Monday, April 30, 2012

Profile: Professor John T. McCartney... ...November 2, 1938 - March 28, 2012

Profile: John T. McCartney


Professor John T. McCartney... ...November 2, 1938 - March 28, 2012

When professor John McCartney lectured to his students about the political struggles of The Bahamas he was not simply relaying facts from textbooks. He had played a part in the history that he taught. McCartney knew first-hand what he was teaching.

McCartney, who passed away last month in Easton, Pennsylvania, was in the trenches of government reform after The Bahamas gained its independence from Great Britain in 1973.

He helped form the Vanguard Nationalist and Socialist Party in 1972, and was a two-time candidate for Parliament in the 1977 and 1982 general elections. McCartney served as chairman of the party, which he had described as the only political party that addressed “not only race but the fundamental issues of society”.

McCartney left The Bahamas in 1961 to attend college and graduate school in the U.S., and in 1970 he earned a Ph.D in political science from the University of Iowa and began teaching at Purdue University. But he always kept a keen eye on the political happenings in his home country.

In 1979 he decided to return to Nassau to focus full time on politics, and for the next three years he would devote his time to the Vanguard Party. After disappointing results in the 1982 general election, the party eventually disbanded, and McCartney accepted a job at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania a few years later.

McCartney had said he never regretted his political involvement.

“I don’t know if I’d feel complete if I hadn’t tried,” he was quoted as saying in a college interview.

John Talmadge McCartney was born on November 2, 1938 in Nassau. He was the oldest of 10 children born to John B. McCartney and Margaret McCartney (nee Major).

McCartney was an avid reader and recognized the importance of education. He graduated from St. John’s College in 1956. After graduating he worked as a customs officer, until 1961, when he left for college in the U.S.

He attended Drake University in Iowa, graduating in 1964 with a BA in history (honors). He obtained a master’s degree from the University of Detroit Mercy, and received his Ph.D in political science from the University of Iowa in 1970.

He valued education and learning and thought that it was the means to succeed in life.

After leaving the Vanguard Party, McCartney focused his passion for politics on his students.

A political theorist, McCartney was a professor of government and law and former chair of the African studies program at Lafayette, which he helped develop. He joined the faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1982 and full professor in 2002. He served as head of the government and law department from 1998-2007.

At Lafayette, he was well respected and liked by students and faculty alike. His students knew him for his signature quote, “Master the material.”

His areas of special interest and expertise included black politics and political thought, Latin America and the Caribbean, and African politics.

McCartney taught courses on topics such as: black political thought in America, African politics, politics of the Caribbean and Latin America, comparative politics, among others.

He is also the author of “Black Power Ideologies: An essay on African American Political Thought”. He was co-editor of “The Struggle for Freedom in The Bahamas”. McCartney also wrote scores of articles and book reviews on black thinkers, politicians, ideas and issues.

His honors at Lafayette included Aaron O. Hoff Superior Teaching Award, Marquis Teaching Award, Nominee for U.S. Professors of the Year Award (2005), Jones Lecture Award, and the Sears Roebuck Superior Teaching Award.

McCartney met his wife, Nurse Leona Janet McCartney (nee Greene) in 1961 as a patient at Princess Margaret Hospital. They eventually married on July 22, 1969 and had two children; son, John N. McCartney and adopted daughter, Anja N. Moss (nee McCartney).

McCartney became ill at the end of the 2011 fall semester. He was eager to beat his illness and return to his teaching duties. He passed away March 28, 2012.


• was used as a source for this article.

Apr 30, 2012


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oil drilling in The Bahamas... Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC)... Perry Christie, Philip "Brave" Davis, The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), and their dirty conflicting ways...

By Dennis Dames:

The response of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) deputy leader; Mr. Philip “Brave” Davis - to the question of conflict of interest in relations to his law firm’s connection to the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), instigates more questions than answers.

Mr. Davis was quoted as saying the following in an article by one Dana Smith in The Tribune of April 27, 2012 entitled – DNA Demand Christie’s Resignation: "How does it become a conflict? I'm not in government. When I'm there, then the question might arise, then I'll know what I have to do."

But, this is general election season in The Bahamas; and Mr. “Brave” Davis and his consultant to Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) party leader – Mr. Perry Christie are offering themselves as alternatives to the existing administration via the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).  Is Mr. Philip “Brave” Davis suggesting that things only become a potential conflict with a company that’s seeking to drill for oil in The Bahamas - which his law firm represents, only if - the Progressive Liberal Party is successful in defeating the governing Free National Movement (FNM) – on May 07, 2012?

This is scandalous!  Mr. “Brave” Davis, deputy leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) – has unknowingly accepted in his mind to probably start a government with a major scandal of international proportion; only if we - the Bahamian people innocently decide to vote for an oil scandal ridden gang.  The conflict of interest is in full swing Mr. ‘Brave” Davis; and it’s a pity that you cannot see the forest for the trees in this regard.

Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) wants to drill for oil in our waters and the Bahamian people doesn’t know the details of the deal, nor the environmental risks to our marine ecosystem; it is a major decision which requires reflective national consensus Messrs. Christie and Davis.

If it’s not a conflict of interest Mr. Davis, then tell the Bahamian People about Mr. Christie, the Progressive Liberal Party’s and your plans for Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) and Drilling for oil in The Bahamas before we vote on May 07, 2012 or face deserved rejection at the polls for your dirty conflicting ways.

Caribbean Blog International

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Resignations sought for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader; Perry Christie ...and Deputy; Philip "Brave" Davis ...over their connections to the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC)... ...The company wants to drill for oil in The Bahamas - in the face of widespread environmental concerns

DNA Demand Christie's Resignation


THE DNA is calling for the resignation of PLP leader Perry Christie over his connection to the Bahamas Petroleum Company.

DNA deputy leader Chris Mortimer, Montagu candidate Ben Albury and a group of party supporters staged a demonstration yesterday morning outside the Office of the Opposition on Parliament Street.

They were protesting recent media reports that quote Mr Christie as stating the law firm representing BPC had consulted with him at some point in the past.
Davis & Co, the law firm of PLP deputy leader Philip "Brave" Davis, represents BPC along with Graham Thompson & Co.
The company wants to drill for oil in the Bahamas, but the DNA and others have raised environmental concerns.
Mr Albury said: "Mr Christie is the one who said he's involved, he admits to being a consultant . . .
"I would for like to ask Mr Christie to do the honourable thing and step down as leader of the opposition and resign as a candidate for Centreville."
Mr Albury added that Mr Davis should "definitely step down" as well.
Mr Christie could not be reached for comment, but Mr Davis denied there is any conflict of interest.
"How does it become a conflict? I'm not in government. When I'm there, then the question might arise, then I'll know what I have to do," he said.
April 27, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham accuses Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie of being a lobbyist for the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC)... which wants to drill for oil in Bahamian waters

Ingraham: Christie is an oil lobbyist

Ingraham attacks PLP’s ‘Bahamians first’ pledge

By Candia Dames
Guardian News Editor

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham last night turned up the heat on Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie, accusing him of being a lobbyist for the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), which wants to drill for oil in Bahamian waters.

