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Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett said Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) container vessel "Eugenia", which spilled 3,000 gallons of oil in Bahamian waters, and the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), which had 70,000 gallons of its fuel spill from an Eleuthera storage facility, will be responsible for all costs arising as a result of the spills.
The sentencing phase of a double murder trial was adjourned for a second time yesterday.
This time the delay in the trial of Serrano Adderley was caused because a psychiatrist's report was not ready.
Last month's postponement was caused by a missing probation report. The sentencing is now set for February 20.
Adderley was unanimously convicted by a Supreme Court jury for the murder of two men on July 11, 2011. The jury accepted evidence that Adderley fatally shot 40-year-old Kevin Forbes and 28-year-old Jamaican Alwayne Leslie at a Haitian shantytown near Montgomery Avenue. Adderley has denied that he was at the scene of the crime, however, the main witness for the prosecution, Shawn Knowles, positively identified the Jamaican as being present at the scene.
Knowles, who is out on bail, is also accused along with another suspect of killing Adderley's girlfriend, who was eight month's pregnant, on July 30, 2011.
The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
Funeral Service for the Late Dwayne Daryl Jackson, 50 years of Tropical Gardens, will be held on Wednesday December 7th, 10:00 a.m. Wesley Methodist Church MCCA, Malcolm Road East. Rev. Livingston R. Malcolm, Superintendant Minister, Rev. Henley B. Perry and Rev. Edward J. Sykes will officiate. Interment will follow in Lakeview Memorial Gardens, John F. Kennedy Drive.
Left to cherish his memories are his: Wife: Doris Jackson; Daughters: Andrea Hurt and Denteria Jackson; Sons: Luke and Shannon Jackson; Parents: Arnold & Mavis Jackson Brother; Leading Seaman Adrian Jackson (RBDF); Sisters; Nursing Officer Genevieve Jackson- Bowe, Sigrid Jackson- Bain, Cherine Jackson, Elspeth Jackson and Vanessa Heild; Aunts: Merrilyn Major, Cabrena Adderley, Joanna Bowe, Gwen Bowe, Rosemary Bowe Marguerite and Loletta Jackson; Uncles: Leroy, Newton, Godfrey, Athama and Anthony Bowe; Sister-in-law: Jaquelin Jackson; Brother-in-law: Andrew Bain; Nieces: Orchid and Odette Bain, Venique Heild; Nephews: Demetri Jr. and Daynen Bowe, Jamal Mortimer, PC Corey and Jacoda Heild; Other relatives and friends including: Andrea, Sharon, Andrew and Carla Jackson, & Deborah, Rhoda, Michael, Theodore & Ebby Jackson, Patrick & Genesta Jackson, (Fay and Laurie Hepburn, Mark and Larraine Richards & family of Florida), Joseph & Berthia Knowles, Richard & Virginia Bowe Frederick Jr., Leslie & Margo Kevin Tyrone Duane Cassius Raymond Oswald Jr., Philan & Candi Ronrick Newton Jr. Clifford Jr. & Chrishna, Lamardo, TeSean, Antonesio, Javier, Marvin and Anthon Bowe; Louella Bowe, Yvette Barr, Kendra Bowe-Cooper, Nurse Candace Major, Ansula Bowe, Alicia, Shanella, Goffrena, LaToya, Hayward, Portia, Sonia, Maleka Bowe, Latia Duncombe, Rev. Elva Johnson, Hortence Glinton, Myrtis Forbes of Miami, Rupert, Rachel &Martha Ferguson, Eulease Hall, Althea & Dora Rolle, Trudymae Smith & Family,Yvonne Bethel Nurse Willamae & Don Lotmore, Chris & Cynthia Bullard, Sidney, Reynard, Kendal, John Marlon Ernest & Rosemary Ethel Sheila and Oralee McPhee, decendants of Harry Cay Exuma, The entire Crawford Street Neighbourhood (The Francis, Cooper, Brown, Cartwright Lockhart families) Pete & Sammy Higgs, Lynden Cargill, Ray Thompson, Keith Cleare, Pearline Belle & family, Robin Hurt & family, Geneva Bain and family, Demetri Bowe,Tropical Gardens & Gambier Communities, Mr. Peter Newell and the entire staff of Caribbean Gas Co., Wesley Methodist Church and the entire Methodist Church family, Many Other Family & Friends Too Numerous To Mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, #44 Nassau Street on Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Wednesday at the church from 9:00 a.m. until service time.
A Bahamian-owned company is slamming the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) for its "archaic" treatment of the fuel spill on Eleuthera.
