Tuesday, December 5, 2023

FNM In Turmoil

Former FNM MP and Cabinet Minister, The Hon Thomas Desmond Bannister has Urged Free National Movement (FNM) Leader, The Hon Michael Pintard to Call A National Party Convention ASAP to Settle The Various Issues Facing The Party - Like Leadership

Mr. Michael Pintard M.P./ Leader /The Free National Movement
Mackey Street, Nassau, The Bahamas

Dear Mr. Leader:

Thomas Desmond Bannister
I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend contemplating the issues that are currently impacting our beloved party, and consequently felt compelled to write to you.

We are both passionate about the F.N.M., which as you know was formed by a group of courageous Bahamian patriots who risked everything in order to fight tyranny in the interest of ensuring that the Bahamian people could end cronyism and prejudice in public life. Our founding fathers and those who followed them suffered through discrimination, vicious and violent attacks, and heavy handed persecution as they took the principled stance that the Bahamian people deserved and were entitled to caring and transparent leadership.

Through the years our party has provided a clear beacon of hope for our beloved country. We have stood for freedom of expression in all of its manifestations when others would have done their best to intimidate our fellow citizens into silence. Through many turbulent decades the party has fought for the rights of the Bahamian people, and earned their admiration, respect and support.

Michael Pintard
The blatant and violent attack on one of our members outside F.N.M. headquarters on Thursday night threatens to undo decades of progress. Our party has always condemned political violence. In our beloved Bahamas no person, least of all an executive of the party, should be subjected to politically inspired attacks on their person.

The recent constant discordant and hostile public airing of disagreements within the party together with litigation among party Executives; allegations of unconstitutional interference in Constituency Associations; and the perceived failure of our party to support a sitting Member of Parliament as he faces criminal prosecution before the courts have all combined to negatively impact public confidence in our ability to lead. The vocal public enmity among loyal party supporters clearly hamper the ability of the F.N.M. to be considered as a serious alternative to the governing party just when they appear to be conceding the next general election to us through their blatant miscues and alleged acts of malfeasance.

We will both appreciate that the primary purpose of a political party is to win elections and to form the Government. In this context I consider the words of the theologian and philosopher Ivan Illich that “Leadership does not depend on being right” as instructive for us. Whether or not party leaders consider that they are right in the decisions that they have taken, a thirty-four percent turnout of supporters in the recent by-elections midway through the Government’s term in office begs us to seriously consider other perspectives.

In the circumstances, I am respectfully urging you to call a National Convention for the party at the earliest possible date. Any Convention will be a referendum on your leadership, but all political Conventions are referenda on political leadership. If you cannot retain that leadership post after more than two years serving in that capacity, then this is simply not your time. Once a Convention is held and party members have been permitted to participate in free and fair leadership elections, the party leader will emerge with a national mandate on behalf of the F.N.M. Members will appreciate that they have had the opportunity to freely campaign and vote for their chosen candidates during a national Convention. The losing candidates will be bound by the party’s mandate to coalesce with and support the elected party leadership team. The F.N.M. will then have in excess of two years to earn the confidence of the Bahamian people once again, and to regain the Government.

To delay calling a Convention will diminish confidence in your leadership. Party members will question your confidence in remaining party leader, as well as your ability to raise the requisite amount of funds that will be required to hold a Convention and to successfully contest a General election.

Simon Sinek has famously provided the guidance that “LEADERS ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE THE COURAGE TO GO FIRST, TO PUT THEMSELVES AT PERSONAL RISK TO OPEN A PATH FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW”. Putting your position of leadership at risk during a national Convention will inspire Bahamians. Whether you win or lose, you will be considered a true leader through your voluntary vulnerability, and for being seen to put the party and the Bahamian people first.

Should you win, your mandate cannot be subjected to legitimate questioning. Should you not win at Convention, you will still be elevated in the lore of the nation, to use Lord Denning’s categorization, with “bold spirits” such as Sir Cecil, rather than as a “timorous soul”. The country recognizes that even though he never became Prime Minister, Sir Cecil’s efforts contributed mightily to our eventual victories at the polls. He may not have gotten there with us, but his contributions unquestionably helped to lead us to the promised land in 1992.