Christie has acknowledged that the oil company has benefited from legal advice he has given as a consultant for Davis & Co., the law firm of PLP Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis, which represents BPC.

At a rally in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, Ingraham spun the PLP’s ‘Bahamians first’ campaign theme, telling the crowd, “For me, putting Bahamians first is a solemn duty.

“It is not a slogan I throw around in order to win votes.  Putting Bahamians first is a duty I have sworn to uphold each time I placed my hand on the Bible and promised to abide by the constitution and protect the interests of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

The prime minister added, “If Perry Christie really wanted to put you and every other Bahamian first, he would not have agreed to become a paid consultant for a foreign oil company.  This has cast doubt on where his true allegiance will be when it’s decision time.”

Ingraham said his (Ingraham’s) only interest is the interest of Bahamians.

Christie has said he provides advice to the law firm and is not a consultant for BPC directly.  When asked about the issue last week, Christie told The Nassau Guardian, “If there is an issue they need advice on, whether or not they need someone to speak to the issue of environmental impact [studies], the issue of whether or not in my judgment a matter is worthy for the government to approve, whether or not an application is ready, whether or not they should employ and who should go on the board of directors, whatever views they ask of the firm, in the event that firm regards it as necessary, they would consult me on it. Those are the services I provide.”

But Ingraham said last night the service Christie is providing is called lobbying.

“Is it a mere coincidence that a foreign oil company decided to hire as consultants and pay handsomely, the two most senior leaders of the Official Opposition, and potentially two senior leaders of the executive branch in the country in which they are seeking to drill for oil?” he asked.

He told voters they must decide whether they find Christie’s actions acceptable.

“There must be no question or appearance of the possibility of a grave conflict of interest, or the potential for secret deals which can compromise the individual who serves as your prime minister,” Ingraham said.

The prime minister told voters that they should have no doubt where he stands on this issue.

“A government led by me will not agree to any drilling for oil in The Bahamas until all necessary and appropriate regulations are in place, and until we are fully and competently in a position to regulate such activity, so as to protect our environment and that of the world’s ocean beyond from harmful and risky activity in our country and in our waters,” Ingraham said.

“...We are not now in a position to regulate and oversee drilling operations in our waters.  My greatest obligation is to do what I think is the right thing to do at any given time to protect the best interests of you, the Bahamian people, and that of future generations.

“I will not take any deliberate action to cause harm to our country, regardless of the promised financial reward for a select few consultants and legal representatives.  We in the FNM do not go that way.  We accept that we are different, distinctly different from them.”

Ingraham also said Jerome Gomez, the PLP candidate for Killarney, was BPC’s resident country manager before it set up its own office in The Bahamas.

The prime minister told the crowd that elections in difficult economic times demand that leadership be a principal issue.

“These are times for strong and decisive leadership; leadership that will make the tough choices.  This is no time for wavering and waffling,” he said. “This is no time for talk and more talk.  This is a time for action.

“I offer you on behalf of the Free National Movement proven leadership.  I offer you accountable and transparent government.  I offer you clean hands.  I pledge again to you a government that will deliver.”

Apr 26, 2012


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will the Drilling For Oil Issue Decide This 2012 General Election?

Will Drilling For Oil Decide This Election?

tribune242 editorial

“The approval of drilling for oil in the pristine waters of The Bahamas is among the most momentous decisions that any Government of The Bahamas will ever have to make,” Prime Minister Ingraham told Grand Bahamians at a rally last night.

“This decision by your Government should never be influenced by any financial relationship that exists between the company seeking the permit and its paid consultants and attorneys.

“It is a decision with wide ramifications that will affect the very nature and essence of who we are as a country,” he said.

This is why we were shocked to learn that Opposition Leader Perry Christie is an adviser to the law firm that represents the Bahamas Petroleum Company that expects to receive licences shortly to start drilling for oil in our waters. This is probably one of the most important decisions that the next administration will have to make.

The law firm of Philip “Brave” Davis is listed as BPC’s lawyers with Mr Davis, deputy leader of the PLP, having retained Mr Christie as a BPC adviser.

“If there is an issue they need advice on,” said Mr Christie, “whether or not they need someone to speak to the issue of environmental impact (studies), the issue of whether or not in my judgment a matter is worthy for the government to approve, whether or not an application is ready, whether or not they should employ and who go on the board of directors, whatever views they ask of the firm regards it as necessary, they would consult me on it. Those are the services I provide.”

No matter how much these men might assure Bahamians that the best interests of the country will come first should they become the next government, which one of you would trust such an important decision to them? Wasn’t it Mr Christie who found every excuse in the book to absolve his ministers of their transgressions when they should have been fired? The Greenberg, Quinlan, and Rosner report attributed the PLP loss of the 2007 election to Mr Christie’s perceived weakness and scandal-ridden government.

These are not qualifications for a second chance

April 25, 2012


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

...if the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is re-elected ...its leaders’ ‘relationship’ with the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) would impact whatever decision they make in relation to the company’s bid to drill for oil in Bahamian waters ...says The Free National Movement (FNM)

FNM fears conflict in any PLP oil drilling decision

By Candia Dames
Guardian News Editor

The Free National Movement (FNM) said yesterday that if the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is re-elected, its leaders’ ‘relationship’ with the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) would impact whatever decision they make in relation to the company’s bid to drill for oil in Bahamian waters.

PLP Leader Perry Christie last week confirmed that BPC benefited from advice he gave as a consultant to Davis & Co., the law firm which represents Bahamas Petroleum Company.

Christie’s confirmation came after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said his administration would not allow oil drilling, and suggested that the PLP leader was providing consultancy work for BPC.

Christie said the working relationship with Davis & Co., the law firm owned by PLP Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, began after his party lost the 2007 general election.

The FNM said, “Perry Christie promises that, if elected, his role as a consultant to the Bahamas

Petroleum Company will not influence his government’s decision on allowing BPC to drill in Andros in 2013.

“Perry (Christie) cannot think that Bahamians don’t see through this empty statement. Bahamians know that the PLP record is not one of ethical clarity and transparency...”, said the statement sent by

But Christie said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian last week, “It’s not a conflict because the advice I’m giving now has nothing to do with any decisions I [will] make as prime minister.

“What a Cabinet minister must do is declare [his] interests and ensure that it is clearly understood that in the past or present he’s had a relationship [with a company].”

The FNM said senior members of the PLP, who would have a say in granting the exploration license to the Bahamas Petroleum Company, are deeply intertwined with the company.

On its website, under company advisors, BPC lists the law firm Davis & Co., run by Davis, as part of its Bahamian legal team.

