May 2002

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Volume 3  © Fred Mitchell 2002
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12th May
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Perry Christie, last week’s Leader of the Opposition in The Bahamas, is now the Prime Minister of The Bahamas.  He was sworn in at Government House by Dame Ivy Dumont on Friday 3 May at approximately 6:30 p.m. EDT.  Hubert Ingraham, last week’s Right Honourable Prime Minister is now merely Hubert Ingraham FNM backbencher.  The Bahamian people spoke loudly on Election Day.  It was a magnificent victory for common folk over pumped up rich folk.  It was a victory for common sense and reason over hysteria and nonsense.

The FNM ran a scattery and unfocused campaign that at first seemed to repudiate Hubert Ingraham and the victory and Government that he brought them in 1992 and then in midstream it embraced him.  The PLP’s newspaper claimed that Tommy Turnquest, the Leader designate of the FNM, had called out to Mr. Ingraham to rescue the campaign.  In the end, Mr. Ingraham turned out to be the best campaigner for the PLP.  Every time he opened his mouth, the PLP got another vote.

For this candidate and the now Member of Parliament elect for Fox Hill, there was a great deal of personal vindication in this victory.  There was also a national vindication for the PLP.  There is no doubt that Hubert Ingraham directed one of the nastiest campaigns of slander against this candidate.  He dumped every thing he had, including the resurrection in anonymous form of an old allegation only newly twisted with untrue facts.  He has turned out to be a silly and vicious politician that took the FNM down to defeat and should be blamed for its defeat.  But as we see in the report down below Mr. Ingraham just didn’t get it.

When it came right down to it, there was a choice between the FNM, a party that had drawn into its narrower, parochial base on the one side.  On the PLP and other side was a party that was no longer tradition bound but rather anchored in past that gave it an expansive and more all encompassing view.  The voters chose the latter.

For leadership, it was a choice between in the FNM two nitwit forty something adolescents on the one hand and an experienced, reasoned and sensitive politician on the other hand in the PLP’s Perry Christie.

There was no choice and the joke of the week was the nightmare of possibly waking up early Friday morning with Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes as the leaders of this country.  One shudders to think.  The two were pictured by the Nassau Guardian putting the best face on the loss.

Stan Burnside’s cartoon of Friday 3rd May shows Mr. Christie flying high.

This week we had 65,483 hits on this site for the week ending 4th May at midnight. April ended on Tuesday 30th April. There was a total of 141,661 hits for the month of April.  That makes the total number of hits on the site for the year to 30th April of 641,961.  Thanks for reading and please keep reading.

Mitchell & Christie at Government House by Peter Ramsay. BIS photo of Mr. Christie being sworn in by Derek Smith.  Stan Burnsides 'Sideburns from The Tribune of Friday 3 May.

by Kendal Demeritte
To those who follow the corner - Ever since my daughter Kemia held brief for me on the corner while I was in the battlefield paving the way for the great victory of May 2nd, it seems I can’t get my corner back, now my son Kemuel who has voted for the first time - PLP of course - now thinks he has an inherent right to my corner, so I yield again this week to give way to Kemuel who is doing the corner. 

Tommy T… Rest In Peace
Tommy T, Rest In Peace
You Fought A Good Fight
But Now You must Give Up Your Lease.
You Didn’t Want To Listen To Hubert And Even Your Daddy,
So The Prodigal Son Chose To Go Out And Denature And Contest Uncle Perry.

In The Political Arena You were A Young Buck,
And Since You Didn’t Learn Humility And Respect
You Didn’t Have A Chance Or Even Luck.
Tommy Who’s Quest Has Turned
One May Ask The Question,
From Thursday Night’s Episode…
What Have You Learned?
Have you And Your Peers Learned 
That Arrogance Profits Nobody?

Evidently You Tried To Win A Country…
But You Couldn’t Even Win Your Own Constituency!
And To My, And The Bahamas’ Astonishment
Algernon Allen Lost The Position Of Member of Parliament.
All Of This Wasn’t By Sheer Chance
Because You Knew What To Expect
From The Size Of PLP’s Crowd Appearance.
And From The Night Air You hear

Yamacraw To Delaporte OH! And Fox Hill
Lead By My MP Fred "Knock Em Out" Mitchell.
Now I May Not Be As Versed As My Father
In The Political Game
But I Am A Good Learner
And I Was Well Trained.
To Know That The Tactic You Used Was Expected
And The Outcome In Your Perspective Was Unexpected,
That Not Only Yours….
But How The Entire FNM Legacy "In One Sweep" Ended. 

So Tommy Gump, You Are My Elder
And I Respect You None The Least
But You Didn’t Show The Same For The New Prime Minister
Perry Gladstone Christie.
Lastly… Since the PLP Won,
There is Nothing Left For You To Do But Pack Your Pampers And….

By: Kemuel Demeritte

12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral


Site Links
The PLP Position on Clifton Canadian contacts Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links Bahamian Cycling News Links to Bahamians on the web Politics Forum Harbour Island Site


    The words that come to mind are unrepentant, unreconstructed. These words taken from an interview by this writer with Michael Manley, the late Jamaican Prime Minister aptly describe the former Prime Minister of The Bahamas Hubert Ingraham.  As he fades into history, he has made one more foolish statement that makes us wonder in retrospect just what we saw in him.  The Nassau Guardian of Friday 3 May showed a picture of the Prime Minister on his last day. They interviewed him after that and this is what he had to say in his own words:
    “The result of this General Election was not decided on performance, if not the FNM would have won.  Be that as it may, the Bahamian people have spoken clearly.  They have determined that they want a change and they have selected Perry Christie to take them forward…
    “It would appear that people are less concerned about policies and performance.  Clearly, Christie was more attractive to the people than Turnquest and people voted for change…
    “I am personally disappointed that so many of my colleagues lost. They gave good, loyal and faithful service to The Bahamas.  I deeply regret the loss of seats by all of my colleagues [the Cabinet ministers] but this is what democracy is all about.”
    The Cabinet Ministers who lost their seats were: C.A. Smith, the Minister of Transport; Janet Bostwick, the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Frank Watson, the Deputy Prime Minister; Earl Deveaux, the Minister of Labour and Immigration; Carl Bethel, Attorney General; Zhivargo Laing, the Minister of Youth & Sports; James Knowles, the Minister of Agriculture; Theresa Moxey Ingraham, the Minister for the Public Service and Culture; Tommy Turnquest, the Minister of Tourism; Dion Foulkes, the Minister of Education.
    Mr. Ingraham should get a life and go and reflect on his behavior.  He is single handedly responsible for the debacle that the FNM now finds itself in.  They have a weak Parliamentary team.  Mr. Ingraham says that he has no wish to be Leader of the Opposition and so the Governor General will have to choose now who will lead the Opposition in Parliament (See story Will Ingraham Stay below).  Will it be Brent Symonette, the son of the former Premier, with dreams of succeeding his father to the office?  If that is the case, then the FNM will have devolved right back to its UBP roots.

    The facts on the popular vote and the differences in the margins between the two major parties are not quite in yet.  The PLP has won 29 seats.  There are four independents elected, unprecedented in the House since the days of party politics began in 1953.  There are seven members of the FNM and the Governor General will have to choose amongst those to be Leader of the Opposition.  Mr. Ingraham has already declined the job.  But PLPs should refrain from some of the excessive rhetoric and thinking on these issues.
    The facts are now reversed from the 1997 position in which the PLP found itself.  The FNM thought that the PLP was finished.  But the real lesson is that within five years your fortunes can reverse if you are unable to the job.  The lessons would seem to be let’s not be arrogant, let’s consult, let’s try to achieve consensus but let us not cause the obtaining of consensus to let us lag behind where we are supposed to be.  There is a clear case for the rebuilding of the Party’s machinery throughout the country from top to bottom.  What the election showed was the weaknesses of that machinery.  The remarkable election effort must now be consolidated by looking toward where we have to be in political terms in the year 2007.


    My mother Lilla Mitchell died on 4 May 1999.  Saturday 4th May made three years since she died.  My father Fred Mitchell Sr. died on 23rd May 2001.  This month will make one year since he died. The family is to hold a service of thanksgiving for both parents at St. Agnes Anglican Church on Tuesday 21 May. Officiating will be the Rev. Fr. Patrick Johnson and the Rev. Fr. James Moultrie.  My one regret is that neither of my parents are here to witness my election to Parliament.

These are the persons elected to the House of Assembly on 2nd May 2002:

Progressive Liberal Party MPs
Perry Christie  Farm Road
Cynthia Pratt St. Cecilia
Ron Pinder Marathon
Glenys Hanna Martin Englerston
Melanie Griffin Yamacraw
Alfred Sears Ft. Charlotte
Vincent Peet North Andros
Obie Wilchcombe West End and Bimini
Oswald Ingraham South Eleuthera
Allyson Maynard Gibson Pinewood
Bradley Roberts Bain Town/Grants Town
Philip Davis Cat Island
Pleasant Bridgewater Marco City
John Carey Carmichael
Agatha Marcelle South Beach
Leslie Miller Blue Hills
Frank Smith St. Thomas Moore
Sidney Stubbs Holy Cross
Neville Wisdom Delaporte
Keod Smith Mt. Moriah
Kenyatta Gibson Kennedy
Anthony Moss Exuma
Malcolm Adderley Elizabeth
Shane Gibson Garden Hills
Michael Halkitis Adelaide
Anne Percentie Pineridge
Fred Mitchell Fox Hill
Veronica Owens Garden Hills
Alfred Gray MICAL

FNM- Hubert Ingraham, North Abaco; Brent Symonette, Montagu; Kenneth Russell, High Rock; Alvin Smith, North Eleuthera; Lindy Russell, Eight Mile Rock; Neko Grant, Lucaya; Robert Sweeting, South Abaco.

INDEPENDENTS – Pierre Dupuch, St. Margaret; Tennyson Wells, Bamboo Town; Larry Cartwright, Long Island; Whitney Bastian, South Andros.

    There is a new Marathon Man.  His name is Ron Pinder.  Mr. Pinder at 28 was our youngest candidate, the youngest candidate in the entire field for 2002.  He was given little chance of reversing a one thousand vote majority in favour of Algernon Allen, the old Marathon man.  But did it he did.  He defeated Mr. Allen by 14 votes.  The pundits say it was a complete repudiation of the sleaze factor in the FNM’s campaign.
    Mr. Allen who came back into the party after the referendum campaign was the great white hope of the FNM.  The party’s UBP bosses felt that he would be the answer to the Black masses.  The problem is the Black masses felt that he had betrayed them by calling the party leaders designate corrupt and then going back to them apologizing for his behavior. Then he unleashed a blitz of aggressive attacks on PLPs and PLP candidates.  This, the so called sleaze factor, had the opposite affect.  Two nights before the election, one of the paid campaigners of Mr. Allen followed Ron Pinder throughout the constituency as he went door to door with a loud speaker and music shouting at Mr. Pinder telling him to come out and stop hiding and slandering his name.  The person then jumped off the truck and attempted to fight Mr. Pinder in the streets.  Such was the desperation of the FNM in that constituency.  It all backfired, and now for all his troubles, Mr. Allen is the former Member of Parliament. Ron Pinder is pictured with the Prime Minister and Mrs. Christie at the Government House swearing in of the Prime Minister by Peter Ramsay.


    It was heartening to hear Franklin Wilson, the former Senate Leader and PLP MP, say on radio that he considered Mike Halkitis the new PLP member for Adelaide to be amongst the smartest of the younger slate of candidates.  It confirms my view.  He is a quiet person, unassuming but smart as the Dickens.  He was a student in a class at the College of The Bahamas in 1988 when I filled in for Felix Bethel on leave to do his Ph D.  Mr. Halkitis was the top student in the class and I have often described him as the smartest person I know.  He is a self starter.  He trained himself to pass the exams to become a Certified Financial Analyst.  And so it is a great source of pride to see him sitting in Parliament, having defeated the Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson in the most stunning manner.  Congratulations Mike! Photo by Peter Ramsay.

    He is as tenacious as a pit bull, a scrappy fighter.  That's Keod (pronounced ‘Code’) Smith, the Member elect for Mt. Moriah.  Mr. Smith got his public fame as a member of the National Heroes Day Committee and then as a fighter to save Clifton Cay.  And all Tommy Turnquest, the Leader designate of the FNM could say was that he thought he lost because he allowed his wife to campaign for him while he concentrated on the larger picture.  This is the same Tommy who was able to come to Fox Hill and leave the public platform with the thought that Juanianne Dorsett, his FNM candidate there, was “the better woman” for the job.  There was no other woman running in Fox Hill.  Keod used the political Tommy gun and now Mr. Turnquest is out.