In contrast, holding on to leadership without facing competition will weaken your leadership mandate, and your ability to win a general election will be open to question.

Mr. Leader, for the sake of clarity, the purpose of this email is not to seek to pass judgment on your tenure in office. Rather, it is to encourage robust, passionate and peaceful debate on issues that are important to all of us and to the future of the party. I urge you to please consider these thoughts and suggestions, which if implemented, will in my view propel our party to having a legitimate opportunity to lead our beloved Bahamaland once again.

The Free National Movement has always had an exceptional commitment to democracy; hence, I intend to share this letter with the elected members of Parliament and widely with party members, and I encourage you to do the same so that together we may stimulate widespread, amicable discussion on the issues that now face the party.

My sincere best wishes as you continue to consider pursuing the course that is best for our country.

Thomas Desmond Bannister
1. Dr. Duane Sands
National Chairman
2. Mr. Shanandon Cartwright M.P.
Deputy Leader
3. Members of Parliament:
Dr. Hubert Minnis M.P.
Mr. Kwasi Thompson M.P.
Mr. Iram Lewis M.P.
Mr. Adrian Gibson M.P.

Mr. Adrian White M.P. 

04th December,2023

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Bahamas Supports a Fair, Transparent, and Balanced International Tax Regime

The Bahamas is fully prepared to engage with the UN to shape a tax system that ensures transparency, justice, and sustainable development

The Bahamas supported the United Nations Resolution on the Promotion of Inclusive and Effective International Tax Cooperation at the United Nations

Nassau, The Bahamas - November 26,2023 — The Bahamas supported the United Nations Resolution on the Promotion of Inclusive and Effective International Tax Cooperation at the United Nations.  We recognize the approval of this resolution as historic, promoting equity in global tax administration and seeking to establish a framework convention on tax which could ultimately move decision-making on global tax rules from the OECD – a small club of rich countries– to the UN.

The United Nations’ decision to endorse a more inclusive tax governance framework marks a profound advancement for global economic and tax policy—a cause The Bahamas has long championed.  This development closely reflects our comprehensive report to the UN Secretary-General, advocating for a fair tax system that embraces the diverse fiscal landscapes of all nations and particularly supports the economic realities of developing countries.  Enclosed is the communication from the Prime Minister to the UN Secretary-General.

Our commitment to maintaining the highest tax compliance standards is unwavering, and this historic moment is a testament to our dedication to overcoming the inequities propagated by current tax policy frameworks and institutions.  We have consistently emphasized the need for a reformed global tax structure that honours the sovereignty of nations like The Bahamas, which have been disproportionately affected by the Global North’s biased policies.

The Bahamas is fully prepared to engage with the UN to shape a tax system that ensures transparency, justice, and sustainable development.  We pledge to lead and advocate tirelessly for policies that protect the economic interests of all countries, with a focus on those historically sidelined in global tax negotiations.  The Bahamas will draw on our experiences to support a fair, transparent, and balanced international tax regime.


Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Building Solutions in Climate Finance and Sustainable Development at a Time when such Solutions can No Longer be Postponed

Any country that cares about security, geopolitical stability, and preventing millions of climate refugees from destabilizing borders, should share our interest in not just changing but revolutionizing climate finance...

Prime Minister Philip Davis’ Remarks at the Climate Finance in the Americas’ Opening Ceremony

Climate finance and sustainable development are paired together because without the first, you cannot have the second...

Good evening, Secretary-General Almagro.

Good evening, colleagues.

Welcome to The Bahamas!

And in some cases – welcome back to The Bahamas.

For those of you who are here for the first time, may it be the first of many visits. 

We are so pleased to see you here.

The Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis
I grew up on a small island, Cat Island, in the southern part of our archipelago.  On a small island, strong communities are a way of life, and neighbors learn to care for one another, and to lean on each other during times of trouble.  Tonight, decades later, I welcome you in that spirit – because, after all, we are gathered here to be good hemispheric neighbours to one another.

