Bahamas Blog International
Related to country: Bahamas
Rough Cut -
By Felix F. Bethel:
“…Life and Death are merely two faces [masks] of the Creator. Therefore you are of equal age Here is a gourd of water. Drink from it together…" A Hausa Tale.
That time is nigh when thousands of fear-ridden Negroes will take to Church to ring in a new year.
These people – all of them my very own people- will pray and they will moan; and as they do what they must –albeit pathetically – in a vain attempt to placate the Almighty; some of them will self-righteously thank the Master for sparing their lives.
And once they get the word that the old year has made its way into history – and that they have indeed made it over – they will whoop for joy; ecstatic in the moment as they realize that – unlike so very many others who have been struck down [with some of them on the cusp of life]; they have made it!
And is the custom, some of these people will – for the sheer hell of it all – drink more alcohol than the law would allow; eat more food than they should – and for what it’s worth, recede to that point where excess and ribald talk is all the rage.
Indeed, as one dread year ends and another one such begins, some of the Negroes I know are getting set to perfect some of the things that have occupied their attention for as long as they would care to remember.
Those who make it their business to rip each other off will do as much as they can to get even better in the craft – and so the stealing will continue.
Evidently, those who make it their business to rip of widows and orphans will do their level-best to see to it that – in this area of specialist endeavor – they become even more proficient.
And clearly, those men and women who lie and cheat – in the name of the Almighty- can be expected to build even greater temples to the even greater glory of the gods they truly serve.
What I am trying to say is that – once you boil things down to their quintessence, you can expect to find that most of our people will pretty much do in the coming year whatever it was that they did in the year that is now set to become history.
This is so because – for better or worse- human beings are creatures of habit; until stopped either by time or by some other human person armed with this or that weapon, the average human being can and should be expected to carry on as they have routinely done in times past.
And that is why – realistically speaking, I hold out little hope for any of the resolutions I might even dare make in the hours and days ahead.
But even as I eschew resolutions, I surely do hope –God willing – to continue as I have been going for as long as I can remember; that being – to remember and recognize the good done for me by the Joseph-Man and my sainted mother; the fine women with whom I have produced a wonderful brood of fine, good and true Bahamians; their brood and mine; my friends – particularly the brother of mine, Leroy M. the painter-man who knows that he has a friend in me; and for sure, I hope to continue to strive to help make this place a better place for all living things.
And even as I continue with these things, I am ever mindful that, there are men and women I know, love and care for – people like the wonderful Keva-Marie – who are caught up in the coils of this or that sickness; but even while so embroiled and snarled, they must know –with Dylan Thomas- that Death shall have no dominion…
And so, even as one year dies and another waits and frets for its fated moment, I pray peace on this land that is mine; I pray peace for the brother with the gun; and I pray peace for the dude with murder entrenched and seemingly etched on his stone-cold heart.
In time, he will become history. And here, I am fairly certain that, whenever the definitive history of these times is written, whoever has the sad task of writing that blood-drenched document will write that this was truly a defining year for The Bahamian people – a year when the man with the gun demonstrated that, blam! gadjammit was all the rage.
I am also pretty certain that, this definitive history would also show that, this was that kind of year and place where and when the widow and her children were further ripped off.
And evidently, since this year was also dreadfully like most of the years that preceded it; I am fairly certain that, once this definitive history is really written, there will be a cognate conclusion to the effect that, while things were harsh enough in the year 2010; they merely continued a trend that was in motion in the year before – and in the years before this latest year before.
Here I would suggest that, even as I age and therefore, in that very moment where I trudge my own journey from womb to tomb – so to speak- and as I watch carefully at how the Grim Reaper culls his herd, I wonder when he reaches me whether I will have but a moment when I can beg, Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Have mercy on me a sinner!
Even now, I wonder about how things are going to really be for me when that moment that is uniquely mine arrives.
What I am wondering has to do with the wonderment that comes with a life that is yours for no reason that is yours; but which you would like to hold on to for as long as ever – if only the laws of the physical universe could be corrupted just for the you that you happen to be in this moment, in this place and in this dread time.
Watchman, what of the hour?
It’s both late and very cold.
But late, cold or whatever, believe me my dear friends when I tell you that, this year has been a time of great challenge for many of you; and like you, I too have had my share of sadness, struggles and regrets; I too have had to go into a food-store and shop as if I was window-shopping – that is to say, how you shop when you have no money.
But even as I reference my penury and yours, I am reminded of the time when another man – a man almost as old as I am – decided that he would go for a walk on Bay Street –then and thereafter he found himself fated to become a corpses on a cold slab in the morgue – this after allegedly looking in to a business establishment; having some words with a police officer and then there was that awful stench that came with blam/gadjammit! – and the man who looked through the window bled to death.
