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Whether those involved in frontline politics have realized it or not, the political landscape in The Bahamas has changed. With the proliferation of the Internet and international television, the new Bahamian voter is different from the voter of the past, even the last election. Through Facebook, YouTube, television houses like CNN, FOX News, etc., Bahamians can get any news in the world on their smartphones, tablets or laptops instantly and live. Most of the new Bahamian voters will not attend political rallies. They want to be able to in the comforts of their homes, or anywhere else for that matter, see their leaders outline their platforms for the upcoming elections electronically or digitally. This way, people in Inagua, Mayaguana, Cat Island, Long Cay, Abaco, Grand Bahama or New Providence, for example, can simultaneously view the candidates and the party leaders.
In the United States the first general election presidential debate was held on September 26, 1960, between U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee, and Vice President Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee, in Chicago at the studios of CBS' WBBM-TV. "Television primes its audience to rely more on their perceptions of candidate image (e.g., integrity). At the same time, television has also coincided with the world becoming more polarized and ideologically driven" (Hayes, p. 235).
No general election debates at all were held for the elections of 1964, 1968 and 1972, although intra-party debates were held during the primaries between Democrats Robert F. Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in 1968, and between Democrats George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey in 1972.
It was not until 1976 that a second series of televised presidential debates was held during the general election campaign season. On September 23, 1976, Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter and Republican incumbent President Gerald Ford agreed to three debates (one on domestic issues, one on foreign policy, and one on any topic) on television before studio audiences. A single vice presidential debate was also held that year between Democratic Senator Walter Mondale and Republican Senator Bob Dole.
The dramatic effect of televised presidential debates was demonstrated not only in 1960, but again in the 1976 debates between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Ford had already cut into Carter's large lead in the polls, and was generally viewed as having won the first debate on domestic policy. Polls released after this first debate indicated the race was even. However, in the second debate on foreign policy, Ford made what was widely viewed as a major blunder when he said, "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration." After this, Ford's momentum stalled, and Carter won a very close election.
Debates were a major factor again in 1980. Going into the debate, Jimmy Carter had a narrow lead over Ronald Reagan in a race considered 'too close to call'. Reagan, with years of experience in front of a camera as an actor, came across much better than Carter and was judged by voters to have won the debate by a wide margin. This translated into Reagan turning a close election into a landslide victory.
Since 1976, each presidential election has featured a series of vice presidential debates. Vice presidential debates have been held regularly since 1984. Vice presidential debates have been largely uneventful and have historically had little impact on the election. Perhaps the most memorable moment in a vice presidential debate came in the 1988 debate between Republican Dan Quayle and Democrat Lloyd Bentsen. Quayle's selection by George H. W. Bush was widely criticized; one reason being his relative lack of experience. In the debate, Quayle attempted to ease this fear by stating that he had as much experience as John Kennedy did when he ran for president in 1960. Democrat Bentsen countered with the now famous statement: "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
The year 1992 featured the first debate involving both major-party candidates and a third-party candidate, billionaire Ross Perot, running against President George H. W. Bush and Governor Bill Clinton. In that year, Bush was criticized for his early hesitation to join the debates with him being alluded to as a chicken. Furthermore, he was also criticized for looking at his watch which aides initially said was meant to track if the other candidates were debating within their time limits, but ultimately it was revealed that the president indeed was checking how much time was left in the debate.
Moderators of nationally televised presidential debates have included Bernard Shaw, Bill Moyers, Jim Lehrer and Barbara Walters, and recently Bret Baier and George Stephanopoulos among others.
I stand to be corrected but I don't know that there was ever a nationally televised debate between the leaders of the major political parties here in The Bahamas. The last televised debate, moderated by Wendall Jones of Jones & Co. (who is to be commended for his fortitude in pushing for this debate) was between the candidates in the famous Elizabeth by-election, which ended up in the Election Court with Ryan Pinder of the PLP coming out on top. I believe that it was a grave political mistake for Dr. Duane Sands not to participate in the Elizabeth debate and that he would have fared much better had he did.