The law firm of former PLP attorney general Sean McWeeney (Graham Thompson & Co.) is listed as the second firm representing BPC in The Bahamas. McWeeney is a partner in the firm.

BPC’s website also lists PLP candidate for Killarney Jerome Gomez as its resident manager.

“Believing that these relationships will not influence the contractual process to the benefit of BPC requires a level of blind trust in Christie and the PLP — a trust that the record clearly shows neither deserve,” the FNM said.

“If the PLP is elected, the Bahamas Petroleum Company will be another one of many on the long list of PLP scandals.”

BPC said yesterday it believes it has significantly exceeded all license commitments and obligations with cumulative expenditure in excess of $50 million.

“The company is already working to fulfill the increased requirements of this next three-year phase,” BPC said.

Apr 24, 2012


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If we want to encourage the best and the brightest citizens to enter into the elective political arena... we should seek to eliminate the observation of U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton that: “Elections are more often bought than won”

Campaign financing: A better way

Consider this

By Philip C. Galanis

“We need real campaign finance reform to loosen the grip of special interests on politics." - Tom Daschle


Every five years around election time, incessant lip service is paid to campaign financing.  It can only be lip service because after the ballots have been cast, counted and catalogued, the notion of campaign finance reform retires to hibernation – that is, until the next general election.  Therefore, this week, we would like to Consider This…what practical approaches can we realistically take regarding how we finance political campaigns in The Bahamas?

Unquestionably, politics has become an extremely expensive exercise.  When one considers the cost of political rallies, paraphernalia, including T-shirts and other garments now available, flags, posters, signage, printing of flyers, advertisements, including newspaper, radio and television broadcasts and commercials, the cost is staggering.  Let’s not forget the direct cost of personnel employed by political parties; the cost of constituency offices, sometimes four or five, particularly in the Family Islands; the cost of electricity, water, and telephones; the cost of food and beverages; of political consultants; and the printing of party platforms.  When these and other costs are considered, the real cost of staging a general election could very easily cost $250,000 per constituency or nearly $10 million per party.  So how are political parties expected to finance such a mammoth undertaking?

Using the public purse

It has become commonplace for the government of the day to use the power of the public purse to significantly finance its party’s political campaign.  We observed this practice when the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was in power; we witnessed it in the by-election in Elizabeth two years ago; and we are seeing it again in the current general election.  While this has been a common practice, the Free National Movement (FNM) government seems to have taken this phenomenon to new heights.

Shortly after announcing the general election of 2012, the government launched a record contract signing marathon.  The $12 million contract for the construction of a new clinic in North Abaco and a multimillion-dollar contract for a new hospital in Exuma are a few examples of this.

Last weekend, amidst great public fanfare at police headquarters, the prime minister awarded $1 million to charitable organizations.  Ironically, this is the same government that – only one year earlier – reduced the government’s subvention to such organizations during the annual budget debate in the House of Assembly.  This is the same government that discontinued the extremely effective YEAST program that provided a positive prototype for young Bahamian men at risk and the same government that canceled the effective and internationally celebrated urban renewal program established by the PLP.

No matter which party is in power, an intelligent and discerning public should look askance at the government of the day exploiting and abusing the public purse in order to win votes after elections have been called.

Campaign contributions

In The Bahamas, political campaigns are predominantly financed by contributions from persons, companies, and organizations that believe in the democratic process and want to ensure that the message of the political party that they support is widely and successfully disseminated.

In the absence of campaign finance laws, there are no restrictions on who can contribute to a political party and how much they can donate.  Accordingly, anyone -- Bahamians and foreigners – can contribute any amount to anyone at any time without any accountability whatsoever.  The real question that we must address for the future health of our democracy is whether this is a desirable practice?

It has become customary for political contributions to be made in private, sometimes on the condition of confidentiality and often in secrecy with only a select few members of the party knowledgeable regarding the source of the funds.

Campaign 2012 has seen a new development in political funding.  During the last few mass rallies, the prime minister has publicly appealed from the podium for campaign contributions, describing it as a further deepening of our democracy by allowing the public to become investors in his party.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, it is unprecedented and uncharacteristic.  We have never before seen this prime minister – or any other for that matter – beg for money from a public podium.

It therefore begs the question: why has he done so now, during what he says is his last campaign?  He alluded to the answer to this question on Thursday past at a mass rally on R. M. Bailey Park when he said that he will not tolerate anyone in his Cabinet who has financially benefited from conflicts of interest.

We believe that he made this appeal for financial contributions because, while the FNM is still well-funded by those wealthy interest groups who support him in order to continue reaping his government’s largess, some of his traditional sources of funding are less generous than they have been in the past.  This is possibly because he has cut some of his more financially well-connected candidates for reasons already stated and reiterated again from that podium last Thursday in a purposefully vague but very revealing way.

Campaign finance reform

Clearly, as the prime minister is opening party funding up to the masses in ways never seen before, the time has come to enact campaign financing legislation.  There are several things that can be done in order to impose strict controls for campaign fund-raising, primarily to level the playing field and to minimize disparate levels of funding campaigns by the various political parties.  Campaign financing legislation should also establish disclosure requirements with respect to funding and spending in elections.

Such a law could introduce statutory limits on contributions by individuals, organizations and companies, which would remove the influence of big money from politics and should also prohibit foreign influences from invading the local political process.

There should also be limits on large potential donors to prevent them from gaining extraordinary political access or favorable legislation or other concessions in return for their contributions.  Campaign finance laws should also provide for the capping of such funding and for the disclosure of sources of campaign contributions and expenditures.  It should also limit or prohibit government contractors from making contributions with respect to such elections.

Campaign financing legislation could even provide for matching funds by the government for all the candidates in order to ensure that the playing field truly is level and to enhance clean elections.

Finally, in order to more vigilantly protect the public purse, the law should strictly prohibit a government from signing any new contracts after general or by-elections are called.


Campaigns will become more expensive as time progresses.  As we mature politically, we should seek to ensure that political parties operate on a level playing field and remove the barriers to participation in the democratic process because of a lack of funding.  If we want to encourage the best and the brightest citizens to enter into the elective political arena, we should seek to eliminate the observation of U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton that: “Elections are more often bought than won”.


Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament.  Please send your comments to:

Apr 23, 2012


Monday, April 23, 2012

The most pressing issue in The Bahamas today is crime and the fear of crime... highlighted by the fact that the murder rate is going in the wrong direction - up

Party By Party: Where The Candidates Stand On Crime


Tribune Staff Reporter

THE Bahamas put the world on alert in early 2010 after a country which is noted for its sun, sand and sea racked up 87 murders the year before.

Crimewave is a word too easily used by politicians and the media, but statistics showed crime was on the up, and for a nation of just 350,000, dependent on tourism, it was a worrying trend.

