EDITOR, The Tribune.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) ran a magnificent electoral campaign. The “gold” rush worked and the Christie Administration is back for the second time. The majority of the people of this nation, regardless of the numerical spin being placed by the vanquished Free National Movement (FNM), supported the big gold dream. What is that dream and how will it come into reality?
Many Bahamians had gotten tired of the antics and gyrations of the former Prime Minister, who, apparently, has yet to come to terms with the electoral decimation of the party which he led down the proverbial garden path. When he bogusly declared that he was a “one man band” the scales fell from the eyes of countless right thinking Bahamians. His uncouth “dismissal” of Dame Pindling, on a public platform, was the icing on the cake, so to speak. I used to “love” the Rt Honourable Hubert Alexander Ingraham, MP, PC, with a passion akin to hero worship. There was little that I would have not done to advance his political agenda. It was only after I realised that he was not checking for me, on a personal and professional level, that I decided, reluctantly, to abandon him. Too many of us cling to people who may not have our best interest at heart because of false loyalty and tradition. The first two terms were progressive. The third term was indicative of a man who had come to see himself, I submit, as a master and a demi-god. Bahamians, it has been opined, “love” a strong leader but we do not love a leader who wears his perceived authority on his shoulders. The PLP, to it’s credit, has sold the big gold dream to the nation, hook, line and sinker. It must now stand and deliver. The introduction of a form of National Health Care and the timely implementation of a workable and sustainable National Youth Service are mandatory. The proposed referendum on gaming can wait for some time next year or beyond. Private sector jobs must be created in short order. The economy must be stimulated. Crime and the fear of crime are literally killing this country while the high costs of health care are killing off the rest of our citizens. The sad thing is that most of our recorded crimes are being perpetuated by our younger people. Too many of them appear to be aimless and lack discipline. Prison has become another institution of higher learning no matter how dubious the degrees conferred may be. This is where my good friends, Minister of National Security, Dr Nottage (PLP-Bain & Grants Town) and Senator Keith Bell, Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of National Security) come in. Thousands of Bahamians are dying yearly because they cannot access or afford basic health care necessities. Governments come and they go while talking the same shaving cream about National Health Care. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to formulate and implement a workable scheme of National Health Care Service, in my humble view. An integral part of the big gold dream includes the provision of affordable and subsidised national health care.
The Hon Dr Perry Gomez (PLP-North Andros), who holds the vital portfolio of Minister of Health is mandated to ensure that such a system is up and running within the next year or so. I could care less about what some say will be the astronomical costs. The life of one single Bahamian is worth more than whatever it would cost to implement such a scheme.The big gold dream will also mean that our decaying, if not already dead, educational plant must be revamped and become more meaningful to our societal and economic needs. This “graduation” of functional illiterates must cease. The never ending processing of generations of know nothings is past and unsustainable. I would hope that the Hon Jerome Fitzgerald (PLP-Marathon), our erstwhile Minister of Education, et al, is up to the task, as he appears to be. The Hon D Shane Gibson (PLP-Golden Gates), Minister of Labour & National Insurance is my favourite cabinet minister and Member of Parliament. He is to be commended for having inked several wide ranging industrial agreements within the first 100 days of the Christie Administration. This is what the big gold dream is all about....action and less talk. Minister Gibson is a man of action with a laser like focus. While many others shoot the proverbial breeze and talk shaving cream, he delivers.
Last year or two, Mr John Pinder, President of The Bahamas Public Service, was all over the place begging and pleading with the now mercifully defunct Ingraham Administration to sign off on a new contract for public service workers. Mr Ingraham and his sidekick, the Hon Zhivargo Laing, either ignored his justifiable pleas or marginalised him while allegedly promoting his hoped for replacement as President of the relevant union. The big gold dream means many things to many people but the PLP must now stand and deliver. My good friend, the Hon Dr Hubert Alexander Minnis (FNM-Killarney), erstwhile leader of the defunct FNM, has his work cut out for him. He’s been promising to appear on the talk show which I am privileged to host for weeks, if not months now, to no avail. He will, however, be constrained to come, sooner rather than later, if he aspires to become Prime Minister! The FNM can bounce back but it will never do so, I submit, unless and until it’s leadership come to understand and appreciate the influence and necessity of public relations. Mere talk and shaving cream ad nauseum will not and cannot cut it, with all due respect. I actually supported Dr Minnis’ elevation to the leadership of his party and I pray that I did not make a mistake in so doing. The big gold dream was conceptualised by the Hon Deputy Prime Minister and the National Chairman of the PLP, et al, with the able assistance of countless others. My own advice played, I believe, a small part in the regime change which we witnessed on May 7, 2012. Mind you, I also advised the FNM and, in a discrete way, the other so called parties, but they paid me no mind and the rest is written in concrete. And so, the big gold dream is unfolding. As it unfolds, however, PLP’s must understand that it is not all about them; their cronies and sycophants. It is about all Bahamians. None of us can or must be left behind. The boys may well be back but they are able to go back just as quickly as they came. Eventually, in due season, the Hon Philip Brave Davis, (PLP-Cat Island), our beloved and hard working Deputy Prime Minister will come into his own. The never ending legacy and dreams of our founding father and much lamented Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling will come to realisation. Brave will do the right thing. As we prepared to celebrate our 39th, year of independence, let us never forget or cease to remember that it is our collective duty to wipe away the tear from every eye; to uplift the down trodden and to show love to our fellow Bahamian regardless of race; political persuasion or creed. This is what the big gold dream is all about. No more.....no less. To God then, the Great I Am that I Am, in all things, be the glory. Happy Independence!
ORTLAND H BODIE Jr
July 6, 2012.