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"We are symbols, and inhabit symbols." Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Bahamas attained its independence from Great Britain 38 years ago, a very short time by any measure. During that period, much has been accomplished as a nation, but much more work remains if we are to advance as a mature democracy. One of the obvious manifestations of nationhood can be observed in the national symbols that we erect around us. Therefore, this week we would like to Consider This... what about our national symbols? Have we distinguished ourselves in developing our national symbols or in like so many other ways, have we failed to rise to the occasion?
Generally, national symbols are supposed to help to uniquely define who we are and what our values are. These symbols are considered to be a manifestation of a people, embodiments of a nation's unique culture, history and values. They are intended to unite a people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of national pride and goals that would make them stand out among other nations. For example, when we see the "stars and stripes" or the "hammer and the sickle" we immediately and automatically recognize which nations are being represented.
The most common national symbols are the flag of a nation, its coat of arms, its motto, national colors, and most importantly, its national anthem. These symbols are often rallied around as part of celebrations of patriotism or aspiring nationalism such as independence, autonomy or separation movements and are designed to be inclusive and representative of all the peoples of that community. National symbols are essential to the development of patriotism and national pride.
The Bahamas has its own national symbols, most of which were adopted with the attainment of national Independence in 1973. Prior to our liberation from the British, our coat of arms bore the Latin insignia "Expulsis Piratis, Restituta Commercia" which every pre-Independence Bahamian student knew translated that once we expelled the pirates, trade was restored to The Bahamas. We replaced both with the coat of arms and the motto for a new Bahamas with "Forward, Upward, Onward Together". Our Founding Fathers also liberated us from the pre-colonial national anthem of "God Save the Queen" to a far more indigenous "March on Bahamaland".
So what developments have we witnessed in our national symbols since that first Independence government? Unfortunately and shamefully few! With the exception of recognizing a few of our national heroes on our Bahamian currency, all of whom, incidentally, were male political luminaries, woefully little progress has been made in this regard. And that is a real tragedy.
To make it a bit clearer, just think about the major countries around the world and how you can almost learn their history and their values by walking the streets of their cities where you are greeted by statues of their heroes and patriots, those individuals whose contributions are inextricably intertwined with the patrimony of that country. Now cast your eyes on our Bahamas.
With a lengthy history that spans over 500 years on the world stage, the most prominent statues commemorate the contributions of foreigners to the Bahamian story. First we have an Italian, by way of Spain, Admiral Christopher Columbus, a controversial figure but one whose name and that of The Bahamas are forever joined. The statue itself, designed by world famous author Washington Irving, very out of place in its rather inappropriate location on the steps of Government House, was a gift in the 1830s from Governor James Carmichael Smith, a man whose dedication to the idea of abolition made him very popular with the enslaved people he championed and reviled by slave owners.
Then we have the statue of Woodes Rogers, former privateer and the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas Islands, which stands commandingly outside of the British Colonial Hilton, built on the site of Fort Nassau, reminding everyone of how he earned his fame as the scourge of the pirates by hanging nearly a dozen at one time at that Fort. Finally, there is the statue of Queen Victoria, seated since the early 1900s in her marble glory in Parliament Square, in front of our Houses of Parliament.
Indisputably, these three individuals made contributions to The Bahamas. But so did many others who, other than Sir Milo Butler, whose bust presides over Rawson Square, are uncommemorated and uncelebrated by tangible bronze or marble representations that would stand forever to remind Bahamians and visitors alike of who was responsible for the creation of the modern Bahamas. The only other statue that graces our downtown hub was created by the same person who created the bust of Sir Milo, Randolph Johnston. Ironically, it is a bronze statue that stands on Prince George Dock, nicknamed "Bahamian Madonna", depicting a nameless Bahamian woman carrying a child. She is a strong national symbol of how Bahamian mothers have stood strong over the centuries, often in the face of adversity, raising generations of children whose contributions are unknown and, like the "Madonna's" name, long forgotten.
Our public spaces need to be filled with the figures of those Bahamian men and women who fought alongside Sir Milo to make The Bahamas a stable, prosperous and independent nation. We need to see statues everywhere of not only our political leaders but also those who led us in other areas. On the grounds of our hospital, how about a statue of one of our leading doctors or nurses or midwives? And then, if ever we have a proper arts center, why not a statue of one or more of the Bahamian giants in the field of the arts? Outside of our Ministry of Education, why not have a statue of one of our great educators? In fact, each of our Ministries should have its own statue of someone whose contributions helped to advance that field. Our children should be able to point with pride at these statues that symbolize national excellence and tell their stories instead of merely knowing their names in connection with schools or roads or airports.
