Monday, June 5, 2023


Beaches and Park Report is a Political Distraction. Where’s the Transparency in the Carnival Debacle?

An exuberant Press Secretary Clint Watson was at it again on Friday, allegedly releasing, “jaw-dropping” details on reported irregularities that took place in the Public Parks and Beaches Authority.

In his teaser, Watson said, the audit report was “so jaw-dropping, that we decided to immediately release the full report so that the Bahamian people can see for themselves how their money has been spent,” under the former administration.

This is one day after the government again denied the application for the operation of the Christmas Carnival on Fort Charlotte. It denied having anything to do with allowing the rides in the country at a time when the country is fighting the pandemic, and permitting it to set up on the public park. Until Senator Maxine Seymour tabled a letter showing the granting of permission from the  Ministry of Finance to the PLP, to allow the carnival company to import equipment into the country.

Questions still remain as to the transactions. Details are still missing. The government has not yet admitted that its party gave the permission. We still don’t know what protocols the Carnival company did not meet, yet they were approved to enter the country.

Where is the transparency on the carnival issue which later became a debacle because the public was not given a direct answer on its dealings?

Instead of releasing the “jaw-dropping” details on that, the government decides to release “jaw-dropping” reports of “problems and irregularities” under the former administration.

It is a clear attempt to conceal their dealings, not address the pertinent issue at hand and change the conversation, hoping the public forgets.



Davis Says ‘No’ to Christmas Carnival

The government has prohibited the operation of Christmas Carnival citing the great health risk it poses on the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a late-afternoon press conference, Press Secretary Clint Watson read a statement from Prime Minister Philip Davis who said McCafferty’s Enterprises Bahamas Limited will not be permitted to operate.

“The Carnival organizers submitted a fresh application supported by additional 35 pages of information which sought to address the concerns raised by the experts. The panel considered their submission closely but decided that the transmission risk associated with the Carnival remained too high and the protocols presented would not sufficiently mitigate against the spread of COVID,” Davis said in a statement.

Davis said he gave his final word on the advice of the Ministry of Health, adding that the opening of the rides will pose a great health risk to the public as the more transmissible Omicron variant continue to cause alarm in countries around the world.

Davis also said the opening will hamper the opening of schools in January.

The big story

The operation of the Christmas Carnival has become controversial in recent days as some argue it can become a super spreader event. Minister of Health Michael Darville denied the company was allowed to open even though the rides were permitted to set up on Clifford Park.

However, Senator Maxine Seymour tabled a letter in the Senate showing the Ministry of Finance had given the Progressive Liberal Party permission to import “equipment, apparatus, trailers and supplies” for the event.

This is the first time, Davis is lending his voice to the matter as many awaited his response to the debacle.

What’s next?

Lawyers for the company said yesterday it would still operate whether or not health officials approved their application.

Now that the approval application has again been denied by the government, reports are the company will leave the country.

It remains to be seen if the company will file a lawsuit against the government. When asked by a reporter if the government expects a lawsuit, Watson who did not take any questions from reporters only said he will address the matter on Friday.



Watson Holds First White House-Style Press Conference

Newly appointed Press Secretary Clint Watson held his first press conference on Wednesday, touting his government’s achievements with more than a month in office.

Mimicking the press conferences held at the White House in the USA, Watson stood behind a podium and in front of a logo that resembles the White House. He provided information to the press and held a question-and-answer session at the end, hoping to bring an American style of press conferences to the prime ministership of Philip Davis.

Watson said the Davis administration has already begun to remediate the public health and economic crises brought on by COVID-19 and is “solving the lack of transparency, poor fiscal management and blatant disrespect towards the Bahamian people.”

Watson said the new administration has “wasted no time on delivering on its promises of a new day,” while praising his government’s pilot program of free testing on the Family Islands, its collaboration with health officials in its COVID-19 response, adjustments to curfews and the removal of restrictions for business operations.

He added, “The Davis administration is just getting started. Don’t think by a long shot that we are done or that we are out of air. We are just getting started.”

Following heavy criticisms from the media due to his office’s new and restrictive guidelines for the press, Watson said his government will be accountable and accessible to the media, increasing two-way communications and public engagement.

A New Day: Watson to Take His Turn at the Podium

Clint Watson, Prime Minister Philip Davis’ new press secretary will seek to begin with a clean slate on Wednesday as he addresses members of the media on governmental affairs for the first time, since imposing stringent rules for the media in his appointed position.

The Office of the Prime Minister posted a reminder of the press briefing on its social media page. Watson will address the media in a live briefing at 11 am.

This comes after Watson caused dissatisfaction among members of the media when he sought to implement restrictive guidelines for the press as the newly appointed press secretary.

Among other things, the new rules stated that only accredited journalists and staff will be permitted into Cabinet and OPM briefings; accreditation forms should be filled out by media houses and submitted to the Office of the Press Secretary for approval; a press officer will indicate the final question toward the end of the briefing and no further questions will be asked thereafter; and reporters requesting specific responses to issues should communicate with the Press Secretary Office by 6 pm the latest, before the briefing.

When criticized by the media, Watson sought to explain the rules and accused the press of “manufacturing a controversy.”

Watson is a former journalist and news director and is now the new government’s mouthpiece, providing updates on the government’s activities.

Social media users have been critical of Watson in his new role.


The position of press secretary is an American tradition and would make the second time that a government attempted the use of a press secretary. The Free National Movement was unsuccessful in its attempt.

It remains to see how much of the new rules Watson will implement and how the media will receive him in this position.


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.



New Press Secretary Clashes With Press

The newly appointed press secretary for Prime Minister Philip Davis clashed with a Nassau Guardian reporter at the end of a press conference on Wednesday following the Opening of Parliament.

Former Journalist and News Director Clint Watson in his new role, quickly wrapped up a press conference held by Davis to address the new government’s policies outlined in the Speech from the Throne, and to answer questions posed by reporters, when Watson asked that journalists make further inquiries with him as Davis was pressed for time.

“…If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. I will get the answers for you,” Watson told reporters.

Travis Carroll, The Nassau Guardian’s assistant news editor then quickly approached Davis to get clarification on comments he made about issues arising on National Security Minister Wayne Munroe’s involvement in the reinstatement of his law firm’s clients as acting commissioners of the correctional facility, as Prison Commissioner Charles Murphy was placed on administrative leave.

Carroll asked Davis, “Do you have concerns that it may be a conflict of interest?”

Watson then intervenes, “Cub, cub, come on,” then hurries Davis away.

An irate Carroll responds, “Relax, Clint.”

Why it matters

During the campaign season, Davis assured journalists of his government’s promise to be transparent and answer all questions posed by reporters. He has used former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis as his measure saying he won’t avoid reporters’ questions.

Watson as the former host of Beyond the Headlines, has been a constant critic of Minnis for “avoiding the press.”

The big picture

Watson, in his position as host of the show, lobbied strongly for the Progressive Liberal Party. He resigned from the news station nearly two weeks ago to assume his new role when the party became the new government.