December 8, 2014
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Dear Long Islanders, To use the words of founding father Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, today “my soul is dancing!”
Yet again, the Free National Movement (FNM) is engaging in politically cannibalistic behaviour that would see delegates once more flying from the Family Islands to New Providence to select a leader less than two years after re-electing Dr Hubert Minnis to the party’s top post.
At the rate that the Free National Movement (FNM) is going, it is on the fast track to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in 2017. The political chicanery on display within the FNM has reinforced the perception that the road to governance and victory at the polls next year is getting steeper.
Rather than going into the political abyss, Prime Minister Perry Christie decided to take a trip to Jamaica to pretend for the international community that his government is the prototype of progressive, forward-thinking and good governance. Mr Christie gave the keynote address at the official opening of the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s trade show on Tuesday.
The rule of law, as noted by the great philosopher Aristotle, is preferable to that of any individual.
The gruesome killing of Michael Deangelo Bethel on Sunday, as he and his family purportedly waited at a traffic light on East Bay Street, is yet another murder that is indicative of our country going to hell in a handbasket.
AS WE enter 2016, there are a number of pressing national issues that must be quickly addressed and sorted. Today’s column will highlight a few of them and should serve as a dose of reality for the New Year particularly on issues that our government has tried so desperately to dissuade the public not to believe statistics and/or their very own eyes and ears and instead to believe the mumbo-jumbo that the leaders of government and their minions espouse.
WHENEVER I read, hear or watch a news story where former Progressive Liberal Party Cabinet minister and Exuma MP George Smith is an uncompromising purveyor of political ethics, I always have flashbacks to 1984.
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.
ONCE again, there are happenings at Bahamasair that the public needs a more detailed explanation of.
Of late, Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damien Gomez is appearing more and more a political blowhard, a political percussionist whose utterances are ambiguous, lack effect and, based on recent political history, bear no real follow-up. Politically, Mr Gomez is being compared to the fabled boy who cried wolf.
I HAVE seen a preponderance of red plate vehicles on the road and, more often than not, they are not performing any official tasks but are instead filled with little children, parked in places where they shouldn’t be or, if one observes the driver, being used for personal errands.
THE upcoming election cycle is setting up to be a sulfurously partisan and venomous affair, a true soap opera featuring politically shrewd operators and mountains of special interest dollars.
SOME time ago, I said that The Bahamas is a powder keg. Today, I believe in that statement even more than I did then. Our society is imploding and we have reached the point of absolute crisis. There is no other description for the criminality and mayhem happening around us on a daily basis.
Last week, the Department of Immigration - via Bahamas Information Services - responded to a column I wrote about Cubans Carlos Pupa Mendoza and Lazaro Seara Marin, who are currently being held at the Bahamas Department of Corrections without charge and who have suffered inhumane treatment.
ON the face of it, human rights appears to be a non-starter in certain quarters of The Bahamas.
TODAY, Prime Minister Perry Christie must be feeling like a politically wounded man, losing two of his former political acolytes to the Free National Movement and reducing his parliamentary team from 30 in 2012 to 27 when Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins and Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells crossed the floor.
CORRUPTION is rife at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services, formerly known as the Her Majesty’s Prison, Fox Hill.
HURRICANE Joaquin has not only made broad swaths of our people homeless refugees within their own country, but the storm is daily exposing the failed planning and incompetency of our government.
TWO weeks ago, I wrote a column entitled ‘War in the ranks of the FNM’ where I talked about the challenges the Free National Movement faced, analysed why, referenced a Facebook posting by former chairman Darron Cash and proposed solutions. In turn, Mr Cash wrote me a disrespectful, vitriolic email.
Hurricane Joaquin has exposed the inadequacies and failed planning of our government. The sheer devastation has the gross ineptitude, incompetent behaviour and ridiculous outlook on governance of our government.
THE Free National Movement is at war. Perhaps, most disappointingly for those long-time party supporters, the party is at war with itself.
Of late, I have heard many Bahamians begin to talk about an exit strategy, about looking in other jurisdictions for employment and a better way of life and about feeling totally disenchanted with the same ole, same ole political and economic processes.
