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Pm: I Was Only Joking - Honest

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Donavan McIntosh

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Photo: Donavan McIntosh

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is not concerned about the talk of a general strike in the country.

“I’m more worried about other matters,” he joked to reporters yesterday, when asked for his reaction to recent comments on a general strike from union leaders.

“I’m more worried and concerned whether the Saxons are going to win Junkanoo this Christmas. That’s what I’m gearing up for,”  he laughed.

Nonetheless, Dr Minnis’ remark drew criticism across social media after a reporter posted his comments, recalling other times when the prime minister responded flippantly to questions about national affairs.

Asked once about appointing a substantive chief justice, he joked that he was going home to make stew fish. 

A statement released by the Office of the Prime Minister last night responded to the backlash Dr Minnis received online, stressing that despite his joke, the nation’s leader was not seeking to make light of labour issues. 

“The prime minister, after addressing the Third Caribbean Infrastructure Forum at the Baha Mar Convention Centre on Tuesday, was asked by the media whether he was concerned about a general strike,” a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister noted. “The prime minister responded ‘No’. He went on to also suggest that there were additional matters upon which he had some worries and concerns.”

The statement said Dr Minnis’ comments about Junkanoo was an attempt to engage the media in “a moment of light humour.”

The statement continued: “He further joked with a member of the media and asked ‘You pull for us don’t you?’ And then asked, ‘You’re not a Saxon?’ The time with the media ended on a high note with the prime minister giving a hearty chuckle to members of the press before moving on to his next assignment. The prime minister at no time however sought to make light of or diminish the seriousness of labour issues or the concerns of workers within the country. It was only after giving a clear response to the question that the prime minister sought to use the opportunity, as an avid Junkanooer and member of the Saxons Superstars, to have a light-hearted moment with the media.”

Unions have not held serious talks about a general strike, according to Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson, though some union leaders have mentioned it while grumbling about their unresolved labour disputes with the government.

“There hasn’t been any discussions about a general strike to my knowledge at this time,” Mrs Wilson told this newspaper yesterday. 

Unions leaders dismissed the prime minister’s large-scale meeting with them on Monday, saying they merely rehashed their concerns but got no closer to having them resolved.

Dr Minnis also said yesterday: “Some of the problems were way back 15 years you know, I wasn’t even here and then I’m saddled with 15 years of problems but, so be it. (The meeting on Monday) was very informative. I obtained a lot of information. The information I have gathered from them I will inform my labour minister to meet with the relevant unions so as to deal with the matters. They had other concerns with respect to board and agencies, how they were functioning and I will ask the relevant ministers to speak with their chairmen of the various boards so you could have better communication between the boards and the union and employees (sic).”

Dr Minnis had a more successful meeting with senior doctors of the Consultant Physicians Staff Association.

He was expecting to meet with Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson yesterday, he said, adding the team “will look at whether we have any type of wiggle room but we have just introduced our fiscal policy programme so under no circumstance can we at any degree jeopardise our international financial standings. You know we’re being reviewed by the OECD, etc, so all those matters have to be taken into consideration. One cannot just look in isolation, one has to look at the global picture.”

Doctors persisted with their industrial action yesterday after their meeting with Mr Johnson was postponed to noon today, however.

“We are not returning to work at this time,” said one CPSA representative.

Comments

joeblow 5 days, 22 hours ago

He does not seem to understand the implication of his words and their effects on his administration. Actually, he is managing this country like its an afterthought!.

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sheeprunner12 5 days, 21 hours ago

He should be concerned ........... Look at Costa Rica, Haiti, and France ........ just to name a few

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tell_it_like_it_is 5 days, 19 hours ago

Wow, what a joke to make in times like these.
When people are suffering all jokes are in poor taste! Treat people like their problems matter.

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licks2 5 days, 19 hours ago

He is not concern because he has already covered his bases. . .that's the "jist" I got when I listened to the entire conversation. . .persons in that audience got the jist and as expected. . .they responded and laugh as expected!! Them "touchy" press people need to just chill. . .they are fighting a "non-political animal". . .he don't play by the politics as usual mode. . .THE PRESS SEEM NOT TO WANT TO TAKE LAST. . .THEY HATE HIS AZZ YET THE PEOPLE, BUSINESS, THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, IDB, IMF, OECD AND THE USA LIKE HIM. . .they mad as hell. . .they don't even want to hear him even joke!! "THEY NEED TO SEE THAT EEN NOBODY ON THEY RUN! People are now saying things like: "we know that certain members of the press have a beef with him". . .his is not good for our press to be in. . .that means doc is "controlling them". . .

