J.Maxfield Outten on Very Terrible Conditions in Grand Bahama

13
2045

Dear fellow Bloggers, in my previous communications, admittedly, I sat as an ‘Armchair Quarterback’ in Nassau reporting secondary information and anecdotes from other people in my social and professional networks.

This time, however, I am happy to report to you firsthand from the city of Freeport, where I have observed for myself the sorry state of affairs and supplemented my observations with feedback from people on the streets, including Taxi and Bus drivers, Shopkeepers, Waiters/Waitresses  and other residents, many of whom are either unemployed, homeless or both.

My primary observations of what is going on in Freeport have led me conclude that the present government, starting with ALL of the Grand Bahama Members of Parliament, particularly those that represent the Greater Freeport area, MUST resign forthwith because of the following.

*Grand Bahama is dead, with a capital “D”. Upon returning to Grand Bahama recently, I personally see NOTHING in the foreseeable future for Grand Bahama. Thousands of people are without electricity, water and very little food.

*Buildings that were once local landmarks have been taken over by homeless squatters. Unemployment is extremely high and seems to be the ‘norm’ here in the Nation’s second city.

*Some of the things I’ve noticed within a day of my return almost brought me to tears, once well-known and maintained properties, (apartments, condominiums and Hotels) are now in such bad repair that I would be hard pushed to allow my dog to live there.

*Scores of businesses are without power, telephone and street vendors are out on the streets as late as midnight trying to survive. The once bustling International Bazaar has scant signs of economic activity, for example the Arcade has little life, BUT, other areas including the Straw Market and surrounding area are dying a slow death.

* If it was possible to close down an Island, like one would do a restaurant or a business, Grand Bahama would be CLOSED by now. No wonder Nassauvians have said that Grand Bahamians are gluttons for punishment!

* I’ve also noticed another ‘strange’ phenomenon; Many people, men and women, are hunting for scrap metal like copper and that appears to be ‘big business’ … of course all over the world the Chinese are buying hard metal to feed their insatiable industrial appetite, but this causes a lot of stealing.

* Also I observed firsthand the adage that the last refuge for the working class is Pawn broking; CASH-4-GOLD seems to be a way of life in Freeport now. Petty crimes have escalated with some criminals snatching gold jewelry from people’s necks, including tourists, in broad daylight – this is a disgrace!

If you drive around Freeport, you can count the tourists on one hand and will be left with enough fingers to count the Chinese Army. What is left of the Freeport tourist product is tired, over-priced and under-promoted.

I cannot make it any clearer; it appears to me that Grand Bahama’s days are numbered. Things are so bad in here; I wonder how the governing Party (Free National Mess) will feel when they go to these people’s houses and ask for their vote? I’m sure they will encounter lots of Bahamians without electricity, water and jobs so what will be their story to the people? When will Grand Bahama get on its feet again?

My blame starts with HAI or ‘Papa’ and the Grand Bahama Port Authority; followed by the lackadaisical and counterproductive Grand Bahama Ministers who don’t deserve the salaries they’re paid, starting with Mr. Neko Grant, who in my opinion, is a loser in everything he touches. This clown must get up off his butt and talk with the people in the Lucaya constituency he represents!

Second, Mr. Kenneth Russell appears to struggle with any intellectual challenge (by the way, where did he go to school. in fact did he go to school at all?)

Finally, Mr. Zhivargo Laing, (a.k.a. Mr. Arrogant) who claims to be a Christian, must now know that his destination is hell.

In conclusion, having done some journalistic research to establish the state of affairs in and around Freeport, I am forced to conclude that the people here have been ‘FAILED’ by their Representatives. Having talked to the residents since arriving here, it is clear that they detest the mess they are in, are seriously disillusioned and have nothing good to say about their MP’s.

So, whether you consider me rude or not, Mr. Laing, I have presented you with evidence, so resign NOW to preserve what little honour you have left.  By the way, RUDE could be taken to mean: REALITY UNCUT, DEFINED and EXPOSED….. Contrasted with your reality, which appears to be figments of your fantastical imagination

