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Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to todayís ceremony. I am especially pleased to welcome Lady Naomi and Sir Cecilís children and other relatives, former colleagues and friends as we dedicate this new Centre in the name of Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday officially opened and dedicated the new Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre on West Bay Street which is now the home of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
In attendance were Vincent Wallace-Whitfield, son of Sir Cecil and his widow, Lady Naomi Wallace-Whitfield.
Former Prime Minister and member of Parliament-elect for the constituency of North Abaco Hubert A. Ingraham told his constituents that he will be stepping down as their representative on July 19. It was on that day 35 years ago that a 29-year-old attorney was first elected that area's member of Parliament. He would win eight consecutive elections in that area.
In 1977 Ingraham received 892 votes, or 69 percent, of the votes cast. There were 1,292 voters who cast their ballots on that day. In the May 7 general election, 4,130 constituents voted. Ingraham only received 2,235 votes, or 54 percent of the votes. After all the former prime minister did for that area, a staggering 46 percent of the voters were firmly against Ingraham winning that contest against an unknown candidate, Renardo Curry.
Obviously, Ingraham's base in that area has eroded over the years. Moreover, his political opponents pumped a lot of money into their campaign in an effort to humiliate the former prime minister at the polls in North Abaco. They were hoping for a major upset. The constituency of Cooper's Town was an impoverished, backward area when Ingraham first became its MP. Today, it is one of the more economically vibrant constituencies in The Bahamas. I cannot understand why the 1,895 residents who supported the two opposing candidates would want to deny the former prime minister another term in office.
On the night of May 7, a teary-eyed Ingraham conceded defeat at his party's headquarters on Mackey Street after it became clear that the governing party had been crushed at the polls. This would be the second election loss that the former prime minister had suffered in two years. His candidate, Dr. Duane Sands, lost his by-election contest in 2010. Perhaps that election defeat should have portended doom to the then Ingraham administration. The night of May 7 was first time I had ever seen Ingraham near tears. I had become so accustomed to seeing him win elections. But this was not to be this time around. His political opponents worked feverishly in portraying him as an intolerable tyrant to the youth of this nation. It was this voting bloc that did Ingraham in at the polls. These young people cannot appreciate what Ingraham has done for this country. The overwhelming majority of them don't read, so they know nothing about the reputation of The Bahamas being in tatters when Ingraham first became prime minister in 1992.
August 19, 1992 was the day that Ingraham and the Free National Movement (FNM) defeated Sir Lynden O. Pindling and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). The PLP was the government of The Bahamas for 25 consecutive years. It wasn't easy to defeat the PLP, which for many years has been considered the party of the small man and the black masses. Sir Lynden was called the Black Moses, who led the country to majority rule in 1967 and to independence in 1973.
Many Bahamians, including myself, just could not envisage Sir Lynden not being prime minister. He ruled this country with an iron fist. In fact, this alleged dictatorial tendency of the late father of the nation led eight PLP members of Parliament to abandon the party in the early 1970s. These political dissidents, Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Arthur Foulkes, Warren J. Levarity, James Shepherd, Curtis McMillan, George Thompson, Elwood Donaldson and Maurice Moore, called themselves the Free-PLP party. They later formed a political party and called it the Free National Movement. The FNM was led by Wallace-Whitfield, who at one time was the minister of education in Sir Lynden's young government. The United Bahamian Party (UBP) also joined forces with the newly-formed opposition party.
History has proven that the move by the so-called Dissident Eight was a good one. Imagine not having a viable option to the PLP? The Bahamas would have never matured politically without the formation of the FNM. Granted, The Bahamas had several political parties during the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
It was no secret that Sir Lynden had no intention of ever stepping down. Even when he was encouraged to relinquish his post as prime minister after the commission of inquiry of the mid-1980s, Sir Lynden dug in his heels and remained in his post. Sir Lynden and his PLP were so entrenched in this nation as the government that even after the shocking revelations of corruption in the 1984 commission of inquiry, the party still was able to hold on to the government in the 1987 general election.
Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie both won as independent candidates in 1987. Both Ingraham and Christie were kicked out of the Cabinet for protesting the rampant corruption within the party. Instead of being applauded for their courageous stand by Pindling, they were both fired. Subsequently, Ingraham was expelled from the PLP. Ingraham had served as minister of housing, national insurance and social services in Pindling's Cabinet. He was also chairman of The Bahamas Mortgage Corporation. In 1976, he was elected national chairman of the ruling PLP government.
I have heard several former prominent FNMs stating on numerous occasions that had Sir Cecil been alive to lead the FNM in the 1992 election, the party would have still won. Perhaps they are right, but we will never know. Providence had other plans for this nation. Besides, if there was ever a time for the then FNM Leader Sir Kendall Isaacs and his deputy Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield to defeat the PLP, it was in 1987. There was simply no way the PLP should have carried that election. In my humble opinion, the two FNM leaders of the 1980s were not as charismatic and energetic as Ingraham. Had Ingraham been the leader of the FNM in 1987, the PLP would have been defeated.