The countries we represent are home to such a beautiful diversity of peoples and languages and cultures.

And in order to protect the people and the places we love, we must work together.

We are here to build solutions in climate finance and sustainable development at a time when such solutions can no longer be postponed.

In order to survive the changing climate, we need to cooperate, we need to coordinate, and we need to collaborate.

Climate finance and sustainable development are paired together because without the first, you cannot have the second.

Consider the billions in hurricane-related debt that burden my country.  We have experienced the devastation and destruction of four major storms – Category 4 and Category 5 – in under one decade.  Every hurricane leaves us less fiscal space to prepare for the next one – and also means we are underinvesting in our people, our economy, and our future.

Let me be clear, though – it is not just countries like mine with a lot at stake.  Any country that cares about security, geopolitical stability, and preventing millions of climate refugees from destabilizing borders, should share our interest in not just changing but revolutionizing climate finance.

So how do we create a path to resilience and survival and success, for my country, and for yours?

We build climate finance solutions that free up resources in this new era of extreme weather.

We work to overhaul multilateral institutions, so that they can de-risk and incentivize new ventures and partnerships, and unleash funding at the scale needed for robust action and investment.

We fight to make sure industrialized countries keep their promises, old and new.

We build innovative insurance solutions, to address gaps in protection and ensure affordability.  And we share expertise and technology, because when a country is able to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency policies, we all share in the win.

It is true that our challenges are not identical, and we will not agree on every issue.

But I know we will identify many opportunities for collaboration and for shared advocacy going into COP28.

Although we acknowledge the gravity of the threats we face, there are many reasons to be hopeful:

- A new generation of activists is leading with energy and passion.

- Human ingenuity is delivering innovations at a breathtaking pace.

And citizens everywhere are joining in the fight.

As you know, just weeks ago, the people of Ecuador voted in a referendum to halt new oil drilling in a national park in the Amazon.  Let us honour their courage and their votes, by meeting this moment with determination.

Let’s make the next few days count.


Monday, September 18, 2023

Perceived Issues Which Stand Out as Having the Very Real Potential of Destroying The Bahamian Way of Life in The Bahamas

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is going along with a scheme to put the people of The Bahamas under great financial, social, physical and psychological pain...

I am proposing that if The Bahamas and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are serious about our future and the future of our children here in The Bahamas, that we begin a discussion asking the IDB and other lenders to completely forgive our existing debt...

By: Norman Trambulsy Jr 

Mangrove Cay, Andros Island, The Bahamas

Islands of The Bahamas
There are two issues which stand out as having the very real potential of destroying our entire way of life, our standard of living and our national security in The Bahamas in the very near future.  I postulate a conservative estimate of the very near future being five-15 years time.

The two existential threats which are now upon us are as follows: Our looming debt crisis and sea level rise.

Each of these threats have the potential to totally upend life as we know it here in our beautiful country.

One of the greatest criticisms I see, of this and previous Bahamian administrations is the lack of transparency, and the lack of accountability.  One flows from the other.  Without knowing what our politicians are doing, it is not possible to contribute, nor to criticise, the actions of those who represent us.  It appears this is our history and present day attitude among those at the political top.  By their own words and actions, those in Parliament seem to believe that the Bahamian public has little right to know what they do.

This seemingly valid complaint comes from watchdog groups, the press, and the public with a usual stonewalling by those in government.

The “financial experts”, those who make their living speaking on such matters, the accountants, the bankers, the Minister of Finance, know exactly what pain will be imposed on The Bahamian people in the coming years.

They know the consequences of this odious debt our country now finds itself in.  They have seen this exact same scenario play out in countries around the world.  Whether or not they were present when the government took out these loans, they must, if they are to be called financial experts, know what is coming.

Under what are loosely called Structural Adjustment Programmes, The Bahamas will be raising taxes and cutting social spending.  Who will be impacted most heavily?

