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The Cabinet of The Bahamas has a significant decision to make regarding future leadership of The College of The Bahamas, which intends to become a university in 2015.
In deciding whether to accept a recommendation to reappoint former embattled COB President Dr. Rodney Smith, the Cabinet will have to take into consideration complex issues stemming from a plagiarism scandal that ensnared Smith in 2005.
It is stunning to us and some other people that Smith is even being considered for the role, as it is unlikely that he would ever be able to shake the stigma associated with plagiarism.
That cannot be good for the future University of The Bahamas.
This, of course, does not subtract from his competence and qualifications as an academic or the leadership he displayed during his first stint as president.
This matter is less about second chances and more about guarding the integrity of the college and its academic policies.
In the world of academics, plagiarism is a cardinal sin.
Nine years after Smith's resignation, the issue is still front and center in discussions relating to him and considerations on whether he should be reappointed.
National Review confirmed weeks ago that the Presidential Advisory Search Committee recommended to Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald that Smith be reappointed president.
Smith has widespread support in the college community and it is recognized - even by those who supported getting rid of him in 2005 - that he had been effective in the role of president.
But Smith's reappointment could negatively impact the ability of COB professors to enforce its student policy against plagiarism.
Further, the next president of COB will lead the institution during one of the most defining periods of its history.
He or she will be the voice of the university in the local and international academic arenas. That person must inspire trust and respect, and must advance the credibility of the University of The Bahamas.
While Smith's ability has never been called into question and his academic credentials are impressive, the fact that he is associated with the most egregious error in academia will haunt both him and the institution if he is reappointed.
Though a lot of time has passed since the plagiarism debacle, the facts are unchanged.
In May 2005, Smith spoke at the college's Honours Convocation.
He used a portion of a speech given by New York University President Dr. John Sexton without providing attribution.
At the time, Franklyn Wilson was chairman of the College Council.
Jerome Fitzgerald, the now minister of education, was deputy chairman.
Alfred Sears, now chairman of the College Council, was minister of education.
During the firestorm that erupted after the convocation speech, the council appointed a special panel to look into the plagiarism blunder and recommend the way forward.
In its report, the panel recommended termination, saying it did not see how Smith would have cause to complain or feel aggrieved.
Four of the five panel members recommended termination while the late Professor Rex Nettleford, at the time vice chancellor emeritus of the University of the West Indies, wrote a dissenting view.
Smith insisted that his use of a portion of the speech without providing attribution did not amount to plagiarism because Sexton later said that his work is the property of the academic community.
However, the panel determined that Smith's action indeed amounted to plagiarism.
"While we are aware of some emerging thoughts on plagiarism which appear to be less demanding, a comparison of the Sexton text and the Smith text, using any widely accepted authoritative definition of plagiarism, leads easily to the conclusion that his omissions amounted to plagiarism," said the report, written by retired Justice Joseph Strachan on behalf of the majority.
"Nothing that was said to us by President Smith erases that. On the contrary, a part of what he said discloses ambivalence at best and being disingenuous at worst. We note his studious refusal to use the word 'plagiarism', choosing instead, 'intellectual property rights'."
The panel's report also said, "There are two occasions on which President Smith omitted to acknowledge his indebtedness to President Sexton, at the Honours Convocation and at the commencement; and hence, since each omission has the specific gravity, a conclusion that the requirements for cause are met follows irresistibly."
It also noted that the law provides that the council may remove the president from office on the ground of misconduct, inefficiency or other good cause.
"Of this subsection, it is enough to say that we consider the omissions to fall within that provision," the panel wrote.
The panel also recommended various options for handling the situation moving forward, saying that should Smith fail to resign within a specified period to be chosen by the council, the council would have no option but to terminate him.
The council was also advised to take the steps necessary for the "timely discharge of its contractual obligations to him".
In addition to Justice Strachan and Professor Nettleford, panel members included Anglican Archbishop Drexel Gomez (now retired); then Bahamas Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Paulette Bethel and then President-elect of John Carroll University of Cleveland, Ohio, and former Vice Provost of the University of San Francisco Father Robert Niehoff.
The dissenting view was not made public.
Smith resigned in early August 2005 and later revealed that the council had asked him to, based on the panel's recommendations.
Wilson later confirmed that Smith had been paid the nearly $300,000 agreed to as a part of his buyout arrangement with the council.
COB moved on without Rodney Smith but never loss sight of its goal to attain university status.
In early 2014, the College Council surprised many when it advised that Smith was one of four candidates short-listed for the post of presidency.
Also shortlisted were Dr. Gregory Carey, Dr. Phillip Carey and Dr. Olivia Saunders.
Dr. Gregory Carey is an assistant professor and director of student summer research and community outreach, Center for Vascular and Inflammatory Diseases at the University of Maryland.
Dr. Phillip Carey is a full professor of sociology and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, North Carolina A&T State University.
Saunders is a professor in the School of Business at COB, former team leader of the University Transition Secretariat and former dean of business, hospitality and tourism studies.
Over a period of weeks, the candidates made their cases for why they should be appointed president.
