Archive for the ‘Around the Water Cooler’ Category

On Friday January 29th, the candidates for the Elizabeth Bye Election made it official. The showdown was on. While papers were being filed inside for the big fight on February 16th, it appears another fight was going on outside.

No, not between PLPs and FNMs with the BDM and NDP too small or insignificant to matter, but instead between the current FNM Chairman, Carl Bethel and his predecessor, Rev. Dr. Senator Johnlee Ferguson. Now I will say that I caught a bit of the discussion of the fight amongst some FNMs from a distance with my camera’s boom mic (no, I didn’t record it) so there may be some missing context to the exchange but clearly, the gist of the tiff came from the fact that the FNM were once again outnumbered and out performed by the PLP. It was almost like Junkanoo. Here is a paraphrased play by play as told to me by someone who was in a better position to hear:

Four cars and a boom box truck. That was the FNM's "motorcade" No wonder Johnlee was pissed.

Carl (on seeing the PLP crowd off in the distance): “Wow”

Johnlee: My God Carl, look at them! As if last night wasn’t bad enough (their rally that didn’t pack the usual crowds) but now you couldn’t even get a decent crowd out here man. What the hell you doing?

Carl (Turning RED): Excuse me? You can’t be talking to me. Are you talking to me about being ineffective?

Johnlee (Voice raised and now two inches from Carl’s face): I’m talking to the FNM Chairman who couldn’t outnumber the PLP. Look at that man. Look at that. What a disgrace.

Seeing the potential for a bigger scene, Zhivargo Laing stepped in between Carl and Johnlee and separated them, saying:

Laing: Come on gentlemen, you both know this is not the time and place for this. This is not the time nor place.

Dr. Death: "Oh crap, what did I get myself into now?"

Now for me, the priceless shot of the day was the look of abject terror and fear on the face of Dr. Death when he saw the PLP crowd streaming through the gates. Ryan Pinder walked over to shake his hand. I was half hoping that Ryan may have whispered in the good Dr.’s ear “thank you” but I know Ryan is too classy to go there.

Now we can pontificate from the exchange between Carl and Johnlee, which may not be a 100% accurate depiction of what happened, that all is not well with the FNM’s chairmen, past and present. I understand that the much hyped FNM rally on Prince Charles was a shadow of the PLP rally held the night before and that despite flying in a pile of FNMs from Grand Bahama and Andros and giving them all $150  for their troubles, that the crowd was still not what the party had expected. I doubt seriously that none of this would have mattered had the PLP not had the showing it had on Wednesday night and then again on Friday morning. What this says is that the PLP is building momentum in a sustained way and that the message of the PLP is starting to resonate in a big way.

Ah Lord, poor thing. Theo Farquharson flew all the way to Nassau to witness this

Now I’ve been made to understand from someone on that side that the motivation for Mr. Ferguson’s outburst is that in the likely event that Dr. Sands loses, the FNM will still find a way to get him into Cabinet as the new Minister of Health. Dr. Minnis is likely to go to Works as the word is Neko Grant or Ken Russell will step down as Minister as a prelude to retirement from politics, or that Dion Foulkes may be fired over a brewing controversy in his backyard. If that is the case, and there are limits to how many Senators can sit in Cabinet, Mr. Ingraham as leader of the FNM will put vaseline on the broom handle one more time for Johnlee Ferguson and remove him from the Senate to make way for Sands.

What a defeated looking bunch. I don't blame them though, the PLP had a massive crowd and they had...nada

Talk about self preservation. I’ve heard this story from friends on the scene in both the PLP and FNM and its very plausible. Of course, none of the parties involved will ever admit to it, just as the took the medicine at the FNM convention. And did I say the PLP crowds were massive?

Now I wouldn’t sit here and say that the entire crowd on Wednesday or Friday were made up entirely of residents of Elizabeth but a fair share of those people were in fact voters in the area. This is causing an even bigger alarm for the FNM as it is now an undeniable fact that the country is buying into what the PLP is saying and may be inclined to vote that way. Only time will tell.

