Note from the Publisher
Everywhere you went in Nassau during the past week, one had the palpable feeling that the country was on the verge of spinning out of control. It is a classic case of the best of times and the worst of times. There was Hubert Ingraham the Prime Minister threatening workers again as only he can. There was C.A. Smith boasting about how well the country was doing in tourism. There were the hotels talking about how full they are. There was the prophecy that Freeport is on the verge of a boom.
Then there is the other side where students of L.W. Young spoke to this columnist on Friday 30 April at their final year reflection period. Their number one problem: financial. That means there is no money for school after they graduate, and there is hardly any money to keep things going today. They reflect the situation in which their parents and guardians find themselves.
THERE IS SO MUCH TENSION in the air of New Providence you can cut it with a knife. People are turning to the church in large numbers, looking for a solution. Over in the church you find the same lust for power, the same demands for money, the same political intrigue. The governing party can't see anything wrong with what they doing, and the Opposition is being criticized for falling fast asleep at the wheel. The result is despair.
INCREASINGLY THOUGH, workers are taking matters into their own hands. They walk off the job, strike vote or no strike vote. This past week it was the turn of the lecturers of BTVI. They simply stopped working. Hubert Ingraham in response told the nation in a national broadcast on Thursday 29 April, that if the workers don't behave, the Government may be forced to pass legislation to impose heavy fines on unions where workers walk off the job in what they term 'an illegal strike'. Such is the political life of The Bahamas.
THIS SITE HAS HAD 14,439 HITS
for the month of April.
ROKER ON PRIVATIZATION - The Honourable A.
Loftus Roker, former Minister of Government responsible for BaTelCo, is
expected to make a major statement on the privatization of that public
corporation. Mr. Roker, now Chief Councillor for the Local Government
of Acklins & Crooked Island will issue the statement from his retreat
in Delectable Bay, Acklins. It is consistent with the former Minister's
non-partisan stance in giving the benefit of his long experience to policy
makers of the day. Watch this page and the newspapers for coverage.
WORK AT A STANDSTILL AT BATELCO
The Prime Minister was boasting in his address on Thursday 29 April, how he had solved the problem for the workers of BaTelCo. Solved it, pray tell how? Well at last count, the deadline being 30 April for workers to apply for their separation packages, 1600 out of the 2400 BaTelCo workers had applied for the package. The Government became alarmed at the prospect of almost every one at BaTelCo applying for the package. Mr. Ingraham and his minions were quick to say that the Government will decide who is going to be allowed to separate. The funny thing is the way that they said it. They say they want to keep the best workers that BaTelCo has and let the worst workers go. Quite apart from that being an entirely subjective judgement, the unintended consequence of that is that the good workers are to be penalized with staying at a company that appears headed for the rubbish heap, while the bad workers get rewarded with a wad of cash. Things that make you go "hmmm".
NO WORK AT BATELCO
Because of the way that the Government handled the workers at BaTelCo, the work at BaTelCo has come to a full stop. Nothing is being done. Every worker sits at his desk saying to him or herself; I am waiting for the package. They don't call Mr. Ingraham the delivery boy for nothing.
BANKS BALK AT BATELCO PAYOUT
The story going around town is that Hubert Ingraham and his hapless Minister of Finance Bill Allen are shopping around town trying to find the tens of millions which will be required to pay all the BaTelCo workers their so-called separation packages. The banks have indicated that they are reluctant to finance Mr. Ingraham's expensive project, put in some quarters at a cost of nearly 70 million. The Government handled this whole sale of BaTelCo so stupidly because the payout is so expensive, anything that they will make on the sale will be lost when set off against the payout of the workers. Further, any company looking at buying BaTelCo must wonder what in fact is left, what secret time bomb has some disgruntled employee put into the BaTelCo computers which will sabotage the whole operation? That's what happens when Ingraham tries to run everything himself.
AND SPEAKING OF WILLIAM ALLEN
The talk around town is that Earl Deveaux may be unfairly catching all of the heat for the med fly debacle. It turns out that Customs stopped the shipment of the mangoes in The Bahamas several weeks ago, and neglected to tell the Ministry of Agriculture. So Bill Allen, the Minister for Customs, has to share some blame for the mango disaster. This past week, the Ministry of Agriculture released a picture of one of its staff members putting up a med flytrap. That is to assure the public that they did not mess up when they opened the containers of mangoes from Peru, even though they knew there was no certificate saying that the mangoes were not free of med flies.
MEANWHILE AT THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
A witch hunt is being conducted by the officials at the Ministry to determine who is giving information to this columnist about what is going on there. This is typical of the FNM administration. Rather than check the facts to see if they are correct and deal with the issue, they want to plug the leak. It is reported that they called in the Director of Agriculture Carl Smith (pictured) and questioned him on two occasions to find out if he is the sources of the leaks. Please, Minister, this columnist has not spoken to Carl Smith in over a year. What we do know is that Carl Smith, the Director of Agriculture sat in a recent seminar down in the audience like any other regular employee while other officials of the Department and Ministry conducted an employee seminar. He was a guest like everyone else. The Minister has to answer the question: why is the Director of Agriculture being snubbed?
YOUNG GRAND BAHAMIAN RELEASED
After a nearly nine month ordeal, the magistrate at the preliminary inquiry into an allegation of homicide in Grand Bahama released the son of a good friend of ours. It was one of the happy occasions of the week. The case pointed out how unfair the law can be on innocent people. It also pointed to the need for a remand centre in Grand Bahama, so that persons accused of crimes don't have to be flown up and down on Bahamasair every time they are needed for the PI in Freeport. In fact, there needs to be a jail built in Freeport.
BOMB SCARE AT THE NASSAU GUARDIAN
The Nassau Guardian has this aggressive campaign it is running to attack The Tribune. The thrust of its advertising campaign is because The Tribune has a copy of the Miami Herald slipped inside its pages that means that the paper is not a Bahamian paper. The Guardian claims that it is a true Bahamian paper, with the decisions being made in The Bahamas. That has got to be the biggest, most bold-faced lie ever told. The facts do not show that at all. The Perry group out of West Palm Beach controls the Guardian and the decisions are made in West Palm Beach. On the night of 27 April there was a bomb scare at the Nassau Guardian. People were asked to leave the building. Only one fool stayed inside, that is the big buffoon Oswald Brown. If a bomb had gone off, then what? The Prime Minister would have still been crying, after having lost his chief propaganda man at the Guardian. Mr. Brown should not do that to the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the bomb scare is a tactic that is probably a result of the labour unrest at The Guardian. No word yet about the company fun day. This is the day when all The Guardian's workers are supposed to join in happiness at the beach to contemplate what a good company The Guardian is. No doubt, it will be a day of commiseration instead. Workers, if they come, will be thinking of the thirty people fired from the Guardian two months ago.
THE NEWSPAPER WARS
The Guardian claims that it has 80,000 readers. In their dreams! The Tribune claims that its circulation has increased some 23 per cent in the month of April over the same period last year. Who is telling the truth? One street vendor says that The Tribune is by far the biggest seller. The vendors say the Guardian is finished as a paper because they don't come out on time, and they force vendors to go to the bank to pay their money for The Guardian. Well we shall see. Stay tuned to the web.
SENATOR WILCHCOMBE ON THE RADIO
On Monday 26 April, Senator Obie Wilchcombe began the first show of a one-year contract with MORE FM radio in New Providence. It is a call in talk show. It got off to a good start with former Deputy Prime Minister of The Bahamas Arthur D. Hanna as the guest. Those in Nassau should give a listen to 94.4 FM in Nassau from 10 am, to 12 noon, Monday to Friday for Senator Wilchcombe's show. This columnist is scheduled to appear on Steve McKinney's show on Friday 7 April at 12 noon to talk about constitutional reform. Alfred Sears is expected to be a guest as well.
BARBARA PIERRE NEW PLP SECRETARY GENERAL
Barbara Pierre, former Director of Immigration, has been appointed Secretary General of the Progressive Liberal Party. She succeeds Calsey Johnson who resigned his post in 1998. Mrs. Pierre will be working out of Gambier House and will be responsible for the co-ordination of the party's work. Congratulations to her!
A SECOND BREAK FOR DR. RONALD KNOWLES
It was described as a freak accident. Week before last Dr. Ronald Knowles, the Minister of Health, was descending stairs in the Ministry of Education when he slipped and fell. He broke his arm in the same place that it was broken in a car accident last year. We wish him a speedy recovery.
PAHO REPRESENTATIVE LEAVING
Thanks to our gracious host Organization of American States (OAS) Ambassador Wesley Kirton, we had a wonderful time at a farewell luncheon for outgoing Pan-American Health Organization representative Dr. Claudette Harry. Dr. Harry has been in The Bahamas for six years. This columnist spoke on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, who could not attend. This side lauded Dr. Harry for her work in public education, especially PAHO's technical assistance given in helping to break the cycle of ignorance on the AIDS epidemic. Dr. Harry is headed for a new post in Trinidad. We wish her luck and Godspeed.
SIMEON HALL RE-ELECTED TO
HEAD CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
There seems to be no end to intrigue in The Bahamas. Not even in the church affairs. Simeon Hall, the newly re-elected leader of the Christian Council, accused some of running a smear campaign in the press to discredit him. He said that there were scandalous allegations made about his personal life which were untrue. He said that there was a similar pattern just before last year's elections. The question is; who generates these scandals? Some of the Council members point the finger at an ambitious senior cleric in one of the established churches. They say that he claimed to have a copy of a statement and was calling allies to come and read it. Not likely, but it shows how politics in the
church is like politics in the state. The Council says it ain't so; the police say it ain't so; Rev. Hall says it ain't so. So it ain't so. That is that. Rev. Hall was voted in unanimously and without opposition. Both the Catholic and Anglican Bishops were silent on the whole matter.
