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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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Davis’ Lack of Confidence Causes Picewell to Walk Away

South and Central Andros MP Picewell Forbes said PLP leader Philip Davis, has not reposed confidence in him, therefore he will not offer himself in the 2022 General Election.

Forbes said he needed to see confidence from the leadership. “A simple go on the ground to say you support me,” would show Davis’ faith in him, he believes.

Standing in the House of Assembly on Monday morning, Forbes said his final goodbyes before walking out to a standing ovation by House members.

Why it matters?

Prospective candidates for the PLP, hoping to be ratified, have been scouting the Mangrove Cay, South and Central Andros constituency.

And back in November, Monique Pindling, daughter of former Prime Minister Lynden Pindling publicly confirmed her bid for that constituency on the PLP ticket.

The big picture

Forbes is a 13-year veteran of the House of Assembly and remained one of four PLP parliamentarians who retained their seats in the 2017 election. He along with party leader Philip Davis, deputy leader of the party Chester Cooper, Glennys Hanna Martin,  and recently joined Vaughn Miller made up the official Opposition.

What Forbes said before he left

Forbes said as MP for South and Central Andros, he has faced questions from his constituents who have asked him about the number of people his party has sent to canvass the area ahead of the General Election.

“To every house, you go to, the question is being asked, ‘Are you running? How many persons are the PLP going to put on the ground against you? When is this issue going to be cleared up?’

“When you continue to go back and forth on this, ..and after all of the questions in Mangrove Cay and you have given it your best, …and all these questions still abound, after all these years… farewell,” Forbes said to reporters.

Worth noting

Forbes still remains a member of the PLP to date. He did not announce a resignation but indicated that he will mull over further decisions and his connection with the party.

 

FNM Pressures Davis to Acknowledge Women Suffered at the Hands of Nygard

The Free National Movement, like many people, is awaiting the opposition’s acknowledgment of its connection to Canadian Fashion Mogul Peter Nygard, who is awaiting trial for alleged sexual assaults against women and underage girls at his Bahamas estate, Nygard Cay.

In a press statement following the PLP’s accusations that the FNM is using Facebook advertisements to attack its credibility, the FNM said, “Davis has a moral obligation to come clean and acknowledge the pain and suffering these women say his top donor caused to so many. Until Davis does, he leaves many Bahamians to wonder who he looks out for, other than himself.”

Why it matters

Jane Doe No. 1 was 14 years old when she says Peter Nygard raped her in 2015. (John Badcock/CBC)
Jane Doe No. 1 tells CBC News, she was 14 years old when Peter Nygard raped her in 2015. (John Badcock/CBC)

A four-part docuseries, Unseamly: The Investigation of Peter Nygard, on Discovery+ recently aired internationally, examining Nygard’s rise to power while highlighting interviews with Peter Nygard’s alleged victims and former employees who reveal dreadful stories about him. One person testified that Nygard collected passports, locked them in rooms with codes, to prevent them from leaving the estate. Watch this link to hear Jane Doe No. 3 describe what happens when she met Peter Nygard when she was 15 years old: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1850004547561

The big picture

Nygard is known as a close friend of the PLP, donating millions of dollars to the party during its time in office in 2012. In fact, a video circulated showing former 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 captures 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/

What the FNM says

“The alleged victims of Nygard’s abuse deserve justice. All Bahamians deserve to know the true details of how the PLP elite turned a blind eye to the conduct of a man U.S. prosecutors described as a callous, sex trafficking billionaire.

“Clearly Davis’ dismissive attitude towards these serious allegations proves he has a lot to learn about true leadership if he ever hopes to earn the trust of the people to lead our country.”

“Sadly, for Davis, it is relevant to Nygard’s alleged victims – some who claim they were basically locked in cages as their predator, lurked around waiting to abuse them. The Bahamian people deserve answers now. And when members of Davis’ own party admit they benefited indirectly from Nygard’s financial largesse to the PLP for their campaigns, even more questions are raised.

What Davis said in the past

At the release of the docuseries, Davis told the Nassau Guardian that the PLP’s relationship with Nygard in the past.

And back in December when  Davis was asked to offer his commentary on Nygard’s behavior while in the country, Davis said, “Peter, what’s his name?” Davis asked.

“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.

“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 Image: (Submitted to CBC by Stephen Feralio, Nygard’s former videographer)

Minnis Wielding Political Axe in Preparation for 2022 Win

Free National Movement Leader Hubert Minnis said to expect more cuts in the party in the run-up to the 2022 General Election.

“As we evaluate the remaining candidates, there will be a mix of new entrants and incumbents. Some people who ran in 2017 will not run in the next general election,” he said.

Why it matters

Former Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest was not renominated by the party to run on the party’s ticket in 2022.

Since then, other names have swirled on social media of others who may be axed from the ticket.

