Nassau Guardian Stories
January 18, 2017
I'm writing this letter on January 15, 2017, a day that has been set aside around the world as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
As I thought about the sanctity of all human life, regardless of the circumstances of their conception or the extent of their illness, I could not help but think about and reflect on Archdeacon James Palacious' "black people breed too much" comment. I'm quite surprised that all the loud voices that lambasted Richard Lightbourn for his far milder and civil comments were curiously silent about Palacious' blatantly racial and misconceived comment about black people. In my view, their silence is a case of racial hypocrisy.
For those who have short memories (or no memory) of what Lightbourn said, I will remind them. After pointing out that "many young women have five and six children, many of whom are born out of wedlock" and "many of the fathers of those children have little involvement in the child's upbringing either emotional or financial", and the fact that "the laws of our country and the legal system is such that the father is not likely to be compelled to assist financially in the upbringing of the child", Lightbourn went on to say that "an FNM government would introduce legislation which would enable a court to deduct from a father's paycheck an amount to be paid directly to the mother of the child, and in this way the father would consider carefully the consequences of having an unprotected relationship and in all likelihood reduce the number of children born in The Bahamas". Lightbourn then said: "It is also necessary for us as a nation to consider adopting the lead of several countries in the world which result in an unwed mother having her tubes tied after having more than two children, which would, in the end, result in fewer children being born."
Lightbourn is a lawyer, so fair-minded people knew that he was not proposing any program for Bahamian women to have their tubes tied involuntarily (because the constitution protects against women being forced to do so). But many people publicly pounced on Lightbourn and his comments. Therefore, in view of their silence about Palacious' "black people breed too much" comment, I'm left to conclude that Lightbourn was attacked primarily because he is white and the women within the scope of his comments are predominantly, if not exclusively, black. It is a case of racial hypocrisy.
How can those who objected to Lightbourn's comments say nothing about Palacious wrongly broad-brushing the reproductive habits of black people, likening us to animals, by saying "black people breed too much"? I was forced to look up the meaning of "breed", and none of the dictionaries I consulted connected the verb to humans. They connected it to animals. I imagine that a dictionary from the era of the transatlantic slave trade might describe "breed" as forced sexual intercourse between slaves to produce slaves.
Palacious was wrong to broad-brush sexual reproduction among blacks, and he was wrong to use the word "breed" to describe it. But he is also wrong in his understanding of the problem that he addressed. The problem in our country of people having more children than they can afford has more to do with socio-economics than race. So it is a simplistic approach to the problem to say "black people breed too much" and verbally demean and try to shame them into having less children.
I find it ironic that Palacious made his infamous comment at the PLP's majority rule rally. I believe he would have done better to decry the sad fact that after 50 years of so-called majority rule we still have communities that are steeped in a vicious cycle of poverty that produces generations of women who have too many children for too many men outside of wedlock. And he should have decried the fact that they are, to some extent, victims of governmental neglect through poor education, governmental waste through unaccountable social welfare, and governmental abuse through laws that hurt the poor, like the legalization of webshop gambling and consumption-based taxation, like VAT and customs duty.
As I wrote previously concerning Richard Lightbourn's comment, Palacious' comment provides us with yet another great opportunity to have a national conversation about sexual conduct, the responsibility of fathers and traditional marriage. The truth is that we as a society need to affirm in word and deed that marriage is the only legitimate context for sexual relations and the birth of children. If such an affirmation is broadly embraced in our country, it will make for a better and stronger Bahamas, morally and socio-economically.
- Pastor Cedric Moss
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January 18, 2017
Proverbs 14:34, "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."
How long will it take our beloved prime minister to realize that it's time for a change? How long will it take the Progressive Liberal Party to realize that it's time for a change in its leadership?
I can say with certainty the country has realized that it's time for a change of political leadership in The Bahamas. If Perry Christie and the PLP need to be convinced of the need for an urgent change in political leadership at this time, here are a few reasons:
1. It is the best kept secret in The Bahamas that the prime minister is always late. But of late, things have come to an unbelievably, unbearably, embarrassingly chronic level; so much so that we have ceased to expect that Parliament will begin on time, for at least once, during this current administration.
2. It took almost 15 years to table the National Health Insurance Bill in Parliament, and under this administration it will take forever to implement a workable National Health Insurance scheme.
3. It took eight years for the PLP, under the leadership of Christie, to hold the party's constitutional annual convention. (I was once a member for 60 years). The fact that Christie is getting older, and a little slower, under his leadership it will take at least another 16 years, if at all, to host another convention.
4. After 50 years of majority rule it took this administration, under the present leadership, literally days before the golden anniversary of majority rule to discover its incredible importance to the Bahamian people, and that it was important to march on that day. Two thousand and seventeen was the fourth anniversary of majority rule as a national holiday. There was never a national march. Thank God for We March Bahamas for awakening this government out of its Rip Van Winkle-like sleep.
5. We are literally only weeks before the next constitutionally mandated general election must be called, and yet the constituency boundaries commission is unable to report to Parliament. Let us pray there is not another hurricane before May, because the election would definitely be postponed, indefinitely.
I could go on, and on, and on, but suffice it to say, the Bahamian people are tired of the blatant abuse of power by our prime minister and can't wait for "the bell" to ring so that we could "get it on". The longer he waits, the more desperate and indignant the people will become. I have not yet participated in any of the We March events, but given the present circumstances I can't wait for the next march. By God's grace I plan to march and I encourage all Gatekeepers to do the same.
- Pastor Jeremiah Duncombe
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January 18, 2017
Leadership is not easy. Ask Prime Minister Perry Christie. Ask former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. Ask a pastor. Ask a boss. Ask a responsible parent. And yes, leadership is difficult at times, because the most difficult issue you face is colleagues who, as Christie put it, "bitch and complain".
According to the online Urban Dictionary, "bitching" is "Repeatedly saying something over and over, or rather whining about it, therefore destroying the point you were trying to make and making you look like a complete bitch because no one is listening to you." Is that what Christie meant his colleagues were doing? Who knows. This much is true, however: if you lead, you will face this in some form or fashion. The longer you lead, the more you will face it. Strong leaders have to deal with it, and weak leaders have to deal with it more. Capable leaders confront it; incompetent leaders confront it more. Human beings are more inclined to blame and complain than accept responsibility and forge ahead. The PM says when he hears his colleagues "bitch and complain", he asks them, "Suppose you were me?"
Well, in politics - in fact, in life - those who "bitch and complain" are not the leader. Very often, under the pressure of many complaining constituents, they want nothing more than relief and look to the leader for it. In the face of the whining followers, leaders must summon those unique qualities characteristic of sound leadership: vision, focus, resolve, principles, communication, courage, honesty and motivation. They must never themselves become whiners and complainers. They must not yield to the loudest complainers, rewarding their whining as some virtue greater than patience and self-reliance. A leader should, a leader must, listen, but listen to all. Quiet souls who work diligently for the group's cause need as much, sometimes more, attention than those loudmouth gripers who tend to get almost all the attention. Calling talk shows incessantly and complaining about everything on the planet is no virtue. There is great virtue in rolling up your sleeves, getting in the fight and producing some difference yourself.