A REAL DRY SEASON
After last year's wet winter season, this year rainfall for the first four months of the year was said to be fifty per cent below last year. There were forest fires reported in Grand Bahama and New Providence. The earth was bone-dry up to last week. Farmers are to get drought relief from Earl Deveaux's Ministry. The complaint is that crops in Long Island and North Eleuthera have been lost. The aid from the Government is a little too late. That is what life is like in Earl Deveaux's Ministry of Agriculture. Always behind the eight ball. The drought broke on 28 April in New Providence. There is still plenty of rain needed, but you can feel and see the difference as quickly as that.
P. ANTHONY WHITE'S DENIAL
The web site hadn't had a chance to breathe yet, before P. Anthony White was in The Tribune (Monday 29 April), denying that he was Fredricka Fraser, the "lady" who has a crush on this columnist; who keeps those letters coming to The Tribune. No one said Mr. White was Fredricka Fraser. Further, we simply missed a generation by saying that he had a sister named Fredricka. Perhaps he can tells us if he has any family at all named Fredricka. We stand by the story. That story is that Fredricka Fraser is not a real person but a malicious and wicked individual using a nom-de-plume to hide the fact that the person is an FNM propagandist. The writer thinks the thing is of importance to this columnist, but if the person does; then they deceive themselves. It is an amusement. Keep it up. Got your waters running though? Poor dumb stupid Fredricka Fraser. Keep it up.
EARL DEVEAUX'S PR CAMPAIGN
The Tribune of 1 May had a picture of Earl Deveaux in North Andros, his constituency, stooping in a field, holding onions in his hand. The headline was that the future of farming is in the Family Islands. This is such a great revelation. ( Read with dripping sarcasm ). It only goes to show how effective we are becoming. The Minster now has a PR blitz to counter the bad publicity. But that can't save him in Andros. But pray tell: what is there new in growing onions in The Bahamas? We have been growing onions in this country for a generation. And that's what the Minister of Agriculture in 1999 is showing us he is proud of having accomplished. Things that make you go "hmmm"
CALLING IN A SCOTTISH MAGISTRATE
The legal fraternity was up in quiet arms this week when it was learned to the consternation of many that Renee McKay, the Bahamian Magistrate was not to be confirmed as a magistrate. Further that a Scottish-born magistrate is coming to replace her. This puts us right back to colonial times, and that of the United Bahamian Party, when British men were imported into the colony to do justice for the natives. The Chief Justice ought to be thoroughly ashamed of herself that this has happened during her tenure. The FNM and their bull-headed leader Hubert Ingraham ought to be doubly
ashamed. But of course, Mr. Ingraham is shameless. What else is new? The FNM back bench is happy that Ms. McKay is gone. They say that this was a just reward for her freeing Columbus Tavern owner Kugler who was charged by police with shooting at a Paradise Island airplane. Ms. McKay acquitted him of the charge. FNMs were furious and vowed to get her. Now they have been successful. That goes to show you about this Government, if you don't like a decision of a judge then get rid of them.
AND THEN THE AUSTRALIAN JUDGE
Rent-a-Judge from Australia is turning out to be an unmitigated disaster. This week, this columnist reported how practitioners were up in arms because Mister Justice Nathan is apparently a man with a mission. That mission is to clear up a backlog. Backlog to the Government, the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Nathan is cases that have been inactive since before 1993. How stupid! Backlog means only one thing: when a case is ready for trial one wants to find a judge, and they have not solved that problem. They are worrying about cases, which the parties have no interest in bringing forward. It is a shameful travesty what is going in this man's court. There are reports of insulting language to counsel. He does not appear properly robed, nor does he want counsel robed before him. He is flouting the traditions of our court. He called one female lawyer who complained about him to the Chief Justice " impertinent ". Stupid Fredricka Fraser, a.k.a. FNM protagonist, says that the backlog is going to be eliminated. All that will happen is that the backlog is going to be transferred to the Court of Appeal. But then we forgot, Hubert Ingraham appointed every one there too, so one guesses that so-called backlog will be gotten rid of by the wave of a magic wand. What a country.
JUDGE EXPLAINS WHY NO ROBES
It was laughable and certainly pathetic. The reason why Mr. Justice Nathan from Australia did not wear his proper robes in court, and wore instead a tweed jacket was because someone stole his robes. What a laugh! So that means that The Bahamas court is so poor that it did not have a spare set of robes for the justice to wear. What a country!
REGISTRAR OF THE SUPREME COURT HELPLESS
This Mr. Justice Nathan has been calling up cases from the pre-1993 period. The Court has no authority to do so, but it is being done anyway. When no one appears, then they strike matters out. The Registrar of the Supreme Court apparently has no say over the bringing up of cases or the setting down of cases. What a wonderful time we will all have with the Court of Appeal. The problem is Rent-A-Judge Nathan will be long gone, sitting back in good old Aussie style sucking back a Fosters, feet up cooling in the breeze of Sydney harbour, and laughing about how the natives were so stupid back in little Nassau.
IN DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT HOUSE
A regular reader of this column tells us we got it wrong on the Government House issue, i.e. the High Commissioner for India unlike what we asserted last week, does in fact present credentials to the Governor-General. The reason, our informant says, is that India is a Republic. Best wishes and Godspeed to our informant.
NATIONAL ADDRESS BACKFIRES
Hubert Ingraham knew that Huedley Moss was facing an election on Friday 30 April. He scheduled his national address on Thursday evening, threatened the workers, told them that their leader was the only one holding out for a settlement, and in fact tried to persuade them to move Mr. Moss. It had the exact opposite affect. Mr. Moss, pictured in this Bahama Journal photo, was elected unanimously and unopposed.
HUBERT INGRAHAM SUFFERING FROM UNION FATIGUE
Hubert Ingraham told union leaders that he will get them if it is the last thing that he does. He told the leaders that they have successfully demonized him in the minds of the Bahamian people, for that he will never forgive him. Guess what? By the time you get to pay back, your behind will be long gone! And not a moment too soon.
OWEN BETHEL ATTACKS BAHAMIANIZATION
One has to be careful that we don't all begin to suffer from the Clarence Thomas syndrome. Mr. Thomas is the Black American Supreme Court Justice who benefited from affirmative action programs designed to redress racial bias in hiring and education. The first thing he did when he obtained power was to turn against affirmative action. That's what many young Bahamian professionals are doing today. What was remarkable was an address to Rotary where Owen Bethel, one our brightest and best, says that Bahamianization must be rethought. He believed that the concept was outmoded and no longer suited to the nineties. So why then are these people complaining about the town being sold out to foreigners? Why does the Bahamian now feel like a stranger in his own land? And what then is the point of a nation-state if one has no preference in your own country? Someone needs to have a good talk with that man.
Note from the Publisher
Lilla A. Mitchell, mother of this columnist is dead. She collapsed on Tuesday 4 May at 99 Collins Avenue, her home since 1953. She is survived by her husband Frederick A. Mitchell Sr., her children including this columnist, Robert Ian, Marva and Mathew Mitchell and Carla Mitchell-Seymour. She had nine grandchildren. Simply put a great light has gone out of the lives of our family. We are comforted to some extent that her long period of suffering, and devastating, unrelenting and unmanageable pain is over. We miss her terribly but we live in the expectation that we shall meet again. On behalf of our family, we appreciate all the words of encouragement and sympathy that have been received during this week.
SHIPPEN BRIGHT OF THE OFFICE OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has been in The Bahamas since Tuesday 4 May. While in The Bahamas, he has been meeting with officials in both the public and private sector with a view to the establishment of a Bahamas Public Service fellowship. The fellowship, if established, will allow a Bahamian student to attend the Kennedy School for one year with all expenses paid, including living and books for the year. We are seeking to endow the scholarship for a term of five years at $50,000 per year. A Bahamian who wishes to be anonymous has issued a challenge pledge of $25,000 to start the campaign. Shippen hosted a luncheon at Buena Vista on Tuesday with this columnist and business leaders. This columnist graduated from the Kennedy School with a Masters in Public Administration in 1980.
A READER OF THIS column from 100 JAMZ through an e-mail to this writer, sought to challenge the fact that there were 14, 239 hits to this site in the month of April. He brought to the fore several definitions of access to sites, but the underlying assumption of the provision of the information is that we are somehow deceiving ourselves or our readers that more individual computers or individual readers are actually accessing the site. Let us make the position absolutely clear, the hits, which we record, are not cumulative of each different page within the site. We reveal only the number of times that the main web page has been accessed. The main site is a continuous run of information. One can make what one will of what 14,239 hits. But we do not claim anything more than this site was accessed that number of times. We also know that numerous copies of the site are provided on paper and circulated around town. We go further and say we have thousands of readers of this column per month. It seems a little petty to suggest that perhaps one person is sitting there accessing the site with one computer 14,239 time per month. That's seems to be the spin of the FNM. Translation, the site is being effective.
FOR THE MONTH OF MAY WE HAVE 3606
HITS TO THIS SITE.
