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Tuesday 10th July 2012
Independence Day Happy Independence Day Bahamas! The Bahamas is a sovereign, independent, nation. Political and legal traditions closely follow those of the United Kingdom and the Westminster system. The government of the Bahamas is a parliamentary democracy with two main parties, the Free National Movement and the Progressive Liberal Party. National flag The colors embodied in the design of the Bahamian flag symbolise the image and aspirations of the people of The Bahamas; the design reflects aspects of the natural environment (sun, sand, and sea) and the economic and social development. The flag is a black equilateral triangle against the mast, superimposed on a horizontal background made up of two colours on three equal stripes of aquamarine, gold and aquamarine. The symbolism of the flag is as follows: Black, a strong colour, represents the vigour and force of a united people, the triangle pointing towards the body of the flag represents the enterprise and determination of the Bahamian people to develop and possess the rich resources of sun and sea symbolized by gold and aquamarine respectively. In reference to the representation of the people with the colour black, some white Bahamians have joked that they are represented in the thread which "holds it all together. Coat of arms The Coat of Arms of The Bahamas contains a shield with the national symbols as its focal point. The shield is supported by a marlin and a flamingo, which are the national animals of The Bahamas. The flamingo is located on the land, and the marlin on the sea, indicating the geography of the islands. National flower The yellow elder was chosen as the national flower of The Bahamas because it is native to the Bahama Islands, and it blooms throughout the year. Selection of the yellow elder over many other flowers was made through the combined popular vote of members of all four of New Providence's garden clubs of the 1970s – the Nassau Garden Club, the Carver Garden Club, the International Garden Club, and the YWCA Garden Club. Click HERE to read more about The Bahamas on Wikipedia.
The beauty of democracy is that power rests with the people and the exercise of this power produces stronger and accountable governance. It is encouraging to see the quality of discussions among the electorate leading up to the next general election. The elevation of our debates in this regard is evidence that the Bahamian populace has matured politically and we are very much in tune with the issues that plague our nation. It is fair to state that Bahamians of all social strata and across the political divide are fed up with the status quo of political rhetoric and propaganda. The Bahamian electorate is unified in demanding true accountability and solutions from our political leaders. This paradigm shift and overhaul of politics as we once knew it constitutes a changing of the guard.
The governing party's problems
In the run-up to the general election, each major political party has intensified its campaign with advertisements, posters and billboards. It is disappointing to say the least that some of our political parties are still stuck in the quicksand of old politics as they have shifted from the non-resonating message of proven leadership to the invocation of scandals that have plagued opposition administrations. The paid adverts have sought to paint each other and the relevant leader as corrupt with recurrent references to the "cookie jar".
In the height of this election season, political strategists must be reminded of the legal maxim that states "he who comes to equity must come with clean hands". In essence, he who alleges wrong against a party or another must show that he is doing so in good faith having done no wrong himself. The maxim is quite similar to the words of Jesus Christ that "he who is without sin should cast the first stone". The Free National Movement (FNM) has been studious in its documentation of the scandals of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) between 2002 and 2007. However, the reality is that the current administration has been plagued with its own share of scandals as well.
In the case of the FNM administration between 2007 and 2012, the allegations against its Cabinet have been numerous throughout its five-year term in office and spans across all ministerial portfolios including local government, education, finance, foreign affairs, national security, immigration, works and transport.
The widely publicized Aga Khan and Bell Island scandal and alleged awarding of contracts to special interests readily comes to mind. It is also difficult to omit the granting of citizenship to immigrants in what was seen as a non-transparent process, as well as the visit of Haitian President Michel Martelly and his controversial remarks to persons of Haitian descent during a meeting also come to mind. The most recent miscue was the prime minister's overt remarks that The Bahamas would not be drilling for oil with full knowledge that exploration licenses had been issued to the British listed public company, Bahamas Petroleum. The remarks caused a one-third decrease in the share value of that company.
The point here is that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham like many of his predecessors locally and contemporaries internationally has had to deal with his fair share of scandals, some carried out by ministers who have been given the opportunity to run in multiple general elections. It is imperative to state that no political leader is exempt from scandals. Political leaders, however, must display true integrity by exerting honesty and transparency toward those who follow them and have entrusted them with power to administer the proverbial "cookie jar". Any alleged impropriety, corruption or looting of the public treasury should be investigated and not used for political gain or brownie points. Culprits should be prosecuted if there is sufficient evidence to support such allegations.
