JANUARY 2013 ISSUE 2 | 1
2 | The Nationalist
The Irony of it All by Dawn Demeritte A Toast to Charlie By Keith O. Major II History Untold: The Road to Majority Rule By: Quinton C. Lightbourne Branville McCartney Interview by Jayde K. Knowles Senator Desmond Bannister Interview by Dawn S. Demeritte Khaalis Rolle Interview By: Quinton C. Lightbourne
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To the average Bahamian, legalizing number houses would be ideal. Equally so, enacting a national lottery would be a luxury. Either option personally affects me none, however from a broader perspective; this process would deepen the sense of democracy for Bahamians. If I had to vote on whether or not to legalize number houses, I would vote no. I understand what the ramifications of legalizing numbers are, but the irony in all of this takes away from the future of the gaming industry. We as Bahamians are ultimately voting on whether or not a practice that is illegal by our laws and Constitution should be made legal yet we’ve been participating in this illegal “national hobby” for years. While we’re in the process of rewarding bad behavior, can I request we legalize marijuana and ultimately strip clubs? Maybe with my extra addition, you can see how preposterous all of it seems? In addition, isn’t it ironic that these same businesses are illegal but yet they have legitimate business licenses from the government itself? Is it not against the law to give an
illegal company a legal document to operate? Now you’re asking us to legalize an illegal business because you have no way to control it? Let’s just lose control and legalize everything! The Bahamas has always been a country where the rules and laws are there, but the will to enforce them hasn’t always been present. A clear example is the drinking age, the age that we can neither confirm nor deny. Tourists can come here and drink from 16, but we can’t enter their country and do the same because other countries enforce their laws, we have them simply to claim a state of legitimacy. Therefore, when I vote no for the legalization of number houses; I’m not doing so to take away from Bahamians, I’m voting no to ensure that we as Bahamians have a fair chance at building a legitimate democratic country. Building a legitimate democratic country is a lot harder than it seems, as democracy itself is a problematic ideology to grasp. To be legitimate, you must first be democratic; which sounds
easy but many of our institutions present a democratic façade, when in fact they represent just what it means to be undemocratic. Ironically enough, the greatest opportunity for a country to gain legitimacy seems to be in the legislative capacity which is handled through a referendum. It is important to note while many of us are eager to take part in a referendum few of us truly realize the importance of a referendum and how it assists in building a free and democratic country. Currently we are in a participatory democracy which means that citizens are required to be involved in the discussion and informed debate that foreshadows decision making. In other words, according to Larry Johnston it is the democracy of small societies, town hall meetings, sometimes workplaces but more importantly a viable option for today’s plural societies. Now all we have to do is continue to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the government to involve citizens in the decision making process. This means educating yourself on what it means to vote in the referendum, this means
of it All by Dawn Demeritte
understanding the repercussions and last but not least sometimes removing your selfish needs out of the equation and doing what’s best for the country. On the other hand, I do support a National Lottery. It is my personal opinion that a vote for the National Lottery is a vote for democracy and freedom. Few people recognize and understand what it is to live in a real democratic and free country. Currently we believe that because we’re granted certain rights that we’re free, but we are far from that and one of the main factors hindering us from being free is ourselves. The only claim some countries have to being democratic are free elections, hopefully we the citizens of the Bahamas take the appropriate 4 | The Nationalist
actions to assure the Bahamas does not turn out to be one of these countries. Voting for the National Lottery ensures that even if persons don’t gamble; that the day they decide to do so the option is there. I should be able to have the right to participate in gaming activities as I see fit and if the government doesn’t feel that as a citizen I can handle this, they should create organizations to assist in addiction. To have freedom means that free citizens should have the right to decide whether or not they want to participate in any activity. It is my presumption that we live in a democracy but aren’t free to make decisions for ourselves on salaries that we make. The irony overpowers once again. A country will never truly be democratic
