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Two Saturdays ago, February 26, the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) staged the second official conclave in the 42-year-old history of the organization. The first was held in 1969. That parley helped to form the embryonic body that came out of an idea the then current Bahamas Heavyweight Champion, Bert Perry, had.
This forum of present boxing leaders and participants was inspiring and I believe, will nicely shape the future of the sport. The event was quite impacting for boxing. The gathering bridged the gap between 1969 and 2011 very well.
It was very good to see such significant boxing figures under one roof, together. That had not happened in a very long time. For instance, joining m ...
Nassau, Bahamas - It
was an inspiring meeting for some, for others it was an enjoyable trip
down memory lane as 24 past presidents of Toastmasters Club 1600 met for
only the second time in the club's 44-year history.
'First Bahamas Branch' goes before the club's name, denoting its
premier, historical standing as the first local branch of the
international organization which develops communication, public speaking
and leadership skills.
The club's official charter, issued
January 1, 1969, was presented to the club's founding president, Ernest
T. Strachan in April of that year by Lynden O...
Tomorrow we celebrate the 39th anniversary of Bahamian independence. The Commonwealth of The Bahamas was established by an act of the British Parliament which was passed on June 20, 1973 and took effect in the early hours of July 10, 1973, when thousands on Clifford Park witnessed for the first time the raising of the Bahamian flag after the Union Jack was lowered for the last time on this colony, ending 325 years of British rule.
This week, we begin a series of articles on The Bahamas constitution and for part one would like to Consider This... what were the salient issues facing those charged with shaping our constitution as we moved to independence, and how were those issues reconciled?
A natural progression
Bahamian independence in 1973 was a natural progression following a decade of rapid transformation, not just in The Bahamas but also in the Caribbean. In The Bahamas, the constitution twice prominently featured in the body politic, first in 1964 and then again in 1969.
The Bahamas received its first written constitution on January 7, 1964, which granted full control over its internal affairs to The Bahamas government, with the governor retaining responsibility for external defense and internal security. Cabinet government was introduced, and the upper house of the legislature, previously the Legislative Council, became the Senate. The Senate's membership increased from 11 to 15, while the House of Assembly retained its designation and the number of elected representatives numbered 33. In 1969, the British government turned over the internal and external affairs to the Government of The Bahamas and replaced the office of premier with that of prime minister.
During this period, Caribbean countries were also obtaining independence from Great Britain. It started with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in August 1962. Guyana and Barbados followed in May and November 1966, respectively. The Bahamas was next in 1973 and, by the end of that decade, Grenada, Dominica and St. Lucia had also gained their independence from Great Britain.
We can appreciate that the fervor for national independence for Caribbean (and African) countries was inextricably tethered to nationalistic and socio-political realities of the era, aided by Great Britain's willingness to release its grip on the empire, upon which the sun was said never to set. For The Bahamas, the movement to independence was a natural progression, propelled by the "trade winds" of the time.
The independence conference in London
The general election of September 1972 was contested with the understanding that a victory for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) would begin the process of national independence for The Bahamas. It won and Loftus Roker was appointed to liaise with the official opposition Free National Movement (FNM) regarding matters relative to the Independence Conference before going to London.
Therefore, beginning in early December 1972, the PLP, headed by Sir Lynden Pindling, and the FNM, headed by Sir Kendal Isaacs, led a delegation to London to discuss an independence constitution with the British government.
Because The Bahamas already had the 1964 and 1969 constitutions, there was no need to start afresh so 90 percent of the issues regarding independence were agreed upon by both political parties before leaving for London.
The mood of the Bahamian delegation was upbeat and the talks were conducted in a very congenial atmosphere. Several of the delegates to the Constitutional Conference have noted that the drafting of the constitution was a moment in time where the PLP and FNM worked harmoniously, notwithstanding several philosophical points of departure.