By the end of 2010, the country surpassed the previous record with an extra seven murders.

Bahamians at every level in society were puzzled as to what was going on, what 2011's numbers would be and what the government was going to do about it. The murder figure reached 127 for 2011.

The most pressing issue in the Bahamas today is crime and the fear of crime, highlighted by the fact that the murder rate is going in the wrong direction - up.

Democratic National Alliance leader Branville McCartney couldn't have worded it better during his party's anti-crime and violence march in Bay Street last Wednesday. He said things would get worse if there was not an immediate intervention.

The sentiments from the man who wants to be the country's next Prime Minister are not new. His rivals, current Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and opposition leader Perry Christie, have already said the same thing.

Mr Ingraham and Mr Christie have blamed each other for the rise in crime levels. The DNA leader has blamed both of them - branding them "failures".

Behind the rhetoric, angry faces and gesticulations, claim, counter claim and overused insults like "abysmal failure", what is their answer to beating crime?

What has caused this spike in crime? Do the politicians even have an answer?

Crime exists in every part of the world where there is civilisation, the same way that certain weak drinks are present at almost every party adults go to. If those drinks get spiked, there's chaos.

At the rate the country is going and with the world watching through their TVs, computer screens and smart phones, it is only a matter of time before this rising crime leads to the wrong kind of tourist being held up during a nature tour, robbed on Cable Beach or attacked with a cutlass in their hotel room on a Family Island. A celebrity or a police chief from another country.

Crime is one of, if not the biggest, concern for the voters going into the May 7 elections and the three leaders and their respective teams know it.

In 14 days, more than 170,000 voters will go to the polls to select a new member of parliament for the 38 constituencies up for grabs.

Marking an X next to the name of an DNA, FNM, PLP or independent candidate will ultimately decide which party will be the next government for the next five years.

How will the three leaders and their parties, DNA, FNM and PLP, match up and overcome the Goliath that is crime?

The FNM and the DNA have revealed their manifestos for public viewing so far and looking at both documents, crime is the top priority. The PLP has been very vocal about their plans for fighting crime.

The FNM, hoping to regain the trust of Bahamians, has released its full manifesto and addresses crime as a part of its "National Security Strategic Plan", Tough on Crime and Tough on the Causes of Crime.

The FNM before outlining its plan, stated what it had done and what it thinks is the root cause of the crime surge: "Trade and abuse" of illegal narcotics over the past several decades.

The party, according to its manifesto said it had "modernized and better equipped the Royal Bahamas Police Force, passed and implemented tough anti-crime legislation and improved conditions in our legal, judicial and prison systems."

The party, in its document goes on: "To complement these efforts, we have also worked with educators, social workers and other citizens to implement new prevention programmes"

Going forward, the FNM's goal is to have a "modern, efficient crime fighting machine," through a "properly manned, trained and equipped" police force "to prevent crime where possible, detect crime when it occurs and bring those responsible to account before the courts."

The FNM proposes to hire an extra 250 officers; specifically train officers from remote Family Islands to serve their communities; combine technology with community policing to strengthen crime prevention; ensure continued funding for police; create more police patrols and increase presence in neighbourhoods.

The party proposes "continued and adequate funding" of the judiciary, to complete the construction of the judicial complex and Supreme Court, and the appointment of a resident magistrate in Andros.

They are also seeking to empower magistrates, "in appropriate cases", to use their power to implement "alternative sentencing and restorative programmes to reduce the amount of non-violent juveniles returning to prison."

The FNM plans to "accelerate prison reform initiatives" to rehabilitate non-violent offenders so they are able to be reintegrated into society.

Weekly drug testing will be introduced, and a remand centre will be constructed in Grand Bahama.

The Defence Force is also a part of the FNM's plan to fight crime. It wants to increase manpower on the force by 180 and introduce a reserves list similar to that of the police force.

The Defence Force is also expected to receive additional equipment in the form of sea and aircraft to help in the fight against illegal migration, poaching and drug smuggling.

While not as detailed at the governing party, the DNA's The Vision 2012 and Beyond manifesto lists crime as the first issue to be tackled after the election.

The party will focus on six areas:

■Enforce laws without political interference.

■Support the development and strengthening of a Bahamian criminal justice system that works.

■Develop a comprehensive and research-proven system to rehabilitate offenders, including academic programmes, and work readiness and skill building programmes.

■Commit necessary finance and people to the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to ensure "they are in the best position to be effective in their roles".

■Ensure the enforcement of capital punishment and that bail is not granted for accused murderers.

There are some similarities between the FNM and the DNA's plans.

Both parties are looking to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary and the various law enforcement agencies. They also recognise the importance of reforming and educating prisoners to reduce the number of repeat offenders.

The similarities end there.

The DNA has publicly stated its intention to carry out the death penalty. There is no mention of capital punishment in the FNM's manifesto.

The FNM government removed the Magistrates Courts' discretion to grant bail for murder and other serious offences. However, persons eligible who can prove they should to be granted bail can be given a bond by the Supreme Court.

Is the DNA proposing to support this move? Regarding the death penalty, how will the DNA get past the ruling of the Privy Council, based in the UK?

Mr McCartney answered this question last Wednesday.

"We're making sure that if it goes to the Privy Council, we'll have the laws in place that will force their hands when there is a conviction on murder, that the death penalty will be enforced."

What is the PLP's stance on capital punishment?

The country will find out when the party releases its manifesto for the country's 170,000 voters to see.

People will then be better placed to cast their votes in the ongoing fight against this particular Goliath.

April 23, 2012


Many younger voters are hungry for change and may take a chance on Branville McCartney and his Democratic National Alliance (DNA).... ...Many older voters don’t have the confidence in the party

A vision for The Bahamas

By Erica Wells
Guardian Managing Editor

In the opening pages of the Democratic National Alliance’s (DNA) document outlining its plans for The Bahamas, the party’s leader, Branville McCartney, promises that his DNA will recast the “national vision” for the country.

This vision, he said, is the vision that was first cast in 1967 and 1973.  It was a vision that “included all Bahamians”.

According to McCartney, “44 years after majority rule and 38 years after independence, our nation has lost sight of this vision to create a Bahamian society based on equality of opportunity and a collective effort to ensure that our people get the best that the country and the world has to offer.  The vision has been derailed and we have been led off course.”

The DNA, said McCartney, is able to recast that vision because it is steeped in an understanding of the past and is focused on the opportunities of the future.  The document meant to convince voters of this – Vision 2012 and Beyond – was the result of collaboration between the DNA and the Bahamian public “at large”, said McCartney.

“It reflects what you care about deeply: the economy and diversification of the economy, crime, education, youth development and other issues which are plaguing the country,” he said.  “It also reflects the notion that these issues, when addressed with thoughtful ingenuity and skill, have the potential to revolutionize the country.”