Moreover, our Houses of Parliament should be adorned not just with paintings of British personalities who had little, if anything, to do with The Bahamas. We should commission artists - Bahamian artists - to paint glorious portraits of those whose voices reverberated in vigorous debate through those chambers and whose ideas shaped and produced our modern age. Those are the familiar Bahamian faces that our current and future parliamentarians should see as they go about conducting the business of the nation, not those of strangers to our islands.
There is one other national symbol that we are lacking - and its lack is becoming a national embarrassment. Just before Independence, a committee was formed by the House to identify a location for an official residence for the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, a place where he could welcome those dignitaries who would be coming to help celebrate our new nationhood. A place was identified and everything was in place until an inadvertent and ill-advised slip of the tongue in a Cabinet meeting derailed the entire project. But that is long past and today we are still without an official place where our Prime Minister can have his offices, his residence and show the proper respect to distinguished visitors by having state dinners in a place established by the state.
There is no reason why we have to take our visiting dignitaries to a hotel - and one not even owned by a Bahamian - to dine with our leaders on state occasions. We are world famous as hospitable people, a nation that welcomes visitors from all over into our homes and our hearts. Why is it, then, that our leaders don't have a national "home" that would symbolize all of our homes into which to welcome those most important visitors who really merit the very best in Bahamian hospitality, not the cold impersonal welcome of a hotel?
It is time, then, that we develop these national symbols and surround ourselves and our visitors with commemorations of Bahamian pride, displaying for all the world to see those men and women of whom we are most proud. And it is past time that we have a house that symbolizes the Bahamian House and is the home of our leaders and the place where quintessential Bahamian hospitality can be displayed. It is time to rise to this occasion and, as we near our fourth decade of independence, start to develop true national symbols that will endure and celebrate all we believe in and all that make us unique for centuries to come.
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 email@example.com.
Police yesterday captured two people suspected of being involved in a string of recent armed robberies in south-western New Providence after a high-speed chase ended on Cowpen Road.
Police said the chase began around 3:30 p.m. when a grey Nissan Altima, which fit the description of a vehicle involved in a number of armed robberies in the area, was spotted in the vicinity of the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.
Police Constable 3353 Brown, a mobile officer, said he was one of the first officers to respond to the call to apprehend the suspects.
"We pulled just to the rear of the vehicle, at which point the two occupants (a man and a woman) sped off in a southern direction headed onto Cowpen Road," Brown said. "The vehicle came to a rest just east of Golden Isles Road."
Footage of the crash captured by security cameras at Mac Stop and Shop convenience store in Bettidel's Plaza on Cowpen Road, showed that the car barreled through the chain link fence of a building next door to the plaza.
After the crash, the unarmed man who was driving tried to get out of the car, but found that the door on the driver's side was blocked. He exited the car by crawling over the woman in the passenger seat. However, he was too dazed and police were too quick for him to make it very far.
Officers had their guns drawn on the man and woman within seconds.
The woman, who appeared unhurt, was forced to exit the car at gunpoint. She was placed in a squad car and taken in for questioning. The man was taken to the hospital via ambulance.
By LAMECH JOHNSON
A BRIEF mix-up in court yesterday saw the wrong man appear in connection with an attempted murder charge.
John Augustine, 26, of Andros Avenue, was supposed to be charged before Magistrate Guillimina Archer in Court 10, Nassau Street in connection with the shooting of Mario Bowe.
However, before he could be brought down by the police, another John Augustine - a 30-year-old resident of Carmichael Road - appeared before the court to plead his innocence.
After the Carmichael Road Mr Augustine answered the judge's questions and insisted he was not involved in the matter, the prosecution revealed that it has statements on file from both men, and admitted that there was a ...
Thursday 19th May 2011 7:00 PM
19th - 21st May, 2011 7:00 p.m. Bahamas Faith Ministries International, The Diplomat Center on Carmichael Road Hosted by Dr. Myles Munroe & Pr. Mark Bethel Theme: The Kingdom Culture of Worship General Registration: $80.00/Tracks: $30.00/All Day Pass: $60.00 7:30 p.m. Evening Sessions are FREE For Musician, Singers, Dancers, Mime, Dramatists, Pastors, Fine Arts Leaders Come and learn about Worship in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father YaHuWaH (YHWH) our Elohim and His only begotten Son, Yahushua Ha'Mashiyach. For more info please visit www.bfmmm.com or call 242-461-6400.
