|BAHAMASAIR ON STRIKE...||BAHAMASAIR LAYS OFF MANAGERS...|
|MORE MURDER AND MAYHEM...||NEEDED 22 TRUANT OFFICERS...|
|SOCIAL WORKERS DISRESPECTED...||TABERNACLE HIGH WINS HUGH CAMPBELL...|
|SHELL'S NEW BEGINNING...||BRADLEY ROBERTS MP TO CARNIVAL...|
|MOTHER PRATT FOR HALL OF FAME...||MAJOR THEFT AT CITIBANK...|
|CONGRATS TO BYRON AUSTIN-COLEY AT SUN...||GUYANA HIGH COURT RESTRAINS APPEAL JUDGES...|
|BUTCH KERZNER CLARIFIES HIS STATEMENT...||TOURISM OFFICIAL REACTS TO KERZNER...|
|MEETING THE CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTER...||CALLING KEARNEY, NEBRASKA...|
|DR. HUBERT INGRAHAM?...||T SHIRTS FOR SALE...|
|JULIAN BROWN TO LAUNCH MUTUAL FUND...||TROUBLE OVER COPYRIGHT LAW...|
|SECURITY CHIEFS MEET IN THE BAHAMAS...||THIS WEEK AT KRISTI'S...|
They say that Opposition politicians have to make the Government look bad in order to make themselves look good or to make a case for why the Opposition ought to be elected. They say that Opposition politicians specialize in fault finding without solution making. But that's the nature of our system. But this week as in many weeks within the last year, one is forced to ask the question in The Bahamas: does anything work? In another context, this columnist described life in The Bahamas as often times a parody of real life.
Bahamasair went on strike on Thursday 2 March. The Government wants to downsize the airline and does not want to follow the contract between itself and the union. The strike has now been settled but for two days and some, there were no flights by Bahamasair across the country and internationally. This is the first time in a long time that anyone can remember such a thing. It points to failure by the Government. We report below.
In order to get to Freeport for a meeting that the Leader of the PLP was having in West End, Grand Bahama on Friday 3 March, this columnist had to travel by American Eagle through Miami. That was quite an odyssey. The planes as most of you know are cramped and uncomfortable. But the point of American Eagle is that it is supposed to leave on time. No such luck. There was a half hour wait on the runway in Nassau. Then the plane for Freeport broke down in Miami. As we finally left two hours late for Freeport and we approached Freeport, the pilot told us after circling for a few minutes that we could not land in Freeport because a plane had broken down across the runway and they could not tell us when they would move it. We turned back to Miami.
Having landed in Miami we sat again on the plane for half an hour and were told we would get back in the air, the runway was now clear. We got to Freeport three and a half hours after we should have, just as if we were travelling on Bahamasair.
The month of February was the most successful month in the history
of this column with 39,474 hits for
the 28 days of February. The previous high was 38,443 for the month
of September, '99. We have 3,163
hits on the site up to midnight 4 March for the month of March. Please
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BAHAMASAIR ON STRIKE
The Bahamas Government, the FNM, came to office promising that there would be no new hires at the nation's national airline Bahamasair. They said the PLP had filled the airline with political hires and that they would stop it. No such luck! The payroll was filled up again with political hires as one FNM chairman after the other made sure that their people got jobs. Now there is a new General Manager, Paul Major who is pledged to bring order to the chaos of Bahamasair. The result, the new management wants to fire 150 staff members, but they do not want to follow the provisions of the contract on redundancy. The Management wants to pick and choose who to fire. Frank Carter and the Airline Airport Allied Workers Union said no way. The airline had to announce the suspension of its services on Thursday 2 March, stranding and inconveniencing hundreds including children flying up to Freeport for an inter-high school meet. The Prime Minister was away and hapless William Allen the Bahamasair Minister was left with acting PM Frank Watson to deal with the crisis. Why do these Bahamasair things always happen while Frank is in the Chair? Remember the scandal of the missing 135,000 dollars revealed by the PLP during Mr. Ingraham's last leave from the country on his African progress? Frank Watson ended up being relieved of his job as Bahamasair's minister. He must have nightmares about Bahamasair. He and William Allen are a case of the blind leading the blind. The strike was resolved, in a way, by an interim agreement to go back to work pending further negotiations scheduled to begin on Monday 6 March at the Department of Labour. The Government through its Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes has specifically denied that it plans to liquidate the company and start another one. Stay tuned!
LAYS OFF MANAGERS
The Bahama Journal of March 3-5 reported that four managers were asked to go home by Bahamasair in a restructuring and rightsizing exercise. They are: Mike Sands, AGM for Sales and Marketing; Bradley Miller, also of Marketing; Donna Longley, Manager of Management Information Systems and AGM Engineering Hubert Adderley. It is believed says the Journal that Mr. Adderley has since resigned. The words right-sizing and restructuring are often used by companies devoid of human or moral content. The four persons are said to be sitting at home waiting for the call on what they will get. Having visited the site of the strike at the airport, it is clear that the new management requires some people skills. Staff complained following the strike that one of the new team passed them by and refused to speak to them, someone ought to have a quiet word with him. The staff is crying foul. Also to restructure a company that is a public corporation, the new management would do well to remember that you can't act like a bull in a china shop, you have to treat the union and its leaders and the line staff with respect. They too know and appreciate the shortcomings of the airline, and you must acknowledge that management alone does not have the answers to all problems. This kind of action has led to changes in Governments in this and other countries. Please be warned. Politicians will quickly dump the new managers if this thing becomes too hot a potato.
MORE MURDER AND
While checking into a hotel in Georgetown, Exuma for the wedding of Archie Cambridge two weeks ago, the woman checking us in at the desk was asked why she left Nassau to live in Exuma. Her reply was that there was too much violence in Nassau. Now the violence has spread to the Family Islands. Last Sunday 27 February, 22 year old Peter Colebrooke was stabbed to death at a nightclub in Georgetown. Then on Monday 28 January, Chief Inspector William Moss was shot and seriously wounded in an armed robbery at the Royal Bank of Canada in Long Island. Mr. Moss is said to be in stable but critical condition. He has taken 47 pints of blood. The country is simply at a loss on what to do with crime.
NEEDED 22 TRUANT
Dr. Eudice Goldberg, a Canadian Doctor who is a specialist in Adolescent Health, spoke to a group of social workers, teachers, community nurses and specialist in social work, last Thursday 2 March. She spoke at a seminar sponsored by the Adolescent Health Centre of the Ministry of Health. She argued in favour of treating adolescent health as a special sub category. She gave interesting ideas about dealing with the pathologies and her advice may point to solutions in dealing with the violence amongst adolescents that is causing so much terror in our society. It turns out though that the Government has not been dealing with the serious problem of school dropouts. They have the need for more attendance officers. Right now there are only 8, down from 11 under the PLP. There is a 1 to 4000 students ratio, when it should be 1 to 800 or one per school. The Government budgeted for 30, and refuses to hire the additional 22. One officer said that he went to the Nassau Village area of New Providence during a workday and counted 25 boys that should be in school but was unable to do anything because of lack of manpower. The Government advertised for the positions, got 60 applications but has so far refused to hire any. This is something which they can do to fight crime since it is said that one of the first signs of trouble amongst wayward young people is when they begin to drop out of school.
In the Senate at its last meeting on 23 February, this Senator announced that Blanche Deveaux, the then Director of Social Services had been sent home summarily by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Services. This is the Ministry run by Minister Algernon Allen, aka, Minister of Idle Poetry. The Permanent Secretary denied to The Tribune that he did such a thing, but the social workers continue in private calls to this columnist to say that Mrs. Deveaux was in fact disrespected as a professional. Those who continue in social services are so destabilized that they are not sure what direction their paths will take professionally. This comes at a time when the work of social workers, including probation officers is sorely needed. The Minister wants to bring in a new person to head the Department and it is alleged that the Ministry is seeking to find places for the existing social workers to go elsewhere in the public service to facilitate this new person who will come in from the outside.
HIGH WINS HUGH CAMPBELL
For the 14th time in the history of the Hugh Campbell High School Basketball tournament, the victory has gone to a Grand Bahama School. This time for the fourth time it has gone to Tabernacle High. Congratulations to them. They defeated St. Augustine's College, known as the Big Red Machine, in a wipe out at 62-42 on Monday 28 February. But while Tabernacle was savouring victory, there were some dark clouds of complaint surfacing. The question is whether the schools in Grand Bahama have been recruiting the senior boy athletes from New Providence schools to prop up their basketball programmes, even though the athletes may not have the academics. The other is that some of the players who go to Grand Bahama may have exceeded the age category for the tournament which is supposed to be an under 18 boys tournament. The Tribune did an analysis of the allegations on 4 March in an article headlined: MUCH ADO ABOUT HUGH. No hard facts emerged, but its one of these things for which one has to stay tuned. No doubt that is the reason why you have the NCAA in the U.S., to prevent unfair recruitment and other practices which may make the games unfair. We show a picture taken by Tribune photographers of the games.
SHELL'S NEW BEGINNING
Like the good trooper that he is, despite the disrespect of his company, Jerome Gomez, Shell's Retail Manager (pictured), is doing the rounds of the talk shows and the staff seminars and talking to the dealers to push the new Shell line that they made a mistake when they sold bad gas to Bahamians in the 1980s. This columnist had to get to Freeport by flying through Miami on Friday 3 March. On the line he was confronted by Shell's General Manager Andrew Kerr. Looked like he wanted to fight (just kidding ). Anyway, Mr. Kerr's beef is about the last line in this columnist's story about Shell last week. He claims that the bit about Shell's action vis-a-vis Jerome Gomez bordering on racism was unfair. Shortly after Mr. Kerr confronted this columnist about that remark, Mr. Kerr appeared again in the airport with Philip Snaith, the former Manager, who is now the super-boss, resident in Barbados. He had a pleasant manner but the bottom line was that they are none too happy about last week's column. "Why can't you say something positive about us? " said Mr. Snaith. The difficulty about saying something positive is that institutional Shell, as represented by Mr. Snaith needs to recognise that Bahamians do
have sense - in fact it was Bahamians who warned Shell managers including himself that there was a perception problem about Shell gas. At one point, Ken Perigord was almost physically thrown out of the manager's office for saying so. Now, the dealers, the public and the staff are being asked to treat this new campaign as if it were an act of genius. Mr. Snaith should know that there ought to be repentance and contrition before there is forgiveness.The market has so far reacted without disruption to the new Shell campaign. Most dealers report that Mr. Gomez has carried the matter off with aplomb and the customers have not fallen off. What has not happened yet is the other players in the market like Texaco and Esso have not reacted with marketing programmes of their own to take advantage of Shell's mistake. We shall see, but the jury is definitely out on a campaign which - if it doesn't work - could mean the careers of both Mr. Kerr and Mr. Snaith. What one would not want of course is for it to also swallow up the career of Jerome Gomez who is being a faithful employee and the best man that they can get to sell a bad message. And then there are the long suffering Shell dealers who deserve a break.
