Shame brought on by clash

EDITOR, The Tribune. THE TRIBUNE and The Nassau Guardian recently reported a clash between members of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Free National Movement (FNM) in the House of Assembly. Both papers spoke about the heated and disgraceful exchanges between Frank Smith, current PLP MP for St Thomas More, and Kwasi Thompson, current FNM MP for Pineridge. The dispute was fueled after Thompson attempted to table a minority report for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP). PLP members, led by Smith, believed that Thompson should not have been allowed to table this report and that House Speaker Alvin Smith was allowing House rules to be broken. Despite the differences in opinion on this matter, the actions of members of the PLP and the FNM are totally unacceptable and irresponsible. Firstly, the Speaker of the House should have known that he was in violation of House rules. House Speaker and FNM MP Alvin Smith has been the subject of criticism by the PLP for his partisan approach to the current FNM administration. Secondly, Thompson, who is Deputy Speaker of the House and who in my view does a stellar job when he is in charge of House proceedings, inexplicably tabled the report which he must have known should have been discussed with the PAC's chairman, Dr B J Nottage at their regular committee meetings. Furthermore, it is alleged by several government members that Smith assaulted Thompson. This was alleged to have occurred when Smith tried to wrestle the microphone away from Thompson. This action though still does not top the confrontation by two former PLP cabinet members under the last PLP administration. In 2006, former PLP MP Koed Smith and current FNM MP Kenyatta Gibson had a brawl in parliament which caused $789 in damage. The Bahamian public still wants to know who paid for these repairs. Witnesses alleged that the fight was comparable to "Ali vs Frazier". No disciplinary action was taken by then Prime Minister Perry Christie. It is indeed a sad day for Bahamians when our elected officials who are supposed to be attending to the people's business are fighting like cats and dogs on national television for the entire world to see. Their collective actions are sending bad messages to our country's youth, some of whom already possess poor conflict resolution skills. Shouldn't our politicians be a shining example to our youth? Shouldn't they act like honourable men? After all, they carry the title, honourable. Bahamians should not have to wonder if they are going to see a Pay per View boxing match when parliament is in session. Members of the divide should be attending to the people's business. The election season is in full swing now, and the PLP and the FNM have successfully muddied the water and kept Bahamians focused on everything but the issues at hand. We need better governance in the Bahamas from all political institutions and it is high time for us to hear issues like crime and unemployment being debated and not a candidate's bedroom business or how much a candidate weighs. This is no time to be partying, but we need to seriously address the multitude of issues affecting our country. DEHAVILLAND MOSS Nassau, March 2012.


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