March 8, 2013
Stories this photo appears in:
In yet another filibusterous performance in the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie opened the 2016/2017 budget debate with a prevaricating talkathon that, generally, lacked substance or radical reforms.
A SELECT committee of the House of Assembly, along with an investigatory body of private citizens and government representatives, must be appointed to investigate the goings-on at Bahamasair.
PUT frankly, I’m simply sick of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) and I often wonder how much more of this seeming ineptitude as it relates to providing continuous electricity and blatant disregard for the public that we—the people—could handle.
THE Free National Movement’s convention would be over by the time of today’s publication, but by all accounts it was shaping up to be a heated, highly contested affair
YET again, the Bank of the Bahamas’ (BOB) corporate governance is requiring more scrutiny with the bank’s partnership with the Brickell Management Group, the management company for Venetian West, which is a gated community development purportedly headed by Island Luck owner Sebas Bastian. According to representatives of the management company, their partnership with the Bank of the Bahamas (BOB) will result in that credit facility providing an “exclusive” financing package for potential buyers.
I GREW up on the best place on earth — Long Island. I have long thought that our great island — for me, the greatest island in our archipelagic chain — has become a forgotten outsider. That has saddened me, particularly during my countless visits to Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Bimini, Exuma and other Bahamian islands.
THE Bank of the Bahamas (BOB) fiasco is a national disgrace and rational, reasonable Bahamians cannot help but wonder how that BISX-listed institution’s loan portfolio could become such a shameful mess with the accrual of hundreds of millions of dollars of non-performing loans. The bank can only be likened to an asue where everyone withdraws and drops out once they have got their share.
THESE days, maniacal criminals are increasingly using guns as their weapon of choice as they disrupt the serenity of our once tranquil islands, going on murderous rampages, robbing families of loved ones and callously committing heinous crimes with no regard for the law.
THE Bahamas’ Parliament is wholly unsecure and Parliamentarians are seemingly unprotected in the precincts of both the House of Assembly and the Senate.
The Renward Wells/Letter of Intent fiasco took another turn this week when the Cabinet office, late on Tuesday evening, released a statement that simply said that “the office of Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development (had) become vacant.” However, this terse statement could only be likened to a wonderfully choreographed piece of high-stakes politics at its sordid worst.
THINGS are heating up in the Free National Movement and soon members and party officers will feel the fire burning as the internal races and rhetoric, preceding the convention, intensifies before they select an executive team that’s likely to lead the party into the next general election.
WITHOUT doubt, the $400,000 salary demand by recently selected College of The Bahamas (COB) presidential candidate Rodney Smith is excessive, beyond the pale and, frankly, unreasonable.
THE public spat between Free National Movement leader Dr Hubert Minnis and deputy leader Loretta Butler-Turner is a tell-tale sign of the deep-seated animosity between these individuals and serves as a preview of the impending battle royale set to take place at the next FNM convention, which has been forecasted for February 2015.
The mockery and downright travesty that is being made in Andros of what I thought would amount to a revival of local agriculture has left a bad taste in the mouths of many Bahamians and raised many questions about the credibility of the programme itself and the so-called “qualified” persons at the fore of the project.
LET’S be honest, former Gaming Board chairman Dr Andre Rollins is evolving into a political rock star and upstaged every speaker contributing to the debate on the new Gaming Bill—grabbing all the newspaper headlines and setting tongues wagging—whilst also overshadowing the Official Opposition’s entire parliamentary caucus.
UP to the point of writing this column yesterday, neither the new Gaming Bill and accompanying regulations, the Financial Transactions Reporting Bill and Regulations, Gaming House Operator Regulations, nor the Proceeds of Crime Bill were uploaded to the government’s website, thereby leaving many Bahamians—who would wish to read the Bill themselves— in the dark and unable to do so and debating merely on the communique delivered in Parliament by Minister of Tourism (and Gaming) Obie Wilchcombe.
THIS week, I discovered that police officers—particularly the police prosecutions department—are occupying a condemnable, rundown former Magistrate‘s Court building that is a slum-like structure on the fringes of the government’s complex on Nassau Street.
