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News Article

August 22, 2014
Christie criticized for missing VAT vote

St. Anne's MP Hubert Chipman said yesterday that he found it "disgraceful and appalling" that Prime Minister Perry Christie was absent when members of the House of Assembly voted on the Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill on Wednesday night.
"When I look at the whole thing, the record will show that he did not vote for VAT, he was absent," Chipman told The Guardian.
"He is putting a tax on the Bahamian people that he didn't even vote for. I find that disgraceful and appalling.
"While he might say he had the majority, he abdicated his responsibility as the minister of finance.
"What are you saying to the Bahamian people?"
On Wednesday evening, Christie traveled to Las Vegas with Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe for the opening of a hotel and casino.
The VAT Bill passed with 22 yes votes, eight no votes and six absent.
The opposition voted against the bill.
Chipman said he found it amazing that MPs were debating the most important piece of legislation in the Ministry of Finance and the minister of finance had "abdicated his responsibility and left".
"What is this? What is he doing?" he asked.
Noting that Christie's birthday was yesterday, Chipman asked, "Is this his birthday gift to the Bahamian people, VAT?"
The government will implement VAT on January 1, 2015 at a rate of 7.5 percent.
The imposition of VAT is expected to generate an additional $300 million annually, according to government estimates.
The bill was tabled on July 23 and debate began on Tuesday afternoon.
FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner and Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Deputy Leader Christopher Mortimer said Christie's absence was a "crying shame".
"As important as this issue was, as central as it was to them talking about reform, the prime minister did not even show up to vote for this bill," Mortimer said. "That, my friend, is a crying shame.
"If you are the prime minister of a country, if you say that it is absolutely important that this has to happen to fix our ailing economy, then the buck stops with you and you should be there for that vote.
"It is not sufficient to castigate members of the opposition [parties] or castigate opposition within your own party and then not do the honorable thing and show up to record your vote for history.
"He has not done that. I cry shame on the members of Parliament who sat in that House and voted yes. They deserve to lose their seats in 2017."
The DNA does not support VAT.
Butler-Turner said she thought it important that Leader of Opposition Business Neko Grant asked for a division on the vote.
"History would have recorded that as important as this shift is as being a cornerstone for reformation and financial tax shift in The Bahamas, the minister of finance saw fit to not be in the country for that vote along with six members for the governing side," she said.
"It certainly speaks to the lack of regard, I feel, and contempt and arrogance that the prime minister has toward the Bahamian people."
The Long Island MP added that the debate was rushed, stating that there has been no focused attention on the legislation.
"I have never ever seen the governing side, or any side for that matter, fight amongst its own the way I have seen over the last two days," she said.
"There is something inherently wrong with this."
She was referring to criticism from Marco City MP Greg Moss, who voted against the bill and Fort Charlotte MP Andre Rollins about the bill.
Moss said VAT will "savage" Bahamians, that it is a regressive tax and that it is not in line with the philosophy of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
Though Rollins voted in favor of the bill, he highlighted the plight of many young Bahamians who remain unemployed.