ROBERTS MP TO CARNIVAL
It's carnival time in Trinidad. Ash Wednesday is Wednesday 8 March. A wild time is to be had by all on the streets of Port of Spain. Bradley Roberts the MP for Grants Town (PLP) is down having himself a good time with the boys. He will as usual bring back the latest calypsos from the Trini Carnival. We look forward to it.
PRATT FOR HALL OF FAME
Cynthia 'Mother' Pratt MP (PLP) for St. Cecilia has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of her University Alma Mater St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, North Carolina.
MAJOR THEFT AT
The Bahama Journal reported on Wednesday 1 March that a million dollars is missing from Citibank causing a severe crisis in it's Collections Department. It appears that an employee went around collecting monies on his own and did not put them into the system. Citibank has confirmed that an investigation into the matter has been initiated. Last year Citibank fired a number of senior managers. One hopes that the two events are not connected. But these large white-collar thefts are a sign of the times. Prosperity supposedly abounds, but greed also abounds and morality goes out of the window. It affects all classes and all families. But one has to know when enough is enough, that sense of inner restraint.
TO BYRON COLEY-AUSTIN AT SUN
Byron Coley-Austin has been appointed Director of VIP Services at Sun International. We are sure his family is proud of him, and we wish him well. Mr. Coley-Austin is a graduate of the Cornell University (New York) Hotel Management Programme. He wants to become the General Manager of a five-star hotel. Good luck to you! He is pictured.
HIGH COURT RESTRAINS APPEAL JUDGES
The High Court in Guyana did an unusual thing. In a case being heard by Justices of the Appeal Court, the lower Court issued a ruling restraining the judges of the Court of Appeal from hearing the case on the grounds of bias. This is interesting because Guyana's courts are not known to be rights oriented. Further, it is unusual to have Appeals Court judges restrained by a lower court from hearing matters. Law students and lawyers ought to watch this case.
KERZNER CLARIFIES HIS STATEMENT
Sun's mouthpiece Ed Fields issued a statement published in the press on Saturday 4 March. In it he sought to clarify the comments of Butch Kerzner that service was the problem why the hotel experienced a 15 per cent drop in its arrivals from New York when compared to last year. He claimed that he never said that. What he said, said Mr. Fields is that the market at the prices they charged at Sun expected a certain level of service which was not being met. Yadda! Yadda! Yadda!
OFFICIAL REACTS TO KERZNER
A senior public official connected with the Ministry of Tourism was asked to explain the problems of Butch Kerzner and Sun and their lower room occupancy when compared to last year. A frank reply: 'It's the f...ing rates'. According to our informant if you look at the rates charged by Sun International over the last three years the rates have risen 124 per cent over the three years. The hoteliers, our informant says, have been greedy all around because of the boom times in tourism. The market is reacting to those price changes and simply not coming. The Ministry has spoken to Mr. Kerzner about his rates but clearly not loudly enough. The taxi drivers are complaining that life has been slow at Sun over the past four weeks. If you go to places like Hooters, Burger King, Natives, Outback and Kenny Rogers all just over the bridge in Nassau, they are all like ghost towns. The level of customers is not there. Not only because there does not seem to be the volume of tourists in town, but those that come to Sun never get to see New Providence and Nassau. They are virtually held captive at Paradise Island. Last year, a friend of this columnist's sister came to P.I. to stay: rate 360 dollars per night. That's a rate for the Waldorf in New York. She only got that rate we were told because she was staying over four days. That may be Sun's problem - price gouging.
THE CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTER
Friday 3 March Foreign Minister Janet Bostwick held a reception for the Foreign Minister of Cuba who was visiting The Bahamas at the end of a ten-nation Caricom tour. The Ministers announced that they had signed the transfer of prisoners exchange agreement, as predicted by this Senator. The agreement will allow those Bahamians who are convicted in Cuban jails to apply to serve their sentences here. We have a similar arrangement with the US. The agreement with the Cubans allows the Government here to commute the sentences. This is a good but rather unusual provision. They also announced that the Cubans will open a consulate here. Cuba has also announced this move in other Caricom countries as a part of an expanded effort at breaking out of diplomatic isolation. The Foreign Minister is seen being greeted by this columnist at the reception in the BIS photo by Peter Ramsay. Also there was the Cuban Ambassador to The Bahamas. It goes to show that Janet Bostwick raised such a stink about the PLP and this columnist's relationship with the Cuban Ambassador out of nothing more than sheer embarrassment. So there!
A Bahamian correspondent who supports BJ Nottage sent a detailed e-mail to this columnist and one was sent back to her, but unfortunately her address contained what the computer called fatal errors. Perhaps, if she reads this column this week she can send the message again and check the return address carefully.
DR. HUBERT INGRAHAM?
The Prime Minister now has a degree. It is an honorary degree given to him by the University of Buckingham, England. We announced it weeks ago in this column. Congratulations. But the Prime Minister who had Frank Watson acting as PM while he was away, has to explain why he did not take time out to meet with Bahamian students at the University. Apparently, he spent 15 minutes with them and said he had to go because of his busy schedule. One hopes he's not too busy to ask for their votes in the next election since it seems that he is hell bent on wiggling his way into a third term. His colleagues say they will not follow the pattern in The Bahamas of calling someone with an honorary degree doctor, but just to be ornery, this columnist may start calling him doctor. Perhaps, we should send him a stethoscope so he can check the pulse of his Cabinet. After all, that is what a doctor is supposed to do.
T SHIRTS FOR SALE
We are starting the business of fund-raising for the campaign in earnest. A special dinner is to be held by the Committee to Elect Fred Mitchell at the end of April, contribution $1,000 per plate. See the address below if you wish to attend or let us know by e-mail if you wish details. We offer a limited edition of the 1997 campaign T Shirts for this columnist in Fox Hill: donation $200, plus ten dollars for shipping and handling if it has to be mailed overseas. The T shirt is one hundred per cent cotton and bears the PLP's 1997 logo. Please make cheques payable to Committee to Elect Fred Mitchell at P.O. Box N 3928 Nassau, The Bahamas or send credit card authorization by fax to 242-356-2039. Also available are copies of GREAT MOMENTS IN PLP HISTORY authored by this columnist - donation by mail $5. Make cheques payable to the Committee at the address above and credit card authorization the same as above. Minimum for credit card offers on books, four please.
BROWN TO LAUNCH MUTUAL FUND
If you have some cash to spare, then be prepared to spend it on a new fund being launched at a reception in Nassau on Monday 6 March. Julian Brown, late of Lloyd's Bank, is one of the country's brightest bankers, traders and investment advisors. He has had enough of working for others and now wants to do something for himself and fellow Bahamians. He has formed a company called Benchmark (Bahamas) Limited. Last week he spoke to the Rotary Club on Thursday 2 March. According to The Tribune of 3 March, Mr. Brown said that The Bahamas should now move away from a policy of social development which focused on social needs, and switch to one based upon long term economic reasoning. This of course is heresy in public policy in The Bahamas. Owen Bethel got into a bit of a public policy contretemp when he called for an overhaul in the approach to Bahamianization. At the moment, it would appear that the pendulum is swinging back in favour of morality in public policy and economic policy with a social conscience. The Pope has long been proselytizing on the subject. But Mr. Brown and Mr. Bethel have a point, clearly the public policy of the past has not equipped this country to face the challenges that it now faces, and the present policy is so whimsical that the Government is failing to prepare the country for the future. It is under-investing in education for example. We wish Mr. Brown luck in his new venture.
OVER COPYRIGHT LAW
We have learned that the motion picture industry in the United States is upset about one of the provisions in the new Copyright Act which allows the licensing of copyrighted material for use in The Bahamas. The industry has filed a complaint with the US Government and the matter has been raised with The Bahamas Government at an official level. We thought that these fellows worked all this stuff out after they passed this bill last year with so much fanfare.
CHIEFS MEET IN THE BAHAMAS
A high level military and security conference involving the US and Caribbean Security Chiefs was convened in Nassau on Wednesday 1 March. This columnist attended a cocktail reception held in honour of the chiefs on board the US Coast Guard Ship Gentian, a tender supply ship. Minister of National Security and Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson opened the conference. Mr. Watson, as is his habit, was 45 minutes late, without apology.
AT THE PRISON
Stephen Seymour appeared in the newspaper this week to confirm what we've always known: that there is corrpution and maltreatment of prisoners in Her Majesty's prison. He has just finished serving an eight month sentence for drug conviction and this is the third time he has come to prominence over shocking allegations. Most of us will remember allegations in the press that he was threatened with a blowtorch down his throat during the Commission of Inquiry in 1984... Stephen Seymour is the son of former FNM Senator Naomi Seymour and the older brother of FNM Minister of State Zhivargo Laing.
NEW ANGLICAN SUFFRAGAN
Gilbert Thompson has been elected Suffragan Bishop of the Anglican Diocese. Rev'd. Fr. Thompson is a former Archdeacon and rector of St. Barnabas church and the brother of Archdeacon William Thompson (ret.) former rector of St. Agnes church. The election took place on Friday 3 March.
Carl Bethel, retired Batelco Deputy General Manager held his first art exhibition at the Central Bank in what he termed a tribute to the old masters. The exhibition opened Friday 3 March. We show a self potrait which is among the works on display.
THIS WEEK AT KRISTI'S
We have ended this feature and next week, we start a new feature called THE NEWS FROM GRAND BAHAMA.