Marcus Stuart, a father of seven, stood in line at Chelsea's Choice for over an hour yesterday, desperate to get drinking water for his family as he prepared for Hurricane Irene.
Stuart arrived shortly after 1 p.m. and met more than 70 people already waiting on the outside of the gate, braving the heat.
"I have to get water because I have my kids," Stuart said.
"I need water. Right now there's no water at home. And right now down in Carmichael Road where I'm living there's hardly any water at the pumps. The rain comes harder than that. It'll take me the better part of 20 minutes to fill up one bottle. I tried this morning. That's why I'm trying to get the water now."
When The Nassau Guardian visited a government pump yesterday afternoon, the water pressure was extremely low. One woman who filled up six one gallon bottles and was attempting to fill the seventh estimated that it took her about 30 minutes.
Stuart said he also planned to go to a grocery store to stock up on canned goods. "I want to get as much canned food goods as I can," he said.
"I already have my hurricane shutters. I hope I have enough [flash lights] and batteries and basic things that we need." Stuart was one of many people stocking up on hurricane supplies yesterday.
Charlton Burrows, the produce manager at Solomon's Supercenter, told The Nassau Guardian that food items were flying off the shelves.
Store clerks were forced to restock items including water, tuna, corned beef, bread, noodles and fruits throughout the day.
Burrows said the store could run out of tuna and water by today if sales continue as they did yesterday.
Grocery stores, hardware stores, water depots and gas stations across New Providence were all crowded, with people hoping to get the bare essentials before the arrival of Hurricane Irene.
According to the Department of Meteorology, the storm will arrive in New Providence sometime tonight or early tomorrow.
Myrtle Rolle, whose cart was filled with groceries as she browsed through Solomon's Supercenter, said she was also shopping for her family. Among the items in her cart were canned goods, juices, crackers and water. She said her husband was at home getting the house ready.
By yesterday afternoon, many businesses already had hurricane shutters on windows and doors. Many businesses also plan to close shop early today to allow their employees to prepare for the storm.
Manager of JBR Hardware Adrian Burrows said the store was busy all day yesterday. He said while the circumstances surrounding the rush were not ideal, the store welcomed the business, as it had been sitting on some goods for a long time.
Burrows said the store was stocked with many hurricane supplies; however, he said it may run out of batteries by today.
Kenya Sherman, 40, of Pinewood, used her lunch break yesterday to shop. She said it was the only time she had to prepare for the storm. Yesterday she bought five five-gallon bottles of water, and bags of canned good. She said her home was already prepared.
Marcha Smith, 32, said her only concern was filling up her car with gasoline.
"I'm filling both my car and my husband's car," she said, while waiting in line at Esso Service Station on Bernard Road.
"If the storm comes and the gas shipments are delayed I'll have some gas in my car," Smith said.
"I already got my food and drinks. I bought a generator. My husband is putting the plywood on the windows, so this is the last thing on the list."
The storm is expected to remain over New Providence until Friday morning.
