Letters

We March should get serious

March 22, 2017

Dear Editor,

In order to express their displeasure at the persistent problems caused by the fire at the dump, the We March group is planning another protest march in April 2017. To what end, I ask? Multiple groups and individual Bahamians have already expressed their frustration with the incompetent, but predictable way the government has handled this situation. Bahamians are frustrated to no end with the way this government has mismanaged all aspects of governance. It is my opinion that Bahamians do not need to walk in the hot sun again and again to simply express their frustrations, Bahamians want change.
The We March movement is the first organization that has connected with grassroots Bahamians in a palpable way for decades. It has accomplished something that fledgling political parties in this country have failed to do: unite Bahamians around the shared reality of poor, inept, corrupt governance. This organization, in my opinion, would be much better served if that energy were harnessed to bring real change at the polls.
We March should come up with a properly articulated manifesto with proposed solutions to common problems plaguing this country. Building upon the strong grassroots support that they already have, this could make them a dark horse, if they decide to become serious. Voters like me cannot vote for the PLP and will not vote for the FNM (with Hubert Minnis as leader). I believe the level of support the FNM can attract would increase substantially, should he rightfully resign, but ego won't allow him. The DNA (Don't kNow Anything) deserves no consideration at all for people serious about the future of this country.
Bahamians have seen what career politicians have to offer and are not impressed. Many who have registered to vote may not because they loathe the choices now available. If We March wants to be serious and really wants its voice to be heard, don't get sweaty screaming in the hot sun, offer Bahamians another choice on Election Day.

- JB

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Serve with honor, remember with pride

March 22, 2017

Dear Editor,

In recent weeks I read an article in the local press in which a report attributed to the IDB has compared the manpower resources of the Royal Bahamas Police Force with those of Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica. The report also compares the budgets for police service in the three countries. The impression that an uninformed public will get from the report is that, based on the size of our population, the strength of our police force and the expenditure should be less than the countries named. One local newspaper in making the comparison published an article under the headline "Worst police force in the Carib".
It is articles like that which could cause the faith and respect our residents have for our police force to waver. It is my opinion that our commissioner of police and his personnel are performing with excellence in the fight against crime in the country. I have no doubt that, with public cooperation, trust and support, the force will continue to maintain the legacy left by its predecessors. It is amazing that, in spite of all the destructive criticism heard from politicians, the talk shows and some members of the public, the commissioner and officers continue to maintain their dedication and drive to rid our country of this menace. Results are visible each day at the courts, the backlog is growing and the prison remains overcrowded. It is obvious to me from the results attained that the commissioner's annual policing plan is working.
The IDB report on manpower resources does not show (a) that Trinidad and Tobago is a twin island state, most of which is covered by roadways connecting towns and villages. Tobago is 14 miles away by sea and is accessible by ferry or air travel; or (b) the Trinidad and Tobago police service is supported by the police reserves and a huge estate police force, which comes under the control of the police service. These are private security officers who are trained at the police college for private security firms, which pay for the training. Upon completion of the training, they are sworn in as estate constables, with the same powers of the regular police officer. The training includes firearms, which many estate constables are allowed to carry. We have recommended to The Bahamas governments in the past that all security personnel be trained at the police college and be sworn in as district constables, with similar powers. It is my belief that the same applies to security personnel in Jamaica and Barbados.
The Bahamas is a nation of hundreds of islands and cays, dozens of which demand police presence. The drug trade through our islands makes it mandatory that police officers are present and active on all of these islands. There are several airports to be policed, and tourists in resorts on our islands expect to have police presence for security and safety. The expenditure for policing our Islands is much larger due to several factors, including a higher cost of living than the islands mentioned; higher wages; and buildings and transportation needs for all of the islands.
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is using drones and other technical equipment, to assist in the policing of the two islands and to compile intelligence and observe movements around the islands.
On New Providence, there are some persons who are blaming the commissioner of police and the force for the increase in the murder rate. Murder is not a preventable crime. The murderer picks the place, the time, the day and the weapon. He has his motive and knows his victim. There are also those persons who criticize the police statistics on crime. Many of us have become so emotional, that we do not believe it when we are told that crime in general is down.
As far as I am aware, the IDB report did not compare crime detection rates of the islands mentioned. I assure the public that our force is way ahead of them. I can also assure the public that we are way ahead in terms of the interdiction of firearms per capita. We know for a fact that most of the firearms recovered by our police personnel originated in the U.S.A., most likely South Florida. Our police force is receiving massive assistance from the U.S. Chief Superintendent Ken Strachan recently told the public of the recovery figures as it relates to firearms in our country. He also mentioned that Bahamian residents in the U.S.A. are involved in the firearms and ammunition traffic to The Bahamas. There have been arrests and convictions of Bahamians involved in firearms trafficking from the U.S.A. to The Bahamas. It would help if corporate Bahamas, through the Chamber of Commerce, would open a reward fund for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of persons involved in trafficking.