It gives me no pleasure to say it, but it seems to me that too many Bahamians, both in positions of leadership and in the wider public, have become weak and timid. The golden years of this nation, when prosperity and abundance made us the envy of the Caribbean, have made too many of us limp, lazy and dependent. Now, in the hour of our great challenge, we "bitch and complain", looking for some grand political savior or saviors. We don't ask, "What can we do for ourselves?" Rather, we ask: "What will they do for us?" In this is the defeat of our people and the wrecking of our nation. Self-reliance is a virtue that needs reawakening among us.
In his book "Self-Reliance", Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried."
As far back as antiquities, this much is true: success has never been the reward of the sluggard, the lazy or the complainer. It belongs to the diligent, the creative and the industrious. There is no salvation to come from the political realm of our nation, even if some great push might. Government has never been and will never be the champion of prosperity for our country, even if it must help facilitate it. We, the people, individually and collectively, of this land, must gird up our loins; we must pick up our plows; we must get in the fields and do the great work necessary to turn ourselves around. Many are already doing this, and doing so under the most trying of circumstances; but too many are not. Too many are simply settling for mediocrity, preferring do what we feel is enough to get by, and discovering that what we are doing does not even do that. The hour is late and the task is great, and only greatness can answer that call. That greatness is not only in some political or religious head. It is in all of us, and if we recognize it, begin to tap into it, it will change our personal circumstances and perhaps that of our nation.
o Zhivargo Laing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.
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January 18, 2017
With the recent destructive and disruptive passage of Hurricane Matthew in the islands of The Bahamas, schools, communities and businesses have tried as best as possible to expedite the rebuilding and recuperation process. Sandilands Primary School has been no exception, but its attempts have been heavily hampered by the theft of the 32 computers that serviced their 565 students. The computers were stolen during the school's closure for the hurricane.
Sandals Foundation has responded to the request of Sandilands Primary and is refurnishing the school with 32 computers to restore classes to the normal mode of operations. The rapid response by the Foundation comes with the recognition that technology has become inextricably tied with educational delivery making computers and the internet an indispensable asset to the classroom. Sandals Foundation also has an ongoing self-given charge to assist communities and schools in the Caribbean that have been impacted by natural disasters.
Although classes have resumed at Sandilands, the school had the added distress of not having the computers which are an integral part of the learning experience for each student who is mandated to have a 60-minute computer interaction time each week for multiple subject areas. Teachers have also been impacted by the technological deprivation as the computers assisted with the creation of lesson plans and were a major mode of internal communication.
The computer donations are perfectly timed to coincide with the resumption of lessons in 2017. Pamela Amerly, headmistress of Sandilands Primary School, expressed that with the use of computers, reading levels have skyrocketed as a result of interactive media. Children are more engaged through the use of computers in an afterschool 'Tune Into Reading' program aimed at enhancing literacy; fewer absents have also been noted. Mrs. Amerly could not stress enough what it meant to receive the donation from Sandals Foundation.
"We feel so blessed to have Sandals in our corner this year. The children have really been responding to the assistance that we've received and these new laptop computers will really assist them with their reading comprehension and increase their excitement to learn."
Director of Programmes of Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, commented, "We are really pleased that we have been able to facilitate this donation of technology to assist the dedicated Staff at Sandilands Primary. We have seen firsthand their dedication to the children and we are happy to play our part to ensure they have all they need to continue on their mission."
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January 18, 2017
A new species of insect has been discovered at the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in Governor's Harbour, the Bahamas National Trust's (BNT) first national park on Eleuthera. The insect is a katydid and belongs to the same group as grasshoppers and crickets in the order Orthoptera.
Specimens of this new species were first collected in 2013 by Dr. Paul A. De Luca, an assistant professor in the Biology Department at the University of The Bahamas. He made the discovery while conducting a survey of arthropods (the animal group that includes insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and crabs) at the preserve.
According to Dr. De Luca, "This find - a new species to science - is a reflection of how much there is still left to learn about insects in The Bahamas, and it only highlights the incredibly important function of habitat preservation. We are definitely protecting many species that we don't even know about yet."
To the layperson, katydids resemble grasshoppers, but are actually more closely related to crickets. Katydids are well-known for the fact that males in many species produce acoustic songs to attract females.
Dr. De Luca's collaborator on this project is Dr. Glenn Morris, an emeritus professor from the University of Toronto and an expert in katydid taxonomy. He determined that the new species belonged in the genus Erechthis as it closely resembles Erechthis gundlachi, a katydid that occurs in Cuba and Hispaniola, but not in The Bahamas.
The new species was named Erechthis levyi, in honor of Leon Levy, after whom the preserve is named. After Leon's death in 2003, his wife Shelby White wanted to commemorate her husband's devotion to the island and his love of the native flora. She created the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in partnership with the Bahamas National Trust. It opened to the public in 2011.
The 25-acre preserve promotes plant conservation and features the economic, medicinal, historical and agricultural importance of native plants. It has become an important visitor attraction on Eleuthera. As a national park, a major part of its mission is to protect Bahamian biodiversity, and therefore the discovery of this new species is a testament to the preserve's goal of documenting the flora and fauna of the island.
There are a number of characteristics that differ between E. levyi and E. gundlachi, but two of the most interesting are physical traits. The first is that E. levyi possesses a striking turquoise-colored head that is lacking in E. gundlachi (see picture). The second is more difficult to observe with the naked eye.
At the tip of the male's abdomen where the genitalia is found, each species bears a curious structure - the subgenital plate prong - which is a device used to remove rival sperm from a female's genital tract prior to mating with her. The prong is markedly dissimilar in shape between the two species, which suggests each one has a different way in which males physically "hook up" with females during mating.
Future research planned by Dr. De Luca includes mapping the full distribution of E. levyi in The Bahamas, which at present is only known from specimens collected on Eleuthera. "What is interesting about this find is that E. levyi does not appear to occur anywhere else in the Greater Antilles, which suggests it may be endemic to The Bahamas, making it the first truly Bahamian katydid."
The scientific article describing the new species can be downloaded at www.levypreserve.org.
The BNT is a non-governmental, non-profit, membership organization working to protect Bahamian natural resources by building a network of national parks and promoting environmental stewardship.
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January 18, 2017
Bahamians still impacted by the effects of Hurricane Matthew will benefit from a recent donation by Milo Butler Distributors. The wholesale grocer partnered with the Bahamas Red Cross and the HeadKnowles hurricane relief group, giving food supplies valued at $10,000 to assist with continued relief efforts.
Some three months after the Category 4 storm made landfall, residents on the impacted islands continue rebuilding their lives. The process requires continued support from the Bahamian community. Recognizing this need, Milo Butler stepped in to assist and send supplies. Its warehouse team stacked pallets of rice, sugar, juice and a variety of canned goods to be shipped to Grand Bahama and communities in southern Bahamas.
