The chance of Ricardo Grant winning in 2026 is very real

Ricardo Grant mounted a strong campaign in the by-election for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, a Progressive Liberal Party stronghold, but he lost to Kingsley Smith by over 878 votes.

Smith secured 2150 votes and Grant got 1272 votes; Lincoln Bain of the Coalition of Independents captured 307 votes.

History has proven that the government of the day wins by-elections in the Bahamas, which was another setback for Grant in an area that has predominantly voted for the PLP, except in 2017 when FNM’s Pakeisha Parker won against Obediah Wilchcombe who died in September, making the seat vacant for a by-election.

Wilchcombe served for three consecutive terms before losing to Edgecombe who has proven that the area is winnable in a general election, which depends a large degree on people’s assessment of the government’s record at the end of a five-year term.

Grant may have lost now, but could win in the general election if he keeps ‘working the grounds’ because by-elections and general elections are different.

Voters’ political behavior differs during a by-election than a general election. And the government of the day has access to more resources to expend in one constituency than if the entire country was heading to the polls.

Chairman of the FNM, Duane Sands lost to Ryan Pinder (now the attorney general) in the Elizabeth Estates constituency in a by-election in 2010 (when PLP Malcolm Adderly resigned his seat) and also lost in the 2012 general election, but he won the 2017 election.

Grant must remain steadfast.

“The focus remains on the citizens of West Grand Bahama and Bimini. We will hold the government’s feet to the fire,” Grant said after the loss.

“I don’t just pass through here, I live here. This is my home…I am invested here…My family is here…The fight here is personal and it will remain personal…We will continue to partner together to continue to do the best we can with what we have.”

‘She was an angel’: Family struggles to pay for grandmother’s funeral after Blue Lagoon boating incident

The family of 75-year-old Gayle Jarrett, the woman who died in a boat mishap in the Bahamas last week, is in a financial struggle as they prepare to bury her.

Granddaughter Kayla Estep says the family is struggling to find the resources to bury Jarrett.

Estep who accompanied her on the Blue Lagoon excursion boat with seven other family members before it sank in waters just thirty minutes after departure, organized a GoFundMe, hoping to raise $2000 for the burial.

“As of right now, this is a financial struggle for us all.

“My grandma wanted to be buried in Montana with her parents. However we are from Colorado and would like to do the funeral in Montana but [we] also would like to have a memorial in Colorado for those that can’t make it to Montana,” Estep said.

Jarrett described as benevolent, had used her inheritance money to take the family on a five-day cruise aboard Royal Caribbean, and Nassau was only her second stop before the tragedy.

“She was giving, she gave and gave and gave.”

Jarrett, wearing an oxygen tank, was also the only passenger who died among the 119 others scrambling as the boat tilted in the choppy seas and eventually sunk before passengers were rescued.

“She was basically an angel on Earth. She had the biggest heart.

“She believed in God like no other.”

Estep said Jarrett was like a second mother and a best friend.

“Her and I just loved shopping together, that was one of our favorite things to do together.”

They were originally supposed to get on a different boat, but that one was too full for their family.

According to Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander, the autopsy report revealed her death was not due to drowning but some other situation not explained.

Her husband, also on the ferry, was seen weeping over her body.

The family said the accident was preventable. Blue Lagoon said it is undertaking a “rigorous investigation.”

Kingsley Smith wins: PLP retains its stronghold of West Grand Bahama and Bimini

After the dust settled, Kingsley Smith won the majority of the votes in the PLP stronghold–West End and Bimini constituency, filling a seat left vacant after the death of Obediah Wilchcombe, nearly two months ago.

The win for the Progressive Liberal Party’s candidate who won most of the polling divisions, is a reposed confidence in the governing party of which Wilchcombe was government leader and served two non-consecutive terms as an area representative in a constituency that has consistently voted for PLP for many years.

“[I’m] feeling overwhelmed,” Smith told reporters after the win. “I feel elated and humbled.

