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Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President John Pinder yesterday demanded that Prime Minister Perry Christie remove Gaming Board Chairman Dr. Andre Rollins from his post, claiming that Rollins is micro-managing the board and wrongfully terminating staff.
Pinder said three employees were recently fired and another suspended for 10 days without pay.
However, Rollins shot back at Pinder's accusations and said he is working in the best interests of the Gaming Board.
The Fort Charlotte MP told The Nassau Guardian the recent firings were not personal attacks but based on "serious matters that warranted action".
"I think it would behoove John Pinder to do as much as he can to research the facts about each particular case before he seeks to spout off at the mouth creating unnecessary controversy," Rollins said.
He added: "Mr. Pinder is wrong to try and portray me as someone who has an agenda of hurting persons.
"I am offended if he is suggesting that we are in some way targeting individuals. We are not doing that. Would he wish for us to allow the place to run amuck so he can remain in his place as union leader?"
Rollins said Pinder has previously sought to "selfishly" protect the interests of union members.
"John Pinder has intervened directly in matters of dismissal with the Gaming Board in the past," Rollins said.
Pinder warned the government that if it does not remove Rollins, and other heads of government agencies that are not labor friendly, he may campaign against the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
He said the union would do whatever it can to change the management style of the Gaming Board.
"If we have to disrupt the casinos so that the government can understand we are not playing with them...then so be it," he said outside the Gaming Board's offices on Collins Avenue.
"We can't wait for election to get rid of him [Rollins]. We need him to be moved forthwith, now. If the government doesn't follow suit they will feel the pinch come next election."
He added: "The trade union movement, when we run up against governments who are not acting labor friendly and who [are] destroying the labor workforce in our country, we will do what we have to do to get them removed. We did it before and we will do it again."
When asked about this, Rollins questioned if Pinder was attacking him to drum up support for a potential political career.
Pinder also said he would immediately file a trade dispute on the grounds of wrongful dismissal for two employees of the Gaming Board.
Pinder said one was let go from the board and another was suspended for 10 days without pay. The union chief is also upset over the termination of two other Gaming Board employees who are not members of the BPSU.
Pinder said one of these employees, the Gaming Board's deputy secretary, was fired because she and another employee switched shifts.
The deputy secretary took court action on April 1 and was granted an order by Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder on Wednesday to return to work.
However, Pinder said when the employee, who has worked with the Gaming Board for eight years, showed up for work yesterday, she was told to leave the premises.
Pinder said the firings were not in accordance with the BPSU's industrial agreement.
Rollins admitted that the deputy secretary was not allowed to return to work yesterday.
However, he said the Gaming Board was not trying to subvert the court order but had a meeting with Prime Minister Perry Christie and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe to verify the document.
Last June, Pinder called for Rollins' removal, alleging he used "union busting" tactics.
At the time, Pinder said the union received reports that Rollins told union executives and shop stewards to distance themselves from the bargaining unit.
In June, Rollins said the accusations were not true.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham will give a farewell address as leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) when the party meets in a special convention at the Holy Trinity Activities Centre in Stapledon Gardens on Saturday.
Ingraham will speak during an opening ceremony at 9 a.m., according to a statement released by the party yesterday.
The party will choose a leader, deputy leader and other officers at the convention.
Official Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is expected to be elected unopposed, The Nassau Guardian understands.
Ingraham announced on the night of the May 7 general election that he will not serve as leader of the Official Opposition and intends to resign from frontline politics. His resignation from politics takes effect July 19, the anniversary of his first election in 1977.
The party suffered a crushing defeat at the polls.
Long Island MP-elect Loretta Butler-Turner, former Minister of Education Desmond Bannister and defeated FNM Bamboo Town candidate Cassius Stuart have announced that they will run for deputy leader.
Former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard has revealed that he will run for chairman.
The party said yesterday that after the opening ceremony, which is open to the public, the convention will resolve itself into closed sessions during which there will be nominations of candidates and voting.
The evening session of the convention will be open to the public and starts at 7 p.m.
The new leader, deputy leader and other elected party officers will be announced at that time. The closing address and charge will be delivered by the new leader.
