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THE Bahamas Crisis Centre yesterday criticised parliamentarians for making "a mockery of domestic violence" following comments by Leslie Miller in the House of Assembly...
The Bahamas Crisis Centre was right to turn down a $1,000 donation from Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, according to the majority of voters in the tribune242.com poll.
Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins has had a long, intoxicating run in the headlines.
After repeatedly incensing his party with his highly critical statements in and outside the House of Assembly, Rollins must now decide whether he will apologize in the House of Assembly for verbally attacking Prime Minister Perry Christie on the floor of the House.
The demand for an apology was made by the National General Council (NGC) of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) at its meeting on Thursday night.
On August 20, Rollins declared that "it is evident we need new political leadership" in the country.
Rollins expressed anger over the fact that Christie spent a majority of his contribution to the value-added tax debate to "threaten" backbenchers for their dissenting views, instead of providing "hope and comfort" to Bahamians who are concerned about the impact of VAT.
He also said he was tired of listening to the prime minister quote scripture.
We noted in this space before that Rollins resonated.
He did so because he echoed what so many Bahamians are feeling: The country needs new leadership. We are without clear direction.
While Rollins' stunning criticisms of Christie last month drew him applause in many circles, his recent comments on the controversial matter of a letter of intent (LOI) his friend Renward Wells signed with a waste-to-energy company in early July without Cabinet approval signaled that Rollins may be losing momentum.
His clarification notwithstanding, Rollins left many people with the impression that he knows of something untoward about the matter.
It is easy to see why so many people were left with the view that the MP knows of some wrongdoing in relation to the LOI affair.
Rollins himself acknowledged: "I can understand how I may have created this impression. I certainly regret that such an impression was created."
In his original statement, he seemed to have issued a direct threat to the government.
Rollins said if Wells is fired over the matter "some other people need to be fired too".
His comment was directly in response to the question, "Do you think Renward Wells should be fired?"
Rollins said, "In time, if that happens, I am prepared to say who also should be fired, because there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this whole, as you call it, LOI affair," he told NB12's Vaughnique Toote in an interview.
Rollins added, "If Renward Wells needs to be fired, he is not the only one, and I have a problem with you trying to scapegoat my friend. So when I say that I believed we were used as tokens, I was also referencing that matter."
While he later said that he did not impute corrupt motives to anyone, many people have had a hard time accepting that he did not make a clear suggestion of wrongdoing based on his statements.
Amid widespread negative reaction to his comments to Toote, Rollins explained: "I was referring to the principles of ministerial and collective responsibility as defined by the Westminster system of government and in that regard, I sought to convey that any shortcomings or failings with respect to the LOI matter cannot be leveled solely at the feet of a junior member of the government".
He said to do so would make the individual a scapegoat, which would demonstrate a clear lack of respect for that individual and the system of government we are supposed to be guided by.
Rollins should be guarded in his choice of words, particularly as there is great public interest in him at this time and in the LOI matter.
His statement in response to the reaction to his comments in the NB12 interview seemed to reflect a backtracking of a very clear impression he left.
While Rollins is shaking up the status quo, we would hope that he would not make comments that suggest he knows something the public should know, and is using that knowledge as leverage to have his way.
If Rollins does know of some wrongdoing we would hope he would reveal it, whether or not Christie takes action against his friend.
Not surprisingly, Rollins' statement to Toote drew a strong response from PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.
"We will see hell freeze over and the second coming before Andre Rollins blackmails a PLP government or organization because his egomaniacal and selfish genotype prevents him from reasonable and balanced behavior and being a team player," he said.
"If he is so dissatisfied in the leadership of the PLP, he can freely leave just as he freely joined the organization."
Roberts challenged Rollins to "put up or shut up".
By his statement in response, Rollins appears to have put his tail between his legs and scurried away.
Interestingly, Roberts and the PLP were quiet when Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller made his own strong statements on the LOI issue on July 31.
Miller's statements were not so far off from the recent comments made by Rollins.
"I think he was coerced in [signing] this so-called document that he signed, by people who should know better, by seasoned men who have been around for a long time and they know why they would have gone to him to sign this so-called document and he signed it," Miller said.
"So he may have signed it out of ignorance or just out of trying to be helpful to people who he knows are friendly with other people.
"Should his whole career go down the drain because of a letter he signed where the [permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works] says the government is not binding?"
Are Roberts and the PLP concerned that Miller accused senior men in the party of "coercing" Wells to sign the document?
Clearly, Rollins is on a war path with his party. His relationship with the PLP is turbulent.
If he decides to stay with the PLP it could be in for a very rough ride with this vocal backbencher who took the gloves off weeks ago.
If the party expels him, it may face even more problems from Rollins.
We see no benefit to the party in kicking Rollins out.
If Renward Wells decides that his alliance and friendship with Rollins is more important than his love for or commitment to the PLP, this could present another dynamic.
Deciding how to deal with Rollins then is a tough decision for the PLP.
The party revealed after its council meeting on Thursday night that Roberts appointed a four-person committee from the National General Council to decide what sanctions, if any, Rollins should face for his public comments regarding the party over the last few months.
Rollins told us in an interview earlier this month he has no plans to leave the party.
"The PLP is where I am," he said.
"I believe the PLP has the capacity to effect change. If I see things happening that I don't agree [with] and I don't support, I make it known to the public.
"It may be that I have no future in the PLP. If the PLP decides that they don't want me, I cannot force myself on the PLP.