What we should be discussing
The political parties must return to the issues that are of the utmost importance to the Bahamian electorate. They should be sensitive to, and show some care and concern for, the matters that touch the lives of everyday Bahamians instead of taking us back to the old politics that we no longer welcome. Just to refresh our political leaders' memories, we are concerned about the state of our economy and the multiple downgrades from international rating agencies; the country's borrowing cost increase and level of investor confidence in our Bahamaland. Our economy is in a fragile state; unemployment remains high; illegal immigration is still plaguing our nation; our education system is failing the youth; crime continues to spiral out of control and labor unrest has been the order of the day. Additionally, there has been insignificant and insufficient injection of foreign direct investment to create jobs and opportunities for the Bahamian people to spur economic growth and ultimately increase government revenue.
Each political party must take responsibility for the state of affairs in The Bahamas while they were in office and effectively convince the Bahamian people why they should be given another term in office. Faced with similar socio-economic challenges of the current administration, the Pindling administration did not have the luxury in the 1992 general election of blaming the state of affairs of the country on the worst recession since the great depression which took place in the late 1930s or the ailing world economy. A new generation of Bahamians accepted the FNM's message of change and hence ushered Hubert Ingraham into office in a historical changing of the guard in Bahamian politics since 1967.
The Ingraham-led administration was voted out of office in a landslide PLP victory in 2002; a clear and forceful message by the electorate that it was time to once again change the guard. During the 2007 general election, the FNM campaigned against the PLP on the high crime rate, the country's national debt, scandals and leadership leading yet again to a change of the guard. Five years later, it is ironic that the FNM seems to be faced with a flipped script with a record crime rate, the highest level of national debt in the country's history accompanied with its own share of scandals. Like past governments, the FNM government must face the Bahamian people who have the right, opportunity and privilege to change the guard if they so desire.
This general election will represent the final showdown between two formidable political contemporaries and adversaries. Whatever transpires, we are witnessing the historical end to one of the greatest political eras in the Caribbean region, which would have spanned over 50 years and involved one man and his two prodigies. The 2012 general election will bring about a notable changing of the guard and will usher in a new era in Bahamian politics.
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The Government is looking to marry its own recommendations that it believes will be "even more beneficial" to Bahamian casino gaming with those proposed by the private sector, the minister of tourism and aviation said yesterday, as it moves to "enhance and hold on to the significant competitive advantages" this nation has in the sector.
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace confirmed to Tribune Business that proposed reforms to Bahamian casino gaming laws and regulations, which had been submitted by the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) and other interested parties, were "all in front of me now".
While some proposed reforms would be " ...
Now that the PLP has
released its Vision 2030 Charter For Governance, the Council For
Concerned Bahamians Abroad (CBA) has completed its comparative review of
the three official governance documents released by the Parties
contesting the upcoming Bahamas Elections. The FNM released its
Manifesto, and the DNA its Vision 2012 and Beyond, weeks earlier.
The comparative analysis is designed
to evaluate the Plans in areas the CBA has identified as most essential
to the future successful development of the Bahamas. The review
analyses the plans in three major areas...
Nassau, Bahamas - As part of CariFringe the
Bahamian Dance Theatre Company performed on Sunday, October 3rd at The Hub. Enclosed are photos by BJ Daxon II.
CariFringe is an annual ten day regional arts and culture festival
scheduled to take place in the city of Nassau, The Bahamas. The
inaugural festival will take place the
1st - 11th of October 2010, and
will be a multidisciplinary cultural event composed of a wide range of
activities including theatrical productions, concerts, art exhibitions,
literary readings, social gatherings, workshops, discussions, parties
and craft markets from a variety of creative communities locally and
The political parties are in full campaign mode as we near the general election. The television channels are filled with ads, there are multiple constituency office openings per week and people across the country are talking about politics.
The messages of the Free National Movement (FNM), the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) are quite distinct at this stage of the campaign.
The FNM says it is the party that delivers. The PLP is pushing the message that it believes in Bahamians and the DNA says it is change.
Each message is profound. We want leaders who deliver; we want leaders who believe in Bahamians; and we want change away from some of the dysfunction of the modern Bahamas.
The tests for the parties will be how the voters match up their records with the messages they (the parties) are pushing.
The key for the FNM - and it has been doing this - is to prove that it has delivered good things for The Bahamas over the past five years. It will also need to convince the electorate that what it has delivered was needed, that it will improve the lives of Bahamians and that it is worth the cost.
For the PLP, it will need to further explain what it means by believing in Bahamians. The statement truly is comparative. What the party is attempting to do is to argue that it believes in Bahamians more than its primary rival the FNM. However, the PLP and FNM have similar policies when it comes to foreign direct investment and budgetary allocations to invest in The Bahamas.
