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FRONT PORCH: A fitting memorial for the Jubilee?

BUILDINGS and monuments are more than physical structures. They may also serve as memorials, as extensions of the soul, as commemorative landscapes recalling certain events and histories, summoning new generations to inscribe their stories on a living tradition or history.

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FRONT PORCH: Where is the public monument for the 50th anniversary?

PUBLIC monuments play an essential role in the commemoration and celebration of significant national achievements, events and heroes. They are like visual storybooks crafted from granite, marble, bronze and various other stone and metal.

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FRONT PORCH: The empathy and duty of care of Dr Perry Gomez

THIS past Tuesday the country said farewell to Dr Michael Perry Gomez, who demonstrated extraordinary compassion and service as a medical doctor and public servant throughout his professional life.

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FRONT PORCH: Removal of pride is necessary to experience mercy

PRIDE is a master of disguise. It cloaks itself in all manner of outlandish costumes, intending to mislead oneself and others. Its powers of obfuscation are immense. Pride is so clever, so insidious that it tricks and befuddles our truer selves like a distorting funhouse mirror at a carnival.

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FRONT PORCH: Bahamas govt needs to take climate change more seriously

JUST this week, a new international study was released finding that in the coming decades increased melting of the ice shelves of Western Antarctica is “unavoidable”. It is yet another warning to the global commons and world leaders. Sea-level rise may be even greater than previously thought.

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FRONT PORCH: Disconnected youth presents a critical test for our country

THE American writer and philosopher William Durant (1885-1981), wrote extensively on history and civilisations, comparing different epochs and countries.

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FRONT PORCH: Ignorant fundamentalists showing homophobic, undemocratic colours

THE wildly irrational freak-out, moral panic and paroxysms by certain clerics and their cheering squads over a Pride Bahamas forum at the University of The Bahamas was at times humorous, especially given the nonsensical statements by an excitable prideful parade of homophobes displaying their theocratic colours.

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FRONT PORCH – Bahamas Christian Council: an object lesson on intolerence

BAHAMAS Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander, who has become expert at being unwitting, has unwittingly done the country a blessed favour.

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FRONT PORCH: The neglect and needs of Caribbean and Pacific states

LAST week, US president Joe Biden asked Congress for an additional $24 billion to support the war in Ukraine. As noted by Mark Cancian, a senior policy advisor with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and others, this will bring total US aid to a staggering approximately $135 billion.

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FRONT PORCH: They’ll know we are Christians by our . . . judgementalism?

SO often throughout history the victims of discrimination and oppression are described as “venomous” when they protest against their brutalisation and mistreatment. We have observed this sad response by some Bahamian male religious leaders toward women campaigning to outlaw marital rape.

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FRONT PORCH: Racism and its denial is tragic and dangerous

TWO stories here at home showcase the vicious and bitter legacy of racism, which many seek to ignore or sideline with comments like, “that was such a long time ago” and “why can’t we move on.”

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FRONT PORCH: Religious leaders in the public square

THE temptation of religious leaders to become obsessed with political power and influence is older than the Christian Scriptures. Among many others, Rev. Billy Graham warned religious leaders to be judicious in the manner in which they interact with political leaders.

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FRONT PORCH: The long march of nationhood

AT the 50th independence anniversary celebration at Fort Charlotte, Prime Minister Philip Davis declared: “Independence was the first big step on the long journey that continues to take our nation forward and upward.”

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FRONT PORCH: Antidote to ambivalence

A beloved departed friend, a priest of 50 years before he died, recounts this modern parable. He travelled to the Cistercian monastery Mount Saint Bernard in rural Leicestershire, England, to meet a 93-year-old, who was 73 years a monk. The two settled in to share a pot of tea.

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FRONT PORCH: Punishment must be guided by the spirit of love, not revenge

Frenzied, bloodthirsty calls for the resumption of capital punishment are a desperate expression of our collective and longstanding failure to respond coherently and imaginatively to our culture of death, violence, gangs, bloodlust, and cycles of revenge and retaliation.

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FRONT PORCH: Mercy, rehabilitation and restorative justice

A reprinting of an article about the late former Commissioner of Police, Paul Farquharson

TODAY’S column, a reprint from 2021, is in memory of former Commissioner of Police Paul Farquharson, who died last week. He served as a police officer for most of his professional life, eventually becoming High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

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FRONT PORCH: Our celebration of independence should not be confused with the birth of our nation

TRITE and simplistic cliches on Bahamas nationhood are enemies of history, memory and myriad freedom struggles and movements for equality, including the fight for majority rule and women’s rights.

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FRONT PORCH: Revitalisation of Downtown Nassau requires consideration and vision

RENEWING the City of Nassau is a journey of self-definition and discovery: a recollection of history that informs our national longings and forward thinking.

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FRONT PORCH: Future uncertain on Downtown revitalisation - can the ‘soul’ of Nassau be preserved?

Two prominent figures sit in that most public of squares – Rawson, which in earlier times was simply known as “The Park” and was described by LD Powles in The Land of the Pink Pearl as “an acre in extent…on which were the broken remains of some benches and some dried-up-looking, coarse grass”.

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FRONT PORCH: As we celebrate our Jubilee, more support needed for arts and culture

AS we celebrate half a century of independence, why are we still so egregiously behind in sustaining and expanding certain institutions which safeguard Bahamian heritage, while also creating additional opportunities for creative expression?

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FRONT PORCH: US needs a better ‘whole world strategy’ as they show concern over China’s relationship with small and developing nations

ALONG with other Caribbean heads of government, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley bristles at patronising questions, including from journalists, querying the Caribbean’s relationship with China.

