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By JASMIN BONIMY
Guardian Staff Reporter
A New Providence man was reportedly the victim of a late night ambush on Tuesday, after police said he was allegedly pulled from a parked car by a group of men who shot him twice in the upper body.
According to Superintendent Leon Bethell, head of the Central Detective Unit(CDU), the incident unfolded around 10 p.m. at the intersection of Carmichael Road and McKinney Drive.
Mobile officers who were patrolling the area at the time responded to the call that came into the police Control Room about the incident, said Bethell.
"Officers responded and found a man there whom they spoke to,"said Bethell."He reported that he was at ...
Forty suspected Cuban migrants were arrested near Cay Sal on Monday after evading capture since last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
There were 39 adults and one child in the group.
They were arrested for illegal entry into The Bahamas.
The statement said the ministry received reports that officers on patrol saw a go fast vessel with an estimated 40 people on board heading north from La Isabella, Cuba, as early as October 24.
"The go fast vessel was observed reportedly offloading these suspected Cuban migrants onto a deserted cay near Cay Sal," the statement said.
"The report is that the go fast vessel was subsequently stopped in international waters. Two smugglers were reportedly found on board the vessel and were detained. The migrants however evaded capture until October 28," the statement said.
Immigration Director William Pratt told The Nassau Guardian that the U.S. Coast Guard spotted the group and apprehended the migrants before turning them over to Bahamian authorities.
U.S. authorities arrested the smugglers, who are reportedly American, Pratt said.
Pratt said immigration authorities hope to repatriate the first group of Cubans by the end of next week.
Last week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell and Cuban Ambassador to The Bahamas Ernesto Soberon Guzman exchanged diplomatic notes cementing a new standard operation procedures between the two countries.
This will allow Cuban detainees to be repatriated in a matter of weeks as opposed to the previous months-long process.
Mitchell said in the past, bureaucracy has "bogged down" the repatriation process for Cubans.
In some instances, Cubans have lingered in the Carmichael Road Detention Centre for over nine months, officials said.
Mitchell said the new procedures will also allow time for the government to uphold its obligations through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure proper screening for political asylum.
Mr. Donaldo Jamaal "Naldo" Johnson Sr., 26, of #11 Bradley Street, off McKinney Drive Carmichael Road passed from this earthly walk of life at the Princess Margaret Hospital on Wednesday, June 08, 2011.
The Radiance of this "Bloodstone of A Gem" will always glow in the hearts of his:
One Son: Donaldo Johnson Jr.;
One Daughter: Danielle Johnson;
Parents: Donny Leslie Sr. and Linda Darnell Johnson;
One Brother: Donny Johnson Jr.;
One Sister: Hydeia Johnson;
One Grandmother: Wealthy Winters;
Step-grandmother: Patricia Hamilton;
Numerous: Nephews and Nieces;
Sixteen Uncles: Romell, Ian and Ranaldo Winters, Anthony Moxey, Manley, Sherman, Willis, Edney, Walter, Brennit, Samuel and Tommy Johnson, Mark Ballard of Chicago Illinois, Eugene Arthur, Ray Colebrooke and Horace Cleare;
Fourteen Aunts: Carolee Ballard of Chicago Illinois, Natasha Arthur, Sophia and Jessues Winters of New York, Corolyn Cleare of New York, Rosalie Colebrooke, Lisa Moxey, Magdell, Pamela, Thelma, Jennifer, Linda, Baynell and Pam Johnson;
Ten Grand Uncles and Aunts Including: William and Adrella Knowles;
Other loving family and friends.
A 76-year-old man, who police suspect of shooting his 41-year-old wife, was arrested Wednesday night, police confirmed.
The shooting took place shortly after 7 p.m. at the couple's McKinney Drive home, which is off Carmichael Road, according to police.
The couple got into an altercation and the woman was shot in both legs, police said. The type of gun used during the shooting was not identified.
The woman was taken to hospital by ambulance where she is detained in stable condition, police confirmed.
In the estimation of thoughtful Bahamians, both Hubert Ingraham and Fred Mitchell will have benefited from the U.S. cables' assessment of their stance toward our nearest neighbor.
Although from different political sides, both seem to have been courteous and respectful but independent and not remotely blinded by the more outlandish aspects of U.S. propaganda.
The authors of the Cables themselves do not come off well.
We learn of almost comical scheming between U.S. and Israeli diplomatic staff over an utterly harmless local mosque. Let's hope that neither country expended too much of their taxpayers' money following international terrorist leads along Carmichael Road.
