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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

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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)

Davis Wars With Facebook Ads as Election Looms

Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis is tangling with advertisements on Facebook which he claims are disseminating false information about his party.

As election season heats up, Davis said in a press conference today that the Free National Movement is responsible for using social media advertisements to spread propaganda.

Why it matters

Political candidates suspect that Prime Minister Hubert Minnis will call an early election. In recent weeks, the political campaigns have intensified as both the FNM and the PLP have ratified candidates in preparation for when an election is called.

The big picture

Both political parties use social media to reach targeted audiences. In fact, it is believed that the platforms played a significant role in the 2017 General election where the political parties disseminated party rhetoric.

What Davis says

“Their strategy is to buy and lie their way through a campaign. Anyone with a phone or internet connection knows what I’m talking about.

“People are complaining to me about the toxic, deceptive ads every day that seem to be unavoidable.

“…The FNM is running a garbage juice campaign, filled with garbage juice lies,” Davis said.

Davis claims that his party has identified 11 fake Facebook groups running paid active anti-PLP campaigns from their pages.

“They are not real. They have no staff. They cannot be contacted. They do not produce, or post or advertise content except for anti-PLP and occasionally some pro-FNM content,” he claimed.”

He said these ads are “filled with disgusting lies,” which he says are about him and the newly ratified candidates.

Davis says his party will soon announce the measures it will take in regards to Facebook and its allowance to run “fake sites.”

Moultrie in Spat With Davis Denies Reports of Minnis Acting Like a ‘Demigod’

House Speaker Halson Moultrie  said the media reports that he referenced the competent authority as a “demigod,” is “false.”

Moultrie’s comments came in the House of Assembly on Thursday during the debate on the extension of the emergency order to January 31.

Opposition Leader Philip Davis while arguing against the renewed emergency order, said it gave the impression that Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was someone of divine status.

Davis said, “There is a view emerging that the member (competent authority) might be a demigod.”

The issue is, the label “demigod” was attributed to Moultrie as reporters spoke to him on the sideline of a constiutency event. Moultrie then called for the autonomy of Parliament, which he believes is held hostage by Cabinet.

He told reporters at the time, “We have developed situations where the leader or the prime minister in these jurisdictions can function like a demigod–like a person who is maximum leader, a person who could dictate.”

When PLP Leader Philip Davis used the term to describe Minnis in the House, Moultrie then presumed that Davis was underhandedly using the words attributed to him as quoted in the newspaper, to describe the competent authority.

Moultrie said, “You are sliding down a slippery slope. It is clear what the honorable member for Cat Island and San Salvador is attempting to do. And what you are attempting to do, you are trying to attribute something to a member in this parliament (Moultrie himself) that was falsely reported in the newspaper. And so I would advise you to…

Davis then interrupted and said, “I said emerging. I never attributed that comment to anyone. I didn’t ask. I said a view is emerging that the member may be a demigod. I attributed that to no one.”

“If you feel as if I’m talking about what you have been saying, that’s not it.”

Many Bahamians have expressed issue with the competent authority as they say he is operating without the consent of the Cabinet and solely by his own authority.

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.

Duane Sands Gives Emphatic ‘No’ to Joining the PLP

Former Minister of Health and MP for Elizabeth Estates Duane Sands said he is not crossing the floor to join the Progressive Liberal Party.

After a social media post suggested that Sands will follow in the steps of Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller who announced his decision to become a member of the Progressive Liberal Party on Wednesday, Sands gave a definite response.

“The devil is a liar,” he said in a Facebook post.

In a social media post, Duane Sands rejects the notion that would become a member of the PLP

Sands resigned from his Cabinet post during the COVID-19 pandemic after controversy arose surrounding the entrance of a private plane through the closed border after a couple donated test swabs.

Since his resignation, Sands and Prime Minister Hubert Minnis seems not to see eye-to-eye, with Sands revealing discrepancies with Hurricane Dorian victim numbers. And on Wednesday, Sands said he will not support Minnis’ extension of the emergency order to October 31st.

Since then, many have anticipated that Sands may leave the party for the PLP. Now that Sands has ruled that out, Sands may contend for the FNM leadership.

While others laughed at Sands’ response, Debra Sands said, “He will start his own party. He is a leader, not a follower.”

Doreen Deleveaux played with the idea of Sands becoming a member, and possibly the leader of the Democratic National Alliance. Ronnie Sands agreed and implored Sands to “run with the DNA.”

Is Vaughn Miller Fighting for Political Survival?

Golden Isles Member of Parliament Vaughn Miller announced in the House of Assembly on Wednesday that he will become a member of the Progressive Liberal Party, having left the Free National Movement in 2019 to become an independent candidate.

