Has the National Spelling Bee been politicized?


oswald-brown-copy.jpg<<< Oswald Brown, former Editor of the Freeport News, victimized for his independent speaking against the INGRAHAM GOVERNMENT! YOU CANNOT SILENCE A JOURNALIST!


Dear Editor,

It is widely known in this country that I introduced the National Spelling Bee to the school system of The Bahamas to select a student to participate in the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee held annually at the end of May in Washington D.C.

The Washington Informer, the paper that I worked with in Washington, D.C., as news editor for twelve years, is the sponsor of the District of Columbia Spelling Bee. After attending my first Scripps Bee in 1982, I promised myself that whenever I returned to The Bahamas I would do whatever I could to get The Bahamas involved in this competition. I returned to The Bahamas permanently in 1996, and when I became editor of The Nassau Guardian in 1997, I discussed my plans with the then Minister of State for Education Dion Foulkes, who wholeheartedly embraced the idea and an application was sent to Scripps National Spelling Bee for The Bahamas to be accepted as a participant, with The Guardian as the principal sponsor, given the fact that Scripps’ policy at the time was that contestants had to be sponsored by a newspaper.

The winner of the first Bahamas National Spelling Bee held in 1998 was Dominique Higgins of Jordan Prince William High School, and he performed very well competing against more than 250 spelling champions from across the United States, Europe, Canada and as far away as American Samoa. Young Higgins made it to the fourth round before being eliminated. Undoubtedly, the study habits he developed while preparing for the Bee in some respect accounted for the fact that he graduated from Jordan Prince William with an “A” in ten BGCSEs, and went on to graduate from Stanford University in California with a degree in neurobiology and is currently studying to become a neurosurgeon.

There is no question that the National Spelling Bee has had a tremendous positive impact on the educational system of The Bahamas. Like Higgins, all of the winners over the years have excelled in their educational pursuits as a result of the study habits they developed while preparing for the Bee. Indeed, Minister Foulkes once described it as the most important educational initiative to be introduced in the school system in many years. It is one of the accomplishments in my life that I am extremely proud of.

I have provided this background information to underscore my disappointment over the fact that the organizers of the Grand Bahama District Spelling Bee, which was held last week, for whatever reason decided not to invite me to participate in the opening ceremony, considering the fact that every year since I moved to Grand Bahama in 2002, I have participated in this ceremony, bringing brief remarks or presenting some of the trophies. The only reason for this disgraceful decision that that I can think of is that some educational official in Grand Bahama, quite possibly out of fear, decided that I should not be  invited because of my open criticism of the direction in which Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is taking this country. If this is the case, this is the kind of “fear” that Hitler used as a potent weapon to become a tyrant in Germany and, closer to home, Papa Doc Duvalier used to establish himself as a dictator in Haiti.

I know Hilliard Clarke’s grandson, Desmond Bannister, the Minister of Education, very well. We both come from Stanyard Creek, Andros, and his parents, Horatio and Joyce Bannister, both at some point in time taught me as monitors at Stanyard Creek All-Age School. Therefore, I am certain that he would not have sanctioned such political mischief, if this is indeed the reason why I was not invited to participate in the Grand Bahama District Spelling Bee opening ceremonies. But time will tell. The National Spelling Bee is due to be held in March, and with the exception of two years after I left The Guardian in 2001 when the then management of the paper chose not to invite me to the nationals, I have brought remarks and served as commentator for the live national broadcast. I would expect an invitation to continue in this capacity to be forthcoming from the Ministry of Education; otherwise, my suspicion that the Bee has been politicized would have been confirmed.

Yours sincerely,
Oswald T. Brown
Freeport, Grand Bahama
February 8, 2010


  1. We as a country is regressing and and on a slippery slope, apparently spiralling to hell…

    I’ve NEVER respected men like Oswald Brown.
    As an ardent reader of the dailies, I don’t expect journalist and editors to be so entrenched in political parties and carrying the water for them, that it impairs their journalistic perspective.

    sure it appears that he’s finally brought his lens into focus but you and I may never know why the dye in the wool FNM supporter choose to publicly berate his leader.

    Now I’m not saying he is deserving of being removed because he ridiculed Pappa. But the bahamian people don’t appreciate presumably credible members of The Third Estate to be bias…

    You get that MEDIA!!

  2. Well Altec, let me have my say… I say that you are completely blinded by HI’s WICKED policies!! HI sees to it that everyone who is against his policies is severely punished.  We in the public have now come to know that incidents like this have HI written all over them.. HI is petty and only care about himself and his click!! Mr Brown now knows how Pindling felt when HI, whom he pulled out of a life of NOTHING and brought him into the PLP fold, stabbed him in the back and then kicked in the hip and ran him out of the PLP!! Maybe Mr Brown has learned to be fair at all times and not continue to be a bias journalist… He should now know that he is not like by hardly anyone in this country at the moment but I wish him well…

  3. Of course Brown is being punished, and deservedly so. Doesn’t this Bog believe that Ingraham should be punished because they do no like his policies and his behavior? Well, the people who run the spelling bee, do not like Brown’s attitude. Like it or lump it, to quote the pussycat…

  4. This is typical HI MO.Once you are on his hit list, you are banished from the mainstream and he along with his operatives  will do all in their  power to silence you.I am still shocked but not surprised.We need to mature politically Bahamas !!! 

  5. How could a Man 62 years of Age be so Thin Skinned? After all he would of experienced in Life and granted he felt slighted, A simple phone call to District Supt of Ed. in G B would of produced the resolve desired. If  he wants to invite victimization, I suggest he continue buying numbers and wait until they raid him at his favourite Bookie store. Better yet, investigate his Jamaica Trip with his estranged wife and the loss of previous wife. This way we can all see what goes on in his Bald head !!

  6. Bro. Brown welcome to Bahamas Press

    Altec, i agree with you Brown needs to find a hobby.

  7. I didn’t say I will knock you off Altec. All I’m saying is give him some slack. You are a MAJOR player on this blog. We respect your opinions HIGHLY!

    We apologies for the strong language and we will let you have your say. I guess the counselling working…HEHEHEHEHE LOL!

    Welcome the brother.

    Bahamas Press/Editor

    • Media, i just dont see how Mr Brown came to the conclusion that his sunb maybe political. Maybe that wanted to go a different route this time around. To imply victimization is a stretch and without proof.

  8. So BP, i can not criticize him? Forgive me, but i thought this was a free country in which i had the right to express myself and my views.

    I guess as long as i agree with you i am in your good book aye?

    The fact is, this post is trivial. He didnt get invited to a SPELLING BEE, so what? get over it!

    there are bigger issues in this country than Mr Brown’s attendance or lack thereof at extra curricular actives.

  9. We warn you ALTEC to leave our GUEST Editor alone. Oswald Brown represent the majority view in this country in respect to the direction of this country.

    WE welcome him on Bahamas Press as he is free to attack whomever he chooses and you to Altec on this FREE DEMOCRATIC BLOG.

    Bahamas Press reports you decide!

    Bahamas Press/Editor

  10. Because you were not invited to participate in the opening ceremony of a spelling bee competition your upset?


    You got dissed from a SPELLING BEE ceremony and your upset? LOL!

    This is a joke right? BOL!

    BP why did you post this nonsense?

    Its a stinking spelling bee ceremony man!  You cant be that thin skinned. Mr Brown, you my brother need a hobby.

    This is no reason to suggest victimization.

  11. ah well alas mr brown has been put out to pasture we really must stop doing this it is either victimization or ageism neither should be tolerated no matter one’s political leaning for today for me tommorow for you is a truism

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