The statement from the party said, "The Free National Movement is pleased with the vast array of exciting contenders for party offices, inclusive of seasoned political leaders and newcomers, who are stepping forward to vie for the offices of deputy leader, chairman, secretary general and a host of senior posts within the party.
"The convention promises to be both exciting and transformative as the Free National Movement shows that it has heard the voice of the Bahamian electorate, and is prepared to respond positively and proactively to meet the challenges of being the Official Opposition, while laying a firm and enduring foundation for an early return to government.
"This is especially so as it becomes more and more obvious to hurting and long-suffering Bahamians that the newly elected, conflict of interest laden PLP government gained their support by false promises of a quick fix to the vexing problems of a depressed global and national economy, the home mortgage crisis, as well as the increasingly high and unacceptable levels of violent crime and murders on our streets."
The statement said the convention's theme, "Ignite the Future", emphasizes the determination of every member, and the more than 65,000 supporters of the FNM, to do everything in their power to "hold the torch of freedom high, to light the way to a better future, and to thereby ignite in the hearts of Bahamians a re-commitment to good governance, accountability and integrity in every public office".
I am quite concerned about the direction in which the Free National Movement (FNM) is headed. It appears that since Hubert Ingraham returned as leader of the FNM in 2005 he has made it his mission to be the sole face of the FNM. So much so, that some of the FNM's constituency offices barely display the faces of the candidates, but are decorated with the image of Ingraham. This continues a trend which was clearly evident during the Elizabeth by-election. For the number of Hubert Ingraham's posters nailed to trees and light poles, you hardly knew that Dr. Duane Sands was the candidate in that by-election. No wonder he blew it after the entire Cabinet invaded and occupied Elizabeth and brought with them the full resources of the government.
The FNM has seemingly placed all its hopes in Ingraham pulling off another win for the party. The party has unfortunately permitted the perception to pervade that Ingraham is the only one capable of winning a general election for the FNM. The party's debacle in the 2002 general election reinforced this perception. This does not bode well for the sustainability or future of the party. Ingraham's is the only image on the party's ads and the lone voice heard on commercials. All of the party's jingles and paraphernalia are centered around Papa. All of the current Parliamentarians go to great pains to ensure that they do not project their individuality too pretentiously. Even the new candidates have already been cowered into paying due homage to Papa and are very careful not to say anything that may annoy him.
The cult of ego that Ingraham has carefully cultivated over the years is now looming over the political landscape. He is hellbent on stringing out the dissolution of Parliament and in announcing the date of the election. The withholding of this information feeds some psychological need of his. The more he, the barefoot boy from Abaco, keeps an entire nation in electoral expectation the more it supplies this ego. Ingraham was calculating enough to move his deputy on the side at a time when it was too late to go to convention to elect a replacement. And the FNM, which questions nothing he does, will go into the general election without a deputy leader. How could a group of supposedly intelligent people accept this state of affairs?
This demagoguery culminated in the FNM's DJ changing the words of a popular gospel song to acclaim the majesty of Hubert Ingraham. The FNM's version of the song was: "There is nobody greater than Hubert". While the song was playing the entire sea of red swayed and exalted in the adoration of their god. Ingraham must have had prior knowledge of this song, as no one in that organization would dare play a song about him without his knowledge and approval. It was only after the frenzy and backlash that followed, which he did not anticipate, that Ingraham was humbled to apologize at the next rally.
In the first commandment, God admonishes us to have no other gods but me. The FNM would do well to heed this admonishment.