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News Article

August 20, 2014
Moss clashes with Christie

Prime Minister Perry Christie and Marco City MP Greg Moss yesterday clashed on the floor of the House of Assembly, with Moss charging that Christie had made a statement directed at him that is a "threat to the democracy".
Moss was referring to Christie's suggestion that there would be "consequences" for those members who go against the party's stance in the debate on the constitutional amendment bills.
During debate in the House of Assembly on the VAT (value-added tax) Bill yesterday, Moss, who voiced opposing views to one of the constitutional bills, said that he was "troubled" by Christie's suggestion but added that he will continue to speak his conscience.
Christie, who responded on a point of order, dismissed the claim that he was threatening Moss or anyone else.
The prime minister said he is a fierce proponent of free speech and would never try to intimidate anyone from speaking their mind.
But Moss insisted that Christie's statement on Monday night was careless and can be misconstrued.
"It is implicitly a threat," Moss said.
Christie spoke of consequences on Monday as he responded to Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins' resignation as party whip.
In a letter to Christie, Rollins said he has "strong reservations" about two of the four constitutional bills before the House.
Christie said he and members of the Constitutional Commission met with Moss and Rollins ahead of the debate to discuss their concerns about the bills.
"That was an important intervention to me so that I know that when they decide to do whatever they will do they and me understand that they appreciate the consequences political of their decision," the prime minister said on Monday.
"Happily for me, both of the parties who attended, Marco City (Moss) and Fort Charlotte (Rollins), are both intelligent men.
"And both of them in terms of their own independent spirit and mind and thinking were clearly aware of the consequences because the member for Fort Charlotte then indicated that he was not comfortable with some of the positions he was taking knowing that he was the party whip."
Despite Christie's insistence yesterday that he was not implying any threats, he repeated, "Whether I like it or not, when you make political choices, there are political consequences. That is as logical as it could ever be."
Moss said he perceived a threat.
"That type of thinking, with the greatest respect, is a threat to our democracy," Moss said.
"And I know it seems commonplace right now with where we are as a country. It seems normal but our democracy has to rise above that, far beyond that where what we do here is not personalized.
"Whether I agree with you or not, I am not a threat to you and you should not try to be a threat to me. We are about the common work of trying to build this House and build this democracy."
But Christie insisted Moss is establishing a "predicate that does not exist".
"Where are the threats, Mr. Speaker?" Christie asked. "And who are they coming from?
"Are you not the person I sat with 10 minutes before the House started, and there were threats? We were fellowshipping as friends. Where are the threats?
"There is no threat to me or my party by any individual member of Parliament."
Moss said he does not have a personal issue with Christie and does not perceive that Christie has a personal issue with him.
" I am not trying to cast aspersions on [Christie] personally," Moss said.
"I'm saying that kind of statement -- let me say a careless statement, let me say a misguided statement, let me say a statement that can be misconstrued, let me try to lower the bar on that -- all I'm saying is that insofar that it is not a promise of a benefit, it is implicitly a threat.
"I'm not saying I'm threatened [by Christie]...He is my leader. He has my support.
"...When we differ we differ as people of respect. And when we differ, we only differ in our views and all I'm saying is no views should cross the floor of this House that suggest that it is going to a personal level. And to my mind, that did take it to that level."
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said based on his understanding of the matter, Christie's statements did not have a negative connotation.
"To wrap it in negativity would not be the proper interpretation of a consequence," said Davis, who also spoke on a point of order.
Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell also defended Christie.
He suggested that Moss has misinterpreted the intention behind Christie's comments.
When he started his contribution yesterday, Moss made it clear that he was also responding to two ministers who suggested there were political consequences for members who oppose the constitutional amendment bills.
On Monday, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald suggested that any politician who opposes the bills would be effectively committing political suicide.
Responding to Fitzgerald, Rollins accused him of intellectual dishonesty and suggested that he is not fit to represent the people.

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News Article

May 10, 2012
Court sets hearing date in Weissfisch appeal

Warring metal trade brothers Amir Weissfisch and Rami Weisfisch have failed to reach an out of court settlement, their lawyers told the Court of Appeal yesterday during a case management hearing.
The appellate court will hear arguments on the ruling of Justice Stephen Isaacs over a disputed accountant's report from November 12 to 14.
Rami has filed an appeal against the judge's ruling.
Amir, who ran The Bahamas registered Metals Resources Group (MRG) with his elder brother Rami Weisfisch, claims that Rami reneged on a plan to dissolve their partnership and is suing for up to $88 million.
This is denied by Rami, who spells his surname differently from Amir. Allen Steinfeld, QC, who represents Amir, asked the bench of Justices Christopher Blackman, Abdulai Conteh and Stanley John to consider requiring Rami to post a security for costs since he did not live in The Bahamas and has no assets that they know of in his name.
The court said it would take the matter under advisement.
Nicholas Lavender, QC, appears for Rami.
Justice of Appeal Blackman told the parties that they are not precluded from reaching a settlement before the hearing date. He said the parties would have to keep the timetable for the filing of submissions and responses set by the court, if no settlement is reached.

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News Article

April 04, 2011
Cable Wireless dismisses claims that BTC deal has stumbled

CABLE & Wireless Communications has dismissed claims that its bid to buy BTC has stumbled at the last minute due to a funding problem.

In response to the rumour, first circulated by a tabloid-style website, a CWC official said the parties are "still waiting for final sign-off, but things are very close and moving in the right direction."

A government source said the sides are merely going through the paperwork carefully to ensure that everything is in order.