By Dawn Demeritte

It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a school in Nassau so correct me if I’m wrong but school starts from 8:30-3:00 correct? If this is exact why are school children constantly on the road between these hours?

This is not to formally attack the youth of the nation or to expose the lack of action of the officials responsible; but to simply ask a question. Do you really expect the national average to improve when no one ensures that within the school hours that children are where they’re supposed to be?

I remember when I was younger and lived in Nassau; the cow would literally have to be flying over the moon for my parents to allow me to miss a day of school. I would have to literally cough up blood for them to understand that I was feeling under the weather and that school wasn’t an option. They always made sure that I was in school and a little fever or cough would not stop me. If I had dental appointments or doctor appointments they would either wait for the weekend or after school was done. I never had the luxury of missing school or leaving in the middle and coming back. No, that was not how I was raised. This explains why I get so irate when I’m driving around town and I see school children while school is in session outside of school, walking on the roads or simply wasting time.

My first reaction usually is to look at my watch and the clocks in the car just to confirm that my eyes are not deceiving me. After my initial shock, I proceed to turn down my window and ask them what’s the occasion and believe me it’s always a reason directed to the school officials letting them out early. Why is this? In a nation where it is obvious that our youth need more than special attention; why are we so relaxed on measures that ensure that they receive the proper attention?

What really grinds my gears isn’t the fact that laws aren’t in place to mend this problem; but like most laws in our country they are just there to make it seem as if we’re running a functional society. No one actually enforces them, and if asked- the police would probably have a puzzled look on their face, as if this isn’t a part of their job description. But believe it or not the problem of truancy affects us all-it might not be a problem such as crime that is in your face but it needs attention as well.

According to an article in Jones Bahamas, in 2006 it was reported that at least 61% of the prison population were truant in school; therefore this means that truancy indeed leads to a life of crime, which as we all know describes life in the Bahamas. However; this problem not only affects crime but it affects the national average that critics jump on every year when the topic of school arises. If these children aren’t in school, when mandatory exams arise how do we expect them to perform? We’re making them write these exams but we’re not making them attend school? Are our priorities that mixed up that we cannot see this crisis? Are we really more concerned about how our country appears to others rather than if the people in the country are educated enough to run it when the present administration is dead and gone?

Can we promote this instead of violence?

As much as there will be some Bahamians who will read this article and turn it into a political issue and immediately say, in 2006 the Progressive Liberal Party was in power and that’s something else they didn’t attend to-this is not a political issue. Because it is now 2009, almost 2010 and the problem has gotten worse; in fact we have already seen where the current administration interest lies when it comes to the youth of this country; they would rather fix roads so their cars do not have to be constantly repaired. Do not for one second believe that any party deserves a pat on their back because as it stands they have all failed the youth of our nation.

Don’t be no fool stay in school!

Bannister's task will be to address issue of too many students OUTSIDE of school

Research shows that in 2006 there were 8 attendance officers responsible for school attendance in the 152 public schools. It is now 2009 and the website hasn’t been updated to show that there are more attendance officers-if there are perhaps the Ministry of Education would like to update their records. If we as a country were really serious about the problem of truancy there would be at least 2 attendance officers devoted to a school. In any event in the Ministry of Education’s 10 year plan, which was updated on August 11th 2009 one of the short objectives is to increase the number of school attendance officers. Which is ultimately a good idea but wouldn’t it be a better idea to inform the public of how many there are? When you’re throwing out numbers for the public to believe that your ministry has been working it is wise to have evidence or else we’ll know that once again you’re taking us for fools.

