Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Bahamas is ill-equipped to become a model republic state

By Dr. Kevin Alcena:

The Bahamas should be Cautious when considering to become a Republic State

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a state found in the West Indies in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamas gained its independence on July 10, 1973, effectively ending the 325 years of British rule.

It appears that the government of The Bahamas is considering to like so many other countries - completely sever from the British and become a republic state.
This paper seeks to provide some clarifications and information to The Bahamas government and people as they consider this position. In doing so, one will provide information comparing and contrasting the benefits and effects of becoming a republic state.
This paper will also consider and examine states, that from independence moved to the republicanism, and indicate their successes and or failures.
The term Republic is a form of government in which representatives of the citizen body rule the state. Moreover, states that are republics are founded on the idea that sovereignty rests with the people.

However, who is included and excluded from the category of the people has varied across history.[1] Since citizens do not govern the state themselves, but through representatives, republics may be distinguished from direct democracy, though modern representative democracies are by and large republics.[2]

The term republic may also be applied to any form of government in which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch. This is the case in several states, for example, countries in Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, where the head of state is the president.[3]
While it is true that several states that achieved the status of a republic, the system of government are different and their head of states are either executive or ceremonial.

The benefits of becoming a republic are much of a mixed bag. There are a few success stories. On the contrary, issues of mismanagement, corruption, and misrule plagued several of these states.
It is of vital importance that The Bahamas look at the operation of these countries before it decides on whether to push to become a republic or not. It is said history is life's most outstanding teacher. Therefore as a people, one should be apart of the decision making process for our country's future.
Before the discussion begins, one must understand the basic facts of a republic, such as the types and forms of a republic. In so doing one must point out that there are five types or forms of republics: federal, Islamic, unitary, presidential and parliamentary. One must also note that approximately 156 countries are republics.
The Bahamas is on a stable developmental trajectory, and like Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas has recently discovered oil. There has been much negotiation with the government and offshore investors as it relates to the sharing of profits and royalties.

It must be noted that much of this negotiation took place behind close doors, and the people of the Bahamas are left out. Recently, allegations were made that the Attorney General met and renegotiate this deal; whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess. If this were to be accurate, it speaks volumes of this government's scant regard to the people of The Bahamas.
The few prosperous republic countries and their governments are transparent, accountable, and government official corruption is minimal.
For the most part, the republics that fail are managed by corrupted regimes and social, political, economic disorder and mismanagement is present. If one were to examine the republics of Africa, one would find that mismanagement and misrule have plagued those countries - Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

South Africa is a country with a modern constitution but fails to deal with public officials' corruption adequately.
The Caribbean and Latin America are no different. This is particularly so since several states upon achieving the republican status have removed themselves from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

This move has caused several international investors not to invest in these states because they believe that the courts were also corrupt - and hence they did not believe they will get a fair and impartial trial if matters are brought to the courts.
When one examines the progress of states that achieved the republican status, it will be seen that the afore-stated comment is valid in Africa.
The Republic of South Africa became a republic on May 31, 1961, after the referendum in 1960, which practically legitimised the country becoming a republic. Even though she was granted self-rule, a system of apartheid remains until 1994.
While the Republic of South Africa's constitution is one of the best globally, it must point out that it has its own corruption problems. This has caused its former president to resign amidst scandals of corruption in 2018.
In 2014, a ministerial task force when examined the public education sector - found that it was inadequate.[4] In 2010 a survey was conducted among fifteen countries and found that South Africa’s students were ten of fifteen and eighth of fifteen in mathematics and English (Reading).[5]
On the other hand, this country has struggled with its fight against the deadly HIV/ AIDS virus in public health.[6] These challenges have now caused this country to be on the brink of becoming a failed state. It is now a burden on the president to act decisively and aggressively to prevent this from occurring.
It is also true that many of her failures must be attributed to the apartheid. But this notwithstanding one must equally lay some blame at the feet of her leaders. The lack of political will, fortitude and the will to reward people based on merit remain lacking in South Africa.
Other African republics are also in tatters. When one examines Nigeria, for example, one finds that this country can become the Dubi of Africa, but it is also nearing a failed state.

Nigeria's GDP has indeed surpassed that of the Republic of South Africa, making it the largest in the African continent. But this is not because of prudent economic and fiscal management.