WESTERN DISTRICT (NEW PROVIDENCE)
Bahamas Association for the Physically Disabled
Dolphin Drive (242)322-2393/328-1020
Church of God of Prophecy Gambier
Gambier Village (242) 322-3097/322-3241
Hillview Seventh day Adventist Church
Tonique Williams-Darling Drive (242) 361-8683
Mount Moriah Baptist Church
Farrington Road (242) 323-1747
New Providence Community Centre
Blake Road (242) 327-1660
Tonique Williams-Darling Drive
CENTRAL DISTRICT (NEW PROVIDENCE)
Calvary Bible Church
Collins Avenue (242) 326-0800
Church of God of Prophecy
East & Lifebouy Streets (242) 322-8376
Church of God of Prophecy Augusta & Patton Streets
Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church
St Charles Vincent Street (242) 322-8161
Meadow and West Streets (242) 323-5608
St. Barnabas Anglican Church
Blue Hill and Wulff Roads (242) 323-5995
St. John's Baptist Cathedral Educational Building
Augusta & South Streets
EASTERN DISTRICT (NEW PROVIDENCE)
Church of God Auditorium
Joe Farrington Road
Epworth Hall at Shirley Street
St. James Road (242) 393-7398
Epiphany Anglican Church
Prince Charles Drive 242-364-2884 / 242-324-7639
Holy Cross Anglican Church
Soldier Road (242) 393-2428
Kemp Road Union Baptist Church
Kemp Road (242) 393-5932
Pilgrim Baptist Church
St. James Road (242) 393-3644
St. Mary's Hall, St. Augustine
Bernard Road, Fox Hill (242) 324-1511
SOUTHERN DISTRICT (NEW PROVIDENCE)
Agape Full Gospel Baptist Church
Kennedy Subdivision (242) 328-6937
Golden Gates Assembly
Carmichael Road (242) 361-3347
Goodnews Seventh-day Adventist Church
New Bethlehem Baptist Church
Independence Drive (242) 341-8432
Southwest Cathedral Church of God
Carmichael Road (242) 341-2601
Funeral service for Mildred Christina Knowles , 65, a resident of Unison Road off Carmichael Road, who died on 29th January, 2012, will be held at Cousin McPhee Cathedral, Carmichael Road, on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Officiating will be Dr. Ranford Patterson. Interment follows in Southern Cemetery, Cowpen & Spikenard Roads.
Precious memories will be cherished in the hearts of her loving and wonderful husband: Everette Knowles; 4 sons: Rodwell, Johnathan, Everete Jr. and Leafred Knowles (deceased); 2 stepsons: Jeffery and Carlton Knowles; 5 daughters: Debra, Merciann and Ginger Knowles, Norma Bethel, Gaynell Sands; 1 step daughter: Oraley Smith; grandchildren: Larry, Rodman, Lakeshia, Shawniniqua, Arq ...
Full Military Service for the late Assistant Superintendent of Police Edger Bain, 49, of #10 Bink Hill Road Freeport Grand Bahama and formerly of Nassau, New Providence will be held on Friday March 2, 2012 at 10:00am at the Bahamas Christian Fellowship, Carmichael Road Officiating will be Apostle Paul Butler. Interment will follow in Lakeview Memorial Gardens, John F. Kennedy and Gladstone Road.
Left to cherish fond memories are his: Wife: Paulette Bain; Children: Monalisa, Moses and Joshua; Step children: CJ, Arianne and Ra-Chea; Brothers: Preston and Kirklyn Bain; Sisters-in-law: Sandra and Christina Bain; Grandson: Tayvion Tucker; Uncles: Wilfred and ...
Nassau Police Uncover Firearm Ammunition - Selective Enforcement Team Team (Set) Make Drug Arrest - Traffic Fatality Update
Police Uncover Firearm & Ammunition: Police uncovered an illegal pistol along with a quantity of ammunition from the rear of a home in Flamingo Gardens on Sunday 16th December, 2012...
Selective Enforcement Team Team (Set) Make Drug Arrest:
Officers of the Selective Enforcement Unit arrested four (4) males after they were found in possession of a quantity of suspected marijuana...
Traffic Fatality Update:
Police are investigating a traffic accident that has left a 23 year old female of Bellot Road off Carmichael Road, dead...
Funeral service for Evangelist Mildred Christina Knowles, 65 yrs., a resident of Unison Road off Carmichael Road, who died on 29th January, 2012, will be held at Cousin McPhee Cathedral, Carmichael Road, on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Officiating will be Dr. Ranford Patterson. Interment follows in Southern Cemetery, Cowpen & Spikenard Roads.