Instead of commenting on the breath-taking arrogance of an Israeli Ambassador who would have liked to thwart a group of Bahamians from following a religion of their choosing, the U.S. cablers seemed to rue the inability of local politicians to deny a right to Bahamians cherished in their own constitution.
The final disappointment of the cables is the casual, chillingly callous hope expressed therein that thousands of Bahamians would soon be denied cheap eye treatment in Cuba in furtherance of a vindictive cold war policy that serves nobody in the US, the Bahamas or Cuba.
On leaving office in 1961, Dwight Eisenhower (no pinko, incidentally) warned of the growth of a 'Military Industrial Complex', answerable to no one and with a life of its own. He could have applied his warning to any entity, organisation or group that becomes accustomed to the pools of unaccountable power that inevitably form below blind spots of public transparency.
As Bahamians we have a right to know how our politicians manage our most important bilateral relationship.
No less important to us (and everyone else on earth for that matter) is that the American public be kept informed of all the things (from the great to the downright miserable) that are done in their name -- and with their money.
Well done, Guardian.
The matter of an obviously fake video purporting to show Cubans being abused at the detention center has exploded into a nasty and venomous spat between the Official Opposition and Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell.
In a stunning but not completely surprising display of bad judgment, Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis called an emergency press conference last Wednesday to announce he had concluded that at least five Cuban detainees were abused back in May.
Prime Minister Perry Christie later said Minnis was bordering on "gross stupidity".
Mitchell accused the opposition of "siding with enemies of The Bahamas against Bahamians".
The urgency of the tone of the FNM official advising of the press conference suggested that the party was set to release damning evidence to force major action of some kind -- possibly the minister's resignation.
No such evidence was produced, but Minnis was strong in his conclusions that the Bahamian people had been kept in the dark over an issue that has spilled into the international arena and is threatening the country's reputation.
Minnis accused Mitchell of keeping this information under wraps and using "strong, combative and undiplomatic language intended to deflect attention from the underlying legitimacy of the issue raised by the demonstrators" in Miami in recent weeks.
Mitchell, meanwhile, prayed for "the patience of Job" as he fired back at Minnis, accusing him and the Free National Movement of being "unpatriotic" and "un-Bahamian".
The foreign affairs minister also denied that there was a cover-up in relation to abuse claims against Cuban detainees.
He accused the FNM of "talking a jumble of foolishness" and prayed that its "allies in the press do not go walking into a place where fools have rushed in".
This was followed by a warning from Mitchell that he will be watching every word and accusation.
"And if they miss and make one false allegation or innuendo we will see them in court".
Minnis reported that the FNM found that in the early hours of May 20, 2013, there was an attempted escape from the detention center by seven Cuban detainees. This escape attempt was prevented.
As punishment for the attempted escape, at least five detainees were physically abused to a severe degree, he said.
The abuse was so significant that three of the detainees had to be taken to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment.
One person was detained and two others returned to the detention center.
Following the beatings, the remaining detainees performed and videotaped a reenactment of the earlier beatings, according to Minnis.
"Our information is that the reenactment was facilitated with the assistance of one or more Defence Force officers who provided the fatigues for the actors in the performance," he said.
"The FNM has been further advised that several senior government officials and ministers became aware fairly early that a major instance of abuse had in fact taken place.
"There was at least one major meeting of senior law enforcement officers and Cabinet ministers who were briefed as to what had transpired. As a result of that briefing, a more intensive investigation was ordered."
Minnis said the FNM is aware that the report of the government's preliminary investigation has been completed and is in circulation. He said this has been completed from as early as late June.
The videotape in question was aired on a Spanish language TV station in Florida. It sparked weeks of protests against The Bahamas in Miami by a group called the Democracy Movement.
Mitchell first reported on this videotape in a statement on June 17.
He said, "We have had the video examined by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and it is being further reviewed by the Royal Bahamas Police Force."
Mitchell noted -- and we agree -- that the video is a complete falsehood and an outrageous concoction.
"There appears to be a manufactured attempt to create a damaging and defamatory impression of The Bahamas," he said.
"The television station ought to be ashamed of itself for publishing something which is so patently false."
The foreign affairs minister added, "It remains to be said that The Bahamas government does not beat those in its custody. All detainees are treated with respect and in accordance with all applicable conventions and with human dignity and courtesy."