The expansion of the telecommunication sector created avenues for vast economic growth. Notwithstanding its apparent economic strength, about 40% of its peoples live below the poverty level[7]. This is due to the inequality, in terms of income and opportunities, the lack of job opportunities is at the core of the high poverty levels, regional disparities, and social and political unrest.[8]
In addition to the preceding, there are issues of massive developmental challenges, including the need to reduce the dependency on oil and diversify the economy, address insufficient infrastructure, build strong and effective institutions, and address governance issues and public financial management systems[9].
It was for this reason, the Fragile States Index in 2019 claimed that Nigeria is among the fifteen most failed states in Africa. It must be noted that the continent of Africa has ten of the fifteen states[10].
All is not lost; there are success stories in Africa, Ghana is one such.

The Ghanian[11] economy was built on oil, gold and cocoa. Like many other African countries, Ghana was struggling with poverty, but she embarked on a significant expansion in education, increased agricultural production and human capital development[12] helped deliver Ghana’s rapid and steady decline in poverty.
Ghana has changed its trajectory through visionary leadership, which inspired the people to develop themselves. It must not be underscored the role education played in the development of Ghana. Equally important is the receptive people. They trusted their leaders and worked to develop themselves and their country.
India is also a republic state. It was observed that like states in Africa, India has the embodiment of corruption.

According to a country report, this is based on the slow and complicated bureaucratic process, unnecessary red tape, and unclear regulatory frameworks[13]. Accordingly, this forces the citizens to utilise alternative ways to get results. Hence bribery is done to expedite the process. This report cites bribery as a plague in India.
When one examines the republics in the Caribbean, it will be noted that they have some common trends like Africa and India. If one were to examine all of these states, one would find corruption, mismanagement of financial and other resources.
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has been for a long time - one of the Caribbean leading countries. Its economy was boosted with the oil fine and the country’s ability to refine crude oil.

This notwithstanding did not stop the incidence of corruption. This culminated with the court finding the former Prime Minister guilty for corruption[14] and sentencing him to jail for two years.
It is clear that the allegations of corruption are present in both administrations. And in some cases, charges were made against public officials in Trinidad and Tobago.
On the other hand, Guyana, the charges of corruption is used as a political stunt, on the one hand. In contrast, on the other hand, the presence of corruption within the police force and the judiciary is evident.
In 2016, the present President was charged with nineteen fraud charges. To date, none were heard. The party used its affiliates within the court system to delay the hearings - and immediately after he became president the charges were discontinued.
While in 2021, other government officials who are charged with other offences in 2021 are being hauled before the courts almost on a daily basis. This country is like those in Africa, blessed with natural resources, but have not managed to be a developed country.
The finding of oil offshore while promising seems to be creating more problems, for that state that coupled with the deliberate exclusionary politics is further dividing the country and widening the disparity of wealth among citizens.
The Caribbean Community was formed to like the European to assist member countries with trade, regional co-operation and integration. This community was established via the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas on August 1, 1973.

This Treaty was revised in 2005 with the Caricom Single Market and Economy CSME, which created an indigenous court in the form of the CCJ. This court operates in two jurisdictions – the original to interpret and apply the Treaty of Chaguaramas, and the appellate jurisdiction as the final appellate court for states. It must be noted that not all states signed onto this jurisdiction of the court.
While it is apparent that the United States and China are among the world's leading republics of the world, they are sometimes plagued with rising unemployment issues.
The United States had recently demonstrated her vulnerability to the world when a few days ago, a sitting president coerced an angry set of his followers to storm the states, capital. It also showed that politicians would stop at no point to consider their actions - as in the face of the most deadly pandemic - politicians were prepared to ignore logic reason and rationality in their assessment of the pandemic's impact.
The United States has now actively and aggressively taken the necessary steps to reduce the impacts of the erstwhile president's acts. This was done through a series of executive orders signed into law by the new president.

Immediately the world has been a welcoming the deeds of the new president, who has vowed to ensure that his actions will be for the good of the people. Whenever needed, he will step across the aisle to have participation from the other side.
While China has emerged from communism under Chairman Mao Tse-tung, it has propelled to becoming among the largest economy in the world. Much credit must be given to the meritocracy system to promote individuals in government and public service.
In China, the accused must prove his/ her innocence while it is the reverse in other states.
In The Bahamas, there is a largely unproductive public service. This one respectfully submits there is cause for concern.

In addition to this issue, The Bahamas' educational standard must improve drastically, as her average education is graded at ‘D’. This seems to be compounded the problem of the civil service.

In order to improve and be a productive state, The Bahamas must radically, revamp and upgrade the educational standards and access across the board.
One must also point out that The Bahamas is not one of the Caribbean states that produce or rely on natural resources that can propel its GDP.

The Bahamas relies on tourism to stabilise its GDP. Hence, the need to improve the educational standards ensures that employees understand their roles, function, and responsibilities.
The employment and promotion policy concerns the professional in The Bahamas, based on politics and political affiliations. This is very bad for this state since it prevents competent professionals from actively serving the Bahamian people.
The Bahamas must learn from other states - to survive as a state - much less become a republic state. The government and opposition must put country first over selfish personal and myopic needs and desires.