    Alfred Sears, former reform school boy, is now the Member of Parliament elect for Ft. Charlotte.  He overcame an 800 plus vote deficit in favour of the FNM based on 1997 results put in by Hubert Ingraham in order to protect Zhivargo Laing, the incumbent.  Mr. Laing at 33 had become arrogant and too smart for his own good.  He simply lost touch with reality, jumping from a junior civil servant in 1997 at $23,000 per year to a Minister the next year at a $100,000 per year in salary and perks.  Then he forgot his Christian upbringing.  He was impressionable even at that age and simply absorbed the mannerisms and habits of Hubert Ingraham.  He became a total nuisance in the House of Assembly. Now to the satisfaction of many he has been defeated, unfortunately now without a job and a family of three to feed.  He lost his humanity.  And in the campaign when he could not win a political argument with me as Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs, he went on the platform with vile innuendo against this writer, not befitting a Christian gentleman.  Simple silliness from someone who professes to be a Christian and who knows better.

    Janet Bostwick should simply not have run.  That was the plan but then when Hubert Ingraham changed his mind and she could not get the post as Governor General, she changed hers.  It was a fatal mistake in her political life.  She has lost her seat to Melanie Griffin who is another example of someone who stuck with the seat even after losing in 1997.  And despite a last minute gerrymandering of the boundaries of the Yamacraw seat, Melanie Griffin prevailed.  Janet Bostwick simply did not pay attention to her constituency.  She did not have the energy for a campaign.  She was a burnt out case.

    This is a satisfying victory for the hard working and diligent Ann Percentie.  C.A. Smith has been in Parliament for 20 years.  He was beaten and did not know why.  He had gone from one of the best representatives to someone who liked the high life of champagne and good food and rich foreign investor friends and being chauffeur driven.  He helped to cripple the lives of scores of Air Traffic Controllers.  Now he feels what it is to be without a job.  At a press conference, held in Freeport the day after the election, he denied that he had fallen ill because of the loss but burst into tears at the conference.  He shed no tears for the air traffic controllers.  No one feels sorry for him.  He announced at the press conference that he is retiring from public life.

Back To The Top

    Roscoe Perpall, the President of the Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union, should be a happy man.  We hope that within a short time he and his members are even happier and that the trade disputes between themselves and the Government are all eventually settled.  With a sensible Minister of Labour in place, one hopes that the industrial disputes will be settled.  One hopes also that the policies of the FNM under the now vanquished C.A Smith, the last Minister of Transport are all reversed and the controllers are all put back on their jobs, disciplinary proceedings dropped and their salaries returned.  We shall be working toward that end.

    The outgoing Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has given the title of Honourable for life to the following former Cabinet Ministers.  The award is given to Ministers who have served two terms in the Cabinet.  The awardees are: Frank Watson, Janet Bostwick, C.A. Smith, Sir William Allen, Theresa Moxey-Ingraham.  We hope they can use that as collateral at the bank.


    Many people criticized Perry Christie for putting Kenyatta Gibson in Kennedy to contest the election of Dr. Bernard Nottage, the Leader of the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR) who was the incumbent.  Mr. Gibson vindicated the decision of the Party’s leader and came through in flying colours.  He is now the new member for Kennedy.  Dr. Nottage lost his deposit as did all other CDR candidates.  The question now is whether the party has a future at all.  The defeat must have been demoralizing.  What makes the situation worse one supposes is that the CDR members must now be hearing quite a lot of “I told you so”.  The election results confirm what we have known for all the past fifty years of party politics, that there are two major parties.  They are the FNM and the PLP.  Anyone else is an also ran.  Dr. Nottage conceded defeat.  He has not said what his future plans will be. Tribune photo.

    The results in the election showed that they were barely a blip on the landscape.  The Bahamas Democratic Movement failed to capture any seats.  No candidate got above 50 votes.  Each candidate lost their $400 deposit at the Treasury.  The Leader of the BDM Cassius Stuart and Omar Smith will no doubt be considering their futures and those of their families.  We have always said that they belong in the PLP.  But they may now take the long view, that too many of their contemporaries are now in place in the PLP so the line is too long in the PLP.  The place for them may be the FNM that is weak and demoralized and where the line will be short for those who want to serve there given the size of the PLP's majority.  So in every crisis there is an opportunity.  I think Mr. Stuart is good man and will rise to any occasion.  One hopes that the case brought against them by the Government is now dropped.

    Pierre Dupuch lives in the Montagu constituency and voted there on Election Day.  As he was leaving the polls, Brent Symonette the FNM’s candidate came up to ask Mr. Dupuch if Mr. Dupuch had voted for him (Symonette).  Mr. Dupuch was incredulous about the question.  He told Mr. Symonette that he had voted for the PLP’s Yvette Turnquest.  The gall, really.  The FNM kicked out Mr. Dupuch.  Mr. Symonette did not raise a hand.  Yet he expected Mr. Dupuch to vote for him.

    Raymond Massey is an American abroad in The Bahamas.  He told The Tribune that he was surprised and disturbed by the PLP's victory.  This is disturbing.  What is he disturbed about?  It could only be that he is disturbed because he has lived in a country that he calls his home but he had no real clue as to what was happening all around him.  Mr. Massey is a founder of the right wing think tank the Nassau Institute.

    The PLP after having no seats in Grand Bahama after 1997 and with Freeport being described as FNM country since 1977 has revived its fortunes in Grand Bahama.  The party now has three seats on the island, where the nation’s second largest population centre is.  While we congratulate our colleagues Senator Obie Wilchcombe and Pleasant Bridgewater for jobs well done, the real kudos must go to Ann Percentie who slayed C.A. Smith, the Minister of Transport who had become a disgrace to the word representation.  C.A. Smith tried to follow Hubert Ingraham blindly and in that process forgot from whence he came.  Ms. Percentie’s full time job is that of legal secretary to the human rights attorney Fred Smith.  She won by sticking to the constituency and working assiduously day in and day out.  It paid off and she is now the Member of Parliament.  Congratulations Ann!  Interesting, Edward St. George who is the chief owner of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, was out on the public stage congratulating the newly elected MP Obie Wilchcombe on the night of the election as the returns became clear.

    You who are students at Buckingham in the UK and in other parts of the world must have been sitting on pins and needles.  I gather you had your own campaigns going between FNM and PLP.  Were there any CDRs or BDMs in the house?  It is a pity that you did not have the chance to cast your ballots from where you were.  Here is what the Prime Minister Perry Christie had to say about the matter on Election Day.  He said that within 30 days of winning that he would examine an absentee voting system so that Bahamians, who are abroad and unable to return home for elections, will no longer be disenfranchised.  This was reported in the Nassau Guardian Friday 3 May.

    Last week we reported how the transcript of a private conversation between the Mexican President Vicente Fox and the Cuban President Fidel Castro was released by Mr. Castro in a press statement to discredit the claim that Mexico made that it did not pressure Mr. Castro to leave a UN summit early so as to avoid crossing the path of U.S. president George Bush.  We thought the whole thing was funny.  But in our analysis last week, we forgot to raise this concern.  Cuba is already isolated in a diplomatic sense in the hemisphere.  Mexico has been its truest friend from the time of the revolution.  Was releasing the transcript wise or was it cutting off the nose to spite the face?


    Perry Christie is a Valley Boy.  He was born and raised in what used to be called the Centreville Constituency.  In a fit of pique and in an attempt to destroy Mr. Christie politically Mr. Ingraham gerrymandered the boundaries, destroyed Centreville and created St. Thomas Moore and Farm Road.  Mr. Christie won Farm Road hands down.  He is now Prime Minister.  This is his sixth consecutive election victory as a candidate.  He caps it all off in the high Office of Prime Minister.  This is a glorious political career having begun public life in the Senate in 1975.  A couple of regrets though: that he was unable to become Prime Minister as the representative for Centreville and that his Mother and Father were not there at the swearing in ceremony to see him become Prime Minister.  There is no doubt about the hard work and organizing skills and talent it took to put together the disparate egos and conflicting advice to make this campaign successful.  But he has done it, and ousted his worthless erstwhile partner Hubert Ingraham.  Congratulations!

    In his Election Day interview with the Nassau Guardian, Mr. Ingraham said that he had no interest in being the Leader of the Opposition.  The talk now is that Ken Russell, MP for High Rock and the former Minister of Works will end up being the Leader of the Opposition for the time being, with Zhivargo Laing getting a Senate appointment and the Leader of the Party.  What should really happen is Brent Symonette should resign from Montagu and allow the FNM’s leader if he is outside the House to run there in a bye-election.
    One thing that amuses PLPs though is whether Hubert Ingraham will actually attend the State Opening of Parliament on 22 May.  They say with Bradley Roberts and me in the House, he will not do it.  He will find every excuse not to attend including leaving the country the day before the opening to avoid having to show up.  One thing, I do believe though is that the PLP must not treat Mr. Ingraham in the way he treated Sir Lynden.  He ought to as a former Prime Minister have a Government car, a driver and a detective for security purposes, the retention of his diplomatic passport for himself and his wife.  We must show this mongrel how to behave like civilized people, even when we disagree with his conduct.


    Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall decided on the merits that writing the number of a voter on the counterfoil of the ballot in Bahamian elections was a violation of the constitutional rights of the voter.  He had earlier granted an injunction that was overturned by the Court of Appeal with unseemly haste.  The Court of Appeal also reversed unanimously the decision on the merits.  There was a stupid and silly statement attributed to Court of Appeal Justice Churaman who said that each nation must decide the quality of its democracy.  It is pompous statements like that that show how these Judges are not who we should have sitting on our bench.  Gladstone McEwan and his lawyer Dr. Peter Maynard say that the issue is now headed to the Privy Council. Gladstone 'Stone' McEwan is pictured in this photo from the Tribune.

    Dr. Peter Maynard speaking at a conference on Offshore Tax Planning, Compliance and Money Laundering attacked the recent initiatives by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and development (OECD).  He said that the initiatives by the OECD on money laundering had unjustifiably destabilized offshore centres.  Said he “I suggest that it is not justifiable to take the blunderbuss approach and knock down innocent bystanders legitimately investing or carrying out a legitimate livelihood in international financial centres on a par with any others.”  He said the situation became worse after the U.S. was attacked on 11 September.
    Dr. Maynard said the new US Patriot Act and the OECD initiatives were an aggressive action against “small, fragile countries, primarily populated by people of colour, which are not in the mainstream of these events but which depend to a very significant extent on providing financial services.”  Dr. Maynard continued by accusing OECD countries of hypocrisy and double standards.  There are no sanctions for example against Switzerland an OECD country that refuses to sign on to the initiatives.  Said Dr. Maynard “more money laundering goes on in a single day in London, New York or Tokyo than takes place in an entire year in The Bahamas, Cayman, the Cook Island or Nauru.”

    I am grateful to the people of the Fox Hill constituency for reposing their trust in me as their representative.  I intend to serve you to the best of my ability.  The list of slights and hurts from the campaign are too numerous to mention and consider.  The low point was when the FNM began lies and slander in Fox Hill.  We knew then that the Dorsett, Ingraham camp had tried their best shot and it would be up to the judgment of the people as to whether or not this was relevant or to the question of good presentation.  In the end, they were defeated by over one thousand votes.  It was the end of a sleazy campaign in Fox Hill by the FNM.
    This is the time then to go forward; for PLPs and FNMs together to build the community of Fox Hill.  I would certainly wish to thank Juanianne Dorsett on behalf of the people of Fox Hill for her five years of public service.  We disagree with the quality of her performance but the act of volunteering to serve is in itself praiseworthy.  We trust that her husband Porky Dorsett will learn to carry himself now with the dignity and honour expected of a spouse of a graceful and pretty woman, wife and mother.
    For me, one hopes that I am able to manage the humility, the patience and the sense of reason to plot out a public career until I am 65, and that this career will end in the Fox Hill constituency.  One hopes to remain relevant to the times.  It will be a challenge to end almost 30 years of advocacy on the outside and manage to be part of a government that makes the policies.  The lights went off yesterday and before I caught myself I was cussing the FNM.  But now it’s us.
    I wish to thank all my friends and supporters and well wishers on both sides who wrote, gave cash donations, called with words of encouragement, shed tears.  None though more than my central campaign team led by my life long friend Al Dillette.  Joining him were my friend Calvin Brown and my life long friend Kendal Demeritte.  Mr. Demeritte who writes a piece on this site started out with me when I was elected Chairman of the Centreville Branch of the PLP in 1975.  Altamese Isaacs was the Office Administrator for the Fox Hill Headquarters and without the support of her and Derek Davis and his wife Jan, Charles Johnson and many many others, we would not be here.  Thank you to you all.  I hope to be worthy of all the trust that you have reposed in me.
    To Perry Christie, Leader of the PLP, we were both born and raised within two streets of each other, within the sound of the bells of St. George’s Church.  One does not know whether that fact means as much to you as it does to me but it says something about the quality of our upbringing.  It is that quality of grace and reason but firmness that I hope you bring to the Government.  In the same tradition of your mother Naomi as the midwife within the sound of the bells of St George’s.  I think that you made a considerable personal political sacrifice to insist with the last Prime Minister that the boundaries of Fox Hill largely be preserved. You also honoured the promise of Sir Lynden Pindling, in whose shadow we both walk and to whom we both owe our political careers, that I would be appointed to the Senate after the 1997 general election if I lost.  I am honoured that you saw fit to do so, and pledge as you know to support the Government under your leadership.  Thank you to you.
    And finally to those who read this web site, the thousands of young and old who turned to this site after Oswald Brown of the Nassau Guardian summarily decided to censor my opinions and withdraw the column asked for by his predecessor in the Editorial chair.  You have made this site a huge success.  As it evolves I hope you will continue to read.  God Bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Photos by Peter Ramsay.