J.Maxfield Outten

May 11th 2011

  • I am very disappointed with the FNM. Freeport is being treated like an under-developed Family Island. We have so few jobs available on the island right now. I know of persons who are way behind in their mortgage payments. So many here in GB have lost their homes already. It is just unbelievable how bad things are here. The Port Authority cannot stimulate our economy.If anything,they are one of the reasons GB is struggling right now. The Port Authority charges the cruiseships and airlines exorbitant fees to dock and land here at the habor and airport.This is why so few airlines and cruiseships come to GB. This then translates into few stop over visitors coming to this island. It is no wonder then why the hotels on this island,especially the Our Lucaya Resort, have an occupancy level that is always around 15%. The FNM government needs to force the principals at the PA to go down on their docking and landing fees. The government must also encourage the pricipals at the Our Lucaya Resort to either market their product or simply sell out to a reputable hotelier. It is obvious to myself that the owners of that resort are not really interested in tourism. The government must also move to push the owners of the old Royal Oasis Resort to sell that property. If the FNM could find a buyer for Emerald Bay in Exuma, why can’t they do the same here in GB, FNM country? Freeport’s economy can be fixed, but the government has to be willing to bite the bullet and make drastic changes. Perhaps the Hawksbill Creek Agreement needs to be scrapped. I don’t see how it is benefitting GB. The FNM has to be willing to really govern this island. The PA has failed this island. It is just too expensive to travel to this island. I understand that it is cheaper to fly from Miami to New York than from Miami to Freeport. If the PA refuses to go down on their taxes, then why not build an airport in East End or West End? The folks at the Port Authority are well off. They don’t know what it is like to go to bed hungry.They don’t know what it is like to lose your home or job. They live in a bubble. If the FNM refuses to fix our situation, then they deserve to lose their seats in GB. They have been more concerned about New Providence and Exuma. Grand Bahama has been relegated to the backburner it seems.Grand Bahama is no longer FNM country. We have been deserted.

    • media

      Mr Evans we are told some 30% of the residents of GB have been disconnected from electricity. We are told some 60 residents were disconnected from power this weekend alone.

      BP

  • Freeport is finished the Port Authority and the FNM are killing the people. I relocated to Nassau 10yrs ago and i am so glad that i left when i did. As soon as you leave the airport you can sense the depression in the air everything seems dead or just hanging on for life. It greaves my spirit to see those MP from FPO come on ZNS talking S–t trying to make it seem like things aren’t as bad as it really is. Anyone that lives there and votes FNM or PLP you’ll gatta be crazy they all the same we need real change go DNA. If you’ll put Laing,Russell or Grant back in power you’ll are real suckers for punishment. LOOK AROUND YOU AND THEN SMELL THE COFFEE!

  • Good Synopsis Mr. Outten!

    Jack Hayward & his children are advised to PLEASE STOP FUSSING & FIGHTING AMONGST THEMSELVES! The people of GB need your assistance via the Port Authority! Do Something! Be willing to work WITH the Bahamian Govt.(whether PLP or FNM)otherwise what’s the point of you being there? Watching people around you suffer while you travel the world and have lavish parties is quite frankly sickening!!

  • I am not a T-shirt wearer or a party supporter for any of the political parties, what I am simply saying is that we now have the FNM in power and they are not doing any thing for Grand Bahama. When the FNM was the opposition they talk about what the PLP was not doing for Grand Bahama, and the same thing goes for when the PLP was in power and now they are the opposition they said the same things, and blame the Port Authority for what they can and can’t do.

    My point is in the last 15 years none laid down a plan for G.B. We all know that Freeport is run by the Port. Now lets look at the out skirts of G.B, what do you see going on, when was the last time you notice a new government building or a project in Pinders Point, Eight mile Rock, or West End.

    What we talk about are the trivial things like giving out water and paying light bills, why not create jobs and opportunities for a man to pay is bills and provide his family with health care, education, and a parcel of land.

    Teach me how to fish. I will take your fish today but tomorrow I want a boat.

  • @Mr. Outten: A well written piece. You said you wondered how the governing party will feel going to people’s houses asking for their votes. My opinion? That will be easy because, they have already set their plan in motion. The last two representatives you mentioned, were seen last weekend with bus loads of seniors from High Schools here in Grand Bahama, parading them around the business community giving false hopes in my opinion, that jobs will be available after graduation. Some of those businesses are letting go of the employees that they now have, at a low rate so as not to alarm the public or the media. I feel it is shameful for anyone, to exploit the innocent just, to hold on to power.

  • Long Gone

    Well-stated JMO!

    Grand Bahama has too much potential but NO Bahamas Government has been able to exploit it. What good is potential without exploitation? Like the person who is blessed with God-given talent but squanders it, what is happening in GB is a sin!

    The chief perpetrators of this sin are the national government, local government (Port Authority), banks and other institutions that govern the place!