The Bahamas must collectively improve its service and hence, the need for co-operation among the government and opposition.
Having taken the preceding, into consideration, in the context of the proposition that The Bahamas likely will consider her option of becoming a republic, the recommendations that appear hereunder are relevant.
If The Bahamas is seriously considering joining her sisters in becoming a republic, several reforms must occur. In the first instance, the quality of education must be improved.

The service and size of the public service must be evaluated and addressed accordingly, and corruption must be a thing of the past.
It is imperative that present and future governments take note of the effects republicanism on other states. It is also crucial that The Bahamas remain annexed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, so that at the very least, respect for the court’s decision will be held in high regard.

There are also need for constitutional reforms to enable a suitable, safe business climate to attract foreign direct investment.

Happy black history Month!

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Offshore oil exploration and drilling in The Bahamas - The politics, news, notes, perspectives and opinions...

Some Background Information on the Offshore Oil Exploration and Drilling Issue in The Bahamas.

THE local environmental advocacy agency reEarth launched an Online petition calling on the government to stop all oil exploration in The Bahamas, and to never issue permits for drilling. - May 10, 2010

THE BAHAMAS GOVERNMENT has suspended the consideration process for all oil exploration and drilling applications until the country has stringent environmental protocols in place to mitigate against a catastrophic oil well leak. - August 31, 2010

Shares in the company dedicated to drilling for oil in The Bahamas have tumbled after the surprise announcement that the Bahamian government was suspending consideration of exploration licences. - September 02, 2010

* “The Bahamas, a giant oil province in the making”. - May 23, 2011

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has tried to gain political mileage by stirring up a controversy over oil exploration in The Bahamas. - March 21, 2012

* Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said there would be no oil drilling in Bahamian waters if his party is re-elected to office. - April 19, 2012

Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) stock has lost a fourth of its market value on the heels of a declaration from Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham that his government would not allow BPC to drill for oil. - April 21, 2012

* The Free National Movement (FNM) said, 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. - April 24, 2012

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham: ...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.
 - April 25, 2012

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham 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. - April 26, 2012

THE Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is calling for the resignation of PLP leader Perry Christie over his connection to the Bahamas Petroleum Company. - April 27, 2012

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie backtracked from a statement he made a week ago confirming that Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) was benefiting from advice he was providing as a consultant for Davis & Co. law firm. - April 27, 2012

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. - April 29, 2012

Opposition Leader Perry Christie confirmed to The Nassau Guardian that he served as a legal consultant to Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC).

He stated, “I consult on work the firm deems I am qualified by the office I’ve had, with the knowledge that I have in terms of government.” - May 03, 2012

Setting the record straight on oil exploration in The Bahamas. - May 11, 2012

THE Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) supports permitting oil exploration in this nation's waters once regulatory safeguards were in place, telling Tribune Business potential earnings could "eliminate the National Debt in five years". - May 18, 2012

Applied Drilling Technology International (ADTI), the company hired by the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) to plan and execute an exploratory well in Bahamian waters says it believes it will be drilling by the end of next year. - May 25, 2012

While a referendum on oil drilling is not currently the priority of the Bahamas government, Prime Minister Perry Christie told The Nassau Guardian he remains committed to such a referendum. - August 13, 2012

THE promised referendum on oil drilling in The Bahamas. - September 05, 2012

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the size of any oil deposit lurking beneath Bahamian waters is essential to any decision on whether to commence commercial drilling.  September 10, 2012

The Bahamas cannot wait and count on prospective oil resources to become self-sufficient. - September 11, 2012

WITH the Bahamas Petroleum Company fulfilling all its required licence and regulatory obligations for another three year licence, FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis called on Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday to find the “testicular fortitude” and make a decision with regards to the licensing of offshore oil drilling without having to “pass the buck” to the Bahamian people via a national referendum. - September 11, 2012

* Despite a long history of exploration in The Bahamas, the substantial risks of petroleum exploitation only gained prominence following the worst oil accident in history – the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. - November 02, 2012

* Before the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Commission completes its report on the potential for the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) to drill oil in The Bahamas, the government will present an oil referendum to Bahamians, according to Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett. - November 13, 2012

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Jerome Gomez said yesterday that he plans to vote yes when the government brings a referendum on whether or not the country should drill for oil. - December 07, 2012

Business leaders are urging the government to treat the gambling issue as a learning experience for the upcoming oil drilling referendum. - January 30, 2013

Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment and Housing said:  ...THE Government will allow exploratory drilling to determine whether there are commercial quantities of oil in the Bahamas prior to any referendum. - March 11, 2013

THE Opposition - Free National Movement (FNM) has vowed to do everything in its power to block exploratory oil drilling in The Bahamas before comprehensive regulations are put in place and unless there is full disclosure of any relationship between the oil industry and senior PLPs. - March 15, 2013

If Bahamas Petroleum Company’s (BPC) calculations are correct, there is a super-giant oil field lying beneath Bahamian waters. - March 18, 2013

* Craig Butler, a well-known attorney - said The Bahamas had done an “ass backwards” job in negotiations with the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), arguing that the country should receive “no less than 60 per cent” of the proceeds if commercial quantities of oil were discovered. - March 22, 2013

Perry Christie’s lack of transparency on certain issues is as murky and as dense as an oil slick.  When did he become a consultant to Bahamas Petroleum Company - BPC?  How much was he paid?  How often did they consult with him? - April 04, 2013

Efforts to find oil off Cuba may have failed, but the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) – the only explorer searching for oil off the Atlantic archipelago – says it expects to find crude oil in The Bahamas. - April 22, 2013

* Now, while Bahamians are discussing oil from the perspective of a countrywide get-rich-quick-scheme, many of them haven’t considered the environmental ramifications, how Bahamas Petroleum Company - BPC will likely go about getting it and/or a thorough examining of the peripheral issues related to oil drilling. - May 06, 2013

Prime Minister Perry Christie denied that his administration has flip-flopped on the oil drilling referendum. - May 12, 2013

The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) will not be permitted to drill any exploratory wells in Bahamian waters until the regulations that will oversee the industry are completed. ...

According to Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett, these regulations will not be completed before the end of the year. - July 31, 2013

* The Bahamas National Citizens Coalition (BNCC) has filed an action in the Supreme Court seeking to block the minister of the environment and housing from issuing or renewing any oil exploration licenses. - August 07, 2013

The Bahamas government is being advised to move quickly to update the terms of its agreement with Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), which have been dubbed by BPC itself, in addition to by local and international oil industry watchers, as extremely favorable to the company. - September 24, 2013

* “troubled” by Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) CEO Simon Potter’s recent comments that the financial terms his company “tied down with the Bahamas Government are second to none.” - September 26, 2013

* Mr Simon Potter, Bahamas Petroleum Company - BPC’s chief executive expressed hope there would be enough Bahamian investor interest to indicate “a momentum of support” for BPC and its oil exploration activities in The Bahamas.  - Oct 02, 2013

The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) says NO to Oil Drilling In The Bahamas. - November 27, 2020

* ...
“if they find oil” we’ll negotiate a royalty! - December 23, 2020

Monday, January 18, 2021

The History of Majority Rule in The Bahamas


This singular event in Bahamian history played a significant role in shaping the modern Bahamas we experience today. The significant events leading up and emanating from Majority Rule must become permanently etched in the Bahamian historical landscape as these events define us as a people, reveal what we believe in as Bahamians, and serve as a constant reminder of our vision and values. 

Following is a cursory account of the significant events surrounding and leading up to Majority Rule, the meaning of Majority Rule, and homage will be duly paid to the freedom fighters that fought this epic battle in the name of freedom and justice. 

The Burma Road Riots 

Many local political historians believe that June 1, 1942 marked the beginning of the modern political history of the Bahamas. The events of the Burma Road Riots came as a result of the agitation by labourers for equal pay for equal work, regardless of colour or nationality. 

As you know, a satellite airfield was being constructed in western New Providence for use by the American armed forces. A labour dispute ensued over equal pay and this dispute took on a life of its own and became intimately interwoven with the overall movement for freedom and social justice. Today that site is the Lynden Pindling International Airport. 

So it is clear that from the first stirrings of political activity in the country, labour has been an integral part of the struggle. 

The Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas 

The Movement really started with a conversation between Mrs. Mary Ingraham and her husband following his defeat in the 1949 general elections. The defeated candidate opined that his political fortunes could have been very different had women voted in that election. Other significant national events that fueled the Suffrage Movement were the Burma Road Riots of 1942, the General Strike of 1958, and the Labour Movement of the 1950s. The civil rights movement in the United States with Dr. Martin Luther King was an international event that also fanned the flames that burned for social justice and equality in The Bahamas. 

Mary Ingraham formed alliances with kindred spirits from across the political divide as Bahamian women and men worked tirelessly together to fight racial, political and economic injustice in The Bahamas. This alliance included freedom fighters such as Georgiana Symonette, Eugenia Lockhart, Althea Mortimer, Albertha M. Isaacs, Doris Johnson, Grace Wilson, Mildred Moxey, Ethel Kemp, Gladys Bailey, Una Prosper Heastie, Veronica Lotmore, Nora Hannah and Madge Brown. 

