EDITOR, The Tribune.
Recently, high ranking members of the PLP government and party sought to deflect and point fingers at the FNM to justify callous abuses of authority and mediocrity in delivering on campaign promises. No less than the Prime Minister, Minister of Agriculture and PLP Chairman seem to have forgotten that as of May 7, 2012, the PLP secured the mandate to govern for five years.
As such, it is appalling that such prominent and long-serving political figures would seek to absolve themselves of responsibility for events taking place almost three years after their party returned to office. The numbered examples below demonstrate their obvious disregard for being held accountable and disconnect from the reality that Bahamians want delivery on campaign promises and good governance instead of the constant tit-for-tat politics.
1) When confronted about the partisan awarding of government contracts to PLP supporters, the Prime Minister sought to deflect and justify the obvious by claiming that the FNM did the same while in office.
2) When contacted about the FNM’s latest press conference regarding the recent island-wide blackout, the PLP Chairman claimed that the FNM left BEC in a total “mess”.
3) After admitting he informed a local magistrate in Mayaguana that he had the right to grant bail on appeal to a convicted man, Minister Gray completed his excuse heavy diatribe by claiming that the FNM needs to find leadership.
Each of the above referenced instances highlights a vexing problem that has historically persisted in Bahamian politics. Bahamians en masse are tired of these stale and played out political tactics across the political spectrum.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister and Co. categorically believe that finger pointing at the FNM in matters real or imagined, negates any and all instances of malfeasance or misfeasance from the PLP government or its agents since 2012. This is a dangerous psychological game for the political party with a documented history of impropriety and scandals in government to be playing. Prime Minister Christie is the Prime Minister of The Bahamas and not of the PLP.
Thus, he should be more circumspect in his tit-for-tat utterances. As Prime Minister of all he should speak clearly to equal opportunities for all. Qualified and reputable Bahamians should receive government contracts based on merit and no consideration whatsoever should be given to political loyalty. After all, the PLP slogan for 2012 was “Believe in Bahamians” and not “Believe in PLP’s”.
Chairman Roberts should also be circumspect in his tit-for-tat utterances. Irrespective of any alleged “mess” he claims the FNM left BEC in, three years after taking office the PLP government is now fully vested in and responsible for BEC’s management and maintenance. Any mishaps or issues relative to BEC belongs to the current PLP administration. Bahamians demand and deserve a consistent supply of electricity in 2015. Informing Bahamians who last governed The Bahamas, an obvious fact, does not provide that consistent supply of electricity, nor does it prevent island-wide blackouts.
However, Chairman Roberts’ aggressive energies toward the FNM would be better served along with his institutional knowledge of BEC, in attempting to deliver upon that section of the PLP’s Charter For Governance that states “Reducing the Cost of Electricity”. To date, much, if not all, of this section remains unfulfilled.
Minister Gray should also be circumspect in his tit-for-tat utterances. As a seasoned politician and learned attorney he knows full well that his conversation with the local magistrate in Mayaguana was improper and a conflict of interest on a number of levels. It is clear that the local magistrate in this matter has knowledge of the law relative to matters upon which he decides. Therefore, he needed no instruction, legal or otherwise from a sitting Cabinet Minister, notwithstanding his position as Member of Parliament for the area.
Moreover, Minister Gray need not offer advice to the FNM on its leadership. Instead, he should have advised himself to brush up on the separation of powers doctrine under the parliamentary system prior to conversing with the local magistrate.
In light of the above, it is evident that the standard of representation and behaviour of elected officials in this Commonwealth must be elevated. We can no longer sit idly by and allow abuses of authority and sit silent due to our partisan preferences. I call upon my preferred party, the Free National Movement, to document these matters not just to score political brownie points but also as learning tools. The elevation of this standard of representation and behaviour must cover all political parties and to the benefit of all Bahamians.
Undoubtedly, the PLP government will not hold itself accountable for misdeeds or failures, nor will it discontinue the practice of mediocre governance through deflecting upon previous FNM administrations. It is incumbent upon the FNM, therefore, should we prevail at the polls in 2017, to “draw the line in the sand” and govern based on the fulfilment of our promises as opposed to governing based on finger pointing at the previous administration. The Bahamian people want and deserve better!
HOWARD “MR BAMBOOZLE” JOHNSON
March 23, 2015.