The point of the matter is the problem first starts at home; too many children are having children so when it comes to disciplining children, informing them right from wrong and ensuring that school is top priority, the parents aren’t doing their jobs. Because they are children they shouldn’t be placed in the position to make grown up decisions but teenage pregnancy is another issue for another day. However, there is only so much a parent can do; if they are dropping their children to school and their children decides they are going to ditch school the parent cannot possibly be blamed. The people who the blame now falls on are the government. Why are these children allowed to roam freely when they should be in school? Proper programmes should be put in place that if caught these children are sent to either the boys or girls industrial schools; or as it was in 1922 the parents should be subjected to a fine. It is one thing to have attendance officers but it’s another thing to make sure there are actual solutions to the problems and these people aren’t just getting placed in the positions just to have a job.

Come on leaders, it should be clear by now that most of our youth have no real interest in going to school. If crime was a legitimate career that is where they would be; as a nation we need to be able to steer them in the right direction otherwise we will be breeding criminals. In a nation where teenage pregnancy is so high it is more than obvious that our youths need direction. It is up to us to enforce the law; truancy isn’t just an educational problem but a social and law enforcement issue. Can we at least get it right for the youths?

Classrooms must have been relocated to the streets.

Hubert's shaking up things again.

If you thought Mr. Ingraham was done shuffling his deck already with the move of Desmond Bannister to Minister of Education and the upgrade of Charles Maynard at Youth, Sports and Culture, think again.

The word around the water cooler is that Mr. Ingraham is about to put his most controversial shuffle into action very soon, perhaps within a month or two of coming into the new year. I call it controversial because some of the moves will be seen as a direct reaction to the barrage of criticisms his party has justifiably earned in running this country. The other moves will be pure politics that can go either way for Mr. Ingaham, who is now almost certainly getting ready for an elections, maybe as early as 2011.

So let the speculation begin!

Back to Ministry of Works?

Tommy Turnquest: Tommy’s death warrant as Minister of National Security has been signed, last rites have been read and he has been marched to the gallows. The only thing left to do is for Mr. Ingraham to pull the lever so we can be done with the worst episode in Bahamian history as far as crime fighting is concerned. Ingraham realizes now that with almost the same force, the situation was different and because Tommy allowed Reginald Ferguson to do certain things detrimental to the Force’s ability to curb violent crime, he had to go. Plus Tommy did not play a good hand and with the public outcry for his head growing louder and louder, Papa is smart enough to give the crowd what it wants. Tommy is fired already and he knows it. I won’t say its this little old blog that contributed to Tommy’s “exclusive” with the Tribune but you have to admit, three or four stories pointing out how brain dead and clueless he is about crime didn’t hurt. Now before you go feeling sorry for OAT Turnquest, know this much. Tommy will be shuffled to the throw away ministry in the Ingraham Cabinet. It’s the place Ingraham sends his flunkies with the rationale being “nobody is that dumb to mess up the Ministry of Works”.

But what happens to Neko Grant, the last flunky to land at MOW? It gets better.

Grant to Hubert: "Me? Minister of Where? Smells Fishy to Me."

Neko Grant: Grant is a biggety boy when it comes to doing his work. Too bad, his bullying has little in common with his competence. As Minister of Works, he has surpassed all expectations as far as his unsuitability is concerned. Nothing he has been given responsibilities for has gone right. Put simply, if the guy can’t fix a traffic light, what else can we expect? Grant gets to go back to being what he knows best, bullying and will do so with a Minister’s title. The FNM will create the Ministry of Grand Bahama Affairs,with Neko as the first Minister. This idea was thrown out in Grand Bahama as a blatant sweetener for Grand Bahamian voters to give the FNM another go as the dominant party on that island. So, Ingraham is holding this development as a trump card to play because he now realizes Nassau is almost certainly a loss cause with two, maybe three seats considered “safe”. So Grand Bahama is getting its Minister in Grant. Thats the “good” news. The bad news is that in reality, there is nothing said Minister or Ministry can do to actually help the people of Grand Bahama as long as there is a Grand Bahama Port Authority in place. This is purely political because Neko will be given the tools and resources to effectively use his blue plate as the FNM’s seal of approval for things in the “Ports.” I like to think of it as Neko being a minister without portfolio but a whole lot of power to do certain things for certain people. If I’m him, I’m happy as a pig in mud and he should be. The staff, in particular those at the senior level at the MOW will be happy to see Neko gone and have Tommy back. Tommy will have the chance to rehabilitate his image in that post. Not much of a chance, but still, a chance.