The big picture

The Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement ratified new candidates for the next general election.

The FNM’s group included 6 new candidates and 11 incumbents, while the PLP ratified 18 candidates for the next general election.

The FNM says its first of the 17 candidates include a mix of experienced individuals and new energy and talent.

What Party Leader Minnis says

  • “We are committed to offering the best team possible for governance.
  • Our party is well advanced in the process of evaluating potential candidates for the remaining constituencies. In the coming weeks, further ratification announcements will be made. These decisions are based on careful consultation and the need for the ongoing renewal of the FNM.
  • Out of respect and courtesy, our party will first privately inform those incumbents who will not be nominated again before we make public announcements.
  • It is our intention to draw on the expertise of some of our former candidates in various ways in the future should the people again give us their confidence as their government.”

PM on the history of the PLP

Hubert Minnis said the two major parties have different visions for the country and the FNM has “acted decisively during the pandemic to save lives and protect the future of Bahamians.”

Minnis said “The PLP opposes the live-saving emergency measures we enacted. Under the PLP’s policies, there would be no clear rules, the virus would spread, and there would be more sickness and death and economic ruin. The PLP is not a trustworthy party to govern The Bahamas.

Minnis reminded Bahamians, “Whenever they (PLP) are in office there are scandals that do damage to the international reputation of the Bahamas.”

Davis Tweets That Nygard Allegations Are “Extremely Serious”

Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis says the allegations against Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard “should be pursued to the full extent of the law.’

Though not in an official statement, Davis used Twitter to express the seriousness of the charges against Nygard.

Davis said he, “hope[s] the women involved receive justice.”

Why it matters

The Free National Movement has called on the PLP to publicly condemn the actions of billionaire Nygard who is known to be a major financier to the party and caused quite a stir in the 2017 elections when documents circulated showing that Nygard sent 94,131.10 to the account of the former Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson.

The big picture

Peter Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg, Canada, and is expected to be extradited to the US for sex crimes against fifty-seven women from the  Bahamas, the U.S., and Canada. On Tuesday, he faced nine counts of racketeering, sex trafficking, and other related crimes.

What the women say in a lawsuit filed in the U.S Court

According to the Guardian in the UK:

  • Nygard drugged the women to ensure they met his sexual demands.
  • Nygard targetted women from disadvantaged backgrounds or who had suffered abuse.
  • Nygard referred to his victims as “girlfriends” and took them to swingers clubs where they had sex with other men.
  • The victims were alleged to be 14 or 15 years old when Nygård gave them alcohol or drugs and then raped them.
  • He bribed Bahamian officials to recruit victims in the Bahamas, US and Canada.
  • Victims’ passports were taken from them when they arrived in the Bahamas and “expected a sex act before he was willing to consider releasing any person” from his estate.

PLP Points Finger at FNM After Nygard Jailed for Sex Crimes

FNM Chairman Carl Culmer called on the opposition to publicly address its party’s connection to Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard and join in asking for justice for Bahamian victims affected by the alleged actions of Nygard.  But PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell points a finger at the FNM, alleging Nygard played a role in that party too.

Why it matters

  • Peter Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg, Canada, and is expected to be extradited to the US for sex crimes against Bahamian, American and Canadian women.  On Tuesday, he faced nine counts of racketeering, sex trafficking, and other related crimes.
  • Nygard, who owns a luxury home in Lyford Cay is a known financier of the PLP and alleged to have paid then Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson payments totaling $94,131.10 over an 18-month period. The scandal rocked the party at the 2017 general election.

Pointing Fingers

However, Opposition Chairman Fred Mitchell responded to FNM Chairman Culmer saying Nygard contributed financially to the FNM as well.

Mitchell said, “It is widely known that Peter Nygard, a foreign billionaire, contributed money to the FNM’s political campaign. This means that since the FNM is the Government, they are the ones who have an obligation to address their connections to Mr. Nygard and disassociate themselves from these criminal allegations.

“But the Bahamian people know the FNM very well. In their quagmire of deceit, there is no form of nastiness, filth and degradation to which the FNM will not go; anything to try to win the general election and discredit the PLP,” Mitchell said.

Condolences Pour in After Son of Cabinet Minister Dies

Condolences poured in after a son of Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira was found unresponsive at his home.

Police say shortly after 2 pm on Thursday, they received reports of the incident and upon arrival, they were directed to a room where the teenager was found laying on the floor of the room. EMS was unsuccessful in resuscitating him.

What Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said

“Sonia and I send our deepest condolences to minister Romauld Ferriera and his family on the sudden passing of his teenage son.

“No words seem appropriate in these circumstances and so we send our love and prayers to and for them as they try to come to terms with this tragic loss.

“We encourage persons who may be feeling pressured to take a second look, take a second step back and consider their options,” he said.

