Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five out of six to bid for Elizabeth by-election

Tribune Staff Reporter

FIVE of the six expected parliamentary candidates successfully submitted their nominations yesterday for the Elizabeth by-election -- but United Christian Love Revolution Movement hopeful Godfrey "Pro" Pinder missed out on the race.

Mr Pinder arrived just a minute before the nomination office at Thelma Gibson Primary School in Commonwealth Drive, Elizabeth Estates, closed at noon.

The nomination office opened at 9am with the Free National Movement (FNM) being the first to submit the nomination papers for their candidate, Dr Duane Sands, flanked by his brother Robert "Sandy" Sands, vice president of external affairs for Baha Mar, and government ministers Earl Deveaux, Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes as well as FNM party chairman Carl Bethel. A throng of supporters dressed in bright red FNM t-shirts gathered at the Believers Gospel Chapel on Prince Charles Drive where they danced to music blasting from a nearby party truck decorated with giant posters of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and red, white and blue flags.

They walked in procession before the truck and were the first party to submit their candidate's nomination papers shortly after 10am.

As they left the building, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) supporters had gathered outside, more than 100 people wearing yellow PLP t-shirts and waving pom-poms danced to the music blaring from loudspeakers on two trucks parked outside the school gates.

The supporters rushed into the school with candidate Ryan Pinder, who was accompanied by his wife and children, his mother and father, former Malcolm Creek MP Marvin Pinder, and party leader Perry Christie, chairman Bradley Roberts and MPs Brave Davis and Shane Gibson.

As Mr Thompson presented him with a receipt for the $400 fee and nomination forms with a list of five people in the constituency who had nominated him, Mr Pinder jumped up from the table and raised his arm in the air. The crowd of around two dozen supporters in the room cheered as he hugged and kissed his wife, mother and daughter, before giving the peace sign to the cameras and quickly changing it to the PLP "OK" hand signal.


Mr Pinder was greeted by a cheering crowd in the school courtyard and National Development Party (NDP) candidate Andre Rollins -- who had been waiting to submit his nomination before the PLP went in-- asked Mr Pinder if he would engage in a live debate.

Mr Pinder backed away quietly without answering the NDP candidate, who walked into the nomination room with a plastic bag containing 1,600 quarters -- his nomination fee -- which Dr Rollins said represented the 1,600 votes he needs to win the seat.

The fourth candidate to nominate was Bahamas Democratic Movement leader Cassius Stuart who kept his entrance low-key with just 10 supporters wearing purple party t-shirts and calling for change.

Rodney Moncur from the Workers' Party was the final candidate to successfully submit his nomination at around 11am with six supporters at his side. Mr Moncur, sporting sunglasses and a suit, gave a speech outside the school gates slamming the FNM and PLP, and arguing how he is the right man to represent the people of Elizabeth as an activist and supporter of capital punishment.

United Christian Love Revolution Movement leader Godfrey "Pro" Pinder pulled into the school parking lot at 11.59am, and after asking Tribune reporters for directions to the nomination office ran to submit his nomination before the office closed at noon.

Although Mr Thompson kept the office open for Mr Pinder to return to his car and retrieve his nomination papers and his cheque book, he could not accept the personal cheque as legislation requires the payment be made in cash or by certified cheque. The attorney and parliamentary hopeful dressed in a suit, pink shirt and tie, solemnly returned to his car, declining to speak to the press any more than to say he had been in court that morning which was the reason for his delay.

January 30, 2010


Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham: The Official Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is a confused, disunited bunch

By Candia Dames ~ Guardian News Editor

Revisiting a theme he has used often in recent weeks, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham last night painted the Progressive Liberal Party as a "confused bunch, more disunited now than when they were last in office." Addressing the Free National Movement's first rally ahead of the February 16 by-election, Ingraham said with the loss of yet another MP — Malcolm Adderley — there has been so much confusion among the PLP that "they seek to confuse you with who is responsible for their former MP's exit from a divided and delusional party."

"Anyway, that's a conversation between the former MP and them," Ingraham said. "It's not our business to clean up their confusion."

He said when the PLP was in office, it proved to be a government of "national disunity, unsteady, unproductive and untrustworthy."

"They failed the test of good governance," he charged. "They will fail again given the opportunity.

"I believe that even many of their supporters are relieved that Hubert Ingraham and the FNM are in office during these tough and challenging times. They are relieved that things are getting done and that there are steady and safer hands at the helm. If you want to know Perry Christie's position on an issue, check the weather and see which way the wind is blowing. If the wind keeps shifting, so will he."

Ingraham said that while in office, the PLP accomplished very little, and out of office its members propose few sensible or workable solutions.

"They lack vision and unity. They lack a steady hand or clear vision for Elizabeth or the country," he said.

The Elizabeth seat became available earlier this month when Adderley resigned from the House of Assembly expressing his disillusionment with the leadership of the PLP. He also resigned from the party.

His resignation has thrust the country into election mode. In Elizabeth, trees and lamp poles are plastered with posters of the leaders of the two major political parties and the candidates in the race. This comes at the halfway mark of the Ingraham administration's third non-consecutive term in office.

"Since 2007, the FNM has provided more hope and help in difficult times, in half the time, than the PLP provided in good times in five years for both Elizabeth and The Bahamas," Ingraham said last night.

"In just two and a half years, under the most trying economic times in recent memory, your FNM government has delivered for you..."

But he said there is much more to do.

"Because no man is an island and no constituency stands alone in our family of islands, we are asking the voters of Elizabeth to help us to add to the halls of Parliament and our national team someone who, like your FNM government, has steady hands — yes, trusted hands — and a clear vision," said the prime minister, referring to Dr. Duane Sands.

"Because prevention is better than cure, we are offering Elizabeth someone who can help us to prevent those in opposition to us from once again dragging the country through another round of hopeless and helpless governance and scandal and shame at home and abroad."

Friday January 29, 2010


Friday, January 29, 2010

Bahamas: Elizabeth by-election candidates


FOR the next 19 days the FNM candidate in the Elizabeth by-election plans to canvas the constituency to convince voters that he is the best man for the job.

In the meantime, Dr Duane Sands told The Tribune, the FNM "has a lot more work to do" to weed out ineligible voters who may be able to vote in the by-election although they no longer live in the area.

On the campaign trail, Dr Sands said he has been surprised by how many Bahamians are barely making ends meet. He has also been put off by a small number of greedy voters who demand money or goods in return for their support.

Dr Sands said the topmost concern of constituents -- aside from crime and unemployment -- is fair and accountable representation.

He said his time in the area revealed that many constituents have low expectations from a representative, something he feels is due to the representation the constituency had over the past six years.

"We're going to go out and talk to every single registered voter that we can get to and hear what their concerns are," Dr Sands said, ahead of the FNM's rally last night and nomination day today.

"Our strategy is to demonstrate to people that the FNM and Duane Sands would be a much better alternative and that we could offer better governance."

"(Voters') expectations have been diminished in part because they've been let down. Many of the constituents are not demanding a pound of flesh. They have a reasonable expectation that their concerns are listened to, and want accountability, availability, and access to government," he said.

His party is also still focusing on limiting possible ballot tainting due to a loophole in the voter registry which may allow residents who no longer live in the Elizabeth constituency to vote.

"Even the Registrar General has alluded to the fact that this is a huge challenge even for them and we are obviously trying to make sure that there is a proper correlation between the register and what we find on the ground. I expect that as we get closer to February 16 we would have made some headway in identifying some of the people who ought not be eligible, but I doubt that it's going to be perfect," he said.

Campaigning in Elizabeth, Dr Sands, a noted heart surgeon, said he has been struck by how many Bahamians have to endure financial hardship.

"While I happen to see people at their worst in the hospital, Bahamians are really struggling, and as you enter their homes and see them as they are it (adds to) the immediate need of restoring hope," he said.

The Elizabeth seat was held by Malcolm Adderley, who resigned from Parliament and the PLP last month. Although the PLP won the constituency two terms in a row, their last win was a narrow one of only 45 votes over the FNM.

More than 4,000 voters are expected to cast their votes in the by-election on February 16.


Mr Pinder said the response to the "hectic and fast" campaign the PLP has so far mounted ahead of the February 16 by-election has been "extremely positive".

The tax attorney said he will move in a motorcade with PLP supporters and leaders from the party's Elizabeth Headquarters at around 9.30am tomorrow, making it to Thelma Gibson Primary School by around 10.30am to nominate.

"It's very encouraging. I'm in the area every day meeting with residents. I've certainly been able to speak with a lot of the constituents and the response has been very positive and encouraging," he said.

"We had a mass rally (Wednesday) night, thousands and thousands of people were there. At the opening of the Prince Charles (party) headquarters we had in excess of 1,000 people show up. The energy level in the area is very high."

He added: "Elizabeth's concerns revolve around the difficulty with the Bahamian economic situation, there's a high level of unemployment in Elizabeth just like throughout country. There's a real concern that there's not an opportunity to succeed in business and there's a real entrepreneurial spirit but many feel they don't have the right opportunities and programmes and platforms to succeed. They are also concerned about the crime rate in the country and particularly in the constituency," said the candidate.

With regards to the concerns that some people who were registered to vote in the constituency in the last election have since moved out of the area but still appear on the register - making it possible they could vote despite not living in the constituency - Mr Pinder said the party has been "on the ground meeting with constituents night after night seven days a week" and he is confident that by election day, February 16, the party will have a strong handle on who is and is not entitled to vote.


