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News Article

May 20, 2011
NPCA Pleased With Government's Prompt Response to Contractor's Concerns

Nassau, Bahamas - The
New Providence Contractors Association met with Government officials on
Wednesday as a first step in its mandate to represent and address the
needs of the majority of Bahamian workers within the construction
industry. The first meeting took place at The Ministry of Housing where
the industry's status and concerns from both parties were discussed. 

Minister
of Housing The Hon. A. Kenneth Russell expressed to NPCA officials the
commitment that he and his staff has to creating jobs for Bahamian
Contractors within the Ministry of Housing. Key areas of this commitment
by the Ministry lay within impending developments to take place by the
Government...

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News Article

August 10, 2010
Shades of Creation

By ALESHA CADET

Tribune Features Writer

Wenly and Bea Fowler have always been drawn to the artistic expressions of God, through nature, design, thought and patterns.

But it was not until recently, when they finally gave in to the demands of family and friends to share their talents, that the couple decided to hold their first art exhibition.

On Wednesday August 4- Friday August 6th, Wenly and Bea Fowler hosted an art exhibition under the theme, " Shades of Creation" at The National Centre for the Performing Arts on Shirley Street.

The creative couple had met on a college campus when they were studying education.

Since those early days, most of their artistic expressions were ...

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News Article

August 10, 2010
Letter: Removal of the Cheshire Home Deed of Trust from Registrar General's department

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Firstly, I express sincere gratitude to the family of Rotary Clubs in The Bahamas on behalf of all disable persons who resided in and otherwise benefited from the existence of Cheshire Home, for having undertaken the establishment of that very much needed, disabled-friendly residential facility on Dolphin Drive, in the 1980s. Acknowledgment and gratitude are also extended to Sir Durward Knowles for the leading roll he played in seeing the home come into existence.

Gratitude and appreciation are also extended to members of the general public for having financially supported the various fund raising efforts by the Rotary Clubs, which resulted in the eventual construction o ...

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News Article

August 10, 2010
Government in talks for judo training centre

By ERIKA RAHMING

VLAD Marinescu, personal assistant to Marius Vizer, president of the International Judo Federation (IJF), met with several high ranking Bahamian officials to discuss plans for the future of judo in the Bahamas and the Caribbean region.

Mr Marinescu was in town for the Bahamas Judo Open this past weekend.

Bahamas Judo Federation (BJF) president D'Arcy Rahming and Mr Marinescu met with Minister of Youth and Sports Charles Maynard to discuss the possibility of a regional judo training centre for the Caribbean within the sports complex currently being built here in New Providence.

The minister was enthusiastic and expressed interest in reviewing a more detailed plan.

Mr ...

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News Article

August 13, 2010
Letter: Social policies needed to deal with teenage prostitution

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Teenage prostitution published by The Tribune on July 23 is a report about underage girls exchanging sexual pleasures commercially. The well reported article features primarily Dr Sandra Dean-Patterson, director of the Bahamas Crisis Centre, discussing the matter. Dr Dean-Patterson expresses that the problem of teen prostitution doesn't exist because individuals under the age of 16 cannot give consent to sex; therefore, they are not committing prostitution. She said the girls are being exploited.

On the Tribune's website (www.tribune242.com) some people opined under the article. They aired how much they disagreed with Dr Dean-Patterson's assertion that the kid ...

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News Article

May 25, 2011
'National anxiety' over crime travel advisory

The United States Embassy in Nassau closely monitors the crime situation in The Bahamas, noting the potential for a “high-profile violent crime tragedy” and resultant media disaster as a result of the high rate of crime in the country. It is also very aware of the immense fear many Bahamians have of the issuance of a travel advisory by the U.S. government, according to several cables in the WikiLeaks cache obtained by The Nassau Guardian.
“Against the background of economic crisis, the crime numbers, trends, and daily headlines, as well as the expressions of concern about the state of society, all indicate that no end is in sight to high crime rates in The Bahamas, & ...

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News Article

May 26, 2011
Nature is not innocent in the St. Martin yard of Yaya Richards

 



St. Martin,
Caribbean  -

The
Frock & Other Poems by Laurelle "Yaya" Richards celebrates her
memory, her words, her thoughts, the sentiments and feelings that drove
her actions in favor of a more vibrant cultural expression, and a
recognition of what it means to be from and for St. Martin.

When the book was launched in Marigot in February 2011, as the
highlight of the UNESCO International Mother Language Day, it served as
the best way to honor the late Yaya, a contemporary St. Martin woman of
significance and an activist in her own right...

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News Article

July 05, 2011
When hatred triumphs over love

In a stunning display of idiocy, ignorance and incomprehensibility a pastoral trinity of Lyall Bethel, Allan Lee and Cedric Moss fired off a knee-jerk tirade cum letter to the editor generally confused about the facts on the matters on which they pontificated with smugness, sweated brow and frenzied abandon.
They were promiscuously responding to imagined threats that only through prejudicial and tortured thinking one, or in this case, the three of them divined in comments made by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette.  In light of their indiscriminate and poorly reasoned letter the pastoral posse had the temerity to label these comments as "seemingly arbitrary".
The DPM's thrust pertained to a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on a report of the Third Committee and supported by The Bahamas.  If one only went by the pastors' comments one might believe that the resolution was mainly about those supposedly evil gay people and their so-called militant agenda.
In point of fact the resolution in question is 65/208 and concerns extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of people around the world.  Either the pastors woefully misunderstand or are shamefully ignorant of the contents and purpose of the resolution or they are morally blind, callous and indifferent to the same.
None of these conclusions are acceptable or becoming for religious ministers who boasted in their letter of "foresightedness" and have set themselves up as moral authorities and mini-inquisitors to help vet candidates for the House of Assembly.  These are mostly men of blinkered vision, not moral foresight or clear vision.
At the last election they imperially issued questions based on their narrow agenda, mostly focused on personal moral behavior with scant regard for various issues of social justice or broader questions of public policy.
We are likely to have to endure more of the same at the next election from pastors whose theological and ethical depth and knowledge on how to apply such norms to issues in the public square and of the moral dimensions of public policy is shallow, wanting and amateurish.
 