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FRONT PORCH: US view of Bahamas and Caribbean one-dimensional and ignorant

THE US Vice President Kamala Harris came to The Bahamas last week for considerably less than a day to meet with Caricom leaders. As promoted by the US Embassy in Nassau: “The Vice President’s trip delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean, pursue shared prosperity and security, and celebrate the common bonds between our nations.

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FRONT PORCH: The virtue of a life-long pursuit of personal growth and wisdom

In 1941, in his early 70s, after an extraordinary career and a dozen years before his death at 84, the brilliant French artist Henri Matisse underwent surgery following a diagnosis of abdominal cancer. He was left bed- and chair-ridden. Sculpturing and painting were now too physically challenging.

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FRONT PORCH: The life and times of an extraordinary patriot

We last spoke on May 11, the 95th birthday of George’s beloved friend, Arthur. This journal’s managing editor asked who the paper might contact to pay tribute to Sir Arthur Foulkes, five years shy of becoming a centenarian.

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FRONT PORCH – Rev CB Moss: Genuine patriot who called the country to greater righteousness

MUCH that masquerades or passes for patriotism at home and abroad is counterfeit, sometimes jingoistic and bellicose or, alternatively, saccharine and suffused with empty romanticism and gaudy nostalgia.

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FRONT PORCH: A progressive and healthy press is vital to a country’s democracy

THE prestigious Pulitzer Prize, named after the renowned American newspaper publisher and magnate Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), is a prize “given annually to recognise and reward excellence in American journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music and drama”.

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FRONT PORCH: While Commonwealth heads are clear, Bahamain leaders fuzzy on remaining under the King

THE coronation of King Charles III evoked another round of debate by countries which retain the British monarch as head of state on whether and when to become republics. There is also renewed discussion on the role the monarchy played in the slave trade, and on reparations.

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FRONT PORCH: After the warning of Dorian, what is our strategy for the next storm?

IN the closing days of August 2030, a peak period for Atlantic hurricanes, Bahamians and residents nervously eyed a gathering storm. It began as an unreported weather phenomenon off West Africa, travelling westerly and eventually funneled toward The Bahamas as a tropical storm.

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FRONT PORCH: Focus on education and literacy a step toward addressing crime issues

“At that time, 2005, everybody was thinking, oh, it only occurs in certain areas and if you don’t live a certain lifestyle or associate with certain people you were going to be all right. Well, we’re not all right, we know now that was a lie, and so we are reaping the bitter fruits of our neglect.” – Rev CB Moss

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FRONT PORCH: How long will government drag their feet in granting protection to women?

“Any government’s failure to criminalise marital rape effectively condones and enables the existence of a domestic space within a marriage where sexual violence is permitted. The married woman is, in effect, abandoned with no legal protection.” - Marion Bethel

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FRONT PORCH – Marjorie Davis: Volunteer and Nation-Builder

MARJORIE Davis was a pioneer in education, demonstrated in her educational achievements from high school to university and in her career as an educator of many decades. Education was a lodestar for her, her siblings and their offspring.

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FRONT PORCH: Dame Marjorie Davis; nation builder, hero and a selfless exemplar

“True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement.” - Pope John Paul II

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FRONT PORCH: RCI beach club a bad deal, but Bay Street needs to be revitalised

MANY generations of Bahamians have walked or driven past St Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk (Church) on Shirley Street in downtown Nassau. The iconic buildings, just east of Peck’s Slope, Market Street, Gregory’s Arch and Government House atop Mount Fitzwilliam, form part of an historic cityscape.

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FRONT PORCH: Catholic Social Teaching promotes, protects and defends the radical dignity of the human person

IN A 55-minute speech during a 2015 pastoral visit to Bolivia, Pope Francis addressed a crowd of farmers, indigenous people and activists with this ringing plea: “You are social poets: creators of work, builders of housing, producers of food, above all for people left behind by the world market.

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FRONT PORCH: What’s going on at BTC?

IT IS telling and disturbing the number and drumbeat of Bahamians dissatisfied and frustrated with the often poor and inconsistent quality of service by the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC). The number of upset customers seems as voluminous as the white pages of a printed directory.

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FRONT PORCH: While reform is needed Westminster parliamentary system still superior

WE trace our governmental system to the United Kingdom, which honed the traditions and conventions of parliamentary democracy over centuries. Unlike the United Kingdom, The Bahamas has a codified Constitution.

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FRONT PORCH: Reading and research key to integrity in journalism

GOOD journalism and well-crafted commentary play a critical role in public policy and political debates. They enliven and enlighten national dialogue.

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FRONT PORCH: Constitution matters and questions

“IT IS something which is very healthy and something which is very much in keeping with the democratic spirit of the country to periodically examine the Constitution and make changes which are likely to be to the benefit of the country over the long term.” – Sean McWeeney, chair, 2013 Constitutional Commission.

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FRONT PORCH: Emancipation and education still needed 50 years after independence

At the 50th anniversary of independence there is tremendous work to be done to educate Bahamians about our basic history and basic civics, including the Constitution. Those charged with organising this commemoration have an obligation to ensure that it is not overwhelmingly a parade of festivities and feel-good events. We should not mostly be engaged in a series of blowout parties. At the heart of this anniversary should be a variety of educational and meaningful cultural activities.

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FRONT PORCH: Responsibilities, rights and obligations of a free press

RESPONSIBLE, competent and professional media are indispensable to the maintenance, development and flowering of a democracy.

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FRONT PORCH: Dysfunction, decay and dilapidation in Bahamaland

ON ITS website, the Ministry of Tourism boasts of Cable Beach: “This beach is world famous for its fabulous sand and crystal waters and for the myriad upscale resorts that line it.

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FRONT PORCH: Women and the struggle for power, equity and respect

THE home of Mizpah and J Egbert “Bertie” Tertullien in Blue Hill Estates brimmed with books. There were shelves of books on politics, psychology, economics, social sciences, literature – especially West Indian and African literature – and other topics. Ideas and current affairs were exuberantly and spicily debated at the Tertulliens.