After the 1987 election, Sir Kendal stepped down as leader of the FNM. Sir Cecil once again became the leader of the opposition. However, Sir Cecil became gravely ill with cancer. He died in May 1990.
Ingraham became the new leader of the FNM following Sir Cecil's untimely death. He had joined the party in April of that year. Ingraham was successful in leading the FNM to victory in the Marco City by-election which was held in June of 1990. Ingraham also led the FNM to a stunning victory in the historic August 19,1992 general election, as was mentioned already.
I was amazed at Ingraham's boldness and charisma during the period leading up to the 1992 election. He was not afraid to challenge Sir Lynden. Back then I didn't know that we had people in this country who weren't afraid of the then prime minister. The FNM's victory in 1992 changed the course of Bahamian history.
In my humble opinion, the following decade, 1992 to 2002, was the greatest in this nation's history. It was without precedent. Ingraham was able to attract hotel mogul Sol Kerzner to this country. Kerzner built a first-class resort on Paradise Island, Atlantis. This new resort has transformed The Bahamas' tourism sector, which was dying in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. In fact, when the FNM became the new government in 1992, the unemployment rate was through the roof. Today, Atlantis is this nation's largest private employer. Ingraham also privatized government-owned hotels.
These failing hotels were a burden on the treasury. Ingraham also ended the government's broadcast monopoly. He opened up the airwaves. Now Bahamians can listen to other radio stations, instead of just ZNS Radio. He also brought cable television to New Providence and to several other Family Islands.
For years, the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas was the unofficial organ of Sir Lynden and the PLP. No one would have dared to criticize Sir Lynden on ZNS TV13 and Radio. Anyone brazen enough to do this would have been either fired from their job or disenfranchised by Sir Lynden's loyal supporters. Ingraham brought about sweeping changes to broadcasting. He has also deepened democracy in this country.
It is truly ironic, though, that the man who is responsible for deepening democracy in this country is labeled "The Dictator" and a tyrant by the PLP and his other detractors. Anyone could have gone on any radio talk show and lambaste Ingraham when he was prime minister and not suffered any political repercussions. I have even seen Ingraham's critics on ZNS TV13 lambasting him on many occasions. This country has matured politically under Ingraham's leadership. The FNM under Ingraham had made a solemn oath to do away with political victimization, which had allegedly become so common in Sir Lynden's government. Ingraham has also cleaned up the image of this country, which had been greatly tarnished by the PLP administration in the 1970s and 1980s. He restored the international community's confidence and trust in The Bahamas. That is why the Christie administration was able to attract several major investments between 2002 and 2007.
Ingraham also introduced local government to the Family Islands. Additionally, Ingraham was able to attract several major investments to Grand Bahama during his first decade as prime minister: Polymers International Ltd., the Freeport Container Port, Bradford Marine and the Grand Bahama Shipyard. Ingraham brought about a major economic boom in Grand Bahama and New Providence during the 1990s.
Ingraham had his share of challenges during his final term in office, owing to the Great Recession, along with high unemployment throughout The Bahamas; the grossly mismanaged New Providence Road Improvement Project; the sale of 51 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to Cable and Wireless Communications; the downsizing at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas; the unrest at customs and immigration; and the crime crisis in New Providence.
There was the lingering possibility that the "Delivery Boy", as Sir Lynden labeled him in the early 1990s, might very well lose his first election as leader of the FNM because of the myriad of problems facing the nation. The possibility became a reality on the night of May 7.
Yet, despite all that has happened in his final term as prime minister, I believe that when future generations look back at this nation's first 38 years of independence, they will say that Hubert A.Ingraham was the greatest prime minister of The Bahamas. Many Bahamians seem to have forgotten what this nation was like before Ingraham became prime minister in 1992. All of a sudden we have conveniently forgotten the deplorable depths this nation had descended to in the 1970s and 1980s. I for one refuse to play the role of an amnesiac.
I would like to thank Ingraham for all he has done for this country. Informed Bahamians will forever be greatly indebted to him.
- Kevin Evans
Funeral Service for the Late Pamela Theresa Peterson, 50 years of Pepper Road, Eastwood Subdivision will be held on Saturday December 3rd, 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Parish, Virginia Street. Fr. Dwight M. Bowe assisted by other members of the clergy will officiate. Interment will follow in the Eastern Cemetery, Shirley Street.