Detail
For now, here in detail is the supposedly offensive part of the UN resolution which has pricked their consciences and once again excited their lurking passions about homosexuality.  It is taken from section 6(b) of the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the report of the Third Committee (A/65/456/Add.2 Part II) 65/208. Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The prelude begins, "The General Assembly Urges all States" and follows on to 6(b):
"To ensure the effective protection of the right to life of all persons under their jurisdiction, to investigate promptly and thoroughly all killings, including those targeted at specific groups of persons, such as racially motivated violence leading to the death of the victim, killings of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities or because of their sexual orientation, killings of persons affected by terrorism or hostage-taking or living under foreign occupation, killings of refugees, internally displaced persons, migrants, street children or members of indigenous communities, killings of persons for reasons related to their activities as human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists or demonstrators, killings committed in the name of passion or in the name of honor, all killings committed for discriminatory reasons on any basis as well as all other cases where a person's right to life has been violated, to bring those responsible to justice before a competent, independent and impartial judiciary at the national or, where appropriate, international level and to ensure that such killings, including those committed by security forces, police and law enforcement agents, paramilitary groups or private forces, are neither condoned nor sanctioned by State officials or personnel;"
Supposedly, for the pastors, this section would be fine if the reference to sexual orientation was removed.  Following this illogic, everyone else in this section should have their lives protected and related killings investigated except gays and lesbians.
For context, we might recall how much and how devotedly Pastor Bethel has repeatedly said he loves gay people.  Apparently, that love and Christian charity does not extend to them being protected from extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions because of their sexual orientation.
In the minds and hearts of these pastors, gays and lesbians are asking for a special right in seeking to be named in protection from being murdered, brutalized and tortured by state officials or others.  If this is the sort of Christian and moral universe the pastors inhabit, no wonder so many have come to view them as individuals who simply and purely hate gay people despite their claims of love.
So blinded are they by prejudice and hatred that they have morally and intellectually twisted the resolution into another opportunity and platform from which to attack gay people.  If they pause long enough to remove the big 2x4 plank obstructing their moral vision on the resolution and before pressing the send button on another rabid public missive, they may see that the militant agenda under suspicion is their own.  Unsurprisingly, their moral scotosis and intellectual shallowness continues to erode their dwindling credibility.
 
Ahab
At the tragic heart of Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick, is a maniacal Captain Ahab obsessed with slaying a whale cum demon which, in his mind, is the epitome of evil.  Sadly, we now have a Bahamian pastor who personifies Captain Ahab, hook, line and sinker.
Who does the captain's cap fit, with matching moral straitjacket sequined with self-righteousness?  Though self-styled as an Old Testament prophet issuing modern jeremiads, Pastor Lyall Bethel hath becometh Captain Ahab.  Forgive the mixed maritime metaphor, but the pastor's white whale is an international homosexual conspiracy with tentacles that are supposedly corrupting a naive Bahamas.  But there he is standing in the breach with moral harpoons.
Melville writes of Ahab: "The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them, till they are left living on with half a heart and half a lung."  As an aside, the fictional Ahab is clearly much deeper than many of his real-life incarnations.
Melville continues:  "All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demons of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick."
And, "He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it."
In the feverish hunt and targeting of gays and lesbians Pastor Captain Ahab and his current co-signatories and probably other crew members, had some other curious elements in their letter.  They questioned on whose behalf the DPM spoke.  He spoke as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas duly elected by the Bahamian people.  The resolution was also supported by the Official Opposition and the Leader of the Opposition.
Simply put, there was bipartisan support for a resolution seeking to protect numerous groups of people including, gays and lesbians, from extrajudicial and related killings.
 
Myopic
The letter writers also asked whose view was expressed.  They may be shocked to know that it is likely the view of the majority of Bahamians who support the same sentiments as the government and the opposition.   It is decidedly not the myopic and hardly religious or Christian view of those who would exclude gays and lesbians from protection against extrajudicial killings because of their extremism and moral confusion advertised as moral clarity.
The pastors will find that most Bahamians abhor the idea of their gay
 
 
sons and daughters, nieces and nephews and cousins, friends and colleagues and neighbors killed because of their sexual orientation.  The name for this moral sentiment: Love.  We are a more tolerant and less vicious society than many imagine, despite the bellicosity of a moral minority convinced that God and most of the public are cheering them on in their campaign of extremism and intolerance.
The general ignorance of the pastors on international law and various traditions of human rights was also on naked display along with their intellectual fatuousness and hypocrisy in their view that Bahamian sovereignty might be in jeopardy in the context of the resolution.
One should choose one's words carefully, as these pastors typically become fantasists whenever they hear or see the words gay, lesbian or sexual orientation.  They are expert at creating bogeymen on various matters about gays and lesbians, including in the context of their argument about sovereignty.
It was exactly Bahamian sovereignty that was exercised in support of the resolution.  Unless, of course, the pastors believe that they are the ultimate judges and final arbiters of Bahamian sovereignty.
Sovereignty is a clear principle in international law and relations, though the concept is debated on various issues.  But the evolution of the concept is moving in a clear direction on matters such as genocide, the transshipment of persons, drugs and arms, as well as extrajudicial killings, torture and related crimes.
If one falls for the narrow logic of the pastors, The Bahamas should not support resolutions upholding religious freedom and tolerance internationally, nor should the country have supported the fight against apartheid, as these would interfere with the sovereignty of other countries.
Still, in the end, it is about love, which one would be hard-pressed to find in the angry and maniacal letter by the pastors.  If they cannot support the protection of gays and lesbians from being savagely killed, their moral world view and disdain of gays and lesbians is abundantly clear.
This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ or love.  Instead, it is hatred masquerading as moral concern.  It is they who may be in need of penance and repentance.  The pastors and their rainbow of despisers should humble themselves and seek the forgiveness of gays and lesbians for their venom and inability to love these gay brothers and sisters.  In turn, the latter should pray for their attackers who heartlessly condemn them to a lack of mercy and protection of their very lives.
 
frontporchguardian@gmail.com
www.bahamapundit.com
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News Article

February 21, 2012
KFC 'staring down barrel of gun'

The chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) expressed disbelief at the management of KFC's apparent disregard of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU).
While the ongoing spat between workers and management may have reached its tipping point, Winston Rolle said the fast food chain must nevertheless acknowledge the rights of the union.
According to Darren Woods, the secretary general of the BHCAWU, the management of KFC issued a letter to workers stipulating the perimeters of their new contract.  A second letter was also sent to the union, Woods said, indicating KFC's management no longer acknowledged it as a negotiating body.
"I don't think they can do that," Rolle said.  "If I remember correctly, the union would have received recognition through the minister of labour.  It's sad it has come to this.  I had hoped they would resolve the matter."
KFC is one of New Providence's oldest franchises.  Guardian Business understands that both sides met with the minister of labour last night.
Rolle felt management "must be staring down the barrel of a gun" to resort to these measures.  He said a strike by KFC workers will impact a number of employees and their families in The Bahamas.
KFC's management has refused to comment on the labor dispute since the beginning.
The letters to workers and the union is not the first unorthodox method taken up by KFC management. Earlier this month, advertisements were published in both major dailies outlining pay and benefits for employees.
The disclosure revealed generous benefits and pay that was nearly double compared to compensation paid at competing franchises.
The company also posted a notice declaring a new wage structure will be enforced on February 20.
Management clearly followed through with its intentions.
"The company is in a position where they feel they must make adjustments," Rolle added. "From a business perspective, they have to make decisions. Unfortunately they couldn't reach an amiable solution and now individuals will be impacted."
From the perspective of the BCCEC, Rolle hoped both parties can remain cool and levelheaded. He said KFC is clearly under a great deal of pressure and compromises must be made.
Either way, this latest action in the KFC saga will likely have ramifications for all sides.
"It will not go across lightly from anyone's perspective. It could impact the future of the BHCAWU. KFC must be under a lot of pressure to take those steps and prepare for what is to come," Rolle said.