What I am claiming is that The Bahamas has a whole lot of so-called “financial experts” in government, in finance, in banking, in accounting, in consulting, in business - who are refusing to tell the Bahamian people the truth about where we are headed.  If these experts have paid attention these last few decades, and they have, they know just what to expect from the experience of other countries, even more advanced than The Bahamas.

The cuts to social services and the raising of taxes will take a very heavy toll on this country.  Who will bear most of the burden and suffer the most?  The poorest among us.  And, what effects will the cuts to social services have on our small island nation and the hardscrabble Family Islands?

Perhaps these experts have entrenched interests.  Perhaps they do not believe the Bahamian public would understand.  Perhaps they are afraid of losing clients if they tell the truth.  Perhaps they believe they may be blackballed by the political class.  Or, worse, that those who speak the truth will be voted out of office if Bahamians knew how careless these politicians have been.  Careless, as in not caring about all of our people in this island nation.

“Politics is killing this country” is something I hear from many, many people here.  They are not wrong, as far as I can see.

According to Mr Hubert Edwards, now head of the Organisation for Responsible Governance, in a recent Tribune article, says “The Bahamas finds itself at a place where it has a significant concentration of external debt, maybe more than it has ever had in the history of the country..... It has suffered over the last couple of years a number of credit downgrades which effectively put it into ‘junk’ bond status.  There are elevated external pressures on The Bahamas at this time......” “At some point in time, the Government is going to have to get their fiscal house in order.”

Now, I would like to reference an article in the Tribune, by Neil Hartnell on August 25, 2023, entitled “IDB: $856m strategy for The Bahamas ‘too ambitious’”.  This article focused on the fact that for the most part, the Inter-American Development Bank and The Bahamas have failed in far too many of the projects and programmes the IDB had lent money to The Bahamas to implement.

Not only that, the actual money spent was five times what the experts originally budgeted.  Most of the blame was as follows:

- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has admitted its last country strategy for The Bahamas was “overly ambitious and unrealistic” despite approvals for over five times the originally-forecast level of financing.

- The multilateral lender, in a report by its internal watchdog, the Office of Evaluation and Oversight, found that the 2018-2022 Bahamas’ country programme made no or little contribution to seven of the 11 strategic objectives for improving areas such as fiscal consolidation, strengthening the Government’s institutional and digital capabilities and bolstering “integrity and transparency” in the public sector.

- The country programme evaluation attributed the Government’s low implementation capacity to a lack of technical experts to design and implement financed programmes, slow decision making, low co-ordination capacity, and lack of political commitment.”

So, where did that billion dollars go?  One might ask.

Of even greater concern to me is the near term financing needs that will be necessary for our country to deal with the immediate need to mitigate sea level rise impacts.  This, the IDB makes very clear they acknowledge, along with the fact that some of our debt burden is due to the impacts of 4 hurricanes in the last 10 years.

Has anyone seen the forecasts for hurricanes in the coming years?  Such as more frequent and more intense storms?  Does anyone deny, today, that sea levels are rising and the science behind these claims?

Now, let’s be real.  There are no surprises in the idea that The Bahamas government squandered money, and failed to do the things they said they would do.  Use whatever pretty words you wish to make excuses.  Our governments have a history of failure.  Is that a fair statement?

Now, with that said, let’s ask what are the Inter-American Development Bank’s responsibilities?

The IDB is a lending institution with a mandate to help improve the lives of the people in the country they are working in.  Do they have no culpability in these failures?  And what of the consequent economic burdens on the Bahamian people because of the loans taken out in their name, who got little to nothing in return?

Did any of these IDB experts, or their Bahamian liaisons, have a reduced salary because of these failures?  So, truth be told, the only ones who have to pay the bill for these failures are the poor and working people of The Bahamas.

The exact group of people who has no say in the programmes, no say on the loans, no benefits from the failed programmes.  Sounds like a recipe for utter failure and true injustice.  How can any thinking individual think this is OK?