Like all written plans, the proof is in the execution of what is outlined.  And whether the DNA will get the chance to execute those plans after the May 7 general election remains to be seen.

While the DNA was the first to release its plan for the country and promise to voters, (the Free National Movement released its plan shortly after and the Progressive Liberal Party is expected to release its document this week) voters have little time to digest the DNA’s or the other parties’ agendas before the election.

The vision

The DNA’s vision touches on key areas of national importance: crime, healthcare, jobs and the economy, education, immigration, youth, sports and culture, Grand Bahama, Family Island development, good governance, tourism, labor and industrial relations, and energy and the environment.

The promises are not expanded upon and there is no detail provided on how the plan will meet its objectives, which has been typical of these types of political publications.

Some political observers give McCartney’s DNA credit for having some of the best ideas for national development of the three major parties.  Others dismiss some of the ideas as unrealistic and in some cases unmanageable.

For example, under the heading of crime, the DNA’s idea to develop a comprehensive and research proven system to rehabilitate offenders, inclusive of academic programs and work readiness and skills building programs, is a commendable one.

But the DNA also promises to enforce capital punishment and ensure that bail is not granted for accused murderers.  Given the Privy Council’s rulings that directly impact the capacity for any government to carry out capital punishment, and the right to a fair and speedy trial afforded to all Bahamians under the constitution, it will be extremely difficult for a DNA or any other government to enforce and ensure such actions.

Other promises hinge greatly on available finances, at a time when it’s difficult for many to see where the money will come from.  The deficit is at $4.2 billion and the economy is still struggling to regain ground from a worldwide recession.

Take for example, the promise to reduce class sizes by “building modern school facilities and enhancing existing school facilities”; and to increase infrastructure funding for the redevelopment and expansion of road networks, healthcare facilities and airports in the Family Islands.

The party also promises to balance the budget within five years.

While the DNA is ambitious in its plans for the country and it should be commended for its aspirations, it must be careful not to play to the gallery and risk losing the trust of more sober minds and eventually the public at large.

Perhaps the most progressive portion of the DNA’s Vision is under the heading of Good Governance, where the party promises to:

• Amend the constitution to limit the powers of the prime minister.

• Enact legislation to limit the length of service of the prime minister to two terms.

• Enact legislation to cause the recall of members of Parliament if a majority of their constituents are dissatisfied with their performance.

• Establish fixed constituencies, which can only be changed according to international criteria.

• Establish the Office of the Ombudsman to serve as the watchdog of the government for the people.

The DNA has also promised to create a much needed code of conduct for public officials.

Among its other major promises are a focus on economic diversification, to establish a basic healthcare plan, to hold a referendum on whether children born in The Bahamas to illegal immigrants should have the right to apply for citizenship, and to regularize generation property.

A young party

The DNA is a young party.  On Election Day, it will be five days short of its one-year anniversary.  It has attempted to brand itself as a party that is making a bold statement.  A party made up of a new breed of young Bahamian politicians, entrepreneurs, professionals and blue-collar workers.

Its leader has relatively little experience in frontline politics.  Most Bahamians first heard of him in 2007 when he ran under the Free National Movement’s banner for Bamboo Town.  Less than three years later he would resign from Hubert Ingraham’s Cabinet, where he sat as a junior minister.

His decision to leave the party left many baffled; however, others gave him credit for “standing up” to Ingraham.

McCartney has been heavily criticized on some of his positions taken on immigration, and more recently the marital rape law.  His statement that a Marital Rape Bill would not be passed under his administration was seen as a major misstep in his campaign, and it could have put off potential female voters.  The party was forced into damage control mode at a time when its efforts should have been focused on the election campaign.

The party will field a candidate in every one of the 38 constituencies, and while many political observers seriously doubt the party leader’s prediction that the DNA will win the May 7 general election, the party does have some support.

A Public Domain/Nassau Guardian poll conducted in March indicated that the DNA had a total support base of 21.7 percent.  According to the poll, the FNM and PLP were in a virtual dead heat.  The FNM with 34.2 percent and the PLP with 30.3 percent.

The 2007 general election results show just how close the race this time around could be.  Although the FNM captured 23 of the 41 seats, with 49.86 percent it did not capture the popular vote.  The PLP captured 18 seats and 47.02 percent of the vote.  The number of votes between the PLP and FNM was just 3,905.

This sets up a potentially interesting scenario if the DNA manages to win a few seats in the general election, and manages to upset the balance of power on Election Day.

What is attractive about the DNA is the simple fact that it is an alternative to what have been mainstays in Bahamian politics for so long — Hubert Ingraham and PLP Leader Perry Christie.  Its weakness mainly centers on the lack of experience of its leader and the party’s candidates.

Many younger voters are hungry for change and may take a chance on McCartney and his DNA.  Many older voters don’t have the confidence in the party.

But whatever the result on May 7, McCartney and his DNA have shown that a third party can get support.  The question is, can it get enough support?

Apr 23, 2012


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham says: ...Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage failed to use more than half of the $100,000 allowance Members of Parliament were given access to for constituency projects... ...In Centreville and Farm Road, during the height of the global recession ...their MP Perry Gladstone Christie couldn’t get around to spending his full allocation of money

Ingraham says Nottage failed to access full constituency allowance

By Krystel Rolle
Guardian Staff Reporter

Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage failed to use more than half of the $100,000 allowance members of Parliament were given access to for constituency projects, according to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.

Ingraham previously made a similar revelation about Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie.

The prime minister reiterated that claim at a Free National Movement (FNM) rally on Wednesday.

“When we made available $100,000 to each MP to spend to improve their constituency, most MPs got to work for their people,” Ingraham said.

“In Centreville and Farm Road, during the height of the global recession, their MP Perry Gladstone Christie couldn’t get around to spending his full allocation of money.

“He left more than one half of that money unspent. His sad excuse is he was still planning a whole year after the money was made available. I tell you he’s never ready.”

Ingraham added: “The same thing could be said for B.J. Nottage. He couldn’t figure out what to spend his money on either so he left more than half of his money unspent. It seems Bain Town and Grants Town don’t need any small capital project.”

Christie acknowledged in 2010 that he had some difficulty with his constituency allowance.

He explained that after consultation with his constituents he was determining how best to spend the funds.

He said he had plans to expand three parks in the constituency and construct bathrooms at two of the parks.

Calls to Nottage were not answered up to press time last night.