“Whether it be financial pressure, emotional pressure or pressure from relatives, there’s always someone they can find to talk to.

What Opposition Leader Philip Davis said

“I join thousands of Bahamians in expressing shock and sadness at the tragic death of the son of a parliamentary colleague, Romauld Ferreira, Minister of Housing and the Environment at the family’s home today.

“As a parent, l imagine that the grief and sadness at the loss of a beloved child must be unspeakable.

“I pray for the Ferreira family that they may find strength, solace and comfort in the midst of this unsettling tragedy. I ask that the nation also pray for them and respect their privacy, allowing them to grieve in private.

What DNA Leader Arinthia Komolafe said

“As a mother, I am heartbroken and saddened by news of the loss of a child. It is a pain that no parent should ever have to bear.

“Tonight, I join the nation as we mourn with our brother, Mr. Romauld Ferreira – Minister of Housing and the Environment.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this dark and difficult time. We extend our deepest condolences and pray for comfort that only God can provide.

Featured Image: Nassau Guardian

Former Central and South Eleuthera MP Dies at 83

Former Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera in the PLP administration died on Monday evening following a long bout of illness. James Oswald Ingraham was 83-years-old.

Photo credit: Caribbean Elections

Who was Oswald Ingraham?

  • Ingraham was born June 24, 1937, to Samuel and Marion Ingraham in Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera.
  • In his youth, in the early 1950s he accepted a position of messenger and became the first black employee at Barclays Bank in Eleuthera.
  • A former Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera, as well as former Speaker of the House of Assembly, and Deputy Governor-General between 2012 and 2017 for the Progressive Liberal Party.
  • Ingraham served as a representative for Central and South Eleuthera for ten years, starting at the age of 64, entering the seat during the 2002 national elections.
  • A native of Tarpum Bay, South Eleuthera representing the area in the House of Assembly as the representative for South Eleuthera from 2002 and 2012.
  • He served as the Speaker of the House of Assembly from 2002 to 2007.
  • In the early 1980s, he purchased a parcel of land in Tarpum Bay and eventually constructed a resort complex, becoming a successful businessman in the tourism and hospitality industry.
  • He is survived by his wife Marie and his children, Terry, Dwight, Wayne, Jackie, Wendy and Velma.

What Opposition Leader says about Ingraham’s death

“I am saddened to learn of the passing of a good friend, a parliamentary colleague and businessman, Oswald Ingraham.
“An ardent supporter of the progressive movement, Oswald was fair in his rulings as Speaker and always protected the rights of the Opposition, allowing them to have their say when the governing caucus would eventually have their way.
“Oswald Ingraham lived a full life and made his contributions to The Bahamas in both the private and public sectors. We thank him for his service as he transitions into eternity. Death is not a full stop, but a mere comma in the sentence of life, therefore, Oswald may be absent in the flesh but present in the spirit as he lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved him.”
Featured image: Bahamas local

Why Davis Says Govt Should Shut-Up and Pay Water Company After Eleuthera Shutdown

PLP leader Philip Davis said it is regrettable that businesses and homes in Eleuthera went without water for about three days due to the government’s negligence. He said the government must pay its bill to prevent disconnection from the water company Aqua Design.

The Big Picture

The government of the Bahamas and Aqua Design are in a payment dispute as government owes nearly $30.8 million to vendors and suppliers, of which a portion was due to Aqua Design at the end of August, this year, according to the Tribune.

Aqua Design has almost nine contracts to supply water throughout the islands, including Inagua, San Salvador and Eleuthera, contracts awarded and signed by the last PLP administration.

What the disconnection means

More than 2000 residents were without water during a COVID-19 period when they are encouraged to maintain proper hygiene amid the spread of the virus.

Areas affected

  • Governor’s Harbour
  • Palmetto Point
  • James Cistern
  • Savannah Sound
  • Windermere Island

How was the water turned back on?

An injunction was filed in the Supreme Court, ordering that the water be turned back on for residents. Government, before the injunction, paid 4 million dollars this year, on its debt owed to Aqua Design. The water company had previously warned that it would disconnect supply to the Family Islands where it operates.

Works Minister Desmond Bannister calls Aqua Design “greedy”

He said the company “could have waited, but they are greedy and we have to deal with greedy people.” He added that the contracts the company signed are one-sided in their favour which “no thinking government would have signed.”

Philip Davis, former Minister responsible for water, says shut-up and pay the debt

Philip Davis, who would have had a hand in awarding the contracts to Aqua Design said the government should stop the finger-pointing and pay Aqua Design.

“The question to the government is very simple. Did the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) pay its bills to the water supplier and if not, is the supplier justified in turning off the water supply for nonpayment just as the government has disconnected the water and power supplies to thousands of its customers for nonpayment?

“The government must lead by example and pay its bills just as it demands payments from its utility customers.”

