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DNA party holds Golden Gates 'Rally for Change'
Friday, 27 April 2012 06:43

Speech by Democratic National Alliance leader Branville McCartney

Good evening Bahamas.

I would like to thank the Almighty for bringing us this far.

Welcome to Golden Gates!!!!! We are in full election mode now and our support base has significantly increased since the Prime Minister rung the bell. If you missed the rally in Kemp Road on Tuesday night, you missed history. We had several thousand enthusiastic supporters in attendance all wanting change. Tonight is no different and I want to thank all of you for once again standing up and having the courage to change the direction of our country.

We “ain” no more splinter group “ya” know. In fact “we is big people now.” Bahamians are really seeing now what the DNA is all about and come Election Day the voters of this country will shock the old guard and elect a DNA government. We can do it Bahamas, we just “gat” to believe.

Ladies and gentlemen:

Ingraham and Christie so nervous about the DNA now that they coming up with all types of commercials saying that a vote for the DNA is a vote for the FNM and that a vote for the DNA is a vote for the PLP. Christie even calling the talk show trying to divert attention away from our message of change. Let me reiterate again tonight. A vote for the DNA is a vote for the DNA. A vote for the DNA is a vote for real Change. A vote for the DNA is a vote for our future. A vote for a DNA is a vote for our children and our children’s children. A vote for the DNA is a vote for a safe Bahamas!!!

Ladies and gentlemen:

The armed forces play a pivotal role in keeping our country safe. They secure our borders, our seashores, our streets and our prison. These men and women are well trained and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Without their services, there would be further chaos in our society. Tonight, I say Thank You to them!!!

You know it saddens me when the Government of the Bahamas treats these persons with no respect. It saddens me when workers have to protest and beg the government for things that they already negotiated for and the government plays the fool, at every turn, trying to deny these good men and women of this country what is rightfully theirs. The government didn’t deny Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civilles (JCCC) the $100 million dollars needed for the cost overruns of the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP); so why are they denying honest and hardworking Bahamians of the armed forces their just rewards?

Successive governments have shown little to no respect for the armed forces of this country and every election time they give out promotions to try to gain votes. Reliable sources tell me that police, defense force, prison, customs and immigration officers all gone green. In fact, an officer the other day was heard saying that he was tired of this miserable life and “thas” why he gone green. I tired ma self “ya” know!!!!

If you have been following the news recently, you would see that Customs, Immigration and Prison Officers have been agitating for better working conditions and improved benefits. “My God.” You think the FNM serious?

The Customs and Immigration officers come under the umbrella of the Bahamas Customs Immigration and Allied Workers Union (BCIAWU). Their protests initiated from a dispute that arose under the last PLP government. The workers overtime was taken away and their base pay has not been adjusted. Additionally, the overtime that they work, according to union officials is being calculated at the incorrect hourly rate.

The Government announced in late February that they would pay overtime to these officers in specific instances. This was another of Ingraham’s election ploys to gain votes, but it backfired. Shortly thereafter, the union realized that there was more overtime owed as a result of the government’s admission. This caused a firestorm and Customs and Immigration workers went on go-slows and in early April eventually went on strike for nearly two weeks, leaving our borders not being protected by its seasoned veterans. These workers are also looking for health insurance and the removal of the shift system, which they deem to be illegal.

Despite meetings with the government, their issues remain unsolved. When asked about the affairs of the Customs and Immigration workers, the Prime Minister said since his meeting with them in February that there has not been “any matter that is outstanding or that is deserving of consideration by the government.” The Prime Minister has even issued several public threats to these workers. He said, in essence, that he will remember those who stayed and those who protested. The PM threatening persons who is exercising a legal right!!!! In other countries they would have ask for the Prime Minister’s resignation!!!! We should never allow any Prime Minister to threaten persons. On that alone you need to vote Ingraham out!!! This is a Democratic society we live in!!! This is not a dictatorship!!!! We need change and we need change now!!!!

Let me tell you tonight that The DNA stands with Customs and Immigration workers and supports their efforts to get what is rightfully theirs and finds the government’s stance on this matter to be totally unacceptable. You are out of order again Ingraham. It’s time to go. It’s time to pack up. It’s time to leave. No dictatorship around here!!!!

