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News Article

January 26, 2013
Who are they fooling

Dear Editor,

Who do our government leaders think they are fooling? They say to us that if we - the
Bahamian people - would give them, on January 28, 2013, the mandate to demand that gambling remains an illegal operation they would abide by that directive.
They say - that with all the energy and willpower and manpower they could muster - they would without any delay execute an anti-gambling crusade in this nation. They say they would immediately impose that anti-gambling law.
Here is how this same truth is reinforced in the editorial of The Nassau Guardian of November, 19, 2012: "The stakes are high. The prime minister has said that he will shut down the web shops, if the Bahamians vote no. Many Bahamians think that he is joking regarding this promise."
Government leaders promise, in effect, that they would, if given the power to do so by the people, round-up, arrest, and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, even to the extent of imprisoning or fining or both, all such lawbreakers.
They promise that they would shut down every operation that attempts to foster illegal gambling endeavors: web shops, numbers houses, lotto outlets (all such except, of course, their cherished, well - protected casino operations).
That is what we hear them say - with emotional fervor and politically persuasive jargon.
Now, who do they think they are fooling?
Well, here is the ugly truth as it now stands, that we must all face up to. There is a law - now, this very minute - as I write now and as you read this document, which makes all gambling activities in the entire Commonwealth of The Bahamas illegal (except for the casino operations which have been granted temporary exemptions from the law).
At this very moment, government leaders, and all or any of their law enforcement agencies do not need one single citizen's vote to create that law or to execute it. It remains valid law on the books. It needs only obedience and submission to its present demands to be effective.
Yet, these same leaders are now, at this moment, not making any sincere effort to see that this presently existing anti-gambling law is upheld.
Quite to the contrary, they have given comfort to lawbreakers, even allowing them to advertise glamourously their criminal operations publicly without one single show of disapproval or resistance.
On Monday, December 3, 2012, in The Punch "Off the Political Cuff" under the byline "Web Shops must be careful not to battle the Church", the author made this assessment: "The prime minister and the PLP government have said from the outset they have 'no horse in the race', and while that is a noble approach to the situation it is well known that the present government in office for only a matter of months would not like to see the referendum fail."
From what source do you think the government authorities would suddenly and miraculously get the needed leadership courage, the united resolve, the clear conscience, the strong conviction or the moral backbone, or as we say in common language the "guts", to do what they know they must and should have been doing for a long time? Just because citizens in a referendum vote said no to gambling?
Who do you think they are fooling? Well, I say if these leaders are truthful and sincere about these statements then let them demonstrate it this very day; release that courage and just resolve, and take the necessary lawful posture now. Send out the riot squads and round up all they know are guilty lawbreakers.
If they could find it after January 28, 2013 - just days away - then why not pull it out of the reservoir now, when they already have a no vote.
Who do you think they are fooling?
Who but the least discerning can miss the very plain truth that the government leaders want the vote to be yes. They have made no attempt to make it appear otherwise and by various means are themselves promoting the yes vote.
With many references to the referendum, they plead added reasons, why a no vote would destabilize the economy, since they advocate that at least 3,000 jobs would be in jeopardy if a no vote ensues.
Government leaders are already calculating the added dollars brought in to the Public Treasury - when the yes vote comes in. What a whitewash of true democracy.
Here is a good example: I sat with hundreds of others - friends, family and well-wishers - to witness the passing of the baton from retiring Bishop Simeon Hall to his youthful successor. During that very inspiring three hours Dr. Timothy Stewart, the main speaker, delivered a well-crafted sermon stating most convincingly why Bahamians must not vote to make gambling legal. I have never heard him in better form.
However, when I watched the ZNS television newscast of that impressive service from New Covenant Baptist Church, all I heard and saw was the leader of the opposition, the prime minister and Bishop Simeon Hall.
Not only was there not even one excerpt from Pastor Timothy's 45-minute passionate sermon, but as far as I am aware, there was no reference to his name, even though he was the featured speaker for the occasion. The no vote advocate must not be given fair coverage. I am still alarmed at such a biased media coverage display of such a very historic happening in our church life.
I have always held a very high regard for Loftus Roker, even since the early fifties when we were teachers together. But that level escalated greatly when I read his very honest appraisal of our present national decline. I share wholeheartedly his evaluation that "legalizing gambling would be a negative move for The Bahamas 40 years after independence".
How brutally brunt was his evaluation of how low we have fallen when he so sincerely stated: "If he is doing something that is illegal now and is still illegal today, because nothing has changed and you know who he is... it is unbelievable what we have come to in The Bahamas, and I am saying then it appears to be no law and order in the country."
How low we have fallen. What depths of poor governance and base principles of life we are so boldly showcasing. I lament with the ancient prophet Israel and apply it to my own country The Bahamas: "Hear this solemn sermon of truthful warning: 'Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light; and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isa 5:20 (N.I.V.).