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News Article

February 28, 2012
One moment in time

One of the signature songs of Whitney Houston was the Emmy Award winning "One Moment in Time", which she recorded for the 1988 Summer Olympics and the 1988 Summer Paralympics held in Seoul, South Korea.
The song captures the importance of seizing life's key moments in the pursuit of one's dreams.  The late Jackson Burnside made the same point in the documentary, "Brent Malone, Father of Bahamian Art", produced by Karen Arthur and Thomas Neuwirth.
Burnside made the point at the end of the documentary that Malone recognized that we all have a relatively brief moment in time to share our gifts and express ourselves in our own unique voice.
It was a poignant reminder by Jackson Burnside who himself would soon leave us almost as suddenly as Brent Malone.  Burnside also lived his life exuberantly taking to heart what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described as the fierce urgency of now.
The aphorism, "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration", captures the idea that a good measure of one's life is not only about seizing the moment.  It is about seizing as many moments as possible to make a life worth living.  In the end, the moments missed and those seized add up.
 
Tribute
Last weekend the country paid tribute to Tommy Robinson at the grand opening of the new national stadium named in his honor.  Tommy Robinson can look back on his athletic career and his contributions to national life with great pride.  Because he seized many moments during that career, he will be immortalized in the annals of Bahamian history.
The opening of the new national stadium has been fodder for some political back-and-forth.  Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham can rightly claim that the gift of the stadium was made possible because of the diplomatic recognition of the People's Republic of China by his government in 1997.
In fact, Ingraham can justly claim that all the benefits The Bahamas is receiving from its relationship with China - financing for Baha Mar and the construction of the new gateway project -- are because of that important foreign policy decision.
It should be remembered that the PLP government had short-sightedly recognized Taiwan and had named an ambassador to Taipei before the 1992 general election.  That decision would not have been in the long-term interest of The Bahamas.
Nevertheless, Opposition Leader Perry Christie can claim that it was his government that negotiated the actual agreement for the stadium.
Herein is the cautionary tale to seize the day, or the proverbial 'strike while the iron is hot'.  In the end, it was the Ingraham administration that undertook the hard work of actually getting the stadium built and planning and executing the comprehensive development of the site.  The plaque that memorializes the grand opening will forever bear the name Hubert Alexander Ingraham.
 
Indecision
Christie has often been tagged with the moniker "late again", which speaks to his propensity for delay and indecision.  Christie could have gotten the stadium started, if not completed, on his watch.
But as with a number of other things, he and his colleagues succumbed to the folly that they would have more time to complete various projects in the second term that they did not get.  It is a folly of human nature to which many have succumbed.
Hubert Ingraham is propelled by the fierce urgency of now.  What he has often had to face is that some people can often only digest so much change at a time, and that others who cry out for change are not always prepared to endure the temporary inconveniences of change.  But he will rarely succumb to putting off until tomorrow what he can accomplish today.
The truth is as simple as it is compelling.  Not only are we not promised tomorrow, we aren't even sure how the rest of the day will turn out.  Often in life, delay means never.   There is a quote attributed to the German poet Goethe that captures the fierce urgency of now: "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
"All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events, issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.  Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius and magic in it.  Begin it now."
 
frontporchguardian@gmail.com
www.bahamapundit.com

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News Article

February 20, 2012
Art Design Unit hosts 14th Visual Arts Exhibition Awards Ceremony

The Art and Design Unit of the Department of Education hosted the 14th Visual Arts Exhibition Awards Ceremony on Thursday, February 16, 2012 at the Mall at Marathon.
Junior and senior high school students from both government and private schools showcased their competencies in the areas of art and design under the theme "All Things Bahamian". Among the items on display were paintings, sketches, jewelry, handbags, decorative mirrors and souvenir items made from various indigenous items such as jumbey pods, thatch and coconut straw, sand and shells.
Present to welcome attendees to the ceremony was Tanya McCartney, managing director RBC Finco. RBC Royal Bank and RBC Finco have sponsored the Visual Arts Exhibition for the past six years. McCartney expressed her delight at viewing the inspiring, exceptional artwork produced by the students. She pointed out the benefits of art education, which include its ability to enhance other subjects, promote individuality, bolster self-confidence and foster better attitudes towards school. McCartney also thanked administrators, teachers and parents for supporting the students in their endeavours.
Cornelius Clyde, vice principal at the S.C. McPherson Junior High School and former business studies and art and design teacher was the guest speaker for the occasion. Clyde shared his passion for the area of art and design and encouraged the students to use their God-given talent to the fullest potential. He challenged the students to embrace the artistic spirit within and produce their own style and designs.
Clyde admonished the students to constantly practice and perfect their work in the various media because the market for Bahamian artwork is open now more than ever. He advised the students to become knowledgeable of ways to market their artwork locally and internationally as a means to become gainfully employed upon leaving school. Clyde congratulated the teachers and encouraged them to keep up the good work that they are doing with their students. He reminded them that artists must be developed in the classroom for country and world recognition.
Trophies and cheques were awarded to winning schools in each category of the competition. Abaco Central High School was the winner of the Family Island Division. The Harbour Island All Age School won second place and the Mangrove Cay High School won third place. T. A Thompson Junior High School emerged as the winners in the Junior High Division, with C.H. Reeves Junior High School winning second place and Queen's College winning third place. In the Senior High Division, Government High School won first place, while Doris Johnson Senior High School was second and C.C. Sweeting Senior High School won third place.
Performances at the event were done by Woodline Joseph of T.A. Thompson Junior High School, the R.M. Bailey High School Band, the Government High School Dance Troupe and Alex Ulys of Abaco Central High School, who caused quite a stir with his mouth-to-hands blowing medley rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" and "I Will Always Love You".

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News Article

January 10, 2012
Emerald Bay hiring 20 staff this week in Nassau

Emerald Bay plans to hire as many as 20 Bahamians this week to cope with the spike in occupancy expected at the elite Sandals property.
The hirings are "across the board", according to Jeremy Mutton, the general manager at Emerald Bay. Interviews are taking place at the Royal Bahamian in Nassau on Wednesday and interested parties are encouraged to bring their CV and health and police certification for interviews.
While the December and January period proved relatively quiet, Mutton told Guardian Business an aggressive marketing campaign seems to be paying off for 2012.
"We are looking to fill about 20 jobs," he said. "Basically we're seeing an upturn in the business from mid-January onwards. We will be hiring across the board, including waiters, bartenders, housemaids hostesses and activity staff."
Two managers from Emerald Bay are slated to conduct the interviews on Wednesday.
In particular, Mutton identified the resort's participation in Wheel of Fortune late last year as paying dividends in terms of occupancy. The popular U.S. game show spent an entire week in Exuma, broadcasting the location and brand to millions of viewers.
"We have seen an increase in our bookings so it seems to be coming to fruition. As our occupancy picks up, we'll make sure we have the correct staffing levels to accommodate and serve the guests," he added.
As for the future of Emerald Bay, Mutton echoed sentiments expressed by Adam Stewart, the CEO of Sandals, that no major projects are planned for the Exuma property in the near future. Sandals has invested $80 million in the resort since acquiring the site a few years ago. There are already 100 permanent employees and it boasts five restaurants, five bars, two pools, 150 slips and 183 rooms, as well as an 18-hole golf course.
Stewart told Guardian Business that the company hopes to turn a profit on Emerald Bay by 2013.
"It's now really a matter of maximizing and reaping the benefits of what we have done, and ensuring the standards we want to maintain are there," Mutton said.

