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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Opening of Parliament looks significantly different from previous years as members of parliament took their seats in the relocated House of Assembly, before hundreds of Bahamians.
Traditionally, the Opening of Parliament is held in Rawson Square, but Parliament has been relocated to the Baha Mar Convention Center citing the threat of adverse weather, the demolition of the Churchill Building and seating limitations due to social distancing protocols.
The pomp and pageantry were on full display as parliamentarians arrived with their spouses, family members and supporters.
Prime Minister Philip Davis, Opposition Leader Hubert Minnis and other members of parliament took their oath of office in Baha Mar as Governor-General C.A Smith inspected the colour guard comprising of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Guard.
Proceedings for the Lower and Upper Chambers were held in different rooms where Bamboo Town MP Patricia Deveaux was appointed the House Speaker and Senator Lashell Adderley was appointed Senate President, respectively.
Members from both chambers soon recessed and walked to the main room to hear the Speech from the Throne read by Smith, who outlined the new government’s policies and agenda which include the reduction of Value Added Tax to 10 percent, the building of two new hospitals in New Providence and Grand Bahama, amendment of the debt management plan, implementation of renewable energy, improve greater food security, introduction of regulations for the framework for the cannabis industry, introduction of measures to reintroduce prisoners into the workforce, expungement of the records of young people caught with small amounts of marijuana and the increase of the minimum wage.
The big picture
The opening of Parliament follows the September 16 early election when the Progressive Liberal Party won 32 seats in the House of Assembly. The FNM became the Opposition winning 7 seats.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was officially sworn in on Friday as Leader of the Opposition.
When Parliament meets, Minnis will be joined by other opposition members including St. Anne’s MP Adrian White, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson, East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson and Marco City MP Michael Pintard, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis, and St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright.
Following swearing-in ceremony, Minnis said he hopes the government continue with plans to recruit young Bahamians for further education abroad for leadership positions in government entities. Minnis said he will hold the government accountable.
The big picture
Following last week’s General Election, the Minnis led adminstration lost, only winning 7 out of the 39 seats, after battling the fallouts of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Progressive Liberal Party led by former opposition leader, Philip Davis won the 32 seats.
Why it matters
Since the defeat of the Free National Movement, council members met to determine the future leadership of the party. After a vote, the party decided to keep Minnis as leader until November when a convention is held. A new leader will be picked to lead the party forward. Minnis said he will not contest the leadership post.