- Rex Major

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News Article

February 04, 2013
The People were wise on gaming

Dear Editor, The so-called gambling referendum is history, and a resounding no is the order of the day. Punch drunk and shell shocked is the yes crew as it ridicules the opponents of web shop gaming and a national lottery.

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News Article

February 02, 2013
Dennis Dames: Autopsy Report on the Recent Gambling Referendum in The Bahamas

Dear Editor,

The
so called gambling referendum is history, and a resounding no - is the
order of the day.  Punch drunk and shell shocked is the yes crew - as
they ridicule the opponents of web shop gaming, and a national lottery.

Who
called the game in the first instance, and why were they so persuaded
that yes to their questions of legitimizing web shop gaming, and
instituting a national lottery would have prevailed at the end of the
day?

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News Article

January 28, 2013
The journey of a Junkanoo icon - Charles Michael Wright

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- As the 14th annual Junior Junkanoo parade prepares to hit the streets of downtown Freeport on February 2nd, we take a look at the life of a Junkanoo icon - Charles Michael Wright.
Mr. Charles Michael Wright a.k.a "Mickey "was born on September 27th, 1952 in the capital city of Nassau, New Providence - Bahamas. He is married to his beloved wife Parell J. Wright Nee Clarke in 1978, and they are bless with one daughter, Vantona K. Townes Nee Wright, Five sons,  Yeovil, Tavarz, Keron, Malik and Michael Wright.
Junkanoo Affiliation and Involvement
In his words:
From early childhood time was spent in and around the two Junkanoo Shacks of "Punch Bowl Junkanoo Group" (Forerunner of the Famous and Innovative VIKINGS Junkanoo Group); one on South Street directly opposite my grandmother's house and the other on West Street in Sax Taylors yard.