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News Article

January 10, 2012
Tragic deaths of two dance icons shock arts community

The Bahamian dance community is in mourning with the news of the loss of two dance icons.
Alexander and Violette Zybine died tragically from carbon monoxide poisoning in their home in Mexico early this week.
Though only spending a decade in The Bahamas, the pair managed to make a major impact on the cultural development of dance in the country.
In the late 1960s, Hubert Farrington met fellow performer Alexander Zybine at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Having established the Nassau Civic Ballet in Nassau, Farrington enlisted Zybine and his wife to travel to The Bahamas and look after the newly-formed company.
In 1970, the Ministry of Education offered him a teaching position at C.C. Sweeting Senior High School, where he worked for two years. When the abandoned Villa Doyle on West Hill Street (now the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas) was declared to be a center of cultural activity, Alexander and Violette began dance classes on the property while Kayla Lockhart-Edwards and Cederick Scott offered instruction in music and drama.
Out of this, Alexander formed a non-profit dedicated to dance. The New Breed Dancers accepted and taught any Bahamian student free of charge to promote the art of dance in the community.
This group made a huge impact locally and internationally, taking part in the annual Goombay Summer Folkloric Show in Nassau in the 1970s, dancing as part of the Inaugural Independence Celebration in 1973, and performing successful shows regionally, in major U.S. cities, in Mexico, and even in Europe.
Part of Alexander's brilliance as a dancer is that he used classical ballet techniques in an innovative way to expresss folk traditions. He was known for using local music for his choreography. In fact, when his dance group traveled to the Cultural Olympics as part of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico to perform as a representative for The Bahamas, they performed "Sammie Swain", originally choreographed by Alexander as a ballet.
Through the pair's efforts, they managed to form many successful classical dancers, including Lawrence Carroll, Christina Johnson, Paula Knowles, Ednol Wright and Victoria McIntosh.
As teachers, the pair's opposite personalities meshed well to form dancers both serious and joyful about their craft. Violette's no-nonsense approach, pushing her students' boundaries to get their very best, was offset by Alexander's kind encouragement, giving their fledgling Bahamian dancers a sense of empowerment in their talents that few teachers had ever encouraged before.
"Who I am now has so much to do with what Mr. Zybine did for me," says his ex-student and an extraordinary dance teacher, Christina Johnson.
"I felt like I wasn't always the brightest, but he made you feel like the best. When I look at my life and my achievements, it's all thanks to him. He always told us, 'Never stop moving.'"
"We were all like family," she continues, remembering their many hours of practice together as the New Breed Dancers every evening after school. "We were his family; we were his life."
Indeed, the Zybines kept in touch with every person they came across, especially students, even if only for a brief time. Though they moved to Mexico in the mid-1970s where they continued to inspire countless lives with the power of dance, they sent frequent e-mails to the community of dancers they formed in The Bahamas, becoming lifelong teachers and family members to many Bahamians.
During each visit to Nassau - once in 1994 and again in 2007, where the New Breed Dancers threw a celebration in their honor - the pair continued to teach, offering guest instruction and inspiration to local institutions of dance like the Nassau Dance Company.
Indeed, the ripple effects of their short times in Nassau are still being felt in the country today, making them true icons in The Bahamas.
Like many cultural icons, however, their presence unfortunately remains unknown by the larger population. It's all the more reason to continue honoring their memory locally, says Robert Bain of Dance Bahamas, who was encouraged by the Zybines during one of their visits to continue to lift up dance in the community.
"It's a sad day for dance," says Bain. "Whatever we have achieved in dance in this country is partially responsible to Alex and we shouldn't forget that. We shouldn't forget him."

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News Article

January 10, 2012
RUSSIA CONCERNED ABOUT NUCLEAR IRAN

RUSSIA expressed regret and concern Tuesday about Iran's launch of uranium enrichment up to 20 per cent at an underground facility, but urged all parties involved in the nuclear standoff with Tehran to avoid hasty moves.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's statement mixed cautious criticism of Iran, an important trading partner, with a call for more talks -- a fine line Moscow has walked in the past.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the launch of the work at the facility near Iran's holy city of Qom demonstrated that Tehran was continuing to ignore international concerns about its nuclear programme. It added, however, that Iran had notified the International Atomic Energy Agen ...

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News Article

June 07, 2011
The Obama and the Ingraham haters Pt. 2

Barack Obama and Hubert Ingraham share more than a birthday and being reared from a young age by devoted grandmothers who instilled within them confidence and the promise of rewards for hard work and relentlessness.
Against considerable odds, both men combined prodigious intellect, a dogged work ethic and discipline to overcome disadvantage, setbacks, and racial and class prejudice, eventually becoming the leader of their respective countries.
The President and the Prime Minister are highly successful politicians with notable accomplishments who chose the law as their profession but public service and politics as their passion and life's vocation.  Men of clear ideals, they are pragmatists getting what they want over time.
What fellow Nassau Guardian columnist Ian Strachan astutely observed of Mr. Ingraham can be said of Mr. Obama:  They are typically the smartest people in the room.  And, they take great pride in recruiting people of talent into their administrations.
Both can be technocratic, delighting in the details of public policy and the workings and intricacies of government.  Early risers, they enjoy working, doing so around-the-clock and often at a feverish pace.  They know the value of time and that lost time means squandered opportunities.
The leaders take considerable care with important public statements and addresses suggesting a discipline of mind and a penchant for preparation resembling an attorney preparing to deliver a public brief on behalf of a client.  Neither is given to empty rhetoric in their policy utterances.
PERSONA
It is not an uncommon mistake in politics to confuse persona with policy and even with potential for productivity.  Winston Churchill, Britain's articulate, eloquent and charismatic wartime leader would undoubtedly win the popular vote for greatest prime minister.
But a more sober and reflective group of historians came to the conclusion that that title should go to Clement Attlee who was the exact personality opposite of Sir Winston: mild-mannered and almost totally devoid of anything that could be described as charisma.
Yet it was Mr. Attlee, the historians concluded, who changed Britain forever with his socialist revolution in 1945 bringing about the most fundamental, sweeping and lasting changes in British society.
Though stereotyped as cool and unfeeling by their detractors, both Mr. Obama and Mr. Ingraham have demonstrated that the critics have missed out on something deeper and more important about the two men.
Mr.Obama's critics were misled by his persona to conclude that, for instance, he would be soft in the "fight against terrorism", especially when compared with his bombastic predecessor, George Bush, who indulged in "dead or alive" rhetoric about Osama bin Laden.
Yet it was the allegedly effete, arugula-munching Barack Obama who demonstrated the kind of courageous decisiveness and nerves of steel that resulted in the death of bin Laden.
Because of his less than warm and cuddly persona, Hubert Ingraham has been accused of being lacking in compassion.
CHANGES
Yet, historians -- and those who care to examine the record even now -- will conclude that he was the Bahamian Prime Minister who brought about the most sweeping and progressive changes to the benefit of working class Bahamians, including the minimum wage, shorter work week and unemployment benefits.
Although Barack Obama and Hubert Ingraham have different personalities and different life stories, it is intriguing how they evoked similar responses from their detractors when they aspired to national leadership.
The personal attacks on the black man who presumed to aspire to the highest office in the United States started at the very beginning and has not let up.  That racism has fuelled much of the relentless onslaught is undeniable.  Sometimes the language is barely veiled.
Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Ingraham did not have the opportunity for a university education and the acquisition of great social polish.  In a country such as the Bahamas one might have thought that one so capable would have been celebrated for having come so far from such humble beginnings.
Yet, like Mr. Obama, Mr. Ingraham has had to endure endless abuse.  While not all motivated by racism, the attacks on Mr. Ingraham have certainly been about class and background.
Even those who acknowledged his extraordinary intellect and his obvious political talents (one even claiming credit for helping to develop the latter!) still attacked him on the basis of class and background.
UNAMBIGUOUS
Also, in the case of Mr. Ingraham, there has been little if any attempt to use veiled language.  Witness such expressions as "rude boy", "delivery boy", and the clear and unambiguous "no broughtupsy".
What is remarkable is that Mr. Ingraham does not lose his temper when he hears some of his detractors whining and complaining about "personal attacks".
Mr. Obama and Mr. Ingraham have different public personas but similar political characters.  They are both pragmatic, results-oriented political leaders who are not afraid of crisis and challenge, but who are impatient with stupid talk and dismissive of pie-in-the-sky dreamers.
Barack Obama came into the presidency of the United States at a time of great economic challenge.
While Hubert Ingraham has practised the art of politics longer than Barack Obama, they are both good at it and generally effective.  To borrow a witticism, they also share the sort of critics who, even if they walked on water, would criticize them as for being unable to swim.
Barack Obama came into the presidency of the United States at a time when America was facing its greatest economic challenge since the Depression.  It appears that his efforts to guide the country out of the crisis may have been successful in spite of the stumbling blocks put in his way by his opponents.
Hubert Ingraham, in his first administration, had the unenviable task of restoring the good name of the Bahamas which had been dragged through the mud of corruption and scandal by his opponents.
In his second administration, Mr. Ingraham and his colleagues have successfully steered the Bahamas through rough economic waters brought on by external forces.
No doubt historians will examine with great interest how Mr. Ingraham was able to avert what could have been a catastrophic experience while at the same time carrying out the greatest infrastructural restoration in the history of the country.
frontporchguardian@gmail.com
www.bahamapundit.com