and free as there will always be laws enacted to protect citizens from general harm or in some cases, bad decisions. However, a law such as the one that prevents us from gambling in the country period, who is it protecting? For the avid gambler, voting yes on the referendum comes easy but for someone that doesn’t participate in gambling remember you’re voting for a deeper sense of democracy. You’re ultimately voting for the hope that our laws can begin to reflect a progressive society by allowing Bahamians to have the right to do something that they have been barred from doing for years. You’re giving Bahamians the right to act within their capacities as adults in a free and democratic country. Vote wisely.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted”, many would agree, that these words can easily be attributed to the late Charles “Charlie” Maynard, Former Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture. But rather, these words of English comedian and actor Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin, KBE, only describe what must have been the philosophy of our dearly departed friend Charlie. Charlie seemingly represented a new age of politicians, in that, not only was he remarkably upfront with those he came into contact with, but also lively and passionate on matters of national interest. Surely, few will soon forget, the emblematic “Ping!” which became part and parcel of most of his last addresses during the last political season, and by which he became known as the “Lie Detector”. Charlie’s passion for politics and proper representation of his people carried him through several political organizations including the now governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR) and lastly the Free National Movement (FNM). Alas, it was through the FNM, that Charlie would finally realize his goal of being elected to Parliament when he was so elected in 2007, representing the constituency of Golden Isles. Following the 2007 elections, Charlie was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Education with responsibility for Culture and shortly thereafter the substantive minister for Youth, Sports & Culture. Charlie hailed from a family firmly rooted in politics in this country as son of Former PLP Chairman Andrew (Dud) and Isadora Maynard, nephew to Hon. Clement T. Maynard (Former Minister, PLP) and cousin of now Attorney-General and former Member of Parliament Allison Maynard-Gibson. As a family man, it was his wider as well as immediate family in which he took great pride in joy. Indicative of such was the last words he shared with his loving wife Zelena and love he sent for his three daughters mere moments before his untimely demise. His commitment and vigor to active involvement in frontline politics could not have been shown any clearer by his untimely passing on the front line as FNM Chairman organizing the party’s byeelection effort in North Abaco. Politically, Charlie’s keen interest in the development and uplifting of young persons was exhibited in the FNM as he served as personal advisor to the Torchbearers Youth Association (the FNM’s youth arm) at the time of his death. However, Charlie’s impact extended beyond the bounds of the FNM and politics in general, his interest was also seen by the level advocacy in which he took up on behalf of youth on the national stage in and out of Parliament as Minister with responsibility for Youth Sports & Culture. Notably, across the areas of both sports and culture, Charlie had among his list of accomplishments the distinct pleasure of overseeing two major successes coming to fruition under his careful watch, those being the construction of the new Thomas A. Robinson national stadium as well as the reconstruction of the downtown Straw Market, respectively. In closing Charlie, after the recent 2012 elections had the following to say by way of interview with a popular daily “I had no disappointments,” he said. “I believe that I was able to make sure that we lived up to all of our projects in our manifesto that we promised in 2007 as it relates to youth, sports and culture. So I feel good about the service that I rendered to the Bahamian people”, certainly, a man at peace with himself. Charlie, your spirit and vision will undoubtedly live on through the many who came in contact with you in your personal and professional capacity. Your openness and joviality was truly a refreshing addition in
By Keith O. Major II
a business that which, by nature can become very mundane, crass and treacherous. You were truly one of the good ones, a new age political statesman on the rise.
Ladies and gentleman please join me in a toast to Mr. Charles “Charlie” Maynard – gone too soon! Cheers!