OVER the last week or so, two to three PLP backbenchers have out-FNM’d the Official Opposition and been more of a vibrant opposition force on VAT and in questioning the proposed Constitutional Bills than the FNM itself has done.
OVER the years, we have seen significant violation of our sovereign waters by Dominican, Cuban and American fishermen who exploit the hamstrung, diminished capacity of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and the rigidity of international maritime law which clearly sets out the rules of engagement.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been researching the local pharmaceutical industry, particularly after reading a report about an alleged counterfeit drugs scheme involving a pharmacy in Freeport (Grand Bahama) and hearing complaints - by reliable sources - about the propensity of some Bahamian importers and pharmacists to “pass off” fake pharmaceutical drugs as genuine and to engage in parallel imports of drugs from countries whose reputational standing is shot.
Illegal immigration is an emotive issue in this country and for far too long we have struggled with it, we have not found a way to effectively address it.
FIRSTLY, let me sincerely express kudos to the Christie administration for introducing a compendium of Bills meant to eliminate all forms of gender inequality and discrimination that has for far too long been representative of some of the most discomposing blemishes in our Constitution.
YESTERDAY I had a most unforgettable, horrendous and downright hellish experience at the new Customs Offices at the Arawak Cay Container Port.
SOMETHING stinks about the government’s new deal with Renew Bahamas concerning the New Providence landfill, the secrecy surrounding their arrangement and the fact no public tender or Request for Proposal (RFP) for the landfill was ever issued.
YOUNG MAN'S VIEW: ‘Although our nation has progressed by leaps and bounds, we still have quite a ways to go’
The celebration of Independence Day has come to represent the essence of what it means to be Bahamian, with expressions of culture, patriotism and reflections on our national history permeating the atmosphere whilst also serving as an occasion for reconnecting with families and friends. That said, although our nation has progressed by leaps and bounds, we still have quite a ways to go.
Today, is my first column back after a brief sabbatical and one notes that so much has transpired over that time. As I get back into the flow of things, I intend to assess a few of the issues that jump out at me and continue to do so as usual.
I BEGIN by noting that my column will not be appearing over the next two weeks as I will be dealing with some very important matters that require my full attention. This column will return in three weeks.
Forget politics. Forget all that petty stuff about PLP, FNM and DNA and all the gratuitously political you say and I say that preoccupy the minds of so many local politicians seeking to score cheap political brownie points. The heavy-handedness that reportedly accompanied the search and seizure of FNM chairman Darron Cash’s Cable Beach home ought to give Bahamians pause.
Of late, there has been quite a bit of chatter about the appointment of North Andros principal Stephen Sands to his post, particularly in the wake of the revelation that he had been convicted of the manslaughter of his girlfriend in a domestic violence dispute more than 30 years ago.
RECENTLY, I was very happy to see that current administration launched the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), which has been touted as an agricultural and marine resources institute that will have wide ranging impact on the economy and put our food security at the top of our developmental agenda.
EVERY now and again, I like to feature Bahamians who are making sense in their everyday lives and offer sensible input in issues of national concern. I have a great appreciate for anyone who speaks from the heart and candidly. Today, one such person is former independent candidate for Bamboo Town Craig Butler, who levelled scathing criticisms at the current government and expressed some disappointment in the mishandling of certain matters of national importance.
TODAY, years after it was privatised and sold to Cable and Wireless, the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) continues to be one of the Bahamas’ worst service providers, public or private. Telecoms in the Bahamas have regressed in the last few years.
Years ago, I remember hearing that Sir Lynden Pindling, the country’s first prime minister, was known for espousing the view that “the voice of the people” was that of God’s.
ADMITTEDLY, I was pleased to see that the government decided to overlook potential electoral threats and/or the propensity to please campaigning churchmen (to lock up their church members’ votes) and instead chose to govern.
By all accounts, the public is increasingly becoming uneasy with this government and there are some who are demanding a Cabinet shuffle. There are certain PLP ministers who are sufferers of windbaggery and fictitious disease syndrome and, frankly, some of their performances in various ministries amounts to nothing more than a substantive negative outcome!
