‘Kindhearted and Gentle Soul’: Tributes Pour in for DNA Chris Mortimer

Following the “suspicious” death of former Democratic National Alliance’s Interim Leader Chris Mortimer on Thursday, tributes poured in for the successful businessman and former political candidate.

Arinthia Komolafe, who once served as Mortimer’s deputy and eventually obtained leadership of the third party in 2019, said she too was shocked at his death but remembered him for his passion to serve.

“He was kindhearted and a gentle soul who wanted the best for our country.

“I remember spending several hours in a meeting with him and other nation builders discussing ways to bring positive change to our beloved Bahamaland. It was a privilege to serve with and alongside Chris as he sought to make his contribution to national interest.”

The 53-year-old was the former president of the Galleria Cinemas and the popular restaurant Outback Steakhouse, preparing to open another dine-in Red Lobster in the Bahamas. But his attempts with to succeed at the polls as a third party proved futile as the party failed to gain traction and movement.

Andrew Wilson, who served as Chairman during former leader Branville McCartney and Mortimer’s tenure, remembered him as a “very decent human being and my best friend.”

Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding his death after he was found pinned to a chain link fence after he allegedly got out of his vehicle. His black Ford Escape was found in reverse gear.

Members of the party still hoping to keep the party alive after Komolafe resigned last year, expressed deep regret at his death.

“He was a fine leader that contributed to the DNA and was a fighter for change in our nation. We remember him as a light to our nation,” a party statement read.

A former lawyer and once an adviser to the party Fayne Thompson said, “I will miss your friendship and kind demeanor.”

Police are investigating the circumstances that led to his death.

Komolafe Resigns as Green Party Leader Over Election Failure and Financial Strain

DNA Leader Arinthia Komolafe announced her resignation from the Democratic National Alliance, after the party’s third unsuccessful attempt at the electoral poll.

Komolafe made an official announcement at the party’s headquarters on Friday, citing various reasons, including a financial strain on her personal resources.

Komolafe acknowledged the difficulty of third parties to secure funding for campaigns, while admitting that she spent nearly six figures to fund the DNA’s recent political campaign.

“Third party politics in the Bahamas is brutal and extremely difficult. It involves taking on established guards of the PLP and the FNM,” she said.

Komolafe lamented the current model of operation within the party stating it is unsustainable since the party depends on volunteers. Komolafe said during her tenure, she served as the financier of operations, writer of press releases and charged the administrative work of the party.

She said the candidates in the recent election personally funded their campaigns.

The big picture

Arinthia Komolafe succeeded the party’s founder Branville McCartney, to become leader of the party in 2017.

In the run up to the election, the party faced internal turmoil and fighting made public.

In the 2021 early election, the party suffered its worst support, garnering only 1,742 votes in 22 seats; in 2017, the DNA received 7,537 votes in its run for 39 constituencies; and in 2012, the DNA got more than 13,000 votes in 13 constituencies.

Why it matters

A third party has never won a general election nor seats in the House of Assembly. Leaders of third parties wound up joining the established parties after being wooed by positions and support.

Komolafe was praised as the first woman leader of a political party. However, she seemed to have never electrified her base.

What’s next?

Komolafe said she will not leave front line politics. But at the moment, she will focus on personal endeavors.

The party’s deputy leader Steven Nesbitt becomes interim leader.


Who Will Be the Country’s Next Prime Minister?

In a crowded race, more than five candidates are vying for the position of Prime Minister. These candidates want to lead the Bahamas in a post-pandemic era. The economy needs a revival and the country’s health system needs restoration, both of which have suffered since the start of the COVID19 pandemic.

Who is the best leader for the job?

Here are the leaders of political parties, vying to win the hearts of Bahamians.

Dr Hubert Minnis

Minnis is the incumbent running for the position of prime minister, a post he has held since 2017. The 67-year-old is the parliamentarian for the Killarney constituency. He was a gynecologist and obstetrician before becoming a politician. In 2007, Minnis was elected to Parliament and served as Minister of Health and eventually became leader of the party where he faced many internal conflicts.

After his victory at the polls, Minnis’ leadership was challenged following the devastations caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 that destroyed Abaco and parts of Grand Bahama, two economic hubs of the Bahamas.

His greatest test has been the COVID-19 pandemic that forced lockdowns and curfews, resulting in a depressed economy and lost jobs. While some have criticized the lockdowns and curfews imposed by the Emergency Order, some have praised Minnis’ handling of the pandemic and his rollout of the vaccines.

