Letters

Fool's gold

June 28, 2017

Dear Editor,

I have no idea who the lawyers for Sarkis Izmirlian are, but whoever they are, it is clear in my view that they are giving him potentially bogus legal advice as it relates to the possible claw back of Baha Mar. What appears to be a valid contract, approved by the joint liquidators, the courts and the relevant parties, cannot just be abrogated at his request. Of course, he and his corporate entities would have a legal interest in the same, but not sufficient enough to overturn that contract.
The Minnis administration would be well advised to let this play out on its own without direct governmental intervention. If Minnis were even to attempt to touch this toxic matter, he would be sending the wrong message to potential investors, especially the foreign ones. In addition, it would leave a very sour taste in our collective mouths if he were to do so, because many Bahamians, inclusive of myself, believe that Sarkis, et al, contributed generously to the FNM election coffers. Mind you, there is no definitive proof, but there are three Cabinet ministers who would have been closely allied with him and his corporate entities prior to the elections.
If Sarkis feels aggrieved by the situation with Baha Mar, all he has to do is to take out legal proceedings to ensure that he is protected from an equitable position. No doubt, if he has a credible claim, it would be recognized by our courts. It is highly unlikely, however, that the Minnis administration, much less the courts, would simply shut down operations at that property pending the legal resolution of the salient issues. With close to 2,000 Bahamians currently employed down there and the inflow of assorted fees and charges into our public treasury, it is inconceivable that anyone would dare to interfere with the smooth operations of Baha Mar.
The appearance of Sarkis and his father at the swearing in of Dr. Minnis and some of his Cabinet colleagues at Government House several weeks ago was a bad public relations exercise. While they are legal residents in our wonderful nation, the acrimony generated over the past two years and the naked hostility between them and the former prime minister would result in great speculation and assumptions that would not bode well for our new prime minister and his team. Minnis must remain focused on the bigger picture and the real business of the people of The Bahamas.
The average Bahamian could care less about who is the actual owner or operator of Baha Mar. We want the property to remain open and to succeed, big time, for the benefit of all of us, inclusive of whoever the real owners might be. We have collectively invested too much into Baha Mar to allow it to fail or to permit hot heads and their advisors to scuttle this massive, on-the-ground investment.
The FNM was elected on three major issues: employment, crime and healthcare - no more, no less. The tolerance level of the average Bahamian today is not at all like that of our forefathers. The startling revelations about possible malfeasance on the part of the Gold Rush Administration have caused many of us a degree of discomfort and unbelief. It literally wasted our money and gave us the bird and slap on the buttocks in the process. I am certain that there is more to come. One must keep in mind, however, that it is highly unlikely that there will be any criminal charges, as most of us know that Bahamian crooks, except via an armed robbery or bank fraud, do not leave paper trails. The pirates may have been expelled, but some of them are still around parading in coat suits, white shirts and neck ties, and carrying brief cases.
If Sarkis, et al, believe that they have legal grounds on which to re-position themselves with Baha Mar, by all means, pursue the same within a court of competent jurisdiction and not via badly crafted press releases and public threats to our political directorate. The government of any country is sovereign within the limits of its constitution. As a trained lawyer, I am confused and incapable of understanding just what the hell this man is talking about. It is a given that loose lips are known to sink ships. Fool's gold is fake gold. It is possible that the former administration, now mercifully defunct, led Sarkis down the garden path. Whatever it did do, however, was done with eyes wide opened. To God, then, in all of these things be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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The postal disservice

June 28, 2017

Dear Editor,

Please forgive my persistence in bringing to the attention of the public (in the hope that some positive result might occur) the complete and utter inefficiency of our postal service. Today's mail collection resulted in 17 letters that had postmarks at least one month old! Who is in charge of our postal service? The buck has to stop somewhere. What is going on? Who is responsible? This really is outrageous and is totally unacceptable.

