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freenationalmovement

Saturday, July 2, 2022

freenationalmovement

Adrian Gibson Bribery Allegations: What We Know about the Charges

Long Island MP Adrian Gibson was among six people charged in the Magistrates Court on Monday. He faced multiple charges of bribery, which come as no surprise following weeks of questioning by the Central Detective Unit.

Adrian Gibson heading to court to face charges

The Free National Movement Member of Parliament was the former Chairman of the Water and Sewage Corporation under the Minnis-led administration. Gibson was a constant critic of Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis, who served as Minister of Works with responsibility for the water company under the Christie-led administration.

Though the FNM was ousted at the polls, Gibson managed to hold on to his seat in a constituency known for its support for the party. After the Progressive Liberal Party was elected, questions arose about Gibson’s conduct and affairs at the corporation.

An audit of the corporations revealed that questionable contracts were issued and Ministry of Works Minister Alfred Sears revealed that the matter was turned over to the police.

What are the charges against Gibson?

Adrian Gibson faces 56 charges. These include:

  • One count of false declaration which allegedly occurred on August 23, 2021
  • Conspiracy to commit bribery which allegedly occurred between June 23, 2020 and July 7, 2021
  • Dishonestly receiving more than $1.2 million for a landscaping contract issued to Elite Maintenance
  • Multiple counts of money laundering with a cousin and his campaign manager.
    • 5 counts of conspiracy to commit bribery
    • 6 counts of money laundering with cousin Rashae Gibson
    • 16 counts of money laundering with Campaign Manager Joan Knowles, among others.

Bail was granted at $150,000. He and the others will return to court on September 14 for the Service of a Voluntary Bill of Indictment.

What the FNM says after the charges

Leader of the Free National Movement Michael Pintard says his party stands with Gibson who remains in “good standing” with the party and is “an active and important member of our parliamentary caucus.”

Pintard says Gibson is innocent until he is proven guilty and the party will ensure his rights are not abused. “We remain resolute in our position that at the end of this process, justice and truth shall prevail.”

House Speaker Berates White for ‘Wrong’ Color Necktie: Don’t Come Back Here in That

In the middle of the 2022-2023 Budget Debate, House Speaker Patricia Deveaux scolded the Member of Parliament for Montague, Adrian White for wearing the “wrong color necktie” in the House of Assembly.

White was making contributions to the debate when Deveaux argued an earlier comment made by White in his speech.

“He’s getting out of hand today. And I ain’t even pick on him cause he ain’t even wearing the right color tie today,” she said to FNM Leader Michael Pintard who stood up to request more time for White.

House Speaker scolds Adrian White Montague MP because of his color choice in neckties.

She then turns to White, “Don’t come back here in that–[It’s either] black, grey [or] blue.”

White responded, “My tie is in accordance with the rules, Madam Speaker.”

Deveaux retorts, “It ain’t. Oh no.”

White then emphasizes that the House rules speak to the wearing of “dark color suits” only.

Deveaux seeks clarification from the House clark and then reiterates, “Dark colors, okay.”

Fort Charlotte MP Alfred Sears then stands to his feet to support Deveaux while reading from the rule book:

“Rule 93 says the dress of the members of the House including the Speaker at sittings shall be dark suits with ties for men and dark business suits or dress for women provided on state or formal occasions.”

He added, “The tie must be consistent,” before sitting down.

Defending himself, White said other ministers were seen wearing yellow ties in the past to which Deveaux said, “Not in here. Not under my watch. Now you cut it out.”

Montague MP Adrian White is seen buttoning his coat suit.

She then impressed upon White to button his jacket.

At the conclusion of his speech, he showed Deveaux an image of a PLP member wearing a yellow necktie.

 

What the Retirement of Police Commissioner Means for the Bahamas

It was a surprising and spontaneous announcement.

Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle will retire from the police force this year after nearly 40 years of service.

His exit comes after nearly two years as the police chief.

Clayton Fernander was appointed deputy commissioner in December, after the Progressive Liberal Party was elected. Many believe he will be the next Commissioner of Police.

The news has stirred speculation that Deputy Commissioner Clayton Fernander will succeed him at the end of his term. Though few expected his tenure to expire so soon after reassuring the public of an extended stay on the force, many anticipated his end was sooner since a new government was elected.

Here’s what you need to know:

Why is he retiring now?

Paul Rolle has been the Commissioner since 2020. He took on the role at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to navigate the pandemic and enforce the country’s COVID-19 measures.

While addressing reporters outside of a charitable event hosted by the RBPF, Rolle was asked about his tenure and unable to navigate the conversation, he blurted, “I met with the team this morning and I could say to you that I do intend to make my exit from the police force at some point. I will have 40 years and so I’m looking down the 40-year mark and I’ll make a decision on that in due course.”

