Bahamas Blog International
Bahamas General Election 2007... The Time is Near
Related to country: Bahamas
Time is running out -
The Nassau Guardian:
Nassau, Bahamas -
Five parliamentarians said their good-byes in the House of Assembly Wednesday as that Chamber suspended for the Easter break. However, it might have been prudent for others to have said good-bye as well because there is a real possibility that many of the current MPs have been in there for the last time as members.
There is a real possibility that the House will not meet again in session and will be dissolved by April 11, making it possible for a May 2 general election, as indicated earlier by Prime Minister Perry Christie. And in the event the Senate were to meet this coming week to deal with the several bills passed by the House, that possibility will loom even larger.
The fact that the Progressive Liberal Party has scheduled a rally for Clifford Park on April 11 gives further credence to the belief that the Provost Marshall would have already read the proclamation that morning dissolving the House and issuing the writ announcing the date for the general election.
There is nothing now to stand in the way. The Boundary changes have been made, a number of constituencies have been re-named and both major political parties have selected the candidates that will be contesting the 41 seats. But that notwithstanding, the time for guessing at when the elections will be held is fast running out and it is coming to the point where the date has to be given. No one, particularly in the PLP ranks, would want May 22 to come without any decision being made.
Despite the fact that some people are saying the PLP and the FNM are one and the same, that there are no philosophical or ideological differences, at the end of the day the government will be either one or the other. At this time those are the two entrenched parties, the parties with which the majority of the voters can identify and will support.
Leaders of the third party, the Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM) say they will contest the majority of the seats, in their attempt to win the government. That is commendable but unless those proposed candidates have been doing a tremendous amount of work on the ground and are well known in their respective constituencies, it is virtually hopeless for them to make a credible showing, unless of course there is a miraculous, divine intervention.
The majority of the Bahamian people today do not ordinarily vote for someone unless they can make a connection and can identify with a candidate. The youngsters - first time voters - are not likely to follow in their parents' footsteps and vote for a party blindly. They want to talk about issues and they want to know the people offering themselves to be representatives.
The United States Ambassador to The Bahamas for the past two and a half years, John D Rood, is making the rounds of farewell activities. He is leaving on a good and happy note.
The same was not the case with his predecessor Richard Blankenship, who offended many Bahamians, in the government and in the private sector, and was recalled before his tour of duty ended. He did not leave Bahamians with a good impression.
Ambassador Rood will be remembered for his keen and genuine interest in the intellect of Bahamian children, when he visited the schools and was a willing participant in the reading program. He will long be remembered in West End, Grand Bahama, which he visited following Hurricane Francis, and contributed to the rebuilding of homes there.
Ambassador Rood will also be appreciated for the respect he accorded the Bahamian people generally, while tactfully overseeing and protecting his government's interest in The Bahamas, particularly in ensuring that the necessary security features were in place at this country's major air and sea ports, to minimize smuggling of illicit contraband into the US and to guard against terrorist activities.
The majority of the Bahamians say farewell to Ambassador Rood with fond memories of his time here.
Cuba is on the move... Take Heed Bahamas
Cuba On The Move -
Bahama Journal Editorial:
Nassau, Bahamas -
As it is for all other human beings, Bahamians had better realize that good times go and bad times arrive. They do so in the same kind of general way that the tide ebbs and flows.
And for sure, in the world of money; fortunes are made and fortunes are squandered.
What we are suggesting is that whether Bahamians wish to know it or accept it as fact, the truth is that they live in a world where whatever they have achieved can be eclipsed by other people.
And when we talk about ‘other people’ we are not referencing people half-way around the world; here reference is to some of our neighbors like the Cubans, the Jamaicans and the Haitians.
We are certain that the day will come when the wheel will turn for these people and that they will get their fair share of the prosperity in the world that is rightfully theirs.
It will be theirs because they would have earned.
And when they do, we are certain that they will be able to enjoy it.
And for sure, it will be sweet granted the fact that they would have endured the hard times.
We make this point - by way of commentary- to advise Bahamians that they should not allow themselves to be carried away by vainglory, pomposity and overweening ambition.
In truth, things are hardly ever what they seem.
Those who are up today can very well be down tomorrow.
Take for example the parlous situation Cuba now finds itself in courtesy its isolation from trade relations with the United States of America.
