The Briland Modem
Online News & Information for North Eleuthera and Harbour Island, Bahamas
(It's much better in the Out Islands.)

Briland News Link (click)









Exceptional Educational Outreach (Bahamas)

got questions?


"Briland sweet, eh?"

Coconut Notes
Review the earliest days of the Board [1999-2002]

Click the Ocean Button to sign in and post to the board.

A one-time registration is required, and your new ID will be automatically recognized the next time that you login.

Click Here to Post a New Topic
To Respond to a Posted Message,
Click the Message

This week at
Click here to return to the subject menu.

Search messages for:

in message text

in author name

Search subjects for:

in subject title

Search subject archives:

Page 1 of 1Total of 1 messages
Posted by:Oct 28th 2002, 11:10:07 am
In 1970 or thereabouts a short lived group of the late Freddie Munning's son and nephews called the Beginning of the End had a one hit wonder with a tune called Funky Nassau. Funky was transformed from its original meaning of smelling bad and looking dirty to being a pop and rocking town as in Funky Broadway. It is perhaps time to go back to the original meaning of that word as you ride along Bay Street, the centre of the town.
East of East Street is increasingly filthy with one abandoned building after the next. Beginning at the old Victor's, east of the Kelly Dockyard, past the Moses Plaza, past the old Stop N Shop and past the old Williams, and then there is a cement depot built without regard for the environment, safety and cleanliness by George Mosko in the cities environs, then opposite Central Furniture where another shop is abandoned, Stokes Thompson's three story building has no real commercial activity.
To the west of East Street, while there are stores, increasingly it is a T-shirt town. The straw market is now housed in a tent. The Prince George Dock is looking more and more ramshackle. The building next to where the old burned down straw market was is still standing as a burnt out shell. The sidewalks are dirty; there is garbage everywhere in containers that are hardly emptied and on the streets that never seem to be cleaned. The walkways themselves seem to need a good scrubbing and buildings all along the front street need painting. That is Nassau today. Funky indeed!
And yet through all of this, the tourists keep coming in their millions. The Bahamians say that they are proud of their town even as it loses its character to renovation and cutting down the trees in the city. The beauty of Nassau as a coastal town is the ability to stroll beneath the awnings of the shops all the way down the city's front street and to see trees along the street. Trees are now seen as a nuisance and are being cut down and not replaced.
Who will save the town from its funkiness? Will it be the Ministry of Tourism or the Ministry responsible for the Environment? At a time when money is increasingly in short supply, is it possible? The economists argue that the signs of disrepair in a town are signs of savings being effected by postponed maintenance. Curious thing! Why should there have been postponed maintenance when the Ingraham Government before this one said that the country did so well during the last ten years. But the Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna-Martin was able to report that it will take tens of millions to effect even short term repairs to the Prince George Dock that is literally falling to pieces.
Oh well, the Lord will find a way!
As we go to press, word comes that former Governor General Sir Gerald Cash has taken ill. Our prayers are with him and his family. We will report fully on this story next week.
The number of hits on this site for the week ending Saturday 26th October 2002 at midnight: 28,572.
The number of hits for the month of October up to Saturday 26th October 2002 at midnight: 95,664.
The number of hits for the year up to Saturday 26th October 2002 at midnight: 1,893,101.


Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin, pictured in this Tribune photo had her day in court on Wednesday 23rd October with a tale of woes about the state of some of this country's vital infrastructure. It is a depressing story of neglect and emergency after emergency. One asks oneself how long can a government go from crisis to crisis like this? It is clear from the Jamaican model that it can last for several decades without let up. Is this what we in The Bahamas now face?
Here is what it boils down to in pure numbers. We need 13 million dollars to effect immediate repairs to the Prince George Dock, where the iron bits that hold the ships to the dock are falling into the sea, where tractor tires are being used to prevent the boats from rubbing up against the dock, where there is no adequate security. The airport requires in short term fix money some 20 million dollars. But overall to fix the two areas central to our tourism product we will need 200 million for each area. Chicken feed in the real world but one has to have the imagination and the courage to find it. It should no longer be a government responsibility and as fast as we fob it off to the private sector the better.
The other side of the story is the inability of the Government to collect the taxes it is owed for the use of the airport and for travel. The Minister made her announcements in two communications to Parliament on Wednesday 23rd October.