Bishop Ellis Always Seems to Back Pedal When Confronted with Political Rants

The spotlight has shone on Pastor of Mt Tabor Bishop Neil Ellis who lambasted Prime Minister Hubert Minnis from his church’s pulpit on Sunday, railing against his handling of the COVID-19 while accusing him of “acting like a god” and one who “does not believe in God.”

Ellis spoke up against the continued lockdowns and restrictive measures implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.

But the part of Ellis’ speech that caught the most heat was accusations that Minnis was not a follower of Jesus, which he later denied that he referenced the prime minister.

Ellis said in his sermon on Sunday, “You (PM Minnis) are insulting our intellect and parading on our democracy and sidelining our right of movement and humiliating our business owners and entrepreneurs. Your one-man stand is killing our economy and it sure doesn’t help when the one in the chair does not believe in God.”

But on Monday morning, Ellis told ZNS in an interview, “I will never seek to say who believes or who does not believe in God because only God knows the secret of a man’s heart. So this was definitely not attributed to the prime minister.”

Who is Bishop Neil Ellis?

Membership | Global United Fellowship
Bishop Neil Ellis at a GUF gathering where he is the founder. Photo credit: GUF

Ellis is the senior pastor of a megachurch, reported having nearly 7000 members in 2011. He affiliates with renowned preachers and mega international churches, once connected to the Full Gospel Church in New Orleans, then forming an organization of his own called the Global United Fellowship, which boasts of nearly 1400 churches in 42 Countries.

Ellis has since transitioned from the title of “Bishop” to “His Grace.”

He was referred to as Former Prime Minister Perry Christie’s spiritual adviser, during the PLP’s 2012-2017 reign in power. His influence runs deep within the PLP claiming to be a protege of the PLP’s founding father the late Sir Lynden Pindling and a close friend of PLP’s campaign financier Frankie Wilson.

Bishop Ellis made similar spirituality claims of Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie but denied it too

A 2011 Wikileaks cable shows that Ellis told US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Witajewksi in 2003 in a meeting that Hubert Ingraham is “not a man of God,”  even if he does attend church, nor is Perry Christie a “true man of God,” although he was trying to be religious.

PLP Government GOES TO CHURCH TO THANK GOD FOR THE VICTORY OF 2012 | Bahamaspress.com
PLP government attends Mt Tabor in a special service in 2014. Photo credit: Bahamas Press

When the Nassau Guardian confronted Ellis with the statements in 2011, Ellis denied the statements attributed to him, saying, “I don’t qualify to determine who is a man of God and who is not a man of God.

“…For me to say I think Christie is a pretender would be very hypocritical of me because I’ve always said publicly and I would say again, I believe Perry Christie is one of the greatest humanitarians I’ve ever met.”

Bishop Ellis further rejects claims he told members to ‘vote PLP or leave the church’

Ellis further denied a controversial statement made in 2002 when reports claimed that he told his congregants to vote for the PLP, and if they did not, they should leave his church.

J. Richard Blankenship - Wikipedia
Former US Ambassador to the Bahamas Richard Blankenship Photo credit: Wikipedia

But according to Wikileaks reports, Former US Ambassador Richard Blankenship said Ellis told him that the tape — “which he claims contains selectively edited portions of three different sermons — could easily lead you to believe he had instructed his church how to vote.”

Blankenship continues, “According to Ellis, his comments were taken out of context, and that while he did officially endorse Christie and the PLP from the pulpit on several occasions (doing as he says the Holy Spirit moved him to do), he never tried to tell others how to vote or threatened anyone if they didn’t vote for the PLP.”

Despite his particular political opinions, Ellis says he has respect for all leaders.

Featured picture: The Christian Post

PLP Says Government Is ‘Blind, Deaf and Dumb’ After BPL Disconnects Homes

Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party Fred Mitchell condemned the government corporation Bahamas Power and Light for shutting-off power to thousands of homes for failure to pay overdue bills.

The big picture

Bahamas Power and Light disconnected 8,741 residents in New Providence and Family Islands for non-payments. The corporation says it is ‘strap for cash’ as it struggles to pay its staff, fuel, and equipment in the middle of a pandemic.

Why it matters

Thousands of people have been unemployed since the onset of the pandemic, which means many families cannot afford to pay electricity bills. When the electricity is shut-off, children in the home are unable to attend virtual school.

The PLP’s reaction

Fred Mitchell, the opposition’s chairman said the corporation’s decision to disconnect electricity from thousands of homes is unjustifiable. In a press statement, he called on the government-run corporation to stop disconnections.

“How could they in good conscience with the following facts before them countenance and justify such actions by a public corporation: covid is rampant; unemployment is at record levels – near 50 percent; children are at home who can’t go to school with many attending school on the government’s virtual platform; money is in short supply; NIB assistance has been reduced, and the little food that people get must be protected from being spoiled.