Year in and year out for almost half a century, there have been people in that great country who would take to salivating over the possibility that some how the Cuban regime would collapse.
Paradoxically, the regime in Cuba has been consolidated, thanks in great measure to that fighting spirit that is so very deeply rooted in the Cuban soul.
And now, there is some very good news for the Cuban people.
That good news concerns that one precious commodity that quite literally runs things in the world.
Here the reference is to oil.
As we are learning from the Philadelphia Inquirer in a piece written by Gary Marx, "Cuba has become the latest country drawn into the frenzied hunt for oil, hoping that a gusher in its Caribbean fields will ease its energy dependence and revive its economy."
It is said that "after years of boasting about its energy potential but seeing few results, Cuban authorities received good news last year when the U.S. Geological Survey estimated Cuba's northern offshore basin contained 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
We are told that the amount of oil is roughly half the estimated reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which President Bush wants to open for drilling, and could provide Cuba daily production of about 300,000 barrels.
It is being reported that "already, oil companies from Canada, Spain, Norway, Malaysia and India have signed agreements with Cuba's state-owned company, Cupet, to begin exploring in waters more than 6,000 feet deep.
In addition we are learning that India's state-run petroleum company raised its stake in Cuba's oil sweepstakes by signing a deal to join Cupet in exploring 1,660 square miles off Cuba's northwestern coast.
Even more important is the very good news that "Venezuela's state-run oil giant, Petroleos de Venezuela, and Brazilian and Chinese companies also are interested in exploring for high-quality crude in Cuba's 43,250-square-mile offshore zone…"
On the other side of this oil proposition is the fact that "American oil corporations are barred from participating because of U.S. trade sanctions against the island…"
The bottom line is that like a well aimed boomerang, these sanctions would prohibit the United States from importing Cuban oil.
Closely allied to this new development in the Cuba-United States-Rest of the World Equation is new information to the effect that Cuba and China pledged to build on their rapidly growing trade on Tuesday, ending two days of meetings with a vow to do more in industries like oil, pharmaceuticals, nickel, medical services and tourism.
We are also told that Chinese Deputy Trade Minister Wei Jian Guo and Cuban Government Minister Ricardo Cabrisas said in Havana that the two countries had set up a commission to work on joint investments in various sectors.
One very interesting statistic made available by the Chinese customs office reveals that bilateral trade between the two communist-run countries doubled in 2006 to nearly $1.8 billion.
Bahamians should take heed; read the handwriting on the wall and prepare themselves for the arrival of a new state of affairs in this region and in the world.
And suffice it to say, Cuba is on the move.
29 March 2007
|March 29, 2007 | 10:44 PM
Bahamas: Her Majesty’s Fox Hill Prison Admissions Decrease
Related to country: Bahamas
Prison Admissions Decrease -
By Candia Dames:
Nassau, Bahamas -
There was a 17 percent decrease in prison admissions during 2006, according to a new report released by Her Majesty’s Prison, which says the institution accommodated fewer inmates than in 2005.
The report says 630 first-time offenders and 290 recidivists were sentenced, providing a total of 920 sentenced inmates. Recidivism, according to the report, was reduced by 10 percent in 2006.
It also says that 67 people were incarcerated for murder or manslaughter; 143 for armed robbery; 59 for rape; and 708 for property crimes.
Thirteen percent of all persons incarcerated were sent to prison for violation of the Immigration Act.
Eighty-seven percent of inmates admitted in 2006 were under age 29.
Seven hundred and twenty-four of the 920 inmates sentenced were sentenced to a prison term of one year or less; 137 for one to two years; one to life and four were sentenced to death in 2006.
According to the report, there are 28 inmates convicted of murder at Her Majesty’s Prison. There are 57 inmates serving a life sentence.
There were 81 foreign nationals handed over to the Department of Immigration for deportation last year, the report says.
Of the total number of admissions in 2006, 96 percent were males and four percent were females. It costs $11,050 to support each inmate.
Prison Superintendent Dr. Ellison Rahming wrote to Minister of National Security Cynthia Pratt, "Despite the challenges, the evidence suggests that Her Majesty’s Prisons are resilient and steadfast."
Despite the highly publicized prison break in January 2006, Dr. Rahming noted that "a mere 0.25 percent" escape rate was recorded.