Franklyn Butler, managing director of the Milo Butler Group of Companies, hopes the donations to the Bahamas Red Cross and HeadKnowles will lessen the burdens faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
"Both organizations have demonstrated their commitment to advancing the recovery efforts in the wake of this devastating storm. We know that the road ahead is long and full recovery requires continued support. As a company, we are committed to assisting where we can," Butler said.
For more than 50 years, the Bahamas Red Cross Society has worked to improve communities through its humanitarian goals including the collection and distribution of supplies after natural disasters. The group thanked Milo Butler for its much-needed donation of food supplies.
HeadKnowles co-founder Gina Knowles also thanked the company for assisting with their cause. The group's strong volunteer network quickly mobilized critical supplies to impacted areas including food, water and building material to islands in the southern Bahamas.
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January 17, 2017
The government and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) yesterday broke ground on what is expected to be a more than $200 million transformation of Ocean Cay, just off Bimini, into a cruise port, boutique hotel, marine park and Bahamian cultural and entertainment hub.
"What they have agreed to do, no cruise line, no matter how much it is connected to our country, has ever agreed to do," said Prime Minister Perry Christie at the groundbreaking ceremony on the island, which was the central site for aragonite extraction and was notoriously used for illegal dumping.
"We are establishing an innovation that we hope not to depart from and that will direct and govern all decisions that governments of The Bahamas [make] as to how to maximize the return on cruise ship investments in our country."
Under the heads of agreement, MSC has committed to construct a 20-room hotel, Bahamian shopping village, theater, restaurants, sporting and entertainment centers, a spa, 10-15 slip mega yacht marina with future plans to expand it to a 45-slip marina, a heliport, straw market and marine reserve.
The company is also expected to construct facilities for a police station, customs and immigration terminals and ferry passage for law enforcement authorities, according to Christie.
Additionally, the prime minister said MSC has made a significant commitment to Bahamian entrepreneurial development through offering financing of construction and equipment with respect to the planned retail shops, restaurants, entertainment, attractions and water sports - "to be operated by Bahamians".
Christie added, "To all Bahamians, wherever you may be in The Bahamas, the government through the wonderful, constructive collaboration of the Aponte family (owner of MSC) has been able to secure for Bahamians, not just the opportunity to own and operate, but the opportunity to have it financed.
"God has smiled on the people of Bimini."
The developer projects that 100 Bahamian seafarers will be hired on board MSC's cruise ships this month.
A further 300 jobs at minimum are expected to be filled for the operational needs of Ocean Cay.
Over the next 18 to 24 months, 1,000 construction jobs will be made available to Bahamians, officials claimed.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC executive chairman, said when completed Ocean Cay will be a "flourishing environment, pristine marine reserve populated by thousands of indigenous trees and plants and flowers. These waters will once again host local coral and fish species".
He said with an envisioned 11,400 feet of beaches, Ocean Cay will be returned to "paradise"; ready to welcome thousands of visitors on a daily basis.
"Our partnership will turn this industrial wasteland into a thriving environment for man and natural life," he said. "I think that is worth celebrating together."
Vago added, "As a result of the $200 million investment that we [will] make, we will engage more than 1,000 locals Mr. Prime Minister to work on the massive development of Sandy Cay to go through as we transform it to Ocean Cay. This will result in benefits and of course substantial economic benefit for the region.
"Once the work is finalized, we will employ over 120 locals...to run the operations.
"They will be based here on the island."
With 20 Bahamians already working on MSC cruise ships, Vago said MSC expects an additional 240 Bahamians to be trained to work on its cruise ships this year.
He said the development will take "passion, vision and guts to build a real paradise", which he foreshadowed will put The Bahamas "right in the front of the whole world".
According to the prime minister, MSC also intends to establish a seafarers technical school on Grand Bahama to train future employees and envisions partnering with the University of The Bahamas.
To the issue of aragonite production, Christie said, "This was an area where for years and years, decades, where industrial activity took place here.
"Bahamians were living here and producing here, exporting sand and aragonite.
"We have had a lot of public commentary on the natural resource of our country called aragonite."
The prime minister said the government has completed a series of consultations to enable it to put in place a new regime to regulate and govern the export of aragonite and announced that Ocean Cay will be a marine protected area.
He spoke to the level of degradation that existed before MSC came to the island and began to "revert it back to what it will eventually become".
At yesterday's ceremony, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said it took true vision to look at what was considered waste and dust, and see paradise.
Pointing to the prime minister's vision, Wilchcombe said no island has been left behind in the overall master plan to advance and develop the country and its people.
"Bahamians will not be watching from the outside but sitting at the table as the country propels into new growth."
When developed and completed, Ocean Cay is projected to attract 369,000 passengers annually, according to Christie, who said the project bodes well for Bahamians and the nation.
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January 17, 2017
In his first public statement since last July, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reiterated yesterday that at no time did he contemplate seeking a return to frontline politics after he retired in 2012.
"I have never revisited the decision nor contemplated revisiting it. That is the truth, plain and simple," said Ingraham in a letter to the editor.
"I repeat for the benefit of your editorial writer, in the simplest language possible: I have retired from frontline politics. I have not sought nor considered returning to frontline politics since May 2012, and will not give the matter any further consideration."
Ingraham was responding to an editorial in The Nassau Guardian yesterday that said, "Ingraham and his supporters gave serious consideration to a leadership bid at the FNM convention last year. The decision was made at the last minute to pull back."
Ingraham said he generally ignores misstatements and inaccurate statements so as to avoid giving credence to the "babble that sometimes masquerades as truth".
But he said the statement in the editorial went beyond the pale.
"I cannot speak for what 'supporters' may have done," he said, "but I never considered such a proposal."
Ingraham said: "On a weekly, if not daily, basis someone calls me by telephone or drops by to see me in my office to lament either the state of our country or the state of my party. Invariably they exhort me to reconsider my retirement from frontline politics.
"I listen patiently and then repeat that my decision to retire from frontline politics following the defeat of my party at the 2012 general election is final."
In his letter yesterday, Ingraham said: "I recall on more than one occasion reflecting publicly on the shelf life of politicians. My position is recorded in an interview I gave to the Bahamas Handbook in 2010.
"In that interview Tosheena Robinson-Blair recorded my words: 'I only want to serve as long as the people of Abaco or the people of The Bahamas think I should serve.
"'My departure now is, quite frankly, in the hands of the people. Whenever that time comes I would embrace it, accept it and express my gratitude. I won't be like other people, angry and vex.
"The public was very good to me. If they decide, 'Well, Hubert, we had enough of you, time for you to go,' I'll say 'thank you very much'."
On May 7, 2012, voters sent that very message to Ingraham.
He announced on the night of the election that he was retiring as leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) and would not take his seat in the Parliament, although he had won the North Abaco election."
With the FNM facing a great deal of infighting this term under the leadership of Dr. Hubert Minnis, there had been calls in some circles for Ingraham to return.
But Ingraham said last July, ahead of the FNM's convention, that he never considered coming back, even though some of his friends "didn't pay attention to what I said".
He said yesterday: "I was privileged and honored to be chosen by the good people of North Abaco to represent them in the House of Assembly for 35 years.
