EDITOR, The Tribune.
The Rt Honourable Prime Minister has a golden opportunity to carve out what could be his political legacy.
He must come to realise, however, that he and his gold rush administration were actually elected by a large number of Bahamians to govern The Bahamas and not to seek to pass the proverbial buck back to us on matters of grave national importance.
The debacle of the now mercifully concluded “opinion poll”, which they sought to dress up in a tattered coat suit lapelled “referendum” gave him a political body punch. The government bogusly claimed that it did not have a horse in the race despite the fact that the chief co-ordinators of the Vote Yes Campaign were Phil Galanis, and Ron Rolle, a well known and capable PLP operative, who were instrumental in putting the campaign together.
Those two gentlemen did a wonderful job and are to be congratulated even though the exercise did not achieve the desired results. The blame for the failure of the campaign lies squarely at the feet of the Rt Honourable Prime Minister and his gold rush administration.
Not only did the government and its erstwhile leader fail to properly put a real referendum to the electorate, assuming that all of those lawyers within it actually know what a referendum is, in law and fact, but they failed to educate the electorate as to precisely what was being sought and to indicate what the proposed regulations and public policy would look like.
I am of the firm opinion that what occurred was deliberate. I also hold the view that the web shop operators were flamed by personalities within the political stratosphere. The Rt Honourable Prime Minister is now a bloodied leader and one whose political blood has been drawn. The Honourable Leader of the FNM has emerged into his own as a genuine political leader and has done what Hubert Ingraham could not do: deliver an electoral defeat to Christie.
Mr Christie should now abandon all future attempts, for the time being to consult with the people of The Bahamas on issues which he and his government were elected to deal with. In fact the next referendum should deal purely with the recommendations of the Constitutional Commission headed by my good friend the Honourable former Attorney General, Sean McWeeney, QC.
Somewhere in their manifesto of 2012, Mr Christie and his gold rush crew promised to hold a referendum on oil drilling and exploration. Common sense, seemingly, is not so common in The Bahamas, but I would hope and pray that The Lord would infuse some into the PM and his gold rush crew so that they would not subject us to yet another doomed opinion poll on this non-issue.
Either we are to allow drilling and exploration, once the appropriate regulations are in place, or we do not.
Leadership must be logical, clear cut and strong. We all agree that Christie means well and we would or should wish him to succeed.
What we cannot do, however, is to validate his leadership attributes, if he has any. He and he alone must step up to the plate and show his leadership capabilities.
Wringing his hands like Nero of old and singing that same old song of yesteryears will not ensure the establishment of his political legacy. We, collectively, need to know where we are being asked to go and we need to flesh out what public policies we are going to abide by. Ad hoc and pie in the sky illusions are pass�.
Mr Ingraham’s legacy, such as it is, will be remembered as the period when he and his now defunct administration saddled this nation with massive debts and the destruction of a generation of young Bahamians due to their botched educational and societal policies or lack of them.
It was obvious, to me at least that in the last two years of his administration that he was, by his own admission, seeing ghosts; dead people and holograms. To put it charitably, he was dead tired and had reached the end of his ingenuity. His sycophants and confidants also realised this but either they were too close to him on a personal basis or were fearful of the gravy train coming to an end.
The late great and deeply lamented Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling is alleged to have referred to Ingraham as his “most illustrious son.” If Sir Lynden did do that, he must have been temporarily deluded. Mr Ingraham, the last lap around proved to be an unmitigated disaster of the highest order, in my humble view.
Not only was he, seemingly, uncouth but he lacked political class and appreciation for his staunchest allies. Like a bull in a china shop, he ran over all and sundry in his bogus attempts to satisfy his narcissism and his one man band self delusions.
Mr Christie is in his last round in the political arena and his time is fast running out before the much anticipated emerging of the Dauphin Prince. He has got to cut out his legacy in granite now or he will be relegated to the ignoble ranks of those who tried but failed.
His penchant, seemingly, of governance by referendum must cease and cease now. Demonstrate real leadership and coherency, Brother Christie, or get the hell out of the boat.
ORTLAND H BODIE Jr
February 9, 2013.