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philipdavis

Thursday, June 30, 2022

philipdavis

Lots of Bahamians are Angry with Christopher Columbus

The discussion of Christopher Columbus’ has been reignited in the daily discourse following the destruction of the statue at Government House on Mt Fritzwilliam on Saturday.

The actions of the suspect who seems deranged, have stirred angry emotions toward Columbus and have garnered social media support.

Since 1492, Columbus was hailed as the discoverer of the Bahamas and the new world. He has been hailed a hero and still plays an integral part in the Social Studies program in our educational system.

More than 500 years later, some people have shifted focus to the atrocities Columbus inflicted on the native Bahamians, identified as the Lucayans who were eventually decimated from our islands.

Bahamians like Father Sebastian Campbell have led the way to abolish the memory of Columbus from our national holidays and remove any replicas from our public sphere.

Anger toward colonialists like Columbus increased after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in the United States when the issue of racism arose, as statues that symbolized slavery and racism were torn down in some countries around the world, while some were removed by governments.

Though some people signed petitions for the Bahamas government to remove Columbus from Mt Fritzwilliam, there was never any lawless act to attempt to destroy it, until the man who identified himself as Michael the Arch Angel, drew a sledgehammer and extricated the arm and foot of the Columbus statue.

Some social media posters erupted in applause.

Fringe groups like the third party Coalition of Independents looking to be included in the national discourse said it will provide bail and a lawyer for the suspect accused of damage to government property.

It remains to be seen if the government will remove statues of colonialism like Christopher Columbus.  Last year, a strong supporter of the PLP Latrae Rahming who now works in the office of the Press Secretary said his party always advocated for the statue’s removal and the quest for removal was supported by Party Chairman Fred Mitchell.

However, newly appointed Prime Minister Philip Davis told the Nassau Guardian on Tuesday that his government will determine whether the statue will be repaired or replaced, while emphasizing that he is “concerned when I see acts of disobedience that result in the destruction of public property.”

If we begin with Columbus, where do we end? Our country has a colonial past. Our history is colonialism and slavery. How far do we go?

We should use them as reminders as to how far we have come and place them in the proper context of the period in which they lived.

Historian Gail Saunders agrees that it is a complex issue saying only that Columbus’ statue should be in place to remember the Lucayans who were here before his arrival.

Ironclad Press Rules Imposed by Press Secretary Will Make it Harder to Hold Davis’ Administration Accountable

With only two weeks in the seat as press secretary, former Journalist and News Director Clint Watson imposed stringent rules for the press that will make it harder for reporters to hold the new government accountable.

The new rules include guidelines for special interviews, scheduled interviews and accreditation.

Here are the new guidelines

  1. Absolutely no interviews should take place while the Prime Minister or a Cabinet Minister is attending an event unless they are approved by the press secretary.
  2. Random Cabinet Office interviews will be discontinued.
  3. Only accredited journalists and staff will be permitted into Cabinet and OPM briefings.
  4. Reporters requesting specific responses to issues, should communicate with the Press Secretary Office by 6 pm the latest, the night before the briefing.
  5. All requests for interviews and comments from the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be facilitated through the press secretary.
  6. Reporters without a boom stand will not be permitted to participate in interviews.
  7. The press secretary or an officer from the OPM will advise at the event if the prime minister will be taking interviews and the parameters of such an interview. Failure to comply could result in credentials being reconsidered from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister press pool.
  8. The dress code should be business attire unless otherwise specified.
  9. A press officer will indicate the final question toward the end of the briefing, no further questions should be asked thereafter.
  10. Accreditation forms should be filled out by media houses and submitted to the Office of the Press Secretary for approval.

These hard rules would allow Davis and his Cabinet ministers to dodge reporters’ questions and evade responses to pressing and controversial matters.

Most newsworthy stories come when reporters ask questions on the sidelines of a public event. The powers of the press secretary as indicated by these rules, show that the new government desires to suppress information and limit what the public knows.

Watson, as a former journalist, knows this but has quickly changed positions since acquiring the new role.

In his former position as host of Beyond the Headlines, Watson consistently condemned the former administration, accusing them of avoiding the press. Now, he has created strict rules to silence the press, punish the media if they do not adhere, and ensure Davis and his ministers say less to the public.