Apr 21, 2012


Friday, April 20, 2012

The very same Perry Christie who failed to fulfill his first duty as Prime Minister in 2002 ...can't condemn violence by his supporters ...or even get out his party's election platform in 2012," says Hubert Ingraham

'Late-Again Plp Criticised For Lacking A Manifesto

Tribune Staff Reporter

DESPITE continuing to talk and make promises, opposition leader Perry Christie has still not released his five-year platform, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham pointed out.
The FNM, by contrast, has already produced a hefty 2012-2017 manifesto, and the DNA has issued a 20-page preview version of its plan.
Speaking at an FNM rally in North Eleuthera Wednesday night, Mr Ingraham said: "The whole election campaign is only four weeks. With a quarter of the campaign behind us, the late-again PLP leader has yet to inform the Bahamian electorate on the details of his election platform.
"His campaign speeches and those of his candidates up to now have been filled with just one thing: Ingraham, Ingraham, Ingraham," the Prime Minister said.
The rally came one day after photographs surfaced of PLP supporters driving over an effigy of an FNM supporter, and Mr Ingraham asked why no one in the PLP has come forward to condemn the act.
He said: "They keep talking about their new plan to address crime. Have you heard anyone in the PLP condemn the symbolic killing of an FNM supporter yesterday?
"They plastered the effigy of an FNM supporter being rolled over by PLP adorned-vehicles in Golden Gates. Now that is an invitation to violence; not a call for peace and respect of the law."
Mr Ingraham said the lack of condemnation by Mr Christie proves nothing has changed in the PLP and that the opposition would only bring "disorganisation and dysfunction" if elected as the government.
"The very same man who failed to fulfill his first duty as Prime Minister in 2002 can't condemn violence by his supporters, or even get out his party's election platform in 2012," said Mr Ingraham.
"Doesn't that sound like nothing has changed?"

April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Bahamian electorate ought to be mindful of the following words of President Thomas Jefferson: ...“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt ...We must make our election between economy and liberty ...or profusion and servitude”

Economic and fiscal prudence: Ingraham vs. Christie

By Arinthia S. Komolafe

There is ongoing debate on the leadership attributes of the prime minister and leader of the Free National Movement (FNM), Hubert A. Ingraham, and the leader of the official opposition and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Perry G. Christie.  Leadership was the dominant theme of the FNM’s 2007 campaign and it is not surprising that the FNM has adopted the same modus operandi for its 2012 campaign.

The general position of the 21st century Bahamian electorate is one that rejects a leadership campaign in favor of a campaign that promotes plans to create jobs, reduce crime, address the immigration debacle and place the country on the path to economic prosperity.

Against this backdrop, it is imperative to state that a leader will be judged by and for successive generations based on his/her ability to, among other things, manage the economy in a manner that balances economic prudence, socio-economic expectations and infrastructural development.  A review of the budget communications for fiscal years 2002-2012 and comparative analysis of the stewardship of our economy by the Christie and Ingraham administrations is important as we go into the 2012 general election.

Christie administration (2002–2007)

Upon assuming office in May 2002 following a landslide victory at the polls, the Christie administration was faced with multiple challenges.  In the aftermath of two consecutive Ingraham-led terms from 1992-2002, The Bahamas was in recovery mode following a blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force and the backlash of the 9/11 terrorists attacks in the United States which had weakened our main industries of tourism and financial services.

These realities coupled with a burgeoning national debt in excess of $2.1 billion, a debt-to-GDP ratio of 37 percent and a growing deficit of 3.7 percent, would ultimately limit the Christie administration’s ability to implement many of its proposed policies and programs, least among them National Health Insurance.  The administration would proceed to execute austere measures and engineer an aggressive economic policy to improve the economy of the country and maintain deficit levels.

At the onset, the Christie administration recalled a US$125 million loan incurred by the previous Ingraham-led administration that had a four-year term and imposed heavy servicing costs.  As a result, a US$200 million bond attracting a lower interest rate and extending the life of the loan was issued.

Over its five-year period in office, the administration borrowed approximately $640 million to meet is annual budget requirements and aid in its revenue shortfall.  The administration invested in social programs, such as urban renewal, carried out what is arguably the most ambitious housing program in Bahamian history with the building of more than 1,400 homes and allocated funds to the consistent repatriation of illegal immigrants.  Further, the administration chose not to increase taxes, thereby saving Bahamians additional hardship in a depressed economy and implemented austere measures in budget allocations to ministries.

This policy decision as expected, negatively impacted government revenue and curbed expenditure.  However, the administration turned the economy around by securing multiple anchor projects for improvements in infrastructure and job opportunities resulting in an increase in foreign direct investments (FDI) of approximately $240 million in 2002 to an excess of $880 million in 2007.

This enabled The Bahamas under the Christie administration to increase external reserves to a record in excess of $690 million from $370 million in 2002.  Unemployment figures fell from 9.1 percent in 2002 to 7.9 percent in 2007, accounting for approximately 20,000 jobs created.

Ultimately, the Christie administration was able to achieve social, economic and infrastructural development in challenging times that called for austerity.

Ingraham administration (2007–2012)

The Ingraham administration was greeted with multiple FDIs, a national debt of approximately $2.4 billion, a reduced deficit and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 35 percent when it took office in 2007.  In its Manifesto 2007 promise, the administration had committed to deficit reduction and hoped to achieve this feat and reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to a low of 30 percent by 2012.

Faced with favorable economic conditions and a projected growth rate of 4.5 percent, the Ingraham administration’s first and second budgets were generous.  Allocations to most ministries were increased significantly over and above allocations in previous fiscal years.  However, The Bahamas’ tourism and financial services industries would become negatively impacted by the global economic downturn.

Over the ensuing fiscal years, the Ingraham administration witnessed a decline in revenues and consequently relied upon the headroom it met when entering office to significantly increase its borrowing and make up for revenue shortfalls.  In addition, the administration carried out perhaps the most aggressive and controversial fiscal policy in Bahamian history.  Tax increases by the administration adversely impacted lower and middle income earners and Bahamian businesses.  Private schools, charitable and College of The Bahamas subsidies were reduced in an already depressed economy.

Confronted with reduced revenue and only remnants of FDIs negotiated by the Christie administration, the administration seemed to pay the price for its “Stop, Review and Cancel” policy for FDI projects left on the table by the Christie administration, which Standard & Poor’s noted affected investor confidence in The Bahamas.  The administration would later seek to address its revenue shortfall with the controversial sale of the state-owned telecommunications company, Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to British firm Cable & Wireless and the reduction of the prime and discount rates lowered the administration’s debt servicing cost.

The challenges faced by the Ingraham administration were great and as such required prudent fiscal and economic planning.  Caught off-guard by the global recession and with no real or robust economic policy, the Bahamian economy has suffered a great deal.  Unemployment levels have risen to more than 15 percent, foreclosures are at record levels and the government had oversight of more than $100 million in cost overruns for the road improvement project.  The national debt has doubled in excess of $4 billion, deficit levels exceed eight percent and the debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 60 percent (more than the recommended rate of less than 40 percent).


In the final analysis, a review of both administrations’ performance in managing the economy suggests that the Ingraham administration lacked a plan to improve economic conditions in the country as evidenced by its reactionary fiscal policy.  The Christie administration, on the other hand, despite being faced with multiple challenges throughout its term charted a course that set The Bahamas on the road to economic recovery.

