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my vote By: Andrew L. Burrows
If you want to be able to vote you must go and register! Why? Yes, why in this Bahamas must I present myself every five years to reregister myself? I am a born Bahamian, I lived in this one location all of my life, I am known by most; so why is every Bahamian required to
keep on presenting themselves to a Governmental place to say “yes” I am interested in voting again. It is just another gimmick employed by the very people we waste our time voting for and who’s big salaries we pay, to keep on wasting our collective revenues doing what is not needed, while what is desperately needed must wait forever to be done; like, just before an election! I have always believed in democracy, but what we practice is a fake model. First and foremost, the Bahamas is not an independent country, if we were we would have an elected President with elected upper and lower house members. What we have is a butchered form of who knows what! We swear loyalty to the British monarchy, maintain a Governor General, have party picked Senators, have a Defense and a Police force that is “Royal”. We Bahamians are not stupid, we live in a very open envi-
ronment, we know what takes place in other countries, we are not as ignorant as we pretend to be. It is high time that we stop encouraging the hype, and if we are going to waste our time reregistering and voting for party loyalists simply to make up the numbers. “God can’t help us”. We are doing it to ourselves. Party representation comes pre-packaged like over processed foods, when we vote for our party favorite there is no longer any need for individual or district representation. The majority party’s agenda is what you have. Stop promising me what you will do for me once you get a seat. That is not democracy. That is party patronage and disunity. I will not waste my time playing this grand “hamster in the cage” game. What we all must want is true democracy where each person who goes to represent us has an active role to perform in the Government, and an equal opportunity to represent us who are being truly represented. We are not stupid; our education will not be wasted. We have sense! When our elected President acts, it will be in the interest of us! Not the party or other beneficial interest, not local or for-
Dear Editor, Please allow me space so I may bring the country up to date on the State of Spanish Wells as we head into the next general election. The following may reflect similarly on every District in our archipelago, in fact I am sure it does. So, once you have had time to read and digest the following please have your Chief Councilor send in YOUR current “state”. Let’s get all the Districts to report in between now and the next general election. Budget! As most are aware, the Government over the past 4 years has been collecting more in taxes but giving less back. Our annual budget is prepared, then sent to Nassau where someone decides where the value for money is. They delete line items such as but not limited to “upkeep and maintenance of public buildings”, then it is sent back “Approved”. However, it doesn’t stop there. In 2013 the Government started retaining a percentage of the budget. For the past two years, they have withheld 12% of the approved budget. In our case that is $43,278. The past three years we have had the same budget approved despite the introduction of VAT. We have also had a recurrent deficit over the same period. This unfortunately has led to our contractual workers not getting paid in full; currently we are only able to pay them 50% of their monthly contract value because of the shortfall. As of the end of this fiscal period, we will once again be in the same situation as we have been for the past two budget cycles and will not be able to satisfy
our commitments. As referenced, our budget for 07/08 was $450,000.00; the last two years it has been roughly $317,000 less the 12% retention. This is available for all to see. It is public record and is a part of the National Budget. Graveyard! Digging up bones! That’s what we have been doing for the better part of 5 years. We are having to use an old cemetery plot that has lead to exhumation. Council started agitating for a new grave yard site officially in October of 2012. There have been several visits over this period and countless correspondence but as of the writing of this piece nothing has come of it. Clinic! Our clinic is in a deplorable state! The A/C is broken, the roof leaks during normal rain squalls, including in the emergency room. Most of the windows don’t work, there is mold and mildew everywhere. The morgue has been broken down for the better part of two years, in fact the last few persons that passed away onisland had to be relocated to Eleuthera. Shutters are falling off. Prior to December, there was no resident doctor to service North Eleuthera (including Spanish Wells and Harbour Island) for months. Patients could not get prescriptions in addition to other specialized medical care. We have a resident nurse that was just recently relocated to SPW (best one in the country), but now she may get evicted from her apartment because Government has let her rent fall behind.
