Monday, June 5, 2023


Mischief Makers Lose Seats in Parliament

Following the defeat of the Free National Movement at the polls, winners have emerged but none include the infamous parliamentarians who have openly defied the former government and its policies.

Former FNM members who became independent parliamentarians Reece Chipman and Halson Moultrie, and outspoken FNM MP Frederick McAlpine who was for years at odds with the party, all lost their seats in unofficial results.

Reece Chipman

Chipman has constantly criticized the government and has never supported its agenda. However, he still suffered politically.

Chipman was a newcomer to politics in 2017, running on the FNM ticket during the general elections, subsequently ousting former Prime Minister Perry Christie and winning a PLP stronghold.

Chipman voted against the VAT increase and the resolution to lease the Town Centre Mall from former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette.  He eventually resigned from the party in 2019 citing the government’s handling of Hurricane Dorian and partisan politics.

PLP Jomo Campbell replaces Chipman in Centerville.

Halson Moultrie

Moultrie received little votes in Nassau Village as constituents went with PLP Jamahl Strachan, instead.

Moultrie was an antagonistic voice in Parliament where he served as Speaker.  He resigned from the FNM in February of this year, but refused to resign as the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Moultrie was a thorn in the side of the FNM government calling for autonomy of the House and upping his ante during the pandemic when he contrived an idea to hold an ‘open parliament’ after Parliament went on recess.

The Nassau Village MP gained the support of third parties like the Democratic National Alliance and the Coalition of Independents who joined him in his protest against the Minnis-led government and its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he did little to gain the support of his constituents.

Frederick McAlpine

McAlpine may have thought he was going to win Pineridge, but constituents replaced him with PLP Ginger Moxey.

He has been the most outspoken member of the FNM government, often hitting out at Minnis during his presentations in the House.

He ran as an independent candidate for the Pineridge constituency in this election after he did not receive the FNM nomination. Many still expected him to win his seat in Pineridge because of the loud support he garnered in spite of his opposition against his party members.

He has had a long and rather cold relationship with the FNM and said that members in his party wanted him gone while complaining that the party leader ignored him.

In a surprising move, Pineridge went with Moxey, despite McAlpine’s touts of his accomplishments in the area.


No One Shows Up for Moultrie’s ‘Open Parliament’

After House Speaker Halson Moultrie planned another session of ‘open parliament’ ahead of the General Election, no one showed up in Parliament Square.

Moultrie planned a second ‘open parliament’ for Wednesday, after advertising on social media, despite the dissolution of the House of Assembly.

The flyer advertising the ‘open parliament.’

Controversial Moultrie told Eye Witness News yesterday that the intended event is “the opportunity for the common man to come forward, to demand accountability, transparency, good governance, minimize corruption and access information. That is what open Parliament is all about,” he said.

“This open Parliament would be all about allowing the people to put on the record publicly their displeasure with the way this election is being conducted.”

However, no one showed up and people were seen packing up the empty chairs. Moultrie and Independent Centerville MP Reece Chipman were seen waiting for the expected crowd, but to no avail.

Moultrie’s first ‘open parliament’ was held on the same day the House was dissolved and was attended by various third-party members.

It is not known why Moultrie was not able to attract the crowd he did a few weeks ago.

The big picture

Moultrie and Chipman have broken off from the governing party and both are running as independent candidates in the upcoming General Elections.

Since their departure from the Free National Movement, Moultrie and Chipman have become outspoken and protested the policies of the government.

It remains to be seen if voters will stick with them when they cast their ballots.

Moultrie’s Dream of ‘Open Parliament’ Becomes Political Rally

House Speaker Halson Moultrie’s ‘open parliament’ concept quickly turned into a rally as third-party candidates and independent members of parliament joined forces to disparage the government and its policies.

Two weeks ago, Moultrie announced his initiative for the public to express its grievances and said it was a move to show the independence of the House. Without support from the government, Moultrie attempted to launch ‘open parliament’ before it was revealed that the House would be prorogued, which came as a surprise to many.

Moultrie, Independent MP for Centerville Reece Chipman, Leader of the Coalition of Independents Lincoln Bain, former FNM Bamboo Town parliamentarian and leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement Cassius Stuart and Democratic National Alliance Leader Arinthia Komolafe joined forces under a tent erected in Parliament Square, to preach their displeasure with the government.

Supporters dressed in their respective party colors crowded the tent, ignoring the social distancing protocol.

“Change ain’t coming. Change is here” the crowd shouted as Bain made his way to the podium.

“…I did not come here to deliver an eloquent speech, I came here to start a fight. Ladies and gentlemen, the only way to get our country in order is to start a fight.

“…It seems like when we talk, they don’t listen, so it’s time for us to start a fight,” Bain said.

Stuart then chanted the COI’s slogan and said the country needs a revolution, as he decried the country’s economic system. He asked, “How do we move forward? How do we build our nation?

“Stop depending on the foreign investors,” he said.

Komolafe said crime and the healthcare system continue to burden the country.

Pointing at the House of Assembly, she said, “That House right there is not working for us. It is now closed. Your concerns are not being heard and your concerns are not being addressed,” to shouts of agreement from her supporters.

Natural Resources Committee on Its First Site Visit to Andros

The House of Assembly Select Committee on Natural Resources made its first site visit this past week to North Andros.

Why it matters

Many Bahamians have been calling on the government to ensure Bahamians benefit from the country’s natural resources. Thus, a committee was appointed by Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, the latter part of 2020 to examine the country’s natural resources.

The committee promises to make various site visits and make a report to the country on its findings.

What happened on the first official visit

  • The Committee spent Wednesday afternoon and Thursday until departure late afternoon making site visits.
  • Wednesday was on-land natural resources for the most part including: Morgan’s Bluff, Well Fields, Red Bays (sponge and fish) and Charlie’s Blue Hole.
  • Thursday was marine natural resources.
  • North Andros resident and Bahamas Fly Fishing Industry Association President Prescott Smith took the Committee on a tour including the Barrier Reef, the Great Bahama Bank, the Tongue of the Ocean, Stafford Creek and Flats. A delightful highlight of the tour was when about 10 dolphins, including a baby dolphin, swam alongside the boat and jumped out of the water!

The Committee members making the trip:

Michael A. Foulkes, Chairman, Shonel Ferguson, Picewell Forbes, Vaughn Miller and Reece Chipman.  Accompanying the Committee members were Carlton Bowleg, MP for the area, and Rashad Flowers, Assistant Clerk, House of Assembly.

Worth noting

The Committee will continue its work this week in New Providence while making plans for the next site visit in Grand Bahama in February.