James McPhee, senior technician and project manager at Environmental Response Concepts (ERC), is no stranger to big jobs. The Nassau-based firm, specializing in environmental work and consulting, had previously served as one of the prime contractors for a big fuel spill at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) earlier this year.
He told Guardian Business that the methods employed by BEC are archaic, ineffective and will ultimately cost the cash-strapped organization more money.
"We want to sensitize the public and prospective clients that spill response equipment of the highest standard is here locally," he explained. "The process they are employing now is too slow. They will never achieve the results desired. It'll be long, drawn out and more costly in the end."
The process McPhee is referring to is the use of a small vacuum device to slurp up the approximately 70,000 gallons of diesel spilled near Rock Sound after an apparently heist gone wrong. He said that the use of such devices are better used in a residential bathroom, rather than a massive diesel spill with financial and environmental implications.
Leslie Miller, the chairman of BEC, told Guardian Business that the Department of Environmental Health was "dealing with that". He said it is that department's job to decide on the tactics, while BEC would simply "foot the bill".
"The gentleman who is doing it, he has a company that has been around. He used to work for BEC at some point," he explained. "The Department of Environmental Health is supervising his work. I don't know how it is done, to be honest with you."
Michael Moss, former chairman of BEC, said he has "serious doubts on their capacity to recover" all 70,00 gallons of diesel.
Using the current equipment employed, McPhee argued that a maximum of five gallons could be collected at a time. Heavy-duty machinery, by contrast, could handle 210 gallons per minute.
He called some staff at BEC "less than incompetent" on certain issues.
"We could ship our equipment to the site and start the process. They aren't going to save money on what they are doing, because it is going to drag on," he said. "We're not saying the contractor isn't qualified. We're saying that the methodology is wrong. At this rate, it is going to cost BEC close to $1 million. You cannot achieve the desired goal with their methodology."
McPhee also expressed concern on the health and well-being of a worker cleaning up the spill, who has been pictured without gloves or protective clothing in the middle of a diesel pond.
Neil McKinney, president of the Bahamas National Trust, said that his organization has not been contacted at any point during the investigation.
He said both the Eleuthera incident and the Eugenia oil spill in Grand Bahama were serious "wake up calls" on the country's need to have proper companies and regulations in place.
Last Tuesday, an apparent theft in Rock Sound resulted in 70,000 gallons or more of diesel being spilled. Miller said that it likely occurred after someone attached a hose and tried to syphon off fuel into a 20,000 gallon tank.
The tank allegedly overflowed once it was left unattended by the thief.
Moss, the former chairman of BEC, noted that the plant should be staffed 24 hours per day and an inside job has emerged as a distinct possibility.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Funeral Service for the Late Edward Samuel Neilly-Whyms, 55 years of Hunters, Grand Bahama and formerly of Nassau will be held on Saturday, September 10th, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Baptist Bible Church, Old Trail & Soldier Roads. Officiating will be Rev. Dr. Howard Mills assisted by Min. Llewel Gardiner Sr. Cremation will follow.
Left to cherish his memories are Son: Demetrius Edward Major; Daughter-in-law: Eugenia L. Major; Brother: Newell Neilly; Sisters: Lillian Hutchinson, Thelma Hudson, Barbara Best, Marie Whyms-Cash and Floricka Davis; Nieces: Lisa Butler, Leslie Ellis-Tynes, Lynette Rolle, Tiffany McCray, Melantha Cash, Mauriska Munroe, Sophia Whyms-Saunders, Dawn Adams, Della Leahy, Heidi Collins, Zina Smith and Sidneisha Whyms; Nephews: Captain Sidney Maxwell Whyms, Maurico Cash, Terrell Hudson, Hector Travis Smith, Daniel Best, Michael Cates and Newell Neilly Jr.; Brothers-in-law: Basil Ellis-Tynes, Oliver Hutchinson, Prince Davis and Maurice Cash; Sisters-in-law: Valencia Neilly and Donna Marie Whyms.