“It’s an overwhelming experience to enter for the first time, the halls of parliament…I will improve what was done [in West Grand Bahama and Bimini] and take the constituency to another level.”

The constituency of West Grand Bahama and Bimini has faced neglect over the years with poor infrastructure, high unemployment and high cost of living highlighted by the FNM as it convinced voters to give the PLP “a spanking” and “put them in the dog house” as punishment.

The PLP though, with Kingsley Smith on their ticket, never admitted guilt of any kind, but promised to improve the lives of the constituents with a three-year plan, having signed a 2.8 million contract for road works, just Friday, hoping to keep voters on their side and garner swing support.

Though Smith, reared in Bimini, the chief passport officer and a former FNM, having just defected in 2021, felt like an underwhelming candidate in the race, he garnered enough votes in the PLP stronghold to beat Bishop Ricardo Grant, the FNM candidate and popular clergyman in Grand Bahama.

His win shows that the FNM did little to change the minds of an electorate that is ‘diehard’ PLP.

‘My grandmother’s death was preventable’: Family speaks after tragic boating incident in the Bahamas

The grand-daughter of 75-year-old Gayle Jarrett who died when a Blue Lagoon boat capsized in the Bahamas, contends her death was preventable.

“That’s up to whoever owns the ferry that the crew is properly prepared for an accident, and they were not prepared for this,” Kayla Estep told CBS News.

Jarrett was the sole passenger on the excursion boat to die as 118 other passengers scurried to stay afloat as the boat sank in waters near Blue Lagoon, just 30 minutes after they set sail on Tuesday.

Jarrett in the bottom deck with Estep and seven other family members, was wearing an oxygen device on her back at the time of the incident when it got caught around a metal as water flooded the sinking vessel.

“Even though she could go without oxygen, the fear I think took over, because the waves kept coming in through the window and taking my grandma and my grandpa underwater, over and over, and my grandmother was stuck,” Estep said.

Just Thursday, two days after the terrifying incident, Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander in a press conference revealed that Jarrett of Broomfield, did not drown, according to autopsy results. He did not specify the exact cause of death, though.

“There was nothing to cut, no emergency supplies on that ferry,” Estep insisted.

“The very first thing I did was throw a life vest on my grandma.”

Social media videos show a teetering boat as passengers stood on the left side screaming and outfitted with life vests.

“She ended up sliding down to the right side where all the water was.”

“All of the passengers were waiting for crew instruction, and we didn’t get it. Then, one person jumped off the top floor and we all followed,” Estep said.

While scrambling to get her children and other family members off the boat, Estep’s grandfather and father stayed behind, trying to get Jarrett out.

Estep said the captain also tried to assist.

Blue Lagoon said on Sunday, it has launched a “rigorous and independent forensic investigation.”

Featured Image: Gayle Jarrett is shown in happier times

‘Thank you’: Sylvanus Petty breaks silence after resignation as WSC executive chairman

North Eleuthera MP Sylvanus Petty remained mum when news circulated that he would be fired after he revealed in a court case that his daughter was granted a maintenance contract with the Water and Sewage Corporation where he served as executive chairman.

However, when the Office of the Prime Minister accepted the resignation at the request of Prime Minister Philip Davis, Petty took to social media. “Thank you all for the tremendous amount of support, the calls, texts, messages and most importantly the prayers.

“It is much appreciated.”

Prior, local dailies reported he was unreachable for comment and may have turned off his phone over the last few days. Now, this recent posting on social media may be an indication he is ready to talk.

Since he took the stand on Monday to testify in the Adrian Gibson court case, Gibson’s lawyer Damian Gomez KC hit him with a cross-examination, asking an unexpected question about a contract granted to his daughter, to which Petty said, “None of my family ever came to the board for a contract for us to vote on.”

Gomez then revealed that his daughter Sylatheia Gierszewsk was granted a contract of $26,000 for her company Mainscape Maintenance, which never came to the board’s attention.

Sylaleia Gierszewsk, owner of Mainscape Maintenance, was granted the $26,000 contract at WSC where her father serves as chair.