INGRAHAM MUST EXPLAIN WHAT HE TOLD BEC UNION
The leaders of the Trade Union Congress met with the Prime Minister on Wednesday 5 May. The following day they reported that the Prime Minister told them in a meeting that one of the reasons that a legal matter between the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and a member of the Union was not being solved was because of the law firm that was representing the worker. It was reported that the Prime Minister said that the attorney involved was interested in becoming a Member of Parliament and was a politician. We do not print the name of the litigant here but it must be made clear to the Union and to the Prime Minister that at no time does politics interfere with the work that is done by the firm in which this columnist is a partner. This action by Mr. Ingraham needs some explanation because the result is that the Union has the impression that the lawyer who is working on the matter, which happens not to be this columnist, is somehow not doing a professional job. It is a pure act of spite and victimization against a young man doing his job. The Prime Minister only increases the list of persons who despise him for his hypocrisy when he makes stupid gratuitous remarks such as that in that meeting. We urge the Prime Minister once again to learn to behave like a Prime Minister. After all, he accused Pindling of doing the same thing that he is now doing, taking bread out of the mouth a young Bahamian attorney who is not a politician and has no present interest in any seat in the House of Assembly.
CHARLES SAUNDERS PREDICTS CHRISTIE TO BE PM
The Rev. Dr. Charles Saunders in an impressive three-hour long service at Salem Baptist Church on Sunday 2 May, celebrated 25 years as Pastor of that Church. He was widely acknowledged and lauded by persons from a wide cross section of the community. These persons included the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. In his response to the remarks of the congregation including the dignitaries, Rev. Saunders said to Perry Christie that he must, he will, he shall succeed at being Prime Minister. The Tribune reported the story. It caused consternation amongst FNMs who immediately rang up the good reverend to seek an explanation of his remarks. Congratulations to Dr. Saunders.
TEACHER'S UNION PRESIDENT SEEKS RE-ELECTION
Kingsley Black, President of the 2400 member Bahamas Union of Teachers, is facing an election campaign with four opponents. He is confident that he will survive what is expected to be his last battle for the leadership of the Union. Mr. Black has led the Union through tumultuous times, taking over from now Director of Labour Donald Symonette. He became its President during the transition from the PLP to the FNM in Government.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN FREEPORT?
This is a very enigmatic time in Freeport. There is talk on the street, a feeling everywhere you go that things are not quite what they should be. On the one hand there is the foreign business community, the FNM Government and the representatives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority who are claiming that all is well and that there is a boom going on. Yet underneath Freeport, there is an underclass of people who are workers in the Freeport economy and Bahamian businessmen who are suffering from the long economic drought that has been the condition of Freeport. Now comes another twist. The leadership of the Grand Bahama Port Authority is without exception septuagenarian Sir Jack Hayward has all but retired. Edward St. George is recovering from two eye operations. Albert Miller while in excellent health has been talking about slowing down. Enter the new faces at the Port Authority building. This is the crowd that has come in to manage the new investment of Hutchinson Whampoa. Whampoa is the Hong Kong-based company that has agreed to put some 500 million into Freeport. That was mainly at Edward St. George's George's bidding. Mr. St. George himself is still high on the city. Those close to him say that no control has been relinquished. But everywhere the character of the city seems to be changing from one that was a fiefdom with a largely benevolent lord at the helm, from a company town with a benevolent boss to a town run by unfeeling bureaucrats. The question is who will be the next Edward St. George or does Freeport need one? The difference can be cited like this. In the old days, if something went wrong you marched down to the Port Building and had a word with Edward and he would straighten it out. Now one has the impression that every decision requires cables from Hong Kong before a decision can be made. That is the public policy question, which the Opposition needs to consider as the next Government of The Bahamas. We would like to hear from our readers in Freeport what you think is going to happen and what we ought to do about it. The Opposition PLP would like to enter into a dialogue with the people of Freeport including the leaders of the Grand Bahama Port Authority on the future of Freeport.
MOM ASKS FOR ROADS TO BE FIXED
One of the last conversations that this columnist had with his mother was about the roads in Collins Avenue. She wanted to see Perry Christie, the Member of Parliament for Centreville where she lived. The state of that road is typical of the situation throughout New Providence. All the roads are chewed up from one public corporation or another working on the road. They are in the worst state in years. The point is that there is a double standard being employed in the repair of the roads after the corporations have chewed them up. On the Eastern Road, the Government hired a private company to fix the roads. Over-the-hill, they simply let people suffer until the Ministry of Public Works can get around to fixing the roads. There is something definitely wrong with that. The Water and Sewerage Corporation have just chewed up Collins Avenue. It has been a week since they finished. The dust is intolerable, and it's hell on your shocks. Let's see how long this one is going to take to fix.
MEANWHILE OUTSIDE GWENDOLYN HOUSE
The sidewalk is broken in two places outside the firm Gwendolyn House on Dowdeswell Street. How long will it take before the Ministry of Public Works repairs the sidewalk. Who is checking to see if the sidewalks and roads are kept in good repair?
HUEDLEY MOSS RE-ELECTED HEAD OF WATER WORKERS UNION
Hubert Ingraham went to the country with another desperate national address. This time it was to tell the country how good his Government is on the environment. He said that his Government has not sold the country out to foreigners. Yeah right! In the meantime, news emerged of sinister plan on the part of Mr. Ingraham to discredit trade union leader Huedley Moss. Mr. Moss was re-elected unopposed as head of the union workers at the Water and Sewerage Corporation. Mr. Ingraham's national address on the water workers dispute occurred on 30 April, the night before the nominations were to take place. In it, he accused Huedley Moss of being the problem why the dispute between the Government and the Union could not be solved. It was designed to destabilize Mr. Moss. It failed, and Mr. Moss was elected by acclamation on nomination day last Friday 30 April. So take that Ingraham. Congratulations Mr. Moss!
SIGNS OF FNM SCHISM
Keen observers at the Exuma Family Island Regatta two weekends ago said that it looks like the FNM is headed for a schism when Mr. Ingraham, its present leader demits office. Mr. Ingraham, if you remember, said that he does not plan to succeed himself after the next General Election. They say at the regatta one part of the FNM hardly spoke to the other. Surrounding Mr. Ingraham were Tommy Turnquest, Minister of Public Works and Anthony 'Boozy' Rolle, Minister of State for Public Enterprises. There was Tennyson Wells and his crew on the other side. Not even a word of pleasant greeting. One side confirmed: " we don't speak to each other." Keep watching this space. It appears now that Mr. Ingraham has decided that Frank Watson ought to succeed him. He believes that by choosing Watson he will nullify the anti-third force FNM forces, while at the same time nominating a pliant successor. In this scenario Tommy Turnquest is to become Deputy Prime Minister. That would be a neat hat trick indeed. Tennyson Wells is said to have a large war chest, and he intends to use it with aplomb to win the great prize. We shall see.
U.S. CONVENTION TAX
There appears to be some movement in the upper ranks of the Government including the Prime Minister and the hapless Minister of Finance on the question of the exchange of tax information treaty that the U.S. wants signed before The Bahamas can take advantage of conventions business from the U.S. Sol Kerzner needs the problem of conventions business solved if he is to commit to another 2000 rooms for Paradise Island. Although he has publicly said that he does not need the U.S. convention business, privately he wants the business. P. I. has been set up to compete with Las Vegas. There some 75 per cent of the business is convention business. Because The Bahamas does not have this exchange of information tax treaty on U.S. citizens, the convention business cannot take advantage of the tax write off benefits available when businesses from the United States have conventions in The Bahamas. The information exchange has been a no no because, it is felt that it will affect the offshore financial business in The Bahamas. But with a potential further 2000 rooms for PI and with Hutchison ready to commit to another 500 rooms in Freeport, if the convention business can come here, the ground appears to be shifting. What is being said is that U.S. citizens who want to hide money don't come to The Bahamas any way. First, any IRS man can waltz into a bank in The Bahamas and get, on the quiet, any information they want. Secondly, most Bahamian banks already make U.S. citizens sign a waiver which says that if the U.S. Government wants information they can disclose that information to the U.S. Government. Many banks in The Bahamas won't even take the offshore business of U.S. citizens because it causes too many problems for them. So the argument now goes that since the effect is going to be negligible, and the non-U.S. citizens who bank here won't be affected what does it matter whether we have this tax exchange treaty. There is a lobbying effort going on, and Hubert Ingraham is said to be receptive to the idea. We shall wait to see what happens.
THE BUSINESS OF DEATH
By the time this site appears on Sunday 9 May, we shall have buried our mother. Our father will have buried his wife of 48 years. He is a stoic fellow and is taking it in that light. She was a take-charge person, and we have that view about getting on with life, even as we miss her command and control. For years, in this space, this writer has been writing about care for the aged. It is horrendously expensive with no public policy being developed in this area by the Government or the Opposition. With the graying of the Bahamian population predicted in the next century, in fact, already in place, it is clear that we need to take some steps by way of public policy to deal with the issue of care for the aged. Looking back on what our mother suffered, there was quite apart from the physical, the question of the psychological support, which is needed. The fact that she was not mobile but still mentally agile left loneliness, depression. The mind was willing but the body was weak. It makes you want to reexamine the relationships between generations. What is clear is that the Pope is absolutely right about it being our moral duty to care for the aged and infirmed. We cannot make the decisions about life or death. It is our duty to take care of all life, not destroy it.