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News Article

June 07, 2011
Christie hit out at Miller

Cables obtained by The Nassau Guardian through the whistleblower WikiLeaks reveal deep concerns Perry Christie had about the Petrocaribe agreement with Venezuela while he was prime minister, and his worries about certain moves then Minister of Trade and Industry Leslie Miller was making, allegedly without Cabinet approval.
In fact, the cables reveal that the Christie Cabinet was "sharply divided" on Petrocaribe, a program under which countries purchase oil from Venezuela on conditions of preferential treatment.
One cable claims Christie made a direct negative comment relative to Miller as a minister.
"Some ministers, the PM continued, were brought into the Cabinet because of their qualifications; others, like Minister Miller, were included in an effort, at times unsuccessful, to keep an eye on what they're doing," said the cable, which was classified by then U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas John Rood.
The cable said that at a private meeting Rood had with Christie in July 2005, the then prime minister discussed several energy matters as well as his political future.
"The PM indicated that he has concerns about the Petrocaribe agreement signed on behalf of The Bahamas on June 29 by Trade and Industry Minister Leslie Miller," the cable said.
"He stated that Minister Miller 'got way out in front of the Cabinet' on the issue and suggested that Cabinet's eventual consideration of the Petrocaribe agreement would not be favorable.
"...The PM recalled that there were no disruptions to local fuel supplies during [the 2004] busy hurricane season.
"He doubted that government, given its poor record running hotels, airlines, and utilities, would be able to do as well as the international oil companies had done.  The PM confided that the Trinidadian government had expressed to him its displeasure that Minister Miller signed the Petrocaribe agreement."
In another cable penned about a month earlier, a U.S. Embassy official wrote that Christie had up to that point remained silent on the issue but "has shown no inclination to embark on the type of sweeping project that Minister Miller envisions".
"On the other hand, Christie has also shown no inclination to silence a minister whose more outrageous comments regularly make for embarrassing headlines," the June 2005 cable said.
"Minister Miller is an erratic figure within the Christie Cabinet and his frequent dramatic pronouncements on issues ranging from Petrocaribe, to hurricane relief funding, to liquefied natural gas projects are taken with a large grain of salt.
"His recent comments on high gasoline prices have focused less on Venezuela and more on decreasing the fixed markups that local gasoline importers and retailers are permitted to charge," the cable said.
The American diplomat observed: "The Bahamas is sufficiently interested in possibly lowering its energy bill to keep sending Minister Miller to Petrocaribe meetings, but it has little in common politically with President [Hugo] Chavez.
"The one possible exception is Cuba, with which The Bahamas shares a pragmatic working relationship based on migrant issues and other people-to-people matters such as tourism and medical training and treatment."
That same cable reveals that a high level government official had privately expressed concern that a "loose cannon" like Miller would be representing The Bahamas at an upcoming meeting between CARICOM and Chavez.
The Bahamian official suggested to the Americans that rather than request Miller to speak out, "it might be better for both countries (The Bahamas and the United States) if he stayed in the background and made no other substantive comment."
MILLER'S RESPONSE
According to that cable, Miller called a U.S. Embassy official to discuss his trip.
Responding to the official's urging that the best long-term solution to the energy situation would be a market-based solution within the context of a stable, democratic political system, Miller said that in petroleum, economics and politics are always mixed, the diplomat recorded.
"He called on the United States to itself construct new oil refineries in the U.S. to relieve supply shortages," the cable said.
"Miller then went on to describe himself as a 'nationalist' saying that he understood why 'dirt poor people in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina' were upset with oil companies.
"When [the embassy official] cautioned against concluding an agreement with an unstable government whose president had a penchant for tearing up and re-writing contracts, Miller responded by declaring that paying royalties from extracted natural resources of 'one percent' was 'ridiculous and unfair'."
The embassy official, according to the cable, told Miller that investment required stability, transparency, and predictability and that all of these were in short supply in Chavez's Venezuela.
In another cable, the Americans wrote that Miller had returned from Venezuela "waving the Petrocaribe agreement and declaring cheap gas prices in our time."
Miller was quoted as saying, "What we got from the Venezuelans is a dream come true.  This is an extraordinary agreement, one that I have been behind for the past two and a half years."
But the Americans wrote: "Reducing the price of gas in The Bahamas without reducing either wholesaler or dealer profit margins or the government tax has long been one of Leslie Miller's signature theme projects.
"His past predictions of cheap gas in our time have gone unfulfilled while he has lurched from political gaffe to political gaffe.  The local oil companies have long been suspicious of his maneuverings and have challenged his proposals both publicly and privately.
"His permanent secretary, the senior civil servant in his ministry, has long given up trying to explain to him the economics of the oil business in general and in The Bahamas in particular."
The diplomat said the lack of consultation with the local oil companies suggested that any real changes to The Bahamas' energy market "remains a distant dream".
In the comment section of the cable, the American diplomat wrote: "Local reaction to Petrocaribe has been skeptical ever since its signing.
"Minister Miller's actions have been criticized in terms of process (not having Cabinet's authorization) and on substance (creating another inefficient government entity, relying on a single source of supply, and endorsing Venezuela's political agenda)."
The cable said that while Miller was pushing Petrocaribe, Christie indicated to the ambassador that he intended to walk away from the agreement.
Miller has said he will not ever accept a cabinet appointment again.  He has already been ratified by the PLP to run again in Blue Hills, a seat he lost to attorney Sidney Collie in 2007.
The July 2005 cable also revealed that Christie, at the time, was unsure as to whether he would be able to lead the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) into the 2007 general election, as he was still recovering from a mild stroke.
"The PM stated that he has already begun internal discussions on the timing of the next elections, which he must call no later than May 2007," the cable said.
"He believed he would know by his party's annual convention in November whether or not he is strong enough to lead the party into elections for another five-year term.  If he is fit enough to run, the PM is confident that no one will be able to defeat him."
Christie was strong enough to lead his party into the election.  However, his party was defeated.
When the Free National Movement (FNM) came to office in 2007, it made it clear that The Bahamas government was not interested in the oil alliance with Venezuela.
In a May 2007 cable, a U.S. Embassy official wrote, "We do not expect any warming of relations between Caracas and Nassau.
"Indeed we expect the FNM government to be a stronger partner of the Untied States in addressing Venezuela-related issues."
Not long after, Minister of State for Public Utilities Phenton Neymour confirmed that Petrocaribe was not, and would not be, a priority for the new Bahamian government.
An embassy official later wrote that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham called the Petrocaribe accord a "stupid proposal".
The Americans noted: "The Bahamas has a wholly privatized oil distribution system that is incompatible with Petrocaribe.  Further, both FNM and PLP senior leadership are leery about being beholden to Venezuela."
 
