorgeous outside.  However, we continue to be concerned about our environment.  The roads in New Providence are in terrible shape.  The beaches are being stripped away of trees.  The Prime Minister says that the only thing holding him back from approving the Clifton Cay project on western New Providence are legal complications over ownership which have to be resolved by the Courts.

There was a capacity crowd for the lecture on the findings at Clifton Cay.  It is clear that this is a rare historical site.  The Bahamas has to take steps to stop the project.  The PLP may announce shortly to the developers that if they persist, the PLP as a matter of policy may reverse the decisions of the Government.  This will be an unusual step but the arrogance of the Prime Minister must be answered with strong measures.

The Senate met this week after a three-month break.
Senator Roston Miller (FNM) told a sober chamber that he thought that his Government had made a mistake in making the Cabinet too large. Including Parliamentary Secretaries, there are 27 members of the Cabinet.  He also apologized for opposing independence. He said Independence turned out to be a good thing for the country.

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Where was the hapless Minister of Finance Bill Allen when the Prime Minister was giving his bombastic statements about how he is going to justify the 130 per cent tax increase on the beer produced locally by Commonwealth Brewery?  This will amount to a whopping 16 million more that the brewery will have to pay The Bahamas government per year.  The brewery has said that they will have to shut down if the tax is not reversed.

THE PRIME MINISTER was not clear what the Government intends to do.  What we know is that the Government promised the Heineken people that they would look at the figures and get back to them.  So far they have not had an answer.  The Prime Minister promised in the House to review the matter to see presumably if a roll back can take place.

THE POINT HAS BEEN made here before.  The whole country is up in arms over the taxation measures that the Government has put in place.  What apparently motivates the Prime Minister is that he wants to be able to say that he will balance the recurrent budget by the year 2001.  So he has to raise all sorts of new taxes.

ATTORNEY GENERAL TENNYSON WELLS told the House of Assembly that Fred Smith had taken the Government to Court over stopping the tax exemption on bonded cars in Freeport.  The whole episode has left the people in Freeport in a bitter mood.  It is expected to reflect on the outcome of the Local Government elections in Freeport on 30 June.

THE PRIME MINISTER seemed incredulous about the fact that the cost of producing beer in the United Sates and Europe is higher here in The Bahamas.  It is a well-known thing called economies of scale, which apparently our Prime Minister is too thick to understand.  Of course if Pepsi and Coke, who he also attacked, make millions of sodas compared to the thousands they make here, the costs per unit will be cheaper in the US where the millions are made. The Prime Minister then said that it is because of the high costs of Pepsi, Coke and the locally brewed beer that the Government of The Bahamas is using its tax policy to force the price of beer and soda lower.  It is cheap trick to get the working man on his side.

OF COURSE THIS POLICY TURNS EVERY ECONOMIC RULE on its head.  The fact is that the tax is simply going to raise the price of those commodities.  In the case of Coke, bottled by Caribbean Bottling, it may drive them out of business.

One wonders whether or not, the increased taxes on Coke and the increased tax on Garret Tiger Finlayson's brewery are not coming because these people are PLPs. Both Mr. Finlayson and Mrs. Judy Munroe of Caribbean Bottling are well known PLPs.  The Prime Minister seems to have a problem with black people making money.   He has taken every opportunity to deny any Black Bahamian, any Bahamian for that matter, a chance to get on to his own feet through the FNM's policies of granting concessions to foreigners but denying them to Bahamians.  It is an absolute disgrace.  We keep saying that he is going to be dragging slippers around here one day.

