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As candidates for the upcoming general election were officially nominated in their various constituencies yesterday, allegations of violence and simulated violence by some party supporters surfaced.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) alleged that a PLP supporter was struck in the face with a rock by Free National Movement (FNM) supporters in the Centreville area.
"The Progressive Liberal Party strongly condemns this act, and any other acts, of violence. We reiterate the directive of our leader that these be peaceful elections and ask that the prime minister admonish his supporters concerning these senseless acts of violence which are a total affront to democracy," said the party in a statement.
Minister of National Security and FNM candidate for Mount Moriah, Tommy Turnquest, told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that he was advised of an altercation in the Centreville area, but that as far as he knew, FNM supporters were not involved.
"I was told by the commissioner of police [Ellison Greenslade] that when [PLP Leader] Perry Christie went through McCullough Corner, there was an altercation with rocks [and] someone got hit," said Turnquest.
"The police went to the lady and she said she didn't want to press any charges."
He continued: "All of our supporters were told that under no circumstances are they to engage in the pulling down of posters, or engage in any violence."
The FNM also released a statement yesterday asking the PLP to apologize for what the party said was supporting "simulated violence against the FNM".
A picture appeared during the day of an effigy dressed in a red shirt being run over by a car as a crowd of what appeared to be PLP supporters holding paraphernalia and posters of Golden Gates MP Shane Gibson cheered.
"...There is not one word in the pictures, posted on the Golden Gates PLP Branch Facebook page, that says that the PLP is serious about leading this country or believing in the Bahamas," said an FNM statement.
Turnquest said in that statement: "Taking the pictures down to hide the evidence is not enough. Perry Christie, [PLP Deputy Leader Philip] Brave Davis, or whoever is actually in charge of the PLP, needs to apologize and disavow this kind of behavior immediately."
However PLP Chairman, Bradley Roberts, said Turnquest was talking "foolishness about some doll" when he should be talking about the almost 500 murders under the five-year FNM term.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis said Tuesday the PLP may release its platform, known as 'Our Plan', at a rally next Monday.
Davis told The Nassau Guardian the party's vision extends beyond the next five years.
"Our Plan has been complete for some time now and as you would have seen we have taken some portions of it and [are] sensitizing The Bahamian public to those issues," he said.
"We would have put out the plans that are more pressing to The Bahamian people.
"On the issue of crime you would have seen our crime plan. On the issue of jobs, you would have seen our jobs plan already out and on the issue of foreclosure, which is impacting the lives of our families, that's already out as well."
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham unveiled Manifesto 2012 at a Free National Movement rally last week, and told supporters he had not seen a PLP election platform yet.
"I guess they are still trying to figure out how many fake promises they can fit on to a sheet of paper," Ingraham said.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) also released an election platform titled Vision 2012 and Beyond last week.
Funeral service for George Anthony "John" Rolle, 55 years, a resident of Dunmore Street, who died on 31st March, 2012, will be held at Temple Baptist Church, Farrington Road, on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Officiating will be Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Wood. Interment follows in Old Trail Cemetery, Old Trail Road.Left to cherish his memories are his wife: Patricia Hinsey-Rolle; stepdaughter: Krista Hinsey; siblings & spouses: Patsy & Bertram Dorsett, Virginia & Lloyd Jones; Florence & Rueben Thompson, Kenneth Rolle, Rachel Rolle-Rodney (Miami), Daynette Rolle (Miami), Jeffrey & Anthony Rolle (Miami), Carolyn Harris (Miami), William Jr., Charles & Glenroy Rolle; sisters & brothers-in-law: Diane Rolle, Brenda Hinsey, Lorna Anderson, Rochelle Ferguson, Alvin & Rosen Green, Flora, Clarence, Joseph & ASP Kemmie Hinsey; aunts: Merle Neymour, Rosina Flowers & Mearil Hinsey; uncles: Rev. Alonzo Hinsey & Frank Hinsey; cousins: Rose, Merle, Lillian, Denise, Philip, Theophilis & Alvin Flowers, Mearil & Evelyn, Avinique, Elshadre, Elsworth Robins Jr.; nieces & spouses: Daphne Woods, Terricita Duvalier, Veronica Brooks, Tracey & Hugh Gray, Chandel & Brent Johnson, Raquel & Wayde Sands, Lloydrina & Errol Burrows, Cherise & Dr. Terrence Wilkinson, Michelle Rolle, Jennifer, Quanette, Nellen, Travette, Keyvanna & Faith of Miami, Sanovia & William Rolle (Miami); nephews & spouses: Michael Dorsett, Bertram & Mornica Dorsett; Andrew & Deborah Dorsett, Marvin & Shannel Dorsett, Paul Jones, Lloyd & Karen Jones, Christopher & Antonio Rolle (Miami); other family & friends including: Pastor Geoffrey Wood, Kevin Knowles, Derick Neymour, Dr. Kelafo Collie, Vandera & George Carey, Javon & Joeranda Braynen, Jason & Hughie Gray, Ranika Douglas, Anthony Morley, George Pratt, Omar Brooks, Tario & Shantavia, Jamal & Kera Brown, Toya Brown, Raquel & Carlisa Duvalier, Michael Knowles, Rachel Brooks, Stacy Simmons, Nadia & Lyle Chase, Deante Jones, Rosey (Windsor Lane), Barbara Bowe & family, Elaine Hinsey & family, Vincent Styles & family, Becka Rolle & family, Kendal "Rabit" & family, Effiemae Sutterland & family, Junior, Josephine (Brougham Street), Dunmore, Peter Street & Hospital Lane family, Bain Town family, Ministry of Education staff, Stephen Dillet Primary School, C.C. Sweeting High School & Government High School family.Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 12:00 noon until service time.