Mr Stuart said the BDM's effort to win over the Elizabeth constituency has "been going very well" but complained that the party encountered some "disturbing issues" as went around the constituency knocking on doors.

"These guys (FNM and PLP campaigners) have been playing extremely nasty. FNMs and PLPs have been telling constituents I dropped out of the race. What they are finding out is that more and more people are tired of the PLP and the FNM and so they are telling them I dropped out. I want to let people know I'm still in the race and I'll be nominating (today)," said Mr Stuart.

In speaking with the "hundreds" of residents he has thus far been able to encounter on the campaign trail, Mr Stuart said he's found that they are concerned primarily about crime.

Other issues raised include the two "shanty towns" within the constituency's borders and infrastructural problems such as a lack of speed bumps and street signs. Flooding and traffic congestion in the area are also concerns.

Mr Stuart called out the FNM for allegedly "using government resources to aid their candidate".

"If you go in Kool Acres Drive, the Ministry of Works has equipment out there now paving roads, so we want to make that known.

"It is very unfair, you're using power of government against other candidates," he claimed.


Despite recent professional tribulations (Pinder was suspended from practicing law by the Bahamas Bar Council earlier this month following a complaint from a former client, but has appealed the suspension), Mr Pinder said he is ready to "ask Lizzie to be my valentine" in the February 16 by-election.

The colourful candidate said that thus far his campaign, launched after he announced the formation of his Love Revolution Movement earlier this month, has been "going marvellously."

"Basically I'm love in action," said Mr Pinder, whose manifesto states his desire to set up "Love Universities."

The would-be candidate claims he plans to send a love poem to "the lady of every household" in the constituency in his bid to woo Elizabeth into his camp.

"I'm going to touch everyone in a very, very nice way," he stated.

Yesterday Parliamentary Registrar Errol Bethel said that "as far as he knows" Mr Pinder's recent professional issues should not affect his ability to nominate.


DESPITE meagre campaign funding, Workers' Party candidate Rodney Moncur thinks he will overcome the political heavyweights in next month's by-election in the Elizabeth constituency.

He launched his campaign on January 7, a day after former MP Malcolm Adderley resigned from Parliament.

Without the money to hold mass rallies, run ads or blanket the area with posters, Mr Moncur gets up before sunrise every day to knock on doors and lobby for precious votes.

His group of about a dozen supporters spends most of the day in people's living rooms and on porches getting to the core of residents' concerns.

Chief among these complaints are high unemployment levels, rising crime levels, while the government's recent suspension of its education loan programme came in third place on their list of concerns.

While he tries to sway voters with minimal resources, Mr Moncur accused operatives of the two major political parties of running dirty campaigns.

He charged that the PLP and FNM are "exploiting" constituents with money woes by offering them liquor and jobs.

"The PLP and FNM have resorted to some of the most unethical forms of campaigning that I have ever seen. They are keeping the men drunk, that kind of thing," said Mr Moncur.

"I think the FNM and PLP in a very ungodly manner are exploiting the poor -- they call it campaigning, I call it gangsterism."

Like FNM candidate Dr Duane Sands, Mr Moncur has also been moved by the disparity between the "haves and have-nots" in the Elizabeth constituency.

"As you move through certain areas of the constituency you can see the economic desperation and the hardship," he said.

"I went to a Haitian community off Joe Farrington Road and they are living in abject poverty. And these persons are supporters of the PLP and FNM but they are living in squalor."

If he wins, the activist is prepared to sacrifice his time to be a man for the people, working out of an office in Elizabeth every day and foregoing other employment.

"I will go to work at my office in Elizabeth every day, they would be my employers, as opposed to the other candidates who will return to their law practice, medical practice or other profession. The candidate who is elected as a representative should report to his constituency office every day and if the salary is not sufficient he should not seek office."

Up to press time, Mr Moncur said he had raised most of the nomination fee with a final donation of $80 expected to arrive last night.


THE newly formed National Development Party and its candidate Dr Andre Rollins are hoping to finally part the sea of red and yellow - colours of the FNM and PLP respectively - at the upcoming Elizabeth by-election.

The NDP hopes that voter frustration with the established parties will sweep Dr Rollins into the House of Assembly.

Although in its infancy, the NDP believes that its message and policy platform will sway many voters.

Dr Rollins was elected as the party's candidate in the Elizabeth by-election after a public political debate and primary election - trials which other political parties shied away from.

A newcomer to politics, the 34-year-old dentist feels Bahamians are ready for a change, starting with their political representatives.

His party's approach to the race has been to offer more accountability.

Without the money for rallies or other election gimmicks, Dr Rollins hopes that each candidate's message, not campaign funding, will be the deciding factor in the hotly contested race.

Whether he wins or loses, Dr Rollins plans to continue to hold both major parties to account, criticising them when appropriate.

"If you don't do the job that you were entrusted to do we are not going to show any fear or favour. We are going to go straight down the middle whether you are FNM or PLP," he told The Tribune recently.

Dr Rollins beat out NDP member C Rashad Amahad at Wednesday's event. Both men took blind questions from the audience and moderator Judy Hamilton.

At the primary, Dr Rollins urged supporters to be optimistic that the underdog can be victorious at the by-election polls.

Dr Rollins served as president of the Bahamas Dental Association from December, 2004 to December, 2009. He is a founding member of the NDP, formed in October 2008.

January 29, 2010


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Philip Davis' former campaign general - Ezra Kelson Russell plans to challenge him in next election

Tribune Staff Reporter

A FORMER campaign general for the Progressive Liberal Party's deputy leader Philip "Brave" Davis has announced his intention to challenge the MP in the next General Election, claiming the area has suffered far too long without "good and qualified representation."

Ezra Kelson Russell said that "God willing" he will be the next Member of Parliament for Cat Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador because he is the "man with the plan."

In his former capacity as the chairman of Mr Davis' election campaign in 2007, Mr Russell said he has no time to "bad mouth" either the PLP or the FNM as his intention to run has nothing to do with "bad blood" or any grudge with the area's current MP.

"I am coming with a mission, to represent the good people of Cat Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador. The people here have suffered for too long. They say that Brave doesn't have a house in the area, he doesn't live in the constituency, and a lot of his supporters are upset that they don't see him. They are telling me that Ezra if you do not run, we will not support the PLP and Mr Philip Brave Davis in the next election," he said.

Having already met with religious leaders on the island and their many civil servants, Mr Russell said he has considerable support in the area having been the "front man" for the PLP in the area for decades.

As such he said, if he were to be successful in a general election, he would use his influence in the House of Assembly for the betterment of Cat Island, San Salvador and Rum Cay by providing better linkages and avenues for cultural tourism. In addition, Mr Russell added that he would create a proper sporting facility in the far flung islands that would improve the lives of the children, as well as upgrading the many now derelict government offices.

"I live in Cat Island. The people here can find me to talk to me or meet with me on a daily basis. I live in the constituency. I know what the people are going through. They can identify with me because I go through their same pains on a daily basis."

The prospective candidate said he will be travelling to San Salvador on February 9 to begin his campaign, having already done a roll call on the island to feel out his level of support there.

"I am a people person. We are independent people. We think in and outside the box. And we don't have no time to smear nobody. The government and anybody else should be thinking of taking care of its people. It is the government's job to make sure the infrastructure is there. That is all we want. And I will ensure that we get it," he said.

Attempts to reach Mr Davis for comment on this matter were unsuccessful.

January 26, 2010


Monday, January 25, 2010

National Development Party (NDP) threatens legal action against the Parliamentary Registration Department over rejection of party 'thumbs up' symbol


THE NATIONAL Development Party is threatening legal action against the Parliamentary Registration Department if it continues to reject its application for its party's symbol.

According to party leaders, Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel has repeatedly denied the NDP permission to register the "Thumbs Up" symbol as the party's official logo.

The "thumbs up" was first rejected in October 2008 because it was thought to be too similar to the Progressive Liberal Party's three fingered "crab" symbol and could lead to possible voter confusion.

The NDP hoped it would be able to use the symbol in the Elizabeth by-election and met with the Commissioner earlier this month anticipating that he would reconsider the party's application.

In a hand-delivered letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner on Saturday, Chairman of the NDP Executive Steering Committee Andre Rollins said that the party feels that there was "no similarity between a hand showing three fingers and a hand showing a single thumb."

"Any suggestion to the contrary indicated that the intelligence of the Bahamian voter is held in extremely low regard," he said.

Mr Rollins argued that in order to function, the political system ideally requires voters to comprehend and remain current with relevant issues; and be also knowledgeable of respective party positions on these issues.

He further stated that the critical analysis skills needed to address certain issues far surpasses competency needed to differentiate between party symbols.

"If we do not believe that voters can comprehend the various party positions on issues, are we then suggesting that we do not expect voters to vote on the issues? If we are to maximize the potential of our nation -- socially, culturally, economically and politically -- we must first raise our expectations of our people," he said.

January 25, 2010


Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part III

Tribune Staff Reporter

HERE The Tribune presents the third part of its series of reports detailing how MPs say they spent the two $100,000 allocations made available to each of them for discretionary constituency enhancement projects between 2007 and 2009.

All 40 MPs were asked to provide the information, however, fewer than half did so and only one of those was a member of the PLP.