This columnist helped to design the Kalik product and worked as a public relations and marketing consultant for the brewery when it first came here in 1984 up to about 1987. The brewery was established here because Heineken wanted for marketing reasons to prevent any other giant beer company from starting here in The Bahamas which was then the last major Caribbean territory without a brewery.  It had to make economic sense, however, and they asked the Government for taxation concessions, not unlike what Mr. Ingraham has given to Sun International. This would allow the brewery a chance to make a go of it.  The two chief concessions were that first there would be an exclusive license for 15 years, that license expires later this year, and the brewery had no plans to ask for its renewal.   The second part was that there would be a tariff protection so that there would always be a differential of four dollars between the tax on imported beer and the excise tax on locally produced beer.  This would give the locally produced beer a price advantage.

Heineken made it clear to the Government that the then three hundred thousand cases of Heineken beer annually that were consumed in The Bahamas could be made in three days on a production line in Amsterdam, shipped to The Bahamas, pay the duty and still be cheaper than producing the beer locally in The Bahamas.  So the Government of The Bahamas had to make a decision.  It was a public policy decision.  Did you want to encourage a manufacturing sector?  Did you want the prestige of the Heineken investment?  Did you want to develop locally experts in that sector?  What would be the trade-offs?  The fact that local investors also stood to gain was also weighed in the balance.  The PLP decided to go ahead.  Now the Ingraham government has decided to scrap all of that apparently.  It has been pointed out that directly and indirectly the brewery provides work for some 500 people.

OF COURSE, YOU CAN'T trust the Heineken people either.  They are total political animals and you can't put it past them to try and make a deal on the side with Government to get rid of Bradley Roberts (pictured) and Mr. Finlayson.

There was another round of protest at Paradise Island last week as T. C. Symonette, the leader of the Public Service Drivers Union, led his members in protesting the conditions at Sun International.  This columnist defended the union leaders Huedley Moss and Charles Rolle, heads of the Water and Sewerage workers and the Electrical Workers respectively from a vicious attack by the Prime Minister.  It was pointed out that the Deputy Prime Minister said that Huedley Moss disrespected the Office of Prime Minister by attacking the PM, but that respect is due to one who gives respect.  The Prime Minister has disgraced, disrespected and dishonoured the Office of Prime Minister.  The quicker he is gone the better.
No word from the silent Minister of Labour.

The Senate of The Bahamas met on Wednesday 16 June for half a day to consider two brief bills.  One was to allow for a Deputy Registrar of the Court of Appeal.  The Opposition did not support this measure because the post was abolished by the Government to prevent Sheryl Wilson, the wife of PLP candidate Franklyn Wilson, from taking the job.  The Opposition supported the other measure to expand the number of Vice Presidents of the Industrial Tribunal, even though it was being done to find a job for Kelphine Cunningham who the Government had allowed to be pushed out from the Court of Appeal as Registrar because the President of the Court of Appeal did not like her comments about non-Bahamians on the Judiciary.  The Industrial Tribunal needs desperately to get going.  The President is Harrison Lockhart but the other judges need to get to work.  Stephen Isaacs is to go to Freeport as a Vice President.  Mrs. Cunningham and Nathaniel Dean, former Supreme Court Registrar are to get the other Vice President's jobs in Nassau.

It was one of those rare sober moments in the chamber that took every one by surprise.  Senator Miller seemed to want to bare his soul but it was a well considered and statesman's address.  He seemed to think that the politics of tribalism, which we practice in The Bahamas, is not useful to the country.  He tried to explain himself, how he ran as a Free PLP in 1971 in Mangrove Cay and opposed independence for the country. He thought that in retrospect opposing independence was wrong and apologized for doing so. He said that independence had turned out to be a good thing for The Bahamas.  He said also that the FNM had campaigned against the size of the PLP's cabinet and it was wrong of the FNM therefore to have the size of the Cabinet it now has which he said was too large.  He said that he was happy though to be a part of a Government, which allowed him the freedom to say what he did.  When this columnist speaks in the Senate this week on the budget debate, there will be a considered response to Senator Miller.