When he addressed COB stakeholders in March, Smith said he was disappointed to have left the college amid the plagiarism controversy, but has returned and offered himself again for consideration in the national interest.
"I left feeling disappointed that even though I had taken a drastic reduction in income and returned home to serve, I was being rejected and did not feel the support I was promised," Smith said.
"My family and I have suffered for the past nine years emotionally and financially as a result. I am not a plagiarist, and I have never been accused of such before or since that incident.
"I am here today, offering myself once again to be of service to my country."
After we informed Wilson recently that the Advisory Search Committee has recommended that Smith be reappointed, we asked the former chairman if he thinks it would be a good move to make Smith president again.
Wilson said it would be a "significant error for the country" if Smith is reappointed to the top post.
He said he could not confirm that Smith's name has been forwarded to the minister of education for consideration.
But he said, "I personally would be disappointed if that were, in fact, the recommendation."
Wilson said, "I think it would be a significant cause for having to explain a lot to the public as to why that is the right thing to do.
"In doing so, I make it clear, there is no question about the competence of the gentleman. There is no question in my mind about that, but the issues left from the time of his separation from the college, they remain, and quite frankly his performance when he came back for the interview, I cannot believe that an objective analysis of his comments when he came back for this interview would leave him as [the best] candidate."
Of course, not everyone agrees with Wilson or National Review that Smith's reappointment would be an error.
When we contacted Bishop Gomez yesterday, he said that as a member of the panel in 2005 it was his view that Smith needed to be penalized.
But Gomez told us that, based on Christian principles, he believes in second chances and the plagiarism controversy should not block Smith's reappointment.
We contacted the bishop as he was close to the process that climaxed with Smith's resignation.
Gomez's comments to National Review came days after Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Search Committee Ruby Nottage blasted Wilson for expressing his opinion on this matter.
"The meticulousness of the search process as undertaken by the Advisory Search Committee could never, as claimed by Mr. Wilson, constitute a 'significant error' for the country, or be a 'significant cause' for explanation," said Nottage at a press conference at COB.
"This was a process in which all persons had the opportunity to participate.
"It is to be regretted that Mr. Wilson would seek to make such disparaging speculations on the decision process."
We think it is absurd to suggest that the former council chairman should not express an opinion over whether Smith should serve again as president.
In fact, we could think of no one more qualified to respond to our question on this matter more than two weeks ago, given the position Wilson held during the plagiarism debacle.
The response from Nottage and the search committee appears to have been an overreaction, especially since Wilson made no comments or innuendo on the work of the committee or the process involved.
On Thursday, we asked the current COB Council Chairman Alfred Sears whether he endorsed the search committee's response to Wilson.
Obviously careful in his response to that question, Sears said, "I support that we ought to defend the integrity of the process as a transparent and competitive process designed to serve the best interest of The College of The Bahamas and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas".
Again, we see no evidence where the integrity of the process has been attacked.
With the entire matter of Rodney Smith and his application for reappointment now sullied by another round of controversy, it is unclear at this point how long the Cabinet will take to make a decision.
Reappointing him president would likely be a huge distraction at a time when COB is undergoing the most significant transformation in its 40-year history.
This could make for a very rocky start for the university.
We quibble not with his qualifications. Smith is eminently qualified, as are all the other candidates whom we have seen in this process.
We are not focused on his qualification, and we advise those who are tasked with making the final determination not to be seduced by this factor either.
What has to be weighed here is that we are putting the final touches to what will be a national institution, The University of The Bahamas.
We cannot afford to lay the seminal blocks of what we wish to be a great institution with this gray cloud around its first president. We cannot afford this, and we will not stand for it.
For those making the final decision, we must remember that hard decisions must sometimes be taken when one is in the business of nation building. This is not for the faint of heart or the weak stomach. A decision to accept the recommendation of the committee to appoint Smith would, in fact, be an error on a national scale, the results of which would be more clearly seen into our future as a nation.
We cannot continue to ask our citizens to behave beyond reproach when our national decision making is left wanting.
We need to set the national bar higher than where we have it today and establish clear standards in public life.
Last Rites & Memorial Tributes for the Late Bishop Edward Nathaniel Missick Sr. JP. Aged 76 years a resident of #18 First Holiness Way, Bamboo Town, Nassau, Bahamas, who passed away on 3rd September, 2011, will be held at First Holiness Church of God, First Holiness Way, Bamboo Town, on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Officiating will be Bishop Albert Hepburn, Rev. Dr. J. Carl Rahming, Bishop Ros Davis & Rev. Gregory A. Collie. Interment follows in Lakeview Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum, J.F. K. Drive, Nassau, Bahamas.