- Mike Lightbourn

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Most Bahamians voted FNM to see PLP politicians do the Bank Lane shuffle

June 27, 2017

Dear Editor,

After Attorney General Carl Bethel stated that there was nothing said by any FNM MP during the budget debate that raised criminal concerns with respect to the PLP government's handling of public funds, smug PLPs bragged that the FNM "They Gern to Jail" campaign has fallen flat on its face. While nothing in our judicial system is in place to penalize government malfeasance, cronyism and gross mismanagement, Bahamians are hopeful that Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister's scenario of the Caribbean Court of Justice giving the Belizean government legal grounds to sue two former Cabinet ministers for misfeasance, could be applied in The Bahamas.
The FNM was catapulted to power based on incessant accusations of systemic corruption in the Christie government. Bahamians had a difficult time understanding how the PLP could raise over $1 billion in VAT in addition to billions collected through other forms of taxation, and yet hear reports of $2 billion being added to the national debt in five years. To them, nothing was adding up. The FNM won 35 of the 39 seats, not because of PM Dr Hubert Minnis' campaign platform to reduce or eliminate VAT on breadbasket items, electricity and other utilities, health insurance, etc. They didn't hand over to Minnis and co the largest landslide election victory in Bahamian history because of his pledge to make Over-the-Hill a type of Freeport city with tax exemptions. They didn't vote FNM because of Minnis' charisma and great oratorical skills. Truth is, Minnis has none of those. Most Bahamians voted for the FNM in order to see PLP politicians and their cronies, who may have pillaged the treasury, prosecuted. They voted FNM because they want to see PLP politicians do the Bank Lane shuffle, like everybody else who breaks the law.
Bahamians are currently waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the various audit reports to be completed. However, notwithstanding the impending forensic audit reports, the Whistleblower is already sensing that the electorate is growing impatient with the FNM, despite only being in power for a little under 50 days. Bahamians are beginning to wonder if the FNM used the jail threats to PLPs who may have been engaged in malfeasance in the lead up to May 10, in order to win votes. If the Minnis administration fails to bring anyone to account within the next six months, the Whistleblower feels that this administration will lose the goodwill of a substantial majority of voters who supported the FNM in the election. In the meantime, the PLP is already gaining traction and will no doubt rebound, despite its current shambolic condition. Many of the former PLP Cabinet ministers and MPs who assisted in making a complete mess of this country will re-emerge with a defiant posture in 2022. PLP cronies who may have pocketed millions via inflated contracts are already laughing with glee at the Bahamian electorate. One particular self-styled PLP Facebook activist hiding behind a fake profile is already saying that Bahamians are stupid for believing anything Minnis said on the campaign stage.
The Bahamian people are peeved. If no one is held to account, then the FNM might as well forfeit the 2022 general election, rather than nominate any of its candidates, as the party would be a hard sell. Most voters, including the Whistleblower, will view the FNM and PLP as two sides of the same coin. If nobody is punished for what transpired between 2012-20017, the Whistleblower will not be wasting his time in voting in 2022. That is the sentiment that is shared by many disillusioned voters across The Bahamas.

- The Whistleblower

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Local government long overdue

June 27, 2017

Dear Editor,

Several days ago local government elections were held in the Family Islands without much fanfare. Indeed, over the last 21 years since this watered-down version of local government was implemented (1996), it has failed to capture the strong interest and support of the residents in the Family Islands.
Unfortunately, New Providence is one of the few modern democracies in this hemisphere with only a single tier of governance, that is the central government. Obviously, the time has come, indeed come and gone, for real local government to be enacted in New Providence and extended to the Family Islands.
Following years of unfruitful advocacy, some local residents of Bains & Grants Town in 2015 took the bold, progressive step of establishing and implementing local government in Bains & Grants Town by declaration. For students of Bahamian history, this seemingly audacious move was not unusual, for indeed, the residents of Bains & Grants Town have been at the forefront of most of the progressive changes in our society over the last 200 years, particularly in politics.
Bahamians are now urged to agitate for the amendment of the Local Government Act (1995) to make it more authentic and effective. Meanwhile, communities in New Providence are encouraged to become more involved in their own development by introducing their own brand of local government, (albeit symbolic ), as we look forward to the "real thing", hopefully sooner rather than later.