Precious memories will be cherished in the hearts of her loving and wonderful husband: Everette Knowles; 4 sons: Rodwell, Johnathan, Everete Jr. and Leafred Knowles (deceased); 2 stepsons: Jeffery and Carlton Knowles; 5 daughters: Debra, Merciann and Ginger Knowles, Norma Bethel, Gaynell Sands; 1 step daughter: Oraley Smith; grandchildren: Larry, Rodman, Lakeshia, Shawniniqua, Arqualla, Pricilla, Rodwell Jr, Theo, Dancia, Jacara Knowles, Shrelle, Rochelle, Troy Jr. McDonald, Pamela, Chardeeka, Dwaniqueka, Dominqua Bethel, Angela, Angel Brown, Travis, Corey, Rashad Higgs, Anishka, Daraneshia Williams, Neil Jr., Antonio & Gaynell Enda Sands; 1 daughter-in-law: Denise Knowles; 3 sons-in-law: Neil Sands Sr., Dwayne Bethel and Shadrac Chalton; 5 sisters: Olivia Mackey of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Dora Saunders, Monalida Demeritte, Clothilda Saunders, Elizabeth Slack; 5 sisters-in-law: Ulrica Coleby, Gloretta Duncombe, Ivy, Gertrude and Geneva Knowles; 7 brothers-in-law; Charles, Hector, Christopher, Nevelle and Arnold Knowles of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Steven Slack, Leon Brown; great grand children: Shaquel, Amaya, Craig Jr., Hannah, Kaylin, Adrian, Jason, Randy, Mia; nieces: Arlene of Miami, Fl., Dona of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Diana Smith, Rosie Moxey, Mayala, Alama, Kim, Evelyn Neely, Michelle Green, Natasha of Miami, Fl., Malissa Burnside; nephews: Kevin, Michael, Ricardo Jr, Rynam, Charles Knowles, Al Coleby, Patrick Kemp, Ted and David Mackey of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Trevor, Erick Curry, Deon Poitier, Basil, Bryan, Kelston Brown, Christopher Barnet, Lambert Cartwright, Craig, Hew and Desmond Duncombe; numerous grand nieces & nephews, other relatives and friends including: Patrick Moss of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Frederick Saunders, Mary, Sherryann, Hannah, Latiesha and Gertrude Rolle, Patrice Henry, Pastor Henry Smith and family, Rev. Franklyn Burrows, Laura Taylor and family, Enda Sands and family, Pat Roberts and family, cole Henry, Mona, Catherine and Charles McPhee, Sister Lewis, Mother Edgecombe, Ms. Russell and family, Pastor Minus and family of Five Porches Church, Ruth and George Bethel and family, Craig Maycock and family, Leslie, Mrs. King and famliy, Sheila, Dr. Marley, Dr. Strachan, Sen. Michael Halkitas, Hon. Charles Maynard and family, Rosey, Shirley, Elcena, Marlene, June, Kevin, Charles McDonald & family, staff of Super Value #9, Esther Smith, Louise Clarke and family, Vanessa, Welhia, Shonel, Garvie, Charles Jr., the Jolly family, doctors and nurses of Princess Margaret Hospital, the Fox Hill, Unison and Cowpen Road communities.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday from 9-1:00 p.m. & at the church from 2:00 p.m. until service time.
The New Providence Public Primary Schools Sports Association set off the preliminary games in its volleyball tournament at Kendal Isaacs gym yesterday.
The tournament is expected to conclude with the championships on Friday.
For the cross-over match, Centerville and Yellow Elder advanced to the playoff round.
Ridgeland will cross over with Columbus Primary and Claridge and Oakes Field will cross over tomorrow.
Winners will advance to the playoff round to join Centerville and Yellow Elder.
In the girls' division, Yellow Elder, Claridge, Sadie Curtis and Carmichael are all slated to face off in the playoff rounds for the championships.
Bahama Grill Cafe is gearing up for major expansion in just a matter of weeks after entering the industry less than three years ago.
The locally-owned business on West Bay Street is pouring "hundreds of thousands of dollars" into the restaurant to create an in-house dining experience with a bar and lounge. Meanwhile, the brand is seeking to open three more outlets as it makes the transition from a single location to a full-fledged franchise.
Eric Gibson Jr., the owner of Bahama Grill, told Guardian Business that since opening the takeout restaurant's doors in December 2009 the concept has been extremely successful.
"Bahamians love chicken, ribs and conch so when I opened in 2009, I wanted to see if offering these foods at affordable prices would be a viable market. So far, it has been working," according to Gibson.
The renovation and expansion of the original Bahama Grill is approximately six weeks away from completion.
"It's a significant investment. Ordinarily a restaurant of this size wouldn't have invested what I have invested. I started a concept that's going to become a full franchise," he shared.
He projected that there will be four Bahama Grill locations in total throughout New Providence, one in the east, one further west and one in the Carmichael Road area.
Gibson added that these expansions will take place on the heels of the restaurant's existing expansion.
Once the local expansions are completed, Gibson revealed there are plans to take the brand international.
As the brand expands, Gibson said employment opportunities would increase.
Currently, the Bahama Grill Café has 12 full-time employees but that number is expected to double very soon.