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News Article

June 16, 2011
Erwin Wilfred 'Shorty' Pratt, 81

Erwin Wilfred "Shorty" Pratt, 81, of New Hope Drive, Joan's Heights, and formerly of Cabbage Point, Long Island will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2011  at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady's of the Holy Souls Catholic Church, Deveaux Street.  Officiating will be Rev. Fr. Alain Laverne M.Div. assisted by Deacons Peter Rahming and Maxwell Johnson. Interment will follow in Lakeview Memorial Gardens, John F. Kennedy Drive.
Left to cherish his fond memories are: his Wife: Diane Pratt nee Watson; Daughter: Grace Beneby; Sisters: Suzanne Martinbourgh and Joanna Allen;  Brother: James Pratt; Grandsons:  David Jr., Dwayne Sr., Dwight and Dario Beneby; Granddaughters:  Shura Pratt and D'Andjoua Beneby; Great-grandchildren: Candy, D'Asante, Dwayne Jr., Devin, Delshaune, D'Andgelo, Jaduan and Kendel Beneby,  Jue-Henri Darville, Amberlee Pratt, and Christanique Mackey; Mother-in-Law: Rev. Francina Watson; Daughter-in-law:  Darnell Ritchie Pratt; Sister-in-law : Mavis Pratt and Patricia Pratt; Granddaughter- In-Law: Magerette Beneby; Stepdaughter: Charvari Watson; Adopted Son: Jonathan Pratt; Nieces:  Margaret Knowles, Dolly Ferguson, Jenny Colo, Jackie Cooper, Francillon Martinborough, Joanne Martinborough, Margaret Major, Pamela Smith, Kendra Rolle, Maria Rolle, Emily Martinborough, Maria Darville, Jelva Cartwright, Eugenie Cartwright, Ola Turnquest, Shirley Gomez,  Camelta Treco, Tionette Major, Julie Bullard, Rev. Paula Cartwright, Albertha Clincy, Felicity Walker, Sister Felicity Pratt, Elese Smith, Natasha Pratt, Carla Pratt, Erica Kemp, Denise Bordezux, Nicole Holley, Barbara Albury, Joy Darville, Shirley Russel, Linda Sawyer Magaret, Andrew Swan, Janet Hunt, Paulette Pratt, Linda Pratt, Jamie Pratt, Christina Pratt, Gabriel Pratt, Shantel Smith, Andria Smith, Sophia Smith, Nasah Minis, and Carla Luna; Nephews: Bernard, Anthony, Corneilus, Tony, Needlie Martinborough Jr., Rudolph, Leo, Ken, Edward Pratt, Capt. John Pratt, , Former Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson,  George Knowles; Nathaniel Rolle, Micheal Rolle, Jonathan Pratt, Bernard Shepherd, Patrick Hanna; Simeon Cartwright, Mattheias Cartwright, Elgin Major, Elkanah Major, Nigel, Miguel, and Lavar Pratt, Peter, Glenroy Pratt, Terrence Pratt, Kirk Darville, Matthew Darville, David Darville, Raymond Darville, Robert Darville, Aaron Darville, Andrew Pratt, James Pratt Jr., Philip Pratt, John Pratt.; Special Friends and Family: Father Paschal Ukpeh and the Resurrection Catholic Church Family,  Eian, Nicole, & Nioka Rolle, Carlton Cartwright & Family, Rev. Dr. King, Lockwood Deleveaux, The Hillside Family, Min. Sarah Ferguson and Family Wendy, Carla, Demeter, Stacy, Jeremy, Rose Brown and Family, James Adderly and Family, Keith Rolle and Family, Rachael Culmer and Family, Falcon Major & Family, Patrice and Melinda and Family. Gregory Davis and Family, Leon "Puncho" Sturrup and Family, Ezra Cartwright and Family, Kevin & Angela Pratt and Family, The Darville Family, Cartwright Family, The Major Family, The Martinborough Family, The Mortimer Family, The Turnquest Family, The Taylor Family, The Treco Family, Daniel Cartwright & Family, The  Munroe Family, Joan's Heights Community Close Friends and Relatives: Dr. Fredrick Smith and Staff of Hamm-Rapp Medical Center, Dr. Morgan, Dr. Grant -Taylor, Dr. Shea,   Doctors Hospital, Princesses Margaret Hospital - Private Medical Ward, M.P Frank Smith, St. Thomas More Constituency, M.P Brandville McCartney, Bamboo Town Constituency, Altheameze & Denise Watson, Marvin and Johnny Watson,  Jonathan Jr. Jemia, Jonnique, Jade, Joshua Pratt, and De 'angelo Rolle, Heman Nixion of Green Castle, Eleuthera; Samuel Butler of Ghoul's Fl., Alexander Butler & William Butler, Louella Watkins; Decola Mackey of Delray Beach, Fl; & Cathlean Butler, Agatha Gomes & Family, Merlene Dean  & Family, The Ritchie Family, The Higgs Family, Mrs. Lewis & Family, Friends of Ed Whites Hideaway, Step Street, Fox Hill
Friends may pay their last respects at Butler's Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Ernest and York Streets on Friday June 17, 2011 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and at the church on Saturday from 9:00 a.m.