One of the early issues discussed at the Constitutional Conference was Bahamian citizenship. The British attempted to persuade the delegation to accept the precedent that had been established by other colonies; that is, for British citizens and "belongers" living in the colonies to register at Government House, so that, at independence, they would automatically become Bahamian citizens. The Bahamian delegation unanimously objected to this, arguing instead that citizenship should not be so open-ended, and that there should be a process by which citizenship would be determined by the government. The Bahamian delegation was adamant and united, and the British relented and accepted the Bahamian position.
Another area of disagreement surrounded gender equality. The PLP proffered that full equality for women should not be enshrined in the constitution. The FNM argued the opposite view. Ultimately, the British government agreed with the PLP's position.
There was a discussion on the issue of rustication and the freedom of movement and the right of Bahamians to leave The Bahamas. Some in the PLP expressed the concern that Bahamians might depopulate the Family Islands and were also concerned that, in the absence of a rustication provisions, the country could suffer a brain drain. This fuelled the debate about giving Bahamians the right to leave not just their native islands but the country. The British agreed with the opposition on this issue, and consequently there were no prohibitions on Bahamians' ability to move freely within or outside The Bahamas.
With the issues fully aired and agreed, Sir Kendal Isaacs and the FNM delegates returned to The Bahamas. Some of the PLP delegates, including Sir Lynden, remained in London to finalize the terms upon which the new Bahamian constitution would be presented to the British Parliament. The delegation understood that the British Parliament would introduce and pass that all-important Bill for an Act to grant Independence to The Bahamas.
The surviving signatories of the Bahamian constitution are: Sir Arthur Foulkes, Arthur D. Hanna, Sir Orville Turnquest, Paul L. Adderley, A. Loftus Roker, George A. Smith and Rev. Philip M. Bethel. Deceased signatories included Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Milo Butler, Sir Clement Maynard, Rev. Carlton E. Francis, Sir Kendal Isaacs, Cadwell C. Armbrister, Henry J. Bowen and Norman S. Solomon. Although there were other Bahamians present at the conference who were not part of the official delegation, these 15 signatories to the Bahamian constitution should rightly be recognized as our nation's Founding Fathers.
After returning to The Bahamas, the government developed the country's flag, the coat of arms and the national anthem. It is worth noting that the official opposition was not consulted on any of these matters.
After the Constitutional Conference, the government engaged in the most impressive public relations exercise ever conducted in Bahamian history. There was a massive national campaign to inform civil society and the Bahamian people about what independence meant to the country. The post-conference activities were spearheaded by George Smith, who was the parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and headed the Independence Secretariat.
In the early hours of July 10, 1973, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas was born.
There is no doubt that the men who assembled in London to frame the constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas 40 years ago performed as impressively as the American Founding Fathers who assembled in Philadelphia in 1787 to craft that country's constitution. The Bahamian delegates to the London Constitutional Conference are to be applauded for their superlative efforts in drafting a social contract which has served us these past 39 years.
In the weeks ahead, we will examine key articles of the constitution that have guided our ship of state. We will also consider some of the issues that should be addressed in amending our constitution, hopefully before we celebrate the 40th anniversary of a nation that was born on July 10, 1973.
o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Francis has again made Junkanoo history by creating the first textbook on Junkanoo, "Manual of Junkanoo Costume Construction: A Beginner's Guide to Junkanoo Design".
The launch for this first ever handbook on Junkanoo will take place today at ChapterOne bookstore from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Special guest speakers will include Dr. Hubert Minnis, Dr. Hervis Bain and Percy 'Vola' Francis. This event is sponsored by Burn's House Ltd.
Junkanoo legend Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Francis was introduced to Junkanoo by his brother, Percy (Vola) and Phillip Cooper in 1966, with the Saxons, at the age of 15 while attending GHS.
Dr. Francis has designed many winning costumes, the first of which was in 1969 while attending GHS, when he led the Saxons to its second victory over the 'invincible' Valley Boys on New Year's Day, 1970, under the theme, "Egypt 1,000 BC".
He was a mentor to many of today's renowned Junkanoo designers, but saw the need to chronicle his expertise in a handbook on the basics of Junkanoo design for teachers and students of Junkanoo.
Dr. Emmanuel (Manny) Francis is the founder of the "University of Junkanoo", a concept which recognizes the potential for educational development through Junkanoo.