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FRONT PORCH: Person of the Year 2022

WOMEN ACTIVISTS, THE ONGOING STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY

IT IS a lazy misnomer and misread of world and Bahamian history to repeat the cliché that women were “granted” the right to vote. It was not a grant or gift. Women fought ceaselessly, organised, were jailed, ostracised, went on hunger strikes, were mocked – and sometimes died in demanding and seizing the right to vote.

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FRONT PORCH – Majority Rule: A shared celebration

THE LATE Roman Catholic Vicar General Monsignor Preston Moss grew up a stone’s throw away from the top of the hill East Street, not far from Mortimer Candy Kitchen.

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FRONT PORCH: Reading critical to human development

THE Brothers Grimm, German academics and authors in the late 18th century and early 19th century, became world famous for their piquant and complex folklores, fairy tales and oral tales, which offered object and classical lessons about morality and ethics and the struggle of humanity in every generation to become more civil, humane and less barbarous.

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FRONT PORCH: Ignorance poses threat to our political system

GORGING on US cable television news, quite a number of Bahamians mindlessly regurgitate the analysis of many of the babbling and bobbling talking heads on American television, breezily transposing much of the American political drama and insipid commentary to Bahamian politics.

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FRONT PORCH: We are not a Christian nation constitutionally

THE level of ignorance about our constitution is widespread. The ignorance is particularly alarming on the part of those who pretend to know about such matters.

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FRONT PORCH: Making good public policy is hard work

WE often cook up public policy in The Bahamas in a similar manner to which an unsatisfying and innutritious meal is slapped together. There is little forethought, no clear recipe, with all kinds of slam bam ingredients hurriedly mixed together.

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FRONT PORCH – The insurgency of Mia Mottley: 21st century philosophy and vision for national development

MUCH of The Bahamas is stuck in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. During their three terms in office, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and the FNM did much to reform and modernise a backward-leaning and mostly paralysed state creaking with crumbling infrastructure and moribund mindsets.

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FRONT PORCH: Hubris and the march of folly

It is at once fascinating and disturbing to observe how the lust for power, greed and other blinding ambitions, so often lead to folly and failure. Politicians, businesspeople and others over millennia, though repeatedly warned of their delusions, have pursued courses of action leading to disaster and defeat.

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FRONT PORCH: Art and folly of political communications

THERE is an art and a folly to political communications, much of which is based on hunches, instincts, guess work, psychological insights and luck. The best political consultants gain experience over many years of practice and some failures.

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FRONT PORCH: Supporting the Dundas and performing arts

A FRIEND recalls going to the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts for the first time decades ago to watch a live performance of a play, returning thereafter over the years for a smorgasbord of productions ranging from dramas to musicals.

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FRONT PORCH: Public policy and good governance

AFTER several months of meltdown, temper tantrums and recklessness at 10 Downing Street, with three Conservative leaders and prime ministers, the grownup now in the chair as prime minister is 42-year-old Rishi Sunak.

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FRONT PORCH: Events, dear boy, events!

THERE is a rejoinder, allegedly made by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan when asked what was among the greatest challenges he faced as a political leader. The alleged response: “Events, dear boy, events,” has never been fully authenticated, though it has been widely reported.

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FRONT PORCH: Failure by political leaders to understand social dysfunction

THE violent crime ravaging New Providence continues unabated. Political leaders and law enforcement are seemingly incapable of offering workable strategies to combat the rate of murder and other crimes.

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FRONT PORCH: The roots of gender inequality and repression

MANY of the roots of gender inequality and discrimination are ancient prejudices often prescribed and reinforced by censorious religious strictures, most especially today, driven by religious fundamentalism and toxic masculinity.

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FRONT PORCH: The necessity of memory, ritual and symbols in civic life

THE pomp, pageantry, mythology and history marking the period of mourning and state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II were fascinating to observe and moving on many levels, a sort of magical and solemn theatre with certain purpose.

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FRONT PORCH: Passing of Queen Elizabeth II – Continuity and change

WHEN Elizabeth II ascended the British throne in 1952, Joseph Stalin was Premier of the Soviet Union. When she passed away a week ago, there was no longer a Soviet Union and Vladimir Putin was President of Russia.

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FRONT PORCH: Managing a crisis while building the future

IN an April 2020 Wall Street Journal article entitled, “The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order”, Henry Kissinger advised world leaders of the crises the pandemic might unleash and the urgent need to meet the complex of challenges with clarity and imagination.

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FRONT PORCH – The guayabera: A cultural and fashion statement

IN The Bahamas and Jamaica, we call it the bush jacket. In the Dominican Republic it is commonly known as the chacabana shirt. In Haiti, it is sometimes called the guyabel, while in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, it is often referred to as the shirt-jac.

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FRONT PORCH: Bending arc toward justice not inevitable

BARACK Obama often quotes the ethical instruction of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” The proximate provenance of the instruction is traced to Theodore Parker, an abolitionist reformist Unitarian minister.

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FRONT PORCH: Suggestions to Prime Minister on crime prevention

A JULY 28 column entitled “Getting Away with Murder and Other Crimes?” noted that we have lost much of the plot in our criminal justice system, arguing that the inability of the criminal justice system to try and to punish an offender in a timely manner is one of the reasons for the high level of crime in the country.

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FRONT PORCH: Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan showcased rivalry and worldviews

THE ill-advised trip to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of US House of Representatives, showcased the deep-seated tensions and intensifying rivalry between the world’s two leading powers. It also revealed the mindsets of the leadership classes and the domestic politics of both nations.

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FRONT PORCH: Good habits help reduce crime

AMID the surge in violent crime and gang retaliation, some Bahamians suggest law-abiding citizens need not worry that gang members are killing each other. The argument is the former are doing the country and the police a favour.

