To the good people of this historical Fox Hill Community, and to the wider Bahamian family, I bring very special greetings as we assemble here to commemorate the birth of our noble and illustrious Party, the great Progressive Liberal Party. Tonight I want to focus on the historical mission of the PLP and what makes us the better choice to lead – over the FNM.
Ladies and Gentlemen, yesterday at a Press conference I called for the resignation of Tommy Turnquest as Minister of National Security and I outline logical reasons for making that call. I note with great interest Tommy Turnquest response according to The Tribune who told his critics to stop looking for scapegoats for the crime problem. This is the same Tommy who before the 2007 General Elections told the Bahamas that he and the FNM had the plans to get rid of crime.
One has to assume that someone one stole the plans Tommy had. I offered a reward of One Million Dollars for the return of Tommy and the FNM Plans but today no one has come forward. Tommy claims that he does not walk around with a gun in his waist preventing people from committing crimes. To sum up what Tommy reaction to his critics was “STOP SCAPEGOATING ME MAN, I AM DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN MAN”. The bottom line is Tommy’s best ain’t good enough.
Ladies and Gentlemen, before getting into my address this evening wish to drop a few Bomb Shells with your permission. The first which further confirms why Minister Tommy Turnquest should resign as it was he supported and approved the appointment of the Rev Reginald Ferguson as Commissioner of Police. I shall begin with:
The Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson
The Front page headline in the Nassau Guardian on this past Thursday November 19th 2009 read “Police Chief to Retire”. Another front page story on the same page read:
“Appeal against ruling critical of Reginald Ferguson dropped”.
The Office of the Attorney General on November 18th 2009 withdrew its appeal of a Judge’s decision to stay the prosecution of two men accused of a murder that occurred almost 10 years ago.
• Attorney Damian Gomez adduced SWORN evidence from his client that COP Ferguson FORCED evidence out of her
• At the time that she alleged that he forced her, he was the Acting Commissioner of Police
• She SWORE that:
o the evidence forced from her was not the truth
o she would not have gotten involved but for Ferguson
• The record shows that Senior Justice Isaacs gave the AG’s office 4 different chances to get evidence from COP Ferguson to answer the SWORN evidence. Note the sworn evidence made very serious allegations against COP Ferguson
• COP Ferguson is also a Minister of the Gospel
• The AG’s office, instead of producing evidence from COP Ferguson, produced a document that they CLAIMED was a further affidavit of hers. She denied that the document was her document and SWORE that her signature had been forged
• COP Ferguson did not avail himself of any of the opportunities given by Senior Justice Isaacs to answer the sworn evidence.
o COP Ferguson did not deny that he had forced her.
o And he did not deny that the signature on the document produced by the AG had been forged.
• Having given 4 chances and receiving no evidence denying the sworn evidence, Senior Justice Isaacs threw the matter out.
• In effect Senior Justice Isaacs did the following:
o Accepted as truthful her SWORN statement that she was forced by Ferguson to give evidence.
o Treated the failure of COP Ferguson (a Minister of the gospel) to refute the evidence as an admission of the truth of the evidence.
o Accepted as truthful that her signature had been forged.
• Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said that the AG’s office would appeal the case and give the evidence
• The AG’s office did appeal but DID NOT give any evidence and did not refute the allegation of forgery
• Instead, the AG’s office withdrew the appeal as mentioned on November 18th 2009.
• The RBPF Orders state that in the circumstance where a policeman admits that he forced evidence from a witness, that is a very serious disciplinary matter, against the code of ethics of the RBPF and that the officer should be suspended, interdicted, disciplined and the matter investigated.
• If this had happened to a sub officer, (s)he would have been disciplined in accordance with Force Orders
• COP Ferguson should be treated the same as every other officer would have been treated i.e. he should be suspended, interdicted, disciplined and the matter investigated
• COP Ferguson should go now without further delay.
• The PLP is investigating the filing of a Constitutional Motion to put COP Ferguson on leave in accordance with Force Orders.