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The Bahamas as we know it has been built on the shoulders of great men and women who by all means are heroes and heroines. Many have passed, but few precious gems remain to relate the story of how our country transformed from a colonial outpost to a proud independent nation. The Bahamas has just celebrated the 46th anniversary of Majority Rule but during those years the significance of that day has been lost. It has been side stepped and not given its appropriate recognition as an important day in our country’s history. The greatest injustice has been that many younger Bahamians don’t have a clue what it means and the story leading up to that day. Other than Independence, Majority Rule should be considered the most important day in our country’s history. Some may even argue that it is more important because it paved the way for Independence to take place. As you read this article I would like for you to understand how we arrived to Majority Rule and how we as a country have neglected a very important component to nation building by not sharing our country’s past and rich history with young generations. A great man once said, “Not to know your past is to be an infant in the future.” The road to Majority Rule began June 8th, 1956 when six members from the Progressive Liberal Party were elected to the House of Assembly. These men: Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Milo Butler, Mr. Cyril Stevenson, Mr. Sammie Issacs, Mr. Clarence Bain and Sir Randol Fawkes, as the
Opposition, took their concerns to the doorsteps of the Colonial Office in London to fight the unbearable segregation in the country at the time. Voting was a privilege only afforded to a selected few, including landowners and excluding women. Despite voicing their concerns nationally, the state of affairs didn’t change much in the Bahamas for the majority of Bahamians. It wasn’t until January 13th, 1958 when the General Strike was led by Sir Randol Fawkes and Sir Clifford Darling that the situation reached its boiling point. Hundreds of public and private sector workers in the country walked off their jobs, virtually shutting down New Providence for nearly three weeks and forcing major constitutional and labour reforms. The General Strike resulted in the visit of Allan Lennox Boyd (Secretary of the Colonies) which in turn began the constitutional steps toward Majority Rule such as: the right of every male to vote, the abolition of the company vote and the increase in the number of seats in New Providence by four. The journey to Majority Rule continued with the Women’s Suffrage Movement which involved Dr. Doris Johnson, Bertha Issacs, Eugenia Lockhart and Georgina Symonette. In November 1960 members of the suffrage movement along with Henry Taylor travelled to London to present a petition to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. A few months later in January of 1961 a select committee of the House of Assembly gave a report in favour of the right to vote for women. On February 23rd1961 a Bill to enable women to vote had been implemented on June 30th 1962. It was that year on November 26th, 1962 that Bahamian women voted for the very first time. The 1962 General Election was held on May 2nd and the PLP won eight seats compared the UBP’s 18 majority. This was a huge blow to the morale of the Majority Rule movement in the Bahamas as many had predicted the PLP would be victorious. Despite this defeat, the movement still continued to April 27th 1965 when what is now known as Black Tuesday occurred. Sir Lynden Pindling threw the mace, which is the Speaker’s symbol of authority, out of the window of the House of Assembly and Sir Milo Butler followed suit by throwing out the hour glasses. The climax to this journey was on January 10th, 1967 when both the PLP and UBP won 18 seats while the remaining two seats went to Sir Randol Fawkes and Sir Alvin Braynen. Both men decided to support the PLP and consequently ushered in Majority Rule in the Bahamas. As we continue on the road to our 40th year of Independence it is imperative that historical facts such as these are not forgotten and left untold. Great men and women have fought for years to ensure that our rights and voices be heard to make our country a better place. As Bahamians this is the only way we can continue to move Forward, Upward, Onward and Together. JANUARY 2013 ISSUE 2 | 7
William Arthur Branville McCartney was born on the 6th of May, 1967 to William and Marina McCartney. He is married to Lisa McCartney the proprietor of the Meridan School at Unicorn Village and a former Miss Bahamas 1989, they have been married for seventeen years. The McCartney’s have three children: Kasia, Tai and Lawrence Khail. An attorney by profession, Mr. McCartney began his own law firm – Halsbury Chambers. His hobbies are: tennis, cooking reading and travelling. Political Career: Mr. McCartney has been on the political scene for about six years, initially a Member of Parliament under the Free National Movement. Having resigned from the Hubert Ingraham administration as a Cabinet Minister, a year later he resigned from the FNM party itself. Subsequently he started the Democratic National Alliance in which he made history in being the leader of the first third party to bring forth a full slate of candidates to contest all seats. 1.) WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS MOVING FORWARD FOR THE DNA, AND HOW DOES THE PARTY PLAN TO GAIN MORE SUPPORT NATIONALLY? Well, you know the DNA started about eleven months before the last election and we garnered quite a bit of support within that period of time. It was not sufficient time to obviously win the election but what we have been doing; we’ve been consistent with our position regarding the issues of this country. Issues like crime, and the fear of crime, immigration, the economy, education, youth, sports and cultural development. There is a government that the Bahamian people have voted for and quite frankly I wish this government well. We have a lot of challenges in this country. We’re going on forty years of independence, the economy is in shambles, there’s a lot of unemployment, and our social concerns are mammoth. Our educational system is outdated, and I would like to see the present government do well. The DNA is there not to just criticize, but we are there to encourage, offer advice and suggestions where we can. We are not the official opposition and we are not there to bring down or try to do things just to for political sake, or political expediency. The DNA will have a convention coming up and during that convention all positions are on the table.That is when the party will make a determination as to whether or not they wish for me to lead or otherwise. So we’ll see what happens there.