HEALTH CARE AND INSURANCE FOR THE AGED
You can be assured that if this columnist ever gets a chance to make policy, and that means if the PLP wins the next election, then there must be a policy to deal with health insurance for the aged. Right now, once you reach the age 65 you lose all your right to health insurance in this country. That is not right and something should be done about it.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING
The passing of our mother also tells us that the end of an era is at hand. It is the end of an era for our family, and more broadly it shows that there is a changing of the guard for the valley community which settled in around St. George's Anglican Church in the early 1950s. There are very few of the old families left. The children have mostly moved out, the area has become mainly commercial. It used to be when we were small that if you said the Mitchell's house in Collins Avenue that meant something. It was like a landmark. You could say the same for Freddie Munning's house or the Seymours or Perry Christie's house. You could also use Dr. Francis Adderley's law office as a landmark for Collins Ave. Today all of that has changed. Today if you try to use even St. George's Anglican Church as a landmark, it often brings a blank stare to many young people. There is not much that you can do about it expect lament the change but try to keep up with it. It also amazes you how younger people do not seem to know the street names in New Providence, not even where they live, not even the major street names. Today you see people walking the streets, young men and women and you have no idea from their look who they are and where they are coming from. There are strangers everywhere. This is The Bahamas that those of us in our forties are governing. It is like the wild wild west, full of excitement and change, but something is missing in all this change. It is like the place has become soulless and unrecognizable. And as this message is tapped out on a computer which twenty years ago would have been a portable electric typewriter and twenty years before that would have been a portable manual typewriter, what can you do but adjust to change? Our mother liked to see the many changes in our society and helped to bring some of them about. She has run her race, and done well. We would have liked you to see the year 2000, but that was not to be. Farewell! We live in the hope that we shall see you again soon and very soon.
LATE NEWS FROM THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE:
Staff members at the Ministry of Agriculture are stunned at the Minister of Agriculture's latest manoeuvre. He is trying to bring disciplinary charges against the Director of Agriculture for insubordination. The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry has apparently been instructed to follow up with a letter to the Director. Of course, no one at the Ministry believes that there is any basis for any such charge. It is just a bit of sour grapes which has to do with an action by the Director to discipline a female member of staff who is connected with one of his subordinates, and who many feel acts like a law unto herself. The situation has become so fractious that the Prime Minister has now entered the fray and has summoned the Director and the Minister to the Prime Minister's office. From a public policy point of view one hopes that the Prime Minister will read the riot act to the Minister and tell him stop the foolishness and get on with the business of growing food for The Bahamas.
Note from the Publisher
We call them twiddle dum and twiddle dee. You figure out which is which. The Prime Minister and his Deputy Prime Minister. But there the pair of them was making fun of Dr. Dexter Johnson. They told the Leader of the Opposition that he could not boast of attracting the best and the brightest to the PLP and at the same time head up the new National Progressive Institute with Dr. Dexter Johnson. Well look who's talking. Dr. Dexter Johnson first qualified as a surgeon. He left medicine and a successful practice to become an attorney. He is a successful legal practitioner. Now what do these two fellows twiddle dum and twiddle dee have to show for themselves. Just compare them to Dexter Johnson. Some people really have a nerve.
THE EXPRESSIONS OF SYMPATHY keep coming in for the mother of this columnist Lilla A. Mitchell who died on 4 May and was buried in the Eastern Cemetery after a service at Holy Spirit Anglican Church on 7 May. We plan to include a copy of the service booklet on the web and notify her friends so that those overseas that could not make it can pick up the booklet from the web.
THE BAHAMAS PETROLEUM RETAILERS ASSOCIATION expects to release a comprehensive statement on the situation as it now relates to Doyle Fox and the relationship with Texaco. If you remember Texaco unceremoniously kicked Doyle Fox one of their best dealers out of the service station on the coast at East Bay Street New Providence. They ended up paying a six-figure settlement according to the press. The BPRA must not let Texaco forget that they will have to pay for their treachery.
BATELCO WORKERS flooded the Steve McKinney talk show on Friday 14 May when this columnist appeared on the program. We talked about the labour situation in the country. The workers at BaTelCo are unhappy. NOW COMES A REPORT that seven members of the senior executive team over the age of fifty were called in on Monday 10 May by the Prime Minister and told that they had to submit their resignations immediately, that they should write for the disengagement package. They were told that the Government would offer them two and a half years salary but they had to go immediately. This was followed up by more precise bad news by the Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday 11 May. The executives are reeling. One hopes that the workers and voters of this country remember this FNM Government for this treachery.
THIS MONTH WE HAVE 5886 hits up to this morning.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS STAFF ASHAMED OF THEIR MINISTER
This columnist is Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs. The Minister for Foreign Affairs Janet Bostwick appears to have a pathological hatred for this columnist and refuses to share information with this spokesman for the Opposition. Staff at the Ministry has reported various matters. First, they are upset that she did not stand up for Luther Smith, former Permanent Secretary and George Stewart former Director General but let them be sacrificed for Hubert Ingraham's bad management style. But the latest gaffe is alleged to have taken place at a reception being held by the new High Commissioner for Nigeria to The Bahamas Wednesday 5 May at Buena Vista. A staff member was seen collecting a plate at the hotel and carrying food from the buffet to the Minister's car. Perhaps food was needed at home for the Minister? Bad form but just like this crew now in power. Dressed up but don't know how to behave when they go out.
THIS AUSTRALIAN JUDGE
We have called it rent-a-judge. The Government of The Bahamas imported into The Bahamas an Australian Justice whose name is Nathan. He has insulted many Bahamian counsel by his conduct in court, and one time appeared in open court in a tweed jacket instead of his robes, using as the excuse that his robes were stolen. There are too many reports of rough justice in his court. Thank God he is said to be leaving on 4 June. Too many people are complaining that cases have been called up when the parties have no interest in calling them up, further that settlements are being pushed down the throats of litigants without proper trials. Those decisions are being made in too snappy a fashion. It appears that the Court of Appeal is going to be clogged with cases as a result of this bad experiment. The business community should be alarmed about this, but not a peep.Tribune Photo
THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PLANS FTAA SEMINAR
It was a very curious (Guardian photo) picture at the start of the week. The representatives of the Chamber of Commerce of The Bahamas, the Organization of American States and the Inter American Development Bank all announced that there is going to be a seminar on the Free Trade of the Americas Agreement which is going to revolutionize trade in The Bahamas and the hemisphere by 2005. The opening rounds of negotiations are going on now and the business community is trying to make sure that every one is abreast of what is going on. The problem is when you look at the list of speakers there is not one person who is a part of the Opposition officially or any Opposition spokesman. It is incredible that no one would ask the view of the PLP be put forward on these matters. No one seems to realize that the whole political direction of the country could change in 2002 and whatever is now planned can be unplanned. Just a suggestion: do not count the Opposition out. Guardian Photo. American Ambassdor Arthur Schector seated second from left. Also pictured from left Neil McKinney,Wesley Kirton, and Hugo Souza.
IDB HAS OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC STATUS
The Government of The Bahamas and the Inter American Development Bank have signed the protocol, which will extend diplomatic status to staff of the bank in The Bahamas. The bank has loaned over two hundred million dollars to The Bahamas for developmental purposes. There are many other loans in the pipeline. We are grateful for the assistance to the Bank of The Bahamas. The agreement is long overdue. The IDB has reported that poverty in The Bahamas increased under the FNM from 1992 to the present. So much for the economy doing well. Guardian Photo. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Janet Bostwick and Mr. Hugo Souza (IDB).
THE FNM AND UNEMPLOYMENT
The FNM true to form has been dancing up and down about unemployment. This column predicted that by the end of the year they would simply announce that there is full employment. Now they say that the unemployment figure is 7.7 per cent which is the lowest in living memory. They say that by 2002 there will be full employment, which one supposes will mean under five per cent. The Trade Unions call this disinformation. The underemployment is significant. A National Insurance Board survey is said to have shown that household income in The Bahamas has on average fallen 3000 dollars since the FNM has come to office. That must account for all the disgruntlement in the country, and the dissatisfaction with the FNM. Many people are working in jobs in which their capacities are underutilized and for which they are not getting proper salaries. They are drowning in a sea of debt. So while the rich are getting richer, the poor are drowning in poverty. All is well at the top but not at the bottom. The FNM must pay for this at election time.
SELLING THE COUNTRY OUT
The Prime Minister was so concerned about the allegation that he is selling the country out to foreigners that he had to go to the country by radio to deny this and tell us what a wonderful guy he is. A woman tells me in Fox Hill that as soon as he comes on the radio she shuts the radio off; she can't stand him or his voice. But the truth is that is the perception of the FNM Government. A friend of this columnist said in a bit of euphoria: " Well the FNM may have sold the country out to foreigners but at least this country is jumping." Another friend responded this way: " Well if you sell all your assets of course you will have cash in your pocket." But the fact is productivity is not going up in The Bahamas. We are borrowing so much money, and after all the assets are sold we will have spent all the cash and all will be looking at empty pockets at the end of the day. The FNM must pay for this at election time. The PLP must provide leadership on this question and begin to shape public opinion on it.