- Eric Gardner
Thursday 8th November 2012 7:00 AM
HVS Chicos Hotel Investment Conference DAY 1 - THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8th, 2012 and DAY 2 - FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9th, 2012 Click HERE to see info on Day 2 7:00 am - 9:00 pm - REGISTRATION Grand Ballroom D 8:00 am - 8:30 am - NETWORKING BREAKFAST Grand Ballroom D 8:30 am - 9:45 am - GLOBAL, REGIONAL, CARIBBEAN, AND ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Grand Ballroom D Global Trends Stephen Rushmore, Jr, Chief Executive Officer & President - HVS Global Hospitality Services Global & Regional Hotel Performance Carter Wilson, Director - STR Analytics Overview of Caribbean Lodging Market Parris Jordan, Managing Director, Caribbean - HVS Global Hospitality Services Overview of Global Economy Dr. Avery Shenfeld, Managing Director & Chief Economist – CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank 9:45 am - 10:45 am – GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D VIEW FROM THE TOP: INVESTMENT IN THE REGION Join our panel of Investors, owners and operators in a discussion of the major issues impacting the industry in the region today. The region has been impacted significantly over the past five years but we are starting to see recovery in the top line at least. But is this enough to get the investment and lending communities excited about the region again? What hurdles do we still need to get over? Where do these experts see opportunities? These experts will discuss what has attracted them to the region historically, the obstacles that the industry has been dealing with and how they are overcoming the impediments to successful operations, investment and development. They will discuss whether the challenges in the Caribbean region are significantly different than in other parts of the world or whether the same issues are present and what can be learned from the experience elsewhere. Finally, they will discuss how the industry within the region may evolve over the next few years and where their focus is. Moderator: David Larone, Director – PKF Consulting Panelists: David Brillembourg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – Brilla Group Kenneth Blatt, Principal – Caribbean Property Group Dave Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer – Aimbridge Hospitality Michael Shindler, Executive Vice President of Hotels & Casinos – Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos 10:45 am - 11:00 am - NETWORKING COFFEE BREAK - SPONSOR EXHIBITS Foyer 11:00 am -12:00 pm – GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D CARIBBEAN GONE GLOBAL - INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS Where did they come from and what do they want? In this important discussion comprised of experienced international investors representing various regions in the world, panelists will explain how perspective on the Caribbean has recently changed and appetite for Caribbean investment opportunity has consequently gone global. This discussion will examine how a variety of foreign family offices, institutions, lenders and emerging hotel brands have taken to the sand looking for opportunity to extend their reach into the recovering Caribbean region. Learn what they want and how they want it. Moderator: Bernard van der Lande, Managing Director and Senior Vice President – Hodges Ward Elliott Hotels Panelists: Pierre Charalambides, Founding Partner – Dolphin Capital Greg Rice, President and Founder – Solid Rock Advisors Jay Rosen, Vice President of Business Development – Davidson Hotels & Resorts Fausto Barba, Vice President of Finance and Development – Capella Hotel Group John Keith, Managing Partner – Caribe Hospitality 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 1 A Grand Ballroom E DESTINATION MARKETING IN THE CARIBBEAN Join this prestigious panel of marketing and public relations professionals and reporters who will share insights and make recommendations for effective marketing techniques. This panel is geared toward the hotel operator and owner as well as anyone with an interest in tourism promotion for the Caribbean. Moderator: Leora Lanz, Managing Director - HVS Sales & Marketing Services Panelists: Gay Myers, Senior Editor, Mexico & Caribbean - Travel Weekly Laura Davidson, President and Founder - Laura Davidson Public Relations Gary Leopold, President and Chief Executive Officer - ISM Travel & Lifestyle Marketing Ed Watkins, Editor-in-Chief - Lodging Hospitality Simón B. Suárez, Chief Development Representative, Caribbean and Central America – Hilton Worldwide 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 1 B Grand Ballroom F FINANCING A DEAL IN DIFFICULT TIMES The level of difficulty to finance hotel projects varies by region, project type and the sponsor’s track record. While construction financing remains difficult to obtain, funding for acquisitions appears to be loosening. Our panelists will discuss what pieces of the puzzle are needed to possibly make getting financing easier, the types of projects qualifying for debt, the current trends in financing terms and what the future holds on the financing front. Moderator: Jeff Higley, Vice President - STR Global Panelists: Lance Shaner, Chairman - Shaner Group Steve Carvell, Associate Dean - Cornell University, School Of Hotel Administration Peter Weiss, Director - Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Neil Bane, Senior Managing Director and Principal - Johnson Capital Sagar Desai, Director of Acquisitions & Development - Viceroy Hotel Group 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm - NETWORKING LUNCH Crowne Ballroom A Presentations from Task Force Leaders Announcement of 2013 CHICOS location from the host hotel and local Tourism Official. 