He said the deal should be signed within the next few days.

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News Article

May 16, 2012
How will history judge Hubert A. Ingraham

Dear Editor,

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

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News Article

May 07, 2012
On The Mis-education of the Bahamian citizen

Dear Editor,

One of the reasons I have been unmoved by any of the current political parties' manifestos, mandates or agendas, is that I have the pleasure of teaching new groups of young Bahamians every year.

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News Article

May 10, 2012
Christie and the PLP have a golden opportunity

Dear Editor,

A golden opportunity you say? That's right, no pun intended.
It was suggested to me on Tuesday that the May 7 poll won by Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) with a landslide presents them a great opportunity to prove their doubters wrong.
They will inherit a modernized infrastructure - water, roads, airport and harbor and more - so they can concentrate on improving education and the myriad of other problems with services provided by the government, and of course reduce government spending and borrowing. Not to mention the fact that they can blame their predecessors for increasing the debt and having to borrow even more to finish off their projects.
I'm hopeful Christie will want to leave a clean and admirable legacy so he will not appoint some of his former Cabinet colleagues that caused him so much embarrassment during his last stint as PM (2002-2007). He certainly has some good talent there in his new MPs, like Dr. Andre Rollins, Khaalis Rolle and Dr. Danny Johnson, to name a few.
In the final, the public policies the PLP chooses will be what helps make The Bahamas a better place for future generations or help push us further along the Greek and Italian roads to economic ruin.
One thing we need to get under control in our politics is what Dr. Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute calls "The Systematic Organization of Hatreds".
Dr. Higgs writes: "In politics and government, however, the institutional makeup fosters hatred at every turn. Parties recruit followers by exploiting hatreds. Bureaucracies bulk up their power and budgets by artfully weaving hatreds into their mission statements and day-to-day procedures. Regulators take advantage of artificially heightened hatreds. Group identity is emphasized at every turn, and such tribal distinctions are tailor-made for the maintenance and increase of hatred among individual persons who might otherwise disregard the kinds of groupings that the politicians and their supporters emphasize ceaselessly."
Hopefully it will be different going forward.
With all good thoughts for Bahamaland.

- Rick Lowe

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News Article

May 10, 2012
Election 2012: Reversal of fortune

The results of the recent general election prove that democracy is still alive and well in our nation. In the words of the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling after having conceded defeat to Hubert Ingraham in the 1992 general election, "The people of this great little democracy have spoken in a most dignified and elegant manner. And the voice of the people is the voice of God".
In an earlier piece, we had referenced the Jamaican elections of December 2011 in which the ruling Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) was defeated by the People's National Party (PNP). In the run-up to that election just like The Bahamas elections, polls had indicated that the race was close and in a dead heat. However, the reverse would occur as the PNP would command 49 of the 63 available seats with no seats going to independents or third parties. The challenges faced by the JLP were similar to those faced by the Free National Movement (FNM) government and not surprisingly, the outcomes have proved to be identical.

A reflection on election 2012
At this point, it is too early to state with great certainty the cause of the FNM's defeat in the 2012 general election. There is no doubt that the general election was hotly contested even though the number of constituencies won by the parties may not show this fact. Apart from the long established parties of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the FNM, we saw the entrance of the newly formed Democratic National Alliance (DNA).
The DNA under the leadership of Branville McCartney capitalized on the obvious political divide of and the clamor for change by the Bahamian electorate. However, as anticipated, votes for the DNA did not help the party win the government but rather served as spoiler of votes for the FNM and the PLP. In the aftermath of the elections, certain political analysts have concluded that the presence of the DNA hurt the FNM more than it did the PLP based on the assumption that votes that were cast in favor of the DNA would have gone to the FNM. This conclusion fails to explore the possibility that the DNA votes could have increased the number of PLP votes (and ultimately the number of PLP seats won) if in fact individuals voted against the FNM government and/or leadership. However, in the absence of any scientific data to support these analyses, any subsequent conclusions are flawed.
In a public poll spearheaded by Public Domain, the results of the poll evidenced that there was an anti-government support with the FNM receiving 30.5 percent, the PLP 20.3 percent and DNA 16.5 percent. Further, the exit polls conducted by The Tribune after the advanced polls showed the PLP ahead of the FNM significantly. Preliminary data suggest that both the PLP and the FNM maintained their base while the DNA attained a portion of the independent and undecided votes. It can also be argued that what separated the PLP from the FNM was that the PLP gained independent and undecided voters as well as disgruntled FNMs.