Icons Fall In ‘FNM’ Country – There was C.A. Smith in tears.  The former powerful Director of Personnel in industry, the former Minister, leader of the FNM campaign in Grand Bahama.  Defeated, disillusioned, announcing his retirement from public life.  There was David Thompson, former Ambassador for Investment, late of the Ingraham Cabinet, now ex MP for Marco City.  There was former Minister for Works Kenneth Russell, relieved at retaining his High Rock seat, but in apparent shock at seeing his almost one thousand vote majority cut to virtually nothing by the PLP’s insurgent Marcus Bethel.  The message was clear: Grand Bahama is no longer FNM country.  The island’s six seats are now split evenly.  Confident PLPs Obie Wilchcombe in West End, Pleasant Bridgewater in Marco City and Ann Percentie in Pineridge.  Wary FNMs from the old guard.  Lucaya’s Neko Grant, Eight Mile Rock’s Reverend Lindy Russell who won on a prayer and High Rock’s Ken Russell who must still look over his shoulders for the challenge to come.

Lindy Lucks Out – More than 40 ballots were rejected in the oh so close race for the Eight Mile Rock constituency.  The ballots, intended to be cast for the PLPs young activist Caleb Outten, were rejected because they had written on the back comments like “Goodbye Lindy” or “Teach Russell a lesson”.  Some were even inscribed with unpublishable advice on where the Reverend Russell should go.  Had the enthusiasm of these voters been tempered with good sense and discipline, Caleb Outten would today have been the new representative for Eight Mile Rock.  He’ll be back.  We know it.

A Peaceful Day – Marco City’s polling division number four was typical for Grand Bahama.  Poll workers from all sides held hands with election officials and offered a prayer for the smooth and peaceful running of the election.  Their prayers were answered and all went smoothly.

Backbiting & Finger Pointing – The legions of diehard FNMs that tend to try to affect the content and judgement of News From Grand Bahama were all shaken and subdued by the results of the General Election.  Some were quick to call and blame the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham: “He never gave Tommy a chance,” said one.  In the words of another “The youth and talent of the PLP slate says it’s going to be a long time before anyone else gets a chance.”

Who Voted PLP? – Among the discussion groups around Grand Bahama was one in which a diehard FNM shocked his companions:  “I was an FNM and I voted against C.A. and the party because it was not acceptable how they handled the leadership elections; it was not acceptable how they handled the referendum and it was insulting for Hubert to tell us “put your hand over the candidates name and face…”  All over Grand Bahama cars could be seen strapped with brooms, dustpans and toilet tissue in a show of contempt for the outgoing administration.

Heard On The Streets
Congratulations to the Honourable Perry Christie and to Mr. Fred Mitchell.  My FNM called me a renegade during the referendum.  They called me sour grapes during the campaign.  I hope they like the taste of sour grapes now.  Mike Edwards deposed former Vice Chairman of the FNM who provided key support for the ‘NO’ vote in the national referendum on amending the Constitution.

My contract was with Hubert Ingraham, not with the FNM and I’ve already sent congratulations to the new Prime Minister.  Elon ‘Sonny’ Martin.

I’m prepared to treat the new Prime Minister in the same way in which I treated the former Prime Minister.  Kelly Burrows, hotelier and high-ranking FNM

Tommy made the tactical error of not getting a safe seat.  Harvey Tynes, Q.C.

FNM Memorial Service - FNMs gathered at the party’s Grand Bahama headquarters on Saturday 4 May for what can only be described as a memorial service.  As they lamented their losses, the various factions began to turn on one another, each blaming the other for the loss…

I Told Them So – Outside the service, a young man - an FNM general - sat in his truck weeping, rubbing his head in grief and thumping on the steering wheel, saying over and over again: “I told them, I begged them to do something about Bahamians being treated with disrespect… Now look what happened to us.”

St. George Dances In The Streets – It was a shocker, but only for the uninitiated.  There was the Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Group of Companies, the quasi Government of Freeport, Edward St. George dancing in the streets in the middle of a PLP crowd.  Mr. St. George expressed the utmost confidence in the new Prime Minister and the new PLP Government.  These will be the best years ever in the history of Freeport, he said.

12th May, 2002
This Week on
Bahamas Government Website Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte
John Carey / PLP Carmichael... Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte... Bahamians First.Com / PLP Grand Bahama
Shane Gibson / Golden Gates...  Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town...
Click on a heading to go to that story; press ctrl+home to return to the top of the page.



The announcement was made to the public on Friday 10 May by the Prime Minister Perry Christie.  He announced a sixteen man Cabinet, one larger than the last.  His explanation was that an extraordinary situation faces The Bahamas and therefore requires an extraordinary group to get the job done.  It is a mix of persons from different backgrounds and genders and political beliefs.  We report on the full cabinet below.

Many questions have been asked about the future of this site. Obviously a new writer will be found within a matter of weeks but the site will go on under the same name.  We appreciate all those who have expressed a concern.  This is an information medium just as The Tribune or Guardian is and so it has a life quite outside the founder of the site.

One day far from now, it will be possible to talk about how the appointments came about including my own.  No doubt it will be a fascinating story for historians.  Suffice it to say that the process required full consultation in order to put together a team.  It is not an easy job.

Round two will be the Parliamentary Secretaries and the Board Chairmen and then the appointments of Government Boards.

The country seems relieved that the FNM is gone.  And they have descended into internecine warfare.  We report on the remarkable comments by Carl Bethel, the former Attorney General and brother-in-law to Dion Foulkes whom Mr. Bethel savaged during the week.  The other comment was by Lester Turnquest the outgoing Member of Parliament for Malcolm Creek who called the Ingraham Cabinet “spineless”.

The campaign promises have been made but there is an interesting dynamic at work in trying to keep focused on the things that you said you would do on the campaign trail.  There is the instant lobbying that is going on for jobs in the new administration. There is all the flattery of congratulations.  There is the human excitement connected with change and the overwhelming feeling that you are part of something grander.  It is easy to take your eye off the ball for these ephemeral things.

This writer remembers the Shakespearean yarn that the entire world’s a stage.  We each have our entrances and our exits.  We have a brief time upon the stage and this writer intends during that brief time to do the best job he can and then move on.
I have told the kids at school in Fox Hill that I want to leave a legacy of decent male leadership.

We had 67,480 hits on this site of the week ending 11 May 2002 at midnight.  That makes a total of 111,852 hits for the month of May. Thanks for reading and please keep reading.

Mitchell & G.G. at Government House by Peter Ramsay

by Kendal Demeritte

Who Let The Dog Out??
       Well! Well! …The Corner is supposed to be on a four week R and R, but I decided to take a few minutes just to deal with a matter concerning that MadMan Hubert Ingraham.  Did you hear Hubert Ingraham on last night’s news broadcast as he addressed a thank you rally in his Cooper’s Town constituency?  Attempting in his post-mortem to blame every other person and thing as to why the FNM lost the election…?  He attempted to speak about drug money but that’s laughable, he spoke about the rush and Butch job on the Referendum, and the nasty campaign of his party concerning the leader elect episode…  I mean running round and round the Mulberry Bush.  All he had to say, and I believe it would have been acceptable to all Bahamians, that the reason why the FNM lost the election is firstly because of Hubert Ingraham.  Secondly how could Hubert Ingraham have dreamt to put up Tommy “Butch Cassidy” Turnquest and Dion “Sun Dance Kid” Foulkes against Perry “The Integrity Kid” Christie and Cynthia “The Righteous” Mother Pratt?  I mean even Blake and Stevie Wonder would have seen through that.
     I am going to stop right here because I am really on a break, but Ingraham while you are feeling the Blues, This one is for you...

“...Sunshine Blue Skies please go away,
My girl has found another 
And gone away.
With her went my future
My Life is filled with gloom,
So day after day
I stay locked up in my room
I know to you it may sound strange,
I lost the game so I wish it would rain…”

12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral


Site Links
The PLP Position on Clifton Canadian contacts Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links Bahamian Cycling News Links to Bahamians on the web Politics Forum Harbour Island Site


    The ink was hardly dry on the election results when Carl Bethel, the former Attorney General and the defeated Member of Parliament for Holy Cross, made his statement on Tuesday 7 May.  In it he said of the election result: “it is obvious that the Bahamian people overwhelmingly rejected the leader and deputy leader.” Ouch!  Mr. Bethel is married to the sister of Dion Foulkes, the Deputy Leader of the Free National Movement.  He went further:
    “The extent and certainty of such a conclusion is the most obvious message that any reasonable person could have received from the voters.  We in the FNM would be fooling ourselves and committing an historic error if we were to appear to ignore the unmistakable view of the voters.  The enormity of the rejection of the Free National Movement throughout the length and breath of The Bahamas appears to have stemmed from the rejection of the party leadership.”
    Well what did Tommy Turnquest, the Leader have to say about the statements?  He said: “That statement was particularly disturbing because Mr. Bethel played an important part in our election campaign and was involved at all times in dealing with the various challenges that the party faced.  The FNM lost the election and we have accepted the decision with grace and dignity.  Now is hardly the time to cast blame and aspersions for the election loss, but to conduct a full and sober evaluation of the election, and take corrective action so as to regain the confidence and support of the Bahamian people.”  Looks to us like Mr. Turnquest needs to regain the support of Carl Bethel first before he can talk about the Bahamian people.

    Lester Turnquest was outspoken when he was a Government backbencher.  You can imagine now that he has lost the seat that he held before the election what he has to say about the defeat.  He is no Carl Bethel speaking in muted tones about rejection of the Leadership.  His comments went straight at the puppet master, not to the puppets.   Mr. Turnquest in a statement reported in The Tribune of Thursday 9 May said that Carl Bethel was wrong and intellectually dishonest to blame the current FNM’s leadership [Foulkes and Turnquest] for the defeat at the polls.  He said that the loss was due to a “spineless Cabinet” led by a “dictator”.  He continued:
    “The truth of the matter is much of the defeat of the FNM, it appears, was Ingraham’s leadership both of the country and the party.”  He said that the refusal of the members of the Cabinet to stand up to Ingraham helped to bring about the party’s downfall. “Supposedly intelligent men and women ceded their responsibility to one man.  A Minister would hold certain views and then Ingraham would say something and his views became theirs.  The whole Ingrahamization in the end brought about the defeat.  His style, which was helpful in 1992, became a disaster in 2002, “said Mr. Turnquest.  Of Mr. Ingraham’s style he said: “He came across as rude and arrogant.”  Mr. Turnquest said that it was also obvious that Mr. Ingraham should have fired former Cabinet ministers Frank Watson and Dion Foulkes amid corruption allegations.

    Brent Symonette is the son of the first Premier of the country Sir Roland Symonette.  His father, the chief of the United Bahamian Party, the racial minority that ruled the country up to 1967, served in the office from 1964 to 1967.  The title of the office was later changed to Prime Minister in 1969.  Mr. Symonette is the only FNM in New Providence to win his seat.  He won the seat over a newcomer Yvette Turnquest by 587 votes.  That was an impressive showing for Mrs. Turnquest and gave Mr. Symonette a fright in what is ordinarily thought to be a safe seat for the FNM.
    The rumours started almost immediately that Mr. Symonette would not want to be in opposition politics, that he could not face the music. He would resign at the earliest opportunity and give a chance to Tommy Turnquest to get elected.  Not a chance said Brent Symonette.  The Tribune quoted him as saying on Thursday 9 May: “That is absolutely untrue.  There is no truth to it all.” And then using some of his reported 15 million dollar net worth, he ran a full page ad in living colour saying that now more than ever the FNM was need to protect democracy in the country and that he would be sticking to it.  The word is Mr. Symonette wants to follow in his father’s footsteps as Prime Minister.  That will be the day!