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FRONT PORCH: Getting away with murder and other crimes?

THE multiyear COVID- 19 pandemic exacerbated a perennial criminal justice problem in The Bahamas and many other jurisdictions: the inability to prosecute criminals in a timely (swift), certain and fair manner, encapsulated in the coinage, Swift Justice, the concept of which has its origins in the thinking and research of the late American criminologist Mark Kleiman.

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FRONT PORCH: How power blinds the mighty and the conceited

THE main theme for the July/August edition of Foreign Affairs is “What is Power?” Several articles explore the topic, including Ngaire Woods’ “What the Mighty Miss: The Blind Spots of Power.”

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FRONT PORCH: Lessons from the magical rise and fall of Boris Johnson

AS Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson finally succumbed to reality, emerging from the reality show cum bunker of 10 Downing Street to announce his resignation, “Yakety Sax”, the theme song for the Benny Hill Show blared, while a jubilantly clapping audience cheered his impending departure.

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FRONT PORCH: A new mission for a new monarch

THE helmeted Britannia figure, a Corinthian-like female warrior armed with a trident and protected with a shield, is the personification and symbolic representation of Great Britain and the now defunct British Empire.

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FRONT PORCH: What future lies ahead for the British Monarchy?

BESET by economic woes including rising inflation, low growth and increasing labour unrest - and an unpopular Boris Johnson whom most voters would like to exit Number 10 posthaste - the recent Platinum Jubilee extravaganza in the United Kingdom, celebrating the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, was arguably the sort of gin and tonic that Britain temporarily needed.

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FRONT PORCH: Talks and photo ops - but is it really taking us where we need to go?

MANY international summits, some more than others, are talkfests, mostly occasions for high-blown rhetoric and photo-ops, though substantive speeches, statements and diplomacy are often critical, including for domestic audiences.

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FRONT PORCH: Finding the balance in relations with the US and China

CHINA is obviously not attending the 2022 Summit of the Americas currently being hosted by the United States in Los Angeles. But the country of 1.4 billion looms large as a competitor to the US for the interests, investment needs and geopolitical considerations of the Caribbean and Latin America.

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FRONT PORCH: Geopolitical lessons from Pacific Island states

BEGINNING last week, China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi embarked on an unprecedented ten-day tour with a delegation of 20 to ten Pacific Island countries with which the People’s Republic has diplomatic relations.

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FRONT PORCH: The dangers and conceits of Christian nationalism

“GUN ownership is a more important right than voting. Voting is not really a human right at all but a privilege that should be reserved for those who are qualified to do it properly. It should be easier to buy a gun than vote.” – Christian right commentator Matt Walsh

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FRONT PORCH: Democracy threatened around the world

“IN every region of the world, democracy is under attack by populist leaders and groups that reject pluralism and demand unchecked power to advance the particular interests of their supporters, usually at the expense of minorities and other perceived foes.” – Freedom House.

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FRONT PORCH: Fragility and Potential Resilience of Democracy

FROM ancient Greece, with its limited democratic franchise, to the present, democracy has always been an idea, a set of principles and values, often codified into law, equally a set of conventions and traditions defined and crafted over centuries, observed and adjudicated by flawed and biased human beings.

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FRONT PORCH – Celebration and reflection: 50 years of Independence

COUNTRIES, like individuals and institutions, often commemorate silver, golden and diamond jubilees, as well as seminal events, with outstanding and dynamic celebrations which capture and reflect the occasion and moment.

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FRONT PORCH – Hubris: Wavering between reality and fantasy

Years ago in a high school English literature class reading and studying Macbeth, many of the students were surprised that the eponymous leading character constantly refused to heed the warnings of his impending doom as he vaingloriously pursued his bloody ambitions.

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FRONT PORCH: The hubris and delusions of autocrats and power

Operation Barbarossa, the code name for Adolf Hitler’s and Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, exposed the hubris, delusions of power, and psychological isolation of both Hitler and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin.

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FRONT PORCH – Lack of civility, respect and cleanliness: we like it so!

A friend in his late 60s recalls walking along Market Street and coming upon a teenage boy around the age of 13, who was sitting in a car eating guineps, discarding the seeds and shells onto the road, even though there were several garbage bins within easy reach.

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FRONT PORCH: National Development: Majority Rule, Independence, Republican Status

DURING the 1962 general election there was mass propaganda circulated by the United Bahamian Party (UBP) and parroted by others, including many black Bahamians, of the supposed innate inferiority of black people.

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Islanders adrift in the stream of history

THE cover image on the first volume of Dr Gail Saunders’s history of The Bahamas, Islanders in the Stream, is an 1859 oil painting by Winslow Homer, entitled, The Gulf Stream.

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FRONT PORCH: COVID-19 – Magical Thinking is Killing Us

SINCE December, a steady flow of Bahamians have continued to die from COVID-19. The great majority of these were unvaccinated. More will continue to die, especially with a new wave likely on the horizon in the weeks ahead. Some estimate a new wave may begin within six to eight weeks.

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FRONT PORCH: Lenten pilgrimage and spiritual exercises

THE days of Lent are like a mini-pilgrimage, a retreat, a time for spiritual exercises and practices in preparation for the celebration of Easter and rebirth. A dear friend, a source and example of mercy and healing, who lives overseas, attends daily mass during Lent at a parish not far from his residence.

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FRONT PORCH: Use, abuse and delusions of history

HISTORY does not necessarily exactly repeat itself. Yet, it sometimes rhymes and there are resonances and historical parallels from which lessons may be drawn. The dearth of historical knowledge and insight sometimes leads to tragedy and disaster for nation-states, and farce and upset in communities and family groups.