Mary Ingraham was elected as President of the Suffrage Movement in 1957. Georgiana Symonette was the Vice-president and Eugenia Lockhart was the Treasurer. In 1958, Dr. Doris Johnson returned home from studying abroad and joined the Suffrage Movement. 

During the years 1959 and 1960, the Movement gained considerable ground advancing petitions and demonstrating publicly for the right to vote. In November 1960, Eugenia Lockhart and Dr. Doris Johnson accompanied Henry M. Taylor, Chairman of the PLP, to London to present a Petition to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In January 1961 a Select Committee of the House of Assembly gave a Report in favour of the right to vote for women but with effect from January 1963. The PLP and the Independents in the House of Assembly opposed the report. An appeal was made to the House of Commons in England again. On February 23, 1961 a Bill to enable women to vote was enacted with effect from June 30, 1962. Bahamian women voted for the first time on November 26, 1962. 

The Birth of the PLP 

The PLP was born out of a movement that embodied the hopes, aspirations, and feelings of a generation of Bahamians who were demanding equal work, majority rule, and freedom to pursue any hopes and wishes they dared conceive. The man who generally credited with conceiving the Progressive Liberal Party was William Cartwright, a publisher, real estate broker, and Member of the House of Assembly for Cat Island. In August of 1953, Mr. Cartwright reportedly invited to the first meeting on Bay and Frederick Streets, the following men: The Hon. Charles Rodriquez, Mr. Henry Milton Taylor, Mr. Cyril Saint John Stevenson, Mr. Samuel Carey, Mr. Holly Brown, Mr. Clement Pinder, Mr. F.W. Russell and others. 

Many black businessmen and lawyers were invited to join, but for reasons of their own, decided not to be identified with the new movement. But the party’s course was clear from the beginning; the PLP was designed to represent all that was opposed to unfair privilege and the wealth and power this afforded the Bay Street Boys. 

General Strike of 1958 

In support of 1957’s protests, a 16-day General Strike brought Nassau to a screeching halt. Unionized or not, just about every worker participated, and the strike was quite peaceful. The result was the Trade Union and Industrial Conciliation Act and the setting up of a Labor Department. The General Strike took place in January 1958. 

Later that year in June, Allan Lennox Boyd, Secretary of State for the Colonies ordered that the first constitutional steps be taken toward Majority Rule. The voting franchise was extended to all males whether they were land owners or not; the once ubiquitous unlimited plural vote was ordered to be reduced to two and the abolition of the company vote was ordered. 

Women’s Right To Vote 

In November of 1960 Sir Henry Taylor led a delegation to London to champion the right of women to vote in The Bahamas. Accompanying Sir Henry were notables like Dame Doris Johnson and Eugenia Lockhart. Shortly after their return, women received their right to vote and exercised those rights during the November 26, 1962 general elections. 

This new women’s right brought a force and element into the history of The Bahamas that affected the country’s social, economic and political development. To this day, the effect of women exercising their right to vote has impacted all aspects of national life as women from all sides of the political divide have, and continue to make their contribution to the country, holding key positions in many offices throughout our country. 

Black Tuesday 

On this day, the governing United Bahamian Party sought the approval for a Boundaries Draft Order, which established the boundaries for the various constituencies of New Providence and the Family Islands, under the provisions of the 1964 Constitution. During a sitting of the House of Assembly, the PLP proposed two amendments to the revision of the Boundaries Draft Order which the UBP had presented. The amendments were designed to get a fairer idea of the number of voters and their distribution, but both proposed amendments were rejected. 

It was at that point that Sir Lynden walked over to the Speakers’ table and lifted the 165-year-old mace, the symbol of the Speaker’s authority, and said, "This is the symbol of authority, and authority on this island belongs to the people and the people are outside." 

With that he raised the mace and hurled it through the open window of the House of Assembly. 

The Progressive Liberal Party describes this event as "an act of deviance in the pursuit of liberty and fairness." So Tuesday 27, April 1965 was destined to go down in Bahamian history as Black Tuesday. 

Majority Rule Day 

Some have argued that the great significance of Majority Rule was that after years of struggle by many freedom and justice loving people, the back of the old oligarchy was finally broken. More importantly, Majority Rule presented the opportunity for real democracy to come to the Bahamas, underpinned by equality, tolerance, economic justice, social justice, all important elements in the creation of a free, modern, democratic state. 

All Bahamians benefited, in one way or another, from the historic event that took place on January 10, 1967, a day that now wears the rather inelegant appellation of Majority Rule Day. 