    The President of the United States from 1970 to 1974 was Richard Nixon.  He resigned in disgrace in August 1974 following the Watergate scandal, in which he was implicated in criminally bugging his political opponents.  He was considered a bright man in many ways but one who could not overcome the personal chips on his shoulder about his upbringing.  He perceived enemies everywhere.  And so it seems he thought that there were potential enemies in The Bahamas.  Mr. Nixon used to visit The Bahamas as President at Walker’s Cay in Abaco where his friend Robert Abplanalp had a place.  The reason this all comes up now is that documents from the early years of the Nixon Presidency are now available and The Tribune of Thursday 9 May published some of what they contained.  The documents reveal that Mr. Nixon feared that The Bahamas would become a communist country after independence in 1973.  In a meeting held with former British Prime Minister Edward Heath he asked the Prime Minister to maintain “a strong presence” in the country because of what he saw as a danger from the left.
    Who was Mr. Nixon concerned about?  He was concerned about the Vanguard Nationalist Socialist Party.  The party is now long since defunct.  It never got off the ground except in limited intellectual circles.  But it was a Marxist Leninist party formed by a few intellectuals out the bowels of a student movement at the end of the 1960s called Unicoll and then Unicom.  Unicom included Franklin Wilson, Sean McWeeney (who was its head) and Francelia Bosfield, who ran against Perry Christie in the last election for the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR); Charles Fawkes, now head of the Consumer Association, Professor John McCartney and Lionel Carey.  The latter three broke away after Sir Lynden Pindling made an overture at a dramatic meeting at St. Agnes Schoolroom for Unicom to join the PLP.
    Franklin Wilson was adopted by the PLP as its nominee for Grants Town.  Messrs Fawkes, Carey and McCartney rejected the PLP model as neo colonialist and launched the socialist party.  The party died a slow death a decade or so later.  Mr. Nixon is quoted as saying to Mr. Heath: “The turn of events will be sharply to the left if there is chaos after the British leave.  So we must have you there [Nassau].  A strong British presence is desirable… if you can handle it.”

    The Prime Minister appointed this writer the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in an appointment dated Friday 10 May 2002.   In that capacity, I shall be the country’s principal spokesman on foreign affairs.  I shall also be responsible for the work of the Department of the Public Service, the personnel arm of the Government and for Government's office accommodation.  It is an honour to have been chosen.  I hope to serve the country well.


    The appointment of Senator James Smith as the country’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance sent out as strong signal to the country that the PLP meant to be business friendly.  While it is clear that the PLP must pursue its social agenda, it believes that a strong business community is important.  The appointment of Senator Smith is said to have calmed the fears of the business community of any radical departures in the business field.

   Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt was appointed the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security in a moving ceremony at Government House on Tuesday 7 May.  Mrs. Pratt is the first female Deputy Prime Minister in the history of the country and the first female Minister of National Security.  She was administered the oath of office by the country’s first female Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont.  The Prime Minister in his remarks said that she would bring her compassion to the job.  He spoke of her remarkable success story.  He had heard Mrs. Pratt the day before her appointment speaking on the radio of how she was one of 16 children that lived in such poor conditions that she could see cars moving around from looking through the holes in her home.  She had to sleep in shifts with the other children.  It was an impressive story of social mobility in our country.
    Mrs. Pratt started out with a bang by visiting the prison, which is part of her portfolio with the Police and the Defence Force.  At the prison she showed compassion for the inmates and the overseers.  The Tribune tried to embarrass her and the PLP by showing a picture of her talking to the inmate Samuel ‘Ninety’ Knowles who is in prison awaiting extradition on drug conspiracy charges of the United States.  The idea no doubt was to show that the PLP was somehow connected to drug people.  It was a particularly insidious and nasty thing to have done. The photo is shown.

    The members of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of The Bahamas are as follows:
Perry G. Christie MP Prime Minister
Cynthia Pratt Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of National Security
Bradley Roberts Minister of Works & Utilities
Alfred Sears Minister of Education and Attorney General
Fred Mitchell Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service
Shane Gibson Minister of Housing and National Insurance
Marcus Bethel Minister of Health and Environmental Services
Melanie Griffin, Minister of Social Services
Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism
Allyson Maynard-Gibson Minister of Financial Services and Investments
Vincent Peet, Minister of Labour and Immigration
Leslie Miller, Minister of Trade and Industry
Neville Wisdom, Minister of Youth Sports and Culture
Glenys Hanna Martin, Minister of Transport and Aviation
V. Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Local Government
James Smith Minister of State for Finance

    The Free National Movement’s Parliamentarians have resolved that Alvin Smith, the Member of Parliament elect for North Eleuthera, is to lead them in the new Parliament.  This makes him the Leader of the Opposition.  He was sworn into the post on Tuesday 7 May.  In making the announcement, the FNM’s Leader Tommy Turnquest said that Mr. Smith will lead the Parliamentary Opposition and he (Mr. Turnquest) will continue to be Leader of the party until a convention can be held.  It is being speculated that Mr. Turnquest will be appointed by Mr. Smith as a Senator along with Zhivargo Laing who is to be offered the $50,000 a year post as Chairman of the FNM.  No one has called the name Dion Foulkes as amongst the possible Senators.  Carl Bethel’s name was not heard either.  And some are saying that this is the reason why he spoke against the leadership of Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes – that he felt left out of the picture.
    The FNM is entitled to four possibly five Senate seats in the next Parliament.  This will be the second time in the history of the FNM that its leader was not elected to the House and they had to operate with a Parliamentary Leader of the Opposition.  The first time was during the year 1972 to 1977 when Cyril Tynes served as Leader of the Opposition when the late FNM Leader Cecil Wallace Whitfield lost his seat in the 1972 General Election.  Ken Russell High Rock MP and former Minister was said to be royally cheesed off by the fact that he was not elected seeing that he was the senior man.  Some say that the next most logical person should have been Brent Symonette but the FNM was afraid because of his race to put him as the leader of the party.  Things that make you go: hmmm!


    The Independent Member elect for St. Margaret’s Constituency Pierre Dupuch told the Nassau Guardian in its Friday 10 May edition that the FNM party lost the election because it failed to question or challenge the “democratic dictatorship of Hubert Ingraham”.  Mr. Dupuch said “the FNM shot itself in the foot not once, not twice but with a machine gun.  They did everything a sensible politician would not do.  I think the people voted against arrogance and the dictatorial manner in which Mr. Ingraham performed along with his people… The number of people who were victimized by the PLP is equal to the number of people who were victimized by the FNM.  It seems to be a way of life in this country.  It’s wrong, it should stop, but that’s the way it is… I plan on being very active in Parliament and I intend to involve the people of my constituency and of the country, really.  I never look at myself as the representative of one constituency.  I represent The Bahamas.”

Back To The Top


    The Member of Parliament elect for Bamboo Town Tennyson Wells told the ZNS Talk Show ‘Immediate Response’ that under his leadership the FNM would have won the General Election.  His remarks came on Thursday 9 May.  Mr. Wells described the FNM’s campaign as amateurish and ill-conceived.  Mr. Wells said that the FNM’s candidate for Pinewood Gaynell Rolle was nominated by the FNM before the Pinewood constituency was created.  He said that he would not have done that.   He said: “In Carmichael, they put a good fellow but the way they went about it, they ended up destroying the FNM.  They selected a poor candidate so that the party lost the strong FNM seat St. Thomas Moore.  You don’t do things like that to your people who have been in the trenches for years and years.  St. Margaret’s the same thing.”  Mr. Wells said that he would take approximately two years to decide whether he will align himself with a party or remain independent.

    Congratulations to Larry Cartwright the Independent Member of Parliament for Long Island.  We hope that he does well for the people of Long Island and Ragged Island.  No doubt there is relief in Long Island to see the back of James Knowles their 25 year reigning MP.  Mr. Cartwright in an interview with the Nassau Guardian published on Tuesday 7 May said that he had never made any deal with the FNM or the PLP as to what he would do after the election. “I have been elected as an Independent candidate, and until the constituents of Long Island and Ragged Island advise me otherwise, I will remain an Independent.”  Some of the major concerns he told the Guardian are a need for potable drinking water in both islands; the construction of a main road on Ragged Island and lighting for the Deadman’s Cay Airport on Long Island.


    The Independent Member elect for South Andros spoke to the press on Thursday 9 May and his remarks were reported in the Nassau Guardian Friday 10 May.  Mr. Bastian who was shunned by the PLP and the FNM because of alleged drug connections sought to set the record straight on those allegations.  Mr. Bastian told the Guardian that since he was charged with a drug offence the drug tainted label has stuck to him like glue.  He said: “As a result you will hear about drug tainted, drug tainted all the time.  I only got charged because certain people did not want me to run.  And with all this drug foolishness and nonsense… the PLP knew they started this.  Certain wicked people in the party did that to me and every time I wanted to be something in the party it was knocked down.”  In an earlier interview Mr. Bastian said on Thursday 9 May in the Nassau Guardian: “At this time, I don’t see the need for joining another political party.  I prefer to remain an independent candidate because at this time, I don’t want to be bound by the rules of any political party.  Once I join up with a party, I have to abide with the constitution of that party and if that party takes a position then I will have to go along with that position.” Guardian photo.

    Director of News at Island FM radio Jerome Sawyer has been nominated as one of this year’s 21 finalists nominated for an award by the Cable News Network (CNN).  Mr. Sawyer is a former nominee of the CNN World Report awards.  He won for his previous entry as the CNN Best News Report for his story on the escalating Haitian refugee crisis.  He was also nominated for another story on the Roslyn Astwood Court ruling following the death of a young boy to whom she had as a teacher administered corporal punishment.  In 1998, he received the 1998 CNN World Report Award for best political story with his report on the controversy over gay cruise ships being allowed in The Bahamas. We congratulate Mr. Sawyer and wish him good fortune.

    The Nassau Guardian of Tuesday 7 May reported that 51 persons forfeited their $400 deposits to the public treasury for failing to win more than one sixth of the votes in the General Election.  The law is put in place to avoid frivolous candidates.  All the candidates of the CDR and the BDM the lost their deposits.  These include Dr Bernard Nottage, Leader of the CDR and Cassius Stuart, the Leader of the BDM.

    The British system of Government that we have is merciless when it comes to taking over the reigns of a Government.  I have seen four transitions of Government close up: The Bahamas in 1992, Barbados in 1993, Bermuda in 1998 and now The Bahamas again in 2002.  The Americans have period of transition of about three months to get the new Government organized.  Here you are out one day and the next you are the Prime Minister and the Government.  And once you are sworn in as a Minister the decisions start almost immediately.  One has to be careful and deliberative and often there is not even time to be careful and deliberative.  In the study of public administration you are taught that one should always be careful of what they call ex parte pleading, that is, an aide who is asking you to make a decision based on the fact that a decision must be made in short time, and it is so urgent that it can't wait and they get to you just after you are sworn in or running out the door to a meeting.  Always pause, they say.  And so the generation who graduated from high school in the 1970s has now effectively taken over the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.  The number of St. Augustine's graduates is gradually reaching the same level of those who would have dominated from the old Government High School.  A change is underway.  We shall see what this generation can do.  Pictured from top left to right in this Nassau Guardian collage with photos by Patrick Hanna are: Leslie Miller, Minister of Trade & Industry; Melanie Griffin, Minister of Social Service & Community Development; Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism; 2nd row - Vincent Peet, Minister of Labour & Immigration; Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs & The Public Service; Neville Wisdom, Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture; 3rd row - Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Transport & Aviation; Alfred Sears, Attorney General & Minister of Education; V. Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries & Local Government; 4th row - Dr. Marcus Bethel, Minister of Health & Environmental Services; Shane Gibson, Minister of Housing & National Insurance and Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Minister of Financial Services & Investments.  Not pictured are Prime Minister Perry Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt, Minister of Works & Utilities Bradley Roberts and Minister of State for Finance James Smith.

A week for major defections…

Major Defections From Grand Bahama FNM - It was a week for major defections from the FNM’s operational level in Grand Bahama.  Everywhere our informants went they were being badgered for the cell phone numbers of the new ministers, the requests being sweetened with pledges of allegiance.  These people would do well to remember Prime Minister Christie’s pledge that the PLP is a Government for ALL the people.  In one case, a former Vice Chairman of the FNM now prominent in the construction industry showed off in a local restaurant by dialling the private number of a key minister on his phone and inviting his breakfast mates to “have a chat, it’s really him!”

Alvin Smith Unpopular Choice -Alvin Smith, the newly named Leader of the Official Opposition seems to have been an unpopular choice for many of the FNM party faithful in Grand Bahama.  Heard on the streets from FNM politicos “he just ain’t ready for prime time…”

Ken Russell’s Stillborn Leadership - Inside sources say that surviving FNM High Rock MP and ex Minister of Works Kenneth Russell offered himself for the post of leader of the official opposition during a meeting of former FNM parliamentarians.  “He didn’t get one pledge of support,” said our source: “He held a meeting amongst his own people in Grand Bahama and while they supported him to his face, they turned right round behind his back.”