Funeral Service for the Late George Nathaniel Levarity, 77 years of Thompson Court, Oakes Field, and Formerly of Abaco, will be held on Saturday April 21st, 2:30 p.m. at St. Agnes Anglican Church, Baillou Hill Road. Rev'd. Fr. Neil G. Nairn assisted by Canon Warren Rolle will officiate. Interment will follow in the Western Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Wife: Irma Levarity; Daughter: Tanya Mackey; Grandsons: Taran and Travis Mackey; Brother: Michael Levarity of Green Turtle Cay, Abaco; Sisters: Iris Miller and Adelaide Levarity - Pinder of Freeport, Grand Bahama; Adopted Brother: Livingston and Leonard Stuart; Adopted Sisters: Iteah Ritchie and Ruby Davis of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Carnetta Rahming , Jocelyn Hanna and Minerva Benson; Nephews: Richard "Mackey" Bain, Eugene "Benjamin", Abraham, Apostle Paul and Apostle David , Nathaniel, Michael, Rev. Dr. Ivan F. Jr., Wrensworth , Johnathan, Supt. Samuel , Nathan and Rev. Emmanuel "Kevin"Butler, Earl Miller, Arthur, Rudolph, Rev. Patrick and Malcolm Levarity, Ademian and Alexian "AP" Pinder, Lester Bernardo, Dennis, Willis and Rontonio Levarity, Kirk Pedican; Nieces: Louise Butler-Simmons, Elizabeth "Mary" McMinns, Marie Lyvonne Thorpe of Michigan, Christine Neely, Joan, Ingrid and Virginia Levarity, Una Delancy, Alelia Adderley, Caron Green, LaTrese Torres, Breanne Williams and Cynthia "Cindy" Levarity; Children of the late Myrtle Hanna - Paul, Marie & Andrew. Children of the late Sybil Blyden - Veta, Calliope, Persis, Gershwin, Louise and John; Children of the late Leroy Nicolls -Eugene, Melvern, Sharon, Anthony; Children of Maria Turner- George, Charles, Philip, Andrea, Cleomie, Jesse & Karen; Children of the late Kenneth Nicolls - Everett, Roman, Sheila & Marco. Children of the late Eric Nicolls - Rose, Philip, Perry, Percy, Pam, Patricia, Prescola, Eric, Erica, Zelma, and Janet; Children of the Late Lorraine Saunders, Terrance, Sharon, Joanne, Antoinette, Laverne, Vansharee & Anthony; Brothers-in-laws:
Arlington Miller, Rev. Ivan Butler Sr., Adolphus Pinder , Wallace Nicolls; Sisters-in-law: Melrita Levarity of Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, and Victoria Levarity of Freeport, Grand Bahama , Maria Turner, Eloise Saunders, Ruth Nottage; Other relatives and friends include: Joan Beckford (caregiver), Nelson and Malvese Sands, Audrey Tucker and Family, Constance Mackey and Family, Joyce Bain and Family, Louise Adderley and Family, Vern Hutchinson and Family, Ellen Grant and Family, Chris Francis and Family, James Butler and Family, Annette Cartwright and Family, Antoinette Weech, Willa-Mae Sawyer, Prescola Lockhart, Warren and Vera Levarity, Lillis Ramsey & Family, Janet Levarity, Cyprinna Deveaux, Claudette Bees, Edna Levarity and Family, Carl and Madeline Levarity and Family, Marteen Levarity and Family, The Francis Family, Michael Levarity, The Levarity Family, Bimini and Florida, The Weech Family, Family of the Late Leanor Franklin, New York, The Family of the late Christopher Johnson, Miami Florida, Melony Hanna and Family, Gertrude Neely and Family, Paula Cunningham, Linda Fitzgerald and Family, Denise McPhee and Family, Ezra and Ezrika Pratt, Wyome Hulyer, Dr. Joseph Evans and the Bahamas Urology Centre Staff, The Old Timers Softball League, The Parcel Post Department and the entire St. Agnes Church Family.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and at the church from 1:00 p.m. until service time.
Funeral Service for the Late Ernest Strachan Sr., 66 years of #73 West Street, will be held on Saturday September 3rd, 11:00 a.m. at Free In Jesus Deliverance Miracle Temple. Wulff Road. Minister Derek Feaste and Minister Randy Feaste will officiate. Interment will follow in Lakeview Memorial Gardens, John F. Kennedy Drive.
He is survived by His Wife: Saphora Strachan; Sisters Eloise Colebrooke also known as 'MOM", and Ellen Strachan; Six Sons: Ernest Jr., David, Javin, Emory, Carson and Elton Strachan; One Adapted Son: Larvardo Dorsett; Three Daughters: Carla, Shaquel and Shankera Strachan; Fourteen Grandchildren: Shaneria, Katicia, Ernest Jr. III, Daivanna, Jordan, David Jr., Amery , Shammah, Emory Jr. Carseonique Strachan, Ryan and Carlicia Armbrister; One Uncle: James Strachan of Hollywood Florida; One
Expecting son-in-law: Brian Armbrister; Three Daughters-in-law: Sarah, Sharlise andCheryl Strachan; Sisters-in-law: Gloria Strachan, Anita, Bloneva and Martha Edgerton of Miami Florida; Brothers-in-law: James Ingraham, Calvin Edgerton and Maurice Darling of Miami Florida; Nephews: Mario, Johnny, Javon Strachan, andHenry Rolle; Nephew-in-law: Anisley Sr.; Five Nieces: Rochelle, Jarnice, Tracey,Margaret and Juanita Strachan, Latoya Rolle and Katrina Rolle-Whyms; Three Grand Nieces: Gina, Meriloquia and Juliette Strachan; Seven Grand Nephews: John and Chavez Strachan, Anisley Brown, Paul Whyms, Lynden, Lebron and Leton Johnson; Cousin: Darnell Bastian and Family; Special friend: Carolyn Dorsett; Other Relative and Friends including: Ernestine Stuart and Vernita McKenzie, Patrick Brown, Bernadette Rolle and Family, Stephen Hepburn and Family, Bill Smith, Edgar Carey, Avery Burrows, Jarvis Rolle, West Street Family, Big Pond Family, Yellow Elder Family, Department of Environmental Health, Solid Waste Mgt. Division Family, Free in Jesus Family, Herbie and Family, Magnus Gordon and Family, The Thompson Family and Samuel Miller (Big Dog), Bernard Family, George Strachan, Mrs. Ruth and Family, David and Family, David Fowler and Family, Christopher Adderley and Family, Shirley Sweeting and Family, Philip Mycklewhyte and Family, Kelsie and Family, Arade and Family, Shelly, Shorts, Mr. Martin, Josey Smiley, Dera, Tye, Sherlly, Danny, Walty, Mona, and Kitty and Family.
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.
We must all be sensible during campaigns. It is easy to rally up a group of supporters into a state of frenzy but it is difficult to control them when they get out of control.
Prime Minister and Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Hubert Ingraham last week announced that he would conduct a series of walkabouts in the inner city communities of New Providence. These are strongholds of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Such tours bring lots of attention and lots of FNMs to the areas.
We do not have a history of political violence in The Bahamas. However, it is still not a good idea to bring together large numbers of opposing partisans.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) brought some of its supporters yesterday to the area where Ingraham and the FNMs were having the tour. Consequently, a portion of Ingraham's tour was diverted after police got reports that nearly 200 "disorderly" PLPs were gathered at Sarah Robinson Park on Meadow Street.
The group shouted in protest of Ingraham's presence in the area. The FNM is hoping to take the seat from the PLP. The FNM's candidate is attorney John Bostwick II. The incumbent PLP MP is Dr. Bernard Nottage.
The PLP should not bring supporters to FNM events and potentially cause a confrontation. And the FNM should not bring its supporters to PLP events. Such acts could easily lead to fights or large disturbances.
The Bahamas has 38 constituencies. Within these constituencies there are many communities. When one party announces an event, the others should have the good judgment to have their events elsewhere in order to keep the peace.