Mitchell also said in that statement that a follow up investigation was being done to seek to find out if by some remote chance there is any aspect of this that bears a scintilla of truth.
At this point, there is much that is unclear about this matter. What is clear is that the government has repeatedly said that it is investigating abuse claims, and both the government and opposition agree that the video that sparked the outrage in Florida is in fact fake.
Mitchell has said, and Prime Minister Christie has reiterated, that the Government of The Bahamas does not condone abusing detainees and the "chips will fall where they may" after an investigation.
Admittedly, it has been at times hard to follow the trail that led to this current controversy.
There was no immediate report about the alleged incident at the detention center. It came a week later after the media made inquiries.
In the brief statement issued on May 31, the Department of Immigration said a Cuban detainee escaped from the detention center during severe thunderstorms a week earlier.
"In response to press inquiries, we wish to advise the public that during the rain storm in Nassau last week, there was an attempt to escape the detention center at Carmichael Road. All were prevented from escaping, but one person," the statement read.
The statement did not say that detainees had to be hospitalized.
Cuban Ambassador to The Bahamas Ernesto Soberon Guzman told The Nassau Guardian after that statement was released that no one from the government had contacted him about the incident.
Guzman later said that Mitchell failed to inform him until June 19 about the matter.
He called it a "communications break down".
Guzman said during his meeting with the minister, Mitchell said officers used some degree of force to counteract the attempted escape.
He said he was told that in the process, three Cuban detainees were injured and hospitalized.
Guzman's revelation was made in The Nassau Guardian on June 21, one month after the alleged incident.
According to Guzman, Mitchell said the incident had nothing to do with the controversial video that purported to show Cuban detainees being beaten by Bahamian law enforcement officers.
When asked if he was satisfied with the explanation, Guzman said, "That was what they informed us.
"In this case, we have a particular situation. Some people tried to escape from the detention center and they used force, and now I have to check if the force was excessive or not."
But Mitchell has been careful in his public utterances on the matter, staying clear of acknowledging any abuse or hospitalization.
He repeated last week after Minnis' press conference that the entire matter is being reviewed by a retired justice of the Court of Appeal and a leading cleric.
Mitchell said when the investigations are complete the government will act. He repeated, "The chips will fall where they may."
But the FNM is demanding that the government release the full, unedited report into any investigation that has already been conducted to date.
Christie has said that Minnis' comments could give the international community the impression that there is a division in The Bahamas on the controversial issue.
The comments had the immediate effect of the Democracy Movement spokesman calling for Mitchell's removal from handling this issue.
It is important to acknowledge that Mitchell had opportunities to table in Parliament the preliminary report completed by law enforcement authorities.
The government has instead decided to have a more extensive probe.
On the weekend, a photo purportedly showing the severe injuries of an abused Cuban detainee made the rounds on Facebook after it was posted by activist Rodney Moncur.
Its authenticity could not be verified.
But there is acknowledgement from sources inside the government that some of the Cubans had to be hospitalized. One assumes there are hospital records the investigators will have access to.
It has now been more than three months since the alleged incident occurred.
The government must strike the balance between having a thorough investigation concluded and ensuring the matter does not drag on for much longer that it worsens any perceptions of a cover-up.
It seems the controversy has dragged on too long. The public deserves answers on what transpired at the detention center in May or any other time if it involved abuse.
Transparent reporting and punishing of any officer who may be guilty of wrongdoing are indeed keys to bringing this row to an end.
This would send the right message to the international community as well.
It would have been in the national interest and in the interest of the opposition for its leader to first deal with the government privately on any concerns, or evidence he has to prove his claims of a cover-up.
Many people have grown weary of the sparring over this issue. They want answers and finality.
The war of words between the government and the opposition has created unnecessary noise, and even confusion as the country's reputation hangs in the balance.
What is required at this time is a unified voice on our foreign policy. In the opposition party itself, there are deep divisions on how the claims have been aired.
Political theatrics and efforts to show up the minister or the government must at all times take a backseat to the national interest.
This was a view expressed privately by several prominent FNMs after their leader's statement.
The possible emergence of a report confirming abuse might not be enough to vindicate Minnis on this one.
Leadership requires good judgment. On that score, he has so far fallen short.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham last night condemned violence and anti-social behavior on the campaign trail.
"The PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) are acting more and more unruly as they get more and more desperate," said Ingraham, who spoke at the official opening of the Free National Movement's (FNM) constituency office in Carmichael.