- Rev. Dr. C. B. Moss

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A soldier's heart

June 27, 2017

Dear Editor,On May l0th the lines were drawn, the Bahamian people said that the choice is clear, it's the people's time. Editor, with your permission, I would like to congratulate Senators Dwight Sawyer and Ranard Henfield. The paths these men have traversed are different, but they were able to reach the man with a soldier's heart.
The man I speak of is the Honorable Dr. Hubert Minnis, prime minister of this Commonwealth. Without a doubt, the debates will be spirited and heated; there will be times when you ought to retreat. However, in the cycle of governing, the day will come for you to roar with your lion's heart.

- I. Derek Roker

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Political deceit and plunder

June 24, 2017

Dear Editor,
As a life-long supporter of the now defunct and badly demoralized Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), I profusely apologize to the good people of our wonderful nation for being a 'co-conspirator' with that party and its then leadership in selling a patently bogus agenda back in 2012. The PLP as I used to know it is no more, and started to vanish in the last year of the gold rush administration. The startling revelations made by the Hon. Doctor Hubert A. Minnis (FNM-Killarney, our prime minister) during his budget contribution, brought down the scales from my eyes. I was once politically blind......now I am able to see clearly again.
No one, least of all me, begrudges any hard-working and honest Bahamian from earning, the old fashioned way, a reasonable living. The fact, however, that one individual and his mostly unregistered companies were able to collect more than 8 million dollars is a telling indictment on the entire Christie administration, especially when one considers the scope of the services provided in exchange. There are countless Bahamians who have long outstanding judgments against successive governments, or who have been owed compensation for decades for land acquired by successive administrations 'for public purposes'.
To add insult to injury, it was also revealed by the erstwhile prime minister that one former high ranking PLP party official secured a contract from the then BEC worth millions to perform 'services' for which he, allegedly, has absolutely no formal training or experience.......oil removal and disposal. Another individual/company closely connected to the PLP received a customs brokerage contract worth almost a million dollars per year. Is this company connected to the former Minister of Education Jerome Fritzgerald? Is it the same one referenced by Fitzgerald when he wrote to Sarkis apparently soliciting business for his family-owned company, according to emails which are in the public domain?
I appreciate that forensic audits are being conducted into various ministries and governmental agencies, so I do not wish to preempt whatever the audits might reveal, if anything, but the vanquished, thank God, PLP, has much to account for. How much was collected for the Hurricane Relief Fund? Where is the dedicated account located and who were the signatories on that account/s? Where is the former Minister of National Reconstruction et al., Shayne Gibson? He was responsible for numerous vital ministries and agencies: the Public Service (which was saddled with a huge increase in casual workers in the weeks ahead of the May 10th general election); National Insurance Board; the proposed National Health Insurance (which had no gazetted regulations and no statutory board); the Labor Department and only former PM Christie knows what else, or he should have known.
Months after the passage of Hurricane Matthew, scores of Bahamians are still waiting for long promised donated supplies and financial compensation from the central government. Individuals are complaining about the inordinate length of time they have to wait to access pensions and other benefits to which they are entitled. Yes, it has been revealed that multi-million dollar contracts and sinecures were given to PLP hacks and cronies as if there were no tomorrow.
An uninsured dormitory burnt straight down to the ground at BAMSI years ago and no one within the Ministry of Works, inclusive of the then minister, has ever been held accountable. The contractor at that time, former Senator Audley Hanna, a known PLP councillor, has yet to publicly address the issue or show proof that he compensated the then administration for his admitted oversight in not having a valid indemnity contract.
I have heard about a former minister in the gold rush administration who, either solely or though shell companies, purchased several garbage trucks to contract out with the now infamous Harold Road landfill. I know who the alleged former minister is and, if challenged, I will publicly expose him. Many ministers and members of the PGC administration displayed absolutely no shame in their apparent political deceit and perceived plunder of the public purse. The rump opposition will remain in the political wilderness for a long time. In fact, as led currently, the PLP is losing traction and credibility by the nanosecond.
The shrill and hallowed cries by its parliamentary members and the national chairman who, apparently, is still deluded and shocked over the electoral results suffered by the PLP under his watch, are pathetic and sad. They shout 'witch hunt', but under the PLP it would seem that witches infested its ranks from the top straight down to the level of constituency workers. If credible evidence of corruption surfaces, the Minnis administration must have the political willpower to do the right thing. It cannot be business as usual if Minnis and crew wish to retain the goodwill of right-thinking Bahamians. To God then, in all of these things, be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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Crime and Crown Land