Left to cherish his memories are his:
Faithful and devoted wife of 53 years, Roslyn Louise Missick
CHILDREN: Carl Missick Sr, Edward Missick Jr., Andrew Missick Sr., Shon Missick & Patrick Johnson, Karen Missick, Stephanie Collie, Monique Missick- Munroe, Michelle Lewis, Andrea Houston, Deborah Moxey-Rolle, Gloria,Moultrie, Vonita Cleare & Portia Johnson
Renishka, Karlyndria, Ashnell, Crystal, Laranda, Edvania, Abrille, Amba, Ariana, Kathryn-Ann, and Shawniqua Missick, Evernique, Evaughnya, & Evante Munroe, Danielle Walkine, Glodeika Moultrie, Michealla Lewis, Alicia Houston, Anthonette Cossio,
Tavaree, Abiah, Carl Jr., & Andrew Jr. Missick, Robert, Darrington, Glenvino & Dovar Moultrie, Kirklyn Saunders Jr., Nakita Higgins, Pheron Collie, Frank Jr. & DeAundre Houston, Ricardo Rolle, Lathario Missick, Micheal Lewis Jr., Everone Munroe, Anthony Cossio, Alfred and Anthony Johnson, Aaron & Antonio
Tariq Forbes, Travon Palmer, Deyje Brown, Tyler Missick, Rashard Brown, Romel Johnson, Elijah, Damarius, & Glenvino Jr. Moutlrie, Manoah Walkine, Ty Poyotte, Claynique McDonald, Marvinette Davis & ReShea Brown, Darriana & Clarissa Moultrie,
DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW: Marsha, Sonia, Denise, & Nicole Missick
SONS-IN-LAWS: Rev. Gregory Collie, Frank Houston Sr., Everette Munroe, & Michael Lewis Sr.
BROTHER-IN-LAWS: Evang. Samuel Simmons, Freeport, Grand Bahama, Henry Williams, Provodenciales Turks & Caicos, & Garnet Duncombe
SISTERS-IN-LAWS: Anita Missick, Mazilee Forbes, and Majorie Simmons of Freeport, Grand Bahama. Louise Williams of Provodenciales, Turks & Caicos & Enith Duncombe,
NIECES & NEPHEWS
Monica Delancey, Shirley[Errol] Holmes, Cassandra Gardiner, Adel Gibson, Ethelee[Everette]Hart, Edna Swan, Armeta Saunders, Evamae[Allan] Moxey, Brenda[Ashley] Cooper, Carol, Usilla, Lydia, Youlette, Barbara Missick, Vonita[Burton] Cleare, Mary Brown, Geneva[Oneal] Hall, Nancy[Nathan] Parker, Antione Hall, Linda[Henry] Romer, Raffletha Smith, Annie[Cleverson] Lightbourne, Helen Smith, Princess[Charlton] Gibson, Angela[Jerome] Francis, Katiemae[Wenzel]Deveaux, Edith Missick, Naomi Hamilton, Sylvia Campbell, Hazel[Evanis] Alfonzo, Beatrice Pierre, Shirlymae Pitter, Sheryl Bastian, Melanie Darren]Haston, Selma[Stephen] Moore, Sheena Missick, Judy Missick, Dorinda[Buster] Been, Janet Duncombe, Daphane Duncombe, Emily Forbes, Geraldine Nawvaroo, Pamela Forbes, Beulah[Derek] Hamilton, Blossom Simon.
John, Walter[Janice], Joel[Constance], Joshua, Charles, Jerome[Queenie], Wesley[Erma], Leroy[Cecilia], McDonald[Essie], Tony[Alice], Kevin[Millie], Calvin Jr[Joyce], Matthew[Valarie], Ervin[Verona], Eustace[Patrina], George[Viola], Felix, Dino, Mario, Daniel, Jason, Linville, Randy & Bert[Louana] Missick, Llwellyn Simmons, Elikindro[Yohanny] Fleurisma, Novelle Smith, Leon[Vivilent] Campbell, Terrance Hamilton, Adrian Gibson, Kevin Morris, Arthur Morris, Gordon, Welly, Derek, Delroy and Albert Williams of Provodenciales Turks & Caicos Island,, Benjamin[Cecilia], Arthur, Bradley, and Ian Forbes, Perry, Nelson[Christine], Bradford, Craig and Trevor Duncombe.
