Official Press Conference In front of the House of Assembly, Addressing the PLP gerrymandering practices at 10:pm Monday 2007 by Mr. Cassius Stuart Leader of The Bahamas Democratic Movement.
It is disgraceful that we in the BDM have to stand here again under another administration fighting against the evils of gerrymandering. Five years ago, Omar Smith and I handcuff ourselves to the speaker’s mace to demonstrate against the wicked practices of the then Free National Movement government for cheating to win an election by cutting constituency boundaries in favor of its candidates. It was at that time that we made our position clear; gerrymandering is wrong and it is evil; practiced by wicked men who are desperate for political power and who would do any thing to get it.
For years this wicked practice has been used by political gangsters to subvert our democracy and steal elections. Every election since 1952 our democracy has been undermined. Under the UPB this was a common practice, it was because of gerrymandering by the UBP that the PLP lost the 1962 elections. The then leader of the PLP swore that they will correct this problem if and when they win the government.
Months leading up to the 1967 elections, the then PLP party demonstrated against this wicked practice by throwing the Speakers Mace out of the House of Assemble. Shortly after this incident, Sir Lynden went to the United Nations to express his party’s outrage against the evils of gerrymandering and election rigging by the UBP. After this stance, the PLP was victorious at the polls in the 1967 elections. The PLP administration remained in power from 1967 to 1992, however, it was now the FNM who suffered at the hands of the PLP when it cut boundaries to favor its candidates in 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987 and 1992.
The same man, (Sir Lynden Pindling) who swore that he would correct the wrongs done by the UBP against his party, turned around and did the very same thing for 20 years. Ironically, months leading up to the 1992 elections, Hubert Alexander Ingraham who was an integral part of the PLP now turn FNM, knew that gerrymandering was wicked and promised that if his party won the FNM would correct the problem by implementing an independent Constituencies Boundaries Commission, because he realized that human nature perpetuates evil and that there is a great temptation for “pay-back” tactics to be used by a ruling party who previously held the position of Opposition.
In 1997, he (Hubert Alexander Ingraham) believed that it was necessary to introduce an independent Boundaries Commission and he definitely had the majority in the House to make this a reality. But the “Honourable Gentleman,” wanted to pay back the PLP for what they did to the FNM. So, just like 20 years earlier, the man who promised that he would implement an independent Boundaries Commission to promote a fair election did the same thing he stood against and cut boundaries to favors his candidates in 1992 and 1997.
He expressed this vindictiveness clearly in his own words, “I understood the FNMs had been subject to the PLP cutting the boundaries in 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987 and 1992. The FNM had only one shot at cutting the boundaries, in 1997. So it was not unreasonable from the FNM point of view to say, listen, I want a second shot, at least give me two shots.”
|PLP Fails The Disable Community|
The Leader of the BDM addresses the PLP’s lack of interest for the Disable Community
The Office of the Leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement
February 14, 2007
The Bahamas Democratic Movement is once again appalled by the manner in which successive governments have treated its citizenry in The Bahamas. Today the cries of yet another group of angry Bahamians have reached the doors of our Parliament. Indeed, the mothers of children who are physically/mentally disabled are crying out for help, much needed help promised to them by the PLP all the way back in 2002.
It is disgraceful for a government to neglect citizens who\\\'s disabilities prohibit them from effectively caring for themselves. Therefore, this latest action on the part of the relatives and friends of our beloved disabled citizens is proof positive that once again the PLP has turned a blind eye and deaf ear to a group in society in need of governmental assistance.
The Bahamas Democratic Movement wishes to remind Prime Minister Christie that although disabled persons possess physical limitations, they are not seeking any handouts from the government. To the contrary, they are simply seeking the reasonable and necessary assistance that will enable them to live
independently and contribute to society; without even the minimal amount of care and concern, much less assistance from THEIR government, our disabled friends and relatives must fend for themselves.
With this blatant neglect so obvious to all, it is clear that the Bahamian people have lost faith in Perry Christie and his government. Prime Minister Christie has failed the police officers, the defense force officers, the prison officers, the medical official, the teachers, the farmers and now the disabled community has been sadly disappointed by this government.
The Bahamas Democratic Movement believes that a government should be primarily judged by the manner in which it treats its youth, its elderly and also its disabled. Therefore, the BDM strongly condemns this government for failing it most vulnerable citizens. The BDM once again cries shame at this inept, all talk, no action government.
We in the BDM, believes that persons who are physically and mentally challenged may be disabled but are not unable. We believe that people with disabilities should have opportunities to achieve their potential and be independent wherever possible. Our disabled friends should also be fully integrated in society wherever feasible and practical because they do have a contribution to make to our society.
In addition, the BDM firmly believes that people with disabilities should be encouraged to live functionally within the community as much as possible and admission into institutions should be the last resort. This is so because the care and welfare of disabled persons should be everyone\\\'s concern - the family, the community and the Government.
We also believe that special care should be given to children with disability. Special education for children with disabilities should be designed to fully develop their academic, cognitive, social, communication, language and motor skills. This special education should also include training in activities of daily living.