Now here is where it gets really interesting for the PM. Mr. Ingraham, according to the prognosticators and pontificators, will add to his already overweight portfolio, the responsibility for National Security. Knowing Ingraham’s autocratic, dictatorial style, the impact will be immediate and positive, if only in the short term. Ingraham’s tact of using fear as a motivation will work for a time but with Police officials at the breaking point with this government, unless he brings some real ideas and resolutions to the table, that don’t include his regular sweetener of throwing more money at the feet of the police to buy their support, ain’t nothing happening. I won’t bet against Ingraham in this new post because he has the advantage of calling elections when he thinks the coast is clear and our money to keep things up in the air.

You Mean he gets to move up to the grown ups table?

Zhivargo Laing: Where our PM does miss his step is in the final move in the shuffle. We hear that Laing, the same Laing who has been double talking, dragging his feet and at times telling tall tales about our economy that anyone with an internet connection and ten minutes could easily refute will become the full Minister of Finance. Yes, as if messing up as a junior Minister of Finance wasn’t bad enough, Mr. Laing gets a shot at the grown ups table. Now this can go either way and is by far the biggest gamble Mr. Ingraham will be making since foolishly putting Neko Grant as Minister of Tourism. If Laing tries to coast and continue with his know it all, make it up as you go approach that when proven wrong, results in him trying to discredit international institutions relied upon by 99.9999999% of the world for its financial reviews and ratings, we’ll be in for an even rougher patch. If Laing puts his “move Vargo to the front of the line” campaign to become one of the names in the hat to replace Mr. Ingraham as leader, and actually starts listening more than he talks and comes clean about the mess we are in financially and comes up with a plan to fix it while putting people back to work on real permanent jobs, he should be fine. Don’t count on that second option being his first choice though.

Right now, the FNM is in “win at all cost” mode and this rumored shuffle is Mr. Ingraham’s first of several moves to try and position the FNM for an early elections. His gamble is that if he can reverse the tide, if only temporarily, that may be the opening he needs to say “things are better, lets go to the polls.” The only thing the cagy PM may not be considering with this move is that last time we went to the polls, Perry Christie was thinking and saying the same thing, with an actual real economy going and we saw how that turned out.

Of course, this is all speculation and idle chatter around the water cooler that we heard when nobody thought we were listening.

By Joette Penn

For a while now the PLP Member of Parliament of Elizabeth Malcolm Adderley has been somewhat of a conundrum.  Well now rumor has it that Mr. Adderley may be accepting an appointment to the bench from Rt. Hon Hubert Ingraham and vacating his seat.  This move would create the need for a bye election.  As we would all recall Mr. Adderley accepted the invitation of Mr. Ingraham to become the Chairman of the Gaming Board a couple of years ago.  He was one of the few, if not the only PLP to keep or obtain a position under the Ingraham administration.  Well you may count Kenyatta Gibson but he changed sides before he got his position.  So this all makes me wonder what makes Malcolm Adderley so special to the Prime Minister that he thought to keep him around. HMMM…. Interesting.

PLP Member of Parliament for Elizabeth Malcolm Adderley

Now while Mr. Adderley did win his seat in Parliament as a member of the Progressive Liberal Party it would seem that he has been only half way loyal to that party for ages now.  Although I am not one to blindly follow party lines myself but Mr. Adderley’s behavior has been a bit much.  Well it seems that it is decision time for Mr. Adderley.  We will all know soon enough if the rumors are true or not.