See tomorrow's Tribune for the final part of the report:

Fred Mitchell - PLP - Fox Hill:

In records provided by Mr Mitchell on how he made use of the $200,000 available to him for projects in his constituency, it is disclosed that he has so far utilised $110,416.75 of the total sum.

In a breakdown of the disbursements, it is recorded that $7,800 was paid to P C Engineers to buy ten computers for the L W Young High School.

Separate payments were made to an individual identified as Trevor Pratt of $840 towards the renovation of Gleniston Park; $1,113.75 for the renovation of Foxdale Park; $5,500 to assist with renovations to Eastwood Park, and $420 to assist with renovations to Gleniston Park.

An individual identified as Gary Kerr received $10,275.5 for a number of projects.

This total was made up of payments of $4,378.50 for renovation of Freedom Park; $4,797 for the renovation of Canterbury Park with a further $1,100, also for assistance with the renovation of Canterbury Park.

The record reflects that a number of payments were made to the law firm of Gibson, Rigby and Co from the constituency allowance.

This included $1,280 to assist with renovations to the Fox Hill Parade, another $6,720 for the same purpose, $8,062.50 for renovations to Freedom Park, a further $10,000 for the same purpose, and $18,750 for renovations to Canterbury Park. Gary Kerr was identified as the contractor for this work.

A further $21,100 and $8,000 was disbursed from the allowance to assist the Fox Hill Festival Committee, $2,205 and $8,000 for contract work to be done at the Fox Hill Community Centre, paid to Good Deal Builders and $1,030 was paid to the CWT Sales Agency for supplies for the Sandilands Primary School.

Charles Maynard - FNM - Golden Isles:

Mr Maynard said the $200,000 "went a long way in filling various voids throughout" his constituency. "Golden Isles is an emerging area and there are many amenities left undeveloped," he noted.

As such, the money was utilised to develop "from scratch" three community parks, to fund an after-school computer programme, provide instruments for the creation of a community band managed by the Carmichael Police Division, to aid the development of a picnic area in Coral Heights east and refurbish the Coral Harbour Community Park.

Branville McCartney - FNM - Bamboo Town:

Mr McCartney reported that the $100,000 constituency allowance for the provided in 2007/2008 budget was spent on refurbishing four parks in Bamboo Town: Zion Boulevard Park, Mary Ingraham Park, Seven Hills Park and Southern Heights Park.

In 2008/2009, the MP said the entire allowance has been used to develop a park in Fairview Heights, off St Vincent Road.

Phenton Neymour - FNM - South Beach:

Of the $100,000 allocated in the 2007/2008 budget, Mr Neymour said approximately $98,500 has been spent to date on the rehabilitation of the South Beach Park and several smaller enhancement projects.

Work on the park involved site clearance, including the demolition and removal of derelict concrete works and fencing, the installation of a walking track, a 30 by 30 foot elevated gazebo and sidewalks. A new constituency office sign was also purchased.

$73,990 of the $100,000 made available to Mr Neymour in the 2008/2009 budget has been spent to date, and approximately $26,000 has been allocated but not spent. From these funds, two sets of playground equipment and park benches for the Pastels Gardens Park and South Beach Park were purchased,

A contract for a 20 by 20 foot elevated gazebo for South Beach Park has been awarded but not completed. Plans are in place to contract out associated landscaping of the South Beach and Pastel Gardens Parks. This will occur upon completion of the gazebo and a nearby sidewalk in the South Beach Park, said Mr Neymour.

Mr Neymour added that all works were procured in the government tendering process under the Ministry of Works, unlike many of the projects commissioned by other MPs using the constituency allowance funds.

January 21, 2010

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - part I

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part II

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part IV


How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part IV

Tribune Staff Reporter

HERE is the fourth and final part of The Tribune's report on what MPs say they did with the $200,000 allocated for constituency enhancement projects in their constituencies in the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 budgets.

A number of MPs forwarded these details after requests were put to them before and after the Christmas holidays. Fewer than half of the MPs responded -- 15 FNMs and one PLP.

Earlier this week, The Tribune reported how Desmond Bannister (Carmichael), Carl Bethel (Seabreeze), Loretta Butler-Turner (Montagu), Larry Cartwright (Long Island and Ragged Island), Sidney Collie (Blue Hills), Earl Deveaux (Marathon), Fred Mitchell (Fox Hill), Hubert Ingraham (North Abaco), Zhivargo Laing (Marco City), Charles Maynard (Golden Isles), Branville McCartney (Bamboo Town) and Phenton Neymour (South Beach) said they utilised the funds in their constituencies. See for those details.

Brensil Rolle - FNM - Garden Hills:

Providing a list of the payments made from the constituency allowance in chronological order, Mr Rolle first noted that $19,000 was allocated towards the establishment of two learning centres designed to assist students with basic language, mathematics and science and Spanish language skills, and enable tutoring for homework assignments.

The MP donated funds from the allowance to several junkanoo groups, including $2,000 to the Prodigal Sons and $2,000 to Kingdom Warriors.

A further $6,000 was spent on a constituency clean-up campaign which had appliances, garbage and derelict vehicles removed by local contractors.

Under the Entrepreneurial Creative Straw Vendor Programme, Mr Rolle said two industrial sewing machines were purchased, instructors hired, and 50 people were trained in creative straw production. The funds also covered the purchase of materials for the classes. A total of $4,819.60 was spent on the programme. A subdivision clean-up campaign cleared debris from overgrown lots in the constituency at a cost of $6,050.

For $26,710 a Subdivision Entrance Landscaping Programme was undertaken. Trees were planted at "strategic intersections in the constituency to improve the ambiance at the entrance to subdivisions," Mr Rolle said.

As part of the after-school programme, three payments of $800 were made to the Cousin McPhee Cathedral, and $1,000 was paid to Kizzy McKinney, Pamela Murphy and Vanessa Rolle.

A second session of the Entrepreneurial Creative Straw Vendor Programme was funded by $3,200.

Another $1,000 donation was made to the Prodigal Sons junkanoo group.

The sum of $23,420 was committed to improvements to the public park in Pride Estates by contractor Hubert Styles. This project is awaiting approval by the Ministry of Public Works.

A $1,000 donation was made to the Kingdom Warriors junkanoo group.

A second clean-up campaign was carried out at a cost of $20,010.

And $200 was donated to each of the following seven churches that participated in a Senior Citizens Christmas programme: Cousin McPhee Cathedral, Good Samaritan Church, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Southwest church of God, Independence Church of God, Chapel on the Hill and Bible Truth Ministries.

The sum of $1,500 was allocated to those who catered to senior citizens during the event.

A Ms McQueen was paid $1,000 for her instruction as part of a Straw Craft Certification Programme in collaboration with the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation that trained and certified 30 people. BAIC was paid $700.

The sum of $5,000 was spent on a special education programme for challenged students of Garden Hills. Students followed a special curriculum and received individual tuition during the six-month programme held from January to June 2009.

A further $2,128.50 was spent on the purchase of playground equipment for the Pride Estates Public Park. Donations of $2,000 each were made to the following public schools in the constituency: A F Adderley Jr High, S C McPherson Jr High, C W Sawyer Primary, and S C McPherson Jr High.

Materials and an instructor for a shell craft training programme were purchased for $4,000.

The sum of $19,128.50 was spent to allow 50 members of the constituency to participate in the Ministry of Agriculture's Backyard Farming Programme. $1,060 was allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture for subdivision drainage. Twenty subdivision signs were printed and erected in the constituency for $14,400.

Playground equipment for a public park in the constituency was purchased from Creative Kids for $12,061.50. The placement of three drainage wells in areas that experience serious flooding cost $18,000, paid to M and R Drilling and Well Construction.

Further junkanoo donations of $1,500 each were made to the Kingdom Warriors and the Prodigals Sons. Another clean-up campaign saw $2,320 paid to Old Har Investments.

Tommy Turnquest - FNM - Mount Moriah:

Minister Turnquest said he has committed contracts for the entire sum of $200,000 and essentially all the funds have been spent, or will be spent, on recreational parks in his constituency.

"I purchased materials and supplies (approximately $20,000) for three parks in yellow Elder Gardens; spending $80,000 plus on the big park in Stapledon Gardens and about $35,000 on the smaller parks on Sunderland Road and Spitfire Road. I spent $40,000 on bathroom facilities on the park in Millennium Gardens."

The rules governing how constituency allowance funds are spent do not demand that the contracts to provide the work, goods or services are put out to competitive tender, and Mr Turnquest noted that none of his contracts were.

"The parks in Yellow Elder were done by the prison work group as part of their community work. I provided the supplies and equipment to the prison and they had three quotes and sourced from the lowest quote. The big park in Stapledon Gardens is being done by Enviroscape Ltd. The park on Sunderland Road was developed by Cedrick Smith and the bathrooms on Millennium Park and the park on Spitfire road were constructed by Davis Renovations and Landscaping Company."

Brent Symonette - FNM - St Anne's:

The Deputy Prime Minister did not break down exactly how much of the $200,000 he had allocated to date or who was paid for the work, however he gave a brief description of what the money was used for.

Mr Symonette utilised the funds to construct walking tracks in two parks and provide benches for three parks.

He also undertook the redevelopment of the East End point, the waterfront area opposite the Winton Fort and the waterfront area on Eastern Road and Prince Charles, landscaping pathways, installing planters, a drain and park benches.