June 24, 2017

Dear Editor,
"It's the people's time." This is so true. The heavenly powers have decreed it. Judgement by fire. Everything that is corrupt will be burned in this season. This is a time of judgement and truth. Many things are being uncovered that were hidden for a long time. For instance, incredible theft -- not only in the public sector, but also in the private. Staggering sums of public monies were stolen during the previous administration under the guise of "employment", leaving the present government with the mammoth task of rescuing the country from bankruptcy. Lord, help us all.
Many persons are currently living in houses on land for which they have no title documents, laying claim to Crown Land or land indisputably owned by others. Some Bahamians refuse to discontinue their trespass and get their police friends involved to hararss and threaten the true owners. We are not talking about illegal Haitians or Jamaicans, but Bahamians who have a legal right under the law to peace and privacy.
The Quieting Titles Act of The Bahamas states that if an individual has been in occupation of a piece of land for an uninterrupted and continuous period of 12 years or more, they can petition the court for a certificate of title as evidence of their ownership against all and sundry.
Under this new government I believe that all thieves will be brought to justice by the Supreme Court. Hopefully, in keeping with the law, these thieves will be removed from the houses and properties of decent Bahamian people who have worked hard to secure their properties. Unsavory characters who claim to be Bahamians, many coming from Family Islands looking for unsuspecting persons they can target as a means of establishing themselves on their properties, should not receive any leniency from the courts.
Anyone petitioning the Supreme Court with false evidence must be penalized. The Supreme Court will determine who is the rightful owner.

- Victimized

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Threatening the PM should be a felony

June 23, 2017

Dear Editor,
According to Wikipedia, threatening the president of the United States is a Class E felony under United States Code Title 18, Section 871. This law consists of knowingly and willingly mailing or otherwise making any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the president of the United States, as per Wikipedia. PLP Chairman Emeritus Errington "Minky" Isaacs publicly threatened to "strike" PM Dr Hubert Minnis in his mouth. Isaacs should have been, at the very least, taken into custody and warned not to ever again threaten bodily harm to the PM. He set a very dangerous precedent and should have been made an example of. Absolutely no one, no matter how prominent or wealthy they are, should be allowed to engage in such reckless behavior. No one should be allowed to threaten the PM, or any lawmaker for that matter. I don't recall hearing any FNMs publicly threatening to harm former PM Perry Christie, despite his administration's disastrous stewardship of the nation's finances.
This country just endured the absolute worst five-year period of governance since the colonial era. Christie was the worst PM this country has ever had. The man was awful as a PM. This cannot be stated enough. They nearly wrecked this country. PLPs such as Isaacs are livid that they are no longer in a position to benefit from the treasury. Millions of dollars that emanated from VAT benefitted an inner circle of PLPs, while tens of thousands of Bahamians struggled to buy grocery and keep up with their mortgage and utility payments due to VAT. PLPs are the reason why VAT was unable to put a dent in the national debt. Had Isaacs threatened President Donald Trump on American soil, the Secret Service would have wasted no time in apprehending him. He would have been liable to more than one year's imprisonment with a potential fine of $250,000. The American government doesn't treat this crime as a misdemeanor. What Isaacs did must be taken seriously by the RBPF and other law enforcement agencies.
While PLPs may not like Minnis as a person, due to him leading a massive political tsunami which virtually wiped out their party on Election Day, they have no right to threaten him. Minnis is the PM. PLPs must stop sulking and get over it.

