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An End To Christie's Honeymoon

EDITOR, The Tribune.

The honeymoon is over, and it's time for members of the public, and in particular, the media to start asking the hard questions demanding answers on issues of national interest and make the Christie-led administration accountable and responsible from the get go, before they become despondent and ultimately vile to the Bahamian people. No more time for starry-eyed teen love and affections, these are serious times. It's time for action and results, no more blah, blah, or bogusness, bluffing and complacency, campaigning is over. Turn the pressure on now!

Members of Parliament, do not try to insult our collective intelligence or treat us as if you think that we are ignorant or stupid. It’s 2012, a brave new world, we know better, it will not work! “Less talk, make it happen!” “What's in your wallet, master and mistress public?” “It's our money and we want it Now!” “Show me the money.” This is an apolitical perspective on relations with certain parliamentarians, and what we want all to know.

Truth and perception are adversarial and or tainted for the most. Nevertheless, word on the street is, that some members of the new administration, (you know who you are, so names are not important), are ignoring the electorate, your bosses, who pay your exorbitant salaries and perks, (in these times of supposed austerity), that so lavish your lifestyles. On the other hand, many of the so-called-owners of The Bahamas do not have the dignity of a job – purpose or food in their stomachs. This is gross insubordination. We really should have had a provision in the constitution to rescind, slack representatives. So, check yourselves, and now!

Some Members of Parliament are turning off, not answering or not returning telephone calls, answering texts or emails from constituents on government issued and publicly paid for cell phones. They have opted to living in a bubble, situational amnesia, blindness, tune deafness, giving bogus or disconnected contact numbers and many have their secretaries screening or lying to the public in an attempt to discourage or avoid dealing with the people's issues. Try to see them, many don't do appointments, you have to wait hours or even days with others at their offices for whom seem apparent narcissists, as if they want a cult following or that they are doing you a favour or something. Well, this is what they campaigned for and are being paid to do, see the electorates. Deal with it! The public has the right to respectfully demand answers from elected officials. This is why you signed up and took the oath of office.

In all fairness, my personal experience has been balanced. I have had favourable interactions with both administrations. Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who was hands on, would actually take my calls at his home and speak with me, a “Bahamian”. Former Minister Earl Deveaux met with me at his office. Although, they were not able to provide the complete answers, they offered further directions. Opposition Leader, Dr, Hubert Minnis, respectfully advises or delegates responses through his staff or surrogates. On the other side, Ryan Pinder, and newly elected Ministers, Renwood Wells and Khaalis Rolle engages you, take calls and will have in-depth-focused conversations. Not surprising, these gentlemen appear genuine, the real deal, they not only interact, but find the time to return calls. What can I say about Ministers Shane Gibson and Leslie Miller, they are perennials, and are always happy to receive “Bahamians”, regardless if you live in their constituencies or voted for them. Minister Fred Mitchell has always rendered common courtesy and decorum when it counted. I have heard this about Ministers Melanie Griffin, Glennys Hanna-Martin and Hope Strachan also.

Similarly, being a nationalist, Phenton Neymour and I have had debates on a matter pertaining to the acquisition of land near the South Beach canals from a noted developer – Baker. I had suggested locating a developer that would develop the land into an upscale-gated community, which would employ South Beach, Pinewood residents and others; the same was posed to Chairman Bradley Roberts and Wallace Rolle, all seemed kin on the idea, I still wait.

Yes, we want to be heard, respected, we make no excuses. To members of parliament in general, you put yourselves up for candidacy and now that you are elected, you are in the public domain, speak with the people that put you in positions of authority. “To whom much is given, so too, is required.” The people ultimately have the power, so do not become pompous and high-minded. Do the right thing at the right time, often enough, to win. Maintain our trust and confidence, respect us, before frustration and resentment sets in and you end up offering, begging again and getting fired! My, my, how five years, go by so very quickly - the next general elections - 2016, God willing. Lead, communicate, honestly, (it's a relationship), even when the news is difficult or you don't know the answers, still disseminate. It's commonsensical, it makes good sense and it's an assurance incentive for successful re-elections.

Due to the inundation of public needs, suggested solution to accommodate is; provide more press - media releases, hold town hall meetings, hire public relations personnel, and periodically inform the electorate with what's going on, what's being done, what affects them and how. Although it is humanly impossible to answer all requests or speak with everyone on an individual bases, delegate, use surrogates and staff to get back to as many as possible. We want respect; even if it is just an attempt made to reach out to, or back to us. Make yourselves reasonably accessible during business hours, compromise on after hours where possible, sacrifice the time, it's only fair.

A public relations call centre will be essential to chaparral requests from the public for all ministries, with a well-trained staff that will reply with answers or at least acknowledgements or empathy. This department is needed to answer requests and questions and is simply good public relations. It essentially keeps it personal, and puts MPs in touch with the pulse of the nation – you know what is on the public's mind, so that you can make meaningful adjustments of procedures and policies, etc. Stay in contact with the people – connect, manage from the ground up by consensus. Answers and innovation come from the grass root and can be used for canvassing for future campaigns, albeit, elections or public interest! Incorporate a 365 day, 24/7 website to facilitate a rapid response, online, question and answer forum, where the public would have access by using their personalized identification codes.

To the public, elected officials are, but, mere human, flesh and blood, they can't meet all your needs. God can. Strive to be independent of them! The individual has the responsibility to take advantage of educational opportunities that trains and retrains, equips and retools to help make live and purpose more successful. Private sector-businesses, must work with government to spore domestic economic growth, provide impetus to make The Bahamas viable and sustainable for all. By recognizing future trends through research, development of products and services – innovations and imagination we will reach our objectives. The Church must be the moral compass that keeps us grounded in faith, this binds us together spiritually. Personally, manage emotions, feelings can lie, and are at times, unreal. Agree to disagree, everyone has a right to even the wrong opinion though they refuse to concede or evade truth. There must be accountability and responsible acceptance for actions by stakeholders. All must know and play their role honestly, intelligently and dependably. Have a conscience; take care of the young, old and those who are genuinely weak. I think that, that's what our Creator's expectation is, what He had in mind. Strive forward.

So remember, we humbly beg of you, parliamentarians – leaders, do not insult our intelligence by avoidance, this causes regrets and spite. Give us your attention; continue talking with the Bahamian people that you claim to “Believe in, and put first.” Help the people; be that “Bridge to the future” don't become obsessed with personal ambitions and egos. Release the pressure that is consuming so many in the public psyche. Although the economic pie is only so much, strive to provide truth and love in action for all, not just family, friend and lovers – stop ducking, jiving – gaming.

ABSENCE OF MALICE

Freeport,

Grand Bahama,

September 7, 2012

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