NEW RADIO LICENCE TO BE GIVEN
The Tribune reported this week that the Government plans changes in the broadcast industry. The plan is to grant a television license to The Nassau Guardian. That would mean that all newspaper owners except Ivan Johnson's punch will then have broadcast licenses. The Government is said to have made it a condition of the new license that P. Anthony White is to be made a partner in the venture. That is interesting with Hubert Ingraham headed for retirement. P. Anthony White for his part gave a non-denial denial to The Tribune as in he does not have a license, he does not know anything about it, people have been asking him about it, he has not applied, he would take one if he could get it. Yeah right. How about a simple no it is not true. The next allegation is that MORE FM is to lose its national license to Love 97 and Wendall Jones. Mr. Jones radio station has become the propaganda arm of the FNM in recent weeks, pushing out pro Government news even before the state owned radio station got the news. Mr. Jones is campaigning hard for the national license. The talk is that Mr. Ingraham has finally agreed to grant it to him. Then they say that Charles Carter, former PLP MP and ZNS TV and Radio executive, is to get a radio license for New Providence. That is the only sensible decision of the lot. He should have gotten it at the start before all these other persons. In fact there should be an open-air policy. Any one who wants to get a radio or television license ought to be able to get it. Instead Mr. Ingraham has made it a matter of political favour. We shall see what happens.
ATTEMPTED RIP OFF AT S. G. HAMBROS
S. G. Hambros the offshore bank and trust company on West Bay Street has had as many name changes as Elizabeth Taylor. Coutts and Co was the latest appellation before the present one. Now it has released a statement saying that a staff member at the highest levels has been fired for attempting to defraud the bank. The CID was called in, the fraud was stopped and that no harm came to the Bank. The employee has been dismissed. That employee we are told is a Bahamian. He is said to have been a favourite of the CEO. He just got a $60,000 raise within the last year. He had a two hundred thousand-dollar a year compensation package including a Lexus car to drive and travel and local expense allowance. When a Bahamian gets fired like this it has two consequences. We suffer as a class because people look at all Bahamians as thieves. Then we suffer doubly when the person is Black. They say all Black people are thieves. It is a tragedy. The problem one wants to ask is assuming the information is true what is wrong with making these huge sums of money. When you think of it the generation before us, the parent's of this columnist for example, together did not make more than $30,000 per year at their best. They built a home, educated their family and saved money for themselves. Now this present generation comes along and they make more money than their parents could have imagined in their entire life times and throw it all away. What more do we want?
GUARDIAN SHAREHOLDERS MEETING
On Wednesday 12 May, the Nassau Guardian 1844 Limited held the annual meeting of the company. It was a hostile meeting. Philip Ward a member of the Board and a lawyer for the Perry family out of West Palm Beach chaired the meeting. The Perrys have the major chunk of shares in The Guardian. He announced that the Guardian had lost 300,000 dollars last year all because of previous publisher Ken Francis. He did not mention of course that both he and Helena Perry the wife of the principal shareholder were on the board the whole time that Ken Francis was the publisher. Any losses must also be borne by them. They announced that the Guardian made 9.12 million in revenue and according to The Tribune 8.7 million in expenses and after depreciation ended up losing 300,000. So that means, they said, that no dividend will be declared, and they have no idea when one will be declared. It seems that the directors of The Nassau Guardian and the principal shareholders are trying to force the Bahamian shareholders to sell their shares at an undervalue. They are trying to force the price of the shares downward. It was learned that Mr. Ward collects $150,000 as a lawyer for the company and another $80,000 per year as a director of the company. The Nassau Guardian pays all his expenses and those of Mrs. Perry when they come here to Board meetings. If you eliminate those expenses perhaps the shareholders can get a dividend. Guardian Photo. Seated from are Patric Walkes, Helen Perry, Philip Ward III. Standing are Oswald Brown, Dorlan Collie, Elijah Knowles, Monica Collie, Gilbert Francis and Joe Gibson.
THE GUARDIAN LOSING MARKET SHARE
The problem though is not just share value. The underlying product, which is The Guardian, is bad. It has hostile relations with its shareholders and staff. It dislikes the Opposition PLP so that it discriminates against the PLP in reporting the news. It cannot get its morning paper out on time. Mr. Ward also lied to shareholders when he told them that Gladstone Thurston had volunteered to work for the afternoon newspaper The Observer, which no one now reads. Mr. Thurston is bar but a few one of the most experienced political writers in The Bahamas. Mr. Thurstone did not volunteer. He was ordered to work for The Observer where his talents and those of Tanya Smith and Odia Knowles are wasted. The newspaper has no market share. Mr. Ward also defended the stupid ad campaign in which the Nassau Guardian is promoting The Tribune every week. It is crazy that advertising pages that can be sold to outside advertisers are being given up free for ads saying what a good newspaper The Guardian is and with long quotes about what The Tribune has to say about The Guardian. The Tribune is laughing all the way to the bank with a 23 per cent increase in market share since they went to a morning edition. Shareholders ought to take legal action to restrain these people from running the company into the ground. It may be the only way to stop the newspaper from falling apart. The real question though is why is Helena Perry so interested in this little newspaper in Nassau. They keep boasting about how rich they are. What is here in Nassau that causes them to stay? We need to get to the bottom of that. A resolution by shareholder Paul Adderley to expand the board to five so that there will be a majority of Bahamian directors was voted down by the majority shareholders. What have they got to hide?
DROUGHT BREAKS IN NEW PROVIDENCE FOR TRUE
We reported some three weeks ago that the rains finally came in April. But following that burst of a cloud nothing happened for weeks. Now this past week has brought plenty of much needed rain to New Providence. The island has already started to get its green look back
BEC BLACKS US OUT
It was amazing. The first thunderstorm of the year in New Providence. Ten minutes into the storm, the power went off. The entire island was plunged into darkness, even BEC's Action line person had to laugh when this columnist asked her what were we in store for the summer if one thunderclap could knock the whole system out after ten minutes. It is pathetic. There was another power failure on Friday night 14 May just at midnight between 14 and 15 May.
FIRST FEMALE DEACON FOR ANGLICANS
Congratulations to the Rev. Deacon Angela Palacious. She is the first female deacon of the Anglican Church. The historic service took place on Tuesday 11 May at the Christ Church Cathedral in Nassau. His grace the Archbishop presided. Rev. Palacious is married to Rev. Fr. James Palacious rector of St. Matthew's Church. The Archbishop in a follow up press conference said that Rev. Angela Palacious might be ordained a priest within a year's time. There was no outcry about the ordination. Many of the critics of female ordination have been silenced or have died. The split that was expected did not materialize. It is tribute to the skills of Drexel Gomez and Michael Eldon that this has occurred. Let's hope that the Roman Catholics will be the next ones to realize the sanctity of women and their ability to bless the holy sacrament. It is untenable to discriminate against women. Women must be fully accepted at all levels of the church. The only slight worry is that typically when women start to move into a new area men start to shy away. Let us hope that we can guard against this. We need the work of both men and women together for a successful institution or society. Guardian Photo. Angela Palacious second from right.
PLP APPOINTS A CANDIDATES COMMITTEE
The Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party Senator Obie Wilchcombe has announced that the Candidates Committee of the PLP has been formed headed by PLP leader Perry Christie. Mr. Christie wants to get his people out into the field early. The Committee has already begun its work.
BANK DEPOSIT INSURANCE
The FNM Government came to Parliament on Wednesday 12 May with a Bill to give the depositors in the failed Gulf Union Bank their money back up to $50,000 of it. There are other large depositors who will not get their money back. They have also initiated an insurance bill to cover depositors in other banks. The scheme is to be policed by the Central Bank. The Treasury will have to pay for the losses to depositors at Gulf Union. No one has ever heard of an insurance scheme that pays off for loses before the insurance. That's the way Hubert Ingraham and Bill Allen use the people's money. At least one depositor is suing the Central Bank for negligence in their conduct of the policing of the bank.Guardian Photo. Tribune Photo.
B.J. NOTTAGE: THE MAC DADDY
At a press conference on Monday 10 May, the PLP representative for Kennedy Dr. Bernard Nottage announced with his allies Don Demeritte ( former PLP candidate for Adelaide) and Charles Maynard ( former PLP Vice Chairman), a new organization called MEN AGAINST CRIME or MAC. The organization's stated aim is to assist in keeping young men on the straight and narrow. It is designed to give special assistance to men and boys. The effort is laudable. Both daily morning papers speculated about the true nature of MAC. Some suggested that this was a stalking horse for Dr. Nottage's much talked about foray into a third party. Dr. Nottage was coy about it. We must resist the temptation to be drawn into this third party business, except to say each man has to do what he has to learn for himself what the realities of life are. Tribune Photo. The Hon Dr. Bernard Nottage middle, left Charles Maynard and right Don Demeritte.
DR. GEORGE SHERMAN HEAD OF HOSPITAL
The Government has announced that Dr. George Sherman is to be the new head of the Public Hospitals Authority. This is a new public corporation that will run all the public hospitals in the country including Sandilands, the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau, and the Rand in Freeport. The Prime Minister says that all staff will be transferred to the new authority without loss of benefits or seniority for two years and then it will be decided who will stay and who must go back to the public service. You can imagine the victimization that will take place then. The Prime Minister says that 90 million dollars will be transferred to run the hospitals annually from the Treasury. Tribune photo. Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham left and Dr. George Sherman right.
Note from the Publisher
THERE IS AN AIR OF SOURNESS IN THE COUNTRY. THE PRIME MINISTER IS OBVIOUSLY AN UNHAPPY MAN. HE HAS THE MENTALITY OF A SLAVE WHO HAS SOLD HIS PEOPLE OUT. THIS WEEK HE ATTACKED FOREIGNERS AT LYFORD CAY AND CHARLES ROLLE THE PRESIDENT OF THE BEC UNION AND THE BAHAMIANS WHO OPPOSE THE DEVELOPMENT AT CLIFTON CAY. POOR FELLOW! PEOPLE ARE ANGRY. WE EXPECT AN EXPLOSION.
