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thebahamas

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

thebahamas

The House Speaker Is a Bully. She Tramples Decorum in Parliament

Patricia Deveaux is quickly becoming parliament’s most controversial House Speaker, outpacing the past Speaker Halson Moultrie, whom many opined lacked decorum when he served in the position.

Deveaux’s recent tirade has thrust her back into the spotlight during the 2022-2023 Budget Debate when she attacked NEMA’s Captain Stephen Russell from her seat, saying that since he was absent from the Bamboo Town constituency in the aftermath of tornadic activity, he must have been “home, busy watching the game (NBA) last night.”

She then suggested that Russell find a day job. “These people, if they want desk job from 9-5, give them their desk job…You tell Mr Russell for me, if he is listening, you need a 9 to 5 job,” she said.

Opposition Leader Michael Pintard later cautioned that comments against Russell should be carefully considered since he was a private citizen and was not in the House to give a response.

Her anger accompanied by neck twirls, finger-pointing, chest-thumping, and a condescending tone, was on full display when she later addressed St Anne’s MP Adrian White after he suggested she read the House’s rule book.

“Don’t do that to me. Don’t insult the intelligence of this Chair…Let me remind you, that I am an adult, one that is older than you. And I have a 25-year-old daughter…So you don’t tell me about being an adult and having children. I fully know how to be that. I know my job, you learn yours,” before jerking her neck and twirling in her seat.

Deveaux, like Moultrie, lacks decorum, and though it is her duty to take charge of debates and keep order in the House, her actions are overbearing and without demureness, the dignity of the Chair which she represents.

Serving as the 55th Speaker of the House of Assembly, she is the second woman to sit as Speaker, following Italia Johnson who served from 1997 to 2002. Johnson was remembered for her gracious and stately approach to the high office.

Deveaux is a bully, using the Speaker’s chair to display unwanted and aggressive behavior and seeking to denigrate the Opposition while throwing her weight around, taking advantage of the power imbalance in the House.

And, the manner in which Deveaux delivers her commentary is troubling. She is ill-tempered, harsh in her language, and possesses a bad attitude.

In 2020 while serving as the PLP’s National Vice-Chair and as a senior executive secretary in the Ministry of National Security, she made headlines after making an ethnic slur at a PLP rally when she said her party has only “nice-looking people” and not a “bunch of darkies all over the place, heating up the place”. She later apologized.

Deveaux simply does not have the temperament required to be a good Speaker.

Minnis Joins Frontline and Rallies with Other Doctors to Vaccinate Populace

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis will join other healthcare workers in vaccinating the populace which he believes will help control the spread of COVID-19 and prevent further burden on health facilities in the country.

Minnis was speaking at a press conference at Jet Nassau on Tuesday after receiving 33,600 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is the country’s third tranche of pre-paid vaccines through the COVAX Facility.

Minnis who has served more than 40 years as a medical doctor, will volunteer his services to help the country in its vaccination drive.

“I’ve had a discussion with my Cabinet and gotten agreement from Cabinet colleagues that as a medical doctor, I will volunteer my services with other medical colleagues to assist in the vaccination of the Bahamian populace throughout the country.”

The big story

The country has had a total of 15,046 cases of the virus since the pandemic began. Thirty-five new cases were reported on Monday and the death of a 36-year-old woman was reported by health officials.

Since the introduction of the vaccine, it has been met with hesitancy, and the issuance was limited to second doses only since supplies were low.

This new tranche means more residents and citizens, wanting to take the jab, can be inoculated as vaccination centers reopen.

State of play

While many argue that vaccinated people can contract the virus too, Minnis said, the unvaccinated face more dire consequences.

“It is the unvaccinated who are dying. It is the unvaccinated who are becoming sick. It is the unvaccinated who are hospitalized. It is the unvaccinated who are utilizing the intensive care unit.”

Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, Director of the Infectious Disease Programme at the Ministry of Health stated last week that more than 98% of hospitalizations and deaths at the Princess Margaret Hospital are unvaccinated people.

Haitian Leaders Grapple for Position. What This Means for the Bahamas

Since the death of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the poorest country in the Americas is fighting to appoint a new leader, amid an already fragile economic, political and social situation.

Uncertainty among its leadership has the potential to further plunge Haiti into unrest as it grapples to maintain law and order after years of chaos in its streets, widespread gang violence, and inflation.

Claude Joseph has stepped forward as the Interim Prime Minister since the death of Jovenel. He appears to be leading the country through its most trying time in its history, giving updates on the assassination as newly-appointed prime minister Ariel Henry stands in the background.

President Jovenel appointed Joseph as a temporary leader and one day before his death, nominated Henry to replace Joseph.

Joseph told the Associated Press that he had spoken to Henry three times and both agreed that he would be in charge for now.

Joseph said of Henry, “He was actually designated but never took office.

“I was the one who was a prime minister, who was in office. This is what the law and the constitution say.”

However, Henry who was waiting to be sworn in, said in a separate interview with AP, “It’s an exceptional situation. There is a bit of confusion.”

“I am the prime minister in office.”

The  Supreme Court’s chief justice, who would have brought stability to leadership in a time like this, recently died of COVID-19.

Where the Bahamas stands

The killing of the Haitian president has the potential to increase mass migration to the Bahamas, which already has a migration problem from the land of more than 11 million people.

After the assassination, the Dominican Republic which shares a border with Haiti, immediately closed its border.

Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said the Bahamas has strengthened its borders in response to the act, as well.

Haitians, in time past, have reported that they leave the troubled island-nation to escape the extreme poverty and widespread violence, and leave for the Bahamas, which is considered peaceful with a more stable political, social and economic sphere.

It is feared that the assassination and a power struggle among its leaders could leave Haitians scared and result in large numbers fleeing to the Bahamas.

Haitian government must show strong leadership so that the people can feel safe and remain at home.