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News Article

February 14, 2013
Leadership by Referendum

Dear Editor,
The Rt. Honorable Prime Minister has a golden opportunity to carve out what could be his political legacy. He must come to realize, however, that he And his gold rush administration were actually elected by a large number of Bahamians to govern The...

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News Article

May 05, 2014
Nottage: No prior info on Cash matter

Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said on Saturday he had no prior knowledge that police planned to execute a search warrant at the home of Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash, nor did he inquire about details after learning of the incident.
When contacted for comment, Cash told The Nassau Guardian that "ignorance" seems to be a convenient excuse for the Christie administration.
On Thursday, Leader of the Opposition Dr. Hubert Minnis accused the government of orchestrating a "political witch hunt" against Cash.
But Nottage called this statement "foolish".
Nottage said Minnis' suggestions that the seizure of two laptops and a smartphone from Cash's home by police on Thursday was politically motivated "smacks of political mischief".
"But that's not surprising to anybody because the opposition leader is becoming known as one who routinely puts his foot in his mouth with inappropriate and off-colored remarks," Nottage said.
"For the record, as the substantive minister responsible [for] the Ministry of National Security, I take the lead in setting government policy.
"I do not interfere with the operations of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) as that is the responsibility of the commissioner of police and his executive team according to the dictates of the law.
"As trained officers in law enforcement, the police were simply discharging their duties under the law and the person of Mr. Cash is immaterial to the job of the police as nobody is above the law."
Minnis said he was not in a position to comment when contacted yesterday.
He did say the FNM will hold a rally tomorrow night and will discuss further action at a council meeting tonight.
However, Cash said he was not surprised by Nottage's statement.
"One needs not to have been a minister to know that rule number one of Cabinet government is that ministers are responsible for their own acts and the acts of their departments. Ignorance is no excuse, except under Perry Christie."
He added: "Neither he nor the prime minister seem to know or own up to what is happening in the RBPF unless and until it is convenient for them.
"As to the minister of national security's lame claim that no one is above the law, that is a big joke. If he turns to his left and right in Cabinet he will see at least two fellow ministers who have violated the existing data privacy laws."
Cash said Nottage has tried to distance himself from the police force's alleged "wire-tapping and eavesdropping of the phones of opposition politicians and other targets of his government's wrath".
On Thursday, three officers seized the items from Cash's home, reportedly in connection to a probe into the alleged leak of confidential information from the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB).
FNM Senator Carl Bethel, Cash's lawyer, has said the items were grabbed out of Cash's hands and taken by police. Bethel also said police "refused to deliver or leave a copy of the 'search warrant'" with his client.
Bethel said he will appear before Senior Justice Jon Isaacs on Wednesday to challenge the constitutionality of police search and seizure.
The FNM raised concerns about BOB after The Punch reported a series of allegations regarding loans from the bank.
Cash has spoken out on the issue several times over the past few months.
On Friday Cash denied that he or his wife, who works at BOB, are behind alleged leaks of sensitive bank information.

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News Article

April 03, 2014
A critical analysis of the 26th BAAA National High School Track and Field Championships, part 1