"Don't forget that during the BTC (Bahamas Telecommunications Company privatization) debate, senior PLPs demonstrated alongside known criminal elements. If it wasn't for the police the House of Assembly could have been overrun."
The prime minister pointed out that police are now investigating an alleged incident in Grand Bahama on Saturday, concerning people in a vehicle in an FNM motorcade being sprayed with a fire extinguisher from another vehicle not a part of the FNM's motorcade.
Ingraham revealed last night, "As many as six people were affected in ways requiring medical attention.
"One such person was the young daughter of our candidate for East Grand Bahama, Peter Turnquest, and another was a lady whose asthma was badly affected and who continues to experience respiratory problems.
"Several others also are experiencing headaches, fatigue and eye and throat discomfort, requiring them to take antibiotics and in some instances to remain away from their jobs."
Ingraham told the crowd in Carmichael that there is no fire extinguisher big enough to put out the FNM's torch.
The torch is the long-time symbol of the FNM. The crab is the Progressive Liberal Party's (PLP) symbol.
"Keep the fire burning," Ingraham said. "Crab season or not, if any crabs were involved in that incident, we hope the police catch them."
As PLP Leader Perry Christie did the night before, Ingraham urged supporters not to be provoked.
"Furthermore, unlike that half-hearted statement by Christie, I want to be clear. We will tolerate absolutely no violence of any sort by our people," the prime minister said.
"We will conduct ourselves in a non-violent and peaceful manner. Just remember, there's more than one way to catch a crab."
On Saturday night, Ingraham said two rallies should not take place in Grand Bahama on the same night, as they were stretching the resources of police.
He noted that the FNM announced its rally in advance of the PLP.
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.
Nassau, Bahamas - The
Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) apologizes to its customers,
particularly those in western and south-western New Providence, who may
have experienced periods of supply disruption over the past few weeks.
Corporation acknowledges that it experienced a number of equipment
challenges/ failures that contributed to supply interruptions in the
areas of Carmichael Road west, Fire Trail Road,and adjacent communities.
Corporation officials were able to rectify the problems on Friday,
August 31, 2012 and believe that this should alleviate the frequency and...
A woman admitted she stabbed a man who allegedly attacked her mother, a Supreme Court jury heard yesterday.
Melba Munroe, 31, is on trial for the February 12, 2006 murder of Dean Archer.
Sergeant 785 Ambrose Knowles, the investigating officer, told the court that Munroe gave him a voluntary statement following her arrest.
Knowles said Munroe told him that Archer and her mother got into a fight in the bedroom of their Carmichael Road apartment.
According to the uncontested statement, Munroe heard her mother screaming that Archer was trying to kill her.
Munroe said that Archer had her mother in a choke hold when they left the bedroom and that her mother was bleeding when Archer left the apartment, according to the statement. She also said in the statement that she collected a steak knife from the kitchen and followed Archer.
Munroe further said in the statement that Archer threatened her with a rock and she stabbed him in the chest. According to Knowles, Munroe took him back to the apartment and retrieved the knife from dishwater. He said the knife was collected and photographed.
According to Knowles, Inspector Joy Bosfield took Munroe and her mother to the hospital. However, Bosfield said she did not take them to the hospital.
She did say, however, that she observed fresh marks on Munroe's mother's neck.
Both officers denied that Munroe told them she had been drinking in response to a question from defense lawyer Michael Hanna.
The trial continues before Senior Justice Jon Isaacs. Linda Evans is the prosecutor.
New Providence Police conduct Operation "Save Lives" - In keeping with the Commissioner of Police 2012 policing plan, "Tackling
Crime & Improving Community Safety", officers of the Northeastern
Wanted man surrenders to police - Police wish to inform the public that 23 year old FRED RAMSEY of WOODES ALLEY & CARMICHAEL ROAD is in police custody. Ramsey turned himself into officers at the Central Police Station shortly before noon on Tuesday 24th April, 2012...
North Andros Administrator Huntley Christie is scheduled to hand down a ruling today on whether certain people are illegally registered to vote in North Andros.
Originally, 30 people were being challenged, but Christie later revealed that the list of challenged voters was cut to 17.
Parliamentary Commissioner Erroll Bethel told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that a second hearing relating to another 10 challenged voters could take place as early as this week.
Bethel said notices were recently sent to those people advising them that their eligibility to vote in the constituency is being challenged.
He said a firm date will be set as soon as the current hearing winds up.
"We're trying to get over this one and then start that one between this week and early next week," Bethel said.