143 Great Grand nieces including, Lemelle Kemp, Tia Holmes, Lacrissa Swan, Sheronne Brown, Esther Hall, Della Rolle, Brenda Hall,
Rogette Swan, Erin Swan, Stacia Holmes
115 Great Grand Nephews, including, Barron Missick, Errol Missick, Tchychoisky Saunders, Valdez, Valrico, Valderon Cleare, Ron Lewis, Jerome Francis, Errol Holmes,
GOD-CHIILDREN: Ethelee Hart, Shenderlene Greene-Evans, Modesto Colebrooke, Wilfred Bastian, Everette & Judith
THE FIRST HOLINESS CHURCH OF GOD FAMILY: Rev. Lucille Woodside, Rev. Gordon Cooper, Rev. Maxine Darville, Min. Clarice Moss, Min. Eleanor Austin, Min. Thelma Bowleg, Rev. Ezekiel & Sis. Judy Thompson, Elder Rudolph Hanna, Min, Aaron Feaster, Min. Minera Riley, Min. Helen Smith, Deacon & Deaconess Gray, Deaconess Joyce Conliffe, Brenda Rolle & Family, Alfreda Sears & Family, Kendal & Keisha Lewis & Family, Bridgette Miller & Family, Kreva Taylor & Family, Coralee Deveaux & Family, Sabbie Poitier & Family, Tangie Bethel & Family, Veronica Burnett & Family, Emmaline Jones & Family, Nicole Balfour & Family, Evans, Paul Family, Smith Family, Stubbs Family, Thompson Family, Russell Family, Blanche Turner & Family, Jennie Pinder & Family, Missick Family
SPECIAL FRIENDS: Mr. & Mrs Arthur Brown, Mr. Edwin Ingraham, Mrs. Myrtis Deveaux and Family, Rev. Dr. LeRodney & Mrs. Rolle, Mr. Randolph Hanna and Family, , Bishop Wilbert & Mother Rolle, Bishop Shervin & Mother Dorothy Smith, Prophet & Mrs. Keith Rolle, Bishop Gregory & Sis. Minnis, Rev. Dr. J. Carl & Sis. Evangeline Rahming, Bishop Albert & Mother Karen Hepburn, Bishop Joseph & Mother Swan, Rev. Shelton & Mrs. Higgs, Rev. Steadman & Mrs, Knight, Bishop C. N. & Evangelist B. Williams, Mrs. Mary Dawkins & Family, Mrs. Helen Saunders & Family, Mrs. Pinder & Family, Rt. Hon, Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Bishop Hosea & Mother Cox, Bishop Simeon & Mrs. Hall, Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson, President, Bahamas Christian Council, Rev. William & Sis. Pennerman, Rev. Dr. Perry & Mrs. Newton, Bishop Michael & Sis Ferguson, Apostle Quebell & Sis. Martin, Bishop Ross & Sis. Davis, Rev. Dr. Ornan & Mrs. Johnson, , Bishop Wilfred & Pastor Adderley, Bishop R.J & Mother Deleveaux, Bishop Salatiel & Mother Rolle, Rev. Richard & Sis Cynthia Gibbs, Rev. Rex & Sis Major, Rev. Shirley Smith & Family, Rev. & Min. McPhee, Rev. Charles & Mrs. Lewis, Rev. & Mrs. Kendal Capron, Mother Mary Wells & Family, Mother Marilyn Wallace & Family, Dr. Gloria Ageeb, Mr. & Mrs. Bowe[Bowes Pumping], Mrs. Helen Smith & Family, Mr. & Mrs Cornielius Gardiner, The Be Healed Revival Time Family, Mr. Sherman Smith, Hon. Sidney Collie & Family, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Thurston, Mr. & Mrs. Leland Lightbourne, Carlos Mackey
SPECIAL FRIENDS OVERSEAS:
Rev. Eustace & Sis. Clarke, of Miami, Florida, Rev. Emmanuel & Sis. Dean, Provodenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands, Rev. Wille Lee Wrisper Jr. South Bay, Florida, Mr & Mrs, Hodge, St. Croix, USA, Pastor Emmanuel & Sis Saint Gerard, of Haiti, Sis. Ethlyn Cox, of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Sis. Daphane Romer, of Indianna, Bishop Clifford & Mother Henfield of Dundas Town, Abaco, Miss Sherry of Missouri City, Texas, Essie Arthur & Family[Turks & Caicos Island], Louise Raymond of Atlanta, Georgia, Management & Staff of St. Lukes Hospital, & Jacobs Engineering/NASA JSC, Houston, Texas.
OTHER RELATIVES & FRIENDS;
The Bodie Family, Stockdale Family, Johnson Family, Thurston Family, Cambridge Family, Poitier Family, Williams Family, Bowe Family, Godfrey Family, Armbrister Family, Ferguson Family, Major Family, Mackey Family, Adderley Family, Taylor Family, King Family, Ferguson Family, Coakley Family, Henfield Family, Wells Family, Newbold Family, Ethelyn Johnson & Family, Higgs Family, Mitchell Family, Hopeful Hanna & Family, Beatrice Dievieull & Family, Moxey Family, Greene Family, Ms.Leen Brice & Family, Cedric Rolle & Family of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Walkine Family of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Austin Family, Sandee Ferguson & Family, McKenzie Family, Sean & Nadine Minns, Mr. & Mrs. Emizarene Charlot, LaFrance Gustave, Joseph Pierre-Louis, Wilfrid Flurinord, Ceus Enguere, Schella Jean-Louis, Ticette Jean-Louis, Theresa Brown, Lovely Forbes, Geneva Morley, Janet Brown, Mrs. Regina Saunders & Family, Mr. & Mrs. Battiata & Family, Greg Sherman, FNM Bamboo Town Branch, Staff Oncology Clinic PMH, Staff Male Medical II, Management Team/ Human Resources Department, RBPF & HMP, ScotiaTrust Family, The National Insurance Board, Kentucky Fried Chicken, One and Only Ocean Club, Missick Bus Service, R & M Trucking, The Bamboo Town Community, The Engeleston Community, & others too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at First Holiness Church of God, #18 First Holiness Way, Bamboo Town, on Friday from 3:30 p.m. until Saturday at 6:00 p.m. & on Sunday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
A memorial service for Bishop Edward Missick, will be held at First Holiness Church, Bamboo Town on Friday 16th September, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. Officiating will be Rev. Ranford Patterson, President of The Bahamas Christian Council.