Getting tough on criminals
We are engaged in a war with persons who should be deemed terrorists trying to destroy our country. Our politicians on all sides must stop using crime as a political tool and display a united effort to eliminate this scourge. We could begin with fair and impartial enforcement of our laws. MPs and others should declare their assets as required by law. There should be the seizure and forfeiture of assets of crime. There must be deportation. We must demolish the shantytowns; this is a law enforcement matter that must be dealt with by the law enforcement agencies. We must do it humanely and begin with the Mud and Pigeon Pea areas in Abaco. We should reestablish the gun court, with gun cases being heard within 21 days and results headlined in the media. We must consider an increase in penalties for gun crimes and make it possible for magistrates to hear cases of armed robbery, which is huge on the backlog. Consider a change from jury trials to trials by judges, as advised by Sir Burton Hall. The police must be more aggressive in the enforcement of minor crimes.
The magnificent drive and effort displayed in the detection of major crimes must be used against minor offenders. The police have the tools to work with in the law, such as reasonable grounds of suspicion, vagrancy and unlawful possession. These have been the weapons used in the past. These laws allow for the search of backpacks carried by pedestrians, interrogation of persons loitering and charges of unlawful possession.
The police must search homes of suspects, particularly gang members, who could be held for 48 hours for interrogation.
The police can work toward ridding the streets of unlicensed motorcycles; many of them are used by criminals to flee crime scenes.
The police must conduct surveillance at and raid known strip joints. Foreign staff should be turned over to the immigration department. Far too many murders and shootings are perpetrated outside these clubs.
The police must enforce shop licensing laws, including health certificates for persons serving food, in particular in the area of schools.
The politician and the media will complain of harassment. It is efficient and effective policing, which has been used by us and other police forces in the past. Be polite, but firm.

Warrants of arrest
A former chief justice in his final address mentioned the failure of the police to execute about 7,000 warrants of arrest on New Providence. The police must implement efficient and effective systems to execute these warrants, most of which are traffic citations. The Public Treasury is losing $7 million in fines. In the distant past, recommendations were made of a system that would effectively deal with outstanding warrants of arrests.
If we are going to restore the order we once had in our country, law enforcement agencies must be vigilant, alert and aggressive, and they should enforce our laws without interference or partiality.
The Ministry of National Security should consider responding to the IDB report, which is misleading to the public, whose faith, confidence and trust in the police must be maintained. The Police Staff Association must know that the contents of the report are unfair and must also respond to it.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force must be respected and commended. All persons in authority should act on their behalf to ensure their overtime payments with cash or time back. They certainly deserve it.
Have patience. We will overcome.
We served with honor. We remember with pride.

- Paul Thompson

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The 2017 General Elections
The 2017 General Elections

March 21, 2017

The 2017 general elections will be between the D.N.A and the F.N.M. The P.L.P. will be the spoiler this time around. Unfortunately, the P.L.P. shelf life has expired, and should be discarded, as they are now toxic to our national health...

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Letter to the Editor-ONLY A BOY Part 2
Letter to the Editor-ONLY A BOY Part 2

March 21, 2017

In my last letter I wrote about the Biblical story of David, recorded in 1Samuel 16. In the many responses, someone said that if Mr. McCartney is not successful in winning the next election...

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Only a boy

March 21, 2017

Dear Editor,
One of the classic children's songs of all times is "Only a boy named David". The story of David's selection to be king of Israel is recorded in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. The story, in brief, is that the prophet Samuel intended to select the eldest son of Jessie, but God directed him to select "the boy David" instead. This truly parallels what occurred in the endorsement of Branville McCartney, as the person to lead the charge to form the next government, following the upcoming general election.
As leader of the Gatekeepers, following much prayer, I was impressed upon to endorse someone to lead the third party forces to head the next government, but I had no intention of selecting Mr. McCartney as that person. However, as in the Old Testament case of Samuel, the Lord led me to endorse Branville McCartney.
Since I made that decision, I have been inundated with calls as to the basis of my decision, and my response was always, "I was God directed". Thankfully, I am comfortable and at peace with that decision, and I wait to see how God is going to work this all out. In the meantime, I am appealing to all Bahamians to pray for God's direction and allow Him to impress upon them how they should vote. May God bless The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

- Pastor Jeremiah Duncombe, Leader of The Gatekeepers.

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Great expectations and Baha Mar

March 21, 2017

Dear Editor,
Since the work on Baha Mar has begun and 600 persons have been hired so far, is it safe to say that the sale of Baha Mar has been completed? Are we going to have to wait until April 21 like attorney Wayne Munroe is saying? He says that we are going to see "something" that will cause people to finally see what the deal is. This may seem farfetched, but I would venture to say that there is no agreement for the sale of Baha Mar, except the prime minister wants to use it as a trump card in the upcoming election. If that it is the case, will it be enough to make up for the number of Bahamians who will not be employed at Bahamar?
- Edward Hutcheson

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Road Traffic Dept. - a job well done