"I was humbled and honored to be chosen by the Free National Movement to hold the position of leader for a total of 19 years.
"I am grateful to the Bahamian people who made me prime minister of The Bahamas for 15 years in three non-consecutive terms in office. I accepted the verdict of the Bahamian electorate in May 2012. I am and will remain retired."
Talk of a possible Ingraham return for the most part died down in national conversations after his media interviews last July, but some supporters still contend that he should have returned to frontline politics.
The FNM is not expected to hold any more conventions ahead of the next general election, so no leadership race is scheduled.
Despite several challenges to his leadership, Minnis has remained cemented in his position, and has vowed to lead the FNM in "rescuing" The Bahamas.
In October 2012, after the FNM lost the North Abaco by-election, Minnis declared, "The Ingraham era is over."
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January 17, 2017
A press release signed by a majority of the executive team of the Free National Movement's (FNM) Exuma & Ragged Island Constituency Association issued yesterday insisted the body has the utmost confidence in Navarro Bowe, who was ratified last week as the party's candidate for the area.
The release was sent after The Nassau Guardian reported that FNM Chairman Sidney Collie said a complaint filed by former FNM Minister Phenton Neymour that the letter from the association that claimed Bowe was its choice to run in that constituency contained forged signatures.
Collie said the leadership was scheduled to meet with Neymour yesterday to discuss the allegations.
However, Neymour told The Nassau Guardian he was not invited to any meeting.
He wished not to get into details on the matter, although in a series of Facebook posts over the weekend he claimed a majority of the members of the association had voted in favor of him being the candidate for the area.
Neymour also said he has the largest family in Exuma and questioned whether the association's youth officer, Reno Curling, wished his (Neymour's family) to withdraw support from the FNM in Exuma. The statement was made after Curling posted that Neymour should go back to South Beach, which he previously represented.
Neymour said on Sunday FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has asked him not to speak publicly but to give him an opportunity to look into the matter.
The association's executive members said yesterday they are aware of the allegations made. They said they are confident Bowe can "effectively lead us to victory and capture the minds and hearts of the vast majority of the Exumas and Ragged Island constituency.
"Mr. Bowe has exhibited many qualities of which we are very proud to have at our disposal as natives of the Exumas and Ragged Island," the press release said.
"Although other [people] have expressed interest in representing us by way of words, many of us feel that their inability to be consistently in Exuma could result in a loss of past and present voters."
The association members also said, "We understand that none of [those who offered as candidates] are lacking in their ability to lead, thus we are standing by the wisdom and knowledge of our council and leadership.
"We have all deemed it fit for Mr. Bowe to be the FNM's candidate here in the Exumas and Ragged Island, and he has acted in accordance to his aspiration of embracing that role; thus, we must move forward.
"Finally, Mr. Bowe is fully capable and qualified to be a great agent of change for Exuma and the entire Bahamas. You've seen his resume, felt the power of his words, and given us exactly what we've needed to succeed."
Minnis said in a statement last week that Bowe, 28, has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a master's degree in structural and geotechnical engineering.
After working in California for several years, he returned to Exuma to work as CEO and CTO for his company remotely, according to the FNM leader.
"Navarro continues the promise I have made to bring more of our young people into our political process," Minnis said.
Seeking to brush aside what they see as a "distraction", the association's executive members said, "We are now ready to move our focus away from any non-factual issues surrounding our constituency association and give Mr. Bowe our undivided attention and support to secure the future of the Exumas and Ragged Island."
Neymour, meanwhile, has said he will speak to the "lies" that were told in relation to him being denied the nomination.
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January 17, 2017
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney said the news of businessman Ethric Bowe's resignation as the party's candidate for Southern Shores because of his personal beef with DNA Pinewood candidate Lincoln Bain was "unexpected", but the party will move on.
Bowe withdrew last Friday, saying over the weekend he cannot, in good conscience, be on the same team with Bain.
"It's unfortunate that Mr. Bowe, Ethric Bowe, decided to step down and resign because he had a personal issue with Mr. Lincoln Bain," McCartney said.
"We move on as a party.
"We will ratify a new candidate in Southern Shores, and we will move forward toward preparing for this election.
"I didn't expect him to resign.
"I heard that he had some difficulties, but I didn't expect it.
"... I wouldn't say it was a shock, because he had conversations not with me personally but with other persons.
"I just wish him well and we now move on as a party."
Bowe made a number of claims against Bain, some of which were posted online on the weekend.
He suggested the matter between them will end up before the courts.
Bain has said he intends to sue Bowe for defamation.
Bain indicated to The Nassau Guardian on Sunday that the bad blood between himself and Bowe stems from their involvement in a group called the Justice League, which was comprised of Pinewood homeowners fighting to save their homes from demolition.
He insisted Bowe did not have the interest of the homeowners at heart.
McCartney said yesterday he has yet to speak with Bowe over the matter.
"I didn't have a conservation with him," McCartney said.
"I got a resignation letter that came through my email and I responded by saying that I was saddened to hear that he would take this approach and resign for personal reasons.
"...We certainly didn't expect a candidate to step down because of a disagreement because of another candidate."
McCartney maintains that the tension has not created any division in the party, only between the two feuding men.
Bowe told The Nassau Guardian on Sunday while he plans to remain in the DNA, he intends to actively campaign against Bain.
"I am committed as a part of an investment group, we've committed that we are going to show up wherever Lincoln Bain is and we are going to oppose his political ambitions," he said.
"I intend to keep that commitment."
When asked about Bowe's plans, McCartney said, "I will personally have a conversation with Mr. Bowe on that."
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January 17, 2017
As Prime Minister Perry Christie gears up for a leadership challenge at the Progressive Liberal Party's (PLP) convention at the end of this month, there remains lingering questions about who else may join the race.
One such individual who has long hinted at a leadership bid is Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, the deputy leader of the PLP.
Despite his suggestive statements, when prompted about whether he intends to make a run for leader, Davis has remained noncommittal.
He was asked again yesterday while at the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, off Bimini, whether he will make a bid for leader of the PLP.
Davis committed to answering the question, but later avoided it.
While on South Bimini later on yesterday afternoon, he was asked to confirm whether he intends to run again for deputy leader. Davis said, "If I am nominated I will run, I am prepared to serve."
The one-liner offers a subtle change in tone from previous pronouncements surrounding the matter.
In June 2015, Davis indicated his willingness to run for the leadership position.
But he neither confirmed nor denied whether he would challenge Christie.
The convention was planned for November 2015, but was eventually postponed after Hurricane Joaquin pounded the southern and central islands that October.
Before the convention was delayed, Christie appealed to Davis and Cabinet ministers with leadership aspirations to recognize that challenging him was "not the most appropriate course of action to take at this stage in our country".
At the time, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts said he advised Davis it was not the right time to challenge Christie.
Several months ahead of what was intended to be a November 2016 convention, Davis again said he was prepared to lead the party.
But again, he remained noncommittal about whether he would challenge Christie.
"I am prepared to lead, but again, as I said, that is a matter for our party to deal with and that is an internal matter," Davis said.
