IS ANYBODY HOME IN THE FNM??

Posted: August 21, 2013 in General Delivery

The Bahamas has been under attack in the media and in South Florida recently over the issues of Cubans who were caught ILLEGALLY in our country.

There have been groups, specifically in South Florida, that have chastised the government of the Bahamas for sending those illegal Cubans back to Cuba. In particular, Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican favourites for the 2016 US Presidential elections and who needs the Cuban American vote to retain his Senate seat in November, has written a letter in protest to the Bahamas government.

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio may say and may do anything to be re elected. He is being politically correct by lashing out at the Bahamas because he needs the Cuban American vote.

It is expected that Cuban Americans will support their countrymen. But, why then, does the Bahamas opposition party FNM and its leader not support the Bahamas? The Bahamas government has not done anything wrong. The fact is, those Cubans were here ILLEGALLY. The fact is, Panama never offered asylum. The fact is, when illegal immigrants are caught, and unless other arrangements are made for them to go elsewhere, they are deported back home. Why did the USA not offer them asylum, Mr Rubio? The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that if any country offered asylum he would deport the illegal Cubans the next day!

The FNM has accused the government of covering up an alleged incident in which Cuban detainees were abused by being beaten while in custody after attempting to escape. A video was produced purporting to be a video tape of the incident. Clearly, the video was false. But, the FNM claims the video was just a “re-enactment” of the incident, and, that the government knows that it was.

The government has launched an investigation into the matter and this was acknowledged even by the US Senator Marco Rubio. And, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas has said that anyone who abused detainees will be prosecuted.

The FNM and their Leader appear to be on the side of the illegal Cubans. It has always been admired and respected throughout the world that America always comes to the defense of their citizens. Most countries do. But for the FNM and their Leader to even give the appearance that they are supporting another group against their country in an effort to damage the reputation and good name of their country is a matter that deserves scrutiny and punishment. Voters must not forget this and the FNM and their Leader must be made to pay the price at election time for such ill advised position.

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Dr Hubert Minnis will go down as the worst interim leader the FNM has ever had, no better than little Tommy Turnquest as interim leader.

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Kendal V. O. Major, MP is the Speaker of the Honourable House of Assembly of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. And the Speaker, we must recognize, wields the ultimate authority of the House of Assembly in session.

A few points of education must be noted so that those who write as journalists should know the rules of the House and the authority vested in the Speaker of the House according to those rules.

Nothing that the Honourable Mr Speaker Kendal V. O. Major has done in the last two sittings of the House goes against long-standing practice.

Kendal Major MR SPEAKER

According to the UK Parliamentary Website:

The Speaker has full authority to make sure MPs follow the rules of the House during debates. This can include:
directing an MP to withdraw remarks if, for example, they use abusive language (or unsubstantiated by facts)
suspending the sitting of the House due to serious disorder
suspending MPs who are deliberately disobedient – known as naming
asking MPs to be quiet so Members can be heard
Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, an authority on the parliamentary rule system which the Bahamas parliament relies, states that, “Subject to the rules of order in debate, a member may state whatever he thinks fit in debate, however offensive it may be to the feelings, or injurious to the character, of individuals; and he is protected by his privilege from any action for liable, as well as from any other question or molestation.”

The rule of order in the debate requires that the Member presents facts, and particularly when called upon to do so by the Speaker.

And no matter how political pundits attempt to twist the rule or the right of the Speaker to allow comment or to decide to expunge a comment, it is in the Speaker’s right to do so if a members contribution violates another members privilege and no facts are presented.

In the recent case where the Leader of the Opposition was named, the Speaker asked the Opposition Leader to present facts or withdraw the statement.

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in Parliament named a prominent citizen for allegedly “bouncing cheques written to the Treasury” when questioned about cheques written to the Treasury and signed by Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson.

Hubert FROGGY Ingraham was brutal in using his privilege as a Member of Parliament to call out or embarrass members of Parliament and private citizens.

Is there anybody home with the door crack that would recall the Speaker at the time, Madam Speaker Rome Italia Johnson expunging a comment made by Ingraham against a private citizen?

Why then, the double standard applied to the current Speaker? If Madam Speaker Rome Italia Johnson was well within her authority, then so is Mr Speaker Honourable Kendal V. O. Major.

According to the test scores for the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCE), results fell this year compared to 2012. The average math grade is an E and the average English grade is a D. Are the children dumb and only making “D”? I think not.