"We expect that number to more than double in the next six weeks once construction is completed on our restaurant," Gibson added.
"We expect to have a compliment of 25 to 30 staff. So those employee numbers are expected to more than double in a matter of weeks."
In addition to its popular rotisserie, barbecue and grilled chicken, beef ribs, regular pork ribs and baby-back ribs, Gibson shared that the restaurant recently added a special burger to its menu.
"We recently introduced a BG burger that's doing very well, a handmade sirloin burger. We are getting ready to add a conch burger and fish burger to the menu. Once we are finished with the expansion, we will also be offering fish, lobster and shrimp," he explained.
Funeral service for Harold Herbert King, 85, a resident of Donahue Terrace, Carmichael Road, & formerly of Knowles, Cat Island, who died on 20th February, 2012, will be held at Transfiguration Baptist Church, Market & Vesey Streets, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Rev. Dr. Stephen E. Thompson, assisted by Rev. Basil Johnson, Rev. Sherma Bowe & Rev. Brazil McDonald. Interment follows in The Western Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Harold’s life and legacy lives on in the lives of his children: Terrence sr. & [Sherry-Ann], Cardinal & [Fiona], Deaconess Julieann King- Ferguson Alfred [great Britton] Denroyd Kelly Sr., Suzette Minns, Flore ...
Funeral service for Wayde Wendal Rolle, 47, a resident of Bimini Avenue, who died on 19th February, 2012, will be held at Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries, Carmichael Road, on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Officiating will be Bishop Ros Davis. Interment follows in Lakeview Memorial Gardens, JFK Drive.
Left to cherish his loving memories are his dedicated mother, Patricia Kelly-Brown, his stepfather, Arthur Brown; Seven Children, Deangelo Thompson-Rolle, Wayde Jr., Christopher, Shantiche, Moesha, Waydesiha and Nehemiah, one granddaughter, Jasmine Thompson. Four brothers, Vincent, Salatichel, Whitney Rolle and Sancto Kelly. Five sisters, Emily, Maudline, Judy, Merancer Rolle-Morley and Shanette Kelly-Rah ...
Nassau, Bahamas - In
less than four (4) hours on Friday 16th March, 2012 officers of the Drug
Enforcement Unit (DEU) acting on information, removed three (3)
firearms from the streets of New Providence.
In the first
incident around 7:30 pm DEU officers uncovered a shotgun from a bushy
area at Indiana Drive, Flamingo Gardens Estates. In the second incident
around 9:00 pm DEU officers uncovered a handgun from a bushy are at
Marshall Road. In the final incident around 11:00 pm DEU officers
uncovered a handgun from an abandoned building at Sunset Park,
Carmichael Road. No arrests were made; however, active police
It seems the accusations of abuse at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre are once again coming back to haunt us, no matter how much our political leaders would like them to go away.
U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for ambassador to The Bahamas, Cassandra Q. Butts, said that, if confirmed, one of her priorities will be to ensure that all illegal migrants detained in The Bahamas are treated humanely.
Butts was speaking during a recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Florida Senator Marco Rubio expressed concern about the "forceful repatriation" of Cuban detainees by the government of The Bahamas, adding, "I've seen the videos of some of this".
Rubio noted that the footage had been disputed by The Bahamas but said, nonetheless, he remains very concerned.
For her part, Butts assured the committee that she would not only look into the issue, but also report back on her findings.
When the allegations first arose last year, the government seemed relieved to grasp onto a video they said appeared staged, holding it up as proof that the allegations were not true.
Later, when eyewitness statements from marines at the detention center emerged detailing severe beatings following an escape attempt, a disciplinary hearing was launched and five marines were charged.
There has been very little progress since then, as after repatriating the detainees in question, the government awaited permission from Cuban officials to interview them for the hearing.
And there the matter lay quietly for the last several months, until the Rubio-Butts exchange.
Now, we are again reminded of the bitter anti-Bahamas demonstrations in Miami last November and our collective anxiety over the possible damage to tourism from South Florida and our international reputation, in general.
For anyone who has followed this issue over the years, its return should come as no surprise. Under the first Christie administration, accusations of violence against detainees at the center also arose only to be downplayed by authorities. Under the last Free National Movement (FNM) government, again the specter of abuse raised its ugly head, only to be dismissed without serious investigation.
Again and again, the attitude has been that to take such allegations seriously would be in some way anti-patriotic - a betrayal of our law enforcement officers and an admission of inferiority on some level.