The BDM also believes that professional services by psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational, speech and music therapists should be incorporated into our schools to practically addresses the needs of children with disability.
For children with disabilities, technology is an important enabler in narrowing the digital and social divide between them and the rest of society. Therefore, the BDM will incorporate into the schools technology to assist people with disabilities in their activities once elected as the Government of The Bahamas.
This technology will comprise of software, equipments and devices that can increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities whether at school or work. Moreover, individuals with disabilities should be given assistive devices to enable them to pursue mainstream education or gain employment so as to be self-reliant. Unfortunately, the PLP does not possess the foresight, pragmatism or mere concern to address such matters. They care nothing about those individuals who need merely a little push in life to assist them in creating a better life for themselves. The BDM will not sit idly by and allow such an adverse travesty to continue to inflict our disabled friends more so than their disabilities do.
We say to the PLP that when any group struggles to achieve some measure of necessity it produces benefits for all others in society. So far however, they have failed to address the issues important to the disabled and have remained silent. The BDM will not remain silent because to "sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men."
|Dr. Nottage Lies about Dialysis|
The office of the Leader of The Bahamas Democratic Movement
February 2, 2007
The Bahamas Democratic Movement is outraged that Dr. Nottage finds it necessary to continue his deceitful cover up of what is really happening at the dialysis unit at the Princess Margaret Hospital. The appropriate thing for Dr. Nottage to have done was to come clean and state the truth as to what is really happening. Instead, he continues to compound the problem with further lies.
For Dr. Nottage to dismiss our claims that persons are dying from enterococcus faecalis as foolishness and then turn around and admit that persons have contracted this infection and have died is proof that the only person here that is foolish is Dr. Nottage. He further states and admit in The Bahamas Journal that there were some deaths, but the number had been drastically reduced from the height of the outbreak last October to the present. Dr. Nottage needs to get his story straight. According to Dr. Nottage’s own statement, persons have died from contracting this bacteria. Yet, the public was left in the dark which proves that there was a cover up by him and his team.
How many people would have had to die for this to be important enough to tell the nation that there is a problem at the hospital? If the problem still exists as he claims, why are they still admitting patients to the Dialysis unit at the PMH for service? The BDM finds it unacceptable that only after we made this issue public, the hospital contracted Frank Hanna Cleaning Co. to clean the dialysis unit. Why wasn’t this action taken when the infection was at its highest?
Dr. Nottage was correct in saying that persons whose immune systems are compromised are at higher risk of contracting illnesses but he failed to admit that the illness causing the fatalities is the bacteria in question. People don’t die from immuno-compromisation, they die from infection as a result of their immune systems being compromised and our claim is that persons are dying from being infected with enterococcus faecalis. So, how can Dr. Nottage dismiss our claim as foolishness? Or is he covering up the deaths of those 15 people?
It appears that Dr. Nottage thinks he is dealing with a group of uneducated Bahamians who will swallow any garbage thrown down their throats by politicians. It is disturbing that not only are persons being infected in the dialysis unit at PMH but also that Dr. Nottage himself is infected with lies that he is spreading to the Bahamian people which presents a greater problem for the country itself.
Ones political aspirations should never be put before the well-being, and in this case, the loss of lives of so many innocent Bahamians. We the Bahamas Democratic Movement again openly call for the prime minister to fire Dr. Nottage for being such a bold face liar and have him arrested and tried for treason without delay.
It is quite clear that the PLP will stoop to such despicable acts like covering up the deaths of innocent individuals just to get re-elected. This is morally wrong and should not be tolerated nor accepted from this inept and deceitful PLP government. The BDM is laying the blame of the deaths of those innocent victims at the very feet of the RT. Honorable Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie because it was he who hired Dr. Nottage in the first place.
|Behavior displayed Parliament|
Office of The Leader of The Bahamas Democratic Movement
Official Press Statement
November 13, 2007
It is with great pain and agony that the Bahamian people have to sit and watch the intolerable behavior of our elected officials in our Honorable Parliament. The actions of our Members of Parliament are a clear indication that they have lost their legitimate and moral authority to be called honorable, much less sit in Parliament. The Members of the governing party, as well as the opposition have disgraced our Parliament as well as our country by their shameful and disorderly conduct over the years.
The Bahamas Democratic Movement condemns the vile and appalling by the members of both the Progressive Liberal party and the Free National Movement. From the first sitting of Parliament in May 2007, no bills or resolutions of a significant value have been debated in the house. This current sitting of Parliament is an absolute waste of time and resources. The democratic process in The Bahamas has been reduced to mere reoccurrences of cheap fitly rages by both party members.
Our Honorable House of Assembly resembles that of a bar-room atmosphere. This Parliament is nothing more than a Rump Parliament and it is high time the people of The Bahamas send a strong message against the detestable practices in that place. Our Members of Parliament should all be ashamed of themselves for desecrating and defiling the trust placed in them by the people of The Bahamas. This Rump sitting of Parliament should be dissolved because its a waste of tax payers’ money by this group of incompetent, belligerent members.
