IN THE House of Assembly on Monday former PLP Marco City MP Greg Moss announced that on Sunday, November 22, he had formed a new political party. He declared his intention of contesting every electoral constituency with his “Bahamian patriots.”
It is a shame that at this critical time in our country’s history, there are those who are putting their political ambitions before the good of their country. Added to which if Mr Moss’ performance in 2012 as chairman of the National Insurance Board — or was it executive chairman considering his interference with the day-to-day workings of NIB? — whatever his position at the time, his performance certainly was not impressive. He had grandiose ideas about his position and authority and nothing in his attitude or behaviour at that time indicated that he had any idea of good governance.
However, in 2012, Bahamians were faced with a situation in which a political party, which after three years has proven it lacked the capacity to govern, slipped into the position of power because of a divided opposition. The Opposition when its votes were counted on election day had together won the popular vote. However, thanks to the DNA, whose disenchanted leader broke away from the FNM to form his own party, split the Opposition vote, opening the way for the Progressive Liberal Party, under Prime Minister Perry Christie, to become the next administration.
The PLP was a very “promising” party during its 2012 campaign. It promised, among other things, to eliminate crime. However, despite the promises, once it became the government, crime continued to climb. It made history over the weekend with a record 135 murders. Also, according to Deputy Prime Minister “Brave” Davis, the government promised to create “10,000 immediate jobs.”
“Vote for a PLP government,” said Mr Davis, “that is ready to create 10,000 immediate jobs for young Bahamians.”
Instead, last month, more than 2,000 Bahamians were made redundant when Baha Mar, Prime Minister Christie’s hoped for “legacy”, went into provisional liquidation. With increasing unemployment, and increasing crime, the future is indeed bleak.
As if this situation is not bad enough, government is now rushing into a National Health plan riddled with too many unanswered questions.
Although government has admitted that it does not have all of the answers, the prime minister has urged a now sceptical public to trust his government not to do anything that would disrupt the economy. Based on his government’s track record, this is really too much to ask of a once trusting people.
Already there is so much happening to disrupt the economy, it would be foolhardy to keep adding to the disruptions. In health care alone, government’s chief Medical officer Dr Glen Beneby has admitted that around $100m, or 25-30 per cent of its annual healthcare spending is wasted. PricewaterhouseCoopers, retained by government to review the cost and funding for NHI, reported that “implementation of NHI as it is currently proposed has the potential to seriously destabilise both the public and private sectors of the health care system, risking the success of NHI.” Yet January – only a month away – is still the target date for implementation of a plan that is enveloped in a cloud of doubt.
Last week, The Central Bank’s governor said Standard & Poor’s August downgrade of the Bahamas’ sovereign credit rating to one notch above “junk” status was “a wake up call”, not a “seismic event”.
However, it seems that for government, “legacy” and winning the 2017 election is far more important than a stable economy.
Bahamians now have to face facts. With a crumbling economy and a rudderless government, Bahamians have to decide what they envision for the future.
Should we continue to let the Ship of State sink, or should we make a decision now as to how to rescue what remains and build a Bahamas whose people can have something tangible to look forward to. To do this we have to recognise that we have to go forward with a united opposition — if not, we risk repeating the events of 2012. What we now find surprising is that many of those who we thought were staunch PLPs are openly saying that they cannot wait for the election to remove their party from the seat of government.
But if Bahamians continue to flirt with splinter parties — the DNA and now the UDP — we stand the risk of repeating the tragedy of 2012 and saddling ourselves with another five years of an inept PLP government.
Not only do these two splinter groups have to put the welfare of the Bahamas before their personal ambitions, but the FNM also has to face up to their leadership crisis.
The goal is to remove the PLP from power by the ballot box. To do this - regardless of friendships — the FNM has to select the person amongst them who is best suited, not only to lead, but who has the political charisma to lead voters to the ballot box.
The eradication of corruption should be the main plank in their platform — and the place that it should start is within their own party. When elected the anti-corruption shield should be the shining armour in their government. Today too much is at stake for politicians to be playing politics.