  • @Oneday
    I pity you as obviously you are a staunch supporter of the FNM.I have actually heard persons from GB come on talk shows and tried to find every reason why things are desperate down there.I am also getting the impression that the majority of supporters of the DNA are disgruntled FNms.mmpphhh its a pity that too many are spineless in the FNM and have allowed Papa to just be the bull in the china shop and literally destroyed what was left of that FNM party.Dire straits have caused many G Bahamians to live and sleep on beaches and do whatever to survive.For God,s sake register and vote against this totalitarian Govt or soon we will all have to jump on boats and flee wherever.

  • BAHAMIAN MINDED

    WELL SAID

  • Please stop it the PLP did nothing when they were in power for Freeport, and the FNM is not doing any thing for Freeport right now. Trust me I will not register to vote unless I see some one run from the DNA in Lucaya, and thats real

    • media

      Ahhh there you are…FNM apologist can’t take the rebuke. And when ya rebuke them they want kill ya. THEY HAVE NO DAMN SHAME!

      BP

    • Joy

      @OneDay
      When the PLP was in power we were hit with those hurricanes and you could have seen and felt the relief
      until the FNM took office and killed everything. They treated us worst than the hurricanes did. So OneDay speak the truth and shame the devil. Not because your party fail you, you should write foolishness BLAME your SORRY MP’S & PARTY FOR THIS MESS WE ARE IN I GRAND BAHAMA. J.Maxfield Outten is sooo correct with the state of Grand Bahama.

    • Mee

      The issue of consistent eltrceic power anywhere, is based on various items addressed in the GBPower chairman’s address to the community a couple of months back. In essence, equipment on line to meet the demands, ability to anticipate the demand, alternative sources of power to draw on as reserves in case the first two are in error. The gentleman mentioned two items. 1. that the main power demand was from industry & the draw for a large dredging rig in the port. 2. that contrary to the Florida example, on GB there is no alternative source when demand exceeds output he is reinforcing the poor management methods of his company on both counts.Issue 1. If there is an unscheduled high demand for power, they should be experts at predicting it, particularly when they can identify the source, as he did with the dredge unit. if this is such a high consumer, why not have dedicated standby power generators located near to & specific for that client, it would certainly be easier to monitor, schedule & bill them accordingly. Adding immediate high power to a weak grid only provokes strain & failure. Issue 2. Another possibility for improving the power quality & consistent demand from GBPower could be accomplished via Solar Panels Tied Into The Existing Power Grid.A commonly used off the shelf system where each residence or business invest in solar photovoltaic panels (PV) array. These provide power during the day, the DC power is changed to AC by an inverter, thus spinning the eltrceic meter backwards giving you automatic credit, (no lost/error paperwork).This will ease some of the demand on power company equipment, which will then provide power during peak demands & night time when the solar panels are ineffective. Allowing the company to maintain, repair and replace their equipment in a transitional manner.This requires an adjustment in concept for power companies, power clients & governments:a. Power companies must not look at solar panels as a competitive entity and more as a cooperative venture, they are a reality that will not go away. Mature power companies have embraced the reality and utilize these networks as an alternative source of power, as they would a neighboring power company.b. Power company must consider the consumer’s investment in PV arrays, as an investment in their power grid. After all it is the consumer who is assisting in providing energy during daylight hours.c. Government must insist that solar panels be allowed, grid connected or not. After all it is a means of reducing the carbon footprint for the country.d. Government must allow a reduced tariff on such solar equipment, and better if they could induce local financial institutions to provide a reduced cost loan program for same.e. Government will be reducing the country’s oil consumption for energy factor.f. The consumer must realize the return on investment will be over a period of 5-10 years. Peace of mind always has a price.g. The consumer is responsible for the maintenance & repair of their rooftop equipment.h. Battery storage systems can be included, but are an expensive & weighty option.Keep in mind, most government may not be overly pleases to not be in receipt of duties & tariffs on power consumables such as fuel, oil, parts, equipment, etc.Power companies will not be pleased about limiting the oil surcharges and the excuse for accompanying servicing charges.There is always the discourse over the safety of uncontrolled powering of the grid components after a hurricane. A legitimate concern for power company personnel. Keep in mind, these same personnel are able to determine the eltrceical status of any damaged component & they face the same issues upon the use of stand-by generator at most homes & businesses.In GB there is no need for overly accurate alignment of PV panels. The industry is changing at such a rate that new products do not require any alignment & can be mounted on a vertical surfaces.I believe items c. & d. are the first steps in GB having an improved & efficient power grid.There are extensive list & library of exampled applications on this subject. It is not rocket science, mostly common sense.Work from within, do not throw the baby out with the dirty water.