Yesterday, Christie heard final submissions by lawyers in the case.
Progressive Liberal Party Deputy Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis represented several of the voters who were challenged while former Ambassador to China Elma Campbell argued on behalf of the residents who filed the complaint.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said yesterday his administration simply wants a clean election and is not concerned about the outcome of the hearing.
"We have no concern or special interest in what is taking place in North Andros or any place else," Ingraham told reporters after touring the construction site of the Princess Margaret Hospital's new Critical Care Block.
"We just want people to be registered and to vote in the constituency which they live. It doesn't matter whether they are PLPs, FNMs or any other kind of thing.
"The exercise down in North Andros is merely demonstrative of what we are seeking to do because it is not possible to challenge all who have registered in areas likes North Andros who do not live in North Andros.
"Whatever the result is [it is] fine with [us]. We would have done our best to ensure we have a clean voter's register. . . It is important for The Bahamas to conduct clean, fair, honest, transparent elections."
Allegations of voter fraud were first raised by the FNM's North Andros candidate Desmond Bannister, who is the current MP for Carmichael.
Bannister alleged that people were flown into North Andros from New Providence and Grand Bahama to be registered.
Davis initially called the claims vexatious and an affront to members of the North Andros community.
However, in late March, he told The Nassau Guardian that he was considering submitting his own list of questionable North Andros voters to the parliamentary commissioner.
The law states that any three people who are registered as voters in a constituency can object to the name of any other person on the voter's register for that constituency by delivering to the revising officer a notice of objection.
Upon receiving the notice which discloses why the name of that other person should be removed from that part of the register, the revising officer shall as soon as practicable fix a day for hearing the objection, which shall be a day not later than 14 days after the day on which he received notice of objection.
The trial for a woman accused of murdering her husband has been put off until July 2013.
Supreme Court Justice Vera Watkins had to delay the start of Mikiko Black's trial because her lawyer, Ian Cargill, is presently involved in an armed robbery trial before Justice Bernard Turner.
Black is charged with the April 19, 2010 shooting death of her husband Able Seaman Leonardo Black at their apartment off Carmichael Road.
This is the second postponement in the trial.
In May 2011, Watkins released the jury after learning that the prosecution had failed to disclose crucial material to the defense.
She said at the time: "It is with regret that I have to discharge you. I feel it is my duty in order to ensure that the defendant has a fair trial."
Black, who is on bail, returns to court for the start of her trial on July 1.
Eucal Bonaby appeared for the Crown.
Police are requesting the
public's assistance in locating the following people. The first person
is 29 year old FREDERICK GREENE of GOLDEN ISLES ROAD.
Green is described as having dark brown complexion and medium build.
Police want to question this male reference to house-breaking and rape.
The second suspect police are also requesting your assistance in
locating is 23 year old FRED RAMSEY of WOODES ALLEY & CARMICHAEL
Ramsey is described as having medium brown complexion; medium built and stands at 5'7" tall.
Police are requesting the public's help in locating 25 year old CRAVON GLASS of BOATSWAIN HILL, CARMICHAEL ROAD.
Cravon is described as having dark complexion, slim build and stands at 5'11" tall.
Cravon was last seen around 6:00 pm on Saturday 28th April, 2012 wearing jeans pants and a beige and brown hooded jacket.
On Wednesday 9th May, 2012 three (3) men were killed in three (3) separate shooting incidents on the island of New Providence.
The first incident reportedly occurred around 12:30 am at St. James and
Kemp Roads and resulted in the death of 27 year old DEAN WALCOTT WEBSTER
of 2ND STREET, COCONUT GROVE.
The second incident reportedly occurred around 3:20 pm at Sugar Apple
Street, Pinewood Gardens and resulted in the death of 30 year old McKENO
JOHN BROWN of HIGH TREE ESTATES, CARMICHAEL ROAD.
A group of Cuban nationals was picked up by the U. S. Coast Guard in Bahamian waters on Thursday, the Department of Immigration reported yesterday.
It was unclear why it took the department so long to report the apprehension.
While the statement from the department did not say how many Cubans were picked up, The Nassau Guardian confirmed that it was a group of 19 men.
The statement said the immigrants are detained at the Detention Center on Carmichael Road, but did not go beyond that.
The Bahamas government would have to get permission from the Cuban government in order to repatriate the Cubans.
In the past, The Bahamas government has run into problems in seeking to have Cubans repatriated as the Cuban government does not approve repatriations for Cubans who have been out of the country for a certain period of time.