March 21, 2017

Dear Editor,
I am now convinced that because most Bahamians tend to be too late when it comes to renewing drivers licenses, voters cards and passports, that you all get frustrated and start carrying on bad because the lines are too long or, as some of you like to say, the staff 'too slow'.
Editor, I had another very pleasant experience when I visited the Road Traffic Department at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center to renew and update my own driver's license.
I was directed, very courteously and professionally, by a uniformed security attendant to the section where the same were being processed.
Of course, I made a grand entrance and all of the female staffers were all over me, swooning and complimenting me for being, as they said, 'the best radio talk show host in the universe', inclusive of The Bahamas.
There were about 15 persons ahead of me. We were all quickly processed and I was out of there within half an hour.
Needless to say, the staffers were very nice and extremely professional. Kudos to Glenys Hanna-Martin (PLP-Englerston), minister of transport and aviation, along with her Permanent Secretary Lorraine Symonette and of course, the Controller of Road Traffic Ross Smith and his hard working staff, on bringing quality service to the people of our wonderful nation. To God then, in all of these things, be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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Landfill an explosion waiting to happen

March 21, 2017

Dear Editor,
Why does the dump burn? Is it old cars or just rubbish going up in smoke? A study needs to be done on Methane gas and how it is produced.
It is the accumulation of Methane that has to be addressed. Most landfills have an extraction process for the methane gas and the amount produced is such that it is sold as a commercial product. If the gas produced under the landfill is not being managed properly, methane gas explosions can result. The minister of the environment may have to take a closer look at this baby he has been doing diaper changes on for the past couple years; something else may break loose that diapers will not be able to handle.
Hopefully he has gone onto Google Images and typed in "methane gas explosions and landfills". Serious possibilities here.

- Edward Hutcheson

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Letter to the Editor: ONLY A BOY
Letter to the Editor: ONLY A BOY

March 20, 2017

One of the classic children’s songs of all times is “Only a boy named David”. The story of David’s selection to be king of Israel is recorded in 1Samuel 16:1-13...

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New Lexus for the prime minister

March 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
Any emperor worth his salt is worthy of a new chariot every now and then. But when his kingdom is broke, even the mightiest emperor must lead by example and publicly demonstrate that austerity starts at home.
Our prime minister never got that memo and so he continues to spend like a drunken sailor, even as the world's financial police warn of dangers ahead for The Bahamas unless we stop spending money we don't have.
When things get tight in our own family budgets, we immediately start to implement austerity measures. We cut out unnecessary spending and look for ways to economize. Our old car gets a tune-up instead of a replacement. We buy one fewer lattes every day, and when we simply must travel, we plan ahead to get the cheapest ticket available.
The good old folks at Fresh Creek, Andros, have a unique word for someone who has no money. They call you 'bruck'! As a nation, we are bruck, but that fact hasn't sunk in yet with our prime minister.
Some Bahamians who were searching for money to buy gas for their cars were blown off the road recently by a motorcade of police outriders with blaring sirens announcing that our prime minister was late again and needed to hog the road.
While muttering under their breath as they sank into another off-road pothole to evade the high-speed procession, they would have discovered that Christie has treated himself to a brand new vehicle. It's a spanking new Lexus sedan that sells for $88,000 in the U.S. and surely must be $130,000 landed here.
If fully equipped, this luxury chariot would have heated leather seats and all the accoutrements that one would expect for a prime minister who has fancy places to go and rich foreigners to see and be seen with.
Surely, the prime minister must also have acquired a car of equal or greater prestige for the governor general. It would be unthinkable for the head of government to be riding around in luxurious circumstances while the head of state rides on the cheap.
But back to the Lexus. Never mind that we are as bruck as the 10 Commandments. And never mind that there was probably nothing wrong with the fleet of official cars available to the prime minister, including a top-of-the-line Mercedes just five years old. The care and maintenance of the fleet - including the PM's cars - is handled by the police force. Each car is so meticulously looked after that you would hardly be able to tell that one was too old to be of service to Christie.
Lost on the prime minister is the fact that many of the people he leads go to Miami to look for used cars to buy, and their budgets can't afford something as "new" as five years old.
The optics of all of this spending at this time is pretty bad for Christie, who used to style himself a man of the people. The people are beginning to see where their VAT money gone, and it has nothing to do with what Michael Halkitis wants us to believe.
Take one new Lexus at $130,000. Add in travel and a big bash for the British judges and their staff at a conservative $500,000. Then there was the party and gift for Sir Sidney Poitier that he attended by video link from California at another $150,000. And let's not forget all the showing off Christie did for the President of Guyana. That will come in around $500,000 when you consider overtime for public officers, etc. And you know the beach soccer tournament and the United Nations conference must have cost us a little something, let's say another $250,000 each.
That's almost $2 million in unnecessary spending in the space of a few weeks this year. And it's all after we got downgraded to junk investment status, meaning the money we will borrow to pay for this extravagance will now cost us more in interest.
Christie's problem, according to the Androsians, is that he got 'big eye' but he pocket bruck, and he doesn't care tuppence what we think.