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm - GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D THE STATE OF THE GLOBAL GAMING SECTOR: PUTTING THE CARIBBEAN INTO CONTEXT What does the future hold for casino-style gaming in the Caribbean? In the broader “neighborhood” of Central and South America? How do these opportunities compare to those available in other gaming jurisdictions around the world? This panel will explore these questions and others, from the perspective of selected leaders with relevant experience operating and investing in casino-resort projects around the world – from Las Vegas to Asia to the Caribbean. Hear about how different regulatory regimes, infrastructure demands, capital structure difficulties, project returns and other key elements impact investment and operating decisions around the gaming world from a seasoned group of industry experts. Moderator: Adam Rosenberg, Managing Director, Global Head of Gaming – Goldman Sachs Panelists: Andrea Balkan, Managing Partner – Brookfield Real Estate Nicholas Hecker, Principal – Och-Ziff Real Estate Uri Clinton, General Counsel – Baha Mar Resorts 2:50 pm - 3:50 pm - GENERAL SESSION Grand Ballroom D CUBA VS. COLUMBIA INVESTMENT CLIMATES Who will be the next success story? While Cuba has been posted on the radar for so many years in anticipation of its long-awaited opening to foreign investment, Columbia is experiencing a genuine investment renaissance that has taken everyone by storm. Listen to this panel of savvy, market-specific investors debate the merits of each respective destination, focusing on the effects of transparency, rule of law, freedom of the capital markets, and graduation from age-old stereotypes as these Caribbean cousins compete for regional and international hotel investment. Moderator: Chad Meyerson, Director Global Sales – JetBlue Panelists: Jeremy Tang, Managing Director – Hemingway Capital Adam Cohen, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer – Brilla Group Michael Register, Vice President of Development & Partner – Trust Hospitality Tim Ashby, Chief Executive Officer – Federal Regulatory Compliance Services, LLC 3:50 pm - 4:10 pm - NETWORKING COFFEE BREAK - SPONSOR EXHIBITS Foyer 4:10 pm - 5:10 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 2 A Grand Ballroom E INNOVATE FOR INVESTMENT SUCCESS - OVERCOMING INVESTMENT CHALLENGES With the economy slowly turning around and foreign investors showing renewed interest in hospitality transactions, it is vital that new development projects are delivered successfully – which will in turn stimulate additional investment into the region. This panel discussion is intended to focus on critical implementation activities that are unique to the Caribbean region – and how governments, investors, and development teams can collaborate to conceive and deliver viable hospitality investments. The discussion is intended to be very practical – providing “real-world” guidance for developers based on the panelists’ extensive experience in development in the region (representing the views of Government, private developers, investors, and operators). Moderator: Kevin Goldstein, Director of Sustainability Services – HVS Global Hospitality Services Panelists: Patrick McCudden, Senior Vice President of Real Estate & Development – Hyatt International Patrick Freeman, Vice President, Real Estate and Development – Cisneros Group of Companies Mark Durliat, Chief Executive Officer and Principal – Grace Bay Resorts Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, Principal – Bedford Baker Group Amy Ironmonger, Associate – K&L Gates, LLP 4:10 pm - 5:10 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 2 B Grand Ballroom F HOSPITALITY-DRIVEN MIXED USE RESORTS - PERSPECTIVES ON VARIOUS COMPONENTS A lively discussion of the hospitality driven mixed use model with an emphasis on several real estate components typically present within the model. The discussion will focus on these components from the perspective of physical facilities and issues, operating models, and ways to optimize cash flow and value. Moderator: John Lancet, Managing Director, Miami – HVS Global Hospitality Services Panelists: Neil Kolton, Director of Sales - Interval International Jonathan Nehmer, Principal - JN+A Design Alinio Azevedo, Director of Development - Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Nelson Parker, Head of Development, Americas - Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos German Rojas III Castillo, Senior Manager, Business Development - RCI 5:10 pm - 6:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 