This is one hell of a place.
Watchman, what of the hour?
Evidently, it’s much later than you would like to believe.
But late or not, Felix Bethel wishes you all – despite the odds stacked against you by the masters of the universe - a happy and prosperous new year.
If you wish, you can contact Felix Frederick Bethel at the following address in Cyberspace: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 30, 2010
The Bahama Journal
Caribbean Blog International
|December 30, 2010 | 5:09 PM
Unions want to destroy The Bahamas' future?
Related to country: Bahamas
available in: (original) |
Unions want to destroy the future?
DESPITE the worldwide crisis many Bahamians seem unwilling to recognise that the Bahamas is a part of the world and that whatever goes seriously wrong with any of its parts would certainly affect the whole -- the Bahamas included.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham fully recognised the impact that a world recession would have - in fact had already started to have - on the Bahamas. In parliament he outlined his plans not only to cushion the immediate blow, but to prepare for the day when the world would turn on its axis and right itself again.
In his austerity budget, delivered in June, Mr Ingraham outlined his government's immediate plans to assist those persons who would surely lose their jobs as downsizing started, and the economic belt tightened. He then laid out plans for capital works -- which in the interim would provide jobs - so that when the turnaround came the Bahamas would be in a position to benefit.
In addition to the National Insurance scheme that benefited about 16,588 unemployed persons, and a temporary six month work programme for about another 2,326, he went ahead with various large scale programmes that will start to come on stream next year -- in fact in a matter of a few months.
For example, the Lynden Pindling International Airport, a $400 million redevelopment and expansion programme, will be opened in March. The $12 million straw market on Bay Street will follow as will the $70 million container port at Arawak Cay. The $150 million New Providence road corridor improvement will have been completed, the National Stadium to which the Chinese government has donated $30 million and the Bahamas $50 million, also will be ready for opening ceremonies. Also ready for opening will be two new government administrative complexes in Freeport and Central Abaco at a cost of $20 million each. The purchase of the Ansbacher building, the renovations of the old post office building on Bank Lane and the current Supreme Court, resulting in the creation of six supreme courts at a cost of about $23 million will also be ready - a tremendous improvement to the public square. The expansion of the Rand Hospital in Freeport is also expected to be completed.
Mr Ingraham told the House that "while we act to prevent the burden of today's debt from compromising the future prospects of our nation, we must continue the capital investment which makes a vibrant future possible."
As signs -- albeit slow -- are beginning to indicate an improved 2011 leading into a hopeful 2012, the unions plan to put the brakes on and, according to National Congress of Trade Unions of the Bahamas president Jennifer Dotson, Prime Minister Ingraham will be "dismissed from his job." She implied that it was the union movement that could "oust" him.
"We want him to know," said Mrs Dotson, "that we are not intimidated, we are not frightened, and a day will come, in the very near future, where he will be dismissed from his job."
What started as a dispute by BTC workers over the sale of BTC, now seems to be a full-blown fight to oust Mr Ingraham.
As this struggle continues, and Mrs Dotson gets bolder with her challenging words, it is now impossible to say that the dispute is not political. With an election due in 2012, a vibrant Bahamas would bury all hopes of a return of the Christie government. And so a re-enactment of the General Strike of 1958 to close down the town, and jeopardize the future of all Bahamians, is now of prime importance.
We hope that the working man and woman, especially those who have had the humiliating experience of being on the bread line this year, will not be so foolish.
We can tell you from memory that after the general strike - over which so many people still harbour romantic memories - that when Christmas came only union leaders had a turkey on their table - the workers were forgotten.
Meanwhile, Mrs Dotson, we advise you to study s. 75 of the Industrial Relations Act.
December 29, 2010
Caribbean Blog International
|December 29, 2010 | 2:28 PM
Jamaica considers different approach to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Related to country: Jamaica
by Oscar Ramjeet:
Jamaica’s prime minister came in for a blistering attack by the opposition People's National Party (PNP) for his recent statement that Jamaica should get rid of the Privy Council but should not go into the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), "but remain where we are, and our Court of Appeal would be our final court."
The party in a statement said that the JLP was "frustrating the CCJ process" with its latest suggestion.
The statement said, "The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) continues to shuffle from pillar to post first by saying Jamaica should remain with the Judicial Committee because it was far away and had an international content within a globalised world and now by batting for a national final court.”
"Evidently the JLP and the prime minister are confused; if you don't stand for something such as the integration movement, you will fall for anything," the PNP said on Wednesday.
It went further to question the source of the funds to establish a final appellate court in Jamaica to be on par with similar court elsewhere.