- The Whistleblower

- I. Derek Roker

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PM's Father's Day Message: Country Needs Stronger Families and Stronger Fathers
PM's Father's Day Message: Country Needs Stronger Families and Stronger Fathers

June 23, 2017

Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis said the best way for The Bahamas to resolve its social ill challenges is to have more Godly role models to strengthen the Bahamian family. In his short address at a Fatherís Day Thanksgiving service at Calvary Temple, Grand Bahama...

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Christie must be held accountable

June 23, 2017

Dear Editor,
The FNM government met a $400 million deficit in place, despite former PLP Cabinet Minister Michael Halkitis' rave review of the economy under his stewardship at the PLP convention earlier in the year. In attempting to explain how the VAT money was spent, Halkitis conveniently left out crucial information which would have enraged thousands of ordinary Bahamians. He chose not to inform Bahamians that his government had awarded contracts to scores of PLP cronies, many of whom were woefully unqualified for the projects they were contracted for. And in instances where they were qualified, the contracts appear to have been grossly inflated. Revelations of PLPs being hired on exorbitant salaries have surfaced in recent days. One such instance is that of Ian Poitier being paid $400,000 annually. Another example is that of PLP chairman emeritus "Minky" Isaacs being awarded a $1.8 million contract for oil remediation at BEC. And yet another example is former PLP MP Jerome Fitzgerald's father's company receiving a brokerage contract worth $900,000 per year. If this isn't a clear example of conflict of interest, then I don't know what is.
Former PM Perry Christie must explain how the $18 million that was deposited into an account for an Inter-American Development Bank event was spent? Christie and his former Cabinet ministers should be summoned before an FNM tribunal to explain why they decided to pay Poitier $33,000 a month to consult the former PM on cultural matters, even though he lived abroad for 34 years. And why would Christie even need an adviser to begin with, seeing that he already had an overstaffed Cabinet? Bear in mind that Mr Baltron Bethel was also a high priced consultant to the former PM. Moreover, who are the PLPs behind Ash Enterprises -- a trucking firm which pocketed over $8.6 million in the lead up to May 10 in order to assist in the clean up efforts after Hurricane Matthew? The former PM must explain where and how the $28 million was spent in cleaning up New Providence and other islands impacted by Matthew. The principals of Ash Enterprises must be grinning from ear to ear all the way to the bank. They collected checks of $250,000, $206,000, $220,000, $195,000, $225,750 and $151,524 from the PLP government, while the country sunk deeper in debt due to Christie's blatant mismanagement. The $8.6 million Ash Enterprises received represents almost one-third of the $28 million allocated for the hurricane clean up, while scores of other trucking agencies sat on the sidelines. It would appear that this particular trucking company, along with its family group of companies Heavy Truck Line Services Ltd, Earthmovers Incorporated Company and Industrial and Heavy Duty Equipment Company, attempted to hog up all the business with no regard for other trucking agencies who could have used the financial shot in the arm. The issue with these other trucking agencies is that they are not owned by prominent PLPs. As was the case with the lucrative BAMSI and Lowe Sound Primary School contracts, they were rewarded to high ranking PLPs who had no business receiving those contracts in the first place. BAMSI is nothing more than a financial black hole, with very little to show for the nearly $100 million dumped into it.
The Christie Cabinet placed its party before the country. They nearly wrecked this country. The FNM must haul these people before the courts with the aim of recouping monies that were mismanaged. Sending them to jail is not enough. The Bahamian people gave Minnis and the FNM a mandate to set an example to future would-be political mercenaries. Enough is enough.