The business of Parliament that should have gone on throughout the day on Wednesday 23rd October was brought to a dead stop on Wednesday 23rd October. The reason, Bills that were supposed to have reflected the Cabinet's conclusions did not reflect them at all. And having survived the draughtsmen of the Attorney General's office, the review of the Ministry of Finance, the review of the Cabinet and the Political Committee of the party, the bills came to Parliament and were fundamentally flawed and defective. The story was the same for several other bills that the Government proposed to put forward on Wednesday. And so the legislative programme of the Parliament is frozen in time until the people who draft these bills can get it right. This kind of stuff shatters the confidence of a country and undermines the success of any Government. The Opposition has not gotten itself together of course to be able to make any sustained attack on this kind of incompetence and pin the blame on those responsible. But the Prime Minister is said to be livid that the agenda is on hold because the people who are the professionals can't even read a Cabinet conclusion and follow the darn thing into proper legislation.

The first Bahaman Commissioner of Police Salathiel Thompson is dead at the age of 84 after a long illness. He is to be buried from St. Agnes Anglican Church with full military honours on Tuesday 29th October. Mr. Thompson joined the force in 1937 and when he retired he had every police medal there was and the distinction of being the first Bahamian Commissioner of Police and serving in an Independent Bahamas.
It was known throughout the 1960s that if the PLP won office, he would become the first Bahamian in the job as opposed to the now Sir Albert Miller, Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, who if the UBP had won would have gotten the job. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Cynthia 'Mother' Pratt paid tribute to Mr. Thompson who was honoured in retirement by the Queen as Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG). But perhaps the finest tribute came from his wife who said that he took care of his family, that they were especially close and he was always solicitous of her welfare and that she would miss him. Amen!

They were not exactly gracious in the face of a pure political decision lobbied for them but at thirty something one supposes that they can still be forgiven for hogging their moment in the limelight with some ungraciousness. What was that about the 15 minutes of fame? In victory there are certain things that you do not say and certain confidences that you do not betray. But it was a decent act by Attorney General Alfred Sears without conditions to enter a writ of nolle prosequi against the Bahamas Democratic Movement leaders Cassius Stuart and Omar Smith who on 3rd December last year chained themselves to the Speaker's mace in a bid to protest the unfair boundaries being set by the Free National Movement administration.
Speaker Italia Johnson, pushed by Hubert Ingraham charged the pair, even though in a similar action by PLP Leader Sir Lynden Pindling in 1965 the dread UBP government of the time did no such thing. They could not it is said because there was no law on the books and it was the PLP who put the law on the books to allow prosecution. But in fact Eugene Dupuch who was a Member of the Cabinet at the time said that the UBP saw the act by Sir Lynden as a political act and treated it as such. The same here for Messrs. Stuart and Smith. These are two bright young men who engaged in an act of civil disobedience. One hopes that the point is made and that they will not engage in another such act overplaying their hand or using the actions of civil disobedience frivolously. It is time for them to get on with their lives whatever their larger roles are to be. One suspects it means joining a mainstream party. Guardian photo by Donald Knowles.

On Wednesday 23rd October The Tribune carried a report that the United States may be moving its bombing activity now banned from Vieques Island off Puerto Rico to The Bahamas. The report was itself based on another report in the Orlando Sentinel of the state of Florida. The Sentinel reported that the activities from Viequez are to be transferred to South Florida to the Elgin Air Force Base that includes an in water range off Andros Island. This report immediately raised the hackles of the environmentalists in The Bahamas who have been waging a battle to stop the sonar use by the US Navy in the waters off Andros, part of the AUTEC base activities there. The Minister of Foreign Affairs told The Tribune that while no formal proposals of the use of The Bahamas for such training have been received, he was aware of the reports circulating to that effect. He said that the "situation does not sit well with the Government." This column opposes any such exercises.