• Ladies and Gentlemen, I therefore join in with the increasing Bahamian chorus including FNM’s and PLP’s GO Tommy GO! Go Tommy GO! Tommy has badly failed the Bahamian People.
John Delaney Attorney General
• The FNM has through the backdoor given Senator John Delaney the responsibility of the Ministry of Financial Services and Investments.
• The Ministry of Financial Services and Investments was another victim of the ludicrous and damaging Stop Review & Cancel Policy
• Because of Stop Review & Cancel on Ministry of Financial Services & Investments, the government was on the back foot and The Bahamas is on the OECD grey list.
• The sector is in serious jeopardy
• The Bahamas is now ranks 11th of 12 places where high net worth individuals want to do business
• Thanks to the FNM the Bahamas Financial Services Sector is scraping the bottom of the barrel
• We condemn the FNM for so recklessly endangering the livelihood of our Bahamian Brothers and Sisters in the Financial Services sector.
I feel obliged to share with you this evening a comment made by an FNM supporter on Senator John Delaney and Minister Tommy Turnquest.
As FNM as I am Tommy Turnquest should be replaced.
“It is my view that to date the present Minister of National Security leadership has been in-effective with respect to his Ministry’s efforts in the fight against crime in our country. I respectfully submit that a non political person should be given this position in our country.
Additionally we have just appointed a new AG who simply got the job to fulfill one of his resume goals. He will be ineffective and just a glamour boy in the post. Mr. Delaney has a holier than Thou attitude does not speak or give a single hoot about the ordinary man on the street as he lives safe and sound behind the high gate of Lyford Cay. He has not set his foot in the Courts in years.
He is totally out of touch with our Bahamian society and doesn’t care at ALL. It is more important to him to drive around at the tax payers’ expense and feed his huge ego than to do what it takes to clean up the AGs office. What a waste of a time his appointment will be when the country can’t afford TIME. The FNM government has to do BETTER as these are serious times.
My sources have told me that Senator Delaney is in the process of selling his shares in his Law Firm and has been promised an appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court in eighteen months. If this is true Hubert Ingraham has gone mad. The System of Justice will continue to go downhill under this worn out and tired FNM Government.
Minister Zhivargo Laing “Mister know it all” has been demoted once again. Financial Services on which he was such an expert has been taken from him. The next step for Zhivargo is the door and maybe his sister can give a job selling the Mona Vie Drink.
Ladies and Gentlemen despite the noise in the market, the Progressive Liberal Party is still the political organization most in tune with this Country and its people. Whether we are in Government or temporarily out, you will find that we hold steadfast to a set of principles which has at its essence, putting people first. A Bahamas for the welfare and advancement of all Bahamians is probably the best way to sum it up. This was the driving motivation behind the formation and foundation of our Party in 1953 and it remains the driving motivation behind our Party in 2009.
When you hear PLP’s with passion and vigor defend the original formula of Urban Renewal, know that we do so because of what it would have meant for the members of our society who find themselves lagging behind in a Bahamas whose wealth has not trickled down to them. At the heart of the waywardness of many of our youth, and at the heart of the escalating crime and violence plaguing us at present is a frustration of having for too long been forced to do without or to get by through illegal means.
Our present Leader, Perry Gladstone Christie, recognized this. He recognized that two very distinct realities were developing in New Providence – where if one closed one’s eyes and lived on the out-skirts one could pretend the hardship of so many did not exist. Our visionary Leader, recognizing the potential of a future Bahamas saw it as a mission of a 21st Century PLP to close some gaps. Urban Renewal as it was designed by him was to do just that.
It was to be a saving grace for thousands of our youth whose energies were being misdirected to find ways that caused them to finally feel the dignity of belonging to the wider society. It was designed to ensure that people could begin to trust the police force, trust authority and have a sense that together they could work in the best interest of their communities. Urban Renewal even addressed the forgotten elderly in our Country; it addressed the scourge of poverty, and improved the aesthetics, the cleanliness of our worst neighborhoods. This was all in an effort to get people feeling that their Country was really theirs again because you know; people will not destroy what they feel a part of.