Miller who is also a pastor of Resurrection Ministries International Church, said he sought consultation with God, his wife and church leaders before he made his decision to join the opposition party.

Pastor Vaughn Miller at Resurrection Ministries International. Photo credit: FB

Miller has offered to run 2022 in the Golden Isles constituency for the PLP, and will now be seated near the opposition in the HOA until the next general election.

Vaughn Miller’s history in Golden Isles

Vaughn Miller in 2017 as an FNM candidate. Photo credit: FB

Miller won the Golden Isles constituency in 2017 by 3,374 votes, beating PLP’s Michael Halkitis by 56 percent of the vote.

But when Miller left the FNM in 2019, he lost the support of the area’s association.

The association’s president Brian Brown said Miller was never physically or mentally in the constituency, even before he resigned from the party. “After the firing for him voting against the VAT, things went downhill and that was it.”

Miller was fired as a parliamentary secretary in 2018, after he voted against the increase of Value Added Tax.

Brown said the constituents were disappointed in Miller’s representation, after giving him their full support in the May 2017 election.

Brown has now become the FNM’s candidate for Golden Isles and has began campaigning for the 2022 general election.

Where Miller stands with the PLP? He once called the PLP corrupt

Miller’s career as a politician began in 2017, as his party campaigned against the “inprecedented corruption” of the PLP, as they exposed evidence of financial mismanagement, neligence and nepotism.

As Miller jumped ship to the PLP, a new question arises. What changed about the PLP? The PLP has not yet proven that they have changed and that they can lead the Bahamas . Why now?

Was the switch for political survival? Miller can now be expected to be used as a prop by the PLP.

Miller in his speech during the debate, never gave his reasoning for joining the opposition, only to say he talked with Opposition Leader Philip Davis and that he always desired “to help people.”

“It is time to do what is best for me,” Miller said.

Davis in a press statement, said, “I have been speaking to Miller for some time. I think his experience mirrors that of many Bahamians who wanted to believe the promises made by the Free National Movement in 2017, but who came to realize that his governemnt has neither the intention nor the capacity to keep those promises.”

Chester Cooper described Miller’s switch as a “jubilant day.”

“A glad day, a glorious day as we welcome Miller to the party,” whom he said he always admired.

What’s next for Vaughn Miller?

Miller’s chances of winning in the 2022 as an independent candidate was slim to none, as Bahamians rarely select independent representatives for their constituency.

His chances of winning as a PLP candidate is also slim.

Although Miller offered to run as a PLP candidate for Golden Isles, it is yet to be seen if he is the party’s strongest candidate for the area in 2022.

Will his constituency follow his path to the PLP or will it remain an FNM stronghold in the next general election?

Miller will face an uphill challenge from the FNM candidate for Golden Isles.

 

Featured Image: The Tribune

Davis Says PLP Was Not Consulted on Two-Week Lockdown

Opposition Leader Philip Davis denied that Prime Minister Hubert Minnis sought advice from the opposition in his decision to implement a two week lockdown for the country.

Davis said although his party met with the government, its views were not considered.

“Yesterday afternoon (Monday), the members of the PLP Task Force attended a short health briefing at the Cabinet Office, with a limited opportunity to ask a few questions about the current state of infections.

“My colleagues were then asked to leave so that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet could decide how to proceed. Our views were not invited.”

On last evening, Dr. Minnis said in his decision to implement the lockdown, he invited members of the opposition to attend the Ministry of Health’s briefing at the Cabinet Office.

However, Davis said at the national address, Dr. Minnis implied that he made a joint decision with the PLP.

“The Prime Minister’s implication in his statement last night that he made a joint decision with the Opposition is not true. We were simply given information a few hours ahead of the general public. That is not consultation and it is not collaboration.”

The prime minister’s decision to lockdown for two weeks comes after the COVID-19 cases spiral upward, placing a strain on bed capacity and health workers at health facilities.

After announcing the lockdown, Dr. Minnis said, “We go into lockdown together, not as political partisans or a people divided.

“We enter this lockdown together as one people, as a Bahamian community united in love and a shared desire to fight this deadly virus together until the battle is over. I know that a lockdown like this is the last thing we wanted as a country.

“I know the nation is hurting; that our economy is in a terrible state; that many businesspeople are struggling; that many workers are now unemployed; that families are scared; that many of us are afraid of catching the virus.”

Dr. Minnis indicated that the lockdown may be extended as it “will be for a minimum of two weeks, and nearing the end of the period, health officials will assess the health data, and advise whether a further lockdown period is necessary.”