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2.) WHAT LETTER GRADE WOULD YOU GIVE THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION? YOU STATED THAT YOU’RE THERE TO SUPPORT, BUT SO FAR, HOW DO YOU FEEL THEY’VE BEEN DOING? I think a lot of promises were made because of political expediency. Promises were made because they wanted the vote, but as you can see, we still for the most part have the same issues plaguing this country, that we had prior to the election. To answer your question directly, I would give them about a “C”. You know, people are suffering out there. There was a friend of mine that went home one night, and his wife was very upset and said, “Darling you don’t take me anywhere expensive anymore, I’m just fed up, you’re ignoring me.” So he said listen sweetie, go put on something nice, I will take you somewhere expensive tonight. They jumped in the car, drove down the road and he took her to the gas station. And that’s the truth. And after that she said, you must be kidding… He said you are not happy with this honey? The point is the cost of living in this country is high. The cost of doing business is almost unattainable and those things need to be addressed. The can be addressed by stimulating the economy. We need more industry and we need to start thinking outside the box, in terms of how we do things, we can’t think the old way. Yes, tourism is our #1 Industry but we are going to have to move toward becoming self-sufficient.Agriculture, marine resources, alternative energy; we need to look at that. I see they’ve started talking about exploring for oil. We need to look at that, bearing in mind the environmental concerns and the protection of our environment. We need to educate our people and become an educated society because if we don’t, we as Bahamians will be left behind, and other persons will come, and get the jobs. If you look at Barbados for instance, Barbados is now considered a developed country. You would see from their educational system that they have educational opportunities for the most part we don’t have here. I saw an article the other day where a report that stated that 70 or 75% of the Bahamian people are unqualified. Well, how do you expect us to compete on the world stage in these circumstances, let us be real? We need to really reassess ourselves and it doesn’t happen overnight. I don’t expect for it to happen in five years, but you need to get started. So, we need to start thinking outside the box. We need to start doing things that possibly won’t have immediate effect but for our children and their children so that they’ll have a better life.
3.) WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON THE PENDING REFERENDUM TO LEGALIZE WEB SHOPS AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NATIONAL LOTTERY? Well, you know this is a very curious circumstance quite frankly. The Christie administration during the election campaign said they would take the issue of a lottery to a referendum. After the election, the Christie administration said they are getting advice from persons abroad, to determine whether or not a lottery would work in the Bahamas. Now they are considering legalizing or putting to the people whether or not web shops are to be legalized. The Christie administration came back and said that their advice was that a lottery would not be sufficient, or would not work in the Bahamas. Now I am very curious about that because they campaigned on the fact that they would put to the Bahamian people a referendum on the lottery. The fact that they engaged a British firm after the elections tells me that they were talking, for talking sake. Because obviously they didn’t get that information that they so called have regarding a lottery
Branville McCartney by Jayde K. Knowles
during their election campaign and that is very concerning. But we are here now where the Christie administration seem to be in a state of confusion. They said that it won’t be a referendum, that it would be an opinion poll. And then the Prime Minister came back and said well he was going to postpone it, to take further advice. I think that it’s a good thing that the Prime Minister has agreed to postpone what was supposed to have been set for the 3rd of December and that was an opinion poll on whether there should be legalization of the web shops.