- end -
|CHRISTIE ON CLIFTON CAY...||GOVERNMENT UNDER FIRE ON CLIFTON...|
|FNM REACTION TO PLP'S STATEMENT...||BIG MONEY AND CLIFTON CAY...|
|STAFFORD SANDS NOTES IN CIRCULATION...||PRIME MINISTER'S HONORARY DEGREE...|
|INGRAHAM SAYS: DON'T CALL ME DOCTOR...||U.S. NARCOTICS REPORT ON THE BAHAMAS...|
|BAHAMAS TO CONDUCT A CENSUS...||A MURDERED POLICEMAN AND MORE...|
|MOTHER PRATT'S STORE WIPED OUT...||BEACHED WHALE...|
|JULIAN BROWN LAUNCHES HIS FUND...||GOOD NEWS FOR SHELL...|
|FRED MITCHELL ON IMMIGRATION MATTERS...||SURVEY: SINGLE TOURISTS & SEX WITH BAHAMIANS...|
|ECONOMY'S GROWTH SLOWING DOWN...||SEAN SYMONETTE CASE ENDS...|
|LARRY GIBSON SPEAKS...||NEWS FROM GRAND BAHAMA...|
Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie made a major announcement with regard to the development of Clifton Cay on the western end of New Providence. We report what he said below. We carry the entire address of Mr. Christie on this web site. Click here for the full address.
Today we use a new picture of this columnist, replacing the one on board the British Airways flight to London in November 1999 with a shot of this columnist on board HMBS Nassau, the newest ship in the Defence Force fleet.
The murder rate in The Bahamas increased this week with the death of Chief Inspector William Moss who was shot some two weeks ago at an armed robbery of the Royal Bank of Canada gone wrong in Long Island. We send condolences to the widow and young family of the Chief Inspector. There are two men in custody for the armed robbery. No doubt they will now be charged with murder. The total number of murders for 2000: 16. This is week ten for the year. More on the murder stories below.
This columnist has noticed an increasing number of inquiries from young people about jobs. This is disturbing because it suggests that the Government is not telling the full truth about the unemployment figures. Remember, they keep saying that unemployment has fallen in the country to 7 per cent. But perhaps we ought to remember that it was the former Minister of Youth who told us that youth unemployment stood at 24 per cent. Imagine that in these times of so called plenty we face this problem among young people. This Government has failed.
This columnist continues to nurse the Fox Hill constituency. This past weekend, young people from the branch held a cookout on the Fox Hill Parade for fun and funds. A dedicated and hard working group.
This week up to midnight 11 March, we had 11,967
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ON CLIFTON CAY
It was a bright sunny day at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday 9 March when the Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie called his supporters and friends around him at the beach at Clifton Point at New Providence. All the press were there. This was obviously an important announcement. The announcement was that he put the developers of the Clifton Cay project on western New Providence on notice that when the PLP wins office at the next General Election, the permissions granted for Clifton Cay by the FNM would be revoked. Mr. Christie said that the project under the PLP would come to a "screeching halt". He said that the PLP would use its powers under the Acquisition of Land Act to compulsorily acquire the land in the public interest, with due compensation to its owners. It brought cheers from all PLPs and Bahamians generally. It was a remarkable break for Mr. Christie. He made a strong and definitive statement that was sure to reverberate throughout the developer's offices. We understand that Bechtel the parent company of the developers had the address on their desks by the next morning. Clifton is the last patch of undeveloped land on western New Providence. It has a pristine beach. It has the ruins of the Whylly Plantation. It contains a bay where slaves were off loaded in The Bahamas. It has some of the most precious Lucayan Village sites. It is a treasure trove of heritage. Robert Kennedy Jr. said that it ought to be declared a World Heritage site. Click here for Mr. Christie's full address. Our photo shows Perry Christie with a group of supporters on the beach at Clifton Point.
UNDER FIRE ON CLIFTON
Rev. C. B. Moss, former PLP candidate for Bain Town has a group of environmentalists and activists supporting him. Koed Smith, attorney-at-law and political activist, (pictured) has a group supporting him. Both have led public demonstrations against the project. They have pricked the conscience of the nation. The feeling amongst Bahamians is that Government policy has gone too far in selling out anything and everything to investors in the name of jobs. Some people are saying enough of this kind of economic prostitution. Hubert Ingraham has become the hated symbol of the policy. Two weeks ago, he announced that the Government was going to return the land to the person from whom they acquired it, some 208 acres, and wash his hands of the matter. He was eaten alive for saying so. His attitude is cavalier and disrespectful of Bahamians. On Saturday 11 March, there was a motorcade in New Providence against the project. Money against the project is coming from rich environmentalists who live at Lyford Cay. This is the classic choice between development and the environment. The environment should win this time. Hubert Ingraham is intent on destroying the environment.
REACTION TO PLP'S STATEMENT
The FNM media went into high gear. We heard from the party itself and then the Government. The FNM Chair called Mr. Christie's statement "rash, dangerous and vindictive". Sgt. Watson, the Deputy Prime Minister, (pictured) said that the country should not worry because the PLP will not win the next election. We want to encourage him to keep thinking so. Their tack is that the PLP is breaching the conventions of the system by refusing to honour agreements made by previous Governments. They also will say that investors will be frightened away from doing business in The Bahamas because of what Mr. Christie had to say. There is no doubt at all that the PLP's message was designed to put the individuals who are the developers of Clifton Cay on notice that the PLP will not support the project. The PLP says that the area ought to be turned into a National Park protected for the Bahamian people. The idea of the PLP's statement is to let bankers and other investors who are putting money into the project know that their money would not be safe and thus take the underpinnings out from under the project. It was a deliberate and special decision given the seriousness of what the Government intended to do. Without a sufficient consensus, the government seeks to impose their will on the national patrimony of The Bahamas and proposes to allow it to be destroyed for future generations. The PLP has to take any measure that it can to stop what the FNM intends to do. The FNM's propaganda is therefore misguided. They have to fight off the potent charge that they are economic prostitutes who will sell off their country for any sum that is going around.
MONEY AND CLIFTON CAY
It is clear that there is big money on the side of the developers of Clifton Cay. Bechtel, the parent company of the developers, is perhaps the largest construction company in the world. So the only way to combat big money on the side of the developers is big money has to be on the side of the environmentalists. This is now apparently the case. Within the walls of Lyford Cay there are a number of seriously rich and committed environmentalists. They are adamantly opposed to the project. They have brought in international heavyweights like Robert Kennedy Jr. to weigh in on the side of the environmentalists in Nassau. One of Jesse Jackson's staff was in Nassau on Saturday 11 March to assist the environmentalists. Clifton Cay may in effect be an international flash point. This is good for the environment. Let us hope that if the development is stopped that the environmentalists follow through and actually develop the park and that it becomes a world heritage site. The PLP ought to commit itself to assisting in that regard.
SANDS NOTES IN CIRCULATION
The FNM Government has now taken Uncle Tomism to new heights. Despite the howls of protest against Hubert Ingraham's decision last year to put the racist Sir Stafford Sands on the Bahamian ten dollar bill, the Government has gone ahead and done so. Sir Stafford was the country's first Minister of Finance and is credited with the design of the modern Bahamian economy. But he openly hated black people, and when majority rule came in 1967, he left the country, went into exile and never returned. PLP Leader Perry Christie described this as the biggest political mistake ever made by Hubert Ingraham. The Government also announced that Sir Roland Symonette, the first Premier of the country, is to be put on the 50 dollar bill. The public has a different reaction to Sir Roland Symonette. Some Bahamians plan to protest the Stafford Sands note by scratching racist or an X over the face of the note. The PLP should lead such a campaign. The new notes are pictured. This decision of the Government is another example of a Government that is the prisoner to the Bay Street merchant class. The fact that Hubert Ingraham is so unapologetically supplicant to that class is the millstone around his neck politically speaking. This is a great shame for someone who started out so promisingly with the support of the Bahamian people.
MINISTER'S HONORARY DEGREE
We publish the picture of the Prime Minister of The Bahamas Hubert Ingraham receiving an honorary degree from the University of Buckingham, England, last Friday 3 March. We reported on the matter last week. We talked about how the Prime Minister insulted the Bahamian students at Buckingham by staying at a special reception for them for fifteen minutes and then announcing that because of his busy schedule he had to go. The photo says a thousand words. He looks most uncomfortable, like a trapped animal. The question is if he did not want to go, if he felt uncomfortable about receiving the degree, if he did not want to see the Bahamian students: why did he go? The University has assisted Bahamians in good training in law, and no doubt the University wished to indicate their appreciation to The Bahamas and its people for their contribution to the development of the University and its reputation overseas. The Prime Minister must explain why he looks so uncomfortable and why he abandoned the Bahamian students after 15 minutes. One student wrote that after the PM left no one talked about the visit. It was like a non-event, the student said. Like it never happened. Only goes to show! In The Bahamas the picture brought howls of laughter, and The Tribune newspaper carried the headline on Friday 10 March: 'WHAT'S UP DOC?' This is the line from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. It was not nice. But this shows the level of disrespect which the country now shows for the man. It is again a great pity that it had to come to this, so quickly.
SAYS: DON'T CALL ME DOCTOR
The Prime Minister has apparently had to take a lot of teasing since he has come back home from getting his honorary degree. His political opponents have been calling him "Doctor". He reacts angrily to them: "Don't call me that!"
NARCOTICS REPORT ON THE BAHAMAS
The United States Government has released its annual report on the narcotics situation in The Bahamas. The U.S. Congress mandated by law that every year each country in the world is supposed to be reviewed by the anti-drug bureaucracy of the U.S. and a report is to be compiled which shows whether that country has been co-operating with the U.S. authorities on the drug situation. If the country is certified by the U.S Government as a co-operating country on drugs, then they get assistance money for their efforts and other forms of aid. If not the aid is suspended. This is highly insulting to a number of countries, including The Bahamas. But being a small country and with drugs threatening to overwhelm us again, there is little one can do but grin and bear it. But it is useful for other reasons, and this year's report turns out to be a bombshell. The report indicates that there is suspected jury corruption in The Bahamas which thwarts the efforts of the Government to convict drug traffickers. There is also a report that the bail laws of the country are too slack. The country did not react. There was no reaction from the Government. It shows how numbing all of this stuff has been for The Bahamas. No one reacts to anything, it seems, even as we see the system crumbling around us. The report was published in part in The Bahama Journal of Monday 6 March 2000.