3 A Grand Ballroom E OPERATIONS: MASTERING THE REBOUND In this highly interactive session we are looking at how operators and other stakeholders are maximizing gains as the Caribbean soars into recovery. Learn from industry experts their secrets to promoting destinations, leveraging opportunity, raising rates and keeping expenses in check. Moderator: Glenn Haussman, Managing Editor – Hotel Interactive Panelists: Nikheel Advani, Chief Operating Officer and Principal – Grace Bay Resorts Paul Burke, Chief Operating Officer – Kerzner International Honorable Haydn Hughes, Parliamentary Secretary of Tourism - Government of Anguilla Louis Alicea, Director of Development, Caribbean and Latin America – Wyndham Hotel Group Alejandro Acevedo, Vice President, Caribbean and Latin America – Marriott International 5:10 pm - 6:00 pm – BREAKOUT SESSION 3 B Grand Ballroom F OPPORTUNITIES, OPPORTUNITIES, OPPORTUNITIES Following four long years with stormy clouds due to the impact of the global economic recession, the silver lining is finally beginning to bring to the forefront some opportunities for investors with access to capital. Banks are emerging from the world of “pretend and extend” and are bringing some challenged properties to market; developers are taking a renewed look at stalled new builds; investors are getting tired of sitting on the sidelines and are looking actively for opportunities to reposition for the improving economy; and the existing hotels are exhibiting positive gains in RevPAR throughout the Caribbean. We look forward to discussing what form these opportunities take and some strategies to assist in bringing them to fruition. Investors, bring your wallets! Moderator: Cristina Lanao-Rossel, President - The BDC Group Panelists: Timothy Peck, Chairman – OBM International Roland Mouly, VP of Development, Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America, Americas – Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Edgar Garin, Director of Franchise Development, Central & South America – La Quinta Inns & Suites Juan Morera, Deputy Director of Corporate Development – Grupo Posadas Fernando Fernandez, VP of Development, Americas – Sol Melia International Hotels 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm – COCKTAIL RECEPTION Cafe at The Great Hall of Waters - Royal Towers Lobby Click HERE to view there website
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday he has intervened in a labor dispute at the Gaming Board and believes he has diffused the tension between Gaming Board Chairman Dr. Andre Rollins and Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) President John Pinder.
Wilchcombe said he met with Pinder on Friday, a day after the union leader demanded that Prime Minister Perry Christie remove Rollins from his post.
Pinder claimed Rollins was micromanaging the board and wrongfully terminating staff.
"I think we're under control," said Wilchcombe, the minister responsible for gaming.
"I think we have a very sound relationship with the president of the union.
"And we have had opportunities to sit and talk about the situation that arose and I think that we have found an amicable way to deal with it and we will put it all to bed and move on."
When asked about the mounting tension between Pinder and Rollins, Wilchcombe said despite an apparent rift both men "are on the same page".
"We all want the best for our country," he said.
"We want Bahamians working. We want to have an advancing Gaming Board. I think we are all after the same things."
Last Thursday, Pinder threatened to campaign against the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) if the government does not remove Rollins, and other heads of government agencies who "are not labor friendly".
He said the union would do whatever it can to change the management style of the Gaming Board.
"If we have to disrupt the casinos so that the government can understand we are not playing with them...then so be it," said Pinder outside the Gaming Board's offices on Collins Avenue.
"We can't wait for election to get rid of him [Rollins]. We need him to be moved forthwith, now. If the government doesn't follow suit they will feel the pinch come next election."
Pinder was outraged because three Gaming Board employees were recently fired and another was suspended for 10 days without pay.
He claimed one of the employees, the Gaming Board's deputy secretary, was fired because she and another employee switched shifts.
The deputy secretary took court action on April 1 and was granted an order by Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder to return to work.
Gaming Board officials did not allow her to remain on the premises. Rollins said the board was not trying to disobey a court order but had to verify the document first.
The employee in question was allowed to return to work on Friday, Wilchcombe said.
Last week, Rollins said he is working in the best interests of the Gaming Board.
After general elections in The Bahamas there is always a back and forth over the issue of victimization. Some who were employed by the old regime accuse the new administration of firing them just because they politically supported their former bosses.