I would suggest that after the first round failures and the consequent poor results of the IDB’s Project Implementation Units to follow, there should have been the rethinking of the due diligence, for the sake of The Bahamas increasing debt obligations, in making sure the IDB wasn’t further burdening our country with more odious debt.

I believe that the Inter-Development Bank has also failed in a major and equal way.  As much as we have failed here in The Bahamas.  Either by accident or by design, these loans were ostensibly intended to help develop The Bahamas in a financially sustainable way.  In fact, where we are now, I believe, is in a decidedly worse place than we were before the IDB stepped in.

Now, we are taking out loans, big loans, for the sole purpose of paying the interest on the loans we’ve already taken out.  And now, at higher interest rates.  This is NOT sustainable.

The IDB experts know full well what Structural Adjustment Programmes and austerity measures will be put into place in The Bahamas if The Bahamas performs in the way they have, historically speaking.

Do they believe in miracles?

They know through experience, that with either a PLP New Day or an FNM People’s Time, the results do not change.  They say as much in their report.  We know politicians lie.  Is this wrong to say?

So, the IDB is going along with a scheme to put the people of The Bahamas under great financial, social, physical and psychological pain.  The experts at the IDB know all too well that the poorest among us will be paying the highest price for the sins of those who claimed they were representing us.

Those we voted into office.  They know full well that the austerity measures they will require the government of the The Bahamas to impose on our country will cripple our economy, and our standard of living.

Bahamians will suffer for the sins of those whom we elected to look after us, and for the sins of those we invited to our shores to help us out of this mess.  The IDB is not blameless.  They know poverty will increase in The Bahamas.

Another question I have, which I believe is pertinent, is why The Bahamas has any debt, at all?  Why does a country, that all the experts say is one of the richest in the Caribbean, not have a surplus of money?

After 50 years of independence, this is where we are as a country?  We are in so much debt that it is strangling our economy, destroying any hopes for national development, dashing the dreams of our youth and sending so many Bahamians into poverty.

Is this the best we can do?

With these thoughts, I am proposing that if The Bahamas and the IDB are serious about our future and the future of our children here in The Bahamas, that we begin a discussion asking the IDB and other lenders to completely forgive our existing debt.

Let me say it again, I believe we must ask the IDB and other lenders to completely forgive our debt.

At some point, we have to put people above money.  Given the existential economic threat posed by our indebtedness, and the all too real climate events unfolding upon us, is it really unreasonable, as decent human beings, as adherents to something called Christianity, that we ask for this debt forgiveness?

Is this asking too much of those who say they wish to help us?

The Bahamas simply cannot continue to see millions of dollars leave our shores each day solely to pay the interest on loans.  There is no way, absolutely no way, that The Bahamas can prepare itself for the expenses associated with mitigating the effects of sea level rise and future hurricanes, take care of our Bahamian people, and still make the outrageous and odious interest and principal payments coming due in the next few years to these financial institutions.

I am sick and tired of watching people all over the world suffer - terribly, innocent, hard working people, all because a handful of corrupt people couldn’t keep their hands out of the cookie jar.  It is not fair to punish a whole country for the crimes of a few politicians.  It is patently unChristian, let alone an affront to human decency to allow collective punishment, as we will soon experience, for the crimes of our ruling class.

At some point, the people of the world must stand up to the rulers.  Whether they are the rulers of their own country, or the heads of the big banks and transnational corporations.  It is way past time to truly put people’s lives and human decency first and foremost.

Debt forgiveness for The Bahamas – 2023

Saturday, September 2, 2023

The Bahamas needs long-term financial planning to address its climate vulnerability and economic dependence on tourism

“The Bahamas needs long-term financial planning to address its climate vulnerability and economic dependence on tourism,” says UN Independent Expert on foreign debt, international financial obligations and human rights

The Bahamas: UN expert calls for long-term financial planning to address climate change

Climate change The Bahamas

NASSAU (31 August 2023)- A UN expert today called on the international community to step up support for The Bahamas and small island States at high risk of natural disasters due to climate change.

