Mitchell hopes Kingsley Smith attracts young faces to a dying party

Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party Fred Mitchell insisted the party’s newest ratified candidate Kingsley Smith is rooted in the party despite his most recent switch from the Free National Movement as he runs on the party’s ticket for West Grand Bahama and Bimini in the upcoming by-election.

Smith faced a bitter battle to become the nominee on Friday amidst strong opposition from some party insiders and supporters who remained adamant that he was not a good pick since he has ties to the FNM.

He left the FNM in 2020 to join the PLP. His run incited the circulation of a video showing him dressed in FNM paraphernalia.

Former Immigration and Labour Minister Shane Gibson’s supporters hoped the party would select him as its standard bearer instead, but a squabble ensued between him and Party Chairman Fred Mitchell.

“Brave gatta go,” and “Fred gatta go” a group rowdily shouted at the party’s headquarters after Smith was declared the nominee.

Hoping that everyone gets on board with the party’s decision, Mitchell maintained in a voice note that Smith’s father Kingsley Smith Sr was a stalwart councillor in the Progressive Liberal Party and Smith once served as the Progressive Young Liberal before leaving the party to support his uncle, Dennis Martin, who ran for the FNM in 1992.

“He is safely back in the PLP,” Mitchell affirmed PLP supporters hoping to calm nerves and mend the division after some supporters said they would not vote in the by-election since Smith was elected.

After Smith won in the run-off with Gibson, Prime Minister and Party Leader Philip Davis said he represented a “fresh and new” face to the party which appears to be a direct contrast to Gibson who once served in the PLP’s administration as Minister of Immigration, Labour and Training and was embroiled in bribery scandal but won his case and sued government, settling for 2.5 million dollars after claiming malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.

While endorsing 50-year-old Smith, Fred reminded party supporters, that most of the party was made of the old guard and needed to present younger candidates, adding that Smith is the party’s “attempt to change course, selecting younger people.”

Paraphrasing a 2007 report done by the party, Mitchell said that “if PLP did not change, it was heading for the graveyard.”

“Stalwart councillors were largely over 70 years and in 5 years, 50% would have gone on to glory.”

He continued, “We have no choice but to look to the future, no choice but to attract, invite, embrace a new generation. We have no choice but to lead, guide, direct and embrace them while we are still alive.”

Mitchell himself is 70 years old while Davis is 72 years old.

The FNM’s pick to run in the area, Bishop Ricardo Grant is 55.


Photo credit: Fred Mitchell on social media

FNM picks Ricardo Grant to replace Obediah Wilchcombe

Ricardo Grant has been confirmed the candidate to represent the Free National Movement in the upcoming by-election in West Grand Bahama and Bimini.

This follows the untimely death of Obediah Wilchcombe, 64, while in office on September 25.

Grant is the pastor of Universal Household of Faith and is a leading figure in the Grand Bahama community.

No date has been set for the by-election but by all indications, it must take place before November 25.

Grant, with his wife by his side said, “Service should always be the trademark of anybody offering themselves to this kind of office… If you do not know the purpose of a thing, abuse is inevitable. We’ve come not to be served, not looking and seeking notoriety, fame or fortune, but we’ve come because we believe we can bring something to the table to ensure better for our family, community, island and country.

“The important thing is to ensure our children and our children’s children have all opportunities to what life has to offer.”

The Progressive Liberal Party has not chosen a candidate to contest the seat though many sought to secure nominations.

When asked about the separation of state and church by reporters, Grant responded, “The mission of church and state should always be the same thing–the people in whom they serve. We serve people.

“Church and state are separate. But their function and service to their people are the same.”

‘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.

Arinthia Komolafe Emerges and Seems to Have Joined Forces With the FNM

When Arinthia Komolafe was elected leader of third party Democratic National Alliance in 2017, after her party’s defeat in the General Election, the attorney and banker who became a household name, seemed like a sure thing for the 2021 general election. But her 2021 campaign was a nonstarter–averaging over 1 percent in the polls.

Komolafe who never held an elected office, resigned from her party in December 2021 and seemed to have vanished from the spotlight. That’s until she was seen at Free National Movement’s Eastern District Meeting on Monday night.

Another DNA candidate in the 2021 election, Theophilus Coakley who ran for Tall Pines, is also seen at the FNM Meeting on Monday night

She made no declarations but her presence alone could mean a pivot for the FNM’s run in the next election. It’s likely she will contend for a seat.