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FRONT PORCH: Suffering and geopolitics of Ukraine

Yesterday, in an overwhelming vote signalling revulsion against the suffering in Ukraine and global opposition to Russia’s breach of the former’s sovereignty, the General Assembly (GA) of the United Nations supported a resolution “deploring Russia’s invasion and called for the immediate withdrawal of its forces”.

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FRONT PORCH: The Lure and Exercise of Political Power

What Lord Acton actually said in a letter to an Anglican Bishop is: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Acton, an English Catholic, was a politician, historian and writer with extraordinary insight into political power.

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FRONT PORCH: Mixed signals and confusion when bold action is needed

Outlawing marital rape is a clear and easy moral call. It is about upholding the innate dignity and corresponding equality of women, including spouses, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and colleagues.

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FRONT PORCH: Foundations for Transformation and Hope

During the back-to-back unprecedented national crises of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic and international private sector, including non-profits, foundations, philanthropic individuals and volunteers, played a pivotal role to supply the material needs and offer hope to thousands of Bahamians and residents.

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FRONT PORCH: Repudiating our culture of violence

OVER the past few weeks the country has witnessed a number of murders, including of women, with the death toll steadily climbing.

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FRONT PORCH: Wishful thinking won’t be enough - there needs to be a clear strategy

THE COVID-19 pandemic continues to test the character, tenacity and imagination of individuals and countries. Some countries are faring better, others worse, for a variety of reasons. How is The Bahamas faring on a number of fronts?

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FRONT PORCH: We need a clear strategy for handling this crisis - because it’s not going away any time soon

Approximately two years into an historically great pandemic and with the onset of the Omicron variant, the world and The Bahamas have entered another phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: Archbishop Tutu’s rainbow vision and ethic

A RELATIVE recalls a solemn service at Westminster Abbey in London, one of the United Kingdom’s and the Church of England’s most prestigious religious edifices. A Royal Particular, the Abbey is directly responsible to the British Sovereign, the head of the Church. It is the site of coronations since William the Conqueror in 1066.

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FRONT PORCH: In a time of despair came the hands that brought hope

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the great historical pandemics, shattered then shuttered the global and national economy. International tourism came to a dramatic and unprecedented halt. Much worse than in the 2008 Great Recession, the Bahamas economy collapsed within months.

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FRONT PORCH: Love’s Pure Light

THIS Christmas column is dedicated to a dear priest friend, a source of mercy, of laughter, and of everlasting friendship, who continues to discover and to share new light and life.

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FRONT PORCH: Ongoing struggle to emancipate colonised minds

“The most important area of domination [is] the mental universe of the colonised, the control, through culture, of how people perceive themselves and their relationship to the world.” – Jason Hickel

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FRONT PORCH: Where’s our appetite for moving towards a republic?

ON one of his trips to a Family Island to discuss independence for The Bahamas, Sir Lynden Pindling was confronted by an older lady who accepted the country should become a sovereign nation. But she added a warning cum proviso: “We’re going to keep the Queen though!?”

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FRONT PORCH: What’s the actual plan for vaccine booster shots?

A FRIEND recalls a recent exchange with an employee of a utility company who came to read a meter at his home. Asked by the friend if he was vaccinated, the utility worker replied: “No, I don’t believe in that stuff.”

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FRONT PORCH: Why don’t the unvaccinated listen? More waves are coming and hundreds are going to die

After the punishing Delta wave and now with much lower case numbers and deaths, there is a lulling complacency setting in yet again throughout the country about the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: Building a more functional democracy

Government-operated schools around the world, including in The Bahamas, tend to require certification and training for teachers from primary to high school. Such training seeks to ensure teachers are better prepared with learning methods to educate young people. Subject area competency is also required.

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FRONT PORCH: Islands in the cauldron of climate change

IN the closing days of August 2030, the ninth month of the year, a peak period for Atlantic hurricanes, the country nervously watched a gathering storm. It began as an unreported weather phenomenon off West Africa, travelling westerly and eventually funnelled toward The Bahamas as a tropical storm.

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FRONT PORCH – Climate Emergency: When a Cat 5 Strikes Nassau?

There is a deep ocean of rhetoric from countries producing the vast majority of carbon emissions heating our planet, with myriad pledges on reducing emissions, and promises cum pledges of funds for developing countries facing existential danger amidst rising sea levels, increasing inequality and natural disasters.

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FRONT PORCH: Prepare now for the next deadly wave

THE next COVID-19 surge is coming. Though it is not certain when the next wave will strike New Providence and Grand Bahama, or how severe it will be, another surge is certain. The country should begin preparing for the upcoming wave, now.

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FRONT PORCH: Vaccine mandates and requirements needed to save lives

A colleague cum friend becomes apoplectic when discussing those refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, putting others, including family members, colleagues and strangers at risk of getting gravely sick or dying.

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FRONT PORCH: ‘A hungry man is a angry man’

THE COVID-19 pandemic exposed and dramatically deepened food insecurity, hunger and undernutrition globally. According to the World Bank, the pandemic reversed years of development gains in numerous countries.

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FRONT PORCH: No hiding from the shameful vitriol directed at those who would risk everything for a better life

THERE is a regional and global context to the approximately 1,000 Haitian migrants who recently landed in Inagua. There may also be a domestic and political back story. We are experiencing national and global fractures from COVID-19 which are turning into deep economic, social and political fissures.

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FRONT PORCH: The style and essence of political debate

At the 2012 and 2017 general elections, certain excitable radio personalities and a certain pundit, breezily and erroneously opined that the Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement were offering few to no policy ideas in their respective election manifestos.

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FRONT PORCH: The liberating power of reading

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” - Frederick Douglass

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FRONT PORCH: Moultrie’s grand farce and the carnival of egotism

Parliament Square has been the site of extraordinary events in the nation’s political history. On April 27, 1965, in protest against the gerrymandered results of the Boundaries Report and the UBP’s intransigence on the Report, Leader of the Opposition Lynden Pindling famously threw out the Speaker’s Mace from an eastern window of the House of Assembly to an expectant crowd in the Square.