HUBERT INGRAHAM AND JANET BOSTWICK have to get the 'Idiots of The Month" award for their cowardly attack on the Rev. C. B. Moss, the PLP's candidate in 1997 for Bain Town and now head of the Coalition to Save Clifton Cay. Both the Prime Minister and his idle Minister of Foreign Affairs called Rev. Moss a liar. It is simply outrageous that these so-called leaders use the privilege of Parliament to attack well-meaning citizens like Rev. Moss and Charles Rolle. Boorish is the favourite word to attach to the Prime Minister. It looks as if Janet Bostwick is following in his footsteps. She won't do her job as Minister of Foreign Affairs but would rather get up in other people's business. This week we have a full analysis of this crew.
AS TO WHO REALLY is the liar? Well clearly Mr. Ingraham and his Government must be amongst those who qualify. They have been telling the Bahamian public that no decision was made on Clifton Cay when clearly a decision has been made to grant the development permission to go ahead. Reports reaching us say that survey teams are out in Clifton Cay. The decision is contemptible but the decision to lie about it is one that will earn them all a special place in hell.
WE ARE SEEKING WAYS TO IMPROVE THE SITE. This will soon include we hope a new design to make the site download faster. We also want to add audio commentary. We want to also add surveys to make the whole exercise more interesting. Let's hope that these changes can come in they next few weeks and months.
Up to this morning we have had 9508 hits on the site for the
month of May. Thank you and keep reading.
SCANDAL AT THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
The biggest story by far this week has to be the theft of the Ministry of Education's biology exams which has now resulted in the cancellation and voiding of all BGCSE exam papers for 1999. All sixteen examinations have to be done over again. New exams have to be designed. Teachers will have to be recalled. Students will have to re-sit work that they thought they could consign to the scrap heap. Three students at St. Anne's High School including the head boy were expelled from the school as a result of the incident. Other schools said to be involved are St. John's College, Queens' College and St. Andrew's.
THE PLP'S PERRY CHRISTIE has called for a full investigation into the matter. This is a terrible blight on The Bahamas. It shows that our young people are too easily corrupted. The exams were being sold at $1,000 per pop by some accounts and by other at $20 per exam. The Ministry ought to examine whether or not past exam papers may have suffered the same fate. This happened on the FNM's watch. There has been inexcusable sloppiness by someone, and those who are guilty must be made to account for their wrongdoing.
THE QUOTE OF WEEK FROM INGRAHAM:
" Eat your mutton and shut your mouth." That's what the PM said to BaTelCo employees on Thursday night 20 May as he kicked them out of BaTelCo at a banquet at Government House. By the way sources tell us that Mr. Ingraham arranged the use of Government House without the permission of the Governor General. Sir Orville was sunning on the beach with his grandchildren on Sunday 16 May when the PM called up and told him what was going to happen at Government House during the week. This is a case of the tail wagging the dog.
FAKE UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES
The Government of the Bahamas under Hubert Ingraham is trying to convince the people of The Bahamas that unemployment has fallen to 7.7 per cent. They have their minions out every week saying that there will be full employment by 2002. In their dreams! The fact is that youth unemployment is 24 per cent. They have been unable to do anything about that. Further the trade unions are concerned about underemployment where people are working at salaries that are too low, working at jobs below their dignity and capacity for work. The Unions are also concerned about a report, which says that household income in The Bahamas has fallen by 3000 dollars per year since the FNM came to power. We know for sure that the Inter American Development Bank has reported that poverty has increased in The Bahamas since the FNM came to office. So much for better better!
CAMPAIGN TO SAVE HUBERT'S REPUTATION
Each week this columnist takes about half a dozen calls asking him to lay off Hubert Ingraham. The callers claim that we are too harsh on Mr. Ingraham that it has clearly become personal. Further they claim that what is written upsets the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has his copy downloaded very week. That sounds like it might be true since the Prime Minister is a reading addict. The problem we have thought is finding something redeeming to say about a fellow who has no scruples. He will do anything to remain in power. He came up to Fox Hill and lied through both sides of his mouth, gerrymandered the Fox Hill boundaries and he continues to lobby the Leader of the Opposition to dismiss this columnist from the Senate. There is a special place in hell for someone like that. Every chance we get, there be a bat from hell waiting for him. Sorry fellas! He is out to kill this writer. This is a pure act of self-defence.
C.A. SMITH'S MAN CAN'T GET PAID
Johnny Kemp's only hit song has a line that begins: "It's Friday night. I just got paid." Unfortunately for many of the Bahamian contractors in Grand Bahama who have been working on the Hutchison Lucaya site in Freeport, the subcontractor hired by Hutchison has left town and did not pay several Bahamians contractors. This was just at the rumour stage until Everett Marshall; one of C. A, Smith's generals was forced to go to the newspaper to complain that a Hutchison subcontractor owes him money. The press asked C. A., the Minister of Tourism, about it. There was openly a lot of blubber and fill coming out his mouth. In other words, CA could do nothing to get his general his money. That's better better for you!
MEANWHILE THE LAUNDRY PROJECT GOES AHEAD
Forrester Carroll, the PLP's candidate for Lucaya in the 1997 General Election, made a statement this week condemning Hutchison for building a huge laundry plant smack dab in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. The Port Authority and Hutchison tried to defend it by saying that they had permission and that the area was zoned commercial. But the residents should know that this does not mean that the place should be a nuisance. Clearly, the laundry where it is now situated will be a nuisance. We must stop the laundry. By the way, Forrester plans to run for the local Government elections in Freeport. We wish him luck on winning his seat.
GLEN BANNISTER HEAD OF BAHAMAS NATIONAL TRUST
It was good to see someone whose ancestry is from the other side of the hill end up as head of the Bahamas National Trust. Perhaps this will mean a time for more sensitivity to the social concerns that should accompany the mission of the Bahamas National Trust. Most people feel the Trust is absolutely useless. They think of it as a cabal of land developers and lawyers who are there protecting their interest in shooting wild birds every year. One project that the Trust now has is laudable. That is the creation of additional marine parks. This is a project, which is being promoted largely by BREEF, the environmental organization headed by Sir Nicholas Nuttal. Sir Nicholas and BREEF are dedicated to training the young people and professional fishermen about the need to project the marine environment and resources of The Bahamas. Many of the new environmental organizations like BREEF and reEARTH have found that the Bahamas National Trust fails in its statutory mandate. The Trust is simply not proactive enough. Further since the FNM has come to office, the Trust seems to have lost its voice of opposition to anything that the FNM Government says that it wants. Mr. Bannister is the Vice President in charge of Morton Salt. That company operates a solar evaporation plant for the recovery of salt on Inagua. The Trust has an 183,000-acre flamingo reserve on Inagua. Morton Salt has been quite active in the protection of endangered species in Inagua including the flamingos, the turtles and the Bahama Parrot.
PM'S CRUDE BEHAVIOR AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE
Last week, we reported how the Prime Minister and his Deputy Frank Watson called in seven senior employees at Batelco and told them to write their resignations and leave Batelco immediately. The seven were given their walking tickets with the company car, their pension entitlements and three years salary in hand. To add insult to injury, however, they were all invited to a black tie event at Government House, and made to sit through a dinner there in the ballroom. The dinner was to say farewell to them for their service to Batelco. This is remarkable cheek on the part of the Prime Minister and his colleagues. But what is even more remarkable is that the persons and their families actually attended this execution of sorts. Those who were there remarked that the Prime Minister as usual delivered an inappropriate attack on Batelco that night, and that his conversation was filled with crude jokes. This should have been a sober night, having in a sense just executed the careers of seven senior management people. But that's Ingraham for you, as crude as they come. The reception was held Tuesday 18 May. The dinner at Government House is yet another example of the FNM using Government House as a political tool.
WARNING TO EX BATELCO EMPLOYEES
Do not spend these large sums of cash that you are getting in your hand on speculative investment measures. The temptation is to go and invest in businesses, which these worthless politicians say will be profitable when Batelco is fully privatized. The temptation is to enter into partnerships with persons with whom you used to work. Be careful. Please hold on to the money. Take your time. Get advice from an investment counselor. Try to convert some of the money into U.S. dollars and keep that money in a jurisdiction other than The Bahamas where it can simply collect interest. Bermuda or the Caymans is a safe place. DO NOT SPEND THE MONEY! This economy is not a safe bet at the moment. The Government has over extended itself, and consumers are drowning in personal debt. There is an inevitable collapse on the way. Be safe rather than sorry.
JANET BOSTWICK THE SUPPOSED CHRISTIAN
Two incidents, one recent, the other some time back call into question the Christian credentials of that national female icon St. Janet Bostwick. She and her cadre of women are always calling on the name of Jesus. But apparently, not calling on his name enough to stop attacks on Rev. C.B. Moss from the House of Assembly. She and the Prime Minister engaged in the most shameful, pusillanimous behavior in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 18 May. They called the Rev. C.B. Moss a liar because he dared to oppose the Clifton Cay project. Clifton Cay is the development out near Lyford Cay in New Providence, which the FNM Government proposes to sell out the recreational access of Bahamians to the beaches, wild life and ruins of the Whylly plantation. Because Rev. Moss has been successful in raising public scrutiny, St. Janet called him a liar. It reminds one of the times when she participated as Attorney General in sending convicted murder Thomas Reckley to an early grave at the gallows. There she was standing outside the court saying even as she was pushing Mr. Reckley's execution that she was sure that she would have to answer to her God for her official acts. One thought at the time obviously she wasn't too afraid to answer to her God since she was deliberately pushing the death of another human being.