A well-known Jamaican Queen's Counsel, Frank Phipps, told the Jamaica Observer that the suggestion by the government that Jamaica have a national final court of appeal is feasible, but says what would be practical is if the present Court of Appeal is made the final appellate court -- but stressed that not without a referendum.
Phipps added, “Golding could not seriously be saying that you put another court of appeal on top of the present Court of Appeal. That could never be the position the government is taking when the issue that has been debated all along is whether we should have a Caribbean Court of Justice to replace the Privy Council."
According to the Queen’s Counsel, any such decision must be "made by the people of Jamaica and not by the 60 members in the House of Representatives and 21 in the Senate.”
He emphasised that "this must be done in a referendum, the parties must listen to the people in a referendum and not the people listen to the parties in a referendum. The new court, Phipps said, must be deeply entrenched in the Constitution so that it cannot be open to have the judges manipulated by whatever government may be in power."
He went on to say as to Golding’s belief that Jamaica has the judicial experience and maturity to establish its own final appellate court, "if that his argument we need not go beyond our present Court of Appeal. Those people who are available, that source upon which you can draw, put them in the final court."
Jamaica was in the forefront of the establishment the Privy Council more than 20 years and it was under the JLP administration and it is very surprising that the party is now taking a different stand.
The then attorney general, Oswald Harding under the Edward Seaga administration, was moving from country to country in the region persuading governments to abolish appeals from Privy Council and join the CCJ.
Harding who is now President of the Senate was complaining about a year ago that there was no Jamaican judge in the CCJ and he had no confidence in the composition of the court, and also said that although Jamaica is contributing 27% towards the running and administration of the regional court, no Jamaican is a member of the court although several distinguished jurists had applied.
However a Jamaican, Professor Winston Anderson, who was a senior lecturer attached to the Faculty of Law at Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, was recently appointed as judge to the Court.
So far only three countries, Guyana, Barbados and Belize, have removed the Privy Council as the final appellate court and adopted the CCJ as the final court.
December 25, 2010
Caribbean Blog Internaional
|December 26, 2010 | 5:26 PM
On that Road to Bethlehem
The Bahama Journal Editorial:
Sadly, many Christians in many parts of the Bahamas, the wider region and the world are increasingly cowering in fear and becoming timid in their witness.
And sadder still, fear is our common prison that keeps us locked up in cycles of mistrust and shattered dreams; it is a species of dread that burrows deep into the human psyche where like a canker, it rots the soul.
And thus it now arises that we live in a society where there is no peace, where justice is trampled underfoot and where reconciliation and forgiveness appear as if they are the stuff of which mirages are made.
For our part, we are today – as believers in the Word – absolutely convinced that, the same message of the first Christmas rings true today, “Fear not!”
We too say, Fear not; precisely because we do believe that, there is a child who was born into a world of fear in order to take away that fear and to bring peace to earth and good will to humankind.
This is our hope for you and yours at this precious time.
But notwithstanding all this, the fact remains that, Christmas –as most people know and celebrate the occasion – has become little more than a pretext taken by many who wish to eat, drink and [somehow or the other] experience for themselves some version of what passes for ‘being merry’.
Happily, there is also a sense where Christmas is celebrated –as it should- by men and women who are acutely aware that, Advent is all about that moment in cosmic history when the Word itself became flesh; that moment when God Almighty –once considered far from His creation – took up residence [so to speak] in the flesh.
But yet again, as we know from the Scriptures – the word in the wind was to the effect that once Emmanuel had come, the world would esteem him not; that he would be scourged; and that He would die that death which was reserved for the vilest of criminals.
And for sure, while He was fated to die the death; we who aspire to walk in His footsteps as we take up our own crosses walk in hope that like Him, we shall rise triumphant.
And so it is today that, another Christmas is upon us; and sadly, while there is all that chatter about Christmas cheer, the fact today is that, very many of our people are convinced that there is nothing real for them in all the hoop-la that accompanies this consumer-drenched time – a time when people are supposed to be happy.
But much to their chagrin, very many of our people are today enmeshed in the coils of fear; some of them because they have been witness to sorrow and tragedy as they lived to tell the stories of fathers, mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers and other kin laid low and wasted, maimed, bruised, battered, murdered or disappeared.
Some of these people know fear as well as they know the backs of their hands; fear is in charge when they go to work; fear is in charge when they read the newspapers; and obviously fear is victorious when a man or woman returns home to find that, his sanctuary has been violated.
Or for that matter, what about that woman and her daughters who were savagely abused by a gaggle of demented rapists – and surely, then- what about that blanket of fear that now envelops each and every one of these persons.