WHEN one looks at the state of affairs in The Bahamas, there’s no choice but to be disappointed in our governance and political processes, in how our society has disintegrated and degenerated in to what seems to be a wholehearted embrace of a dog-eat-dog culture and in the way we have generally regressed economically.
AS I read about the happenings across the world and leadership of various countries, I wondered about the age of leaders in various nations when they are first elected to office.
THERE has been quite a rumble on the political landscape recently as a new party has been projected to launch shortly, Raynard Rigby has announced his intentions to challenge Perry Christie for the leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and it is perceived that the governing party scored a political point with the defection of Wayne Munroe from the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) to its ranks.
IT is high-time that an independent prosecutorial service is established in The Bahamas and the Director of Public Prosecutions is no longer situated within the Office of the Attorney General, subordinated and subject to the whims and control of any holder of that political office.
Corruption is rife in the Bahamas. Today, there is a general lack of transparency, fair play and accountability in governance.
It is high time that we recognise that The Bahamas’ school system is antediluvian and in desperate need of restructuring. We must focus on entirely revamping our almost defunct educational system. Once again, after another year of national exams, it is clear that a legion of Bahamian students has yet again failed with flying colours.
WHEN young teachers tell me their complaints, I can relate to them wholeheartedly as a former teacher myself.
WE often hear that perception is reality.
AS unemployment continues to inch upwards and the educational system continues to subsist in crisis mode, there is a clear and present need for societal and long-term reforms of education, social services, the financial sector, the economy and the judicial system. Frankly, there is a critical need for a sustainable national development plan.
THE Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival has evolved into one of the most disgraceful shams we have seen thus far for the year.
IT appears that the Baha Mar saga will be occupying the front pages and serving as lead stories in newscasts for many months (and likely years) to come.
CLEARLY, the statement that a promise is a comfort to a fool is something we all need to take very seriously.
IN THE Bahamas, there appears to be a rapidly growing underclass of Bahamians who deify criminal behaviour, seemingly seeing violence and sadistic conduct as cool while engaging in a cult-like, hero-worship of gangsters and hooligans.
I think Bahamians are about to experience Baha Mar fatigue. I certainly am.
The plight of the people of Long Island seems to have been lost on the powers that be as this gem in our archipelagic chain continues to languish in the doldrums.
Lift up your heads - and look to shape our future
This year, as we celebrate our country’s 42nd anniversary of Independence, one sees this as an opportunity to renew our national outlook, to begin a transformative period of economic and social development where all Bahamians are intricately involved.
Baha Mar, fraught with controversy from day one, is bordering on becoming known as a failed experiment.
OF late, political chicanery seems to be pervasive within our local political framework. Last Wednesday’s showdown in the House of Assembly left an entire nation without any contributions to the Budget debate from our country’s leader, Prime Minister Perry Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis and Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage. The entire episode – where we saw these men expressing a preference to shut down all debate rather than allow then Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) backbencher Andre Rollins to speak – was a complete farrago!
OVER the last two weeks, there has been open jockeying for nominations in the Free National Movement, particularly among members of the old guard who have decided to voice their desires to run again in the mainstream press and on social media.
THE resignation of Greg Moss from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is indicative enough of an urgent need for a change in the direction within the organisation itself and with the governance of this country.
LET’S be frank and honest and agree that, by all signs and indications, the governing Progressive Liberal Party has swung into campaign mode in anticipation of the 2017 general election.
THE Princess Margaret Hospital is supposed to be the flagship institution of healthcare in the Bahamas, yet it exemplifies everything that is wrong with the decision-making for people in the Bahamas and with those making the decisions.
This week, I had cause to attend the Carmichael Road police station on behalf of two clients who, among other things, appear to have been brutally beaten in police custody. The matter is now sub judice and so I will not delve into the particulars of that matter.
EVERY time I think of some of the utterances of the certain members of this government, the word ‘Ungawa’ comes to mind.
TODAY marks the third anniversary of the Progressive Liberal Party’s term in office, a term that could be described as disappointingly drab and littered with failures to live up to the plethora of election promises made on the campaign trail in 2012.
OFTEN I feel like we have returned to the dark ages – literally with BEC – as our government continuously fails to exercise a duty of care for the citizens of this country.