He is four years away from retirement age but has already spent 40 years on the police force. An extension can be granted if the new government, the Progressive Liberal Party, really wants to.

Though governments dismiss that the appointment of commissioners is non-political, Bahamian history has shown that each elected government appoints police chiefs who align with their party’s philosophy and hasten the removal of those who do not.

In December, three months after the new government was elected, Rolle backed by Prime Minister Philip Davis sought to dismiss claims he would be replaced and said he had no plans to leave the Force. “I’m 56 and the Police Act says you could work until you’re 60, and the Pension Act says 65.”

What is Paul Rolle’s relationship with the present government?

Anthony Ferguson was succeeded by Paul Rolle.

Rolle was appointed Commissioner by the Free National Movement after the retirement of Anthony Ferguson.

During his tenure, he has faced public criticism for his management of the COVID19 rules which many deemed restrictive and unfair. Some street vendors like the Coconut boys were hauled before the courts for violating COVID-19 measures. It cast a negative light on the force at a time when many Bahamians were struggling to cope financially.

In addition, the killing of 6 men at once after their release from police custody and he labelling them as idiots, has caused mounting criticism.

When a new government was elected in September, the Progressive Liberal Party brought back senior officers sent on early retirement by the FNM, one being Fernander who the PLP later appointed deputy to Rolle.

What does his retirement mean for crime?

Rolle’s announcement comes at a sensitive time for the Bahamas when crime is surging as the country reopens its economy. Multiple murders a day and brazen shootings are on the rise and calls for a new approach to policing are becoming louder.

Rolle came up through the ranks of the police force with little street experience and more administrative experience. The opposite is true for Fernander who once a victim of crime when he escaped a near death experience during a robbery. He has risen within the ranks with the knowledge and experience necessary to deal with gangs and violent crimes.

 

Photo credit: Eye Witness News

 

Pintard Stuns With Win to End Minnis’ Reign

Marco City MP Michael Pintard won the leadership position of the Free National Movement following its one-day convention that saw three candidates go head-to-head to vie for the post.

In an exuberant gathering at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Saturday, hundreds of delegates convened to cast their vote.

At the end, Pintard was declared the winner. In his victory speech, he expressed gratitude to former prime ministers and his supporters.

“…By the will of God, we will be back on 2026.”

To former parliamentarians, he encouraged, “It’s about the journey, make connections and change the course of people’s lives.”

Pintard promised that as leader of the Opposition, he will be careful in his deliberation. “We will speak in a measured way to get the result we need.”

Pintard, the favourite to win the post, competed with Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis and East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson.

Pintard won with 297 of the votes. Thompson received 103 votes and Lewis got 44 votes.

The three Grand Bahama parliamentarians made up the seven parliamentarians who retained their seats in the early election in September.

Marco City MP Michael Pintard with Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham

Pintard garnered support from former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and former St Anne’s MP Brent Symonette, and some of his former parliamentarians and Cabinet members in the Hubert Minnis led administration.

Minnis did not reveal who he voted for but said he will support the winner, in hopes that the party regain its footing to win the next general election.

Cartwright Throws Support Behind Pintard

As the one-day convention for the Free National Movement draws near, St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright endorsed Marco City MP Michael Pintard for leadership of the party.

Cartwright is one of the 7 FNM MPs who retained their seats in Parliament following the general election.

Many pondered whether Cartwright, a well-liked parliamentarian would have contended for the leadership post, but he never gave a distinct answer, only to say that he could vie for any of the leadership posts which also include the deputy leadership or chairmanship position.

Now that the convention is on Saturday, Cartwright has endorsed Pintard. Cartwright was seen sitting next to Pintard at Bahamas Harvest Church where Pintard’s campaign team held a church service on Wednesday. This signaled his support for the parliamentarian.

Cartwright said Pintard is best suited to bring “generational change and transformational leadership” to the party.

“…in this moment, with his capacity to unify the Free National Movement, it is my humble belief that Michael C. Pintard fulfills that promise,” he said.

The FNM suffered a crushing defeat at the polls on September 16, in an early election called by former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, winning only 7 of the 39 seats.

Since the loss, blame has been assigned to Minnis, causing factions within the party.

Pintard, who goes up against East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson and Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis, promises to unify the factions in the party.

The party will hold another election in February to elect members for other positions. It remains to be seen if Cartwright will contend for any of those positions.

Who Will It Be – The Poet, Head Deacon or Olympian?

The nomination process for elections of the next leader of the Free National Movement closed on Thursday with three candidates vying for the top spot.