“The Bahamas needs long-term financial planning to address its climate vulnerability and economic dependence on tourism,” said Attiya Waris, the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt, international financial obligations and human rights, in a statement at the end of a 10-day visit to the country.

Waris noted that The Bahamas’ high-income status limits its access to international financial institution loans and development aid.  “The reality is that they should be supported by the international community, including international financial institutions and development banks,” she said.

The expert urged The Bahamas and the international community to adopt a comparative indicator other than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, noting that the country has unique challenges that require more resources than most States, including a high cost of living and a constant risk of devastating climate-related disasters.

The Bahamas’ economy is heavily dependent on tourism, Waris said.  After five major hurricanes in the past decade, The Bahamas was most recently hit by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, which caused USD 3.4 billion in damage, nearly 25 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“The impact of Hurricane Dorian, COVID-19 and the decline in tourism was devastating for both the population and the country’s economy,” the expert said.  “The country is still repaying the debt incurred for reconstruction and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

The Independent Expert urged the Government to consider long-term economic planning that considers the consequences of climate change and explore the diversification of its economy to become less dependent on tourism, increase its food security and use local innovation.

“The collective responsibility of the international community towards climate change and its consequences should not be forgotten,” Waris said.

The expert will present her report to the Human Rights Council in March 2024.


Thursday, August 3, 2023

Bishop Walter S. Hanchell's Mistaken, Imprudent, and Apologetic Statements on LGBTQ+ Books in the Public Schools of The Bahamas

No LGBTQ+ Literature is in the Public Schools Curriculum of The Bahamas

No Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or sometimes questioning), Intersex, Asexual, and Others (LGBTQ+) Subjects are in Bahamian Public Schools

Bishop WS Hanchell  The Bahamas
I was called by Eyewitness News this afternoon to inform me that LGBTQ+ books are in public schools and to give a statement on this.

At first I was shocked then enraged. I asked the reporter to confirm this is true before I speak to it. He advised me that the Director of Education confirmed this at a Press Conference today held at the Office of the Prime Minister. I could not believe what my ears were hearing. Of course, I immediately condemned this.

Were parents and gurdians informed of this evil ungodly influence and lifestyle now being perpetuated on our children without parental consent? Is the Bahamas still a "Christian" nation or have we sold out to the world system?

How long was this in the making to indoctrinate our children with this lifestyle that the Holy Bible condemns?

Are Bahamians bold enough to stand up and fight against this and drive this wickedness out of our schools?

Did American culture and their ungodly laws on same sex marriage and gender confusion influence the decision of our political leaders to allow this trash into our schools?

The Bahamas College of Bishops and I'm sure the wider Christian community, will not allow LGBTQ+ culture and sexual perversion to be forced on our children. This is one fight we cannot and will not lose. Whatever it takes, these books will be removed from our schools forthwith and we will NOT allow our chidren to be exposed to such unblical ungodly teachings.

We will now see who the real church is. The fakes, misguided and compromised religious community will mow be exposed.

For Christ we live and for Christ we die.

Bishop WS Hanchell
Citizens For Justice
August 3, 2023

The Apology

Today a reporter called me requesting an interview after informing me that at a meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister, the Acting Director of Education made statements to the effect that LGBTQ+ teachings were in our pubic school system. He asked for a comment and I ASKED HIM TWICE, if he was certain about this. He said he was present.

I was taken aback, shocked and angered at these revelations and gave him my views opposing such a move. The mistake I made was believing without first confirming. I made a committment years ago to only speak truth and facts in the media. There's no defence for this.

I discovered a short while later that this was not true and after hearing the actual remarks, I realized that what he told me was not exactly true and may have been taking out of context.

When I realized the mistake, I immediately deleted all of the messages and apologized for my error. I also demanded that the interview I did be pulled from being aired. It appears that the message may have gone viral and I humbly ask anybody reading it to disregard, delete and not share it.

I apologize to all concern including, the Acting Director of Education, the Minister of Education and the Government of the Bahamas. I've learned a valuable lesson. Never be quick to speak and confirm facts before commenting on any issue.