In The Bahamas there is not a clear enough distinction between the political appointees of an administration versus those who are employed by state agencies to do bureaucratic work, or to consult, on behalf of the state.
Political appointees are people hired by politicians to work for the state, but their duty is primarily to advance the interests of the politician or party who hired them while that person or group is in public office.
For political appointees, when the people who hired you lose office you should do the honorable thing and resign unprovoked by the new administration.
Last week former Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman and candidate Johnley Ferguson complained about how he was treated by the new Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration. He was a consultant in the ministry now led by Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government Alfred Gray. The ministry terminated Ferguson after the PLP won the election.
"Johnley is opposed to this government and its policies, so obviously I didn't think he should be surprised," Gray said when asked about Ferguson's complaint.
As a frontline politician, Ferguson should not think he should continue on in the post under the PLP. Similarly, if Gray was a consultant and the FNM won the general election he should know that he should resign.
It is disingenuous for political appointees to cry foul when they are removed because they will not resign. It may be useful for there to be a formal acknowledgement of these political posts so there is no dispute as to what should be done when regimes change.
For permanent and pensionable public servants, the issue is quite different. Once these individuals do their jobs politicians should not molest them. However, the issue of victimization becomes complicated regarding public servants who politicize themselves. These people openly let it be known that they support a side and advocate for this side while on the job. When a new administration comes into office it will obviously be mistrustful of these individuals - especially if they hold sensitive offices.
Some of these partisan public officials are consequently transferred or they are stripped of their portfolios and left with nothing to do, as the new administration does not trust them.
This is the consequence of self-politicization. If the government acted to strip responsibility from a public servant or to demote a public servant because of presumed political affiliation that would be victimization.
AML Foods Limited, the company that's bringing the Carl's Jr. fast food franchise to The Bahamas, hosted a one-day job fair at the Town Centre Mall yesterday. Hundreds lined up in hopes of landing employment with the fast food brand.
The brand's Marketing Manager Shirlen Godet told Guardian Business AML Foods is pleased with the response, with the lineup starting as early as 8 a.m. The company is seeking to hire just over 60 people, from entry level employees to managers to operate the store when it opens up.
"Understanding the state of the economy, we as a company are proud that we're going to be able to open up a new franchise that will bring jobs and help the company. From the looks of it, there are probably about 200 people. We need operational staff for our stores. We're looking for fun and exciting people to bring out the Carl's Jr. brand, so we invited Bahamians to bring their resumes and other necessary documents," he said yesterday.
"Most of the jobs that are available are at the entry level, customer service and a few managerial posts."
AML Foods consists of the Cost Right, Domino's Pizza, Solomon's Fresh Market and Carl's Jr. brands. Godet revealed that the company is also using the job fair as an opportunity to see if any applicants would be able to fill positions in other companies. The Carl's Jr. store will be located downstairs in the Town Centre Mall, a few doors down from Cost Right. Godet said the location is a perfect fit for the brand, with AML's executive offices located upstairs as well.
Tiffany McKenzie, Kevin Jones and Shaneth Deveaux, are all currently unemployed and came to Tuesday's job fair looking for employment at Carl's Jr.
"I came early to get an early start," said McKenzie. "I have experience in the fast food business, having worked at Subway. I believe it will work in my favor. It's been very challenging for me to find a job, but I am confident. Apart from my experience, I also have computer skills that the company could benefit from."
Jones said, "Carl's Jr. seems to be a solid place to work, so I came to fill out an application to try and get a job because I currently don't have a job.
"It's been challenging to find a job. Hopefully, this works out for me."
Deveaux said, "It's been hard for me to find a job and I have already filled out tons of applications."
Godet announced the company's plans to have at least five locations throughout the country over a five-year period.
In December 2013, AML Foods Limited Chairman Dionisio D'Aguilar revealed to Guardian Business that the company was pushing ahead with plans to launch the Carl's Jr. fast food chain in The Bahamas, believing that such a move is strategic given "changes in the food industry".
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham lashed out at Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis on Saturday night for representing some of the people alleged to have registered illegally in North Andros.
Ingraham was speaking to a crowd of hundreds of supporters in Grand Bahama at the official opening of the Free National Movement's (FNM) West Grand Bahama constituency office.
