Where to put your X

EDITOR, The Tribune. IN JUST a few days we will be heading to the polls to mark our X to the candidate and/or party of our choice. As an independent voter I struggled with whom I would mark my X on election day until a few days ago when I heard Britain's opposition leader blaming his Prime Minister for Britain slipping back into a recession...Yes, Britain has slipped back into a recession and look for other first world countries who believe they are out of it to follow. This global financial crisis, the worst in most of our lifetime, have the best economic minds almost at a loss for none can say for certain when the world would fully recover from it. Yes, many countries, including The Bahamas, is slowly making a recovery but it's taking longer than anyone had hoped. Oppositions and/or those seeking to become the next government have the luxury to blame the sitting government for any and everything without offering a solution and/or telling the people whatever they think the people want to hear. In all of the campaigning speeches and advertisements, I am yet to hear from any PLP or DNA or Independent say how they would have handled this country's affairs, under the world's worst economic/financial crisis since the great depression of the 1920's, if they were the government. And since they haven't, it means they don't have an answer but only criticism for the sake of criticising. My favourite and most laughable criticism by the PLP and DNA is: Yes, the global economic crisis affected us greatly but the FNM made it worse. Isn't that similar to the line the Republicans in the US says about President Obama: "Yes, Mr President, you inherit a bad economy but your policies made it worse." Two other main criticism thrown at the government are: Its borrowing and raising of some taxes. Again, the same criticism of the Republicans against President Obama. Is it possible that someone is being advised and/or coached by a former Republican? I am far from being any kind of economist, but I do know that if businesses refuse to spend and/or invest their money because of uncertainty the government must step in and spend and/or invest to stop the economy bottom from falling out. And if governments don't have the money in reserve then their only option is to borrow and/or raise taxes. But isn't it funny that those who continue to criticise government for its borrowing and its infrastructure works are at the same time all over the place promising to modernise the infrastructure in the Family Islands; promising a comprehensive health insurance plan in one year; to double the education budget in its first budget and onward; promise to give customs, immigration and prison officers what they want (not what the country can offord), balance the budget in five years; slash taxes on businesses, some as much as 50 per cent with other concessions and many other promises that call for tens of millions of dollars. How are all of these promises going to be fulfilled since government's only means of getting revenue is by taxes and/or borrowing? Or are they planning, if elected, to introduce strong austerity measures like slashing the civil service and their wages and benefits; put a freeze on hiring and introduce new heavy taxes on the working middle and lower class? Even with that they would still fall far short of fulfilling even a small number of the promises being made, but it would be a start. As one who travels a lot I can say that we here in The Bahamas have faired better than most countries during these rough periods, and love him or hate him under the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham and his government they have done an outstanding job under these difficult circumstances. While other governments, including the mighty USA, were laying off and cutting wages and benefits of their workers, including Policemen, Teachers, Customs and Immigration workers, Prison officers, etc, not a single Civil Servant was laid off or had their wages and benefits cut. In fact, during these hard times some were given increased salaries and benefits. And the people in need were given a safety net, including unemployment benefits, help from social service, National Drug Plan benefit, etc. For a small country with so little resources I salute our government for a job well done. Putting Bahamians first is nothing more than empty words from the mouths that spill it forth. The greatest treasure, other than its people, in any country is its land. People go to war to defend, protect and keep ownership of their land. Those who make little shady deals in little back rooms by giving it away or selling it for peanuts are less than a traitor and maybe not this generation but generations to come will spit and piss on the grave of those who did this to them. As I close I pray that we have a peaceful election and that whoever wins that God guides their minds and hands. Let us all get out to vote for billions of people around the world are denied this privilege. PJ BLACK Jr Nassau, April 29, 2012.


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