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progressiveliberalparty

Monday, February 6, 2023

progressiveliberalparty

The PLP Makes Wife of Its Founding Father Mad

Lady Marguerite Pindling is not happy right now, about the party her husband Sir Lynden Pindling founded.

The prominent figure and former Governor General gave a scorching rebuke of the Progressive Liberal Party on Majority Rule Day, the same day marked in honor of her husband’s fight for equality for Bahamians.

Standing near his gravesite at a ceremony behind a podium, she said the party is using her husband as “a stepping stone.”

“I do not appreciate it,” she said as her hands shook.

Prime Minister Philip Davis who now leads the PLP, sat in the front row, emotionless, along with former Prime Minister Perry Christie, who succeeded Pindling. He too sat quietly as a small crowd gathered under and around a tent, clapping and cheering.

“I’m sorry Mr Prime Minister, I promise I was going to behave, but I think yall should know who I am by now.

“You owe me an apology and I expect Mr Chairman [Fred Mitchell], right now,” she concluded before she abruptly walked off to her seat.

Her remarks are surprising since she has never made a public political commentary. Though it is unclear why she is upset, her anger against the party may have been brewing for some time. Her daughter Monique Pindling castigated the party in 2021 when she was refused the nomination as candidate for South Andros, also claiming the PLP only wants to use her father’s name when it is convenient, suggesting the party alluded to the negativity attached to the Pindling legacy.

“It’s not that we have sole ownership [of his legacy] but my thought is, you can’t use him when it’s convenient for you, you can’t use him for good and then say it’s bad, you can’t use him when it’s good occasions or certain occasions and then drop him when you feel like it,” Monique said in 2021.

“If you’re gonna use him, use him for good. Don’t just use him as if he’s a commodity when you could get up and you could say what you want to say.”

She said about a meeting in January of that year which she described as “interesting” and “tight.”

“They wanted me or my mom or my family to participate at the (Sir Lynden’s) gravesite for Majority Rule,” referring to the celebration in 2021.

Pindling is revered as the most dominant figure in Bahamian politics.

Lady Pindling continued on Tuesday, “The leadership was so excited, they forgot I existed. But I want you to know that I’m alive, doing well, of sound mind, and in good health. And waiting for all that is going to take place. Because I do not like it. I’m sorry Mr Mitchell, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I cannot contain it any longer.”

The questions are whether the party will lose supporters who revered Sir Lynden Pindling, will the party now be viewed as unstable, and whether Lady Pindling’s remark has created a bad image for the party.

 

Photo credit: Tribune–Moise Amisial

‘I Do Not Know’: Prime Minister Davis Addresses Governing Party’s Tie to FTX

Following weeks of speculations on the governing party’s connection to FTX, the billionaire exchange headquartered in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Philip Davis addressed speculations that the Progressive Liberal Party received money from the exchange.

“Not to my knowledge,” he said when reporters asked whether or not FTX donated to the party’s campaign in 2021 or whether or not anyone in the party took any money from FTX.

He clarified, “I do not hold any wallets. In fact, I’m agnostic to it.”

Davis said he does not know if any Cabinet minister held digital wallets with the crypto giant.

“I do not know that.”

Why it matters

Former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is known for his altruism and has given away millions of dollars to international and national charities.

US politicians have also received millions of dollars in campaign donations from ‘the crypto genius.’

Sam Bankman-Fried is thought to have close ties to the Progressive Liberal Party. The Opposition has questioned the governing party, asking, whether or not the PLP accepted donations from Bankman-Fried, did the party hold digital wallets with FTX, and whether it did its due diligence to screen the company before its operation in the Bahamas.

The big picture

FTX, valued at 32 billion dollars, filed for bankruptcy last week. And Sam Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO.

John Ray, the man known for overseeing the Enron scandal in the US, is the new CEO of FTX.

The collapse has caused chaos in the financial market. However, Bankman-Fried, now a crypto villain, says he is still working to recoup customer funds, purported to be billions of dollars lost in the collapse.

FTX has a big hole in its balance sheet and owes its top 50 creditors alone, some 3.1 billion dollars.

State of Play

Davis’ expressions like “Not to my knowledge” and “I do not know” may not be outright denials as reported by some local media. It can mean that he is not completely certain or the information has not been officially presented to him.