Just recently, prison officers have been experiencing civil unrest at Her Majesty’s Prison. They too have been agitating for their concerns to be addressed. The Bahamas Prison Officers Association (BPOA) has received assistance by the National Congress of Trade Unions in the Bahamas (NCTUB) to amicably get the prison officers concerns addressed. The government turned a blind eye to their concerns such as sufficient drinking water. The Union claims that the promotion exercises needs to be updated, the female prison need repairs, the roof of the maximum security need repairs and a perimeter wall, which has not been completed for more than five years need to be completed.

The DNA sees these challenges faced by the prison officers as very grave and thanks the prison officers for continuing to perform their work at an exceptionally high level despite their poor working conditions. We see the responsibilities of the prison officers on par with the police and defense force officers and once we are the government of the Bahamas we will ensure that these fine officers get what they deserve.

On coming to office, we will build a new prison on one of the Family Islands. All convicted persons will be housed here. This will be a part of our vision to inject growth in the family islands. We believe that New Providence is overcrowded and that some of the government functions here need to be relocated so that we can spur growth on our family islands, many of which have received no attention from successive governments.

Her Majesty’s Prison in Fox Hill will be turned into a Remand Center and it will be updated to meet international standards. That outdated practice of transporting prisoners through traffic at high speeds will cease under a DNA government. We will ensure that officers get the proper training that will allow them to effectively rehabilitate inmates and we will fix the problems that need fixing. We will not skirt around with the issues and the communication lines will be always be open.

The FNM says they are a caring government and that they deliver. Deliver my foot? The recent protests by the customs and immigration officers and the prison officers clearly shows that they don’t care and they don’t deliver.

The PLP says that they believe in Bahamians. Believe in Bahamians my foot. They like the FNM didn’t improve the conditions of the prison and now today, you have officers meeting the Minister of National Security at the prison gate to get their concerns addressed. All the PLP does is talk.

Bahamians, we “gat” to take care of our own. If the government can spend over $230,000 on a bathroom facility in Saunders Beach and not fix the roof of the maximum security prison, where dangerous criminals reside, I think something is wrong with this picture. Our priorities are mixed up and we need to get it right. The DNA will get it right Bahamas and on May 7th, 2012 go green and vote DNA. Vote DNA all day on Election Day.

The police force did not receive one promotion under the last FNM government until several months ago. You think they trying to gain votes? Look here man; we have to stop this massive spending of public funds when elections come around so that we can retain power. Our approach to promotions and salary increases has to take on a more sensible, fair and structured approach.

The FNM, has bragged about all the equipment they have given the police but the results that we are looking for as a country has not been seen because the government lacks the political will to fight crime.

William Bratton, a former police commissioner in the United States, came to the Bahamas recently on the invitation from the government. He was impressed with the Commissioner of Police and lauded him for using the most advanced technological crime fighting systems in the world. However, he said that the political will is also needed to combat crime. What dat telling you???? There is no political will to deal with this crime issue!!!!!

The DNA wholeheartedly believes that the Commissioner of Police and his team are going beyond the call of duty on a daily basis to carry out their mandate, which is to maintain law and order in our society. However, for the past 12 years, we have lacked the political will to truly back the police force and this is why crime continues to spiral out of control.

I say to the Commissioner of Police tonight. Sir, we know and feel your pain. We know that you have to endure political interference in the execution of your duty. Under a DNA government, you will not have to worry about being interfered with. You are the expert and you will be allowed to carry out your mandate irrespective of who has to be prosecuted. Your contract will not be cause for speculation and we will ensure than an independent body appoints the commissioner of police and you will have redress under the law if you are being stifled by anyone in the execution of your duties. We will allow you to catch the bad boys and deal with them as the law provides.

The Defense Force will be no different. We know that there is an inherent lack of resources in the Defense Force. At present, there are only two long range patrol crafts in its fleet, the HMBS Nassau and the HMBS Bahamas. This is a crying shame given the fact that our country is geographically comprised of an area 5,359 square miles. We will fix this when elected to office.

Can you imagine the pillage of our natural fisheries resources that have been allowed to continue under Ingraham and Christie for the last 20 years? They have neglected the Defense Force and the Bahamas and they have not provided the resources that will allow our hardworking and diligent marines to adequately protect our territorial waters.

The present fines and penalties for foreign fisherman caught poaching in our waters are not severe enough and we will fix this problem immediately. Poachers caught breaking our fisheries laws will be expected to go to prison under a DNA government. Poachers caught harassing Bahamian fisherman and sometimes even shooting guns in their direction will be caught and brought before a court of law and prosecuted. A DNA government will not allow Bahamians to be threatened in their own country by criminals on the high seas. No way. No way under the DNA.

