“When I look back I might be mad that I gave this attention; Yeah, but it’s weighing heavy on my conscience” - Back to Back, by Drake
By ADRIAN GIBSON
TWO weeks ago, I wrote a column entitled ‘War in the ranks of the FNM’ where I talked about the challenges the Free National Movement faced, analysed why, referenced a Facebook posting by former chairman Darron Cash and proposed solutions. In turn, Mr Cash wrote me a disrespectful, vitriolic email.
I was amused and annoyed by Mr Cash’s email. All at once!
Put simply, the hostile sounding email amounted to a vomitorium of repugnance, vulnerable pomposity and tiresome bombast. I admit that I was taken aback by the testy, thin-skinned and dismissive nature of the email.
The email, entitled “Courage” was sent to me on October 1 at 8.48am. I intend to address each paragraph of the brain splatterings that must have been written in anger and haste.
In his first paragraph, Mr Cash wrote:
“It must be good for you to be able to associate a name with a critical piece about the FNM. How curious that you would write about disunity within the FNM and spend half of your article fixated on my commentary on the matter while conveniently overlooking the fundamental issues that precipitated those comments. Give me a break.”
I invite all and sundry to read my column of October 1. One would quickly realise that no more than three paragraphs and one standalone question (that one could argue qualifies as a paragraph) spoke in detail about Mr Cash. In fact, at the conclusion of that column, I even said that “I agree with Darron Cash when he says that there should be a show of hands among MPs to see who supports the leader.”
Please, Mr Cash, don’t fool yourself, sir. The success of my columns depends on the quality of my writing and the analysis and content therein. What is it that I could have possibly said about you that would exceed three or four full paragraphs? The statement that I spent more than half of my column fixated on his commentary - which admittedly was the spark for that week’s news cycle relative to the FNM and its internal issues - must simply be a bad joke. I sought to present a fair and balanced column that addressed many of the issues and that offered a critique of Dr Minnis’ leadership, Mr Cash’s tenure as chairman and other related matters.
In his second paragraph, Mr Cash wrote:
“Secondly, you suggest bitterness over the possibility of losing an FNM nomination. Nigger please. Surely you jest and do not know me. Unlike YOU, I was doing more than writing cute newspaper columns before I entered politics. I was putting it all on the line in the name of national development. IF you care to, check the records. I did not care about nomination then and I don’t care about nomination now. So don’t call my name if you don’t know what you are talking about. Your biases are well known to me.”
Before I specifically address that paragraph, let me say a few things.
Having received the written commentary of Mr Cash, I now fully understand why thinking minds within the FNM thought that he was not the best fit for the deputy leader post. When I heard of Darron Cash’s much-parodied political crucifixion by 400-plus voting delegates, where he attained only 19 votes (one of which was no doubt his own), I at least had sympathy. Today, that is all gone.
Now, to the second paragraph of Mr Cash’s email ... Okay, so Darron Cash’s email just stopped being funny (not that it was).
I guess that Mr Cash is not concerned at all with the trappings of power or entering elected office. He said that he doesn’t care about a nomination then and now ... but has Mr Cash told the constituency of Carmichael that he doesn’t care to become their standard bearer for the 2017 general elections? And is Mr Cash prepared to express the same to his party today; after all, I have been reliably informed that Mr Cash has submitted an application to the FNM for the nomination for the Carmichael constituency in the upcoming general election?
Is Mr Cash upset that that nomination in Carmichael will likely be given to the most recent FNM MP in that constituency? Is the former FNM chairman struggling to get the nod and, if he does not get the nod, will he join Greg Moss, the Democratic National Alliance or another party or simply become the Independent candidate in the area?
Based on what my sources in the FNM hierarchy tell me, one could hear the hiss of air escaping from Mr Cash’s political hot air balloon.
Clearly, here is a man who knows very little about the person he wrote, a person who has given service to this country for years in the capacity of a public school teacher, who was selected by the then Bahamas Olympic Committee to represent the country as one of two students at the Olympic Youth Camp in Sydney, Australia, in 2000, one who has embraced young people and yearly sponsors a student to attend BTVI out of pocket, who has contributed to the development of Long Island via business and being a member of different community development and organising groupings/associations, among so many other things that I wish not to list.
Further, as Mr Cash seemingly dismisses what we do in journalism, I am also a person who has contributed to the socio-political development of our country through the opportunity afforded by being a fortunate member of the fourth estate. Sir, as of August, I am 31 years old and I began in media as a reporter and subsequently a columnist at 20. I entered the teaching profession at 21 and though I am now a lawyer, I will always be a teacher. Just ask the Ministry of Education, who invited me to speak to and mentor a group of young teachers who I presented to just Tuesday past.
Mr Cash, on the other hand, seems to distinguish his national, community service on the basis of his appointment to the Senate, an appointment to the Bahamas Development Bank, the presidency of COB’s student union and a crushing defeat at the polls in the last general election. And, if that wasn’t enough, he then became the FNM’s chairman and shortly thereafter was soon defeated in the FNM’s deputy leadership race.
Mr Cash is a political loser. And, considering the state of affairs at the Bahamas Development Bank, what is Mr Cash’s record of achievement whilst he headed that institution?
When such words as “nigger” are used in an email or any document addressing another person, they should certainly be aware of the possible connotations of that word. It’s as if the words were intended to deliver his thoughts of me and, in my opinion, his slur-slinging tells me that he is perhaps uniquely unqualified to be considered as a member of the class of 21st century leaders. Certainly, considering my personal background and family tree, I know – and anyone who knows me would know – that I proudly come from a familial melting pot.