FNM East Grand Bahama candidate Peter Turnquest made a formal complaint to police after his daughter was allegedly sprayed in the face with a fire extinguisher when FNM and PLP supporters came together in separate motorcades in Grand Bahama on March 17.
PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis also told The Nassau Guardian at the time that he heard that people on his party's motorcade were assaulted by the throwing of rocks and water.
With these small incidents having already occurred, we hope the PLP, and all the other parties, respect the space of others having events and avoid awkwardness and potential confrontations.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force has enough work to do. When these tense situations arise, offices have to be diverted from crime-fighting duties to watch and ensure a major disturbance does not occur. We need our officers to stay on the beat and not get caught up in nonsense.
Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) stock has lost a fourth of its market value on the heels of a declaration from Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham that his government would not allow BPC to drill for oil.
The company recently said it would seek to renew its licenses with The Bahamas government.
BPC wants government approval to drill an oil well in Bahamian waters by April 2013.
In 2005, BPC began its negotiations with the Christie administration for its various permits and licenses to look for oil in the country's territorial waters.
Since then, the company has only done 2D and 3D underwater seismic testing to figure out the best areas to drill for oil and get a better handle on the country's oil potential.
The Nassau Guardian asked the prime minister on Wednesday whether his administration would allow oil drilling in Bahamian waters, and he responded 'no'.
Ingraham also said, "We are undertaking studies and after that we will see, but we don't have any plans to drill for oil in The Bahamas."
He also said certain senior members of the Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have direct links to BPC.
"They (BPC) are very much tied to Perry Christie and those," Ingraham said.
"In fact, I think he may be a consultant for them. He is certainly involved with them."
Ingraham also suggested that attorney Sean McWeeney, a former PLP attorney general, is also tied to BPC.
On its website, under company advisors, BPC lists the law firm Davis & Co., run by PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis, as part of its Bahamian legal team.
McWeeney's law firm Graham Thompson & Co. is listed as the second firm representing BPC in The Bahamas. McWeeney is a partner in the firm.
On Thursday, Christie told The Nassau Guardian he is a legal consultant for Davis & Co., the law firm which represents Bahamas Petroleum Company.
Christie confirmed that the company benefits from the advice he provides to BPC's legal team.
Christie said the working relationship with Davis & Co., the law firm owned by Brave Davis, began after his party lost the 2007 general election.
Christie would not say definitively if his administration would allow any company to drill for oil if the PLP wins the election. He said that decision would depend on environmental studies presented to government on the issue.
While in opposition, the PLP has been relatively quiet on the issue of oil drilling in The Bahamas.
Former Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller, however, recently accused the current administration of failing to keep the Bahamian people properly informed on the matter.
National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest predicted yesterday that the Free National Movement (FNM) will win at least 30 of the 38 seats in the upcoming general election.
Turnquest said the FNM will sweep the Family Islands and Grand Bahama.
"We intend to win and we intend to win big," said Turnquest who was a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show 'Darold Miller Live' on 96.9 FM.
"...We're going for all but I don't think we're going to get all. But we're going to win all in the Family Islands and all in Grand Bahama. That's 15 right there. Start with them," Turnquest added when asked to specify which seats he thinks the FNM will win.
He conceded that the FNM may lose some seats in New Providence, adding that New Providence will be more of a 'battleground'.
However, Turnquest said the FNM is going to win Bamboo Town, the seat currently held by Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney.
Turnquest said he doubts the DNA will have a good showing.
"I don't think they'll do very well," he said.
Turnquest said he was disappointed that McCartney left the FNM and he is disappointed in the way McCartney left the party.
McCartney severed ties with the Free National Movement last year and resigned from Ingraham's cabinet as Minister of State for Immigration in 2010.
At the time, McCartney said he left the FNM due to his personal convictions.
Shortly after, McCartney formed the DNA. The new party is running 38 candidates in the election. But Turnquest said many of the DNA candidates will lose their $400 deposits.
While Turnquest seems sure of an FNM win, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie said on several occasions that the PLP is poised to win the election.
He said the FNM government has failed miserably.
McCartney has also expressed confidence. He said the Bahamian people are tired of both the PLP and FNM and are ready to vote for the DNA.
Regarding his party's printed Manifesto, Turnquest said that will become available on April 25.
The online version of the Manifesto was released last week.
The DNA also released its party's plan - "The Vision 2012 and Beyond" - last week.
The PLP has not yet released its platform, but Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis has said it will be released next week.
Funeral Service for the Late Mae Caroline Major, 93 years of Abundant Life Road, and formerly of Long Island, will be held on Sunday September 11th, 11:00 a.m. at Grant's Town Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Baillou Hill Road & Wellington Street. Pastor Peter Joseph assisted by Pastor Craig Williams will officiate. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens, Soldier Road.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's recent declaration that the next Free National Movement administration would not allow oil drilling in Bahamian waters has hurt the country's reputation with international investors, according to the Council for Concerned Bahamians Abroad (CBA), a think tank.
Last week, Ingraham made the revelation in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
Following the story, the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) lost a fourth of its share value.
BPC is licensed to conduct oil exploration and wants to drill a well in Bahamian waters by April 2013.
Yesterday, CBA called Ingraham's statements 'rash' and 'unwise'.
"The prime minister's public statements denouncing oil drilling are being viewed by the international investment community, already committed and invested in the project, as rash and irresponsible statements by a sitting prime minister, which may have lasting effects on the confidence of foreign investors in future Bahamian-based projects," the think tank said.
"In addition, major institutional investors have invested in this project. To pull the rug out from under these important investors and thousands of others could be a major problem for The Bahamas going forward."
The group said the issue of oil exploration in The Bahamas has "degenerated into a political football" instead of a real discussion on how the country can benefit economically if oil is found and harnessed safely.
"The bantering about oil exploration by all parties is unfortunate, in that this energy could and should be used to propose legitimate and much needed ways for the country and its citizens to benefit from any potential oil in The Bahamas," the group said.
"If oil is indeed within The Bahamas it would seem to behoove every political entity to do its best to see how to find and harvest the resource safely and profitably for the benefit of all Bahamians."
Last week, the prime minister also linked senior members of the opposition Progressive Liberal Party to BPC, including PLP Leader Perry Christie.
BPC began negotiating its current licenses and permits for oil exploration in 2005 with the former Christie administration.
Christie confirmed to The Nassau Guardian on Thursday that he is a consultant for Davis & Co., one of BPC's legal advisers.
He said BPC has benefited from advice he has given. PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis owns Davis & Co. Jerome Gomez, the PLP's candidate for Killarney, is listed as BPC's resident manager on the company's website.
Ingraham also told The Nassau Guardian that the country's waters are too pristine and dependent on tourism to risk drilling for oil.
"We've seen what happened in Louisiana with oil drilling," Ingraham said, referring to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which devastated the Gulf of Mexico.