By Thursday morning, all of the candidates officially filed nomination papers to contest the leadership of the party–Michael Pintard (author of Still Standing which is a collection of poems that focuses on social inequality and injustice); Kwasi Thompson (serves as a head deacon at Calvary Temple Assemblies of God); and Iram Lewis ( a two-time Olympian 4×100 meter relay runner).

Former Cabinet Minister Pintard was the last candidate nominated for the position. He entered the party’s headquarters with scores of supporters which included Former Ambassador and House Speaker Alvin Smith and former members of parliament including Donald Saunders, Miriam Emmanuel and Travis Robinson.

“We are going into our election animated and spirited in competition and we will emerge united and resolve to function as a whole organization, committed to the development of the Bahamian people,” Pintard said.

If he is elected, Pintard said he will repair the dysfunctions in the party, unite supporters, reignite excitement within the party, collaborate with the government when it presents a “sensible” proposal that improves the lives of Bahamians and work with private and religious segments of society.

Pintard said if he is unsuccessful in his bid, he will support, “what’s best for the party.”

The big picture

The party holds a one-day convention on November 27, to fill the leadership post. Only the position of party leader will be contested. Elections for other positions will be in February.

The party was defeated at the polls on September 16 and is looking to replace former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis whom many feel was partly responsible for the party’s loss.

Thompson, the former Minister of State for Finance filed his nomination papers on Tuesday. He is believed to be backed by Minnis.  The party’s founding member Maurice Moore and the wife of FNM’s founding father Cecil Wallace-Whitfield threw their support behind Thompson.

Lewis, former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, filed his nomination papers on Wednesday saying he is in it for the long haul and promised to be a good listener.

Why it matters

The new leader of the party will lead the Opposition in the House and will be responsible for creating a strong team to hold the government accountable.

Unity of the factions within the party depends on who is the newly elected leader, whom supporters trust to lead the party into the next General election.

‘Don’t Get Cute!’ ‘No, I Don’t Want To Be Cute!’ Pintard’s 5 Day PCR Test Question Triggers House Floor Wrangle

A question asked by Marco City MP Michael Pintard regarding the perceived unequal application of the five-day PCR testing requirement sparked a morning row with Health Minister Michael Darville in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

Pintard sought clarification of a clause before the passage of the COVID-19 Pandemic Special Provisions Bill 2021.

“I know the Progressive Liberal Party has prided itself on putting Bahamians first and so I find it a bit odd unless I mis-read it, that you were prepared to accept from the United States…a five-day old Covid test. Americans can take it five days before travelling and we are willing to accept it…” he said.

“It seems as if there is unequal treatment of Bahamians with Americans. If you can help me understand, why is there that disconnect?”

Darville took exception to Pintard’s question and responded, “Read it and come back.”

Pintard, taken aback by Darville, asks, “Am I incorrect or not?”

“You’re incorrect,” Darville blurted out on his feet.

“So help me understand,” Pintard retorted.

“Read it and call me,” Darville said, spurring laughter from other parliamentarians

“It’s that kind of arrogance that has some other people in jeopardy,” Pintard replied on his feet, as House Speaker Patricia Deveaux interrupted to restore order in the House.

“Honorable member for Marco City, let me remind you that one person on his feet at a time please,” she said.

Pintard said, “Yes, except the one on his feet is insulting me, Madam Speaker. I intend to stand up. Don’t tell me read the bill. I’m referencing the section because I read the section. Only that section I’m raising with you…Don’t get cute.”

“No, I don’t want to be cute,” Darville said. But I don’t want you to be disrespectful as well.”

Darville could not find the documents to explain to Pintard at the moment, giving the floor back to Pintard and stating he will address the matter later in his speech.

Here are 5 Takeaways from Pintard’s Campaign Launch

Marco City MP Michael Pintard formally joined the three-way race to contest for party leader of the Free National Movement, betting that his ability to rebuild, reconnect and reignite can restore confidence in the party after its loss at the polls.

Unlike the other candidates, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis and East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson, who offered themselves for the leadership post, Pintard launched at the British Colonial Hilton with a crowded room of supporters.

He promised, “I will work daily to ensure that I am not a liability to you. And unlike so many before, anytime I believe that there is a better option, I have no fantasies about holding any particular position. I welcome better options to serve the people that I love.

“Whatever assignment God has for me to do, I will do it. Just tonight, I believe it is this assignment. I ask for your vote.”