Now here is my humble, uninformed guess.  Keep in mind I am no politician.  If Mr. Ingraham gives Mr. Adderley a seat on the bench and a bye election is called.  That could be Mr. Ingraham’s way of testing the political waters.  As we all know things are not going very well for this particular Ingraham administration and this time they cannot hide their inadequacies.  In previous administrations Mr. Ingraham was able to use his forcefulness, ruthlessness and his excellent ability to relate to the majority of the Bahamian people to hide his shortfalls as a leader.  Let’s not forget the clever sound bites that he comes up with. But as we all may have learned a recession and out of control crime is a great skirt raiser.  It will separate the capable from the clueless in a New York minute.

Now if the FNM were to win a bye election Mr. Ingraham could use that momentum to call a snap election.  If the PLP wins a bye election (fingers crossed) then Mr. Ingraham will have to go back to the drawing board and pull a rabbit out of his hat in time for 2012.  It would become incumbent on the PLP to keep the momentum of any win they may get going.  If the PLP wins the count in the house of assembly would remain as is.  If the FNM wins they would expand their majority by one.  Keep in mind though that we are talking about Hubert Ingraham here and only he knows when the next general elections will be called.

However the cookie crumbles. Get your pompoms and your paraphernalia ready.  Go down by Errol dem on Farrington Road and get yourself registered.  Just make sure you don’t run into Keith or Tricks. It looks like it may be GO  TIME.

They sending who? The man don't have one decent photo on the net and this who they sending? Oh yeah, forgot the money truck bringing him.

The PLP has to make sure that the errors, personalities and failed strategies of the last elections are not pulled out the bag again and I’m kind of feeling like they have learnt that lesson. Let’s hope so. Of course, having Ryan Pinder as a potential candidate with the political pedigree that Ryan has doesn’t hurt, especially when you see who the FNM is sending. Our guess is they will be sending the money truck right behind their candidate to pull this one out.

That is if the rumors are true, of course.

Andrew Burrows, Bahamian Citizen since 1970

Vince Lombardi, the old Green Bay Packers legend famously said that “winning isn’t everything, its the only thing.” He said it, his Packers believed it and win they did. It seems the FNM is desperately trying to borrow a page from the legend’s playbook with one critical element not in place.

Too bad the FNM can't play football.

The Packers of that era knew what they were doing, were talented to a man, had a leader with the vision and the charisma and the smarts to lead them and most importantly, a game plan. The FNM has no such luck, relying mostly on the charisma of their leader and his ability to convince Bahamians that being a tough talking meanie is the same thing as being an effective leader. I suppose you can’t blame Ingraham for trying, especially if there are still more of us willing to buy that bridge to Andros he has been selling. But there comes a time when the irresistible force, thats Hubert, meets the immovable object. In the PLP, it seems the immovable object in Ingraham’s path is non other than newly re-installed Chairman Bradley Roberts.

Since coming to office, Bradly Roberts has been beating the FNM like they stole something from him. Almost daily, the FNM has woken up to expect the prolific Roberts peppering them with real live criticisms, revelations and bombshells exposing their corrupt practices and meeting the biggest bullies in the FNM in the sand box with a can of whoop ass in his back pocket. The FNM put Carl Bethel’s punishment for wrong doing to dual use by making him Chairman but so far, Carl has been ineffective and fumbling badly.

We couldn't make this stuff up

The latest blunder was the recent press release where the FNM’s Communications Unit, if there was such a thing, attempted to throw a low blow at Roberts by posting on the party’s website a statement that said amongst other things that Bradley

Roberts Should Have Stopped, Reviewed & Cancelled Alleged Rape”

Wow. And that was just the headline. The statement went on to offer up this libel lawyer’s wet dream: “Instead of berating the Police and Commissioner Ferguson for having done their job — and prattling the PLP propaganda line about “stop, review and cancel” — we would suggest that, in hindsight, the embarrassing matter might have been totally avoided if Mr. Roberts had displayed the good sense to “stop, review and cancel” his own alleged intention to have sex with a woman against her will.”