Petty responded, “They are of smaller value. They don’t come to the board.”

Petty then doubled down that he does not frown upon nepotism because “everyone in the Bahamas was family.”

The Free National Movement Chairman Duane Sands then called for his resignation, prompting Davis to respond, who said he would review the claims. Days later Davis then requested a resignation letter from Petty.

On Wednesday, he posted to Facebook, a scripture verse from Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”

Others responded, “Be encouraged Syl (his nickname.) No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”

Another supporter Jerome Deleveaux added, “Fret not thyself of evildoers, my friend.”

Petty remains the deputy house speaker.

What is known–and still unknown about the mysterious death of a toddler

The death of the “sweet boy” found dead in banana bushes in Fox Hill, still remains a mystery.

Many tales circulated as police and the neighbours tried to make sense of two-year-old Daniel Nixon’s death. Some speculated the boy was attacked by a stray dog roaming the area while others guessed he was a victim of a hit-and-run. Police are examining all suspicions as an Animal Control agent was seen taking blood samples of dogs in the area.

Distraught grandmother Barbara Nixon believed someone killed the boy. “I don’t know who would do this to a baby. I couldn’t sleep. I ain’t sleeping. and I ain’t eating.

“I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that something like this would happen to him,” she laments to the Tribune.

The boy’s mother who suffers from a mental health issue was reportedly doing house chores when the family believes he wandered through an opened door and sometime after 4 pm, they realised he was missing.

A man found the boy around 5:30 pm in the banana patches with a wound to the head and neck, partially clothed while his bottom bared naked. Authorities said the body was swollen, indicating rigour mortis was setting in. Flies were seen hovering over the body as he lay in the bushes.

The boy’s father Douglas Nixon who assisted in caring for him is also trying to handle the unsuspecting grief.

“This morning my son broke down. I tried to be strong for him, but I couldn’t,” Barbara recounted.

Neighbours alleged the boy was often seen roaming the street late at night, without supervision.

The Royal Bahamas Police Force has not yet determined whether or not foul play is suspected.

The grieving mother appeared on the scene sometime later, asking, “Who killed my baby?” Police eventually carried her away and she is assisting with the investigations.

What is unknown

No arrest has been made.

Many questions remain to be answered –how long was the toddler in the bushes, was he killed by the hands of someone, and will the parents be held liable for neglect?

Ron Desantis’ dangerous rocket analogy is just a bad one

Presidential hopeful and Florida Governor Ron Desantis’ recent military comment about “levelling” the Bahamas appeared to be no more than an analogy gone wrong.

While at a campaign event in Iowa on Sunday, he expressed unwavering support for Israel as it battles Hamas, describing the daily life of Israelis living under constant rocket attacks from Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.

However, in an analogy, he used the Bahamas as an example based on the country’s proximity to Florida.

He stated, “What are you supposed to do? I mean, I used to say even when they (Hamas)would just fire the normal rockets because they’ve been firing these rockets for years and years. And I thought to myself, like, if the Bahamas were firing rockets into Fort Lauderdale, like, we would not accept that for, like, one minute. I mean, we would just level it. We would never be willing to live like that as Americans,” DeSantis said.

The comment, reported by the Nassau Guardian and shared on social media caught some Bahamians by surprise, with many expressing shock since the thought of the Bahamas at war with the USA is an unconceivable notion.

But Desantis seemed no ill-intent. The hypothetical scenario was perhaps used to woo his GOP base where the Florida governor, who was praised as the face of the post-Trump-era Republican Party is now struggling to revive his flailing campaign with a hardline support for Isreal.

“What rockets we have though?… Ain’t nobody on his run,” a Bahamian citizen posted to social media. “How [did] we get in this?”

Darcy Moss asked, “We gat rockets eh?”

James Tivy added, “What a buffoon.” How many rockets do the Bahamas have? I’d guess none.”

One American citizen stated on Reddit, “Great, so we know now [that] you’re advertising that you’re unfit for president.”