Michel Martelly is Haiti's current president. He has been on a worldwide tour to improve Haitian interests at home and abroad. We all know the dire circumstance that Haiti is now in and has been in for as long as we can remember. His statement advising Bahamians of Haitian descent to form an alliance and vote for the political party that has their best interests has once again fueled massive debate about our illegal immigration problem.
Back in the 1980s, the minister of immigration was Loftus Roker. He had a no-nonsense policy when it came to illegal immigration. Once you were found to be an illegal immigrant, the minister made sure through policy that you were repatriated immediately. He authorized raids at any time during the day and night. There was a certain fear among the illegal Haitian immigrants back then who referred to Roker as "Daddy". Illegal immigrants back then were fearful in the hospital, on the way to work and even for their children at school because of Roker's many impromptu raids.
Fast track to 2012. That fear is gone as illegal immigrants know that their chances of being caught are next to none due to our lax immigration laws that have not been adequately updated and that are horrendously unenforced. Roker subsequently resigned from Lynden Pindling's Cabinet and ever since then, our immigration policy to our detriment has remained the same and its mandate not been carried out.
From the mid-1980s to now, tens of thousands of illegal Haitian immigrants have illegally entered our shores. Tens of thousands of them I am sure have been repatriated, but tens of thousands of them have fallen through the cracks and have remained in The Bahamas illegally. We have also had the naturalization of thousands of Haitians who were born in The Bahamas despite the fact that their parents were illegal. Many of these illegal immigrants are also in limbo because their requests have gone unanswered. The law does permit that children born to illegal immigrants can apply for Bahamian citizenship at age 18.
It is now 2012 and our national policy to halt illegal immigration is still repatriation. How sad and ineffective. We are in dire need of a more scientific and engaging approach where The Bahamas and Haiti can sit down and try to solve this problem together. It is in The Bahamas' best interest to do all it can to ensure that Haiti's economy becomes viable. And who may I ask is the current Bahamian ambassador to Haiti?
No right-thinking Bahamian can doubt that Bahamians of Haitian descent form a very important fabric of our society. We have Bahamians of Haitian descent on the police and defence forces, the immigration and customs departments, in education and there is speculation that some are even in Parliament. Stephen Dillet was the first black person elected to the House of Assembly and he was of Haitian descent.
Successive governments have failed miserably on the illegal immigration issue and now many of the Bahamians who idly sat by and raised their 'pom-poms' at political rallies while this problem festered now want the government to wave a magic wand and fix this problem overnight. Bahamians need to think again because it is not going to happen. The Haitian-Bahamians are here to stay. Bahamians also need to be equally as concerned with the economic plight of the Chinese who are chipping away at owning our land and whose business interests and acquisitions have spiked tremendously over the last few years.
Martelly's statement is one that can be expected of any leader to his people. We must remember that he was not granted access to visit The Bahamas by himself and maybe the timing of his visit is questionable. Would Bahamians rather he advised Bahamians of Haitian descent to vote for a government that does not have their interests at heart, given the historically bad economic situation in Haiti? Of course not.
All and sundry are saying that Martelly's visit, though by Brent Symonette's admission was abrupt, is an election ploy by the governing party. They are saying that the visit should have been planned and should have been entertained any time other than now, especially since elections are imminent. These arguments are futile now because Martelly's visit has come and gone. The damage, if any, has been done.
The hidden meaning behind Martelly's statement that a lot of Bahamians are missing is the fact that he could not have come to this conclusion if he did not feel that a particular party favors the interests of Haitian-Bahamians more than the other party.
Where are the government agencies who allow illegal immigrant activity to continue unabated? The ministers of national security, labour and foreign affairs need to be equally at the heart of this discussion because they have responsibility for many of the agencies that either don't perform, or underperform, in their duties. These are some of the major issue that Bahamians need to be concerned about and they should demand answers from the government and not Martelly.
No government past or present has effectively dealt with our vexing immigration problem and no government has been able to stem the flow of illegal immigrants coming to The Bahamas. From attorneys general who hired illegal immigrants, to big and small companies who can be seen daily transporting hundreds of cheap illegal immigrant labor to and from work, I think that Bahamians want to have their cake and eat it too.
An identity card system for all Bahamians, residents and temporary workers alike, should have been implemented since the 1980s where this card must be in your possession at all times. Shantytown issues that were allowed to blossom under successive governments should have been tackled decades ago.
Haitian mothers with no status were allowed to have babies after babies in the public hospital without a whimper of dissatisfaction from Bahamians or legislators and now these children are 18 and ready to apply for citizenship. Haitian children who were allowed to attend public school and be educated free of charge are now looking for jobs in The Bahamas. And now Bahamians want to act like there is a quick fix to this problem. No way. We are all culpable in this national fiasco and this issue will not be solved overnight.