Last week, we revealed how the Prime Minister has approved the investment by Lloyd-Werft Shipping of Bremerhaven in Germany for Freeport.  They will be building a shipyard.  The rumours were fast and furious that the Government had already approved some one thousand work permits. This was denied by Albert Miller, Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.  Note no one from the Government denied it.  The problem is that sources close to us in the FNM and in the Port continue to say that this is an issue, which the PLP must examine and attack very closely.  The FNMs are saying that too many work permit holders will be allowed.  The Prime Minister himself said that there will be plenty foreigners and he does not want to hear any complaints about foreigners because they are coming.  That is what he told Freeporters.  The latest is that there will be a 24-hour shift work.  The workers are to come from Pakistan, live on a second hand ship and work in three shifts at dirt-cheap wages.  Clearly the PLP must call for some kind of investigation of this matter.


The Deputy Prime Minister announced in Parliament that the cost of selling BaTelCo has so far come to 66 million dollars.  This is outrageous.  It tells you that the Government had no idea what it was doing when it decided to sell BaTelCo.  They have spent 66 million.  Earlier the DPM had said 80 million and he expected it to be 100 million when they were all finished.  They are spending 100 million to sell a company that they expect to get 300 million for.  This is the craziest, voodoo economics that we have ever seen.  And guess who will have to pay in the end? The Bahamian taxpayer.

During the town meeting held on Friday 11 June, the Prime Minister refused to come out for the question and answer period.  Instead, he kept himself in a little room and watched by closed circuit television.  He only came out at the end to give a speech that the foreigners were coming to man the shipyard and he would hear no complaints.  Then he left the meeting.  This fellow is going to suffer.


Hon. A. Loftus Roker
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has told the Leader of the Opposition that after the Local Government elections on 30 June, Loftus Roker will be finished.  Mr. Ingraham promised in his words to wipe Mr. Roker out.  Mr. Roker, the former Minister of the PLP, is now living in Acklins and is the Chief Councillor.  He had decided not to run until he heard of the Prime Minister's comments.  He immediately went to nominate.  To help in the campaign, the Prime Minister flew down to Acklins on 18 June with an entourage of Government ministers to sign a 2.3 million-dollar road-building contract.  No doubt Ministers took the time to exert pressure on the people of Acklins not to support Mr. Roker.  This Ingraham is a wicked fellow.  The other person Mr. Ingraham has vowed to get is Alphonso Smith, a PLP in North Andros.  So much for local government being decided by local people.  Mr. Ingraham flew into Freeport on 11 June and read the riot act to the Freeport FNMs. The FNM there is in the biggest cut-throat, dogfight among themselves you have ever seen.  None of the candidates and groups can stand each other.  This should help Forrester Carroll, Stephen Plakaris and Greg Christie to win

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Volume I (xxiv ) © Fred Mitchell 1999
27th June, 1999 - Senator Roston Miller Backtracks...Bill Allen Silenced by PM... Bradley Roberts MP loses a Brother...Cancer Deaths...Minister of Health Warns On Obesity... Charles Rolle of BEC Arrested...TUC Stands By Charles Rolle...COMMISSIONER OF POLICE GETS INTO THE ACT... Sidney Poitier Addresses COB Graduates...Oswald Brown to Mitchell: 'Commit Suicide'...Wilchcombe: Child Prostitution in GB... PLP Leader in Mangrove Cay and South Andros... Discrimination at Financial Services Board

Note from the Publisher
The annual debate on the 1999 Budget for the country is finished. The Senate passed the budget for the country on Thursday 24 June just about 10 p.m. One wonders whether in another five years any one will remember what was said and by whom. That did not stop Senators and Members of Parliament from having their say at length. There are four PLP Senators: Marcus Bethel, Leader; Obie Wilchcombe, who is the spokesman on tourism; Melanie Griffin and this columnist. We speak in the Senate in a one to two match with the FNM Senators. We find that the Government Senators are really just a cheering squad for the Government. They find nothing wrong with the FNM.