Why does he see the need to protect them from the public? Why should he determine who gets access to public servants?

Watson’s role should be to manage and organize communications activities on behalf of the new government.

These rules are a return to the Pindling era when news media was heavily restricted.

Former Health Minister Duane Sands expressed his displeasure with the rules.

Journalists have taken to social media to decry the new press guidelines.

   

Based on the reading of the rulings, journalists could have credentials revoked. This could have an adverse effect on the public who wants to hold the government accountable.

 

 

The Opening of Parliament Looks Different from Past Years

The Opening of Parliament looks significantly different from previous years as members of parliament took their seats in the relocated House of Assembly, before hundreds of Bahamians.

Traditionally, the Opening of Parliament is held in Rawson Square, but Parliament has been relocated to the Baha Mar Convention Center citing the threat of adverse weather, the demolition of the Churchill Building and seating limitations due to social distancing protocols.

The pomp and pageantry were on full display as parliamentarians arrived with their spouses, family members and supporters.

Prime Minister Philip Davis, Opposition Leader Hubert Minnis and other members of parliament took their oath of office in Baha Mar as Governor-General C.A Smith inspected the colour guard comprising of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Guard.

Proceedings for the Lower and Upper Chambers were held in different rooms where Bamboo Town MP Patricia Deveaux was appointed the House Speaker and Senator Lashell Adderley was appointed Senate President, respectively.

Members from both chambers soon recessed and walked to the main room to hear the Speech from the Throne read by Smith, who outlined the new government’s policies and agenda which include the reduction of Value Added Tax to 10 percent, the building of two new hospitals in New Providence and Grand Bahama, amendment of the debt management plan, implementation of renewable energy, improve greater food security, introduction of regulations for the framework for the cannabis industry, introduction of measures to reintroduce prisoners into the workforce, expungement of the records of young people caught with small amounts of marijuana and the increase of the minimum wage.

The big picture

The opening of Parliament follows the September 16 early election when the Progressive Liberal Party won 32 seats in the House of Assembly. The FNM became the Opposition winning 7 seats.

 

Meet Davis’ Remaining Cabinet Members

Eleven cabinet ministers were sworn in on Wednesday, totalling 21 Cabinet members to be a part of Prime Minister Philip Davis’ administration.

  • Obie Wilchcombe: Social Services and Urban Development
  • Keith Bell: Labor and Immigration
  • Vaughn Miller: Environment and Natural Resources
  • Jobeth Colby-Davis: Transport and Housing
  • Ginger Moxey: Grand Bahama
  • Mario Moxey: Youth, Sports and Culture
  • Basil McIntosh: State for the Environment
  • Myles Laroda: State in the Office of the Prime Minister
  • Pia Glover: State for Public Service
  • Lisa Rahming: State for Social Services
  • Zane Lightbourne: State for Education and Technical and Vocational Training

 

Meet Davis’ Cabinet Members

Eight members of the Cabinet were sworn in on Monday afternoon to serve as ministers in the Davis-led administration.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said they will “deliver the party’s promise of a new day.”

  1. Fred Mitchell–Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is an outspoken member of the PLP and was party chairman. He served in the Perry Christie administration in the same position in 2012. When the PLP lost in 2017, he lost his seat but was appointed PLP senator.
  2. Glennys Hanna-Martin–Minister of Education and Vocational Training. She has been a longtime member of the PLP, having served in the Christie administration in 2012 as Minister of Transport and Aviation. The party lost in 2017, but she retained her seat and was one of four PLPs who returned to the Parliament as the opposition.
  3. Michael Darville–Minister of Health. He was the MP for Pineridge and Minister of Grand Bahama in 2012 in the Christie administration. When his party lost, he became a PLP senator.
  4. Michael Halkitis–Minister of Economic Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate. He lost to the FNM in the 2021 election. He served in the Christie administration as the Minister of State for Finance in 2012.
  5. Clay Sweeting–Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs. He ran against FNM MP Ricky Martin in 2017 and lost. The fisherman was then appointed a PLP senator in the Upper Chamber.
  6. Alfred Sears–Minister of Works and Utilities. He was the Member of Parliament for Fort Charlotte from 2000 to 2012 and served in the Christie administration. He lost his seat to the FNM in 2017. He once served as Minister of Education and as Attorney General in the Christie administration.
  7. Wayne Munroe–Minister of National Security. He is a prominent lawyer. He ran in 2017 for the PLP but lost to the FNM. He was also a former DNA member.
  8. Jomo Campbell–Minister of State for Legal Affairs. He is new to politics and is believed to be a lawyer in Wayne Munroe’s office.