 
 
 

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News Article

June 02, 2011
Ingraham: Many judges incompetent

During a final courtesy call with then U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas John Rood days before the 2007 general election, Free National Movement (FNM) leader Hubert Ingraham remarked that many of the judges in The Bahamas were "simply not competent, having been appointed for political reasons," a U.S. diplomat claimed in one of the cables in the batch of diplomatic documents obtained exclusively by The Nassau Guardian through WikiLeaks.
"Ingraham acknowledged that the Bahamian courts were dysfunctional, and needed changes in leadership," the embassy official wrote.
According to the cable, Ingraham said he did not have a problem with extraditing major drug dealers, but believed that small time drug dealers should be prosecuted locally.
Ingraham reportedly told the ambassador that cases move too slowly and many criminals are out on bail committing new offenses.  "He also noted that Bahamian prosecutors are often wary of taking high profile cases to jury due to possible tampering, and that in non-jury trials the maximum sentence for a drug offense is five years."
The cable revealed that Ingraham and the ambassador sparred over the case of five baggage handlers arrested in December 2006 in Florida on suspicion of drug trafficking.
"Ingraham made it clear he believes the Nassau Flight Services baggage handlers were set up," the cable said.
"The ambassador stated that the training (the baggage handlers were going on) was routine, as others went and came back, adding that if individuals who commit crimes against U.S. law come to the U.S., they will be arrested."
The cable said Ingraham stated that his sources at the airport indicated otherwise.
He further indicated that if he was prime minister, the arrests occurring in this manner would have caused a serious bilateral issue, according to the cable.
Ingraham was quoted as saying, "If they committed the crimes here, they should be tried here".
The cable said he did not dispute the right of the United States to arrest them once they had entered U.S. territory.
In the end, the ambassador and Ingraham agreed to disagree on the manner of the arrests.
According to the cable, Deputy Chief of Mission Dr. Brent Hardt noted that other baggage handlers who did not travel to Florida in December had been picked up by the police but had not been charged.
He asked Ingraham how he would respond as prime minister if individuals engaged in such acts were unable to be prosecuted.
It is then that Ingraham allegedly made the comment about the dysfunctional court system.
"The opposition leader pledged that, if elected, he would make improvements in the Bahamian judiciary to speed up trials and get more criminals off the streets, the cable said.
The state of the judiciary was just one of several issues Ingraham discussed with the Americans, according to that cable.
Discussing aviation, Ingraham reportedly promised to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration on aviation issues if elected, and stated, according to the cable, that he "knew where his bread was buttered."
The cable said the ambassador raised the issue of airport security and safety problems with Ingraham, stating that he remained concerned by both security vulnerabilities and overall airport management.
He told Ingraham that he would support the imposition of a 90-day review period for the airport if no progress is made on addressing long-standing security concerns, though he acknowledged that the government did now appear to be giving the issue serious attention, the 2007 cable said.
Ingraham reportedly asked the ambassador to elaborate on the problems.
The cable said: "Not needing any further prodding, the ambassador outlined several problems, including: The aesthetic appearance of the facilities, the slow pace in processing passengers, radar problems, and endemic security concerns.
"Ingraham stated that Minister of Transport and Aviation (Glenys) Hanna-Martin was 'out of her depth' and that there is no direction being given to civil aviation."
The cable said charges that his government had purchased a radar system that did not work (the ASR-9) concerned Ingraham.
He reportedly noted that his government had purchased the system upon a U.S. recommendation, and added that if he wins the election, he would make changes at the airport, to include getting the new radar system repaired and on line.
The cable said Ingraham also stated that he supports FAA running the Flight Information Region, observing that he had learned through hard experience that it would be too risky to defy the U.S. on such a sensitive safety issue.
The Christie administration had pledged to gain full control of The Bahamas' airspace and had promised that such an effort would result in tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for the government. However, this was never achieved.
 