- The Graduate

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Loose lips and political ignorance

March 20, 2017

Dear Editor,

There was a time long ago when I dared to believe that Dr. Hubert A. Minnis (FNM - Killarney) possessed the 'stuff' of which prime ministers are made. In fact, I prophesied his rise to high office as leader of the opposition a few months before the general elections of 2012. He did not appear to believe me, but the rest is history.
For many months after his elevation, following the disgraceful and ignoble abandonment of the then shell shocked Free National Movement (FNM) by Hubert A. Ingraham, I was a paid political consultant to Minnis. He was not too generous, but the stipend was not too bad. There came a time, however, when I realized that he was, in fact, leader of the FNM, but he did not possess the political intelligence, gravitas or sensibilities to ever, in this life time, become prime minister of our wonderful nation. I told him so, publicly, and my financial arrangements with him came to an abrupt end.
Since then Dr. Minnis has not said a single word to me and vice versa. I do not miss him, surprisingly, at all. This man, reputedly a good medical doctor, seems to be prone to political foot in mouth disease. He recently proclaimed that an FNM administration led by him would 'find a buyer' for Baha Mar that had the interests of the people of The Bahamas 'at heart'.
These were an ill advised choice of words and sent shock waves throughout the local and international financial markets. No investor will invest a single dime in any country if the government of the day does not appear to have the constitutional and legal authority to strike enforceable contracts and heads of agreement.
It is to be kept in mind that five of the FNM's ratified candidates have been said to be allied with that man who declared that he was leader of the Baha Mar Nation, wherever that is... maybe in a place where the sun does not shine? The arrogance of this man is unbelievable.
Minnis, in one utterance, has destroyed whatever elusive chances the FNM had of winning the next general election. It is highly unlikely that the thousands of anxious Bahamians who are waiting for the grand opening of the Cable Beach saga will vote for a man and his party who wish to stop, review and cancel a private contract. Whoever his legal advisors are, they should be fired.
The PLP, despite our missteps and challenges, will be returned to office with a maximum of 24 seats. Some want more, but that is good enough for me. Loose lips and political ignorance on the part of Dr. Minnis will guarantee the results. To God then, even in the madness of this exercise, in all things, be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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Did the PLP pay

March 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
I watched the PLP on TV on Friday night. The PLP was on ZNS at a church service rally in Grand Bahama. ZNS aired the event with many staff dedicated to airing it.
Did the PLP pay for that political broadcast? The event certainly was not news.

- Martha S. Greene

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The coronation of Wayne Munroe, QC

March 17, 2017

Dear Editor,
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has now selected Barrister Wayne Munroe, QC, as our standard bearer in the newly renamed and revamped constituency of Free Town. He will be going up against Dionisio D'Aguilar (FNM), a well-known and highly respected businessman, who brings a no-nonsense attitude to the political arena.
Free Town, of which Kemp Road and Five Pond Lot Subdivision form a key component in our anticipated victory. Over in Blair, Johnson Road and other eastern demarcations of this fabled constituency, is where the PLP will face its most severe challenges. Dionisio is a people person and has a gung-ho approach to identifying problems and coming up with solutions. Wayne, as a trained lawyer, is more reserved and one who appears to want to dissect each and every problem to death, as he is trained to do.
The Hon. Frank Smith waged a ferocious and determined political battle while seeking to obtain our party's political coronation, for that is what it will be tantamount to. If Munroe were to lose Free Town, the national chances of the PLP would be badly damaged and a clear message sent to us.
In hindsight, rehashing the debacle of Messrs. Renward Letter of Intent' Wells; Gregory 'Moon Beam' Moss and Andre '3000' Rollins, I would have gone with another choice. The party, however, is paramount when it comes to our internal politics. Munroe, however, has been selected and we must gather the proverbial wagons around him.
Munroe is warned, however, that he must bring something different to the table, as I fully expect, once we are returned to office, that he will be appointed to the cabinet. Alfred Sears and Munroe are two of the principal attorneys who represented the web shops during the licensing and regulatory process. Sears acted for FML and Munroe for Island Luck, et al. Is it coincidental that they are now both candidates for the PLP?
The PLP has its work cut out for it. We have failed the expectations of the people in many areas and have failed, miserably, to properly brand our core message, and too many of our current representatives have grown too smug and missing in action.
We must all rise to the occasion and get on with wiping away the tears from every eye; bring sight to the blind; feed the hungry; clothe the naked and, of course, set the captives free. Wayne Munroe will, and must, play a vital and pivotal role in our long march forward. To God then, in all things, be the glory.

-- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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Actions speak louder than words