Mr Symonette noted that a considerable number of drainage wells were also dug or cleaned throughout the area using the allowance funds.

"All of the work was supervised and signed off on by the Ministry of Works in line with price guidelines which they had established. I am still working on lighting for two parks which might have to be covered by the allowance," he added.

Hubert Minnis - FNM - Killarney:

The MP said the allocation was used towards signage in the community, including "welcome signs" for the entrances of Southwest Ridge, Rockcrusher and the Grove West, and repairing signage to Lake Cunningham. Beautification efforts were also funded, plants and flowers purchased and landscaping carried out around the signs. However, some of these were stolen, the MP said. Other funds were used to install speed bumps in South Westridge and benches at the Rockcrusher basketball court.

January 22, 2010

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - part I

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part II

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part III


How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part II

Tribune Staff Reporter

HOW did the MPs spend $200,000 made available to each of them for constituency enhancement projects in the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 budgets?

Having sought an accounting from all 40 MPs, 16 responded -- 15 FNMs and one PLP.

Here is part two of our report on what they say they spent the money on. See tomorrow's Tribune for part three:

Earl Deveaux - FNM - Marathon:

Mr Deveaux, Minister of the Environment, reported having committed $189,000 of the $200,000 allocation. He did not break down what was spent in each year, but listed the work and services purchased for the constituency as follows:

$15,000 for park benches, $10,000 to pave the entrance to RM Bailey Park, $14,000 for computers, $50,000 for a clean-up of the constituency, $40,000 towards the redevelopment of the RE Cooper and Florence Garden Parks, $40,000 for the CI Gibson High School park and $20,000 for a wall, swings and a basketball court at the Lou Adderley park.

Hubert Ingraham - FNM - North Abaco:

The Prime Minister allocated the entire $200,000 towards funding the construction of a public beach facility at the northern end of Treasure Cay beach.

The facilities include nine cabanas, a main building, restroom facilities, walking paths, parking, electrical, water and telephone connections to central supply and sporting facilities. Mr Ingraham noted that the balance of the funding is being provided by government. Construction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Zhivargo Laing- FNM - Marco City:

Mr Laing, also Minister of State for Finance, gave a very detailed accounting of what was by far the most diverse range of projects and programmes any MP chose to fund or construct using his or her constituency allowance. In 2007/2008 this involved committing $41,042 to a "Constituency Schools Support Programme."

From this figure, $4,000 went to support the participation of the Jack Hayward Senior High in Junior Junkanoo and $4,000 to support Walter Parker Primary School's participation in Junior Junkanoo. $25,067 was spent on the purchase of computers for area schools. All three local primary schools in Marco City, except Walter Parker Primary, received four desktops, a laptop computer for the administration, a backup battery pack and a printer. Walter Parker did not receive computers because it had recently been donated a number of computers by a local civic group.

The funds also covered the purchase of one computer that was donated to an area church, Sunland Lutheran Church's community centre. Another $2,100 was donated to support the Grand Bahama High Schools attendance at the Hugh Campbell Tournament in March 2008. $4,675 went towards repairs to Walter Parker Primary School's bathroom and $1,200 was directed to assist The Technical and Vocational Department at Jack Hayward High School.

$2,683 was spent on tuition assistance for four to six young ladies to receive training in clerical business courses (typing and computers) for local training programme. A "Marco City Christmas Cleanup Campaign", which conducted clean up campaigns in Winchester Circle, Beaconsfield, Mayfield Park, utilised $20,200 of the allowance for the year and engaged some 15 young men during a six week cleanup period.

Another $14,700 was spent on contracting a coordinator and purchasing equipment necessary to begin establishing a discount card programme for elderly and disabled residents that could be used at various Grand Bahama stores. (Mr Laing noted that the programme is still waiting to be fully launched due to a delay in securing the participation of major food stores, but is proposed to begin in March 2010.)

The MP also donated a total of $14,700 from the allowance to community organisations and events: the Marco City Urban Renewal for Disabled Persons Luncheon, $1,500; the Zion Baptist Church Pantry Programme, $1,000; Freeport Seventh-Day Adventist Community Centre Project, $4,000; Pathfinders Organization, $1,200; Youth Football Programme, $1,500; Youth Basketball Tournament, $1,200; Freeport Seventh-Day Adventist Youth Club, $3,000; Legends Marching Band, $1,000; Reach Out Ministries, $300; Jack Hayward High School Literacy Programme and a donation to Junkanoo Group, $3,000; donation to Classic Dancers Junkanoo Group, infrastructure, $3,965; blowing out of storm drains in area, $1,200; air condition installation in Computer Centre in Constituency Office, $2,756.

$14,400 was allocated to summer youth programmes in the constituency. This went towards the cost of park wardens and summer camp coordinators, sporting activities, crafts and lunch for children in three camps on three parks for four weeks.

Through these projects Mr Laing utilised the $100,000 for the year.

Using the further $100,000 made available the following year - 2008/2009 - the Marco City Backyard Farming Programme was able to be established, among other projects.

$22,585.44 was allocated to assist 120 residents to establish backyard farms. Funds were spent on a coordinator, engaging three farmers to act as advisers to residents, four young Bahamians who assisted residents in ploughing and prepping their farms, purchased seeds, seedlings and soil. Money was also allocated towards assisting area schools with their farms. Under the Elderly and Disabled Persons Roof Repair Programme $28,010.20 was spent to repair the roofs of about 10 elderly people's homes which had been leaking since the hurricanes in 2004. All roofing contracts were approved by the Ministry of Public Works and all contractors were approved by Ministry of Public Works, Mr Laing noted.

$20,000 was spent on a Community Clean Up Campaign which engaged 10 young men over some four to six weeks. A School Assistance Programme saw $5,000 donated to the Walter Parker Primary School Silver Jubilee Celebrations; $3,050 towards the installation of a public address system for Freeport Primary and $1,500 for the Beacon School Junior Junkanoo Programme. Donations totalling $19,655 were made to the Classic Dancers Junkanoo Group ($3,000), the Knights of Columbus Marching Band ($5,055); the Marco City Urban Renewal for Purchase of four computers and printers ($2,000); the Grand Bahama Secondary School Sporting Association for the participation of Grand Bahama schools in the Hugh Campbell Tournament ($3,000).

$500 was given to the Grand Bahama Regatta Association; $500 to the No More Victims of Crime group; $1,000 to the Healing Hands Ministry, $3,000 Central Church of God Home for the Elderly; and $600 towards the participation of two Freeport Primary School students in a track and field event in the United States.

These efforts and donations utilised a total of $99,800.64 from the constituency allowance.

January 20, 2010

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - part I

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part III

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part IV


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Elizabeth constituency by-election will be held on Tuesday, February 16, 2010

By KRYSTEL ROLLE ~ Guardian Staff Reporter ~

The by-election for the Elizabeth constituency will be held on Tuesday, February 16, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced yesterday.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Ingraham said the writ for the election will be issued today and nomination day will be Friday, January 29.

"We will come back to Parliament on the 24th day of February, 2010 to swear in a new member," he advised.

The Elizabeth seat became vacant when Progressive Liberal Party MP Malcolm Adderley resigned from the House of Assembly on January 6. He also resigned from the PLP.

Tax attorney Ryan Pinder is running on the PLP's ticket, while Dr. Duane Sands is the Free National Movement (FNM) candidate.

Following Ingraham's announcement yesterday, PLP leader Perry Christie expressed confidence in the opposition party's chances of winning the seat.

"I believe that I have offered an extremely talented and gifted young man in the person of Ryan Pinder," Christie told reporters outside the House of Assembly.

"I believe also that Ryan Pinder will prove to be a good representative if he is elected. So we are very confident on the basis of what we have seen in Elizabeth that this is the seat that we can win. We are going to be very, very aggressive in our campaigning in ensuring that people are able to resist the normal temptations and inducements that are given in a by-election and the pressure of the government when it brings it to bear in a by-election and that's what I spoke of last year."

Both major political parties have already jumped into election mode.

The PLP has held two rallies already in Elizabeth and both parties have started newspaper advertisement and radio commercials.

Christie admitted that the party would be challenged by the FNM.

"A by-election brings in special considerations where a government is able to move in, bring its entire government in and bring in a lot of pressure. We are ready for it and we will resist it and that's why I said, 'no retreat, no surrender.' I feel very, very confident about our chances in the Elizabeth constituency. I believe the people will give our candidate a fair chance."

Ingraham, who is the leader of the FNM, said the party should be the clear choice for Elizabeth constituents. However, he added that he isn't overly confident of the win.

"You're never confident in an election; it is determined by the people who vote. People don't like presumptuousness or arrogance. We are appealing to them to support us because we think we are the better of the two parties to represent them."

Ingraham added that the people of Elizabeth know who he is and who he represents.

"I'm reasonably comfortable that the people of Elizabeth would be responsive to our candidate. We think he is a very good candidate who has some hands that can be trusted," the prime minister said.

The FNM will hold four rallies in that constituency leading up to the by-election, Ingraham said.

Several other people have voiced their intention to run in the by-election.

Workers Party leader Rodney Moncur, United Christian Love Revolution Movement leader Godfrey 'Pro' Pinder, and Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM) leader Cassius Stuart have confirmed that they will contest the seat.

Christie said he believes the election will define the tone for the general election whenever the prime minister calls it.