According to its website, the Council for Concerned Bahamians Abroad (CBA) is an apolitical, non-partisan group of Bahamians abroad, and friends of The Bahamas concerned about policies and initiatives affecting The Bahamas, its people, its economy and its development.
The council's concerns include the protection and preservation of the economic and family interests of Bahamians residing or domiciled outside The Bahamas. A primary concern of the council is the impact of Bahamian governmental initiatives.
Funeral service for Vernice Brenette Alleyne Prudent, 64 yrs., a resident of #3 Oxford Avenue, who died on 21st August, 2011, will be held at Bethel Baptist Church, Meeting Street, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Rev. Timothy Stewart, assisted by Other Ministers of the Gospel. Inerment follows in the Church's Cemetery.
Left to cherish her memories are her children: Two Daughters: Patrice Hepburn, Vilvert and Sharmaine Ferguson of Miami Fla., Two Sons: Bernard Collie Sr. and Leroy Miller; Adopted children: Vanessa Walkes, Terrance Cooper, Rev. Ethan Fairweather, Att. Carla Demeritte, Phillipa Thompson, Juanita Gibson, Andre Wallace, Prince Prudent, Scott Taylorm Ken, Peter, Stacia Thompson, Darrie, Francis, Tia Francis, Torshika Bain, Geanno and Shandia Beneby; five grandchildren: Bernard Collie Jr., Jeffrice Strachan, Vestrinique Miller, Zion Conneym, Alexis Ferguson; five sisters: Vanria Malcolm, Roslyn Fernander, Sandra Johnson, Carmetta Nesbitte and Prescola Barbes; nine brothers: Kermit Douglas, Anthony Marshall, Clifford Fernander, Shuffel, Vandyke, Phillip, Elvis and Oliver Hepburn, and Kenneth Alleyne of New York; two sons-in-law: Harold Vilvert and Renald Ferguson of Miami, Florida; one daughter-in-law: Cpt. Inez Miller; four brothers-in-law: Wendall Malcolm, Larry Johnson, Corneilus Nesbitt and Rodyn Barbes; six sisters-in-law: Helen Alleyne, Tanya Douglas, Susan, Michelle, Dioni and Susan Hepburn, one adopted sister: Louis Crenshaw of Minnesota (USA); two step sisters: Rowena Albury and Pauline Nairn; Kristin, Shanna, Royannm Shakara, Crystal, Shantavia, Rhondam, Patrenda, Sameatta, Helena, Lorraine, Ketra, Vandrya, Meaghan, Lavanda, Lashelle, Monteza, Shayla, Diannam Stacia, Kenva, and Tia; twenty-nine nephews: Trevor, Kevin, Kent, Kyle, Patrick, Roswell, Don, Gino, Chino, Javison, Quawadis, Isreal, Kermit Jr., Samuel, (Joey), Alexander, Rodyn III, Shuffel Jr., Jammal, Thedore, Elbert, Avener, Theron, Elliott, Philip Jr., Nathan, Kyle, Elvis Jr., and Warren; two uncles: Charles and Edward Poitier; two aunts: Ikena and Thelma Poitier, numerous cousins including: Paulamae Ferguson, Idamae Bain, Capt. Vernita Hepburn, Theresa Hepburn, Sheryl Major, Vandell Thomas, Sharon Poitier, Ronda Nixon, Winnfred, Charles Poitier, Oswald Poitier, Solomon, Lawrence Rolle, Alfred Knowles, Kermit Hepburn, Edwin and Melvin Poitier, Austine and Carmen Heoburnm Janet Poitier, Wendy Smith, Donna, Lil Clifford, Julia and Julian Hepburn, Audrey and Parish and Rev. Tony Hanna; Thirty-five grand nieces and twenty-eight grand nephews: Other relatives and friends including: Rev. Timothy Stewart and Family, the Dorsett Family, Ruth and Donnell Russell and Family, Marie Woodside and Family, Denise Stubbs and Family, Patsy and the Girls, Florence Greenslade and family, Dr. Hubert Olander and Family, Michael Pintard and Family, The Quakoo Street Family, The Thompson Lane Family, Judy Beneby and Family, The Lewis Family, Rosalie Neymour and Family, Uleus Prudent and Family, John, Campbell, The Stubbs Family, Lucille Kelly and Family, Madlyn Wells and Family, Shawn Sturrup & Family, The entire Bethel Baptist Church Family, Henry Bostwick and Family, Kenneth Johnson and Family, The Staff of Family Guardian Insurance, Sandra Hepburn and Family, Sandra Mackey and Family, The Newbold and Higgs Families, Keva Brahilda Johnson and Family, The Department of Social Services, Melrose Pinder and Family, Debra Saunders and Family, Dora Bethel and Family, other Family and Friends too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said that Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie should not have taken on work as a consultant for a law firm representing the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) if he was considering another bid for prime minister.
Ingraham said the person making the ultimate decision about oil drilling in Bahamian waters should not be biased in any way.
"Perry Christie should not be a consultant for an oil company if he wants to be prime minister of The Bahamas," Ingraham told reporters after a rally in North Andros Monday night.
"When the decision is made, if the decision is made, to drill for oil in The Bahamas it should be a very thoughtful thing and The Bahamas should be ready for it.
"It cannot be [done by] a compromised person who acted as a consultant, who got paid as a consultant, from that company."
Last week, Ingraham told The Nassau Guardian that he would not allow oil drilling in Bahamian waters if the Free National Movement is elected for another term.
At an FNM rally in Grand Bahama last night, Ingraham said, "A government led by me will not agree to any drilling for oil in The Bahamas until all necessary and appropriate regulations are in place and until we are fully and competently in a position to regulate such activity so as to protect our environment and that of the world's ocean beyond from harmful and risky activity in our country and in our waters".
He also said, "We are not now in a position to so regulate and oversee drilling operations in our waters. My greatest obligation is to do what I think is the right thing to do at any given time to protect the best interests of you, the Bahamian people, and that of future generations.
"I will not take any deliberate action to cause harm to our country regardless of the promised financial reward for a select few consultants and legal representatives. We in the FNM do not go that way. We accept that we are different, distinctly different from them."
Last week, Ingraham revealed that Christie was a consultant for BPC and suggested that senior members of the PLP had ties to the oil company.
After Ingraham's comments, BPC's stock lost a fourth of its market value.
On Monday, Ingraham told The Nassau Guardian that BPC's stock market dive was none of his business.
Last week, Christie said he was a consultant for Davis & Co., the law firm owned by PLP Deputy Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis. Davis & Co. is one of two Bahamian firms that represent BPC.
Christie told The Nassau Guardian that if his party wins the next election the decisions made by him and his deputy on oil drilling would not be swayed by their current relationship with BPC.
"It's not a conflict because the advice I'm giving now has nothing to do with any decisions I [will] make as prime minister," Christie said.
"What a Cabinet minister must do is declare [his] interests and ensure that it is clearly understood that in the past or present he's had a relationship [with a company]."