- The Whistleblower

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Where are our critical reasoning skills

June 23, 2017

Dear Editor,
Even though the election is over and the FNM are still trying to get settled into power, I continue to be amazed at the amount of people who supported the PLP in the last election. That party's blatant disregard for the grass-root party faithful, soaring crime, unemployment and waste of over $3 billion dollars among other infractions, was not enough to deter die-hard supporters for the PLP. There seems to be a mindless fanaticism which paralyzes the ability to use commonsense in that group of Bahamians. People who allow their personal feelings to trump objective evidence to the detriment of the national interest.
I wonder how can a nation function properly when such a large percentage of its population has such grossly underdeveloped critical reasoning skills? This has nothing to do with education, but simply using your eyes and brain to understand the world around you then making decisions based on that. But then again our nation is not functioning properly. People are poorly socialized, always angry and ready to get in a fight or cuss you out for trivialities. There is little or no regard for or consideration of others, common courtesy is largely nonexistent on our streets and in many business places. This is a sad commentary on the degree of social decay that has taken place in our country.
One can only wonder, in light of the many revelations of abuse of power and public funds, what would have happened to this country if there was not a change of government. If it were up to the mindless few, the rape and pillage of the public treasury would have continued unabated, this country would have been irreparably destroyed, while they gloated about their party's win and returned to their homes without electricity and running water.
But for the grace of God!
- JB

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Too many gambling houses

June 22, 2017

Dear Editor,

I supported the legalization of the web shop industry. In fact, I support the full legalization of gambling for Bahamians. We are being discriminated against under the current laws. Sadly, full legalization was not under consideration by the last government. So we Bahamians only got half of what we should have gotten. That said, I did not expect there would be this many web shops after the industry was made legal. There are web shops next to churches. There are web shops near schools. There are web shops in Downtown Nassau. They are everywhere.
Do we need the hundreds and hundreds of web shops that exist? Should they be open late into the night as they are? Should people be able to gamble online all day and all night, every day? It seems as if the last government took the position that the web shop industry needed no regulating. Bahamians could gamble as much as they wanted to with there being no concern for restraint. Well, that PLP government is gone now for making bad decisions. I hope the new Minnis-led government takes a serious look at regulating web shops. And I hope they take a look at this soon.
Gambling is okay as a recreational activity from time to time for people who have the discipline to control themselves. It is dangerous, however, when few to no rules are placed on the sector and as much as possible is taken from members of the public. We need a regulator that is looking out for the poor and vulnerable. We can't just let everything be taken from them. Bahamians must also be educated about responsible gambling. You should not think you can win your rent money betting on numbers. You should not think you can win your child's school fee money betting on numbers. You should not think you can win your mortgage payment playing numbers. Too many Bahamians think this foolishness. They are delusional. Gaming should just be for fun. You should know you are likely to lose more than you are likely to win when you play. What you wager should just be for the thrill of what might happen if you are lucky. This means that you should only wager an amount that would not hurt you when you inevitably lose.
Good luck to the new prime minister trying to get this web shop mess straightened out. Perry Christie left many messes, so the FNM has plenty of work to do. There being fewer web shops and there being limitations on the hours of play would help bring order to this chaotic situation The Bahamas faces today. Web shops should not be banned, but they should not be more common than food stores.

- Darwin R. Luther

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Failing national exams

June 22, 2017

Dear Editor,

It is very sad to see, once again, the national examination results. I just read today's newspapers about it. This is a country that has teachers from all over the world, and they are very good and experienced teachers. It does not hurt to listen to some ideas, first for the benefit of our students, and second for the benefit of the country. It is very, very sad when people say Bahamian students are not smart. Our students are very smart and capable of getting better results; of going above and beyond. There is no doubt about it and I know based on my experience as a teacher for 13 years. Now is the time to revise what we have been doing wrong. It is the people and the students' time.