INGRAHAM ON POLITICS
The cable said that turning to the political scene, Ingraham observed that he would support Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Perry Christie (then prime minister) for many jobs, but prime minister was not one of them.
As he did when he sat down with a U.S. diplomat in 2003, Ingraham in 2007 described Christie as "fatally disorganized and incapable of running a government."
The cable noted that the day before the meeting with the ambassador, the press widely quoted an exchange between Christie and Ingraham in which Ingraham referred to Christie as "impotent."
"Ingraham wryly noted that he was referring only to matters of governance," the cable said.
"He said that in his view, the PLP believes it has 'the right to govern' and that the FNM victories in 1992 and 1997 were accidents.
"He expressed the view that some of the investment projects such as Bimini Bay were too large, and that the environmental bureaucracy was unworkable."
Despite prodding, neither Ingraham nor Desmond Bannister, then chairman of the FNM, would reveal the FNM's budget for the upcoming election, the cable said.
It noted that parties are free to take money from any source, and Ingraham said that most of the money comes from businesses.
Persons outside the country can also contribute to parties, and he said that normally only outsiders with interests in The Bahamas do so, according to the cable.
"Ingraham also said that he had enough money for the campaign, but not all that he could use. Typically, money tends to flow in at the last minute when it is too late to deploy effectively, he pointed out," the cable said.
Observing that the PLP was running many more radio advertisements than the FNM this early in the campaign, he reportedly suggested that this reflected their anxiety about the election.
Much of the money used for campaign paraphernalia is actually spent in the United States to buy T-shirts and hats, he noted, according to the cable.
RACES TO WATCH
The cable said the FNM leader said he expected a short campaign of 24 days, with elections called soon after Easter.
Ingraham provided the ambassador with a "scorecard" of key races to watch to determine the outcome of the 2007 election, the cable added.
"In Fox Hill, he predicted that if the PLP wins that seat, they are going to probably win the election, but he also felt that Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell would be defeated by his candidate," the cable said.
"He also noted his surprise that Tourism Minister (Obie) Wilchcombe may be in trouble in his own constituency.
"On the other hand, if Housing Minister Neville Wisdom is reelected, that would be a sign the PLP was on its way to victory."
The diplomat wrote in that 2007 cable that the FNM expects to win the Exuma seat being contested by former Bahamian Ambassador to the U.S. Joshua Sears.
According to the cable, Ingraham noted that the polls in 2002 were more accurate than often acknowledged, adding that the lesson from that campaign was that undecided voters usually broke against the government.
"Polls are now being taken on the larger islands, but Ingraham refused to divulge the results," the cable said.
"Ingraham said the PLP strategy was to increase the negative perceptions of him and make him a central election issue."
The American diplomat wrote that Ingraham is a very polarizing figure and PLP ads are clearly targeting him personally.
"(Ingraham) alluded that many people are personally benefiting from the PLP government and do not want the gravy train to end with an FNM victory," the cable said.
"Ingraham dismissed the PLP's use of the race card, linking his party to the former colonial UBP party, stating that he had credibility on the issue and noted that Christie's own grandfather was white."
In the comment section of the cable, the American noted that Ingraham is "always engaging and never at a loss for words."
"Ingraham seemed very comfortable on the issues and did not shy away from disagreeing with the ambassador, as in the case of the airport arrests," the cable said.
"While he pledged cooperation on aviation issues and promised to make the judicial system work better, he also made clear he would not hesitate to disagree with the U.S. if he felt Bahamian interests were not being well served."
The diplomat added:  "Ingraham conveyed the self-assurance of a leader who has been in charge before and believes he soon will be again.
"From the United States' perspective, an Ingraham-led government would likely abandon the PLP's sympathetic posture toward Cuba and might be less interested in engaging China.
"Ingraham would also give us an interlocutor willing and able to make decisions and follow through on them.
"His ten years as prime minister have given him a good understanding of the United States and how to work with us, and he certainly looks forward to maintaining our traditionally close relations."
 
 
 
 
 
 

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News Article

June 01, 2011
Support for stiffer penalties for gun crimes

Harsher penalties for gun crimes would be welcome news to the police force, according to Assistant Commissioner Glenn Miller.
"Whenever it comes to stiffer penalties for unlicensed firearms the police welcome that," Miller said.
Miller's comments came after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced in the House of Assembly on Monday that the government is considering amending the Firearms Act.
Ingraham also said the government would seek to amend the Bail Act to make it more difficult for persons accused of serious crimes to get bail.
"We are still giving consideration to the question of gun related crimes," said Ingraham as he opened debate on the 2011/2012 budget in the House of Assembly.
"As you know we have sought to get away from minimum sentences.  We are troubled by the six-month, one year, 18 months sentences given to persons found in possession of weapons, particularly at a time when so much criminality and violence is taking place in our society."
So far this year, more than 70 percent of the 52 murder victims died as a result of gun shot injuries, according to police.
Guns are also the weapon of choice in most robberies.
"I hope to have a consensus among the policial class," Ingraham said.  "The reality is that the maximum sentence a magistrate court can reasonably give is five years even though some think it possible to impose higher sentences."
Police have taken about 180 guns off the streets so far this year.
Firearms can be obtained with relative ease, according to authorities.
The government announced in January that in conjunction with the judiciary it had set up a gun court so those found in possession of illegal firearms are quickly prosecuted.
Ingraham said since then there have been successes.
"The magistrate court hearing firearm offenses has in the first two months [of existence] heard more than 180 cases, several of which are ongoing," he said.
Former chairman of the National Advisory Council on Crime Bishop Simeon Hall has previously expressed support for stiffer penalties for gun crimes.
"The fact that guns remain the predominant weapon used in brazen robberies and murders in our country should motivate the authorities to revisit the existing gun laws with the view of removing guns and gun users from the country," Hall said in a statement earlier this year when the murder count stood that 34.
He said the high crime rate clearly indicates that criminals have no regard for the existing gun laws of the country.
According to police statistics, firearms were used in 69 of the 94 murders that occurred last year.
Police seized 351 illegal firearms and 2,624 rounds of ammunition in 2010, according to statistics they made public.
As it relates to the Bail Act, the government declared in the Speech from the Throne that it will bring an amendment to Parliament which would further restrict the right to bail for accused serious offenders.
However, there has been some concern surrounding the constitutionality of such a move.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the Office of the Attorney General has already drafted the legislation that would restrict bail.
Ingraham said the bill would be brought to Parliament soon.

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News Article

June 14, 2011
Butler dealt a bad hand

Dear Editor,

It appears as if Opposition Leader Perry G. Christie is unmoved by the sudden resignation of Craig Butler from the Progressive Liberal Party.  Christie stated that people are always leaving the PLP. He also stated, however, that people are always joining his party. Mr. Christie also added that he wishes Mr. Butler all the best in his future endeavors.
Christie said this much about Craig Butler during a PLP rally that was held at their headquarters Gambier House on June 1st.  Mr. Butler is the grandson of Sir Milo Butler, the first Bahamian governor general.  He was also the treasurer of the PLP.  It appears that Mr. Butler's family connection was not enough to help him get the nomination for the PLP.
Mr. Butler has on numerous occasions expressed an interest in running as a candidate for the PLP.  In fact, just last year after the resignation of Elizabeth MP Malcolm Adderley from the House of Assembly, Mr. Butler, along with Ryan Pinder, both vied to get the PLP nomination for that constituency.  The nomination was given to Mr. Pinder.
He was favored by Mr. Christie to run in the 2010 bye-election in Elizabeth.  However, Mr. Christie, before he had made his final decision on who would run in Elizabeth, sounded as if Mr. Butler had a fighting chance to gain the nomination.