I think the Christie administration should, in my humble opinion, speak extensively with the official leader of the opposition. I think that the opposition should not make this a political issue because this is something that can potentially benefit the Bahamas as a whole, notwithstanding your political belief; whether you’re DNA, FNM, or PLP. I think the legal framework must be set first before a referendum is taken. Once the legal framework is in place, the referendum should entail those three (3) questions and the Bahamian people should then make the decision.
It has been postponed until the 28th of January and I am hearing that the questions may be whether or not there’s a lottery and whether or not the legalization of web shops should be done in the Bahamas. I think the questions ought to be put to the Bahamian people, but I also think it should include one other question, since we are talking about gaming.
The outer world is looking in wondering what these Bahamian people are doing because you have an operation going on now that is supposedly illegal, we’re going to have a referendum as to whether or not it should stay illegal or be made legal, but yet they are still operating. Now that does not mean that I don’t want the web shops to become legal, but I’m just showing how we go about operating or running our country, it’s third world at its best. If we keep that same mentality our leaders will continue to act foolish and we will remain third world;
THE QUESTION THAT SHOULD BE ADDED IS: WHETHER OR NOT BAHAMIANS SHOULD BE ABLE TO GAMBLE IN CASINOS?
when in fact after 40 years of independence we should be in a position where we are now moving towards becoming first world. We should be little Switzerland in the Atlantic. 4.) IS THE DNA HERE TO STAY? I would love for the DNA to be here to stay. The DNA is bigger than Bran McCartney. I’m doing what I can as the present leader, for it to be here to stay. Many things are out of my control, like if persons decide otherwise not to have me as leader of the party. With its present position on issues regarding this country I think the DNA had the best platform to move this country forward, and had the political will, to move this country forward. I would have been the kind of Prime Minister that would have done things, and not consider winning the next election because I’m thinking about the children of this country, and their children. So I would have put things in place that may have resulted in me being a one term Prime Minister but that’s alright because when I left that office, things would have been in place for when this country started to move. JANUARY 2013 ISSUE 2 | 9
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Senator Desm by Dawn S. Demeritte
Desmond Bannister was born in 1958. Following his early education in The Bahamas, he completed studies leading to an associate’s degree at Miami Dade Community College and obtained a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Iowa. He studied at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados where he obtained an LL.B degree and went on to complete his Legal Education Certificate at the Norman Manley Law School in Kingston, Jamaica. He was called to The Bahamas Bar in 1988. Having served as a Member of Parliament for Carmichael and former Minister of Education, Mr. Bannister currently serves as a Senator for the Free National Movement. Maybe it’s time I face it, I’m a typical Bahamian when it comes to being on time for interviews. I arrived at Senator Bannister’s law chambers, running five minutes late but it was okay because the camera crew was still setting up. 12 | The Nationalist
I went into the Senator’s office to verify that my prepared questions were within accepted boundaries and was told that,“I’m in public life, and I must answer everything”. My interviewee was apparently ready. Dressed in his usual shirt, trousers and red tie, under the bright lights of the cameras, the Senator was asked whether or not the crew could apply makeup to his face and he laughed sheepishly, saying, “Do what you have to.” After sharing a few laughs, we were ready to go. 1. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RECENT BI-ELECTION RESULTS IN NORTH ABACO? The North Abaco bi-election was very interesting. We had a new government with a very popular mandate and a retiring Prime Minister who had left a seat that he had won for over 30 years; and then you had an opposition seeking to win. So the dynamics were completely interesting, the government of course wanted to win the seat. Of course there were a number of reasons for
2. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FREE NATIONAL MOVEMENT’S CANDIDATE, GREG GOMEZ? He’s a very brave young man; he put himself forward as a candidate for the first time in a bi-election, in a situation where he’s following the former Prime Minister. Where he knows he’s going to get tremendous national scrutiny, every little bump on your face is going to be examined. Putting himself forward the way he did, was extremely brave. I think it’s something that young people in the country can learn from. It is also important for us to appreciate that in this day and age, it is not like in the days where the past generation lived. Every single thing about you is going to be examined, whether you are particularly new to the political scene or not. I commend him for putting himself forward and I hope that after this election, that this young man can find a niche in the Bahamas. Notwithstanding whatever faults or problems he has, he has something to contribute to the Bahamas. We have to be able to still embrace a “Greg Gomez” and what he brings to the table. On a small family island that is not very easy. I pray that he is going to have an opportunity to continue to contribute to his community in North Abaco 3. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO RUN IN THE NORTH ANDROS CONSTITUENCY IN THE GENERAL ELECTIONS AS OPPOSED TO RUNNING IN CARMICHAEL?