Bishop Walter S. Hanchell

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

The Bahamas Lack Political Leadership

Bahamians are losing out in their country, The Bahamas

Former Minister of National Security A. Loftus Roker says that The Bahamas need to get serious about its illegal immigration crisis

‘This country lacks leadership’

Roker worried Bahamians increasingly marginalized

By Candia Dames, Executive Editor of The Nassau Guardian


A. Loftus Roker - The Bahamas
Former Minister of National Security A. Loftus Roker, who is still widely known for the tough stance he took against illegal immigration when he was minister responsible for immigration, said yesterday he remains concerned that Bahamians are losing out in their country, and lamented what he said is a lack of political leadership.

“When you have no more country, you see where you can go and claim anything,” said Roker, who was asked his views on the controversy surrounding the release of a large group of Chinese nationals found at the British Colonial Hotel without any legal status in The Bahamas earlier this year.

Minister of Immigration Keith Bell has said it was “unnecessary” to transport them to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, where individuals found to be in The Bahamas illegally are held.  According to Bell, the “irregularities” found at the work site “were expeditiously cured by the employer”.

Roker warned, “All I say is one day Bahamians will find we don’t have our own country.  That’s what I’m worried about.

“The country lacks leadership.  Imagine you had dozens of Chinese without work permits here.  How the hell did they get here? … How did we allow them to land?  We trying to fool ourselves.  We don’t have any leadership.  If you had leadership, you’d know what’s going on.  But what we are doing is keep postponing our problems.  That’s what we’re doing.”

Details surrounding how the Chinese nationals got in The Bahamas and whether they still are currently in country are unknown as Bell nor any other authority has yet to thoroughly explain the matter.

Meanwhile, it is understood that in Progressive Liberal Party circles there is widespread concern over the political impact the controversy ensnaring the immigration minister could have.

Roker wished not to comment directly on a statement made by Director of Immigration Keturah Ferguson in a correspondence to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Immigration Cecilia Strachan that “it also appears that the expatriate has more rights in The Bahamas than Bahamians”, but he said, “One thing for sure, we don’t believe in Bahamians.  Anybody else better than us.  All I’m saying is we lack leadership.”

Ferguson’s correspondence was sent a day after the Chinese were ordered released not long after the immigration exercise was conducted.

As reported in the media on Monday, Ferguson said in her correspondence that immigration officials received a directive from Bell to have the immigration officers stand down on the operation and that any breach will be remedied the following day.

Even as the firestorm over the immigration matter – including Bell’s swearing in of a family as citizens of The Bahamas during a funeral service last month – builds, Prime Minister Philip Davis has remained silent, with his office saying only that the facts are being gathered in respect of the various immigration issues at hand.

Meanwhile, a purported report to an immigration superior from the immigration officer who oversaw the January 17 exercise at the British Colonial was circulated on social media yesterday.

According to the document, only three of the 65 Chinese nationals found at the hotel were able to produce passports or identification for immigration officials, while all others claimed they had no passports in their possession and were unable to contact the people who may have them.

“On arrival at the hotel, we observed lighting and clothing hung in the windows of some of the rooms.  Shortly thereafter, we noticed an Asian male in the window of one of the rooms,” the document states.

“Based on this, we approached the security officer and advised him of our suspicions.  The officer attempted to obstruct us from entering the building and checking the status of the individual, therefore, I advised him under extreme caution that I was prepared to arrest him for obstruction and continued the execution of my duties.

“The officer then removed himself from the entrance and I instructed the officers to search the first floor of the building.”

The officer wrote, “In the initial search, the officers reported a total of 10 persons, but, after a more intense search, we were able to gather approximately 65 Chinese nationals.

“All subjects were asked to produce their passports and any other evidence of legal status.  Out of the 65 subjects, only three were able to produce passports or identification.

“All of the others claimed they had no passports in their possession and [were] unable to contact the persons who may have them.”

While he did not delve into the details emerging in relation to the various immigration controversies, Roker said yesterday there’s a need for The Bahamas to get serious about its illegal immigration crisis.