Drumbeats For Brent - The drumbeat has already started for Brent Symonette’s leadership campaign.  The word being put out from the UBP wing of the FNM is that “Like it or not, Brent is the only one left.”

Their Head Too Hard: Ingraham - Despite his public line, sources close to ex Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham tell News From Grand Bahama this week that privately, Mr. Ingraham is saying that “he told Tommy to leave Algernon Allen alone, that he had gotten rid of a problem… He also told Tommy to get rid of David Thompson and C.A. Smith and a few others but their head was too hard.”  Word is that Ingraham has advised his former protégé Zhivargo Laing to return to Grand Bahama in order to nurse the Pineridge seat lost to the PLP’s Ann Percentie by C.A. Smith who has since retired.

If You Throw A Rock - into a pack of dogs, so the saying goes, the one who yelps is the one you hit.  This adage came to mind this week as former Pineridge MP C. A. Smith took to the airwaves to explain why the basketball backboards had been taken down at a local community park which is now locked and closed.  Mind you, no one had accused ex Minister Smith of removing the backboards in the first place.  Instead it was being said that a certain former local MP had purchased the backboards from personal funds and then in a fit of rage at his loss, had them taken down.  Mr. Smith said that the park was closed to save the grass from being trampled during a dry spell.  In any event, Mr. Smith, it is no longer your responsibility.  The new MP for the area has assured News From Grand Bahama that the park will be reopened with new basketball backboards and rims in short order.

A Special Greeting to Dr. Barry Russell, a faithful reader of this site.  Orthodontist Dr. Russell visits Grand Bahama on a regular basis in a professional sense, but is reported to have been holding court with local politicos.  As a political insider, this site knows that Dr. Russell himself has no peer.

19th May, 2002
This Week on
Bahamas Government Website Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte
John Carey / PLP Carmichael... Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte... Bahamians First.Com / PLP Grand Bahama
Shane Gibson / Golden Gates...  Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town...
Click on a heading to go to that story; press ctrl+home to return to the top of the page.



Getting used to a new job is a new experience, having worked for myself since 1995.  There is a certain rhythm that is needed, getting used to new people and them getting used to the way you work.  The civil service has its own rhythm and we who come in from the outside have but a short time to impact its working methods.  But it is not a daunting task, just a bit  discombobulating until the rhythm settles in.  So it is, becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for the Public Service.

What is interesting is the state of the public buildings.  It is strange indeed that after ten years of relentless FNM propaganda that the country has been better off during the last ten years, the state of the public buildings is so poor.  And we are not just talking about paint.  We are talking about the adequacy of many of these buildings and the space therein for the people who work in them.  A serious problem exists for space, and the quality of the environment within which workers have to operate in the public service.  All of these matters have costs that we the Bahamian public have to consider as we go about the increasing demands of the Bahamian public service.

The PLP has been under a relentless, if hysterical attack, over the past week from The Tribune.  We report on it below.  It appears to us that it is motivated by an atavistic hysteria in that body’s publisher that she cannot rise above.  She just can’t rise above her history and the fact that a coalition of all the ethnic groups in The Bahamas brought about the downfall of the Free National Movement.  We also show the statistics of the last election (click here).  The PLP won just short of 53 per cent of the vote.  The figures were prepared with thanks by Brian Nutt.  They are sobering.  It means that work will have to be done to maintain the consensus.

But that was not the only thing that was sobering.  The Prime Minister led his first Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 14 May.  He invited the press in and when they asked what happened during the meeting he told them that the Cabinet had been briefed on the state of the economy and the facts had been sobering.  A full report on the economy is expected from James Smith, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance later today.

The Ambassadors to The Bahamas made their official call on the new Minister of Foreign Affairs this week.

The lead photograph this week is the symbolic presentation of a bowl of sapodillas (dillies) by Rev. Dr. J. Carl Rahming and Bishop Austin Saunders along with a group from the Fox Hill community.  The presentation was in the lower gardens of Government House, shortly after the Ministerial swearing in ceremony and staged to welcome this columnist as the Parliamentary Representative for Fox Hill.  Hidden in the background is former MP George Mackey who recalled the days when Fox Hill residents were denigrated as "sapodilly eaters".  No more.  Fox Hill is now universally recognized as the important centre of culture that it is.  Our efforts will aim to turn this to the greater advantage of the community.  It was a very touching and pleasing gesture.  Thank you to all.

This week we had 39,654 hits on the site for the week ending Saturday 16 May at midnight.  That makes 151,504 hits on the site for the month of May.  Thanks for reading and please keep reading.

Mitchell & Christie at Government House by Peter Ramsay

12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral


Site Links
The PLP Position on Clifton Canadian contacts Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links Bahamian Cycling News Links to Bahamians on the web Politics Forum Harbour Island Site


    The PLP must not fall into the same trap of the last PLP administration where the party’s machinery collapsed in the face of the power of the Government.  The problem can be seen clearly this past week in the onslaught by The Tribune on the question of  the manufactured crises over freedom of the press.  The Tribune manufactured the whole crisis by violating a trust by shooting and publishing a photo of Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt while touring the prison week before last.
    Those on the site of the visit said it was clear that The Tribune’s people were on a mission with respect to the photo of Mrs. Pratt and Samuel  ‘Ninety’ Knowles.  It was like the publisher of The Tribune had instructed their team to make sure you get that photo.  It was taking advantage and it was a particularly slimy thing to do.  But not surprising since The Tribune and the FNM were working hand in hand during the election campaign in an attempt to show that the PLP was accepting drug money and owed drug traffickers big time.
    The clear innuendo of the picture was that the PLP was paying off its debt to Mr. Knowles by showing up and looking for him in prison.  No such thing was the case and there is no such debt.  Mother Pratt simply visited the prison and in visiting prisoners he happened to be one.  The U.S. Ambassador got into the mix by appearing on a radio show and saying that Mrs. Pratt had called him to explain the matter.  Mrs. Pratt does not need to explain anything to anyone.
    The Permanent Secretary to Mrs. Pratt’s Ministry made a comment to The Tribune that they had violated a trust and that he would be cutting off communication with them in the future.  The Tribune started to howl that this was a PLP Government like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, trying to threaten a free press.  Give me a break.  This is false martyr complex.  They are looking for something where there is nothing.
    But the problem is there was no political response from the PLP.  And The Tribune went further in its editorial of Thursday 16 May by challenging Prime Minister Christie to show who is in control of the party by saying that victimization will not happen.  The truth we all know is that even if Mr. Christie was trapped into responding to that invitation, nothing he says will be accepted or believed by The Tribune.
    It is clear that the party’s political machinery must not go to sleep, otherwise these lousy, slimy lies that are being told by The Tribune's editors, when reported enough can become accepted as truths.
    Meanwhile Mrs. Pratt went about her work touring the various facilities within her police portfolio and also joining the Defence Force to commemorate the death of the four marines in the sinking of the Flamingo in 1980.  The Tribune showed a  photo  of one of Mother Pratt’s tours in a striking green outfit.

    Poor Tommy Turnquest.  How the mighty have fallen.  Mr. Turnquest, who was defeated by the PLP’s newcomer Keod Smith, is now to be a Senator for the FNM and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.  This is a big come down from the man who would be king.  He and the Government led by Hubert Ingraham treated the Senate with absolute contempt.  Now he is sentenced to serve in it.  Another Senator announced by the Leader of the Opposition Alvin Smith is Tanya McCartney as in “IfaTanya”, the defeated candidate for South Beach.  Then there is Desmond Bannister, the President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).  Following his defeat Mr. Bannister said that he had to take time out to consider his political future.  It didn’t take much time to figure it out.  This from a man who says that he is not a politician.  Hmmm!  And then there is Gladys Johnson-Sands.  Mrs. Sands is the sister of the outgoing Speaker of the House and defeated Garden Hills MP Italia Johnson.  How in God's name she got the appointment no one quite knows.  But the FNM's release said that this represents a balanced team with a new perspective on Bahamian public life.  Now that’s interesting.  The announcement said the baby dragon Zhivargo Laing did not get a Senate appointment but he is now the special assistant to the Leader of the FNM Tommy Turnquest.  Now there’s a challenging job!  Nothing said about Dion Foulkes the would be Deputy Leader of the FNM.  Shall we say left out in the cold.

    Meanwhile up in Abaco, the man who was single handedly responsible for the ignominious defeat of the FNM was up in Abaco telling lies to his constituents about the election and why the PLP won.  He claimed that the FNM was out spent by the PLP in the election.  Absolute lies.  To try and support that Ingraham lie, The Punch the nation’s journalistic dish rag, had a headline on Thursday 16 May that the PLP had spent seven million dollars to the FNM’s four million dollars. Only Ivan Johnson with his lying fertile imagination could come up with such nonsense.  Then Mr. Ingraham claimed that the FNM had self-destructed because they refused to support the leadership after he stuck to his original decision to step down after two terms.  Another Ingraham lie.
    Mr. Ingraham deliberately destabilized his party because he was greedy and wanted to stay on beyond the promised two terms.  In order to do so, he sought to block the forward progress of Tennyson Wells and the FNMs who wanted the leadership.  In blocking them, he caused a huge uproar and split the party in two.  He and his corruption clouded Ministers Dion Foulkes and Tommy Turnquest used the Government to buy the election.  The public and the rank and file FNMs had no taste for it and failed to support the FNM in the election.
    There were other Ingraham lies like the PLP taking drug money.  No talk from him about how he once told the Cabinet that all his generals were involved in drugs but he told them once it doesn’t stay in The Bahamas that was okay.  But suffice it to say there is only one truth: the only person responsible for the defeat of the FNM was Hubert Ingraham his stubbornness, his arrogance and his betrayal of the Bahamian people.  Once he confesses that maybe he can show his face in public again.  Those lies of Mr. Ingraham don’t even wash in Abaco.

    The bets are out two to one that Hubert Ingraham is so ashamed of his new role in the House of Assembly that he will not appear in Parliament as an Opposition Member of Parliament.  He never intends to be sworn in.  He will manufacture some trip out of the country the day before the official opening day of the House on 22 May so he won’t be here.  He can’t stand the idea of Fred Mitchell and Bradley Roberts on the Government benches, the two that he did the most to stop from getting into the House of Assembly.  The talk is that Mr. Ingraham will retire on 19 August from the House.  If he does, good riddance.  Maybe I can make some money off this bet.

    Every other defeated FNM big wig has turned in their Government car to the Commissioner of Police.  The Minister’s cars have been distributed to the new Ministers already.  The only hold out is Italia Johnson, the biggetty and spiteful former Speaker under the FNM.  She is still occupying the Government’s office of Speaker and is driving around in the Government issued car.  She claims that she is still Speaker until a new speaker is elected on 22 May.  This is really stretching it.  She has no authority whatsoever.  And just think how desperate things must be if she has to hold on to a car for God’s sake.  Anyway, the PLP is not like the FNM with its dog in the manger attitude.  No one is demanding the keys.  Let’s hope she doesn’t find an excuse to keep the car after the new Speaker is elected.


    Prime Minister Perry Christie held his first cabinet meeting on Tuesday 14 May.  The Cabinet posed for a photo and the Prime Minister allowed questions after the photos were taken.  The Nassau Guardian of Wednesday 15 May reported that the Prime Minister described the briefing on the state of the economy by James Smith the Minister of State as sobering.  The Nassau Guardian published an engaging picture of that first Cabinet meeting on its front page.  The photo is by Donald Knowles.  Mr. Christie was quoted as saying: “All of us have come to office in government, patently aware of the needs of the people of this country, particularly the young.  We’ve come in very excited with the possibilities of implementing our programme that we called our platform, but we are also aware of the fact that the ease at which we can do that, depends entirely on the state of finances in this country.”  Sobering indeed.


    Bradley Roberts is the Minister of Works.  Stan Burnside, The Tribune cartoonist, had an excellent cartoon of Mr. Roberts that we show you now.  It was published on Thursday 16 May.   It tells the story of what is happening in the country.  Most of the newly elected Members of Parliament have never been swamped with so many requests for jobs and not just any job but government jobs.  It appears that everyone wants to work for the Government.  But that is not new.  What is really alarming is the extent to which young people are unemployed or underemployed and worse yet do not have any skills to get good paying jobs.  This is a real time bomb.  The number one request of all those who visit members of parliament elect is I need a job.  This is the state of the economy left by the FNM to the PLP.