Majority Rule ushered in the opportunity for all Bahamians to have constitutional, political, social, cultural and economic rights. Where these rights were not readily accessible, the Government of the day created laws and implemented policies to enable these entitlements. 

January 10th is a day in the national calendar that belongs to all Bahamians – not just PLP’s but to all Bahamians, black and white, rich and poor, young and old, city dweller and Family Islander, and, yes, PLP and FNM alike. January 10th needs to be commemorated and celebrated by all of us because it represents one of the truly great and defining moments in our evolution as a people. 

With the exception of Emancipation from Slavery in 1834 and the attainment of Independence in 1973, there is no event of more consequence and historical importance than the attainment of Majority Rule on January 10th, 1967. January 10th, 1967 represents the transition from the old Bahamas to a New Bahamas; the point of transition from minority government to Majority Rule; the point of transition to a modern democracy. 

It also represents, however, one of the highest pinnacles in the historic – and still ongoing – struggle of the Bahamian people for economic empowerment, for equality of opportunity, and for social justice. 

January 10th, 1967, to be sure, was neither an end nor even a beginning. Instead, it was an important milestone in a journey that was begun centuries ago when some anonymous slave struck a blow for freedom for the first time. We pause to pay homage to the personalities and players in this epic struggle. In a hard fought and competitive election in 1967, the PLP delivered the following 18 members to a 38-member House of Assembly. They were: Lynden Pindling, Preston Albury, Clarence Bain, Milo Butler, Clifford Darling, Elwood Donaldson, Arthur Foulkes, Carlton Francis, Arthur Hanna, Warren Levarity, Curtis MacMillan, Uriah McPhee, Maurice Moore, Edmund Moxey, Jimmy Shepherd, George Thompson, Jeffrey Thompson and Cecil Wallace Whitfield. Randol Fawkes who successfully ran as Labour in 1962 and 1967 with the support of the PLP threw his support behind the PLP and became a member of the first Majority Rule cabinet. He figured prominently in the movement toward Majority Rule. 

Successful Independent candidate Sir Alvin Braynen threw in his lot with the PLP and accepted the post of Speaker of the House. 

These two warriors for justice and freedom tipped the proverbial scale in favor of the PLP and the first Majority Rule cabinet was formed: This distinguished group consisted of Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Milo Butler, Arthur Hanna, Clarence Bain, Jeffrey Thompson, Carlton Francis, Randol Fawkes, Warren Levarity, Curtis McMillan, Clement T. Maynard and Lynden Pindling. 

In this 40th year of nationhood, we come together as one people to mark a critically important milestone in our progress as a people – and to re-commit ourselves to a struggle that never ends. 

As The Bahamas looks to the future, it must be that the average man, making the average salary, with children to educate to university level; that they see not a glass ceiling but opportunities that give rise to hope as we work to build the best little country in the world.


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Here is how a Bahamian Resident is able to Purchase Cryptocurrencies in The Bahamas

IslandBit sought persistently to acquire cryptocurrencies in BSD

Dear Clients,

Thank you for you overwhelming support, encouragement and concern during this time.
There has been much discussion about our notice dated Wednesday December 23rd, 2020 that prompts us to clarify a few points.
IslandBit was developed during a time of economic recovery efforts. We are strong supporters of economic development and realise the importance of healthy foreign reserves.

As such, we built our business with the Bahamas and Bahamians in mind. We sought persistently to acquire cryptocurrencies in BSD- and only in BSD- so that the impact on foreign reserves were lessened to the point of negation.

Our business was resultantly allowed to operate by the Central Bank and The Securities Commission allowing us to make crypto more accessible and more affordable to Bahamians than most methods.
In our previous notice, it was never our intimation that the Central Bank does not allow Bahamians to own cryptocurrencies. Instead, our notice intended to inform our clients that, at this time, purchases of crypto for Bahamian residents who did not acquire investment dollars through the ICM prior to its suspension on 1st May 2020 is prohibited.

We were expressly informed that the suspension of ICM transactions “would not permit residents to acquire foreign currency assets such as crypto currencies at this time.”
To avoid any further confusion, here is how a Bahamian Resident is able to purchase cryptocurrencies based on our communications with the Central Bank:

1. Cryptocurrencies have been deemed a “foreign currency denominated asset” and must be purchased in a currency other than Bahamian dollars
2. If you are a Bahamian resident (Citizen or foreigner with the right to earn Bahamian dollars) you require permission from the investment currency market (ICM) to purchase crytpocurrencies. If you have prior approval from the ICM you may purchase cryptocurrencies with previously approved investment dollars.