TO CONDUCT A CENSUS
The FNM's Minister responsible for the census, Carl Bethel, has asked the public to co-operate with the enumerators who will begin the census for the year 2000 shortly. Mr. Bethel said that four years of planning had gone into the effort and some 3.3 million dollars is being spent to ensure that an accurate count of the population is made. The census is taken every ten years. The last one took place in 1990.
MURDERED POLICEMAN AND MORE
Chief Inspector William Moss, 46, (pictured) who was shot in a botched robbery attempt at Grays, Long Island has become another of the nation's murder victims. He succumbed to his injuries on Friday 10 March at 5:15 p.m. at Doctors Hospital in Nassau. He had taken 47 pints of blood. He spoke words to his wife, The Tribune reported, after eight days of semi-consciousness and struggle, to tell her that he was getting there. That was reported on Wednesday 8 March. By Friday, he was dead. Friday 10 March, the country read the newspaper to find that two dead bodies were found in a home in Strachan's Corner in New Providence. Two more murder victims. On Sunday last, Hensel Prosper Jr. of Chippingham was gunned down in an armed robbery attempt as his parents were getting ready to celebrate their wedding anniversary and renewal of vows. A moment of tragedy when there should have been happiness. What are we to do? No one knows. The FNM that promised to end crime now faces 16 murders for the year 2000.
PRATT'S STORE WIPED OUT
Cynthia " Mother" Pratt who should have been basking in the glow of her being inducted into her alma mater's Hall of Fame last week, instead had to face the fact that her store in the Grove, New Providence was broken into, goods to the value of $20,000 stolen (no insurance), and the place ransacked. This is the third time that the place has been robbed. Mrs. Pratt said she would be forced to close the store. The level of property crime in The Bahamas goes unreported. This columnist had his apartment on the third floor of a condo building broken into, two weeks ago, but did not even bother to report it. This is a serious problem. What is the Government who said it would end crime going to do?
The Tribune reported that hundreds of people went to Lower Bogue in Eleuthera on Friday 3 March in an attempt to save a beached whale on the beach there. The Tribune photo is shown. The whale later died from its wounds, mainly shark bites.
BROWN LAUNCHES HIS FUND
There was a cocktail party on Monday 6 March. Julian Brown and his father Reno, two of the countries foremost financiers and investors, have launched a fund called Benchmark (Bahamas) Limited. The fund is going public after being operated as a private fund. Under Julian Brown's hand, the private fund got a return on its investment of 19 per cent last year. Now the Browns want to share their skills and fortunes with other investors. Some 300 potentials showed up. So far the pre-solicitation is said to have yielded half a million in pledges. This is expected to increase dramatically when the institutional players kick in. The photo by Leah Davis of the Serena Williams Agency shows this columnist with Reno Brown on the left and Julian Brown on the right at the launch. Good Luck!
NEWS FOR SHELL
The dealers are reporting that the dire predictions of further loss of market share because of the campaign that Shell made a mistake by selling bad gas to its customers in the past and not admitting and owning up to it, have not come true. Most are reporting that sales are level, and many are reporting that sales of gasoline are up. Meanwhile, they are still waiting for the other players in the market like Esso and Texaco to kick in with their anti-campaign but it looks like the cat took their tongues.
MITCHELL ON IMMIGRATION MATTERS
As Shadow Minister for Immigration this columnist issued a statement on behalf of Immigration Officers on Tuesday 7 March. The nub of the problem is the inability or unwillingness of the Government to pay overtime and transportation allowances owed to Immigration Officers in Freeport. The Government is behind by three months on overtime and has not paid the transportation allowance since July 1999. No explanation has been provided to the officers. This is a crucial time for morale of the Department since the new Minister is trying to show that the Government puts Bahamians first. We do not need anything that adversely affects their morale. In the meantime, the PLP is writing its new platform on Immigration and we need the input of Bahamians on whether Bahamianization as a policy ought to be defended. If you have views, please let us know.
SINGLE TOURISTS & SEX WITH BAHAMIANS
Dion Strachan, who is the President of the Bahamas Hotel Association announced at a recent HIV/AIDS conference held in Nassau that eight out of every ten single tourists want to have sex with locals. Two prime pick-up spots were identified as the beaches during the day and discos at night. This was reported in The Tribune 7 March. The Tribune said that The Bahamas was one of four pilot countries used to help develop an educational module that will be shared with Caribbean countries. Bill Aguiton who helped with the project said that statistics show that the Caribbean has the second highest total of AIDS cases after sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Aguiton urged hotels to be vigilant in monitoring prostitution at their establishments to avoid contact with guests.
GROWTH SLOWING DOWN
College of The Bahamas economist and lecturer Olivia Saunders told the weekly 'Breakfast with the President' meeting held at COB's cafeteria that economic growth will be slower this year than in 1999. Ms. Saunders said some of the underlying anxieties impeding this year's growth rate include the country's income distribution, and the overall fragility of an economy that is nowhere near having the infrastructure to feed its population. She said the lack of macro objectives for five or ten years in the future continue to gnaw at our apparent success. She also noted particular concern for crime on business development. The story was reported by Tosheena Robinson of The Tribune Tuesday 7 March.
SYMONETTE CASE ENDS
While his widow cannot get any satisfaction from the fact that the police have caught his killer, perhaps there is some justice after all. Geoffrey Neely, the customs officer, who may be said to have started it all, has been convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for cocaine possession and attempting to bribe Sean Symonette, a fellow customs officer. You will remember Mr. Symonette was tragically shot down in front of his three year old son just before he was about to testify in this trial last year on 28 October. Mr. Neely is pictured after the verdict which came on Wednesday 8 March in a Tribune photo. The death of Mr. Symonette has had a chilling affect on other undercover workers and their families. They saw in the Symonette case that the Government does not provide any protection for informants. There was shocking negligence in this case.
One of the principals of Colina Financial Services says that the economy of The Bahamas has been hindered by a lack of venture capital financing and has called upon the Government to lead the way in stimulating the sector. He has urged the Government to put aside a 20 million dollar private sector fund to provide venture capital. He also complained of a lack of professional investors who could make accurate risk assessments. The speech was reported on 9 March in The Tribune. The Tribune did not report where and when the speech was given. Mr. Gibson is pictured in a Tribune photo.
END OF THE WEEK
At the end of the week, we report that the country was pleased that Perry Christie had taken a stand. Now it seems like we have an opposition party in the country. We have to defend our position.
FROM GRAND BAHAMA
Unpaved Roads - Residents of the Imperial Park subdivision in Freeport were in the news this week, quarrelling with the developer for the paving of roads in the area. Parts of Freeport are a patchwork of small developers who are often accused of collecting the service charges on lots but not providing the services. Imperial Park developer Berkeley Smith says that if people would pay, he would have the money to pave the roads. Calls have been made for the Government or the Port Authority to step in. It is a problem that keeps cropping up. Stay tuned.
In a bid to alleviate ground transportation problems in Grand Bahama and to help its members, the Grand Bahama Taxi Union has formed a transportation co-operative. Union Chief James Kemp says the move will "empower the small man". Ground transportation in Grand Bahama is a hot topic currently, with Local Government seeking to impose unpopular bus routes and major changes being seen in tourist transportation from the airport and harbour by bus. Kemp called on Government to give the organization a chance to implement plans. The union was advised by co-operative consultant Rudy Sawyer.
Drag Racing Problem
Police in Grand Bahama have seen increasing problems lately with drag racing on the streets. This past week, a reported game of 'chicken' ended with one of two cars which were racing crashed, its driver and passengers hospitalized; one airlifted to Nassau in serious condition. Authorities pledge to increase vigilance in this area.
Men Sentenced to Church
A novel approach by a Nassau Magistrate to punishment has left three Grand Bahama men sentenced to attend church in lieu of prison for their crime of fraud. In addition to paying restitution, the men must attend the Church of God of Prophecy in Grand Bahama for three years.
- end -
|THE STORY OF THE BEACHED WHALES...||THE DRUG PROBLEM IS BACK IN THE BAHAMAS...|
|SECURITY IMPERILLED AT LONG ISLAND...||THE BAHAMAS OFFSHORE SECTOR UNDER SIEGE...|
|THE EUROPEANS ATTACK OUR BANKS TOO...||GLENYS HANNA MARTIN - PLP HOLY CROSS...|
|PLP NOMINEE FOR WEST END...||FORT FINCASTLE CLEAN UP...|
|GREGORY SAUNDERS LAUNCHES ALBUM...||STEVE MCKINNEY OFF THE AIR...|
|NEW ANGLICAN FEMALE DEACON...||ARTHUR FOULKES PRESENTS HIS CREDENTIALS...|
|HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROROGUED...||BRADLEY ROBERTS ON BAHAMASAIR...|
|PLP LAUNCHES A NEWSPAPER...||OLYMPIC SWIMMING POOL ALMOST FINISHED...|
|FOX HILL NEWSMEN HONOURED...||LONGSHOREMEN CELEBRATE 50 YEARS...|
|TOO MANY FAT BAHAMIANS?...||CUBAN SCHOLARSHIPS...|
|CREDIT BUREAU NETWORK...||SHELL GASOLINE SALES FLAT...|
|A SHIFT IN THE COUNTRY...||NEWS FROM GRAND BAHAMA...|
First there was the popular appliance store in Nassau that could not deliver a refrigerator for three weeks because they could not make deliveries on Fridays. So they were prepared to lose a sale for three weeks because the truck could not deliver on Fridays. As it turns out eventually, we had to buy from them any way.
We went to another popular furniture store. Bought the refrigerator. They delivered it the next morning, but three hours after it was installed, it stopped working. You can imagine the problem this caused since it was a Saturday. All of the food spoiled. On Monday, their service technician told us that the best thing to do was to buy another brand from them because "they were having problems with that make." The only problem was they had no other acceptable refrigerator in that price range and colour available. So we got our money back, no offer for compensation on the lost food and inconvenience.
Off to other stores. The next one did not take American Express and they were not sure when they could deliver. The next one did not take American Express. Another one did take American Express but the sales people could not tell the prices, the sizes. Eventually then in frustration, we ended up where we started, three weeks and three days later getting a new refrigerator. It is a typical story of shopping in The Bahamas, indeed of living in The Bahamas: delay, inconvenience, poor service. Great weather, friendly people (for the most part), just don't try to buy a refrigerator.