Philip Davis

Davis is the leader of the official opposition party, the Progressive Liberal Party. The 70-year-old is a lawyer and serves as the Member of Parliament for Cat Island and San Salvador. Many people have criticized the poor conditions of these islands where Davis has served since 2002, due to its lack of infrastructural developments.

Davis served as Deputy Leader of the PLP in 2012 and became leader of the party after his party’s defeat at the polls in 2017.

Davis has been a strong opponent of the Emergency Order and criticized the lockdowns and curfews imposed by the government. He has been described as the “flip-flopper” who changes his views on government policies to suit his talking points.

Arinthia Komolafe

Komolafe is the leader of the Democratic National Alliance, a position she inherited in 2019 after the resignation of its interim party leader. The 41-year-old became the first woman to lead a political party.

She is a banker and lawyer and was a former member of the Progressive Liberal Party. Komolafe has recently faced conflicts within her party that became public in recent months. Some have questioned her ability to lead a country due to her gender and her marriage to a foreigner.

This year, she was detained by police for an illegal protest held in Parliament Square which some have called ‘gender bias.’

She has received praise for her enlightenment and communication skills.

DNA is the third viable option for voters, but the party has lost its spark. It will be the third time the party goes to the polls after the 2012 and 2017 election results.

In 2012, the party received 13,000 votes and received 7,537 votes in 2017.

Lincoln Bain

Bain is a controversial talk show host turned politician. Bain has sought nomination from two political groups, FNM and DNA, but was not successful. He formed the Coalition of Independents in 2021, a party that accrued independent candidates to run in the upcoming General Election.

Bain initially formed an activist group, Bahamian Evolution which lobbied for Bahamians to benefit from the country’s natural resources, but it has since morphed into a political group.

Bain opposes the COVID19 vaccines and led protests to oppose government policies. His campaign has been mainly social media based as he seeks to expose corruption. He has attracted a large social media following.

Bain promises Bahamians that if he is elected, he will ensure each Bahamian receive $100,000.

It remains to be seen if he can turn followers into voters.

Cassius Stuart

Stuart founded the Bahamas Democratic Movement but he later dissolved the party after joining the FNM in 2011.

The businessman has since left the FNM and restarted his party. Stuart seems to have no momentum but says he has a plan to move the country forward.

Moultrie’s Dream of ‘Open Parliament’ Becomes Political Rally

House Speaker Halson Moultrie’s ‘open parliament’ concept quickly turned into a rally as third-party candidates and independent members of parliament joined forces to disparage the government and its policies.

Two weeks ago, Moultrie announced his initiative for the public to express its grievances and said it was a move to show the independence of the House. Without support from the government, Moultrie attempted to launch ‘open parliament’ before it was revealed that the House would be prorogued, which came as a surprise to many.

Moultrie, Independent MP for Centerville Reece Chipman, Leader of the Coalition of Independents Lincoln Bain, former FNM Bamboo Town parliamentarian and leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement Cassius Stuart and Democratic National Alliance Leader Arinthia Komolafe joined forces under a tent erected in Parliament Square, to preach their displeasure with the government.

Supporters dressed in their respective party colors crowded the tent, ignoring the social distancing protocol.

“Change ain’t coming. Change is here” the crowd shouted as Bain made his way to the podium.

“…I did not come here to deliver an eloquent speech, I came here to start a fight. Ladies and gentlemen, the only way to get our country in order is to start a fight.

“…It seems like when we talk, they don’t listen, so it’s time for us to start a fight,” Bain said.

Stuart then chanted the COI’s slogan and said the country needs a revolution, as he decried the country’s economic system. He asked, “How do we move forward? How do we build our nation?

“Stop depending on the foreign investors,” he said.

Komolafe said crime and the healthcare system continue to burden the country.

Pointing at the House of Assembly, she said, “That House right there is not working for us. It is now closed. Your concerns are not being heard and your concerns are not being addressed,” to shouts of agreement from her supporters.

DNA Seeks to Protect Komolafe After Infighting. Just a PR Stunt?

Executive members of the Democratic National Alliance scrambled on Monday to contain the fallout from reports that a physical altercation occurred at its latest internal meeting.

In a series of social media posts, the party members sought to quiet the tensions and praise Komolafe’s leadership as it seeks to defend the DNA’s run for the next General Election.

President of the DNA’s Women’s Alliance, Marsha Thompson said, “It is disappointing to see those persons going out there and trying to bring down our leader, a leader who would have embraced them, a leader who went beyond the call of duty in trying to encourage them… I know within my heart, that God has called this leader for such a time as this,” she said.

