By ADRIAN GIBSON
THE resignation of Greg Moss from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is indicative enough of an urgent need for a change in the direction within the organisation itself and with the governance of this country. When we talk about death by a thousand cuts, the governing party is bleeding and Greg Moss’ resignation is yet another slice.
When one considers the fancy commercials and adverts being run in 2012 and juxtapose those with the current situation, it’s clear that the PLP has gobbled up its young. It appears that the concept of Prime Minister Perry Christie being a bridge to the future has been demolished, burnt and, quite obviously, literally imploded. He has steadily become the bridge to nowhere.
The resignation of Moss must leave the governing party quite shaken.
However, based on Bradley Roberts’ over-the-top response, I don’t see where they are changing their tactics and the new generation will seemingly be pushed aside. The fact is, Greg Moss’ departure weakens the PLP and one cannot tritely dismiss his arguments. But, what we have seen in the last few days is a circling of the wagons, what we see is members of that political organisation doing what they must do and throwing Moss under the bus, what we see is Big Bad Brad running Moss down!
Having now heard that Andre Rollins will not get the nod in Fort Charlotte, I think that Moss won’t be the last to resign during this budget debate. I think that we are likely to also see the resignations of Rollins and Renward Wells whenever they take the floor to make their respective contributions.
Over time, Greg Moss has been fairly consistent with regard to his views on a number of issues. Nothing that he now says should come as a surprise to the PLP, so for senior members to assert that he is a turncoat amounts to them pretending as if they didn’t know him. I have never met Greg Moss, but in preparing to write this column, I spoke to a number of persons who know him well. They all say that no one should act as if he hadn’t expressed the views communicated in his resignation letter in the past or held certain views that we now hear him espousing.
For one, the PLP seems inclined to extend concessions relative to the Hawksbill Creek Agreement but Moss has previously laid out a well-reasoned argument against it. Moreover, his position on Value Added Tax is well documented. Any attempt to argue that he made fundamental adjustments after his firing as Chairman at the National Insurance Board (NIB) would perhaps be inaccurate.
I also hear the arguments of those who say that, yes, the governing party is disintegrating but that one cannot wholeheartedly support Moss due to past reports of his tenure at NIB, where he purportedly insisted on travelling with his chauffeur, insisted on having a parking space, revelled in the use of a corporate credit card and seemingly enjoyed a plush appointment. Yes, by most accounts, he lived well whilst serving at NIB. Indeed, there are those who applaud him for standing up for his principles but yet, due to alleged happenings at NIB – from which he was fired by the PM – some don’t view him as leadership material.
Yes, I’m told that his personality can be quite abrasive and that it was the PLP who quite literally rescued his candidacy in 2012, given that his personality purportedly did not mesh well with voters, campaign workers and so on.
Now, more than ever, that Greg Moss has resigned his membership within the PLP, if he knows of any improprieties he is duty-bound to reveal what went and/or is currently going wrong. The public wants to know what he knows – if anything – whether it happened under this administration or past administrations.
Sources tell me that Moss cannot see himself submitting to any of the current political leaders. He apparently views the PLP as rudderless and bankrupt on many levels, has no regard for Free National Movement leader Dr Hubert Minnis and has had very sharp things to say about Democratic National Alliance leader Branville McCartney that could sometimes be seen as less political and border on the personal. Clearly, he sees himself as a leader of his own party and perhaps, along with Rollins and Wells, may seek to do the same and become a third force within the House of Assembly. No one should be surprised if this happens.
However, relative to being a party leader, one doubts that Moss has established a base to do so. He is not an Ingraham or a Christie - or even a Whitney Bastian who had a constituency base on which to rely. My sources tell me that he closed his constituency office shortly after the NIB controversy and, as far as they are aware, they say that an office has not been re-opened. So, if he intends to become a party leader - which I doubt would happen if he shares a party with Rollins and Wells - he may be misreading his level of popularity in a country where he could be elevated to becoming one of four national leaders.
We are also wondering at what point did Moss discover what he has said that he observed about the PLP. Have there not been clear signs of this from the beginning of this administration’s term in office?