March 17, 2017

Dear Editor,
Bahamians often find themselves disappointed with outcomes because they have a penchant for expecting extraordinary things from ordinary people. These are just a few examples that come to mind.
In 2003 the Grand Bahama community was in shock as several young males disappeared and were suspected to have been murdered. The last of those five murders saw a time of intense investigation to find and arrest the perpetrator. Then Assistant Commissioner of the Northern Bahamas Ellison Greenslade was the lead investigator at the time. For those who followed the investigations closely it was obvious that news reporters from South Florida were more forthcoming with insightful leads and information than the police force. Indeed, many argued that the police force in Grand Bahama at the time were out of their depth and bungled the investigation. Repeated calls for FBI investigators went unheeded. According to news reports, the suspect turned himself in eventually, not as a result of exemplary police work, but after an all-night prayer vigil held at a church in Grand Bahama. The questionable manner in which that investigation was handled quite naturally warranted promotion from Asst. Commissioner to Commissioner of police. Is there any correlation between our present out of control crime stats and police leadership? Only God knows.
As an MP and head of several government ministries, Perry Christie has had a long but forgettable political career. Apart from the ability to survive politically, there has been no other distinguishing attribute intellectually, ethically or otherwise, that says "here is a deserving leader". Of course, those were not enough reasons for him to not become party leader and eventually Prime Minister. After an anemic and catastrophic first showing as prime minister, the Bahamian people elected him again, seemingly expecting a different outcome. After dismantling our nation's credibility, drowning the country in debt, squandering VAT proceeds and seeking to initiate a national healthcare plan that is doomed to fail before it starts, he desires another term to serve the Bahamian people. We get what we deserve, no?
Dr. Hubert Minnis was Minister of Health when a number of mysterious deaths occurred, initially of unknown causes. Eventually, it was determined that dengue caused some of those deaths, but many, many deaths were of undetermined causes. To date, I am unaware that the remaining causes of death were ever disclosed. The way his ministry handled that crisis, from the public relations and public safety standpoints, still stands out in my mind as one of pure incompetence. But so far it seems that ineptness is a prerequisite for public office.
Branville McCartney was a junior minister who took, what seemed to be, a principled stand on immigration while he was in the FNM. Since that time he has started his own party and has shown that he lacks the political instinct to lead anything. Anyone who is incapable of taking advantage of the confusion in the FNM and public displeasure with the PLP, and joins forces and then divorces ties with Loretta Butler-Turner, is in need of anti-psychotic medication, not the reins of power.
In this upcoming election season all of us as Bahamians must remember that actions speak louder than words. In my opinion, all of those offering themselves for the highest office in the land have disqualified themselves in one way or another by their actions or inaction. They ought not qualify simply on the basis of their words (election rhetoric). I, like many, still remain undecided about whether or not to mark my "X".
-- JB

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Democracy or 'shameocracy'

March 17, 2017

Dear Editor,

Mr. Editor, I need to say right at the outset that I am not against any political party and neither am I advocating on behalf of any. If the reader suspects partisan politics in this article they have totally missed the point, but worse, they will turn a critical eye and deaf spirit to the admonition given to advance this country, not a political party or politicians, but this country. I say, like Dr. Martin Luther King, "I love this country too much to see the drift that it has taken".
Shameocracy, the existence of an aura of brazen shame, so embedded that its bearers (people) and wearers (politicians) are both unconscious of its existence, exalts a national over the nation with the view that the nation is at the heart of the national, and concludes with the illusion that the existence of the nation is dependent upon the national.
If I did not know better I would have sworn that there was a certain prime minister who campaigned on the platform, among many other promises, that the term of the prime minister would be limited to two terms only. That promise certainly took on wings and flew into the political abyss.
It is unimaginable that after 44 years of independence, and a few years before then, that the Bahamas has only seen three leaders. What an indictment against our leaders, but more than that, what an indictment against our people. After 44 years? Is that the best we can do? Do our leaders have no shame? Do our people have no shame? Three leaders? Three leaders and now two who feel entitled to rotate, to alternate their tyranny on the masses.
Do our leaders not know that their continued dominant presence and continual pursuit of political power reflects their leaderlessness? After all these years, to not have groomed, mentored or facilitated anyone else to hold the office of prime minister ought to be a direct and indirect egg on your face moment. And our people, are they not just as culpable? In the last 44 years since the independence of The Bahamas, America has seen at least 9 presidents, and we next door continue to cycle and recycle the same archaic, burnt out political minds, minds which are so politically institutionalized that they cannot get out of their own political quagmire, minds that have lost love, passion, vision and a sense of absolute altruistic patriotism -- the sort they claim to have. They have come to internalize the office of prime minister, so much so, that they deceive themselves into believing that they are current and effective just by virtue of being in office.
Have we no brighter minds? Hear the embittered voice of Cassius in Julius Caesar to Brutus: "Why man, has Rome only space for one man?" Or in the instant case, two. And no, my voice is not embittered, it is patriotic to the core. But seriously, have we no more visionaries? Have we no more revolutionaries to revolutionize what we do in The Bahamas? And if the answer is no, then not only have our academic, vocational and educational systems failed us, but also our political mentoring system -- if there ever was one in the first place.
I urge you reader to archive my two part articles on "Bahamian Animal Farm" submitted last year. Critical to Napolean dominating the affairs of the farm was the chasing off of the farm of his most able opponent, Snowball. And so, a snowball of potential leaders, leaders with vision and brilliance, have been likewise chased off of the farm, and those who remain have been duped into patronage more than patriotism. What a crying shame!
I do not postulate the DNA in office, but at least it is a new potential leadership face. And if that displeases the masses, then how could we not be more displeased with carrying on the shameful hereditary system of political entitlement that presently exists? I cry shame on us as a people. Do we breed a political die-in-office mentality in our country? Is there no one else alive with vision, passion, devotion, leadership qualities and expertise other than those who have already expired in office? The oppressor never gives up oppressing. It is the oppressed that must rise up.
Again, Cassius' remarks to Brutus reverberate through the eons of time across the length and breadth of our islands: " Caesar would not be a wolf except that we are but sheep". Our political leaders have been made wolves, have been empowered by the passivity and complacency of our people. Our political leaders have been anointed as wolves, even by those in religious circles who have supported partisan politics to the detriment of our nation's advancement.
That is why we still have thousands of acres of vacant land that could have grown soursops, avocadoes, sapodillas, coconuts and countless other fruit and vegetables that could both sustain our economy and increase revenue through export. That is why we still import so many other items that could be manufactured or produced right here in our country. That is why the potential of our fisheries still lays dormant. That is why we are still a hospitable, service-oriented, touristic economy, rather than an industrial economy. That is why Mexico, Jamaica and India can get contracts from huge communications firms and not us. That is why we have no championship villages in this country for champions of various sports around the world to come here to rest, to celebrate, to bring millions of dollars into our economy; a village complete with Bahamian cuisine and entertainment, among other things, on islands such as Eleuthera, Abaco or Grand Bahama.
That is why there are no subdivisions built by a quasi government/private sector interest in a nearer Family Island to stem the tide of immigration into Nassau, to boost economic interest in another island suffering from economic drought. I wrote about this also a few years ago. A complete community, a pilot project. Gas stations, supermarkets, car dealerships, mechanics, public and private schools, churches, banks, clinics, courts, landscapers, policemen, service companies, shopping plazas, etc. would constitute this experimental community. Less people in Nassau and more jobs in the Family Islands may help to reduce crime and enhance job growth. Fine tune this project, work out the kinks, then duplicate it on another island more effectively. I could say more, but why can't our leaders envision more? Why can't we as a people demand more?
Our political leadership is weighed in the balance and found wanting. Dr. King said: "A man can't ride your back unless it is bent." So it is the people who are allowing their backs to be ridden. One cannot blame the politicians. It is the people who sit back and complain, who curse the darkness but won't light a candle. Shameocracy!
It is not, but ought to be, an insult to return any former/current prime minister to power again. They themselves ought to be ashamed that they have not mentored a son or daughter of these isles to lead the country forward. The leadership fruit is ripe for the picking again, because a part of their political agenda is to perpetuate the leadership vacuum. The former attorney general should have been welcomed as a successor rather than have to fight against the old regime. We call this a democracy, or so they would have us believe. Actually, it is shameocracy.