Here are 5 takeaways from the launch:

  1. The FNM needs leadership that empathizes and listens to people. It must begin the work to transform lives now, touching them now and not waiting until the general election.
  2. Leadership needs to handle differences in opinion. In the past, some people’s opinions were not heard, even though they should have been heard. “I want to be the kind of leader that wants the best ideas,” he said.
  3. Pintard is seeking to join camps. The party seems divided with supporters of past leaders–Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Kendal Isaacs, Hubert Ingraham, Tommy Turnquest and Hubert Minnis. However, Pintard wants unity. He said, “Let’s embrace the new without alienating the veterans. We must coexist.” Speaking directly to all party supporters, he said, “The party needs you. We need you. You are a part of the family.”
  4. He wants to build a country that appreciates talents and hard work, and move away from political polarization.
  5. Pintard says he is fearless and called on party members to stand for and with other FNMs who may be victimized.

The party leader will be elected on November 27 in a one-day convention, replacing Dr Hubert Minnis.

It’s Official. Pintard Joins FNM Leadership Race

After weeks of speculations, Marco City MP Michael Pintard has officially announced his leadership bid for party leader of the Free National Movement.

In an official social media post, Pintard is set to launch his campaign on Wednesday at the British Colonial Hilton at 8 pm.

The poster says, “Be a part of the movement to rebuild, reconnect and reignite.”

This announcement comes after two FNM Members of Parliament Kwasi Thompson and Iram Lewis announced their bid for the party leadership.

Pintard, Thompson and Lewis are all members of parliament from Grand Bahama, and are seeking election to replace Party Leader Hubert Minnis who stayed on as party leader. Minnis leads the opposition in Parliament until the party’s convention is held on November 27.

Fifty-six-year-old Pintard is said to be a strong contender for the position as reports say he has gathered support from delegates as he seeks to reunify the party and bring FNMs back into the fold, many who may have strayed.

Following the FNM’s defeat at the polls on September 16, it was suggested many of its voters stayed home and may have lost confidence in Minnis. Only 7 FNM candidates returned to the House of Assembly. The other 32 seats were won by the Progressive Liberal Party.

Pintard was a former Cabinet minister in the Minnis-led administration where he served as Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.

 

 

4 Things We Will Miss About Minnis

Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is now the outgoing party leader of the Free National Movement.

He served in the position of Opposition Leader in 2012 and won the position of Prime Minister in 2017. Minnis became the fourth prime minister of the Bahamas after overcoming a bitter divide in his party.

During his reign as Prime Minister, Killer Storm Hurricane Dorian hit and destroyed two economic hubs, Abaco and Freeport in 2019, and one year later, the country’s economy was further dismantled because of business shut down and closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

His reign came to an end on September 16, when the FNM lost to the PLP, retaining only seven of the thirty-nine seats.

The party is now preparing to elect a new party leader.

Here are 4 things we will miss about Minnis

COVID-19 Press Conferences

Minnis’ weekly COVID-19 press conferences and national addresses became a staple at the onset of the pandemic. Bahamians, many laid-off, tuned in to get updates on lockdowns, adjustments to curfews and vaccines. Minnis gained thousands of social media followers, some in approval and others critical of his decisions. He became the talk of the town and was unable to shake off the stigma he gained of becoming ‘a dictator.’

Drama

Minnis’ term as prime minister brought drama to the House of Assembly. The many resignations became the signature of his administration: Reece Chipman and Halson Moultrie left the FNM to become Independent MPs; Vaughn Miller crossed the floor to the PLP; Lanisha Rolle stepped down from Cabinet as Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture; Brent Symonette stepped down as Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration; Minnis’ Deputy and Finance Minister bowed out and Duane Sands left his post as Minister of Health during the pandemic.

The added drama was the $5.5 billion Oban Energies project when the company’s former non-Executive Chairman Peter Kriegar forged a signature at the Heads of Agreement signing. And the Post Office deal that many saw as a conflict of interest since a then sitting Cabinet minister, was the owner of the Town Center Mall that he leased to the government.

Minnis’ indifference

Despite constant criticism, Minnis remained resolute in what he thought was the best thing to do. Minnis was criticized by the public and some from his Cabinet were said to oppose many of his policies, yet he continued on his quest. Some have called him ‘stubborn’ but Minnis carried on and seemed not to care what others thought about him.

He once stated that he would risk losing the election due to his strict handling of the pandemic, though he was being rebuked by the public.

Minnis’ memorable quotes

Quotes used by Minnis were often used for comedic release. “Where’s your compassion? Where’s your soul?” he asked business owners who laid off staff members during the pandemic.

Minnis once said he was going home to make stew when asked by the media about appointing a chief justice.

Another time, while venting his frustration after repeated questions from the media, Minnis responded, “A is A, B is B, 1, 2, 3.”

And the one quote that soured his relationship with former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was when he stated, “The Ingraham era is over.”