There is so much to say about the 26th Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) National Track and Field Championships, which was held last weekend, that we decided to have two parts.
The Scotiabank BAAA National Track and Field Championships saw much excitement and great competition between athletes and schools from around the nation. Scotiabank (Bahamas) Ltd. continues to give great support to this national event even in the wake of tough economic times. The Ministry of Education has stepped up to the plate in a big way and we anticipate their involvement will be increased in the near future.
This year they allowed the public school students to attend the championships on the Friday of the meet.
The switch of divisions
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has encouraged various regions in the world to standardize their competition in line with their world youth championships age category of under-18 as compared to under-17 that has been used in the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) region for years.
Prior to this year, the age categories were: under-20, under-17, under-15 and under-13. Now the categories are: under-20, under-18, under-16 and under-14. This means that those athletes who are 17 this year would have moved up to under-20 but now are in the under-18 group. This also means that the under-17, under-15, and under-13 records remain and the performances in the new age groups will also become records. So the only records broken over the weekend were those in the under-20 division. Regardless to this, the competition and excitement remained supreme.
Under-20 male records set
The oldest record set over the weekend was that of the under-20 boys 4x400 meters (m) relay. This record of 3:18.2 was set by Bishop Michael Eldon, or Freeport High, in the inaugural event in 1989. In the final event of the championships on Saturday, the boys from Moore's Island shattered that record with a time of 3:14.65. That was simply amazing and this Moore's Island team "punched their ticket" to the Penn Relays, sponsored by the BAAA. Their team consisted of Devano Mackey, Shakeem Henchell, Brandon Davis and Steven Gardiner.
They were five seconds ahead of Doris Johnson and certainly looked like they could do much better with the competition in Philly. Gardiner also placed his name in the record books before this when he ran 20.68 seconds in the 200m in the semi-final with a wind reading of 2.0 mps. That time smashed Catholic High's Marcus Knowles 21.11 seconds time, set in 1991.
In the under-20 boys 800m, Claudius Russell of Doris Johnson ran 1:57.12 to break Presley Sargent's record of 1:58.7 which was set in 1991. Sargent attended St. John's College. Doris Johnson had its day in the sun when their under-20 boys broke the 4x100m record of Moore's Island with a 41.60 seconds performance. The old record was 41.73 seconds. Doris Johnson's team was made up of Burton Oliver, Adrian Gibson, Shanton Pratt and Janeko Cartwright.
St. Augustine's College (SAC) refused to be left out of the record haul when Blayre Catalyn, Kieanna Albury, Dreshanae Rolle and Makeya Whyte ran 45.90 seconds, breaking their record set in 2013, of 46.60 seconds. That team included Devynne Charlton, Makeya Whyte, Dannielle Gibson and Kieanna Albury.
Finally, IAAF World Youth participant Denzel Pratt, of SAC, won the javelin with a throw of 65.93m (216' 3"), breaking the old record of 60.71m (199' 2") set in 1992 by Jermaine Curry of L.W. Young.
One of the most outstanding performances of the meet was the 3:18.18 run by the Queen's College Comets in the 4x400m. Running for the Comets were Tre Adderley, Branson Rolle, Brentan Edwards and Kaze Poitier. They really "turned it on" and we see bright hope for the school in the next few years.
Those records set in 1989 in the under-20 division that still remain are: Daphne Saunders - High Jump - 1.77m (5' 9-1/2"); Long Jump - 5.97m (19' 7"); and Heptathlon- 4,592 points; Garrette Flowers - High Jump - 2.16m (7' 1"); and Kevin Smith - Decathlon - 5,872 points.
There were upsets and great performances by numerous schools and athletes, and we will talk about them in part two of this series.