SUBCONTRACTOR LEAVES TOWN WITHOUT PAYING
Hutchison Whampoa the so-called investor in Freeport claimed that it has in place the need for a performance bond for anyone who wants to be a subcontractor for them in their Freeport projects. This apparently only applies to Bahamians. Otherwise what explanation can there be for a subcontractor by the name of Coast to Coast Construction who was able to pack up and leave town in the middle of the night owing thousands of dollars to various small businessmen in Freeport. There is obviously one rule for the Bahamians and one rule for the Americans and others who come to town. The problem with all this is that we have this supplicant FNM Government. They just lie on their backs and allow the country to get you know what by anyone who comes in saying that they have a wad of cash or with a foreign accent.
MITCHELL STUNS MINISTER OF LABOUR AND IMMIGRATION
For some reason Love 97 was able to get the Minister of Labour and Immigration Theresa Moxey-Ingraham to appear opposite this columnist on a radio programme on Monday 17 May for a live talk show. This is the first time that the FNM Government has acknowledged the shadow Cabinet of the PLP. This columnist is the Opposite number of Mrs. Moxey Ingraham. This columnist pointed out that the Bahamianization policy is dead in the water. The country is being overrun by outside interests, and the Government is not protecting the interest of Bahamians. Further, the illegal immigrant population appears to be expanding out of control, and her Ministry seems to be doing nothing about it. Even after this was said on the radio, and this columnist gave a specific example, of the immigrant population taking over the Fox Hill area, just down the road from where the Minister's sister lives, nothing was done by the Department of Immigration to investigate the matter.
INGRAHAM THREATENS RESIDENTS OF LYFORD CAY
In the crude Prime Minister's anxiety to cover up his bad decision to allow the Clifton Cay project, the Prime Minister on 18 May attacked the residents of Lyford Cay who he said were supporting the efforts of Rev. C. B. Moss and reEARTH to oppose the project. He said he had the list of names and that if they don't like it they can leave The Bahamas. Now this is the same Prime Minister and the same FNM who was ready to take money from every rich man woman and child at Lyford Cay to buy the election from the Bahamian people in 1997. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Talk about being a slave.
AND THEN HE PRAISES 'OUR COLONIAL MASTERS'
Those who listened in the same day could not believe what they were hearing as the Prime Minister sought to defend unconstitutional legislation to allow the police to hold suspects for up to 96 hours and to take intimate body fluids from people against their will including semen, by saying that we were simply copying legislation of our former colonial masters. What a true slave! A slave is a slave is a slave. When will we be rid of this great national embarrassment that we have for Prime Minister?
PERRY CHRISTIE TIES THEM UP IN KNOTS
The Government brought half- baked legislation to Parliament. They say these unconstitutional pieces of legislation that they propose will stop crime. Hog wash! All it will do is salve their consciences. One wonders what old Senator Darren Cash (FNM) will have to say about these seven pieces of legislation when they get to the Senate. How can any one in this climate support the police keeping people in custody for 96 hours? Perry Christie called the bills stupid. He forced them to withdraw the provision, which would have allowed the police to take forcibly semen from men who refused to give it up. How pray tell would one do that, if the person refused. What a stupid Government!
THE NEW YOUNG LIBERALS
On Tuesday 18 May, the Young Liberals were re-launched. The leader of the Opposition welcomed some 200 young liberals to Gambier House. The new head of the young Liberals is Joanne Miller, also the Chair of Bain Town. She is a fresh and vital new voice. Good Luck to them.
HUBERT INGRAHAM AND THE EMPEROR JONES
Those who want to see what happens to a man like Hubert Ingraham ought to get a copy of the William Faulkner play the Emperor Jones. It is the story of a fictional Black man who leaves the States and become the emperor of an island in the West Indies. He is a hit at first but slowly but surely becomes contemptuous of the people he is ruling and they finally turn on him. Is this what Ingraham can look forward to?
DAVIS IN HIS NEW BISHOP'S ROBES
The Assemblies of God first announced that he had been suspended from preaching because he had taken the title of Bishop. The suspension was to last for six months. The next day, they rescinded it. No one is quite sure what the position is but this Observer photo shows the newly consecrated Bishop Ross Davis with his wife in full regalia.
30th May, 1999 - QC STUDENTS PROTEST LAST WEEK'S EXAM REPORT... EXAM
THEFT HAPPENED BEFORE... VAUGHN SCRIVEN TAKES ISSUE... AGRICULTURE MINISTER'S
BROTHER ATTACKS COLUMNIST... CUBAN NUCLEAR PLANT.... CLIFTON CAY ISSUE
REVIVES... ST GEORGE AND THE DRAGON... A SIGN OF THE TIMES IN FREEPORT...
UNCLE LOU ADDERLEY RETIRES... CALLING ED FIELDS AND EILEEN CARRON... GEORGE
ROBINSON HARASSED BY POLICE...
Note from the Publisher
QUICK SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE
It's become traditional for the Prime Minister and his colleagues to meet at the Cabinet Room and accompany his hapless Minister of Finance William Allen to Parliament to tell us how much more we are going to have to pay in taxes for the year. The Minister presented a billion-dollar budget with tax increases that will help further to wipe out the middle class. Our photo shows the group crossing the street. A friend has an expression: "as fat as an FNM Cabinet Minister". Looks like they all need to do some more walking. They need to go on a diet. (Bahamas Information Services photo by Peter Ramsay.
THIS WEEK we have photos click here for photos of the funeral recessional for Lilla A. Mitchell, mother of this columnist who died on 4 May. The funeral was 7 May at Holy Spirit Anglican Church in Chippingham. The photos were taken by Peter Ramsay. Thank you to Governor General Sir Orville and Lady Turnquest; Opposition Leader the Hon. Perry Christie and Mrs. Christie; the Hon. A. Loftus Roker; the Hon. Tommy Turnquest, Minister of Public Works; the Hon. Ronald Knowles, Minister of Health; his Parliamentary Secretary Lester Turnquest MP; Englerston MP Philip Galanis; PLP Chairman Senator Obie Wilchombe and Senator Darren Cash for attending the service. And to Hon. Algernon Allen and Hon. Tennyson Wells for their expressions of sympathy.
WE ALSO HAVE PHOTOS OF the youth parliament session. Young people got a chance to sit in the House of Assembly an act like real MPs. The photos by BIS and Peter Ramsay.
At 12:30 a.m. today New Providence was plunged into darkness by a thunderstorm rumbling in the distance somewhere. The power was off from 12:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. The reason is that the workers of BEC are on a work to rule, and they are short staffed when events of this nature occur. Charles Rolle, President of the Union, as he faces the Labour Day Holiday on 4 June has promised that it will get worse before it gets better. He believes that the Prime Minister has negotiated in bad faith to solve BEC's problems. The Prime Minister has misled the Union. During the morning of darkness lights could be seen shining at Paradise Island. That is symptomatic of this FNM Government. Sun International gets the gravy and the light while we on this side of the water suffer. We call on the Government to work with the trade unions to solve BEC and other problems of the public corporations.
THE PRIME MINISTER and his hapless Minister of Finance William Allen announced the new budget for the country. The Minister of Finance tried to mislead the country by giving all the figures in his address except the deficit. The fiscal year ending June 30 1999 will see a 148 million-dollar deficit, higher than the deficit that they ran to buy the election in 1997. Yet the Minister claims that we are going to balance the budget by 2001. In his dreams. Taxes are going up. A whopping 130 per cent on the production of local beer. Kalik prices are expected to go through the roof. Bradley Roberts MP of Burns House told The Tribune that the brewery may have to close. Heineken officials who run the brewery are on the way to Nassau for an emergency meeting with the Government. Bradley Roberts and Garret "Tiger" Finlayson who are owners of the brewery are seen as enemies of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister told his colleagues that Bradley and Tiger have made too much money and now they have to pay. This is public policy by vendetta.
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EXAM THEFT HAPPENED BEFORE
Dr. Dexter Johnson, head of the National Progressive Institute, says that he remembers that when he was at the Government High School as a student a number of students were expelled from the school after having stolen one of the General Certificate of Education (GCE) exams. So there you go. Nothing is new under the sun. It has happened before. The Ministry must take steps to ensure that this does not happen again.
VAUGHN SCRIVEN TAKES ISSUE
A long missive appeared Saturday 29 May in the Nassau Guardian by Vaughn Scriven attacking this columnist in great detail for last week's column. Mr. Scriven, who is a teacher and the son of Sylvia Scriven MP, waxed positively poetic. The first line of attack was that it was improper for the students to have been identified in the column as the ones who were associated with the use of purloined biology exam papers. Mr. Scriven should know that St. Anne's officials were in fact quoted in The Tribune. They confirmed that students had been disciplined and the reason why they had been disciplined. Unfortunately, this columnist cannot give as full a response to Mr. Scriven's points about identity of the student without further causing embarrassment to Mr. Scriven. He has generally been supportive of this column. One has no need to create an enemy. However, we would urge Mr. Scriven to remember that before making a criticism like the one that he did, he ought to fully and frankly disclose any connection that he might have to the subject matter which might indicate a bias. We all feel for the young people involved but the public has a right to know. For example, even though St. John's College officials have said that none of their students were involved, some students at Queen's College have insisted to this columnists that there were students at St. John's boasting about how they had gotten away without being caught. A journalist has a responsibility to inform the public. The Ministry has to solve this problem and the students must not be mollycoddled. They have to know that there is a price to pay for wrongdoing, if they have done wrong. One would say that on the face of it they have in this case. Indeed Mr. Scriven ought to know that at least one student involved in this did not need to do this. The student was a role model. It is simply painful what has happened. By the way, the 24 per cent youth unemployment figure came from Minister Zhivargo Laing. Hope that source is good enough!