Same script, different cast
In 1992, Ingraham was successful in dethroning the most dominant political figure in Bahamian politics, the late Sir Lynden O. Pindling. The administration had been plagued with socio-economic challenges due to effects of the drug era of the late 1970s through to the 1980s, a global recession, which at the time was termed the greatest since the Great Depression of the 1920s, and the rising cost of gas and food items.
Against this backdrop, Ingraham and the FNM campaigned against the PLP on the rising crime rate, an increasing national debt, illegal immigration and allegations of corruption and scandals. Ingraham and the FNM promised a "government in the sunshine" that will usher in increased accountability and transparency in governance, better economic times and increased jobs, free enterprise and privatization of public entities and most notably the liberalization of the airwaves.
The Bahamian electorate, who at the time was suffering from high unemployment or underemployment and the rising cost of living, elected Ingraham and the FNM to office with the FNM defeating the PLP and claiming 32 of the 49 seats. The FNM was subsequently granted a second mandate to govern during the general election of 1997 in a landslide victory in which the party won 34 of the 40 parliamentary seats. Many remain of the view that Pindling's failure to depart frontline politics and step down as leader of the opposition PLP also contributed to the resounding victory.
Two decades later, history has repeated itself. Ingraham, faced with similar challenges that his mentor had back in 1992, was defeated resoundingly in a landslide victory by Christie in the 2012 general election. The 2012 victory would also put to rest all questions as to whether Christie had what it took to defeat his most formidable political leader. Just like his mentor, a decade and a half earlier, Ingraham would concede defeat in a gracious manner and would go further by announcing his immediate resignation as a member of Parliament and leader of the FNM.

Christie's legacy term
The following words of Pindling after the PLP's defeat in 1997 echo through time, "Today's generation may not be so kind, but we chose to build on the past rather than destroy it. We chose consensus and compromise over confrontation and conflict." The Christie administration should be guided by these words. Christie, who has been favored to lead the final leg of the three-man political era of Pindling, Ingraham and Christie, must build upon his accomplishments and the success of his predecessors. He must chart the course this term to build upon the legacy he started during his first term in office. Christie is presented with an opportunity to not only cement the legacy of his predecessors but also to solidify his own lasting legacy for successive generations of Bahamians. A definitive decision on gambling, an effective immigration policy, the expansion of access to quality education, true urban development and expansion and diversification of our economy are realistic feats that can be achieved in one term of office.
George Mackey in one of his pieces stated the following: "By the time the PLP was voted out of office on August 19, 1992, most of the planks of its initial platform, designed to address the many social and political ills that had led to its formation, had already been virtually completed. In essence, the platform of the Quiet Revolution had run its course. What the enlightened masses required was another vision, one that had as its primary objective their economic empowerment".
This objective remains the same four and a half decades after the PLP started its journey in 1967. Christie must create the environment for economic empowerment of our people.
We the Bahamian people on our part must give credit where credit is due to leaders who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve our nation. Our politics has divided us so much that we choose to focus on the failures of our leaders rather than their successes. Now more than ever, we must be united and committed to building a stronger and better Bahamas that will once again make its mark on the world stage. We must put our colors aside in the interest of current and future generations of Bahamians.

o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at arinthia.komolafe@komolafelaw.com.