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News Article

March 05, 2012
Another unanimous win for Taureano Johnson

Two weeks after he scored a unanimous victory, Bahamian middleweight fighter Taureano Johnson stepped back into the ring, putting together a series of punches that will keep his winning streak on the professional level going.
A six-rounder with Edvan dos Santos Barros was held at the Westin Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida on Friday night. Not even a cut, underneath the right eyebrow, suffered in the opening minutes of the first round, could slow down Johnson. He landed a number of punches throughout the fight to win every round.
"It was a difficult fight. I went up against a very tough fighter," said Johnson, who improved to 7-0, 5KOs with the win. "He is an experienced fighter, an ESPN and HBO favorite. He has a good record, more than 28 fights, but that didn't stop me from going in there and giving it my all. I landed a lot of vicious punches, power punches and combinations. My technique, speed and condition, everything was perfect, but he is tough and I know that the knockout would have been hard. I didn't get to pull it off like I wanted to.
"A victory is all good for me. I consider myself to be the number one fighter in the world, not just in the Caribbean or in The Bahamas. I consider myself to be a world champion so in that case, in order to compete with the guys on that level, I should be able to take out my opponents with ease. I took the fight every round, won on a unanimous decision but I am not too pleased with the results. Not getting the knockout was tough."
Johnson moved up from the amateur ranks, turning professional in 2010. His debut was against Cleoney Fuqua, March 5 in Atlanta, Georgia. He knocked out Fuqua in the first round. Ever since, Johnson has been landing the knockout blows. His bout against Ryan Bianchini was stopped in the first round as well. That fight was held in Memphis, Tennessee on April 16, 2010. Several days later Johnson went up against Anthony Bowman and knocked him out in the fourth round. His last fight in 2010 was against Roy Ashworth. That bout took place in Tunica, Mississippi in July. He won in the first round.
Johnson said he used last year to "clean up" his boxing affairs, and as a result he did not fight. He is now under new management and has a loaded schedule.
Johnson said: "It is kind of complex when it comes to the professional ranks. I went to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and thank God I was able to make it through that and qualify, but right now, as it stands, I was off for 14 months after being under a very difficult contract. Right now I only have seven fights so I am way behind. I am with new management now. My management has gotten me three fights in less than eight weeks. I think that deserves an applause. Eight weeks and I have already gotten three fights - this is a boxer's dream."
The middleweight fighter has already stepped into the ring twice for the year and will return to the ring again at the end of the month. Johnson's opponent for the March 31 fight is still unknown. The fight will take place in New York.

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News Article

November 23, 2013
Who is trying to intimidate The Punch

Dear Editor,

It has often been said that journalism or the press is the fourth estate. The first estate is the clergy; the second the nobles, and the third the commoners.
Journalists play a pivotal role in democratic nations. They are the ones who keep the government honest and accountable by asking the hard questions and by sounding the alarm when there is governmental misconduct. They form that important informative bridge between the commoner and the state. Had it not been for the fourth estate, Bahamians, by and large, would still be groping around in the intellectual dark age. I believe that past governments in The Bahamas have fallen at the polls during general elections due to the immense influence of the fourth estate. Whether we would want to admit it or not, the media has helped to mold and shape the political views of thousands of Bahamians during election time.
That is why authoritarian, autocratic, totalitarian, despotic and dictatorial regimes have an irrational hatred for the fourth estate. Indeed, rogue regimes view journalists as nagging thorns in the flesh. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an astounding 45 journalists were killed this year alone. Seventy-three were killed in 2012. Countries such as Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, the Philippines, Mexico, Bahrain, Cote d'Ivoire and Egypt are extremely dangerous for journalists. In countries such as these, members of the fourth estate have been arrested, censored, threatened, physically assaulted and murdered. Bahamians must be wondering if the November 18 failed grenade attack on The Punch tabloid is an indication that some criminally minded elements in our society are now attempting to silence the fourth estate by acts of violence. Obviously, somebody's feathers were ruffled.
This could potentially be a dangerous trend in the making. I don't recall ever hearing of Bahamian journalists being attacked or targeted in this fashion. Usually, enemies of the fourth estate in The Bahamas would use economic warfare to get back at journalists for mashing their "corns". For what it's worth, the failed grenade attack was nothing short of terrorism. Bahamian journalists have for years endured maltreatment at the hands of government officials who viewed them as not being of the same political persuasion because they dared to ask simple and straightforward questions.
In the pre-1992 Bahamas, the politicians we hired to manage our affairs seemed to have been offended at the mere thought of being accountable to us. I know of two journalists who were persecuted by the government in the 1980s. One is now in the bosom of the current Christie administration. The political victimization of the fourth estate is an ancient practice that has spanned the duration of the independent Bahamas. And for all intents and purposes, it is here to stay.
The failed grenade attack on The Punch is a somber reminder of this sad fact.

- Kevin Evans

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