"And as I indicated, if Mr. Christie is best to lead, then he would."
Pressed on the heightened speculation about a Davis leadership bid, the deputy prime minister said, "I came from the old school, the era when The Royal Readers was still the staple course of study, and in one of those they had something called the golden rules of life. One of those golden rules is silence is often golden."
At that time, Roberts indicated that now was the time for leadership aspirers in the PLP, including Davis, to challenge Christie.
Former attorney general and PLP candidate for Fort Charlotte Alfred Sears is the only person to announce that he will challenge Christie.
A Public Domain survey last year, as it relates to ratings of political leaders, showed that Sears scored 4.8, while Christie scored 4.3 on a scale of one to 10.
Davis scored 4.1.
Christie has said he is staying on as leader because young members of his government have asked him to and because he provides stability for the party.
As he spoke about the challenges and responsibilities of leadership at a PLP's Women's Branch meeting on Sunday, Christie said even as he tries to work in the best interest of Bahamians, he has to deal with his own colleagues who "bitch and complain".
He indicated that the PLP has invested too much energy and creativity, and introduced too many new policy innovations to modernize the country, to squander an opportunity to win the next general election and continue to work in the best interest of the Bahamian people.
Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson; Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald; Minister of Agriculture V. Alfred Gray; Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe have all expressed their support for Christie to stay on as leader of the PLP and insisted that he cannot be beaten at convention.
Sears has expressed confidence in his ability to win.
The convention is set for January 24-26.
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January 17, 2017
Extended hours, increased outreach and repeated reminding from political figures of the need for people to register to vote seems to have helped voter registration somewhat in the past two months; however, the number of registered voters is still nowhere near what it was at this point before the last general election.
In early November, there were around 57,000 registered voters.
Yesterday, Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall said just over 80,000 people are registered to vote.
At this point before the last general election, there were at least 134,000 registered voters.
The 80,000 now registered represents 44 percent of the approximately 182,000 people the Parliamentary Registration Department estimates are eligible to register.
About 172,000 people registered to vote in the 2012 general election.
Hall said yesterday that the numbers are "growing steadily" and the Parliamentary Registration Department continues to "encourage Bahamians to present themselves to register".
He added that the department has recently launched evening registration at public schools in order to boost figures.
"We have registration [sites] in schools after five to nine [p.m.], so they are opened from Monday to Friday," he said.
Eligible voters are able to register at C.R. Walker Senior High, C.V. Bethel Senior High, Gerald Cash Primary School, Centreville Primary School, Thelma Gibson Primary School, E.P. Roberts Primary School, C.C. Sweeting Senior High, Sandilands Primary School, S.C. McPherson Junior High, Sybil Strachan Primary School, H.O. Nash Junior High School, C.I. Gibson Senior High, Palmdale Primary School, Government High School, Sadie Curtis Primary School, Cleveland Eneas Primary School, Uriah McPhee Primary School, and Garvin Tynes Primary School.
When asked whether a recent controversy on voter attire has had any affect on voter registration, Hall refused to comment.
There have been claims in recent weeks of women being turned away from voter registration sites because of a lack of "appropriate" attire.
Hall reportedly said the department's staff has the right to refuse to register people who have not followed the public service dress code, explaining that "because you have to take photographs, if someone comes with half their breasts out and cleavage showing, this isn't permitted".
During an interview with The Nassau Guardian at the New Year's Day Junkanoo Parade, National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage, who has ministerial responsibility for elections, pointed out there is no law that bans anyone from registering to vote because of what they are wearing.
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January 17, 2017
A high-speed chase involving multiple police and the suspects of a shooting took place throughout several areas of New Providence yesterday, ending in two of the suspects being shot, one crashing his motorcycle and two others evading police.
The ordeal began around 10 a.m. at Dumping Ground Corner when two men in a silver Nissan vehicle approached a man who was standing on the side of the road and shot him before speeding off, police said.
The man was taken to hospital as police put out an all-points bulletin (APB) on the car and suspects.
Moments later, officers on patrol spotted the suspects in a silver Nissan vehicle following three men, each driving a motorcycle, on Baillou Hill Road, police said.
The police chased all five men through Yellow Elder Gardens where the suspects temporarily lost police.
However, police said they spotted the vehicles not long after in a section of Bozine Town off Tonique Williams-Darling Highway, and another chase ensued.
Police said during the chase, several of the suspects fired at police.
According to reports, police returned fire and shot one of the men driving a motorcycle while another man on a motorcycle crashed.
Both men were arrested, however, the third man on a motorcycle escaped, police said.
However, the drama wasn't over.
Police said the occupants of the silver Nissan, who had stopped a few hundred yards away from where the altercation with the motorcyclists took place, exited the vehicle and also fired at the police.
Police returned fire and shot one of the men while the other escaped on foot.
The injured men were taken to hospital where they reportedly remain in stable condition.
Police said they recovered a nine millimeter pistol containing eight live rounds of ammunition from the vehicle.
The suspects are reportedly assisting police with investigations into a number of recent shootings.
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January 17, 2017
To avoid giving credence to the babble that sometimes masquerades as truth, I generally ignore misstatements and inaccurate statements in the media that deal with me.
But an assertion made by your editorial writer in this morning's paper (Monday, January 16, 2017) went beyond the pale. The editorial says: "Ingraham [and his supporters] gave serious consideration to a leadership bid at the FNM convention last year."
I cannot speak for what "supporters" may have done, but I never considered such a proposal.
On a weekly, if not daily, basis someone calls me by telephone or drops by to see me in my office to lament either the state of our country or the state of my party. Invariably they exhort me to reconsider my retirement from frontline politics.
I listen patiently and then repeat that my decision to retire from frontline politics following the defeat of my party at the 2012 general election is final.
I have never revisited the decision nor contemplated revisiting it. That is the truth, plain and simple.
I repeat for the benefit of your editorial writer, in the simplest language possible: I have retired from frontline politics. I have not sought nor considered returning to frontline politics since May 2012, and will not give the matter any further consideration.
I recall on more than one occasion reflecting publicly on the shelf life of politicians. My position is recorded in an interview I gave to the Bahamas Handbook in 2010. In that interview Tosheena Robinson-Blair recorded my words: "I only want to serve as long as the people of Abaco or the people of The Bahamas think I should serve.
"My departure now is, quite frankly, in the hands of the people. Whenever that time comes I would embrace it, accept it and express my gratitude. I won't be like other people, angry and vex. The public was very good to me. If they decide, 'Well Hubert, we had enough of you, time for you to go,' I'll say thank you very much."
I was privileged and honored to be chosen by the good people of North Abaco to represent them in the House of Assembly for 35 years. I was humbled and honored to be chosen by the Free National Movement to hold the position of leader for a total of 19 years.
I am grateful to the Bahamian people who made me prime minister of The Bahamas for 15 years in three non-consecutive terms in office. I accepted the verdict of the Bahamian electorate in May 2012. I am and will remain retired.
- Hubert A. Ingraham
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January 17, 2017
In the interest of fair play, the Venerable Archdeacon James Palacious needs to join Richard Lightbourn in the penalty box for his recent insensitive public outburst.