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News Article

May 09, 2012
A closer look at the DNA's impact on the 2012 general election

The Democratic National Alliance's (DNA) true impact on the 2012 general election will not be known until there is an analysis of the official returns and the party's percentage of the popular vote, political pundits said yesterday.
Although none of the DNA's candidates won a seat in the House of Assembly, the third party performed better than others that have tried to run against the country's two party system in the past, the pundits added.
The DNA won more than 10,000 votes collectively in the 38 constituencies, according to Nassau Guardian calculations.
In several key constituencies, the one-year-old party took votes away from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Free National Movement (FNM), pundits say. Some observers believe that if the DNA was not a factor in the 2012 election, the outcome could have been different.
"I believe in Bamboo Town, in a straight up race between the PLP and FNM, the FNM probably would have held that seat, so in Bamboo Town the PLP benefitted from the DNA," said former PLP Cabinet minister George Smith.
"I believe that in Nassau Village the FNM suffered again because of the DNA. I believe in Montagu most of the people that voted DNA were anti-FNM and the PLP in that case suffered in Montagu.
"When you look at where they got the votes from in Montagu, those were people disgruntled with the FNM but decided not to vote PLP so the DNA had a different effect in different locations, but the reality of the DNA is this: when the popular vote is added up if they don't have a combined vote representing about 10 percent of the electorate, I don't believe they have a lasting future."
In Bamboo Town, DNA leader and incumbent MP Branville McCartney got just over 1,000 votes, but lost his seat.
In Nassau Village, DNA candidate Chris Mortimer came in third with just over 800 votes. He lost to the PLP's Dion Smith who had 2,301 votes and the FNM's Basil Moss who had just over 1,500 votes.
Political analysts said even though the party was soundly defeated at the polls the DNA's future depends on how committed its current leader and other members are to its cause.
"The test will be, will they be able to survive the next four years where they don't have a presence in the House or Senate, when it will be hard to get their voice heard," said College of The Bahamas lecturer Dr. Ian Strachan.
"If history is to be respected they ought not expect to win in 2017. It's not easy to break in there but I believe in my lifetime the DNA can be the government of this country but they have to be determined that they will be DNAs for life."
Former Senator Philip Galanis said the party should feel proud of its accomplishments.
"I think the DNA should be commended for the kind of performance they mounted against the two major parties," he said.
"They did well in some constituencies, most notably in Fort Charlotte and Nassau Village. Bran McCartney also did well in comparison to some of the other seats.
"On balance they represented a constituency that was not pleased with either the PLP or FNM. On balance the DNA actually took votes from the PLP.
"They were people who were not happy with the FNM and I think they were the protest votes. They were anti-government votes and I think they would have gone to the PLP if the DNA did not exist."

McCartney has vowed to remain leader of the DNA if the party wants him to remain at the helm. He said the group will now focus on keeping the government on its toes and contesting the next election.

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News Article

May 08, 2012
McCartney vows to keep DNA alive

Branville McCartney last night vowed to continue to lead the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) despite a crushing defeat at the polls and the loss of his seat in Bamboo Town.
McCartney lost by 917 votes.
His statement last night was an abrupt turn from a public pronouncement he made last month on the Guardian Radio show "Darold Miller Live" when he said he would step down as leader of the year-old party if he could not retain his seat in Parliament.
McCartney lost his seat to Renward Wells of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) by a huge margin.
"There was some vicious political rumor going around about me quitting if I was not successful, that was a vicious rumor, which is not true," he told The Nassau Guardian last night during an interview from his home in western New Providence.
"We're just getting started, in terms of leading the party; the party will make that decision. I would certainly like to move forward in that vein, but that is certainly not up to me."
He spoke at his home where a handful of friends, family and party supporters watched the returns.
Earlier in the night, the scene was much quieter at the DNA's headquarters on Prince Charles Drive and McCartney's Bamboo Town headquarters where fewer than 10 supporters turned up to await the election results.
In spite of the loss, McCartney appeared in good spirits last night making jokes and telling The Nassau Guardian that he was looking forward to a much-needed vacation at Disney World with his wife Lisa.
He was also adamant that he would not return to the Free National Movement (FNM), the party he left in 2010.
"No, no I am not going to do that," he told The Nassau Guardian, when asked if he would return to the party that thrust him onto the political stage in 2007.
"I am part of the DNA, the DNA is the future for this country, I maintain that. This is the beginning of a long road and we look forward to contesting the next election."
Earlier in the day, McCartney said he was confident of a win in Bamboo Town and a "historic" win for the DNA.
Although many of the party's respective candidates siphoned away hundreds of votes from the two major parties in several constituencies, not one of them managed to capture a seat in the House of Assembly.
In 2010, McCartney resigned from Cabinet and the FNM amid reported power struggles with the outgoing prime minister.
He formed the DNA a year later. He campaigned strongly against the Ingraham administration from the DNA's platform since launching his bid to become prime minister. However, last night he had kind words for his former party leader.
"Ingraham has done good for the country," McCartney said. "We cannot take that away from him. It comes at a time when everyone's career [in] politics comes to an end and I wish him well."

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