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STORY OF THE BEACHED WHALES
Last week, we reported that the community in Lower Bogue, Eleuthera tried in vain to save the life of a whale that was beached on its shores. This week, we report that since last week there have been ten whale beachings in The Bahamas. Most were off High Rock, Grand Bahama, others were in Eleuthera and Abaco. Director of Fisheries Michael Braynen could not give an explanation, and scientists were scrambling to find out what was behind the beachings. There was some speculation that it is the increasing pollution of Bahamian waters in and around Grand Bahama from oil. Others gave a political interpretation. Perhaps it was a metaphor provided by the Almighty for the Ingraham Government that has become bloated and fat and is in the process of beaching itself. The Tribune reported the story on Friday 17 March and the photo is by Magic Photo.
DRUG PROBLEM IS BACK IN THE BAHAMAS
When Arlington Butler became the first Minister of the FNM responsible for the police, he announced that the FNM had broken the back of drugs in The Bahamas. The statement was counterintuitive but many in The Bahamas breathed a sigh of relief. The Americans took down the balloons that they had watching the south-eastern flank of The Bahamas on the grounds that they had equipment which could watch over it from Miami. The real story was a cutback in resources because the traffickers decided to switch to Mexico. Down went the guard of the U.S. and the Bahamian authorities. One of the U.S. authorities responsible for giving political advice to the U.S. military told this columnist at a cocktail reception on board USS Gentian that it never goes away. What happens is that as the pressure is put on one end, they switch to another venue. Mexico was the popular new route into the U.S. Now The Bahamas is back with a vengeance. Every night in New Providence you can hear the roar of helicopters and planes flying over head in the dark. Murders in The Bahamas are up and thought to be drug related. Young people are moving to remote islands like Acklins, Crooked , Exuma and Long Island. No legitimate economic explanation for their presence there. Franklin Wilson reported that the bank in South Eleuthera is flush with money, even though the legitimate economy is as flat as a pancake. And if that were not enough, Dr. David Allen, the Drug Czar under the PLP, is back advising the country that if one wants to control the present crime problem, drugs has to be licked as a problem. This time, the country seems more undermined than ever. The drug men are younger, richer, smarter. They are not as open, and the corruption seems more insidious. The community does not have a sense of moral outrage about it, particularly in a Government supported culture where money is everything. This then is what we have come to.
IMPERILLED AT LONG ISLAND
Chief Inspector William Moss, the police officer gunned down in the Royal Bank robbery at Grays, Long Island, three weeks ago was buried with full military honours on Friday 17 March. The Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie attended the funeral. Meanwhile three men have been charged with the murder of the police officer before Magistrate Linda Virgill on Thursday 16 March. The Tribune photo by Felipe Major is shown. But the residents of Long Island are telling a scary story of how the security situation has deteriorated generally in that remote banana-producing island. In recent years, retirees have been moving back to Long Island from Nassau because of the peace and tranquility, establishing new businesses. They said that they could sleep with their doors open. Now they say no more. There is a cadre of young men who have suddenly descended on the island. Drugs abound and the homes of the those who live in the traditional communities are at risk for break-ins. Some residents live in terror of the young men. The robbery of the bank and subsequent death of the police officer was a shock which the community will not soon forget. The Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson and Minister for the police has been asked to beef up the police presence in Long Island. One resident told this columnist that Long Island is now the centre of drug activity in The Bahamas. This is the island that once boasted that it had no illegal immigrants because if they came they simply put them on the boat and sent them back home. Obviously this new breed of drug driven Bahamians are quite another story.
BAHAMAS OFFSHORE SECTOR UNDER SIEGE
There are two new bills before legislatures in the United States that could have implications for the banking system of The Bahamas. One is a bill in Florida that would allow banks in America to freeze suspected launderers' accounts for up to ten days. The authorities would not have to notify suspected launderers in advance. Last week, the national legislature of the U.S. proposed sanctions against countries perceived not to be co-operating in the fight against money laundering. The Bahamas is so concerned that Julian Francis, the Central Bank Governor, was quoted as saying "Any measure which could encourage the American authorities to become more aggressive and maybe indiscriminate in how they do this must be of concern to us." That's a polite way of saying, we are worried. The Central Bank Governor listed all the policies, decisions and legislation which The Bahamas now has in place to deal with money laundering. But clearly this is not enough, and the U.S. is pressing for more. You know that the Minister of Finance has already agreed to change the IBC legislation so that directors' names have to be disclosed and putting an end to bearer shares. The International Narcotics report of the U.S. on which we reported last week, has criticized the enforcement procedures for money laundering in our courts. Add to that the problems with OECD countries. Banking - an industry which provides 20 per cent of the GDP of the country - is under siege. The interview with Julian Francis was done by Athena Damianos of The Tribune and reported on Friday 17 March.
EUROPEANS ATTACK OUR BANKS TOO
A grinning Hubert Ingraham returned to the country this week and was met at the airport by some of his Ministers. He and his delegation which included the Central Bank Governor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were just back from the Heads of Government meeting in St. Kitts for Caricom, and a meeting with the French President Jacques Chirac. The meeting with the French President was held in the French Overseas Territory Guadeloupe. The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) proposes to create a black list of countries that create a favourable environment for tax evasion. This is part of the overall effort of the European countries to bring an end to tax havens. The Bahamas is prime amongst the countries. We sent our Minister of Finance like a grovelling mendicant to Paris last year to plead the case of The Bahamas. Now the Ingraham delegation claims upon their return that they have the aid of the French President. There is something demeaning about all of this. The clear fact is that this effort by OECD is like a juggernaut that will not be stopped. Cry, stomp and plead as we will, there is simply a different philosophy in the new breed of policy makers in the developed countries. They have no feelings for former colonial territories or feel any international responsibility for them. All they see is loss of revenue to their countries. While we must fight to save the banking and offshore sector, a country like The Bahamas ought to ask itself the dread question: what if we cannot do anything about it and worse comes to worse and the sector is successfully attacked? We ought to be thinking about what other activities we can enter that will bring the kind of revenue that banking now does. It appears that there is a new morality in the decision making halls of Europe and the United States and they will not be deterred even if their policy of destroying economies in the Caribbean leads to refugee problems in their own states. That is our business too and all the more importantly why we have to start thinking about what else we can do to keep our people alive and working in The Bahamas.
PLP HOLY CROSS
Charles Carter, the last PLP representative for Holy Cross, introduced Glenys Hanna-Martin, daughter of former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Hanna, to the Holy Cross PLP branch on Wednesday 15 March. Mrs. Hanna-Martin, who is the Chair of the PLP Women's Branch, is expected to be the PLP's next standard bearer in the Holy Cross constituency in the next General Election.
NOMINEE FOR WEST END
The Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie has begun the process of choosing a nominee for the West End and Bimini seat, now held by David Wallace of the FNM. The PLP lost the seat by just over 100 votes in the 1997 General Election. Senator Obie Wilchcombe, PLP Chair and Robert Grant, PLP activist in West End are vying for the nomination. The Leader expects a decision to be made shortly.
FINCASTLE CLEAN UP
The FNM Government that virtually abandoned the Over the Hill area of New Providence when they came to power, is suddenly having a latter day bout of conscience. They have started a clean-up campaign in the Over the Hill areas of New Providence. Last week on Thursday 16 March, Parliamentary Secretary Greg Williams (FNM Bain Town) announced the successes of the clean-up campaign measured of course by how much garbage they took out of the area. They actually called a press conference compete with podium and microphone to announce this. They said they took 773 truck-loads of solid waste and 104 derelict vehicles from the area of Fort Fincastle. They seemed genuinely proud of all of the dirt they removed. But question: how is this different from what the PLP did before them? You have these dramatic, one shot clean-up campaigns, only to have the dirt and solid waste pile up in the areas again in short order. Of course, the picture looked good and the MP got to get himself on television. There must be a better way. The Bahama Journal photo of the press conference is shown. Mr. Williams is at the podium.
SAUNDERS LAUNCHES ALBUM
Greg Saunders, the nephew of Glenroy 'Flo' Saunders, is a Bahamian made good in Miami, Florida. He left The Bahamas after high school at C.H. Reeves and the Government High School and went to get his University Education at Miami Dade Junior College. He works a nine to five job, and decided at the same time to try to launch into a music career. Steve McKinney, the talk show host, set up a press reception to launch Mr. Saunders' first album "Hello" on Friday 17 March. The music has a lively U.S. pop beat like D'Angelo, with an underlying Caribbean beat. Mr. Saunders is pictured. He hopes to come back to The Bahamas and help the music students at his alma mater C.H. Reeves. This columnist substituted for Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie at the official Bahamas launch held at the Superclubs Breezes.
MCKINNEY OFF THE AIR
MoreFM is describing it as a contractual dispute but friends of Steve McKinney are saying it's all politics. The fact is that Steve McKinney is off he air and his popular daily talk show is replaced by a couple of fellows friendly to Hubert Ingraham. The new format is P. Anthony White and Aaron "Kiki" Knowles on different days. These two are paid writers for the FNM. Charles Carter and Obie Wilchcombe on other days. Hmmm!
ANGLICAN FEMALE DEACON
Beryl Higgs, former pastoral assistant at St. Matthew's Church in Nassau, was ordained last Friday 10 March by Archbishop Drexel Gomez. She joins Angela Palacious as the only other female deacon of the Anglican Church. Mrs. Palacious will become the first female Bahamian Anglican priest in June. Deacon Higgs is pictured. The ordination of women is still a source of contention in the Anglican Church. Some persons have left for the Roman Catholic Church as a result of it.
FOULKES PRESENTS HIS CREDENTIALS
The non-resident Ambassador for The Bahamas Arthur Foulkes has gone to Beijing to present his credentials to the President of China. No word on whether the Ambassador is to tell the Chinese that we do not agree with the threats of violence they are making to Taiwan.
OF ASSEMBLY PROROGUED
Hubert Ingraham is preparing for yet another show in the road. He plans to reopen Parliament on Wednesday 19 March. The Provost Marshal announced the prorogation of Parliament from the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday 14 March. As usual the FNM intends to have everyone under a tent out in the road instead of opening the Parliament in the Senate where it is traditionally done. The Tribune photo shows Provost Marshal and Acting Police Commissioner Paul Farqhuarson.