THE GOVERNMENT pulled a fast one in the Senate by announcing through the President of the Senate Henry Bostwick that there was to be continuous taping for rebroadcast of all Senate debates. This reverses the position previously taken by FNM Senators who voted against broadcasting the Senate because the resolution to do so was put by the PLP. Senator Marcus Bethel attacked the Government for failing to inform the PLP what it was doing but went further and demanded full television coverage of Senate debates.

THEN WHAT AMAZED US was that for the first time, the FNM Members all seemed to be reading from prepared texts. We are told that not only does P. Anthony White write material for FNM Senators but Godfrey " Goofy " Brown writes for them as well. The Government Leader Ivy Dumont spoke for nearly four hours, the Minister of Heath Ronnie Knowles also spoke for nearly four hours. There were few policy initiatives or comments. It was simply a litany of we are building this and building that. Every little project got mentioned.

WITH APOLOGIES TO H. CAMPBELL CLEARE III, the attorney. Mr. Cleare was a guest at the reception held for Johnny Cochran, the noted American attorney who visited The Bahamas last week.


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It is obvious that the pressure came down hard on poor Senator Miller. If you remember last week we reported how Senator Miller made a statesman's address. He apologized for opposing independence in 1971, saying that it had turned out to be a good thing for The Bahamas. He also said that he believed that the FNM was wrong to have campaigned against a large Cabinet by the PLP and then have a cabinet the size of the present one ( 27 ) , the largest in history. This week he was back in the Senate to say what a wonderful Government the FNM was, and how great the Prime Minister is. We teased him mercilessly from our side, telling him that we are sure that his seat in the Senate is now secure for another five years, that Senator Ronnie Knowles, the PM's close buddy would take the message to Mr. Ingraham.

Some senior public servants and some employees of the public service were involved in direct negotiations just this past week with the Prime Minister and his hapless Minister of Finance William Allen. The parties were trying to settle some money matters which have kept them apart. The hapless Minister of Finance tried to make a statement in the meeting. Mr. Ingraham exploded: " Bill Allen, you may be Minister of Finance, but this is my Government, my Government, my Government. " Mr. Allen shut up immediately. The rudeness of the Prime Minister knows no bounds. Everyone was embarrassed for poor Bill. Mr. Ingraham does this all the time to his Ministers. The parties there were embarrassed for Mr. Allen. Were it this columnist one of two things could have happened: some teeth would have gone missing in some one's mouth or a resignation would have been issued forthwith, or a combination of both.

Robby Roberts was just 44 years old when he succumbed to the ravages of cancer two weeks ago. He had been fighting the disease for a long time. Mr. Roberts who had hoped to become a doctor, is the younger brother of Bradley Roberts, the PLP MP. The funeral took place at St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral ( Roman Catholic ) last Saturday 13 June. Bradley Roberts announced in the House that his younger brother had contracted cancer as result of something in the atmosphere in his work place at Syntex Pharmaceuticals in Freeport.

It seems that every time you look around in The Bahamas these days men are dying from prostate cancer or have been diagnosed with the disease. This comes despite the fact that the health officials in this country have been promoting early detection as a means of coping with the disease. Older Bahamian men still refuse to have themselves checked because of the discomfort of the exam. They won't even go and get the blood screen. Often the disease is spotted too late. Sir Lynden Pindling, the former Prime Minister, was treated for the disease and the matter is still under review. The list of names of other persons who are suffering from the disease is a veritable who's who of The Bahamas. Breast cancer is killing the women of The Bahamas. It begs the question of the prevalence of cancer, and whether or not there is something in our lifestyles like food and in the environment that is causing the disease in the first place. One thing beside diet that is a major cause of concern is the fact there are so many cars on the island of New Providence without any proper emission controls. Even someone who has been away from this island for just a year, will notice how much worse the traffic problem has become. The Government has not addressed the issue. Clearly the cancer deaths are a cause of concern.