"We provided a deterrent to crime as reflected in the 17 percent reduction in admissions to Her Majesty’s Prisons, and upheld the law by significantly curtailing the abuse of powers bestowed upon us," Dr. Rahming wrote. "Put another way we sought diligently to practice fair and just corrections."
In 2006, the report says, there were six inmates who escaped lawful custody. All escapees were re-captured and returned to prison. However, during the prison break, an inmate, Neil Brown, was killed.
The report also provides "proof" that the prison is being reformed: It points to a no-idleness policy which is in full effect except for inmates confined to Maximum Security or the Remand Centre for security reasons.
The report also points to the fact that qualified female officers are now permitted to carry firearms thus peeling away a major indicator of gender bias; officers are now equipped with body armor; the policy against use of excessive force is being substantially adhered to; a cellular telephone ‘jammer’ has been installed to cut off transmission of signals from the compound thus in time, eliminating this form of contraband.
The report also says clutter in prison cells has been substantially reduced.
28th March 2007
|March 28, 2007 | 10:57 PM
Remembering An Important Time - Marking the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade by the British
Related to country: Bahamas
Remembering An Important Time -
Bahama Journal Editorial:
Nassau, Bahamas -
Today we note - with commentary - that there have been celebrations in Britain and around the world marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade by the British.
While there may be something for the British to celebrate; we just do not get the point as to why the direct descendants of the people who were brutalized by the British and other people should today be so ecstatic.
Indeed, we remember well that time in the year 2004 when Africans throughout the world did have something real that they should have celebrated and trumpeted; that something being the two hundred year anniversary of the successful Haitian Revolution.
In other words, the Haitian Revolution was the real thing.
Sadly, instead of celebration, Africans and their descendants in the new world were treated to a demonstration of imperial might as the president of the Republic of Haiti was pushed out of office and sent into exile. Today thanks to a genuine African hero - Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa - Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family are safe and secure.
Today the fact of the matter is that slavery is a matter that continues to gnaw at memory and prick conscience wherever those who benefited from its iniquity live in close proximity to people who were its victims.
In a sense, the world is yet to awake from those horrors that once were what slavery was all about; namely the degradation of some human beings by others.
And as sadly, there is the fact that slavery itself was responsible for generating ideological systems that purported that one group of people - the masters/the whites- was a superior species of humanity; while the other - the slaves/the blacks- was a demonstrably inferior type; a species of labor - somewhat higher than brute beasts, but demonstrably inferior to their masters.
Thus was spawned a most malignant racism, based upon spurious notions of racialism.
There is today a dawning sense that this social cancer may yet become even more destructive.
On that note, we recognize the fact that the Abolition of the Slave Trade bill became law on 25th March, 1807.
New information coming in reports that "about 3,000 people marched through London on Saturday to mark the 200th anniversary of the law abolishing the slave trade in Britain's colonies."
Our research reveals some of the background information attending this issue. For the record, we note that in February 1806, Lord Grenville formed a Whig administration. Grenville and his Foreign Secretary, Charles Fox, were strong opponents of the slave trade. Fox and William Wilberforce led the campaign in the House of Commons, whereas Grenville, had the task of persuading the House of Lords to accept the measure.
We are told that Greenville made a passionate speech where he argued that the trade was "contrary to the principles of justice, humanity and sound policy" and criticized fellow members for "not having abolished the trade long ago".
Take note that "after the passing of Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, British captains who were caught continuing the trade were fined £100 for every slave found on board. However, this law did not stop the British slave trade."
This was put aside for more than another quarter of a century.
We know that the British Parliament did pass the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833. It was this act gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.
We also know that the British government paid compensation to the slave owners. The amount that the plantation owners received depended on the number of slaves that they had. For example, the Bishop of Exeter's 665 slaves resulted in him receiving £12,700.
It is this and the likes of this that was remembered this past weekend.
In this regard, we are told that "the "walk of witness" was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. The Church of England has apologized for its role in the slave trade."
As background it should be noted and remembered that "The Royal Africa Company, based in London and founded in 1672, was granted a monopoly in the slave trade. After its charter was revoked in 1698, Bristol and then Liverpool eclipsed London as slave trading centers, sending ships to Africa to acquire slaves to be sold in the New World."
Importantly, "Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807, but did not legislate to emancipate slaves in its territories until 1833."
