It’s true. Monty Knowles did it in my office the other day - rising from his chair in a crossed-leg, feet-on-thighs, mid-air lotus position. Awestruck, and knowing he also had an interest in the martial arts, I asked if he was a black belt yoga expert.
"I would get crucified with a reference like that about yoga,” he laughed from above my chair. "But I have been visiting and practicing yoga at the retreat on Paradise Island since my mid-teens.”
Now 48, Monty is going through a mid-life crisis - the kind we would all like to go through. And he wasn’t in my office to meditate. He was there to show me a book. A thick, slick, 223-page, gorgeously illustrated, coffee table hardcover titled “Monty Knowles’ Painted Nymphes”.
Last November, a regional conference in Guyana focused on abolishing the death penalty, which many Caribbean territories - including the Bahamas - want to keep on the books.
Sponsored by the European Union, the conference went completely unnoticed here. The main conclusion was that, although capital punishment did not deter crime, public support for it was closely linked to fear.
As our murder rate rises to ever more “frightening” levels - which the authorities seem helpless to deal with - it is easy to see why ordinary citizens want to strike back. There is a strong sense that criminals are undermining our society.
Former cabinet minister Leslie Miller recently excoriated the chief justice for pointing out that - under current law - it would take a massacre before the death penalty could be carried out here.
We are drenched in a cesspool of official corruption, the stench permeating state and government. While many of our poor become poorer and much of the middle class is in financial crisis, a clique of mandarins and oligarchs and their families continue to grab whatever they can get.
Grabilicious is the Bahamian term for the deadly sin of avarice. Despite being full beyond need or capacity, many of the mandarins keep on grabbing and gorging. But like all deadly sins, greed never satiates the hunger for truth, beauty and goodness.
In the lament of a veteran political participant cum observer, corruption is more endemic now than that successive Pindling governments, save alone for the complicity of various senior officials with the illegal drugs trade in the 1970s and 1980s.
Back then, in his hasty retreat and return to the corruption-drenched PLP, Perry Christie proudly and boisterously proclaimed that he would swim through a noxious part liquid, part solid to re-join the very party that was mired in corruption. Christie returned to the “All for me baby” party. One former cabinet minister even declared that God made the Bahamas for the PLP.
Christie’s return to the PLP was telling. The Pindling court trusted him as their man, someone who would carry on certain traditions. If a defining test of his leadership was to stem and root out corruption in government and in the Progressive Liberal Party, Perry Gladstone Christie’s tenure as prime minister is a tragic failure.
The evil of corruption in high places has grown exponentially since the PLP’s re-election in 2012, galloping still with unprecedented speed, a frenzied lust for material gain at the expense of the poor and the middle class.
Prime Minister Perry Christie says climate change “threatens the existence of the Bahamas as we know it”. So what does the recent Paris agreement to tackle climate issues mean for the Bahamas - and the rest of the world?
In case you didn’t know, almost 200 countries spent two weeks at the end of last year crafting the world’s first universal agreement - one that signals the end of the fossil fuel era.
The goal is to peak greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible” in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Christie was among those in Paris pushing for more - arguing that warming should be kept below 1.5 degrees. "The Bahamas and other small developing island states are seeing…life-threatening impacts, and the science tells us we can only expect more over time,” he said.
Ever since Dr Marcus Bethel was named minister for energy and the environment in 2006, during the first Christie administration, we have been hearing about energy reform.
Spurred by the Inter-American Development Bank, Dr Bethel launched the process to draft a national energy policy. The goal was to co-ordinate traditional and alternative technologies to meet future power demand.
At the time, oil prices were skyrocketing. And countries were seeking to expand the role of renewables to avoid economic disruption in the event of a global energy crisis. Pollution and climate change issues also played a major role.
Our initial draft policy was based on an IDB study of the local energy sector, as well as a review of regional policies. And in 2007 I wrote that "by now we should be well on the way with alternative energy incentives, efficiency measures, and demand planning."
Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez is stylizing himself as a defender of public virtue and ethics in politics. He has lacerated the political class for corruption and an unwillingness to tackle the issue.
He advised of what he deems as conflicts of interest in the Official Opposition. A report in this journal noted that he “told National Review that he is disappointed that the government is not serious about dealing with corruption [and that] it seems the government turns a blind eye to corruption.”
One editorial recently described Gomez’s face as “cherubic”, which one dictionary defines as, “having the innocence or plump prettiness of a young child”, with synonyms such as angelic and sweet. Few would observe Gomez as having an angelic countenance.
Speaking of things angelic, in his public moral crusade, he has the anointed blessing of his father Bishop Drexel Gomez. A story in one of the dailies notes the elder Gomez’s pride in his son’s stance against corruption.