Numerous relatives and friends including: All Descendants of Nathaniel Hezekiah Richardson & Louisa neé Hall Richardson family, Macella Malory and family, Eloise Whyms and family, Paula Reckley and Family, Don Phillippe and Family, The Nicholls family, The Whyms family, The Neilly Family, The Butler family, The Hutchinson Family, The Noronha family, Samuel Taylor and family, Ismae Ferguson, Craig Laing, The Management and Staff of G.B Maintenance (Freeport, Grand Bahama) including Richard and Monica Bates, Ossie, Hebbie, Willie and Kenton. The Family of the late Clarinda Sands-Major including Sharon Kelly and Family, Marie Mcphee, Sarah Ann Major-Obsaint, Betty Tinker and Family, Vincent Sands, Jerome Sands, Renee Ferguson, Monique Pople, and Bernice Lewis-Cornish. Also The Greater Works From Within Ministries International family (Hunters, Grand Bahama), also the Communities of Hunters, Lewis Yard and Pinders Point Grand Bahama, and a host of other relatives and friends to numerous to mention. Special thanks to: Queen's College Faculty and Staff, the Doctors, Nurses and staff of Male Medical II Princess Margaret Hospital, as well as The Medi Center's Dr. Nicolas Fox.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, #44 Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to:
The Cancer Society of the Bahamas
P.O. Box SS 6539
On September 5, I wrote an article in the nassau guardian entitled "Christie's keys to success part 1." In that piece I made the following assertions:
"Logic would seem to dictate that in this long season of discontent, in this season of record unemployment, in this season of record bloodshed, in this interminable season of frustrating, confusing, infuriating 'road work', in this season of collapse for many homegrown businesses, in this time of rising fuel and food prices, logic would seem to dictate that the Progressive Liberal Party, under Perry Gladstone Christie, will be swept into office and the Free National Movement, will be emphatically swept out.
"Logic would seem to dictate that the FNM will be hard pressed to secure seats in New Providence other than those held by Brent Symonette, Dr. Hubert Minnis and Loretta Butler-Turner."
My only mistake was that it would be Richard Lightbourne not Brent Symonette and Hubert Chipman not Loretta Butler-Turner carrying the banner for the FNM in Montagu and St. Anne's. The only doubts I expressed on September 5 about the PLP were, I thought, significant ones. They had to do with Christie's credibility and the credibility of some of his senior mates, and with whether the PLP could craft the right message. Clearly my doubts were unwarranted.
The PLP gained 75,000 votes, 29 seats and 48 percent of the total votes cast, compared to the FNM's 65,000 votes, nine seats and 42 percent.
What have we learned from this election? What have we learned about our democracy? About our electoral processes and about our electorate? Are we showing greater maturity and greater integrity? Or is it business as usual in the land of ham?
Out and stay out
The first thing that strikes me is that the Bahamian electorate is now solidly, unabashedly, triumphantly addicted to regime change. Think about it. I consider Hubert Ingraham's first two terms as one block. I think it's fair too, since in both elections the people had to say no to Lynden Pindling getting a seventh term. In '97, the FNM defeated Pindling's PLP by nearly 20,000 votes and won 35 of 40 seats. This was the PLP's worst election result since 1956 when they gained only six. It was-an emphatic "out and stay out" message.
So we have voted to keep the powerful out of office five straight times. In 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012.
If I were a betting man, I'd have to say the FNM are already favored to win in 2017.
The people clearly believe that they give themselves the best chance at a better life if they keep firing people. And that's the other thing: these elections feel more about who Bahamians want out than who they want in.
I don't think the PLP's campaign was especially good, but people were angry and frustrated with the FNM. I know many people who admit they think Ingraham is a better leader than Christie, but they just don't feel like they got a fair shake under the FNM administration and they voted PLP in the hope of changing their luck.
In 2007, the FNM had no overarching vision for the country; their pitch was, "Ingraham is better than Christie," period. Both elections were about getting people out.
To those at the bottom of the barrel looking up at the proud and powerful, election day is a dream come true because they get to change the actors on the stage - even if they can't change the plot.
Wipe every tear from their eyes
The second crucial point is that the Progressive Liberal Party has a far larger and more loyal base of support than the Free National Movement and probably always will, for reasons that have everything to do with history, class and color.
Consider this: since universal suffrage (post 1961), the PLP has contested 12 elections, losing only four times. In one of those losses, (1962) they won the popular vote but were robbed of the government by UBP gerrymandering, so they really only lost three times. In all three of those they lost to Ingraham's FNM (Ingraham who was a former chairman of the PLP and Pindling Cabinet minister). Only in one of those three losses did the PLP fall below double digits in terms of house seats and that was the 1997 election.
The PLP have the powerful, lasting advantage of being the party of the social revolution and of national formation: people are born into the PLP families therefore, at a faster rate than the younger FNM (almost 20 years younger in fact). People don't so much swing PLP as "return" to the PLP. In fact, in the '68, '72, '77, '82 and '87 elections the PLP never got less than 50 percent of the vote. Even in the '97 FNM "landslide" they gained 42 percent of the popular vote.
Additionally, the marriage between the Free PLP and UBP will always haunt the FNM. FNM's see themselves as the more inclusive party in terms of class and race and anyone who attends their rallies can see this. But they are easily labeled the party of white money. Without transparency in electoral campaigning, that stigma will never go away.