"But I'm not about looking for political cover or trying to do what is politically expedient in the hope that I would be re-elected as some would suggest.
"But I don't have time to suffer fools. If you are doing nonsense, I will say so, and if you have a problem with me speaking my mind because I am echoing what the Bahamian people are saying and feeling, tough.
"And if that means you have no place for me, so be it, but I hope you understand that just because you have some in the party who want nothing to do with me, that should not mean that I should be out there finding out who does in fact want me.
"I can't do that, and I haven't met with any other political party or parties. I can assure you of that."
The jury is out on Rollins' political fate and his future with the PLP.
Valentine Grimes, the former parliamentarian who heads the PLP committee looking into the Rollins matter, told National Review there is nothing wrong with members being critical of the leadership and of the party.
"It is where they are critical and if they do so publicly how they do so, and I think that's the difference that may have arisen within the PLP family," he said on Friday.
"I think it is important for any member of Parliament to understand the workings of the party and understand the make-up of the people who are part of the organization.
"PLPs have said from time immemorial, the PLP was bigger than [former Prime Minister the late] Sir Lynden Pindling and Christie would say the PLP is bigger than Perry Christie and it's important for those MPs who are part of that to understand that."
Grimes added, "I think that Rollins has a tremendous future in the country. There may or may not have been a misstep. The team appointed will properly investigate the matter and come up with the best solution and hopefully the best solution will be what is in the interest of the party and what is in the interest of Dr. Rollins."
Grimes said it is important for the party to put the Rollins matter behind it, as it is an unnecessary distraction. The government has more important issues to focus on, he noted.
For Rollins, this ought to be a period of soul searching.
If he still believes he has a place in the PLP, he must seek to strike the right balance between being an effective backbencher who helps keep the government on course, and being a team player.
If he continues to attack the leadership, he would be increasingly ostracized by his party.
If he does this, he might still have a political future outside the PLP.
But Rollins must be careful not to come across as an angry, self-absorbed man seeking to grab more headlines.
While his brand of politics has been largely welcomed and refreshing, his continued public fight with the PLP could become tiring, and in time less entertaining to many political observers.
The young MP clearly has a lot to offer. He is bright. His stock is high. He is well liked and respected for his courage.
But he should also be sound and measured in his statements moving forward.
The Crown on Monday dropped a murder charge and a conspiracy charge against an alleged gang leader days after his release on bail.
Tony Smith, also known as Jamal Penn, was released from prison on $8,000 bail on Friday.
Prosecutors had initially objected to his release but later had a change of heart.
He had been awaiting trial for the March 2, 2012 shooting death of club owner Eugene Stuart as he arrived at his home in Faith Gardens.
Smith was set to go to trial in January 2015 on the murder charge, along with Leroy Smith (no relation).
He was also accused of conspiring with Leslie Bowe to commit the murder.
The charges still stand against Leroy Smith and Bowe.
Prosecutors allege that Smith is the leader of the Border Boys gang, a claim he denied during another murder trial earlier this month.
Jurors took less than an hour to clear Smith of the February 8, 2012 shooting death of his cousin, Tristan Bartlett.
In 2012, prosecutors dropped two murder cases against Smith.
He was accused of the January 7, 2008 drive-by shooting death of Deangelo Cargill while Cargill was at a bus stop at Frederick Street and Bay Street.
A judge ordered a retrial in the case in 2009 after jurors could not reach a decision in the trial.
While on bail for that case, Smith was charged with the February 18, 2010 shooting death of Randol Thompson at Augusta Street.
Prosecutors also dropped that case.
BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller says there may finally be an end to the blackouts that have plagued all areas of New Providence for weeks now.
According to Miller, a damaged generator has now been repaired and things should be looking up on the electricity front. He added however, that he could not guarantee there would be no more outages, as "things happen".
I sincerely hope that Miller is correct in his assessment of the situation, however his assurances remain hard to believe as he has cried wolf so many times over the last few months.
At the beginning of the summer, the executive chairman said BEC was in a position to provide power to the entire island and that he did not expect any outages.
This was promptly followed by repeated blackouts, both localized and island-wide, blamed on everything from malfunctions to lightning strikes. The need for new and expensive equipment was again raised.
After this initial round of outages, Miller made several other encouraging remarks, only to see the blackouts return, this time even worse than before.
I know Miller means well, but the truth seems to be that he really has no idea whether or not the lights will stay on, and if not, for how long they will be off. At this point, he might as well stop talking about it.
- F. Rolle
MOST of the residential customers whose electricity supply was cut due to unpaid BEC bills should be “fully connected” by September, BEC chairman Leslie Miller said.
Last month, the Tall Pines MP revealed that a staggering 90 per cent of residential customers are in arrears – to the combined tune of $26 million...
MOST of the residential customers whose electricity supply was cut due to unpaid BEC bills should be "fully connected" by September, BEC chairman Leslie Miller said.
The Office of the Attorney General has warned about 20 business owners to move immediately to settle outstanding debts with the Department of Customs that total millions of dollars, Customs Comptroller Glenn Gomez has confirmed.
Gomez told The Nassau Guardian that collectively these importers owe The Bahamas government millions of dollars, with one importer alone owing roughly $2 million.
The comptroller also confirmed that former Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in duty.
On Friday afternoon, he said the department was in the process of calculating the exact amount Miller owes. At that point, Miller had not yet paid the full duty owed on a shipment of ...