Another stated, “I’m trying to imagine a hostile Bahamas. I’m also trying to imagine a world where Ron controls military equipment.”

“Life in Florida is never boring,” another stated.

Some Bahamians understood that it was just an analogy.

Scott Lowe said, “[He is] clearly trying to justify Isreal’s actions against Hamas by using a metaphor and not making threatening comments about the Bahamas specifically.”

And Citizens for Better Commonwealth of the Bahamas posted, “[I am ]highly doubtful that this was said in this context. But let’s be honest, if they did fire rockets at the Bahamas (hypothetically speaking) wouldn’t we want our government to do the same?”

The Bahamas and the USA share a strong diplomatic, historical, and economic tie, closer than any other country in the region.

The US Embassy in Nassau expressed “regret” for Desantis’ comment.

What to know about the capsized boat that killed an American woman near Blue Lagoon Island

Cruise ship passenger Brittanie Crippin was on board the ill-fated ferry boat on Tuesday as it sunk in waters near Paradise Island off Blue Lagoon Island.

Mourning the 75-year-old woman killed during the mishap, Crippin said the captain and crew of the snorkeling vessel operated by Blue Lagoon, seemed clueless.

A man cries over the body of the woman who died during the incident

“The captain and crew had no idea what to do. The captain was laughing as it sank, gave no instructions [on] what to do, the crew didn’t help at all,” she lamented.

Video circulating social media shows a crowded boat as passengers congregate on one side of the vessel attempting to level the craft as the other side descends deeper into the water.

“Our boat is sinking,” one woman who says she was on the top floor of the double-decker, calmly states as other passengers scream. They are all adorned with life vests and some jump into the water as it sinks further.

“Oh sh—t,” one passenger yells.

The boat of 100 passengers left the ferry dock at 9:30 am for Blue Lagoon Island, but half an hour later, it ran into trouble in the rough seas and began to take on water.

Crippin said the weather was good despite reports of bad weather on Tuesday. “Everyone was crying and screaming for help.

“Wild times in the Bahamas.

“There were lots of life vests aboard. No one had life vest on until it started to sink.”

Chad Schissel, another passenger believed the captain turned too quickly and the waves capsized the boat. “The crew freaked out more than the passengers. [They] must have been trained very well,” he said sarcastically.”

Kissy Schissel added that “the wave hit the front of the boat and sunk us under.”

The boat remained partially submerged since the water depth was reportedly only 20 feet deep.

Jamie Diliberto, a Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas passenger, said the victim was a fellow passenger. He could not contain his emotions, “I am crying.”

Passengers were later rescued by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force, Blue Lagoon, and other vessels in the area.

The victim was visiting on a five-day cruise from Colorado. The Bahamas was her second stop. The exact cause of death remains unknown.

The featured picture shows Kissy Schissel after the ordeal.

Former Lyford Cay Resident Peter Nygard was found guilty of sexual assault in Canada

Billionaire fashion mogul and long-time resident of Lyford Cay, Peter Nygard was found guilty of sexual assault in Canada on Sunday and is awaiting sentencing following six weeks of trials.

The frail 82-year-old Nygard, who was reportedly rolled into court in a wheelchair with his hair tied back with a long jacket over a hoodie and tinted glasses — stood indifferent with his lawyers as the jury read the guilty verdict.

The big picture

Nygard’s name has become synonymous with sex crimes and has been categorized with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein, prompting a docuseries Evil by Design: Surviving Nygard.

Nygard faces sex-crime charges in Toronto, but not Winnipeg – Winnipeg Free Press

His luxurious Lyford Cay home was known for cocktail parties where thousands of Bahamians, particularly young women were invited and engaged in topless shows.

Image may contain Building Hotel Resort and Water
The pool and gazebo at Nygard’s six-acre estate.

The case in which he was found guilty on Sunday, spanned from 1988 to 2005 and involved five women who accused him of sexual assault at his Toronto headquarters where he invited them for job interviews and a tour.