It is difficult to see how another Ingraham administration would differ from the current one being faced with the same challenge and appearing to wait on a slowly recovering United States economy.  It is fair to state that a similar strategy will be deployed.  The Christie-led PLP has indicated that it will adopt similar policies (as deployed between 2002 and 2007) to restore economic prosperity to The Bahamas if elected.

The Bahamian people ought to be mindful of the following words of President Thomas Jefferson: “To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.  We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude”.

The facts do not lie and we must choose economy and liberty over profusion and servitude.  The choice is ours to make.

Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law.  Comments can be directed to: arinthia.komolafe@komolafelaw

Apr 19, 2012


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In the 50th year of women's suffrage in The Bahamas, Bahamian women will hold the power at the polls in this 2012 general election season There are 20,000 more of them registered to vote than men

Woman Power At The Polls


Tribune Features

IN THE 50th year of women's suffrage, Bahamian women will hold the power at the polls.

"There are 20,000 more women registered to vote than men. Women are going to decide this election," said Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham at the 'Red Splash' Free National Movement rally on Easter weekend.

The right political pitch could make the difference, according to some observers, who claim women voters tend to have community-based concerns when it comes to politics, and are more interested in "collaboration and consensus building" in government, as opposed to the highly partisan emphasis that exists during campaign cycles.

"I found that the female voters across party lines were first and foremost concerned about how one as a candidate would impact the community.

"They were always concerned about the quality of community life and the kind of leadership one was going to offer as a partner in the development of outreach programmes to improve the quality of life of the community," said former member of parliament for Fort Charlotte, Alfred Sears, who recently retired from front-line politics.

"I found that women were prepared to cross party lines if they were convinced of your sincerity in being a reliable community partner. I find they were more willing to cross party lines and support you," said Mr Sears.

That women are outpacing men in voter registration appears consistent with trends in education, where women outpace men at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

Minister of the Environment Earl Deveaux, former member of parliament for Marathon, said women are advancing in many professional categories, particularly in service industries. Although the progress has not translated into broad penetration in traditionally male-dominated industries like construction, commercial fishing, and manufacturing, he said there is a "subliminal suggestion amongst some males, particularly unskilled males, that women are taking over".

Without statistical evidence to consider, he said the emerging gender dynamics hold "potential risks for the society", and the trend is worth serious consideration by private citizens and leaders.

"What happens as people look for spouses and lifetime relationships and there is not parity of experience, education and points of view? What happens to that society if you have imbalance.

My suggestion is that if you are aware of a growing trend and it suggests from other experiences that there is a potential for conflict, then it is likely that the same result will emerge if you do not seek to address it," said Mr Deveaux.

He said women have made "remarkable achievements" in society, considering just 50 years ago they voted for the first time. That some people feel threatened by this progress is cause for contemplation, he said.

As a candidate in New Providence, Mr Deveaux said he found women articulated a greater focus on the unemployed, and opportunities for their children.

"Women were looking for opportunities for their children, most particularly their male children who they did not want to fall prey to unemployment and gangs. I encountered that repeatedly, so they wanted to hear what I had to say about what would happen to their son," said Mr Deveaux.

When he was a candidate in North Andros and the Berry Islands, he said it was clear that the empowerment of women resulted in the empowerment of the community.

"I found that amongst the unemployed, women represented a significant percentage, but I also found that where I could help the women, the penetration of the efforts were far greater.

"If a women got a job you immediately saw an impact in the community; there was an improvement in children's nutrition, home repairs.

"That was a visible manifestation of the impact of helping women," said Mr Deveaux.

April 17, 2012


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

...two big stories from the Free National Movement's (FNM’s) first mass rally of the 2012 general election season

A Broader Vision for Over-the-Hill

Front Porch

By Simon

There were two big stories coming out of the FNM’s first mass rally of the 2012 general election.  First, Hubert Ingraham unveiled his party’s agenda for the next five years.  In a nod to the Internet age and to younger voters, the FNM released its manifesto online as Ingraham made the announcement.

It was a PR bonanza reinforcing the image of competence and organization of Ingraham and his government.  It further reinforced the image of tardiness and disorganization of Perry Christie and his party.

Earlier that week Christie announced that the PLP was ready to govern on day one.  Despite this assertion, and an earlier claim that his party was prepared for the campaign, the opposition was caught flat-footed.

Almost a week into a four-week campaign, the opposition failed to produce a manifesto, and this from a party that has been agitating for the prime minister to hurry up and name the date of the election.  If the PLP still has not produced a manifesto by today, nomination day, it does not bode well for the party in the minds of many voters.

The inability to beat or equal the FNM in releasing its manifesto is a major blunder by the opposition.  When it is released, a part of the story will be the question of why it took so long.  Many voters will ask what such a delay may portend of another Christie administration.


There was another major story emerging from Ingraham’s remarks at the mass rally.  The prime minister effectively upended the opposition’s urban renewal mantra with a broader vision of urban redevelopment, incorporating potentially far-reaching initiatives.

Ingraham pledged a Back-to-the-Island Initiative which he hopes will be the beginning of “the largest migration ever back to the islands”.  He suggested that it might relieve urban congestion and serve as a crime-fighting measure.  The prime minister also pledged to launch, “the most comprehensive youth outreach and social intervention programs in the country’s history”.

He made a down-payment on that pledge on Sunday past by fulfilling a promise he made in his national crime address last year.  That down-payment is an additional $1 million in grants for youth and urban outreach programs.

Urban redevelopment requires a comprehensive vision, a vision long held by community activists such as Rev. C. B. Moss.  Ingraham’s vision includes social, economic and infrastructural development.  He pledged an Urban Gentrification Fund to “help with the restoration of homes in designated historic areas of our traditional Over-the-Hill communities”.

Ingraham also proposed what holds the promise of becoming one of the most significant economic initiatives for Over-the-Hill in the modern Bahamas.  That groundbreaking initiative is the Native Food Market.  He suggested that such a market would offer “real hope and economic opportunities to scores of Bahamians.  It will help to revitalize Over-the-Hill.  It can help to reduce crime”.

He indicated that the market would include “a permanent space to exhibit and showcase the history of Over-the-Hill and of our rich African heritage.  There will also be exhibition space to showcase traditions like ring play and traditional African dances”.

Much of what is being proposed builds on the dreams of cultural leaders like Edmund Moxey and his Jumbey Village, as well as the dreams of cultural icons like the late Kayla Lockhart Edwards and the late Jackson Burnside.

What Ingraham and the FNM are proposing outstrips the lesser vision of Christie’s urban renewal plans.  Essentially, Ingraham has proposed an expansive vision of urban redevelopment.