If FNMs are not happy with their party or are even ambivalent about their government's performance, they seem more likely to boycott or vote PLP. I know of many young voters who voted FNM in 2007 who simply didn't go to the polls this time because they were disappointed in the FNM and were unimpressed with everybody else. Some of them voted DNA yes, but a lot of went D-N-A (Did Not Act).
Few PLPs switch. And PLP MPs are also scandal proof (1987 should have taught us that). Their supporters remain loyal to them regardless of rumors, accusations, speculation, hearsay and innuendoes: just consider the resilience of Shane Gibson, Obie Wilchcombe, Kenyatta Gibson, Vincent Peet, Picewell Forbes and V. Alfred Gray in 2007 and of the same (minus Kenyatta and Peet) in 2012. Even when these candidates seemed to turn off swing voters, their support remained rock solid in their constituencies. Some PLPs considered Leslie Miller a liability but the man won his seat by 900 votes.
In New Providence, the FNM have only three truly safe seats and all those seats are mostly high income and mixed race. Historically Bamboo Town was FNM but since Tennyson Wells and Branville McCartney's defection, Bamboo Town (like Marathon, Golden Isles, Mt. Moriah, Pinewood and Carmichael) is now a swing seat.
The long and short of it is this: the FNM will always be playing catch up in general elections; the key to their success was the fact that Ingraham was as working class as you could get in terms of his style and sensibilities; and he has always won by painting the PLP as corrupt. The Bahamas has never had a Prime Minister who, as a member of parliament, did not represent a marginalized community (think about it). The FNM will always need a cross over leader, a man or woman who can count on middle class support but can also gain the trust of those at the bottom by convincing them that he/she will look out for them when no one else in this big, bad world will and the storied PLP has again strayed from its illustrious history and mission. It's always been a tough sell because Bahamians generally view all politicians as corrupt, so it's a non-issue for most voters. Most voters want to know what's in it for them not what their candidates are into.
Foolishness as usual
This election was in most respects nothing new. It was politics as usual. Which means it was politics dumbed down. There were no debates between candidates. In fact, Ingraham dismissed such a thing as "foolishness".
Instead we were treated to the politics of the mob, of the night time fair. Festival politics. A color contest. Door to door harassment. "Do you need anything" campaigning. And the usual pimping and prostitution.
The FNM offered us an election budget as per usual, replete with elegantly disguised and timed bribes (cash advances to buy shares for instance). And the PLP promised us that just because they could say the word "jobs" they'd actually be able to create them and that just by saying there were "too many murders" they actually would or could do anything about them.
Tina Turner didn't show and neither did R. Kelly. Pindling did not appear via hologram, but Lady Pindling appeared in the flesh.
Why did the Progressive Liberal Party win the 2012 election? It's simple. They gave the Bahamian people hope. That's right, "Hope." Don't insult Perry Christie, Brave Davis, BJ Nottage and all the PLPs who worked hard, very hard, by suggesting that a band of young upstarts called the DNA robbed the FNM of victory. I don't buy it. If there were no DNA the PLP would still have won this election, albeit with a smaller number of seats.
Why? Because 15% percent unemployment, four record murder rates in five years, 6,000 households living in darkness, 8,000 households making less than $5,000 a year in annual income, $6 per gallon of gas, and higher taxes spell regime change, plain and simple. To say nothing of the ridiculously frustrating three years that two thirds of the population has spent driving through dust and being re-routed and delayed by road work. The FNM ought to have lost under these circumstances and the PLP, who have always had a larger and more loyal base of support, ought to have won. All they had to do to win was offer the people hope. "Help and Hope" are their mantra. And hope came in the form of sleek, evocative images, bold promises and imaginative plans.
In this paper, on September 12, 2011, in an article entitled "Christie's Keys to Success, Part 2" I wrote, "Given that some of the sitting MPs in the PLP are a liability in terms of swing voters, it may seem ironic but I think Christie should try to move the discussion away from the head to head comparisons with Ingraham and focus on the PLP's team instead. If he can't dump the undesirables, his best bet is to hide them, the way Ingraham hid Symonette during the 2007 campaign. The FNM know he can win his seat, but they also know he hurts you on the national campaign trail. The PLP should also not be afraid to let new team members do a lot of the talking during this campaign, to avoid the Christie-fatigue voters are feeling."
"In the end, the PLP has to guarantee their base support and work hard to lure some of the swing vote their way. They can do this most effectively by leaning heavily on the NDP's "Bahamians first" messaging, which struck a chord with the nation. They must also give their new faces heavy play at the rallies."