- Dr. 'B'

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Party leaders must put supporters in check

March 15, 2017

Dear Editor,
For the most part, Bahamians are peaceful about their political support. But for some of us, we take our support or desire to please a particular politician too far.
Election violence is not foreign to The Bahamas; it just has not risen to the scale we have seen in neighboring countries. But that can change if our leaders do

not take deliberate steps now to make it clear to their supporters that violence and intimidation of any kind will not be tolerated or rewarded.
New Providence, in particular, is a powder keg in some respects. Tensions can run high, even in our everyday interactions with one another. When you add in the kind of fervor that is stirred up during election season, violence can become the inevitable outcome - especially with so many desperate or power-thirsty people out there who see their party as their livelihood.
The thing about violence is you can start it, but you will not be able to control how it explodes once it gets started. And in the end, innocent people fall at risk of being hurt or worse. The leaders of the three major parties in this country should come together and agree to not only make a national statement imploring all Bahamians to conduct their political support peacefully, but they must also put their supporters in check behind the scenes.
Political leaders must be very careful of the rhetoric they spew, either publicly or privately, during this time, because supporters do not always take things in the way you might intend.
And when they choose to act violently or threateningly on the things you say, you cannot simply distance yourself as leader and claim that you never told them to behave that way.
The 2017 election is going to be very intense and everybody wants to win. What parties are prepared to do to win largely remains to be seen, but actions must be taken now to prevent the electoral process from becoming marred by violence and voter intimidation.

- Sharon Turner

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Minnis is against Bahamians having jobs