Three ways that I believe can stem the tide of illegal immigration are to implement effective ways to properly police our borders, properly document illegal immigrants presently residing in our country and vigorously enforcing our immigration laws.
More long-range defence force patrol vessels and more defence force bases strategically placed in Inagua, Ragged Island and other selected islands would be a first step. Jack Thompson, director of immigration, can't even produce a report on how many illegal immigrants are living in Fox Hill, let alone New Providence or the entire Bahamas. This tells you that we don't even possess some of the tools to begin to tackle this issue. We haven't even reached the 'starting block' yet. The problem collectively rests on our shoulders and we have done a very poor job with regards to implementing effective immigration policies.
Don't blame the Haitian president for wanting what is best for 'his people'. He knows as well as any other novice that Bahamian-Haitians contribute vastly to the economy of The Bahamas. He knows that despite his best efforts, even if Haiti was able to turn its economy around, many Bahamians of Haitian descent will never return to Haiti. They are apparently here to stay. We can only blame ourselves.
- Dehavilland Moss
Honourable Members will be aware that Mr. Ehurd Cunningham, former Acting Financial Secretary, passed away last weekend. I want to take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude and that of the Nation for the many years of dedicated and tireless service that he so warmly provided to his dearly beloved country. Mr. Cunningham was instrumental in initiating, and indeed championed, many of the fundamental and much-needed reforms to Government on which we are presently embarked. His memory will live on in the enhanced economy and society that will emerge from our efforts.
Despite not coming up with a medal on Friday, Joanna Evans and Laura Morley were still able to set new national records with their performances at the second Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China.
Evans managed to finish just fifth in the women's 400-meter (m) freestyle final, but her time of 4:12.14 topped the old record of 4:13.74 that she set just hours earlier in her qualification heat. Prior to yesterday the old record time in the 400m was 4:17.29, and was also set by Evans back in march at the Swift Swimming Championships in Nassau.
Hannah Moore of the United States finished first in the 400m final and scored her second gold medal of the championships. She won the race in a time of 4:11.05, followed by Sarisa Suwannachet, who finished in a close second with a time of 4:11.23 and Kathrin Demler out of Germany finished third with a time of 4:11.2.
Laura Morley competed in the women's 200m breaststroke but could only muster an eighth place finish in her preliminary race. Despite failing to advance, her time of 2:36.42 trumped the old national record of 2:37.97 set by McKayla Lightbourn at the 2008 CARIFTA swimming championships in Aruba.
The swimmers can now unwind in China, because yesterday marked the final day of swimming competition at the Youth Olympics.
In tennis, Rasheed Carey and his mixed doubles partner, Simona Heinova, of the Czech Republic, lost 2-0 in their quarterfinal match on court number two. They were defeated in straight sets by Stanislaw Zielinski, of Poland, and Jil Teichmann of Switzerland. The total time of the match was one hour and five minutes.
On the track, Drashanae Rolle finished fifth in heat number two of the women's 400m hurdles, with a time of 1:02.01 at the Nanjing OSC Stadium.
She finished 12th overall and although she failed to make it to the finals, she will be competing in the "B" finals on Monday at 7:05 p.m.
Paul De Souza was once again denied the chance to get out and sail on the Jinniu Lake. Yesterday was the second day that all sailing races were canceled due to inclement weather. The country's sole sailor is competing in the Byte CII Class - Men's One Person Dinghy, and will hopefully get a chance to get in the water at some point today. De Souza has yet to compete in race eight, nine or 10 of the 11 race course due to the weather. Officials are working on a new schedule for the sailors, and will release it at some point today.
The Bahamas will be looking forward to some good performances in athletics today at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.
Tyler Bowe will compete in the men's 100m finals out of lane eight, and that race is set for 9:20 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Jenea Ambrose will look to make noise in the women's 100m final. She will be runnning out of lane two in the final that is set for 9 a.m. EST.
Henry Delauze was the first Bahamian athlete to make it into the final round, and will be competing in the men's 400m final that will begin at 10:06 a.m.
Almost 4,000 athletes from 204 countries are competing in 28 disciplines at this year's Youth Olympics.
Members of the National Culinary Team have been selected and practicing for several weeks for the Taste of the Caribbean regional competition later in June in Miami. Meanwhile, the team will display their culinary skills at two upcoming public events starting with 'Sunset Tapas on the Bay' set for Tuesday, May 29 at Blu Restaurant and Lounge on Elizabeth and Bay.
According to team manager Executive Chef Devin Johnson, the team will showcase an assortment of tapas menu items at the reception which will be a blend of locally infused international works of culinary art.
"I believe the public will delight in both the creativity and taste of what the team is putting together," states Chef Johnson. "Mixing indigenous foods with traditional appetizers helps to hone our chef's skills. At the Taste of the Caribbean competition the judges will look for an infusion of international and local flair."