Add to the problem of cancer, the Minister of Health told the Senate that Bahamians are the most obese people in the Caribbean. Of course the Minister can start on his own Cabinet colleagues, who have to be most out of shape Cabinet that we have had in the history of the country, including a Prime Minister who is a chain smoker. We know the joke " as fat as an FNM Cabinet Minister ". He says that his Ministry will be spending additional sums this next budget year on trying to address the problem. Obesity leads to increased cancer deaths, to diabetes, heart problems and stroke. So that tells us that many of our health problems are related to our diet. The problem is that the young people are not getting the message of a healthy diet. Recently at a party this columnist observed the plates were piled high with the fried fish, beef, lamb and chicken, the rice and peas, macaroni. Left to be thrown away the salad. The Ministry has to get going on this problem of diet. But then many Bahamians have the attitude that when the Lord is ready for you, he is going to take you. That may be true but Jesus himself told us that we can affect the quality of our own lives by the decisions we make while we are alive. Obviously God is influenced by our decisions. Jeffery Sachs, who is from Harvard's Institute of International Development, told a recent seminar that if you look at the state of public health in developed vs. developing countries, and the history of development you will see that the state of the public health has a direct relationship to the state of the wealth of a country. In other words, the better the public health, the higher the wealth and development of the country. The Bahamas should take note. We have a fairly high life expectancy at birth. The Minister of Health was able to announce significant improvements in the infant mortality rate, but the rate of preventable deaths from lifestyle diseases is still too high.


Almost a month after a threat was reported to the police by Paul Maynard, the police locked up Charles Rolle, President of the BEC Union . Last Monday 21 June at 2:45 a.m., the police roused Mr. Rolle from his bed to say that he was under arrest for making a threat to Paul Maynard, a renegade Union member. Mr. Maynard, outside son of Andrew " Dud " Maynard, the former PLP Chairman, has refused to honour the Union's call for a work to rule. He was seen in high profile pictures on the front page of The Tribune in his hospital bed, and later in a cast, and later being visited by BEC GM Freeman Duncanson and Chairman Barrie Farrington. Mr. Maynard claimed that he was lured out on a call at 2 a.m. in Nassau Village. Once there he was set upon by two or three persons armed with a gun and a pipe. Mr. Rolle is accused of making a threat to Mr. Maynard on 26 May, the police arrested him on 21 June. That shows how seriously they took that threat. When they arrived at his house they asked if he had any weapons. He did. He had a rifle. They charged him with having an unlicensed firearm. So now the police have two cases: the threat and the unlicensed firearm. The Government and BEC now have a chance to win the public relations battle and the contract negotiations by getting rid of their opponent by putting him in jail.
As Opposition spokesman on labour, this columnist pointed out the improbability of coincidence involved in the arrest of Charles Rolle. Isn't it strange that just as political pressure is being put on the Government suddenly Mr. Rolle gets arrested? We reminded the country how Randol Fawkes was prosecuted in 1955 by the then Government; how Philip Miller, Rodney Moncur and Lionel Dorsett were all charged for sedition and criminal libel respectively. All of these were political charges by the regimes then in power: the colonial Government, the PLP and now the FNM is prosecuting Charles Rolle. Things that make you go: "hmmm"!

Obie Ferguson, President of the umbrella group the Trade Union Congress held a press conference on Thursday 24 June in which he stood by Charles Rolle. Joining him was Huedley Moss, President of the Water and Sewerage Workers Union. Mr. Ferguson said that the TUC supports Mr. Rolle.

