“BIG, BAD Brad” was at his political double-speak again this week to the great amusement of Bahamians, who have good memories and who don’t put much store in what he says at the best of times.
In yesterday’s Tribune PLP chairman Bradley Roberts not only accused the FNM of politicising the gaming referendum, but described its leader — Dr Hubert Minnis — as “flip-flopping” on his position on gambling.
According to Mr Roberts, Prime Minister Perry Christie —unlike Dr Minnis — “at all material times was open, honest, consistent, fair and demonstrated tremendous courage, character and strength in the face of bogus and intentionally misleading statements from the FNM and their surrogates.
“Let us now compare and contrast this characteristic with that of the FNM leader,” said Mr Roberts. “On August 20, 2012 Dr. Minnis was quoted as saying ‘I have nothing against individuals gambling in terms of lottery, buying numbers, etc.’ He also indicated that he would vote in favour of legalization of the numbers industry.
“He later said the following: ‘I have said on numerous occasions, we do not intend to tell people how to vote. Every Bahamian should be guided by their conscience,” Mr Roberts continued quoting.
“And lo and behold,” said Mr Roberts, “by the 16th January 2013 Dr. Minnis had made a 180 degree turn on the issue and said that ‘the Free National Movement has concluded that it will recommend that the Bahamian people vote NO on question number one.’”
Despite Dr Minnis’ claim to support establishing a national lottery, he asked voters to vote ‘No’ in the January 28th referendum, Mr Roberts complained, adding:
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is clearly a man who does not know his own mind and does not believe his own words so why should anybody trust Dr. Minnis. He is clearly double-minded and as St. James said a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Dr. Minnis has no credibility as a leader and his word cannot be trusted,” declared Mr Roberts.
If The Tribune’s dateline had not been printed as Monday, January 21, 2013, we would have thought that Mr Roberts was describing the “flip-flopping” of Prime Minister Perry Christie — then Opposition leader — in early 2002 when having voted for the women’s rights referendum in the House of Assembly, later took to the streets and with his party urged Bahamians to vote against it. That should go down as one of the most disgraceful political flip-flops in Bahamian history.
About a year before the 2002 referendum, Prime Minister Ingraham wrote to PLP leader Christie and CDR leader Dr Bernard Nottage outlining the FNM’s proposed changes to the constitution. Mr Ingraham made it clear that his government would move only on issues on which they could all agree. He did not want the referendum politicised. In the House, the Christie Opposition objected to several points. The Ingraham government bowed to their wishes on each one. When it came time to vote, the vote was unanimous in favour of all but one question. That too was dropped to eliminate all controversy. In the end there was unanimous agreement on all questions on which Bahamians were to vote.
Suddenly there was a change of heart. At his first town meeting after having agreed in the House on all of the questions to be put to the voters, Mr Christie announced that he had had a change of heart. He announced that if the referendum were not cancelled he would be forced to vote against it. And that is exactly what he and his party did. Today they still talk procedures about why they withheld their vote. But to this date neither he, nor any of this party has been able to satisfactorily explain what those procedures were that would cause him to do his unconscionable flip-flop that has denied Bahamian women equal rights with their men.
“This is clearly a man who does not know his own mind and does not believe his own words so why should anybody trust him? He is clearly double-minded and as St James said that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. He has no credibility as a leader and his word cannot be trusted,” said Mr Roberts.
By these words was Mr Roberts describing his own Prime Minister, or was he describing today’s FNM Opposition leader?
All we have to say is that history is having a re-run. We hope Mr Roberts enjoys it.
However, this gambling referendum will also go down in history as so poorly conceived and managed that any government that would spend millions of the people’s money to force it through– especially at this time of economic uncertainty – surely cannot be trusted.