Tuesday's event will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. "With the backdrop of cruise ships berthed in Nassau Harbour, against the sounds of live Bahamian music, and the team's unique tapas selection and beverage offerings, this is a great opportunity for people to unwind from a busy day while showing their support for our up-and-coming young chefs," according to Bahamas Hotel Association President Stuart Bowe.
The tapas selection will include: cracked conch sushi; jerk chicken tartlets with guava BBQ sauce; Bahamian crawfish spring rolls with Asian dipping sauce; vegetable spring rolls; homemade combined veal, pork and beef meatballs with fresh sage and a tomato basil fondue; an asparagus, wild mushroom and roasted pepper pinwheel; and watermelon, papaya, cucumber and goat pepper gelee.
"The team has been practicing for six weeks and every week we see improvement," states Chef Johnson. "They've been working on techniques, beginning to gel more, and everyone knows their role. In the coming weeks it will come down to execution. That's why the tapas event at Blu and an upcoming team dinner at Atlantis on June 12 are so important."
The competition is sponsored by the Bahamas Hotel Association, the Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Culinary Association with support from team member hotels and restaurants and corporate sponsors Bahamas Food Services and Bristol Wines and Spirits. Blu and Atlantis are also assisting with hosting the team's two showcase events.
This year's team is comprised of: Team Manager Chef Devin Johnson from the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort; Team Captain Chef Jamal Small from Blu Restaurant; Chef Mychal Harris from Atlantis; Junior Chef Kevyn Pratt from One&Only Ocean Club; Chef Charron McKenzie and Pastry Chef Wenzil Rolle from the Lyford Cay Club; Chef Shanique Bodie from the Old Fort Bay Club; Bartender Gerard Knowles from the British Colonial Hilton; and Dwayne Sinclair, the National Young Chef from Temple Christian High School.
Over 14 Caribbean culinary teams will be vying for the culinary honors next month.
For additional information or tickets contact the BHA at 322-8381 or the Ministry of Tourism at 328-7810. Tickets will be available that evening at the door.
The 42nd version of the CARIFTA Games, staged here earlier this year, was yet another indication of the potential the Bahamian sports industry has. Our track and field athletes performed with the courage of lions.
The Bahamas' eight gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze medals (31 in total) were good enough for second to Jamaica's 29, 25 and 15 for a total of 69. The difference between Jamaica and The Bahamas was clear. The medal count demonstrated the superiority of our sister Caribbean nation. Bahamian observers were heartened however by a few signs.
Of course, there was the great junior athlete Shaunae Miller, who sent a message to the world about the talent in The Bahamas, with her sensational runs in the under-20 female 200 meters (22.77) and 400 meters (51.63). Miller will not be there for The Bahamas when the supreme Caribbean junior track and field event is held in Fort-de-France, Martinique next year. She has moved out of the junior category.
The talent depth is here, though, for others to emerge and give this country the numbers to make a stronger challenge against Jamaica for the title. Spectators, particularly Bahamians, would recall with pride the awesome combination of under-20 female sprinters Devynne Charlton and Carmiesha Cox.
Charlton zipped across the finish in 11.60, just a hair ahead of Cox (11.61) in the under-20 female 100 meters (m) final. They will be eligible for The Bahamas once again. They provide a prime example of the grit of the Bahamian athletes. Our athletes have always performed gallantly. They have demonstrated year after year, an unflinching spirit.
That indomitable characteristic was there to be found in Bradley Cooper and his teammates during the late 1970s, when The Bahamas began the surge to the top. During the early 1980s when the country arrived at the pinnacle of CARIFTA Games glory by winning (in 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984), our athletes were not to be denied. The group of stalwarts who carried our banner in battle so magnificently included Mark Johnson, Wendell Lawrence, Joey Wells, Pauline Davis, Monique Miller, Whelma Colebrooke, Laverne Eve, Michael Newbold, Stanford Moss, Lynden Sands, Steve Wray, David Charlton, Fabian Whymms, Oralee Fowler and Maryann Higgs.
Sadly, while the talent reservoir in The Bahamas remains the envy of the region, the development program is nothing to brag about at all. In fact, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) does not have a vibrant national development program. Quite frankly, the athletes who do so well for this country are those who come out of the school programs. Others surface because their parents/guardians can afford to pay coaches to train them.
While the BAAA grabs the credit, the truth is well known. The time has come for the BAAA to focus on structuring a national program that reaches into every corner of every community in the country. There once was a time when a strong effort was made in that direction. There are those now associated with the BAAA, who know of the ventures made by the organization into a variety of islands to find raw athletic products.
Subsequently, several attempts at talent-search programs stalled. Today, the BAAA does not have a strong development program that covers the entire country. As a result, the CARIFTA squads are constantly with the make-up that has New Providence out-numbering all of the other islands collectively. This situation has to change.
If it does, then, and only then, will The Bahamas be able to put up an incredibly strong challenge against Jamaica and ultimately reclaim the top status.
o To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop Simeon Hall tells colleagues that religious leaders lose their sense of right and wrong too often
Religious leaders are called to be God's people and as such must not stand in guilty silence when they see an "execution" of any kind about to happen, and they should make a difference by being courageous, standing up and saying something.