January 21, 2010


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis says the Prime Minister is “Dividing” The Bahamas


Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis says at a time when Bahamians should be united the prime minister is doing all in his power to divide The Bahamas.

During the PLP’s rally on Elizabeth Estates Park last night Mr. Davis said the country is in the midst of a serious economic crisis, its social fiber is under attack and its neighbour to the south – Haiti – has suffered a devastating earthquake.

"Brothers and sisters are in mourning. This country is headed in the wrong direction. We have serious issues with regards to our national security and all [Hubert] Ingraham has on his mind is dividing the people of this country," he said.

"[Mr.] Ingraham wants to take the focus off of his failures. He wants us to forget the thousands without jobs, without electricity and some with nothing to eat tonight. He wants you to forget your friends and family suffering tonight with no hope and no health insurance."

Mr. Davis said the Free National Movement (FNM) Government is running the country into the ground and remains clueless on how to deal with most of the country’s social ills.

He said The Bahamas needs PLP candidate Ryan Pinder – a noted tax attorney – in the government.

The Opposition was in the Elizabeth constituency last night drumming up support for Mr. Pinder in advance of next month’s by-election.

Mr. Davis urged Elizabeth constituents to send a message to the government that "enough is enough" and that they are tired with the government’s ineptitude.

Meantime, Mr. Pinder, who will go head-to-head with FNM candidate, Dr. Duane Sands, Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM) Leader Cassius Stuart, attorney and United Christian Love Revolution Movement (UCLRM) member, Godfrey Pro Pinder and Workers Party Leader Rodney Moncur, suggested that he is not concerned about the competition.

"Some say they’ve got steady hands. Others want to take you in a new direction, but they don’t know where they’re going. Another says he wants to start a love movement. Well I need them all to know that last Tuesday night the PLP gave me the go ahead to continue a love affair with Elizabeth, and I know where we’re going, and together, we’re [going to] go all the way," he said.

"I want to submit tonight that Elizabeth has a clear choice in this by-election. The clear choice is to keep Elizabeth free and return a PLP candidate to the House of Assembly who will resist darkness and all its forms, avoid political temptation and be true and honest to his pledge to the people of Elizabeth."

He also urged constituents not to punish him for former Elizabeth MP Malcolm Adderley’s failures.

"The reception I have been getting on the ground as I move from house to house has been encouraging. As the PLP candidate, moving forward, I just want to appeal to you to please don’t beat me, or the party with Malcolm’s stick. The Progressive Liberal Party and Ryan Pinder are committed to you, and I am anxious to fill that vacant seat on your behalf so that you can have the kind of MP you need," he said.

"I spent my childhood with my dad (former Malcolm Creek MP Marvin Pinder) in Malcolm Creek, now Elizabeth. My parents serve as godparents to many in this constituency. Elizabeth is very much a part of my family. I know these streets. I know these houses. I know the concerns. I know the pains. I know the needs. I have been walking these avenues from when my father began his walk of faith with you almost 25 years ago."

Mr. Pinder said he is committed to small business development and the creation of a skills bank in the constituency.

January 20th, 2010


Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Perry Christie vows to rescue The Bahamas 'from hell'

By Candia Dames ~ Guardian News Editor ~

If the nation is to be saved from ruin, it must return the Progressive Liberal Party to power, PLP leader Perry Christie charged at a rally in Elizabeth Estates last night.

Christie told supporters that the PLP wants to rescue the country from the "hellish nightmare" that it is now experiencing under the governance of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.

Christie charged that he and the party can repair the trauma and hell he claimed the Ingraham government is causing.

In a clear reference to the prime minister's recent decision to release 103 Haitians who were detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, the PLP leader said, "We do not wake up one morning and suddenly go lurching off in some new direction that the rest of our colleagues do not know anything about. The PLP is a democracy, not a dictatorship. Our ways are not their ways and you know exactly who I am talking about.

"We do not operate like that. That is why if you are a young person with a future like Ryan Pinder (the PLP's candidate in the Elizabeth by-election) has you naturally gravitate to the PLP because you know as you should know that in the PLP you have the opportunity to be a part of a team that will allow you to be the co-author of our history. You can never have that kind of role in the other party because there is never any room for teamwork when it is a one-man show."

The prime minister announced the policy shift in the wake of a devastating earthquake that struck Haiti last week.

Christie said the suffering of the Bahamian people will only be alleviated when "good, responsible, caring and compassionate governance returns" to the country with a new PLP government.

"The PLP is marching back. The PLP is in full resurgence now, all across our country. People of our country know that...there is simply no hope with this crew that we now have in power. No hope at all."

Christie urged Elizabeth constituents to tell the government that they are not for sale.

"It is really very cruel to build up people's hopes on the basis of false promises," he said. Christie told the FNM to stop promising people what it knows it cannot deliver.

He said the PLP is setting the stage for the return of good governance to the country "and the end of this hellish nightmare that you are subjected to with this out of control, insensitive, visionless, disorganized government."

"Soon, very soon, that nightmare will be behind us and happy days are here again. Those happy days will all begin right in Elizabeth because you the people of Elizabeth will be the first ones that will send a message that will resonate throughout our archipelago that enough is enough," Christie said.

The PLP's candidate for Elizabeth Ryan Pinder, described Christie as "the most productive, competent and efficient prime minister in the region" since the late former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling.

Pinder added, "The good people of Elizabeth deserve a standing ovation for their patience, humility and focus during the difficult days they were plunged into. My friends I submit that the FNM has to pay a price for what they did to the good people of Elizabeth."

Dame Marguerite Pindling, Sir Lynden's widow, also addressed the rally charging that the Bay Street Boys are the ones running The Bahamas today even though they were voted out on January 10, 1967.

The Elizabeth seat became vacant earlier this month when attorney Malcolm Adderley resigned the seat in the House of Assembly. He also resigned from the PLP, citing disaffection with the party's leadership.

January 20, 2010


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bahamas: Only 16 of 40 Members of Parliament (MPs) respond to request for $200,000 spending record

Tribune Staff Reporter

FEWER than half of all 40 MPs contacted for an accounting of how they had spent or not spent the $200,000 made available to them between 2007 and 2009 to enhance their constituencies have provided that accounting. Only one of those 16 was PLP.

To be clear, the $200,000 in question -- made up of two allocations of $100,000 in consecutive budget cycles since 2007 until the most recent one -- was not given to MPs outright but made available to them from the public treasury once projects that they decided were needed in their areas were approved by the Ministry of Works and the Public Treasury.

After detailing last year in an INSIGHT article the tribulations of this reporter's attempts to secure a documentary accounting from the Public Treasury on how each MP had spent the money potentially available to him, some readers wanted to know why I had not asked the MPs what they had spent the money on.

In the November 30th article I said that I thought this would have been a cop-out and would not have been sufficient to provide as full a picture as Treasury records would have.

Unfortunately, seven months on from my initial request in July 2009, and despite several follow ups with the Minister of State for Finance and Minister of Finance, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, this documentary information is still beyond the reach of this journalist.

However, over the last month and a half I have engaged in this exercise in what I hope will be an interim step towards an accounting of the expenditures before I have the opportunity to provide the full details as outlined in records held by the Treasury.

In doing so, an email request with a deadline for a reply was sent out before Christmas through each party's leader asking each MP if he or she could provide a breakdown of how they had spent the twice allocated $100,000 that was made available to them in the budget for discretionary constituency enhancement projects. As a result, I did receive several prompt responses that shed some light on the matter.

They were so few, however --no more than four initially-- that I decided to send out another reminder email after Christmas to each of the party's MPs, again with a deadline of several days later, I received a few more replies.

For fairness, I tried to ensure both sets of MPs received the same request at the same time in the same form and were given the same amount of time to respond.

I emailed FNM MPs directly as I was provided with their personal email addresses by leader of government business in the House of Assembly, Tommy Turnquest, MP for Mount Moriah. I relied on the cooperation of PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts and PLP Party Whip Melanie Griffin, MP for Yamacraw to contact Opposition MPs with my request, as I was not provided with their addresses to do so myself.

To date, fewer than half of all MPs have responded -- a total of 16 out of 40. Some MPs provided more detail than others -- indicating exactly what amount was spent on which project and who did the work, for example, while others simply listed work that was done.

Of those, 15 were FNM MPs and one was PLP. This leaves eight FNM MPs and 15 PLPs who did not respond.

Several PLP MPs acknowledged receipt of my request. These included party leader Perry Christie, MP for Farm Road and Centreville, to whom my initial inquiry about the possibility of contacting Opposition MPs for this purpose was forwarded; Deputy Leader Philip Davis, MP for Rum Cay, Cat Island and San Salvador and former Chairman and MP Glenys Hanna Martin. But, despite a reminder, none found time to follow through on it.

It should be noted that these constituency funds are separate from the $18,000 annually disbursed directly to individual MPs for the maintenance of their constituency offices. The Government recently undertook to have an audit conducted of these expenditures, whereby any records of what the money was or was not spent on were collected and scrutinised by the Auditor General's Office.

Yesterday Auditor General Terrance Bastian stated that all "fieldwork" towards the completion of this audit has now been done, and it only remains for his office to complete the report on the funds, which he projected could occur by mid-February.