Now to distinguish us from the Free National Movement, Brent Symonette, the Deputy Leader of that Party, had already made his views known before the 2007 General Election. He said something to the nature of, the Government shouldn’t be using its resources to deliver grits and cream to old people – something like that. And because the real powers behind the FNM care very little about ordinary Bahamians, we understood right away that an FNM Government if elected would not see the full value of what your Progressive Liberal Party was attempting to do for our people who stand to be left behind.
A lot may have changed since 1953 when the PLP was founded but my brothers and my sisters, a lot remains the same. When our founding fathers, William Cartwright, Henry Taylor, and Cyril Stevenson were so inspired to give birth to this Party, they did so having had enough of the attitude and policies of Brent Symonette father and his Bay Street Boys colleagues, whose sole purpose was to build a prosperous Bahamas without the full enjoyment and participation of ordinary Bahamians. I say, the chip never falls far from the block. The men with the real power behind the FNM, the faces you rarely ever see, have not changed much in ideology since their fathers.
We can prove this not only in Brent’s attitude toward Urban Renewal but also in their reaction to National Health Insurance, National Youth Service, and an aggressive Christie economic strategy which would have ensured the growth and expansion of every local economy of every major Island of our Country. For the many Bahamians who believe there to be no difference between the FNM and the PLP, we must admonish them to look closely.
What the PLP would have created under the Christie “Anchor Project” initiative is spin off opportunities which would have made countless ordinary Bahamians well off. How dare we attempt to take the little wealth which stays in this Country out of the control of the men behind the FNM? I appeal to you to know your politics. In addition to the spin off opportunities which would have empowered so many Bahamians, the Christie led Progressive Liberal Party sought to expand the Sir Lynden Pindling Airport, and to upgrade several others; we were to move into another phase of the road improvement project; we were to dredge the harbor and build more docks throughout The Bahamas; we were to redesign Bay Street and launch all kinds of projects which would have produced a new and improved City of Nassau; we were even going to sell BTC; and the icing on the cake, we sought to remove the container port from the heart of Bay Street, and relocate it in an area in which the Bay-street Boys had no control.
Christie and the PLP must have been out of our minds! Brent and the Boys made sure this did not happen, drafting a retired Hubert Ingraham to help them. I want you to take note of who are the only ones in this Country financially straight during this recession.
All of this and we wanted to design a master plan to keep our Black sons out of jail by giving them a new lease on life through Urban Renewal and National Youth Service. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, we wanted to give everyone in our Country, affordable health care.
But these were the ideals upon which we were founded! Pursuing these things for the people of The Bahamas is as natural for the PLP as universal suffrage, majority rule, and Independence were for our founding fathers. Yes good people of Fox Hill, the PLP is distinctly different from the FNM. And we have got to preach this difference throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Conveying this to the Bahamian people however, has become increasingly difficult over the years. The FNM are masters of propaganda and we continue to live in an environment where the media giants in large part, have enshrined with their business agenda, a determined effort to destroy the PLP.
This admission came from Mrs. Eileen Carron, chief boss of the Tribune through the recent funeral program for her late husband, God rest his soul. If before hand, one was inclined to dismiss the idea that the Tribune and its affiliate companies over the years were engaged in deliberate biased reporting against Sir Lynden, and subsequently, against every leadership personality in the PLP; all doubts have now been removed.
Conveying this to our people, FNM and swing voters alike is also difficult because there are a great many people who will not support our organization for personal, emotional reasons. It doesn’t really matter to them what we are to offer in the Governance of our Country because somewhere along the line they or someone they know got hurt by a member of the PLP. This friends, is immature politics. Sadly, there are many who throw reason out of the window for the emotion of un-forgiveness.
Just begin to think about the Leader of the FNM and some of his colleagues who wear the red uniforms now of the FNM but are really disgruntled PLPs. You think about them, Hubert Ingraham, the sons of Orville Turnquest and Arthur Foulkes, Loretta Butler and Charles Maynard, Desmond Bannister and that turn-coat Kenyatta Gibson, and the list goes on and on until you reach the least among them, Frederick McAlpine. They represent thousands of Bahamians who can point to some hurt or disappointment they are speedy to blame on the PLP.