I say to the fisherman in Spanish Wells, Ragged Island and the Exumas and all over the Bahamas that we have heard your cry. We believe in decentralizing the Defense Force and we will have properly functioning bases in several strategic islands in the Bahamas. We will have patrol crafts that will be readily available to be deployed the minute a breach occurs.

Our planning of the defense force strategy will not come from the DNA alone. We will engage the experts in the Defense Force and move forward accordingly. I encourage the good men and women of the Defense Force to keep up the good work in protecting our territorial waters and assure them that help is on the way with the DNA. We will sail to victory on May 7th, 2012 and bring the help that the defense force and the country so desperately needs. Rest assured that our mission under a DNA government is to make the Defence Force, “…the best little Navy in the region.”

The appointments of the Commodore of the Defense Force, the Commissioner of Police, the Comptroller of Customs, the Superintendent of the Prisons and the Director of Immigration are all appointed by the Prime Minister. This will be depoliticized under a DNA government because this type of power puts a choke hold on our democracy. These good persons ought to be free from political interference to do their job!!!!

The DNA will limit the powers of the prime minister and an independent body will appoint these organizational leaders. The leaders of the armed forces will be free to perform their jobs without any political interference.

We will certainly not give any Commodore notice of transfer in the public domain as Ingraham has done. We will not threaten the Commissioner of Police and attempt to put him in a compromising position. We will not put a gag order on the Director of Immigration as Ingraham has done. We will not just get rid of the Comptroller of Customs because there was a disagreement. This is what Ingraham did as the country’s chief. Ingraham, you are out of order. There must be respect for our arm forces leaders and as PM we must have some decorum!!!

I say to the Director of Immigration tonight: Don’t worry, when the DNA becomes the next government, I will allow you to do your job sir as I did during my tenure as Junior Minister of State in Immigration. You will be free to perform your duties without any pressure from the deputy leader or myself.

Members of the armed forces and Bahamians tonight:

Just as you show courage daily for our country in the execution of your duties, you need to show that same courage at the advanced polls and on Election Day. You will vote first and as such, you must start the change process for the rest of us. You must set the pace for a better Bahamas tonight. I say vote DNA all day on Election Day.

Ronald Reagan once said, “Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

Have the courage as I know you do, to not be afraid and vote for change. Vote DNA all day on Election Day.

On June 12th, 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall, Ronald Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, who was then General Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union to “Tear down this wall”. Reagan believed that this would have shown Gorbachev’s desire to increase freedom in the Eastern bloc in the midst of the Cold War.

Members of the armed forces and all Bahamians tonight:

Tear down those walls of injustices that you have endured under Hubert Christie and Perry Ingraham for the past 20 years. Tear down those walls where they historically only consider giving you salary increases and better working conditions at election time. Tear down those walls where the PLP and the FNM play around with your lives and then on the eve of an election, they want to use you as puppets for their self aggrandizing schemes. Tear down those walls where you have a prime minister who is too arrogant to appear on TV in a live debate to discuss national issues that are adversely affecting every Bahamian. Tear down those walls tonight where you have an opposition leader who was too weak to stand up for you over the last five years.

Tear down the walls of bad treatment and vote Ingraham out and keep Christie out. Vote DNA all day on Election Day.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Arm Forces: (Song…Rocky…Going the Distance)

Join me tonight and the 37 other agents of change who are eager to report for duty and tackle your concerns. We will not be at ease and we will not be standing easy. We will be marching and on the move to constantly address your concerns. Our resolve to do what is right for our children and our country will not be derailed. OUR SPIRITS AND OUR EFFORTS WILL NOT BE GO IN VEIN. THE MOMENT IS TOO GREAT FOR US TO BE QUIET AND ALLOW OUR COUNTRY TO CONTINUE ON A PATH TO SELF DESTRUCTION.

You are the protectors of our borders and our future and we need men and women like you to lead the way. We need you to stand up for what you know to be right. Do not support things that are wrong. Remember, the time is always, always, always right to do what is right!!!!

You are the gatekeepers of our democracy and we are depending on you to lead the way. We know you will never put your squad in harm’s way. Lead the way members of the armed forces and vote for change on May 1st, 2012.