Below is part one of a breakdown of how all of the MPs who responded said they used the $200,000 in their constituencies. Due to space limitations, expect details on the following MPs' expenditures in tomorrow's Tribune: Earl Deveaux (Marathon), Fred Mitchell (Fox Hill), Hubert Ingraham (North Abaco), Zhivargo Laing (Marco City), Charles Maynard (Golden Isles), Branville McCartney (Bamboo Town), Phenton Neymour (South Beach), Brensil Rolle (Garden Hills), Tommy Turnquest (Mount Moriah), Alvin Smith (North Eleuthera) and Brent Symonette (St Anne's).

How did the following spend the $200,000?

Desmond Bannister - FNM - CARMICHAEL:

2007/2008: Mr Bannister, also Minister of Education, followed the theme "Improving sporting infrastructure and development in the community". He had numerous basketball courts resurfaced (Carmichael Police Station, Mermaid Park West, Mermaid Park East, Carmichael Road next to Golden Gates Assembly) and built two new basketball courts (Belaire Park and Sir Gerald Cash Primary School) and resurfaced the tennis court at Flamingo Gardens Park.

2008/2009: Mr Bannister aimed to "provide for community and family leisure relaxation and enjoyment while enhancing community."

This involved: Having 80 benches designed and placed throughout the constituency -- along Carmichael Road, Flamingo Gardens Park, Belaire Park, Mermaid Park East, Mermaid Park West; and on the campuses of the Sir Gerald Cash Primary School, the Carmichael Primary School, and the Anatol Rodgers High School.

Mr Bannister did not say whether this had exhausted the funds.

Carl Bethel - FNM - SEABREEZE:

2007/08: Installation of cement kerbing along the central median of Golf Course Boulevard; cleaning, levelling and landscaping the central median of Golf Course Drive and purchasing and planting grass and trees; clearing of deserted or vacant and overgrown lots of land in Sea Breeze Subdivision, and Gleniston Gardens, as directed and at the request of the Sea Breeze Crime Watch Association; and the installation of a children's playground and swings, etc, on the western end of the newly developed Park at the intersection of Charles Saunders Highway and Golf Course Boulevard.

2008/09: Purchase of two Eno Interactive "White Boards" with built-in projectors for the Sadie Curtis Primary School; the purchase and installation of a children's playground, swings and other equipment in Hope Gardens Subdivision; the partial landscaping and planting of trees at the new Sea Breeze Public Park, at the intersection of Golf Course Boulevard and Charles Saunders Highway.

Loretta Butler Turner - FNM - MONTAGU:

Mrs Butler Turner, also Minister of State for Social Development said: "After consultation and review it was collectively decided that the constituents of Montagu would be best served by these funds from a general clean-up and sustained maintenance of the constituency. Particularly targeted were the areas of main thoroughfares, street verges, side streets, derelict vehicles and indiscriminate dumping."

In this regard, the services of JimCo Construction and Maintenance Services, whose principal owner is Jim Curry, was selected to provide the services. His company was encouraged to engage the services of unemployed residents of the area to carry out the clean-up and maintenance exercises. This included removing derelict vehicles, clearing overgrown properties and mowing and weeding verges.

The contract was scoped by the Ministry of Works and Ministry of Environment and subsequently agreed by Ministry of Finance. The contract was given for the agreed amount of $11,000 per month.

Since the project did not start until late 2007 there was a credit balance of just under $10,000, which was rolled over to 2008/09. All funds were fully utilised by the end of 2008/09.

In December 2008 a financial donation of $2,500 was made to L.W. Young School -- the nearest Public School to Montagu constituency -- for the school's Junkanoo Group. Also a financial donation of $5,000 was made to Colours Junkanoo Group. The majority of group members and youth are residents of Montagu.

Larry Cartwright - FNM - LONG ISLAND:

2007/2008: Long Island - $85,000 was allocated to the Long Island District Council for projects to be done at the MP's discretion. These included: A bathroom block at Glinton's Park, constructed by Pinder's Construction at a cost of $35,625; the Construction of six concrete settlement sign boards by SJC Construction at a cost of $15,850; the Construction of a Bridge-top culvert for drainage near Hamilton's by Laurin Knowles Construction at a cost of $8,000 and the construction of a new Basketball court in Millerton's School yard by G & E Construction at a cost of $29,304.

The overall total cost was $88,779, $3,779 over the allocated amount, Mr Carwright stated.

All contracts were offered through public tender process.

Ragged Island - $15,000 was transferred to the Local Government Office, Exuma for constituency projects at Duncan Town, Ragged Island. These included: the Construction of wooden shed with wooden floor near Wall of Fame for community functions by Myron Lockhart-Bain, the sole bidder, at a cost of $15,000.

2008/2009: Long Island - $9,984.50 paid to The Amoury Company for computers and additional paraphernalia for schools in Long Island and Ragged Island -- five personal computers, five laptops, surge protectors, flash drives, carrying bags, etc.

Balance of $3,779 to G & E Construction for Millerton's Basketball court; Settlement signs for major settlements on Long Island by Island Signs $9,664.50; Construction of a gazebo at Mangrove Bush Beach (ocean side) $5,200 by Cartwright's Construction; Construction of gazebo at Buckley's Beach (ocean side) $5,400 by Neil Cartwright Construction; Construction of gazebo at Gray's Beach $5,450 by Neil Cartwright construction; Construction of gazebo at Gordon's Beach by Cartwright's Construction $5,800; Road repairs to roads leading to beaches at Mangrove Bush and Buckleys by Cartwright's Construction $5,300; repairs to roof of fishermen's shed at Buckley Point by Don Knowles $2,200 and materials for repairs to widow's home by Henry Cartwright $1,500.

All construction jobs, except the last listed, were offered at the end of competitive bidding among contractors on the island.

$30,722 remains unspent to date but is committed to be spent on the completion of the settlement sign project and building three more gazebos at popular picnic spots.

Sidney Collie - FNM - BLUE HILLS:

$100,000 was spent clearing a five acre parcel of land in the Sunset Park Subdivision to commence the development of a "state of the art" community park, to be administrated by a park committee elected from amongst residents of Sunset Park and members of the executive board of the Blue Hills Constituency Association.

A plan was prepared by an urban planner and submitted for registration to the Ministry of Works. Development of the first and second phase of the park were put out through a public tender process and involved the preparation and installation of the perimeter track and the filling of the park.

A male and female bathroom were constructed and are completed except for water and electricity. Two gazebos are under construction, along with a children's play area, a family picnic area, a tennis court, a mini golf court, perimeter fence, a barbecue pit and a parking area are all awaiting completion.

The contractor is Alexander Hanna. The project is inspected and certified for payment by the assistant director of the MInistry of Public Works, Bradley King.

"All disbursements are handled by the individual contractors with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Works," Mr Collie noted. He added that the project is currently "at a standstill" awaiting payment of funds.

A "portion" of the funds were disbursed for the set-up of a community computer lab, including desks, chairs and 15 computers. This project is a joint venture between the MP and the Christ Community Church on Bellot Road, which provided the space and staff that enabled the lab to open six days a week and conduct computer literacy courses.

No money was allocated in the 2009/2010 budget period for discretionary constituency projects due to the economic downturn.

January 19, 2010

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part II

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part III

How Bahamian Members of Parliament (MPs) spent their $200,000 allocation - Part IV


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Governing Free National Movement (FNM) is 'delighted' that the Official Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) 'gave up' Elizabeth seat

By CANDIA DAMES ~ Guardian News Editor

The Free National Movement is delighted that the Progressive Liberal Party gave up the Elizabeth seat so the FNM can pick it up, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said Saturday.

Ingraham spoke to reporters as the FNM launched its Elizabeth campaign.

The seat became available earlier this month after attorney Malcolm Adderley resigned from the House of Assembly, citing disaffection with the leadership of the PLP.

Asked whether he was in a position to say whether another event is yet to unfold in the House of Assembly in terms of the numbers in the FNM or the PLP, Ingraham said he was not.

"I take these things one day at a time," he said.

"The people of Elizabeth trusted the PLP with their seat in the last election. The PLP cashed in; threw their hands in and said they don't want the seat. The man that they put in the House of Assembly has decided he wants to resign, which has put Elizabeth now back in the election place.

"The FNM has come along and said 'let us have it please, we know what to do with it, you can trust us with your seat.' We will not be cashing in our seat: We will not be throwing our hands in. We will hold it, we will defend you, we will promote you, we will represent you and we will govern in your best interest. And so we are delighted that the PLP gave it up, so that we can pick it up."

Adderley won the Elizabeth seat over the FNM's Elma Campbell by 45 votes.

Ingraham was asked how he felt about his party's chances of winning the seat.

"Ever since the election of 2007, indeed since January of this year, some 290-plus persons have either registered to vote or have been transferred into this constituency so that essentially, this constituency has probably five or six percent more voters than it had the last time," he noted.

"Of course, some people would have moved out also. I do not know what the net result is going to be at the end of the day. We think it is a competitive seat, and we are going into it hopeful that the people of Elizabeth will join the FNM's Trust Team.

"We have selected a first-class candidate, we think that we have provided good governance for The Bahamas, and we think that we have the programs and the vision for The Bahamas and that we are the better of the two major parties to represent Elizabeth and to govern The Bahamas at this time."

He said the party has a national message for Elizabeth - "that we are the government in these tough times, that the Bahamian people have trusted us to lead them and we have demonstrated that we are compassionate, considerate, concerned, focused, and prepared to be accountable and transparent in the governance of the affairs of the people of The Bahamas. "

Ingraham said he had no idea how much money the FNM will spend in Elizabeth.