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FRONT PORCH: The balm and grace of mercy

WITH many more deaths, illness, fear and unrelenting heartbreak during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic we are bewildered, grief-stricken, angry, frustrated and embroiled in a range of emotions coursing through individual souls and the soul of the nation.

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FRONT PORCH: Many are finally waking up to the harsh reality of COVID and taking the vaccine

A SOLDIER heading to war or to a military engagement usually has a number of normal fears. Once on the battlefield or in a foxhole surrounded by enemies, mortar fire and other deadly instruments of death his fears morph, sometimes growing more intense.

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FRONT PORCH: A voice of reason against a choir of confused clerics

In response to recent restrictions on public gatherings, including the duration and numbers at religious services due to the increase in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd counselled cooperation. He touted the Church’s promotion of personal responsibility and the common good.

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FRONT PORCH: A season of sadness, dying and regret

“Infodemic: An excessive amount of information about a problem that is typically unreliable, spreads rapidly, and makes a solution more difficult to achieve.”

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FRONT PORCH: People will die and the pandemic rage on unless people wake up and take the vaccine

Last week Friday, the highly-regarded US Centre for Disease Control Director Dr Rochelle Walensky offered: “There is a clear message that is coming through: This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated”, which is becoming a term of art in the medical field.

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FRONT PORCH: Ours is a story which goes beyond a mere 48 years - and is still being written

MANY Bahamians enjoy Priscilla Rollins’ song, “Independence Morning, It’s like a Baby Borning”, a catchy tune which has delighted audiences since 1973. Ms Rollins captures much of the enthusiasm and excitement of a new day for the country. But the Bahamian nation is much older than 48 years. We are centuries older.

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FRONT PORCH: Curiosity and discernship in leadership

AMERICAN journalist and author David Simon, better known as a writer and producer of The Wire, captures the role of curiosity in human endeavour: “The why is what makes journalism an adult game. The why is what makes policy coherent and useful.

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FRONT PORCH: So much to gain by playing the long game

IT is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent. – Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s long-term partner in Berkshire Hathaway).

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FRONT PORCH: States and citizens playing Russian Roulette with COVID

The Bahamas is making progress in the uptake of SARS-COV-2 vaccines by Bahamians. The uptake is consistent and steady. Yet, it is not as good as it can be nor as good as other jurisdictions where citizens are taking vaccinations at a quicker and eager pace.

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FRONT PORCH: Mercy is a gift from God which we should not be afraid to give

We boast of ourselves as being a deeply Christian society, a people of faith in a God who sets captives free, whether a people in slavery or a fellow prisoner on the cross being crucified through the penalty of death.

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FRONT PORCH: Remembering the legacy of those who really fought for our future

In the last election, the Free National Movement (FNM) presented a slate of many new candidates and got most of them elected, negating the specious argument that new political parties are needed to get new blood in Parliament.

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FRONT PORCH: The Speaker has gotten it terribly wrong

IN an interview with the press following Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Hubert Minnis’s Communication to the House of Assembly on the 2021/2022 National Budget, Speaker House Halson Moultrie publicly criticized the Budget.

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FRONT PORCH: The Rev Dr Colin Archer: Finding God in All Things

Last week, the Rev Dr Colin Archer offered a grace-filled sermon entitled, “A Christian Scientific Approach to the COVID-19 Pandemic”, capturing the attention of the nation in a video that expressed the essence of his spirituality.

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FRONT PORCH: The pandemic, responsible freedom and the common good

FREEDOM is often narrowly defined, especially notions of personal freedom and autonomy. Communitarian cultures and nations enjoy a more expansive appreciation and articulation of freedom.

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FRONT PORCH: Seasons of new growth & new life

THE royal poincianas are blooming. Some of the tall umbrella-like trees with their extended canopies and smooth grey barks are nearly fully inflamed, commemorated meticulously in the brushstrokes of Bahamian artist Chan Pratt.

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FRONT PORCH: We need more local AND international talent

Comparing nations and jurisdictions on various socio-economic and developmental metrics is sometimes quite useful. But such comparisons often require caveats, nuances and an appreciation of context. Even as there are apt analogies there are also areas that are disanalogous.

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FRONT PORCH: COVID conspiracies, confusion and contradictions

A friend in her early 70s is exhausted by COVID-19. No, she has not experienced the physical debilitation or devastation of the disease as have many Bahamians and many millions globally.

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FRONT PORCH: The British Monarchy is an anachronism for sovereign, independent countries like ours

One does not have to be a monarchist or a fan of the late Prince Philip to admire the simplicity and beauty of the Order of Service at his brief funeral held at St. George’s Chapel on the Lower Ward at Windsor Castle.

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FRONT PORCH: America the Violent

A concatenation of recent brutal events in America are knottily stitched together in a star-spangled and blood-soaked banner of racial and gun violence that stretches from the inception of America to the present day.

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FRONT PORCH: US Republicans are facing an existential threat

Lights, camera and an admixture of antebellum and Jim Crow action as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law sweeping voting restrictions designed to suppress minority voters in the state after it voted last November for Joe Biden as President and both a black and a Jewish man as federal senators.

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FRONT PORCH: ‘Taking the vaccine may be an act of love, a gift to one’s community’

“While modern society places more importance on one’s own interests regardless of or even to the detriment of others … [true Christians] ban individualism in order to encourage sharing and solidarity.” - Pope Francis, General Audience, June 26, 2019

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FRONT PORCH: If you can, take the vaccine, because this crisis is far from over

The COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the most significant discrete global event since World War II, with just about every country affected, over 2.7 million dead and the death toll rising even as vaccine scepticism and anti-vaccine mindsets have taken hold among many millions globally. The economic devastation is widespread, though there are hopeful signs for recovery in some countries.