The PLP was the "independence party" of the country and many of our institutions of state were created under its 25 years in power from majority rule. Some older Bahamians still focus on those days and achievements, but many younger voters do not. They know Perry Christie's PLP, which in its five-year term from 2002 to 2007 was more defined by its enemies through its gaffes and scandals than through nation building. Hence, the nationalist theme of believing in Bahamians being advanced by the official opposition may not evoke the reaction the party thinks it will.
The DNA has to convince people that it can deliver on the change it promises. More specifically, it needs to convince enough people that it has a real chance of having an impact on the election. Bahamians do not like to think that they are throwing away their votes. The party has done a good job using broadcast advertising to evoke emotion, but the question in the minds of many is still, "Are they for real?"
For each of the parties, as they continue to refine their messages it is critical that they ensure that what they say is true. Voters are not stupid, and a party cannot force its impression of its record on people who know this impression to be untrue.
The party that conveys a message most accurate to its record and capacity will have an advantage. And every advantage is crucial in what will likely be a close election.
NASSAU, The Bahamas - The Bahamas welcomed a team of electoral observers from the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to observe its General Elections on May 7, 2012.
An agreement was signed between The Bahamas Parliamentary Registration Department and the General Secretariat of the OAS on the Electoral Observation Process. It established the scope and coverage of the electoral observation mission in question.
The Bahamas has guaranteed conditions of security, free access to information and full cooperation with the electoral observation mission. The teams have also been granted permission to visit with leaders of the political parties and members of Civil Society who can give further insight into The Bahamas' electoral process.
The CARICOM observers have also been granted the same latitude. However the OAS entered into a formal agreement in accordance with the principles and norms of the organisation. The OAS has a team of 18 and CARICOM a team of 10.
The mission may inform the Parliamentary Registration Department about any irregularities and or interference which the mission might observe or, of which the mission might learn. And similarly, the mission may request that the Parliamentary Registration Department provide any information regarding the measures which the department will take in relation to such irregularities.
Saturday 28th July 2012 8:00 PM
Summer Beach Concerts H mark the spot 1/2 Priced Appetizers with the purchase of Heineken Buckets Opened in May 2007, the Beach Club Cafe serves local, seasonal food in a relaxed seaside setting that makes us a perfect spot for parties, weddings or intimate dinners on our private pier on Sandyport Beach, Bahamas. Please visit the Cafe Boutique and discover original crafts made by local artisans and from around the world. When: Friday at 8pm Where: Beach Club Cafe
Respective leaders of the Free National Movement (FNM) and Democratic National Alliance (DNA) on Thursday night made similar pleas for public servants and members of the armed forces to vote for their parties in the advanced poll set for Tuesday.
During the FNM's mass rally on Clifford Park, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham encouraged Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Force officers to consider their futures with the government that has committed to more resources, salary increases, uniform allowances and promotion exercises.
"Going forward we will require more from you and so we will also do more for you," he said.
"You know that when we can, we increase your pay and improve your terms and conditions of employment."
Ingraham added, "I note also that the Public Service Commission is presently completing the resumed service-wide promotion exercise [that was] suspended."
Meanwhile, DNA Leader Branville McCartney predicted that Police and defence force, customs and immigration and prison officers would vote for the DNA in the advanced poll, as they are tired of the Ingraham-led government.
"Reliable sources tell me that [they] all have gone green," McCartney told supporters during his party's rally in Golden Gates.
"Successive governments have shown little to no respect for the armed forces of this country and every election time they give out promotions to try to gain votes."
Ingraham previously announced that around 7,865 people are registered to vote in the advanced poll, including election workers, agents of political parties, Defence Force, Police Force and custom and immigration officers, and special voters.
Of that figure, there are approximately 420 students and other Bahamians registered to vote abroad, according to Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel.
Sherlyn Hall, deputy permanent secretary at the Parliamentary Registration Department, told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that 3,865 are registered voters, who would not be able to vote on Election Day due to illness, hospitalization or previously scheduled travel.
Those registered voters will be able to vote between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m at two polling stations in New Providence, which will be located at The College of The Bahamas and Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Changes made recently to the Parliamentary Elections Act allow students and other eligible Bahamians to vote in Miami, Atlanta, Washington, New York, London, Toronto, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Stations have also been established on the Family Islands and overseas voters will have the ability to vote at Bahamian embassies, high commissions or other foreign missions, including high consuls.
The information in this article was extracted directly from the document; Code of Practice for Content Service - ECS 06/2012 from URCA. The greater portion of the rules and regulations related to political broadcasts are contained herein. For further information and to download the document in its entirety, be sure to visit their website; http://www.urcabahamas.bs.
This Part of the Code sets out the standards applicable to the
broadcasting of political advertisements and election programmes
arranged and paid for by potential candidates, actual candidates,
political parties and other persons or entities outside of election