Sir Clifford Darling was the country's fifth Governor General and fourth Bahamian Governor General. He has a history of public service to The Bahamas first as a trade union leader when he led the 1958 general strike and then as a politician. He served in the Senate from 1964 to 1967, then in the House of Assembly until he demitted the office of Speaker to become the Governor General. He retired from public life as Governor General in 1994. With such a rich public history, it is therefore pleasing to note the release of a book about the first 50 years of his life. Sir Clifford has been working patiently since his retirement with editor Patty Roker on the book. It is now out and he has presented copies to both the Prime Minister and the Governor General. The book is for sale throughout The Bahamas. BIS photo by Peter Ramsay.

Michael Craton's definitive work on the life of the late founding Prime Minister of The Bahamas Sir Lynden Pindling is to be launched next month. The biography was commissioned by Sir Lynden shortly before he died 26th August 2000. Michael Craton is a former Government High School history teacher, a Canadian by birth, a Professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, and the author of the History of The Bahamas. The book is said to be a tell all history by the desire of the late Sir Lynden. We look forward to it.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said it all about Bahamian foreign policy when he hosted UN Day celebrations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday 24th October. He said "Now more than ever we need the United Nations. " UN Day is the day when countries around the world mark the founding of the UN in 1945. The membership of the UN now stands at 191 with the addition this year of Switzerland and Timor-Leste. The Bahamas became the 143rd member of the United Nations on 17 September 1973. The first Ambassador to the United Nations for The Bahamas was L.B. Johnson. The B.I.S. photos by Derek Smith show the Minister with Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont at the ceremonies and the Defence Force raising the Bahamian flag.

The Prime Minister of The Bahamas Perry Christie joined his fellow Prime Ministers from St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia in Kingston, Jamaica for the swearing in of P.J. Patterson, the Prime Minister of Jamaica. He was elected to a fourth consecutive term as PM. Mr. Patterson asked the other PMs to join him for his special time. Accompanying the Prime Minister of The Bahamas was Fred Mitchell, Foreign Minister; John Carey, Parliamentary Secretary at Ministry of Works and Senator Traver Whylly. BIS photo by Peter Ramsay shows the party leaving for Jamaica.

The Bahama Journal showed an engaging picture by Quentin Glover of Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin as she marched in the annual Baptist Day Parade. Each year the Baptist Churches in the Bahamas led by Rev. William Thompson (pictured at right from the Guardian by Donald Knowles) hold a huge float parade through the streets of New Providence. It demonstrates the size of the church in The Bahamas. The variety of costuming is amazing. We show some of the scenes from The Tribune's photographers.

The annual charge of the Anglican Bishop used to be an important intervention in the life of The Bahamas. The whole Cabinet would generally be out in force. That practice fell into disuse under Hubert Ingraham who did not like to attend church. This first year under the PLP, the Prime Minister was represented by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell. Other Ministers who attended the opening on Monday 21st October were Allyson Gibson, Minister of Financial Services and Investment; Dr. Marcus Bethel, Minister of Health; Leslie Miller, Minister of Trade and Industry and Michael Halkitis, Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Finance. They heard an earful from the Archbishop who spoke once again too long this year, one hour and five minutes, short by one hour from last year's two hour marathon.
This country must do something about the length of its ceremonies. They are too inefficiently carried out. But the Ministers got to hear an earful including a discourse on gambling that there needs to be dialogue on whether it ought to be expanded but that church leaders ought to be honest and admit that gambling despite the legal prohibition to Bahamians is widespread; on same sex intercourse and how those who engage in it are in a disordered moral state; that Sidney Stubbs the MP for Holy Cross who is believed to be the Chair of the Bahamas Agricultural Industrial Corporation ought to be fired for engaging in narrow 'winner take all' politics by firing FNMs from the Corporation; that Franklin Wilson and his wife have agreed to donate $300,000 over three years for the reconstruction of their alma mater Sr. John's College to mark their 30th wedding anniversary. BIS photos by Peter Ramsay.

Michelle Fox, the former ZNS reporter, is now a Member of the Bar of The Bahamas. She was called formally to the Bar by Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall on Friday 25th October. We extend congratulations and show these photos by Peter Ramsay. The call petition of Ms. Fox was presented by Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell. He said that the day was really one that would cause the late Archdeacon William Thompson to smile. Ms. Fox was described as the daughter that the late Archdeacon never had. You may click here for the full address. Ms. Fox is pictured from the front page of the Nassau Guardian in this Farreno Ferguson photo taking the oath at her call to the Bar.