    For the past week, Bahamians watched with some fascination as Jimmy Carter, the former President of the United Sates paid an official visit to Cuba.  While most of us thought of the political implications between the US and Cuba and on the hemisphere, the leaders of Bahamian tourism took note of the implications for our economy.  It is clear that there is a huge change about to take place in Cuba regardless of whether Castro lives on for another five years or so.  The U.S. President George Bush is set to announce even tougher sanctions but business is not waiting on him.  They are rushing despite the sanctions.  The American business community believes that the U.S. is cheating itself out of a lucrative market during hard times.
    Cuba has had substantial growth in tourism over the past decade.  The number of rooms in Cuba outnumbers the number of rooms available in The Bahamas.  They have some 27,000 and are continuing to build.  We are stuck near 15,000.  The Bahamian product under the FNM deteriorated and appears to have gone stale.  There has been no substantial growth in tourist rooms.  Cuba will represent substantial challenges to the Bahamian tourism product.  So the PLP has its work cut out for it with regard to the development of our tourism product.   All the more reason for the Bahamian Prime Minister to have described  the state of our economy as sobering.

    Perry Christie, the Prime Minister, performed his first official act at the opening of the Royal Oasis Golf Resort and Casino.  This is the old Princess property that has been mired in industrial controversy and in protest over environmental concerns since it was announced by the last Government last year.  There was also a concern that the company that owns the project was short of capital.  Now the resort has been officially opened and business is to begin.  The Prime Minister congratulated the owners at the opening.  His Ministers for Financial Services and Investment, Tourism and Health accompanied him.  But he sounded this word of caution: to the hotel’s owners:
    “I do not propose to sit idly by as PM and allow small matters to fester and become major matters that disrupt, interrupt and threaten, not only investment, but the confidence that is so necessary for those who intend to see The Bahamas a source of investment.  So it our intention to ensure that at all time good faith is present in all negotiations, and in all matters of dispute between representatives of hotel owners and employees. While there is no mistake and understanding of our commitment to ensuring safety and security of investment, we are also committed to making sure that the investor ensures dignity in the workplace for the employee.”
    The Hotel Union’s president has objected to the conduct of the hotel’s principal manager David Buddemeyer.  Tribune photo.

    Prominent businessmen Franklyn Wilson and Garret ‘Tiger’ Finlayson have issued a statement categorically denying tabloid media reports that they offered former FNM Cabinet Minister Algernon Allen $1 million to join the PLP.
    The joint statement said the two had spoken with Mr. Allen and received his assurance that he would issue a statement to “make clear that we never did any such thing.”
    Messrs. Wilson and Finlayson issued a categorical denial of any attempt to persuade Mr. Allen to switch to the PLP.

    Armed afresh with his new appointment by the Leader of the Opposition Alvin Smith, Tommy Turnquest issued a statement in the anomalous position of being Leader of the FNM but not Leader of the Opposition.  He attacked the PLP saying that it made “false promises” during the election campaign and that it must meet its campaign pledges.  This statement came in response to the Prime Minister’s statement to the country that the finances of the country were in a “sobering” state.  Mr. Turnquest claims that the PLP should not have been surprised by all of this since the FNM has disclosed the nature of the problems.  That is not true.  The FNM made several statements during the campaign and before that indicated that the economy was back on track.  They spent money on projects during the campaign and tried to buy off voters by putting money in their pockets just before the election.  They hired temporary workers just before the election.  All of this was done in an attempt to fool the Bahamian people that we had an economy that was performing well.  But the facts are now in and the Minister of State for Finance is expected to bare all to the Bahamian public in a national address this weekend.  What Mr. Turnquest is saying is patently dishonest.  The problem is not just this year.  It is clear for example when you look at the state of the public buildings how run down the country really is.  Garbage can’t even be collected generally.  Bush can’t be cleared from the overgrown streets.  And our story above shows that unemployment is a huge problem amongst young people.  One supposes that Tommy Turnquest has to say something but what he says is once again patently dishonest. From left Tommy Turnquest, Zhivargo Laing, Alvin Smith and Brent Symonette.  Photo by Peter Ramsay.

Back To The Top

    If there is one contribution, this writer would like to make to the public life of The Bahamas it is to shorten the length of Bahamian public ceremonies.  The country is a modern country, substantially developed.  One thing you will find is that in modern developed countries, the ceremonies are brief and efficient.  It means that you can take time out to honour the occasion but you can also get back to work relatively quickly.  Patricia Glinton-Mercolas has an interesting piece on Bahamian programmes in her last book.  It would be good to read it for a bit of humour.  When one compares the official mourning for  the victims of 9/11 in Canada, Britain and the U.S., none of the ceremonies lasted more than forty minutes.  It made the point in brief and solemn services and then the countries and the people were able to get on with trying to rebuild.


    The Tribune of Thursday 16 May reported that three Associate Pastors of the Abundant Life Church were recognized last week for their hard work and faithfulness.  Pastors Gilbert Maycock, James Knowles and Algernon Malcolm were honoured during a special service.   Senior Pastor Ed Allen said that the three men had been a tremendous asset to the church.  He said that he found them to be trustworthy and faithful.  He added: “The members and followers of Abundant Life Bible Church wish to commend these associate pastors for their hard work and tireless efforts to the church and pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen and richly bless them.”  The photo appeared of the three men in The Tribune’s Religion Section on Thursday 15 May.


    The images of the last few few weeks have been many and memorable.  But we thought that this one was particularly eye-catching.  Unbidden at the ministerial swearing in ceremony, a group of schoolchildren gather around the newly appointed Minister of Education Alfred Sears, who engages them in dialogue.  Photo by Peter Ramsay.


    Retired Nursing Officer of Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre and the wife of Colin Deane, former Permanent Secretary for the Bahamas Government was buried on Saturday 18 May at Woodlawn Gardens in New Providence.  Funeral services were held at Christ the King Anglican Church in New Providence.  Mrs. Deane was a well known supporter of the PLP.   In addition to her husband Colin, she is survived by Michele Thompson and Siobhan Deane, her daughters and two sons, Alistair and Perry.  May she rest in peace!


    As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I represented the Government at the funeral of the late Oris Stanley Russell C.M.G., O.B.E., O.M., J.P.  Mr. Russell was a retired Permanent Secretary.  His last appointment was at the Ministry of External Affairs as the Foreign Ministry was then called.  He served under the Hon. Paul Adderley.  Mr. Russell was born in 1922.  He was a student at Queen's College and joined the public service just after school.  He served on a number of occasions as Assistant Colonial Secretary, the top civil service job in the colonial days.  He then read for a degree in Agriculture in 1950 at the University of Florida at Gainesville.  He later became the country's Director of Agriculture. Mr. Russell retired in 1983.  Mr. Russell was a founding member of the Bahamas National Trust and was the first Bahamian to be accepted into the Royal Geographical Society.  He was eulogized by Perry Maillis, attorney at law and former National Trust President as one who had a library of knowledge about The Bahamas.  Mr. Russell was an insulin dependent diabetic but he never missed a beat and lived a full 80 years.  He was described by Paul Adderley as a true Bahamian patriot.  We salute his life of service.
    Mr. Russell is survived by his widow Gloria Russell (nee Claridge) and by his stepdaughters Arlene, Diane, Catherine, and Linda.  Funeral services were held at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Kirk on Saturday 18 May and a private burial followed.

    Having been in and around the business of Government at its highest levels in the past thirty years, it is an interesting journey for me to revisit some earlier scenes. This is a particularly a poignant memory when one visits the Prime Minister’s Office in the Churchill Building. It is known in Nassau as the Cabinet Office.  Sir Lynden O. Pindling, the country's founding Prime Minister, was its longest using occupant.  And we held many meetings there late in the evening, writing speeches, discussing strategy on party matters.  Following the 1992 General Election; that is where Hubert Ingraham and I had the first chat about where his administration was headed.  The furniture had not changed, the secretaries were the same.  The Prime Minister was different.  And now 2002, its deja vu all over again as they say.  Perry Christie is now the Prime Minister and once again it is an honour to visit the office and work at a close level with the Prime Minister of The Bahamas.
    Just a quick story, the Secretary to the Cabinet's office is in the same building as the Prime Minister's office.  And the late Rodney Bain who was the first Bahamas Cabinet Secretary could walk directly from his office to Sir Lynden's and Sir Lynden to his.  Mr. Bain died in a tragic traffic accident and on that next morning Sir Lynden called me over to the office to discuss some point or other.  I walked into the late Mr. Bain’s office and it was just like he had not died.  Everything was the same; the chair had its back to me.  Suddenly I was startled out of my reverie when the chair turned around abruptly.  I was almost frightened out of my skin.  But not to worry, it wasn't Mr. Bain's spirit but rather Sir Lynden had been sitting in the chair looking for some documents in a filing cabinet behind the desk. Whew!

Local Government Elections - Local Government elections have been announced for Grand Bahama next month.  The June contests will see five of the eight sitting councillors not running for re-election.  Word is that these councillors, all perceived as rank and file FNMs, have decided that it would be unwise to risk defeat.  Those who have indicated that they will not run are Chief Councillor Burton Miller, Deputy Chief Councillor Rudy Sawyer, Angela Sands, Dianne Wildgoose and Terrance Roberts.  Said one councillor to News From Grand Bahama: "We're not going to get in the way of progress."

Tommy T Visits - The now leadership contingent of the FNM, Leader Tommy Turnquest, Special Assistant to the Leader, Zhivargo Laing, Leader of the Official Opposition Alvin Smith and sole FNM New Providence representative Brent Symonette, paid a visit to Grand Bahama.  There was a significant turnout at a meeting for the group at FNM headquarters, but true to form, Grand Bahamians didn't give the group a true picture.  Inside the meeting, it was all sweetness and light, while outside the real politicking continued.  "They still haven't learned their lesson from all the leadership mix up, cheap as well we make Brent the leader one time..."

Hotel Union Stands Down, For Now - The Bahamas Hotel, Catering & Allied Workers Union has taken a decision to stand down for the time being from strike action against the Driftwood group in time for the opening of the hotel which took place on Thursday.  Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe attended (see story above).

Beautiful New Hotel - Despite all the hiccups and hard feelings over staff relations that have preceded the reopening of the former Princess hotels, the end result is quite elegant.  The senior correspondent for News From Grand Bahama describes the property as "beautifully appointed".  However, no sooner had the official opening finished that a big row broke out in the food and beverage area between a Bahamian executive and his foreign counterpart.  Harsh words were reportedly exchanged.  Prime Minister Christie's pledge not to let little things fester is now about to be put to the test.

An Excellent Experience - Congratulations to the staff in the Driftwood Italian restaurant 'Paradisio', especially to waiter Romeo.  We would recommend it.  The decor is appealing, the food well prepared and the service excellent.  And, oh yes, we paid for our meal.

'Our' Lucaya Casino Still Closed - Word is that the statement announcing that the international Wyndham group was to take over the casino at 'Our' Lucaya was premature.  It turns out that while the casino is finished construction, the management deal is not yet closed.

Victory Thanksgiving Service - A thanksgiving service for the electoral victory of the PLP was held in Grand Bahama this past week.  Pastor George Cumberbatch of 1st Baptist, Pastor Godfrey Williams of St. John's Jubilee Cathedral and Pastor John T. Rolle of Holmes Rock all prayed and reminded party and Government officials to be servants and not masters.  Prime Minister Perry Christie looked on while gospel music played and the Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Edward St. George, dressed in PLP colours, jumped for Jesus.

Hat Frenzy - Ladies on Grand Bahama this week were all busy in the community's hat shops searching for the perfect compliment to their 'Opening of Parliament' finery.  Many of the island's leading lady citizens will be flying to Nassau for Wednesday's official opening ceremony in Rawson Square.  The real show will be in the hats.  Trust us.

26th May, 2002
This Week on
Bahamas Government Website Neville Wisdom / PLP Delaporte
John Carey / PLP Carmichael... Melanie Griffin / PLP Yamacraw
Alfred Sears / PLP Fort Charlotte... Bahamians First.Com / PLP Grand Bahama
Shane Gibson / Golden Gates...  Bradley Roberts / PLP Grants Town...
Click on a heading to go to that story; press ctrl+home to return to the top of the page.


    This week we begin a new format.  The column is now compiled and edited by Al Dillette (formerly the editor alone) and a group of writers most of whom will remain anonymous.  The change is because of the appointment to the Cabinet of Fred Mitchell after whom the column is named.  The articles which have the initials (fm) behind them are the ones to be attributed to Mr. Mitchell and are considered his personal opinion and not that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.  This applies to any and all articles on this site.  Our anonymous correspondent from Freeport will continue the contributions as usual.  We hope you continue to enjoy the column.


The new Parliament of The Bahamas officially began its work for the new session with the state opening of Parliament by the Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont on Wednesday 22 May.  All members of Parliament were present except the man who sank the FNM ship Hubert Ingraham.  The former Prime Minister reportedly took off to his daughter’s graduation in Canada and so we got to miss his dulcet tones at the House of Assembly.  It was a strange sight.  Having caused all the political mayhem, the loud mouth wasn’t there to see the results of his damage.  But Bradley Roberts, the Minister of Works is just waiting for him to show.  The bet is that Mr. Ingraham will not show until it is time for him to officially retire at the age of 55 in August 2002.  He will collect his pension and disappear into the sunset.  We will all say good riddance to the menace.