In some instances, a third country has had to be identified to accept Cuban immigrants.
While local officials considered the diplomatic channels to take in relation to the Cubans, The Nassau Guardian confirmed that more than 80 Haitian immigrants were repatriated to Haiti yesterday.
Immigration officers also reportedly rounded up 39 undocumented Haitian nationals in Mayaguana, Eleuthera and Abaco last weekend.
Hosea Musgrove Sr. age 98 years of Carmichael Road and formerly of Hermitage, Exuma died at the Princess Margaret Hospital on Saturday May 26th, 2012.
He is survived by his sons: Hosea Jr., Rev. Randy, Wentworth and Patrick Musgrove; daughters: Marilyn, Elizabeth and Francis Musgrove, Rose Davis and Iona Minnis, numerous nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends too numerous to mention.
Funeral Announcements will be announced at a later date.
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney recently informed the press that his party would present to the public a shadow Cabinet that would be the voice on behalf of the Bahamian people. No doubt, this shadow Cabinet will also be formed in order to keep the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government's feet to the fire.
McCartney's recent announcement concerning a shadow Cabinet is unusual in our Westminster system of parliamentary government. At least it is for a political organization that isn't even the official opposition. Usually, the party that is Her Majesty's official opposition would have a shadow Cabinet. The DNA does not have one sitting member in Parliament.
According to one of the national dailies, after stating that he has no intention of rejoining the Free National Movement (FNM), McCartney said that the membership of his party before the general election was 10,500. Since then, according to McCartney, it has grown by 1,200 financial members. Despite only securing 13,366, or 8.56 percent of the votes that were cast on Election Day, the DNA leader and his supporters seem determined to act as the official opposition party.
I think that McCartney needs to be realistic. This country's political system has developed into a two-party system. The only time that a third party had a significant impact in an election was the short-lived Bahamas Democratic Party (BDP) in 1977. The BDP secured 17,252, or 26.9 percent of the votes to the then official opposition party FNM's 9,995, or 15.6 percent of the votes that were cast that year. The BDP won six seats. The FNM managed to win just two. The incumbent governing PLP received 35,090, or 54.7 percent of the votes that were cast. The governing party won 30 seats. Just like the DNA, the BDP was an offshoot of the FNM. The one thing that I have discovered about the FNM is that it has a penchant for breaking up. Historically, the party has struggled to remain cohesive. That is why the FNM lost in 2002 and again in 2012. With the departure of McCartney and thousands of FNM supporters, the governing party was doomed to lose the election. When McCartney announced in early 2010 that he was resigning from the Cabinet of the Ingraham administration, I began to see the handwriting on the wall for the FNM.
Despite McCartney and other political analysts' claims that the DNA did not cause the FNM to lose the general election, there is strong evidence to suggest otherwise. Of the 156,088 Bahamians who cast their ballots on May 7, the PLP got 75,815, or 48.57 percent of the votes to the FNM's 65,634, or 42.05 percent.
The PLP outpolled the FNM by 10,181 votes. I firmly believe that the overwhelming majority of the 13,366 persons who supported the DNA on Election Day were disgruntled FNM supporters who were tired of former Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham. I believe that McCartney had pulled away at least 10,000 votes from the FNM. When one examines the election results, you would discover that the DNA played spoiler in 15 of the 38 contests. The DNA caused the FNM to lose Bamboo Town, Carmichael, Elizabeth, Fort Charlotte, Garden Hills, Golden Isles, Marathon, Marco City, Nassau Village, North Andros and the Berry Islands, Pinewood, Sea Breeze, South Beach and Southern Shores.
I am absolutely certain that had the DNA never been formed, Zhivargo Laing, Darron Cash, Norris Bain, Heather Hunt, Brensil Rolle, Carl Bethel, Tommy Turnquest, Kenyatta Gibson, Desmond Bannister, Byran Woodside and Monique Gomez would all presently be sitting members of Parliament.
In the North Andros and the Berry Islands contest, Bannister lost by just 24 votes to the PLP's Dr. Perry Gomez. The DNA's Randy Butler got 85 votes. He had definitely spoiled Bannister's chances at winning that seat. In Mount Moriah, the FNM incumbent Turnquest was defeated by just 249 votes. The DNA's Wayne Munroe polled 471 votes. Again, the DNA had caused an FNM to lose his race.