Our history tells us that words such as nigger carrry a negative connotation. What’s more, it is not as if Mr Cash adopted the more hiphop savvy spelling and pronouncement “nigga” which seems to have become the more acceptable version being embraced by Americans and other people of colour. He instead adopted the racist spelling of “nigger”.
Sir, the word “nigger” is described by the dictionary as “a contemptuous term used to refer to a black or dark skinned person”.
Mr Cash ought to know that according to the African American Registry, which is a non-profit educational organisation, the word “nigger” has been historically described as:
“No matter what its origins, by the early 1800s, it was firmly established as a derogative name. In the 21st century, it remains a principal term of White racism, regardless of who is using it. Social scientists agree that words like nigger, kike, spic, and wetback come from three categories: disparaging nicknames (chink, dago, nigger); explicit group devaluations (“Jew him down” or “niggering the land”); and irrelevant ethnic names used as a mild disparagement (“jewbird” for cuckoos having prominent beaks or “Irish confetti” for bricks thrown in a fight.)
“The word, nigger, carries with it much of the hatred and disgust directed toward Black Africans and African Americans. Historically, nigger defined, limited, made fun of, and ridiculed all Blacks. It was a term of exclusion, a verbal reason for discrimination. Whether used as a noun, verb, or adjective, it strengthened the stereotype of the lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless nobody. No other American surname carries as much purposeful cruelty”, the African American Registry states on its website.
As an accountant, clearly Mr Cash could easily calculate on whatever scale of colour led him to calling me a nigger that I am a few shades lighter than him. That is a fact. Is Mr Cash speaking to his own prejudices? How could a learned man say such things in an email? He is taking me to an era when people of colour weren’t even considered to be humans.
Now, I do not know Mr Cash personally, but I have certainly taken his invitation to “check the records”. I don’t know what biases could be known to him – not that we all as humans don’t have biases (e.g. I might like vanilla ice cream and someone else might like strawberry) – but Mr Cash does not know me. I presume that he must have got me mixed up with one of the 18 persons who voted for him during the last FNM convention or got me confused with someone else.
In concluding his email, Mr Cash stated: “I end by reminding you of how convenient it is for you to sit at YOUR computer and tell everyone else what they must do to (solve) our national ills. When I was your age I was not only writing. I assure you. I was engaged. You have a blessed day.”
I do not think I need to go into any further detail than I already have about my contributions. However, every journalist should read these comments and wonder if the role of the fourth estate is being dismissed and discounted.
Whilst I understand that Mr Cash’s loss at the FNM convention must have been profoundly depressing and politically nightmarish, I’ve always been taught that if you don’t know a man or woman you should call him or her Mr or Mrs/Ms. So, why would Mr Cash presume to speak about any of my contributions and why does he think that he knows anything about me?
We have met briefly, but we have never had a private or personal conversation. We even found ourselves as guests on Carlton Smith’s show before, but beyond responding to the questions asked by the host and being cordial on-air, we had no personal conversation.
Having received such an email, I now fully understand why the rightful thinkers in the FNM removed him as chairman and resoundingly rejected him as deputy leader. In fact, if one looks at all the history of serving chairmen of both major political parties, Mr Cash had one of the shortest tenures of any of them. He has not got to the point of elected office as yet and it is perhaps fair for me to say his ego and inclination to send out such emails as he sent to me might preclude him from holding elected national office. Hopefully, he doesn’t make sending such emails a habit.
It is really unprecedented for someone who wishes to have a bark to only bite with political dentures.
Speaking about emails, on November 7, 2007, Jeffrey Williams and Dr Nigel Lewis - two senior men in the FNM - sent Mr Cash an email offering to assist him in getting all of the FNM’s various branches running. I note that Dr Lewis is a former chairman of the FNM who served during its years when Sir Lynden Pindling headed the PLP and when being FNM was uncool and lent to one paying a price socially, economically and politically. Certainly, Mr Cash could have gleaned a lot from those years of experience.
Mr Williams wrote: “You will recall that Dr Lewis and myself have offered to assist you in getting all the various branches up and running. I expected a call the middle of last week, and have been trying to reach you by cell phone without success. Please let us not fiddle while Rome is burning. Chomping at the bit.”
In his reply, Mr Cash said while he is willing to take them up on their offer “I am not in a position to do so until after I have had an opportunity to discuss the game plan and get a consensus from my senior officers. The need to address issues more paramount than this (believe it or not) made that impossible in the last two week - and specifically when we met last week. I will put it on the agenda for next week and I will arrange a meeting with you and others shortly thereafter.
“I have been around our organisation long enough to know that the organisation that I met and have the privilege of serving as chairman has operated on the principle of ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. If we do not do it right your altruistic efforts will be misconstrued and undermined ... right away. You will be regarded as agents of the ENEMY. I have NO doubt about that. THAT sad reality is what our approaches to constituency association development for the last several years has engendered. It has not served us well and is in part responsible for where we are today,” Mr Cash wrote.
I have been advised that Mr Cash never fully followed through with taking up Dr Lewis or Mr Williams on that offer.
I continue to hold the view that he, too, is to be blamed for the jaded, third-rate performance of the FNM in opposition. He is the immediate past chairman, having served since the death of Charles Maynard in 2012. He, too failed, to rally the FNM’s base and to organise effectively the constituency associations and superintend the general administration of the party.
Please, Mr Cash ... please note that I have nothing personal against you. But, in all truth, when one thinks of politics in the Bahamas, your name does not arise, Google has no record of your political impact and memory does not recall any significant, national political achievements.
Mr Cash, in the event that you ever wish to know more about me, I would be more than pleased to acquaint you but be satisfied that my contributions are tangible and extend beyond the limited scope you have afforded me.