That is the actual quote from the official press release from the Free National Movement’s Communications Unit, posted on the party’s official website. It is not something that came from some rabid supporter and posted on an ultra FNM blog or site like Bahamas Issues. No. It was there as a lead article on the party’s website, no doubt with the blessing and quite possibly involvement of the new Chairman Carl Bethel. It is interesting to note that Mr. Bethel was included in a note by a group of FNMs calling themselves Voices Bahamian that featured a cartoon of a caveman with his newly acquired conquest and some comment about Bradley Roberts’ dating habits.

Ha ha, hee hee, boo freaking hoo.

Roberts to the FNM: "Them be Fighting Words"

So this is the response from the government when confronted with real live facts from a real live party chairman. Okay then. Well, Roberts had a response himself and in an eight minute, 12 second audio recording that was sent out on Monday as well as a press release,Press Statement Bradley Roberts Respons to FNM Dec 7th 2009 Roberts set the story straight, spoke on the FNM’s motivation for this bush league response and assured the FNM that his lawyers will be getting crazy paid for the libel we quoted above. For those fence sitters who say we need intelligent dialogue whenever the PLP shoves some cold hard facts down the FNM’s throats, consider this FNM press release all the evidence you need to know that the red side of the fence is not where it’s at.

by Fred Moss, Bahamian patriot, PLP and Freeport's own straight talker

In his note, Saturday Dec.5,2009, George Knowles advance a quote from Charles Dickens Tale of two Cities. “It was the best of times , It was the worst of times.” To my friend George I now say, “Half the story is yet untold”

Saturdays for me is do nothing day. Unfortunately, for a married man, things don’t work out as planned.

This Saturday’s interruption by the wife was because of garbage.

In today’s Bahamas, for reasons best known to others, people no longer have respect for another person’s property nor down time.

This afternoon, my garbage bins were over-flowing with more F.N.M. bad news.

When is enough enough?

How can the F.N.M. be so heartless? Churchchill T.Knowles, a Bahamian National Hero and Hall of Fame recipient, who has given his youth, time and talent to the development of sports in this country is now being given the shaft.

In his old age, when he should be relaxing and enjoying what’s left of life, he’s being cast aside for the selfish greed of a few. At a time and age when he should be enjoying himself without a care in the world , his very livilihood is being yanked from under him .

This Stinks To High Heaven!

For a number of years now, Churchchill’s company ( Five Whells ) had the contract for the repair and maintence of Betelco’s vehicles. For he and his family, this was the only source of income. For Churchchill, it’s now the worst of times, as his only source of income is being taken away by an uncaring government.

Based on reports, this is not the first time members of this government have tried to take food out of the mouth of Mr. Knowles.

Allegedly, some years ago, the Minister of Works Neko Grant owned a car repair facility which is now closed. During this period, an attempt was made to divert Batelco’s contract from Five Wheels to this company.

Now here’s the rub. It has been alleged, that Batelco’s contract is being awarded to a French Canadian by the name of Le’Blanc. Once again, a qualified Bahamian is being pushed aside.

As if this is not bad enough, speculation on the streets is that Mr. Le’Blanc has neither the experience or the facility to honor this contract.

Now’s here’s where this whole mess becomes very interesting.

Based on my sources, Zhivargo Laing’s department (sic ) has responsibility for the issuance of this contract. It is being speculated, that once Mr.Le’Blanc is awarded the contract, Minister Grant’s car repair facility will re-open.

Now follow the bouncing ball.

Word is, Zhivargo Laing is in search of a safe seat as his chances of retaining Marco City are slim to nil. It is being speculated that during the next election, Neko Grant will decline the nomination in his ‘safe’ Lucaya seat to save Zhivargo Laing.

Question: Is the Batelco contract  payment for the Lucaya seat?