The party’s Vice Chairman Jeffery Deleveaux said conflict within political parties should be expected.

“…as with any party, you will have expressions of pain, hurt [and] resentment, but we also have love, understanding, and unity. The DNA party stands committed in unity behind the capable leadership of Mrs. Komolafe….

“…The party is still a young party. Growing pains [are] inevitable,” he said.

The party’s newly elected Deputy Leader Stephen Nesbitt who took the post after Buscheme Armbrister stepped down for ‘personal reasons’ stated, “ I would like to endorse Mrs. Arinthia Komolafe as the next prime minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. She will make the Bahamian people proud. She will be the envy of the region, and ultimately, the envy of this world.

“I have seen under her leadership, the party grow from strength to strength.”

What happened

A former lawyer and advisor to the party Fayne Thompson and DNA’s candidate for Garden Hills Boyd Smith appeared on Beyond the Headlines hosted by Clint Watson on Friday evening, to tell their side of the story after the alleged physical assault was made public.

Both men stated that they were grieved with the party’s electoral process that saw the election of Nesbitt and Derek Smith as deputy leader and chairman, respectively.

Smith said, “There were major issues with the election process. It was not transparent and in violations of the resolutions passed in a meeting on July 1st. I wanted to bring that to the essential body and that was struck to be addressed.”

Thompson said he defended Smith’s position and was subsequently attacked by the party’s Communication Director Dietrich Carroll, “who literally, physically drove me into the wall because that was his means by which he displayed his displeasure taking issue in which the meeting was going on.”

Thompson said he then told Komolafe, “Control this body.”

Smith said he began recording the physical assault with his cell phone and was asked to stop by Komolafe’s husband, Emmanuel.

Mrs Komolafe then asked for his phone which he resisted. Smith said she took it out of his pocket and threw it to the ground, destroying the device.

“I tried to escape away from her in the corner where I was by the podium. Mrs Komolafe’s right hand, Armbrister charged toward me and pushed me into a chair. I got up and was protected by the security officer in the room.

“I really believe I was not going to survive if folks weren’t there to protect me,” Smith said.

Why the DNA Leader was Arrested 3 Weeks Later. COP Rolle Says It’s Not Political

After the release of DNA Leader Komolafe and other members of her party, since being arrested by police, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle called a press conference on Monday afternoon, emphasizing that the questioning and arrest was not political.

Why it matters

Members of the party say they believe the arrest of its members, “came from higher up” suggesting that Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and National Security Minister Marvin Dames gave orders for their questioning and detention.

Their arrest caught the attention of FNM Former Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner and PLP MP for Englerston Glenys Hanna-Martin, who assembled with members of the DNA on the outside of the Central Police Station to decry the detention. Both said they believe it was politically motivated.

The big picture

The DNA held a protest on March 3rd in Parliament Square and stood near the entrance of the House of Assembly, while it was in session, calling on Minnis to end the Emergency Order and resign.

However, the protest was deemed ‘unlawful’ since it was held without a permit from the police commissioner.

Why the arrest now?

Rolle said when the protest took place without the proper requirements, he told officers to speak to the group and he will handle the matter later, because he did not want to “create an unnecessary scene” at Parliament.

When asked if the police force is being used as a political tool by the government, Rolle said, “I do not take instructions from politicians. I answer to the constitution of the Bahamas.

“Nine people were interviewed and arrested. Nothing political about it. I don’t see colors, whether it’s red, yellow, or green. Everyone is treated the same. I believe my record on that is straightforward.”

Komolafe After Release: My Spirit is Not Broken

DNA Leader Arinthia Komolafe was flanked by supporters as she exited the Central Police Station on Monday afternoon. Komolafe said despite the arrest, her “spirit is not broken.”

Why it matters

Komolafe and other members of the DNA were questioned by police for a protest the group held about 3 weeks ago in front of the House of Assembly. The assembly was labeled ‘unlawful.’

The group was contacted on Thursday and Friday and asked to report to the station for questioning in regard to the matter.

What Komolafe said

Komolafe said she remains “very resolute” and will continue to push a message of change.”

While in police custody, Komolafe said she and her team answered a series of questions.

The matter is still pending and will go to the Police Head Quarters where Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle will make a final decision on the matter.

Komolafe said when the matter is finalized by Rolle, her legal team which includes Khalil Parker and Owen Wells, will make a decision on whether or not the party will file a civil suit against the government.