The fact is the more a country -- especially a small developing country -- seeks to avoid confronting such situations honestly, the more corrupt and backward it appears to the rest of the world.
In truth, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have allowed a misplaced nationalism to prevent us from instituting the kind of internationally-recognized best practices that would have prevented this kind of allegation, whether true or false, from arising in the first place.
Our immigration detention system should long ago have adopted proper independent oversight to prevent the impression of white-washed investigations; our immigration and defense force officers should have been trained to international standards in how to deal with the pressures that come with this kind of work. Above all, we should have instituted an efficient and transparent system for processing migrants, sorting those with genuine refugee status from those to be repatriated, and taking the appropriate steps swiftly so that detainees are not left languishing for months and the opportunity for abuse does not even arise.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie yesterday implored voters not to give Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham another term in office without a comprehensive plan to move the country forward.
Christie, who was speaking at the opening of the party's Carmichael constituency office last night, said Ingraham's promise to create a ten-year national development plan if he is re-elected to office is not good enough to meet the challenges the country now faces.
Ingraham said the proposed national development plan will be known as Bahamas Jubilee, and it will coincide with the country's 50th year of independence. He has also outlined a series of other policy initiatives he plans to implement if re-elected.
However, Christie maintains that the PLP's plans to fight crime and create jobs are more comprehensive and detailed.
"He doesn't have a plan for the way forward. The latest is he tells us he's going to create a plan... but only after the election. What do you think about that? Another sign of the contempt he holds you in," said Christie.
He also said the record murder counts that have occurred under the Ingraham administration are indicators that the prime minister does not know how to manage the high level of violent crime in the country.
"Does your prime minister apologize, tell you he's going to do better, ask us to share our expertise and find a national way forward together to address the crisis?" asked Christie. "No, of course not. That's not the Ingraham way. Fifteen out of twenty years he's been prime minister, but every problem is someone else's fault."
The controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project further displayed Ingraham's lack of planning, said Christie.
"Nearly $100 million in cost overruns on a roadworks project overseen by his government - the most over budget in the history of The Bahamas - and he blames me. It's pathetic," said Christie, referencing Ingraham's charge that if the PLP had completed the project during its last term in office, the cost would have been drastically reduced.
"Someone told me it was almost funny that he would try to shift responsibility to me for his government's massive, epic incompetence... presided over by his government. But really, what's funny about $100 million more in national debt, when our country has so many urgent needs? Ingraham wants the power but he won't take the responsibility that comes with it... he's taught us that time and time again."
Christie also took time to heap praise on Dr. Daniel Johnson, his party's candidate for the Carmichael constituency in the upcoming polls.
"Danny is someone who burns bright with ideas and energy to bring real change to The Bahamas," said Christie. "Like his colleagues, he looks around and knows we can do so much better as a nation."
A jury is expected to reach a verdict today in the case of a man accused of the murder of businessman Keith Carey.
Supreme Court Justice Roy Jones will turn the case over to the jury after summing up the case.
The trial, which is Jamal Glinton's third, began three weeks ago.
Prosecutors allege Glinton shot Carey, 43, twice outside the Bank of The Bahamas on the Tonique Williams-Darling Highway, on February 27, 2006 before taking $40,000 Carey was depositing. Carey owned and operated an Esso service station on Carmichael Road and Faith Avenue.
Vaughn Carey, Keith Carey's cousin, testified for the prosecution via live video link from the Bahamian Consulate in Miami.
His evidence was made possible by new amendments to the Evidence Act, which formed part of the government's anti-crime legislation.
Glinton exercised his constitutional right to remain silent during the trial. He is on bail.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
A NUMBER of persons set to vote in North Andros have changed their registration since the start of the voter fraud probe, according to FNM candidate for the area Desmond Bannister.
The tribunal has set the course for a fairer process of elections in the country, said Mr Bannister, sitting MP for Carmichael and Minister of Education.
"I can tell you that any number of people have called and told me that they will get legitimate," Mr Bannister said.
"I know a number of people have changed their registration.
He added: "The law of the country provides for how and where people are to vote. You cannot ...
Nassau, Bahamas - At the
Carmichael Primary School Book Club March 24, 2012, Royal Bahamas Defence Force
Petty Officer and well known writer of poetry, Matthew Rolle, brings closing
remarks. The RBDF Marching Band brought activities to a close.