"If I have any FNM voter anywhere who is registered in the wrong constituency... I would ask them publicly to go and correct it," Ingraham said.
"I wouldn't have my deputy leader getting up and announcing that because I own a house in Abaco, I pay light and water bills in Abaco, [and] I go to Abaco, but I live in Nassau (I can vote in Abaco).
"How the hell could [I] vote in Abaco?
"I have got to vote where I live. I live in town, so I vote in town. And that is what we want everybody to do - vote where you live, not where you don't live."
Ingraham was referring to Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis, an attorney who represents several people who are registered to vote in North Andros, but whose names are being challenged.
At a hearing in North Andros on Friday, Davis said the law provides for people with two residences to choose where they wish to be registered.
The court heard evidence in respect of one of the voters being challenged.
The man - whose name cannot be published - testified that he lives on East Street with his wife, but goes to North Andros most weekends, has a house there and pays bills there.
He said he was born there and will soon retire there. The man also said he has voted in North Andros previously.
Ingraham also knocked at a promise PLP Leader Perry Christie and Davis made to build schools on San Salvador.
"After neglecting the good people of San Salvador, they went up there and they promised, saying 'now listen, we're going to build you two new schools'," said Ingraham.
"'We (the PLP) haven't built [any] in The Bahamas in five years, but in San Salvador we're going to build you two new schools.'
"The last time they were down here (in Grand Bahama) they were promising to build two new schools here too.
"Remember how just recently they were scoffing at our list of accomplishments - building roads, and clinics and airports and straw markets and schools.
"They said they were things. In their world of confusion and delusion, a school was only a thing.
"Now suddenly, they realize that schools are built for students and teachers and that they are used as community centers for the people. Now they're saying - next time they will build schools."
Ingraham told supporters the FNM administration would build a town center, a library, post office and a place to access central government services, all in West Grand Bahama.
Ingraham officially opened the remaining four constituency offices on Grand Bahama on Saturday.
The party previously opened its Marco City office. Its candidate in that constituency is Norris Bain.
On Saturday, the party officially opened the offices of Peter Turnquest who is running in East Grand Bahama; Neko Grant in Central Grand Bahama; Kwasi Thompson in Pineridge and concluded with Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe in West Grand Bahama.
I am quite
concerned about the direction in which the Free National Movement (FNM)
is headed. It appears that since Hubert Ingraham returned as leader of
the FNM in 2005 he has made it his mission to be the sole face of the
FNM. So much so, that some of the FNM's constituency offices barely
display the faces of the candidates, but are decorated with the image of
Ingraham. This continues a trend which was clearly evident during the
Elizabeth by-election. For the number of Hubert Ingraham's posters
nailed to trees and light poles, you hardly knew that Dr. Duane Sands
was the candidate in that by-election. No wonder he blew it after the
entire Cabinet invaded and occupied Elizabeth and brought with them the
full resources of the government...
I read with interest the personal opinion of "Simon" in the column Front Porch of The Nassau Guardian Tuesday, October 30, regarding the leader of the opposition.
Simon rightly said that the leader of the opposition post is a stepping stone to potentially the most rewarding elected office in our parliamentary system. We know that there are many who toiled and worked hard for years to achieve that coveted post. However, on May 7, 2012, it all came crashing down when not only did the Free National Movement suffer a devastating loss, but some who felt destined to hold the post as leader were rejected at the polls by The Bahamian public.
To add fuel to the fire, the leader, whom many of us still love, admire and even revere, immediately walked away after the devastating bombshell blow. I will never forget that night as I sat near my TV waiting for a word of hope, of reassurance, of comfort, when Hubert Alexander Ingraham walked out on May 7, conceded defeat and then dealt the final and fatal blow that he would resign. What thousands of supporters needed to hear if only that one night was, "Yes we lost, but we will get up, brush ourselves off and we will carry on". Even more so because of the fact that the entire campaign was riding on the strength, character and integrity of Hubert Alexander Ingraham. I have always been a fan of Hubert Ingraham and will always be, but I gotta tell you, to have him walk away at a time like that was devastating and somewhat embarrassing to say the least.