RECENTLY, Governor of the Central Bank Wendy Craigg urged the Government to quickly address the issue of unregulated web shop gaming and the associated vulnerabilities presented as a result and, even more, cautioned that this sector in its current state threatened to undermine proposed plans for a Bahamian Credit Bureau.
THE College of the Bahamas (COB)—of which I am a proud alumnus—is a sleeping giant, one that has been impregnated with the dreams of thousands of Bahamian youngsters (myself included) and, yet, it has not given birth to its greatest potential.
THE REVELATION that 519 people were shot and stabbed—per Princess Margaret Hospital statistics—which bear a stark contrast to the 10 attempted murders recorded by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) for the same period, seems to suggest that some manipulative hanky-panky might have been done to vary the police’s data.
ASTOUNDINGLY, we refuse to deal with the root causes of many of our social and economic problems here in the Bahamas and, frankly, those root causes are poor parenting, waste, inefficiency, greed and corruption.
THE hollow announcement on BTC and the attainment of the much sought after two per cent—or lack of attainment of the same—is representative of the derailment of the PLP’s dream-selling express.
AS I travel this week, I began to think about what my first column for the New Year should be about and though I considered writing a 2013 review column, it was simply too depressing and so today I’ve chosen to write a collection of a few random thoughts concerning various aspects of our country.
Boom! Bang! Boom! The Valley Boys Junkanoo group rocked Bay and Shirley Streets yesterday and totally “mashed up” the scene. I felt so good on Boxing Day morning that I was doing the Kool PC (Prime Minister Perry Christie) shuffle and any other move that came to my musically possessed spirit. Congratulations to the best group in Junkanoo—the Valley Boys!
AS this year draws to a close and the celebration of Christmas in a few days takes hold of our national consciousness, it is clear that a tsunami of death and mayhem has surged over Bahamian society.
THE home invasion of Deputy Prime Minister, at the time Acting Prime Minister, Philip Brave Davis, was representative of a new, embarrassing low as our nation becomes engulfed by a bloating culture of violence that, if continued, is sure to set our society down the path of no return and, quite honestly, see our country go to hell in a hand basket.
THE rollout of the new Value Added Tax regime is seemingly setting up to become an unholy mess!
TODAY, as I write this column, I find myself questioning: ‘Is the Bahamas truly a country only for friends, families and lovers of politicians and the politically connected?’
TODAY, as national anxieties are being expressed about Value Added Tax (VAT) and our country faces uncertain times, I’ve decided to take a cursory glance at this hot button topic with a view to expanding the discussion from various angles, from the local and international perspectives to more technical and scientific points of view, in a series of columns in the next week and thereafter.
BAHAMIANS have generally felt that the powers that be do not truly have a healthcare agenda and, frankly, do not care about the public healthcare system.
THIS week, Prime Minister Perry Christie appears to be having a crisis of confidence as several of his backbenchers—and even a Cabinet minister—have panned the proposed Gaming Bill and publicly (and some privately) have stated their categorical intent to vote down such an idiotic, blatantly discriminatory Bill if it’s ever moved to a Parliamentary vote. Mr Christie appears to have lost control of his Parliamentary Caucus.
THERE appears to be a proliferation of Bahamian contractors who are downright shysters, daily engaging in deceptive business practices.
IN order for true national development to be attained, the government—if only for a period—must pass essential air services legislation and/or implement regulations that would foster a greater interconnectivity of our archipelago.
THIS week’s Parliamentary debate and moving of the Correctional Services Bill was not only long overdue, but with a dose of political will (which has unfortunately been lacking), could potentially lead to much needed reforms of the prison system and result in infrastructural upgrades. That is, if the Government is really serious about prison reform.
MINISTER of National Security Bernard Nottage’s about-face on the cost of January’s national referendum is likely to further contribute to public distrust.
FRANKLY, the termination of contracts between the Ministry of Tourism and international public relations companies, in favour of local companies, seems to indicate that the ministry has decided that the best way to promote the Bahamas and recapture and expand market share is to allow natives—with an everyday outlook on all things Bahamian—to have a shot at reinvigorating that ministry’s approach to the marketing and development of our tourism product.