It is a potentially grand vision with the extraordinary potential to empower individuals and communities Over-the-Hill and throughout the country.  Sir Lynden Pindling’s government demolished Jumbey Village and what it represented.  But it could not kill the dream.


It is a dream that is being renewed and revitalized in unexpected ways.  Such is the nature of authentic visions and life-giving dreams.  They have a spiritual force that bends the arc of history towards their ultimate fulfillment.

It may be an irony of Bahamian history that neither Sir Lynden, the proclaimed Moses, nor Perry Christie, a protégé, effectively launched a sustainable program of transformation and redevelopment of Over-the-Hill.

This historic accomplishment may become one of the greater legacies of Hubert Ingraham.  Like the Dissident Eight, and thousands of others, including Edmund Moxey, Hubert Ingraham had to leave the PLP to realize his progressive dreams.

Though stylized as the party of the poor, there were and remain core elements of the PLP fixed on an elitist worldview in which academic qualifications, social status and high net worth account for more than other qualities of character.

Being labelled as the Delivery Boy and Rude Boy by the PLP elite was an unmistakable dig at Hubert Ingraham’s socio-economic background.  The inference: “How dare this poor boy who went to school barefoot, and who is not of our social standing, dream that he can become prime minister.  He should be grateful for what we’ve done for him and mind his place.”

Today, the PLP remains strong in traditional Over-the-Hill neighborhoods.  This, despite what many see as decades of neglect and betrayal of the residents of these communities.

What the Delivery Boy has accomplished in terms of dramatically improving the public amenities and services for residents of his constituency of Cooper’s Town and North Abaco is in stark contrast to what Christie has, as dramatically, failed to do in Centreville and Farm Road.

The greater the political power one obtains, the greater the obligation of serving the poor.  It is a fundamental obligation of public service that one leaves a legacy of uplifting the poor.  It is a test of a nation’s humanity, “how it treats its most vulnerable members.  The poor have the most urgent moral claim on the conscience of the nation”.


Small bore “urban renewal” efforts by any party or the mere application of bandages or tourniquets to the problems of poorer urban communities are insufficient and insulting.  What is required are holistic responses in solidarity with those who live in these communities.

The PLP has too often taken for granted its support in poorer communities.  The FNM has too often taken for granted that it might not find more fulsome support in the very same communities.  The prime minister may be pleasantly surprised when he visits with residents of Bain Town and Grants Town this week.

Because of who he is, in terms of his record, biography and decades of public service, he will find that his message of an Opportunity Society will resonate with young people and residents Over-the-Hill.  He should be equally attentive to the voices and talents, needs and aspirations of those whom he meets.

While some view Ingraham being referred to as Papa as paternalistic, others view it as a sign of affection.  The Delivery Boy has become a father figure.  What is deeply hypocritical is that those who fawned over Sir Lynden as “Moses” and participated in the cult of personality around “Chief” now feign alarm at Ingraham being called Papa.

If The Bahamas ever risked slipping into dictatorship it would have been in the Pindling years aided and abetted by those who served as his courtiers and sycophants as he victimized others and presided over a government of mass corruption.

The two last terms of Sir Lynden’s premiership were not his best.  Indeed, they were arguably his worst.  For Hubert Ingraham, 2007 to 2012 and potentially the next five years may be among his best.  But, this is up to the Bahamian people.  And to the man who has journeyed from a poor boy to the Delivery Boy to Papa, his elevation to statesman is a work in progress.

Apr 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Let civility reign in this 2012 general election season...

Remaining civil during the election

thenassauguardian editorial

Passions are rising in anticipation of the general election.  The parties are putting up posters and having mass rallies.  Bahamians are ready to determine who will be the next Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

A hobby in The Bahamas around election time is crowd watching.  Many people tune in to rallies or pick up newspapers just to see how many people attended events.  Bahamians want to get a sense of who has the most momentum heading into voting day.  People pay careful attention to who filled this park, or whose motorcade was the biggest.

Among the passionate base supporters of each party, this is serious business.  Verbal “battles” emerge between rival sides when rallies are taking place over which party has or had the largest crowd.  These arguments are accompanied by other odd arguments over momentum, such as which party’s flags are most visible on vehicles.

With a record 172,085 people registered to vote, clearly there is great interest in the outcome of this election.  With all of this enthusiasm and interest we have kept up our tradition of non-violent elections – by non-violent we mean the absence of organized and widespread political violence.

With all the challenges we have had with crime and violence over the past few years, this is something we should be proud of.  It was a pleasure over the weekend to witness, in various places, Bahamians losing their voices in robust arguments with friends over politics; each side calling the other a failure and a danger to the future of the country.  Even after a few drinks, in some of these situations, the debates only got louder.  None even remotely approached violence.

We should be proud of our political tradition of non-violent dissent and we must continue to teach our young people that we can disagree without violence.  When you are tired of a government, a politician or a leader, vote against that person or group.  You can also work to persuade others to vote against them.

This is the beauty of democracy.  We can all have an opinion, struggle for our cause, but do so without seeking to physically harm others.  We must remember that the members of our political class have close ties.  The leader of the opposition and prime minister are former law partners and are close friends.  The families of senior members of the Free National Movement (FNM) and senior members of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) intermarry.  The children of our politicians attend the same elite private schools.

These close ties are good.  We differ politically, but not to the extent of contempt and hatred.  This election season we all should seek to remember that all sides care about The Bahamas.  And we should commend all the men and women who offer themselves for service to the country.

Apr 16, 2012

thenassauguardian editorial

Friday, April 13, 2012

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) goons and idiots defacing and destroying the Free National Movement's (FNM's) signs and posters

By Dennis Dames

The defacement and destruction of FNM posters and signs could be noticed throughout the island of New Providence. On my way out of my community of Mt. Pleasant Village today, I have noticed that the sign and posters of the FNM leader, and candidate have been knocked totally out of the ground and smashed.

This is a reflection of the high levels of stupidity and wrong acts that plague our nation today. One must ask the question: Do we really want to elect a party of goons and idiots to lead us for the next five years?

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) refuses to shed its image as a criminal and thug organization which would resort to all manner of illegal tactics to win an election. The more we observe the ruin of the Free National Movement’s posters and signs on the streets of New Providence, the less we should consider the PLP as a viable alternative to govern our great nation.

Yes, anti-social behavior seems to be the PLP’s most desired method to win the government of The Bahamas in this election cycle; and God help us if they succeed. It is this writer’s view that the Bahamian electorate should send a strong message to the PLP on Election Day and vote against their foolishness and outright illicit ploys.

The PLP leader seems as usual to be not in control of his organization and members. Is the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) really serious about being a competitor in this 2012 election? If so, then - they must believe that all Bahamians are azzes.

Mr. Perry Christie, Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party – must publicly and seriously condemn his unhelpful supporters in the interest of good sense and leadership; or else watch his organization descend to the debts of political unattractiveness and public scorn.

A word to the wise is sufficient.