Minister of Education, Hon Jerome Fitzgerald said he is not satisfied with student’s declining scores, particularly in Math. The good news is the Minister and his ministry is in the final stages of drafting a proposal for a standardized diploma which will set the benchmark for high school students for graduation. If you meet the standard you graduate.

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It is believed that the Minister has it right. Not all students are good at taking exams. And, if students follow a path on their education from a timely age, they would have better results into moving into a career; at least they would have a life long path that involved some learning. Certainly employers would have a better tool to evaluate the potential of a prospective employee other than a failing exam grade which may not be reflecting the true potential.

Many of our students are good at computers, using cell phone data, creative in music, dance and other entertainment forms. Good at craft skills including cooking … just plain creative in many untested, unrecognized areas.

The Minister said that “fifty percent of our students are doing well, even as much as 70 percent depending on how you look at it, but we really need to find strategies to deal with the other 30 percent.”

Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC), which test students knowledge at the end of the 9th grade show that 69 percent received grades between A and C. These results tell a story of their own. Something happens from grade 9 to graduation. It is the age at which students become distracted with the internet and other social activities. It is a time when parental focus, which is usually missing, is required.

All of this requires that those in the teaching profession would double down on their efforts and that the other stakeholders (parents, the community) need to be more involved. This is separate and apart from what the Ministry and the government can do. The government provides the funding to the tune of millions. It is time for other stakeholders to play a more active role.

The Minister is on the right track.

A Chinese Bahamian has his say to Hubert Ingraham
By Carter Yuen Lee Wong

It was shocking to read a letter from the former Prime Minister of the Bahamas where he extended “personal apologies” to the government of the People’s Republic of China.

In China, we have a culture of protocol and respect. We pride ourselves on being a highly disciplined culture are what we do is never to offend anyone. We seldom mingle in the internal affairs of any country. We only want to do business.

What the Bahamian people should know is that your former Prime Minister did not make it easy for us to do business in the Bahamas on the Baha Mar project. In many cases, we thought of pulling out of the deal. It is only because the good cordial relationship that we established with the Izmirlian group that we continued on.

At one point, it got so bad that when it was time to sign the agreement with the Izmirlian group the Chinese government officials agreed with the Izmirlian group to meet in Miami to sign because the former prime minister and his government presented so many road blocks to the deal it would have never been done.

So, with all that said, we don’t need no apology from the former prime minister. While in Chinese culture we are seldom rude, as a Chinese-Bahamian on the Bahamian side the former prime minister could go fly a kite.

And, as a former prime minster he should not be using information that he would be privy to as a prime minister to embarrass the current government. That is why in ancient China we beheaded the rulers of some dynasties as a new dynasty took over.

Carter Yuen Lee Wong
Nassau, Bahamas.
August 15, 2013

Writing in the daily newspapers on Monday August 12, 2013, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham stated that “I have found the present government’s efforts to unilaterally and in a very public way revisit terms contained in the heads of agreement between the government and Baha Mar especially worrisome.”  Upon reading this I laughed myself to shock and fell weak.

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Was this the same Hubert Ingraham who took office in 2007 and set in motion a series of “STOP, REVIEW AND CANCEL” policy that forced the Bahamian economy into recession and caused the recession to be the worst ever in the history of the Bahamas? 

Was this the same Hubert Ingraham who took office in 2007 and practically ran the joint venture partner for the Baha Mar project out of town because of his reckless and irresponsible statements made in the Parliament of the Bahamas?

Was this the same Hubert Ingraham who, because of the uncooperative attitude of his government forced Baha Mar and the Chinese to sign their agreement in Miami and not invite the government, perhaps aware of Mr Ingraham’s effort to sabotage the deal; an effort believed by many to be the wishes of Sol Kerzner?

Was this the same Hubert Ingraham who changed the I-Group deal … cancelled and rewrote the Heads of Agreement and give away land to a foreign investor in a new “bad” deal?

No, when it comes to the issue of payment for the Baha Mar road works, Hubert Ingraham has no credibility. Readers, this is the same Hubert Ingraham whose government paid over $100m in cost overruns on the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NP – RIP off)! 

Now, Hubert Ingraham is advocating that the government should pay more than the value of the road works when clearly, the agreement says that less may be payable.

What interest does Mr Ingraham have for such costly overruns to be paid? Again, like a drunken sailor, Hubert Ingraham is no good for the Bahamas if he is in fact saying pay more than what is owed without reviewing the bill.