Our country is on the brink of national chaos; our educational system has failed, our crime dilemma has escalated beyond control, our social and moral fabric have been torn, our family structure has been destroyed and our economy is in a monetary quicksand, with no clear plans or a rebound any time soon. In the midst of these crucial and vexing problems facing our country today, the only thing our Members of Parliament find themselves doing is bickering and quarrelling over insignificant matters.
In 1653 Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector of Great Britain faced a similar situation in the British Parliament of that day. In a speech given to the Rump Parliament before he dissolved it Cromwell said, “ It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defile by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and like Esau sell your country for a mess of potage, and like Judas betray your god for a few pieces of money; is there any single virtue now remaining amongst you? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscious for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that care for the good of the commonwealth? Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turned the lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? You are grown intolerably odious to the nation, you were put here by the people to get grievance redressed, are you yourself become the greatest grievance. I command ye therefore, upon the peril for your lives, to depart immediately out of this place; go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! Go! Take away that shining bauble there (mace), and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go.(1)
Such words have never been so true. Cromwell’s words are just as relevant to this sitting Parliament, as it were 354 years ago. Our Members of Parliament were given authority to solve the problems of our nation; instead they have become our biggest problem. Like Cromwell said, it is time they depart, so the nations business can proceed. Bahamians, your country is calling upon you to cleanse the filth from our Honorable House of Assembly and put a halt to their reckless dealings in the house.
I end with the immortal words of Oliver Cromwell, Ye venal salves be gone! Go, In the name of God, Go.
Simth and Davis (2005), Speeches that change the world.
Rump Parliament: "Rump" normally means the hind end of an animal; its use meaning "remnant" was first recorded in the above context. Since 1649, the term "rump parliament" has been used to refer to any parliament left over from the actual legitimate parliament.
The comments made by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham with regards to the controversial actions of Zhivago Laing Minister of State for Finance, was hypocritical, insulting and disgraceful. For the Prime Minister of the Bahamas to unequivocally say that he see’s nothing wrong with the actions of Mr. Laing is totally unacceptable. From the comments made by Mr. Laing himself when compared to the comments made by two former controllers of customs, Mr. John Rolle and Mr. Caleb Hepburn, it becomes abundantly clear that Mr. Laing at best has some questions to answer and at worst may be criminally liable for intending to defraud Bahamas customs of revenue to the benefit of his family members.
Last week in interviews with Bahama Journal reporters, these two former controllers confirmed that the actions of the Ministry of Finance initiated by Mr. Laing were illegal. They stated clearly that an attempt to re-classify a product in the wrong category was not only unusual but illegal. Mr. Laing’s actions on behalf of his sister in law went beyond the bounds of what would be deemed acceptable when considering a conflict of interest. The test in our Westminster System is one that makes even the appearance of a conflict of interest a violation.
As a result Mr. Laing without further explanation or clarification seems clearly to be in breach of what is acceptable and or lawful by his actions and admissions. Why did Mr. Laing not put this issue as it relates to his family members in the hands of someone else? Why did his brother feel the need to call Mr. Laing and intervene on his wife’s behalf after she had already pursued the proper channels? Why didn’t Mr. Laing seek the advice of those who would be more competent with regards to what is usual and legal with regards to the re-classification of custom rates? And if there was “nothing wrong” with the actions of Mr. Laing as the Prime Minister contends, why doesn’t he and Mr. Laing challenge the voracity and credibility of the two former controllers of customs.
For the Prime Minister to callously come out in the face of all these facts and unequivocally say that he sees nothing wrong with the actions of the Junior Minister in his ministry is insulting to the intelligence of the Bahamian people. Even a blind man can see that there are some serious questions to be asked that go to the integrity of Mr. Laing. It is a disgrace for a Bahamian Prime Minister in 2008 to take the Bahamian people for fools. This is not the 1960’s when only politicians had an education. Does the Prime Minister really think that Bahamian people cannot see for themselves that this whole scandal reeks of nepotism, special favor, and possibly a conspiracy to defraud the Bahamian people? Mr. Ingraham should be ashamed to talk about transparent governance. What is so transparent about the actions of Mr. Laing. He should be ashamed to talk about responsible government. When will this junior minister be held responsible for his actions? He should be ashamed to talk about accountability. When will he hold Mr. Laing accountable for what appears to be a blatant disregard for laws and trust of the Bahamian people.
Mr. Ingraham, you are no different than the former Prime Minister Christie. When you came to power less than a year ago, you promised change. You criticized him rightfully so for his inaction in holding his ministers accountable. And here we are less than a year in your government and you are doing the same thing. The BDM told the Bahamian people that there is no difference between the PLP and the FNM. They both take the Bahamian people for granted. They both take the Bahamian people for fools and this makes Mr. Ingraham an even bigger hypocrite than the former Prime Minister. Just like the former Prime Minister, if you do not move to hold your Ministers accountable, there will be a price to pay
Omar B Smith
The Bahamas Democratic Movement
|The State of the Bahamian Economy 2009/10 budget|