Public Service week in The Bahamas officially kicks off today with church services throughout the islands. The main service is being held in Nassau at the Church of God of Prophecy. The Deputy Prime Minister will speak at that service. Public Service Minister Fred Mitchell will speak at the service in Freeport also today. The week is meant to mark the contribution public servants play in the running of the country and to give certificates of appreciation and pins to public servants who are retiring. The Minister has been engaged in an effort to promote public service reform. In that connection he spoke on Monday 21st October to the telephone operators and front desk clerks (pictured) in the Government service to address the complaints that they had about the service and the complaints that the public had about them. He gave a definition of public service reform from Professor of Management Charles Cambridge: "To improve the productivity and efficiency of the public service, laying the infrastructure both physical and social to allow the private sector to produce more jobs." BIS photos by Derek Smith.

Brendamae Demeritte cannot be found on the register of the Fox Hill constituency. Yet the letter writer of that name was printed in The Tribune. The letter writer claimed that the Foreign Minister insulted her when she appeared at a PLP Branch meeting in Fox Hill looking for those jobs that were promised the people of Fox Hill only to hear an attack on The Tribune about Nicki Kelly. The writer claimed that the Minister spends his time flying up and down to foreign places and eating the best foods in the best restaurants overseas. They also claimed that nothing has been done in the five months since the Minister came to office in Fox Hill, except paint the trees in Fox Hill. We won't bother to defend the Minister. It is clear that the letter writer does not know what he or she is talking about. We say that because we believe we know who the person is. It is he who writes under various noms de plume. He is a notorious and inveterate liar. He is a public servant and engaged full fledged in the campaign of Juanianne Dorsett, the FNM's candidate for Fox Hill. He recently appeared in a public performance and gave the worst, flattest performance in the production. His problem is lack of self-esteem. So much for Brendamae Demeritte.

Dr. Eugene Newry is the new Ambassador to Haiti. The Ambassador's name was announced at a press conference by the Prime Minister on Tuesday 22nd October at the Cabinet Room. Dr. Newry is a retired brain surgeon who has had a longstanding and consuming interest in public affairs. His wife Francoise is Haitian by birth. He is multi-lingual and includes French and Creole amongst his languages. The Prime Minister welcomed Dr. Newry as a trusted friend under whom he served when Dr. Newry was head of the National Committee for Positive Action, the activist arm of the PLP in the 1960s. Prime Minister Christie is shown congratulating Dr. Newry in this BIS photo by Derek Smith.

The Minister of State for Finance James Smith (pictured) has announced that the Bahamas Stock Exchange (BISX) is virtually bankrupt. He told The Tribune's Business Section on Wednesday 23rd October that the Government is still considering whether it will supply corporate welfare to the tune of two million dollars to BISX. No support for that here. Let the darn thing go under if by the measures of private enterprise it can't make it.

Bradley Roberts, the Minister for Works and responsible for BaTelCo has announced that the telecommunications sector policy has been amended to encourage Bahamians to apply to buy the strategic 49 per cent that the Government intends to sell. The ads for the bidding processes to begin appeared in the international press and in the local press on Wednesday 23rd October. The previous FNM policy did not encourage Bahamians to participate. This is a vast improvement on the old policy but it does not go far enough. Batelco should be reserved exclusively for Bahamians and should be sold off in tranches like the Bank of the Bahamas 20 percent at a time to Bahamians only. The only matter that is left after that is the policy on competition. The monopoly should be removed right away. The whole policy on this matter is at once paternalistic and discriminatory.
The Minister said that there will be some requirements: first there will have to be ten thousand dollars put down to get the details of the bidding documents. Then there will have to be a show and tell to demonstrate that the potential group has access to at least three hundred million dollars. Many patriots were sad on the day of the announcement but having regard to the change in the sector policy some are resigned to say better that than nothing. Farreno Ferguson's Guardian photo shows from left the Minister, Minister of State for Finance James Smith and BaTelCo Chair Reno Brown.

The Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA) announced on Tuesday 22nd October the banning of Bahamian national record holder Renward Wells for two years for using a banned substance. Mr. Wells tested positive for the substance ephedrine at the National meet 21st and 22nd June in New Providence. Also found was trimterene, hydrochlorothiazide. The Tribunal was headed by a three member panel headed by Dr. Bernard Nottage, a former BAA President, joined by Alpheus Finlayson, Harold Munnings and Philip McKenzie. The present BAAA President Senator Desmond Bannister said that the action would assist young athletes about the do's and don'ts and that he was obliged to issue a public reprimand and suspend Mr. Wells for two years.
Mr. Wells' infractions were the fact that Mr. Wells did not declare all the banned substances that were found in his urine. Curiously enough according to The Tribune's report of Wednesday 23rd October Mr. Wells' was not told directly by the Tribunal but his family was told. That seems odd that you would announce something like his before the athlete himself knows. Mr. Wells took Nyquil that he declared. He did not declare that he had taken high blood pressure medication prescribed some 18 months before but which he took when he got symptoms that he felt were high blood pressure just before the meet.
After the fact there were plenty of recommendations about the need for athletes to have proper coaching and proper knowledge of what they can do. But this decision amounts to nothing more than a public execution of this young man for faults that appear to be largely that of the athletic establishment. A lawyer looking at the process could knock holes in the entire procedure, which make the finding of guilt worthy of being set aside. There is simply something that does not smell right here. The alacrity and promotion of this sad pronouncement leaves much to be desired. We think that Mr. Wells ought to consult a lawyer. The Guardian photo by Donald Knowles shows Desmond Bannister conferring with Dr. B.J. Nottage. Renward Wells is shown in a Nassau guardian file photo.

Anthony Morley, a PLP and photographer, who feels put off and displaced by the position taken by Culture Minister Neville Wisdom on photographers not being able to shoot Junkanoo on Bay Street struck back in The Tribune of Monday 21st October. He was reacting to a statement published a week earlier in The Tribune in which the Sports Minister described many of the photographers as "amateurs". Mr. Morley said that while he thought Mr. Wisdom had good ideas and was energetic, the Minister had gotten beside himself and was now acting like he was "superior" to other people. The comments were a blow. But no come back from the Minister except he was able to announce that NBC in the US has a producer in town that is looking at televising Junkanoo for Christmas live from Nassau.

As of 1st November the Marriott Crystal Palace will be reflagged the Wyndham Crystal Palace. We wonder what that means. Wyndham is not exactly a high class name. The rumour in the market is that Marriott was about to dump the Crystal Palace anyway because its owner Phil Ruffin has refused to keep the property up to scratch. Anyone who visits the Crystal Palace can see the signs of aging and lack of repairs. The place simply looks like a dump. It is being suggested that the Government needs to step in and force a new buyer on the property. The Jamaicans are keeping the Cable Beach strip alive with their investments in Sandals and Breezes. John Issa has just built a new restaurant called Reggae Café with Jamaican dishes and pretty good service. But the Crystal Palace and the Radisson Cable Beach are not worthy of praise.

Allyson Maynard Gibson joined the representatives of the domestic insurance industry to discuss legislation to improve the standards in the industry. The meeting took place between the Minister and The Bahamas Association of Life and Health Insurers on Friday 25th October. Gerald Strachan, President of the Association, called for a strengthening of standards and review procedures before licences are issued. Mr. Strachan told The Tribune that this would be especially necessary as the FTAA comes closer.

The Civil Society consult group continued at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday 24th October. The proceedings this time were headed by Reginald Lobosky, the former Senator and Labour Law specialist. He gave a comprehensive analysis of FTAA and the deficiencies of the process and the FTAA itself for The Bahamas. Mr. Lobosky called on the Government to hold a referendum before The Bahamas commits itself any further to FTAA and WTO.