“The police were very professional today. We understand they were just carrying out their job and following the process. But we believe that it came from somewhere higher.

“…I left my children at home. They were very upset. My daughter asked yesterday, ‘what was the purpose of this process today?’ She was very concerned that I would be arrested. They don’t understand the process.”

“What you have seen here is a challenge to democracy and the right to be able to express ourselves and the right to be Bahamians in our society,” she said.

Butler-Turner and Hanna-Martin in Protest After Komolafe’s Reported Arrest

Former FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said the questioning of DNA leader Arinthia Komolafe by the Royal Bahamas Police Force on Monday morning infringes on the democratic rights of Bahamians.

Standing outside of the Central Police Station, Butler along with PLP MP for Englerston Glennys Hanna-Martin said they stand in support of Komolafe and the equal rights of women.

The big picture

Komolafe and 10 other members of her party were called in for questioning at 9:30 am on Monday morning for recently assembling and protesting in Parliament Square without a permit. The protest is reported to have occurred three weeks ago.

What Butler-Turner said

Initially, Butler drove by the station questioning the activity near the station as a group of DNA supporters assembled on the outside.

After getting an update on the situation, Butler spoke to reporters from her vehicle. She said, “This is crazy. Tell them we should let Bahamians go. We don’t live in a military state.”

Butler later returned, standing on the steps of the station continuing the protest of Komolafe’s detention.

“Why is a woman being bullied?

“We talk about equality. Why is this woman being detained?

“It appears to be political victimization. It’s a disrespect to Bahamian women everywhere.

“Let her go,” Butler shouted.

What Hanna-Martin said

Hanna-Martin said she supports women in leadership as she stood with DNA supporters as Komolafe remained inside the station.

When asked what role she plays in the events of the day, Hanna Martin said she is apart of Komolafe’s “legal, woman and citizen team.”

“She is a strong woman.

“…Fact is, she is a woman who cannot be overlooked.”


Komolafe’s Mother Upset Over Daughter’s Reported Detention

The mother of DNA Leader Arinthia Komolafe said she is upset over the purported arrest of her daughter by the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

Jenniffer Brennen said she flew in from Exuma to support her daughter after hearing about the reported arrest.

The big picture

Komolafe and ten leaders and members of her party were asked to report to the Central Police Station at 9:30 am for the alleged unlawful assembly of a protest they held in the front of the House of Assembly three weeks ago.

What her mother said

Standing outside of the station, Brennen told reporters she wants to know who is behind the arrest of her daughter.

“Who is behind it and why?

“Do we no longer have a right? Why wasn’t it done three weeks ago? she asked.

Brennen said she believes Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is trying to silence Komolafe.

“Is Minnis scared of a little woman who will be the next prime minister of this country?

“They are trying to silence her. But what they have done is awaken the awareness of what an evil person he is,” Brennen said.

DNA Marches for Early Election

As parliamentarians debated the midterm Budget Debate in the House of Assembly today, scores of supporters of the Democratic National Alliance gathered near the front of the House demanding that Prime Minister Hubert Minnis “ring the bell.”

Party leader Arinthia Komolafe and Deputy Leader Omar Smith, dressed in party colors led the march Down Town to Parliament Square, shouting, “Minnis gat to go, Minnis ga to go,” and “PM ring the bell, PM ring the bell.”

The party likened Prime Minister Hubert Minnis to the biblical ruler Pharaoh, often shouting as they marched, “Let my people go.”

Why it matters

The DNA is seen as the alternative to the major political parties.

Although the major political parties have ratified candidates, many are awaiting the DNA’s ratification and the official presentation of candidates to their perspective constituencies.

The big picture

Speculations have arisen whether or not Minnis will call an early election. Both major political parties, including independent candidates, are often seen campaigning on weekends.

However, Minnis indicated last week in the House that an early election depends on the decision by his team.

What Komolafe says

After being ushered behind barricades, Komolafe said her party was representing the frustrations of the Bahamian people.

“We’re here asking the Honorable Dr Hubert Alexander Minnis to ring the bell. For almost 365 days, we have been under Emergency Orders. It has cost jobs, it has caused lives. It has caused livelihoods. We are calling on the Prime Minister to free the Bahamian people from hell and to ring the bell.”

Komolafe said she is confident her party will win the next election. “If we were not confident, we would not have been here…The people are tired. The people are frustrated. They do not want the FNM. They do not want the PLP. They are calling for an alternative. The DNA is the alternative,” she shouted.