- Mrs. Taylor

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A moment of truth

June 21, 2017

Dear Editor,

In The Tribune on April 4, 2017, a headline read: "PM: it is very easy to 'piss away funds'.
An excerpt from this article read: "While observers continue to criticize the Christie administration over the way it handles government revenue, Prime Minister Perry Christie admitted yesterday that it could be easy to 'piss away' public funds.
"Speaking to scores of people gathered at the University of The Bahamas using what he referred to as 'rich' language, Mr. Christie used the 'very graphic expression of annoyance' as he insisted that his government is not wasting tax dollars."
These were words of former prime minister Perry Christie as he expressed annoyance with the public as they continued to question the reasoning for the rise in the national debt and deficit, despite the 'exceeding successes' of value-added tax (VAT), which had collected over a billion dollars in tax revenue.
Shouldn't the deficit and debt have, at least, slowed in growth?
But it seems this was one of the times that you were able to take the former prime minister at his word - "it is easy to piss away funds" - because, it would seem, this is exactly what he and his administration did.
A glimpse into this wastage was revealed by Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands during his contribution to the budget debate yesterday.
A headline in The Nassau Guardian read: "A picture of waste - 'distressing' discoveries on use of public funds".
An excerpt from this article read: "The Christie administration executed over $90 million worth of medical-related contracts - one of which was for the cleaning of an Abaco clinic that was closed - just two weeks before the 2017 general election, Minister of Heath Dr. Duane Sand revealed yesterday.
"Sand said the contracts were executed, despite a $16.4 million shortfall that prevented the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) from purchasing much-needed medication, vaccines and completing renovations at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
"Additionally, he said the former government left millions of dollars in unpaid debt, including about $2 million in National Health Insurance (NHI) related costs."
Indeed, the Christie administration's handling of the country's finances seem to be the blueprint on how to "piss away public funds", as we are continuing to find out each and every day, but the former administration seemed to be able to find funds for what it deemed as being important.
"In addition to funding carnival, incredibly, they made the time and found the money to award... $90 million in lucrative contracts to people, who some would call party faithfuls. The reason given was that the clinics had to be upgraded.
"So the Cabinet directed that $9,778,304.86 be paid as a down payment for new contracts throughout The Bahamas."
This was conveyed by the Permanent Secretary of the OPM (Office of the Prime Minister) Creswell Sturrup to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health on April 27, 2017, the month before the general election.
While the former Christie administration laid out a blueprint on how to "piss away public funds", it is now incumbent on the Minnis administration to not only expose the dark dealings of the former government, but to actually prove to the people that they are better administrators of the peoples finances.
The Progressive Liberal Party failed for one reason: it is its nature.

- Adrian Ramsey

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PLP tried to destroy The Bahamas

June 21, 2017

Dear Editor,

I have been shocked reading the stories in the newspapers from the budget debate. Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told us we had to vote FNM to get the details of what the PLP did. We voted FNM and now the revelations are breathtaking.
The PLP was wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of our money per year. Friends, family and lovers of PLPs were getting rich from our hard-earned tax money. If, by some chance, the PLP would have won on May 10, the party and its supporters would have taken everything from this country. The Bahamas would have been begging the IMF for money to bail it out like the other broke nations of the world.
Perry Christie is a disgrace. He was prime minister and minister of finance. He should be embarrassed for what occurred during his watch.
One term in opposition is not enough punishment for the PLP for what the party did to The Bahamas. Bahamians should not consider electing the PLP until 2027 at the earliest.

- Martha S. Greene

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Failing national exams

June 21, 2017

Dear Editor,

I write with reference to The Nassau Guardian of Friday, June 16, and especially to the editorial and the front page entitled, "Most students fail English and math".
I have a question. Could it be we have the wrong examination? The Maraj Report of 1975 thought so. I was indirectly involved.

- Patrick J. Bethel, a concerned retired teacher

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Prime Minister Minnis, a few suggestions...

