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The John Travolta trial and the stupidity of the PLP

October 5, 2009



The Bahamas has been in the news quite a bit lately. We have our usual, slickly produced commercials because, after all, it’s better in The Bahamas. A couple episodes of Scrubs were filmed here last year, highlighting Abaco in a very nice light. We’ve had the extravaganza that was the Miss Universe competition, where Heidi Montag performed in front of, in her own words, a “billion people” (never mind the fact that the actual viewer count hovered around the 30 million mark). We also have famed Hollywood playboy-director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, After the Sunset, X-Men 3) directing upcoming commercials for the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island and a casting call was just issued for extras in some Ugly Betty episodes to be filmed here.

All in all, we’ve had a good run of good press.

But then there’s the John Travolta extortion trial.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. Alright, fine, I don’t want you to leave my blog and become so engrossed in the intricacies of extortion that you never come back. Here’s a brief summary.

A few months ago, John Travolta and his family, including his 16 year old autistic son Jet, came down to The Bahamas to their home in Grand Bahama. Jet had a history of seizures, and one evening he had a seizure in the bathroom, fell down, and cracked his head.

Medics were called, and Jet was rushed to the hospital. Travolta wanted his son airlifted to Florida, not taken to the local hospital, so the medics made Travolta sign a “refusal of care” form, which essentially cleared the medics of any liability should Jet die.

Long story short, Jet was taken to the local hospital where he, sadly, passed away. Tarino Lightbourne, one of the medics, reportedly kept the “refusal of care” form because it had a celebrity signature on it, rather than pass it over to the hospital as he was meant to.

Allegedly, it quickly dawned on Lightbourne that this document could be detrimental to Travolta’s career, as it could imply he didn’t care enough about his son, so he, along with his lawyer, PLP Senator Pleasant Bridgewater (yes, that is her real name) decided to extort $25 million from Travolta.

As an aside, the ruling political party is the Free National Movement (FNM). The opposition is the Progressive Liberal Part (PLP) who, for the most part, are anything but progressive or liberal. 

Now, Travolta’s local representation is another PLP senator called Allyson Maynard Gibson. When she found out about the extortion plot she contacted the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to disclose this information, as extortion is illegal. The police became involved, tapped phones, recorded meetings and eventually arrested both Lightbourne and Bridgewater.

Maynard-Gibson recently testified at the trial, and detailed her involvement with bringing the plot to the attention of the authorities.

According to our local tabloid newspaper, The Punch (which is almost always proved right, whether it be four days or four months down the line), senior PLP party members are furious with Maynard-Gibson for “betraying” her fellow PLP member Bridgewater, and are calling for the PLP leader, Perry Christie, to expel her from the party.

Now, I usually stay silent on the inevitable squabbles that occur within political parties (especially politicians as immature as the ones we have here), but this is ridiculous. The PLP should be commending Maynard-Gibson for the courage it took to testify against a colleague and, presumably, a friend. Instead they condemn the poor woman for doing the right thing?

It is this very behaviour that makes the PLP, time and time again, live up to it’s reputation as a corrupt party. The PLP has had two decades to try to shake off the shackles of the Pindling-era, where corruption was at an all time high and we were rapidly hurting towards a Zimbabwe/Mugabe-esq country, yet they keep fucking up and destroying, piece by piece, what little credibility they have left.

The PLP’s annual convention is being held this month. For one of the first times there are numerous challenges to the party’s top positions – leader, deputy leader and chairman. If times do not change, and if the PLP’s old guard retains power, then I shudder to think what will become of this party.

Shame on you.



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