There was also some telling theater involving at least one prominent Bahamian. We are told that "on Saturday, a group of people who had worn yokes and chains during their 250-mile walk to London to mark the anniversary joined the larger procession. They were released from their bonds by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez."
And that’s that.
26 March 2007
|March 27, 2007 | 11:22 PM
Bahamas Observing 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Related to country: Bahamas
Bahamas Observing 200th Anniversary of Abolition of Slave Trade:
By Candia Dames -
Acknowledging the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade involves an affirmation of human rights, Education Minister Alfred Sears declared on Sunday as he and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell announced activities commemorating that moment in Bahamian history.
"This is an occasion for all racial groups in the Bahamas because slavery was a crime against humanity," said Minister Sears at a press conference at the Fox Hill Parade in eastern New Providence.
"It was a violation of human rights. It’s not a question of one race versus the other. It is a question of all of us coming together and affirming the humanity of African people. It was a struggle that involved people of difference races [who] felt that the economic institution of slavery was immoral and we’re standing, affirming the humanity of people who for 400 years had their humanity denied.
"And it took 200 years before the international community would publicly acknowledge and declare that the inhumanity practiced against Africans was a crime against humanity.
We’re asking all Bahamians of every ethnic background to come together in an affirmation of human rights."
Minister Mitchell, who is also the member of parliament for Fox Hill, said the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade is central to the development of the Bahamas and its culture.
"It is only fitting then that we remember those who perished in the middle passage, and recall how we got to where we are today," he said.
Minister Mitchell also said, "This is marking our heritage, our history, and an opportunity for our people to understand why and how it is we got to where we are, and those people who fought for our humanity as a people…we must never forget and we say forward ever, backward never."
He pointed out that plans to observe the anniversary are in compliance with a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly on November 28, 2006 at its 59th plenary meeting to observe March 25, 2007 as the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Minister Mitchell said the reason March 25 was chosen is that it marked the date when 200 years ago the British Parliament passed an act abolishing the legality of the transportation for commercial reasons of human beings from Africa to the Americas to work as slaves.
"Millions of people died in the passage to the Americas over the centuries of this practice which has been described as a crime against humanity," he said.
Minister Mitchell pointed out that Dr. Gail Saunders and other historians have noted that the Bahamas was directly impacted by the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. Dr. Saunders noted that some 1,400 liberated Africans were sent to the Bahamas after the ships they were in were captured by the Royal Navy between 1808 and 1840.
Fox Hill, Dr. Saunders noted, was one of eight free black villages or settlements outside Nassau.
Minister Mitchell also pointed to Dr. Nicolette Bethel, the director of culture, who noted that one of the reasons for the survival of Junkanoo in its present form was the landing of Africans liberated by the British from French, American, Spanish and Portuguese slave ships during the mid 19th century.
"These brought with them their customs, and revitalized the Christmas parades, just as they seemed about to be overtaken by the marching brass bands rather than gangs of goombay drums and cowbells," Dr. Bethel wrote.
There are a number of events marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.
There is expected to be a communication to parliament today and a minute of silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the middle passage. A press and diplomatic reception is also scheduled to take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nassau this evening.
At 11:30am today, Ministers Mitchell and Sears are scheduled to appear on Love 97’s "Issues of the Day" with Wendall Jones. They are scheduled to appear on "Real Talk" on More 94.9 FM with Jeff Lloyd at 10am Wednesday.
On Friday, the Ministry of Education will launch the Learning Channel at Choices restaurant at the School of Hospitality at the College of the Bahamas at 9am. At 10am at the same venue, Dr. Gail Saunders and Dr. Thaddeus McDonald will lead a panel discussion.
At 1pm, an official luncheon with the Minister of Education of South Africa Naledi Pandor as the guest speaker is scheduled for the British Colonial Hilton Hotel. At 6:30pm, George Lamming, a distinguished Caribbean writer and intellectual, will give a lecture at the Hilton.
On Saturday at noon, vendors will set up at the Fox Hill Parade for a daylong observation. At 3pm, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force will lead a parade of community leaders from Adderley Street to the Fox Hill Parade.
A cultural show is expected to take place at the site. The day will end with performances beginning at 9pm by Visage with K.B., Terez, Elon Moxey and Gino D.
26 March 2007
|March 26, 2007 | 11:11 PM
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