that; some people seem to be puzzled as to why the PLP won the seat. I’m however not surprised, North Abaco was initially a PLP seat. We can go back to Shirlen Bootle and when Mr. Ingraham initially won his seat, he won as a PLP and he got tremendous support. Because of the dynamics of the election, the opposition had a very difficult route. They were small in number and the PLP had an overwhelming national mandate and they could have made promises that the opposition could not make. However, I was impressed by the showing, in addition to the manner in which Abaconians were determined to come out and vote. I was also impressed by the number of Abaconians, I met who felt free to come out and voice their concerns on any number of issues. I can’t tell you that three years down the road that the FNM won’t come back to reclaim that seat but that will make the dynamic even more interesting. This is the first time in a long time, unless Mr. Curry becomes a cabinet minister that seat will not be either a cabinet seat or Prime Minister of the country.
First of all, there’s no such thing as a safe seat but notwithstanding that, I represented Carmichael for five years. Got to know the people in Carmichael very well, put my whole heart into Carmichael, almost everything in my life at that time was direct towards Carmichael. Carmichael is a community that if you simply wanted to be in Parliament, representing Carmichael and if you did a good job, you can stay. I got into politics for different reasons other than simply being satisfied by the status quo. I grew up in Andros, I went to a one room school, I’m a product of that type of environment and every time I went home, I saw that things had just gotten worse and worse. The schools were in terrible condition, the community that I grew up in was one of the most beautiful communities – it has a creek in the middle of it, that creek is the birth place of thousands of sea life. That creek is stopped up now, for years now. If you go to North Andros now, and it rains that means you can’t drive on the roads, because the roads have huge potholes; some are 12-16 inches deep. There are no good roads in Andros, so I made a commitment that I was going to run in that constituency; and that constituency has a history of being won by the FNM’s only once in history, so I knew what the odds were. It was not critical for me to stay in power, I’m a professional I have a job to do. Whether I’m in Parliament or not, there are things I can do in my country. But I wanted to do some things in Andros and during the election we got to accomplish some of those things. The settlement which I grew up in was Staniard Creek. Can you imagine growing up in a settlement where you never ever had paved roads? We got the government to commit to a 2.2 million dollar contract to pave roads, the people there were overjoyed. We were able to fix up schools in Andros; we were able to put computers in every single school; schools still don’t have internet connections at this point, so I’m trying to help them get this. When young people in New Providence for example look at your magazine online and they see all these wonderful interviews you’re able to do and they see all the technology and things you can do; the island that is closest to us, a ten minute plane ride you can go there and children are not getting the experiences and exposure JANUARY 2013 ISSUE 2 | 13
that you are. That is why I ran in North Andros; I don’t regret it for one minute I will do it again if I had the opportunity. 4. WHERE WOULD YOU SEE THE FNM STANDS AS A PARTY CURRENTLY? We are obviously in a transitional phase. We had a Prime Minister who was larger than life. The governing party has another Prime Minister who is of equal stature. He continues to govern the country and so in comparison to him many people who come along now will appear to not have the kind of exposure or leadership skills that he exhibits. We have large amount of persons, dynamic young persons who support the party.The Free National Movement has been to this place before in opposition, we did a great job and the Bahamian people showed confidence in us as a result of the job we did in opposition. So we have to continue to hold the government’s feet to the fire in respect to anything that is not, in our views the best interest of the Bahamian people.We have to continue to let the Bahamian people see that we will do the best job possible as an opposition. And what you’re going to find is that in a next year or two, many young people in this country will come to the FNM, because they are jaded by the promises that are not kept. There are many that are not going to be kept for any number of reasons. So you’re going to find the FNM will gather momentum. Whether the leader is Dr. Minnis, who is the current leader or another leader you will see a leader emerge who is going to be able to galvanize the FNM. But we’re not in election mode, we have to show we’re a good opposition and that we will not oppose for the sake of opposing. We’re going to oppose on principal, ideas and issues that are important to the Bahamian people. 5. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND POSITION ON THE UPCOMING REFERENDUM ON A NATIONAL LOTTERY IN THE BAHAMAS? The government has indicated that they’re going to have a referendum on the National Lottery; quite frankly I don’t think Bahamians have any difficulties with the referendum. But I believe if you’re going to do that, then we must have a referendum that puts all the issues squarely out there for the Bahamian people.This whole issue with casino gambling for example: the younger generation has no idea why they can’t gamble. We have thousands of people who are gambling everyday in unregulated little businesses going on in the country on every island in the country. But the one business that is heavily regulated where they know they’re going to be treated fairly, honestly and openly they can’t participate in for historic reasons that don’t exist anymore and have not existed for a number of years. I believe if you’re going to have a National Lottery and if you’re going to have a referendum then put all the issues in front of the Bahamian people.Trust the Bahamian people to make the kind of decisions that are going to guide their lives, because they live it. I believe our young people are intelligent enough to make the kinds of decision that are going to impact on their futures. Let’s have the referendum but let’s not have it to benefit any special interests groups, let’s have it to benefit the entire society. Let’s open it up so that all Bahamians can make a decision on every single type of gambling and if Bahamians determine they’re going to have a national lottery then have it. I believe we should be able to examine all the issues, be educated on all the issues and let our people vote for them. Just as they elect their representatives, they can make the determinations about their future. B) ARE YOU VOTING YES ON REFERENDUM DAY? 14 | The Nationalist
I haven’t decided yet, I want to see how the questions are framed. I want to see what the real issues are on this referendum and I want to get the emotionalism out of this for me. There’s nothing at stake for me, one way or the other. I’ve listened to what the Christian Council said, I’ve listened to what Bahamians have said and I’m disappointed that the Prime Minister has indicated that notwithstanding that they’re going to put it forward but he will not take a stance on it. If you’re going to put forth a referendum then you have a duty to educate the people on the issues that are important. The government has made a decision to do it, so they have a position. You can’t hide that, people know it. Stand up, be a man and state that this is the government’s position whether or not the Bahamian people support it. 6. HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION’S PERFORMANCE THUS FAR? First of all, it’s not entirely fair to him for me to try to rate him. I’ve held the post; he’s been in the post for less than 6 months. I know how challenging Education is; it’s the biggest ministry and the most challenging. Going into it dealing with the teacher’s union, hundreds of administrators, all the family island schools it’s a multifaceted job. I think the new Minister of Education is trying; he’s trying the best that he can. He had a really difficult summer and the summer is the most difficult time for the Ministry of Education. Most of our schools are very old, as a result in the summer time Ministry of Education has to embark on spending millions of dollars on repairs. At the same time, the Ministry has to maintain school yards, hire new teachers and there’s old teachers going out of the system. So the minister is pulled in a number of directions and I believe his first summer was very difficult. I think in a press release, I pointed out to some of the difficulties that we had in the summer with respect to school repairs, bringing the schools up to the conditions that they should have been in. I hope as I said to him when I met with him, for the sake of education in the country that the Minister of Education will be successful. I want him to be successful. We need to have a group of young intelligent people continue to come up in this country. I would like to see him succeed, I think he’s highly political as a Minister of Education and I think a Minister of Education has to be careful about that and as time goes on I think he’s going to have an opportunity to fit in. Hopefully if he gets to stay there for five years, he’ll have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of young Bahamians. It’s too early to rate him; he does need lots of help. He does have to have help from the support staff and administrators but particularly from parents in our country. I am not seeing our Bahamian parents put into education what they ought to and what they’ve done in the past. 7. ANY LAST WORDS? It was just fascinating for me this morning, to see a group of intelligent young Bahamians come in here, set up this whole set, put this set together, organize this interview and do a very professional production. That speaks well to where we are going as a country, to have young people like you doing positive things. We have to keep stressing that, and showing the talents that we have. Because there’s so much that the Bahamas has to offer and I just want to encourage all of you to keep doing what you’re doing.You obviously had an idea and you put it together and now you’re making it work. You have an online presence that’s going to provide information to lots of young Bahamians and people all over the world. So you’re going to have an impact and you’re going to encourage other young people to make an impact, thanks for coming.