The PLP's candidate for Killarney, Jerome Gomez, is listed as BPC's resident manager on the oil company's website.
Ingraham expanded on the issue at the FNM rally in Grand Bahama last night.
"The approval of drilling for oil in the pristine waters of The Bahamas is among the most momentous decisions that any Government of The Bahamas will ever have to make," he said.
"This decision by your government should never be influenced by any financial relationship that exists between the company seeking the permit and its paid consultants and attorneys.
"It is a decision with wide ramifications that will affect the very nature and essence of who we are as a country."
Ingraham said as the country prepares for a general election, the leaders of both major parties have an obligation to be transparent and up front with the Bahamian people on this critical issue.
"The leader of the Opposition must answer some critical questions," he said.
"The Bahamian people deserve and demand to know how long he has been a consultant for the oil company."
Ingraham questioned whether Christie was hired for his legal expertise or because he was a potential prime minister.
"Is it a mere coincidence that a foreign oil company decided to hire as consultants and pay handsomely, the two most senior leaders of the Official Opposition, and potentially two senior leaders of the executive branch in the country in which they are seeking to drill for oil?" he asked.
Ingraham added, "There must be no question or appearance of the possibility of a grave conflict of interest or the potential for secret deals which can compromise the individual who serves as your prime minister."
Art in the Bahamas has been undergoing a revival for some time, the likes of which are seen in the artist-driven efforts to create festivals, galleries and events to create an exciting creative economy in the country.
One such effort is the annual theater festival Shakespeare in Paradise, founded by Nicolette Bethel and Philip Burrows, which will kick off on September 30th and run until October 8th.
Though only in its third year, the seeds for such a festival were sown when the pair visited the Oregon Shakespeare Theatre Festival in the 1990s.
"I thought, 'Can't we do this in The Bahamas? It would be such a great addition to our tourism industry," Festival Director Nicolette Bethel says.Not only that, but she saw the festival filling the void of a rich theater culture that had so unfortunately fallen by the wayside in The Bahamas, encouraging all artists involved in theater to come together and rebuild an industry that she knows the country has the capability to sustain.
"I felt that because there was no theater happening, young Bahamians were going back to square one, not building on what we had done and trying to build a theater industry but not having any ground on which to stand and no connection with the generation above," she says.
The result was a theater festival with a wide range of productions by local groups and visiting groups--yet every year they offer a signature Bahamian production and a signature Shakespeare production.
This year's Bahamian production, "Dis We Tings" echoes the sentiments of disconnect between generations expressed by Bethel above. Originally produced two decades ago by a group of performers and cultural thinkers, "Dis We Tings" was a musical written in response to the need in the 1980s for young Bahamians to learn about their country and culture in a rapidly-changing world.
This time around, the production has been revived and re-imagined into a 2011 version covering even up to date historical changes--like the recent formation of the DNA party and the current Dengue outbreak--that addresses issues both serious and frivolous but undoubtedly Bahamian through fun songs and witty banter.
"It's updated completely, it's a completely new script. It's the 21st century 'Dis We Tings'," says Bethel, who is directing the production. "It's about Bahamian heritage, but it's also about Bahamian history because we found a lot of people don't know enough about history--history is not taught in schools."
"So we really wanted to give a sense of Bahamian history, also perhaps to jog decision makers to help them understand that, you know, we do need history in schools," she continues.
Another local production offered by the festival will be "Pat Rahming, alias Pat Rahming", where the poet, playwright and singer will perform during a low-key evening in the beautiful setting of Nirvana.
A visiting production with a Bahamian history plot-line will also aim to educate viewers. "Mariah Brown", a one-woman play by Sandra Riley, will recount the story of the Bahamian pioneer who settled in Florida to establish Key West.
Meanwhile, high drama will be offered through the festival's signature Shakespeare production--the dark and scandalous "Julius Caesar", directed by Philip Burrows, Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Paradise.
What makes Shakespeare so appropriate again and again no matter the time period are his overarching themes, and this year it's no different with 2012 elections looming at home and in our neighboring U.S. and with the world facing political turmoil.
Indeed, the production will take place in a stark minimalist set and modern dress, putting the play's very issues of rhetoric and power on full display. Though the script was abridged, it was not heavily 'Bahamianized', though Burrows does admit to taking an interesting musical direction that audiences may enjoy.
In the end though, he points out, making a Shakespearean production accessible to the public and especially to schools and setting it in this way allows for audiences to relate to the brilliant literature.
"As a student, when I did English and literature in school, Shakespeare was very boring," he says. "It was very boring because my teacher didn't know how to teach it. The next year it was incredibly exciting because I had a teacher who was incredibly excited to get into it."
"Had I been able to go and see people doing productions and see it in a different sort of way, a modern way, I would have totally been more appreciative of all that's going on," he continues. "It gives you an opportunity to see Shakespeare, some of the best literature ever written, and hope people have a better understanding and appreciation."
This is especially true for students who have Shakespearean plays on their BGCSE examinations--and in this vein, as part of their festival, Shakespeare in Paradise offers cheaper matinee tickets for classes from local schools to attend the different productions in the three days leading up to its official opening.
"We are determined to have people grow up seeing theatre and understanding what it's all about," says Burrows. "Supporting the arts from that age--students are very important, it's an important part of what we do in Shakespeare in Paradise and we will be doing it again this year."
This is all part of their student outreach--a valuable component to the festival for building cultural appreciation among the student population. Last year, Burrows says they exposed 3,000 students in The Bahamas to components of their festival.
In addition to providing students with tickets to three of their stage productions, they also have a special production available to students only--Bard to Go.
This small troupe of college students from the Grand Valley State University travels worldwide enacting noteworthy scenes from Shakespeare's many scripts, tweaked through a 21st century lens, to introduce student groups to his work. This year their production is "Lovestruck", which takes a tour of some of Shakespeare's famous love scenes with a reality television "Bachelor" twist.
In addition, they provide Saturday morning workshops for up-and-coming playwrights, where participants in the festival give feedback to these scripts to help build a critical language and framework in the industry.
"The idea untimely is we want to get from our play reading series new plays that we can introduce into the festival so that there wil always be a Bahamian play, a Shakespeare play, and a brand-new Bahamian play that was discovered through play reading series," explains Bethel.
They even reach out to student artists in their Young Artists Program, appealing to them to create uniquely designed posters for each production, which will also be available on limited edition t-shirts with the artist's contact information. This year, participating artists are Khia Poitier ("Julius Caesar"); Kachelle Knowles ("Mariah Brown"); Charlthorn Strachan ("Pat Rahming, Alias Pat Rahming"); Reuno Pratt ("Bard to Go"); and Rashad Ferguson ("Dis We Tings").
Indeed, the festival offers an exciting array of both local and international productions which will all give audiences something to think about and build upon what's proving to become--three years later--a rich theatre industry.