3. If you do not have prior approval from the ICM, you must apply to purchase cryptocurrencies. (Note: The ICM has been suspended since May 2020 and no date has been scheduled for resumption.)

4. The purchase of cryptocurrencies via credit and debit cards also requires approval of the ICM because of the intervening foreign currency access.
IslandBit remains in contact with regulators and is actively pursuing the appropriate pivot that allows the country to benefit from our business model which has the least impact on foreign reserves while addressing the concerns of the Central Bank.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Oil, Oil Drilling, Oil Royalty, Oil Royalties and Oil Madness with the Grimpen Reprobates and Greed-lusting Lunatics in The Bahamas


IN TODAY’S PAPER, the Attorney General of the Bahamas intones that “if they find oil” we’ll negotiate a royalty!
Every hedge fund manager, investment banker, every bond investor, and investment grade insurance broker spilled his coffee at those petulant words. Every first year student in finance or graduate student in a negotiation or mediation seminar knows this statement goes against every basic rule of negotiation or even business strategy.
Here is the context any strategist sees immediately:

1. You (THE BAHAMAS) allows a no name company that’s no where near the best-of-brand to travel around the world flogging the name of the Bahamas in some ‘hustle and flow’, selling their eyelashes and toenails to raise money for what purpose? TO DRILL in the Bahamas...HEAR ME NOW: THE BAHAMAS!
2. This name (BAHAMAS) that evokes natural wonder GLOBALLY; a luxury brand that the world saves-it’s-money in hopes to enter and allow this BRAND to be flogged in every slopbucket across the globe...altering IMMEDIATELY 120 years of branding.
3. Just to emphasise: It’s not as if this company moved around saying “Hey man, this process is like we are exhibiting at the Louvre or in the Vatican. THEY ARE NOT HAVING TO SAY: this is the Bahamas. We have strict rules on who can participate in this deal, even stricter rules on how we mention the Bahamas’ name and still stricter rules on the methods: in fact, we have to work with the best engineers in the world and the leading environmental scientists...basically inventing a new concept and method for even preliminary exploration and it has to go before a global panel of experts and the science has to show a “Saudi Reserve level motherload” of potential oil”, with forward contracts for sales of $100 billion in 10 years”.
This is the language and pressure ANYONE WHO GAINS THE CONCESSION TO DRILL IN THE EARTH’s MOST PRISTINE ENVIRONMENT SHOULD SPEAK AND FEEL. This raises a question: WHERE IS THE SCIENCE? The science and engineering methodology that allows a company to DRILL IN THE BAHAMAS should be of a quality to win the Nobel Prize! It should have tongues wagging about a NEW BAHAMIAN SCIENTIFIC STANDARD! Where is the science?
4. The fact that the company does NOT have to speak in this manner and the fact that they NOW KNOW, gaining a concession to drill in the Bahamas is little different from selling fake hair, IT IS THEY who gained confidence in this affair?
THE BAHAMAS GAINED NOTHING: we didn’t set a new deal standard, we didn’t layout new green criteria...NOTHING! Instead this process shows any hustler can gain access to the world’s most pristine environment because we, to whom God granted stewardship, are low-information fools, who would sell our children’s tongues for disposable shiny objects!
5. Negotiations depend on leverage: so if this company knows we are so clueless, backward and morally vulgar toward our birthright, that we put them under ZERO PRESSURE to violate a 120 year old hospitality brand, under zero pressure to INVENT some new process for this privilege to drill in our environment, then we’ve lost already! UTTERLY!
6. What the AG’s apocalyptically dissonant statement says is this: WE permitted a nothing company a concession to VIOLATE the tranquility of our NATURAL LANDSCAPE THAT WE DIDNT CREATE AND CANT REPLACE, which the entire world envies, and now that they have this concession and USED THE NAME AND PRESTIGE OF THE BAHAMAS to gain notice in the world - FOR NOTHING - we will wait until they discover the two cups of dirty dishwater under OUR PRISTINE OCEAN FLOOR...then when that company goes from nothing to making an oil find in THE BAHAMAS...and once they HAVE ALL THE POWER AND LEVERAGE in the deal structure...we, THE BAHAMAS will negotiate a royalty!!!!!!