In Sea Breeze, the FNM's Bethel lost that race to the PLP's Hope Strachan by just 198 votes. The DNA's Alfred Poitier got 543 votes. Had it not been for him, Bethel would have easily retained his seat. In Marco City, the FNM's Norris Bain lost to the PLP's Gregory Moss by just 241 votes. The DNA's Tonolus Sands got 304 votes. Once again a DNA candidate probably played spoiler to the FNM. In the race for Marathon, Hunt lost to the PLP's Jerome Fitzgerald by 257 votes. The DNA's Karen Davis mustered up 337 votes. Undoubtedly, she influenced the outcome of that race. In Golden Isles, the FNM incumbent Charles Maynard lost to the PLP's Michael Halkitis by 407 votes. The DNA's Farrel Goff got 581 of the votes cast. In Garden Hills, the FNM incumbent Brensil Rolle lost to the PLP's Dr. Kendal Major by 268 votes. The DNA candidate Kelphene Cunningham got 382 votes. The DNA, I believe, caused Rolle to lose his seat. In Fort Charlotte, the FNM's candidate Laing lost to the PLP's Dr. Andre Rollins by just 151 votes. The DNA's Mark Humes got 519 votes. He had clearly affected the outcome of that race.
Granted, there will be those who would argue that I have no scientific data that says that the overwhelming majority of the persons who voted DNA are disgruntled FNMs. That's a valid point. But let us remember that during the campaign the then Opposition Leader Perry G. Christie admonished his supporters at the PLP's Gold Rush rallies not to vote for the DNA, because that would be a vote for the FNM.
Christie understood then that the DNA is really a progeny of the FNM. That is why he warned his followers not to flirt with the DNA. Back then no sane person believed that the DNA would gain over 13,000 votes. But they did just that. Looking back in hindsight, PLP supporters are now denying that the DNA is really an offshoot of the FNM. They realize that the DNA played spoiler, but are unwilling to admit this fact.
While it is true that the DNA failed to win a seat, the party did affected the outcome of 15 seats, as I mentioned above. The numbers don't lie. It continues to baffle me when I hear persons downplay the DNA's negative impact that it had on the FNM.
The FNM won just nine seats. The PLP won 29. Now, had McCartney stayed with the FNM, it is quite possible that the FNM would have picked up an additional 13 to 14 seats on May 7. This means that the FNM would have won at least 22 or 23 of the 38 seats, making it the government of The Bahamas.
If McCartney keeps his political organization together for the next five years, then the official opposition will again lose in 2017. McCartney's DNA will never win the government; nor will it become the official opposition, as some of its most ardent supporters are now counting on it to become. Seems like many DNA supporters are only content with keeping the FNM out of high office. "As long as the FNM is not the government", appears to be their only consolation after failing to win just one seat on May 7.
Despite McCartney's repeated denials, the DNA aided the PLP in capturing the government. In fact, its continued presence in the Bahamian political landscape will continue to help the PLP win general elections. His announcement about his party being around for another five years must have caused great jubilation within the PLP. If McCartney and his 12,000 supporters are so determined to continue hurting the FNM, then they might as well join up with the governing PLP party. As far as I am concerned, the DNA's only meaningful role in Bahamian politics is playing spoiler to the FNM. That's all. McCartney and his people must come to grips with this stubborn fact and stop minding the noise in the market.
- Kevin Evans
In the wee hours of the morning when most people are still asleep, the most dedicated warriors are already up and about preparing for the spiritual warfare of the day. They are people known as prayer warriors. When they get down on their knees and praise the Lord, the devil shudders. When they open the Bible and speak the Word, evil falls back in their wake. It is with this in mind that Golden Gates Outreach Ministries opened its recent 4 a.m. Wednesday prayer meeting.
Prayer meeting allows church members or anyone who wants to get something off their chest to come out and just pray in an intimate and personal way. It allows them to speak blessing over others who have lost their way.
Prior to attending a spiritual encounter like this, most people would think being a Christian is all about Sunday worship and Sunday School, but the Pentecostal church wanted to prove the typical Christian wrong by engaging their members and the public in a different experience.
"Midweek services and meetings are nothing new to most churches but we wanted to do something a bit different," said Bishop Ros Davis, senior pastor at the church on Carmichael Road.
"I feel that ensuring people get a dose of the Word more than once a week is key in deepening spiritual growth and happiness. And while some churches remedy this by having formal midweek services we chose to focus on a much-neglected aspect of the Christian life in their midweek meeting -- prayer," he said.