ROBERTS ON BAHAMASAIR
Last week, the new Chairman of Bahamasair Frederick Gottlieb announced that Bahamasair is taking measures to try to recover the missing $135,000 which they paid for an aircraft that they never took delivery of. Mr. Gottlieb claimed that steps were being taken by their lawyers in Canada and in New York. Nonsense said Bradley Roberts (PLP Grants Town). He claimed to have information that showed that the advice given to the airline is that the money is in fact irrecoverable. There was silence from the airline in response to Mr. Robert's blast.
LAUNCHES A NEWSPAPER
The Leader of the PLP Perry Christie has launched a newspaper for the PLP called The New Times. It will appear twice a month as a supplement in The Tribune. The first issue appeared in The Tribune of Tuesday 14 March.
SWIMMING POOL ALMOST FINISHED
The Bahamas Government showed the press around the new swimming complex paid for in part by Betty Kenning, the daughter of multi-millionaire Trevor Kelly (deceased). She donated three million dollars to the effort. The whole project will end up costing 7.8 million dollars. The press is reporting that the project will be completed in time for the athletes to practice for the Carifta games in Barbados later this year.
HILL NEWSMEN HONOURED
Felipe Major is 28 and a photographer for The Tribune. Sean Innis is 23 and a writer for The Tribune. Both are young, diligent, honest up and comings, apparently a rare breed in The Bahamas. Both were honoured by the Sandilands Primary School for promoting their community of Fox Hill and the school. This Senator attended the presentation on Commonwealth Day on Monday 13 March. The Tribune photo by Joy Thompson is shown.
CELEBRATE 50 YEARS
The oldest Union in the country is the United Brotherhood of Longshoremen. They celebrated 50 years as a Union with a banquet on Saturday 11 March at Workers House. The Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes appeared, and so did this columnist as Opposition Spokesman for Labour and filling in for Perry Christie, the Leader of the Opposition. Also present was Sir Lynden Pindling, former Prime Minister. Congratulations to the Union. The Nassau Guardian photo shows Sir Lynden at right with Mr. Foulkes and Frank Carter Bahamasair's Union Chief at the centre.
MANY FAT BAHAMIANS?
The Director of the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute said that obesity is the major health problem in The Bahamas with 24 per cent of adults having excess fat in their bodies. The Director is Dr. Fitzroy Henry. The remarks came in Nassau on Wednesday 15 March after a four-day conference in Nassau by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization. Efforts are being made to change dietary habits through education, including changing the curriculum in schools to deal with nutrition as a subject. Obesity is connected to heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. Vascular diseases are the leading causes of death in The Bahamas.
The headline in the Freeport News of Thursday 16 March announced 300 scholarships to Cuban universities for Bahamians. The story reported that Wesley Campbell, liaison with the Cuban Government, said that 117 were for Grand Bahama students. This scholarship programme is a source of concern. The question is the values which a society like Cuba will impart to Bahamian students. The Americans, British and Canadians should take note.
Daniel Ferguson of Fox Hill and Access Data Network and Rory Higgs of Apex Management Services have teamed up to provide what The Tribune calls a complete credit management network. The country calls out for a credit bureau and the men plan to provide such a network including debt counselling and debt recovery. The Central Bank Governor Julian Francis pointed out at the official launch of Mr. Ferguson's company that the bank's confidentiality laws have to be respected even as this service develops. The network depends largely on reports from the Courts which are part of the public record. The two gentlemen are pictured in The Tribune photo of Tuesday 14 March.
GASOLINE SALES FLAT
Preliminary reports that Shell Bahamas was unaffected by its astonishing public relations campaign admitting the company sold 'bad' gas are now seen to have been premature. The latest survey turns out that Shell dealers report that sales are either flat or down in the wake of the controversial campaign. "At best the campaign has been ineffective" said one dealer, "and at worst, we're all afraid that it's going to be a disaster." Shell dealers had serious misgivings about the campaign, which were expressed to the company's country and regional management, and it was only after much persuading and arm twisting that the dealers finally and very reluctantly agreed to go along with it. Now that sales are flat across the board and down for some dealers, expect Shell retailers to remember their grave doubts and begin to look closely at those who convinced them to go along with it in the first place. Some years ago, then Shell dealer Ken Perigord suggested to management that Shell in The Bahamas follow the path of Schlitz beer who were faced with a similar problem regarding their product... Schlitz dealt with the issue by mounting a campaign to show in detail all the company's preparations to ensure the quality of their product... at the time, the suggestion - from one of the most successful and popular dealers - was ignored. Texaco has replied to the Shell campaign with a series of ads showing the quality of their product.
SHIFT IN THE COUNTRY
It is one of these things that you could probably quantify by doing a poll. But somehow the polling business has not caught on in The Bahamas. You can feel it though. The Government claims that it will win all forty seats in the next election. But the country seems in the midst of shift: tired of arrogance and anti-Bahamian policies, tired of one man deciding everything. It's not there yet, but increasingly there are the signs of frustration. Nowhere is that more clear than the Opposition to the Clifton Cay development on the Western End of New Providence. Despite a massive parade on Saturday 11 March in New Providence and the overwhelming opposition of Bahamians to the project, the FNM is still forging ahead on the basis that it is a minority that is opposing Clifton Cay. This could be a head-in-the-sand approach by the Government or we could all be wrong and the FNM will win all the seats. But we can feel the shift in the country. Now it's up to the PLP to take advantage of it. We show Tribune photos of the motorcade with protesters on the back of a truck and in the window of one of the many jitneys which joined the demonstration.
FROM GRAND BAHAMA
PLP Leader Christie Back in Grand Bahama - Perry Christie was back in Grand Bahama at the weekend, following up his wildly successful visit there 10 days ago. Mr. Christie again met with local party leaders to continue consultations over the party's candidates for the next general election. During his previous trip, Mr. Christie gave notice that he intended to begin to put candidates in place for the various constituencies in Grand Bahama.
Mitchell Speaks out for Bahamian Workers - Shadow Minister for Labour & Immigration, Senator Fred Mitchell attracted disgruntled and dispossessed Bahamian workers at the Lucaya Strip Thursday 16 March as he staged a news conference on the Immigration concerns of Grand Bahamians. Surrounded by the island's PLP hierarchy and others who arrived to show their support, Senator Mitchell called the Government's recent showy enforcement of the immigration laws "a selective and lately arrived at public relations show." Grand Bahamians are sceptical of newspaper ads by the general contractor on the Hutchison Whampoa project said Mitchell, which were "a sham in response to another sham; the high profile raid. The Government is not serious when persons who are apprehended are released within several house then appear back on the job sites." Evidence suggests said Mr. Mitchell that the company's ads are designed to get around the policy of Bahamianization. "The PLP invented Bahamianization and it is still as relevant a policy today as it was when the policy was first designed." Senator Mitchell called on the Government to reaffirm the policy of Bahamians first.
Grand Bahama Beauty in Puerto Rico - Miss Bahamas Mikala Moss of Grand Bahama was in Puerto Rico in February for a 'fashion extravaganza' at the invitation of Miss Puerto Rico. Seen with her room-mate on the trip, Mikala was touted as having gained international exposure in advance of the Miss Universe contest in May.
More Against Sir Stafford - Reverberations continued this week in Grand Bahama against the introduction of $10 bills bearing the face of the racist Sir Stafford Sands with Grand Bahama attorney and activist Fayne Thompson calling on the Prime Minister and the Government to resign over the issue. "It was," said Mr. Thompson, "the most obvious attempt to whitewash the persecution of African Bahamians in our Bahamaland... lets unrepentant bigots off the hook (and) threatens to bring race front and centre back into our politics."
Cable Bahamas Announces Grand Bahama Internet Launch - Cable Bahama Chief Operating Officer Richard Pardy spoke at Rotary in Freeport this week, announcing the launch of cable Internet services in Grand Bahama by 1 May. The system is expected to be up and running by the middle of April, but the company intends to aggressively promote as of May. Long suffering Grand Bahama surfers are looking forward to faster and more reliable access.
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|CLIFTON DEVELOPERS STRIKE BACK...||CLIFTON DEVELOPERS ATTACK ENVIRONMENTALISTS...|
|CLIFTON DEVELOPERS ATTACK PERRY CHRISTIE...||WHAT WILL THE CLIFTON DEVELOPERS DO?...|
|BIMINI MAILBOAT GOES DOWN-TWO DEAD...||NEW INTERNET SERVICE IN THE BAHAMAS...|
|COMMONWEALTH BANK IPO...||BANKS AND PREDATORY PRICING...|
|UPDATE ON BO HENGY'S TYRONE SAWYER...||BAHAMAS STOCK EXCHANGE BOARD...|
|MONEY TO BURN...||THE TALK IS ALL ABOUT MONEY...|
|POLICE LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN...||YET ANOTHER MURDER...|
|MICHAEL JORDAN ON BAHAMIAN DOCTOR...||E-COMMERCE...|
|MARIJUANA IN LONG ISLAND...||MORE ON STEVE MCKINNEY...|
|FOX HILL'S MOUNT CAREY IN THE NEWS...||NEWS FROM GRAND BAHAMA...|
It is clear in The Bahamas that we do not prepare ourselves for death. Most people die without a will and leave their assets in an absolute mess upon their death. Some refuse to execute a will in the fear that it will hasten their death. Others have the misguided notion that they have nothing left to fight over. Some say they can't take it with them so they leave it to others to unscramble the mess. And a mess it often is. A recent death in our family left an estate which is not large but not small either and there is no apparent heir at law but because the person is a member of our family, we are expected to carry the responsibility and weight of all the legal and financial responsibilities which arise. The family member up to the day before her death refused to execute a will.
Further, it appears that there is a generation of persons, the Bible might describe them as vipers, who in the grab for themselves to get wealthy and rich approach their parents who have built up assets, usually their homes and make them sign those assets over to help them and their children out. They then default on the bank loans, the bank moves to take the property and the parents are faced with renewed debts at a time in their lives when they cannot afford it. Honour thy father and they mother apparently means little indeed.
Of course, this is not new one supposes, but if you remember we started with the premise that this is the age at which this writer has arrived. And it raises another question; the state of this economy where there is such pressure for every one to be rich that people are grabbing and grabbing and living beyond their means. They spend their own wealth, their parent's wealth and future wealth, without let up. And this economy which is supposed to be booming does not have the ability to feed the greed. The property market which is supposed to be booming is slow. There are clear problems. One of our relatives surveying the scene said it is quite a depressing situation.