"Too many of us wait for and need our ministry to be confirmed by whose guest list we are on," said Bishop Simeon Hall, pastor emeritus at New Covenant Baptist Church, at a pastors' lunch at his alma mater American
Baptist Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee. "You and I are called to be God's people, and we must not stand in guilty silence because of fear, favor or prejudice. The courage to stand is a call to make a qualitative difference. The courage to stand is to stand up and say my calling supersedes what you might offer me."
Using Matthew 14: 6-12 as his reference and the story of Herod at his birthday banquet and the guests who looked the other way even as John the Baptist was beheaded. The execution of John the Baptist he told them is not a popular narrative. He said that preachers tend to avoid it because the details are gory, sordid and unpleasant. He reminded them that in the story some of the worst details of cruel self-indulgences and perverse human spirits are revealed.
"Most times when you hear this story it is skirted over hurriedly with no concerned attempt to make its details the subject of sustained meditation and reflection. This text exposes certain realities and raises an issue with which we might not be at all comfortable. Usually upon reading the story we are confronted with the main characters only such as Herod, Herodias and Herodias' daughter, and we quickly push harsh judgment upon them.
"Indeed, Herod Antipas was guilty of double incest and double adultery. He married his niece, his brother's wife while his brother was still alive and he drove his wife from him by this union. Sometimes it is right to break a promise when the promise involves in its fulfillment the commission of a crime. But Herod wished to gratify the malice of an ill-gotten wife and to vindicate his authority in the presence of his silent guests. But let me invite you to shift your focus from Herod, Herodias and even John the Baptist to look at the silent guests at the banquet."
Bishop Hall told his colleagues that while people rush to pass judgment on the main characters in the story they are not the people with whom most of them can readily identify. But he said that at some point in their lives, most people have been "quiet guests at the banquet." He said those guests were the "mucka mucks" of the day.
"It is because most of us sitting in privileged positions, indulge in guilty silence that the ministries we head sometimes lose their relevance and the cutting edge feature common to the first century church," said Hall. "The privilege of modernity has sometimes cushioned some of us so that we forget that this institution that we celebrate had its birth because of an intercourse between structured evil and retrogressive social policy."
Hall said that too often religious leaders who are privileged to sit and interact with power and influence lose their sense of right and wrong at the expense of those whose lives could be positively impacted by a simple sign of protest.
He challenged them to think of one person whose life had been beset by misfortune and that person whose life might have been changed had they tried to do something. He asked them to think of a situation where they ought to have been more courageous but sat in guilty silence.
"Too often we find ourselves privileged to sit in positions and places where evil and wrong are being perpetrated, but we nestle ourselves in the comfortable seat of the invited guests, comfortable with the privileged invitation, but not accepting the concomitant responsibility to raise a finger to right a damnable wrong."
The bishop said that structured evil and entrenched wrong are so much a part of world systems that some people will never get invited to the king's banquet. And that even worse is the fact that as they sat as guests at the king's table there was a prophet of God imprisoned in the king's dungeon whose only crime was he obeyed his calling and spoke truth to power.
"The picture the Bible paints of John was not an attractive one, he was a hermit, his dress unbecoming and his message disturbing. But would you not agree with me that his worth as a human being and his ministry was worth more than a plate of food. By God's grace, ministry is calling and a privilege. The scope of your ministry should be extended beyond who you are," said Hall.
He further told his peers that big preachers with small messages were one of the most disturbing features of today's pulpit. He said religious leaders privileged to be guests at the king's banquet must embrace the responsibility to stand courageously in support of the least, the lost and the left out.
"In our fallen world, there are very often iniquitous structures, evil systems, exploitive organizations which victimized and marginalized people exploiting their weaknesses, pushing them to the edge of quiet desperation, and we Christian leaders are guests at the banquet sitting in guilty silence eating cheesecake. Which is worse -- a murderous, adulterous Herod or the cute and prim guest who sits in silence? Which is worse, the dancing daughter or the seated guests, indifferent to the beheading of the man of God?"
Hall said that like it or not, they sometimes unwittingly become accomplices in the evil towards which they are indifferent, and that the courage to stand is neither for the weak or the fearful. He told them that if they stand for right and social justice they might find themselves in the king's dungeon while the king and his guests are seated at a banquet.
Hall told them to look into themselves and ask themselves what it was that caused them to shy away from helping others who are disadvantaged, marginalized or being harmed right in our presence. And to also ask why it is that they who are called to imitate Christ pass over to the other side in the face of a simple effort to ameliorate person's hurt and shame.
"Why are we slow to stand courageously, especially for others? The vexing social insanities of our current scene call for more personal boldness on the part of all those who by social precedence are in hear-shout of power and influence," said Hall. "Too many of us wait for and need our ministry to be confirmed by whose guest list we are on. You and I are called to be God's people, and we must not stand in guilty silence because of fear, favor or prejudice. The courage to stand is a call to make a qualitative difference. The courage to stand is to stand up and say my calling supersedes what you might offer me," he said.