Are we smoking the hair of our armpits?
7. This telegraphs to the entire world that we are not just clueless to have allowed this TREASONOUS ASSAULT ON OUR ENVIRONMENT, but we have not even a basic clue how deal-structure functions. This leads to another question: WHERE IS THE DEAL STRUCTURE, BENCHMARKS, HURDLE PROPOSITIONS AND SPILL INSURANCE EQUAL TO THE RARE ENVIRONMENT THAT’s BEING PUT AT RISK? WHERE IS IT?
9. But here is the ‘coup d’ grace’, any deal specialist knows already the investment begging company can’t monetise any oil find. As such, they likely would have to flip it to a major oil company if they find anything. Given that the world is awash in cheap oil, and with major new oils finds in Russia, Brazil and with Iran set to come online forcing global prices lower, they would cap those wells in the Bahamas and we get NOTHING! NOTHING! usual!
10. BUT the world knows now that we are grimpen reprobates and greed-lusting lunatics, who would sell a priceless irreplaceable environment - with a 120 year global profile - for NOTHING, ignoring our competitive advantages in new hospitality models, for a dying industry in which we have zero and would have zero influence!

Friday, November 27, 2020

I no longer have faith in the leadership of the Democratic National Alliance - DNA

DNA Vice chairman for the Youth arm, RESIGNS & SHE drops a bomb saying Komolafe is NOT the one!!!!!

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has lost its core.

Letter of Resignation

August 29, 2020

Kellie Rolle - Vice Chairman of Youth Affairs

To: Democratic National Alliance

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from my position as your Vice Chairman of Youth Affairs effective immediately.

This decision was made because I no longer have faith in the leadership of the Democratic National Alliance. To continue with the DNA, would go against my morals as a human being and as a citizen of this beautiful country I call home, The Bahamas.

To stay with the DNA, would be like sacrificing pieces of my soul, the core of my being and who I am as a person. The Bahamas is supposed to be a democratic country, and I have personally seen situations where democracy was thrown out the window.

The Democratic National Alliance portrays characteristics that are more in line of a dictatorship. I have seen where a person can be crucified for standing up for their morals and for what they believe to be right because it is not in line with the beliefs of particular individuals within the leadership of the party.

The Democratic National Alliance is spiteful, and I will not stand behind a party where persons cannot decipher between personal and professional or cannot stand up for what is right when they know something is wrong. A party that will stand with the wrong, knowing it is wrong, but will stick with it because what is right is the unpopular belief.
The Democratic National Alliance claims to be a party that is inclusive of the youths, but they truly are not.

They include us without really including us. We are just there for show, so that they can sell the fairytale that they are for the youths of this country to the public eye.

I will never be a person that will sacrifice my morals for the betterment of ANY PARTY and will always stand with my PEOPLE. I am loyal to the PEOPLE.

The Democratic National Alliance has lost its core.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Lincoln Bain of division, hate and entertainment


What have we here...

Response to Lincoln Bain response:

1. The is a moratorium on aragonite mining. Curling license is to mine SAND only. He never said that he was mining aragonite.

2. You claim that they are mining from ships. How come no one has ever spotted them. The entire Bahamas is covered by both satellite and radar. There is a record of every ship in our waters. Where is the evidence? Scroll over the arrows and click to see the names of the ships and detail information.

3. Marcona Ocean Industries is a company registered in Florida. Tony Myer name is not in the records.

4. A simple check with customs would confirm that customs, police and immigration were on the cay.

5. In Michelle Malcolm interview, you said that the Symonettes been mining aragonite for 40 years. Aragonite mining did not start until 1971. Pop Symonette and the UBP were long out of power. Dillingham was a US company listed on the NY Stock Exchange.

6. Tony Myers said that he sold everything. You said that he held on to the mining license. Still no proof.

7. Tony Myers has a company in Alabama but sand and aragonite can easily be sourced from the US wholesale market with less hassle than mining here.

8. The Aragonite Bill was specific to Ocean Cay which is just one location. That does not mean that no Bahamians could get involved in the business at that location or any other location.

9. So you know how to write bills better than the AG office.

10. Curling does not have an aragonite license. The witness said that they were involved in illegal operations well that doesn't count and should be investigated.

11. You do not seem capable of understanding that the processed value is not the same as the mining value. It does not matter what your aggregate is used for. You can only charge what it is worth in your possession which is $50 per ton.

12. Everyone involved in mining also is involved in the end product business also. The money is not in mining. Most just breakeven for the returns at the end. Therefore there is nothing wrong with owning companies in other countries.

13. The Central Bank reports show that he paid all his local taxes in full and on time. Taxes are paid on volume at extraction, not at export. You are very confused. See exhibit A

14. The witnesses testimony can not stand up in court. Completely circumstantial about ownership and value.

16. You do an audit first and then say corruption it is the other way around.

17. You admit to tapping Manny Alexio phone and should be arrested for that. You even threaten to do the same to those around you. What type of Pastor are you?

18. Everything that you have produced is totally irrelevant.

19. Your real motives are division, hate and entertainment.

20. All of your videos are circumstantial, hearsay and exaggerated.