Given the swift departure of Ingraham, it was inevitable that the party would immediately go through some severe "withdrawal" symptoms. In fact, it is likely that anyone who had gained the converted position of leader under those circumstances would have had to deal with some disgruntled people who felt as if they had a right to and deserved the post.
Simon criticized Dr. Minnis for stating how he would vote in the event of a referendum. No, we do not know what the question will be. As far as I know Dr. Minnis indicated that his position was a personal one and had no bearing on his party. What makes him any different from the hundreds inside and outside the political arena who have already stated their position regarding gambling? It's a personal choice. I am personally against gambling in any form, but the fact that Dr. Minnis was willing to be open and honest about his personal choice is in no way reflective of his ability to lead, except to say that he is honest enough to be truthful about his personal convictions, instead of ducking and dodging and playing "politricks" like so many others have done.
Simon also criticized Dr. Minnis for "raising expectations" in the Abaco by-election. Well blow me down. What was he supposed to do as a leader, Simon? Is it not his duty as leader to be positive and to not accept or even entertain failure before it happens? And as far as accepting the blame is concerned, have you had a chance to speak with the wonderful people of Abaco to find out exactly why many of them refused to vote FNM or not vote at all? I think you need to go and find out what the real problem was. And trust me, you can be assured that it was not Hubert Alexander Minnis. Additionally, what if the FNM had won? Would it have been okay for Dr. Minnis to insist that he alone was responsible for the win? I think not.
Dr. Minnis' comments that Ingraham's era was over after the by-election may seem out of order considering the great leadership and the contribution made by Ingraham, but the truth is that it needed to be said publicly. Dr. Minnis had sat back for months and taken much flack from supporters and non-supporters alike. People were asking who the real leader of the party was; there were rumors that Ingraham had handpicked Greg Gomez; and the list of observations and complaints went on and on. What would you have done Simon?
In my opinion, Dr. Minnis had no choice. I am certain that his words were in no way an attempt to belittle Ingraham but to simply set the record straight. Get it right people, Hubert Alexander Minnis is now leader.
Simon himself said that "the post of leader of the opposition is one of the more difficult political offices for all manner of reasons" but then he went on to itemize and give his personal opinions on everything that he perceives has been done wrong by the leader of the opposition. You know, you can always tell when someone has a personal goal to make another person look bad. They bring out all the bad points and neglect to say anything good. Could there be even one good reason why Dr. Minnis was handed the rare "gift" unopposed?
My question to Simon is how exactly do you organize people in a party who are not only reeling from defeat but are bitter, jealous and angry? How do you organize people who feel as if they deserve your post and will destroy the entire party before they support you? How do you unify people who are hungry for power, plotting against you and stabbing you in the back? How do you not alienate yourself from people like that?
I have worked closely with Dr. Minnis and I can attest to the fact that he has always surrounded himself with positive people. Anyone who has felt alienated by him need to check themselves. Could it be that you have exhibited negativity? It is clear that Dr. Minnis does not and cannot thrive on negativity.
People often talk about charisma and engaging speakers when it comes to leadership, and that's all good, but I believe our population has become more politically mature. Politically mature people look for the kind of charisma that makes the leader more concerned about making others look and feel good than making themselves look good.
Dr. Minnis has shown his ability to be hard working, to be accountable and to communicate with the people he serves. Judging from the way he runs his constituency he is forward thinking and is quick to adapt to new and changing trends. He has shown by his own personal life that he has what it takes to make something out of nothing. He has shown, even now, that the words "quit", "walk away" and "give up" are not in his vocabulary. He is a leader who can appreciate and utilize the strengths of the positive people around him so that they can shine along with him. Those are the true signs of leadership.
I will say here and now that as a supporter of the Free National Movement and its philosophies, I have no preference for leader. I will support anyone who is chosen to lead. Whoever it is will have strengths and weaknesses. Hubert Ingraham was not perfect and neither is Hubert Minnis. As supporters we can break our leaders down or we can build them up. We can choose to work with him and win or we can fight against him and we can all lose.
-- Lorraine Gibson