I went and check the clinics and services seem quicker than it was when they were not striking. . . I was in and out in less that 15 minutes!! Full service. Hahahahahahahahaha! I waiting to see just how this will work out. . .this is not like when our old folk raised up. . .look at the persons! Evans, Maynard, Cooper, Munroe, Williams and both Fergusons. . .what they all have in common. Where are the other union presidents? Are they FNM or don't support what the PLP is "cooking up"?

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TalRussell 5 days, 17 hours ago

Rest assured comrades Pop, LO, Papa and Perry, never had managed even come close hand, foot, and mouth disease ((HFMD} - for having made it contagious for way Minnis has managed pass it back and forth between his red shirts crown members..... never more evident than sprungin' outta mouths KP and Carl Wilshire. Amen!

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birdiestrachan 5 days, 16 hours ago

doc means what he says. going home for stew fish , he did not apologize, All the other lies he has told about VAT, The spy bill the list goes on he has not apologize It must be that he is finally seeing, That he will not be PM ever again in this Country. he is now trying to save his own skink. His insentive remarks speaks loudly about what is in his heart.

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shonkai 5 days, 15 hours ago

He says this was a joke?!?!?! Does that imply the rest was serious?!?! God help us all.

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birdiestrachan 5 days, 15 hours ago

doc can always fool the peoples time Voters. when he said the problems go back 15 years, But doc was the minister of health for 5 years. He took a bus and the press he said he was going to select a site for a new hospital. remember that doc you were the minister of health. doc you were not absent for 15 years.

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BahamaPundit 5 days, 11 hours ago

Imagine a white leader telling white workers about to strike to go enjoy a parade. What an insult that would be, equivalent to the infamous historical quip, "The people have no bread, then let them eat cake." Minnis' statement has pejorative, racial undertones, implying that all Bahamians of colour want is some good song and dance to make them pliant and docile. Having heard Minnis speak the now infamous "joke," it was his monotone voice that caught me off guard. He acted like a startled tiger; unable to compose flowery words in the brief time, he spoke through clenched teeth. This appears to be a man that vehemently hates the Press or any public exposure for that matter. The question that remains to be asked is why did he want to lead the country, if he hates leadership? I'm afraid the beating the Bahamas receives to its public debt and emptied treasury may be the only answer we receive.

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sheeprunner12 5 days, 11 hours ago

Remember he was removed as FNM leader by the LBT coup ........ and the PLP & the Press taunted him mercilessly for the whole five years .......... why would he like the Press????? ......... Trumpian response

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ThisIsOurs 5 days, 9 hours ago

It's much ado about nothing. Dr Minnis doesn't have good instincts, I'm less concerned about a Junkanoo comment and more concerned about general governance. Sometimes I think social media just wants something to row about.

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TheMadHatter 5 days, 8 hours ago

The real joke is teenage pregnancy - destroying young lives every day - that's just super funny. Let's laugh all the way to the church.

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SP 5 days ago

Mexico's new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is making Dr. Minnis look more and more like a flunky donkey every day!

Mr. Obrador said "the people voted for change" and has made more immediate radical changes in a large country like Mexico in less than a week than Minnis has in the "crack conch republic" of the Bahamas in over a year.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/mexican-pr...">https://www.yahoo.com/news/mexican-pr...

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/me...">https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/me...

Bahamians also voted for change. So what or who is stopping Minnis from doing what he promised on the campaign trail? Why can't Minnis do the same as Mexico's President? He's looking really weak, especially now.

Judging from Minnis's lack of ability to stand up to a handful of economic pirate families he will be just another "one term and done" PM. If he last's that long!

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stillwaters 4 days, 20 hours ago

Jeez, yall........the man can't tell a joke/??????

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geostorm 4 days, 18 hours ago

The Bahamian people have become so politically divided, its sickening!

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BahamaPundit 4 days, 16 hours ago

No. We are tired of jokers. We hired the FNM for change. We didn't want 5 more years of jokes and monkey tief.

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