But strange as it might at first appear, this reality of fear and its dread consequences is no new thing; indeed, the first two words of the very first Christmas are, “Fear not."
Evidently, these were the first words heard by the shepherds, by Zechariah, and by Mary; and here we might wish to reflect on the fact that, both Mary and Joseph were enjoined by God’s emissaries to banish fear from their hearts.
So, too are we called.
We are called to the realization that, what they were hearing was the greatest news of all; that to them a Child was born; and that, unto them a King was given.
And so it was that they were called to banish fear and thereafter live in hope; and so – even as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child; we recall that He was fated to be associated with grief [ and so He was as He hung there on that old rugged cross].
But as we know [since we are a Resurrection people]; He conquered Death, Hell and the Grave.
And so, and even in this dread time when fear is so very pervasive; we remain [albeit in our guise as but a mighty remnant]; a hope-filled people; embarked on our own sweet and true road to Bethlehem.
December 24, 2010
The Bahama Journal Editorial
Caribbean Blog International
|December 24, 2010 | 8:14 AM
[ Some Day] We Shall Overcome
Related to country: Bahamas
The Bahama Journal Editorial:
There is no gainsaying the conclusion that there has been no letting-up in the extent to which some Bahamians are prepared to go as they let loose on each other’s persons and property.
In the mix-up, people are being hurt; in other instances, the victims are the children themselves as they succumb to the cruel ministries of their parents. And yet again, some of the children take the violence to their schools and to the streets of this crime-cankered and blighted nation.
But even as we decry things as they are, there are signs galore to suggest that, things might get even worse; this as our nation’s leaders try one stratagem after the other.
But clearly, crime persists not only because it has a fertile source in that fountain –namely the human heart – from which so much evil is vented; but because of another fact – this one being that, crime – simply put – pays.
Evidently, while the wages of sin might be death, there is no reason to believe that crime does not pay. Indeed, there is evidence galore here in these Bahamas to support and sustain the conclusion that crime invariably brings with it handsome rewards.
But while this might well be so, we are convinced that it need not be so in a land where so many hypocrites and crooks routinely flout the law of God and of man; while all the well professing as loudly as ever how they do believe in the rule of law and in God’s inerrant word.
Today, these thoughts come to mind as we reflect on the general situation in our land that has most Bahamians in a state of conniption as they try to deal with the canker-like work of criminals salted throughout their communities.
Here the report in the wind has to do with crimes like rape, burglaries, robberies, thefts of the petty and grand alike; and for sure, there is that macabre litany that has to do with the name, date and circumstance surrounding the latest homicide victim.
And then, there are those other crimes that are routinely lumped together and described as being egregiously brazen; here the reference being made has to do with crimes like the ones that take place in broad daylight – crimes that invariably shock the public because of how bold the heists happen to be in their conception, design and execution.
And now, with but a handful of days to go before this year ends, those of us who make it our business to reflect on matters such as these are today obliged to wring our hands in despair; this as the rate at which crime spirals going ever faster.
And as the crime rate soars, it seems as if the only morticians and other such persons working in Death’s penumbra could possibly stand to benefit from the extent to which Bahamians are killing each other.
And as we are wont to remind any and all who would be reminded, the fact remains that there are very many other ways in which Bahamians are hurting themselves and others. In this regard, we have suggested [and here on more than one sad occasion] that closely related to crimes such as murder and suicide is that dark specter that comes forward in the guise of rage.
And so it happens that, once rage is directed outwards, its logical conclusion is murder; when directed inwards, suicide beckons.
But for sure, while rage might serve as a stand-in for a deeper kind of social analysis; we readily admit that in and of itself, this is but one ever-ready depiction of what has been happening for such a long time now as this or that community disintegrates.
And yet again, we have – while in search of an explanation- suggested that in and of itself, crime is little more than, the fever chart of a very sick society.
We would also venture that, while this ‘explanation’ by way of link to health might well push us in the direction of better ways of dealing with the problem; this too might not be sufficient.
With this in mind, we hereby suggest that, today’s Bahamas might well provide the world with a key study as to why and how – despite easy access to money – there yet remains a profound crisis of the spirit now pervasive throughout the land.
In this regard, then, there is that very real possibility that, today the Bahamian people are grappling with what might be described as ‘the forces of evil, wickedness in high places and with principalities and powers.
As such, we may have – with our idolatry of money and things – allowed free rein to sin, wickedness, deviance and crime; thus our ongoing battles with our myriad of social challenges.
Those struggles continue.
Here we know that – with God’s help -- we shall overcome some day.
December 22, 2010
The Bahama Journal Editorial
Caribbean Blog International
|December 23, 2010 | 12:12 PM
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