There should be at least two debates between the leaders of the political parties - one on New Providence and the other Grand Bahama. We should be careful not to exclude any leader of any party running in the upcoming elections to be fair to all. The venue for the debates should be at the leading convention centers on the mentioned islands with an audience of voters on a strict first come first serve basis. These properties should view this as their contribution to nation building as good corporate citizens. Police presence goes without saying to keep the peace and to ensure that the debates are not unduly interrupted and are kept safe and professional. The world would be watching. Colored lights resembling traffic lights should be installed to aid the candidate as to the time left with green indicating 30 seconds, yellow indicating 15 seconds and red indicating only five seconds are left. If necessary, a buzzer may be used or a flag. The moderators should be anchors from the major media houses including Wendall Jones, Shenique Miller, Jerome Sawyer and Candia Dames, for example.
The debates should be two hours long with four five-minute or two five-minute and one ten-minute break. The candidates should be standing behind their podiums with the moderators seated on the other side. The moderators should ask the questions allowing each candidate two minutes to respond and others one minute to respond or rebut. There should be no opening statements, just closing statements. The questions should be on issues that are pertinent to the voters, e.g. the economy, Atlantis, jobs, crime, immigration and education. The candidate should agree to the rules beforehand.
The candidates in each constituency should also have a chance to debate the issues on a smaller scale but also televised nationally. I agree with Wendall Jones when he said that if a candidate is not willing to participate in a nationally televised debate and put forth his and his party's position on the issues, then he or she is not worthy to be a candidate.
The time has come for a more mature discussion by our political leaders on the issues impacting not only the electorate, but all the people of our beloved country and generations to come. We cannot underestimate the importance of this upcoming election. After the debates the new Bahamian voter will be more informed as to who to cast his ballot for on that great election day. And as they say, let the proverbial chips fall where they may.
May God be with us all.
- Pastor Mark Smith
Today's column continues to highlight that special decade of baseball in The Bahamas, the 1970s. The "best-of-the-best" performed for local fans. The senior league of the Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) was arguably the most attractive sports entity at the time. Basketball was certainly quite popular and cricket still had a solid connection to many Bahamians.
Baseball at the Andre Rodgers stadium during the 1970s, however, was something extra special. The satellite era was not upon us fully and the fans flocked to night and weekend games. Being in attendance was a great experience. Luminaries, present day stars and icons like Andre Rodgers, Tony Curry, and the energetic All-History president George Mackey, afforded all and sundry a bit of interaction.
It was a great, big family affair, baseball at the Rodgers stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. The high point was the performance of the top players. There were many great ones for sure.
The All-Bahamian Team of 1978 was a case in point. The team included the first team for all of the positions plus the designated hitter. One could make a case easily for seven of the 10 being on a Bahamian Baseball All-History Team. The pitcher was Bertie Murray (All-History); Lorenzo "Doonie" Lockhart at second base (All-History); Roosevelt "Bruso" Turner at third base (All-History); Jayson "Peg" Moxey, Fred "Papa" Smith and Eddie Ford in the outfield (three All-History players); Simeon Humes was the designated batter (All-History).
Bertie happens only to be the most durable, yet talented pitcher in the history of baseball in The Bahamas. Who would argue about Lockhart's place in history? Asa Ferguson always called Lockhart "Captain Blood". He was indeed bloodthirsty when he went up to bat. Because his hitting was so potent, there was a tendency to underestimate his play at second and his running on the base paths. He was not as stylish as others, but he got the job done efficiently.
Turner was flash. He was pizzazz and extremely good. At short and third he was a high quality infielder. He was steady at the plate and packed surprising power, as his home-run totals for a few seasons of his long career indicated. Moxey was a slightly larger version in the Turner mold. His forte was the outfield. In 1978, he was the manager of the Holsten Knights and won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, impressively handling double duties.