June 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
Dr. Hubert Minnis, congratulations on your new appointment as prime minister of The Bahamas. As a supporter of the FNM party for many, many years, (I was born in 1929), I have seen many changes and new appointments in the government, but would like to make a few suggestions.
I would like to see this new Parliament show more respect towards the House of Assembly. No more name-calling and pulling one another down; it has been so embarrassing in the past to listen to Parliament and hear the mud-slinging at one another. I often wonder what our young children think, watching grown men and women conduct themselves in this manner. Please let this be a thing of the past.
I also have a suggestion to make with regard to the disposal of garbage in order for it to be more effective. As in the United States and Europe, we have to do more to recycle our trash. We need a drop-off point for old papers and boxes, special bags for tins and bottles, plastics should be recycled, and this would help with the problems we presently have with the dump and fires.
I would also like to see recognizable bus stops with buses stopping at designated bus stops only. Now, buses stop wherever they like, which causes traffic congestion and unnecessary accidents to happen.
Also, I think owners of vacant land must be made responsible for keeping their land cleaned up. Riding around Nassau and seeing the state of some of the properties is an eyesore. Along with this, a major cleanup needs to be done in Nassau, as it is deplorable. Garbage and trash are thrown anywhere, with no one cleaning it up. As a Bahamian its an embarrassment to see and an embarrassment for tourists to witness how dirty our country is.
Along the lines of cleaning up, I think all politicians need to be responsible for keeping their constituencies clean. Remove all broken-down cars and garbage, clean up the yards of derelict buildings, and let us get back to a Bahamas we can all be proud of.

- A very concerned citizen

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The right medication

June 20, 2017

Dear Editor,
Our esteemed Governor General, Dame Marguerite Pindling, outdid herself when she read the Speech from the Throne a few weeks ago. Her attire, as always, was flamboyant and in good taste. She was, indeed, immaculate. Her pronouncement was great and her delivery was excellent. All in all, she acquitted herself well and did the nation proud.
The speech itself gave a broad outline of what the new Minnis-led administration intends to do as it seeks to rebuild and reconstruct our wonderful nation, which "suffered" tremendously under the benign rule of the former Prime Minister, Perry Gladstone Christie. Yes, I am a committed supporter of the now vanquished and politically mauled Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), but I call it as I see it. PGC and crew were on a run all by themselves, and we, the core supporters, have been left holding the proverbial bag.
The last two years of the Christie regime (for that is what it was) were hard for a majority of honest Bahamians and their families. It is almost as if the PLP was not checking for the unwashed masses of Bahamians and could care less whether they were able to financially sustain themselves, or remain or enter into the ranks of the middle class.The economy did not grow. We received numerous downgrades and witnessed a contracting economy, despite over a billion dollars in VAT monies being collected.
The inner city areas of New Providence, despite untold millions of taxpayers' monies being "spent", remained blighted and environmentally challenged. Our educational plant and resources were dismal and anemic to the point of death, and we continued to generate a generation of illiterate "graduates". The speech outlined some bold initiatives which Prime Minister Dr. Minnis and his administration will bring to the table.
The National Budget for 2017-2018 was presented in the House on Wednesday, 31st May by the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister, Peter K.Turnquest (FNM-East End). It seems to be a stable and sustainable one, despite the initial objections of the PLP and its shell shocked leadership.
We right-thinking Bahamians must stand shoulder to shoulder in the exercise before us as we rebuild and reconstruct our wonderful nation. The time for partisan politics, except where absolutely necessary, is passe, at least for the rest of the year. The FNM must succeed for the sake and financial salvation of all Bahamians.
The PM is a medical doctor, and the "medication" being proposed in the speech the ailing patient needs. These are serious times and we are poised, literally, to cross over into promised land. Minnis, like it or not, is the long-awaited Joshua. The generation of Moses is gone. Brother Christie (Moses 2.0) was allowed to go up the mountain and look over. It is clear, however, that like the Moses of old who doubted God, PGC dared to debate the absolute supremacy of God, he will not come over with us.
In conclusion, therefore, I urge all Bahamians to put our political differences aside and get on with the real tasks at hand. It is necessary that we as a people keep our collective eyes on the prize. To God then, in all things, be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie Jr

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