In 1969, he discovered that Junkanoo costume design and construction for a competitive group was indeed an educational exercise involving science, history, art, sociology, religion, economics, parenting, mentoring, communication, acting, sports, sanitation, hygiene, safety, etc., requiring training and discipline in many areas (much like a university).
The final production we see on Boxing Day and New Year's Day is the culmination of many credit hours of didactic and practical study in libraries and Junkanoo laboratories (shacks).
The courses are hard and long, and freshmen can enter at any academic level, which makes teaching a wonderful challenge for Junkanoo professors. It is very rewarding to witness the personal development of these students as we find innovative ways to build their self-esteem and release their inner brilliance.
Ian D. Fair has been involved in the financial services industry in The Bahamas since 1969. He is currently deputy chairman of Butterfield Bank (Bahamas) Limited and chairman of Bahamas First Holdings Limited, the largest general insurer in The Bahamas.
What is next for our country and its people and who will be our 4th prime minister?
Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling led this country for 25 years. From 1967-1969, Sir Lynden served as the first black premier of the Colony of The Bahama Islands. From 1969-1992, Sir Lynden served as prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. He was the only leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) from 1965-1997 (32 years) when he resigned from public life.
From 1992-2002, Hubert Ingraham served as prime minister. He was also leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) from 1990-2002.
From 2002-2007, Perry Christie served as prime minister. He has been leader of the PLP from 1997 to the present.
Ingraham was elected prime minister once again in 2007 and he remains in the post. He returned as leader of the FNM in 2005.
For 42 years The Bahamas has had only three prime ministers. In less than 12 months leaders from each party, including the new Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney, will be contesting the upcoming general election. If lngraham regains the post of prime minister in 2012, it will mean that he will serve as prime minister of The Bahamas for 20 years once he has completed his full five-year term.
In 2013 The Bahamas will celebrate 40 years of freedom. The question is, is The Bahamas ready for a new prime minister in 2012 or do we need more time, like an additional five years, to make that change? Bahamians have to consider seriously if we are ready for this fundamental change.
Before we decide on this question we must understand what a leader is:
o A leader is a person who fears God and rules or guides or inspires others.
o A leader is a person who guides others toward a common goal, showing the way by example, and creates an environment in which other team members feel actively involved in the entire process.
o A leader is a person who listens.
o A leader should work with his or her teammates and learn how to delegate responsibilities while being mindful of everyone's interests, goals, and strengths.
o A leader is firm but fair and never flaunts personal authority.
o A leader operates well under pressure and in rapidly changing environments.
o A leader does not fear challenges or obstacles, but instead deals with them head-on.
o A leader takes responsibility.
o A leader has an exemplary character and is trustworthy.
o A leader is enthusiastic about work or cause and also about being the leader - people respond more openly to a person of passion and dedication.
o Although the responsibilities and roles of a leader may be different, the leader needs to be seen to be a part of the team working towards the goal.
o A leader is able to think and consider the future, giving it equal importance as the present.
We must remember that our children's future depends on the type of leader we choose to govern. We must ensure that this new leader has the interest of all Bahamians at heart.
Our beloved country either will move forward in prosperity and great success, or moved backwards in disarray. We have a serious decision to make when it comes to choosing a new leader and I hope and pray that this decision will not be made just on party lines. Instead, we should choose the person who is best to take our beloved country forward with all Bahamians on-board.
This country has been politically divided for so long. This new leader must be a person to build the bridge to success for all, not just the haves. We, meaning all Bahamians, must be very careful in deciding which party is suitable to govern the entire Bahamas. This is not a job for want to be leaders, indecisive leaders or leaders who find it easier to just quit under pressure.
God help us all if we choose one of the above. We need to think about what is best for our families, our children and their children.
Let us choose wisely our next leader - our next PM; let us not be moved by the hype and by those who tend to play with our emotions; let us, the Bahamian people, make a loud and bold statement.