I was taken on a personal journey of my own needs, spirituality, downfalls and blessings when I visited the service recently -- before the rooster had even crowed. The first hour was devoted to personal prayer and reflection. Whether people chose to pray alone and confess all in a private moment of spiritual conversation or they wished to take the time to speak to and pray with the minister all was welcomed.
It was not the typical Sunday service with its formality. It was about having time to worship in a private and intimate way and for people to speak to a spiritual leader about what is on their heart for their life and the nation.
After a personal encounter with God, a half hour was then dedicated to reading and studying, which brings into focus why prayer is so essential. It also increases a believer's biblical knowledge as well. There was nothing more peaceful and enlightening than reading the Word and getting the personal advice of a spiritual leader to get the day started off right.
The prayer meeting ended at approximately 6 a.m. with a circle of prayer. Everyone that attended connected their hands and sent out prayers for those in need and for the social ills that plague the nation.
"It's not formal or anything to make people feel they have to be a certain way," said Pastor Alan Strachan. "The meeting is one where members of the church or those who just need to get things off their chest come out to and just pray."
He said it is done because there is a need for people to get back into praying and worshipping in this intimate and personal way and at the same time, speak blessings over people who have lost their way."
The people that participate in morning prayer at the church ensure that their hearts are right, their minds focused on positivity and that their spirits are equipped to take up the armor of God. The order of the day for them is to make it their duty to pray on behalf of others. Speaking into existence the healing and redeeming presence of God into the situations that trouble the nation, the family and individual believers at large motivates the prayer warriors at the church.
A need to be in God's presence
"There is something serious happening in our land and it's about time that we as a people get together and really start praying for our nation," said 72-year-old Alfreda Fernander, an early morning prayer warrior.
"People may not know it, but these early morning meetings are lifesavers. It is what I feel stops this nation from falling completely apart. I personally come because prayer and devotion are a part of my life. And I need to be in God's presence as soon as I arise. Being able to do this with other people some mornings is a wonderful blessing because the more who are gathered have even greater power to pull down the strongholds of the enemy and pray our people through these hard times," she said.
Although the meetings occur hours before most people have even started their daily routine, the prayer warrior said she doesn't mind the pre-dawn experience as she said it is best for spiritual reconnection. The tranquility of the morning she said made the perfect atmosphere for talking to God and hearing Him clearly without distractions in the way. And on those days when she can't make it out to the church prayer meeting she said she still arises early to greet the morning and put on the armor of Christ.
Shirley Barr, 65, is not a member of Golden Gates World Outreach Ministries, but she still attends the morning prayer meetings. The Baptist church member said prayer for her is like sharpening her sword, and she makes it a point not to miss a day or moment to strengthen her walk in Christ. Prayer may be a personal quest for many people but she believes that people who pray should do it for others as well.
"There are so many people who need prayers, so coming out here to pray is just as much for me as it is for them. I pray for forgiveness and strength, but also for God to bless the young people and those I know so they can also do better. We have to care for our neighbors and others in our mind and cover them in our prayers. We can save people through this because although the person may not know or care about God themselves they are still covered in His protection because you keep praying for them."
Young people should care about their salvation
It is Barr's hope that more young people would participate in the prayer meetings so that they learn how to pray and praise God the right way. She said older people care about the spiritual well-being of the young now but that it is time for the young people to start caring about their own salvation and wanting to be in God's presence.
Although the meeting is in the wee hours of the morning, she said spending time fellowshipping with like-minded people and talking with the Lord in an intimate and calm manner is a good habit to have.
Pastor Strachan has led the prayer meeting for 10 of the 20 years. In the beginning the prayer meetings were for his own sake but with the problems occurring around the country, he said using his strength in prayer to intercede for those in need came in handy.
"This nation needs healing and it can only come through prayer. It is the root of our faith and reconnects us with God which is why we all should aim to do it everyday," said Pastor Strachan. "For many of our people that faith and connection with God is lacking. We are facing so many problems and we need to continually get God's blessings to get us through what we are going through. Prayer is an essential ingredient to getting this nation back on track. It is a core problem-solver and we need to be doing more meetings like these formally and informally."
And even if only one or two people show up for the meeting, the marathon of prayers still goes on. The meetings, which used to only be for one hour from 5 a.m. until 6 a.m., have now extended due to the intensity of the need for prayers and spiritual intervention in the nation. Prayer meetings at the church also occur on Fridays at 10 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 a.m.