The archdeacon is familiar with the need for nuance and diplomatic language to sell complex or sensitive issues to a wide audience. He ascends the pulpit weekly to sell the miracle of a virgin birth, resurrection, transubstantiation and other such knotty articles of faith.
It was ironic then that he used the occasion of Majority Rule Day to lecture the 91 percent of the population, who are black, that their fertility rate is too high. Not content when this first land mine exploded around him, the reverend gentleman went further, linking the high birth rate of blacks with irresponsible social behavior, opening up a chicken-and-egg moral hazard.
His intentions may have been honorable, of course, but are hardly defensible. He came across as shaming one group of people and creating the impression that only blacks have too many babies they cannot afford. We are left to assume that he got this from a higher authority. Or that he is arrogant and judgmental.
If you whistle, I'll point to many white Bahamian women who have large families they cannot support and yet who continue their baby-making ways, in tandem with their black cousins (and sometimes even for their black paramours).
Of course, in raw numbers blacks outnumber whites, so it stands as fact that there are more black kids running around than white ones. And the poverty numbers are greater with blacks, but are no less severe or burdensome for whites.
As the old folks reminded us, catching hell ain't reserved for one color, only they substituted "hell" for a word better depicting the posterior of one's anatomy.
Teenage pregnancy is nothing new, neither are large families forged without the financial security of a two-parent household. In fact the church pews have for a long time been filled with large families. Back in the day, large families translated into many hands to work the farm or the family business and then to provide security in your golden years.
What the archdeacon did speak to was the gaming of the social safety net system by too many of our black and white neighbors. What was meant to be a last resort, courtesy of the taxpayer, has become for some an entitlement with children used as pawns to increase their haul in the Treasury rip-off game.
In the past it was the wider family, neighbors and, yes, the church who carried this burden for those with too many children that they couldn't feed, clothe, house, educate or otherwise support. Young girls who found themselves in a family way were sent to live with 'Mama dem' on the island.
No child must ever go to bed hungry in this country, of course. But we must ensure that our limited social service budget is not being exploited by the cold-hearted and, dare I say it, fraudsters, thugs, users and vagabonds disguised as parents.
The archdeacon, glaringly, didn't drop licks on the men who share parental responsibility for these babies. The establishment of paternity must be a pre-requisite for accessing non-life-threatening or life-sustaining social services.
Here's a novel idea that will cause great consternation among some church folk: Let's teach real sex education in public and religious schools - R.M. Bailey and C.R. Walker, as well as St. John's College and St. Andrew's. Let's give out birth control pills and condoms, along with prom gowns and tuxedos, if the parents agree.
Let's get parents and grandparents, teachers and preachers to take their collective heads out of the sand and stop the backward thinking that only black, or poor, or fast, or hardheaded and disobedient girls have babies they cannot afford or even want.
Let's have a healthy talk about sex. But let's add in poverty and class and privilege, and all skin colors, and opportunity and education and health and welfare.
We need Richard Lightbourn to rejoin the discussion, provided he leaves his tube-tying sutures at home. The archdeacon should come too, if he can control his solecism and, like Richard, atone for his indecorous language.
- The Graduate
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January 17, 2017
Three months after Category 4 Hurricane Matthew passed through The Bahamas, Flamingo Gardens Park still has not been fully restored.
The fence by the softball field remains on the ground and both dugouts need to be rebuilt.
Contracts are being given out left, right and center by the Ministry of Works. Can't Dr. Daniel Johnson, who is the minister of youth, sports and culture intervene?
And by the way, Sir, even though your party did not see fit to offer you as a candidate in the upcoming 2017 general election, you are still the member of Parliament for the area. I hope this is not a case of sour grapes.
- Dehavilland Moss
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January 17, 2017
Speaking with Bahamians who are opposed to Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) at this election, there is confusion. Traditionally, we vote PLP or Free National Movement (FNM). Being upset with the PLP in the past meant a shift to the FNM.
The FNM, however, has had many problems the past four and a half years. Its leader, Dr. Hubert Minnis, has faced challenges and the perception that he is the wrong person for the job. The last embarrassment came when the majority of his MPs stripped him of the post of leader of the opposition.
Along with the Minnis-led FNM there is the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) led by Branville McCartney, and the United People's Movement (UPM) led by Gregory Moss. The FNM, DNA and UPM have representation in Parliament.
What we hear from PLP dissenters is many don't know who to vote for. Some, being confused, have not registered and say they won't vote. They want a simple, clear choice. They want to feel their simple, clear choice is the same simple, clear choice other dissenters will choose. The concern here is the fear of "wasting a vote" on a group that can't win.
This is misguided thinking. There is no such thing as a "wasted vote". Each citizen who legally qualifies has a right to vote for the candidate of his or her choosing. The government is selected out of the common decision of the people.
We who think The Bahamas is being poorly governed have a responsibility to vote for others we think can do better. If we do not vote, the PLPs will; and they will return Christie to office.
There is nothing to be confused about. The FNM has won government three times. This is the DNA's second election and you've heard from its members before. The UPM is a fledgling group. You have to determine if you take this group and its leader seriously. Also, there may be an independent in your area you'd consider.
If the full electorate registers and we vote, we can feel comfortable that the next government represents the desire of the people. If opposition voters stay home and don't vote that equates to a decision to re-elect Christie and the PLP.
Register and vote. Select the option you think best for the country. Then, go home or back to work and wait for the results. Do not allow the spirit of cynicism to take your democratic power away from you. You the Bahamian people have the ability to vote out any government. Christie's return as prime minister is not inevitable. If the overwhelming majority of you strike votes against him, he will be sent to his retirement once and for all.
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January 17, 2017
I watched with mixed emotions as the outgoing president of the United States (POTUS), President Barack Obama, delivered his farewell speech in Chicago where it all began. The skinny kid with the funny name from the south side of Chicago (as Obama often described himself) was taking a bow after writing his name in gold on the pages of U.S. history. A man who is literally an African-American - half African and half American - had achieved what many thought was impossible and became the dream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had several decades ago.
There was much joy and sorrow as Obama delivered yet another masterpiece that reminded many of what he has come to embody. In his final speech as POTUS and amid periodic tears on the faces of his audience, he inspired hope among his people as he outlined the threats to the freedom that their ancestors fought so hard to obtain. However, there were hardly any comments made by Obama that were more instructive to this writer than the following: "If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you're disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere." This is the premise of my decision to enter into public life to serve my people in spite of the perils and culture of mudslinging that our politicians have promoted for years.
Heeding the call
On January 11, 2017, one day after the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of majority rule, I stood on a stage and accepted the nomination of the Democratic National Alliance as the candidate for the Killarney constituency. The decision to enter public life in this regard was not taken lightly but followed much prayer, reflection and consultation. As a patriotic Bahamian, I simply love my country too much to allow the perpetuation of the status quo.