When Komolafe resigned from her party she said she never intended to leave front-line politics and would consider an offer from a major party.

“Everything I do in my life, I have to pray and I have to meditate about it. For me, politics has always been a vehicle. It is a vehicle to bring forth a vision that I’ve been carrying for years — for where I feel this country should go and needs to be,” she said at the time.

“So, any decision I take in terms of frontline politics has to be an environment where I believe that vision is able to be brought to pass. I’m not just looking to be a politician. I could’ve done that long time.”

As DNA member and leader, Komolafe said she was propositioned by both major parties but she declined. “The fact of the matter is I was too deep in. I had done too much work and I thought the organization deserved a fighting chance and the reality is based on my morals and ethics as a captain. I could not abandon ship though the storms were raging.”

Third parties are bound to fail in the Bahamas and the DNA suffered that fate miserably though voters vented their anger at the governing party and condemned the country’s two-party system.

Komolafe acknowledged at her resignation, the failings of third parties like the DNA and believed if she was on the ticket of a major party, she would have already been elected as a member of parliament.

As a third party, most of her gripes were directed at then Prime Minister Hubert Minnis whom she referred to as ‘Pharoah’ because of his ‘draconian’ approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Michael Pintard at the helm of the FNM party, Komolafe seems content to follow his lead and will likely be a contender in the next general election, converting swing voters to FNM gains.

Minnis Lost But He Just Won’t Go Away

By now it is apparent, former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is not going away gracefully.

He is not a former prime minister and former party leader who would say, “I lost fair and square. I wish the new leader of the Free National Movement, all the best,” and then mean it.

Instead, he is steadfast in battling with his party’s leader, Michael Pintard, acting as the main speaker at the Garden Hills Constituency Association meeting, while Pintard was engaged as speaker in another constituency association meeting in Centerville, both going live on Facebook, simultaneously.

Dr Hubert Minnis addresses the Garden Hills Association
FNM Party Leader Michael Pintard addresses the Centerville Association on Tuesday.

“Mr Pintard is the leader and I respect leadership,” he told reporters on the sidelines, an attempt to downplay his actions.

Well, he should prove it. Everything he has done is in direct contrast to that statement and it has long been speculated that he is attempting a comeback. He appears to be undermining Pintard, which is causing division and tension in the party, he once led.

Minnis lost the early election that he called in 2021. Perhaps, he wants to right his wrongs since major failings were at his feet while he governed, which shows a degree of not listening to his advisors when he was in office. He should be commended though, because he governed at a time when the Bahamas suffered two major crises, of which he had no control–Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 Pandemic. And, he made doing business in the Bahamas, easier.

Former prime ministers fade into statesman-like figures–they are gracious and indicative of the title they held. But Minnis’ style is different. He is rouge and deceptive, and the role of a statesman, he will never adopt.

He will never come to a realization that his tenure as leader is over. He is likely to continue to campaign within constituencies in preparation to run in the next general election. Or, he is satisfied in basking in the allegiance of his supporters.

“I didn’t expect to see so many people here tonight,” he said in the introduction at the Garden Hills event.

Who believes that?

He and his supporters called the meeting. He is in campaign mode. He rallied his supporters behind closed doors. His intent is to show the allegiance of his followers. He wants to continue dividing the party to show the current party leader as weak.

His supporter told the Tribune, “It will be war” if Minnis is not permitted to speak at meetings in what they believe is an attempt to silence him.

Another told the Nassau Guardian, “They (FNM leadership) hate to respect Dr Minnis and all of his accomplishments under the previous administrations.”

If Minnis wishes to align with party goals, he would correct ill behavior or speech, and call for unity from his followers.

Yes, he is a parliamentarian and he has a right to speak to the concerns of his constituents, and his position as former PM gave him insight on national issues. But when his actions are counteractive to the party or may not be in the best interest of the party, or it gives an appearance of conflict, then he should stand down. Demonstrate unity. Use wisdom.

The FNM leadership must now be prepared to manage him and figure out how to counter his strategies.

Photo credit: Nassau Guardian

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden Wishes to Resign Before Election: ‘I Don’t Have the Energy’

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, known for her strict handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is set to resign within weeks, admitting she does not have the energy to seek re-election in the upcoming elections in October.