AGRICULTURE MINISTER'S BROTHER ATTACKS COLUMNIST
This columnist was filling in for the Hon. Perry Christie at the annual convocation of the Bahamian Methodists on Tuesday 25 May. Rev. Charles Sweeting heads the church. He was re-elected for another three-year term. It was a beautiful service. The PLP felt that it was important to be there and so we attended. You will remember that the FNM Government incorporated the local Methodists in the first term. The PLP's ties were mainly to those in the Caribbean Methodists, However, it is important for a national party to be even-handed. Mr. Christie has therefore determined that we should know all sides. At the end of the service a man came up to this columnist whom we did not know. He kept saying something about wanting to see copy of the bill that he owes the Ministry of Agriculture. We had no idea at first what he was talking about. Then he said he was Levarity Deveaux. Again, never heard of him. Did not know who he was or what he was talking about. "Don't play stupid on me now", said Mr. Deveaux. Then looking over one saw the charming and beautiful wife of the Minister of Agriculture, the graceful B.J. who signalled to Mr. Deveaux that he ought to come over and quietly drop the matter. This columnist informed Mr. Deveaux that he can indeed have a copy of the information which is in the possession of this columnist where an accountant of the Ministry of Agriculture, run by his brother, apparently objected to Mr. Deveaux being granted further credits by the Ministry because he owed the Ministry money for eight years and did not pay. It was reported in the press and in the Senate. The document can be laid on the table of the Senate at the appropriate time. We would love to know Mr. Deveaux's explanation, but it is not his explanation that is important. We are concerned about public policy. The facts have to be straightened by his brother the Minister. Finally, we say to Levarity Deveaux: you may have a reputation for being biggety. But keep your biggetyness to yourself. Certainly, it was inappropriate after a reconciling and beautiful religious service. Further as George Mackey would say : " Not only one woman born a crazy child "
CUBAN NUCLEAR PLANT
A local correspondent has sent a detailed brief about the fact that the Cubans are still building a nuclear power plant to produce electricity for Cuba at Cienfuegos on its southern coast. The plant presents a great risk of a nuclear accident and fallout. The Americans are concerned and want the project halted. The Bahamas should be concerned as well. The PLP asked in the Senate in its formal statement on Foreign Affairs for the matter to be investigated by the Government of The Bahamas. So far that useless Minister of Foreign Affairs Janet Bostwick has said and done nothing about it. The Americans really should get a life though with regard to Cuba. The Cubans themselves ought to start reforming their local politics and allow dissenting voices to flourish in the country. The repression that is going on is not acceptable. But the Cuban people are suffering because of the American embargo, which cannot logically be supported. If the Americans can offer the North Koreans, certainly ten times more dangerous and oppressive than the Cubans, assistance in exchange for getting rid of its nuclear bomb program, then the Americans can offer assistance to get rid of this potential problem of the power plant. They need to allow Cuba to get expertise on international markets like everyone else in the world in this era of free trade.
CLIFTON CAY ISSUE REVIVES
Hundreds of Bahamians gathered at the Crystal Palace to participate in a well orchestrated protest meeting about the Government's decision to go ahead with the selling off of the last wilderness area in New Providence that is available in one contiguous acreage for Bahamians to use. It is the site of the Whylly plantation, an historical site out west. The Government is about to give permission for developers to seal it off from the public and put up a gated community of 600 lots. This is in line with Mr. Ingraham's program to sell The Bahamas off to foreigners. Sir Nicholas Nuttal, head of the environmental group BREEF, spoke at the meeting. He said that there is a man in Lyford Cay who is willing to pay 20 million dollars to the developers to ensure that the acreage goes into the public domain. The Government ought to accept that offer and follow the advice of PLP leader Perry Christie that the acreage should be turned into a National Park. There is to be a rally later this afternoon at Rawson Square at 4 p.m.
ST GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
The Grand Bahama Port Authority's principals Edward St George and Sir Jack Hayward continue divesting themselves of shares in the companies. The consummation of the deal with Hutchison Whampoa to buy fifty percent of the Development Company came last week in a ceremony in Freeport. Why the Prime Minister was sitting there for the ceremony is beyond explanation; but there he was sitting next to Mr. St. George grinning up as usual. Mr. St. George is convinced that this is in the best long-term interest of Freeport. He argues that control is not being given up and that nothing will change in Freeport. There is of course disquiet in the community and in the company because of the changes. Tribune Photo.
A SIGN OF THE TIMES IN FREEPORT
It appears that Hayward Cooper is now the owner of the former Caribbean Paint Building in Freeport. Mr. Cooper owns Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Freeport. He is said to have purchased the building from the mortgagees. This is yet another sign of how Bahamian businessmen are suffering in the city. While Mr. Cooper appears to be doing well. He stands alone. Bahamians are watching their investments go down the tubes, without any help from the Government. Last week, we reported how even C. A. Smith's man Everett Marshall had to complain that Hutchison's contractors can't pay him. The story is that the Bank of Nova Scotia sold the property out from under the mortgagors even though they owed 140,000 dollars and had a 100,000-dollar fixed deposit to liquidate the debt. Perhaps the legislature is going to have to intervene to stop these wicked practices by mortgage companies.
The Bahamas Trade Union Congress and the National Congress of Trade Unions are to join in marching together this Labour Day. Congratulations. The Progressive Liberal Party will also join in the march, as will this columnist as the Opposition Spokesman on Labour. This Tribune photo shows TUC President Obie Ferguson (right) with Mr. Leroy Duke Hanna, President of the National Congress of Trade Unions.
UNCLE LOU ADDERLEY RETIRES FROM SAC
Deacon Leviticus Adderley has been associated with St. Augustine's College since its inception in 1947. He has been a student, teacher, principal, and latterly head of the development office. He has taught many generations of students Math and Physical education. He is loved by all. He is a gentle and kind man but a strict and stern man. He is man of love and of great integrity. Deacon Adderley loves the Roman Catholic Church. The St. Augustine's community of which this columnist is a part as a former student bade farewell to him at banquet chaired by Acting Justice Malcolm Adderley at Paradise Island on Friday 28 May. Mr. Adderley is a former SAC student. Other famous SAC students there were PHILIP GALANIS MP; ATTORNEY MICHAEL BARNETT, MINISTER ALGERNON ALLEN (also Uncle Lou's brother-in-law); and YOUTH MINISITER ZHIVARGO LAING were also there.
CALLING ED FIELDS AND EILEEN CARRON
One is the chief PR man for Sun International. He takes the flack for all the sins of Sol Kerzner (good job of it too) while Sol hides away from the PLP. The other is an unofficial and unpaid defender of Sun International, who is also the publisher of the nation's best newspaper. Both need to investigate the reports coming to this columnist that Bahamian middle managers are most unhappy about the fact that they are being relegated to second class status at the resort. Slowly but surely they are being stripped of their dignity and authority. Foreigners are being brought in to take their jobs. The company has become more anti-Bahamian than ever. Perhaps Mr. Fields should also say when Paradise Island will get adequate parking facilities. It is an absolute nightmare coming to that place. As Opposition spokesman for labour a statement will be issued publicly about Sun later in the week.
GEORGE ROBINSON HARASSED BY POLICE
We all know him as the owner of the Base Road Bar. George the younger. Some time ago, the Government brought a charge against him for possession of a firearm for which he was acquitted. So just as he is getting his life back together after the trauma of that charge, the police arrive at his house on 5 May 1999 at 1 a.m. to say that they have a warrant to search his house. They say that they told him that they have information that he has a firearm again. He tells them that he has no firearm but they are free to search. He is going back to bed. He asks his son to get the video camera so that he can film the search. The police led by Detective Sergeant Cunningham objects on the grounds that it is illegal to film a police search. That is nonsense. Then the officer goes further and tells Mr. Robinson in his own home that if he does not behave himself, he will exercise his powers to arrest him for 48 hours. This simple story is told because Mr. Robinson is no ordinary citizen. He is well off and can afford a legal defense. He is well known and a successful businessman. He knows members of the Government well, has friends in high places. The Government now proposes to allow the police to detain persons for 96 hours. We object. The authority is now being abused. If Mr. Robinson can have his rights violated what about the ordinary man on the street. The police left but in the process broke one of Mr. Robinson's chairs. No offer of compensation.
WINDOW INTO FNM THINKING
It was an interesting lunch that this columnist had this week with an FNM friend who is a public official. The FNM has the view that they are as popular with the public as ever. That the noise about Clifton Cay is only a couple hundred individuals and Bahamians don't really care about it. Further, their spokesman said that it would take a major miracle for the PLP to win in 2002. Just thought you'd like to know. Talk about living in cloud cuckoo land!
CHARLES CLARKE PLP STALWART IN EXUMA
Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie flew into Georgetown, Exuma on Friday 28 May to attend a banquet in honour of PLP stalwart Charles Clarke. Mr. Clarke is terminally ill. Mr. Clarke is a distinguished community leader. He is in our prayers.