Nevertheless, despite what could only be described as a major disappointment in being rejected by the PLP in Elizabeth, Mr. Butler remained a loyal PLP supporter.  Mr. Butler then turned his attention to the Kennedy constituency.
That constituency is represented by FNM MP Kenyatta Gibson.  Gibson had defected from the PLP in 2008. I understand that Mr. Butler had been canvassing the Kennedy area, with the hope of galvanizing support from PLP supporters.
Many of the PLP supporters in Kennedy were interested in Mr. Butler and his message.  It appears as if Mr. Butler really believed that he would be given the PLP nomination for Kennedy.  According to some political observers, it appears as if Butler was given this impression by the leaders of that party.  This would explain why he was so disillusioned with the PLP and resigned after he was once again rejected by the party.
According to the press, one Dion Smith has been given the nomination to run for the PLP in Kennedy.  It is obvious to myself that Mr. Butler was really disappointed at being overlooked again by the PLP.  According to the press, Butler was denied a nomination because of his past drug addiction.
Butler has admitted that he once struggled with drug addition.  Yet he is quick to add, however, that he has truly reformed.  Christie, however, appears not to be impressed with Mr. Butler.  Perhaps the opposition leader feels that Butler's past indiscretions would turn off too many voters from the PLP.
Mr. Christie obviously wants to present to the Bahamian electorate a slate of candidates that are squeaky clean.  Therefore, it is understandable why Mr Christie is unwilling to accept Butler's nomination. But with that being said, why has Mr. Christie refused to heed the warning of Raynard Rigby, Philip Galanis and George Smith?
These three prominent PLPs had warned Christie not to accept the nominations of Obie Wilchcombe (West End and Bimini), V. Alfred Gray (MICAL), Shane Gibson (Golden Gates), Leslie Miller, Picewell Forbes (South Andros), Anthony Moss (Exuma) and Vincent Peet (North Andros), for the upcoming general election.  Most of these gentlemen listed above have also had their share of issues.  In fact, several of them, including Keod Smith, Kenyatta Gibson and Sidney Stubbs, had caused the PLP to lose the 2007 general election.
Mr. Christie obviously intends to run these men in the general election.  He had written a letter to a prominent tabloid newspaper stating the reason why he had rejected the suggestions of Rigby and co.
Question: If the leader of the opposition is hell-bent on running these candidates, who have also made their share of mistakes, why is Mr. Christie unwilling to do the same for Craig Butler?
If Mr. Christie is willing to overlook the alleged indiscretions of these men, why not do the same for Butler?  After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  If he is determined to reject Mr. Butler's nomination because of his past, then he should do the same thing to his MPs, who were mentioned in that famous letter that was leaked to the press!
Further, the incident with Craig Butler is similar to an incident that had occurred almost ten years ago in Marco City.  The Rev. Frederick MacAlpine was a PLP supporter who himself was given the impression that he would be given the PLP nomination for Marco City to run in the 2002 general election.  I live in Marco City.  I remember the Rev. MacAlpine sending us letters and holding functions in Marco City.  I thought that he would be running in Marco City for the PLP.  However, Miss Pleasant Bridgewater was given the nomination instead.
The Rev. MacAlpine felt slighted by Mr. Christie and the PLP. Therefore, he, like Butler, eventually left the party.  It appears as if Mr. Christie and his party have a penchant for leading people on.
These men had obviously spent a lot of money and time in these constituencies, only to be told at the eleventh hour that they won't be receiving any nomination from the PLP.  If this is what was done to Mr. Butler, then Christie and the other leaders of the PLP should at least apologize to him for wasting his time.
Why tell a man that he has a good chance of securing a nomination, when you have already made up in your mind to run someone else?  This is one reason why I find it difficult to support Mr. Christie.
Mr. Christie needs to understand that you just can't treat people like impersonal objects. People are to be treated with dignity and respect. I believe that Christie dealt Craig Butler a very bad hand in this case!

Yours, etc.,
KEVIN EVANS

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News Article

June 01, 2011
There is no anti-PLP agenda

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Member of Parliament for Fox Hill Fred Mitchell gave a spirited contribution during the budget debate yesterday.  He ended chanting "Bahamians first" as his opposition colleagues banged on the desks of the House of Assembly in support of him.  Members of the governing Free National Movement (FNM) heckled from the other side.
During his contribution, Mitchell spent a lot of time addressing the United States diplomatic cables being published by The Nassau Guardian.
"Here we have a press that does not support the PLP.  They oppose the PLP.  They have now used their resources to get these so called cables. They do not get an independent panel to edit and release the information. Instead they arrogate to themselves the right to selectively choose what to release," said Mitchell of the cables obtained from WikiLeaks.
"Now in a situation where there is support for the FNM why would anybody not be surprised that the PLP is the subject of these attacks with the same tendentious propaganda and slogans of the FNM now repeated in the mouths allegedly of U.S. diplomats."
The Nassau Guardian has no political affiliation. It has chosen to publish the diplomatic cables just as esteemed media companies -- the New York Times, The Guardian, La Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde -- around the world have.
In the region, The Gleaner in Jamaica has also obtained the cables on that country. The Gleaner is publishing the Jamaica cables as The Nassau Guardian publishes the cables on The Bahamas.
We did not write these cables.  Officials from the U.S. Embassy in Nassau did.  The Gleaner did not write the Jamaica cables.  Officials from the U.S. Embassy in that country did.  Mitchell and the PLP must accept this simple fact.
Let us be clear that the written words of the cables contain the words of embassy officials and their views, but mostly they echo the spoken words of the Bahamian persons then being interviewed.
All the words of Bahamian participants were freely given and must have reflected what those individuals thought and felt at that time even though those same persons may be somewhat embarrassed regarding those same words now.
The time period covered by the cables is an accident of history.  The media simply has in its possession what was leaked.  The Bahamas cables mostly cover the PLP's last term in office from 2002 to 2007.  That's just how it is.  If the cables mostly covered the FNM's period in office, the majority of the stories to be published would be about the FNM.
The Nassau Guardian has been responsible in how it has handled the cables.  The stories written by our team of journalists have been measured and analytical, fitting with the overall style of the paper.  We prefer substance to fluff; we prefer examination as opposed to titillation.
If the U.S. diplomats did not think highly of the PLP, the PLP should examine their critique.  The Americans were not just reciting FNM propaganda.  They worked closely with the last PLP administration for five years.  The opinions they expressed in the cables are based on that interaction.
The PLP should be very concerned that senior diplomats from the most powerful and richest country in the world think that its leader, Perry Christie, "has a well-deserved reputation as a waffling, indecisive leader, who procrastinates and often fails to act altogether while awaiting an elusive consensus in his Cabinet," as was reported in a cable.
The Nassau Guardian thinks the Bahamian people should know what the U.S. thinks of Bahamian leaders.  The majority of the tourists who visit our country come from the U.S.  If the U.S. blocked its citizens from visiting this country, there would almost be no economy in The Bahamas.
Mitchell and the PLP should relax.  The publishing of these cables, worldwide, is historic.  Bahamians have been fascinated by the insight provided by our stories.  Historians will use the cables, and the stories written on them, to write about this chapter of the human experience in The Bahamas.
There is no anti-PLP agenda or any pro-FNM agenda at The Nassau Guardian regarding this process.  Such an assertion is silly.  We have written about the FNM and non-political actors too and we will continue to do so.  In fact, the PLP should be happy that a fair and balanced newspaper such as The Nassau Guardian had the initiative to obtain the cables.  If certain other papers in The Bahamas had obtained them, the cables certainly would have been used to attack the PLP.
We are a responsible paper.  We have made no such attempt, and we will make no such attempt.  If Mitchell and the PLP are upset at what was said by the Americans, they should go see the Americans and have a chat.  Attacking this newspaper, based on what was written and thought by U.S. officials, is illogical.
 

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