That said, Greg Moss is intellectually agile.
Yes, there are those who will mistakenly lump him in with Wells and Rollins. However, the truth is, Greg Moss did not come from a third party: he is PLP through and through. He raised money for them in the past and even stepped aside so that another candidate could run in 2007. The PLP cannot say that he came from elsewhere and was given a chance and this is one of the primary reasons why he cannot just casually be dismissed.
Greg Moss is claiming that he is a truer representative of what PLPism is than those remaining within the PLP and what the party must realise is that this is coming from one of their past benefactors. This is time for serious introspection. Whatever one says, his overarching critique is that the core of who they say they are is not what they have become. He is saying that the PLP is undemocratic in the way that they handle people who see the world differently, even persons within their own ranks. Greg Moss is saying that the current incarnation of the PLP is going against the philosophical underpinnings of what it means to be PLP, that they are overly taxing the poor and that they believe in foreigners more than Bahamians. Frankly, his resignation is an attack on the PLP’s identity.
In recent days, we’ve seen Prime Minister Christie lashing out at law enforcement officers, hitting out at the police and the defence force. We also saw the Commissioner of Police’s offhanded response. With the Moss resignation in the mix, the PM finds himself with a royal flush of failure, with brazen callousness being exhibited as it relates to crime - most recently with the shooting of the security officer at the school gate - to the stalling of Baha Mar, to challenges with joblessness, etc. It has now become all about rhetoric.
When Greg Moss talks about a cesspool of corruption at Urban Renewal in Grand Bahama and further sees the reasons he can no longer be a part of the PLP because they have lost their philosophical groundings, then one can only conclude that the PLP is on its knees. They can say otherwise and pretend like the blows don’t hurt, but the casual observer would admit that such embarrassing happenings - from one week to another - is demonstrative of failings on many fronts.
Though Moss may now be portrayed as one who doesn’t belong, we know that up until a few days ago that was not the case.
FNM tossed out of the House
This week, the Free National Movement (FNM) yet again took the position that Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Alfred Gray would not speak in the House of Assembly due to what many have seen as a miscarriage of law and justice.
Gray must be having a really rough couple of days, especially since he was also booed at the regatta site in Salt Pond, Long Island, when he took the stage and gave a speech that many Long Islanders found insulting. The FNM has apparently decided to pound on the desk any time that Gray speaks, protesting his presence and the fact that he continues to sit in Cabinet after allegedly interfering with the duties of a Family Island administrator who was, at that time, performing judicial functions.
Greg Moss also slapped Gray in the face when he said that this precedent - interference by the executive - now makes it difficult to put civilians on trial if there is conflicting evidence, because the Attorney General (AG) made the determination that the judiciary would not have a chance to opine on the matter. Yes, whether a matter is to be prosecuted is within the purview of the AG; however, the implications of this decision has perhaps not been well thought out as no member of the executive should countermand a judicial decision.
Alfred Gray admitted that he made a call to the administrator and that alone should have given the AG pause. Whilst she stated that there was conflicting evidence and therefore did not prosecute, did the AG arbitrarily decide that the executive can do what it wants?
I have been paying much attention to what’s happening around us. The government is overreaching as it becomes more and more desperate. There appears to be no respect for the rule of law. There is not even the pretence of transparency. There seems to be a concerted effort to put their collective thumbs in the face of anyone who questions or challenges government. As a Bahamian, I find that totally distasteful.
NGM major graduation ceremonies
As I was flying into Nassau yesterday, I began to think about and write this column. I was in my hometown - Long Island - to speak at the commencement exercise for the class of 2015 of one of the finest high schools in the Bahamas, the NGM Major High.I am honoured to have been invited to speak at their commencement exercise and I express my thanks to Mr Machon Cartwright (principal), the administration and the graduation committee, to Cordell Wells and the graduation class and to the great people of Long Island.It felt great to be home again and I look forward to returning in a few weeks. I wish the class of 2015 well in all their endeavours. Fly high Wild Cats and continue to make us proud!
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