But not really! It is all a great challenge. And one hopes that there are enough left around who remember the old religion and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Sir Lynden Pindling turned 70 this week. Congratulations and best wishes to the former Prime Minister and Leader of the PLP on reaching three score and ten.
This week, we had some 35, 799 hits
up to midnight 25 March for the month of March. Please keep reading.
|www.johngfcarey.com||Thought provoking columns|
|http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/||Canadian contacts Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links|
|http://members.tripod.com/~xtremesp/wolf.html||Bahamian Cycling News|
|http://www.bahamians.8m.com||Links to Bahamians on the web|
DEVELOPERS STRIKE BACK
The Clifton Cay project may be on its last leg. The developer with the money has decided to call it quits, leaving its less wealthy former partner to soldier on alone. The Fremont CC Ltd, owned by Fremont Group of San Francisco have had their interest bought by the poorer partners. Freemont is owned by giant construction firm Bechtel. On Wednesday 22 March an unusual statement was issued by Chaffin/Light Associates president James J. Chaffin. He lashed out at environmentalists and the Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Chaffin is the voluble President of the group developing Clifton Cay, the project that threatens to ruin the historic ruins on the western end of New Providence. There is widespread public opposition to the development which the Government and the developers continue to ignore. Mr. Chaffin responded to a statement made by Perry Christie, Leader of the Opposition two weeks ago. Mr. Chaffin said: "We expected to break ground in early 1999, but lengthy title challenges have prevented us from seeking final approval from the government. The courts have rendered the title claims unwarranted, and in some cases frivolous."
DEVELOPERS ATTACK ENVIRONMENTALISTS
James J. Chaffin, the principal behind the ill-fated Clifton Cay Development is obviously a frustrated man. This is what he had to say about environmentalists fighting against Clifton Cay: "...The environmentalists organizations, who appear to represent specific personal - and possibly non-environmental - interests of wealthy non-Bahamian individuals, have attacked the environmental studies that have been done, and the reputation of Chaffin/Light Associates for environmentally sensitive development. Their allegations, at best, have been misleading and erroneous." This is an incredibly arrogant statement. Presumably, Mr. Chaffin is talking about Robert Kennedy Jr. who told the country on his visit here that what the developers were doing in The Bahamas would be illegal in the United States. Mr. Kennedy also said that money was being used by the developers to distort democracy in The Bahamas. Further, Mr. Chaffin is not a Bahamian himself, so if the wealthy non-Bahamians who are interested in the environment want to assist Bahamians, it is completely justifiable if it will counteract the distortions of which Mr. Kennedy spoke when he came to The Bahamas. Mr. Chaffin is clearly out of line. He is of course seeking to impugn the Lyford Cay residents who are assisting in financing the campaign of the Bahamian 'Coalition against Clifton Cay'. The FNM's argument being parroted by Mr. Chaffin is that the property owners at Lyford Cay are using the Bahamians to keep their way of life secure and pastoral under the guise of environmental concerns. More about this later.
DEVELOPERS ATTACK PERRY CHRISTIE
James Chaffin, the developer of Clifton Cay, was on a roll, with his statement announcing that he was losing his richest partner in the ill-fated plan to plough under the ruins at the western end of New Providence. Here's what he had to say in defending the Bechtel group's departure from the project: "In retrospect Fremont's (Bechtel Company) growing concerns were fully justified, given Member of Parliament and Opposition leader Perry Christie's comments on 9 March that if the PLP wins the next elections any building approvals and permits for the project issued by the current Government would be revoked and construction immediately terminated. This sent a chilling message to all potential investors in The Bahamas. If, in fact, successive government administrations can override permits granted by previous governments, and even halt construction in progress, then any reasonable businessman would find it very difficult to justify any investment in that country." Again this is a remarkably arrogant statement. As Opposition spokesman on Immigration, this columnist would recommend that the Leader of the Opposition go further in his statement and tell Mr. Chaffin that he is interfering in the internal political affairs of The Bahamas, that he is a clear and willing agent and tool of Hubert Ingraham and the FNM; that under a PLP Government his immigration status in The Bahamas would also be at risk. Hubert Ingraham was written all over Mr. Chaffin's statement, and the concern of this Opposition spokesman is whether or not the FNM will again be able to buy its way to power by allowing unprecedented donations of money by foreign businessmen to distort the politics of The Bahamas. The Bahamian people should be forewarned about this.
WILL THE CLIFTON DEVELOPERS DO?
What is then even more remarkable about James Chaffin of the Clifton developers is that he goes on to say that despite this uncertainty, he is going to go ahead with his development. Clearly then as a foreign investor it has not sent a chilling effect on him. The fact is that the international investment community knows exactly what Perry Christie said and what he meant by what he said. No amount of propaganda by the developers and the FNM can change that. Further it is the height of cheek to impugn the integrity of the environmentalists. So what if the Lyford Cay property owners want to prevent a down scale development on their doorstep. That is a legitimate worry of a property owner. The fact is that if in the bargain, we get a national park in perpetuity for the Bahamian people, then we benefit. Further, Mr. Chaffin ought to know that if a President of Egypt announced that his administration would allow the pyramids to be torn up and paved over, any successive administration in Egypt would be justified in stopping such a plan. Further, if the U.S. President sought to build hotels on the Grand Canyon, a successive U.S. President would be justified in stopping it. Clifton is a valuable property with three cultures and their histories imbedded therein: the Loyalist/ European settlers; the Lucayan settlers; the Slaves and African settlers. The site is too precious to become a golf course. Clifton Cay must be stopped.
MAILBOAT GOES DOWN-TWO DEAD
The news spread around Bimini's north island community like wild fire. The 'Alma B', the boat owned by the Brown Family, the main freight link between Miami and Bimini went down just off Kitten Cay to the south of Bimini in the early morning hours on Thursday 24 March. This columnist is headed to Bimini today. Two people are dead. One is missing and feared dead. He is the Captain Spence Brown. This is yet another tragic death for the family of the late Harcourt Brown. Earlier Ozzie Brown, the operator of the Compleat Angler was murdered in an armed robbery gone wrong. The Freeport News photo shows the vessel capsized in 50 feet of water.
INTERNET SERVICE IN THE BAHAMAS
Every one is talking about the latest rage in The Bahamas, the internet service which is now provided by Cable Bahamas. This is the company that has the monopoly on cable television in The Bahamas. One month ago, the Prime Minister announced that a temporary internet service provider licence would be granted for Cable Bahamas. Presumably this was because poor demeaned BaTelCo could not keep up with the demand and neither it seems could 100 Jamz and Bahamas-On-Line. The Government has since announced that a total of 9 other internet service provider licences would be granted. People boast of how fast the new service by Cable Bahamas is. Blinding fast is what they say. Robert Carron of The Tribune branded the decision by the Government to be discriminatory. He was quoted in The Tribune of Friday 24 March as follows: "I find it incomprehensible that in today's age we are contemplating replacing a Government monopoly, BaTelCo with a private one, albeit Canadian controlled. More importantly unlike all Bahamian internet service providers, Cable Bahamas network was paid for by the Bahamian taxpayer under substantial import duty and monopoly concessions. As such, this advanced network should be available to all, not just Cable Bahamas." Well said Mr. Carron. But, we go further. In the Senate this columnist has said time and again that he considers the decision by the Government to grant Cable Bahamas a licence to be a corrupt one. We can't put our finger on it, but the decision to give a Canadian company a monopoly instead of deciding to give it to Bahamians if there had to be another monopoly was so perverse that the decision had to have been corrupt. The owners of Cable Bahamas have made out like bandits with the monopoly. Something is rotten in Denmark and it ain't cheese.
Tim Donaldson, the Chairman of Commonwealth Bank has announced that as at 3 April some three million of the Bank's shares will become available to the public. The offer will close on 28 April. You can get details of the offer from any branch of Commonwealth Bank or Colina Financial Services. This announcement comes on the heels of the news that the Bank of The Bahamas will put another two million shares on the market before September of this year and the announcement of the Benchmark Bahamas Limited IPO by Julian and Reno Brown. There is obviously a lot of capital out there. Burns House Ltd. is also thinking about going public as is Scotiabank Bahamas Limited. So the competition is keen for money. No word from Mr. Donaldson on how much each share is to cost, but there is a minimum of 50 shares. Mr. Donaldson says that the offer is being made during the bank's 40th anniversary and the idea is to provide an opportunity for their 56,000 customers to get a share of the bank. The bank's largest shareholders are believed to be Lady Symonette, widow of the former Premier and Rupert Roberts of Supervalue. Franklin Butler, son of the late Governor General is also a shareholder. Board members include Michael Barnett, attorney-at-law and Senator Marcus Bethel, PLP Leader in the Senate. It would be interesting to hear what Ken Kerr, Larry Gibson and Anthony Ferguson have to say. Many in the market believe that the Bank of Bahamas is going to suffer. People will now start dumping their shares in Bank of The Bahamas and switch to Benchmark or Commonwealth Bank. It appears to this columnist that Bank of The Bahamas will eventually end up being bought by someone else. Tim Donaldson of Commonwealth Bank is pictured.
AND PREDATORY PRICING
We could not put our finger as precisely as the US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan on the problem but words sometimes fail you. He called it predatory lending. Two banks in The Bahamas have to be careful that they do not fall afoul of that: one is Citibank and the other is Commonwealth Bank. The Fed Chairman said that his agency is trying to find ways to put an end to the practices in the US. He described high interest rates and aggressive debt collecting practices as abusive treatment of vulnerable sectors of the population. Well said! All banks in The Bahamas ought to take note as should Citibank and Commonwealth. It has always occurred to this columnist that a bank that markets aggressively to poor people, takes their whole pay cheques and then takes the dining table out from under them while they are eating, their beds while they are sleeping has to answer to the authorities for that. That is just plain wrong. The story was reported in The Tribune Thursday 23 March and was by the Financial times Gerard Baker. Those with ears to hear let them hear. Bradley Roberts Grants Town MP has this as a favourite theme.
