WE HAD several calls over the weekend from a few Bahamians concerned about a statement made in the House of Assembly last week by Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell. Among the callers was a man who we have always thought of as a “true, blue” PLP. However, after our conversation – a conversation that clearly expressed his feelings of betrayal — we would now classify him as a former PLP. He was certainly a person groping in the dark for a light to lead him somewhere — where that somewhere will be by 2017 is anybody’s guess.
Our callers were also upset — as a matter of fact extremely upset — with Prime Minister Perry Christie’s admission that his party had no magic formula to get crime under control as the electorate were led to believe during last year’s election campaign. From day one, the people were told — give us the government and we’ll be off and running with the solutions. Urban Renewal was meant to be the answer.
However, reality is now setting in, not only for Mr Christie and his government, but also for Bahamians who foolishly fell for the irresponsible bait dangled before their eyes from political platforms. Now faced with “wanton disregard for human life,” Mr Christie has announced that a “formula” has to be found at this time “not just to apply sustained law and order policies, but to somehow inspire a generation of Bahamians to understand why their pride should lead to patriotism. And their patriotism into loyalty to their country and to their fellow citizens of this country.”
While he ponders, crime increases.
One of the persons talking with us this weekend must have felt as foolish as we did when as a small child listening to our father reading Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes we were fascinated by the old English rhyme of the cow jumping over the moon. We remember going out on the verandah one night to see this stupendous event for ourselves. We quickly discovered that we had been duped – cows don’t jump over moons.
The only difference between us at that tender age and this man was that we did our own childish investigation. This Bahamian with his full wits about him swallowed everything his party told him without question. In fact, some of the promises were so obviously impossible to fulfil that no elaborate investigation was needed, only the application of a little bit of common sense. However, blinded by party loyalty, he voted for a government about which he is now complaining. Maybe by 2017 Bahamians will be wiser.
As for Mr Mitchell, these men were particularly upset that his whole focus for the next four years was to make certain that the PLP wins the 2017 election. Instead of concentrating on all Bahamians, regardless of party affiliation, his declaration that the Budget, then being debated in the House, was for him “about the future, the election of 2017 and what we will do to win”. So instead of putting the country and all Bahamians on an equal footing, regardless of party, this nation is to remain in election mode — a state of frenzied upset. This is what had these gentlemen annoyed.
“In a sense, my eyes are more fully trained on the future than on the present,” Mr Mitchell told the House. “I am trying to work on those people who will vote for us for the first time four years from now. They are today’s 14-year-olds. I know from experience that the election we fought in 2012 was markedly different from any other election I had fought. The question is what will be on the minds of today’s 14-year-olds when the year 2017 comes around.
“And so the budget for me has its focus on the future,” said Mr Mitchell. “It makes the hard decision in order for us to have a future in 2017. I do not want to retire as an opposition politician. I want to retire in the government and I want to retire with a comfortable life, knowing that I contributed to doing the best for the country and a country that will ensure that I continue to prosper with respect while I am no longer actively involved in public policy.
“You will note that over the past year,” he said, “I have spoken many times and in fact moved a resolution to support a Select Committee Request to review the benefits and allowances of Members of Parliament. It is regrettable that the work of the Committee was not yet reported to this House, though largely it is finished.
“I had anticipated that our work would have led to some changes in this budget which would have buttressed and supported the work of Members of Parliament.”
Now you know Mr Mitchell’s expectations for himself and his fellow parliamentarians. Where do you, Mr and Mrs Bahamian with your dreams and aspirations, fit into his dream?
It is now for you, the people of the Bahamas, to say what your vision is for yourselves, your children and your country so that we can all live peacefully together without politics and politicians dividing us.