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FRONT PORCH: Vaccinate? It’s your choice but the decision affects us all

A recent article in The Atlantic observed: “When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration… ‘Polio routed!’ newspaper headlines exclaimed. ‘An historic victory,’ ‘monumental,’ ‘sensational,’ newscasters declared...

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FRONT PORCH: Time we threw off the last shackles of colonialism and unleash our real potential

ONE of the jarring realities the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed here at home is the degree to which the relationship of The Bahamas to the 21st century is tenuous.

FRONT PORCH: From Norman’s Cay to Nygard Cay

The sordid and dark chapters in Bahamian history linking Norman’s Cay, Exuma, to Nygard Cay, New Providence, are deeply woven into the political narrative and entrenched culture of corruption of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

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FRONT PORCH: Keep your world big and open!

A beloved late mentor often advised and enthused: “Keep you world big!” He was referring to cultivating one’s mind and heart and having an expansive and open consciousness and spirit.

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FRONT PORCH: Wise owl or preening peacock? I know what my view is

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. - Proverbs 17:28

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FRONT PORCH: The conceits and decline of US Republican Party

It still surprises the number of Bahamians who little understand American society or politics but who, hook, line and sinker, have been caught and netted by the country’s mythologies, which continue to be unmasked, demystified and demythologised by the march of facts and history.

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FRONT PORCH – Joe Biden: repairer of the breach

At 78, with his wizened face and white mane grown long at the back, President Joe Biden somewhat resembles Sir Ian McKellen’s Gandalf from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Like the JRR Tolkien wizard, in countenance and character, Biden is the archetype of the wise man.

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FRONT PORCH: Just look around us - if you think this is over, forget it

Over the course of a year plus of the global COVID-19 pandemic, there is still much that scientists and governments do not understand about the virus.

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FRONT PORCH: Trump skulked away but America’s difficult days remain

Yesterday’s inauguration of Joseph Biden Jr was welcomed by millions in America and around the world relieved and gladdened at the departure of the most vicious and divisive President in modern America, who incited, fuelled and epitomised the forces of white Christian nationalism, the great original stain and sin of the American Republic.

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FRONT PORCH: Dark religious and political forces in America

THERE is a disturbingly iconic image from last week Wednesday’s violent invasion of the US Capitol Building of a man clad in black abseiling from the public gallery to the floor of the United States Senate.

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FRONT PORCH: Standing on the shoulders of a nation builder

SIR William Allen was a man of dedicated public service who enjoyed and cultivated the life of the mind. During an exemplary public career he employed his prodigious intellect, reflective nature and good judgement in the service of a sovereign Bahamas.

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FRONT PORCH: PERSON OF THE YEAR – Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis’s spirit of courage and fortitude

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, O.D., does not suffer fools or viruses gladly. When COVID-19, the worst global public health pandemic in approximately 100 years struck and rapidly spread around the world, the Bahamas needed expert, clear and steady leadership to combat the deadly and highly infectious contagion.

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FRONT PORCH: The light and splendour of Christmas

Because of a global pandemic that began about a year ago, 2020 has been one of the most punishing and painful years in the lives of most of humanity. Many have died. Many are dying. Many more will die and millions have become ill, some with dire and long-term physical and psychological ailments.

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FRONT PORCH – A nation for sale: Another generation of scandal

On Tuesday the United States Department of Justice charged 79-year-old Peter Nygard with racketeering offences and sex trafficking.

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FRONT PORCH: We need good ideas more than ever - and the PM knows that

NEAR the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis presciently convened a National Economic Recovery Committee (ERC). The ERC was charged with offering his administration recommendations to help the country’s recovery during and after the pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: COVID-19, lifeboat ethics and conspiracies

THERE is a well-known episode from the 1912 sinking of RMS Titanic involving the wealthy Scottish landowner Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff-Gordon (1862-1931).

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FRONT PORCH: Magical thinking won’t see us through this crisis, following a clear strategy will

Jodi Doering is an ER nurse in South Dakota who has nursed Covid-19 patients, some of whom have died. In a series of tweets and somber recollections, Doering described the deaths of some patients who “don’t want to believe that Covid is real”, aggressively denying the existence of the virus and the pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: Magical thinking won’t see us through this crisis, following a clear strategy will

Jodi Doering is an ER nurse in South Dakota who has nursed Covid-19 patients, some of whom have died. In a series of tweets and somber recollections, Doering described the deaths of some patients who “don’t want to believe that Covid is real”, aggressively denying the existence of the virus and the pandemic.

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FRONT PORCH: Take a look around - our democracy is so precious we must all strive to protect it

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” - Winston Churchill

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FRONT PORCH: Guardians of decency and democracy - after four years of Trump you can’t be serious

A democracy is as strong or as parlous and unstable as its institutions and the willingness of leaders and citizens to accept and abide by democratic laws, norms, conventions and traditions.

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PETER YOUNG: Is America about to come back in from the cold?

In the midst of the hullabaloo and hysteria in the days following the US presidential election, the focus has been firmly on the drama rapidly unfolding and the mainstream media has given less attention to reactions elsewhere in the world.

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FRONT PORCH: Block out all the noise and nonsense and the truth is we are making progress

Approximately two and a half weeks ago, after Germany recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 infections (7,830) in a 24-hour period, a startling record since the pandemic began, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sounded the alarm.

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FRONT PORCH: Religious leaders would do well to remember what their real role is in our society

At the time of his death in 2013 at the age of 99, the American evangelist and Southern Baptist Minister Rev Billy Graham was a revered figure globally.