March 15, 2017

Dear Editor,
In a calculated effort to destroy the reputation of the Bahamian people, Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis will sell a hotel that he does not own.
The last time I checked, and I stand to be corrected, Baha Mar is privately owned.
The present government has said that the hotel will open in late April. Well how can a hotel open if it has no owner, according to Minnis again? A question that I have is why is Minnis trying so hard and wishing for Bahamians not to have an avenue to find gainful employment? Why he is against Bahamians working is beyond reasoning.
How could an FNM government arbitrarily sell a private entity just because it does not like the investor? Is this the Kremlin? Is Minnis Putin's friend? The suggestion that the state is going to seize a private business and have a fire sale is asinine to the highest degree.
This kind of behavior has all the trappings of killing The Bahamas' reputation as it relates to direct foreign investment.
But what is disturbing is that sensible FNMs will repeat the ignorance that is being said, knowing that it is void of intelligent thought. My serious concern is that the FNMs who are opposed to this gutter style of leadership are sitting in the corner with their mouths duct taped.
Someone in the party must want the best for the country. Is Minnis a good representation of your ideals? Is he a good role model for our youth? Can Minnis say without fear of contradiction that he is without sin? Would he be honest to say that his closet is empty of bones?
I dare say to the FNM supporters who have some integrity, please insist on your leader to come clean, otherwise he will be made to suffer the fate he is orchestrating on others. The Bahamas is very small, and everyone knows everybody. Nothing is a secret in this country.
The FNM is not a camp for sainthood. Many of the things they complain about today they are guilty of also. But it seems like no one in the party is honest to admit them. "Confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us all our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness."
There is one thing that Bahamians must do in this upcoming election: That is to insist that the mental state of all who are offering themselves for leadership is stable.
Not because your party, that was coerced, selected you means that you have the smarts, the courage, the compassion for people and the common sense to lead this great country. A wise man would know that if he is not qualified to lead to just simply step aside.
Oh by the way, the story about you selling newspapers, sewing pants or shining shoes, please, don't make me sneeze. You are a wealthy man; and congratulations for achieving, but under normal circumstances you would not be caught dead having the people around you that you have now.
But I guess if everyone has been promised to be the ambassador to Washington or chairman of the highest paying board, that would be incentive enough.
Minnis, I know that my advice to you means nothing, but I offer it anyway: Michael Jackson said, "If you want to make this world a better place, take a look at the man in the mirror."
"Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten." - Buddha
Ain't nothin' gonna break-a my stride, Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no, I got to keep on movin'.
Remaining laser focused.

- Ivoine W. Ingraham

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FNM and DNA should work together

March 15, 2017

Dear Editor,

Please allow me space to write to make one final plea to the leadership of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and, by extension, the Free National Movement (FNM). I hope that this last-ditch effort will grab their attention and really move them to let common sense prevail and do what is in the best interest of The Bahamas and their parties.
For months, talks of a coalition between opposition forces to rid The Bahamas of the leadership of Perry Christie have been rumored. These rumors were put to bed last week when FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and DNA Leader Branville McCartney confirmed the discussions when they got caught up in a war of words.
The talks seemed to hit a snag, and with months before the next general election, this inaction by Minnis and McCartney appears to give the PLP a very probable chance of retaining the government.
What is so unfortunate is, if they would, for a split second put away their personal ambitions for the best of the country, they would see just how easy they as a team could defeat the PLP. But alas, they both seem unable to get their heads out the sand (or somewhere else) to do what is best for our country.
To me, and many others, this is an easy decision for both parties: unite and defeat a PLP administration with a growing list of failures, or remain divided and be defeated by split votes.
If the results of the 2012 elections are any indication, every 10 votes in the 2017 elections will be split: four for the PLP; three for the FNM; two for the DNA; and one for the UDP/other. It's simple math to me: three plus two is greater than four.
The position that the DNA finds itself in is simple. As it presently stands, the chances of it winning the government are slim to none. Picking up a few seats, however, is possible, but still a long shot. The DNA simply cannot defeat the FNM and PLP in a three-way race.
Can they convince at least 40 percent of voters in at least 20 constituencies to vote DNA so that they can form the next government? The realistic answer? Regrettably no.
But the DNA is in a position to give some of its candidates a better chance to win their seats if they can form this coalition with the FNM.
The DNA leader and deputy leader are in the fight of their lives in three - possibly four or five - man races in Bamboo Town and Sea Breeze.
But a two-man race, on the other hand, versus the PLP would give them and other DNA candidates a better chance, and so to give the Bahamian people a better chance to finally rid ourselves of the inept leadership of Perry Gladstone Christie.
With sitting MPs, the DNA would have a national voice in the House of Assembly to address the plight of the Bahamian people that this PLP administration has abandoned.
DNA MPs would then be in a position to finally give this country the good governance it desperately needs to fix the fiscal mess we're in and really look into a renewable energy plan.
DNA ministers sitting around the Cabinet table can help change the current direction of this country, ensure improvements to our education system and come up with real solutions to our crime problem.
My final plea to the leadership of the DNA is to stop wasting time; stop being egotistical and get a deal done.
Get your strongest candidates and tell the FNM, we are willing to work along with you for a better Bahamas.
In addition to your candidates, give the FNM a list of demands, the fundamental changes that the DNA has been agitating for from day one like a fixed date for elections, a proper FOIA and a truly independent boundaries commission. Get assurances from the FNM that, within the first year of forming the next government, our list of demands will be met.
If the DNA and FNM are true in wanting to rid the Bahamian people of the governance of the PLP, then working together seems to be the only logical solution.
The alternative to working together is five more years of a Perry Christie-led PLP. The choice is yours.