She is survived by her Husband: Tyrone Peterson; Children: Devin and Maya Peterson; Parents: Stanley and Barbara Campbell; Four Brothers: Stanley Jr., Donald, Ishmael, and Graham Campbell ; Three Sisters: Clarice and Grace Campbell, and Linda Roman; Seven Nephews: Stanley III, Graham, Tyrese, Alexander, Tylere Campbell, Ja' Von, and Justin Peterson; Eight Nieces: Brooke Greene, Aysha Albury, Christina and Noa Campbell, Hailey Roman, Ja' Nae, Amelia, and Celina Peterson; Three Brothers in- law: Robert Roman, Craig, and Dion Peterson; Three Sisters in- law: Michelle and Delicia Campbell, Stacey, Gaynell, and Lindsey Peterson; Uncles and Aunts: Wenzel Weech and Family, David and Edwina Rolle and Family, William and Williemae Allen and Family, Ronald and Catherine Williams and Family, The Family of the late Irmath Munroe and Patricia Roberts and Family. Other relatives and friends: Leonard Adderley and Family, The Lightbourne Family, Shelagh Strachan and Family, Godfrey and Patti Sherman, Tanisha Brennen and Brea Brown, Thelma Calma and Christian Maynard, Lease Strachan And Family, Anzlo Strachan and Family, Gloria Strachan and Family, Monica Wright, Doreen Campbell and Family, Winnis Bowleg and Family, The Campbells, Larrimores, Farrahs, Smiths, Millers , Munnings, Armbrister Families, Wallace Whitfield Family, Peterson Family, Edwin and Annie Griffin, Angela Tynes and Family , Idris and Gwen Reid, Kevin Hanna and Family, Alex Sawyer , Jade Johnson, Felicia Curry, Cherrill Johnson, Nicole Cartwright, Denise Crew and Ajita Wallace, Paula Williams, Justina and Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, Lisa Tucker, Mark Burrows , William Saunders, Fr. Dwight and Mrs. Bowe, Canon Warren and Mrs. Rolle, Marie White, Kaye Ward, Patricia Davis , Terell Shearer , Dr. Theodore Turnquest and Staff of the Oncology Consultants, Dynamos Soccer Team, The Bank of the Bahamas Limited Family, Alarms Limited, A.C.W. of St. Mary the Virgin Church, St. Mary the Virgin Church Family ,The Valley Boys Junkanoo Group, The Prince Hall Family of Masons and Eastern Star (P.H.A.) and others too numerous to mention.
Friends may pay their last respects at Bethel Brothers Morticians, #44 Nassau Street on Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
The work of young artists practicing ambitiously and consistently with interesting material and creative ideas is being celebrated in a new exhibition at Popopstudios Art Gallery - "The New New".
The exhibition features the work of four young artists, Veronica Dorsett, 21; Blake Fox, 19; Piaget Moss; 19 and Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, 19.
The work includes digital media, site-specific installations, photo transfers and painting.
The show's curator Heino Schmid, an artist and lecturer at The College of The Bahamas (COB), said the idea for the show started out as a kind of satire, but eventually turned into something more serious.
"It was initially a thought I had reading about contemporary art and the desire for curators and art dealers to constantly seek the new hot artists," Schmid told Guardian Arts&Culture.
"So calling something the new new was initially a kind of tongue-in-cheek plan on this insatiable desire for the hunt for a new artist or artists of importance. Upon further reflection, however, it occurred to me and the team at Popop that this idea of the new new could be an opportunity to celebrate the work of young artists."
Dorsett, Fox, Moss and Wallace-Whitfield were selected for the exhibition based on their own creative practices and what was seen as a strong desire to push their practice into something grander, Schmid explained.
It was an ideal opportunity, he said, to bring the young artists together in one room and allow the freedom for a significant visual dialogue.
"Popopstudios is, I think, in many ways an ideal format for these kinds of discussions. As a physical location we sometimes struggle with physical resources but one of our greatest resources at the studio is an exceptionally strong environment for creative collaboration and we felt that all
four artists would not only produce a visually exciting exhibition but would also gain from the collective experience of working with each other," said Schmid.
Dorsett, a Popop Junior Resident prize winner, is from Freeport and graduated from the College of The Bahamas last year. She also recently completed a residency at Atilier 89 in Aruba. Fox is from Long Island and will graduate this year from COB with a degree in art. Moss is also from Freeport and is an art student and COB. Wallace-Whitfile is from Nassau and is currently the curator at the D'Aguilar Art Foundation and a curatorial assistant at the Natation Art Gallery of The Bahamas.
The variety of work seen in the show speaks not only to the individuals participating in the exhibition but also the recontextualization of material and creative practice.
"It was exciting for us to see how these artists in particular were playing with and exploring various mediums and material," he said.
The exciting thing about the exhibition, said Schmid, is that it has a lot of energy.
"It feels like the artists involved embraced the challenge of creating a body of work that would allow for their own individual growth as well as coming together as a unit to bring a single exhibition to the public that is engaging and sets the stage for a meaningful dialogue," he added.
Schmid believes viewers will be genuinely impressed with how the group of artists was able to explore their own ideas as a cohesive unit.
The artists have set a wonderful precedent for the future, which is palpable as you navigate the exhibition, he said.
"I truly believe that viewers will leave the show wanting to see more of what these talents are able to produce in the future," said Schmid.
In many ways, the work of these young artists continues to reflect how art in The Bahamas has changed over the past decade.
Schmid said this change comes out an inherent desire to forge an identity that is reflective of the state of the country at the moment.
"As artists we have a responsibility to echo the fundamental social tones where we practice," he said. "All four of these artists are embracing that responsibility and are pushing their practices to echo this desire for change and a new way of thinking."
o 'The New New Show' runs through November 30. Contact Popopstudios at popostudios.com for more information.