Smith and Ford were all, of the very same ilk. They all played professional baseball. They hit for average and power. They were great thinkers when quick decisions were necessary on the diamond. However for them, mostly the game came automatically. They had so mastered the art. If I had to choose between the three All-History performers in the outfield, I would give Ford the edge. I haven't seen any better, inclusive of the long list of major league greats.
They just had the big stage. Humes did it all, like Moxey, Ford, and Smith and with the added designated hitter position, he was a no-brainer. He's All-History most definitely.
Peter Bethel, the long, rangy infielder who could hit the ball with the best of them, for average and power, could be an All-History choice. He was the 1978 All-Bahamian at first base. Catching was Charles Mackey who enjoyed a very good season with the St. Michael's ball club. Kenny Fox was at short on the 1978 All-Bahamian team.
What made the decade of the 1970s so great was the fact that at least three All-Bahamian Teams could have been selected and there would have been little argument about the players named. On the mound, Vincent Strachan or Eugene Taylor could easily have been selected for the 1978 squad. Spurgeon Johnson had a great season behind the plate and Sidney Outten, even with a not so awesome bat, was superb enough as a receiver.
In the infield, players like Roy 'Cowboy' Rodgers, Anthony 'Poker' Huyler, Harry Miller, Fred Taylor, and Jerome Moxey would have been good fits for the All-Bahamian team of 1978. So would Dick Lockhart, John Williams, Dencil Clarke and a few others, in the outfield. Such was the available talent during the 1970s. The year 1978 was a prime example. Jayson Moxey was the MVP. Huyler was 'Manager of the Year'. Murray was selected 'Pitcher of the Year' and a young hurler named Arthur 'Baldy' Seymour was 'Rookie of the Year'.
The year 1978 was indeed, a very good one.
Milestone baseball information provided by Sports Historian Jeff Williams.To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Court officials are trying to locate a defendant accused of causing over $20,000 in damage to equipment belonging to the Water and Sewerage Corporation.
Marvin Rolle, 41, is scheduled to be tried for the offense before Justice Vera Watkins.
The court sent an order of attendance to the prison but the wrong Marvin Rolle was sent to court.
The Rolle who appeared before Watkins yesterday is 20-years-old and is charged with armed robbery.
Watkins satisfied herself that the wrong man was before her when she looked at a passport photo attached to the case file.
Attorney Michael Kemp told the court that the younger Rolle was granted bail last year but his family was unable to meet the requirements for his release.
He quipped that the older man may have been freed instead of him.
Watkins said the court would place Rolle's date of birth and full name on the order of attendance.
In other court news, Richard Ford, also known as Richard Parchment, was unanimously acquitted of the armed robbery of a phone card vendor.
Prosecutors alleged that Ford robbed the man at gunpoint of cash and phone cards with an total value of $300.
Ian Cargill represented Ford.
By CELESTE NIXON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A TEENAGER paralysed in a horrific car accident two years ago is reaching out to the community for help in getting treatment which could help him walk again.
Renaldo Bradford Gibson and his mother Jacqueline Ford were involved in a car accident in March 2009 in which Renaldo broke his second vertebrae, leaving him unable to move any part of his body.
"This has really left me in a mental state," Mrs Ford told The Tribune yesterday. "All the ups and downs of his case has thrown me into depression sometimes. My family has been torn because of this."
Remembering the day of the accident, Mrs Ford said she was pulling ou ...
Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has named the eleven men and women who have moved one step closer to winning a 2014 Ford Explorer with motor insurance and Rubis gas for a year, plus a living room suite from Furniture Plus, and $25,000 to pay for utilities and other living expenses during 2014.
BTC's "Win a New Ford Explorer" grand finale party game night, when the winner will be announced, will take place in Pompey Square on January 17th bringing an end to BTC's "most successful promotion to date," said the company.
Last week, eleven finalists' names were pulled from three massive tubular drums stuffed with tens of thousands of BTC customer sweepstake entries collected nationwide during December.
One drum held the New Providence entries and two drums held the entries from either Grand Bahama or the Family Islands.