Davis said his Cabinet “will move with urgency, that this moment requires.”

Governor-General C.A Smith asked that the country “set aside differences until next five years.” He added, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Let’s unite and together make a better Bahamas.”

Davis Sworn in as 5th Prime Minister: I Will Lift the Veil of Secrecy

Philip Edward Davis became the 5th Bahamian prime minister on Saturday following a general election where the Progressive Liberal Party won the majority of seats in the House of Assembly.

The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Bahamar Resort, under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic where the 70-year-old was granted his instruments of appointment, in front of a crowd.

He enters government exactly two days after the country’s early election.

Prime Minister Philip Davis at his Swearing-In Ceremony

Davis was sworn in by Governor General C.A Smith during which he promised to be transparent with all government agendas.

“We’re going to listen. We’re going to consult. We’re going to bring people together. This is the best way to make progress as a nation. No leader and no government should be isolated from the people.

“I also commit to lifting the veil of secrecy from that which has gone before us so that all of the arrangements under which we have to live are transparent and those who offered them are accountable.”

Davis continued, “We will govern in the interest of all Bahamians, not just the privileged few. We will act in ways that will build trust between the government and the Bahamian people.

“We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law and ensure everyone is treated fairly so that there is not one rule for one set of people, and another rule for another set of people.

“There is much work to be done,  but I know that if we work together, we can succeed and build a kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamt for us,” he said.

Davis took the oath of office on Friday and immediately made changes to the Emergency order, extending curfew to the hours of 11:59 pm to 5 am.

Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper will be sworn in at 2 pm.

Davis Beats Minnis to Capture the House in Early Election

Philip Davis will capture the Parliament and reign as prime minister after victory at the polls over FNM Leader Hubert Minnis.

Davis won by a big margin capturing a majority of the seats in an early election.

A delighted Davis took to social media to express delight. “Thank you Bahamas. Your support means so much to me. It is a new day. God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.”

Minnis has conceded to Davis and offered best wishes to him. He thanked the Bahamians who supported him while congratulating the FNM candidates who won their seats.

Minnis won his seat for Killarney and will lead the Opposition in the House of Assembly.

As of 9:30 pm, Kwasi Thompson, Shanendon Cartwright, Andrian Gibson, Michael Pintard, Iram Lewis and Adrian White of the FNM survived and will be a part of the opposition.

Davis will have to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination rollout, boost the economy and revive the healthcare system.

Davis was a part of the Christie administration that was voted out in 2017, which was heavily hit with scandals.

Minnis’ reign as prime minister was criticized for its handling of the Oban deal, Dorian and its aftermath, and the Emergency Orders which caused the closure of businesses.

Amidst the pandemic, Davis staged virtual rallies preaching that his government will usher in transparency, equality and prosperity.

Public Reacts to DJ Khaled Shoutout to Davis Ahead of General Election

DJ Khaled’s shoutout to Opposition Leader Philip Davis ahead of the General Election is met with mixed reactions from the Bahamian public.

DJ Khaled Instagram post of Opposition Leader Philip Davis

On Tuesday, the famous American artist and producer posted a picture of Davis on Instagram, stating, “Bless up to PLP and Brave Davis.”

The post received nearly 18,000 views by Tuesday afternoon.

Some posters were surprised at the shoutout.

One poster, _cloud3 said, “Brave money long,” while another, Khadijahrahming said, “…Brave can’t be this desperate.”

Lov3_doll asked, “Which island he promised you?”

Briismk questioned, “What is going on here?”

“Do you even know the information and the credibility behind this man?” Shellz_mac questioned.

Others were in support of the post.

Okayjaydee said, “I know das right.”

“You’re the best,” said Bouche_doux.

Mmg_martin said, “Even the dog says to vote PLP.”

Some posters expressed their support for the incumbent Prime Minister Hubert Minnis.

Rashead_serenity like many others said, “We [are] still rocking with Doc Minnis.”

Khaled is considered a “hype man” who unites the older generation of hip-hop with teens and young adults.