"I know we have very little money," he added.

"We have to buy posters - we are not like the PLP, as you see they have posters left over from the last election because their posters came in late. And so they can plaster [PLP leader Perry Christie] all over the place telling the Bahamian people that he is still the right choice for The Bahamas.

"They are arrogant. They couldn't care less about how the people felt - they say they are still the right choice. Well they will find out whether they are still the right choice. The people told them already [that] they are not the right choice for The Bahamas. He is not the right man for The Bahamas. He might be the right man for the PLP, but not for The Bahamas."

Ingraham told reporters he could not say whether the response from voters in Elizabeth will be overwhelming, but he said the FNM hopes to motivate a large number of voters to vote.

"Generally speaking, many people don't view by-elections in the same way they view general elections in that at the end of the day, the government will still be the FNM and they would have a change of membership in a seat," he said.

"But we hope to convince them that it is just as important to vote in a by-election as it is to vote in a general election, and Elizabeth ought to have its voice heard in the Parliament of The Bahamas and its representations heard by the Government of The Bahamas."

January 18, 2010


Friday, January 15, 2010

Workers Party Leader Rodney Moncur Nominated For Elizabeth Constituency Bye-Election


The people of Elizabeth constituency, like all the other voters of this country, have come to a political cross roads and a serious decision has to be made.

Let us not make idle distinctions between PLP and FNM; we the voters, having tried both parties for long periods of time in the past, have come to the conclusion that they are one and the same. They are a narrow class of relatives, friends, school-mates, business partners and professionals who have dominated Bahamian politics for a whole generation.

If we just take a snapshot of the recent political history of Elizabeth we will see where Elma Campbell, Ambassador in China, who ran against her cousin Malcolm Adderley, a lawyer, and was beaten by him, is the first cousin of Dwayne Sands who now wishes to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Malcolm Adderley from the House of Assembly to become a Judge of the Supreme Court.

We leave it to the good doctor to tell the people of Elizabeth whether or not he too is the cousin of Malcolm Adderley and if so, solemnly affirm that he never had any conversation with Adderley before his resignation regarding how the seat would be passed from one cousin to another.

Before Elizabeth came into existence, another constituency, called Malcolm Creek, included parts of Elizabeth and was represented for a significant period of time by one Marvin Pinder, a prime PLP operative.

This same Marvin Pinder, who was a PLP Minister, is the father of Ryan Pinder, the PLP candidate for Elizabeth in the up-coming bye-election. In this case, power over the people is being passed, not from cousin to cousin, but from father to son.

And then, there is the classic connection between former law partners Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and opposition leader Perry Christie, which smacks of the enigmatic relationship that existed for years between Lynden Pindling of the PLP and his schoolmate, Cecil Wallace Whitfield of the FNM.

And while we are looking at the illustrious personalities that have dominated Bahamian politics for a generation, we cannot forget the venerable patriarch of the FNM, Sir Orville Turnquest, former Governor-General, father of Tommy Turnquest, the hapless Minister of National Security and uncle of Dwayne Sands.

And the record shows that this Dwayne Sands is the son of Basil Sands, who served diligently, for a significant period of time, under the PLP regime as the Chairman of Bahamasair and, therefore, featured prominently in the Commission of Enquiry which Hubert Ingraham appointed in the early 90s, as a smoke-screen to fool voters that Pindling was being punished for his misdeeds.

Now we are only looking here at Elizabeth; but if we look at all the other 41 constituencies we will find strong, convincing evidence of the existence of this closed, tight-knit, narrow class of, relatives, friends, school-mates, business partners and professionals who have dominated Bahamian politics for a whole generation.

Of course, like every other Bahamian, they have the constitutional and moral right to offer themselves for election to public office; and we, the voters, election after election, have historically delegated public authority to them in good faith, sincerely believing and hoping that they would use the high office, not for personal gain, but to manage the affairs of the nation honorably and efficiently, bringing peace, security and prosperity to all.

If, in our opinion, they had done a good job of governing over the past 53 years, we would not be declaring today our intention to field a candidate in the up-coming bye-election in Elizabeth.

But both parties, the PLP and the FNM, have taken turns in making false promises and declarations to the Bahamian voters to seize and hold on to power for personal gain and, in the process, they have mismanaged the economy, they have corrupted the public institutions and they have done gross damage to the delicate social fabric of the country.

Even before the global economic downturn, the level of joblessness had been too high for too many years. Too many qualified people, especially young have had to wait and search diligently for months and months, and sometimes even years, for a job, simply because there are not enough jobs being created on a consistent basis.

The PLP and FNM governments from 1967 to 2010, all failed to plan for economic development and the consistent creation of jobs. Not one of them ever produced a National Development Plan for this country. They have all played government-by-ear and have played it badly. Consequently, the economy has been stagnant for years, with tourism not increasing substantially for almost twenty years.

The PLP-FNM government have failed so miserably from the early 90s to now to monitor the international climate in which our financial services sector must operate, that The Bahamas has been named and shamed over and over by the industrialized countries for running a sub-standard, almost shady, jurisdiction; and they are now forced into a humiliating situation of signing dozens of treaties in a few months time to save the industry from international sanctions and to try to stop major off-shore banks from closing down and leaving the country.

We charge that one of the major public institutions that have been corrupted by the PLP-FNM is the public education system. Over the years, the PLP-FNM class has provided segregated education for their children in private schools, using a substantial amount of funds from the Government, of course; and when the cost of educating their children abroad became too high, they created a scholarship fund with Government money, which was abused so much by them that poor people never got a chance to benefit from it and now it has been discontinued because of the abuse and corruption.

While all of this has been going on, the physical infrastructure of the public school system has being deprived of financial support and administrative attention, so much so that CC Sweeting High School students in 1983 would have burned down their dilapidated school, if it had not been for the Workers Party who taught the young people that public protest was the legal and much more productive reaction than arson.

Because of gross neglect and abuse, the public school system under the PLP-FNM government over the past 53 years eventually deteriorated into a breeding ground for gangs and other anti-social groups and today crime, perpetrated by a generation of thugs that have grown up under this corrupt and inefficient PLP-FNM coalition of selfish and narrow interests, is our number one problem.

Despite his promises late last year, the Prime Minister Ingraham, in our opinion, has not yet given the nation any definitive statement on the initiatives that his lost and confused Government will adopt to prevent the spread and increase in crime in this country. The Leader of the Opposition, in his inimitable style, has made no statement on crime and is not expected to do so.

The Workers Party believes that punishment for heinous crime such as murder, rape armed robbery and so on should be swift, severe and certain. In light of this philosophy we view most of the efforts discharged by the FNM Government so far as being limp-wristed and not having the virility that is needed in this time of social crisis.

The Ingraham Government has adopted a soft approach in this matter for too long; and now it has exploded and is beyond control. Limp-wristed activities such as electronic monitoring bands around criminals’ ankles while they are out on bail are ludicrous.

Young men have already been heard laughing and joking at how they will inactivate those gadgets in short order and how, given the fact that the Government can not keep simple traffic lights working all the time, it is certain that they will not be able to keep such a complex high-tech system working all the time.

The Workers Party’s position is that we do not need bracelets on murderers’ ankles; we need ropes around their necks, as is mandated by the age-old laws of this country. We need firm-wristed and hard-fisted strategies to wrestle this crime monster. Nothing else will do.

But the legal and judicial process has been corrupted by political malpractice; and the cold, clear truth is that the PLP-FNM cabal of lawyer-politicians makes a lot of money negotiating bail for their murderer clients, who, upon being released into this peaceful community, wreak tremendous havoc of revenge, intimidation and more murder.

So, we have come to challenge you, the voters in Elizabeth to make a historic step and vote against both the PLP and the FNM in the upcoming bye-election. Send a clear message to these covenant-breakers that they have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

We have come to you with a challenge to invest in a promising political future by casting your votes for Rodney Moncur, Leader of the Workers Party and sending to Parliament for the first time, a representative who is bold and energetic, who has surrounded himself with good sense and who is saturated with love of God, family and you.


Allan Strachan
Workers Party

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ryan Pinder: Money won't determine Elizabeth's victor

By CANDIA DAMES ~ Guardian News Editor ~

While they are playing on the same team, there is one thing that the Progressive Liberal Party's candidate for Elizabeth Ryan Pinder and its chairman Bradley Roberts do not agree on, and that is the extent to which money will determine the outcome of the approaching by-election.

While Roberts predicted recently that the party that pumps the most money into the campaign will emerge victorious, Pinder said yesterday he believes the people of Elizabeth are too intelligent to allow money to influence their votes.

"I think that in any election there is a substantial amount of money that may be spent, although I think we are at a unique point in time in our country and Elizabeth is at a unique point in time, whereas the people really want to understand your policy and your vision, and where you propose to take not only the constituency but also the country to give them sustainable, economic and social growth. And I think that the policies that we speak about and that the candidate speaks about, and lays out in front of the constituents, are really what are going to determine who wins this by-election."

As pointed out by the PLP in a statement Tuesday night, Pinder is rooted in the PLP. He is the son of Marvin Pinder, who was the member of Parliament for the area now known as Elizabeth between 1987 and 1992. He was also a member of the Cabinet of former Prime Minister the late Sir Lynden Pindling.

Ryan Pinder will likely go up against the Free National Movement's Dr. Duane Sands in the by-election. The PLP candidate said he does not expect the support his father may still have in the constituency to give him an edge.