- Disappointed DNA supporter

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Please cut up Christie's national credit card

March 15, 2017

Dear Editor,

Perry Christie and his Flyboy, Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell, continue to be tone-deaf to the cries of middle and working-class Bahamians who are struggling to pay the mortgage, send their kids to school, keep the lights on and put food on the table.
Hard on the heals of splashing out to fly a contingent of British Privy Council judges and their retinue here for a working vacation at our expense, there were Christie and Mitchell at it again, slamming down our maxed-out credit card to pay for a backyard party for the president of Guyana.
Christie and Mitchell couldn't even get their stories straight. They sold the occasion as a state visit, the highest honor a country can give a visiting head of state. Problem is, President David Granger told the Guyanese people he was on an official visit to The Bahamas.
For those schooled in the art of diplomacy and protocol, there is a big difference between a state visit and an official visit. For starters, for a state visit it is Her Majesty's representative in The Bahamas, the governor general, who should send out the invitation, not the prime minister, and certainly not the foreign minister.
Guyana is a republic, and so Granger doubles as both head of state and head of government. If it were a state visit then the only person who could host him is our Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.
She would have to be the one welcoming him to The Bahamas, and it would have been Government House, not the Cabinet Office coordinating every move he made on Bahamian soil.
But instead we saw Christie and his Cabinet at the airport with police force and defence force guards of honor, plus a Junkanoo rushout, to welcome the Guyanese president. We learned later that he paid a "courtesy call" on the representative of our head of state. Dame Marguerite was most gracious to receive him, because if it truly were a state visit, Granger would have committed a fatal diplomatic faux pas.
But all and sundry knew that it was an official invitation, something that is within the remit of the prime minister and he need not consult with Her Excellency. His obligation was merely to advise her of his action.
I have no doubt that Fred Mitchell went to Guyana last year to represent us at the 50th anniversary celebration of their independence from Britain, and that it was then that he "puff up he chest" and invited Granger to The Bahamas.
Of course, it turned out to be perfectly timed, as Christie needed to divert the nation's attention away from his vulgar hand gesture. The visit afforded him an opportunity to show off and puff up his chest.
For the consumption of his audience back home, Granger was telling his media that this was an official visit and that he was looking for economic assistance from The Bahamas.
Guyana is a rich country imbued with gold and other natural resources. Trouble is that for decades that wealth has been spirited out of the country and what remains is very poorly distributed.
That is about to change, though, as Guyana recently discovered that there are billions of barrels of oil deep in the waters off its coast. They could be swimming in money once this oil starts flowing and the price stabilizes.
It was perfectly OK for Granger to want to come here to discuss CARICOM issues. He just happens to be the current head of CARICOM, an organization that Christie treats with such contempt that he rarely attends meetings of the heads of government. That assignment duly falls to Mitchell and you can see how the mingling with prime ministers could cause the foreign minister to get ideas beyond his station.
To Granger, this was an economic mission to The Bahamas. He wanted to first tap into the Guyanese diaspora here who, as a group, are a highly educated lot making significant contributions to the development of our country, and we ought to be grateful. But they are, by and large, handsomely rewarded for their services, and some of that money ends up as remittances that Guyana needs.
Guyana is ripe for eco-tourism and Granger wants to learn from us how to exploit the tourism goose. No problem with that. It's good to help out our cousins. But if they want our help, shouldn't Christie have been the one invited for an official visit? And if they insisted on a state visit then surely Granger should have invited Dame Marguerite.
During the week Christie commandeered a Bahamasair plane to fly the president and his delegation to Freeport (so he needs to stop complaining when Bahamasair comes cap in hand looking for subvention).
So while a new $20 million Bahamasair plane was pulled from service, the president's private aircraft sat at Lynden Pindling International Airport. Hopefully it was out of Christie's line of sight, because the next thing you can bet on is that in the dark of night Christie will do one up on Granger and buy a bigger plane for his personal use as prime minister. Christie continues to demonstrate his penchant for embellishing his role as prime minister, forgetting that the governor general is above him.
Then there was the so-called state dinner at the Hilton in Nassau, where the vintage champagne flowed like a busted Water and Sewerage Corporation street pipe.
Guyana makes undoubtedly the best rum in the world, and one can only hope that Granger walked in with a couple cases of his 50th anniversary El Dorado Demerara premium rum that sells for $3,500 a bottle (+VAT, of course).
At least then we could auction off the rum to help our broke treasury pay for this unnecessary, unwarranted waste of public money.

- The Graduate

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Just do your job

March 14, 2017

Dear Editor,
There is a political ad featuring Dr. Hubert Minnis that seems to be highlighting all of the things that Minnis is not. The ad was broadcasted last week and for some reason it was followed by a promo on the new Critical Care Block at Princess Margaret Hospital. As far as I know the Critical Care facility was built during the time that Minnis was minister of health. Are we being intentionally misled?
If the ad is an attempt to compare Minnis and Prime Minister Perry Christie, what framework is being used? As far as I know, Minnis has held only one Cabinet post in his career and he has something to show for it; while Christie was "returned to the fold of the Progressive Liberal Party and was appointed minister of agriculture, trade and industry by the then prime minister. Christie's ministerial responsibilities included the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry; mining, geological surveys, petroleum, fuel, oils and petrochemicals, industries encouragement, manufacturing, relations with the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation, relations with the Bahamas National Trust, Andros reefs and blue holes, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Co-operatives"(Wikipedia). And, he has little to show for the time he spent in those ministries.
Our prime minister would be better at his job if he concentrated on doing just one thing well: the job he was elected to do.

- Edward Hutcheson

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