IT’S a crying shame that only last week, after a public outcry at a town meeting, was a February 20, 2014, Black and Veatch International report chronicling a hazardous gas leak in Marathon released.
THE suspension of all manner of reason at the altar of political correctness appears to be the order of the day these days, particularly when we see the Auditor General being thrown under a bus for a report that is not glowing about the political class.
Last Thursday, The Tribune published a letter signed off as being written by “residents of Long Island”. The letter was in response to an earlier column of mine and made a number of deceptive statements.
THIS weekend, I was chatting with a few immigration officers who told me that I would be surprised at the numbers of sham marriages of convenience happening in this country.
Without doubt, Long Island must be home to some of the worst, most unprofessional police officers in the Bahamas.
DAILY, I’m becoming more and more convinced that we live in a banana republic or are fast descending into becoming one.
WHILE this column will address the unravelling of the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI), I must certainly look at the undoing of the Christie administration and the fact that countless projects and initiatives have bitten the dust or been the subject of derision, scandal and out-and-out ridicule.
IN an increasingly promiscuous society, where there are escalating incidences of private and public school children having sex – in private dwellings or on school campuses – it is high-time we consider making condoms obtainable at schools. The reality is that teenagers are sexually active, are inundated daily by sexually explicit material via different mediums and that abstinence is hardly practised despite the various programmes/groupings touting self-restraint.
THE entire selection process for Queen’s Counsel (QC) should be fundamentally reformed. As it stands, the process is jaundiced, seemingly involves much political chicanery and not in the public’s interest. It has to become an independent, more transparent undertaking.
EVEN if a minister has received a pass grade during these three weeks of the Cabinet Report, note that I will be watching closely and therefore they could either improve or be on a downgrade watch.
Adrian Gibson continues his analysis of the performance of members of the Cabinet - complete with their grades - below and on the following two pages.
SINCE the general election in 2012, many people have been waiting for the much anticipated Christie renaissance. We’re all still waiting.
Bernard Nottage Dr Nottage has failed dismally in his role as Minister of National Security. He has the toughest portfolio and, unfortunately, this crime situation is a social issue (parenting, poverty, etc). No amount of police could fix this; the crime dynamic is bigger than police.
THE importation of carnival – in the form of the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival – is a mistake that can only be likened to a forced ripe dilly.
THE Free National Movement has been stumbling and fumbling as it seeks to find its footing following the November 21 convention, where its former Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner lost her leadership bid to Dr Hubert Minnis by nearly three to one.
Anyone considering the challenges our country faces ought to arrive at a startling acceptance of the reality that we have reached a frightening point as a young nation.
I FOUND the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s statistical presentation relative to criminal activities for 2014 to be quite interesting. And that’s putting it mildly!
OUR increasing dependence on China is sure to undergird their brand of economic colonialism, deepening the notion that The Bahamas is hardly independent – ie only paper independence – and, moreover, that we are in line to be – lock, stock and two smoking barrels – beholden to China and Chinese interests. Due to its close proximity to the United States, The Bahamas – in its relations with the US – used to be referred to as the 51st state but, more and more, these days we’re progressively appearing to be the 23rd province of China (though they claim Taiwan as the twenty-third).
THE Melia Resort on Cable Beach is absolutely right in its attempt to be rid of the automatic 15 per cent gratuity that accompanies most cheques at restaurants/hotel properties here in The Bahamas.
I know that the New Year has already passed and that I’m late in bringing my remarks to you but, that’s nothing new.
This week, we saw what could only amount to an ongoing meltdown on social media - Facebook and WhatsApp - with the dissemination of child pornography.
This is my final column for the year - a column on perspective.
THERE’S a weight loss show called ‘The Biggest Loser’ and, on VH1’s TV channel, there’s another called ‘Best Week Ever’. At least we all know who is a winner, who’s having the best week ever this week, none other than Financial Services Minister Ryan Pinder.
THE lack of discipline is the most serious affliction plaguing the Bahamas’ educational system. Over the years, the combination of naughty children, disorderly parents, administrative inertia and bureaucratic red tape has led to systemic failures and contributed to the high numbers of school leavers who are functionally illiterate and innumerate.
When one considers the recent crime wave and other national aliments afflicting our country, it is becoming patently clear that the wheels are coming off.