The Prime Minister has appointed all his senators.  They were headed by the Leader of the Senate Marcus Bethel as Minister of Health and James Smith, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance.  The new President of the Senate is Sharon Wilson.  She is wife of the former PLP MP and Senator Franklin Wilson.  The Vice President is Rev. C.B. Moss, former President of the Christian Council.  There is a full report below.

But the opening of Parliament was interesting, not just for the promises of the legislative agenda and the stark realities of the fiscal crisis that faces the country, but for the social separation that it imposed on those newly elected and sworn in.  As a Minister you have a driver and a car.  You lead the protocol list. You are told where to go and what to do and to keep the majesty of the occasion and the symmetry you do not step out of it.  The result is that the people who worked to elect the minister and those who voted for him rarely got a chance on this special occasion to interact, if at all, with the person they elected.   It is quite a shock on the system.  Voters at home also complain, after two weeks on the job, that you are not seen in the neighbourhood as often.  There must be an understanding that things have changed and that in order to do good for the constituency, you have to work diligently for the country.  But Tip O’Neil, the former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives said: “All politics is local”.  One would do well to remember it.

This week we had 41,110 hits on the site up to midnight Saturday 25th May.  That makes a total of 192,634 hits on the site for the month of May.  Thank you for reading and please keep reading. (fm)

Mitchell at first session of House of Assembly by Peter Ramsay

12th Review of the Judiciary
11th Review of the Judiciary
Mitchell Address to Senate: Why the PM is the way he is
Mitchell speech to PLP Convention 2000
Pindling & Me - A personal retrospective on the life and times of Sir Lynden by Fred Mitchell
Address to the Senate Budget Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to the Senate Clifton Cay Debate / Haitian Issue
Address to PLP Leadership meeting in Exuma / Haitian Issue

Address of Sean McWeeney / Pindling  funeral
Gilbert Morris on OECD Blacklist
Fred Mitchell Antioch College speech
The funeral coverage

For a photo essay on the funeral of Archdeacon William Thompson. Click here.

Professor Gilbert Morris on the country's blacklisting  Coverage of Sir Lynden's death & funeral


Site Links
The PLP Position on Clifton Canadian contacts Reg & Kit's Bahamas Links Bahamian Cycling News Links to Bahamians on the web Politics Forum Harbour Island Site


    They all looked punch drunk during the ceremony, particularly those in the Senate.  The gang of four that now represents the rump of the Free National Movement put on a brave face but they could not manage to keep a straight face.  Throughout the ceremony Tommy Turnquest, the seatless wonder, now Leader of the FNM, sat there glum faced.  The reality is that he is out. The scandals, the arrogance of his predecessor, his inability to be his own man during the campaign must have been foremost in his mind.  He could well have been asking himself: How from where I started did I get to this?  He promised from the outside of the Parliament that he would keep the PLP's feet to the fire to ensure that they kept their promises.  Then on opening Parliament day, he must also have remembered the ultimate indignity.  He was presented with the instruments of appointment as a Senator by the real Leader of the Opposition Alvin Smith. (Well, the law says so!)
Mr. Smith according to the official FNM version of the story is just the surrogate for the Leader of the FNM Mr. Turnquest, because of the distortion of the general election that left Mr. Turnquest, the official leader of the FNM, outside the House, without a seat.  Someone apparently forgot to tell Mr. Smith that, because in his remarks at Government House on Tuesday 21st May, it was clear that Mr. Smith was not seeing himself as any surrogate.  Here’s what he had to say in his own words: “It is indeed a privilege of mine to congratulate four outstanding Bahamians to have been selected to be considered to represent the opposition in the honourable Senate.  It is a privilege of mine as the Leader of the Opposition to have such fine Bahamians to carry out such a responsibility.  I am sure that each and every one of you would do a marvellous job.  You must remember that the roles have changed now, but you have an awesome responsibility.  Your diverse experience and your diverse background would have prepared you for these moments.”
    Someone ought to tell that man that well he aint the real Leader of the Opposition.  It must have been quite infra dig for Tommy Turnquest as shown in the picture in The Tribune to be seen getting from on high an instrument from Alvin Smith who we are sure Mr. Turnquest thinks of as a lesser mortal.  Things that make you go: hmmm! Donald Knowles' Guardian photo of Tommy Turnquest and Rev. Dr. C.B. Moss in Senate, Patrick Hanna's Guardian photo of Leader of Opposition Alvin Smith (at right in photo) being sworn in.

    The PLP has 12 choices for Senators.  Four of them you already know from the lead column.  The total twelve are as follows: Marcus Bethel, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister of Health; James Smith, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance; Sharon Wilson, attorney-at-law, President of the Senate and wife of Franklyn Wilson, former PLP MP and Senator and now Chairman of Arawak Homes; Rev. Dr. C.B. Moss, Vice President of the Senate and former PLP candidate for Bain Town and former President of the Christian Council; Edison Key, the former PLP candidate and former MP for Abaco; Traver Whylly, a campaign general of Bradley Roberts from the old Grants Town constituency and an officer of the PLP; Damian Gomez, the former candidate for North Eleuthera and a former PLP senator and son of Archbishop Drexel Gomez; Philip Galanis, the former MP for Englerston; Yvette Turnquest, the former candidate for the Montagu constituency; Michelle Pindling-Sands, attorney-at-law and daughter of the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling and Lady Pindling;  Cyprianna McWeeney, the wife of  Sean McWeeney, the former Attorney General and Senator; she is also an officer of the PLP;  Paulette Zonicle, former ZNS reporter now insurance agent and campaign manager for South Beach MP Agatha Marcelle.
    The twelve Senators are joined by four Opposition senators that were named last week. The teams look like a mismatch.  Tommy will really have to pull up his socks as FNM leader in the Senate if he hopes to survive against the PLP’s team.  You may click here for last week's story on the four FNM Senators. As Senator McWeeney would say about the FNM: “Aint nothing happenin.”  Patrick Hanna's Guardian photo of Senate President Sharon Wilson being sworn in.

    The Tribune’s weekly section Bahamian Woman had a column by Regina Whylly.  In it, the columnist wrote under the headline: MOTHER PRATT IS UP TO TASK.  The article published on Wednesday 22 May said that many people had asked the question whether Mother Pratt was up to the job as Minister of National Security.  The article said: “There are some persons out there who feel ‘Mother’ Pratt is not the right woman for the job.  Some have claimed she is too soft, does not know anything about National Security and is going to have to rely upon the advice of her advisors.”
    The Tribune forgot to mention, however, their part in contributing to the difficulty by the publication of a photograph that seemed designed to embarrass Mrs. Pratt, notwithstanding the Tribune’s official denials to the contrary.  But the article was a positive one for Mrs. Pratt.  The person quoted by the columnist said that Mrs. Pratt is quite capable of doing the job and that she has proven she can do the job.  Colin Johnson, a customs officer, said: “If Mother Pratt listens to the persons that are in charge of the various ministries, because they have been in these positions for a while and know what each department needs, she will be able to make competent decisions.”
    The columnist said the appointment was a great boost for women in the country.   She concluded:  Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt is one of these women [making strides in the country] and we look forward to great things from her.”  Guardian photo of Mother Pratt greeting supporters by Patrick Hanna.

    On the heels of the statement by James Smith, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance that the Government is going to run at least a 140 million dollar deficit this fiscal year, largely as a result of irresponsible behaviour by the Free National Movement administration, it was curious to see the statement of the Governor of the Central Bank Julian Francis that the level of reserves in the words quoted by the Tribune were: “a pretty comfortable number – a pretty reasonable level of reserves for time being”.   Mr. Francis was speaking at the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon during Chamber of Commerce week on Tuesday 21 May.  The Governor of the Bank said that credit restrictions were being maintained because any explosion of credit will cause pressure on the value of the Bahamian dollar now pegged at one to one.
    Behind it all of course is the knowledge that because of the irresponsibility of the FNM, of spending for elections and not acting prudently, there is severe pressure on the liquidity to lend to the Government to finance ever-increasing deficits.  The FNM lied to the Bahamian people last year, telling us that they would be able to run a balanced budget for the first time in the country's history.  They knew at the time they were making the promise that the trend in revenue was downward.  The whole thing then fell apart when the events of 11 September took place.  The house of cards fell apart.  There should have been the cancellation of capital projects; immediate freezes on pay and hiring in the public sector and a frank talk with the public to brace them for two years of relative hardship.  Instead, they talked the talk of hardship but proceeded to spend like there was no tomorrow.  This spending increased when the election was drawing nigh and it was clear that the FNM was in trouble.  The Government suddenly announced that things were looking better and promotions and pay increases could take place in the public sector.  It was just electioneering and some are now predicting that the PLP will face because of FNM spending the largest deficit in the history of the country.
    It would have been interesting to have heard the Central Bank Governor confirm the lack of fiscal prudence by the former Government, instead the comments seemed to vindicate their irresponsible behaviour.  The bad news is that there is no scenario short of a miracle investment that sees this country rising out of deficits under one hundred fifty million dollars each over the next three years.  And this is all due to the fact that when the country was doing well, the FNM spent money on foolish projects.  Now we have nothing to show for it.  Just go back to last week’s comment about the state of the public buildings in this column.  Look at the state of the roads.  File photo of Central Bank Governor Julian Francis.

    Oswald Ingraham was pictured in all the newspapers as he donned the robes of the new speaker of the Assembly.  Mr. Ingraham is a first time Member of Parliament.  He is the member for South Eleuthera.  He was elected unanimously.  He was supported by Opposition Leader Alvin Smith, his fellow Eleutheran.  Mr. Ingraham promised to protect the rights of the minority and to do his best to be fair to all.  Mr. Ingraham is a well-known businessman in South Eleuthera and this will now require considerable time away from his hometown of Rock Sound.  The Deputy Speaker is Anthony Moss, the Member of Parliament for Exuma.  This makes the team of Speaker and Deputy Speaker a totally Family Islands affair.
    Congratulations came all around.  We know that Mr. Ingraham will be fairer than his immediate predecessor.  He did not name her as one of his role models for the job when he gave his acceptance speech.  The Leader of the Opposition in a communication came up against the fairness principle and the new spirit of governance.  The last speaker, Italia Johnson who held on to the Speaker’s official car to the bitter end, even though she was no longer a Member of the House (click here for last week’s story on the subject) had made a ruling that all communications by members were subject to a forty-eight hour rule.  Mr. Smith wanted to make a communication and claimed that he could not follow that rule because prior to the House opening, there was no Speaker.  Of course that flew in the face of the legal opinion by the former Speaker that she was Speaker up until the new Speaker was elected.  Prime Minister Christie told the House that the Government felt that the rule was wrong and that he had no objection to the Leader of the Opposition going ahead.
    Tennyson Wells, the independent Member for Bamboo Town chimed in that while he had no difficulty with allowing Mr. Smith to speak he wanted to be satisfied that the rules were being followed.  That said the Speaker allowed Mr. Smith to continue.  That is what it should be.  The House cannot be a less free forum to speak than the bar room, with lots of technical rules designed to throttle freedom of speech.  Mr. Smith was fine.  He said that the Opposition would be active but what brought the House down was the ridiculous request and then assertion that the present Speaker should be as fair as the former Speaker Italia Johnson.  Not even Mr. Smith could manage to keep a straight face during that one.  He broke out laughing with the other House members.  No one, not even Mr. Smith believes that Italia Johnson was not a single-minded disaster as Speaker of the House of Assembly.  And she sealed her reputation for pettiness by hanging on to the official car to the bitter end claiming that though the Parliament was long since dissolved that she was still the Speaker. Yes but of whom?  Donald Knowles' Guardian photo of newly appointed Speaker of the House of Assembly Oswald Ingraham.

    Just before Jimmy Carter, the former U.S. President, went to Cuba, U.S. Government Official John Bolton an Under-secretary of State in the U.S. State Department gave an address on 6th May to the Heritage Foundation in the U.S.  In the address he said: “The United States believes that Cuba has at least a limited offensive biological warfare research and development effort.”  This was translated by the press into an accusation by the Bush administration that Cuba had a biological weapons capability that was threatening to this part of the world.  The whole story seemed to unravel almost immediately.  No one believed it and it seemed to be designed to undermine Mr. Carter’s trip and to reverse the tide of pro-Cuban sentiment in the U.S.  But there is an old saying that you can stand on the beachhead of history but you can’t hold back the tide.
    Clearly most people think that the continued embargo by the United States against trade with Cuba cannot and should not go on and it must be ended.  George Bush, the President, has a brother that is Governor of Florida who needs to be reelected and depends heavily on the Cuban vote in the southern counties of Florida.  Thus the sabre rattling over Cuba.  Mr. Bush, the President, went to Florida last week at a fundraiser and campaign stop for his brother and said that the embargo would continue. His statements about Cuba and Castro were unnecessarily harsh and in some cases flew in the face of the truth.  When statements of that kind are made they have a destabilizing effect on the region.  It sends out a signal to Cubans in Cuba that they are welcomed to leave Cuba and go to the States.  The only country in the region that suffers is The Bahamas that has an obligation as the first country that the Cubans land on to determine their refugee status or return them to Cuba.  This is an expensive business.
    This week, some 16 Cubans were found on Anguilla Cay and were transported to Freeport where they were processed before being sent on to Nassau according to the Bahamas Information Services.  Meanwhile in The Bahamas the Cuba watch continues.  Cuba is about to become if it has not already become a major competitor in the tourist market with The Bahamas.