Not to be outdone, the Commissioner of Police B. K. Bonamy in a gratuitous statement at a presentation at police headquarters on Friday 25 June warned that unlicensed gun owners will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The comment was clearly designed to respond to the criticism that his decision to prosecute Mr. Rolle was a political one.
Clarence Thomas, the disgraced American judge, told a university audience the other day that he could not remember who the commencement speaker was at his graduation. That is probably the case of most of us, but the College of The Bahamas graduates this year will probably remember that Sidney Poitier was their speaker. He said nothing earth shattering. He praised their parents for getting them to where they are. He said that the future belongs to the educated. The Tribune pointed out the irony of that statement from a man who dropped out of the Western Senior School at the age of 12. Nevertheless Mr. Poitier's story is a real success story and it shows Bahamian boys that if you really try you can make it. The graduating class numbered 600. There was a ratio of three to one of women to men. The society refuses to address this serious problem. As for Mr. Poitier, the press in this country keeps calling him Sir Sidney. The fact is he has an honorary knighthood from the Queen. As a US citizen, he cannot accept a knighthood, so the Brits invented the honorary knighthood. That does not mean he carries the title "Sir". In fact that is what the American law was designed to prevent-any of its citizens from carrying these chivalric titles. Mr. Poitier, whose parents were Bahamian, and who has Bahamian citizenship even though he was born in Miami, has a daughter who has moved to her grandparent's home Cat Island. Mr. Poitier is the non resident Ambassador to Japan for The Bahamas.

This columnist reported in the Senate on Thursday 24 June that The Guardian's Oswald Brown has issued a general ban on the use of the name Fred Mitchell in The Guardian. Reporters were called in and told that no stories are to carry the name of this columnist. When asked why, he responded that the only story he wants to see about this columnist is if this columnist commits suicide. In the Senate, this columnist said that Mr. Brown obviously needs to see someone. He is either stupid or misguided, and should not be running a newspaper. His remarks are part of the vendetta of Hubert Ingraham and the FNM. Mr. Brown is a known FNM ideologue. He is the editor of the morning paper. He hates this columnist and the PLP with a passion. The Tribune must be overjoyed, since now they get an exclusive on the news from this PLP spokesman.
Senator Obie Wilchcombe, PLP Chairman, told the Senate on Wednesday 23 June that the economy of certain parts of this country are so bad that mothers were being forced to put their children out on the streets. He said that this was happening in Lewis Yard in Grand Bahama. The FNM still lives in a fairy tale world when it comes to the issue of the economy. They keep saying that the economy is going well but the signs below are that this economy is in serious problems, all of this with the reserves flush and the banks having plenty of money to lend.

In the first visit back to the South Andros constituency since the by election in 1997, PLP Leader Perry Christie led a delegation of Senator Obie Wilchombe, and Senator Fred Mitchell for political meetings in the constituency. The Leader was enthusiastically received by large crowds wherever he went. It appears that the people have decided that they made a mistake in voting for the FNM in 1997. Nothing has happened in the constituency since that time. Indeed, the FNM has allowed in Mangrove Cay foreigners to enter the bonefish market competing with a Bahamian entrepreneur. That is "better! bettter!" for you.

Some people argue that there are two standards employed by the newly organized Financial Services Board which promotes the interests of the financial services in The Bahamas abroad. Some say that small firms are discriminated against, and that too many of the traditional business is being promoted while the new generation is relegated to one side. The Board at one time forgot to invite one of the smaller players to a meeting during one of its recent trips abroad. The Executive Director of the Board is Barry Malcolm.

The Tribune reported in its edition of Saturday 26 June that the Copyright Act will not come into force on 1 July previously announced. There is to be a further delay of one year. This comes after the owner of Supervideo, a supporter of the FNM, complained as the largest owner of video rentals in The Bahamas that it would adversely affect his business. The over the hill video owners could not get the Government to move. But you know how that is, as soon as the person with the right look and philosophy had something to say, the law's implementation was delayed or so it appears.

Local Government elections are to be held in The Bahamas in all Family Islands on 30 June. In Mangrove Cay Henry Bain has nominated to run. PLPs are incensed by a report that while Mr. Bain was under arrest recently in connection with a drug haul, he was nominated by telefax. When he was later released, he then brought in the original paper and the original replaced the fax. The PLP is to ask for an investigation. Mr. Bain is the local FNM chairman.

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