May God continue to bless today's leaders and our future prime ministers. May God also bless you the reader and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The Sir Lynden Pindling Room, a special exhibition space to honor the legacy and life of the former prime minister was officially opened this week.
The room is located in the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre at The College of The Bahamas. It will showcase personal effects, family and political photographs, as well as gifts received from world leaders during the Pindling era.
Widely credited as the "Father of the Nation" and visionary architect of the modern Bahamas, Sir Lynden's vision has impacted nearly every facet of nationhood in The Bahamas.
Sir Lynden's daughter, Monique Pindling-Johnson, said her father strongly believed that education "liberates people".
In the months leading up to independence, when teaching Bahamians about why he thought such a move would be good for The Bahamas, Sir Lynden's basic tenet was, "in order for a people to understand where they are headed, it is important for them to understand from whence they came", Pindling-Johnson noted.
"Ours is a rich history that should be preserved and information about [it] should be easily accessible, so that all Bahamians, particularly school children, can learn more about the history of The Bahamas and about themselves, first hand," she said.
College Librarian Dr. Berthamae Walker hopes the college will see a lot of research coming out of the Sir Lynden Pindling collection.
"We invite the public in to learn about The Bahamas, learn about Bahamian authors and to do more research," she said.
The Sir Lynden Pindling Foundation has given $300,000 towards the establishment of a permanent exhibition in honor of Sir Lynden's life.
Under Sir Lynden's leadership, The Bahamas achieved its independence from Great Britain and was steered through a marked period of growth and development.
Born on March 22, 1930, Sir Lynden served as The Bahamas' first black premier from 1967 to 1969. His term as prime minister of The Bahamas lasted from 1969 to 1992 and his leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party came to an end in 1997, when he resigned from public life. Sir Lynden passed away in August 2000 at the age of 70.
The Sir Lynden O. Pindling Foundation was established in 2001 as a nonprofit, non-partisan charitable company. Its primary purpose is to promote Sir Lynden's legacy "by developing programs and projects for the benefit of the people of The Bahamas, which are geared to enhance national pride, social responsibility, historical and environmental awareness".
Nassau, Bahamas – Sir Clement Travelyan Maynard, former Deputy Prime Minister, was remembered as “a committed family man, an outstanding churchman, and an exemplary statesman” during State Funeral services in his honor on Wednesday at Christ Church Cathedral
With the deadline for registering under the Insurance Act arriving today, industry leaders say small-to-medium-sized operators are having trouble meeting the new requirements, which could result in mergers, acquisitions or perhaps some firms falling off the radar entirely.
The new act, meant to bring local insurance companies up to code when it comes to standards, regulations, transparency and efficiency, could leave some operators struggling to keep up.
"Because the regulations and requirements involve the payment of more fees and other criteria, some people might find it too cumbersome," said Andre Sheppard, a manager at JF Johnson.
A higher cost of doing business may also see a shift in the industry.
According to figures supplied by the Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association, a full audit would cost between $7,000 and $10,000 - a sum that may prove difficult to manage for the little guys.
"I also expect some mergers and acquisitions happening because of the requirements put in place," he added.
"It might make sense for smaller companies to come together, putting their funds into one pot to satisfy the Act."
Tina Cambridge, the Chairman of the Bahamas Insurance Association, said the new regulations are absolutely necessary to the industry. It will "even the playing field" in other jurisdictions around the world, such as the U.S., and she pointed out it hadn't been updated since 1969.
Cambridge anticipated that not everyone will be ready.
"People are very aware and everyone is going through the whole process as far as possible," she said.
"There is concern some of the intermediaries - small agents and brokers under the old regime and now have to meet stringent requirements - are having some issues. But we won't know that for sure until the period closes."
Industry leaders won't have to wait long, as the deadline is today.
Failure to register under the new Act, she added, could result in termination or fines and other penalties.
However, Cambridge felt there will be a transition period as the industry comes to grips with the changes.
"Once the registration process closes, we expect there will be further things that will come out of the regulatory body," Cambridge said. "It is a process for both the commission and for the industry participations, but ultimately, it will strengthen the industry and we all agree that's a good thing."