Well I condemn really this kind of thinking even though I know as we move forward it will be my job to try to reconcile and attract many who have gone astray, to join our noble cause again. Our Country is obviously in very deep trouble. The Progressive Liberal Party, for those who have clear and objective eyes, and not those filled with unforgiving tears, has clearly demonstrated that we possess the solutions to move this Country forward, upward and onward. How then are we to accept the emotional conclusion of so many who make up the FNM that in spite of what their real leaders, Brent Symonette and his friends want for the ordinary among us, that it is all right to support the FNM over a caring PLP? It is time they get over it. I invite all concerned to please get over it!
My brothers and my sisters as we think on the original mission of our founding fathers it will be our duty yet again to travel the length and breadth of this Country convincing the Bahamian people that the times demand that they vote PLP!
Fifty-six years ago a few brave soldiers got it in their hearts and minds that they could change their reality and secure a brighter future for Bahamians yet unborn. Today, you and I are living witnesses of that future they had hoped to secure.
The effort of the original founders was given the energy it needed by a cadre of selfless, dedicated men and women, some of whom had then just recently returned from Universities abroad, some who never left the shores of the Bahamas. We remember tonight some of the names of that era, of course Sir Henry Milton Taylor, Sir Clifford Darling, Sir Lynden Pindling and Dame Marguerite, Sir A. D. Hanna, and his recently departed wife, the late Beryl Hanna, Sir Milo Butler, Clarence and Edgar Bain, Sir Cecile Wallace Whitfield, Dame Doris Johnson, Sir Arthur Foulkes, the Hon. Paul L. Adderley, Eugenia Symonette, Effie Walkes to name a few.
Theirs was a common cause, a cause which saw steady periodical victories intermingled with a few defeats. The journey was fourteen long years toward Majority Rule and 20 years from 1953 – 1973 to ushering in an Independent Bahamas. But the years though filled with trials and disappointments were worth it all for the many rewards which were gained for you and I.
Today we find ourselves faced with different challenges, though our political enemies if we look closely remain the same. In so many ways, we have been divided and if we do not spring to action immediately, we may find ourselves, a conquered people.
In our early days many Bahamians were prepared to die for this Country and the battles being waged by the PLP. They perceived it as fighting for their children as dying for their children, although no blood was shed. Today, even though we have had access, thanks to the PLP to primary, secondary and some tertiary education, health care, exposure abroad, first world amenities, employment and economic opportunities, very few are willing to die for our Country. Instead, we have among us a growing number who are ready to kill over things as simple as a remote control, or a chicken in the bag.
What is it that the PLP has really fought for? How much progress have we made? And where do we go from here? These are questions to be answered by a 56 year old PLP. I can reliably inform you tonight that we have on our team a collection of a new generation of committed men and women with many of the answers to our present dilemma. Their ideas support the unfinished vision of our esteemed leader, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie.
I have shared with you very briefly as I opened some of what our esteem attempted to do – to close the gap between the haves and have not’s among us by re-socializing those who do not feel as though they belong; to create well paying, lasting jobs and to create economic opportunities so that we can own more of our economy; to provide affordable housing so that more Bahamians can move out of our slums and own a piece of the rock; to give our youth the discipline and patriotism they need to play a greater role; to create a healthy, well trained people, and to ensure that no one dies anymore because they cannot afford healthcare.
Tonight I am inspired by the memory of our founding fathers that stayed the course in the face of adversity and sometimes harrowing defeat. Yes Fox Hill, I have returned as your Chairman to honor the gallant, unflinching, perseverance of those upon whose shoulders I stand. Yes my brothers and sisters, I am standing tall and proud – proud to be PLP. Won’t you march with me, alongside our Leader, Perry Christie and his Deputy, Philip “Brave” Davis? Won’t you march with us in unity, All the Way, until we hear at last whenever the bell is rung, that we have emerged once more, to our rightful place as the next Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas!
PLP! ALL THE WAY!