It is no surprise then that this is the Hubert Ingraham that had thousands of dollars paid out to NIB Managers.  The same Hubert Ingraham that had a Minister complicit in the payment of funds out of the Ministry of Tourism and the same Hubert Ingraham who allegedly told NIB to pay $1500 to an electrical contractor to change a light bulb! The nerve of THAT MAN!!! He should hang his head in shame and remain quiet.

NOT THE SANCTION…….LOL!!

Posted: August 12, 2013 in General Delivery

So in the latest episode of the Dr. Minnis Reality Show, Edison Key is supposedly going to be sanctioned by the FNM.  Now when one or at least I think of the word sanction the United Nations some other international organization comes to mind, certainly not the FNM.  Anyway, an FNM source tells the press that they think that Mr. Key remaining in the House of Assembly while the other FNM MPs revolted and left “would not go gently into the good night.”  According to the same article Dr. Minnis himself had no comment.  The fact that Dr. Minnis had no comment is a good thing, LOL.

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Edison Key is a gentleman that holds a good hand in politics at present.  He is a man of advanced age, who is said to be very wealthy and the FNM needs his seat but the PLP Leader and PM has said that he is welcomed back to the PLP anytime. If I were someone in that position I would do what I wanted to do as well.  What people should understand is the Edison Key is a former PLP who made a deal to join the FNM with another former PLP, Hubert Ingraham.  Now that Hubert Ingraham has resigned from politics who exactly in the FNM parliamentary group can Edison Key identify with, well beside Theo Neilly who is also a former PLP but they are years apart.  Mr. Key himself said that “they don’t tell me anything” showing that there is some discord in the FNM parliamentary group towards him.  It is funny that  Dr. Minnis, who says he was fighting for democracy, should have a problem with Edison Key clearly demonstrating his democratic right to choose to support the bill being debated in the House of Assembly instead of support the antics when Dr. Minnis is clearly only pandering to the FNM base.

Before his untimely death the former chairman of the FNM told the press that the current leadership (Minnis and Butler-Turner) of the FNM had about 12 to 18 months to prove themselves.  If you are counting you would note that that time is approaching.  One most not just look at PLP vs FNM but also include the fact that Minnis is trying to avoid opposition at any upcoming convention that must be held before the next general election.  Dr. Minnis does not want to end up like his predecessor Hon. Tommy Turnquest who was blindsided by Hon. Hubert Ingraham in the 2005 FNM convention for leadership of the party.  It would seem from what occurred at the ‘Red Alert’ event that Dr. Minnis and his Deputy Loretta Butler Turner have decided to go after self preservation within their party.  It is the only explanation for Mrs. Turner making a complete 180 degree turn with regards to her support of the Stem Cell Research Legislation.  Mrs. Turner and the FNM even went as far at to say that the FNM campaign has begun.

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I suggest to you that Dr. Minnis is trying to put together an army of loyalists, not so much for the next general elections but for the next general convention of the Free National Movement.  It is good strategy and more than I expected of him but will it work against the former PM.  I am not a conspiracy theorist but I do not think that we have seen the last of the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham.  Let us not forget that the only reason that Mr. Ingraham is not in the House of Assembly today is because he is a fair weather leader.  He was not prepared to be the Leader of the Opposition with only 9 seats against the Progressive Liberal Party and have to spend five years defending his bad decisions and horrible policies so he resigned from his seat after resigning as leader of the FNM on the night of elections.  But the fact that he pops into the mainstream media from time to time giving his ‘opinion’ on current events gives rise to the notion that he would consider a return. Remember that in 2002 until he won leadership of the FNM he hardly ever graced the House of Assembly with his presence.

Dr. Minnis has a mammoth task ahead of him to keep leadership of the FNM and then if successful at that to try to beat the Progressive Liberal Party.  However it is not so easy for the Progressive Liberal Party either who tend to quickly lose touch with the people when they ascend into power.  The PLP has to go back into semi campaign mode and get organized and on watch politically.  They also have to realize that as in their last term when The Bahamas was doing exceptionally well under their watch, the Bahamian people have to feel and see what you are doing for them and not just the common cause, the  intangibles. It is quite easy for a carrot of scandal (real or made up) to be dangled before the electorate and they lose focus.  Every single Member of Parliament in the House of Assembly and former candidates of the Progressive Liberal Party has to be prepared to “keep their seat hot” to stay in their constituencies and keep watch.  It is imperative that the PLP remains in power in 2017, the country cannot afford another Ingraham term in office.