The six finalists names from New Providence pulled from the largest drum are: Jillian Jones, Decker Munnings, Debra Skippings, Loneice Pawar, Gordon Soles and Halcie Hanna. The two names pulled from the Grand Bahama drum are: Evangeline Bethel and Lisa Farrington and the three names from the Family Island drum are: Bethsada Jones and Mary Dean Nairn - both from San Salvador - and Val Turnquest from Long Island. Gary Smith, BTC Manager, Investigations and Fraud and BTC VP Carl Culmer, Network Operations, made the draws.
Along with tens of thousands of BTC customers the finalists had entered during a month-long promotion by choosing from the many ways to qualify for entry: paying their BTC bill in full, buying any mobile phone from BTC, signing up for a Postpaid plan, HomePhone Plus, or Hi-Speed Internet plan.
On January 17th, the eleven finalists will be on stage alongside the star attraction, the brand new Ford Explorer, when they each pick a key and one by one attempt to start the engine. Last year, in a similar scenario hundreds of people flocked to the South West Plaza drawn to BTC's "Let's Make A Deal" prize-winning party game night, where the highlight was the selection process to find the winner of the "BTC Knight Rider Car Sweepstakes."
The crowd had to wait amid rising excitement until finalist number eight tried her luck before a winner was found. Large crowds are again expected for this year's Grand Finale party night in Pompey Square on January 17th.
"This Christmas-time customer appreciation promotion generated by far the largest response we've had to any of our promotions to date, too many entries to count, but certainly tens of thousands," said Sr. Manager of Public Relations Jerome Sawyer. "The fantastic prize package plus the additional BTC franchise stores nationwide which gave wider access to our products and services, offered far more customers a chance to enter to win."
VP of Sales and Marketing for Furniture Plus, Christina Darville said they had partnered with BTC in many past promotions but the living room furniture suite was their biggest financial commitment to date.
"We're giving away a three-piece suite of furniture which represents our biggest promotional commitment to BTC to date. We've joined BTC in past promotions and always been very pleased with their style of marketing and overall professionalism. We like the direction BTC is going and we are likely to partner with them in the future."
After two days of competition, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) announced that a full squad will represent the country at the 42nd CARIFTA Games. The first official practice for the 70-member team will run today, at 6 p.m., at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium.
Almost 12 years ago, police admitted to beating an armed robbery suspect so severely that he soiled himself. At the time, officers justified the use of force by alleging that Gayland Ford had attempted to escape from the Criminal Investigation Division on Thompson Boulevard.
Dr. Delton Fernander and Dr. Jonathan Ford were recently named to New Covenant University's (NCU) board of regents and the post of academic dean (Bahamas), respectively.
Fernander, the presiding prelate of Destiny S.T.R.O.N.G. Fellowship of Churches (Bahamas) and the fourth international president of Kingdom Building Pastors and People International, is the NCU's first international regent and has been instrumental in the program's foundation in The Bahamas, according to Dr. Paul Crites, president and chancellor of NCU.
"I am honored to be named to the New Covenant University board of regents and always believe it is good to be a part of something bettering the lives of Bahamians, especially through educational advancement," said Fernander at NCU's 25th commencement ceremony, held at New Destiny Baptist Cathedral.
Ford, who was named academic dean of NCU's Bahamas extension campus, is excited about the fall semester and enrolling students who desire to reach their academic goals through an affordable and pragmatic concept.
"With the marriage of classroom and the Internet, students can obtain their degree in this accelerated process," said Ford.
NCU offers degrees in leadership, Christian education, Christian counseling, ministry and theology. Through its extension campus in The Bahamas, over 100 students have received degrees. Classes are held one weekend each month and each student is provided an academic mentor from the associate degree through the doctoral degree programs. Fall classes begin in September with registration and orientation August 9-10, at New Destiny Baptist Cathedral, Baillou Hill Road. For more information telephone (242)395-3831 or visit the university's website at http://newcovenantedu.com.