A REFERENDUM should deal with weighty matters and should be representative of solemn, considerate thought that modifies the direction of a country for generations to come.
GONE are the days when promotional packages featuring the sun, sand and the sea would attract visitors in droves and sustain the high standard of living that Bahamians have become accustomed to.
While many Bahamians know that David Mitchell was the last convicted murderer hanged in the Bahamas, in the year 2000, the most memorable hanging for me was that of Thomas Reckley, who was hanged in 1996.
Well-known political and social activist Rodney Moncur says is struggling to survive and facing his own challenges even while fighting to assist others.
Columnist Adrian Gibson looks more closely at the boating tragedy in Long Island; the new school year and the Cuban abuse claims.
THE government’s scurrying this week to right a “diplomatic wrong” indicates that they blundered and are thoroughly embarrassed by the Elliston Rahming diplomatic fiasco.
LONG Island — Here comes Blue Water all over again! Certainly, that’s what most Bahamians must be thinking about the government’s sudden decision to divide the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) into two, privatising one of the proposed splinter companies.
THERE is an urgent need to examine shipping in our archipelago. I have recently had cause to ship building supplies to Long Island via G and G shipping company, which is situated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Firstly, the service was horrendous and the cost for shipping was exorbitant and, frankly, ludicrous.
DR HUBERT Minnis’s stance in the House of Assembly on Monday, indicates that he has adopted an outlook of no surrender, no retreat!
IN the wake of the now infamous Peter Nygard video—Nygard takes the Bahamas back—it is clear that the Bahamas is in need of an Integrity Commission, the enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act and—on a broader scale—an Office of the Ombudsman.
IN the Bahamas, there appears to be a lack of political and social will to transform our mental healthcare system from its archaic functioning capacity to a well-funded, more human undertaking. Of late, I have heard a number of stories about mental health patients—even prisoners—being warehoused at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre which, as alleged by several interviewees, is poorly run. Indeed, the state of public health services—across the board—leaves much to be desired.
COLUMNIST Adrian Gibson, who pens “A Young Man’s View” for The Tribune’s sister publication, The Big T, each Saturday, gives his assessment of our 40 years of independence, on the eve of the anniversary.
OF LATE, there has been a litany of embarrassing events with which the government has been associated that has either turned out to be disgraceful flops or shameful, internationally discreditable shams.
POLITICS anywhere is a grimy, gritty business that is full of deceit and hypocrisy.
THE Bahamas has become more polarised since the election of 2012, with certain members of both major political parties stoking the embers of the fiery political divisions now consuming the electorate due in large part to their high-strung rhetoric and histrionics.
SO, I have decided to grade the PLP—after one year in government—next week. And yes, the ministerial report card will be completed for publication in a few weeks.
TODAY’s column is my last column until the 25th of May. I am presently preparing to sit year one of the Bahamas Bar exams and so I must now fully focus on studying.
FIRSTLY, my follow-up column on oil is coming next week! That said, this week became extra interesting when the nation’s youth and future leaders—students enrolled at the College of the Bahamas (COB)—were denied access to the people’s Parliament (House of Assembly) under the fabricated premise that they posed a security threat
IN the wake of the tragic mishap at the airport in Mayaguana, one has come to discover that the Bahamas has a lax aviation regime which—but for conscious pilots and operators—could have resulted in far more aircraft-related accidents/crashes across the archipelago.
FIRSTLY, let me congratulate our 2013 CARIFTA team for their gallant representation of our country at the 42nd annual CARIFTA Games.
ADMITTEDLY, the discovery of oil in the Bahamas can have gargantuan returns, fostering self-sufficiency and increasing prosperity among Bahamians, if the massive amounts earned is properly managed and used for the national good.
OUR Parliament (more so, the House of Assembly) is rapidly becoming a national embarrassment—one that outsiders could easily misread as being representative of a noisy and unruly democracy.
LET me begin by saying that I love the police, that the police are my friends (literally and figuratively).
Recently, controversy erupted over the issuance of a nolle prosequi by the Attorney General’s office that led to the discontinuance of a gun possession case against the former clients of Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.