"What we really want to do is to expose young people to a range of theatre--not just Bahamian-style but all different kinds of styles--and to inspire different kinds of writing, different kinds of performance," explains Bethel.
"I think that is happening, I think that there is something like that going on--I don't think Shakespeare in Paradise can take all the credit, but there seems to be a new buzz in theatre."
The full schedule of events for Shakespeare in Paradise, which runs September 30th-October 8th, can be found on their website at www.shakespeareinparadise.org.
Tickets are $25 per performance. Advance ticket sales begin on Monday, September 12th through online bookings at their website above, and they will offer a special discount for early birds (4 tickets for $80). Regular ticket sales begin on the 19th through the Dundas box office.
I mourn the passing of Mr. Brave Davis Sr, the father of my Party's Deputy Leader, Philip Brave Davis.
Sr. was a Stalwart Councilor of our Party for well more than 30 years.
He was the epitome of courage and determination in the pursuit of our
Party's objectives. He was uncompromising in his commitment to the cause
and always direct and candid in expressing his views. He was a proud
Bahamian and a staunch PLP.
proud native of Cat Island, Brave was also for me a close and valued
friend whose wise counsel I always appreciated. Although he never had
Only one murder convict under the sentence of death at Her Majesty's Prison still faces the possibility of execution.
That is because the Court of Appeal last week quashed the convictions of three other men who had been sentenced to death.
Mario Flowers -- the remaining murder convict who could still be executed -- is also hoping the appellate court overturns his conviction.
Flowers was sentenced to death for the December 29, 2007 murder of Ramos Williams, a policeman who was killed in the line of duty.
Edwin Bauld Jr., Renaldo Bonaby and Wilfred McPhee were all sentenced to death in 2010.
But their convictions have all been quashed.
Bauld and McPhee were convicted of the October 2007 murder of 28-year-old Police Corporal Eddison Bain.
But last week, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial in their case.
The court found that the decision of Acting Justice Jethro Miller to allow contested confession statements into evidence rendered the convictions "unsafe" and "unsatisfactory".
Police found Bain's body in a ditch near Casuarina Bridge in Grand Bahama on October 22, 2007. Bain was bound by his hands and feet, and a boulder was resting on his face. The body was concealed with stones and branches.
The Court of Appeal also ordered a new trial for Renaldo Bonaby and Renaldo Armbrister, who were convicted of the December 2006 murder of Philip Gaitor Jr.
The justices found that Bonaby and Armbrister did not get a fair trial because the trial judge, K. Neville Adderly, told the jury that their confession statements "were admissible" and "voluntarily made". Bonaby was sentenced to death and Armbrister received a life sentence.
Gaitor was burned alive while bound and gagged in his car, according to the evidence. The fire was so intense that only Gaitor's skull and torso remained and he had to be identified by DNA testing.
Several other men under the sentence of death were sentenced more than five years ago.
The Privy Council ruled in 1993 in the Jamaican case of Earl Pratt and Ivan Morgan that it would be cruel and inhumane for prisoners to wait more than five years on death row.
A few condemned men still have to be re-sentenced because a 2006 Privy Council ruling determined that the mandatory death sentence in The Bahamas was unconstitutional.
The death penalty issue was pushed back into the spotlight in June when the Privy Council quashed the death sentence of Maxo Tido, saying that the murder of his 16-year-old victim did not fall into the category of 'worst of the worst' and therefore did not warrant the death penalty.
That ruling came just over five years after Tido was sentenced to death. Under the 1993 ruling in Pratt and Morgan, he would have escaped the gallows in any event.
If the Court of Appeal upholds Flowers' conviction and sentence, he could still appeal to the Privy Council and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The long appeals process without any time limits means that the five-year period for executions set by the Pratt and Morgan ruling often runs out.
In the wake of the ruling in the Tido matter, the government has promised to bring legislation to Parliament to clearly outline which categories of murder will attract the death sentence.
The bill is expected to be high on the agenda when the House of Assembly resumes sittings next month.
Funeral service for Rebecca Patricia Lee Johnson "Patsy", 73 yrs., a resident of Gregory Town, Eleuthera, who died on 9th April, 2012, will be held at St. Gregory's Roman Catholic Church, Gregory Town, Eleuthera, on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Officiating will be Fr. David Cooper & Monsignor John Johnson. Interment follows in Gregory Town Public Cemetery, Eleuthera.
Left to cherish her memories are her:HUSBAND: LEONARD JOHNSON
SONS: SAMUEL, BASIL, JEROME, JULIAN SR., PHILIP SR.
DAUGHTERS:SANDRA JOHNSON DECIUS, SHARON JOHNSON (Deceased), PAULINE WILLIAMS, ALBERTHA HALL
GRAND CHILDREN: SUNCHER OUTTEN, CHUTKAN, QUZHAN, LEONARDO, DERNEAR, JASMINE, JEREMY, JERROD (DECEASED), JACOBIE, JERVITO, JEREMIAH, SHANTAVIA, JULIAN JR., TRAVIS, SHANIA, LANAJ, DILLON, PHILIP JR., DEVANTE, NADIA, UMIQUA, CHARLIECE, CHARLES JR., CHARRON, WELLINGTON JR., CLEO, KENNETH JR., KEISHAWN AND KEISHELL
GREAT GRANDS: NATHANIEL JR., TASHAE, SHANIA
SISTERS: WILLAMAE ALBURY, VERONICA DANIELS, ROSE KEMP
BROTHER: ROBERT LEE
SONS-IN-LAW: RENISTE DECIUS, CHARLES WILLIAMS SR., WELLINGTON HALL SR.
DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW: ROSETTA, DINA, TANYA AND JANECE JOHNSON
BROTHERS-IN-LAW: MOSES DANIELS, FREDRICK KEMP, HENRY MCCARTNEY, AUSTIN HEPBURN, ANTHONY, CHRIS, DAVID, PHILIP, CHARLES AND HARRY JOHNSON, WILLIAM ALBURY
SISTERS-IN-LAW: CHARLOTTE LEE & FAMILY, STEPHANIE THOMPSON & FAMILY, SANDRA GIBSON & FAMILY, BRENDA JOHNSON & FAMILY, YVONNE JOHNSON & FAMILY, MATHILDA MCCARTNEY & FAMILY, ROSEMARY HEPBURN & FAMILY, MARTHA BROWN & FAMILY, ELLAMAE MCINTOSH & FAMILY, CORONETTA LEE & FAMILY
NIECES: JENNIFER JOHNSON, MAGARET & SHAVONNE ALBURY, NELLY, TIFFANY & SHANA THOMPSON, PAMELA GIBSON, OCILIA PETTY, REBECCA ROBERTS, SHEENA DANIELS, PATRICE JOHNSON, PHEDRA SYMONETTE, DONNELL & ANDREA LEE, KAYSHLA ROLLE, LAURICE RUSSELL
NEPHEWS: ASHTON, STEPHEN, BRADFORD, MARTIN ALBURY, JOSHUA DANIELS, MAURICE JOHNSON, JHINARO THOMPSON, SAMUEL, OSBORNE & FREDRICK KEMP, JIMMY BOWE, VARDO, DESMOND, CLIFTON,OMAR, ARTHUR JR., ROMANDEZ, RANDOLPH, KEVIN, HENRY, PETER & CONRAD LEE
GODCHILDREN: CHED, TIFFANY, MARIO & LAVONDA THOMPSON, JOSHUA DANIELS, MARCIA & MARCIANNA PRATT, KIM MCSWEENEY, SHERVIN EMMANUAL
NUMEROUS COUSINS, OTHER LOVING FAMILY AND SPECIAL FRIENDS INCLUDING:
THERESA THOMPSON & FAMILY, ELAINE STUBBS, DON WOOD, PAULINE & KEENAN JOHNSON, ABBIE MUNNINGS, ANGELO CARGILL & FAMILY, PATRICIA DAXON & FAMILY, THE ROMER GIRLS ESPECIALLY INGRID & ANYA, MARIEANNE JOHNSON & FAMILY, FLORENCE BELL & FAMILY, HELEN BELL & FAMILY, YVONNE & JEREMIAH MCPHEE, SYLVIA CAMBRIDGE & FAMILY, SYLVIA MACKEY & FAMILY, MADGIE BLACK & FAMILY, KENTONIO ROLLE, SAMUEL AND PAULA ROMER & FAMILY, FRIENDLY BOB, DENNIS CAREY, BEVERLY ROBERTS & FAMILY, MIRANDA SMITH & FAMILY, RAYMOND WILLIAMS, CHATO OUTTEN, CELESTINE KING, DR. CONVILLE BROWN & FAMILY, TINO & CLEO HEPBURN, DEANNE FERGUSON & FAMILY, ROMELDA CAREY & FAMILY, ROWENA SANDS & FAMILY, JUDY JOHNSON & FAMILY, FRANKIE & CARLEEN NEWBOLD, MARION ROLLE, APAY & LEANNA PINDER, BRUCE THOMPSON & FAMILY, CLARENCE GIBSON & FAMILY, WILLIE MAURICE & FAMILY, JULIAN NEWBOLD & FAMILY, HENRY WHYTE & FAMILY, HARRIETTE PINDER & FAMILY, MONSIGNOR JOHN JOHNSON, FR. DAVID COOPER, MARA & MARIE JOHNSON, MONICA THOMPSON & FAMILY, MICHAEL JOHNSON & FAMILY, ETHEL WOOD & FAMILY, EDISON JOHNSON, NURSE PRISCILLA SCAVELLA & FAMILY, MARY CAMBRIDGE & FAMILY, JUDY JOHNSON, SABRINA PRATT & THE COMMUNITY OF COMFORT STREET, DEBRA MOXEY & FAMILY, PHILIP THOMPSON & FAMILY, HENRY SMITH, CHRISTOPHER & OLIVE KING, MRS. FRANCETTA FERGUSON, BRANHILDA WHITFIELD, MARGE KING, THE MAJOR FAMILY OF HARBOR ISLAND, ROY WILLIAMS, NURSE CAMBRIDGE & FAMILY, WILDA MATHER & FAMILY, MRS. GERALDINE WILSON & FAMILY, NOEL & HAZEL DARVILLE, ALTON POITIER, THE NURSES AND STAFF OF GREGORY TOWN, HATCHET BAY AND ROCK SOUND CLINIC, THE COMMUNITY OF GREGORY TOWN, ALONG WITH OTHER FAMILY AND FRIENDS TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 12-6:00 p.m. on Thursday & on Friday at the church in Eleuthera from 6:00 p.m. until service time on Saturday.
"Terrorism has become the systematic weapon of a war that knows no borders or seldom has a face."
-- Former French Prime Minister and President Jacques Chirac
Ten years ago, on September 11, 2001 the world as we all knew it - along with our everyday lives - changed forever. As we look back on what life was like before that fateful day, we can recall when there were no vigorous security checks, X-ray screenings or body searches at the airports. We were neither humiliated nor mortified by faceless functionaries who seem to delight in guaranteeing that our travel experiences are memorable for all the wrong reasons. We were even allowed to meet arriving travellers at their airline gate as they disembarked from their airplanes. Those days are gone forever, likely never to return.
Considering the radical changes that were precipitated by that historic day, we thought it would be useful to "Consider This": What lessons have we learned from 9/11?
Before we review the lessons learned, let's briefly examine some of the ways we have changed. First, we have developed a definitively defensive demeanor which seems to permeate our daily routines. We have become distrustful of others, perennial profilers to the point of paranoia, at times xenophobic and even racially biased toward persons of Middle Eastern origin. How many of us have not asked ourselves, if only subconsciously, if only for a brief moment, about the potential terrorist propensity of that Middle Eastern person boarding an airplane? It seems that, along with the destruction of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan and the attack on the Pentagon, we also lost a bit of our humanity and a lot of our innocence. As those towers fell and the heart of America's defense went up in flames and those planes became weapons on that bright September morning 10 years ago, the world became a less friendly place, transforming in a matter of moments into a place where the person sitting next to you on a plane could ultimately hold your life in his hands. We all instantly became hostages to those who would perpetrate terrorism on an unsuspecting world in the name of what they believed in.
Secondly, we have become considerably more security conscious. Acutely aware of our safety, we have become much less settled and more stressed in our spirit. This has become even more magnified by the level and the fear of crime that has seeped into our community. Suddenly those neighbors who keep to themselves became a focus of suspicion. Overnight, the seemingly mild-mannered man next door became malevolent, at least to our newly paranoid minds.
So what lessons have we learned from 9/11? If anything, we believe that while there are things that we have learned from this cataclysmic event, here in The Bahamas we have been more reactionary in our national development. We have essentially adopted many of the security procedures of the more developed societies without really being proactive and progressive in developing those things that will assist us in absorbing the external shocks that could result from the reoccurrence of a similar catastrophe.
For example, we have done little to enhance our food security. In those days following 9/11, when air and sea transport were at a standstill and we were cut off from all imported supplies, we learned that we had but a matter of weeks-worth of food at any time on this island.
Today, we are still too overly dependent on imported products, most notably food. Ten years after 9/11, we still do not produce sufficient food to feed ourselves if we were to be faced again with the closure of our airports and ports for an inordinately protracted period and food could not be imported into our country. Because of this, despite the warning that we got on 9/11, we could still experience severe food shortages. We should learn from countries like Israel or Jamaica how important it is to produce sufficient food internally to ensure that we do not starve if we were to be faced with another catastrophe.