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Khaalis Rolle By: Quinton C. Lightbourne
BRIEF BIO: (Minister of State for Investments in the Office of the Prime Minister) Khaalis Rolle did his undergraduate studies at Grambling State University and received an MBA at the University of Miami. He is also holds a Certificate in Management Studies from the University of Miami and a Certificate in International Trade and Policy and Negotiations from the University of West Indies in Cave Hill Barbados. Mr. Rolle is also the immediate past Chairman of the newly merged Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation and former President of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Khaalis Rolle is a principal in Nassau Water Ferries Services Ltd, and former Chief Marketing Officer of Bahamas Ferries for a number of years. AS A 1ST TIME POLITICIAN WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING LIFE ADJUSTMENT YOU HAD TO MAKE? It’s just been so many adjustments but when you get into public life your life isn’t just your own anymore. It doesn’t belong to you or your family but it belongs to every, your constituents and individuals looking to do business with the government of the Bahamas. That has been the most significant change in my 16 | The Nationalist
life thus far. You lose your individual identity in many regards and I am still coming to grips with not having the luxury of being anonymous. WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON THE PENDING REFERENDUM AND THE LEGALISATION OF WEB SHOPS IN THE BAHAMAS? My stance is pretty simple. It’s a practice that has been here for a very long time. Legally it operates outside of the realm of what the law prescribes. I firmly believe it has to be regularized in some form or the other. Either it is legalized or shut down completely. I don’t support either way we just want to make sure that whatever is done, it is done properly and consistently with the laws. Legalize it or shut it down and the referendum with determine which way we go with it. WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO IN CHARGE OF INVESTMENTS HOW DO YOU PLAN TO HELP BAHAMIAN INVESTOR’S AND IN PARTICULAR YOUNG BAHAMIAN ENTREPRENEURS? Well when I was head of the Chamber one of the initiatives I started with the previous administration was the development
of a small and medium size development act. This was started to ensure that small businesses have the opportunity to succeed. As you may know the Bahamas has not implemented any second generation legislation to support small business development in the country. Looking at where we are and where we need to go and the potential for small business development, I undertook with some key stakeholders from the small businesses community to discuss with the government ways to implement new legislations that would give small and medium size business owners and opportunity to survive. We are going through one of the worst recession’s sense the great depression. This mantra I often hear is that “small businesses are the engine of the economy” and if they are the engine we need to ensure that the engine is healthy. The government has to create that enabling environment for small businesses to be healthy. WITH THE NATIONAL DEBT APPROACHING 5 BILLION DOLLARS HOW DOES THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION PLAN TO REDUCE THIS FIGURE? Well you have to grow revenue and cut expenditure. We have undertaken a very aggressive revenue generation program and
that comes through attracting more foreign direct investments. The reality is that domestic investments will not drive the type of growth and development this country needs. It has to be a hybrid approach by having foreign direct investments and ensuring that there is a mechanism in place to contribute to the downstream benefits of foreign direct investment. Essentially that means more small business owners will benefit from the large projects the government approve to come into the country. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE SO FAR FROM THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION? I think we have done a heck of a job. We are facing significant head winds; we have a government that has undertaken an economy that is ailing. Unemployment is extremely high and the prospect for growth has been low. What we have done is looked at many of the projects we’ve left during the last administration, and as you can see many of them we have taken off the shelf and dusted them off and they are now in the execution phase. There is a silver lining in this dark cloud and we hopefully over the next 12 to 24 months would begin to see some meaningful results from all of the activities we are participating in.
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