The DNA wants you to know tonight that you are not alone in your quest to vote for a better Bahamas. We will join you on May 7th, 2012 and vote the DNA in as the next government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Remember, that the Power of the People… is greater than the People in Power!!!!!


Thank you

God Bless You and God Bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas!

Speech by Golden Gates candidate, Merlin Pickstock

It was Robert Louis Stevenson who said, and I quote “Sooner or later we sit down to a banquet of consequences”… Tonite supporters of the DNA’s and residents of Golden Gates the proverbial chicken has indeed come home to roost…. For the last 20 years Golden Gates and indeed the Bahamas has been governed by either the FNM or PLP Government.

DNA’s, DNA’s, GOLDEN GATES I am no stranger that goes and comes…… like GIBSONAIR or MILLERAIR i don’t just fly here I have Lived Here for over 35 years! And so I know firsthand the level of degradation that exist; not only do I know this but I have experienced this in a real and personal way…..Look around Golden Gates and indeed the Bahamas and you will see the brokenness and hopelessness of so many of our people…. Wasting time on the spinning wheels of promises that are unrealistic and simply! Unbelievable, Unthinkable…. I say this is so because when they had the power to do so many of the things they are now promising to do they did not.. Remember people a promise is only a comfort to a FOOL.. Cause Talkin FOOL is a very serious thing.

In canvassing Golden Gates from Cedar way in the west to Munnings drive in the south to Kennedy subdivision road in the east and Soldier road in the north I have listened to the cries and concerns of the residents, I have listened to the dreams and goals they would like to achieve, or see programs and policies designed to easily bridge the divide that exist in our communities and why from day to day they are frustrated because there is not and has not been real and proper representation for them in the parliament for the last 20 years…. Constituents “Show me the evidence of any development or meaningful program that you have seen started and maintained that has impacted the lives of the children, young people, adults and senior citizens in the Golden Gates Constituency… There is a plot of land on Malcolm Road bought by the PLP about 30 years ago. It had a foundation on it for a Community Centre, and every (5) years or so someone would cut down the overgrowth and destroy the foundation, now today it is just rubbles… NOTHING HAPPENED IN 20 YEARS.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a VISION of CHANGE for Golden Gates.. We Need

  1. A community centre to develop our constituents in the areas of music, technology, languages, performing arts, audio and visual trades. A public forum for the hosting of seminars where everyone can come and feel comfortable despite political affiliations.
  2.  As an incentive to our students who are taking (5) or more BJC’s all examination fees will be covered.
  3.  Create partnership with community churches to extend  the after school tutoring programs throughout the constituency. Additionally utilize the wealth of retired educators, civil servants, business and professional persons living in Golden Gates to give our young person’s hands on trade and career experiences.
  4.  Ensure that our Parks are well-maintained and utilized to host concerts and drama shows, tournaments, and various social events by the residents of Golden Gates.
  5.  An industrial centre where person’s engaged in the technical trades of Auto Mechanic’s, Welders, Plumbers and Electricians can be housed professionally to add aesthetic and environment cleanup to our neighborhoods where these trades now operate.
  6.  An Empowerment Centre to Secure Dressmakers, Caterers, Beauticians, and Persons engaged in Ceramics, Embroidery, Native Straw Works.
  7.  Golden Gates Games to Promote and Connect the residents through various sporting disciplines.
  8.  Develop A quarterly Newsletter that features the residents of Golden Gates, and create opportunities for business establishments to participate in assisting community projects.
  9.  Ensure a Job Skills Bank and Talent pool is created and constantly updated to promote people to people service that are available from within the constituency of Golden Gates.

My job is to reconnect the community by being the bridge to bring together the residents of Golden Gates and show them how “WE TOGETHER” can make our community firstly and secondly our country better for each other; in other words ensure that each of us can hold our heads up and know who our neighbor and neighborhood is once again….. Golden Gates tonight I say to you don’t look back and say I should have; rather look ahead and say--We Can!

Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Ladies and Gentlemen of Golden Gates Let us get over these Treacherous Shoals, The lighthouse will take you to your Bearing, Vote For your children, Grand Children, The future of our nation, Vote for CHANGE. Let us build better people not churches, better homes not house’s, better minds not schools.

Constituents I admonish you Vote for the LIGHTHOUSE on May 7th. VOTE FOR OUR FUTURE….. DNA’s DNA’s


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