The Eleutheran | Feb/Mar 2017
eign. When our elected member speaks on our behalf, our collective view and interest is to be presented. When was the last time an elected member of the House of Assembly, or a party appointed Senator was heard speaking purely on the interest of the majority who took time to vote for them? It does not happen, because it can’t happen; they must speak the party’s line or go independent. I want to vote, but I want a voice in my country. We Bahamians are such peace loving, hopeful and trusting hamsters in the cage. We know that the present system is against us, but we dare not acknowledge it to be so! So when will we ever learn that change must come from within!? Just like we wait for someone else to come and pick up our trash, we also wait for favorable changes to our collective problems to come from somewhere else. It is high time that we wake up and sense the deception that is all around us. Our country is being sold away to foreign owners, our own children have no land to build their own homes, plant their own gardens, and raise their own animals, and because we want to have many rich visitors come and sport fish
The administration of the clinic has failed miserably! Aforementioned issues (particularly maintenance and upkeep of the facility) were brought to light in September 2011. The District Council did a thorough walk through of the facility and reported the findings to the Administrator of Family Island Clinics. Despite continuous update and agitation to the hierarchy of the Ministry of Health, to date nothing has been fixed; the clinic continues to deteriorate. Roads! Many of the roads are filled with pot holes. There are several that are past the point of patching and need to be rebuilt. Most of the roads are starting to show their age as they were redone twenty-five years ago, the lack of a constant supply of perma-patch contributes to the deterioration. The abutment is continually breaking through. We have just recently had a team from the Ministry of Works visit the Island and they did a complete drive through to confirm the same. We are waiting on a final report. Bridge! The two-lane bridge “Roderick Newton Bridge” connecting Spanish Wells and Russell Island was destroyed in August of 1992 by Hurricane Andrew. A temporary single lane bridge was installed in October of the same year. The bridge is rusting and in a state of disrepair to the point of being dangerous. This bridge plays a vital role in our daily lives. It is in constant use. The public dump and power company is located on Russell Island along with other businesses and private residents. Russell Island is in a phase of continuous development. At least 60% of all construction being approved by the District Council is for Russell
in our waters, we deny our own fishermen from cultivating and providing food for us, while we waste that same money importing canned and frozen sea products to feed ourselves and our visitors. Why should I waste my time reregistering all the time? It makes no difference who sits in the houses of government if they all prescribe to the statuesque. No! There must be change in how we do things in this our beautiful country. We must grow up and stop believing the lie. Our children must be the heirs to this land, where there is so much that is not available to them, and nothing is being done to correct it. If you are satisfied to see all things remain as they are at present it makes no difference who you vote for, we remain deceived, divided and destined to despair. Is it all as bad as I try to make it seem? I sure hope not, but we need to fix what is not working for us, and stop expecting the solutions to our national problems to fall out of the sky. Wishful thinking!
Island and will be that way for the foreseeable future. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012 the bridge was washed out on the south side. Eleuthera Construction was hired to make a temporary fix; to date they have not been paid. The Council has been agitating since March of 2012 to effect repairs/change to the bridge. We have just recently had another team from Ministry of Works visit the site; the Council is patiently waiting for a response. Water! Our water supply is pumped from a well field on Eleuthera, directly into the city system. We have a 100,000-thousand-gallon water tank that is supposed to be kept full, but there has never been a shut off system installed. So, once the tower is full the overflow goes into the harbour until such time as Water and Sewerage on Eleuthera can be contacted. The Council just recently sent a sample of city water to an independent lab in Nassau. Here is a sampling of the findings. Calcium 624.00, chloride 2,675.77, salinity 4.90ppt and there was also trace of coliform found. I am sure it is illegal to sell this water to the public, in fact, it’s probably illegal to give it away. The authorities have been aware of the water situation on Spanish Wells for many years. Despite continuous development on Russell Island, the public water supply does not extend to residents and businesses to the far West. The government built and paved the road, but didn’t put the infrastructure in place to provide water first, so of course the road will have to be ripped up to complete installation. This is the perfect example of poor planning. Businesses in the area affected are now being told by Environmental Health that the
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