"Certainly, my father does have a lot of support in the constituency, but this is an aggressive campaign, a campaign of a by-election which is unique. This is not going to be a shoo-in by any means," said Pinder, a 35-year-old tax attorney.

"It is going to require hard work, dedication. It's going to require touching the people and as a party we are committed to going in and visiting each person in the constituency to gain an understanding of what is truly affecting the people."

The Elizabeth seat became vacant when Malcolm Adderley resigned from the House of Assembly on January 6. He also resigned from the PLP.

Pinder said Elizabeth constituents are hungry for vision and "hungry to know that there's somebody there who will formulate plans to help them in a sustainable way in the future."

On the issue of his dual citizenship, Pinder said he does not see it as an issue.

"I was born in Nassau to a Bahamian father," he said. "I certainly have genuine Bahamian citizenship."

Pinder is also an American citizen.

He said the campaign is about real issues.

"The people of Elizabeth [want to know] that there is a representative that can connect with them, that can really advocate for their needs and wants in this country and I think that I have the plans, the Progressive Liberal Party has the plans and the vision to really affect the Elizabeth constituency," he said.

"The Progressive Liberal Party was formed and governs itself and governs the people on core philosophies, one of those philosophies being equal opportunities for all people, social, economic and political opportunities. That's a founding principle of the party and I think that is an underlying principle that will benefit the people in Elizabeth as we proceed."

But when he spoke to The Nassau Guardian recently on the Free National Movement's plans for the upcoming by-election, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the party should be the clear choice for Elizabeth constituents.

"The Free National Movement believes that it has a case to put; it believes that the people of Elizabeth will find that their best interest can be served by the Free National Movement and the best interest of their community can be served by the Free National Movement," Ingraham said.

"And the best interest of their community will be served by the Free National Movement."

January 14, 2010


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ryan Pinder is ratified as the PLP's Elizabeth nominee

tribune 242:

TAX attorney Ryan Pinder was ratified last night as the PLP's nominee for the Elizabeth constituency, setting the stage for what will be a hotly contested by-election beginning sometime early next month.

Carrying the PLP's banner up against the FNM's Dr Duane Sands, Mr Pinder beat out a number of other contenders within his own party to gain the nomination for the Elizabeth seat.

At 35 years of age, Mr Pinder was humbled last night to learn that he had gained the nomination, vowing that he would do all he could to bring the seat home to the Progressive Liberal Party and provide the representation that "the people" deserve.

Bahamas Democratic leader Cassius Stuart officially announced his intention to run next week.

January 13, 2010


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

FNM hopeful Dr. Duane Sands aims to use Elizabeth as model for new healthcare system

Tribune Staff Reporter

POLITICAL hopeful Dr Duane Sands has a plan to revolutionise the public healthcare system, using the Elizabeth constituency as a model.

Dr Sands, a noted heart and vascular specialist, hopes to decentralise public healthcare by offering services at the Elizabeth Estates' public clinic comparable to those available at Princess Margaret Hospital.

He feels this initiative, if copied throughout the capital, would help to relieve some of the burden from PMH and allow for earlier detection of chronic diseases.

Healthcare, along with community concerns over unemployment, crime, traffic, and infrastructure issues are some areas Dr Sands hopes to address if he is successful in his bid to secure the Free National Movement's nomination for the Elizabeth constituency and wins the area's by-election race.

He said the people of Elizabeth have a myriad of concerns which he feels can be better addressed by a representative who has the weight and support of the Government behind them.

"With someone who is passionate and has the support of the government that many of these things will get done," he told The Tribune yesterday.

"I think we have an opportunity to make Elizabeth the model of healthcare delivery for the country. The model that exists in healthcare is very PMH centred we have to make healthcare community based. Starting from the model of that clinic (with) adjustments of staffing, equipment, (longer) hours of operation, diagnostics and therapeutic facilities now you have the situation where you can move the fight of disease out of PMH and move it into the community.

"And that is going to be the model needed to take healthcare where it needs to go," said Dr Sands, adding he hopes to work alongside Health Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on the initiative if elected.

The PLP won the Elizabeth constituency for two consecutive terms - albeit by a narrow margin in 2007 of just 45 votes - and Dr Sands sees himself as the "underdog" in the looming by-election race.

A virtual newcomer to the political arena, Dr Sands - who currently serves as Chairman of the Bahamas Medical Council, a Director of the Central Bank of the Bahamas and Chief of Surgery at the Princess Margaret Hospital - said his team plans to speak to every voter and "gain their trust".

Yesterday Speaker of the House Alvin Smith, who returned to the capital on Saturday from a conference in India, told The Tribune he had not yet notified Governor General Arthur Hanna in writing of the vacant seat in the House of Assembly.

Last Wednesday former Elizabeth MP Malcolm Adderley resigned from Parliament and the Progressive Liberal Party - setting the stage a by-election which is expected to take place next month.

By law, Mr Smith must instruct the Governor General of the vacancy after which an order will be made to hold a by-election and a date set.

On Sunday, the FNM announced that Dr Sands was unanimously elected by the Elizabeth Constituency Association as its preferred candidate.

Last night he was scheduled to face the scrutiny of the party's Candidates Committee and later the Executive Committee. If successful, Dr Sands is expected to be ratified as the FNM's official Elizabeth candidate on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the PLP is expected to formally ratify its yet unannounced candidate tonight. Attorney Ryan Pinder is rumoured to be the party's pick, although PLP Treasurer Craig Butler is also vying for the nomination.

Last week Bahamas Democratic Leader Cassius Stuart officially announced his intent to run.

January 12, 2010


PLP by-election hopeful Ryan Pinder defends his right to dual citizenship


HOPEFUL PLP candidate for the Elizabeth by-election, Ryan Pinder, has defended his right to dual citizenship amid controversy over the right of a Member of Parliament to hold two nationalities.

The Constitution states in Article 48 that no person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of the House of Assembly who is a citizen of another country having become such a citizen voluntarily, or is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state.

But as Mr Pinder is a Bahamian born in Nassau, of a Bahamian father and American mother, he acquired US citizenship at birth automatically, rather than voluntarily, and therefore qualifies to serve as a Bahamian MP according to law.

He and attorney Craig Butler are in the running for the PLP candidacy in the upcoming Elizabeth by-election. The party will announce the chosen candidate tonight.

Mr Pinder maintains he would be an excellent representative for the people of Elizabeth, if selected to run in the area once served by his father Marvin Pinder.

But critics have cast doubt over Mr Pinder's right to serve in the House of Assembly, and a debate has stirred on the Internet attracting around 200 comments on a social networking website.

Web blogger Cammy LeFlage said: "It is not 'fine' to be a dual citizen and be a leader in government because it just begs the question: Whose side are you on? Who do you really represent?

"The Bahamas and the US have a quite cozy relationship but the Bahamas must always look out for itself and its people.

"If he carries dual citizenship, how is this supposed to really work? Answer: It won't."

Voices Bahamian stated: "Whoever is in the House holding US citizenship is in the wrong."

However, others have defended Mr Pinder's position.

Carmichael Business League president Ethric Bowe said: "Google the Bahamian constitution and read it for yourself. Ryan has no impediment. We have racism or ignorance operating here. But look it up to settle this then let's move on to some issues."

The issue was also belittled by website user Misty Albury who asked: "Does holding dual passports make you any less capable of holding a position? My kids hold dual citizenship as well and if someday they want to hold office I would hope it wouldn't matter because of something so little."

Jamaican parliamentary hopeful Daryl Vaz was determined ineligible for election as MP in the country because he held dual citizenship. And Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette's brother Robert 'Bobby' Symonette gave up the American citizenship he had been bestowed by virtue of his mother's nationality when he ran for Parliament in 1949.

However, Mr Pinder clarified how Bahamian law differs from Jamaican legalities and has changed in the 60 years since Mr Symonette ran for office and the Bahamas became independent of British rule.

Attorney Paul Adderley said Mr Pinder's dual citizenship does not disqualify him from running for a position in the House as he said other MPs also hold allegiance to two nations.

He said: "There are some very important people who are like that, so there is nothing in that. It's where he is born; you can't change that. So it's not an issue."

Mr Pinder is a tax and commercial law attorney for Becker & Poliakoff and as a US citizen is required to pay taxes in the US. He also lived in the United States for eight years before returning to Nassau in 2008 to head the firm's Bahamian office.

He said his employment by a US law firm is not an issue as many Bahamians work for foreign companies, particularly in the finance industry.

And his American citizenship does not compromise his rich Bahamian heritage nor his ability to serve the people of Elizabeth.

Mr Pinder said: "I am clearly Bahamian, I was clearly born here of a Bahamian father and based on the Constitution there is no issue of me being able to be a member of the House of Assembly.

"My allegiance is to the Bahamas, I don't feel torn in any way. My legacy in the Bahamas goes back to 1648 and the Eleutheran adventurers. My roots in the Bahamas are deeper than I propose most people in the Bahamas. My allegiance is clearly and unequivocally in the Bahamas as a Bahamian."

"This isn't an issue. There's no violation of the Constitution and it's not an issue that is relevant to the people of Elizabeth.

"If I am the chosen candidate I propose to provide proper representation to the people.

"They have issues such as job stability, economic stability and economic security. We should be discussing the issues pertinent to the people of Elizabeth."

January 12, 2010