Bert Perry, or more properly Bertram Perigord Jr, was a retired policeman and boxing champion, who died last week at age 72. He was one of the founders of organised boxing in the Bahamas.
He spent the last few years of his life trying to reprint and peddle his 1995 autobiography (The Fight Goes On published by Media Enterprises) to earn a little money. At times he was almost a fixture in my office - pushy until the end.
Bert’s mother was Florence Pratt of Nassau and his father was Bertram Perigord Sr of Inagua. As a child, his father butlered for wealthy foreign families out west. Bert attended Southern Junior and Eastern Senior Schools.
He landed his first job in 1960 at the Telecommunications Department (which later became Batelco). During this time he befriended Bernard Bonamy, who left Telecoms to join the police force in 1963. Bert soon followed him.
Bonamy went on to become Commissioner of Police in 1987, while Bert pursued a boxing career in the force before getting an honourable discharge in 1975. He became an evangelist in the 1980s.
In his 1995 book he wrote “I am proud to say today that I am as close to the police as I am to any brother or sister, although I only achieved the rank of constable."
Bert began boxing at age 23 - competing in the 1966 New York Golden Gloves amateur competition. Soon afterwards, he formed the Amateur Boxing Association of the Bahamas, with help from sports editor Fred Sturrup, promoter Charlie Major and others.
His boxing career peaked in the 1970s. High points included his two-time defeat of rival heavyweight Boston Blackie, and his participation (as national coach) in the World Boxing Championships in Cuba in 1974.
Bert is survived by four daughters, two sons, one sister and 17 grand children.
According to Sir Franklyn Wilson - one of the chief architects of the current PLP administration - the Bahamas is in “a very dangerous spot”.
He was referring to the potential downgrading of our investment rating to junk status by international financial agencies like Moody's.
Junk status means we are at risk of defaulting on our national debt. This would deter investment, raise borrowing costs and increase inflation.
Eventually it could lead to a devaluation of the Bahamian dollar, which would dramatically affect our cost of living and the ability of average citizens to travel.
The credit downgrade has been made more likely by the revelation that the Bahamian economy has actually contracted over the past two years (contrary to government projections) and little to no growth is expected in the near term.
Added to this, public debt reached a whopping $6.8 billion in March, while government spending grew by over 17 per cent - despite talk of restraint and the collection of new tax revenues.
Those indicators should be well known to most readers, but a new and less familiar economic threat is looming on the horizon that could affect all of our interactions with the outside world.
That threat is called de-risking. We could be shut off from global financing due to concerns about money laundering and terrorist financing.
A recent Reuters report put it this way: "As banks scrub their books of potentially risky businesses amid a tightening regulatory noose, major US. financial institutions have ended relationships with regional banks across the Caribbean."
This has already happened to five offshore banks here. Commercial banks here have also threatened to sever relations with local money transfer companies, as well as lawyers and realtors who operate third party accounts.
Among Caricom countries, at least 16 banks have lost all or some of their correspondent banking relationships, according to the International Monetary Fund.
“The devastation this can cause to the economies in the islands is horrific,” said John Beale, Barbados' ambassador to the United States. “How does a hotel carry out their business in terms of credit cards? How do they get compensated?”
The IMF has acknowledged that money transfer and remittances business has already been impacted, "along with business lines including credit card payments, cash management, investment services, and clearing and settlement."
Central Bank Governor John Rolle recently warned about "increased scrutiny" of Bahamian banking relationships with the rest of the world, but offered no plan to address the issue.
According to one local financial observer, “if we lose our corresponding bank relationships it will affect all trade and transactions, and some people will go out of business.
"We have to think this through very carefully and the Central Bank needs to communicate more effectively on this issue. We are in a very compromised position."
Meanwhile, the government is under fire for misrepresenting spending, borrowing and economic growth estimates. And there is little prospect of any meaningful economic reform over the near term.
While some observers expect the de-risking issue to be gradually resolved in time, others warn that a perceived erosion of our financial integrity could help to precipitate a credit rating slide.
The consequences of the anti-European Union vote in Britain last week have some interesting parallels with Bahamian and American politics that are worth exploring.
For over 40 years, Britain was an integral part of the European project to end centuries of warfare. But there was always a vocal political minority who wanted out - for various reasons.
The current prime minister foolishly promised these critics a referendum on leaving the EU, despite his own preference to stay. So now he’s resigning, and will hand over the country to his political foes.
The situation in the opposition Labour Party is worse. The leader is an undistinguished politician who was a fringe figure before being elected on a groundswell of grassroots support following the 2015 general election defeat.