    Shortly before laying a series of bank revocation of licence orders on the table Perry Christie got to his feet and gave congratulatory remarks to the House.  Of particular note were his comments to the independent members.  He congratulated Larry Cartwright whom he said that he had never met before that day.  Mr. Cartwright is a former teacher against whom the PLP did not run in the Long Island and Ragged Island constituency.  He opposed 25-year veteran James Knowles of the FNM.  Mr. Knowles who was known for his arrogance was booted out of office by a combination of Long Islanders in Nassau who were in revolt and those in Long Island who were disgruntled FNMs and the PLPs who had no candidate.
    Congratulations went out also to Whitney Bastian, the Independent Member for South Andros.  Mr. Christie said that he had done well having prevailed over the might of the PLP.  He said that he had tried his best and arrayed a potent set of forces against Mr. Bastian and yet Mr. Bastian still prevailed.  Mr. Bastian just stared.  Earlier the Speaker of the House had to add Mr. Bastian’s name to the list of elected Members on the Writ of Return of the election delivered by the Parliamentary Commissioner.   Mr. Bastian’s name was inadvertently left off the list.  Guardian photo by Patrick Hanna shows Independent MPs Larry Cartwright at left and Whitney Bastian at right.

Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will visit the Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minnesota for his annual physical from 3 June to 10 June.  While away, there will be an acting Minister.

The Tribune summarized the speech from the Throne delivered by Dame Ivy Dumont the Governor General on Wednesday 22 May.  Please click here.


    The Premier of Bermuda visited The Bahamas for the state opening of Parliament on Wednesday 22 May.  Ms. Smith is the head of the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) of Bermuda.  Her party won office in 1998 after 35 years of trying.  The party was founded by Lois Brown Evans, now 75 and Attorney General, who was a classmate of Sir Lynden O. Pindling in law School in London.  Ms. Smith was welcomed to The Bahamas by Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs.  The photo is by Donald Knowles.  By the way the Opposition in Bermuda is called the United Bermuda Party (UBP) and the oligarchy that controls it is known as the Front Street Boys.  In Nassau, the Opposition party was the United Bahamian Party (UBP) and the Government was and is the PLP and the oligarchy that controlled the commerce in the country was known as the Bay Street Boys.


    Broadcasting Minister Obie Wilchcombe paid tribute to Harcourt Rodney Bethel, aka Rusty, who died on 22 May at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau at the age of 88.  Mr. Bethel was a former General Manager of ZNS and served at the station for 32 years from two years after its inauguration in 1936.  Mr. Bethel was an Abaconian with a strong accent that is marked by the dropping of ‘h’s before certain vowels and the adding of ‘h’s before other vowels.  His signature line was from an ad for OK flour and thus often came as “If it’s hokay flour, it’s hokay”.  But this endeared him to thousands of listeners throughout The Bahamas.  Upon his retirement he worked for The Tribune as its head in Grand Bahama.  Mr. Bethel, like Oris Russell whose obit we carried last week, was one of a number of white Bahamian public servants who stayed on after the PLP came to office in 1967.   Said Mr. Wilchcombe: “There was a time before the Internet and cell phone, before satellite television, when the only means of communication that held this country together was the voice of Zephyr Nassau Sunshine (The words for ZNS the country’s only radio station up to 1992).  When [Mr. Bethel] read the news you were informed as well as comforted.”

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    He was known in the latter days mainly as the brother of his more famous sister Vernice Moultrie Cooper.  But in his day he was a man about town, on top of the moment.  Mr. Moultrie was a dedicated PLP in the early days just after the change of Government in 1967.  He retired from BEC, the electricity company in order to take up an investment opportunity as a realtor.  Real estate was the hot business following the PLP’s rise to office.  It didn’t work out and he never quite recovered from the losses.  Mr. Moultrie, however, remained a man of distinction, proper diction with his ubiquitous pipe.   He and his sister were the children of the well known Etta Moultrie of Meeting Street.  Their home on Meeting Street was in the black community of their day considered on the upscale level and they among the top of the social ladder.   Mr. Moultrie succumbed to what appears to have been a freak injury when disembarking from a bus.  He was buried on Saturday 25 May in the Garden Of Remembrance at Christ Church Cathedral. Our condolences to Mr. Moultrie's survivors including his sister Vernice, brother Joseph Brown and his wife Paula.


About one hundred persons, friends and family gathered at St. Agnes Anglican Church on Tuesday 21 May to pay tribute to the parents of Fred Jr., Robert Ian, Carla, Matthew and Marva Mitchell.  Lilla Mitchell, matriarch of the family died on 4th May 1999 and Fred Sr. died on 23rd May 2001.  The service was held in memory of the parents.  Officiating was the Rev. Fr. Patrick Johnson, the Rev. Rodney Burrows, Rev. James Moultrie and Rev. Roderick Bain.  Mr. Preston Ferguson was the organist. From left, Robert Ian, Marva, Fred, Carl and Matthew.  Photo by Peter Ramsay.

    You may remember the name Herbert Styles from the not too distant past.  He was the man who was at the centre of the scandal involving former Minister of Education Dion Foulkes and the allocation of contracts to build schools for the Ministry of Education.  Mr. Styles threatened mayhem against Bradley Roberts because of the allegations of corruption.  Now his FNM benefactors have lost Mr. Styles is not to be forgotten.  He told the Nassau Guardian on Saturday 25th May that he needs his bills to be paid by the Government.  Said he: “I would like for the present Government to look into the matter with a view to paying me what is owed.  My contracts have to be honoured.”  Well there is plenty of goodwill with Bradley Roberts, now Minister of Works.  Yeah right!

    There are little niggling problems that one hardly knows as an ordinary citizen what to do, who to call.  The pet peeve here is the number of dead dogs that one sees along the roads of New Providence.  They sit and rot in the heat.  The smell is awful.  Who do you call to remove the carcass?  No one is quite sure.  The same thing goes for traffic lights that don’t work in Nassau.  Many of them have bad timing or the lights are off but again who does one call to fix it?  Just one more problem for the Government to solve.

    Victory is supposed to be sweet and it is.  Certainly it is better to have won than to have lost.  But the irony of victory is this.  Often, an opposition party cannot win against a powerful incumbent party unless there is an economic crisis in the country.  And then when you win with promises to straighten up the mess, you find yourself hamstrung by the profligate ways of your predecessors.  The news is grim, of a huge deficit run up by our predecessors.  Minister of State James Smith addressed the country last Sunday.  The news is that the revenue has underperformed so far by 100 million.  The news is that it is not likely to get any better any time soon.  What is needed is a quick infusion of cash.  Some saying selling national assets is the answer.  Clearly investment is part of the answer, belt tightening another part.  But it is the ironic conundrum of victory. Now it is time to get to work.  All the parties, ceremonies and victory celebrations need to be put aside and let’s get to work. Enough already!  We can do it. (fm)


The newspapers were talking about the fashion parade in New Providence for the opening of Parliament.  Some of those hats were enormous and gorgeous.  Leading the pack was the one of a kind hat of the Prime Minister's wife Bernadette Christie.  Not far behind was Brent Symonette's wife with feathered plumage in deep blue.  They say the hat shops all sold out, and the talk is that Peggy's Hat Shop in Baillou Hill Road caused a traffic jam trying to accommodate all the ladies hunting for hats.  It reminded us of patronal festival day at St. Agnes.

Her benefactor hadn't been kicked out of office for two weeks good yet when she got the news from her employers Private Trust.  She and seven others are to go.  You got it right, Senator Tanya McCartney, the defeated candidate for South Beach as in ‘IfaTanya’ is now job hunting.  Her employers citing increased costs as a result of the regulatory rules put in place by her daddy's best friend Hubert Ingraham said that she had to go.  By the way, they say former Minister of Health Ronnie Knowles can't be seen with Mr. Ingraham these days, since losing the election.  Mr. Ingraham is now back with his old buddy from the old days Alphonso ‘Bugaloo’ Elliott.  Senator McCartney told the Bahama Journal of last weekend that she had plenty of options to explore.  Oh by the way Private Trust is a company owned by FNM supporters and sympathizers so no justifiable claim of victimization can be made against the PLP.  A word of caution to The Tribune.


Cabinet Ministers all now have red brief cases in which to carry their official papers, each with their number in the order of precedence.  The red brief cases were specially ordered from the U.K and are bullet proof.  Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is pictured with his red brief case on his way from a Cabinet meeting.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay.

The PLP can tick one in its’ ‘jobs done’ column.  Reports are that at least six of the several workers dismissed months ago from the Freeport Container Port are to report for work Monday morning 27 May.   Newspaper reports also confirm that all Container Port employees are to share almost three million dollars in overtime pay.  The Industrial Tribunal has ruled that the overtime is owed and that employees were wrongfully dismissed.  Anglo-Chinese conglomerate is obviously trying to put things right with its employees now that the FNM Government is gone.

Hotel Union Walks Out – Executives of the Hotel, Catering & Allied Workers Union have walked out of a meeting with executive of Resorts at Bahamia now Royal Oasis:  “We didn’t come here to be insulted,” said one.   Sources say the problem stemmed from an expatriate executive of the resort: “He is unreconstructed and unrepentant in his attitude toward Bahamians,” said the source, “notwithstanding the cautions by Prime Minister Christie just days ago about not letting small matters fester into big things.”

Brent ‘Unco-operative’? -  Usually reliable sources inside the FNM were saying all over Grand Bahama this week that the sole FNM MP in New Providence Brent Symonette is mightily peeved at being overlooked for the post of Leader of the Official Opposition.  “They didn’t even give Brent the chance to refuse the position,” said the source, “although when the FNM needed money they took it from him and his Mummy in a hurry.”  Mr. Symonette is said to have threatened to take a more independent posture in parliament rather than towing the FNM party line because of this perceived insult.

High Rock FNM Branch In Trouble – During the General Election we reported warnings to High Rock MP Kenneth Russell that a powerful faction in his party branch organization was causing a rift among the troops.  Now comes word that the rift is about to erupt as either a full-scale battle or result in mass defections from the ranks.  “He don’t think nothing of us,” said one Russell supporter, “He gave those people the best of everything and short-changed us.”  Meanwhile, PLPs in the High Rock constituency are murmuring about vote buying.

What’s Up Ken?  High Rock FNM MP and former Minister of Works Kenneth Russell seemed highly agitated at News From Grand Bahama this week.  Despite the fact that senior members of this site are amongst Mr. Russell’s constituents, he has warned us to stop writing “foolishness… because people don’t read foolishness!”  Well.  We suggest Mr. Russell count the numbers (see readership statistics at top), and while we search our archives to see exactly what has so exercised the former Minister, let us give the assurance that we are responsible journalists and would never countenance anything less.  In the meantime, Mr. Russell should visit all his constituents and reassure them that he represents them all.  Oh, wait, perhaps he is upset at charges from his FNM colleagues on Grand Bahama who are currently treating him as a pariah and have accused him of leaking the details of their private parliamentary meetings to the former Prime Minister.  Don’t take it out on us.

Who Will Tell The Viceroy?  - It is becoming clear to those in the legal community and constitutional watchers that the raft of financial laws recently passed to appease the OECD and others were, in the main, unconstitutional.  The Privy Council, the highest court of The Bahamas is finding that to be the case here and in other jurisdictions, which passed similar laws.  The question now is, who will tell the Imperial Viceroy?

Ingraham Meddles In Senate? – Informants tell News From Grand Bahama that in the run-up to the FNM’s Senate appointments, Tommy, Dion and Allen were all looking out for themselves until an intervention by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, which produced the eventual Senate appointments.  “Nothing like it” reportedly said the former Prime Minister and that, as they say, was that.  Things that make you go, hmmm!

Paging C.A. -  Sources at the Police canteen in Grand Bahama tell News From Grand Bahama that the cashier there is looking for former MP and Minister C.A. Smith.  The source says it's time for C.A. to come and see the cashier after buying drinks for all on the night of the advance poll... Paging C.A....


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