The party's strategy wasn't far from this. It's only real blunder was allowing Leslie Miller to get into a low-blow grudge match with Tommy Turnquest. But other than that the PLP sold its fresh faces and de-emphasized the Ingraham vs. Christie dynamic. The commercial that shows Christie and Davis chatting with Kendal Major, Andre Rollins, Khaalis Rolle, Gregory Moss, Renward Wells and others, presumably about the challenges we face, is a prime example. Older, baggage-heavy PLP candidates were nowhere to be found. The party was selling youth and by doing so, selling the notion that with youth comes new ideas, innovation.
The PLP put ordinary people on their billboards, not their leader as the FNM did. And those intimate, engaging photographs challenged viewers to imagine a country where Bahamians truly could feel like the chief beneficiaries of their economy. "Believe in Bahamians," "Invest in Me."
And with 20,000 more registered female voters than male, the PLP's billboard campaign seemed specifically tailored to fill the hearts of single
mothers struggling to make ends meet. Larger than life, glossy, saccharin images of children dressed in the garb of various professions with the words "Invest in Me" emblazoned across were highly evocative and caused the FNM to scramble and produce their own images of ordinary people on billboards, praising the FNM. But it was too little too late. Many FNMs were not feeling like praising the FNM, so imagine everybody else.
Promises and plans
The PLP's Charter for Governance is arguably the most ambitious and comprehensive document of its kind ever produced. It is certainly the most arresting from an optical standpoint. Many of the campaign promises uttered at rallies and headquarters openings are to be found within its pages. A brief rundown of some of them:
o Mortgage relief.
o Lowering the cost of electricity.
o Urban Renewal 2.0.
o Project Safe Bahamas.
o A referendum on gambling.
o The establishment of a Council of Economic Advisers.
o A review of our tax system.
o The establishment of a task force on Grand Bahama tourism.
o Doubling the nation's investment in education and training.
o The establishment of a Ministry of Grand Bahama.
o The re-establishment of a Ministry of Financial Services.
o The introduction of an Employees Pension Protection Act.
o A 120 day moratorium on foreclosures.
o Introduction of liquefied natural gas.
o Buying back majority ownership of BTC.
o Reinventing the Bahamas Development Bank.
And in a simple and direct manner, they addressed accusations of Christie's procrastination. They promised they would be "Ready on Day One" and they promised a number of actions that the nation could expect within "the first 100 days." It all worked.
In winning, the PLP have inherited a stagnant economy, an empty treasury, an infuriatingly stubborn road improvement project and a brutal crime wave. The state of the Bahamian economy and the society itself is much worse than it was in May 2002 when they inherited a post 9/11 Bahamas. The situation is bleak but the expectations of those who voted PLP are extremely high. This could be a recipe for trouble if the PLP does not communicate effectively with the people every step of the way.
Leadership is still an issue. Brave Davis outshined Perry Christie on the campaign trail and he carries himself like a man who fully expects to be Prime Minister in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, there are already signs that Perry Christie may still not have the appetite to run a disciplined ship. The peculiar utterances of Keith Bell would not have been fathomed in an Ingraham government, for instance.
Nonetheless, we must acknowledge that Christie's style can be a tremendous benefit to the Bahamian people. I'll say it again: tremendous benefit. Christie allows his ministers to shine; he gives them the closest thing to autonomy I've ever seen in our politics. And he is not threatened by his equals; rather, he empowers them. Thanks to this, we can be assured that Fitzgerald in Education, Johnson in Youth, Mitchell in Foreign Affairs, Davis is Works, Maynard-Gibson in the Attorney General's Office, Wilchcombe in Tourism and Nottage in National Security will have great latitude. I am especially optimistic about the collaboration between Fitzgerald and Sears where The College of The Bahamas is concerned. Unfortunately the government will have serious financial constraints over the next two years.
Another interesting thing is happening in the PLP and that is immovable MPs. Men and women who have built such a base of support that they really and truly don't need the leader to bless them with a nomination. They are scandal proof, recession proof and Christie proof. Mitchell, Wilchcombe, Gibson, Gray, Hanna-Martin, Nottage, Davis: these candidates can practically die in office. In one very crucial way, this bodes well for our democracy. I believe we need to get to the place where MPs are no longer beholden to the leader and can vote their conscience. We're not there quite yet, but the strength of these MPs should give us comfort that the PLP is no band of blind followers, serving a one-eyed king. Christie is neither a dictator nor a micro-manager and as such he is a breath of fresh air in the office of prime minister.