By ADRIAN GIBSON
Last Thursday, The Tribune published a letter signed off as being written by “residents of Long Island”. The letter was in response to an earlier column of mine and made a number of deceptive statements. I had decided to laugh it off and not to respond, but people from Long Island such as Chief Councillor Ian Knowles, Bernard Adderley and a number of others have been so irritated by the letter and so supportive that I wish to note their support here.
Firstly, to the letter writer – who is a faceless coward who chose to misrepresent the good people of Long Island – I say to you that I grew up in Long Island until I left for college, I own property and a business in Long Island, my family continues to live in Long Island, I speak to Long Islanders daily and I travel to Long Island frequently. I assure that letter writer that when I speak about Long Island, I know of which I speak.
Since this person signs their letter as “residents of Long Island”, where is the petition or collection of signatures to assure the public that the true residents of this island concur with their statements? Obviously, the writer is nothing more than a sly fox trying to get into the henhouse!
I hardly think that the views of this self-assuming person represent the people of Long Island, but more likely it represents those who are most closely involved and addressed in my recent column on Long Island.
This week, I received a number of emails from Bruce Dokken, the son-in-law of Dr Geoff Harding who was recently murdered in Clarence Town. He wanted to share his thoughts and feelings about his father-in-law’s death and how the police handled it and also wanted to express his gratitude to the residents of Long Island.
From his home in northern Canada, Mr Dokken wrote: “Our questions/observations regarding the police etc are no different than your own. Initially the police told us very little. We understand perhaps their hands are tied with the ongoing investigation ... perhaps somewhat ...
“One day after the police took us to the disgusting, uncleansed murder scene (Sunday, April 5) , we were shocked to hear what every Long Islander seemed to know but us ...” he said. (At this point he spoke to the manhunt and suspect, which I will not publish in its fullness as the matter is before the court).
Mr Dokken then said: “If there was an alert/warning to the general public; we never heard any evidence of it. Worse, I wonder if perhaps a conscious decision to not issue a public warning was made on some other grounds upon which I can only guess. I am not happy with the Ministry of Tourism and the Long Island Police force. Disgusted actually. Their interview to announce to us their ridiculously late capture of (the suspect) was marred with rudeness and insensitivity ... “My senile grandmother would have had the good sense to warn the people of Long Island ... And my teenage children could have apprehended him in time to prevent our father’s death!!! Are you listening Adrian?” he wrote.
I certainly was listening/reading – attentively.
Mr Dokken also wanted me to “get our thank you out to as many Bahamians/Long Islanders as possible. We met many wonderful people who knew our Dad and shared our sorrow ... And we want them to have our thanks ...”
Indeed, Long Islanders are great people. Long Island is a gem in our archipelagic chain and though the island seems constantly ignored, our people are resilient, so much so that, as it stands, Long Islanders have collected $24,000 to tar and pave the Stella Road going to the government’s airport.
The airport was sold to the government for $1, purportedly with the understanding that the government would pave the corridors leading to that site. That has not been done and driving on the roads there must be like what it feels like to drive on Mars.
Today, I received a call from a prominent Long Islander and I was asked to say one thing: “Long Islanders want more or Long Islanders want to be considered autonomous and keep their own taxes as opposed to sending it to central government.”
Now, having communicated the sentiments of that Long Islander via media, hopefully the government will take note.