What Jacinda Arden says

“The decision was my own,” Ardern said. “Leading a country is the most privileged job anyone could ever have, but also the most challenging. You cannot and should not do the job unless you have a full tank, plus a bit in reserve for those unplanned and unexpected challenges.”

“I no longer have enough in the tank to do the job justice,” she added.

The big picture

Arden’s term will end by February 7, when a new Labour prime minister will be sworn in.

New Zealand’s general election will be held on October 14.

Arden became known as one of the youngest world leaders, serving as prime minister at 37 years old.

Jacinda Ardern Fast Facts | CNN

She gave birth while in office and was re-elected to a second term due to her “go hard and go early” approach to the pandemic, helping to control and lower the number of infections in the country, attracting praise from other countries battling infections.

Bain and COI Members Strike $1500 Bail 1 Day After Chaos Erupted in Parliament Square

Lincoln Bain, leader of the Coalition of Independents and eight members of his party were charged and released on bail following a clash with police in Parliament Square on Wednesday.

The group was reportedly detained overnight in jail and was charged before the Magistrates court on Thursday morning, facing a litany of charges including unlawful assembly, obstruction, assault, disorderly behavior and resisting arrest.

The group pleaded not guilty then was released on $1,500 bail.

They walked out of the front door of the Magistrates Court where they were greeted by cheering supporters. Bain and the eight accused were seen embracing the happy crowd which  shouted, “Freedom is a must.”

Bain and some members of the group showed up in Rawson Square on Wednesday to give parliamentarians a copy of their immigration proposal and wound up in a fight with officers after Bain was asked to move from the steps and work within the precincts of the square. 

A senior officer physically removed Bain from the steps when chaos erupted and he was eventually carried away in a police vehicle.

They will return to court on December 1.

They were represented by Maria Daxon and Donna Dorsette Major, both members of the COI.



Political Aspirant Launches Her Own Shoe Brand After Election Loss

Hillary Deveaux once dabbled in Bahamian politics and has since announced her new shoe line.

Wedge $199

Deveaux was a candidate in the 2021 General Election under the banner of the Democratic National Alliance in the Elizabeth Estates Constituency. Since her unsuccessful attempt for a seat in Parliament, she took a step in another direction—designing footwear for women and men.

In a social media post, a delighted Deveaux said, “So I launched my first shoe line, one shoe of many. Can God do it? Yes, he can.”

The retro line which includes runners, ballerinas, sandals, boots, stilettos and wedges, are handmade by an Italian craftsman and are outfitted with Italian leather.

They are available for purchase and range from $191 to $237. Check out the link for purchase: https://www.beautifulshoes.info/shoes

Ballerina flat $169
Retro runner $191
Ankle boot platform stiletto $229
Classic heel $189
Ankle strap heel $199
Luxe sandal $199
Ankle boot $189

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


Minnis Hosts First Drive-in Campaign Rally Amid Pandemic Ahead of Election

As the general election loom, the political arena saw its first drive-in rally.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis addressed hundreds of supporters in Grand Bahama who stayed in or near their vehicles, to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19.

Despite its high cases of infection in the country, the Free National Movement found a new way to reach its supporters.   The party supporters waved pom-poms from their car windows, blew the car horns in support of their candidates, while others danced while social distancing from others.

Minnis touted his vaccination program stating that 11,000 more Bahamians were vaccinated between Monday and Friday.

He hit out at the Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis who has criticized his government’s COVID-19 policies to control the virus.

Minnis praised the “decisive leadership” of his government.

“Some other people played down the pandemic and the vaccine. They talked fool and voted against the Emergency Order. If Brave Davis was leading the country, we would be in much, much worse shape,” Minnis said.

“He and I are distinctly different. I wanted to save lives. He wanted to open the bars.”

Minnis added that he laughed when he saw the PLP’s slogan, ‘A New Day.’

“I bust out laughing when I heard that…He is a PLP from the dark days of the ’80s…Brave is no new day. Brave is yesterday’s news. He would take us back to the dark days.”

Last week, Davis said his party will postpone drive-in rallies to help battle the spread of the infectious disease.

The big story

Bahamians will head to the polls on September 16 in an early election called by Minnis. It comes at a time when the country is battling high deaths and hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

The government has launched its vaccination campaign to combat the further spread of the virus. Three vaccines are now available–AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.