We have not, although we should have seriously considered establishing strategic oil reserves. In the best of times, during relative peace and quiet, when things seem normal, we drive into gas stations only to learn that there is no gas available for our automobiles. Is it not ironic that in our second city there are adequate facilities to store strategic oil reserves to ensure that if we are cut off from the rest of the world for protracted periods, we would have adequate supplies to see us through an oil shortage crisis? It seems that we are committed to continue our complete dependence on fossil fuels to power the engines of our economy. However, we should urgently and proactively adopt a national policy of converting to alternate forms of energy. The obvious and real potential for converting to solar energy - an energy source no terrorist can take away - seems to have escaped our national consciousness.
A decade after 9/11, we are still overly dependent on our twin economic pillars of tourism and financial services. We are not suggesting that we should not continue to develop these two pillars, but we should do more to systematically diversify our economy. We should not wait for another global shock before we pay more than lip service to diversifying our economy. There are some basic steps that we need to take to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and grow our cottage industries to ensure that we are not overly dependent on the vagaries of global events.
Cable TV is replete with the threat of or actual terrorist activity in one country after another. This past weekend, the United States anxiously lived under a terrorist threat allegedly designed to coincide with the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Too often, we in The Bahamas unwittingly have a false sense of security that a terrorist event will not occur here. However, we should appreciate that, while we seem to be immune from such an attack, we should not relax our guard for a moment.
Al Qaeda and other extremist terrorist cells are fervently opposed and deeply committed to killing Americans, and it has probably not escaped them that our hotels and cruise ships represent targets that could be easily attacked, primarily because most of the tourists who use both are Americans. One of the lessons of 9/11 is that terrorists have targeted not only US homeland targets. They have attacked targets that they know American tourists frequent. We should disabuse ourselves that we could not become a target for their nefarious activities. No one is immune, and no country is invulnerable.
We should never forget the admonition of Jacques Chirac, the former Prime Minister and President of France, who reminded us that "terrorism has become the systematic weapon of a war that knows no borders or seldom has a face."
Perhaps the greatest lesson of 9/11 is that vigilance and proactive preparation and planning are our best offensive tools to ward off the devious and despicable deeds of those who are determined to unleash their destructive designs, demolishing and devastating all those things we hold dear. Until we understand that Ground Zero can be anywhere, even here, and that the ripple effects of a terrorist attack are what we must guard against and prepare for now, we are as vulnerable as the Trade Towers were, in all their majestic glory, shining in the September sun 10 years ago. We must embrace the idea that never again will we - along with the rest of the world - be caught defenseless by the evil that lives in some men's hearts and minds so that our families and our nation can live in peace and safety once more, realizing the dreams of our forefathers for our Bahamas.
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.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday accused the government of using "strong arm tactics" after it was discovered that PLP billboards about the record number of murders were torn down on the instruction of the government.
The billboards which read, 'Under the FNM government 490 plus murders', were taken down on the instruction of the Ministry of the Environment, Minister Earl Deveaux confirmed yesterday.
Davis held a press conference near the six-legged roundabout at John F. Kennedy Drive.
"These billboards which you see behind me, which have been torn down in numerous locations, and found in trash bins at government buildings, represent a larger pattern of strong-arm tactics normally associated with dictatorships.
"[Prime Minister Hubert] Ingraham has always been a bully. Now he seeks to be a dictator. He is crossing lines that have never been crossed before in the history of our democracy.
"His doing so signals his desperation and the desperation of those who require his continuation in power to keep their stranglehold on the Bahamian economy."
One of the billboards was on the Saunders Beach roundabout and another at Montagu - areas frequented by tourists.
PLP MP Fred Mitchell admitted yesterday that the PLP has received numerous complaints from its supporters and backers about the placement of certain billboards.
Tourism Minister Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace said tourists have also complained.
"They complained to our visitor information [desk]. [Some] people called in. Some of them have taken pictures of it," Vanderpool-Wallace said.
"We just hope that it's for their personal use and not something that's going to be publicized. But it's most unfortunate that in these kinds of times when we are just beginning to see a very robust rebound that someone would not think it a terrible thing to trash the country in such a way that the thing we rely on most heavily is going to be affected. It's most unfortunate."
But the PLP doesn't see it that way.
"We cannot hide the truth," Davis said.
"Are we about hiding the truth? Are we going to be concerned about the impression that the truth gives? The only way we can get rid of these things is to address the issue. The fact is that there were more than 490 murders in this country (since 2007), we can not run away from that."
Four-hundred and seventy-six murders have been recorded in The Bahamas since January 1, 2007, according to Nassau Guardian records.
At Montagu yesterday, one visitor said the billboard gave him the wrong impression.
"I thought [The Bahamas] had 490 murders this year and that concerned me a little bit because we have a lot of murders in the big city in Charlotte and so I thought that's a lot of murders," said Marshall Henson.
Asked what impression he got, he said, "It would determine whether we came back. If it's a crime ridden area, you don't want to come back."
When asked why instructions were given to remove the billboards, Deveaux explained that people have to get permission to put up public signs. However, he said that rule is usually relaxed during political season.
"But that is done with the understanding that nothing offensive to the public or harmful to the well being [of the] nation would be put up."
He added that signs that impair road visibility and road safety also pose a problem.
"We received a number of complaints from visitors, taxi drivers and the Ministry of Tourism about the signs," Deveaux said.
Yesterday afternoon, PLP work crews replaced the billboard that was removed from the six-legged roundabout.
One worker said he is prepared to replace all that have been removed.
Deveaux said the police have also been notified of the situation.
He said emergency crews will be called in to remove the signs relating to the murder rate wherever they are placed.
He explained that the police have been notified because when government workers removed one of the billboards it turned into a "hostile situation".
Deveaux added that instructions were only given for the billboards relating to the murder count to be removed.
However, Davis said several other billboards have been torn down, including ones relating to the high rate of unemployment and the ongoing roadworks.
A group of jet ski operators claimed yesterday that the government has lifted a moratorium on their industry and this could put them out of business.
"At this time we don't need the door open for persons to have an unlimited number of jet skis," said Philip Moss, who heads the Cable Beach Tropical Water Sports Association.
"It is not good for the industry because there is already a sufficient [number] of jet skis for the business [because] there is limited beaching space."
Moss said there are certain operators who are planning to introduce multiple jet skis to the industry.
"What's going to happen to the beach? This will turn Cable Beach into a battle ground because we plan to stand our ground," he said.
Moss claimed increased competition will lead to increased confrontation and possible violence among operators.
He added that some people already have a negative view of the water sports industry.
However, despite efforts to curb the negative image of water sports in the Bahamas and improvements made in regulating them by government, the high number of jet ski related accidents and in some cases loss of life has continued to taint the image of the sport in The Bahamas.
The U.S. Department of State website warns visitors about water sports rentals in The Bahamas stating that, "the water sports and scooter rental industries in The Bahamas are not carefully regulated. Every year people are killed or injured due to improper, careless, or reckless operation of scooters, jet skis, and personal watercraft or scuba/snorkeling equipment. Visitors should insist on seeing proof that operators have sufficient medical and liability insurance."