Nygard denied all of the allegations in this case after taking the stand in his defense.

He is still facing criminal charges in three other jurisdictions in Canada and awaits other trials in Quebec and Manitoba for sexual assault as well.

The US awaits his extradition after the Canadian cases are completed.

Why it matters

Nygard’s popularity grew in the Bahamas due to his philanthropy and close ties to the Progressive Liberal Party, donating millions of dollars to the party during its time in office in 2012.

INSIGHT: Nygard casts a dark shadow some will find hard to escape from | The Tribune

A video once circulated, showing former PLP Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson receiving payments from Nygard which totaled $94,131.10 over an 18-month period.

Nygard’s former videographer Stephen Feralio captured Peter Nygard talking about Perry Christie winning the 2012 Bahamian election on a cellphone. Visit this link to hear Nygard’s reaction to the 2012 election:  https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1850003523643/

When the Nygard was arrested on Canada in 2021, then FNM Chairman Carl Culmer called on the PLP who was in opposition at the time, to publicly address its party’s connection to Nygard and join in asking for justice for Bahamian victims affected by the alleged actions of Nygard.  But PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell pointed a finger at the FNM, stating that Nygard contributed financially to the political campaign too, which the FNM denied.

What Prime Minister Philip Davis said in 2020

In December 2020 Davis, the then-opposition leader was asked to comment on Nygard’s behavior while in the country, Davis said, “Peter, what’s his name?

“My position in respect to what I heard or [have] not heard about him is that I’m more concerned about what this election is going to be about (the general election of September 2021)

“I’m not concerned about a foreign action that has been brought against a foreign person who may have had an incident in the Bahamas.”

Featured Photo credit: Peter Nygard is seen in a car after leaving Toronto court on Sept. 27. The one-time Canadian fashion mogul is expected to testify at his sexual assault trial Wednesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

How Lincoln Bain purportedly earned the eye-brow raising $1.8 million

Troubled by recent headlines about his purported wealth of $1.8 million, Leader of the Coalition for Independents Lincoln Bain said in a social media post, that it is not an issue worth discussing.

“I don’t have a problem talking about my money….The real big story is not how much money Lincoln Bain declared because it’s the same amount of money I declared the last time.”

Bain, an activist, striving to become a politician, is making this his second attempt at the House of Assembly having thrown his hat into the ring in the 2021 general election where he received 641 votes, losing to PLP Myles LaRhoda who got 1712 votes and FNM incumbent Reuben Rahming received 937 votes.

As he runs in the by-election for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, his financial disclosures caught the attention of critics who questioned how he obtained his assets.

Bain who labelled himself a “businessman” on his financial disclosure, is the wealthiest candidate running in the by-election, according to what’s stated on the disclosure.

Seeking to clarify, Bain said on Wednesday that he owned many retail, wholesale and services businesses–shoes, clothing and weddings services.

He added that most of his money was derived from Information Technology services for the Tribune and the Bahamas government.

“I am an IT professional and the Tribune came to me to do their mobile apps and websites for 100 Jamz, and to do other IT [services].

“They have been my big clients and helping pay my bills for years. They have been writing cheques to Lincoln Bain.”

He continued, “A part of what I have is because I did excellent service for the Tribune,” making other claims that Bahamas Air was another client benefiting from his services.

“I manufactured medical supplies in China and sold [them] to the Bahamas government for the hospital and clinics, medical supply business with a government contract.

“I am well known for many retail businesses, I have owned–retail, and wholesale businesses in this country.  I  am one of the biggest producers of mobile apps in this country—probably. Probably even in the region.”

It is not known how many of these purported businesses are in operation. Bain claimed he retired at 32 years old.

His financial declarations stated that he has $41,000 in his savings account and $600,000 in real estate. His other personal items are worth $175,000; accounts receivable is $250,000; automobile is $20,000; real estate income is $42,000; and other income is valued over $50,000.

He then declared that a property was worth $1.8 million but did not declare a salary amount.