As for Mr. Key some people think that he would be a good candidate to give up his seat to Mr. Ingraham should he want to return but for me that remains to be seen.  What is evident is that Mr. Key at present, ‘ain on the FNM and Dr. Minnis run’ as we say and does whatever he pleases which these days seems to be to support what the PLP is doing.  However it works out, those of us who love politics should find all of this very interesting and entertaining.

So Dr. Hubert Minnis and the Free National Movement decided to use the stem cell research debate in the House of Assembly to gain some political mileage.  This is a move that was stupid in my opinion because it served to show just how ill equipped Dr. Minnis is to lead a political organization.  It brings to mind the tenure of their former leader Hon. Tommy Turnquest. who too was heavily supported by Mr. Ingraham for leader of the FNM, no doubt because he would be easy to beat should Mr. Ingraham want to return. Dr. Minnis made a spectacle of himself in recent weeks asserted wrongdoing by the PLP and Peter Nygard.  Dr. Minnis made statements in the House of Assembly which he did not substantiate and did not want to withdraw after being asked repeatedly by the speaker.  It all came to a head yesterday when Dr. Minnis was named.  Dr. Minnis released a statement emphatically supporting stem cell research but took issue with the perceived “relationship” between PLP members of parliament and Peter Nygard and Dr. Porter.

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Dr. Minnis of all people should realize that the road he is now treading on is a two way street.  He cannot allege impropriety by the Progressive Liberal Party when he is now the leader of the Free National Movement.  The party of the Aga Khan, BTC, and Arawak Cay Port scandals to name a few.  We all remember Earl Deveaux “riding dirty” on the Aga Khan’s helicopter and the former PM admitting that he and the Aga Khan’s grandchildren played together.  All this while the Aga Khan wanted to dredge in the protected Land and Sea Park.  We all recall that the last administration made Mr. Saadat the regulator at URCA which at the time would make the decision on C&W, Mr. Saadat former employer to buy BTC.  However,  Dr. Minnis to his credit is obviously trying his best to gain cheap political points and it would reflect badly on the sitting government if he is successful in doing so.  In my personal opinion this argument of supposed party benefactors lobbying for their causes is as weak as water.  Dr. Minnis was given ample time to bring proof of his claims to the House of Assembly but did not do so (at least not up to the time that this was written).

How is it that Dr. Minnis can assert that he is fighting for democracy when the truth of the matter is that his party has it’s own doorstep to clean. All of this coming from the man who said nothing when BTC was sold under scandalous circumstances, this from the man who was apart of the team that granted a select group of people a lengthy exclusivity deal to the Arawak Cay port in a country in imports almost everything that it consumes. This coming from the man who approved a stem cell research facility knowing full well the The Bahamas had no legislation or regulations to govern it.  How is it that now that he is in opposition or on the outside looking in (like the lady in the door crack video)  he has become so courageous that the depth of democracy in The Bahamas now suddenly means something to him.

The Free National Movement, no Dr. Minnis, is out to gain political mileage within his party and with the Bahamian people.  It was a good attempt at political public relations but alas it falls flat with any  thinking person that does not have memory issues.  The fact of the matter is that Dr. Minnis will more than likely get dumped by the Free National Movement before the next general elections.  It serves to reason that the FNM will seek stronger, more competent leadership.  Now whether that means that Mr. Ingraham will have another resurgence or Branville McCartney reenters the picture or whether they choose from amongst themselves, Hubert Minnis is NOT in a fight for democracy but to save himself and show himself strong and competent as Leader of the FNM.   Sadly he could not even do that because of the 8 of them only 7 bought into his shenanigans.

The lesson in this entire tragic display by Dr. Minnis for the Progressive Liberal Party is that in the modern Bahamas campaigning does not end the day you win an election, the campaign only changes.  In this day and age it is important to stay in touch with the electorate and to use every avenue to get your the message out and to stay on message.  Dr. Minnis’ reality show episode today should be a wake up call to all on the governing side to shape up their political and public relations efforts.  After Hubert Minnis was named a statement attributed to him hit the internet almost immediately along with an invitation to join him at a Red Alert rally……..hmmmmm, sounds planned to me.  Lest we forget at the onset Minnis’ own deputy Loretta Butler Turner said that he confused her but I guess she was clued in to what was going to happen because she decided to tow the party line.  This after she said how ‘progressive’ the stem cell legislation was in the press.  She was not alone, steady hands himself, Dr. Duane Sands also publicly backed the legislation.  Now that it seems that the FNM have began the campaign to 2017 or at least to their next convention,  I wonder what happens next on the Dr. Minnis reality show.  I am staying tuned.

Loretta