ON BO HENGY'S TYRONE SAWYER
We reported in this column the unfortunate news that Tyrone Sawyer, the creator of the idea of a fast ferry service between Eleuthera and Nassau, was forced out of the company. There is news from Government circles now that Bo Hengy itself may be in trouble because it just does not have the market to support the daily run. The founder of Bahamas Fast Ferries Tyrone Sawyer was reported in The Tribune of 24 March to have spoken to College of The Bahamas students at the Centre for Entrepreneurship. He told the students about the difficulties of finding three million dollars to get his dream off the ground. He encouraged patience, and told how he had to look to alternative capital markets. It took three years, Mr. Sawyer told the students. No word in the report on what happened to cause the dissolution of his arrangement with the Bo Hengy.
STOCK EXCHANGE BOARD
The Bahamas Stock Exchange (BISX) which is to start business next month announced its first Board meeting and gave the list of its Board members. The Tribune reported the story on Thursday 23 March. BISX CEO Brian Taylor is pictured in a Tribune photo with Banker Ian Fair. He gave the list of Board members as follows: Gregory Bethel, banker; Franklin Butler, merchant; Gregory Cleare; Kenneth Clowes; Ian Fair, Banker; Larry Gibson, investment advisor; James Gomez, accountant; Claire Hepburn, attorney-at-law; Patricia Hermanns, insurance executive; Albert Miller, Grand Bahama Port Authority; Robert Sands, hotelier; James Smith, ambassador and Walter Wells, banker. The CEO will be Brian Taylor. Former Senator Barry Malcolm from the Bahamas Financial Services Board will be a non-voting member of the Board. We hope with this cross section of Board members that BISX will help to provide the capital markets that everyone has been talking about. Finding money at reasonable prices and acceptable terms is still a problem in this economy.
Fayne Thompson and Forrester Carroll led a protest in Freeport to burn the new Stafford Sands note. You will remember that the Government of The Bahamas despite popular opposition decided to honour the racist former Finance Minister Stafford Sands by putting his face on the ten dollar bill. The two activists in Grand Bahama burned facsimiles of the notes. No real ones were available in Freeport, said Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson promised to burn the real ones in Nassau. The Tribune took the photo of the protest on Friday 17 March and reported it on Monday 20 March.
TALK IS ALL ABOUT MONEY
At one level with all the activity going around in shares and IPOs and buying this and buying that, all the rage in Nassau's upscale sector is money. And apparently all the rage in the lower sector is money as well, as in they don't have it. And so armed robbery, housebreaking and stealing are taking off apace, notwithstanding the FNM's propaganda that they have crime under control apart from murder. The claim is farcical and the stealing is going on amongst rich and poor. Anecdotal evidence shows that the reports don't begin to count the events that go unreported. There is a story going around now that some people actually moonlight as thieves for a living. You have armed groups of young men travelling around in cars or stealing cars and they simply rob people for a living even while they have day jobs. The feeling one gets is that the poor are up to their necks in debt encouraged by the permissive lending practices in this liquid money atmosphere and they just can't keep up. Add to that a class of young men who have no skills and training to take advantage of the jobs which are available. The pressure is on robbing and tiefing. This makes Nassau increasingly unsafe. The difficulty is that you have Government with its head in the sand. The National Drug Council is back in full gear because the drug problem is on the rise again. This week, the Council met and said at its Rehabilitation Workshop at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre reported in the Nassau Guardian Wednesday 22 March that school children are being targeted for drug sales. Gasoline prices in The Bahamas are now near three dollars per gallon at $2.77 per gallon and rising. Add to that the story told at the Coroner's Inquest on Tuesday 21 March that Police Constable Gerald Mainville shot and killed Police Constable Jeffrey Tucker. That PC Mainville left his wife's bed at 2 in the morning and was discovered by the police with gloves and implements for breaking and entering. The Tribune 21 March reported that thieves were now targeting boats at marinas along the New Providence foreshore. It is all rather unsettling.
LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN
Enter the new Acting Commissioner of Police Paul Farqhuarson. Poor Mr. Farqhuarson. He has a job on his hand. With a failing education system, family values not being taught, and police officers making a measly $15,000 per year to start he does not have much of a hope in attracting men to his Force. Yet he announced a new recruitment drive. Bermuda is a similar country to ours. You know that there are about 70,000 people there. The starting salary of a Constable is 33,000 US in Bermuda and the top of the scale is $48,000. There is a similar scale in the tiny Cayman Islands. Further the Commissioner of Police gets $113,000 US compared to $50,000 US in The Bahamas. A superintendent gets $81,000 per year US. A Chief Inspector in Bermuda makes more than the Commissioner of Police in The Bahamas. Now you see the problem. The Police Association's new head Inspector McKenzie has put together a request for a new salary scale to the Government. The Bermuda Police Force has been looking for Bahamian police officers. You can imagine if that news gets out, we won't have anyone left in our Force.
Remember the Government Minister pounding on the table at More FM and saying that apart from murder crime is down. Well he can say it again. The week began on Monday 20 March with the lead story in the Tribune of a spectacular murder, if you can call it that. We think it's the nation's 17th murder this year. The Tribune said it was the 16th. Bruce Sears was abducted from his car. He was out on bail for drug offences. He shouted to the police "Officer! Officer!" The police gave chase. They lost the car. Later, they found his body dumped in the road. Killed execution style. The car was abandoned and burning. It was stolen. Another week of murder and mayhem in The Bahamas. Anyway remember it was the FNM who said once the PLP lost office crime would disappear. Yeah right!
JORDAN ON BAHAMIAN DOCTOR
The well known retired basketball player likes to come to The Bahamas to gamble. You will remember the story earlier in this column where the dealers at Paradise Island call him "winjee" because he does not like to tip. (See story January 2000). Well Mr. Jordan told the Associated Press reported in The Tribune of Thursday 23 March that he lost the use of his grip after he cut his finger on a cheap cigar cutter in The Bahamas. Said tribune Sports Editor Phil Tank that with Muhammed Ali ending his career after a beating in The Bahamas and Michael Jordan ending his career after cutting his finger in The Bahamas, all we need to hear now is that Dan Marino was in The Bahamas before he retired. According to Mr. Jordan, the Doctor at Doctor's Hospital in Nassau in trying to examine the cut, went too deeply and snapped the tendon. He said he didn't think that the Doctor was a quack. No comment from Doctor's Hospital who cited doctor/patient confidentiality. The Tribune used an AP photo of Mr. Jordan.
We would like to expand the uses of this site. A redesign must soon be in the works. Because of the large number of hits on the site there have been a number of requests for links with sites that sell commercial products. While we appreciate the demand, it is not possible at this time to honour these requests until we have worked out the legal ramifications of this. Further, if the site is to contain commercial material, we have to work out a price structure. Clearly it is time to move the site to another level. It is overdue. Logos Bookstore owner in The Bahamas says that his e-commerce site has not been so successful but he thinks that in time that is the direction it has to go. We think so too and will move in that direction. Thank you for your interest and we will keep you abreast.
IN LONG ISLAND
Some 60 bales of marijuana were found in Long Island on Wednesday 23 March. This confirms our story last week that the security situation in Long Island is deteriorating.
ON STEVE MCKINNEY
Talk show host Steve Mckinney appeared on Darold Miller's show 'Issues Of The Day' on Thursday 24 March. He launched a blistering aside at fellow journalist Senator Obie Wilchcombe, claiming that Senator Wilchcombe has stabbed him the back after he was ousted from the afternoon show on More FM (see last week's column). Senator Wilchcombe's show is now in Mr. Mckinney's spot. Mr. Mckinney said he was withdrawing his support for Senator Wilchcombe in the contempt case against him. The public was once again titillated. It seemed rather harsh by Mr. Mckinney, given Senator Wilchcombe's mild mannered demeanour. Perhaps we will get a comment from Senator Wilchcombe next week.
HILL'S MOUNT CAREY IN THE NEWS
The oldest church in Fox Hill has been in the news regarding a dispute about who was to be the Pastor. We have refrained for weeks from reporting the story. It now appears that the Rev. Dr. Charles Saunders, head of the Salem Union of which the church is a part, has asserted his authority over the church and has appointed an interim pastor. Some persons still disagree with that. We hope and pray that peace will come to Mt. Carey and that all parties will remember who is Lord and Master.
FROM GRAND BAHAMA
Hutchison Whampoa Spins - The spin doctors of the new Freeport mega power Hutchison Whampoa were hard at work in the nation's city to the north this week. They were 'labouring' to make their public case for importing non-Bahamians against the recent backdrop of the elaborate dance between large foreign employers and the Department of Immigration. 'Lucaya Project needs 1,300 workers' blared the Freeport News headline, 'Where to find them?'. Company spokesman Christopher Baker, (pictured) the Hutchison Lucaya Finance man was quoted as saying "If we can't get the... Bahamian workers then obviously we will need to bring in more expatriate workers." Obviously. Not even two weeks ago, shadow Minister for Labour & Immigration Fred MItchell visited Freeport and was flooded by complaints from Bahamian construction workers and contractors that they either couldn't get jobs or their rate of pay was inferior to similarly qualified expatriates. The complainants called Hutchison's search for skilled Bahamian labour "a sham". We will watch closely the further developments to come at Hutchison Lucaya.
Expatriate Workers Fined - An expatriate employee at a shipping company doing business from Freeport Harbour was hauled before a Freeport Magistrate this week on charges of working without a permit and overstaying his allotted time in The Bahamas. The man was fined $3000 and ordered to jail for one year in the absence of the fine or deported upon its payment. Observers have asked fredmitchelluncensored.com whether this man, as with some others arrested under like circumstances will be back on the job as soon as "the paperwork is fixed up".
The Fight For Clifton Cay Comes to Grand Bahama -Rev'd. C.B. Moss, head of the Coalition to Save Clifton Cay brought the case to Grand Bahama this week. In an impassioned address to the Rotary Club of Freeport, Rev'd Moss called on Grand Bahamians to join the fight to save a piece of Bahamian history.
National Flags Mistreated - Complaints to this site have been mounting against a local foreign owned business in Freeport for the mistreatment of the Bahamian flag. The recently opened business has erected a great many flagpoles surrounding its property from which Bahamian flags are flown as a "design element' and "advertising come-on". The main trouble is, the flags are never lowered. There is a strict protocol surrounding the treatment of national symbols and the national flag ought to be raised at sunrise and lowered before dark; never touching the ground. A word to the wise should be sufficient.
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