 

Prime Minister Davis ‘Us vs Them’ Mentality on the FTX Fiasco Is Manipulative

FTX, the 32-billion dollar exchange, with its headquarters in the Bahamas has made a mess of the crypto market since its collapse and has now become a global conversation.

As scrutiny arises, Prime Minister Philip Davis who has welcomed former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to the Bahamas has remained mum on the fiasco, only to say “those who care about our country’s reputation” should tread carefully when they speak about the complex matter involving FTX which he says is still “unfolding.”

“There is a reason that the Bahamas won international praise for the approach we have taken, to date, on digital assets, and there is also plenty of room to have a healthy debate about the industry, but this is a story that has the world’s attention, and those who use it to mislead and score cheap political points are no patriots,” Davis said.

His comments in the House of Assembly are manipulative and are steeped in an antiquated belief system.

It’s an attempt to keep the public quiet while the world talks about the issue and suggests that to ask questions, you’re doing something wrong.

It also suggests that any attempt to discuss FTX is “unpatriotic” and will ruin the country’s image.

Davis attempts to implement an ‘us versus them’ mentality which can be destructive, divides the Bahamas from the rest of the world, and forces Bahamians to pick a side and automatically make judgments about the other side without taking a realistic view of what happened.

Opposition Leader Michael Pintard then responded stating that he was surprised “at the brevity and to a large extent, the hollowness” of the prime minister’s remarks on the downfall of FTX.

“We are facing a substantial risk to our financial services sector and one would’ve expected that since the international community’s eyes are trained on the Commonwealth of The Bahamas that on this occasion that this Davis-Cooper administration would’ve thought it necessary to break its silence much earlier with a far more comprehensive statement given the gravity of this.”

There may be circumstances where Davis’ concept of waiting until all the evidence is brought to the forefront before making allegations, could be applied, but FTX is global.  The fiasco is not a secret. The world’s a global village.

Bankman-Fried was a crypto sensation living and working in the Bahamas and rubbed shoulders with prominent US politicians and A-list celebrities. Therefore, his headquarters in the Bahamas will bring scrutiny.

Of course, Bahamians have questions and they deserve to be answered and one’s patriotism should not be based on the questions they have about FTX’s dealings and connection to the governing party.

Bahamians deserve to know more from Davis and he should willingly answer any of the questions from the Opposition leader such as did the PLP accept donations from Bankman-Fried, did it hold digital wallets with FTX, and whether it did its due diligence to screen the company before its operation in the Bahamas.

Davis should not expect Bahamians to stick to his script.

5 Things to Know About the New Commissioner of Police

Clayton Fernander was sworn in on Tuesday as the country’s 9th Commissioner of Police, replacing outgoing Commissioner Paul Rolle.

Rolle resigned from the police force with nearly forty years of service and handed the reins to Fernander who was appointed Deputy Commissioner in December 2021 after the Progressive Liberal Party was sworn in as the new government.

Leamond Deleveaux who was sent on leave with Fernander was appointed Deputy Commissioner.

Fernander’s appointment comes at a time when the country is dealing with troubling murder rates which are hitting unprecedented numbers. Seventy-four murders have been recorded so far for the year.

 

Here’s what to know about Fernander:

  1. While serving on the police force, Fernander was known for his connection to the Progressive Liberal Party and may have suffered for it when the Free National Movement was elected in 2017. He and three other officers holding top posts were eventually sent on leave in 2019 which many argue was a political move.
  2. Fernander was reappointed when the Progressive Liberal Party became the new government and became Deputy Commissioner.
  3. Prime Minister Philip Davis said Fernander is “the right man for the job.”
  4. He joined the police force in 1982, serving in traffic and the criminal investigation department, and once headed the Central Detective Unit before his promotion to Assistant Commissioner
  5. He was shot multiple times at his home, in an attempted armed robbery in 2013, sustaining injuries to his arm and upper body. “…I can recall and reflect back when I was a victim where I had arrived home and individuals were there waiting for me and held [me] up and robbed me, and [shot me] during that time, so it’s never a good thing look down the barrel of a firearm.”

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

 

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.

 

 

‘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.

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.

 

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.