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FRONT PORCH: Pope Francis and the Gospel of Love

When Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected as pope in 2013 at the age of 76 and took the name Francis in memory of St Francis of Assisi (1181 or 1182-1226), a beloved relative proclaimed: “Pope Francis is not just going back to St Francis. He is going all the way back to Jesus and the gospel of love and mercy.”

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FRONT PORCH: Trump is not an American anomaly

Around 1997, about 23 years ago during a trip to New York City for a social justice conference, this columnist first met a fellow participant who lived in the city.

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FRONT PORCH: The tragicomedy and farce of Trump’s America

The denouement of Donald Trump’s shambolic and dangerous presidency intensified with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting calamitous economic fallout, twin crises managed more adroitly and seriously by the Chinese rather than the American Government.

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FRONT PORCH: The Conceit and Danger of Blind Ambition

“To lose patience is to lose the battle.” – Mohandas Gandhi AFTER the results of the 1972 general election, Sir Randol Fawkes, honoured as the Father of Labour who helped to form the first Majority Rule government and became Minister of Labour and Commerce, was out of frontline politics and would never return as a Member of Parliament.

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FRONT PORCH: In politics you need more than blind ambition to lead - try humility and an ability to learn

Politics is about the long game, with even the most egotistical and self-possessed politicians requiring the capacity for growth, learning and humility to succeed and to realize their ambitions, including becoming Prime Minister in our system of government.

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FRONT PORCH: The whole world’s changed and we need a brave new playbook to survive

The late Monsignor Preston Moss sometimes admonished: “Just because you live in a small country, doesn’t mean that you have to have a small or narrow mind. Keep your world big.”

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FRONT PORCH: Make no mistake - we’re all in this fight and have to work together

“We have to move from ‘they should’ to “we should’. We have to move from ‘they say’ to ‘we say’.” – Prime Minister Hubert Minnis

FRONT PORCH: We fight as hard as we can but there is no escaping the darker side of human nature

In The Netherlands, new daily coronavirus infections are currently back to “roughly half their level at the peak of the pandemic.” The French Prime Minister said he is trying to avoid another lockdown amid a “worrying increase” in cases.

FRONT PORCH: Chapters and narrative of COVID-19 still being written

The Italian humanist, scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca, whose anglicised surname is Petrarch, wrote these words at the height of the Plague, which was also known as the Black Death, the Great Mortality and the Pestilence.

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FRONT PORCH: The govt begged and pleaded but sadly there are those who only think of themselves

In his national address this past Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis warned the country:

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FRONT PORCH: From sea to shining sea the US has lost its lustre

America is sick. Some of its worse ills long ago metastasized and are so pervasive that they will only respond to dramatic change. White supremacy is an unyielding and entrenched power and bastion. Long-term demographic change will help to seriously address some of the worst features of white privilege.

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FRONT PORCH: PM has our safety at heart - nothing more sinister than that

In an impassioned communication in the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pleaded with Bahamians and residents to better appreciate and to take more seriously the current and potential long-term health consequences of COVID-19.

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FRONT PORCH: Don’t dare relax - behave like fools and we’ll pay a deadly price

In one of his most ominous warnings since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pleaded with world leaders and the international community:

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FRONT PORCH: How privilege blinds us from seeking justice and equality

“The past is the present, isn’t it? It’s the future, too. We all try to lie out of that but life won’t let us.” - Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night

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FRONT PORCH: Why do black people have to keep explaining racism?

A young black Jesuit priest in the United States is depressed and frustrated. He lives in an overwhelmingly white religious community and works in overwhelmingly white institutions. He is exhausted with having to constantly explain to white colleagues and friends the legacy of racism he and other blacks endure day after day.

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FRONT PORCH: Seriously, where does this version of history come from?

Once again University of The Bahamas professor Dr Nicolette Bethel has me scratching my head wondering at her interpretation of our history and how confused our young students must be.

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FRONT PORCH: Wishful thinking won’t work in a crisis, we must deal with realities

The notion of magical thinking is employed by a number of disciplines including philosophy, anthropology and psychology, with some differences in how the term is applied in the different fields. A common thread in the various disciplines is the idea of fallacious or false reasoning.

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FRONT PORCH: Forget the naysayers, Lawrence Rolle’s spirit and joy delivers a message to uplift us all

The late Joseph Campbell, a professor of literature whose groundbreaking work in comparative religion and comparative mythology included the book and companion PBS series, The Power of Myth, recalled an exchange at an international conference in Japan.

FRONT PORCH: It’s hard to hear truth in an echo chamber of whining negativity

Last weekend, the video of a young lady who had just returned home and was in government-sponsored quarantine at Breezes Hotel quickly went viral as she whined and complained about everything including the snack she was given prior to the dinner she received later.

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FRONT PORCH: Collective responsibility & cabinet government

It is unfortunate many in the media as well as many academics do not understand the basic tenets of our system of government. Correspondingly, we often get our language and our thinking muddled and just plain wrong in constitutional matters.

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FRONT PORCH: We see the shallow critics carping from the sidelines - why don’t they serve?

US President Theodore Roosevelt  was a militarist and adventurist who used the bullying might of the American Colossus to advance his country’s imperialist stratagems in Latin and Central America.

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FRONT PORCH: Roar, refrain and echo of history

The uneven global response to COVID-19 means some countries will see less infections and deaths, while others will experience needless pain and suffering because of the recklessness, incompetence and magical thinking of some leaders.

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FRONT PORCH: Gratitude for Big Things and Small Things

During a call with an acquaintance who lost her job and who has not been paid for two months, she gave a somewhat surprising answer when asked how she was coping with the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting strain on her.

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FRONT PORCH SIMON: Real leadership in times of crisis - listen, learn and act

US presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has written extensively on public leadership and character. In Leadership in Turbulent Times, Mrs. Kearns Goodwin chronicles how Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) and Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) grew through personal adversity and performed through periods of national crisis.

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