In 2017, we have come to look for a Bahamas that once held much hope and promise for its people. We have come to find a nation built on the blood, sweat, toil and tears of our forefathers and foremothers; a nation in which no man or woman should be slave to anyone or anything or second-class citizens in their land of birth; a country in which the majority and not a select few rule their own destiny. We seek a nation not polarized by political tribalism and blind loyalty to party colors. It is time to reignite the true Bahamian spirit which is inspired by allegiance to the aquamarine, gold and black, and not divisive politics of yellow, red or green.
The state of our Commonwealth
Regrettably, what is the state of our Commonwealth today? For the first time in our nation's history, our credit rating has been downgraded to junk bond status after multiple downgrades over the last five years. This is despite the fact that over $1 billion has been collected in VAT since the introduction of this new tax; a regime that has transferred money from the private sector into government coffers and reduced the disposable income of our people.
Our national debt has continued to grow, even with the increased government revenue as government expenditure has continued to rise. Unemployment is exceptionally high, particularly among the youth who have not been given a fair deal. The middle class that our founding fathers fought hard to help build is shrinking by the day. Economic growth has been dismal, as we have experienced two consecutive years of negative growth.
Instead of focusing on and implementing real public sector reform for the betterment of our nation, our leaders have perpetuated the status quo. The public sector has continued to grow, with reports that the civil service has grown by 4,500 since 2012, while the private sector is daily under siege by a system that promotes dependency on the government and handouts to our people. We have become a government country and a false private sector which depends on the sole patronage of the state for its survival. Our people are being pushed down and toward the poverty line daily and The Bahamas continues to be ranked low on the ease of doing business, while our financial services industry is quickly becoming a shadow of itself.
The menace of crime threatens our freedom, and we are plagued by corruption as well as a lack of respect for the rule of law. The spirit of entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises have not been adequately promoted. We have become obsessed with jobs rather than creating an environment that allows us to own our economy and fulfil our God-given potential.
The sad reality is that we didn't get here overnight and both major political parties have put us in this predicament. This is why we have heard both sides argue about the state of our nation and which party left our economy in a wheelchair or on life support. The discourse sometimes focused more on which one has done less or more damage to our nation rather than turn our economy around as Obama has done in his final term.
The new era
Amidst all our challenges, our leaders seem to have forgotten that we live in the "era of prudence". The populace is tired of business as usual and demands accountability and transparency. The people demand openness and honesty from political leaders. Gone are the days when it was acceptable for elected officials to elevate themselves to the positions of kings and queens while they belittle the people with whom the power lies. It is time to return to the old landmark and return integrity, dignity, humility, decency, self-respect, civility and responsibility to public life.
It is time to do away with the politics of hypocrisy, dishonesty and convenient conviction. As Obama put it: "How do we excuse ethical lapses in our own party, but pounce when the other party does the same thing?" Unfortunately, this has become the norm and the way politics is practiced in our nation. Our political leaders profess unity with their mouths but promote division, animosity and hatred with their actions. They outlaw Bahamians based on their complexion, creed, origin, gender and social class forgetting about our history. Their amnesia is convenient insofar as our history is concerned. They forget that the Arawak Lucayans, Tainos, Eleutheran Adventurers, African slaves and subsequent settlers on our islands make us who we are today. However, it is convenient for them to perpetuate discrimination as 21st century slave masters with political power trying to rewrite history and marginalize segments of our society for political expediency.
Time for change
The outgoing POTUS noted that"change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and come together to demand it". Our nation is in crisis and it is time to change course. It is time to uproot the status quo. It is time for the changing of the guard. It is time for real change in our Bahamaland. It is for these reasons that I have decided to leave the sidelines and enter the political arena to serve the Bahamian people. I have heeded this clarion call for love of country. Together we must rebuild the proverbial walls of our nation. We owe it to this generation and generations yet unborn to restore hope once again in the Bahamian Dream.
The POTUS that changed the game made a profound statement in noting that: "We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them."
This notion is a reality in The Bahamas and has discouraged patriotic young Bahamian professionals from entering into the political arena. However, this writer will not retreat into the shell of despair and will not be silenced by the roaring of toothless intimidating lions when the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is on my side. There is indeed too much at stake for our country to be deterred by shenanigans and distracted by empty rhetoric or propaganda.
We are all God's children and Bahamians that love this country too much not to get involved. Despite the narrative that is promoted by some, no Bahamian loves this country more than another. We all lift our heads to the rising sun, but more importantly to the hills from whence cometh our help. The struggles of freedom fighters that came before us and helped usher in majority rule must not be allowed to be in vain. A luta continua ("the struggle continues"), victoria acerta ("victory is certain").
As I embark on this journey, I would like to thank the management team of The Nassau Guardian, loyal readers and followers of this column. Over the years, your support and words of encouragement have been invaluable, providing me with the much-needed strength to speak truth to power while inspiring a generation. From the bottom of my heart to the depths of my soul, I say thank you. This is not the end but only the beginning; it is not goodbye but rather see you around. God bless you and God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments on this article can be directed to email@example.com.
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January 17, 2017
Each of us bears a social and ethical responsibility of pioneering the dreams the dreamers dreamed of a nation and its people; to go beyond the imprisonments of mental empowerment; to see the promise of our emancipation through the prism of education; and to be socially awakened fervently clutching the hope we seek to taste of the bittersweet cup of economic freedom.
The primal promise inscribed on the pillars of our country was for every man and woman to be given knowledge as a weapon to protect them from their oppressors.
I've peered from the window. I've seen the daylight breaking through. And I saw the determination of the Bahamian people moving forward and never again accepting the status quo, to perceive with my eyes, a nation which was no longer afraid to express their fears of the things they never quite say out loud. I was bewildered that the Bahamians found their destination and they made their vows to a new doctrine. Treacherous mountains are looming in our way. Don't get weary. Let us toil through our journey, and walk until the last chain of economic immobilism falls. The genuine will of our people is to share their talents and hopes. I believe the tides can surely turn. I believe that barriers can be lifted. And I believe that change is the only guaranteed inevitability.
We are the unknown. We come from neither fortune nor fame, and we are educated enough. We ought not be afraid of the fear of being heard, for speaking and fighting for what is right. We are compelled to represent our fundamental belief to provide a ladder of economic and social hope to all Bahamians and not to a mere privileged few. The future of our country and the success of it are causes that rely on the courage and the capabilities of our people to address the seemingly daunting issues and to remove the deeply rooted doubts in their minds.
Young Bahamians in their state of quandary should never hesitate to turn to the arc of history and to find comfort in knowing that there was a generation of Bahamians guided with an enduring spirit to overcome the impossible odds. Carrying on your rightful place as seeds of the future, and, when in the place of fear, always pause to remember the hope that faith will give you strength. Your ambition for nationalism should reflect the developmental needs of our country being relevant to the times.
Our generation should value its responsibility to Bahamian collectivism in understanding the archipelagic nature our country. Equity must be instrumental in our development, grounded in the theory that where there is any Bahamian throughout The Bahamas, that Bahamian is entitled to the fruits of our national labor. As young Bahamians when you examine the political, social and economic realities of The Bahamas, we must abandon a Nassau-centric mentality. You are the creators of your history in the next 50 years. You will be the heroes in your times, and the source of our nation's strength.