The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts last weekend staged a performance of works from Porgy and Bess under the musical Direction of Anton Wallace. The performance of excerpts from Gershwin's works was well received. The performance of Joanne Callender of Summertime brought down the House. Ricardo Knowles performing as Honey man was a great crowd pleaser, as was Dwight Dorsett singing It Aint Necessarily So. Mr. Wallace and his colleagues are to be congratulated for a fine performance. The executive members of Artist Guild International are Kendrick Coleby, President; Eldridge McPhee, Vice President; Antoine Wallace, Vice President and Afton Moxey, Treasurer. The US Embassy co-sponsored. Among those attending the performance was Minister of the Public Service Fred Mitchell who went backstage to congratulate the performers. Photos by Peter Ramsay. From left, Joanne Callender, Dwight Dorsett, Lillian Bastian and Alan Butler.

In this new format, the former News From Grand Bahama is renamed as above. This signifies the initials of our senior correspondent from the nation's second city, with the 'plus' for the many other sources from whom contributions are accepted. Ed.
Mitchell and the 2 Step Dance
Vieques is an American territory and the people of that island protested against the US Navy using that island for live range bombing and testing. It was to the point where the US Navy decided to stop using the island range. Why should The Bahamas allow one of its islands to be used as a bombing range?
We believe that The Bahamas should not be used as a dumping ground or a guinea pig and we call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to make a clear and definitive statement on the said bombing. (See story above, Ed.)
Could it be that these are some of the issues that might arise out of the FTAA agreement? When it comes to the environment of The Bahamas, that is our only selling point and saving grace and if the environment is not zealously protected we could easily lose the last selling point that this country has to offer.
The Red Rose Ball
Last evening, Saturday 26th October, the Grand Bahama Red Rose Ball was held at the Royal Oasis Resort. In attendance were the Prime Minister and his wife among the who's who of the Grand Bahama elite. A ballgoer was quoted as saying, "If my house burn down tonight I won't lose anything because I have all my clothes on". Ladies were elegantly dressed in their evening gowns and the event was said by those in attendance to have been a delightful experience.
Proceeds from the Ball are said to be in the area of $28,000, which will be given to the Grand Bahama Aids Awareness Committee. The Red Rose Ball was sponsored by Imperial Life Assurance, headed in Grand Bahama by Dashwell Flowers. Well done!
CDR on BaTelCo
A press release from Ben Lafleur, the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR) Regional Officer for the Northern Bahamas maintains that the government has not made the case to the pe0ople for the sale of BaTelCo. The release quotes Prime Minister Perry Christie as pledging to go throughout the country to consult the people on the proposed sale.
"The CDR believes that until a referendum is held on the sale of BaTelCo, and the consent of the people received, and such move would be considered illegal, or to put it another way, the selling of generation property without receiving the consent of the family is illegal.
" allow a 49% stake holding to be sold to foreign interest, could very well affect our ability to communicate with one another, and by extension, undermine our national security.
"Given the depressed state of the world telecommunication market, can the Government get a fair price for BaTelCo? We think not."
Neko Grant and Obie Wilchcombe
Last week, Neko Grant, the FNM MP for Lucaya went to Parliament with eight questions for the Minister of Tourism about the West End Power Boat race and the finances of the race. The exchange in Parliament ended in harsh words between these two West End natives and most people wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes to cause such a ruckus.
West End sources say that Mr. Grant was being very nice to the Minister... It turns out that what West End boys really want to know is when would the raffle for the jet ski take place and when is the presentation of prizes for the boat race. We believe that the Minister has now been alerted by this site and will move with haste to rectify the matter.
Our course, the best advice when West End fellows fall out is "just don't get up in it."

ZNS Freeport
We are concerned that the ZNS newsroom in Grand Bahama is at this early stage in this new administration behaving like the only news stories worthy of carrying is what a Minister of the government has to say.
It is a pity that after these many years the news directors have not learned that to try and suppress the news and allow those stories that only involved the government to air is in fact not helping the government but doing a great disservice to the government and the people. Suppression of the news did not work for the PLP in 1992 and it certainly did not work for the FNM in May of this year. So the sooner we learn to allow contrasting points of view and debate the stronger our democracy will become.
It is a disgrace to watch the evening news and see what this Minister or the other Ministers had to say with only the crime news being added to the script. We can do better than that!

Contact us online at