We must reject the cynicism surrounding our future knowing that we will encounter unfamiliar problems, great risk and challenges. But be optimistic that we are the formula for unleashing the spirit that is needed for development in our country. We are a people who have the commitment, determination, vision and dexterity to manage the economic complexities of our country. Our generation must learn the essentials of serving the people's hearts and souls. Once again the destiny of our country is in the hands of the people. Young Bahamians are the indispensable force in deciding our future. We are the students of previous generations. Therefore, we should abandon our pride and seek advice from history. The most powerful weapon is a talented and educated Bahamian. Everything we do as a country depends on the most powerful asset we have and that is the Bahamian people. Young Bahamians should never become complacent in their efforts of throwing a blow for progress. To all the Bahamian millennials losing hope: Let us be the generation who will bring back the pride and glory of being a Bahamian.
It's imperative that we become masters of our destiny, never fearing to dream. Whether you are a young Bahamian living home or abroad, realize your desire of being engineers in your country's future. We have some difficult days ahead, but the difficulty we face will always bend toward the talents of our people. Even though we are small in size as a country, the hearts of our people beat to the vitality of our democracy.
Those who believe in economic freedom cannot rest until that freedom comes. The journey to majority rule remains intact. We shall not stop until the majority has its rightful place at the economic table of brotherhood. The anguish of our journey will be dedicated to mentally reclaiming our country. This economic revolution must mirror the needs of our people. We must inspire ourselves to affirm the importance of ownership, placing it in our very minds, hearts and bodies as we struggle to remove any economic inequality. The moral compass will give us a stronger sense of direction on our continuous journey.
Let the promise of majority rule be the promise again. Let it be the dream our founding fathers had it out to be. Fifty years later we find ourselves in a state of perplexity and uncertainty, a quandary for us as the custodians of our nation. Perspective is a beautiful thing for those who possess the ability to contextualize the potential that exists in our country. I always believe that the Bahamian people are the center of our nation's hopes and aspirations. The cause of building a promising future for all Bahamians is not a partisan one; it's a fundamental responsibility for us as citizens to work in a national interest. Truly, any meaningful revolution must be inaugurated in the minds of the Bahamian people.
Fifty years later we recognize there were problems and obstacles along our journey. We recognize the imperfection of our human progress. The voyage to a better Bahamas came at the expense of human suffering and discomforting endurance - from the peace of nature stolen from the Lucayans wiped out by the scars of slavery; to the story of poor black Kate, whose death sparked a movement in Exuma led by Pompey a creole slave; to a Women's Suffrage Movement striding side by side with a soul heavy with a cause; to a ceremonial mace hurled out of a window; to the Burma Road Riot; to a General Strike that hastened opposition to a regime that denied taxi drivers an opportunity to make an earning; to a fierce patriot by the name of Ruby Ann Darling who would be inscribed on the register to vote, making her the first woman to register, breaking the back of electoral discrimination against Bahamian women; to a time where a young premier dreamed large dreams for all.
These intervals of history represent acts of human courage and bravery. For those out there who see the future of our country from a pessimistic view, I say to you: You do not know Bahamian history, because history will show that the Bahamian people are a nation of men and women who toil through despair to get us here. Moreover, we the Bahamian people, despite the challenges, have always overcome. Despite what they want us to believe, our best days are always ahead of us, because it is the human spirit of the Bahamian people never to give up.
Our founding fathers, the farmers of The Bahamas, planted the seeds of our promise so deep, hoping the sun and the rain that come from their people would bring a harvest to reap. We are all a part of some great plan to claim our land. We have an unyielding faith in our God-known destiny. We will continue to tread until the fighting spirit of the previous generations of Bahamians awakens.
The last 50 years were built on the rubble of untold tribulations and great perils. We must continue the historic promise of majority rule to break any economic or social gridlock that creates an atmosphere that undermines the illusion of fairness of any advancement to become a better citizen. It is written doctrine that places an inherited responsibility on the shoulders of the new generation of leaders to never support a way of life that enriches the powerful and affluent, while disenfranchising the working class or the poor. It is the promise of majority rule that anywhere Bahamian people are being exploited and subordinated while members of another group of Bahamians are granted privileges, we will tear it down.
The answers for our aspirations, goals and common ideal will rely on our ability to answer one question: Which path will we follow? Will we build the next 50 years of democracy on populism, division, hate, severe inequalities, misogyny, xenophobia, political idiocy, fear-based messaging, emotional manipulation, stagnation, lawlessness and religious pandering? Or will we build the next 50 years of our democracy on tolerance, the talent of our people, respect, liberty, accountability, nationalism, rationalism, inclusion, equality, talent, freedom and hope? Governments to come will be challenged with managing the hopes and the rightfully demanded expectations of the Bahamian people.
To Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Milo Butler, Arthur Hanna, Clarence A. Bain, Jeffrey M. Thompson, Carlton Francis, Randol Fawkes, William Cartwright, Warren Levarity, Dr. Curtis McMillan and Clement Maynard, thanks for telling us that this land is ours by birth and that you toiled through despair to get us here.
For the thousands who've prayed and the hundreds that fought, we say thank you. To those of us who remain behind, our thirst for economic freedom will not be quenched until we fight for what's ours.
We will continue to tread our journey until the Joshua generation in each of us awakens. Let us be true to our God and let us be true to our native land.
o Latrae Rahming is the press secretary in the Office of The Prime Minister.
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January 17, 2017
After leader of the Gatekeepers Pastor Jeremiah Duncombe confirmed that his group was in talks with Official Opposition Leader Loretta Butler-Turner with a view to forming a coalition, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts suggested Duncombe "stick to religion" rather than venturing into politics.
"Pastor Duncombe needs to stick with what he knows best and that is religion," Roberts said when contacted for comment yesterday.
"This is not his field. Not at all."
On Sunday, Duncombe said if the coalition is formed, it would have the sole purpose of removing the PLP from office.
He said, "What we've discussed is the putting together of a coalition of independent candidates where these individuals are driven by a sense of national urgency to help save this country.
"For Gatekeepers, God and country must come before party politics and personal interests, so we are encouraging our members to run independently as Gatekeepers.
"We've encouraged them to be willing to make a sacrifice."
Roberts insisted that the PLP is not at all threatened by opposition forces' attempt to form a coalition.
He questioned Duncombe's stance because, according to Roberts, a little over a month ago, Duncombe said he would endorse several members of the PLP.
"The coalition does not concern us (the PLP) because that is the same Jeremiah Duncombe who told me that they would endorse several candidates of the PLP, but now he is taking a different approach, but anyway," the chairman said.
Roberts added: "He named a few about four or five weeks ago.
"He named several of them that I can't remember off the top of my head.
"But there are several of the PLP candidates that they have endorsed.
"I guess the coalition probably makes sense to them.
"Obviously it doesn't make sense to me.
"This country needs a cohesive proven political organization to form the government of this country, not some persons with ideas and so forth."
Roberts said this Thursday the PLP hopes to ratify its remaining candidates.
He did not name them.
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